Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bill Murray DUI (Sort of)

Bill Murray was pulled over in Sweden yesterday for suspected DUI in a golf cart. There are just so many things right with that statement, especially since he decided to take the golf cart into town to his hotel. I assume he was planning on valeting it once he got to the hotel. Before he got pulled over he reportedly stopped at a 7 eleven, I can only assume for a Big Bite and a slurpee.
This is just one more reason why Bill Murray would be one of the top people ever that I would like to follow around for a day/week/year or even an hour.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Japanese People will Watch Anything

I don't speak Japanese, so I don't know what they are saying, it makes me want to learn Japanese. I mean what could possibly be the point of this show. All I know is i would watch this twice before I watch half the reality shows on TV.

Thanks to dethroner for the link.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Baseball and Me

I figured now would be the appropriate time to do a post on my personal relationship with baseball. Let's get some of the facts out of the way. I'm from Chicago, a town with two MLB teams. Well, we once had the Chicago Chi-Feds/Whales but that was a few years before I was born. Interestingly, despite the collapse of the Federal League in 1915, they've won a championship more recently than the Cubs. The Cubs and White Sox (hereafter referred to as simply "Sox") have an intense rivalry between their fanbases. Not only do Chicagoans swear allegiance to one team or the other, they actually cheer for the other team to lose and revel in their failure as much as their own team's success (if not more).

I grew up in a household with a father who is a Sox fan and a mother who is a Cubs fan. My maternal grandfather used to take me to Cubs games as a kid. My dad took me to Sox games at the old Comiskey Park. We even used to go up to Milwaukee for Brewers games against the Sox back when the Brewers were still in the American League. A lot of fun? Yes, but confusing as hell for a kid to pick one team to swear allegiance to. So instead, I grew up being a fan of certain players, rather than choosing a team. When I think of my childhood baseball heroes I think of Carlton Fisk, Ryne Sandberg, Harold Baines, Lee Smith, Andre Dawson, and Jody Davis. To this day when people ask me if I'm a Cubs or Sox fan I simply reply "neither" since this is a much more acceptable answer than "both".

Being a Chicago baseball fan was viewed throughout most of my life as perennial disappointment. Both the White Sox and the Cubs having endured championship droughts not seen anywhere else in sports (except maybe the Red Sox). Then the White Sox won the Chamionship in 2005. I rooted hard for the Sox, I wanted to see them succeed for their long-suffering fans (including my father), more than anything else. I even went to game 2 of the World Series that year which was cold, rainy, but a lot of fun too. My companions at the game? Two Cubs fans and a Cardinals fan, all of them rooting for the Sox.

Which brings me to my point. I like baseball. I'll watch it on TV sometimes, rarely non-Chicago teams outside of the post-season. On the other hand, I love going to games. I've been to probably 40-50 Cubs games in my life (I used to live 2 blocks from Wrigley) and about 15 Sox games. But I just don't have one team I ride for. I want the Cubs to do well this year. I'd love for them to win a championship (although it's not going to happen this year). When the Cubs made their run in 2004 I went to 3 playoff games including Game 7 against the Marlins in the NLCS. It was a heartbreaker but incredibly fun. But I just can't get into baseball like I do the NFL. Is it the game itself, the fact that the sport is perfect for fantasy gaming, growing up with the 1985 Bears? It's probably all of that and more.

So to wrap this up what do I think of Bonds' record-breaking performance? I think it's a shame that performance-enhancing drugs have tainted ALL of sports. It's his record, no asterisk, until someone else breaks it or he is proven guilty. He deserves to be congratulated on a career that was impressive even before he may have taken steroids. Only he knows what he did and all of us can't be 100% sure of anything unless you actually physically witnessed him injecting. I'm sick of hearing about it all, I want it to go away. And it does absolutely NOTHING to affect how much I like professional baseball.

I laughed at how Bonds barely acknowledged his son at home plate after he hit #756. Records are over-emphasized anyway. Michael Jordan is viewed as one of the best, if not the best, to ever play in the NBA. Yet, how many significant records does he hold? It's time for all of us to move on. Well, except for Cubs fans, they have to still wallow in self-pity. At least for now.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Finding Forever Review

I also enjoying going on upnorth trips, it allows me to sit down, virtually uninterrupted and listen to an entire album. I went up to Boston for the weekend, and the long flight to the first layover in Newport News (no I didnt see any rape stands for sale at the airport), I thought that would be the perfect oppportunity to listen to Common's Finding Forever. I considered that I should link to Commons site or Amazon or something so that you can easily buy it online. Instead let me save you the effort, its Meh, not ehh, Meh.
The beats were uninspiring, the lyrics were ok, but during my entire listen there was not one track or line that made me stop and replay or even think about it a little bit after it happened. I could go track by track and critique the album, but I don't think Common or Kanye put that much effort into it. Maybe Kanye saved all the good beats for himself.
Here are a couple quotes from Common himself, both of these make me sick to my stomach.

"Finding Forever really means to find a place in music where you can exist forever. Music can be forever if you make it from the heart, if you make it from the soul and it’s good. And I look at music like Bob Marley's or Marvin Gaye's or Stevie Wonder's or A Tribe Called Quest's, that's forever music. And I’m continuing on the quest to make forever music."

Common said that on some tracks, Kanye tried to chop the samples in a similar way to Dilla as a way of honoring him. It has also been said that Kanye West attempted to bring back a really soulful feel to the album. "It's gonna be like College Dropout and Be and Illmatic all fusioned together"

Sunday, August 5, 2007

My "date" with Mr. Smith

Well, I decided to give the outdoor hip-hop festival another shot anyway because this time it was free. It was a show sponsored by Zune (read: Microsoft's MP3 player, therefore Microsoft). Zune's "Live at the BBQ" named, of course after the Main Source song which introduced the world to a man named Nasir Jones. You had to RSVP online early enough to get in but otherwise was free. They did this in LA and Chicago also where Common and Mos Def headlined, respectively. Anyway, despite other big names at those shows (UGK, Little Brother) the NYC lineup seemed a little less impressive. HOWEVER, the small "and special guests" at the bottom convinced me there would be more than what was listed.

What was listed? Joell Ortiz, Cham, MiMS ("this is why I'm hot" ugh), Clipse, Large Professor, Brand Nubian

I dig Brand Nubian and I figured Large Pro may have something to offer. Plus, the show was in Brooklyn and I hadn't been there yet so I figured it was reason enough to go, especially since it was free.

First of all, the area of Brooklyn I was in was ridiculously cool and nice and made me wish I lived there. Another thing about Brooklyn. The beautiful people of NYC apparently live here. Also, I saw a ton of people wearing shirts that just simply said "Brooklyn". People there are so proud of their borough (this will be relevant again later). It was a cool festival. Food, art, in a nice park on the water. You could play basketball or XBOX (not that I did any of these things). But very chill, people brought their kids.

I think I heard the performers shout "Where Brooklyn at?" or play the sample of Biggie saying it at least 60-70 times. People would go crazy. The first artist was Joell Ortiz. I'll save you the wikipedia search. He's a Puerto Rican rapper from Brooklyn signed to Dr. Dre's label. He was meh. Cham (reggae/dancehall artist) was a nice change of pace but was just okay. Thankfully MiMS was a no show.

Then it got good. Most of Boot Camp Clik showed up along with Special Ed and Masta Ace. It was a nice trip back to the old school. If this was the caliber of "special guests" I was in for a treat right? Of course with all these guys being from Brooklyn themselves, they were well received by the crowd.

Then came the Clipse. It was the Clipse, that's about all I can say. Neptunes beats and lots of yelling.

It was around this time that I saw Michael Rapaport walk past me with his kids. Makes sense I guess, a hip-hop show in Brooklyn you can bring your kids to. Rapaport would be there.

Large Pro came out. His beard was gray (Seriously was Main Source that long ago? I guess it was.) I figured this mofo owes me a free show for that crappy album of his I bought in 2002. What was interesting was that when he came out he took significant time talking about how he's from Queens but respects Brooklyn, "it's all love", etc. About a dozen people were into his set. The rest looked bored. More proof that Large Pro belongs behind the boards, not on the mic.

Then was another "special guest". It was the Lox. I was sorta excited. I mean, I own one Jadakiss album but this is a veritable mainstream hip-hop act in Brooklyn and it was cool to see. The crowd was nuts (but in a good way). I forgot how many songs of theirs were big hits.

Then Brand Nubian. They were decent. Lord Jamar was stuck in LA so it was just Puba and Sadat which was fine with me as they're the only two I care about anyway.

So they finished with 2 hours left in the show. You knew there had to be something big coming. One guy next to me said he heard Rakim was there. I had seen him at Rock the Bells which was just an okay performance but I was miles away. But this time I was 20 feet from the stage with a crowd that wasn't just there to punch people while Rage Against the Machine performed.

Well, no such luck. Instead, the special treat would barely resemble a hip-hop act and more closely represent a night at Chippendale's. The stage began to transform and out came a gold-plated mic stand from which protruded the letters "LL COOL J".

Girls started screaming and pushing. Two dozen long-stem roses were brought on a table to the center of the stage. I groaned as did just about every other guy in the audience. Again, I was only 20 feet away though so I had to stay for the spectacle.

So he begins his set with "paying respect to Brooklyn". Tons of the "where Brooklyn at?" and then he covers Biggie's "Hypnotize" which I thought was a really weird way to open a show. For the first few songs he would just point to women in the crowd and 4 security guards were in charge of lifting these girls over the barrier and into the space between the barrier and the stage. It was disgusting but also funny to me to see less attractive girls get turned away as they bum-rushed the stage. It was so sick and nasty. Other than the obligatory handing out of roses, his entire performance was mostly crotch grabs, lip-licking, stripping his clothes off, wiping sweat off with towels and handing them to girls, and other simulations of sex acts. The most peculiar one to me was sticking two fingers in his mouth and simulating fellatio. Is this supposed to be sexy/manly? All it does for me is stick the incredibly disturbing image of him giving another dude head which is still burning a hole in my soul. The women still screamed so I guess it works.

He did Radio, Rock the Bells, and Mama Said Knock You Out as the ONLY plus to this debacle. Although during Rock the Bells he roundhouse kicked his mic stand which was lame but overshadowed by the rest of his performance For his last song he did some song I had never heard before where he just shouted "Queens" a bunch of times. A lot of guys booed. I heard some guys next to me say aloud "you just don't do that in Brooklyn". And then Mr. Smith walked off stage.

Other lame things he did. Bring 30 women on stage for half the show and "two brothers" to show "I can't front on the dudes". Kissing each girl as they left the stage. Also "making it rain". He threw about 30 bills in the air and I figured it would be lame if they were $1 bills. Of course they were. I caught one, was annoyed, and proceeded to throw it back in the air. People looked at me like I was an ass. I figured there was a lady who wanted it more than I did.

But perhaps the king of lameness was bringing a 2 year old girl on stage, telling her she was beautiful and could do anything she put her mind to. Then he escorted her back off stage and told the crowd "we need to take care of our own". This comes from a man who grew up in modest circumstances in Queens and now lives in a Manhasset mansion rumored to be worth over 10 million, looks like he wears over 1/2 million in jewelry on stage, and is a card-carrying republican. I think he wins the title as "biggest douchebag" in hip-hop.