Preference Personnelle
Tuesday, March 30
Here's a Mefi post about Left Behind. And, via Gizmodo, a Wired story about prison riot tech.
Friday, March 26
Via slashdot, a Wearable Computing Fashion Show. It's at least as funny as it sounds. Via mefi, War Rationale 10.0, and a page about Dan Rather and drugs. Ooh, and a wonderful post about Thomas Pynchon.

And, just as a heads-up, Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series Volume 6 is about to be released. It's probably the most popular Dylan bootleg ever, and now it's getting a legitimate release, one that's sure to sound much better than the cassette I've got now.
Thursday, March 25
Lately I've been reading a lot of Michael Eric Dyson, who is rapidly becoming my second-favorite black public intellectual (big shout-out to Mark Anthony Neal). Dyson's 'Holler if You Hear Me' is the best book ever written about Tupac by a wide, wide margin. (It's not like with the O.J. Simpson trial, where Jeffrey Toobin's book is the best, but Vincent Bugliosi's and Larry Schiller's are, y'know, in the vicinity.) 'Holler if You Hear Me' makes every other Tupac book I've ever seen look like the Randi Reisfeld Tiger Beat ephemera that they are. Dyson's biography is an interesting one. Here's the short version: his teenage babymama was getting WIC while he worked two shit jobs. Then, years later, he got a Ph.D. from Princeton.

One thing I just learned about Dyson is that, trying to get his academic life in order before going off to college, he attended one of Detroit's best schools, Cranbrook. "Cranbrook," I thought to myself. "Where have I heard that name before? Ah, yes, in '8 Mile.''' That's the alma mater of the Eminem character's nemesis, Papa Doc (just another MC in a long line of Third World dictators like Noreaga, Tragedy Kadafi and Tupac homie Kastro). Em (uh, I mean B. Rabbit) brings it up during the climactic battle scene. 'But I know something about you/ You went to Cranbrook/ That's a private school' (and, a few bars later, my favorite line in the whole movie: 'And Clarence's parents have a real good marriage.')

Eminem seems to agree with Mobb Deep: there ain't no such thing as halfway crooks (in fact, it seems to be a major theme in '8 Mile.') I wonder what Dyson, the tenured professor whose brother is in prison for murder, thinks about the topic. And speaking of Mobb Deep, Prodigy and Havoc met at Manhattan's Graphic Arts High School, and they had a bit of a feud with Jay-Z. (Check the non-Nas verses in 'The Takeover.' Nice Doors sample, by the way.)

I've also been listening to some 'rap beef mixtape,' source unknown, that details the Nas/Jay-Z story, starting with their first guest shots, on 'Live at the BBQ' and 'The Originators,' and wrapping up with 'The Takeover,' 'Got Ur Self A...' 'Ether,' 'Super Ugly' and 'The General' (incidentally, Thirstin Howl III's 'Osama Spit Latin,' which jacks the beats from 'Takeover' and the flow from 'General,' is worth hearing (aside to an aside: Thirstin also recorded 'Watch Deez' with Eminem back in the pre-Dre days), and a clip from some radio station of Nas winning their call-in poll right as Jigga walks in the building.

And the people were right, I think. Nas' dis songs, with the exception of 'The General,' are much better than Jay's, with the possible exception of 'Super Ugly.' If that makes any sense. Or, to put it more simply, 'Ether' is the best dis song either one of them has ever done, though Jay gets mad points for calling out Nas' homophobia in 'Super Ugly.' Or his reliance on cheesy faggot rhymes, anyway. Still, though, Nas gets the title. 'How many more of Biggie's rhymes are gonna come out your fat lips?' Damn.

The thing is, though, I think Jay might've--well, I don't want to say he threw the battle, but I don't think he gave it 110% either. To paraphrase what Moe said after the Duff Bowl, Nas wanted it more. Listening to that beef mixtape makes it perfectly clear that Jay was more commercial right from the getgo, while Nas, like 'Pac, was consumed with thuggisms (weird example: at some point, he identifies his father as a blues musician, instead of the avant-garde jazz player he is--the former's harder, right?). And the 'I... will... not... lose' chorus in 'Ether' couldn't be much clearer. He delivers that line with more sincerity than he summoned for several of his albums put together.

Nas' most commercial songs, like 'Hate Me Now' (favorite tidbit: the video ran with a Michael-Jackson's-Thriller-style disclaimer), 'Nastradamus' and 'Oochie Wally,' are mostly junk, while Jay's commercial songs are the best things he does. And Jay's own rhymes on 'Moment of Clarity,' on the Black Album, to say nothing of his continual upping of things like the Robb Report (and, face it, his entire ouevre), strongly suggest that he's just in it for the money. Is it a stretch to say that Jay popularized the 'game' metaphor that's so ubiquitous nowadays?

Jay was battling Nas to sell records, while Nas was trying to protect his reputation. It's no surprise who won. (Though if Nas really wanted to protect his reputation he would've gotten shot immediately after releasing 'Illmatic.')

(Bonus Eminem/Nas/Jay connections: Em produced a track on Nas' 'God's Son' album. He also appears on Jay's song 'Renegade.' But just ask Nas, who says 'Eminem murdered you on your own shit.' He also calls Jay a 'Stan.' Nice.)
Wednesday, March 24
Someone throws a party, gets some of their stuff stolen, attempts to use the Internet and social networks to, uh, catch the perps. This is really pretty interesting. Mefi, not surprisingly.
Via mefi, Confessions of a Midlist Author. Also, a Flash orgasm simulator. Not as exciting as it sounds (and for most folks, probably NSFW. Duh.). And a way to search for Presidential campaign donors by address, or name. It seems like I've seen pages along these lines before, but I can't think of where.
Sunday, March 21
On metafilter, a discussion about baseball. The discussion's better than the post. I am becoming interested, I think, in steroids. My on-and-off obsession with Mick Foley, my recent reading of former Atlanta Falcon Tim Green's 'The Dark Side of the Game,' my long-ago reading of books like Bill 'Spaceman' Lee's loopy 'The Wrong Stuff' and Southern humorist Roy Blount, Jr.'s entertaining first book, 'Three Bricks Shy of a Load,' about the Pittsburgh Steelers in '72-'73, it's all coming to a head. Something else about Lee: he also wrote what is apparently a revisionist history of the Red Sox, and did voicework for a short film by Emily Hubley, 'Blake Ball,' which uses baseball metaphors to explicate the nine nights of William Blake's poem. Or, perhaps more likely, Edward Young's poem. I'm not really clear on that. WorldCat lists two libraries with a copy of 'Blake Ball.' The people in ILL probably aren't too crazy about me.

Incidentally, I say let the athletes take steroids. Hell, let them get cybernetic implants like Steve Austin (uh, The Fall Guy, not Stone Cold). It's not a level playing field, period. Playing professional sports is fairly risky, even without steroids, and very lucrative. The player who's willing to put their body at risk has an advantage. I feel like I might change my mind, though, if I heard a persuasive argument. If only I knew someone who wanted to talk about the topic.

Also, here are a few appealing videogame sites: toastyfrog (check the (unfinished) Embarrassing Game Companies list, scathing Sega dis and this Kingdom Hearts/Animal Crossing review), and SegaBase, by far the best Sega history site I've seen.

Why isn't underclocking more popular?
Saturday, March 20
Here's a slashdot review of David Foster Wallace's 'Everything and More.' Among other things ∞-related, some entertaining discussion about whether 0.999... equals 1 (I desperately want to use a real vinculum (a word I just learned (hey, layered parentheses--how ya like me now?)), but all I can figure out how to do is an overscore after the repetend, like this: 0.999‾). I'll be checking out some of the books mentioned in the comments. Incidentally, I must remind myself to read Godel Escher Bach sometime. Hofstadter is right up there with Donald Norman and Edward Tenner among, hmm, intellectuals I've been into lately.

Update: It looks like I could do the vinculum with stylesheets, or with that math-specific markup language, but either of these options seem like cutting-butter-with-a-chainsaw approaches, and inelegant besides.
British studies suggest we're in the midst of a mass extinction. Perhaps you've seen this story.

"By 2050, between 25 percent and 50 percent of all species will have disappeared or be too few in numbers to survive. There'll be a few over-visited parks, the coral reefs will be beaten up, grasslands overgrazed. Vast areas of the tropics that have lost their forests will have the same damn weeds, bushes and scrawny eucalyptus trees so that you don't know if you're in Africa or the Americas.

Without its natural diversity the world will be a poorer place. It will be boring."
--conservation biologist Stuart Pimm, in a Wired interview.

For some reason, this evokes for me the criticisms people make about, like, malls and suburban sprawl and the ubiquity of places like Starbucks and Wal-Mart. There seem to be a lot of widely disparate forces, in many different arenas, pushing toward the same kinds of homogenous monocultures. And how stable, how sustainable, is a monoculture? Ask a conservation biologist, or somebody who keeps up with Windows security patches.

Is it unreasonable to find parallels between extinct species of butterflies, endangered indigenous cultures and threatened mom-and-pop businesses? (I hate the cliche, but you know what I mean.) At the risk of oversimplifying, I might suggest that, frequently, it's the same people who are profiting.

Also: if I had Lexis/Nexis access, I could do a search for articles which contain the words "Courtney Love" and the words "reign of terror." For now, here's one from the NYT, and some Google results.

Friday, March 19
Imagine how happy I was to find that every single Google result for "tell him to stop lying about my record" relates to Bob Dole.
Monday, March 8
Via slashdot, on gamespot, When Two Tribes Go to War: A History of Video Game Controversy. Ooh, and have you heard about NARC? What about Manhunt? Steel Battalion? What a time to be alive. Incidentally, lest anyone forget, State of Emergency is a pretty crappy game.

And, just to bring in some of my other obsessions, here's a SNPP page about video games mentioned on The Simpsons.
Sunday, March 7
The person who made my favorite throwing-yourself-down-the-stairs game, Porrasturvat, has a new game that appears to involve throwing yourself out of a moving truck. Here's the site.
A lagniappe of cultural kitsch and B-movie claptrap

10/01 / 11/01 / 12/01 / 01/02 / 02/02 / 03/02 / 04/02 / 05/02 / 06/02 / 07/02 / 08/02 / 09/02 / 10/02 / 11/02 / 12/02 / 01/03 / 02/03 / 03/03 / 04/03 / 05/03 / 06/03 / 07/03 / 08/03 / 09/03 / 10/03 / 11/03 / 12/03 / 01/04 / 02/04 / 03/04 / 04/04 / 05/04 / 06/04 / 07/04 / 08/04 / 09/04 / 10/04 / 11/04 / 12/04 / 01/05 / 02/05 / 03/05 / 05/05 / 06/05 / 07/05 / 08/05 / 09/05 / 01/06 / 02/06 / 04/06 / 05/06 / 07/06 / 08/06 / 10/06 / 11/06 / 12/06 / 01/07 / 03/07 / 04/07 / 05/07 / 06/07 / 07/07 / 08/07 / 09/07 / 10/07 / 11/07 / 12/07 / 01/08 / 02/08 / 03/08 / 04/08 / 05/08 / 06/08 / 07/08 / 08/08 / 09/08 / 10/08 / 11/08 / 12/08 / 01/09 / 02/09 / 03/09 / 04/09 / 05/09 / 06/09 / 07/09 / 08/09 / 09/09 / 10/09 / 11/09 / 12/09 / 01/10 / 02/10 / 03/10 / 04/10 / 05/10 / 06/10 / 07/10 / 08/10 / 09/10 / 10/10 / 11/10 / 12/10 / 01/11 / 02/11 / 04/11 / 05/11 / 06/11 / 12/11 / 01/12 / 02/12 / 03/12 / 04/12 / 05/12 / 06/12 / 11/12 / 10/13 / 01/14 / 02/14 / 03/14 / 08/14 / 06/15 /

Powered by Blogger