mercredi, mai 31, 2006


Week of May 24
"Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to change the world?" That's the question asked by Marc Hedlund in the intro to his Proverbs for Entrepreneurs. Since you're experiencing new opportunities to bring more of the entrepreneurial spirit into your life and work, I thought I'd offer you a few of his suggestions. (1) Pay attention to any idea that won't leave you alone. (2) Give people what they really need, not necessarily what they say they need. (3) If you keep your brilliant ideas secret for fear they'll be stolen, people will hide their brilliant ideas from you. (4) Great things are made by people who share a passion, not by partners who have been talked into it.
Week of June 1
In her book Strange New Species: Astonishing Discoveries of Life on Planet Earth, Elin Kelsey writes that though scientists have named 1.7 million species, at least 3.3 million others are still out there, as yet unidentified. In a similar way, Gemini, there are many invigorating adventures and intoxicating truths that you have not yet discovered--countless life experiences that remain unknown to you. It so happens that this is a perfect time to jumpstart your pioneering urges and go out exploring those frontiers. In the coming days, I urge you to find at least one new variety of each of the following: allies, sanctuaries, resources, inspirations, and pleasures.

lundi, mai 29, 2006

heady as a loon or loss in three bm's

i'm not even gonna say "i don't know why i get like this down here" 'cause i could know:

i think most of mine think i'm in touch with my feeling but i keep it as far away as warmth
hold tight to the chill
and the fear
i can't say that i'm all that loving
i'm a bout a mile and half from the sun
and look nothing like it
i'm not even gonna say "i'll try"
i don't want to keep gettin' ready
hope don't float that far

nota bene: i ain't trying to be coherent.

lundi, mai 22, 2006 glory

Katherine Dunham: June 22, 1909-May 21, 2006

vendredi, mai 19, 2006

Cypher Complete

Japan's space sneakers are ultra-high heels

New Scientist Space staff and AFP
15 May 2006

New lightweight sneakers for use in space could help astronauts keep their muscles from wasting in zero-gravity.

The Japanese company Asics has teamed up with the Japanese space agency, JAXA, to create the sneakers and plans to donate a pair to Japanese astronaut Takao Doi, who is scheduled to join a US space shuttle mission in late 2007.

"In an environment of no gravity, human muscles become atrophied and astronauts need to train themselves on machines," says Takehiro Tagawa, who developed the far-out footwear.

The first samples, with a soft heel and flexible sole, weigh only 130 grams (4.6 ounces) each and incline slightly upward toward the toes. "By having the slant, the shoes would stretch a wearer's calf muscles even in the no-gravity environment," Tagawa says.
Pain in the feet

They also include a gap dividing the big toe from the others, similar to traditional Japanese socks, known as tabi, which are often worn with sandals. "The divider makes it easier to stand firm on Earth," he says.

Asics launched the project with JAXA after a Russian cosmonaut visited Asics Chairman Kihachiro Onitsuka and complained that conventional sports shoes hurt his feet in space.

The space sneakers are made for use inside space shuttles when astronauts are able to get out of their special suits.

Tagawa said the company hoped Doi could assess the shoes when he blasts off to deliver the first components of Japan's laboratory module to the International Space Station next year. "We want to create a more space-like, futuristic design for the shoes by then," Tagawa added.

via Boing Boing

mardi, mai 16, 2006

Reeling In The Years

I sell her my sail and watch her depart all giddy gulping the salty air. Gulls drop corrosive bombs that stick to her starboard strands. Even rocked to retching, she flashes a pirates smile. I, safe on the shore, sport a skull tight silk scarf before bed, where and when I dream of open seas and mucky hair. Waking up is a veritable nightmare.


dimanche, mai 14, 2006

Down by the Schoolyard

+Isn't Survivor Cirie's HB the best husband ever! I don't usually care for cornrows on men 21+ but he's too sweet.

+Will TNT's Kenny Smith ever wear a suit that fits?

+What is performance studies? Flavalife's Frank Leon Roberts offers some answers.

+Foucault and Spillers elucidate this, which is probably why I have leaned so heavily on their work. Spillers identifies and unpacks an "American grammar" that precludes our subjectivity. They revel in our subjection. (Quelle Horreur!) We tacitly accept it. Expect it. Flesh. Not. Body. Rape. Repeat.

+MAN's got a thoughtful Mother Day's post on conscientious parenting, black girls, subjectivity, and love. Body. Not. Flesh.

+I have NEVER fought, or cut, or spit at or even hung up on someone on the phone and I can't conceive putting my hands on a hallowed person but I believe in corporal punishment for children of adolescent age and younger (obviously not infants) if administered in love and responsibility (and not hate or tyranny) and I do believe that them loveless boys (referred to in MAN's post) need to be beat like they stole something, ideally with an extension cord, spatula or, depending on the proximity to the woods, a switch (What you know about that? I know all about that).* And then these boys need to be actively and lovingly parented into children of character and integrity.

+Since we on playgrounds me et ma soeur were reminiscing and I can't for the life of me remember the name of that playground activity that involved girls, like us, first wrapping our legs around then spinning around something approximating a brushed concrete single ballet barre. Anyone remember what this was called? I would set a date for y'all to meet me at a schoolyard to demonstrate but playgrounds been generally replaced with playstations and there are no children here (Oprah was good as hell in that movie) anyway not to mention I'm too tall and I'd scrape my scalp on the hard concrete. Now that I think about it, Kyra probably knows.

+But really, let's seriously talk about making us a world. It's like we're standing upon their shoulders just to break the indomitable spirit of their legacy down.

+ I just discovered Gary Bartz. He's great.

* in defense of Ms. Julie. i rarely got beat and never with an extension cord or spatula, just belts, often this thick straw belt-she let me pick the belts; I quickly learned to avoid thin belts of leather constitution-and one time, she took it back, and sent me among the coniferous to pick a switch. Jesus, i'll never forget.

samedi, mai 13, 2006


I think Bryce, the most beautiful boy in the world, and Nia, dare I say aging better than Halle, should breed. Pretty babies indeed.*

* I know two pretty people often don't produce attractive offspring but they would most certainly be the exception.

lundi, mai 08, 2006


biR060416alewifelogoH with BrailleDAY


Note of clarification: It's NOT my b-day (17 days to a quarter century). It's L'Erin's.

dimanche, mai 07, 2006

...Like My Sister Kate

+Although recommended by the inimitable Kia Davis (currently book learning in Singapore) in 1997, I dismissed Rahsaan Patterson, for spite of his auburn-tipped blow out (he's now balding) I didn't like blown out afros or auburn or blond tipped 'natural' hair styles then or now. In my bopfree teeny world Patterson looked unfresh. He was a failed pretender to D'Angelo's throne. I may have listened to one song from his self-titled debut and I am certain I didn't like it. But about a year ago, after reading Jason King's Voice review of Patterson's After Hours, I thought I'd give him another chance. I just recently got around to downloading the album and I like it. In trying to account for my 180 I'm inclined to say I've developed a taste for corny sh*t in the past decade since Patterson's "So Hot" makes me want to shimmy like tilted texturized (flat) topped Eddie Murphy on the dancefloor with Robin Givens in Boomerang. I want to toss my head hair back in "Maaaarcus" post-youthful abandon. When listening to Patterson I feel like a thirtysomething Negro circa 1992 but I don't want to stop. And I'm afraid of what I'm becoming. Am I no longer the smirker* but the smirked at?! Maybe that's why I don't frequent Williamsburg.**

+In an equally unfresh and middle aged vein, I really really really want to see Hot Feet. EWF + Broadway = Fabulosity™.*** Debbie Allen's daughter Vivan Nixon stars. The Juilliard kids used to brag on how she couldn't get into Juilliard despite her mother's angling. Juilliard debt/diploma notwithstanding, Nixon's come out on top.

+On an unrelated note, some festive Mexicans put on a parade today on Central Park West between 110 and 97th. Great performance including quite a few drill teams and some individuals performing a reverential dance to QUETZALCOATL with incense and everything but not a very big turnout. I'm thinking most Mexicans are a little burnout from all the marching and decided to take this Sunday off.

+And I was going through my papers today and I found a heavily underlined The New H.N.I.C. book review by Armond White for the March 17, 2003 issue of The Nation. Some choice quotes:
Through random descriptions of questionable public comments and performances by a few successful black celebrities (comedian Chris Rock, entrepreneur Russell Simmons, rapper Nas, TV host Arsenio Hall), it merely uses the umbrella term hip-hop and its well-known commercial impact to translate how some African-Americans have unapologetically pursued money and personal wealth into the illusion of genuine political progress.
This is part of what I meant at The Future of Hip Hop retrospective when I wished for hip hop's disentanglement/differentiation from (young) black identities.
Academia has been trying to catch up with hip-hop ever since Henry Louis Gates testified on behalf of 2 Live Crew in 1990. It's always been behind-or wrong.

Academics adore "agency" and black academics (who at best only reach a small portion of black youth) envy the ability of hip-hop artists to seem "in charge."

Despite the neologism of "nigga" (instead of "nigger") the sense of that old phrase cannot be refashioned without reconfiguring its implicit acknowledgement of plantation hierarchy.
White also notes,
This decadent exploitation of black culture through suggestions of its demise is ruthless--and silly.
Speak! Claims of hip hop's demise strike me as not only inaccurate but wholly disingenous. I think they suggest the demise of the claimants specific relationship to hip hop (and youth).

+ Ian's got Fat Joe's "Damn" up at Different Kitchen and indeed its fire-"look how the sh*t bling/piss-stained yellow pebble bezel on the wrist man"-which in no way transforms my indifference to the artist formerly known as "Flow Joe."

+Lastly this funny mini-doc , A Chink in The Armour, found at the very cool blog, Reappropriate: Ramblings of An Angry Little Asian Canadian Girl puts Chinese stereotypes to a series of tests.

*Was I ever a smirker!?!
**In addition to the 'burg's pointed paleness.
***Thanks Kimora.

mercredi, mai 03, 2006

Suburban Sprawl

It seems that some Black people whose lives have been circumscribed by Black poverty or its image think that's all there is or that's all that's real to Black American experience (this is THE American party line: black=underclass*). It seems that other Blacks are irrevocably entrenched in their middle class mindset but it seems like most people/the multiculti masses don't/can't recognize that Black experience extends beyond these two categories. Social stratification has always looked different in Black American communities than in whites (I suggest a conversation with Ida B. Wells Barnett's grandson NYU professor Troy Duster for further explication, while Robin D.G. Kelley breaks down class on The Continent extremely well). Pullman porters serve as an obvious example. Obviously, legally prohibited from fully exercising our rights and professional aspirations the constitution of Black American upper, middle, lower middle, etc. classes differed from the constitution of whites. Bougie does not denote the Black upper class and Blacks do have an upper class and the Black rich are not necessarily the Black upper class (Very Important Point!) Lawrence Otis Graham's Our Kind of People is masturbatory trip but is necessary reading for anyone wishing to further delve into the area (Joseph Wilson and Adelaide Cromwell have important works on the subject). There are old Black families of repute and/or money. Just cause you don't know who they are doesn't mean they don't exist (or haven't existed throughout the Black American experience on this continent. Again, Robin D.G. Kelley breaks down class among enslaved unfree African labor on the plantations. In fact as a final project in his class at NYU I developed a syllabus and annotated bibligography for a course on gendered class experiences in African American History). The term bougie is an epithet/perjorative (like "groupie", another area of interest for me) and was wielded (although not exclusively as such) even before E. Franklin Frazier's indictment of these middle class supposed posers/strivers. Bougie is everybody's favorite word these days. And I don't pretend to be an expert but I know more than most of the people who throw around terms yet lack any understanding of what class looks like in Black America.
"I'm from Maine. My Dad's an optician. I'm not that angry."
-Calvin Habbitt (Deon Richmond), NBC's "Teachers"
So I'm watching the NBC sitcom "Teachers" ('cause it follows Scrubs) on the airplane home from Seattle and Deon "Bud" Richmond who is always impressive, delivered the above line which was likely penned by a White writer (still there are virtually no Black TV writers and most of them write for UPN) but even if it was not it demonstrates that Black rage has been deviously recast along really simple class lines in the contemporary conversation. It's been a minute since Ellis Cose put out Rage of a Privileged Class but there seemed to be an acceptance of the Ellisonian boomerang-upside-the-head-element ("Keep a helmet handy") of being Black in a mostly White white-collar world yet now Black anger is supposedly the exclusive domain of the poor? This suggests that class mitigates the experience of race thus inhibiting Black middle and/or upper class anger. This, of course, if false. White supremacist capitalist patriarchy (i see you bell) is an equal opportunity offender.

Guilt to Go Around, the panel I was on at last weekend's EMP Pop Conference brought it altogether. I followed Joshua Alston's INCREDIBLE paper (dude has an incisive comedic voice) and as I was listening I couldn't help but think how much our papers were rooted in particular Black class experiences. They were synergistic in more prominent regards but class is what stuck with me. And Daphne Brooks raised the issue of this unacknowledged suburban Black experience in response to a comment by Jody Rosen who was part of a really extraordinary panel on Black Composers. Of course, I talked about class for my EMP talk last year as well. It's funny; I don't like to be predictable so I was kinda writhing--ala Terry Mac at the SPL back when--on the panel as I waited my turn to read, thinking "Is this all I have to talk about?" (i'm sort of embarassed cause I know better -I swear I have home training- than to squirm and twist in my seat but I'll give myself a break this one time). This might be a larger problem for me; this unwillingness to focus on an interest that presents itself as a growing area of expertise. I digress. Our experience (Blacks) of class are so varied. And I have witnessed a lot of the spectrum but I'm still trying to figure it out especially as how it relates to being cosmopolitan. Daphne Brooks, for one, has more to say on the matter and I'm anxious to hear her take as I continue to develop my thoughts on the matter.

I'll save my own class testimony for a different venue. (Aside: blogging is distracting)

But back to the Guilt... panel:

+Eric Lott wins the award for "best panel moderation" (and "best hair") with the following session ending comment:
"I have some drinking to do."
+And the aforementioned Dr. Brooks had the session's best (preface to a) comment :
"I love you Jody Rosen.."

*of course ("of course" is the new per se, as it were, word to Safire) underclass is itself an epithet/perjorative