Thursday, March 31, 2005

How About a Tomahawk to the Face, huh?

What's wrong with this picture? Well, first off, Native Americans don't smile. Second, they don't wear feathers; they wear pillows so they don't break their skulls when they pass out drunk. That's probably not funny actually. The conversation over representations of Native Americans in collegiate and professional sports made headlines today. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

The team symbol with the shortest drive to St. Louis won't make the trip, "Chief Illiniwek" will stay home at the University of Illinois.

It does amaze me that these Native American caricatures still exist in American sports. Chief Illiniwek in particular dates back to 1928. Supporters of the chief say he is a tribute to Native American heroism. Surely American settlers were impressed in the way Sioux Plains Indians fought valiantly with bows and arrows while Custer and such hurled smallpox, but something like the name "Redskin" - a deragatory term created by whites - is a moniker that no one can take pride in.

What amazes me more is a Sports Illustrated poll from 2002 which found that 83% of Native Americans did not mind the use of Indian symbols in professional sports. How do you explain this? With no proper education on reservations and a departure from oral traditions, it is scary to think that a people are losing touch with their core values.

Schools like the U of Minnesota refuse to play out-of-conference teams with Native American mascots; Portland's Oregonian decided not to print the names of such teams in its paper; and I won't even pay when I lose money at the Indian casino. It seems that the schools which sit on the largest Indian graveyards (Illinois, Michigan, Ohio) are the most inclined to have an Indian mascot. A true tribute to this people would be to divert recruiters from inner-city areas - like South Chicago and Detroit (which are no doubt in need too) - to reservations which are ultimately the most desperate.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Pay for Music?!? Get Off it Old Man

While Terry Schiavo ballhogs this week's headlines there is apparently a much more exciting case heating up at the Supreme Court. What's more exciting than a woman who hasn't spoken or moved for fifteen years you ask? The case is MGM v. Grokster (a P2P file-sharing application). At the heart of this battle is the question of whether production companies and labels can sue software companies that provide illegal downloading services. Editors at WaPo sided with the record companies this week:

But Grokster and StreamCast are not simply technologies that can be used for good or ill; they are technologies that were designed and marketed precisely so as to facilitate theft.

Matthew Yglesias both here and here provides such much needed rationality on the issue (reader must note I only deem it "rational" because it is an opinion that will further my abilities to steal music). Yglesias writes:

What’s at stake here is not just the future of a few companies but the future of innovation itself, both technological and artistic.

Yglesias argues that just because a technology is capable of illegalities does not mean it should be banned (see: VCR). My roomate was commenting the other day on how amazing it is that there are all these softwares available that are being produced by kids in basements. We need to nurture technological innovation. There is no doubt that P2P file-sharing can find a legitimate niche, as well it provides a forum for unsigned artists do distribute music. The only feasible resolution I can foresee is that the music industry needs to conform to the modern internet-media marketplace. When Napster first came out I thought it would force disrtibutors to lower the price of CDs and force bands to go on tour more often. While neither seems to be true I would still pay $17.99 for a Genesis reunion album.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

East and West Agree: McDonald's is Easier Said than Eaten

From an article in this weeks Advertising Age (I had to get a membership so read it):

Hip-hop artists have plugged in virtually every high-end brand from Cartier to Versace into their song lyrics. But now the Big Mac is about to get name dropped.

It seems McDonald's knows a thing or two or three or everything about exploiting youth and black culture with their plans to employ the Maryland based Maven Strategies and put Big Mac references into rap songs. Maven and McDonald's will approach rap's biggest names with an offer of $5 for every time their mention of Big Macs in a song gets played on the radio. Think that your homey 50 Cent is above this whoring, think again.

Last year Maven offered rappers a similar package to include Seagram's Gin in their grimiest hip-hop singles. Remember Petey Pablo's "Freek-a-leek," or at least the girl with huge tits in the video: "Now I want to give a shout out to Seagram's Gin/Cause I'm drinkin' it and they payin' me." Seagram's also paid off the likes of Kanye West who was the winner of American Brandstand's dubious award for having the most product placement on one album.

Let's prop our ears up this summer to see which hip-hop icon/marketing slut gives into this greasy McMoney venture. Me thinks that this article gives somewhat of an explanation to the lyric on the new Fitty song: "I got niggas all around me watching my back/So now I don't leave the crib without a Big Mac/McDonald's is the shit you bitchass faggot mothafuckas/I'm still Lovin' It Irv Gotti you fat biatch."

Monday, March 28, 2005

Yellow Fever

I like the Simpsons a lot, no doubt. I don't like them enought to watch every fucking syndicated repeat every night like my roomate Joel, but nonetheless I enjoy the Simpsons. For this reason it came as a shock to me that there appears to be a debate in the blogosphere about the supposed "decline of the Simpsons."

Jumping the Shark - a website dedicated to tracking the decline of sitcoms - is the place for quantitative analysis of the show's peak and decline. The website offers a poll where nerds can vote on when they think the show peaked. The top moments/reasons include: Homer getting too stupid (1), the death of Maude Flanders (2), Conan O'Brien leaving the show (7) and Phil Hartman dying (8).

Both Pandagon and Norbizness offer quasi-interesting takes on the data, but I offer the best...always. The Simpsons began with Bart Simpson as the main character - a renegade fourth grader who fourth graders could watch. As we grew the Simpsons grew and now the show's appeal is no longer for a elementary school crowd. This change in audience has allowed the show to change frequently and has kept it running for this however many year stretch. But its ass may be dragging.

The decline is parodied by the South Park episode in which Cartman can't think of a new Simpsons episode, they have all already been used. And its true. What I predict we will see from this tired staff are two trends: 1) More celebrities. Our culture loves them, I want to bang them and they take over the plot of a show. Easy writing and not very funny. 2) More current events. That is why there's that show that has been running for like a hundred years. What's it called again...oh yeah, the news. By talking current events there is always something new and controversial. It is a cop-out that Simpsons writers have been employing lately and that South Park has already mastered. Don't worry though because Aqua Teen Hunger Force will never decline, because I am always high.

Monday, March 21, 2005

New-er Ways to Make Love to Your I-Pod

UPDATE: Whether you read the post below or not do not concern yourself for it has been proven obsolete via Sloan. Technology now mixes with media democracy resulting in you (the consumer) getting access to any sweet tunes you want to listen to during your spinning class. The techno-socialists at Learning the Lessons of Nixon offer a simple and heady video about the newest revolution in stealing music: Podcasting. Learn the word and watch the video I think this is going to be big. REVIEW COMING SOON

From the good people at Mod Gods comes a genuinely cool new application for I-Pod owners/losers. These techno-geeks prove that necessity is the mother of invention as we have long yearned for a way to directly gain access to our friends and lovers I-Pods. Althought the process is far too complicated for my own comprehension I advise those with the technical savvy (nerds) to bare your souls and open up to one another with P2P MP3 sharing - the only downfall of course is that you actually have to see and smell the social recluse you are cohorting to steal music with unlike the comfortable anonymity of LimeWire.

Anal Sex and College Budgets

AP stringers in SoCal picked up on this story from the Pierce College Roundup:

An adult cable television network paid Pierce College $5,000 to use its baseball field for a racy promotional video

The network was Spice, and the video apparently was a heated battle between shirts and skins in which there are many funny jokes to be made about pitching and catching. Nonetheless, campus prudes and women protested the video's racy nature. From the LA Daily News:

Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, said the shoot was a ``grossly inappropriate use of a public facility.''``Is this taxpayer bonds for bondage? It sends the wrong message to college students. I'm as strong a defender of the First Amendment as anybody else, but that's not what this is about.''

Decency issues aside, I heard the game wasn't even that close. People reading this story should think less about money-shots and more about how California schools are being forced to whore themselves out to stay in business and provide educational services.

Blogging for Love

If you are the are the super-hot 29-year-old woman that I made out with on my birthday in that club in Savannah please give me a call. I know I am only 22, but I have a blog.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Playstation Bracketology

Joel tries to look through the TV Posted by Hello

Selection Sunday begins the long and annoying process of inquiring about so-called expert opinions to gain the special insight that may help you win your bracket. Analysis and over-analysis ensues. Jim Nantz and Greg Gumbel ponder a possible matchup between #2 seed UCONN and #3 Kansas. Gumbel proves particularly savvy on this topic: “What if UCONN did play Kansas Jim?” Indeed Greg. What if? Can I get into Newhouse Communications school now too?

So Gumbel and Nantz prove to be a dry well in making my Final Four picks.

Chris Compton and Joel Ross argue over who’s idea it was first. “I saw somebody do this on ESPN or something and it was cool,” declares Compton.
“No, I was watching CBS and they were making picks and then I thought of it.”

The proposed idea: Play out the results of this year’s NCAA B-ball tourney on EA Sports March Madness 2005 as a means of predicting who will win this year — an idea worth arguing or possibly even dying for.

I am sitting at my computer applying for jobs when Joel pitches his idea for me to cover this tournament of champions for the website — then he makes fun of the way I say tournament (tour-na-ment). It is obvious he is stoned and it is obvious I am not going to get a job so I decide to join in on this waste of a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

For the next hour Chris and Joel smoke weed, watch a new Simpsons episode and manually enter all 64 teams into a blank bracket in the game.

The process is somewhat tedious. And by tedious I mean that this is already shaping up to be a bigger waste of time then I had ever expected. Chris reads off each team and then Joel flips through the hundreds of possible NCAA teams and enters it into the blank space and then Chris informs him he did it wrong and then he looks a little bit more and makes the right selection and waits for Chris’ approval and then they repeat the process…63 times.

After all the teams are entered the fun can begin, but at this point I am already having too much fun and decide to read a dictionary to calm myself down. Each roommate and one pledge that is living with us get to pick two teams that they can play with during the tournament:

Joel: Oklahoma and Illinois
Compton: Kansas and Wake Forest
Me: UConn and Arizona
Pledge: University of Louisiana-Lafayette

All the work entering the teams into the bracket is about to pay off. All games are to be simulated except games involving any of the aforementioned teams. Joel hits the start button and awaits the unbelievable prospect of fun that will be inevitably derived from playing ten consecutive hours of Playstation.

But the wide-eyed sprites are immediately confronted by horror, disappointment and trepidation and confusion and probably a general sense of worthlessness. It seems the computer will not allow anyone to actually play the game unless it is a pairing of the seven select teams. In the mean time the screen scrolls the results of simulated games, I try and record them as fast as I can and then realize that I am feverishly recording fake results of video game simulated basketball for the purpose of making real-life predictions for my bracket which I am going to bet actual money on.

Since new results come in every second, reactions to the results can only last for the one instant the score is on the screen, then it is a different reaction to a new result. “Yess…No…Shit Kansas really…Fuck c’mon Zona…Damn…This isn’t what I expected.” What Chris and Joel await now is a result that would pit their teams against each other giving them a chance to actually play the video game they rented earlier today.

Their final chance to salvage anything from the situation presents itself in the form of a potential Final Four match up between Joel’s Illinois and Chris’ Wake. All that needs to happen is for Illinois to beat UNC. Illinois then loses to UNC. Joel picks up the television and says he is “going to through it out the fucking window,” and then puts it down and makes the pledge get him a Gatorade because he is tired from picking up the television so much.

“I am really mad,” said Compton of ever having tried to attempt such an ambitious project. Nonetheless, we forget that the purpose of the exercise was to predict this year’s tournament winners. So without further ado…your Final Four results:


The Final Four will be: Wake Forest, UNC, Arizona and the surprise of the tourney Michigan State.

The final: UNC 91 Wake 83

Read and laugh as your friends vainly try and fill out their brackets and then think in your head, “These fools have no idea about this thing I read on the internet,” and then laugh out loud but don’t tell them what you are laughing about.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Why Does He Even Wear Question Marks?

Posted by Hello
OK, so the guy looks like and asshole and the commercial I saw last night had him posing outside the White House with his buddy who was dressed up as a computer with arms and legs. But get this, he was born with a name. What is even weirder is that his name is Matthew Lesko, and he has been a political renegade and jammer for the last fifteen years. Before he ever launched his new “?” fashion line, the WaPo in 1992 reported on a crazy guy who sent 14 jars of chicken innards to Senators who supported a Bush tax cut. In ’93 he released a collection of public documents that revealed Ross Perot’s company had forced Jewish employees to shave. In 96’ the guy released research that discovered that 50% more Republicans cheat their taxes than Democrats. Now, in between infomercials and cocaine, Lesko can be found lecturing Iraq War vets on how to save a few bucks. But Lesko’s antics and overt objections to the current administration’s tax histories have found him in hot water across the country. Last month The New York State Consumer Protection Board accused his books of being fraudulent amidst new releases from the Question on the bankruptcy overhaul bill that recently passed in Congress. Think what you want about Lesko but don’t think too much about him because he is fucking crazy.
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