Wednesday, May 30, 2007

say it ain't so.

So the hot topic today seems to center on Kobe Bryant demanding to be traded from the Lakers because he says that the team has not done enough to build the “contender” that they promised when he re-signed three years ago. He also wants the “insider” who blamed Kobe for Shaq’s trade to be released from the club.

Newsflash, Kobe: the entire world blames you for Shaq’s trade. No one is that upset, though: Shaq has played in only 99 games in the past three years and is due $60 million over the next three years. Perhaps you should take credit for it, because it was a brilliant move.
Kobe has to realize that his huge, league maximum salary prevents the Lakers from building a great team around him. Anyone that knows me that I’m a Laker through and through and that I bleed purple and gold; they should also know that this team needs to be restructured around Kobe.

I believe that Kobe’s call for a trade really is just a big game of chicken--he wants the club to flinch, and I believe that they will do so. Bynum and Odom have to go if the Lakers want any sort of marquee player to come in--and if the Timberwolves want Kwame’s expiring contract in order to make the deal for KG happen, I’m all for it.

I’m also a huge Kobe fan (and, probably, a Kobe apologist--though let me say this: people need to stop with the “Kobe is a rapist” crap. He was not found guilty, so stop saying he is. People then go on to say “but he did have sex with her”--yes, he did, and he admitted that right away), so it pains me to hear that Kobe wants out. I have been a Laker fan forever--but I would follow Kobe’s new team more more heavily than the Lakers if he joined the Bulls...or, the Wizards (there have been talks of having him traded for Gilbert Arenas). I came to really love the Bulls this past season, especially during their postseason run this year. I guess I wouldn’t mind if Kobe was traded for Ben Wallace, Tyrus Thomas, Luol Deng, Noc, Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon, but, well, I don’t think the salaries match up or that Chicago would be willing to ship off half of their team (and 4/5 of their starters at that).

Where does Kobe expect to go? The only teams that can afford him are teams about equal to the Lakers (in the standings). The Rockets are a maybe--but I don’t think they’re that much better than the Lakers. Kobe could join the Mavs, but how good would they be if they had to give up Dirk and Jason Terry in order for that to happen? Same thing for the Suns (give up Amare and Shawn Marion).

Maybe, just maybe, the Lakers could convince Golden State to give up Baron Davis for Odom, Bynum, Brown and, perhaps, the Lakers’ first round pick this year. But Baron is that team--he’d probably be more tough to get than KG, though the Lakers do need a ballhandler (though the Lakers do need rebounders if they trade away those three, which makes KG a more safe buy). Kobe has said Baron would like to play with him in LA...we’ll see.

Ultimately, I hope Kobe does not get the trade he asks for, even if he says that he would rather “play on Pluto” than LA next year. Lately, I’ve been noticing that I’ve been growing up (jobs, flat tires, taxes) and I would hate to see my childhood love of the Lakers be extinguished because my favorite player moved to a team that I like watching just as much as I like watching the Lakers (the Bulls). Regardless, the Lakers are in for a very interesting off-season.
Honestly, though, can anyone see Kobe in anything other than Laker purple-and-gold?

the sports guy has a good blog up about possible trades--and I'm getting sorta excited seeing some of these players in LA.

from the sports guy's blog:
Well, lemme throw this at you: What if the Suns then swapped Stoudemire to Minnesota for KG, as I proposed in a May 14 column
? That would give them the following crunch-time lineup: Nash, Kobe, Bell, Diaw and KG.

man. that is a crazy team...maybe the best team ever?

but i still love Kobe. he is still the best player in the NBA, and I'll be overwhelmingly sad to see him put on another (non-purple) uni. i hope it doesn't happen, and, in fact, am horrified that it's even being talked about.

--------

And how much of a revelation has Juan Pablo Angel been thus far? Clearly, he could still be playing in Europe. And how interesting is this talk of LA loaning out Becks to a European team after the MLS season is over? Becks could miss 4 of the last 18 games that LA has to play in the last eleven weeks of the season and could also miss the MLS Cup (if the Galaxy make it that far) because of England international duty (should he be called up). Will their $250 million investment really be paying off if he hardly plays for them?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

i apologize

i'm not dead--i've just been settling back in hawaii and helping sarah around town.

i started work today, so now that everything has calmed down, i expect to be updating a lot more (and not relying on bsto)

i've finished more playlists (does anyone even listen to these?) and have topics.

this is less of an entry than it is an "ok, i'm sorry, i'm back"

anyway.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Israel-Palestinian Conflict Comment

Here's the question:

Insofar as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a media war, meaning that the success of either side lays in their depiction in the media--whichever side is seen in a better light (usually whichever side is being MORE victimized at any particular time) is the "winning" side for that time--why would Israel decide that THIS of all times (while Hamas and Fatah are killing their own people in their own streets, making them look greedy, selfish, and barbarously violent) is a good time to go into the West Bank on some huge operation?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

An Article, A Reaction

Here is an article sent to me by a friend who goes to Stanford. It discusses our generation's supposed malaise towards the War.

I blame today's politicians largely for our malaise. They have failed time and again to provide sufficient motivation for our generation to be involved with or care about politics and world issues. They squabble big game only to pussyfoot their way around the capitol making deals to get their bills through (just look at how the dems have crumbled in the Iraq funding--the entire reason they got elected was to fix the war and they have completely lied down). Why should we get involved in that traffic jam of ethics, personal aspirations/agendas, and barb-wired international policy?

The days of Kennedy’s challenge to the people--"ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country"--have been replaced by our representatives whose forms of political ground-scraping rely on blame ("you don't love the country enough") and manipulation ("aren't you scared of the alternatives?"). The fact that the war in Iraq has been compartmentalized, hijacked, and clich├ęd by so many different politicians--be they hardcore patriots, raging liberals, budget designers, environmental activists, whatever--has meant that any reason to be excited or optimistic about our presence in Iraq is immediately squashed by a million more reasons to be cynical. Worse, it has become so tiresome that it has led to an isolationist mindset in our generation and others.

Lincoln rallied public support for the civil war by placing it under the banner of liberty! FDR overturned post-depression isolationism into the provision of arms and assistance to the allies that eventually saved this country from depression! Even Reagan should be acknowledged for the way he at least tried--via (maybe bogus) economic reform and optimistic rhetoric--to fix the terrible malaise in the 1970s brought about by oil prices and stagflation!

You show me a politician who can galvanize and crystallize the energy of a generation and I’ll show you a conscientious country concerned with the world, ever eager to contribute to its improvement.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Big Tom Swisher

The following is PART 1 of the first of (hopefully) three serialized life-stories of American politicians.

Thomas Jonathon Swisher was born just outside of St. Louis, on the Missouri side. His father worked for a shipping firm, working his way from loading docks to driver seats to windowed offices—where he made enough to move his family outside the city.

Thomas the senior’s ascent was due not to any innate talent (not that any such talent was on display in his business), and certainly not because of happenstance networking or hereditary title (he could hardly speak English when he started), but because of fastidiousness, loyalty, and perseverance.

Tom Swisher was proud of his father and forever fond of saying that his father had taught him everything he knew. But in truth Big Tom Swisher learned more from his mother—even if he wouldn’t admit it.

Mrs. Swisher raised Big Tom during those 48 or more hour blocks when her husband was on the road. She was able to keep Big Tom from the other second generation children whose parents she considered shallow and narrow-minded. She refused to succumb to the immigrant mindset that money provides safety, showing Big Tom instead that true safety comes from respect.

Every night before he went to bed she told him stories of figures like Jesus, Harriet Tubman, and Gandhi, showing how nothing is as strong as gentleness. She taught him how to use the biggest knife to peel potatoes without skinning too much of the good stuff, showing how nothing is as gentle as strength. And when Tom senior would leave and Tom would get sad, she would tell him how his father stayed out of the guys' controversial labor conversations, how he purposefully never laughed at the racial jokes, and how these abstentions helped give him the respect of his peers and his bosses. She would tell him his father's respect for those around him had led to another promotion.

As a result he was never drawn towards any "cool" or particular ethnic group of peers, he never hesitated to help when his mother came home with groceries, and he never responded “What?” or “Huh?” but “Yes mother” when she called for him.

The social reverberations of this reverent training were astounding. He was the class favorite from 1st grade forward and even though the other parents in his building were never too fond of the condescending Mrs. Swisher Big Tom found it impossible to pass by an open door without being offered a chocolate.

What is most interesting about the favoritism he received—not just from neighbors but also from teachers and, later, bosses as well—is the absence of jealousy in his peers which one would expect. And further, the respect he received did not come from awe towards his merits. He was not a straight A student, he was not the best athlete, and his sense of humor produced only giggles at best.

The bottom line is that other children loved him because they felt he treated them like a family member. He showed the same ornamental politeness to all his classmates, regardless of race or clique and he was able to placate even much older bullies with simple chit-chat. They appreciated his forwardness and the way he looked them in the eye when he smiled. I suppose this is the trait the media would later label “charisma” when in truth it was simply the pure outgoing respect that his mother had instilled in him.

Although his father was always nervous that his son had no particular skill—he was truly average in just about every subject—his family somehow just knew that success would find Big Tom, who in the summer before 9th grade hit a massive growth spurt and awkwardly towered above the rest of his class like a gentle giant, causing everyone around him to call him by the nickname the whole country would eventually learn to love.

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Jewish People

The Jewish people have nowhere else to go.
"We MUST fight these wars,
We MUST think of our children:
Diaspora is barren and Israel is our home.”

Saturday, May 12, 2007

jj records, volume II

You all asked for it, so here it is...

JJ Records Volume II (The Re-Up!)

(ok, well, nobody really asked for it, but here it is anyway)

Tracklist:
Ratatat "Seventeen Years"
MF Doom "Rapp Snitch Knishes"
Clipse "Mr. Me Too (z.a.k. remix)"
RJD2 "Exotic Talk"
I Self Divine "All I Know"
Jay-Z "Dead Presidents"
Nas "One Mic"
Prefuse 73 "Vikings Invade the Mediterranean"
Common "The Light"
Jay-Z "Lucifer"
KRS-One, Nas, Kanye West and Rakim "Classic (Better than I've Ever Been) (DJ Premier Remix)"
Gorillaz "Dirty Harry"
Gnarls Barkley "Smiley Faces"
Erykah Badu "...& On"
DJ Shadow "Fixed Income"

Some notes:
This one was done for Kickballers as well. Mostly Jheezy, with Magnanamous doing "consulting work" (mostly telling me to stop being so lazy and fix the levels).

"The Light" was not produced by Kanye, even if it sounds like it was (it was, in fact, Jay Dilla). "Lucifer" may sound like it was produced by Kanye, because, in fact, it was.

Same deal--megaupload. You don't need an unzipper, because it is all one file (if the page redirects to an advert, just look up in the right corner of the browser screen--it should say skip to download). I am putting the ambient soundtrack together as one file so that it will be accessible to all, though I don't know when it will be done.

And JJ is almost empty--just bsto and I left...in case anyone was wondering.


Wednesday, May 9, 2007

hawaii no ka oi (at least if you're born theret)

It happens pretty often that I have to retract a statement. The latest statement, though, is one I'm sad that I have to take back.

On Hawaii's most popular morning talk show, a state senator was said to be dishonest because of his "blue eyes" and the fact that he was from California, even if he graduated from Roosevelt High School and has been a resident of Hawaii for 37 years.

I tried to convince someone that pidgin was not indicative of anything in Hawaii--not of ignorance, of lack of education or of racial tensions. I said that these racial tension is not a huge problem in Hawaii-- I may have to take that back.

Larry Price, the xenophobic racist who made the comments, is held in semi high regard in the state--he was once the football coach at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and as long as you aren't Fred vonAppen, who led the team to the longest losing streak in the college football history, people generally like you.

Gary Hooser, the state senator, asked if it mattered if he was born somewhere else. Price responded:

"Yes, to us it does. Because when local people hear somebody from the mainland talk about how honest everything is, that means that something's wrong. You know when they say 'frankly' or 'Honestly, we did a lot of things,' you know, and stuff like that, that sounds suspicious."

This man has a Ph.D and teaches a class at HPU about human resources, and, on the radio, he exposed that he is a racist.

Until just a few days ago, Price refused to apologize, leaving it up to the station to do so. When he finally did apologize on air, his co-host, Michael W. Perry, was shocked, saying that he shouldn't have apologized because people made too big a deal out of what was said.

Perry, by the way, is not only "white", but:
"He was born in Michigan, but grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, working in the Pentagon and in the office of John Gardner, then U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare. In 1969, Perry received his B.S. in Psychology from Michigan State University, then served as a Navy Lieutenant in the Pacific Submarine Force."


Essentially, he has spent less time in Hawaii than Hooser, but he does not feel that his co-hosts remarks about people not born in Hawaii being dishonest is not offensive in the least. Has Perry decided that he was born in the Islands, and, in fact, not in Michigan.

Mind you, the Bio I quoted was from the Hawaiian Moving Company's website--Perry hosts "The Hawaiian Moving Co", which looks at quirky events and interesting people throughout Hawaii. If people not born in Hawaii are dishonest, according to Price, why should his co-host Perry be allowed to host the show? What does he know about Hawaii? Why should we possibly care what he has to say?

Ridiculous, isn't it? Perry should have seen it as a knock against himself as well, but he did not.

Larry Price often makes off-handed comments, and there never seems to be any second thought about it. I'm glad that he is under scrutiny now, because one cannot just make bold statements about integrity and honesty based on race. His co-host of 24 years has similar circumstances to the man he called dishonest--what the hell is he thinking (I ask this of both Perry and Price).

The fact that Perry said that Price should not have apologized not only takes away sincerity, but also shows that Perry is trying to deny the fact that his co-host is a racist...Perry is trying to downplay the words of his co-host because he does not want to think that his co-host thinks the same of him, because he is not "from Hawaii"

Lee Cataluna tried to downplay the racism in Hawaii after it was revealed that a Hawaiian man and his son beat up a white man and his girlfriend, all the while calling them "haoles", a term that can be seen as mildly derogatory in Hawaii (meaning whites/outsiders).


She may have to take that back: when an institution of Hawaii calls a man dishonest simply because he is not from the Islands, we have a problem, and it's time that we stop brushing it under the rug. We tell ourselves that we don't have racism problems and that it's impossible for their to be racial tension because we are such a diverse state. It hasn't disappeared--it's just all subtle and subconscious at this point, which might be worse than having it in the open, because it's an issue that no one even admits exists and is also one that is so deeply ingrained that it may be possible to get out.


Hawaii has a problem, and the media has to stop glossing over it.

These columnists are racist the worst kind of apologists--the ones who say "it exists, deal with it" instead of "let's fix it", and, frankly, I'm embarrassed and appalled.


--------------

Speaking of unapologetic racists (here's looking at you, Shinzo Abe), Japan has a problem with poor teenagers: they're living at Internet Cafes.



Sunday, May 6, 2007

Sing your life - any fool can think of words that rhyme

SOUNDTRACK

1. OPENING CREDITS: The Jungle Book - Bare Necessities
2. WAKING UP SCENE: The Beatles - Here Comes The Sun
3. AVERAGE DAY: Cibo Matto - Working For Vacation
4. FIRST DATE: Animal Collective - Purple Bottle
5. FALLING IN LOVE: Goldfrapp - Fly Me Away
6. LOVE SCENE: The Cure - Mint Car
7. SEX SCENE: G-Unit - Wanna Get To Know You
8. HEARTBREAK: Wilco - I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
9. BREAK UP: Weezer - Butterfly
10. LESSON LEARNING: The Flaming Lips - Fight Test
11. LIFE'S OKAY: Otis Redding - Sitting By The Dock Of The Bay
12. FLASHBACK: The Smiths - Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
13. PARTY SCENE: The Doors - Touch Me
14. REGRET SCENE: The Kinks - Sitting By The Riverside
15. SLOW DANCE: Al Green - Let's Stay Together
16. HAPPY DANCE: Ella Fitzgerald - Sing Me A Swing Song
17. LONG NIGHT ALONE: The Zombies - Care of Cell 44
18. GOODBYE: Yo La Tengo - I Feel Like Going Home
19. CLOSING CREDITS: !!! - Me And Giuliani Down By The School Yard (A True Story)



The thing about having a million+ GB ipod is that there is not much choice involved. Sure, you may have to oust a couple of albums that you've never listened to, but for the most part, you have all of the music you could want to listen to. When my (first) iPod broke, I turned back to creating mix CD's (an art I had began practicing at 14 when I made my first mixtape featuring 9th grade bands like Finch and No Use for a Name). Mix CD's on the contrary are entirely about choice and thus either intentionally or intrinsically involve themes. Why are you listening to so much Built to Spill and Chet Baker and Buddy Holly? Why are you in a Motown/bluegrass/hip hop phase?

I just recently got a Nano which holds only 1GB of music--nothing. So I've had to narrow down my entire library to just 1GB, and only carry around ONE album from The Smiths. While in Washington DC, I've mostly opted to keep either Metro-friendly, "I hate work" music or dance-y electronic/hip hop for the gym. Sure, I am disappointed when I have the random urge to listen to a particular song that's in my Itunes library but not on my iPod, but it's exciting to decide which lucky songs make the cut.

This playlist obviously follows a very particular format, which I stole from a Myspace bulletin. Believe it or not, filling this out is a great indicator of you, right now. You don't believe me? "Happy dance" eight years ago was probably The Venga Boys - We Like to Party at your middle school dance (don't lie). Happy dance in eight years in the future may be your wedding song. Especially with our generation, music lines up with personal preferences, moods, trends, and experiences.


Download my playlist. Analyze my preferences, moods, trends and experiences? Maybe not. Enjoy good music? Definitely.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Soccer v Basketball (with hella youtube clips)

[of course i thought the goal was sweet. i like soccer, or at least soccer highlights. a well set-up soccer goal is obviously a beautiful thing, but so is a well orchestrated fast break or pick and roll or give and go in basketball (especially if steve nash is involved). the aesthetic quality of those plays may be somewhat diluted because they occur more frequently than soccer goals, but that does not make them any less beautiful individually. take a look at this clip of jason williams highlights. those plays are as pretty as anything done on a soccer field (they have the same qualities: speed, coordination, vision and, above all, fluidity).

basically, my point is that a great soccer goal may be the best thing in sports, especially considering their important relative to the game. however, great basketball plays occur more frequently, making it more fun to watch in my opinion.]


Welcome to the Aesthetics of Sports Arena (ASA) round 1. Today's match up pits the featherweight soccer--aka football aka calcio aka the beautiful game--against the heavily favored basketball.

The verbal jabbing has already begun. Bball's strong left hook (in the form of Alberg's posted comment above) has been noted by the judges. bsto responds strongly:

First of all, basketball is inherently limited to such beautiful plays because of its most fundamental laws. Traveling, dribbling, etc. definitely handicaps a player's creative repertoire, although it would be foolish to deny that amazing tricks are possible.

Soccer, on the other hand, has no such limits except that you can't use your hands (which is only fair considering you can't use your feet in basketball). However, unlike basketball, soccer players can, if they so choose, balance the ball on the back of their necks and run all the way up the field--they may get clobbered on the way, but at least the option is there.

Secondly, any supply and demand argument refutes the argument that because nice plays happen in basketball more often it makes them more beautiful. Everyone knows that remarkable plays are memorable because they DON'T happen everyday.

Thirdly, and something you did not account for, is the size of the playing surface. Basketball courts are tiny compared to the vast pasture of a soccer pitch. More space means more isolation which means more one-on-ones, which means more opportunity for tricks and creativity. Also, because in soccer the ball does not necessarily have to be played directly to a teammate (it can be played ahead, behind, or even over one and still be a good pass) there is less stringency and, again, more creativity.

For example, although Jason Williams throws nasty alley oops and great lead passes, he can't ever play this ball because there's not enough space on the court. And even if he did, then his teammate goes to the basket and draws one of those SAD WEAK SORRY GARBAGE fouls that leads me to--

Fourthly, soccer goals (excluding free kicks) and beautiful plays occur in full flowing beauty, with the accompanying momentum, whereas basketball plays occur either in a halted half-court set or in a fast break. If its in a half-court set at least half the players aren't even moving and there's a whole bunch of nothing going on before the beautiful play. If it's in a fast break it lasts all of 3 seconds (and then there's a foul). Soccer beautiful plays happen all over the place at any given time, not necessarily at goal--they could even happen in defense...

Fifthly, basketball players are too big and fat to move in a manner that is even socially appropriate, let alone aesthetically pleasing. Look at Yao Ming, that guy is underwater. Compare that to tiny Maradona, whose teensy size gives him amazing balance and speed.

Lastly, I leave you loyal spectators with a video of soccer's And1 star (whose name I can't find). This cat is unbelievable. Forgive the music.

I guess, though, that we should leave the official results to the readers: who gets the nod? Soccer or Bball?

Friday, May 4, 2007

Iraq War, Further and Further

I rarely read the opinion section of newspapers—I hate being told what to think. Besides, in a Logic class last year we used to find all the logical fallacies in any random editorial. It’s actually pretty fascinating and a little disturbing to see how they manipulate arguments.

In any case, I DO look at the political cartoon near the editorials and saw this op-ed.

(Mind you, I don’t hold the same disregard for op-eds because it is often worth fighting through the factually ambiguity, etc. of those columns when they are written by significant enough figures.)

That article, written by Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari is informatively entitled “Don’t Abandon Us,” so you can guess what he wants. He describes a tableau of normalcy in Baghdad—traffic jams, police sirens, picnics—and beseeches the international community not to leave Iraq. He says Baghdadis are taking back their country and need our help.

Whoa whoa whoa, hold on.

He says that “there is too much at stake to risk failure, and everything to gain by helping us protect our hard-won democratic achievements and emerge as a stable, self-sustaining country,” (reminding me of my two entries arguing against the troop pullout: the comprehensive and the addendum.)

Wait just a minute.

He says “Spectacular attacks may dominate foreign headlines, but they cannot change the reality that Iraq has made steady political, economic and social progress over the past four years.”

What the hell…

I gave the article to our rampant liberal roommate Pat who read it through and had no vitriolic response. He said that it was well written. Then he said that you still can’t ignore the chaos and violence that’s tearing up our soldiers and the country.

Oh dear.

What the hell are the democrats doing, then? They’re contradicting the liberal internationalist position of providing aid to foreign countries! I mean, I guess we shouldn’t go into Sudan, then. I guess we shouldn’t help out other countries.

Here we are, stuck in a terrible war, sitting with an unbelievable opportunity in our lap. We keep messing Iraq up worse and worse while the potential therein has never waned. We can still help them create a functioning free society; we can still help control our image in the middle east by providing economic and other kinds of support and training; lastly, we can still win the fight against Al-Qaeda there and in so doing make the whole world a little safer.

But no, at this point the democrats are so set on removing troops from Iraq that they refuse to see the potential (unless it involves 2008). This is a ridiculous oversight and yet another example of the machination of politics overshadowing its utility in getting anything positive done.

And worse, there is a more disturbing story beneath that op-ed. How can we believe him? According to our news and our newspapers, Iraq is basically a minefield. We hear about bombings everyday and wonder whether there’s any neighborhood in Baghdad that has unshattered windows.

But Zebari tells us specifically NOT to let these stories affect our broader view of the situation, basically implying that if we let the terrorists control our perception, we’ve let the terrorists win.

Now listen. I am so sick of buzzwords killing arguments but I know that if I say “we can’t pullout because then we’ve let the terrorists win” I’m going to get stoned or dismembered or something. But think about the goal of the terrorists. Unlike past wars, they don’t care about killing as many SOLDIERS as possible, they’re war is against perception. They want to incite as much fear (TERROR) and panic and chaos and hopelessness in the society and in the newspapers to make the soldiers deem the situation unwinnable. So, literally, giving in to these perceptions and allowing ourselves to look over the rare positive article about Iraq IS giving up to the terrorists—it is in fact no different than allowing a political administration to shape the way we feel.

That’s right. Manipulative politics is non-violent terrorism.

In any case, we are left with precious little firm ground. We want peace. We want stability. We want free society. And we want these things with minimal loss of life and as quickly as possible. But, like our topmost generals themselves, we cannot know what the REAL situation is—we cannot know, then, the best possible way to go forward. What is there to do?

In the end, I side wholeheartedly with Zebari. There is simply too much at stake. We cannot pull out.

jj records, kobe and the newspaper.

First of all, download this new mix. It's all one MP3 file, so you won't need to unlock it or anything. Just download it and play it--good times. It's rap/hip hop/whatever, and I originally did it because I was asked to put together a mixtape by Kickballers in DC, so I did...and decided to share it here as well. Magnanamous (bsto) is also credited--it's the JJ Collective..haha. I did two mixes, so I'll put the first up now and get the second up in a bit. JJ Records is different from our film score, ambient department---just a heads up.

JJ Records Volume One

Tracklist:

Volume I
Jay-Z “The Prelude”
Common “The Food”
Gangstarr “Mass Appeal”
MF Doom “Raid”
Pharrell “Frontin’”
Kurtis Blow “The Breaks”
Air “La Femme d’Argent”
Latyrx “Lady Don’t Tek No”
Dead Prez “Hip Hop”
A Tribe Called Quest “Jazz”
Kidz in the Hall “Wheels Fall Off”
Blackstar “Respiration”
Grandmaster Flash “The Message”
Mos Def “What’s Beef?” (Magnanamous remix)
Felt (Murs and Slug) “Early Mornin’ Tony”
Gorillaz “Rock the House”
Aesop Rock “Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives”
The Pharcyde “Passin’ Me By”
Prefuse 73 “One Word Extinguisher”

The Magnanamos (no, I'm not a bad speller--he spells it that way) remix is an exclusive JJ Records track..haha. I personally like the second mix a bit more, but I think it's just because this one has songs that I've heard so many times. Download it! Tell us what you think!
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ESPN has all this crap about how Kobe needs this and that and how Kobe is going to leave if they don't get marquee players. I can't believe that--Kobe knows damn well he could have joined any other team when he re-signed a few years back. Some have said that the Clippers would have been a championship contender this year if Kobe would have signed with them.

The fact of the matter is that the only teams that could afford Kobe are the ones who wouldn't contend. Why would Kobe leave a team like the Lakers for a team like the Grizzlies? Yeah, I don't know either.

Kobe has a legacy with the Lakers--he knows that. He is showtime. The Staples Center has its lights turned down low during games--and the spectacle that is Kobe and Co come off as a show. Rightfully so--Kobe is the best player in the NBA right now and has been for the last few years. He will continue to be the best player for the next two or three years, and then, well, it's downhill.

He knows that he's the best player in the league, and, accordingly, he knows no one can afford him other than non-contenders. He won't leave LA for Seattle, Portland, Memphis, New Orleans or Charlotte--all teams that could afford him. Where's the only other city that anyone can see him in? Not Philadelphia, his hometown, where he is hated--no, it has to be New York City. Could anyone turn down seeing America's best player in America's most famous arena?

With all this being said, I don't know how much having another star would help Kobe. Jason Kidd could get Kobe the rock, but could he be the second scorer that the Lakers so desperately need (mind you, the Lakers would have to give up Odom for any of these stars--thus, any star coming in would have to become the team's second scorer)?

The Nuggets have two HUGE stars (well, one's not very tall) and they bombed out of the play-offs just as badly as the Lakers did. It appears that it's all about one star, backed by solid role players--Baron Davis and the Yay Area Warriors, anyone? And, does anyone remember how stacked the Lakers were when they had Kobe, Shaq, Gary Payton and Karl Malone? And, do you remember how badly they got bombed in the finals by the Pistons--who really have a bunch of glorified role players (with MAYBE the exception of Rasheed Wallace)? OK, then.

Kevin Garnett and Kobe could be the most athletic duo the NBA has ever seen--and if the Lakers could pull this off, they should...at whatever cost. If Lamar has to go, Lamar has to go--and send Kwame's expiring contract with him. Team's have also wanted Andrew Bynum included in deals--which may be a sticky point to some, but not to me. Teams have been excelling lately without a huge force in the center. The Lakers undoubtedly think that Bynum will become the next Shaq--except that he won't feud with golden boy Kobe, because Bynum is a lot younger and thus has less baggage and will defer to Kobe. Bynum needs to put on a lot of weight in order to become the wrecking ball that Shaq was--and even if he does, how many years will he have before the enormous toil of extra weight takes his knees out (as it has to Shaq)?

Teams have been successful thus far without centers--the Warriors, the Wizards (earlier in the season, when they were cleaning up). The game is getting faster, so if the Lakers eschew size for extreme speed and athleticism, they'll be in a much better spot. Bynum may be a bust--I'd definitely trade him for KG if it meant that we'd win one next year.

Contrary to popular belief, Coach Phil Jackson is not going to be around forever. The time to trade for KG, Jason Kidd or Jermaine O'Neal is now. All three have been enthusiastic about possibly playing with Kobe--it's time to get the deal done, Mr. Kupchak. I'll be a Lakers fan forever, so I can wait--but Kobe and Kevin Garnett are getting old. What an amazing team that would be--regardless of who else was on the squad.


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I never pick up the newspaper on the top of the stack in the newspaper vending machine, because the one time I did, it was missing the sports section, and I never want to be without the sports section again.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

thinking, that's all.

it's crunch time at jj--i have a project every night this week..haha. i felt bad about writing, because sarah and ben have been keeping the collective alive. i thought i'd post some old work--i wrote this in 2003, during my first trip to japan. around this time last year, i had just started to listen to really bad jpop again...and a few weeks later, i was told that we were going to japan again--and i was glad, because the jpop had really gotten me in the mood. again, here i am, during finals, listening to bad jpop

(on an interesting side note--i have bought albums by the band capsule every visit i have taken to japan--i happen to arrive there when they put their albums out. i discovered them on some listening station, and last year, in tokyo, i found a new record again. the week i was there was the week that it had come out. i was sad to find out today that they just had a new record come out and i wasn't in japan to buy it.)

my computer has crashed a lot, and for some reason, i always post this on whatever journal site i'm using right away so that i don't lose it--i guess it's the most important personal thing that i've ever written, even though i've probably never admitted that until just now. it's not great, but i don't think that i've been personal enough with the blog, so...here is me. corny, cheesy and unedited--but definitely joshua masayoshi huff.

i noticed that i wrote "my olllddd cd player" on this--it was after my first ipod broke. the funny thing is...i still have that cd player. in college.

anyway, enough. here it is.
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it's winter. ok, to put it truthfully, its that awkward time when the trees have still got some autumn foliage, but there's already been some flurries and the squirrels are already hibernating.

i wander the streets of shidome alone. its 8 am, and the only place that's open is st. germain's. for some reason, all of japan gets up at 11(a bit ironic, no, if its the land of the rising sun? i guess they figure they've still got the world beat by a few hours)...the small coffee shop in the basement of the carietta mall is open, but..i got a mocha there once...i assumed they'd give it to me to go, because i had to get on a bus to hakone. but no. i got it in a mug, and i had no idea how to say "i want to take this out". so i had to toss it. my 1100 yen mocha. but not after it got the chance to burn my taste buds.

the makudonarudo's. it feels weird to say the name of the meal i want, "correctly", in english, and not have them get it. i don't want to say it katakana-y. ever.

there's something oddly romantic about the point in time where its cold enough to snow but the skies refuse to let go of their pure white payloads. everyone is walking a bit more briskly, and everyone's got cold hands that need to be held.

"she came home for christmas" is playing on my olllld cd player. my hair is still a bit wet and it smells like the kelp shampoo and sea moss conditioner that the hotel gives out in its bathrooms. a jacket i refused on bringing keeps me warm, and i silently thank my mum for packing it the night before i left, while i slept. i'm surrounded by signs proclaiming "welcome shidome x-mas '03! with ayu" and get excited.

then it hits me. i'm going home for christmas. and then, i remember, christmas isn't much in japan. it's a day for lovers. everything is, i guess. but i mean, what can a holiday about the birth of christ mean to a nation full of buddhists and shintos? presents and walks together, hand-in-hand, along the boardwalks of odaiba.

you know that feeling that there's this whole world, somewhere else, where no one speaks english? and things are going on, and it doesn't matter one way or another that you're there or not? life moves on and on and on and on. and i don't really like that. not one bit.

its like how they say "if its not news in new york, its not news. period". or like the way the washington post people said that "we just happen to be a local newspaper in the capitol of the free world".

its just a bit funny, if not totally disheartening, to know that half a world away, a whole country's economy is rising and falling and welcoming new celebrity stars and kicking out the old. civil wars are beginning and ending, and really...

it's just strange that so much happens, unbeknownst to us. and as much as i wish i was taking in my life somewhere else, somehow, i've ended up here. and i've always belonged here and i always will.

but, somewhere, someone is thinking the same thing as me and wondering and wondering and wondering. and some songs, like ayumi's "seasons" will give the feeling that there is life, full of minor enka scales, going on outside of his/her station.

you start to wonder, really, what is it all about? and of course its obvious that this is the same lame pretentious teenage thought that everyone has at one point, but there is a reason cliches are cliches. they're real. they're common. they're life

but really. in the end, i'll look up at the night sky and know that you saw the exact same thing that i did, even if we beheld the sight at different hours. at some point, we were captivated and moved and just stunned by the exact same thing.

and even that is quite funny. because, you know, most of those stars burnt out thousands and thousands of years ago, and we're only getting the signals, their warmth, now. it takes something ancient, something archaic, something that's gone... to really hold us all together, to feel the same way...to hold us in the same moment with one another.

when we say things are inevitable, obviously they're things that must be done and, i hate to say it, but they're usually things that we don't want to do. its not a welcoming word in the slightest. like..saying goodbye.

but you know, in the end, fate is real. there's a reason we do come across everyone we've ever met.