Thursday, August 31, 2006

I Used To Read Word Up! Magazine

The Internet and old age rendered SLAM magazine irrelevant to me half a decade ago, but yours truly was recently put on blast on their online -- too many prepositions! Can't compute! -- edition, which you can peep here, and which serves as vindication that

(the Internet sometimes takes notice of even the lowliest of talent)

people in positions of notable rank read my basketball ramblings.

Props to SLAM and Sam Rubenstein.

(While you're here, it's only right that I admit to biting NOIZE for my game logs, although, to take a cue from Jay-Z, I've always believed I'm paying homage more than anything else.)

Thinking of a Master Plan

The flag raising on Iwo Jima. Malcolm X holding an M1. Jessica Alba's nipple slip (Hello, Googlers!). Paul Newman on salad dressing bottles.

All of these iconic images kneel to the profundity of the 18th Letter, future President of the World and hip-hop, sports, music, and literary luminary.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Know Thine Enemy

Q: Why do vegetarians insist that their diet is so humane? Plants are living things too!

A: Plants do not have a nervous system and therefore do not feel pain. They also are not noted for their emotional responses. If you want to test this for yourself try the following...

The next time you are walking by a tree stick a pin in it and see if it yelps or makes any kind of protest (it doesn't have to be a tree for the puposes of this experiment...any other type of plant would do just as well).

Weak. Plants live, they have a lifespan -- and in fact they may be more spiritual than animals. Ever heard of photosynthesis? That's some far-out shit. Besides, I've never seen humans, dogs, or cows complement a work of art with their background the same way trees and leaves do.

The fact that plants don't have a brain exempts them from pity? Maybe the fact that bovines and canines lack adequate conversational skills and can't dribble a basketball fails to elicit a lack of pity from others. Ever think about that, lumberjacks?

Plants have souls. And they're killers just like us:

Think about that the next time you tuck into a veggie burger; for, unbeknownst to you, the consumer may quickly became the consume.

Better to get them before they get you.

Be ever vigilant, my veggie friends. Your chosen lifestyle is very risky.

Please, educate yourselves. Don't fall victim to the agricultural industry's evil scheme.

(Ripe for the picking, I'm sad to say.)

Tally Ho!

For Idealjetsam: Hold on. I'ma comin'.

For everyone else: potato salad in a sandwich is surprisingly tasty. Props, 7-Eleven.

Monday, August 28, 2006

2005-2006 NBA Champions - Miami Heat (DVD Review)

For a while now I've felt that something essential is missing from my life*. That gnawing feeling came to a head on Sunday when, hype to watch team USA team play Australia in the FIBA World Basketball Championship, I discovered that the game wasn't going to be broadcast on Korean television, nor would it be streamed on Stream TV. Shit ain't right.

And that's just sad. Say what you will about the FIBA tournament, but since basketball is the world's second most popular team sport (behind women's volleyball, I think), reason dictates that it should be a big deal. I dunno, maybe it's different in Spain or Argentina. Fucked if I know why, but the tourney is relegated to ESPN2 in the States, and Yahoo! doesn't even run live scores. has made most of the FIBA coverage available only on its paid-subscription service, Insider. Way to support your country, fellas. Way to also piss off a b-ball addict who, during these slow summer sports months, would probably sell his soul for a game, even if it is the Daydream Team vs. Australia.

I saw (on TV, mind you, because I'm a glutton for regret) Team USA play Lithuania and Korea in the warm-up World Basketball Challenge; and I'll admit, watching the L's biggest stars play in what appears to be a glorified high school tournament isn't very thrilling. But there's fucking pride at stake, man. The US has the best ball players in the world; doesn't it mean something to prove it, to reassert that fire, that dominance?

Ironically, I'll probably learn of Team USA's ultimate shame or glory from Yahoo!'s main page: if they're ousted, it's big news; if they win it all, it's bigger news. One thing will be the same, however, regardless of the outcome, and that's that casual sports fans the world over will say to themselves Hey, there was a World Basketball Championship this summer? Why didn't somebody tell me? FIBA has a long way to go before they gain the same level of attention as the FIFA World Cup. At this point it's like comparing the World Championship of Poker to a game of Go Fish played by two siblings in the back of their parents minivan en route to a family vacation at Disney World. And that's just sad (the FIBA Championship, I mean, not parents taking their kids to Disney World: the Happiest Place on Earth).

Lucky for me, the basketball and Amazon gods chose this day to deliver my 2005-2006 NBA Champions - Miami Heat DVD. It couldn't have arrived at a better time.

If you're not a fan of the Miami Heat

(may the Lord curse you with incontinence)

the disc may not be the morning sex of basketball fandom that it was for me; but for any true b-ball fanatic who can manage to put aside their biases and admire the Heat's historic season for what it was (proof that there is a God, and that He has a place reserved in the Kingdom of Heaven for Riles, Shaq, 'Zo, Flash, Antoine Walker, the New-Millenial Charles Oakley Udonis Haslem, James Posey, Jason "I only smoke a lot of grass, I don't shoot limo drivers" Williams, little Gary Payton as Toto, and the rest), there's a lot to love.

With such a remarkable season, the 2005-2006 Miami Heat truly rank as one of the greatest, most inspirational stories in the history of not only basketball, but all sports. Word to Rocky Balboa.

The disc begins with a brief history of the Heat franchise, from its innaugural season where they set an NBA record for futility, losing their first 17 games, to Pat Riley's initial stint as head coach, the 'Zo and Hardaway acquisitions, the tough playoff losses at the hands of the New York Knicks (believe it or not, kids, there was a time when the Knicks made some noise), to 'Zo's departure due to kidney disease. Then the silver linings: the drafting and emergence of Dwyane Wade (the best basketball player on the planet, by the way) and the Shaq trade. The 2004-2005 season is only touched upon, for dramatic effect, to highlight the Heat's devastating loss to the Detroit Pistons in the conference finals.

Then follows a recap of the regular season: Shaq's injury which led to Stan Van Hedgehog's departure. (Oddly, but perhaps tastefully, that's not mentioned. It is instead -- and rightly so -- spun that Pat Riley assumed head coaching duties to prove that the franchise's off-season reconfiguration was a sage decision) The crushing mid-season 34-point loss to the Mavs and the stunning comeback against the Pistons in the Heat's following game are, for good reason (foreshadowing, you see) given particular shine, and then it's on to the playoffs.

(While you're here, if you haven't peeped it already, ga'head and read this and this. Shit still gives me chills.)

The Bulls are handled, they come back, and are then manhandled (D Wade's ill pass to 'Zo is inexcusably absent, however); the Nets prove an early threat before Wince Carter receives his second sex change operation (peep Shaq's hilarious comment on the series for the DVD's best quote); and next is the series with Detroit, a matchup which didn't live up to the hype (thankfully in my team's favor), and which, soundly, doesn't get much shine.

The Finals, of course, is the best part. Word to J-Live.

The two Heat losses in Dallas still had an effect on me, even though I knew the eventual outcome of the series; and, manipulative or no, the dramatic music which serves as a precursor to Game 3 is a downright marvel, possibly -- Mido's Theme from the Oldboy soundtrack notwithstanding -- the sweetest piece of music I've ever heard.

And then...

Wham! (Game 3**) Bam! (Game 4) Thank You... (Game 5) Ma'am! (Game 6)

By disc's end I was pumping my fist and leaping about giddily, as though the Heat's Finals victory occurred not over 2 months prior, but tonight. All that was missing was pickled chili peppers and a sore back.

I'm still hungry. Tonight I sate myself with SPAM and hot dogs; come November, however, my palate shall undoubtedly demand something more, namely a repeat.

In the meantime, I'll try not to get too upset over the lack of WBC coverage, knowing that a new season is ever approaching the horizon, and that this: a 13-disc DVD package containing every Heat conference finals and NBA Finals game is scheduled for a mid-November release.

Let's Go Feet!

(Sorry, I'm a little rusty.)

Let's Go Heat!

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 4 *_*

* Two things, actually, but I'm discreet enough to only admit one.

** I won't lie, Shaq's crucial free throws brought a tear -- likely more than one, but one is the most I'll admit to -- of joy to this fan's eye.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Better or Worse?

2006 is the second consecutive summer with disappointing financial results for major studios in Hollywood. Bombs such as Poseidon, Mission Impossible III and now Snakes on a Plane seem to indicate a general befuddlement amongst studio honchos over just what it is the American (and international) viewing public want to see.

In the interest of saving the industry itself and the jobs of the good (guffaw) people who work there allow me to make a point and a counter-point out of two movies scheduled for release in the near future.

The Guardian Plot Outline: In an effort to find his place in life, a troubled young man enlists in the Coast Guard, where he's taken in by a renown(sic) rescue swimmer who's hardened by the loss of his team from an accident years back.

Stars: Kevin Costner (Bull Durham, Field of Dreams)
Ashton Kutcher (The Butterfly Effect, various tabloids with Demi Moore and Bruce Willis's kids)

Also appearing: Sela Ward

Director: Andrew Davis (Collateral Damage, Chain Reaction, Under Siege)

The Departed Plot Outline: Two men from opposite sides of the law are undercover within the Boston State Police department and the Irish mafia, but violence and bloodshed boil when discoveries are made, and the moles are dispatched to find out their enemy's identities.

Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Aviator, Gangs of New York, What's Eating Gilbert Grape?)
Jack Nicholson (Easy Rider, One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest, Chinatown, The Shining)
Matt Damon (The Bourne Identity, Saving Private Ryan, Ocean's 11)

Also appearing: Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, Alec Baldwin

Director: Martin Scorsese (Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, Casino)

Okay, now, if you're a studio head and you're reading this I want to tell you this: One of these movies is going to suck. It's going to get raped in reviews, it's going to make shit at the box office and it's going to be pointed at as a laughingstock for the rest of the industry. The other is going to make me spooge myself in my pants while at the theater it's so awesome, it will garner award consideration, it will make oodles of money and will assume its rightful place among the pantheon of great crime movies.

If you can't tell the one from the other resign immediately. And give your job to me. Or Sparkles.

You get a great script, you hand a great director a truck full of money, have him cast whoever the fuck he wants and stay out of the goddam way.

The name's Deluxe, son. It ain't hard.

And for god's sake stop giving Ashton Kutcher work.

Psychedelic Kimochi

God bless America. Guess what Seo Ji-Su (서지수) does for a living and you'll probably be wrong.

By the way, the kimochi part refers of course to that hearty slab of tonkatsu, though it by far isn't the only part of the photo to make my mouth water.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Make Me Wanna Holler

Two recent headlines found on the main page of Yahoo!:

Rapper Foxy Brown skips NJ court session

Owens might not play until opener

If you take a second to read those articles, I'm sure you'll quickly understand that there's barely a worthy news story in either of them. Let's face it, if somebody somewhere saw T.O. with his shoelaces untied the press would probably run a piece on it. It's the Foxy Brown story that is really perplexing. How is that news? Check that, How the fuck does that make Yahoo!'s main page!? I'd sorta understand were it, say, 50 Cent or Kanye West, but Foxy Brown? What year is this, 1997? Does anyone even remember her anymore?

But she's a celebrity (or was) and she's black, and the mainstream press loves to report on their transgressions, however minor, as proven by the articles above.

Which reminded me of something I had been meaning to mention for the past two weeks. You see, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is being sued by the Department of Justice for housing descrimination. Sterling, it seems, has no problem hiring black players to help make him rich, but he doesn't want to rent homes to them.

The Sterling story is by far bigger than both the T.O. and Foxy Brown stories combined, but the case has been ignored by the press. Shit ain't right.

I urge everyone to read Bomani Jones's great ESPN article, Sterling's racism should be news, here.

An excerpt:

There was a time when Donald Sterling was a joke. His Los Angeles Clippers got all the laughs, but he got all the credit. Sterling was the absent mind behind the NBA's longest-running vaudeville revue, his stinginess serving as the fuel behind the rust standard for ineptitude.

He was condemned with ridicule for coldly running a losing basketball team, a sin deemed unforgivable by most. Sterling was a skinflint, so despicable that you couldn't help but wonder if the man who makes most of his money from real estate was only concerned with building a dream home in the most famous tropical enclave of them all: hell.

What Donald Sterling's doing now is no laughing matter.Now, Sterling signs free agents and signs his best players to extensions. Maybe he's OK after all?

Or, maybe not.

Sterling was sued by the Department of Justice on Monday for housing discrimination. Though Sterling has no problem paying black people millions of dollars to play basketball, the feds allege that he refused to rent apartments in Beverly Hills and Koreatown to black people and people with children.

Talk about strange. A man notoriously concerned with profit maximization refuses to take money from those willing to shell it out to live in the most overrated, overpriced neighborhood in Southern California? That same man, who gives black men tens of millions of dollars every year, refuses to take a few thousand a month from folks who would like to crash in one of his buildings for a while? You gotta love racism, the only force in the world powerful enough to interfere with money-making.

Sterling may have been a joke, but nothing about this is funny. In fact, it's frightening and disturbing that classic racism like this might still be in play.

What's even more disturbing? Sterling was sued for housing discrimination by 19 plaintiffs in 2003, according to The Associated Press. In this case, Sterling was accused of trying to drive blacks and Latinos out of buildings he owned in Koreatown. In November, Sterling was ordered to pay a massive settlement in that case. Terms were not disclosed, but the presiding judge said this was "one of the largest" settlements ever in this sort of matter. The tip of the iceberg: Sterling had to play $5 million just for the plaintiffs' attorney fees.

And the coup de grace? Neither that case, nor the more recent one, has qualified as big news.

The tragedy of Maurice Clarett is big news. So are the legal adventures of the Cincinnati Bengals, Rhett Bomar's inability to recognize that not all money is good money, Floyd Landis' daily excuse, and teenager Michelle Wie's being too nervous to tell a grown man she would no longer pay him to carry her stuff around a golf course.

But Donald Sterling's refusing to offer housing to blacks and Latinos? Must not have that sizzle.

Shit ain't fucking right.

Last Days

One of the many paradoxes of cinema: It's easy to make a boring action movie (ask Brett Rattner or Paul W.S. Anderson), hard to do the same with a realistic drama comprised of everyday routine. Gus Van Sant is a master of mundanity, and I mean that as a compliment. While his three most recent films are undoubtedly filled with scenes which are boring, there's no question about the skill it took to make them so. Was I bored while watching Last Days? Certainly. Do I consider it a great film? Definitely.

Structurally and stylistically Last Days mirrors Van Sant's 2003 film, Elephant, but where Elephant took the Columbine massacre and basically recreated it, Last Days is far less "faithful" to its source material, Kurt Cobain's suicide. Which works for me; I'm unsure whether Van Sant changed the plot due to his own artistic vision or whether he was afraid Courtney Love would sue and have the film's distribution halted, but, regardless, it was a sound decision. He managed to make a film inspired by Cobain's suicide that isn't a cliche, and that is perhaps the film's ultimate triumph.

Van Sant is of a dying breed: an auteur in the truest sense, a director who doesn't make his films too abstract or weird simply for the sake of being abstract or weird, instead aiming for realism. (I'd love to see his film adaptation of Flaubert's Madame Bovary.) Perhaps that's too middle ground for audiences on both sides of the moviegoing spectrum: Van Sant's last three films have been neither grossly gratuitous nor subtly sedated (please forgive me my alliteration, father, for I have sinned): they exist in their own world, a world strikingly similar to ours, where people act mundanely, utter unintelligible words, and yet still manage to be wholly interesting. People tend to watch films to escape reality or make their own reality seem more vivid than it actually is, and it serves as a pleasant shock when one sees a film that, instead of being a conduit for escapism or reality on steroids, conforms to one's boring existence. And it's profoundly engaging. It is art imitating life in its simplest, truest form.

It sounds contradictory, but dullness, so long as it's not our own, is gripping. This is what rivited Jimmy Stewart's character in Rear Window, what boosts the ratings of a myriad television reality shows. I truly believe that our imaginations have been subjected to so much fantasy and hyper-realism in media that natural selection of the psyche is leading us back towards media that is a much more honest reflection of ourselves. In the case of reality TV this is fool's gold; but Van Sant is onto something here, and I sincerely hope that his ostensible trilogy becomes a quadrilogy, a quintilogy, and continues to multiply ad infinitum like wet Mogwais.

On to the film proper, Last Days tells the story of Blake, a rock star escaped from rehab. He wanders through the woods until he finds his way to what can only be described as a Victorian-style flophouse. The place is inhabited by a motley crew of Blake's friends -- though that term should be used loosely, because he's barely regarded and only solicited when one of them wants something. Likewise, Blake stalks about the house like a phantom (a phantom who dresses in women's undergarments and cooks Kraft Dinner like a retard, mind you), isolated and never making even the most basic social connection, not even when, near the film's end, he ventures outside in an attempt to interact with others.

It's clear that Blake is a drug addict and that he kills himself, although no scenes of either drug abuse or suicide are shown. What is unclear, though, is the torment of which they are a result. Is Blake weighed down by the pressures of fame? Does he have psychological issues? Is he in a Darwinian sense an unevolved species, in a commercial one a defective model? Or, perhaps like the character Kirilov in Dostoevsky's The Devils, does he believe that suicide is the singular expression of free will?

These questions and many more are never answered. Good. A typical biopic would spoon-feed its audience with theories and answers. Last Days opts for realism, and in doing so stays true to its inspiration and, most essentially, its reflection of the truth vis-a-vis the beauty of our miraculously dull existence.

Rating: 4/4 *_*

Note: Ricky Jay -- who along with Tom Wilkinson and Brian Cox are the MSG of cinema: they make every movie in which they appear taste better -- has a great cameo as a private investigator. His Chin Ling Fu/Chun Ling Soo anecdote is among the best pieces of dialogue in modern cinema.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Rob Liefeld

NWA's seminal 1988 debut, Straight Outta Compton.

The cover of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson's 2006 comic book, The Boys #1

Is it a swipe? An homage? Or, like the saw-toothed gnome who hides in my kitchen's cupboards, am I seeing something that isn't there?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Requiem for a Heavyweight

I've always felt that, for anyone over the age of twenty, bragging about alcohol consumption is almost as stupid as being over thirty and still wearing a baseball cap backwards, being over forty and regularly playing video games, etc., etc.

That said, please indulge me.

I never used to get hangovers. It didn't matter how much I used to drink (and I sometimes drank a lot ; high five, dude!); I would invariably wake up the morning after a night on the piss , as my colonial brethren so adequately say, clear-headed and with the sweet glow of the previous evening's chicanery lingering, like a dear friend, in my head.

But, Oh! how the mighty have fallen. Truthfully, as far as drinking goes I'm more of a middleweight than a heavyweight (which makes this post's title somewhat of a misnomer; ce la vie): I know guys, my own brother foremost, who can polish off a 26-ounce bottle of 80 proof liquor and consider it a tame night, others who can drink a whole case of beer in half the time it takes the sun to set and rise again; let me assure you, friends and neighbors, I am not in their class. I can, however, hold my own.

Or at least I used to be able to. Maybe it's marriage; I swear, the last instance in which I managed to drink all night and successfully stave off a hangover the following day was my wedding, almost four years ago.

Ever since, I have paid dearly for my liberal libations. And it has grown progressively worse: I now suffer from hangovers which last an entire day, their intensity actually increasing as the day goes on.

Sunday was the absolute nadir. After a night of prodigious drinking* with Idealjetsam (who, incidentally, ghostwrites half of my articles), I awoke shortly before 11. I was in a pretty good mood, despite a killer headache (reason being I WAS STILL DRUNK). I got up, ate a sandwich, a triangle kimbap, and some ice cream (strawberry cheesecake, if it matters), and washed it down with a litre of water and 2 extra strength Tylenols. I watched TV for a few hours. When I finally got up to use the bathroom and wash my face, I could barely recognize myself in the mirror; I looked like a zombie. I felt like one, too. I was an invalid, my disease courtesy of Dionysius.

I fell asleep around 1:30 and awoke two hours later. As though it were Groundhog Day, I again told myself -- a little too smugly, this time -- that I felt pretty good. I thought the worst was over. I even foolishly considered heading out to play basketball.

Didn't happen. As for how the rest of the day unfolded, I have not the heart to tell you. For me the grief is still too near. Suffice it to say, that evening I made an ardent vow that I would never again indulge in spirits so recklessly.

Yeah, right. Vince Carter has a better chance being named MVP.

I suppose this is all just a half-assed way of admitting that I'm beginning to feel old. I know I don't look it, but I'm beginning to feel it in my heart. I feel thin...sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread. And I don't know how much longer I can hope to futilely clutch to my waning youth.

*For the record:

- 1/2 kettle of ohshipsaeju (오십세주)
- 1 bottle XXXX beer
- A triple Jack Daniel's on ice
- 1 Heineken
- 3 Miller Genuine Drafts
- 2 shots of tequila
- An indeterminate amount of soju (that's where things get foggy)

(I will now take leave to enjoy the comedic genius of Dane Cook and jerk off to Maxim. And vice-versa.)

Frat Boy*_*

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Top 5...

... Songs About Boredom

A tribute to Sparkles, who bravely soldiers on sans familia.

1. Flowers on the Wall - The Statler Brothers
2. Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay - Otis Redding*
3. I Wanna Be Sedated - The Ramones
4. I'm So Bored With the USA - The Clash
5. Longview - Green Day

Well, Punk Rock was disproportionately represented there, which is odd for me. I've never been much of a Punk guy, but I guess Punk bands have more to say about boredom than most genres do.

Carry on, mi capitan, I'm sure the family will return post-haste to save you from crawling on the ceiling like the baby in Trainspotting. Until then, smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo will have to suffice.

*In the interest of full disclosure I should mention that number 2 was suggested by my lovely spouse, and I was not actually smart enough to think of it myself.

Look at those old pussy-hounds. They still got it too, I'll tell you what.

Psychedelic Kimochi

Friday, August 18, 2006

Fear Itself (Vespa Mandarinia)

Last Monday evening, upon returning home from work, I set about dusting my apartment. Because I'm Alice Nelson like that. Upon entering my computer room, however, I was surprised to discover a large black wasp flying about. This was actually the second such incident in just over a week. I still have no clue how they got in, but needless to say, seeing as how I sort of have a bee sting allergy, the univited pest was greatly unwelcome.

I say that I "sort of" have a bee sting allergy because after my initial reaction when I was eight years old (an amusing adventure recounted here), I was for the next 6 years or so gradually desensitized, through regular doses administered via hypodermic needle, to the stings of most venomous flying insects: honey bees (which I was barely allergic to), yellowjackets (which I was acutely allergic to), hornets, wasps, etc; and it was eventually determined that I was no longer allergic, though I was cautioned that, despite many years of desensitization, were I to be stung I might still have a life-threatening reaction.

So I really have no idea whether I am currently allergic to bee-stings or not; I've been lucky in that I haven't been stung for a very, very long time (knock on wood); however, in a way this has only served to compound my uncertainty and increase my fear of one day having to find out whether all those years of needles filled with bee venom made a lick of difference.

My three biggest fears are 1) flying 2) vomiting (the streak is currently 14 years: longer than Jerry Seinfeld's) and 3) getting stung. Of the latter, I believe it's perfectly natural, since from an early age it was instilled in me that a bee-sting could KILL ME.

This was before the days of the easy-to-use EpiPen; what I had was a "kit" consisting of a dose of adrenaline, a hypodermic needle, and a tourniquet. My parents and doctor tried to instruct me how to self-administer a shot, but, really, isn't that asking a lot of an eight-year-old? I could barely kick a soccer ball straight; how in hell was I expected to give myself a shot of adrenaline should the need arise? I would have learned to use an abacus faster than learn how to properly inject myself with a syringe.

Of course, now that I'm older, if I were stung I'd calmly get myself as quickly as possible to a hospital; but since allergies in Korea -- particularly mortally dangerous ones -- are looked upon very skeptically, I hope I can be forgiven if I am a bit cynical in regards to the outcome of such a scenario.

All of which is to say that I hope my readers will sympathize with me when I state that the wasp which was flying around, trapped inside my apartment, immediately aroused in me a great deal of fear -- nay -- terror, and that I perhaps may have overreacted a tad. I'm not saying I shrieked like a teenage girl at a 비 concert, but I may have.

I managed to collect myself a little, though, and when the detestable insect flew out of the computer room and into my bedroom, I fetched a can of Raid from a kitchen cupboard and went after it. It flew out at me from behind the bedroom wardrobe and I sprayed at it, but missed. Wisely, I believe, I employed a stick-and-move strategy, and realizing that the wasp was far from incapacitated I hastened into the TV room, hurriedly closing the door behind me. But I couldn't remain there forever, and, due to the unbearable heat in that room, after less than a minute I gathered my courage and readied myself for Round 2.

Not a second after I opened the door did the wasp fly straight at me. I parried its attack, again took aim, and sprayed at it. This time my aim was truer, but I was not convinced that I had delivered the wasp its death blow; and apprehensive to wait and see whether the thing was stunned, I jumped out of the room and closed the door.

My thoughts immediately ran as such: I don't think I hit him well enough...if not, how long does it take a wasp to die of starvation? For I was not prepared to face off with the no doubt provoked thing again that evening. My pulse racing, I resolved to play the waiting game.

But it was my old man who postulated that it could take longer than a week for the wasp to die of starvation, and I was faced with the realization that, sooner or later, I would have to open that door and see whether or not the thing was truly dead.

Tuesday was a holiday, and the door stayed closed the whole day. But never did my fear abate. On Wednesday I resolved that I would, before leaving for work, open the door: when I returned home that afternoon I would know, hopefully, whether the wasp was dead or not.

That was not an inviting prospect. I dreaded returning home, and actually considered taking a hotel room -- and I probably would have were it not for the fact that I had with me no change of clothes. I mention this only to illustrate the extent of my fear.

When I did return later, a very curious thing happened. While ascending the stairs leading up to the 2nd floor landing, I made a point of checking the walls and windows; I often will find an insect or two of varying species there, usually harmless things such as millers and other kinds of moths, but occasionally a wasp or hornet will alight there, and due to the events of the past two days I was anticipating such an occurrence.

I was not wrong. Resting on the landing's windowsill was a wasp identical to that which I had trapped in my apartment's TV room. I walked past it, trying to keep my cool, but when I got to the door and went to retrieve my key from my wallet, the wasp flew towards me. I don't say "it flew at me," because, had its intention been to attack, there is no way I would have gotten out my key, unlocked the door, and stepped inside in time. As it was, though, I barely made it inside before the wasp followed me past the threshold. I slammed the door and breathed a prodigious sigh of relief, though still mindful of the wasp inside.

I never did find that worthy. Who knows, perhaps it's hiding somewhere, biding its time, waiting for the perfect moment to attack. I'd like to think that it's lying dead somewhere in a place I don't have the ability to search. Regardless, both theories stimulate my sense of mystery. That wasp has for me become a sort of Jimmy Hoffa.

As for the wasp outside, after checking every possible inch of the apartment for Wasp 1, I grabbed my trusty can of Raid and took care of Wasp 2. Eager to correct past mistakes, I made sure I got him with a direct hit and watched (cautiously, mind you) with my very own eyes as he at first flew about pell-mell and finally dropped to the floor, dead.

I thought then that, finally, the nightmare was over. But I was deceived.

Today at three o' clock, realizing that there was no food in my fridge, I got dressed and planned to make a trip to E-Mart for some hot dogs and SPAM. As soon as I closed the front door behind me, I again surveyed the 2nd floor landing -- and that is when I saw It.

At first I thought it was a cicada or a caterpillar. On the landing's floor was a very large insect...

I say, I believed it to be a large yet harmless creature; but after I closed the door and took one step down the stairs, the thing revealed itself as the winged monstrosity it unquestionably is. Buzzing like no insect I've ever heard (it sounded like electric barber's shears), the abject thing took flight, its wingspan as wide as I can stretch my thumb and forefinger. For all the fear imposed upon me by the aforementioned wasps, this new threat doubled, then trebled, my horror.

I was face to face with the Asian Giant Hornet (vespa mandarinia), the largest and most dangerous hornet on Earth. Only once had I seen it, a few months prior while on a neighborhood excursion with my wife and daughter. Then, I was struck by its sheer size: its body roughly the length and circumference of my own thumb; now, I was paralyzed with fear. I was within a meter's reach (if that) of the devil himself. Almost like a hummingbird, the wicked creature reared up. It was then that I regained my senses and hastily ran back inside.

I again grabbed my can of Raid (I'm becoming a bona fide gunslinger with that shit), and, because I don't negotiate with terrorists, opened the door a crack to see if I couldn't hit that nasty fucker with my best shot. I found it sitting not 3 feet from me on the wall to my immediate left, its folded wings resembling a pair of scissors.

My aim was true: I remembered the face of my father, and for what must have been a full 3 seconds doused the devil with bug spray. It didn't budge. Wisely, I think, I didn't stick around to see if it would, for it is said that even the strongest pesticides have little or no effect on the beast.

And what do you think I saw when, 10 minutes later, I opened the door to examine the aftermath of my salvo?

The thing had disappeared like Michael Myers in Halloween.

Laurie Strode: What's the Boogie Man?

Dr. Sam Loomis: As a matter of
fact...that was.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The new Outkast album is a very bad word -- Review

But anyhow when in doubt went on out and bought it
Cause I thought it would be jammin, but examine all the flawsky-wawsky
Awfully, it's sad and it's costly, but that's all she wrote
And I hope I never have to float in that boat
Up shit's creek "it's weak" is the last quote
That I want to hear when I'm goin down, when all's said and done
And we got a new Joe in town
When the record player get to skippin and slowin down
All y'all can say is them niggas earned that crown, but until then...

--Dre (Andre 3000), Rosa Parks

The first red flag for me was the release date -- for both the album and film -- continually being pushed back. The second red flag was the track listing. What I originally thought was going to be a new Outkast record turned out to be, instead, a mixture of Big Boi and Andre 3000 solo joints sprinkled with 4 meagre songs on which they appear as a duo. So, essentially, the last real Outkast album was Stankonia. 6 fucking years ago.

Not that I didn't appreciate Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. In fact, I think it's just as accomplished and creative as the 4 Outkast albums which preceded it. But to pull this solo shit again? What gives? The people are clamoring for a new, 100% 'Kast record. Why deny them(me) their(my) wish?

Then again, an alternating Boi/Dre Outkast album is better than nothing, right?




Andre sure loves to speak in a (poor) English accent, doesn't he? I think my opinion on intros and album skits has been well documented.

Mighty 'O'

This song is my shit. It's nothing short of perfect. Category? ain't got none/You know I'm right.



If you name your daughter "Peaches", there's a 99.87% chance she'll grow up to be either a stripper or a hooker. Just saying.

Wow, we just went from one of Outkast's best songs to one of their worst.

For the record, The Way You Move currently holds that honor. To this day I cannot fathom why it was paired with the sublime Hey Ya! for the last album's debut, double side-A, single. The Way You Move vs. Hey Ya!, hmmmm, that is a tough one.

Idlewild Blue (Don'tchu Worry 'Bout Me)

Dre does his The Love Below thang, this time in a bluesy vein. Remarkably, his lyrics are a little tiresome, but that blues guitar kicks ass something proper like. Love the brief synth work at the end, too.

While by no means a great song, that guitar will stick to your spine like peanut butter to the roof of a toddler's mouth.


Skit. Prince Paul must be spinning in his grave.


Another strong bass line. Great lyricism on Big Boi's part, though his verses are way too short and the singing wears on the nerves. Khujo guests. Is he the one who lost his leg in an auto accident, or was that T-Mo? Can never tell those two apart. Decent track, but not spectacular. By no means is it spectacular.


Morris Brown

Is this the new single? Boy, Big Boi (is that redundant?) sure likes to rap about rumors of him and Andre breaking up. Maybe it's because you two won't make a proper album together. Just a guess. But what do I know. Decent percussion. I think Dre is on this for a sec, but his voice is distorted all helium-like. I am Jack's underwhelmed soul.


It means the fear of time, apparently. Appropriately, it's a very short track. Dre gets his Rick James on to mediocre results. Jesus, we're six songs in and only one great track?

The Train

A very musical track, no pun intended. Kevin Spacey. Bow Tieesque horns permeate. Sounds like it should have been a B-side for one of Speakerboxxx's singles. Or just aborted altogether. I'm really reaching for things to say right now.

Life Is Like a Musical

It's got an 80's feel to it. The melody sounds vaguely familiar. Must be an interpolation of something. At first I thought this was pretty Mehmet Okur, but it grows on one mightily after a few listens. 2nd best song on the "album" so far.

No Bootleg DVDs

Slightly less annoying than than those Piracy Is A Crime ads that accompany most Universal DVDs (though I suppose that's sort of like saying mustard is a less appetizing ice cream sundae topping than diarrhea). You know, the ones you can't skip past and are forced to watch. (As an aside, how fucking stupid is it to tack a message like that onto a legally-purchased DVD?)

As a purchaser of retail CDs and DVDs, I don't appreciate being chastised in such a manner, thank you very much. Incidentally, just so I'm not labeled a hypocrite for reviewing this album before its August 22nd release date, the entire album is available to listen to on Outkast's MySpace page ( I'd like to think that God himself created that page, as a warning.

Hollywood Divorce

I hated this at first, but grew to somewhat like it after subsequent listens. Like, not love, mind you. Little Wayne, surprisingly, donates arguably the song's strongest verse -- and this one has both Dre and Big Boi. Snoop's on this, too; but, as per usual in the new millenium, he stinks up the place.


Shit...I mean skit.

Call The Law

The chick singing on this sounds like she's singing the intro song to a Bond flick. This is absolutely terrible. I'm going to drink some whiskey to numb the pain. You know what, this album is actually making me want to avoid the Idlewild film at all costs. Not that I wanted to see it in the first place; however I actually believed this album could be something special. Purple Rain it so fucking ain't. I don't believe in nothin' no more.

Bamboo & Cross

Big Boi's kids are swearing again. Redundant, and, if you ask me, borderline child abuse.


Big Boi's doing the same flow he kicked on The Rooster. Another subpar track. I'm going to give all of my money to various charities and join the Peace Corps. This song's chorus will make you believe in hell, I'm absolutely convinced.

Makes No Sense At All

It certainly doesn't. More helium-stylee Andre singing. ABC/ 123/ do-re-mi/ out of key. Yes, those are actual lyrics. Is 3000 trying to be ironic? He's in on the joke, right? He knows this album is shit and is slyly winking at the listener; he must be. This is awful beyond words.

In Your Dreams

If you should read of my arrest for drunkenly throwing a trash can through a shop window like Mookie in Do the Right Thing, blame this album. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

It's a wrap like Christmas. 'Nuff said.

PJ & Rooster

A sample from the movie. Sounds like Terrence Howard is in it. If you want to see a really great movie featuring that worthy, check out Hustle & Flow, the best film I've seen this year.

As for the Idlewild film, is it a musical? It must be. I swear, this is poised to be worse than From Justin to Kelly. And to receive several Razzies.

Mutron Angel

Finally, a song that I can at least stomach. This appeals to my Radiohead sensibility. This is a great song, actually. A great song surrounded by turds. I'm sobbing now like a little baby. Thought you should know.

Greatest Show On Earth

Hey, it's Macy Gray! It wasn't enough that she almost singlehandedly ruined the first Spider-Man film with her cameo, she has to go and kick this album and its listeners when they're down. Loved her part in Training Day, though.

You're Beautiful

Snippet from the film. While you're here, I think Byron Crawford summed it up best when he wrote that hip-hop now has its own Tusk.

When I Look In Your Eyes

Sounds like a Sharon, Lois and Bram song. No word of a lie. Maybe Andre, if his film and music career should tragically fall apart (and this "album" is definitely a step in the wrong -- as it were -- direction), has a future entertaining Canadian elementary school children.

Dyin' To Live

Some pretty nifty organ work at the song's opening. Dre's singing is booty, though. I'll admit, after The Love Below I believed he could do anything. Sadly, it appears Superman is dead.

(By the way, if the 2006 Posse Draft denz and I conducted last week were real, my initial pick would be on the waiver wire right now.)

A Bad Note

Sounds like a random Pink Floyd song that everybody claims to like but invariably skips past whenever it comes on. Again, they must be in on the joke here. There's no way either of them thought this was a worthy addition to their catalogue.

Conclusion: I'm not being funny here: Outkast is dead to me. Dead. This "album" is terrible beyond any comprehension of the word. It starts off strong with Mighty 'O', proceeds to aggravate with one lackluster song after another, and then plunges face first into a fetid pool of excrement.

This album is like a kick in the nuts.

I hate Outkast and I want to die.

Rating: 1/5 *_*

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Psychedelic Wardrobe Malfunction

One can never get enough Kim Ah Jung, I feel.

That finger seems to suggest Shhh! Keep it a secret. Intriguing. What could warrant such a gesture? I'm sure it's something positively scandalous.

Kim Ah Jung > Janet Jackson

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Summer of George

The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration.
-- Pearl S. Buck
I'm the chairman of the bored.
-- Iggy Pop, I'm Bored

Far from being a second renaissance, this past week has been as dull as an audio book of Ulysses read by James Lipton. My malaise came to a head yesterday, the result of which led me to clean my apartment top to bottom, including (*gasp*) the bathroom (ironically, I've never felt dirtier); and while I did manage to make it outside for a few hours to play basketball, it was simply, due to the oppressive heat, life in a bigger prison. Seriously, if after less than a minute outside you feel as though you're wading through molasses, it's probably a good idea to stay at home with the a/c cranked. (And if you don't have an air-conditioner you probably deserve every ounce of life's cruel fate. Seriously, I bet you were a child molester in a past life.)

So it was with surprising relief that I welcomed the start of the work week; but that sentiment is short-lived, because tomorrow is a holiday: one which promises to be as equally hot and dull as the day prior.

This late-summer ennui has in recent years become my bane, but it is particularly hard this year with C3PO and R2D2 -- aka the wife and girl -- away.

Nevertheless, I will persist; I will fight the inky black clutches of boredom as I always have, with the assurance that -- as inevitable as leaves falling in autumn -- this dark cloud will eventually subside.

In the meantime, I'm going to sulk about and gnaw furniture like an iron-deficient child.

The Shape of Things To Come or My Left Side Used to Be My Good Side But Now It Has a Big Hole In It

My wife and I don't own a television because we're Pretentious Left-Wing Assholes (PLWAs for short) so upon arriving at my parents' house for a visit this weekend, I immediately flopped down on the couch to get my fix. Luckily for me, my father has just upgraded his cable package to include the brand-new NFL Network which showed not only the completely meaningless pre-season game of my own local NFL team (the NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks [if you squint hard enough "NFC Champion" almost looks like "NFL Champion"; go ahead, try]) but also the totally inconsequential pre-season games of every fucking team in the league. Yesterday I watched no fewer than seven NFL pre-season contests, some running concurrently.

Super-orgasmic level of bliss, thy name is the NFL Network on a lazy mid-August weekend.

Within this veritable orgy of football viewing, however (and god, how nice it is to be able to say "football" and have everybody know just the exact sport you're talking about again. The World Cup is over. Long live the NFL.), there was one moment that might escape the attention of even the most avid and observant NFL aficionado, and I would like to bring it to your attention here.

People say that pre-season games don't matter, and that's true insofar as they don't count in the standings. But you can learn a lot about what to expect and that's invaluable, either if you are about to enter a fantasy football league (and if so, for god's sake, get a fucking life) or if you're like me and hopelessly devoted to your regional team and want to know just how firmly to brace yourself for disappointment this year. And one play illustrated that I should lower my expectations a great deal, and very quickly.

The ESPN Play-by-play recap sums it up thusly: In the second quarter...

3rd and 1 at SEA 43
(9:38) M.Morris left guard to SEA 43 for no gain (A.Elam, C.Canty).

And brothers and sisters, would that it would end there. I wish. That would make life so much easier in so many ways. But if you watched the Seahawks last year you know that, on 3rd and 1 there is no way a runner carrying the ball should have been stopped going to the left side because he would be running behind Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson, the best Offensive Tackle and Offensive Guard in all of football, respectively. But in the offseason, true believers, a funny thing happened on the way to defending the NFC Championship. Shaun Alexander, the flash, the pomp, the show, was re-signed for buckets full of money. And Steve Hutchinson, the horse who Alexander figuratively rode to his record-setting number of rushing touchdowns in a season, was allowed to sign with the Minnesota Vikings.

The NFL is a funny thing. Americans wager the GDP of a small nation every weekend on the comings and goings of American football and yet, because of the salary cap, the draft and any number of other artificial conditions put in place to keep parity between the teams at all costs, there is a razor thin margin between success and failure. Victory and defeat. And you have to have a ridiculously intelligent person making the decisions about whom to let go and whom to keep in order to succeed for longer than one season at a time. To sustain that success you have to be very smart, very crafty, more than a little Machiavellian and, above all else, lucky.

We should have kept Hutch. Did Alexander have a lot of success last year? Yes, he did. And do you know why? Because he was a mediocre back running behind the best left side of an offensive line in all of football. My twenty-six year old slow-as-hell ass could run for 850 yards a season behind Hutch and Jones. Because they're that good. Furthermore, the left side of an offensive line protects your quarterback's blind side if your quarterback happens to be right handed which ours, strangely enough, is. So, with Hutch leaving, I predict a big hole in the Left Offensive Guard position, I predict a less-than-productive and injury-riddled year for Alexander and I predict an injury-shortened year for Matt Hasselbeck. All of these things will conspire to leave us at 7-9 come the end of the year and on the outside looking in at the playoff picture.

You might think that's a pretty dire assessment for losing one player. Alright then, here's another: we lost Tom Rouen. Who's Tom Rouen? Certainly not as well known a name as T.O.! But what Tom Rouen did for us was two things: he was a 45.4 yard-a-kick punter and he held for field goal attempts. And now he, like Hutchinson, is gone. That may not seem significant to you. It may seem middling and like we could do without him. But I will tell you this: the only two factors of the game Rouen affected were field positioning and the kicking game. And if you don't think those two factors win games then you're one of the following:

a.) a fantasy football freak,
b.) a moron who knows nothing about football,
or, by far the most likely
c.) all of the above, since the first two so commonly go hand-in-hand.

So, at the end of the year when someone is doing a post-mortem on how the Seattle Seahawks could have sunk so low in the 2006-2007 season (presumed headline: "From Super Bowl to Cellar in One Year") and the talking heads are telling you about the salary cap and league parity and how difficult it is to sustain success in this league, and how injuries "just happen" and they're "nobody's fault" and how the rash of injuries to skilled back-field players was just "bad luck," I want you to know that the Seahawks could have kept doing what they were doing. They could have made some tough decisions, took a little bit of a beating in the press for a couple of months and then walked right back into this season as contenders once again. They could have let the "stars" go, kept the thankless workmen who made this team what it was and gone deep into the playoffs on a star-making turn by Maurice Morris, a mediocre running back once again made great by running behind a dominant offensive line. If the Seahawks wanted to be unstoppable on 3rd and short for one more year they just had to make the tough decisions and make them in the right way.

But they didn't.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Land of the Dead -- Review

But every now and then, I wonder
If the gate was put up to keep crime out or to keep our ass in

Cee-Lo of the Goodie MOB, Cell Therapy

Eat the Rich: there's only one thing that they're good for
Eat the Rich: take one bite now - come back for more

Aerosmith, Eat The Rich

If 28 Days Later and the 2003 Dawn of the Dead remake taught us anything (apart from being pretty damn good flicks; the former moreso than the latter), it's that zombie movie purists hate the running undead like Mel Gibson hates soap scum on shower doors (what did you think I was gonna say?). Ironic then that the genre's master, George A. Romero (the A stands for Awhile, as in "it's been"), has chosen to populate his long-awaited fourth Dead film with zombies similarly evolved; for while not fleet of foot, these uglies possess a crafty wit the likes of which were only hinted at in Romero's previous entry in the series, 1985's Day of the Dead.

These fuckers can shoot guns, for chrissakes! They make smart decisions. They've obviously evolved a lot more than, say, the computer AI on Madden. Hell, I'm fairly confident some of them could manage a Fortune 5oo company (well, I mean) or run the New York Knicks.

And I for one am glad. Because as far as originality of plot is concerned, the majority of zombie movies ranks as low as that of your average porn film. Sure, both are fun to watch; but it's pretty much always the same thing: reanimated corpses eating the living, and people fucking (and sometimes, with high-speed Internet and a credit card, vice-versa).

So kudos to Georgie Boy for breathing new life into a genre sorely in need of it (pun acknowledged). He could have told yet another tale of humans fighting for survival amidst the backdrop of a zombie holocaust (and if the recent boom in zombie-themed films and comics is any indication, there's a never-ending glut of such stories), but chose instead, wisely, to take his story -- the apocalyptic world which he pioneered -- towards its logical and natural progression.

He also deserves credit for again infusing his world with social commentary -- which this time out is post-9/11 America and the Bush administration's war on terror (big surprise) -- even though it's at times as subtle as a machete to the skull. Nevertheless, once again it is slyly suggested by Romero that it isn't the zombies who are the film's real villains, but ourselves. As the film's protagonist, Riley, says after ordering a companion not to fire on a teeming march of the undead, "They're just lookin' for a place to go".

Yes, and they're also looking for fresh humans to eviscerate, but let the zombies have their moment of pathos, will you?

The film's main villains are Cholo (played by John Leguizamo) and Kaufman (Dennis Hopper). One wants to become rich, the other richer. Predictably, a power struggle ensues. Cholo threatens to attack the city unless Kaufman pays him 5 million dollars. Kaufman of course refuses, because he doesn't "bargain with terrorists". I think Walt Disney said that. Riley -- Simon Baker, who I don't think will escape the curse of Romero leads whose careers in filmdom invariably never take flight. I'm looking forward to seeing him at Comic-Con 2029 -- is recruited by Kaufman to track down Cholo and retrieve the fully-armored assault vehicle, Dead Reckoning, which the latter stole.

Assisting Riley will be Charlie (Robert Joy), a mildly retarded burn victim who is nevertheless a hawkeye with a rifle; Slack (Asia "nepotism" Argento), a prostitute whom Riley and Charlie rescue; and three soldiers chosen by Kaufman, the most entertaining of who, Pillsbury, has the film's best line.

Along the way they discuss the existential paradox of freedom in a repressed society, roast S'mores, give each other purple nurples, reclaim the Arc of the Covenant from the Nazis, light one another's farts on fire, and try to stop Cholo from firebombing the city.

Oh, and they kill the living impaired; although, thankfully, the zombies are pretty much an afterthought. Seriously, the film probably would have been as effective had Romero replaced the walking dead with those purple Smurfs who bit each other on the ass and said "G'NAT!" (true heads recognize).

All in all, Land of the Dead is a very worthy edition to Romero's oeuvre. It's just too bad that it came on the heels of better zombie films such as 28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead, and Garfield: The Movie.

Still, I'd recommend it to any zombie movie enthusiasts, or anyone interested in seeing John Leguizamo and (particularly) Dennis Hopper act better than they have in roughly 3000 years.

Rating: 3/4 *_*

Bonus Review: I caught (stop snickering) Brokeback Mountain yesterday on DVD. It is without a doubt one of the most beautifully directed and most powerfully lingering films I have ever seen.

And it didn't turn me gay(er).

Rating: 4/4*_*

The 2006 Posse Draft Recap

Our man Rafi pointed out that our draft lacked a pivotal ingredient - an end of draft breakdown. So, without further delay:

Whitey Fjords (Denz): Premo, Nas, Nate Dogg, Immortal Technique, Madlib, Fatlip, Edan, Subroc, Amerie & KRS One.

Turkey Bacon (Sparkles): Andre 3000, El-P, Ghostface, MF Doom, Big L, Prince Paul, Cage, Lupe, Rah Digga and Black Thought.

Round 1.
Premier (DJ/Producer - Denz)
2. Andre 3000 (Primary MC - Sparkles)
3. El-P (DJ/Producer - Sparkles)
4. Nas (Primary MC - Denz)
5. Nate Dogg (Flex - Denz)
6. Ghostface (Flex - Sparkles)
7. MF DOOM (Fat Guy - Sparkles)
8. Immortal Technique (Protege - Denz)
9. Madlib/Quas (Flex - Denz)
10. Big L (Dead homeboy - Sparkles)

Round 2.
Prince Paul (Funny man - Sparkles)
12. Fatlip (Funny man - Denz)
13. Edan (Token white guy - Denz)
14. Cage (Token white guy - Sparkles)
15. Lupe Fiasco (wingman/protége - Sparkles)
16. Subroc (Dead homeboy - Denz)
17. Amerie (Female "MC" - Denz)
18. Rah Digga (Female MC - Sparkles)
19. Black Thought (Flex - Sparkles)
20. KRS One (Fat guy - Denz)

Honourable mention:
The William G (Benchwarmer)

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Devils

Appropriated and remixed from Dostoevsky's underrated masterpiece:

They would be the first to be dreadfully unhappy if Korea were suddenly to be reorganized even according to their own ideas and if, somehow or other, she were suddenly to become an immeasurably prosperous and happy country. They would have no one to hate then; no one to despise; no one to laught at. It's just an everlasting animal hatred of Korea which has corroded their organism.

The 2006 Posse Draft - Part Deuce

The motherfucking saga continues... [part one here]

With the eleventh pick, Sparkles selects:

11. Prince Paul (Funny Man)

The Doo Doo Man!

In addition to having three of the game's most top-notch and avant garde producers, I also own the only guy who ever made decent album skits. Watch out now!

PS - The Vegas odds on who the first white MC to be drafted currently look like this:
Aesop Rock: 2-1
Sage Francis: 4-1
Slug: 8-1
Cage: 10-1
Zach de la Rocha: 25-1
Mike Shinoda 100-1

Denz responds:
Damn, nice pick. I'm going to be man enough to state that it didn't even occur to me. And you're right, with Prince Paul (and ghostface!) I'm going to get killed on skits like Ace at the Lyricist Lounge.

With the twelfth pick, Denz selects:
12. Fatlip (comedy relief)

I'll let the "What's up Fatlip?" flimclip speak on this one.

Sparkles responds:
You're drafting crackheads now? Heh.

Seriously, I like dude. Always have. He had the potential to be one of the illest left coast MCs, alongside such luminaries as Del, Gift of Gab, Aceyalone, and, um, Skee-Lo? But if you're hoping he'll turn around a disappointing career this late in the game, you've got a longer wait ahead of you than me ordering a vanilla shake at a BK in Busan. Fat Lip is hip-hop's Eddie Griffin: a stud with so much promise, yet so few results. Although to my knowledge FL never crashed his SUV while masturbating to porn. But there's still time.

With the thirteenth pick, Denz selects:
13. Edan (token white guy)

With the 13th pick, the New York Knicks select Renaldo Balkman... As you mentioned, the board is stacked with low-odd whiteboys, but I'm going to switch it up.

Every year I like to take a flyer on at least one player in my fantasy drafts. I think its a great way to add a little personal drama to a season. If the player is a bust, you at least took a punt. On the flipside, if the player has a career year, you get recognised (and hated) by your fellow league managers. Sure, it never works out, but for some reason it makes me happy. Might be a Knucks thing.

As an interesting aside, the sleepers I usually pick end up having career years... in their next season. By that time I hate them and refuse to draft them. It's a cruel world. And yes, fuck you Willis McGahee.

With that in mind, I'm again going to pull an Isiah and draft Edan. After all, every team needs a quadruple threat guy who looks weird like Andre Kirilenko. It took me a few listens to get Primitive Plus, but the proto-old school feel had me hooked eventually, and the Ultra 88 homage was hilarity personified. Beauty and the Beat was a classic, albeit an indy one. And that eerie voice sample from Fumbling Over Words that Rhyme is still stuck in my head.

Given my current luck with sleepers, look for a standout LP from Edan in 2007-08.

Sparkles responds:
Didn't see that one coming, but you really don't have to rationalize the pick that much, at least not to me. I dig the guy (what little of his stuff I've heard), and you've added another gifted producer. As an MC he's [Jay-Z voice] ehhhhh; but you could have done a lot worse. You could have drafted David Faustino, aka D Lil' (Bud from Married With Children; and why is it his video isn't on YouTube? Fucking injustice is what that is).

(Honestly, I'm confident that if my next four picks were The D.O.C., Shorty Shitstain, Princess Superstar, and a random Young Black Teenager, I could still run this league -- but I've had fantasy team delusions of grandeur before. Remember the team I drafted in last season's fantasy basketball draft? For the readers: I won't go into too much detail, but let's just say that Marvin Williams, Mike Dunleavy Jr., and Jim Jackson were prominently involved. Predictably, I didn't make the playoffs, but on draft night I remember thinking smugly to myself 'This is a great team!' The lesson, as always, is that I'm full of shit.)

With the fourteenth pick, Sparkles selects:
14. Cage (Token White Guy)

I'm a bigger fan of Aes Rizzle, but he wouldn't have been a good fit on this team. Cage on the other hand meshes perfectly with everyone I've drafted so far. My question is, where does Aesop Rock going undrafted rank amongst the Biggest WTF moments in white guy Posse Draft history?

I suppose, technically, I could still choose him with my remaining flex pick -- but 2 slices of white bread are enough for this sandwich.

Denz responds:
A nice safe pick, and you're right, fits better than the three wise whitemen of Aesop, Sage and Sluggo. Still, I feel a little uneasy about Cage. I think hiss old shit was... well... wack. Hell's Winter is gold man, but fuck... who's to say he doesn't end up being the next MC Jerome James?

This just in, Aesop is weeping in the green room with Rashard Lewis.

With the fifteenth pick, Sparkles selects:
15. Lupe Fiasco (Wingman/Protége)

Truth be told, these days I overlook a lot of (read: most) up-and-coming cats, but from what I've heard Lupe -- despite ostensibly taking inspiration for his stage name from a middle-aged Hispanic housekeeper -- deserves the attention he's getting. I absolutely hated him on Kanye's Testify (save for "I'm tryin' to stop lyin' like I'm Mumra."

That was pretty dope. Almost Commonesque, in fact), but he's really impressed me with what he's dropped since. Peep his MySpace page here: Then peep the World Trade Center's page: In the history of this young century's greatest ideas, that has to rank nowhere fucking near.

Denz responds:
I've got three Lupe tracks on my itunes, so I can't entirely judge the pick. What I will say is that it might be a posse man, but your homeboys all sound like they mainline fucking helium. You better draft Floyd Landis with your flex or your average testosterone count is going to be lower than Boston Corbett's.

Seriously though, I'll buy the album when he drops it.

With the sixteenth pick, Denz selects:
16. Subroc (Dead Homeboy)

Hey MF Doom, you need a shave and a haircut?

Sparkles responds:
This is your most surprising pick. I love Mr. Hood, but really, don't you think you could have picked someone better? Scott La Rock? Biggie? Hell, even the recently departed Jay-Dilla had more positive contributions to hip-hop music than 'Roc -- even though he did make A Tribe Called Quest suck and caused their break-up.

Three years from now, MF Doom's contract is up. Now, if only Isiah thought like me.

With the seventeenth pick, Denz selects:
17. Amerie (Female "MC")

Sure, Amerie doesn't exactly rap per se, but have you seen her pins in the 1 thing video? She gets my vote on Saturday mornings when I'm watching the music channel. 1 thing, incidentally, is a great track. At least, it appears to be - I usually watch the music channel with the sound down. Anyway, judging from her collabs with Royce, Nas and... erm... Ricky Martin, Amerie has the rep to walk... on those legs. Wait, what was I saying?

Go ahead, pick Jean Grae. You'll need the testicles.

Sparkles responds:
I'm not familiar with her work. Seriously, I ignore with extreme prejudice any song featuring Amerie, Ashanti, Akon, or any other single-name A-holes.

With the eighteenth pick, Sparkles selects:
18. Rah Digga (Female MC)

She could be dead for all I know, but Rah -- along with Shorty No Mas -- is quite possibly the only female MC I've ever really dug (even though I did buy Yo-Yo's Black Pearl the summer before I started high school. Please don't tell anyone).

Come to think of it, the dearth of talented female rappers deserves its own post one of these days. As does what I ate for dinner last night (hint: it rhymes with grandwich).

PS - since you bent the rules for your pick, I was really, really tempted to take Debbie Harry. Or my daughter. She's got more skills than Apkujeong's got plastic surgeons.

Um... this is sort of like commenting on a kicker pick in football leagues. Let's just agree that drafting female MCs is like drafting drying paint and never speak of this again.

With the nineteenth, Sparkles selects:
19. Black Thought (Flex)

Saving my flex pick for last, I had a ton of options here (Dre, Common, Terrence Howard), but Thought seems the most natural and best fit. Since he got his solo album (aka The Roots' The Tipping Point) out of his system, here's hoping that the crew's new LP, The Game Theory (here's my The Game theory: he doesn't have a label because of 50 Cent. Just a hunch), is a return to the fantastic Roots albums of old, rather than the prettygoodokaynotbadactually kindadisappointing sound of their last record.

Nice closer. A man has to end with a good pick. Thought isn't going to blow anyone away, but he's a solid number two and the sort of cat you want on your team, for sure. Mike Redd in a nutshell.

With the final pick in the draft, Denz selects:
20. KRS One (Fat Guy)

With the MF Doom precedent set, I draft Lawrence Parker from the South Bronx as my overweight guy.

I now have three proven MCs. Two of whom have at one time been the best in the business. Three phenomenal producers. One a definite first ballot hall of famer. An amazing singer. A Darlene-esque set of legs and MC Shawn Kemp.

What more needs to be said? Other than:

The real hip hop is ova here.

The first shall be last. Fitting.

All in all, I'm very happy with my team: One of the most creative, best-selling hip-hop stars in history; a maverick producer and rabid solialist; the epitome of slang-splattered, abstract rhymes (no disrespect to Keith Thornton), and his heir apparent; one of the illest producers and master of the hip-hop concept album; hip-hop's Jason Williams (White Chocolate, not Manslaughter); Young Zee's wife; and Malik B's conscience.

If my team were a pizza, it'd be a Little Caesar's cheese crust with every topping, including magic mushrooms. And a side-order of Crazy Bread.

PS - Dre and Jay-Z went undrafted! Zut alors!

PPS - My team name is Turkey Bacon.

Aiight. And I'm the Whitey Fjords.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I'm Curious

Note: the following article was written for the Korean 'zine ROKon, but due to editorial reasons was deemed unfit for print. So I'm posting it here for posterity.

I'm Curious

Disclaimer: nothing about the following piece is culturally significant. Nor does it have a purpose. Crude limericks scribbled inside a bathroom stall have more literary value than what you are about to read. It is pure trash, and, having read it, will probably make you stupider. Enjoy.

Imagine how many people out there are fuckin' right now man, just goin' at

-- Slater, Dazed and Confused

I know the following won’t exactly dispel the (supposed) belief amongst Koreans that all foreigners living here are sex-crazed, but I have a confession to make: I am fascinated – perhaps even obsessed – with the sex lives of my host nation’s countrymen and countrywomen.

I often find myself wondering what turns them on, how often they do it, how much pleasure they receive from it, how good they are at it, and so on. And on and on, to the break of dawn. Knock three times on the ceiling if you got the feeling.

It’s not as though I’m sex-starved. Far from it, thankfully. I’m not deprived of sex, though I may be depraved of it. But I don’t think so.

No, I’m simply an average Joe. Nothing moribund here. It’s just that I often find myself wondering about the sexual habits, fantasies, frequencies, fetishes and fundamental freakiness of Koreans.

Is that so wrong?

A million times, nein! Nyet! Non! 안되!

You know what’s to blame, don’t you? Western society. And my parents, of course (what aren’t they to be blamed for is what I wanna know). Curse them for having the wherewithal to instill in me their idea of couth behavior, and here’s why:

Most expats here will readily tell you their own stories of Koreans asking them, flat out, about their sex life; and such candor falls in line with almost every other way in which Koreans broach communication with foreigners, whether it be an ajeossi’s prolonged stare or an ajumma at the sauna poking a western woman’s breasts as though she’s been adopted into the Clan of the Cave Bear: with reckless abandon.

It’s the Korean way, and I admire it greatly. Seriously, I wish I could be so straightforward; but the sad truth is that I can barely ask for my own check in a restaurant, and every time I eat at Burger King I have to make do with two meager packets of ketchup for my fries, because I’m too unassertive to ask for more.

So there’s nothing wrong in my books with Korean outspokenness (unless they’re asking how I got all that blood on me; that can be a nuisance, let me tell you). It barely phases me anymore. In fact, I wish I could act in a like manner. I wish I could ask a person whom I’ve just met how often he has sex with his girlfriend. I wish I could ask my boss how often he masturbates, and what his preferred method of hiding the evidence is. I wish I could ask these questions, and a million more, without any scruples.

In short, I wish I could level the playing field.

And this doesn’t only extend to questions about sexuality. No, sir. I would like to ask the pretty young women I see shopping at Samsung Plaza whether they’ve had cosmetic surgery, and, if so, where and how much it cost. I would like to ask bus drivers whether they were born contemptible, or acquired the trait through arduous practice. I would like to ask the middle-age man who works at the 7-11 in my neighborhood if he feels he has wasted his life, and how his conscience feels when he sells cigarettes to the kids who attend the high school across the street.

But I fear I’m straying too far off-track, and coming dangerously close to making a thesis statement. Rest assured, that was not my intention. This isn’t about me wishing I could ask Koreans every single question that pops into my thick head; it’s about me obsessing over their sex lives.

I know where they do it: at home, at video bangs, at love motels, etc. I know how they do it, I think. Lord knows I know why they do it. But I need to know more. I am thirsty for knowledge.

As I said, there is nothing perverted about this. My want of further knowledge is of an erudite nature rather than an erotic one. Please believe me.

Maybe I’d be better informed if I had had more experience with Korean women. But trying to play the role of Casanova (or, failing that, whore monger) is sadly out of the question. I don’t think my wife would go for it. She won’t even grant me a Kirilenko. How’s that for a raw deal?

Yes, I’m married. So I’ve had some experience with the fierce predator that is the Korean woman. I know what time it is in that department, I guess. But there are a ton of questions which my wife can’t answer, and even more which, to be honest, I don’t have the guts to ask.

Are there, for example, any interesting urban legends akin to the “frozen hot dog” canard of my youth? And just how often do Koreans masturbate? I’m not talking about guys, because it’s common knowledge that men of any race, culture, or creed do it every single day. If a guy disputes this, he’s either lying, has been deathly ill, or is an amputee. And even then he’s probably still lying.

It’s too bad I didn’t grow up in Korea. I’d probably have a lot fewer questions if I had. Don’t get me wrong, I love being a westerner, with my decadent lifestyle, cavalier attitude towards hard work, and unscrupulous desire to chuck my parents in a home when they get too old/annoying; but because Korea is my home, and will be for the foreseeable future, I feel I need to know everything about the culture in which I am immersed, and this includes sex.

Unfortunately, I’m disallowed such fleeting knowledge due to my aforementioned modesty. Perhaps, when this life is over (sometime next Wednesday by my calculation), I will be reincarnated as a Korean male. Then – and though I’m aware of the paradox it would create – all my questions and ponderings will be answered.

That would be truly fulfilling. If reincarnation is real, I hope and pray that what I’ve just written will come to pass.

But only if I get to keep my 10-inch-long penis.

The Writer, 28, lives in Bundang, has a loving wife, a beautiful daughter, and a winning smile.

The 2006 Posse Draft - Part One


It’s 9:02am EST on 3 August 2006. The NASDAQ is up.

Comrades, welcome to the inaugural 2006 Psychedelic Kimchi Posse Draft. The purpose of this draft is to give two of the whitest people on the planet the opportunity to finally provide for themselves with the true measure of hip hop legitimacy – a posse.

Selection Process:
The draft will consist of two managers (Sparkles and Denz) and will run for approximately 10 rounds. There is some provision for further rounds, depending on how intoxicated the participants are at its conclusion.

At the conclusion of the draft, a manager’s team must consist of the following:

1. MC (Primary)
2. DJ/Producer
3. Wingman/Protége
4. Female MC
5. Dead Homeboy
6. Enforcer/Fat Guy
7. Funny man
8. Token White Guy

As there are ten rounds, two “flex” positions will be allowed whereby a manager can select whomever he so chooses. The draft will be a snake draft, with the first pick predicated on the final position of the NASDAQ at the commencement of the draft. If the NASDAQ is up, Denz will receive the first pick. If the NASDAQ is down, that pick will go to Sparkles.

As the NASDAQ is up 16.82 points, the first pick will go to Denz.


With the first pick in the 2006 Posse Draft, Denz selects:
1. Premier (DJ Producer)
I know the prevailing wisdom would have been for me to pick an MC here. Which is precisely why I’m mixing it up. In fantasy football, you never pick a quarterback first, you always go for the best running back on the board. In Premier, I get the best back in the business. It doesn’t matter what MC I get with the 4th pick, as I now have the beats that would make a Canadian rapper sound good. That’s right, I said it.

Sparkles responds:
What can you say about Primo? Hands down the people's choice for Best Producer Ever. Plus, I'm glad he decided to produce the Christina Aguilera album AFTER he lost his touch. That showed class.

By the way, Gangstarr's The Ownerz CD is to hip-hop what Vince Carter is to basketball.

With the second pick in the draft, Sparkles selects:
2. Andre 3000 (Primary MC)

He's not going to set the world on fire lyrically (though he's certainly no slouch, either), but he's got the diversity and insightfulness I'm looking for. Plus, he can croon with the best of 'em; and his production work is of a sublime, experimental vein.

I was tempted to take Jay, which would bring the whole Nas/Jay-Z thing full circle as far as the site's concerned, but couldn't pull the trigger. For one, I'm not as big a Hova fan as my preference for Takeover over Ether would lead one to believe; and two: he's part-owner of the Nets, the team that employs Wince Carter. Instant bad blood.

Denz responds:
Great pick, for all the reasons you mentioned. I love Outkast, but you know what? I still can't remember one whole Andre verse off the top of my head. My only concern with this pick is that your go-to-guy is the closest hiphop equivalent to the "tuck it away" guy from the Silence of the Lambs.

But I'm glad you didn't take Jay-Z. Some people say he's got great cadence and flow. Me? I think he sounds like a high-functioning autistic.

With the third pick, Sparkles selects:
3. El-P (DJ/Producer)
I was tempted to take Dr. Dre, but El Producto, like Andre 3000, is similarly a jack of all trades. He's the most unique, innovative producer in hip-hop today, and his ceiling is unlimited. Plus he's a gifted lyricist who writes his own rhymes.

Sure, he might get tagged wit
h the "alternative" label, but it's completely unwarranted. Hip-hop music would benefit greatly if more mainstream artists enlisted his phenomenal talent.

Denz comments:
We're three picks in and you draft a white guy? Jesus.

With the fourth pick, Denz selects:
4. Nas (Primary MC)
Obvious pick – if only to finally realise the Premo-Nas collaboration. For sheer skill, versatility, appeal and capacity, I have to make this pick. I think with the right support, Nas has the potential to again reach the lofty heights of Illmatic. Even if he doesn't, he's still going to spit better than half the dudes in here.

I just need to make sure I draft good reinforcements - big ask. Suffice to say, I'm not drafting Kelis.

Sparkles responds:

For a hoops analogy, I'd compare taking Nasty to picking Iverson. Both are extremely talented, definite all-stars, but their best days are clearly behind them. Both also had only a single great season where everything seemed to fall in place (2001-2002 for Ivey, Illmatic for Esco). And Nas, like AI, has a gravelly voice. Seriously, dude sounds as though he's been eating sand every other meal for the past 12 years.

Still, I can't fault you too much for the pick. With the right motivation it's possible that Nas could rekindle the magic of his opening salvo. Primo helps in that regard. And if that fails, you could always pick up Dre.

Because everyone and their sister is clamouring for a Firm reunion ^^

With the fifth pick, Denz selects:
5. Nate Dogg (Flex)

Bamn. Didn't see that one coming, did you? I just sold a million records and I have someone to sing the hooks in the inevitable shitty cross-over track that Nas is statutorily required to append to every album.

Plus, he's Nate Dogg!

Sparkles responds:
Pretty good pick. Like Coca-Cola, everything goes better with Nate. He's a great role player. Too bad he can't hold his own, though. My sincere apology to the 0.013 people who bought and liked his solo records.
With the sixth pick, Sparkles selects:
6. Ghostface (Flex)

You may have gained some commercial viability with Nate Dogg, but peep game: El-P on the boards with Ghost rhyming (have I mentioned that the Hide Ya Face remix is perhaps the illest hip-hop song recorded in the new Willenium?). Instant respect from the backpackers and the hardrocks. Or Andre on the boards with Ghost rhyming, and DRE SINGS THE HOOK. Instant platinum. And you don't want to think about what'll happen when the three of them form THE TRIUMPHANT TRIUMVIRATE + 1 (see next pick).

Denz responds:

Taking a step back, sure Nate Dogg has commercial appeal, but let us never forget the first verse of 'Ain't no fun'.

As for Ghost - Dude, your flex is better than your starter. I know you weren’t a big fan of Fishscale, but it’s been getting good rotation here. Either way, nice pick.

With the seventh pick, Sparkles selects:
7) MF DOOM (Fat Guy)

He is SO fat!

Now there's a fantastic four.

Denz comments:

What the fuck? As your "fat guy"? That's larceny. You are totally exploiting the system. I love it.

What's great about this pick is that its like you have just drafted Brian Williams (Zev Love) AND his alter ego Bison Dele (Doom). You know I'm all for unnecessary and inappropriate references to Dele. The only way you would get more bang for your buck would be if you drafted Kool Keith. And no one would deliberately do that.

I tell you what though, you're fantastic four is starting to look that Queer Eye for the Straight Guy mob.
With the eighth pick, Denz selects:
8. Immortal Technique (Protege)
I considered Royce 5'9" for a long time, if only for his untapped potential. However, judging from his last few efforts, homeboy is damaged goods. Still, Malcolm X was brilliant. In lieu, I'm going Tech.

Now IT personifies Tremendous Upside Potential. Unmatched for raw skill, established freestyler, ex-convict and apparently nuts (see "Dance with the Devil); Tech is the future of this franchise. He continues to get slept on, but with the right production, he'll take over. I mean, just peep this:

I mean, come on: "You couldn't sling rocks if you were a Palestinian..."

Sparkles responds:
Not a big fan, but I'm all for conscious rap; and you could have done a lot worse and picked one of the cats from Dead Prez. Those guys are more boring than TV on Tuesday morning*. Remember when revolutionary rap was funky? Bring back the X-Clan! Brother J, watcha say? (Professor X died? Bummer.)

* Hip-Hop still remains possibly the best beat not titled "The Message" or "Public Enemy No. 1," though.

With the ninth pick, Denz selects:
9. Madlib/Quas (flex)

I had another pick in mind, but I'll hold off on that (psyche!). I've got a bunch of slots to fill, but need to make this pick. Especially given that you've drafted a glut of multi position players.

In response, Madlib has great range (just check out his discography) and gives me an heir apparent to Premo. In the interim, the sheer possibility of a Premo/Madlib infused track just swells my heart. I'd need a warehouse just for the crates. Endorphin overload. Cry Havok and let slip the dogs of war.

Sparkles responds:
You just drafted hip-hop's Ray Allen: a quality player, one of the best in the game, but consistently slept on, and always overlooked in favor of the Kobes, Lebrons, and, shit, even Paul Pierces of this crazy world. To quote Tupac (and not a day goes by in which I don't), I ain't mad(lib) atcha.
With the tenth pick, Sparkles selects:
10. Big L (Dead Homeboy)
The popular choice here would be Biggie, but I have to take L because a) he's a better fit on this squad, and b) L didn't live long enough to start recording pandering shit such as "Fuck Me For Free". Both were great with the one-liners, but I don't believe "'Cause I'm a street genius with a unique penis/got fly chicks on my dick who don't even speak English" will ever be topped.

139 and Lennox, you know what I'm saying

Denz responds:
First documented steal in the draft - this was actually my intended pick. And you're bang on about him not having an opportunity to start recording junk. Which makes him all the better... in fact, they should rewrite 'candle in the wind' about dude. Can you imagine? I can... what with all those Elton John looking guys in your posse.

[Coming up... part deuce.]