Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Sunday, September 30, 2012
Friday, July 20, 2012
Sunday, June 24, 2012
BLOOD AND LORE: CABIN IN THE WOODS REVIEW
“…nobody wants to see vampire killers… or vampires… Apparently all they want to see are demented madmen running around in ski-masks, hacking up young virgins.”
If someone unexposed to horror films from the past 35 years or so were to watch a marathon of several of these films back to back (and let’s say none of them were sequels), how many would it take before he or she began to predict what’s going to happen next? For an American film audience culture that has by now endured the irony-heavy Scream franchise and the gloomily unironic spate of “torture porn” from auteurs like Eli Roth and others, can there truly be any genuine shocks in horror anymore? Cabin in the Woods film attempts to answer that question with a wink and a nod.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
The rappers and others who dismiss ‘Gwyneth-gate’ as meaning nothing are either clueless or just aren’t being fully honest about addressing the broader issues at work here.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Monday, April 09, 2012
Such projects should include, but not be limited to:
Saturday, April 07, 2012
Thursday, April 05, 2012
Regarding the recently accepted consent agreement between the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan, I want results. No more well-meaning but empty rhetoric from any of the principals involved: Mayor Bing, Governor Snyder, or the City Council. I want working streetlights: many neighborhoods have no working streetlights. On major thoroughfares it's bad enough, but in the broader neighborhoods, sometimes streetlights are the only ambient illumination (no businesses keeping lights on after dusk) and when they are gone, entire blocks are shunt into 'complete' darkness.
I want a regular police presence: I mean police cars patrolling the neighborhoods, officers on bicycles, and even beat-walking officers. Currently, people can wait for hours and longer after calling for police help-- and of course, sometimes police don't show up at all.
I want a responsive fire department, ambulances and emergency medical service: seconds literally count in emergency medical circumstances, and the current status-quo of frequently broken-down emergency vehicles and overall diminished number of vehicles is untenable.
I want reliable mass transit: currently, that means bus service, which in the past year has regressed from passable to maddeningly inefficient. Commuters are frequently stranded for hours waiting on an assortment of buses, and even if a bus shows up, it may be so packed that the rider deliberately passes by riders for lack of space. Bus drivers face a hostile, frustrated public, some of whom fall into the maniac category and have taken to physical assaults on drivers and even armed assault on buses.
I want blight removal to be taken seriously. Too many structures throughout the city: houses, apartments, storefronts, factory grounds, warehouses and more, lay empty and devastated. Many exist in half-demolished states that are not only eyesores but dangerous for the unwary passerby. Scrappers and urban-ruins explorers put their lives at risk entering and lurking in these buildings, whether for personal profit or a guerrilla-photography muse.
If city planners want to get a proper assessment on what residential and commercial developments are appropriate for the future, they need to be actively getting rid of blighted buildings. Almost no one wants to move in next door to a house that could double as a haunted house. Almost no one is willing to open a business where the adjacent property resembles a burned-out tomb. Records databases have to be drastically improved to see just who owns these properties to begin with. If absentee owners are heavily fined in the process, so much the better.
I want a non-obstructive, functional city bureaucracy. People shouldn't have to travel downtown to the Coleman A. Young Municipal Building to address every single civic issue. Parking is scarce downtown, and by default costs money that poorer folk and working-class folk have little of to spare. Many people take time off from work or school to address business at the CAY building. Time is precious. Most if not all city-business documents should be made available online, with a functioning, user-friendly website for people to navigate and download what they need. This would enable many forms to be filled out before people arrive in-person at city offices. Forms should be able to be filled out online as well (as well as a component to facilitate online payment.) This would help to streamline city government and reduce all the back-and-forth scenarios that frequently happen when a person is directed from one office to the next, and often with a limited time-window to achieve their goal.
I don't want this to last forever. I want Detroit's fiscal stability restored. Detroit's citizens deserves better. They deserve to not live as second-or-third-class citizens.
Sunday, April 01, 2012
I'm really not sure about the point of this article. What happened to supporting education for its own sake, and not just as a grudging stepping-stone move to theoretical long-term riches from athletics fame and endorsements? I think it would help if there were some published statistics that explain how many ex-college players ended up getting their undergraduate degree after leaving school to join the NBA or other professional teams. I suspect that it is far from 100%, or even 50%.
Sure enough, higher education can't be "forced" on anybody. But hey, America has become a place that is more invested in people having formal credentials-- and in most areas of "white collar" employment, that means a college degree of some kind. Even much "blue collar" employment nowadays requires some type of formal, vocational certification at the very least, even at the entry-level. America is not a place anymore where people can just have a high school diploma or a GED, and expect to find readily available entry-level jobs for those who are unskilled or semi-skilled.
In the past 10 years, look at the ascent of Jeremy Lin, Yao Ming, Mano Ginobli and other non-African-American players in the NBA. The league, as a corporate entity, is looking to recruit more from global and multicultural communities. Not everybody who jumps ship from college early to join the draft is going to become Kobe or LeBron. Not by a long shot. To "Make it" in the NBA, it's increasingly not good enough to just be a talented black American young man from the hood or suburbs anymore.
And when it comes to the post-athletics career, look at what's available. There are only so many slots to be TV sports commentators. Not every ex-athlete is guaranteed a front-office job, especially without a degree.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Kareem "Biggs" Burke, a former executive at Roc-A-Fella Recordings, has pled guilty to charges relating to a 2010 arrest in a wide-reaching anti-drug sting (which reportedly netted as many as 50 arrests.) In particular, Burke was charged with possession (with intent to distribute) over 100 kilograms of marijuana. http://tinyurl.com/7brtuhp
With Burke and Damon "Dame" Dash at the helm, Roc-A-Fella Recordings launched the career of Jay-Z and several late-90s/early-00s artists like Memphis Bleek, Beanie Sigel and Kanye West.
Leaving aside what this author feels about legalizing (or at least decriminalizing) much of today's pharmaceutical contraband: This is just so damned stupid and illustrates what is wrong with today's hip-hop and urban culture. Wasn't this guy getting checks on all the Roc-A-Fella albums for years? If he was on tour with Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek and the rest he was probably getting paid as part of the (official/unofficial) entourage, too.
This guy should have made enough money from selling his stake in Roc-A-Fella to live off that, or make legitimate corporate investments. But of course, homeboy goes the dope-smuggling route. Classic black man move. Bravo, Kareem, you just set the race back another few decades. Chances are, thanks in part to you, your criminal defense attorney's kids or grandkids have their college funds and trust funds on lock. What about yours?
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
"I'm not playing to prove anything to anybody," Lin said. "That affected my game last year and my joy last year. With all the media attention, all the love from the fans (in the Bay Area), I felt I needed to prove myself. Prove that I'm not a marketing tool, I'm not a ploy to improve attendance. Prove I can play in this league. But I've surrendered that to God. I'm not in a battle with what everybody else thinks anymore,"
Jeremy Lin, San Jose Mercury News, February, 2012.
Boxer Floyd Mayweather, sportwriter Jason Whitlock and others have made some flippant remarks concerning the recent ascent of professional basketball player Jeremy Lin. A guard for the New York Knicks who recently scored 38 points in a game against the Los Angeles Lakers. With those who are starkly critical of the attention being paid to Lin, one of the underlying assumptions here seems to be that only black guys are entitled to play ball. By this same line of reasoning, black people had no reason to be proud of the Williams sisters in their tennis career. Lin's ascension illustrates that as of 2012 maybe it’s not good enough to just be a talented young black man from the ‘hood anymore, especially now that the NBA corporate culture is trying to do more multicultural, global outreach to recruit players. Incidentally, Lin was born and raised in California, so he's no more "foreign" than this author is.
Lin is also a Harvard graduate, with a bachelor’s degree in economics. How many young black men only go to college just as a mandatory stepping stone to going into the NBA, and getting their degree is a secondary, if not tertiary, concern? If the league still allowed for graduating high school seniors to enter the NBA, how many would jump at the chance while saying “(bleep) college”?
Haven’t Asian-American youth been growing up watching college and NBA players over the years, same as the young black, latin and white kids? It stands to reason that some would be interested in sports besides tennis, soccer and golf—and not every Asian kid is into martial arts, either. For whatever its worth, Lin clearly paid his dues, being a non-drafted player who played in the NBA’s minor league squads before being put on by the Knicks.
I really hope that people don’t start reflexively bashing him with a bunch of Asian jokes, or, particularly for some of our “afrocentric” peeps, trying to smear him based on the ongoing problems of confrontations with Asian-owned businesses in black communities. Lin isn’t involved in any of that and doesn’t deserve to be associated with it.
To be clear, I'm not much for all of the "second coming/savior of the league" talk concerning any rookie/semi-rookie, mainly because it's frequently entirely too much pressure to put on these guys. Whether he ends up as a 'premier' player or a role-player has yet to be seen. Hopefully he will be allowed the space to naturally develop as a consistent contributor to his team's W column. Lin has publicly identified as a person of faith, so hopefully it will help him maintain some personal-life equilibrium (it would suck if he were to get gassed and start wilding, and getting in legal trouble like... well, the anecdotes are legion. Google 'athlete arrested'.)