Fasten, fit closely, bind together.

Friday, April 30, 2004

Toppling Koppel 

David Smith, CEO of the Sinclaire broadcasting company, has managed to miss the patriotism vote.

Tonight, Ted Koppel, anchor of ABC's 'Nightline' is going to read the names of every soldier killed in hostile action in Iraq- a list consisting of more than 500 names (which has swelled significantly this past month). A noble pursuit- surely I wouldn't watch it, but I've read that Life Magazine did something like this during Vietnam and it managed to drum up a lot of anti-war business. It's one of those rare acts that people both pro-Bush and anti-Bush will support- you can be anti-war, but everyone's gotta be pro-GI.

Except for the wiley Mr. Smith; he's declared that the ABC affiliates he owns (Columbus, OH; Pensacola, FL; Ashville, NC; St. Louis; Charleston, WV; Winston-Salem, NC; Springfield, MA) will not air the broadcast. These god-fearing people will be deprived of the televised patriotism because Smith feels the broadcast is actually the liberal media's attempt to cause unrest. (Not surprisingly, several of the Sinclaire executives have given the maximum allowed contribution to Bush's campaign, as seen here.)

What's that you say, Smith? Infiltraters? Liberal media causing a stir? Intruiging theory...

My buddy John McCain certainly didn't think so. He has some harsh words for the Sinclaire cadre. "Your decision to deny your viewers an opportunity to be reminded of war's terrible costs, in all their heartbreaking detail, is a gross disservice to the public, and to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. It is, in short, sir, unpatriotic. I hope it meets with the public opprobrium it most certainly deserves."

Strong stuff- especially considering the fact that no Bush associate of sound mind would ever consider criticising a program such as this. How could they argue against honoring the men they sent to Iraq, and rewarding grieving families with the minimal, but significant, honor that comes from seeing your husband's or son's name on television. Seems like the kind of thing Bush would don a cowboy hat for as he sets his VCR.

So what's the deal? "Mr. Koppel and 'Nightline' are hiding behind this so-called tribute in an effort to highlight only one aspect of the war effort and in doing so to influence public opinion against the military action in Iraq," says their statement. One aspect?!? Yes, Mr. Smith, I would say death is but one aspect of war, but it's a mighty intregal one, much as eggs are but one aspect of the omelette. It seems to me that it's the least politically motivated way of reporting on the war- you can't get much more objective than a list of names. And let's not forget the fact that ABC is owned by Disney, and major corporations have a tendency not to bite the hand that feeds them, or in this case, lowers their taxes and allows for increased use of the corporate jets.

You can deny your viewers the broadcast, but you'll only create more of a storm with this cancellation. The fact is that this month has been the most difficult of the entire operation- so difficult we had to rehire a good chunk of Saddam's old army for the handle the job in Fallujah. If you're reporting the news like a good democratic and open media, than people will be fully aware that there may very well be what we call a quagmire on our hands, and people know that things are going to get worse before they get better.

Bush has handlers for this kind of thing- he doesn't need petty no-name businesses like yours taking care of his dirty laundry. It's people like you that give conservatism and republicanism a bad name. Two thumbs down, Sinclaire, two thumbs down. Why don't start an affiliate in Beijing- I hear they like to bury sad stories in their media, too.

Not Keeping Pace......Kanye West show goes South 

F*@k it Charlie Murphy, I'll come clean. I have spent the last 14 hours searching high and low, near and far. I've looked under every bed in the crib, turned over every piece of furniture (a desk, a few chairs) and rummaged through every drawer of clothing......all in the search for a positive from last night's Kanye West show. And I'm quite satisfied to announce that by gotim, I think I've got it.

"Stop staring!! I'm so-self-conscious"

Before I began to elucidate on the trash that was Pace's Schimmel Theatre (possibly an auditorium, but it doesn't even really deserve the pub it will get from a mention on this site), I have to touch on the gi-normous expectations that this concert seemed to generate for me. I mean, I had the opportunity to see Kweli, right here at NYU for twenty three hundred cents less(!!!!) and i declined. All in hopes that since we were in NYC, the Luis Vuitton Don would not only bring the real shyte, but also bring some real serious guest appearances. I mean come on Kanye, you charge something like 100 g's a beat, can't you at least pay some of that shit back and bring in some skill? Nevertheless, what I ended up with was nothing short of stupidityl.

I got there 2 hours after the doors opened, thinking Kanye would come on some time between 10:15 and 10:45........absolutely not. Rather, I was treated to a ridiculous edifice where there is no room to stand, security is tighter than La Guardia on 9/12 (confiscated mi pistola at the gate) and there is noooooo dance floor! This doesn't even pay homage to the fact that half the crowd is nested up in the f*@king mezzanine.....yes mezzanine as in opera-type mezzanine (best believe that pulling a John Wilkes Booth crossed my mind when Quddus was onstage). Bottom line, this sh*t was no place was no to hip-hop....only a place to hip-hopera.

Needless to say, while the entire crowd was just plain Miles Thirstin' for Kanye, we were entertained with some hardcore third rate bands, and not to mention the sketch comedy of MTV's Quddus (this mofo is dumb as a brick and almost single handedly had me begging for the 6 train back uptown). But more on that Dave Chappelle cock-jockey another time. Quddus hosted a fashion show featuring "models" whom I guess were Pace students, but whom also could have passed for Bronx Zoo escapees. (On a side note, you really shouldn't try and sell gear by dressing up people that are tough on the eyes) So after hours of clock-watching and wondering about what jam Talib was currently blazing back uptown, Kanye rolled up in the house.....at around 12:15 mind you.

By this time, the energy had been sucked out the crowd with the voracity of a Jenna Jameson fellatio, and Kanye proceeded to put on a purely mediocre and very brief performance. Now a lot can sometimes be said for brevity, as perfection sometimes come hand in hand in with it in concert-like environments, however, you just can't come so briefly after such hoopla and anticipation (don't you "have a PHD for pretty huge dick" Kan'man????). The only highlight for the "backpackin' bragaddocio" came when he told a story about how he had been laughed at when he had approached record labels about giving him a deal, "how you gonna come in here dressing like Carlton claiming to us that you can rap and sell records?" Now that's priceless!!!!

So after about 45 minutes of Alfonso Ribeiro trying to come correct and bring some knowledge, I was left with a few impressions. For a rapper/producer who claims to be witty and what not, I just don't see it exemplified in his work. As far as Kanye being the hottest thing in the game at the moment???.......well I wasn't even lukewarm when I headed for the double doors.

After coexisting with dumbed-down yet headstrong Pace students for a night, my highlight came when I woke up this morning........... happy as hell to be an NYU student. And mom and dad, here's a little shout out to you for covering my ridiculously excessive tuition....if I had gone to Pace, I have no doubts I'd end up a College Dropout.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

It's the Birdman!!!! err...Woman! 

With so much testosterone pumping through the veins of those here at Billiken, it's a wonder we haven't dont much in the way of bodacious babes. Blondes, brunettes, b-sides, boobs, beauties, bountiful bitches and now...... Bird's? Yes that's right, Bird's. Now I'm not going to take this overboard, as this discovery isn't quite on par with that of the Double Helix. In fact, some may claim they've seen this honey before, in action or by the side of a beloved Backstreet Boy or even your next "Bachelor". But I'll be goddamned if I let this Bird broad fall through 'net' obscurity without at least a "swoosh".

There has been a running debate here at Billiken throughout the last few months (albeit off the record) about the looks of yours truly, Sue Bird. The current WNBA star is in my view quite the piece of........eye candy. Yes, she's a rare, soft, supple candy that can be sucked on, but instead she will make you hard! Alright, so I've already reneged on my promise to not take this overboard, btu seriously fellas, you be the judge.

Bird starred at Uconn (yes that signifies domination in the College Hoops world) for four seasons under coach Geno Auriemma winning multiple National Titles and even earning Player of the Year honors. Bird went first in the WNBA draft and has proceeded to become one of the league's elite point guards. She also has popped up at numerous award shows with Nick Carter and hometown non-hero Jesse Palmer aka "The Bachelor" (dude is good looking but certainly not in Big Blue). Now come on fellas, a dime with a good handle and the ability to go hard every time??? Shit is can't miss.

I recently caught up with Geno Auriemma as he blazed a trail down Broadway on his way to Armani Exchange where he planned to pick out some new duds for next year's title game. And while he didn't offer much on Susie Q, he did drop this classic one liner, "as a coach, I don't think I've ever messed up the saying 'take it hard to the rack' as many times as I did with Sue." Daaaaaamn Geno!

Loyal readers, I leave you with this.....and in the words of the almight N dot......"let's keep it soft fellas."


Zwill's Billiken Debut... NYU: There's a Reason It's America's Top Dream School 

If you don't know who Julia Diaco is by now, you need to educate yourself. Check out the article here. In yesterday's edition of the news, the entire fourth page of the paper was devoted to the lovely and dynamic Diaco, an 18 year-old freshman from Rumson, NJ who was arrested on Tuesday for selling drugs out of her dorm room in Hayden. The headline for that story was "The Princess and the Pot." Today, Diaco made the front page of the News under the headline "Gone to Pot."

According to the police, Miss Diaco had been selling pot, coke, mushrooms and acid since at least November, when they began trailing her. Diaco made many sales to undercover cops and had the balls to stiff them on various occasions, even once selling a cop an eighth-ounce of pot and charging for a half. On Tuesday, undercover cops arrested her on St. Mark's Place as she was carrying over $1,000 worth of herbs.

The Post says that she befriended many homeless men outside of Hayden and also claims that she sold out of Washington Square Park. According to Joseph Duronio, an NYU Junior who is quoted in both the News and the Post, Diaco was "the most inept drug dealer in the world." Each paper is already speculating that Diaco sold drugs for the sole purpose of making friends.

But I'm pretty sure that Julia is gonna be alright. Consider Miss Diaco's criminal defense attorney, one Marvin Schecter. Mr. Schecter is an adjunct professor at Fordham Law, has served as the president of the NYS Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, and speaks bi-weekly to prisoners at Rikers Island. In other words, Schecter is a pretty good defense attorney. If you had a 16-count indictment hanging over your head, you wouldn't mind having Carvin' Marvin on your side. "She's not a major drug dealer, Schechter claimed. "When the facts come out, we will find that a lot of the drugs were for use by herself." Sounds like my kind of girl.

Diaco hails from Rumson, NJ, one of the Garbage State's wealthiest towns. The state's most prolific resident, Bruce Springsteen, currently lives in Rumson. Just this week, Springsteen played a benefit concert at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park for the Rumson Country Day School, the private school that he sends his kids to. Tickets went on sale to the public for the show at no less than $1,000.

That's a picture of the Diaco estate in Rumson. Nice place they got there. Diaco's father owns a $165MM construction company and rubs elbows with New Jersey's elite. Now, I know what you're thinking here. A rich Italian family from New Jersey with connections to state policy-makers. The math is simple: construction mogul = mobster. Papa Diaco didn't make his fortuna by contracting buildings, he made it by contracting killings.

Don't jump to conclusions. The truth is, each of Julia's older brothers went to Ivy League schools and the family has no ties to organized crime. The News and the Post have had two days to dig into the Diaco's family and the juiciest bit of mob info that they've dug up is that a Diaco family member has the same name as someone who was arrested in the '70s. That's pretty weak. The Diacos are a long way off from the Sopranos. Hell, right now little Julia has the longest rap sheet in the family.


You're my Boy Bill!!! 

I just got a phone call from Bill Walton, former NBA great, current NBA TV analysts, and the most cunning of linguists.

This is how the conversation went-

ME: "Hello?"
Bill Walton: "Hi, this is Bill Walton, NBA Hall of Famer."
ME: "Wow, hey I love listening to you on TV. You make even a Atlanta/Chicago game watchable."
Bill Walton: "Thank you, listen Gotim, the reason I'm calling is because I just wanted to let you know that I am behind you a 110%, you run a truly egalitarian meritocracy here at the Billiken."
ME: "Well thank you Mr. Walton, I'm flattered that you read my wesbite."
Bill Walton: "Please, call me Bill."

I have a feeling that this isn't the last we'll be hearing from Mr. Walton.

Is Gotim Playing God?? 

Recently some disturbing rumors have been swirling around the Billiken headquarters and I feel it's time to step in and squash any beefs before the Mad Cow in this biznactch spreads. As you all may or may not know, the controversial, yet insightful posts of Mr. N dot Gorman, aka Dr. 1st and 15th pretty much, are to be no more. At least that's the position being taken as of now. Undoubtedly the Irish chum has an affinity for politics, and as you regulars know, he's a staunch staunch ally of George W. and his band of brothers. Yesterday, after a typical Neill (yes, that's Neill with two L's you illiterate sons of bitches) contribution to Billiken, the headmaster, Mr. SpottieGottiedopalicious himself felt the need to tell Neill what should and what should not be posted on. Say what??? My trials and tribulations with Neill have been well-documented (Jayson Blair came by the crib last week, a story is in the works) but I gotta speak up and let Godspeed Gotim know that this shit just ain't kosher.

This website was created so that crackers like ourselves (brothas too, don't fret, we're PC) could speak on any and every issue. Not only is it the beauty of this site, it's also the American way. Now for a man who claims to be so anti-patriot act for fear of an intrusion his rights, I find it ironic that Gotim is tellling Neill to shut up. First of all, Gott cannot even account for half of the people who give this site hits, thus how the fuck does he know what "the people" want to hear. You ain't the People's Champ Irv. He is merely speaking for himself, and that's about it. Yeah we all love to hear tidbits of pop culture and the latest sports happenings, but politics is vital to the continuation and success of Billiken. We need a well balanced Billiken diet (we don't want our little buddy getting fat do we?), and Neill brings an element that thus far no one else has brought. He also brings controversy to the table. Now I realize the massive number of hits in the past few days have gone to Goti's head (you should see the bastard, he can't even fit through the door anymore), but this simply will not continue unless we have that controversy and balance. People definitely like tit and some like tat, but people love the tit-for-tat....and Billiken.blogspot brings them that (yes I'm a rhymeslayer).

It's very disheartening to me when Gotim suddenly thinks he can control what is said and who says it on this website. Neill will not, and should not be silenced. This isn't a dictatorship, and if it is, Gotim you're in some trouble because Syrian leaders just don't sit well in the eyes of American's these days. This is a cry for freedom, justice and a plea for the preservation of the American way. Our streets aren't too loud to hear freedom ring, and we shouldn't have to evacuate our sleep because it's dangerous to dream(Mighty Mos). When the entire foundation of Billiken begins to falter because the leader is on a power trip, I gotta drop my two cents in the UHO bucket. So here's to Neill, an up and comer on the political scene and a very necessary component to the Billiken staff, (bottoms up!!!!).

When I once called out a less intelligent fool in my group to shut up after he'd offered an idea i thought dumb, my 5th grade teacher asked me "how can a bicycle function if one of the pieces is not working?" I thought about it for a minute and realized that it can't, and that each part is just as valuable as the other. So if Neill is gone, then this bike ain't taking any of us downtown to campus, and Goti......you can walk the 10 blocks by yourself.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

And I'm Bigger Than the City Lights Down in Times Square... Yeah, Yeah, Yeah 

P. Diddy is taking a break from Making Da Band to play the lead role in Lorraine Hansberry's classic, A Raisin in the Sun. P. Diddy takes on the role of patriarch, Walter Lee Younger, a role which Sidney Poitier originally made famous.

Sidney Poitier

What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry like a raisin in the sun?

P. Diddy

I Am the American Dream... Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

Yeaaaaa, I'm just not sure about that right there.

What Would Happen if Debbie Did Dallas in Space? Houston, Would Have a Problem! 

Apparently there will be no 'extraterrestrial entanglement' or 'interplanetary interplay' if and when NASA sends a manned mission to Mars.

NASA is considering how to deal with the natural urges of astronauts travelling on long journeys such as a three-year trip to Mars, where the six-strong crew would be likely to include two women.

"NASA is talking about the chemical sterilisation of astronauts on longer journeys," Dr Armstrong said, in a talk discussing the problems humanity may face in trying to reach the planets and, eventually, the stars.

The article came from a website in the UK, who took the opportunity to comment on the America's recent Puritan tendencies. "But that denial may hide a reluctance, in a nation where the showing of a nipple on national television provokes a religious outcry, to discuss the rather delicate subject of sex in space. "

And to think I once wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up! Come on NASA what if the astronauts want to get down? I would imagine you could do some pretty freaky deaky stuff with zero gravity.

On second thought, sign me up!

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

'Unconscious' Hip Hop 

I like rap music. I'm usually willing to look past the 'white man as devil' rhetoric and focus on the redeeming elements of a song.

A week ago, in a post that didn't quite get off the ground, Neill and I were all set to discuss the merits of Talib Kweli, who happens to be performing at the NYU Kimmel Center this Thursday at 8pm. Talib has the reputation of being intelligent and 'conscious' of some of the real issues facing America.

Today I was on Sohh.com and read an interview with the 'social activist' hip hop tandum, known as Dead Prez. I was left with the impression that they were completely unconscious. You should read the entire interview but here are a few of the highlights.

As you can see Dead Prez is truly revolutionary, what with the Che Guevara T-shirt and all.

1. What community activism organizations are y'all working with presently?

Stic.man: We're trying to start a company called BOSS UP. Trying to develop independent Black men.


Stic.man: sh!t like that.

(Ok fine I'm with them so far, they didn't really explain how BOSS UP will create strong black men, but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, remember they are 'conscious' and socially aware)

2. Do you agree with the FCC ban of Howard Stern?

Stic.man: Ban that cracker. Take him off. I don't give a sh!t about no Howard Stern.

(Well that's pretty cut and dry)

3. Reggaeton has a lot of ass shaking involved. I'm surprised dead prez is into it.

Stic: You gotta have ass shaking. Nobody wanna get free if there's no asses shaking.

Stic: I'm militant fo sho'. But I like ass shaking.

(Well put)

4. What does freedom involve? (A tough question that even Plato struggled with)

Stic: Freedom is keeping it G to the fullest. Owning our own and having what we need in abundance. Thinking about what we're gonna do with our time on the earth.

So are you guys going around hugging trees?

Stic: A tree hugger? sh!t, I'll give a tree a hug. To me that's a given. First you have to get rid of this bastard system for you to be focusing in the ozone. The way the system is set up is why the ozone is so f#@$ed up. I don't want the atmosphere to burn up... that's gonna f#@$ the game up. I don't know if I gotta start with that first. When we get rid of these crackers off my back we gonna fix the ozone.

(The ozone needs you Stic.man, make some moves)

5. Stic: Hey I got a tangent question for you. What's worse a cracker or crack?

Well, crackers put crack in our community.

Stic: OK. What's worse... whitey or the White House?

Do you vote? Sometimes I really get unmotivated to do so.

Stic: Nope. Ain't nobody running.

M1: I'll be voting for the Hot 10 at 10. I be hitting that all the time. Vote for "Hell Yeah" dead prez featuring Jay-Z. Vote for that.

(That's the spirit, Rock the Vote, let FunkMaster Flex hear what kind of change the people want!)

I'm reminded of another Talib Kweli line... (who, might I add, is starting to look better and better in contrast to some of his peers, kind of addition by subtraction). Talib says, "The community needs us, but rappers just ain't the right leaders." If that isn't 'conscious', at least that is self-aware.


Monday, April 26, 2004

Oh Dear 

Check out this video which shows what happens when grape stomping goes terribly wrong.


Bobst Boy 

NYU CAS sophmore Steve Stanzak has been living the last 8 months in level A of Bobst. Now one might think that Bobst Boy finally got spotted by an NYU security guard. But in fact, Steve was keeping a live journal documenting his life on the run, and an NYU administrator stumbled onto it.

This should serve as a wakeup call to anyone with a blog or live journal. Loose lips do sink ships. But Steve's big mouth actually paid off for him. NYU is providing him with free housing at Lafeyette for the remainder of the semester. Good work Steve-O

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Nick on Porn Stars and Oil Barons 

HIV-Infected Porn Star Watch

The Pornography Industry may be more reliant on diversion and fantasy than any other business on Earth (aside, perhaps, from Disney and the Bush Adminstration). It's disheartening then, to read articles such as this and find out that not only have our illustrious pornographers been unable to prevent a potential HIV outbreak among its "actors," but have been unwilling to release said performers' legal names.

I can understand the former failing- who knows how many partners these fiends have once the videocamera has stopped rolling? Who knows what practices or illicit substances they're dabbling in? And, since apparently only two of the largest companies, including Vivid, which was responsible for the huge pro-porn marketing binge that began a few years ago, require condom use during all scenes, it's not surprising that some sort of unfortunate bodily fluid mishap would occur.

What is surprising is their reluctance to give the necessary information to the authorities. Call me crazy, but if I'm dealing with a health crisis that has the potential to cripple my industry, I'm not going to rely on a group of colleagues, most of whom are named Rocco and work in otherwise abandoned warehouses in the San Fernando Valley. Perhaps a group of overweight cameramen and bleached blondes shouldn't be responsible for the rigorous HIV testing practices required in a case such as this. I understand wanting to handle things "in house," but when that house is equipped only to handle the documenting of copulation, perhaps we're overstretching our resources a bit.

And besides- I don't think anyone will be all that disappointed to hear that their Porn star heroes actually have names that aren't alliterative puns. If we find out that Jenna Jameson is named Mildred Snodgrass, it's not going to hurt her sales. So, California OSHA, it's time to step in and teach these so-called experts the basic rules for safe sex that are taught in our junior high schools. Ignore the complaints from producers; they'll be just fine when the next lonely Friday night roles around for their regular customers.

And on to lighter topics...

I had decided, based mostly on recent failed attempts to criticise religious groups and the right wing, to dedicate myself to a more scientific, less judgemental way of assessing the current political climate. I feared that I would be pigeonholed by our in-house Republican commentator Neill as a bleeding heart, godless, nihilist, liberal, and no one respects them.

So I wasn't looking for fight when FOX News on Sunday slapped me across the face with the line, "Woodward also claims that the Saudi's agreed to lower oil prices in time for the November election."

What the f--king f--k?!?

Yes- you've all heard it by now. Investigative journalist hero Bob Woodward has done it again. He's enflamed everyone in the Bush camp by asstering in his new book "Plan of Attack," among other things, that Bush had decided to go to war in January 2003, instead of March, that Powell was left out of the decision making loop, and was shown war plans after Saudi Foreign Minister Bandar saw them, and that in return for an American takedown of Saddam, the Saudi's would pledge anti-terrorist support and lower fuel prices in time for voting day this November.

Sweet merciful crap, this is unethical.

One can make the case that this is how things are done with countries such as Saudi Arabia- that relations are tenuous and that all presidents, Republican or Democrat need to make concessions here or there that the public is better off not learning about. Granted. But this is an entirely different scenario. We're currently dealing with the highest average price per gallon of gasoline ever, according to AAA. Bush is spending millions on ads that assert that Kerry would be responsible for monumental gas tax and price hikes. And Bush loyalists and OPEC ambassadors are going hoarse explaining that the reason for the gas prices is that America lacks the refining capacity we need to handle the oil coming in from overseas. What we have here is a perfect storm of reasons to investigate this matter to the fullest extent of the law.

If it is found out, as I suspect it might be, that Bush is misleading drivers about the reasons for gasoline prices, he'll be out of office faster than you can rack up a $50 tab gasing up your Escalade. Kerry would have irrefutable evidence of Bush's misleading of the media through this blatently false TV claims and would be propelled ahead in the polls. Any bit of good news coming out of Iraq would be scrutinized with unparalled care, and his strength in terrorism polls would suffer. In short, Woodward has lobbed the Dems their winning shot.

And what are we doing with it? Zilch.

I saw a piece on the CNN news scroll asking Americans to sign on and say whether or not they believe Woodward's claim. Other than that, I've heard not a serious word from Kerry, or any other prominent Dem on the subject. I don't want to use the word "choke" but I'm hard pressed to come up with a more valid explanation.

All I can say is that Friedman and Dowd and Krugman have all dropped the ball on this one. If politics were my game, I'd be hijacking planes to skywrite this news over the White House.

I'd be kidnapping children and for ransom, demanding round the clock CNN coverage of Woodward. I'd be devising James Bond-esque laser death rays to spell out this claim in arctic ice sheets, so that images could be beamed back to us from the Space Station.

This news, at this stage in the election is like Watergate x Tea Pot Dome x Barry Bonds' steroids x Jacko's molestations + infinity, and we're talking about things Kerry said in 1971 about Vietnam.

Woodward, I'm with ya, but why did you let this unprecidented bit of muckracking fall through the cracks? Why wasn't it the bloody title of the book?

My only hope is that gas prices drop precipitously in October. Then we'll all suddenly care. Bandar will run for the dunes, Powell will come out as a gay abortion doctor, and Bushy will have quite a bit of explaining to do.

"Why, Mr. President, after months of increasing gasoline prices, explained by incessent rhetoric from your administration, did they suddenly plumment in time for voting day? Was there a secret stash of fossil fuel discovered in the Lincoln Bedroom, or under your Crawford Ranch, or might it be fair to assume that Woodward's claim was a truthful one?"

"...Well, you see...the thing about that is...err, Kerry criticized Vietnam. He's a commie."

Shout Shout Let It All Out! 

I just installed a comment feature on Billiken, it's located at the bottom of each post. I'm hoping this will be a little more successful than my messageboard , where a total of ONE person has responded (Thanks, Strabuski).

This is your opportunity to respond to my ramblings. I want to hear what the people have to say for themselves. So like The Spin Doctors said in their hit song 'Two Princes'...

If you want to tell me I talk for hours,
(Then go ahead now)
And if you want to buy me flowers,
(Then go ahead now).
And you better post some Comments
(Come on just go ahead now!!)

I'd also like to thank AWood and his House of Thuggin' for being the guiding light that has helped me furnish my blog with all the proper amenities.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Hey, Fugehdaboutit It's A Fugazi 

The Knicks looked absolutely horrific last night, and went down 2-0 to the Nets in their 1st round playoff series. They showed zero heart and no intensity, but that is all about to change. Just ask Tim Thomas, who was injured in Game 1 when Jason Collins flagrantly fouled him on a dunk attempt.

Thomas, the one with the C-notes sticking out of his cap, said,"My goal is just to get back out there on the court before this series is over so I can go hit somebody. That's it. That's all I'm looking forward to," Thomas said Wednesday. "What's been done to me is going to be done to them. It's very simple."

Thomas saved his most caustic comments for Kenyon Martin, repeatedly calling him "fugazy" -- a slang term for fake used in the mafia movie "Donnie Brasco."

"Just knowing his character, he's a fugazy guy. I read a comment that Jason Richardson said nobody wants to mess with a pit bull, but I've never seen a pit bull who picks and chooses who he wants to bite," Thomas said.

"He's fugazy as far as the whole tough guy role. You get techs and you get fines and that makes you tough? Because your game is wild and crazy, that makes you tough? When a scuffle breaks out, you have 13 guys that can protect you. When it's you and someone else, what happens then?

Thomas added, "Somebody call Don King and hook it up for us.''

I'll admit I was losing hope for the Knicks. I wasn't even going to watch the final two games of the series, but Thomas just turned this into some must see TV. He wants to get back on the court by game 4 to beat some Nets up. Looks like the Knicks have found the intensity that they were lacking. I always respect a Donnie Brasco reference. And if somehow Don King got involved in a Martin/Thomas boxing match , it would be a truly splendiferous and monumental event, fugehdaboutit.



Welcome to the first installment of BilliKAN--BilliKANT. The topic is a former NYU Violet, Talib Kweli. His new album 'Beautiful Struggle' is scheduled to be released sometime in June. But thanks to the internet and our good friend Larry, we already have it here at Billiken. I think it's a Quality album, Neill and the other hand feels that it is lack in something, and has given it two thumbs down. I quote, "I wish I had two more hands so I could give that album four thumbs down."

Deservedly or not, Talib Kweli has the reputation of being a conscious rapper with intelligent, socially aware lyrics. Neill and I will debate this topic.




Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Don King - Only in America 

Equal parts Buckwheat and Dragon Ball Z, Don King is a complex character...

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Like Jay-Z, he's Che Guevara with Bling Bling on...
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Like Al Sharpton and Donald Trump his coiffure defies gravity...

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He is the self-proclaimed undisputed heavyweight champion of the art of 'negrogiatation'.

Usually he can be found promoting his fights at boxing press conferences, but recently he's taken up a different cause, the 2004 George W. Bush reelection campaign. During an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, where he wore a jean jacket decorated with the likeness of George W., a Barbara Bush pin, and numerous American flags, King proclaimed that he's not a Democrat, not a Republican, but rather that rare hybrid a Republicrat. When Cooper asked him what kind of a chance John Kerry had in the 2004 election, King said, "John Kerry has two chances of winning this election- slim and none, and slim just left town." Well put.

He's freedom fighting, and not afraid to make a few bucks doing so. In between campaigning for Bush's presidency, he promoted the Ruiz/Oquendo Heavyweight title bout. He also made the claim that he has had a hand in making more black millionaries in this country than anyone else. However, he neglected to mention that he has bankrupted nearly as many. Nonetheless Don King is, as Dave Chapelle can attest, truly a spendiferous and monumentous self-made American.


Monday, April 19, 2004

Rico's Debut on Billiken's Bluff... "Black on Both Sides" 

New Yorkers, spring is here, and for those who reside on Union Square that can only mean a few things: sweaty crowds, short skirts and of course the appearance of “Angry Black” (legal name still pending). For those of you who have yet to become acquainted with this hate-crime waiting to happen, “allow me to reintroduce his’self”. It is still under debate as to whether the sun brings out Angry Black or whether Angry Black brings his own heat, but this man at work is something truly special. He’s made a name for himself by standing on the park’s Westside shouting racial propaganda to everyone, and I mean everyone. 8 year old skateboarders, 75 year old nouns, UHO professionals and even 22-year old Irish lads who get paid only on the 1st and 15th. Beware, for you’re all subject to this man’s “splendiferous and monumentous” tirades rapped over the backdrop of smooth Satannical jargon.

However, things didn’t exactly go down as expected today, and even my main man was seemingly thrown for a loop. With the 87 degree sun beating down on his newly shaved dome and two New York Knick vans lacing the barrio’ boys with free gear, Angry Black was called out. Now this needs to be put in context. Here is a man who jukes and jives for hours, to any and every passerby, never eliciting more than a glance, yet building up his anger simply through his own words. So imagine what goes down when this fella’ is verbally called out……by another’ brotha’ no less. After a few minutes of uppercut-less verbal sparring, the young fan simply began responding with “Knicks bitch…Knicks bitch. Don‘t hate…don‘t hate.” Now I found this to be a pretty harmless response to an escalating situation, but Angry black pounced like Asians on the new William Hung LP (in stores soon). My man countered with one of the longest and most ridiculous diatribes since A.I‘s postgame practice shtick. Black was making like King Midas, touching upon everything from slavery to Marbury and turning each call and response to gold. “You ain’t black enough,” he jeered, “yea you got them shorts, you got them sports but you ain’t no black brotha a mine. How you call yourself black…whatchu’ be doin’ for the cause…your cause is lost.” Now I’m no Negrodamus, but even from the balcony I could see this kid was no Mike Bibby, he had his fair share of melanin. It got me thinking, what is exactly does it mean to be black enough, or white enough…….blue or green enough, it doesn’t seem to mean enough.

Don’t get me wrong, “Angry Black” is a rare sort, a five tool player if you would…possibly even a Union Square icon, but really, his views don’t represent that of an entire people. What makes New York City the greates show on earth is the dynamics of it’s inhabitants and the co-existence of many a people. What is it coming to when people within a race are calling out each other for not “hating” enough on those that are different. Is this the spawn of new breed of racism? Whether or not Angry Black is striving for this end, maybe this summer he should just stick to punking kids in the park…..revolutions don’t start with battles…….they start with unity.

David Stern Throws a Bucket of Haterade on Big Ron Ron 

I was looking through the Billiken posts and noticed there is a conspicous absence of sporting news on this blog. This would come as a real shock if you saw just how much Sportscenter I watch. I guess I haven't really had much to get heated about. The Knicks haven't even been worth talking about. Any team that gives DerMarr Johnson and Vin Baker significant playing time is a joke. Despite their best efforts, the Knicks limped their way into the playoffs. I never thought I would yearn for the good ol' days when Allan Houston was firing up jumpshots, but Knicks have no shot of beating the Nets in the 1st round without him. But enough about underachieving New York athletes, let's talk about a someone from the neighborhood who made good... Ron Artest.

If the Knicks had any feel for talent or business savvy, Ron Artest, NBA All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year, would be a Knick today. Scott Layden, quite possibly the most inept GM in the history of professional sports, decided to draft 7'2'' Frenchman Fredric Weis. Weis never even made it across the Atlantic, and has the dubious distinction of being the stoog that allowed Vince Carter to jump over his head for a dunk.

Artest was a proven hometown player. He took St. johns to the Elite 8 in the NCAA tournament, he was born in raised in Queensbridge (Ooochiewally,). But, there's no use crying over spilt milk.

Artest has turned into a terrific player, averaging 18 points 5 rebounds and 2.5 steals a game. Big Ron has always had a temper problem. He had a few run ins last year with some officials and television monitors. But this year he has toned it down.

On the same day that he was named Defensive Player of the Year, he was also suspended for Game 2 of Indiana's 1st round playoff series against Boston. Jermaine O'Neal got into a shoving match with a Boston player, and Artest leaped off the bench to get his teamate out of trouble. He ran all of 5 steps off the bench before realizing that it was against NBA rules to leave the bench during a skirmish.

This is the same rule that caused 2/3 of the Knicks' team team to be suspended for a playoff game against teh Heat a few years back. It's ridiculous. David Stern and Stu Jackson need to look at the spirit of the rule on this one. It's meant to punish those who leave the bench to participate in a fight. Only problem is; 1. Artest wasn't in the fight, and 2. there was no fight.

It's clear Stern is punishing Artest for being such a thug last year. He could have let this one slide. On the same day, Saturday, the Net's choir boy Richard Jefferson left his seat when Jason Kidd and Frank Williams exchanged shoves. Stern must fallen asleep during that game (which is understandable because the Nets were playing the Knicks!)

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Victoria's Secret  

This is old news by now, but it's still something that needs to be commented on. Victoria's Secret, who for the past two years ran a lingerie special on CBS, has decided to preemptively cancel their special this year. They are doing this to avoid the notoriety that they would no doubt receive for airing a prime time show featuring beautiful women in their underwear. To their credit, Victoria's Secret did not try to take the high road and claim that they felt airing such a special would be indecent. Rather, they said that due to the increased public scrutiny that such events have been receiving, and due to the FCC's hardline approach to indecency, they are pulling the program. It's a new day. Remember this is the year 2004 of Our Lord Savior, there is a new standard of morality sweeping across the nation.

What is so different about 2004, than 2003 when the show received high ratings, or 1999 when the special was broadcasted on the internet receiving so many hits that cbs.com had to shut down for 20 minutes? Well just about everything. Janet's exposed spiked-metal-star boob ruined it for us all. It was soggy, droopy, and as a result we won't be seeing any of what Janet was desperately in need of- a
support bra.

But Janet really isn't the culprit. Things are getting a bit out of hand with the crusade on sexuality. Howard Stern has been kicked off of Clear Channel for producing the same raunchy product that he has for years. People still want to hear Howard, and they still want to see Victoria's Secret Models strut down the runway. But unfortunately those who are shocked by such such smut are waging a war on the private parts of the body.

Ok I have a solution. Instead of worrying about Little Dick And Jane flipping the channel to CBS and seeing Tyra Banks in a thong....Don't let them watch TV. Have them read a book. Read them a book. Play a board game. Get them some paints and pastels. Do something.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Some Real Fuzzy Math 

The commission investigating the attacks on Sept. 11th has less than 1/4 of the funding that was allotted to the Independent Counsel headed by Ken Starr to investigate Bill Clinton. Starr had $65 million, while the 9/11 commission has $15 million. Starr's inquiry into Monica Lewinsky cost 12.4 Million dollars alone. Clinton provided 5 hours of testimony in front of Starr's counsel. Bush is expected to give an hour of unsworn testimony behind closed doors to the 9/11 commission.

Talk about fuzzy math. These numbers should be put on a bumper sticker or something. Once again this administration has managaed to shock and awe me.


Honey, why does the Buick smell like pig manure? 

You too may be asking this question in the near future. A research team at the University of Illinois is working on turning pig manure into a crude form of oil. The conversion process uses intense heat and pressure to break down the molecular structure of manure into oil. It's like the natural process that turns organic matter into oil over centuries, but in the laboratory the process can take as little as a half-hour.

Apparently this is not as far-fetched as it sounds. A similar process is being used at a plant in Carthage, Mo., where tons of turkey entrails, feathers, fat and grease from a nearby Butterball turkey plant are converted into a light crude oil.

This is a real interesting and exciting form of renewable energy. I'll be the first to admit that I didn't see it coming. I was thinking more along the lines of solar powered cars. But the benefits of pig manure energy could be even greater than simply a new form of renewable energy. In fact I think these pigs could diffuse one of the most contentious situations in the world today. Pig manure is an issue that both Palestinians and Israelis can unite on. Both Judaism and Islam have strict dietary edicts prohibiting pork because it is an unclean animal. If the US is able to perfect this pig manure process and starts churning out barrels to fuel factories, cars, and airplanes I could see the Muslims and the Jews joining forces against the unclean, unholy, pig-pumping USA. They might come to realize that they're not so different after all and America is the one that has been stinking up the globe. I guess I'm just a dreamer.

But if what my sister tells me is true Spain is the country that could stand to lose the most. She says all they eat over there is pork. And if pigs turn out to be a rich source of energy, how long will it be before we decide to launch Operation Spanish Freedom? Sending in troops, along with Halliburton. I just hope they leave Mallorca alone! It's too pretty for all that nonsense.


Monday, April 12, 2004

Verizon- A Diverse, Forward Thinking Company (Now if they'd only fix my cellphone!!) 

The good folks at Verizon, who brought us such creative advertising campaigns as the Verizon worker asking, Can you hear me now? , are at it again. Their new campaign features the Elliots a multicultural family who just installed Verizon DSL in their suburban home. The father is teaching his sons how to use the email account. Sounds like a fairly boring premise for a television campaign. But hold your horses.

I'm reminded of a joke:

A father and son are involved in a terrible car accident. The father dies immediately. The son is rushed to the hospital where he is brought into the emergency room. The surgeon comes in and says, "I can't operate on this boy because he is my son."

How can this be? The father died in the car accident, right? And of course the punchline is that the surgeon is the boy's Mother. The punchline is aimed directly at the listener who is presumably too prejudiced or conditioned (even my conditioned has been conditioned) to think of the possibility that a woman could be the surgeon.

The narrow-mindedness that this joke illustrates is very similar to the reaction I had when I saw this commercial. There is this middle class white father, Mr. Elliot, who is trying to show his two sons how to include a picture in the body of the email. The two sons respond, come on Dad we already knoooooow how to do that. It's suburban, normal, mundane, except for the fact that Mr. Elliot's two sons look black or at Puerto Rican, but certainly not white. I kept waiting for the punchline. I kept waiting for Mrs. Elliot, the black mother to come into the living room. At least then the commercial would have felt vaguely familiar. White father + Black mother = Mixed children. That is the equations that would have satisfied my expectations. But Verizon completely got rid of the safety net on this one. Mrs. Elliot does not make an appearance.

This is not a normal suburban family at least by television standards. This commercial seemed out of place to me. Not so much because I haven't been exposed to multiracial families (I'm half Irish, half Syrian) but because you never seen this on television. If you do it's always framed a certain way. Both the black and white parent are present, to help explain the situation to the viewer, i.e., how these multiracial children came to be. Verizon's commercial offers no explanation, or apology for the family grouping that it presents. It just offers quality high speed internet service.

I realize that I often make bold, unfounded conspiracy claims. I also realize that as a student with liberal tendancy I often take the ANTI-everything stance (particularly when it comes to this government, or large corporations). When I started writing this post I was even planning on attacking Verizon for trying to appear diverse. But I'm starting to realize that this type of thinking isn't always productive. Verizon doesn't do anything wrong by presenting a family that is unusual by television commercial standards. In fact they are probably doing something right. If there were more presentations of families like the Elliots on television then maybe more people wouldn't be fooled by the "Mother/Surgeon" joke.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

In Response to My Brilliant Friend Nick 

In this my first post on The Billiken's Bluff, I would like to thank Nick for diverting us with his insightful and timely analysis of Mormonism (and its compelling parallels with the snack food industry). It was refreshing to read such well-researched and informed reporting because so often these days one is forced to slog through raving drivel that neglects historical context and personal faith and attachment. The kind context that comes, for example, from knowing that Mormons were subjected to extermination orders in Missouri, which led them to go to Illinois, where they were repeatedly attacked by mobs, murdered, and had their property destroyed.

Furthermore, other less talented writers would avoid getting right basic facts like the name of the Mormon fellows that go around proselytizing--missionaries not 'prophets'--but then again 'prophets' is a more controversial word; an easy way to make a uninteresting story interesting. Many would think these 'prophets' insane to devote two years of their lives to the service of their honest faith, and assume they are suffering from brainwashing and lack of caffeine in their diet. Clearly Nick understands that rational people can respect the faith of others without resorting to petty name-calling and fear mongering. I admire that commitment to common decency and mutual respect.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

A Couple of things struck me as odd this week. I owe my incredibly easy job for providing me with the free time one needs to track down such arcane subject matter. Let me get right into it:

The next time you sit down in front of the TV for a dose of "The Family Fued" or whatever the kids are watching these days and grab a big bag of potato chips, give a thought to the Snack Food Association. Now, I realize that every product have some sort of association, as one can't maintain a major business without some sort of lobbying effort inside the beltway. Even distillers and cigarette producers have massive numbers of employees planning conventions and providing PR. The thing is, products like this really need the boost, especially when they've proven to actually be hazardous to your health, work within strict sales rules, and are avoided by major segments of the population.
But snack foods? We're talking about a group of businessmen who sit around in an underground bunker and discuss the sales figures of pork rinds? What self-respecting employee would be willing to give a legimate discertation on the merits of Chips-ahoy? Why, oh why, do they feel that they need some form of unionization? When they had their annual Snaxpo Convention in Philly this year, I wonder how many people attended their "Potato Chip Seminar. You can't make this kind of stuff up, folks.
Maybe they're on to something. Maybe the federal government is planning on introducing some sort of maximum calorie intake, and those folks pushing Splenda are gonna run all these snack foods manufacturers out of business. Maybe the push for low carb diets has outraged chip producers. Maybe kids will suddenly forget they like cookies.
Either way, I have half a mind to call and ask them about the "pellet snack" producers they claim to represent.

Now while you're reeling from that, give this a look. Seems the state of Illinois is offering an official letter of regret to the State of Utah and the Mormon church for the execution of its founder, Joseph Smith, and the expulsion of its followers. I guess the passage of time and common sense proved to be inadaquate. This article came the day after my buddy Dave met with a pair of Mormon prophets that came to his apartment to convert him. He debated them a bit- they complained he wouldn't pray with them. It's a shame he didn't have this in his arsenal, though I'm sure they would have been proud of the Land of Lincoln for finally burying the hatchet. As much as I'm angry with people who would be willing to travel for two years of their life trying to convert people to a cultish religion, I have to admire their tenacity (their only allowed to call home twice during that time). It's take a special kind of sheep to worship that intently.

The moral of these stories? Seems it's real easy to lose sight of the "big picture," whether you're banning coffe from the diet, or attempting to add more sugar and saturated fat to it. I imagine that the atmosphere around the SFA headquarters, with everyone doped out on Cheeze-its and Pixie Stix, is similar to that in downtown Salt Lake. They're both cults, and both completely reliant on propaganda. If I had to choose, though, I'd definitely take the one that's encouraging me to destroy my body over the one that really wants me to feel guilty for having one.



The Billiken's Bluff has been operating for just about a month. I'm very happy with the feedback I've received about the site. It's varied from, "I really like what you're doing. Keep up the good work!" To, "What the hell is a Billiken anyway? Stop it with the Billikens." Both valid points.

I'm slowly but surely becoming computer literate. Today I managed to set up a Guestbook for Billiken's Bluff. You can find it if you scroll to the bottom of the page. I'd like to find out who visits this site, any and all comments would be appreciated.

I'm also trying to start a weekly Op-Ed piece where I square off against Neill. We disagree on almost everything so it should be ripe with conflict. This section will be called BilliKAN/BilliKAN'T.


Wednesday, April 07, 2004

War and Peace in the Global Village 


Born Again and Again and Again 

I was looking at the title line of Billiken's Bluff and I feel as if I may not be living up to the mission statement that I set out for this blog. I haven't discussed Andre 3000 even once on this site, and yet this post here will be my second (in two days no less) about Born Again Christians. Sorry Possum Jenkins, but I just seem to be running into more fanatical Christians these days than I know what to do with.

It was a beautiful day at Union Square Park. I was reading and enjoying the weather, when a group of 15 high school aged kids in matching t-shirts, started to set up a Prayer Station .

Two girls approached a homeless man sitting next to me and asked him if he'd like a lunch. Sure he would, but there's a catch. He had to answer a few survey questions. Sounds innocent enough right? Anything in the name of scienific inquiry.

1. Is God playing a larger role in your life today than He was 5 years ago?

2. Is there a Church, Temple, or Synogogue that you regularly attend? If yes, then which one?

3. Do you pray at least once a day?

4. If you were to die today do you think you would go to Heaven?

5. And finally if you had to stand before God today and he asked you what is the reason that I should let you into Heaven, What would you say to Him?

The homeless man answered the questions. For the final question he responded, that God would let him into Heaven because he has tried his best to live a good life. The young street evangelists responded, fine but what do you do on a daily basis to try to get into heaven? Do you perform selfless deeds like helping old women across the street?

Keep in mind that this man was homeless, and looked to be about 65 years old . He was in no position to help anyway across a street. This went back and forth for a bit. They gave him the sandwich. I could tell it was my turn.

I wasn't really in the mood to be grilled with questions (it was a nice day out). But they asked if I could just fill out the survey. I said fine. I answered Yes to the first four questions, thinking that I was being fairly honest. I also figured it would cause a minimum of debate if I gave them the answers they wanted to hear. But that last question wasn't so easy. It wasn't a yes/no, true/false question. I had to come up with something to say to God. Something that would get me past the pearly gates, or at the very least make God chuckle. I tried to think of what Woody Allen or Christopher Walken might say if they were posed the same question. I was drawing a blank. Nothing funny, clever, or poignant. And then a flash of inspiration from none other than Lucacris...

5. And finally if you had to stand before God today and he asked you what is the reason that I should let you into Heaven, What would you say to Him?


Now I wouldn't seriously say that to God. I would definately address him respectfully, and would actually would welcome the opportunity to talk with him. But I just wanted to get a rise out of these girls, you know, for shits and giggles.

This was one of those tests where the teacher grades you on the spot. So these two girls, who couldn't have been older than 17, looked over my answers. They didn't try to debate me on #5, my answer was pretty cut and dry. They said if I wanted any information, or just wanted to pray with them I should just stop by the Prayer Station.

Oh but wait there's more. A gentleman in a gold colored suit and green leather shoes tried to hand me a flyer for Due Amici Pizzeria. I declined. He stopped by the Prayer Station with the pizza flyers. I return to my book. A few minutes later I heard someone rapping. I look over at the Prayer Station and Mr. Gold Suit and Green Shoes is busting a little freestyle about Jesus Christ, all while one of the street evangelists films him on her camcorder. Good God almighty.

Again I'm reminded of a line from Talib Kweli's new album. "Feeling like you have to sneak into Heaven, when the Reverend look like the Pimp, and the Pimp look like the Reverend." Talib is proving to be very prophetic in describing my daily encoutners with Christianity.

I'll keep you guys posted on Talib, the Prayer Station, and Aaron's Bible Megasite.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Aaron's Bible Megasite 

Talib Kweli has a line in a song off his forthcoming album that goes- "It doesn't matter if you a Muslim, Hebrew, or your a Christian...Information is the newest religion." Well put. And conversely, religion appears to be the newest information, the newest pop up ad, the newest intrusive wesbite that attacks your internet explorer unprovoked.

Enter Aaron and his Bible Megasite. If you try and get to my website and type: www.billikenbluff.blogpsot.com you end up here. ***Check out this website at your own risk. I take no responsibility if you become a Born Again Christian***

It would be very easy to make some sarcastic remarks about Aaron, to point out some the more blatant contradicitions in his logic, to list some of the funnier fire and brimstone predictions his site makes, or to comment on the just how much of America buys into this type of Christianity. But, I'm not going to do that right now.

I'm just surprised that this Aaron character would try to trick people onto his site, by deliberately mispelling blogspot. I recall discussing a case in my Law and Society class last semester where a mother brought charges against a porn website that had a web address one letter off from Disney.com, something like Dinsey.com. She argued they were trying to lure immpressionable young children onto their porn site. Well I would argue that Aaron is trying to lure immpressionable young college students onto his Born Again site. Not cool Aaron, not cool. I expect a certain amount of insidious pop-up ads and intrusive advertisements when I go on the internet, but I don't expect this type of piracy of the Billiken Bluff's well respected name by Aaron and his Technicolor Bible Megasite.


Monday, April 05, 2004

Is Bigger Better? 

Anyone who has watched Major League Baseball the past 7 years or has been to Sound Factory :
should be able to spot a juicehead when they see one. Sure there is Barry Bonds. You don't have to take a urine sample to know that a 30 year-old athlete does not put on 40 pounds of muscle in the prime of his career. But even after the fallout of the BALCO investigation, Bonds is still looking muscle bound this Spring. He must have found a new 'supplement,' to keep his biceps bulging and his cranium growing. But what I'm more interested in is Jason Giambi, another player who was listed as a client of the infamous BALCO lab. Let's look at some before (quitting steroids) and after (quitting steroids) photos:


Here is Giambi at the This is Giambi at the 2003 All Star game. Notice the muscles bulging out of his forearms.

Here is Giambi looking mean and vicious


Here is a picture of Giambi from this 2004 Spring Training, post steroids. Notice the thin, almost human looking arms

And finally here is a projected picture of what Giambi should like like by the end of the season, once his system is completely clean.

Now granted I did see Giambi hit and opposite field homerun against the Devil Rays opening day in Japan. Maybe there is some hope for Giambi in life after steriods. A-Rod hits 50 homeruns a year and is hardly muscle bound.

But Barry's still bulky, and getting away with it (for the time being), so maybe Jason should have listened to Mobb Deep's advice. There ain't no such thing as a half way crook, they're scared to death scared to look. Your either in, or your out. You ball to you fall, or your body gives out like Ken Caminiti, Jose Canseco, or Mark McGwire's did. You don't just deflate yourself in the off season. Steinbrenner must be wicked pissed.

SuperCenters Blockbusting to a Neighborhood Near You 

I came across this article from the NY Times this morning. I was reminded of Edward Norton's character in Fight Club lamenting that in the future everything will belong to corporations. Planet Starbucks, The Microsoft Galaxy. Well apparently we are taking a step in that direction with Walmart attempting to create a city within the Los Angeles suburb of Inglewood.

I've never been to a Walmart so I may be wrong, and this may not be a cause for alarm. However, I have had extensive experience with another Mart in my neighborhood, KMart. Kmart was a terrible, terible place. It replaced a Bloomingdales, and must have lowered the property value of everything in the zip code. The Big K provided poor quality merchandise and low costs. You could save a few dollars on pampers and lawn chairs if you were willing to spend an afternoon waiting in interminably long lines.

Now I understand that Walmart has a much better reputation for quality of product and shopper satisfaction, but aren't the two stores basically the same? The one glaring difference is the type of consumer the two stores target, Kmart, positioning itself in urban areas, Walmart on the fringes of rural towns. The latter strategy has proven to be much more profitable, but it seems as if Walmart is no longer only focusing on rural communities. They are attempting to build this Supercenter in Inglewood, and 40 additional stores in California.

So what is my issue with Walmart? Let's look at the name Supercenter. It sounds large, behemoth. It's not just a supermarket, or a departmetn store or a pharmacy, but rather a Supercenter. You can put just about anything in a Supercenter. They want to build a 60 acre Supercenter in Inglewood, which would not be required to comply with city building or environmental standards. They are circumventing local authorities in Inglewood, and bringing the issue directly to the people in the form of a referendum. I'm all for the people deciding what they want in their community. I'm sure it sounds appealing as well, you really can save a lot of money, and find just about anything in a Walmart. But let's take a step back for a moment-

They pay their workers close to minimum wage. Probably the only place that a Walmart employee can actually afford to shop in is, well... Walmart. How long before they start getting into the housing business and equip their Supercenters with low cost housing for their workers? The SuperCenter, City-within-a-city is a bold idea, a grand vision, which brings to mind another grand vision,- Communism.

Their employees look happy enough, but I'm not convinced-


Thursday, April 01, 2004

Boy Boy Girl Boy Girl Girl Girl Boy Girl 

I saw two things on television last night that didn't quite look right:

-McDonald's High School All-American Candace Parker throwing down a poor imitation of Dee-Brown's 'No Look' Dunk

-And Kanye West in the Dilated Peoples "This Way" video wearing what looked like a Louis Vuitton carry all.

First Candace. She is 6'4'', headed for basketabll powerhouse Tennessee, and was named Female High School Player of the Year. The very fact that she can dunk is impressive, especially considering she blew out her knee this past summer. There aren't many women that can dunk. The only time I can recall seeing it is when Lisa Leslie dunked while playing in the WNBA. But Candace was competing in the men's (or boy's, i guess, because they are still in high school) dunk contest. While the guys wearing throwing down windmills, and alley oops, Candace looked stiff, kinda like Shawn Bradley (although I would bet she could break Bradley's ankles with a crossover). She won the contest, and made the front page of ESPN.com, where they labeled her SHEbron. At halftime of the men's McDonald's All-American game they interviewed her, and asked if she thought in the near future there would be an all-women's Slam Dunk Contest. Absolutely not. If J.R. Smith had been able to convert one of his 360 windmill attempts, then by all rights he should have won the contest, however I'm not sure he would have. It's a case of some basketball Affirmative Action.

Now I realize the dunk contest is all in good fun, but as Jason Whitlock on ESPN.com writes we all too often try and treat women's sports the same as men's sports. This isn't a knock on the women's game, but women simply can't leap as high, and are not as tall, so therefore cannot dunk like men.

And for Kanye West, I'm really feeling his verse in the new Dilated People's song, "This Way." The video is real hot too. "My penmanship, so hard it need censorship," great line Kanye.

But come on Kan man what are you wearing on your back in the video? I know you refer to yourself as The Louis Vuitton Don and pride yourself on being a 'backpacker.' But no need to combine the two in such an incongruous fashion. The only people who should be wearing Louis Vuitton carry all backpacks are Jappy girls from Great Neck. It looks ridiculous as he is walking down the block in the video. Come on Kanye, what would your momma say, or better yet what would Jay-Z say about this man purse.

SPAM is on some next-level shit 

I don't really use my AOL email account anymore. My inbox gets flooded with so much SPAM that I sometimes can't find my real emails. The SPAM mostly takes the form of either porn or prescription drug websites. When I get around to it I go through them deleting, deleting, deleting.

This morning I was going through doing just that, when I saw an email-

From: donette Corkum
Date: Thu, 01 Apr 2004 11:17:49 -0500
Subject: reason

I should have known that this was SPAM, but it was early, I was groggy, I opened it. Here's what it said-

sleep sort I parcel bell snow round coal credit horn art hospital insect cover fear slow minute substance voice pencil


ticket box military boot range food girl opinion walk ant gun safe stomach slope flat fork yes lead mark pipe even west air rhythm chin flat loose range oven instrument rice tomorrow wash position account arm where goat plate fold space wound attention be country smoke hope cork question tight song war error

Wow. Wow. I guess it's been a while since I've checked in on SPAM, but its apparently evolved into a whole other animal. Ok so this is a link to some shady pharmacy selling painkillers. But what about the stream of consciousness jibber jabber. I showed it to my friend Melissa and she said it looked like a spoken word poem that someone might read while they were on vicodin.

Well put Melissa. When I first saw it I thought it might be a brain teaser or something. Where if I read every fifth word or something I would find out where Bin Laden was hiding ( or at the least how to log on to this vicodin website). But there doesn't appear to be any rhyme or reason. It looks more insidious to me. It's a barrage of of words latent with meaning. Why the military and space imagery? Why all the talk of hope and tomorrow? And most importantly why the talk of rice?!?! It's like morse code, or American Indians speaking in Appachi, sending military positioning to one another during WWII. Without a doubt this is the Information Age.

Seriosuly though, it looks like Donette Corkum (if that is your real name), was trying to sneak the email past the authorities, the DEA, the websmasters whoever is policing cyberspace now a days. Disguise the prescription pill information in the form of nonsensical words strung together in an email. Fight the good fight Donette because Big Brother is watching.


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