Baby, I’m a Star, Again

The Wall Street Journal has an article about Prince’s return to the spotlight. (link via Anil of course) I’m glad that Prince is once again receiving the accolades that he deserves, even if he did lose me for the last few albums. I like what I’ve heard so far of the new material and I’m looking forward to hearing the whole album.

As I always do when I post about Prince, I have to ask: Where the hell are the digital downloads of all the 12-inch singles and B-Sides? Wake up Warner Brothers and come up off the content. The contents of Prince’s alleged vaults need to be freed too.

On a related note, check out Jay Smooth’s review of Prince’s recent concert which was broadcast live to theatres across the country.

I’ve archived the WSJ article below for posterity. 🙂
Continue reading “Baby, I’m a Star, Again”

A Bright Light Snuffed Out

I’ve been in a daze all day today after receiving the news that a dear friend of mine, Okokon B. Okon III, was murdered last night here in Atlanta. He was the victim of what appears to be a senseless crime. As usual, he was being productive. He was attacked in the parking lot just after leaving his office Sunday night. (According to a recent news broadcast the police still don’t know what happened and appear to have few clues so far. Here’s the transcript of the March 29th Fox News report on Okon’s death. )

We, along with two other old college buddies, had just gone bike riding Saturday morning. He had brake trouble on two different bikes over the last two weekends and I’d been joking with him about how I was going to post pictures of him trying to fix the bikes. Little did I know that those would be the last pictures I’d ever get to take of him.

Click for larger imageClick for larger imageClick for larger image

Okokon was one of the best people you’d ever want to meet — intelligent, a great brother to his siblings, always positive, enterprising and he was always very inspirational to me. It was he along with another friend, Maurice, who gave me the vision to strike out on my own and trade stocks for a living. I’m really going to miss being able to kick ideas around with him. Over the last few weeks we had been discussing how to monetize my weblogs, and we were supposed to get together this week to talk about him starting his own blog and to watch the Final Four. I still can’t fully wrap my head around the fact that we’ll never get to do those things.

We’ve had some great times — from just bugging out back at Stanford, to discussing the latest music (I just got him to change his opinion of Kanye last week), to him hipping me to the next great technology trend, to bruhs going worldwide on trips to Caribana, South Beach, Brasil… You’ll be sorely missed my brother. Rest in peace.

Click for larger image

Continue reading “A Bright Light Snuffed Out”

What’s on My TiVo

Here’s what’s in my TiVo’s Season Pass Manager. They’re not necessarily in order from most favorite to least favorite. The shows that air multiple times per week have been pushed lower in the list to avoid conflicts with shows that only air once. That’s why the HBO shows are down so far, for example. You’ll note that I have a lot of Auto-Record WishLists as opposed to just using Season Passes (SP). There are several reasons for that. First is that SPs are channel specific while WishLists(WL) are not. So a WL allows the TiVo to avoid conflicts by finding programs across multiple channels. Second, I may have set some of these up while a program was not listed in the guide data. Like with ‘Nip/Tuck’, it’s currently on hiatus, so I wouldn’t be able to select it in TiVo’s listing in order to get a SP. But I could still set up a WL for it. This is a great way to catch a specific movie you want to see but don’t know when it’ll be on again. And the final reason is that I may want TiVo to do broad searches, like the ‘Law Order’ WL will record all 3 of the Law & Order shows, ‘Ken Burns’ will pick up anything he directed, etc.
Continue reading “What’s on My TiVo”

Under God?

I’m sitting here with CNBC on in the background and they’re talking about the huge response they’re having to their website vote about whether or not the phrase ‘under God’ should be removed from the Pledge of Allegiance. I think they’re getting about 10 times the response they usually get on their polls. Right now 137,000 votes (their largest response ever) have been cast, and 86% say that the Pledge should remain as it is. For the record, I’m part of the 14%. The CNBC anchors like to highlight people’s comments for the reason they voted as they did. Many of the voters said the following: ‘under God has always been there, and it should stay that way.’ Well, those people need to find another reason and learn their history. The pledge has been changed a couple of times over the years (bold emphasis is mine):

The original pledge: “I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the Republic for which it stands — one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” was written by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister, in 1892. Bellamy, a Christian Socialist, prepared the pledge as part of a marketing campaign to sell American flags to public schools. It was used along with the American flag as the centerpiece of a national public schools program to observe Columbus Day in 1892.

In 1923 and 1924, the National Flag Conference, under the leadership of the American Legion and the Daughters of the American Revolution, changed “my flag” to “the Flag of the United States of America.”

In 1954, at the height of the Cold War, Congress added the words “under God,” after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, religious leaders and others who wanted to distinguish the United States from what they described as godless communism. The Knights of Columbus has filed a brief with the Supreme Court, asking that the lower court’s ruling be reversed.

Frank S. Ravitch, a constitutional law professor at Michigan State University, said he believes that if people knew the history of how the “under God” phrase was added, they would be troubled.

`It was adopted during the anti-communism era and it has a brazen history that aimed to discriminate against atheists that were thought to be communist. They even played Onward Christian Soldiers on the White House lawn when it was passed,” Ravitch said. “I understand why people get upset about this issue but people are making this decision into a much bigger deal than it is.

Man, the 1954 era must have been a fun time in America. That’s also the time when the southern states embraced the confederate battle flag in protest of Brown v. Board of Education.

Anyway, I don’t think that changing the pledge back to the way it was is such a big deal. (And there are certainly more pressing issues for us to deal with.) Saying those words is not going to turn anyone who doesn’t already believe in a God into a believer, nor will it modify their behavior. I also doubt that removing the phrase will lessen the belief of the believers.

Upset City!

Needless to say, my NCAA Tournament brackets are totally jacked up. Not only did Stanford, who I picked to win it all, lose, but Kentucky, who I had losing to Stanford in the championship game, got upset this weekend as well. I can’t recall there being so many major upsets this early in previous years. Adding Mississippi’s loss to the mix means that three of my Final Four teams will be watching from home. So now two number 1 seeds and two number 2 seeds are out. My only surviving FF team is Wake Forest. But that’s what I love about college basketball. On any given day an underdog can take out a number one team. You gotta love March Madness for that. I also find it so ironic that St. Joseph’s is still alive, given all the controversy about them getting a number 1 seed. Billy Packer must be feeling pretty silly right about now.

I’m now ranked #377,661 (53rd percentile) in the Yahoo contest, with little hope of moving higher. Oh well, I guess I’ll go back to rooting for Duke to win it all. I’ll also be pulling for Nevada — now that’s a team that’s fun to watch.

Top Reasons to Own a TiVo

Since I’m working on my sixth TiVo convert at the moment I was thinking about TiVo’s (lack of) marketing. So I thought I’d help them out with what I think are the best reasons to own a TiVo (or some other PVR). Back when they used to advertise they’d always harp on the fact that you can pause live TV and do instant replays. While those features are nice, they are by no means the best reasons to own a PVR. Here’s my list of reasons:
Continue reading “Top Reasons to Own a TiVo”

Kool Mo Dee’s New Book Ranks the 50 Greatest MCs

Let the greatest MC argument begin anew. Kool Mo Dee was on Tavis Smiley’s show last night promoting his new book, There’s a God on the Mic: The True 50 Greatest MCs. It seems that Mo Dee, like many of us, was moved to make his own list after seeing the list that MTV put together last year. ( Here’s my list if you haven’t seen it yet. ) Here’s the description of his book:

Rapper Kool Mo Dee thrived during hip-hop’s nascent years as a vocalist whose tongue-twisting rhymes and speedy delivery put his counterparts to shame. On his 1987 album, How Ya Like Me Now, Kool came up with a ‘hip-hop report card’: a method of rating MCs (Emcees, Masters of Ceremonies, Master Communicators, or rap vocalists) as a way of separating the premier MCs from their often one-dimensional, overrated counterparts (“Sucka MCs”). Building on this original list, Kool has put together an extensive rating system to compile the definitive list of the greatest MCs of all time. Kool rates each MC based on seventeen different categories, ranging from the artist’s lyricism, vocabulary, and freestyling ability to his longevity, body of work, and social impact. Each artist is given a numerical score from one to ten in each of the seventeen categories, as well as an explanation for how this rating was determined. The book includes a complete discography and full-color photograph for each MC, and will also have supplemental lists, such as the top ten storytellers and top ten rhymers.

It definitely seems worth a read and the categorical ranking is a nice touch. There’s so much to consider when judging such a subjective thing, so no doubt his list will prove to be just as controversial as every other list. He did reveal his top 5 on Tavis’ show (Update: I now know his top 10 thanks to Trent):

  1. Melle Mel
  2. Rakim
  3. KRS-ONE
  4. Big Daddy Kane
  5. Kool Mo Dee
  6. Grandmaster Caz
  7. LL Cool J
  8. Chuck D
  9. Notorious B.I.G.
  10. Lauryn Hill

He also let it slip that he ranked Biggie at #9 and Tupac at #13. In what I consider an odd step, he left Eminem, DMX and Canibus off of the list because their body of work isn’t large enough. Well if Biggie’s body of work is large enough for a ranking surely DMX and Eminem qualify to be ranked. Anyway, I had to crack a smile at Tupac’s ranking. I have Tupac ranked #12 on my list and I’ve been fighting with Tupac fans over that ever since I posted my list back in June. (See the comments on the copy of my list that I posted over at BlogCritics) Mo Dee can now have the joy of dealing with those Pac fanatics. 🙂

Hopefully somebody will post his entire list so we can proceed to critique it.
Continue reading “Kool Mo Dee’s New Book Ranks the 50 Greatest MCs”

Some Quick NCAA Tourney Notes

Ouch! I took 5 losses in my brackets yesterday. I tried to get cute by picking a few upsets and I paid for it. Now I’m ranked #357,453, a slip of 271,623 places and into the 55th percentile. But all of my second round winners are still alive, so I’m expecting a significant rise by Monday morning.

How about FAMU? They sure didn’t play like the 65th seed.

And when did dreadlocks become so popular with basketball players? It seemed like there was at least one person with locks in every game so far. And as I recall, they all were handling their business. Do you thing bruhs!

Side note: I’m listening to the Africana Radio channel on Radio@Netscape right now and Angie Stone’s ‘Pissed Off’ just came on. Damn I love that song, and most of her others as well. That’s one talented singer who doesn’t get nearly enough pub.

I’m Number 85,830!

There was some great basketball yesterday in the tourney and I’m pretty happy with my picks after day 1. I currently have 13 out of a possible 16 points, and am ranked first in the SportBlog pool, second in the Barefoot And Naked pool, and 220!?!?! in the Fans of Stanford pool. I’m amazed at how many people had perfect picks yesterday. Yahoo shows the overall leaders and all of the top 50 people have perfect scores so far. Overall I’m in the 89th percentile and ranked #85,830. I’m happy that all of my second round winners are still alive. I nailed the Phoenix region, but missed one game in each of the other regions. Let’s see if I can move up in the overall rankings to at least the top 10,000.

Oh yeah, I also joined a $$$ pool set up by a guy at the TiVo Community. I’m tied for second place in that one. I’m looking forward to winning that cash!