Category Archives: Amateur Analysis

The Avalanche Point: Rachel Bilson’s Rap

My eyes say yes. My ears say no.

Almost four years ago Natalie Portman and The Lonely Island created a SNL Digital Short rap parody. It was great mostly because the humor was raw, it was unexpected for Portman to deliver the hardcore rhymes, and hip-hop had really never been lampooned by a female like that before. It became one of the most successful viral videos of all time (fresh off the success of “Lazy Sunday”). Unfortunately since then, we’ve been forced to endure hundreds of shitty rip-off videos of the same premise–someone famous going against type to show they have a sense of humor and/or humanize them. Sometimes it works, most of the time it doesn’t. The latest victim is Rachel Bilson. Continue reading

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Matt Taibbi on the Occupy Wall Street Movement

I’m not a political person. I hate politics, actually. I’m jaded and disillusioned and am of the opinion that what happens in Washington rarely actually effects my daily existence. But just because I’m indifferent to political parties and bureaucratic bullshit, doesn’t mean I’m oblivious as to what’s happening in the world.

America is in a recession. We’ve been stuck in a downward financial slide for the last three years mainly because of bad bank deals, a growing debt and insanely greedy and rich people who just want to get richer. The Occupy Wall Street movement, started in New York in September, is a direct reaction to people finally trying to fight back. Rolling Stone contributing editor Matt Taibbi has been on the front lines at Zuccotti Park and finally brings some rational thought and coverage to the movement in the latest issue of RS. Here’s my favorite except, that distills what so many are feeling:

“We’re all born wanting the freedom to imagine a better and more beautiful future. But modern America has become a place so drearily confining and predictable that it chokes the life out of that built-in desire. Everything from our pop culture to our economy to our politics feels oppressive and unresponsive. We see 10 million commercials a day, and every day is the same life-killing chase for money, money and more money; the only thing that changes from minute to minute is that every tick of the clock brings with it another space-age vendor dreaming up some new way to try to sell you something or reach into your pocket. The relentless sameness of the two-party political system is beginning to feel like a Jacob’s Ladder nightmare with no end; we’re entering another turn on the four-year merry-go-round, and the thought of having to try to get excited about yet another minor quadrennial shift in the direction of one or the other pole of alienating corporate full-of-shitness is enough to make anyone want to smash his own hand flat with a hammer.”

Pretty much sums it up. Right now, life in America for 99% of the population is about surviving and coping. Things won’t get better overnight and I don’t think the Occupy Movement will accomplish much in the long run. For right now though, I agree with Taibbi in the idea that we shouldn’t try to over analyze the protests or project what will happen or stereotype all involved as dirty laid-off hippies.

A lot of people are frustrated and fed up. They have chosen to exercise their right to free speech and for once, others are paying attention. So while part of me can appreciate the optimistic idealism of the protestors standing up to The Man, the other part of me knows that The Man doesn’t give a shit and will keep running our country the exact same corrupt, capitalistic, and catastrophic way its always been.

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The Death of the Big East

Orange Crushed.

News broke over the weekend that Syracuse and Pittsburgh applied to join the Atlantic Coast Conference. Less than 24 hours later, they were unanimously accepted, and ripples are still being felt throughout the Big East. Should we even be surprised any more? Is this move the final tipping point? The NCAA is a corrupt monolith and conference affiliations are now a joke.

Colleges and universities use to belong to conferences due to geographical and economical reasons. Teams like Boston College, UCONN and St. John’s we’re in the Big East because that’s where their schools were. But slowly geography became less important. Cincinnati and Notre Dame joined the Big East despite being in the Midwest. What we saw over the summer with the Pac-10 and Big-12 was only the beginning.

Now, it’s all about one thing: money. What matters now is how can each school best positions themselves to make the the most money in every sport (especially football) off their invaluable “student athletes.” Far more intelligent scholars and writers have already covered this topic. But what kills me is that schools maintain bullshit excuses and reasons for the defections. Continue reading

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Stop Coddling Warren Buffet’s Balls

On Sunday, August 14th, the New York Times published an Op Ed piece from billionaire Warren Buffet called “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich.” In the subsequent days, the article has blown up on Twitter, and anyone who feels like they know anything has posted it on their Facebook wall. The gist of the piece is that the economy blows, the job market sucks, and one way to help the real American people on Main St. (not Wall Street!) is to tax the shit out of really rich dudes. What a noble idea Mr. Buffet.

What’s funny about the whole thing is two-fold: how people are reacting and why Buffet even wrote the piece in the first place.

I love that people are grasping onto this article so proudly. Like really, how are you supposed to react when a captain of industry humbly offers to be taxed more on his fortune? Why wouldn’t the middle class love this idea? Buffet is just stating the obvious and if people think this is a revolutionary idea, well then we have biggest problems than the economy. Championing Buffet on this issue is like voting for Obama to prove you’re not racist. Thanks Warren, your idea has been noted, and we’ll all move along with even smugger grins on our faces.

So why even write the piece? We all know the economy is fucked because the Right and Left can’t decide whose dicks are bigger. One man won’t solve our debt. Buffet’s piece is like shooting fish in a barrel; straight pandering to Americans who want to hear his message the most. It feels like we’re living in South Park where everyone just screams, “They took our jarrrbs!”

Buffet’s article is a PR move. He looks good for throwing the idea out there, the public stops hating him for being so rich for a second, and the Government laughs it off because they would never act on it since guys like Buffet are the reason they’re in office in the first place.

Warren’s intentions could have been sincere, but seriously, what is a NYT Op Ed piece really going to solve? It may be something for frustrated citizens to rally around, but know that nothing’s going to change unless to do it for yourself on a personal level.

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Stop Coddling Warren Buffet's Balls

On Sunday, August 14th, the New York Times published an Op Ed piece from billionaire Warren Buffet called “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich.” In the subsequent days, the article has blown up on Twitter, and anyone who feels like they know anything has posted it on their Facebook wall. The gist of the piece is that the economy blows, the job market sucks, and one way to help the real American people on Main St. (not Wall Street!) is to tax the shit out of really rich dudes. What a noble idea Mr. Buffet.

What’s funny about the whole thing is two-fold: how people are reacting and why Buffet even wrote the piece in the first place.

I love that people are grasping onto this article so proudly. Like really, how are you supposed to react when a captain of industry humbly offers to be taxed more on his fortune? Why wouldn’t the middle class love this idea? Buffet is just stating the obvious and if people think this is a revolutionary idea, well then we have biggest problems than the economy. Championing Buffet on this issue is like voting for Obama to prove you’re not racist. Thanks Warren, your idea has been noted, and we’ll all move along with even smugger grins on our faces.

So why even write the piece? We all know the economy is fucked because the Right and Left can’t decide whose dicks are bigger. One man won’t solve our debt. Buffet’s piece is like shooting fish in a barrel; straight pandering to Americans who want to hear his message the most. It feels like we’re living in South Park where everyone just screams, “They took our jarrrbs!”

Buffet’s article is a PR move. He looks good for throwing the idea out there, the public stops hating him for being so rich for a second, and the Government laughs it off because they would never act on it since guys like Buffet are the reason they’re in office in the first place.

Warren’s intentions could have been sincere, but seriously, what is a NYT Op Ed piece really going to solve? It may be something for frustrated citizens to rally around, but know that nothing’s going to change unless to do it for yourself on a personal level.

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So Osama Bin Laden is Dead

I am a cynical bastard. I’d like to think of myself as an optimist, but somewhere along the road I’ve been tainted. I question. I doubt. I’m skeptical, of media in particular. It’s not a conscious, conspiracy theory-like mindset. It just happens.

As news hit that Osama Bin Laden was killed in Pakistan, my initial reaction was where’s the body (buried at sea?) and why does it feel like the timing of this is off?  People took to the streets to celebrate the announcement and cheers of U-S-A rang out from baseball stadiums to the outside White House. This undoubtedly is a good thing.

Bin Laden and Al-Queda were responsible for the 2001 World Trade Center attacks. He was a known terrorist and deserved to be killed for his crimes. I’m glad our military stepped up, found that fuck and put a bullet in his head. But the news didn’t excite or inspire me. I didn’t have a visceral reaction and I don’t feel personally vindicated by the killing. Like I said, I think there’s something wrong with me. Instead, I’m wondering if this is just another power play by Obama to lock down a second term, make people forget about the budget crisis and distract journalists from the destruction in Alabama. For now, it seems like all of that’s true. Country-wide sentiment is unified.

But what next? We cut off the head, but the body is still alive. It’s probably a good bet that Al-Queda will retaliate. How and when is unknown. Let’s just hope our forces can do just as good a job diffusing any potential threat as they did carrying out the Bin Laden mission.

I didn’t hear the news until this morning. I was watching Sportscenter, eating my cereal when the news scrolled along the bottom line. You know why I didn’t catch the breaking news last night during the President’s address? Because I was sound asleep in my bed.

As much as we argue about politics or complain about taxes or disagree about whatever, America is still one of the greatest countries in the world to live. Stateside, life is good. In the big picture, we’re pretty well off. Sure, we have problems, but luckily they don’t include issues like how to get clean running water, how to stay free of disease, and where to stay safe from civil unrest. We often take for granted, myself included, the basic comforts of life in the United States. I may not be the most nationalistic person in the country, but I know when something is a big deal. So while everyone is currently united behind Bin Laden’s killing, would it be too much to ask to take this momentum forward, put aside differences and continue to accomplish more great things for our Nation?

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Bitter Musings of a Kinda-Former Musician, Volume 239

Has your annoying co-worker posted this on your Facebook wall yet?

The video above is a very well done cover of Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now” featuring Busta Rhymes and Lil’ Wayne by Boston indie duo Karmin (doing their best Nicki Minaj impersonation). The clip has gone viral with over 3.6 million views to date. I understand why. A) It’s a timely and unique cover of a popular song B) The girl is attractive and C) she absolutely slays they Busta Bus verse, which is completely unexpected from a semi-attractive white girl. [Very curious on how long she practiced and how many takes it took to nail. She’s obviously reading cue cards, but still, execution is flawless.]

I found out about this video from Dave Kusek, a guy I follow on Twitter from Berklee College of Music. He runs a blog called The Future of Music. He wrote, “Quality and talent always wins online” as a preface to his longer blog post. I agree, but as I watched the video I spent more time cringing than vibing. Yes, this is a well made cover and kudos for pulling of the vocals. But aren’t they just ripping off Pomplamoose who started the male/female minimalist duo trend and created the genre of the “videosong” back in 2008? Pomplamoose’s videos are far more creative and they just look like they’re having a blast. Karmin look like they’re just trying to show off.

There’s no question that Karmin are talented, but if you click around their channel, you’ll see that they’ve been at this for a little while. They have covers of basically every iTunes hit in the past 6 months. So it looks like they just got lucky with “Look at Me Now.” The Internet and music recording technology has changed the way artists record and market themselves. I think it’s a great thing that artists are more accessible than ever. What I hate is the new YouTube Fame Model: Continue reading

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