Archive for December, 2009

BlakRoc

12.30.09

BlakRoc = The Black Keys + Nineties Rappers (Rza, Raekwon, Q-Tip, Mos Def, M.O.P.) + affiliates from the now dismantled Dipset * Damon Dash. I never heard of the Black Keys, who are apparently 2 white dudes from Ohio, but they can lay down some serious beats. It sounds like a record the Daptone label would conjure up if they collaborated with some nice emcees. They get the NPR treatment a few weeks back. Definitely worth checking out.

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subway architecture

12.27.09

Design Boom has a great piece on subway architecture. The Stockholm system has an organic cave vibe and the this image makes me wish I took the subway in Prague.

El Rey Del Sabor

12.23.09

I hit up the El Rey Del Sabor cart on 43rd and Sixth Avenue (they also have a cart on 60th and 3rd Avenue), and this cart is truly the King of Flavor. I had a Huarache al Pastor (standard) and was greatly impressed. First off, they make the Huarache tortilla al fresco by literally pressing the flour and grilling it fresh for every order. Score! The beans are authentic and the pork was flavorful and tasty. Definitely going to hit them up for a torta or a fried to order, hand-made empanada in the near future. A strong addition to the street cart landscape.

In Defense of Plagiarism

12.21.09

I stumbled into an old Malcolm Gladwell article from the New Yorker titled The Picture Problem – Should a Charge of Plagiarism Ruin Your Life. I definitely have not drank the Gladwell Kool-Aid, and at this point, I find his pieces self-referential and circular. That being said, this piece confirms what I have been thinking for a while, but could not codify as concisely as Gladwell. The piece confronts 2 main themes: 1. Various art forms and businesses focus on when and where the line should be drawn between the right to copy and the right to protection from copying (see hip-hop sampling and FDA drug laws). The ethical rules that govern plagiarism are significantly more stringent. When it comes to literature copying is never acceptable. 2. Derivative genre work is acceptable and encouraged (see action movies and detective novels), but copying existing work to create something new is frowned upon as plagiarism. Isn’t mining existing artwork to create something new and original the very nature of art and creativity (see hip-hop and collage)?

The Original of Laura – Dying is Fun

12.18.09

I was eagerly anticipating Nabokov’s post-mortem novel The Original of Laura – Dying is Fun. The book itself is beautifully crafted with each page containing an image of Nabokov’s hand-written index cards (his preferred method of drafting) above the corresponding text of the novel. The index cards are perforated, enticing the reader to re-shuffle the sequence of the novel as Nabokov has been known to do. The novel itself (or novella) is delicate and ends with the main character (or author) dissipating into the ether. It is hard to tell if it’s a stroke of comic genius or a fragment that was published in haste. Either way, I will always give V. the deference that a maestro deserves.

Annual Year In Ideas

12.16.09

I always look forward the NY Times’ Magazine Year in Ideas issue, but this year’s issue was a bit of let down. Doesn’t everyone know that empty beer bottles make better weapons and that robots will take over the world? I did enjoy the blurb on the Gaia hypothesis taken to its logical extreme:

“In his book “The Medea Hypothesis,” named after the Greek mother who slaughtered her own children, Ward argues that for billions of years the biosphere has been its own worst enemy. “Life seems to be actively pursuing its own demise,” he wrote recently in New Scientist, “moving earth ever closer to the inevitable day when it returns to its original state: sterile.”

U.S. Highways vs The London Underground

12.07.09

Full size here.

Lupe Fiasco’s Enemy of the State

12.03.09

Lupe has a new mixtape out.  It’s concise and energetic, beats are crazy too. Download it gratis.

The Debt Economy

12.01.09

The New Yorker has a revealing piece that speaks to the government’s inherent lean toward keeping its citizens in debt.