Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Most interesting Entertainment based interview in a while:
In Conversation: Quincy Jones

from Vulture:

In both music and manner, Quincy Jones has always registered — from afar, anyway — as smooth, sophisticated, and impeccably well-connected. (That’s what earning 28 Grammy awards and co-producing Michael Jackson’s biggest-selling albums will do.) But in person, the 84-year-old music-industry macher is far spikier and more complicated. “All I’ve ever done is tell the truth,” says Jones, seated on a couch in his palatial Bel Air home, and about to dish some outrageous gossip. “I’ve got nothing to be scared of, man.”

Currently in the midst of an extended victory lap ahead of his turning 85 in March — a Netflix documentary and a CBS special hosted by Oprah Winfrey are on the horizon — Jones, dressed in a loose sweater, dark slacks, and a jaunty scarf, talks like he has nothing to lose. He name-drops, he scolds, he praises, and he tells (and retells) stories about his very famous friends. Even when his words are harsh, he says them with an enveloping charm, frequently leaning over for fist bumps and to tap me on the knee. “The experiences I’ve had!” he says, shaking his head in wonder. “You almost can’t believe it.”

You worked with Michael Jackson more than anyone he wasn’t related to. What’s something people don’t understand about him?
I hate to get into this publicly, but Michael stole a lot of stuff. He stole a lot of songs. [Donna Summer’s] “State of IndependenceOriginally written by Vangelis and longtime Yes front man Jon Anderson, “State of Independence” was recorded by Donna Summer in 1982. Jones produced Summer’s version, Michael Jackson helped out on backing vocals, and the song’s central riff does sound awfully similar (albeit faster) to the iconic bass riff on Jackson’s hit single “Billie Jean.” It should also be noted that, last year, Jones won a lawsuit over a royalties dispute against Jackson’s estate. ” and “Billie Jean.” The notes don’t lie, man. He was as Machiavellian as they come.

How so?
Greedy, man. Greedy. “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough” — Greg Phillinganes wrote the c sectionPhillinganes, an in-demand studio keyboardist, played on a handful of Jackson-Jones collaborations, including the 1979 album Off the Wall, from which “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” comes. . Michael should’ve given him 10 percent of the song. Wouldn’t do it.

What about outside of music? What’s misunderstood about Michael?
I used to kill him about the plastic surgery, man. He’d always justify it and say it was because of some disease he had. Bullshit.

How much were his problems wrapped up with fame?
You mean with the way he looked? He had a problem with his looks because his father told him he was ugly and abused himJackson described being abused by his father Joe in a 1993 interview with Oprah, as well as in a 2003 interview with Martin Bashir. “It was really bad,” he recalled during the latter. . What do you expect?

It’s such a strange juxtaposition — how Michael’s music was so joyous, but his life just seems sadder and more odd as time goes by.
Yes, but at the end Michael’s problem was PropofolIn 2009, not long after Jackson’s death, the Los Angeles County coroner announced that the singer’s death was caused by “acute propofol intoxication.” Jackson’s doctor, Conrad Murray, had been prescribing the powerful sedative, which Jackson called his “milk,” to help with the singer’s insomnia. In 2011, Murray was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in Jackson’s death. , and that problem affects everyone — doesn’t matter if you’re famous. Big Pharma making OxyContin and all that shit is a serious thing. I was around the White House for eight years with the Clintons, and I’d learn about how much influence Big Pharma has. It’s no joke. What’s your sign, man?

Me too. It’s a great sign.

You just mentioned the Clintons, who are friends of yours. Why is there still such visceral dislike of them? What are other people not seeing in Hillary, for example, that you see?
It’s because there’s a side of her — when you keep secrets, they backfire.

Like what secrets?
This is something else I shouldn’t be talking about.

You sure seem to know a lot.
I know too much, man.

What’s something you wish you didn’t know?
Who killed Kennedy.

Who did it?
[Chicago mobster Sam] GiancanaChicago gangster Sam Giancana is a well-known name among Kennedy conspiracists, both for his alleged help in delivering Illinois votes for Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election and the 1963 assassination of the president. The latter theory largely stems from Giancana’s murder in 1975, not long before he was supposed to testify before a Senate committee investigating collusion between the mob and the CIA. . The connection was there between Sinatra and the Mafia and Kennedy. Joe Kennedy — he was a bad man — he came to Frank to have him talk to Giancana about getting votes.

I’ve heard this theory before, that the mob helped win Illinois for Kennedy in 1960.
We shouldn’t talk about this publicly. Where you from?

I was at the Massey Hall showIn May 1953, jazz geniuses Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, Max Roach, and Dizzy Gillespie were recorded — for the first and last time — together in concert at Toronto’s Massey Hall. The resulting live album, Jazz at Massey Hall, is rightly considered a classic. .

Really? The Charlie Parker concert with Mingus and those guys?
Yeah, man. I saw the contract after. The whole band made $1,100. I’ll never forget that. At the time it was just another gig. It wasn’t historical. Like with Woodstock, Tito Puente told me he wanted to go out to that gig. Those festivals ain’t my thing. Elon Musk keeps trying to get me to go to Burning Man. No thank you. But who knew what Woodstock would turn out to be? Jimi Hendrix was out there fucking up the national anthem.

Wasn’t Hendrix supposed to play on Gula Matari?
He was supposed to play on my albumApparently, Hendrix was supposed to lend guitar work to Jones’s 1970 album Gula Matari, which arrived at a time when the guitarist was expanding his musical vocabulary beyond rock and blues and into jazz and funk. Sadly, he didn’t get far, dying of asphyxiation in September of that same year. and he chickened out. He was nervous to play with Toots Thielemans, Herbie Hancock, Hubert Laws, Roland Kirk — those are some scary motherfuckers. Toots was one of the greatest soloists that ever fucking lived. The cats on my records were the baddest cats in the world and Hendrix didn’t want to play with them.

What’d you think when you first heard rock music?
Rock ain’t nothing but a white version of rhythm and blues, motherfucker. You know, I met Paul McCartney when he was 21.

What were your first impressions of the Beatles?
That they were the worst musicians in the world. They were no-playing motherfuckers. Paul was the worst bass player I ever heard. And Ringo? Don’t even talk about it. I remember once we were in the studio with George Martin, and RingoJones arranged a version of “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” for Starr’s 1970 solo debut album Sentimental Journey, which was produced by the Beatles’ frequent collaborator George Martin. The song, and album, are more than a bit gloopy. had taken three hours for a four-bar thing he was trying to fix on a song. He couldn’t get it. We said, “Mate, why don’t you get some lager and lime, some shepherd’s pie, and take an hour-and-a-half and relax a little bit.” So he did, and we called Ronnie Verrell, a jazz drummer. Ronnie came in for 15 minutes and tore it up. Ringo comes back and says, “George, can you play it back for me one more time?” So George did, and Ringo says, “That didn’t sound so bad.” And I said, “Yeah, motherfucker because it ain’t you.” Great guy, though.

Were there any rock musicians you thought were good?
I used to like Clapton’s band. What were they called?

Yeah, they could play. But you know who sings and plays just like Hendrix?

Paul AllenThe Microsoft co-founder and multibillionaire has a collection of yachts and guitars to rival the world’s finest, both of which he apparently makes good use of. .

Stop it. The Microsoft guy?
Yeah, man. I went on a trip on his yacht, and he had David Crosby, Joe Walsh, Sean Lennon — all those crazy motherfuckers. Then on the last two days, Stevie Wonder came on with his band and made Paul come up and play with him — he’s good, man.

You hang out in these elite social circles and doing good has always been important to you, but are you seeing as much concern for the poor as you’d like from the ultrarich?
No. The rich aren’t doing enough. They don’t fucking care. I came from the street, and I care about these kids who don’t have enough because I feel I’m one of ’em. These other people don’t know what it feels like to be poor, so they don’t care.

Are we in a better place as a country than we were when you started doing humanitarian work 50 years ago?
No. We’re the worst we’ve ever been, but that’s why we’re seeing people try and fix it. Feminism: Women are saying they’re not going to take it anymore. Racism: People are fighting it. God is pushing the bad in our face to make people fight back.

We’ve obviously been learning more lately about just how corrosive the entertainment industry can be for women. As someone who’s worked in that business at the highest levels for so many years, do all the recent revelations come as a surprise?
No, man. Women had to put up with fucked-up shit. Women and brothers — we’re both dealing with the glass ceiling.

But what about the alleged behavior of a friend of yours like Bill Cosby? Is it hard to square what he’s been accused of with the person you know?
It was all of them. Brett Ratner. [Harvey] Weinstein. Weinstein — he’s a jive motherfucker. Wouldn’t return my five calls. A bully.

What about Cosby, though?
What about it?

Were the allegations a surprise to you?
We can’t talk about this in public, man.

I’m sorry to jump around —
Be a Pisces. Jam.

If you could snap your fingers and fix one problem in the country, what would it be?
Racism. I’ve been watching it a long time — the ’30s to now. We’ve come a long way but we’ve got a long way to go. The South has always been fucked up, but you know where you stand. The racism in the North is disguised. You never know where you stand. That’s why what’s happening now is good, because people are saying they are racists who didn’t used to say it. Now we know.

What’s stirred everything up? Is it all about Trumpism?
It’s Trump and uneducated rednecks. Trump is just telling them what they want to hear. I used to hang out with him. He’s a crazy motherfucker. Limited mentally — a megalomaniac, narcissistic. I can’t stand him. I used to date Ivanka, you know.

Wait, really?
Yes, sir. Twelve years ago. Tommy Hilfiger, who was working with my daughter KidadaA former model and current designer, Kidada is the daughter of Jones and his ex-wife Peggy Lipton. Jones’s other daughter with Lipton is the actress Rashida Jones. Jones has five other children, with four other women. , said, “Ivanka wants to have dinner with you.” I said, “No problem. She’s a fine motherfucker.” She had the most beautiful legs I ever saw in my life. Wrong father, though.

Would your friend Oprah be a good president?
I don’t think she should run. She doesn’t have the chops for it. If you haven’t been governor of a state or the CEO of a company or a military general, you don’t know how to lead people.

She is the CEO of a company.
A symphony conductor knows more about how to lead than most businesspeople — more than Trump does. He doesn’t know shit. Someone who knows about real leadership wouldn’t have as many people against him as he does. He’s a fucking idiot.

Is Hollywood as bad with race as the rest of the country? I know that when you started scoring films, you’d hear producers say things like they didn’t want a “bluesy” score, which was clearly code-speak. Are you still encountering that kind of racism?
It’s still fucked up. 1964, when I was in Vegas, there were places I wasn’t supposed to go because I was black, but Frank [Sinatra] fixed that for me. It takes individual efforts like that to change things. It takes white people to say to other white people, “Do you really want to live as a racist? Is that really what you believe?” But every place is different. When I go to Dublin, Bono makes me stay at his castle because Ireland is so racist. Bono’s my brother, man. He named his son after me.

Is U2 still making good music?
[Shakes head.]

Why not?
I don’t know. I love Bono with all my heart, but there’s too much pressure on the band. He’s doing good work all over the world. Working with him and Bob Geldof on debt reliefJones has a truly admirable record of humanitarian and philanthropic work, going back to his support of Dr. Martin Luther King in the early 1960s. In 1999, Jones, U2 lead singer Bono, and musician-activist Bob Geldof (who spearheaded 1985’s Live Aid charity concerts), traveled to the Vatican to meet with Pope John Paul II, hoping to gain his support in their effort to reduce third-world debt. was one of the greatest things I ever did. It’s up there with “We Are the WorldA charity single written by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson and co-produced by Quincy Jones, “We Are the World” featured a who’s who of 1980s American pop and rock stars, a collection dubbed USA for Africa. .”

There’s a small anecdote in your memoir about how the rock musicians who’d been asked to sing on “We Are the World” were griping about the song. Is there more to that story?
It wasn’t the rockers. It was Cyndi Lauper. She had a manager come over to me and say, “The rockers don’t like the song.” I know how that shit works. We went to see Springsteen, Hall & Oates, Billy Joel, and all those cats and they said, “We love the song.” So I said [to Lauper], “Okay, you can just get your shit over with and leave.” And she was fucking up every take because her necklace or bracelet was rattling in the microphone. It was just her that had a problem.

What’s something you’ve worked on that should’ve been bigger?
What the fuck are you talking about? I’ve never had that problem. They were all big.

How about a musician who deserved more acclaim?
Come on, man. The Brothers Johnson. James Ingram. Tevin Campbell. Every one of them went straight through the roof.

From a strictly musical perspective, what have you done that you’re most proud of?
That anything I can feel, I can notate musically. Not many people can do that. I can make a band play like a singer sings. That’s what arranging is, and it’s a great gift. I wouldn’t trade it for shit.

A few years back there was a quote you supposedly gave — I couldn’t find the source of it, so maybe it’s apocryphal — where you dismissed rap as being a bunch of four-bar loops. Is that an opinion you stand by?
That’s true about rap, that it’s the same phrase over and over and over again. The ear has to have the melody groomed for it; you have to keep the ear candy going because the mind turns off when the music doesn’t change. Music is strange that way. You’ve got to keep the ear busy.

Is there an example from the work you did, maybe with Michael, which illustrates what you’re talking about?
Yeah, the best example of me trying to feed the musical principles of the past — I’m talking about bebop — is “Baby Be Mine.” [Hums the song’s melody.] That’s Coltrane done in a pop song. Getting the young kids to hear bebop is what I’m talking about. Jazz is at the top of the hierarchy of music because the musicians learned everything they could about music. Every time I used to see Coltrane he’d have Nicolas Slonimsky’s book.

Yeah, he was famously obsessed with the Thesaurus of Scales and Melodic Patterns. That’s the one you’re talking about, right?
That’s right. You’re bringing up all the good subjects now! Everything that Coltrane ever played was in that thesaurus. In fact, right near the front of that book, there’s a 12-tone example — it’s “Giant Steps.” Everyone thinks Coltrane wrote that, he didn’t. It’s Slonimsky. That book started all the jazz guys improvising in 12-tone. Coltrane carried that book around till the pages fell off.

When Coltrane started to go far out with the music —
“Giant Steps.”

Even further out, though, like on Ascension —
You can’t get further out than 12-tone, and “Giant Steps” is 12-tone.

But when he was playing atonally —
No, no, no. Even that was heavily influenced by Alban Berg — that’s as far out as you can get.

Do you hear the spirit of jazz in pop today?
No. People gave it up to chase money. When you go after Cîroc vodka and Phat FarmCîroc is the alcohol brand owned by Diddy. Phat Farm was the fashion label founded by hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons in 1992. Simmons sold the company in 2004. and all that shit, God walks out of the room. I have never in my life made music for money or fame. Not even ThrillerJones may not have worked on Thriller for money, but co-producing the album (with Jackson) presumably made him a ton of it: The 1982 album is widely reported to be the biggest-selling LP of all time, having sold somewhere north of 66 million copies. . No way. God walks out of the room when you’re thinking about money. You could spend a million dollars on a piano part and it won’t make you a million dollars back. That’s just not how it works.

Is there innovation happening in modern pop music?
Hell no. It’s just loops, beats, rhymes and hooks. What is there for me to learn from that? There ain’t no fucking songs. The song is the power; the singer is the messenger. The greatest singer in the world cannot save a bad song. I learned that 50 years ago, and it’s the single greatest lesson I ever learned as a producer. If you don’t have a great song, it doesn’t matter what else you put around it.

What was your greatest musical innovation?
Everything I’ve done.

Everything you’ve done was innovative?
Everything was something to be proud of — absolutely. It’s been an amazing contrast of genres. Since I was very young, I’ve played all kinds of music: bar mitzvah music, Sousa marches, strip-club music, jazz, pop. Everything. I didn’t have to learn a thing to do Michael Jackson.

What would account for the songs being less good than they used to be?
The mentality of the people making the music. Producers now are ignoring all the musical principles of the previous generations. It’s a joke. That’s not the way it works: You’re supposed to use everything from the past. If you know where you come from, it’s easier to get where you’re going. You need to understand music to touch people and become the soundtrack to their lives. Can I tell you one of the greatest moments in my life?

Of course.
It was the first time they celebrated Dr. King’s birthday in Washington, D.C., and Stevie Wonder was in charge and asked me to be musical director. After the performance, we went to a reception, and three ladies came over: The older lady had Sinatra at the Sands, I arranged that; her daughter had my album The Dude; and then that lady’s daughter had Thriller. Three generations of women said those were their favorite records. That touched me so much.

How Stevie Wonder Helped Make MLK Day A National Holiday

I’m trying to isolate what you specifically believe the problem with modern pop is. It’s the lack of formal musical knowledge on the part of the musicians?
Yes! And they don’t even care they don’t have it.

Well, who’s doing good work?
Bruno Mars. Chance the Rapper. Kendrick Lamar. I like where Kendrick’s mind is. He’s grounded. Chance, too. And the Ed Sheeran record is great. Sam Smith — he’s so open about being gay. I love it. Mark Ronson is someone who knows how to produce.

Putting aside the quality of contemporary songs, are there any technical or sonic production techniques that feel fresh?
No. There ain’t nothing new. The producers are lazy and greedy.

How does that laziness manifest itself?
Listen to the music — these guys don’t know what they’re doing. You’ve got to respect the gift God gave you by learning your craft.

Are you as down on the state of film scoring as you are on pop?
It’s not good. Everybody’s lazy. Alexandre DesplatThe French film composer won an Oscar for his score for 2015’s The Grand Budapest Hotel and his been nominated an additional eight times. — he’s good. He’s my brother. He was influenced by my scores.

Again, when you say film composers are lazy, what does that mean, exactly, in this context?
It means they’re not going back and listening to what Bernard Herrmann did.

Do you see a future for the music business?
There isn’t a music business anymore! If these people had paid attention to Shawn Fanning 20 years ago, we wouldn’t be in this mess. But the music business is still too full of these old-school bean counters. You can’t be like that. You can’t be one of these back-in-my-day people.

You’re talking about business not music, but, and I mean this respectfully, don’t some of your thoughts about music fall under the category of “back in my day”?
Musical principles exist, man. Musicians today can’t go all the way with the music because they haven’t done their homework with the left brain. Music is emotion and science. You don’t have to practice emotion because that comes naturally. Technique is different. If you can’t get your finger between three and four and seven and eight on a piano, you can’t play. You can only get so far without technique. People limit themselves musically, man. Do these musicians know tango? Macumba? Yoruba music? Samba? Bossa nova? Salsa? Cha-cha?

Maybe not the cha-cha.
[Marlon] BrandoThe actor and Jones were longtime friends. During a down period in Jones’s life, he spent time on the island in Tahiti which Brando owned. The two called each other Leroy, owing to a story recounted extremely well (one among many) in this recent GQ profile. used to go cha-cha dancing with us. He could dance his ass off. He was the most charming motherfucker you ever met. He’d fuck anything. Anything! He’d fuck a mailbox. James Baldwin. Richard Pryor. Marvin Gaye.

He slept with them? How do you know that?
[Frowns.] Come on, man. He did not give a fuck! You like Brazilian music?

Yeah, but I don’t know much beyond Jorge Ben and Gilberto Gil.
Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso are the kings! You know, I visit the favelas every year. Those motherfuckers have a hard life. They’re tough, though. You think our shit in America’s bad? It’s worse there.

I read that as a young man you used to carry around a .32.

Did you ever fire it?

At what?
[Grins.] Just practicin’.

Okay, let me ask you a left-field question. In your memoir, there’s a section where you talk about —
Being a dog?

That’s not what I was thinking of, but yeah, that’s in there. I was thinking of a section where you describe having a nervous breakdown not long after Thriller. You talk so often about your ups — I’m wondering if maybe you can talk about one of your downs.
What happened was that I was a producer on The Color Purple. Spielberg and me are still great friends, man. He’s a great fucking guy. I loved working with him.

Yep, but what happened on The Color Purple that caused your breakdown?
What happened was that I was a producer on that movie and everybody went on vacation after we finished filming — everybody except me. I had to stay home and write an hour and 55 minutes of music for the movie. I was so fucking tired from doing that, I couldn’t see. I put too much on my plate and it took its toll. You learn from your mistakes and I learned I couldn’t do that again.

What’s the last mistake you learned from?
My last record [2010’s Q: Soul Bossa Nostra]. I was not in favor of doing it, but the rappers wanted to record something as a tribute to me, where they’d do versions of songs that I’d done over my career. I said to them, “Look, you got to make the music better than we did on the originals.” That didn’t happen. T-Pain, man, he didn’t pay attention to the details.

What’s something positive you’ve been feeling about music lately?
Understanding where it comes from. It’s fascinating. I was on a trip with Paul Allen a few years ago, and I went to the bathroom and there were maps on the wall of how the Earth looked a million-and-a-half years ago. Off the coast of South Africa, where Durban is, was the coast of China. The people had to be mixing, and you hear it in the music — in the drums from both places. There are African qualities to Chinese music, Japanese music, too, with the Kodo drumming. It all comes from Africa. It’s a heavy thing to think about.

You’re about to turn 85. Are you afraid of the end?

What do you think happens when you pass?
You’re just gone.

Are you religious?
No, man. I know too much about it. I knew Romano Mussolini, the jazz piano player, the son of Benito Mussolini. We used to jam all night. And he’d tell me about where the Catholics were coming from. The Catholics have a religion based on fear, smoke, and murder. And the biggest gimmick in the world is confession: “You tell me what you did wrong and it’ll be okay.” Come on. And almost everywhere you go in the world, the biggest structures are the Catholic churches. It’s money, man. It’s fucked up.

On the subject of money, I have a crass question. You spent the first half of your career working in jazz, which isn’t especially lucrative. When did you start to make serious money?
When I started producing after Lesley Gore. I was the first black vice-president at a record label [Mercury], which was great — except that meant they didn’t pay me for producing herJones had his first major pop successes — including 1963’s “It’s My Party” — producing a teenaged Lesley Gore for the Mercury label, where Jones was named a vice-president in 1964. . You know how they do; you know your country. But after that, in the ’70s, when I started producing for other artists, and then with Michael of course, that made me a lot of money. And big money came from TV producing — The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, that was huge for me. Mad TV was on for 14 years. That syndication money is great, man.

How much did your upbringing — the difficulties with your mother and growing up in real povertyAs recounted in his 2002 autobiography, Q, Jones’s youth in Chicago and Seattle was one of almost unimaginable physical and emotional trauma. In addition to facing poverty, he was stabbed in the hand by a gang member as a child, and frequently witnessed his mother’s extreme and frightening mental instability. — affect how you perceive success?
Of course it affected it. I appreciate the shit I have because I know what it’s like to have nothing.

What about having a fractured family? How did that change you?
Same as with money, man. I appreciate what I got.

How often do you think about your mother?
All the time. She died in a mental home. Brilliant lady, but she never got the help she needed. Her dementia praecox could’ve been cured with vitamin B, but she couldn’t get it because she was black.

When you think about her now, what comes to mind?
That I wish I could’ve been closer to her. What happened to her — for kids, that’s a bitch.

What’s the most ambitious thing you have left to do?
Qwest TVQwest TV is a subscription streaming service mostly dedicated to footage of jazz performances and documentaries. It’s still in beta. . Everybody is excited about it. It’s going to be a musical Netflix. It’s the best music from every genre around the world. So if kids want to hear something great, it’ll be right there for them. I can’t believe I still get to be involved in things like this. I stopped drinking two years ago and I feel like I’m 19 years old. I’ve never been so creative. I can’t tell you, man — what a life!

This interview has been edited and condensed from two conversations.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Former NFL lineman David Carter, who grew up in Los Angeles, has never regretted adopting a vegan lifestyle several years ago.

from The Los Angeles Times
He lost 40 pounds in six weeks by going vegan

David Carter, 30, was a defensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys when he made what he calls the "life-changing decision" to go vegan and eliminate meat, seafood and dairy from his diet.

He grew up in South Los Angeles, where his family owned a barbecue restaurant. He was a "straight-up meat eater, allergic to vegetables. I never thought about what I was eating." For dinner, he and a fellow player would typically hit the drive-through, splitting an order of eight double-doubles and four packs of fries. At 6-feet-5-inches, he weighed 305 pounds.

But after suffering painful tendinitis and being told he had high blood pressure, Carter, who now lives in New York, had enough. He recalled a daily regimen of painkillers and anti-inflammatories, and said he was drinking a milkshake and watching the food documentary "Forks Over Knives" when it triggered something in him. After he heard experts talk about dairy and animal products contributing to inflammation in the body, Carter hit the pause button.

"I went into the kitchen, poured the milkshake down the sink and then emptied out the refrigerator. My [then]-wife asked me, 'What are you doing?' I said, 'I'm going vegan. Right now. A hundred percent.' I did it in a day and I haven't gone back."

He added: "I realized I was causing my old-man illnesses. I was in my 20s and on all this medication. I was feeding these problems with the diet I was sustaining."

Carter was in Los Angeles over the NBA All-Star weekend to shoot a Levi's campaign — he began modeling after he retired from football — and is now a regular on the speaking circuit as a food activist. Sipping from a cup of black tea at a downtown hotel, he talked about the benefits of a vegan diet, the injustice of food deserts, and why few foods are better than beans.

Avoid the boredom trap
I already knew, going into [a vegan diet], that I needed to give myself a fighting chance. Sometimes people who try and switch to a plant-based diet get bored of foods quickly, and don't know what to eat. I basically vegan-ized my regular menu — pizza, tacos, hamburgers, taquitos… I made vegan versions of all of those.

The results are motivation enough
Within six weeks, I had lost 40 pounds. My stamina increased tremendously; I could bench-press 100 pounds more than I could previously. My recovery time was less and I was sleeping better. But not only was the quality of my life increasing, I didn't need to take painkillers to get through the day. The tendinitis disappeared almost instantly. But I didn't want to lose too much weight because my job as a defensive lineman is to not be moved. I am the wall on that field. I had to eat 8,000 to 10,000 calories a day. I did it by doing protein shakes with fruit, vegetables, a can of cannellini beans, flax, four bananas, dates. That's 1,000 calories right there, and I would do that a couple of times a day. Now that I'm not playing, I don't count calories anymore but have maintained my weight at 265 pounds.

Hemp seeds are your friend
I put it in everything -- in my shakes, sprinkled on a salad, or on their own. They have all these amino acids and help repair the body's DNA.

Get educated
I was giving a presentation and someone stood up and said, 'It's all good that you're plant-based. But I live in an area where we don't have access to healthy food.' That hit me so hard. I grew up in a food desert. I know what it's like when the only thing you can get to eat is at the liquor store or down the street at a fast food place. That prompted me to change my presentations dramatically and delve into food deserts.

Eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive
For people on a budget, I tell them it doesn't have to be organic. I got a lot of tips from Toni Okamoto, who has a blog called Plant Based on a Budget. She shows how you can eat well for $25 a week. Beans and rice are my staple. And I put lentils in everything -- burritos, burgers. You can buy a bag of lentils for a dollar. You do what you can. I was at a team dinner at a steakhouse and everyone was eating lobster rolls and 84-ounce steaks and I had a plate of string beans and a salad because that's all the restaurant had and I didn't want to mess up the vibe.

The hotel room workout
I try and hit the gym once a day, or sometimes I'll do a yoga class. But if I'm traveling and can't get to the gym, I'll do 500 push-ups in my room, 50 at a time, just knock them out. It's all I need.

Fighting the dollar menu temptation
It's not always easy. People were saying to me, 'You're a football player. You're tough and strong and need to eat meat.' But what's the point if you're dying at 50? Is it worth it?

"But... what do you eat?"
It's a question vegans get asked all the time. David Carter happily indulged when we asked the same. The answer? Lots of Mexican food, and more. Here's what a typical day of eating looks like for him:

Oatmeal or a seven-grain hot cereal, with hemp seeds sprinkled on top, and fruit

Lentil tacos made with corn tortillas, tomatoes, onion, avocado, cilantro and cashew cheese

Vegan nachos made with black rice, black beans, cashew cheese, onions, cilantro and guacamole

If he's still hungry?
Carter turns to fruit smoothies between meals.

Monday, February 26, 2018

School off Life Monday
Why Truly Sociable People Hate Parties

Our age has a high esteem for parties. Yet some of us have a particular fear of them - which we're made to feel very bad about, as if this was a sure sign of being an anti-social and unfriendly person. Far from it. As this film argues, truly sociable people tend to hate parties a lot.

“The idea of being a sociable person is nowadays heavily associated with finding enjoyment in going to, and in all likelihood also in giving, parties. To be sociable means welcoming the idea of being in a room replete with an above-average number of other guests, many of whom will be unknown, most of whom will be holding a glass of alcohol, bantering, with lights lower than they normally would be, and music somewhat higher than required in order faithfully to catch the details of another’s voice…”

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Documentary about the original SkateBoarder Magazine

This is the first place that ever published my photos,
I was fourteen when I made the first photo I got published
The story of the magazine is told in this cool 40 minute documentary.

Here's a teaser...

#TheOriginalSkateboarder is now available on @iTunes and On Demand. Watch it now!

Friday, February 23, 2018

2018 Skateboarding Hall of Fame Inductees announced!

and here are a few of the inductees i made photos of over the years...

and of course I worked for this crew from the time I was 14 ...

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

This Blows My Mind

Skateboarding history in Culture . . .

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Why swearing can be a good fucking way to sound convincing

from Boing Boing:

Emma Byrne, a science writer and artificial intelligence researcher, has just published a new book called Swearing is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language and it sounds fucking great. "If you ask people what they think about swearing, they tend to insist that it diminishes the speaker’s credibility and persuasiveness—-especially if the speaker is a woman," Byrne writes. But actually, a presenter's swears can sometimes make them damn more convincing. From Smithsonian:
In the book, Byrne cites one study that examined the rhetorical effects of swearing on an audience that was already sympathetic to the speaker’s message. For the study, psychologists Cory Scherer of Penn State University and Brad Sagarin from Northern Illinois University showed videotaped speeches to 88 undergraduate students. Participants listened to one of three different versions of a speech about lowering tuition rates at a university—one with no swearing, one that had a “damn” thrown in the middle, and one that opened with a “damn.” The rest of the speech was unchanged.

“The students who saw the video with the swearing at the beginning or in the middle rated the speaker as more intense, but no less credible, than the ones who saw the speech with no swearing,” Byrne summarizes in her book. “What’s more, the students who saw the videos with the swearing were significantly more in favor of lowering tuition fees after seeing the video than the students who didn’t hear the swear word.”

Byrne delineates between what she calls propositional swearing, which is deliberate and planned, and non-propositional swearing, which can happen when we’re surprised, or among friends or confidants. Trump’s most recent swear, she suspects, is of the latter category. Among his supporters,President Trump’s profanity is often considered a sign of honesty – e.g. “he tells it like it is.” A leader’s coarse choice of words can be an instance of deliberate use of profanity as a rhetorical device, says Byrne. “As with rehearsed gestures and well-orchestrated photo opportunities, swearing can be used instrumentally to give an impression of passion or authenticity,” she says.

Swearing is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language (Amazon)

Monday, February 19, 2018

School of Life Monday:
How Our Past Influences Our Present

A lot of the way we see reality has been influenced, and often distorted, by our past. Our childhoods, which went on a long time, have shaped how we assess other people, ourselves and our prospects. Knowing about our innate biases allows us to liberate ourselves from certain settled but unhelpful habits of the mind.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Florida student Emma Gonzalez
to lawmakers and gun advocates: 'We call BS'

(CNN) Emma Gonzalez, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, addressed a gun control rally on Saturday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, days after a gunman entered her school in nearby Parkland and killed 17 people.

Below is a full transcript of her speech:
We haven't already had a moment of silence in the House of Representatives, so I would like to have another one. Thank you.
Every single person up here today, all these people should be home grieving. But instead we are up here standing together because if all our government and President can do is send thoughts and prayers, then it's time for victims to be the change that we need to see. Since the time of the Founding Fathers and since they added the Second Amendment to the Constitution, our guns have developed at a rate that leaves me dizzy. The guns have changed but our laws have not.
We certainly do not understand why it should be harder to make plans with friends on weekends than to buy an automatic or semi-automatic weapon. In Florida, to buy a gun you do not need a permit, you do not need a gun license, and once you buy it you do not need to register it. You do not need a permit to carry a concealed rifle or shotgun. You can buy as many guns as you want at one time.
I read something very powerful to me today. It was from the point of view of a teacher. And I quote: When adults tell me I have the right to own a gun, all I can hear is my right to own a gun outweighs your student's right to live. All I hear is mine, mine, mine, mine.
Instead of worrying about our AP Gov chapter 16 test, we have to be studying our notes to make sure that our arguments based on politics and political history are watertight. The students at this school have been having debates on guns for what feels like our entire lives. AP Gov had about three debates this year. Some discussions on the subject even occurred during the shooting while students were hiding in the closets. The people involved right now, those who were there, those posting, those tweeting, those doing interviews and talking to people, are being listened to for what feels like the very first time on this topic that has come up over 1,000 times in the past four years alone.
I found out today there's a website Nothing in the title suggests that it is exclusively tracking the USA's shootings and yet does it need to address that? Because Australia had one mass shooting in 1999 in Port Arthur (and after the) massacre introduced gun safety, and it hasn't had one since. Japan has never had a mass shooting. Canada has had three and the UK had one and they both introduced gun control and yet here we are, with websites dedicated to reporting these tragedies so that they can be formulated into statistics for your convenience.
I watched an interview this morning and noticed that one of the questions was, do you think your children will have to go through other school shooter drills? And our response is that our neighbors will not have to go through other school shooter drills. When we've had our say with the government -- and maybe the adults have gotten used to saying 'it is what it is,' but if us students have learned anything, it's that if you don't study, you will fail. And in this case if you actively do nothing, people continually end up dead, so it's time to start doing something.
We are going to be the kids you read about in textbooks. Not because we're going to be another statistic about mass shooting in America, but because, just as David said, we are going to be the last mass shooting. Just like Tinker v. Des Moines, we are going to change the law. That's going to be Marjory Stoneman Douglas in that textbook and it's going to be due to the tireless effort of the school board, the faculty members, the family members and most of all the students. The students who are dead, the students still in the hospital, the student now suffering PTSD, the students who had panic attacks during the vigil because the helicopters would not leave us alone, hovering over the school for 24 hours a day.
There is one tweet I would like to call attention to. So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities again and again. We did, time and time again. Since he was in middle school, it was no surprise to anyone who knew him to hear that he was the shooter. Those talking about how we should have not ostracized him, you didn't know this kid. OK, we did. We know that they are claiming mental health issues, and I am not a psychologist, but we need to pay attention to the fact that this was not just a mental health issue. He would not have harmed that many students with a knife.
And how about we stop blaming the victims for something that was the student's fault, the fault of the people who let him buy the guns in the first place, those at the gun shows, the people who encouraged him to buy accessories for his guns to make them fully automatic, the people who didn't take them away from him when they knew he expressed homicidal tendencies, and I am not talking about the FBI. I'm talking about the people he lived with. I'm talking about the neighbors who saw him outside holding guns.
If the President wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and how it should never have happened and maintain telling us how nothing is going to be done about it, I'm going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association.
You want to know something? It doesn't matter, because I already know. Thirty million dollars. And divided by the number of gunshot victims in the United States in the one and one-half months in 2018 alone, that comes out to being $5,800. Is that how much these people are worth to you, Trump? If you don't do anything to prevent this from continuing to occur, that number of gunshot victims will go up and the number that they are worth will go down. And we will be worthless to you.
To every politician who is taking donations from the NRA, shame on you.
Crowd chants, shame on you.
If your money was as threatened as us, would your first thought be, how is this going to reflect on my campaign? Which should I choose? Or would you choose us, and if you answered us, will you act like it for once? You know what would be a good way to act like it? I have an example of how to not act like it. In February of 2017, one year ago, President Trump repealed an Obama-era regulation that would have made it easier to block the sale of firearms to people with certain mental illnesses.
From the interactions that I had with the shooter before the shooting and from the information that I currently know about him, I don't really know if he was mentally ill. I wrote this before I heard what Delaney said. Delaney said he was diagnosed. I don't need a psychologist and I don't need to be a psychologist to know that repealing that regulation was a really dumb idea.
Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa was the sole sponsor on this bill that stops the FBI from performing background checks on people adjudicated to be mentally ill and now he's stating for the record, 'Well, it's a shame the FBI isn't doing background checks on these mentally ill people.' Well, duh. You took that opportunity away last year.
The people in the government who were voted into power are lying to us. And us kids seem to be the only ones who notice and our parents to call BS.Companies trying to make caricatures of the teenagers these days, saying that all we are self-involved and trend-obsessed and they hush us into submission when our message doesn't reach the ears of the nation, we are prepared to call BS. Politicians who sit in their gilded House and Senate seats funded by the NRA telling us nothing could have been done to prevent this, we call BS. They say tougher guns laws do not decrease gun violence. We call BS. They say a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. We call BS. They say guns are just tools like knives and are as dangerous as cars. We call BS. They say no laws could have prevented the hundreds of senseless tragedies that have occurred. We call BS. That us kids don't know what we're talking about, that we're too young to understand how the government works. We call BS.
If you agree, register to vote. Contact your local congresspeople. Give them a piece of your mind.
(Crowd chants) Throw them out.

Friday, February 16, 2018

You Could Even Have A BLACK FLAG In 2016'

from BlabberMouth:
Earlier in the year, Moshcam conducted an interview with Henry Rollins, former lead singer with BLACK FLAG and current spoken-word performer, actor and "punk" journalist, while he was in Sydney, Australia. You can now watch the chat below.

Asked how he thinks a band like BLACK FLAG would be received if it was formed in 2016 and not forty years earlier, Rollins said: "I don't know if there's ingredients in society in America that would birth a band like BLACK FLAG right now. With cell phones and Bandcamp sites and relative convenience, I don't know if a band like BLACK FLAG — which was birthed out of anger and police oppression and having our phones tapped and people throwing stuff at the band — I don't know if you would have gotten that level of anger and precision and hostility coming from us, 'cause we were all of that. I don't know if those ingredients would be in place to be able to mold and temper that kind of music. I think BLACK FLAG was truly a product of the late '70s [and] early '80s California, where cops were just going to gigs and just beating the daylights out of kids, and there was drugs that were killing kids — a lot of speed, a lot of heroin — and there's certainly that now, sadly. So I don't know if you could even have a BLACK FLAG in 2016."

He continued: "How would it be regarded now? Probably no one would be there throwing ashtrays at our heads. They'd be going, 'Wow! Your anger's so great. Can I get a photo with you?' I think it would be that. It's a softer… I'm aware of things… Maybe I'm just old and curmudgeonly, but all of those music scenes I see these days, they're very soft, in my opinion."

Rollins was the frontman for BLACK FLAG from 1981 to 1986. In that time he developed a worldwide reputation thanks to his wild, ferocious stage presence and his penchant for violence.

BLACK FLAG disbanded in 1986 because of the strained relationship between Rollins and the group's founder Greg Ginn.

In 1995, Henry won a Grammy in the "Best Spoken Word Or Non-Musical Album" category for the audiobook version of his non-fiction work "Get In The Van: On The Road With Black Flag".

Ginn in 2013 announced a new BLACK FLAG album and tour with onetime frontman Ron Reyes. Later the very same day, four other former members of BLACK FLAG announced the formation of FLAG — a tribute to all eras of the band, featuring founding singer and current OFF! frontman Keith Morris, bassist Chuck Dukowski, drummer Bill Stevenson, singer-turned-guitarist Dez Cadena and newly adopted guitarist Stephen Egerton, Stevenson's longtime bandmate in his main outfit, fellow SoCal punk legends the DESCENDENTS.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Vending machines to offer free items
to NYC's homeless people

from Boing Boing:

Using electronic key cards, homeless men and women in New York City will soon be able to get three free items a day from one of these orange vending machines. Basic but necessary items like socks, tampons, toothbrushes, and water will be made available to them. There will also be food, like fresh fruit, chips, sandwiches, and chocolate (all donations from local supermarkets, charities, and shops). One of the most popular items? Books.

The man behind the project is Huzaifah Khaled. He's the founder of Action Hunger, a British charity that is "committed to alleviating poverty and hardship amongst the homeless."

Khaled was recently interviewed on WBUR, and talked about the first machine already being used in Nottingham, England since January:

"The early data and feedback has been very, very promising. In fact, it's far surpassed even our own expectations. It's offering them a little more dignity. It's giving them a little more agency over their own lives. It's really heartwarming to see our service being used exactly as designed."

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

‘O.J.: Made in America’ Director
Boards Roberto Clemente Biopic

I am looking forward to this... Clemente was an idol to me growing up.

from Variety:

Ezra Edelman is following up the award-winning “O.J.: Made in America” by spotlighting another famous athlete.

The Oscar winner has signed on to direct Legendary’s biopic on baseball icon Roberto Clemente.

Legendary closed a deal for Edelman to develop a feature film with writer Rowan Ricardo Phillips based on the life of the famed baseball player. John Lesher will produce alongside Fuego Films’ Ben Silverman and Jay Weisleder, with Giselle Fernandez and Sandra Condito serving as executive producers.

The studio previously picked up the rights to David Maraniss’ book “Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero” and entered into an agreement with Clemente’s family for his life rights. Legendary has already seen success in this genre, having successfully launched the Jackie Robinson biopic “42” to box office and critical success, and hopes for similar results with this film.

Clemente played for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1955 to 1972. On Dec. 31, 1972, Clemente boarded a small plane en route from Puerto Rico to Nicaragua to assist with earthquake relief. The heavily loaded plane crashed just off the Puerto Rican coast, and Clemente’s body was never recovered. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1973.

Whiting Award-winning poet, Guggenheim fellow, and Paris Review sports columnist, Phillips is also the author of four books: “The Ground,” “Heaven,” “The Circuit,” and 2010’s essay collection “When Blackness Rhymes With Blackness.” Also a prodigious sportswriter, his work in that field has appeared in magazines such as The New Yorker as well as the Library of America’s “Basketball: Great Writing About America’s Game.”

Edleman’s “O.J.: Made in America” was celebrated for not only its in-depth look at the infamous football star, but also for its reflection of race relations in the country. The pic went on to win an Emmy and Oscar for best documentary.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Fugazi Returns... Through Opera?

from Pitchfork:
by Andy Beta Contributor
Last November, Washington Post pop critic Chris Richards posted a photo from a Washington Wizards telecast, featuring former Fugazi and Rites of Spring member Guy Picciotto taking in the game. Soon after, another indelible image of Picciotto on a basketball court circulated online, of the guitarist and vocalist performing at an early Fugazi show, dangling upside down from the basket, shirtless and screaming. It was a searing reminder that Fugazi’s vitality has seldom been matched. For nearly 20 years, they were an inspirational force in the underground—as kinetic as a severed power line, night in and night out.

“They're still the greatest rock band I've ever seen live, as electrifying as your imagination will allow,” recently said Richards, whose post-hardcore band Q and Not U was signed to Dischord Records, co-owned by Fugazi and Minor Threat frontman Ian MacKaye. “Fugazi taught me how intense live music could be, and how that intensity can help bind a community.” After the band’s sixth album, 2001’s The Argument, and its subsequent tour, Fugazi went on indefinite hiatus in 2003. Every so often there are rumors of a reunion (and even an April Fool’s Day joke), but the band has never played live again. In 2011, they offered a consolation of sorts: an 800-show live archive spanning from 1988 to 2003 and containing over 1,500 hours of music, uploaded to Dischord’s site.

When Brooklyn-based experimental theater group Object Collection announced It’s All True, a so-called “opera-in-suspension” based on that archive, fans, music sites, an even the band were flummoxed. “I was really left-footed by it–I couldn’t read the tonality at all,” Picciotto said recently, via email. “It seemed kind of arch at first, though I was hugely relieved that it wasn’t some kind of hagiographic take on the whole thing.” It’s All True premiered in Norway in 2016, was staged in London last year, and now makes its U.S. premiere at New York’s venerated experimental theater home, La Mama, where it runs from February 8th through the 25th.

Before the idea of “Waiting Room,” “Glue Man” and “Reclamation” being strung together into a cringeworthy storyline about two Gen-X lovers crosses your mind, none of Fugazi’s songs actually appear in It’s All True, meaning that the band thankfully won’t be having its Mamma Mia! or American Idiot moment. Instead, Object Collection’s composer Travis Just and writer/director Kara Feely pulled their material solely from stage banter, feedback, guitar re-stringing, and confrontations between Picciotto, MacKaye, and their audiences—a bewildering mix of incidental and interstitial moments that suggest every performance is in a perpetual state of collapse. How fitting for a troupe that most recently presented a hardcore take on the Russian Revolution (and the legendary Sergei Eisenstein film about it) with cheap&easy OCTOBER.

“Our work is non-narrative and there's already 1,000 versions of ‘Reclamation’ available for everybody to listen to, so what's the point of us doing that?” Just said. “We're not gonna tell the story of the band, either. As a composer, I've always loved uncontrollable feedback and drums that sound like they've been thrown down a flight of stairs. That's kind of my thing.”

Even after Fugazi granted usage rights (they are selective, generally allowing student films and non-profits but not most corporate and industry requests), they still didn’t think anything would come of the project. “Frankly, I didn’t fully understand what they were going to do with the material, and I also wasn’t 100 percent convinced it would ever happen,” Picciotto said. But after the premiere, the band saw video footage and couldn’t quite believe the end results. “We all started exchanging emails of the ‘what-the-fuck’ variety,” Picciotto added. “But the more we watched it, the more it started to grow on us. I think the willful perversity of the undertaking really appealed to us—the literal notation-scoring of the incidental music by Travis, all the crazy quilting of the stage speech by Kara.” Picciotto even admitted that no single member of Fugazi actually made it through the entirety of their own live archive, a process he called “pretty fucking grueling.”

“They maybe weren't expecting us to go as deep as we did, but when you're working with an archive, you kind of have to go through everything,” Just said, though the process did start to have adverse effects on him. “It was brutal, I won't lie. I was having weird dreams that I was in the band or just some disembodied head.”

In the years since Fugazi went on hiatus, their legacy has grown, though the band’s convictions have become at times distorted. “It drives me insane how people talk about them today,” Richards said. “‘Fugazi? Weren’t they that straight-edge band who hated dancing and liked to scold their audience?’” Yes, the band held to convictions about keeping shows cheap (often $5-$7), all ages, and safe. If the mosh pits grew hostile toward women and younger kids, MacKaye would immediately bring things to a halt. Rather than regard it as nagging and hectoring a paying audience, such pauses and verbal sparring were ultimately about fostering inclusivity in the scene. As a 16-year-old living in central Texas, Fugazi coming to play in my town felt seismic: an all too-rare event that didn’t involve going to a bar, needing a chaperone, or borrowing money from my parents. Even more mind-boggling is that I can revisit that exact show.

Although neither Just nor Feely ever saw the band play live, Fugazi’s dedication to a DIY ethos—their willingness to book the tours, rent the PA, and cart their own gear—spoke to the theater group. “Being involved in performance, it's all about the live show for us,” Feely said. “There was just such a huge amount of activity going on around [Fugazi] shows, whether they were playing a benefit concert, or there was a rally going on that they were playing in front of, or even just how they conducted themselves live and what they expected of the audience.”

On Thursday night, It’s All True made its U.S. premiere, every bit as confounding as the video clips hinted at. Propelled by a din scored and conducted by Just for the Dither Guitar Quartet, bookended by drummers Shayna Dunkelman and Clara Warnaar, the noise accompanied four actors as they thrashed and shouted on a simple stage of armchairs, folding chairs, metal tables, and stacks of cardboard, moving seemingly at random. It was gestural yet resistant to a through-line, the music similarly disjointed: tunings, drum rolls, amp buzz and, at one point in the performance, amplified sipping from water bottles. “Surprisingly, the incidental music triggered weird ‘feelings’ for me,” Picciotto said. “Stuff I heard a million times–certain time-killing drum fills or tuning patterns–and it was weird how resonant that felt.”

Although much of this stage banter was first uttered by Fugazi in the ’90s, as the band railed against Exxon, Mobil, Bush 41, and the “television miniseries Desert Storm,” there are passages highlighted in It’s All True that become eerily resonant in the present moment: lines about police violence, gun deaths, the unchecked growth of for-profit prisons, affordable healthcare, “male lame asses,” and even a diatribe on “shitholes,” all woven into the din. The opera starts to reflect the mass confusion that is palpable in 2018, wherein we’re in need of action yet flailing over how exactly to act.

“I always hated the whole question of, ‘Does politics have a place in music?’” Picciotto said. “It’s moronic. We are all in politics all the time, and the play reminded me of how much that was foregrounded at the shows—we were all in it. And we’re still all in it. It’s a combination of that depressing feeling of ‘fuck, this shit AGAIN?’ with the more resilient, combative ‘FUCK this shit, again!’”

Amid the jumble of feedback and shouted lines, something resembling that heartening relief of being in the crowd at an underground show or a protest march emerges: the paradoxical realization that while no one person can make a difference, a difference can nevertheless be made. It’s All True explicitly addresses that near the end, taking a line from the band and shouting it anew: “You look around and go, ‘I’m not alone!’”

Monday, February 12, 2018

School Life Monday:
What Your Home Says About You...

One of our most basic psychological needs is to create a home, that is a space that is decorated in such a way as to reflect our values back to us. That's why we can legitimately get so excited (or distressed) by matters of home decoration - and why, after too long on the road, we long to get back to our own place.


“One of the most meaningful activities we are ever engaged in is the creation of a home. Over a number of years, typically with a lot of thought and considerable dedication, we assemble furniture, crockery, pictures, rugs, cushions, vases, sideboards, taps, door handles and so on into a distinctive constellation we anoint with the word home. As we create our rooms, we engage passionately with culture in a way we seldom do in the supposedly higher realms of museums or galleries. We reflect profoundly on the atmosphere of a picture, we ponder the relationship between colours on a wall, we notice how consequential the shape of the back of a sofa can be and ask with care what books really deserve our ongoing attention…”

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Hero bicyclist narrows streets near FCC and offers drivers $5 "Priority Access" so drivers can "choose the plan that best suits their needs"

from Boing Boing:

An act of heroic trolling from Net Neutrality advocate Rob Bliss, who "throttled" access to DC's 12th Street by traffic-coning all but one lane, then cycled slowly up and down the remaining lane with a sign offering drivers "priority access" to his "fast lane" for $5/month.

Bliss was making a pointed statement about Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who insisted that he alone could see the looming problem of network management that could only be fixed by allowing ISPs to use their publicly subsidized infrastructure to limit who could get to the network services they wanted to visit.

Bliss told The Next Web that his performance was accomplished thanks to the admirable forebearance of the DC cops who have "a lot of great training and also experience due to frequent interactions with nonviolent protestors."

Net Neutrality is a huge issue, it has the ability to shape how we think and see the world. The fact that it hasn’t really been well understood by the public is very concerning and what I was trying to address. By bringing internet traffic to real world traffic, a lot of the issues become immediately apparent. In the video I play the role of the ISP, and everyone’s response proves how society would never allow such behavior in the real world. So why should we allow it online?
Net neutrality activist ‘throttles’ street traffic outside FCC building [Tristan Greene/The Next Web]

(via Naked Capitalism)

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Instravel - A Photogenic Mass Tourism Experience

from: Oliver KMIA on Vimeo

I explained all the details of the video in this article at:

I came up with this idea last year while traveling in Roma. I wanted to take a look at the popular Trevi Fountain but I never managed to get close to it. The place was assaulted by hundreds of tourists, some of them formed a huge line to get a spot in front of the Fountain. Needless to say that I was very pissed by this sight and left for the not less crowded Pantheon.
I was shocked by the mass of people walking all around the city, yet I was one of them, not better or worst. Like all these tourists, I burned hundred of gallons of fuel to get there, rushed to visit the city in a few days and stayed in a hotel downtown. Then, I remembered a video I watched a few months earlier from the artist Hiérophante ( I decided to make this kind of sarcastic video but with the focus on travel and mass tourism. Hiérophante admitted that his video was "cliché" and that he got inspired by other videos. So I'm basically making fun of something I'm part of. The irony is strong.

While the era of mass world tourism and global world travel opened up in the 60s and 70s with the development of Jumbo Jets and low cost airlines, there is a new trend that consists of taking pictures everywhere you go to share it on social networks. During my trip, I felt that many people didn't really enjoy the moment and were hooked to their smartphones. As if the ultimate goal of travel was to brag about it online and run after the likes and followers.

In a recent article published by the Guardian, journalist Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett described this phenomena:
"These Instagrammers are collectively sucking the joy and spontaneity out of travel photography, and for those unfortunate enough to bump into them abroad, possibly travel itself. We must pity the poor locals, who have to put up with them. [...] Social media encourages the memeification of human experience. Instead of diversity we see homogeneity. It’s extremely boring."

In the extreme situation, this image rush can have negative impact on the environment

However, I was able to find plenty of nice accounts over my research on Instagram. Some of them were inspiring and lead by talented persons. In the end, social networks are just a tool. For better or worse, (or both).
Eventually, I couldn't secure a picture of the Trevi Fountain for my Instragram account but I still had a very nice time in Italy.

► Production:
I used images available on public Instagram accounts. Finding and sorting the material took a lot of time but I produced the video over several months when I had time. The process of aligning each and every images manually in relation to the next was very tedious.
In terms of copyright, I believe that this type of use fall under the fair use. This is not a commercial project and every image appears for less than 1/4 of a second.

Image credit of the video Thumbnail:
Eiffeil Tower: Pixabay
Lady with Iphone: Stokpic
Lady on the beach: Wendy Hero
Selfie: Tookapic
Japanese temple: Pixabay
Map: Pixabay
Taken from (Creative Commons Zero CC0 license)

Monday, February 5, 2018

School Of Life Monday:
LITERATURE - Samuel Beckett

Samuel Beckett is perhaps the greatest playwright of the 20th century, and the author of the masterpiece, Waiting for Godot. It’s hard to understand the modern world without his perspective.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

‘The Simpsons’ Has Predicted a Lot.
Most of It Can Be Explained.

from the New York Times: By Maya Salam

“Many jokes reach just beyond what is real, and that is a pretty good way of setting yourself up for things that may turn out to be real in the future,” Bill Irwin, author of “The Simpsons and Philosophy,” said of the show.
There is no crystal ball in “The Simpsons” writers’ room, but you’d be forgiven for wondering.

Over its nearly 30-year run, the series about the world’s most famous animated family has alluded to many real-life events long before they’ve actually happened: the Trump presidency, the discovery of the Higgs boson particle, 9/11 and, most recently, Disney’s takeover of Fox. By some accounts, the coincidences — predictions, if you will — number in the 20s, or more.

This track record has led the show’s legion of fans to think that “The Simpsons” is, at the very least, a product of television’s most intelligent writers, and, at the most, prophetic.

So is there something bigger going on?

The future can be forecast better than one might think, said Al Jean, one of the show’s original writers and its showrunner since 1998. Episodes of “The Simpsons” air a year after they’re produced, he said, so “it’s just a sort of frame of mind that we’ve got that we think one year ahead.”

“I predict people will make too much of our great predictions,” he joked.

The show is the product of brilliant minds, many Harvard educated, said William Irwin, whose book “The Simpsons and Philosophy” has for years been taught in college courses at The University of California, Berkeley and other schools. Mr. Irwin is the chairman of philosophy at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Writers rule on “The Simpsons,” not the actors, he said.

The result is a show packed with references to art, literature, pop culture, politics and science.

“When that many smart people produce a television show, it’s bound to make some startling ‘predictions,’” he said.

Another possible factor at play: “the law of truly large numbers,” a concept presented by the Harvard mathematicians Frederick Mosteller and Persi Diaconis in their 1989 paper Methods for Studying Coincidences.

“With a large enough sample, any outrageous thing is apt to happen,” the law states. “The Simpsons,” a Fox show, is the longest-running scripted TV series in history.

Or, for fans looking for answers far outside conventional logic, Dr. Bernard Beitman, author of “Connecting With Coincidence,” offers the existence of the “psychosphere,” our mental atmosphere that is essentially “group mind in action.”
“Under the right conditions, we can know things that we don’t know we know, and we can sometimes predict events or attract what we are thinking,” said Dr. Beitman, a former chairman of the psychiatry department at the University of Missouri.
Here are some of the most remarkable coincidences from “The Simpsons,” and how they can, or can’t, be explained.

The weirdest predictions

Sept. 11, 2001

Predicted: 1997
Happened: 2001

In “The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson,” there was a moment that alluded to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, and not even Mr. Jean could explain it.

“There is a frame where there’s a brochure that says New York at $9 a day, and behind the nine are the twin towers. So they look like an 11, and it looks like a 9/11. That one is a completely bizarre, strange thing,” he said.

In 2010, Bill Oakley, an executive producer on the show at the time, told The New York Observer: “$9 was picked as a comically cheap fare,” he said. “And I will grant that it’s eerie, given that it’s on the only episode of any series ever that had an entire act of World Trade Center jokes.”

The show’s unintended connection to 9/11 is far from the only one on television. The pilot episode of “The Lone Gunmen,” a short-lived spinoff of “The X-Files” that aired six months before Sept. 11, includes a plot where a hijacked plane is aimed at the World Trade Center. The pilots regain control and miss the towers just moments before colliding.


Predicted: 1992, 1993, 1994
Happened: 1992, 1993, 1994

The show predicted the N.F.L. champions three years in a row — in an episode that was all about predictions.

And yes, all three were just lucky guesses, Mr. Jean said.

In “Lisa the Greek,” which first aired in January 1992, Homer and Lisa bond over sports — well, sports gambling. Lisa has discovered a knack for predicting football winners, which Homer happily cashes in on. Lisa tells Homer that if the Washington Redskins defeat the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl, she would still love him. If they don’t, she won’t.

Washington wins, and all is well between them. Three days after the episode aired, Washington beat Buffalo 37-24.

The episode was reworked in 1993 and in 1994, with the new Super Bowl-bound teams, which were the Dallas Cowboys and the Buffalo Bills both years. Lisa went with Dallas. In 1993, Dallas won 52-17. In 1994, Dallas won, 30-13.

1994 was the last time “The Simpsons” altered the episode, and the last time Buffalo made a Super Bowl appearance.
The gray area

Disney acquires 21st Century Fox

Predicted: 1998
Happened: 2017

The most recent “Simpsons” prediction to come true was Disney’s $52 billion deal for 21st Century Fox, announced in December. In “When You Dish Upon a Star,” there’s a sign that reads “20th Century Fox, a division of Walt Disney Co.”

Mr. Jean said this sort of prediction was in line with the writers’ forward-thinking process. The deal “was just another one,” he said. “It happens. There's always mergers. It seemed logical, you know?”

The Higgs boson particle

Predicted: 1998
Happened: 2012

At first glance, this “The Wizard of Evergreen Terrace” plot point might seem like the freakiest “Simpsons” prophecy: Homer, striving to be the next great inventor, standing at a chalkboard, on which a complex equation is scrawled.

That equation is a just a hair off what would become the Higgs boson particle, or “God particle,” which was discovered in 2012, decades after it was first presumed to exist.

“That equation predicts the mass of the Higgs boson,” Simon Singh, author of the 2013 book “The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets,” told the British newspaper The Independent in 2015. “If you work it out, you get the mass of a Higgs boson that’s only a bit larger than the nano-mass of a Higgs boson actually is. It’s kind of amazing as Homer makes this prediction 14 years before it was discovered.”

But it can be explained to some degree. “The Higgs boson was written into the script by David Cohen, who’s one of the people with a math background on this show,” Mr. Jean said. “What he put in was a plausible guess at that time. So it wasn’t like totally out of left field.”

The explainable

The Trump presidency

Predicted: 2000
Happened: 2016

Mention “Simpsons” predictions to someone, and chances are they’ll respond with: “They predicted Trump, right?” While it might seem pretty amazing, it’s actually one of the show’s most logical prognoses, Mr. Jean said.

“There’s a category I would call plausible predictions, which Trump would fall under,” he said.

“People have somewhat forgotten, but he was talking about running for president then,” he said. “So it wasn’t somebody totally out of the blue. It was a guy who was a punch-line name and had presidential aspirations.”

In a 2016 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the writer Dan Greaney said that the joke was intended as a warning. “That just seemed like the logical last stop before hitting bottom,” he said. “It was pitched because it was consistent with the vision of America going insane.”

References to a possible President Trump have made other rounds in pop culture: First in the Michael J. Fox movie “Back to the Future II,” where the bad guy Biff Tannen, who is fashioned to look like Donald Trump, takes power; and again in the “Rage Against the Machine” video for the song “Sleep Now in the Fire” from 1999, which was directed by Michael Moore and filmed on Wall Street.