I got an email from my friend Matt last night that said, "Well, you won't have Ray Manzarek to kick around anymore." This was a reference to an argument we had, Matt and I and another friend, Dave, very late at night this past New Year's Eve. We've known each since grade school, the three of us, and we got into music together in the way that lots of adolescent suburban boys do: classic-rock-first. We all loved the Doors as kids, I had a poster of Jim Morrison in my room in front of which I used to bow my head in prayer. We all mastered the distinctive building-block lettering of the band's logo—among the best examples of graphic design in the history of rock and roll, if only because of the ease with which it could be drawn on desk-tops and math book covers. READ MORE
Trevor Tahiem "Busta Rhymes" Smith, Jr. occupies a singular place in hip-hop history. He is a super-good rapper, blessed with a flow as quick and nimble and flexible as any we've ever heard. He's never put together truly great songs, though, or albums you want to listen to all the way through. He's perhaps most famous for his guest appearances on other peoples' songs—beginning with his jaw-dropping verse on A Tribe Called Quest's "Scenario" in 1991, he earned a reputation as the genre's greatest scene stealer. (Andre 3000 has since stolen that crown.) What Busta is, though, I think, is hip-hop's greatest video artist. He is the very definition of "animated" and his collaborations with Hype Williams in the late '90s set a new standard for rap video—showed how they could be something more than, better, beyond, the music they were set to. Busta turns 40 today.* Let's celebrate with five of his groundbreaking performances. READ MORE
23 Replacement Similes For Humans To Use Once All The Animals Are Dead And No One Knows What "Animals" Were
Now that we're well on into our planet's sixth mass extinction event, and with recent news that we're charging towards environmental catastrophe faster than ever, it's time we start thinking about contingencies not in terms of "if" but in terms of "when." Let's say, just for argument's sake, that the human species will survive. Some people, like Annalee Newitz, author of Scatter, Adapt and Remember: How Humans Will Survive A Mass Extinction, think we will! But even if she's right, certainly, there will be changes we'll have to get used to. Besides the hilarious "Great, I'll have beachfront property" jokes the wittier among us will continue to make, our lexicon is sure to change. For example, similes that use animal imagery—we'll need some new ones, since no one will no understand what most "animals" are (or were). Here's a start, with future generations in mind. READ MORE
"A recent news story claims that Tim Dog 'may be up to his biggest scam yet'—faking his own death. WREG in Memphis interviewed Esther Pilgrim, one of the women featured in this Dateline story back in June of last year, who had been one of many victims reportedly swindled out of money by the rapper, and she alleges that a death certificate for Timothy Blair (the Dog’s government name) has not been found by a private investigator she hired. The news station also did some diggin’ and supposedly didn’t come up with anything either. And here’s the kicker: their P.I. did, however, locate an Atlanta address 'active' since last month for the supposedly deceased rapper!" READ MORE
Once when I was driving on Route 80 in Pennsylvania, I passed a car being driven by a man holding a book open between his two hands on the steering wheel. It was a thick book, like a big novel, and he was reading it while driving 65 miles per hour on the highway. This seemed like one of the more dangerous things I had ever seen. So I hope Gunplay doesn't try to, like, look up any particular passages of scripture while he's rolling. But this is a great song.
There's been plenty written about how great Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar's album, good kid, m.A.A.d. city is. So much that I'm left with feeling like I have little of value to add to any conversation about it. But the video for "Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe," came out today and it inspired in me a thought(!) First of all, it's really good. Watch it. Secondly, jumping back and forth in tone as it does, it makes a nice point about how complex everything is—death, religion, fashion, mourning, partying, solitude, unity, nature, all this stuff. All sorts of paradox. Which starts to come as close to truth, I think, as our little human brains can muster. Anyway, sorry for getting a little carried away there. That's three cups of coffee talking. And probably largely nonsense. But it made me think a lot of an old favorite album of mine that I haven't listened to in a really long time. Rahsaan Roland Kirk's Blacknuss. READ MORE
"The psychological definition of loneliness hasn’t changed much since Fromm-Reichmann laid it out. 'Real loneliness,' as she called it, is not what the philosopher Søren Kierkegaard characterized as the 'shut-upness' and solitariness of the civilized. Nor is 'real loneliness' the happy solitude of the productive artist or the passing irritation of being cooped up with the flu while all your friends go off on some adventure. It’s not being dissatisfied with your companion of the moment—your friend or lover or even spouse—unless you chronically find yourself in that situation, in which case you may in fact be a lonely person. Fromm-Reichmann even distinguished 'real loneliness' from mourning, since the well-adjusted eventually get over that, and from depression, which may be a symptom of loneliness but is rarely the cause. Loneliness, she said—and this will surprise no one—is the want of intimacy." READ MORE
If you're like me, you've been waiting 26 years to find out what happens next in Lou Gramm's "Midnight Blue" video. What becomes of our hero, the oily gearhead bohunk in the black leather jacket, and his sexy paramour, the restless one who did not care that he was just a troubled boy looking for a double-dare? What of the next day? After they ride off under the moon in that gorgeous cherry-red convertible? What does this world have in store for them once the sun has risen and shined its light on their midnight fling with romantic fate? Well, fellow
very old idiots dreamers, our prayers have been answered! Above, "Midnight Blue Part 2: Mariah Carey's Beautiful (Featuring Miguel)." READ MORE
Here's the new video from one of our favorite young artists, Mr. Muthafuckin' eXquire. In it, the Brooklyn rapper raps two new songs, "Noble Drew Ali" and "The Cauldron." I don't know why he called the video "Nightfall at the Thames." But then, I went to school in New London, Connecticut, and there's a river there called the Thames. But it's pronounced with the "Th" sound like "the," and "ames" like it rhymes with "James." So who knows why anyone does anything the way they do it? Not me.
"Human astrocytes certainly inspired the mice. Their neurons did indeed build stronger synapses. (Perhaps this was because human astrocytes signal three times faster than mouse astrocytes do.) Mouse learning sharpened, too. On the first try, for instance, altered mice perceived the connection between a noise and an electric shock (a standard learning test in mouse research). Normal mice need a few repetitions to get the idea. Memories of the doctored mice were better too: they remembered mazes, object locations, and the shock lessons longer." READ MORE