My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Marbury motive 

The Clarion Content saw an interesting note in a Los Angeles Times article discussing the Knicks buyout of Stephon Marbury and his subsequent move to Boston. Did the Knicks player personnel guru Donnie Walsh have an ulterior motive? The writer suggests an interesting benefit that accrues to the Knicks if they help the Celtics win the championship again, presuming Starbury makes them better. If in the process, the Celts beat the Cavs again, it decreases the chances LeBron stays in Cleveland. And he is not going to New Jersey ni Brooklyn. Bill Simmons suggests in his latest column that the chances are greater that the Nets are moving to Pittsburgh.

Labels: , , ,

Unrealistic Plan 

The Clarion Content is wondering just how realistic and bright Yankees manager Joe Girardi's plan is for catcher this season. Is this a case where Girardi has to say the politically popular thing despite knowing the likelihood is otherwise? Girardi was quoted by the New York Times the other day claiming that thirty-seven going on thirty-eight year old, Yankee stalwart Jorge Posada will catch 110 games this year. Really? According to the same NY Times article only five catchers in the last forty years Posada's age and older have caught 110 games in a season, "Brad Ausmus, Bob Boone, Carlton Fisk, Benito Santiago and Ernie Whitt."

Is Girardi compelled to say this because Posada is the highest paid catcher in baseball at $13.1 million this year? Clearly, it is bad news for the Yankees roster because they already have too many candidates for DH, as usual. Worse, hampered by a torn labrum in his shoulder Posada had an awful defensive year last year.

Labels: ,

Status report 

How's this for a status report on how things are going for Bank of America?

At one point the Yankees and the Charlotte based product of many's a bank merger had been discussing naming rights for the front gate of the new Yankee Stadium. Now things have gone so far down hill for the bank that a Yankees spokesman was quoted in USA Today, saying not only was that deal off the table but at most Bank of America may provide the cash machines inside the stadium. Things are not all bad for the Yankees revenue stream. The team, according to USA Today was still able to sell, "an Audi Yankees Club, Budweiser Hall of Fame Lounge, Delta Sky 360 Suite, H&R Block Suite Level, Jim Beam Suite Lounge, Ketel One Lounge and Mohegan Sun Sports Bar."

Labels: , ,

Doesn't get it 

On one level the Clarion Content can barely stand the thought of commenting about A-Rod because every thought of the eerie superstar reminds us that the Yankees are tethered to him for nine more years!

On the other hand, sometimes the guy is so clueless that we can't bare to ignore it. He is a sociological phenomenon. It is conceivable that there is more grist for the mill to compare A-Rod's career and Brittney's career than there is A-Rod and other baseball players. He was a superstar at a very early age. That is not an excuse, but an observation. There is a certain irony in Madonna's attempted mentoring of both of them. From afar, it would appear she has much more successfully navigated the treacherous waters of fame than either of her protegees..

Anyway, A-Rod must not have absorbed all of the lessons yet, because this week past, in the brilliant glare of the steroid revelations that are washing over him, Alex had his cousin of the injections, Yuri Sucart, pick him up at the Yankees spring training opener in Dunedin. Brilliant.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Off the Charts 

Yesterday in the Clarion Content Pop Culture section we blogged on a genius who called 911 on the cops who were arresting him for public intoxication in Tampa International Airport. He thought he'd show them. We thought that kind of creative brilliance would be tough to top. But, he has been challenged by Washington State University quarterback, Marshall Lobbestael.

The nineteen year old Lobbestael was discovered passed out in the cab of his pick-up truck in the parking lot of the local police station. He was charged with minor in possession of alcohol. He has been suspended from the football team. Isn't Washington State University the final educational institution who gave the world Ryan Leaf?

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

David Price in Durham 

There is some excitement being generated about when or if David Price will next be seen in Durham. Not Congressman David Price, who is in fact Durham's congressperson, representing the 4th district of North Carolina, but rather current Tampa Bay Rays left-handed pitcher, David Price.

The six foot six inch fireballer was lights out in the postseason last year for the American League World Series representative. Price pitched to a 1.83 ERA, with 20 strikeouts in 19.2 major league innings last year. He may be a candidate for rookie of the year, but the Rays are being very careful with their young star who has only thrown 37.2 innings above the Double-A level, lifetime. This means Price might start the season with the Rays Triple-A affiliate, the Durham Bulls. Like many teams, with all the off days early in the season, Tampa has little need for a fifth starter in April and May.

Durhamanians get off your tail-feathers, get out to the ballpark and check this kid out. He looks like the real deal. (Last year at the beginning of the minor league season Durham fans were treated to the Rays all everything 3rd baseman Evan Longoria, as the team started him in the minors for financial reasons.)

Labels: ,

Late entrant for the Darwin awards 

See the drunk bus can be fun...

How's this for getting arrested? The cops take you to a bus stop and say you can get on the bus and leave drunky, but if you don't, we are going to have to arrest you.

Daniel Trimm, 43, of Seminole, Florida, said, "Oh yeah, try to arrest me! I'll call the cops on you." And subsequently called 911 to explain that the cops were arresting his publicly intoxicated ass and kicking him out of Tampa International Airport. Needless to say, he is still in jail this morning, charged with not only trespassing and disorderly conduct, but also a special bonus count of making a false 911 call. Genius.


Monday, February 23, 2009

A post on the Post 

The Clarion Content has observed the controversy surrounding the cartoon published last week in the New York Post from afar. We will not be linking to it directly. Here in Durham we have been unable to formulate a coherent perspective on the situation. Luckily we have a guest columnist from Morris County, New Jersey with a short take. Take it away AnthemSled...

It seems to me the real story here is that the Post, full of sour grapes and slouching towards irrelevance, decided to print this [cartoon] knowing that they could bait their favorite punching bag Al Sharpton into criticizing them for something they could defend with a shrug, "We're not racist, just obtuse and unfunny!" meanwhile helping white males to feel like they are the ones being persecuted. I can't really boycott the Post, cause I never buy it anyway.

The tragedy here is that all the lefty vehemence against the Post right now is giving them exactly what they were looking for - publicity.

Links do not imply endorsement. Food for thought only...

Labels: , , , , ,

Gimpy old man sidelined again 

Not current shot, but a typical Greg Oden pose...

The Clarion Content hardly thinks it is too early to start criticizing the Portland Trail Blazers for what will come to be seen as the massive mistake of selecting Greg Oden ahead of Kevin Durant.

Oden, who missed all of last season with injuries, who has already been sidelined once this season, who is averaging an anemic nine points and seven boards per game, is hurt again. He has missed the last three games and it is possible he will be out for several weeks.

Should the Blazers have seen this coming? Heck the guy was slow and gimpy at eighteen! His legs aren't the same length! He looks forty years old. Yeah, they should have seen it coming. Oden, following in the immortal footsteps of Sam Bowie, won't even end up being the second or third best player in his draft class.

Durant on the other hand is averaging twenty-six points and nearly seven rebounds per game. And that is not because he is an unconscionable gunner on a no hope team. Nope. Durant is shooting a solid 48.5% from the field overall and a lights-out 43% plus from three point range this eason. He has scored thirty or more points in twelve of his last sixteen games.

The guys who will surely be better than Oden from his draft class, Jeff Green, taken 5th, and Al Horford, taken 3rd overall.

But also currently outperforming Greg Oden from the 2007 NBA draft...Wilson Chandler, Rudy Fernandez, Al Thorton, and Thaddeus Young, among others. Not so good for the number one overall pick. Oden maybe heading toward Michael Olowokandi territory.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Unauthorized Autobiography of G.Ia.M'Rock 

Welcome to a work of meta-fiction and gonzo journalism reminiscent of the late Hunter S. Thompson.

Brought to you by one of Durham's very own.

Some language and situations may not be appropriate for younger readers

Chapter One, "I once met this cat in South Carolina..."

A lot of people consider me a bad person, and I can never quite understand why. Okay, so maybe not a lot of people, the figure is probably closer to the vast majority of the people I meet, most of those people don't even matter though. The guy I sideswiped coming out of the Cookout? He's never gonna see me again; to him, I'm just an act of God. But among people I actually know and care about -- my friends, my coworkers, my family, the regulars at the Green Room, etc. -- I think the figure is significantly lower.

Might just ask the Chuck to make sure.

"Hey Chuck!"

"Yes, Geoffrey?"

"Do people think that I'm a bad person?"

He responds quickly and unconditionally, as though I had asked if it were raining outside "Yes"

"Okay... so a lot of people do, but how about you?"

"Well... yeah. You're an asshole, Geoff, but you're my kind of asshole"

So Chuck still likes me, in spite of my apparent failings as a likable human being. I should explain something: The Chuck is my roommate... well, no... roommates pay rent... I'd call him a houseguest, but houseguests don't stay at your house for 2 years. Ah hah! The Chuck is my infestation. I have an infestation of The Chuck. Now, I'm not particularly bothered by this... most of the time. Because the Chuck offers me a benign sort of quiet companionship, and I can afford to keep him around... (well, maybe he's more like a pet then... like one of those big ol' iguanas). So when I'm alone wondering something, my first response is to ask the Chuck. There are other people I call on, as I wonder about stuff a lot, but we'll get to that later.

In the mean time, we were busy talking about how I'm supposedly a bad person, but I'm not really! My methodology is different from most, but not in an evil way, just in an unorthodox way.

Take the time I pissed on a cat.

Now I know what you're thinking, that's insanely cruel and awful, and that is the definition of animal cruelty which is just one of those fundamental things that make people into bad people.

Trust me, nothing was so cruel as the Baby Jesus allowing this critter to stay alive.

I should start at the beginning. One long weekend, my Buddy Jamie and I went to South Carolina to visit a friend of his. I can't remember her name, so we'll call her Velma. Now, James was just going down to get his dick wet, and I'm reasonably sure that I was invited along as a courtesy. But still, it was my long weekend too, and I was determined to have some fun. During one afternoon's marathon blowjob solo by Velma, I'm wandering around her house, seeing if there's anything beyond your standard American diversions to pass the time. Low and behold, I did discover this beautiful Hibachi grill sitting outside. Once the lovebirds came up for air I asked Velma if I could use the Hibachi.

"Sure thing", she said, walking towards the window "but it can't be today. I don't have anything grillable in the house, and the neighbor's cat is in the driveway"

I failed to see the connection between the two phrases. "I'm sorry, what about the cat?"

"The neighbor's cat is in the driveway, we can't drive anywhere, and I am sure as hell not walking to the Farmer's Market"

I peered outside and saw no cat. I looked back at her and informed her that Jamie and I would move the cat, all would be well, and then there would be steak. She told us if we could, we were welcome to try, but in that condescending way that the queen tells the strange knight that he is welcome to try to kill the savage dragon. It would certainly be nice if he could, but too many have tried and died for her to get her hopes up.

Jamie and I sauntered out of the house to have a better look at the driveway. Now honestly, even up close I don't want to say that I saw the cat, because I didn't. This thing didn't look like a cat, it looked like a blob of fur, but it was certainly more cat shaped than the gravel on the driveway or the half a rake that had fallen in it. The blob was roughly circular, about 18 inches in diameter and 6 inches tall. No visible signs of a head, tail, feet, or life. Oh, and it was an orange tabby.

I first tried a rather direct measure.


No response.

"Hey... Fat Cat!"

Still no response.

I nudged it a couple of times with my boot. Still nothing.

"Jaime, get over here and help me pick up this cat!"

Now before I go into the results of me trying to pick up the cat, I want you at home to go and do a little science experiment. Go into your kitchen (assuming that's where you keep 'em) and grab one of the bigger sized trash cans you own. Liberally grease the outside with cooking spray. Fill the inside with at least five gallons of water. Put it on your kitchen floor, and pick it up from beneath without using the handle.

Go ahead, I'll wait for you.

You notice pretty quick that unless your arms are the size of Henry Rollins's you can't get your arms to cover the entirety of the bottom of the surface area. All you can do is attempt to hoist it up at its center of gravity. Problem is, much like an incredibly fat cat, the majority of its weight is fairly fluid, so the center of gravity shifts and you end up dropping it a half a second after you get it off the ground. And much like be-Pam-ed plastic, cat hair is fairly smooth and slick, (though I'm happy to say not nearly as greasy), so you can't rely on friction to keep you holding on.

So regardless to say that the respective arrays of myself, myself & Jamie, Jamie, myself & Jamie with a rake, myself with a rake & Jamie with a shovel, and of course, Jamie with a rake & myself with a shovel & the vocabulary of a drunken wounded sailor with Tourette's, we were never able to get the damned cat off the driveway.

Jamie and I returned towards the house with our honor shattered.

"I told you so" Velma intoned from the doorway.

Nuh uh.


Hell No!

No one tells me "I told you so." Ever.

"I'm moving that damned cat"

So I start going though the various facets of cat psychology that I'd picked up from years of reading Garfield out of habit. Maybe lure cat with lasagna? No... there needed to be some kind of deterrent. I only had to ponder mere moments before I remembered something. Water! Kitties hate water. So I start looking around for a hose, of which there is none. Now a man in control over his wits at this point would have gone and gotten a bucket or something, but I was not in control over my wits at that point. I was possessed. Ahab and the Orange Furry Whale. "Hell" I thought to myself "If I can't use her hose, I suppose I can use mine"

So I went over, unzipped, and started pissing on the cat.

I pissed on that damned cat for a good 10 seconds before anything happened. Now before you go and think that isn't that long. I want you to imagine yourself in that situation, pissing, in public, on an animal. Now count it out in your head.

One thousand one.

One thousand two

One thousand three

One thousand four

One thousand five

One thousand six

One thousand seven

One thousand eight

One thousand nine

One thousand ten.

Finally, I saw the critter's head. It looked up at me with an expression of pure hate, hissed, and hobbled over the two feet it needed to go to get out of the yard.

I moved the cat, but Velma sure wouldn't talk to me for the rest of the weekend.

That steak was fantastic though.

Labels: ,

Have you heard about the bacon explosion? 

We are not saying that a bacon packing plant exploded. Nor are we saying that the popularity of bacon has suddenly increased, blown up, as it were. No, rather the "Bacon Explosion" is a recipe. It is a 5,000 calorie, 500 grams of fat plus bacon log.

Let us explain, it is a tube made out of a mat of 2 lbs. bacon, woven together around 2 lbs. of sausage. The New York Times reports that the creators, BBQAddicts.com, "bought about $20 worth of bacon and Italian sausage from a local meat market. As it lay on the counter, [they] thought of weaving strips of raw bacon into a mat. The two spackled the bacon mat with a layer of sausage, covered that with a crunchy layer of cooked bacon, and rolled it up tight." Voilà! Bacon-loaf. It can be cooked in either an oven or a smoker.

Labels: ,

Girardi at again 

The Yankees craptastic manager Joe Girardi is at it again. After making waves and generating unnecessary controversy last Spring with his poor communications skills Girardi is attempting to repeat his mistakes.

How does presumed starting Yankees rightfielder Xavier Nady show up at spring training only to find out from the media that his job is up for grabs? Mark Feinsand reports that the first Xavier Nady had heard of what Girardi envisions as the competition for the rightfield job was when the press came to ask his reaction about it. Back-up first baseman, Nick Swisher has suddenly and unexpectedly been thrust into the mix. Smooth Joe, real smooth.

Oh and by the by, it is not like Nady should have been expecting it. Last year he posted career best numbers with a .305 average, 25 homers and 97 RBI in New York and Pittsburgh combined, after coming to the Bronx in mid-season trade. Nady is already having a tough Spring off the field for issues unrelated to baseball.

Labels: ,

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Fossil Find 

Image sourced here

Some good can come of building parking garages, at least when you are building them underground in Los Angeles's Hancock Park neighborhood. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art had gotten special dispensation to take over a lot owned by the defunct May Department store in an area near the La Brea tar pits. They had to get special dispensation to build because the Rancho La Brea area is considered a protected site.

One thing getting the dispensation meant was that their had to be a salvage archaeologist on site. The Los Angeles Times reports that, "the work fell to Robin Turner, founder of ArchaeoPaleo Resource Management Inc. of Culver City, which previously had overseen work on other sites at or near the tar pits." They quoted Turner, "I knew we would find fossils... but I never expected to find so many deposits. There was an absolutely remarkable quantity and quality."

One of the biggest finds was a nearly intact skeleton of a Columbian mammoth. It appears to be about 80% complete, missing only one rear leg, a vertebra and the top of its skull. Researchers are also excited that the tusks are nearly intact, a rarity since they are made of dentin, which is much more fragile than animal bone.

The LA Times reports the excavators under Turner pioneered new mass soil removal techniques to meet deadlines to have the site cleared, while preserving the archaeological sanctity of the earth. They used huge wooden boxes constructed on-site and cranes to excavate boxcar sized crates of soil in intact chunks. The largest one weighed more than 120,000 pounds. This technique proved wildly successful in preserving remains.

The LA Times says that, in so far only a tiny portion of the crate excavation, scientists have found, "a complete saber-tooth cat skeleton, six dire-wolf skulls and bones from two other saber-tooth cats, a giant ground sloth, and a North American lion. The tar has yielded more than 700 individual plant and animal specimens, 400 of which have been cataloged."

Read the whole fascinating article here.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Chris Brown 

If Chris Brown really did this to Rihanna he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If he still his fans out there, they need to have a serious re-think. Allegedly she was found alone and visibly battered on a street in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Republican Governors 

Sometimes some folks have their head so far up their ass, one doesn't know whether to laugh, cry or shoot them. This conundrum applies to at least three Republican governors today who are indicating their states may reject some or all of the federal stimulus package.

Wow! Really? Bet your constituents are going to be happy with that decision. We imagine it sounds pretty easy living in the governor's mansion, riding around with a private driver, gas paid for at tax payers expense, earning six figures a year. Heck no, why would my state need federal stimulus money? That is the way South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, Texas Governor, Rick Perry, and Alaska's idiot savant Sarah Palin are rolling.

Screw the federal money. Screw the suffering people of our state, now is the time to make a stand on principle. After all, if this money may run out some day, why would we want to take it now? Eventually, there won't be any more, so why use it now at the nadir of the crisis? No, no, no that will raise hopes and create expectations. Let's just go Robert Mugabe, deny, deny, deny there is a problem, because for our peeps at the very top, the party hacks and biggest donors, the federal money does not matter. Who cares about the little people?

Part of the funding the governors are considering rejecting is their states share of the $70.6 billion allocated for education.

Sorry, but if you live in one of these three states, we would understand why you might want to go Robespierre on these idiots. Even in America, at a certain point citizens have a right to overthrow tyrannous, harmful government.
Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
The Republicans may think their party was beaten as badly as could be in the last go round of elections. Frank Rich details in the New York Times how their foolish, shortsighted, hard headed opposition to the stimulus package could cost them further losses. He references their similar opposition to the New Deal which cost them five consecutive presidential election defeats. He also reminds Republicans that during their steadfast opposition to FDR's programs their numbers dwindled even further in the House and the Senate from what they presumed was the bottom, the 1932 congressional elections, "Republicans will also be judged by the voters. If they want to obstruct and filibuster while the economy is in free fall, the president should call their bluff and let them go at it. In the first four years after F.D.R. took over from Hoover, the already decimated ranks of Republicans in Congress fell from 36 to 16 in the Senate and from 117 to 88 in the House."


Pithy F*rging Sayings (10th ed.) 

Welcome to our 10th edition of Pithy F*rging Sayings gathered from the singularity.

As always the citation of these sayings does not necessarily imply endorsement, the goal is to provoke thought.

"You just don't luck into things as often as you'd like to think you do. You build them up step by step, whether it is friendships or opportunities." ---Barbara Bush

"Just because you are unconsciously selfish doesn't make it any better." ---staff

"Fruitful intellectual activity of the cleverest people draws its strength from the common knowledge which all of share...whenever the culture of people loses contact with the common life of mankind and becomes exclusively the plaything of a leisure class, it is becoming a priestcraft. It is destined to end, as does all priestcraft, in superstition." ---Lancelot Hogben

"The discipline which makes the soldiers of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh or tyrannical treatment. On the contrary, such treatment is far more likely to destroy than to make an Army." ---General John M. Schofield

Follow this link to old P.F. Sayings posts. You will see this one again first. Scroll down for older ones.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Spurs insight 

The Newark Star Ledger's Dave D'Alessandro had an excellent insight into the success of the San Antonio Spurs. D'Alessandro points out that through 50 games the Spurs have yielded 969 free throws, while the average NBA squad has allowed 1,268. Wait a minute we thought Bowen and the boys were dirty physical players? Maybe they just have a lot of dramatists like Parker and Ginobli who flop. The Big Fundamental, Tim Duncan, probably just gets calls because as Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich told D'Alessandro, tongue firmly in cheek, "We're a bunch of Boy Scouts. We're boring."

Labels: ,

Follow-up on the Quartet for the End of Time 

For more info on this photo click here.

A local reader gave the Clarion Content's editorial staff some brilliant further insight into the performance we saw at Duke University the other night, "Akoka" and Olivier Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time." We noted in our review and reaction that the musical performance was accompanied by fascinating and evocative lighting changes that are rare for a classical music concert.

Our friend Lindsay P. says this was quite appropriate because composer Olivier Messiaen experienced synesthesia. Synthesia is a neurologically based phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. Perceiving music as color is one manifestation of such a phenomenon. To quote her at length,
"Another figure central to the early documentation of clinical synesthesia employed in the compositional process is Olivier Messiaen (1908–1992). A French composer, [and] organist... Reportedly, Messiaen experienced chordial color associations with written musical notation as well as auditory stimuli, and although his color-photisms seemed to manifest as inward, mental projections (rather than the external visuals described by many synesthetes), he was fully aware of the function of these mental colors as integral to his relationship with music. A number of his own writings as well as interviews describe the means by which chordial color affected his experience with music: “…when I hear a score or read it, hearing it in my mind, I see also in my mind’s eye corresponding colors which turn, mix and blend with each other just like the sounds which turn, mix and intermingle, and at the same time as them…” In a set of interviews published in 1967, Claude Samuel asked Olivier Messiaen if, as a result of this ‘synopsia’, he tries to translate colors into his music. Messiaen responds, “Actually I try to translate colors into music: for me certain complexes of sound and certain sonorities are linked to complexes of color, and I use them in full knowledge of this.” When asked if Messiaen has ever composed a work inspired by the contemplation of a painting, Messiaen answers, “No, never” and explains that when composing, rather than imitating a painting he essentially becomes the painter: “I use [musical sonorities] as colors, juxtaposing them and putting them in relief against each other, as a painter underlines one color with its complementary.”

How's about that for background? It fits perfectly with the execution of the show we watched at Duke's Page Auditorium. The colors were part of the becoming of the music, a fusion that heightened the mood, the tension, the despair. Studies report that there are parallels between the way synesthetes and non-synesthetes perceive color.

Thanks for the knowledge Lindsay!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Good and The Bad of the Knicks 

The good and the bad of the new Mike D'Antoni Knicks were on display in the week before the All-Star break. The Clarion Content was opposed to the D'Antoni hire, and we are still not convinced he is the right coach. It is against our core NBA beliefs that a seven seconds or less offense can win the NBA title. It is not that defense always wins in the NBA, but who was the last fast breaking NBA champ? The 1987 "Showtime" Lakers?

Coach D'Anonti's crazy offense produces amazing and awful results both. The Knicks gave up 144 points to the Golden State Warriors. They played no defense and they lost to an 18-35 team. It was the most points allowed in the NBA this season, that was supposed to be the awful result. The next night they were playing the lowly Clippers in LA. This was supposed to be the amazing, Nate Robinson blew up for 33 points, 15 assists, 9 boards and 5 steals. Unfortunately, the Knicks again played no defense and lost to a 13-40 Clips franchise, while giving up 128, albeit in OT, to a team that averages 94.6 points per game. Awful. It was the team's sixth straight loss heading into the break. The Knicks have talented pieces but we are unconvinced that D'Antoni's style can ultimately be successful.

We were bemoaning this to a native Durham NBA guru, saying how we don't think D'Antoni helps the Knicks possible recruitment of LeBron. LeBron believes in defense. Our pal came back with, what if the Knicks got Amare Stoudemire this week, before the trading deadline! How would the D'Antoni seven seconds or less offense look flying down the court with LeBron at the three, David Lee as the junkman four, and Amare playing center. He said, "Think LeBron might throw Amare some good passes? Maybe help him score some points? Maybe get him to play defense in a big spot?" The Clarion Content did have to take a deep breath and think about that scenario for a minute.

Late breaking news flash: the Knicks won tonight! They triumphed over the San Antonio Spurs in OT, with Nate Robinson, fresh off of his dunk contest win, having another big night. He is averaging over 25 points per game in his last five contests. David Lee had his 17th consecutive double double.

Think the Suns were a little bit happy to be rid of fired Coach Terry Porter? All they did was beat the Clippers by forty tonight and light up the scoreboard for 140 points.

Labels: ,

Facebook owns you forever 

The Clarion Content has long been suspicious of Facebook and other social networking services. Obviously, they have a profit motive to track information about their users. Facebook's Beacon was the most blatant attempt to cash on this data we have seen to date. They caught hell about it and revised their policy slightly, but continued to collect data in the same manner. They seem more impervious to criticism about their methods than most other social networks. A reported 175 million users will make a company cocky.

This month they revised their Terms of Service User Agreement to give themselves the right to data about their users and their content in perpetuity. According to the New York Times, Facebook changed its service agreement thusly, "it deleted a provision that said users could remove their content at any time, at which time the license would expire. Further, it added new language that said Facebook would retain users’ content and licenses after an account was terminated." They quoted the blog The Consumerist describing the new terms as meaning, "anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later."

Wow. Sounds a little invasive and Orwellian. Facebooks's CEO has indicated the language will not be changed.

From the Facebook Terms of Service User Agreement, which hopefully you read in full before signing up...
You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.

Labels: ,

C-Span rates the Presidents 

1. 2.
3. 4.
5. ??

C-Span released a survey of 65 presidential historians. They ask these folks to rank the forty-two former presidents of the White House on ten attributes of leadership. Here is the link to the full list of rankings.

In contravention of what the Clarion Content wrote last month, George Bush the II was only rated seventh worst president ever, rating below Herbert Hoover, but above Warren G. Harding and several mid-nineteenth century presidents. No surprise that Lincoln and Washington ranked one, two, and pretty standard thinking that FDR, Teddy Roosevelt and Truman round out the top five, but we were quite shocked to see Kennedy nudge out Thomas Jefferson for sixth. We'd love to hear the reasoning on that one.

Labels: ,


Dubai risked international uproar this week by banning Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer from entering the country to play in the Women's Tennis Association(WTA) event being held there. The WTA was none too pleased. It's president threatened to pull the event from Dubai next year.

The Clarion Content feels Dubai was playing the Islamist card or playing to the "Arab Street." Dubai is an island of wealth and exclusion unparalleled in the Middle East. It has to reaffirm its credentials, whose side it is on, more frequently because of it. There are certainly no women's tennis tournaments being held in Saudi Arabia, Egypt or Iran.

CNN reported that this event is not without precedent in Dubai, last year an Israeli men's doubles team was denied entry to the country/emirate. Dubai dubiously claimed that security precautions were behind Peer's ban. Citing a demonstration held in New Zealand during the last WTA tournament. CNN said, "In January, a small group of about 20 protesters waved placards and shouted anti-Israel slogans outside the main entrance to the ASB Classic tournament in Auckland." Please.

The players came out strongly behind Peer. CNN quoted Venus Williams in the New York Times, "All the players support Shahar. We are all athletes..."

Labels: ,

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A put on? 

Was Joaquin Phoenix being facetious about his budding rap career the other night on David Letterman? Andy Kaufman was a wrestler, anybody? Phoenix, who has a troubled family history, sounded sincere. He was wearing both sunglasses and a thick beard which made his expression very difficult to determine. Letterman, as always, played the willing foil to his guests mania.

Phoenix's appearance was re-cut together by Letterman and World Wide Pants to make it look especially loopy. (It ends with we owe an apology to Farrah Fawcett, what a reference.)

Check it out here.

Read People Magazines take here.

Labels: , ,


The Clarion Content has been on the case of Michelle Wie's parents and various other handlers since her debut. They have ridden her like a pack mule or a circus animal. Rather than choosing what was best for her development as a golfer, they have pressured her to become an income generator as fast as possible, regardless of what might be most helpful for her game. As we have detailed numerous times in the past this has left her psychologically vulnerable and unsteady, all show and no substance.

Yesterday, at her home course in Kahuku, Hawaii, Wie folded under the pressure again. Wie led by three shots with eight holes to play. She double-bogeyed the 11th hole, missed a 3 and 1/2 foot birdie putt on 16 and hit into the sand twice on 17 for a bogey. She finished second, three strokes back. Hopefully, she can hold her head high about the good finish, rather than dwell on another collapse in the spotlight.

Angela Stanford won the season opening tournament for her fourth career victory.

Labels: ,

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Interesting Links and links of interest 

Interesting Links

First, submitted by our northern most New Jersey reader, these are wonderfully photo-shopped pictures fusing modern day Leningrad, with World War II era Leningrad or possibly Stalingrad. Scan down there are lots of them, some more subtle than others. (If somebody who reads Cyrillic could definitively identify the locale from reading either the text or the accompanying comments, that would be great.)

This next one, Cake-wrecks, is a blog we were informed about by a local Durham foodie. It is filled with hilarious and insightful pictures of professional cakes that maybe could have gone a different way... for better or worse. Her dry, caustic commentary on the cakes makes the site laugh-out-loud funny.

Finally, as far as the interesting links go, we have told you about Some Guy's Blog before, as he puts it, "if it were a book, you would read it on the toilet." This post caught our eye, fantastic old school, cartoon, beer commercials. You'll love them.

Links of interest

Have you heard Will Ferrell is doing George Bush II as a one man show on Broadway? It is called "You're Welcome America. A Final Night with George W Bush." This Ferrell's first foray onto stage. He recounted to the New York Times that his most memorable Broadway experience was attending shows with his father, the Righteous Brother's keyboardist. He will be doing a seventy-five minute show with no intermission. It runs through the middle of March. Read the whole story here.

Dan Hurley, heard of him? Maybe not, but he is doing good things with gifts he was given...read more here in the New York Post. His father, Bob Sr., and brother, Bobby Hurley were more well known, both in the wider world and the little corner of college and high school basketball they inhabited.

This is a fascinating policy piece on trains. It was written by a member of the New America Foundation a think tank that President Obama favors. We can only hope that he or somebody on his team read this piece before the stimulus bill was passed. We have hardly read a more articulate making of the case for investment in trains in America. Certainly, it appears quite evident that train infrastructure investment should be favored over interstate highways.

Finally a bemusing or disturbing story depending on your perspective submitted by a well-read Durhamanian. Wow, this is the textiest, texaholic ever! According to the New York Post, thirteen year-old Reina Hardesty racked 14,528 text messages in a month or nearly 470 per day. The cell phone bill statement her father got ran to more than 440 pages. Go figure she is from Southern California. At least she has unlimited texting, as do several of her closest pals.

This is the link to old Interesting Links posts. (You have to scroll below this one first, after clicking through the link.)

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Basketball Links 

Two wonderful basketball links for you this All-Star weekend.

The first is to a fabulous article by a Clarion Content fave, Michael Lewis the author of the widely acclaimed baseball analysis book called, Moneyball. It popularized a new way of running baseball franchises and ushered a new era of general managers like Theo Epstein, Brian Cashman, Mark Shapiro and Dan O'Dowd. The interesting thing is that Moneyball isn't even Lewis's best book. As we mentioned in linking to a masterful financial article of his a few months back, Michael Lewis's best book is Liar's Poker, about the excess of Wall Street way back in the 80's. This long article from the New York Times is an analysis of why Shane Battier is such an effective basketball player; why do his teams win so frequently. Lewis seeks to understand what is it about Battier's game (statistically) and persona (sociologically) that makes this so.

The other is a link to an annual article by the Clarion Content's favorite NBA writer Bill Simmons. In this annual column Simmons ranks the top forty players in the NBA by trade value. It is a lot of fun. He allows himself plenty of sarcastic asides and cultural references. He also lists the twenty-five worst contracts in the league. This is one of the surest places for Knicks fans to judge our relative improvement. The Knicks have only two of the twenty-five worst contracts in the Association, down from five last year.

*note technically Simmons didn't list Marbury by the Knicks are paying him $21 million not to play this year.

Labels: ,

Against the grain 

You thought healthy was in? You thought excess was out? You thought independent restaurants were in trouble? Well here is a joint that is bucking the trend on all three levels, the Heart Attack Grill of Chandler, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix-Tempe.

The Heart Attack Grill is the concept of one Jon Basso. The centerpiece of the menu is an 8,000-calorie Quadruple Bypass Burger. It has four layers of cheese and 12 slices of bacon. The theme is continued throughout in numerous ways including a waitstaff dressed as sexy nurses, ala the Hooters girls. They also sell Flat-Liner Fries cooked in lard. They offer no-filter cigarettes for the adults and bubble gum cigarettes for the kids.

Can it get an more un-PC than that???

Maybe. If you eat the Quadruple Bypass Burger, you can elect to have one the waitstaff/nurses roll you out to your car in a wheelchair.

Read more here in the Nation's Restaurant News.

Labels: ,

Kids don't do it 

It may seem like oh such a funny prank, but it isn't. A seventeen year old Columbia County, Georgia student has been arrested for taking surreptitious upskirt pictures of one of his teachers and showing them to classmates. Of course, he used his cell phone. The teacher was not amused. She identified her legs and underwear in the photo and the cops are pressing charges.

Labels: ,

Friday, February 13, 2009

Arrrgh, matey! Busted. 

USS Vella Gulf

The United States Navy seized sixteen pirates in two separate incidents in the Gulf of Aden off of the coast of what used to be Somalia. Thursday an American helicopter patrolling from the USS Vella Gulf fired warning shots at gunmen in two small boats that had opened fire and tried to board the Indian-flagged vessel Premdivya. Bad idea messing with US Navy, the pirates surrendered posthaste.

In a separate incident the Associated Press reports seven other pirates armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades, tried to board the Marshall Islands-flagged vessel Polaris using a ladder from their skiff, but were captured by the USS Vella Gulf. All of the pirates were subsequently transferred to the USNS Lewis and Clark.
"Associated Press Television News footage from aboard the Lewis and Clark showed some of the men, handcuffed and wearing leg shackles and white jumpsuits... They were given a meal, a blanket, a towel and a bar of soap, but they were not allowed to talk to each other. U.S. forces assisted by a translator were trying to get information from the men, such as their ages and nationalities. The men were then taken to a holding area surrounded by razor wire and guarded."

The limits on Empire and anti-pirate action are tricky as we have referenced for you previously. The United States recognizes no sovereign government in the country once called Somalia. The nationalities by which these pirates refer to themselves have more to do with tribes and clans than countries recognized by the United Nations. (Don't get the Clarion Content started on the distinctions that must be made between a nation and a state or a country.) The United States, facing this jurisdictional difficulty, has previously stated it would hand over suspected pirates to Kenya. We are not really sure what the logic there might be.

The A.P. also reported that the Russian navy said that its nuclear-powered heavy missile cruiser Peter The Great interdicted and seized ten pirates closing in on an Iranian-flagged fishing trawler. The Russian say that the pirates were caught with automatic rifles, grenade-launchers, illegal narcotics and a large sum of money.

The London-based International Maritime Bureau said since the beginning of January, twenty-two vessels had been attacked, and three hijacked. It said calm, good weather made it easier for the smaller pirate skiffs to ambush ships. It also said seven ships have been released recently, possibly pushing pirates to try to "replenish their stocks."

*all links were added by the Clarion Content. (Links do not imply endorsement.)

Labels: ,

Carlin on Advertising 

Long time readers know how the Clarion Content feels about advertising. While researching something else entirely we ran into this funny George Carlin bit on advertising. Watch below. Kinetic type thanks to Cousin of Sparda.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A first 

A first you will likely hear more of occurred Tuesday in low-earth orbit. Reuters reported that a privately owned U.S. communications satellite collided with an out of service Russian Cosmos-2251 military satellite over Siberia in the first satellite to satellite crash in outer space. Reuters quotes Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Les Kodlick of the U.S. Strategic Command, "The collision...involved a spacecraft of privately owned Iridium Satellite LLC and a 'non-operational' Russian communications satellite." Reuters reported that the U.S. Strategic Command was tracking 500 to 600 new bits of debris, some as small as 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) across. That is a lot of space junk, especially when there are already 18,000 man-made objects in Earth's orbit that the U.S. Strategic Command monitors.

*all links were added by the Clarion Content. (Links do not imply endorsement.)


Phoenix news 

Phoenix news and it is not good. Did you know that Phoenix is the kidnapping capital of the G-8? The Los Angeles Times says that Phoenix had 366 kidnapping for ransom reports last year and that they estimate more than twice that number go unreported! Guess what the economics of most of these kidnappings are grounded in?

Here's a little background. In the rest of America most all kidnappings involve estranged spouses and children, and so it was in Phoenix until a few years ago. As the United States has shifted its focus in the drug war, one result has been Arizona has become a key route for illegal narcotics into the United States from Mexico. The LA Times states that roughly half of the marijuana seized crossing the U.S.-Mexico border was confiscated in Arizona. This is despite Arizona only comprising some 370 miles of the nearly 2,000 mile border.

The LA Times reports,
"Most every victim and suspect is connected to the drug-smuggling world, usually tracing back to the western Mexican state of Sinaloa, Phoenix police report...Like construction or restaurant work, kidnapping in Phoenix relies on cheap Mexican laborers. The grunt work, like guarding the victim, is often done by young, unemployed illegal immigrants, desperate for work, who sign on for $50 to $200 a day...Certain Phoenix bars -- Señor Lucky's, Bronco Bar and El Gran Mercado -- are known as places where kidnappers recruit, much the way builders go to Home Depot to hire day laborers, police say...Kidnapping in Phoenix attracts immigrants whose American dream is to make it big in the underworld. In Mexico, cartels limit their options. But cartel control is weak in Phoenix. Many resort to kidnapping because 'for once, they're the guys with the gun, the ones with the power...They are in control. In Mexico they're not in control.'"
This kind of blowback, especially because the drug in question is primarily marijuana is one more reason the Clarion Content strongly supports legalization and urges President Obama to consider it seriously.

Wake-up people, the reality is even uglier than the words.


Bush Immigration officials deluded Congress 

Those of you who have watched the chaos that followed the creation of the Department of Homeland Security will probably not be surprised to read this. The successor agency to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) lied to Congress to increase its budget. It said it was going to deport as many as 500,000 potential terrorists and "declared" American enemies, then instead focused on deporting illegal immigrants from Latin American countries, thereby shooting the American economy in the foot. George Carlin would be proud that at least the name change they underwent signaled their ruthless intentions, no longer would they be an Immigration Service. No, no, no, now they were Immigration Enforcement. Quite forthright of them. If only they could have been equally honest with Congress and the American people.

Operation Return to Sender. That's one of the flashy, catchy names given to series after series of raids on homes around the country that were billed as carefully planned hunts for dangerous immigrant criminal fugitives, but instead targeted ordinary laborers.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement operations such as these raked bigger increases in money and staff from Congress than any other program in the department.

However, starting in 2006 the operations weren't just focused on the criminal element, rather the program increasingly went after softer targets. The vast majority of those arrested had no criminal record, and in fact most of them had no deportation orders.

ICE directives put in place in 2006, absent Congressional review, eliminated the original 75% quota of criminal fugitives required. In the next year, the percentage of immigrants with criminal records dropped to 9 percent of those arrested, and non-fugitives picked up by chance — without a deportation order — rose to 40 percent. Many were sent to detention centers far from their homes, and subsequently deported.

Peter L. Markowitz, who teaches immigration law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, said in the New York Times last week, "It looks like what happened here is that the law enforcement strategy was hijacked by the political agenda of the administration."

The New York Times reports that, "Congressional financing for the fugitive operations program rose to $218 million in the 2008 fiscal year, from $9 million in 2003... analyzing more than five years of arrest data supplied to the [Migration Policy] institute last year by Julie Myers, who was then chief of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the report found that over all, as the program spent a total of $625 million, nearly three-quarters of the 96,000 people it apprehended had no criminal convictions. "

Read more here in the NY Times.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bad, bad, bad 

Once again the United States military was involved somewhere it had absolutely no place being and the consequences were horrific blowback for civilians. The United States military was and is helping the Ugandan, Congolese and South Sudanese military attack the long struggling vicious rebels, the Lord Resistance Army or LRA. The LRA is legendary for slaughtering civilians and impressing children into service. They have been fighting and living off the land for more than twenty years, back and forth across the Ugandan border with the Congo (Zaire) and Sudan leaving mayhem and tragedy in their wake.

The United States military aligned under King George the II and the rubric of counter-terrorism with many a kleptocrat's army and/or security services. In Uganda, it is quite likely their intentions were beneficent insofar as the LRA has been a scourge for those living within its reach. The Pentagon also probably felt that Uganda/Congo needed to be pushed as far back from the edge of utterly failed states as possible, disorder implicitly hurts the Empire, see the fingers and toes being burned in Waziristan and Puntland.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the combined militaries offensive against the LRA which began with airstrikes on December 14th has resulted in a tragic slaughter,
"hundreds of other fighters from the LRA have butchered, bludgeoned, and burned their way across an area the size of Belgium. More than 900 people are estimated to have been killed, most of them hacked to death with machetes or beaten by clubs. Hundreds of children have been abducted and 133,000 people have fled their homes, the UN says. The push against the rebels has been 'catastrophic' for civilians, UN humanitarian chief John Holmes said Tuesday after visiting one of the areas hit hardest by fighting."
Nonetheless, interestingly the Monitor reports Holmes and the UN support continuing the fight to destroy the LRA. Not everyone agrees, the New York Times says, "the operation has been widely criticized by human rights groups as essentially swatting a hornet’s nest...Faradje, [a town near a national park in Eastern Congo,] still has the whiff of char. Around 150 people were killed Christmas Day. Several other villages, some more than 100 miles away, were simultaneously attacked. In one town, after the rebels killed 80 churchgoers, they ate the villagers’ Christmas feast and then dozed among the corpses, according to Human Rights Watch, which documented the massacre."

The NY Times says what it calls the "failed" plan was personally authorized by Bush II. It says local Congolese villagers have started arming themselves in self-defense because there is no one else to protect them. It argues that in the past this has worsened the conflict the American military was hoping to end.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that the UN has been little help in ending the conflict either, "Doctors Without Borders, one of the few NGOs still working in the area, has officially attacked the UN mission for not doing enough to defend the population, an accusation that [it] denies. The feeling of betrayal among locals is undeniable, however. Many say that if the UN is not fighting against the LRA, they must be helping them." Locals even rioted against and tried to storm the UN base last year.

It is a mess that the American military now looks complicit in making worse. The more of the counter-terrorism policy of the Bush-Cheney regime that is revealed the more Soviet it looks.

Labels: , ,

Surprise, surprise, surprise 

Lance Armstrong's much hyped plans for an independent drug-testing program have been scrapped. Why here at the Clarion Content, we can barely believe it! Anti-doping expert Don Catlin told The Associated Press that after months of negotiations, both sides, Armstrong's and the drug-testing expert's, realized the program wasn't workable. We hardly find it amazing that an anti-doping expert renown for being clean and straight can't find a way to conduct a drug-testing program with Lance Armstrong.

Because it is not like Lance Armstrong follows that classic pattern of illicit performance enhancement users; achieving for years on one level, like middle of the pack of world class tour cyclists, to then suddenly best in the pack after 1999. Armstrong's Tour de France finishes were middle of an albeit fantastic pack for six, seven, eight years in a row, then suddenly after 1999 spiked to a unparalleled seven straight wins. A medical miracle, or growth hormones, steroids, blood doping, something else, who knows? Lance knows. Too bad he and anti-doping expert Don Catlin couldn't work a testing program out to make sure the rest of Armstrong's career is clean(ish.)

Labels: ,

Cheap paint 

The Clarion Content just got a hot tip the other day on where one can find interior house paint for cheap. Apparently, if one is not dying for a particular color, one can go the hardware store or the local paint store and buy remainders and mistakes. In North Carolina at full retail price a gallon of paint can cost anywhere from $10 to $30 per, depending on the gloss of the finish. Remainders and mistakes are often available at the local paint store, according to our sources, for as little as $5 per gallon.



This time I mean it. Really. Pinkie swear.

It can't be that only the Clarion Content's editorial board had this conversation today. We heard Brett Favre was "retiring" again, breaking Sugar Ray Leonard's all-time world record for the most announcements regarding one's retirement. The bootlickers over at ESPN got all lathered again. Says here that the most overrated quarterback ever is yanking the news media's collective chain one more time.

Sure the interception king doesn't want to participate in offseason workouts. The pretty boy slacker was called out by Jets teammates after the season for his attitude and work ethic, or lack thereof. The problem is Favre thinks the whole year is the Pro Bowl, an exhibition where the world has come to gawk at his talents. He can stand around and give interviews while other people pump iron and run sprints. After the workouts are over, and half of training camp has disappeared into the rearview mirror, Favre will be attempting to un-retire and engineer his way on to the Minnesota Vikings.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

BU wins the Beanpot 

Congratulations and a shout out to Boston University on winning the 57th Beanpot Championship this weekend in Boston. Twenty-nine titles in fifty-seven tournies is mighty impressive for the Terriers. The Beanpot tournament began in 1952 and in its second year moved into the old Boston Garden. Over the years BU has gotten the better of its intra-city rivals. The three other Boston schools that contest the Beanpot every year are Boston College, Harvard and Northeastern. It helps the prestige of the tournament that the schools are annually among some of the top tier of college hockey programs.

Labels: ,

Akoka, Quartet for the End of Time 

After Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time

The Clarion Content correspondent attended the performance of David Krakauer's Akoka, Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time, and Josh Dolgin aka DJ SoCalled's remix of Messiaen called Meanwhile. The performance was held Saturday on Duke University's campus at the Page Auditorium. It was performed by clarinetist David Krakauer, cellist Matt Haimovitz, violinist Todd Reynolds, and pianist Geoffrey Burleson. They were joined by DJ SoCalled for the final piece.

The show was seventy minutes of music straight through with fascinating and evocative lighting changes that are rare for a classical music concert. Messiaen wrote his piece during the darkest days of World War II, January 1941 when the Germans occupied nearly all of Europe. It is music written in at the nadir of a great crisis. Hope for the free world was dim. Henri Akoka was an Algerian Jewish clarinetist who played with Messiaen at the premier of his piece, in a German Prisoner of War camp, Stalag 8-A. Akoka was left behind when a music loving German guard released Messiaen and the two other French musicians to the collaborationist Vichy-French government. He later escaped and went on to a career as a character actor.

As for the music it was dissonant, anti-melodic, anti-harmonic, arrhythmic. The meter constant shifted and felt turbulent. Yet it was oddly and eerily coordinated; self-aware.

It was not the kind of music that one would want to hear at the end of the world. It was not comforting or soothing. It was more the sort of music that one might hear in one's head if one were a European who'd had classical music training and felt the end of the world was nigh. Regular sounds become disturbed, panicky, overly-rapid, then the mind seizes control of them again, marshals them ,imposes will, but dissonance and crazy thoughts and sounds seep through, then explode. The pace changes again, it slows to become mournful, baleful, somber, but still arrhythmic.

There were solos for each of the instruments. There was frenetic clarinet. The mournfulness of the cello was set against the piano played almost like doleful metronome. The musicians' faces held intense expressions as if the difficulty of what they were doing was almost physically painful. The meter changes and the anti-melodic discord made those looks vibe as if the players were fighting against their instruments and instincts. Within that, their ability to sync up what they were doing precisely with the timing of what someone else was doing was remarkable. How hard must it be, how inhuman and against the nature of the beat that thrums within our caveman souls must it be, to play against the musical instinct of rhythm and harmony. There was a tension between lack of tempo and the simultaneity of sound. The strain on the musicians was evident.

In the audience the emotion of the music was conveyed, too. It was fear music. It was disturbing, its eeriness echoed and underlined by the changes in lighting, primal colors. Not much of the music was downright sorrowful, but if one were used to listening to classical music, hearing it and anticipating what might come next through the forces of habit and the expected form of the usual, some of this music could have freaked one out. It went nowhere it was supposed to, it went there vitriolically, then it went slowly back, still off-beat and discordant. The music shrieked and screeched in dissonant ways to totally other places, only to circle back to vague hints of oddly familiar lines, bars and scales.

The only way the conceit worked was to play the whole thing through start to finish, to have had it stop and then start up again, with what they were playing, aurally the nature of it, the act of it would have been somewhere between too irritating and too disturbing to be acceptable. It would have been highly agitating. The music was quite literally off-beat, a frantic pace, then almost East Asian sounding calm, a subdued moment beyond the storm. Nope, it was the eye, more unpredictable crashing and madness. It almost felt like the music could be seizure inducing, especially combined with the lighting changes. There was a palpable panic.

Highly effective, not comforting. Let us hope the world never faces days as dark as January 1941 again.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Urban Art of Shepard Fairey 

The Clarion Content was not familiar with the urban Art of Shepard Fairey until the recent controversy about his Obama poster was in the news. We had seen the famous "Obey" image pictured above, but not Fairey's first stickers, "André the Giant has a Posse," which were originally seen in skate culture and around Providence, Rhode Island.

The "Obey" image reportedly was developed when Fairey was warned the André the Giant, the wrestler's name, was trademarked by Titan Sports, Inc. His redo with the word, "Obey" made a huge splash. He has replicated more than 500,000 stickers and the image campaign has been copied and homaged in graffiti, posters and stickers worldwide. Fairey graduated RISD, the Rhode Island School of Design. His Obey campaign spawned a clothing line, and a fascinating reiterating and recalibrating of the original design.

According the Giant.org, this is the Obey Manifesto,
"The Obey campaign can be explained as an experiment in Phenomenology. The first aim of Phenomenology is to reawaken a sense of wonder about one's environment. The Obey campaign attempts to stimulate curiosity and bring people to question both the campaign and their relationship with their surroundings. Because people are not used to seeing advertisements or propaganda for which the motive is not obvious, frequent and novel encounters with Obey propaganda provoke thought and possible frustration, nevertheless revitalizing the viewer's perception and attention to detail. The medium is the message."


NBA notes 

Saw a fun little column, "Around the Association" from the Cleveland Plain-Dealer that had three interesting NBA notes. One was kind of a follow-up to the LeBron v. Kobe arguments that were everywhere following their big games at the Garden last week. The Plain-Dealer's column found an NBA blogger who has tracked players' last second shots, defined to be players' shots with less than twenty-four seconds remaining in the game and the team trailing by two points or less. This guy says surprisingly, it is not LeBron or Kone who leads the NBA in last second shot percentage. Instead, it is Carmelo Anthony, who has made 13-of-27 (48% career).

Another note from the Plain-Dealer's column was on a crazy revenue sharing agreement that the Clarion Content had never heard of previously. Get this,
"Ozzie and Dan Silna...legends...in the NBA business community for a deal they struck in 1976. At that time, the ABA merged with the NBA, with the San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets and then-New York Nets becoming full members. However, the Kentucky Colonels and the Spirits of St. Louis, owned by the Silna brothers, weren't allowed in. To settle things up, the Colonels took a one-time payment of $3.3 million and the Silnas took $2.2 million and - OK, here it is business-school students - one-seventh of the television revenue of the Pacers, Nuggets, Spurs and Nets in perpetuity. That's right, forever.

Apparently, it's an ironclad contract because those four NBA teams have tried to get out of it for years and failed. So each year, they send the money. CNBC recently estimated that the Silna brothers already had made $186 million on the deal - without owning a team, paying for the players and coaches, etc. - when the NBA reached its most recent television contract last year. This new deal with TNT and ESPN will pay the Silna brothers about $19 million more per year until 2016."

Holy crow, talk about an amazing, but little known story.

The final note we saw and liked from the Plain-Dealer was that former NBA player David Wesley has gone back to college to finish his degree. He took sixteen credit hours and got a 4.0 average last semester while helping out with the school's surging basketball program, too. Good for you David!

A further note from our editorial offices, we have heard some criticism of the New York Knicks crowd this week for ostensibly chanting MVP at Kobe Bryant. As Bill Simmons noted on his podcast, these weren't Knicks fans. Those were people who had scalped their tickets from real Knicks fans. And the reason LeBron didn't get as much cheering the following night, despite having a better game and Knicks fans fervent desire to have him come to New York, was that the game was closer. Knicks fans, first and foremost, would prefer to win. The Lakers game was a blow out, the Cavs wasn't.

Labels: ,


Heading back to the dugout after another strikeout with men on base...

The strangest thing about the revelations that Alex Rodriguez has been taking steroids since back in 2003, allegedly, is the reaction. What you are surprised? Why? He was on a team with known cheaters Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, and Ken Caminiti. Jose Canseco's book, Vindicated, says A-Fraud had been introduced to steroids suppliers even earlier in his career. The numbers are pretty compelling, in his five full seasons before he went to Texas in 2001, A-Fraud averaged 36.8 homers per. In the eight season since he met the Texas Medical Miracles, A-Fraud has averaged 45.5 homers per. Huh.

The Clarion Content sure is glad the Yankees bid $300 million over ten years against no other takers to bring this guy back, especially since he comes up so small in post-season. More sound advice brought to you by the bankers at Goldman Sachs. Good work. Way to choose A-Fraud over Joe, gentlemen.

The Clarion Content proposes Randy Levine be hung by his toes as part of the opening of the new Yankee Stadium, circa 2009. We would be fine with the Yankees summarily cutting A-Fraud and receiving nothing in return. Fair is fair, nutin' for nutin'.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Poster creator sued 

The creator of the famous Obama poster pictured above is being sued by the Associated Press after mentioning that one of their photos was used as the basis of the image. Shepard Fairey, a street artist, admits his work is based on an Associated Press photograph, taken in April 2006 by Manny Garcia on assignment at the National Press Club in Washington.

The picture has reached a tremendously large audience, stickers, buttons, posters bearing the image were ubiquitous during the campaign, but Mr. Fairey did not benefit from them. Signed copies of the image were and are going for thousands on E-Bay. But again, it is not Mr. Fairey receiving this revenue. Nevertheless, the AP claims it owns the copyright, and it wants credit and compensation. Fairey has admitted he found the photograph using Google Image search. (This is the same technique the Clarion Content uses to find most of the images featured herein.)

Mr. Fairey's esteemed lawyer, the executive director of the Fair Use Project at Stanford University and a lecturer at the law school there, Anthony Falzone, says that the Fair Use doctrine protects Mr. Fairey's poster. Fair use is a legal theory that interprets exceptions to copyright law, based on, among many other issues: how much of the original is used, what the new creation is used for and how the original is affected by the new meme. Long time readers of the Clarion Content will know us to be ardent opponents of highly restrictive and over-protective patent and copyright law. We are believers in a huge public domain, for philosophical reasons as well as on utilitarian grounds.

Fairey donated his image to the Obama campaign. The A.P. reports that Fairey told an underground photography Web site that, "I donated an image to them [the Obama campaign,] which they used. It was the one that said "Change" underneath it. And then later on I did another one that said "Vote" underneath it, that had Obama smiling."

The campaign for their part says they never used or licensed the picture or poster officially. For its part, the Art continues to resonate, the A.P. notes, "It will be included this month at a Fairey exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and a mixed-media stenciled collage version has been added to the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington." Powerful Art for the times!

Fairey, for his part, perhaps paying the price for his recent fame, was arrested in Boston on the way into his exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Police spokesmen said he had two outstanding warrants for graffiti in Boston, the 5-0 said he had painted his "Andre The Giant" graffiti near an entrance to the Massachusetts Turnpike and the Boston University bridge across the Charles River.

Thanks to a loyal, local Durham reader for the heads-up on this story.

Labels: , , ,


Word one the street is that it is possible that... the New York Rangers may be reacquiring controversial winger Steve Avery.

The Clarion Content is all for it. Yes, we know Avery is a super pest, and a chippy player. Personally, we loved his harassment of the Devils Marty Brodeur. It was so outlandish that the NHL responded with a rule change the next day. Hey, many of our editorial staff grew up Rangers fans in a Bobby Clarke era, it is nice to have a guy like that on the Rangers side for a change. Last time they did, in the person of Esa Tikkanen, the Rangers were winning and contending for Cups. (Of course, Mark Messier was the keystone, but Tikkanen was a foundation piece player.)

We never did understand why the Dallas Stars and the NHL reacted so harshly to Avery's comments about his ex-girlfriends. We had thought it was America, not Canada that had the puritan streak. We couldn't (and can't) imagine why Avery wasn't filing a grievance about his suspension. Seriously, the thuggery, the deliberate attempts to injure like knee-to-knee checks, the boarding, the slashing, that the NHL has seen go on with less penalty than Avery has faced!?! We can't believe he has been banished since November. The NHL has enrolled him in its NHL/NHLPA behavioral health program. Yikes, holy thought police.

Labels: , ,

Friday, February 06, 2009

Yo Yo Da 

Ladies and Gentlemen, give it up for the Jedi Master cellist.

Labels: ,

Pam Anderson's Platform 

Well-known personality and American icon, Pam Anderson, wrote an open letter to President Barack Obama about some of the things she thinks he should do...

Here are a few highlights from her proposed platform.

Castration for child molesters and potential child molesters
(as she says, "error on the safe side.")

Legalize Marijuana

Bring the troops home (She doesn't specify is she's talking Iraq, Afghanistan or both.)

Shut down Guantanamo Bay

Stop animal testing

Get rid of private health care and private health insurance

Promote Vegetarianism

Recognize the reality of Globalism & Promote Cooperation, Interdependence.

Allow Immigration of workers
(end the criminalization of illegal immigration.)

All and all it sounds pretty palatable to the Clarion Content. But, then, we have loved Pam since her V.I.P. days.

Read the whole platform here.

Labels: , , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?