Friday, September 6, 2013
Thursday, January 17, 2013
It is a meditation.
Friday, November 23, 2012
In this 1989 music video from Janet Jackson for her hit "Alright," you will see two of today's popular dance moves, PSY's "gangnam style" dance and LMFAO's "shuffle" from Party Rock. Watch and see.
And in this 1955 video of Bill Bailey tap dancing, you'll see the move associated with Janet's brother, the late, great Michael Jackson, "the Moonwalk."
As Michael fans know, the King of Pop watched a lot of musicals, as did many of us born around the same time as he, but unlike the rest of us, Michael was a gifted dancer and creative genius. In the dance moves of classic artists, he saw what he could re-purpose for his own musical productions and theatrical vision. I think he studied mime, as well.
I had a mime class as a teen and know that the Moonwalk is also part of that discipline. Furthermore, the great French mime Marcel Marceau was popular during the 70s when Michael Jackson and I were teens, and I recall that Michael was a fan of Marceau. So, Michael drew from multiple sources to create his masterpieces; he excelled at putting the old in context of the new.
Janet had similar visions. In her "Alright" video she pays homage to Cab Calloway, Cyd Charise, and the Nicholas Brothers in the same way that her brother, Michael, paid homage to Fred Astaire in his "Smooth Criminal" music video.
I guess one could say LMFAO, which is made up of two of Motown founder Berry Gordy's descendants (Redfoo is Berry Gordy's son and SkyBlu is Gordy's grandson) also have that same some sampling/mixtape creativity: the ability to cut, paste, and reshape multiple pieces into something appealing and new (the art of bricolage).
As all Michael Jackson and Jackson family followers know, Gordy signed the Jackson 5 when Michael was nine years old, drawing in as well Janet during their television show period. And if you saw Spike Lee's documentary on ABC last night, "Michael Jackson: Bad 25," you were reminded of how the Motown influence shaped Michael Jackson's artistic discipline. Likewise, Motown influenced Janet.
Of PSY and his "gangnam style" dance moves, as well as his pop music style, I see it as fun, yes, but also I see it as more evidence of this postmodern age's hyper-bricolage: the synthesis of multiple multicultural pieces (a good bit of it from HipHop culture these days). PSY draws on his own experience and culture, but also the cultures of others. So, I peg his work also as more evidence of humanity's attraction to simulacra and this era's mix-it-up, small-world aesthetics.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Let's be thankful that in spite of wars, corruption, and violent crime, humans also do good things.
"Give a Little" bit, the song in the Coke commercial, was first recorded by Supertramp and written and composed by its co-founder Roger Hodgson. The commercial uses the version that Hodgson recorded with a children's choir.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
I just read a provocative article by John Blake at CNN.com, "Actually, that's not in the Bible," and I left a comment, but with 6,200 comments and rising, I doubt he or anyone else will read my thoughts there. (The article's been shared on Facebook nearly 46,000 times already) So, here is what I said:
I agree with this article, but have two considerations. I think the saying "This too shall pass" is a distillation of a concept in the Book of Ecclesiastes 3, verses 1-8 that begin. "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." It's the idea that there is a season for trouble and and a season for peace and so troubling times don't last forever.In addition to my comment, lots of people are sharing how other sayings have been extrapolated from other Bible passages, such as the idea that Satan is the serpent in the Garden of Eden, but the Genesis story does not actually mention Satan. I shrugged reading Blake's section on Eve and the serpent as one of the misquoted or misrepresented stories because last semester I had to read Cain by Lord Byron, and an objection to saying Satan was in the Garden is one of the foundation pillars of that play. Read Blake's piece at the CNN website.
Also, while I agree completely that the saying "God helps those who help themselves" goes against a greater theme in the Bible that tells people to help the poor and needy, I also think that Ben Franklin extrapolated the idea of helping oneself from 2 Thessalonians 3: 10–"For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."
But we should remember that in the period in history in which this verse was written, society was still largely agrarian. People were not dealing with (the level of) poverty (we see today) and industrialization had not happened yet which contributes to people not being able to "work" for their food. Also the idea that faith in God is manifested through physical deeds is seen in the Book of James. The problem for many Americans is that they try to take concepts from the Bible, repurpose them for their own agendas, and then try to force them onto the country.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
The video above shows Michael A. Stefanone discussing the results of a study he and other researchers conducted through the University of Buffalo, "Contingencies of Self-Worth and Social-Networking-Site Behavior" that has been published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. Shari Roan of the L.A. Times reports that "a study :
on how people use social networking websites such as Facebook confirms what many of us suspected. Women who post loads of photos of themselves on their sites are conveying some strong personal characteristics, according to new research. These women are more likely to base their self-worth on appearance and use social networking to compete for attention.Read more.
A friend of mine shared Roan's article on Facebook. She had recently posted pictures of herself at a book-signing and shared the article for irony's sake. Nevertheless, her reasons for posting her pictures should tell us all not to judge anyone's nature or character strictly by this study. While her photos include her, they're really about her work as a writer.
Also, my friend is over 35 and this study focused on "311 men and women with an average of 23." I think that it may ignore, if I go by the L.A. Times article, that women around age 23 are more focused on catching a date or a permanent mate and as anthropologists tell us, most men do not first look at your family history, career choices, and I.Q. test results when they're thinking about dating or marrying you. They routinely study face and body. So, hormones driving the female desire to mate with an understanding of the male gaze is encouraging this kind of behavior as much as anything else, maybe more than anything else.
Monday, February 7, 2011
This Saturday, February 5, however, I was zipping through the city and Metairie and ha the pleasure of listening to This American Life.
I could not wipe the smile from my face as I heard the last segment, "Contrails of My Tears" on 426: Tough Room 2011. Brett Martin discussed the tendency to cry at movies on airplanes. I don't wait for airplane rides to cry watching movies or even sappy commercials, but I related to the discussion.
Friday, January 28, 2011
"Show me your friends and I'll tell you who you are." That's one of those sayings we hear repeated and consider wise. You could probably come up with any number of similar quotes that suggest we can discern the nature and character of a person by what they say, do, wear, and even who they marry. Common sense right?
But what if the person judging who you are is not looking at you in the real world but the virtual world? Your personal data may have been aggreated by a robot-driven website that seems reliable but is not. Or the researcher for a potential creditor, perhaps, could view via Google and also out of context the snippet of a blog post or a poem you wrote and form an opinion of you that could influence decisions about your future or judgments of your life's work. That could happen, assuming the researcher has poor research skills.
And here's an example used often to strike fear into early Internet adopters: What if that picture of you dancing on the bar in college that you posted years ago, before you understood privacy settings, and have long since deleted is nonetheless visible to potential employers or business partners on a Way Back Machine?
These kinds of considerations may be more troublesome for bloggers and others who've gone full throttle into social media, but even those who are not online have concerns. What if in some public record somewhere, due to a clerk's typo, you are classified as divorced with children, but you've never been married nor do you have a child, and yet, when people search for you in Google or Bing, that part of the record is fourth on first-page results, ressurected by a website using an error-ridden public database?
Some of us might shout then that our privacy's been violated and our lives misreported. Another might say, "not really" because we've brought these spectres to our doors ourselves through our love of network technology. And another might argue less privacy makes the world a safer place.
Technology complicates an old American issue, whether we have the right to privacy. Once upon a time in America expectations of privacy were considered a threat to society; it was illegal for people to live alone; and in a country made up of small villages, any hopes of keeping a secret was deemed a novel idea. I heard this on an episode of House, but nerd that I am, I looked it up, and it's true.
For all our whining today about loss of privacy in the digital age as though privacy is a guaranteed right of American citizenship, the fact is that the right to privacy has often been in jeopardy. Our government's willingness to protect this right has been less than unequivocal, and now, due to computer networking technology, modern humans may be going back to the days of fewer secrets, to live their lives as open books. ... Continue reading at WritingJunkie.net
Friday, December 17, 2010
I had to post this Digital Story of the Nativity, especially since my final pedagogy project for a rhetoric and composition class was on social media and composition in the digital age. It begins with Mary hearing from Gabriel, the arch angel, on her iPhone. I hope readers enjoy it.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Furthermore, yesterday, upon reading Interior Secretary Salazar's suggestion that the moratorium may be over soon, I recognized that the Obama administration may be buckling under pressure to stop the temporary ban on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. I said Obama is having a Pontius Pilate moment.
So, I was not shocked to see that Republicans are gloating, as reported by the Huffington Post. However, I'm not even sure the supposed leak of gloating emails to the HuffPo website is an actual accident.
Republican communication strategists in Washington and Louisiana are thrilled at the press coverage of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, according to e-mails from GOP officials accidentally sent to the Huffington Post.The HuffPo writer mentions a Louisiana single father, Peter Duet, who tells a story in the Fox 8 video about talking to his young daughter about his need to work.
"Baby, so daddy can take you to Wal-Mart and buy you toys," he says, explaining that he won't be able to buy his daughter toys -- or food, for that matter -- if Obama doesn't reverse his decision.Yep. Having worked with people who seek to shape political opinion before, I know that clips like that are priceless. Democrats use the same tactics when they're smart enough to make an emotional appeal rather than a policy-analysis appeal. It's true that humans are more susceptible to pathos than logos.
But what about this so-called Republican accidental send to HuffPo? It's fishy to me because there's a political advantage to this leak. It gets Republicans more press on a big liberal site like Huffington Post, where it's expected Republicans will be blasted anyway. Would HuffPo have even posted the Fox 8 video or given it more thought if the story had not been brought to its attention by a supposed email accident on the conservative side?
Thursday, March 4, 2010
As I prepare for tomorrow, literally the next day, March 5, not some collective future because the road ahead is so cloudy, I lead with another poem.
Moment by Moment
By Nordette N. Adams
Today I adopted a stance:
could care less.
Tomorrow I will try to stand
and care more.
My head kisses the pillow.
Today I was a lazy dog,
circling a pity rug,
settling my achy bones
on its fiery island.
I breathe in and out.
Tomorrow I will be a dove,
eyes on peace,
or a morning glory,
opened to light,
and I will pray that
renews my petals
and I will pray that
lights my eyes.
© 2010 Nordette N. Adams
Monday, June 29, 2009
See my comments on colorism and New Orleans history below. I was responding to someone who said black people are so desperate for blue eyes that they are making bogus claims that blue eyes are common among black people. I never said that because I paid attention to genetics in biology, but someone else may have. As for my commentary below, I've said something similar somewhere else before but sometimes thoughts on a topic bear repeating. There are books written on this topic of skin color and colorism. What I say here is only a splinter of thought.
However, I did object to misinformation that blue eyes are only possible in black people, meaning those identified as of African descent, as the result of disease. In addition, I made sure to identify the people of color of whom I spoke as those having white blood. It is the projection of a reader to assume that any writer is either proud of white blood or ashamed of it unless the writer says so. Many people are simply indifferent, feeling a focus on bloodline other than for purposes of understanding one's personal heritage, is unproductive, and a global focus on bloodline is frequently destructive, which was Hitler's hangup. Nevertheless, such discussions of ethnicity are necessary sometimes to put racism in perspective.
In my father's family, no one gets happy over light skin or light eyes or that his mother or some uncle could pass for white. They take pride that they chose not to pass. In Louisiana, a state that once enforced the one-drop law and had black codes forbidding women of color from wearing "finery and plumes" on the streets because it was believed such extravagance was the sure sign of a white male lover, (a state that) enforced laws such as no marriage between blacks and whites, not every black family is enamored of light skin and blue or green eyes popping up among its members. Some see it as nothing more than a reminder of a rape or somebody's mother being a paid mistress. Depending on lineage, light skin and light eyes may even be evidence of the traitorous deeds of a free person of color in New Orleans, some of whom owned slaves themselves.
On the other hand there were families so desperate to be light and stay light in order to retain social status in the Creole social clubs that they resorted to inner marrying. Take that however you like, but history's history. It's a complex and frequently painful subject.
Some of that history was discussed in comments on a post about Barack Obama and Michelle Obama at this link. One sister who identifies herself as light-skinned from a family that runs the gamut in color was offended at how dark-skinned blacks look down their noses at light-skinned blacks, in particular the phrase "light, bright, and damned-near white." True, it happens sometimes that some black people go out of their way to make a person of mixed race feel unwelcomed, but that reaction is almost as much an anomaly as black people having blue eyes. Frequently, we as a people are so afflicted in our self-hate that members of the race are more often not looking down the nose at lighter skin and blue eyes as much as they are looking on in lust. I am saddened that 40 years after "Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud," we remain as dysfunctional as ever on this subject. --Nordette Adams
Now, how about a little science to go with all this insanity? One person was smart enough to leave a link to what a geneticist has to say on the subject of black people and blue eyes at Stanford University, who says, "Yes." While it's uncommon, people of African descent, black people, can have children with blue eyes via recessive genes in their gene pool. All it takes is for both black parents to have had white people somewhere in their family tree, even somewhere way back in history.
This may also be a good time to invoke the name of Toni Morrison, the Nobel Prize winning African-American author whose novel The Bluest Eye tackled the longing of a little black girl to have blue eyes, a desire foreign to Morrison herself and to me as well.
New Post added July 9: "Complaints about Black Self-Hate, Complaints about CNN's Adoption Story from Black in America."
CNN reports confirmation of this news. The picture of his two older children, Michael Jr. and Paris, is from CNN's confirmation story. You can also see the youngest, "Blanket," walking beside his sister.
I knew coverage of his death would get crazy, and as a journalist, I also know that you can't ignore a story this big, but I'm saddened that his children will continue to be part of that circus. I hope their grandparents can protect them. Folks are already openly debating whether his children are his biological children, and you can read people talking about it starting at one of Field Negro's posts in the comments section here, also here, and on this one as well. Eventually the media will pick this story up too, if not the MSM, then the tabloids, and what can come from this except more psychological pain for Michael's children?
Their parentage is something people have debated for a long time, but the masses should let the debate rest with the King of Pop in the grave and leave these children in peace. He said they are his children, and so, they are his children.
At Examiner.com, I wrote about a message MJ wrote on hotel stationery in 1995, which I as a writer consider the equivalent of leaving a desperate plea on a napkin, anything you can find to pen words that must come out. Here is part of that message, which liken mean-spirited critics to animals:
Animals strike, not from malice, but because they want to live, it is the same with those who criticize, they desire our blood, not our pain. But still I must achieve I must seek truth in all things. I must endure for the power I was sent forth, for the world for the children.Last night, Janet Jackson spoke at the BET Awards on behalf of the Jackson family, and by asking us to remember what Michael was to them, she too is asking for mercy, a measure of respect for human feeling and a loved one's memory. "To you Michael is an icon. To us Michael is family ...," said Janet.
But have mercy, for I've been bleeding a long time now." (Written by Michael Jackson, 1995. Read more commentary on his plea for mercy here.)
The physician who was with him at the time of his cardiac arrest, Dr. Conrad Murray, is on the hot seat, and wisely has a lawyer.
The world awaits the results of the autopsy toxicology tests, and his family has asked for an additional autopsy. In the meantime, we hear over and over that MJ may have been addicted to prescription pain medication. If that's repeated enough, after a time, people will assume it's true no matter what the toxicology report says later. All this and we haven't had the funeral yet. Plus, the will and discovery of his assets will be a mess for the history books,
Make it stop!
I say that knowing it won't stop in my lifetime. Like Elvis, Michael Jackson's legacy is eternal, eternally praised and eternally smeared. But to his family, for those of us who were blessed by his music and appreciate that blessing, I paraphrase the rest of Janet Jackson's quote and say, he will live with dignity in the hearts of those who loved him.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
On the cockeyed rule of threes wives tale, the assertion that celebrities deaths or the deaths of important people happen in threes, I will never be convinced. I also said in my post on Mays's passing:
The recent deaths, David Carradine, Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and now Mays, blows that kooky theory of celebrities dying in threes. (Billy Mays is dead?)But people love sensationalistic, hokus pokus nonsense. Over at Digital City, this dumbness already has 79 tweets, "Celebrity Death Rule of Threes: Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon." I'd bet most of the people didn't even read the full article, but tweeted it anyway because this theory of people dying in threes seems mysterious.
Like most things, when people want to support a superstition or myth, they conveniently overlook other critical information that invalidates what they want to believe. In this case, the death of David Carradine two weeks ago made it four not three. Going forward, the death of Billy Mays makes it five not three.
The world saw a rash of celebrity deaths in the last two months of 2006. In November 2006, Ed Bradley (Nov. 9), Gerald LeVert (Nov. 10) and Jack Palance (Nov. 10) died. On December 25, 2006, the Godfather of soul, James Brown died, and former President Gerald Ford died the next day, but quite a few other celebrities died in November and December 2006. I had other blogs back then and felt like every time I turned around somebody famous was dying.
Cockeyed.com has a chart for the same phenomena in 2005. We remember the names we recognize and forget the rest. When people with bigger names die in groups, that's evidence of randomness at work in the universe, not a law of threes. People see patterns where there is no pattern.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I was a tad miffed when Las Vegas, that was a dust bowl when New Orleans was born, started calling itself Sin City. I was young, but strange, and even at a young age, I understood Vegas was trying to steal dollars from us.
And now I see this advertisement for a Burlesque party here suggesting party-goers come naked if possible, and I've got mixed feelings. Is it a good thing or a bad thing that NOLA has burlesque events? Is it an artistic feather in the cap?
'Brothel' Burlesque dance party @ Dragon's DenHmm. I can go as freak with a purple wig but not naked. Wonder if they'll allow a Flip camera inside. I'm sure there's a good blog post there.
Saturday, May 30 2009, 10:00pm - 3:00am
On May 30th New Orleans Partying will be throwing a 2 floor party @ Dragon's Den called 'Brothel'. This event will feature a performance by the Slow Burn Burlesque Collective consisting of comedy, performance art, burlesque, and a host of other surprises that will no doubt keep you entertained all night. The party kicks off @ 10pm downstairs with DJs Tony Skratchere and Yamin on the 1's and 2's. Downstairs will be free all night. The Burlesque show will start @ 11pm upstairs. There is a $5 cover for the burlesque performance. After the show, there will be a dance party on both floors, w/ DJ RQ Away spinning dirty booty bounce jams downstairs, and DJ to be announced spinning good time vibes upstairs.
In the spirit of burlesque, come dressed in as little as you want, come dressed as a freak, come to get undressed, come to get freaky!
Friday, March 27, 2009
If I'm in a general funk after a bad day, then it's Curtis Mayfield from Superfly to Marvin Gaye's rendition of Mayfield's "Trouble Man" and then "Kung Fu."
Eventually I end up with Marvin himself and "Inner City Blues," which is the video below.
If I'm mad enough to throw something, then I listen to The Pope by Prince a few times to hear not just Prince but Bernie Mac saying "I ain't scared of you, m----------."
But for the song I'm most likely to put on after a bad day, I've got to step across the OSF 1999 line to November 2000 with Erykah Badu's Penitentiary Philosophy. This is a song I play when I am angry as in having a bad week, not just a bad day, and need to get over myself. I've driven in my car for 45 minutes with this song on loop.
You may have heard that Ms. Badu had a bad day of her own recently with a stalker toting a Toucan in front of her house. Read about that here.
After I've gone through my mad music, which probably will include Janet Jackson's "Control," and I start to simmer down, I may play "Do Whatcha Wanna" by the Rebirth Brass Band and then move forward to "Stir Up the Gift" by Joe Pace and The Colorado Mass Choir for the healing.
I have other music for a bad day, but much of it was recorded after the year 2000. Had a lot more anger issues that I needed to tackle, I think, after my divorce. ;-)
The creators of the Old School Friday meme are Mrs. Grapevine and Marvalus at OBW and has these rules, if you want to join the party.
OTHER participants: Check out all participants at THIS link. If you're not on the list, please let me know by leaving a comment on my OSF Participants post.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Lie To Me: Obama Gives McCain the Finger or I'm Hooked on this Show. And Is it True Popular People are Better Liars?
There are shows on Wednesday night that I like to watch, American Idol for instance and now Lost, but I've pushed both those shows to DVR because I'm hooked on Fox's new show Lie to Me starring Tim Roth as Dr. Carl Lightman, a character who's an expert in reading facial expressions and who is based on a real man, Dr. Paul Ekman.
The show's good, but that's only part of the reason I'm hooked. I've been fascinated by body language since my 20s, and during the recent presidential election wrote about what I saw in John McCain's facial expressions. I'm no expert, I just shared my opinions.
And I also posted an expressions experts opinions on Obama's smile and Palin's folksiness, and kept up with what
A few weeks ago on the show, Roth's character said popular people are better liars, and I decided then that I was going to look up the show online and see if it was using any real science or just common sense, but busy person that I am forgot.
Tonight the show used a clip of President Barack Obama back when he was a candidate making comments about opponent Sen. John McCain. In it he was saying he respected McCain while also using an emblematic slip or a gesture that's akin to what we'd call a Freudian slip in language or a slip of the tongue. He subconsciously flipped McCain the bird.
That was too much. I had to visit the show's website to see if any real science was behind that. The YouTube video clip at the top of this post shows then-candidate Obama giving McCain the finger subtly, a sign of anger or contempt, according to the fictitious Dr. Lightman.
Each week Dr. Ekman, who's the show's consultant, writes a column at Fox called "The Truth About Lie to Me" in which he separates the actual science from the stuff the show's writers make up. Regarding "emblematic slips" he said at his own website, "The person showing the emblematic slip knows what he or she is thinking but doesn’t know it has leaked out."
At the Fox site, he said the following:
I discovered gestural slips in my very first study of nonverbal behavior, many years ago. In an experiment I arranged one of my fellow graduate students was being given a hard time by the head of the department. She gave him the finger, just as the best man, Obama, and Rumsfield did. Not out in the open, but much less noticeable. The person showing such a gestural slip is aware of the anger or disdain that he or she feels, but is unaware that the message has leaked out. (Love Always--The Finger)As was said in the show, Rumsfield and Obama had something about which to be angry. Here's a Rumsfield clip, and the suggestion is he has contempt for the student asking the question about the Iraq War.
But what about lying presidents? Here's what Ekman said in his interview with The New York Times:
Dr. Ekman would not discuss his assessments of public figures who are still active. (George W. Bush was off limits at the time.) But past presidents are fair game. “Nixon was a terrible liar,” he said, adding, “The last good liar we had as president was John Kennedy.”Apparently Bill Clinton was a pretty bad liar too because the show's used clips of him more than once: "I did not have sex with that woman!"
Is it True Popular People are Better Liars?
While I didn't find Ekman himself making the statement that popular people are better liars, I did find a 1999 study that supports that statement in the show.
"We found that convincing lying is actually associated with good social skills. It takes social skills to be able to control your words as well as what you say non-verbally," said Feldman. (Science Daily)The study also found that younger or older women appear to be better liars than their male counterparts. I'm not surprised there. Females are trained to make others happy first and so they have to find ways to avoid telling the truth sometimes. In addition, the ability to lie to a man is a survival skill for some women.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man, and customers stepped over him and became irate when officials said the store was closing because of the death, police and witnesses said. ... "This crowd was out of control," Fleming said. He described the scene as "utter chaos," and said the store didn't have enough security.What the hell is wrong with people, more concerned about saving $300 on a TV than a dying man on the floor?
Dozens of store employees trying to fight their way out to help Damour were also getting trampled by the crowd, Fleming said. Shoppers stepped over the man on the ground and streamed into the store. (HuffPo)
Updated, CNN video. The police say Walmart shoppers even pushed police officers who came to give the dying man assistance.
I've also added video about the shootings at Toys "R" Us in Palm Desert, Ca., which reportedly had nothing to do with a Black Friday squabble or an argument about bargains. It was an "incident between two individuals," reports The Los Angeles Times.
The dead men were identified by Riverside County sheriff's officials as Alejandro Moreno, 39, of Desert Hot Springs and Juan Meza, 28, of Cathedral City. Two handguns were recovered at the scene.
Calls to both mens' apparent homes were not returned.
The shooting occurred about 11:30 a.m. Friday after two women got into a fight. After the women began arguing, witnesses said, Meza pulled out a gun. Moreno also pulled out a gun and started chasing and shooting at Meza, witnesses said. Frantic shoppers either dropped to the floor or stormed out of the store. (LAT)