Monthly Archives: November 2007

Shop Local First Week Dec. 2-9

Did you know that if San Franciscans shifted just 10 cents of every $1 of their spending from chain stores to local retailers, they could add to the city’s economy nearly 1,300 more jobs and $200 million more in annual output? That finding comes from a recently released study on the Bay Area region’s economy. Furthermore, the majority of businesses in the Bay Area are actually locally owned, as opposed to non-local chains like Wal-Mart, Borders, etc.

A growing body of evidence suggests that locally owned businesses contribute to a healthier community because they put money back into the community, provide more and better jobs for locals, etc. That’s why SF city officials have declared next week, the period of Dec. 2-9, “Shop Local First Week,” and I think folks all over the Bay could follow their example.

We underestimate our own purchasing power and the decisions we can make as informed consumers. Next week, or any other time during the holiday shopping season, take some time out to think about supporting locally owned businesses in your community. Here are some resources:

Hip Hop Violin

Got this off of Angry Asian Man, but apparently its several months old. Either way, shit is dope, son. Paul Dateh on the violin and Inka One on the tables.

Talk Box Tribute

I was watching the Chris Brown/T-Pain video for “Kiss, Kiss” and it made me think of how dope that effect is that they use to make their voices sound all futuristic and robot like. T-Pain has totally become the go-to guy for a hit record in rap/r-n-b/pop these days largely off of his use of a pitch corrector to make that sound. However, the way he does it seems to stay in the recording process, so he can’t replicate it during a live performance.

Thus, I think the talk box is in need of a comeback. Wikipedia defines it as: “a musical sound effects device that allows a musician to modify the sound of a musical instrument. The musician controls the modification by changing the shape of his or her mouth.” Basically, its a device that plugs into a keyboard or guitar. The musician can give his or her voice that “robot” sound by singing into a mouth tube. The results are fuckin awesome.

If you need further convincing, go out and listen to anything by Zapp and Roger. Roger Troutman was the king of the talk box in my opinion. Peep this live version of “Computer Love”:

Tell me thats not dope as hell. Roger was so damn talented to begin with that in combination with the talk box he would hit some ridiculously funky sounding high notes. And what’s this? Snoop Dogg damn near sings the whole time on his new single, “Sensual Seduction” using a talk box mouth tube. Gotta love it. If The Cheddar Box could talk, it would hopefully sound like a talk box.

Sean Taylor, 1983-2007

Yesterday, NFL safety Sean Taylor died from a gunshot wound inflicted during a home invasion attempt. He was twenty-four years old and father to an 18-month baby girl. I remember watching this guy when he was in college and being amazed at the ridiculous hits he would lay down. Maybe it’s the fact that we were the same age, but news of his death really saddened me. It also sounded like he was really at a positive place in his life after some definite struggles in the past. RIP. Below are some highlights from his college days.

Happy Birthday, Bruce

bruce.jpg Thanks to Angry Asian Man for the heads up, but today is Bruce Lee’s birthday. He would be 67. In Angry’s words:

“What can I say, except that his legacy continues to have a profound impact on the culture at large, as well as my own life and work. He’s a legend. ”

Word. I can’t say enough about his legend. In fact, I wrote a post awhile back in tribute to him, check it out if you haven’t already. It includes a really great “lost” interview with him from 1973.

Happy birthday, Bruce. You are missed, but never forgotten.

Hayward Fair and the Fight For Schools, Not Jails

cdc-meeting-11_14_07.jpg

“All the eyes of the world is focused on the Jena Six. But every small community in the south, and in the north, has its Jena Six. Maybe you can’t visualize it or maybe you don’t want to visualize it, but this is not just small rural towns. Look at New Orleans, during the storm. When the people was trying to cross the bridge to get out of the flood, there were people on the other side, armed, that would not let them cross. In the rest of the nation people are being treated the same way. Chicago, New York, it don’t matter where you are.

“I’m gonna do what I know is right, and I don’t care who you are. I see the young people in the community that need help. That’s what keeps me going. If you see something and you feel it aint right, don’t say they ought to change it, get in there, roll your sleeves up and say lets change it. That’s the only way. You gotta keep a cool head and do the thing that’s right. When you know right and fight for it, you’re gonna win.”

~ Hayward Fair

Although much attention gets placed on the large metropolitan cities of the world, the small Louisiana towns of Jena and Tallulah demonstrate that equally (if not more so) important battles for social justice are being fought in the small rural towns as well.

Hayward Fair is a civil rights movement veteran and a personal hero of mine (he is pictured above, second from the left). At nearly 70 years old and still going strong, he has been at the center of community organizing efforts in Tallulah to convert the notoriously abusive prison there into a “Success Center” that will provide vocational training, social services, educational opportunities and business creation for the largely impoverished, largely Black region. Our boy Jordan Flaherty of Left Turn Magazine recently wrote up a great article profiling Mr. Fair and Tallulah’s fight. If you’ve got a few minutes of free time, definitely check it out as its a great snapshot of the work happening there.

The prison industrial complex is a beast that is swallowing up more and more people everyday. As of this writing, the Board of Regents of Higher Education in Louisiana has stated plans to tear down the barbed wire fences of Tallulah’s prison by the end of the year. Let’s hope that Tallulah can show the rest of the world that education is the path out of poverty and onto success, not prison. Keep up the good work, Mr. Fair, and good luck; although as he would say, “Luck ain’t got nothin to do with it.”

Believing Again

I still think trading J-Rich was the wrong move, but the Warriors recent 4-1 winning road trip is making me believe in them again after an awful 0-6 start. They only lost to Boston on this trip, but the way Kevin Garnett beasted on us shows that we really do need another solid big man. Anyway, the fast pace does keep things entertaining, and Monta Ellis did his thing last night against the Sixers. Go Warriors. Seeing as how they are the lone bright spot in Bay Area sports these days, how about the city of Oakland goes ahead and buys the team? Its called municipalization, and its what the city of Green Bay did with the Packers over in the NFL. That way, the profits off ticket sales can go to things the city needs, like education, health care, etc. instead of just making another random gazillionaire even richer. Just a thought, but peep my man Dave Zirin’s recent article for more.