04/28/11

Press Junket Series No. 5

Haven’t done one in a while. Thought I’d roundup the news. Stories include Easter in China; Judge Nelson’s NFL lockout decision and tonight’s Draft; NBA playoffs (late breaking Spur’s result); Mel Kiper’s hair; Obama’s long-form birth certificate and dubious citizenship; storms in the South; continued unrest in Syria, Yemen, and Libya; and the Royal Wedding.

I’m a Redskins fan by the way.

The Week That Was.

Performed by ipoet. Produced by Sundance.

Today’s song blog here:

TWTW 4-25-11

04/25/11

To Keep Watch

There are a lot of reasons not to believe Christianity. And, there are a lot of reasons to prefer deism, agnosticism, and/or atheism. I constantly entertain them.

The position without almost any colorable basis is the one that eliminates the right to consider it all, as a person of conscience before the Creator/universe.

Apparently, even in the twenty-first century, China still thinks this is an acceptable way to govern. I speak in very few absolutes. But, in this case, it is not (acceptable). One of China’s largest illegal “home” churches, Shouwang, had planned an Easter celebration yesterday. Some 500 individuals were literally prevented from leaving their homes to attend, and in excess of 30 church leaders were actually detained. Police were posted around the entrance to the outdoor pavilion to turn attendees away.

And, that’s sort of the irony of the story. Governments have been trying to lock people out of Easter since the very first one. That is literally the story of Easter — Rome thought Easter could be thwarted with guards and a stone. But, Easter isn’t some door to lock. It’s a houseless home.

When I visited the various sites speculated to be the tomb of Jesus in Jerusalem, as a younger man, I had this urgency to know in my heart the true one. Naively, I prayed for some private revelation. As I turned to leave the inside of the tomb, there was a sign above the door quoting the words of the angel, “He is not here, He is Risen.” Well, of course.

Easter is locationless. It can’t be barred or shuttered or canceled. Today, in my personal view of the world, seen and unseen, I celebrate the possibility that the God of it all did something extraordinary and, in Kierkegaard’s words, untranslatable on my behalf. To others it is reasonably senseless myth.

But as we grow in technology, morality, and knowledge, let us never starve our spiritual selves or deny to others the chance to nourish theirs. To Keep Watch – Shouwang.

Performed by ipoet. Music produced by Sundance.

Today’s song blog here:

Houseless Home

04/21/11

Maundy Thursday

In commemoration of this Holiest of weeks. A song off of our 5print III Outtakes Mixtape, released last year.

Performed by ipoet d/b/a sintax.the.terrific and playdough (collectively deepspace5). Music produced by Alex Goose.

Today’s song blog here:

Rise

04/18/11

NBA Playoff Preview 2011

Man, I love the NBA Playoffs. And, the first weekend delivered. I called the Mavericks in six back at the beginning of the year, while Caron Butler was still a functioning human. There is no way in Shaq’s calf strain they are winning the whole thing at this point. But, I’m a man of my prognostication and I won’t back down from the prediction. Every team has a flaw and Dallas is as likely as anyone to put it together. Portland is a sexy pick to upset the Mavericks in the first round but I believe it is precisely this uniformity of early doubt which will propel a veteran and cagey team to a stunning victory over the . . . well, you’ll just have to listen to find out.

The song also includes my stage dad confession. My son loves to ball. He wants to play for Kentucky (I was thinking Princeton or MIT or the recently no-longer-winless-in-their-conference-after-26-years Cal Tech Beavers). But, regardless, his ultimate 7-year-old ambition is the NBA. And, so, of course, that has also become mine for him. I spend hours watching youtube videos of vertical jump infomercials in hopes of somehow cheating the genetic sabotage he’s inherited. I’ve tediously read all 700+ pages of Bill SimmonsBook of Basketball, and concomitant trove of footnotes, in hopes that some clue to the secret of a future NBA career is there. It’s not. Just page after page of evidence that we don’t have a chance.

Parents are ridiculous. We see our children accidentally fail to dribble it off their kneecap and we think . . . yep, the next Derek Rose. My boy:

Performed by ipoet. Music produced by Sundance.

Today’s song blog here:

Win or Go Home: The Next Derek Rose

04/14/11

Over the Moon

I missed covering this news item a couple months back at the last launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery. But, NASA’s recent announcement concerning the final resting place of its remaining space shuttles has given me occasion to address it. NASA is discontinuing its space shuttle program. Why exactly NASA has to wholesale abandon entire genre of spacecraft is beyond my ability to guess. It’s a little known fact that we couldn’t get back to the moon today if our continued existence depended on it. They dismantled the necessary apparatus decades ago.

Anyway, the announcement drew some ire for having not included Houston as a destination. Without knowing all the facts, I would have to agree that it seems a regrettable slight.

The Space Shuttle defined a generation, in tragedy and hope. The great interstellar Orca.

President Obama has championed legislative initiatives, which have, and will, continue to move us towards commercial space flight. I’m excited for it. My hope is that the direction will only increase the chance that our kids and their kids will travel with increasing frequency as passengers and pilots. It’s on my bucket list too. When this rap news blog thing starts raking in the cash, I’m booking a flight out of the New Mexico terminal (oh the irony).

But, as always, there are two sides to every matter. Many think the privatization of our space program is detrimental to a healthy and controlled exploration and an affront to the institutional expertise and dedication of NASA’s excellent personnel over these many years. My Uncle-in-Law is a retired rocket scientist from NASA. I think his views on it are mixed to say the least. Like with commercial air flight, there is likely some balance of government regulation/participation/oversight and the sort of private enterprise and ingenuity, which has been the engine for all of our significant progress and innovation.

Take me back to the moon.

Performed by ipoet. Music produced by Sundance.

Today’s song blog here:

Private Rocket

04/11/11

Backyard Battle Reenactments

Tomorrow, April 12, is the sesquicentennial of the start of the Civil War. As a resident of South Carolina and having been formerly and now, again, presently employed in Charleston, the memorial seemed appropriate. The first shots of the war were fired in Charleston, on Fort Sumter, then a failing Federal stronghold in the putative Confederacy. Lincoln had sent munitions to reinforce it. The South wanted the structure evacuated. After it was ferociously besieged, the forces of the seceding State had taken the fort. Amazingly, although 3000 cannon shots were fired, no fatalities were suffered during the exchange. In lore, it’s been dubbed the “miraculous” and “bloodless victory.” Of course, it deceptively presaged the slaughter to follow.

My grandmother was actually born in South Carolina, on the same street where I now work. I didn’t know until later in life. I’m not really from here. I grew up in various suburbs of the Baltimore/Washington Metro Area. But, South Carolina has been my adult home. And, I’m proud to be a citizen of it. I’d make two observations relevant to the song and my time here, though. One, race relations are modest. They are typically superficial, paternalistic, or non-existent (and sporadically antagonistic). There are exceptions, of course. But, people seldom seek a path of intersection. We have to learn to share a meal, not just pleasantries.

Second, the Civil War devastated two communities in South Carolina, the white and black. The liberated latter found re-imagined versions of opposition outside of formal bondage, nearly as devastating and horrifying as the original. The former were wiped economically off the map. In some ways, neither has ever fully recovered. I’m not calling moral sides. History has vindicated the cause and the outcome of the war and any hardship the Confederate States bore was a burden of their own design and demand. But, when the rest of the nation laughs at the South or pities its continued struggle to integrate in real ways, let it be remembered that the whole enterprise was burned to the ground. And, then two mortal enemies were told to rebuild. Their difficulty to do so is understandable, even this many years later.

But the same sense of resolve that led to the improvident secession, endures in the character of South Carolina’s people today, of all colors. We can be better. And, particularly, because we are people of still a strong and continuing faith, we know to what kind of affection, one to another, we are called.

Performed by ipoet. Music produced by dj transform.

Today’s song blog here:

Get Strong

04/7/11

WE ALL GONNA DIE!!

Look, I’m horrible with my own money. Nation-state budgets are preposterously complex. Debt is a real and permissible leveraging tool for towering economies. All the same there is surely some balance. Paul Ryan (R) has proposed one such compromise. He and his confederates see this impasse as a fiscal and ideological “cause” and not simply a budget. Democrats think the proposal is a continuing slap in the already drawn faces of entitlement beneficiaries.

A shutdown looms.

Luckily, the ipoet laureate is here. Today’s installment provides a complete list of federal services which will, and will not, persist during any time when the government is closed. Let’s just say that it doesn’t look good, guys. I’ve seen a number of media outlets forecasting that government websites may not be regularly updated. It’s disturbing to say the least. The DOT’s site in particular will be missed. Their copy is always sharply witted.

Fortunately, this site receives no federal grant monies. So rap news blogging will endure even as the world falls into apocalypse. Like the cockroach of news media.

Performed by ipoet. Music produced by dj elder and dj etch-a-sketch.

Today’s song blog here:

On Pause

04/4/11

Côte d’Ivoire

The Ivory Coast has recently been engulfed in renewed violence over elections had some five months ago. The former president Laurent Gbagbo refuses to evacuate office after losing the election to the man that the international community recognizes as the legitimate winner and president, Alassane Ouattara. Ouattara’s Republican forces have seized large portions of the country. There, of course, has been terrible atrocity on both sides, including what appears to be a retribution massacre of some 800 citizens at the hands of the “good guys” in Duekoue. As usual, war and humanity are never cleanly drawn in morality and this instance is no different. Unfortunately, this murkiness becomes an excuse to ignore it altogether.

I was moved by the account of some churchgoers who walked a colonnade of strewn bodies as they went. There is great capacity in us to maintain regularity in a swirl of brutal irregularity.

During my very brief time in Kenya and Tanzania, I was struck by the sheer volume of ways one could die. Malarial mosquito. Egyptian Cobra bite. Water Buffalo impalement. Baboon attack. And, these were just the risks inherent in a stay at the five star hotels. Don’t forget high speed decapitation on a moving train. Insufficient snorkeling apparatus. And, dysentery.

The legacy of colonization through the lens of tribalism has increased the worst risk of all that being human on human violence. It is a hard continent, dealt a particularly steep hand in history and land.

Performed by ipoet. Music produced by dj clutch.

Today’s song blog here:

So Many

04/4/11

A View

The room of a future serial killer:

I was sitting on my son’s bed this weekend and became disturbed by what had been apparently accumulating on his wall over the months. Schematics are always a red flag. You can click for a more horrifying close up.

I’m not sure that there will be a song today. Long weekend after a long couple of weeks. Trying to cover the Ivory Coast. We’ll see.