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Archive for January, 2011|Monthly archive page

Life. Wise Words from Henry Ward Beecher

In life. on January 30, 2011 at 5:01 pm

“The unthankful heart… discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and, as the magnet finds the iron, so it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!” -Henry Ward Beecher



Commerce. Belvedere’s Intense 80 Proof

In commerce. on January 30, 2011 at 5:01 pm

I am an avid vodka drinker and love Belvedere. I have tried all their varieties thus far and recently received this as a gift on Thanksgiving. It was only right that i post a review of it.

By David Kelly via

It’s not easy to craft a new vodka that isn’t more hype than hooch. But Belvedere gets credit for creating a discernible, interesting new expression.

Belvedere 80 Unfiltered Vodka is distilled four times from Dankowskie Diamond Rye, which is a rare and super premium baker’s grade grain that gives the vodka an elegant full bodied taste that has hints of baked breads, sea salt and white pepper. Price $31.00.

The unfiltered vodka is unique for Belvedere, which follows a filtration and distillation processes with its other expressions.

The last Belvedere expression we tried wasBelvedere Intense, a 100-proof vodka.


Life.Art.Commerce. Manufacture Royale’s $1.2 Million Tourbillon Watch

In on January 30, 2011 at 4:55 pm

For the watch aficionado who can afford to spend a cool million dollars on a timepiece, Manufacture Royale’s Opera $1.2 million tourbillon watch, is a very meticulous piece of horological art. The musical watch features a unique shape. The watch case is 50mm wide and is crafted in 18k rose or gray gold on a Mississippi alligator skin strap. It has three sapphire crystals and 60 pieces in its construction. The Opera Time-Piece contains a brand new movement that is manually wound, has a tourbillon and a minute repeater, the minute repeater plays the hours in A, and the minute in C sharp. The watch is built of 319 parts, and has a power reserve in excess of 100 hours. Only 12 of these watches will be made, and each will be individually numbered and will come encased in a veneered wooden box that is said to be a reproduction of the Bastille Opera House in Paris

Read the rest of this entry »

Life. London Eye Coming To Atlanta

In art., commerce., life. on January 30, 2011 at 4:54 pm

The group that created the London Eye is contemplating Atlanta as the home of the next giant Ferris wheel.

The problem appears to be finding someone willing to pay the millions of dollars it would cost to acquire the land and erect the wheel, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Bernard Marcus, the founder of Home Depot, presided at a meeting Tuesday with the London Eye group, 30 Atlanta business leaders and Mayor Kasim Reed. Both Marcus and Reed spoke enthusiastically about the plan, but Reed said no city funds would go for a Ferris wheel and Marcus said he is not planning to provide any financial backing.

The Eye gets about 3.5 million visitors a year willing to pay $30 to rotate for 30 minutes over London in an enclosed capsule with 24 other people. The developers say a similar wheel in Atlanta would lure 2.7 million visitors a year.



Art. Cinematography: Somewhere Over The Pond by Corey Davis

In art. on January 30, 2011 at 4:52 pm

I have been a fan of the collective at Creative Control for some time. Here is a series of videos shot by Corey Davis  they have presented featuring artists from City of Ink in Atlanta visiting the U.K.


Tattoo artists from Atlanta’s City of Ink venture overseas. In this episode, they check out the London Tattoo Convention.

Tattoo artists from Atlanta’s City of Ink venture overseas to Europe, here’s a unique perspective of London through the lens of Corey Davis. Music By Solomon & Finder.

City of Ink visits the studio of Japanese fine artist, Masakatsu Kondo, in Brixton.




Commerce. Oprah’s Ultimate Favorite Things 2010

In commerce. on January 30, 2011 at 4:52 pm

The Christmas Oprah had her annual favorite things show. This being the final season of The Oprah Show she thought it nice to make it her best. The complete list can be viewed here.

Via The Fabulous Life of SaHMs/


Life. A TSA Success Story

In life. on January 30, 2011 at 4:50 pm

The new rules in airport travel safety have been plagued with confusion and frustration since the     September 11, 2001 tragedies. None more so than the treatment of passengers going thru security checks. Here is a story about someone minimizing their frustration with dealing with the TSA.


We’ve talked a lot about the controversies surrounding full-body security scans. Before a recent flight, Isaac Schlueter stood up and opted out. Here’s why… and how.

By now, if you haven’t heard the outrage at the TSA’s “enhanced” pat-down procedures, then you don’t use the internet, and you’re not reading this blog.

They grope children. They touch your junk. The procedures are ludicrously ineffective and harmful from a security point of view. And the naked-picture xray machines are most likely unsafe.

Things like this get me feeling all rebellious and Jeffersonian. So, since I’m flying up to Joyent’s Vancouver offices today, I decided to do a little prep work.

First, I took the UCSF letter, added a bit of highlighting and annotation to make it a bit easier to scan, and printed it out. You can get a copy from

I was worried that I’d chicken out. No, not “worried”. I was sure I’d chicken out. Ofcourse I would. I talk a good game about incendiary politics and unconventional ideals, but when the chips are down, I generally do the expedient thing like a nice polite citizen. I’m not one of these “talk down the authorities” types, even though I wish I was.

But then my flight was cancelled, and I learned that I’d have to be in the airport until 12 to catch the next one. The extra time to kill strengthened my resolve. “So what if I’m detained?,” I thought. “I don’t have to be anywhere for 5 more hours.” Plus I was alone, so there wasn’t anyone else’s embarrassment to worry about. I repeated the confidence mantras in my head. They’re expendable workers. I own this place. I’m the boss. They work for me. The only reason I don’t fire them is that they’re cheaper than robots. Etc.

I started talking to the family behind me as soon as I got into the security line, a middle-aged couple with 2 adolescent boys and a girl about 4 or 5. They were amused by my shoes, so it wasn’t too hard to strike up a conversation.

I asked where they were from. Santa Clara. Heading to Toronto for some family thing. I asked if they’d heard about the new X-Ray machines. The dad was tired and apathetic. She said, “Oh, yeah, I heard about those on the news, that if you don’t go through, they grope you or something, and if you do, they take a naked picture of you.”

“Yeah, it’s messed up. Did you know that the UCSF oncology department thinks they pose a serious health risk, especially to children or anyone at risk for breast cancer?”

“Whoa, no, I didn’t know that!”

I handed the paper to the mom. Bam.

“Oh, honey, you should read this!! … Oh my god…”

Turns out she’s a breast cancer survivor. And her doctor has told her to avoid x-rays, even at the dentist, unless absolutely medically necessary. And she didn’t realize that “millimeter wave digital backscatter detection” used x-rays, because the TSA doesn’t actually put that on the sign.

She did the rest.

When we got to the scanner, I opted out. Then they opted out. She’d already convinced the family behind them to do the same. Her response to the TSA agent was awesome, I wish I’d thought of it:

“Ma’am, please step over here.”

“No thanks, I’ve already had cancer, just feel me up or whatever.”

After the first 4 “OPT-OUT” calls, they just passed us all through the regular metal detector. No one got groped.

Information, properly delivered, is power.

Addendum The revolt was emotionally satisfying, and I totally recommend doing it, but ultimately it’s only a drop in the ocean. From where I’m sitting, I can see the security line, people holding their hands up in the little booth.

So, do make trouble. On-the-ground rebellion is important. But also tell your legislator. There’s a senate oversight meeting tomorrow, so please call these people and tell them how you feel.

You’ll leave a voicemail. It’s easy and takes 2 seconds. Just call up and say “I think that the TSA has gone too far. Body scanning and inappropriate groping are unconstitutional and wrong. If you want my vote, change the policy.”

Addendum 2 Millimeter wave scanners and Backscatter X-Rays are not the same thing. But it wasn’t clear which one was in use, and the TSA sign used the terms interchangeably in the fine print where it told you about the opt-out option.

Also, yes, it’s true, the cancer risks are not well understood, and I absolutely committed the alarmist fallacy. (“But can you really take that risk!”) Unfortunately, people aren’t as afraid of a police state as they are of cancer. I maintain that I used my powers for Good.

Isaac Z. Schlueter lives in Oakland, CA. He writes JavaScript for a living, drinks coffee, and rides a bike.


Life. Wise Words from Oscar Wilde

In life. on January 30, 2011 at 4:50 pm

“There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.”               Oscar Wilde

Commerce. Vibram Fivefinger KSO Trek

In commerce. on January 30, 2011 at 4:47 pm

These are the Vibram KSO Treks a revolutionary shoe that is as comfortable as they are eye catching. There are a few more models for men and women you can check them out  here.

Here is some information on the technology behind the shoe:

The typical human foot is an anatomical marvel of evolution with 26 bones, 33 joints, 20 muscles, and hundreds of sensory receptors, tendons and ligaments. Like the rest of the body, to keep our feet healthy, they need to be stimulated and exercised.

Many experts believe the shoes we wear not only cast the foot in a protective form, but also weaken our foot and leg muscles, leaving them underdeveloped and more prone to injury. And while there are many occasions where traditional footwear is essential for protection, safety, and security, it is equally important to stimulate and exercise the foot in a more natural state on a regular basis.

That’s why we recommend wearing FiveFingers for exercise, for play, and for fun. Stimulating muscles in your feet and lower legs will not only make you stronger and healthier, it improves your balance, agility and proprioception.



Art. Photography: Jeffrey Martin’s Largest Photo In The World

In art. on January 30, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Jeffrey Martin photo: London. 7,886 individual photos were stitched together to form an 80-gigapixel panorama, which can be zoomed-in and out over here.


Art. Pharrell Williams In Paper Magazine

In art. on January 30, 2011 at 4:43 pm

The N.E.R.D frontman and super-producer covers Paper Magazine’s November 2010 issue. P speaks about how he met A Bathing Ape guru Nigo and how he got Billionaire Boys Club/Ice Cream poppin’ in the excerpt below:

PAPER: I’m curious about your relationship with [Bathing Ape designer/music producer] Nigo, who I feel is like the Japanese Warhol. In Japan, in terms of the crossover between commercial projects and high-end art, there are fewer boundaries. How did you get into what he was doing with the [clothing and shoe lines] Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream?

Pharrell Williams: Well, he basically just gave me a shot. I came to his studio, he showed me some of his stuff, and I told him I wanted this, this and this. He told me to take it. I wore a lot of it, and finally he was like, “Hey, you wanna do your own line?” I was like, “Hell yeah,” and so
the rest was history.



Life. Wise Words from Melody Beattie

In life. on January 30, 2011 at 4:42 pm

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”          -Melody Beattie

Art. Cinematography: Timescapes by Tom Lowe

In art. on January 30, 2011 at 4:42 pm

This movie has no dialog, no plot, and absolutely no point except to leave you in complete awe. TimeScapes achieves that objective, and then some more.



Commerce. Two Online Services for Bespoke Men

In commerce. on January 30, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Today I’m sharing two custom shirt services for the bespoke man.

First up Shirts My Way a site where you can customize everything from collar to cuff.

The Perfect Look

Create the perfect look for your custom dress shirt. Every detail, from the collar style to the cuff fabric to the thread color, is customized to your heart’s content so that the dress shirt embodies your own distinctive style.

The Perfect Fit

With our custom tailoring option, you can specify key measurements and have your dress shirt made to fit you just right. There is a special feeling in wearing a perfect fitting dress shirt, one that every man must experience.

The Perfect Match

Our customization platform lets you create dress shirts that look and fit exceptionally well. And when you order dress shirts at ShirtsMyWay, you get highly dedicated people making great shirts and providing great service.


Next up we have Blank Label. A site where you can co-create a shirt based on one of the many design templates they have already created.

The Story from the Start

Blank Label started as a conversation between two friends. One of them decided to go to Grad School, the other tried to start a revolution. A few years ago, Fan spent a summer in Shanghai, where he played table tennis (clichéd but true), ate a lot of dumplings (more clichéd but more true) and got quite a few co-created dress shirts made. This being able to design from scratch dress shirts, choosing different fabrics, various styling components, and being able to do it affordably, Fan thought that there may have been a $257 business to this idea, which would have doubled the money he had at the time.

The $257 Idea

The new generation of consumer has been brought up on choice. People are different – individual – and choice has been a privilege to have. What’s more choice than being able to co-create something unique yourself? Coincidentally there’s also a generation of guys who use individual style as a currency. All of a sudden it wasn’t taboo for guys to try on two shirts before going out, wanting to wear something fitted, and maybe even wearing salmon? There was something to this…

When We Were Getting Excited

Enter revolutionary ideas. A small team bands together, with common beliefs that something could be done better, that it needed to be done better. Too long had the ‘appointed’ designers branded their fans like they were advertisements of their own egos, too long were their customers supporting their over-priced Manhattan apartments. Then in came a platform where you could design your own dress shirt, a bridge to quality tailoring, ready and excited customer service to help you through this. Enter YOU as the designer, the co-creator. Enter the revolution.



Life. How To Knot A Tie

In life. on January 30, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I was showing my son how to knot a tie and needed a more visual explanation of what I was saying. This was a big help.

Art. What Is This Hand Holding?

In art. on January 30, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Edward Horsford has taken a series of high-speed pictures that captures a water balloon…without the balloon. The shots are snapped at the point of explosion, when the balloon skin breaks open. It looks like he’s somehow holding a ball of water.

He actually takes the pictures solo, with no help. When Edward talked to the NPR, he said that the camera was actually the least important part of the shots. What mattered most was the timing of the flash. The camera was set to take a long exposure of ~2 seconds and if the flash fired during that time, he would get one of these awesome images (the flash was sound-triggered).

Other than that, it’s old fashioned popping the water balloon. Looks pretty sweet.


Art. Photography: Linden Gledhill

In art. on January 30, 2011 at 4:36 pm

This is a macro photo of ferrofluid (a liquid made from nanoscale ferromagnetic particles, which can turn magnetized very quickly), shot while it’s in the presence of magnets. Photographer Linden Gledhill has been exploring this extreme photography using 1.5x magnification and a StackShot automated macro rail.

Do check out the rest of Linden’s photography on his Flickr page.


Commerce. Swizz Beats Designs: Audemars Piguet

In commerce. on January 30, 2011 at 4:35 pm

American music producer and rap artist Swizz Beatz paid a visit to the Audemars Piguet in Le Brassus to discover the workshops and the people who make the timepieces he so greatly admires.

Swizz Beatz, born Kasseem Dean, rap artist and producer of well-known singers such as Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Madonna, Britney Spears, Usher, Eminem and many others, had made the trip from the United States to the Vallée de Joux to experience a guaranteed change of scenery!

As a watch collector and an unconditional fan of Audemars Piguet, the star was able to admire the watchmakers’ know-how by touring the workshops of the new Manufacture des Forges in the company of Olivier Audemars, Member of the Board of Directors and descendant of one of the founding families; and of Nicolas Kappenberger, General Manager of the Swiss and Austrian market. Swizz Beatz thus enjoyed a chance to understand the technological and aesthetic developments that led to the creation of the Royal Oak Carbon Concept watch, which he has just purchased from the Austrian retailer Richard Karner and was officially handed over by the latter in the company’s Le Brassus premises.











Swizz Beatz was also treated to a preview of future Audemars Piguet models presented by Mr. Octavio Garcia, the brand’s Art Director, and which certainly caught the artist’s attention. The two men enjoyed a lengthy exchange of views on the creative process and the themes that inspire the birth of timepieces. “Throughout the visit, I was impressed by the passion and the meticulous attitude pervading these premises, whether in designing a model or making a movement! Audemars Piguet truly embodies the perfect mix between respect for traditions, hand-crafted expertise and technological innovation. It’s an incredible honour for me to have personally met the watchmakers who created my watch!”

In parallel with his artistic activities, Swizz Beatz is involved with a number of humanitarian causes, including serving the United Nations as a “Music Ambassador for World Peace”. Like Audemars Piguet, Swiss Beatz has also been actively involved in raising funds to support the people of Haiti following the devastating recent earthquake. “Swiss Beatz is an exceptional personality, a rare combination of a highly creative artist and well-known producer, along with a warm, open and generous man who leverages his fame on behalf of the underprivileged”, said Olivier Audemars after spending the day with the artist.


Life.Art.Commerce. Keith Richards Releases Book: Life

In on January 30, 2011 at 4:34 pm

A true and towering original, he has always walked his own path, spoken his own mind, and done his own thing.

Reluctant outlaw, rock ‘n’ roll’s unparalleled hellraiser, and one of the greatest guitar gods of all time, Keith Richards has forged a life that most of us can only imagine–and often envy. And amazingly he’s lived to tell about it. Now, at last, in his own words, the ultimate rock Icon gives us the definitive rock autobiography.

In Life, in his own raw, fierce voice, the man himself tells about life lived fast and hard in the creative hurricane–from his early days as a young boy growing up in a council estate, listening obsessively to Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters records, to taking the guitar to its absolute limit and joining forces with Mick Jagger to form The Rolling Stones.

With unflinching honesty, he reveals all the highs and lows of rock ‘n’ roll, from the meteoric rise to fame and the notorious drug busts to the women, drinking, and heroin addiction that made him infamous. The living legend chronicles how he created the revolutionary, high-octane riffs that defined “Gimme Shelter” and “Honky Tonk Woman,” his affair with the equally infamous Anita Pallenberg (the mother of three of his children), and the tragic death of Brian Jones. From falling in love with Patti Hansen to his tumultuous relationship with Mick, we follow Keef on the ultimate road trip we have all longed to know more about–of an unfettered, fearless, on-the-edge life lived to the fullest.



Life. An Excerpt From Soledad O’Brien: The Next Big Story

In life. on January 30, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I read this and was immediately moved to share it here. It reminded me that though I believe that it is the content of our character and not the color of our skin that defines us. The world truly does not see it that way.


Below is an excerpt from Soledad O’Brien’s memoir “The Next Big Story,” published November 2 by Penguin Books. The story begins in 2006, just after she has obtained exclusive access to Martin Luther King Jr.’s papers and has reported on them for CNN’s American Morning.

On this American Morning, I have an exclusive look at a man at least half the world admires. I feel like what he is saying speaks to me. I am energized, a new member of the quarter million people who joined him on the mall, and a new recipient of the grace he handed out in Selma.

Then, out of nowhere, The Reverend Jesse Jackson calls with an invitation to meet and talk and it brings my reverie to a halt. We greet warmly and sit. A young, clean-cut security guy hovers near by. He stays close enough to be summoned for a quick question but not close enough to overhear. I notice the china is clinking, like real good china. I have four small kids so I never hear that particular sound. The restaurant is on the first floor of a famous hotel and the place is nice. The Reverend Jackson begins talking in his strong Southern accent. His voice is very low. He says “call me Jesse,” but that’s something I feel like I cannot do. I am confident he doesn’t remember the first time we met. It was my job in 1989 to escort him through his live shots at WBZ TV around Boston Nelson Mandela’s historic visit to the U.S. I was his “babysitter,” the one making sure no other media plucked him away. He was our contributor. He whispers something. He is speaking so low I can barely hear him. I strain to get closer.

Even though I am not sure what he is saying, I can tell he is angry. Today he is angry because CNN doesn’t have enough black anchors. It is political season. There are billboards up sporting Paula Zahn and Anderson Cooper. He asks after the black reporters. Why are they not up there? I share his concern and make a mental note to take it back to my bosses. But then he begins to rage that there are no black anchors on the network at all. Does he mean covering the campaign, I wonder to myself? The man has been a guest on my show. He knows me, even if he doesn’t recall how we met. I brought him on at MSNBC, then again at Weekend Today. I interrupt to remind him I’m the anchor of American Morning. He knows that. He looks me in the eye and reaches his fingers over to tap a spot of skin on my right had. He shakes his head. “You don’t count,” he says. I wasn’t sure what that meant. I don’t count — what? I’m not black? I’m not black enough? Or my show doesn’t count?

I was both angry and embarrassed, which rarely happens at the same time for me. Jesse Jackson managed to make me ashamed of my skin color which even white people had never been able to do. Not the kids in the hallways at Smithtown or the guys who wouldn’t date me in high school. I remember the marchers behind me at the trial about the black youth/kid who beat the Latino baby. The folks that chanted “biracial whore for the white man’s media,” even they didn’t even make feel this way. I would just laugh. Biracial, sure, whore, not exactly, white man’s media, totally! Whatever. But Reverend Jesse Jackson says, “I don’t count?”

I am immediately upset and annoyed and the even more annoyed that I am upset and pissed off. If Reverend Jesse Jackson didn’t think I was black enough, then what was I? My parents had so banged racial identity into my head that the thoughts of racial doubt never crossed my mind. I’d suffered an Afro through the heat of elementary school. I’d certainly never felt white. I thought my version of black was as valid as anybody else’s. I was a product of my parents (black woman, white man) my town (mostly white), multiracial to be sure, but not black? I felt like the foundation I’d built my life on was being denied, as if someone was telling me my parents aren’t my parents. “You know those people you’ve been calling mom and dad — they aren’t really your parents. What?” The arbiter of blackness had weighed in. I had been measured and found wanting.

It knocked me off my equilibrium for a bit, the first time that had happened to me since that guy in a bar back on the West Coast pinched my butt during my first live shot.

After two weeks of stewing, I sat upright one day and made a decision. This man is wrong. I am a product of my own life. That’s one of the wonders of America, you have the right to define yourself regardless of what little box someone wants to shove you in. He is certainly right that CNN doesn’t have enough people of color on the air, even the bosses say that and spend their time trying to fix it. But “you don’t count”? Screw that. Of course I count. Who is he to say that? My experience is not universal — no one’s is — but it is legitimate. I get to be whom I am outside and in. But I was embarrassed that I didn’t call him back and ask what he meant. I (like my mother) like a good fight. So I should have called him up and said, “What the heck does that mean”? But I didn’t. I slunk away. Annoyed. And more annoyed that I never forgot his words. I look at other mixed race people now and wonder. Did their parents slam their identity into their head as mine did? Or do they get to drift around in some amorphous category. Jesse Jackson caught me off balance.

It wasn’t until recently that I called him and reminded him of what he’d said to me that day. I had done 4 documentaries on race in between the two conversations. He was totally surprised and barely remembered the details. He had not known I was black! He said he honestly did not know, that when he said I didn’t count he was alluding to the fact that he thought I was a dark-skinned someone else. That is how precise the game of race is played in our country, that we are so easily reduced to our skin tone. That even someone as prominent in African American society as Rev. Jackson has a box to check for black and one for white. No one gets to be in between. I thanked him for his candor.

But that day I couldn’t say a word to Rev. Jackson. I run into the man all the time. We are invited to the same events. We kiss at functions but still I say nothing. I see how deeply people respect him. Al Sharpton tells me Jackson taught him civil disobedience. Roland Martin credits him with paving the way for Obama. Jackson sat at lunch with me telling me how he hates always being asked to talk only about black issues, hates to be tagged as only the black expert, never the guy negotiating peace or brokering deals with Wall Street. He lashes out at people who define him by the color of his skin. It matters that they don’t see inside him. It mattered to me that he didn’t see outside me.


Black in America was a clear assignment. Mark 40 years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by doing a documentary. Answer the questions: How far have we come? Where are we not making progress? The goal was never to examine the whole black experience…

Yet suddenly I’m answering questions about me, just as I had much of my life. Was I black enough? No one was asking Christiane Amanpour, who was born in Iran, if she was Asian enough to cover China. I was neither surprised nor particularly annoyed. I got it. There was concern that if I wasn’t from the community, I might not get it. One day Bud Bultman, my managing editor, quoted Michael Eric Dyson as finding the story of Black America depressing and sad. It’s undoubtedly the case that some of the stories are depressing and sad but you can’t only tell stories that are outlined by statistics. There is a way to nuance the story so that the community is fully represented. Michael Eric Dyson is extraordinarily smart and articulate and is also one of the happiest and funniest people I know. There has to be a way to present stories that is not simply either/or — that can’t be reduced to good news/bad news, happy and sad. These elements coexist. This was the perspective I was supposed to bring to the documentary. That’s what made me black. It was important I reflect that in my work, convey that sensitivity to the viewers.

Michael Eric Dyson and his brother say their lives were separated by the shade of their skin. But Everett was dealing heroin in his own neighborhood. He wasn’t sticking it to the man. He was peddling dope to black children. He is serving a life sentence for murder. Whether or not he killed a man, he certainly made bad choices. He said that to me when I pressed him. Yet there is no denying his skin color is an issue. Light skinned people get preference. I remember the photo store where the guy asked: “Excuse me for offending you, but are you black?” It was pretty clear then that skin color makes a difference in the way you are treated. He wanted to know if we were black before taking our picture. Ultimately I have had to learn to navigate this minefield and I believe there is value in my perspective that is different to what another reporter might bring. I did this piece because I love highlighting the story of Everett and Michael and their two paths to unveil one reality of black life. But I also know that prejudices over skin color are our reality, not our excuse.

The big surprise for me about skin color is that it matters so much to black people. I am not afraid to be criticized. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and wallowing in self-pity has never been my strategy. I learned back in San Francisco that people don’t have to like you. You can be successful even if no one wants you to succeed. But I refuse to just dismiss people telling me that I’m unqualified to be black. I want to understand the anger. The President is mixed race, yet he gets to identify as black. Except for when someone makes a point of telling me he is biracial or “as much as white.” I don’t know if they’re revealing his true colors or finding a conversation starter about my own.

I find it funny. I grew up with people who never thought of me as white. I was so different from everyone else. I had an Afro. It seemed as if I wasn’t attractive to them. I didn’t fit. Now here I am supposed to be proving I am black! But I was a teenager back then. Now I am a grownup. I get to have a clear view of who I am and where I’m from. I get to be more than just a skin color; I can be the sum total of my life experience. I can embrace the community where my soul lives. I report on Katrina. Does that make me any more black? I report Black in America, does that make me more Black?

Black is not a credential; it’s not even a skin color. African American culture is so much more than that. I feel like it’s important to say “I’m black.” I’m proud of my roots. I am a bit Irish too, by way of Australia. Should I not say that? I am certainly Latina. Latino is an ethnicity, not a race. Latinos can be of any color from any place. I can be Latino and also black. So why can’t I have a father from Australia but be black when my mother is black. People looked at me all my life and saw black. And, I am thoroughly proud of the black I am.

I host big screenings for the Black in America documentaries the summer before the president is inaugurated. I love the questions. The crowds love the stories. I get such hardy applause. But every now and then I am asked why I tell the sad stories. Why do I tell stories about poor people? Why the piece about the former drug addict? Why the guy who gets a degree in jail, then commits another crime after he is released? I recite the statistics on African Americans and crime, incarceration and poverty. I stress that good reporting is about showcasing the range of stories that make up the black experience. I point to all the stories in the documentary about successful black people. The family at the center of my documentary is firmly upper middle class. The people attending their black family reunion came from solid homes with children going off to school but bottom line is, I am a reporter not a public relations specialist. I can’t do a documentary about a community facing so many obstacles and not report about struggle. People in the audience applaud when I say that.

I tell them that there is an implication in American society that black people don’t share American values. I would never do anything to contribute to that myth. I want to show the face of a community where character counts. I know folks don’t only want to hear sad stories, but there is much to learn from failure, there are many lessons in challenges.

I begin to report Black in America 2, focusing on African Americans finding solutions to pressing community problems. The conversations over the documentary have helped me understand why some people attack me for not being black enough. If I am black and I launch a discussion of social ills in the black community, then someone black has said we have a problem. If I am a white person, I am just the enemy once again putting people down. That is easy to ignore. There are some people who just need me to be white. That way what I’m saying won’t count. I can be the enemy too.

Life. Wise Words from Abraham Maslow

In life. on January 30, 2011 at 4:31 pm

A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What one can be, one must be.

-Abraham Maslow


Life.Art.Commerce. Steinway Introduces The Imagine Series Limited Edition Piano

In on January 30, 2011 at 4:30 pm

To commemorate the 70th birthday of John Lennon, Steinway & Sons has introduced the Imagine Series Limited Edition piano. The Imagine Series Limited Edition is modeled after the white Steinway grand piano that John Lennon gave Yoko Ono on her birthday in 1971, which is still at their famous Manhattan residence, the Dakota.

The music desk of each piano incorporates one of four different John Lennon original drawings–Come Together, the title of the opening track on the Beatles’ historic album, “Abbey Road,” reflects John Lennon’s desire to bring people together; Grand Piano is a drawing that captures the songwriting process; Freda People exemplifies John Lennon’s passion for using music for the benefit of mankind; and Self Portrait is perhaps John Lennon’s most famous drawing — as just a few marks on the page and it’s unmistakably John. The piano also has the lyrics “you may say I’m a dreamer” on the the bass side of the rim and the opening bars to “Imagine” printed directly on the gold plate of the piano. A medallion on the inner rim shows John Lennon’s Japanese chop mark/signature (which he often used to sign his artwork) as well as the series name and number and there is a replica of John Lennon’s signature on the treble side of the wallboard.

The Imagine Series was custom built at the Steinway & Sons New York and Hamburg factories and is available through Steinway’s factory-owned retail showrooms and network of exclusive Steinway dealers. A portion of the proceeds from every Imagine piano sold by Steinway & Sons will be donated to The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus.


Commerce. Quincy Jones and Audemars Piguet

In commerce. on January 30, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Le Brassus (Switzerland) – On the eve of the traditional Swiss watch industry vacation, a very special guest and above all a longtime friend came to salute the remarkable work of the watchmakers in the Manufacture Audemars Piguet. During his visit, the legendary multi-talented artist, trumpeter, composer and producer Quincy Jones, discovered the manufacturing secrets of Audemars Piguet timepieces and in particular those of the watch bearing his name, the Millenary Quincy Jones, which was presented at the SIHH 2010.

Before the workshop tour, Audemars Piguet Art Director Octavio Garcia recalled the fruitful work undertaken with the famous musician in creating the Millenary Quincy Jones, a watch featuring resolutely contemporary lines and a sophisticated design playing on nuances and subtle contrasts between brilliant and satin-polished surfaces echoing the notes on the keyboard of a piano, an instrument dear to the artistís heart.

For several years, Audemars Piguet and this exceptional individual have been associated in developing ìProject Qî, aimed at raising political and public awareness of young peopleís need for self-expression and the means that must be provided to ensure they fulfil their true potential. The cornerstone of ìProject Qî is the ìQ Prizeî, an international award presented by Audemars Piguet and honouring a public figure or social organisation having played a central role on behalf of children. Through his Quincy Jones Foundation, the artist is also committed to helping children by improving their well-being, their health and their dignity. The new Millenary Quincy Jones watch will contribute to raising funds for this foundation.

In speaking of the man behind the foundation, Audemars Piguet CEO Philippe Merk said: Quincy Jones is not only an amazing artist and a daring entrepreneur, but above all a man with a big heart. One cannot help admiring his career, especially considering the difficulties he encountered during his childhood. He gives us an important life lesson and naturally inspires profound respect.



Life.Art.Commerce. MORPHotel Floating Hotel Concept

In on January 30, 2011 at 4:27 pm



Conceptualized by Gianluca Santosuosso, the MORPHotel is a unique project that intends to develop a new luxury hotel concept where the user can live inside a floating system that keeps moving around the world. The MORPHotel is able to adapt its shape to the weather conditions and the site morphology, thanks to the linear structure developed around the vertebral spine. The MORPHotels concept has been thought of around the four main strategies listed below.

• Space in between: The main idea is to exploit the sea not only as a medium to move people from one point to another, but also to discover unknown places.

• Plug-in City-Arbour: During its continuous movement, this artificial organism will stop for short or long periods in different cities, thereby becoming a temporary extension of them.

• Adaptive shape.

• Floating movement.

The MORPHotel, unlike a cruise ship, moves quite slowly and instead of moving from point A to B, it goes on an endless voyage. The yellow geometries represent the main part of the hotel, the public spaces and the services. The dark blue is a module of the spine that allows the hotel to change shape. The light blue triangle shows the static rooms. The gray triangles represent the most luxurious rooms that are free to move around the floating hotel in a predefined range.




Life. Wise Words from Ambrose Bierce

In life. on January 30, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Politics, n. Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. -Ambrose Bierce


Art. Dame Dash Talks America Nu Magazine

In art. on January 30, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Here Dame Dash speaks a bit on his vision and the creation of America Nu Magazine.

View magazine here.


Life.Art.Commerce. Gucci Partners with The Recording Academy

In on January 30, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Designed by Frida Giannini this unique special edition watch and jewelry collection celebrates the partnership between Gucci and The Recording  Academy®, hosts of the world famous GRAMMY® Awards.The cutting edge look of the pieces draws its inspiration from the passion that music evokes. Fashion-conscious music fans can also enjoy direct access to GRAMMY news and updates thanks to a new section on


Life.Art.Commerce. How to Open A Bottle of Champagne

In on January 30, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Champagne is supposed to open with a bang, right? Not necessarily, in fact a huge celebratory “pop!” is actually a sign that it was opened by an amateur. Experts contend that a bottle of champagne opened with skill will make only a very small popping sound, or perhaps none at all.

The WSJ gives us a thorough explanation of exactly how to open a champagne bottle like a pro:

  1. Chill thoroughly Properly chilled champagne will fizz and/or froth over less
  2. Towel dry the bottle if there’s condensation to ensure a good grip and prevent slippage
  3. Cut the foil using a knife, only tearing with fingers after you’ve scored the foil.
  4. Tilt and aim Tilt the bottle to 45 degrees and aim it away from yourself, others, and anything breakable (like windows)
  5. Hold the cork down with one hand while twisting open the wire cage with the other
  6. Twist the bottle with one hand while continuing to hold the cork down with the other
  7. Listen for the sound of air escaping to signal that the bottle is open. There may also be a small cloud of gas.

The pop can be fun when among friends in a party atmosphere but if opened gently and quietly the champagne will have more bubbles and taste better. As the old saying goes “The ear’s gain is the palate’s loss.”

Once you’ve successfully opened the champagne the next step is pouring it. For the best results make sure the bubbly has been chilled to the proper temperature, 46º F – 57º F depending on age, and then further preserve the bubbles by using a ‘beer-like’ technique and pouring the liquid down the side of a tilted champagne flute.


Life. Wise Words from Eleanor Roosevelt

In life. on January 30, 2011 at 4:17 pm

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

Life.Art.Commerce. Stuart Hughes Technological Art

In art., commerce., on January 30, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Here are some technology pieces from Mr. Stuat Hughes. A man who likes to put diamonds and gold on any and everything.

Art. Justin Timberlake Not Just Another Pop Star

In art. on January 30, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Justin Performing at his charity concert in Las Vegas. He continues to show everyone he’s not just another pop star.


Life. Wise Words from Mohandas Ghandi

In life. on January 30, 2011 at 4:11 pm

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Ghandi

Art. Alexander McQueen Sculpture Platform Boots

In art., commerce. on January 30, 2011 at 4:09 pm

These designer shoes are black leather platform boots with a gold floral-engraved heel that measures approximately 6 inches with a 2 inch platform. The Alexander McQueen boots have a pointed toe, contrasting textured-leather buckle-fastening straps, gold floral engraving at platform, cutout bridge detail at heel, mock-croc detailing on heel and toe, a tab at back, an exposed gold zip fastening at front and a concealed zip fastening at side. These boots have a hefty price tag, but you can save about five hundred bucks by ordering them from Zappos. $3,999

Life.Art.Commerce. Johnny Rotten’s Luxury Coffee Table Book

In on January 30, 2011 at 4:09 pm

Johnny Lydon better known as Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols is the latest rock star to create a luxury coffee table book (see also Jimmy Page). Just 750 copies of the 250-plus-page coffee table book, Mr Rotten’s Scrapbook, are to be published. The book has a 12-inch vinyl picture disc built into the back of the book that has live recordings from his band Public Image Ltd (PiL) taken from shows last year, as well as spoken word tracks. The book also includes personal photos, much of which have never been published. The book has X-rays of his skull on the cover and costs £379 when pre-ordered but will retail for £449 when it officially goes on sale December 1. 100 of the 750 books will contain a special golden ticket that gives the bearer the opportunity to have a one on one chat with the man himself, a 10 minute webcam chat, face to face, to ask anything you like! The first 50 orders have guaranteed 1-50 numbering and the first 100 orders are guaranteed delivery before Christmas.

Commerce. Ralph Lauren: Polo and Rugby Fall Collections Lookbook Videos

In commerce. on January 30, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Here is a look at the Polo by Ralph Lauren Fall/Winter 2010 collection.


And here is the Rugby by Ralph Lauren Fall/Winter 2010 collection.


Life. Wise Words from Paul Bryant

In life. on January 30, 2011 at 4:08 pm

“If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride – and never quit, you’ll be a winner. The price of victory is high but so are the rewards.”
-Paul Bryant


Life.Art.Commerce. Back to Basics

In on January 30, 2011 at 4:07 pm

I found this interesting.

Called John’s Phone, this concept is as bare bones as they come. Take too quick a glance and you might confuse it with a beeper.

The “address book” is a pad of paper and a pen. There is no text messaging. There is no calendar. No Angry Birds will be exacting their airborne revenge on its LCD display. Apple, Android and Windows 7 fanboys will not bicker over its specs in cleverly named smartphone forums.

Just simple, no-nonsense phone calls at a level of complexity just above the venerable two cans and a string.

Conveniently, John’s made a compartment in the back to store the address book pad:


Life. Cancer

In life. on January 30, 2011 at 4:07 pm

The photograph above is a microscopic snapshot of two cancer cells splitting and dividing to become four cancer cells. I am a victim of cancer. It has taken the lives of three people in my family and has attacked a few more. I’m not sure what we can do to rid ourselves of this destructive disease but I pray for an all encompassing solution to come very soon. Until then here are some things that can be done to help prevent it from attacking you.

Via The American Cancer Society

To Help in the fight click Here.

Diet and Physical Activity: What’s the Cancer Connection?

How much do daily habits like diet and exercise affect your risk for cancer? Much more than you might think. Research has shown that poor diet and not being active are two key factors that can increase a person’s cancer risk. The good news is that these are things you can control.

Except for quitting smoking, some of the most important things you can do to help reduce your cancer risk are:

  • Get to and stay at a healthy weight.
  • Be physically active on a regular basis.
  • Make healthy food choices.


The evidence for this is strong: Each year, about 570,000 Americans die of cancer; fully one-third of these deaths are linked to poor diet, physical inactivity, and carrying too much weight.

Control your weight.

Staying at a healthy weight is important to reduce the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of several cancers, including cancers of the breast (in women past menopause), colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, among others.

Being overweight can increase cancer risk in many ways. One of the main ways is that excess weight causes the body to produce and circulate more of the hormones estrogen and insulin, which can stimulate cancer growth.

What’s a healthy weight?

One of the best ways to get an idea if you are at a healthy weight is to check your Body Mass Index (BMI), a score based on the relationship between your height and weight. Use our easy online BMI calculator to find out your score. To reduce cancer risk, most people need to keep their BMIs below 25. Ask your doctor what your BMI number means and what action (if any) you should take.

If you are trying to control your weight, a good first step is to watch portion sizes, especially of foods high in calories, fat, and added sugars. Try writing down what and how much you eat and drink for a week and see where you can cut down on portion sizes, cut back on some not-so-healthy foods and drinks, or both!

Be more active.

Watching how much you eat will help you control your weight. The other key is to increase the amount of physical activity you do. Being active helps reduce your cancer risk by helping with weight control, and can also help improve your hormone levels and the way your immune system works.

More good news — physical activity helps you reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, too! So grab your tennis shoes and head out the door!

The latest recommendations for adults call for at least 30 minutes of intentional moderate to vigorous activity a day — this is over and above usual daily activities like using the stairs instead of the elevator at your office or doing housework — on 5 or more days per week. Even better, shoot for 45 to 60 minutes. For kids, the recommendation is 60 minutes or more on at least 5 days a week.

Activities considered moderate are those that make you breathe as hard as you would during a brisk walk. This includes things like walking, biking, even housework and gardening. Vigorous activities make you use large muscle groups and make your heart beat faster, make you breathe faster and deeper, and also make you sweat.

Eat healthy foods.

Eating well is also important to improve your health and reduce your cancer risk. Take a good hard look at what you typically eat each day and try these tips to build a healthy diet plan for yourself:

Vegetables and fruits: Eat at least 5 servings of vegetables (including legumes, or peas and beans) and fruits each day. Try to eat those with the most color (a sign of high nutrient content). These foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and many other substances that work together to lower risk of many cancers, including cancers of the lung, mouth, esophagus, stomach, and colon. Not only that, if prepared properly, vegetables and fruits are usually low in calories, so eating them in place of higher-calorie foods can help you control your weight.

Whole grains: Aim for at least 3 servings of whole grains each day. There are easy ways to add whole grains to your diet — eat oatmeal at breakfast, choose 100% whole-wheat bread or wraps for your lunchtime sandwich, use brown rice at dinner instead of white.

Processed and red meats: Cutting back on processed meats like hot dogs, bologna, bacon, and deli meat, and red meats like beef, pork, and lamb may help reduce the risk of colon and prostate cancers. These foods are also high in saturated fat, so eating less of them and eating them less often will also help lower your risk of heart disease.

Cancer risk reduction in our communities

Adopting a healthier lifestyle is easier for people who live, work, play, or go to school in an environment that supports healthy behaviors. Working together, communities can create the type of environment where healthy choices are easy to make.

We all can contribute to those changes: Let’s ask for healthier food choices at our workplaces and schools. For every junk food item in the vending machine, ask for a healthy alternative. Support restaurants that help you to eat well by offering options like smaller portion sizes, lower-calorie items, and whole-grain products. And let’s help make our communities safer and more appealing places to walk, bike, and be active.

The bottom line

One third of all cancer deaths are related to diet and activity factors. Let’s challenge ourselves to lose some extra pounds, to increase our physical activity, to make healthy food choices, and to look for ways to make our communities healthier places to live, work, and play.

Commerce. Banana Republic: Fall Lookbook

In commerce. on January 30, 2011 at 4:06 pm

I am a big Banana Republic fan. They have great styles at affordable prices. Here is a look at their 2010 Fall collection.

All items available at


Art. Kanye West: Runaway Full Film

In art. on January 30, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Kanye premiered his movie Runaway this evening. Here it is in full. Let art live! Enjoy.

(click image for video)

Commerce. John Varvatos 10th Anniversary Fragrance

In commerce. on January 30, 2011 at 4:02 pm


John Varvatos is commemorating his 10th anniversary with a special new fragrance. Described as “assertive” and “powerful” it features refreshing essences of citrus and bergamot along with Chinotto orange, Ceylonese cinnamon, Tamboti Wood, and even hints of black leather. “We have an iconic, contemporary brand in the American fashion landscape,” said John Varvatos. “John Varvatos 10th Anniversary Special Edition exemplifies both the vintage and modern edge we bring to our clothes and offers another way for consumers to experience the brand and celebrate our ten year heritage.”

The scent comes packaged in a sleek metallic chrome bottle, a redesign of the iconic original, with a signature logo-adorned dog tag. $88

Commerce. Z Shock Punch Rings

In art., commerce., life. on January 30, 2011 at 4:01 pm

I saw a young artist by the name of Diggy Simmons wearing one of these and I liked it so much I wanted to share it with you. It is a punch ring created by the Z Shock Jewelry Co.  This particular one was made for Singer/Model Teyana Taylor. They will do custom jobs starting at $8,000. You can contact them at

Life.Art.Commerce. The Gold Monopoly Game Set

In on January 30, 2011 at 4:01 pm

The Gold Monopoly Game set created by Sidney Mobell and  David Cowen. I’m sure everyone at some point in their childhood can remember playing Monopoly, but I’m sure you’ve never imagined playing on one like this.

Art. To Be In Love by Kanye West

In art. on January 30, 2011 at 3:59 pm

I know I post a lot about Kanye, but recently he is the talk of the town and he continues to intrigue me. He really does have a way of expressing through words what many people feel. This verse really exemplifies what to be in love can feel like.

“‘You’re my devil, you’re my angel/ You’re my heaven, you’re my hell/ You’re my now, you’re my forever/ You’re my freedom, you’re my jail/ You’re my lies, you’re my proof/ You’re my war, you’re my truce,’ and the last line is, ‘You’re my stress, you’re my masseuse.’ “


Commerce. Olympic Sprinter Tommie Smith Gold Medal Up for Auction

In commerce. on January 30, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Olympic sprinter Tommie Smith’s decision to auction off his 1968 Olympic gold medal for the 200 meter dash has caused quite a stir. Smith is no stranger to controversy, when he received the metal in Mexico City he raised his fist in protest while on the victory stand. Smith later wrote a book “Silent Gesture” about that moment and his experiences afterward. Smith’s co-author on that book, David Steele, mentioned on our sibling blog FanHouse that Smith put the medal up for auction once before, in 1999.

This time it’s for sale through Moments in Time Memorabilia along with his Puma spikes and a signed and notarized letter from Smith. The opening bid is $250,000. SF Weekly reports that so far there hasn’t been a bid on the lot. The auction will end November 4. Gary Zimet, a representative of Moments in Time Memorabilia has said that Smith needs the money but “is not desperate.”











Life.Art.Commerce. A message from Tunecore

In on January 30, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Some words from a digital music and video distribution service. Free the art.

Art. Willow Smith: Whip My Hair

In art. on January 30, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Not to be outdone by her older brother Jaden, Willow Smith releases the video for her debut single: Whip My Hair. More creativity from a very artistic family.



Art. The Ghetto Breeds Artists: Excerpts 2 and 3 from Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind and Naked

In art. on January 30, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Once again I have to say, I have come to truly believe that those who have little tend to bring true thought provoking artistry to the masses. Pain usually brings forth creativity and who suffers more than those from the ghettos of life.

Here I share with you the second and third excerpt from Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind and Naked. A book penned by Gene Elliott Thornton, Jr.

Life. John Lennon: A Life Too Short

In life. on January 30, 2011 at 3:51 pm

In honor of John Lennon Who would have been 70 years old this year.



















Art. Santana: While My Guitar Gently Weeps

In art. on January 30, 2011 at 3:48 pm

I saw that Santana recently released a version of the composition “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” featuring India.Arie and Yo Yo Ma. I thought it would be great to share with you.

Upon hearing this it instantly reminded me of this incredible performance of the same composition at the Rock n Roll Hall fame in a tribute to George Harrison.

Prince reminded everyone (at the 3:30 mark) that he lives in a different world compared to other guitarist. Please enjoy.

Art. David Leventi: Opera Houses Series

In art. on January 30, 2011 at 3:47 pm

This photographer has an amazing eye. I could not let the opportunity to share his work pass me by.

Please enjoy.

Leventi has traveled the world over, photographing classic music hall architecture for his series aptly titled “Opera”.  The detail, the symmetry, the vanishing point at center stage make these images truly breathtaking.  It is touching to see old architecture so carefully preserved here, as the alternative of abandoned places is one to truly regret.  Nice work, David!

[david leventi via fubiz]




Commerce. Blackberry Playbook

In commerce. on January 30, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Could this be the incentive for those blackberry users who switched over to iPhone to comeback. I’m not sure but I will be keeping an eye on it.

Here’s a report via

Research In Motion and Sprint announced plans to launch a newBlackBerry PlayBook tablet model featuring connectivity to the blazingly fast Sprint 4G network. The 4G BlackBerry PlayBook will be the first BlackBerry PlayBook model to include wide area wireless connectivity, featuring Sprint 4G to give customers download speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G. This new 4G BlackBerry PlayBook is expected to be available from Sprint in the summer. Together, the 4G BlackBerry PlayBook and the Sprint 4G network will provide a high performance platform that will enable a mobile services revolution for both application developers and customers.










Commerce. Renard Grand Tourer

In art., commerce. on January 30, 2011 at 3:45 pm

No price on this baby yet but it looks like a beast and worth every euro they plan on selling it for.

Kick the Kawasaki, ditch the Davidson and get yourself something both rare and ravenous– the Renard Grand Tourer Motorcycle.  This sexy street beast is 125 horses of V2 glory, a carbon-fiber and kevlar cruiser that’ll take you to 143 mph if the desire arises.  While it reminds us a bit of the Confederate B120 Wraith, this one’s a bit more streamlined (and a bit less naked) by design.  While that may not make it better than the Confederate, it certainly doesn’t make it worse.  This is the kind of bike you take on the road to find out who the true bike nuts are.  You’ll know them by the turning heads and the mutterings of “what the hell was that?”  Anyone else might just be too scared to look.

[renard motorcycles via theawesomer]



Art. The Ghetto Breeds Artists: An Excerpt from Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind and Naked

In art., commerce., life., on January 30, 2011 at 3:44 pm

I have come to truly believe that those who have little tend to bring true thought provoking artistry to the masses. Pain usually brings forth creativity and who suffers more than those from the ghettos of the world.

Here I share with you an excerpt from Wretched, Pitiful, Poor, Blind and Naked. A book penned by Gene Elliott Thornton, Jr.

Life. George W. Bush Memoirs to Arrive Next Month

In commerce., life. on January 30, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Now I’m the farthest thing I can imagine from a politician, but with the arrival of former President Bush’s memoirs I can’t help but to share my thoughts on this book.

During his presidency I must have experienced all the highs and lows of his decision making. The highs of seeing my family being able to reap the benefits of his tax exemptions to the lows of seeing my family sent off to fight in a seemingly baseless war. I can’t help but wonder how he intends to explain his thought processes on the decisions he made while in office. Will this be a book of facts or a work of great fiction.                    Only time will tell.


Commerce. Ultrasone Edition 10 Headphones

In commerce. on January 30, 2011 at 3:43 pm

These are very a very unique pair of headphones. Impressive styling. Extraordinarily expensive at $3,000 though.

Murrieta, Calif. – (October 4, 2010) – Ultrasone Inc., distributor for German headphone manufacturer Ultrasone AG, proudly announces the release of its first open back special edition headphone – Edition 10. The long awaited open back Edition 10 headphone boasts the most luxurious feature set of any special edition headphone to date. With Zebrano wood ear cup inlays, Ethiopian sheepskin leather ear cup pads, Titanium plated drivers, Kevlar coated cables and a limited number of 2010 units available, Ultrasone’s Edition 10 represent the companies most lavishly appointed and highly coveted speciality headphones ever created.

The Edition 10 is a result of years of painstaking R&D to ensure the first open backed special edition headphone met the rigorous standards set by its predecessors. The ear cups alone are a triumph in both form and function, resulting in a design never before created by Ultrasone’s engineers. Drawing inspiration from natural forms, the Edition 10’s ear cups feature high levels of air permeability through the grills, high specific torsion strength and extremely low resonance, all in a lightweight design.

The outer ear cup is finished with galvanic Ruthenium plating and with a Zebrano wood inlay, which is coated with eight layers of clear lacquer for protection. The Edition 10’s inner ear cup, as well as the head-pad, is adorned with reddish brown Ethiopian sheepskin. This type of leather is known for being the most supple leather available, achieving the maximum level of comfort and sound isolation.

The drivers selected for the Edition 10 have been specially tuned for open back headphones. The Titanium-plated 40mm drivers have been designed with a 10% more powerful magnet for enhanced sound pressure levels. Each set of drivers have been individually paired with a tolerance of +/- 0.4.

Attention to detail can be seen at every level with the Edition 10s and the cable is no exception. Ultrasone has incorporated silver-plated OFC 99.99% pure copper wires and utilized Kevlar as the casing, achieving increased current flow, improved flexibility and lower overall weight. In addition, the Edition 10 is designed to be balanced input ready, so audiophiles who wish to implement a balanced cable configuration do not have to change the entire wire, rather connect XLR connectors instead of the 6.3mm connector.

Ultrasone’s latest headphones employ S-Logic™ Plus technology, resulting in an impartial acoustic feeling that affords the listener the utmost spacious tonal perception. This gives users the advantage of wearing Ultrasone headphones for many hours without their ears hurting. Ultrasone’s newest headphones also contain MU-Metal shielding (ULE technology) that reduce the amount of radiation directed to the listener by up to 98%, as compared to conventional headphones.

Each Edition 10 headphone comes with a hand crafted Zebrano wood headphone stand and is housed in its own wooden box for safe storage and transportation. Only 2010 Edition 10 headphones will be produced, each one will be embossed with its own serial number.


Edition 10 Technical Specifications

* Open-back deluxe headphones with reduced emissions using the ULE standard (Ultra Low Emission) and S-Logic Plus technology
* S-LogicTM Plus technology
* Dynamic principle, open
* Frequency range: 5 – 45000 Hz
* Impedance 32 Ohm
* Sound pressure level 99 dB
* MU Metal bufferboard,
* Reduced field emissions in accordance with ULE standard
* 40 mm titanium-plated driver
* Magnet NdFeB
* Weight 282g (excl. cord)
* Cord length: 3m
* Aramid fiber enhanced
* Silver plated high-flex cable
* (OFC 99.99 % pure copper)
* 6.3 mm gold plated plug

The Edition 10 headphones have a MSRP of $2,749 and will be available at and high-end audio retailers worldwide.

About Ultrasone

Based near Munich, Germany, Ultrasone AG has been manufacturing headphones for the audio market for over 17 years, during which time the company has developed and applied for more than 60 patents for its innovative technology. The company’s unique, patented S-Logic™ technology creates natural surround sound without the use of additional electronic devices. Ultrasone headphones represent a safer listening experience by reducing sound pressure on the ear drum by up to 40% and also by offering shielding from EMF radiation up to 98% through the use of patented ULE (ultra low emission) technology. For more information about Ultrasone headphones, go to


Art. Monsieur West on SNL

In art. on January 30, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I continue to be impressed by Kanye’s artistic expression. I saw this and felt moved to share it.

(click image to view video)


Art. Love The Show: Boardwalk Empire

In art. on January 30, 2011 at 3:42 pm

I love this show. It is definitely put together well. The cast is strong. Steve Buscemi shines in the leading role. The scripts are well written. The set is amazing. And the wardrobe is stupendous.  What more can i say but check it out Sundays at 9pm on HBO.

Life. Great Career Advice

In life. on January 30, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Great career advice from Deepak Chopra. Definitely an inspiration no matter what stage you’re at in the game of life.


And here you can see him speaking on karma physics and daily prayer.

Art. Gold Leaf Moet Christmas Bottle

In art., on January 30, 2011 at 3:40 pm

A great christmas dinner bring along.



Life. The Fisherman and the Businessman

In life. on January 30, 2011 at 3:39 pm

I saw this on my my friend Taiye’s facebook page and I had to post it. By the by he’s also a great inspirational conversationalist check him out at Plutopian Moments.

The Fisherman and The Businessman

There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village.
As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish.
The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”
The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”
“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.
“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.
The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”
The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”

The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman.
“I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”

The fisherman continues, “And after that?”
The businessman laughs heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”
The fisherman asks, “And after that?”
The businessman says, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, sing and dance throughout the night!”
The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”


Art. Vh1 “100 Greatest Artist of All Time”

In art. on January 30, 2011 at 3:39 pm

I wonder how this selection process occurred?

Check out Vh1′s “100 Greatest Artists Of All Time” .

100 Alicia Keys
99 Hall & Oates
98 Depeche Mode
97 Pretenders
96 Journey
95 OutKast
94 Mariah Carey
93 Pearl Jam
92 LL Cool J
91 Green Day
90 Elvis Costello
89 Beastie Boys
88 Bee Gees
87 George Michael
86 N.W.A.
85 The Band
84 Curtis Mayfield
83 Earth, Wind and Fire
82 Steely Dan
80 Mary J. Blige
79 Eminem
78 Judas Priest
77 Lynyrd Skynyrd
76 Run-D.M.C.
75 Rush
74 The Cure
73 Van Morrison
72 Janis Joplin
71 R.E.M.
70 Def Leppard
69 Tupac Shakur
68 Otis Redding
67 Coldplay
66 Justin Timberlake
65 The Doors
64 Talking Heads
63 Notorious B.I.G.
62 Genesis
61 Cream
60 Whitney Houston
59 Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
58 Cheap Trick
57 Iggy & The Stooges
55 Peter Gabriel
54 Public Enemy
53 Little Richard
52 Beyoncé
51 Billy Joel
50 Sade
49 Parliament-Funkadelic
48 Rage Against The Machine
47 Jay-Z
46 Ramones
45 Al Green
44 Joni Mitchell
43 Ray Charles
42 Metallica
41 Van Halen
40 The Police
39 The Kinks
38 Sly & The Family Stone
37 Fleetwood Mac
36 Paul McCartney
35 Johnny Cash
34 Tina Turner
33 Guns N’ Roses
32 Black Sabbath
31 John Lennon
30 Aerosmith
29 Radiohead
28 Elton John
27 Aretha Franklin
26 Neil Young
25 Chuck Berry
24 The Velvet Underground
23 AC/DC
22 The Clash
21 Bruce Springsteen
20 Marvin Gaye
19 U2
18 Pink Floyd
17 Queen
16 Madonna
15 The Beach Boys
14 Nirvana
13 The Who
12 David Bowie
11 Bob Marley
10 Stevie Wonder
09 James Brown
08 Elvis Presley
07 Prince
06 Jimi Hendrix
05 Rolling Stones
04 Led Zeppelin
03 Michael Jackson
02 Bob Dylan
01 The Beatles


Art. Phenomenal Architecture

In art. on January 30, 2011 at 3:37 pm

The Joshua Tree Boulder house in Joshua Tree, CA is an amazing concept.

Above you can see the front of the house as it looks driving onto the property. The perspective below is the view as you look out through the rear patio doors.

This is an exceptional design created by W. Garett Carlson listed for $1.35 million.

This is the view of the back of the property:

The guys over at Gizmodo have a nice video of the property that you can check out here.


Commerce. Monaco Penthouse sells for $308 million

In commerce. on January 30, 2011 at 3:35 pm

I can remember reading the story about the previous owner of this Monaco penthouse deceased billionaire banker Edmund Safra who was killed in a mysterious fire that completely destroyed the property. It intrigued me because of the beauty the place once held and I wondered if someone would take the opportunity to bring it back to glory. It seems someone has and has done an excellent job in doing so. has a beautiful photo gallery of the renovated property.

You can see the photographs here.


Art. Kanye west… true artist

In art. on January 30, 2011 at 3:33 pm

I have come to believe that Kanye West is a true artist and artiste of my time. Ever since I met him and had a chance to listen to him speak about his art I have understood his passion for what he does. As he continues to expand into new avenues and express himself even more I have a greater appreciation for what he does. He keeps the conversation going.

The guys over at have posted the new clip of his Runaway movie that premiered on the VMA’s tonight. I invite you to check it out if you haven’t already.

Click here to view video.

And here his VMA performance of the song Runaway featuring Pusha T of The Clipse.

Click here to view video.


Art. Artist Watch: Yelawolf

In art. on January 30, 2011 at 3:01 am

I love this type of artist. Built from the ground up.


YoursTruly took YelaWolf back to Peoples Park in Berkeley where he spent a year as a homeless skater kid, where he tells his story, and then to Different Fur Studios to record a piano/vocal rendition of “Pop The Trunk”.


Art. Song of the Year 2010

In art. on January 29, 2011 at 8:50 pm

This without a doubt has to be the song of the year to this date!
Cee Lo Green- Fuck You

(click image for video)



In on January 29, 2011 at 8:34 pm

A few years back I began to notice the correlation between life art and commerce. They fuel each other sort of like the beginning and ending of a circle. Once a perfect circle is started it is hard to find anything but the symmetry in the object. This is how I have come to view life art and commerce.

I have been into art for as long as I can remember. It started with music and kind of branched out from there. I admire those who have been able to create something from nothing. Musicians painters sculptures designers of all kinds photographers videographers writers. They all contribute to the conversation that began long ago and I hope never ends.

So I am giving you a view of this world and not just my view I have somehow convinced some of my friends to contribute to this conversation. The world of the creator or rather their creations for us to discuss.