Sunday, January 25, 2009

Books Unbound

The Game done changed son!!!!

By Lev Grossman
Here's a literary parable for the 21st century. Lisa Genova, 38, was a health-care-industry consultant in Belmont, Mass., who wanted to be a novelist, but she couldn't get her book published for love or money. She had a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Harvard, but she couldn't get an agent. "I did what you're supposed to do," she says. "I queried literary agents. I went to writers' conferences and tried to network. I e-mailed editors. Nobody wanted it." So Genova paid $450 to a company called iUniverse and published her book, Still Alice, herself.

That was in 2007. By 2008 people were reading Still Alice. Not a lot of people, but a few, and those few were liking it. Genova wound up getting an agent after all--and an offer from Simon & Schuster of just over half a million dollars. Borders and Target chose it for their book clubs. Barnes & Noble made it a Discover pick. On Jan. 25, Still Alice will make its debut on the New York Times best-seller list at No. 5. "So this is extreme to extreme, right?" Genova says. "This time last year, I was selling the book out of the trunk of my car." (See the top 10 non-fiction books of 2008.)

Something has changed, and it's not just the contents of Lisa Genova's trunk. We think of the novel as a transcendent, timeless thing, but it was shaped by the forces of money and technology just as much as by creative genius. Passing over a few classical and Far Eastern entries, the novel in its modern form really got rolling only in the early 18th century. This wasn't an accident, and it didn't happen because a bunch of writers like Defoe and Richardson and Fielding suddenly decided we should be reading long books about imaginary people. It happened as a result of an unprecedented configuration of financial and technological circumstances. New industrial printing techniques meant you could print lots of books cheaply; a modern capitalist marketplace had evolved in which you could sell them; and for the first time there was a large, increasingly literate, relatively well-off urban middle class to buy and read them. Once those conditions were in place, writers like Defoe and Richardson showed up to take advantage of them.

Fast-forward to the early 21st century: the publishing industry is in distress. Publishing houses--among them Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Doubleday and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt--are laying off staff left and right. Random House is in the midst of a drastic reorganization. Salaries are frozen across the industry. Whispers of bankruptcy are fluttering around Borders; Barnes & Noble just cut 100 jobs at its headquarters, a measure unprecedented in the company's history. Publishers Weekly (PW) predicts that 2009 will be "the worst year for publishing in decades."

A lot of headlines and blogs to the contrary, publishing isn't dying. But it is evolving, and so radically that we may hardly recognize it when it's done. Literature interprets the world, but it's also shaped by that world, and we're living through one of the greatest economic and technological transformations since--well, since the early 18th century. The novel won't stay the same: it has always been exquisitely sensitive to newness, hence the name. It's about to renew itself again, into something cheaper, wilder, trashier, more democratic and more deliriously fertile than ever.

What's the Matter with Publishing?

It isn't the audience. People are still reading. According to a National Endowment for the Arts study released on Jan. 12, literary reading by adults has actually increased 3.5% since 2002, the first such increase in 26 years. So that's not the problem. What is?

The economy, obviously. Plenty of businesses are hurting. And it doesn't help that new media like video games (sales up 19% in 2008!) are now competing with books for our entertainment hours and dollars. But publishing has deeper, more systemic problems, like the fact that its business model evolved during an earlier fiscal era. It's an antique, a financial coelacanth that dates back to the Depression. (See the top 10 video games of 2008.)

Consider the advance system, whereby a publisher pays an author a nonreturnable up-front fee for a book. If the book doesn't "earn out," in the industry parlance, the publisher simply eats the cost. Another example: publishers sell books to bookstores on a consignment system, which means the stores can return unsold books to publishers for a full refund. Publishers suck up the shipping costs both ways, plus the expense of printing and then pulping the merchandise. "They print way more than they know they can sell, to kind of create a buzz, and then they end up taking half those books back," says Sara Nelson, editor in chief of PW. These systems were created to shift risk away from authors and bookstores and onto publishers. But risk is something the publishing industry is less and less able to bear.

If you think about it, shipping physical books back and forth across the country is starting to seem pretty 20th century. Novels are getting restless, shrugging off their expensive papery husks and transmigrating digitally into other forms. Devices like the Sony Reader and Amazon's Kindle have gained devoted followings. Google has scanned more than 7 million books into its online database; the plan is to scan them all, every single one, within 10 years. Writers podcast their books and post them, chapter by chapter, on blogs. Four of the five best-selling novels in Japan in 2007 belonged to an entirely new literary form called keitai shosetsu: novels written, and read, on cell phones. Compared with the time and cost of replicating a digital file and shipping it around the world--i.e., zero and nothing--printing books on paper feels a little Paleolithic. (See 25 must-have travel gadgets.)

And speaking of advances, books are also leaving behind another kind of paper: money. Those cell-phone novels are generally written by amateurs and posted on free community websites, by the hundreds of thousands, with no expectation of payment. For the first time in modern history, novels are becoming detached from dollars. They're circulating outside the economy that spawned them.

Cell-phone novels haven't caught on in the U.S.--yet--but we have something analogous: fan fiction, fan-written stories based on fictional worlds and characters borrowed from popular culture--Star Trek, Jane Austen, Twilight, you name it. There's a staggering amount of it online, enough to qualify it as a literary form in its own right. hosts 386,490 short stories, novels and novellas in its Harry Potter section alone.

No printing and shipping. No advances. Maybe publishing will survive after all! Then again, if you can have publishing without paper and without money, why not publishing without publishers?

Vanity of Vanities, All Is Vanity

When Genova had reached the end of her unsuccessful search, she told the last literary agent who rejected her, "I've had enough of this. I'm going to go self-publish it." "That was by e-mail," she says. "He picked up the phone and called me within five minutes and said, 'Don't do that. You will kill your writing career before it starts.'"

It's true: saying you were a self-published author used to be like saying you were a self-taught brain surgeon. But over the past couple of years, vanity publishing has become practically respectable. As the technical challenges have decreased--you can turn a Word document on your hard drive into a self-published novel on Amazon's Kindle store in about five minutes--so has the stigma. Giga-selling fantasist Christopher Paolini started as a self-published author. After Brunonia Barry self-published her novel The Lace Reader in 2007, William Morrow picked it up and gave her a two-book deal worth $2 million. The fact that William P. Young's The Shack was initially self-published hasn't stopped it from spending 34 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list. (See the top 10 fiction books of 2008.)

Daniel Suarez, a software consultant in Los Angeles, sent his techno-thriller Daemon to 48 literary agents. No go. So he self-published instead. Bit by bit, bloggers got behind Daemon. Eventually Penguin noticed and bought it and a sequel for a sum in the high six figures. "I really see a future in doing that," Suarez says, "where agencies would monitor the performance of self-published books, in a sort of Darwinian selection process, and see what bubbles to the surface. I think of it as crowd-sourcing the manuscript-submission process."

Self-publishing has gone from being the last resort of the desperate and talentless to something more like out-of-town tryouts for theater or the farm system in baseball. It's the last ripple of the Web 2.0 vibe finally washing up on publishing's remote shores. After YouTube and Wikipedia, the idea of user-generated content just isn't that freaky anymore.

And there's actual demand for this stuff. In theory, publishers are gatekeepers: they filter literature so that only the best writing gets into print. But Genova and Barry and Suarez got filtered out, initially, which suggests that there are cultural sectors that conventional publishing isn't serving. We can read in the rise of self-publishing not only a technological revolution but also a quiet cultural one--an audience rising up to claim its right to act as a tastemaker too.

The Orchard and the Jungle

So if the economic and technological changes of the 18th century gave rise to the modern novel, what's the 21st century giving us? Well, we've gone from industrialized printing to electronic replication so cheap, fast and easy, it greases the skids of literary production to the point of frictionlessness. From a modern capitalist marketplace, we've moved to a postmodern, postcapitalist bazaar where money is increasingly optional. And in place of a newly minted literate middle class, we now have a global audience of billions, with a literacy rate of 82% and rising.

Put these pieces together, and the picture begins to resolve itself: more books, written and read by more people, often for little or no money, circulating in a wild diversity of forms, both physical and electronic, far outside the charmed circle of New York City's entrenched publishing culture. Old Publishing is stately, quality-controlled and relatively expensive. New Publishing is cheap, promiscuous and unconstrained by paper, money or institutional taste. If Old Publishing is, say, a tidy, well-maintained orchard, New Publishing is a riotous jungle: vast and trackless and chaotic, full of exquisite orchids and undiscovered treasures and a hell of a lot of noxious weeds. (See the top 10 non-fiction books of 2008.)

Not that Old Publishing will disappear--for now, at least, it's certainly the best way for authors to get the money and status they need to survive--but it will live on in a radically altered, symbiotic form as the small, pointy peak of a mighty pyramid. If readers want to pay for the old-school premium package, they can get their literature the old-fashioned way: carefully selected and edited, and presented in a bespoke, art-directed paper package. But below that there will be a vast continuum of other options: quickie print-on-demand editions and electronic editions for digital devices, with a corresponding hierarchy of professional and amateur editorial selectiveness. (Unpaid amateur editors have already hit the world of fan fiction, where they're called beta readers.) The wide bottom of the pyramid will consist of a vast loamy layer of free, unedited, Web-only fiction, rated and ranked YouTube-style by the anonymous reading masses.

And what will that fiction look like? Like fan fiction, it will be ravenously referential and intertextual in ways that will strain copyright law to the breaking point. Novels will get longer--electronic books aren't bound by physical constraints--and they'll be patchable and updatable, like software. We'll see more novels doled out episodically, on the model of TV series or, for that matter, the serial novels of the 19th century. We can expect a literary culture of pleasure and immediate gratification. Reading on a screen speeds you up: you don't linger on the language; you just click through. We'll see less modernist-style difficulty and more romance-novel-style sentiment and high-speed-narrative throughput. Novels will compete to hook you in the first paragraph and then hang on for dear life.

None of this is good or bad; it just is. The books of the future may not meet all the conventional criteria for literary value that we have today, or any of them. But if that sounds alarming or tragic, go back and sample the righteous zeal with which people despised novels when they first arose. They thought novels were vulgar and immoral. And in a way they were, and that was what was great about them: they shocked and seduced people into new ways of thinking. These books will too. Somewhere out there is the self-publishing world's answer to Defoe, and he's probably selling books out of his trunk. But he won't be for long.

'Afro Samurai: Resurrection'

Tonight on spike tv @ 10pm son!!!!

Afro Samurai (Academy Award ® nominee Samuel L. Jackson) avenged his father and found a life of peace. But the legendary master is forced back into the game by a beautiful and deadly woman from his past. The sparks of violence dropped along Afro’s bloody path now burn out of control – and nowhere are the flames of hatred more intense than in the eyes of Sio (Lucy Liu: Kill Bill). She won’t quit until Afro is schooled in the brutal lessons he dealt those who stood in his way.

There’s no such thing as final vengeance. The cycle of bloodshed spinning around the Number One Headband must roll on. Featuring the voice of Mark Hamill (Star Wars) and fresh production from The RZA (Wu-Tang Clan), the saga that began in the best-selling anime DVD of 2007 continues in AFRO SAMURAI: RESURRECTION.

6 Ways to Build a Better Body on a Budget

Lean times don't mean you have to skimp on fitness. Try these suggestions for workouts and home gym equipment on the cheap.
By Colette Bouchez

WebMD Feature Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD
Gym memberships, personal trainers, pricey equipment for the home gym - all these expenses can make it tempting to use tough economic times as an excuse for avoiding exercise. But the truth is that you can build a better body on a budget. From simple workouts with no equipment, to getting some of the benefits of a trainer for free with the click of a mouse, there are lots of ways to stay in shape and still save money.

To help point you in the right direction, WebMD asked the experts for advice on how you can get fit for little or no money.

6 Ways to Build a Better Body on a Budget
1. Schedule Your Workouts
When you've got a membership to a high-tech gym or a standing appointment with a personal trainer, the expense means you're less likely to skip out on workout time. Experts say it's essential to approach your "no frills" workout with the same convictions.

"This means putting it on your schedule, making a specific time for when you're going to do your workout, and it means doing all you can to limit interruptions -- like turning off the phone, making sure the dog is walked before you start, and, if necessary, letting family members know that for 30 minutes or so, they are on their own," says Susie Shina, director of and author of 60-Second Circuits: 1,000 Easy Exercise Combos You Can Do Anywhere.

You can also help keep your workout on track by laying out your exercise clothes the night before, says Shina. "This acts as a reminder that you don't want to skip out on your session."

What can also help: Choose a playlist of your favorite exercise songs and load them into your mp3 player, or create a workout CD. Timing the music to fit the length of your workout will help keep you on track for the whole routine.

"Motivation and music go hand in hand, so again, it's another way to ensure you stay motivated," says Shina.

2. Choose Workouts That Work at Home
When you're starting a workout program, it can be hard to figure out what exercises you should be doing -- particularly if you don't have the budget for pricey equipment or personal training advice.

But all you really need to do, says Charla McMillian, JD, CSCS, is follow a few simple guidelines.

"You have to ensure that all your major muscle groups are targeted at least once each week -- and no more than three times a week, and your program has to include 30-60 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise three to five times a week," says McMillian, creator of, a training program for fitness professionals.

And don't forget to stretch, which helps with both strength and flexibility.

2. Choose Workouts That Work at Home continued...
"Always begin every workout with a few simple stretches, and always end with at least two to three minutes of stretching," suggests Adrian Garce, a Greenwich, Conn.-based personal trainer.

McMillian and Garce suggest these basic, no-equipment exercises to get you started:

Squats. Standing upright, feet wider than shoulders apart, with arms extended forward or hands on hips for balance, squat down. Push knees outward as you descend, until thighs are parallel with the floor. Continue pushing knees outward as you stand.
Partial-body push-ups (with knees on the floor).
Modified jumping jack. Instead of moving your arms over your head, do these while pressing the palms of your hands together at chest level, with elbows out to form a straight line.
Chair crunches. Sit on a chair with hands under your behind, arms straight, and fingers facing inward toward one another. Contract your pelvis and lower abs, and, keeping your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, lift your feet off the floor and tuck your knees in toward your chest, bending the upper body slightly toward your knees. Do as many as you can until you reach fatigue.
Chair dips. Place your hands on the side of the chair and wrap your fingers around the edge. Scoot forward until your bottom is on the edge of the chair and your arms are fully extended. Keep your feet about 3 inches apart with legs extended, so knees are at approximately 150 degrees with your heels grounded. With elbows pointed back and tucked in tight alongside the body, do 15-20 dips, 3 seconds down and 1 second up. Keep your chest up and your shoulders back.

3. Turn Your Housewares Into "Gymware"
Your home may already be a home gym. Experts say if you think outside the (treadmill) box, you'd be surprised at how many household objects can be substituted for fitness equipment.

Here are few suggestions:

Use soup cans for weights. Janet Lee, deputy fitness editor of Shape magazine, says that any triceps or biceps exercise you'd do at the gym with dumbbells, you can do at home using cans of soup. To properly gauge the weight, don't go by the ounces listed on the can -- that's liquid weight. Instead, weigh the cans on your scale to figure out the poundage that's best for you.
Use jugs as weights.Fill a household bucket or jug with water (or sand, rock salt, or powdered detergent), secure the top with duct tape. Lift it up and down in front of you as you do squats.

Substitute paper plates for body sculpting equipment. The key here, says Lee, is to use the plates to help your body slide on a carpet. This allows you do body sculpting moves that would ordinarily require workout equipment. You can do the sliding lunge (put the paper plate under one foot and lunge forward). Try stimulating skating to work your butt and thighs: Just attach the plates to your feet with rubber bands and slide away. Or, get down on all fours, put the plates under your hands, and use them to work your chest by sliding your arms back and forth.

Substitute a countertop for a push-up bench. In most homes at least one countertop, in the kitchen or bath, is the right height for a push-up. Put both hands on the countertop, extend your legs behind you at an angle, lean down into the counter and then push back up.

Substitute pantyhose for resistance bands. Almost any exercise you can do with a resistance band, you can do with old pantyhose or tights. For example, sitting on the floor with legs straight, loop a pair of pantyhose around the balls of your feet and pull back with both hands as if you were using a rowing machine.

4. Use Your Computer for Motivation and Help
Do you tend to work out better when someone is setting goals for you? Then don't overlook the power of your computer - and many free applications that can provide some of the stimulation you need.

You can find exercise-tracking tools and spreadsheets on a number of websites. Use them to create and maintain a training regimen, keep track of your progress, and even to share online with friends, family members, and fellow exercisers.

For how-to instructions for specific exercises, check out WebMD's fitness slideshow, including those illustrating a 30-minute workout and abs exercises.

Further, video sites like are full of free videos from exercise gurus willing to share their know-how. Some other sites offer free workouts to download to your mp3 player. However, the experts warn, you shouldn't take advice from just anyone.

"Make sure the fitness instructor is qualified. There is a lot of questionable advice out there, even on DVDs you purchase, so always make sure the advice is coming from someone certified by a reputable fitness organization," says Therese Pasqualoni, an aerobics instructor and director of

5. Take a TV Exercise Break
Here's a no-excuses, no-expense workout: Instead of going to the kitchen for a snack during TV commercials, exercise instead.

"Pick a different activity for each commercial and do it till the show comes back on," suggests Shina. "During one commercial, do crunches; during another, do squats; during another, march in place. The longer you watch TV, the more exercise you'll get in, and before the night is over you've got at least 15 to 20 minutes of workout time."

6. Spend a Little, Get a Lot
If you do have a few dollars to put toward building a better body, here is the fitness equipment experts say can give you the most benefits for the least amount of money:

A dumbbell set that represents a realistic range of what you need to lift (5-30 pounds for most women, 10-50 pounds for most men)
An adjustable weight bench (one that goes from flat to incline or decline)

A mirror for the wall so you can see your technique

Kettle bells -- hand weights that can be used to tone your entire body

Resistance bands, a type of rubber tubing that creates resistance for your muscles

Instructional DVDs

Stability ball

Step bench for step aerobics


Man, shout to my dude andrew clifton for these pics. My motivation right here. Grinding as usual sometimes I wonder about the clothing line. Should it continue or should the towel get thrown in the ring. But it's been a aight weekend with these pics and the high demand for the shirts up in my dude store down the atl, Phat Gear. So expect more when the chance surface because it's real in the jungle so we got to keep it real also with the goods

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ex-Officer Is Charged in Killing in Oakland

“But it will not end the feelings here about systemic police brutality and misconduct toward the African-American community,” -Mr. Burris


OAKLAND, Calif. — A white former transit police officer was charged with murder Wednesday in the New Year’s Day shooting death of a young unarmed black man that provoked a week of public outrage and occasionally violent protest.

The former officer, Johannes Mehserle, surrendered Tuesday evening in Lake Tahoe, Nev., where it appeared he had gone to avoid community anger and the scrutiny of the news media. He was returned to California on Wednesday by the Oakland police.

District Attorney Tom Orloff of Alameda County said Mr. Mehserle, 27, had refused to speak to Oakland police or transit police investigators and was charged with murder “because at this point I feel the evidence indicates an unlawful killing done by an intentional act.”

“His lawyer has evoked his constitutional right to remain silent,” Mr. Orloff said of Mr. Mehserle. “So in terms of any interview at this point, our hands are tied.”

Mr. Mehserle’s lawyer, Christopher Miller, said in a written statement on Wednesday, “As the case moves forward through the justice system and all of the circumstances of that chaotic night become clear, I fully expect Mr. Mehserle will be cleared of the charges against him.”

Mr. Mehserle resigned from the Bay Area Rapid Transit force a week after the shooting.

Oakland officials, meanwhile, prepared for another night of protests by maximizing the available police force and closing city buildings early.

Nevertheless, after peaceful protests in the afternoon and early evening, a small group of demonstrators vandalized several buildings in downtown Oakland, smashing windows and bus shelters. Jeff Thomason, a spokesman for the Oakland police, said late Wednesday said that they had made 18 arrests after "a rogue element" of the protest scattered through downtown streets attacking storefronts.

Mr. Mehserle is charged in the death of Oscar Grant III, who was shot at close range on Jan. 1 while lying face down on a train platform. Mr. Grant, a butcher’s apprentice, was among several people who had been removed from the train by officers investigating a fight. Passengers captured cellphone videos of the shooting, which have been viewed thousands of times on Internet and news sites.

Last Wednesday night, more than 100 people were arrested after protesters marched through Oakland breaking store windows and setting cars and trashcans on fire.

John Burris, a lawyer for Mr. Grant’s family, said they too hoped that the arrest would “curb some of the anger.”

“But it will not end the feelings here about systemic police brutality and misconduct toward the African-American community,” Mr. Burris said.

Video: Wyclef Jean on 60 Minutes: Hope for Haiti

Gotta get back to haiti before i rise to the essence

Consumers of the World Unite

I see this more from a marketing point of view and concept. Spend that dough if you have it. Atleast you'll have a dope store bag with that expensive Prada handbag


SHOPPING, these days, is a political act. If you are brave enough to buy a $2,000 Prada handbag, you might rationalize that you are helping to stimulate the economy. Solidarity, people!

Saks Fifth Avenue, which has surely felt the recession’s sting, is taking just such a fist-raising stand with its spring marketing. The campaign is inspired by the bold graphic designs and propaganda spirit of Constructivist art — although it is intended to be tongue-in-cheek.

The store hired Shepard Fairey, the artist who created the stylized Hope poster of Barack Obama that became one of the most highly visible, though unofficial, images of the presidential campaign, to design its catalog covers and shopping bags. They bear a rather unsubtle allusion to advertisements made in the 1920s for state-run department stores in the Soviet Union.

“What we do every day, really, is propaganda,” said Terron E. Schaefer, the senior vice president for marketing at Saks.

So why not go whole hog?

The Saks slogan, “Want It!” is printed in lettering similar to the graphic designs of Rodchenko, the Russian graphic designer who was one of the founders of Constructivism. The images, largely realized by Cleon Peterson of Studio Number One, Mr. Fairey’s design company in Los Angeles, depict the season’s trends in black-and-white images with geometric slashes of red, some of them shown on models posing as if they are champions of workers’ rights. An ad for a slouchy bag, for example, tells shoppers to “Arm Yourself,” while a style of relaxed, cropped shorts are described as “Brave Pants.”

Asked if his work could be misunderstood as some sinister form of retail indoctrination, Mr. Fairey noted that he was also looking at agitprop posters made for the Works Progress Administration in the 1940s, to lift morale.

“Some people might think it could be making fun of what’s going on right now,” Mr. Fairey said. “But I think most people are sophisticated enough to realize it’s a way of grabbing attention. It’s commerce. I don’t think there is really any political statement embedded in this.”

Given the pricey goods Saks is selling, it’s not likely anyone would accuse the store of being socialist.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

First US count finds 1 in 200 kids are vegetarian

Man, I tell adults I don't eat meat and they stay bugging so I can imagine what the kids go through.

Sam Silverman is co-captain of his high school football team _ a safety accustomed to bruising collisions. But that's nothing compared with the abuse he gets for being a vegetarian.

"I get a lot of flak for it in the locker room," said the 16-year-old junior at Westborough High School in Massachusetts.

"All the time, my friends try to get me to eat meat and tell me how good it tastes and how much bigger I would be," said Silverman, who is 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds. "But for me, there's no real temptation."

Silverman may feel like a vegetable vendor at a butchers' convention, but about 367,000 other kids are in the same boat, according to a recent study that provides the government's first estimate of how many children avoid meat. That's about 1 in 200.

Other surveys suggest the rate could be four to six times that among older teens who have more control over what they eat than young children do.

Vegetarian diets exclude meat, but the name is sometimes loosely worn. Some self-described vegetarians eat fish or poultry on occasion, while others _ called vegans _ cut out animal products of any kind, including eggs and dairy products.

Anecdotally, adolescent vegetarianism seems to be rising, thanks in part to YouTube animal slaughter videos that shock the developing sensibilities of many U.S. children. But there isn't enough long-term data to prove that, according to government researchers.

The new estimate of young vegetarians comes from a recent federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of alternative medicine based on a survey of thousands of Americans in 2007. Information on children's diet habits was gleaned from about 9,000 parents and other adults speaking on the behalf of those under 18.

"I don't think we've done a good job of counting the number of vegetarian youth, but I think this is reasonable," Amy Lanou, a nutrition scientist at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, said of the government estimate. She works with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a vegan advocacy group.

Vegetarians say it's animal welfare, not health, that most often causes kids to stop eating meat.

"Compassion for animals is the major, major reason," said Richard Schwartz, president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America, an organization with a newsletter mailing list of about 800. "When kids find out the things they are eating are living animals _ and if they have a pet...."

Case in point is Nicole Nightingale, 14, of Safety Harbor, Fla. In 2007, Nightingale was on the Internet to read about chicken when she came across a video on YouTube that showed the birds being slaughtered. At the end, viewers were invited to go to the Web site _ People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Nicole told her parents she was going vegan, prompting her mother to send an angry letter to PETA. But the vegan diet is working out, and now her mother is taking steps to become a vegetarian, too, said Nightingale, an eighth-grader.

She believes her experience was typical for a pre-adolescent vegetarian. "A lot more kids are using the Internet. They're curious about stuff and trying to become independent and they're trying to find out who they are," she said.

Vegetarians are most often female, from higher-income families and living on the East or West coasts, according to previous studies. One good place to find teen vegetarians is Agnes Scott College, a mostly white, all-women's private school in suburban Atlanta with about 850 students. Roughly 5 to 10 percent of Agnes Scott students eat vegetarian, said Pete Miller, the college's director of food service.

Frequently, the most popular entree at the college dining hall is a fresh mozzarella sandwich with organic greens. And the comment board (called "the Beef Board," as in "what's your beef?") often contains plaudits for vegetarian dishes or requests for more. "They're very vocal," Miller said of his vegetarian diners.

Eating vegetarian can be very healthy _ nutritionists often push kids to eat more fruits and vegetables, of course. For growing children, however, it's important to get sufficient amounts of protein, vitamins B12 and D, iron, calcium and other important nutrients that most people get from meat, eggs and dairy.

Also, vegetarian diets are not necessarily slimming. Some vegetarian kids cut out meat but fill up on doughnuts, french fries, soda or potato chips, experts said.

"Vegetarian doesn't mean low-calorie," said Dr. Christopher Bolling, who directs weight management research at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. He said roughly 10 to 15 percent of the overweight kids who come to his medical center's weight loss program have tried a vegetarian diet at some point before starting the program.

Rayna Middlebrooks, 15, last year started a weight-loss program offered by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, a nonprofit hospital organization. She said she's been on a vegetarian diet for four years and now carries about 250 pounds on her 5-foot-3 inch frame.

Her mother confirmed that, and said that although Rayna does a great job of cooking vegetable-rich stir-fried meals for herself, the girl also loves pasta, soda and sweets. "I have to watch her with the candy," said Barbara Middlebrooks, of Decatur.

On the flip side is Silverman, the Boston-area football player. He's pleased with his health and has no problem sticking to his diet. Rather than try to negotiate the school cafeteria line, he brings his lunch to school. It's the same lunch every day _ rye bread, some chicken-like tofu, cheese, a clementine and an assortment of Nutrigrain, Cliff, granola and Power Bars.

He was raised vegetarian and said it's now so deeply ingrained that the idea of eating meat is nauseating. Recently, he ate something he belatedly realized might contain chicken. "I felt sick the rest of the day, until I threw up," he said.

Invizzibl Men - Hip Hop PSA: Video

Spotted at thekaoseffect. Marq Speckts showed me a clip of this video last year. It looked dope then

Hiphop PSA from Phantom Power on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

City Of God’s Son

Sick concept!!

“City of God’s Son” is an experimental hip-hop opera starring Nas, Jay Z, Ghostface, Biggie Smalls, Raekwon, Samuel Jackson, Delroy Lindo, and Laurence Fishburne. It is a crime drama/coming of age tale of three fictitious characters growing up in a crime ridden mythical city in a jungle. This project explores the icon of the gangster in modern media, and weaves musical history and gangster film history into an operatic music based story of brotherhood and survival. An homage to 90’s New York hip-hop, “City of God’s Son” is the redefinition of the remix. Featuring legendary soul singer Joe Bataan. A sound film/hip hop opera by Kenzo Digital.

To download the entire project for FREE and for more info please visit:City of God’s Son



A Problem of the Brain, Not the Hands: Group Urges Phone Ban for Drivers

They need to throw TEXTING while driving in the law also. gezzuus

In half a dozen states and many cities and counties, it is illegal to use a hand-held cellphone while driving — but perfectly all right to talk on a hands-free device.

The theory is that it’s distracting to hold a phone and drive with just one hand. But a large body of research now shows that a hands-free phone poses no less danger than a hand-held one — that the problem is not your hands but your brain.

“It’s not that your hands aren’t on the wheel,” said David Strayer, director of the Applied Cognition Laboratory at the University of Utah and a leading researcher on cellphone safety. “It’s that your mind is not on the road.”

Now Dr. Strayer’s research has gained a potent ally. On Monday, the National Safety Council, the nonprofit advocacy group that has pushed for seat belt laws and drunken driving awareness, called for an all-out ban on using cellphones while driving.

“There is a huge misperception with the public that it’s O.K. if they are using a hands-free phone,” said Janet Froetscher, the council’s president and chief executive. “It’s the same challenge we had with seat belts and drunk driving — we’ve got to get people thinking the same way about cellphones.”

Laboratory experiments using simulators, real-world road studies and accident statistics all tell the same story: drivers talking on a cellphone are four times as likely to have an accident as drivers who are not. That’s the same level of risk posed by a driver who is legally drunk.

The Secret of Luck: Why Some People Have All the Luck

Posted by Alex in Science & Tech

Why do some people have all the luck while others are perpetually unlucky? Professor Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire was determined to get to the scientific bottom of the phenomenon of luck, and what he discovered may surprise you:

I placed advertisements in national newspapers asking for people who felt consistently lucky or unlucky to contact me.

Hundreds of extraordinary men and women volunteered for my research and over the years, have been interviewed by me. I have monitored their lives and had them take part in experiments. The results reveal that although these people have almost no insight into the causes of their luck, their thoughts and behaviour are responsible for much of their good and bad fortune. Take the case of seemingly chance opportunities. Lucky people consistently encounter such opportunities, whereas unlucky people do not.

I carried out a simple experiment to discover whether this was due to differences in their ability to spot such opportunities. I gave both lucky and unlucky people a newspaper, and asked them to look through it and tell me how many photographs were inside. I had secretly placed a large message halfway through the newspaper saying: ‘Tell the experimenter you have seen this and win $50′.

This message took up half of the page and was written in type that was more than two inches high. It was staring everyone straight in the face, but the unlucky people tended to miss it and the lucky people tended to spot it.

Unlucky people are generally more tense than lucky people, and this anxiety disrupts their ability to notice the unexpected.

Undrcrwn MLK T-Shirt

Wow!!! Undrcrwn MLK T-Shirt is a beast with the Biggie tagline and both events right around the corner.(The Mlk bornday and the biggie movie) plus this is a good move with alot of people creating Inauguration OBAMA shirts, which they have also but they went a step further by creating this joint.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Edwin x Hello Kitty Denim Dolls


The Hello Kitty popularity and collaborations just never seem to stop. From Atmos, Undercover, Bape and many other brands have already worked with the famous character. Now Japanese denim brand Edwin has produced two Hello Kitty dolls, made with their premium denim. Take a look at the outcome above.

Video: Camp Lo - Double Doors

The breaking and lyrics are very hard fam!!!

Camp Lo - Double Doors [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO] from Restless Films on Vimeo.

OG3-Oscar Grant Tribute-Episode 16

This is a tribute to the memory of Oscar Grant, may he rest in peace.

Jasirix wrote the song on his way back from Oakland to Pittsburgh on Thursday. In the song he rhymed from the perspective of Oscar Grant, the third person omniscient point of view, the person who recorded the murder, and a participant in the rebellion. The track is produced by King Sym.

Smokless Cigar

1,500 to 1,800 puffs? That might be too much, but I can dig the concept part

Smokeless cigarettes allow for unadulterated nicotine consumption with none of the pesky, malodorous and sometimes illegal smoke. NJOY’s NROBO cigar adds a non-replenishible product to their existing line of rechargeable, refillable cigarette and cigar analogs.
For around $50, this battery-powered stogie gives users 1,500 to 1,800 puffs. The “smoke” is water vapor, so it doesn’t count as second-hand smoke. The tip lights up when activated

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Brothers Perspective Magazine

Ammo Magazine



This my artwork of Badu and jay in the land of TWITTER . Ever since my manger li threw me on that joint I’ve
Gotten to connect with some cool ass peoples. Jay and Badu keeps it real on there which is the reason why I
Did this joint. I’m a fan of both but I believe you just got to let people live their life and you’ll see that your problems
In life is there problems also. Your joy , Anger and love are also the same. It might be on another level but the emotions
Are there. But I knocked this out in almost half a day. The pic is from the URB magazine cover and you know
How i do. I flipped it but of course. I didn’t want it as a str8 up picture just based off their energy but with all of that
It still show a bond and a connection to each other. But it gets deeper but of course but i want you to have your
Own interpretation also so I'm gonna end it here

Video: Killer Mike Drops Some Gems On B.o.B


Miya Bailey Doc

This is the blog or "vlog" that Brandi did on Miya Bailey. Per her usual...Brandi docing the artist, meaning she is showing love to her fellow artist while showcasing her documentary photos as its sort of a cross promo thing. I hope you enjoy it. Leave your comments ... she knows this thing is rough but she's just starting and if you dont like the sound of her voice please feel free to check out

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Theo - Dillagence


Mos Def - Brooklyn (We Go Hard) Freestyle + A capella


Mos Def - Brooklyn (We Go Hard) Freestyle + A capella

Obama takes a break for some chili and sausage

I don't support the swine and beef. But the biz and the president chillin that's aight right there

By CHRISTINE SIMMONS, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – You never know who you might find at Ben's Chili Bowl, the venerable diner in Washington's U Street district. Even a president-elect.
Barack Obama dropped in Saturday afternoon for a bite to eat with Washington's mayor, Adrian Fenty.
Obama drew laughs from the Ben's staff and nearby patrons when he walked up to the counter and asked, "Where's the food at?"
They ordered a house specialty, a Chili Half-Smoke — a quarter-pound half pork and beef smoked sausage on a steamed bun with mustard, onions and chili sauce. They also picked up some chili-topped french fries and ice tea.
Ben's Chili Bowl celebrated its 50th anniversary last summer. Asked if this was his first visit, Obama replied: "It is, actually, and it was terrific."

Undrcrwn Obama Inauguration T-Shirt

Undrcrwn, celebrate the inauguration by channeling Abraham Lincoln. Sick with it fam for real. Check it out at the Undrcrwn site and if you going down to the inauguration you'll be fresh dressed like a million bucks

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Wonders of Green

I told y'all i'm going to enter every contest this year if possible. This is for the Obama art for inauguration that's will presented For Manifest Hope DC, all art must be entered in one of three categories: Health Care Reform, Workers' Rights and The Green Economy. I was addressing the fact that the urban areas aren't hit enough with that info and importance of a Green Economy and this image would be perfect to represent that.


Events in the case since New Year's Day:

Jan. 1, about 2 a.m. - Reports of fighting between two groups on a BART train leaving the West Oakland Station prompt five transit agency police officers to intercept the Dublin-Pleasanton train at the Fruitvale Station and detain at least three young men, including 22-year-old Oscar Grant of Hayward, who was returning from a night of holiday revelry in San Francisco with friends.

Jan. 1, about 2:15 a.m. - Grant, unarmed, is shot by BART Officer Johannes Mehserle on the station platform. Police lead other men from the platform, but no one is charged in connection with the fight.

Jan. 1, 9:13 a.m. - Grant is pronounced dead at Highland Hospital in Oakland.

Jan. 1 - Mehserle, after being separated from other officers, after the shooting, confers with an attorney and declines to speak to BART investigators and Alameda County prosecutors.

Jan. 3 - John Burris, an attorney hired by Grant's family, says Grant was shot in the back while lying face down.

Jan. 4 - KTVU airs a video obtained from a BART rider who filmed the shooting on a cell phone from inside a train car. A second cell phone video emerges later. Both appear to support Burris' account.

Jan. 7 - Dozens of African American leaders and Oakland officials go to Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff's office, demanding a meeting. Orloff promises to move quickly toward a decision on possible charges for Mehserle.

Jan. 7, 11 a.m. - Mehserle's attorney turns in the officer's resignation letter. Funeral held for Grant.

Jan. 7, 3 p.m. - Several hundred people gather at the Fruitvale Station for a protest. Eventually, a group peels off and heads toward downtown Oakland.

Jan. 7, nighttime - For several hours, a mob breaks car and store windows downtown. In all, 105 people are arrested.

Jan. 8 - Grant's family pleads for calm. Authorities say Oakland police will join the investigation of Grant's death.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Video: Wale, Tabi Bonney & UCB Live

Damn!! You gotta love the live GO GO sound 4 shizzllle. Shouts to Tabi Bonney

Wale, Tabi Bonney, UCB LIVE from Expressive Frontier Lifestyle TV on Vimeo.

The Himba people of Namibia


The Himba adult women colour their skin twice a day with a mixture of ground red ochre, sap and butter, and rub this all over their skin and hair. This is called ‘otjize’. They also grind up herbs and use them as perfume. If you do an internet search you will find a hundred good images of Himba women, but only a couple of the men. This is probably because the HImba women are so stunning to look at no photographer is going to waste film on the men. READ

Obama Digs In for His BlackBerry

I guess when president elect Obama said "we need change" it was directed towards him. I'm surprised blackberry hasn't tried t take advantage of this by creating some kinda special blackberry for the new president. But who knows, it's never to late to jump on it.


WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama has yet to relent, but he conceded that he might be losing the battle to keep his independent lifeline to the outside world.

“I’m still clinging to my BlackBerry,” Mr. Obama said Wednesday. “They’re going to pry it out of my hands.”

Of all the fights facing Mr. Obama as he prepares for the White House, one of the most maddening for him is the prospect of losing the BlackBerry that has been attached to his belt for years. It is, he has vigorously argued, an essential link to keeping him apprised of events outside his ever-tightening cocoon.

“This is a concern, I should add, not just of Secret Service, but also lawyers,” Mr. Obama said, speaking in an interview with CNBC and The New York Times. “You know, this town’s full of lawyers. I don’t know if you’ve noticed.”

Mr. Obama shared his agitation at the prospect of losing his last form of direct communication with friends and other advisers who sent him e-mail throughout the presidential campaign. But he, like President Bush before him, is being advised for security reasons and his own legal protection to refrain from sending e-mail during his presidency.

“I don’t know that I’ll win,” Mr. Obama said. But, he added, “I’m still fighting it.”

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bruce Lee's last home to be turned into a tourist site: owner

HONG KONG (AFP) – The owner of Bruce Lee's former Hong Kong mansion has agreed to turn the property into a tourist destination commemorating the late kung fu legend, his advisor said Wednesday.
Millionaire philanthropist Yu Panglin met with government officials to try to hammer out a plan to preserve Lee's last residence, Michael Choi, who is assisting Yu in the negotiations told AFP.
"Since Yu decided to withdraw his plan to sell the mansion in July last year, the government had been considering the feasibility of a conservation plan," Choi told AFP.
"Both sides reached a consensus on restoring the property to Lee's days and turning it into a tourist attraction," he said.
Yu bought the 5,000 square feet (460 square metres), two-storey house in Kowloon Tong for 850,000 Hong Kong dollars (109,000 US) in the 1960s. The property is now worth around 100 million dollars.
He hopes to expand the floor area of the mansion -- which has been used as a seedy love hotel -- and turn it into a large museum complex with a cinema, library and martial arts centre.
"We met with Lee's daughter last October and she agreed to help us restore the mansion to its former shape. She told us her family could donate some of Lee's personal items including his movie costumes," said Choi, who is chairman of Land Power International.
"Mr Yu will donate the property to the government if he is satisfied that their plan is sustainable and will attract tourists to Hong Kong," Choi said.
The secretary for commerce and economic Development Rita Lau confirmed the government had given provisional backing to the plan after Tuesday's meeting.
"The government takes the view that the development should focus on enabling the Bruce Lee fans to commemorate the achievements and understand the life of their idol through visiting the residence, and revitalising the building for long-term sustainable operation as a tourism attraction."
Yu decided against selling the mansion last summer, following calls from fans of the star to preserve Lee's former home.
The US-born Lee died at the age of 32 in 1973, after a brief but bright career as the high-kicking hero of Hong Kong movies like "Big Boss" and "Fist of Fury", which remain hugely popular across the world.

Quattro 6000 D - Sewing Master!

Damn, welcome to the future. I know mad sister making crowns and such this would be real fly for their biz.

Brother has given origin to an endearing concept with allowing an LCD display to its innovative Quattro 6000D machine. To espouse the cause, Brother teams up with Sharp for state-of-the-art technology for bringing optimal clarity and color to the wide-angle HD LCD display. A great visual field, nearly 32” screen delivers razor-sharp graphics and visibility from any angle to the household machine. Brother International Corporation introduced the Quattro(TM) 6000D. Not only that, the intuitive device comes with 3 USB ports, 50” workspace and 5 built-in screen savers to give a juvenile look every next day. To call it a dream machine that comes with a high usability (sewing, quilting, embroidery and crafting), won’t be wrong.
No words on pricing and availability yet, but we hope to see it coming your way sometime next year!

A. Ware - “Please Standby” [free download]

Atl is actually diverse with the music scene but sometimes you can't tell based on going to these shows down hear. some groups get more support than others but that don't make that particular group better than the other, not eve close. But like anything it's based on how strong your following is. The so called hipster movement is very strong. I guess Because it's catering to the younger generation. but I don't discriminate with my art. Did this cover for my dude A, ware who thank me 100 times for doing that joint but at the same time it introduce me to new music and new eyes with my artwork. so the saga continues. Peep the free download and judge it for yourself. You dig


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Converse Jack Purcell “Nagasaki Bekko”

Okay. you can't tell me these joints ain't dope!!!

Converse Japan has released the Jack Purcell “Nagasaki Bekko”, which is the Nagasaki turtle shell. The pattern of the shell has been replicated on the upper of the sneakers.
The Converse Jack Purcell “Nagasaki Bekko” is now available at Flauge.

As Prices Rise, Some See $2 Gas

by Clifford Krauss

The five-month slide in gasoline prices has come to an abrupt halt, with gasoline rising by several cents in recent days amid indicators that the national average could jump to $2 a gallon or higher this spring.

A broad shift in the psychology of the oil market seems to be under way. Oil prices are up more than 40 percent since they bottomed out just below $33 a barrel on Dec. 19. The reversal, after months of declines, suggests that production cuts by the OPEC cartel may be having an effect, along with growing tensions in the Middle East and the sentiment by traders that the precipitous drop in prices went too far.

For six days in a row, drivers have been paying a few more cents a gallon than they did before Christmas. The change has been almost imperceptible for drivers who remember prices soaring above $4 a gallon last summer.

But if the price of gasoline continues rising, it may become another headache for consumers worried about their jobs and the dropping value of their homes and investments.

Oil prices are up about 25 percent in the last week alone, in part because of the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Rising oil prices have helped push the wholesale price of gasoline up by 40 percent since Dec. 24, leading to predictions by energy experts that retail gasoline prices will spike by as much as 25 percent in coming weeks.

"A lot of people are talking about dollar-a-gallon gasoline, when the wholesale market seems to be pointing to $2 a gallon," said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service. As of Monday, regular gasoline was selling for $1.67 a gallon, on average, up from a recent low of $1.62 on Dec. 30.

The decline in gasoline prices has offered badly needed relief to consumers. A driver buying 50 gallons of gasoline a month has been saving $2 a day compared to a year ago, and $4 a day compared to the price peak in July. For the national economy as a whole, the savings came to around $1 billion a day, according to the Oil Price Information Service.

Among the big winners have been businesses like shipping companies with large transportation costs, commuters who drive long distances to work and consumers with moderate incomes who spend a relatively high percentage of their paychecks on fuel.

The summer's high prices prompted Americans to cut their driving, and the drastic downturn of the economy this fall led to the huge decline in oil prices. But with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries cutting production, and with refineries trimming their output of gasoline, supply and demand may be coming back into balance.

Refineries have cut the number of barrels of crude oil they processed weekly to 14.5 million during December, from 15.4 million, according to the Energy Department. The tighter supplies are putting pressure on retail prices.

Analysts say the decline in gasoline use may have bottomed out, barring a further big downturn in the economy. MasterCard's SpendingPulse data service, which measures both cash and credit card sales of gasoline, had shown volume declines as sharp as 9 percent during some weeks in the fall. But that number has narrowed considerably as prices have fallen, and one recent week even showed a slight increase in gasoline sales compared to the same week the year before.

"There will be a real spike in gasoline prices coming in the next four to six weeks," predicted Chris Ruppel, an energy analyst at Execution, a brokerage and research firm. "We are witnessing a sea change in energy market sentiment as Americans appear to be returning to some of their old driving habits just as geopolitical risk is once again a factor in crude prices."

Oil prices jumped more than 5 percent on Monday alone to close at $48.81 in New York trading, as fighting continued in the Gaza Strip and Iran's OPEC representative said the cartel would hold a special meeting in February. The cartel decided last month to cut output by 2.2 million barrels, on top of earlier cutbacks.

The AAA auto club reported that the average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline on Monday was $1.67, up nearly a penny and a half from the day before. That still compares favorably to the national average of $3.10 a gallon a year ago and the record high national average price of $4.11 last July 17.

In contrast to gasoline, diesel prices have not yet bottomed out. A gallon cost $2.40 on Monday, down a fraction of a penny from the day before.

Mr. Kloza said he thought gasoline prices probably hit a bottom last month. He said gasoline prices in California, which frequently leads the rest of the nation in gasoline price swings, bottomed the first week of December and had been rising since.

While gasoline prices felt like a great weight to many consumers on the way up, they have not been an economic cure-all on the way down.

"In comparison with between roughly a 40 percent drop in the stock market and a 20 percent drop in home values, the drop in gasoline prices is just a drop in the bucket," said Adam J. Robinson, director of commodities at Armored Wolf L.L.C., a hedge fund.

Mr. Robinson said he was unconvinced that oil and gasoline prices would go back up for long. "I think it is too soon to call a bottom in oil or gasoline because demand is falling faster than OPEC is cutting," he said.

Bronze Jungle Gym

Check the link.This joint is hot but not for kids for real.

The famous American sculptor, Tom Ottorness commissioned this bronze playground for some filthy rich kid. Though the bronze sculpture is a pure work of art for a luxurious outdoors, why would someone want his or her children to enjoy some serious play on this metal playground more than those cool inflatable structures that ensure safe play even for the notorious of a kid, unlike this metal playground, which could lead to serious injuries in case of an accident?

FBI plans large hiring blitz of agents, experts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Wanted by the FBI: agents, language specialists, computer experts, intelligence analysts and finance experts.
The FBI said on Monday it had launched one of the largest hiring blitzes in its 100-year history involving 2,100 professional staff vacancies and 850 special agents aimed at filling its most critical vacancies.
The agency, which seeks to protect the United States from terrorist attack, fight crime and catch spies, among other duties, said it currently has more than 12,800 agents and about 18,400 other employees.
Since the Sept 11, 2001, attacks, the FBI has been criticized for not having enough employees fluent in foreign languages and for not moving fast enough to upgrade its computer system.
FBI Assistant Director John Raucci of the Human Resources division said the federal law enforcement agency is seeking to bring more people on board with skills in critical areas, especially language fluency and computer science.
"We're also looking for professionals in a wide variety of fields who have a deep desire to help protect our nation from terrorists, spies, and others who wish us harm," Raucci said.
He said the FBI, which has been investigating corporate wrongdoing in connection with the current financial crisis, also needs finance and accounting experts, along with those skilled in physical surveillance and various other employees.
The hiring initiative for FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., and for its field offices would replace departed staff and add some employees, officials said. (Reporting by James Vicini, Editing by Jackie Frank)

The Give and the Take

I just read this in the New york times and I can relate real tough about this. But as you get older and you truly realize that being focus on all planes in life happens while being sober and seeing things with new eyes

I drank booze for a very long time, and I drank quite a lot of it. Interesting, but I never truly thought about why until I quit 16 years ago. There must have been reasons. But what were they?

This is no idle inquiry, since, after a decade and a half of very sober investigation of the neurochemical, sociological and spiritual reasons for both my addiction and recovery, the only way I can get my head around all that is to consider what booze gave me, what it took away and how the balance of power changed.

In my early days of drinking, alcohol gave me something that nothing else in my life — not relationships, not career — could. “It made the whole world come into focus,” a fellow addict once told me of her first drink. Others have cited “peace” and even “peace of mind” from the bottle. Some even describe their first drink as a mystical and spiritual experience. Myself, I always felt that alcohol was the one thing that made me feel safe. And that gave me a particular kind of energy, a fortitude, really. I was more willing to stand up for myself and to take creative risks when I was packing a certain amount of alcohol in me.

I never drank to be the life of the party or to feel sexier and smarter. I was drinking to haul my ego up from its ordinary state of funk to feel “normal.” In this sense, I came to know alcohol as a form of self-medication. Once medicated, I felt, I could then pursue my chosen craft of writing with more confidence, verve and stamina. And it seemed to work.

As I wrote in my first post, I achieved a measure of success in my 20’s and 30’s as a magazine writer and as an author of two books — one of them , “The View from Nowhere,” a travelogue of the best hard drinking saloons in the nation. The way I figured it at the time, maybe some guys had to worry about their reckless drinking. Mine had gotten me a fat book contract and my 15 minutes of fame.

All of this gave booze the aura of a magic potion to me. I wasn’t just that I happened to like how it made me feel — most anyone who has a drink will attest to that. I believed that a certain modicum of it was needed — like food, water or oxygen — for me to lead a happy and successful life. In retrospect, I knew that I was over-drinking by the time I was 30. But I figured that I was a “high performance” alcoholic — an interesting oxymoron, if there ever was one — and honestly couldn’t imagine life without the stuff. READ

Monday, January 5, 2009

How to Read a Food Label

Here's how to make sense of those tricky food-labeling terms

By Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Expert Column
Understanding what's in the foods you buy is key to stocking a nutritious kitchen. Yet food labels are not always easy to decipher. What exactly are you getting when you buy "juice," a "multigrain" bread, or a "low-fat food"?

Throw in terms like "fresh," "no additives," and "natural," and the confusion meter rises. Though they look good on packages, these terms aren't regulated, so they don't necessarily mean a food is better for you.

If you're confused by food labels, you're not alone. A 2005 survey by AJ Nielsen & Co. found that half of consumers understood nutrition labels only "in part," although 2 out of 10 said they consistently read them.

The secret to reading a food label is knowing what to look for. If you understand the label lingo, it's not so difficult to make the healthiest purchases.

The Essential Information
The most important and reliable information on the label can be found on the nutrition facts panel and the ingredient listing.

Here is the information that's most essential:

Calories. Despite all the talk about carbs and fat, calories are what counts for weight control. So the first thing to look for on a label is the number of calories per serving. The FDA's new Calories Count program aims to make calorie information on labels easier to find by putting it in larger, bolder type.

Serving size and number of servings per container. This information is critical to understanding everything else on the label. My daughter was horrified when she realized that the ice-cream sandwich she regularly ate had twice the calories she thought it did. Her confusion arose because some manufacturers take what most of us would consider a single-serve container and call it two servings, hoping the numbers on the label will look better to consumers.

Dietary Fiber. It helps fill you up, and you need at least 25 grams daily. To be considered high in fiber, a food must contain least 5 grams per serving. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provide fiber.

Fat. Fat has more calories per gram than carbs or protein, and all fats have 9 calories/gram. Choose unsaturated fats whenever possible, and limit foods with saturated and trans fats (also called trans fatty acids). Manufacturers are required to list the amount of trans fat per serving starting Jan. 1, 2006, and this information is already showing up on labels. In the meantime, look for terms such as "partially hydrogenated" or "hydrogenated," which indicate the product contains trans fats.

Sodium per serving. Sodium should be restricted to 2,300 mg per day (that's less than 1 teaspoon of salt) for healthy adults, and 1,500 mg for those with health problems or family histories of high blood pressure. To reduce your sodium intake, choose less processed foods.

Sugar. It adds plenty of calories, and is often listed on the label in "alias" terms, like "high fructose corn syrup," "dextrose," "invert sugar," "turbinado," etc. Choose foods with less than 5 grams per serving to help control calories.

% Daily Value (% DV). This reflects the percentage of a certain nutrient that the food supplies, based on a 2,000 calorie diet. It gives you a rough idea of the food's nutrient contribution to your diet. The nutrients highlighted in the % DV are a partial list, limited to those of concern to the typical American.

Ingredient List. Manufacturers are required to list all of the ingredients contained in the product by weight. A jar of tomato sauce with tomatoes as the first ingredient lets you know that tomatoes are the main ingredient. The spice or herb listed last is contained in the least amount. This information is critical for anyone who has allergies, and for prudent shoppers who want, say, more tomatoes than water, or whole grain as the leading ingredient.

The FDA sets specific rules for what food manufacturers can call "light," "low," "reduced," "free," and other food terms. Here's the low-down on interpreting these terms:

"Is organic food really better than conventional foods? Not necessarily."

"Healthy" food must be low in fat, with limited cholesterol and sodium.
Anything labeled "free" must only contain tiny amounts of the ingredient in each serving. For example, "trans-fat free" or "fat-free" products can have only 0.5 mg of trans fats or fat; "cholesterol-free" foods can only have 2 milligrams of cholesterol and 2 grams of saturated fat.
A serving of a food labeled "low sodium" can have a maximum of 140 milligrams of sodium.
A serving of "low cholesterol" food can have a maximum of 20 milligrams of cholesterol and 2 grams of saturated fat.
One serving of a "low-fat" food can have a maximum of 3 grams of fat.
A serving of a "low-calorie" food can have a maximum of 40 calories.
A serving of a food labeled "reduced" must have 25% less of the ingredient (such as fat) than a serving of the regular version.
One serving of a "light" food must have 50% less fat or 1/3 fewer calories than the regular version.

Is 'Organic' Better?
The term "organic" has been one you can trust since 2002, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture established strict criteria for products claiming this distinction. Products declared organic must be produced without conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, biotechnology, or ionizing radiation. "Organic" animals must be fed organic feed and not be injected with hormones or antibiotics.

But is organic food really better than conventional foods? Not necessarily. It depends on a number of factors, such as growing conditions, how the foods are stored, and which nutrients you're looking for.

Organic foods have the same number of calories, fats, proteins and carbohydrates as their conventional counterparts. Their nutritional composition depends on the soil, climate, growing conditions, and the amount of time it took to get it from farm to table.

Eating a freshly picked piece of produce, organically grown or not, is the ultimate in good nutrition as time has the greatest impact on food quality. Certain fruits and vegetables grown without chemical pesticides may have higher levels of antioxidants. But there is not a striking difference in the nutritional quality of organic products vs. conventionally grown ones. The real question: Is organic produce worth the extra cost? Some people are adamant about having pesticide-free produce. I have seen the ravages of insect infestation and think pesticides are necessary to provide good crop yield. My strategy is to wash all produce carefully and enjoy the bounty of produce at a lower cost.

Keep in mind that the Environmental Protection Agency sets acceptable levels of pesticide residue for produce that are much higher than what is generally found on the foods we buy. The decision is yours.

eMC - The Show (feat. Lady Bug)

The newest video for Hip-Hop supergroup eMC's single "The Show" featuring Lady Bug, from their debut album entitled The Show, in stores now.

Shannon McCollum doc by Brandi Pettijohn

Dope video by Brandi Pettijohn. She was talking about doing this last year and got caught up in life. She was really trying to keep her desire in what she loves going. But from the look of it, her desires are still there for art but check out the photos and more fly information of Shannon McCollum at

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Redman 1995 Interview

Jerz is always in the house. Throwback classic interview of REDMAN


Get your new year weekend started right and check out the official