Monthly Archives: March 2010

Oh Oppa, oppa, I’ll be down Bang!

It’s in the spirit of sports and dance.  Just a few pleasantries  to get the juice and giddiness flowing.

Girls Generation Oh!

After School Bang!

~!~

New awesomeness from Remi Gaillard.

~!~

I posted a link of this page from the web site of the show Bait Car to my bookface page.  One of my friends had a very insightful comment.  I felt like sharing it before the post became buried on my bookface wall:

It’s really a question of where does this fall into the attractive nuisance area – you have a playground on your property, kids come to play on it, kid gets injured, you get in trouble for not having a fence even though the kid was trespassing – for me.  This isn’t entrapment, the lawyer’s an idiot. The (lowest) bar for entrapment is that the cop enticed you to do something you wouldn’t normally do.
A guy with a record stealing cars normally steals cars.  So, screw that guy. And, sorry, but most normal people don’t normally jump in a car with keys and try to drive off. The person that does that clearly had motive and intent, he was just waiting for the opportunity.

Anyway, back to the attractive nuisance thing, I doubt bait cars are catching 8 year olds and the argument that people can’t control their impulses to steal something is retarded. That’s like saying it was okay for me to shoplift from Kroger because, man, look at all the stuff just laying out on the shelves! Or to steal from a museum because, shit, they just leave that stuff laying around.

On the one hand, I do lament that the police have to rely on these sorts of tactics to catch criminals; I would prefer that they not waste the time, money, and effort on using bait cars and instead patrol the streets or watch for crime affecting “civilians” – stealing a bait car is from a certain perspective victimless, afterall. On the other hand, I do have a fear of encroaching executive authority which comes with the evolving pace of police surveillance technology.

There is no controversy here to me though. And the lawyer’s brief statement about undercover vice officers (even though I believe in regulated, legal prostitution) is just dumb.

~!~
More morsels for munching. Show of hands. Should the public have the will-power and courtesy to not commit a crime no matter how many opportunities and stimuli manifest themselves? OR, should those opportunities and stimuli not manifest themselves in the first place.For me, it’s all about will power.  The lawyer says cops shouldn’t be creating opportunities for people to commit crimes. Well, then why not have automakers build cars that are unable to go more than 65 mph? Ridiculous. It’s up to the driver not to speed recklessly.

Sports Academies and Super H Mart

There are high schools for the arts as well as math and science, but not for sports.  Why would there be?  Athletics are an extra-curricular activity.  Sure, they may bolster community pride, bring in financial prosperity for the school (if the teams are good enough), but they aren’t the mainstay of a young person’s life.  Unless, of course, they are the mainstay of a young person’s life.  Have dreams of playing any kind of ball in college and then going on to the pro’s or to be a member of an Olympic team?  Let’s not kid ourselves when the youngsters are nearing pre-pubescence and are still attending a school where memorizing Shakespeare sonnets and calculating grams-divided-by-formula-weight are frontal cortex distractions for the student that has one (maybe two) thing on his mind: make the team, stay on the team, and win.

I’m not suggesting that memorizing Shakespeare sonnets or even reading them is useless, nor am I insinuating that knowing how many moles are in one once of an element isn’t worth knowing.  I’m just curious about how different secondary education would be in the United States if children between the ages of eleven and seventeen had the option of going to a high school focused on the arts, or the math/sciences, or athletics…places that cultivate and capitalize on a student’s strengths and interests.

If twelve year-old Joey wants to play for the MLB someday and his local high school either had a very sorry baseball team (or no varsity team), rather than move to get into a school district that has a good (varsity) team, he could apply for the nearest sports academy.  Joey would still learn literature, history, math, and science, but they would be designed to bolster and nurture his existing intellectual abilities.  If Joey wants to read nothing but sports fiction and non-fiction and write essays about them, that’s fine.  It’s amazing how much cultural and political history one can learn by reading a well-researched and written sports book.* And for science, you guessed it, the physics of baseball and other sports!

If you happen to know from experience or thorough speculation what kind of impact such an institution would have on scouting and the education system, please feel free to chime in with your thoughts.

*I learned a lot about the TV industry just by reading about televised sports.

~!~

And now for the Super H-Mart part.  Remember when kids didn’t want to come inside for lunch or dinner because they wanted to keeping playing outside?  Barely?  I wasn’t one of those kids.  When I was in single-digit age numbers, I spent a couple of hours every day digging up holes in the red Georgia clay around my house, roller skating down the driveway, and taking walks, but I always went back into the house for meals.  Fast-forward three sets of presidential terms and I’ve yet to reconnect with that self.   I like to dance (interpretively) and take walks in air-conditioned spaces, but not anything that requires near 20/20 vision or too much sweating.  You know how grumpy people can get when they are hungry or thirsty?  Well, I’m snarling when I sweat or get hot.

This afternoon when I got home from work, though, I stumbled upon an activity that produced much sweat and I didn’t mind.  I was having fun out of the sheer absurdity of it.  I was taking a giant kickball and using it as a basketball.  It slammed against the concrete pretty loudly.  The children of the people who live behind me kept shouting, “stop that loud noise! You’re being too loud!”  It was funny.

Llab

Click here for a close-up of the ball.

I think I’m going to get a small trampoline and a smaller kickball in the near future and continue with this kickbasketball silliness.

And then I went to the John’s Creek Super H-Mart for dinner.

Watch me eat stir fried spicy octopusIt steams!

Check out the produce and products:

DriedShirimp

HCuc

Nesleestropsdrink

See the Nestle chocolate energy drink in close-up here.

Pangto

The pink Korean words in the middle of the image say “Ice bar.”

muaji

BlackSesameSoyDrink

Black sesame soy milk. Hmmmm.

~!~

After leaving Super H-Mart, I went to a bakery a few stores down.  Behold 1.29 peanut butter soboro bread.

PSoboro

muajiWH

Glutinous rice balls! Watch me stroke and bite into one.  It is so very soft.

After leaving the bakery, I went to a beauty supply store where I saw these Made in the USA body splash sprays.  You’re not hallucinating, it does say “Butt Naked,” “Island Kiss Type,” “Sex on the Beach,” and “Lick Me All Over.”

Ydob3

Click here and here for textual close-ups.

So then Brooklyn’s Finest includes

Georgia Tech won against one OSU on Friday but was unable to beat the other OSU today.  Losing to the Ohio State Buckeyes by nine points, the Yellow Jackets’ March Madness experience ended this afternoon. Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

I watched Antoine Fuqua’s amped up cop-drama Brooklyn’s Finest (2009) over the weekend primarily because I really enjoyed Fuqua’s Training Day (2001) and Shooter (2007).  Brooklyn’s Finest, written by Michael C. Martin, is as spectacular as the others in the action arena, but is thematically and narratively much sadder.  While Training Day and Shooter focused on reigning in injustice and correcting institutional betrayal, Fuqua’s latest portrait of law and order leaves one stuffed underneath a cynical ceiling.  Sure, I’ll take the pessimism of hyperbolic reality, where extremes wipe out nuance and detail, over the optimism of an incomplete view of reality, but I’d rather not be sheltered by the idea that everyone you like will intentionally or unintentionally abandon you.

Brooklyn’s Finest tails the professional (and sometimes personal) affairs of three main law enforcement personnel: Eddie (Richard Gere), Tango (Don Cheadle), and Sal (Ethan Hawke).  After serving in Brooklyn PD’s zone 65 for twenty years, Eddie is a week away from retiring.  Tango has been undercover for narcotics for too long and wishes to go back to a less method-acting way of upholding the law.  Sal, desperate for more money so that his wife and offspring pool of six-and-counting can live in a house free from wood-mold, has been pocketing a portion of the “proceeds” from drug raids.  Each of these characters’ storylines reminds the civilian world that keeping the peace, keeping the streets safe is an ugly smoothie of body count, politics, and acting on behalf of the greater good.  Their own private purgatories eventually converge, and like a good ‘ol gunfighter hero Western, spills the streets with crimson.

Considering the choices they have to make as well as those that they are free to make, perhaps none of the characters deserve viewer empathy or support.  Eddie is the hardened but wise cynic whose daytime hours consist of getting through his shift so that at night, he can indulge in the price-tagged loins of a lithe female form.

Tango grows increasingly psychologically fragile and his sense of loyalty belongs to someone who saved his life rather than to the welfare of the public.  I found myself most interested in Tango’s plot-line, particularly in what happens to him and Wesley Snipes’s character.

Sal is just doomed from the start; financial failure is not an option, and no matter how many times his drug-raiding partner reminds him that he is already blessed with so much, Sal will never have enough.

Now, what about Brooklyn’s finest?  Who are they?  The film suggests that it’s not really about quality as it is about surviving.  And, in order to survive, you cannot save everyone, you cannot apprehend every criminal.  When you make the most beneficial contribution to society, you may not even have the authority of the badge behind you.

Observations & Miscellania:

1. Audience demographics: 4:30 PM showing at Phipps Plaza on Saturday was in one of the smaller theatres, filled 70% to capacity.  Male to female ratio was 1:3.  I believe there were only three individuals representing the ethnic majority, everyone else was black.  I was the only Asian person.  Most of the viewers came in groups of at least two.  There were up to half a dozen solo audience members, including me.  Average age of viewer: 30.  The theatre experience was very satisfying.  Nearly everyone winced and laughed when appropriate and expected.  One narrative running gag involved the film’s revealing of how many kids Ethan Hawke’s character has.  Each scene that added to the number of mouths to feed, the females in the audience laughed in an “oh geez, how many kids does he have” way.

2.  It was truly a treat to see Don Cheadle and Snipes together.  Cheadle’s performance reminded me somewhat of his role in Devil in a Blue Dress (Carl Franklin, 1995).  Snipes mere presence in the film recalls New Jack City (Mario Van Peebles, 1991).

2.  I love the part when Eddie tells a rookie cop (a lance corporal from the Marines) that you do not make an arrest out of your zone.  The way he says it is akin to emphasizing the right way to make a sorbet or creme brulee.

Click here for an interview with Don Cheadle and Wesley Snipes.

Click here for an interview with Ethan Hawke and Antoine Fuqua.

Click here for more movie stills.

March Madness: Georgia Tech surmounts Oklahoma State

It was about this time last year when I found a way to watch basketball without getting bored or distracted: keep my eyes on the players not holding or dribbling the ball.  As a viewer and admirer of aesthetic athletics, I still haven’t quite clicked with this sport yet.  You know that moment when you know in your heart (or gut) that you are or most definitely are not in love with someone?  or that moment when you understand your purpose on this planet?  Well, I haven’t had such a moment with basketball…not televised basketball at any rate.

My basketball-loving friend strongly recommended I watch the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys tonight in the second round of March Madness at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee.  He implored, “If there is ever a georgia tech basketball game for you to watch–even though i know you watched one of our biggest games in the past few years last sunday vs. duke–it’s our game tonight because this is the first NCAA tournament game we’ve played in since 2007; it’s on CBS in its entirety.  If we lose this game, our season is over; survive and advance.  Single elimination, that is what makes the NCAA tourney so much fun.  Both teams are playing with their season on the line.”

So, I watched it.  GaTech spent much of the game in the lead or tied with Oklahoma State.  With four minutes left to play, the Yellow Jackets were 54 to the Cowboys’ 52.  Two minutes later, GaTech 60 and OKSU 56.  Twenty seconds later, Oklahoma State got three points.  The Yellow Jackets went on to beat the Cowboys 64 to 59.

Watch ming watching the second half.

Observations & Miscellania:

1.  Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel were the commentators.

2.  Basketball game-play is pause-and-go.

3.  Paul Hewitt has been head coach at GaTech for ten years.

4.  The court at the Bradley Center is the color of sand and is much more pleasing in terms of televised sports mise-en-scene.  The players did not disappear into the floor.  The basketball hoop, however, tended to blend in with its surroundings.

5.  There’s no space for mental rest or assurance in basketball.  A team down by ten to twenty points can easily close the gap, tie, or take the lead.  In football, though, two to three touchdowns worth of points in the second or third quarter offers both the players and the viewers enough perceived security not to be on edge the whole time.

6.  Basketball players’ gestures of courtesy and etiquette do not come across as “affection” the same way as they do in football.  When basketball players help each other up from the floor, it looks completely in character, normal.

After the game, my friend and I convened via chat and he had the following to say:

That was such a solid win by tech.  It may have been our best game the entire season. We certainly saved our best for last.  24 of 25 from the free throw line.  That was amazing.  AMAZING!  Considering WE ARE ONE OF THE WORST FREE THROW SHOOTING TEAMS IN THE COUNTRY (327 NCAA DIVISION I SCHOOLS!!)  To shoot 96% from the free throw line was unbelievable, UNBELIEVABLE.  We shut down arguably the best shooting guard in college basketball tonight.  He was so highly touted coming into this game…the nation’s 3rd leading scorer… he was ineffective this game because of our great defense!

The last time we faced oklahoma state was in the 2004 final four… we beat them at the buzzer to advance to our first ever national championship game.  The NCAA selection committee likes to pair up teams with interesting storylines
EVERY year.  Some examples from this year, apart from our game:
1. wake forest vs. texas… both teams did great to start the season (texas, in fact, went 17-0 and rose to #1 in the country) before both teams fell apart on huge losing streaks to end the regular season… so the committee matched those two up in round 1… someone had to go out with a win!
2. temple vs. cornell. temple was the atlantic 10 conference champion. cornell was the ivy league champion. cornell’s head coach used to be an assistant coach for temple’s head coach. so the NCAA selection committee matched up master vs. pupil.
3. clemson vs. missouri. tigers vs. tigers.
4. texas a&m vs. utah state. aggies vs. aggies.

When I asked about the venue, he added:

“It’s where the nba’s milwaukee bucks play.  It’s also a special site for georgia tech for 2 reasons:

1. In 1992, we had the “miracle in milwaukee” buzzer beating shot to upset USC.  It is still to this day one of the greatest moments in NCAA history – same building!

2. In 2004, it was the site of our 1st and 2nd round games (same as this year) on our way to the 2004 final four AND national championship game – the furthest our program has ever gotten.”

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

Tim Tebow explodes off from the line of scrimmage

Yes, I wore green today.

I had dinner with a couple friends tonight at this restaurant.  Tasty.  One of the TVs above the bar had footage of Tim Tebow putting himself on display for NFL scouts.  Would you say that the closest a strapping, young man can get to experiencing himself as object of gaze and desire is in the presence of college or professional scouts?  I imagine it to be a rung above a supermodel taking to the catwalk.  The press and the buyers go to a fashion show for the clothes, not the women who wear it (though, a designer may be in it for both).*  Well-chiseled, and with room for improvements, house-hold name college football players demonstrate their abilities without the costume.  Sans helmet, sans jersey, sans spandex pants, just body, cotton, and a look of determination vaguely downplayed by calmness.  It’s no big deal, this is nothing; I make this look like second-nature.

Pic cred: MoneyLaw.

*Victoria’s Secret the notable exception.  En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind” mv makes use of the runway for ideological purposes.

It was a dark and wet back yard.