About Me

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New York City, New York, United States
41 year old African-American Male. I like to think of myself as a jack of all trades and a master of none...I rely on reasoned common sense, rationality and what my gut tells me is right/wrong (combined with the well reasoned opinions of others!). I don't consider myself an expert on anything in particular, but I have lots of opinions.

Monday, January 16, 2012

What Am I Doing?

I wrote this post 1/15/12 and set it aside for editing...Before I got around to editing, I had a change of heart about the subject (how presumptuous of me to compile a list of what I am reading/listening to/watching, etc).  Then I remembered that this is my blog...

What am I up? (i.e., reading, listening to, watching, planning to see)...
I am touched on this some yesterday, in terms of highlighting some things that I have seen...For some reason, I have decided to outline a few of the things occupying my time now (not at this particular moment, but in general terms):

[Note:  I am forget/get confused as to whether I should use " ", underlining and/or italics, so I use them interchangeable]

Books:  For me, the good and bad thing about Kindle (no, I don't have an Ipad and not sure that I will be purchasing one...I haven't gotten the Kindle Fire yet either---I just bought my Kindle last in the Spring of '11, so I am not looking to spend money on another piece of electronic equipment anytime soon)...but, back to my point...Kindle allows (even encourages) me to read multiple books at once (not literally) because I don't have to deal with the burden of actually carrying those multiple books back and forth during my working commute/on vacation, etc.  Everything is neatly held in one place---all I have to do is flip the switch (and ensure my device has been sufficiently powered) and there are all of my books!:

1.  Sister Citizen:  Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women in America by Melissa Harris-Perry (I really enjoy Professor Perry's writing and analysis and although in some sense, this is an instance of preaching to the choir--her to me, its always good to continue to sharpen one's insight).
2.  The Battle for Gotham:  New York in Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs by Roberta Brandes Gratz (I am and have always been intrigued by NY and wanted to try to understand how NY got to be NY...I also question some of the policy planning decisions that have been made and applaud others...this book has been an interesting starting point).
3.  The Green Collar Economy by Van Jones (I actually stopped reading mid-way through...I am a big fan of Jones, but this book is a little too simplistic for me...I am certainly trying to increase my knowledge of environmental issues, but the problem here is that Jones presents the "solutions" without any acknowledgement of our present political environment.  Moreover, I question the efficacy of some of the solutions listed.  Will probably resume in the Spring.
4.  Palestine Peace Not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter (the Middle East conflict, history, religion are all areas of interest for me;  combine those interests with a significant historical injustice- and I am not referring to the persecution of the Jewish people, which I am not condoning either, I mean it is possible to be critical of some of Israel's policies and not be an anti-Semite; and, this book is a must read for me).

1.  "Unsung" on TVOne (TVOne is about .5 of a step better than BET in terms of programming, but my partner and I love this show...)
2.  "Burn Notice"- this is my escapist television.  Both the male and female leads are easy on the eyes and its just good, clean fun.  I do wonder if some of the plots are magnifications of real covert intelligence tactics/operations, but in general, I am hooked.  In fact, at 41, this show made me wonder if I missed my calling to be a CIA agent?)
3.  "Homeland" (Showtime...the first season ended last fall...this show is just amazing to me...I am getting a little tired of all of the covert CIA-type shows, but this one is a keeper for me).
4.  "Up! with Chris Hayes" (weekend mornings on MSNBC...This show is a great counter to the inane Sunday morning political shows on the other networks that typically feature the same old, tired talking heads babbling on about the same banal crap...I am also looking forward to Professor Harris-Perry's MSNBC show that is set to debut on February 4).

In addition to "Pariah" which I saw last weekend and "The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975", which I watched on DVD this weekend, I am looking forward to seeing:  "Shame", "The Iron Lady" and I have to figure out how I am going to see "Gun Hill Road".

One of many great things about living in NY is that opportunity to see some really good theatrical productions...there is also plenty of middle-of-the-road garbage as well, but I have done a pretty good job of avoiding most of that stuff...

Yesterday, we saw a matinee performance of W;t (my use of the semi-colon is intentional) with Cynthia Nixon...wow! This was a nicely done and forced me to think in terms of my own mortality (maybe everyone doesn't like to do this, but, in some perverse way, I do).  We have tickets next week for "Gerswhin's Porgy and Bess" (featuring Audra Macdonald).  I have not intentionally read any of the reviews (because I don't want to run into any spoilers or anything else that might ruin the show for me).  I know that there has been some early criticism of P&B (by Steven Soundheim) because of the re imagining of the story.  Since I have not previously seen the play/opera, I will have no idea what I am missing (although, I have to say, I don't want to see anything that is 4 hours long---which is the length of the original opera).


This dichotomy has created a huge disconnect between me and what's generally popular in the world of music right now...I have no idea of what's considered "hot"...I have no idea (outside of Adele) of the music by any of the many most popular artists---Nicki Manji?  Justin Bieber? Kathy Perry?  While I know the names (how can you avoid 'em?), I couldn't name a song by any of them.  I don't say this with a badge of honor (I am now starting to feel like my mom)...I just note the serious disconnect between a professed music lover and the business of music.  Fortunately, this disconnect is not all that new (and I am hardly the only person who shares this view).  There are TONS of artist out there (not to mention vasts archives) where one can find all kinds of tunes that are made to cater to all kinds of tastes...Its also a good thing that I think of myself as the kind of person who will actually find what we is "looking for".  So, after that long-ass diatribe of self-righteous indignation, I say that the latest thing that I am listening to is "Portrait of a Legend", which is a compilation of songs my Sam Cooke...talk about genius (I was watching the "Unsung" episode on Bobby Womack.  Womack was discussing his working relationship with Sam Cooke...I have listened to some Sam Cooke in the past, but that episode piqued my interest further...and here we are...).

I am still rocking Adele (I really need to move on and listen to something else...), Lizz Wright, Dianne Reeves, Fertile Ground, Incognito, Erykah Badu, old Mary J. Blige, Amel Larreux, Donny Hathaway, Rahsaan Patterson...among many, many others...There is in fact tons of good music out there (in addition to all of bad).  You just have to look for it.

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