Friday, August 29, 2008

My Generation Spoke

I wrote this after the Iowa Caucus (before I entered the blogosphere) and as we look back, we see that night as the launch of the legitimacy and competency of the Obama candidacy. Last night that candidacy was affirmed and celebrated, rightfully so, it was the largest and most sophisticated of any political campaign in the history of our country, and its not over yet...

January 3, 2008
I sat here tonight watching my generation stand up (in whatever small part) to make their voice heard on a national (in some parts global) level. I write to you as a 24 year old lifelong conservative, who much like yourself supported Bush in his early years but grew weary of his faith based motives suffocating our basic faiths in the American system domestically and abroad. I guess the biggest thing that made me smile tonight is that hope for a united America seemed to win for once. I have watched politicians (in my short life of following politics) get up and tell me they will get past partisan politics, but there was something inside of me, deep down, from I don't know where, that told me not to believe it. It told me they couldn't escape the chains and shackles of our modern Political system. Something that told me it could never happen with the type of country we had morphed into. The type of country that could give more daily hits to than That is what saddened me about my generation, its what saddened me about the American political system its what I thought I would have to witness the remaining years of my life.
But tonight sitting here watching that Senator from my hometown of Chicago, I smiled wide and hard, and I felt that joy release from that uneasy feeling I had deep down inside me... I don't know if you can put a price on that. It was that joy that completely reversed the tables, that made that cynicism I had for my generation turn to optimism. I sit here accepting the notion that the people of my generation may not read, understand, and discuss the headlines of the New York Times more than they do People Magazine (at least for the near future). But I think what happened in Iowa tonight deserves a turn of the head, a raise of the eyebrow, a pause... from us young voters outside of Iowa to those who stood up for a valuable democratic process inside Iowa. It deserves that because it shows us the meaning of a voice in democracy, the power it can have within our nation and within our world. That's what came out of me tonight, my HOPE is that it was mutual.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Spread of Wal-Mart

A fascinating animated map on the growth of the chain over the past 40 years

Monday, August 4, 2008

Music Mandate

I have followed/bought/been obsessed with - Girl Talk for a while now. Gregg Gillis was a biomedical engineer in Pittsburgh while he worked on his creations, now spanning 4 albums with the recent release of Feed the Animals (name your price), he has created something that is hard for Millennials to turn away from. Girl Talk creates mash-ups of hip hop, indie rock, dance, pop, and dozens of subgenres together.

Girl Talk's last album, Night Ripper, is a mash-up masterpiece. Composed of 16 continuous dance tracks featuring 167 artists and dozens of subgenres, the album's samples are so subtly integrated that they are often difficult to discern. One track seamlessly splices indie rockers Neutral Milk Hotel with rapper Juelz Santana; another fades James Taylor's "Your Smiling Face" into 50 Cent's "In Da Club." Rolling Stone,Spin, and Blender magazines put Girl Talk on the national scene in 2006 when they included Night Ripper on their "best albums of the year" lists.

Girl Talk embodies the Millennial Generation like no other artist.  An archaeologist from the future could find no greater musical artifact than Night Ripper or Feed The Animals, which feature music from the 80s (new wave, gangsta rap), 90s (grunge, Dirty South) and 00s (emo, crunk).  Much of the fun is recognizing songs you haven't heard since middle school.  But his albums aren't just nostalgic soundtracks; their ingenuous genre-blending makes them far greater than the sum of their parts.  And Girl Talk would hardly have been possible without the generation-defining Internet.  Online file-sharing allowed him to get almost any song for free.  Editing software on his laptop (which he uses at live shows) allowed him to splice and dice music without the need for expensive studio equipment.  And of course blogs and websites made word-of-mouth and distribution far easier for an amateur with a day job.

Also, I can't help but notice parallels between his music and the cultural atmosphere surrounding Obama.  At age 46, Obama certainly isn't a Millennial.  But his campaign -- buoyed by young fans and volunteers -- embodies that generation in so many ways, as does Girl Talk.  Obama is a young, diverse, and unique politician running an innovative, grassroots campaign that thrives offs the Internet.  Similarly, Girl Talk is a young, innovative, Internet-based artist whose level of sampling is unique and incredibly diverse -- racially and stylistically.  And both Obama and Gillis draw from the same demographics: African-Americans and young liberal whites.  Plus, they both put on killer live shows.  (Incidentally, nearly half of the songs on Obama's iPod -- including Jay-Z, Elton John, and the Stones -- are sampled on the last two Girl Talk albums.)

More from Chris  here

Girl Talk Videos - enjoy

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Mouse is Dead

The future of computing, and the human interactive,  I want one now, not right now, but now.


When the biggest Oil tycoon the United States has ever had, decides to put $10 billion into developing wind power energy alternatives, I think we're making what I hope is the first of many steps in the right direction... now if only our government had a pulse on this issue/world crisis...

"He knows something that his friends in the White House won’t acknowledge: that a nation holding less than 3 percent of the world’s oil reserves while guzzling 20 percent of the world’s production will never be able to drill its way out of its dependency on foreign oil." The New York Times