Friday, December 31, 2010

Stupid/Crazy Kids

50 Cent's Half-Billion $

Washington Post's Dan Charnas gets into the myth of 50 Cent's Vitaminwater investment/partnership that was originally believed to have earned the rapper $400-500 million. Charnas concedes at the end of the article that it was more like $60-100 million, but still makes for a good story.

"It may well have been the biggest deal in hip-hop history, propelling 50 Cent's personal net worth toward a half-billion dollars."

"50 Cent would take a stake in the privately owned company, one that would graduate over time and escalate if the company hit certain numbers. The two entities - 50 Cent on one hand and Glaceau on the other - signed an agreement of mutual confidentiality. Still, word got around that Lighty had negotiated something close to, but not more than, 10 percent of the value of the company."

"In May 2007, the Coca-Cola Company purchased Glaceau for $4.1 billion."


"During these discussions, Lighty and 50 deliberated the attributes of their new product. Oza presented the pair with several flavor options for Formula 50. For Chris Lighty, the choice was simple. Despite the high-minded science of Glaceau, their product was basically a smarter, more upscale, more aspirational version of the ultimate ghetto beverage on which Lighty and 50 had grown up: the "quarter-waters" sold in every bodega, deli and convenience store from Queens to Compton.

The quarter-waters (so named because they once cost 25 cents) were just like the Kool-Aid everybody drank at home. But nobody drank wild flavors like strawberry and kiwi in the 'hood. They drank grape. Formula 50 had to be grape."

Player Defines State of Seattle/Washington

"They say Jake Locker was carved to athletic perfection between the Cascade Range and the Salish Sea. Big, strong and strikingly fast, he was a statewide myth by the time he was a teenager, a high school football force scorching through Friday nights in the farthest reaches of the Pacific Northwest.

By the time he became the quarterback for the University of Washington, he was cast here as nothing less than a savior, a rural kid summoned to the digital city from a place few of his new fans could find on a map, Ferndale, Wash., population 11,000. His father taped drywall for a living. His grandfather worked in a pulp mill for 37 years. Neither of them graduated from college, but Jake would stir the rescue fantasies of an ambitious university and what the Census Bureau has called the nation’s best-educated city.


Seattle is more than generous billionaires and precision composting. It exports airplanes and wine but also wheat and wood. It is still a crossroads, energized by friction between rural and urban, union machinist and transplant techie, immigrant and entrenched. Not far from the rows of bungalows beloved by carbon-conscious New Urbanists, Aurora Avenue, a critical city artery, features stunning views of Mount Rainier — and boarded-up motels.

Yet in the center of it all there has long been a uniting force, the home team. Before the Seahawks or the Mariners or the Sounders soccer team, before Microsoft or Boeing, before the Klondike gold rush or even statehood, there was the University of Washington, founded as the Territorial University of Washington 150 years ago next fall with a single professor and 30 students.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


National Geographic's Photograph of the Year Contest

National Geographic's $10,000 Best Photograph of the Year contest was awarded to Lim Boom Teck of Singapore for the above photo of Indonesia’s Gunung Rinjani volcano eruption.

Below are the category winners for "Places" and"People."

"Chittagong in Bangladesh is the second biggest ship breaking yard in the world, it is a graveyard where ships are taken in from all around the world for their last voyage, to be taken apart."
"Buffalo race, Indonesia"

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Building the New Silk Road

Excerpts from the New York Times - "Building Museums, and a Fresh Arab Identity"


"...leaders also see their construction sprees as part of sweeping efforts to retool their societies for a post-Sept. 11, post-oil world. Their goal is not only to build a more positive image of the Middle East at a time when anti-Islamic sentiment continues to build across Europe and the United States, but also to create a kind of latter-day Silk Road, one on which their countries are powerful cultural and economic hinges between the West and rising powers like India and China."

Planned Museums:

"Here, on a barren island on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, workers have dug the foundations for three colossal museums: an $800 million Frank Gehry-designed branch of the Guggenheim 12 times the size of its New York flagship; a half-billion-dollar outpost of the Louvre by Jean Nouvel; and a showcase for national history by Foster & Partners, the design for which was unveiled on Thursday. And plans are moving ahead for yet another museum, about maritime history, to be designed by Tadao Ando."

The picture up top is the planned national history museum by Foster & Partners and below are renderings of Jean Nouvel (Guthrie Theatre Minneapolis, MN)'s Louvre and Frank Gehry's Guggenheim.

Water for Elephants, The Tree of Life

Above, is the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation of the best-selling novel Water for Elephants. Starring Christopher Waltz (Inlgorious Basterds), Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattison and Hal Holbrook, the film is scheduled to be released April 11, 2011.

Below is the trailer for Terrence Malick's long-delayed film, The Tree of Life, starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn. Scheduled to be released May 27, 2011.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Shigeru Miyamoto - Profile

The New Yorker has profiled acclaimed Japanese Nintendo video game creator Shigeru Miyamoto (Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda) in this week's World Changers Issue (right up there with virus chasers, the Peace Corps and Julian Assange).

"Miyamoto has told variations on the cave story a few times over the years, in order to emphasize the extent to which he was surrounded by nature, as a child, and also to claim his youthful explorations as a source of his aptitude and enthusiasm for inventing and designing video games. The cave has become a misty but indispensable part of his legend, to Miyamoto what the cherry tree was to George Washington, or what LSD is to Steve Jobs..... The cave, certainly, is an occasion for easy irony: the man who has perhaps done more than any other person to entice generations of children to spend their playtime indoors, in front of a video screen, happened to develop his peculiar talent while playing outdoors, at whatever amusements or mischief he could muster."

The Metrodome

28 years old. Building costs $2 million under budget ($68 milllion back in '79-'82). One of the loudest domed venues. The only venue to host an MLB All-Star Game, a Super Bowl, an NCAA Final Four and a World Series.

Just some of the many things you can learn on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Inception Dream-Layers Map

Inception dream map drawn by writer/director Christopher Nolan.

Too complicated to really spoil the movie for anyone who hasn't seen it yet.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Qatar 2022 World Cup Stadiums

Look pretty awesome. A new area of the world, the Mid East, gets to host the big games. 120 degree summers will be regulated by air conditioned stadiums.

My personal favorite, Doha Port.


Inspire Me Now

The Dark Knight Rises (Batman 3)

Both of Christopher Nolan's first two Batman movies were inspired/loosely based on Batman graphic novels.

The Dark Knight = The Long Halloween

The latest rumors, as reported by Entertainment Weekly, Ain't It Cool News and Slash Film, is that Nolan's last Batman film, 'The Dark Knight Rises' (Batman 3), is inspired by Batman: Prey (1990-1991).

A full plot breakdown of the graphic novel can be found at the wikipedia page (Batman: Prey). While the original print graphic novel can be bought on for $400-600.

"This rumor, however, is one we’ve been hearing for a while. In November, we ran a story speculating that Tom Hardy (Inception) would be playing Dr. Hugo Strange, “a genius, mad scientist who becomes obsessed with Batman, learns his secret identity and ends up dressing up like him,” in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. One of Strange’s most famous roles is in the Batman: Prey storyline, written by Doug Moench and drawn by Paul Gulacy and Terry Austin from late 1990 to early 1991. It begins with a task force, headed by Commissioner Gordon, assigned to hunt Batman and devolves into Dr. Strange dressing up as, and psychologically toying with, Batman and Bruce Wayne once he figures out his identity. Interesting. Doesn’t Batman become a fugitive to be “hunted” at the end of The Dark Knight?"
Slash Film - ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Story Revealed? Is it ‘Prey’ with Dr. Hugo Strange?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cowboys & Aliens - Identity Crisis

Jon Favreau (Iron Man & 2)'s upcoming 'Cowboys & Aliens' is having a tough time genre-lizing itself. The movie, starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig and based on a graphic novel, was intended to be “by-the-book, right-down-the-middle western” of the kind once made by Sergio Leone and John Ford, with really scary science fiction, like “Alien” or “Predator;” however, as the below New York Times story describes audiences are laughing.

Nas names "Best Hip-Hop Lyricists"

Nas wrote a playlist naming Hip-Hop's best lyricists for Rolling Stone's most recent themed issue.

"When I said 'hip-hop is dead' a few years ago, I felt we'd gotten away from the great wordplay and storytelling," says Nas. "There's a place for the party shit and a place for the gangster shit. I focus on the guys that are always pushing themselves forward."

1. "My Downfall" - Notorious B.I.G., 1997

The lyrics are about how he's acing the shadows of death, despite all of his success, and he's giving it to you in a way that makes it seem so real.

2. "If My Homie Calls" - 2pac, 1991

He's just saying to his boys that he's going to be a friend no matter how big he gets.

3. "Road To The Riches" - Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo, 1989

The way we're rhyming now? He was already doing it then .

4. "A Bird In The Hand" - Ice Cube, 1991

5. "Paid In Full" - Eric B. & Rakim, 1987

6. "I'm Single" - Lil Wayne, 2010

I'm recently divorced, so I feel what he's saying.

7. "Tears of Joy" - Rick Ross, 2010

Ross is at the pulpit here.

8 "The Moment I Feared" - Slick Rick, 1988

It's cinematic. He's at a hip-hop show and ices this girl who played him, then he's in prison getting violated by some dude. This was unheard of.

9. "Empire State of Mind" - Jay-Z, 2009

This song is huge. It sounds like Broadway. It's New York's modern anthem.

10. "Queen Bitch" - Lil' Kim, 1996

At the time, females rappers didn't appeal to the street, but Kim came with the vulgarity, sexuality and gangster shit.