Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Jabrill Peppers / Charles Woodson Comparison

ESPN - "Top breakout players in 2015: Nos. 10-1"

#7. Jabrill Peppers, Michigan S

"Even the No. 2 overall prospect from the 2014 recruiting class wants to tamp down the connection being made between him and Charles Woodson. For now.

New coach Jim Harbaugh intends to use Peppers on offense, defense and special teams, but Peppers, a defensive back by trade, has hardly played. Presuming he’ll hold up to the standard set by the 1997 Heisman winner is silly, at least at this point in time. Peppers himself called it “insane” as camp was starting. “Let me play first,” he said.

Despite the small sample size of snaps -- he appeared in three games last September -- Peppers was the only Wolverine who surfaced on our recent countdown of the top 100 CFB players. There’s a belief, both internally and externally, that he’s primed for a quantum leap as a redshirt freshman. Harbaugh should use him all that he can, considering Peppers likely has only two more seasons in a maize and blue uniform."

Grantland - "Not According to Jim: All of the Non-Harbaugh Reasons to Get Excited About Michigan Football in 2015"

Mr. Robot

"If you visited [Mr. Robot Show Creator Sam Esmail's] dorm room, perhaps you noticed a movie poster or two on his walls: “A Clockwork Orange” or “Taxi Driver” or “American Psycho” or “Fight Club.” (Probably “Fight Club.”)

If you dumped those four movies into a boxy old television, shook it up, and turned it on, the result, if TVs worked like cocktail mixers, would be “Mr. Robot.” This is partly a matter of form: the show skillfully borrows images and sounds from those films and others. But the connection runs deeper."

New Yorker - "Mr. Robot and the Angry Young Man"

"Mr. Robot, USA Network’s audacious foray into prestige TV, swiftly became the best show of the summer through a combination of twisty plots, stellar acting, and feature-film-level cinematography. It’s an idiosyncratic blend of nostalgic references, modern anxieties, and bizarre characters. In short, it’s our favorite new drama..."

Grantland - "‘Mr. Robot’ Precap: Predictions for the Season Finale of This Year’s Craziest New Show"

The Hip Hop Inspiration Behind Hamilton

New York Times - "Exploring ‘Hamilton’ and Hip-Hop Steeped in Heritage"

"I’ll tell you a few of the hip-hop references that peek through. When Hamilton says, “I’m only 19, but my mind is old,” in “My Shot,” (a line echoed by his son Philip later), that’s Prodigy of Mobb Deep, on “Shook Ones Part II.” There’s a bit of the hip-hop classic “The Message” in “What’d I Miss.” And “Say No to This,” when Hamilton’s eye begins wandering, starts with a quote from LL Cool J’s “I Need Love.”

The section of “Right Hand Man” in which George Washington is courting Hamilton to come work by his side reminded me of “Coming of Age,” from Jay Z’s debut album, “Reasonable Doubt.” It’s a back-and-forth between him and a hungry protégé, Memphis Bleek. Jay is looking for an eager student, and I can imagine Bleek coming back at him with Hamilton’s refrain: “I am not throwing away my shot.”

And Biggie, Biggie, Biggie. For a certain stripe of hip-hop fan, Biggie is the ne plus ultra. I’ve got all of “Ready to Die” and “Life After Death” committed to memory, and I suspect Miranda does, too. “10 Duel Commandments” is, natch, a remake of “10 Crack Commandments,” with its same blend of horror and pathos. And the “if you don’t know, now you know” Jefferson drops in “Schuyler Defeated” is straight out of “Juicy.”

But most strikingly, when Hamilton confronts his own mortality, in “It’s Quiet Uptown,” I couldn’t help but think about Biggie’s “Suicidal Thoughts,” still one of the most chilling hip-hop songs of all time. The characters have different paths, but both have ended up exhausted, frayed, desperate.

To me, Miranda is a storyteller first and a rapper maybe fifth, or maybe a storyteller in an age when rapping is the most effective megaphone."

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Legend of Mountain Lions

Wall Street Journal - "Eastern Mountain Lions May Be Extinct, but Locals Still See Them"

"“I can’t think of any other animal that has captured the imagination of the public in the way that the Eastern cougar has,” he says.

Cougars do show up in the East now and then. But after studying reports going back decades, wildlife officials concluded these sightings were either Western cougars that wandered east, freed exotic pets or a Florida panther.

Confirmed cougar sightings east of the Mississippi River are “quite rare,” happening perhaps every five years, Mr. McCollough says.

Yet, wildlife agencies in the East receive hundreds of reported sightings of mountain lions each year, particularly claims of black panthers, which have never been authenticated in the U.S., the Fish and Wildlife Service said in its review."

Monday, August 24, 2015

Quote of the Night

Vulture - "In Conversation With Quentin Tarantino"

"The last time that I felt competitive was when I was doing Kill Bill and my competition was The Matrix Reloaded. That was the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads. I saw Matrix Reloaded at the Chinese Theatre the day it opened, and I walked out of the cinema singing that Jay Z song: “S-dot-Carter / Y’all must try harder / Competition is nada.” I was like, Bring it the fuck on. I was worried about that? Ho-ly shit."

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Westworld Teaser

io9 - "The First Westworld Teaser Asks You To Question Your Reality"

Based on the 1973 science fiction western-thriller movie written & directed by Michael Crichton. Slated for 2016, the HBO show is being created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, executive produced by J.J. Abrams.

Heath Ledger's TDK Diary

Complex - "Heath Ledger's Disturbing Joker Diary Surfaces in Documentary"

Junior Seau in the Pro Football Hall of Fame

New York Times - "The Hall of Fame Speech Junior Seau’s Daughter Couldn’t Give"

"What keeps coming to mind when I think of him is the fact that he was basically superhuman. On the field he was relentless, hard-hitting, passionate and unstoppable. Off the field he was caring, gentle, hilarious and generous. On top of that he played within the league for 20 years, and that in itself is pretty exceptional.

But I think what we tend to forget about our favorite invincible, unstoppable, indestructible superhumans is the minor detail that they are also human. That is something that we all must endure today without his physical presence. We cannot celebrate his life and achievement without feeling the constant piece that’s missing.

May 2, 2012, we all endured a loss. Thousands lost their all-time favorite linebacker, hundreds lost their favorite Charger, tens lost their buddy, and four lost their father. The reason why this honor is so hard to accept is because we had always envisioned him still being here to accept it."

Dr. Dre's First Album in 16 Years

"While he’s rarely mistaken for a conscious leader, no one rallies a squad like Dre. His horde of mentees — among them Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent, Kendrick Lamar, and in many ways his moneyman Jimmy Iovine — has used his recording insight and overwhelming mastery of production to launch superstar careers. (Is there any doubt Iovine — who is sampled delivering an aphoristic motivational speech on the new album — has now benefited from a Dre partnership at least as much as Eminem, the biggest rap star ever?) This talent management is highlighted in a crucial early scene in Straight Outta Compton, when a young Dre coaches a nascent Eazy-E on how to land on the beat during the recording of “Boyz-n-the Hood.” He shames Eazy into greatness, gently mocking a performance out of him. Dre has always had a knack for surrounding himself with the right collaborators, and for putting them in a position to succeed. He’s a flexible general manager, moving talent in and out without sentimentality, deftly executing his vision for a successful franchise. And not just superstars-in-waiting like Cube or Snoop, but figures like the Lady of Rage, Daz Dillinger, and Kurupt, who contributed lyrics and guest appearances during the making of his 1992 album, The Chronic; or the producer Mel-Man and multi-instrumentalist Mike Elizondo, who crafted elements of the aerated astral funk on Dre’s 2001. The list of absorbed and abandoned Dre coconspirators is long enough to fill a marble notebook. But Dre’s creative process is strictly egalitarian — to the winners go the songwriting credits.

Compton is no exception — it is flooded with names both bold and anonymous. There is a surprisingly visible underclass, like the relatively unknown Anderson .Paak and King Mez, tenacious young Los Angeles–based MCs recruited as much for their writing as their fealty to Dre’s historicity. There are several R&B singers here, too, more than he has ever employed, from the veteran Dre collaborator Marsha Ambrosius to the South African singer Candice Pillay and sandy-voiced BJ the Chicago Kid. Then there is the litany of longtime cohorts — a becalmed Cube, an invigorated Snoop, an at-home Xzibit, a so-at-home-he-might-sign-a-lease The Game — all aware of the moment, using their voices with a battering-ram force that has been absent in recent years. Most prevalent is Kendrick, who shows up for three inspired moments of desperate eloquence, all of a piece with his recent To Pimp a Butterfly. These are two-pronged gambits — on the one hand, Dre is a magnanimous discoverer of talent. (Imagine King Mez’s excitement this week.) But in another light, he is the beneficiary of so much youthful labor — happy to subsume the energy, insight, and hard-won lyrics of yet another wave of famished voices — while also flashing the digits in his Rolodex."

- Sean Fennessey, Grantland

"That’s a form of hiding, too, though. And on “Compton,” he has at least one good reason to fade into the background: Mr. Lamar, who appears on three songs. Mr. Lamar is the photo negative of Dr. Dre — he’s a dense lyrical technician who can be all trees, no forest. As strong as his albums have been, he’s still needed the caress of a Dr. Dre.

“Deep Water” showcases each at his best — it’s more propulsive than almost anything on Mr. Lamar’s recent album, and still an accommodating home for his dexterous verse. It’s an act of genuine intergenerational sharing.

For years, Dr. Dre was writing Compton’s story primarily through music; Mr. Lamar has made it the subject of his advanced-placement parables. Both men’s approach to their hometown is different, and personal — and here, for the first time, they’re truly in sync.

“Compton,” Dr. Dre has said, will be his “grand finale.” Maybe that’s because the torch is finally passed, and now he doesn’t owe anyone anything anymore."

- Jon Caramanica, New York Times

Michael Chabon's Kendrick Lamar Annotation
Hip Hop Messiahs

Inside Amy Schumer - 12 Angry Men

GQ - "The Force Is Strong With This One"

Chris Heath: Obviously the 12 Angry Men episode was a kind of masterpiece.

Schumer: I had that idea and all of a sudden I was really excited about the third season. It was a scene that I would say I wrote 90 percent on because I don't want the [show's other] writers to go home and think of ways to insult me. I don't want to be handed a new insecurity: "Oh, you didn't know something's wrong with your knees?" I worked really fucking hard on it. It got to me after hours and hours, but I was laughing the whole time, thinking about Paul Giamatti saying, "Her ass makes me furious." [laughs] It was empowering, to put all those insults about myself out there. I love being in my own skin, and I hope other women start feeling better about themselves and waste less energy being ashamed of their bodies.

D.C. Statehood with John Oliver

Yoga Joes

via The World's Best Ever.