Monday, October 24, 2022

Barcelona's Global Influence


 - "Barcelona's tiki-taka is inspiration behind Golden State Warriors tactics, says NBA star Klay Thompson"

Hypebeast - "Drake Is Celebrating 50 Billion Spotify Streams as the New Barcelona Home Kit Sponsor"

Emojis in the Workplace


From Axios Communications:

As emojis become an increasingly ubiquitous tool for communication, there's a growing generational divide over their meaning, writes Eleanor Hawkins, author of our new weekly newsletter, Axios Communicators.

• Why it matters: 91% of workers say their messages have been misunderstood or misinterpreted, according to a study by video messaging platform Loom. 💨 Catch up quick: In a recent viral Reddit thread, several members of Gen Z — anyone born in 1997 and beyond — said they considered the use of "👍" to be passive aggressive and rude.

• Some members of Gen Z consider the commonly used 😭 , ❤️ and 👏 to be cringeworthy, according to a 2021 poll.

🔎 Between the lines: Some emoji have ulterior meanings that stretch across generations, too — like the not-so-subtle eggplant, corn or peach. • There are also issues of cultural appropriation, accessibility and inclusion within the emoji library. While the emoji options have become more diverse over time, 83% of users want to see more representation, according to a global study by Adobe.

🤔 The intrigue: We love emoji here at Axios, which led to a lively debate in our newsroom about the rules of the road.

• Gen Z-er Lydia Massey: "I refused to use the thumbs-up emoji when I first started working remotely because, on a visceral level, the tone felt off. At best, it was dismissive and at worst, it was a middle finger. But I can also logically recognize it for what it actually is: a fast way to communicate."

• Hope King's Millennial POV: "Like all forms of communication, emoji expression is individualistic and depends

on the relationship between two people. Learn their patterns, be yourself, don’t be afraid to edit, and keep it FUN! 😜🤠😎"

• Nicholas Johnston's Gen X thought bubble on 👍 being controversial: "What the heck? 🤔 I feel like I just figured out how to effectively use emojis. And now I am being a jerk? 👎 Well I have one thing to say about that.... 'It's the children who are wrong.'"

• Russell Contreras' perspective: "Some Latino and Indigenous users prefer culturally relevant emojis to express affirmation. Axios News Desk editor Laura Martínez regularly uses 💃🏾 when she finds something fun or ironic. Alaska Native poet Joan Naviyuk Kane will thumb out an 🦅 for a text message she endorses."

Previously on WDA,
Emojis—the Language of the 2020s (Mar 2021)

7 Foot 4 Victor Wembanyama


The Guardian - "Victor Wembanyama: the 7ft 4in ‘once-in-a-millennium’ prodigy coming to the NBA"

The Ringer - "Is the NBA Ready for Victor Wembanyama?"

The Ringer's Mallory Rubin


New York Times - "In the Land of Too Much Television, This Nerd Is Queen"

R.I.P. Dan Wieden


New York Times - "Dan Wieden, Adman of Nike ‘Just Do It’ Fame, Is Dead at 77"

Ibiza's House DJ


New Yorker - "Solomun, the D.J. Who Keeps Ibiza Dancing"
By Ed Caesar

Previously by Ed Casear,
Simulating Westworld (Dec 2021)

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Zach Lowe's NBA League Pass Rankings


ESPN - "Lowe's League Pass Rankings: The top 10 must-watch teams this season"

10. Dallas Mavericks
9. Los Angeles Lakers
8. Minnesota Timberwolves

"The Wolves ranked first in pace and second in scoring efficiency after Jan. 1 last season. They have one blockbuster young star in Anthony Edwards, fast becoming a three-level scorer as his confidence soars on pull-ups and step-backs.

Edwards wants to dunk people into oblivion -- the bigger, the better. He flies at the rim as if he thinks he can dunk through humans -- that they will disintegrate beneath him.

One of the league's keenest offensive tinkerers -- Chris Finch -- must figure out how to mesh Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert in an unusual double-center look that has to work given the Wolves traded everything short of the old Metrodome baggie for Gobert.

Finch will get creative on defense, too. On some nights, the Wolves might flip-flop matchups -- slotting Towns onto centers, and stashing Gobert elsewhere so he can act as roving shot-blocker. We might see glimpses of last season's blitzing defense as a surprise adjustment.

Kyle Anderson weaponizes his slowness; defenders stumble ahead of his elongated moves, allowing Slow-Mo to saunter through creases. He snatches some of the league's cleanest live-dribble steals. Jaden McDaniels still seems like a blank canvas, and looms as Minnesota's swing factor. Jaylen Nowell jacks and struts with a gunslinger's bravado. How will D'Angelo Russell -- on an expiring contract -- respond if Finch yanks him for Jordan McLaughlin in crunch time again?

The Wolves relegated their gaudy neon green to the trimmings on this pristine new jersey:

Standing ovation for the fangs extending down off the "M" and "V."

PSST: Towns' averages in 11 postseason games: 19 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists, 3.5 turnovers (gag!), and many, many silly fouls. He has three single-digit scoring games, plus a dud in last season's play-in. It's time."

7. Milwaukee Bucks
6. Boston Celtics
5. New Orleans Pelicans
4. Denver Nuggets
3. Memphis Grizzlies
2. Golden State Warriors
1. Brooklyn Nets

The Return of the Iron Man


From Axios Sports:

The Ironman World Championships descended on Kona, Hawaii, last week for the first time since 2019, returning to the sport's spiritual home after three years of pandemic delays, Jeff writes.

State of play: The field was roughly twice as big as usual because of the long delay. To accommodate the volume, organizers split the event into separate races for women (Thursday) and men (Saturday) for the first time in its 44-year history.

Why it matters: This gave Ironman a chance to showcase women on their own day, continuing the organization's longstanding commitment to gender equality. They plan to make the change permanent.

What they're saying: "The history of Ironman and women is one that we're enormously proud of," Ironman Group CEO Andrew Messick tells Axios.

  • "There's never been a time when women were expected to do less than men. It's always been one distance, and either you were able to do it or not." 
  • "For us to be able to have a race where a woman is going to cross the finish line first, and be the sole focus of media attention, is something that we think was a long time coming."

The big picture: Kona missing out on three years of World Championships was a huge blow to triathletes and Hawaiians alike.

  • The little town on the Big Island's west coast is considered the sport's birthplace, and some of these athletes "have been waiting years for their chance to be on the pier, swim in Kona Bay, ride the Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway and run Ali'i Drive," Messick says. 
  • Plus: "This is the biggest event that happens on the west side of Hawaii," says Messick. Roughly 30,000 people come each year, and the local economic impact of the 2019 race was an estimated $72 million.

Between the lines: The 5,000 athletes from 92 countries are the main attraction at the World Championships, but the festivities in the days leading up to the races — Kona Week — add a unique element.

  • There's a kids race (the Keiki Dip 'N Dash), a Ho'ala training swim that gives fans the opportunity to swim the actual course and even an Underpants Run. 
  • Over 5,000 volunteers work to make the race possible. Those include "people catchers," whose job is to catch exhausted racers in danger of collapsing after crossing the finish line.

Results: In case the race's name doesn't tip you off, simply completing an Ironman is borderline absurd. It comprises a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run.

  • Women: 18 months after giving birth, Chelsea Sodaro (8:33:46) became the first American winner since 2002, and the first American female winner since 1996.
  • Men: Norway's Gustav Iden (7:40:24) obliterated the course record by more than 10 minutes, as did the entire top four, who all finished within five minutes of him.

1 awesome thing ... Chris Nikic (16:31:27) became the first athlete with Down syndrome to complete the Ironman World Championship.

The Enduring Wisdom of 'Goodnight Moon'


New York Times - "The Enduring Wisdom of ‘Goodnight Moon’"

McDonald's Adult Happy Meals


CNET - "McDonald's New Happy-Meal-Inspired Box for Adults Is Here: What You Get"

Wall Street Journal - "With Adult Happy Meals, McDonald’s Sparks a Collecting Frenzy"

Levi's Jeans from 1880s Sell for $76,000


Wall Street Journal - "A Pair of 1880s Jeans Just Sold for $76,000. Their Pocket Reveals a Complicated Piece of Levi’s History."

"The high-value Levi’s are an extraordinarily rare pair of jeans from an era before planes, traffic lights and radios. They were found several years ago by Michael Harris, a self-described denim archaeologist, in an abandoned mineshaft in the American West."

NPR - "A pair of Levi's that sold for $76K reflects anti-Chinese sentiment of 19th century"

Saturday, October 8, 2022

The Best Music of the 1990's


Pitchfork - "The 150 Best Albums of the 1990s"

15. Aaliyah: One in a Million (1996)
Aaliyah’s first union with Missy Elliott and Timbaland was a jolt, completely upending R&B through a collective vision of futurism, cyber goth, and sci-fi samples that remain virtually unmatched in scope and impact, as evidenced by the number of contemporary musicians still mining her catalog for inspiration. One in a Million arrived when R&B needed an overhaul, and Aaliyah was the perfect vessel: her breathy but assured alto gave her an aura of mystique, and she possessed a kind of reticence and remove even while singing about her own desire. (Furthering this mystique was the unfounded rumor that her signature side-part and sunglasses were hiding an amblyopic eye.) Her own reasons for this remain cause for speculation—she’d been illegally child-married to R. Kelly for less than a year when One in a Million came out—but the record was unmistakably the sound of her gaining her agency as a young woman and changing the course of music history, all before she even graduated from high school. –Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

12. OutKast: Aquemini (1998)
The dueling personalities at the heart of OutKast have always been the source of their greatness: Big Boi beats the block with his boots, while André dreams of outer space. Their first two records reveled in their own otherness—first as the premier playas in their own community, and then as extra-terrestrials, alienated from the world at large. But on Aquemini, Big Boi and André 3000 embrace the complementary nature of their differences and create something that surpasses the sum of its parts. Weaving funk, soul, gospel, and psych influences through freewheeling recording sessions with live musicians—a departure from the Dungeon Family’s basement production on those early LPs—the duo obliterated the boundaries and expectations for a Southern rap group without ever sounding like anyone other than themselves.

André’s relationship with Erykah Badu drew them into the sonic orbit of the burgeoning neo-soul movement, but despite the parallels with the Soulquarians’ Afrocentric Nag Champa vibe on tracks like the sprawling opus “Liberation,” Aquemini is staunchly a record by and of the Dirty South. Its biggest hit manages to flip one of the most iconic moments of the Civil Rights Movement into a giddy harmonica hoedown, and the seven-minute dub session “SpottieOttieDopaliscious” remains singular, a transportive nostalgia trip drenched in sensory input and a timeless horn melody. Stankonia would be their true breakout moment, and by the time they released the companion solo LPs Speakerboxx and The Love Below, their individual star power threatened to swallow the group whole. Aquemini remains their most ambitious attempt to explore the quirks that make them fit together like clockwork. –Matthew Ismael Ruiz

3. Radiohead: OK Computer (1997)
OK Computer was the last gasp of the rock monoculture: an incontestable, unrepeatable, and critically consecrated masterpiece of a genre that was too big to fail, yet too limp to preside over a new century. Picking up grunge’s challenge to macho rock orthodoxy, the bookish Oxford five-piece parlayed corporate resistance and righteous angst into an infernal assessment of mainstream conformism, petit bourgeois inertia, and cartoonish celebrity culture. But where grunge despaired at the gravity of it all, and Britpop buried its head in hedonism, Radiohead made a crucial distinction: Seeing the inferno of modern life in all its grotesque glory was not a curse to endure or escape, but a superpower to wield.

The band enshrined Thom Yorke’s feverish proclamations in music so valorizingly grand and emotionally involving it left little room for reflection. The electric guitar had all but lost its anti-authority luster, yet here was Jonny Greenwood, combining Pixies-style fretwork and pedal-board wizardry to remake the instrument as the sound of system collapse. Lurching rhythms and electronics flung us into a kingdom on the fritz, where old-world beauty fractured among broken beats and trip-hop tremors. Yorke belted spittle-flecked barbs about fame, sleaze, and corporate lies like a vanquished revolutionary, adopting a paranoid tenor to name conspiracies that everyone knows to be true: consumerism corrupts, capitalism alienates, technology isolates, et cetera. This dire, depressingly real worldview might have stoked a fire in our bellies. Instead, many of Yorke’s disciples were comforted, relieved to feel seen in our infernal little bedrooms and hatchbacks. Rock no longer inspired faith in its revolutionary power, but OK Computer did the next best thing—it made us believe in the spectacle. –Jazz Monroe

Pitchfork - "The 250 Best Songs of the 1990s"

43. The Cranberries: “Dreams” (1992)
The Cranberries’ “Dreams” is the sensation of butterflies in your stomach incarnate: “Oh, my life is changing everyday/In every possible way,” Dolores O’Riordan sings, capturing the terrifying thrill of entrusting your heart to someone who could shred it to pieces, or make your wildest fantasies come true. With an arrangement that seems to say “go after your heart’s desire, but be careful!,” “Dreams” gallops forward atop sweeping guitar chords and quietly rumbling drums, only to consistently rein itself in. O’Riordan begins each verse from a place of softness, as if she’s floated back to Earth and needs to touch some grass to reassure herself that this is real. But ultimately, the euphoria is too big for words: O’Riordan emits a fierce yodel, opening her throat to the sky and letting those fluttering feelings pour out. –Quinn Moreland

9. The Notorious B.I.G.: “Juicy” (1994)
Christopher Wallace’s outsized talent as a GOAT-level lyricist is often discussed in terms of his deft wordplay and sophisticated rhyme schemes. From his first hit "Juicy," however, it was also evident how gifted he was as a storyteller. Coalescing all of his prodigious skills over sampled swaths of Mtume’s early-’80s R&B smash “Juicy Fruit,” the song is ostensibly an autobiographical rags-to-riches tale. But B.I.G.’s attention to detail enables the childhood reminiscences (“Way back, when I had the red and black lumberjack/With the hat to match”) and aspirational goals (“Livin’ life without fear/Puttin’ five carats in my baby girl’s ear”) to transcend individual experience. The song endures largely by being eminently human and relatable—whether, like Wallace, you are or ever were young, doubted, and Black, or if you simply embrace the belief that one’s hope for the future, no matter how unlikely, is never merely a dream. –Jeff Mao

5. Missy Elliott: “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” (1997)
“The Rain” starts with an exhale and a yawn, fitting for a song so playfully trippy it sounds as if it came to Missy and Timbaland in a dream, or maybe after a huge bong hit. Some of the most enduring moments from Supa Dupa Fly—an album that was completed in just two weeks—still sound like studio freestyles, two buddies shooting the shit and making each other giggle in the long spaces between songwriting. The song arrived in the wake of Biggie and Tupac’s murders, when hip-hop needed a lift, and it both positioned Missy and Timbaland as industry lodestars and solidified their sound: so tight, as she raps in the song, that you get their styles tangled. Saying “vroom” and “fricky fricky” over that cricket-propelled, Ann Peebles-sampling beat never sounded too silly; it simply sounded correct. –Emma Carmichael

3. Aaliyah: “Are You That Somebody?” (1998)
“Are You That Somebody?” was the song that consolidated Aaliyah’s image as a refined and unapologetic streetwise princess, supplanting the more traditional R&B sound of her work with R. Kelly in favor of something that nudged toward hip-hop soul. The material Timbaland and Missy Elliott created for the singer didn’t require her to scream or over-embellish, but rather forced you to listen harder: Aaliyah’s vocals grew more compelling the softer and more subtle they became. She could grab attention simply by being unusually calm, the gleaming center of a rhythm track that telegraphed emotional chaos in its fits and starts.

Learning from catastrophic sample lawsuits against De La Soul in 1989 and Biz Markie in 1991, Timbaland became one of the first producers to create signature hip-hop loops out of obscure sound-effect records and found noises. The baby gurgles that punctuate the song’s stuttering tango are first ridden by Tim’s gravelly vocal affirmations, then by Aaliyah’s hushed, reedy croon. The hybridized sound—intentionally odd, jittery tempos, backed by syncopated commentary—was groundbreaking and reflective of something more: the building of a persona around Aaliyah with an even greater mystique than that Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis had created for Janet Jackson in the years prior. –Carol Cooper

1. Mariah Carey: “Fantasy (Remix)” [ft. Ol’ Dirty Bastard] (1995)
Leave it to Mariah Carey, the girl next door, to make pure lust sound so naive, so syrupy sweet, that it could be read as something pious to a passerby. Leave it to a diva at the height of her fame to describe being horny as feeling “kinda hectic inside,” and to articulate it by singing more dizzying runs than an amusement park’s worth of rides. It feels right that she wrote, produced, and recorded “Fantasy” in only two days, roughly the amount of time a person can live solely on the giddiness of a flirtation and the anticipation of an eventual release. Here’s what love at 26, the age at which she put out the song, could feel like. It’s what you want love to feel like for the rest of your life, too.

Mariah’s ninth No. 1 came between hits from fellow icons Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston, outperforming both as a historical chart-topping record. “Fantasy” debuted at the top of the Hot 100, making Mariah the first woman to ever do so, and only the second artist to debut at No. 1 after Michael Jackson. Its foundation was a melding of genres—by reworking several elements from “Genius of Love,” the 1981 Tom Tom Club track that was already becoming a staple in rap sample libraries, she and co-producer Dave Hall suggested that pop music could be just as sly, reverent, experimental, and flip as hip-hop. And the remix, produced by Diddy and his Bad Boy collective, served as their proof of concept.

By several accounts, it’s a miracle that the remix exists at all. At the time, Mariah’s infamously controlling label honcho husband, Tommy Mottola, 20 years her senior, had hoped to make a family-friendly balladeer out of the singer. He didn’t want her sullying her pristine image, never mind at the hands of a rapper who performed under the name Ol’ Dirty Bastard. (Later in life, the singer would open up about how she, a light-skinned Black woman, was marketed by her label in ways that felt out of her control.) But Mariah, a superfan of Wu-Tang’s 36 Chambers who was known to blast ODB on a pink boombox while riding around in her limo, insisted that the rapper be given free rein. It became a spectacle, involving exorbitant amounts of money at the time—$15,000 for a verse—and several very drunk studio sessions.

And so ODB became the song’s ringmaster, opening with what would become one of the most recognizable callouts in block party history, ambling in and out of the song with a swaggering charm, inevitably swerving so hard that his drawl becomes a little bit country, a little bit rock’n’roll. It was chaos, it was genius, it made for a remix so successful that it ended up being responsible for half of the song’s insane sales. But the song also became something much more powerful for Mariah and those who would follow her: It was a declaration of independence, a reclamation of agency and identity, a blueprint for a new kind of pop song that would be replicated for decades to come. –Puja Patel

The Prettiest College Campuses


Architectural Digest - "The 53 Prettiest College Campuses in America"

New Yorker on Owamni—"the Best New Restaurant in the United States"


New Yorker - "How Owamni Became the Best New Restaurant in the United States"

"In the summer of 2021, Sean Sherman, a forty-eight-year-old Oglala Lakota chef, opened a restaurant called Owamni, in Minneapolis. Nearly overnight, it became the most prominent example of Indigenous American cuisine in the United States. Every dish is made without wheat flour, dairy, cane sugar, black pepper, or any other ingredient introduced to this continent after Europeans arrived. Sherman describes the food as “decolonized”; his business partner and Owamni’s co-owner, Dana Thompson, calls it “ironically foreign.” In June, the James Beard Foundation named Owamni the best new restaurant in the United States.

We were at a beach bar in San Pancho, a small town in Mexico. Sherman was barefoot, seated facing the Pacific Ocean. The following night, he would be co-hosting a dinner at Cielo Rojo, a local boutique hotel, where he had worked a decade earlier. The event was a fund-raiser to help the Huichol—the people indigenous to the region—stop the development of a resort, Punta Paraíso, on the beach’s turtle-nesting ground. Sherman ate a spoonful of ceviche and finished describing the dream: “We’re on a voyage. We didn’t know where, but we were going to take back what was ours.”"

Owamni (July 2022)

LeBron is 1,325 Points from the All-Time NBA Record


If LeBron maintained his 2021-2022 season average of 27 points per game, he would break the record in 49 games. - "All Time Leaders"

ESPN Top NBA Players Heading Into 2022-2023 Season


ESPN NBA Rank 2022

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo - Bucks
2. Nikola Jokic - Nuggets
3. Luka Doncic - Mavericks
4. Joel Embiid - Sixers
5. Stephon Curry - Warriors
6. LeBron James - Lakers
7. Jayson Tatum - Celtics
8. Kevin Durant - Nets
9. Ja Morant - Grizzlies
10. Devin Bookers - Suns
11. James Harden - Sixers
12. Kawhi Leonard - Clippers
13. Karl-Anthony Towns - Timberwolves
14. Damian Lillard - Trail Blazers
15. Paul George - Clippers
16. Trae Young - Hawks
17. Jimmy Butler - Heat
18. Rudy Gobert - Timberwolves
19. Bradley Beal - Wizards
20. Anthony Davis - Lakers
21. Chris Paul - Suns
22. Jaylen Brown - Celtics
23. Bam Adebayo - Heat
24. Donovan Mitchell - Cavaliers
25. Anthony Edwards - Timberwolves