Monday, April 29, 2013

Whirlwind Pyramid (On Jason Collins, Chris Broussard, Faith, Evolution of Opinion and Me)

I gave my sports take on Jason Collins' announcement at the EB Sports Report. But what I'm about to say here is better suited for this format. Especially since it involves the great battle between faith and homosexuality thanks to what ESPN's Chris Broussard had to say on the matter

As I said on the EBSR, Collins and Britney Griner's announcements this month on coming out signify that in 2013, the climate is better suited for athletes to show support for gay rights. It's better suited for gay athletes if it isn't already for lesbian athletes. And it's also a time where many have to evaluate what they believe.

Jason Collins deserves all the credit today and while it may not make as much impact as if he was younger, it's still a great moment because he's the first openly gay athlete in a Big 4 sport. It's not a Jackie Robinson moment because his career is winding down but it's still worth noting for the simple fact of what he did

Chris Broussard started off today talking about how the NBA would react to Collins and most of it was overwhelming positive. Then this happened - Broussard was asked about it as a Christian and he said what was in that link.

"Personally, I don’t believe that you can live an openly homosexual lifestyle or an openly, like premarital sex between heterosexuals. If you’re openly living that type of lifestyle, then the Bible says you know them by their fruits. It says that, you know, that’s a sin. If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, whatever it maybe, I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God and to Jesus Christ. So I would not characterize that person as a Christian because I don’t think the Bible would characterize them as a Christian." 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Where the Media Failed (And Succeeded) in the Boston Marathon Tragedy

Amidst the tragedy in Boston, the media became part of the story as we saw the best of reporting from local outlets, especially the Boston Globe, and the worst of 24/7 media coverage, most famously CNN. What happened last week should be and will be studied for years on what to do, not to do and ultimately how money, guests and ratings have trumped.  
Cable news failed because of their failure to handle this information culture we are in. There’s too much information floating around and in an attempt to be relevant, they want to include everything or touch on every angle without considering if it matters or is confirmed.

CNN showed this when they along with others reported that a suspect was on his way to the courthouse. The normally reliable John King said it was a dark-skinned male, an announcement that drew the ire of the National Association of Black Journalists and others.

They also had Jake Tapper far away from the action, which made his reporting/analysis seem distant compared to MSNBC. Bad enough the media got it wrong on identifying the suspects by name and face and probably won’t go out of their way to apologize and work to repair their mistake. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Public Enemy "It Takes A Nation of Millions" - 25 Years as the Greatest Rap Album

25 years ago Sunday, the greatest rap album of all time was released. Public Enemy's sophomore album changed hip hop forever and it's still a remarkable album every time I hear it.

The first time I heard it was in college. I had bought a PE greatest hits CD in high school so the next step was to hear this album. I downloaded "Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos", "Rebel Without a Pause" and "Party For Your Right to Fight", the last one simply because it flipped the Beastie Boys' biggest hits.

I ended up DLing the whole album and to say that it was powerful is an understatement. It's music for a revolution but it didn't lose its cool or fun in the process. It was hip hop growing up to be a force of change on the heels of Run-DMC and the Beastie Boys making hip-hop popular.

Here's my case why it's the greatest album in rap history (and one of the best albums period of the last 30 years).

Thursday, April 11, 2013

RIP KDAY: The Last of a Dying Breed

By now, most of you have heard that my city's last great hip hop radio station is possibly going to be sold this year and flip to a Mandarin-language format. KDAY, which came back in 2004, might be officially on life support and I couldn't be sadder.

As a native Angeleno, I grew up in the shadow of hearing KDAY as I got older. I listened to 92.3 The Beat and Power 106 but I knew neither of those stations would be possible without KDAY in the 1980's giving Los Angeles great hip hop and exposing folks to NWA, Ice-T, DJ Quik, Rodney O & Joe Cooley and so many other local legends.

I used to drive down Crenshaw Boulevard going to school and I passed by the old 1580 KDAY offices every time. KDAY was the first station in the country to play all hip-hop and even when it went off the air in 1991, its legacy loomed large when I talked to older friends and family members.

That's why in 2004-05, I was so happy when I heard KDAY was coming back. It gave me a chance to appreciate a radio station that showed love to L.A. as well as old school hip hop. I came home from college and during the winters and summers, I'd listen to Julio G showing love to national acts as well as local.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Barnes @ Work! (April Update)

On my fourth month of working out and here's the progress for you.

Current Weight: 187-188 lbs.
Weight Lost Since Jan 3: 23-24 lbs.

What I learned in March is that as much as I'm working out, I had to change up my diet a bit. I had been going cold turkey on sweets, carbs and anything that was going to add to be unhealthy. But since I've been working out more and running more, I realized that I had to eat more so while my diet is still pretty consistent - no eating past 8-9 p.m. if possible, save sweets for the weekend and salads/water with most meals - I've had to eat more since I'm burning more.

March saw me cross the 4-mile barrier and now I'm consistently running 4 miles two to three times a week. The next goal was 5 miles. Monday, I ran 4.96 miles nonstop. Today, I ran 5.05 miles. Cross another one off!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Rest in Peace, Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert wasn't just a film critic. He was an institution. He was a teacher. He was open-minded when he viewed movies but he let you know what he thought honestly.

When I took a college course in studying television/film criticism, Ebert's name came up as the most prominent critic in the country. I learned terms like "auteur" and "mise-en-scene" and directors like Francois Truffaut - all things that I'd later see in Ebert's great reviews of film.

He passed away Thursday at 70, a day after announcing he'd take a leave of presence. To me, he defined what being a critic should be. Fair, open-minded, intelligent and able to appeal to a wide audience with clear thoughts. More than anything, he helped teach us how to watch movies and learn from the greats, as well as appreciate certain aspects we may not see.

As a kid, I knew who he was because he and Gene Siskel were always around. I remember the joke as a kid wasn't knowing which was which. Who was the skinny one again? I also remembered this great parody of them on Animaniacs that was still funny when I re-watched it today.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Pursuit of Arete

When I was in 8th or 9th grade, I remember studying the ancient Greeks in World History and my teacher taught us about the idea of Arete (pronounced AR-e-TAY). It was a Greek term for all-around excellence - whether it be intellect, athletics or physical - and it was the central idea of their culture. They believed in making the most of all they had to offer society and not wasting their gifts.

15 years later, that term still fascinates me. My teacher said it was a precursor to another term we all know - Renaissance Man, someone we consider to be well-rounded. It makes sense since the Italians looked back to the Greeks for inspiration during that time period.

This year has been a great journey for me as I've started a new blog and stepped up my fitness to lose some weight. I've been challenged spiritually as well and I feel like that as I approach my 30's, it's time to become even more comfortable pursuing the best that I can be. That's where Arete comes in and I figured out a three-pronged approach to help me reach that.