Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Recovery: thoughts on Eminem's new album

“...I’ma be what I set out to be, without a doubt undoubtedly
And all those who looked down on me I’m tearin’ down your balcony…”

- Eminem, ‘Not Afraid’ (Recovery 2010)

I am by no stretch of the imagination an expert on rap. But now that I’ve had Eminem’s new album “Recovery” for a few weeks, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been able to digest the material and form an opinion on the album. Here’s my two cents.

He’s still the same old dude, using language that makes you cringe even when you’re the only one in your car listening. Some of it is seemingly unnecessary, if not all of it, some would argue. He’s not a rapper who produces CD’s you’d want to burn for your Mom or even an “open” Dad who dabbles with Slim Thug from time to time. Avid rap gurus can’t help but shake their heads when they hear some of the crude, insane and often downright disgusting lines that Eminem drops.

Having said that, the album is absolutely brilliant. He has an ability to bend words, inject humor and metaphors, use alliteration to no end, and come up with puns that make you go: “Wait, can you rewind that?” He also gets sentimental and really lays it all out there. There are no secrets with this guy. He talks about his drug addiction, his failed relationships in life, not to mention some of his own work being sub-par, on numerous occasions throughout this album he trashes his last one (Relapse 2009). Even if some, okay – fine, even if many of the words he uses are classified as ‘potty-mouth’, his cleverness, wit and sheer rap talent prevails and trumps any cuss word he might use. It’s not music you dance to, and it’s not music you’d put in your headphones while reading a book. I’d venture to assume that this album is most definitely not for everyone, but for those that truly appreciate genius in this music genre, go get the CD.

If you're not sure about getting the entire album, allow me to suggest some individual songs to download:
  • On Fire -- raw free-style, very "Old School Eminem"
  • Not Afraid -- in a sense, a very inspirational song, great lyrics and a good work-out song
  • No Love -- features Lil Wayne, arguably one of the best rappers in the industry
  • Love the Way You Lie -- features Rihanna, currently getting radio play

Monday, July 12, 2010

Soccer Revelation

While watching the 2010 FIFA World Cup yesterday I had a realization about the sport of soccer. Some of you may be thinking: “What, that it’s boring?” – and no, that’s not what I’m going to say. Although I could talk about poor officiating, the need for instant-replay, goal line monitoring, or a need to curb players’ dramatized post-foul nonsense, I’m not. I’m going to talk about something else.

In yesterday’s final match of Netherlands against Spain, there were 28 (NED) + 19 (ESP) fouls committed, for a total of 47. There were also 11 combined yellow cards with one expulsion due to a second caution – aka a ‘red card.’ So after all of that: 47 fouls, 11 yellow cards and one red, over the course of 116 minutes, the score was still only 1-0. What’s my point? Glad you asked.

In the NFL, if a player commits a foul, the entire team is penalized with either a loss of yardage and/or a loss of a down. In some instances the penalty yields drastic results, pass interference or a personal foul to name a couple. In hockey, if a player commits a penalty, the other team is awarded a power play, where the penalized team is required to play with one player short for an extended period of time. Although fouls are rare in baseball, the outcome can be devastating when the pitcher balks, or a player runs outside of the baseline. In the NBA, players can foul-out and be removed from the game. Individual fouls often give the other team automatic free-throws, where points are essentially a given.

In soccer, however, unless a penalty is committed against an attacking player inside the penalty area, or just outside of the penalty area, not much comes as a result. A set piece in the defending or middle thirds will hardly ever yield positive results for the awarded team. Fouls are a dime a dozen in soccer and players know this and commit at-will knowing that the consequences aren’t dire. I know the rules – or should I say “Laws” – of the game will not change, but I think it’s an interesting concept to examine. The less-drastic outcomes of fouls in a sport really play into the culture, or vibe as a whole. I’d like to see a study, holding everything else constant, sport-over-sport, on if the degree of negative consequence from committing a foul significantly changes the behavior of players in the sport.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

There’s not enough time in the day

An up-and-coming triathlon I’ve registered for mandates I find time for biking, running and swimming. I work from approximately 8:30a until 5:30p. I’m reading Born to Run, a book I really want to finish in the near-future. I like to meet up with my friends for a beverage at least once a week. I like to watch some TV shows. I like to play tennis. I like to keep up with current events, attend church and hang out with my family. I like to keep my apartment tidy and my laundry clean. I like to watch my favorite sports teams compete. I like to cook in, as well as go out for dinner. I like to get at least seven hours of sleep. I like to blog.

I used to poke fun at the folks on the elliptical at the gym who managed to listen to music, read a magazine, watch ESPN and hop on their cell phone sporadically – all while getting their exercise. It’s not really something I make fun of anymore, considering I feel their pain.

There’s simply not enough time in the day to get everything done we need to get done, let alone want to get done. It’s tough, there are limitations. We obviously have priorities, and in turn, need to be organized and stick to a schedule if we want to fit in even half of the things on our to-do lists. There’s also this concept of still maintaining spontaneity in life, and ditching your original plan from time to time for random events that can yield so much happiness. I’m getting better and better about finding this perfect sense of balance, but I’m still not there.

How about you?