So what really DID happen to the “Occupy Wall-Street Movement”? Where are the folks who wanted to have a visible movement and make global changes?
I suspect that VERY few of the OWS folks were really interested in it  from the beginning. The rest were poseurs and folks having their  15 minutes of fame.
I consider an argument with my friend Gary about the subject officially WON! LOL, He’s going to hate this. 🙂
From: Joe harden <>
To: Gary Shiffrar <gary[cencored]com>
Sent: Saturday, June 30, 2012 2:00 AM

But in early 2013 it looks like it's "back to bed" after rebellion summer camp was over.

But in early 2013 it looks like it’s “back to bed” after rebellion summer camp was over.

Ironically these "ironic" signs would be the most honest representation of this movement...pretty ironic, right?

Ironically these “ironic” signs would be the most honest representation of this movement…pretty ironic, right?

Subject: Mr Harden goes to Washington…I mean bed. lol 🙂

Not exactly. Why would I consider someone who has spent their life in public service a “clueless college sophomore”, Gary? Just because I called some of those poseur kids out, doesn’t mean that I don’t respect people truly making a difference and actually caring about these things. I hate it when activism and awareness “tourist” come through and feel like they are the only ones doing anything to affect change (by setting up shanty towns somewhere and looking “rebellious chic” for the camera). Most people who affect any real change, do it on a daily basis, and they quietly educate themselves and others in everyday life. Others teach large masses in the universities and social activities groups (outside of the “campus square” or a field-trip to NY (and shittier versions) to “occupy”…instead of Holland this year). There are many ways to do this. I don’t like the idea of some privileged snot looking down on “every day people” who don’t fit into their narrow definitions of rebellious and conscious…smugly sitting back and judging. 
It bothers me because some people (like myself) have pursed this type of knowledge before my grades counted on it and when no one was/is filming me (and when most friends didn’t discuss it with me i might add. Not many kids were talking about this stuff in America when No Logo hit the shelves in 1999-2000). OWS kids…I dunno, they bother me a little. Mostly when people act like they are the only  “inspiring youth who can really make a change”. Give me the kids in Egypt dammit!!! lol
We all take our beatings in one way or another. I don’t think that this years or last years designer rebellion is worth a damn if it isn’t something LIVED out every day after that. So I respect your congressman (which is like always the first hipster question (along with “what is your major?”) lol. “Do you know who your congressman is?”. I always want to ask in response “do you know why you asked me that?”. Smug self-satisfaction and haughty condescension  is my guess.  It’s the type of question that’s meant to “educate the ignorant person” in front of them. I would rather those types think of me as ignorant, than  to engage in a “loaded conversation” with them. 
“Freedom fighter or house negro”? My thoughts on the matter aren’t that simple. I’m simply not falling for A LOT the OWS kids fake attempt to co-opt rebellion and awareness. In any movement, there are fillers and there are the truly motivated. No disrespect to the “fillers”, their sheer numbers serve a purpose of sorts. We all have to pay the rent. But , I also think that those hipsters in glass houses should not throw stones (or judge and condescend to people). fillers. 
Again, I would never call someone who devotes himself to serving the public a “clueless college sophomore”…I am not even sure how that can be assumed from what I wrote earlier. That distinction is reserved for the poseur kids who will no doubt use the OWS participation/fad as  a means to get inside some Women’s Studies chicks. To cozy up to the girls  who don’t shave their armpits for one summer (before they cut it…along with all ties to “rebellion”). 
Gary, I know that you have seen a very limited side  of me in the past and over the years…but it doesn’t mean that’s “all there is” to me. My “wild going out days”  (which weren’t even extreme, really) started as a way to bust out of my self-conscience and (a little too) introverted ways.  I never made those types of assumptions about you. As a matter of fact, I told my friend Macario (and one of  my cousins) how you told me about train-tracks being used in city planning to segregate (I remember you telling me that YEARS ago). Information being passed even without O-ing WS and wanting a t.v. crew to film me. Everyday life. Grand gestures and visible battle scars tell a compelling story but real people LIVE them. 

Here we are less than a year later and where is the burgeoning  movement now? This is not so much  an insult, as it is  (hopefully) motivation for the types who really cared in the first place. PLEASE, PROVE ME (and folks who think you are simply “rebellion TOURISTS” WRONG. 


Sports roundup!

Posted: 2013/02/08 in Uncategorized

Quick Weekly Sports Round-up

Well well well,  

Last week’s Superbowl festivities were an amazing spectacle…and then there was the actual game itself. Between the pregame shows, post-game shows, 4 million dollar television ads and high-octane Beyonce Knowles halftime performance (not to mention the subtle product placement and not-so-subtle flag-waiving), the game was decidedly low-key when compared all that goes on around it.

Anything would be considered “low-key” when compared to the pomp and circumstance surrounding a typical Superbowl game.

When it comes to the actual game, “all we were given” was an exciting “barnburner” that saw an amazing comeback attempt by the San Francisco 49ers. Down to the Baltimore Ravens by a score of 21-6 (and victims of Joe Flacco’s 13-yard touchdown pass to receiver Anquan  Boldin) by halftime, the 49ers stormed back to make a game of it, closing in with a score of 28-23 (on an Akers field goal from 34 yards). The 49ers had four chances to take the lead in the game, but it was not happening in New Orleans that night. “The Cain and Able Bowl” (the first Superbowl match to feature two brothers coaching against each other) ended with  the Baltimore Ravens taking home the trophy (behind game MVP Joe Flaco and Coach John Harbaugh who was able to outduel his brother Jim) in a 34-31 win.

Let’s hope that they “take it down a notch”  next year with all of the pomp surrounding the game. It was very tough to actually focus on the game with all of the things going on around it, not to mention the 35 minute delay after halftime (which I suspect  was a result of the multimedia extravaganza Beyonce and the NFL put on during halftime), Let’s hope  the actual chase for a championship takes center-stage and all of the fun distractions take a year (or several) off!

Meanwhile in the NBA…

As the National Basketball Association gears up for it’s annual All-Star game (on Sunday, February 17 2013) , the Los Angles Laker team’s two biggest stars (and two-fifths of the 2013 Western All-Star starters) are in a serious head-to-head match-up of their own. What seemed like a “can’t miss” assemblage of talent on the Lakers’ team this year (after adding future Hall-of- Fame point guard Steve Nash and Superstar center Dwight Howard; to a mix of Kobe Bryant, Paul Gasol and the rest of the Laker stars this year) has been a “can’t win” disaster fraught with injuries and bitterness. Now, Kobe has (predictably) gotten frustrated with Howard’s lack of a “killer instinct” and has started riding Dwight like he used to ride championship celebration floats in L.A. .  Kobe Bryant has openly questioned the severity of Dwight’s shoulder injury and his commitment to the team’s goal of  self-sacrifice (to win games).


Time will tell if the Lakers can pull this thing together before the playoffs and end the year on a more “upbeat” note…it is highly doubtful (if not impossible) though…

like a Manti Te’o  wedding day.

——–Joseph Harden

Apparently, innovative electronic music producer/Dj/musician was kicked off of the stage recently in Miami.

Yeah, I could see this happening to him…

He forgot that he was performing in a club (apparently) and played a smart/heady mix of underground and mainstream sounds together, in his usual imaginative way. By the time the dub-step influenced stuff mixed with Rakim comes into the mix (followed by what sounds like a short clip of mutated Bollywood) you remember that this guy is GENIUS. And don’t get me started on the Bone Thugs/Fleetwood Mac Mash-up! Of course he got kick off of the stage.

They don’t like that stuff in the clubs anymore. Unfortunately electronic music festivals are the only places to hear this sort of AMAZING and groundbreaking stuff ( music that has a foot in the mainstream and the other in the cutting edge). Watch! A smart rapper will  get together with Shadow and create the most critically acclaimed album of that year.

Listen here:



Here we go again, Hollywood…*sigh*

Zoe Saldana is set to play Nina Simone in the forthcoming biopic for Ms. Simone .

Ummmm…no, no, no, Hollywood!

This selection justifiably raises some eyebrows. While Zoe is a terrific actress, getting her to play Nina is not right. So much of Nina’s identity as a strong, outspoken and controversial artist stems from  her upbringing as a dark-skinned “plain (yet unconventionally beautiful) featured” woman in America’s turbulent Jim-Crow through Civil Rights eras (an image that evokes the human bondage that preceded those years). This was a time when her image was striking and defiant for the era (her dark skin, pre-popularity “Afro” hairstyle, (at times) African garb, and head-wraps).

Nina was a very proud dark-skinned woman who didn’t smile much (in the subordinate “aww shucks” way that a woman of color was expected to “back in the day”)…and Simone didn’t suffer fools well (even in her later years). There wasn’t much to smile about in those times. The rare smile from Simone was noticeably a minor victory for the (mostly) white journalist who interviewed her (and they were never able to conceal their utter joy  (relief) at seeing her as a “human being” that was capable of non-confrontational emotion). It was wonderfully subversive to have them seeking her approval in many ways.

Nina Simone held a freshly polished and buffered  mirror to America’s ugly past and (what was at the time) America’s present. It was born of a pissed-off, oppressed, and highly intelligent woman maligned and eventually (through hard work AND legendary stubbornness) highly respected for her personal appearance and demeanor.That look and those features went hand-in hand-with her personality. It was a package deal (and when you get down to it, “cause and effect as well”).  Her image and outspoken character, was as radical as the Sex Pistols (yet she was light-years beyond them in eloquence and musical “chops”) in her own way.

I believe this casting choice is such an image departure in the telling of her story, it effectively “whitewashes” Nina. I think it whitewashes her to such an extent , that (I think) it would have deeply bothered Nina. I could imagine her saying (because I am supremely imaginative (and humble, lol) )  in that  husky/academic voice of hers:

“[She] is a very BEAUTIFUL, young, (and gifted) woman of color…but I fear her appearance is more “acceptable” (in America) than mine is/was…and the essence of who and what I am will be lost in this translation… that appearance (her appearance) is not in line with an effective (or even) rational retelling of my journey and career…was Angelina Jolie too busy to play this version of “Nina”?

hmmmm. It makes me wonder: “Was Angelina too busy?”


M(ha!)TV’s annual VMA awards show is finally upon us this year and I can BARELY contain my excitement…

Yeah…my “excitement”.

This year’s line-up has SOME star-power but what does it all mean ? I mean : Green Day, Alicia Keys and  Pink. They are all great and all…but where are the current crop of Pop’s “Tops”? Plus, if you are going to pull some of the “new old-guard” out for this type of thing…can’t you do better MTV? Sorry, It had to be said. These artist are all very good but they are kinda irrelevant nowadays.

Yeah, I said it.

Maybe their new albums (the real reason they are even going to be performing in the first place) will justify this line-up? Maybe not.

Either way, It leads me to the same spot/thought that I find myself in every year the VMAs roll around : do I watch it and be disappointed again ? Or do I watch it and be bored (but expected to be bored in the first place)?


It is no secret that the VMAs  have been regularly crappy (on and off)  for nearly the last 10 years . The last really good VMAs that I can remember was the 2006 VMAs . The one where Britney Spears choked and nearly ruined her career and Rihanna took the “Pop Princess” crown away from her. Britney has since bounced back in a VERY big way (even though some damage was done) but the VMAs themselves have been in a rut. Besides some great individual  moments scattered over the last few years (Lady Gaga’s superstar-making performance is the most obvious…along with Pink’s high-wire act when she was a little more “relevant”) the VMAs have been a SNOOZE-fest.

Am I getting too old? Is this why the VMAs don’t have the same magic anymore. I would like to think that this is not the case. I still LOVE and OBSESS over music (always will) so I seriously doubt that my passion for the IDEA of the VMAs is the cause of my lackluster reaction to the yearly event. I think the real culprit is MTV’s general lack of interest in music nowadays (and they focus on reality television which is SOOOOO profitable now). MTV isn’t invested in music anymore and it shows.

Where is Nicky Minaj? Lady Gaga? Adel? M.I.A (who is LONG overdue to be given her chance to ROCK the VMA stage)? Hell even Madonna and Kylie Minogue are more relevant that Pink and Keys (no disrespect to either one)…Where are the cool new rockers ? I know and listen to them .

Bring in some Brits dammit.

I know that I am going to watch the show tonight. Call me a hopeless devotee to the idea that music and MTV still matter.

I might be wrong .

Well, Elton John’s mouth is finally good for something…errr, I mean something ELSE. Sorry David Furnish, I almost forgot :)!

Elton’s Recent comments about Madonna…

saying that she looks like a “fairground stripper” and that compared to his ‘baby’s (god) mama (the increasingly banal and irrelevant Lady Gaga), Madonna’s “career is over“.

…made me push all of the other albums that I have been listening to aside and slip back into bed with Madonna. Thank you Elton 🙂 !

Let me explain.

I have such a backed up  queue of albums, movies, books, television shows and artists etc.  that I’ve been meaning to give my full attention to. I pushed Madonna’s album back originally,  because I usually don’t like getting caught up in the moment and thinking better or worse of an album due to the hype.

Well, I finally Heard Madge’s MDNA album and it is veeeeery good! I mean veeeeery good!

If this album was the album made by Lady Gaga , instead of “Born this Way”,  she wouldn’t have been so disappointing ! And Gaga would have been GIVEN the whole “new queen of pop” crown that Madonna stubbornly refuses to give up (through hard work that’s still relevant and creative).

MDNA is sleek and modern (without being a lazy follower of trends. looking at you “Hard Candy”) with her most hook filled songs in at least a couple of albums (probably since “Ray of Light” …but “Confessions on a dancefloor” gives it a run for it’s money in that department).

On the MDNA album:  Madonna snaps,  she crackles and she pops again.

She incorporates the violent streak that she helped initiate in mainstream pop (waaaay back in the early 2000’s with “Die Another Day” , “What it feels like for a girl” and “American Life”) to a more direct and devastatingly tuneful effect on club-bangers like “Bang Bang” and “Beautiful Killer”.

Her dance music brings back the European influence that (let’s face it) all good dance music needs to be relevant and creative…They just do it better over there because they respect it more and their audiences know their stuff. “Girl Gone Wild”, “I’m addicted” and “Give Me all your love” are  party starters with clever hooks and cool driving sounds…perfect for Saturday night fun!! Thank You Benny Benassi for assisting Madge on this one  !! Madonna still knows how to get the best out of her (willing) collaborators and elevate herself and the “hired guns” who help produce.

Martin Sloveig Brings his bouncy brand of clever pop-rock influenced techno/house to “Give me all your luvin”, “I don’t give A” and “Turn up the Radio” and Madonna and crew hit a couple of home runs (The LMFAO remix on “Give me all your luvin” makes me actually believe that they have a life outside “Party Rock” ! And Nicki Minaj delivers again in a guest-starring role).

Klas Ahlund brings some fire to his collaboration. The choice to pair him with William Orbit was a genius move by Madonna. His electro grooves and squelchy synths go great with Orbit’s ambient atmospheres and 60s-influenced melodies on “Some Girls”

AND WILLIAM ORBIT IS BACK ! The Excellent William Orbit is back to help his girl pull off another great album (and to show that sometimes the genius producer needs the genius artist just as badly). Orbit gives the album a unified and cohesive sound that most albums with this many creative influences lack…Which make them sound “all over the place” at worst and “like a compilation album” at best. But Orbit is having none of that on this album. His atmospheric flourishes and programming genius is still strong and really helps create a sound world for Madonna to live out her violent fantasies , her still kicking “party animal” Id and her slightly sad “divorcee” yearning.

And For good measure, she puts two excellent (and well sung) straight-ahead pop songs at the end of the album to show that she can still do THAT in her SLEEP (and she is still brilliant at it). Those songs are “Masterpiece” and “Falling Free” .

It makes me imagine Madonna saying: “Here, you want pop ballads? I am still THE BEST at that too…and don’t forget it!”

Even Elton had to admit that in the middle of his Madonna diss/defense of his little ingenue  Lady Gaga.  He said :

“If Madonna had any common sense she would have made a record like Ray Of Light and stayed away from the dance stuff and just been a great pop singer and make great pop records, which she does brilliantly.”

Read more:

Even Her haters have to give it to her…

And “no, Elton” she will simply take it a step beyond “Ray of Light” and modernize the concept (using vocal collaborators (which everyone does nowadays) and dance music meant to move your feet sitting next to the sounds that move your mind)  without repeating herself .

If you want the album that Madonna should have made after “Confessions on a Dance floor” or the album that Lady Gaga is incapable of making at this point in her career…Check out MDNA!

I am sure Gaga did and became “inspired” to write her follow-up/apology for “Born this Way”.

It is proper that the torch of the Bartholdi statue should not be lighted until this country becomes a free one in reality. ‘Liberty enlightening the world,’ indeed! The expression makes us sick. This government is a howling farce. It cannot or rather does not protect its citizens within its own borders. Shove the Bartholdi statue, torch and all, into the ocean until the ‘liberty’ of this country is such as to make it possible for an industrious and inoffensive colored man in the South to earn a respectable living for himself and family, without being ku-kluxed perhaps murdered, his daughter and wife outraged, and his property destroyed. The idea of the ‘liberty’ of this country ‘enlightening the world,’ or even Patagonia, is ridiculous in the extreme.”

This scathing (and accurate) message was printed in the Cleveland Gazette in 1886 (an African American newspaper). It was written shortly after the dedication ceremony  for the Statue of Liberty and a little over 100 years after America became an independent nation. It was also around nineteen years after slavery  was abolished in America . 

The irony of recent slave owners and current oppressors congratulating themselves, with a gift celebrating the “freedom” of their land, was not lost on the contributors to the Cleveland Gazette.

Not only does this serve as a document of the continued struggles of the downtrodden Peoples of America, It also shows the truly AMERICAN desire for America to become a more inclusive and “free” nation in reality (as well as “on paper”). It’s a characteristic that we (as Americans…all of us) should remember AND be very proud of.

Even if all of us don’t have ALL of our freedoms at this time, remember to keep fighting and keep speaking out…It is in our country’s DNA. Even when the “powers that have become”, forgets it!

Happy 4th of July, people :)!!!!!!!!!