Wednesday, December 31, 2008


To Whom it May Concern:

I wouldn't say I copied the American Express ad idea from a friend, I would say it was "inspired" (you know, like what Beyonce does, lol). Well today is the last day of 2008 and I thought that I would write a little about the year that was. I guess the presidential race was the obvious big story out of 2008. And rightfully so. You couldn't have written a better cast of characters or the ensuing drama. And it seems that Obama, the hero, was propped up to win. And somewhere along the way, Americans started to care about their country. After years of war, recession, and bad news, Obama and Hillary (and even Palin for her part) was something new. So 2008 is even more pivotal because it saw the collapse and fall of the old and the rise of new and the ubiquitous change we want to believe. Wall Street collapsed, the American auto dealers are on the verge of demise, and all that we have know will be history as we face an uncertain future.

And I suppose this would be general feeling at the moment. I don't know what the future has in store for me. But I do feel up for the challenge. I have endured, I have kept up, and I will keep going. As Hillary Clinton said in her speech during the DNC (quoting Harriet Tubman), "When you see the light, keep going! If you hear the dogs barking, keep going! If you want a taste a freedom, KEEP GOING! And so I shall live on, going on into an uncertain future with many new challenges. And so I find my own life running parallel to the country. And it's weird, because I never considered myself a patriot as others consider the term. But for the first time, in my adult life, I have a sense of pride about the country. I am proud to be in a country that could elect a person of color to the highest office. Oftentimes, Americans live in a bubble and do not realize that to be born a person of color puts you at an automatic disadvantage ANYWHERE on Earth. You can hear similar accounts of institutionalized racism and bigotry among minority populations across the globe. So for this country to elect President of color, was a monumental symbol of hope and inspiration to non white children across the Earth. That with alot of integrity, much strength and endurance, and a thunderous drive and tenacity you can achieve anything your mind can conceive. That is the change I believe in, and that is the change I have been striving to become all my life.

It was apparent to me from a very early age that I was different. And after years spent trying to fit in or find a group, the last few years I have found strength and power in my distinction. And I know now that I will never fully fit in, and I would not want it any other way. Because now is the time for people who are different: It's MY time, and my destiny awaits.

Happy New Year everyone, wishing you peace, prosperity, and HOPE for a better tomorrow!

Yours Truly,

The ARISTOCRAT

Monday, December 29, 2008

Aristocratic Music: Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday
"Don't Explain"

The irony is that it is when they are at their lowest and most tormented state that artists are able to deliver such emotionally poignant music. Painful, heartfelt, and tragic: Billie Holiday




Aristocratic Music: Duke Ellington


Duke Ellington
"In a Sentimental Mood"
This is one of my favorite compositions. It is smooth, sultry, and it puts me in more than a sentimental mood.

Adventures in Job Hunting

Well, if I didn't fail Evidence (courtesy of Prof. Weems), it looks like I am finished with law school. People still ask me my impressions, and I don't quite have a grasp on it. The only thing that comes to mine is the analogy I made early on comparing law school to pledging a fraternity. It's not like I have never been academically challenged before, but in law school, it seems there is an institutionalized method of presenting various obstacles that students must overcome. The first year was definately "sink or swim." It's like you find yourself in this situation trying to figure it all out, and it all comes down to one test. The process gets less taxing as you come to terms with the process. But for the life of me, I have never worked so hard to achieve mediocrity. Your grades oftentimes are measured against your peers (there is some real life practicality in this), and many time, the amount of studying does not determine the grades you received. I have never studies so, so much to only get a C. And that is, excuse me, was law school. I earned that Juris Doctor through sweat and tears, literally. And I don't regret it. Having knowledge of the law and legal system does impart power. You have a sense of security about how things work and you have a basic understanding of your rights and certain procedures. I always imagined that I would go to law school, and now that school is out forever, I am left to think about the rest of my life: beginning with landing a job in a dismal economy.

So I have a specific career goal. Ultimately I would like to be a political analyst and contributer for CNN. In addition, I wouldn't mind doing political consulting and advising. Accordingly, I never went to law school to practice law per se. I simply thought the degree lends itself to flexibility allowing me the opportunity to have several career options. And it does, and that is definately a plus in trying to find a job right now. So I am beginning to feel like Frodo (Lord of the Rings). In following every lead and every connection, I am going from place to place trying to land just the right position. I won't go into detail about it, but I am trying to keep the faith.

I have moments of doubt. I mean, I never factored that I would graduate at a time like this. There was a certain expectation I had while in school. It wasn't an entitlement, it was the natural progression of things (so I thought). You put in the time, you do what you are supposed to do, think about the future today, and you have everything lined up so that when you graduate you have an opportunity waiting for you. So, there are moments when I feel some anxiety because I am the type of person who likes to be one step ahead. And now I am in a situation where I have to wait. Patience was never my strongest suit, but friends and family are helping me through it.

But in a less serious change of discussion. What I will always prescribe to anyone searching for a job, is to have a well tailored suit. But come on, who of us has tailors at this point? Right, so when I say well tailored, I mean buy a suit that FITS. Take for example, Mr. Bond:
This how you wear a suit. As a graduation gift, my dad bought me a navy suit from Banana Republic. Their suits run up to $400 dollars, but I got mine for $150, courtesy of
the recession. I have lost some weight in the past few years, so the suits I have really did not fit well. The last interview I had, I felt so self conscious about it. So, I needed to get a suit that fit. I would say the next to "who you know" and "what you know" (the latter being less significant), the presentation (what you look like) counts for something. And inherently, when you look good, you feel good and you are more readily able to convey your experience and credentials with confidence. I was trying to pass on wear 42 Longs (in chest) matched with matching suit pant slacks I had with 36 in waists! Yeah, there used to be a little more of me to love. But currently, for my best suit is a 40 (regular or long depending on the cut) with a 33 inch waist pant (or 32, depends on cut). The arms of the blazer should fall just enough to wear you are able to reveal a bit of cuff. And the blazer itself, should hug the shoulders as if it was made for you. For men, it's about the fit and proportion. When you can get the right fit and proportion for your body type, you can never go wrong.



Aristocratic Style Icon: David Beckham

This guy knows how to be a celebrity. I don't know if the many people who know who David Beckham is actually watch soccer, but this guy knows how to "step out." Part old British aristocrat and part rugged eastern european, Beckham knows how to update the classics. Take this look for example: preppy on the top, rugged on the bottom. And when it's time to be in all out suit mode, Beckham understands the importance of a perfectly tailored suit.

David's wife is also very stylish, and together they make the perfect how-to guide for couples. Again, not sure if the two have earned their level of fame in the U.S., but they sure look good trying. David Beckham is an aristocratic style icon because I think many of the things he chooses to wear are timeless and will never go out of style. Not many "what were they thinking" moments for this athlete.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Aristocratic Viewing: My Favorite TV Shows

(1) Six Feet Under: This show was brilliantly written and well cast. There are not too many shows in which every single character and supporting characters are interesting. Even the minor roles, every single character was written so dynamically and three dimensional. The show follows the ups and downs of the Fisher family and their business -- a funeral home. It seems that in dealing with death on a daily basis, the Fishers have trouble living and the series documents their journeys. Each of the main character's storylines are rich. I am collecting the seasons and catching up with the Fishers.

(2) Rome: It only rain for two glorious seasons. I believe that was the intent as it was an expensive show to produce. The series follows the rise and fall of Ceasar, Marc Antony, Cleopatra, and Augustus. This is a brutal translation as HBO doesn't hold off on the blood and sex. This series was awesome!

(3) The Sopranos: If you haven't heard, then obviously you have been living under a rock. One of the greatest shows ever.

(4) Nip/Tuck: This is a guilty pleasure. If anything, this drama is an illustration of the seven deadly sins at work. The characters in this show all checked any moral compass at the door. For this, the show may not be as easily digestible for those with earnest sensitivities. I can't think of any character on the show not severly flawed in character. And that is the genious of the show. The show is about individuals' pursuit for physical perfection without regard for their internal ugliness. This beautiful cast of characters is just as ugly on the inside as they are beautiful on the outside. In their debauchery, each character finds themself deeper in disparity with each passing season and each passing season.

(5) Damages: This show just premiered last year and it is amazing. The whole season was built around a lawsuit and a mysterious "who done it-style" murder. It is brilliantly acted, and Glenn Close's portrayl of a shrewd and take-no-prisoners attorney is bone chilling. This is legal drama done right.

(6) Tru Blood: From the creators of Six Feet Under comes this tale about vampires. Oh, but it is so much more. The vampires represent a new exposed part of society trying to fit in among individuals who fear or hate them. Sound familiar? Set in the deep South, the allusions and metaphors are strong and constant. This is a must see for the southern studies crowd. And for the record, never before on television has anyone captured the proud bravado and childish ignorance of the southern redneck like the actor who plays Jason Stackhouse. From accent to swagger, this guy has nailed it. Usually, I cringe at hollywood attempts to paint accurate pictures of southern dynamics, but Tru Blood gets it right.

(7) Oz: an old HBO series set in a maximum security prison. Grim, gritty, and unpredictable. This show helped to cement HBO's place among groundbreaking television.

(8) South Park: Satire, satire, satire. How well these four kids illustrate just how dumb adults can be!

Aristo-Politico: Harvey Milk

I just saw "Milk," the biopic about the rise of the nation's first openly gay (surley not the first) man elected to public office. I knew the story before, so needless to say, I knew how it all ends. So the director's task was to effectively tell a story that could reach a broad audience drawing upon univesal themes. Juxtaposing this film with the election of Barack Obama, and the timing could not have been more perfect. Moreover, with the current debates surrounding same sex marriage, the movie was released at a heightened time of political activism. However, the subject of this post is to discuss how moved I was by this film.

The film opens alluding to what will happen in the films final moments. The character himself takes us through historical context in which he was able to rise to become the influential person he was. The film effectively narrates the political current: the christian evangelicals as crusaded by Anita Bryant (the original Sarah Palin) are fueling initiatives throughout the country to supress or repeal the passage of any laws that may prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation. In this case, individuals' jobs were threatened based merely on their sexual orientation. Seems archaic today, right? Well currently, although there is a piece of legislation on capital hill that would amend Title VII to include sexual orientation as an impermissible basis for employment termination, the law has yet to pass. Still, in some states, there are laws protecting discrimination based on sexual orientation. So, in Milk's time, the fight was to protect the employment rights of Americans. Fair enough, but Anita Bryant and company found gay and lesbian Americans deplorable and unsuitable to teach children in school for fear they may "turn them gay." Interesting correlation to say the very least.

At any rate, Harvey Milk forms a coalition in San Francisco's Castro District. He mobilizes the gays first. He orchestrates, successfully, some boycotts. Still he is unable to get elected. So he broadens his reach and begins to reach out to the "us-es." The film ends on this very powerful point. And perhaps this is why the film has broad appeal. It is not about a gay movement, a women's liberation, or black rights movement. The us-es are all of us who so easily fall into a group prone to grave injustices by political majorities. Similarly, as Martin Luther King Jr., said, "An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere." Political movements are most successful when they are able to tap into this concept. This perhaps may be why Prop. 8 passed in California. It must not just be about a one problem. The rhetoric should center around why this argued injustice is antithetical to American principles of freedom, democracy, and rule of law.

I was so intrigued by the ensemble cast of characters that I did some research. As it turns out, Milk's partner, Scott Smith, was a essential to Milk's rise to power. The film does well in conveying their loving relationship. Harvey's political drive and charisma ultimately drove a wedge between he and Scott, but there was no denying that Scott was an intstrumental part of Milk's campaign. A woman on a website who knew Scott and Harvey commented on their relationship. She said that the saying is usually that behind every successful man, their is a good woman. But, she said in Harvey's case, it was Scott who was his driving force. The film did a sufficient job illustrating their relationship.

I was very much inspired by this film. But, maybe it's because I love politics. Maybe love is a strong word. Maybe I should say, "I love this game." For that's what politics is to me -- a sport or artform. Harvey Milk was a masterful politician, and that's why he is an "aristo-politico."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The New Renaissance: Erykah Badu

Music is an artform. I appreciate artists who set out to be bold, innovative, and uncompromising in creating the type of music they want to create. I am most moved by artists today who have the same rebellious spirit reminiscent of those folks from the Harlem Renaissance. In the same way that those artists refused to sell out and manufacture a perfectly packaged and marketed product, there exists today artists of a similar kind who will give you the truth. No matter how brutally honest or sharply poignant, there are artists today who will just give it you real.

Now of course, I don't have the monopoly on good taste, and all of this is my opinion. There were plenty of fun and even great music produced this year. But, after a year that belonged to Lil Wayne, Britney Spears, Beyonce, and Kanye West (among others), one sleeper masterpiece has been a constant on my Ipod. Twenty years from now, I predict, Erykah Badu's latest will be as relevant and timeless as it is today. "New Amerykah" takes you on a journey. It is a specific journey routed in self discovery, revelation, struggle, pride, dispair, and hope.
New Amerykah: This album is pure soul music. There is a conscious message. There is something funky about it. It's a little sixties and a little modern R&B. As some points, you even think she may be high but that does not distract from the powerful imagery she creates with her shrill and soulful voice. You can listen to it from start to finish with skipping a track. The CD was a pleasant surprise as "Honey" (the most commercial of the tracks) is not like the other songs on the record. And with the election of Barack Obama, and the current debate and civil protests surrounding the same sex marriage issue -- accompanied by the release of Gus Van Zant's powerful and deeply moving "Milk" -- there seems to be a renewed sense of political activism as we all, all of US begin to take back our democracy in hopes of reclaiming the contract with the American Dream. This dream entitles us all equally to the pursuit of happiness. This message is clear in Erykah Badu's "New Amerykah." For this and so many other reasons, "New Amerykah" is my favorite album of 2008.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Aristocratic Style Icon: Langston Hughes

I have been reading more and more about the contributions of
African Americans in making this country one of the greatest on Earth. I have never studied, in depth, the Harlem Renaissance. But I am steadily learning more and more about the contributions of those young and inspired individuals. In some ways, they can be considered revolutionaries. Not only were brothers and sisters like Langston Hughes (in the picture) profoundly talented, highly drivem, and determined to be the change they wanted to see in the world, but they did so with style and swagger that many of us try to emulate today.

Langston was an American poet, novelist, playwright, and columnist best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance. His contributions to Black American History are endless, and I am a new fan. He is an original Aristocrat and one of my new personal role models. You should definately read up on Langston Hughes, and the works of him and his contemporaries such as Zora Neale Hurston.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Southern Reconstruction

I was overjoyed last night and even this morning about the election of Barack Obama. So much has happened in eight years, and for it all to culminate in this defining moment, was well worth the wait. I felt a since of pride and happiness, that is, until I went to school. The campus seemed to haved had an eerily melancholy mood. There were so many sad and long faces, apparently disappointed in the loss for John McCain. That is fine, and loyal Republicans are entitled to feel that sentiment. However, there is a stark difference between disappointment for your candidate's loss and exhibiting utter disgust for the prospect that a black person will be your president. And what was I to expect? The nastiness coming from the McCain campaign and Fox News more or less tried to label Obama a terrorist, a socialist, a Muslim, a radical, a "scary" and "risky." So, sure, I can understand why those who believed all the lies and never bothered to research would be a little upset today.

Then, I entered the law school, and there was tension in the "air." People congregated in their separate corners to complain and then would awkwardly change conversation topic once an African American student would enter their vicinity. I thought we have dealt with this? Didn't this campaign make it okay to talk about race outloud? Adding to all this, numerous people have chosen to use Facebook to voice very hateful opinions. It is, as I told a friend, as would imagine many felt the day after the Civil War. It is like there has been a huge front to Southern heritage and culture that an African American has assumed the presidency. Now, clearly, this is not the feeling of ALL Southerners, but if you are honest with yourself and consider all of your southern associates and southern families, you will have to concede that somebody is burning in the gut today that their country's new leader is a black man. Mississippi's greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. They cling to their strong heritage and cultural past with such a endearing white-knuckled grasp that it makes it very difficult for them to easily progress into a new future.

Obama's election is not a personal victory for African Americans. It is a notable triumph in African American history. But there is no way it could have happened if people of all races, ages, and backgrounds did not back this candidate. President Obama is our president in the truest sense. He is both black and white, and isn't that symbolic of the resolution it was going to take to bring us together. He represents Americans, each and every one of us.

African American students at Ole Miss should not have to hide their respective and understandable joy that a black person is president. Obama will be an inspiration to millions of black kids around the world as an example of what anyone can achieve. Moreover, white students who supported Obama should also be able to be excited about their candidate winning. Again, this is not a personal victory for individual African Americans, but it is a historic moment in American history. McCain supporters should rightfully feel some frustration. But no one should be affraid of having a black president.

President Barack Obama


President Obama: A Triumph for ALL Americans

I was watching CNN when at 10 p.m. it was announced that Barack Obama would be the next President of the United States. CNN's Wolf Blitzer was standing in front of one of their studio screens as they were counting down to the California, Oregon, and Washington polls' closings. He stated that they would potentially be able to make a projection. As the clocked ticked down from 10 seconds, there was a quiet moment. It was one of those moments that you hear and read about regarding what occurs before history is made. At 10 P.M., CNN cut to an American flag waving over an endless sea of American citizens and emotional Obama supporters in Chicago and announced that Barack Obama will be the next President. I felt a burst of joy and enthusiasm. Yes, it was historic that the country was electing its first black president. However, for me, it was more than that. This campaign has been a milestone in American politics. Barack Obama never ran as a black man, he ran as a candidate with a message of hope and change. This was a message that millions around the world and the U.S. could grasp after 8 long years which has been a series of tragic events, war, economic, and global crisis. If you traced this moment back to September 11, 2001, it is no surprise that after all this time, and all that has happened, people were waiting for something incredible. They were waiting for something new. Barack won because he was an exceptional human being, who happened to also be black.


This is why millions of blacks, whites, young, old, Latino, and women voted for Barack Obama. Obama changed the electoral map and managed to change red states blue. His election is not a personal victory for any one African American. His election is a triumph and a high point in American history after years and years of terrorism, fear, unemployment, and a slow decline in our national morale and global image. I voted for President Obama because I believe that his economic plan (a departure from trickle down theories) and approach to foreign relations (bringing back diplomacy) are better-situated to deal with the new challenges we faced. We have had it eight years one way, so why vote for someone who had more of the same to offer. Moreover, McCain and Sarah Palin didn't spend much time talking about their plans as much as they partook in a campaign built for parody. And in the weeks leading up to the election, the party itself began to unravel as signs of division in the camp made headlines.

It is my opinion that given the many errors the McCain campaign made, a victory for them on Nov. 4, would have led me to seriously question the political process. But again, the fact that Obama was able to turn red states blue, should be a strong indicator of how the country feels. I think President Obama is smart, and if he runs the country as well as he ran his campaign, I think we might be on an up-swing.



Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Next First Family?

In Case You Missed: Joe the Plumber

The Aristocrat as "Joe the Plumber"
Since Joe wanted to make a mockery of the political process, then I wanted to make a mockery out of Joe, a "true" American

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why McCain SHOULD Lose

(1) Joe the Plumber: why is he giving press conferences on foreign policy regarding Israel? What are his qualifications to give a credible opinion on this issue? Why are we calling him a plumber when he is not? Why is he a campaign headliner?

(1.5) Tito the Builder

(2) Joe Six Pack: Joe Six Pack has been presented as a model for a "true" American. Presenting Joe Six Pack as a true American is implying that anyone who is not Joe Six Pack is not a true American. Speaking of that...

(3) When did being an "intellectual" become a bad thing? Intellectual republicans are being ostracized for some of their departures to Obama's camp. Imagine that, people who can rationalize and make an informed decision. But, hey, Joe the Plumber is an expert on our relations with Israel.

(4) Sarah Palin: see every post I have written about her. She is a polarizing and divisive figure. I honestly think she was McCain's biggest mistake. You cannot argue yourself a moderate and then bring on a far, far right conservative as your number 2. The more she spoke, the more it became apparent that there was no sort of formal process by which McCain chose her. She doesn't have any knowledge, or the basis to articulate an opinion, on usual things you would expect a national executive to know. Sure, she is nice and her appeal is that she is "real" and like an average [white] American. And that is why the base she mobilized so much is of one voice and one point of view. She does not present change or a new point of view. She is like George Bush. And we already made that mistake. The person you want to hang out with should not always be President. Moreover, she has been a point of division among her own party. And the SNL skits only drove home the point. She, like Joe the Plumber, Tito the Builder, and Joes Six Pack, are caricatures for parody fodder. And like a house of cards...

(5) FOX News: Instead of spending time uplifting their obvious pick (McCain), they chose to disparage Obama. They may have done well to persuade Independants had they focused more on why McCain is the better choice instead recycling the Wright/Ayers story over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over...

(6) No Narrative, No Message, Poorly Managed Campaign: McCain missed an opportunity to run a dignified campaign. However, it seems he found it difficult to reconcile Karl Rove politics with the campaign he wanted to run. The country is more moderate, and the exhaustion with the war and worry about the economy did not create an environment in which those same dirty tricks could work

(7) 8 Years of Bush: This was going to be a tough mountain to climb, regardless of who was the candidate

(8) The Economic Crisis: McCain was sold as a military man. He stated from the very begining that he is not keen on economics...OOPS

(9) McCain's Debate Performances: The third debate was his most successful, but next to Obama, he looked old (not just in the literal meaning). In mannerisms, disposition, and ideas McCain is "old" and not an instrument of change.

(10) The Republican Party is changing: There is a divide inside the house. Some fiscally conservative Reagan Republicans do not neccessarily share common principles with Palin Republicans (the Christian evangelical right, racists, and Joe(s)). Also, fundamentally, the ideals of fiscal conservatism are something you can sell to alot of people (blacks, independents, social minorities). But if a strong part of your base is racists, offensive, judgmental, or not willing to work with these groups, then you lose the chance to expand your base and re-define your party. This is why, in my opinion, Gov. Palin was so wrong. She mobilized a specific group. But while she mobilized a particular group, she pushed out others that may have leaned McCain's way.


UPDATE:

I just read through this post and realized how unfortunate this all is for John McCain. Ultimately, all of these reasons have nothing to do WITH John McCain. It is the people and the figures around him that has eroded his image and destroyed his campaign. Most of the attack ads against McCain-Palin were on their merits and policies. The McCain Campaign itself has been responsible for its own attack ads. Obama didn't have to do much but let them bicker from within, let Palin give interviews, let the Joe(s) campaign, and let the ignorance and racists comments at Palin rallies speak for themselves. McCain should have been more in control...but if he was in control, then I would be even more concerned if he were to win tomorrow

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Aristolife: W New Orleans

If you are ever in New Orleans, you should visit the W Hotel in New Orleans located on Poydras. The W is a high end chain of hotels located in select cities around the country and world. The rates are ridiculously expensive, but you don't have to stay there to enjoy some of the great restaurants and nightlife offered inside the hotel. As soon as you walk in, it is as if you have stepped out of New Orleans and into Manhattan, NYC.
This the lounge area within the hotel. There is a small bar and computers located in this area where guests and patrons may mix and mingle. This is also where "Whiskey Blue" is located (pictured above). Whiskey Blue is the chain's bar and it features, sofas and other seating areas, a great bar, and live (or DJ) music. On your next trip down to the Big Easy, you should save a night for the grown and sexy. It is a great alternative to Bourbon Street.


Another view of the lounge area in front of the Whiskey Blue within the W New Orleans.





Aristocrat: Sean Combs

Sean John has made a career out of clever branding and marketing. Starting off as a producer for the late rapper Notorious B.I.G., Sean Combs had an eye and ear for recognizing talent and star potential. Even for his own musical career, Combs was credited more with skillful "sampling" than his own inherent rap abilities. Combs was able to successfully take sounds and beats from music's past and package and brand it in such a way that he became a commercial success. Combs continues this trend in music, reality television, and fashion. He is a trendsetter, uber mogul, and he coined the term that defines the "it" factor -- swagger. He is an aristocratic style icon.

Th above are shots taken from the Sean John Fall 2008 Men's collection. Combs launched SeanJ John in 1998 and was the first to broadcast a televised fashion show in the U.S. with his Fall 2001 Men's collection. That line earned him awards and accolades from the fashion community as a legitimate fashion designer. He was able to merge urban wear and hip hop into the mainstream fashion conscience. His Fall 2008 collection featured new lines and shapes, with European inspirations. More refined than his 2001 show, this collection is heavy on the tailoring with shapes fitted more closely to the body. This is a departure from the traditional heavy and baggy looks.

I have to say, I had mixed opinons about this collection. There were some items that I did not like at all. I tried to post the looks I appreciated the most. He did have some suits and sportcoats that were cut high on the hip or cropped at the torso. I wasn't a fan of that so much. However, I can respect the orginality and European inspirations. They definately aren't going to appease everyone's taste, but the showmanship, presentation, and execution was on par with Combs' more seasoned competition.




Friday, October 24, 2008

Actually

It's not that the RNC spent $150,000 to give Palin and family a makeover that is frustrating. If any past photos are an indication, it was money well spent. And one does need to give off a certain powerful image when thrust upon the national scene. What IS frustrating is that Governor Palin and Cindy McCain drop thousands at high-end retailers, while trying to convince people that they are outsiders, average Joe type of people, or populists.

Again, it has been amazing to me that these women can spend this type of money and the McCains can own several homes while trying to argue that Obama's Harvard education makes him an elitist. He was a community organizer, right? Who's more "for the people," than the person who worked with the people. McCain had this edge as a veteran. But again, he chose to go negative. I don't find either candidate particularly elitist, but as always, people from seven glass houses shouldn't throw stones or call other people elitist.



Aristorant: You Must REALLY Want Obama to Lose When...

...you are willing to do this to your face. Ashely Todd, a McCain Campaign volunteer made up a story about being assaulted and battered by a black male Obama supporter. Go figure. The CBS/AP story reads:

(CBS/AP) A John McCain campaign volunteer made up a story of being robbed, pinned to the ground and having the letter "B" scratched on her face in a politically inspired attack, police said Friday. Ashley Todd, 20-year-old college student from College Station, Texas, admitted Friday that the story was false, police said. Maurita Bryant, the assistant chief of the police department's investigations division, said Todd is being charged with making a false police report. Police doubted her story from the start, Bryant said. "She just opened up and said she wanted to tell the truth," Bryant said, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "She was upset with the media for blowing this into a political firestorm." Todd, who is white, initially told police she was attacked by a 6-foot-4 black man Wednesday night.

If nothing else arises from this election cycle, at least, America (and the world) has seen the level of ignorance and racism that perpetuates within the country. I don't think it will surmount Obama's probable victory. His making it to this level is indicative of how far we have come. But man, there sure are alot of people holding on to the past, holding on to the hate, and holding to the idea that we should be scared of an African American taking the presidency. Just breathe and let it go.

I wonder if Fox News had anything to do with this? Just kidding, but that network, has been campaigning very hard to stop Barack Obama from being elected. They don't even seem to support McCain so much as they want to defame and disparage Obama.

Aristorant: William Ayers

I was watching O'Reily Factor Friday evening, and there was yet another segment on Ayers. Bill O'Reily continues to assert that Obama should "throw Ayers under the bus." I got curious and decided to research William Ayers just to see what the fuss was all about.

Initially, I just figured that Ayers was some 60's militant/hippy who was raging against the establishment and a government, that in his view, was not living up to their end of the constitutional bargain in fighting a debacle of a war in Vietnam (uh hum, Iraq anyone?). Ayer's brand of radicalism was not original and was one example in hundreds of global occurrences. In the 1960s, countries around the world underwent political transitions. From Brazil to Prague, groups around the world toppled military and political dictatorships. In the U.S., protests and acts of civil disobedience were the result in significant strides in civil rights and women's rights. Ayer's acts of anarchy and violence are not excusable, but in context, Ayer's "terrorist" past is best left in the past and in no way imply that he is on the same level as Al Qaeda. Islamic radicalism today is far more serious.

Now, many say that William Ayers is a domestic terrorist, hence McCain-Palin's assertion that Sen. Obama "palls around with terrorists (although he is just one person no plural)" and that he "launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist. Now, apparently the fact that Ayer's acts with the Weathermen organization were 40 years ago doesn't matter. Ayers is a university professor and author. He went through a trial process but never served time. Some federal misconduct resulted in the dismissal of his charges. So, he went through the system, and by chance, he lived to tell (and write about it) his story as a free man. This brief synopsis would lead some to leave Ayer's story in the past. Yet, some people want to keep hammering on the point that Sen. Obama should not have been associating with such a person. Some even go so far as to place Ayers in the same category as Al Qaeda. I think the comparison is remote.

Ayers is not current terrorist. And he was not a terrorist when he met Obama. Moreover, Obama served on a board with Ayers and others who have ties to both political parties. Governor Sarah Palin's argument that Obama "would view America as so imperfect to pal around with domestic terrorists" is a grave exaggeration. I think that the McCain Campaign has harped on this point to their own detriment. There is too much information out there today for these same tactics to hold water. America views terrorism through the lens of the WTC bombings on 9/11. Next to that tragic morning, Ayer's acts, 40 years ago, do not carry the same weight. Even more so now that he is an old college professor. Lastly, Ayers has gone on to clarify what he meant when he said that he had no regrets and wished they could have done more. To this point, Ayers has said that he meant they could have done more to try to stop the U.S. war in Vietnam.

Mud-slingging is NOT aristocratic.

Jennifer Hudson's Mother and Brother Found Dead!

Academy Award © winning actress and recording artist Jennifer Hudson suffered a horrible loss Friday afternoon as her mother and brother were found shot to death in Chicago. Local authorities believe the shooting to have been the result of domestic dispute. Jennifer Hudson was reported to have been in Tampa, Fl at the time of the shooting and immediately boarded a flight to Chicago once the story broke.

Reportedly, an Amber Alert was issued for a young boy (Hudson's nephew) who was at the scene, presumably during the shooting. Chicago authorities are searching for an SUV that was seen in the area, a 1994 white Suburban, Illinois license plate number X584859.

Jennifer Hudson was busy promoting her self-titled debut album, which peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Charts. Prior to the tragic news, she was scheduled to fly overseas for album promotions. Thoughts and prayers go out to Hudson and family.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

AristoLife: My Nutrition Guides

A lot of people always ask me about my diet and the foods that I eat. I have done plenty of diets and what always tell people is nothing will work that you cannot keep up for your lifetime. Fitness is a lifestyle change that calls for improving the quality of your physical, mental, and spiritual health. What I have done is taken the information that's out there (what we are all told from young age about the food pyramid) and adapted to my life. Not everyone likes spinach, for example, but you can find an alternative that is delicious to you. Anyway, Men's Health's "Abs Diet" is the template I have used for a while now. The magazine always has a recipe each month made from several of the foods recommended in the Abs Diet. The letters that make up A-B-S D-I-E-T P-O-W-E-R represent a particular food group that plays a vital role in promoting good health and fitness (link to the site is http://www.absdiet.com/uof/absdiet/power12.html):

Almonds and other Nuts
(Eat them with their nutrient-rich skins intact.)
Superpowers :: Building muscle, fighting food cravings
Secret weapons :: Protein, monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, folate (in peanuts), fiber, magnesium, phosphorus
Fight against :: Obesity, heart disease, muscle loss, wrinkles, cancer, high blood pressure
Sidekicks :: Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, avocados
Impostors :: Salted or smoked nuts. High sodium spikes blood pressure.

Beans and other Legumes
(including soybeans, chickpeas, pinto beans, navy beans, kidney beans, lima beans)
Superpowers :: Building muscle, helping burn fat, regulating digestion
Secret weapons :: Fiber, protein, iron, folateFight against :: Obesity, colon cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure
Sidekicks :: Lentils, peas, bean dips, hummus, edamame
Impostors :: Refried beans, which are high in saturated fats; baked beans, which are high in sugar

Spinach and other Green Vegetables
Superpowers :: Neutralizing free radicals (molecules that accelerate the aging process)
Secret weapons :: Vitamins including A, C, and K; folate; beta-carotene; minerals including calcium and magnesium; fiber
Fight against :: Cancer, heart disease, stroke, obesity, osteoporosis
Sidekicks :: Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussels sprouts; green, yellow, red, and orange vegetables such as asparagus, peppers, and yellow beans
Impostors :: None, as long as you don't fry them or smother them in fatty cheese sauces

Dairy Products
(fat-free or low-lat milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese)
Superpowers :: Building strong bones, firing up weight loss
Secret weapons :: Calcium, vitamins A and B12, riboflavin, phosphorus, potassium
Fight against :: Osteoporosis, obesity, high blood pressure, cancer
Sidekicks :: None
Impostors :: Whole milk, frozen yogurt

Instant Oatmeal
(unsweetened, unflavored)
Superpowers :: Boosting energy and sex drive, reducing cholesterol, maintaining blood-sugar levels
Secret weapons :: Complex carbohydrates and fiber
Fights against :: Heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, obesity
Sidekicks :: High-fiber cereals like All-Bran and Fiber One
Impostors :: Cereals with added sugar and high-fructose corn syrup

Eggs
Superpowers :: Building muscle, burning fat
Secret weapons :: Protein, vitamins A and B12
Fight against :: Obesity
Sidekicks :: Egg Beaters
Impostors :: None

Turkey and Other Lean Meats
(lean steak, chicken, fish)
Superpowers :: Building muscle, improving the immune system
Secret weapons :: Protein, iron, zinc, creatine (beef), omega-3 fatty acids (fish), vitamins B6 (chicken and fish) and B12, phosphorus, potassium
Fight against :: Obesity, mood disorders, memory loss, heart disease
Sidekicks :: Shellfish, Canadian bacon, omega-3-rich flaxseed
Impostors :: Sausage, bacon, cured meats, ham, fatty cuts of steak (T-bone & rib eye)

Peanut Butter
(all-natural, sugar-free)
Superpowers :: Boosting testosterone, building muscle, burning fat
Secret weapons :: Protein, monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, niacin, magnesium
Fights against :: Obesity, muscle loss, wrinkles, cardiovascular disease
Sidekicks :: Cashew and almond butters
Impostors :: Mass-produced sugary and trans fatty peanut butters

Olive Oil
Superpowers :: Lowering cholesterol, boosting the immune system
Secret weapons :: Monounsaturated fat, vitamin E
Fights against :: Obesity, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure
Sidekicks :: Canola oil, peanut oil, sesame oil
Impostors :: Other vegetable and hydrogenated vegetable oils, trans fatty acids, margarine

Whole Grain Breads and Cereals
Superpower :: Preventing your body from storing fat
Secret weapons :: Fiber, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc
Fight against :: Obesity, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease
Sidekicks :: Brown rice, whole-wheat pretzels, whole-wheat pastas
Impostors :: Processed bakery products like white bread, bagels, and doughnuts; breads labeled wheat instead of whole wheat

Extra Protein Whey Powder
Superpowers :: Building muscle, burning fat
Secret weapons :: Protein, cysteine, glutathione
Fights against :: Obesity
Sidekick :: Ricotta cheese
Impostor :: Soy protein

Rasberries and other Berries
Superpowers :: Protecting your heart; enhancing eyesight; improving memory; preventing cravings
Secret weapons :: Antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, tannins (cranberries)
Fight against :: Heart disease, cancer, obesity
Sidekicks :: Most other fruits, especially apples and grapefruit
Impostors :: Sugary jellies

The above is a great template and guide for helping you decide which foods to purchase from the grocery store. The Best Life Diet (no direct affiliation with the Abs Diet) was written by Bob Greene. Bob Greene is Oprah Winfrey's trainer, and he has written a book that helps you actually shop for food. Once you know the "power foods" it is hard to glean through the grocery store and pick the right things. Bob Greene's "Best Life" label is on the foods he has approved to be within the constraints of the diet. He also discusses some of the chemical preservatives to avoid like high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, flours, an abundance of sugar and so on. More info can be found at www.thebestlife.com.

I have used both The Abs Diet and The Best Life books as guides. They are not diets and I don't read the books anymore as I have incorporated healthy foods into my daily eating habits. It is about finding something that suits your lifestyle and that you will be able to maintain for the duration of your lifetime.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Aristocratic Living: The Best Bedroom


It is due in large part to the home I grew up in that I love earth tones. Natural colors and different shades of brown make me think of my childhood and really give me a feeling that I am "at home." The above modern designs both use earth tones very effectively to create a simple design scheme. Platform beds are a modern alternative to the more traditional beds. They come in all sorts of designs and price ranges, and they are actually pretty comfortable if you don't ming being a little closer to the floor. The above designs have tiled floors, so they have used rugs to create breaks in the monochromatic scheme of the floor. With this type of tiling, textured rugs go great to create a little visual interests to a somewhat minimalist design. And for practical purposes of providing warmth so you don't have to walk on a cold floor in the morning. This is definately aristocratic living.



Now, there are little things that we all can do to make our own temporary living seem more like home. As college students (be it undergrad or grad) we tend to rent alot, and thus do not put time into our living space because it is all temporary and it doesn't matter. That may be true for a while, but with the increase intensity of studies, I have found it essential to have a calming place to return to. When I had a lot of roomates, I really didn't care as long as things were just clean. Now that I live alone, I like to come home to something that feels a bit more "like home." One summer, when I was bored, I took some blank canvases (purchased from Wal-Mart), painted them different colors, and positioned them on my wall in the above pattern. I used natural colors, as that reflects my upbringing and placed them in the pattern that looked the best. In my room, I just use the above to cover up the bear walls (which would otherwise make me think of a hospital), but you can also do similar things to create a headboard for your bed too. Your current place may be temporary, but that doesn't mean you can't make it a temporary sanctuary suited to your own personal taste.
















Words of Wisdom: Donna Brazile

CNN political contributor and Obama supporter Donna Brazile invokes the wisdom and power of the great civil rights heroes of the past. In just four minutes, she is able to stir emotions, inspire, and deliver a message of hope. There is really nothing I can say to properly preface the clip above, so just watch and enjoy. Thanks to the CPA Doc!

Will the Real Democrat Please Stand Up

The race for the Senate is on as both Senators Musgrove and Wicker have launched full on attack ads against the other. However, it seems as though the campaigns are turning on who is the most risky choice for MS. Both are running ads telling us how conservative they are, predicated upon making the other seem more liberal (in spending) or my like President Bush (in incompetence). But even as their pictures above suggest, what really is the difference between the two? Ronnie and Roger both have grey hair, they both wear glasses, they both went to Ole Miss. Apparently these two mirror one another so much, they have to tell out right lies about one another to try to convince Mississippians who is the most...well, conservative. Both claim to be pro-gun, pro-life, anti-gay, pro-education, pro-regulated government spending, and anti-Bush. Frankly, I don't know how much either represents where the country in general is headed as a nation. One thing is for certain, you know you are in a RED state when even the Democrats run as Republicans.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Aristocratic Style: Fall Look for the Weekend Getaway


The above is a great weekend look for the cool weekends. It also works well for traveling. Some older people still like to dress up for flights, but all the restrictions and security checks have led many people to opt for comfort rather than a suit. The thick cable knit cardigan is a great item, very comfortable, and you can wear it for falls and winters to come. I think it works well for a weekend trip paired with denim jeans and a graphic tee. I think a graphic tee works best when you can find one that reflects your personality without having to be a printed slogan. The above tee reflects green issues and recycling, for example. If you like a certain artist or band, you can find tees that reflect that. Canvas sneakers are comfortable shoes to pair with this look, but for cooler days, maybe you can switch them out for boots. Lastly, a great weekend bag and aviator shades are classic staple items you can pass down to your children and grandchildren.

W: Opening this Weekend


Oliver Stone directed this film based on President Bush's life leading up to decision to invade Iraq. Stone's films have not done so well in recent years, but so far, this film has an 86% fresh rating on Rottentomatoes. It has gotten mostly positive reviews. "W" hits theaters tomorrow.

Aristocratic Style: Fall Look for Work

The above is a great look for the office. A grey suit with subtle pinstripes can be worn year round and makes for a great investment. This three-piece version allows for versatility. You can wear it as shown above to work, and you can go without the vest, switch out the tie for a silk solid and you can wear it to one of the hundred southern weddings you will attend this year. You don't have to wear black shoes with a brown suit either. Grey is a neutral color that looks great with brown shoes, or cognac colored wing tip lace-up oxfords like the ones pictured above. You can pair these with bold patterned socks, too. Finally, every professional needs a good briefcase. I tend to like shades of brown and tan, as I wear alot of neutral colors. If you wear dark colors alot (charcoals and black), you may want one in black.

As for the toys, I think Toshiba Satellites are great laptops. They are very reliable and versatile laptops that function for office and in home purposes. However, some people like Macs, but those computers may lack some of the practical functionality that may be more appropriate for your type of work. As for phones, the razor is a great phone for those who just want a phone that can do some cool things (picture and video) without bordering on being a second hand-held computer. I-phones are cool, and seem to be at the cutting edge in their functionality, but they are not everyone's favorite phones. Again, it is all about what works for you. Lastly, the Blackberry is very useful if you work a job that involves receiving tons of email correspondence throughout the day.

This is Palin's America


“I’m afraid if he wins, the blacks will take over. He’s not a Christian! This is a Christian nation! What is our country gonna end up like?”

“When you got a Nigger running for president, you need a first stringer. He’s definitely a second stringer.”

“He seems like a sheep - or a wolf in sheep’s clothing to be honest with you. And I believe Palin - she’s filled with the Holy Spirit, and I believe she’s gonna bring honesty and integrity to the White House.”

“He’s related to a known terrorist, for one.”

“He is friends with a terrorist of this country!”

“He must support terrorists! You know, uh, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it must be a duck. And that to me is Obama.”

“Just the whole, Muslim thing, and everything, and everybody’s still kinda - a lot of people have forgotten about 9/11, but… I dunno, it’s just kinda… a little unnerving.”

“Obama and his wife, I’m concerned that they could be anti-white. That he might hide that.”

“I don’t like the fact that he thinks us white people are trash… because we’re not!”

These quotes were taken from the video above. Al-JAzeera went to a Palin rally in Ohio and the above comments were uttered by some truly colorful characters. I won't give any further opinions, I will just let the video and the words speak for themselves

10/18/09 Update

And check out the video below of Sarah Palin being "blessed" over. I wonder how people would react if this was Obama.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

They Saved the BEST for Last

This debate has been, by far, the most interesting. Notwithstanding the VP debate, that was clearly a circus, this final presidential debate was substantive and addressed the issues that were important to the American people. They discussed economic issues and policy, education, foreign policy, Supreme Court appointments, and general reform. Sen. McCain brought his A Game, and I thought this was his best debate performance of the three. He was confident, assertive, and he managed to put Obama on the defense. I am not sure who "won" the debate. I don't know if that is an adequate measure. But, McCain was impressive in his complete 360. He wasn't like grandpa up there, he was nearly imposing. It goes to prove the point I made in an earlier post: you can effectively battle it out without sinking to the level of dirty politics that has outlined McCain's campaign. I think had he shown this side prior to tonight, he probably could have picked up more support.

Aristorants: Why Play Dirty, Wicker?


Look, I graduated from the Croft Institute at Ole Miss with Senator Wicker's daughter, and I know his son who currently attends the university. I usually don't care about MS politics. I feel like MS is, was, and will be...constantly last to catch on with common sense and evolving standards of decency. That's not to say I don't like my home state. I was born and raised in this state, but man, we have our issues. We have come so far, but we still have much work to do. So, I really was just never moved to get involved with MS politics. However, the latest campaign ad is quite over-the-top.
In the ad, the Wicker Campaign implies Ronnie Musgrove just pours money and support into the coffers of every left wing group on the planet. He has a person giving a briefcase full of money to the Musgrove campaign implying that Musgrove is "pro abortion" (instead of pro choice). He also has two individuals dressed like characters from the 1970s group The Village People who are supposed to represent a human rights group that advocates on behalf of gay and lesbian issues.
The clip is quite cheap and in poor taste. It's not like Musgrove is super popular (I don't think), and I am sure there are plenty of effective ways to attack him rather than stooping to level of dirty politics currently on display in the presidential election. Is there no honor left anywhere? It seems like there is less an emphasis on dignity as there is on sensationalism and outrageous advertising. But of course, maybe I live in la la land and these politicians are just pandering to the abundance of stupidity and ignorance that thrives within this union of states.




Tuesday, October 14, 2008

These Two Will Own the Fall

Beyonce: I wrote a prediction for her album based on initial impressions from her lead singles. I was not overwhelmed, but her latest videos for the singles really sell the music. Like a Boy is a great soft balad reminiscent of Irreplaceable. It is a solid song and it will probably be a smash hit as her fans will eat it up. But my video of choice is for the Single Ladies single. Again, the song was a bit lukewarm. The video is pure heat. Beyonce can dance, and she executes these HBCU drill team moves like the best of them. She looks sexy, and the simple concept of the video seems to intentional to showcase the high octane dancing these girls are doing. Beyonce gives it 100% everytime, and though not always original, she manages to always execute things a step up from the old artists she "samples" from. Beyonce will have a career as long as she wants it.

Kanye West: "Love Lockdown" is a great song and the video is equally as provactive and thought provoking. I don't have a complete grasp of the concept of the video, and the fact that I have to think about what the video means speaks to the effort and work that went into its production. I think Kanye West is an incredible artist. He is such a throwback to original hip hop. His music, I think, is cutting edge, innovatice, and always remarkably well thought out. Kanye West, and Beyonce, are two artist that will be discussed for years to come. We will be dancing to their music when we are 45 years old trying to re-live our youth at family reunions!





The Best Vodka


Ciroc vodka is smooth and not as harsh as alot of vodkas. It is very aristocratic

Aristocratic Style: Checking the Foot Work


You can pair these shoes with just about anything. The ones above are Stacy Adams, but you can find them from a variety of designers at multiple price points to fit your budget during the economic crisis (we are in recession). Like anything else I try to showcase on the site, you can get alot of use out of these so that they make for a practical investment. You want to also keep some newspaper or something durable in the insides of the shoes to preserve their shape and prevent those indentations that occur due to the natural movement of the foot from walking. These look just as great with trousers as they do with jeans. Some people like to collect sneakers or boots, but brown loafers are an essential that every aristocrat should have in the closet.

The above are from Converse but you can find canvas sneakers anywhere. And just like the loafers above, you can pair them with anything -- shorts, pants, jeans, slacks, and some people wear them with suits (I don't, but respect to those who can pull off). They are comfortable durable and they add a little urban element to another otherwise "square" outfit. These will go along way and are also a great investment.

Monday, October 13, 2008

When You Throw Stones From Glass Houses...

Friday evening, a BIPARTISAN investigation and panel revealed Governor Palin did abuse her power to exert improper influence over the firing of a state employee who would not fire a trooper the Palins did not like. The trooper was a former in-law, who was reportedly abusive to one Palin's family members. Sure, anyone would go similar lengths to avenge a family member. But, do you really want an executive in national power who would use her authority for peronal vendettas? That is the temptation of power that many must overcome. It is like the quote from the film"Spider-Man:" "With great power comes great responsibility." Gov. Palin did not do anything illegal, but she DID violate Alaska's ethics code. But hearing the governor herself, you would think that she has done nothing wrong. What is more frustrating about all this is the fact that Gov. Palin spent all last week (along with Hannity, Coulter, Hasselbeck, and FOX News in general) trashing Obama's judgments and associations with William Ayers. Meanwhile, the economic crisis deepened each day. So while there was a financial crisis, Palin and co. spent the week throwing stones and bringing Ayers and Rev. Wright back to light. And there justifications were that we need to know "who Barack really is." Well, who are you Sarah Palin? It turns out that you are the one who has some explaining to do.

In addition, Gov. Palin was arousing crowds to make racially charged outbursts during her speeches last week. This in turned led to McCain having to calm down his base and stop them from buying into the ignorance that Palin insighted. It seemed as if all of this was happening around McCain. There is definately a disconnect in his camp. The irony is, Palin was brought in to do what she is doing. She is bringing those strong conservatives, Joe Six Packs, and racists rednecks (the ones not for Obama) to the ticket. She was brought in to bring those people over who wouldn't vote for no black man named Obama. They have no regard for issues. They are happy believing that Barack is an Arab terrorist or the antichrist. And let's face it, that allows people to sleep at night knowing that they are not racist, they just are not going to vote for an Arab terrorist for president.

Look if you are not voting for Obama because he is black, just admit it. There are people who are voting for him because he is black, and there are people who are not going to vote for him because he is black. And then there are people in both parties who are simply voting there party, also not giving the issues and platforms a second look.

And this, people, is why the Electoral College picks the president. Every vote DOES count, but the reason why I am not for a pure one person, one vote system is because our country is full of idiots. I am sorry, there is just no other way to put it. They are easily persuaded and manipulated. They allow for the corruption to persist because they do not actually take accountability or control of the government that is supposed to be their democracy. The people should control, not corporations, lobbyists, and those with the biggest bank account.

Oh well...OBAMA 08! And in conclusion, Sarah Palin is awful. LOL!

New Fall Music


This Fall, there will be plenty of new albums dropping from some of our generation's preeminent musical artists. The above are some of my pics based on consistency, past performance, and their latest singles. Robin Thicke's Something Else was released Septemeber 30, and from first listen it's true to form and definately worth having around the house for the grown-up nights. Here's the rundown

  1. 808s and Heartbreak (Nov. 25) Kanye West: Always innovative and exciting in both style and arrangement. While others in hip-hop are living in the shadow of Jay-Z, Tupac, and Big, Kanye, like any good student, takes his knowledge and love of hip-hop (past and present), and propels us into the future with unique sounds and amalgams of different musical genres. As his latest single, "Love Lockdown," demonstrates, you never know what Kanye will produce, but you can be sure that the sound, style, and presentation will be something different than your mainstream 4-count, whisper, and snap rap music.
  2. Something Else (Sept. 30) Robin Thick: smooth and aristocratic. A staple in the tradition of any of our great R&B artists. Like Jill Scott, Mary J., and John Legend record, it is just good to have a Robin Thicke CD in the collection. It's not groundbreaking, but he doesn't disappoint. Consistent artists do have longevity.
  3. I Am (Nov. 18) Beyonce: I personally prefer Beyonce's first solo album the best. It was solid contemporary R&B. However, Beyonce is an artist for women, and her music speaks to a certain demographic as evidenced from her last album and her latest singles, "Single Ladies" and "Like a Boy." She seems to be continuing the "Irreplaceable" and "Get Me Bodied" type of music with these releases. But, none of that is to take anything away from Beyonce. She is our time's Tina Turner. I think she will have a career as long as she wants it, because regardless of what any critic says, at this point, she can't do any wrong in the eyes of her fans.
  4. Universal Mind Control (Nov. 9) Common: I was disappointed with his last album. The lead singles "I Want You" and "The People" were the best on the whole CD (subjective). Coincidentally, his last album was his first number 1! Common is not as consistent as other hip hop artists, but he does manage to draw intrigue. And his latest single "Universal Mind Control" is great! It's classic hip hop updated for 2008.
  5. Evlover (Oct. 28) John Legend: His latest single, "Green Light," is a bit of a departure from John Legend's usual. And it is surprisingly well-produced, and Andre 3000 is a nice addition. Like Robin Thicke, John Legend has not produced an album I don't like. Hopefully "Evolver," won't disappoint either.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Aristocratic Style Icon: Daniel Craig/007

Daniel Craig
He is the new James Bond and will be reprising his role in the November release of "Quantum of Solace." Watching the latest Bond makes it difficult to watch the Bonds that came before. He is brooding, gritty, intelligent, and can kill you all while being perpetually well dressed. As James Bond and in real life, Daniel Craig is an Aristocrat.

What Happened to John McCain?

I don't have anything against John McCain. I don't believe in making personal attacks because I don't know McCain and I don't know Obama on a personal level to make a judgment call relating to their "associations." The recent reaching into the past with linking Ayers to Obama and the Keating Five scandal to McCain have nothing to do with the devastation that is occurring on mainstream as a result of Wall Street's downward spiral. I have made a decision to support Barack Obama because I think that he is the "real" reformer whose economic and social idea are what this country needs to propel it into a scary and uncertain future. There are big challenges ahead and I just don't think the same old same old will do, because that is what has brought us here. But this post is about John McCain...

John McCain is a veteran who served in the Vietnam War. He was a prisoner of war. He has literally served his country in some capacity for the majority of his life. He is not his party's favorite and he has resolve and clearly outlined political platforms. Though his delivery may not be the most riveting, his story is quite moving and he had a potential to take his credentials to deliver a message of hope for the future. But a clear message never resonnated. At some point, I think Senator McCain sold out a bit and sold out to the dark forces (like Karl Rove and other Bush architects). And now with the polls seeming to slant in Obama's favor, he and Palin have taken a turn for dirty politics and smearing in efforts to win.

But who is losing in the process? The economy is in tatters, people are unemployed, and we are all facing uncertain futures, and all we have to discuss is Ayers. Ayers was some hippie radical, but now he is a professor. Are we to hold everyone to who they were when they were in college? No one is that perfect, certainly not McCain and neither was Obama. John McCain has served his country well, and I wish he will finish out this race, regardless of how it turns out, with the class and dignity we expect from him.

Dress Like an Aristocrat this Fall (Even though we're in recession)


The above represents some of the best ways you can put your best foot forward. Items 1-5 are all from J.Crew with the rest (6-9) taken from Gap. As always, the above items are classics and can be found at any price range. Moreover, the above looks are here to stay and you can wear them from your late 20s into your 50s. So your money can be well spent in adding some of the above items to your wardrobe.

  1. Trench Coat: Wear it with jeans, khakis, or over a suit. A great fit matters and can make the difference between classic cool and Inspector Gadget.
  2. Cardigan: You will have this classic navy cardigan for years to come. Try to get one that is or more fitted -- you aren't Bill Cosby. Like any other staple item, it can look good with a t-shirt as well as an oxford shirt.
  3. Heavy shawl collar cardigan: Just like the above, but for when it is really cool outside. It's a great sweater to have and it will look good on those days that you just want to throw something on and leave the house (it beats that old sweatshirt you would have worn, right?)
  4. Herringbone blazer: A great fitting blazer will always, always work. Tweed, Wool, and Herringbone blazers look great in the fall. And like everything else on the list, you can wear it with anything.
  5. Knit ties: I have a few of these. They are a great alternative and a great way to dress something up without going all the way corporate.
  6. Leather bomber: Just cool. Too bad we're all broke.
  7. Bootcut trousers: khaki pants and dress trousers aren't all pleated or straight fit.
  8. Scarf: think of it as a tie as well as something practical to provide additional warmth. Don't just throw one on either, look at what you are wearing, and like Mr. Witherspoon said, "coooordinate."
  9. Driving cap: There's a hat for everyone, and it's time to dress like an adult and not a frat boy. Try something new and put down the baseball cap for a day.

Video Blog: Vote For Obama



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These times always draw a line in the sand. They don't have to, but some political figures are so polarizing that it inevitably leads to groups separating and arguing politics. Senator McCain was fine by me. I really gave him credit for taking the high road early on and not really lowering himself to mudslinging and some of blantantly terrible attacks occurring now. Now, in the final days of his campaign, that appears to suffered from the economic crisis, he and his "pitbull" Palin are taking off the gloves in all out last ditch effort to convince America that they should be affraid to vote for Obama, "someone who thinks America is so imperfect that he pals around with domestic terrorists." They want you to believe that he "launched his political career in the living room of a terrorist." They want to convince you in concert with Fox News that Senator Obama is a scary Muslim who doesn't represent your America.

And whose America is that, by the way? Joe Six-Packs? Hockey Moms? Perhaps the Republican Party itself doesn't know its own base as surely fiscal conservatives are not excited about the $840 billion bailout. So perhaps Joe Six-Pack, Hockey Moms, and the evangelical right is all that is left to rally. But Gov. Palin has been walking a fine line lately at her rallies. Her speeches, reportedly, have been arousing people to hateful speech. One observer wrote that a person said "kill Obama" at one of her recent outings. And at the same time, Gov. Palin's defenders will say that she is being unfairly attacked for being a woman and/or Republican. But Gov. Palin is no dainty flower. She has been throwing punches like the good ole boys she claims to go against.

Race matters. But, in the present election, I hope its impact is not the deciding factor. CNN did a segment in which they documented a group of union steel workers for Obama who were going door to door trying to convince people to overlook Obama's race. They said that alot of people would say that they could just not vote for "that black boy," or that "I am not going to vote for him because he is a muslim." I think that "muslim" may be a euphemism for black or something worse. Some of the people in the segment said they believed that people said Muslim because it was more acceptable to say than simply that they won't vote for a black man.

I guess we will see what happens on November 4th!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Aristorant: Debate recap, and Why I'm Pissed!


I want to begin this post with some highlights taken from Jocelyn Noveck's article for the AP. These quotes sum up the general media consensus following last night's debate:

She even said as much in her closing statement: "I like being able to answer these tough questions without the filter ... of the mainstream media kinda telling viewers what they just heard," she said. "I'd rather just be able to speak to the American people." And so she did.

So did the debate change any minds? It didn't seem likely. For one undecided voter, each candidate scored points. "I think Palin talked more like a person, and Biden talked more like a politician," said Michelle Lamar, a writer and mother in Kansas City. "Palin connects with the people — she reminds me of Reagan."

"I'm thankful Sarah Palin held her own," said Jean Pirovic, a real estate agent and longtime Republican from Hyattsville, Md. "I was impressed by Joe Biden's performance and behavior and his public service, but he did nothing to help me understand how he will change things. I will remain Republican and support the ticket."

I was in disbelief with all these comments. Honestly, I know that people will say I am biased, but from an intelligent and objective view of the debate (as objective as I can be), I don't know how anyone can conclude that Governor Palin won that debate. She was so clearly out of place and out of touch with the issues you would expect for a person in an executive position to have knowledge of or an opinion about. She tactfully dodged questions, and sometimes not so gracefully, as she would just flat out say she was going to talk about something else. When she didn't know how to respond (enough to notice), she would dance around the question, throw out some of her catch phrases, and wink. Come on people, both my friends to the right and left, how can you argue she is prepared?

Her appeal to "regular" people is also such double standard that I find so blatantly racist and/or culturally biased. If Anita Brown (made up name) was running for VP and through out black "folksy" language, had a underage daughter pregnant with some knuckle head's baby, failed to answer questions during a debate, exhibited no knowledge of issues regarding executive offices, and was debating against someone as skilled and knowledgeable as Joe Biden, the right (and left) would crucify her and we would not even be talking about how charming a person she may or may not be.

Sen. Joe Biden exhibited knowledge of issues and was able to answer questions thoroughly. He laid out a plan for the American people. He rebutted John McCain's platform and policies. He highlighted some of McCain's contradictions. He was capable, he gave educated answers. He was heartfelt when needed, and bold when necessary, and he did not undermine or point out Palin's inferior debating skills. And maybe that is unfair. She may have been a worthy opponent had she been able to back up her gusto and style with something more substantive than a blink of the eye.

And today, in all the media, they seem to report that Palin succeeded because she connected with average Americans. Just who are these average Americans? Are they white blue collar Americans? Joe six pack? Hockey Moms? There seems to be groups missing from representation. Palin appeals to one group. And I dare say, intellectual conservative surely cannot take to kindly to her utter ignorance.

I think Palin was an attempt to undermine Obama. The right always argued that Senator Obama is inexperienced, not ready, and that he is only appealing because he is a great speaker. But, then, they choose someone who is also young, vivacious, and attractive but who lacks in credible ground to begin to seek office. Her degree (which took her several different schools to complete might I add) was in journalism. She has had no training in government, international affairs, or economics. Barack has had some level of experience and training in those areas.

Obama is more than a good speaker. He can do the job. If he couldn't and if people thought he could not be president, he would not have made it this far. Why? Well, it is like my mother always said, to be a black man in America you have to be smarter, better, and nearly beyond reproach. She was making the point that minorities are not afforded the same latitude or liberty to make the same mistakes as whites. Look at the drawing board. Between Palin and McCain, there is enough dirt and skeletons in the closet to cover the Middle East. And Obama, the best efforts have been to link him to Ayers, Rev. Right, and Tony Rezco. And before that, they tried to paint him as a scary figure, a radical, a liberal, a Muslim. I have never before seen such a clear example of dirty politics before.

And even with Hillary Clinton. She was smart, capable, intelligent, experienced, ready, and a woman. But she was pounced upon because she was not essentially Joe Six Pack and the Hockey Moms' visions of what a woman in power should do. Enter Sarah Palin. She is Hillary Clinton's foil and antithesis. She is what the right would proffer as qualified. Hard working African American people and intelligent women in general are left scratching their heads with this sociopolitical conundrum. The right is okay with a female politician as long as she is attractive, folksy, and a mom. The woman doesn't have to have substantive knowledge of anything as long as she can remember her catchphrases. But they do not accept Obama's "inexperience" because...what? He is a people person right? He has worked with your average American, right? He is a father, and apparently today, being a parent is a qualification for executive leadership because Palin's experience as a mother is a plus (whatever). So what is the real reason (FOR SOME), that Obama is unacceptable? He is black, let's all say it people. When it boils down to it, the folksy folk, the Joe Six Packs, and the hockey moms do not include Barack Obama's demographic. And there we have the broader battle at play with this election.

This election is an epic battle about CHANGE. This is a battle between the old politics of yesterday and the new politics of today. This is a struggle with maintaining the status quo against reform and creating a better union of states with a government more inclusive and representative of all its citizens. John McCain is not a reformer. He is an old politician who is set in his beliefs and ideological world view. And now, with this economic crisis, he has even less of a clear platform as fiscal conservatives will not take to kindly to the bailout or anything that smells socialistic. And it is McCain, at the end of the day who is at the top of the ticket, not Palin.

I get it, though. Sarah Palin is normal. She is not a politician. And her acceptance and appeal is indicative of general fatigue with the same old politics as usual. But maybe some republicans shoud rethink their party identification. Traditional conservative values are predicated upon economic principles of capitalism, small government, traditionally conservative values, and no regulations on the free market. These principles supplemented our economic downward spiral. Though democrats can share the blame, in the present time, republicans are not in the position as a party or policymaking body, to fix this mess. There traditional solutions are not going to get us out of this mess.

John McCain is not change. And don't let your frustrations with politicians lead you to think that just anyone can be president. Sarah Palin seems like a nice person, but she is not situated to be a heart beat away from the presidency. How can you really be an instrument of change, if you don't understand why the old does not work. Presidents and vice presidents cannot just be like anyone else. Everybody is not special, and not just anyone can be president. There are issues and concerns that a president must be prepared to face, and we cannot disregard the need for some knowledge and understanding of the politics. Even a remote understanding of the law would be nice too. Come on conservatives, especially my right wing law colleagues. As a republican, you know what Supreme Court cases you dislike, right? Why is that crazy, that a VP should be able to name one? And you know, or at least know where to find, what the answer regarding VP power. She cosigned Cheney's theory expansion and clearly exhibited she still fully did not understand what she is supposed to do as vice president. Biden laid out plans, Palin laid out nothing. She talked in general invoking all-American themes, but she could provide no answers or solutions.

Don't be misled, please.