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Op Ed

Minor Rant in Stereo

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eclectic-novelty-signsI listen to a lot of music, much of it through headphones. Sometimes because I have to, like when I’m on the train or if my girl is watching TVBut a lot of the time I use headphones because I want to. I like the solitary feeling of that enclosed sonic space. It allows me to listen to the same song over and over again. Maybe I want to hear I Would Die For You by Prince on repeat my whole commute. Don’t judge my journey.

I have great memories of headphones going way back to my single digits. Dad had huge over the ear cans when I was a kid with a thick coiled wire that allowed you to go anywhere in our green shagged living room. I remember that blasting Santana’s Abraxas through those were like a portal to another world.

Years later in my teens I’d take long pouty walks listening to Synchronicity by The Police on my Sony Walkman. Eventually, the discman came along and I dug nothing more than cranking some Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Outkast, and They Might Be Giants at dangerously high volumes through my headphones. You got a problem with They Might Be Giants?

Every year it gets harder and harder to figure out which is the right and which is the left headphone.

Somewhere along the line something changed. I’m pretty sure it started with the iPod. Now, I love the iPod. I dreamed of being able to access the entirety of my music collection on a small device for years. When it finally came around, no one was as thrilled as me, but it brought with it a change to headphones that I just can’t understand.

leftI’m not talking about audio fidelity here. You can argue the pros and cons of compression till the cows come home. I’m talking about something a little more practical; labeling.

Every year it gets harder and harder to figure out which is the right and which is the left headphone. Take a look at your headphones after a few months of use. Can you even tell which is which anymore? Look at these Samsungs. Came with my phone. White, barely raised, tiny, hardly noticeable at actual size. Great setup for a penis joke but not a headphone.

Do I really need a flood light so I can tell which holes to put these in? I’m liable to stick them anywhere.

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I can’t understand who benefits from this.

When I wanna get to the bottom of something, I think about who benefits and reverse engineer from there. For the life of me I can’t understand who benefits from this.

Look at these pricey discontinued Sennheisers. Even zoomed in I can’t get a sharp picture of the indicator. That R looks like a dot at 100%, trust me. Especially bouncing on the bus, yo.

Maybe we’ll get to the point where everything is Bluetoothed right to your ear drums or hard-wired into our colons, but for now I need solutions.

20141221_144259micro1These Klipsch headphones have two indicators. It’s too bad you can’t read either. See the indicator on the headphone wire itself? Dark grey against a darker grey?

And can you even see the other indicator? Nighttime happens, headphones companies. And dimly lit afternoons. You’d have trouble seeing these in the clearest light of day.

Wait, maybe it’s eyeglass companies that benefit from this?

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And it’s not just in-ear headphones. These Velodyne’s over-the-ear cans have a small stamp in the metal on the inside of the headband that you can only see if you angle it towards Mecca.

Really? Do I have to draw large L’s and R’s with a permanent marker on all my headphones? How am I supposed to look cool?

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Listen, I know a lot of stuff is going on in the world that’s super-important. Maybe ISIS shot down a Russian plane over Egypt. Maybe our next President will be a billionaire xenophobe or a narcoleptic neurosurgeon. In the grand scheme of things, blogging about headphones seems like whiny hipster bullshit… but to paraphrase Plato, music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, and flight to the imagination. That’s some important shit right there.

Brooklyn's own MC Krispy E has an opinion about most things you can put in your ear, eye, and mouth holes.

Op Ed

KavaNAW

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The first season of #metoo is heading towards a climactic season finale entitled “KavaNAW.” With all the twists and turns involved in this latest episode, it’s sure to garner the vaunted ratings our Child in Chief adores.

We start things off with a Supreme Court judge nominee that went above and beyond to express the influence of women in his life during the beginning of his hearing – detailing how his mother was his role model, his wife his rock, and the joy he felt coaching his daughter’s basketball team.

Just when we thought we were headed to the end of the episode, the plot twist revealed itself!

That was followed by a slew of questions from the Senate that revealed his impeccable memory and a sudden convenient case of amnesia that struck in the middle of the scene. Let’s just say KavaNAW’s acting performance in this segment will not garner him an Emmy nomination.

Just when we thought we were headed to the end of the episode, the plot twist revealed itself!

It appears that KavaNAW foreshadowed the dilemma to come by trying to head us off at the pass. His previous admiration of the women in his life has now been interrupted by allegations of fawning over a classmate in high school. The only problem is the type of fawning alleged seems more like attempted rape than expressing interest.

Now we’ve reached the pressuring of the alleged victim by the Republican senators to appear before them without any further investigation this part of the saga. Seems pretty fair if you want to expedite a vote for a supreme court justice for life ahead of midterm elections. I’m sure the Republicans aren’t afraid to hear from the American public in the polls.

If your head isn’t spinning yet, try this one on for size. A second woman has come forward with sexual misconduct allegations against KavaNAW while I was writing this article! Let’s just say it’s going to be a very interesting SEASON FINALE!

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Op Ed

The Trump Error/Era

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The Trump error took place on November 8th 2016 and his era began on January 20, 2017. But for all intensive purposes, error and era may be interchangeable at this point. But the true question at hand is “will the error be corrected before the era comes to an end?”

The list of atrocities under the buffoon in chief surpasses the imagination of even his worse critics. When his former opponents warned the American public of how much of a disaster Trump would be (before they started licking his boots), we should have ALL listened. But plenty of U.S did not for our own selfish/scared/racist reasons.

Now our country is seeing its’ demise at the speed of a tweet on a nightly basis. Some of his supporters may feel this is exactly what they wanted (even if they’re lying to themselves.) These supporters will find out soon enough just how this administration’s policies will ultimately have an adverse effect on their future.

Here’s a quick look at some of the policies that will come back to bite us all…including the sheep that follow him.

America First – Retracting from a world that is increasingly getting interconnected.

Tariff Wars – Raising taxes on imported goods while garnering a similar response eventually leading to an economic crisis.

Withdrawal from Paris Agreement – Climate change is real and now our policy is to help experience those effects much quicker.

Environmental Policy – Increase fossil fuel use and abandoning renewable energy use (which happens to be the future)

Economic Policy – Doing away with the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Consumer Protection Act that was in place to protect us from the banks playing Russian roulette with our money. Yes you guessed it…another pending economic crisis on the horizon.

Immigration Policy – A land of immigrants from stolen land now want to restrict the immigration from what they deem undesirable places to try and thwart the inevitability of a more diverse population.

Family Separation Policy – Detain illegal immigrants at the border and separate their children from their families. I’m sure this policy won’t create the next wave of terrorist that will be much closer now.

I think it’s safe to say that we all hope our American Idols Paul Manafort, Micheal Cohen and Michael Flynn team up and sing the prettiest tune Robert Mueller has ever heard. Our collective sanity depends on hearing “Trump, you’re FIRED!”

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Op Ed

I’m Better Than You Because The SHSAT Said So

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For the past week, Mayor Bill DeBlasio of New York City has proposed a gradual phase out of standardized testing for all specialized high schools. Reason being, the lack of minority students, specifically Af-Am and Latino students, who make up 70 percent of NYC public school student body but only have an 8% demographic representation in these schools. Within that time, many alumni have chimed in either in favor of or opposed to that suggested legislation. Regardless of stance, what I was most taken aback by was the level of hubris from all sides.

It’s been eye opening watching alumni from my alma mater (Brooklyn Tech) engage in these discussions. It’s akin to watching feudal lords debate the fate of commoners and peasants; “They should find their own way like we did.” “We have a responsibility to help those that come after us.” “Asians are predisposed to educational success because of their culture.” “If Asians were culturally predisposed, they would’ve always been the majority.” Mind you, these folk making all these assessments often have no direct connection to the demographic they champion or denigrate and regardless of stance, the level of arrogance (from all sides) left me a bit unnerved.

I’ve embraced that “elite” badge that comes with being labeled intelligent ever since it was bestowed upon me. After several decades of framing my intelligent, myopic lenses however, I may have lost sight of what it actually means.

Intelligent (Adjective)
Having or showing intelligence, especially of a high level; able to vary its state in response to varying situations, varying requirements, and past experience.

I won’t re-litigate any of the predominant arguments because they really don’t matter. What I will focus on is how we actually engage. For all the ingenious ideas and suggestions given, they were all provided from a 10,000 foot view looking down on those we are allegedly trying to help. Some alumni only seem to be able to dedicate hours of service to their school when it comes to drafting articulate responses in chat groups. When it comes to lifting the same Twitter fingers for some good old fashioned, grass roots participation however, “Tech Stark, Warden of the North and defender of all things Intellect”, will be back after these messages.

The sad truth is the main concern seems not for the middle school students nor the quality of education they currently receive. If we cared about the K-8 Pipeline, we would probably already be engaged in changing it or realize just how daunting a task change is. And if you believed the SHSAT should be changed or done away with, you probably would’ve been engaged in that struggle also. What seems more likely is that the outrage comes from our brand identity being threatened and the social vapor trail that come with that.

Although I shared those halls with thousands of students from varying backgrounds, it seems we all somehow missed each other. Brooklyn Tech championed academia but you were pretty much on your own when it came to social competence and quite frankly, some of us fell short. After witnessing scores of us try and outwit each other in rebuttal rather than help the community that shaped us, I’m left wondering what the benefit of all this “smartness” is if the application does not extend beyond debate and personal interests?

Sidebar: The most important aspect of the SHSAT is showing up. Prepared or not, it doesn’t matter if you are not in attendance. We should probably apply participation to other aspects of our educational interests as well. Sam Adewumi is one such alumni engaged and getting results. Kudos to all those that are hands on and engaged in the ongoing educational struggles in all communities. It is appreciated.

 

 

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