(Courtesy of Kanye West)

You know, if you can get over his self-important persona and his over the top antics (or most recently his love of the auto-tuner), that Kayne West guy isn’t half bad. His blog isn't either, that is assuming your passions include music, expensive tennis shoes, and avante-garde architecture.

He updates the site pretty regularly though he doesn’t write a great deal. What he lacks in prose however he more than makes up for in “free” music downloads. Here’s a sampling of my favorites, and just in case anyone from the RIAA is reading this, please purchase the album if you like the song (follow the links below for download instructions):








Blog Updates

So you might have noticed that there have been a few updates to the site recently, most notably perhaps the banner. Thanks to wordle.net you simply type in a site's URL (as long as it has an RSS feed) and it will spit out a word cloud based on the information contained therein. The more often a word is used, the larger it appears. The picture below is the word cloud from your's truly's favorite blog. Notice any words that jump off the page?

Yeah, neither do I, though this exercise did teach me that it is time to do something I've been unable to do until now in regards to the election:

Other Site Updates

Habs Top Tracks of 2008 post back in December resulted in this site getting a link from a pretty popular music blog, and I've just now gotten around to linking back to his site. If you're a music snob or a lover a Kat Perry, I'm sure Largehearted Boy has something that'll tickle your fancy. Check them out.

Additionally, quite often one of the contributors here at the OSS will stumble across a hilarious, unusual, or highly intellectual site that warrants greater exposure. Historically I'd leave about 30 tabs open on my browser (much to Andrea's chagrin), and wait for the perfect moment to reveal my website culling abilities to the readers of this site. Not anymore! Now these magical moments will be funneled through the Random Site of the Week, which will conveniently be located to the right of the most recent post. As you may have already noticed, the first random site should bring back memories from every person born in the early 80's who had to endure a school photo in front of this terrible (or awesome) backdrop. Here's a reminder:

(Note: This is not me)

Take Two

The second RSOTW is "The Big Picture Blog" which links to some incredible photography from all over the world. I am confident that if I had the inclination to spend thousands of dollars on a camera, these are the types of pictures I'd take.

What Exactly Would You Say You Do Around Here?

Consulting in a nutshell:



Inauguration Recap

So Obamapalooza has come to an end, and most people are leaving the district and returning to where they came from. This city swelled to the gills over the past week bringing about many interesting results. I'll do my best to capture the first hand sentiment of my experiences here.

The differences started becoming obvious on Friday when a normal trip past DC fixture Ben's Chili Bowl showed a line around the block. Ben's is basically a chili dog restaurant that has survived years of change in the U street neighborhood of DC. The reason for the line around the block during the daytime was that Obama visited Ben's with Mayor Fenty a week prior. While the restaurant has had a sign posted since November that the Obama family eats for free, Barry O insisted on paying.

Obama at Ben's Chili Bowl

The next interaction I had with the crowds was on Sunday morning when I went for a run on the national mall and around the monuments. Throngs of people had gathered more than six hours before the "We Are One" concert at the Lincoln Memorial, which was shown on HBO. It featured many top notch musicians (U2, Beyonce, Garth Brooks??) peforming, intermixed with other celebrities giving short speeches. If you didn't see it, it was pretty neat. I ran to the capital and looked at the viewing setup, for which I held a ticket. I even checked out the view from where I would be on the capital lawn Tuesday morning (this would be some interesting foreshadowing).

It was pretty impressive running around the area where literally millions of people would congregate in a couple days. On a side note, there were rows of hundreds of porta cans lined up, which reminded me of an event that goes on at the Preakness horse race every year entitled "The Running of the Porta Potties."

Monday was a day to celebrate the work of Dr. King and the progress we have made towards equality in our country. It was also a day for the Texas Inaugural Ball called "Black Tie and Boots." This event, held at the Gaylord Hotel in Maryland had over 10,000 guests, and performers such as Cross Canadian Ragweed, Kevin Fowler, Charlie Robison, and other Texas country music artists. There were also speeches from our two senators, Kay Bailey Hutchison and Big Jon Cornyn, as well as an appearance by Denzel Washington. I'm pretty sure it was the only event in town where people took black tie to mean bolo tie. This event was extremely well put on, and if you get the chance I would strongly encourage you to go to it at some point in your life.

I returned to my house at around 3am from BT&B, only to wake up at 5am to head to the capital for the inauguration. Being the roommate of the guy who runs a segway shop in town, we zipped from our house (very nerdily, of course) on segways into the downtown area which was already crawling with people. He had secured us tickets to the "purple" area, which was on the capital lawn. We were herded into an underground traffic tunnel to wait to be screened by security.

Unfortunately, four hours later, we had not moved far, were still stuck in the tunnel, and informed that the police had given up trying to control the crowds. People who simply walked up at 10am went straight to the gates, bypassing the tunnel people who thought they were waiting in a security line. We got released from the tunnel and got closer to the gates, right as the presidential motorcade cruised by, meaning the gates had to close. This situation was aptly named the Purple Tunnel of Doom, which has a dedicated Facebook group now.

While this made me upset, I did not rally my efforts behind our President for the past year, and I live in DC, meaning I had time to segway back home to my warm house to catch it on tv. What really broke my heart was seeing the sight of an elderly african american woman in a wheelchair with tears streaming down her face as she realized that the pinnacle moment of shaking discrimination that she likely has faced in her life would be spent in a dangerously uncontrolled mob rather than in a ticketed area. She would worry more about getting home safe then pride welling up inside her as she witnessed history first hand. What a shame.

It seemed like my inauguration festivities were over when I got a call Tuesday evening to put the tux back on and head to the Southern States inaugural ball. This was one of ten "official" balls, which means that the President and VP attend at some point.

Before 44 arrived, fortune smiled upon me, and led me to run into Evander "Real Deal" Holyfield, who's Mike Tyson bitten ear looks just as gross as you would think. The VIP section was adorned with celebs, of which I spotted Emmitt Smith and Alonzo Mourning. Biden arrived around midnight, and Barry O showed up about ten minutes later (Pictures of all 3 to come later). Both gave speeches and shared a dance with their wives before bouncing to their next ball. Barack gave a short and to the point speech, but ended it with a line that somebody in his staff cleverly assembled. He said, "Now I'm going to dance with the one that brung me, my wife Michelle. She does everything I do, except backwards and in heels." Solid.

In full disclosure, I did not vote for Barack Obama, and I do not agree with him on all of his policies. However, he certainly has my full support because I believe he is a genuine man, and is very deliberate in thinking things through instead of reacting with emotion. The positive emotion in the air brought about during this inauguration was unlike anything I have seen, and is very encouraging for this country. Best of luck Mr. President. You throw a great party, but you have a laundry list of items that now lie on your desk.


You Are What You Read

This morning millions of Americans welcomed the Obama administration with open arms and a noticeable sigh of relief that President Bush had finally become "Former" President Bush. Still, millions more are now filled with a certain degree of uneasiness and even a bit of fear thanks in part to the belief that our country is now on the wrong track and headed for failure. I have been struck by the degree to which my conservative friends are fearful of what the Obama administration is capable of, due in part to my view that our country has endured quite a lot of damage throughout our history and yet it has always persevered, as well as the irony that seems to be lost on them thanks to the flawed logic of 1) our country's current problems were not Bush's fault & 2) all future problems will be Barack Obama's fault.

I fully expect that the arguments I hear good and bad in the days, weeks, and months to come (I'll be guilty of this as well) will depend heavily on who we read. In case I'm wrong in this assertion, I decided to take a pulse of the blogosphere and link to various reactions from across the web. Enjoy.

Inauguration Day Reax

- Fred Barnes (a born again Christian) lists Bush’s had ten great achievements during his eight years in the White House. #2 should force all of us to ask ourselves if it is right to abandon our moral code in response to fear:

His decision in 2001 to jettison the Kyoto global warming treaty so loved by Al Gore

Enhanced (i.e. torture) interrogation of terrorists. Along with use of secret prisons and wireless eavesdropping, this saved American lives.

The rebuilding of presidential authority, badly degraded in the era of Vietnam, Watergate, and Bill Clinton.

Achievement number four was Bush's unswerving support for Israel.

Finally, a no-brainer: the surge.

- President Bush has presided over the weakest eight-year span for the U.S. economy in decades.

- Charles Krauthammer claims that keeping some bush appointees somehow vindicates Bush. You make the call:

“Except for Richard Nixon, no president since Harry Truman leaves office more unloved than George W. Bush. Truman's rehabilitation took decades. Bush's will come sooner. Indeed, it has already begun. The chief revisionist? Barack Obama.”

- According to FiveThirtyEight, History May - or May Not - Judge Bush More Kindly:

Although George W. Bush's approval ratings have rebounded slightly, as often happens at the end of a president's tenure, he will nevertheless finish his presidency with among the lowest scores since approval ratings came into widespread usage. Gallup pegs Bush's final approval numbers at a -27 net (34 percent approve, 61 percent disapprove), the worst for any outgoing president save Richard Nixon.

Surprisingly, however, there has historically been fairly little relationship between a President's popularity at the end of his term and the way that he has tended to be regarded by history.

- The Weekly Standard gives the following four reasons why the only thing we have to fear is Barack Obama:

1. He doesn't know what he's talking about

2. He's a pushover

3. He's another Jimmy Carter on foreign and national security policy

4. Obama has nerves of jello (I had to include the following sentence from the article) “This fear may be unfair, since there's no evidence one way or other as to how he might react in a crisis.”

- What was Bush’s finest moment in Iraq? It may not have been the surge.

- George W Bush, "Destroyer of Conservatism." From Rod Dreher (a Conservative Christian) via beliefnet.

- Bush's Entourage: Government Appointees or Enablers of Bad Policy?

- Via The Next Right, Patrick Ruffini provides his take on the Bush Legacy (emphasis added by me):

On taxes, Bush did everything right. Being a shrewd politician, he tackled the easy part first, but never followed up on the hard part (spending). Lest we be too hard on the man in this case, he is not exactly unlike most politicians in that way, and most of the responsibility for the spending atrocities rests with Congress. Were it not for the war, this would have been an era of tax cuts and fiscal responsibility -- and certainly so in comparison to Obama.

(editor's note: Were it not for lack of money, I'd be a millionaire)

- Joseph Farah: An Exercise in Stupidity

I want Obama to fail because his agenda is 100 percent at odds with God's. Pretending it is not simply makes a mockery of God's straightforward Commandments.

So you will not see me joining in the ritual of affirming Obama and his mission in public or private prayer this week – or any other week.

Instead, I uphold the words of Jesus in Matthew 15:14: "Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." And I take warning from Isaiah 9:16: "For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed."

- Time Magazine Offers Up Bush’s Eight Economic Misstakes

- Michael Goldfarb states that
Bush won in Iraq. How did I miss this?

- Courtesy of the NYT's, Poll Finds Faith in Obama, Mixed With Patience


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