Archive for March, 2010

Branding Irony

What’s cooler than a 3 wolf t-shirt? A t-shirt that makes fun of it. Or at least that is the idea behind Headline Shirts. So just to re-cap: A cheesy wolf t-shirt was made to sell at gas stations. Then it became a cool vintage/hipster uniform. Now there is a t-shirt that makes you look cool for making fun of the hipster uniform. Pretty funny, but not exactly a steal at $19.

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Kenyan Whistleblower Book

“It’s Our Turn to Eat” by Michela Wrong is a book I’ve been carrying around w/ me for the past few months, chipping away bit by bit.

Yesterday I finally finished it, and can honestly say that it is one of the most interesting commentaries on both corruption and foreign aid that I’ve read. Although I am partial to Kenyan politics, this book is a unique look into ethnic tension, the world bank, and corruption at large. The whistleblower’s name is Joe Githongo, and you can read his actual dossier here, exposing the “Anglo-Leasing” scandal condemning a number of top-advisors and potentially the president Mwai Kibaki himself. Here is a typed version of the dossier, so you don’t have to read scanned pages.

Unfortunately many of the people implicated by this story were vindicated by what many call a compromised court in Kenya.

For those who were impacted by the post-election violence in Kenya in 2007, this text is helpful in understanding the events that led up to it. While this book supports the claim that money was stolen from Kenyan tax payers to finance PNU’s election campaign (as well as line politician’s pockets), there are documents such as this one below that exposes ODM’s strategy in the run-up to the 2007 elections.

So while some PNU supporters may have been stuffing ballot boxes and stealing money to stay in power, some ODM strategists were trying to unite ethnic groups against Kikuyus in an effort to depose the ruling party.

Hopefully “It’s Our Turn to Eat” will inspire public officials to whistleblow throughout Africa and around the world. To catch the latest whistleblowing stories around the world, check out WikiLeaks. I wrote a quick blog entry about Wikileaks here last November.


Three Documentaries Worth Watching

After seeing umpteen million different movies about the “green movement” , I find myself looking for specific information about issues, not the broad sweeping messages of “An Inconvenient Truth.” I don’t want to discredit what Al Gore’s Opus did for the American public, or what Yann Arturd-Bertrand’s “HOME” did for French Politics, or what BBC Earth did for every drug user in the world.  I just appreciate when as a viewer I am treated as a competent being, and not a one-dimensional naive consumer. Three movies that appear to do that are.

Water  – If the comodificaiton of our greatest natural resource gets you riled, and it should, check out these two documentaries…

Tapped View Trailer Here

Flow – View Trailer Here

Natural Gas Fracing- A lesser known evil, but relevant to anyone who currently enjoys their clean NYC tap water

Gasland –  View Trailer Here .

I really enjoyed Democracy Now’s coverage of this issue and their interview w/ the director afterwards. If you don’t have time for the movie check out DN’s 20 minute segment on it.  ALSO if you really don’t have time for either check out this crazy little segment of the movie, where a guy can light his tap water on fire!!!!

Let me know what you guys think of them! I’ve seen Flow but Gasland and Tapped are next on my list.



New Music from SXSW

Check out Next Big Sound, a website that trolls the internet to see what bands are gaining the most fans every day, week, month, year, etc. Currently they are following the up and coming bands at the SXSW (South by Southwest) music festival in Austin, TX. Here are the top ten most popular bands from SXSW according to NBS! The idea here is that you don’t have to rely on the opinion of your friend who went to SXSW to find new music. I really like this site because, having been to SXSW, I think people go wanting to find new music so badly that they fall in love w/ any band that doesn’t totally suck. So if you want to take your hungover (and now partially deaf) friend’s opinion out of the equation and go w/ the numbers, check out Next Big Sound.

After I checked out the SXSW site, I tried NBS’s regular artist search  and found this cool function. You can compare the popularity of whatever bands you want. In order to see their popularity over longer periods of time you have to join the site. Of course not every cool band gets talked about on the sites that NBS trolls, but prob still a good gauge of what hipsters w/ macs are listening to.


2 Websites Worth Checking Out

1. Puppies and Flowers .com – Design blog that just has tons of crazy random stuff.

2. Mashable.com – Great for finding what’s new on the web and in social media.


Easy Music

Dirpy. While the name may be a bit odd, it is rememberable.

Dirpy is a website where you can covert your favorite youtube videos to mp3 files. Whether its a really funny joke, a great live song, or a lecture you need to listen to on your ipod, Dirpy hooks it up. You get to title the track, and choose where on your computer the file downloads to. Enjoy!


Hipster Hypocriticism

For those who delight in seeing hipsters get a taste of their own medicine check these sites out.

Unhappy Hipsters

Babe, look! It says here that some people live in trailers, intentionally, without a hint of irony. (Photo: Wallpaper magazine)

Babe, look! It says here that some people live in trailers, intentionally, without a hint of irony.”

Look at this Fu@#$*! Hipster (LATFH)

“Two iPads, please.”Two iPads please.”

Or check out the “Evolution of the Hipster” here at Paste Magazine.