culture, movies



Dope could have just as eas­ily been titled “Dare to be Dif­fer­ent.” The movie, a bit of a mash up of Boyz n the Hood and Super­bad, is clever and funny. In cliché movie review par­lance, it’s a com­ing of age story. In more every­day speak, Dope is a story that prob­a­bly mir­rors many of our lives and the ups and downs of being a teenager. It’s about a few kids that found joy in laugh­ter in spite of their chal­leng­ing envi­ron­ment, as well as not being the coolest or the tough­est. I par­tic­u­larly appre­ci­ated the end­ing that raises a bril­liant ques­tion about race with­out being preachy or heavy-handed.

Shameik Moore did a great job as the lead char­ac­ter, Mal­colm; and Tony Revolori and Kiersey Clemons were good as his part­ners in crime — lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively. The music and clothes were char­ac­ters in the film as well. The only act­ing low point of the movie was the per­for­mance turned in by Roger Guen­veur Smith. It was just too melo­dra­matic and syrupy.

The only heads up I would offer is to be pre­pared for the word “nig­gah” — excuse me, I mean the “N-word” — to be dropped early and often. I gave up using that word a while back, but I under­stand its use is still quite com­mon­place. Inter­est­ingly, there is a scene in the movie that tack­les use of the N-word by non-Blacks that was pretty funny.

I hope that Dope is not viewed sim­ply as a “Black” movie, because I think it will/should appeal to a very broad audi­ence. If you haven’t done so already, I encour­age you to check out Dope. Let me know what you think in the comments.






Jazz Spot­light

Song List

    01 “My Ship” (Ira Gersh­win, Kurt Weill) — 00:00
    02 “The More I See You” Mack Gor­don, Harry War­ren) — 03:10
    03 “These Fool­ish Things” (Harry Link, Holt Mar­vell, Jack Stra­chey) — 05:41
    04 “Waltz for Debby” (Bill Evans, Gene Lees) — 10:01
    05 “It Never Entered My Mind” (Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers) — 13:31
    06 “The Day the World Stopped Turn­ing” (Buddy Kaye, Phillip Springer) — 17:11
    07 “A Slow Hot Wind” (Nor­man Gim­bel, Henry Mancini) — 19:41
    08 “Funny World” (Alan Brandt, Ennio Mor­ri­cone) — 23:05
    09 “Joey, Joey, Joey” (Frank Loesser) — 27:16
    10 “Let Me Love You” (Bart Howard) — 32:07
    11 “Sun­rise, Sun­set” (Jerry Bock, Shel­don Har­nick) — 33:56
bookmarks, culture, reading

bookmarks, v5/i4

culture, writing


For quite some time, I have been going back-and-forth about writing/maintaining a jour­nal. A good part of the rea­son (read: excuse) for not actively keep­ing a jour­nal is because I’ve been lazy. Plain and sim­ple. There are a num­ber of times through­out the day, as well as at the end of the day, when the events of the day, as well as ran­dom thoughts, and men­tal lists are danc­ing around in my head. I often have the intent of writ­ing these things down, as a means of cap­tur­ing them and silenc­ing the noise in my head. Unfor­tu­nately, my good inten­tions have paved a long, smooth road to hell.

I have been writ­ing more in my jour­nal lately, but I’m not as con­sis­tent as I would like to be with mak­ing jour­nal entries. What about you? Do your journal?

Do you keep a journal?

If you jour­nal, do you have a rou­tine for mak­ing entries? Is there a spe­cific time of the day that you write, or do you log things peri­od­i­cally through­out the day? What about when you’re on vacation?

As noted in the poll, I am curi­ous to know what you use for jour­nal­ing. Do you use a leather– or hard-bound jour­nal? Sim­ple note­book? Doc­u­ment files on your com­puter? Audio notes? A desk­top pro­gram, or smartphone/tablet app?

My seri­ous love affair with paper and note­books notwith­stand­ing, I’ve found that using Day One app​ is the best for get­ting a good chunk of thoughts out of my head quickly, wher­ever I am.


I like that I can add a pic­ture to my jour­nal entry, as well as my GPS loca­tion and the weather when I made the entry. Day One has some text edit­ing fea­tures. That’s a nice touch, but I am more focused on get­ting the thoughts out than I am on for­mat­ting. I will, how­ever, go back into entries and bold or ital­i­cize things. I have the Day One app on my phone, iPad, as well as on my Mac­Book Air. The app syncs auto­mat­i­cally, so my entries show up no mat­ter what device I use to access the app. I sync and backup the entries up to my Drop­box account, which is nice in case of a lost device or app failure.

I look for­ward to learn­ing about your expe­ri­ence with, and any advice you can share on, journaling.



I can­not say that I am a full-fledged Sci-Fi fan, but if Ex Machina is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the genre…count me in. This is a very thought-provoking film. I said on Face­book that it’s like Her and Skynet. I don’t know if that’s really the best descrip­tion, because the SkyNet (from Ter­mi­na­tor) evokes, at least to me, some­thing much darker and vio­lent. Ex Machia cov­ers so many emo­tional and intel­lec­tual areas. Ego. Van­ity. Gulli­bil­ity. Love. Betrayal. Self-Preservation. Hon­estly, to say much more about the movie would likely give away the plot, so I’ll just sug­gest that you see it and let me know what you think.

culture, movies

ex machina



Riley B. King

Sep­tem­ber 16, 1925 – May 14, 2015

The music world lost an icon yes­ter­day. As much as I love music, I must admit that I don’t know much about the blues. It is a genre that I would like to develop an appre­ci­a­tion for and learn more about. Even with­out hav­ing a deep foot­ing in the blues, it’s hard to deny the enor­mous the blues has had on music — not just Amer­i­can music. B.B. King played a huge role in the noto­ri­ety, influ­ence, and global recog­ni­tion of the blues. Rest in peace Mr. King.

blues, music

rip — b.b. king