My Reading List of 2017

I started out the year wanting to add some non-fiction to my readings because last year was really fiction heavy. It ended up with me going on a bit of a biographical to semi-biographical kick over the course of the year.

The biography that impacted me the most is called In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom by Yeonmi Park, who escaped with her mom when she was 13 (she’s just 24 now). The book is extraordinary not because it’s hyperbolic and propagandist (which to be clear it isn’t), but because the situations she found herself in were so unlike anything most people would ever experience. And — as far as biographies go — it was an easy read. No filler.

Sophia Loren’s autobiography was really good too. I knew a little about her and was familiar with a few of her films, but I didn’t realize she had been through so much. It was kinda like a few years ago when I read Susan Lucci’s autobiography on a whim despite not being a soap opera fan. It turned out to be one of the more engrossing books I read this year.

When it comes to the fiction portion of my annual reading list, I read my fair share of a lot of different stories, including a couple of Karen Robards mystery suspense stories and a couple Danielle Steel novels per usual.

My favorite of all the books I read this year, however, is Basketball (and Other Things) by Shea Serrano.

I actually read two books by Shea this year. BAOT and The Rap Yearbook, the latter of which I finally got around to after wanting to read it for a few years now. In both cases, once I picked them up they were hard to put down. In fact, I bought BAOT the week it came out — a rarity for me. I really enjoy Shea’s irreverent, casual style and how much info is delivered in a non-tedious way.

In total, I read 30 books this year. That number doesn’t include any Audible books either. Not a bad literary year, I’d say. Continue reading “My Reading List of 2017”


Classic Movie Musical Number Pick Me Ups

Found myself in a classic movie mood recently. More specifically, in the mood to watch two of my favorite classic movie musical numbers.

The first is “Chattanooga Choo-Choo” featuring Dorothy Dandridge and the Nicholas Brothers from the 1941 movie Sun Valley Serenade.

The second is the infamous dance break in Stormy Weather (1943) featuring the Nicholas Brothers, considered by many to be the best dance break ever. It’s the crescendo that ends Cab Calloway’s “Jumpin’ Jive.”

Each time I watch these numbers, I’m a bit happier than before I pressed play. They both exude joy to me.

Media, Sports

Who Gets To Be the Star of Their Own Story in Sports Media?

The secret’s not in the mayonnaise by the way.

That quote makes no sense without watching Toronto Star writer Morgan P. Campbell’s TED talk titled “Race, Sports and Telling True Stories.”

In his speech, Morgan does a great job breaking down who gets to be the star of their story versus who routinely gets relegated to a prop within a narrative. It’s a good listen.

Media, Sports

Previewing the 2017 Daytona 500

I made what is becoming an annual appearance on the Know the Score podcast to talk NASCAR this past week.

This year’s episode is a standalone. No other sports topics were discussed, just about an hour of me and three guys talking racing.

The topics touched on, included:

  • Jimmie Johnson’s run to a 7th title;
  • Carl Edwards’ sudden withdrawal from Cup;
  • Dale Jr.’s return;
  • Changes to the points system;
  • The Daytona 500; and
  • Who we want to see win this season.

Also, find out what scenario the social anthropologist in me kinda hopes occurs during the 2017 season.

It was a lot of fun to record, and I hope you enjoy it!


3 of My Favorite Movie Scenes Ever

Since we’re in the midst of awards season, I decided to reminisce about 3 of my favorite movie scenes ever.

The first is the Juke Joint scene in The Color Purple. The older man on the cane, along the musicians, knowing what’s up before it even happens cracks me up. It’s also a strange kind of funny to watch someone call Oprah out her name, even within the context of her playing a character in a movie, knowing the mogul she would later become. In addition, Celie (Whoopi Goldberg’s character) sitting peacefully while chaos reigns around her works so well in the scene.

Continue reading “3 of My Favorite Movie Scenes Ever”

Media, Music

A Few Faves From 2016

Below are a few things I enjoyed entertainment-wise this year.



This FX series mainly following a Princeton-dropout turned wannabe music manager to his cousin was tonally perfect. It showed a part of the city many don’t get to see, unless its in a stereotypical way without any nuance. The series does a good job showing the day-to-day goings-on for its main characters in a real and not shined up way. (P.S. Listen to the Atlanta recap episodes from the podcast Where’s My 40 Acres? if you really want to get into what made the episodes of this series so special.)

The Get Down
I liked a lot of series on Netflix this year but I’m going to spotlight The Get Down, a series on the rise of rap in the Bronx during the late 1970s. The 6 episodes making up part 1 of the first season is all that’s out now (it’s supposed to come back soon to conclude its first season). It starts a little slow, particularly the initial episode, but the last few episodes are must watch.


Mad Love
It’s hard to hit or exceed expectations when your next project has been anticipated for years. Somehow JoJo made it work. Mad Love is my favorite album that came out this year hands down. The whole thing is great, but the 3 song stretch from “Like This”, continuing with “Edibles,” and ending with “High Heels” is simply 🔥.

Sleeping With the One I Love
However, when it comes to singles, Fantasia served us classic soul realness with this song from her latest album. Using a sample of James Browns’s “It’s a Man’s World,” it gives old-school vibes without sounding dated.

Continue reading “A Few Faves From 2016”

Media, Sports

The “No Fun League” Is Trying to Live Up to Its Rep

Recently, Mashable obtained a memo the National Football League (NFL) office sent to its teams announcing restrictions on social media coverage of games.

In the memo, the NFL stated teams that use  “unapproved video during games” would be fined $25,000 for a first offense, $50,000 for a second, and any infraction thereafter will draw a fine of up to $100,000 as well as “loss of rights to post League-Controlled Content (including game footage).”

Why is the league doing this? The theory floating out there is that the NFL wants to drive attention to official NFL accounts, instead of social media accounts operated by the teams.

Note to the NFL: People are fans of players and teams, not leagues.

This reminds me of when the league cut down on touchdown celebrations. All of the new rules prompted many fans to lament that NFL was starting to stand for “No Fun League” instead of “National Football League.”

But that’s not all. The coming restrictions allegedly won’t just cover game footage. According to a Mashable source, during a conference call it was explained that the league crackdown applies to “anything that moves,” including GIFs from previous games of players celebrating and even pop culture GIFs, such as anything remotely relevant like a quote from a TV show or movie. The restrictions would reportedly be relaxed during the week.


But it’s not just the NFL. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and United States Olympic Committee (USOC) were very heavy-handed during the Rio Games in having GIFs removed from social media sites. Continue reading “The “No Fun League” Is Trying to Live Up to Its Rep”