Some Historical Perspective On Occupy Wall Street

Ken Ford, my grandfather (read his books!), emails:

David Brooks is dismissing Occupy Wall Street as meaningless, or even harmful, but I see it as a reflection of a pretty widespread dissatisfaction — in truth not just with Wall Street, but with America’s power structure and the pervasive role of money in controlling government and society. When the anti-Vietnam-War protests started around 1964-65, they were dismissed, too, as small, misguided, and meaningless. A blip on the radar that would soon blow over.

Of course, they represented something deeper. They grew, became mainstream, did in Lyndon Johnson, and turned into a much broader current of revolution on behalf of women’s rights and minority rights. The “Vietnam era” was a watershed of the 20th century. One can’t help wondering if we might now be on the cusp of something similar, perhaps focused on the rights of the powerless.

I’m actually quite surprised I haven’t read anything to date about this connection between the early stages of Vietnam protests and OWS. As Brad DeLong would say: Why Oh Why can’t we have a better press corps?

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Abu Dhabi At Night, From My Window

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New Radio Jamz

Just downloaded some new music today, all radio-bound hip-hop or pop. So many new jams. Some of these may already be charting in the US, I have no idea. Either way, get on these!

Electric Lady – Bad Bay 40 & Cee-Lo Green

Mr. New Watch – J Cole & Jay-Z

Good Feeling – Flo Rida

She Wanna Be A DJ – Doc Hollywood

Swim Good – Frank Ocean (off the mixtape, yeah, but it’s the next single)

We Found Love – Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris

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Life Here

My room.

Somehow I let almost a month go by without a post. Oops. Posts will be frequent for a couple days.

*

Aside from walking out of the Abu Dhabi airport with all of my luggage and feeling like I’d entered a sauna (really, it was that humid), my first impressions of the city were mostly of the main NYU building, which houses all the student dorms, various offices, some classrooms, and all of the staff and faculty housing. The cab ride from the airport offered a few sights — the beautiful Zayed Mosque, a newly opened bridge, some skyscrapers — but it was dark and I couldn’t really get a sense of the city.

Some staff member greeted me warmly and handed over a welcome package, as two others helped me with luggage and escorted me upstairs. 1720 graced the large wooden door.

The studio apartment was surprisingly large, and surprisingly nice.

The kitchen.

A king size bed dominates the main room, but is somewhat balanced by a couch and two chairs, and a dining table across the room. The kitchen is very large for a studio (I have the biggest one out of anyone in my position here at NYUAD) — 4 top range, oven, microwave, a wide peninsula for chopping and prep. A spacious full bath tops it off (nice shower).

I’ve been quite happy with the room — its overall square footage is smaller than some of the other studios, but it’s almost better that way. The big kitchen more than makes up for it.

Despite claiming to be fully furnished, I did have to buy frying pans, a nice chef’s knife, and lots of other kitchen stuff (big coffee cups!). But cooking has been really great here; I’ve tried lots of new recipes with local ingredients (tons of new lentils, spices, etc.). On top of that, we get a full meal plan, so I don’t have to bother making lunch, and anytime I don’t feel like cooking there’s food downstairs.

The view.

Grocery availability is actually quite good here, better than in Argentina. The nearby store has an excellent selection of basics and a short cab ride to Spinney’s will get you any Western food cravings (chips, Ben & Jerry’s, pork products AKA pounds and pounds of bacon).

What I’ve realized is that this is very much a shopping culture — weekend trips to the various malls are a major pastime here. The luxury, particularly in Dubai, is striking; in one store, I saw a $100,000 Blancpain watch. That mall — the world’s largest — also contains a full size ice rink, an aquarium, and an indoor theme park. Perhaps not a surprise when you consider that the UAE GDP per capita is close to $50,000 (the US comes in at ~$47,000).

More to come…

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Overdue Abu Dhabi Blogging

Hello from Abu Dhabi.

For those that don’t know: I’ve recently started my first post-grad job as a “Global Academic Fellow” at NYU’s new branch in Abu Dhabi. I prefer to call myself a TA or a tutor, as I will largely be assisting professors with intro college writing classes, along with some hours in the Writing Center, helping students to improve their written English abilities. I will also be doing some work with one or two of the econ or other social science classes.

I am stationed here for 10 months (August to May), with ample travel opportunities. I expect to restrict much of my travel to this region and some locations further east, as European destinations are generally cheaper to get to from the US than those around here. Needless to say, I’m excited.

Over the next couple of days, I will post about my apartment, the food, and the city. And my new dog! Stay tuned.

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My 2011 Summer Playlist

There’s no doubt that the best party is a summer party — and not just because the weather is warm. Summer music is, by far, the best music: poppy, fun, and filled with memories.

I had a barbecue a couple weeks ago and had a few friends ask me for the playlist from the party. But I decided to do them one better. I’ve compiled well over 100 essential summer jamz (both new and old) below for your summer party pleasure. The list is by no means definitive — but I do think it’s pretty damn good. Put it on at your next party.

Full YouTube playlist available here (starred songs were not available).

Aaliyah ft. Timbaland – Are You That Somebody?

Bad Company – Rock ‘N’ Roll Fantasy

Beck – Loser

Benedek – Shooting Stars*

Beyonce ft. Andre 3000 – Party*

Big Boi ft. Vonnegutt – Follow Us

Big Punisher ft. Joe – Still Not A Player

Big Tymers – Still Fly

Billy Joel – You May Be Right

Blink 182 – All The Small Things

The Bloods – Button Up

Blu Cantrell – Hit Em Upstyle (Oops!)

Bob Marley – Natural Mystic

Busta Rhymes ft. Mariah Carey – I Know What You Want

Cam’Ron – Hey Ma

Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes – Look At Me Now

Chromeo – Tenderoni

The Clash – The Magnificent Dance

Craig Mack – Flava In Ya Ear

Curren$y – This Is The Life

Daddy Yankee – Ella Me Levantó

Daft Punk – Face To Face

Damian Marley – Welcome To Jamrock

Danny Daze & Zarate – For This Love*

David Banner & Lil Flip – Like A Pimp

Destiny’s Child ft. T.I. & Lil Wayne – Soldier

DJ Khaled ft. Drake, Rick Ross, & Lil Wayne – I’m On One

Don Omar ft. Lucenzo – Danza Kuduro

The Doobie Brothers – Listen To The Music

Dr. Dre – Xxplosive

Drake ft. T.I. and Swizz Beats – Fancy

Elite – Rock The House (Part 1)

Eminem – The Real Slim Shady

Eve ft. Gwen Stefani – Let Me Blow Ya Mind

Fabolous – Can’t Deny It

Fat Joe ft. Ashanti – What’s Luv?

Field Mob ft. Ciara – So What

Frank Ocean – Songs For Women

Free Energy – Free Energy

The Game & 50 Cent – Westside Story

Greg Street ft. Nappy Roots – Good Day

Groundation – Dem Rise

Heavy D – Long Distance Girlfriend

The Honeydrippers – Impeach The President

Hot Chocolate – Heaven Is In The Backseat Of My Cadillac

Ice Cube – We Be Clubbin’

Ja Rule & Case – Livin’ It Up

The Jackson Sisters – I Believe In Miracles

Jadakiss – We Gonna Make It

Jamiroquai – Cosmic Girl

Jason Aldean ft. Ludacris – Dirt Road Anthem

Jay-z ft. Mecca – Feeling It

Jeremiah ft. 50 Cent – Down On Me

Jim Jones – Believe In Magic

Joe ft. G-Unit – Ride Wit Me

The Juan Maclean – Give Me Every Little Thing*

Jurassic 5 – Baby Please

Justice & Simian Mobile Disco – We Are Your Friends

Justin Timberlake – Señorita

Juvenile – Slow Motion

Kanye West – All Of The Lights

Katy Perry – Teenage Dream

Killer Mike – A.D.I.D.A.S.

Kylie Minogue – Love At First Sight

La Roux – In For The Kill

Lauryn Hill – Doo Wop (That Thing)

LCD Soundsystem – Time To Get Away

Len – Steal My Sunshine

Lil Rob – Summer Nights

Lil Wayne – 6 Foot 7 Foot

Lil Flip – Sunshine

Liquid Liquid – Cavern

Lloyd ft. Yung Joc – Get It Shawty

Ludacris – Splash Waterfalls

Lupe Fiasco ft. Trey Songz – Out Of My Head

Maino ft. T-Pain – All The Above

Manu Chao – Bongo Bong

Michael Franti & Spearhead – Say Hey (I Love You)

Michael Jackson – Off The Wall

Midnight Magic – Beam Me Up

Mike Jones – Back Then

Missy Elliott – The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)

Modjo – Lady (Hear Me Tonight)

Murs – L.A.

Mystikal – Danger

Naughty By Nature – Jamboree

Neil Young – Old Man

Nelly – Ride With Me

Nicki Minaj – Did It On Em

No Doubt – Underneath It All

Notorious BIG – Juicy

Old Dirty Bastard – Got Your Money

Outkast – Southernplayalisticadillacmusik

Phoenix – 1901

Prince – Erotic City

Queen – Fat Bottomed Girls

R. Kelly – Ignition (Remix)

Rich Boy – Throw Some D’s On It

Rick James – Give It To Me Baby

Robyn – Hang With Me

Rupee – Tempted To Touch

RZA – Grits

Sagat – Funk Dat

Sean Bones – Easy Street

Sean Paul – Give It Up To Me

Sergio Mendes – Mas Que Nada

Snoop Dogg ft. Nate Dogg – Ain’t No Fun

Steve Miller – Take The Money And Run

Sublime – Pawn Shop

Sugar Ray – Fly

T.I. – Let’s Get Away

Talib Kweli – Get By

Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime

Thin Lizzy – The Boys Are Back In Town

Tom Petty – American Girl

Twista – Overnight Celebrity

UGK ft. Outkast – International Players Anthem

Wizard – It’s On

Young Gunz – Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop

311 – I’ll Be Here Awhile

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Purple Haze 2011: A Retrospective

I first started playing Ultimate when I was in 10th grade. My friends and I — long fans of throwing around an Aerobie — started up impromptu pickup games on my high school’s quad. Most of us couldn’t throw a forehand and there was nearly no offensive strategy, but we had a lot of fun.

That summer, a bunch of us decided to organize a team to play at Albuquerque’s (now-defunct) annual tournament, Ultimeet. We, of course, got crushed, though our speed and athleticism did cause some problems for the older pickup teams. I remember I threw an awesome backhand for a score but a scandalously late travel call brought it back. (If you see this, Robin, just know that it definitely wasn’t a travel).

The Ultimate bug had bitten me. I started playing with a church league (they were terrible, but it was fun) and the following school year — realizing that I hated running track — started an official team. I have lots of amazing memories playing with that squad; we even went to Western Nationals in our first year as a team (we lost every game).

I played more and more pickup with the Albuquerque/Santa Fe crew and actually began to understand the game a little better. I couldn’t wait to play in college. Not long after I decided on NYU, I sent this (embarrassing) email to Alex Kuo, a former captain:

Hey Alex,

I dont know if you are even at NYU any longer, the Purple Haze website is a bit out of date. I’m an incoming freshman and I’ve been playing for 2 and a half years now. Just wanted to let the team know that I’m coming out and I was wondering if there are any fall practices or city leagues or anything.

Thanks!

–Charlie Eisenhood AKA Pigeon (cause I sky the shit out of everyone)

Albuquerque, NM

“Cause I sky the shit out of everyone.” When you’re in high school, you really think you’re a boss. I was quickly put into my place (though I still wear my Pigeon hat).

Despite realizing I was not the superstar anymore, I did want to be the best freshman. I used to like to match up on Lu Wang at practice; he frequently owned me. Thing is, we had a lot of talented freshmen. Lu stood out that year, but I think we had one of the best recruiting years a college team could ask for.

Early that year, I befriended Husayn, who lived on my floor in Brittany. I found out he had been a sick soccer player, but came to NYU because he wanted a good education, not a D1 soccer scholarship. I got him to come out to Haze practice. He promptly fucked up his ankle going up for a disc against Ryan Schulz, the reigning deep threat and all-around badass. Somehow — even though he was out for basically the entire season — he came to enough practices and stayed committed. We used to throw in the narrow Brittany hallway for hours talking about Ultimate and smashing the disc into light fixtures, peoples’ heads, and doorways.

I taught Husayn a lot of what I knew about the sport at the time — he, being a natural athlete, picked it up quickly. I also told him a million times, “Hus, when we’re seniors, we’re going to be so good.”

Freshman season was kind of a bust. There were some really personality issues (I won’t be specific) and a lack of focus that led to a fairly unpleasant year for many of us.

Over the summer, I was lucky enough to get a spot on the Albuquerque club team, Sweet Roll, where my real Ultimate education began. I learned to play defense. I learned about subtle strategy. I just became a much smarter player thanks to some really gifted captains and generous playing time.

Sophomore year Haze was a different beast altogether. Under the leadership of Pete Gilchrist, we actually became committed to improving. We ran — a lot — and were easily the most conditioned team in our section. Unfortunately, I think an overemphasis on conditioning limited our disc work and, despite coming in as the one seed, we missed our chance at Haze’s first appearance at Regionals.

I had another summer in Albuquerque playing for Sweet Roll. Lots more personal growth. I started to get hungry for a chance to lead Purple Haze. But I left the country for a year as I studied abroad in Argentina.

Second semester in Buenos Aires, Eli and I spent a lot of time talking about Ultimate. We played together in a small BA league and met some great people, but, honestly, our focus was on Haze. We bugged Quinton for recaps of tournaments and sat glued to our computer screens updating Score Reporter during Sectionals. We were both thrilled and saddened when the team snagged the second bid to Regionals — ecstatic for the team, bummed we couldn’t be a part of it. But it just hardened our resolve to come back to NYC and tear it up as seniors.

I spent the summer in DC playing for an awesome group of guys on Medicine Men. I actually learned how to play defense (thanks Bill). After finding out I would be captain with Hus, I started to take notes from my club experience about things I wanted to do with Haze.

I came back to New York absolutely chomping at the bit for the college season. Husayn and I planned extensively about the season — from Club Fest recruitment to our preferred tournament schedule to our goal setting. It was difficult, at first, coming into a team where I didn’t know many of the younger players. I had to work hard to get to know them, while trying not to be too much of a dick at practice. But that core of seniors was there, ready to put in work.

It was quite a process, trying to keep the right tone during Fall season so as not to scare off the new guys while simultaneously instilling a sense of what it means to play for Haze. We really focused on teaching strategy early so we wouldn’t have to do it during Spring.

Husayn and I left for Winter Break, telling everyone to really get in shape. Not that many people followed the instructions; the workout spreadsheet was pretty thin. But Hus and I put in serious hours at the gym and came back to send a statement — we are putting 100% of our focus on this next four months. When we sat down in the rock climbing area at Coles to talk about our goals, the energy was palpable.

But when we said, “We are trying to go to Nationals,” I don’t know that everyone bought in. And we knew that they might not. But we put our heads down and ran up the three flights of stairs, jogged back down, and ran up again. We believed it — we knew we could get there.

The road towards the Series was bumpy. There were times of great doubt. In the middle of the season, before we had made some major changes to our O line, everything felt out of sync. A few of us sat down one night and realized it was ‘go big or go home.’ We could either refocus and buckle down — which required making some big adjustments and setting aside egos — or we could sort of give up.

We decided to refocus. Spring Break was — amazingly — a huge step forward for the squad. We took apart what we thought would work and started going with what was actually working. The lines were quite different. Some people changed roles completely. But, suddenly, we felt like we were on the right path.

It’s really something to devote yourself wholly to one task. I can honestly say I’ve never put in the kind of time, energy, and focus into one activity before in my life. As we kept running stairs and trekking out to East River Park or Prospect, I think the team started to recognize that, wow, we can do this. We ran more. We got better. I took something VP told me at Spring Break — “we play harder” — and never forgot it.

Ultimately, we fell short of our goal. But what we built was a team that was unbelievably selfless and committed to winning as a unit, as brothers, not as individuals. There were no egos. Every single member of the squad put their hearts into the team as we fought through the Series, winning ten games straight and only faltering at the very end in a 14-11 loss to Cornell.

I’ve played for a lot of teams in my life, but I’ve never played for a team like Haze 2010-2011. It was a team years in the making — it wouldn’t exist without Zach, Schultz, QMa, Pete, Lu, and others. That crop of ’07 freshmen grew together and brought others seamlessly into the fold to create one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Yes, it stings that it’s over. Yes, I wish we had accomplished our goal. But it goes beyond that.

Ultimate is just a game, of course, but the friendships it builds and the lessons it teaches — on and off the field — aren’t fleeting. It means a lot to me to see our freshmen and sophomores already hungry for next season, hungry to play with each other and work towards a goal together.

I said it to Husayn a million times, “Hus, when we’re seniors, we’re going to be so good.” And we were. And we will be next year. And the year after that. Sure, this crop of seniors is graduating, but, with Haze, it’s always ‘we,’ win or lose.

*

Thank you with all my heart to each and every one of you for an incredible season. You are all my brothers. Haze <3.

(I wrote this in one take and didn’t go back to edit. Apologies for any typos.)

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