My boy C.W. Wang and his cohort Taylor Levy are on some genius-futurist imagineer business. Currently they are in Shanghai at the World's Fair Expo installing a project commissioned by Johnson&Johnson involving giant digital projectors, text messaging, cartoon avatars and "interactivity". You can see a lot of their experimental clocks, meta-flashgames and other tinkerings at CWwang.com and cwandt.com.
It takes two nouns from a list 7000 words long and turns them into noun-noun combination neologisms. It's remarkable how many of these new words describe things that already exist in the modern world, or could, or seem to describe some very specific thing in a concise, almost poetic way like certain German words (which are largely noun-nouns) are supposed to. Che-wei imagines the generator could be used to generate novel ideas for new inventions or just to stimulate a stuck brain.
One suggestion I have is that there should be a repository where people can send the best of these and take turns defining them like on Urban Dictionary. That way Che-Wei might someday be able to feel like the indirect father of some improbably apt, overnight celebrity neologism that this thing is bound to eventually spit out.
I mean, I just got "Buzzchill", which I would use regularly. I imagine it as a milder variant of the Buzzkill, wherein someone doesn't quite kill your buzz, but just puts some icy notes into it. You know, maybe plays it a Joy Division record and whispers to your Buzz, "Do enjoy yourself, but just remember that we all die alone."
Once again I have proven myself prescient about where the whitepeople cultural winds are blowing. From this film's arrival now we can deduce in hindsight that last year was all about going to Jamaica. In fact, this film looks a lot like the last year of my life, except not at all. (although I did recently date Norah Jones)
If any of you are wondering what the hell I was doing at the Winter Music Conference in Miami, let me assure you that it's not all about paying 150 dollars to see David Guetta, buying 20 dollar Red Bull and Vodkas and trying to ply dead-eyed Russian 10s with your designer drug stash. In fact, I barely spent any money on events, had an amazing time and met lots of fun, down-to-earth people. The culmination of this aspect of the WMC had to be the final Sunday's Do-Over party at Bar, the hipster spot on the edge of Little Haiti. The Do-Over is usually held in L.A. and has a sunny, Sunday backyard bar-b-que vibe with a "DJ's choice" musical policy that focuses on classic Hip Hop, Soul and feel-good grooves. The Do-Over's Miami premiere was no deviation from this steeze, offering a day's worth of secret special guest DJs that included Maseo from De La Soul, Rich Medina, Cosmo Baker, and Thee Mike B, as well as cheap beer and free burgers. You can catch me in this clip (I'm wearing a purple T-shirt) rocking to Fela and later on sippin a Tecate and listening to Maseo's inspiring words: "No more top 40 in Miami!"
For me, the surprise champion DJ of the day, and therefore perhaps the whole week, was L.A.'s Jeremy Sole from WPNRY radio, who brought an A-game selection of Afrobeat, Latin, Soul, and Boogie re-edits: (the sweaty white dude at Jeremy's right is none other than the BBC's Giles Peterson)
He also provided the live P.A. for Aloe Blacc to perform his modern soul classic "I Need a Dollar": (you can spot me in this video briefly, too)
And the day was capped by da God Cosmo Baker, who was rocking his Dashiki and bringing the tunes to match:
The U.S. is undoubtedly the world capital of soda. I mean, we invented Coca Cola, the greatest soda of all time. But, then we fucked it up with corn syrup and now you have to track down the glass bottles stamped "Hecho en Mexico" if you want "the real thing". We invented carbonated beverage bottling and nearly all of the name brand sodas that are available worldwide. So why is it that the best kind of soda in the world (aside from Coke) is not available widely in the U.S.?
To my tastes, the perfect soda is slightly sweet from real sugar and refreshingly tart from either real lime or real grapefruit. Ting, Jamaica's favorite soda, is a good example. It is grapefruit-tangy enough and not too sweet to actually quench your thirst. It is something you crave on a hot day, and makes an amazing mixer with Rum, Vodka or Gin. It makes complete sense that Jamaicans love Ting and need not mess with 7UP or any of that syrupy garbage.
But Ting is not the only great, slightly sour soda I have come across in, perhaps not coincidentally, other of the world's hot climate countries. Schweppes Manao Soda, available only in Thailand, is maybe my favorite soda of all time. Debuted in 2003, Manao Soda (Manao is Thai for lime), is uncharacteristically unsweet for a Thai soda, most of which taste like undiluted cordial. And it is made with real lime juice, about which a Coca Cola Thailand represenative says "We believe that this - Prew Sa tung nam tung naur (fresh taste of the real fruit and juice) - has been to our success".
In India, if you order a "lime soda" in a restaurant you get bottled plain soda water with fresh squeezed lime juice and either sugar or salt. The salt bit might seem a bit odd, but if you are in the desert in Rajasthan and sweating more than you can imbibe, the salt begins to make sense as a desperate bid to retain some liquid in your cells. The sweet version of Indian lime soda has been bottled and sold in the form of Limca soda, available in India and some Indian ex-pat hubs like Detroit and Toronto. This stuff is a bit more in line with your average lemon-lime soda and probably there is no real juice in it, but it does have an odd, slight taste of ginger.
The only sodas you can source readily in the States that come to close to that crucial sweet/sour dichotomy are a bit more of the Euro high-end variety: San Pelligrino Limonata, San Pelligrino Aranciata, and Orangina. Oh, and please do get out of my face with that "Fresca" bullshit. That stuff tastes more Crystal Lite than soda.
I was excited to try real Jamaican jerk chicken as soon as I got to Jamaica, but when we got to the Jerk Center on the road from Montego Bay to St. Elizabeth I was surprised to be given the choice of Jerk pork, which I jumped at. For some reason Jerk pork is not a concept that I have run into the states. Maybe that's because unlike its chicken equivalent, Jerk pork truly requires the hardwood smoking it receives in a real jerk set-up like you see below. You can make passable Jerk chicken in an oven at home, but bad Jerk pork is just terrible, as you will discover even in Jamaica at a half-assed Jerk stall. When it's done right, though, it becomes smoky pink on the inside and charred black and caramel crisp on the outside. The large swaths of fat in the meat will have essentially been transformed into spicy bacon. Hacked up and doused in the incredibly hot scotch bonnet homemade pepper sauce and sweet Jerk-flavored barbeque sauce you can find at Jamaican Jerk centers, it is like alpha-barbecue, like the superior progenitor of the entire culinary milleu. As you can see from the menu below, most Jerk centers are pretty straight-forward deals, offering only Jerk and a bit of starch to quell the scotch bonnet burn. Once you've had a quarter pork paired with festival (sweet fried-dough that tastes to me like the coating on a corn dog) and a Red Stripe, you won't miss side dishes.