Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lego Yankee Stadium

This is a scale model of Yankee Stadium built completely with Lego. Sean Kenney is a full-time "professional kid" who uses LEGO toys to build anything and everything you can imagine.

For years, his artwork, models, and children's books have inspired kids to create great things themselves.
Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Using over 45,000 LEGO bricks, a Manhattan gradeschooler and I have built a sculpture of Yankee Stadium over the past three years. It is 6 feet wide and 5 feet long, built to an approximate scale of 1:150.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Interview with Sean
4-minute video from Major League Baseball Entertainment News

Stadium tour (Part 1)
4-minute video from Major League Baseball Entertainment News

Stadium tour (Part 2)
4-minute video from Major League Baseball Entertainment News


Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

The building is built to look as it does to this day, including all of the modifications that were made over the history of the building (above).

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

The stadium is populated with over 1,700 little "microscale people". (Above)

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

The scoreboard is made using over 1,000 "light saber" rods, laid on top of each other so that only the round ends are showing.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Can you figure out what all the scoreboard ads are for?

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

An elevated train line runs alongside the stadium. It has a microscale New York City subway train and lots of traffic and crowds on the street below.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

The elevated New York City Subway station behind the stadium. (With MetroCard machines!)

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Underneath the elevated train tracks.


Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

The seating behind the dugout opens up to show the Yankee's locker rooms.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

"Monument park" (above) includes placards and monuments to famous Yankees players, like Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Lou Gherig.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

The invisible man watches the game from the upper deck.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

A mime in the park across the street.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Baskeball in the park across the street.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

The Simpsons head to the game.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

What's this, inside one of the walls? A crazy man with a giant chansaw, aaa, run!!

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Hidden behind in a secret compartment inside the stadium walls is The Manager's Throne Room.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Some micro-scale New York City buses and a taxi.

Working on the stadium

For three years, a Manhattan grade schooler and I built the stadium together. We began work in February 2006, working every weekend until it was complete in July 2009. The pictures below were taken during the course of 2006, 2007, and 2008.

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

LEGO Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium built with LEGO bricks

Kanye is Crazy. Duh.

After seeing Kanye's outburst on the Video Music Awards, my first reaction was, "what is this dudes malfunction?" Who acts this way? Why is this ok? Why did people applaud him? After I contemplated for some time I settled on the fact that Kanye is our fault. Correction—ya'll created him, so he's your fault. I have never been a fan. This kat raps about dropping out of college as though that's a viable plan for most people. With all that money, he still can't make a dermatologist appointment? I mean I'm just saying.

All of our celebrity worship has created these monsters. They think anything they say, wear, do, or don't do is fine because their rich and/or famous. Let's be real, the two do not always go hand and hand. We've told them that in order to remain relevant, they have to hop in and out of relationships, make ridiculous public spectacles of themselves, and participate in this ongoing contest to see who can wear the most colors at the same time. Kanye: please help me understand these plastic back to the future 3D glasses that you fancy so much? I'm just saying.

Kanye's action were ignorant, period. If you agree with him, excuse him, or even think it's funny, something is fundamentally wrong with you. People like Kanye need to be sent a message that people cannot behave that way and just get away with it. If he were an athlete he would have been fined and his contract and very livelihood would be in jeopardy. I hope the fool never makes another album and finds himself seeking work at Old Navy. The man is crazy and has proved over the past 8 years or so that he needs to be medicated. What rational person acts this way?

What's most egregious about this, is his outburst wasn't even on his own behalf. He was asserting that Beyoncé Knowles' "Single Ladies" video was the greatest video of all time. Clearly Beyoncé needed Kanye to serve as her advocate because she is starting an destitute. Most shows, the chick wins everything and can barely deliver an acceptance speach. Funny that a video set on a plain green screen background featuring a dance routine from the 1970's qualifies as the greatest ever. Maybe MTV needs to go back to playing music videos so Kanye can get caught up.

Video of Kanye's Outburst

HIV Vaccine Instills 'New Hope'

By: Marilynn Marchione and Michael Casey, Associated Press

Sept. 24, 2009 -- For the first time, an experimental vaccine has prevented infection with the AIDS virus, a watershed event in the deadly epidemic and a surprising result. Recent failures led many scientists to think such a vaccine might never be possible.

The World Health Organization and the U.N. agency UNAIDS said the results "instilled new hope" in the field of HIV vaccine research.

The vaccine -- a combination of two previously unsuccessful vaccines -- cut the risk of becoming infected with HIV by more than 31 percent in the world's largest AIDS vaccine trial of more than 16,000 volunteers in Thailand, researchers announced Thursday in Bangkok.

Even though the benefit is modest, "it's the first evidence that we could have a safe and effective preventive vaccine," Col. Jerome Kim told The Associated Press. He helped lead the study for the U.S. Army, which sponsored it with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The institute's director, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned that this is "not the end of the road," but said he was surprised and very pleased by the outcome.

"It gives me cautious optimism about the possibility of improving this result" and developing a more effective AIDS vaccine, Fauci said. "This is something that we can do."

The Thailand Ministry of Public Health conducted the study, which used strains of HIV common in Thailand. Whether such a vaccine would work against other strains in the U.S., Africa or elsewhere in the world is unknown, scientists stressed.

The results proved the skeptics wrong.

"The combination is stronger than each of the individual members," said the Army's Kim, a physician who manages the Army's HIV vaccine program.

New infections occurred in 51 of the 8,197 given vaccine and in 74 of the 8,198 who received dummy shots. That worked out to a 31 percent lower risk of infection for the vaccine group. Two of the infected participants who received the placebo died.

The vaccine had no effect on levels of HIV in the blood for those who did become infected. That had been another goal of the study -- seeing whether the vaccine could limit damage to the immune system and help keep infected people from developing full-blown AIDS.

That result is "one of the most important and intriguing findings of this trial," Fauci said. It suggests that the signs scientists have been using to gauge whether a vaccine was actually giving protection may not be valid.

"It is conceivable that we haven't even identified yet" what really shows immunity, which is both "important and humbling" after decades of vaccine research, Fauci said.

Details of the $105 million study will be given at a vaccine conference in Paris in October.

It is unclear whether vaccine makers will seek to license the two-vaccine combo in Thailand. Before the trial began, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said other studies would be needed before the vaccine could be considered for U.S. licensing.

Mass-producing the vaccine, plus how to proceed with future studies, will be discussed among the governments, study sponsors and companies involved in the trial, Kim said. Scientists want to know how long protection will last, whether booster shots will be needed, and whether the vaccine helps prevent infection in gay men and injection drug users, since it was tested mostly in heterosexuals in the Thai trial.

The study was done in Thailand because U.S. Army scientists did pivotal research in that country when the AIDS epidemic emerged there, isolating virus strains and providing genetic information on them to vaccine makers. The Thai government also strongly supported the idea of doing the study.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Reactions to CNN'S Black In America 2 VOL: 1

I must say that I was disappointed by CNN's Black In America 2. When I hear such a loading tittle like Black In America, I'm automatically looking for this loading, all encompassing documentary series that is going to show what it's like to be black in this country. Albeit, the experience has a number of perspectives and vantage points, I feel that we all should be able to see ourselves, hear out story, and be able to "amen" some aspect of the presentation.

This documentary, however, was a presentation of the black image in the white mind. It seemed more like Soledad O'Brien and her producers went through their personal cell phones and Facebook friend list and simply called people they knew so they could throw this show together.

The documentary starts out with a story about comedian Chris Rock’s wife, Malaak Compton-Rock, who heads up a nonprofit called The Angel Rock Project. The project is geared towards at-risk youth in Bushwick and strives to develop the leadership abilities of the youth through global.

The organization had an interview process last year selected 30 youth ambassadors to attend a service trip to Johannesburg, South Africa. The tripe was definitely a great thing for these kids and i am sure it's probably the nicest thing anyone has ever done for them but I'm concerned that the goal that Mrs. Rock set out to accomplish was not achieved. This service learning trip was a great starting point and catalyst for change, but there was little to no follow up with these kids. There is no way that a child who cannot read, or refuse to do what it takes to do well in school will be a future leader.

The little boy that CNN selected to profile during this segment was so shy, so withdrawn, and his primary focus was basketball. This was a free trip for him. I felt like this segment was simply a free plug for Malaak's charity to make herself feel better at the expense of these kids. There was no follow up with the kids; no accountability.

The segment on the elite black America's was sickening. Elitism, whether it includes or excludes Blacks is elitism. This segment soured the whole program for me. No matter how well the people featured have done for themselves financially, they still have to work for a living. Albeit doctors, judges, and lobbyist, they're working to maintain a lifestyle. The people that the show likened them to have old money don't have to work at all as their wealth is generational. They have more money then they know what to do with! In my opinion, elitism is a negative thing and this segment went against the whole premise of this documentary. Elitism, whether it includes or excludes Blacks is elitism.

I've got more to say but I'm going to have to follow up... In the meantime, I'm re-reading the following..

Monday, July 13, 2009

Racism in Pool Controversy

Many of you may have read, heard, or watch coverage about the Pennsylvania Swim club that reportedly residing their offer to allow a predominately black summer camp access to their facilities citing that the kids were overwhelming and that there "was concern that a lot of kids would change the complexion … and the atmosphere of the club."

In an interview on Radio Times (NPR) with Marty Moss-Coane, Valley Swim Club president, John Duesler said he underestimated the number of swimmers who would come to swim at the club. "It was never our intention to offend anyone," said John Duesler. "This thing has been blown out of proportion." What troubles me is that some very dangerous words were used. Complexion is almost always used in reference to skin tone. Additionally, these people did not offer the use of their facilities out of the goodness of their hearts--there was a contract between Valley Swim Club and The Creative Steps Day Care children -- who are in kindergarten through seventh grade. -- where $1,900 a day was paid for use of the favilities one a week.

I'm sure the director of the camp, Alethea Wright, let the swim club know EXACTLY what they would be dealing with. Children. Why would the club allow this [and three other camps to contract use of their facilies] and not plan to retain an appropriate number of lifeguards, etc? This is a public facility, not a pool at a private residence. These concepts are not new. Wright called it an "unfortunate situation," adding, "I know what happened; the members know what happened and a higher power knows what happened." Video Watch the club president say racism is not at play »

This type of racism, intended segregation, and then the later backpedaling is nothing new. The club and it's board cited safety as their chief concern in turning these minority children away, but it's interesting that following public outcry of racism, suddenly the pool is welcoming the children back. Hmm... so is the issue of safety no longer an issue, in order to save face? Jeff Wiltse, PhD, author of Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America, and Jim Ellis, subject of the 2007 swimming film, "Pride", provide some really good inside into how swimming has long been a source of racial division. I'd urge you all to check out his book.

I'd urge you to also go to and check out today episode of Tell Me More with Michel Martin... really great, objective, insights.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Cosby's @ 25

I was pretty pleased to watch The Cosby Show's 25th Anniversary today on The Today Show. The show and I have long had a complicated relationship. I am the only [Black] person I know who enjoys but simply regards the show as just a good TV sitcom.

I have grown accustomed to being around friends, classmates, colleagues, and even family letters who credit Bill Cosby and his "great experiment" with single handedly redefining the Black Family experience the world's perception of it. I've always seen that view as unfortunate, at best, but always kept my mouth shut for fear of being lambasted and accused of being an inauthentic colored.

Personally, I grew up in that house. My neighbors grew up in that house. My classmates grew up in that house. I had, and still have, two parents who love me. I have parents who worked their way through college and waited until they were stable to have children. My parents had educated friends who had children just like me. In the 80's & 90's, my dad [and I] wore, what we now recognize to be hideously ugly sweaters. We lived in a house that had enough rooms to accommodate all the members of the family. I could go on all day, trust me, but my point is simply that Blacks were living normal, well adjusted lives even during the civil rights movement.

I'm personally offended when I hear people suggest that Black People learned how to live in harmony, stay married, love their children, and develop ambition from a 1980's situational comedy. My grand parents did not have the benefit of Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable.

The Cosby Show depicts Bill Cosby's life and the cast members on the show. It tells the story he wanted to tell. While I love Bill Cosby, I applaud him for bringing quality, positive stories to television, but not for raising a generation of making Black success more palatable to Whites.

Check out clips from the today's interview with Bill Cosby, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Phylicia Rashad, Raven-Symoné Pearman, Geoffrey Owens and Earle Hyman The Today Show's Matt Lauer. I assume no one else could make it...

I was a bit troubled by Lauer's comparison of Barack Obama to Heathcliff Huxtable and I am glad the bait wasn't taken. I absolutely loved Malcolm-Jamal Warner & Phylicia Rashad's comments, respectively. I agree wholeheartedly with Rashad that, "We are more alike than we will ever be different and given the opportunity we are willing and wanting to embrace the likeness." Bill, God bless him, tried to real Miss Raven into the show, but comparing Cosby to "That's So Raven" on the Disney Channel? No, no, no. The show undoubtedly helped to change the way Blacks were portrayed on TV, but we have definitely pissed on that with our patronage of BET, TVOne, The Real House Wives of Atlanta, For The Love Of Ray J, Being Bobby Brown, Soul Plane, and the list goes on!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

oh this thing called love...

I've been flooded with emotions all day today. It started early this morning, was intensified one I got to church, and has been sucking the quirky life out of me all day. I am begrudgingly romantic. I hate the mushy stuff, but at the same time just cannot get enough. It's wild. Have you ever been in one of those entanglements [as I am now calling them,] resolved to go your separate ways, but find that every so often something... SOMETHING... something... has this way of seeping into your sensory nodes and taking you back to when things were happier. Day one.. That special birthday.. you all's first time.. just something happier.. That time when you first saw the light. Suddenly, all the bad never happened. The lies were never told. The fights weren't that serious, etc. etc. After all the progress you'd made, the walls you'd erected, you are caught like a deer in headlights.

Today I had a revelation—a pseudo spiritual catharsis. Let's call it a Breakthrough of sorts. Changed my life. ...for today at least.

1. Simply, Love ≠ Happiness.
2. Adore no iguale la felicidad.
3. Lieben Sie gleicht Glück nicht.
4. Aimer n'égale pas le bonheur.

I wanted to make sure I covered all my basses.. you know.. for the full edification of the body. I have friends who are allergic to stuff, but they love it. Despite the reaction, however mild, they calculate the consequences and succumb to their "love" irrespective, of the inevitable side effects. Love is irrational. Love is painful. Love, sometimes is not reciprocated. Seems like Love of typically not appreciated, or understood until things change. Love, unfortunately, often comes to an end. All this said, isn't love grand?

::Listening to: Brandy's Long Distance::

Monday, February 2, 2009

2009 Affirmations, Verse 1

What a year 2008 was. Please reference earlier entries to paint yourself a picture. I've spent the better part of 2009 hiding out. I am just tired of people and their issues. Surely, we all have them.. but I mean geez. Being a consummate people pleaser, I try to accommodate, excuse, and affirm people's idiosyncrasies. In 2009, it stops. I am just not strong enough to carry the weight of other people's issues coupled with my own.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Age Is More Then Just A Number

I've spent years smiling at the cliche, "age ain't nothing but a number." As I grow older, I'm starting to realize that it's not. As I inch closer and closer to the big "three-oh" I am less tolerant of youngins. I am even less tolerant of older people who don't have their shit together.

I'm thinking of that lady that we've all worked with. She's been in the office the longest. While she is lowest on the chain on command everyone calls her Mrs. Bernadette because she's older then everyone and just has the heir of oldness about her. Mrs. Bernadette boss is Chad, a 22 year old recent grad of The University of Maryland. Chad holds a degree in Psychology. What stands out about Mrs. Bernadette is that she is 36 but looks and acts like she's 56. She's been with the company for 15 years and while she has the same benefits as everyone else in the office, she hasn't taken advantage of the dental plan, the corporate gym memberships, the 401k, or the educational benefits.

Following 20 years of service, Mrs. Bernadette may be eligible for retirement but she won't be able to as she's saved nothing for the future. After 30 years of service, the only raised she would have received are those given for cost of living raises which will still max her out at $34,500 annually. After 30 years, Mrs. Bernadette will still have to punch in and out each day and talk someone into covering her phones when she has to run to the bathroom. Mrs. Bernadette will have developed hypertension and diabetes because she refused take advantage of her help benefits. Even though the company offered total tuition reimbursement, Mrs. Bernadette didn't have the time for all that and found comfort in making comments like, "ooo, honey, all these big words," and "these new girls talk so white."

As I grow older, while I am relatively young, I know there are things I need to let go of. I am not going to be a professional musician. When I look at the prospect honestly, I recognize that I lack the passion as well as the interest. Honestly, I don't care about that stuff as much as I once thought I did. If I wanted to work in music I'd hoing out my services far more aggressively. In Atlanta alone, there are far more people who love the microphone more then me. These days you have to force a microphone in my face.. I just don't to be another on of those moderately talented people with a whole lot of personality and trunk full of H&M accessories.

Realistically, we're all twenty-something going on 40 and I realize how hard it is to go back to school and work when you realized that your deal isn't coming.. I just don't want to wake up and be that guy or gurl when asked about my skill-set on the application responds with "my background is in 'admin stuff."

At the close of Mrs. Bernadette's career, her legacy will be simply that she was the only one who could unjam the copier. In 2009, I only want to be surrounded by people who are going somewhere. While we are not all going the same place, I can only be around those with substance.