There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune

The Best And The Worst - Vol. I


This is the first edition of what I hope to be a regular feature on "Taken At The Flood": The Best And The Worst. Explanation:

Yesterday I was running in the park with J's iPod Nano, listening to a particular song that I find highly annoying, when I realized, with astonishment, that it is in actuality a "diss track". I quickly determined that this song had to be the all-time worst of its kind, in stark contrast to the pinnacle of the artform, with which I am very familiar. Hence the new ongoing feature. Hope you enjoy it.

The Best And The Worst - Vol. I: Diss Track

The Worst: Hollaback Girl, Gwen Stefani
Miss Stefani, who generally exhibits a modicum of competency in her music, apparently was miffed at ubercrackwhore Courtney Love due to an oblique slight. In time-honoured tradition, Miss Stefani chose to respond through her art, generating what is known in the colourful patois of the street as a "diss track". The resulting song, "Hollaback Girl", is notable in that the sheer banality of its lyrics is made even worse by its gobsmackingly terrible execution. The intro is awful. The refrain is insipid. Pharrell Williams' production is abysmal. The best diss or battle posturing she can manage is "gonna make you fall, gonna sock it to you". In a word: pathetic.

The Best: Hit 'Em Up, Tupac Shakur
This track appeared during the culmination of the Great East Coast-West Coast Beef, which I hesitate to adumbrate as time and space will not permit me to treat the subject with the serious scholarship and attention it deserves. I hope that one day my eminent colleague Double Barrel will write a full dissertation on this period of hip hop history.

Hit 'Em Up was 'Pac's 1996 response to the Notorious B.I.G.'s 1995 diss track "Who Shot Ya", which was widely interpreted as mocking Tupac's 1994 assault, during the course of which he was shot 5 times. The song is the pinnacle of its genre, featuring perhaps the greatest rapper of all time, at the top of his game, holding forth on a subject which exercised his most fiery passions. The song is masterfully produced, and its lyrics comprise some of the most vicious, unrepentant and biting words ever recorded. The song begins with Tupac declaring "I ain't got no motherf__ing friends/that's why I f__ed your b___ you fat motherf___er", a statement which sets the tone for the rest of the diatribe. During the course of the track, Tupac, in a fierce machine-gun staccato:
  • repeatedly brags that he has cuckolded Biggie
  • taunts that Biggie copied his style
  • alleges that one of Biggie's "Mobb Deep" associates has sickle-cell anemia and risks sustaining a seizure or heart-attack
  • insults Biggie's mother
  • threatens to kill all of his enemies, and instructs them to "die slow"
  • insults the record company Bad Boy Records "as a staff, record label, and as a motherf___in' crew!"
  • suggests that he and his California associates will bomb his targets
  • disses, in no particular order: Biggie, Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, Lil' Kim, Junior M.A.F.I.A, Mobb Deep, Lil Caesar, Bad Boy Records together with its affiliates and business associates, the New York hip hop establishment and, finally, each target's respective mother

The resulting song is a masterpiece, a time-tested classic. Check it.

State of the Blog


My fellow internetizens,

I am gratified to inform you that "Taken At The Flood" has reached its six month mark. I remember with fondness that heady day in Cow Hollow when I woke up, kicked a few cats, yelled at the neighbors, then logged on to see what kind of mayhem and destruction I could wreak upon the rest of the world. Since then, we have posted 108 times, and as of press time, 22,699 visits have been logged. This is somewhat misleading since we were on pace to have approximately 3,500 visits at the six month mark, however for some reason Google Image Search is under the misapprehension that this site hosts a rather interesting picture of Jessica Alba (which I linked to here). As a consequence, about 19,000 people over the last four weeks have visited the site and, I can only assume, left sorely disappointed.

I am still unclear as to who reads this blog, so, as an anniversary present, please either send me an email or leave a comment if you are a reader.



Rulez is Rulez


At my place, certain things just aren't done.

Fo' sheezy.

Lazy Sunday


This evening I cooked up some okra, then defrosted some leftover lambchops and threw them onto my newest toy. Also, for kicks, I grilled up some corn on the cob. And got some fresh cherries and peaches for dessert. Like Dre said: "no more living hard/barbecues everyday. . ."

I love the interweb


The web is pretty cool. I was randomly googling when I found a picture of my shoeshine man on somebody else's blog.

So a big thanks to Al Gore for putting the internets together.

Barbecue in the city


It was awesome. It was so good that I'm amazed I didn't do it earlier - summer is not really summer until one has barbecued.

The food was roundly described as excellent, and as my own worst critic, I concur. The potato and eggplant curry was not my best, but it passed muster. The barbecued skewered mishkaki (in Turkish, çöp şiş) was extremely good - tender, juicy, spicy. The lamb chops were fantastic, although I did not use Ace's excellent recipe. Instead I used my version of mama's old paste recipe (ground cumin, ground corriander, red chili, ginger powder, fresh garlic, lemon juice, brushed onto the chops).

Part of the success I attribute to the excellent ingredients you get here in Turkey. Going shopping is a bit frustrating because the variety in terms of products is far less than the US (no corriander leaves, for example), however whatever you do get is extremely fresh. I used beautiful, large lemons for the lemon juice (rather than bottled) and I believe this made a huge difference to the taste and moisture of the meat. As I intimated before, my butcher is a hall-of-famer who, at the end of his career, should have his cleaver bronzed and his number retired. Furthermore, I was cooking with real charcoal rather than convenient propane gas.

Oh, and my guests were drunk.

Summer means one thing. . .


First of all, sorry for the infrequency of posts recently; I had been travelling in Cappadocia and Bodrum (of which I shall blog in detail at a later date). But now I'm back in Istanbul - J has arrived in town, I have various other friends in town, therefore over the last few days I made the following purchases:

  • One Barbecue (made in China)
  • 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) of cubed beef and 1.2 kg (2.6 lbs) of lamb chops. My butcher is a true artist. The man is a bloody genius with a knife. After expertly trimming and cubing my beef entrecot, he chopped the lamb, hacked off the end of the bones, and smashed the chops with a tenderizer.
  • Skewers
  • Potatoes and eggplants (for a curry)
  • Large green chilis you only get in Turkey
  • Salad ingredients
  • Eggs, flour and strawberries in order to make a shortcake
I marinated the meat last night in indian spice while a friend did the baking for the shortcake. This evening, I'm going to fix the salad and cook up a nice curry, fire up the grill, pop a cold one and throw on some Tupac. Then a dozen of my friends are going to taste their first Mishkaki.

Cause that's how I roll.



The Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia

Markets transmit information


"France are final favourites," says Del Piero, in a transparent act of gamesmanship.

Fortunately, this is a testable hypothesis. And based on what the market at Tradesports indicates, this statement is false. Sites like Tradesports and the Iowa Electronic Markets are remarkably adept at accurately predicting events which seem intractable to even the most intelligent experts and most sophisticated polls (such as the 2000 and 2004 United States presidential, congressional and senate elections). When there is enough liquidity, these markets have strong predictive value.

So, what does all this mean? Apparently, there is a 56% probability that the Azzurri will win the match.




Yesterday's match was so stunning to me that I had to think back to when something like this last happened to a team of mine. My teams invariably lose. They rarely, if ever, win in dramatic fashion in the dying seconds of a game. Not since the 1986 Montreal Canadiens' cup run, with rookies Patrick Roy and Claude Lemieux leading the way, have I been on the victorious side of as jaw-dropping a tournament win as yesterday's.

Magnificent show, gentlemen. Avanti.

About me

  • I'm Sunset Shazz
  • Living the dream in Istanbul, Turkey
  • I grew up in the hardscrabble streets of suburban Ottawa, Ontario, committing petty crime, insulting the elderly - basically the classic misspent youth. When I was 19, I moved to West Philly, where I put myself through the Wharton School by dealing crack and hustling. After stints in Paris and London, I eventually graduated and moved to San Francisco, where I put in eight years hard labor working for The Man. But now I pop bottles with models, deciding cracked crab or lobster - who says mobsters don't prosper?
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