May 31, 2011
Kurt Vonnegut’s blend of anti-war sentiment and satire made him one of the most popular writers of the 1960s, a time when Vietnam dominated the headlines in a way the country’s current wars do not. On Thursday, the Library of America is republishing four novels written when Vonnegut was at his height of popularity — Cat’s Cradle; God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater;Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions.
The central theme in Vonnegut’s fiction from the 1960s is the irrationality of governments and the senseless destruction of war. In a 1987 interview, Vonnegut said he was determined to write about war without romanticizing it.
Red Knuckles And The Trailblazers On Mountain Stage “LISTEN”–If you like Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, Commander Cody, Wayne Handcock you’ll love Red and his group. It’s Hot Rize Alter Ego. JR
As the legend goes, Red Knuckles and his band The Trailblazers were discovered by members of bluegrass group Hot Rize at a bar in Wyoming, Mont., leaning on a jukebox that contained only classic country material from the 1960s. At the height of their popularity and looking for a break in the norm, Hot Rize took the classic-country interpreters on the road and the relationship continues to this day.
Gill Scott-Heron Dead at 62 “Godfather of Rap” penned influential “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”–LISTEN
Gil Scott-Heron, the spoken-word artist considered one of rap music’s most important progenitors, died Friday at 62.
Doris C. Nolan, a friend of the Chicago-born poet, said he died at St. Luke’s Hospital after becoming sick following a trip to Europe, the Associated Press reports.
Scott-Heron grew up in Tennessee and later the Bronx and attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania before spending much of his later life in the New York neighborhood of Harlem. The writer completed a volume of poetry by age 13, wrote a satire called “The Nigger Factory,” and a murder mystery titled “The Vulture” but achieved critical prominence with his 1970 debut album “Small Talk at 125th and Lennox.”
Gil Scott-Heron in Harlem in 2010.
Gil Scott-Heron died Friday afternoon in New York, his book publisher reported. He was 62. The influential poet and musician is often credited with being one of the progenitors of hip-hop, and is best known for the spoken-word piece “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”
Scott-Heron was born in Chicago in 1949. He spent his early years in Jackson, Tenn., attended high school in The Bronx, and spent time at Pennsylvania’s Lincoln University before settling in Manhattan. His recording career began in 1970 with the album Small Talk at 125th and Lenox, which featured the first version of “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” The track has since been referenced and parodied extensively in pop culture.
Scott-Heron continued to record through the 1970s and early ’80s, before taking a lengthy hiatus. He briefly returned to the studio for 1994′s Spirits. That album featured the track “Message to the Messengers,” in which Scott-Heron cautions the hip-hop generation that arose in his absence to use its newfound power responsibly. He has been cited as a key influence by many in the hip-hop community — such as rapper-producer Kanye West, who closed his platinum-selling 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy with a track built around a sample of Scott-Heron’s voice.
Revolutionary Cuba Now Lays Sand Traps for the Bourgeoisie–” Visit Cuba before it becomes Capitalized or Re-Americanized!” JR
Now, 50 years later, foreign developers say the Cuban government has swung in nearly the opposite direction, giving preliminary approval in recent weeks for four large luxury golf resorts on the island, the first in an expected wave of more than a dozen that the government anticipates will lure free-spending tourists to a nation hungry for cash.
Two-thirds of the Arctic coastline is made of permafrost — an environment that is very sensitive to warming temperatures. A new report says erosion is causing these coastline regions to recede by an average of 1.5 feet per year.
Unlike rock shoreline, permafrost loses its structure when it warms above freezing. “Surface air temperatures have reached record levels over the past decade,” the report from an international consortium found. Combine this with weakened permafrost and there’s a recipe for erosion.
Every time a reader asks me a basic question, struggles with a computer or lets a cellphone keep ringing at a performance, I have the same thought: There ought to be a license to use technology.
I’m not trying to insult America’s clueless; exactly the opposite, in fact. How is the average person supposed to know the essentials of their phones, cameras and computers? There’s no government leaflet, no mandatory middle-school class, no state agency that teaches you some core curriculum. Instead, we muddle along, picking up scattershot techniques as we go. We wind up with enormous holes in our knowledge.
In 2007, Bill Moyers returned to PBS to revive his long-running public affairs program, Bill Moyers Journal, which first aired on PBS in the ’70s. Moyers’ show drew a loyal audience to its coverage of politics, public controversy and the arts before his retirement in 2010.
In a new book, the longtime PBS host and former aide to President Lyndon B. Johnson recaptures the show’s memorable interviews, from The Wire‘s David Simon to conservationist Jane Goodall to Chicago minister Jeremiah Wright.
CHARLO, Mont. — For 19 years, the owl researcher Denver Holt has journeyed to Barrow, Alaska, each summer to map out the predator-prey relationship between the lemmings that crawl across the tundra and the white owls that hunt them from above.
As he prepares for his 20th field season in the Arctic, he says that the snowy owl has a role to play in understanding ecological changes in one of the fastest changing places in the world. “When lemmings are doing well, everything is doing well — eider ducks, sandhill cranes, arctic fox and weasels,” Mr. Holt said. “If climate change results in habitat changes and it affects the lemmings, it will show up in the snowy owls because 90 percent of their diet is lemmings. The owls are the key to everything else.”
Twenty years of data provides an unusually deep look at a species’ population trends. And more research on snowy owls in other parts of the world — they are found throughout the arctic region — could flag changes in the global arctic ecosystem even without other indicators.
A male snowy owl took flight in the Alaskan arctic. More Photos »
May 23, 2011
Robert Allen Zimmerman, known to many as Bob Dylan, was born May 24, 1941. FolkAlley.com is celebrating Dylan’s 70th birthday with a special 4-hour stream that features many artists paying tribute to the prolific and influential songwriter.
In Woody Allen’s new movie, the only woman over 20 who is neither a harpy nor a groupie is the very late Gertrude Stein. But here’s the thing: Having suffered through at least two decades of the director’s celluloid shrews and floozies, I got a big kick out of seeing an elderly lesbianliterata play den mother to the film’s inevitable kvetchy Allen stand-in. That, plus a certain amount of wacky time travel, makes Midnight in Parisa sweet and lively story, and a nicely packaged new outing from a past master who has done little more than repeat himself for at least two decades.
As he often has before, Allen sets his tale — a familiar one, about a creative type dissatisfied with his rather lucky life — against the backdrop of a European glamour spot. And, as ever, Paris appears to have been photographed by the director’s travel agent: the Eiffel Tower, all lit and twinkly against the night sky; the Seine, ruffled by a mild summer breeze; the cute bistros, filled with stylishly gesticulating Gallic types. Book your flights now.
May 20, 2011
Woody Allen isn’t religious, but he has a rabbinical side, and over the past decade his films have become more and more like Talmudic parables for atheists. On the surface, these movies are streamlined, even breezy, and they often have voice-over narration to get the pesky exposition out of the way fast. Philosophically, Allen has settled on resignation, a cosmic shrug: There’s no God, no justice, people are inconstant, life is meaningless — so where do you wanna eat?
I have a problem, though, buying into the worldview of someone whose world is a closed ecosystem. There’s no evidence that Allen lets any contemporary culture penetrate his hard, defensive shell. Music stopped in the ’40s, if not earlier, ditto literature, ditto film — with a pass for select European directors. He seems locked in a daydream of the past.
When it comes to our endless occupation, the same depressing story lines keep playing out again and again
One day in October 2001, a pilot for Northwest Airlines refused to let Arshad Chowdhury, a 25-year-old American Muslim (“with a dark complexion”) who had once worked as an investment banker in the World Trade Center, board his plane at San Francisco National Airport. According to Northwest’s gate agents, Chowdhury writes in the Washington Post, “he thought my name sounded suspicious” even though “airport security and the FBI verified that I posed no threat.” He sued.
Now, skip nearly a decade. It’s May 6, 2011, and two New York-based African-American imams, a father and son, attempting to take an American Airlines flight from New York to Charlotte to attend a conference on “prejudice against Muslims,” were prevented from flying. The same thing happened to two imams in Memphis “dressed in traditional long shirts and [with] beard,” heading for the same conference, when a pilot for Atlantic Southeast refused to fly with them aboard, even though they had been screened three times.
So how is the war in Afghanistan going almost 10 years later? Or do you think that’s a non sequitur?
I don’t, and let me suggest two reasons why: first, boredom; second, the missing learning curve.
Love these late spring storms.. There’s a lot of bitching about what spring weather throws our way ….then summer arrives and it’s hot and desert dry… Enjoy it while you can… Looks like this large closed low will spin itself east of us later tomorrow with snow above 8000 feet and a mix of rain/sleet below. JR
Light snow overnight. Snow has picked up intensity this morning in
Silverton & on the Passes.
Has been snowing 1″-2″/hr since about 7:30.
Snow totals (HN24) so far (from automated wx sites):
RMP (SASP) 10″-12″/1.06″
Idaroado 7″/.6″ (just north of the pass)
Monument has had trouble reporting (but CDOT site shows there wasn’t much
Molas approx. 8″/.6″
The gourmet food truck craze that started in Los Angeles may be reaching its peak. These days, hundreds of gourmet food trucks are roving the Los Angeles streets, selling everything from Korean tacos to grilled cheese sandwiches, Indian street food to $12 hamburgers.
“It seems like every day, you see a new truck on Twitter,” says Matt Chernus, who co-owns Grill ‘em All. “It’s getting to the point where you’ve got to wonder if this city can really hold this many trucks. Once you start seeing a copycat of every truck, you’re going to see a downward spiral.”
Chernus’s heavy metal-themed meals-on-wheels came in first place in the reality TV show “The Great Food Truck Race” last year. He says there has been some infighting over territory and bragging rights between truck owners.
“I think everybody’s cool at the end of the day, but of course there’s always gonna be some smack talk going on between truck operators,” Chernus says with a devilish smile. “I mean, I’ve definitely partaken in it.”
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Late one night last November, a plane carrying dozens of Colombian men touched down in this glittering seaside capital. Whisked through customs by an Emirati intelligence officer, the group boarded an unmarked bus and drove roughly 20 miles to a windswept military complex in the desert sand.
The Colombians had entered the United Arab Emirates posing as construction workers. In fact, they were soldiers for a secret American-led mercenary army being built by Erik Prince, the billionaire founder of Blackwater Worldwide, with $529 million from the oil-soaked sheikdom.
Mr. Prince, who resettled here last year after his security business faced mounting legal problems in the United States, was hired by the crown prince of Abu Dhabi to put together an 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the U.A.E., according to former employees on the project, American officials and corporate documents obtained by The New York Times.
Morning Edition asked me to do a story about how technology has shaped generational shifts in financial literacy. I didn’t want to do it, for reasons that will become clear shortly. But first, let’s take the case of Sarah Marczynski and her father, Robert. Sarah, 23, graduated from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, last week.
“I think about the time that I started to get money, either through baby-sitting or a job or whatever,” she says, “maybe that was the first time that I realized that the way that my parents handled money — or certain aspects — was not the best way.”
“Ouch!” her father interrupts.
“I know — sorry, Dad.”
“This is funny and so accurate. I think Zoe is talking about me & my wife… I’m the one who buries cash in the peanut butter jar out back… ” JR
We’re often taken aback when a respected governor, political candidate, husband or wife is caught cheating. But psychologist David DeSteno argues that there’s a growing body of evidence that shows that everyone — even the most respected among us — has the capacity to act out of character.
The book Out Of Character, which DeSteno co-wrote with psychologist Piercarlo Valdesolo, details the evidence and applies it to familiar stories.
Say, pardner. You ever hear the one about jazz being the only true American art form? Now, I love jazz just as much as the next fellow, but consider the Western: Established in the early years of the 20th century, affording many aesthetic pleasures, widespread in its cultural influences and indubitably made in the U.S. of A. It embraces space, freedom, history, pioneers and movement; it creates a mythology that can make the true past difficult to discern. Sound familiar?
There’s actually a considerable jazz/Western lineage: Singing black cowboy film star and Duke Ellington big-band vocalist Herb Jeffries, the Western Swing phenomenon of the 1930s and ’40s, saxophonist Charles Tyler’s Western-inspired free-jazz epicSaga of the Outlaws and, of course, the famous Count Basie-in-the-desert moment in Blazing Saddles are just a few examples. Jazz’s legendary cutting contests have often been compared to pistol-packing showdowns, and its exceptional players to fearless gunfighters; as one Charles Mingus composition put it, “If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There’d Be a Whole Bunch of Dead Copycats.” Here are five recordings that address Western themes in a cinematically connected way.
Cannes: An explosive Mexican thriller-”Miss Bala” offers a bloody thrill ride through Tijuana with a drug lord and a would-be beauty queen
CANNES, France — Despite this festival’s long-standing reputation as a home for worthy and difficult dramas where nothing happens, its programmers have begun to embrace genre movies in recent years. Our first 2011 example arrived on Friday, with the premiere of Mexican director Gerardo Naranjo’s pulse-pounding “Miss Bala” in the Certain Regard competition. I heard one prominent critic in the hallway after the screening complaining that some of Naranjo’s plot twists were implausible, but give me a break. First of all, much of Naranjo’s point is that almost nothing is implausible in the upside-down world of Tijuana, where it’s nearly impossible to identify a clear line between cops and criminals. Secondly, while “Miss Bala” strives for a naturalistic feeling and draws on some recent criminal history, it’s a bullet-riddled downhill thrill ride about a would-be beauty queen and a drug lord, not “The Bicycle Thief.”
Several cities have “Hot Clubs” — bands that play so-called “Gypsy jazz” in the tradition of Django Reinhardt. There’s the Hot Club of New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia.
Now comes the Hot Club of Cowtown: a trio in Austin, Texas, that specializes in Western swing. Its members have been musical ambassadors for the U.S. State Department, played Lincoln Center and been inducted into the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame. The trio consists of bassist Jake Ervin, guitarist Whit Smith and fiddler Elana James. Their latest album, What Makes Bob Holler, is a tribute to the late Bob Wills, the so-called King of Western Swing.
Hot Club of Cowtown formed in 1997. The daughter of a classical violinist and an ad man from Kansas City, James studied comparative religion at Barnard College and worked at the Buddhist magazine Tricycle in New York, but found herself seduced away from the writer’s life by the fiddle. To watch James perform — her blonde hair flying, elbow pumping, eyes locked on the fingerboard — is to know she chose the right career path.
Smith was a rocker when he discovered Western swing working at New York’s Tower Records. His 1946 Gibson archtop guitar, played through a ’37 Gibson amp, gives him a distinctly early-jazz sound. After jamming together in New York’s East Village for a couple of years, Smith and James moved to Austin in 1997, when they met Erwin and officially started the band. In a town that’s particular about its live music, the Hot Club quickly rose to the top.
HEAR THE MUSIC
High precip rates yesterday morning followed by steady ½”-1”/hr snowfall until this morning prompted the need for the rare May mitigation.
It is noteworthy that these last few storms have brought the season totals for RMP to 465” and Monument to 311”. In 1992-93’ RMP measured 445” for the year (unclear if there are any May snow numbers in that total) which is the most recorded of measurements in (19 years).
RMP 21″/2″ (water is an estimation)
Isabel Allende’s appeal as a novelist hasn’t just been her fascinating background — she grew up in Peru, Chile, Bolivia and Lebanon and was the cousin of deposed Chilean President Salvador Allende — but also her lyrical, enchanting narrative style, at times a kind of Day-Glo version of magical realism. Her latest novel, Island Beneath the Sea, is a sprawling, multifaceted historical epic, like her 1982 best-seller, The House of Spirits, and her underrated Ines of My Soul. Island Beneath the Sea follows a young woman born into slavery, Tete, and her master, Toulouse Valmorain, through Haiti and New Orleans, over several years. While Allende has always been comfortable chronicling grand passion and deep love, she’s at her best here when she’s angry — her descriptions of the treatment of Valmorain’s slaves, particularly the sexual assault of Tete, are shocking. At its best, Island Beneath the Seais elegant, moving and infused with a real sense of loss.