Bighorn Sheep Canyon in Colorado holds a chuckling ribbon of water, with a highway running alongside. Artist Christo wants to drape sections of it — almost 6 miles’ worth — with long, billowing panels of silvery fabric.
“The silver-color fabric panel will absorb the color,” he says. “In the morning, it will become rosy, in the middle of the day, platinum, and [during] the sunset, the fabric will become golden.”
Christo and his late wife, Jeanne-Claude, are famous for works measured in miles: pathways of flapping, flame-colored gates in Central Park, thousands of umbrellas scattered along the coasts of California and Japan. For many locals, however, Christo’s artistic vision for the Arkansas River feels more like a nightmare.
It has been 16 years since the Bulgarian-born artist picked Bighorn Canyon for this piece, called Over the River. It has taken that long to slowly accumulate the needed permits and permissions, a process financed by selling preparatory sketches. “All that is part of the work of art,” Christo told a panel of county commissioners earlier this month.
“The work of art involves everything. People who dislike or like the project, they’re part of the work of art,” he said.
Ellen Bauder disagrees. “I don’t particularly consider it an art project. This is a construction project in my view,” she says. Bauder is a leading member of a group called Rags Over the Arkansas River, or ROAR, which opposes the project.
Evidence of ROAR’s fight is everywhere in Bauder’s home office, with Over the River files scattered across the floor and boxes of media clippings in the corner.
It’s natural for Leonard Cohen to think a lot about mortality near the end of his life, but Ron Sexsmith says Cohen has never sung about “frivolous things.”
Who’d have thought a 77-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter would be hovering near the top of the pop charts? Leonard Cohen was a poet and fiction writer who, in the 1960s, wrote songs like “Suzanne,” “So Long, Marianne” and “Bird on a Wire.” His unmistakable voice lulls you into a hypnotic spell on his new album, so we asked two fellow singers and Cohen fans to talk about what they hear on Old Ideas: Conor Oberst, best known for his band Bright Eyes, and Ron Sexsmith.
In February, NPR’s Backseat Book Club is reading Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai. It’s about a boy named Fadi, who finds his voice — and his lost little sister — through photography. Since the book is all about places, people and photos, we’d like to see the the things YOU love.
Maybe it’s a person — a sibling, a grandparent, or a teacher. Or maybe it’s your favorite spot — the garden outside your window, your secret hiding nook. What’s important to you? Submit photos here!
If you’re a kid and you’re reading this, share your photos. And if you’re an adult and know an aspiring photographer, share this assignment!
We may feature some of your pictures on our website!
This week the state of Nevada finalized new rules that will make it possible for robotic self-driving cars to receive their own special driving permits. It’s not quite driver’s licenses for robots — but it’s close.
The other day I went for a spin in a robotic car. This car has an $80,000 cone-shaped laser mounted on its roof. There are radars on the front, back and sides. Detailed maps help it navigate.
Do people notice it’s a self-driving car and gawk?
“We get a lot of thumbs up,” says Anthony Levandowski, one of the leaders of Google’s self-driving car project. “People drive by and then they wave. I wish they would keep their eyes on the road.”
Levandowski is in the passenger seat with a laptop showing him what the car can see. Chris Urmson is behind the wheel. But his hands are in his lap and the steering wheel is gently turning back and forth, tracing the contours of California’s busy Highway 85.
“And it can adjust the speed. If there is a particularly tight corner, it will slow down for that,” Urmson says. “It adjusts speed to stay out of blind spots of other vehicles. It tries to match speed with traffic.”
Urmson has been working on this technology for close to a decade. His first car managed to travel just 11 miles on a dusty road. Google’s vehicle is a giant leap forward.
‘CORDILLERA SARMIENTO EXPEDITION’–A first hand account of a mountaineering expedition to a rarely visited part of the world by Jack Miller–International Mountaineer, Adventurer, Gentleman & Hastings Mesa Major domo…–
Rains, this black night, hammer the tent like buckshot poured out of a pail, even drowning out the gale force of the wind overhead and the bashing of waves on the headland. I lay sleepless in my tent, here in the Cordillera Sarmiento, a remote mountain range in that wedge of southern Chile that pierces the Antarctic Ocean.
This hostile outer rim of South America has been called the “uttermost part of the earth.” Geographically, it lies within “Patagonia” but, weather-wise, its a region all its own. Mariners classify these latitudes as “the Furious Fifties,” and consider the harsh weather in this archipelago as the worst in the world. It is rarely approached by explorers or climbers–or by anybody.
LIKE THE ARTICLE? You can contact [subscribe to] at www.Patagonjournal.com.
Earlier this week, the New York Times’ Scott Shane published a bombshell piece about Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis, a 17-year Army veteran recently returned from a second tour in Afghanistan. According to the Times, the 48-year-old Davis had written an 84-page unclassified report, as well as a classified report, offering his assessment of the decade-long war. That assessment is essentially that the war has been a disaster and the military’s top brass has not leveled with the American public about just how badly it’s been going. “How many more men must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding?” Davis boldly asks in an article summarizing his views in The Armed Forces Journal.
February 15, 2012
A sun-scorched noir, “Rampart” tells a familiar story with such visual punch and hustling energy that it comes close to feeling like a new kind of movie, though it’s more just a tough gloss on American crime stories past. Directed by Oren Moverman from a fast, nasty, at times queasily funny screenplay by him and James Ellroy, it stars Woody Harrelson as Dave Brown, one of those dirty cops who ooze out of the smog-kissed Los Angeles sprawl to keep the peace in paradise, usually by breaking heads and gunning for trouble.
If you’ve read Mr. Ellroy, whose crime novels include “L.A. Confidential,” or one of his influences, Joseph Wambaugh (“The Choirboys”), you will recognize Dave Brown, the bullheaded, red-necked cop who swings first, asks later and calls the city a jungle and himself one of its soldiers. The language is no accident: For decades the Los Angeles Police Department followed a military model that made it a paradigm of ruthless efficiency in which police violence, particularly against minorities, was tolerated. By 1999, the year the movie opens, the department was rocking from the revelation that cops in the anti-gang unit in the Rampart Division, in central Los Angeles, had been dealing drugs and worse.
“Rampart” isn’t a docudrama take on the scandal, which is mentioned in passing, but a fictional, sometimes surrealistic exploration of the kind of mindset or maybe ideology, personal and professional, that led some Los Angeles cops to rob, kill and turn into a gang of their own. It’s a vivid, often mesmerizing portrait of a man rotting from the inside out, though perhaps only partly because the organization he works for (though really against), and the world he inhabits, are sick too. Yet why Dave does what he does is anyone’s guess, because one of the movie’s strengths is that it finds meaning in his actions without trying to explain him. Some people, it suggests, remain mysteries, which, however maddening, also helps make Dave insistently watchable.
Mob Museum The Purple Gang members trying to avoid the camera in an exhibition at the new museum in Las Vegas. More Photos »
LAS VEGAS — Lefty, Lucky, the Ant, Bugsy, the Snake, the Chin, Scarface, the Brain. The monikers of mobsters are like the nicknames of odd superheroes. They are two syllables of rat-tat firing, evoking creepy animals, physical protrusions or uncanny powers.
With artifacts, clever interactive displays, atmospheric exhibits and photographs and videos, we learn how Las Vegas developed out of the early-20th-century desert, and how workers on the nearby Hoover Dam gave the town its first population explosion. We see how the mob maneuvered into businesses of pleasure, not releasing its hold until late in the 20th century, when corporate casinos trumped their almost quaint predecessors. READ MORE
The band, credited with helping to revive Irish music, is celebrating its 50th anniversary and a career that includes more than 50 albums, six Grammys and an Oscar. The latest album, Voice of Ages, includes recordings of traditional songs with help from indie-rocker Bon Iver, folk group The Civil Wars, string band Carolina Chocolate Drops and country trio Pistol Annies, among others. Chieftains founder Paddy Moloney tells Morning Edition‘s Renee Montagne that it all began for him in the 1940s, with a gift from his mother.
“I was 6 years of age,” he says, “and my mother bought me what you call a pennywhistle — a tin whistle — for one shilling and nine pence.”
The Chieftains began in 1962, at a time when rock ‘n’ roll was king. Moloney’s goal was not only to bring back traditional Irish music, but to infuse it with new life.
“I adapted my own style of arrangements and little compositions and riffs here and there, and harmonies,” he says. “It got to be heard everywhere by the likes of John Peel, who was the great disc jockey of that era, in the ’60s and ’70s and ’80s. And John was playing our tape in among theBeatles and Rolling Stones.”
The most recent models this afternoon & GJ forecaster have this storm system tracking farther south than the morning runs. Not looking good right now for plentiful snowfall in the San Juans. Snow totals look more in the 8-12″ range and if the low digs farther south we could miss out completely or only receive a dusting.
We’re facing a very active period the next few days. The storm that just exited left up to 20″ of snow in our southern mountains verifying our last forecast on Friday. Today we’ll see a brief period of calm with a transit ridge then late tonight/early tomorrow morning another storm for the San Juans. The oncoming disturbance after sliding down the west coast collecting moisture has come onshore in southern Cal and is pushing into the Great Basin near Sin City (Las Vegas) as a closed low. It has plenty of moisture and will enter our forecast area on SW flow.
Early Tuesday the low opens over northern Az. favoring the mountains near the 4-corners region with warm temperatures and a rain/snow mix that will limit snow accumulations in the lower elevations. Tuesday evening the low will be over the Colo./N.M. line favoring the terrain just south of our forecast area (look out Wolf Creek). Flow and backing winds will shift to W-NW with accumulations favoring those aspects (N. side of the SJ’s) as the trough slides east. The higher elevations above 11,000′ could see another 15-20″.
Long term the future looks unsettled. This storm exits on Wednesday with several models calling for another trough approaching from the west, showing a split flow on Wednesday with cloudiness and potential snow. Thursday into the weekend some clearing as the active weather exits east and a ridge of high pressure builds over the Great Basin with drier NW flow through Saturday. Beginning Sunday another closed low could be moving onshore over southern Cal. Saying this quietly, maybe put the rock skis in the bodega.
Our current storm is winding down and avalanche mitigation with spot closures is under way on all passes. Crews are making good progress.
Following are the snow totals for the Hwy 550 Corridor:
Red Mtn Pass 16”/1.15”
Coal Bank 18”/1.5”
WATCHING the Republican Party struggling to agree on a presidential candidate, one wonders whether the G.O.P. shouldn’t just sit this election out — just give 2012 a pass.
You know how in Scrabble sometimes you look at your seven letters and you’ve got only vowels that spell nothing? What do you do? You go back to the pile. You throw your letters back and hope to pick up better ones to work with. That’s what Republican primary voters seem to be doing. They just keep going back to the pile but still coming up with only vowels that spell nothing.
There’s a reason for that: Their pile is out of date. The party has let itself become the captive of conflicting ideological bases: anti-abortion advocates, anti-immigration activists, social conservatives worried about the sanctity of marriage, libertarians who want to shrink government, and anti-tax advocates who want to drown government in a bathtub. READ MORE
Elizabeth Catlett’s 1968 sculpture Homage to My Young Black Sisters
Just in the last year, 96-year-old American artist Elizabeth Catlett has had her work featured in exhibitions from Istanbul to Mexico to New York. Young artists use Catlett’s technical expertise and insights into gender, race and class as a jumping-off point for their own work, yet she’s still unknown to much of the general public.
The ‘Invisible’ Artist
An exhibit at the Bronx Museum of the Arts last year juxtaposed Catlett’s work with pieces from 21 other artists. Along with her sculptures and prints, it also included her drawings of women with powerful legs and hips, the very act of their standing imbuing them with a force like nature.
Callie Khouri’s first screenplay came from deep within: she knew what could happen to two women in a car—when some guy pushed them too far. The last thing she expected, in the spring of 1988, was that the macho Ridley Scott would want to direct it, or that a bevy of Hollywood’s top actresses would want to star.Thelma & Louise, as Sheila Weller recounts, was a full-throttle, white-knuckle triumph for those who got it (from Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis to a virtual unknown named Brad Pitt) over the many who didn’t.
It was one of those wee-small-hour-of-the-mornings in L.A., in the spring of 1988, and Callie Khouri, a 30-year-old music-video line producer, was driving home from work to her apartment in Santa Monica when her tired mind caught fire. “Out of nowhere I thought, Two women go on a crime spree. That one sentence! I felt the character arcs—I saw the whole movie,” she recalls, sitting in the Beverly Hills Hotel Polo Lounge 22 years later. No longer the rebellious spitfire she was then, Khouri today is an established screenwriter and director (Mad Money, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood) and the wife of Oscar-winning songwriter and producer T Bone Burnett.
“THAT SCENE, RIGHT THERE, IS THE BEGINNING OF BRAD PITT! BINGO!,” THE FILM’S DIRECTOR, RIDLEY SCOTT, RAVES.
In a city where every cater-waiter had a script in a drawer, Khouri had never tried to write a screenplay. (She had, though—after a childhood in Texas and Kentucky, as the daughter of a Lebanese-American doctor and a southern belle, and three and a half years at Purdue—studied acting and done a little theater.) And yet, as she drove that morning, she says, “I saw, in a flash, where those women started and where they ended up. Through a series of accidents, they would go from being invisible to being too big for their world to contain, because they’d stopped cooperating with things that were absolutely preposterous, and just became themselves.”
Over the next six months, Khouri spent all her spare time getting her vision on paper: Two Arkansas women—lower-middle-class, with no status, no entitlement, both in far-from-perfect relationships—drive off to spend a couple of days at a borrowed fishing cabin. They stop at a roadhouse and have a few drinks. Then, suddenly, things get out of control, and one of them shoots and kills the man she catches in the act of raping her friend. Their innocent weekend turns into a headlong, obstacle-pocked getaway, but as their desperation grows, so does their exhilaration. “I don’t remember ever feeling this awake,” one of them marvels as law enforcement descends. Khouri wrote the screenplay in longhand at odd hours and typed it out on her office computer.
Havana Heat: The title characters meet cute and swing hard in Chico and Rita, an animated love story with an infectious Latin groove.
Chico & Rita
- Director: Tono Errando, Javier Mariscal, Fernando Trueba
- Genre: Animation, Musical
- Running Time: 94 minutes
With: Limara Meneses, Eman Xor Ona, Mario Guerra
In Spanish with subtitles
In the 11 years since the Oscars introduced an award for Best Animated Feature, the category has been dominated by children’s movies, often with computer-animated pandas, penguins and ogres at their center. This year’s a little different. Two of the animated films are subtitled, and one is definitely aimed at adults: the Spanish film Chico and Rita, an animated love story steeped in jazz.
Think Havana, 1946, rendered in pen and ink, vintage cars roaring down tropical streets that are all horizontals and a riot of color. A young jazz pianist named Chico hasn’t got a gig tonight, so he’s out on the town hitting the clubs. That’s when he gets his first glimpse of Rita, sidling into a spotlight, closing her eyes and purring “Besame Mucho” into a mic.
Instantly smitten, Chico follows Rita to the Tropicana, where he gets to show off a bit himself when the band needs someone to sight-read Stravinsky. By evening’s end, Chico and Rita have both ditched their dates, and they end up at his place, where the next morning she awakes to find him noodling at the piano. Could he maybe take that down a key, she wonders? And then she joins in …
After a night of lovemaking, Chico will understandably be calling that new song “Rita.” Is theirs a match made in heaven? Sure. Two young musicians, tropical breezes, sweet, sweet harmonies. But all of what we’re seeing is part of an old man’s flashback — to Cuba before the revolution — and if it seems too easy, it is. There’s a knock at the door — an angry ex-girlfriend, the first of many interruptions in a romance that will take these two from Havana to New York and all over the world, sometimes together but more often apart.
Along the way they’ll be present at the creation of some genuinely extraordinary music: mambo, batanga and always jazz. Writer-director Fernando Trueba based the film’s story (very) loosely on the experiences of pianist and bandleader Bebo Valdes, who worked for years at Havana’s Tropicana Club, and both played for and orchestrated songs for the likes of Woody Herman, Dizzy Gillespie and the many other jazz greats whose stylings grace the movie’s soundtrack.
Now 93 years young, Valdez himself plays all of Chico’s piano solos — both the ones created specifically for this film, and the ones in big-band arrangements he recorded years ago. Rita, who’s sung by Idania Valdes, is a lovely creation, too — her animated DNA blending bits of the Cuban cabaret sensation Rita Montaner with more than a smidgen of Lena Horne.
Seen through Javier Mariscal’s pen-and-ink drawings, their on-again, off-again romance is so nostalgically persuasive it feels almost iconic. As do the cities the film conjures — not just Havana through the decades, but New York as a forest of thrusting verticals, Vegas an explosion of animated neon.
The picture’s real achievement though, is the warmth it brings to the music that animates the lives of these Afro-Cuban characters. Chico and Rita has enough adult subject matter — and even animated nudity — that it’s definitely not for the young. But it’s so passionate about the Latin and big-band music of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s that it’ll make anyone who grew up listening to those vibrant rhythms feel like a kid again.
The high pressure ridge currently over the Rocky Mt. west will have Pacific moisture undercutting it over the next few days bringing good chance of more winter like conditions Saturday through early next week. The Saturday evening moisture feed into the San Juans has a warm tropical source in Hawaii.
Late Saturday/early Sunday the trough carves out over the Great Basin and Southern Cal on southwest flow. Snow should begin late Saturday at higher elevations with rain in the valley’s, but the southern San Juans/4-corners could see higher precipitation rates if two of the three models I consult are correct. The third model has higher vorticity further north favoring the WNW San Juans. Too early to forecast snow amounts yet, but we could see another 12- 18″ above 11,000′ in favored locations.
By Monday the first storm will exit east of us with a brief shortwave ridge and clearing just ahead of the next Pacific wave with good moisture and a possible closed low over southern Utah. This would favor the south SJ’s but by Tuesday the entire forecast area could be affected. Stay tuned, I’ll update with newer information.
National Public Rodeo
When most people hear “NPR,” they think Cokie Roberts, Nina Totenberg, Robert Siegel, and for some on the far right, all that is wrong with the mainstream liberal media. But beneath the veneer of the “Minnesota nice,” a simmering battle has been waged, and in the balance hangs NPR’s future and perhaps even its soul—as either a nonpartisan defender of in-depth journalism or a target of the partisan sniping of the sound-bite era. David Margolick explores how NPR’s management managed to squander the advantages of the national dole, deep-pocketed donors, a roster of top-notch reporters, and the loyalty of legions of devoted Click and Clack fans—and whether it can recover from theannus horribilis of 2011.
Over the past few years, NPR, which to the millions of commuters and housewives and shut-ins who listen to it every day sounds like a sea of tranquility, has undergone nearly constant turbulence. In 2008, facing a bad economy exacerbated by poor management, it underwent the first layoffs in its history, lopping off about 100 heads, and cancelled two of its programs. Having barely recovered from that bloodbath, it has suffered over the past year from what one of its first leaders, Frank Mankiewicz, has called a series of S.I.W.’s—World War II–ese for “self-inflicted wounds.” In peculiarly clumsy fashion, it had fired its most conspicuous, popular black voice, Juan Williams, raising questions about its commitment to free speech in the process. Then it essentially fired the woman who had fired him. Then it fired the woman who had fired the woman who fired him, along with its chief fund-raiser. All this had been embarrassingly public and poorly explained, and from an outfit whose business is explication.
3″ new pow pow
CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER/NCEP/NWS
and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society 9 February 2012
ENSO Alert System Status: La Niña Advisory
Synopsis: La Niña is likely to transition to ENSO-neutral conditions during March-May 2012.
A mature La Niña continued during January 2012, as below-average sea surface temperatures (SST) persisted across the equatorial Pacific Ocean (Fig. 1). The weekly SST indices remained near –1.0°C in the Niño-3.4 and Niño-4 regions (Fig. 2). However, the negative SST anomalies weakened in the far eastern Pacific, indicated by warming in the Niño-1+2 and Niño-3 regions. The oceanic heat content (average temperature in the upper 300m of the ocean) anomalies also weakened slightly (Fig. 3), but continued to reflect an extensive area of below-average subsurface temperatures east of the Date Line (Fig. 4). Also, anomalous low-level easterly and upper-level westerly winds persisted over the central and west-central Pacific. Convection remained suppressed in the western and central Pacific, and enhanced over Indonesia (Fig. 5). Collectively, the oceanic and atmospheric patterns reflect a weak-to- moderate strength La Niña.
A majority of models predict La Niña to weaken through the rest of the Northern Hemisphere winter 2011-12, and then to dissipate during the spring 2012 (Fig. 6). Also, there is evidence of a downwelling phase of an eastward-propagating oceanic Kelvin wave (red shading, Fig. 4), which may increase temperatures across the Pacific in the next couple of months. The combination of a weakening subsurface temperature anomaly, the historical seasonal evolution, and forecaster preference for the average dynamical model prediction favors a return to ENSO-neutral conditions during the Northern Hemisphere spring, which are likely to continue into the summer. Therefore La Niña is likely to transition to ENSO-neutral conditions during March-May 2012 (see CPC/IRI consensus forecast) .
Because the strength of impacts in the United States is not necessarily related to the exact strength of La Niña in the tropical Pacific, we expect La Niña impacts to continue even as the episode weakens. Over the U.S. during February – April 2012, there is an increased chance of above-average temperatures across the south-central and southeastern U.S., and below-average temperatures in the northwestern U.S. Also, above-average precipitation is favored across most of the northern tier of states (except the north-central U.S.) and in the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, and drier-than-average conditions are more likely across the southern tier of the U.S. (see 3-month seasonal outlook released on 19 January 2012).
This discussion is a consolidated effort of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA’s National Weather Service, and their funded institutions. Oceanic and atmospheric conditions are updated weekly on the Climate Prediction Center web site (El Niño/La Niña Current Conditions and Expert Discussions). Forecasts for the evolution of El Niño/La Niña are updated monthly in the Forecast Forum section of CPC’s Climate Diagnostics Bulletin. The next ENSO Diagnostics Discussion is scheduled for 8 March 2012. To receive an e-mail notification when the monthly ENSO Diagnostic Discussions are released, please send an e-mail message to: email@example.com.
Looks like more of the same.. Drier than average into early March in the southern tier states which is SW Colorado… JR
Storm snow/H20 equivalent
Coal Bank 2″/0.15″