Bald Eagle Caught Elegantly … Swimming?

Yes, bald eagles are really good at swimming, a fact some of us learned this week from a viral video published by New Hampshire TV station WMUR.

In it, a bald eagle’s white head bobs rhythmically through the water. Occasionally a wing can be seen as the bird does an avian equivalent of the butterfly stroke. It moves quickly and gracefully through the water, covering a considerable distance before it reaches the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. It calmly strides onto land, shaking the water from its feathers before it strikes a watchful, picturesque pose.

The video was shot by Tyler Blake, who spotted the display early in the morning before he headed to his construction job.

“I ran down to the docks and I saw an eagle flapping in the water,” Blake told WMUR. “I’m, like, ‘Wow!’ I wasn’t sure if it was hurt or something.”

That’s because bald eagles are open-water foragers, catching fish straight out of rivers and lakes. Typically, they will spot a fish on the surface of the water and divebomb down, talons outstretched. Watson says usually, they snatch the fish off the surface while keeping their feathers relatively dry, then fly back up into the air with a tasty meal.

But sometimes, that hunting maneuver gets a little more complicated.

“It may have gone as planned, they just got a bigger fish and said, ‘I’m going to stick with this, I can make it to shore and so it’s a good deal,’ ” Watson says. Or, the bird might have missed the fish and ended up in the water.

Either way, the eagle needs to start swimming, because “their feathers get soaked and they can’t fly away,” Watson says. “Throughout the years I’ve seen them swim a lot of times and usually it’s because they fly out and attempt to catch a fish in the water and maybe get waterlogged.”

This one doesn’t appear to have a fish, though, probably meaning that it either missed or released the fish. And even though an eagle swimming is not necessarily a sign of distress because the birds are capable swimmers, Watson says there have been cases of eagles drowning.

“It takes a lot of energy to swim in the water,” he says. “It’s a natural flying motion … just more difficult to do that in the water.”

Eagles have strong chest muscles from flying. Just as with the butterfly stroke, Watson says, “they actually use the wingtips and push down in the water with their wings.”

This isn’t the first time a bald eagle has been caught on video swimming. Here’s a video posted on YouTube of an eagle swimming in Alaska in 2011 that shows another angle of the bird’s powerful movements:

You Know Frida Kahlo’s Face. Now You Can (Probably) Hear Her Voice ~ NYT

The National Sound Library of Mexico has released a track that it believes is the only known surviving audio recording of the artist.

The face of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is well known, thanks to paintings like “Self Portrait With Monkeys” (1943). But what does her voice sound like? Credit Lauren Fleishman for The New York Times

 

Frida Kahlo is one of the 20th century’s most celebrated artists. Her paintings, particularly her many self-portraits, are instantly recognizable, and her image has been emblazoned on products as diverse as coasters, cosmetics, T-shirts, tote bags and tequila.

She has even been made into a Barbie doll.

But one side of Kahlo has long been inaccessible: her voice.

Previously, written descriptions were the only insight into how she spoke. Gisèle Freund, a French photographer and friend of Kahlo, once wrote that the painter sounded “melodious and warm.”

But now, a recording believed to be of the artist has been released by the National Sound Library of Mexico.

In the recording, a woman’s voice describes Diego Rivera, Kahlo’s husband and fellow artist.

“He is a huge, immense child, with a friendly face and a sad gaze,” the woman says. “His high, dark, extremely intelligent and big eyes rarely hold still. They almost pop out of their sockets because of their swollen and protuberant eyelids — like a toad’s.”

Rivera’s eyes seem made for an artist, the woman adds, “built especially for a painter of spaces and crowds.”

Admiration for Rivera is clear in the recording, which is said to be originally a text from an exhibition catalog. Rivera is said to have an “ironic, sweet smile,” “meaty lips” and “small, marvelous hands.” The voice concludes by calling Rivera’s unusual body shape, with its “childish, narrow, rounded shoulders,” as being like “an inscrutable monster.”

The recording is from a pilot edition of “The Bachelor,” a 1950s radio show in Mexico, recorded for Televisa Radio, the National Sound Library said in a statement on Wednesday. In 2007, thousands of tapes from Televisa Radio’s archive were given to the library to be digitized and stored.

Alex Marshall is a European culture reporter, based in London. @alexmarshall81

New Documentary ‘Blue Note: Beyond The Notes’ Surpasses Its Purpose

Blue Note Records: Beyond the Notes, a stylish and engaging new documentary by Sophie Huber, opens in the recording studio, with a top-tier crew of modern jazz musicians going about their business. From his station behind a keyboard rig, Robert Glasper calls out ideas for an arrangement; Ambrose Akinmusire’s trumpet, warming up, can be heard in the background. An establishing shot introduces Don Was, the musical polymath serving as Blue Note’s president, as a hipster Buddha in the control booth.

As Was explains to the camera, we’re watching a session for the Blue Note All-Stars, a group with an obvious name and celebratory purpose, having originally been assembled in commemoration of the label’s 75th anniversary. That was five years ago. Now, the pacesetting jazz label is celebrating its 80th, and among its related promotions and corporate tie-ins — vinyl reissues, branded playlists, album-cover art prints, a limited-edition watch — is this film.

To the credit of Huber — a Swiss-born filmmaker whose previous effort was Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction, a profile of the renowned character actor — any misgivings you may have about the corporate self-promotion of the project are quickly disarmed. With a brief collage of artist voices, a few larger ideas are introduced, if not fully fleshed out: how a reverence for the past can cohabit with a compulsion to push forward; how the legacy of the label contains an inherent call to innovation; how the artistic imperative impels a response to the human condition. “Those artists reflect the times, and what’s going on,” saxophonist Marcus Strickland attests. “As soon as I put on the record, I’m just transported to a certain time or a certain feeling or a certain understanding of the world.”

The endless dialogue between music and culture is Huber’s prevailing theme, and it helps lift Blue Note: Beyond the Notes above an exercise in image-burnishing for the label. The film hits its marks as a history — moving neatly through the story of German immigrants Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, whose shared affinities for jazz led them to establish Blue Note on a shoestring. Their voices are heard in old radio footage; the storied recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder, who died in 2016, appears onscreen in what must have been one of his last interviews. Other signposts — like the label’s unexpected foray into hit records in the’60s, and the pressure it put on Lion to sell to a corporate parent — are efficiently covered.

Huber and her editor, Russell Greene, keep the pace brisk and the visual language fluid. Blue Note had a peerless cover-art aesthetic, thanks to designer Reid Miles, and the film expertly plays on that legacy — often lingering on one of Wolff’s atmospheric photographs, cropping a selection of the image as Reid Miles did, and revealing how it became the basis of an album cover. Importantly, the film is scored with no less care, as a colorful tapestry of sounds from the Blue Note catalog, heavy on Art Blakey and Lee Morgan, Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk.

The film has a sort of elder’s council in saxophonist Wayne Shorter and pianist Herbie Hancock, who made some of the most enduring albums in the Blue Note catalog during the 1960s. Both musicians are featured in the studio with the Blue Note All-Stars; the phrase “beyond the notes” actually appears in an admiring assessment of Hancock, by guitarist Lionel Loueke. (There’s a leisurely, intoxicating section devoted to the tracking of “Masqualero,” which Hancock and Shorter first recorded in the Miles Davis Quintet; Shorter explains how he had been inspired by the mysterious customs of the Mescalero tribe in New Mexico, “and things that we didn’t understand about them and ourselves.”)

Carlos Santana Brings Hope, Courage And Joy To A World ‘Infected With Fear’

Carlos Santana is arguably one of the most influential guitarists of the last 50 years — from his groundbreaking performance at Woodstock to his millions of albums sold in the ’70s to his revival in the late ’90s thanks to the album Supernatural and its lead single “Smooth.” Santana’s latest album is called Africa Speaks, which just came out on June 7. It’s produced by Rick Rubin and features the vocals of Spanish singer Buika. He recorded 49 songs in 10 days for the album. Talk about your creative inspiration.

When asked why he needed to make this record, Santana explained, “This world right now is so infected with fear that we need this music from Africa to bring hope and courage and joy.”

In this session, Santana will talk about the story behind the song “Smooth,” from the multi-platinum album Supernatural which came out 20 years ago. And speaking of anniversaries, on the eve of Woodstock’s 50th, he recalls his legendary performance began with a prayer of sorts: “God, please help me to stay in tune and in time. And I’ll never do this ever again. I’ll never take mescaline or acid or whatever again.”

In addition, we’ve got some great live performances for you to hear from a concert he performed in Las Vegas in May with Buika. But first, we start off with the title track that opens Santana’s latest studio album. Hear it all in the player.

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Leon Redbone, An Unusual Singer From A Bygone Era, Has Died

~~~  LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW  ~~~

Leon Redbone, the perpetually anachronistic, famously mysterious artist who rose to prominence as a performer on Toronto’s folk circuit in the early ’70s, died Thursday while in hospice care in Bucks County, Pa.

Redbone’s family confirmed his death through a publicist. No cause was given, and Redbone’s age was a subject of speculation for decades.

“I’ve heard he’s anywhere from 25 to 60,” Bob Dylan told Rolling Stone in 1974, “and I can’t tell, but you gotta see him.” That same year, when asked about his age by Rolling Stone, Redbone replied: “Of course I don’t know. It’s just something I vaguely recall. I can’t say for sure.” In the news release announcing his death, Redbone’s age was cited as 127.

The only things known — ostensibly — of Redbone’s origins were revealed by Toronto Star columnist George Gamester in the 1980s: that he was a Cypriot named Dickran Gobalian, who emigrated to Ontario in the 1960s and changed his name after arriving in Canada.

Redbone’s obscurantist tendencies, including his ever-present, masking uniform of sunglasses, bushy mustache and Panama hat, gave Redbone the aura of a quixotic time-traveler, someone who simply stepped onto the stage fully formed.

And Redbone was a man happily — or at least, authentically — out-of-time. He played dusty classics — from Tin Pan Alley and ragtime to blues and country — with a loose fidelity, always anchored by his casually lovely and always wry voice.

Dylan’s endorsement, made at the apex of his and Rolling Stone‘s cultural footprints, was a defining moment for Redbone and helped widened interest in him from stars of the era, including Bonnie Raitt and John Prine.

His commercial success, according to the Billboard charts, peaked in 1977 when the album Double Time reached the top 50 — helped, in part, by two performances during Saturday Night Live‘s debut season. But Redbone remained a cultural presence for decades, singing the theme song for ’80s sitcom Mr. Belvedere and appearing as “Leon the Snowman” in the now-classic Christmas film Elf in 2003.

In 2015, Redbone announced his retirement from touring, with a rep citing health concerns. He followed that retirement up with another album, Long Way Home, composed of his earliest recordings and released by Jack White’s label, Third Man Records.

When asked by NPR’s Lynn Neary in 1984 whether he enjoyed his performances, Redbone responded with a wink: “I never have a good time … but I try.”

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Leon Redbone, Cult Singer Who Helped Revive Ragtime, Dead at 69 ~ RollingStone

“He departed our world with his guitar, his trusty companion Rover and a simple tip of his hat,” family writes in statement, noting age of humorous singer as 127

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 22 -- Air Date 05/29/1976 -- Pictured: Musical Guest Leon Redbone during "Shine on Harvest Moon" musical performance on May 29, 1976  (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

Leon Redbone, the nasally singer who helped revive ragtime, vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley music, has died at age 69.

NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

Leon Redbone, the singer who built a career out of performing ragtime, vaudeville and American standards with a sly wink and an unmistakable, nasally voice, died Thursday. He was 69.

A statement on Redbone’s website confirmed his death, though it did so with a sweet bit of humor and joking that he was actually 127 years old.

“He departed our world with his guitar, his trusty companion Rover and a simple tip of his hat,” his family said in a statement. “He’s interested to see what Blind Blake, Emmett and Jelly Roll have been up to in his absence, and has plans for a rousing singalong number with Sári Barabás. An eternity of pouring through texts in the Library of Ashurbanipal will be a welcome repose, perhaps followed by a shot or two of whiskey with Lee Morse, and some long overdue discussions with his favorite Uncle, Suppiluliuma I of the Hittites. To his fans, friends and loving family who have already been missing him so in this realm he says, ‘Oh behave yourselves. Thank you… and good evening everybody.’”

Often clad in a Panama hat and big, dark sunglasses, Redbone rose to prominence in the mid-Seventies, though he always had an air of mystery about him, famously refusing to answer questions about his age and background. He was reportedly born in Cyprus, but moved to Canada in the Sixties and began performing in Toronto nightclubs. He eventually hit the folk festival circuit, which is how he met Bob Dylan, who praised Redbone’s enigmatic aura in a 1974 interview with Rolling Stone.

“Leon interests me,” Dylan said. “I’ve heard he’s anywhere from 25 to 60, I’ve been [a foot and a half from him] and I can’t tell. But you gotta see him. He does old Jimmie Rodgers, then turns around and does a Robert Johnson.”

Redbone kept things characteristically strange when Rolling Stone profiled him several months later. When asked if his parents were musicians, Redbone joked that his father was the long-dead Italian violinist Niccolò Paganini and his mother was the 19th century Swedish opera singer, Jenny Lind. When asked where the first place he ever played publicly was, Redbone threw on a W.C. Fields voice and cracked, “In a pool hall, but I wasn’t playing guitar, you see. I was playing pool.”

“The remarkable thing about Leon Redbone is that he’s so accurate in every aspect of his presentation – from his scat singing to his yodeling to his authentic nasally slurred vocals to the unerring accuracy of his Blind Blake-styled , ragtime-piano type of guitar playing,” Rolling Stonewriter Steve Weitzman wrote in 1974.

Redbone soon notched a record deal with Warner Bros and released his debut album, On the Track, in 1975. The album offered up endearing takes on classics like “Ain’t Misbehavin,” “Lazybones” and “Some of These Days.” He would release two more albums on Warner, 1977’s Double Time and 1978’s Champagne Charlie. His 1981 album, From Branch to Branch (released via Atlantic) featured his sole Hot 100 hit, a rendition of Gary Tigerman’s “Seduced.”

Though Redbone never achieved huge commercial success, he developed a cult following thanks in part to frequent appearances on Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He also appeared in commercials for companies like Budweiser, Chevrolet, All laundry detergent and Ken-L Ration dog food, and sang the theme songs for Mr. Belvedere and Harry and the Hendersons.

Redbone continued to tour and record albums throughout the Eighties and Nineties,though his output slowed as he got older. In the 2003 film, Elf, he voiced Leon the Snowmanand recorded a rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with Zooey Deschanelthat played over the film’s closing credits.

Redbone released his final studio album, Flying By, in 2014, and announced his retirement from music due to health concerns a year later. In 2015, Third Man Records issued a double-album compilation, A Long Way Home, that collected Redbone’s live and studio solo recordings, dating back to 1972.

“He’s just amazing,” Bonnie Raitt said of Redbone in 1974 before nodding to his enigmatic past. “He’s probably the best combination singer-guitarist I’ve heard in years. I’d like to know where he gets his stuff. I’d also like to find out how old he is.”

 

 

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Leon Redbone, Idiosyncratic Throwback Singer, Is Dead at 69 ~ NYT

Leon Redbone in performance in Cambridge, England, in 1995. His music defied easy categorization; he was sometimes described as a jazz singer, other times as a folk or pop or blues artist.CreditCreditDave Peabody/Redferns, via Getty Images

 

Leon Redbone, who burst onto the pop-music scene in the mid-1970s with a startlingly throwback singing style and a look to go with it, favoring songs from bygone eras drolly delivered, died on Thursday in Bucks County, Pa. He was 69.

His family announced the death on his website. A specific cause of death was not given, but Mr. Redbone had retired from performing in 2015 because of ill health.

Toting an acoustic guitar, his face generally half-hidden by a Panama hat and dark glasses, Mr. Redbone channeled performers and songwriters from ragtime, Delta blues, Tin Pan Alley and more, material not generally heard by the rock generation. His music defied easy categorization; he was sometimes described as a jazz singer, other times as a folk or pop or blues artist. He sang in a deep, gravelly voice that combined singing and mumbling, but he also deployed a falsetto of sorts on occasion.

He began turning up on the coffeehouse circuit in Toronto in the 1960s and developed a cult following. He broke through to a larger audience in late 1975 with his first album, “On the Track,” which included songs like “My Walking Stick,” by Irving Berlin, and “Lazybones,” by Hoagy Carmichael and Johnny Mercer. His sound was unique for the era, as The New York Times noted in a January 1976 article about the record and its producer, Joel Dorn:

Leon Redbone – “Walking Stick” Live at the 1973 Buffalo Folk FestivalCreditCreditVideo by OfficialTMR

 

“Redbone, who in his nightclub appearances plays the role of a grinning, almost catatonic folkie, will undoubtedly confound many, but Dorn has certainly given him his due in a completely ungimmicked musical setting.”

The album earned Mr. Redbone two appearances on “Saturday Night Live” in 1976, during the show’s first season. Fifteen more albums followed, most recently “Flying By” in 2014. Mr. Redbone also sang the theme songs for the television series “Mr. Belvedere” and “Harry and the Hendersons,” was heard on various commercials, and provided the voice of an animated snowman in the 2003 movie “Elf.”

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Mike Friedman and his Adventure Partners crew install a via ferrata at the Royal Gorge Park near Cañon City

The Royal Gorge Bridge & Park opens the new Royal Gorge Via Ferrata for Memorial Day Weekend, 2019. This is a one-of-a-kind mountaineering experience using trained guides, climbing lanyards with carabiners, steel cables and iron rungs. This is a perfect adventure for those who would like to try climbing or those who are advanced climbers. The Royal Gorge Via Ferrata has routes of varying degrees of difficulty. The Royal Gorge Via Ferrata provides a unique experience due to the sheer drama and vertical foot advantage of the Royal Gorge.

 

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57604387_2154435498004372_7871448896239566848_n.jpgDave Carman working the Hilti SDS Max. 36 inches into Pikes Peak granite!

 

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Adventure Partners Attractions via ferrata “brain trust” on R &R at the Gorge.

 

60855848_10157298466342710_2010473851955183616_n.jpgPacking up the circus. Next show, Jackson.

 

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el jefe, Mike Friedman ~ Managing Partner @ Adventure Partners

 

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Late-Night Hosts Await Trump’s Financial Records

BEST OF LATE NIGHT

Stephen Colbert said of President Trump’s financial records: “I have a strong feeling that we’re going to find out that the whole time, Eric was just a shell corporation.” Credit CBS

 

By Trish Bendix

President Trump encountered a setback on Monday in his attempts to deny Congress access to his financial records when a federal judge upheld a subpoena of Trump’s accounting firm. The House Democrats behind the subpoena are trying to find out whether Trump inflated his assets, Jimmy Kimmel said.

“Gee, I wonder what the answer to that question is? Of course he is. He inflates everything! This is like trying to find out if Goodyear inflates the blimp.” — JIMMY KIMMEL

Stephen Colbert also anticipated what the records could reveal.

“I have a strong feeling that we’re going to find out that the whole time, Eric was just a shell corporation. Nothing in there.” — STEPHEN COLBERT, referring to one of Trump’s sons

Credit Video by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

“The judge rejected the White House claim that Congress does not have legitimate oversight, pointing to precedents involving James Buchanan, Warren G. Harding, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. Or, as history will remember them, bizarro Mount Rushmore.” — STEPHEN COLBERT

In what late-night hosts saw as a delightful irony, Trump’s appeal of the decision (“That right there is the first time a sentence has included both the phrases ‘Donald Trump’ and ‘appealing,’” James Corden joked) could be heard by Judge Merrick Garland, whose Supreme Court nomination by President Barack Obama was blockaded by Senate Republicans.

[Imitating Trump] You can’t trust an Obama-appointed judge. Take it from me, a Putin-appointed president.” — STEPHEN COLBERT

“It’s like if Donald and Melania renewed their vows, and the minister was Stormy Daniels.” — JIMMY KIMMEL

“Now for the first time since 2016, he can wake up and say, ‘It’s a good day to be Merrick Garland.’” — STEPHEN COLBERT

RHIANNON GIDDENS PROFILE ~ The New Yorker

 

Screen Shot 2019-05-13 at 3.16.05 PM.pngGiddens plays and records what she describes as “black non-black music,” reviving a forgotten history. Photograph by Paola Kudacki for The New Yorker

 

To grasp the significance of what the twenty-first-century folksinger Rhiannon Giddens has been attempting, it is necessary to know about another North Carolina musician, Frank Johnson, who was born almost two hundred years before she was. He was the most important African-American musician of the nineteenth century, but he has been almost entirely forgotten. Never mind a Wikipedia page—he does not even earn a footnote in sourcebooks on early black music. And yet, after excavating the records of his career—from old newspapers, diaries, travelogues, memoirs, letters—and after reckoning with the scope of his influence, one struggles to come up with a plausible rival.

There are several possible reasons for Johnson’s astonishing obscurity. One may be that, on the few occasions when late-twentieth-century scholars mentioned him, he was almost always misidentified as a white man, despite the fact that he had dark-brown skin and was born enslaved. It may have been impossible, and forgivably so, for academics to believe that a black man could have achieved the level of fame and success in the antebellum slave-holding South that Johnson had. There was also a doppelgänger for scholars to contend with: in the North, there lived, around the same time, a musician named Francis Johnson, often called Frank, who is remembered as the first black musician to have his original compositions published. Some historians, encountering mentions of the Southern Frank, undoubtedly assumed that they were merely catching the Northern one on some unrecorded tour and turned away.

There is also the racial history of the port city of Wilmington, North Carolina, where Johnson enjoyed his greatest fame. In 1898, a racial massacre in Wilmington, and a subsequent exodus of its black citizens, not only knocked loose the foundations of a rising black middle class but also came close to obliterating the deep cultural memory of what had been among the most important black towns in the country for more than a century. The people who might have remembered Johnson best, not just as a musician but as a man, were themselves violently unremembered.

A final explanation for Johnson’s absence from the historical record may be the most significant. It involves not his reputation but that of the music he played, with which he became literally synonymous—more than one generation of Southerners would refer to popular dance music simply as “old Frank Johnson music.” And yet, in the course of the twentieth century, the cluster of styles in which Johnson specialized––namely, string band, square dance, hoedown––came to be associated with the folk music of the white South and even, by a bizarre warping of American cultural memory, with white racial purity. In the nineteen-twenties, the auto magnate Henry Ford started proselytizing (successfully) for a square-dancing revival precisely because the music that accompanied it was not black. Had he known the deeper history of square dancing, he might have fainted.

As a travelling “Negro fiddler,” Johnson epitomized the one musical figure in American history who can truly be called “ur.” Black fiddlers are the trilobites of American musical history. A legal record from the mid-seventeenth century details a dispute between Virginia households competing for the services of an enslaved man who had played the fiddle all night for a party on the Eastern Shore. After that, for more than two hundred years, black fiddlers are everywhere in the written sources. Then, around the start of the twentieth century, they fade, abruptly and almost completely.

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Is there anything Trump could do to lose the support of Republican senators? SNL has the answer ~ The Washington Post

President Trump famously declared that he wouldn’t lose any voters even if he shot someone in the middle of Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue.

If the first two years of his presidency have shown anything, that statement could be amended to say he wouldn’t lose votes from Republican senators, who have for the most part voted in line with the president at every turn, even when it has seemed to conflict with their stated values.

“Saturday Night Live,” sensing perhaps the elevated tensions coursing through the capital, took aim at this political phenomenon with a parody on NBC host Chuck Todd and his Sunday show, “Meet the Press,” for the cold open.

The three guests?

A trio of Senate Republicans who have occupied particularly prominent positions in the public eye over the last couple of years: Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (played by a surprisingly convincing Beck Bennett), Sen. Susan Collins (Cecily Strong, who nailed Collins’ idiosyncratic style of speaking), and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (Kate McKinnon, the faux South Carolina drawl poured on thick).

Todd, played by Kyle Mooney, began with an issue that has bubbled up in the news lately — the lingering questions about a potential trade war with China.

All three of his guests, Todd said, had opposed tariffs in the past. Would they support them as part of the president’s agenda now?

“Well Chuck, there’s a simple answer to that,” McConnell said. “There was no collusion.”

“When you have a president who’s a financial genius and a business Jesus, like Donald Trump, you just got to trust him,” Graham said, a parody of the over the top obsequiousness some have ascribed to the senator of late. “This man has lost 100 times more money than I’ve ever made.”

Todd noted that his guest had done a complete 180 from the independence he had appeared to flash during the presidential contest and early part of Trump’s presidency.

“Chuck, I am a man of conviction and principles,” Graham said. “Unless he can help me and then it’s, ‘new Lindsey, who’s this?’”

The segment also roasted Collins ruthlessly, skewering her as a woman who espouses beliefs that she simply cannot bear to stand up for in any substantive way.

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Did This Novel About LSD Trials Get It Right? We Ask Someone Who Was There ~ NPR

 

Novelist T.C. Boyle focuses on real-life figures with cult-like followings — he’s written fiction about cornflakes king John Harvey Kellogg, architect Frank Lloyd Wright and sex researcher Alfred Kinsey. Now, in his latest novel, he imagines what it was like to participate in Timothy Leary’s hallucinogenic drug experiments in the early 1960s.

Outside Looking In tells a fictional story about psychology graduate students at Harvard University who attempt to explore the nature of human consciousness by taking psychedelic drugs. Boyle says he was intrigued by recent news stories about LSD coming back into medical use. “So I went back to discover where it’s all coming from,” he says.

In 1960, psychologist Timothy Leary took a trip to Mexico, where he ate psilocybin mushrooms and decided to redirect his respected clinical research on personality studies to the effects of hallucinogens on the mind. Leary eventually took his experiments to a 64-room mansion in Millbrook, N.Y., where he extolled the virtues of psychedelics.

“LSD is like a microscope, even an electron microscope, which opens up an awareness of energies which are there,” Leary said. “There’s nothing miraculous or mysterious about LSD. In any situation where we now use our symbolic mind, the microscope of LSD will help us see more, see faster, and see deeper.”

Gunther Weil was a 23-year-old doctoral student in clinical psychology when he entered Harvard in 1960. Leary was his faculty adviser, and Weil says that Boyle got a lot of things right in his novel.

“I think he did an incredibly great job describing the zeitgeist of the time — the nature of the trips,” Weil says. “The protagonist is a graduate student who seems to be an amalgam of a number of us.”

Over four years Weil says he attended between 40 and 50 research sessions — ingesting the hallucinogens psilocybin and LSD with a handful of colleagues.

“We definitely felt that we were on the leading edge of research in consciousness,” he recalls. “We definitely felt like pioneers. We definitely were enthralled and captured by the mysteries that we were beginning to approach.”

One of those mysteries was Weil’s own spirituality. The psychedelic drugs he ingested are known as “entheogens” — that is, they allow you to see God. Weil says he experienced that personally — “in the sense of oneness, the interconnection of all phenomena, of understanding underlying spiritual nature of existence — absolutely, yes.”

That mystical aspect of psychedelic drugs fascinated Boyle. “If God is as simple as altering the chemistry of the brain what does that mean for our world religions?” Boyle asks. “Is there anything outside of us? Or is it all inside of us? And it is all hormonal and brain functions? And if this little fungus can give us God, then who are we? What does that mean? What do we need God for?”

In the novel, as Leary’s acolytes get more involved in LSD, their research becomes less scientific and more hedonistic — the participants go beyond graduate students to include musicians, fashion models and socialites who had heard about the experiments.

And then, of course, there are the bad acid trips — which Boyle, now 70, knows a thing or two about. Boyle thinks his perspective on Leary’s experiments may have been colored by his own drug use when he was in his 20s.

“I’ll fess up — I never had a good trip,” Boyle says. “Never. I think my mind is too active anyway. I’m always out there in outer space — this is why I’m a novelist. So we would all begin our trips communally at a great time, fireplaces going, music playing — we’re laughing, everything’s great, we’re seeing things. Everybody else will have crashed. And I would be up, you know, with the snakes crawling out of my stomach, for the next six hours.”

Today, Boyle says he gets his highs from getting lost in his work, lost in music, and lost in the nature of the California Sierras.