April 2007 Archives

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Great exhibition at the Guggenheim

I saw this show on Friday evening, pay as you wish...

Camille Pissarro, Apple Picking at Éragny-sur-Epte (La Cueillette des pommes, Éragny-sur-Epte), 1888

Divisionism - Neo-Impressionism: Arcadia and Anarchy, at the Guggenheim, April 27 - August 6, 2007. 1071 5th Avenue (at 89th Street), (on Friday evenings beginning at 5:45 pm the museum hosts Pay What You Wish, in which admission is by donation. The last tickets are issued at 7:15 pm), 212-423-3500

"The Pointillist ‘Contagion’ in Italy," by Roberta Smith, The New York Times, April 27, 2007

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Posted April 28, 2007 03:37 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Museums and Art   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBacks (0)

Bob and Ray

Bob and Ray on SNL, from YouTube

The Official Bob & Ray web site

Bob and Ray - from Wikipedia

Posted April 24, 2007 01:27 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Humor   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Context matters II

Earlier this month, Gene Weingarten had a column in the Washington Post about what happened when Joshua Bell played his violin at the L'Enfant Plaza Metrorail station (see "Context Matters..."). The next time Mr. Bell should go busking with Old Crow Medicine Show....

The two years before Nashville were spent hoboing quixotically across Canada and back, then living in self-imposed squalor in the mountains of North Carolina. They brought music nobody really played anymore to towns where no other touring performer would stop to use the bathroom, and people embraced them, fed them, sheltered them.

"Hardcore Troubadours," by Matt Dellinger, The Oxford American, March/April 2003

Wagon Wheel -- Old Crow Medicine Show

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Posted April 23, 2007 06:07 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Music   ·  Comments (1)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Pop musicians are fakes?!?! Say it aint so!

Consider the case of Mississippi John Hurt, the subject of the book's longest and most powerful essay. First, there's his name: Mississippi was an add-on from the record company. Then there's his reputation as a patriarch of the Delta blues: Hurt wasn't from the Mississippi Delta and he insisted he wasn't a blues musician. And then there is the problem of his blackness, thought by the white fans who rediscovered him in the 1960s to be pure and profound ("Uncle Remus come to life," write the authors). When Hurt was "discovered" the first time, he was performing for black and white audiences backed by a white fiddler and a white guitar player who also happened to be the local sheriff. He recorded blues because the record company insisted he do so. Meanwhile, Jimmie Rodgers, a white musician who happened to be a bluesman, recorded what came to be known as "country" music because the blues were reserved by the market for black men. One more twist: when Harry Smith included two of Hurt's songs on his great Smithsonian Folk Anthology, most listeners mistook the black musician for a white hillbilly.

"Keeping it unreal: We consider the 'primitive' music of blues singers such as Leadbelly to be more authentic than that of the Monkees. But all pop musicians are fakes." by Jeff Sharlet, New Statesman, April 16, 2007

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Posted April 21, 2007 12:07 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Music   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

"The Legacy of the Texas Tower Sniper"

Charles Whitman was a murderer [Univ. of Texas tower sniper, 1966]; he killed innocent people. We should not forget that. In Virginia we appear to have a Whitman-like character. It is vitally important for all to remember that there is only one person responsible for what happened in Blacksburg, and that is the man who pulled the trigger. But in Virginia the diversions have already begun. As I write this, less than a half-day since the senseless killing of nearly three dozen innocent people, Web headlines on CNN, Fox, and MSNBC read: "Did Virginia Tech's Response Cost Lives?" "Parents Demand Firing of Virginia Tech President, Police Chief Over Handling," "Students Wonder About Police Response." Ironically, those headlines are juxtaposed with pictures of law-enforcement officers administering medical treatment and hauling wounded students to safety. Next to those pictures are videos of Virginia Tech's president and chief of police, in pain and in the midst of a nightmare, bombarded with sensational questions from irresponsible reporters.
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Before we identify and learn the lessons of Blacksburg, we must begin with the obvious: More than four dozen innocent people were gunned down by a murderer who is completely responsible for what happened. No one died for lack of text messages or an alarm system. They died of gunshot wounds. While we painfully learn our lessons, we must not treat each other as if we are responsible for the deaths that occurred. We must come together and be respectful and kind. This is not a time for us to torture ourselves or to seek comfort by finding someone to blame.

"The Legacy of the Texas Tower Sniper," by Gary Lavergne, The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 18, 2007

Charles Whitman - Wikipedia
Cho Seung-hui - Wikipedia

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Posted April 19, 2007 09:47 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Johnny Cash

"God's Gonna Cut You Down" - Johnny Cash

Complete lyrics from Metrolyrics

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Posted April 15, 2007 10:47 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Music   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)


How to make 4,096 noodles in 12 easy steps....

Hat tip kottke.org

Posted April 14, 2007 01:47 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Cooking & Food Prep   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

"Civility codes" - "No twinkie badges here"

The excellent Index on Censorship has emailed me and a few other bloggers with some questions on [the code of conduct for blogs proposed by Tim O'Reilly and Jimmy Wales]....

My answer is this. I would not sign up to this code of conduct. Here are three reasons, in ascending order of importance: I do not believe it could be enforced; I take exception to the notion that I require someone else's imprimatur as evidence of my civility; and I am opposed in principle to speech codes, which have the characteristic of extending without warning their remit to a new set of perceived slights and insults. There is, for example, increasing use in public debate of the term Islamophobia to denote sentiments supposedly prejudiced against Muslims. I find this concept question-begging and illegitimate. I know how to speak and write in a way that is not personally abusive and is not racist, and I should rightly be held accountable to those standards by people I know (i.e. not a "badge" issued by someone I don't know). I do not propose to tailor my speech to avoid offence to Muslims or any other group of religious believers. All they are entitled to, qua Muslims or any other religious group, from me is a recognition of our common humanity and equal citizenship, and an insistence on their right to religious liberty. To the extent that it encourages avoidance of offence, a code of conduct is not "conducive to freedom of speech". Its corrosiveness lies in the self-censorship that it almost inevitably encourages.
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I see no logic in the notion that defending freedom of speech requires me to extend a platform of my own - my home, my dinner table or my web site - to others to use as they will.

"Civility codes," Oliver Kamm, April 11, 2007

I was doing my best to ignore Tim O’Reilly’s misguided effort to play hall monitor to the blogosphere, wishing it would just go away. But unfortunately the New York Times did not ignore it. How could it pass up a juicy opportunity to make us all look like the louts they all too often think we are? An above-the-fold, page-one headline in today’s paper labeled his crusade “A Call for Manners in the World of Nasty Blogs.”
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These pledges are all the more dangerous because big-media people think they are ethical and we’re not because they have pledges and we don’t. Let’s not fall in that trap. You have to make ethical judgments every day with every thing you do and no pledge is going to help you do that. Your mother either did that job -- or didn’t.

"No twinkie badges here," by Jeff Jarvis, BuzzMachine, April 9, 2007

Posted April 13, 2007 09:17 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

It can't happen here ... mortgage fraud

Not irrelevantly, my wife and I are going to look at a bank-owned foreclosure property tomorrow night, selling for 100K less than both its county assessment and the most recent (100%) refinance. The house next door, I've discovered from the public records, which had a different owner, has also been foreclosed upon. Bank-owned properties are suddenly popping up in the MLS all over Northern Virginia. [Note: This is not a recommendation to buy now if you're looking for a "good deal." It's way too early in the cycle for that.]

"The Housing Bubble--A Credit Bubble," by David Bernstein, The Volokh Conspiracy, April 10, 2007

In national surveys, Georgia has been identified as a fraud hot spot. But Fulmer says that is because people there have become so aggressive about identifying the problem. She says she wonders how many homeowners across the country bought in neighborhoods where values were driven up by fraud but don't know it yet.

"It happens everywhere and anywhere," said Fulmer, who is now vice president of Interthinx, an anti-mortgage-fraud company. "If the true scope was discovered, I think it would cause a major crisis."

"Housing Boom Tied To Sham Mortgages: Lax Lending Aided Real Estate Fraud," by David Cho, The Washington Post, April 10, 2007


Posted April 10, 2007 07:57 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Context matters...

Leonard Slatkin, music director of the National Symphony Orchestra, was asked ... What did he think would occur, hypothetically, if one of the world's great violinists had performed incognito before a traveling rush-hour audience of 1,000-odd people?
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In the three-quarters of an hour that Joshua Bell played, seven people stopped what they were doing to hang around and take in the performance, at least for a minute. Twenty-seven gave money, most of them on the run -- for a total of $32 and change. That leaves the 1,070 people who hurried by, oblivious, many only three feet away, few even turning to look.
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[W]e shouldn't be too ready to label the Metro passersby unsophisticated boobs. Context matters.
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There was no ethnic or demographic pattern to distinguish the people who stayed to watch Bell, or the ones who gave money, from that vast majority who hurried on past, unheeding. Whites, blacks and Asians, young and old, men and women, were represented in all three groups. But the behavior of one demographic remained absolutely consistent. Every single time a child walked past, he or she tried to stop and watch. And every single time, a parent scooted the kid away.

The article includes video.

"Pearls Before Breakfast: Can one of the nation's great musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour? Let's find out." by Gene Weingarten, The Washington Post, April 8, 2007

Hmmm, wonder what would have happened if he'd played at DuPont Circle, or Union Station, or GW/Foggy Bottom, or in NYC at the 66th Street Station or the Columbus Circle station ....

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Posted April 8, 2007 07:37 PM  ·  Permalink   ·     ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

A little Minnesota humor ....

This is from our friend Hans.

After having dug to a depth of 10 meters last year, Scottish scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 100 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 100 years ago.

Not to be outdone by the Scots, in the weeks that followed, British scientists dug to a depth of 20 meters, and shortly after, headlines in the UK newspapers read: "British archaeologists have found traces of 200 year old copper wire and have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network a hundred years earlier than the Scots."

One week later, "The Frizbee", a Freeborn Minnesota newspaper reported the following: "After digging as deep as 30 meters in corn fields near Freeborn Lake, Ole Johnson, a self taught archaeologist, reported that he found absolutely nothing. Ole has therefore concluded that 300 years ago Norwegians were already using wireless."
Posted April 8, 2007 02:07 PM  ·  Permalink   ·  Humor   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)

Organ donors and organ donation

A new bill would give organ donors a medal. In other words, millions for medals but not a cent for compensation. If people weren't dying it would be funny.

Thanks to Dave Undis at LifeSharers for the link. Unlike Congress, Dave is really doing something to solve the organ shortage.

"Your Congress at Work," by Alex Tabarrok, Marginal Revolution, April 2, 2007


LifeSharers - Sharing Life, Saving Lives

If you or a loved one ever need an organ for a transplant operation, chances are you will die before you get it. You can improve your odds by joining LifeSharers. Membership is free.

LifeSharers is a non-profit voluntary network of organ donors. LifeSharers members promise to donate upon their death, and they give fellow members first access to their organs. As LifeSharers members, you and your loved ones will have access to organs that otherwise may not be available to you. As the LifeSharers network grows, more and more organs may become available to you -- if you are a member.

Even if you are already a registered organ donor, you should join the LifeSharers network. By doing so, you will have access to organs that otherwise may not be available to you.

By joining LifeSharers you will also make the organ transplant system fairer by helping registered organ donors get their fair share of organs. Most organs transplanted in the United States go to people who have not agreed to donate their own organs when they die. That's not fair, and it's one of the reasons there is such a large organ shortage.

By joining LifeSharers you will help reduce the deadly organ shortage. By offering your organs first to other organ donors you create an incentive for non-donors to become donors. As more people register as organ donors, fewer people will die waiting for transplants.

LifeSharers is free to join.


Posted April 3, 2007 10:17 AM  ·  Permalink   ·  Caught Our Eye   ·  Comments (0)   ·  TrackBack (0)