We haven’t had a whole day of music in a long time, so let’s do it! There’s no theme, just post what you like. :-)
This is our daily open thread — Sing & Dance!
We haven’t had a whole day of music in a long time, so let’s do it! There’s no theme, just post what you like. :-)
This is our daily open thread — Sing & Dance!
Purpose in our lives, and the meaning of life, the universe and everything, comes from within ourselves. Life is too short (or long) to take on someone else’s idea of purpose/meaning of our existence. Why settle for little…?
This is our daily open thread — Discuss.
How about a tribute to duets tonight?
Alex Chilton (December 28, 1950 – March 17, 2010) first swam into my consciousness in 1967 as the lead singer of the Box Tops, part of the blue-eyed soul singer wave. In the early 70s he was a founding member and lead singer of Big Star, a hugely influential powerpop band that withered without any decent support from their record company but reached cult status over time.
From Wikipedia: Before it broke up, Big Star created a “seminal body of work that never stopped inspiring succeeding generations” in the words of Rolling Stone, as the “quintessential American power pop band” and “one of the most mythic and influential cult acts in all of rock & roll”.
Alex Chilton died at age 59 of a heart attack. He’d experienced symptoms for weeks beforehand but, hey, no health insurance so not doctor visits. Four years later, with the ACA, he might well have survived.
Well, that was fun. :)
This is our daily open thread — Dance!
I got this invite from Cats that has been passing around Facebook. It asks you to name 12 influential albums (for you) and pass it on to ten friends. Here is the list I composed.
RULES: in your status update, list 12 albums that have stayed with you over the years in some way. Don’t take too long on this list. – Just a few minutes. These don’t have to be great records, or critical darlings, just ones that mean something to you personally. Then tag 10 or more of your friends, including me so I can see your list! Anyone not tagged but otherwise interested is still invited to play.
Not necessarily in this order:
1. Otis Spann (Archive of Folk Music) -Blues piano
2. Antiques and Inventions – Dry Branch Fire Squad – Bluegrass
3. Django Reinhardt et Le Quintet du Hot Club de France – Gypsy Jazz
4. Beggars Banquet – Rolling Stones
5. Panic- Caravan Palace – Electro Swing
6. The Very Best of the Shirelles – The Shirelles
7. Hat Trick – The Wiyos
8. The Four Seasons – Vivaldi
9. Moondawn – Klaus Schulze – electronica
10. Dance album of Carl Perkins – Carl Perkins – Rockabilly
11. Made in the Shade – Red Stick Ramblers – Cajun
12. Right – Bill Cosby – Comedy
Honorable Mention – The Last Poets – The Last Poets -
Do you have a list to share?
I’m going to start tonight with my ‘honorable mention.’ I have never been a fan of ‘rap’ or ‘hip hop’ but the Last Poets arguably are the foundational roots of that genre. Their debut self titled album (1970) contributed to that politically charged era.
It’s been a busy week here in the foothills of the Front Range. More on that later. Meanwhile, some ‘reflections’ courtesy of Denny Green, Tempe AZ, taken at the Gilbert Water Ranch last Sunday. I dunno. Sometimes the message(s) implicit in the beauty of the natural world can be a bit humbling to “superior” beings everywhere (not one of which I’ve ever met, but then I’ve never been in Washington, never been on Fox News, etc., so that’s surely why, right?).
Humbling. Reflections. Enjoy.
Emily Dickinson said it best: Beauty — be not caused — It Is. She was right. It’s surely fair to point out that depiction of beauty most certainly does NOT require the personage (or portrait) of any known politician, or billionaire oligarch, or even of most any common criminal (assuming there’s ever a difference between, etc.). Funny how that works, how those who are totally unimportant and useless (e..g. Koch Bros., Putin, Boehner, McConnell, McCain, Graham, Palin, Bachmann, Cruz, Paul, Rubio, Jindal, and most anyone named ‘Scott’ et al. et al.) are demonstrably paled by even just-last-Sunday’s soliloquies of/by waterfowl enjoying winter’s warmth courtesy of an anonymous desert watering hole. Beauty implicit invariably manages to overwhelm even human ugliness, and with luck the message therein embedded will someday become a driving thesis . . . here . . . in this so-far
hallowed hollowed world, the world of . . . ummm . . . “men” I think some have called us . . . them? . . . errmm . . . ? Yeah. That world. Our world. The world of, as T.S. Eliot described us, The Hollow Men . . .
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar
‘Nuff said. At least for now.
Yesterday, it was such a beautiful day that Cats and I decided to take a spur of the moment day trip. We made a loop from Eugene, down past Cottage Grove, over to Reedsport, then up to Florence, and back to Eugene.
The scenery was AMAZING, and here are just a few of the things we saw:
It was a perfectly lovely day, and, as you might imagine, we discussed all the issues of the day, and solved every single one of them — if only people would listen to us. ;)
This is our daily open thread — Get on with it!
I had never heard of the Wellcome Image Awards before, but when I saw “Stunning Science Pictures”, I had to check them out. According to the accompanying article,
“The 13th Wellcome Image Awards took place on March 11, 2014, and recognized some truly remarkable feats in scientific image creation. The contest honors “the creators of the most informative, striking and technically excellent images” that have been recently added to the Wellcome Images collection. Wellcome Images are part of UK-based charitable foundation the Wellcome Trust, who are dedicated to achieving improvements in human and animal health.”
Some of the images really are “Stunning”; others range from (what I would call) ‘delightful,’ to ‘disturbing,’ to ‘gross,’ to ‘frightening.’ Here’s a sampling of the 19 images:
Since you may view them with a different ‘eye,’ judge for yourselves: here’s the complete 19-image slideshow, definitely view them full-screen.
This is our daily open thread–go ahead and talk about, well, anything!
Ok, I’ll admit, I love Nashville (the tv show), not because it’s a dopey soap and not just because Connie Britton. Well, maybe it is Connie. At any rate, this week’s episode had one of the minor characters auditioning as a backup singer–pretty girl with a pretty voice. Sweet. And, thanks to 20 Feet From Stardom I was shaking my head the whole time.
No power. That’s something made clear time after time in the film; all these women have tremendous vocal power. Hell, they probably don’t need microphones half the time. Case in point is Judith Hill, the youngest of the performers. YouTube has a number of videos from her time on The Voice, but this one is my favorite, from the film. Gorgeous, exotic woman who can bring down the house with her singing.
This is going to be a bit long, but once I read it I knew that I had to share it with you. What follows is a section entitled “Why Does God Allow Suffering?” of one of the tracts that the Jehovah’s Witnesses dropped off last weekend. The tract itself is titled “Does Death End It All?” For your examination, in its entirety:
Why Does God Allow Suffering?
“The following is a typical conversation that one of Jehovah’s Witnesses might have with a neighbor. Let us imagine that a Witness named Michelle has come to the home of a woman named Sophia.”
HOW DOES GOD FEEL ABOUT OUR SUFFERING?
Michelle: Hi, Sophia. I’m happy I found you at home.
Sophia: Me, too.
Michelle: The last time I was here we discussed how God feels about our suffering. You mentioned that this is something you have wondered about for a long time, especially after your mother was injured in a car crash. By the way, how has your mother been doing?
Sophia: She has good days and bad days. Today, she’s doing OK.
Michelle: I’m glad to hear that. It must be a real challenge to keep your head up in a situation like this.
Sophia: It is. Sometimes I wonder how much longer she will have to suffer.
Michelle: That’s a natural response. You may recall that at the end of our last visit, I left you with a question about why God has allowed suffering to continue if he has the power to end it.
Sophia: Yes, I remember.
Michelle: Before we consider the Bible’s answer, let’s review a few of the points we covered last time.
Michelle: For one thing, we learned that even a faithful man in Bible times wondered why God allows suffering. Yet, God never scolded him for asking about it, nor did God tell him that he simply needed more faith.
Sophia: That was a new thought to me.
Michelle: We also learned that Jehovah God hates to see us suffer. For example, the Bible says that when his people were going through distress, “it was distressing to him.” [here footnoted "See Isaiah 63:9"] Isn’t it comforting to know that God feels for us when we suffer?
Sophia: Yes, it is.
Michelle: Finally, we agreed that considering the vast amount of power our Creator possesses, surely he has the ability to step in and end suffering at any moment.
Sophia: That’s what I don’t understand. Why does God let all these bad things happen when he has the power to stop them?
WHO WAS TELLING THE TRUTH?
Michelle: We can start to find the answer to your question by turning to the first book of the Bible, Genesis. Are you familiar with the account of Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit?
Sophia: Yes, I learned that story in Sunday school. God said not to eat from a certain tree, but they went ahead and ate from it anyway.
Michelle: That is correct. Now, let’s focus on the events that led up to Adam and Eve’s sin. Those events have a direct bearing on the question of why we suffer. Would you please read Genesis chapter 3, verses 1 through 5?
Sophia: OK. “Now the serpent was the most cautious of all the wild animals of the field that Jehovah God had made. So it said to the woman: ‘Did God really say that you must not eat from every tree of the garden?’ At this the woman said to the serpent: ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden. But God has said about the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden: ‘You must not eat from it, no, you must not touch it, otherwise you would die.’ At this the serpent said to the woman: ‘You certainly would not die. For God knows that in the very day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and bad.’”
Michelle: Thank you. Let’s examine these verses for a moment. First, notice that a serpent spoke to the woman, Eve. Another part of the Bible shows that it was really Satan the Devil who was speaking to her through the serpent. [here footnoted "See Revelation 12:9.] Satan asked Eve about God’s command regarding a certain tree. Did you notice what God had said the penalty would be if Adam and Eve ate from it?
Sophia: They would die.
Michelle: Correct. Then, with his very next words, Satan made a major accusation against God. Notice what he said: “You certainly will not die.” Satan was calling God a liar!
Sophia: I never heard that part of the story before.
Michelle: And when Satan called God a liar, he raised an issue that would require time to settle. Can you see why?
Sophia: Hmm. I’m not sure.
Michelle: Well, maybe I could illustrate the point this way. Let’s say that one day I approach you and claim that I’m physically stronger than you are. How could you prove me wrong?
Sophia: I suppose with some sort of a test.
Michelle: Yes, exactly. Maybe we would choose a heavy object and then see which one of us was able to lift it. Actually, proving who is stronger is pretty straightforward.
Sophia: I see your point.
Michelle: But what if instead of saying that I’m stronger, I claimed to be more honest than you? That’s a different matter, isn’t it?
Sophia: Yes, I suppose so.
Michelle: After all, honesty is not something like strength, which can be proved with a simple test.
Michelle: Really, the only way to settle the challenge would be to let enough time pass for others to observe the two of us and see who really is more honest.
Sophia: That makes sense.
Michelle: Now, look again at this account in Genesis. Did Satan claim to be stronger than God?
Michelle: God could have quickly proved him wrong. Instead, Satan claimed to be more honest than God. In effect, he said to Eve, ‘God is lying to you, but I’m telling you the truth.’
Michelle: In his wisdom, then, God knew that the best way to settle the challenge would be to allow time to pass. Eventually, it would become clear who was telling the truth and who was lying.
AN IMPORTANT ISSUE
Sophie: But as soon as Eve died, didn’t that prove that God was telling the truth?
Michelle: In a sense, it did. But there was more to Satan’s challenge. Look again at verse 5. Do you notice what else Satan told Eve?
Sophia: He said that if she ate of the fruit, her eyes would be opened.
Michelle: Yes, and that she would become “like God, knowing good and bad.” So Satan claimed that God was withholding something good from humans.
Sophia: I see.
Michelle: And that too was a major challenge.
Sophia: What do you mean?
Michelle: By his words, Satan implied that Eve – and by extension, all humans – would be better off without God’s rulership. In this case too, Jehovah knows that the best way to address the challenge would be to let Satan try to prove his point. So God has allowed Satan to rule this world for a time. That explains why we see so much suffering around us–it’s because Satan, not God, is the real ruler of the world. [here footnoted, "see John 12:31, John 5:19.] But there is good news.
Sophia: What’s that?
Michelle: The Bible teaches these two beautiful truths about God. First, Jehovah is there for us when we suffer. For example, cosider the words of King David, as recorded at Psalm 31:7. David experienced a lot of suffering during his lifetime, but notice what he was able to say in prayer to God. Would you please read the verse?
Sophia: OK. It says, “I will rejoice greatly in your loyal love, for you have seen my affliction, you are aware of my deep distress.”
Michelle: So even though David experienced suffering, he found comfort in knowing that Jehovah saw everything he went through. Do you find that comforting–the thought that Jehovah is aware of everything, even our painful emotions that other humans may not fully understand?
Sophia: Yes, I do.
Michelle: The second beautiful truth is that God will not allow our suffering to go on indefinitely. The Bible teaches that he will soon bring an end to Satan’s wicked rulership. And he will completely undo all of the bad things that have happened, including the things that you and your mother have suffered. May I come back next week and show you why we can be sure that God will soon end all suffering?
Sophia: That sounds good.”
Okay, my immediate response to this whole thing is:
- Sophia is amazingly gullible;
- Michelle’s words and examples are hardly irrefutable proof of anything;
- Since Eve did NOT die when she ate the forbidden fruit, it would appear that Satan was right, God IS a liar; and
- It’s a poor excuse on God’s part that he can’t intervene in human suffering because, for some strange reason, God is letting Satan have a turn at ruling the world.
This is our daily open thread–your thoughts?
I probably should pay more attention to what Gummich posts so apologies in advance if this Portland band has already been showcased.
I like them so much I’ll add a second. Here’s a Hungarian/Roma instrumental played in a Portland street. Sweet sound. Real roots music.
“…I am referring to meditation, or finding a zero point or silence within yourself. Some balances can apply significant pressure on your mind and your patience. The challenge is overcoming any doubt that may arise.”
I think this would be useful in life, outside of your rock balancing efforts.
This is our daily open thread — Breathe.
Last week I watched Twenty Feet from Stardom, a brilliant documentary on some of the greatest American backup singers. If you have not seen the film, stop what you’re doing and order up a copy from Netflix. Seriously. We’ll wait…. Ok. All of these women will knock your socks off, guaranteed, but for the moment we’ll focus on Lisa Fischer, who was a complete revelation to me. There is a point in the film when Mick Jagger goes on about how he and Keith decided in the midst of recording that they needed a female voice on account of how they were all masculine and stuff so they had someone bring this woman in in the middle of the night. What he doesn’t say is that they didn’t need a woman, they needed this woman because suddenly they had one of their biggest hits. So this is a Rolling Stones video, but you really want to pay attention at about 2:30 min. And go get that movie.
The political world sucks. We all know that.
There is, however, another world “out there”, and it’s different. It’s not ugly. It’s beautiful. And the critters are not to be feared. The emergent gun and fear-based “Stand Your Ground” idiocy is, ‘out there’, as worthless a concept as it is anywhere else, even in Florida. Fear? Nah. Fear is mostly a political thingee, a product of intellectual darkness. But yet, and even in spite of current human faux-reality, there still remains that other option . . . ‘out there’ . . . where, when the ‘eyes’ have it . . . well, the beat goes on and on and on.
Here’s the proof, thanks to my old friend of fifty-plus years, naturalist/photographer par excellence Denny Green, and his most recent photos of waterfowl — each one of which apparently finds the Gilbert (AZ) Water Ranch to be its home.
Note that amongst the eyes (‘ayes’??) there is not one . . . single . . . “nay” — ergo message apparent: subtract humans, subtract politics, subtract ugly . . . and ‘see’ then that ‘out there’ everything is, in a word, Beauty — which is, to each bird (and to the occasional poet), aka Truth.
The Bird her punctual music brings
And lays it in its place –
Its place is in the Human Heart
And in the Heavenly Grace –
What respite from her thrilling toil
Did Beauty ever take –
And then came politics.
Ugly defined. But still and in spite, ‘out there’ remains unencumbered. Mostly. The Beauty of ‘out there’ — it’s everywhere, but especially it is . . .
In. The. Eyes.
Our Pete has two new cats in his life, and I imagine this is what his life looks like now.
This is our daily open thread — Tell us your cat stories!
A performer and band favored by the younger set.
Today’s guest blogging post (and open thread) is by our friend, TerrytheTurtle.
What is happening in Ukraine is awful, bloody, murderously awful. Depending on where you come from in your world view, there are at least three ways of looking at what is happening:
1. If you follow the Western media, it is about Ukraine wishing to “join the EU” (quotes because there are many sources of this over-simplification) and the coverage is dumbed down to this one point time and again. But the EU trade agreement Yanukovych refused to sign after promising to in his manifesto, is only the catalyst, the problems lie much deeper than that.
2. This is part of the Neo-Cold War, pitting American power against the Czar of All the Russias and his part-dictatorship, part-kleptocracy. If you read the full transcript of the intercepted Nuland phone call two weeks ago, there is no question the US is picking sides, and picking which opposition horse to back, the whole point of which seems to be, to use the violence in Ukraine to win ground in a wider struggle. And for his part, Putin, by blaming ‘entirely, the terrorists and radicals’ for the violence, is shamelessly backing his client, Yanukovych, just like he has backed Syria’s Assad. It seems the US and Putin are both ‘playing cards’ and the people of Kiev are doing the dying.
3. The third thesis is that what we are watching is the Occupy movement of Ukraine. Ukraine’s government is controlled by a very small number of hyper-rich Ukrainians who owe their riches to a perpetuation of the same style of oligarchy and kleptocracy that Vladimir Putin sits atop in neighbouring Russia. They want the massive income inequality and lack of social justice to continue – its good for business. But you won’t hear this in the Western media. That kind of discussion is too close to home and would remind people of what Occupy Wall Street was all about. When Yanukovych returned to power, in 2010, as president (in an election the EU certified as fair), mainly because the Orange Revolution had stalled in the world depression after the financial crisis, he changed the constitution away from the 2004 constitution: more power to him and his cronies. Corruption blossomed again. You know the formula: billionaires, owning politicians for favours, closing and selling off factories, looting the old industries where ordinary people made a living and punishing dissent. The Kochs and Waltons would love these people.
What do Ukrainians think about some of this? The most recent poll I could find (Feb 5th) said:
Showing divisions between Ukrainians on foreign policy, 48% said Ukraine should reconsider its rejection of an EU partnership, but 40.3% said it should not.
Asked if the protests should continue, 48% said yes and 45.1% said no.
These divisions have an ethnic and geographic element to them – west is more likely to be ethnic Ukrainian and east and south more Russian. But like the American south, the Russian-leaning part is voting for more income inequality, more Russian-style “democracy”. But Ukrainians seem to distrust the EU only a little less than Russia, especially when it comes to helping them now. It seems to me they feel like they are on their own.
OK, so all this geopolitics aside, you just have to look at the faces of the people in the streets and in the makeshift hospitals to get an idea of which of these theses is closest to the truth and it is complicated, even if I am getting some coaching. :) That ordinary Ukrainians just want the freedom to have their government represent them and protect their freedoms from foreign powers (all of them!) and from their own “entitled” citizens and corporations. Just spend some time on the blogs (helpfully translated on request and forwarded to people like me by friends). You will see what I am seeing and hearing directly.
Yes, there are protesters with guns now and policemen have died, but today’s toll of death was far unbalanced to the 10s of thousands of mostly unarmed protesters, shot in the square, or beaten by police or paid thugs, the “tituski”, in the side streets as they try to leave to take care of families or escape the bloodshed. Or as volunteers try to treat them in makeshift hospitals while the police try to arrest them from the bloody floor where they lie.
Finally, and I wish it was finally, this article I was sent today goes roughly like this: A former policeman has come to Kiev to find his 19-year-old son, a student in Kiev. Like all fathers he wished his son did not go to the protests, but as a Ukrainian he was proud of his son to go. He holds in his hand the helmet he wore, covered in blood, a single sniper bullet hole in the helmet where his forehead was. Facebook posts are full of pictures of young people like this….
And yes, like Zooey said Thursday, this could be us too, someday soon.
Cats and I went to the Oregon Asian Celebration on Saturday, and had a great time wandering around the various exhibits. We had words written in Chinese calligraphy on squares of red paper. Mine reads “good health,” and Cats’ says something similar to “thumbs up.”
We watched a group of ukulele players having fun singing Hawaiian songs. Did you know “ukulele” means “jumping flea?” Well, now you do!
After the jumping flea players, it was announced that there would be Balinese dancing. We decided to stay, since we’d never seen Balinese dancing. All I could say is wow! We saw the same dance as in the video above, which is called a Gabor Dance, which is a sacrificial dance for the gods, wherein the dancers themselves are offerings.
I love learning new things!
This is our daily open thread — What did you learn today?
Love songs… I know y’all can show more imagination than I did.
I thought I should start the week on an “awwwww” note:
(All photos from bing.)
This is our daily open thread–talk about whatever you want!
I found this on facebook, and it made me think about how we all care about each other so much, and know each other so well, after so many years on The Zoo and TP — but most of us have never met, and quite possibly never will.
It’s mind-blowing to me that, if there were no internet, I wouldn’t have crossed paths with a single Zooster or Critter on this blog. My life would be so different — and most definitely not in a good way.
This is our daily open thread — What do you think?
My comment upon discovering this video on YouTube: I saw them at a Pop Festival in Rotterdam, summer of 1970. I had their LPs but nothing captured that live performance. I still vividly remember Jerry Goodman standing at the front of the stage, his long hair flying in the wind, hypnotizing the crowd with his violin. Great to see a live video!