Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I have too much going on with school and the holidays between now and early April, so until then this blog will be dormant.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Being an almost life-long resident of Western Massachusetts, I haven't spent much time at the beach, so it never occurred to me that beaches can be foggy. But why not? There's fog everywhere else. Still I was surprised to witness the speed with which the mist concealed the view at Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Massachusetts late last month. Sharon and I were there for our fourth annual stay at the Good Harbor Beach Inn.
The top photo is of the sunset seen from the dune. This year, as in years past, I took pictures of the shrubbery on the far side of the dune. But I won't do that again because this time I brought four ticks into our room.





Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A grim tale of suicide and stock prices

Such a dilemma: If you pay workers more, maybe they'll stop killing themselves. But if you do, your shareholders may kill you -- at least figuratively speaking.
Here's depressing dispatch from the land where some Apple parts are made.
My next question is why the workers in the Taiwan sweatshops killed themselves in the first place. Was it only because they weren't being paid enough? What was unique about these sweatshops? Perhaps nothing. Perhaps sweatshop workers kill themselves frequently, but we hear about it only infrequently.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

This rendition of a work song``We Don't Have No Payday Here'' sounds an awfully lot like Robert Johnson's recording of ``Last Fair Deal Gone Down.''
Both even share the line,
``If you cry about a nickel, you'll die about a dime.''
The work song was performed by convicts at the state prison in Raiford, Florida on June 4, 1939. Johnson recorded his tune in San Antonio, Texas in 1937.
Dispersion of folk culture -- passing it on, in other words -- never seizes to fascinate me.
I lifted the work song recording from the Library of Congress' American Memory archive.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

How much has leaked so far? Depends on whom you ask.

Here's a PBS Newshour ticker that allows you to know just how much oil and natural gas is gushing into the Gulf -- calculated according to various worst case scenarios. BP has provided this live feed.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

WFCR, an NPR station in Amherst, Massachusetts, is compiling classical and jazz top 50s. Folks can participate by voting for their three most-favorites on-line. The results should be fascinating. But vote soon! The station will begin to announce the winners on May 19. I don't feel qualified to vote in the classical musical poll, but under jazz I listed these albums: Dexter Gordon, ``Biting the Apple;'' ``Solo Flight: The Genius of Charlie Christian;'' and ``Thelonius Monk's Greatest Hits.''
The Charlie Christian album is really a compilation of recordings of Benny Goodman, for whom Christian played guitar.
I'm afraid that the allowance of only three votes will result in a list too-largely populated by canonized musicians, such as Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Lester Young and Duke Ellington. People just won't have enough room to vote for those who are ``out of the way.''