Friday, June 18, 2010

Fathers Day and The Fortress of Solitude...

I suppose Fathers Day at its best celebrates the promise our Dad's make to us when we are born - that they will be the light. If that light dims or disappears all we can do is our best to follow their advice - which somehow you imagine. You have to imagine it because if you lose that crucial tie you will no longer know yourself as you once were.

Marlon Brando sent a gift to Christopher Reeve on the first day of shooting Superman in which Brando played Jor-El, Superman's father. Reeve sent the following thank you note:

29th March, 1977

Dear Marlon,

Just to let you know that your wonderfully thoughtful gift passed safely through the time warp and arrived here ripe and ready and was deeply appreciated.

I have had surprises before but to have your blessing on the first day of this new adventure in my life is, without doubt, the best.

Earth, by the way, is a garden of delights - in case you wondered. I will do my best to follow your advice, dad, because you are the light. How come you know so much???



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

BP's Dr. Strangelove...

Is it just me or have others also noticed how weird it is that the newly emerged Chairman of BP (who we have not heard one word from until now) is named Carl Henric-Svanberg? Is that really his name? Sounds like the the evil guy in some B movie or TV show (Get Smart?) who as the leader of C.H.A.O.S. wants to take over the world. In fact maybe that's it - Henric-Svanberg's plan all along was to pollute the Gulf of Mexico resulting in a moratorium on off shore drilling which would drive the price of oil up and he is making a killing in oil futures (or some other even more diabolical plot).

Henric-Svanberg - great name. Where is MaxWELL Smart when we need him?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Next time someone is rude in a parking lot...

You gotta love this scene from Fried Green Tomatoes:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Go Argentina - World Cup...

"It doesn't matter how you try to sell it to us, it doesn't matter how many celebrities you get, it doesn't matter how many bars open early, it doesn't matter how many beer commercials they run, we don't want the World Cup, we don't like the World Cup, we don't like soccer, we want nothing to do with it... I hate it so much, probably because the rest of the world likes it so much, and they riot over it, and they continually try to jam it down our throat."

-- Glenn Beck

The reason he says this is because Hispanics, Europeans, Africans and other non Americans like the sport and he hates "others". I am not sure why he hates people or if he is just pandering to ignorance and prejudice in order to sell his bullshit. Either way he is repulsive.

PS Argentina won its first game against Nigeria. (Rough Fractals is rooting for Argentina).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A tale of hard learned wisdom and inspiration...

The following story came to me over the transom:

"My mantra, "It takes 2 thousand repetitions to learn something new" ... some
days these words were the only thing I had...

Our son, Robert, left for wilderness and rehab 10 years ago last February. Then he went to a "mainstream" boarding school 3,000 miles from us, finished high school by the skin of his teeth, took a year off, (which was nothing but problems and trouble,
including 30 days in county jail), after jail enrolled in college, graduated
top of his class in 4 years, has emigrated to Israel and is currently
severing his required military service in the IDF, Israeli Defense Force.
He is 25 years old and an amazing man. Goal: return to the US to attend
graduate school. Our story in a nutshell. It's a long, long road, trust your gut feeling, hang in there, be calm, cool and collected AND always, always speak in a well modulated voice ... if you have to scream, do it in private.

I don't think "worry" equates to "praying" ..."

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Dancing Toots

So maybe you have found that only young people seem to be able to dance to anything and that you do not like to dance much because it's impossible to dance to wedding bands or to someone's ipod list of favorites... there is a cure for what ails you.

I happened to see Toots and The Maytals the other night at a 150 person venue. Not one person in the place was not dancing, most never stopped for the two hours they played. These guys are having fun.

This video does not do them justice unless your computer is hooked up to 50,000 megawatts with the bass set to 11 but might give you the idea. I recommend seeing them (preferably in a dive bar) if you can.

Toots and the Maytals, originally called simply The Maytals, are a Jamaican musical group and one of the best known ska and reggae vocal groups. According to Sandra Brennan at Allmusic, "The Maytals were key figures in reggae music. Formed in the early 1960s when ska was hot, the Maytals had a reputation for having strong, well-blended voices and a seldom-rivaled passion for their music. Hibbert's soulful style led him to be compared to Otis Redding".[1]

Frederick "Toots" Hibbert, the frontman of the group, was born in May Pen, Clarendon, Jamaica in 1945, the youngest of seven children. He grew up singing gospel music in a church choir, and moved to Kingston in 1958 at the age of thirteen.[edit]Career

In Kingston, Hibbert met Henry "Raleigh" Gordon and Nathaniel "Jerry" McCarthy, forming in 1962[2] a group whose early recordings were incorrectly attributed to 'The Flames' and 'The Vikings' in the UK by Island Records. The Maytals first had chart success recording for producerClement "Coxsone" Dodd at Studio One. With musical backing from Dodd's house band, The Skatalites, the Maytals' close-harmony gospel singing ensured success, overshadowing Dodd's other up-and-coming vocal group, The Wailers. After staying at Studio One for about two years, the group moved on to do sessions for Prince Buster before recording with Byron Lee in 1966.[1] With Lee, the Maytals won the first-everJamaican Independence Festival Popular Song Competition with their original song "Bam Bam" (not to be confused with the Sister Nancy song of the same title).[1][3] However, the group's musical career was interrupted in late 1966 when Hibbert was arrested and imprisoned for 18 months.[1] He stated that he was not arrested for ganja, but whilst bailing a friend.[4] He also stated that he made up the number 54-46 when writing "54-46 That's My Number" about his time in jail.[5]

Following Hibbert's release from jail towards the end of 1967, the Maytals began working with the Chinese Jamaican producer Leslie Kong, a collaboration which yielded a string of hitsthroughout the late 1960s and early 1970s.[1] These included "Do the Reggay", one of several songs released in 1968 to first use the word 'reggae' (spelled 'reggay') in a Jamaican recording;[6]"Pressure Drop"; "54-46 That's My Number" the 1969 Jamaica festival's popular song winner; "Sweet and Dandy";[7] and "Monkey Man", the group's first international hit in 1970.[1] By 1971, they had not only become the biggest act on the island, they were also (thanks to signing a recording contract with Chris Blackwell's Island Records) international stars.[1] In 1972 they won their third Jamaica festival popular song with "Pomps and Pride"[7]. The group was also featured twice in the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, the 1972 film starring Jimmy Cliff, named as one of Vanity Fair's Top 10 soundtracks of all time.

After Kong's death in 1971, the group continued to record with Kong's former sound engineer, Warrick Lyn. Their re-instated producer Byron Lee renamed them Toots & the Maytals.[1] The group released three best-selling albums produced by Lyn and Blackwell of Island Records, and enjoyed international hits with Funky Kingston in 1973 and Reggae Got Soul in 1975. Following the release of Reggae Got Soul, Toots & the Maytals were invited to tour as the opening act for The Who during their 1975-76 North American tour.[8] The tour went poorly and Toots & the Maytals never went on to the success of Bob Marley or Peter Tosh in the U.S.[9]

Toots and the Maytals' compositions would be given a second airing in 1978-80 during the reggae punk and ska revival period in the UK, when The Specials included "Monkey Man" on their 1979 debut album and The Clash covered "Pressure Drop". They were also included in the lyrics to Bob Marley & The Wailers song, "Punky Reggae Party" - "The Wailers will be there, The Damned, The Jam, The Clash, The Maytals will be there, Dr. Feelgood too". In 1982, Toots & the Maytals' "Beautiful Woman", reached number one in New Zealand, but the group had already broken up.[1]

They reformed in the early 1990s to continue touring and recording successfully.[1]

In 2005, the group released True Love, an album consisting of re-recorded versions of their earlier hits, alongside Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, No Doubt, Ben Harper, The Roots, and Shaggy. The album won the Grammy Award that year for best reggae album.

In 2006, they recorded a reggae/ska version of Radiohead's "Let Down" for the tribute album, Radiodread, by the Easy Star All-Stars. The album was a song for song makeover of the Englishrock band's album OK Computer into reggae, dub and ska. In August 2007 Toots & the Maytals released Light Your Light, which featured re-workings of older songs such as "Johnny Cool Man", as well as new material. The album was nominated in 2008 for a Grammy in the best reggae album category.

Toots & the Maytals hold the current record of number one hits in Jamaica, with a total of thirty one.[citation needed]

In March 2009 it was announced that Toots & the Maytals would be performing alongside Amy Winehouse, for their shared record label, Island Records' 50th anniversary. Winehouse has covered the band's "Monkey Man", and the act were supposed to support her at the Shepherds Bush Empire in London on 31 May 2009.[10] However, Winehouse was forced to cancel, leaving the Maytals to play at the more intimate Bush Hall, round the corner from the Empire, to a sell-out crowd.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Let Us Now Praise Famous Women - Gerri Santoro

In June 1964, (46 years ago this month) a woman was found dead from an illegal abortion on a Norwich, Connecticut motel room floor. She was identified by her sister as Gerri Santoro, a mother of two facing her third pregnancy. Santoro and her two daughters had been victims of an abusive husband/father. Santoro was just 28 years old, and was 6.5 months pregnant with her secret lover's baby. He took her to the motel, and fled when the self-induced abortion went wrong, abandoning dying Santoro behind. (He was arrested but served only a year for manslaughter).

In May of 1973, a crime scene photo of Gerri Santoro was published in Ms. Magazine, after the U.S Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade in January of that year. Even before Roe v. Wade, Ms. published the names of women admitting to having had abortions, an action of civil disobedience that highlighted the importance of the issue. Gerri’s re-discovered case and terrifying photo stirred a nation and inflamed a movement. Bloody, nude, alone, Gerri Santoro's lifeless corpse became a powerful symbol of the newly legitimatized pro-choice movement.

The crime scene photo, which is available on the Internet, is too gruesome for me to post.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Skills that matter...

I did summer job interviewing today at the local job fair - about 75 urban kids age 14 -18 who get paid by a grant. One 14 year old kid who must have been at least 6 feet tall wrote under work experience on his resume:

"Help my grandmother with the grocery shopping; help my mother lift heavy boxes".

We offered him a job.


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