Only four shows for me this week. It’s a relatively light stretch in terms of quantity, that ends just about as heavily as possible. The venues remain familiar, although it’s only one stop at the 9:30 Club. Days are open, but conflicts
Archive for March 5th, 2012
Love Lost in the USA: Can Science Find It?
In 1962 two kids were hiking along the crest of a mountain in the Hudson Valley when one of them takes out a knife and carves their initials into a tree. They were married 47 years. How did he know? How did it last?
Currently the divorce rate is one in two, maybe higher in some regions of the country. It is so common, our culture so saturated with scandal and heartbreak, the statistic barely raises an eyebrow — even in more traditional and conservative
Everyday, millions of unemployed Americans anxiously wait for their chance to get back to work. And as gas prices skyrocket, millions more are desperately searching for affordable, reliable ways to get to their jobs each day.
Congress has a chance right now to pass a transportation bill that will do more to get Americans back to work than just about anything else they’ve proposed. They have a chance to make us all safer on our daily commutes, and to protect our lungs from the pollution that causes asthma and heart disease and leads to millions of dollars in unnecessary health care costs each
The Royal Oak Music Theatre played host to yet another huge night of electronic dance music this past Saturday, March 3rd, as Toronto’s Zeds Dead and their Living Dead Tour tore down the house. Zeds Dead’s set was quite a magnificent step in the right direction in comparison to when they graced this same stage last November. They just seemed way too club/rave-oriented last time, whereas this set was more hardcore bass and beats. Joined on stage by Omar LinX, a fellow Toronto emcee, the duo is working on an upcoming mixtape with, Zeds Dead sounded huge, and with the backdrop of heavy strobe lights, they sent the crowd in musical convulsions with all the massive dubstep tunes.
Among all the opening acts for the night, the high spot came from XI, another native Toronto dubstep producer/DJ who probably had one of the more complex sets of the
A few days after the Egyptian uprising, I argued that the Arab Spring could well turn into a long and cruel winter due to a host of prominent factors including: the lack of traditional liberalism, the elites’ control of business, a military that clings to power, and the religious divide and Islamic extremism. These factors are making the transformation into a more reformist governance (slow, filled with hurdles and punctuated with intense violence) much to the chagrin of Utopian-minded Western governments who thought that the transition to democracy would be attainable within months. If and when the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the ruling Military Council reach a power-sharing agreement, the situation will continue to unravel and be punctuated by chaos and accompanied by violence.
A testimony to this chaos is the recent crisis over the democracy-promoting
As the father of a daughter, I found President Obama’s phone call to Sandra Fluke on Friday to be an act of singular grace and compassion. “He encouraged me and supported me and thanked me for speaking out about the concerns of American women,” she told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell minutes after their conversation. All politics aside, as a human being, President Obama is a class act.
As the grandfather of a granddaughter who I hope will one day study at a university or college — I realize that this probably makes me a “snob” in Rick Santorum’s eyes — I applaud Georgetown University President John DeGioia’s email to the Georgetown community commending Ms. Fluke’s demeanor during her testimony on contraceptive coverage to members of
Two weeks ago in Tel Aviv I attended a gala event of neuroscientists from around the world, including three Nobel Laureates, business leaders, wealthy philanthropists, and politicians, most notably Israeli President Shimon Peres. After his introductory speech on science and education in Israel, the President sat and listened intently from the front row of the theater to three Nobel Laureates on stage answering questions about their brain research. At the end of the program the moderator politely asked Peres if he would like to ask the brain researchers a question. He stood, and grasping the wireless microphone before an audience of perhaps 800, Peres addressed the Nobel Laureates, “Can you see God in the brain?”
There was an awkward moment as the Nobel Laureates scrambled to formulate appropriate comments extemporaneously, struggling and fumbling for words in an effort to regain footing after being knocked off the security of their familiar talking
As someone who loves both religion and science, I often struggle with how they interact.
Are they in opposition to each other? Do they need to be reconciled? What happens when new scientific knowledge challenges the tenets of my faith?
Part of the difficulty in talking about science and religion is that there are several different ways we can discuss their interaction. Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, the Director of the Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, outlined several different models in an outstanding talk. Therefore, inspired by her, I want to share four different ways we can frame the discussion about how we talk about science and religion.
The Contrast model is probably the most common way people speak about the interaction of science and
Throughout recorded history the majority of humanity has seen the existence of a Creator, Who intentionally brought the Universe in to being and sustains all life, as an obvious truth.
This truth does not stem from any doctrine or belief system, but it is at the heart of all religions, and is the underlying, indispensible principle of most spiritual practices. Even Buddhism, which is often misrepresented as an atheistic tradition, recognizes the existence of a guiding consciousness. As the Zen Buddhist master, Soyen Shaku, said, “Let me state that Buddhism is not atheistic as the term is ordinarily
How do we know when we have a great composition in a photograph?
When we look at great works of art or photographs we’ve discovered a sense balance and harmony that exist within these images.
There are key principles in composition that guide us to creating better images. One of these is called the “Rule of Thirds”.
This rule offers us a better placement for our subject to gain a better, “weight of importance” within our image. It anchors and directs our viewer to what we, as photographers want to emphasize; what is more important in the image.
Here are two sample images showing us the major differences when not using the Rule of Thirds
I had burned up a lot of asphalt in my champion old BMW to get there, so I savored the saunter down dusty streets envisioning the time when wild men settled their differences in a hail of bullets. Tombstone is preserved and a delight to walk through while imagining my movie hero, Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday, reacting to having his lifestyle, the drinking, smoking and gambling, by saying: “I have not yet begun to defile myself.”
A visit to Boot Hill Cemetery is a must just to read the causes of death on the graves: “Killed by Indians;” “Killed in a knife fight;” “Killed for cheating at cards.” It shows you how gun fighters, whores and Chinese railroad workers built this great nation and helped us achieve our manifest destiny.
Half an hour down the road on SR 80 is the dried up copper mining town of Bisbee. Located only a few miles from the Mexican border, this would be the perfect outlaw hideaway but today it is one of America’s undiscovered gems. Delectable restaurants sprinkle the downtown as do an array of treasure-filled antique stores.
I drove around town in search of a hotel and discovered The Shady Dell vintage trailer
Amy Strand’s little breast pump problem is just the latest in a long line of gaffes by the men and women of the TSA. But mostly, the men.
If you haven’t already heard, here’s what happened to Strand when she tried to board a plane from Lihue to Maui, where she works as a high school vice principal: A male TSA agent who noticed her breast pump insisted she show him the full bottles of milk before she could board her plane with the device.
And yes — you guessed it — that meant Strand had to disgorge some of her own breast milk. In the semi-privacy of the women’s
No, no! This is not about the mob holding up service stations and running off with their gas tanks. No, it has the makings of something much more sinister than that, something that has the makings of reaching into all of our pockets, making the oil boys rich beyond their wildest dreams while putting the American economy at risk and family budgets in the trash can.
Overlooked, by and large, is the fact that Chicago is to commodity trading what Wall Street is to financial markets. The world’s most significant trading exchange, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group (C.M.E. Group) is headquartered there, does its business there, establishes its policies there, and projects its power to influence institutions, the press and government from there as the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace .It proudly brays that it is to the CME Group (www.cmegroup.com) and in turn Chicago, “is where the world comes to manage
Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini caused quite a stir when he said at a Las Vegas conference a few days ago that the insurance industry as we know it is, for all practical purposes, a dinosaur on the verge of extinction.
Time to sing, “Ding dong the witch is dead”? Not quite, but the day when most Americans get their coverage from what we think of as an insurance company is close at hand. It won’t be long before most of us get coverage through either a state or federal government-run plan or a local nonprofit company. The big investor-owned corporations like Aetna and the companies I used to work for, Cigna and Humana, know that the days of making a killing off of basic medical insurance policies are over. And the companies have no one to blame but themselves and a fatally flawed, uniquely American system of providing access to care.
While Bertolini was by no means predicting that Aetna and its competitors were about to close their doors and get the hell out of our lives, he most certainly sounded the death knell for the standard business model insurers have followed for many years — actually insuring people.
“The system doesn’t
One day after the horrific mass shooting at Chardon High School in Ohio, a lesser-noticed event occurred that yields equally important insights about the current state of America. On February 28, a man in Grand Rapids, Michigan walked into a polling place–that also happened to be a public elementary school–while openly carrying a loaded handgun. Nicholas Looman wanted to vote in the Republican presidential primary, and he also “wanted to make a point that he should be allowed to carry” a gun while voting. Looman was asked to leave after he
In Jeanette Winterson’s new memoir, “Why Be Normal When You Could Be Happy?,” the British author writes: “Freud, one of the grand masters of narrative, knew that the past is not fixed in the way that linear time suggests. We can return. We can pick up what we dropped. We can mend what others
I was thinking about the oddball gifts people give and receive, so I thought I should tell you about the time I was an organ donor. This is actually true. The recipient was grateful and we were compatible. And everything worked out, finally.
But to be totally truthful, it wasn’t really my
From my weekend Limbaugh notebook …
Thinking Sandra Fluke will make a fine Clear Channel CEO after the lawsuit
NYT: Limbaugh Advertisers Flee Show Amid Storm
Peggy Noonan: “What Rush Limbaugh Said Was Crude, Rude, Even Piggish”
George Will: GOP “leaders are afraid of Rush Limbaugh. They want to bomb Iran, but they’re afraid of Rush Limbaugh”
Ron Paul: Rush only “apologized” to keep advertisers: “It was his bottom line that he was concerned about”
Kathleen Parker: Rush “helped advance the argument from the left that Republicans are waging a war against women”
WaPo: Limbaugh should take lessons from Imus and Shultz
Full statement by Clear Channel subsidiary Premier Networks defending Limbaugh’s “opinions”
AP: Limbaugh comments overshadow GOP contest
From a reader: Rush, I lost an ovary to cysts. I’m on the Pill to keep from losing the other one. And that ovary does NOT accept your apology
Now that Clear Channel defends calling Sandra Fluke a “slut,” worth noting their boss is Bain Capital
Rush boss Clear Channel speaks thru it’s Premiere Networks, says “We respect the right of
This week Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. conference of Cathlic Bishops, urged Catholic parishoners to become politically involved in order to join a “freedom of religion battle” against the Obama administration. Dolan’s complaints have become a standard rallying cry for Republican presidential candidates Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich. During the February 22 debate, Romney put the matter in extraordinarily stark
Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 1, Episode 14 of ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” entitled “Dreamy.”
For any parents dreading the day when they might have to have “the talk” with their kids about where dwarves come from, “Once Upon a Time” has saved you from a potentially awkward conversation: They hatch from eggs! It’s clearly one of Fairytale Land’s most closely guarded secrets, since I can’t recall a single Disney movie that mentioned such peculiar genealogy.
All joking aside, this episode had a lot of enchanting ideas with which to fill in the backstory for Snow White’s seven iconic sidekicks. Though it was pretty much pure filler — with some of the most heavy-handed dialogue on the series to date — there were still some magical moments to appreciate.
This week, we were introduced to the Blue Fairy’s clumsy apprentice, Nova (Amy Acker), also known as Sister Astrid in Storybrooke. That celestial theme didn’t stop with the fairy’s two names — there were plenty of visual references to stars, constellations and light throughout the episode, from the decorations at the school to Nova’s fascination with
When I think Harvard I think of two things: education and Legally Blonde. I definitely do not think of Lady Gaga. So, when I was asked to attend her “Born This Way Foundation” launch last Wednesday at Harvard University in Boston, I was immediately curious. As any teenager would, I consulted Google to learn more about
A Conversation with Peter White
Mike Ragogna: Peter, before we get into your new album Here We Go, let’s start with your early days playing with Al Stewart.
Peter White: I started with him when I was only 20 years old, that was back in 1975. What a wild ride that was. I think before I met him I’d never flown in a commercial plane or stayed in a hotel room. All of a sudden, we were touring all over the world and I was flying everywhere and staying in many
I just watched the President of the United States give a defensive speech about his policies vis–vis Israel to the 2012 AIPAC policy conference. Even The New York Times headline of the speech emphasized the President’s defensiveness: “On Defense, Obama Speaks to US Backers of Israel.” How does the American Jewish community get the most powerful man on earth to backtrack on pressuring Israel? By unashamedly asserting Jewish pride, organizing politically, supporting candidates that support Israel, and by making it clear to President Obama that zigzagging on the Jewish state and especially on Iran’s nuclear capability will lose him significant political and financial support.
Contrast this with Anglo-Jewry which, while well organized and highly charitable, are subject on a near weekly basis to a scandalous outburst of Anti-Semitism from some official figure but often respond with caution rather than strength. Last week is was Liberal Democrat Peer Jenny Tonge who publicly predicted that Israel will self-destruct. “It will not go on for
The first solar powered TED event from Antarctica will be broadcast live from Neko harbor on March 6. It’s message: if alternative energy can work in the coldest, harshest, most unforgiving place on earth, it can be used anywhere.
The event is being spearheaded by Darren McGann from KPMG who has been inspired to tackle climate change since taking his first step onto the continent last year. He is one of 73 participants taking part in polar explorer turned environmentalist Robert Swan’s 2012 International Antarctic Expedition.
Robert Swan OBE made the longest unassisted walk to the South Pole in