In our first match of round 1, Baron Bane eases past Able Archer and advances to the second round. Many thanks to Matt Huseman and AA (a and we really love a lot, by the way) and best of luck with the new CD, which is one of our favorites of 2011.
Our second match features a battle between a couple of NY bands – one we’ve known and loved for several years vs. one we just recently discovered and loved right away.
The Lost Patrol: epic retrofuturism – neo-Americana twang/surf guitars that fill the landscape – heartbreaking melodies from the divine Mollie Israel. LISTEN Continue reading →
We now have two scandals in college involving coaches using their positions to prey on young boys. They are different in degree—Sandusky apparently set up an elaborate system to deliver young victims to him while the allegations against Fine (he is uncharged and unconvicted) make him appear to have been more opportunistic. And they are different because at this point it appears that Penn State deliberately covered for Sandusky, allowing his predation machine to grind on while the university administrators counted the gate receipts, while Syracuse was far more responsible in its handling of the situation. But they are similar in that both these predators used the razzle dazzle of college sports as bait to attract young boys, the same way priests used the church and Boy Scout leaders used campfires.
The question, of course, is not why Sandusky and Fine did what they are alleged to have done. We know why they did it. Continue reading →
I appreciate your thoughtful response. However, it confirms for me the worst of my suspicions of how exactly you “support” Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
As one of your constituents, I am deeply concerned about your positions on these issues. Again and again, polls and policy experts are in the news indicating the very things that need to be done in order to preserve and protect these vital programs. Continue reading →
The Sing-Off was a bit of a disappointment this year.
Last season was the show’s high water mark to date, with four or five legitimate A-level contenders and two acts – Committed (the winner) and Street Corner Symphony (runner-up) – that stand head and shoulders above everybody else in the show’s three seasons to date. (And please, click those links to see what I’m talking about.) Season 2 just shimmered, from the first note to the last, with depth and resonance and nuance and soul. It was a show that, week in and week out, was a must-see and a joy to listen to (especially if you were DVRing and could ffwd through Nick Lachey and Nicole Scherzinger).
This season, though, something was different, and I didn’t really detect it until we’d gotten the first few bands out of the way. Continue reading →
Welcome to the long-awaited third installment of the S&R Tournament of Rock. This competition will pit 16 bands and solo artists against each other in a standard single-elimination format. The rules are simple:
Selection criteria were informal: we picked 16 acts we liked that released new music in 2011. Then we drew names out of the hat and matched them randomly.
Special thanks to Art Jipson (of WUDR Radio’s outstanding Tuesday afternoon indie showcase), The Blueflowers’ Tony Hamera and Ed Colavito, manager of The Lost Patrol, for recommending some worthy participants. We thought Tony and Ed might at least take the opportunity to suggest competition that sucked, thereby making things easier on themselves, but they responded by pointing us to some really good acts that we’d never heard of before. So no fear of a challenge there, and we respect that.
We’ll post a match-up with links so that readers can give the bands a listen.
At the bottom, click on your choice. Winners advance, and losers depart with a copy of the home version of our game and a year’s supply of Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco treat. Continue reading →
Like many evangelicals in Iowa, Steve Deace, an influential conservative radio host, is wrestling with the possibility that Newt Gingrich may be the most viable standard bearer for family-values voters in the next election. It’s a conundrum, he says, that many others are also grappling with. “Maybe the guy in the race that would make the best president is on his third marriage,” he says. “How do we reconcile that?”
“Under normal circumstances, Gingrich would have some real problems with the social-conservative community,” says Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council. “But these aren’t normal circumstances.” Continue reading →
Tim Tebow, late in the first half, finally completes his first pass. Guy at next table, vibrating with excitement, says to friend “they talk about Tebow being a football player, but that’s the great quarterback!”
Tim Tebow runs for a couple of yards. Nearby fan to companion: “They should let Tebow call his own plays!!”
In overtime, the offensive line opens a nice hole and Willis McGahee hits it for a big gainer. Broncos fan, as McGahee is running: “TEBOW!!!!!!” Continue reading →
Tom Wicker, an exceptional journalist, writer, and thinker, is dead. I doubt my students have heard of him. That’s my fault; I should tell them more about the journalists past as well as present. His obituary in The New York Times recalls his brilliant career.
Wicker wrote good stories and abhorred the practices that produced bad stories. From The Times‘ obit:
Mr. Wicker’s “On Press” (1978) enlarged on complaints he had made for years: the myth of objectivity, reliance on official and anonymous sources. Far from being robust and uninhibited, he wrote, the press was often a toady to government and business.
In his honor, please permit me to revisit a post I wrote about Wicker some months ago. What makes a good news story? Or a bad one?
Nearly a decade ago, my university’s journalism school gave an award to Wicker, whose “In The Nation” column ran in The Times from 1966 through 1992. His columns were sufficiently critical of Richard Nixon to earn Wicker a place on Nixon’s enemies list.
In accepting our modest award, Wicker said, “Find out what you can and tell the people what you know.” Continue reading →
In an article in the September issue of The Writer’s Chronicle, poet Tony Hoagland traced the legacy of the New York School’s poetics. That legacy, he argues, has left contemporary poetry infused with “distractedness and haplessness,” which lowers the stakes and makes poetry “harmless in itself, quirky-cute, a sherbert-flavored course of hallucinogenic dessert art.”
There is, he suggested, “a kind of heroism and commitment missing from contemporary American poetry….”
Hoagland’s own poetry is filled with heroism of the everyday kind: slightly broken people trying to move through the world even as they’re besieged by consumerism, vapid media, and stuff. He’s wry and witty and keenly insightful, and everything always comes back to the struggle to understand what it means to be human.
Much contemporary poetry—at least of the post-New York School—forgets that struggle, though, and instead gets preoccupied by all that stuff. Continue reading →
I remember when Lennon was killed. I also remember the reactions of his fans. I liked The Beatles, of course, but they were a few years ahead of me. And Lennon’s solo work underwhelmed me. So it’s fair to say that I really didn’t get his importance to Baby Boomers or the powerful emotional connection that many of them felt to him. As a result, I didn’t quite fathom the oppressive pall that seemed to fall over every part of the world inhabited by Boomers when, on December 8, 1980, he was gunned down on the streets of New York City. The Beatles weren’t my band. They weren’t of my generation. John wasn’t my hero. And I had never lost a rock hero before.
But on November 24, 1991 – 20 years ago today – I came to understand perhaps a measure of the grief felt by my older friends and colleagues. On that day the man who had been my rock hero succumbed to AIDS. We had only learned a few days earlier that he even had the disease, and I had no idea that the end would come so quickly. Continue reading →
Given the release of a second batch of hacked emails yesterday, S&R decided to pull this analysis from 2010 back to the front. The conclusions reached in this analysis are as applicable to the emails published in 2011 just as much as they are to the original emails from 2009.
It is impossible to draw firm conclusions from the hacked documents and emails. They do not represent the complete record, and they are not a random selection from the complete record.
- Dr. Timothy Osborn, Climatic Research Unit (source)
After several hundred hours of studying the emails and looking at their references, I have no hesitation in stating that, to my satisfaction, the system is rotten to the core and has been from the start.
- Geoff Sherrington, former corporate geologist, (source)
According to Osborn, there is not sufficient context to understand the “true” story behind the published Climatic Research Unit emails and documents. However, according to Sherrington, the emails and references contained therein provide all the context needed in order to conclude that climate change research is complete hogwash. Reality lies somewhere on a continuum between these two extremes – the question is where.
S&R set out to determine whether the published CRU emails provided enough context for the public to condemn or vindicate the scientists involved. After investigating three primary options and reading a key study, S&R has concluded that the emails do not themselves contain sufficient context to understand what really happened in climate science over the last 13 years. Continue reading →
If you follow climate news, you’re probably already aware that someone has illegally published another 5000 climate emails, probably from the original “Climategate” hack from two years ago. S&R is following the story and will publish a more in-depth analysis as we learn more. However, we feel it’s important to point out the following key facts about the original emails and their subsequent investigations:
Since we’re reclaiming our stake on Freddie Mercury this week, I suppose we need to reclaim all of him—including the schmaltz-fest that was Flash Gordon.
It’s common practice today for a band to accept a few bucks from someone who wants to appropriate its music for a soundtrack. Back in 1980, not so much. But Queen went far beyond that, aligning themselves so closely with science fiction schlock that they actually wrote the soundtrack.
Two hundred years ago, poetry dominated western society as the premier art form. Poets such as William Wordsworth and Lord Byron had a devoted readership of millions during and after their lifetimes. Words made sense of the surrounding world and its beauty as well as the often-elusive human soul.
Yet today, poetry occupies the outermost circles of our waning cultural focus.
The evidence lies at your fingertips. Do a comparative search between Kim Kardashian and William Wordsworth on Google Trends. You’ll see Kardashian’s graph gradually rise over time like an economist’s fantasy. Wordsworth’s, however, remains a flat line hugging the lowest part of the y-axis.
No “bright young things” in today’s world of poetry have captivated a mass audience. We think of poetry as a dry, snobby way to whine about our feelings; inaccessible words reserved for dust-covered academic types. Continue reading →