Friday, September 30, 2011

29-year-old Deaf Woman Receives Hearing Implant (video)

Editing Our Online Selves

Now if they just substituted Goldfish Crackers for the Cheetos this would be dead-on:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Film Scenes: Brooks in Shawshank Redemption

Great writing and acting. The look on James Whitmore's face while he rides the bus and Morgan Freeman's face after hearing the end of his letter, perfection; it's acting that looks and feels like real life.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Funk legend Sly Stone now homeless and living out of a van in LA

NY Post says he's living in a van in Los Angeles;

Funk legend Sly Stone now homeless and living out of a van in LA


Last Updated: 5:33 AM, September 25, 2011

Posted: 2:05 AM, September 25, 2011

In his heyday, he lived at 783 Bel Air Road, a four-bedroom, 5,432-square-foot Beverly Hills mansion that once belonged to John Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas.

The Tudor-style house was tricked out in his signature funky black, white and red color scheme. Shag carpet. Tiffany lamps in every room. A round water bed in the master bedroom. There were parties where Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Miles Davis would drop by, where Etta James would break into “At Last” by the bar.

Just four years ago, he resided in a Napa Valley house so large it could only be described as a “compound,” with a vineyard out back and multiple cars in the driveway.

But those days are gone.

Today, Sly Stone -- one of the greatest figures in soul-music history -- is homeless, his fortune stolen by a lethal combination of excess, substance abuse and financial mismanagement. He lays his head inside a white camper van ironically stamped with the words “Pleasure Way” on the side. The van is parked on a residential street in Crenshaw, the rough Los Angeles neighborhood where “Boyz n the Hood” was set. A retired couple makes sure he eats once a day, and Stone showers at their house. The couple’s son serves as his assistant and driver.

Inside the van, the former mastermind of Sly & the Family Stone, now 68, continues to record music with the help of a laptop computer.

“I like my small camper,” he says, his voice raspy with age and years of hard living. “I just do not want to return to a fixed home. I cannot stand being in one place. I must keep moving.”

Stone has been difficult to pin down for years. In the last two decades, he’s become one of music’s most enigmatic figures, bordering on reclusive. You’d be forgiven for assuming he’s dead. He rarely appears in public, and just getting him in a room requires hours or years of detective work, middlemen and, of course, making peace with the likelihood that he just won’t show up.

There was a time when Sly was difficult to escape. Stone, whose real name is Sylvester Stewart, was one of the most visible, flamboyant figures of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The multiracial, multi-gender band that Stone assembled fused funk, soul and psychedelic rock and became one of the most influential acts ever. The San Fran-based group released a string of hits beginning with the 1968 album “Dance to the Music,” followed by “Everyday People,” “Family Affair,” “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” and “Stand!”

The group’s costumes and showmanship were just as memorable. The members favored giant afros, flashy capes, Beatle boots, neon vests and leopard-print jumpsuits.

Read the full post HERE.

Steven Colbert on the USA as a "Christian Nation"

Friday, September 23, 2011

Misspelled Tattoos 4: Believe/Belief

Okay, yet another round of misspelled tattoos, this one dedicated to misspellings of the words believe and belief. As always, visit the incredible site that documents the huge variety of bad tattoos, Ugliest Tattoos, part of the Failblog network. Now on to the examples of these poor souls who permanently inked misspelled words onto their bodies. How can you or the tattoo artist not know this? I can't beliefe it.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Orthodox Jewish "Facebook" Separates Sexes


September 12th, 2011
08:34 PM ET

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish 'Facebook' separates the sexes

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

(CNN) - Showing that modernity might, just might, find its place even in a world predisposed to the most traditional of customs, in walks FaceGlat: an ultra-Orthodox Jewish answer, at least for some, to Facebook.

Among the most conservative of Orthodox Jews, often referred to as Haredi Jews, modesty reigns. Women wear long sleeves and skirts, and they cover their hair after marriage. Men dress as their ancestors did centuries ago. The genders are separated in synagogues, on wedding dance floors and, in certain neighborhoods, on buses.

CNN reported this year on one community newspaper that went so far as to erase women from an iconic news photograph, all in an effort to uphold its values. The paper later apologized, not for its beliefs about modesty and featuring women in photographs but for how the matter was handled.

So social media – which, in the case of Facebook, invite sharing, tagging and gawking at photographs, among other interactions – may not be the most welcoming space for people with this kind of faith.

A 20-something self-taught website builder out of Israel, Yaakov Swisa, seems to be trying to change this.

Ynetnews, an English-language Israeli news site, reported in late July the establishment of FaceGlat, a Swisa-made social network that segregates men and women, blocks immodest advertisements and pictures, and uses a filter to keep language in comments and status updates clean.

“People who are God-fearing and care about their children’s education cannot tolerate the ads and pictures one sees on the regular Facebook,” Ynetnews wrote, quoting Swisa. “I personally know people who have deteriorated spiritually because of all kinds of things they were introduced to there.”

The name FaceGlat is a blending of Facebook with the word glatt, as in “glatt kosher,” the highest level of kosher when it comes to Jewish dietary laws surrounding meat. FaceGlat, Ynetnews reported Swisa as saying, is “not an alternative for Facebook” but rather “a cleaner option for those who are already there. If it encourages people to open accounts or waste their time instead of studying Torah – it’s a failure. It’s not worth a thing. I promised myself that if that happened I would close it down.”

According to a Le Monde report, posted late last week on Worldcrunch, a still-open FaceGlat has more than 2,000 users and is getting about 100 new accounts per week.

Read the full post HERE.

Darth Vader in Love

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Japanese Syncronized Walking Performance Team

I don't know what to call it. If you're short of time, jump to 1:35 for the most impressive part.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Cherokee Want to Oust Black Claimants

Cherokee Indians: We are free to oust blacks
US government wants second-largest Indian tribe to recognize as citizens 2,800 descendants of slaves that were held by Cherokees

updated 9/14/2011 9:00:20 AM ET

The nation's second-largest Indian tribe said on Tuesday that it would not be dictated to by the U.S. government over its move to banish 2,800 African Americans from its citizenship rolls.

"The Cherokee Nation will not be governed by the BIA," Joe Crittenden, the tribe's acting principal chief, said in a statement responding to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Crittenden, who leads the tribe until a new principal chief is elected, went on to complain about unnamed congressmen meddling in the tribe's self-governance.

The reaction follows a letter the tribe received on Monday from BIA Assistant Secretary Larry Echo Hawk, who warned that the results of the September 24 Cherokee election for principal chief will not be recognized by the U.S. government if the ousted members, known to some as "Cherokee Freedmen," are not allowed to vote.

The dispute stems from the fact that some wealthy Cherokee owned black slaves who worked on their plantations in the South. By the 1830s, most of the tribe was forced to relocate to present-day Oklahoma, and many took their slaves with them. The so-called Freedmen are descendants of those slaves. After the Civil War, in which the Cherokee fought for the South, a treaty was signed in 1866 guaranteeing tribal citizenship for the freed slaves. The U.S. government said that the 1866 treaty between the Cherokee tribe and the U.S. government guaranteed that the slaves were tribal citizens, whether or not they had a Cherokee blood relation.

The African Americans lost their citizenship last month when the Cherokee Supreme Court voted to support the right of tribal members to change the tribe's constitution on citizenship matters.

Read the full story HERE.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Japan's "Corpse Hotels"

updated 9/12/2011 4:38:55 PM ET

TOKYO — Across from a noodle shop in a Yokohama suburb, Hisayoshi Teramura's inn looks much like any other small lodging that dots the port city. Occasionally, it's even mistaken for a love hotel by couples hankering for some time beneath the sheets.

But Teramura's place is neither a love nest nor a pit stop for tired travelers. The white and grey tiled building is a corpse hotel, its 18 deceased guests tucked up in refrigerated coffins.

"We tell them we only have cold rooms," Teramura quips when asked how his staff respond to unwary lovers looking for a room.

The daily rate at Lastel, as it is known, is 12,000 yen ($157). For that fee, bereaved families can check in their dead while they wait their turn in the queue for one of the city's overworked crematoriums.

Growing market
Death is a rare booming market in stagnant Japan and Teramura's new venture is just one example of how businessmen are trying to tap it.

Read the full story HERE.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Badass Kabuki Robot Performance

I think it's the Sony robot, but I can't tell:

Musicologist Christopher Small (1927-2011)

September 10, 2011
Christopher Small, Cultural Musicologist, Is Dead at 84

Christopher Small, a New Zealand-born writer and musicologist who argued that music is above all an active ritual involving those who play and listen to it and only secondarily a matter of “black dots,” as he once called written music, died on Wednesday in Sitges, Spain. He was 84.

His death was confirmed by the musicologist Susan McClary.

On the strength of three books, originally published in Britain, Mr. Small’s influence on American academics and music critics grew in the 1970s and ’80s, and again in the ’90s, when Wesleyan University Press gave them new life in the United States.

With elegant simplicity, using jargon-free prose for a general audience, he made broad comparisons between musical traditions in Africa and Asia and between Europe and America, talking about ritual, cultural identity and the rise of western music as a mercantile, nonparticipatory art.

He also wrote about the classical tradition as well as popular music — he preferred the term “vernacular” — in his efforts to understand western music as phenomena of capitalist societies. At the same time, he wondered about the most basic questions of music: why we pick up instruments or raise our voices together in the first place.

In “Musicking,” published in 1998, he argued that music is an action, not an object; a verb, not a noun, as the title implied. He framed the book around the rituals of a symphonic concert in a modern hall: the concertgoer’s experience of the building’s size and interior spaces, the ticket-taking, the seated arrangement of the players, the standards of excellence in individual performance, and the inevitable opining after the concert about whether it was any good.

Mr. Small’s aim, he wrote, was to “decipher the signals that are everywhere being given and received.” He stressed that all people involved in a musical performance — the musicians, audience, roadies, publicists, cleaning crew — are part of its ritual.

His other two books were “Music, Society, Education” (1977) and “Music of the Common Tongue” (1987).

Some of his statements were provocative. Though he was trained in the classical tradition as both a musician and teacher and continued to listen to Mozart and Haydn, he called the works of the standard symphony repertory “bedtime stories told to adults.”

read the full post HERE.

Friday, September 09, 2011

My 9/11 Slideshow

These are some photos I find especially powerful regarding the 9/11/01 attack on the World Trade Center. They are somewhat in chronological order and do not include images from the Pentagon attack site or United 93 crash site. Some of these photos are very well known; I do not have copyright on these images but collect them here under fair use terms. There are other slideshows like this on the internet; this one isn't special. I was only going to post a few of the most powerful images, but I kept including more and more until it ballooned to its present size, presently without commentary.


And I think I would finish with this song, which I posted on 9/11 a year ago.