All Creatures

Tyson & the Pigeons,
Brian May & the Badgers

Two former superstars found purpose and redemption in their relationship with animals, great and small. Tyson draws lessons of loyalty and transcendence in his connection with pigeons. May fulfills his sense of duty by caring for the animals he loves, including the badger. Both find ways for healing and regaining the humanity their fame and fortune almost stole from them. In no way either would exchange their current serenity and wisdom for their glorious past.
THE COOP KEEPER
Having the billing of heavyweight champion of the world following his name may have helped Mike Tyson for the few years he was on the ring, dispatching adversaries as you would with most of your emails: swiftly and almost absentmindedly. That lasted less than 10 years.
But for the rest of his life, it has been more like a curse. It may Continue reading

Beatles, Scientifically

Math Teacher Explains
Another Fab Four Song

Science is finally catching up with The Beatles music. Who knew? It’s true that it took a number of calculations and a lot of brain work (besides a considerable delay), but a mathematician finally figured that “Strawberry Fields Forever” is actually a compression of two versions of the song.
We know, we know. No disrespect to Professor Jason Brown, of Dalhousie’s Department Continue reading

Difficult Conversations – Special Edition

Earthquake, Oil Spill &
Dangerous War Secrets

____________

A Short List of What Have Kept Us Awake in 2010,

and What We May Need to Awake From in the New Year.

________

THE TOPS
1) July 26, December 19. The biggest story of the year, the two-punch WikiLeaks revelations about our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the startlingly dispirited diplomacy used to achieve them, had all the limitations of an attack led by drones: all fire, no eyesight.
What was far more revealing was the swift counter punch by the U.S. and its allies in reaction to them. Within days, a case of free speech was turned into a terrorist witch-hunt of the organization’s founder, Julian Assange, the Interpol was brought in and a personal misdeed in Sweden was quickly rolled in for good measure.
The effort to punish the messenger was enough to temporarily derail the essence of the allegations, force Assange to fight expatriation and jail term threats, and land Pvt Bradley Manning, his supposedly source, into an insalubrious location Continue reading

Voodoo Child

Jimi Hendrix’s Legacy
Reaches Age of the iPod

Rock’s arguably greatest guitar player would’ve been 68 today. But most of what was relevant about his life and legacy has already been regurgitated this past September, 40 years of his death.
Which clears our schedule today to only enjoy his music, never mind what it’d all be were he still around.
In rock’s recent history, 1970 was as a chockfull of landmarks year as few others. That’s why, 40 years later, we found ourselves once more talking and reading about Jimi Hendrix.
And about Janis, who also died the same year, and Jim and John, who both share a fateful date next month – you’ll hear more about that soon enough – and there surely be many others.
The day belongs to the paratrooper from Seattle, though. So if you’re heading to the the corner coffee shop, have a load to soak at the laundromat, or simply are planning to take it easy, he’s your guy.
Crowd pleasers Hey Joe, Foxy Lady, Purple Haze or All Along the Watchtower usually get the first pick. But since his recorded ouvre is limited, you’ll be through with it all before the dryer’s done. But you’ll, cue the smoky voice, gonna like the way you’ll feel; we guarantee it.

Guitar Raven

Frank Zappa’s
70th Birthday

The self-taught guitar hero of Baltimore, who left his indelible watermark on rock, jazz and contemporary classical music, is also celebrated today in the U.S., Europe, Asia and the world for his stance on artistic freedom.
An accomplished musician, who recorded over 60 albums in a variety of styles, Zappa was also that rare bread of artist, the truly thinker, with highly articulated ideas about the popular culture’s role in society.
Way before being fully understood in the U.S., Zappa had already become an inspiration for generations of Eastern Europeans, and the Czech Republic’s first president, the poet Václav Havel, was a personal fan.
Zappa’s defense of freedom of speech took him to testify to the Senate, in 1985, against efforts to censure mainly rap lyrics deemed too violent or sexually explicit by a group of wives of politicians, including Al Gore’s former wife, Tipper Gore.
He outlived his famed group, the Mothers of Invention, and went on to produce and direct experimental movies, while still touring regularly. He died in 1993 of inoperable prostate cancer. Great part of his work is still to be remastered and released on the latest digital technology.
Now we know why Don Van Vliet, the Captain Beefheart, was in such a hurry to depart this world, which he did less than a week ago: he certainly didn’t want to miss the jam session up in heavens celebrating his high school buddy’s 70th birthday.

Are You Experienced?

Lefty Hendrix
Never Left Us

The world is remembering Jimi Hendrix, who died in London 40 years ago yesterday. To mark the date, there’s a new anthology out and a documentary of his life and music. Bob Smeaton’s “Voodoo Child” uses his own words as a narrative thread and never before seen film footage, recordings, private letters and family pictures to tell his story.
The four-CD “West Coast Seattle Boy” covers his brief but incendiary career through previously unreleased tracks and alternate versions of his classics. It traces his transformation from a sideman to the Isley Brothers, Little Richard and other Continue reading

Bloody Christmas

30 YEARS AGO TODAY

When the World Lost John Lennon

– Where were you when you heard about it?
His family and close ones will always prefer to remember his birthday in October, specially this year, his 70th. But the world will always think about his brutal death, outside the Dakota in New York City, and the crushing end of so many dreams, however unrealistic they may’ve been.
John Lennon’s death, with its profound resonance for millions of fans around the globe, was almost as unexpected as it was deeply unjust. His songs, his music, his art and awareness of Continue reading