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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What is 'Afro-Soul' Music ?

Blogger DJ's damned if he knows, but Budos Band plays it, and ever since he first heard Origin of Man on the PA at a Portsmouth, NH greasy-spoon, he's been hooked, and offers the following BB cuts for your delectation.

Origin of Man
Hidden Hand
Ride or Die
Nature's Wrath
Smoke Gets In
Deep in the Sand
Crimson Skies
Rite of the Ancients
Golden Dunes
Chicago Falcon

For info on the band, check out Wikipedia, and for info on their concert schedule and discography, check out the Budos Band website.  

Libya's Lessons, and Sundry Info on Gadhafi and the War


According to George Friedman in STRATFOR, it's too early to declare victory in Libya, but not too early to draw lessons from what has already happened. The following excerpt from Friedman's article,  Libya: A Premature Victory Celebration, is republished with permission of STRATFOR

First, it is important to remember that Libya in itself may not be important to the world, but it matters to Libyans a great deal. Second, do not assume that tyrants lack support. Gadhafi didn’t govern Libya for 42 years without support. Third, do not assume that the amount of force you are prepared to provide is the amount of force needed. Fourth, eliminating the option of a negotiated end to the war by the means of international courts may be morally satisfying, but it causes wars to go on and casualties to mount. It is important to decide what is more important — to alleviate the suffering of people or to punish the guilty. Sometimes it is one or the other. Fifth, and most important, do not kid the world about wars being over. After George W. Bush flew onto an aircraft carrier that was emblazoned with a “mission accomplished” banner, the Iraq war became even more violent, and the damage to him was massive. Information operations may be useful in persuading opposing troops to surrender, but political credibility bleeds away when the war is declared over and the fighting goes on.

Gadhafi will likely fall in the end. NATO is more powerful than he is, and enough force will be brought to bear to bring him down. The question, of course, is whether there was another way to accomplish that with less cost and more yield. Leaving aside the war-for-oil theory, if the goal was to protect Benghazi and bring down Gadhafi, greater force or a negotiated exit with guarantees against trials in The Hague would likely have worked faster with less loss of life than the application of soft military power.

As the world contemplates the situation in Syria, this should be borne in mind.


For a handy guide to Gadhafi's immediate family--who are they, and where are they now--check out Reuters.  And for a map tracking recent developments, check out the Washington Post. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Culture Vulture Returns from an art tour of the 'Dirigo' State

Captain Upton's House, by Edward Hopper
...specifically at Brunswick and Kennebunkport.

Brunswick is far more congenial--and YUP-ified--since callow undergraduate C.V. sampled the lethal hot dogs at Mike's Place, the paste-board pizza at Bill's Class A Restaurant, and the so-thinly-sliced-as to-be-translucent roast beef in the Dining room of the Eagle Hotel.

After a liesurely lunch at Scarlet Begonias, one of the town's many excellent modern eateries, C.V. and the Mrs. headed up sunny Main Street to the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, to view Edward Hopper's Maine, among other shows.

The Hopper exhibit, which runs to October 16, is comprised of 90 paintings, watercolors, drawings, and prints which Hopper produced in Maine between 1914 and 1929.

A companion show, Hopper's Contemporaries: Artists in New England, features works by John Marin, Rockwell Kent, Andrew Wyeth, and George Bellows, and runs until September 11.

Talk about an embarassment of riches !

And as if the above were not enough, the C.V. and the Mrs. also took in Masterpieces of European Painting from the Wadsworth Atheneum, 10 paintings by arists such as Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, Giuseppe Ribera, and Aelbert Cuyp, all on long-term loan from the Wadsworth and recently installed at the Museum.


At Bowdoin's Peary MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center, we found an insipiring selection of Canadian Inuit Art, from the Robert and Judith Toll Collection. The Inuit prints and sculpture  co-habit with the permanent Peary-MacMillan Arctic exhibits in Hubbard Hall, just steps away from the Museum. 

* * *

On a dark, windy, rain-filled day--a precursor of Hurricane Irene--we hied to Kennebunkport's shops and galleries, among the latter, the cozy Landmark and the more extensive Mast Cove Galleries.

At the Landmark, we found a wide variety of excellent landscapes, like this Charles Movalli painting of Port Clyde.

At the Mast Cove, we found several canvases by Michael Zigmond, one of the C.V.'s all-time favorites, whose work the C.V. had previously admired at the Chase Gallery in Boston. The painting shown at right, Nasturtium Bouquet, was well beyond C.V.'s price range (sigh), and had sold well before his arrival anyway (sigh).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tonight's Blogger DJ Song is a blast from the past...

You may recognize the album cover from the end of the film Pirate Radio.

The Incredible String Band - The Hedgehog Song

The Culture Vulture Returns to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA

...and takes in two current exhibits.

Painting the American Vision features 45 landscapes by artists of the so-called Hudson River School. The highlight of the exhibit, which runs to November 6, is Thomas Cole's  Course of Empire Series.  But fans of  Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Edwin Church, not to mention Martin Joseph Heade, will not be disappointed, since these artists are also represented.

For a change of pace,  there's Man Ray | Lee Miller, Partners in Surrealism.  Running to December 4, this exhibit recounts Ray's and Miller's "brief but intense association and reveals the nature of their creative partnership ", via vintage photographs, paintings, sculpture and drawings. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Blogger DJ's Tribute to the Weekend in general, and to Friday Night in particular

The Moody Blues, in the '60s
Cutting Crew - I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight
Steve Winwood - Don't You Know What the Night Can Do? 

Commodores - Nightshift
Earth Wind and Fire - Let's Groove Tonight
Bruce Springsteen - Dancing in the Dark
Lionel Ritchie - All Night Long
Roy Orbison - I Drove All Night  
Bob Seger- Night Moves
Bob Seger - Hollywood Nights
Brenda Russell - Piano in the Dark
Oscar Petersen covers Night Train
Diana Krall covers Night Train
Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin
Streets of Fire - Tonight is What it Means to Be Young   


...goes to Business Leaders and Experts who, according to Ruth Mantell of MARKETWATCH, just now recognize that multitasking is bad for productivity !

Why, over the last two decades, has American Management prodded and badgered workers into multitasking ? I don't think Mantell ever addresses this question in her article, excerpted below.  On the other hand, personal experience and observation lead me to believe that Management's main goal was to squeeze more work out of fewer people, for their greater glory, and, of course, profit.   

* * *

There’s growing evidence that multitasking may be hurting productivity and actually making workers worse thinkers — and businesses need to re-examine goals in this area.

With the ubiquity of mobile devices and other communications technology, many workers are expected to multitask, with some employees taking pride in their perceived ability to switch between complex tasks. But all this multitasking is putting workers, as well as their employers, at risk, experts say.

“It’s unequivocally the case that workers who are doing multiple things at one time are doing them poorly,” said Clifford Nass, director of the Communication Between Humans and Interactive Media Lab at Stanford University.

In a 2009 study, Nass and other researchers found that heavy media multitaskers are “more susceptible to interference from irrelevant environmental stimuli,” and were worse at switching between tasks, likely because of their lesser ability to ignore irrelevant information.

From an employer’s point of view, one of the most worrying effects may be the trouble that chronic multitaskers have focusing.

“They are seduced by irrelevancy. They are constantly distracting themselves. They will look for distraction even when no such distraction exists,” Nass said. “We are creating a culture that encourages workers to be less effective, handle information poorly and have a tougher time in social relationships. What does the workforce look like where people can’t pay attention, where people can’t think deeply, and where people lack emotional skills? It’s a pretty scary world.”

Troubles can start when individuals try to work simultaneously on more than one complex task. Complex tasks require some reflection or mindfulness, said Earl Miller, a professor of neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Anything that involves upgrading information requires consciousness, and that’s where the limited bandwidth comes in,” Miller said.

Culture Vulture Alert : Chihuly Exhibit at MFA Closes August 8 !!!

This is truly one of those rare, don't-miss exhibits.
The 'Persians' Room at the Exhibit. For a video, click on this link to the artist's website.

But be advised, this is also one of the most gruelling shows because of the large crowds in attendance, and more importantly because the Museum has actually encouraged attendees to snap pics (non-flash).  

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Danger to Turkish Democracy Passing Virtually Unnoticed in the West

For a glimpse at how the the Justice and Development Party, or AK Parti, has undermined freedom of the press and the independence of the military--for decades the primary safeguard of Turkish secular reform--and the current state of affairs in the country, check out these articles on the HURRIYET DAILY's website.

PM Erdogan with his new army Chief of Staff (AP)
For a contrasting, reliably pro-AK-Party viewpoint, check out articles by TODAY's ZAMAN writers :