Commentary

This is the song “Mindflowers” from the 1968 album Behold and See by the band Ultimate Spinach. It’s full of echo-y, distorted guitar, it drones on as though trying to make time stop, and the lyrics, like “take a trip to the center of your mind,” allude to some sort of inner discovery. I’m talking today about Psychedelic music because, even though it is mostly a phenomenon of the 1960’s, our musical space is still experiencing flashbacks.

It took a mere six weeks for the composer Gaetano Donizetti to compose the music for the comic opera L'elisir d'amore, and the work was an instant hit when it debuted in May of 1832 in Milan.

Hip hop is an oversized music; part of what makes it so great is the exaggeration, the outlandish claims by emcees of supernatural powers, ridiculous braggadocio and the pulp-like caricature of its villains. So it’s rare to find an artist who is skilled at making hip hop smaller, who can turn the arena filled with thousands of people into a room with just the emcee and you. On the 2016 ‘The Falling Season’, Masta Ace does just that through a beautifully crafted concept album that traces the path of a young man switching high schools in the early ‘80s.

Thanksgiving is known as a holiday of appreciation for the good things in our lives, gathering with family and friends to celebrate the changing season, and--in years past--to be thankful for the yield of the year’s harvest.

So here we have: a movie directed by George Clooney, who made the excellent Oscar-nominated Good Night and Good Luck; a movie written by the Coen Brothers, who’ve made some of the very very best films of the last 30 years; a movie starring Matt Damon and Julianne Moore, both nominated multiple times for Academy Awards. Can’t miss, right?

In the mid-90s, video games were just starting to make the jump from 2D to 3D. If you go back to a lot of those early 3D games, the controls were experimental and awkward - nobody really knew the best way to make 3D games work, until Nintendo came along with Super Mario 64 and literally defined how 3D platforming games should work.

Now, 20 years later, Nintendo has released Super Mario Odyssey for the Nintendo Switch - a spiritual sequel to Super Mario 64, and the most refined 3D platformer to date.

Why do students from Finland perform at the top or near the top in reading, mathematics and science, in industrialized countries? 

Here’s a little tune The President is singing these days:

Strangers in the night - Who’s this Paul Manafort?
George Papadopoulos??? - Not heard that name before
Rick Gates rings no bell, They’re all unknown to me
I know I once bragged that my memory was bigly
But that was before Bob Mueller came after me
Wish that he would go
And bother Hillary

OnWords: Crisis

Oct 31, 2017

I think we’re using the word “crisis” wrong most of the time.

I don’t usually make such pronouncements, and, frankly, as someone who recognizes that language changes based on how it is used, I’m uncomfortable doing even this.

But right now we seem to have a crisis glut.

North Korea’s nuclear program is a crisis. Immigration is a crisis. Health care is a crisis.

Traditionally, the word “crisis” has referred to a turning point, a time after which everything would dramatically and suddenly change.

Beth Golay / KMUW

This time of year brings out tales of haunted places. One such place is Theorosa’s Bridge, situated north of Valley Center where 109th Street crosses Jester Creek. Local legend says that the ghost of a woman haunts it, distraught over the loss of her baby who was drowned in the creek. Uttering the phrase “Theorosa, I have your baby” results in the irate spectre going after the speaker.

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