Sunday, 30 October 2011

Democracy Now - A guest post by austintxx

Today's post comes courtesy of austintxx, written in his unique style, involving some adult language...

I am a member of KPFT, a totally listener supported community radio station in Houston. The station first came on the air on March 1 , 1970 with the first song played being "Here Comes The Sun" by the Beatles. The KKK decided that they did not like a community radio station that played any and all music and let any one that wanted their voice heard come to the station and speak out. So just a little over two months later, on May 12, 1970, the KKK blew up the transmitter. After several weeks of repairs, the station was back up and running. THEN, on October 6, 1970, the fuckers did it again! The song being played at the time of the second interruption was "Alice's Restaurant" by Arlo Guthrie. On January 21, 1971, when the station came back on air, Arlo was in the studio to play "Alice's Restaurant" live. How perfect is that ?

I listen to the station 6-7 hours every weekday and one of my favorite shows is Democracy Now, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzales. These are two of the best broadcast journalists in America. Period. You will learn more in the hour that you listen to this program than you will doing anything else that day. No commercials and they shoot straight as it gets.

We are having our fall fundraiser presently and imagine my pleasant surprise when it was announced that Juan Gonzales was coming to Houston to promote his new book News for All the People: The Epic Story of Race and the American Media, co-authored with Joseph Torres of the media reform group Free Press, and to help out the station.

Well, it took mere seconds for me to pounce on the phone and pledge to do the meet & greet.

So, this past Wednesday, Oct 26, I went to Talento Bilingue de Houston and met and listened to Juan and Joe speak.

Juan blew us away

The man's eloquence and depth of knowledge on media history in America is unmatched.
Here is Amy's interview with Juan and Joe and you can see what real journalism is all about.

Also this following week on Tavis Smiley on PBS, Juan will be making an appearance.

“Juan González and Joseph Torres have rendered a splendid public service with this highly readable and engrossing story of how the press sees—and doesn’t see—who we are as a people. Race and ethnicity, power and privilege, the visible and the invisible are at the core of our democratic crisis today, and it’s hard to imagine a better way to face the challenge than to be armed with the story this book tells so well.” ~ Bill Moyers, Public Affairs Television.

I want to thank La Regina for allowing me to share my experience here.

[Thank you, austin!]

Saturday, 29 October 2011

A birthday treat

Today we have a guest post by our friend HelenNPN. It's her husband's birthday on the 30th, but the post had to go up today because it's already tomorrow where they are and she wanted to surprise him when he got up in the morning. Confused? Blame it on the time difference...

Over to Helen:

Milford Sound is part of the “wild west” coast of New Zealand. It is a fiord, fed by rainfall and freshwater springs. Remote and accessed by helicopter or a relatively expensive two hour bus ride plus a two hour boat ride from the nearest small town, it is nevertheless quite a popular draw for those who wish to view an untouched ecosystem. It is the kind of place that gives New Zealand the catchphrase, “99% Pure.”

Starting out from the motel, we couldn’t help but take a photo of the sign by the laundry clotheslines – apparently drive-by-laundry-hangings provide a criminal element in an otherwise serene Kiwi neighbourhood. ; )

The bus ride passes through lush yellow green valleys and waterfalls in beech forests. We are encouraged to fill up our water bottles at the from the passing springs before heading into the most remote areas - there will be no place to buy water and the confidence in this lovely fresh water is absolute. The terrain eventually becomes quite rugged; after what already seems like a long journey you find yourself on a boat, facing a very mysterious and slightly foreboding waterway. Colors fade in the mist and the Gilligan’s Island theme starts up in your head.

As the air becomes more moist, waterfalls seem to sprout before your eyes. It feels like you are looking on a primeval landscape, viewing how the first waterfalls fell from the first land that just now rose and shook off the ocean. A picture of how life began somewhere both grim and lush. In these caves a unique species of glow worm spread themselves out like constellations inside the terminal darkness. If enough food doesn’t make it into the cave, they feast on each other, but the colony is always maintained. The long deep body of water cut by curtains of cliffs ultimately opens to the sea.

Despite the isolation, there is always a roaring merry go round of noise from the ocean-wind-falls-sea birds. A group of seals stretch and revel in the isolation. The sun breaks through as we head back to the dock for the long bus ride back to the little town Te Anau, which seems like a very remote outpost itself.

All photos were taken by my husband Philip, who I think did a splendid job of catching such sweeping and dimly lit views with an ordinary digital camera. Happy Birthday Philip!

[Happy birthday from all of us too. Have a wonderful day with lovely Helen, you're a lucky guy!]

Friday, 28 October 2011

Baby elephant

Sleuth is very good at finding cute animal videos. Here's one of her contributions:

Thank you, Sleuth.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Talented hands

Shapeshifterbelly sent me some photos of hand art and I did a bit of research. I had seen some of them before and was curious about the artist.

Mario Mariotti (1936-1997) was an Italian artist who grew up in Florence (surrounded by stunning art). There are a few books depicting his creations, covering different themes.

Thank you, Shapeshifter, these pictures are fantastic.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

So Palin...

There was a special offer at our supermarket : "Buy two, get third one free." We use a lot of paper towels, so it was a good bargain... until we got home and paid attention to the brand!

I don't know how we're going to cope with seeing her name on 1,500 sheets of this stuff. We wouldn't mind it so much if it had been something suitable, like toilet paper!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Some music...

I featured this song on the old blog as "Les Feuilles Mortes," with Yves Montand singing the original 1945 version - music by Joseph Kosma and lyrics by Jacques Prévert.

This version (featuring beautiful photos) brings together two incredibly talented musicians:

[Our son Billy is arriving tomorrow. I prepared a few posts and they're scheduled to appear on a daily basis while we catch up on the past two years!]

Monday, 24 October 2011

In touch with Mother Nature

Grasshopper went on a bike ride on an Old Indian trail converted to a bike/walking trail along Des Plaines river. The photos are lovely. I wonder how many people will be able to work out the last one... I had to ask Grasshopper, then it became clear.

Thank you, Grasshopper. That was a great debut on What Time, eh?