Saturday, October 13, 2007

Where did I go? "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are."

Housekeeping (but not vs. the Dirt) and with continued apologies to Nick Hornby: In addition to falling behind with my reviews, I have changed my photo, as regular readers might noticed. My wife felt that the old photo represented a much younger me, so in the interest of "truth in advertising", a more recent pic has been swapped in. I'm the one on the left.

I have been writing a moderate amount on my environmental blog,, though I wish there was more good news to report or discuss. That writing, plus writing for work, has inflamed tendinitis in my right thumb, so it's a good thing I'm not hitchhiking anywhere these days. It's always the mouse that does me in. Do you have similar issues?

Politics: my local State Representative, Democrat Maria Chapelle-Nadal, is up for re-election. Maria has been a tireless supporter of the arts, education, social services, and logic.

Please note that this is unsolicited and unpaid advertising for Maria, and I receive no compensation of any kind: there are prizes for top individual fund-raisers, but I have asked not to be considered for one. If you wish to make a contribution, the following is important:

Individual contributions may exceed what is considered a small donation (usually under $100), but are limited to a $325 maximum for each individual contributor under state law. Checks should indicate your profession and employer (this guards against corporations making stealth contributions via their employees).
Mail Contributions to:
Citizens for Maria Chappelle-Nadal
7133 Dartmouth Ave.
University City, MO 63130

Books and Music. The latest issue of The Believer is an excellent read, as expected. See also the Oxford American's music issue (I always enjoy these): read about jazz genius Thelonius Monk and much more, including:
"Sean Wilentz tells the story of Bob Dylan's all-night recording session in Nashville for Blonde on Blonde".
Added later in the day: for more on T. Monk and his Southern roots, see NPR. Monk is responsible for some of the quirkiest, most original and sometimes humorous jazz compositions.

p.s. That's Oxford, Mississippi, a literary center in the US, for you Oxonians and Cantabrigians (and Cantabridgians, for that matter) in the crowd.

I'm interested to hear more about readers' favorite music references in fiction. Any comments?

The title quote is, of course, from that modern classic:
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension

© James K. Bashkin, 2007

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

One Woman Show! Sandra Tsing Loh, Master of All Media

Since I offered no graphical evidence to back up some of my last post, I thought I would add a few relevant gems about the poly-talent, Sandra Tsing Loh. As her 2006 bio indicates,

She has been a regular commentator on NPR’s "Morning Edition" and on Ira Glass’ "This American Life." Currently, KPCC (89.3 FM in Los Angeles) broadcasts her daily segment The Loh Down on Science and her weekly segment The Loh Life. American Public Media’s "Marketplace" broadcasts her monthly segment The Loh Down. She is currently a contributing editor for The Atlantic Monthly and was a 2006 finalist for the National Magazine Award.
Living in the environs of Los Angeles, Loh has so far inexplicably resisted launching the much- requested basketball commentary, "The Loh Post". Or is this refusal linked to the retirement of Magic, James, Kareem, Jamaal and Michael? Will we ever know the real truth? Perhaps only the NSA knows for sure.

Nevertheless, it should be clear by now that, with Sandra Tsing Loh, we see that rarest of all artists, an original with pen and piano, stage and studio, microphone and monthly magazine, and even science.

Ms. Loh's meteoric rise from famous performance artist to "master of all media" has not been without its occasional impact crater. Well, perhaps just the one, but it generated a shockwave powerful enough to open a new fault line in the general manager's office of one LA public radio station- a process documented by noted National Review columnist Catherine Seipp. Did I just plug a right-wing writer? If so, only because even The Right is sometimes, well, right.

I look forward to all of your comments, as usual! I'm afraid I'm going backwards with regard to finishing the previously mentioned "books in progress", having been inspired by the blog listed on MetaxuCafe to re-start Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet.

Additional key links:
Depth Takes a Holiday
If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home By Now
Aliens in America
A Year in Van Nuys

© James K. Bashkin, 2007

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