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The Elusive Freedom of Tomorrow

 

 The Great Dictator’s Famous Speech

 

**Award-Winning Animated Short**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.
   ~George Orwell, 1984

 

“I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor.  
That’s not my business.

I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone.  I should like to help everyone if possible; Jew, Gentile, black man, white.

We all want to help one another.  Human beings are like that.  We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery.  We don’t want to hate and despise one another.

In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone.  The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way.  Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, and has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.

We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in.  Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want.  Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind.  We think too much and feel too little.

More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.  Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

The airplane and the radio have brought us closer together.  The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men; cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all.

Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children,
victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say, do not despair.  The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress.  The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people.  

And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers!  Don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you; who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel!  Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, and use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men– machine men with machine minds and machine hearts!

You are not machines, you are not cattle, you are men!  You have the love of humanity in your hearts!  You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate; the unloved and the unnatural.

Soldiers!  Don’t fight for slavery!  Fight for liberty!  In the seventeenth chapter of St. Luke, it is written that the kingdom of God is within man, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men!  In you!

You, the people, have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness!  You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then, in the name of democracy, let us use that power.

Let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security.  By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power.  But they lie!  They do not fulfill that promise. They never will!  Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people.

Now let us fight to fulfill that promise.  Let us fight to free the world!  To do away with national barriers! To do away with greed, with hate and intolerance!  Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

Soldiers, in the name of democracy, let us all unite!”

~Charles Chaplin, The Great Dictator (1940)

 

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Aliens That Go Bump in the Night

 

‘Envoy’

 

**Award-Winning Sci-Fi Film**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

A liberating force together, technology and indie filmmakers can deliver the goods. 

It’s hard to believe the top-notch quality productions amateurs can make today with limited resources and on a shoestring budget.  David Weinstein’s Envoy is the latest example of this.

A story about a troubled young boy who befriends a deadly alien creature and embarks on a life changing journey, Envoy is a fallback to many science fiction and action films reminiscent of the ’80s & ’90s genre. 

In a mere 10 minutes the film packs a decent story, some kick-ass cutting edge visual effects and animation by Adam Coggin, great cinematography and a superb soundtrack by Edwin Wendler– a feat even most big-budget Hollywood productions often fail to accomplish.

Envoy is a short trailer offered as proof for a larger full-length motion picture; that is, introducing the concept and story to fans and financiers while demonstrating the team’s ability to craft high-end productions for a mere fraction of the cost.  Let’s face it:  no one reads scripts in Hollywood anymore.  They want a visual accountability of what you can do and how much it will cost.

Delivering high production values and a solid story on all levels, Envoy has real potential to move forward in the realm of Hollywood filmmaking today.  We hope it does.

 

If you liked this film, you may like our other one:  Genesis

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Beyond the Zen of Pizza

 

Bake Pizza, Ride Bikes:

Pursuing Passion and Excellence

 

**Award-Winning Short**

 

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Whatever you do, do it well.

Anthony Mangieri owns and operates Una Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco.  His dharma has always been to be a pizza man.

Mangieri’s considered by many to be one of the top pizza makers in the world.  He also seems a little too crazy about his pizza– fantastic, simple and delicious 12-inch Neapolitan basil and mozzarella wood-fired numbers that look absolutely perfect in their hot melted cheesy goodness.

Growing up in New Jersey, he was a kid obsessed with Italy, skateboarding and punk rock, but he wanted to be a jazzman, even trying out for the musicians union in Atlantic City.  But, as he puts it, he stunk.

So he followed his passion for food.  He trained and worked in Naples, New Jersey, Manhattan; he opened up his pizzeria in the South of Market area of San Francisco in 2010.

“I just had an oven and that was it,” he says.  ”I mixed everything by hand. … I’d be lucky if we made 100 bucks.”

When he opened his first pizzeria, Neapolitan pizza was an unknown in America.  He bought Caputo flour– a specialty Italian flour used for pizza– from a guy selling it from the trunk of a car, because that was the only way to get it in the United States.  Nowadays, the same flour is available at Safeway.  And nowadays customers beat a path to his door.

Awash in tattoos and strong opinions, with his cap pulled low, Mangieri, 41, is an engaging, charismatic figure, joking constantly in his Jersey accent between tales of Naples lore and his own misadventures.

Mangieri’s routine begins when he comes to the restaurant every morning, usually alone, sometimes accompanied by his wife and infant daughter.  An avid cyclist, he often rides a bike or scooter from his Sausalito home.  

Once he arrives, he turns up the music high– jazz on one day, maybe Italian opera another– and creates the dough in a tiny room, unadorned save for a crucifix.  The dough is a three-day process, unrefrigerated and naturally leavened.  Like his own experience, it’s naturally risen.

That night, Mangieri will offer the same five pizzas as he did the day before, and as he will tomorrow.  For two decades, Mangieri, 41, often clad in a worn baseball cap and T-shirt, has done the same thing every day.

When he runs out of dough, he closes for the night.

It’s a constant pursuit of perfection. It’s the drive, the passion, the rhythym, the blue-collar repetition.  It’s “Groundhog Day” in a pizzeria setting.

Some might assume that boredom would set in, but Mangieri sees the process differently, full of creativity and continuously challenging.  For a forum with so few ingredients– flour, mozzarella, olive oil, tomatoes– the variables are constantly changing.

“I’m always changing things here, even though it’s always been the same idea.  Basically the dough is different every single day,” he says.  “It’s an infinite dance, an unending riff.  The temperature and air fluctuate daily; the fire is a living being.  The dough itself continues to evolve, even over the course of the dinner service.  The more specialized you get and the more you try to do one thing excellently, the more you realize it’s really, really hard.”

It’s the passion and dedication that brings him back every day.  With the proliferation of cookie-cutter pizzerias as an example, Mangieri sees a dilution of what he calls the truth.

“It’s so easy to get all the information, to buy the mixer, buy the oven, buy the flour.  It takes away people’s commitment to really learn.  There’s no growth. There’s no time spent in things. There’s no becoming a part of something, Mangieri says.

“I always think of John Coltrane.  I’m not comparing myself to him at all, but in a sense that’s a guy that went through many phases of his art or whatever he was doing,” Mangieri says.

“It’s not like all of a sudden he decided to abandon chord change.  He learned and built and built and then found freedom through all the learning and practice.”

“It’s the same with anything.  Trying to be dedicated and sticking with it.  This is what you do; this is what you should be doing.”

“The secret to all this, and what makes it really magical, is such a small nuance that you can’t be taught it in a week,” he continues.

“If you’re in the Zen zone, it’s like an improvisation of music.  There are these moments you can’t fake;  when that happens, the pizza can be beyond.”

 

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Comic Book Heaven

 

Calling It Quits in a Different Era

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

It closed its doors for good.

After more than a quarter of a century, a struggling New York Sunnyside comic shop is gave up its battle against the forces of digital books, eBay and superhero video games.

Joseph Leisner, the tough talking octogenarian owner of Comic Book Heaven in Queens said business wasn’t what it used to be.  And he’d like to retire while he’s still able to pursue an acting career — and a girlfriend.

“The comic book business is not a healthy business anymore,” said Leisner in his thick Brooklyn accent. 

He shuttered his shop in December of last year.  “I want to retire while I’m walking, talking, driving and able to run after women,” he says.

His sales plummeted 80% since the height of the comic book craze in the early to mid-90s, he said.  And they’ve fallen another 35% in the last 18 months, he said.

Playboy magazines, still in their plastic wrappers, sat on shelves alongside issues of Conan the Barbarian and old copies of Mad Magazine.

He also carried an assortment of fading kids books and baseball cards in the dingy shop.

“I was young when I got here,” said the widower and grandfather, who opened 26 years ago.  “Look what it did to me.”

Comic shops are struggling to compete with online retailers, which sell the books at a fraction of the price of brick-and-mortar stores, said Comic Book Collecting Association President Steve Zarelli.

“Comic books may continue to survive for a long time to come,” Zarelli said.  “But it’s becoming more of a niche market like record stores or even CD stores.”

And now kids are learning about their favorite caped crusaders through movies and video games — instead of traditional comics.

“The kids today play video games and spend all day texting their friends,” Liesner said.  “Gone are the days when kids would collect things, like stamps and sports cards.”

“I’m afraid to be retired with nothing to do,” Joe lamented before closing the business down.  “I think a lot of people are.”

Say it ain’t so, Joe.  Superheroes never really die.  They just fade away. 

It’s the end of an era. 

~Via Sunnyside Post/NYdaily/Vimeo/CBH Films and E.J. McLeavey-Fisher

 

 

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Flying Water Cars and Robotic Dolphins

 

 

Ride the Hose!

 

**VIRAL VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Buckle up and hold onto your hose.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

YouTube sensation Devin Graham has released another video using a few cool water toys and featuring some awesome stunts.

Graham, a young American film director more commonly referred to as Devinsupertramp, decided to add a novel twist in his short film with the use of a robotic dolphin and a flying water car.

The above video shows Graham and friends flying through the air and landing in water with the use of these insane water toys. 

Jetovator and Seabreacher invented the Dolphin and the FWV–
Flying Water Vehicle— provided to Graham for the making of the video.

They’re both unique marvels of engineering.

The Jetovator uses water thrust from the jet unit and a 40-foot hose to propel and elevate the rider 30 feet into the air at speeds of up to 25 mph. Taking about 5 minutes to learn and master, the Jetovator can redirect the water thrust of the two front nozzles and maneuver the rider safely in all directions above the water.  One can also plunge 10 feet under the water as well if the spirit moves you.

Unlike conventional watercraft that only operate on a two dimensional plane, the custom built Seabreacher operates more like an aircraft with full three axis of control – pitch, roll, and yaw.  This allows the vessel to sharply turn left and right, jump, cut though the waves, perform 360-degree barrel rolls, and also dive under the water with a passenger.

These are beyond personal flotation devices.  They’re more like way-fun personal flying devices.

Below is the behind-the-scenes take of Graham’s experiences filming the shoot.

 

 

 

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City of Light, City of Night

 

Coast to Coast:  From NYC to LA

 

**Award-Winning VIDEOS**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Cities are like people, showing their varying personalities to the traveler. 

Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because they are created by everybody.

For those who are lost, there will always be cities that feel like home.  Depending on the city and on the traveler, there might begin a mutual love, or dislike, a friendship, or an enmity.

Where one city will raise a certain individual to glory and riches, it will destroy another who is not suited to its personality.  One city gives you gifts, another robs you.  One gives you the heart’s affections; the other destroys your soul.

Cities are as alive, as feeling, as fickle and uncertain as people. Their degrees of love and devotion are as varying as with any human relation.  Just as one is good, another is bad.

All cities are mad, but the madness is brilliant.  All cities are beautiful, but the beauty is grim.

In cities we know where we belong or not; where we are loved and where we are rejected.

As a famous man once said: 

Are you a lucky little lady in the City of Light?  Or just another lost angel… City of Night?

 

ANGEL CITY from Sunchaser Pictures on Vimeo.

 

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The Late Great Kate Wolf

 

 

Kate Remembered

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Every night we light the candle
that stands beside our bed,
but sometimes the flame’s too much to handle,
that’s what you said.
That’s what you said,
and you should know,
because you built a fire in me and you made it burn,
you followed me watching every move,
matching every turn.

Your green eyes they don’t miss a thing,
they hold me like the sun going down,
warm me like a fire in the night, without a sound.

You were waiting till I heard,
just as patient as that love light in your eyes,
you never threw away a word, or ever talked in a disguise -
I ought to know.
You were a beacon to a sailor lost at sea,
I saw it in your eyes when you looked at me, so openly.

Your green eyes they don’t miss a thing,
they hold me like the sun going down,
warm me like a fire in the night, without a sound.

The first time I ever saw your laughter break loose inside and tumble out to me,
my heart knew it had found what it was after, and it came so easily
we should know.
After all the years of the hard and lonely times,
now our days go by like best friends’ story lines,
yours and mine.

 

Kate Wolf was a well-loved folk singer-songwriter with the angelic voice from Northern California.

Although she passed on in 1986 just as she was reaching national acclaim, her music captured the hearts and minds of many.  Her influence can still be heard in many contemporary country and folk artists today.

Her poetic and haunting lyrics, the simplicity and beauty of her melodies, and her lovely crystalline voice held audiences in wondrous splendor.

Kate played her heart out whether she was playing for a small gathering of 50 in a coffee house or a larger audience of 500 in a concert hall.  She loved her family, friends and fans alike.

Kate’s 1985 music hall concert at Austin’s PBS station came at the height of her career, just a few months before she was diagnosed with acute leukemia.  It was her first major television exposure and a great success.

The concert was edited for a popular PBS country/folk music show and broadcast frequently during the following years.  Green Eyes, above, was from that debut, accompanied by her long-time band members Nina Gerber and Ford James, and guest Randy Sabien.

Kate always delivered strong performances that remained faithful and true to her well-known California folk style.

Her parting words at the age of 44:

“I live for a sense of a feeling of purposefulness in this world. 

You know, I could stop my life at any point and feel that my life has been worthwhile; that the people I’ve loved and my children have all reached a point where their lives are now going to come to fruit.

And as far as something I live by, it’s to try to be as alive as possible and to make my mistakes and try to be as honest as I can with myself.”

* * * * * * * * * * *

~For Kathy, strong, smart and wise.

 

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Magic Moments of Burning Man

 

Burning Man, Black Rock Desert, 2014

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Sitting and smiling on the playa awaiting the temple burn, I noticed
the person next to me, English John, click something in his hand.

He quietly said to himself, “Now this is deserving of a magic moment designation.”

Noting my curiosity, he leaned over and said, “When I first got here, my friend Toby gave me this counter and asked me to click it for every magic moment I experienced.”

I asked, “What’s the number at now?”

He responded, “About 150!”

We both sorta laughed. 

He began clicking it several times rapidly and then said in his full-on Brit accent, “Christ!  You could click it a thousand times….every second….every breath…. is a magic moment!”

We pondered that thought for a moment.

The person sitting in front of John, Simeon, having overheard our conversation, leaned back and said, “Yeah, but…John…when you click it…are you counting the magic moments, or are you creating them?”

* * * * * * * * *

 

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Pride and Bullets

 

Cause and Effect

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

The causes of World War One have been written about countless times.  You probably know the straight-away story.

It began on July 28, 1914, when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia following the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, sometimes referred to as “the bullet that started World War I.”

This seemingly small conflict between two countries spread rapidly.

Soon, Germany, Russia, Great Britain, France, and the United States were all drawn into the war, largely because the former were involved in treaties and alliances that obligated them to defend certain other nations.  

Western and eastern battle fronts quickly erupted along the muddy borders
and hedgerows of Germany and Austria-Hungary.

1916 and 1917 were particularly dominated by the continued bloody trench warfare in battlefields.  Soldiers fought from dug-in positions, striking at each other with the new technological development of machine guns, heavy artillery, tanks, and chemical weapons.  

Soldiers died in the onslaught by the millions under ugly and brutal conditions.  By the score, they were killed, maimed, blinded, and gassed.

Although both sides launched renewed offensives in 1918 in an all-or-nothing effort to win the war, both efforts failed.  The fighting between exhausted, demoralized troops continued to plod along until Germany, under Kaiser Wilhelm II, lost a number of individual battles and gradually had to fall back.  A deadly outbreak of influenza, meanwhile, took a heavy toll on soldiers of both sides. Eventually, the governments of both Germany and Austria-Hungary lost control of the war as both countries experienced multiple mutinies.

The war ended in the late fall of 1918, after the member countries of the Central Powers signed armistice agreements one by one.  Germany was the last, signing its armistice on November 11, 1918.

Kaiser Wilhelm, an ineffective war leader scorned by the public and the army for Germany’s worst defeat, abdicated the day before and fled into exile to the Netherlands.

As a result of the armistice agreements, Austria-Hungary was broken up into several smaller countries. Germany, under the Treaty of Versailles, was severely punished with hefty economic reparations, territorial losses, and strict limits on its rights to develop its military.

Many historians, in hindsight, believe that the Allies were excessive in their punishment of Germany and that the harsh Treaty of Versailles planted the seeds for World War II rather than foster an extended peace.

The treaty imposed steep war reparations payments on Germany and forced the country to bear the financial burden of the war.  Already stretched financially thin by the war, the additional economic burden caused enormous resentment.

Ultimately, extremist groups under the banner of patriotic nationalism– the Nazi Party under Adolph Hitler– were later able to exploit this humiliation and resentment, taking political control of the country in the decades following.

The well-researched video thesis above offers an alternative history and gives a different take of how World War I– the War to End All Wars– began 100 years ago.

By tracing the story backwards in time we stumble upon a very unexpected cause, and discover that sometimes the most harmless of inconsequential things can indeed have terrible consequences.

Cause and Effect– and how history repeats itself—is an important lesson for all of us to understand and remember, even in this modern day and age.

 

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I Think It’s Going to Rain Today

 

 

Rain, Blessed Rain, is Here

 

**Music VIDEO by Peter Gabriel**

 

 

Broken windows and empty hallways
A pale dead moon in the sky streaked with gray
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it’s going to rain today

Scarecrows dressed in the latest styles
With frozen smiles to chase love away
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it’s going to rain today

Lonely, lonely
Tin can at my feet
Think I’ll kick it down the street
That’s the way to treat a friend

Bright before me the signs implore me
To help the needy and show them the way
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it’s going to rain today

 

* * * * * * * * *

We have rain in Humboldt.  Thank goodness. 
It’s a welcome relief and everyone is happy.  For now.
If it isn’t raining where you are, the message is the same.

Sung by Peter Gabriel, I Think It’s Going to Rain Today was written by Randy Newman.

 

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The Bored Kids on the Block

 

‘Daybreak’

 

**Award-Winning Short Film**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Daybreak is a beautifully horrific film about kids and their
pack behavior.

Surrounding the curiosity of a group of bored pre-teens in an affluent Montreal suburb, director Ian Lagarde captures the thought process and point of view of today’s kids with minimal dialogue.

The kids themselves carry the performance with a unique combination of maturity and innocence that lend itself toward the film’s success.  But what makes this film particularly special is Lagarde’s ability to capture the authenticity of the children’s point of view.

Based on Lagarde’s personal experience which he says “pretty much guided the narrative point by point,” he captures the social and sometimes violent dynamics of the pack.  They spend much of their time discovering limits and pushing one another to see how far they will go.  While there is clearly a leader, they seem to operate as fluidly as a collective in which general curiosity supersedes morality.

Lagarde says:

 “I didn’t want to make a moral film, I wanted to make something more subjective, from the kid’s point of view, shot at their height and concentrated on their faces.

I don’t think it even makes sense to judge an event of children based on morals.  I am way more interested in group dynamics and the loss of reason, or independent thought, in these contexts.”

 

Daybreak carries with it a distinct reality.  While the point of view is that of children, the film doesn’t focus on how an adult might perceive a child’s perspective.

Children aren’t aware that they think or behave like children, and Lagarde does a good job of staying true to the inner workings of a child’s mind. 

We’ve all had similar experiences during our childhood:  what it is like to push ourselves to the limits, watching others push themselves, and ultimately, knowing what it is like to get caught.

And without parents parenting and a community watching over us, we often find ourselves in trouble.

~Via Ian Lagarde, Short, and Vimeo

 

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Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson Speaks Out

 

The Duck Commander Quacketh On

 

**VIRAL VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

He’s blunt, opinionated, and funny with a wry taciturn wit.

Phil Robertson, who first found wealth as the inventor of the Duck Commander duck calls and then fame as the patriarch of a clan of Louisiana duck hunters on A&E’s Duck Dynasty reality series, is no backwoods bumpkin.  

He’s a multi-millionaire with a master’s degree in education.  He’s also perhaps the best athlete ever to come out of the little town of Vivian, La.  He could been a pro football quarterback– but he left the game to start the family business.  Call it Duck Destiny.

The controversial pop culture uber-darling Robertson briefly answered some questions covering the gamut of correctness, politicians, parenting and religion, toning it down from previous interviews in anticipation of the release of his new book, unPHILtered: The Way I See It.

 

You’re not a fan of political correctness.

Phil Robertson:  Listen to the definition according to Noah Webster.  You gotta remember, right or wrong, I’m a guy who believes in Biblical correctness.  Political correctness is this according to Webster’s dictionary:  ’Conforming to what is regarded as orthodox liberal opinion on matters of sexuality, race etc.  Usually used disparagingly to connote dogmatism, and extreme sensitivity to minority causes’, so if you read the definition according to the Webster’s dictionary, it’s not real favorable.

It’s just liberal opinion and I’m like, ‘Well let me give you the Biblical view.’  I love all men and women on this earth, including by the way all the current terrorists who are lopping people’s heads off.  I would rather sit down and have a Bible study with ‘em and put ‘em to Jesus because he’s all about life and what they seem to be into, it’s all about death.  It’s just a sad situation we found ourselves in world wide.

You’ve got to remember, I’m not a preacher.  I’m just one guy living on the river looking around saying, ‘We might ought to try loving God and loving each other for a while and I think all these race problems would disappear.’  Of course, I have the Biblical view of marriage.  In the beginning, God made male and female and he said marriage is between the two, but I love all people.  I just give them the Biblical view.

The last thing I am is a man who hates people.

 

You’re talking about the GQ interview?

Robertson: If someone comes to you and walks in your living room like that guy did about a specific sin you say, well let me think about it.  Would I go to a medical textbook, a dictionary?

He asked about sin.  He asked did I think homosexual behavior was a sin.  I said, ‘Well, where would you go to find out about sin?’  In other words, what’s amazing is if he had asked, ‘Do you think stealing is a sin?’ I would have given him the same text.  If he would have asked, ‘Do you think drunkenness is a sin?’ I would have given him the same text.  

By the way, the news media didn’t even know it was a text for a week.  The text is First Corinthians nine and ten.  I just gave him what the apostle Paul said.  I don’t know what else I would have done in that situation.

 

You write that we the people are to blame for our politicians.

Robertson:  The people are at fault because we elect leaders and then we whine and bellyache.  My belief is we need spiritual men making political decisions.  I just think based on the Founding Fathers, you can read them at length, I was amazed at how godly and how they revered the Bible.

Somewhere between there and I’m sorry to say, my generation, we got here, we started smoking dope, tune in and turn out, make love not war.

There are about 90 to 100 million of us who claim Jesus.  The problem is only half of you register to vote and out of the half of you that registers to vote, only half of that group actually goes and votes.

Therefore, when you’re looking up there and griping and complaining about what you see in Washington D.C., you might as well shut up.  The reason they’re there is we’re putting them there.  If you don’t get anything else out of this, remember this — register to vote for crying out loud.

The bottom line is we have really screwed this thing up.  I just think we need to get back to what our Founding Fathers told us.  Get back to God, love our neighbor.

We’ve lost it folks.  We ran God out of our schools.  We ran him out of the entertainment business.  We ran him out of the news media.  We’ve run him out of the judiciary, and we’ve run him out of Washington D.C.  Well, what you get is what is left up there.  They’re ungodly.

By the way, I do have a master’s degree in education.  A lot of people keep calling me a backwards redneck.  I’m well read; I’m no dumbo.

I just think we’d be better off with Biblical principles, keeping our families intact.  I think the reason our TV show went ballistic is because people saw a family group, it’s all intact, no divorces and we all love one another and we thank God for being alive and our food, and amazingly in our time, the 21st century, it’s an aberration in-
stead of being normal.

You think about that, that’s pretty scary.

 

It would surprise some people to read that you and Kay didn’t raise your boys with a lot of rules.

Robertson:  We read the Bible.  All scripture is useful for teaching, for correcting, for rebuking, for training in righteousness.  So we trained our children in the Biblical ways.  There’s just one race here on planet earth kids, it’s called the human race…. Love is the greatest gift a human can have.

You’re right, very few rules.  Jason always says, ‘I love the way you raised us.  The only rule is there are no rules!’

I always say that some people are so heavenly minded they’re no earthly good.  There’s moderation and common sense.  We’re no prudes, like alcohol is the devil’s firewater.  We say, Jesus turned like 135 gallons of water into wine at a wedding so he’s making it for people to drink, so the bottom line is a person can have a glass of wine or beer, we’re not jumping up and down.  

Christianity is not as ruled and regulated as people would have you believe.

~Via Phil Robertson/Duck Dynasty, 411/AETV, I Am Second and YouTube

 

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The Heart of Blowing Glass

 

The Art of Balance and Movement

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Gravity, heat, movement, teamwork.  Fire and light.

All of these make for the difficult-to-master profession of blowing glass.

This is the story of a young glass blower with a singular and rare natural talent from workshop to the art gallery: Jeremy Maxwell Wintrebert.

This film is the short preamble to the documentary Heart of Glass by director Jérôme de Gerlache, which offers a road trip through several countries on two continents in the pursuit of glass making.

Gerlache’s longer documentary follows him in his daily life working in the studio and on the road where Jeremy recounts growing up in Africa and drawing inspiration for his first pieces.  He speaks of his family of Franco-American origin, the difficult events he faced, and the challenges he had in returning to Europe.

His first encounter with glass came at the age 19.  The first time he saw hot glass moving at the end of a blow pipe was an emotional moment, a true epiphany.  Molten, fluid, delicate, dangerous and mysterious, the way the glass that danced that day changed Jeremy’s life forever.

The passion became his livelihood, taking Jeremy to the famous Murano glass studios in Italy, the Czech Republic, Florida, California, Washington, and currently, France.

Glassblowing is a demanding and rare specialty; there’s only a few hundred glassmaking studios in the US and newcomers struggle to make a living by it.  For Jeremy, however, it was always more about the passion, love, and the process more than it ever was about the money. 

 

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Never Say Never

 

Alex Zanardi’s Drive Refuses to Quit

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

He lost his legs, but not his attitude.

Racing fans knew for a long time that Alex Zanardi had the drive and determination to win world championships.

His American Formula 1 Champ Car championship victories in 1997 and 1998 were testimony to that.  But few would expect a driver returning from an accident like the one he suffered in September 2001– a horrific and near-fatal 200+ mph crash at Germany’s Lausitzring in which Zanardi lost both his legs and nearly died from a lack of blood.

He has since returned to motor racing, won an Olympic gold medal, and will return once more to compete once in the prestigious Blancpain Endurance GT Motorsport series.

This wasn’t a decision Zanardi took lightly following his accident.  The racer wasn’t even self-sufficient for his basic needs after his accident, let alone jumping back into a car again.

With support from friends, Zanardi returned to racing in 2004, campaigning for BMW for the full season of the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC).

His BMW was equipped with hand controls:  a brake behind the wheel, a throttle above it, and a clutch lever on the gear shifter.  Zanardi and the team quickly realized the limitations the newly-modified car imposed.  Having to take corners with one palm held tightly against the outside rim of the steering wheel was highly problematic; so they subsequently moved to a foot-operated brake pedal custom built for his prosthetic legs. 

It was an emotionally cathartic experience for Zanardi when he put on his old race suit for the first time and realized that he was still a race car driver.

And, apparently, he was still a winner.  Zanardi consistently returned impressive results in the WTCC that year, followed by consecutive wins for the next five seasons in a row.

During this time though, the Italian racer had also begun to compete in hand-cycling, taking victories in several events.  This culminated in two gold medals for the men’s road time trial at the London Paralympic Games in 2012, and recently two more hand titles– earning him worldwide support and respect far beyond that of the race car community.

Zanardi is now making a return to motorsport in the Blancpain GT Endurance Series–once again racing for BMW– and this time in a specially adapted BMW Z4 GT3.

“When I saw that car for the first time, I just fell in love with it,” Zanardi gushed.

He has lost none of his desire.  “No race driver lines up with the goal of finishing last,” he said.  “I obviously want to be up there with the front-runners, and maybe for victories.  But that is not the be-all and end-all for me.  It is more important to go about a new challenge with enthusiasm.  And that is definitely the case here for me.”

A phenomenon, Alex Zanardi came back and did the impossible.  Drawing on his cast-iron determination and his enormous will to live, the 47-year-old Italian fought his way forward.

He explains his determination and attitude throughout his return to racing and his handbike cycling success like this, and it’s truly what real champions are made of:  

“I am out to prove that there are no obstacles for the disabled, ” Zanardi said.  “What happened to me is behind me– it cannot affect my future if I can take advantage of the experience.”

~Via Alex Zanardi, BMW, Motorsport, Tim Hahne, One Hot Lap

 

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Growing Up Tyler

 

Unreturned Love Hurts
When You’re Only 12-Years-Old

 

**Award-Winning Short VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Love is hard to find, hard to keep, and hard to forget.

However much you wanted someone to want you, there was nothing you could do to make it happen.

Whatever you did for them, whatever you gave them, whatever you let them take, it could never be enough.  Never enough to be sure.  Never enough to satisfy them.  Never enough to stop them walking away.

Never enough to make them love you.

He wanted to tell her.  Tell her he was glad she was back, that he was alive, that he was home and safe.

But words to him no longer fit right in his mouth.  Words which belonged in his ownership were no longer his to give.  Silence was the only acceptable state his heart would grant.

He would never know what he missed, because she refused to be heard in his presence.  All the words he could have had, all the phrases he might have danced with.  The smiles which would have been imprinted upon his heart, would never be.

And his lips would never be able to reply to the words she could not say.

* * * * * * * * *

Via Tyler, Sam Benenati, and Vimeo

 

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Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

 

George Harrison

1943 – 2001

 

*VIDEO*

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

All things must pass.

George Harrison was diagnosed with throat cancer in August 1997.  Undergoing radiotherapy and surgery, he battled the disease throughout the 1990s, having tumors removed from his throat and lung.

In December of 1999 a mentally unstable intruder, Michael Abram, broke into the Harrison home at Friar Park in Henley-on-Thames.  He stabbed George several times, puncturing his lung. George and his wife Olivia fought off Abram and restrained him until the police arrived.

The assailant, who believed he was on a “mission from God” to kill Harrison, was acquitted of attempted murder on the grounds of insanity.

Harrison was deeply traumatized by the event, and later joked that
the man was “definitely not auditioning for the Traveling Wilburys.” 

Harrison subsequently largely withdrew from public life, and worked on his final recording session.

“People say I’m the Beatle that changed the most,” Harrison mused in an interview, “The whole thing is to change, to make everything better and better.”

Harrison’s cancer recurred in the same year, and found to have
spread to other organs.  

Although treated aggressively, it was diagnosed as terminal.  He arranged to spend his final months with family and close friends, and worked on songs from an album with his son Dhani, released posthumously in 2002 as BrainwashedBetween the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, above, was a song from that album, originally recorded by Cab Calloway in 1931.

“Whatever his faults were, he had karma to work out,” Olivia Harrison said.  When I first met him he said, ‘I don’t want you to discover something about me I don’t know.  I’m not claiming to be this or that or anything.  People think they’ve found you out when, you know, I’m not hiding anything.’”

George Harrison died on 29 November 2001, at the age of 58.

During a CNN interview with Larry King in 2007, fellow Beatle Paul McCartney described visiting Harrison on his death bed and sitting silently with him, stroking his hand to comfort him.

Following his death Harrison was cremated.  His family released a statement, saying:  “He left this world as he lived in it: conscious of God, fearless of death and at peace, surrounded by family and friends.”

 

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Breathe

 

The Air of the Moment

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Living, breathing, being.

Life should be that simple.   In this little film by the French cinematographer only known as Franck, we get a small glimpse of what happens in the day of his two sons, Roman and Audran, in a small village called Manigod near Annecy in the French Alps.

Manigod is a beautiful place known for its green pastures, clear clean waters, lush pine forests, its butter and cheese.   It’s also known for its air, as delicious and deilightful to the lungs and soul as nectar is to the tongue.  We only wish we could be there taking in the sights and sounds for ourselves.

We liked this film for its stunning visual images, crisp sounds, and an editing and cutting process blending it into a seamless whole with simplicity. 

We’re also reminded every child should have such a fine childhood growing up. 

We hope you enjoy the moment of Franck’s film– and his family– as much as we did.

Spectaculaire.  La famille et la montagne, parfait pour le cinema.  Nous avons la même passion.  Merci pour cette histoire, bon ami.

 

 

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California Love

 

The Golden State

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

“California is about the good life.

So a bad life there seems so much better than a bad life anywhere else.  Quality is an obsession there– good food, good wine, good movies, coffee, music, weather, cars.

Those sound like the right things to shoot for, but the never-ending quality quest is a lot of pressure when you’re uncertain and disorganized and broker than broke.

Some afternoons a person just wants to rent Die Hard, close the curtains, and have Cheerios for lunch.”

~Sarah Vowell, The Partly Cloudy Patriot

 

California is between a trip, a fantasy, a vacation and
of course, a reality.

Everyone says the West Coast is the best coast.  Maybe it’s true.

We literally have everything: the ocean, mountains, deserts, fertile valleys, big cities and the teeny-weenie tiny towns dividing a wide and divergent state.  A tantalizing attraction in and of itself, California’s varying landscapes play a big roll for making a great place.

The diversity of its people make the state complete. Due to its laid-back lifestyle, people are warmer and more welcoming compared to the rest of this great nation. There’s something mysterious about California that brings the beautiful people out to live and visit and play… and stay. 

But make no mistake, we also have the nutty, the nonsense,  the delusion and the egomania.  We all think we’ll be young and beautiful forever, even though most of us aren’t even young and beautiful now.  It’s a land where many would look like broken-down, worn out, has-been leathery-faced movie actors if it weren’t for the nip and tuck doctors plying their lonely trade to the insecure.

It rains on the just and the unjust alike.  Except in California.  Maybe it’s the year-round beautiful weather.  The gold rush mentality.  Or the drought, the Vicodin, the weed.

Unlike many other big cities, say Chicago and New York, it’s easy—and almost necessary– to have a car.  People like to drive, to explore, to feel free.  Granted, one can take public transportation, walk and bike and even ski, on roads tantamount for traversing such a large chaotic schizophrenic state that’s filled with political divisions, special bond-issue districts, and homogeneous cookie-cutter shopping nuclei– all with access roads to the common interstate.

California spoils its residents with the Pacific Coast.  From south to north, you can experience the warmer climes of San Diego to the legendary cooler climate of our Humboldt Redwoods.  The two regions of the state are about as similar as night and day, with the exception of earthquakes and tsunamis and wildfires held in a common trust to liven things up from time to time and awaken our senses.

With a couple of thunderstorms and blustery days here and there, the weather can drop temperatures on a cold winter’s day.  Still, a sweater is usually good enough for keeping you warm.  California pretty much has summer year-round– and it only snows in the mountains. 

People here know little about freezing temps because they simply don’t need to.  They understand the Donner Party was an anomaly, an abberant spectre of something gone wrong a long time ago and that could never happen again in this state of effervescent sunshine and tonic and perpetual happiness by the beach.

More than a state, California is a state of mind.  You can rush or stay still, work or play.  It’s an ideal place where you can do (almost) whatever you want, whenever you want.  Or darn close to it.

Many dream of making a life and living here in the Golden State.  Newcomers and transients from all walks of life are drawn by the dream, or running from the nightmare.  They want to make a fresh start, to draw a new lease on life.

Californians invented the concept of life-style and they say the best way to live it up in California is to be from somewhere else.   If you’ve ever had a good cold daiquiri on a hot day in Southern California with the people you love, you’d forget about Nebraska, too.  

There’s a reason why the tune goes, “There’s mirrors on the ceiling, pink champagne on ice, and she said, ‘We’re all just prisoners here, of our own device.’”

Be forewarned, though: Paradise has its limits. Some believe God will break California off from the surface of the continent like breaking off a piece of fine Belgium chocolate.  It will become its own floating paradise of underweight movie stars and dot-commers making for a fat-free Atlantis with superfast Wi-Fi.

Given all this, we say just do it— make the place more golden by being there.

 

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White Guys Can Jump

 

– With Trampolines –

 

**Viral VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

They leave audiences in awe with their uncanny precision
of moves and juke.

Lords of Gravity is an energetic, gravity-defying acrobatic basketball show team based in Budapest, Hungary.

YouTube uber-darling Devin Graham, aka Devin Supertramp, filmed the video above highlighting some of the jumps, flips, choreography and teamwork they do to some bumping music.

It’s not exactly street ball by any length of the imagination. 

They’ve become the most well-known acrobatic slam dunk team in Europe after breaking the new world record for the “Farthest Basketball Slam Dunk” set at the NBA Europe Live Tour in 2012.

LoG’s members come with various professional sport backgrounds incorporating the best tumblers of Hungary, first class gymnasts, and European fitness champions, all of whom have several years of competitive experience under their belts in
different disciplines.

Performing in Europe’s biggest sports arenas, the team crosses the borders of different countries playing basketball games, street shows, festivals and other events busting out some insane tricks while going to the hoop.

Jump on.

 

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Howard’s Farm

 

The End of a Family Farm

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

A small Hudson Valley fruit farm is very different than a large Midwest commodity farm.

Take 86-year-old Howard Quimby for example.  Still active, he grows Concord grapes, raises goats and boards horses on his 70-acre Marlboro farm.  He’s been doing so for eight decades.  Some of Howard’s grapes help supply a local vintner and they’ve named a wine variety for him, Quimby Rose. He reports the current winery owners are very good farmers and keep their vineyards well-tended.

His farm harkens back to the bygone days when animals and farmers worked together to sow, mow, cultivate, harrow
and accomplish numerous other tasks. 

Quimby used to hitch up Noah and Omar, his two 1,500 pound mules, to mow a field and occasionally give demonstrations of their use to school children. 

With a gentle twinkle in his eye, Quimby remembers using those mules to pull phone lines and poles up and over a nearby mountain because they were the only ones who could get through the tough terrain.  That was in the 1980s. 

Now he prefers using his tractor.

He talks about when farmers maintained the roads– so they could have lower taxes.  The roads, Quimby also recalls, were terrible.

Quimby, like other farm kids, walked 2 ½ miles to get to the school, one time in a “miserable cold only to be told by the principal to warm up and then go home.  No school that day because of the bitter temperature.”  He adds that he never did ride
a school bus.

“Mailman delivered with a horse and buggy.  You could set your watch by him.  Gus Cotant.  He’d stop and feed his horse and eat his own lunch– in winter, people on his route would invite him inside to eat,” Howard recalls.

One of Quimby’s neighbors, the Pizzo’s, had a farm and a shack large enough to house a cow and a horse.  One night the Pizzos forgot to turn the heater down and it started a fire that destroyed the shed.  A calf and all the chicks were lost.  More important to the small family, its cow and horse were unhurt.  

Losing the shed, however, was still a huge blow to the struggling young family. “Guiseppe was despondent,” Quimby said.

A family friend asked Guiseppe, “Do you like it here?”  Guiseppe said he did.

“Then we’ll have a barn-raising,” his friend declared.  

And they did just that.  The friend had saved enough old beams from a dismantled barn to put up the framework for the structure and Quimby and the neighbors showed up to do the work.  The result was a suitable home for the horse and cow, Quimby recalled.

Intertwined around crops, shipping, animal husbandry, the weather, and helping one another, long time Hudson Valley farmers– like Quimby– are a vanishing breed.

Quimby doesn’t know who will care for his farm after he is gone.  He’s not sure if his four daughters will want to carry on the traditional burden of hard work and responsibility farm life requires in the modern age. 

But with another twinkle of gentle patience in his eye, Quimby has adopted an air of understanding  and acceptance, a letting go, knowing the decision of what will ultimately happen is out of his hands once his final day of farming is done.

 

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The Shifting Landscape of Earth and Art

 

Zaria Forman’s Stunning Portraits of Climate Change

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Her mission, work, and art are spectacular.

Zaria Forman’s works take up to a month to complete, creating portrait landscapes to document the ever-changing beauty of regions affected by climate change.

Forman, from Brooklyn in New York, USA, led an Arctic expedition to the North West coast of Greenland with the aim of creating fine art inspired by the dramatic geography.

Her mother, Rena Bass Forman, originally came up with the idea but died before her daughter could see it through, and so Zaria promised to carry out the journey in her name.

After formal training at Skidmore College, Forman now exhibits extensively in galleries and venues throughout the United States and overseas.  Her pieces typically range about $9,000 each and she donates some of her commission to climate change organizations.

Her main focus are pictures of the ocean, with much of her art taking the form of pictures of sea spray on the shore, or water cascading over rocks or icebergs in different lights.

Using layers of paint and chalk to make the distinctive shadows and ripples that make her works of art look so real, she can paint waters that are incredibly choppy and others that are serenely still.  They may be warm and inviting, or cold and hostile.  It’s a unique challenge in her work as an artist.

“Being out in nature is certainly what gives me perspective, “ Forman said, “it means the whole world to just see the ocean and look at its vastness and, like oh right, this is what life is all about.”

~Via Zaria Forman, Jesse Brass, Francois Lebeau, and Vimeo

* * * * * * * * * *

You can find out more about Zaria here:  zariaforman.com
and see more of her stunning work here.

 

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If Tomorrow Starts Without Me

 

Putting a Short Life Into Perspective

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It’s an incredible reminder of how short life really is.

Camille Marotte’s video offers a seamless interplay of beautiful images shot in locations such as Morocco, India, Senegal, and Vietnam, while narrator Tom O’Bedlam reads When Tomorrow Starts Without Me, a poem believed to be written by David Romano.

When we’re young, we often feel as if we’re eternal, and we’ll walk the earth forever.  There’s always tomorrow.  Then suddenly it all begins to change.  

The voices change, the faces become suddenly adult.  Then everybody seems old, suddenly older, and then they, and us, are in our final years.  We become faintly aware of the passing of time, of loved ones and a loved life, and the pressing mortality of it all as it creeps down on us like some ever-burdening vine.

Then it’s over.  Tomorrow never comes.  It can come and go like a feather in the wind.

The scary thing is life feels very long at the onset– and by the time you realize it’s short, you’ve already lived most of it.

Life is short and it’s here to be lived, to be made the most of– and it’s up to you to make it sweet.

 

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Grateful Dead’s Truckin’

 

America’s National Treasure

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Truckin’ got my chips cashed in.  Keep truckin’, like the do-dah man
Together, more or less in line, just keep truckin’ on.

Arrows of neon and flashing marquees out on Main Street.
Chicago, New York, Detroit and it’s all on the same street.
Your typical city involved in a typical daydream
Hang it up and see what tomorrow brings.

Dallas, got a soft machine; Houston, too close to New Orleans;
New York’s got the ways and means; but just won’t let you be…

Most of the cats that you meet on the streets speak of true love,
Most of the time they’re sittin’ and cryin’ at home.
One of these days they know they better get goin’
Out of the door and down on the streets all alone.

Truckin’, like the do-dah man.  Once told me “You’ve got to play your hand”
Sometimes your cards ain’t worth a dime, if you don’t lay’em down.

Sometimes the light’s all shinin’ on me;
Other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me, What a long, strange trip it’s been.

What in the world ever became of Sweet Jane?
She lost her sparkle, you know she isn’t the same
Livin’ on reds, vitamin C, and cocaine,
All a friend can say is “Ain’t it a shame?”

Truckin’, up to Buffalo.  Been thinkin’, you got to mellow slow
Takes time, you pick a place to go, and just keep truckin’ on.

Sittin’ and starin’ out of the hotel window.
Got a tip they’re gonna kick the door in again.
I’d like to get some sleep before I travel,
But if you got a warrant, I guess you’re gonna come in.

Busted, down on Bourbon Street, set up, like a bowlin’ pin.
Knocked down, it get’s to wearin’ thin.  They just won’t let you be.

You’re sick of hangin’ around and you’d like to travel;
Get tired of travelin’ and you want to settle down.
I guess they can’t revoke your soul for tryin’,
Get out of the door and light out and look all around.

Sometimes the light’s all shinin’ on me;
Other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me, What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Truckin’, I’m a goin’ home.  Whoa whoa baby, back where I belong,
Back home, sit down and patch my bones, and get back truckin’ on.
Hey now get back truckin’ home.

 

What a long strange trip it’s been.

Truckin’ by the Grateful Dead, first appeared on the 1970 album American Beauty and was recognized by the United States Library of Congress in 1997 as a national treasure.

Written by band members Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, and lyricist Robert Hunter, Truckin’ molds classic Grateful Dead rhythms and instrumentation with lyrics that use the band’s misfortunes on the road as a metaphor for getting through the constant changes in life.

We all are familiar with the happy refrain: What a long, strange trip it’s been. 
The widespread message has traveled across the globe since the song was
first released.

It’s a reminder for all to be happy.  We’re only dancin’ on this planet for a short time.

 

~The above extended version of  Truckin’ was performed at the Hollywood Palladium, 1972. 
  If you’d rather listen to the shorter traditional piece more often heard, hear here

 For fellow Dead lovers everywhere–

 Thanks for the happiness, music and memories, Jerry.
 Happy Harvest, Humboldt.

 

 

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Glass Eyes of Locust Bayou

 

A Blurred and Tangled Universe

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Phil Chambliss is a 59-year old filmmaker from rural Arkansas. 
He makes weird and wonderful films that are a bizarre alter-universe
mirroring America.

Chambliss has been documenting his rural life in Locust Bayou, Arkansas, for nearly 40 years through his small budget DIY films that straddle between fact and fiction, good and evil.

He worked as a night watchman for the Highway Department for three decades and during the day made his wholly unique, indescribably odd movies starring his neighbors.  He is, in short, the area’s resident cult director– akin to, say, John Waters and David Lynch– all tossed into one.

Filming Westerns, holiday epics and obscurely sinister dramas set in funeral homes, pencil stands and daycare centers for birds, his films proudly ignore most classical standards of editing, acting and coherent dialogue.  They come complete with titles like To Hell with Lead-Poison and Shadows of the Hatchet Man.

Shot on Super 8mm and later videotape, his movies are filled with absurdist but earnest exchanges, and often seem to exist in a genre of their own making and invention.

“I’m originally from a small town,” filmmaker Simon Mercer said upon first meeting Chambliss, “so there were certain bits that I understood very well and related to, but the rest of it was a completely alien world.”

Glass Eyes of Locust Bayou is an anthropological time capsule of sorts, offering a perfect glimpse into the mind of an affectionate, hilarious and utterly mysterious Arkansas artist and his environment.

“Phil has been going around with a camera since the ’70s just capturing little tidbits of people and places around that area,” Mercer said.  That’s what I think is incredible.  He’s documenting this whole chunk of Arkansas history and culture and society without even really thinking about it too consciously — better than probably a lot of people are.”

Equally powerful is its presentation of Chambliss’ natural gifts as a storyteller.

“I wish I could have had them all,” Mercer said of the stories, which include tales of hog hangings, attempted murders and an abandoned career as a pornographer.  

“There was sex and murder and intrigue and family feuds, every kind of story you could ever hope for.  And you’re always straddling this line of not knowing when a story is getting blown out of proportion into fantasy territory.  Sometimes it’s with a wink and a nudge, and other times it’s just so wild I didn’t know where the line was.”

Chambliss and his films testify to the notion that there is a filmmaker in many of us, wanting to make movies like the ones we grew up with, the ones we can never forget, the ones we love.  His work proves that for the determined and the inventive, it’s a small step from loving movies to making them.

Glass Eyes of Locust Bayou gives a mesmerizing glimpse into the blurred and tangled universe Chambliss inhabits– presenting us with a one of a kind folk artist who creates his own dark and twisted version of Americana exactly as he wishes it to be.

~Via Simon Mercer, Ark Times, and Vimeo

 

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The Forgotten Community

 

The Gypsy People Called ‘Roma’

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

It’s a documentary that brings to light a community
that has largely been forgotten.

Intrigued by how such a large group of people could live out of shacks built from anything they could find– as well as earn a wage from endless begging and trading in recyclable materials– 22-year-old Sam Davis filmed Roma, a short and moving documentary about the Roma gypsies living in Albania. 

This Roma community was forced to move due to war in 1997 and resettled themselves in the slums of Tirana, the capital of Albania.  They are a people who have nowhere to go; nomads without a country and shunned from society as a
whole. 

Living in abject poverty and surviving on only a few dollars per day, they eke out a meager living in the urban slums around Tirana’s trash heaps and dumps.  They barely have any shelter and live without electricity or running water. 

Most have dropped out of school and are illiterate.  Because of racism and discrimination, most Roma have very little opportunities for meaningful and successful work.  

Unwelcome wherever they go, they spend their day digging through trash, collecting plastics and metals to trade in for a few dollars.  Women and children are often seen on the streets begging for what little money they can get.

A highly informative and incredibly sad short documentary, Roma provides as much information as possible within its 11 minutes about their difficulties: the emotional struggles, the poverty and economic issues they face, and the few legal and governmental options available for them.

The picture painted here is one of quiet desperation– where no one knows what to do, or how to help.

~Via Sam Davis, Five Dills, DocX and Vimeo

 

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From Now On

 

Life and Vulnerability

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Delta Spirit’s From Now On has the simple qualities we like seeing in a film.

Director Andrew Bruntel goes for an epic sweep, some sumptuous photography, long pan shots, and a disparate cast of characters living very different lives on the prairies of southeastern Colorado.

“If I could parse it down to one simple theme,” Bruntel says, “it would be vulnerability.”

“The vulnerability in friendships, in our relationships with family, and with the pets and animals that we allow into our lives.”

Calling to the spirit and heart of America, it’s gorgeous and triumphant and sad and absorbing all at the same time– much like the song itself. 

* * * * * * *

Delta Spirit is an up and coming indie rock band from San Diego/Long Beach/Orange County California.  Currently living in Brooklyn, they’re known for their intense live performances, congregational song writing, and driving rhythms.

The group consists of Jonathan Jameson, Brandon Young, Matthew Vasquez, Kelly Winrich, and William McLaren.

‘From Now On’ is taken from their album ‘Into the Wide’, due to be released September 9.

 

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Jimi’s Machine Gun

 

Hendrix’s Famous Star Spangled Banner Shred at Woodstock

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

At Woodstock in 1969, Jimi Hendrix did a startling take on the national anthem.

He was the last act of the festival and scheduled to close the show on Sunday night. 

He didn’t take the stage until 8 am on Monday morning.

Of the 500,000 young people who were there during the weekend, only a handful — about 30,000 — were left the next 
day.

Wearing a blue-beaded white leather jacket with fringe, a red head-scarf and blue jeans, and flashing a peace sign to the crowd, Jimi took to the stage and did a wailing extended rendition of Francis Scott Key’s signature work on his guitar. 

Many fondly remember waking up to a rudely blaring Star Spangled Banner in the early morning hours.

It was a far cry from the traditionally-held tune.  Jimi’s version was loud, dissonant, inharmonious; and yet touchingly soulful, all at once.  The audience was clearly stunned.  No one had dared do anything like this before and it completely blew their hearts and minds.

 Upon leaving the stage, Hendrix collapsed from exhaustion. 

The New York Post later wrote his performance “was the most electrifying moment of Woodstock and probably the single greatest moment of the Sixties.”  Others called his screaming guitar Jimi’s Machine Gun.

The choice and arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner was unorthodox to say the least.  Irritating to many, it caused consternation for those who thought Hendrix had desecrated and shredded a sacred piece of work– the country’s national anthem– to pieces.  He had been playing this version for about a year, beginning as part of a guitar solo he played during Purple Haze.

When playing in the southern states of the US, Hendrix was often warned not to do the number because of the constant local threats made against him.  Jimi disregarded the threats and played it anyway.  Every time.

He tried to record his version for an album but was never satisfied with the results in the studio.  After he died, engineer Eddie Kramer mixed a version from Jimi’s studio takes which was released on the album Rainbow Bridge

The Woodstock performance seen above, however, remains by far his most famous take of the song.

Hendrix’s version is seen by some as an anti-war song about Vietnam.  Halfway through the song, Hendrix often imitated the sounds of bombs dropping, machine gun fire and people singing.  

To note, his version of the Star Spangled Banner was the first song played when a propaganda radio station called “Radio Hanoi” went on the air, broadcasting to American troops serving in Vietnam in an effort to lower morale and have
them desert.

Three weeks after Woodstock, Hendrix said he wasn’t expressing an anti-American sentiment whatsoever.  He explained why he performed his groundbreaking version in only a few short words:

“We’re all Americans … it was, like, ‘Go America!’  We play it the way the air is in America today.  The air is slightly static, see,” Hendrix simply said.

Considered to be one of the best guitarists of all time and a pioneer of using electronic effects that are still in use today, Hendrix wrote, performed, and produced his own material.  Self-taught, he never had any formal music lessons– and he didn’t know how to read music. 

His musical work encompassed only four short years until his untimely death a year after Woodstock, due to a barbituate overdose.  He was 27.

The images of Jimi playing Woodstock are widely regarded as iconic pictures capturing the defining moment of youth and the Vietnam era of 1969. 

In 2011, the editors of Guitar World placed his rendition of The Star Spangled Banner at Woodstock at number one on their list of the 100 best performances.  Rolling Stone named Hendrix as the greatest guitarist of all time.

 

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I Can See Clearly Now…

 

…The Rain Is Gone:

   Johnny and Jimmy’s Versions

 

**VIRAL VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

1972 was a good year for Texas singer/songwriter Johnny Nash.

Nash, who recorded Reggae-influenced music, had gone to Jamaica and recorded his song Hold Me Tight and a cover of Sam Cooke’s Cupid with a local rhythm section.  Both songs became hits in Jamaica, and over the next two years charted in England and the United States.

By 1972, Cecilia and Mother And Child Reunion found success in the States, incorporating Nash’s Reggae rhythms.  Nash quickly followed up on the trend with I Can See Clearly Now, a single from the album of the same name.

Make no mistake, Nash had legitimate Reggae credentials:  Bob Marley– before he became crazy famous– was an assistant producer and session player on the album, and also wrote 3 of the songs, including Stir It Up, which became Nash’s next – and final – hit.  The musical partnership between Johnny Nash and Bob Marley is one of the more fascinating and overlooked periods in the history of reggae music.

A cover version by Jimmy Cliff, below, went to #18 in the US in 1994.  His version was in the John Candy movie Cool Runnings about the Jamaican bobsled team.

Nash wrote this song himself, recording it in London with members of The Average White Band.  Hitting #1 in the US for 4 weeks late in 1972,  the album sold seven million copies– yet arranger Martyn Ford received the paltry
sum of $70 for his services.

When first released it was widely speculated I Can See Clearly Now was about suicide.  Nash adamantly denied this was the case, insisting it was about hope and courage for individuals experiencing and overcoming adversity in their lives.

It all fit into the new and different awareness happening in the nation by 1972. Things, people, thoughts, ideas and movements were coming out of the closet. Music, film and television took on a different vibe;  art exploded with newer colors and more vibrant canvases.  

With the Vietnam War finally winding down and servicemen returning home, America became a nation comprised of young people wanting to heal and waiting to lead.  They were turning on and tuning in.  They weren’t dropping out.

There was a glimmer of hope things could change.

Women and minorities saw more empowerment and expression than had happened during the 60′s.  Conservative types became a twinge more liberal.  Social movements sprang forth everywhere with the notion of equality, peace, and love.  A more socially aware, just, and thinking country was just beginning to emerge.

We bloomed like flowers in the new age, able to see clearly a way foward towards a better world.

 


 

 

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Struggling for a Parent’s Affection

 

’1982′

An Award-Winning Film

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Leave it up to cinematographer Frank Buono and he’ll transport
you into the window of a young boy’s life in ten minutes.

Leave it up to writer and director Jeremy Breslau and a beautifully poignant story will slowly unfold before your eyes.

Constructed like an uninterrupted dream, 1982 floats into the memories of a young man as he reflects on the pivotal year of his life when he struggled for his parent’s attention.

As you might imagine, creating a film like this wasn’t an easy task.  

Working with a budget of only $25,000, director Jeremy Breslau recruited an amazing cast and crew of industry veterans to support him. 

His cinematographer, Frank Buono, was uniquely prepared for the complex shots having operated the infamous car sequence on Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men.

Production designer Patrick Sullivan’s contributions were also critical to the film’s success—the short’s wonderfully nostalgic and detailed feel is largely due to the fantastic art direction and prop choices in each frame.

For those interested in how exactly some of the shots and transitions were pulled off, Breslau employs a variety of techniques from practical effects to a fair amount of digital trickery to keep the film so smooth and seamless.

It’s no wonder 1982 swept up 14 film awards across the country.

As to the reasons why he made the film, Breslau simply said:

“I created the film because I wanted to explore the universal pang in childhood when we realize our parents are fallible, and the sense of loneliness that can accompany that awareness.

I wanted to explore that transitional period in childhood when we begin to realize that our world is a lot less secure than we thought it was.  I was also interested in how strong childhood memories can unexpectedly bubble to the surface and influence our choices as adults.

My goal was to create a piece that would be emotionally resonant and visually stunning, with the challenge of capturing the feeling of seamlessly drifting through a memory.”

 

~Via Jeremy Breslau, Variety, Short of the Week, and Vimeo

 

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My Big Brother

 

Living Life with a Giant

 

Award-Winning Animated **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

You usually have it two ways living with a big brother:  living in their shadow or living in their glow.

My Big Brother is a Savannah College of Art and Design short directed by student Jason Rayner.  His  film toys with the idea of what a ‘big brother’ is– and one who isn’t just biologically older but actually physically gigantic.

Inspired by childhood author Roald Dahl’s Big Friendly Giant, the CG short marries the fantastic and the believable, yet adds a touch of whimsy into an otherwise grounded universe.

We liked it because the film’s distinctive animated design retains a low-key charm for a relatable story to be told.

But make no mistake.  It’s a commonly expressed and rather nice romantic notion that we even have “big brothers.”

Let’s be real.  The fact is we might be better served if we accepted the idea that we’re all siblings.

Siblings fight, pull each other’s hair, steal stuff, eat all the food in the fridge including what’s ours, tease, tattle, bully and bother, and accuse each other indiscriminately.

But siblings also know the undeniable fact that they are the same blood, share the same origins, and are family.

Even when they hate each other.

And that tends to put all things in perspective.

 

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Swatting the ‘Hood

 

Neighborhood Police… Or Combat Soldiers?

 

Vice **VIDEO**

 

Jim Hightower
JimHightower.com

 

 

From 1776 forward, Americas have opposed having soldiers do police work
on our soil.  In recent years, however, Pentagon chiefs have teamed up with
police chiefs to circumvent that prohibition.

How?  Simply by militarizing police departments.

Through the little-known “military transfer program,” the Pentagon has been shipping massive amounts of surplus war equipment to our local gendarmes.  This reflects a fundamental rewiring of the mindset now guiding neighborhood policing.

Police chiefs today commonly send out squads brandishing heavy arms and garbed in riot gear for peaceful situations.  

Recruiting videos now feature clips of SWAT-team officers dressed in black, hurling flash grenades into a home, then storming the house, firing automatic weapons.  Who wants anyone recruited by that provocative video working in their neighborhood?

As a city councilman in rural Wisconsin commented when told his police were getting a nine-foot-tall armored vehicle:  “Somebody has to be the first to say, ‘Why are we doing this?’”  The New York Times reports that the town’s police chief responded with, “There’s always a possibility of violence.”

Really?  Who threatens us with such mayhem that every burg and ‘burb needs a war-zone armory and a commando mentality?

Astonishingly, a sheriff’s spokesman in suburban Indianapolis offered this answer:  Veterans.

The sheriff’s department needed a mine-resistant armored vehicle, he explained, to defend itself against US veterans returning from the Afghanistan war.  War veterans, he said, “have the ability and knowledge to build homemade bombs and to defeat law enforcement techniques.”

That is lame, loopy, insulting, shameful, and just plain stupid.

Maybe he just forgot to pack his brain when he left for work that day.  But I’m afraid it’s a window into the altered mindset of police chiefs and trainers.

“Officer Friendly, in a Tank?  War Gear Flows to Local Police,” The New York Times, June 9, 2014.

* * * * * * * * *

 

Jim Hightower is a Texan, columnist, and populist who believes that to move America from greed to greatness, we must fuel the power and the passion of our nation’s workaday majority.

A national radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author, he frequently appears on television and radio programs bringing a hard-hitting populist viewpoint that rarely gets into the mass media. 

He broadcasts daily radio commentaries that are carried on more than 150 commercial and public stations, on the web, and on Radio for Peace International.  A popular public speaker who is fiery and funny, he is a populist road warrior who delivers more than 100 speeches a year to all kinds of groups.

He has written seven books and is a New York Times bestselling author.

As political columnist Molly Ivins said, “If Will Rogers and Mother Jones had a baby, Jim Hightower would be that rambunctious child — mad as hell and with a sense of humor.”

You can listen to more of Jim Hightower’s commentaries here.

 

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The Light at the End of the Tunnel

 

Nick Geddes’ Long Road to Recovery

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

In April of 2011 while racing the Sea Otter Classic in California, I had an unexpected crash during the Dual Slalom finals that ended up changing my life.

Following a minor concussion I was taken to the hospital for further evaluation.  A routine blood test revealed that I had leukemia.

I was immediately transferred to Stanford Children’s Hospital and after three days of further evaluation, I was transferred and admitted to BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver.  Following a bone marrow biopsy and more testing, I was officially diagnosed having T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

I began chemotherapy, the first stage of my treatment. On August 9th, 2011, after months of chemotherapy and six sessions of total body irradiation, I was ready for a bone marrow transplant.

The marrow came from an anonymous 24-year-old male donor because no one in my family could be a tissue match.  A small bag containing the bone marrow was transfused though a catheter implanted in my chest.  

It was going to take a long time for my body to accept the donor’s bone marrow.  In the meantime I would need hemoglobin and platelet transfusions plus numerous drugs and painkillers keeping my body alive and vital signs stable.

One of the side-effects of the transplant were large sores that developed throughout my mouth and throat making it feel like I had been chewing on glass for hours.  This, in conjunction with nausea, weakness and other flu-like symptoms, took a toll mentally and physically.

I was put on an IV for all of my nutritional needs because eating was impossible.  On top of the two IV lines for nutrition, there were anti-nausea, pain meds, antifungal and antibacterial drugs all running in my catheter.

For the first couple weeks I was so drugged up that I don’t really remember what went on.

Slowly, I started to become more lucid and aware as the days dragged on.  I was gradually weaned from some of the meds.

The hardest part was going into isolation.  It was such a long time and almost unbearable for someone like me who’s used to being outdoors all day long.  There wasn’t much I could do in my room– other than watch television, use the Internet, and sleep.

By Day 20 of isolation I was gaining a little bit of energy and started to use the spin bike I had in my room. After 26 days, I was finally able to leave my specially ventilated and pressurized 8’x10’ room.

The next 5 days were the worst because I was starting feeling a bit better and the doctors were talking about when I would get out.  But they were never able to give an exact date; only a vague guess.

Finally, that day came.  After much anticipation, I was sent home.  It was Day 31.

When I got home nothing felt more better than being able to get a full night sleep without being poked and prodded.  I felt revived and refreshed.  I was eating more and more, and improving little by little.

Although I wasn’t strong enough yet to get out and ride my bike or exercise much, it was enough to be at home resting, trying to eat normally, having an occasional visitor, and surfing the net until more normal activities were happening.  In the following months I got back to the gym to rebuild what I had lost over treatment. 

The most important thing in my recovery was simply looking forward to riding my bike the next winter and spring.

The latest episode in that recovery path was two months later after my release from the hospital.  Feeling more energetic and healthy and slowly gaining back my strength I made a trip out to Norco Headquarters.  It was wonderful. 

While I knew I’d have a long way to go, the first step was getting back on a bike.  While the snows were starting to fall in my hometown of Whistler, I was soon riding as much as I could in the Squamish trails that winter.  Now my dream is to race again.
 
I want to thank the guys at Norco, friends, family, my parents, the doctors and my bone marrow donor for all their support throughout my treatment period.

It’s good to be alive.

Cheers,
Nick

~Via Nicholas Geddes, Norco, Whistler News, Leo Zuckerman and Vimeo

 

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Warbird Pilot

 

Keeping the Legacy Alive

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Some people see warbird pilots as fearless, confident, risky or arrogant.

In reality, they’re no different than you or me.  They’re just willing to put it all on the line to keep the old warbird legacy alive at their own personal expense.  Some of these pilots were born into the life style; others have worked their way to the top of the small community.

Rob Scribner’s mini-documentary shows what it’s like to be a warbird pilot.  Keeping history alive by flying and maintaining these vintage aircraft for future generations, they’re a different breed altogether.  And the aircraft themselves are a different kind of beautiful:  aerodynamic and sleek, simple and efficient lines, metal and chrome and a roaring Allison or Merlin engine with lots of raw, pure power when unleashed.

Warbird Pilot: Behind the Visor explores the aspects of flying these birds, the bad and difficult parts, the passion behind it and reason they do it, and the joys and the fears of the lifestyle.

John-Curtiss Paul talks about the life of maintaining and flying the old WWII birds—and the life he potentially leaves behind with each flight.

There are only a handful of people in the world that are even capable of doing what John-Curtiss Paul does, and he does it with passion to keep the living legacy of history alive.

* * * * * * * * * *

For you camera and editing aficionados, Scribner describes the equipment he used in making this film:

Most of this project was filmed on the FS100 but we also use a 7D, 60D, and Go-pro Footage.

The FS100 was the A cam;  we did not have a ton of lenses to work with, mainly the 18-200mm Sony E-mount and a 20mm Sony E-mount 2.8 which worked great for fast shooting.

The trick for us was making good use of the Tiffen ND filters.  We shot all the interviews at 24p and most of the Broll in 60p (S & Q).

There were a few times I change to 1080 60p internal to the cam because I wanted to capture audio that I could use later in post but also want to slow it down to 24p.

The 7D, which was our B cam, also had a stock lens, the 18-135mm Canon EF.  This was also the cam we used for the time-lapse shots.  The project was finished up and edited in Premiere Pro CC.

We had to be scrappy when making this project which was actually really fun.

 

~For those P40 and P51 Mustang pilots everywhere, past and present. 

 

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Genesis

 

The Creation of Life

 

A Short and Stellar
Award-Winning Sci-Fi Film

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Dawn of light lying between a silence and sold sources,
Chased amid fusions of wonder in moments hardly seen forgotten
Colored in pastures of chance dancing leaves cast spells of challenge
Amused but real in thought– we fled from the sea– whole

Dawn of thought transferred through moments of days undersearching earth and
Revealing corridors of time, provoking memories, disjointed, but with
purpose

Craving penetrations offer links with the self instructor’s sharp
and tender love, as we took to the air– a picture of distance

Dawn of our power we amuse redescending as fast as misused expression
Only to teach love as to reveal passion chasing
Late into corners, and we danced from the ocean…

Dawn of love sent within us colors of awakening among the many
Want to follow, only tunes of a different age

As the links span
Our endless caresses for the freedom of life everlasting…

 

~Yes: Tales from Topographic Oceans, ‘The Revealing Science of God’ (1974)

* * * * * * *

Abiogenesis was a 4-year labor of love by NASA-loving artist and filmmaker Richard Mans.  Easily sweeping numerous film festival awards across the nation, Mans’ work is a science fiction epic with an extreme amount of attention paid to detail, seamless realism, high-production values, and an original dynamic Dolby soundtrack straight from the creators of District 9 that highly impressed us.

We were blown away and suggest seeing it on the largest screen you have. 

It was a long time in the making by Mans with different trial runs, software, using various models and camera angles, studying NASA Mars Rover film footage, and teaching himself 3D animation. 

He also spent $50,000 of his own money doing it.

Abiogenesis was a labor of love.  A doodle taken to the N-th degree,” said Mans, describing what was, almost unbelievably, his first animated short film.

“I wanted to create something that would advance my work and style, be unique to my sensibilities, and inspire a sense of awe and beauty, while touching on universal themes.”

We think he nailed it. 

You can read more about the details of how Mans created his spectacular work here and here.

 

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Where Did You Sleep Last Night

 

Lead Belly’s Nirvana (1888-1949)

 

**Viral VIDEO**

 

 

He was a bad dude who lived larger than life.

Lead Belly is an old-school wrecking ball folk-singer who worked hard labor as a sharecropper in the Depression-era South, and lived it up with hot babes, stiff drinks, and smoke-filled clubs in Renaissance-era Harlem.

He kicked his enemies’ collective butts in at least five hardcore back-alley knife fights, escaped from jail once, convinced the governors of two states to pardon him from murder raps using nothing more than a guitar and his singing voice, and went on to basically help create modern music by influencing everyone from Johnny Cash and Frank Sinatra to Kurt Cobain and Jack White.

He was tough as hell and built like a house.  He drank hard, fought harder, played the twelve-string guitar better than any man alive during his day, and once responded to being stabbed in the throat in prison by pulling the knife out of his own neck and almost murdering the dude with it.

Huddie William Ledbetter was born on a Louisiana bayou in January of 1888.  One of five kids, Ledbetter’s dad was a sharecropper– a tough, calloused-handed wandering manual laborer who worked insane twelve-hour shifts in the hot Louisiana sun for next to nothing.

Huddie quickly realized that bouncing around the countryside with his dirt-poor family looking for backbreaking jobs wasn’t his thing, so he decided to get the hell out of there, beat the shitty hand he’d been dealt with, and become a superstar musician instead.

By twelve he’d dropped out of school.  By fifteen he’d taught himself how to play the accordion, one of the hardest and more complicated instruments to play.

Better known as Lead Belly, he was soon playing shows in the St. Paul’s Bottom neighborhood of Shreveport, Louisiana as a young kid– a hardcore red light district known for being packed with hookers and hooch.

Surrounded by drunken debauchery didn’t derail Lead Belly’s quest for awesomeness, and he was all up in St. Paul’s Bottom cranking out jams on his accordion, blowing everyone’s minds with his music, then going home with a fifth of scotch and the hottest gal in the club.

By the age of sixteen he was married with two kids.  By twenty he was divorced and had split out of Shreveport, wandering the South playing shows in any venue that would have him, and working hard labor jobs when music didn’t pay his bills.

Lead rode the rails, traveling the land from the beer-soaked streets of Shreveport’s seediest neighborhoods to the hottest clubs in Deep Ellum, Texas; hanging out at every bar, saloon, and music venue along the way.

But Lead wasn’t just there to party.  He made it his life’s mission to listen to every musician he could find– and absorb all the musical knowledge he could.

He learned to play the piano, guitar, harmonica, mandolin, and violin, became the undisputed master of the twelve-string guitar, and spoke to so many famous blues and folk musicians that he became a walking encyclopedia of American folk tunes.

Before long he could play basically every folk song there was (he claimed to have learned over 500 tunes), and when he wasn’t putting a new spin on old standards, he was writing badass songs about cowboys, sailors, women, booze, prison, and God.  Hitler, too.

Along the line he worked hard jobs to earn enough cash to put food on the table, hammering railroad spikes, picking cotton, herding cattle as a cowboy, and hammering fence posts.

Lead Belly’s budding music career hit a slight hitch in 1915, when the folk guitarist was arrested for punching a dude in the face, pulling a gun in the middle of a barroom brawl, and then pummeling someone with it.

He was sentenced to serve an unspecified period of hard labor on a chain gang in Harrison County, Texas, busting out the hard work that paid even worse than sharecropping.  Two days into his mandatory community service of whacking rocks, Lead slipped off when the shotgun-toting guards weren’t looking and bolted out of there on foot– some sources claim they sent dogs after him but he managed to elude them.  Escaping prison, he fled to the next county, changed his name, and went right back to work as a manual laborer by day and an aspiring musician by night.

Even though he always played shows in a three-piece suit and a bow tie, Lead Belly was more gangsta than half of Death Row Records.  Bob Dylan once referred to Lead Belly as “One of the few ex-cons to ever record a successful children’s album.”

Lead Belly was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame early in the Hall’s life, and his music, which became insanely more popular after his death, has been covered by Bob Dylan, the White Stripes, Johnny Cash, Elvis, the Grateful Dead, the Rolling Stones, the Doors, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty, and dozens of other bands, almost all of whom cite this hard-drinking, hard-fighting badass as a major influence on their careers.

Lead Belly lived a more colorful life than can possibly be described in this short column, but you can read more about him here.

~Via Badass, Wikipedia, MTV and Vimeo

 

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Silo

 

A Short Film about a Man and his Missile

 

Staff-Pick **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

We hate a bad day at the office.

When we lose things.

And things go sideways.

And the boss doesn’t understand.

And we happen to be drunk.

Sigh.  

Ever have those days where everything goes wrong and it would’ve been a better day if you had just stayed in bed?  It happens.  Some things just never seem to turn out right on the job, try as hard as we might.  And it’s always a lonely day at the nuclear workplace when you’re at the bottom of the pecking order drowning in your sucky sorrows no one understands.

So do what everyone else does in the military.  Buck it up and sweep it under the rug and say nothing. 

Us?  We simply decided that what’s right is what’s left after everything else is done wrong.

* * * * * * * * * *

How did writer-director David Soll create the set for ‘Silo’? 
Why, he used
a real nuclear missile silo, of course.
Now that’s scary.

 

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Am I Next?

 

Ferguson Seen Through the Eyes
of a Teenager

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

A 16-year-old kid says more with a marker and paper than all of the media did.

Looting, chanting, tear gas, and rubber bullets have been the frequent images coming out of Ferguson, Mo.  

Much of the press coverage following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson has centered more on Brown’s character, personal issues, and a smaller number of looters– rather than asking the greater number of people why they’re protesting and reacting so angrily in the aftermath.

The vast majority of protesters have been peaceful and standing up for their rights, armed with little more than chalk and paper signs protesting what they view as an injustice.

Hoping to create a memorial for Michael Brown, the teenager killed by a police officer in the St Louis suburb on August 9, we follow teenager Shane Flowers as he weaved through the protests, attempting to let his voice be heard and fight for change as the darkness slowly fell on Florissant Avenue.

As he moves through the crowds, he hears differing opinions from other protesters on the best ways to fight for change.

If you want to get to the heart of why people are so frustrated and enraged, look no further than the 16-year-old who expresses much of what the community is struggling with and writing down the questions many are asking.

 

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Ranger Gabriel Gets His Wish

 

A Young Boy’s Journey to Yosemite

 

Staff Pick **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Gabriel always had a wish to be a park ranger.

When the Yosemite park rangers got word of his dream, they stepped up to the plate, in a VERY big way.

Gabriel Lavan-Ying is an eight-year-old from Gainesville, Florida, who suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, an inherited and incurable connective tissue disorder that causes abnormal bruising and skin and joint weaknesses.

With the help of Make-A-Wish Central California, and Yosemite National Park, Gabriel’s wish came true on Tuesday, June 3, 2014.  That was the day he became an honorary park ranger at an official swearing-in ceremony.

The rangers at Yosemite National Park put Gabriel through extensive training in order to ensure his success as a national park ranger.  He arrived in Yosemite with his family– mother Tara, father Kon, twin sister Angelica and older brother Dominic– and stayed at Tenaya Lodge just out-
side the south gate of the park.

On Tuesday, Gabriel and his family traveled to Yosemite Valley for his training and swearing-in ceremony.

Gabriel was dispatched to fight a woodland fire with the Yosemite Fire Crew, attended naturalist walks in Cook’s Meadow, and was dispatched to a search and rescue operation involving an injured hiker and assisted the Yosemite medical team in transporting the patient to a rescue helicopter.

After Gabriel’s full day of training, he was sworn in as an Honorary Park Ranger in a ceremony at the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center.

Approximately 300 people, including Yosemite community members and Yosemite park rangers, witnessed the ceremony in which Gabriel received his badge and credentials.  United States Magistrate Judge Michael Seng and Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher presided over the ceremony where Ranger Gabriel received a flag that had previously flown over Yosemite National Park.

We understand Gabriel passed with flying colors.  And he got his own parking space and celebratory cake to boot  after his official swearing in.

Nice job, Ranger Gabriel– and to all of those making his dream come true. 

We can’t name all of you– but you know who you are.


~Via Chris McKechnie, Yosemite Park, and Wish.org
  
   Photos by Michelle Hansen

* * * * * * * *

The Make-A-Wish organization grants the wishes of children between the ages of 2½ and 18 who currently have a life-threatening medical condition which is defined as a progressive, degenerative or malignant disorder placing the child’s life in jeopardy.

More about the Make-A-Wish foundation can be found here.

 

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Pink Floyd’s Crazy Diamond

 

The Final Parting of Syd Barrett

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun
Shine on you crazy diamond.

Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky
Shine on you crazy diamond.

You were caught in the crossfire of childhood and stardom, blown on the steel breeze.

Come on you target for faraway laughter, come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!

You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon
Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond.

Well you wore out your welcome with random precision, rode on the steel breeze.
Come on you raver, you seer of visions, come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!

     Pink Floyd “Shine on You Crazy Diamond”
     Wish You Were Here, 1975

 

He was the original crazy diamond that shined.

Born Roger Keith Barrett in Cambridge, the son of a renowned pathologist, Barrett changed his name to Syd at age fifteen in honor of local drummer Sid Barrett.

In 1965 he joined up with bassist Roger Waters, drummer Nick Mason and keyboardist Richard Wright in a new band Barrett dubbed Pink Floyd — in honor of blues artists Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.  Barrett quickly became the group’s primary songwriter and guitarist, composing their breakthrough singles Arnold Layne and See Emily Play.

In 1967, the band released its first LP, the psychedelic masterpiece The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.  Ten out of the eleven songs were written by Barrett.

The next year, following a highly successful tour with Jimi Hendrix, Barrett’s mental state began to deteriorate, most likely related to his heavy hallucinogenic LSD intake.  Guitarist David Gilmour was brought in to aid the band as Barrett became increasingly erratic and unreliable.  

Gilmour and Barrett both played in the group for a few months, but Barrett’s onstage behavior became so bizarre he was forced to leave the band.

Amid reports that he was suffering from schizophrenia, Barrett managed to release two solo albums in 1970, The Madcap Laughs and Barrett.  The bulk of the material from these albums, which gained a huge cult following over the years, was written during Barrett’s brief productive period of 1967-68.  An independent career proved impossible:  His one live solo gig was aborted after five songs.

In 1971, Barrett spoke about his absence from the music scene and attributed it to his deteriorating mental health. “I’m disappearing, and avoiding most things,” he said.  ”I’m treading the backward path.  Mostly I just waste my time… I’ve got a very irregular head.  And I’m not anything that you think I am anyway.  I’m full of dust and guitars.”

He cashed it all in, gave up music, sold the rights to his recordings and moved into his mother’s basement in Cambridge, where he lived out the remainder of his life.  For the most part, he gave up living in the outside world. 

Pink Floyd and his former bandmates went on to become one of the biggest gigs on the planet, releasing their best selling albums of all time, The Dark Side of the Moon in 1973 and Wish You Were Here in 1975.

For all its craft and focus, Dark Side was the work of a group that had been adrift just four years earlier, after losing the linchpin of its sound.  Barrett had been everything to Pink Floyd:  the pretty face, the songwriter, the singer, the lead guitarist.

“He was the boy wonder,” says Gilmour.  Under Barrett’s leadership, the band went from arty, Cambridge-bred middle-class students to the heroes of the London underground.  In concert, the whimsical and catchy British pop songs populating the world at the time in 1967 would explode into a new genre of lysergic, psychedelic-driven interstellar improvisations. 

Barret and Pink Floyd would help change the direction of music, and the consciousness of a nation and its youth.

Barrett’s near-daily use of LSD and his underlying mental illness left him all but incapacitated by the time Floyd were recording their second album.  His songwriting output slowed.  He went through at least one show without actually playing his guitar.  He began to drift from reality into the inner sanctum of his mind.  He became an empty shell of his former self.

“When we parted I had written everything for the group,” Barrett said.  “My leaving sort of evened things out within the group.  I think young people should have a lot of fun.  But I never seemed to have any.”

Short of a brief appearance at Abbey Road Studios in 1975 as his former friends were recording Wish You Were Here (a tribute to Barrett), he hadn’t had any contact with Pink Floyd in decades.  He had remarkably changed and to their sudden shock, had checked out completely from any semblance of reality.

It was the last time they would see him.

Barrett spent a good deal of his remaining time painting and gardening.  “I’d like to have been rich,” he remarked, “and to have a lot of money to put into my physicals and to buy food for all of my friends.”

The original frontman and Crazy Diamond of Pink Floyd died in Cambridge, England, from complications related to diabetes in 2006.  He was sixty.

Shine on.

 

  ~For Tavin Anderson and White Manna. 
    Keep the faith and music alive.

 

Pink Floyd – Shine On You Crazy Diamond from Getaway on Vimeo.

 

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Small Cameras, Big Stories

 

There’s a Spy Amongst Us
In the Animal Pack

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It’s a whole new world out there.

Exciting developments in camera technology have distinguished the playing field between the professional and amateur photographer.

The current challenge now is making something novel and better than what the average person will do.

Understanding the behavior of animals and developing new ways to capture those unique moments requires a huge amount of research, inventiveness, and dedication as the above video by award-winning wildlife filmmaker John Downer
illustrates.

Big differences also come from the newer cameras that are now smaller, camouflaged in different ways, and have a higher picture definition in situ

The end result?  Small cameras make for bigger stories, showing a new chapter of animals in their natural environment– whether it be birds, dolphins, or polar bears– in a uniquely accurate and visually compelling way than what has traditionally been done in the past.

And the images by John Downer and his crew that you see here
are nothing short than spectacular.

~Via John Downer, Getty Images, and Vimeo

 

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The Flying Squirrel

 

The Remarkable 6-Year-Old
Surf & Skate Wonder

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

At the tender age of six, Quincy Symonds is already
tipped as a future Layne Beachley or Stephanie Gilmore.

She may well be the best six-year-old surfer and skater on the planet.

They call her The Flying Squirrel.  The nickname comes from the time Quincy was a toddler living in the US.   A wild squirrel lived in a tree near her house and one day she jumped off the back of her dad’s SUV to mimic her furry friend.

The “Flying Squirrel” moniker stuck.

Stepping into the water at the legendary Snapper Rocks surf break on the Gold Coast, Quincy Symonds has already rocked Australia.  The Tweed Heads local only started surfing about 18 months ago and, in a very short time, has captured the attention of the surfing world, gaining multiple sponsors and a fanatical following on social media.

Her parents have nurtured her along.  Quincy’s dad Jake has been a surfer most of his life and his love for the ocean inspired her to get in the water.  Her mum Kim says it was the most natural thing in the world.

“The very first time I saw her out in the ocean she changed, she became a complete person,” she explains.  “To say that about a four or five-year-old might sound very strange, but I watched it happen.”

“It just doesn’t make sense to me, how she’s able to do what she does,” says Jake.  “I’m amazed by it.  I’m really proud of her but to be honest I can’t comprehend exactly how she does it so well.”

“She has no fear,” offers Quincy’s surf coach Anthony Pope.  “She just doesn’t fall off.  She has incredible balance and her ability to judge the conditions and adjust is at a level I’ve never seen before in someone of her age.”

Quincy also grabbed the attention of former world champion surfer Barton Lynch at the Hurley BL’s Blast Off, the world’s biggest surf festival for young competitors.  ”There is something inherent and instinctive in the way she surfs.  It’s quite mind-blowing and baffling.  She has an amazing sense for the ocean,” Lynch said.

While Quincy’s feats in the water are impressive on their own, they are even more inspiring given that she has battled a serious medical condition for her entire life.

Not long after she was born, Quincy was rushed into the Intensive Care Unit suffering adrenal crisis. After extensive testing, Quincy was diagnosed with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, a genetic disorder that affects her body’s ability to create cortisone.

Quincy’s condition means she is steroid dependent.  “Steroid dependency at this age requires medication three times a day,” Kim explains.  “In times of sickness, Quincy needs intensive medical treatment.”

While you might think it dangerous for a five or six-year-old to be surfing at all, every possible measure and precaution has been put in place to ensure Quincy is safe in the Gold Coast water.

“We always assess the conditions and the skill level of the other surfers in the water before we paddle out”, says Jake.  “When the waves are bigger, we have a custom-made life vest that she wears.  It’s quite thin but it offers a little bit of support for her if she takes a wipeout on a bigger wave.”

And it’s not just Quincy’s buoyancy vest that is custom made.  Quincy’s boards are custom-designed and shaped for her, so she has a variety of different boards to suit varying conditions and match her progress.  

To note, there are very few boards in the world as small as Quincy and they’re basically miniature versions of the performance surfboards one sees on the world tour.

When the waves were too big for her to surf, Quincy took up skateboarding.  As you’d expect, she took to boarding on land just as quickly as she did in the surf.

Looking over the edge of the 12-foot skate bowl as Quincy’s takes her skating sessions, most folks would feel immediately
uneasy.  But there was Quincy with her back foot planted firmly on her board– ready to confidently drop in and shred the concrete bowl up with a smile from ear to ear as her proud parents watched from the sidelines.

There is a constant stream of eager young skaters approaching Quincy asking how old she is.  Some know her from her profile on Instagram, where (with the help of her Mum) Quincy uploads photos and videos of her boarding adventures.

So, what does she think of her social media fame?

“It gets annoying.  People always ask, ‘Will you follow me?,’” she says, rolling her eyes like a teenager.

Quincy says she wants to be a pro surfer and skater when she grows up. 

The way she’s going now, we’re fairly certain the Flying Squirrel will make it there very soon.

     ~Via “A Small Surfer Makes Big Waves” by Scott Gamble,
       ABC Open, SMH, Daily Mail and Vimeo

 

 

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Missouri Burning

 

Tensions Again Erupt in Ferguson–

One Protester Shot; Seven Arrested

 

**VIDEO**

 

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

It’s only getting worse.

Rioting, looting, shooting and burning down stores.  What we’re seeing in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, is an example of how the streets can quickly descend into chaos as tensions erupt.

The mayhem in Ferguson escalated early this Sunday morning as a man was shot and seven people were arrested following a confrontation between police and protesters who refused to abide by the state mandated curfew.

Authorities have not identified the man but said he was critically wounded by a gunshot.  It is unclear who shot him, but he was injured near an area of the town where protesters had gathered near a restaurant and some people were standing on the roof.  Authorities said it did not appear he was shot by an officer.

Officers from Missouri State Highway Patrol, St. Louis City and County police worked to remove the people from the area and brought armored vehicles and tear gas.  A man with a handgun was spotted in the crowd and another person was reported shooting at a police car.

“I was disappointed in the actions of tonight” said patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, looking weary over the continued violence and escalating tensions rocking the community.

Police had earlier pledged they would not use such tactics but Johnson said they were worried about officers’ safety.

“Tonight’s response was a proper one,” he said, adding that he was “disappointed” that rioting continued.

The crowd, which is continuing to protest the fatal shooting of black 18-year-old Michael Brown by white Ferguson officer, Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, refused to comply with the curfew chanting “No justice! No curfew!”

Police have not announced information about Wilson.  He wrote on his Facebook page Saturday that he had to deactivate it the day before due to a number of threats.

“I can’t share much at this point but the media is going too far invading my family’s privacy,” he wrote.  “I am concerned for their safety.”

He also wrote Friday he was “overwhelmed” by kind words and prayers people had been sending him.  “This is a very difficult time for all people involved and I am trying to have faith that the right outcomes will be reached for the community,” he wrote.  “I am sorry that I cannot answer all of your messages but hope you understand. Continued prayers for all are appreciated.”

When police informed the crowd they were in violation of the state mandate, the crowd refused to disperse and officers fired smoke and tear gas canisters at the citizens.  The mandate was imposed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Saturday from midnight to 5 a.m.

But the tensions between the people and local police seem to only escalate.

“They got guns.  We got guns.  We are ready,” said Jayson Ross, who was leading the protesters toward police before the canisters were fired.

As canisters flew through the air about 50 minutes into the curfew, a protestor hurled a Molotov cocktail at the side of a local store and ignited a small fire.

Clouds of smoke had filled the street when a group of other protesters raced toward the store, Chop Suey, and stomped out the fire.

Cops in riot gear were hanging back as the demonstrators slowly advanced along W. Florissant Ave. at about 12:30 a.m. local time.

But 15 minutes later, cops threatened to move in.

“This is the police,” an officer announced into a bullhorn.  “You are violating the state-issued curfew.  You must disperse immediately or you will be subject to arrest.”

The dangerous scene occurred hours after the governor was heckled at a press conference at a church where he announced the curfew.

A group of Black Panthers were seen leading protesters in a chant calling for his head.

“What’s his name?” they shouted.

“Darren Wilson,” they replied.

“How do we want him?” they shouted.

“Dead,” several protesters replied.

 

 

 

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