Archive | Scene

Solving the Mystery of Amelia Earhart

 

Metal Fragment of Amelia’s Plane Found

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

What happened to Amelia is an unsolved mystery that has captivated
the world’s attention after she disappeared 77 years ago.

A fragment of Amelia Earhart’s lost aircraft has been identified to a high degree of certainty for the first time ever since her plane vanished over the Pacific Ocean on July 2, 1937, in a record attempt to fly around the world at the equator.

Researchers at The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) announced that a piece of famous flyer Amelia Earhart’s missing plane was found in Nikumaroro, a tiny uninhabited island along the southwestern Pacific republic of Kiribati, midway between Hawaii and Australia.

This fragment of Earhart’s vanished aircraft is the first piece of information about how she crashed while on a fateful expedition to circumnavigate the Earth.  She never accomplished the goal and her disappearance has been a mystery ever since.

TIGHAR posted a photo of the 19-inch-wide by 23-inch-long piece of a metal portion patch installed near the window of Earhart’s Lockheed Electra during the aviator’s eight-day stay in Miami in 1937, the fourth stop on her attempt to circumnavigate the globe.

The aluminum patch had replaced a navigational window.  A Miami Herald photo shows the Electra departing for San Juan, Puerto Rico on the morning of Tuesday, June 1, 1937 with a shiny patch of metal where the window had been.

Researchers found the piece in 1991, but had not identified the piece to the plane until comparing it to a Lockheed Electra aircraft in Wichita Air Services in Newtown, Kansas.  The rivet pattern and other features on the Nikumaroro artifact, labeled Artifact 2-2-V-1, matched the patch and lined up with the structural components of the Lockheed Electra, TIGHAR said on its website.

The patch found in the Pacific was a “complex fingerprint of dimensions, proportions, materials and rivet patterns as unique to Earhart’s Electra as a fingerprint is to an individual,” according to TIGHAR.

After the pilot and plane disappeared on July 2, 1937, a wide array of conspiracy theories sprouted.  This new discovery debunks any theory that Earhart and Fred Noonan, her navigator, made it across the Pacific Ocean.

TIGHAR hypothesized that the duo made a forced emergency landing along the smooth flat coral reef of Nikumaroro after their fuel supply ran out 350 miles before
their next pit stop on Howland Island.  

The two likely died as castaways with limited resources.  Other evidence also supports this account of what happened.

The breakthrough would prove that, contrary to what was generally believed, Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, did not crash in the Pacific Ocean or were taken prisoner by Japanese military forces as spies.

In 10 archaeological expeditions to Nikumaroro, Gillespie and his team uncovered a number of artifacts which, combined with archival research, provide strong circumstantial evidence for a castaway presence.

“Earhart sent radio distress calls for at least five nights before the Electra was washed into the ocean by rising tides and surf,” Ric Gillespie, executive director of TIGHAR, said

“This is the first time an artifact found on Nikumaroro has been shown to have a direct link to Amelia Earhart,” Gillespie said. 

“The many fractures, tears, dents and gouges found on this battered sheet of aluminum may be important clues to the fate and resting place of the Electra.”

Previous research on a photograph of Nikumaroro’s western shoreline taken three months after Earhart’s disappearance also revealed an unexplained object protruding from the water on the fringing reef.

Forensic imaging analyses of the photo suggested that the shape and dimension of the object are consistent with the landing gear of a Lockheed Electra.

Moreover, an “anomaly” that might possibly be the wreckage of Amelia Earhart’s aircraft emerged from analysis of the sonar imagery captured off Nikumaroro during TIGHAR’s last expedition.

The object rests at a depth of 600 feet at the base of a cliff just offshore where, according to TIGHAR, the Electra was washed into the ocean. An analysis of the anomaly by Ocean Imaging Consultants, Inc. of Honolulu, experts in post-processing sonar data, revealed the anomaly to be the right size and shape to be the fuselage of Earhart’s aircraft.

The organization will now travel to Nikumaroro in 2015 to conduct further exploration in the area searching for other pieces of Earhart’s wreckage.  TIGHAR believes that partial remains of the Electra are likely buried deep off the west end of the island and will investigate the anomaly with Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) technology.

During the 24-day expedition, divers will search for other wreckage at shallower depths and an onshore search team will seek to identify objects detected in historical photographs that may be relics of an initial survival camp.

“Funding is being sought, in part, from individuals who will make a substantial contribution in return for a place on the expedition team,” Gillespie said.

The mystery as to what happened to Amelia may soon be at hand.

~Via LA Post, My Way, Fox News, Vimeo, TIGHAR

 

 

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Jordanne

 

“Just Be the Person You Were Born to Be

…And Live On”

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Meet Jordanne Whiley. 

She’s the 22-year-old Grand Slam tennis champion of Britain.  Four times.  And she’s broken her legs 26 times.

She is Britain’s youngest ever National women’s singles champion in wheelchair tennis at the tender age of 14.

The Paralympic bronze medalist recently took a silver medal at the World Team Cup in Netherlands.  She and Japanese partner Yui Kamiji triumphed in the women’s doubles at the French Open.  Jordanne and the Great Britain team came away with three medals from the World Team Cup, beating the USA 2-1 to take the gold.  And she’s won Wimbledon. 

Born with the degenerative disease of Osteogenesis imperfecta, as does her father, Keith, she began playing tennis as a very young girl.  And she’s never looked back nor allowed her disability to define her or interfere with an intense spirit to win, as Zak Razvi’s short film, Jordanne, above shows.

Aside from her extreme focus on tennis– with training sessions three times a day– she enjoys studying languages, speaks French and Dutch, and has aspirations to coach abroad someday once she has finished competing.

Her injuries have been frustrating and presented challenging setbacks for her, but she refuses to toss in the racket and quit.  Her competitive drive and human spirit to be the best athlete that she can be just won’t allow her to do that.

“I’ve struggled a bit this year because of injuries and I haven’t played as many tournaments as I would have liked to do,” Jordanne said. 

“It’s disappointing– but I will do all I can to make sure I’m ready for the next tournament.”

Her champion advice for herself and others?

“I’m not ashamed to say I’ve got a lot of flaws, but can’t change it, so get on with it.  I just feel that you were the person you were born to be …and live on.”

 

 

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Sexting and Kids

 

Why Do Kids Sext?

 

**VIDEO**

 

An Excerpt from Hanna Rosin
For The Atlantic Monthly

 

 

The following excerpt by Hanna Rosin for the The Atlantic Monthly
looks into one recent scandal and reveals how kids think about sexting–
and what parents and police should do about it.

 

It was late on a school night, so Jennifer’s kids were already asleep when she got a phone call from a friend of her 15-year-old daughter, Jasmine.

“Jasmine is on a Web page and she’s naked.”

Jennifer woke Jasmine, and throughout the night, the two of them kept getting texts from Jasmine’s friends with screenshots of the Instagram account.  It looked like a porn site—shot after shot of naked girls—only these were real teens, not grown women in pigtails. Jennifer recognized some of them from Jasmine’s high school.

And there, in the first row, was her daughter, “just standing there, with her arms down by her sides,” Jennifer told me.  “There were all these girls with their butts cocked, making pouty lips, pushing their boobs up, doing porny shots, and you’re thinking, Where did they pick this up?  And then there was Jasmine in a fuzzy picture looking awkward.” (The names of all the kids and parents in this story have been changed to protect their privacy.)

You couldn’t easily identify her, because the picture was pretty dark, but the connection had been made anyway.

“OMG no f?ing way that’s Jasmine,” someone had commented under her picture.  “Down lo ho,” someone else answered, meaning one who flies under the radar, because Jasmine was a straight-A student who played sports and worked and volunteered and was generally a “goody-goody two shoes,” her mom said.  She had long, silky hair and doe eyes and a sweet face that seemed destined for a Girl Scouts pamphlet, not an Instagram account where girls were called out as hos or thots (thot stands for “that ho over there”).

That night, in March of this year, Jennifer tried to report the account to Instagram’s privacy-and-safety center, hoping it would get taken down.  She asked several friends to fill out the “report violations” page too, but after a few hours, the account was still up.  (Instagram’s help center recommends contacting local authorities in cases of serious abuse.)

She considered calling 911, but this didn’t seem like that kind of emergency.  So she waited until first thing the next morning and called a local deputy sheriff who serves as the school resource officer, and he passed the message on to his superior, Major Donald Lowe.

Over the years, Lowe had gotten calls from irate parents whose daughters’ naked pictures had popped up on cellphones, usually sent around by an angry boyfriend after a breakup.   But he immediately realized that this was a problem of a different order.

Investigation into the Instagram account quickly revealed two other, similar accounts with slightly different names.  Between them, the accounts included about 100 pictures, many of girls from the local high school, Louisa County High, in central Virginia.  

Some shots Lowe later described to me as merely “inappropriate,” meaning girls “scantily clad in a bra and panties, maybe in a suggestive pose.”  But some “really got us”—high-school girls masturbating, and then one picture showing a girl having sex with three boys at once…

…A brief excerpt, you can read Ms. Rosin’s full article
in the
The Atlantic Monthly here.

 

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Touchable Memories

 

Seeing Eyes, Helping Hands,
 and Winning Hearts

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

If you were blind, how would you “see” a photo?

This is how.

The third dimension can be the critical bridge for the visually impaired — the difference between the flat, indistinct, and illusive surface and the tactile one that provides an alternative to sight.

In a poignant mini-documentary produced by Singapore-based 3D printer company Pirate 3D, five visually impaired people are given the gift of preserved memories via 3D prints of photographs or images that have a personal meaning to each.

Directed by Brazilian filmmaker Marco AslanTouchable Memories features short snippets of five very different people, all of whom are blind — some since birth.

One is Gabor, a filmmaker.  He lost his sight about twelve years ago, but resumed making films despite the obvious impediments.  His first project after returning to filmmaking was a short movie shot in Bolivia.  His memory is a still image from the movie of an elderly woman seated alone in a room.  “I know all the room’s details in my mind but I cannot see it,” says Gabor.  The 3D-printed “memory” he receives is like a small diorama, a box with the top and front open.  Inside sits a stout, elderly woman in heavy garments.  Two of the box’s sides are pierced by windows and a small table under one window.

Mario, an Italian, is a musician.  In the documentary, he explains that music connects him with others in a very personal way.   He’s seen performing in a subway passage, and then is presented with his “memory.”  It’s a 3D print of his first CD cover, designed by a close friend who’s a graphic designer.  The lavish design is meant to describe the energy of his music.  There are two representations of Mario himself in the 3D piece along with musical instruments — his guitar, a tambourine, a xylophone.

Meritxell from Barcelona has been blind since birth.  She explains in the film that it’s a tremendous source of frustration for her not to be able to remember memories as most people do via photographs.  An array of Meritxell’s personal photographs appear in the documentary.  The one that’s printed is a photo from her childhood, created for her as a sculpture of two small figures.   She stands with her cousin; the two wearing festive, pointed caps at the carnival they attended together.

Yassine, also blind since birth, lost his father when he was five years old.  In the film, he’s given a 3D printed sculpture:  a father tossing his son high into the air.  Yassine is able to recall playing with his father, who would call him “my little bird” when they played.  It was a memory made tangible.

Daniela works with people with special needs.  She says, “If I can touch the picture, it brings all emotions to life,” reflecting on the differences between memories for a sighted and blind person.  Her 3D-printed “memory” is from a family ski trip; she, her older brother and her parents pose for a family portrait wearing their skiing gear.  “This creates a whole sensation, because I can really recall that moment,” she says as she lightly touches the figures, “it’s something that’s there forever.”

As each of the five individuals is presented with their 3D printed memories, they examine them slowly and gently with fingertips carefully touching every surface.  

The scenes and their reactions are emotional — brief, and with tremendous impact.

~Via Pirate3d/3D Design, Marco Aslan, Vimeo

 

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Passing Time

 

It Changes with Age

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

We thought we’d bring you a pleasant little diversion and video this fine Sunday.

It was only 40 seconds into the short film Snooze Time, yet this marvelous piece
smartly captured our attention.

With words like this, how can one not be captivated:

“It’s funny isn’t it?  The older you get, the more time plays tricks on you.  When you’re young, it’s no big deal.  There are just different kinds of time.  Like snooze time…”

 

Written by Matthew Harris and directed by Ivan Barge, Snooze Time
is a short film that follows a couple from the start of their relationship
to the eventual demise of it.

Overall, it is quite a simple narrative to follow, yet the way it’s shot and the finer details going into it really highlights the emotional depth of the story.

Director Ivan Barge says that it was important to him that “All the art elements tell a story. Alone they were meaningless, but together they signposted the road ahead.”

Have a good Sunday, keeping time and the road ahead in mind.

 

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Fighting Ebola, Street by Street

 

Shortage of Ambulances and Help
 for Liberia’s Ebola Victims

 

New York Times **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Ambulance work in Liberia is a busy and lonely business.

Racing along cracked and bumpy roads here, Gordon Kamara shouted into his cellphone over the shrieking sirens of his ambulance.  The phone had been ringing nonstop since 5 a.m.

“Not today!  Not today!” Mr. Kamara, an ambulance nurse, yelled.  “We are on the opposite side of town!”

The calls have all been the same in recent weeks:  from friends, friends of friends, extended family, complete strangers.  All of them have loved ones sick with Ebola and beg him to come quickly.  Seven days a week, Mr. Kamara and his crew span Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, in a donated, old American ambulance — with California license plates still attached.

“It never stops,” said Mr. Kamara, getting another call the moment he hangs up.

The 15 or so ambulance teams bolting around the city have had many days of hard choices like this.  Hundreds of new Ebola cases are reported each week in Monrovia, with many more never accounted for.  And over the course of the epidemic, only a small percentage of them have ever made it to a hospital.

“We see it flow through the communities;  first one, then many,” Mr. Kamara said.  “The map is being painted red with the virus.”

To confront the spread of Ebola, some community groups have stepped in, motivated by altruism, desperation and, in some cases, political opportunism.

In some neighborhoods, teams of volunteers fan out to track victims and educate households on staving off the virus, though their pockets are so shallow that they often do not have enough supplies, like chlorine, to thwart the epidemic’s advance.

Mr. Kamara does not work for the government.  He does not even have a dispatcher to tell him where to go, or which patients to pick up.  Instead, his team is financed by an opposition member of Parliament, Saah H. Joseph, who imported two used American ambulances to Monrovia this year.

Mr. Joseph claims to bankroll the operation on his meager government salary, and he deployed the ambulances even before Ebola overran this city.  It was a way of shoring up Monrovia’s tattered health system — and of making a name for himself.

There is little question that the city has long suffered a major ambulance shortage.  And since the epidemic struck, other independent ambulance teams have sprung up, adding a few more vehicles to what is still a tiny fleet in this sprawling city of nearly 1.5 million people.

At the end of a recent 15-hour shift, Mr. Kamara took his final patient of the night, a 17-year-old girl, to an Ebola treatment center.  Wrought with fever, she had stripped off her clothes in the back of the ambulance and fallen off the stretcher, lying twisted and barely conscious on the floor.

“If she does not get treatment, she will die,” Mr. Kamara said.

But as soon as they arrived, he and his team were turned away.  All the beds were full.  The center, meant to house 50 patients, was packed with 85.

 “We could either leave her on the ground to die, or return her to die at home,” Mr. Kamara said.  “There’s no hope here.  We try our best.  But we cannot do more than we can do.”

In recent days, the flow of patients, somewhat inexplicably, seems to have slowed, and beds are suddenly available in some places.  

But the current ebb is a rare — and not entirely trusted — respite from the typical frenzy.  Most days, Mr. Kamara and his team work from sunrise to long past sunset, often sleeping in the ambulance for rest.  On a slow day, he has ferried 10 to 15 new patients from their homes to Ebola treatment centers.  On a busy day, the number has been between 20 and 30.

“When there are beds at the centers, we can do our work,” Mr. Kamara said.  “When there aren’t, we must sit and wait,” he added, explaining that his ambulance would sometimes wait outside a hospital for hours, with a patient
in the back, until a treatment slot opened up.

Mr. Kamara is no stranger to suffering.  More than a decade ago, he worked as a combat medic during Liberia’s civil war.

“It is nothing compared to this,” he said.  “The bullets you can get away from.  Ebola is hidden within our own families.”

Last month, he received news of an uncle falling ill.  He rushed to the hospital to help, only to be turned away by workers there.

“Nobody knows who is alive or who is dead in here!” Mr. Kamara shouted.  “I would go treat him myself if they let me.  I just want to protect my family.”

He takes many precautions at home.  With his constant exposure to the virus, he sleeps in a separate house from his six children to prevent them from getting sick.  In the past five months, he has seen them only a few times.

“It’s a very lonely virus,” Mr. Kamara said.  “Not just for me, but for the entire country.  We are all together, but all alone.”

As he returned the 17-year-old girl to her home, Mr. Kamara explained to her brother why they had brought her back.

“We didn’t want to leave her outside and alone,” he said. “We will come back to pick her up tomorrow in the morning and try again.”

Her brother calmly accepted the news.  He thanked the ambulance crew for trying, and opened the door as they carried her limp body inside the house.

She died the next morning, before the ambulance team could
return.

~Via New York Times/Vimeo

 

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Because ‘I Got High’

 

Driving a Stoned Sofa

 

**VIRAL VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Afroman’s old novelty song has taken on a whole new toke.

The simple little tune once sluggishly lamented the lethargy and uselessness of weed consumption.  But it’s been given a rework to promote the legalization of marijuana. 

Now, I Got High (Positive Remix) lists the healing qualities of weed– ranging from the treatment of glaucoma to staving urges to consume booze, cigarettes and Xanax– while also pointing out legalization benefits to society, mellowing out some criminal activity, and underscoring how amusing it is to drive a sofa on the streets

The remix of the 2001 track is a collaboration with online community Weedmaps and marijuana reform campaign NORML in the run-up for votes taking place in November in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia to decide on the legalization of marijuana, while Florida will decide on a medical marijuana amendment.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Afroman described how the original song, which landed him a record deal and a Grammy nomination, might be a tool to influence the forthcoming reform.

“Getting high– and rapping about it– got me to where I am today and I’ll be forever grateful for that,” he said.

“With the current political battle of states trying to legalize weed, I thought it was a good time to educate– or set the record straight– about marijuana’s benefits, which is why I wanted to remake the song.”

Afroman’s original single was lifted from the album of the same name and became a huge hit.  It was picked up by the stoner flick Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and hit No. 1 in nine countries.

While the controversial promotion of weed via song has a long lineage in the music world, this pro-marijuana remix comes stoking on the heels of Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dogg’s recent track for corporate-branded marijuana which appears in a video for Kurupt’s Moon Rock and sold at some medical cannabis dispensaries in California.

Afroman’s positive take on cannabis has apparently hit a chord:  the above video scored 2.2 million views on YouTube in 3 days.

And to note, 23 states have legalized medical marijuana thus far. 

Nonetheless, we don’t advocate driving sofas under the influence, whatsoever.

 

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Glow in the Dark Skiing

 

Let There Be Light

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Show us your silver lining– and make it glow.

Shot on location at the Golden Alpine Holidays Sentry Lodge, Alyeska Resort, and the Alaskan Wilderness, Afterglow is a short and surreal night ski film.

There’s illuminated deep powder, massive pillows, Alaskan spines, dark canyons, and some twistedly dank glow-in-the-dark moves and jump-offs.  It was all filmed at night with massive lights, custom made 7,600-piece LED lightsuits, and a ton of logistics, planning, and engineering to make it happen.

It’s the first ski flick shot completely in the dark, with a rainbow of colors lighting up powdery runs throughout the backcountry of Alaska and British Columbia.  See it on the largest screen you have.

Filmed as a partnership between Sweetgrass Productions, Philips TV, and the Swedish Agency Ahlstrand & Wållgren, Afterglow is two parts creativity, one part content, and a pinch of cool and spooky scenes thrown in for good measure.

Overall, it’s an incredibly unique film combining a different vision of skiing with the color and light technology of the Philips Company.

If you want to see the full 12-minute version, you can find it here
If surfing is more your thing, try this.

 

 

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My Life As A Carny

 

The Corn Dog Summer on the Road

 

**VIDEO**

 

Harry Payne
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

It was one big juggling act.

We were coming off our first winter out West.  My buddy Brad finally made it back from Bend a couple weeks later and was seeking gainful employment, too.

Mom and Dad ran into some old friends from Michigan:  Butch and Petunia.

Butch, a barrel-chested, fast talkin’ rabble rouser; sorta famous for tearin’ the hell out of that little town and making all the concerned father’s shit-lists.  Petunia straightened Butch out, and they were slowly growing their amusement business.

They had a couple of food carts and rented out some space in a small, Mid-Michigan-based traveling carnival.  They were looking for a couple of nice young bucks to man their pizza and food wagon, across the way from their lemonade/corn dog wagon.

I spoke with Butch and we agreed on $250 cash, per weekend.  That sounded really good.  $250 for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, under the table.  Adventures.  Carny chicks.  

Not bad, and, I’d get a truck to drive for the summer.  I accepted and got Brad hired, too.

There was a lot of ‘jockeying of equipment’ moving from event to event.  Butch and Petunia had a fifth wheel they slept in, so they’d drive down separately, with Petunia towing the lemonade wagon and Butch towing their summer home on wheels.  It took a couple days just to get all the gear to the site and up-n-running.

The final piece to show up was the trailer Brad and I slept in.  Hot and musty, the bathroom smelled of piss and the shower more or less peed lukewarm water on you.  But these were ‘luxury accommodations’ considering the shady and sheisty sleeping quarters for the regular ragtag roster of carnies.

Our day in the wagon consisted of waking up around 9 am, prepping dough, sauce, toppings, and the rest.  Thawing the goods was a crucial step.  We’d make sure the soda was flowing like a river.  

It would always be a long day, every day.  The crowds would show up around 10 am, first couple slices of pie hittin’ the gums around 11 am.  The lights and pizza and food would go down around midnight.

In no time, we were six weeks into the season and humming along.  Man, we hit some ugly little towns.  Our downtime on the road was spent reading, drawing, junkin’ in between, and sweating the nights out in the fifth wheel.

Things weren’t so bad and hell, if anything, the constant traveling was dirty, kinda reckless, and fun.

The carnival’s family hierarchy is broken down systematically.  At the top of the food chain you have the owners.  They own the equipment, book the shows and cut the checks.  The main guy had this perpetual look of disgust and exhaustion on his face; his wife had big blonde hair and lots of gold bling dangling off her buxom chest.

Oh yeah, and a couple of spoiled shit-ass kids running around getting into everything.

Moving right along, the next step down is the food court.  The food vendors rent space from the owners.  If they’re lucky, they’ll build a little empire of fried pig ears and corndogs and have a whole row of wagons set up at any given event.  Butch and Petunia were responsible people with a nice house in some little pleasant town somewhere, a couple of big trucks, and lots of determination and grit to succeed.  For all I knew, they took the winters off due to the riches of summer.

Brad and I—somewhat reluctantly—were part of the “food court” caste.  The worst sweaty weeks spent were selling pizza, corn dogs, curly fries, loose-meat sandwiches, flat bread tacos, corn-on-the-cob, red vines and caramelized apples.  But in our hearts, well, we were pumping carny blood.

The carnies.  Oh man, what a lot.  Rough around the edges, oddly enigmatic, stereotypically undereducated, dirty, colorful, loyal, sunburnt, simple, repressed, and kinda lost, all are descriptions that come to mind.  Some never showered and stunk of stench.  Their faces and strong personalities are ingrained into me forever.

There was this older lady named Agnes who’d lie like a rug. One day she’d have six kids, the next day, seven.  Her husband “Zeke” was this hefty redhead some 20 years her junior with no front teeth, deep-set eyes, a dangling smoke and a big smile to share with everyone.  He’d just nod to all of her lies.

There was another guy who’d get a big Mountain Dew from us each morning with green, rotting teeth.  He’d ask me about living Out West.  I’d ask him about living in Saginaw.  

One time I asked him if he ever planned to fix his teeth.  With a toothy grin and poetic delivery, he said, “Hurts too much to brush ‘em, so I’m just waitin’ for ‘em to fall out!  Ha-ha-haa!”  

And that was that.

There was the erotic vampire novelist who worked the fryer; the old, troll-like man with no teeth who liked to stare at my butt; the U-Haul converted into an apartment others slept in; and showering in the 4-H showers, the same ones the horses are washed in. 

There was also a carny who got pissed at his ex, drove her out into the desert somewhere, and left her there.  We were all hating on her because she was being a drunk crazy bitch– scaring off customers with her brown leathery skin.

Then there was the carny ‘marriage’.  After hours when the park closed, the betrothed couple-to-be would take a few runs up and down on the dinky roller coaster by themselves to consummate their ‘marriage’, much to the amusement and chagrin of the other carnies– the ’witnesses’– watching, drinking, clapping and cheering about in the bleachers.  Don’t ask me more.  You don’t want to know.

Make no mistake.  Carny life is a tough go.  First of all, they don’t get paid shit, and are expected to work long, long hours. 

Some say the men are sleazy perverts, the women tough and catty;  tattooed crackheads and alcoholics and lost souls alike.  I don’t know.  They work hard and wear their hearts of gold on their sleeves.  I do know one guy who smoked 54 cigarettes.  Every eight hour shift.

Set the shit up, run it, tear it down and travel to the next gig.  And that was their summer.  Each night after they shut the fair down, they were allowed a “draw” on their earnings.  The cash was dispersed in an envelope, carefully recorded, and doled out to the eager workers.  Their money often went to smokes, trashy food and beer.

This “draw” business was a calculated part of the relationship between the owners and the carnies.  And man, the whole “draw” thing was one more way to keep them under their thumb and eating out of their hands.  Cuz then when payday would hit, well, they would be taxed for the whole amount and have tiny paychecks.  Plus, they had to rent out sleeping quarters.  The deck was stacked against them in every way:  the work, the hours, the safety issues, the food offered.  Nothing was in their favor.

So we took matters into our own hands. After seeing how much money the wagon made and how fast they made it, I started to “give back” to the people who I felt were taken advantage of.  The carnies had to pay for the food, which, considering how they were treated overall, was complete bullshit.

So a guy would come up to get his daily 50-ouncer of ‘Dew.  It was three bucks.  He’d give me a five dollar bill.  I’d give him a wink, and seven dollars in change.  And so on.  I took it upon myself to give these guys a break, and in the process, won them over.

Now, if anyone messed with us, the carnies would come to our rescue.  I remember some drunk frat fucks messing with us somewhere in the Upper Peninsula and one of the carnies coming over to stand guard by the wagon’s canopy area.  Backup.  Brothers.  It put smiles on their faces and maybe, just maybe, made ‘em feel like someone gave a shit about their plight.

There’s a language, yeah.  And a carny code.  Rules to live by.  Don’t nose into anyone else’s business, don’t screw up anyone else’s hustle, and when the trucks leave the lot all debts are paid.  Band together to protect yourselves, to make a buck, and don’t give ‘em your real name– remember that little disagreement in the last town a few miles away?  And stand by your fellow carnies.

It was one big juggling act.  And things were rolling along just fine.  Until a meltdown changed everything.

It was a late night in Norway, Michigan.  We were busy right up until closing, and being hungry after a long day, we shut the rig down and left without “cleaning up.”

We come back to find Petunia feverishly cleaning up.  We offered to help.  She didn’t reply, visibly miffed, feverishly scrubbing away.

And that’s when Butch showed up, and he went nuts. Accusing us of “not caring anymore.”  I remember him specifically bringing up an incident about the pantyhose.  

At the end of the night, we were “trained” to put a pantyhose on the release drain, and then release the wastewater into the grass or dirt, catch all the crud in the pantyhose, then remove it.  This was against the law as we were supposed to drain the wastewater into a state-sanctioned receptacle.  

So this one night, Brad forgets to remove the pantyhose.  We crash out and the next morning we’re greeted by an official from the Michigan State Health Dept.  Well, Butch got a big fine for that one and was pretty bummed out on us.

Then he started to talk about how, “He oughtta fire us.”  I interrupted him and said, “Nah, you don’t have to do that.  …I quit!”  And man, it stopped him in his tracks.  He went double nuts at this point.

I think I made a point of saying something about how pathetic his “career” was as a fucking corndog huckster or something.  I just remember Brad cautioning me as I unloaded a summer’s worth of disgust on the guy. Fuck him.  We worked hard for them and never lost a sale or turned people away.  We made them a TON of loot and were always there on time.  And this one time when we broke protocol he freaks on us.

So I quit on the spot, and man, it felt good.  I had saved all my summer loot so my Western nest egg was secure.  Then they asked Brad what he was gonna do.  I remember Brad saying, “I’m outta here.  I’m not gonna listen to you talk shit about Harry for the rest of the summer.”  My carny brother had my back.

I remember being outside the owners’ fifth wheel and hearing that little snake-tongued wife say something along the lines of, “I wouldn’t give them a thing.  Get ‘em out of here!” as Butch sought guidance on how to handle our leaving.

And that was it.  We were free.

It was 2 am and we were done.  Stick a fork in us like a baked potato, we were done.  Butch paid us out for the weekend and gave us a hundred bucks for Greyhound tickets.  He recruited this guy with bad hearing and Coke bottle glasses to drive us off the premises and to the next little town where we’d wait the night out until the next bus came through. 

He dropped us off at a 24-hour Laundromat where we caught up on laundry and watched the sunrise. 

The days of the juggling act were over.

Mom and Dad came to our rescue the next morning.

–Thanks: Aaron D., Skippy, Josh, Alicia, Myrtle the Turtle

 

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The Light of Boston

 

Clarity and Illumination for Our Favorite City

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

This is a completely different—and stunning– application of time-lapse photography.

It’s called layer-lapse photography.  What you’re seeing is the world’s first use of it here.

Julian Tryba’s Boston Layer-Lapse is a unique piece of painstaking work.  He explains it like this:

Traditional time-lapses are constrained by the idea that there is a single universal clock.

In the spirit of Einstein’s relativity theory, layer-lapses assign distinct clocks to any number of objects or regions in a scene.  Each of these clocks may start at any point in time, and tick at any rate.  The result is a visual time dilation effect known as layer-lapse.

Max Tegmark put it this way: “The past is not gone, and the future isn’t non-existent; the past, the future, and present are all existing now in exactly the same way.”

 

Tryba took 150,000 photos altogether at different times and placed down approximately 35 layers for each scene clip.  It took about 100 hours to shoot, but 350 hours for him to edit.  He made 800 drafts before settling on this one.

The pixel clarity and brilliance is remarkable when seen on a large screen.  The sound is superb.  The editing transitions are near flawless.

He did a nice job of capturing one of our favorite cities and letting the beauty shine through from many different locations and angles. 

But alas!  He might have made history, but he failed to capture Fenway and the infamous Green Monster. 
Sigh.

 

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Inside the Carnivore Mind

 

Hunting, Passion, and Reason

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

You can turn your back on a person, but never turn your back on a drug, especially when its waving a razor sharp hunting knife in your eye.

   ~Hunter S. Thompson

 

Hunting is the only thing that makes sense in Donnie Vincent’s head.  It’s also in his blood.

For him, bowhunting game isn’t a hobby or sport; it’s a way of life.  

His film, Who We Are, takes a look at what it means to be a modern day hunter-gatherer in a world more accommodating to mass-produced meats and food neatly packaged up in white wrappers in grocery stores.

Summing up his thoughts with some beautifully shot scenes and dialogue, Vincent makes his case for hunting with a great degree of honesty and passion. 

You may or may not agree with what he says and for what some feel is more of a blood sport than a necessity.  But, as he says, all of our ancestors derived their survival from hunting.  It’s why we’re still standing here today.

And don’t expect Vincent to apologize to anybody for what he does. 

For him, it’s something that we only have in America.  Vincent believes there is no other country in the world where the ordinary citizen can go out and enjoy hunting and fishing, no other nation in the world where that happens.  And it’s very much a part of our heritage.

As he explains in his film overlaid with scenes from hunting trips in the Northern Territories near the Arctic Circle, hunting is something much more personal and deeper than a sport.

“It’s something that drives all of us, regardless of our backgrounds and tastes.  It’s a primal need,” Vincent says, and he is proud to embrace it.

“Don’t confuse me with being anything else other than proud.  Proud to be a hunter,” he says.

“It’s time we stop apologizing for how we get our protein.  This is who we are.  Unless you’re a small time rancher, small time farmer, a hunter or fishermen… you really have no idea where your food comes from.  Most people don’t even think about it.”

 

Photos via DonnieVincent.com

 

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Flipping the Teeterboard Fantastic

 

Landing the Balance

 

**VIRAL VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

It’s like life.  It’s all about the balance and landing on your feet.

Teeter totters and trampolines are probably something you haven’t played on since you were a kid.

But what if you combined the two into one?  Let’s introduce you to something called the teeterboard.

It’s a simple apparatus similar to those rigid pivoting diving boards you often see in circus acrobatic acts.  It’s basically a teeter totter– but with some padded ends and a mat for landing.  With a little practice and a partner, it can propel you into the air for some awesome airtime, bouncing out more than a few tricks and flips.

In this recently-gone viral video from Devin Graham– also known as YouTube’s uber-darling Devin Super Tramp — three guys calling themselves the Streaks perform all kinds of crazy stunts.  They jump, they twist, they flip and fly and catch things.  And somehow they make it look too easy.

Performing teeterboard shows all over the world, this is the Streaks’ first video introducing it to the public at large in Italy.

Dani, Ali, and Jules hail originally from different parts of Europe– Belgium England, and France– but say they all come from “a circus school based in France.”

They say they’ve gotten hurt practicing a few times but keep doing it because they enjoy it.

“For us, we think it’s just something that can be explored, and something that hasn’t been explored fully yet,” said Ali.  ”So we’re ready to do it.”

Life is about balance.  The highs and the lows.  The successes and the fails and the falls.  There’s no joy without an equal weight of pain and bruises balancing out how far you’ve come.

So jump on.  Find your youthful balance and be sure to land on your feet.

Below is Devin’s behind-the-scenes take of filming the video.

 

 

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Design, Junk, and Another Man’s Treasure

 

The World of Aaron Draplin

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

He loves design.  He loves hoarding. 
And he loves his mom.

He’s Aaron Draplin.

“Hustlin” by Jared Eberhardt follows the renowned graphic designer who, among other things, sees things others don’t in everyday objects.

Some may call him obsessive.  In reality, he’s simply very passionate about what he does.

He has a massive collection of emblems, matchbooks, first day stamp covers and old tape measures, keeping just about everything with a unique design, logo, brand or symbol near at hand– whether it’s an old cardboard box, a 6-pack of Shasta soda, or peanut butter chips in the original
cellophane bag from the 1970s.

Growing up in Detroit on a steady stream of Legos, Star Wars, family trips, little sisters, summer beach fun, stitches, fall foliage, drawing, skateboarding and snowboarding when he was young, Draplin started his career at age 19 with his first snowboard graphic for Solid snowboards. 

His quest for design took off like wildfire soon after.

Everything from lettering cafe signs to drawing logos to thinking up local advertising campaigns were manhandled under the ruse of the newly-formed and gigantically-reckless Draplin Industries Design Co.

After five winters out in Oregon, the kid sobered up and headed back to Minneapolis to finish up what he says was a high-falutin’ design degree at the prestigious and painfully expensive Minneapolis College of Art and Design.  During this time he polished up his design skills, learned how to weld, and developed photos using nasty and toxic chemicals.  Those were his salad days of easy livin’ when the cotton was high.

In April of 2000, he accepted an ill-fated art director position with Snowboarder magazine.  Moving down to Southern California to
suffer alongside hot, caustic beaches, he wrangled some 23 issues of the mag.  He won “Art Director of the Year” for Primedia 2000, beating out such titles as Gun Dog, Cat Fancy and Teen.

Thankfully, in April 2002, the Cinco Design Office of Portland, Oregon called Draplin up and offered him a Senior Designer gig which he instantly accepted.  He moved it all North to the land of  fog and rain and doom and gloom, mud and more mud, rolling up his sleeves to work on various accounts.

The Draplin Design Co. finally stepped out on its own four hairy Bigfoot feet in 2004.

Some four year later, Draplin’s proud to report that he’s managed to “keep everything out of the red.” His motto is simply, “Work Hard.  Do good work for good people.”

He rolls up his sleeves working for a host of well-known and lesser-known clothing, apparel, snowboarding and publication companies.  As you might have guessed, Vans is one of them.

He’s come a long ways from the days when he once worked as a carnie, then becoming uber-famous in the world of blue collar design.  Draplin sees himself as just a regular straight-talking American guy with eclectic music tastes and a trajectory that’s a little dirtier than yours.

He says he owes it all to his parents.  Seriously, he does. 
Like we said, he loves his mom.

Via Aaron Draplin, Jared Eberhardt, and Vimeo

 

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The Making of Malala

 

2014 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

 

**Award-Winning NYT VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Her courage and life inspires and captivates us all.

This is the story of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, told by The New York Times’ senior video journalist Adam B. Ellick, who made the above documentary about her in 2009 before she was an international star.

Determined to defy the odds and become a doctor, there is a story to Malala Yousafzai’s improbable transformation from a quiet, deferential 11-year-old living near Pakistan’s tribal areas to a teenage spokeswoman for girls’ education.  

Malala, shot in the head by the Taliban last year, received the Nobel Peace Prize yesterday.  At the age of 17, she is the youngest recipient of the prestigious honor.

Ellick’s video begins with her determined father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, but gets pushed forward by intense news media coverage of her daring campaign against the Taliban.

Given Malala’s re-emergence on the world stage– healing from her wounds and winning the Nobel– raises the back story of some sobering and difficult questions.

Malala was a brave young girl, advocating for a better future for all girls in her country.  She is seen as a young heroine by many.

But was it fair for her to fight so publicly in such a dangerous environment?  To push so strongly for education for women in such a restrictive male-dominated culture?  Or was she thrust into the limelight by adults captivated by the power of a child staring down the Taliban?

Pakistan continues to be one of the worst places to be a woman.  More than half of Pakistani girls are not educated.  Pakistan also has the world’s second lowest rate of female employment in the world, according to the World Economic Forum Gender Parity Report– lower than even Saudi Arabia.

Pakistan’s failure to educate its citizenry is rooted in government ineffectiveness.

Despite a recent increase, Pakistan still spends only about 2 percent of its gross domestic product on education.  That is less than it spends on subsidies for its national airline, and only half the global average.

Malala represents a new coming of age and a bright beacon of hope for those following in her footsteps.

~Via The New York Times, Adam B. Ellick, Malala Yousafzai, and Vimeo

 

 

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The Government War on the Garden of Eden

 

 

An Eco-Community Under Assault

 

**VIDEO** by We Are Change

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Paradise Lost.

Dedicated to living sustainably by raising fresh food, utilizing earthen materials for building projects, and facilitating “a human’s highest potential,” the Garden of Eden is an alternative community– providing food, shelter and sustainability education classes and workshops freely to the public since 2009.

Their 3.5 acres of land contains chickens, bees, composting stations, a large vegetable garden and many wildcrafted trees and plants that are used for foods, medicines, and household and beauty products.  Their vision is to be a fully self-sustaining center for education on sustainable living.

We Are Change’s Luke Rudkowski traveled to Dallas, Texas, to meet with Quinn Eaker of the Garden of Eden community.  In the video above, Eaker relates the Garden of Eden’s mission and how recent actions from the city and state has harassed, intimidated, fined, and threatened the very existence of their small community.

Here’s what happened.

In August of 2013, Arlington police raided a sustainable farm called the Garden of Eden looking for an extensive marijuana enterprise.

They didn’t find any weed.  Or a cannabis enterprise of any sort.  And the city still won’t release documents explaining why it erroneously believed the property was a drug empire.

In a warrant to search the premises, Arlington police cited a host of tips that the small farm was harvesting marijuana.  

That intelligence was unreliable, however, and Arlington police aren’t disclosing the reports that led to the warrant and August 2, 2013 raid at the little eco-community on Mansfield-Cardinal Rd.

The city claims those documents are privileged and not subject to a Freedom of Information Act request.  Quinn is awaiting a ruling from the Texas Attorney General to obtain those documents.

In the meantime, the city did provide 68 pages of correspondence and citations with the Garden of Eden dating back to February 2013.  Inexplicably, the city also handed over an audio recording of a public hearing on code violations at the garden titled, “Lady VIP:  Dare to be Rich.”

Property owner Shellie Smith vigorously denied many of the minor code violations, saying what she did on her property was none of the city’s business– provided no one was harmed by her actions.  No one was.

On August 5, code compliance officers took matters into their own hands, aggressively remedying high weeds and grass, improper outside storage of materials, hazardous wiring, improperly stacked firewood and “the misuse of an extension cord.”

Smith was also cited for running a home business without a permit.

It’s a laundry list of minor violations to be sure.  And it hardly calls for a tactical SWAT team and narcotics detectives to be on the scene as Eaker described.       

In the process of hauling away scrap wood, furniture and other items, Eaker, a Garden of Eden founder, said authorities destroyed 17 blackberry bushes, 15 okra plants, 14 tomatillo plants, and numerous native grasses and sunflowers.

“The primary inhabitants at the Garden of Eden have spent hundreds of dollars and thousands of hours of attention to the matters brought upon them by the City of Arlington, none of which have been honorable in any way,” Eaker said.

“It has been a very heavy burden, and has slowed down the progress of community and sustainable growth in many ways,” he added.

For now, the issue appears to be at a bit of a standstill.  Months after the failed ‘drug raid’, the Garden of Eden has yet to get any answers from authorities.

Perhaps the officials-that-be didn’t like the eco-groovy, alternative laid back lifestyle, the lack of structured discipline, naked kids, beautiful sunflowers, and the ukulele-strumming going on.  That may fit fine into the Humboldt lifestyle, but remember this is Texas, after all. 

Eaker says the city is attempting to recoup around $20,000 in fines, but the garden has no plans to pay up.  In fact, Eaker has submitted his own bill to the city in the form of an affidavit of damages.

“They have no idea what they are getting into,” Eaker says.  “They think I’m a lazy dope-smoking hippie, and they are completely wrong.  We will destroy them in court.  Everything is on our side.”

Eaker says he’s spent thousands of hours studying the law since the ordeal began, and he’s prepared to defend the rights of himself and his family, who also live on the farm.

“The issue is that we have been following due process of law since February,” Eaker says.  “We have established that they have no jurisdiction.  They have no authority to tell us what we can and can’t
do with our land.”

 

~Via We Are Change, Culture Map, Quinn Eaker,
the Garden of Eden, and YouTube

* * * * * * * * * *

Currently Quinn Eaker is looking for legal representation to keep the Garden of Eden going.

They ask that if you could help, please contact http://www.intothegardenofeden.com or gardenofedenvortex@gmail.com.

 

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Traveling the World in Four Minutes

 

Günther Gheeraert’s Rise Up

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Flamingos in Chile. The people of Southern India. The peaks and prayer flags of Tibet.
The cityscapes of New York.

Günther Gheeraert’s Rise Up is a fast moving film paying tribute to traveling and exploring the world– and the diversity of the 7 billion other people in it.

Gheeraert is a film director, photographer, and blogger from Paris, France, where he’s famously known by the name of Mr. Gü.  For years he’s been creating film and photography for famous worldwide brands such as Diesel, Karl Lagerfeld and Puma, as well as for his own personal enjoyment whenever he could. 

Rise Up was produced for Continents Insolites, a small French travel company that allowed Günther to produce a film that he wanted and using footage from wherever he wanted to go.  Traveling 30,000 miles around the world and working his way through 3 continents, he took more than two months capturing the visually striking footage you see here.  Filmed in HD, we encourage you to see it on the largest screen possible.

Employing beautiful images, subtle delivery and rhythm, expert editing and technical work, and a choice soundtrack from Mooders with vocals from Louise Eliott, Gheeraert’s film inspires and challenges all of us to get up and see the great, magical, and beautiful wide planet before us that is merely an airplane ride away.

In his work, the joy of travel, freedom, and expression shines through the camera lens– as stunning landscapes, beautiful cultures, and unforgettable people are gently gathered from all over the earth.

 

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Running Depressions

 

Getting Out and Doing Whatever You Do

 

**Award-Winning Video**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Making two things work well together.

In this great little short film by Joel Wolpert, we get inside the head of ultrarunner Rob Krar and his experiences with depression. 

In Krar’s words, depression and running go hand-in-hand for so many.

More than a few folks have discovered ultrarunning and parkour.  Although they may have been fortunate as to never have experienced depression, running on the trails has an incredible ability to clear the mind and restore the spirit.

It is both wonderful and exhausting at the same time; good for the body and mind.

Being responsible for our own health and well-being means recognizing when we are in difficulty and when to seek help.  Endurance athletes have this one additional amazing tool to help them deal with it that most people don’t– the sport itself.

So what are you waiting for?  Movement is liberation.  Flow is pleasure.  Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must.  Just never give up.

Make the first move making two things work together.    Get out there and run, ride, swim or do whatever it is you do.

~Via Joel Wolpert/Vimeo, Rob Krar, Canadian Running

 

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Ideas Are That Grand

 

 

**Award-Winning Animated Short**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Great minds discuss ideas. 

Average minds discuss events.  Small minds discuss people.

But what if there is no one to discuss them with?

Sometime in the future an old man, equipped with the benefits of evolution, survived the extinction of all other living beings.  It is a very lonely world for someone unable to die and with so many ideas.

‘Así de Grande son las Ideas’ is a collaboration between director and animator Quique Rivera Rivera, and multiple Latin Grammy and Grammy Award winner René Pérez Joglar (Calle 13).

No matter what people tell you, ideas can change the world.  Even if you don’t speak Spanish.

 
 

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T-World

 

The Future of T-Shirt Graphics

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

We had no idea people even think of these things.

For over 40 years, street culture– encompassing graffiti, design, skate, music and urban inspired street wear – has changed the way we see the graphics of T-shirts.

The film, Next: The Future of T-shirt Graphics celebrates the street art style of using the T-shirt as the most accessible canvas.

Is it fashion?  Is it a statement?  Or is it just a simple tee.  The answer is… complicated.

The film’s basic message is both retrospective and responsive—and it asks the question, what’s next?

 

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Ken Burns’ ‘The Roosevelts’

 

PBS Series Reveals Everything Wrong With Our Current Political Class

 

**VIDEO**

 

Joseph A. Palermo
Huffington Post

 

 

Ken Burns’ seven-part PBS series on the lives of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, is a remarkable achievement.

Burns sheds a poignant new light on the personal and public lives of three monumental figures in 20th Century American history.  And in doing so, he illustrates the relative rottenness of the hacks, partisans, and plutocrats who make up the political class that rules America today.

By exploring the lives and times of TR, FDR, and ER Burns shows that in our not-so-distant past the governing institutions of this country were actually responsive to the needs and desires of working-class Americans.

This superb and moving portrait is a perfect fit for our times.  The utter failure of our current “leaders” is glaring by comparison.

Yes, TR was a warmonger, and FDR signed the order that imprisoned innocent Japanese Americans. There are long lists of both presidents’ failures.  But we shouldn’t let those flaws bury the fact that both TR and FDR were not afraid to stand up to big corporations and Wall Street if they viewed their actions as damaging to the country.  That alone is probably the biggest difference between those leaders of the early decades of the 20th Century and today.

After thirty years of “supply-side” economics that has left working people still waiting for better times to “trickle down”; eight years of George W. Bush’s misrule that brought us war and recession; the Far-Right ascendency in 2010 that has all but shuttered the federal government in an attempt to destroy Barack Obama; and a Supreme Court that is proudly subservient to every tenet of plutocracy — I think it’s okay to flip on PBS and feel a bit nostalgic for a time when there existed effective politicians who actually gave a damn about the quality of life of the majority of Americans.

Over the past thirty years, Presidents and Congresses have become so subservient to corporations and Wall Street that the two major political parties are all but indistinguishable.

One of the reasons why our politics have become so volatile and opinion polls show over and over again that our people have nothing but contempt for the whole political class in Washington and the widespread recognition that the plutocrats, CEOs, and Wall Street bankers have effectively seized our governing institutions.

Another subtext for our times of the Burns documentary is the reminder that people who come from the richest .01 percent of Americans don’t have to be total assholes.  Unlike the Koch Brothers, or the Waltons, or Representative Darrell Issa (the richest man in the House of Representatives) the Roosevelts didn’t feel they had a class interest in keeping their boots on the necks of America’s working people; they strived to uplift them.

And they saw the federal government not as a bazaar of accounts receivable to vacuum up precious tax dollars for the already rich but as a means to improve the lives of the 99 percent.

The Roosevelts also illustrates a time when Democrats had dirt under their fingernails.  There was no need to remind them that Democratic politicians valued labor unions or sought new protections in the workplace.  The leaders and rank-in-file were tied together.

Today, when we see Democratic politicians like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo or Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel bludgeoning teachers’ unions while supping at the table of big campaign donors from Wall Street we’re left with the realization that working people have few reliable advocates for their class interests anymore.

Since 1984, Democratic politicians decided the party needed to “move to the center” given Ronald Reagan’s landslide.  But “moving to the center” meant moving away from serving the interests of working people and moving toward Wall Street and big corporations.

Ironically, in the 1990s, when the Democratic Party grew more diverse based on race and gender, it shifted far closer to the Republicans in terms of class.  We’ve seen one Democratic president (Bill Clinton) push NAFTA and other “free trade” deals that decimated labor unions; unravel the social safety net in the name of “welfare reform”; and deregulate Wall Street.

And we’ve seen another Democratic president (Barack Obama) refuse to send any bankers to jail for the massive fraud they committed in the mortgage markets; choose to beat up teachers’ unions with Arne Duncan’s “Race to the Top”; and accommodate the profiteers inside our health care system.

All of these policies represent a capitulation to the interests of big corporations and Wall Street on the part of Democratic administrations at the expense of their own constituencies.

Another aspect of the Burns documentary is a revealing look at the kind of patriotism that TR, FDR, and ER exhibited throughout their lives.  It was a patriotism that recognized that the country is strongest when all Americans had opportunities and the federal government not only helped to uplift them materially, but also protected them from the rapacious predators of the Wall Street ruling class.

We’ve lost that sense of patriotic duty today.  The “you’re on your own” society has won out in recent decades over the idea that “everyone does better when everyone does better.”

So if you haven’t yet seen The Roosevelts, by all means, sit back, put on PBS, and enjoy watching a time in America that predates the death of the liberal class.

* * * * * * * * * * *

 

Before earning a Master’s degree and Doctorate in History from Cornell University, Professor Joseph Palermo completed Bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Master’s degree in History from San Jose State University.

His expertise includes the 1980s; political history; presidential politics and war powers; social movements of the 20th century; the 1960s; and the history of American foreign policy.  Dr. Palermo has also written articles for anthologies on the life of Father Daniel Berrigan, S.J. in The Human Tradition in America Since 1945 and on the Watergate scandal in Watergate and the Resignation of Richard Nixon.

Professor of History at California State University, Sacramento, Professor Palermo’s most recent book is The Eighties.  He has also written two other books: In His Own Right: The Political Odyssey of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy and the Death of American Ideals.

Part of the Iona Brotherhood, we thank Dr. Palermo for sharing his work with our readers here.

 

 

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Elvis on the Stairway to Heaven

 

Led Zeppelin Meets Elvis, 40 Years Ago

 

**Archival VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

40 years ago today the band began to play. 
And it was out with the old– and in with the new.

The Los Angeles Forum played host to some of the greatest shows Led Zeppelin ever put on.  It was also the place where, on May 11, 1974, the band came face to face with their legendary childhood hero for the first time.

Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Bonham were in Los Angeles for the launch of their own record label, Swan Song.  The night after the raucous launch party at the Bel Air Hotel, the band– minus bassist John Paul Jones– decided to attend Elvis Presley’s concert at the Forum.

Elvis was alerted to the presence of the rock group in the audience.  During the show, taped and later released as Live in L.A., he said to his band, “Wait a minute… If we can start together, fellas; because we’ve got Led Zeppelin out there.  Let’s try to look like we know what we’re doing, whether we do or not.”

Jerry Weintraub, their mutual promoter at the time, took Jimmy Page and Robert Plant up to Presley’s Las Vegas hotel suite following the concert.

For the first few minutes, Elvis ignored them.

Jimmy Page, who had first picked up a guitar after hearing Elvis’ Baby Let’s Play House on overseas radio in 1955, began to wonder and fidget.  What was going on?  Did he really want to meet them?  Should they say something?

Elvis finally turned to them.

“Is it true,” he said, “these stories I hear about you boys on the road?”

Robert Plant amiably answered, “Of course not.  We’re family men.  I get the most pleasure out of walking the hotel corridors, singing your songs.” 

Plant also offered his best Elvis impersonation, breaking the ice.  He reminisced that Jimmy Page also joked with Elvis by adding that, “We never sound checked, but if we did, all I wanted to do was sing Elvis songs,” Plant said.

“At that meeting, ‘Elvis thought that was funny.  He asked me, ‘Which songs do you sing?’’” 

“I told him I liked the ones with all the moods, like that great country song ‘Love Me:  ‘Treat me like a fool, treat me mean and cruel, but love me…’

For a moment Elvis Presley eyed them both very carefully.  Then he burst out laughing.  Then his bodyguards burst out laughing.

For two hours he entertained them in his suite.  He had never heard their records, he said, except for when his stepbrother played him Stairway to Heaven.  

“I liked it,” Presley said.

Later, walking down the hallway from the hotel room, Page and Plant were still stunned, congratulating themselves on a two-hour meeting with the King.  

“Hey,” came a voice from behind them.  Plant recalled what happened next.

“So when we were leaving, after a most illuminating and funny 90 minutes with the guy, I was walking down the corridor.  He swung around the door frame, looking quite pleased with himself, and started singing that same song, ‘Treat me like a fool…’

“I turned around and did Elvis right back at him.  We stood there, singing to each other.”

Plant later wrote about his impressions of Presley: “I met Elvis with Zeppelin, after one of his concerts in the early ’70s.  I sized him up.  He wasn’t quite as tall as me, but he had a singer’s build.  He had a good chest– that resonator.  And he was driven.”

Elvis’ and Zeppelin’s paths would cross two more times during the ‘70s.

The next meeting took place at Presley’s home in Memphis.  Jerry Schilling, a noted member of Elvis’ ‘Memphis Mafia’, wrote about the encounter in his book, Me and a Guy Named Elvis.

Elvis said it would be okay for them to come by the house.

Schilling was there on the night of the planned meeting and was surprised to see that Elvis was in his pajamas and robe– he and Sheila Ryan were getting ready to go upstairs.  Schilling reminded Elvis that Richard Cole, Led Zep’s band manager, and bassist John Paul Jones were coming.  Elvis remained downstairs to wait for them.

Schilling recalls:

“From the moment Richard stepped into the house, he was loud and profane, packing an amazing number of f-words into everything he said.

‘You know’, Elvis said to him. ‘I’d appreciate it if you’d watch your language in front of my lady.’  Things got very quiet.  Everybody sat down.  

And it stayed quiet.  Then Elvis decided to break the ice, and asked if he could see the fancy watch that Richard was wearing.  Richard handed the watch over, and when Elvis put it on, Richard quickly said that if Elvis wanted the watch, he could keep it.

‘Does it have any special meaning to you?’ Elvis asked.

‘Well, a bit.  Atlantic Records gave them to the group’, said Richard.

‘OK, thanks’, said Elvis.

I don’t know if Richard expected to lose his watch that easily, but about twenty minutes later Elvis went upstairs and came back down with another watch, a real piece of jewelry, covered in diamonds– a wristwatch you could trade in for a car.  Maybe a couple of cars.

‘Here’, he said to Richard.  ’Take this one’.

A very stunned Richard accepted.  From then on the night was nothing but fun, with a lot of laughs and a lot of quoting Monty Python routines (Elvis was the first Monty Python fanatic I ever knew).

Elvis and Richard obviously shared a sense of humor.  And I could tell Elvis also liked the much quieter John.  At one point, Elvis excused himself, went back upstairs, and returned with an equally impressive watch for the bassist.

Before the evening was over, Elvis said he wanted to make another exchange.  He was out of watches, but had another bit of fashion in mind.

So he stood, eyed John, and said, ‘Let’s swap pants’, while simultaneously, in expert Python fashion, let his pajama bottoms drop beneath his robe.

The loud Richard was shocked into silence, while the usually quiet Sheila and John burst out laughing. 

Nobody accepted Elvis’ offer, but it was a great note to end the night on.”

 

The final meeting between Zeppelin and Elvis took place on the Baltimore airport tarmac while both were on tour in 1977.

Presley’s stepbrother, David Stanley, later recalled the encounter:

“The other time the Presley tour ran across the band was while out on the road.  It was at the Washington-Baltimore airport.

We (the Presley tour) were playing in Washington and Led Zeppelin was playing at the Capital Centre.  We arrived on the Lisa Marie, Elvis’ private jet, and Led Zeppelin arrived on the Caesar’s Chariot.  

It was a hell of a sight to see these two private jets, sitting side-by-side, on the private tarmac.

I asked Elvis if I could go with the band that night for their Led Zeppelin concert.  He just looked at me and said ‘No.’

When I asked him why, he said, ‘look at the bottom of your paycheck.’

As I entered the limo with Elvis I said ‘they sure have a nice jet.’

Elvis leaned over and reminded me that ‘they lease their jet from Caesar’s Palace, I own mine.’”

 

Elvis Presley inspired many of the greatest rock and roll acts of the ‘60s, ‘70s and beyond.  Led Zeppelin, too, was no exception, and when their paths crossed it was a thrill for both the band and the King himself.

By August of 1977, Led Zeppelin was sailing at the top of the rock ‘n roll charts as the biggest gig in the nation. 

The King, his popularity waning, became a shadow of his former self.  Overweight, his mind and speech dulled by the pharmacopia he ingested daily, and suffering from glaucoma, high blood pressure, migraines, an enlarged colon, liver damage, paranoia, and abbreviated concerts, would be found dead in his bathroom at Graceland at the age of 42.

Each had taken their own separate stairway to heaven.

 

* * * * * * * * *

 

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The Sounds of Paragliding

 

Motion and Breath in the Air

 

**Award-Winning VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

It’s the beauty and the sound of flying.

Put your headphones on or turn up the volume, otherwise the real pleasure of this clip might be lost.

Sounds of Paragliding is a new video from director Shams and sound engineer Thibaut Darscotte who took special equipment into the skies above France to record the sounds of Théo de Blic’s aerobatic paragliding.

Instead of amping up the music and intensity like so many high-speed stunt wingsuit and skydiving videos, Shams instead slows everything down to focus only on the sounds created by Blic’s parasail whipping through the air at incredible speeds.

It doesn’t really get going until after the 2-minute mark, but the pleasure and beauty are worth the wait.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the friendly skies.

 

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Free Running

 

The Art of Fluid Movement

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It’s an unusual street sport that’s gaining in popularity.

It’s free running—also known as parkour

It’s the art of moving dynamically from point A to point B.  A highly entertaining art form, athletes demonstrate a variety of acrobatic and gymnastic skills using street objects, roofs, rails, or a dedicated stage or obstacle course.

The central principle of free running is that one should express oneself in the environment fluidly, without limitations of movement.  By running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, jumping, flipping, and rolling using both the hands and feet, one moves across the urban landscape as quickly and effortlessly as possible.

Think moving quickly like a ninja or playing Assassin’s Creed and you’ll get the idea.

Having its origins in martial arts and military training, free running is done using only the human body and the surroundings for propulsion, with a focus on maintaining as much momentum and discipline as possible while still remaining safe.

Often times free runners run in packs, mob style.  It involves no equipment, few rules, usually requires trespassing, runs the risk of injury, and like any secret club, has its own internal code of conduct to follow.

After that, you’re free to be you– and run.

 

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Appealingly Cheap and Incredibly Deadly

 

 

Death-Bot Drones and Their Blind Execution

 

**VIRAL VIDEO**

 

John Oliver
Last Week Tonight

 

“All of the sudden, drones are everywhere,” John Oliver says above in his satirically sad piece from Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight.

“They’re the third most annoying thing in the sky– after mosquitoes and plastic bags caught in the breeze.”

The heart of Oliver’s argument is that drones are often used without an appropriate level of intelligence on targets, with a loophole in the definition of “imminent threat” needed to carry out such an attack.  

Rosa Brooks, a Georgetown professor and former Pentagon official under President Obama, explained how the administration sees drone strikes:  “Right now we have the executive branch making a claim that it has the right to kill anyone, anywhere on Earth, at any time, for secret reasons based on secret evidence, in a secret process undertaken by unidentified officials.  That frightens me.”

It frightens John Oliver too, who spent twelve minutes laying out exactly why the US drone program is so disturbing.  

Among the specifics:

  • Military-age males killed in strikes are allegedly considered guilty of being “militants” by the CIA until proven innocent.
  • The US government doesn’t actually know the specific identities of many people it kills, or indeed how many people it has killed overall.
  • According to the Justice Department, for something to be an imminent threat justifying a strike “does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on US persons and interests will take place in the immediate future,” despite, as Oliver notes, that being “what the fucking word imminent means.”

Later, the host touches on ”the psychological impact of living underneath drones,” showing a heartbreaking clip of Farea Al-Muslimi, a Yemini youth activist and journalist, addressing Congress in 2013 after his village was struck by a drone.

Unfortunately, not thinking about drones is a luxury many people don’t have, a point made overwhelmingly clear by a clip of a 13-year-old Pakistani boy whose grandmother had been killed by a drone strike.  In the clip, Zubair Rehman testifies that he no longer loves blue skies; he prefers grey skies.

“The drones do not fly when the skies are grey,” he said.

That was enough for Oliver.

“When children from other countries are telling us that we’ve made them fear the sky,” he insisted, “it might be time to ask some hard questions.”

 

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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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Hong Kong Protests Push for Greater Democracy

 

 

Police Pull Back as Protesters Jam City Streets

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

The growing protests in Hong Kong have gripped the world’s attention.

Extending their protests into the workweek, Hong Kong democracy activists continued occupying major thoroughfares Monday, forcing the closure of some schools, banks and other businesses in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

Due to the demonstrations, government officials said they would cancel a major annual fireworks celebration scheduled for Wednesday — China’s equivalent of the Fourth of July.

After firing 87 volleys of tear gas at protesters at nine locations on Sunday evening, police backed away from engaging directly with the demonstrators on Monday.  

Thousands of activists took to the streets in neighborhoods on both sides of Victoria Harbor, sitting down in intersections and setting up barricades.  Protesters wore goggles or masks and raincoats, and many held umbrellas to protect against the possible use of pepper spray.

Despite warnings that the demonstrations could seriously damage Hong Kong’s economy and reputation as a stable Asian financial hub, workers went on strike, including employees at Coca-Cola Hong Kong.

A number of businesses opened late or closed early, but in many parts of the city commerce continued as usual.

No one seemed sure what would happen next, in part because the movement has become diffuse and spontaneous and attracting a wide cross section of participants.  Without a cohesive group of leaders directing things “it’s very difficult to predict” how the situation will evolve, said Chi-Keung Choy, professor of comparative politics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“It is no longer a movement initiated by the group Occupy Central, or the student strike.  It became a self-initiated movement,” he said.

Government officials in Beijing and Hong Kong will need to extend a significant olive branch to get marchers off the streets, Choy added. “They need to have major concessions from the government.  No one can convince them, unless the government makes big concessions.”

The demonstrations have burst forth in response to China’s decision to allow only Beijing-vetted candidates to be nominated in the city’s elections for chief executive, Hong Kong’s top civil position.

Protesters shouted slogans demanding full democracy in 2017, calling for the open nominations of candidates so that anyone, including China critics, can run for office.  But Chinese officials have rejected that, stating nominees must be endorsed by a 1,200-strong election committee which is stacked with Beijing loyalists.

“There’s more and more interference from Beijing,” said Tsang Fan-yu, a designer who was at Wednesday’s protest with his seven-year-old son for their sixth consecutive year.

“We have to come out to make our voices heard.  The form of democracy Beijing wants is unacceptable.  It’s fake.”

But also underlying the unrest is unhappiness in Hong Kong over a range of issues:  high housing prices, a growing income gap, and an influx of mainland visitors whose customs and habits have struck locals as uncouth.  In addition, many of the youths who make up a forceful component of the demonstrators have little sense of connection to mainland China and instead embrace a strong identity to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong, a longtime British territory, reverted to Chinese rule in 1997 under a Basic Law that embraced a framework known as “one country, two systems.”  Communist authorities in Beijing essentially agreed to allow the territory of 7 million a high degree of self-rule for 50 years except for matters of national security.

The situation in Hong Kong has drawn the concern of Western governments, but they have been unusally tepid in their support for the demonstrators.  Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned Monday that foreign interference in the situation was unwelcome by Beijing.

“Hong Kong belongs to China.  Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s domestic affairs,” she said in Beijing.  “We strongly oppose any countries interfering or supporting Occupy Central by any methods.  We wish these countries to be cautious.”

The US consulate general in Hong Kong said the US “does not take sides in the discussion of Hong Kong’s political development, nor do we support any particular individuals or groups involved in it.”

But some Hong Kongers are calling for greater expressions of support from overseas.  A group of Hong Kong-based employees of Apple wrote to Chief Executive Tim Cook, calling for active support of the civil disobedience campaign. 

“The people of Hong Kong are now under the violent treatment of the Central government while fighting for the human rights and democracy of Hong Kong,” they wrote.  They asked Apple, as “the most humanized and the most respectful company, to support and help our civil disobedience campaign and also to respond to the fight of Hong Kong people.” 

Hong Kong has a rich tradition of protests, but demonstrations are typically well organized and calm with people gathering in designated parks and marching along pre-planned routes with official permits.  The free-form and unpredictable nature of the last few days’ protests have surprised local residents — and spurred many of them into the streets in solidarity.

Riot police remained on guard on the sidelines of the main protest area near the government headquarters, although not in large numbers.

The government urged the demonstrators to disperse to allow emergency vehicles, public transport and other traffic to pass.  Its statement followed calls from some protest organizers for people to return home.

But with thousands of demonstrators continuing to jam streets in key financial and commercial districts it appeared unlikely that the extraordinary protest movement would end anytime soon.

“It’s shocking to see armies of police equipped with tear gas guns, rifles and batons,” said Nan Hie In, who joined demonstrators on the streets Sunday night.  “Amid the madness, the crackling sounds from police firing tear gas and the protesters running away to evade the chemical haze, I thought: Are we in Syria or Hong Kong?”

After he and a few friends were ambushed inside a public square by police with a volley of tear gas, Jerry Ip, 25, said, “I felt like I’d die.” Even so, Ip said he was undaunted because “we’re fighting for the future of Hong Kong. This is our homeland.”

After the tear-gas confrontations Sunday night, Hong Kong government officials sought to take a more conciliatory approach.  Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying appeared on television after midnight promising that police would use “maximum discretion” and saying that he hoped people would “keep calm” and not be misled by “rumors.”

At a gathering outside the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Monday afternoon, a group of protest supporters urged office workers to show support for the demonstrations after business hours. 

Students and protesters, meanwhile, are preparing for a new night of clashes and tense standoff with police.

“Hong Kong people are not going to take this lying down,” said local legislator Alan Leong.  “This is a people’s movement.”

And like Tiananmen Square, the whole world is watching.

~Via Google News, CNN, LA Times, UK Daily News, YouTube

 

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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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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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Free History Night in Freshwater

 

Jerry Rohde: The Infamous 1964 Flood

A Unique Perspective of Disaster

 

Friday, September 19: Freshwater Grange

Potluck at 6 pm

Presentation at 7 pm

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

There will be good times in Wrangletown tonight. 

Jerry’s back by popular demand for another free potluck and history presentation at the Freshwater Grange.

Pierson Building Center in Eureka is funding a free series of historical lectures as part of their celebration of the business’s 52nd anniversary.

Celebrating Life in Humboldt County is a series of 10 PowerPoint presentations being held at Grange halls, town halls and community centers throughout the county.

Jerry Rohde, local author and premier historian, will give an hour-long talk tonight on “The 1964 Flood,” highlighting different aspects of Humboldt’s infamous and catastrophic natural diasaster.

With over 60 images and interesting anecdotes, stories, and facts about Humboldt’s infamous 1964 Flood, Jerry may amaze and mesmerize the audience yet again like he did before.

Yes, as bridges were swept away, the National Guard was called in, entire communities were washed away down the rivers, and Humboldters rallied to help one another.

Jerry will tell us how history repeats itself: only 11 years earlier, the 1955 ‘Hundred-Year’ flood provided a warning of what was to come; while way back in the winter of 1861-62, the North Coast was hit with what may have been the biggest flood of all.

Come to the free presentation and Jerry will fill you in on the exciting history and take your questions.  Everyone is welcome and we’d love to see you.  And your family and friends!

There’s a community potluck at 6 pm, so bring a dish to share.

Jerry’s presentation starts at 7 pm.

Thank you Pierson Building Center for sponsoring Jerry’s gig.  Last time, it was fun for everyone– in a history sort of way.  Who knew history could be that fun?

To get there, take Myrtle Avenue/Old Arcata Road. At 3 Corners Market, turn east onto Freshwater Road and drive 2.2 miles to the Garfield Little Red School House, and turn right onto Grange Road.  You can’t miss it: it’s the big, big building at 29 Grange Road.

If you know Jerry, it ought to be a great presentation in Wrangletown,
a very friendly and beautiful community just outside of Eureka.

Admission is free.  For more information, you can contact Rohde at 445-3844 or jerry.rohde@gmail.com .

 

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Scotland Votes on Independence

 

Historic Turnout at Polls Today

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

The once vast empire of the United Kingdom may be less
united and vast once the votes are cast and counted.

Scotland’s voters are heading to the polls today to cast their ballots in a landmark referendum on independence from the United Kingdom.

There, they will face a straightforward and simple yes or no question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

More than 4.2 million people have registered to vote, the largest electorate ever in Scotland, and the historic turnout in the referendum is expected to be high.

A vote for independence means Scotland, with its population of about 5.3 million, would split apart from the rest of the United Kingdom, made up of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  A simple majority is all that is needed for either side to claim victory.

Voting will take place at more than 5,500 polling stations across 32 districts nationwide, from the remote highlands and islands to the big cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.  Some ballot boxes must be collected by helicopter, plane or boat from remote polling stations on distant islands.

Results from the different areas will come in overnight on Friday morning local time.

Voters in the referendum do not have to be British citizens; Commonwealth, Irish and EU citizens who live in Scotland and are registered to vote there can cast a ballot.  However, Scots living outside Scotland do not have a say.

Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond, who has led the pro-independence “Yes Scotland” campaign, cast his ballot Friday morning in the village of Strichen, Aberdeenshire.  Labour lawmaker Alistair Darling, who has headed the pro-union “Better Together” campaign– backed by the main parties in Westminster– voted in Edinburgh.

Nearly 790,000 people applied for a postal vote– the largest volume of registration for postal votes ever in Scotland. 

For the first time, the vote has been extended to 16- and 17-year-olds living in Scotland.  Nearly 110,000 people younger than 18 have registered to vote.

The vote for independence is too close to call as thousands of tourists and journalists poured into Edinburgh for the historic day.  Some believe the vote for independence represents the greatest threat to England since WW II.

No one will know exactly what the results will be until after the votes are tallied.  Media must follow strict rules forbidding the reporting of details on campaigning and the exit numbers until after polls close.

“Democracy will win at the end of the day,” resident John Donnelly declared.

“Obviously not everyone will be getting the result they want, but I’d like to think that they’d be happy that we’re getting what we voted for.”

 

UPDATE Sept. 19 The results?  Scotland Voted ‘No’.

~Via Google News, Simon Straetker, Vimeo

 

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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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