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Jimi’s Machine Gun

 

Hendrix’s Famous Star Spangled Banner Shred at Woodstock

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Upon leaving the stage, Hendrix collapsed from exhaustion. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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I Can See Clearly Now…

 

…The Rain Is Gone:

   Johnny and Jimmy’s Versions

 

**VIRAL VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There was a glimmer of hope things could change.

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

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

 


 

 

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Struggling for a Parent’s Affection

 

’1982′

An Award-Winning Film

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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My Big Brother

 

Living Life with a Giant

 

Award-Winning Animated **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Even when they hate each other.

And that tends to put all things in perspective.

 

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Remembering Playland at the Beach

 

San Francisco’s Long-Forgotten Icon

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

 

 

Playland view to the south, 1940

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Young family enjoys cotton candy at Playland, 1960s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playland died along with blue collar image that once embodied a gritty San Francisco.

San Francisco has always been somewhere people come to enjoy themselves, and tourism has long been a mainstay of the city’s economy.

Nightlife, culinary delight, amusement, erotic adventure and family entertainment are all contained within its 49 square miles.  Anything a visitor may seek, San Francisco can provide.  Echoes of fun and amusement ring throughout the city from the cable cars atop Nob Hill to the sea lions barking at the wharf.

Turning back the clock to the Depression, we find San Francisco bubbling as a haven of fun even then.

 

    Bathing beauties laugh it up at Playland, 1940s

The place to go was a now-vanished amusement park, Playland-at-the-Beach.

During the Depression and World War II, Playland thrived.  Adults and children, families and couples on dates, sailors from all over the world went to Playland to ride bumper cars and roller coasters and explore the thrills of the Funhouse.  For many San Franciscans, Playland was, and still is, their childhood, 42 years after its demolition.

Playland was located at Ocean Beach, just north of Golden Gate Park, below the point where the land rises to Sutro Heights.  The attractions in this corner of the city had the added novelty of being where Western civilization meets the Pacific Ocean– in a way, at the end of the world.

From the mural-bedecked Beach Chalet at the western end of the park to Playland to the Cliff House and Sutro Baths, the recreational options lined up in a long row.  Much of this ended up as part of the pleasure empire of the man called the Barnum of the Golden Gate, George Whitney.

A little amusement area named Ocean Beach Pavilion had existed since 1884.  In 1912, Arthur Looff and his partner, John Friedle, built Looff’s Hippodrome, housing a grand carousel built by Looff’s father.  In 1922, the two added the Big Dipper roller coaster and the Chutes-at-the-Beach water ride.  Whitney and his brother Leo came to town and opened a photofinishing concession booth in a smaller version of Playland.

In 1926, Whitney became general manager, and the park became Whitney’s Playland-at-the-Beach.  He bought out shaky concessionaires during the Depression.  By 1942, he owned everything from Sutro Baths to Fulton Street.

 

 Funhouse Mirrors at Playland

Whitney’s Playland grew to more than ten acres of amusements next to the Great Highway.  It included Topsy’s Roost Restaurant, which later became Skateland; a midway of games and vendors; and, of course, the Funhouse with long wooden slides, a human turntable that spun and threw people off if they didn’t hang on, and distorting mirrors and air jets that blew women’s skirts up.

Many fondly remember the Carousel, the Big Dipper, the Diving Bell, Chutes at the Beach, Dark Mystery, Limbo, and Fun-tier Town, too.

Playland was also the birthplace of the It’s-It, Whitney’s invention of ice cream sandwiched by two oatmeal cookies and covered in chocolate.

 

 

View from Sutro Heights, 1995.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only the newly remodeled and now far more upscale Cliff House and Beach Chalet still stand.  A condominium development erased any trace of Playland.

Anyone who remembers Playland is wistful, or maybe just nostalgic, for the gritty, blue-collar San Francisco.  “It wasn’t just toys for the rich.  It was toys for everyone,” said Dan Fontes, a muralist working in El Cerrito on a large rendering of Playland and the surrounding area.

San Francisco has changed.  The blue-collar neighborhoods are mostly gone, and amusement is often more solitary than when the Playland fun house rang with screams and laughter.  Still, Playland has not been lost.  Anyone can find it.  Its fragments are scattered all over the city.

 

Laughing Sal

 

Playland is best remembered by a laugh, the one that belonged to a huge mechanical woman who towered above the entry to the Funhouse from the 1940s until it closed in 1972 and she was auctioned off.  Her name was Laughing Sal.

Anyone walking down Playland’s Midway — even nearby neighbors — heard Sal’s bellowing laugh.  She had devilish curly red hair and huge freckles all over her fat, terrifying visage.  In the middle of it all was a gap-toothed smile that provided nightmare material for countless children.  This was creepy, the same way a ventriloquist’s dummy is creepy.

“She would stand there laughing and laughing, and you would stand there laughing and laughing, and you didn’t know why,” said Sharon Jessup, a San Francisco native who grew up going to Playland.  Sal’s continuous laugh was a drunken yelping guffaw, an evil cackle, the uninhibited outburst of someone going out of her mind.  With arms extended, she heaved back and forth with a bit of a bobbing motion in her huge glass box.

Sal was constructed by the Old King Cole papier-mache company under commission to the Philadelphia Toboggan Co., maker of amusement park furnishings. Old King Cole started with a mechanical laughing department store Santa Claus.  They fitted the Santa with a woman’s legs, breasts that jiggled on the end of springs and custom-made heads.  With the addition of a 78 rpm recording of the most memorable laugh in the world, Laughing Sal was born.

 

 

The Big Dipper roller coaster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playland: “The favorite in action!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the 1960s, Playland was run down and a little seedy.  Some say it started downhill when Whitney tore down the Big Dipper roller coaster in the late 1950s.  Sutro Baths burned during its demolition in 1966, and Whitney stopped operating Playland in 1968.

The park took on a roving carnival feel, said Marvin Gold, who grew up nearby, going to sleep every night to the sound of Sal’s cackle.  In 1972, Playland was put up for sale.  When it closed on Sept. 4, 1972, Herb Caen wrote a column called, “We’ll Never Go There Anymore.”  He reminisced over It’s-Its, Bull Pup enchiladas, a 40-cent corn dog and a ride on the carousel.

Today, Playland is covered with housing.  A Safeway stands on the site of the old diving bell.  Gold said he remembers when workers came to smash the concrete foundation and heard a clang.  They found the concrete lined with a steel tank, filled it in and built on top of it.

“One hundred years from now when they tear Safeway down, they’re going to find an old steel tank sitting there and have no idea what it was,” he said.

“Oh, and those slides, those beautiful wooden slides,” he said of the long hardwood slides in the Funhouse.  “When I saw them cutting those slides into pieces … I nearly cried.  ”Playland was our second home.”

For the next 30 years after Playland closed, people didn’t have to look far to find Laughing Sal.  Although the main Funhouse Sal went to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk for $50,000, Playland’s back-up Sal found a home in the basement of the Cliff House, along with the penny arcade machines.  They all were put into the Musée Mecanique, a collection that Ed Zelinsky obtained from George Whitney. 

All of the machines were still working, offering love tests, telling fortunes and showing the first silent films.  Video games were added to a small arcade at the back — early games like Pac Man and eventually the 3-D driving and shooting simulators we see now.

In 2002, the Musée was imperiled when the Cliff House was renovated.  San Franciscans came to the rescue with a petition carrying more than 25,000 signatures.  They were outraged that the Parks and Recreation Department, which owns the Cliff House, hadn’t tried to find the historical Musée a new home.

Thanks to the public outcry, a home was found at Pier 45, where a row of crab stands leads to a building painted with a giant version of Laughing Sal’s face.  Her missing tooth is the entry to Amusing America, which chronicles San Francisco’s place in the country’s cultural history of amusement parks.

Playland, Sutro Baths and the 1939 World’s Fair are all featured in displays, with the Musée Mecanique collection in the back.  And at the door, as in her two previous homes, Sal is the greeter and gatekeeper who still bursts into laughter for a quarter.  Maybe she’s laughing at her luck, having survived the urban development that has put her into a museum version of a city that no longer exists.

Maybe she’s laughing at what amusement in San Francisco has become around her: a Fisherman’s Wharf that has become a commercial tourist center with many of the same type of attractions as Playland. 

Dan Fontes, the muralist and a good source of history on Sutro Baths and Playland, says that when Playland was alive, “Fisherman’s Wharf was a fisherman’s wharf, with fishermen.”  Now, it is the Playland of today, the city’s waterfront amusement center, even if it is there mostly for tourists. 

The ghosts of Playland live in the hearts and memories of so many grown-ups.   They ensure that Playland isn’t entirely gone and that childhood won’t be forgotten.

~Via SF Historical Museum, San Francisco Public Library, YouTube, SF Gate

 * * * * * * * *

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The Light at the End of the Tunnel

 

Nick Geddes’ Long Road to Recovery

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s good to be alive.

Cheers,
Nick

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

 

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Genesis

 

The Creation of Life

 

A Short and Stellar
Award-Winning Sci-Fi Film

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

* * * * * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

We think he nailed it. 

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

 

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Pink Floyd’s Crazy Diamond

 

The Final Parting of Syd Barrett

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

He was the original crazy diamond that shined.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was the last time they would see him.

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

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

Shine on.

 

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

 

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

 

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Small Cameras, Big Stories

 

There’s a Spy Amongst Us
In the Animal Pack

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It’s a whole new world out there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Via John Downer, Getty Images, and Vimeo

 

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The Flying Squirrel

 

The Remarkable 6-Year-Old
Surf & Skate Wonder

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

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

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

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

The “Flying Squirrel” moniker stuck.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Float Plane Barefoot Skiing Madness

 

Skating on Thin Ice & Thick Skin

 

** VIRAL VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

What an insane way to beat the summer heat.

Can you imagine surfing over water barefoot while getting pulled by an airplane?

Three veteran barefoot water-skiers from the World Barefoot Center in Winter Haven, Florida, joined stunt filmmaker Devin Graham for the above video with some gnarly barefoot waterskiing, the least of which was jumping ramps while being pulled by a float plane.

For Ben Groen, 23, and David Small, 30, it was their first time barefoot waterskiing behind an airplane.  For Keith St. Onge, 36, it was his first for taking a jump off a ramp while being pulled by a plane.

“It’s something that’s not done very often,” Groen said. “I’d say it’s only been done a handful of times.

“I was really excited to ski behind a plane.  I’d seen Keith do it in the past.  It’s always been something that’s been on my bucket list.  So to go out there and ski, and ski being pulled by a plane, and then ski over the ramp, that was pretty cool for me.”

The maneuver was a tricky one.  The water-skiers get in the water on two skis– and wait for the plane to pass overhead with the rope dangling behind.  Grabbing the rope they get up on both skis and as the plane increases speed, they drop one ski, then the other, and after a few practice runs they’re off and barefoot waterskiing.

“It was a little hard to coordinate,” Groen admitted.

“There were a couple of trial-and-error runs there for sure, trying to get the rope at the right time.  If we missed the rope the pilot was kind of committed to keep going.  He’d have to fly up, do a loop, and come back down again.”

One might think the actual barefoot waterskiing behind an airplane would be difficult, but that’s not the case.

“It’s funny– it’s a little bit easier because the plane is picking you up off the water so you’re lighter than you usually are when behind a boat,” Groen explained.  “It actually makes you lighter on your feet which makes it easier, but the plane can go a lot faster than a boat would.”

The barefoot water-skiers typically go about 40 to 45 mph behind a boat, but the float plane travels at 50 mph or more.  “You’re skiing light on your feet because the water is going by super fast,” Groen said.

That’s easier said than done, we’re guessing.

Below is the behind-the-scenes footage of how Graham caught the action.

 

~Via Devin Graham, Outdoor Grind/World Barefoot Center, YouTube

 

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30 Gifts for 30 Strangers

 

Better to Give Than to Receive

**VIDEO**

 

Lucas Jatoba
Filmmaker

 

 

Hello!

My name is Lucas and I’m Brazilian.  

Since I arrived in Australia a lot of beautiful things happened in my life.  On the day I turned 30 I decided to celebrate in a special way, being grateful to the people of Sydney. :)

When I approached people, at first moment they thought it was a bit weird.  But after I started to explain why I was doing it they were very receptive, warm and happy.

I think everyone loves it when they see that there are people in the world who care about their happiness.  We all share the same home, planet Earth, so we need to treat everyone as brothers, not enemies.

Thank you so much to all my friends who helped make this happen.  Without you it would not have been possible.  And thank you to everyone who lives in Australia, making this country such a wonderful place.

The gifts:  a Wallabies rugby ball, a 30 minute massage voucher, a painting, a skateboard, a scarf, “the doggy bank”, some chocolates, bottle of nice champagne, a plushy teddy bear, a mini-tree to hang pictures from, a Japanese porcelain tea jar, a set of mini garden tools for kids, a scented oil infuser for the home, a voucher for iTunes music, mini boxer shorts for a newborn baby, a colorful origami book, the “Happyland Village Vet” (a toy for kids), scented soaps and candles, an illustrated photo album, a big soft penguin, aromatic moisturizers and shampoos, books, DVDs, and other toys for children and more.

On the making of this film below, you’ll see some funny things that happened.  While giving the presents away, a woman gave me some bread, a little kid stole one of the presents running away, a group of friends gave me things, an Aussie girl was learning Brazilian Portuguese, and of course people were playing with their gifts.

The music for the above video is To Build a Home by Cinematic Orchestra; below, it’s Surrender by Ben Lee.  A big note of thanks to Melanie Hogan and Marcelo Maluf who helped me work the cameras.

A big hug,
  Lucas

Making of – 30 gifts to 30 strangers from Lucas Jatoba on Vimeo.

 

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Choppers

 

American Freedom

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Choppers, and building them, are big.

A chopper is a motorcycle either modified from an original motorcycle design– “chopped”– or built from scratch to have a unique hand-crafted appearance.  Relieved of weight by removing excess parts making them lighter and faster, choppers have a low and sleek appearance making them look and sound totally badass awesome.

Choppers began in America when servicemen returning home from WWII started modifying bikes to their own liking, removing all parts deemed too big, heavy, ugly, or unessential to the basic function of the motorcycle, such as fenders, turn indicators, and even front brakes. The large, spring-suspended saddles were removed in order to sit as low as possible on the motorcycle’s frame.

The earliest choppers tended to be based on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, at first making use of the Flathead, Knucklehead and Panhead engines– many of which could be found in surplus military and police motorcycles bought cheaply at auction.  As new engines became available they were soon utilized in choppers.

Over time choppers became more and more about achieving a certain independence, freedom, and customized look.  It’s always the lines, the overall silhouette, the angle of the tank, the bars, and what gives it ‘The Look’.

Stripped down pretty bikes with just enough style, class, power and sound to stand out from the pack.

You can be the best welder/fabricator/mechanic in the world but if you haven’t got that bit of style it’s just an ordinary modified bike– rather than the true American chopper ruling the road.

 

BORN FREE from scott pommier on Vimeo.

 

For Joe King, Bear Marler, Trinia Cuseo, and the BLMC

Ride on.

 

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Robin Williams Crosses Over

 

Severe Depression Likely Led to Suicide

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

“The loneliest people are the kindest
  The saddest people smile the brightest
  All because they do not wish to see
  Anyone suffer the way they do”

    ~Unknown

 

The Oscar-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams died Monday in California.  He was 63.

“At this time, the Sheriff’s Office Coroner Division suspects the death to be a suicide due to asphyxia, but a comprehensive investigation must be completed before a final determination is made,” the Marin County Coroner said in a statement. “A forensic examination is currently scheduled for August 12, 2014 with subsequent toxicology testing to be conducted.”

“Robin Williams passed away this morning,” the actor’s rep Mara Buxbaum added in a statement to ABC News.  “He has been battling severe depression of late.  This is a tragic and sudden loss.”

Born in Chicago, Williams discovered his passion for acting in high school, before moving to New York City to study at Juilliard alongside Christopher Reeve.

A few years later, he also began doing stand-up comedy and working in television, before landing a star-making guest role as alien Mork in Happy Days.  In 1978, he was given his own spin-off series, Mork & Mindy, for which he won a Golden Globe.

Around that time, Williams suffered a great loss:  His friend, John Belushi, died of a drug overdose in 1982, prompting Williams, who had struggled with alcoholism and cocaine abuse, to quit, cold turkey.

He would go on to make two trips to rehab, once in 2006, and again this past July. 

“Addiction isn’t caused by anything, it’s just there,” Williams said in 2006.  “It waits.  It lays in wait for the time when you think, ‘It’s fine now, I’m OK.’  Then, the next thing you know, it’s not OK.  Then you realize, ‘Where am I?  I didn’t realize I was in Cleveland.’”

Meanwhile, Williams discovered a passion for film in the ’80s. With that came a litany of awards, including a Golden Globe for his role in the 1988 film, Good Morning, Vietnam, a Golden Globe for his 1993 film, Mrs. Doubtfire, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for 1996′s, The Birdcage.

In 1998, after three nominations, he won his first Oscar for his role in Good Will Hunting.  “This might be the one time I’m speechless!” he quipped while accepting the honor.

President Obama said in a statement on the actor’s passing:

“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, Peter Pan, and everything in between.  But he was one of a kind.  He arrived in our lives as an alien – but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit.  

He made us laugh.  He made us cry.  He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most – from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.”

 

Williams also had a rich personal life.

In 1978, he married his first wife, Valerie Velardi, with whom he had one son, Zachary, now 31.  He and Verlardi divorced in 1988, and the next year, he married Marsha Garces, who had previously been a nanny to Zachary.

He and Garces, from whom he split in 2008, had two children, Zelda, now 25, and Cody, 23. Williams married his third wife, graphic designer Susan Schenider, in 2011.

Recently, Williams had been hard at work.  He starred in the CBS series, The Crazy Ones and recently finished filming several film projects, including Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.

He also recently celebrated a birthday and, in his last Instagram post, wished his daughter a happy 25th.

~Via Vimeo, Looking Back and Google News

 

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The World’s Largest Water Balloon Fight

 

Christian Peeps Battle for Glory

 

VIRAL MUSIC VIDEO

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Time out for a little fun and sun from an otherwise typical college day.

Thousands of young Mormons gathered on the field of battle in Provo, Utah, armed with nothing more than a few thousand water balloons and a strong sense of destiny.

The Brigham Young University students threw their virginal, uncaffeinated selves into the fray, thereby setting a Guinness world record for the Largest Water Balloon Fight in July of 2010.  They also made the viral video above, “You Always Make Me Smile” by Kyle Andrews, garner over two million views on YouTube.

In total, 3,927 Mormon faithful lobbed 120,021 balloons, unleashing a massive barrage of colorful cool frolic for six minutes.  It had taken the students three days just to fill that many balloons.

balloons awayMost water balloon fight observers thought the BYU record would last the ages.  It was certainly a stout and glorious victory that would be hard to beat.  But alas! A couple thousand Kentuckian faithful proved them wrong.

Mind you, Kentucky held the previous record– until the Mormons came along and stole it out from underneath them.

So the University of Kentucky Christian Student Fellowship led the charge to recapture the Mormon-held record once and for all.

In August of 2011, over 5,000 equally wholesome young people from the Bluegrass State launched 153,497 balloons.  Some, like the video below, claim it was really 8,957 people and 175,141 balloons, but you know how confused facts get in the heat of battle.  Especially when setting a new world record for college glory.

Whatever the numbers, the Guinness big wigs said Kentucky had it– and BYU lost it.

Below is the video of that epic winning event.  The Kentuckians, though, lost the video side of the competition to their Mormon brethren, capturing only one million YouTube hits.

 

 

CSF World’s Largest Water Balloon Fight 2011 Official Video from Kevser Tunçer on Vimeo.

 

 

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The Closeness of Summer

 

Cherish It While It Lasts

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

I almost wish we were butterflies and lived but three summer days– three such days with you and I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.”

     ~John Keats, Bright Star: Love Letters and Poems

 

It seems that summer passes by quicker than any other season.

For those of us fortunate enough to live in Humboldt, we experience distinct yet moderate climates.  We look forward and become ensconced in the warm welcoming weather only to have it ripped away all too quickly as our sun sets lower and the leaves begin to quietly fall from the trees.

June and July are distant memories.  Summer still has a month or more to bathe us in its glory.  Use it wisely.

As we continue to enjoy the soon-to-be fading rays of summer, we take a lasting glimpse of some of the end-of-season things we still look forward to: embracing the sunshine and living outdoors, enjoying the fruits and cool, cool water of a beautiful planet, our togetherness of family and friends, of barbecues, a sense of love and contentment, and a host of other tiny little things we hardly notice and often take for granted.

For now, however, there’s always tomorrow.  Another glorious summer day to enjoy.

Cherish it.  It will be long gone before we know it.

 

JUNE from Mark Mazur on Vimeo.

 

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The Band and Ball Brawl

 

Basketball Streetball Bonding:

‘We’re All in this Together’

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

The Rigsketball tournament takes place every summer all
around Portland.

Here’s how it works:  The Rigsketball van is parked in front of strip clubs, skate parks, cul-de-sacs, alleyways—wherever you can brown bag it and hit the hoop.

Two bands face off until a champion emerges or the cops break it up.  The teams decide as they’re playing how aggressive they want to be.  Sometimes it’s streetball basketball and other times it’s more like rugby. Depends on who is calling fouls. 

Be sure to show up before the games devolve into a drunken Roman candle fight, like has happened in the past.  It runs the gamut on crazy stuff.  There were days where they played outside of a strip club and all the strippers came out to watch.  Then everybody started shooting roman candles at each other.

If you let 100 musicians do whatever they want it gets crazy most of the time.  No one leaves without at least a skinned knee.

All 32 slots were filled this year in less than a day. 

The band that makes it through to win the championship walks away with bragging rights, a bunch of media attention, and an obscenely large golden trophy topped with a statue of the van.  The band sets up a bunch of media stuff for the winner which helps them with visibility in the music community.

Past tournaments have included Portland royalty bands like Starfucker, Typhoon, AAN, Rock ‘n’ Roll Soldiers, Con Bro Chili.

Rigsketball is the brainchild of Bim Ditson, a lanky guy with a frizzy red mohawk who looks a bit like a punk version of the turtle guy in Master of Disguise.

As a 15-year-old high school kid in Eugene, Oregon, he was a loud and charismatic guy and running an oddly-successful chain mail jewelry business at local craft fairs.  He has an eight-inch stick-and-poke tattoo on his thigh of a slice of pizza nailed to a cross.  He calls it Cheezus Christ.

Bim moved to Portland to join one of Portland’s most-loved bands called And And And. For a while he was going to shows every night and reporting on them for local newspaper Willamette Week in a column called Bimstagram.

Then he decided to drill a hoop on the back of the And And And van to give the band something to do on tour.  He thought it was kind of funny.  Whatever other bands were on the bill that night would play pick-up games after soundcheck.  That was four years ago.

It was only natural that other bands would start challenging them to three-on-three pick-up games.  That grew into an insane 32-band tournament.  Many never touched a basketball.  Now they play all the time.

There are no permits.  Band members and friends sitting on cars drinking microbrews and tallboys of PBR, listening to old-timey jazz from someones car stereo.  It’s like a backyard barbecue.  

That’s the point.

“It’s getting bands to hang out. Bands don’t hang out enough,” Bim says.  “Bands in different scenes, or at different levels of popularity, don’t kick it, and they should because we’re all in this together.”

Bim’s always been good at making stuff happen.  And he’s always wanted to build a living, breathing music community.  Now all the bands in Portland are suddenly into sports.

“There’s such a strong community and camaraderie between Portland bands, even ones in different genres,” Bim says.

“It’s not uncommon to see psych bands on the same bill as a metal band.  That’s why I wanted to start Rigsketball.  It taps into that idea that we’re all on the same team when we’re at this level,” Bim says.

“We aren’t hurting each other when one of us gets success, because we’re all in the same fucking boat.”

~Via And And And, Bim Ditson, Oregon Music World,
Vice, Juliet Zulu and Vimeo.

 

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Life, Death, and Happiness

 

Reflections By Philip Seymour Hoffman

 

Staff Pick Animated Flick

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Sigh.

The greatest interview ever recorded won’t get as many hits on YouTube as a cat giving a high five.

The people behind Blank on Blank want to change that.  They take the audio gems falling on the cutting-room floor, or low-fi cassette tapes that never aired, and create original animations of two to five minutes.

The animated short above and produced for PBS Digital Studios, is an example of their latest work, featuring Philip Seymour Hoffman reflecting on Life, Death, and Happiness.  A brilliant actor, Hoffman died in February of this year due to acute mixed drug intoxication, including heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamine.  He was 46.

Producer David Gerlach selects the audio (everyone from Fidel Castro to Meryl Streep to Tupac), and gives it to animator Patrick Smith, who visualizes the words in charming lo-fi videos.

Blank on Blank is now drawing millions of views and their most popular videos have featured dead artists: Kurt Cobain, John Lennon, Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin, to name a few.

It’s a daunting challenge for an animator.

“You know Hoffman is dead.  You know he’s brilliant,” Smith says.  “And you’re in charge of visualizing these words.  It’s scary.”

Smith finds that the hardest recordings to animate often yield the best results, forcing him to think past the obvious.  His animations– sketchy, vibrant, and witty, like the best New Yorker cartoons come to life– are unquestionably the secret to Blank on Blank’s success, but he defers to the strength of his creative partnership with Gerlach.

“I’m an animator who needs a producer who can push me,” he says.  “All artists are lazy.  Left to our own devices, we make the worst decisions.”

 

Via Blank on Blank, PBS Digital Studios, YouTube, Studio 360/Sideshow Podcast.
For more information and other Blank on Blank episodes, visit blankonblank.org

 

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John Oliver Takes On Native Advertising

 

The Raisins in the Cookie No One Wants

 

**VIRAL VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It was an unusual, yet timely, subject to take on.

HBO comedian John Oliver took a hatchet to native advertising, arguing that the trendy marketing practice is a threat to the editorial independence of newsrooms, misleads readers and erodes trust, and is a disturbing symptom of journalistic news organizations reaching for additional profits to fill their coffers.

Among other things, Oliver hammered native advertising as a confusing camoflauge tactic for selling to the public a sneaky bill of goods they never wanted in the first place.  He also unmercifully skewers the media and advertising industry into some well deserved bits and pieces for eroding the traditional “church and state” partition separating the editorial wing from the business side of news organizations.

Along the way, he takes on the New York Times, Time Inc., the Atlantic, The New Yorker, Chevron and others, describing the fornication of news and advertising as akin to dipping Twizzlers in guacamole and comparing the results to botched heart surgery.

Oliver calls the trend “repurposed bovine waste,” another word for… well, you get the idea.  It’s the raisins in the cookie no one wants.

Edward R. Murrow would be turning over in his grave.

 

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The World’s Largest Urban Zipline

 

One Heck of a Thrill Ride to the Bottom

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It’s one of his most fun stunts yet.

And it’s big.  That’s right; the man who constantly keeps us pushing ourselves to go bigger with our adventures has teamed up with his buddies to create the world’s largest urban zipline.

Director Devin Graham (better known as Devin Supertramp) put together this 3-minute, action packed video that has us questioning what we’ve been doing with our time slaving away at the normal 9 to 5.

In the above video, these totally whacked daredevils climb to the top of a 700-foot building in Panama City where they find themselves treated to the world’s longest zipline.  

As if riding the 10,000-foot length of barracuda cord wasn’t dank enough, these adrenaline junkie guys eject themselves from the line half way through, free-falling towards terra firma before deploying their parachutes at the last second.

It’s all too freakin’ scary and crazy and awesome. 

For you camera buffs out there, below is the behind-the-scenes take of how YouTube uber-darling Graham put it all together with skill and shill.

 

 

 

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The Last of the Neon Sign Makers

 

Todd Sanders and his Glowing Craft

 

Award-Winning *VIDEO*

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

“When I went to buy the run-down fruit stand that is now Roadhouse Relics, I was offered $15,000 by an Austin investor to walk away from the deal.  My friends told me I was crazy not to take the money and run.  But I knew creating a space and life for myself in Austin was what I wanted to do.

The roof had caved in.  In fact, I am not sure it was even safe to go in.  The day I bought it, I moved in to the only room that still had a roof.  After a few months, I moved into a trailer out back where I lived for the next ten years.

Over the past two decades, I’m proud to say my gallery has become an Austin landmark. I f you had told me when I bought it that one day the New York Times would list it as a must-see place in Austin, I wouldn’t have believed you.

For me, I always knew I was doing what I was supposed to be doing.

Roadhouse Relics is an extension of who I am; it’s become the iconic name behind my work.  The people who come in my store and the collectors who buy my work, they’ve all become part of my story.  And the best part is I have this amazing space, life, and family– and
I get to do what I love.”

   ~Todd Sanders, Roadhouse Relics  

 

For Austinites, Todd Sanders of Roadhouse Relics is a household name.  His South Austin gallery is as iconic as are his signs.

Settling in Austin in the early 90s, it’s hard to separate Sander’s story from the scrappy, authentic story of the city of Austin.  An anomaly of Texas cities, Austin’s preservation of independent business and thinking sets it apart as one of the most unique places in America.

When visitors fall in love with Austin, they fall in love with the handful of artists who have dedicated their lives to this city.  There’s no doubt Sanders is on that list.

Before discovering Austin in 1991, Sanders pursued many different jobs:  art supply salesman, automotive paint and bodywork repairman, motorcycle painter, and a short stint as an antique auto builder.  The skills that were acquired in his seemingly unrelated jobs are applied everyday to the glowing sculptures at Roadhouse Relics.

His vintage neon murals and sculptures decorate and influence the Austin landscape, giving what Sanders likes to call a “crude charm.”   His work has played a role in giving Austin an eclectic, positive identity that is known worldwide as Austin Style.  For Sanders, it is modern vintage, echoed in each of his works.

“The art I create is rustic and garish and over-the-top,” Sanders says.  “These objects don’t harmonize nicely with others in their presence; they dominate.  Energy courses through them, electrifying their surroundings as well.  They’re like that guy at a party who dresses wildly and talks too loudly, but everyone in the room finds him utterly fascinating.”

His pop art has appeared in many movies filmed in Austin.  His work has appeared in Esquire, Fortune Magazine, Texas Monthly, and other publications. It adorns the walls of clients and
well known celebrities everywhere.

What separates Sanders from his contemporaries is that he has preserved the original methods for creating his signs.  Everything is made from scratch, by hand, and without the use of computer aided designs.

With a personal collection of hundreds of old magazines and books from the 1920s through 1960s, Sanders has given himself a master’s education in neon art through study and dedication to the craft during his 20-year career.

His knowledge of typography, style and craftsmanship of vintage signs is both extensive and uniquely self-taught. 

Amassing over 2000 photographs of antique neon signage and murals from countless miles of travel throughout the United States, Sanders has the inspiration and knowledge to create the works of neon art which cover his studio gallery.

He’s the last of his breed; a neon vintage signmaker practicing a once ubiquitous art that, unfortunately, is going by the wayside in the digital era. 

 

 

~Via Todd Sanders, Roadhouse Relics, Vimeo & YouTube. 
All pictures are examples of Todd Sanders’ work.

 

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An Engravers Art

 

The Beauty is in the Detail

 

Vimeo Staff Pick *VIDEO*

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

From Kessler Productions:

We recently traveled to Austin, Texas to collaborate on a shoot
with Joe Simon, Owner and Creative Director of The Delivery Men.

The subject of the mini-doc we filmed was engraver, Gerry Beathard.  Our goal was to learn more about the process he goes through and to capture the art form cinematically.

During the interview process, it was interesting to hear how similar a lot of his process was to editing or filmmaking.  Each one requires an almost fanatical attention to detail, patience, and above all else, passion for the process of creating something that makes you proud.

Below is the behind-the-scenes look of how we filmed it.

 

In The Field With Joe Simon from Kessler Crane on Vimeo.

 

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Going Dark

 

The Final Days of Film Projection

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

It’s another nail in the coffin of Hollywood’s Golden Era.

Jason Gwynn and Jay Sheldon’s documentary short film, Going Dark: The Final Days of Film Projection focuses on two men for whom the change in theatrical projection from celluloid film to digital disk is particularly alarming.

With studios forcing theaters to convert entirely to digital projection or be left without content to screen, theater manager Clif Campbell makes the only choice he can:  to close down his theater.  On the eve of the closure, he and projection manager Patrick Jenson reflect on what it means to be a film projectionist and the reasons why film projection is more fulfilling, and better, than digital in the eyes of many.

As much as the film is a lesson in film projection, it’s also the study of the end of an era for those who have become experts in an extinct field.  When Patrick reflects over his many years as a projectionist, you can hear the pain in his voice when he laments relating his skills that are now useless.  There’s no need for a projectionist to even have to press a button anymore.

The Heartland Emmy-winning film also touches on the unique qualities of film projection and what will be lost when the conversion to digital is final everywhere.

For some, it’s the loss of a job.  For others, like Clif, it’s the total end of a business.  As many small theater owners face the choice of expensively retrofitting their theaters for digital or perish, Clif’s story rings on a painfully universal note.

Sometimes progress isn’t made by innovation. It’s made by lazy execs trying to find
a cheaper and easier and way to do something.  Convert or die.

~Via Vimeo, Google/Film Threat

 

If you liked this post, you may enjoy our other one:  On With the Show

 

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Run Jose, Run

 

Fleeing Africa’s Violence and Killing Fields

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

After being abducted from a marketplace as a child and forced to kill, Jose Maria Joao had a vision one night in a
dream.

Risking death, he acted on his conscience.  The decision that came to him in his dream was to stop the fighting and killing. 

And to do that he had to run away.   Far, far away from the killing fields of violence and murder that he had anonymously become part of.

He shares his remarkable and tearful story in this short powerful biopic directed by Dave Meinert of MacDuff Films, which aims to foster a dialogue about the lasting effects of war.

Having worked as a bouncer at bars for the last ten or so years, Jose is a well-known face in Cape Town, South Africa.

“I’ve always been amazed how someone who has been exposed to so much violence can be so peaceful,” says Meinert, who wanted to tell Jose’s story as simply as he could.

Collaborating with filmmaker Michael Cleary, Meinart’s approach to making the film was an instinctive one. “We took a DSLR camera, one lens and a bulb from the hardware store, and switched the camera on. Stylistically, I was influenced by an older piece, but the rest needed to come from Jose as much as possible,” he says.

Upon handing everything over to Lucian Barnard to do the editing, Meinart gave him zero briefing.

“I didn’t know if we had a story in it yet.  He devised the editing style purely on his own and I think it’s the strongest element to the piece.”

Tired of seeing narratives that glamorize war and fighting, Meinart believes filmmakers are responsible for the stories they tell.

“Jose’s story, coupled with his gentle nature and trademark smile, has made us weep many times and we are privileged that he’d share it with us,” he says.

“There’s maybe never been a more relevant time to start sharing stories about the real casualties of war.  Please share his story.”

~Via MacDuff Films, 10 & 5, We Are Awesome,
Rising Continent, and Vimeo

 

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The Angst of Being Cyborg

 

A Sci-Fi Android’s Bonnie & Clyde Tale

 

**Award-Winning SHORT**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 
Consider this the prequel to the coming blockbuster. 

Sometimes the end is just the beginning.

An android receives notice that he will be shut down the next day, effectively ending his dreary droidian life.  But an unexpected encounter of a different sort takes his final day in a direction he wasn’t fully expecting or prepared for.

Voila!  The story of Bonnie & Clyde is reborn for the post-future world.

A terrific short film written and directed by David Rosenbaum, The Trail’s End was created with a single goal in mind.  To get a feature film made.  It’s a science fiction project being groomed to sell.

Now that may sound cynical, but let’s face it.  In Hollywood no one reads anything anymore.  They like things quick and easy and visual.  Got a good idea?  Show ‘em what you got and what you can do.  Upfront, up close, and personal.  And make it snappy.  We haven’t got all day.

Will it be made into a feature length movie?  It does show promise– it’s a premise that works and an idea that tweaks the imagination.

A robot who robs banks with the beautiful, impressionable dame by his side?

We enjoyed this short film and we’re sold.  Let’s see if Hollywood is, too.

 

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Going the Distance

 

Ronnie Goodman’s Long Run

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Ronnie Goodman may well be San Francisco’s
most unexpected half-marathoner. 

He might not have a comfortable place to rest his aching feet at night, but that didn’t keep the homeless artist from running 13.1 miles in San Francisco’s half marathon for charity.

Drug addiction and prison time left Goodman without a home, sleeping on the streets of San Francisco.

Now, sober for more than a decade, Goodman trained for the city’s marathon, setting out to conquer the same streets on which he sleeps.  He finished the race
in 1:43, raising $10,000 for charity.

When he’s not out beating the streets, he paints.

Goodman, 54, has been living under a freeway in San Francisco for two years, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.  Still, he trains two or more hours every day to fulfill his dream of running in the famed local event.  And his fans have found a way to make sure he will.

After reading about his love of running in the Chronicle’s original profile of Goodman, the fans stepped in and donated $120 to cover his entry fee for the July race.

While Goodman could have certainly used the race as a way to raise additional funds for himself, he’s decided to give back to the organization that’s helping him get back on his feet.

He collected money for Hospitality House, an organization that empowers homeless and low-income people through a number of initiatives including an art program that encouraged Goodman to pursue his passion.

The self-taught artist paints and draws works that explore both the beauty and diversity of his city along with images of human despair, according to his website.

Setting a pretty ambitious goal for himself of raising $25,000 for the organization, his donors were entered into a raffle to win one of Goodman’s original works.

Looking forward to showing the Hospitality House just how grateful he is, Goodman feels confident he can reach his goal.

This is my chance to give back to them,” Goodman told the Chronicle.  “That makes me very happy.”

~Via Ronnie Goodman, Google News,
SF Gate/Huffington Post, Vimeo

 

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The Church of Type

 

Letterpress Font and Beauty

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

It’s been a long and archaic journey.

For 15 years Kevin Bradley lived in Knoxville, Tennessee, as co-founder of the design studio and letterpress giant Yee-Haw Industries, churning out fine-art prints, commemorative and promotional concert posters, album art and even wedding invitations, using 200-year old equipment in the same tradition as Guttenberg and the original printing press.

Kevin has covered the globe with a range of ephemera and custom typographic fine art prints for a litany of clients. His new company, the Church of Type in Santa Monica, California, represents his newest venture.  In 2013 he moved 30 tons of letterpress equipment across the country to bring his own vision and style to the epicenter of American Culture.

“I am using the old stuff, but I’m making a contemporary print with it,” Bradley says.  His slogan is “Art for the People, Since 1987.”

“I’ve rescued 200 years of beautiful type as well as plates …I always wanted to make a new print with the old stuff.”

He showcases a set of plates with images on metal.  

“In these drawers, I have the entire history of pro wrestling and boxing.  They would develop the photograph on the metal, put a line screen on it, match it with acid, and then they would mount it on wood for printing.  That’s how the newspapers were printed back in the day,” he says with pride.

For 25 years, Bradley has been scouring old barns and basements east of the Mississippi for these rare fonts and types from the 1800s and 1900s.  His business houses one of the most extensive wood and metal type collections in use today: multiple letters and sizes comprising over 1,000 fonts of moveable type and in-house, hand-carved woodblocks, all printed on a 4’x10’ Takach press.

He wants to bring to life the way the world communicated hundreds of years ago, only in a modern way — much like how modern folk musicians keep old songs alive, bringing them to contemporary listeners in new forms and textures.

He considers himself a graphic designer, an illustrator, a painter, print maker, editor, copywriter– even a janitor.  But at the most basic level, he’s a typographer — a last craftsman in a dying profession.

“I’ve got all this type, and I’ve got to figure out how to use it and get people to see it,” Bradley said.

Church of Type is much more than just a printing shop for Bradley; it’s a means of communication that steps into the mythology of man, to the campfire, to that archetypal yearning for the power of the word mixed with the smell of the ink and the wood and the dust.

Across the walls he has a series of original images — robots, dinosaurs, Godzilla.  Each of them is made with letters, which you can see when you look up close.

He’s constantly experimenting every day with the form.

“It’s a repository of the real stuff,” says Bradley.  “It’s my Church of Type.  The word on the page is a powerful thing.  When the power goes out, I will be king.”

~Via Kevin Bradley, LA Weekly, and Vimeo

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On With the Show

 

This is It– The Night of Nights

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It’s a silver screen, silent film sacred sort of place,
and it’s something out of time.

The Old Town Music Hall began in the 1960′s when two musicians, Bill Coffman and Bill Field, purchased the Mighty Wurlitzer Theater Pipe Organ from the Fox West Theater in Long Beach, CA, and installed it in the quaint 188-seat El Segundo State Theater, originally built in 1921.

The “Two Bills” opened their doors in 1968, and to this day the Old Town Music Hall, a treasured cultural landmark and nonprofit organization, continues to entertain audiences with silent and sound films, as well as ragtime, jazz and pipe organ concerts.

All the silver screen films are accompanied live by the Mighty Wurlitzer, just as they were when the silent features were originally released.   

The massive circa-1925 machine messiah wind-powered pipe organ has been meticulously preserved so that silent classics can be experienced with live musical accompaniment, just as they did when they were first shown.  

It’s something you really have to see and hear to believe.

The Mighty Wurlitzer consists of more than 2,600 pipes.  The organ console has four keyboards, 260 switches, and an array of controls and pedals.  From the console, the organist controls the pipes and many percussive instruments, such as a xylophone, marimba, piano, drums, and cymbals.

The entire system is air-powered from a 10-horsepower Spencer Turbine Orgoblo.  This powerful source of wind pressure runs the entire mechanical system and also plays the pipes.  

It’s size and scope are beyond imagination– this is one instrument that can completely floor you if you’ve never seen one in person.  To make things even more interesting (and entertaining) they give audiences a “peek behind the curtain” with every organ performance.  By making each drum, bell, whistle, and special sound effect glow in the dark, audiences can gain a little insight into how this mighty organ actually works.

Needless to say, the old gal requires constant maintenance.

On stage with the organ console is a spectacular 9-foot concert grand piano.  The 92-note Bösendorfer was handmade in Vienna for the Old Town Music Hall in 1974.  The Bösendorfer company has been making pianos since 1828, and is perhaps finest acoustic keyboard instrument made.

But make no mistake.  It’s Hollywood’s films of the Golden Era along with the original musical complement that leave movie buffs in awe.  Charlie Chaplin Clark Gable, Lon Chaney, Judy Garland, Harold Lloyd, Errol Flynn, Bette Davis and a host of other celluloid heroes come alive once again for the night when the intimate venue at 140 Richmond Street opens its doors for all to see.

There is nothing more entertaining than witnessing a silent short and experiencing the artistry of the live organ accompaniment, and the entire gig is simply stunning and beautiful taken in all its majestic glory.

 

~Via Old Town Music Hall, Lost & Found Films,
  Vimeo, and Madeline40

If you liked this story, you may also enjoy our others: Going Dark and The Church of Type


* * * * * * * * *

‘Old Town’ was produced and directed by Ben Wu and David Usui of Lost & Found Films.

It’s one in a series of short films that explore the idea of home, or places that function as home – workplaces, hang out spots, etc.

Lost & Found Films want to figure out what makes them, how they represent us, why we need them.  They’re always on the lookout for dwellings of all sorts.  If you’ve come across any curious or eccentric homes or other curious places, feel free to send them along to:

thismustbetheplace.tv

mail@thismustbetheplace.tv

 

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Where Are Your Teens Tonight?

 

Studying at the Library?  Yeah, Right.

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Our youth now love luxury.

They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and they love chatter in place of exercise.

They no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents and chatter before company; they gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.

     ~Socrates

 

We think that only “bad” kids get into trouble.  And that “good” kids never do.

We’ve got news for you.  They all do. 

All kids get into trouble.  They’re risk-takers, seemingly invincible, and yearning to be independent.  The hormones are flaring and they’re out the door to do who knows what.  It’s called fun. Or angst.

A long, long time ago it used to be smoking, getting into a fight, skipping class, smashing mailboxes.  Today, it’s alcohol, drug, and prescription med abuse, sexually acting out, running away, and more risky stuff– like blowing your mind out in a way-too-fast joyriding car or stupidly handling a gun while too high or drunk.

There’s a Beast and We All Feed It, above, is by Jake Bugg,  a 19-year-old singer-songwriter out of working-class Nottingham, England.  His songs paint a vivid, realistic, and sometimes violent picture of fights, drugs, poverty, and heartbreak happening with kids today.

Black Sugar, below, is a flick of a different flavor.  All kids– even those nice quiet middle class white kids living in the ‘burbs in big homes with swimming pools– find themselves on the riskier side of things when you, and they, least expect it.

Don’t kid yourself.  Each one is portrait of what’s happening with kids today. 

Few, if any, survive their teens.  They take love, perseverance, tenacity, sweat, tears, prayers, lighting candles, and the list could go on.

Remember when you were young?

 

Black Sugar from Hank Friedmann on Vimeo.

 

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A Twilight Zone Groundhog Day Love Story of Infinite Possibilities

 

Need We Say More?

Staff Pick **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

The Universe is infinite– and so are the options.

A Truncated Story Of Infinity is Director Paul Trillo’s look at the infinite possibilities within our everyday existence.

It’s a bizarre and trippy flick.  As we follow a day in the life of Vincent– otherwise known as Subject X– we find his many variations that exist throughout the universe, and the story slowly begins to fracture into different threads from there by his following a would-be lover down the street.

It’s a little like the Twilight Zone, A more pathetic Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, and a Love Story story– all intertwined into one mildly insane piece and place.

Carpe Diem.  Or consider the multiple possibilities presented in each moment while keeping your sanity delicately intact.  Are you a person dreaming you are a butterfly?  Or a butterfly dreaming you are a person? 

We dunno.  It’s all too much like a mystery wrapped up in a burrito for us.

Enjoy.

 

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A New Life in the Saddle

 

The Story of Jonathan Field

 

 Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him participate in synchronized diving.”
        ~Cuthbert Soup, Another Whole Nother Story

 

His parents introduced him to horses when he was just a year old
and he’s been around them ever since.

Growing up in the rural community of Bradner, British Columbia, Jonathan Field spent many evenings and weekends with his family and friends spending time with their horses.  In a helmet and jodhpurs riding his small buckskin quarterhorse named ’Wee Mite Buck’ he jumped everything, raced friends, and competed in the local 4H club.

At the age of 13, a trip to a cattle branding with his family changed Jonathan’s focus, spurring him toward another path with horses.  He was determined to be a cowboy.

For four seasons Jonathan worked at the historic Quilchena Cattle Company, one of the largest operating cattle ranches in Canada.  Living the cowboy life he rode the range by day and nestled in a cow camp at night, driving cows and branding calves come rain, snow or shine.  Each day was spent in the saddle.  A  teenaged-Jonathan could imagine nothing better.

In 1995 Jonathan’s family hosted a horsemanship demonstration at their ranch.  A cocky, brash young cowboy, Jonathan wasn’t prepared for what awaited him there.  The demonstrator was Pat Parelli; the legendary ’horse whisperer’ and trainer.   Witnessing the sensitive relationship between Pat and his horses turned Jonathan’s world upside down.  It opened his eyes to the unique possibility that one could have a special bond with horses.

Life so often shifts unexpectedly, and Jonathan decided to pursue a stable future with his family’s water well drilling company.  However, a well-drilling accident in the bush, 20 minutes from the nearest town, changed everything.

A 500-pound steel casing fell from 20 feet in the air after the supporting chain failed, landing on Jonathan’s arm.  Crushing and amputating all but the skin on his left wrist, he barely made it to the hospital as he witnessed the enormous loss of blood along the way.  Nearly succumbing to blood loss and shock during the ten hours of travel by plane and ambulance, Jonathan knew his horse career days were all but over.

Four doctors at Vancouver General Hospital decided to attempt the reattachment and rebuilding of Jonathan’s hand and wrist.  After a remarkable surgery, Jonathan awoke in a haze at the hospital’s Plastics and Burns Unit, uncertain of his future.

The doctors performed a miracle reattaching tendons, aligning bones and transplanting nerves in a surgery that wasn’t possible four years earlier.  The doctors phenomenally performed the technical work.  The real test, however, was that the future mobility of Jonathan’s hand would be entirely up to his own determination and attitude toward healing.

During the months of physical therapy and pain management that followed, Jonathan’s resilience and recovery were continually tested.  It played out on a day by day basis, continually marked by frustrating setbacks and delays.  At times it seemed as if it all were going nowhere.

His healing was arduously slow and painful.  He experienced phantom pains.  At times his hand and fingers would go numb, feeling no sensation or movement at all.  He struggled with post traumatic stress, recurring nightmares, and terrifying flashbacks.  He remembered the blood gushing out of his arm for hours on end on the long trip to the hospital.  It was a trauma that played endlessly in his head, over and over.

Struggling with the realities of his future and feeling sorry for what he had lost, Jonathan was about to encounter the one thing he needed most moving his life forward:  he listened to a good friend.

Late one night while working on his stretching exercises and martial arts conditioning with friend and Judo expert, Osamu Kasahara, their talk turned to Jonathan’s accident.

Osamu sensed Jonathan’s struggle and presented him with one of the most powerful thoughts he had ever heard.  

He said to Jonathan proddingly, “You have two choices: to suffer …or to heal.”

The reality of those simple words hit Jonathan like a rock.  Osamu had gently forced him to consider that the future was literally in his hands;  Jonathan would be the ultimate master of his own destiny.  It was an epiphany. 

Jonathan thought long and carefully and came to his decision.  He would turn a horrible situation around and heal; he would be a better and stronger person because of  the accident– instead of worse.

Jonathan will be the first to admit that prior to the accident he was neither a patient nor sympathetic man.  Had he been faced with a another friend in a similar situation, Jonathan’s reaction would have been different.  It would have been more along the lines of “Get over it,” “Cowboy up” or “It’s all in your head.”   That’s the cowboy way.

It’s often a different story when you’re the one who’s living in the saddle.  If not for Jonathan’s decision to heal, he would neither be as sympathetic as he is today nor the compassionate teacher for others.

The path of personal growth was a long journey for Jonathan.  It was one marked by difficult turning points and significant milestone markers along the way. 

A huge contributor towards his sensitivity and empathy, Jonathan now works and mentors both fearful horses and worried people in his new career.

It took a terrible accident and painful months of recovery to begin a journey that would change Jonathan forever, leading him to a new life with horses and a different perspective on life overall.

 

~Via Jonathan Field.net, Vimeo, Salazar

For Shannon Miranda, the Don Sampson & Mont Ellett families, 
and Navajo Trails Ranch

 

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Guardians of the Temple

 

Burning Man and Meaning

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It’s fairly simple, actually. 

Life is precious.  Life is short.  Life should be a celebration. 

And your temple of sacred space for the celebration and reflection of life is anywhere and everywhere.

Since 2002, the Guardians have held an integral role at the Temple of Burning Man.

68,000 people from all over the world turned out for the radical arts event set in the remote Black Rock Desert of Nevada.  They came, they heard, they saw, and they burned.  For some, it was one big party.  For others, self-expression and freedom.  And for a few, a place for self-reflection and insight.

The Guardians, however, have remained largely invisible; holding space and place from the mysterious shadows of the playa.

Until now.

 

 

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Your Mind is Not Your Own

 

Anywhere the Eye Can See

Lies an Iconic Consumer Image

 

Award-Winning Short Video

 

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It’s not yours and your mind is not your own.

Guy Trefler set out to flex his graphic design muscles and convey the message that nothing is original.

In Not Mine, a creative visual exploration of how everything’s been inspired by something else, we can see how our brain is implanted with millions of casted images throughout our life.

In a true whirlwind of brand names, logos, iconic imagery and memorable products, we’re made to realize that everything inspired something else at some point or the other.  It’s a fallacy to assume that anything is original anymore, but that doesn’t mean old ideas and concepts can’t be recombined, reconfigured, and reinterpreted to create something new and exciting.

Not Mine was created using a series of 469 images from Google’s image banks, which Trefler playfully labels as ‘not mine’ at the end of the film– showing a full breakdown of all the shots in the short.

His film reminds us how much and how often icons and images are thrust upon us.

Marketers and advertisers try their hardest to reach people while they’re watching TV or reading newspapers or magazines.  But consumers’ viewing and reading habits are so scattershot now that many advertisers say the best way to reach time-pressed consumers is to try to catch their eye at literally every turn.

And it has become ubiquitous. 

Researchers estimate a person living in a city 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day, compared with 5,000 today.  About half of the people surveyed in one study said they thought marketing and advertising today was overblown and out of control.

Expect more saturation on the horizon.  Old-fashioned billboards are now being converted to digital screens, and they’re considered to be the next big thing coming.  They allow advertisers to change messages frequently from remote computers, timing their pitches to sales events or the hour of the day.  

People can expect to see more of them not only along highways, but also in stores, gyms, gas stations, elevators, doctors’ offices and on the sides of buildings, marketing executives say.

It’s frightening to realize just how many images, advertisements, jingles, and worthless bits of subliminal garbage fill up the useless space in our heads like pieces of flotsam and jetsam.

Our brain cells could be put to so much better use if they were simply free of the clutter, conditioning, and the distraction being forced upon us without our consent, much less our conscious awareness.

 

 

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It’s Nappy-Poo Time!

 

Many Children Were Harmed
in the Making of This Video

 

**VIRAL VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Chris Capel is a writer/director who describes himself
as passionate, creative and pine-scented.

He used to animate talking animals at DreamWorks Feature Animation for a living, but says he strives to one day be a big time director so he can just sit in a chair and tell people what to do.

He loves to write as well and is driven to tell entertaining and engaging offbeat humor stories of any level or size to whoever will pay attention. 

His Naptime! infomercial above is his all time dank favorite, following in the true Griswold family tradition.

Getting the intended twisted emotional response from his audience is considered by Chris to be the ultimate high.  Black tar heroin runs a close second.

Chris lives in Valencia with a cat, two rabbits and his wife Lindsey, who is an aspiring animal hoarder.

Thanks for your help getting our Sunday family snooze on, Chris.

* * * * * * * *

 

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Bringing Water and Life to Others

 

 

World Vision’s Zambia Water Project

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Greed is not good. 

Humanity, distribution, and the delivering of resources are good.

More children die from diseases caused by unsafe water than HIV/AIDS and malaria combined.  1,600 children die every day from diarrhea because they lack something as simple as clean water.

Scarce, dirty water locks people into poverty.  Clean water not only gives life, it makes it possible for kids to attend school, for families to provide adequate nutrition, and for communities to prosper outside of poverty.

The current World Vision Water Project in Zambia  hopes to dramatically change life in four communities in desperate need.  The project is part of their overall goal to provide clean, safe water to one million new people this year.

50 percent of rural Zambians lack access to clean water, and 1 out of every 12 children die before the age of 5.

The World Vision project includes 133 new and rehabilitated water points, 1600 sanitation facilities, and 117 communities and schools trained in hygiene.  With the formation of 117 local water committees, Zambia will be equipped to maintain the water points and pay for its own repairs, helping to ensure clean water lasts for generations to come.

Clean water transforms entire communities for generations.  Without clean water, all else fails.  It’s a given necessity for progress and humanity.

We can solve the global water crisis within our lifetime.  For the first time in history, we have the technology, resources, and the distribution to bring clean water to every child on the planet.

The World Vision Organization is reaching more people with clean drinking water than any other non-governmental agency– an amazing one person every 30 seconds.  They believe they can provide clean water to an additional 5 million people in the next 3 years.

That may sound impossible– yet it’s already here, it’s happening, and the mission is entirely possible.

And yes, you can help.

 

~Via World Vision, Keith Rivers, Vimeo, and YouTube

 

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Urban Surfing

 

 

Let the Fun Times Roll

A Soon-To-Be Viral Video

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Devin Supertramp’s team has put it’s own twist on surfing 
for what they call “Urban Surfing.” 

They hit the wicked streets of San Francisco to create what looks like a giant slip ‘n slide.  After laying down some plastic and spraying on a bit of water and adding a few toys, they started the fun rolling.

We like the idea that just about anyone can do this.  It’s an instant urban park slip ‘n slide, a gathering of kids who like to slip, surf, skate, and slide, courtesy of your local fire hydrant and whatever tunes you might have available on hand. 

Oh, it probably takes a lot of plastic, a city permit,  liability insurance and some porta-potties, too.  You know how San Francisco goes. 

And kids really can have too much fun.  Slip and slides have always been fairly notorious for more than a few falls, twisted legs, broken elbows and dented chins.  Nothing says Summer fun quite like tequila shooters and lost teeth.  Fortunately youth these days are very malleable.

We only hope they know the Golden State of Cali is headlong into a drought.  Perhaps taking their plastic sand pails and filling them up, they watered down some thirsty urban trees while munching down some Bear Naked Granola before catching the next performance of
Beach Blanket Babylon.

Slip on.

* * * * * * * * *

Film by Devin Graham. 

Shot in San Francisco using the Canon RED Dragon, Phantom Miro, Canon 5D Mark III,
and GoPRO Hero3+ with Goscope poles, and a Glidecam HD 4000.

The music is ‘Hang Out’ by Radical Something.

Below is the interesting Behind-the Scenes In ‘n Out Takes for you camera junkies:

 


 

 

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What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?

 

Self-Judgment and Worth:

A Woman’s Perspective

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

63 women were asked what they see when they look in the mirror.   
Their answers were surprising.

When I Look in the Mirror is a powerful behind-the-scenes exploration of each woman’s thoughts and insights as they take a deep look into the mirror and reflect on themselves and their experiences.

Dozens of interviews were conducted over the course of twelve days to cultivate this collection of voices.  From cancer survivors to a bullied middle school student, each woman’s answer is indicative of her unique life experiences.

Through interviews, vérité filming, and impromptu reflections, this short documentary from Everdream Pictures’ Kristelle Laroche and Ben Mullinkosson deeply explores female self-images, self-judgments, and ultimately, worth and self-love.

Everyone has their own individual beauty.  And no one can ever take that away from you.

* * * * * * * * *

 

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Delivery

 

Life Goes On Against the Odds 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Bill is fifty-two years old.

Sporting an unruly mountain man beard and chain smoking
Camel straights, he delivers pizza on a bike in Brooklyn.

Over the course of several shifts, filmmakers Christopher K. Walker and Michael Beach Nichol’s Delivery unveils an intriguing portrait of a man rushing through life and getting the food to your door while it’s still “hot and fresh” through the Big Apple’s crowded streets and back alleyways. 

And he works hard.

A local legend known for his fierce determination and deliverance to the job and his bicycle, Bill’s been through a hard and weathered life.  At the end of his shift he’ll often look for a place to sleep on a friend’s couch. 

His family and apartment are long gone; his future is limited.  Yet everyday he comes to work, making another hard-earned dollar through sheer perseverence.

Riding the City’s streets as a courier and pizza delivery guy for 30 years, Bill has no regrets.  As long as he can continue to ride his bike, he’s relatively happy. 

“The day I can no longer ride a bike better be the day I’m fucking dead,” he says.

To note, filmmakers Christopher K. Walker and Michael Beach Nichol run a documentary production company called No Weather Productions located in Brooklyn, NY.  Michael shoots and Chris edits. 

Sometimes they switch that up.

 

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Growing Up Bayou

 

Everyone is Happy to Give

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

At 82, Anna Mae Doucet sounds deeply comfortable
with herself and her life.

Doucet is a Cajun.

“I wouldn’t want to be anything else but a Cajun.  I’m happy.  I’m a very happy person,” she said. “Maybe the happiest person in the world.”

On a morning last spring, she sat across a small table from her doting great-granddaughter, Elise.

Doucet is a country girl, having lived along Louisiana’s Bayou Lafourche for 75 years. 

She is Elise’s “Mommee,” the matriarch of a family extending five generations, including 10 great-great-grandchildren who still live in the twists and turns of bayou country.

Growing up in Golden Meadow, Doucet and her six siblings wintered four months a year in the marsh where the rhythms of trapping annually consumed their father.  Then it was back on the bayou to fish and trawl for shrimp.

At home they grew vegetables, picked citrus and peaches, and cared for chickens and two cows. When people baked, they automatically shared a bit with neighbors.

They had no car, Doucet said. Nor, it seemed, did anyone else.  They were poor but she or her neighbors didn’t know it.  They had enough; or as she saw it, they had plenty.  Sometimes the clothes were hand-me-downs; sometimes the bathwater was shared among siblings.

There was no washing machine, dryer or dishwasher.  The labor was hard, but there was also leisure time. Neighbors looked out for another, kept up after each other’s children, and helped one another when needed.  Things—and food—were shared when someone needed it.  Everyone seemed happy to give.  It was a way of life.

They were a community; a tight-knit community, loving of each other and understandably wary of the world outside and its strangers they didn’t know.  There was no crime, no drugs, and to their point of view, no poverty, either.  Rich in relationships, they felt blessed.

“We still had a lot of time to visit, because we had no television,” Doucet explained.  “Wherever you wanted to go, you’d walk.  And you had people sitting on the porches, and everybody wanted to know everybody.  So we’d never get to where we were going to, too early.  Because Momma knew everybody, we’d stop and talk at the friends, you know?”

In time, Anna Mae met and married a fine young Cajun man. He had served in the Navy, came home from World War II and settled with Anna Mae in Golden Meadow to work as a marine engineer for the shrimpers.

In their 52 years together, they lost two children, but raised two more.

Life was hard.  There were struggles.  Little money.  New things wanting to be bought from far away.  Keeping clothes clean and shoes for the children in good stead.  Getting to school could be difficult depending on the weather, impending storms, and the boat-taxi ride to the schoolhouse 45 minutes away.

When hard times came, they moved for a few years to Brownsville Texas, where some other families from the bayou country moved to follow the shrimp.

After their return there was another family move, when they arranged to have their house in Golden Meadow jacked up, trucked to the bayou, and barged 10 or 12 miles upstream to Cut Off, where it sits today.  Old traditions and community roots die hard in this part of the country.

Doucet explained they wanted the safety of being a few extra miles inland during hurricane season.  She remembered riding out Hurricane Betsy in a schoolhouse in Raceland in 1965.  A tornado hit the place, blew out the windows, and hurled glass at the evacuees huddled inside, she said. 

The children were terrified but the adults had weathered many storms like this before.  There was safety among themselves, and with others in number.  And when all else failed, they always had their faith to rely upon.

Elise asked her Mommee some questions.

Does she believe in God?

“Definitely.”

Do you pray?

“Yes.”

In English or French?

“Sometimes both.”

“And I’m your favorite, right?” teases Elise.

“Oh yeah,” replies Doucet, sweetly.

Then, thinking for a moment, she wisely adds…

“All of you are precious.  Whoever faces me is my favorite at that time.”

 

~Via New Orleans News, The Golden Age and Woodkid,
Vimeo, Jeremy Love and Zuda Comics

 

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Trans-Mormon

 

Finding Identity

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Eri Hayward was born and raised in Utah County, Utah.

Coming from a conservative Mormon background, she was raised in the LDS Church and even went to Mormon private school – but something wasn’t adding up.

Eri was born a boy and it was a slow, painful journey for her to recognize she is transgender.

Friends at OHO Media met with Eri and her close-knit, supportive family this summer, just before she flew to Thailand for sexual reassignment surgery. 

A guest speaker at both Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University, Eri regularly talks about being a transgendered Mormon woman and reconciling her religion, personal beliefs, and one’s life experiences.

A sensitive portrait of a controversial subject, TransMormon was the winner of the Artistic Vision Award at the 2014 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, winner of the 2014 Utah Short Film of the Year Award, and the chosen Vimeo Staff Pick seen here.

 

If you liked this story, you might enjoy our other piece:  The Unusual Journey of Robina Asti.

 

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Ballet Meets Robotics

 

A Strange and Perfect Union

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Ballet and robotics have come together in a bizarre
and beautiful way.

Although it seems contradictory, it turns out ballet and robotics have a rather remarkable chemistry. The practiced precision of the dancers and the highly controlled movement of the robot make for a strangely harmonious and completely original take on the classical art form.

Or so it seems, judging from filmmaker Tarik Abdel-Gawad’s film adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s Francesca Da Rimini ballet, seen above and below.

Described as “an experiment designed to synchronize dance choreography with robotic motion,” the film introduces San Francisco Ballet stars Maria Kochetkova and Joan Boada as they perform highly perfected and precise steps to a massive robot-controlled moving camera designed to track and dance with them across the stage.

The close-up shots, tight and intimate, naturally fit with Tchaikovsky’s expressive and dramatic symphonic adaptation of Dante’s classic story– where Francesca and her
lover are eternally damned to Hell. 

“The film itself brings the viewer closer to a ballet performance than is possible on a stage.  Using a robot allows the camera to be choreographed– as well as the dancers– achieving spectacular shots designed specifically for the performance.  The end result is a film that makes viewers feel they’re in the room dancing with the performers,” Abdel-Gawad said.

It’s hard to argue with such a statement because the result is
spectacular and unique, upfront and personal.

Abdel-Gawad gracefully sums up the project as a breakthrough process that “demonstrated that it was possible to synchronize robotic motion with extremely complex athletic choreography.”

We see it as an innovation that will soon be taking root in Hollywood film production, especially as 3-D imaging and Matrix-like scenes evolve further.

Below is the very interesting behind-the-scenes look of how director Abdel-Gawad brought the whole enchilada together.

~Via Tarik Abdel-Gawad, Vimeo, Outer Places

 

Ballet Meets Robotics from Francesca Da Rimini Film on Vimeo.

 

If you liked the robotic element of this story,
you’ll really like our other fantastic piece here.

 

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Going All the Way

 

‘Roll the Dice’

Award-Winning Video

–and a ’Toon

 

Words by Charles Bukowski

Film by Willem Martinot
Narrated by Tom O’Bedlam

Game of Thrones by Zen Pencils

 

 

“I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather my spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than be stifled by rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me a magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.

The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.  I shall use my time.”

Jack London

 

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