Ten Jazz Albums to Hear Before You Die

June 27, 2014

Because there are multiple decades of jazz, it’s almost impossible to pick the top 10 albums of all time; the hip cats with their canes and cool shades will throw their used saxophone reeds in my direction and call me a young whippersnapper.

But so many people out there, young or even a bit older, are curious about jazz, and they’re not exactly sure where to start. Think of this as a jazz bucket list, filled with masterpieces of a true American music.

Let’s go!

Click here to read the entire article


Why did Borges hate soccer?

June 20, 2014

Some of Borges’ critiques are valid and relevant today. The nationalism generated by football does result in the fanaticism, hatred, racism, and xenophobia displayed by fans all over the world. Also, how the game is used by politicians and dictators for their own self-interest and to support their political objectives.

These are all undeniable realities that are still an ugly part of football.

But even a genius like Borges can be wrong.

The flow and artistry of the game is beautiful and timeless. It is not mind boggling that Borges was not able to understand and recognize the aesthetic wonder that is football.

His own prejudices brought out the blinders.

Soccer is popular,” Jorge Luis Borges observed, “because stupidity is popular.”

At first glance, the Argentine writer’s animus toward “the beautiful game” seems to reflect the attitude of today’s typical soccer hater, whose lazy gibes have almost become a refrain by now: Soccer is boring. There are too many tie scores. I can’t stand the fake injuries.

And it’s true: Borges did call soccer “aesthetically ugly.”

He did say, “Soccer is one of England’s biggest crimes.”

Click here for the entire article


Voice of the Day

June 20, 2014

“Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”

– Chinua Achebe


7 Soccer Books To Read During The World Cup

June 11, 2014

The start of the World Cup in Brazil is just 24 hours away. The next best thing to watching the games is reading about this great sport.

There are several books on this list that I recommend.

Football Against the Enemy – The first book to analyze the social and political aspects that are connected to football around the world. It paved the way for other books that have been written on the same subject.

Soccer in Sun and Shadow – Full of anecdotes about the players, games, goals, and moments of glory and infamy that are all a part of football’s history.

Fever Pitch – What it means to be a football fan. Brilliantly told in this book.

With the 2014 World Cup commencing this week, there’s never been a better time to delve into the complexities of the world’s game. For more insight into what is (and is not) football, and why so many people care so very much, here are some titles to guide you through the coming month of games:

Click here to read the entire article


Cartoon of the Day

June 6, 2014


On Writing a Life of Coltrane

June 6, 2014

A few years ago I found a used, first-edition hardcover of Dr. Cuthbert Ormond Simpkins’s 1975 book, Coltrane: A Biography, online for $150. I had long admired its feverish, street-pulpy story about the saxophonist John Coltrane, whose powerful music increasingly seemed capable of altering one’s consciousness before he died in 1967, at age forty. Posthumously, the mythology and exaltation of Coltrane, as well as his musical influence, only grew. But by that point, Simpkins had already researched and written Coltrane’s story, expressing an uncompromising, unapologetic black voice rarely found in the annals of jazz before or since.

Click here to read entire article


Belle

June 6, 2014


What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades

June 6, 2014

It is really shameful that more and more schools are not teaching cursive anymore. Its disappearance from our schools is even more appalling considering how cursive positively impacts children’s development.

Does handwriting matter?

Not very much, according to many educators. The Common Core standards, which have been adopted in most states, call for teaching legible writing, but only in kindergarten and first grade. After that, the emphasis quickly shifts to proficiency on the keyboard.

But psychologists and neuroscientists say it is far too soon to declare handwriting a relic of the past. New evidence suggests that the links between handwriting and broader educational development run deep.

Children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information. In other words, it’s not just what we write that matters — but how.

Click here to read the entire article


How Armed Black Southerners Helped Fight for Civil Rights

June 6, 2014

An important side of the civil rights movement that must be learned and discussed. It’s a history that’s been ignored for far too long.

Most history students never learn that even Martin Luther King Jr.—arguably history’s greatest spokesperson on behalf of nonviolence—had armed guards stationed outside of his home and a pistol tucked in his sofa in 1955 when he emerged as the leader of the bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala.

But he did.

As time went on, he came to trust in the philosophy of nonviolence in his personal life as much as he believed in its power politically, and eventually got rid of both the guards and guns. At some point, though, we glossed over this complexity and began to think of nonviolence as preordained and as a natural outgrowth of the movement.

We don’t teach our children about the training civil rights activists had to endure in order to prepare their minds and bodies for nonviolent protests. And we don’t often think about how the movement functioned in rural places, far from the glare of the spotlights of network news cameras. Outside of the national gaze, what might check the violence of white segregationists who resisted every attempt by black citizens to assert their right to vote and to organize politically? How did the movement work in the face of the violence in rural Union County, N.C.; Lowndes County, Ala.; or Sunflower County, Miss.?

That’s the story masterfully told by Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee field secretary and now journalist Charles Cobb in his challenging and important new narrative, This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible, which adds to a growing list of important histories that expand what we know about the way organizing had to work in rural communities.

Click here to read the entire article