August 2005 Archives
From a NY Times Editorial of August 29, 2005:
Recently, a secret draft revision of the national park system's basic management policy document has been circulating within the Interior Department. It was prepared, without consultation within the National Park Service, by Paul Hoffman, a deputy assistant secretary at Interior who once ran the Chamber of Commerce in Cody, Wyo., was a Congressional aide to Dick Cheney and has no park service experience.
Within national park circles, this rewrite of park rules has been met with profound dismay, for it essentially undermines the protected status of the national parks. The document makes it perfectly clear that this rewrite was not prompted by a compelling change in the park system's circumstances. It was prompted by a change in political circumstances - the opportunity to craft a vision of the national parks that suits the Bush administration.
The story has been reported in the LA Times, NY Times, and elsewhere. A valuable resource regarding this deplorable proposal can be found at the site of The Coalition of Concerned NPS Retirees. This site contains revision marked sections of the proposal.
A new "documentary portrait" of Bob Dylan by Martin Scorsese No Direction Home will air on PBS'S American Masters series, September 26-27 (check local listings) and in the UK on BBC'S Arena series September 26.
The two-part film, which focuses on the singer-songwriter's life and music from 1961-66, includes never-seen performance footage and interviews with artists and musicians whose lives intertwined with Dylan's during that time. Dylan talks openly and extensively about this critical period in his career, detailing the journey from his hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota, to Greenwich Village, New York, where he became the center of a musical and cultural upheaval, the effects of which are still felt today.
For the first time, The Bob Dylan Archives has made available rare treasures from its film, tape and stills collection, including footage from Murray Lerner's film Festival documenting performances at the 1963, 1964 and 1965 Newport Folk Festivals, previously unreleased outtakes from D.A. Pennebaker's famed 1967 documentary Don't Look Back, and interviews with Allen Ginsberg, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Maria Muldaur, and many others. In anticipation of the film, members of Dylan's worldwide community of fans also contributed rarities from their own collections.
While I like many of Scorsese's films, he seems to always excel when he deals with music. Remember The Last Waltz, his contributions to to the PBS series "The Blues" and even the musical New York, New York. I'm looking forward to it.
While I'm on the subject of Dylan, the first volume of his memoirs, Chronicals, Vol. 1, is a remarkable book. Different from any musician's biography that you will ever read.
If you're suggesting, how would we feel about an Iranian-type government with a few clerics running everything in the country, the answer is: That isn't going to happen.
Donald Rumsfield Interview with Associated Press April 24, 2003
CoverFlow is one of the coolest applications I've seen in a long time. It allows you to visually browse through your digital music collection by virtually "flipping" through the images of album covers. CoverFlow is still in its early stages of development and hopefully the author will integrate it more closely with iTunes. And sorry you PC guys and gals, but it is for Mac only ... which will be a recurring trend on this site.
The Association of Christian Schools International, which represents more than 800 schools, filed a federal lawsuit Thursday claiming UC admissions officials have refused to certify high school science courses that use textbooks challenging Darwin's theory of evolution. Other rejected courses include "Christianity's Influence in American History."
Yep, those kids will show up at UC with all the tools they need ...
The End Of Faith by Sam Harris is a profound book for me. This quote from Natalie Angier in the NY Times well sums up how I felt while reading it:
“The End of Faith articulates the dangers and absurdities of organized religion so fiercely and so fearlessly that I felt relieved as I read it, vindicated, almost personally understood… Harris writes what a sizable number of us think, but few are willing to say in contemporary America… This in an important book, on a topic that, for all its inherent difficulty and divisiveness, should not be shielded from the crucible of human reason.”
In today's world, particularly in the US, it is becoming a dangerous thing, not to believe. The similarity in goals of the "faith-based" movement in the US and the government structure that appears to be emerging in Iraq are all too close in the way that those in power seek to impose their beliefs on their respective societies. Harris' book promotes rational thinking about the complexity of life, morality and other issues without having to resort to blind-faith and un-provable assertions while still honoring the wonder and preciousness of life and the universe.
I could have called this site "Dilletante Times" (as in 'dilletante' a person who cultivates an area of interest, such as the arts, without real commitment or knowledge) but I decided to cut myself some slack. I however settled on 'eclectic', because "if you can't say something nice ...". My interests and tastes have always been eclectic, though perhaps middle-brow.
In this blog I plan to post entries and links to stuff on the internet which is of interest to me and readers out there with eclectic minds. In the early days of 'on-line' computing (remember The Source, early Compuserve, The Well and (gasp!) even Prodigy) I marveled at the potential of having information truly at (to futher abuse the cliche) my fingertips. As the internet as it has evolved, and is still evolving, a large part of that potential has been realized.
This blog itself will evolve. It's style will change and become, hopefully, an attractive and useful place for others with eclectic minds to find things and ideas from many places, and of many types, that have attracted me. But, instead of twiddling the knobs until the style was just right, I feel the urge to start posting and let the presentation change over time.
... So, fellow eclectics, here we go ...