Saturday, February 7, 2015

In the NY Times This Weekend - February 7, 2015

Good afternoon and hello from cold and grey Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY, USA. McCuenications World Headquarters. Just finished listening to Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here album. On vinyl, natch. What a great album. Still sounds fresh nearly 40 years after first being released. Moved on to YouTube to check out some Rival Sons recommended by my friend Keef in Lancashire. His daughter J. recently discovered the band and fell in love with them. Father and daughter recently took in a Rival Sons gig together - and had a fun Twitter exchange with the band. Anyway, Rival Sons is a good old fashioned four-piece rock and roll band. I'm listening to their Pressure and Time album as I type out today's update. Appeals to the Led Zep and The  Cult's Electric album era fan in me. Check 'em out. Now then...

Book Review
Journalists and photojournalists willing to put themselves in harm's way play a valuable role in society by documenting the atrocities of war and spreading knowledge of what's really happening in the world. It's not really my place to speculate on their motivations. Check out the review of a book by NY Times photojournalist Lynsey Addario on page 11. Maybe the title says it all when it comes to *her* motivations: It's What I Do.She writes about her experiences in Libya and Afghanistan. Two of the most dangerous places in the world. Was it worth it?

Arts & Leisure
There are so many talented singers and songwriters in the world. How does anyone stand out in the crowd? One would like to think that the quality of songs and performances would be the deciding factors. Sadly, it's more likely that a certain *something* about them - most often a look or an "exoticness" - will tip the scales in their favor. Can't help feeling that way about Ibeyi - the Franco-Cuban duo/twins Naomi and Lisa-Kainde' Diaz. Yes, they're gorgeous and both have pleasing voices, but I don't hear anything particularly special or original in their songs and voices. How about you? You can hear them here and read about them here.Would the Times make such a fuss if they were kinda plain and ordinary looking?

Reading Paul Bowles' The Sheltering Sky, listening to King Crimson's song of the same name and Led Zeppelin's Achilles Last Stand and Kashmir, watching the Page/Plant 1994 footage from Marrakesh, the indelible image of Rick's Cafe in Casablanca - the combination of these literary, musical and film influences have inspired me to visit Morocco some day. Turns out the author of today's cover story was similarly inspired by The Sheltering Sky - only he acted on that inspiration and wrote about his adventures. After reading this feature story, Morocco has now gone up a few notches on my list of places to see before I shuffle off this mortal coil. Have you ever been?

Anyone who's had to take on the unfortunate task of going through a deceased parent's personal effects knows that some of the discoveries can be deeply revealing in ways that are unsettling and disturbing - as well as heartwarming and revelatory in positive ways. In "My Dad, the Pornographer" the writer documents this process. Warning: heavy stuff.

That's all for today. Please leave comments.

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