Monthly Archives: November 2011

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Cyber Monday

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The Cinch Review

Chimes of Freedom – Amnesty International benefit album featuring the songs of Bob Dylan

Chimes of Freedom - The Songs of Bob DylanDetails have been released on a huge collection of cover versions of Bob Dylan songs, featuring about 80 different artists, which is coming out next year as both a tribute to Bob Dylan and a benefit for Amnesty International. It’s called Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan (and the album cover features Bob Dylan as Doctor Who). Most of the tracks are brand new recordings; an exception is the single track by Bob Dylan himself, which is his original recording of “Chimes of Freedom” from 1964.

I knew something along these lines was coming out, but when I saw the scope of it and the track list, my first reaction was: Isn’t this kind of excessive? Four CDs worth? Some of it will be good, no doubt, but some of it will be pretty painful too. Well, I guess it’s too late to stop them now. Might as well face it: we live in an age of huge excess. Something like this wouldn’t even have been dreamed of in the ’60s or ’70s, because it would have required something like 8 or 10 LPs. Now it’s just some space on an iPod, for most listeners. Ten tracks; eighty tracks; two hundred tracks: what difference does it make? People will just listen to the ones they care to hear anyway. Continue reading Chimes of Freedom – Amnesty International benefit album featuring the songs of Bob Dylan

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Happy Thanksgiving

To all in the U.S., or observing while on foreign shores, a very happy Thanksgiving Day.

Happy Thanksgiving

These all look to you,
to give them their food in due season.

When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.

When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die
and return to their dust.

When you send forth your Spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground.

(Psalm 104:27-30 ESV)

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Chicken treats from China killing dogs?

From the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA):

In the last 12 months, FDA has seen an increase in the number of complaints it received of dog illnesses associated with consumption of chicken jerky products imported from China. These complaints have been reported to FDA by dog owners and veterinarians.

There are reports that at least 70 dogs have been sickened by such treats, with some dying. Further: Continue reading Chicken treats from China killing dogs?

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Ramona, in straits that are dire

During Bob Dylan’s current tour of Europe (which finishes up on the 21st in London) Mark Knopfler has been the opening act, along with his band. Knopfler has also made a habit of sitting in on guitar during Bob Dylan’s set for the first three or four numbers. It being a Bob Dylan set, those numbers vary significantly from gig to gig. So, for people attending or those collecting the recordings, it’s really quite a neat treat: you get to hear a broad range of Dylan songs with that distinctive Mark Knopfler guitar texture added in. It’s different. Knopfler and Dylan go way back, of-course, to 1979’s Slow Train Coming, which featured Mark on guitar, and 1983’s Infidels, which was also co-produced by him and could well be said to sound like a quasi-Dire-Straits album. Mark Knopfler’s own style of singing has I think rightly been described as Dylanesque, but on Infidels it almost sounds like Dylan is imitating Mark imitating him, if you know what I mean. (And it works, too.)

Anyhow, the clip from YouTube embedded below is of Bob Dylan performing his sweet old song “To Ramona,” in Stockholm, with Mark Knopfler noodling along nicely. And indeed, it is a nice thing that they’ve had the chance to work together again like this.

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80-voice choir to perform Bob Dylan’s gospel songs in Australia

The 80-voice Melbourne Mass Gospel Choir will perform many of the gospel-era songs of Bob Dylan in concerts scheduled for this weekend, in Carlton (a suburb of Melbourne), Australia. Full story in the Melbourne Leader.

The leader of the choir is quoted as saying, among other things, that “They are powerful social critiques and the lyrics are now 30 years old but are as contemporary as anything you could imagine.” I usually cringe when hearing people talk about Dylan as a writer of “social critiques” and such-like, but when applied to his gospel-era songs, it strangely makes more a lot more sense than usual. I think it could definitely be argued that they are his protestiest songs ever.

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A note on OWS numbers in New York City

This morning’s much anticipated and ballyhooed “Occupy Wall Street” march in the financial district, and attempt to shut down the New York Stock Exchange, attracted anywhere from a few hundred to somewhere between one and two thousand participants, according to the media.

In this city of New York, you can gather a crowd like that if you stand on the corner giving away free samples of some new protein bar. I mean, really. Considering the non-stop publicity and promotion of this event taking place (for free) in all outlets of the mainstream media, the level of participation is nothing short of dismal. This is not the 99%. It is more like the 0.000001%. In addition, as is well known, many of those in the hardcore membership of this OWS “movement” in New York are in fact from out of town. Take them away and you have a complete non-event. It’s a non-event anyway: the whole escapade of the past two months has been created by and remains dependent upon the wildly disproportionate attention of the media, in pursuit of a political narrative that suits their own preferences. (And we must not forget who in the political world supported it from the beginning.) Continue reading A note on OWS numbers in New York City

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Afghan Stray Dogs Reunited with Soldiers Who Befriended Them

Fourteen dogs and one cat found themselves shipped from Afghanistan, via Dubai, to the United States, to be reunited with the U.S. soldiers who had benefited from their friendship while on duty in Afghanistan. It happened at New York City’s JFK airport today, and it is thanks to the charity Nowzad and to American Airlines. Some video below. Continue reading Afghan Stray Dogs Reunited with Soldiers Who Befriended Them

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11/17/2011: Anarchy in New York City?

I think not. The news of the day is full of predictions of chaos tomorrow in New York City and dark portents of the OWS types “burning down New York” and throwing Molotov cocktails at Macy’s and so on and on.

Certainly, if a nefarious and very shrewd group of villains decided to cause chaos in New York on any normal day, they might achieve it by means of random acts of mayhem and carnage. But if these Occupy Wall Street protesters attempt anything of the kind during their anticipated demonstrations tomorrow, the NYPD will land on them so hard and so fast that they will dearly wish that they were still back in Portland, Oregon, slacking off in their parents’ basements.

You read it here first.

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The Bloomberg versus the Giuliani way on Occupy Wall Street

In the early hours of this morning, the New York City Policy Department cleared Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan of hundreds of protesters, some of whom had been camping there since the “Occupy Wall Street” movement began two months ago. They were followed by an army of New York City Sanitation Department workers who moved in to remove tents, tarps and other accoutrements of the occupation, and to thoroughly disinfect the public plaza.

The decision to do this at this juncture came as a surprise, not least because Mayor Michael Bloomberg has vacillated for the past two months over how to address the problems created by the encampment; though he had largely seemed on the side of allowing the situation to continue until it might naturally peter out (with winter coming and all). Continue reading The Bloomberg versus the Giuliani way on Occupy Wall Street