I came to allergies late in life. Through childhood and my twenties, I didn’t know what hay fever and such things were, other than that they were things that afflicted certain other people, and I sure was glad not be one of them: they seemed to be sad human beings, turned into miserable sniveling wretches by pleasant weather and the blooming beauty of nature. It was sometime in my early thirties that I became inexplicably taken with occasional strange bouts of sneezing that would not stop until they decided to no matter how much I blew my nose or yelled curses at the universe. But these were just annoying fits, I supposed. Then one beautiful spring day I was walking down the avenue, greatly admiring the trees on both sides in full bloom, the white and pink blossoms gorgeous and filled with delight in the radiant sunshine, when suddenly I began sneezing uncontrollably, and sniveling like a wretch, and then my eyes began watering, and then they started itching like nothing I’d ever experienced before, and the terrible truth abruptly dawned upon me: I’m allergic! Continue reading As Usual, It Will Be an Unusually Bad Allergy Season
A man in New York City was picked up last month on the charge of trespassing. He had been found by police sleeping in a stairwell of a public housing project in Harlem. It has surely been a very cold winter in New York, and I guess that’s one of the places where someone without a home of his own could find some shelter. Public housing projects in New York City generally have token and non-functioning security mechanisms, so that anyone can just stroll in off the street and do whatever they want in the stairwells—which is naturally catastrophic for the quality of life of all of the residents (and yet our new mayor is more concerned about banning carriage horses from pulling carriages, rather than fixing such a fundamental problem for so many poor city residents). The easy accessibility of a legally-prohibited sleeping space was arguably tragedy number one for this man, Jerome Murdough, although really it had come after all of those other tragedies that led him to his life of living on and off the street. Continue reading Man “Baked to Death” in New York City Jail Cell
Here’s to Saint Patrick, a great Welshman (or so I was told as a lad) who tried mightily to save the Irish.
The tune to “Be Thou My Vision” is known as “Slane,” and is associated with a moment in history when Saint Patrick lit a fire on a hill in pagan Ireland—the hill of Slane—in defiance of the customs of the time, in order to mark the Christian holy day of Easter. His bravery was met with a success that put him in the history books and makes him the subject of parades in countless cities across the world. Many Christians today exhibit similar bravery and find merely death—in places like Nigeria, Pakistan, Egypt and North Korea—but their hope is in something far beyond the acceptance of men.
Surely no one has sung it better than Van the man.
(Available on Van Morrison’s album, Hymns to the Silence.)
Be thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight
Be thou my armor, and be thou my might
Thou my sole shelter, and thou my high tower
Raise thou me heavenwards, O power of my power
Championed and promoted by Neil Young, Pono is here (at least for those willing to cough up the dough on the Kickstarter campaign).
Content for the PonoPlayer will be sold by the PonoMusic online store. The CEO of PonoMusic, John Hamm, promises “studio master-quality digital music … the way the artist recorded it.” Fundamentally, this means it will be capable of playing audio in the lossless FLAC format at 192 kHz and 24 bits, versus the 44.1 khz and 16 bit audio of CDs, and versus the MP3 and other compressed digital formats which strip data from those CD quality recordings to make the files more quickly downloadable and portable. However, the Pono player will still play those lower-resolution formats as well. Continue reading Neil Young’s Pono is Launched, and Fidelity in Digital Music Gets Debated