Sunday, November 25, 2012

Game Change

There is an absolutely fantastic article in The New Yorker about the Grateful Dead. It gets into a lot of interesting things about the legendary archives of the Dead's music, but also has some great sociological and historical insights. An excerpt:

Later, I got the tapes. To my ears, the performances held up, and the music, on repetition, began to feel like something composed, rather than improvised. It took on a life of its own, apart from my experience of having witnessed its creation. The tapes themselves are long gone, but I still listen to those shows from time to time. I’ve even found an amateur video of the second night on YouTube, synched to a soundboard recording. The fact that I also listen, with equal or even greater regard, to many dozens of shows that I never attended, the majority of them performed during my nursery-rhyme years, props up my usually fruitless contention that nostalgia has nothing to do with the way the Dead wormed their way into my mind’s ear and fought off all comers even decades after the band had disappeared from the stage. The Dead inspired many lamentable bumper stickers, but one good one captured how it felt, and feels, to be under their sway: “Who are the Grateful Dead, and why do they keep following me?”

Read more here.

This brilliant essay in the New York Times calls upon President Obama to get his new term off to the right start by calling for Congress to repeal the federal marijuana laws so that the states can be free to authorize its sale just as Washington and Colorado have done. One of the things that I'm ashamed of my generation for is how we have betrayed the promises we made as kids when we said that when "we were in charge" meaning our generation, we would have the sense our foolish elders did not and would legalize marijuana. It is not too late to redeem ourselves, and the leadership should come from President Obama, who biographers have claimed was a quite stoney youth himself.
Read it here.

I'm surprised to hear that Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse is changing his tune on casino gambling. I don't gamble, but I still support the right to gamble because I don't consider the fact that I don't enjoy a certain vice as grounds to deny it to others. What I don't like are government run casinos with legal monopolies (just the corruption issues are mortifying) and if those are the only terms under which gambling is going to be allowed, then I'd just as soon not have it.

That said, if indeed there is going to be a casino no matter what, then I can't think of anyone else I'd rather see it run by than Eric Suher, the man who almost single handedly saved the downtown Northampton music scene by buying up all the failing music houses in the 90's and making them profitable. Unfortunately, for that profound public service the only thanks Suher has ever received are strikes, lawsuits and insults. His entry into the casino siting sweepstakes would be a game changer, bringing a local player into the mix with a proven track record of public service and managerial excellence. Holyoke may quickly go from being completely out of the casino siting game to being the number one contender.
Read more here.

Most people know Larry Kelley as king of the Amherst blogosphere and a guy with a flag fetish. Years ago however he was known as one tough son of a bitch with a kick that could send you to dreamland in one second flat - as demonstrated in the video below.

Here's an interesting tidbit by Peter Goonan on a little known cemetery in Blunt Park in Springfield. Is Blunt Park considered to be in Pine Point or as part of the Square?
Read more here.

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