9.07.2009

Signing Off

iVoryTowerz (2006-2009)

R.I.P.



After a good three year run, this blog has now come to its end. What started as a place for honors students to express themselves about various themes in politics and the media has evolved greatly from its beginnings. At one point this blog was very popular on the American University campus and in some quarters of D.C., but no longer. All of the original writers, save for the faculty sponsor and editor have left the project. After it became apparent that the young writers could no longer sustain the project, nor could it exist in a limbo between a completely professionalized staff and mostly student volunteer writers, it is now time to formally say good-bye. Thanks to all the writers and readers along the way. All things must pass.

(The photo is by schmilblick of Sweden via Flickr, using a Creative Commons license.)

Read More......

9.05.2009

iVoryTowerz Radio Salutes Les Paul

After another short hiatus, the underground podcast returns this week with our first opportunity to acknowledge the passing of the great Les Paul, the innovator who brought us the modern electric guitar. So expect this program to rock. The Wizard of Waukesha, as Paul was known, shows up twice in this program and many of those who were influenced by him also are included as the program covers almost 55 years of sound. The program ranges from landmark recordings by Paul to blues, blues-rock, garage rock, psychedelia, punk and pop. And if you think Paul's influence is all older rock, listen again. This program includes a hefty slice of new rock too. Enjoy as we salute the legend.




(To stream or download this podcast, please click here.)



Playlist

"Vaya Con Dios" by Les Paul & Mary Ford
Cover Me: "Rock 'n Roll Hoochie Koo" by Les Paul, Edgar Winter & Kenny Wayne Shepherd
“Walkin' Blues" by The Paul Butterfield Blues Band
"Walking By Myself" by Earl Seratte & the Blues Kings
"Albatross" by The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band
"Fly Farm Blues" by Jack White
"Brown Sugar" by ZZ Top
"American Made" by Gary Hoey
Rick's Metal Shoppe: “Journey to the Center of Your Mind” by Ted Nugent & The Amboy Dukes
Jeff’s New Wave: “Kill the Poor” by The Dead Kennedys
“You're No Rock N' Roll Fun” by Sleater-Kinney
“To the Enemies of Political Rock” by Team Dresch
“21 Guns” by Green Day
"Discovery" by Orange Shirt
"Can You Tell" by Ra Ra Riot
"Oxford Comma
" by Vampire Weekend

Program contains songs with explicit lyrics.

(Mp3 Runs - 1:17:13; 72 MB.)

(The photo of Les Paul performing at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City in 2008 is by Thomas Faivre-Duboz of Paris, France via Flickr, using a Creative Commons license.)


DISCLAIMER: The iVoryTowerz podcast is a non-commercial, non-profit program designed and used for educational purposes. Some of the material contained in this podcast is previously copyrighted but used with permission. Other copyrighted material is reused following fair use guidelines. Any copyright holders who do not wish to have their material used should contact the programmers directly at ivorytowerzradio@att.net and it will be removed. The programmers do not support filesharing and encourage listeners to buy music from the artists featured in this podcast.





Add to Technorati Favorites

Digg!

Subscribe in a reader
Subscribe to this podcast

Read More......

8.29.2009

IvoryTowerz Radio: The Lost Files, Vol. I


Two years after the official closing of the blog and we have unearthed one of the unreleased podcasts for your listening pleasure. The end of the podcast and the blog was a slow, disorganized affair, unfortunately. But recently, missing pieces were rediscovered, so we are carefully placing them where they were originally intended. Of course, this is an odd temporal exercise. So pardon the awkward nature of a post detailing the end of the blog suddenly showing up in the blog's now altered timeline.

Actually, this program has nothing to do with time travel, but it does include a song one of the co-hosts had hoped would never be played on the underground podcast, because it provided a bit of an unpleasant time trip. The old, reliable eclectic mix is here with the program including: rhythm & blues, neo-soul, Mexican folk, New Wave, alternative, and hard rock of various stripes. Enjoy!


(To stream or download this podcast, please click here.)


Playlist

"I Believe I'm in Love with You" by The Fabulous Thunderbirds
“Do I Move You" by Nina Simone
"Sermonette" by Georgia Anne Muldrow
"Genius of Love" by The Tom Tom Club
Cover Me: "Stairway to Heaven" by Rodrigo y Gabriela
"Under the Milky Way" by The Church
"Alive and Kicking" by Simple Minds
"Uprising" by Muse

Rick's Metal Shoppe: “Rock Candy” by Montrose
“Treat Me Like Your Mother” by The Dead Weather
“The Outlaw Jimmy Rose” by BM Linx
“He's a Rocker” by The Vines
"Ambulance Dancehall" by The Minus 5
"Legs and Brains" by Jack Logan
"Serenades for the Lonely" by Daryll-Ann
Jeff’s New Wave: “The End of the Party” by The English Beat
"20 Years" by Augustana

(Mp3 Runs - 1:25:55; 79 MB.)

(The photo is by Photo Extremist of Eugene, Oregon via Flickr, using a Creative Commons license.)


DISCLAIMER: The iVoryTowerz podcast is a non-commercial, non-profit program designed and used for educational purposes. Some of the material contained in this podcast is previously copyrighted but used with permission. Other copyrighted material is reused following fair use guidelines. Any copyright holders who do not wish to have their material used should contact the programmers directly at ivorytowerzradio@att.net and it will be removed. The programmers do not support filesharing and encourage listeners to buy music from the artists featured in this podcast.


(Finally posted on 9/10/11.)




Add to Technorati Favorites

Digg!

Subscribe in a reader
Subscribe to this podcast

Read More......

8.22.2009

IVoryTowerz Radio: Hidden Subtexts

The underground podcast returns and we will do our best to come back on a regular basis after our summer hiatus. Of course, we return with plenty on our collective minds. And sometimes what we are talking about isn't always evident. This program certainly has plenty of subtexts. See if you can trace them. If we overexplain here, the effect will be lost. As usual, we have an unexpected eclectic mix that puts a different spin on rock radio: we are what classic rock radio could have been. So there's a hefty portion of new music and some classics too. The program ranges through classic rock, punk, New Wave (or what some call First Wave now), alternative, alt-country, country-rock, Americana, and even some heavy metal. Enjoy.




(To stream or download this podcast, please click here.)



Playlist

"Aqualung" by Jethro Tull
Rick's Metal Shoppe: “37 Stitches” by Drowning Pool
Jeff’s New Wave: “Peaches” by The Stranglers
“Window in the Skies" by U2
"Funny the Way It Is" by The Dave Matthews Band
"Hey 19" by Steely Dan
"Mohammed's Radio" by The Matthew Show
"Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon
"Poor, Poor Pitiful Me" by Jackson Browne & Bonnie Raitt
“When the Wheels Don't Move” by Son Volt
“The Weight” by The Band
“You and I” by Wilco with Feist
"Thoughts of Mary Jane" by Nick Drake
"Old Days" by John Hiatt
"Wild at Heart
" by Gloriana
Cover Me: "Girl from the North Country" by Kermit Lynch

Program contains songs with explicit lyrics.

(Mp3 Runs - 1:23:26; 77 MB.)

(The photo is by audreyjm529 of Pennsylvania via Flickr, using a Creative Commons license.)


DISCLAIMER: The iVoryTowerz podcast is a non-commercial, non-profit program designed and used for educational purposes. Some of the material contained in this podcast is previously copyrighted but used with permission. Other copyrighted material is reused following fair use guidelines. Any copyright holders who do not wish to have their material used should contact the programmers directly at ivorytowerzradio@att.net and it will be removed. The programmers do not support filesharing and encourage listeners to buy music from the artists featured in this podcast.





Add to Technorati Favorites

Digg!

Subscribe in a reader
Subscribe to this podcast

Read More......

8.10.2009

iVoryTowerz Radio: The Unexpected Mix

Anything appearing in this space this summer is certainly unexpected. But add to that a number of bands that we've never played before and you have an unexpected treat. About a third of this underground podcast touches on material never before podcast here, but our eclectic mix remains intact. On this podcast you'll find progressive, progressive metal, heavy metal, alternative, indie rock, new wave, country rock, and even some punk polka. Somehow although this mix includes plenty of new material we still cover more than 40 years of modern rock. One part of the unexpected mix is how this program blends FM hits and superstars with our usual selection of B-sides and rarities. Enjoy.




(To stream or download this podcast, please click here.)



Playlist

"Whisky Train" by Procol Harum
Rick's Metal Shoppe: “Highway Star” by Buckcherry
“Cotopaxi" by The Mars Volta
"I Live With You" by Grizzly Bear
"The Harbour's Cold" by Dieter Schöön
"Down to Earth" by Peter Gabriel
Jeff’s New Wave: “Johnny 7” by Stiff Little Finger
"Peek-A-Boo" by Siouxsie & the Banshees
"Roses in the Park" by Lichtenstein
“Going Down to Liverpool” by The Bangles
“Something in the Air” by Thunderclap Newman
“Barking at the Moon” by Jenny Lewis
"Leave My Woman Alone" by Peter & Gordon
"It's So Easy" by Linda Ronstadt
"Foggy Mountain Blue
" by Gabrielle Maren
Cover Me: "I Can See for Miles" by Brave Combo

Program contains songs with explicit lyrics.

(Mp3 Runs - 1:16:57; 71 MB.)

(The photo is by :: Suwaif :: of the United Arab Emirates via Flickr, using a Creative Commons license.)


DISCLAIMER: The iVoryTowerz podcast is a non-commercial, non-profit program designed and used for educational purposes. Some of the material contained in this podcast is previously copyrighted but used with permission. Other copyrighted material is reused following fair use guidelines. Any copyright holders who do not wish to have their material used should contact the programmers directly at ivorytowerzradio@att.net and it will be removed. The programmers do not support filesharing and encourage listeners to buy music from the artists featured in this podcast.





Add to Technorati Favorites

Digg!

Subscribe in a reader
Subscribe to this podcast

Read More......

7.19.2009

iVoryTowerz Radio: Forbidden Music

Off the air for several weeks, the underground podcast is back with a vengeance. Download this one quickly because who knows how long it will stay online. This podcast is so deep underground it approaches the globe's molten core. This is potentially the most controversial podcast from us ever. There's not just one controversial song here, or one controversial set, but controversy from start to finish. Although this is a special presentation, we still manage to serve up the sensational songs in the midst of the usual eclectic format. The program covers 45 years of music ranging through folk, country, country rock, New Wave, punk, grunge, metal, progressive metal, progressive, and alternative. Strap in. The rants and hot licks come fast and furious. But please, enjoy responsibly!




(To stream or download this podcast, please click here.)



Playlist

"Qu'ran" by Brian Eno & David Byrne
“I Talk to the Wind" by Steve Hackett
"21st Century Schizoid Man" by Seasons (request)
"Red" by Brand X
Rick's Metal Shoppe: “Court of the Crimson King” by Saxon
"All Apologies" by Nirvana
"Pepper" by The Butthole Surfers
"Seventeen" by The Sex Pistols
Jeff’s New Wave: “It's the End of the World as We Know It” by R.E.M.
Cover Me: "Louie, Louie" by Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
“Creedence Song” by John Fogerty
“Wrote a Song for Everyone” by Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR)
“Zantz Can't Dance” by John Fogerty
"Not Ready to Make Nice" by The Dixie Chicks
"Talkin' John Birch Paranoid Blues" by Bob Dylan
"Forbidden City
" by Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros

Program contains explicit song lyrics and discussions of mature content including graphic language. Rated: R.

(Mp3 Runs - 1:33:13; 86 MB.)

(The graphic is by Mr.Enjoy of Funchal, Portugal via Flickr, using a Creative Commons license.)


DISCLAIMER: The iVoryTowerz podcast is a non-commercial, non-profit program designed and used for educational purposes. Some of the material contained in this podcast is previously copyrighted but used with permission. Other copyrighted material is reused following fair use guidelines. Any copyright holders who do not wish to have their material used should contact the programmers directly at ivorytowerzradio@att.net and it will be removed. The programmers do not support filesharing and encourage listeners to buy music from the artists featured in this podcast.





Add to Technorati Favorites

Digg!

Subscribe in a reader
Subscribe to this podcast

Read More......

In Memoriam: Walter Cronkite


Good-bye.


Walter Cronkite


(1916 — 2009)


"And that's the way it is."


My hero is gone. Walter Cronkite has passed. An era is truly now over.

Cronkite shaped journalism. At CBS he created the type of journalism I wanted to practice ever since I was a boy. Watching him every night inspired my career and my life. He instilled a sense of history and place in me and catalyzed me to find answers in history books, in outer space and in everyday reporting. Taking the foundations established by Edward R. Murrow at CBS and with the help of his able producer Ed Bliss, Cronkite’s CBS Evening News established a standard for news on television.

I’m sorry to say it seems that was the zenith of television journalism. The state of journalism on television has receded quickly ever since Cronkite departed the airwaves. You can blame Dan Rather, or CBS or Van Gordon Sauter, but Cronkite’s news organization was dismantled. The version of CBS News anchored today by Katie Couric is not even a ghost of the past, Bob Schieffer’s contributions not withstanding.

Cronkite was for years the most respected man in America. He deserved it. He was known for reporting straight ahead. No frills. I watched American history through Cronkite’s lens: the Kennedy assassinations and that of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. too; Vietnam (a war that Cronkite affected with his frank commentary after the Tet Offensive); and the landing on the moon.

In the 1990s, I got to meet my hero. At the time I was at the University of Southern California. Cronkite came to pick up an honor and speak to journalism students. “You’ll have to speak up,” Cronkite told me immediately upon my approach in a very loud tone, “these days I’m as deaf as a post.” Helped by his wife, I was able to have a nice chat with Uncle Walter about the state of journalism. This was a tiny moment but a memorable one because Cronkite was the man who had been projected to all of us for so many years via television: he was friendly and avuncular but also honest and direct.

I am sad to see him go. Television news, these days, does not reach the standard he set. His passing marks a moment that means truly those glory days of television journalism are mostly in the past. And that is also sadder, but that is the way it is, Saturday, July 18, 2009.

~Rick Rockwell

(The photo of Walter Cronkite is from a speech at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. in 2004. The photo is by Bill Ingalls of NASA; as the photo is from NASA, a government agency, it is in the public domain. Please see The New York Times for Cronkite's obituary. To see a retrospective on Cronkite, in his own words, please check below.)








Add to Technorati Favorites

Digg!
Subscribe in a reader

Read More......

All Apologies

After three weeks on hiatus it is time to return. Our apologies for the radio silence without warning. There are many reasons for the lapse. We would offer some up to you, but many will just sound like excuses. So we will dispense with the reasons, only to say we are sorry we have not been here. Likely, the blog will not be a daily affair again, at least for the short term. We will monitor reader reaction a bit more closely to see if frequency has any effect on the impact of this blog. We want to continue to bring you strong commentary, but only if it has sufficient audience and reaction. Thanks for your patience while we regrouped.

(Graphic © copyright DarkBlack and used with permission. For more material like this, please see DarkBlack's blog.)



Add to Technorati Favorites

Digg!
Subscribe in a reader

Read More......

6.27.2009

iVoryTowerz Radio Puts on its Boots

If that picture gives you any ideas, then you know you're in the right place this week, as the underground podcast is in an especially eclectic and niche mood. Now, don't get the wrong idea. We haven't turned into musical festishists. But we do find a way to head off on to odd tangents and still tie them all together. And although we don't start off with standards all the time, this week we commence with perhaps the biggest song of all time about boots. And we march on from there. As usual, this podcast includes music from most eras of rock: stretching back about 45 years, but also with a strong dash of new sounds. The mix this week includes: garage rock, proto-punk, punk, power pop, metal and much more. So strap on your boots and get ready to party and dance with us. And well, if you're not up for dancing, then well just shake your head, stretch out those booted legs and look cool in the summer heat. Enjoy!





(To stream or download this podcast, please click here.)



Playlist

"These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" by Nancy Sinatra
Cover Me: "Kicks" by The Ventures with Nancy Sinatra
“One Man Girl" by Lost Agency
"Destroyer" by The Kinks
"Chinatown" by Tahiti 80
"So Far Away" by The Apples in Stereo
"Skeletons" by Tiny Masters of Today
"Sixteen" by Iggy Pop
Jeff’s New Wave: “Love Comes in Spurts” by Richard Hell & the Voidoids
“Son of a Gun” by The Vaselines
“Jesus Doesn't Want Me for a Sunbeam” by Nirvana
“One of a Kind” by Placebo
"West Coast Smoker" by Fall Out Boy with Deborah Harry
"Lifeline" by Papa Roach
"Let's Go Crazy
" by Incubus
Rick's Metal Shoppe: “Deep Unknown” by Stratovarius

(Mp3 Runs - 1:15:42; 70 MB.)

(The photo is by Avasopel of Spain via Flickr, using a Creative Commons license.)


DISCLAIMER: The iVoryTowerz podcast is a non-commercial, non-profit program designed and used for educational purposes. Some of the material contained in this podcast is previously copyrighted but used with permission. Other copyrighted material is reused following fair use guidelines. Any copyright holders who do not wish to have their material used should contact the programmers directly at ivorytowerzradio@att.net and it will be removed. The programmers do not support filesharing and encourage listeners to buy music from the artists featured in this podcast.





Add to Technorati Favorites

Digg!

Subscribe in a reader
Subscribe to this podcast

Read More......

6.23.2009

Television: True Blood & the Vampire Craze

by Jordan Coughenour
Special to iVoryTowerz

I never thought the day would come when I would see an ad for specialized vampire dental care shown before a movie. But there it was; between the slides pitching Ray’s Ribs and all too obvious movie trivia, a nauseatingly blue screen promising perfect discretion to the office’s fanged clientele. A few years ago, this would have been more than cause for a double take, but now barely warrants a raised eyebrow.

It was, of course one of the more clever covert ads for the second season of HBO’s wildly popular True Blood. (The second season began on June 14.) The dental ad was only one of many witty placements the show has used in its promotions, with others including TV commercials for vampire dating services, vampire electric razors and preachy infomercials from the anti-vampire Fellowship of the Sun. As is the scenario within the fictional world of True Blood, in the past years, vampires have truly "come out of the coffin."

Speaking to my grandmother about the obsession today’s youth have with these fanged creatures, she expressed confusion, and even concern that with the tweeny-bopper Twilight series at such popularity, the line between good and evil was being continually blurred. Now, I have many gripes (as do others) with the Twilight series: endless adverbs, weak female characters and poorly written, for a start. But this was not one that had originally occurred to me. The American public has always clung to our dark anti-heroes; we’ve gone through obsessions with Italian mobsters, bankrobbers, and hitmen — so why is the new vampire obsession creating such a dividing line in our popular culture?

Possibly because; more than our love affairs with the dark and daring figures in the past, this movement speaks to a younger generation. (Though there are exceptions; I for one can attest that at the ripe age of 12 I was already reaching unhealthy levels of fascination with the gangsters of The Sopranos) The romantic and eternal adolescence can appeal to any kid with fears of what comes next, but who is too jaded to believe in the magic of a figure like Peter Pan. While the one-dimensional Twilight uses this enduring and dark love as its main appeal, the prevalence of this mythic monster figure is also giving rise to an ability to build upon the traditional mythology, and create something entirely new.

HBO’s True Blood doesn’t bother to catch up its audience with a primer on vampirism, but rather throws them into a society full of metaphor and depth. While the seemingly mandatory human/vamp/human love triangle does frequently take center stage, aspects of vampirism; the condition itself, the euphoria inducing qualities of the creatures’ blood on humans, and the bizarre and dangerous sexual practices of the vamps, all act as analogies for racism, drug addiction and carnal fetishes in Southern society.

So for all the griping that anti-fangophiles and Twi-hard haters commit, it is possible to look beyond a one or two misery inducing interpretations of this classic monster, with the hopes that its newfound prevalence will lead to more daring imaginings. Without the sulking Cullen Clan of Twilight, the empowering figure of True Blood’s Sookie Stackhouse may never have hit the small screen. And this vampire obsession doesn’t look to be headed away anytime soon. There are rumors of rebooting the Buffy series (please, God, no), and the next film adaption of Twilight already looks to make a fortune in box office receipts. So no matter your opinions on these nocturnal creatures of the night, it’s high time for you to retract your fangs and smile for the possibilities in their newfound resurgence.

(The promotional graphic is from HBO's True Blood. To see a trailer for the second season of the series, please check below.)












Add to Technorati Favorites

Digg!
 Subscribe in a reader

Read More......

6.21.2009

iVoryTowerz Radio Glows

There are many reasons the underground podcast is glowing these days. Impose your own rationale, but many of the clues are contained in this musical mix. Our suggestion is to cue this one up late at night: it travels from the dark edge to the glowing horizon of the coming sunrise. And if you like music programs with layers of mood and message, here's one for you. This program includes 45 years of sound, including soul, neo-soul, alternative, indie rock, classic rock, New Wave, punk, electronica, and even some comedy. There's plenty to enjoy, so please give it a listen.



(To stream or download this podcast, please click here.)


Playlist

"Wrong" by Depeche Mode
"In Your Room" by Depeche Mode
“Never Let Me Down Again" by The Smashing Pumpkins
"Lo Que Tu Digas" by Moenia
"Deeper and Deeper" by Dave Gahan
Rick's Metal Shoppe: “Back from the Dead” by Spinal Tap
"For What It's Worth" by Placebo
"I Got Your Number" by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Jeff’s New Wave: “Crawling from the Wreckage” by Dave Edmunds
Cover Me: "Lawyers, Guns and Money" by The Wallflowers
“We're Going to Hell... So Bring the Sunblock” by The Blackout
“Jailbreak” by Thin Lizzy
“Fire and Water” by Free
"15" by Rilo Kiley
"So Good" by Electrik Red
"Love Child
" by The Supremes

This program contains songs with explicit lyrics.

(Mp3 Runs - 1:16:02; 70 MB.)

(The photo of Aguilas, Spain at sunset is by Rietje Swart of Spain via Flickr, using a Creative Commons license.)


DISCLAIMER: The iVoryTowerz podcast is a non-commercial, non-profit program designed and used for educational purposes. Some of the material contained in this podcast is previously copyrighted but used with permission. Other copyrighted material is reused following fair use guidelines. Any copyright holders who do not wish to have their material used should contact the programmers directly at ivorytowerzradio@att.net and it will be removed. The programmers do not support filesharing and encourage listeners to buy music from the artists featured in this podcast.





Add to Technorati Favorites

Digg!

Subscribe in a reader
Subscribe to this podcast

Read More......

6.18.2009

Politics: Social Debate Gone Awry & the Results

by Kit-Bacon Gressitt

Summertime once meant slow, sultry days; the lazy drone of locusts, lulling us into a doze beneath weeping willows; finding faces in the clouds or taking lady bugs for walks from fingertip to fingertip; lolling and waiting… waiting for someone to spur the sweltering group to action.

And then the herd of kids would up and move — to the road’s edge to pop tar bubbles, coating toes and infuriating mothers at bath time. To the garden to make rose petal lipstick, blackberry war paint, and perform vignettes of classic tales. Under the fence to steal neglected rhubarb from the wild patch next door and run from the crotchety old lady who rightly treasured every wilting stalk and weed. To the rubbish heap to see who could pee the farthest, disregarding gender. Down by the train tracks to flatten pennies and marvel at the loss of Lincoln’s features. Over to the abandoned chicken coop to practice burping on demand and talk of things unspoken by parents.

Whatever we did, we did it together; it never occurred to us there was another way. Our parents had varied incomes and faiths, disparate origins and pursuits, but their distinctions were lost on us, the children of our block. We had a community of kindred souls, a cohesive force that wound us inextricably together in those days of one-car families and parents unconcerned about tossing their kids out into the world. We’d fend for each other and show up at one home or another only when hunger forced us. In those days, everyone could come out to play, and summer’s freedom was our endless stage, our indivisible barefoot pursuit, despite our differences. In those days, we could imagine no boundaries.

But today, as summer swiftly approaches, boundaries run rampant — and deadly in word and deed.

Anti-legal abortion fervor erupts in murder, as Scott P. Roeder crosses the threshold of Reformation Lutheran Church — crossing from advocating for life to destroying it — and shoots dead a physician who crossed picket lines to treat patients with disastrous pregnancies. And the cooks who help whip up that fervor, Randall Terry, Operation Rescue founder, and Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly among them, chalk up Dr. Tiller’s murder to his comeuppance for being what they call a “baby killer.”

G. Gordon Liddy, of Watergate fame, whose radio show is not extolled for its level-headedness, takes a header from the fringes into the absurdly vulgar, fretting about what might happen when President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor is menstruating. And it is not an ill-conceived joke.

James W. von Braun enters the Holocaust Museum — an institution dedicated to confronting hatred, preventing genocide, promoting human dignity and strengthening democracy — and draws a bloody line between free speech and murderous demonstration, leaving hateful destruction on both sides of his path, the indignity of a victim sprawled in death. And pundits argue whether blame falls to the left or the right.

The National Organization for Marriage, sponsor of the Gathering Storm ad, steps yet again from advocating against same-sex marriage to divisive propaganda: “Same-sex marriage isn't just about two people living as they please, but about whether a large majority of Americans are going to be marginalized as bigots by a group of elites determined to force their new vision of marriage on the entire nation.” And the fearful fail to ask what actual harm same-sex marriage will to do their heterosexual marriages, their children, their nation.

Today, it is not the hopping anticipation of barefoot pleasures that makes the days seem so long, but the disingenuous and deadly discourse of social debate gone awry, the replacement of news with uncivil commentary, the marketing of anger and derision as information.

But it seems a futile complaint, when audiences blindly accept the “either or,” the “us or them” as absolute; when people continue to watch and listen and absorb the fear and hate. How many reactionary murderers until they question; how many vulgar and dishonest statements until they refuse to listen?

Just what would it take for them to instead seek the satisfying smell of tar, the joyful tang of rhubarb, the forthright competition of unashamed peeing, the camaraderie of unbiased children, now bigger, but still in full knowledge of how to play well with others — despite their differences?

(Editor's Note: This piece is cross-posted from Kit-Bacon Gressitt's personal blog, Excuse Me, I'm Writing.)

(The photo of Bill O'Reilly is from an appearance he made at Ft. Drum, NY in 2006. The photo is a military photo taken by Sgt. 1st Class Vivienne Pacquette and is in the public domain. To see a commentary from Keith Olbermann about the responsibilities right-wing commentaries have for the climate of hate, please see below.)














Add to Technorati Favorites

Digg!
Subscribe in a reader

Read More......

6.17.2009

Baseball: The Nationals Need Stephen Strasburg

by Suzie Raven

The right-handed pitcher from San Diego State was an obvious choice for the Washington Nationals number one draft pick, as the team’s struggling pitching staff has dragged their relatively strong offense into the worst record in baseball. Since Strasburg is arguably the best pitching prospect in draft history, he can offer the team a rare shred of hope every fifth day.

The famously ruthless agent Scott Boras argues that Strasburg’s 102 mile per hour fastball and strong curve are worth every penny of the six-year $50 million contract he will try to get for Strasburg before the August 17th deadline. In 119 innings with San Diego, Strasburg had a 13-1 record, with a 1.22 ERA and 195 strikeouts.

Amazing statistics like those are worth the amazing contract that Boras seeks, but the Nationals are in no hurry to sign a record-setting contract.


"There's no one player or situation that changes the whole industry," Nationals President Stan Kasten said. “We do expect to draft the player we think is the best. We expect to sign him. We're going to be aggressive, but we'll be appropriate."

Kasten may be right that no one player should be expected to change the fate of the whole organization. They exercised this logic by failing to sign last year’s number one draft pick, Missouri pitcher Aaron Crow. Time will tell if that was a good decision or not, as Crow signed with the Kansas City Royals last week.

Strasburg’s talent has more potential to help the Nationals in the immediate future than anything else. The faster they sign him, the faster he can enter their rotation and start winning games for them. If they wait until August 17th, they will they have wasted two months of starts. They also would’ve foolishly allowed him to waste time that he could’ve spent working out with a major league team.

It’s time for the Nationals to make a solid investment in their own future. Strasburg is ready and more than able to become the ace for an organization that desperately needs pitching.

(To see a background piece about Strasburg from ESPN, please check below.)














Add to Technorati Favorites

Digg!
Subscribe in a reader

Read More......

6.16.2009

NBA Finals 2009: Kobe Wins His Fourth Ring

by Phil Kehres

I was wrong. I thought the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals would go six games. As it turns out, the Orlando Magic were playing even farther over their heads than I thought they were. Now that the NBA Finals are over and the Los Angeles Lakers have won their 15th NBA title, it’s time for me to get a few things off my chest.


First off, I’m glad the Magic lost. I’m a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, and a bitter one at that. As much as it makes me sick to my stomach to even tacitly root for a despicable team like the Lakers, I find a small amount of solace in watching the Magic crumble to a superior team — as they should have to the Cavs. Call it schadenfreude if you will, but the Finals proved that Orlando is a one-trick pony if you can manage to even slightly deter center Dwight Howard. The Magic live and die by the three-point shot. Against Cleveland, they lived; in the Finals, they died. Bottom line is that they shouldn’t have even gotten that far. If the Cavs had played up to even ¾ of their potential and somebody besides LeBron James had shown up, I have a feeling we’d still be watching the Finals. Better luck next year, Magic. They’ll need that luck, too, as they’re simply not talented enough to make it back to the Finals without a little, ahem, magic.

Secondly, now we can all look forward to a summer of the mainstream media slobbering at Kobe Bryant’s feet. (Such as his upcoming appearance on The Tonight Show on NBC on June 17.) He finally won his ring without Shaquille O’Neal. There’s no doubt in my mind that Kobe is a phenomenal player. Second-best on the planet, for sure. Championships, though, are a team effort. No matter how many times you will hear misguided fans cite Kobe’s four championships as a reason why he’s better than LeBron James, the simple truth is that, even in the NBA, one man alone cannot win a championship. Bryant had a tremendous supporting cast this year. LeBron had more help than he’s ever had before, but he still lacks a powerful number two like Kobe has in center Pau Gasol. LeBron will get his eventually but now, reluctantly, we have to give it up for Kobe and his teammates. As much as it pains me to say, I believe the best team in the NBA won the championship this year, and that’s as fair as it gets.

Lastly, I just want to say that the Finals came off as quite a disappointment compared to the rest of the playoffs. It looked like both teams were so tired that it was a battle of attrition. This stood in deep contrast to the heart-pounding action of the earlier rounds. All in all, however, it was a hell of a season.

So here’s to hoping the 2009-2010 season showcases as much fire and passion as we’ve seen this season. And for my sake, let’s hope LeBron can finally bring a championship to Cleveland before he has the chance to leave (he won’t, by the way, but this is definitely a topic for another time!).

(Phil Kehres also is the co-author of Excuse Me, Is This Your Blog? He also contributes to Fear the Sword, a blog about the Cleveland Cavaliers of the Sports Blog Nation.)

(To see highlights the NBA Finals, please check below.)


















Add to Technorati Favorites

Digg!
Subscribe in a reader

Read More......

6.13.2009

iVoryTowerz Radio Waits for Godot

Get ready because the underground podcast gets very deep and philosophical this week. Still affected by the recent deaths of Koko Taylor and David Carradine, this show was programmed with the concepts of death, spirituality, religion, and eternity lingering on the synapses. Our suggestion: cue this one up for some midnight listening. Don't worry, though the content packs a heavy mental punch, the eclectic mix is still here to lift your spirits. The music tracks more than 40 years of sound including soul, blues, Americana, New Wave, punk, metal, and progressive rock. The mix alone should give you something to think about. Just remember, you can still rock out while contemplating the larger concepts. Try it with us. Who says a rock show needs to be one dimensional and simplistic?



(To stream or download this podcast, please click here.)


Playlist

"The Four Horsemen" (altered) by Aphrodite's Child
Rick's Metal Shoppe: “Avenida Revolution” by Chickenfoot
"Windmilling" by fiREHOSE
“Infected" by Bad Religion
"East Bay Night" by Rancid
"No Allies" by Double Dagger
"Waiting Room" by Fugazi
Jeff’s New Wave: “Just What I Needed” by The Cars
Cover Me: "To Sir With Love" (live) by Soul Asylum
"Fourteen Rivers, Fourteen Floods" by Beck
“The Crooked Line” by Elvis Costello* with Emmylou Harris
“Beaumont” by Hayes Carll
“White Freightliner Blues” by Steve Earle
"You Ain't Worth a Good Woman" by Koko Taylor
"Another Man Done Gone" by Irma Thomas
"Drown in My Own Tears" by Aretha Franklin


*Too late for our studio deadline, Elvis' record company contacted us about a charity promotion where you can obtain a guitar signed by Elvis Costello. To read about the benefit for the City of Hope, please go here or go here to bid directly.

(Mp3 Runs - 1:19:36; 73 MB.)

(The photo collage is by alicepopkorn of Germany via Flickr, using a Creative Commons license.)


DISCLAIMER: The iVoryTowerz podcast is a non-commercial, non-profit program designed and used for educational purposes. Some of the material contained in this podcast is previously copyrighted but used with permission. Other copyrighted material is reused following fair use guidelines. Any copyright holders who do not wish to have their material used should contact the programmers directly at ivorytowerzradio@att.net and it will be removed. The programmers do not support filesharing and encourage listeners to buy music from the artists featured in this podcast.





Add to Technorati Favorites

Digg!

Subscribe in a reader
Subscribe to this podcast

Read More......

© iVoryTowerz 2006-2009

Blogger Templates by OurBlogTemplates.com 2008