Ken's Brain Drain
Monday, June 28, 2004
Enjoyable weekend. First, went to see the flick Fahrenheit 9/11 on opening night (see previous post). Went to Rose garden at Elizabeth park and took some good pics. Best of all, CL (with a little of my influence) bought herself a new blue iPod mini! Nothing like bringing home a spankin' new Apple gizmo. This baby rocks! An absolutly gorgeous piece of engineering. We are now a 2 iPod family. Also, bought tix for Summerwind Jazz series (Gary Burton, Count Basie, Wynton Marsalis) to keep us swingin' through the summer.
Sunday, June 27, 2004
  Fahrenheit 9/11
This is a must see movie. The latest Documentary from filmmaker Michael Moore, Fahrenheit 9/11 is a powerful anti-war movie and an indictment of the Bush presidency. Unfortunately, I am afraid that in most cases the theater will be filled with those that have similar anti-war anti-bush tendencies, so he will be preaching to the choir.

The film does a great job of showing Bush's close family ties with the Saudi's, and how the US government went to great lengths to protect the Saudi Royal family and even the Bin Laden family after the 9/11 disaster. It also shows how Bush, Cheeny and their cronies have a lot to gain ($$$) from this war.

Perhaps the most powerful images are those of the Iraq war. There is nothing quite like seeing bodies blown to pieces, innocent families searching through the rubble of thier destroyed homes looking for loved ones, and soldiers with their limbs amputed, to make you see the horror and recklessness of what we have gotten into. The movie follows a woman who is a flag-waving American and mother of veterans of the first Iraq war. At first she encourages her son to join the army, and then after her son's death is transformed into one that sees the utter uselessness of this war and becomes a strong critic of George W. Bush. She reads her son's last letter, where her son expresses what most soldiers must feel. In his letter, he states; Why are we here? The Iraqi people hate us and don't want us here. Rumsfeld should resign for the terrible job he has done. I don't think anyone could listen to this letter from this now dead soldier, and believe that this is where our young men and women should be dying and being wounded.

Of course Moore partakes of his usual shenanigans of making our revered leaders from the President to the Congress look laughable... but this is no laughing matter to be sure, and Michael Moore rightly gives the levity a back seat to the seriousness of his message. A great documentary.
Friday, June 18, 2004
  Radio for the People
My newest obsession... Radio for the people, 91.7 WHUS Storrs CT. I've jumped in headfirst after being turned on to it by my son. If I can get through the 6 weeks of classes and lab requirements and cut a demo tape, I will get my own radio show. Besides all the cool geeky stuff with the control boards and all the technology involved in radio broadcast, the socio-political aspect of college radio is just as fascinating.

Only 1/5 (87-92mHz) of the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum known as FM radio is designated as Non-Commercial radio. All points to the right of that frequency, 80% of the FM band, has become a vast wastland of broadcast air. In this day of mass media marketing, commercial radio is no more than a conduit for pushing products to the 18-24 year old demographic. What is worse, is that all the radio stations are owned by the same 5 or 6 media conglomerates that control the music, news and commentary. So, every station basically plays the same music, sells the same products and controls your entertainment choices and BTW will dare not use the airwaves to present alternative viewpoints that may offend its advertisers or the political-economic system in general.

Then there is non-commercial radio. An alternative voice. The left side of the dial is an oasis of free speech, alternative news and music of every variety and taste. If I make it through the program, and get my own show of Jazz, Fusion, Electronic and beyond, it will be an honor and a priviledge to serve the listening audience (what little of it there may be!). It will also be a lot of fun, access to tons of music, and an association with many cool folks that are dedicated to Radio For The People. thanks Dave!
Friday, June 11, 2004
  Farewell to Ray Charles
Yesterday Ray Charles passed away at age 73. A great musical artist and a legend. His impact on American Music cannot be overstated. His voice and intonation makes his music immediatly recognizable. I first remember hearing Ray Charles from my father playing 'Georgia' on his reel to reel. Then of course the hit 'What'd I Say' that I remember spinning on a 45 rpm record till I wore out the grooves. See da girl wit the red dress on... man, great stuff. I had the pleasure of seeing Ray Charles perform live, probably in the late '80s. I remember the concert well. It was the first time I heard a performer with a 12 or 15 piece band, and the Rayettes. It rocked! If Aretha is the queen of R&B, surely Ray Charles is the King! He also had an incredible range of material. R&B, Soul, Jazz, Blues... even country.

Looks like this is the official Ray Charles web site. Don't think it has been kept up to date, but check out the Autobiography and 'Ray Reflects' links. Good reading.

If you don't mind... I'll honor the memory of Ray Charles rather than the other passing (RR) that's been on the front pages all week.
Thoughts that flow through an ethernet cable connecting my brain to the World Wide Web.

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Name: Ken Laster
Location: Connecticut, United States

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