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Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 223 – Tesla Batteries and The Anthem for Saving the Planet

Saturday, March 21, 2015 8:17 pm 1 comment
"Imagine all the people living life in peace."

“Imagine all the people living life in peace.”  Photo taken Sunday September 21 2014.

On Sunday September 21 2014, Special K and I attended the first international People’s Climate March. It was an event held around the world with a special focus on New York City two days before the U.N. Climate Summit was set to begin. It was organized by 350.org an environmental group founded by writer and activist Bill McKibben. 350 represents the parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that scientists say we need to stay at to keep further climate change at bay. Earlier last year there was a point where the parts per million of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere was recorded at 400ppm.

Wikipedia records an estimate of 311,000 people attended the People’s Climate March.    There were numerous staging areas for different groups that started at Central Park West at 59th street and went as far as 86th street.   Special K and I ended up joining the designated area for the generational groups at around 66th street. Among the participants we marched with were families, the elderly, and students.  It was intended to be a peaceful march and it was.   I interviewed several people: One of the peacekeeper volunteers, some students, a carpenter, an urban planner and a TV film editor. Join Special K and I as we take you through the march on that humid cloudy day. Enjoy the show.

Listen up  (36m45s) :

Other things discussed:

Hegemony – “…is the political, economic, or military predominance or control of one state over others.”

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

Tesla Battery – “…shouldn’t the government legislate its use?” – Liam

Deliverance / Dueling Banjos

Imagine by John Lennon

Casa Loma

Jane’s Walk

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Taken Sunday September 21 2014

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Photo taken Sunday September 21 2014

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 222 – Photos of HAL. Not Permitted.

Saturday, January 3, 2015 11:30 am 2 comments
Star Child (Taken at the Kubrick Retrospective at TIFF Lightbox November 2014)

Star Child (Taken at the Kubrick Retrospective at TIFF Lightbox November 2014)

I am not an expert on these matters.   I merely know what I like and what I don’t like.   And though there were movies of his that I absolutely did not like, I cannot ignore the profound impact his movies have had on me.   I don’t know anyone who will deny, if they have seen the movie, that when they hear Also Sprach Zarathrustra or The Blue Danube they can think only of 2001 – A Space Odyssey.   There are those of us who saw A Clockwork Orange who will never be able to see it again because of its assault on our morality, senses, and emotions.   I have a friend who can’t listen to Beethoven’s 9th, Ode to Joy, or the William Tell Overture anymore after seeing the movie without seeing the most vicious and disturbing scenes in her mind’s eye. We don’t understand what some of these movies were about but we simply cannot forget them. He arguably redefined the relationship of music to American film, camera work with American film, and even redefined how to tell a tale.   He turned the ghost story on its head with The Shining and confused us about war and violence with Full Metal Jacket. I am speaking of course about Stanley Kubrick, one of the greatest American filmmakers of all time. He made only sixteen movies in forty-eight years, three of which were documentary shorts made very early in his career. Fans waited eagerly for years between movies. Disappointed or not by what I saw, I know that there was great depth and thought into every inch of film he shot. There is so much to say about him as a filmmaker, that I could probably research the subject for years and still not understand his films or his process.   But I cannot stop being compelled and drawn to his work.   In November 2014, the Toronto International Film Festival, mounted a retrospective of his work at the TIFF Lightbox location in Toronto. I eagerly attended and was surprised by the mashup curation of the main exhibit.   I got a new perspective on the man and his movies and learned about some I had yet to see.   My show today is separated into two parts. The first takes place in the main exhibit. I sometimes compete with the cacophony of music that surrounds me, and try to provide a sense of how the exhibit takes you through his body of work.   The second takes place in a quieter section of the exhibit where various people share their opinion on select works by this master.

The Twins Costume from The Shining (Taken at TIFF Lightbox - Kubrick Retrospective)

The Twins Costume from The Shining (Taken at TIFF Lightbox – Kubrick Retrospective)

Listen here (53m24s) :

Download HotFRM222

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The subtlely distrubing statements on war and violence in Full Metal Jacket (taken at TIFF Kubrick Retrospective Nov 2014)

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 221 – We’re Tall and We Play Music

Thursday, June 12, 2014 12:35 pm 3 comments

 

Matthew (frolick.ca) straps up.

Matthew (frolick.ca) straps in.

This week I caught up with a Brazilian drumming troupe practicing in the park for their summer season.   They call themselves MaracaTall. This is a play on the word maractu, a type of drumming, song and performance genre popular in Brazil. The twist on this Toronto troupe is that they perform on stilts. Their next gig is in Toronto at Harbourfront Centre near the Redpath stage 1:30pm on Canada Day Tuesday July 1 2014.

Listen here for my conversation with several members of the troupe:

Or Download HotFRM 221 (60Mb 31m:37s)

Here are some links to find out more:

http://www.maracatall.com/  – more pictures here

https://halacircusarts.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/maracatall/ – Hala’s site

http://www.frolick.ca/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJseNr10_ck- practice preview video

 

 

Hala warms up (halacircusarts.wordpress.com)

Hala warms up (halacircusarts.wordpress.com)

 

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 220 – In Memory of Special Delivery Mark (Mark Peacock 1966-2014)

Saturday, June 7, 2014 8:30 pm 2 comments

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I was very saddened to hear about Mark Peacock’s passing. He was known in the podcasting world as Special Delivery Mark.   He was someone I met early in podcasting and up until a few years ago, enjoyed lively and interesting dialogues with him across the internet.   He was a troubled but very sweet soul. I know he struggled with his diabetes and drinking. I received more than one drunken, oftentimes incomprehensible, chat, text, or email in wee hours of the morning from him. I missed him over the last few years – but he wasn’t interacting much on social media anymore and I stopped receiving emails from him.   I hoped he was ok, but didn’t really have another way of getting in touch with him. I know other acquaintances of his had the same challenges.   He passed away on April 30, 2014 at the age of 48. Here are excerpts from his obituary courtesy of Matt Burlingame :

“Mark Frederick Peacock, 48, was a 36-year resident of Sonora California. He was born Jan. 18, 1966 in Walnut Creek, Calif. He died April 30, 2014 in Unit 7 of Sonora Regional Medical Center after fighting a long battle with complications of diabetes and liver failure. He worked for Sonora Community Hospital while in high school; IT Recycling, Sonora Florist and again at Sonora Regional Medical Center. He is survived by his mother, sister, brother, half-brother and many others.  Mark volunteered at Interfaith Community Social Services, Community Christmas Eve Day Dinner, Tuolumne County Humane Society, Old Mill Run, Red Cross and numerous community events in the Sacramento area.  He enjoyed fishing, camping, geocaching, being with family and friends, taking in lost or abandoned cats, photography and astronomy, kite flying and attending Sci-Fi events.  When Mark was in Sonora High School (graduate of 1984), he saved his money to purchase a computer. He then taught many teachers how to use computers in the classroom.   Mark is best known for his politeness and kindness to others, his love of adventure, stretching his mind and the ability to laugh at his own flaws.  He has been an integral part of his family, supportive and reliable friend, a coach in geocaching and computers, and a haven for abandoned cats.”

I also know he loved electronic music and did some composing of his own. In honour of his memory, here is some of his original music he sent to me with his own commentary on it.

Rest in Peace Mark.

YubaRiver_Me

Listen Here:

Download HotFRM 220 (19Mb 9m2s)

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 219 – Artists Interpret Climate Change

Sunday, February 9, 2014 9:34 pm 2 comments
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Still from “Beekeeping for All” by Myfanwy MacLeod and Janna Levitt at the Royal Ontario Museum January 26 2014

On January 26, Special K and I were scheduled to participate in an event at the Royal Ontario Museum called Carbon 14 – A Day of Dialogue – The Changing Arctic Landscape.  The Arctic government and policy makers are very concerned about the changes they anticpate in the arctic latitudes and have seen over the last several generations.  As a prelude to this, I visited the exhibit Climate is Culture at the museum where I viewed installations inspired by climate change.  My podcast today is a soundscape of my visit to that exhibit.

0-1:09 – Intro

1:09-5:01 –  What is the Polar Vortex?  Andrew Freedman on PBS Newshour from Climate Central

5:01 – 23:54 – Soundscene at the Climate is Culture exhibit

23:54 – 29:30 – Heidi Cullen’s Senate Testimony on Climate Science

29:30 – 31:32 – Outro

Download at:  Hotfrm 219 (59 mb 31:32)

Listen here directly:

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Still from “Beekeeping for All” by Myfanwy MacLeod and Janna Levitt at the Royal Ontario Museum January 26 2014

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 218 – The Warship that Wasn’t

Monday, November 4, 2013 7:32 pm 1 comment

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I’ve been away now for quite a few months, and I am sorry for that.  Life has been busy.  But today I am back with some more soundscene audio, this time from our travels in Scandinavia last spring.

As Molly Oldfield says in her new book The Secret Museum, “As a work of art, it is a masterpiece, but as a warship it was a disaster.  You can see the entire distance it ever sailed from the roof of the museum.”

She is talking about the 17th century Swedish warship, the Vasa.  In 1628 it sank  just 1300 meters into it’s maiden voyage.    The king at the time, Gustavus Adolphus, effectively overrode his designers, engineers and expert shipbuilders to have them construct a battleship that was dangerously unseaworthy.   The cannons put in the gun ports may have been too heavy than was usual for that type of ship.  The ship was ultimately weighted with insufficient ballast.  Ballast is used to ensure that a ship can stay steady, counteract the wind and momentum of the ship and otherwise keep it upright.  Sometimes ballast can be the weight of the crew and passengers. Sometimes it is objects. Sometimes it is a characteristic of the way a ship is constructed.   In the case of the Vasa, it was built top heavy with no counteracting design.  Or perhaps the boat was simply too big to support the king’s intent against the Polish that his men were sailing to fight.   With all this, it is a magnificent construction.  Here’s  Vasa by the numbers:  It is estimated to be about 69 metres long.   That’s 226 feet or 75 yards.  The width of the ship is 11.7 metres or 38 feet.   The height is roughly 52.5 metres or 57 yards.  It originally had ten sails of which six, in various states of disrepair, survive.   It held 64 bronze cannon.   Well over 26,000 artifacts of all kinds were also found.   It is adorned with over 500 sculptures, designs and enormously detailed reliefs that must have been spectacular in their original colors.   Those colors have been washed away by centuries in the clay bottom and currents of the harbour waters.

The technology that made it possible for the Vasa to be raised did not exist until the 20th century.   It was confirmed to be 32 meters down in August 1956.    In the words published on the Vasa Museum website, we know that:

“The [Swedish] navy’s heavy divers were able to cut six tunnels through the clay under the ship with special water jets. Steel cables were drawn through the tunnels and taken to two lifting pontoons on the surface, which would pull the ship free of the harbour bottom’s grip. In August 1959, it was time for the first lift. There was great uncertainty – would the old wooden ship hold together?  Yes! Vasa held. She was lifted in 18 stages to shallower water, where she could be patched and reinforced in preparation for the final lift, to the surface…At 9:03 AM on the 24th of April, 1961, Vasa returned to the surface.”

In order to preserve the wood, the Vasa was sprayed with polyethylene glycol, a chemical compound that replaces the water in the wood.  This was to prevent shrinkage and cracking.   This process took an astounding 17 years.  The ship had to be kept purposely wet in order that it not dry out and crack.   More than 90% of the ship was recovered intact.

Archaeologists think that 150 people were on board, mostly mariners, and no soldiers, (300 were to board the ship eventually).   When the ship sank, about 30 died.   The skeletons of about 16 persons were found in and around the ship.   The skeleton exhibit seemed to be the busiest with dozens of children gathered around the glass cases containing them.  The museum curators have given names to the skeletons, tried to reconstruct what they may have looked like, and created stories about what their lives may have been like aboard the boat and off.

Now that you have the background, sit back and enjoy this soundscene of our visit to this amazing one of a kind museum:

Download instead HotFRM 218 (36mb 18m47s)

Hot Fossils and Rebel Matters 217 – Tales from the 1960’s and Back

Sunday, June 23, 2013 4:00 pm Leave a comment

Peril Cover

“Why can’t we just do everything we can while we’re here for one another?” – Pearl Goodman, 2013

On today’s show I interview Pearl Goodman who has written Peril: From Jack Boots to Jack Benny.  In 300 pages, Pearl gives us portraits and vignettes of what it was like growing up in the nineteen-sixties and seventies.   This was a time when many holocaust survivors had ended up in cities like Toronto putting geographical if not psychic distance between them and the horrors of World War II.  Everything about her childhood is coated, clouded and influenced by her parents’ experience during the war and after.

Her parents were survivors of the Nazi’s attempt to exterminate the European Jews.  The remainder of their lives was infused with this terrible knowledge, the death, the suffering of entire family members, friends, neighbors and many others left behind.    As we roll ever closer to the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the numbers of survivors who can still remember and tell us anything of those times are dwindling to a precious few.   All the stories we can find, first-hand, must be sought out, recorded and shared.  And those who can relay much of those untold stories and insights, as the survivors of World War II pass on,  do so as translators, interpreters and paraphrasers of the original tellings.   Ms. Goodman and other children of survivors must speak for them because they no longer can.

It is said often that we are doomed to repeat history if we do not learn from it.    Indeed, genocide has been attempted and succeeded many times to greater and lesser degrees before that war and after.    And Jews throughout history have been no stranger to attempts to being eradicated and removed from everywhere we have ever called home.   We see the story of the holocaust repeated over and over again in small and big ways in the modern era in such places as:  Cambodia, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, The Congo, and Pakistan.

In that sense, Ms. Goodman is not just telling her parents story and her own, but the story of all survivors and immigrants trying to overcome the persecution and oppression of their birth country.  Join me in my conversation with the author, on a pleasant spring evening in a local restaurant on the very street that Pearl grew up on.

Listen up:

Or download media:  Hotfrm 217 (33mb 36mins)

Links:

http://www.bridgeross.com/peril.html

http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/peril-from-jackboots-to-jack/9780987824462-item.html

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/peril-pearl-goodman/1113066890?ean=9780987824462