05 November 2012

20 August 2012

Love Is All You Need

This photo shows John Unger cradling his 19-year-old dog Schoep in the waters of Lake Superior. Unger rescued Schoep when he was a puppy, and the two have been inseparable ever since. This is an achingly beautiful love story, related partly by John himself in this video. Don't miss it.

18 May 2012

Gentleman Cat

The great jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, heard on this YouTube video with longtime trio associates Ray Brown on bass and Ed Thigpen on drums, plays Duke Ellington's "C Jam Blues" during a 1964 performance in Denmark. If you know a better recording of this jazz standard, I want to hear about it.

20 April 2012

Unfriending Myself

Yes, it's true: I pulled the plug on my Facebook account a few months ago. I got tired of trying to decipher FB's privacy settings and concerned about various governmental inquiries into some of the company's practices. Frankly, it's a relief to be disconnected from social media's great "connector." One thing is clear: When you're on Facebook, you're not having a real connection with anyone. You're staring at a screen and typing. So, I'm choosing face time with actual friends, instead of screen time with Facebook "friends." In the magazine's May issue, The Atlantic has a long, well-wrtten, balanced article about Facebook titled "Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?" You can read the whole piece here.

16 February 2012

Waiting for Richard

I've been waiting a long time for someone to explain the factors that brought about the current prolonged financial crisis and what might be done to end it. Now comes Richard Wolff, professor of economics emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who really does explain it all to you in an interview published in The Sun magazine's February 2012 issue.

Wolff points to four developments in the 1970s that were catalysts for today's crisis: the increasing use of computers in the workplace, making it possible to accomplish more with fewer employees; employers' shifting of production to other countries, where companies could pay workers lower wages; women entering the work force in great numbers and not returning to traditional roles in the home; and the influx of Latin American immigrants in search of jobs and improved living conditions.

In the wake of these events, so many people were now competing for jobs in the US that employers "discovered it was no longer necessary to give raises to attract and keep employees," says Wolff, who goes on to describe the inevitable result: "Since the 1970s, American employers have enjoyed record profits. During that same 30 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington, DC, the wage earned by the majority of American workers hasn't changed. In real terms, adjusted for inflation, what a worker makes in 2011 is about what the same worker made in 1978."

The interview is full of great insights and well-documented facts and figures. Everyone who wonders what the Occupy Wall Street protesters are so upset about will find the answer in this interview.

13 February 2012

Robo Man

I came across the following comment by "New York Times" columnist Paul Krugman in his column today:

"Finally, there’s Mr. Romney, who will probably get the nomination despite his evident failure to make an emotional connection with, well, anyone."

Not even his dog.