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Ravi Shankar‪ – "Raga Ahir Bhairav"‬



RIP. It would be hard to overstate Ravi Shankar's influence on introducing world music… to the world. He was an excellent musician, a true master, and also a good composer. I'm fond of his work with Phillip Glass, he did the music for early films of the great Indian filmmaker, Satyajit Ray, and Beatles fans are well aware of Shankar's influence on George Harrison. Still, for all the fusion

How to Read for Writers, by Vonnegut




A new book is out of Kurt Vonnegut's letters, and Slate has been running some selections. His advice to a friend slotted to teach at the Iowa Writers' Workshop is interesting (and gossipy), but I really enjoyed his term paper assignment. Apparently, Vonnegut "wrote his course assignments in the form of letters, as a way of speaking personally to each member of the class."

November 30, 1965

Dave Brubeck Quartet – "Blue Rondo à la Turk"



RIP. I have several Brubeck albums, and the man had a great run, performing 'til he was 88. This tune is one of his most famous, and also one of his best.


Why We Can't Have Nice Things




Political battles do not occur in a vacuum, and the current scrum features several highly familiar elements. If you've been following the "austerity bomb" / "austerity crisis" news (better terms than "the fiscal cliff"), one of many striking features is the colossal bad faith of the Republicans. Steve Benen devised the nifty chart shown above breaking down how lopsided the current "deal" is.

The Post-Election "What Republicans Should Do" Rant

Post-election analyses about what the Republican Party should change have been pretty popular recently, and it's been fun to see sharp bloggers poke holes in the most blind, hubristic or otherwise ridiculous "advice." Personally, while I'm happy to work with decent people who self-identify as conservative or Republican, that type of person is faaaar from the norm in the conservative base or