Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sanity Sunday- Street Piano Medleys from AJ Hickling

by Nomad

For a lot of us, the last day of the year brings reflection before we march forward into the fog. For that reason, for this special Sanity Sunday, I searched for the appropriate kind of meditative music.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Annus Horribilis: A Look Back at 2017 Explains Why It Was Such a Rotten Year

  by Nomad

The Latin term, annus horribilis, translates to "horrible year" and it is hard to describe 2017 as anything but horrible. From political catastrophes to acts of violence to natural disasters, there wasn't too much cause for celebrate.
With a few hard-to-find exceptions the events of the year were, for the most part, just 365 days of awfulness. By the end of 2017, most of us seem shell-shocked and looking over this list, that's a natural reaction.
A year ago, we all thought it couldn't get much worse.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Saying Farewell to 26 Remarkable People that Passed on in 2017

by Nomad

As 2017 comes to a close, we should take one last parting glance at some of the famous (an infamous) characters who are no longer with us. Most of those on this list were not celebrated doctors, inventor or scientists. Nor were they statesman of great renowned.  Mostly just random celebrities who once occupied the spotlight of fame.

At 77, UK actor John Hurt succumbed to pancreatic cancer on 25 January. With a screen and stage career spanning more than 50 years, Hurt first became famous to American audiences for his jaw-dropping portrayal of the mad Roman emperor Caligula in the BBC series, I, Claudius.
He also played the flamboyant writer Quentin Crisp in The Naked Civil Servant, Winston Smith in the film "Nineteen-Eighty-Four" and John Merrick in "The Elephant Man." The list of film and stage credits is remarkable.
He once said:
I'd love to be one of those people who, whenever you see them, you feel pleased.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Sanity Sunday - Have Yourself a Jazzy Little Christmas with Max Abrams

by Nomad

Nashville-based saxophonist Max Abrams may not be a recoginizable name but he has worked with a variety of major label artists. His goal, at least according to a press release is "to restore the saxophone to its pre-Hendrix, post-smooth jazz position in the forefront of American musical consciousness."
Not sure if I'm qualified to explain what that really means. But I do know what I like.

In honor of the holidays, Abrams puts a jazz spin on familiar Christmas songs.So, without further ado, here are three Christmas albums to jazz up your holidays.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Nomad's Good News Round-Up for December 2017

by Nomad

Winter Scene

We have literally been bombarded by bad news for the past year. Well, not literally but it seems like it sometimes.
Sometimes it feels like things are just out of control and headed for some dark and vaguely-terrifying place. It's too easy to retreat and say "To hell with it."
Speaking from experience, I know there are moments when throwing yourself on the bed and cowering under the blanket seems like the only solution left. Surrender is, however, not an option for people who actually care about the future.
So I keep hoping.

Anyway, that's why I devote every month to boosting the morale of the community. Here's this month's installment.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sanity Sunday- The Enchanting Music of Anna Tivel

by Nomad

Anna Tivel is an American singer-songwriter based in Portland, Oregon. She creates lyric-driven folk/Americana songs. Her albums are entitled Heroes Waking Up, Before Machines, Brimstone Lullaby, Small Believer.
Let's start off with my personal favorite. I will leave the interpretation of the evocative video in your hands.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

What Happens When the Wisdom of the Crowd Becomes the Frenzy of a Mob

by Nomad

There was a plot twist when TV show's premise recently played out in real-time. It opened up the question: what are the actual effects when the wisdom of the people is put to the test? 

Wisdom of the Crowd

One of CBS' new TV shows for the fall season was called "Wisdom of the Crowd." Despite its high-tech twist, this crime-fighting drama is pretty standard fare. See if you agree. Here's the sales pitch:
Driven by a need to find his daughter's killer, Silicon Valley tech innovator Jeffrey Tanner takes crowdsourcing to a new level, creating a digital platform for people around the world to publicly share and evaluate evidence for criminal investigations. 
Thanks to smartphones and other connected gadgets, anybody can become a crime-fighting hero, a private detective on a stake-out or an amateur Sherlock Holmes or Jessica Fletcher. Criminals are stopped dead in their tracks, courtesy of millions of watchful eyes and pecking fingers.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

One Teacher's Courage vs Melania Trump's Empty Platitudes on Female Empowerment

by Nomad

The story of this Turkish elementary school teacher illustrates the difference between true courage and hollow speeches by posers.

You've probably never heard of the "International Women of Courage Award" (IWOC). For the last 10 years, the US State Department has presented this prize to women " who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk." 

The 2017 ceremony was hosted by Melania Trump on March 29 at the State Department in Washington.  This year thirteen women were awarded from Bangladesh to Botswana, from Peru to Papua New Guinea. A young woman from Turkey was also honored this year.
Check out the photos from this year's event.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sanity Sunday- The Music of Sleepy Holler

by Nomad

This week's Sanity Sunday is a bit of a mystery. There's really not much information available on this group. Sleepy Holler is the musical project of songwriters Matthew Evans and his pal J.T. Wilcox who live in Austin, TX and Washington, DC. That's about all I could find about either of them.

Despite this lack of background, the music speaks for itself. Tell me what you think of these three songs.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Person of the Year Hypocrisy: How has Trump Escaped the Sex Scandal Avalanche?

by Nomad

Trump and Sexual accusers

Since October, Americans have witnessed an unprecedented and- some think- disturbing- spectacle. Sexual accusations against some important names have been flying from all sides. From celebrities to business figures, from journalists to politicians from both sides of the political spectrum.
So far, however, one man has managed to escape scrutiny that's been a long time in coming - the President of the United States.

The Weinstein Rumblings

The conflagration all seemed to begin with the stomach-turning revelations of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein back in October. That's when the New York Times and the New Yorker published the statements of a large number of women claimed that they had been sexually harassed or assaulted by the 65-year-old Weinstein. It was a disgrace litany of predatory behavior.

Initially, Weinstein went into denial mode with lawyerly threats to sue the news outlets. However, the accusations - lurid tales of forced massages and promises to advance careers in return for sexual "favors"- were both detailed and damning.

It seems like it was an open secret in Hollywood. Literally, hundreds of people must have known about the Weinstein problem and for decades, nothing was done about it.

In his own forced mea culpa, director Quentin Tarantino told reporters:
"I knew enough to do more than I did."
The fact that nobody wanted to speak out had as much to do with the privilege of power as the social dynamic of male-female relations. Weinstein could make things very difficult for an ambitious filmmaker or actor.
For that reason, nobody wanted to cross this very powerful Hollywood player. And so, if the stories are true, Weinstein carried on for years. Or should I say, he was permitted to carry on for years. 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Incapacitated President and the Fatally-Flawed 25th Amendment

by Nomad

A Question of Stability and Security

Before Trump became president, there were plenty of people- smart people- who were questioning his mental stability. All through his business career, Trump was always quirky, spreading nonsensical conspiracy theories to outlandish and bizarre claims. That was fine and it seems all he really wanted was to call attention to himself.
All that changed when he somehow wound up as president of the United States. It is no laughing matter.

Tony Schwartz, Trump's ghostwriter and a man who worked closely with the man, labeled the 45th American president a “sociopath.”
I think that now he has moved to a darker place. He was non-ideological when I knew him.. I think he’s drifted into that more for emotional and psychological reasons than for political and ideological reasons.
New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman said on CNN last week:
"Something is unleashed with him lately. I don't know what is causing it, I don't know how to describe it."
Throughout this past summer, there were consistent reports leaking from the White House of Trump's erratic behavior. Those close to the president have in October spoke privately Trump, they say was “unstable,” “losing a step,” and “unraveling.”
Professionals too weighed in.

A group of 27 psychiatrists and mental health experts recently warned that “anyone as mentally unstable as this man should not be entrusted with the life-and-death-powers of the presidency.” 
With denials of things he has already apologized for and with his excuses becoming more and more absurd, those drumbeats are growing stronger and stronger. Is the president insane and if he is, what are the steps to removing him from office?    

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sanity Sunday- Two Albums by Prosad

by Nomad

Prosad Freeman is a singer-songwriter, producer and a musician. I do mean a musician. He plays the sitar, guitar, saxophone, didgeridoo, bansuri, (flute found in many parts of India and Nepal) m’bira, (an African musical instrument) percussion, vocals and more.
His music ranges from a fusion of world instruments with reggae and trance beats, to acoustic meditation music.

Prosad is a nomadic performer and has performed across Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. His music transmits a positive vibration and spiritual energy. And you know what, that's exactly what we need at the moment.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Film Friday: The Brutally-Honest Animation of Steve Cutts

by Nomad

Artwork by Steve Cutts

It's time for Film Friday.

UK based animator/artist Steve Cutts is not what anybody would call an optimist. It has been said that his works are "nuggets of bitter truth sweetened with grotesque humor."

Black humor and satire are used to convey his opinions on fundamental aspects of modern society. Where's humanity heading? Where is the happiness we all seem to be desperate to find? What is the meaning of progress? Some big ideas for cartoons.
The aim of my work is to get people thinking more about these aspects. I see a lot of insanity in the way we live, and to progress, I think, we need to become more aware and look at the options we have more clearly.