Jamie York is a producer for On the Media.
OTM Staff Picks, Volume 31
Monday, October 29, 2012 - 02:45 PM
A few of our favorite things. Please, please leave us comments below and enjoy.
I love this animated short by Nina Paley, which shows a "brief" history of conflict in the area now known as Israel and the Palestinian Territories. The music, the animation, the tone...it is pretty much perfect:
My pick for these stormy days: Hochstadter's Slow and Low straight rye whiskey. It's infused with honey and citrus, but not sweet. Great for sipping. But put a shot in a hot cup of tea with a dollop of honey - and you have a cure for whatever ails you, and a deeper appreciation for everything good in your life.
Google "hurricane playlist," and you'll get approximately 30,000 Huffington Post articles about "Riders on the Storm" or whatever. Not my bag. If you want a real hurricane jam, you gotta get down with Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's "Rocketship." Cuz, you know, it has the word "hurricane" in it.
But if you want to get into some truly deep storm-related cuts, there is no better tune than The Jesters of Newport's classic "Stormy." This song is seriously nuts. Where else have you ever heard a song with the lyric "girl, you're mean to me, you make me cry a lot"?! It's a stone-cold classic. Pretty heavy riffing too.
Two picks: I don’t listen to Sun City Girls a ton but that doesn’t make my appreciation any less pure. Over 30 something years they were musical tricksters of the best kind.
They were also constant wanderers, physically and musically, and 20-odd years ago they started putting out something that feels decidedly pre-internet; a collection of recordings of music as it’s heard in most places in the world – recorded ‘in the field’, often as it played from a radio or a television set. These were lo-fi field recordings, snatches of broadcasts, heavy with a sense of place, that were hugely inspiring to me as a way to travel and listen and travel through listening.
And something I do still listen to with great regularity is Irma Thomas. The absolute perfect music for riding out a storm. For as long as the electricity stays on I’d advise you to turn up the Soul Queen of New Orleans.
It's hard to focus on anything but Hurricane Sandy today, so my staff pick is just a list of resources for following the storm / storm related info. The Times and the Wall Street Journal have both dropped their paywalls temporarily, which means you can read this really good "How worried should I be?" explainer from the WSJ here:
The Times has a live updating blog that's predictably smart and helpful:
And our home station WNYC is curating a Storify of people's tweets and photos about the storm:
Two Dutchmen, writer Arnold Van Bruggen and photographer Rob Hornstra, have been traveling the Caucasus for the past three years, interviewing everyone from cross-dressing nightclub singers to slum-dwellers in Chechnya. Their aim is to tell stories and let the world peek into this conflict-strafed mountain range before the mass media descend on Sochi in 2014 for the Winter Olympics. I went to Sochi earlier this year for PRI's The World, and I really appreciate the excellent and very challenging journalism these two are doing. Both topography and tension make the Caucasus difficult places to do journalism right. But every time Van Bruggen and Hornstra post a new photo to their Facebook page, they illuminate personal stories and larger issues in fascinating ways.
In August, Arnold wrote: "Taxi driver Wacha (20) and his neighbour Guram (36) have just driven us in an old Volga from Chermen to Beslan. Although both places are in North Ossetia, Chermen comprises mainly Islamic Ingush, while Beslan is almost exclusively made up of Christian Ossetians. The two have been at each other's throats for years. Wacha is the owner of the car and Ingush. Guram is the car mechanic and Ossetian. They are friends and have made a pact. If Wacha is asked to drive to Christian towns or villages, Guram will accompany him. If they are stopped, Guram will do the talking and Wacha will keep quiet. This is so that Wacha doesn't meet the same fate as numerous other Ingush men before him: disappearing without a trace."
The two journalists are supporting their work through donations, limited-edition books, and exhibitions. When the world wakes up in 2014 and wonders where the hell the Winter Olympics are taking place, I hope they'll turn first to the Sochi Project to get a real understanding of a really complicated part of the world.
I don't read genre novels as a rule, but I did run across one recently that amused me a great deal. The title is Bedfellows, and I would describe it as a witty, learned, inspirational, madcap romp filled with laughter and tears, sentiment and surprise. It is no exaggeration to say that this work of fiction changed my life. With all of my heart I urge you not only to read Bedfellows, but to make it a holiday gift for every single family member, colleague and Facebook friend. They will not regret your generosity. God knows I won't. The author is Bob Garfield.