Saturday, December 26, 2009

Kansas Citizens for Science celebrates 10th anniversary

From KCFS President, Harry McDonald

Unbelievably, Kansas Citizens For Science just celebrated the 10th anniversary of our founding. We remain at the forefront of the struggle to promote science and good science education.

Looking ahead to 2010, we will find ourselves once again facing the prospect of losing control of the State Board of Education. Five of the 10 BOE seats are up for grabs in the elections. With numerous state races garnering most of the attention, KCFS will need to work all that much harder to ensure that science and science education are on voters' minds and that voters know where the candidates stand on science-related issues.

Now, the following will catch you up on what we've been doing the past year:

At our annual meeting in November, we elected the following officers, Harry McDonald - President, Cheryl Shepherd-Adams - Vice-President, Keith Miller - Treasurer, and Charlotte McDonald - Secretary. In addition, we welcomed Gene Garman as a new board member.

• Individual board members accepted invitations to speak at a number of events locally, across the state and nationally.

• KCFS retained its presence at KATS Kamp, the state science teachers' convention.

• KCFS continued its support of the Hays Science Cafe’ and organized a new Science Cafe’ which will begin in Johnson County in January.

• We adopted priorities to increase activities in non-science standards issues and function as a science resource; continue outreach to teachers; emphasize the teaching of established science in all our activities; and to emphasize the Year of Science 2009 in all our activities.

• Our President registered as a lobbyist for Kansas.

• We created several new flyers.

• Members monitored state board and state legislature activities that could affect science education, both in Kansas and across the nation.

• We continued to network with like-minded organizations across the country.

• KCFS co-sponsored science-related events in communities across the state, including several celebrating the Year of Science.

As always, our greatest influence came as the result of individual efforts of members acting in behalf of our shared values.

The KCFS website has been static recently, but the new year brings hope for change. A friend of KCFS has volunteered to clean up the site and keep postings up-to-date. The plan is for you to be able to go to our website,, and find out the latest news and happenings.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Jack Baurer interrogates Santa

Monday, December 14, 2009

Jazz Christmas CDs

Russell Fox has posted his list of essential Christmas CDs and issued a challenge for others to share their lists.

Though I like diversity in my Christmas music, I've decided to restrict this to jazz CDs and only those by a single artist. There are some great compilations done by labels, but there is a special challenge in putting together an entire album of Christmas music. ( On another day, I might classify the great Christmas albums by Bela Fleck and Brian Setzer as jazz, but the narrow definition gives me a post for holiday season 2010.)

Wynton Marsalis Crescent City Christmas. This is a classic. On LP, there is a secular side and a religious side. That's lost on CD. Wynton does some great playing and the ensemble and arrangements swing. His 2009 Christmas Jazz Jam is something I'd like to hear, but it's available only at Target and iTunes.)

Joe Pass Six String Santa Joe's late 1990s working quartet, plus a few solo pieces. Enjoyable anytime of the year.

Kenn Burrell, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Burrell was the definition of a soulful guitarist. Nice horn arrangements, but KB is the star. Originally released in 1966 for Cadet, the jazz imprint of Chess.

Jimmy Smith Christmas '64 It is only a slight exaggeration to claim that Jimmy Smith invented the Hammond B-3 organ. There's a version entitled Christmas Cooking that has two extra cuts. One highlight is "Baby, It's Cold Outside" with Wes Montgomery.

Gerry Beaudoin A Sentimental Christmas

Tuck Andress, Hymns, Carols, and Songs About Christmas

Ella Fitzgerald Wishes You A Swingin' Christmas

Etta James Twelve Songs of Christmas

Eric Reed Merry Magic

Chet Baker, Silent Nights

An Oscar Peterson Christmas 

Al Grey, Christmas Stockin' Stuffer Jazz trombonist set features two humurous tunes with vocalist Jon Hendricks.

Dianna Krall, Christmas Songs

Carla Bley Carla's Christmas Carols. new in 2009. really exquisite arrangements for a small group. says

This may be the Christmas recording of 2009. Bley's arrangements are both elegant and sometimes quirky, but always engaging and fun, and show a complete love of the original material. ...While the argument that there should be a moratorium on Christmas recordings is a good one in the 21st century, Carla's Christmas Carols provides a powerful counter to that view. She has added so much to these songs without taking away any of the warmth, joy, and nostalgia inherent to the season or their place in it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tiger's face in the crowd

Tiger Woods has announced his indefinite withdrawal from the golf circuit in order to repair his family life.

I am not sure that Tiger will ever return to golf or his championship form. One thing for certain, though I could be wrong, he will never be "Tiger" again. Tiger was not just the greatest golfer ever, he was a "brand." Like Faust and Dorian Gray, Tiger made a deal and now he is paying the price.

His downfall reminds me of A Face in the Crowd where the character played by Andy Griffith rises from the ranks of country music to TV star and political demagogue (a premature Teabagger) only to be undone when his true feeling are revealed.

Here's the end of the movie from Wikipedia

Rhodes is shown smiling and waving to the camera while in the control room, Jeffries and the technical staff hear him mock his viewers as "idiots", "morons" and "guinea pigs". Aware she helped create the monster, Jeffries pushes switches that throw Rhodes's comments on the air. Furious fans call the network. In a symbolic moment, an unaware Rhodes's popularity is shown plummeting as he rides an elevator going down.

The story ends with a meltdown at Rhodes's penthouse apartment, as Jeffries admits she betrayed him and Matthau predicts his future: that Rhodes is finished as a top-flight entertainer, though he may still salvage some of his career, it will never be the same. An uncredited Rip Torn is shown as "Barry Mills", the next Lonesome Rhodes waiting in the wings until the tutilage of Rhodes' agent. Rhodes ends up threatening to kill himself and pleading for Jeffries to come back, but the spell is broken as she and Mel drive off into the night.

Coming, Tiger's tawdry behavior has foreover tarnished his "brand," but there there are cotnradtictions in the brand that should have made us pause long ago.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Climate Change--those hacked e-mails

The right-wing nuts think they've discovered a vast conspiracy, but here's a video that puts things in perspective.

Check out more videos here.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Intellecutals and others I confuse

Here's a confession. I have sometimes mixed up or confused or conflated some prominent intellectuals and musicians. (I'm not including aural confusion of Tom Petty and Bob Dylan or Madeleine Peryoux and Billy Holliday.)

In retrospect it is easy to understand or excuse, I read a reference to someone and it sticks vaguely in my mind, then I read about someone with a similar name in a similar field an make an association.

I'm going to pretend that my confusions are the mark of a curious mind.

Anthony Crosland and Richard Crossman--two prominent intellectuals in the British Labour Party in the 1950s and the 1960s

Isaiah Berlin and Ira Berlin-- two prominent historians who wrote about issues of freedom and politics, but the first is British from the 1950s and Ira is an American and they are a generation (at least) distinct.

Elia Kazan and Alfred Kazin. Film maker and literary critic.

Bruce Cockburn and Bruce Hornsby-- North American rock musicians who incorporate jazz and folk touches and who have achieved somewhat more than a cult following but less than superstardom. I've never confused either with Bruce Springsteen, though.

Murray Bookchin and Murrray Rothbard--libertarian/anarchist theorists. They are from the social and individualist trends of the movement. Rothbard, in fact, seems to have been a particularly nasty political strategist, advocating and implementing an alliance of libertariansim with racist grievances. (See this article from the liberatarian Reason magazine)

Daniel Bell and Daniel A. Bell
sociologist and political scientist who have both written for Dissent.

Thomas Frank and T. A. Frank After What's the Matter with Kansas, some of the later's articles were by-line Thomas A. Frank, if I recall correctly.

Max Gordon and Max Gordon--founder of the Village Vanguard and one-time editor of the Daily Worker who broke with the CP after Khrushchev's Secret Speech.

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