Happy Music. One of our excursions during the break was a couple of days at the California Worldfest music festival at the Grass Valley fairgrounds. We went up to see one of our favorite bands, the pioneering UK-African fusion group Baka Beyond. We greatly enjoyed their two sets, which concentrated on their more danceable numbers. We also try to pick up on at least one new artist each time we go to such an event. This time it was the Masanga Marimba Ensemble. This is an LA-based group headed by a CSU-Northridge world music prof and staffed largely with ex-students, playing Zimbabwean marimbas with a mix of traditional tunes and unique covers. A set of videos of a club gig can be found here. You can't listen to this music and stay in a crabby mood. Also shout-outs to Haitian artist Emeline Michel and the Bay Area based Euro-goulash Fishtank Ensemble. Also happy music.
In praise of the 5th Amendment. Don't talk to the police. This links to a tremendously effective lecture by law professor James Duane. It's well worth it for the substance, but it's also a good exhibition of the use of the medium to inform and amuse at the same time. (Hat tip: Maggie's Farm.) There's a follow-up piece from a police investigator as well.
What have capitalists learned? While Fukuyama got it glaringly wrong that the collapse of socialism would lead to the end of civilization level conflicts, you'd think there ought to be some takeaway lessons from that, and the rise of the global economy. Guy Sorman has a useful summary of what economists have learned that should be a basic grounding for economic and policy discourse going forward. I'd have made the final point stronger, but that's a quibble. RTWT.
Making light of the anointed one. There have been a lot of cracks about the 'Obamessiah' in the rightosphere, but it takes the Brits to really do the job right. Gerard Baker of the London Times comes up with a tone-perfect parody. I'm not sure which came first, but there's also a YouTube of Baker reading his piece - equally droll. More substantively, the Iraqis apparently just waited until he was out of town before back-channeling their lack of faith to their friends in the media.
Got any old Pokemon toys around the house? Here are some seriously strange things to do with them. It's art, not technology, 'kay?