Friday, July 29, 2011

Summer Essentials: August Edition

by Maddi Frick

Wasn't I just writing the July edition yesterday? 

Pepper Rabbit - Red Velvet Snowball
The duo (who's names are Xander and Luc) Pepper Rabbit will release their second album on August 9th.  They've toured with Freelance Whales and Passion Pit.

Luke Temple - Don't Act Like You Don't Care
Out of Brooklyn, New York, Luke Temple's music is sure to calm you down on a harried August day.  Releasing August 16th.

Beirut - The Rip Tide
Releasing August 30th, the New Mexico band Beirut will bring more of its fusion of Balkan folk with Western pop to the world.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Culturology 7-28: Opera and rodeo

by Tyler Tyler
The Loon Opera Company is out to prove that opera is not stuffy, but fresh and exciting.  Their production of "The Marriage of Figaro" is on stage in Bemidji Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m., at the BSU Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex. I spoke with artistic director Abe Hunter, is a Bemidji-based freelance pianist and artistic director of the troupe.  His company is in its second year of producing opera.  Hear my interview with him and performances from a recent rehearsal here.

Try to find a mobile phone without a built-in camera.  The ubiquity of these devices and their rapid improvement in quality prompted the Crossing Arts Alliance to create a photography exhibition open to cell phone cameras. We visited with Crossing artistic director Millie Morris about the upcoming PhoneCamPics exhibition.  Entries are due in printed form by noon on Tuesday.  Subject matter must be appropriate for a general audience. Photographs must be marked on the back with the artist’s contact information.  Artists need not be Crossing Arts Alliance members.  Special effects may be applied. Photos need not be matted or framed, and should be no larger than 24 by 36 inches. The exhibition will be unstaffed, August 5 - 26, Tuesday to Friday from 11am to 4pm, and Saturday, August 13 from 10am to 2pm. There is no submission fee.

Chris Vinson lives on a farm in rural Itasca County and writes a column for us and the Western Itasca Review.  But she’s been living a lie, and she’s ready to confess.

Mississippi Melodie Showboat presents its last weekend of shows for the season.  You can see “Mississippi Marvels” tonight, Friday, and Saturday at 8:30 on Showboat Landing in Grand Rapids.
Second week of performances for Kevin Kling’s play “21A” at Chief Theater, Bemidji. 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.
Nisswa Community Center hosts an exhibition of 15 local, professional artists showcasing original prints, pottery, watercolors, oils, acrylics, photography, nature printing and more.  Hours are 10 to 5 Thursday through Saturday.

Loon Opera Co. presents “The Marriage of Figaro”, Mozart’s landmark comic opera.  Performed in English by national-caliber guests and Bemidji-area players.  Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m., at the recital hall in BSU’s Bangsberg Fine Arts Complex.
The Little Red Riding Hood story is reimagined as a Cajun musical, titled “Petite Rouge.” It’s on the outdoor stage at Beltrami County Courthouse in Bemidji Friday Saturday and Sunday at 7 p.m.
It's North Star Stampede rodeo weekend in Effie.  Action starts at 5 Friday night and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The ladies behind the Church Basement Ladies franchise will be at a luncheon at Coleraine Public Library at noon Friday.  The production “A Mighty Fortress Is Our Basement” is on stage at Reif Center Friday and Saturday night at 7:30, Sunday at 2 pm.

Woodcarvers’ Festival, Wayside Park, Blackduck.  9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Free live outdoor music in Crosslake, Motley, and Pequot Lakes.
Northern Cruisers car show, Grand Rapids IRA Civic Center parking lot.
Itasca Vintage Car Club swap meet, Itasca County Fairgrounds, Grand Rapids.

Itasca vintage Car Club swap meet and car show, Itasca County Fairgrounds, Grand Rapids.
Lakes Area Chamber Music Festival has a couple of Prelude concerts to generate excitement going into the main festival in August. Pieces from Bach, Brahms, Dvorak, and Schubert are on the program. Sunday at 3 at Salem Lutheran Church in Deerwood, and 7:30 at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Nisswa. 

Opening night for the Paul Bunyan Playhouse production of “The Full Monty”.  It's at the Chief Theater, Bemidji.

July 28, 1861: Minnesota's first homegrown governor, John A. Johnson, is born in St. Peter. Johnson would work his way up from poverty to become editor of the St. Peter Herald. He would be elected governor in 1905, and attracted attention as a possible 1912 presidential candidate.  These plans were cut short when he died in office in 1909.
July 30, 1884: The state's first rail shipment of iron ore, from the Soudan Mine, reaches Two Harbors.  By the time Soudan closed in 1962, it had shipped over 15 million tons of rich hematite ore.
July 26, 1937: Governor Elmer A. Benson refuses to give a business license to the Pinkerton Detective Agency, a notorious union-busting group.
July 27, 1972: Virginia Piper, wife of investment banker Harry C. Piper, Jr., is kidnapped. The Minneapolis woman is released near Duluth after a ransom of one million dollars is paid, at the time the highest such payment ever made.
July 29, 1974: Minnesota's Jeannette Piccard, who had once piloted hydrogen balloons into the stratosphere, is one of the first women to be ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church.
July 25, 1990: The U.S. Senate votes 96-0 to denounce David Durenberger for "reprehensible" conduct as a senator, making him one of only seven members to be publicly condemned by the Senate in the twentieth century. Durenberger is censured for financial misconduct, including evading the limit on outside earnings.
July 24, 1998: Pitcher Ila Borders of the Duluth-Superior Dukes is the first woman to win a men's regular season professional baseball game. The Dukes beat the Sioux Falls Canaries 3-1, in Duluth.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Sign For Swallowing

by Robert Jevne
The swallows are gathering on the wires. I’m hoping, like last year, this is a sign they are about to leave. Where there were dozens, over the course of the spring and summer, and the building of their mud nests in the eaves of my house, and the brooding, the feeding, the fledging, now there are easily over a hundred. When they are not resting on the electrical wires leading from the road to my house, they are swooping, circling, stunting in an impressive display of unison flying and then as a swarming group, dive bombing the house en masse, miraculously screeching to a halt at the entrance to their little mud caves and then pooping. On my house. The roof is splattered. The sides of my house are streaked with it. As are the window screens, so that even when I am inside I am seeing the mess being made of the place I live. I’ve had a lot of time the last three weeks to watch the whole process unfold. And a lot of time to think about it. A lot of time. That the swallows are there at all is, in effect, a compromise between my wife and I. Early in the spring I set about spraying nests with water as they were being built in the hopes that the birds would find a better spot, like the barn for instance, as they are barn swallows. Granted the barn is a tin barn with no overhangs so I wasn’t really offering much of an option. “ Move on,” was pretty much the extent of my thinking. I’m not saying deterring the invasion was going to be easy but I was determined. “Every day a little spray” was my motto. “Every day its bombs away,” was theirs. It was me, alone, against all of them. My wife, noticing the futility of this effort thought I should leave things be this year, build some sort of alternative housing over the winter, and try again next year. “Besides, they eat a lot of mosquitoes,” she said. She was right about that, of course. I agreed to put it off. So here we are a couple of months later covered in do-do and not much we can do about it. Even I won’t kill swallow babies. Never-the-less I am plagued. Early in the morning when they are most active going back and forth from the field to my house as one, their sounds at my bedroom window amplified by the angle of the eave, the sounds invading my dreams. Wings fluttering, beating louder and louder, the splat, splat, splat of fresh droppings on the tin roof louder and louder, swallow chattering multiplied by their now infinite numbers turning to chuckling as though they are laughing at me louder and louder. In my dream I rise from my bed and stumble running outside to see my house disappearing beneath a mountain of droppings, a mountain of droppings taking on a shape. To my horror it is the shape of the state of Minnesota. I keep running, running past the chicken yard where a pile of their droppings is forming in the shape of the capitol building in Saint Paul, and finally I am running past the cows in the field where one of the cows turns to me and yells “You want a budget resolution? I’ll give you a budget resolution!” and begins to lift her tail.

I awoke in a cold sweat. The next morning I got the call to return to work. The day I returned the swallows were gone.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Signs and Omens on Between You and Me

This week on Between you and me our topic is signs and omens.  What does that mean to you?

by Steve Downing

          When the universe decides to send me a message, it does so by way of our dog, Basil. This makes elegant cosmic sense. As I’ve reported, Basil’s grasp of natural phenomena borders on clairvoyant. Each of his senses is more finely tuned than any of mine. He doesn’t know this (I don’t think). If I understand the process correctly, Basil simply absorbs the quotidian flow of information in his doggy-dogged manner and then reacts intuitively, unerringly.
            For example, earlier today I was outside with Basil. As he took care of his daily hygiene business, I idled between the deck and the lake, thinking my thoughts. Suddenly Basil was circling me in a lazy zigzagging trot and occasionally stopping, then making a fake charge at me, head low, as though he planned to ram my knees or hips. Remember: Basil’s big. Huge, actually. I’d never seen this bullish behavior before. He went round and round a few times, back and forth, circling and fake-head-butting. Then he lost interest and wandered off toward the lake. Near the kayak, he dropped down to what I think of as the sphinx position, forelegs straight out, head up. And he just stared, unmoving, at the lake, or the horizon, or maybe a worm-hole in the next galaxy over, I had no way of knowing. He was literally motionless, for 10-15 minutes, totally out of character, impressing on me that it was I, not he, who lives the unexamined life. When he stood up and turned around, he looked directly, intently, not to say philosophically, at me and through me, his eyes locked on mine, unblinking, for a lonnnnng time.
            Clearly, Basil was channeling a message from the universe. I’m still working it out: is the universe telling me I ought to become a rodeo clown?---or go back to grad school and get my doctorate in philosophy? Aside from the Hobson’s-choice nature of this question, it strikes me that there’s a larger, more critical issue here, related to the true organizing principle of the universe: is it that of the clown or the philosopher? And between you and me, is there a functional difference in a world such as ours, so beholden to the corrupt and corrupting politics of the day?
            Basil: speak!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Borders goes out of business, but if you look closely, you might find a secret bookstore

I found this video on author Spencer Seidel's site.  Reminds me of a great used bookstore in Dinkytown I spent so much time in while I was at the University of Minnesota.  Sigh.  Bookstores. 
There's No Place Like Here: Brazenhead Books from Etsy on Vimeo.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Not-So-Magic Jacket

by Robert Jevne
   Fame is a magical cloak that we as observers of one sort or another put upon performers of one sort or another whether they like it or not. It is a projection of our own mostly irrational desires and bears no relation to the quality of the person we project it upon. It is extracurricular of their chosen profession and I imagine for some, it must seem like a burden at times, while for others it becomes an entitlement and an excuse. Fame’s perverting influence is a disorder not exclusive to the famous but in fact more endemic to and virulent in those I would call the fame-ish. It is a form of madness in those hovering around the fringes of success which manifests itself in bad behavior in public places.
   Before there was The House of Blues the nation-wide corporate chain-o-tainment machine there was a bar, or I should say, private club, in a back alley I don’t even remember exactly where in Chicago owned by some SNL alumni/frat boys/ “blues fans.” A friend of mine said the bartender was a friend of his and suggested we try to get in to this ironically exclusive blue-collar/blues oriented/comedic-actor hang-out. Being as cool as I was, and as out of touch with common sense as I still seem to be, I thought it would be a good opportunity to wear my friend’s pink striped sport-coat. He was in a band hence he was cool. I wanted to look cool so I put on the cloak…uh, the coat. There was nothing intimidating about the alleyway leading to the bar or about the entrance to the bar itself. Just a wooden door on a non-descript little building. My friend had been told we needed to knock. We knocked. Someone came to the door. My friend told this person that we knew so-and-so. The door closed. We waited. And waited. And waited. The alley, by-the-way was empty the whole time. No lines forming around the block, no fresh faces desiring to gain entrance, no legions of stumblers coming out. I was beginning to doubt whether we were welcome and worse, I was beginning to second-guess my choice in apparel. Until finally, the door did open and out came Jim Belushi. Not his famous, by then dead, brother John, of course. But the fame-ish, because he was related to John, Jim, who at the time was being not particularly funny on SNL, and went on to be out-acted by a dog in a movie no-one remembers, and later yet to be the star of a mean-spirited sit-com which was equally unmemorable to all the rest because I refused to watch it. So did a lot of other people.
   We didn’t have time to acknowledge that we recognized him although I‘m sure we both did. The steps we were standing on were narrow, we stood aside, smiling, I’m sure, as we had nothing against him, to let him pass. In order to show his appreciation of our exemplary manners and doubtless to acknowledge my sport-coat as well he pointed past us and said: “The street’s that way, ya fags” And kept on walking without a worry in the world.

   Fame? Some people can wear it well, I guess. On others it hangs like a cheap pink striped sport-coat.

Brushes With Fame on Between You and Me

This week we're looking for your stories about when you met someone famous.  Did they turn out to be what you thought they would be?  Join us from 10-noon on Saturday...

ANTI-HERO by Steve Downing

          Between you and me, there are so few heroes in this life, it’s a privilege to be able to single out one for special mention: Billy Collins, a hero of mine. We crossed paths with him last fall, and I think often of those moments, that encounter.
            Billy Collins was Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001 to 2003, New York State Poet 2004-2006. POETRY magazine regularly selects him for one award or another, including Poet of the Year. He’s received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and more. He’s a distinguished professor at City University of New York. He reads his work, solo, everywhere, for serious money. In 1997, he recorded “The Best Cigarette”, a by-definition best-seller CD of his poetry (re-released in 2005). Best-selling poetry recording: a contradiction in terms, before and after “The Best Cigarette”.
            In 2002, he wrote “The Names”, to commemorate the victims of the 9/11 attacks, which he read at a special joint session of the United States Congress. Then he pretty much shelved it. He refuses to include “The Names” in any readings or books he gets paid for. It was a gift.
            Here’s a world-famous guy who could be so full of himself you’d never get close to him. His ego could understandably be planetary. And it’s just not. He’s as approachable as you or yours truly; he’s as interested in you as you are in him.
            Dodger and I wound up in Billy Collins’ company last September in Bemidji, on our way back to the Hampton Inn from the event across the street at Sparkling Waters. We’d talked to him at the restaurant, so technically we weren’t absolute strangers, but it actually felt as though we were old acquaintances. He made it that easy. Three non-special human beings crossing a parking lot together, riding in an elevator, chatting about dinner and the weather.
            And then the next night he delivered a riveting, tour-de-force, standing-ovation poetry reading at the Bemidji High School. This would be routine in New York City at the 92nd Street Y or Power House Books. Not here.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Will You Pledge to the KBXE Capital Campaign?

Please be patient if you receive a phone call from KAXE this week--The KBXE capital campaign is under way! 

The goal of the campaign is to match a federal equipment grant for KBXE. If we can raise $150,000 locally, this will trigger an additional $450,000 in federal funds!

Last week, we sent letters to all of KAXE’s members requesting a donation to this important project. This week, Northern Community Radio’s staff and board of directors are following up the letters with phone calls. To date, members have pledged or sent checks totaling $16,369! There is $133,631 left to reach the match!

KBXE friends and community members previously pledged $50,000 to match a $150,000 grant from the George W. Neilson Foundation.

Matching the federal grant will complete our fundraising requests to individuals. We still hope to secure additional business donations and foundation grants for the project.
If you have any questions (or a hidden pile of dollars you’d like to invest in a great cause), please call us! 218/326-1234.

Thank you!

-Maggie Montgomery

P.S.: Board members Julie Crabb and Sandy Roggenkamp (Vice-president and President of Northern Community Radio respectively) are pictured making. Every nonprofit organization DREAMS of having board members who are willing to do this! (Thanks)

Puppetry is not just for playtime: Linnihan presents workshops starting this week

by Travis Ryder
Theresa Linnihan
Puppets aren’t just child’s play.  They’re a longstanding theatrical tradition and they can take on serious roles on stage and in the public square.  That’s part of what Theresa Linnihan is going to be teaching in a series of workshops starting this week in Grand Rapids.  Linnihan has run a children’s theatre in Massachusetts, and worked with the improv group Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis. Now she works with the Czech-American Marionette Theatre and the Puppeteers' Cooperative in New York.  She’s visiting family here this summer and presenting sessions on puppet building and improvisation at MacRostie Art Center.  I started my interview with her by asking about how puppetry helped her children’s theatre performances adapt to an outdoor space:  
Audio Theresa Linnihan on Puppets, Improv, and this summer's workshops

Puppet-building sessions will be 10 to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays, July 12-28.  Another option will be Monday night sessions from 5 to 7.  The 10-foot tall puppets will march in the Tall Timber Days parade.  Improv classes are offered from 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through August 18.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Food Matters

This week on Between You and Me we talk food allergies and food preferences.  What's yours?  Here's Guido's story...

Food Matters 
by Steve Downing

            For three-plus decades, my weekday lunch has not varied: a sandwich, on burned toast or a bagel, consisting of peanut butter, pickle and tomato. I’m sure I’m not the only one who favors this combo, but I have yet to meet a soul who doesn’t give me the total-face-wrinkle and some sort of vocalized rebuke when they hear about my blackened bread, peanut butter, pickle, and tomato sandwich. I’m okay with that. Or was.
            I recently had a full one-on-one Ayurvedic counseling session in Minneapolis, during which I learned (among many other things) that I should not be eating peanut butter, pickles or tomatoes, and the only bread I should eat ought to be yeast-free.
            I kidded my counselor that this gave me license to switch to potato chips and beer for lunch. I was joking and she laughed, but neither of us was amused. I suppose I’d gone into immediate denial-anger-depression about my lunch, and she was probably feeling a little defensive about Ayurveda. We both recovered quickly, I’m happy to report, and the session was back on track.
            Ayurveda is a healing science so old it pre-dates written history, and it accurately predicted enough about me that I’m still marveling. Assessing. Ayurveda predicted my single-mindedness, not to say tunnel vision; I concede I’m no stranger to the odd tunnel. It predicted my sharp, sometimes over-heated cerebral curiosity, with all of the pulse and blood pressure implications therein. It predicted my oily skin. It predicted my wild white hair.
            As you see: Ayurveda understood the gene pool millennia before Charles Darwin boarded HMS Beagle and sailed into world fame. You can sidestep much in this life; you will never get out of the way of your genes.
            I’ll have more to say about these matters. But first and foremost: what to do about lunch for the next three decades?

Jello Hell

by Robert Jevne
   Normally, I’m sure you’ve noticed, I am a paragon of tact and modest reserve, a model of diplomacy, but due to the recent political events in our great state of Minnesota, I feel I can no longer hold my tongue. Knowing full well the risks of offending its legions of fans I am willing to state unequivocally that I hate jello. There. I said it. The roof over my head did not cave in, lightning did not strike, the world did not come screeching to a halt in protest. Let me reiterate. I hate jello. What is jello anyway? I fear even looking up its origins. I have heard that it is made from horses hooves. That, in and of itself, should mark the end of this essay. Who, I ask, who would have ground up a horses hoof, boiled it, let it cool, had the nerve to taste it, and said “ why, if you throw in some mandarin oranges and some tiny marshmallows, you’ve got yourself a fine little dessert.” And who then, went on in all seriousness to “perfect” such a thing? The word jello, is based on the word gelatin which brings to my mind, the word gelatinous. Gelatinous. Does that sound like good eating? How about jello mold? Does that sound better? I don’t care how you dress it up, I don’t care how much sugar, or artificial flavoring, or marshmallows, or tainted fruit you throw at it, it’s still horses hooves.
   I don’t know exactly when my aversion to Jell-O began. It was long before I acquired, the nickname “Snobert” for my penchant, totally beyond my control, to blurt out “How can you eat that?” whenever saw a jello dish on the buffet table. I suspect this peculiar radicalism began when I was a child and was subjected to a gaudi array of jello based food product (i.e. not real food) made by my equally colorful Aunties - Alida, Maria, Angela, and Eleanor, who, at every event presented the same wobbly concoctions with dresses, nails and lipstick to match and insisted on planting on my jaw a waxy, florid lip imprint outsized to the proportion of my little child’s face and leaving an intoxicating cloud of booze, perfume, and cigarette smoke in their wake and then laughing at the effect.

   If the levels of my detestation of jello and its derivatives were set up metaphorically like the concentric circles of hell in Dante’s Inferno, plain jello being the outermost ring and working our way towards the center as we add more and more garbage into the mix, then surely the center of my jello hell would be me set in a vast gelatinous lake of jello my aunties arrayed about me like suspended fruit, kissing my face over and over while spooning in portions of the worst dessert ever devised by the devil himself and then laughing, laughing for all eternity.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The World is Finding out Just How Great Northern Minnesota Really Is...

If you live in northern Minnesota or have a cabin here, it's sometimes hard to explain how great it is.  Maybe it's because we don't always WANT people to know how great it is.  Cause part of the appeal is that we aren't FILLED with people.  And we do cool things like meat raffles and dragon boat festivals and bean-burying festivals.  Budget Travel has just put together an article called "8 Perfect Summer Lake Towns" which includes Bemidji.  They had this to say, "The Minnesota town of Bemidji best captures the Norman Rockwell glow of a summer lake town, with clean beaches, quirky annual traditions, and a packed social calendar." 

What's your favorite summertime town in northern Minnesota?  I love going to Arts in the Park in Brainerd over the 4th of July.  Don't ask me why, it's just a long time tradition.  Send us your summertime traditions! 

Culturology 7-7: Musicals and opera

by Travis Ryder
There are three musical theater presentations in three different corners of the KAXE region this weekend.

Central Lakes College Dryden Theatre hosts performances of the musical "Annie" Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. This is the debut weekend for the show which continues with dates through July.

Paul Bunyan Playhouse has its first week of the show "Lend Me A Tenor" tonight through Sunday, 8 p.m., at the Chief Theater in downtown Bemidji. This show runs next week as well.

And Puccini's comic opera "Gianni Schicchi" comes to the Mesabi East auditorium in Aurora. The performances are Friday and Tuesday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. It's part of the Northern Lights Music Festival happening now on the east end of the Range, which also includes performances of "Peter and the Wolf", Saturday in Aurora and Sunday in Ely, narrated by state Senator David Tomassoni.

Also happening in the region this week:

Concordia Language Villages present their gathering, called "International Day", at the German Village 11 miles north of Bemidji on County Highway 20. That's from 1 to 5:45 Friday.

MacRostie Art Center hosts a reception for its current artists, furnituremaker Pete Pestalozzi, antler basketmaker Cathryn Peters, and photographer Gayle Streier. The free 5-to-7 p.m. reception is in downtown Grand Rapids.

The Hibbing Jubilee includes a new event called "Art on the Avenue" around City Hall starting at 10 a.m. and the big parade Saturday at 3 p.m.

A fundraiser event for a new cable access channel called Upstream TV in Bemidji is happening Saturday night at Brigid's Cross. Interactive games, live music, and a chance to share program ideas are all part of the evening.

The professional vocal ensemble From Age to Age perform twice in the Brainerd Lakes this weekend, with a show Friday at Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Pequot Lakes and Saturday at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Crosby. Both performances start at 7:30. Brainerd High School alumnus Andrew Miller is the group's director.

Doug Livingston presents a workshop on photography of native plants at Northland Arboretum in Brainerd from 1 to 3:30 Sunday.

Workshop on Puppet Building and another on Improvisation start July 12 and run Tuesdays and Thursdays with Teresa Linnihan of Brave New Workshop and the New York Puppeteers' Cooperative. Contact us or the MacRostie Art Center for details.

Minnesota History Datebook
162 years ago this week, Bavarian immigrant Anthony Yoerg opens Minnesota's first brewery in St. Paul below what is now the River Center parking ramp, July 6, 1849.

July 4, 1868: Dr. Thomas Foster nicknames Duluth "Zenith City of the Unsalted Seas" during a rousing Independence Day speech at Minnesota Point.

July 5, 1928: The Minnesota National Forest is renamed the Chippewa National Forest.

56 years of riding the rails in Duluth's streets began and ended this first week of July:
July 6, 1883: Mule cars on rails begin carrying passengers on Superior Street in Duluth.
July 8, 1939: The final day of operation for Duluth's streetcars, which are replaced by rubber-tired electric trolley buses.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Summer Essentials: July Edition

by Maddi Frick

It's time to break out the popsicles as sun has finally decided to show itself.

A fair warning about music coming out this July; there isn't much. But still some albums to take note of:

Little Dragon - Ritual Reunion
Swedish electronic band Little Dragon will be releasing their 3rd album on July 5th.  

 They Might Be Giants - Join Us
The band's 15th album will be their first non-children's album since 2007, releasing on July 19th.
Old 97's - Grand Theatre Volume 2
Following their October release of Volume 1, this album, releasing on July 5th, will make the rest of the tracks tested at the Grand Theatre in Austin, Texas available to fans.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Got a Question? Got an Answer?

This week on Between You and Me we're working off the premise that TOGETHER WE KNOW EVERYTHING.  At least in the KAXE community that is.  Time and time again when we pose a question to our audience, we find the answers.  Got something you've been dying to ask?  Join us Saturday morning from 12-noon.  Here's a sneak into Steve Downing's essay for Saturday morning

by Steve Downing

Here’s a question I need help with: will computers ever be conscious? I just cannot answer this, and not for lack of trying. Maybe if we all put our heads together we’ll come up with something.
            We have to start with a definition of conscious, I suppose. I first worked on this more than three decades ago, after the Princeton psychologist Julian Jaynes published his seminal runaway best-seller, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. You’ll recall Jaynes’s core theory, that until only 3000 years ago humans didn’t reason as we do today, meaning they weren’t truly conscious and had zero capacity for introspection. They merely responded to auditory hallucinations; i.e., voices of the gods, which they processed the same way folks in the Iliad and Old Testament processed voices of the gods. The voices told people what to do, especially when life got stressful. That’s how things got done.
            Not every critic---never mind every psychologist---loved this idea. I didn’t understand the neurobiology, biochemistry or philology involved (and much else besides), but what I did like was that here was a proposal that attempted to explain why humans behaved so fabulously irrationally for so long. All those archaic tortured theologies, counterproductive warfare, relentless self-abuse. The two hemispheres of the human brain weren’t communicating yet, and, because just about every situation was a new one (read: stressful), right-brain thinking was calling most of the shots. That’s a handicap, between you and me.
            Then we invented language, as well as novel ways to wreak havoc upon one another, seriously ratcheting up the stress levels, and eventually we faced the choice of becoming either conscious or extinct. Fortuitously, uncharacteristically, we chose consciousness. Then we became rational. The left hemisphere of the brain was finally fully engaged with the right.
            And that’s how we evolved to our current high level of achievement. No more tortured theologies. No more counterproductive warfare. No more relentless self-abuse.
            I see I was asking the wrong question. More to the point: would computers deploy consciousness any more effectively than we have?