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mystery
  • 310307.2241

    Jacob Holdt came to Nixon's United States in 1970, planning to head south for a story about Allende's Chile, when he was held up at gunpoint and befriended his robbers. Hitch-hiking the U.S., using a small range-finder Canon, he took over 15,000 photos of both the impoverished of the south and urban north, and the upper class that surrounded them. What he found was shocking: cycles of oppression he labeled enslavement. By excluding the lower and middle classes from his narrative, Holdt executed extreme contrast. Once compiled as a book, Holdt barnstormed colleges throughout the 80s projecting large auditorium slide-shows, selling the book for cost (14.95). His parallel narrative to the images is interlaced in the book as well as expanded onto Holdt's copiously illustrated site. The story is riveting as Holdt is a profound optimist always on the verge of a religious journey into an ill place.  A must-read for any student of U.S. History; the visual equivalent of Emile Zola. What is striking about Holdt's U.S. is how much it has changed and how little it has. The book is a must-have, even though out of print, used versions are easily found.

  • 310305.0912

    Science-Writer Syndrome in NYMAG.

    "Finally and fatally, what ties the narrative together is not some real insight into the nature of Dylan’s art, but a self-help lesson: Take a break to recharge. To anyone versed in Dylan, this story was almost unrecognizable. Lehrer’s intellectual chutzpah was startling: His conclusions didn’t shed new light on the facts; they distorted or invented facts, with the sole purpose of coating an unrelated and essentially useless lesson with the thinnest veneer of plausibility."

  • 310299.1650

    Robert Florey was denied the right to direct Frankenstein and was handed the Poe story. His film pushed the envelope in numerous ways. 21 minutes of pre-code violence remain excised from the existing 60 minute film. Showing at the Loews Jersey City, Saturday October 27. Showing with Tod Browning's Dracula.

     

  • 310270.1950

  • 310260.2130

    Biggest hit of the Browning-Chaney pairings. Burned alive in a 1967 vault fire. So alluring it's been reconstructed from production stills.

  • 310231.1203

    Frontline's four hour, two-night dissection of the financial collapse of 2008. Like its exemplary 1996 post-mortem of the Gulf War, Michael Kirk and Jim Gilmore describe in detail staggering omissions in oversight, clashes of personality, and a stunning presidential leadership vacuum as Bush neared the end of his term. Even more frightening, a majority of banks appeared not to comprehend the full extent of their leveraged holdings, employing companies like AIG to insure their riskiest securities.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/money-power-wall-street/#a
     

  • 310204.1720

    The time has come to develop curricula in visual media literacy for all children K-12. For a country as media saturated as ours, it is dangerous not to teach children how images work, why we use them instead of words, how sequencing them alters their meanings, and what lies ahead for language once expression becomes liberated from the alphabet. Media is not a tool to be censored, it is a tool that must expand along every horizon to search for all knowledge yet unkown. Future modes of expression are what will elementally lead us to our next breakthroughs in the sciences and in the arts. Pivotal is the performance of violence, since its essential metaphor is the breaking down of old ways, old systems.

    "The United States is the only developed nation without a national curriculum in visual literacy." Douglas Ruskoff Coercion: Why We Listen To What They Say 1999

     

     

  • 310188.1026

    Master mathmetician Roger Penrose intersects math, physics, neuroscience and cosmology to attempt to answer "the big question." While he gets as close as anyone could have in 1990, he fails tantalizingly to convince readers that outerspace and the brain's innerspace are integrally related. Like a fundamentalist he begins with Turing and using that as a model for the human brain's A.I., he ventures from algorithm to particle theory to cosmology to neuroscience. His detractors (like Edelman) make mincemeat out of his simplistic computational aspects of the brain, but Penrose is going for the biggest picture possible: space/geologic-time. Like Tipler-Barrow's Anthropic Comsological Principle, which he cites repeatedly, Penrose has built a key foundation for time-travel in multiple dimensions.

    Top: The big-bang eventually splinters into black hole singularity Bottom: Particle-wave theory. Two slits reveal how photons (light) behave like particles AND waves.

     

  • 310187.0947

    Mark Cuban makes his case in the WSJ that high-speed trading constitutes a new form of hacking. His blogpost in 2010 goes into greater detail.

  • 310162.1256

    "The Watergate that we wrote about in The Washington Post from 1972 to 1974 is not Watergate as we know it today. It was only a glimpse into something far worse. By the time he was forced to resign, Nixon had turned his White House, to a remarkable extent, into a criminal enterprise."

    -from Nixon Was Much Worse Than We Thought, Washington Post June 10

    For texts, obviously both All The President's Men and Final Days are critical bestsellers by Woodstein that explore the scandal from differing narratives. APM is a detective/procedural yarn, FD is reportage. FD best resembles the storytelling that Woodward continued in Wired, The Bretheren, Veil. Strangely the definitive Watergate book is neither of these. Barry Sussman, who was the city editor of The Washington Post, wrote it and called it aptly, The Great Cover-Up. Sussman's book examines each revelation as an element of a puzzle, or of a chess game in which moves are secret with only pawns and a king visible.

    "Before anyone else at the Post, Sussman saw Watergate as a larger story, saw that the individual events were part of a larger pattern, the result of hidden decisions from somewhere in the top of government which sent smaller men to run dirty errands... - David Halberstam Powers That Be

    For the operatic side of things Nixon, Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon by Anthony Summers, a book filled with rumor, innuendo and corruption that makes Harding's sold presidency look soft. Here's one example, the story of Chris Silberman...

    Silberman was a rogue commodities trader (American Metals Ltd) who appeared in a Life Magazine photo on a remote Bahamian dock with Nixon in 1969. He claims former Nevada Governor Paul Laxalt met with him after the 1969 Nixon meeting and openly wondered what kind of money could be made if the gold window was closed. The gold window is the only opening for the commodity in the U.S. for foreign markets and had never been closed before. Its closure, a matter of public record, allowed Silberman to take a sizeable sum of money from Laxalt and bet widely on gold futures. After making over $10 million, Silberman claims he drove it into the U.S. across a pre-arranged Canadian border crossing and handed the truck over to unknown drivers. Nixon closed the gold window against the advice of Paul Volcker without offering any substantial reason. One of many fascinating, loosely corroborated tales in the book. A must-read for any Watergate aficionados.