Sunday, March 30, 2008

A New Perspective on the Other

I've just finished this book, and my overriding thought has been that I wish everyone would read this book.

First of all, it's a fantastic story, starting out a doomed version of Into Thin Air and turning quickly into a sociological study gone inspiring redemption and adventure tale. Greg Mortenson, a mountaineer nomad type, gets lost on a descent from K2 and ends up in an isolated mountain town in Pakistan, a turn of events that changes his life and the lives of thousands of people in the region who otherwise would remain part of the vast "them." 

Mortenson builds schools. Somehow he gets financial backing and local support and sets about the business of galvanizing communities around the ideas of non-religious education, especially for girls, building the facilities, staffing them, and making sure they continue to run.

It's a simple idea and an unbelievable undertaking, an inspiring story of the power of a single person to make significant change in the world. 

But, perhaps even more importantly, the book provides a window into a segment of a culture that has become too easily stereotyped and dismissed as something lesser. We in the West see the clips of groups of men dancing and chanting in the streets, firing guns into the air, any time a newsworthy event comes off anywhere in the Arab world. And we think this is how things are, this is what these people do. It's the easiest way to make sense of what we see.

Three Cups of Tea dispels the myth of there being some fundamental human difference between us and them. It also treads all over many other oversimplifications, from the liberal idealization of the primitive in culture to the assumption of violence as an accepted response to any violation of religious creed or cultural norm. 

Read this book. It's that rarest of printed works:  a page-turner that has something important to say and vital to offer to our understanding of the world.  

Monday, March 24, 2008

Cancellara TTs to M-SR V!

In an amazing performance, CSC's Fabian Cancellara stole one from the sprinters this weekend, soloing away from a group of a dozen about 3k from the finish line to take the monumental classic Milan-San Remo.

He's done this before, in last year's tour on the stage into Compiegne, and it was no less spectacular this time. When this guy gets those cranks turning, hunkered down into his world-champion time-trial mode, no group of a mere 12 riders (even a group including guys like Freire, Pozzato, and the on-form Rebellin) can catch him.

Check out VeloNews for the details.

(pic from VN)

The Race Dust-Up

The Obama-Wright fracas just won't go away. I've got lots of thoughts on this, but I've yet to put them into any coherent form that doesn't include anger or language insulting to a large part of this country's population (and a small part of the small number of this blog's readers). So, I'll wait until I can be civil about it.

But I have to at least say this:
  • If you must judge, judge the man, not the soundbites.
  • The truth sometimes takes a bit of work to find, and Hannity or Rush won't give it to you.
  • Do you agree with everything your pastor/reverend/whomever has always said? And would you expect to be held accountable for their words?
  • Where do you get your information, and are you sure you can trust it?

For now, here are a couple articles that I think put things into perspective. Enjoy.

Yes, we all know where I stand. Any thoughts you wish to share? Please comment.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Happy Friday...

from your remaining candidates for POTUS.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New on the Range

2008 is starting out strong. Here we are just barely past 2 months in, and the new music is streaming in.

Perhaps most exciting of all is the new release dropped by Why? today, Alopecia. I've been waiting impatiently since 2005's brilliant Elephant Eyelash for the next offering from this anchor of the Anticon stable, and Alopecia most definitely does not disappoint. It's maybe a bit darker, definitely a bit longer and more ambitious, and so far lives up to and surpasses its predecessor. More about that later.

Also hitting RadioBoise this Friday will be new stuff from Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks' excellent new record as well as tracks from the Raveonettes, Hands on Heads, Susu, Bon Iver, The Notwist, and Portugal the Man, along with further exploration of new records by Hot Chip, Vampire Weekend, and High Places. And I'll be diving deeper into the upcoming release by The Sword for you fans of the metal.

Tune in to RadioBoise Friday from 1 to 3 mountain time for Range Life.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

I Was Busy Rocking Out

Last night was not the best of nights as far as the Democratic primary season goes, but it could be worse. Our man Obama was way way behind in both Ohio and Texas, and the fact that he gained much ground in both places and will come away with no significant delegate deficit is good. But any shift in momentum seems to carry such profound weight in this unfortunately long and, more unfortunately, negative campaign, so these things do matter.

But whatever, I was at The Bouquet, getting my head bang on to a little Fu Manchu. The SoCal stoner rock quartet played to a decent-sized and terribly enthusiastic crowd, and though I'd never seen them before, much of it was pretty familiar. Openers Saviour were strong baroque metal from Oakland. Good stuff.

Afterward, we headed over to Terrapin Station, the local hippie dive, to see a couple guys from the String Cheese Incident, whom I loathe, do an electronic-and-drums set, which was pretty fun. But of course I was out way too late and had one or two Pabsts too many for a school night.

Also, I won tickets to see Ladysmith Black Mambazo, which is tonight. We'll see if I can rally for it.