Joe Cocker, 1944 — 2014

December 22, 2014

Joe Cocker, 1944 – 2014

Singer Joe Cocker (John Robert Cocker OBE) died today at age 70. Know for soulful, distinctive interpretations of  Rock, Soul, and R&B classics, his career spanned 50 years.

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Cat Fancy Magazine ‘Put to Sleep’

December 22, 2014

Cat Fancy Magazine 'Put to Sleep'
After 49 years, Cat Fancy Magazine is no more. To put that in perspective, 49 years is 3 or 4 cat lifespans [insert ‘9 Lives‘ joke here].  Cat Fancy was known for beautiful feline photos and practical kitty-keeping advice and had many fans, including Ayn Rand. The magazine will be succeeded by something called “Catster.”

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Winter Solstice

December 20, 2014

North America’s Winter Solstice begins today, December 21st, at 6:03 PM EST. The day will be marked by pagan celebrations. We’re marking it with The Bangles performing Paul Simon‘s “Hazy Shade of Winter.” The group recorded this version of the song for the soundtrack of the film Less Than Zero and it became a hit.

More:

“Winter Solstice 2014,” Chris Burton, The Weather Network

“Bring On the Dark: Why We Need the Winter Solstice,” Clark Strand, New York Times

“Winter Solstice 2014: Google Doodle marks shortest day of the year,” Luke Howard, The Independent

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Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Craig Ferguson, Different Drummer

December 20, 2014

Craig Ferguson, backed by Steve Jones & Bone Patrol and a Gospel choir, performs “Bang Your Drum,” a song by Glasgow’s Dead Man Fall. The Scottish band’s original video is here, and the original track is on iTunes, SoundCloud, Amazon and Spotify.

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Stephen Colbert: Final Chorale & Apotheosis

December 19, 2014

“Stephen Colbert Cheats Death One Last Time,” Ian Crouch, The New Yorker

“Farewell, Stephen Colbert. (And hello, Stephen Colbert.)” Hank Stuever, Washington Post

“The End of Truthiness: Stephen Colbert’s Sublime Finale,” Noel Murray, Daily Beast

“Basically every person in the universe said goodbye to Stephen Colbert last night,” Jaime Fuller, Washington Post

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Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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What Santa and Hamlet Have In Common

December 19, 2014

What Santa and Hamlet Have in Common

Santa Claus and Hamlet have something in common: They both live in Denmark. That is, if you accept Denmark’s claim to the North Pole.

The big, cold island of Greenland is in the Kingdom of Denmark, and Denmark says the island’s northern continental shelf has a ridge that includes 895000 square km (345561 square miles) of the Arctic seabed. Russia and Canada have claims in as well.

Why would any of these countries want to own the Arctic? In addition  to Santa’s Workshop, it’s got 22% of the world’s undiscovered, recoverable oil and natural gas. Global warming means it will become easier to get at these resources by boat.

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See You in C-U-B-A!

December 17, 2014

See You In C-U-B-A!
“The United States and Cuba agreed on Wednesday to restore diplomatic ties that Washington severed more than 50 years ago, and President Barack Obama called for an end to the long economic embargo against its old Cold War enemy.”

– “U.S., Cuba restore ties after 50 years,” Daniel Trotta and Steve Holland, Reuters

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Hanukkah Smackdown!

December 17, 2014

Hanukkah Smackdown!
A deep rift divides the world Jewish community this time of year:Latkes vs. SufganiyotWhich fried treats should be served during the Festival of Lights, savory potato latkes (pancakes) or sweet sufganiyot (jelly donuts)? Sufganiyot (singular, sufganiyah) are favored in Israel (emphatically so), latkes in Europe and the USA. Some celebrants try to avoid this sectarian conflict by serving fritters, but that leaves us with another dilemma: is it “Hanukkah” or “Chanukah”?

Happy holidays.

Related:

“How I conquered my fear of latkes,” Rebecca Flint Mark, Gilt Taste via Salon

“At Hanukkah, Pastry Reminds Portland Jews Of Their Mediterranean Roots,” Deena Prichep, NPR

“7 surprising things everyone should know about Hanukkah,” Dara Lind, Vox

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Bob McDonnell Looking at 10 Years in Prison

December 15, 2014

Bob McDonnell Looking at 10 Years in Prison
Disgraced former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, convicted of 11 counts of political corruption, is due to be sentenced on January 6th. Based on Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the U.S. probation office is recommending at least 10 years in prison. His estranged wife, former NFL Cheerleader Maureen McDonnell was ultimately convicted on 8 counts, and will be sentenced on January 20th.

Prior to his arrest, many Republicans had proposed Mr. McDonnell for federal office, but he’ll be getting a federal prison cell instead. On the bright side, maybe he’ll get to play bridge with Bernie Madoff.

Ten years is a pretty long stretch, but it could have been worse for Bob McDonnell. He could have been caught selling loose cigarettes on the sidewalk. That’s punishable by death.

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Congress: Taxpayers Will Cover Citigroup’s Bad Bets

December 15, 2014

Congress: Taxpayers Will Cover Citigroup's Bad Bets

Unregulated derivatives trading crashed the U.S. economy back in 2008, and two years later Congress passed laws to prevent that from happening again. But Citigroup just wrote derivatives deregulation into the $1.1 trillion federal funding bill, and Congress passed it. Now Citi can blow people’s savings on bad exotic derivatives bets, and taxpayers will likely cover the losses.

Here’s what Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) had to say about that:

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