Rex Dobson and the Ruby Ellen Farm

I just finished up the new website for the Rex Dobson Ruby Ellen Farm Foundation. It’s a 160-acre farm on the Leelanau Peninsula that was preserved in perpetuity by owner Rex Dobson. Rex was certainly an anomaly : a single farmer who was successful in what is definitely a family dominated field. What’s more, he was one of the pioneers of farmland preservation and collected a TON of farming artifacts.

One of the coolest things about the project is that I was able to bring back to the internet a video produced by my childhood friend and bad-ass photographer Carl Ganter (now the mastermind of Circle of Blue) called With These Hands. Rex had a starring role – enjoy!

Time Delay: Stephen Colbert interviews Neil deGrasse Tyson

“There is no shame in not knowing. The problem arises when irrational thought and attendant behavior fill the vacuum left by ignorance.”
― Neil deGrasse Tyson

One of the most enjoyable videos that I’ve seen is watching is Stephen Colbert interviewing Neil deGrasse Tyson. It’s a delightful romp through the mind of one of our most engaging scientists.

At one point, Colbert asks Dr. deGrasse Tyson about discoveries that have changed our point of view about the universe without us being aware of it. While he doesn’t actually answer Stephen’s question, Neil relates the incredible impact of what many today would classify as useless theoretical discovery that is little more than scientific masturbation: quantum mechanics. While the science was almost totally useless in the 1920s, it’s the foundation of our computer/smartphone/technological age.

His lesson: don’t believe that research is useless … because it isn’t.

Click here for that conversation but really watch the whole thing!

People, Hell and Angels

While looking for a photo to go with this great concert video of Jimi Hendrix I wanted to share, I synchonistically discovered that Jimi apparently has a “new” album that you can listen to right now: People, Hell and Angels.

Reuters explains that the songs on People, Hell and Angels were to be the follow-up to Electric Ladyland:

“After the huge success of the (Jimi Hendrix) Experience and those first albums, he wanted to branch out more, and the blues sound on this is just different from the others,” said Janie Hendrix, Jimi’s step-sister and president and CEO of Experience Hendrix, the company founded by the musician’s father to oversee the star’s estate.

…Feeling constrained by the limitations of the Jimi Hendrix Experience trio (which included drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding), the guitarist had already started working with an eclectic group of musicians.

They included the Buffalo Springfield’s Stephen Stills, drummer Buddy Miles, saxophonist Lonnie Youngblood and bassist Billy Cox, with whom Hendrix had served in the U.S. military.

The resulting sessions, culled from 1968 and 1969, form the basis of “People, Hell and Angels,” co-produced by Janie Hendrix, original engineer and mixer Eddie Kramer and long-time Hendrix historian John McDermott.

Click to listen to the album – it’s a genuine treat. The photo is by Brian T. Colvil and (speaking of treats) here’s the FIFTY-SIX AND-A-HALF MINUTE video of Jimi Hendrix live in Stockholm, 1969.

Guns, etc.

Rolling Stone columnist Matt Taibbi is hands down my favorite pundit out there right now. In his latest column, Republicans Have Their Worst Week Ever, he writes that watching the GOP over the past week has been like watching the Three Stooges try to perform a liver transplant on roller skates.

Consider: Conservative action group Political Media launches Gun Appreciation Day and got 50 million people (which is a not insignificant 1.6%) to sign a whereas-packed petition that concludes with the money shot of:

Therefore, We the Undersigned petition the United States Government to cease and desist all efforts to disarm or short-arm the American people by limiting and disparaging the Second Amendment or rendering it a dead letter through federal legislation, interpretation and regulation.

I don’t even know what the means legally, except that maybe if you try to short arm them you’ll end up in the dead letter office.

But even before their excellent idea gets out of the gate, it stalls out, as obnoxious reporters check the list of “Gun Appreciation Day” sponsors and find that the “American Third Position,” a group that purports to represent the “unique political interests of White Americans,” is one of the event’s sponsors.

So now, Political Media has not only decided to hold its Gun Appreciation Event on a holiday meant to celebrate the life of a black leader who was a symbol of nonviolent protest and who was killed by a white man with a gun, it’s done so with the financial help of some yahoo white supremacist group. But this doesn’t derail the whole thing, as it’s of course just an innocent mistake. Political Media kicks “Third Position” out and appropriately issues a statement, saying, “We have removed the group and reiterate this event is not about racial politics, it is about gun politics.”

So far, so good, right? Well, then they go and actually hold their “Gun Appreciation Day” rallies all over the country, on Martin Luther King Day. And what happens? Five people get accidentally shot!

Definitely read on for more examples of Herculean idiocy including the suggestion that the film Django Unchained makes the argument for gun rights because there wouldn’t have been slavery if slaves had gun rights. Brilliant!

Here’s Matt on Totally Biased w Kamau Bell. A great interview on a great show, and I extra-heartily encourage you to watch Matt Taibbi & Chrystia Freeland on Bill Moyers show that explores income inequality, which is at its greatest in recorded history right now. Come on, watch it.

Kevin Dooley provided the photo and the title of this post, Guns, etc. Kevin is a wonderful photographer who shares his photos via Creative Commons, about which he writes (in part):

If you don’t care about making money from your images (at least at this stage of your life) but want them broadly seen, then you have to label your photos as Creative Commons and get on the open source photography bandwagon.

See it bigger and see more in his Valley of the Sun slideshow.