Fans of adventurous beats should already be subscribed to the Stones Throw podcast, the most delicious mish-mash of hip-hop, funk, and soul available in byte form.
(Recent episodes have included a Madlib mix of ’60s soul 45s, a collection of ’70s funk played by black high school bands, live video of the gods in Madvillain, and hip-hop reimaginings of the work of the guy who wrote Hair.)
Anyway, the current episode taps into my personal zeitgeist — it’s a 30-minute mix (by Egon) of Turkish funk. (Funk from the developing world is a minor obsession of mine. Bordering on major.) It’s awesome — laid-back and chock full of groove, with great sexy horns that sound a lot like Ethiopian jazz to these ears. Go download, friend.
(Apparently, the mix has a lot of Baris Manço in it. More on Anatolian rock here.)
Had another story in today’s paper. Probably of interest only to the hardcore cheating junkie:
State investigators are having some success finding evidence of TAKS cheating in their first wave of on-site investigations. But it may be another two months before those investigations – of less than 1 percent of schools flagged as suspicious – are completed.
While I was on blog vacation, a story of mine ran on the front page Sunday:
On May 12, 2005, Texas education commissioner Shirley Neeley stood in the Wilmer-Hutchins school board chambers and announced the results of her agency’s investigation into cheating on the TAKS test.
“Twenty-two WHISD teachers were found guilty of cheating,” she said. “The investigation found inexcusable, illegal, unprofessional and unacceptable behavior on the part of these 22 individuals.”
Shortly after, the Wilmer-Hutchins schools were all shut down. But the careers of the teachers lived on.
At least 10 of the 22 Wilmer-Hutchins educators are now working in other North Texas public schools, a Dallas Morning News investigation found. None has faced official sanction, more than 2 ½ years after the cheating took place.
Most were able to find new jobs weeks after Dr. Neeley’s statements.
They were able to do so in part because the body responsible for disciplinary actions against teachers, the State Board for Educator Certification, has been slow to act on the cases. The agency has a notorious backlog and a reputation for letting cases lie dormant, sometimes for more than two years.
In addition, state officials chose not to use their normal method to inform school districts of the findings of their investigation. Several of the school districts that now employ the teachers said they were unaware of the findings until informed by The News.
Johnny Apple has died. (That’s R.W. Apple Jr. to the byline readers in the audience.) He was for many years perhaps the most famous name in The New York Times, covering politics, war zones, and (in his advanced years) the glories of high-cholesterol foods.
Some folks dumped on Johnny for his news analysis pieces. (As the excellent obit notes: “His best were 1,200-word tapestries of history, erudition and style; the worst were clear and concise, but reflected conventional wisdom that sometimes proved wrong.”) But he may have had the last of the great correspondent careers — a bon vivant roaming the globe, floating on a boundless expense account and the layer of fat born of eating in the world’s finest restaurants. It’s the sort of life newspapers don’t fund as much any more, alas.
Quoth the obit: “But he was a natural role model, and his colleagues and competitors all watched what he asked, and what he wrote, and what and where and when he ate and drank, and they did their best to follow suit, albeit with much less apparent ease, capacity or zest. When, in an Indian restaurant in Uganda, he warned his dining companions, ‘No prawns at this altitude!,’ they listened up.”
That’s my new life motto: No prawns at this altitude!
As a Louisianian, I had a special affection for Apple’s byline, since he had an appropriate appreciation for boudin. Note the reference to Nook Bonin’s boudin emporium in New Iberia, a (tragically since-closed) place of wonder, where I have proudly dined with Johnny’s friend (and Friend-of-Crabwalk) James Edmunds.
I can’t find Calvin Trillin’s 2003 profile of Apple (in The New Yorker) online anywhere, but it’s worth hunting down.
Update: Here it is. “Apple stories often portray R. W. Apple, Jr., checking into a hotel so staggeringly expensive that no other reporter would dare mention it on his expense account, or confidently knocking out a complicated lead story at a political convention as the deadline or the dinner hour approaches, or telling a sommelier that the wine won’t do (even if the sommelier has brought out the most distinguished bottle in that part of Alabama), or pontificating on architecture or history or opera or soccer or horticulture. He still travels grandly and eats prodigiously. In Apple stories that take place in restaurants or hotels or even newsrooms, the verb used to describe his manner of entry is normally ‘swept in.’”
Updated update: Turns out that my friend Mary had a semi-run-in with Apple based on the aforementioned boudin link.
Updated updated update: Here’s an NPR interview with Trillin about Apple (and Cajun food).