Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

First Glimpse of Colliding Neutron Stars Yields Stunning Pics

Telescopes all over the world and in space were busy on Aug. 17, when scientists made the first-ever observations of both light and gravitational waves from a single cosmic event. Here are some of the stunning images of the event, including some from the Hubble Space Telescope, as well as artists' illustrations that give insight into the complex workings of this energetic collision.
The eruption of light and gravitational waves (ripples in the universal fabricknown as space-time) was produced by an event known as a kilonova, or the collision and merger of two neutron stars, which are the dead cores of stars that stopped burning fuel. This is the first time scientists have directly observed a kilonova eruption, scientists said during a news conference today (Oct. 16). 
Astronomers at today's news conference said that this detection of both light and gravitational waves marks the beginning of the era of multimessenger astrophysics, which means studying the cosmos with fundamentally different types of information, such as gravitational waves and light. [Gravitational Waves from Neutron Stars: The Discovery Explained]

For the rest click here.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Tom Petty- sometimes a great musician

It's a big los for me to see Tom Petty die. He was a great musician and he was sometimes progressive. Here is one of my favorites:  -SJ Otto

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers- Something in the Air

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - So You Want To Be A Rock and Roll Star


Monday, October 02, 2017

Hugh Hefner did some good—but he was not a saint

By SJ Otto
Hugh Hefner was a revolutionary of sorts in his early days. He wasn't on par with such heroes as Malcolm X or Martin Luther King Jr. But he did bring down some of the more repressive rules controlling the US press. His magazine, Playboy, was the first major publication with nude pictures and articles about sex. Hefner ran his own recipes for his version of the sexual revolution. He also gave controversial public figures a voice.
He challenged US puritan laws and attitudes. That needed to be done and Hefner did it. There have been plenty of efforts over the years to ban Playboy, but no court ever deemed it pornographic. Vigilante groups tried using boycotts to stop the magazine. But it prints even today, even if they took out the centerfold. Groups such as the National Federation of Decency and Jerry Falwell's Liberty Foundation campaigned to persuade the 7-Eleven chains to stop carrying Playboy and other similar magazines.[1] But Playboy was always available somewhere.
Hefner built up his own philosophy on sexuality:

"Aiming to target the more cosmopolitan and intellectual male demographic, Hefner spent the several years developing and promoting the Playboy Philosophy, a manifesto on his ideas on politics, and governance as well as free enterprise and the nature of man and woman." -Yourstory.

Along with ideas on sexual liberation Hefner's publication gave interviews on controversial public figures who rarely got treated fairly in the US mainstream media.[2] People such as Timothy Leary, Malcolm X, Fidel Castro, Madalyn Murray and the Sandinista leadership of the 1980s, were all given lengthy interviews. 
Gloria Steinem and other feminists attacked Playboy for being sexist—and the magazine was guilty of that.
Hefner made millions on his magazine and one time he had Playboy Clubs all across the country. He built an empire. He was a bourgeois liberal and liberal on many issues. But he was not a radical, nor was he a selfless hero who lived for any real cause. He lived the life of a $ multi-millionaire. He lived the good life and he lived it up.
He was not a great hero like Malcolm X. He was not really all the far to the left. But he did contribute to press freedom on several levels. He was a sexist pig. His magazine did not treat women and men fairly. He treated women as sex objects.
Like many public figures Hefner was a mixed bag. He was right about some things and wrong about others. I don't agree with those who have condemned him solely on his treatment of women. He did some good for the country and he deserves to be remembered for those things that he did right.
He is gone now. Today his magazine would almost seem timid compared to others that have sprung up since Playboy began, such as Hustler magazine. Today there is nothing really that controversial in Playboy, with or without the pictures. In the 1950s when Playboy began, the US was way more conservative. Change was needed and today we have more choices, culturally, politically and visually. For some of this we can thank Hugh Hefner.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Patient Zeros play at Kirby's

By SJ Otto
The Patient Zeros played their own unique brand of rock music at Kirby's Saturday night. The group played mostly acustic and experimetnal rock music.
Scott Knost (below) also played both  acoustic and some experimental music with some electric devices. 
I mostly drank Mickey's Malt Liquor.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

I will miss Jerry Lewis—a comic genius

By SJ Otto
I was a small child when I first went to see Visit to a Small Planet, back in 1960, my first Jerry Lewis movie. I was only 5 years old. I thought the movie was screamingly funny. But my taste in humor has changed a lot since I first saw that movie. Years later I saw the movie as an adult and I still found it to be humorous. There were parts of the movie I still found funny. There was humor I probably didn’t get as a child and some things I laughed at as a child were no longer so funny.

Lewis was probably the first adult human movie star I took a liking to. He was not animated like Popeye the sailor, another person I liked watching as a child. So I was seriously affected when Lewis died last month. He is no longer my favorite adult movie star. But I still like him and consider him an important influence on my life—not because he was a great philosopher, or a great meaningful hero, but because as a child I thought he was funny. Even today I feel like Lewis was a kind of comic genius. That’s not to say all his movies were great. He put out some real stinkers. Some of his early movies really sucked. But he was an innovator. He experimented a lot with humorous ideas. That meant that some of his films missed badly. The one I found really disappointing was Don't Raise the Bridge, Lower the River. And most Lewis fans probably agree that his master piece is The Nutty Professor. The latter movie turns the story of Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde on its side. Instead of the Professor turning into a monster, he turns into the kind of sophisticated and dominating person he always wished he could be. The movie is more than just funny. It takes up the issue of people wanting to be someone they are not and, with the magic of chemistry, the professor is able to become all he wants to be. So it is a movie that raises issues and subjects more than just mindless slapstick. Even Visit to a Small Planet has some satire in it.
It took a while, as a child, for me to realize that Lewis had been a part of the team of (Dean) Martin and Lewis. When I first saw some of those movies I thought they were pretty good. I especially liked Living It Up. But I think Lewis did his best work after he left Martin.
It’s been almost a month since Lewis died. He was 91 so he got a lot of years for himself. He made the best if his life—making movies, and many of us are glad he did.   

Monday, September 04, 2017

Labor day & some Union Songs...

 It is a day to celebrate the labor most of us do. Here are some labor ditties.

You Gotta Go Down And Join The Union

Woody Guthrie - Union Burying Ground

Joan Baez- Bread and roses

And don't forget a picnic.

Pix by Simply Driven.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Swimming the English Channel

By Harsh Thakor
Commemorating 29 years of Swimming the English Channel-a feat I accomplished on August 22nd 1988 exactly 29 years ago, on this very day. In the year 1988 I became the 16th Indian to achieve the feat of Conquering Swimming's Mount Everest -The English Channel. My previous passions in my childhood and school days were Horse Racing and Cricket. However I pursued this goal with will power and self-determination I never exerted before. Its a treacherous stretch of water, one of the busiest shipping routes in the World. Less people have conquered the Channel than those who have gone into space or conquered Mount Everest. It’s a Treacherous stretch of water ,one of the busiest shipping routes in the world .Those who swim these 21.5 miles must accept that o the way they will swim through sewage, oil slicks and patches of seaweed. They know that the brine will make their tounges and throats swell ,making breathing difficult.They know that oif enough salt awter gets inti the stomach ,they may throw up.They know that they will have to fight the Chane’s micro-climate ,caused by being sandwiched between 2 water bodies.They know that they musty battle the tides that come and go every 6 hours. Everyone has heard of he swimmer who has been in the water for 10 hours with he French Coast close at hand only to be pulled away by flood tide. But on the chilly morning that I first dipped my body into he Channel, I realized that for a boy from the subcontinent ,it was going to be a battle with the temperature. After a few hours in the water even the best swimmers become confused and are unable to respond to simple questions from the Escort pilot, lips turn blue, bodies shake uncontrollably. Adrian Moorhose, a British Olympic Champ, fresh from the Barcelona Games, lasted only for two and half hours. Quoting Adrian Moorhose.’When I fisrt entered the Channel and attempted to swi I thought I was going to drown.The cold completely knockedthe wind out of me.I could not catch my breath.I was bringing up bile and I ahd a blinding headache. “Long Distance Swimming is a prolonged state of mind.It is you against the elements.It is a rael explorer’s job.You think about keeping your sroke –raete going.You do not think of anything else till something touches your foot. Sprint Swimmers do not realize how hard it is .i may have beeb an Olympic Champion but I terms of the Channel,I am a nobody and I have to respect that.”I virtually roze as the first chilly green waves made contact. But,In had come too far done too much to turn back. To participate in club and inter-collegiate events I trained 4,000metres twice a day.I have strong memories of logging 220laps of the Willingdon Swimming pool in Mumbai in the morning. I would again workout in the evening. I would swim sets of 1,000 metres 4 times within 1and a half hours. I secured 3rd place in the Inter-collegiate swimming in 400 metres Freestyle and 100 metres. I also attained 3rd place in the C.C.I Western India Championships in the 400 and 800 yards freestyle. I was now tutored by Mr. Kishan Singh of P.M. Hindu Bath and Mr. Jadhav at the Bombay Gymkhanna. I had increased my workouts to about 10 to 11km.daily. They would be divided into sessions only kicking, only pulling (Only using Arms) and then swimming intervals of 400 metres or 200 metres each. I qualified for the Maharashta State finishing 7th but couldn't qualify for the Nationals. I had stamina but I had some stroke defects. My debut in sea swimming took place in 1985' swimming Sunk Rock to Gateway of India in 51 mins. I now wanted to cross Uran to Gateway of India. (An island 12 km from Mumbai.) I logged continuous stretches of 6,000 metres twice a day as practice. On the day I cruised along to swim in the then record of 2 hrs 56 mins. It was a most peaceful swim and I felt much more at ease with myself than in the Swimming pool the waves simply seemed to pull me along. The following year in 1986-1987 I was unsuccessful in competitive swimming but in the I.N.S. Hamla to Dadar Chowpatty Swimming race I had one of my major personal triumphs .In the pool I did workouts of 5 km, twice a day. I also did an 8 km swim at a stretch. I finished the 35 Km. course in 10hrs 58 mins. finishing 11th. For most of the race I hardly knew where I was placed and for a prolonged period I was simply awaiting the finish. The guide kept indicating the Finish was around the Corner. However my willpower and determination persisted and I simply trugged along like a machine. In the end I heaved a huge sigh of relief! I now believed I could swim the English Channel. As a trial I did the 35 km stretch from Dharamtar to Gateway of India. I completed it in 9 hrs 44 mins., being under-prepared. This was like a practice swim for the Channel. I simply cruised along with ease. The Following months I logged 12 km a day in y my 50-metre pool. I had no doubts about my stamina. My main objective in crossing the Channel was to prove my worth to the world and make a name. My coach Kishan Singh and I arrived in June. My mother was to come later. At first I found the temperature of the Channel waters unbearable. I simply shivered and took a long time to recover. Gradually I could stay for 20 mins., then an hour and eventually I could do 3-6 hour workouts. (After a month) I would simply blaze in the water and can never forget how I would swim from one end of Dover to the cliff on the other side. Every half an hour or one hour I would take a feed. Through maintaining my diet my mother played a big role in my training fitness. She simply took care of my diet cooking my meals. As a preliminary I participated in the Lake Zurich International Marathon 26 km race. Here I simply swam with the utmost determination. For long periods I felt the end was coming and I seemed to be wearing down. However that inner courage won the day for me and finally I was relieved to see the end. My mental strength won the day for me. On the same day as my Zurich Lake swim two Indian Swimmers created a record becoming the youngest ever boy and youngest Asian female respectively. Abhijeet Rao at 11 years became the youngest ever to cross the Channel , while Naina Malhapurkar became the youngest Asian. On the same day as me Rajaram Ghag, a polio-affected victim was to attempt the Channel. A day before my attempt a major tragedy had occurred Renata Agomdi, a Brazilian Champion who had just won the Capri-Naple International Marathon died of hypothermia. The cause was that her body had not acclimatized itself to the Channel waters. After 9 hrs she was lifted out dead. It was one of swimming sport's saddest moments. I was 99% sure I would cross the Channel. I understood my endurance and reserves of physical and mental strength. On August 22nd I started my expedition. For the first 6 hours I was cruising. I could see the cliffs of Calais and the end seemed a formality. However then a storm broke out. With determination I chugged along kike a machine. I was deter determined to fight the battle till the very end like a soldier fighting to the very end in a war .I had not only to tap the highest reserves of my physical energy but also my mental determination. After 12 -13hrs I felt the end was almost there but I was battling with the waters. Up to 14 hrs I was still fully conscious. However after that my mind was slowly going into a state of semi-unconsciousness. The end was just round the corner. After 15 hrs 2 mins. I rolled over the Calais beach crawling not realizing the end had come. My mother eventually told me the swim was over and affectionately I kissed her. But for her care I would never have made it. After that I was dragged into the boat where I simply feel asleep. On getting up after an hour my mother informed me I had made it. More than the physical battle I had won the spiritual battle. More than my mind it was my heart that won the day! That day I had made swimming history in some quarters. I had become the first student of the Famous Eplphinstone College and Cathedral and John Connon school as well as the first Pransukhlal and Mafatlal Swimming Bath member to achieve this feat. Tingoo Khatau, India's champion failed in 3 attempts, so did other greats. That year the swimmers from India who failed included Manoj Erande who broke the Dharamtar-Bombay Swim record timing swimming the distance in 7 hrs 52 mins. as well as Khasnis who followed Erande. On returning I was headline news in the sports pages such as 'Harsh Swims the Channel against Odds". I was feted by the PM. Hindu Bath Swimming Club being the first swimmer to successfully complete the Channel from the Club. Four Champions from that pool had failed. Test Cricketer Sandeep Patil congratulated me and my name was mentioned in the paper's as a 'Hindu Bath's hero." I was touched, shaking hands with a great childhood idol who had shattered the bowling of Bob Willis and Dennis Lillee. Six years later Sunil Gavaskar praised the feat of crossing the Channel as a proof of one's self-determination . I was called to my school to make a speech. Here I told the young students the strength of mental determination over just physical strength. I accepted my achievement within it’s stride. I would love to equate the story of Swimming the Channel with the goals people strive o achieve in all fields of life. The ultimate winner was he mental tenacity. In the final analysis the end was the winer. To have achieved the feat in the time of Mihir Sen was one of Sport’s Super achievement s.O ne could write a book on Mihir Sen crossing the 7 straits in that time. For Rupali Repale to come up fro such a poor background and achieve this feat is another story. The story of her hurried last –minute preparation schedule could be a book.The same could be said of the polio affected Rajaram Ghag. Anita Sood’s superlative effort of swimming it in 8hrs 15 mins. was an all-time great effort in Marathon Swimming. I hope this story will inspire the youngsters in achieving goals in log-distance swimming or in any field. The power of the inner spirit is simply unconquerable!

Chat Conversation End
A photo of the English Channel. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

We had a great time watching the eclipse of the sun in Atchison, KS

By SJ Otto

As with the rest of the country, I went to watch the eclipse. We chose Atchison, KS as the best place for us to watch the total eclipse of the Sun. My wife, Cam Gentry, her brother Fred Gentry and I went to Atchison, which was in the totality area strip of the country where it actually got dark when the moon completely blocked out the sun light. It has been almost 500 years since this area last saw a total eclipse of the sun. It will be almost another 500 years before such an eclipse comes back. So I needed everything to go right so I could see this once-in-a-life-time event.
First there was the traffic. Our travel slowed down as we made it to the town. There were lots of other people coming from all over Kansas and other states to see the same thing we wanted to look at. The highway was jammed. There were cars everywhere. Then we had to find the least invasive place to catch this event. We chose a park along the Missouri River.
Almost everything was going fine when suddenly it started to cloud up. Then it started raining. We got to Atchison about 10:30. By 11:30, right before it started, there were still clouds in the sky. Off and on the sun peaked out and we could use those special glasses to see the eclipsed son. But the only way we could really be sure we were watching the sun get blocked was the approximate 2 minutes of darkness that fell about 1pm. It looked like night-time.
Look at the bridge below as it looked in the sun:


Here is that same bridge in the short dark period during the total eclipse:


And another picture of the dark in the park:


And here is a picture my brother John Otto took of the light from under trees affected by the eclipse:


And with contrast:

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Bees Knees Week Sept. 25 - Oct. 1

Barr Hill Gin, the perfect base for the Bee’s Knees cocktail, is partnering with bee and pollinator organizations to help save the bees.
Join them in raising awareness and funds for this essential cause.

For more on this click here.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Good bye Martin Landau

Martin Landau was a very talented actor. He will be missed by his many fans. Possibly his best work was that of Bela Lugosi in the film Ed Woods. (SJ Otto) From The Hollywood Reporter:

His résumé includes 'Mission: Impossible,' 'Tucker: The Man and His Dream' and 'North by Northwest.' It does not, however, include 'Star Trek.'

Martin Landau, the all-purpose actor who showcased his versatility as a master of disguise on the Mission: Impossible TV series and as a broken-down Bela Lugosi in his Oscar-winning performance in Ed Wood, has died. He was 89.
Landau, who shot to fame by playing a homosexual henchman in Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 classic North by Northwest, died Saturday of "unexpected complications" after a brief stay at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, his rep confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.

For the rest  click here.