Journal of a Journalist

Links, Articles & Self-Promotion

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It was a different era, in some ways. For one, reflexively anti-statist billionaires from Silicon Valley had not quite reached the level of grandiosity and largesse to grant cool new media start-ups to journalists who challenged the national security state. Corporate media consolidation was at an all time high and the relationship these monoliths shared with the rest of the power structure was stable and comfy cozy.
Jeremy Renner’s Goatee Is an Insult to This Dead Journalist’s Legacy

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Popular street artist Shepard Fairey — who created the “Hope” posters widely used during Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign — says New York City’s high cost of living is driving artists out of town to Los Angeles, and making LA the country’s new cultural hub.

“You can’t be in New York and not have ­either a trust fund or a good enough job to live,” Fairey explained at a Hennessy V.S luncheon at Soho House New York celebrating his label design for a limited-edition bottle. “Artists are screwed in New York right now,” he said.
Asked about LA’s growing popularity as a center for emerging artists, Fairey noted, “The reason why LA is becoming a hub is because LA still has affordable spaces for artists to have studios.”

‘Screwed’ New York artists are fleeing to Los Angeles | Page Six

Filed under los angeles art nyc poorenoughforsohohouse

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A while back there were plans to make what is now the Purple Line extend to the beach. As far as I can remember, the plan was halted because some Beverly Hills people were worried about underground methane gas pockets that could supposedly explode. But I heard the real reason was because some people didn’t want folks not from the area popping up from the underground, like ethnic Ninja Turtles, or Morlocks from the X-Men comics. This is when it hit me that public transportation issue in L.A. was a class issue.
Public Transpo Is Getting Good in L.A. and I’m Proud | West Coast Sound | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly

Filed under losangeles

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Over fifty years ago, a group of pranksters founded a satiric religion devoted to creating conspiracy theories so insane that nobody would ever believe in conspiracies again. They called themselves the Discordians. And their weird ideas are still influencing us today.

Welch’s reaction when he received a letter on Bavarian Illuminati stationery in 1970. Welch was the founder of the John Birch Society, a conservative group with a paranoid bent, mostly focused on communist conspiracies but also willing to expand its gallery of villains to include other secret cabals. The Illuminati are an 18th-century secret society whose alleged efforts to control the world were regularly decried by groups like, well, the John Birch Society.

Welch may have been a nut but he wasn’t a fool, and he was probably pretty sure someone was pulling his leg by the time he saw that the note had been written by “Ho Chi Zen, Cong King of Gorilla Warfare.” But I like to imagine that curiosity compelled him to read on.

The Greatest Fake Religion of All Time

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Before the civil war in Syria destroyed ancient religious sites — and scattered some of the oldest Christian communities in the world — Jason Hamacher made several trips there, taking photos and recording ancient Sufi and Christian chants. The project got its start when Hamacher read in a book about “the world’s oldest Christian music.” He tracked down From the Holy Mountain author William Dalrymple, who told him there were no recordings of the music — and that “it’s not a monastery in the desert; it is a Syrian Orthodox church in the middle of the city of Aleppo.” Hamacher ended up staying at that church as a guest of the archbishop, who has since been kidnapped by rebels. As Hamacher tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross, he is planning a series of albums called Sacred Voices of Syria. The first, which was released this summer on his own Lost Origin Productions, is called Nawa: Ancient Sufi Invocations and Forgotten Songs From Aleppo. Hamacher isn’t coming at this from the perspective of a musicologist, or as a member of a religious community. He’s a drummer who’s played in several punk bands in the Washington, D.C., area
Before War, A Punk Drummer Preserved Syrian Chants : NPR

Filed under music syria

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Everything I want in life is a charcuterie plate with whiskey pairings. #food (at Root 246)

Everything I want in life is a charcuterie plate with whiskey pairings. #food (at Root 246)

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Falling people public art in LA subway station. (at Civic Center (Los Angeles Metro station))

Falling people public art in LA subway station. (at Civic Center (Los Angeles Metro station))

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Buzz Aldrin's New Mission: Life On Mars

I just interviewed Buzz Aldrin for work. Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan was standing a few feet away, and we were at a landmark Beverly Hills house best known for standing in as Jackie Treehorn’s pad in The Big Lebowski. Aldrin is in his eighties and more spry and active than most people half his age. And the interview turned out great.

Filed under science