Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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Ross Boissoneau - October 27th, 2005
Shimmer • Shimmer • (Cake Records)
And you thought they didn’t make them like this anymore. Shimmer melds pop and soul influences from the 70s through the 90s. Comparisons to Train are apt, as frontman Skip Peri’s vocal timbre sounds quite similar to Pat Monahan. Where Monahan has matured into one of rock’s more reliable and engaging vocalists, Peri is not yet, well, mature. And that’s one of his strengths. Still a bit bratty in their attitude and musical approach, but possessed of a great sense of smarts, the trio (which includes Sean Siner on drums and Evan Brubaker on bass) has produced an album of 10 catchy, singable pop-rock songs that all clock in between three-and-a-half and four-and-a-half minutes. This would have sounded quite at home in the New Age 80s alongside the Police and the Knack.

Al Kooper • Black Coffee • (Favored Nations)
Al (don’t call me Alice) Kooper is a celebrated rock icon, but not necessarily a well-known one. That’s despite the fact he wrote “This Diamond Ring,” played organ on Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone,” founded and was the original lead singer for Blood, Sweat and Tears, produced the Tubes, discovered Lynrd Skynrd, and wrote for, produced, and/or performed with hundreds of other artists over his 40-year career. “Black Coffee” finds him performing mostly new originals with the Funky Faculty, a like-minded band of fellow instructors from Berklee College of Music. Kooper’s voice, never his strong suit, is getting ever-thinner, but the songs, arrangements, and performances elevate this beyond mere curiosity. Vaguely reminiscent at times of “Child Is Father To The Man,” the lone BS album he appeared on.

Tim Ries – The Rolling Stones Project • (ESL Music)
As the rock icons tour yet again, here is a Stones album like no other. The band’s longtime saxophonist has crafted a jazz album featuring some of their most famous tunes. “Satisfaction” is updated in an almost-swinging vibe, with luminaries John Scofield, Larry Goldings and John Pattituci lending their talents. “Honky Tonk Women” features Charlie Watts on drums while Keith Richards and Ron Wood and almost-Stone Darryl Jones guest as well on the following “Slippin’ Away,” and again on “Honky Tonk Women (Keith’s Version).” Sheryl Crow, Bill Frisell and Norah Jones are among the others on what is a surprisingly successful outing. Highlights besides “Satisfaction” are “Street Fighting Man” and a version of “Paint It Black” that veers from chamber jazz to a stunning electric guitar solo by Frisell.

Suzanne Ciani • Silver Ship • (Artistry Music)
Ciani has been one of the darlings of the electronic and new age music scenes for over 20 years, and “Silver Ship” shows ample evidence why. Her stirring melodies remain intact, often stated by piano with her banks of synthesizers providing harmonies and backgrounds. She enlists some of her usual cohorts, including Paul McCandless on oboe, Teja Bell on guitar, and Michael Manring on bass. On “Stromboli,” for example, her piano duets with McCandless on the simple, repetitious theme, while on the following “Capri” she essays a descending theme before handing it off to Matt Eakle’s flute which then pairs off with Joe Hebert’s cello. All the while Ciani keeps the mood flowing with electronic beats and an entire synthesized rhythm section.

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