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 - November 29th, 2007
John Fogerty – Revival – Fantasy
Since John Fogerty disbanded Creedence Clearwater Revival, he’s abdicated his role as spinner of Americana to the likes of John Mellencamp and Bruce Springsteen (see below). But while it took multiple lawsuits and acrimony between him and his former bandmates, Fogerty has seemingly recaptured the magic of those long–ago days. True, he’s had high points since then, principally “Centerfield” from 1985. But he’s never sounded so much like a new and improved version of CCR. He sharpens his pencil and zaps the administration for the war in Iraq, the abandonment of New Orleans, and his view of its corruption and ineffectiveness on “Long Dark Night,” while on “Summer of Love” he lets the guitars do the talking. And his singing really is better than ever, with clearer enunciation and less quaver and twang. Who would have thought you really could go home again?

Bruce Springsteen – Magic – Columbia
Critics are calling this Springsteen’s best album in years. The only question is, the best album since when? One could compare this to Born in the USA in terms of its quality and not be embarrassed, or to Darkness on the Edge of Town for its cinematic feel, and not be far off there either. “Radio Nowhere” opens the disc with an anthemic singalong that brings to mind the America Springsteen misses. There’s a maturity here, both lyrically and musically, that the Boss couldn’t claim back then. While his spooky harmonica brings back memories of dustbowl days, the string section argues for an orchestral oeuvre previously unheard, though perhaps hinted at on “Meeting Across the River” on “Born to Run.” It all adds up to an instant classic, one whose moods and majesty measure up to the soaring guitars and wordplay. Magic indeed.

Maynard Ferguson – The One and Only Maynard Ferguson – Maynard Ferguson Trust
While critics sometimes panned the late trumpeter’s bravura style, fans – and fellow trumpeters – stood in awe of Ferguson’s audacious chops. The One and Only... is as good a going–away present as he could have left us, with both the power and the too–often–overlooked taste, musical generosity and command of a master musician in full view. Ferguson often capitalized on jazz versions of popular tunes, from “Hey Jude” to his hit version of “Gonna Fly Now” from the Rocky movies. Here, he tips his hat to Bill Withers with “Ain’t No Sunshine.” Ferguson also was a master of the ballad, and his flugelhorn playing, especially in his later years, was a thing of beauty. On “Vita Bella,” he amply demonstrates his vitality and the sheer beauty of his tone. The other standards and originals on this disc convey a feeling of beauty, of bravado, warmth and joy. If he had to go, Maynard certainly went out on one of his highest notes.

Will Downing – After Tonight – Peak
Downing is one of those middle–of–the–road R&B singers whose music is appealing enough but lacks the personality or the hits to make him stand out from the crowd. The album has its share of highlights, such as the opening “Will’s Groove” and the delightful “Lover’s Melody,” a much more sprightly track than the name might suggest. The wah–wah guitars and swaying vocals are accompanied by Roy Ayers on vibes, giving the tune a slightly exotic twist. But the energy continues to flag on the overlong title track which follows, finding Downing endlessly repeating the title phrase with no change in the backing, presumably to create emphasis or tension. But instead the repetition tends to have a stultifying effect. There are enough of the high points to make you wish Downing had edited the overlong tracks and deleted the less interesting ones altogether in favor of more exciting tunes.
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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