Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

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4Play: Blue October, I Wrestled a Bear Once, Dave Matthews Band, Augustana

Kristi Kates - August 22nd, 2011
Blue October - Ugly Side: An Acoustic Evening with Blue October - Red General
Recorded at the band’s first “official” acoustic shows at a couple of different locales in Texas, this set showcases their tunes in both a different setting and with a different vocal approach. They’re not “ugly” versions of the songs, although they are unplugged - this serves the songs and their arrangements well, especially on “Come In Closer,” which seems more personal with the absence of the female singer on the full version; “X Amount of Words,” which adds in a shakeup in the bass line; the popular “Jump Rope”; and the evocative, emotional “The End.” It’s a nice acoustic roundup of what this band can do without their full sound.


I Wrestled A Bear Once - Ruining It for Everybody - Century Media
Somewhere between serious screamo music and post-metal-emo - they don’t seem to be quite sure where they’re meant to be - IWABO produced this album a little more thoroughly than previous releases, but it’s still just kind of… well, average. Nothing about this album makes them really stand out from the pack; even though they term themselves as ‘experimental,’ you can’t help but think you’ve heard these same experiments attempted somewhere else. It’s difficult to pick any highlight tracks, because they all, unfortunately, seem to run together; perhaps they’ll do some groundwork and make a better set next time around.


Dave Matthews Band - Live at Wrigley Field - RCA
This endlessly-popular, jazzy rock-jam band never seem to slow down, at least not to their loyal base of fans. 40,000 of said fans showed up for this show at Chicago’s historic Wrigley Field last September to watch (and listen, of course) to this particular set, which included plenty of old favorite DMB songs and a few newer ones. You’ll hear familiar DMB hits like “Jimi Thing,” “Crash Into Me,” and “Tripping Billies,” all delivered with the energy and precision the band is known for. “Jimi Thing” in particular is notable, if for nothing else than to hear an entire crowd of that size singing along. A fun listen for Dave Matthews fans.



Augustana - Augustana - Epic
This is Augustana’s third set, with production by Kings of Leon cohort Jacquire King. With its theme of ‘fighting for the one you love,’ the songs here are impassioned and strong, balancing determination with romance; “Steal Your Heart” has a spare but solid hook to it, while “Shot in the Dark” adds more depth to its own hook, and some of Augustana’s usual pianos are exchanged for guitar, which is a nice change for the group. A few experimental elements - the mandolin on “Borrowed Time” and the synthon “Shot…,” for example, seem not quite fused with Augustana’s arrangements, but don’t detract enough to take away from the overall impression.
 
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