Letters

Letters 09-15-2014

Stop The Games On Campus

Four head coaches – two at U of M and two at MSU – get a total of $13 million of your taxpayer dollars each year. Their staffs get another $11 million...

The Truth About Fatbikes

While we appreciate the fatbike trail coverage, the quote from the article below is exactly what we demonstrated not to be true in most cases last season...

Man Has Environmental Responsibility

I tend to agree with Thomas Kachadurian (“Playing God,” Sept. 8) that we should not interfere with the power of nature by deciding what is “native” and what is not. Man usually does what is better for man (or so we believe), hence the survival and population growth of our species...

The Bush & Obama Facts

Don Turner’s letter to the editor on 8/25/14 stated that there has never been a more corrupt, dishonest, etc. set of politicians in the White House. He states no facts, but here are a few...

Ban Pesticides

I grew up downstate in a neighborhood without pesticides. I was always very healthy. Living here, I have become ill. So I did my research and found out a lot about these poison agents called pesticides (herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, chemical fertilizers, etc) that are being spread throughout this community, accumulating in our air, water and soil...

Respect for Presidents?

Recently we read the Letter to the Editor that encouraged us to stop characterizing President Obama as anything other than an upstanding, moral, inspiring “first Black President”. The author would have us think that the rancor in the press, media and public is misguided. And, believe it or not, this rancor is a “glaring exception to … unwritten patriotic rule” of historically supporting all previous presidents...


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Ross Boissoneau

 
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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Happy Birthday, Bruce

Music Ross Boissoneau So there we were in Mike Weiler’s early morning government class, learning about the checks and balances in our three-tiered government system and other sundry topics. One day a week we discussed current events, using Time magazine for the topics.
This day, after looking at whatever issues were most directly connected with government, Mr. Weiler closed by saying, “Have any of you heard of this guy on the cover?” Bill Barry and I rather tentatively raised our hands, sure that somewhere or another we’d heard of this Bruce Springsteen guy.
Now, 30 years later, Springsteen and the album that catapulted him to fame, “Born To Run,” are both certifiable icons. In celebration Columbia has released a remastered version of the disc, along with two companion DVDs. One is a live concert at the Hammersmith Odeon in London from 1975, the other is “Wings for Wheels: The Making of Born To Run,” which also includes footage from a 1973 concert.
Anyone who listened to rock music in the ‘70s and ‘80s heard “Born To Run,” “Thunder Road,” “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out,” and “Jungleland.” The new version has a pristine sound that still delivers a wallop few albums have ever matched.
Of particular interest are “She’s the One” and the nearly forgotten “Meeting Across the River,” featuring a plaintive Randy Brecker trumpet obligato. If you haven’t listened to the recording in a while, it’s a refreshing blast of pure rock spirit, delivered with gusto and finesse. Plus Bruce sings his heart out.
 
Thursday, October 27, 2005

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Music Ross Boissoneau 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.
 
Thursday, September 29, 2005

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Music Ross Boissoneau Soulive – Break Out - Concord

Missing that spicy soul music? Into the jam band scene? Like your licks hot and heavy one minute, sweet and sassy the next? Soulive is your answer. One minute the band is channeling Sly Stone, the next Jimi Hendrix, then modern flamenco, and with contributions from Ivan Neville and Chaka Khan among others, there’s some superlative singing as well. But that’s just icing on the cake that is Soulive, a guitar/organ/drums trio that draws its inspiration almost equally from the rock, soul, jam, and jazz camps. They don’t just lock into a groove, they grab it and don’t let go, no matter how ferociously they rock around it. But Soulive offers precision as well, as on the title track, where the two-man horn section complements Eric Krasno’s guitars.
 
Thursday, August 25, 2005

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Music Ross Boissoneau Carole King - The Living Room Tour - Rodkingale/Concord/Hear
It’s too late? Apparently not. How else to explain the continuing appeal of the woman who personified the singer/songwriter with “I Feel The Earth Move,” “Tapestry,” “You’ve Got A Friend” and so many other songs in the 60s and 70s? On this live 2-CD set, King revisits a number of her hits, supported by her piano, occasional guitar and bass, and on “Where You Lead I Will Follow” by daughter Louise Goffin. Sometimes her voice gets a bit ragged, as on “Jazzman,” and sometimes you miss a full band, as on “Smackwater Jack.” But then, the premise of the album is as the title suggests, an intimate acoustic performance for friends. And in that it’s inordinately successful.
 
Thursday, July 14, 2005

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Music Ross Boissoneau Devoted Spirits ˆ A Tribute To Earth, Wind and Fire
(Justin Time Records)
If you‚re going to have a tribute to Earth, Wind and
Fire, who better to do it than those directly
associated with the band, along with some special
guests? Original keyboardist Larry Dunn and
multi-instrumentalists  Morris Pleasure and Sheldon
Reynolds, both longtime members, update „September,‰
„Can‚t Hide Love‰ and a host of other familiar fare.
Other EWF staples include Ronnie Laws, who played on
EWF‚s third album, „Last Days and Time,‰ and
contributes sax on „Can‚t Hide Love,‰ and guitarist
Johnny Graham, who recreates his rockin‚ soul solo on
„That‚s the Way of the World.‰ The mildly hip-hopped
versions don‚t necessarily bring a new dimension to
the proceedings; rather, they make you long for the
original. Interesting and engaging, but it needs a bit
of a kick.
 
Thursday, June 30, 2005

Mark O‘Connor Likes to Fiddle Around

Music Ross Boissoneau Time was when traditional music – that amalgam of country, bluegrass, swing and folk – got short shrift from the musical cognoscenti.
Then Mark O’Connor came along, and things have never been quite the same.
Not that the nonpareil fiddler would ever claim complete credit for this musical turnaround, but the evidence is compelling: There are his albums with Edgar Meyer and Yo Yo Ma. There’s his status within the musical community, where he performs with symphony orchestras. His Hot Swing trio revives the spirit of the legendary jazz music of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli. And now his latest release, the “Double Violin Concerto” with Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, takes things a step further, with his compositions and his playing taking center stage alongside one of the country’s top young violinists.
“Nothing has changed that much except I’ve been able to build my repertoire,” said O’Connor rather modestly, who says his ability to concentrate on composing and collaborating with other players is a great treat.
 
Thursday, May 26, 2005

A Thought Takes Root... Tim Young blends enviornmental concerns with gourmet market

Dining Ross Boissoneau Few people exhibit more commitment to the environment than Timothy Young.

He’s been on the board of the Michigan Land Use Institute, Friends of the Crystal River and the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC). He has spent time overseas in human relief efforts. He built his home himself, partially from logs that fell on his property, partially from recycled and reused materials.
This being a food story, there’s also the matter of his home-grown business. Food For Thought incorporates hand-picked wild foods, organic foods, and intriguing combinations of both in secret recipes for preserves, muffin and pancake mixes, honey, syrup, and even leeks.
The business has grown dramatically since he began it in 1995, but some of the original products are still among the most popular. “The blueberry merlot is our best seller, and the tart cherry cabernet is also popular,” said the unassuming company CEO and chef, who also points to the wild pickled leeks as a personal favorite.
 
Thursday, April 28, 2005

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Music Ross Boissoneau Turtle Island String Quartet with Ying Quartet – 4 + Four – Telarc
Traverse City favorites TISQ have long been esteemed as the world’s top – all right, pretty much only – jazz-based string quartet. Here the group teams up with the Ying Quartet, a nearly-as-famous set of classical string players. The results are engaging at times, but generally rooted more in the classical tradition than the jazzy territory TISQ is known for. Turtle Island leader David Balakrishnan’s “Mara’s Garden of False Delights” is precise and amelodic enough that it could be by that other vanguard of string quartet originality, Kronos. “Variations on an Unoriginal Theme” is a jaunty treat that veers back and forth from Appalachian-style fiddling to European classicism. Uneven though it is, “4+Four” will grow on the listener, but it’s at odds with the best of Turtle Island.
 
Thursday, March 24, 2005

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Music Ross Boissoneau Nils Landgren Funk Unit – Funky ABBA (Justin Time Records)

And they said it couldn’t be done. Actually, ABBA’s popularity peaked right about at the height of the disco craze. But funked-up versions of “Thank You For The Music” and “Dancing Queen” just don’t seem right somehow. That is, until you listen to trombonist Landgren and his cohorts, including horns, a rapper, even ABBA’s own Benny Andersson on the concluding “When All Is Said and Done.” The trip-hopped versions of familiar ABBA tunes show a side of the sugary-sweet pop group that lends itself to a driving beat and bass-heavy treatments. Highlights include a soulful “Voulez-Vous” and a rocking “Summer Night City,” but every cut reinvents the Swedish superstars, often slowing down the beat and separating out the unison vocals.
 
Thursday, March 10, 2005

Zulu Rock: Ladysmith Black Mambazo Sings of Peace in a Violent Land

Music Ross Boissoneau Whatever the song or the setting, the harmonies of Ladysmith Black Mambazo are instantly recognizable. Now you can hear for yourself Wednesday, March 16 when the acclaimed South African group performs at Interlochen Center for the Arts.
Whether it’s with Paul Simon, who first brought the a capella group to worldwide attention on the “Graceland” disc and tour, with harp player Andreas Vollenweider, or performing alongside an orchestra as on “No Boundaries,” their latest recording, the 10 member-group has created a sound and identity like no other.
That’s been recognized by audiences worldwide, as well as by the critics. As proof, the group just won the Grammy for Best Traditional World Music Album, their second Grammy, for “Raise Your Spirit Higher.”
“We are so grateful and proud to have been awarded the Grammy Award. It’s a humbling moment,” said group leader Joseph Shabalala, the founder of the world-renowned Zulu singing group. “The members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo and I accept this award, not just as recognition for our songs, but for our culture, our people and our country.”
 
Thursday, March 3, 2005

Sportswriter Nick Edson‘s Back Pages: Beyond the Games Offers 30 Years of Local Writer‘s Best

Features Ross Boissoneau Everyone knows a good storyteller, someone who has the ability to turn his or her experiences and those of others into insights, anecdotes or stories that make you tear up or laug loud.
Nick Edson is one of the best. He has both a reporter’s eye and an infectious zest for life, traits which he’s shared for nearly 30 years in the Traverse City Record-Eagle, Leelanau Enterprise, and County Lines, the in-house publication of Cherryland Electric Cooperative.
Nick has written for publications since the fifth grade, when he began writing weekly football and basketball roundups on Mancelona High for the Antrim County News. He won 11 varsity letters in high school, was president of the student council and editor of the high school paper.
Upon graduation from Mancelona, he attended Central Michigan, where he majored in education and journalism. He became sports editor of CM Life, the campus newspaper. Upon graduation he decided to eschew teaching for journalism, starting his professional career at Silbar Publications in Flint. Just three months later, in September 1976, he was hired by the Record-Eagle, where he worked until April 2000, including 18 years as sports editor.
 
Thursday, February 17, 2005

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Music Ross Boissoneau The Manhattan Transfer - Vibrate - Telarc

From the opening of the relaxed but jaunty “Walkin’ In New York,” the Transfer seems intent on delivering its most listenable set in some time. Trumpet great Lew Soloff delivers some screamers, but the focus is on the quartet of nonpareil singers, as it should be. The exotic strings of “Greek Song” stand in contrast to lyrics extolling Barnes & Noble, while the title track similarly juxtaposes lyrical references to cell phones, karaoke and Britney Spears with instrumental backing that brings to mind a Parisienne coffeehouse, complete with accordion. Elsewhere there’s some vocalese, classic material by Gershwin and Jobim, and the joy of hearing four of the finest singers in the world enjoying themselves as they harmonize.
 
Thursday, January 13, 2005

There‘s No Run in these Nylons: Quartet Brings Sheer Energy to Interlochen

Music Ross Boissoneau Where can you hear songs by Three Dog Night, the Police, the Platters, James Taylor, McFadden & Whitehead, Gene Pitney and Prince?
Well, you could spin the radio dial back and forth, from oldies to classic rock to r stations. But a better option would be going to Interlochen’s Corson Auditorium this Friday, Jan. 14, where the Nylons will be wrapping the above and more in their inimitable four-part harmonies. Claude Morrison, the lone remaining original member, says the group is sounding better than ever.
“There was a period in the early ‘90s where one member had died (the angelic-voiced Marc Connors, who passed away from AIDS-related cancer) and one left (Paul Cooper). It wasn’t the apex.
“But at a crucial point Garth (current member Garth Mosbaugh) and Gavin Hope joined. After three or four years Gavin went off to do major musicals, then we got Mark Cassius, who’d just finished major musicals. He was feeling a need for change.
That was seven-plus years ago. But according to Morrison, “We still refer to him (Cassius) as the New Guy.”
 
Thursday, December 30, 2004

10 Pop Culture Talking Points... from a Year that Ranged from the Dismal to the Divine

Features Ross Boissoneau Red vs. Blue
The divisions in the country are deep. Whether they ended up Red or Blue, most of the states were nearly evenly divided, and Michigan is no exception. But the President who has vowed to unite America rather than divide it has replaced most of his cabinet with insiders and close personal advisors, a move that doesn’t bode well for discussion of divergent viewpoints. If he is to truly unite the country, then inclusion of those who hold different viewpoints is essential. Time will tell.
 
Thursday, December 9, 2004

Sounds of the Season: What‘s New in Christmas Music

Music Ross Boissoneau Each year’s holiday time brings some treats for the season. This year is no exception, with new seasonal favorites sure to join the Christmas chestnuts you pull out each year.
Of course, there are some that don’t measure up as well. Maybe they’re like the proverbial fruitcake that gets passed around each year, and there are really only a couple clinkers. It’s Christmas time – we can wish, right?
Various Artists: I’ll Be Home For Christmas (Windham Hill)
Easily one of the best holiday discs of this or any other year. It covers a lot of ground stylistically, from light, swinging jazz (Phillipe Saisse’s “Winter Wonderland” and Sean Harkness covering the Charlie Brown classic “Christmas Time Is Here” by Vince Guaraldi) to more classically-oriented and new age pieces such as Tracy Silverman’s “O Holy Night.” Not that all is sweetness and light: Piano favorite George Winston grabs his harmonica for a way-too honky-tonk version of “Sussex Carol.” But for the most part this is engaging music with the spirit of the holidays intact.
 
 
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