Jefferson Monthly

Features and columns published in the Jefferson Monthly.

From Willy Wonka To Willie Watson

Mar 1, 2015

Each year brings new opportunities for live music. If my January is any indication, 2015 is going to be an interesting and diverse year.

Auto Correct

Mar 1, 2015

First they came for the carriage returns, and I did not speak out. New York Times legend Russell Baker was quick and right to bemoan the loss of the mechanical “ding” at the end of every line. That bell demanded writers do some physical work, swiping the carriage to the left with a strong right haymaker.

Word processors demanded less of everyone. Everyone was pleased.

Let There Be Music

Mar 1, 2015
Dominic Barth

I’ve written several times recently about the important role public radio plays in delivering in-depth, fact-based contextual journalism to citizens.

Perhaps less prominent and appreciated nationally is the compelling work public radio stations like JPR perform every day to help craft a dynamic and vibrant music scene within the communities they serve.  The simple truth is that music in America would sound very different without public radio.

Every spring, Southern Oregon buzzes with anticipation and excitement about the Ashland Independent Film Festival. What films will screen? Which filmmakers will attend? Over 7,000 film lovers gather at the art deco Varsity Theatre, the Historic Ashland Armory, and the Ashland Street Cinema to watch 80+ documentary, feature, and short films. Everyone looks forward to the opportunity to discuss independent film with fellow film lovers in line, in the theaters before the films begin, and at film festival events all around town.

Actors strive onstage to “tell the story” laid down by the playwright and envisioned by the director. In an illuminating new book by Mary Z. Maher and Alan Armstrong, Telling the Story, twelve actors from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival have been invited to contribute to a different narrative, one that takes place before and behind the scenes. This composite account begins with the circumstances that propelled them into acting then describes the multi-faceted, idiosyncratic processes, which, leavened with dashes of luck, have supported their onstage success.

The New Basement Tapes is a group of musicians brought together by T Bone Burnett to write music to Bob Dylan lyric’s created during the Basement Tapes era. To fully understand the new, we start with the story of the old.

Wikimedia Commons

A “bit” is the smallest unit of digital information. Put 8 bits together and you get a “byte”. Amass a billion bytes and you have a “gigabyte”. A thousand gigabytes is a “terabyte” (TB), which is the storage capacity of the hard drive in an average desktop computer today. Now imagine a billion 1TB hard drives. Together, all of those hard drives have the storage capacity of 1 zetabyte. 

What Is A Clock?

Feb 1, 2015
NPR

The correct response to that headline is “well, duh…” But bear with me here; the clock I’m talking about is not mechanical, and does not hang on the wall. When public radio people say “clock,” they really mean “schedule.” And the changing of the clocks a few months back made for some changes in the news programming you hear on JPR.

Daniel Marquard

For climate activists, this feels like the last moment. This summer, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report, covering Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, using by far the most sobering language to date. Among the impending risks that it identifies with “high confidence” are:

Gaining Momentum

Feb 1, 2015

As I sit down to write this month’s column, we’ve just welcomed a new year.  It’s a time for all of us here at JPR to reflect on the accomplishments of the past year and set goals for 2015.  2014 was a good year here at JPR.  We grew listener support and underwriting significantly for the first year since the Great Recession.  This allowed us to strengthen our weekend programming, implement 24-hour service on all our stations, expand and improve our local news coverage, welcome a new environmental reporter to our newsroom and replace obsolete equipment at several critical transmission sites

Susan Langston

Well, what I really want for Valentine’s Day is a trip to the Bahamas.

Jamaica, Hawaii, Costa Rica—those places would be fine too. But since the price of air travel seems to be going up—especially around the holidays—as gas prices are going down, local romance is a lot more affordable.

Oregon Cabaret Theatre

Valerie Rachelle met Jim Giancarlo eight years ago at the Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts.  As Artistic Director of the Oregon Cabaret Theatre, Giancarlo was auditioning students; Rachelle was directing and choreographing for PCPA’s Theatrefest.  He invited her to guest direct for OCT, but Rachelle had to decline—she would turn eight months pregnant during rehearsals for the show in question.  Circumstances for her OCT debut finally clicked late in 2012 with The Winter Wonderettes.

“Britney Spears Instagrams Selfie With New Boyfriend”

That was the headline that caught my eye recently while scrolling through my Twitter feed. No, I’m not a fan of Britney Spears. I don’t follow her on Twitter (but I do follow The Huffington Post, which posted the story). I dislike her music. I find her stage apparel distasteful. I hate that we live in a world in which she has become wealthy and famous for being a solipsistic attention whore.

Paul Giancarlo

October marked one year since I returned to the Rogue Valley from Europe to take up my new assignment at Jefferson Public Radio: to add local and regional news features to JPR’s broadcast of NPR's Morning Edition. 

Looking back over this past year, I think we’ve been successful at bringing JPR listeners interesting news and compelling stories about issues and events from around the region.

A recent post on NPR’s All Tech Considered caught my eye. It was called Silicon Valley’s Power Over The Free Press: Why It Matters written by Elise Hu. The piece focused on how the Silicon Valley’s large tech companies, specifically Facebook and Twitter, are now controlling the distribution of the news and information people receive and pay attention to. And, as you might imagine, this is not a great thing.

The Future Of Education In Oregon

Dec 30, 2014

Ask the chief education officer for the Oregon Education Investment Board what challenges Oregon’s K-12 education system faces today, and Nancy Golden has many unsettling statistics and professional observations to share. Originally from New York, articulate, and fast-talking, Golden points out that nearly one in four children in Oregon is living in poverty, the graduation rate in Oregon’s high schools is only 68.5 percent (which is the second to last in the nation, and substantially lower than the national average of 78.2 percent, according to the U.S.

Beating Back The Winter Blues

Dec 4, 2014

Rebekah Dodson was 12 years old when she started noticing how much her mood was affected by the seasons. The daughter of a military officer, Rebekah lived on the Mildenhall Air Force Base in Littleport, England. On the cusp of puberty then, she realized that the darker it got outside the more irritable, grumpy, and tired she felt. Rebekah told her parents, and her pastor, that she was plagued by anxiety and dark thoughts.

According to the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research and analysis think-tank that claims to have “invented the Postwar World,” the year 2015 is going to be awesome. This is the year I’ll be able to clone myself and get bionic biceps. With advanced brain scanning, I’ll copy everything I know (shouldn’t take long) and imprint it onto my clone’s brain. Through gene therapy, I’ll slow down my aging process and speed up my clone’s, stopping him at a younger version of myself so that he can do any physical labor that I don’t have time to take care of with my bionic biceps.

The Pecan Puff Mystery

Dec 1, 2014

Pecan puffs were my father’s favorite Christmas cookie. We kids all liked them, but Daddy loved them. So much so that our grandmother couldn’t keep him supplied during Christmas season.

In the middle of December, the stack of Granny’s cookbooks appeared on the kitchen counter, scraps of paper with additional recipes scrawled in her round script stuck between their pages. Then she’d decide on the year’s varieties, up to a dozen, and compile her list of necessary ingredients.

Oh look, only twelve minutes left of the Christmas shopping season. If you are like me, still staring at your hands when you should be out buying a gift for someone on your list (my list is called a “hit list” —that gives you an idea of how I view the whole gift giving process), you tell yourself you have plenty of time to find other things to do instead of shop. Our kids are older, so the pressure to have a million presents under the tree, each holding the possibility of a pony, is somewhat lessened. Oh they still want presents but what those might be, I don’t really want to know.

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