News 10.02.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 10.02.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.02.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.02.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The canonizing of popular music began in earnest in 1983, when a legendary gatekeeper, the Atlantic Records executive Ahmet Ertegun, convened a cabal of music-industry professionals to create the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The hall was erected with the intent to venerate and deify, and the selections into it reflected the hubris of its creators. “Virtually no mistakes were made,” the Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner said, referring to the choices, when he stepped down as chairman, last year.

In 2003, Wenner and Rolling Stone engaged in a complementary act of canon-building with a list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time,” a massive undertaking. The list’s flaws were apparent from the beginning. “Predictably,” Edna Gundersen wrote, in USA Today that year, “the list is weighted toward testosterone-fueled vintage rock.” Here was an institution, Rolling Stone, made up primarily of white men, saying that most of the best music ever was made by white men, and leaning on their authority as a counterculture icon to do so. A new Rolling Stone list was revealed last week, with a hundred and fifty-four new entries and some major moves in the rankings. It reflects an admirable attempt by Rolling Stone to evolve with the times and exhibit a more comprehensive consideration of music history. The resulting list was clearly animated by a critical push toward poptimism and an attempt to diversify the critical class.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 10.02.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 10.02.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

There’s never a good time to get a phone call from an escaped prisoner. I was at a talent show in Essex in August 2001, watching a succession of soul singers, when three missed calls from an unknown number appeared on my mobile, starting at 10.07pm. Stepping out of the club, I listened to the first message: “It’s David. I’m at King’s Cross station. This is urgent.”

David Blagdon was a longtime prisoner who had become a friend after I interviewed him for a story in 1999. He’d left the number of a phone box for me to call him back, and when we spoke, he said he was on temporary home leave from prison and needed somewhere to stay. I called my neighbours in London, who agreed to let him in. It was after midnight when I returned to find David chatting to my neighbours, eating a sausage and drinking a beer.

“You won’t believe what’s happened to me today. It’s been terrible,” he said, beginning a convoluted story about how he was on short-term release when someone stole his bag and then he got lost. But he soon gave up on it and admitted he was on the run: “I’ve had enough. The Home Office keeps knocking me back. I’m 50, and they’re never going to let me out.”

At that point, David had been in prison for 23 years for starting a fire in a church. Absconding from day release was his latest rebellion against a system that would end up keeping him in prison for twice as long as the average time served for murder.

On the face of it, his was not such a terrible crime: the church, in a village near Oxford, where he set a pair of curtains alight, was empty, the fire was quickly put out, no one was hurt and he wasn’t convicted of any subsequent crimes. And yet David spent half his life in jail.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

Shop the Kensington in French Kiss from the Heritage Collection
at Belgrave Crescent &

More than 1 in 3 Americans believe that the Chinese government engineered the coronavirus as a weapon, and another third are convinced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has exaggerated the threat of Covid-19 to undermine President Trump.

The numbers, from a survey released on Sept. 21 by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center, may or may not taper off as communities begin to contain the virus.

But they underscore a moment when a particular brand of conspiracy theory is emerging in the mainstream: A belief that the “official story” is in fact a Big Lie, being told by powerful, shadowy interests.

At its extremes, these theories include cannibals and satanic pedophiles, (courtesy of the so-called QAnon theory, circulating online); lizard-people, disguised as corporate leaders and celebrities (rooted in alien abduction stories and science fiction); and, in this year of the plague, evil scientists and governments, all conspiring to use Covid-19 for their own dark purposes.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

News 10.02.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 10.02.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On the evening of Friday, March 23, 2018, the police department in Blooming Prairie, Minnesota, dispatched two officers to check on a man named Dave Riess. They drove up a winding dirt drive to a modest tan rambler. The house was dark. So too was the long, low-slung building, located about 50 paces from the front door, where Dave raised fishing bait at the Prairie Wax Worm Farm.

None of Dave’s employees nor his business partner had seen or talked to him for almost two weeks. He hadn’t picked up or returned their calls. They had received responses to texts, but Dave usually dictated his messages, which made the words run together. These replies used punctuation.

Stranger still, Dave was supposed to have left for a fishing tournament in Illinois on Tuesday, March 20. He would have taken his white Cadillac Escalade, which was what he typically used to pull his 20-foot-long boat. But on Thursday, two worm-farm employees saw Lois, Dave’s wife of 35 years, pull out of the driveway in the Escalade. They hadn’t seen her since.

Concern soon escalated to alarm, and the employees called the police.

Blooming Prairie is a blink of a town in southeastern Minnesota. It’s a stop along the railroad tracks that run parallel to U.S. Highway 218, surrounded by vast fields of corn and soybeans. There’s a two-block Main Street of brick buildings, with storefronts that include B-Z Hardware, Farmers & Merchants State Bank, and J & H Liquors. A neat grid of quiet streets about a mile and a half square contain mostly single-story houses. Blooming Prairie is a town of about 1,900 people who leave their front doors unlocked and know each other by their first names. It’s not a place steeped in intrigue. At least it wasn’t.

The Riesses’ home was in the country—a mile south on 218, past six massive grain bins that sat on the edge of town. The night the police visited was dark and cold, with snow still on the ground. No one answered the door. The two officers walked around the house’s perimeter and noticed light coming from an open bathroom window. One hoisted up the other to peer inside. He spotted what appeared to be a body covered with a blanket.

Read the rest of this article at: The atavist Magazine

News 10.02.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

BEFORE THEY WERE sold to the same brothel, Sayeda and Anjali were typical teenagers, growing up in similar circumstances a few hundred miles apart: Sayeda in the city of Khulna in Bangladesh, and Anjali in Siliguri in West Bengal, India.

They nurtured the aspirations of teenagers everywhere—to get out from under their parents, to find love, to start living out their dreams. Both were naive about the world and couldn’t have imagined the cruelties it had in store.

Raised in a tiny two-room house in a squalid neighborhood, Sayeda spent much of her childhood on her own. Her mother would rise early and leave for the day to clean shops in New Market, one of Khulna’s commercial districts. Sayeda’s father was a cycle-rickshaw driver, ferrying passengers for a pittance. A struggling student, Sayeda dropped out of school before her teens, despite her mother’s admonishments that trouble would befall her.

Outgoing and free-spirited, Sayeda was quick to smile and made friends easily. What she loved most was to dance. When her parents were out, she would watch dance sequences from Hindi and Bengali movies on television, copying the moves. Sometimes, when her mother caught her, she would scold Sayeda. “Our neighbors didn’t like that she was always singing and dancing,” her mother told me.

Sayeda was beautiful, with a delicately chiseled face and almond-shaped eyes, and liked wearing makeup. She began to help out at beauty salons, learning about hairstyles, skin treatments, and cosmetics. Worried about the attention she was attracting from boys, her parents married her off when she was 13. Child marriage is common though illegal in much of South Asia. The husband Sayeda’s parents chose was abusive, and she went back to her family.

When Sayeda returned home, she implored her mother to let her enroll in a dance academy. “I’ll be able to perform in shows and make some money,” she said. Her mother relented, and Sayeda began dancing at weddings and other events. That’s when Sayeda became romantically involved with a boy who used to visit the academy. He told her he would take her to India, where she could earn a lot more as a dancer. Sayeda, imagining a future filled with promise, decided to run away with him.

Anjali, a graceful girl with bright eyes and high cheekbones, had similar reasons for wanting to leave home. Her family lived in a slum, in a makeshift dwelling. Raised primarily by her mother, who worked as a maid, she and her sister were so poor they fought over the few school supplies they could afford. By 13, Anjali had dropped out of school—the norm for many children from poor families across India. She started working at a factory, packaging snacks. Reserved by nature, Anjali didn’t have many friends. At home, her confidant was a baby goat she’d adopted, which followed her around, nibbling at her food during mealtimes and climbing into bed with her at night.

At the factory, Anjali met a young man who charmed her. Anjali knew her mother was on the lookout for a prospective groom for her, but she decided she wanted to be with the man she’d come to like. So, one evening in October 2016, during Durga Puja, a Hindu festival, Anjali put on a bright new salwar kameez, slipped out of the house, and took a bus to a train station to meet up with her boyfriend. To Anjali’s surprise, he was with another young man, but she boarded a train to Kolkata with them.

Searching frantically for Anjali that evening, her mother gathered that she’d been planning to elope for some time. In the days before Anjali disappeared, the neighbors had heard her speaking to her goat, saying: “Who is going to take care of you when I’m gone?”

Read the rest of this article at: National Geographic

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.

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Notes from the Weekend & a Few Lovely Links 14.10.19