Nina Simone 1933- 2003

I Put a Spell on You: The Autobiography of Nina Simone

Eunice Kathleen Waymon (February 21, 1933 – April 21, 2003), better known by her stage name Nina Simone, but also known as ‘The High Priestess of Soul’ was an American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist widely associated with jazz music. She composed over 500 songs and recorded over 40 albums. Simone aspired to become a classical pianist while working in a broad range of styles including classical, jazz, blues, soul, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop.

Born the sixth child of a preacher’s family in Tryon, North Carolina, Nina’s prodigious musical talent prompted her ambition to become the first black concert pianist, but the realities of poverty and racial prejudice forced her to redirect her ambitions. Her musical path changed direction after she was turned down for full scholarship at a prestigious music institute, the Curtis Institute of Philadelphia. She then began playing in The Midtown Bar & Grill in Atlantic City to fund her continuing musical education, after realising a pupil was earning more than she was by teaching piano, but the bar required her to sing as well. She was approached for a recording by Bethlehem Records, and her rendition of “I Loves You Porgy” became a smash hit in the United States in 1958. Over the length of her career, Simone recorded more than forty albums, mostly between 1958, when she made her debut with Little Girl Blue, and 1974…

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The insidious rise of Pornography

There has not been a sex murder in the history of our department in which the killer was not an avid reader of pornographic magazines.” (Detroit police inspector Herbert Case)

PORNOGRAPHY is the portrayal of behaviour designed to cause sexual excitement. The word comes from the Greek pornográphos, which literally means ‘harlot writing’ or ‘the writing of prostitutes.’ Books, magazines, advertising or films that appeal to a base sexual appetite are considered pornographic.

Some argue that pornography should be outlawed, since it is associated with immorality. Others consider any restrictions an infringement of personal freedom.

In the United States, as elsewhere, there has been much confusion over the matter. Earl Warren, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, once said: “In all my years of service on the Supreme Court, the subject of obscenity and how to deal with it has given me the most difficulty.”

How widespread has the tide of pornography become? In the United States, Cincinnati lawyer Charles Keating, Jr., stated: “The spread of pornography has reached epidemic proportions in our country.”

Writing in McCall’s magazine, Myra Mannes declared: “We have, in short, now reached a state in our society when anything goes, where all is permitted, and where no limits are placed on the appetites of the individual, on the gratification of their desires and fantasies.”

There has also been a huge increase in pornographic films, plays and sex shows. These feature nudity, suggested or actual fornication, lesbianism, homosexuality and violence or masochism..

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The Last Sailors

The Last Sailors: The Final Days of Working Sail (Book) The Last Sailors [DVD]

Rating: ★★★★★

Neil Hollander and Harald Mertes searched around the sea ports of the world for nearly two years, from 1981 to 1983, for a vanishing breed of sailors and their craft. Despite the predominance of steel hull and diesel engine, traditional wooden hulled sailing craft remain. The men who sail them represent more than the physical accomplishments of fishing, trading and transporting goods and passengers in some remote and inhospitable locations.

These men, who harness the wind and the sea to make their living, are ever dwindling in number, and yet, in some far corners of the globe, vestiges of this traditional way of life remain. The project captured on film and page, as a record and reminder of a bygone era. Eight surviving craft, representative of a distinct culture or location were included; the Windward Islands schooner, the Brazilian jangada, Chilean lancha chilota, Egyptian aiyassa, Sri Lankan oruwa, Bangladeshi shampan, Chinese junk, and Indonesian pinisi..

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Moby Duck

Moby-Duck (2011) by Donovan Hohn

They were toys destined only to bob up and down in nothing larger than a child’s bath – but so far they have floated halfway around the world.

The ducks began life in a Chinese factory and were being shipped to the US from Hong Kong when three 40ft containers fell into the Pacific during a storm on January 29th 1992. Two thirds of them floated south through the tropics, landing months later on the shores of Indonesia, Australia and South America. But 10,000 headed north and by the end of the year were off Alaska and heading back westwards. It took three years for the ducks to circle east to Japan, past the original drop site and then back to Alaska on a current known as the North Pacific Gyre, before continuing north towards the Arctic.

Since then they have travelled 17,000 miles, floating over the site where the Titanic sank, landing in Hawaii and even spending years frozen in an Arctic ice pack.

Heading for Britain, they were soon to be spotted on beaches in South-West England.

The toys have helped researchers to chart the great ocean currents because when they are spotted on the shore they are much more likely to be reported to the authorities than the floats which scientists normally use. There is still much to be learnt about ocean currents.

Because the toys are made of durable plastic and are sealed watertight, they have been able to survive years adrift at the mercy of wind and current..

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