Trumpeting Mediocrity

Trumpeting Mediocrity – Was Wynton Marsalis ever that good? Thank you, Fred Kaplan, for articulating what I have felt for a long time — that Marsalis (along with Ken Burns) has been one of the unfortunate things to happen to jazz in America in the past decade or so. The occasion of a stupifying new album after his much-ballyhooed signing with Blue Note should prompt an overall reappraisal of his overblown bandleading, writing and, yes, playing chops, Kaplan writes. —Slate

Kerry-McCain ’04?

Take a Stand on VP Choice: “There is a sound and simple reason why John McCain should not be John F. Kerry’s running mate on the Democratic ticket in November. He is a Republican.


The distinction still matters, even in an era when both major political parties are fixated on the nonpartisan, centrist, independent voters who political consultants insist determine the outcome of federal elections.


Reports that many on Kerry’s campaign staff are smitten with the idea of the Massachusetts Democrat naming his Republican colleague from Arizona as his vice presidential choice make for amusing chatter in this long lull between the presidential primaries and the party nominating conventions. It is still a fundamentally foolish idea.


Far from elevating Kerry as a bold, bipartisan thinker, the choice of McCain would enshrine forever Kerry’s reputation for political equivocation. The question his campaign has spent months sputtering to answer (what does John Kerry stand for?) would only be amplified by such a selection.” —Eileen MacNamara, Boston Globe [via CommonDreams]

Sicilian Blazes Put Science to the Test

“A series of spontaneous fires started in mid-January in the town of Canneto di Caronia in about 20 houses. After a brief respite last month, the almost daily fires have flared up again — even though electricity to the village was cut off.


An endless flow of scientists, engineers, police and even a few self-styled ‘ghostbusters’ have descended on the town searching for clues to the recent spontaneous combustion of everything from fuse boxes to microwave ovens to a car.” —Reuters [via dangerousmeta]

Spontaneous combustion and its most vexing variant, spontaneous human combustion, are a puzzling and, I am convinced, real phenomenon. Perhaps the urgency of such a prodigious clustering of these events will provide the impetus for fruitful investigation and some clues to the phenomenon’s cause.

Diet of worms protects against bowel cancer

“Regular doses of worms really do rid people of inflammatory bowel disease. The first trials of the treatment have been a success, and a drinkable concoction containing thousands of pig whipworm eggs could soon be launched in Europe.

The product will be called TSO, short for Trichuris suis ova, and will be made by a new German company called BioCure, whose sister company BioMonde sells leeches and maggots for treating wounds.” —EurekAlert [via boing boing]

For any of you who know the reference, I’m sure you’ll agree; the rest of you, ignore this — I couldn’t help thinking of how this utterly vindicates Phil ‘n’ Lil’s culinary tastes…