Friday, January 29, 2016

Carl Sagan’s Rules

The Baloney Detection Kit: Carl Sagan’s Rules for Bullshit-Busting and Critical Thinking

Necessary cognitive fortification against propaganda, pseudoscience, and general falsehood.

Carl Sagan was many things — a cosmic sage,voracious readerhopeless romantic, and brilliant philosopher. But above all, he endures as our era’s greatest patron saint of reason and common sense, a master of the vital balance between skepticism and openness. In The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (public library) — the same indispensable volume that gave us Sagan’s timeless meditation on science and spirituality, published mere months before his death in 1996 — Sagan shares his secret to upholding the rites of reason, even in the face of society’s most shameless untruths and outrageous propaganda.
In a chapter titled “The Fine Art of Baloney Detection,” Sagan reflects on the many types of deception to which we’re susceptible — from psychics to religious zealotry to paid product endorsements by scientists, which he held in especially low regard, noting that they “betray contempt for the intelligence of their customers” and “introduce an insidious corruption of popular attitudes about scientific objectivity.” (Cue in PBS’s Joe Hanson on how to read science news.) But rather than preaching from the ivory tower of self-righteousness, Sagan approaches the subject from the most vulnerable of places — having just lost both of his parents, he reflects on the all too human allure of promises of supernatural reunions in the afterlife, reminding us that falling for such fictions doesn’t make us stupid or bad people, but simply means that we need to equip ourselves with the right tools against them.
Through their training, scientists are equipped with what Sagan calls a “baloney detection kit” — a set of cognitive tools and techniques that fortify the mind against penetration by falsehoods:
The kit is brought out as a matter of course whenever new ideas are offered for consideration. If the new idea survives examination by the tools in our kit, we grant it warm, although tentative, acceptance. If you’re so inclined, if you don’t want to buy baloney even when it’s reassuring to do so, there are precautions that can be taken; there’s a tried-and-true, consumer-tested method.
But the kit, Sagan argues, isn’t merely a tool of science — rather, it contains invaluable tools of healthy skepticism that apply just as elegantly, and just as necessarily, to everyday life. By adopting the kit, we can all shield ourselves against clueless guile and deliberate manipulation. Sagan shares nine of these tools:
  1. Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the “facts.”
  2. Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.
  3. Arguments from authority carry little weight — “authorities” have made mistakes in the past. They will do so again in the future. Perhaps a better way to say it is that in science there are no authorities; at most, there are experts.
  4. Spin more than one hypothesis. If there’s something to be explained, think of all the different ways in which it could be explained. Then think of tests by which you might systematically disprove each of the alternatives. What survives, the hypothesis that resists disproof in this Darwinian selection among “multiple working hypotheses,” has a much better chance of being the right answer than if you had simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy.
  5. Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it’s yours. It’s only a way station in the pursuit of knowledge. Ask yourself why you like the idea. Compare it fairly with the alternatives. See if you can find reasons for rejecting it. If you don’t, others will.
  6. Quantify. If whatever it is you’re explaining has some measure, some numerical quantity attached to it, you’ll be much better able to discriminate among competing hypotheses. What is vague and qualitative is open to many explanations. Of course there are truths to be sought in the many qualitative issues we are obliged to confront, but finding them is more challenging.
  7. If there’s a chain of argument, every link in the chain must work (including the premise) — not just most of them.
  8. Occam’s Razor. This convenient rule-of-thumb urges us when faced with two hypotheses that explain the data equally well to choose the simpler.
  9. Always ask whether the hypothesis can be, at least in principle, falsified. Propositions that are untestable, unfalsifiable are not worth much. Consider the grand idea that our Universe and everything in it is just an elementary particle — an electron, say — in a much bigger Cosmos. But if we can never acquire information from outside our Universe, is not the idea incapable of disproof? You must be able to check assertions out. Inveterate skeptics must be given the chance to follow your reasoning, to duplicate your experiments and see if they get the same result.
Just as important as learning these helpful tools, however, is unlearning and avoiding the most common pitfalls of common sense. Reminding us of where society is most vulnerable to those, Sagan writes:
In addition to teaching us what to do when evaluating a claim to knowledge, any good baloney detection kit must also teach us what not to do. It helps us recognize the most common and perilous fallacies of logic and rhetoric. Many good examples can be found in religion and politics, because their practitioners are so often obliged to justify two contradictory propositions.
He admonishes against the twenty most common and perilous ones — many rooted in our chronic discomfort with ambiguity — with examples of each in action:
  1. ad hominem — Latin for “to the man,” attacking the arguer and not the argument (e.g., The Reverend Dr. Smith is a known Biblical fundamentalist, so her objections to evolution need not be taken seriously)
  2. argument from authority (e.g., President Richard Nixon should be re-elected because he has a secret plan to end the war in Southeast Asia — but because it was secret, there was no way for the electorate to evaluate it on its merits; the argument amounted to trusting him because he was President: a mistake, as it turned out)
  3. argument from adverse consequences (e.g., A God meting out punishment and reward must exist, because if He didn’t, society would be much more lawless and dangerous — perhaps even ungovernable. Or: The defendant in a widely publicized murder trial must be found guilty; otherwise, it will be an encouragement for other men to murder their wives)
  4. appeal to ignorance — the claim that whatever has not been proved false must be true, and vice versa (e.g., There is no compelling evidence that UFOs are not visiting the Earth; therefore UFOs exist — and there is intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe.Or: There may be seventy kazillion other worlds, but not one is known to have the moral advancement of the Earth, so we’re still central to the Universe.) This impatience with ambiguity can be criticized in the phrase: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
  5. special pleading, often to rescue a proposition in deep rhetorical trouble (e.g., How can a merciful God condemn future generations to torment because, against orders, one woman induced one man to eat an apple? Special plead: you don’t understand the subtle Doctrine of Free Will. Or: How can there be an equally godlike Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in the same Person? Special plead: You don’t understand the Divine Mystery of the Trinity. Or: How could God permit the followers of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — each in their own way enjoined to heroic measures of loving kindness and compassion — to have perpetrated so much cruelty for so long? Special plead: You don’t understand Free Will again. And anyway, God moves in mysterious ways.)
  6. begging the question, also called assuming the answer (e.g., We must institute the death penalty to discourage violent crime. But does the violent crime rate in fact fall when the death penalty is imposed? Or: The stock market fell yesterday because of a technical adjustment and profit-taking by investors — but is there any independent evidence for the causal role of “adjustment” and profit-taking; have we learned anything at all from this purported explanation?)
  7. observational selection, also called the enumeration of favorable circumstances, or as the philosopher Francis Bacon described it, counting the hits and forgetting the misses (e.g., A state boasts of the Presidents it has produced, but is silent on its serial killers)
  8. statistics of small numbers — a close relative of observational selection (e.g., “They say 1 out of every 5 people is Chinese. How is this possible? I know hundreds of people, and none of them is Chinese. Yours truly.” Or: “I’ve thrown three sevens in a row. Tonight I can’t lose.”)
  9. misunderstanding of the nature of statistics (e.g., President Dwight Eisenhower expressing astonishment and alarm on discovering that fully half of all Americans have below average intelligence);
  10. inconsistency (e.g., Prudently plan for the worst of which a potential military adversary is capable, but thriftily ignore scientific projections on environmental dangers because they’re not “proved.” Or: Attribute the declining life expectancy in the former Soviet Union to the failures of communism many years ago, but never attribute the high infant mortality rate in the United States (now highest of the major industrial nations) to the failures of capitalism. Or: Consider it reasonable for the Universe to continue to exist forever into the future, but judge absurd the possibility that it has infinite duration into the past);
  11. non sequitur — Latin for “It doesn’t follow” (e.g., Our nation will prevail because God is great. But nearly every nation pretends this to be true; the German formulation was “Gott mit uns”). Often those falling into the non sequitur fallacy have simply failed to recognize alternative possibilities;
  12. post hoc, ergo propter hoc — Latin for “It happened after, so it was caused by” (e.g., Jaime Cardinal Sin, Archbishop of Manila: “I know of … a 26-year-old who looks 60 because she takes [contraceptive] pills.” Or: Before women got the vote, there were no nuclear weapons)
  13. meaningless question (e.g., What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? But if there is such a thing as an irresistible force there can be no immovable objects, and vice versa)
  14. excluded middle, or false dichotomy — considering only the two extremes in a continuum of intermediate possibilities (e.g.,“Sure, take his side; my husband’s perfect; I’m always wrong.” Or: “Either you love your country or you hate it.” Or: “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”)
  15. short-term vs. long-term — a subset of the excluded middle, but so important I’ve pulled it out for special attention (e.g., We can’t afford programs to feed malnourished children and educate pre-school kids. We need to urgently deal with crime on the streets.Or: Why explore space or pursue fundamental science when we have so huge a budget deficit?);
  16. slippery slope, related to excluded middle (e.g., If we allow abortion in the first weeks of pregnancy, it will be impossible to prevent the killing of a full-term infant. Or, conversely: If the state prohibits abortion even in the ninth month, it will soon be telling us what to do with our bodies around the time of conception);
  17. confusion of correlation and causation (e.g., A survey shows that more college graduates are homosexual than those with lesser education; therefore education makes people gay. Or:Andean earthquakes are correlated with closest approaches of the planet Uranus; therefore — despite the absence of any such correlation for the nearer, more massive planet Jupiter — the latter causes the former)
  18. straw man — caricaturing a position to make it easier to attack (e.g., Scientists suppose that living things simply fell together by chance — a formulation that willfully ignores the central Darwinian insight, that Nature ratchets up by saving what works and discarding what doesn’t. Or — this is also a short-term/long-term fallacy — environmentalists care more for snail darters and spotted owls than they do for people)
  19. suppressed evidence, or half-truths (e.g., An amazingly accurate and widely quoted “prophecy” of the assassination attempt on President Reagan is shown on television; but — an important detail — was it recorded before or after the event? Or:These government abuses demand revolution, even if you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs. Yes, but is this likely to be a revolution in which far more people are killed than under the previous regime? What does the experience of other revolutions suggest? Are all revolutions against oppressive regimes desirable and in the interests of the people?)
  20. weasel words (e.g., The separation of powers of the U.S. Constitution specifies that the United States may not conduct a war without a declaration by Congress. On the other hand, Presidents are given control of foreign policy and the conduct of wars, which are potentially powerful tools for getting themselves re-elected. Presidents of either political party may therefore be tempted to arrange wars while waving the flag and calling the wars something else — “police actions,” “armed incursions,” “protective reaction strikes,” “pacification,” “safeguarding American interests,” and a wide variety of “operations,” such as “Operation Just Cause.” Euphemisms for war are one of a broad class of reinventions of language for political purposes. Talleyrand said, “An important art of politicians is to find new names for institutions which under old names have become odious to the public”)
Sagan ends the chapter with a necessary disclaimer:
Like all tools, the baloney detection kit can be misused, applied out of context, or even employed as a rote alternative to thinking. But applied judiciously, it can make all the difference in the world — not least in evaluating our own arguments before we present them to others.
The Demon-Haunted World is a timelessly fantastic read in its entirety, timelier than ever in a great many ways amidst our present media landscape of propaganda, pseudoscience, and various commercial motives. Complement it with Sagan onscience and “God”.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A masterpiece...despite everyone against!

Side One 1. Movin' In (00:00) 2. The Road (04:06) 3. Poem for the People (07:16) 4. In the Country (12:51) Side Two 5. Wake Up Sunshine (19:27) 6. Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon    1. Make Me Smile (22:00)    2. So Much to Say, So Much to Give (25:30)    3. Anxiety's Moment (26:30)    4. West Virginia Fantasies (27:28)    5. Colour My World (29:02)    6. To Be Free (32:02)    7. Now More Than Ever (33:33) Side Three 7. Fancy Colours (34:43) 8. 25 or 6 to 4 (39:53) 9. Memories of Love    1. Prelude (44:51)    2. A.M. Mourning (46:02)    3. P.M. Mourning (48:07)    4. Memories of Love (50:05) Side Four 10. It Better End Soon    1. 1st Movement (54:04)    2. 2nd Movement (56:34)    3. 3rd Movement (1:00:18)    4. 4th Movement (1:03:26) 11. Where Do We Go from Here (1:04:32) Singles A. Make Me Smile (1:07:26) B. 25 or 6 to 4 (1:10:26)

All Things Music Plus
22 hrs ·
January 26, 1970 – Chicago: Chicago II is released.
# Allmusic 4.5/5
Chicago II is the second album by Chicago, released on January 25, 1970. It reached #4 on the Billboard 200 Top LP's chart, and #6 on the UK Album chart. While The Chicago Transit Authority was a success, Chicago is considered by many to be Chicago's breakthrough album, yielding a number of Top 40 hits, including "Make Me Smile" (#9), "Colour My World" (#7), and "25 or 6 to 4" (#4).
It was released on this date in 1970 after the band had shortened its name from The Chicago Transit Authority after releasing their same-titled debut album the previous year. Although the official title of the album is Chicago, it came to be retroactively known as Chicago II, keeping it in line with the succession of Roman numeral-titled albums that officially began with Chicago III in 1971.
Chicago II remains a classic album, encapsulating its time (1969) in all its tumult and glory. The Vietnam War (and the civil unrest it inspired) was still raging, the counterculture dream had not yet crashed and burned, and rock music could be taken seriously as an "art form" while still generating radio hits. Chicago, with their then-new fusion of jazz, rock, and pop, rose high on the charts, while taken seriously both in and beyond the rock-critic establishment.
Their approach had a freshness and vibrancy--"25 Or 6 To 4" was surging, dramatic, and slightly ominous; "Fancy Colours" and "Make Me Smile" were full of soulful optimism; a four-movement suite showed the band had ambition beyond the three- or four-minute pop song. The centerpiece of the album was the thirteen-minute song cycle "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon". Guitarist Terry Kath also participated in an extended classically styled cycle of four pieces, three of which were co-written by the well-known, arranger, composer, and pianist Peter Matz. The politically outspoken Robert Lamm also tackles his qualms with "It Better End Soon", another modular piece. Peter Cetera, later to play a crucial role in the band's music, contributed his first song to Chicago and this album, "Where Do We Go From Here".
The second album also saw the debut of a new songwriter in the band, although the circumstances under which he became a writer are unfortunate. During a break in the touring in the summer of 1969, Peter Cetera was set upon at a baseball game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. "Four marines didn't like a long-haired rock 'n' roller in a baseball park," Cetera recounts, "and of course I was a Cub fan, and I was in Dodger Stadium, and that didn't do so well. I got in a fight and got a broken jaw in three places, and I was in intensive care for a couple of days.”
The incident had two separate effects on Cetera's career. The first was an impact on his singing style. "The only funny thing I can think about the whole incident," he says, "is that, with my jaw wired together - and I had a broken front tooth which allowed me to shove little bits and pieces of food in there and drink some liquid - I actually went on the road a lot sooner than I should have, just because of the economics of everything, and I remember, I believe it was the Atlanta Pop Festival, although I'm not sure if it was the Atlanta or the Texas Pop Festival, there were like 300,000 people there, and I was actually singing through my clenched jaw, singing backgrounds, which, to this day, is kind of still the way I sing. I have a fairly closed mouth, just because of that."
The second effect of the incident was Cetera's first foray into composition. "I came from a band that did Top 40," he says, "and as far as I was concerned, especially when the Beatles came along, number one, all melodies had already been taken, and, number two, certain people were songwriters and certain people were singers, and I didn't consider myself to be a songwriter."
But with a broken jaw, the erstwhile singer had some silent time on his hands. "I had just gotten out of the hospital," Cetera recalls, "and was lying in my bed convalescing when they landed on the moon, and I grabbed my bass guitar and started this little progression on the bass, and started writing 'Where Do We Go From Here.' I think Walter Cronkite actually had said that, and I thought, 'Wow, where do we go from here?' So, in a melancholy way, I wrote it about that, and then I wrote it about myself, and about the world, and about everything in general, and that was my first writing credit."
In addition to its expanded musical horizons, the second album also took a more direct look at the political situation. Chicago had included chants from the demonstrators outside the 1968 Democratic Convention on its first album, and here one of the LP's extended suites was entitled, "It Better End Soon," a plea for the end of the Vietnam War. Though the lyric cautioned, "We gotta do it right - within the system," the title spoke to the impatience of young people at the start of 1970.
Similarly, the album's liner notes (penned by Robert Lamm) dedicated the record, the band members, their futures, and their energies "to the people of the revolution ... And the revolution in all of its forms." It is difficult more than two decades later to describe the multiplicity of meanings the word "revolution" had for young people at the time, and even harder to determine whether a "revolution" actually took place. Clearly, something changed. "I think there was one," says Lamm today. "You may argue with the term 'revolution,' but I think for those of us who were sweaty kids in our late teens or early 20s, that sure was a sexy word."
At the time, however, the band's political commitment was subject to some misunderstanding. Robert Lamm was actually the chief political exponent of the band, and he just felt the need as a composer, as an American and a human being, to talk about these things because they were major issues in his life, and he felt that we had an incredible platform and a gift, and we could use it for things other than entertaining," explains Pankow. "We were even at the point of putting voter registration information at concerts. Robert figures if 18-year-old kids were old enough to get their brains blown out in Vietnam, they should be old enough to vote. Unfortunately, it was misinterpreted by a lot of the nut cases. The SDS and the Chicago Seven and all kinds of people were approaching us on the basis of rioting, of, "Hey, let's tear the system down.' All of a sudden, we were being enlisted to become politically involved to the hilt. I'm sure that it had a lot to do with our longevity and people taking us seriously, however, it got to the point where it almost became a burden in light of the fact that it started to infringe on the musical goals. We started thinking about this, and we started realizing, hey, man, people come to a concert or put a record on to forget about that shit. So, we decided to put our objectives in perspective and entertain people. That's what we do best, that's what our niche in life is, and so that's what we decided to do, we put our politics on the shelf."
In commercial terms, the major change that came with Chicago II, which was released in January, 1970, was that it opened the floodgates on Chicago as a singles band. In October, 1969, Columbia had re-tested the waters by releasing "Beginnings" as a single, but AM radio still wasn't interested, and the record failed to chart. All of this changed, however, when the label excerpted two songs, "Make Me Smile" and "Colour My World," from Pankow's ballet, and released them as the two sides of a single in March, 1970.
"I was driving in my car down Santa Monica Boulevard in L.A.," Pankow remembers, "and I turned the radio on KHJ, and 'Make Me Smile' came on. I almost hit the car in front of me, 'cause it's my song, and I'm hearing it on the biggest station in L.A. At that point, I realized, hey, we have a hit single. They don't play you in L.A. unless you're hit-bound. So, that was one of the more exciting moments in my early career."
The single reached the Top 10, while Chicago II immediately went gold and got to Number 4 on the LP's chart, joining the first album, which was still selling well. A second single, Lamm's "25 Or 6 To 4," was an even bigger hit in the summer of 1970, reaching Number 4.
But instead of reaching into the second album for a third single, Columbia and Chicago decided to try to re-stimulate interest in the first album, and succeeded. The group's next single was "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" which became their third Top 10 hit in a row by the start of 1971. "Up to that time, to be very honest, I don't think people were really ready to hear horns the way we were using them," says Parazaider. "But after we established something with horns - '25 Or 6 To 4,' but actually 'Make Me Smile,' which was our first bona fide hit-it seemed like it broke the ice and it became easier, and they accepted stuff that was recorded easily a year before."
In 1968, when Richard Harris and the Beatles enjoyed top-selling hit singles that ran over seven minutes each, it seemed as though the old habit of keeping songs down to three minutes - an ancient holdover from the pre-tape days of the first half of the century when recordings couldn't physically be longer - was about to be buried. True, radio had patterned itself after the three-minute limit for its commercial considerations, but clearly the audiences were willing to accept longer songs.
Artists may have recognized the change, but record companies didn't, and so, as tracks got longer and longer, groups got into fights - in the already politically adversarial days of the late '60s - over having their songs edited down to something around three minutes for single release. This was a particular problem for Chicago, who, as they became a singles force in the early '70s, more and more faced the razor at Columbia Records.
"The normal problem of that time for any group was, they would try and take a four-minute and ten-second song, and try and make it three minutes long," recalls Peter Cetera, "and we were just against that. There was a big thing at that time to be totally album-oriented, and anything that smacked of you doing this to be a single was commercialism, which was terribly frowned upon. What you really wanted was to be on the big FM [album] oriented stations, and not the Top 40 twinkie stations."
"It was a problem," argues Parazaider. "I think it was a problem for the writers, too, because they were writing whole pieces. It bothered all of us that some of these things were taken right out of context and chopped up and put on the radio. And then they became hits, what can you say? How do you complain? Say, 'Take it off the radio. We're ashamed of that musically'? We weren't ashamed of it musically. It's just, the people weren't getting the whole story. The only thing we took comfort in was, a lot of people were buying the albums, so they would definitely see these little three-minute ditties in context."
"We considered it an abortion," says Pankow about the edits. "But we were convinced by our management company and Jimmy Guercio that, hey, if you guys want to become establishment, if you want to sell millions of records and become a true phenomenon, you have to make allowances for the nature of your music. We realized at that point that it was indeed a necessary evil."
Robert Lamm, who was perhaps the most frequent victim of the edits, disputes the version of the story told in Clive Davis's autobiography. Davis says that Guercio understood the situation and helped convince the band to compromise. Lamm says Guercio's antipathy to the edits was stronger than his own. "The problems that Chicago had with Clive Davis were not really problems between the band and Clive Davis," he suggests. "They were problems between Jimmy Guercio and Clive Davis. The thing about always being at odds with [Davis] about the singles, I don't think we ever really cared that much other than we were naive and we were being programmed by Guercio into thinking that this music that we were creating was so perfect in its virgin state that nobody had the right to edit it."
Guercio certainly felt strongly about the issue, but he insists that, whatever you think of the cuts, he, not Davis, made them. "Those edits were terrible," he says. "The promotion guys, radio guys, were yelling at me to give them two to three minutes, that was it, and I had to cut everything down to so many minutes. But I cut everyone, as good or bad as they were, I did 'em all, the final ones. I had a contract: they couldn't couple anything, they couldn't package anything, they couldn't change the artwork, they couldn't do anything without my approval, 'cause I didn't take any money up front. So, I had very strong creative controls. If you want to talk about the strength of Chicago, that's the one thing that I did negotiate for and that I got, is, nobody could touch anything."
For the record, here's a list of Chicago songs that were drastically edited release as Columbia singles, with their LP and single timings. Actually, the problem diminished over the '70s, as radio loosened up its length restrictions and Chicago's song lengths shortened.
LP Time 45 Time
Questions 67 And 68 ..................................... 4:59 ...... 3:25
Beginnings ................................................... 7:50 ...... 2:47
Make Me Smile ............................................. 3:16* ..... 2:58
Colour My World ........................................... 3:01* ..... 3:01
25 Or 6 To 4 ................................................ 4:50 ....... 2:52
Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? .... 4:34 ...... 3:17**
I’m A Man .................................................... 7:41 ...... 3:27
Dialogue (Part I & II) .................................... 7:09 ...... 4:53
Brand New Love Affair ................................... 4:31 ...... 2:30
*Excerpted from "Ballet For A Girl In Buchannan."
**There is also a 2:53 edit.
Unlike some other Columbia compilations, this set contains only the LP edits.
by Lindsay Planer, allmusic
The Chicago Transit Authority recorded this double-barreled follow-up to their eponymously titled 1969 debut effort. The contents of Chicago II (1970) underscore the solid foundation of complex jazz changes with heavy electric rock & roll that the band so brazenly forged on the first set. The septet also continued its ability to blend the seemingly divergent musical styles into some of the best and most effective pop music of the era. One thing that had changed was the band's name, which was shortened to simply Chicago to avoid any potential litigious situations from the city of Chicago's transportation department -- which claimed the name as proprietary property. Musically, James Pankow (trombone) was about to further cross-pollinate the band's sound with the multifaceted six-song "Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon." The classically inspired suite also garnered the band two of its most beloved hits -- the upbeat pop opener "Make Me Smile" as well as the achingly poignant "Color My World" -- both of which remained at the center of the group's live sets. Chicago had certainly not abandoned its active pursuit of blending high-octane electric rockers such as "25 or 6 to 4" to the progressive jazz inflections heard in the breezy syncopation of "The Road." Adding further depth of field is the darker "Poem for the People" as well as the politically charged five-song set titled "It Better End Soon." These selections feature the band driving home its formidable musicality and uncanny ability to coalesce styles telepathically and at a moment's notice. The contributions of Terry Kath (guitar/vocals) stand out as he unleashes some of his most pungent and sinuous leads, which contrast with the tight brass and woodwind trio of Lee Loughnane (trumpet/vocals), Walter Parazaider (woodwinds/vocals), and the aforementioned Pankow. Peter Cetera (bass/vocals) also marks his songwriting debut -- on the final cut of both the suite and the album -- with "Where Do We Go from Here." It bookends both with at the very least the anticipation and projection of a positive and optimistic future.
Side one
1 Movin' In (Pankow) - 4:06
2 The Road (Kath) - 3:10
3 Poem for the People (Lamm) - 5:31
4 In the Country (Kath) - 6:34
Side two
1 Wake Up Sunshine (Lamm) - 2:29
2 Ballet for a Girl in Buchannon (Pankow) - 12:55
Make Me Smile
So Much to Say, So Much to Give
Anxiety's Moment
West Virginia Fantasies
Colour My World
To Be Free
Now More Than Ever
Side three
1 Fancy Colours (Lamm) - 5:10
2 25 or 6 to 4 (Lamm) - 4:50
3 Memories of Love (Kath/Matz) - 9:12
A.M. Mourning
P.M. Mourning
Memories of Love
Side four
1 It Better End Soon (Lamm/Parazaider) - 10:24
1st Movement
2nd Movement
3rd Movement
4th Movement
2 Where Do We Go from Here (Cetera) - 2:49

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Diferencias de Juan Gelman

Entre Hölderlin y la locura de Hölderlin
hay diferencias.
La poesía no es un destino.
Nadie sabe quién es la poesía para ella.
En el recinto del cielo hay jaulas
sin astros ni dolor. ¿La
niñita que dio vuelta la esquina
llorando es absurda? ¿Como
el sonido de mi hambre hoy? ¿La insania
camina por la calle? ¿Se queda
en cualquier casa?
¿La tuya?


Amazing Keats in English & Spanish

Ode to Autumn.


Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
John Keats (Londres, Inglaterra, 1795 – Roma, Italia, 1821).

Estación de las nieblas y fecundas sazones,
colaboradora íntima de un sol que ya madura,
conspirando con él cómo llenar de fruto
y bendecir las viñas que corren por las bardas,
encorvar con manzanas los árboles del huerto
y colmar todo fruto de madurez profunda;
la calabaza hinchas y engordas avellanas
con un dulce interior; haces brotar tardías
y numerosas flores hasta que las abejas
los días calurosos creen interminables
pues rebosa el estío de sus celdas viscosas.
¿Quién no te ha visto en medio de tus bienes?
Quienquiera que te busque ha de encontrarte
sentada con descuido en un granero
aventado el cabello dulcemente,
o en surco no segado sumida en hondo sueño
aspirando amapolas, mientras tu hoz respeta
la próxima gavilla de entrelazadas flores;
o te mantienes firme como una espigadora
cargada la cabeza al cruzar un arroyo,
o al lado de un lagar con paciente mirada
ves rezumar la última sidra hora tras hora.
¿En dónde con sus cantos está la primavera?
No pienses más en ellos sino en tu propia música.
Cuando el día entre nubes desmaya floreciendo
y tiñe los rastrojos de un matiz rosado,
cual lastimero coro los mosquitos se quejan
en los sauces del río, alzados, descendiendo
conforme el leve viento se reaviva o muere;
y los corderos balan allá por las colinas,
los grillos en el seto cantan, y el petirrojo
con dulce voz de tiple silba en alguna huerta
y trinan por los cielos bandos de golondrinas.