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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dictators vs. Democrats


OK, so my picks are not doing very well in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. It is what I deserve for putting Missouri in the Final Four. Oy!

So far, however, I'm 8-for-8 in the first round of Foreign Policy's Dictators vs. Democrats Challenge. This is my bracket.

A lot of people must be perfect since I'm not even included on the current leaderboard. But just wait and see what happens when Christine Lagarde starts kicking butt implements her game plan.


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Friday, March 16, 2012

Elsewhere

I wrote two posts this week for the Duck of Minerva:

"Friday Nerd Blogging: Baseball Edition" is about Duck contributor Bill Petti's growing (televised) influence as a baseball analyst.

March 14, I posted "The Selling of the Iraq War: Case Study of Presidential Persuasion?" I contributed to a debate among journalists and bloggers.

Oh, on February 22, I posted a short note about the so-called "Abusers' Peace," which is the hypothesis that human rights abusing states do not make war with one another.


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Monday, March 12, 2012

NCAA Hoops

2012 NCAA Tournament Bracket

Like much of America, I spend too much time this month paying attention to "March Madness." With various friends, I partake in a couple of NCAA tournament pools. Hint: if Kansas wins the tournament, I win the pool.

This year, I've created a private group for my Twitter followers and blog readers. Here's the link to this password-protected group.

The password is simple: minerva.

Update: Yahoo closes the competition at 9:15 am PDT Thursday, March 15.


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Monday, March 05, 2012

Music of Vietnam Vets

Craig Werner

Saturday March 3, my family attended a talk at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame delivered by Wisconsin Professor Craig Werner: "'Chain of Fools': A Vietnam Veteran's Top 20."
Craig Werner will discuss the story of music and the Vietnam experience. His talk draws from his current project, a book entitled We Gotta Get Out of This Place: Music, Memory and the Vietnam War, co-authored with Doug Bradley. The book tells the story of music and the Vietnam experience through the music-based memories of scores of veterans.
The authors have been working on the project for some time, as demonstrated by this Chicago Tribute story from 2006:
They've even come up with a top 10 list of songs that resonate with Vietnam vets, led by "We Gotta Get Out of This Place," by the Animals; "Chain of Fools," by Aretha Franklin; and "Fortunate Son," by Credence Clearwater Revival.
The list has expanded and the ordering has changed a bit -- plus, "Leavin' on a Jet Plane" is now near the top if I recall correctly.

Werner and Bradley interviewed 200 veterans and are compiling their words into an oral history.

Update: my spouse had a copy of the handout, which included a list of the top 20 and "Honorable Mentions."


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Thursday, March 01, 2012

Atomic Bombers


The evening of February 29, I very much enjoyed attending a University of Louisville Theatre Department production of "Atomic Bombers," written and directed by my colleague Russ Vandenbroucke:
The play, dramatizing the lives of the extraordinary team of international physicists racing to make an atomic bomb during World War II, will be performed Feb. 29-March 4 at 8 p.m. nightly plus a matinee at 3 p.m., March 4. All performances are at the Thrust Theatre, 2314 S. Floyd St.

Directed by Vandenbroucke, a theater professor, the play will be the third stage production of the play originating from an earlier short play by Vandenbroucke that was performed on stage and for public radio.

Before writing and producing the play, Vandenbroucke had to obtain permission from Richard Feynman, the eccentric American scientist and Nobel Prize winner whose essay in a science journal was his inspiration. Vandenbroucke even went as far as to engage the president of the California Institute of Technology, where Feynman taught, to aid his request.

Feynman agreed to Vandenbroucke’s proposal and the first play was based on the atomic bomb tests at Los Alamos, New Mexico. Vandenbroucke later expanded the play to include the initial work at the University of Chicago which was broadcast on public radio during the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.

“It is a funny play about a very serious subject,” Vandenbroucke said. “This was the greatest gathering of scientific geniuses at one time and place for a single purpose. Only later did they realize the full extent of the horrible devastation that resulted.”
Those interested in the material should note that Russ has cooperated in producing a CD.

Anyone interested in how comedy can be employed for critique should check out this play.


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