Greece

I’m not enough of an economist to judge whether acceding to the troika’s terms or bowing out of the Eurozone would be better for Greece’s people in the long run.

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Mexicali Live, 7/25

I will be coming up north for two weeks this July and August and squeezing in ONE show, that’s ONE SHOW ONLY, at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ, just 10 minutes from the George Washington Bridge, Saturday night, July 25 at about 9:00 pm. There will be two sets, lots of classic GSW tunes, a whole bunch of recent tunes, a bunch of cool covers, and I hopefully will be joined by some wonderful surprise guests. Tickets are $12, CLICK HERE to get yours.

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Sarah Carr, Hope Against Hope

This is a profound, beautifully written, intelligent and moving book about the jarring changes in the New Orleans public school system since Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago. As you may have heard, our Crescent City is now on the cutting edge of the school privatization/reform/charter movement that has been sweeping the Sarah Carr Hope against Hopenation, and has been cited by Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, as a model for the nation. Those of us who actually live here tend to see things differently; in my own opinion, New orleans becoming a model for the nation would be a tragedy of the first order. In any case, what is really wonderful about Carr’s book is that she avoids the postage-stamp caricatures that both sides in the debate generally make of each others’ points of view. She explores all viewpoints with nuance and compassion, following a freshman at a KIPP high school, a young white teacher at Sci High, and an experienced black woman principal at O. Perry Walker school, through the ups and downs of a whole school year. While doing this she also considers the history of public education in the United States and New Orleans in particular, segregation and integration, No Child Left Behind and the quantification movement, Teach for America, and many other aspects of the subject. There are many books about these issues — I also like Diane Ravitch’s The Death and Life of the Great American School System — but Hope Against Hope is one of the best out there, a must read for anyone interested in education.

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Indexing, cont’d.

Indexing is zen, indexing is calm, focused, thoughtful work. I’m also a big user and appreciator of indexes in other people’s books. So I’m trying to make this one good for all my kindred spirits out there.

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Indexing

I’m working on the index for Building the Land of Dreams. It’s tedious work; you just read through the book, page by page, listing all the terms, people, places, ideas, events, etc, on each page that are indexable terms, and gradually an index forms. But it’s also satisfying, in a strange geeky way. It’s a great way to think about what the book is about and to get an overview of the mass of content that fills these 400 (or so) pages.

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Robert Gordon, Respect Yourself

This history of Stax Records is simply a fantastic book by any standard. It’s compulsively readable, it’s painstakingly researched, and it is about a wonderful topic. It works very well on two levels: one, the personalities (on both sides of the art/business divide) that make timeless, deeply influential music at Stax from 1958 to 1975; and two, for more serious historians, the parallels between the Stax story in Memphis and the broader regional and national stories of racial oppression, unrest, and the golden years of the Civil Rights movement.

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Jazz fest

This is my third year attending the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. It really is enormous and a lot different from the “ordinary” festivals in other places: add in the second lines, the New Orleans food, the party atmosphere, and the simply staggering number of stages and artists. Also the prospect for extreme weather, either in terms of rainfall or scorching sunshine.

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