May 2013 Archives

Mick Jagger

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Click for availability and more information Mick Jagger, by Philip Norman
 
If you think you know all there is to know about Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones. Then you'd better read Philip Norman's book titled Mick Jagger.

The Rolling Stones have always been considered the "Bad Boys" of rock, while the Beatles have been considered the "Good Boys". Truth be told, their bad boy image was a creation of an early manager to boost interest (and sales of records). This is not to imply that they weren't into "sex, drugs and rock and roll". Like many rock and rollers, they started out as normal boys, only to be changed by their celebrity.

Jagger grew up in a middle-class British family. Mick attended a prestigious school and studied finance. This would prove to be quite valuable in the future as he had to take over management of the band's finances from an unscrupulous manager. He was very respectful of his parents, and believed strongly in physical fitness. Surprisingly, at first he was very attentive and thoughtful of his girlfriends. He had normal romances with many women including Marianne Faithfull, Bianca Perez-Mora Macias (Jagger), Marsha Hunt and Jerry Hall. He fathered nine offspring with these women. Incredibly, they all get along well together! He was also extremely loyal to his band mates, even to the point of taking the fall for others during much-publicized drug busts. Jagger was not as deeply into drugs as other band members.

As the band became more famous, Jagger seemed to change. Besides romancing Marianne Faithfull, he started to have sexual liaisons with "groupies" of all ages. I suspect part of it may have been a way of fulfilling his bad boy image. Norman calls Jagger the "perpetual teenager", who continued to bed women of all ages into his forties and fifties. He also became a miser, who directed most of the band's proceeds to himself, and refused to pay alimony, despite promising to support his exes and children. Jagger and his band mates moved around to various countries for a good part of the year to avoid paying taxes to the British government.

Norman didn't go into a great detail about the untimely death of band member Brian Jones. Jones' death was ruled an accident. The author hints at a cover up, but provides no details.

The Rolling Stones are still considered the greatest rock and roll band of all time. They seem to be timeless. Jagger and company still go on tour. The Stones have overcome petty in-fighting, and seem to be able to keep it together to delight new generations of rock and rollers.
-Carl

Into the Cold

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Click for availability and more information Into the Cold
 
Into the Cold is one of the most interesting DVDs I've seen in a long time. It chronicles the attempt by Sebastian Copeland and Keith Heger to recreate the epic trip by Admiral Byrd to the North Pole in 1909. Copeland and Heger undergo rigorous physical training in Duluth, Minnesota, to acclimatize themselves. Sponsors have to be lined up, and once everything is ready to go, they pack up and fly to a remote location to begin the journey. They undertake the 400-mile trip across the frozen ice cap across the desolate, but somehow beautiful, Antarctic "desert" with a 300lb sled containing enough food for 6 weeks. The pair burn 7,000 calories apiece per day as they aim to travel about 13 miles per day. They have to contend with brutally cold temperatures (-45 degrees F), cutting winds and overcast skies, which reduce everything to a white landscape. The sun never sets, but hangs just above the horizon. I was struck by the fact that once you reach the geographic North Pole, no matter what direction you head in, you're headed south! Their isolation gives them the opportunity to turn inward and reflect on their spirituality. Yet, they still rely on technology in the form of cellphones and tablets to keep in touch with the outside world. Copeland laments that this might be the last time such a trip can be undertaken as the polar ice cap is melting due to global warming.

They encounter many challenges in the form of rubble areas and pressure ridges (which create big hills of ice blocks), water breaks (which force them to alter their course) and arctic drift (which moves them slowly south away from the Pole.) Copeland points out that the massive power at work in the ice and water could be tapped for renewable energy.

The film is masterfully done. Copeland does a great job narrating the journey, and the photography is exceptional. You really feel like you're there with them. As Copeland points out, it's one of the last true frontiers on earth. Unless man takes immediate action, this environment (and ecosystem) may be lost forever.
-Carl

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Click for availability and more information Best Friends Forever: a World War II Scrapbook, by Beverly Patt
 
Fourteen-year-old Louise keeps a scrapbook detailing the events in her life after her best friend, a Japanese-American girl, and her family are sent to a relocation camp during World War II.
-Deirdre

The Dragon in the Sock Drawer

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Click for availability and more information The Dragon in the Sock Drawer, by Kate Klimo
 
Cousins Jesse and Daisy always knew they would have a magical adventure, but they are not prepared when the "thunder egg" Jesse has found turns out to be a dragon egg that is about to hatch.
-Deirdre

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