Archive for November, 2007

Jeff Beck/Tal Wilkenfeld Video Archive: A Song for the Weekend

November 30, 2007

I caught Eric Clapton’s Crossroads concert on public television this week. The highlight of the show, I think, was the performance by Jeff Beck and the amazing 21-year old bass player Tal Wilkenfeld. She really cooks and drives the groove. Here for your listening pleasure are Resolution, ‘Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers/Stratus, Big Block, Angel (Footsteps), Led Boots and a spectacular finale of A Day in the Life.

Ordinary School Day Turns into Horror – 1981

November 28, 2007

Six weeks into my 9th grade year in 1981, when I was a fresh-faced newcomer to the campus of Greenville High School in my hometown in South Carolina, a suspended student came to the campus and stabbed a teacher in the chest with a knife during second period.

I was in a nearby classroom when we heard the screams of students in Henry Chiarello’s class who witnessed the event. At first I thought the screams were joyful, perhaps coming from some assembly or pep rally my class had not been invited to. Soon, though, as more students spilled out of their classrooms and saw the teacher on the hallway floor with blood spewing from his wound, it became clear that we were hearing screams of terror. The rest of the day became a blur.

It has been a long time since I thought about that day more than 25 years ago, but when I was visiting South Carolina over the Thanksgiving holiday, the subject came up during a family conversation. The next day I went to the new public library and researched the story in the microfilm files for the local newspaper.

Here is the headline of the afternoon paper, which went to press while our teacher was still in intensive care after the attack. Here is the next day’s headline, and the jump page, published after he died on the operating table during a second round of open-chest surgery. Here is a third article addressing school security policies after the crime. Finally, here is Mr. Chiarello’s obituary.

His killer, an 18-year old student named Jewel Garrett, was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 20 years. I understand she has come up for parole on at least two occasions, but has not been released. I hope she will spend her life in prison and that she thinks about her unspeakable act on a daily basis.

The irony of the story is that she intended to attack another teacher, but she knocked on the wrong classroom door.*

RIP Mr. Chiarello. You did not deserve this.

[ * Update: After replying by email to the comment below and learning more from Mr. Chiarello’s sister, the myth of his being the unintended victim has been disproven. I credit that misperception to the rumors flying around school that day and in the weeks after. As one would expect, the family still grieves.]

Season’s Greetings

November 23, 2007

After Thanksgiving, one American holiday that has not yet been ruined by corporate advertising and capitalism, one’s thoughts turn to Christmas, which is just the opposite.  In the spirit of the season, here is a special Christmas message from someone who needs no introduction.

I Can Has Cheezburger?

November 22, 2007

The funniest website I have seen in recent weeks.

Vote for Hillary, or Not…

November 17, 2007

I came across the Vote for Hillary blog in a comment on another website. At first, I was put off, but once I started reading, I realized it’s a laugh riot.

War Costs $20,000 (So Far) for Family of 4

November 13, 2007

The Congress’ Joint Economic Committee released a report today showing that the Iraq and Afghan wars have cost $1.6 trillion, or $20,000 for a family of four. So far. Which raises this question, among others: How can Bush get away without acknowledging the war is a massive tax increase on every person in America?

[Flashback: In January 2006, Nobel winning economist Josef Stiglitz estimated the wars would cost $2 trillion. Looks like he knew what he was talking about, but he better revise his estimate for a war that apparently has no end.]

[Update: Stiglitz has a piece in Vanity Fair which further expounds on the financial emergency/crime Bush has unleashed on the US economy.]

Privacy is a Thing of the Past

November 12, 2007

Your government is watching you (and me) at all times. According to this article, a retired AT&T technician says he connected a device in 2003 that diverts and copies onto a goverment supercomputer EVERY CALL, E-MAIL AND INTERNET SITE ACCESS ON THE AT&T SYSTEM.

And the deputy chief of national intelligence says we just have to trust the government and big business to properly safeguard our deepest secrets. So that’s okay then.

[UPDATE: Further reading on this subject reveals a quote from Mark Klein, the AT&T guy in this article: “[The spying equipment] copies everything. There’s no selection of anything, at all — the splitter copies entire data streams from the Internet, phone conversations, e-mail, web-browsing. Everything.” And the drones in Congress are arguing over whether to grant immunity to these giant corporations who are helping the government spy on everyone, not just so-called terrorists. Sleazebags, all.]

Comin’ Home

November 4, 2007

Here’s a nice song (featuring Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, George Harrison, Billy Preston and Eric Clapton) for a Sunday afternoon, when one is thinking of going home for Thanksgiving and wondering why it’s suddenly getting dark at 5:15 in the afternoon.