Sports Commentary: Why Wimbledon Still Thrills

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The unassuming hero of Jonas Karlsson's clever, Kafkaesque parable is the opposite of a malcontent. Despite scant education, a limited social life, and no prospects for success as it is usually defined, he's that rarity, a most happy fella with an amazing ability to content himself with very little. But one day, returning to his barebones flat from his dead-end, part-time job at a video store, he finds an astronomical bill from an entity called W.R.D. He assumes it's a scam. Actually, it is more sinister-- and it forces him to take a good hard look at his life and values.

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Donald Trump picked a military town, Virginia Beach, Va., to give a speech Monday on how he would go about reforming the Dept. of Veterans Affairs if elected.

He blamed the Obama administration for a string of scandals at the VA during the past two years, and claimed that his rival, Hillary Clinton, has downplayed the problems and won't fix them.

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The season for blueberries used to be short. You'd find fresh berries in the store just during a couple of months in the middle of summer.

Now, though, it's always blueberry season somewhere. Blueberry production is booming. The berries are grown in Florida, North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan and the Pacific Northwest — not to mention the southern hemisphere.

But in any one location, the season is still short. And this means that workers follow the blueberry harvest, never staying in one place for long.

More than 4 in 10 working Americans say their job affects their overall health, with stress being cited most often as having a negative impact.

That's according to a new survey about the workplace and health from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

While it may not sound so surprising that work affects health, when we looked more closely, we found one group was particularly affected by stress on the job: the disabled.

If you've stepped foot in a comic book store in the past few years, you'll have noticed a distinct shift. Superheroes, once almost entirely white men, have become more diverse.

There's been a biracial Spider-Man, a Muslim Ms. Marvel, and just last week, Marvel announced that the new Iron Man will be a teenage African-American girl.

Joining this lineup today is Kong Kenan, a Chinese boy who, as part of a reboot of the DC comics universe, is one of four characters taking up Superman's mantle.

On Tuesday, an international tribunal soundly rejected Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea, an area where China has been building islands and increasing its military activity.

The case before the international tribunal in the Hague was brought by the Philippines, challenging what's widely seen as a territorial grab by Beijing. The tribunal essentially agreed. Beijing immediately said the decision was null and void and that it would ignore it. There are concerns now that the tribunal's decision could inflame tensions between the U.S. and China.

The deaths last week of three African-American men in encounters with police, along with the killing of five Dallas officers by a black shooter, have left many African-American gun owners with conflicting feelings; those range from shock to anger and defiance. As the debate over gun control heats up, some African-Americans see firearms as critical to their safety, especially in times of racial tension.


Danilo Perez, Poncho Sanchez On JazzSet

May 19, 2011

The 2011 Encuentro! Latin Jazz Festival at NJPAC takes place Oct. 29, and JazzSet will be there for Omar Sosa and the Gonzalez Brothers.

The Alternate Routes series at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center pairs jazz with Latin music — or you might hear it as Latin music with jazz. It is dynamic: a meeting of passion, storytelling, rhythm and beautiful percussion instruments, including Danilo Perez's piano, with an invitation to dance from conguero Poncho Sanchez's band. The spirited audience at the Victoria Theater loves it.

In 1989, all together in a very short time, Perez came to Washington, D.C., to participate as a semi-finalist in the Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition, and Dizzy Gillespie called and offered Perez a job. Maybe that's why Perez believes in providence. His current album, Providencia, features Ben Street on bass and Adam Cruz on drums.

As well as leading this trio for nine years, Perez artistically directs the Panama Jazz Festival in his home country and the Berklee Global Jazz Institute in Boston. He advises the Mellon Jazz Up Close series at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. And his most high-profile assignment is his longtime role as pianist in the Wayne Shorter Quartet. However, the Shorter composition on this show comes from Poncho Sanchez.

Perez composes as a director makes a film, with characters, plots and subplots, themes and variations, all artistically lit and shaded. For example, in his opening piece, "Daniela's Chronicles," there is a theme for every year in the life of his 5-year-old daughter. Perez is committed to continuing, with a new piece for Daniela every year, although he says it's a challenge because her personality goes through a lot of changes in a short time. You can hear that in her chronicles.

Personnel: Danilo Perez, piano; Ben Street, bass; Adam Cruz, drums.

Born in 1951, Poncho Sanchez was not even 25 when his idol, vibraphonist Cal Tjader, hired him. Sanchez stayed in the band until Tjader's death in the early 1980s, then formed his own group — and it's tight, with about two dozen albums on the Concord label. Sanchez's concepts and arrangements are as precise as his conga rolls.

From Sanchez's album Psychedelic Blues, we hear a piece by Wayne Shorter, followed by a classic mambo, "Zambia!" from the long-ago days of the Afro-Cuban Orchestra, led by the legendary Machito. The audience is on its feet, and moving them, for Poncho Sanchez.

Poncho Sanchez, congas and vocals; David Torres, piano; Javier Vergara, saxophone; Ron Blake, trumpet; Francisco Torres, trombone; George Ortiz, timbales; Joey De León, bongos and percussion; Tony Banda, bass.

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