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.


Randy Weston On JazzSet

Jun 16, 2011
Originally published on August 1, 2013 11:39 am

Randy Weston was born in Brooklyn in 1926, and the late Ray Bryant was born in Philadelphia in 1931. (Scroll down the page to hear the late Bryant performing solo in the 1980s.) Together in New York City in the 1960s, the two pianists demonstrated the history of jazz in 40 elementary schools. They organized the Afro-American Musicians' Society with an Eastern Seaboard Conference at a Harlem church. As speakers, they brought in the labor organizer A. Philip Randolph (Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters) and historian John Henrik Clarke, a pioneer in Afro-American studies. The society went to Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians and worked hard to get anti-discrimination clauses in musicians' contracts. At night, Weston and Bryant loved to go from club to club, hearing the pianists of the day — Bobby Timmons here, Erroll Garner there. One of Weston's favorites was Bryant himself: "Ray Bryant had that combination of black church and blues I heard in his music, and you can't manufacture that." Bryant died as this episode of JazzSet was being produced, on June 2, 2011.

Randy Weston is a storytelling musician. Last year, Duke University published his autobiography, African Rhythms, and in April, he turned 85. In May, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship in Music Composition, and plans to write a new suite of music for Africa. Later in the month, as part of the World Nomads program at the French Institute Alliance Française in New York, Weston received honors from His Majesty King Mohammed VI for his lifelong engagement and deep commitment to bringing Morocco's Gnaoua tradition to the Western world. Gnaoua maestro Abdullah El Gourd, in New York for the occasion, was also honored by the king, played the guembri and sang for his friend Weston (see the photo). You'll hear that music on JazzSet, leading into Weston's composition on a Gnaouan theme, "Blue Moses."

On Feb. 26, 2011, Weston brought his longtime quintet, African Rhythms, to the Alternate Routes series at NJPAC in Newark. This group is Weston's family on the bandstand. He writes about each member in African Rhythms. Bassist Alex Blake "gives me that rhythm, it's in his blood — we share a Panamanian heritage." Talib Kibwe (TK Blue) on saxophones and flute first worked with Dollar Brand, the pianist from South Africa now named Abdullah Ibrahim. Weston calls TK his music director and straw boss. Weston first played with percussionist Neil Clarke doing benefits for children in the House of the Lord church in Brooklyn. And, although tonight's trombonist is the fine Robert Trowers, the chair still seems to belong to Benny Powell (1930-2010).

"When [Powell] took a solo, you could sing that solo," Weston says. "It was like he was speaking to you. He had that fat, round sound; he had the foundation of New Orleans in the trombone playing."

Continuing in an interview with JazzSet, Weston remembers participating in a film in Morocco, "a village called Jujuka, and we had to go up there on donkeys, up in the mountains. Here, Benny Powell goes up on the donkey with the trombone on his back, and we didn't even play — we just went up there and listened to the traditional healers. So when I say fearless, Benny was. Yes, he was." Weston laughs with pleasure at the memory.

Pleasure is ahead for you, as we listen to Randy Weston's African Rhythms in Surround Sound on JazzSet, keeping in mind his Sufi credo that we are all musicians. Our voices are our instruments; our hearts are our drums.

Personnel: Randy Weston, piano; TK Blue, saxophone and flute; Robert Trowers, trombone; Alex Blake, bass; Neil Clarke, percussion. Guests: Salieu Suso, kora; Hassan Jaffa, guembri (or hejhouj) from Morocco.


Remixes in Surround Sound by Duke Markos. Originally broadcast on WBGO by Simon Rentner with Michael Downes. Thanks to David Tallacksen. Executive producer is Thurston Briscoe III.

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