Thursday, April 1, 2021

Edison, Louis Armstrong, and Odetta among 25 Newest Additions to National Recording Registry

Now in its nineteenth year, the National Recording Registry has grown to 575 entries with Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden having just announced 25 additional sound recordings as the official entries for 2020, stating

“The National Recording Registry will preserve our history through these vibrant recordings of music and voices that have reflected our humanity and shaped our culture from the past 143 years. We received about 900 public nominations this year for recordings to add to the registry, and we welcome the public’s input as the Library of Congress and its partners preserve the diverse sounds of history and culture.”

Under the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, selected recordings must be "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and at least ten years old.

Spanning the years 1878-2008, the selections for 2020 are as follows:

  1. Edison’s “St. Louis tinfoil” recording (1878)
  2. “Nikolina” — Hjalmar Peterson (1917) (single)
  3. “Smyrneikos Balos” — Marika Papagika (1928) (single)
  4. “When the Saints Go Marching In” — Louis Armstrong & his Orchestra (1938) (single)
  5. Christmas Eve Broadcast--Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill (December 24, 1941)
  6. “The Guiding Light” — Nov. 22, 1945
  7. “Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues” — Odetta (1957) (album)
  8. “Lord, Keep Me Day by Day” — Albertina Walker and the Caravans (1959) (single)  
  9. Roger Maris hits his 61st homerun (October 1, 1961)
  10. “Aida” — Leontyne Price, (1962) (album)
  11. “Once a Day” — Connie Smith (1964) (single)
  12. “Born Under a Bad Sign” — Albert King (1967) (album)
  13. “Free to Be…You & Me” — Marlo Thomas and Friends (1972) (album)
  14. “The Harder They Come” — Jimmy Cliff (1972) (album)
  15. “Lady Marmalade” — Labelle (1974) (single)
  16. “Late for the Sky” — Jackson Browne (1974) (album)
  17. “Bright Size Life” — Pat Metheny (1976) (album)
  18. “The Rainbow Connection” — Kermit the Frog (1979) (single)
  19. “Celebration” — Kool & the Gang (1980) (single)
  20. “Richard Strauss: Four Last Songs” — Jessye Norman (1983) (album)
  21. “Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814” — Janet Jackson (1989) (album)
  22. “Partners” — Flaco Jiménez (1992) (album)
  23. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”/”What A Wonderful World” — Israel Kamakawiwo’ole (1993) (single)
  24. “Illmatic” — Nas (1994) (album)
  25. “This American Life: The Giant Pool of Money” (May 9, 2008)
The full National Recording Registry can be viewed online here. The Registry solicits nominations annually for inclusion on the registry; further information on the criteria and procedures for making nominations for 2021 is available at the Registry website. Individuals may submit up to 50 nominations per year. 

Saturday, March 6, 2021

WFMU Marathon: Freeform Station of the Nation

Love free-form radio? Take the leap and consider supporting independent station WFMU during its annual fundraising Marathon that runs March 6 to March 21, 2021. WFMU first hit the airwaves over sixty years ago on April 24, 1958 at the now-defunct Upsala College and has never looked back. Currently based in Jersey City, New Jersey, WFMU broadcasts at 91.1 Mhz in New York and via a second signal at 90.1 Mhz in the Hudson Valley. WFMU has long been an Internet pioneer, and has multiple online streams, as well as an extensive archive of past shows.

What is free-form radio you might ask? WFMU describes itself as follows: 
WFMU's programming ranges from flat-out uncategorizable strangeness to rock and roll, experimental music, 78 RPM Records, jazz, psychedelia, hip-hop, electronica, hand-cranked wax cylinders, punk rock, gospel, exotica, R&B, radio improvisation, cooking instructions, classic radio airchecks, found sound, dopey call-in shows, interviews with obscure radio personalities and notable science-world luminaries, spoken word collages, Andrew Lloyd Webber soundtracks in languages other than English as well as country and western music. 
And because the station is listener-supported, WFMU DJs have for years maintained complete autonomy and control over their own programming, which is extraordinarily eclectic. Check out the current WFMU audio smorgasbord, and see for yourself. Apps available for both iOS & Android. 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Happy Year of the Ox / 牛 年 快 樂 !

The image above was designed by Harry Brockway and is featured on a series of 2021 coins issued by the U.K.'s Royal Mint as part of the Shēngxiào Collection (生肖) to commemorate the Lunar New Year.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

"The Hill We Climb," Amanda Gorman's Inauguration Poem

Amanda Gorman recites her poem, "The Hill We Climb," on the occasion of the inauguration of Joseph Biden as the 46th president of the United States on January 20, 2021. Gorman was selected as the first National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

In Case You Missed It . . . H. Res. 24

1st Session
H. RES. 24

Impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.


January 11, 2021

Mr. Cicilline (for himself, Mr. Lieu, Mr. Raskin, Mr. Nadler, Ms. Adams, Mr. Aguilar, Mr. Allred, Mr. Auchincloss, Mrs. Axne, Ms. Barragán, Ms. Bass, Mrs. Beatty, Mr. Bera, Mr. Beyer, Mr. Bishop of Georgia, Mr. Blumenauer, Ms. Blunt Rochester, Ms. Bonamici, Ms. Bourdeaux, Mr. Bowman, Mr. Brendan F. Boyle of Pennsylvania, Mr. Brown, Ms. Brownley, Ms. Bush, Mrs. Bustos, Mr. Butterfield, Mr. Carbajal, Mr. Cárdenas, Mr. Carson, Mr. Cartwright, Mr. Case, Mr. Casten, Ms. Castor of Florida, Mr. Castro of Texas, Ms. Chu, Ms. Clark of Massachusetts, Ms. Clarke of New York, Mr. Cleaver, Mr. Clyburn, Mr. Cohen, Mr. Connolly, Mr. Cooper, Mr. Correa, Mr. Costa, Mr. Courtney, Ms. Craig, Mr. Crist, Mr. Crow, Mr. Cuellar, Ms. Davids of Kansas, Mr. Danny K. Davis of Illinois, Ms. Dean, Mr. DeFazio, Ms. DeGette, Ms. DeLauro, Ms. DelBene, Mr. Delgado, Mrs. Demings, Mr. DeSaulnier, Mr. Deutch, Mrs. Dingell, Mr. Doggett, Mr. Michael F. Doyle of Pennsylvania, Ms. Escobar, Ms. Eshoo, Mr. Espaillat, Mr. Evans, Mrs. Fletcher, Mr. Foster, Ms. Lois Frankel of Florida, Mr. Gallego, Mr. Garamendi, Ms. Garcia of Texas, Mr. García of Illinois, Mr. Gomez, Mr. Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, Mr. Gottheimer, Mr. Green of Texas, Mr. Grijalva, Mr. Harder of California, Mr. Hastings, Mrs. Hayes, Mr. Higgins of New York, Mr. Horsford, Ms. Houlahan, Mr. Huffman, Ms. Jackson Lee, Ms. Jacobs of California, Ms. Jayapal, Mr. Jeffries, Ms. Johnson of Texas, Mr. Johnson of Georgia, Mr. Jones, Mr. Kahele, Ms. Kaptur, Mr. Keating, Ms. Kelly of Illinois, Mr. Khanna, Mr. Kildee, Mr. Kilmer, Mr. Kim of New Jersey, Mrs. Kirkpatrick, Mr. Krishnamoorthi, Ms. Kuster, Mr. Lamb, Mr. Langevin, Mr. Larsen of Washington, Mr. Larson of Connecticut, Mrs. Lawrence, Mr. Lawson of Florida, Ms. Lee of California, Mrs. Lee of Nevada, Ms. Leger Fernandez, Mr. Levin of Michigan, Mr. Levin of California, Ms. Lofgren, Mr. Lowenthal, Mrs. Luria, Mr. Lynch, Mr. Malinowski, Mrs. Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, Mr. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, Ms. Manning, Ms. Matsui, Mrs. McBath, Ms. McCollum, Mr. McEachin, Mr. McGovern, Mr. McNerney, Mr. Meeks, Ms. Meng, Mr. Mfume, Ms. Moore of Wisconsin, Mr. Morelle, Mr. Moulton, Mr. Mrvan, Mrs. Murphy of Florida, Mrs. Napolitano, Mr. Neal, Mr. Neguse, Ms. Newman, Mr. Norcross, Ms. Norton, Mr. O'Halleran, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Ms. Omar, Mr. Pallone, Mr. Panetta, Mr. Pappas, Mr. Pascrell, Mr. Payne, Mr. Phillips, Ms. Pingree, Ms. Plaskett, Mr. Pocan, Ms. Porter, Ms. Pressley, Mr. Price of North Carolina, Mr. Quigley, Miss Rice of New York, and Ms. Ross) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


Impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Resolved, That Donald John Trump, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors and that the following article of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:

Article of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives of the United States of America in the name of itself and of the people of the United States of America, against Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America, in maintenance and support of its impeachment against him for high crimes and misdemeanors.


The Constitution provides that the House of Representatives “shall have the sole Power of Impeachment” and that the President “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors”. Further, section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution prohibits any person who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against” the United States from “hold[ing] any office … under the United States”. In his conduct while President of the United States—and in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed—Donald John Trump engaged in high Crimes and Misdemeanors by inciting violence against the Government of the United States, in that:

On January 6, 2021, pursuant to the 12th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the Vice President of the United States, the House of Representatives, and the Senate met at the United States Capitol for a Joint Session of Congress to count the votes of the Electoral College. In the months preceding the Joint Session, President Trump repeatedly issued false statements asserting that the Presidential election results were the product of widespread fraud and should not be accepted by the American people or certified by State or Federal officials. Shortly before the Joint Session commenced, President Trump, addressed a crowd at the Ellipse in Washington, DC. There, he reiterated false claims that “we won this election, and we won it by a landslide”. He also willfully made statements that, in context, encouraged—and foreseeably resulted in—lawless action at the Capitol, such as: “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore”. Thus incited by President Trump, members of the crowd he had addressed, in an attempt to, among other objectives, interfere with the Joint Session’s solemn constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 Presidential election, unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress, the Vice President, and Congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts.

President Trump’s conduct on January 6, 2021, followed his prior efforts to subvert and obstruct the certification of the results of the 2020 Presidential election. Those prior efforts included a phone call on January 2, 2021, during which President Trump urged the secretary of state of Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, to “find” enough votes to overturn the Georgia Presidential election results and threatened Secretary Raffensperger if he failed to do so.

In all this, President Trump gravely endangered the security of the United States and its institutions of Government. He threatened the integrity of the democratic system, interfered with the peaceful transition of power, and imperiled a coequal branch of Government. He thereby betrayed his trust as President, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, Donald John Trump, by such conduct, has demonstrated that he will remain a threat to national security, democracy, and the Constitution if allowed to remain in office, and has acted in a manner grossly incompatible with self-governance and the rule of law. Donald John Trump thus warrants impeachment and trial, removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.

Friday, January 1, 2021

New Seeds for a New Year

The latest tantalizing annual catalog from Seed Savers Exchange (SSE), featuring heirloom, untreated, non-hybrid, and non-GMO seeds, is now available online; a print copy of the 2021 catalog can also be requested free of charge.

Founded in 1975 by Diane Ott Whealy and Kent Whealy, Seed Savers Exchange is now the largest non-governmental seed bank of its kind in the United States. With over 13,000 members, SSE conserves and maintains heirloom seeds for thousands of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers. Its mission is: 

. . . to save North America's diverse, but endangered, garden heritage for future generations by building a network of people committed to collecting, conserving and sharing heirloom seeds and plants, while educating people about the value of genetic and cultural diversity.
Located on the 890-acre Heritage Farm in Decorah, Iowa, SSE is open to visitors from April to October, and sponsors special events such as seed starting, grafting, and gardening workshops. It also hosts an annual conference and campout. To learn more about Seed Savers Exchange and the benefits of membership, visit its website.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

A Clockwork Orange, The Blues Brothers, and Freedom Riders among 25 Titles Added to National Film Registry

Established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, the National Film Preservation Board is an advisory body for the Librarian of Congress. The Board helps shape national film preservation planning policy, and also recommends films for the National Film Registry.

Chosen for their cultural, historic, or aesthetic significance, the Board's 25 annual selections for 2020 cover a wide gamut of genres and time periods, from such early films as Bread and The Battle of the Century to such later works as A Clockwork Orange and Freedom Riders. The full list for 2020 is as follows:

Freedom Riders (2010)

The Dark Knight (2008)
The Hurt Locker (2008)
Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege (2006)
Shreck (2001)

Buena Vista Social Club (1999)
The Devil Never Sleeps (1994)
The Joy Luck Club (1993)

Illusions (1982)
Losing Ground (1982)
The Blues Brothers (1980)

Grease (1978)
Wattstax (1973)
Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Lilies of the Field (1963)

Outrage (1950)

Cabin in the Sky (1943)
With Car and Camera Around the World (1929)
The Battle of the Century (1927)

Bread (1918)
Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914)
Suspense (1913)
Further information on the Registry as well as the films themselves can be found on the Library of Congress' web site. All 800 films selected for the Registry since 1989 can also be browsed online. In addition, the public is encouraged to make nominations for next year's selections to the National Film Registry.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Election Day 2020

Today is the day to vote. For those still needing to register, Iowa and 20 other states, as well as the District of Columbia, allow election day registration. Further information regarding voting regulations can be found at

The Common Curator graphic above is based on artist Robert Indiana's iconic "Love" logo.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Make America Trumpless Again

Make Iowa Kingless Again

Resistance Revival Chorus: "All You Fascists Bound to Lose"

The Resistance Revival Chorus has just released their debut album, "This Joy," on Righteous Babe Records. The album, available both on vinyl and digitally, features Rhiannon Giddens on Woody Guthrie's 1942 anthem, "All You Fascists Bound To Lose."

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Fear No Color

Original broadside letterpress printed by Canonymous Press.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day 2020

Of related interest, see the earlier Memorial Day post, A Living Service Flag, which features a large-scale formation (or living) photograph depicting the service flag of the U.S. Armed Forces. The photograph was produced circa 1918 by Arthur Mole and John Thomas, and entailed the complex staging of thousands of soldiers at Camp Funston in Fort Riley, Kansas.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

After 4.54 Billion Earth Years, 50 Earth Days

Earth Day was first celebrated fifty years ago on April 22, 1970. Founded by former US Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in, Earth Day is now coordinated by Earth Day Network, with extensive programming and events around the world. In 2009, the United Nations also declared April 22 to be International Mother Earth Day, an observance that "recognizes a collective responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration, to promote harmony with nature and the Earth to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity." Look magazine first published the ecology flag shown above on April 21, 1970. The theta symbol on the flag represents the conjoining of "e" for environment and "o" for organism. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Happy 100th, Ravi Shankar!

Ravi Shankar [1920-2012] was born 100 years ago, on April 7th. His daughter, Anoushka, who is a master musician and composer in her own right, arranged Ravi's composition, Sandhya Raga, which was performed by a group of his former students as a birthday tribute. Anoushka has been organizing a series of Centenary concerts that unfortunately have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, enjoy the present sampling of great Indian classical music from Ravi's extensive catalogue!