Archive for May, 2009

critic's pick 72

Over the past three decades, Joe Lovano and Jack DeJohnette have been as stylistically daring as they have been prolific.

joe lovano: folk art

joe lovano: folk art

Tenor sax giant Lovano, with a Blue Note catalog that now spans 22 albums, has recorded with combos, steller duos, rich symphonic sessions and more. Drummer DeJohnette, who is also a versed pianist, can be traced back to Miles Davis’ post bop electric records of the late ‘60s and remains, after a quarter century, the anchor to Keith Jarrett’s Standards Trio. But his dossier also reveals everything from collaborations with stellar guitarists (John Scofield, John Abercrombie, Bill Frisell) to recordings with world music and spiritual inclinations that have surfaced of late on his own label.

That’s the back story. The cool news is Lovano and DeJohnette have new recordings that are as experimental and as engaging as any of their past triumphs.

Lovano’s Folk Art is a conversational, flirtatious album that employs a novel instrumental lineup of tenor sax, bass, piano and two drummers.

In terms of timbre and design, it also borrows from the quietly gripping music Lovano has made over the years with drummer Paul Motian. Wild Beauty, specifically, reflects a spaciousness where Lovano’s warm tenor lead floats above his band’s wide open groove.

Us Five, which doubles as the name of Lovano’s new band, emphasizes the percussion tag team of Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela. But the groove splinters just as the tune’s boppish melody fractures into free jazz flavored passages.

Lovano certainly doesn’t shy away from sustained melodies. A lovely reverie led by pianist James Weidman emerges on Page 4. But like so much of Folk Art, the resulting improvisational sparring plays right into the album’s conversational charm.

jack dejohnette: music we are

jack dejohnette: music we are

DeJohnette’s new trio recording Music We Are features bassist John Patitucci and pianist Danilo Perez – all-stars singularly that together form the backbone of Wayne Shorter’s long-running quartet. But there is craftiness in the heart of the trio’s makeup.

To start with, each artist operates with two voices. Perez primarily plays piano, but accents this music with modest orchestration on electric keyboards. Similarly, Patitucci plays both acoustic and neo-funkified electric bass. With the piano chair ably filled, DeJohnette’s countering voice is on the portable mouth organ instrument known as the melodica, which provides accordion like colors.

Match all of that with DeJohnette’s vast world music vocabulary and you have Tango African. Here, melodica and bass create a light, harmonious groove. The music loosens for more instinctual interplay on the two-part Seventh D. From there, Music We Are reveals numerous ensemble voices, from the sunny, Pan-American strut of Cobilla to the beautiful acoustic balladry of Panama Viejo to a contemplative mix of chiming percussion, bowed bass and piano on Earth Prayer.

Music We Are and Folk Art are the works of two jazz giants versed in the ways of filling a room with sound. But their magic doesn’t come from showing off how pervasive or huge that sound can be. Instead, Lovano and DeJohnette turn their energies inward here. The resulting music is still plenty muscular. But it’s also enormously inviting and cordial.

Twinkle, twinkle, litter star: Space and astronomy websites

School Library Media Activities Monthly April 1, 2003 | Byerly, Greg; Brodie, Carolyn S With the warmer weather in April, maybe it is time to do a little stargazing! This month’s sites include some incredible connections that are available for learning more about space, astronomy, the nine planets, telescopes, and even a little about aliens. Have fun with these interesting activities and dynamic resources.

Apollo Project Pictures and nothing but pictures, but what pictures! Hundreds of official NASA pictures from all seventeen Apollo missions, along with brief textual descriptions, are available on this site. Truly fascinating pictures of America’s quest to land a man on the moon.

Astronomy for Kids (and Supervised Adults) Intended as a site for children (but adults may learn as well), this site has fun learning pages and activity ideas divided into sections: the planets, puzzles, sky facts, star links, sky maps, and postcards.

Astronomy Lesson Plans (ERIC – AskERIC) From ERIC’s lesson plan database, this site connects to over a dozen lesson plan ideas defined by grade level.

Basic Astronomy This page provides one with “the basic essentials” of learning about astronomy as a science and as a hobby. Learn astronomy terms and names of stars, understand celestial coordinates, and much more. The site is sponsored by Sky & Telescope magazine.

Captain Comet This NASA site provides information for children and young adults about comets. Sections include Stardust Stories, Stardust Theater, Fly with Stardust to a Comet, and Color Me Stardust. The materials included in the Education section are keyed to the National Science Education Standards and are designed primarily for grades five through eight.

Centennial of Flight While we explore the outer reaches of space, it is important to remember that 100 years ago no one had yet flown an airplane. The centennial of flight will not be celebrated until December 17, 2003. The national Centennial of Flight: Born of Dreams – Inspired by Freedom website outlines plans for this centennial celebration and includes historical background, educational activities, and links to other sites regarding the history of flight.

Earth and Sky This unique resource follows an award-winning radio series with information on many popular science subjects including astronomy and space. Users are able to listen to past shows, find answers to questions about science, and read science articles.

Exploring the Planets From the National Air and Space Museum, this site provides good and fun information about the planets and space.

Eyes on the Sky, Feet on the Ground From Harvard, this site has an excellent collection of online activities related to astronomy that correspond with a seven-chapter online book. An excellent place for beginners to learn about astronomy through experimentation and analysis of the information presented. Connects astronomy to the different curriculum areas.

Izzy’s Skylog This attractive website has information for those just learning about astronomy. Features include “calendars of events in the sky, discussions of constellations, and even a place you can ask Izzy questions.” The K-8 Aeronautics Internet Textbook This electronic textbook was developed in cooperation with NASA and a companion book, The Big Book of Air and Space Flight Activities!, recently published by McGraw-Hill Children’s Science Books. However, all of the hundreds of activities, lesson plans, curriculum guides, and activities are available free at this website. The Wright Again section has been added to celebrate the centennial of the first flight in 1903 and a daily listing of what the Wright Brothers were doing 100 years ago will be available through December 17, 2003. site astronomy for kids

Kennedy Space Center Visitors Center “Learn about everything the Kennedy Space Center has to offer.” Although primarily designed for visitors to the Kennedy Space Center, this site offers a great deal of information about the only launch base for manned spacecraft in the United States. Children will like visiting the just for Kids section, but teachers should explore the Educator Zone. Educator Activity Guides are downloadable for K-2, 3-5, and 6-8.

Life Beyond Earth An excellent companion site to a previously broadcast PBS program Life Beyond Earth, a film by Timothy Ferris. Teacher Resources feature lesson plans that include activities, discussion ideas, and literary resources on three topics about life beyond Earth: Alien Landscape, Alien Creatures, and A Europa Probe. You can even write to an alien!

Mysteries of Deep Space This PBS program from 1997 “dives into the vastness of space as it presents the boldest new achievements of modern astronomy, joining astronomers as they probe the limits of the observable universe and peer into the violent worlds of black holes and supernovas.” Even though the lesson plans that accompany this site are for high school students, the background materials and illustrations can be used with elementary classes. Very informative and understandable.

NASA – official site NASA Kennedy Space Center The official website of the Kennedy Space Center. Take a virtual tour of the facility, view previous launches and landings, learn about the space shuttle and the International Space Station, and get the latest information about forthcoming shuttle missions. A lengthy list of resources, educational materials, and links to other NASA sites also are provided.

NASA Kids NASA Kids, a product of the Science Directorate of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, “offers a fun way for children to learn about NASA’s activities and science, using interactive tools and kid-attractive pages. NASA Kids is an online or printable resource designed for kids aged 5 to 14.” The Nine Planets Incredible! One of the best sites for young astronomers (and young people with astronomy homework assignments), this interactive site by Bill Arnett supplies all the vital statistics for all the bodies in the solar system, beautiful photos and diagrams, and even music files. here astronomy for kids

Solar Eclipse: Stories From the Path of Totality The Exploratorium in San Francisco provides an outstanding online museum, and just one of the many features is this page about solar eclipses from around the world. The information at the site explains what eclipses are and provides information about how to view them and where you can watch one.

Solar System Simulator NASA’s incredible Solar System Simulator “creates a simulated view of any body in the solar system in full-color graphics! You tell it what you want to see, and it will create a picture of different planets and moons as if viewing them from Earth!” The user types in which planet, time of day, and percentage of view desired-and the simulator does the rest!

Space/Astronomy A hub for space information and all types of educational and entertaining activities. Look here for songs, games, and fun ideas. Also, good content with many subtopics of space related information such as sections on astronomy images, astronomy events, space museums, weather, telescopes, space agencies, and so much more. A site that has many opportunities for young people to stretch their imaginations. Earthrise This site indexes and makes available over 116,000 images snapped from NASA space flights since the 1960s. These photographs were taken by astronauts through the windows of the Space Shuttle and other space vehicles over the last forty years. Images can be retrieved through a keyword search (e.g., the name of a country), a mission search (e.g., Gemini 8), a features search (e.g., hurricane or volcano), or by entering a city and state (e.g., Salt Lake City, Utah).

A Space Library The Space Library is “a NASA/JPL/Caltech spyglass on the cosmos. Here you will find a mixture of space-related images and programs which will help you visualize the Solar System and NASA space missions using computer graphics.” This site includes everything from space maps that can be downloaded to a solar system simulator to 3D spacecraft models.

The Space Place A fun approach to learning about space. You can Make Spacey Things and Do Spacey Things. There is also a section on Space Science in Action, and Dr. Marc answers a wide variety of questions about space (e.g., Why is the sky blue?). The site is divided into three sections: Fun Activities and Amazing Facts, Space Missions, and Space Topics and Terms.

Space Telescope Science Institute The Space Telescope Science Institute is the astronomical research center responsible for operating the Hubble Space Telescope as an international observatory. Learn about the program and activities as they are featured on this site.

StarChild: A Learning Center for Young Astronomers U. S. Space & Rocket Center/ Experience the G-forces of a shuttle launch, try to land the space shuttle, or see what weightlessness feels like. The U. S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, houses a tremendous collection of rockets and other space memorabilia. Many of these exhibits are available on this site. The Center also hosts both Space Camp, simulated astronaut training, and Aviation Challenge, simulated fighter pilot training.

Welcome to the Planets Again from NASA, this webpage has incredible images from NASA’s planetary exploration program. The images available at this site are taken from the interactive program Welcome to the Planets, distributed on the Planetary Data System Educational CD-ROM.

What’s a Planetarium?

From the California Academy of Sciences, this site uses cartoons to do a virtual tour of what a planetarium actually does and the mechanics of how one works. Features the Morrison Planetarium in San Francisco.

Windows to the Universe This graphically intensive website’s major purpose “is to develop a fun and different Web site about the Earth and Space sciences.” Many interesting and fun connections with sections on our planet, our solar system, the universe, space missions, myths, art, books, films, people, and news. From the University Corporation for Atsmospheric Research, one of the sponsors of the site is NASA.

Yohkoh Public Outreach Project The Yohkoh orbital telescope provides the images found on this website including a tour of the sun. The site includes magnificent X-ray images and digital online movies.

[Author Affiliation] Byerly, Greg; Brodie, Carolyn S

in performance: uncle woody sullender

uncle  woody sullender.

brooklyn banjoist uncle woody sullender.

Maybe it’s our penchant for brewing bluegrass here in the Bluegrass that brings out protective, almost paternal instincts when a banjo is spotted hooked up to pedal effects, a laptop and assorted gizmos designed to electronically jury-rig its sound.

Upon seeing such a set up last night at Land of Tomorrow for a solo performance by Brooklyn string man Uncle Woody Sullender, one was almost moved to cry, “For God’s sake, no! Leave the poor banjo alone! Is nothing sacred in the string music world anymore?”

But in Sullender’s engrossing, yet sadly brief 40 minute set, everything was sacred. The brittle passages at the core of the four tunes he played possessed a stark, ancient air that seemed to pre-date bluegrass altogether. While this was in no way a traditional music program, the electronic enhancements – some of which seemed strategically implemented while others sounded wholly improvised – were essentially harmonic devices.

Sometimes, they rose like voices in another room. Or mounting waves of static chatter. Or chimed bells at a dance. Or chattering insects. Or a lone, chirping bird.

None of this made the performance seem like a novelty act, though. What was continually absorbing to watch and hear was how the natural timbre of the banjo would dissolve even as the electronics would continue to react against – or, more of than not, harmonize with – the tense strums and plucks pronounced upon the strings. On Violence of Volk, especially, the electronics entered like a squall that rode shotgun to Sullender’s more agitated playing.

Of course, the real ingenuity of this music came from not the rise and fade of the electronics, but in the ingenuity Sullender displayed as a soloist. On Where the Flowers on the River’s Green Margin May Blow, the effects took a breather so he could experiment with the banjo’s given tone and temperament.

At times contemplative, at others exquisitely giddy, Sullender’s music was just as progressive when surrounded by pure acoustic solitude as it was when all the dizzy electric gremlins crashed the party.

Microsoft Quiet on Xbox 360 Problems

AP Online July 6, 2007 SEATTLE – Microsoft Corp. won’t say what went wrong inside of its Xbox 360 video game consoles that could lead to $1 billion in repairs, but bloggers and their online readers seem to have their own answer: Heat stroke. site how to fix the red ring of death

Frustrated Xbox 360 gamers have been going to blogs and forums to swap horror stories and voodoo-like solutions for problems with the consoles, which first went on sale in November 2005.

Microsoft has called the seizures “general hardware failures,” while some users have referred to a “red ring of death,” for the three lights that illuminate on the console when a serious problem has occurred. Many have raised the possibility that something – either the power cord, or a component inside the box – is overheating and breaking in the units.

A thread on the forums from 2005 recommended suspending power cords with string in midair to keep them cool.

In June 2006, a post on the blog pointed enthusiasts to a way to cool the console by piping tap water through hoses that snaked through the machine’s innards. Another entry from June of this year purports to show photos of a Microsoft-repaired console with added hardware to trap heat.

YouTube videos, both deadly serious and snarky spoofs, abound.

“People have had some crazy ways of trying to fix their consoles when this happens,” said Dustin Burg, a full-time blogger for Weblogs Inc.’s He described the “towel trick,” which is believed to cause overheated components inside the console to heat up even more, thus melting everything back into place.

Burg, 21, is on his third Xbox 360. He and a handful of friends won consoles from Microsoft as part of a promotional push around the time the system launched in late 2005. All five consoles have since succumbed to general hardware failure and had to be returned, he said.

Burg said the three flashing red lights that indicate the problem started appearing on his console after about 10 months. He was able to get it working again for a while by shutting the machine on and off, but eventually it just stopped working.

“It’s almost like slow dying,” he said.

Burg skipped the towel trick and sent the console back to Microsoft, which swiftly replaced it.

The Xbox 360 Fan Boy blog attracts a great deal of attention from gamers. When the site reported Thursday’s news that Microsoft will extend the warranty for the Xbox 360 to three years- from one year in the U.S. and two in Europe – more than 60 people wrote in with comments. But Burg said no one out there really knows what’s causing the machines to flatline.

“It could be a lot of components,” he said.

Microsoft, for its part, is giving few insights. Robbie Bach, president of the unprofitable entertainment and devices division responsible for the game console, said the company has made manufacturing and production changes that should reduce hardware lockups. website how to fix the red ring of death

Microsoft declined to comment on whether overheating was causing any of the problems.

The software maker also declined to spell out how many machines have been afflicted by the problems, but said that the number of returns reached critical mass in the past few months.

Chris Szarek, a photographer who lives in Chicopee, Mass., doesn’t buy that Microsoft is just discovering the problem. He complained about it last year, complete with Web postings and faxes to Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and other top executives.

Szarek, 38, has sent three consoles back to Microsoft, two that signaled general hardware failure after just a few months and one because it would not connect to the Internet.

He said he doesn’t know what’s going wrong, though he, too, has heard about overheating. He said he was offended that Microsoft customer service told him there might be something wrong with the wiring in his house.

Szarek said that whatever it is, he expects the problem to afflict his fourth console, too.

“I haven’t had any ‘three red lights,’ but I’m fully expecting it,” he said. “It’s not a matter of if it’s going to happen, it’s a matter of when.” Many gamers responded with blog posts and comments praising Microsoft for extending the warranty. Wall Street was also forgiving, even though the software maker said it will record a charge of up to $1.15 billion for its fourth fiscal quarter, which ended June 30, to cover the additional costs associated with the warranty extension. Shares of Microsoft dipped 2 cents to close at $29.97.

Analysts were disappointed that Microsoft would take a financial hit in the June quarter, but were overall unworried by the news.

“By expanding the warranty coverage it could gain more traction in the gaming community and regain some momentum with its console sales,” wrote Credit Suisse analyst Jason Maynard in a note to investors Friday. With a one-year head start, Microsoft has sold more consoles since launch than competitors Nintendo and Sony. But in May, Nintendo’s Wii outsold the Xbox 360, according to data from market researchers NPD Group, while Sony’s Playstation 3 sits firmly in third place.

black moth and banjo

the camera shy black moth will perform at the red mile round barn in the second of two indie concerts on tap tonight.

the camera shy black moth super rainbow will perform at the red mile round barn tonight in the second of two indie concerts.

Who knew there would be so much indie fun available on a Tuesday night?

The festivities start tonight at Land of Tomorrow, an informal but highly cordial performance space at 527 E.3rd St. On tap is a late addition to the Outside the Spotlight series, making this its third concert in three weeks. Featured will be a return performance by Brooklyn banjoist Uncle Woody Sullender (7 p.m., $3), who employs string music tradition as a springboard for free improvisation.

Dubbed by one writer as “the Derek Bailey of the banjo,” Sullender collaborates in projects that flirt with electronica, punk, free jazz and more. But in a 22-minute archived solo banjo performance, available for streaming on his website, and on a new concert recording titled Live at Barkenhoff, Sullender offers a mingling of acoustic melodies with electric ambience. The dissonance, harmony and primitive folk fancy the music veers in and out of is continually fascinating.

Such daring brings to mind two cellists that have graced OTS shows in the past: New York’s Americana-inclined Erik Friedlander and Chicago free jazz improviser Fred Lonberg-Holm. Consider Sullender’s performance highly recommended.

The party re-convenes later in the evening at the Red Mile Round Barn with Pittsburgh’s Black Moth Super Rainbow (8:30 p.m., $5). The band has been celebrated in indie circles over the past seven years for creating lush modern psychedelia out of seemingly ancient electronic keyboard instruments.

BMSR has a new album hitting stores next week titled Eating Us which, unfortunately, we haven’t been able to give a listen to yet. But 2007’s Dandelion Gum provides an expansive overview of the group’s modern/retro electronic matrix, from the single note analog synths that propel Rollerdisco to the Rhodes piano melody on Lost, Picking Flowers in the Woods that sounds like it could almost bubble into a big ol’ Ray Charles groove. Instead, it detours into something altogether chillier.

BMSR’s assorted vocals, chirps and hums are all given robotic makeovers after being processed through vocoders while mellotron-like woodwind effects that echo everything from The Beatles to early King Crimson.

It’s all full of bright, psychedelic charm, although the band is known for taking a more experimentalist stride in performance.

Localites Tiny Fights and Bedtime will open.

Both performances are all-ages shows.

Friends, neighbors rally to help family face girl’s rare medical condition.(Knight Ridder Newspapers)

Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service June 4, 2002 | Goldston, Linda LOS ANGELES _ Kaitlyn wanted to know two things.

“Who won `Survivor?’ ” “When can I go home?” The questions were mouthed word by painful word as the 8-year-old girl struggled to make her mother understand. The questions came between tears, between tests of her lungs, between the insertion of yet another intravenous line to draw blood. The questions made her mother want to laugh and cry at the same time.

“She’s having a really sad day today,” Kerry Langstaff said. “She’s scared, and she wants to go home.” Kaitlyn has a rare disease so serious her doctors at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles feared she would die. The illness struck like lightning, upending the lives of a Saratoga family already suffering from Silicon Valley’s recession.

Ever since last summer, when both parents were laid off from their marketing jobs _ Kerry from 3Com, Bradshaw from a start-up _ the Langstaffs have struggled to hold on to their “good life.” The nice house. Two bright, healthy daughters. Loyal friends. Enough school, sports and community activities to fill up most of their afternoons and evenings, certainly all of their weekends.

What happened in April humbled them. go to site lucile packard childrens hospitals

Success no longer means saving their house or finding new jobs. Success means helping Kaitlyn. And they quickly learned that they would need the help of friends and family, former co-workers, neighbors and strangers to achieve that.

Since April 5, Kaitlyn has been battling a rare condition called toxic epidermal necrolysis, a severe form of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. She was airlifted from a hospital in Madera to one in Los Angeles and, last week, to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. She faces many months of intensive care and rehabilitation.

On Friday, Kaitlyn ate her first meal in two months that didn’t come through a tube: a few sips of chicken soup.

It made her smile.

Kaitlyn’s condition is an extreme allergic reaction to commonly prescribed drugs, including antibiotics and painkillers, or a virus. It rapidly assaults the skin and mucous membranes as the immune system attacks the body inside and out, forming lesions and blisters that resemble second-degree burns.

“This disease just attacks every part of your body,” Kerry Langstaff said. “Your skin, eyes, lungs.” No reliable statistics are available but some studies cite death rates as high as 70 percent for children. Some people lose their sight or have long-term lung and vision problems. Some recover fully. Kaitlyn could get better or she could get worse.

After nearly a year without income and the specter of losing their house, the Langstaffs were just starting to plan their future with confidence again when Kaitlyn became ill. Kerry had landed a job at Nuance Communications; Brad was going to interviews.

They planned to celebrate the return of their good fortune with a camping trip to Yosemite. At a stopover in Fresno, the creative competition team Kerry coached was to be in the state finals. Their older daughter, Kelly, a sixth grader, is on the team.

The Langstaffs left on April 5. Kaitlyn didn’t want to eat dinner that night and showed signs of the flu.

She was treated at an urgent care clinic the next morning. By Sunday, she had a severe rash and a high fever.

On April 8, the Monday they planned to drive to Yosemite, Kaitlyn was admitted to Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera.

On April 15, the day Kerry was to start her new job, Kaitlyn was airlifted to Childrens Hospital Los Angeles because it appeared she might need a heart-lung machine.

“It came on us out of the blue,” Brad Langstaff said. “First, it’s OK, she’s sick. Now we’re in the emergency room. Now we’re being admitted. Now she’s going to the ICU. Now she’s being intubated. Now we’re being airlifted to Los Angeles. We’ve got it figured out: There is no planning now.” The family that had its days planned to the minute was now forced to wait, hour by hour, checking Palm Pilots to see what day it was, not which appointment came next.

The couple was at Kaitlyn’s side at least 15 hours a day, crashing for a few hours at Ronald McDonald House, just around the corner.

The Langstaffs celebrated Mother’s Day and their 15th wedding anniversary at the Los Angeles hospital.

Outside Kaitlyn’s room in the pediatrics intensive care unit in Los Angeles, a wall of plaques of thanks from the families of children who lived and memorials to children who died was a daily reminder that fate can swing either way.

The Langstaffs spent 44 days in Los Angeles focused on Kaitlyn, a vigil made possible only by a support network that formed immediately. lucile packard childrens hospitals

“They needed someone to pick up Kelly from school, to water the plants, all sorts of practical things that you can’t just write a check for even if they had the money,” said Bridget McNeil, Kerry’s former boss at 3Com.

“In Silicon Valley, with our self-sufficient lives, we kind of build little walls around ourselves. Their walls are all stripped now. They couldn’t just work harder and be smarter. That wasn’t going to work this time.” Help came from many sources, from the ribboned-hearts with Kaitlyn’s initials sold at Campbell Bobbysox softball games to the donations of money from strangers and friends of friends.

Karon and Mark Pasos, the Langstaffs’ neighbors in Saratoga, watched their house and fed Kaitlyn’s Christmas kitten, Kali. Susan Harvell, whose daughter played volleyball with Kelly at Rolling Hills Middle School, organized a tax deductible fund for Kaitlyn. Mothers of Kaitlyn’s best friends made trips to Los Angeles so the Langstaffs could leave the hospital for a nap or a meal.

(EDITORS: BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM) Kaitlyn’s teacher, Carol Curry, and her second-grade classmates at Forest Hill Elementary School planted a large flower garden, “Kaitlyn’s Garden,” outside their classroom window. David May, one of Kelly’s former teachers, organized weekly “Cookies for Kaitlyn Day” and a car wash to raise money. The seventh- and eighth-graders at Kelly’s school held a dance and donated the proceeds.

A Brownie troop from Marshall Lane School in Campbell donated their monthly dues _ $10.

Tammy Davies, whose son, Jeremy, has gone to school with Kelly since preschool, went to stay with Kaitlyn at the hospital in Madera on April 15 so Brad Langstaff could rush home and pick up things they needed _ and watch part of Kelly’s softball game so she wouldn’t feel abandoned.

Davies planned to spend one night; she stayed a week.

“Kerry and Brad give so much to the community, the schools, their friends and neighbors. They don’t do it for a pat on the back or any recognition,” Davies said.

(END OPTIONAL TRIM) In big and small ways, the family has touched many lives.

After the shows for San Jose Children’s Musical Theater, where the Langstaffs and Davies volunteer, “the kids come out in costume to `meet and greet’ the audience. Kerry would always find the littlest kids and ask them for their autograph. She loved to see how thrilled and excited the kids were when she asked,” Davies said.

“We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from all of you from across the country,” Kerry Langstaff wrote on April 14 to the growing list of Kaitlyn well-wishers.

Two weeks later: “Many of you have asked us to give Kaitlyn a hug and boy do we wish we could do that! Right now we can only rub her feet _ actually only the bottom of her feet because there are IVs on the top _ touch the fingers of one hand and kiss her head. That is it.” On May 2, Kerry Langstaff was allowed to hold her daughter for 45 minutes. It took 30 minutes to maneuver all the tubes and wires so she could lie down beside her.

The focus of all these efforts, all the prayers for one child to survive, is Kaitlyn Sierra Langstaff, a precocious second-grader who wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up.

If she could have them in the hospital, she would be comforted by her goldfish, Sushi, her kitten, Kali, and the family dog, Maddy.

Kaitlyn inherited her mother’s knack for organization and stuck her own “To Do” list on the refrigerator. For her eighth birthday party in February, she typed a list of who she wanted to attend, what games she wanted to play, what food she wanted to eat.

After her homework was done, she would message friends and play games on the computer. She loves math, writing stories and watching “SpongeBob SquarePants” cartoons.

She adores her older sister. When Kelly visited her in Los Angeles, Kaitlyn wanted to hear what the big kids _ Kelly’s friends _ were up to before hearing any news about her own friends.

Kaitlyn had talked about attending a volleyball camp at Stanford this summer. She wanted to improve because Kelly is a good player. She wanted to be better than her big sister.

She wanted to get an Apple IBook computer. Kelly got one for Christmas.

It was during Kelly’s visits to see Kaitlyn that her little sister first began communicating again, nodding her head yes and no, raising her arm to wave.

“My mom asked, `Why do you think this happened to Kaitlyn? Chances are one in a million.'” Kelly said. “I said, `She’s special. If she’s special enough to get it, she’s special enough to live through it.'” ___ Here are two ways to donate to help Kaitlyn.

The Kaitlyn Sierra Langstaff Fund has been established to help her family pay medical and living costs. Checks made out to the fund may be sent either to Rolling Hills Middle School, 1585 More Ave., Los Gatos, Calif. 95030 or Forest Hill Elementary School, 4450 McCoy Ave., San Jose, Calif. 95130.

A special account has also been established at Estrella Family Services for tax deductible donations. Checks should be made out to Estrella Family Services with Kaitlyn Sierra Langstaff Fund noted in the memo portion of the check. The address is Estrella Family Services, 265 Meridian Ave., Suite 12, San Jose, Calif. 95126.

___ KRT CALIFORNIA is a premium service of Knight Ridder/Tribune Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

Goldston, Linda

the naked truth

irish songstress maura o'connell performs a capella tonight for the woodsongs old-time radio hour.

irish songstress maura o'connell performs a capella tonight for the woodsongs old-time radio hour.

The idea had been in Maura O’Connell’s mind for years to tackle this kind of project. Still, when plans for her newest album began to take shape, one voice prevailed: her own.

We’re not saying merely that the veteran Irish singer’s figurative vision would be the first and last word on the upcoming recording. That has essentially been the case from the days O’Connell sang with the great Irish band De Dannan right up through her migration to Nashville, where she formed a lasting musical alliance with progressive string stylists like Jerry Douglas and Bela Fleck.

No, in this case, we mean, quite literally, her voice. For O’Connnell’s newest album, her confident, regal and potently emotive singing is the star attraction. In short, she has made an a capella record.

O’Connell isn’t alone on the project. There are numerous pals helping her out, from such Nashville royalty as Alison Krauss and Dolly Parton to fellow Irish songstresses Mary Black, Mairead Ni Mhaorigh and Moya Brennan to such celebrated Americana artists as Douglas, Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott.

But not one of them picks up an instrument. The album simply matches their singing with O’Connell’s steadfast vocals. Hence the project’s title: Naked with Friends.

“I generally do an a capella song at the end of a show if things work out the right way,” said O’Connell, who returns to town tonight to perform for the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour. Veteran folk artist and activist Si Kahn will be the program’s other guest.

“Unaccompanied singing is very much part of the Irish phenomenon, I suppose. It’s as much a part of the culture as the whole idea of people gathering together and having a sing. So this isn’t new.

“What was nice, though, was getting to gather a group of songs that wouldn’t necessarily be considered music you would sing unaccompanied. I mean, a good song can stand on its own. Still, some songs didn’t translate as well as I thought they would while others I wasn’t sure about turned out to be just perfect.”

Some of the Naked match-ups are beautifully unexpected. That Krauss’ blissful vocal calm would provide such balance to the Rhonda Jo Fleming/Janis Ian song Some People’s Lives probably isn’t a shocker. But how about Krauss sidekick Douglas, who has produced several of O’Connell’s past albums, singing in Irish without his trademark dobro on the traditional Mo Sheamuseen?

“Jerry and I worked together on the road for a couple of years back in the ‘80s and he always sang harmony with me,” O’Connell said. “He’s a great musician with ears that are finely tuned to singers anyway. I suppose it really wasn’t as much of a stretch as some people might believe. It’s just that he’s so busy with that instrument of his. That’s what people know him for. But he has a very fine voice.”

On the slightly more contemporary side is Shipbuilding, a late ‘80s composition credited on Naked to one Declan Patrick MacManus – known to the pop world at large as the very un-Irish Elvis Costello. For that, O’Connell enlisted the choir singing of The Settles Connection. Added to that was the fearless vocals of songsmith Darrell Scott. Curiously, Scott’s This Beggar’s Heart is later covered on Naked by O’Connell and a pair of young Irish artists, Liam Bradley and Declan O’Rourke.

And then there are the times when the music on Naked is exactly that. O’Connell interprets Joan Armatrading’s The Weakness in Me and a slightly Anglo-ized version of reknown 18th century Scottish poet Robert Burns’ Ae Fond Kiss without any help at all.

“I recorded all of the songs on my own first, with the exception of I Know My Love. I did that together with Mary, Moya and Mairead. The other ones I recorded first just to see how they sounded on their own. When anyone else came in on those songs, they added to that. I didn’t sing any harmony.

“I can perform all these songs without anybody being around me, too. But I don’t think that would be terribly interesting for a whole show. I’m still working out how I’m going to put this on the road. I’m going to sing a cappella in Lexington, though.”

O’Connell admitted, however, she is still “letting go” of Naked, which won’t make its way to stores until June 16.

“Of course, I’m ambitious and everything like that. Most people are. And I have an ego. Don’t you worry about that. While I would be delighted if everybody that got a chance to hear this album would love it, I don’t expect that will be the case.

“But I’ve come to a place in my life where, if I can continue to get an odd gig so that my ego can be massaged, I’m quite happy.”

Maura O’Connell and Si Kahn perform at 7 tonight at the Kentucky Theatre for the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour. Tickets are $10. Call (859) 252-8888.

in performance: dave alvin with chris miller

dave alvin

dave alvin

Judging by his rather unassuming performance profile last night at the Southgate House in Newport, one would have found it tough to agree with Dave Alvin’s assessment of himself as “the Nostradamus of grouchy singer songwriters.”

After all, there was nothing especially unsettling about the two hour concert as Alvin played brisk, rhythmic acoustic guitar lines to accompanist Chris Miller’s subtle slide, twang and occasionally rockish electric strides. In fact, Alvin seemed in fine spirits as he reminisced about his late pal and bandmate Chris Gaffney and decades-old late night joyrides with brother Phil Alvin and blues/soul legend Big Joe Turner.

But, yes, there was something prophetic about a few of Alvin’songs, which the singer himself was quick to point out. Among them was Jubilee Train, a Woody Guthrie-style reflection of breadline-induced topicality that Alvin turned into prized rock ‘n roll both with the self-described “orchestra” he fronted with brother Phil in the early ‘80s dubbed The Blasters, and, later, with his own crack band, The Guilty Men.

There was a stark, steely air to Jubilee Train last night that brought it closer to the blues. And with good reason. The tune may have been written about the search for salvation in the spiritual and economic implosions of another era. But its lyrical relevance in today’s bailout and foreclosure world was as eery and fitting as Alvin’s rootsy reinvention of the song. Alvin’s addition of the chorus to Worried Life Blues as a refrain enhanced Jubilee Train‘s urgency all the more.

One was reminded, especially within this duo setting and the Southgate Gate’s moderately intimate atmosphere, of how strong the lyrical snapshots of Alvin’s deglamorized West Coast world remain. Admittedly, there was a certain familiarity to the Newport crowd (or, at least, there should have been) in the Ohio River home honorably deserted in the evening-opening King of California. But the images grew riper as the evening went on, from the paved in reservoirs and bulldozed orange groves of Dry River to the storms, mountains and highways that illuminate a demolished romance in Rio Grande (co-written by Tom Russell, who Alvin paid further homage to later in the show with a stirring cover of Blue Wing).

Alvin honored Gaffney, who died last year of cancer, with a bittersweet twilight waltz version of The Man of Somebody’s Dreams. A beautifully recorded version of the song serves as the title tune of a new Gaffney tribute album. Alvin also briefly leaned into the cheery roots drive of Boss of the Blues from Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women. Both albums are due out on May 26.

Finally, there was the simple but very effective interaction last night between Alvin and Guilty Man Miller, which gave the program a modest rocking charm, whether it was in the Merle Haggard like jangle that percolated under an encore version of Out in California or a subtle, loose guitar jam the two players designed that earlier linked Somewhere in Time with Ashgrove.

Last night’s performance had actually been advertised as a solo acoustic outing for Alvin. But given the dynamics that emerged within the songs and the circumstances surrounding their storylines, why not add in a little acoustic and electric guitar harmony? Hey, the more the merrier.

Shopping season sees strong sales.

Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, FL) December 17, 2006 Byline: Kari C. Barlow Dec. 17–Cha-ching. That’s the sound being heard ’round the Emerald Coast as merchants happily usher in another holiday shopping season. By all accounts, crowds are up and so are their spirits. This year’s shoppers, in general, aren’t laid low by a horrific string of hurricanes. Their homes aren’t besieged by storm victims flowing in from nearby states. “There’s just more of an ease,” says Traci Stokes, director of marketing for Silver Sands Factory Stores. “People aren’t feeling the anxiety and worry of having to come back after a hurricane.” The outlet mall is seeing its largest crowds on the weekends. “It’s a little bit slower during the week,” Stokes said. Some stores — Gap and Banana Republic — are taking advantage of a national trend and making sure they’re open by at least 9 a.m. “They’re trying to capture those early morning shoppers,” Stokes said. At Santa Rosa Mall, manager Bill Bubel has also seen calm weekdays and packed weekends. go to site vera bradley coupon code

“As weeks have progressed, we’re seeing that the Saturday and Sunday crowds are just phenomenal,” Bubel says. “There’s no place to park or if you park it’s far away. For me, that’s a great problem!” And what are these shoppers after?

“Women’s apparel seems to be doing well this year, and of course technology,” Bubel says. “The X-Box-related items … and the flat-screen LCD TVs seem to be the ticket.” At Silver Sands, Stokes has seen a significant increase in gift card purchases.

“We are going gangbusters in giftcards,” she says. “That’s just the trend.” Stokes says many shoppers go with a gift card when uncertain about traveling with a large number of presents.

“There is a concern with traveling with gifts,” she says. “People aren’t sure how to do it.” Stokes says many shoppers are paying close attention to savings.

“Customers seem to be very coupon-driven this year,” she says. “They’re buying the fashion-forward items, but what’s getting them in are the coupons.” At Destin Commons, the use of holiday classics — such as a 50-foot Christmas tree, a nightly “snow”, concerts and Santa Claus — are drawing healthy crowds.

“Traffic counts are up over last year, still with just over one week to go,” say Mary Kathryn Wells, director of marketing for Destin Commons. “Since Christmas falls on a Monday this year, there is an added bonus weekend for those last minute shoppers. We are anticipating a strong close to holiday sales.” At the Market Shops in Sandestin, shoppers are drawn to the boutique stores for their exclusive and one-of-a-kind feel, says Rebecca Job, director of commercial properties for the Market Shops. site vera bradley coupon code

“We’re seeing a huge, huge drive for Vera Bradley,” says Job of the boutique My Favorite Things, which has expanded to stock hard-to-find Vera items such as dog leashes, pet carriers, lipstick cases and i-pod cases.

Overall, Job said, the shopping season at the Market Shops has been a pleasant surprise.

“Many of our merchants are up 20, 30, 40, 50 percent,” she added. “The next two weeks will kind of wrap things up and tell us the whole story.” Daily News Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News.

dave alvin’s guilty plea

dave albin performs tonight in newport. photo by issa sharp.

dave albin performs tonight in newport. photo by issa sharp.

Time was, during the heyday of Lynagh’s Music Club, that Dave Alvin became a semi-regular around Lexington. Between 1996 and the venue’s 2002 closing, it seemed the West Coast Americana rocker, Blasters co-founder and one-time X man (as in the pioneering Los Angeles punk band, not the comic hero entourage) was playing in town once or twice a year. Behind him was always a rock solid, roots-savvy band called The Guilty Men.

Since then, though, there have been only back-to-back Dame and WoodSongs appearances in 2004. That makes a rare regional outing by Alvin at the Southgate House in nearby Newport tonight our road trip pick of the weekend.

The performance comes to us on the heels of several new Alvin recording projects. Among them:

+ Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women: a just released set of new tunes, cover songs and reworked favorites with a band of veteran female artisans that include famed steel/lap steel guitarist Cindy Cashdollar, violinists Laurie Lewis and Amy Farris, veteran blues bassist Sarah Brown, singer/songwriter Christy McWilson and drummer Lisa Pankratz. Among the highlights is a lively Cajun remake of the signature Blasters tune Marie Marie.

+ A Man of Somebody’s Dreams: subtitled A Tribute to the Songs of Chris Gaffney, this 18 song sampler features Joe Ely, Los Lobos, Alejandro Escovedo and John Doe, among others, interpreting music by Alvin’s lifelong friend and bandmate, who died last year from cancer. While Alvin is credited as having “curated” the album, he also contributed a cover of Gaffney’s Artesia that features a spoken remembrance of a shared Southern California childhood full of orange groves, Santa Ana winds and the omnipresent summer fragrance of cattle dung.

+ Keep Your Soul: a different tribute set that honors the late great psychedelic Tex Mex song stylist Doug Sahm. Alvin offers a pedal steel guitar and accordion fortified version of Sahm’s 1969 international hit Dynamite Woman.

Oddly enough, with all the high profile company Alvin keeps on these recordings and as noted as he has been for performing in full band settings, tonight’s Southgate House concert will be a solo acoustic show. It will be Alvin’s first unaccompanied outing in the region since an opening set for Richard Thompson at Bogart’s a decade ago.

Opening for Alvin tonight will be San Francisco songsmith Brigitte DeMeyer, whose new Red River Flower album offers a roots music matrix that often sounds like a sunnier variation of Ollabelle.

Dave Alvin performs at 8 tonight at the Southgate House, 24 East Third St. in Newport. Tickets are $20. Call (859) 431-2201.

critic’s pick 71

steve earle: townes

steve earle: townes

Among the many tales told about Townes Van Zandt was a yarn recounted to me years ago by one-time Lexington troubadour Frank Schaap. As he explained it, the fabled Texas songwriter, hopelessly high or inebriated or both after a show, sought to settle up his bar tab. Penniless at the time, Van Zandt offered a gold filling in his mouth as payment. Aghast, the bartender said his drinks were on the house. Having none of that, Van Zandt went to the parking lot, grabbed a pair of pliers and performed dental surgery on himself to settle his debt. But the tooth he extracted wasn’t the one with the filling.

Fact or fable? Probably a bit of both. Van Zandt, much like the inhabitants of his songs, often led a dangerously spontaneous life. Whether or not he doubled as his own tooth fairy is pure conjecture. What remains, though, 12 years after Van Zandt’s death, are immensely literate, haplessly emotive and often relentlessly desperate songs that any serious Americana artist in or out of Texas views with justifiable reverence.

Among his more direct disciples is Steve Earle, the Grammy-winning renegade songsmith who has wrestled with his own rings of fire over the years but lived to achieve the kind of notoriety that generally escaped Van Zandt during his lifetime.

On Townes, Earle offers a tribute to his mentor that is by no means easy or obvious. Vocally, it is as ragged as anything Earle has recorded. On one of Van Zandt’s most deceptively upbeat songs, White Freight Liner Blues (upbeat, that is, until you scan the despondency of the lyrics), Earle sounds as if he is left out of breath by the tune’s giddy pace. Elsewhere on Townes, Earle’s Texas drawl sweeps over the music like fog.

Musically, the record is all over the road with arrangements as varied as the temperaments of Van Zandt’s lyrics.

Some tunes were cut in Earle’s New York apartment and unravel as stark acoustic meditations, such as the solo acoustic reading of Colorado Song. Earle shines deeper light on the often ignored elegance of Van Zandt’s music by adding discreet strings to the waltz-like (Quicksilver Daydreams of) Maria. Similarly, the contours of Delta Momma Blues are colored by very different strings – namely the bluegrass-inspired support of Tim O’Brien, Darrell Scott, Tim Crouch and Shad Cobb.

But it’s difficult not to be drawn to what Earle does to Van Zandt’s bleaker works. On Lungs, he continues the folk/groove experiments initiated with producer/Dust Brother John King on 2007’s Washington Square Serenade album. Mutated by vocal distortion, drum loops and the guitar drive of Tom Morello, the sound has the menace of a Howlin Wolf blues record. But the lyrics of death and salvation… that’s still pure Townes.

Earle’s wife, fellow Americana great Allison Moorer, sings harmonies on Loretta and the album-closing embrace of release, To Live is to Fly. And on the obscure Mr. Mudd and Mr. Gold, supposedly designed as a TV western theme, Earle sings a duet with son and blooming neo-country songsmith Justin Townes Earle. That the younger Earle’s name is partially dedicated to Van Zandt speaks to extent of the elder Earle’s devotion.

Topping all of that is another overlooked Van Zandt tale of bedevilment called Rake. It’s a remorseless, reckless saga that begins dark and turns positively black. But Earle, backed by acoustic guitar and strings, gives the song a sweeping, almost Irish air.

Such was the poetic depth of Van Zandt. And so goes this uneasy but very complimentary view of his work by an especially devout and daring protégé.

in performance: offonoff

offonoff: paal nilssen-love, terrie ex, massimo pupillo. photo by thomas hukkelberg

offonoff: drummer paal nilssen-love, guitarist terrie ex, electric bassist massimo pupillo. photo by thomas hukkelberg

Offonoff is one of those bands that doesn’t give you much time to categorize or even assimilate its music. From the instant its brief 40 minute set began last night at an inviting new Third St. performance space called Land of Tomorrow, you couldn’t help but be drawn into the loud and very physical spontaneity that dictated its music.

Essentially a free jazz trio from Europe with an amped-up electric nervous system, Offonoff’s set was devoted to two freely improvised pieces – or, maybe it was one really long one silenced only briefly so that the audience and artists could gather their breath and wits.

Punkish more in his delivery than intent, Dutch guitarist Terrie Ex delivered industrial strength squalls that had him bouncing like a teen about the stage area. Brandishing a guitar with a weatherbeaten, charred appearance, he designed abrupt electric scratches by dragging the tip of his instrument’s neck along the venue’s concrete floor as if to draw a sonic line in makeshift sand. He also beat the strings with a drum sticks, slammed the guitar with small cymbals and gongs that were sent flying early in the set by Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love and used a beverage glass as a slide before letting it drop and shatter on the floor.

At his best, Ex presented a mix of immediacy, discord and fractured rhythm that brought the great New York avant garde guitarist Marc Ribot to mind. Ultimately, though, the noise simply became static, numbing and, in several instances, visibly disconnected from the contributions of his bandmates.

Nilssen-Love and Italian bass guitarist Massimo Pupillo provided a suitably manic undercurrent to the mayhem. Nilssen-Love, especially, was tireless as he played with the scorched propulsion and keen instinct of a restless improviser. And, yes, there a few brief moments when a hint of melody and groove surfaced. Mostly, though, Offonoff stayed in the on position with the sort of musical fury that never fully summoned a level of interaction and ingenuity to match its brutish drive.

in performance: george clinton and parliament/funkadelic

george clinton

george clinton

Attending a Parliament-Funkadelic concert has always been akin to getting lost at the circus. There are always fantastical sights (and, eventually, a few sounds) in motion around you, even if the performance antics run more on instinct than organization. As a result, there is an undeniable thrill to the event, even though you’re usually ready to find a way home before the sideshow has actually ended.

That was essentially the way things unfurled when Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee George Clinton brought his newest P-Funk entourage to the Kentucky Theatre last night for a nearly three hour concert. There was certainly no shortage of sights. Singers, dancers and instrumentalists – which at times numbered between 20 and 25 at a time onstage – donned everything from rainbow wigs to bridal gowns to diapers. And that’s not even taking into account what the women wore.

And, yes, by embracing mostly the late ‘70s, party-savvy era of Clinton’s P-Funk reign by way of tunes like Flashlight and One Nation Under a Groove, there was no shortage of soul and cheer.

Clinton hasn’t always been the best editor of his music, though. With very few exceptions, the band was pretty unwilling to part with a tune once a groove clicked. For example, the compositional design of the band’s namesake tune, P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up) has changed little over the decades. Even the hipster rap remains the same (“So kick back, dig, while we do it to you in your eardrum”). But the tune and the groove went on in essentially static fashion last night. Like much of the evening’s material, it could have been cut short without subtracting from the show’s runaway momentum.

At its worst, the concert became a kind of sloppy open-mike night with a team of singers taking largely unremarkable vocal turns. One offered a pop falsetto, another a way, way overdone blues rave. Kendra Foster took honors, though, by leading Bounce 2 This from a sunny pop-soul stride to a place where the band took over for a metal-esque interlude.

Curiously, one of the evening’s highlights came when Clinton vacated the stage so that a quartet of guitarists could explore the Hendrix-style psychedelic repose of the 1971 Funkadelic instrumental Maggot Brain. Like most everything in the show, it ran too long (over 15 minutes).But it was a valuable reminder of the rock inspirations and musical brawn Clinton drew upon before P-Funk got all funked up.

Clinton himself served mostly as ringmaster for this circus – or traffic cop, depending on your viewpoint. From a technical standing, his vocals were coarse to the point of being superfluous on Cosmic Slop and Atomic Dog. But like everything else in last night’s show, his visual presence compensated.

No, we don’t mean the multi-colored mane he still sports like a headdress. Clinton’s greatest fashion statement last night was simpler. When the man took off his shades and smiled to the audience – which he did often – he didn’t look like a 67 year old funk-rocker. Instead, he beamed like a child who, after so many years, remains amazed and delighted by the circus around him.


The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA) October 10, 2008 Dear Tom and Ray: Something interesting happened to me today. I was on my way to work, and the right front wheel fell off my 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. I want to know why it fell off. All five of the studs were sheared off, and I could not find any of the studs or lug nuts near the scene when I stopped. When I left my home this morning, I could hear a knocking sound in front of the firewall on the right side.

I turned off the radio so that I could listen a little closer, and I noticed that it got louder when I accelerated. I finally decided, after about half a mile, to stop and check it out. I walked all the way around the car, looked underneath it and checked under the hood. I couldn’t see anything, so I got back on the road. About another half a mile down the road, I heard and felt some real banging in the front, so I immediately pulled over. As I was pulling to a stop, there was a big bang, and I thought, “Did my front wheel just fall off?” Sure enough, next to my car when I got out was my right front wheel, along with the rotor and everything else, sitting right there in the dirt. I had the car inspected a couple of months ago and that same day I took it in for an alignment and to have them fix a stabilizer shock-absorber-looking thing that had come loose under the front end area. Since that time, I have put nearly 3,000 miles on it, but I am telling you this because that is the last time I can remember that there could have been an opportunity to remove that wheel. So here is my main question: Why would my wheel suddenly fall off my Jeep? I can think of only a few scenarios. website 2000 jeep grand cherokee

No. 1: The last time the wheel was off the vehicle, they did not put the lug nuts on tight enough. Good theory, but how was I able to go 3,000 miles before having an incident like this one?

No. 2: The last time the wheel was off the vehicle, they put the lug nuts on too tight and stretched the studs to the point of almost breaking. Again, how did I make it 3,000 miles?

No. 3: My wife hired a hit man who bungled the job. Not a very good theory either, because I already know that she thinks I’m pretty much worthless, so she wouldn’t have much to gain by offing me. go to site 2000 jeep grand cherokee

Should I check my wife’s fingernails for dirt? Please do your best Car Talk CSI work on this for me. I am really depending on you. This could be life or death if I’m wrong.

– John Ray: Actually, it could have been lug nuts that were too loose or too tight. They could loosen up and fall off one by one over 3,000 miles, but that is an unusually long time. More likely, the lug nuts were overtightened.

Tom: Here’s the likely scenario: When you had your stabilizer replaced 3,000 miles ago, someone overtightened your lug nuts. What that does is it stretches the studs. Now, every metal has an “elastic region,” a point to which it can be stretched and still return to its original shape and size. But if you stretch it beyond its elastic region, you get to its “plastic region,” where it won’t return and is permanently weakened.

Ray: My guess is that, after being overtightened, at some point one of your studs failed and broke off, taking the lug nut with it. You didn’t notice it, because you had four more. But because one was missing, those four had to do the work of five. That put more stress on the remaining studs.

Tom: Eventually, another one broke. And then another. When you set out this morning, you had two studs left. That’s why you were hearing the wheel banging against the disc rotor. One more stud broke off, and the noise got louder. And then, that last one sheared off and the wheel came off with it.

Ray: And you should get down on your knees and thank your lucky stars that you were going 4 mph when it happened instead of 40.

Tom: If you’re sure that the guys who did the stabilizer repair removed only that one wheel, you can just replace those five studs and be fine.

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norwegian drummer paal nilssen love

norwegian drummer paal nilssen love performs tuesday as part of the european trio offonoff at land of tomorrow.

As we mentioned here in recent preview and review posts, the Outside the Spotlight series returned to life in a huge and hopeful way last week with a sublime two-set performance by avant garde Godfather/saxophonist Peter Brotzmann, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Nasheet Waits.

OTS chieftain Ross Compton is wasting no time in capitalizing on the momentum that show helped stir. On Tuesday, the series brings back Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, who has played numerous OTS concerts here with The Thing, Atomic, FME (the Free Music Ensemble) and others. He also does considerable globetrotting with Brotzmann.

This time Nilssen-Love will be playing as part of a European trio called Offonoff which also features Dutch guitarist Terrie Ex and Italian bass guitarist Massimo Pupillo

Judging by a 2007 album called Clash, Offonoff sounds every bit as volatile and immediate as bands like The Thing. But given that Ex and Pupillo are both wielding electric instruments, the mischief will possess something most OTS shows don’t: amplification.

The venue for Tuesday’s show will also be new to fans of the series. Offonoff was to have presented at a new performance space called Hop Hop. That never materialized. So the concert has been relocated to Land of Tomorrow at 527 S.Third St. (8 p.m., $3).

Rafael Toral, an electronic music and “post-free”jazz artist from Portugal, Cincinnati violinist C. Spencer Yeh and Lexington drummer Trevor Tremaine will open Tuesday’s performance with a trio set.

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