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Archive for August 2011

Good Read – Bright’s Passage by Josh Ritter

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Bright’s Passage
by Josh Ritter

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Product Description:

Henry Bright is newly returned to West Virginia from the battlefields of the First World War. Grief struck by the death of his young wife and unsure of how to care for the infant son she left behind, Bright is soon confronted by the destruction of the only home he’s ever known. His only hope for safety is the angel who has followed him to Appalachia from the trenches of France and who now promises to protect him and his son. Together, Bright and his newborn, along with a cantankerous goat and the angel guiding them, make their way through a landscape ravaged by forest fire toward an uncertain salvation, haunted by the abiding nightmare of his experiences in the war and shadowed by his dead wife’s father, the Colonel, and his two brutal sons.

Rose Krzton-Presson says:

Josh Ritter’s debut novel Bright’s Passage is not a disappointment for fans of his music. His prose echoes the intricacy of his song lyrics and Ritter seems to have mastered delicately juxtaposing everything in this book. Henry Bright is able to face his murderous family members, but is terrified at the thought of raising his newborn son alone. The story is able to whip back to a misty Appalachian morning after an explosive scene in muddy trenches of France during WWI. Set in West Virginia, Bright’s Passage is steeped in Ritter’s true Americana style with a sense of upstanding nobility given to the local culture. The book also brings religion and morality into question. With a guardian angel (or a hallucination of a talking horse brought upon by PTSD, depending on the reader’s interpretation) that doesn’t always keep Bright out of harm’s way, Ritter presents a very interesting religious situation, with no particular slant. The freshman novelist has room to improve. Bright’s Passage has some some loose ends and fuzzy plot points. But if Ritter’s last decade of musical growth is any sign of his writing improvements to come, he is sure to join Twain and Poe as one of the great American artists.

Check out our Good Reads page for more recommended books.

Written by Matt Markgraf

August 31, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Datebook – August 31 – Hermann von Helmholtz turns 190

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Hermann von Helmholtz was born August 31, 1821 (and died September 8, 1894). He was a German physician and physicist who made significant contributions to several widely varied areas of modern science. In physiology and psychology, he is known for his mathematics of the eye, theories of vision, ideas on the visual perception of space, color vision research, and on the sensation of tone, perception of sound, and empiricism. In physics, he is known for his theories on the conservation of energy, work in electrodynamics, chemical thermodynamics, and on a mechanical foundation of thermodynamics. As a philosopher, he is known for his philosophy of science, ideas on the relation between the laws of perception and the laws of nature, the science of aesthetics, and ideas on the civilizing power of science.

It’s Wednesday, August 31

Market House Theatre opens its 48th season with the Tony Award winning play the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee starting tomorrow night, running through September 18. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sundays. For tickets go online at

Fort Donelson National Battlefield hosts a living history encampment at the main unit along Highway 79 in Dover, Tennessee – open 10 to 4 Saturday and Sunday. It’s the 150th anniversary of this Confederate fort’s being built. At 11 a.m. Saturday Junior Rangers learn about journalists and artists who covered the battles. Register for this program today at 931-232-5706.

Owensboro Museum of Fine Arts opens a visual arts celebration of Bill Monroe’s 100th Birthday titled Bluegrass Roots over Labor Day Weekend. Four concurrent exhibitions open with a preview gala and artist’s reception Saturday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The museum’s at 9th and Frederica Street. See

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the morning cram [the bomb squad edition]

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US soldiers are training Afghan soldiers to take over bomb diffusion duties.

NPR reports as US troops are preparing for a reduction in troops in Afghanistan, more Afghan soldiers are being trained to diffuse the insurgent weapon of choice.

Kentucky~ Prisoners will work in state parks. They can also get alcohol there apparently. A Fort Campbell soldier settled in his police brutality case. Soldiers received Purple Hearts yesterday.

Tennessee~ TennCare could see massive losses.

Datebook: August 30 – Roy Wilkins turns 110

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Roy Wilkins was born on August 30, 1901 (and died September 8, 1981. He was a prominent civil rights activist in the United States from the 1930s to the 1970s, most notable was his leadership of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He led civil rights activists in Mississippi during the “credit squeeze;” helped organize the March on Washington, the Selma to Montgomery marches and the March Against Fear; spearheaded Brown v Board of Education, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 1967, Lyndon Johnson awarded Wilkins with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

It is Tuesday, August 30

Non-professional artists may submit artworks for the Heart and Soul Art Contest in Paducah by Friday. Easter Seals West Kentucky and Independence Bank are offering six cash awards. The entry fee is $5 for up to 3 works submitted. Call 270-443-1200 for information and entry forms.

LBL’s Saturday is full of fun. There’s a beaver trek at Hematite Lake from ten to noon. The Homeplace has programs from ten to 4, including a storytelling festival, all-American cricket and a pie eating contest at 2. At the Nature Station there’s story time with Smokey Bear at 1 p.m. watermelon feasting at 3, and a kids’ campfire from 7 to 9 p.m. Make reservations for the campfire at 270-924-2020.

The Four Rivers Book Festival and Art Show is new to the HORSES, Inc. Expo at Carson Park in Paducah from 10 to 4 Saturday, October 15. Authors and artists should contact by September 15 to learn more and to be included.


the morning cram [things fall apart edition]

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FEMA runs out of cash as Americans clean up after Irene.

NPR reports that funds are needed from North Carolina to Vermont and FEMA is stretched almost to its limits.

Kentucky~ The new road through LBL gets an award. Think twice before going for a dip in the Clarks River. Governor  High School kids may need more than a good ACT score to qualify for a scholarship. Beshear is  about to let us all know how we’re going to pay our debts .

Illinois~ It’s getting real in the Brookport City Hall parking lot.

Tennessee~ A soldier’s conviction is overturned and he’s headed back to the army.

Datebook: August 29 – Ishi emerges 100 years ago

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Ishi was the last member of the Yahi, the last surviving group of the Yana people, living in California. Ishi is believed to have been the last Native American to have lived most of his life completely outside the European American culture. At about 49 years old, in 1911 he emerged from the wild near Oroville, California, leaving his ancestral homeland in the foothills near Lassen Peak. Ishi means “man” in the Yana language. The anthropologist Alfred Kroeber gave this name to the man when he discovered Ishi had never been named. When asked his name, he said: “I have none, because there were no people to name me,” meaning that no tribal naming ceremony had been performed.

It’s Monday, August 29

John James Audubon State Park in Henderson hosts potter and storyteller Albert Bauman Sunday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the campground shelter. From 4 to 5 p.m. Sunday Naturalist Scott Shupe introduces his exotic reptiles at the shelter. Call 270-826-2247 for more.

Tomorrow evening at 6 Murray Elementary School kicks off a National Center for Fathering initiative – Watch D.O.G.S. – Dads of Great Students – with volunteer training. This is a Dads and Kids’ Pizza night to kick off this program. Men volunteer to work at least one day in their child’s school with educators – fulfilling roles as needed.

The 36th Annual KWW Arts & Crafts Festival is Saturday through Monday in Little Lake Park in Grand Rivers. Over 100 vendors offer handmade crafts, food and beverages. It’s open 9 to dusk Saturday, 9 to 5 Sunday and 9 to 3 Monday.

Don’t wait until the last minute to get tickets for the Prairie Home Companion show at the CFSB Center at Murray State in November. See for information.

the morning cram [the aftermath edition]

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In the wake of Hurricane Irene, the costly cleanup begins.

NPR reports that while Irene may not have had the extreme wind speeds that some other devastating storms have had, her reach was tremendous.

Kentucky~ Water could cost more in Henderson. Some state employees get paid to work out (sign me up!). Save the bats! Murray State and Mid-Continent are great places to work. Hubbard is going for the Senate. Saturday marked the 5th anniversary of the Flight 5191 crash. The state is giving unclaimed money back.

Illinois~ Metropolis police are vexed by vandals.

Tennessee~ More Tennesseans are turning to heroin. Fewer kids live with married parents.


Weekend Energy Preview – August 27

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Here’s what’s in the mix for this Saturday night’s Weekend Energy. This week’s show so perfectly reflects the current state of human cultural output, it’s like Wikipedia screaming knowledge into your ears.


Rye Rye feat. Robyn – Never Will Be Mine (R3hab Remix) – Rye Rye makes every song better. Check out her awesome lyrical stylings in X Girl by Teenage Bad Girl. The original mix is totally chill, with a warm touch of remorse. R3hab, however, throws in a totally slamming, grungy electro beat to the song, picking it up like it weights ten ounces, then flinging it into a busy street. It’s quite simply one of the best reworkings I’ve heard in recent memory. Dig the awesome hair in the original video.

Useless Wooden Toys – Il Tirannosauro – See this week’s “Discovery” below.

Modestep  – Sunlight (Jacob Plant Remix) – I’ve always been an advocate for dubstep, but there’s no question the genre can so often be dark and dreary. Sunlight is one of those rare exceptions, where it’s actually an uplifting beat (though the lyrics are ironically a complaint). Near the end, the song morphs into some really stellar drum n bass, which is how every dubstep song should end. Yeah, so the Jacob Plant version isn’t ground breaking like R3hab’s remix above, but more of a light dusting over the original track. Like a tablespoon of cornstarch, the song is a touch thicker and leaves a more lasting mouth-feel.  Old people rocking the original video.

Sneaky Sound System – We Love (Bart B More Remix) – WOW it’s been forever since I’ve played some Sneaky Sound System! Their self-titled album was my album of the year in 2007. Their songs, I Love It, UFO, Pictures and You’re Hot sound as good today as they did then. Their new single We Love is a bouncy, Caribbean pop-pleasure. Bart B More tosses this song into an electro house blender and trades out some of the bouncy fragrance with a club-filling beat. Amazingly, singer Connie Mitchell holds up against the huge synths. So so so thrilled to hear this fantastic Australian group is back! I’ll play the original mix in a couple weeks. Here’s the official video for their new single.


Useless Wooden Toys

If you’ve been listening for the past couple weeks, you’d know I’ve been somewhere in Europe. It’s true. I spent some time in Italy eating pasta and watching MTV in my hotel room. Under normal circumstances, such an activity would be accompanied with tears and self-loathing, but a music video came on, like every 20 minutes, that totally blew my mind. It was the video for Il Tirannosauro by Useless Wooden Toys. It features a well-dressed tyrannosaurus rex dancing around on the streets with people rocking out to the lyrics. The song is so catchy, I’ve been making continuous reference to it, and the hand gesture, in nearly every public interaction since first watching it. Useless Wooden Toys has been around for a few years, but this hit is so solid, they’ve given it it’s own Facebook page. Yeah, the song is Facebook official.  Despite this, the song is quite hard to find in the US, so get into Italian iTunes, buy it with some Euros, or fly overseas and get it while it’s hot!

Here’s a different video than the one I saw on TV, but it still features the stylish dinosaur:

Almost Made It

Holy Ghost!

Holy Ghost! is inoffensive indie dance, great for a summer drive in rural areas or for wedging into skinny jeans. It’s the music you look for when you don’t know what mood you’re in. You’ll be whistling to Wait and See, but might not remember the lyrics and might not remember where or who you are. Happened to me, anyway. Flight Facilities add a great synth riff to the song, giving it a more dance-able groove. Also check out Crave You by Flight Facilities.

Here’s the official video for the original mix:

Second Hour Rewind

The second hour rewind is the previous week’s first hour. Featured artists include Designer Drugs, Captain Capa, The Death Set, Teenage Bad Girl and William Breakspear! It’s my hour-long best of summer mix! Tough choice, but if I had to narrow down one song from this mix for a definitive summer anthem, I’d pick Wynter Gordon’s Til Death. This is a massively underrated party masterpiece. I’ve said it before: Wynter Gordon deserves to be famous. It’s poppy, spicy and the R3hab Remix totally kills.

And Another Thing

Maybe your speakers exploded a couple weeks ago during the second ever Weekend Energy Dubstep Special. It was a totally sick hour of music featuring some of the best dubstep I’ve played over the past six months or so. My favorite cut from the show was the disgruntled single King Kong by Datsik & Bare.

“Crank up your stereo, bust out the strobe light and kick up the bass.”

Weekend Energy has been blowing out car stereo systems, upsetting the neighbors and enhancing the night life of western Kentucky every weekend since July 2007 on WKMS. Host Matt “McG” Markgraf pours through hundreds of songs each week to create “the loudest show on public radio” featuring the best techno, dance and electronica from around the world.

Weekend Energy airs Saturdays on 91.3 WKMS from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Stream it live on Saturday nights.

Hear the show streaming online.

the morning cram [Batten down the hatches edition]

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As Irene ramps up for landfall, the East Coast braces for a wild ride.

NPR reports Irene has weakened slightly but set its sights on North Carolina and the rest of the Eastern Seaboard.

Kentucky~ Murray High School and Calloway County duke it out tonight. Murray State’s Board of Regents discusses the schools diversity plan in Hopkinsville.  Paducah and McCracken County consider tying the knot.  Local counties step into the Apple-age with eWarrants. This year doesn’t look good for the tobacco crop.

Tennessee~  Clarksville”s City Council stands up to the Mayor over her last minute votes.

Datebook: August 26 – Women’s Equality Day

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Women in the United States were given the right to vote on August 26, 1920, when the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was certified. The amendment was first introduced many years earlier in 1878. Every president has published a proclamation for Women’s Equality Day since 1971 when legislation was first introduced in Congress by Bella Abzug. This resolution was passed designating August 26 of each year as Women’s Equality Day.

It’s Friday, August 26

Seussical the Musical is on stage tonight at 7 at Graves County Schools’ Performing Arts Center at 7:00 p.m. There’s a 1 p.m. matinée tomorrow. Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students.

A Charity motorcycle ride benefitting the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Trigg County starts at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow. $20.00 per bike includes, lunch, soft drinks, water & door prizes. The hundred mile ride starts at the Cadiz Park at the corner of highway 139 and Main St. and goes into Tennessee which has a helmet law.

Mayfield’s Community –Wide Yard Sale benefitting the Needline/FoodPantry is in mid-September. Donate items for the sale from 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays in the rear lot of First Christian Church at 9th and Broadway. No clothing, shoes or clothing accessories accepted. Ring the buzzer on the ramp door if no one’s there.

It’s Hot August Blues Festival weekend at Kenlake State Resort Park. See other activities at Enjoy!