December 29, 2012
Ray Collins, a singer whose dispute with one guitarist led him to hire another, Frank Zappa, with whom he would go on to form the avant-garde rock group the Mothers of Invention, died Monday in Pomona, Calif. The death of Mr. Collins, who was in his mid-70s, followed his admission to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center a week earlier for cardiac arrest, according to local news accounts. Mr. Collins entered the national spotlight with the Mothers of Invention, an outlet for Zappa's unique sense of humor and challenging, unorthodox compositions.
December 21, 2012 |
Robert D. Morse never stops tinkering on, and in, the house he built in 1949. Or with the world he was born into nearly a century ago. "If something is wrong, I have to improve it," says the Moorestown resident, 96, who describes himself as an inventor and "rhymist. " That's a word Morse came up with after altering dozens of classic nursery rhymes. He's written 1,600 such pieces in all; some can be found in a book ( Robert's Rhymes ) he self-published after retiring from the jewelry business two decades ago. More recently, for the first time, Morse submitted applications to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
November 20, 2012
* AMERICAN MASTERS: INVENTING DAVID GEFFEN. 8 p.m. Tuesday, WHYY 12. DAVID GEFFEN is not the kind of guy who'll spill his guts for a sound bite. At a news conference this summer for Tuesday's two-hour "American Masters," "Inventing David Geffen," the billionaire mogul made reporters work for every answer from the man who'd flown in from Sardinia - where he'd left his boat - for the Television Critics Association event and would be flying back as soon as it was over. Reporters used to asking actors and producers to "talk about" something and then having them ramble on were met with a man who responded to specific queries but didn't seem inclined to expand on them.
October 12, 2012
THE INVENTION of pilsner 170 years ago this month might not have been the most important event in modern beer, but it was certainly the most imitated. And defiled. On Oct. 5, 1842, in Plzen, Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic), brewer Josef Groll unveiled his creation. He'd been recruited to run Plzen's new brewery after city officials - disgusted with the quality of locally made beer - famously dumped 36 casks into the streets. A Bavarian, Groll brought with him the relatively new technique of bottom fermentation, in which yeast falls to the bottom of its vessel.
September 13, 2012
By the time you read this review, it will be outdated. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't read it anyway. At Philly Fringe, the group Ladies and Gentlemen is conjuring something vaguely titled Rock Opera: An Improvised Musical Event , in which plot, characters, music, lyrics are invented on the spot. So I can only describe what I saw Friday at First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia. Of course, some things are agreed upon in advance, such as a general plot trajectory and a musical style, which is said to be '70s prog-rock, though, as with most rock operas of recent decades, the manner of recitatives is handed down from sung-through British mega-musicals.
August 2, 2012 |
Carole Lokan-Moore, who's as charming as her opinions about gay people are charmless, proudly shows me around her Edgewater Park bed-and-breakfast. With its tasteful antiques and organic breakfasts, Whitebriar could be in Provincetown. Except that a sign outside this lovely establishment promotes Wednesday as "appreciation day" for Chick-fil-A, the fast-foodery whose president's distaste for gay nuptials has become more famous than his chain's "hand-spun" milkshakes. Lokan-Moore's "one man, one woman" marriage sign, not far from Route 130 on busy Cooper Street, drew the ire of Burlington County resident Joianne Fraschilla, whose electronic exchanges with Lokan-Moore are being passed around the Internet.
June 27, 2012 |
The Slinky, that spring thing that walks down stairs, was invented in Philadelphia nearly 60 years ago, but it still has surprises up its helical sleeve. And we're not talking new novelties à la the Slinky Dog or Slinky eyeballs. A Slinky amazingly "walks" on a treadmill for minutes, flopping and flipping along, even self-correcting its course, on a YouTube video that has been seen more than 3.3 million times in just two months. Now comes some cool slo-mo of another freaky trick — how a Slinky seems to momentarily hang in mid-air as if it has some anti-gravity power.
June 7, 2012 |
Today's animated Google Doodle -- its ever changing home-page logo -- touts a local milestone: The debut of the drive-in movie theater in Pennsauken 79 years ago today. People paid up to $1 to park their Model A's, Hudsons and Packards to watch "Wives Beware," an English comedy on a huge screen as a loud sound system disturbed the neighbors near Airport Circle, back when it had an airport. Yes, it was a talkie. Not long after drive-ins caught on, clunky wired speakers were provided for each car. The inventor, Richard Hollingshead Jr., may have gotten the idea from his mother, Donna, a large woman who disliked cramped movie theater seats.
March 25, 2012 |
BIALKA TATRZANSKA, Poland - Just a few years ago, winter was a dead season for the Kotelnica Mountain, quiet under a quilt of snow. Today, Kotelnica vibrates with activity from ski fans who flock to the new resort, one of Poland's trendiest. The transformation happened in just a decade and reflects the inventiveness and enterprise seen in Poland since a market economy arrived with democracy in 1990. People in this 17th-century village at the foot of the Tatra Mountains in southern Poland were making a modest living on farming and sheep breeding, with additional funds coming from relatives who had gone, in a long-standing tradition, to the United States for work.
December 14, 2011 |
Newt Gingrich raises interesting questions, but he doesn't always have the right answers. Gingrich recently questioned the concept of a Palestinian nation, declaring it "invented. " Is that true? Yes - just as true as it is that all nations are invented or imagined. The concept of nation is relatively new in human history, having grown at least partly out of another kind of innovation: the movable-type printing press, invented by Johannes Gutenberg around 1440. To find buyers for their products, printers and booksellers found that it was good business to use a region's dominant language - say, the English spoken in London or the French spoken in Paris.