Category Archives: Miscellaneous Goodness

The Goodnight Brother Extended Play

Goodnight Brother‘s new EP is an important step forward for the independent folk/rock band from the Hudson Valley. Following up the subtly powerful  “Collage for College”, The Goodnight Brother Extended Play  re-imagines and re-defines a selection of songs taken from their debut album.

The tracks are simultaneously stripped down and reinforced; new guitar and drum pieces drive the album with a surf-rock infused march, while a reduction of both acoustic and “toy” elements remove some the boyish excitement that served as a focal point in Collage.

The re-recorded tracks feature samples from “a 1989 Jack and the Beanstalk Burger King Kid’s Meal Cassette”  that possess the spectacular quality only found on tape. The fairy tale intros, despite being lighthearted and sunny, take on a grim independence that mirrors the lyrical content of the EP.

Dante DeFelice is the mind and mouth primarily at work behind Goodnight Brother, and here he voices a wider vocal spectrum than what we previously heard in Collage. Shy admissions in “Human Torch” preface a heart wrenching scream that closes out “Be The Serpent” before a catchy upbeat rework of “End of June.”

The Goodnight Brother Extended Play is available for free on Bandcamp and includes a promo video featuring tour footage that was produced specifically for the EP.

Goodnight Brother is expected to release their second full album in early 2014, and recently launched their Instagram account  which provide live clips, information about gigs and release dates, as well as previews from the upcoming album.

Facbook: Goodnight Brother
Instagram: GoodnightBrother

For information about booking or press inquiries, contact thegoodnightbrotherband@gmail.com

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Baby’s First Jury Duty

It’s the moment that every parent waits for. From the instant their little ball of joy is placed in the crib, it’s all that new mothers and fathers dream about. It’s the first time a parent can honestly say to their offspring, “You are a contributing member of the United States. Now go down to that courthouse and sit quietly on a wooden bench with strangers until 5pm, and, by the way, this may go on all week.”

Of course, I am speaking about jury duty.

And, as it so happens, yesterday was the fateful day I finally entered the judge’s domain. What follows is half advice column, half anecdotal study in human behavior, and entirely true.

It all started one afternoon as I received a pastel blue envelope with perforated seals reminiscent of a high school report card in both color and smell. Upon closer inspection of the typewriter-esque font (think courier new with the noise of a dirty print head), I came to the horrible realization: I’d been summoned. Jury duty is like the stuff of legend, something an aunt you see only at birthdays had two weeks ago or that story you hear from your grandfather after he finishes Judge Judy. I don’t think I’ve even been in a courtroom before yesterday.  But to be honest, I found myself excited to take on this entirely new challenge and put my honesty and fairness to the ultimate test.

The first piece of advice I offer is for that most special of nights, Jury Duty’s Eve. Not everyone makes the cut, so you’ll need to call the juror commissioner’s office the night before to see if your number has been chosen by Lady Justice. To my delight, I was drafted in the first round and would need to report for duty at 9am sharp the following morning. I could barely sleep, as I hungered to play judge to the fate of another human (in an unbiased and fair manner of course).

I arrived at the courthouse triumphantly, summons in hand. After waiting in line behind several of my newest rivals, I handed the clerk my forms and asked “Any advice for a jury duty virgin?”

“Just the same advice I’d give to a regular virgin. Don’t try anything too crazy.”

I entered the courtroom and sat front and center, ready for the sacrament of impartiality to descend upon me like the holy spirit. Around me sat nearly 200 other people, though not all of them as clearly excited as I was. My mind raced in anticipation of the miracle of law that was to be beset upon me; there was considerable downtime before the fun starts. Herein lies my second piece of advice for jury duty first-timers. Bring a book and some snacks, because you ain’t going anywhere for a while. I of course, had in tow Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy, an impressive compendium of classic science fiction, and the perfect tool to begin the philosophical and ethical debates I was sure to have with other jurors before the selection began.

To my complete surprise, the other jurors were seemingly uninterested in deliberating on the future of humanity and appeared to be focused solely on their cell phones, using them to post uncouth complaints about the justice system across their social networks. Items to the effect of “I’d rather be in the hospital than in jury duty, thanks Obama” and “Thank goodness I took an extra oxycodone this morning, I’m gonna need it.”

After firing off a few Tweets myself and promising my 202 followers a live-tweeted session of my soon to be courtroom drama, I set upon my book while waiting for further instruction. These instructions soon came in the form of a bailiff addressing all of us to shut off our phones because “This shit is about to get real.”

My attempts to Tweet the event thwarted, I resorted to taking a closer look at my fellow citizens, all of whom I now considered my opponents. To me this was a competition, one I would not lose. I would be picked or die trying.

The milieu of faces included “Alaska Jack” a man sporting a bearskin cloak and “Linda Licorice” an obvious spinster dressed all in black and with a smell that more than did justice to her name. Also among my fellow jurors were a delicious sampler platter of local senior citizens as well as young faces much like mine own, their eyes a combination of a lust for power and poorly hidden boredom.

Before the judge came in, the town was nice enough to send in a comedian who warmed up the crowd. I thought it odd for a comedian to be dressed in a full suit and to be talking mostly about civic duty, the history of the court and famous judges, but he was young and handsome so no one seemed to mind.

Edit: Just found out this man was not a comedian, but rather commissioner of jurors. He did well either way so whatever.

A large silver microphone suddenly began to drop from the ceiling and he [the comedian] grabbed it emphatically shouting, “LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!!!” The crowd was instantly whipped into a frenzy, chanting “JUDGE! JUDGE! JUDGE! JUDGE!” as the lights began to dim and a bell as if from a boxing match began to peal.

A spotlight flicked open, bathing a curtain to the left of the judge’s stand in crisp white light. With a victorious fanfare, the curtains were swept aside and the judge stepped forth in all his glory. Arms upraised, black silk robes hanging below – still swaying from his dramatic entrance, he let out a banshee yell. “AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!” In a flash he was airborne, looking all the more like a vampire on the verge of transformation and escape. He landed atop his stand, gavel swinging wildly. “BE SEATED” he commanded sonorously, stepping down from his perch.

The clerk then approached the bench, unclipping the fly wires from the judge’s safety harness, letting him sit comfortable in his throne.

“I was wondering how he did that, the theatrics are simply incredible!” I said to the woman next to me.

“You should have been here last summer” she said, “They had mimes doing slam poetry.”

I nodded thoughtfully.

“Let the games begin!” the judge thundered.

The clerk, hunchbacked and balding, began to wildly spin a rusty metal container which contained the names of the jurors to be selected at random. I was hypnotized by the process. It was like watching the bingo caller from hell. Veined flesh taut with strain as he spun the box faster and faster. “Gotta make sure they’re mixed evenly” he said spittle dribbling over the red rust.

Eyes glinting, his hand flashed round and round before stopping in an instant and then darting into the octagonal box to retrieve a name. One, two, three names….and then, mine own!!! I joined the other few selected for the offering in the juror’s box and waited as they called 17 other names for a total of 21, a number well liked by the demon Kabal, who is known to aid lawyers in their most dire times.

After we were all selected, we were sworn to secrecy, and each deposited the personal item we were instructed to bring into the silver reclaiming bowl.

“Each item will be returned in time, so long as only the truth is spoken” the bailiff informed us. “Otherwise they will be offered as a tributary to the blind fates who maintain order in this our holy court.”

The judge then asked us if we had any questions or comments before we began. I, wanting to lighten to mood (along with the showman inside me craving to be a part of this most human of rituals) asked loudly,

“Your honor if I may, I’d like to tell the court a joke-”

“No.” he said without looking in my direction.

I sat down abashed and resigned myself to anonymity among the other jurors.

It was then that the questioning began.

“Do you recognize any of the attorneys, defendants, or plaintiffs in the room?”
“How often would you say you offer sacrifice as instructed in the De Vermis Mysteriis?”
“Will any specific knowledge affect your ability to accurately evaluate their testimonies?”
What is your favorite non comedic television show?”
“Have you or anyone you know ever been convicted of a crime related to xxxxx xxxxxx [redacted due to sworn oaths]?
“What is the proper method for evaluating a tuna casserole?”

On and on the questions went….”

Jurors answered and fell from grace, being forced to leave the stand, never to be seen again. Others were sent to fill their places, beginning again the vile series of questions. Through it all I remained, unwavering, answering each question without hesitation.

“No”
“Twice weekly, with an extended ritual on every 3rd Sunday and full moon”
“No”
“The West Wing”
“My cousin once was arrested for xxxx xxxx, but we’re not really close so it’s, like, not really a big deal. I mean he wishes me a happy birthday on Facebook but that’s all”
“Look for a crisp brown top, and put a toothpick in the center to see if it comes out clean.”

The questioning now complete, we were given our first recess. No one left the room. If I had to offer any advice for answering the questions it is to simply empty your mind and speak from the heart. Be true to yourself and the deities of the court will be true to you as well.

“Welcome back” the judge said. “Now comes the most difficult portion of the selection process, the attorney’s inspection.” He clarified, “Both the district attorney and the defendant’s attorney will inspect each juror in person. You need not say anything, only stand when I call your name.”

When it came to my turn, I stood as instructed and faced the lawyers. Immediately, I felt a sharp pain in my head and was possessed by the notion that two entities were battling for a foothold in my brain. In 2 minutes it was over, though I felt as if I had been standing for 2 hours. I was exhausted both mentally and physically, and slumped down into my chair gratefully. The rest of the jurors were examined in the same way yet did not seem nearly as fatigued as I did. Perhaps this is what happens to all people during their first instance of jury duty.

I closed my eyes to rest momentarily and upon opening them found myself outside the court room. The judge’s voice echoed mockingly in my head, though he was nowhere to be found. “You have been excused from trial selection. This is not a reflection on you or your personality, simply a choice made by the attorneys. Thank you.” His dropped to a whisper and faded.

I walked out into the sunlight blinking wondering what exactly had just happened. I’m not sure I’ll ever know why I was rejected this time around, and I am disappointed by the fact. I was looking forward to seeing a trial first hand, yet it seems I must wait until next time.

I do know, however, that next time I will not succumb to the mind tricks of the cunning attorneys. I will be chosen. I will do our country justice.

One thing still bothers me though, I’ve never lived of day of my life in the town called Reficul, yet that is where I was called to serve.

That about wraps it up! I hope this blog post was an nice introduction to jury duty and helps prepare young people with what they can expect in a typical juror selection process. If you have any other tips for new jurors, leave them in the comments!

Where Do Idioms Come From?

In his latest Mental Floss video, John Green explores the various ways in which idioms came to be. For instance, do you know why the front passenger in a car is said to be riding ‘shotgun’? The answer? During the days of the Wild Wild West, traveling was very dangerous! To protect your stagecoach from robber barons and highwaymen alike, the passenger would often carry a shotgun!

Get your learn on and watch the whole video for an idiom inundated lesson in history.

 

Now Boarding this Friday the 13th: Flight AY666 to HEL(sinki)

Some eerie news out of Finland on this Friday the 13th (the second of this year). Flight AY666 left from Copenhagen to Helsinki (airport code HEL) and only a few passengers got stuck in a time-loop. The rest arrived safely in Helsinki. Sales of rabbit feet in Copenhagen airport tripled last week.

Week 4

Another week of digging in the field complete! We spent this week still looking for rocks and things that could provide us some information about where the foundation was. We finally found them around Thursday-and there were plenty. We had lots and lots of massive rocks throughout our whole unit through multiple levels making the troweling and digging going quite slow. Despite this, it was a pretty good week. I found  bone handle fork which was pretty awesome. I’m writing this almost 2 weeks late so I dont’t remember too much about the specifics of this week besides lots of digging. On Saturday we went to Nauvoo which is one of the earliest Mormon settlements in the US!  Tom and I walked to the glass blowing shop-probably a mile-only to find that it was closed-ooops. Oh well-we had fun. After that we all met up and went to the visitors center which had a statue of Jesus that plays a narration-very cool, and kinda creepy. The Mormons are very sneaky when trying to hook you with their religion, one second they’ll be telling you about a printing press-the next theyre talking about how Jesus should proofread your life. An fun day overall-even though we couldnt go into the temple, it was beautiful from the outside. The town of Nauvoo itself was kinda cool-lots of private residents living in this community but up near the temple was a cool town with a fudge shop, art gallery, etc, lots of stuff. Sunday we washed artifacts for probably 3hrs or so-we watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Clue-it was a good way to pass the time. Next week is our last week of digging-almost halfway there!

Oh! I did a little light painting with my camera this week-I’m a pseudo artist!

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Week 3 recap, beginning of Week 4

3 weeks down 7 to go! The third week was a hot one, all the days were at least 85 and sunny but it was a great week in terms of the work we got done. We opened up unit 17, which is adjacent to the trench we’ve been working on. With this unit we were attempting to find evidence of where the foundation wall was by looking for a soil change. There was a slight one at the bottom of level A3(about 1.5ft down) right at the western edge of the unit, but other than that, the soil below the plow zone was mostly sterile and devoid of significant artifacts. Again, the western edge proved to be an exception and it contained some artifacts through the levels. This led us to believe that the foundation is right at the bulk between units 17 and 16. This week we’ll be examining the border further. Probably about Wednesday of last week I noticed that there was a soil change at the bottom of level A2( levels are broken into arbitrary half foot depths unless there is a depositional change). The soil change was circular and in the SE corner of the unit. After digging into the next level we saw that the color change extended and we were able to identify it as a posthole feature!! This is probably evidence that the household possessed a porch and this was where the residents had dug down to place a post to support the porch.Here’s a picture:

See that dark soil in the center of the pedestal? That’s the posthole!

Anyway, that was exciting. Kati and Annelise removed the rubble pile that was dominating unit 15. It contained a wealth of artifacts including ceramics, a CIVIL WAR BUTTON!!, some chain links, lots of bottle fragments and more. It’ll be interesting to examine all these in the lab.

On Saturday I went to St. Louis with Liz, Shawn, Kaila, and Antoinette. We had a fantastic time seeing the arch, the zoo, and city museum. Some pics will be included in the slideshow at the end of this post. The arch was interesting…….considering I got a $125 fine for creating a dangerous situation.

I’ll explain: So I had my pocketknife in my bag before I went through the security check and I saw a sign that said no weapons. So logically I didnt want to bring my knife in. So I hid mine and Liz’s knife under a sandbag outside the museum figuring we’ll get it on the way out. After going through the museum and things at the arch we go to leave and I go to grab our pocketknives-as I’m about to put them in my pocket a ranger comes up behind me and informs me: YOU JUST BROKE THE LAW! ……..I did???? Apparently hiding the knives there created a dangerous situation because a kid or something could’ve found them…..so he wrote me a ticket that I have to pay or I could go to court!! Woo!!! Hindsight is 20/20.

The rest of the day was awesome-lots of animals at the zoo, and City Museum was just insane. City museum is like a jungle gym for adults and children. Located inside-and outside- of an old shoe factory (I think) it has caves and staircases to explore and climb, a thrift store, an arcade, two event rooms(there were wedding receptions going on when we went). You could climb explore and do whatever you want to your heart’s desire. There’s even a ferris wheel on the roof. Pics are coming too.

Today was the first day of week 4 and I cleared some more of the rubble pile and found some beautiful pieces of a glass pitcher. The afternoon was raining on and off creating frustration for all. But it was cool weather and a nice day overall. I’ve taken to writing haikus about the afternoons out in the field. Here’s today about the rain:

Trickster eternal

It taunts, it angers, it saves

Make haste! Here comes the rain!

This week should be fun considering it’s supposed to be similar weather all week, We’ll see!

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Week 2

Week two is over! A tough week with a lot of hot weather. I think it was Tuesday that my team and I went to the courthouse in Pittsfield with Claire Martin to look at some records. We saw the original sale of the land transferred to Free Frank and also his original land plot. Some cool stuff. We then went into the basement and were looking at some old probate records and other documents. Wednesday another group went to the courthouse and so I was working on Block 12 with Dr. Terry Martin-another one of the leaders here. Despite dense artifacts found in shovel test pits, there were not a lot of artifacts found in these excavation units and by the end of the week they were closed up and finished. After a week of doing soil cores and plotting lots using both tapes and the total station, I was more than ready to reach the weekend.

On Saturday we drove to New Salem, a frontier town that only lasted about 10 years but is famous because Abraham Lincoln lived there during his early life. We got a special tour from archaeologist Rob Mazrim who talked to us about inaccuracies in the reconstruction and many other events that led to the development of this site for public use. One story included a previous archaeologist who had intentionally destroyed the feature of a tavern in an attempt to recreate the history for those in charge and to please those who were ‘certain’ the town looked a specific way. Rob was a great speaker and had a lot of interesting points to make about the goals of archaeology vs the goals of public consumption and other problems archaeology runs into when looking to recreate the past for those untrained in the discipline. Rob was very inspiring to me and possessed a very realistic view of the discipline and seemed genuinely interested in telling us the truth about the problems we run into and possible ways to solve them. Despite inaccuracies in the reconstruction of the town and the story it tells, it was an interesting experience and fun trip-although very hot, humid, and buggy.

It’s sunday now and I’ve been relaxing and reading and generally taking it easy-tomorrow starts another week of hard work.

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