Humpback whale near Texel island


This video is called Humpback Whale: Hunting Technique.

From nu.nl in the Netherlands:

DEN HELDER – In the Marsdiep between Den Helder and Texel, a humpback whale was seen this Wednesday. The captain of the ferry boat to the island saw him swim. …

Ever since 2003, nine humpbacks have been seen near the Netherlands, four of them dead. In early December last year, one was swimming near the coast near Egmond.

Texel humpback photos are here.

Humpback whales have come up with a novel way for getting an easy snack – stealing birds’ dinners: here.

First Humpback Whale Sighting in Hong Kong: here.

First ever recorded Humpback in Thames found dead: here.

Humpback whales form friendships – Humpbacks are the first baleen whales shown to form lasting bonds: here.

Stooges guitarist Ron Asheton dies


This music video is called The Stooges/I Wanna Be Your Dog.

By Alexander Billet in the USA:

Ron Asheton, guitarist and bass player for the Stooges, was found dead in his home in Ann Arbor, Michigan today. The most likely cause was a heart attack. Asheton appeared on all the classic Stooge albums and joined the group when Iggy Pop and company reunited it in ’03.

His fierce, over-amped rock ‘n’ roll practically created the punk guitar method. A statement released by the Stooges claimed that “as a musician Ron was ‘The Guitar God’ idol to follow and inspire others. That is how he will be remembered by people who had a great pleasure to work with him, learn from him and share good and bad times with him.”

The Stooges, along with a host of other hard-rocking Michigan bands like the Up and the MC5, helped transition rock music from the increasingly detached world of psychedelia back to a gutsy, raucous, urgent sound. As young kids continued to radicalize in the late 60s and early 70s, their songs found wider audience.

The group never hit the mainstream the way they deserved to, and they split in the mid-70s. Like so many bands, though, they became known as one of the most influential acts in rock history. With the garage rock revival at the dawn of the 21st century, the group reformed and won over a brand new layer of kids.

See also here.

Hitler’s victims’ music


This video is called Sarah Chang: Mendelssohn Violin Concerto Mvt.1 Part1.

By Fred Mazelis in the USA:

New York concerts examine “lost music” of twentieth century

7 January 2009

Classical works by composers who died at the hands of the Nazis or who were forced to leave the lands of their birth, in some cases never to return, have been receiving increased attention in recent years. James Conlon, an American-born conductor with a long and fruitful career in both Europe and the U.S. and now the music director of the Los Angeles Opera, has taken the lead in this project to rescue unjustly neglected and in some cases unknown work.

The list of the musical victims of Nazism is a long one. It includes well-known figures like Kurt Weill, the collaborator of Bertolt Brecht in The Threepenny Opera and other works, who came to America in the mid-1930s and had a successful career on Broadway until he died at the age of 50 in 1950. Other émigrés, like Erich Korngold and Friedrich Hollander, had some success in Hollywood. Some of the older generation, like Alexander Zemlinsky, Arnold Schoenberg’s brother-in-law, who was in his late 60s when he came to New York in 1938, were unable to find their footing in America.

Noted composers in the 1930s, if they were Jewish or opponents of fascism, were demonized by the Nazis in the notorious Entartete Musik (Degenerate Music) exhibition in Düsseldorf in 1938, which was patterned on the Entartete Kunst (Degenerate Art) [exhibition] in Munich a year earlier. While the Hitler regime naturally denounced the musical avant-garde, the work of some of the most famous musicians in the German musical tradition also had to be excluded. The bizarre efforts by the Nazis to rewrite the history of German music in order to repudiate the historic role of German-Jewish composers and musicians, including Mendelssohn and many others, is a subject which deserves separate treatment.

One point should be clearly understood: these composers worked squarely in the German classical tradition. As Conlon has explained, they were “an integral part of German music.… They have the same roots and came out of the same environment as everyone else in their time.” This is what made the Nazi cultural campaign so utterly reactionary and historically doomed, despite the awful crimes that were carried out.

While many were forced to flee fascism, there were other composers, especially those who were younger and lesser known, who for various reasons could not or did not leave in time. Erwin Schulhoff, Hans Krasa, Victor Ullmann and others perished in the concentration camps. (See The rediscovered music of Erwin Schulhoff.)

Felix Mendelssohn vs. Richard Wagner: here.

Water birds in winter


This is a video of a great cormorant catching an eel.

This night, the river, which still was open yesterday, has frozen. Well, most of it. There are still some open spots. And temperature is above zero now, so the ice is getting soft again. Until tonight probably.

Great cormorants sitting on a ship moored to the bank, and swimming. A male tufted duck.

Cold weather driving unusual birds into UK gardens: here.

‘British kill Afghan civilians’


This video is called U.S. Soldier Gets 3 Year Sentence In Killing Afghan Civilians For Sport Case.

Reuters reports:

Hundreds of Afghans were killed in air strikes and raids by foreign troops last year, undermining public support for the presence of international forces and leading to a rift between President Hamid Karzai and his Western backers.

The latest incident happened in Baghni district on Monday night when, according to a provincial government source, five members of a family were killed in an operation by British forces.