Archive for June 1st, 2011

June 1, 2011

Ad Council

only you

rosie

The Ad Council is an American non-profit organization that distributes public service announcements on behalf of various sponsors, including non-profit organizations and agencies of the United States government. The Advertising Council generally does not produce public service advertisements itself, rather, it acts as a coordinator and distributor.

The Advertising Council accepts requests from sponsor organizations for advertising campaigns that focus on particular social issues. To qualify, an issue must be non-partisan (though not necessarily unbiased) and have national relevance. The Advertising Council then assigns each campaign to a volunteer advertising agency that produces the actual advertisements. Finally, the Advertising Council distributes the finished advertisements to media outlets.

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June 1, 2011

Veblen Good

In economics, Veblen [veb-luhngoods are a group of commodities for which people’s preference for buying them increases as a direct function of their price, as greater price confers greater status, instead of decreasing according to the law of demand. A Veblen good is often also a positional good. The Veblen effect is named after economist Thorstein Veblen, who first pointed out the concepts of conspicuous consumption and status-seeking.

Some types of high-status goods, such as high-end wines, designer handbags and luxury cars are Veblen goods, in that decreasing their prices decreases people’s preference for buying them because they are no longer perceived as exclusive or high status products. Similarly, a price increase may increase that high status and perception of exclusivity, thereby making the good even more preferable. Often such goods are no better or even worse than their lower priced counterparts.

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June 1, 2011

Alex Grey

the seer

Alex Grey (b. 1953) is an American artist specializing in spiritual and psychedelic art (or visionary art) that is sometimes associated with the New Age movement. Grey is a Vajrayana practitioner, one the three main sects of Buddhism. His body of work spans a variety of forms including performance art, process art, installation art, sculpture, and painting. He and his wife Allyson Grey are the co-founders of the Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, a non-profit institution supporting Visionary Culture in New York City.

Grey’s paintings can be described as a blend of sacred, visionary art and postmodern art. He is best known for his paintings of glowing anatomical human bodies, images that ‘x-ray’ the multiple layers of reality. His art is a complex integration of body, mind, and spirit. ‘The Sacred Mirrors,’ a life-sized series of 21 paintings, took 10 years to complete, and examines in detail the physical and metaphysical anatomy of the individual.

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June 1, 2011

The Ethiopians

ska

The Ethiopians is a ska, rocksteady, and reggae vocal group, founded by Leonard Dillon, Stephen Taylor and Aston Morris. The group started out recording for Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd in 1966. Dillon had previously released some mento songs under the name Jack Sparrow. Around late 1966, Morris left the Ethiopians.

Having left Dodd, the Ethiopians started recording at Dynamic Studios for the W.I.R.L. label, releasing the rocksteady classic ‘Train to Skaville,’ which was their first success. In 1968 they recorded the song ‘Everything Crash,’ their first big hit. The song criticised the political situation in Jamaica at the time, such as water rationing and power cuts that led to unrest; such as an incident in which 31 people were shot by police.

June 1, 2011

Toots & the Maytals

funky kingston

54 46

Toots and the Maytals are a Jamaican ska and reggae vocal group. The Maytals were key figures in reggae music. Formed in the early 1960s when ska was hot, the Maytals had a reputation for having strong, well-blended voices and a seldom-rivaled passion for their music. Frederick ‘Toots’ Hibbert (b. 1945) is the group’s frontman. He met Henry ‘Raleigh’ Gordon and Nathaniel ‘Jerry’ Mathias, forming in 1961 a group whose early recordings were incorrectly attributed to ‘The Flames’ and ‘The Vikings’ in the UK by Island Records. The Maytals first had chart success recording for producer Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd at Studio One. With musical backing from Dodd’s house band, The Skatalites, the Maytals’ close-harmony gospel singing overshadowed Dodd’s other up-and-coming vocal group, The Wailers. After staying at Studio One for about two years, the group moved on to do sessions for Prince Buster before recording with Byron Lee in 1966. The group’s musical career was interrupted in late 1966 when Hibbert was arrested and imprisoned for 18 months.

He wrote a song called ’54-46 (That’s My Number)’ about his jail time. The song claims that he was arrested for a crime related to marijuana, which he later admitted was not the case. However, it was one of the first ska songs to receive widespread popularity outside Jamaica and is seen as being one of the defining songs of the reggae genre. Following Hibbert’s release from jail towards the end of 1967, the Maytals began working with the Chinese Jamaican producer Leslie Kong, a collaboration which yielded a string of hits throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s. By 1971, they had not only become the biggest act on the island, they were also (thanks to signing a recording contract with Chris Blackwell’s Island Records) international stars. The group was also featured twice in the soundtrack to ‘The Harder They Come,’ the 1972 film starring Jimmy Cliff. The band was invited to tour as the opening act for The Who during their 1975-76 North American tour. The tour went poorly and they never went on to the success of Bob Marley or Peter Tosh in the US.

June 1, 2011

54-46 (That’s My Number)

toots

54-46 (That’s My Number)‘ is a song by Fred ‘Toots’ Hibbert, recorded by Toots & the Maytals and originally released on the Beverly’s label in Jamaica and the Pyramid label in the UK. It was one of the first ska songs to receive widespread popularity outside Jamaica and is seen as being one of the defining songs of the reggae genre. It has been anthologized repeatedly and the titles of several reggae anthologies include ’54-46′ in their title.

The lyrics describe Toots’ time in prison for an arrest for possession of marijuana. The song features the same riddim (instrumental accompaniment) to a song as ‘Train to Skaville’ by Toots & the Maytals’ contemporaries The Ethiopians. Hibbert later admitted that 54-46 was not his actual jail number, and that he was not arrested for a crime related to marijuana.

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June 1, 2011

Vajra

vajra

Vajra [vuhj-ruh] is a Sanskrit word meaning both thunderbolt and diamond. It is a short metal weapon – originally a kind of fist-iron like Japanese yawara – that has the symbolic nature of a diamond (it can cut any substance but not be cut itself) and that of the thunderbolt (irresistible force). The vajra is believed to represent firmness of spirit and spiritual power. It is a ritual tool or spiritual implement which is symbolically used by Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism, all of which are traditions of Dharma. In Buddhism the vajra is the symbol of Vajrayana, one of the three major branches of Buddhism. Vajrayana is translated as ‘Thunderbolt Way’ or ‘Diamond Way’ and can imply the thunderbolt experience of Buddhist enlightenment or bodhi. It also implies indestructibility, just as diamonds are harder than other gemstones.

The vajra is made up of several parts. In the center is a sphere which represents Sunyata, the primordial nature of the universe, the underlying unity of all things. Emerging from the sphere are two eight petaled lotus flowers. One represents the phenomenal world (or in Buddhist terms Samsara), the other represents the noumenal world (or Nirvana). This is one of the fundamental dichotomies which are perceived by the unenlightened. Arranged equally around the mouth of the lotus are two, four, or eight mythical creatures which are called makaras. These are mythological half-fish, half-crocodile creatures made up of two or more animals, often representing the union of opposites, (or a harmonisation of qualities that transcend our usual experience). From the mouths of the makaras come tongues which come together in a point.

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June 1, 2011

New Belgium Brewing

fat tire

New Belgium Brewing Company is a regional brewery located in Fort Collins, Colorado. The brewery was founded by husband-and-wife team Jeff Lebesch and Kim Jordan in 1991 and emphasizes eco-friendly practices and employee ownership in its marketing materials. Fat Tire, an amber ale, is the company’s flagship beer. Its recipe originates from a co-founder’s bicycle trip through Belgium from brewery to brewery. The company promotes its Fat Tire ale locally by the public placement of colorful vintage bicycles outside its brewery, which is located adjacent to the public bike path along the Cache La Poudre River. New Belgium beer labels are designed by Anne Fitch, a watercolorist. Kim Jordan, the President of New Belgium Brewery, credits the success of New Belgium Brewery in part on Anne’s artwork, ‘Our beers were good, our labels were interesting to people, and we pretty quickly had a fairly robust following.’ In 2006, her artwork appeared on each of the over 125 million bottles sold by New Belgium.

Tour de Fat is a bicycle parade and festival sponsored by New Belgium. The events, which take place annually in various large- and medium-sized cities around the West, include music, New Belgium beer, circus- and -vaudeville type acts, bicycle dance troupes, and the main activist spectacle, a giant group bike ride/parade wherein the participants, many of whom are in fanciful costume, ride through town. The actual activist climax of the tour, however, is the bike trade, in which a local participant transfers the keys and title of their motor vehicle to New Belgium in exchange for a new commuter bike and trailer in order to promote bike riding and sustainability. The ‘Fat Tire’ bike is so strongly associated with New Belgium Breweries that employees of the brewery are given a ‘cruiser bike’ ‘like the one pictured on its Fat Tire Amber Ale label’ on their one -year anniversary with the company.

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