On the Road: The Original Scroll

Jack Ker­ouac’s “On the Road” is turn­ing 50 this month, some­thing we recent­ly not­ed. And to com­mem­o­rate the event, Viking has just pub­lished the orig­i­nal draft of the nov­el (check it out here) that Ker­ouac banged out in three quick weeks, in a New York apart­ment, on eight long sheets of trac­ing paper, which he lat­er taped togeth­er to cre­ate a 120-foot scroll (see pho­to). This new pub­li­ca­tion offers a repro­duc­tion of Ker­ouac’s first draft and lets you see how the beat clas­sic changed from ini­tial draft to pub­li­ca­tion. In the scroll, Ker­ouac uses the real names of friends instead of pseu­do­nyms, and some of the details are a lit­tle more graph­ic. If you want to see footage of Ker­ouac read­ing from “On the Road,” feel free to refer back to our post on August 15.

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Vis­it our Audio­books Pod­cast Col­lec­tion for free down­loads of major lit­er­ary works.

What New Yorkers Heard on the Radio the Night John Lennon was Shot

We’re tak­ing you back to 1980, to the evening when John Lennon was shot in New York City. This sound file lets you lis­ten in on what New York­ers heard that evening Decem­ber 8 as they switched from one radio sta­tion to anoth­er. The event was cov­ered across the radio dial, and you hear the news media start­ing to piece togeth­er exact­ly what hap­pened at the Dako­ta. This record­ing was put online by Beware of the Blog, which we indexed in our list of MP3 Music Blogs.

As an aside, Beware of the Blog has also post­ed some mp3 files that fea­ture jazz singer Keely Smith singing cov­ers of var­i­ous Bea­t­les’ songs. Here is her ver­sion of “Do You Want to Know a Secret.” Last­ly, if you haven’t already, you should check out the 3‑hour Rolling Stone inter­view with John Lennon that we men­tioned in our recent piece, The Bea­t­les: Pod­casts From Yes­ter­day. It gives you a lot of insight into the man, his good traits and bad.

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100 Great American Speeches

mlk.jpgAmer­i­can Rhetoric has com­piled its list of the top 100 Amer­i­can speech­es, all of which can be con­ve­nient­ly accessed as mp3 files. Most of the speech­es list­ed here are known for their elo­quence, and many for the piv­otal role they played in effect­ing major polit­i­cal and social change. The com­pi­la­tion lets you lis­ten to F.D.R. lead­ing the US through the Depres­sion ( “There is noth­ing to fear but fear itself” ) as well as through World War II with his Fire­side Chats. Then, there is Tru­man and Kennedy ( “Ich bin ein Berlin­er” ) fight­ing the Cold War, Nixon bol­ster­ing sup­port for the Viet­nam War with his “Great Silent Major­i­ty” speech, and Mar­tin Luther King ( “I Have a Dream” ) and Mal­colm X ( “The Bal­lot or the Bul­let” ) press­ing for civ­il rights in their dif­fer­ent ways.

The speech­es can be heard large­ly in full, and, while most are polit­i­cal in con­tent, some gems are not. Take for exam­ple William Faulkn­er’s Nobel Prize accep­tance speech, Lou Gehrig’s Farewell Address, Ursu­la Le Guin’s “A Left-Hand­ed Com­mence­ment Address,” and Elie Wiesel’s “The Per­ils of Indif­fer­ence.” Give these speech­es some time, and it might be a while before you come back up for air.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

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Wine Tasting for Beginners

Geared toward begin­ners, this series of videos cre­at­ed by Wine Library TV offers an intro­duc­tion to the basics of wine tast­ing. In these nine videos, you’ll learn how to taste wine and train your palate, why the tem­per­a­ture of wine mat­ters, how wine glass­es can affect the taste of wine, and how to decant it. Plus, you will learn some­thing about the dif­fer­ence between “new world” and “old world” wines and a lit­tle about wine rat­ings too. The host has his own unique style. It’s a lit­tle Jim Cramer-esque, to my mind. But if it works for you, the videos can help you move from sim­ply drink­ing wine to tast­ing it with a lit­tle insight and per­spec­tive.

While on this sub­ject, we should refer you back to an item men­tioned in one of our more pop­u­lar pieces, 10 Unex­pect­ed Uses of the iPod. Here, we men­tioned that you can use your MP3 play­er to take a series of wine tast­ing cours­es (“Enjoy­ing Wine,” “Select­ing Wine,” and “Wine Regions”). Each costs $35. You can down­load a free demo from the ven­dor’s home­page and see if it works for you.

But if you pre­fer some good free resources, head over to Vinog­ra­phy. This big wine blog fea­tures on the left-hand nav­i­ga­tion bar (scroll down a lit­tle) a long list of free wine pod­casts and spe­cial­ized blogs. While you’re there, you may par­tic­u­lar­ly want to check out their wine aro­ma card, which is hand­i­ly pub­lished in Eng­lish, Span­ish and Ital­ian. An impres­sive site, to be sure.

Learn the Art of Photography: The Nikon Way

The advent of dig­i­tal cam­eras has changed pho­tog­ra­phy as we know it. It has dra­mat­i­cal­ly low­ered the cost of pho­tog­ra­phy, and we’re now snap­ping more pho­tos than ever before. But we’re not nec­es­sar­i­ly tak­ing bet­ter pic­tures.

This is where Nikon steps in. Their cam­eras make casu­al pho­tog­ra­phers immense­ly bet­ter than they actu­al­ly are. (Trust me, I know.) And Nikon has now set up a free Dig­i­tal Learn­ing Cen­ter that offers tuto­ri­als and tips for tak­ing a range of dif­fer­ent pic­tures por­traits, trav­el pho­tos, nature pho­tog­ra­phy, etc. Ques­tions that get tack­led here include, but are not lim­it­ed, to: “How can I take bet­ter por­traits?” “How can I take pho­tos at dusk with­out hav­ing them look com­plete­ly dark?” “How do I get true-to-life skin tones?” “How can I get the mov­ing fig­ures in my pho­tos to look like they’re in motion and not frozen?” “My por­traits have red eyes. How can I pre­vent this?” Give a tour of the Learn­ing Cen­ter here. And thanks to Life­hack­er for putting this on our radar screen.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

  • If you’d like to learn about dig­i­tal pho­tog­ra­phy using pod­casts, check out Dig­i­tal Pho­tog­ra­phy Tips from the Top Floor (iTunesFeedWeb Site). And, for that mat­ter, if you need to learn how to use a pod­cast, spend some time with our Pod­cast Primer here.
  • Final­ly, NPR’s Fresh Air just aired an inter­view with pho­to­jour­nal­ist Paul Wat­son on Wit­ness­ing War (iTunes Feed Web Site). It’s an intrigu­ing but also quite haunt­ing con­ver­sa­tion.

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15 Ways to Avert a Climate Crisis

gore2.JPGAnd now we bring you a pub­lic ser­vice announce­ment.…

Below, you can watch Al Gore talk about tan­gi­ble ways that you can be a good envi­ron­men­tal cit­i­zen. The first 5 min­utes start with some wit and ban­ter that would have served him well in 2000; the next 10 min­utes get down to some busi­ness.

A few, quick relat­ed items: Google offers a free online copy of Gore’s major book on the envi­ron­ment, Earth in the Bal­ance. Pub­lished first in 1992, the book demon­strates, among oth­er things, Gore’s sus­tained com­mit­ment to this issue. Next, if you’ve nev­er seen An Incon­ve­nient Truth, then you may want to give a lis­ten to Gore’s speech at Stan­ford’s Grad­u­ate School of Busi­ness (lis­ten on iTunes here). It cov­ers much of the same ground. Final­ly, this all reminds me of a tele­vi­sion exposé that Bill Moy­ers aired a few months back. It’s called “Is God Green?,” and it takes a lengthy look at how con­ser­v­a­tive evan­gel­i­cal move­ments in the US are increas­ing­ly tak­ing glob­al warm­ing seri­ous­ly as an issue. (You can watch it here.) And if you know Amer­i­ca, you know that’s essen­tial for chang­ing the nation’s envi­ron­men­tal poli­cies.

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Weekly Wrap — August 25

Anoth­er week, anoth­er wrap:

A Short History of Man, God, and Political Philosophy

In case you missed it, The New York Times pub­lished a lengthy arti­cle The Pol­i­tics of God last week­end which essen­tial­ly traces how the thought of Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and oth­er major polit­i­cal philoso­phers gave us sec­u­lar pol­i­tics, and par­tic­u­lar­ly the sep­a­ra­tion of Church and State. They’re inno­va­tions with many upsides, but also the down­side that they put us at an intel­lec­tu­al dis­tance from entire regions where faith still gov­erns polit­i­cal affairs. This includes large swathes of the Mid­dle East and oth­er areas with­in the “Mus­lim orbit.” It’s a good piece to read if you’ve ever won­dered how phi­los­o­phy tan­gi­bly shapes our mod­ern world. Writ­ten by Mark Lil­la, a Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty pro­fes­sor, the high­ly-read­able arti­cle is adapt­ed from his new book, The Still­born God: Reli­gion, Pol­i­tics, and the Mod­ern West. Get the arti­cle here, and don’t for­get to sub­scribe to our feed.

Relat­ed Con­tent for Phi­los­o­phy Buffs:

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