The Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions Read by Bob Dylan

From 2006 to 2009, Bob Dylan host­ed the Theme Time Radio Hour on Sir­ius Satel­lite Radio. Each show fea­tured “an eclec­tic mix of songs, from a wide vari­ety of musi­cal gen­res, … along with Dylan’s on-air thoughts and com­men­tary inter­spersed with phone calls, email read­ings, con­tri­bu­tions from spe­cial guests and an array of clas­sic radio IDs, jin­gles and pro­mos from the past.” That eclec­tic mix also gave us this: Dylan read­ing, in his dis­tinc­tive, quirky way, a list of the most oft-cit­ed New Year’s Res­o­lu­tions, ones that we annu­al­ly make and some­times break.

Hap­py New Year to all! And best of luck with the res­o­lu­tions. If you need some help, check out this post: The Sci­ence of Willpow­er: 15 Tips for Mak­ing Your New Year’s Res­o­lu­tions Last from Dr. Kel­ly McGo­ni­gal.

Fol­low us on Face­book, Twit­ter and Google Plus and share intel­li­gent media with your friends. Or bet­ter yet, sign up for our dai­ly email and get a dai­ly dose of Open Cul­ture in your inbox.

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The Ramones Play New Year’s Eve Concert in London, 1977

Before the Clash, before the Sex Pis­tols, there were the Ramones. The mot­ley group from For­est Hills, Queens ignit­ed the punk move­ment, first in New York and lat­er in Lon­don, with an image and sound that cut to the core of rock and roll: jeans and leather jack­ets and two-minute songs played one after anoth­er at break­neck speed. As the band’s biog­ra­phy at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Web site says:

The Ramones revi­tal­ized rock and roll at one of its low­est ebbs, infus­ing it with punk ener­gy, brash atti­tude and a loud, fast new sound. When the punk-rock quar­tet from Queens hit the street in 1976 with their self-titled first album, the rock scene in gen­er­al had become some­what bloat­ed and nar­cis­sis­tic. The Ramones got back to basics: sim­ple, speedy, stripped-down rock and roll songs. Voice, gui­tar, bass, drums. No make­up, no egos, no light shows, no non­sense.

On Decem­ber 31, 1977, the Ramones played a clas­sic show at the Rain­bow The­atre in North Lon­don. The music was pre­served on the 1979 album It’s Alive, con­sid­ered by many to be the best live album from the punk era, and a por­tion of the show was lat­er includ­ed in the film Ramones: It’s Alive 1974–1996.

The 26-minute film ver­sion (above) con­tains exact­ly half of the 28 songs on the album:

  1. Blitzkrieg Bop
  2. I Wan­na Be Well
  3. Glad to See You Go
  4. You’re Gonna Kill That Girl
  5. Com­man­do
  6. Havana Affair
  7. Cretin Hop
  8. Lis­ten to My Heart
  9. I Don’t Wan­na Walk Around With You
  10. Pin­head
  11. Do You Wan­na Dance?
  12. Now I Wan­na Be a Good Boy
  13. Now I Wan­na Sniff Some Glue
  14. We’re A Hap­py Fam­i­ly

The set list draws on mate­r­i­al from the band’s first three albums: Ramones, from ear­ly 1976, and Leave Home and Rock­et to Rus­sia, both released in 1977. The Ramones are still in their clas­sic line­up here, includ­ing Joey Ramone (Jef­frey Hyman) on vocals, John­ny Ramone (John Cum­mings) on gui­tar, Dee Dee Ramone (Dou­glas Colvin) on bass and Tom­my Ramone (Thomas Erde­lyi) on drums. Tom­my Ramone quit play­ing drums for the group a few months lat­er. Ramones: It’s Alive cap­tures one of the great­est rock and roll bands of all time at their absolute zenith. It’s a great way to get the New Year’s par­ty rolling. Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!

Relat­ed con­tent:

The Clash Live in Tokyo, 1982: Watch the Com­plete Con­cert

The Ramones, a New Punk Band, Play One of Their Very First Shows at CBGB (1974)

The Ramones’ First Press Release: We’re Part Musi­cians, Den­tists & Degen­er­ates (1975)

Charles and Ray Eames’ Powers of Ten: The Classic Film Re-Imagined By 40 Artists

Thinkers, cre­ators, and imag­in­ers of all kinds love Pow­ers of Ten, with good cause. If you’ve nev­er seen Charles and Ray Eames’ still-influ­en­tial film on all the var­i­ous scales at which one can view the uni­verse, take nine min­utes and watch it free online. Though the orig­i­nal pow­er cou­ple of mod­ern Amer­i­can design pro­duced the film 35 years ago, the short has stayed as crisp, strik­ing, and (lit­er­al­ly) per­spec­tive-alter­ing as ever. We may not need a new Pow­ers of Ten, per se, but who would­n’t be inter­est­ed in see­ing how many 21st-cen­tu­ry inter­pre­ta­tions of its theme 40 artists can come up with? The Pow­ers Project has tak­en on this very idea, invit­ing con­trib­u­tors from Los Ange­les to Köln to Welling­ton to Kyoto to re-envi­sion each of the dis­tances from which the orig­i­nal film views human­i­ty, from one meter away to 1024 meters away to .000001 angstroms away.

Just above, you can watch one com­plet­ed seg­ment of the Pow­ers Project from Lon­don’s Jor­di Pagès. In it, the cam­era moves toward the sur­face of a hand and into the skin, even­tu­al­ly find­ing its way into a sin­gle blood ves­sel. When it even­tu­al­ly comes avail­able online, the fin­ished project will include almost as many styles of film­mak­ing as it does scales of view­ing. Open to as many tech­niques of and per­spec­tives on mov­ing image cre­ation as its con­trib­u­tors could sum­mon, the film will take the Eames’ idea, orig­i­nal­ly all about the straight-on per­cep­tion of real­i­ty, into a new realm of abstrac­tion. Who’d have guessed how much rich artis­tic poten­tial remained in, as Pow­ers of Ten’s sub­ti­tle puts it, the Rel­a­tive Size of Things in the Uni­verse and the Effect of Adding Anoth­er Zero?

via Fast­CoDe­sign

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ice Cube & Charles Eames Rev­el in L.A. Archi­tec­ture

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on lit­er­a­ture, film, cities, Asia, and aes­thet­ics. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.


J.R.R. Tolkien, Using a Tape Recorder for the First Time, Reads from The Hobbit for 30 Minutes (1952)

Hav­ing not seen the first install­ment of Peter Jackson’s The Hob­bit tril­o­gy, I am required to with­hold judg­ment. As a Tolkien read­er from the first time I could strug­gle through the prose, I’ll admit, I’ve been on ten­ter­hooks (and not all reviews fill me with hope). In any case, I plan, like many a fan, to re-read Tolkien’s fairy tale nov­el before see­ing Jack­son’s film. It was my first expo­sure to Tolkien, and the per­fect book for a young read­er ready to dive into moral com­plex­i­ty and a ful­ly-real­ized fic­tion­al world.

And what bet­ter guide could there be through The Hob­bit than Tolkien him­self, read­ing (above) from the 1937 work? In this 1952 record­ing in two parts (part 2 is below), the ven­er­a­ble fan­ta­sist and schol­ar reads from his own work for the first time on tape. Some duti­ful fan has added a back­ground score and a slideshow of images of the author, as well as artists’ ren­der­ings of his char­ac­ters (includ­ing stills from Jackson’s Rings films).

Tolkien begins with a pas­sage that first describes the crea­ture Gol­lum; lis­ten­ing to this descrip­tion again, I am struck by how much dif­fer­ent­ly I imag­ined him when I first read the book. No doubt Andy Serkis deserves all the praise for his por­tray­al, but the Gol­lum of The Hob­bit seems some­how so much hoari­er and more mon­strous than the slip­pery crea­ture in Peter Jackson’s films. This is a minor point and not a crit­i­cism, but per­haps a com­ment on how nec­es­sary it is to return to the source of a myth­ic world as rich as Tolkien’s, even, or espe­cial­ly, when it’s been so well-real­ized in oth­er media. No one, after all, knows Mid­dle Earth bet­ter than its cre­ator.

These read­ings were part of a much longer record­ing ses­sion, dur­ing which Tolkien also read (and sang!) exten­sive­ly from The Lord of the Rings. A YouTube user has col­lect­ed, in sev­er­al parts, a radio broad­cast of that full ses­sion here, and it’s cer­tain­ly worth your time to lis­ten to it all the way through. It’s also worth know­ing the neat con­text of the record­ing. Here’s the text that accom­pa­nies the video on YouTube:

When Tolkien vis­it­ed a friend in August of 1952 to retrieve a man­u­script of The Lord of the Rings, he was shown a “tape recorder”. Hav­ing nev­er seen one before, he asked how it worked and was then delight­ed to have his voice record­ed and hear him­self played back for the first time. His friend then asked him to read from The Hob­bit, and Tolkien did so in this one incred­i­ble take.

Also, it may inter­est you to know what Tolkien’s posthu­mous edi­tor, his youngest son Christo­pher, thinks of the adap­ta­tions of his dad’s beloved books, among many oth­er things Mid­dle Earth. Read Christo­pher Tolkien’s first press inter­view in forty years here, and watch him below read­ing the end­ing of the Lord of the Rings tril­o­gy.

Look­ing for free, pro­fes­sion­al­ly-read audio books from–including, for exam­ple The Hob­bit? Here’s a great, no-strings-attached deal. If you start a 30 day free tri­al with, you can down­load two free audio books of your choice. Get more details on the offer here.

Relat­ed Con­tent

Lis­ten to J.R.R. Tolkien Read Poems from The Fel­low­ship of the Ring, in Elvish and Eng­lish (1952)

Down­load Eight Free Lec­tures on The Hob­bit by “The Tolkien Pro­fes­sor,” Corey Olsen

Free Audio: Down­load the Com­plete Chron­i­cles of Nar­nia by C.S. Lewis

Fan­tas­tic Footage of J.R.R. Tolkien in 1968

500 Free Audio Books: Down­load Great Books for Free

Josh Jones is a writer and schol­ar cur­rent­ly com­plet­ing a dis­ser­ta­tion on land­scape, lit­er­a­ture, and labor.

Richard Feynman’s Ode to a Flower: A Short Animation

A rose by any oth­er name would smell as sweet, but could­n’t one’s appre­ci­a­tion of that aro­ma get a boost from under­stand­ing the sci­ence behind its exis­tence? So the­o­ret­i­cal physi­cist Richard Feyn­man argues from beyond the grave in ‘Ode to a Flower’, a short ani­ma­tion by Fras­er David­son. Pulling from a 1981 BBC inter­view with the charis­mat­ic Nobel lau­re­ate, David­son’s sim­ple graph­ics make the case for a mul­ti­fac­eted sense of admi­ra­tion. Revers­ing the angle, are there not those of us for whom Sci­ence is a patient ether­ized upon a table, until viewed through the warm lens of a tight­ly edit­ed ani­ma­tion? Speak­ing for myself, yes.
Let us find ways for our exist­ing pas­sions to lead to new found appre­ci­a­tions and an ever-deep­en­ing sense of won­der in the new year.

- Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the author of Peanut, a graph­ic nov­el released ear­li­er this week. Find her @AyunHalliday

Relat­ed con­tent:

Richard Feyn­man Presents Quan­tum Elec­tro­dy­nam­ics for the Non­Sci­en­tist

Leonard Susskind, Father of String The­o­ry, Warm­ly Remem­bers His Friend, Richard Feyn­man

The Recycled Orchestra: Paraguayan Youth Play Mozart with Instruments Cleverly Made Out of Trash

“One man’s trash is anoth­er man’s trea­sure” — it’s a say­ing they’re tak­ing to heart in Cateu­ra, Paraguay, a small town where impov­er­ished fam­i­lies live along a vast land­fill. Cateu­ra’s res­i­dents can’t afford many things that Amer­i­can fam­i­lies often take for grant­ed, and that includes buy­ing new musi­cal instru­ments for their kids. Indeed, in Cateu­ra, your gar­den vari­ety vio­lin costs more than the aver­age home. But that has­n’t stopped the town from assem­bling a youth cham­ber orches­tra that per­forms music by Mozart, Beethoven and the Bea­t­les. The instru­ments they play are made from the trash that sur­rounds them. Oil cans become cel­los; alu­minum bowls get forged into vio­lins. And the music they make suf­fers not one bit. This inspi­ra­tional sto­ry will be told in an upcom­ing fea­ture-length doc­u­men­tary called Land­fill Har­mon­ic. You can keep an eye out for the film by fol­low­ing its Face­book page, and learn more about The Recy­cled Orches­tra by read­ing this inter­view. H/T Kim

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Microscopic Battlefield: Watch as a Killer T Cell Attacks a Cancer Cell

Every day, inside our body, there is a war going on. Micro­scop­ic invaders of one kind or anoth­er try to make a meal of us, and our immune sys­tem fights back, seek­ing out the invaders and destroy­ing them. One of our body’s most impor­tant foot-sol­diers in this war is the T cell, a type of white blood cell with recep­tors that can rec­og­nize for­eign sub­stances. Like all white blood cells, T cells orig­i­nate in the bone mar­row, but then they migrate to an organ called the thy­mus (hence the “T” in “T cell”), where they evolve into spe­cial­ized immune sys­tem war­riors. Mature T cells, which leave the thy­mus and cir­cu­late around the body, come in dif­fer­ent types. One type, the cyto­tox­ic T cell, spe­cial­izes in attack­ing and killing cells of the body that are infect­ed by virus­es, bac­te­ria, or can­cer.

Which is where this fas­ci­nat­ing lit­tle video comes in. It shows a cyto­tox­ic T cell (also known as a “killer T cell”) attack­ing a can­cer­ous cell. The process is shown at 92 times the actu­al speed. And for a sense of scale, a cyto­tox­ic T cell is only 10 microns long, or about one-tenth the width of a human hair. The video was cre­at­ed by PhD stu­dent Alex Rit­ter at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cam­bridge, and post­ed recent­ly in the uni­ver­si­ty’s “Under the Micro­scope” Web series. Rit­ter’s super­vi­sor in the Depart­ment of Med­i­cine, Pro­fes­sor Gillian Grif­fiths, explains the impor­tance of the research asso­ci­at­ed with the video:

Cyto­tox­ic T cells are very pre­cise and effi­cient killers. They are able to destroy infect­ed or can­cer­ous cells, with­out destroy­ing healthy cells sur­round­ing them.…By under­stand­ing how this works, we can devel­op ways to con­trol killer cells. This will allow us to find ways to improve can­cer ther­a­pies, and ame­lio­rate autoim­mune dis­eases caused when killer cells run amok and attack healthy cells in our bod­ies.

You can bone up on biol­o­gy by vis­it­ing the Bio sec­tion in our col­lec­tion of 625 Free Cours­es Online.

Richard Pryor Does Early Stand-Up Comedy Routine in New York, 1964

Yes­ter­day we fea­tured one of the final per­for­mances of Lenny Bruce, the so-called “sick come­di­an” who was hound­ed out of work in the mid-six­ties for his sup­posed obscen­i­ty. While Bruce was fight­ing and los­ing his legal bat­tles, going bank­rupt, and sink­ing into depres­sion, one of his suc­ces­sors was just get­ting his start in New York City, play­ing Green­wich Vil­lage cof­fee hous­es along­side Woody Allen and Bob Dylan. Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pry­or arrived in New York in 1963, leav­ing behind him a grim, abu­sive child­hood in Peo­ria, Illi­nois and a very trou­bled army stint (most of which he spent locked in the brig). But watch­ing Pryor’s ear­ly act—like the 1964 per­for­mance above—you’d hard­ly know that he came from such hard­scrab­ble places as he did. We get the clas­sic Pry­or ges­tures, man­ner­isms, and expres­sions: the full immer­sion of his arms and mal­leable face in every punch­line. But the jokes…. Well, it’s safe mate­r­i­al. Tame one-lin­ers and mid­dle­brow, san­i­tized bits about child­hood, bach­e­lor­hood, life in New York, and TV com­mer­cials. If there is a glim­mer of the absur­dism and tragi­com­e­dy of Pryor’s lat­er wit, it’s a faint one. But who can blame him after what hap­pened to Lenny Bruce?

But, as we all know, some­thing changed. Accord­ing to Pry­or him­self, he had an “epiphany” while stand­ing onstage in front of a full audi­ence (which includ­ed Dean Mar­tin) in Las Vegas in 1967. Appar­ent­ly, before he start­ed his act, he looked out into the crowd, exclaimed into the micro­phone, “what the f*ck am I doing here?” and walked off stage. For the remain­der of his career, he built his onstage act around the bru­tal, unspar­ing honesty–about race, pover­ty, drug abuse, his trou­bled past (and present), and every­thing in-between–that audi­ences loved. Even when the bits were painful, they were painful­ly fun­ny (though not always so fun­ny off stage). That he man­aged to cul­ti­vate such a pro­fane and con­tro­ver­sial per­sona while achiev­ing main­stream Hol­ly­wood movie suc­cess is fur­ther cred­it to his ver­sa­til­i­ty. He even did the alpha­bet on Sesame Street in 1976. But he nev­er went back to the unthreat­en­ing and gener­ic mate­r­i­al from his ear­ly New York days. Even his roles in the most kid-friend­ly films had plen­ty of edge and that vein of dopey-but-dan­ger­ous crazi­ness that ran through all of Pryor’s work after he found his voice.

For a vin­tage clip of the Richard Pry­or we remem­ber, take a look back to the 1979 film Richard Pry­or: Live in Con­cert, record­ed the pre­vi­ous year at the Ter­race The­ater in Long Beach, Cal­i­for­nia. It’s NSFW, of course.

Josh Jones is a writer and schol­ar cur­rent­ly com­plet­ing a dis­ser­ta­tion on land­scape, lit­er­a­ture, and labor.

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