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Monday, August 31, 2009

Mos Def Wrapping Up Ecstatic Tour With Stops In San Fran, L.A., Boston - More Dates Coming

Rapper Mos Def has been on tour, promoting his latest album Ecstatic, and will continue through mid-September.

In association with Rock The Bells organizers Guerilla Union, the rapper has been putting on shows across the U.S., stopping in such cities as Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, and New Orleans, and has three more stops to go.

Mos Def

The Ecstatic Tour is set to hit San Francisco on Thursday (September 3), Oakland the follow day, Los Angeles on Saturday (September 5), and then also in Boston on Wednesday (September 15). There's also stops in Oakland, Baltimore and Philly.

During the L.A. stop, Erykah Badu will be co-headlining with Mos Def. While there's just six confirmed dates, more dates will be announced soon.

His latest album has been heralded in the press by the likes of Esquire ("Because there is no better lyricist, or deliverer of lyrics, in music. Not hip-hop. Music."); SPIN ("The Ecstatic is easily his finest full length since Black on Both Sides); TIME ("...full of the rhythm, exuberance and wit Mos Def showed on his early records."); and GIANT ("a lyricist whose command of wordplay and delivery has ranked him among hip hop’s elite ... [The Ecstatic] is ahead of its time").

The Ecstatic coincides with the 10 year anniversary of Mos Def's seminal debut, Black on Both Sides.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jackson death homicide, sleep aids caused

Michael Jackson's death was a homicide caused primarily by the powerful anesthetic propofol and another sedative, the coroner announced Friday in a highly anticipated ruling increasing the likelihood of criminal charges against the pop star's doctor.

The Los Angeles County coroner's office determined the cause of death was "acute propofol intoxication." Lorazepam, another sedative sold under the brand name Ativan, contributed to the death.

Additional drugs detected in Jackson's system were the sedatives midazolam and diazepam, the painkiller lidocaine and the stimulant ephedrine.

FILE - In this Aug. 25, 1993 file photo, American pop star Michael Jackson performs during his "Dangerous" tour in Bangkok. (AP Photo/Jeff Widerner, file)

The coroner did not release Jackson's full autopsy report, citing a security hold requested by Los Angeles authorities investigating the case, and declined to comment beyond a short statement announcing the manner and cause of death.

The coroner's determination of a homicide confirmed what The Associated Press first reported Monday, citing an anonymous law enforcement official.

The 50-year-old Jackson died June 25 at his rented Los Angeles mansion. Dr. Conrad Murray, the Las Vegas cardiologist who was the pop star's personal physician, told police he gave Jackson propofol that morning after a series of sedatives failed to help Jackson sleep.

Murray has not been charged with any crime but is the target of what police term a manslaughter investigation. Multiple search warrants served at his home and businesses in Las Vegas and Houston sought evidence detailing how he procured the propofol that killed Jackson. Jackson's interactions with at least six other doctors also are being scrutinized.

In addition, California Attorney General Jerry Brown has opened an independent probe of several physicians.

Except for a brief video posted to YouTube earlier this month, Murray has not spoken publicly since Jackson's death. In the video, he said: "I told the truth and I have faith the truth will prevail."

Murray's attorney, Edward Chernoff, said he was disappointed the full autopsy report wasn't released. Without that, it was impossible to seek independent expert opinion on the significance of the various drugs detected.

"Release the toxicology report, the whole thing. Sunlight is the best disinfectant," Chernoff said. "This smells like gamesmanship."

Chernoff repeated his assertion that nothing Murray gave Jackson "should have" killed him.

It's not clear when the full report may be released. The coroner said the security hold would remain until the investigation is wrapped up. The Los Angeles Police Department and the district attorney's office said they did not know when that would be.

A statement by the LAPD said the investigation into the death is ongoing and "will result in the case being presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney for filing consideration."

The coroner's determination of homicide makes it more likely criminal charges will be filed but does not guarantee it.

"That decision is not binding on the district attorney," said Steve Cron, a criminal defense attorney and adjunct professor at Pepperdine University's law school. "But it is one more piece of the puzzle that leads toward the conclusion that someone will be prosecuted for his death."

Source: washingtonpost

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lake Mead National Recreation Area--take a Black Canyon river raft tour

The Black Canyon of the Colorado River is an often overlooked part of Lake Mead National Recreation Area below Hoover Dam. It's a gorgeous, serene waterway that visitors of any age can enjoy by motorized raft.

Black Canyon River Adventures offers a day trip through the Black Canyon. The day begins at 9:30 a.m. and ends about 3:00 p.m. with about three hours on the water, including stops along the way.

Black Canyon/Willow Beach River Adventures will provide round trip transportation from various Las Vegas hotels if needed or visitors can choose to meet at the check-in desk located in the Hacienda Hotel & Casino on Highway 93 just outside of historic Boulder City. Rafters will then be transported on tour buses to the launch area.

The rafts enter the water at the base of Hoover Dam where the canyon walls rise nearly 2,000 feet from the river's edge and ends at Willow Beach Marina on Lake Mojave, Arizona, where visitors board a tour bus for the trip back over the dam.

Right now, from the base of the dam you'll be able to get a great view of the construction of the new by-pass, an engineering marvel.

Source: examiner

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Ghost Streets of San Francisco


Intrepid explorers of San Francisco regularly stumble upon the many ghost streets that still hide all over town, rewarding the patient pedestrian for their diligence. Mostly they are on hillsides where steep grades impeded road building at earlier moments in history, but they're still presented as if they were through-streets on the maps.

A tour begins with an old map and lots of photos below the break.

Other ghost streets can be found not on foot but by exploring old maps, where one can enjoy the strange city that extends well into the bay off the southeastern shoreline. I've heard rumors, or maybe I saw a story in the Chron decades ago, about families that continue to pay their property tax annually on parcels that are well into the bay and thoroughly under water. On this 1909 map of the Yosemite Creek area, streets going NW/SE are numbered and alphabetized but they later got real names. The perpendicular grid of alphabetized streets were eventually given real names (similar to what happened in the "outside lands" of the Richmond and Sunset). But on this 1909 map, Jennings, Ingalls, Hawes, Griffith, and Fitch (J, I, H, G, F) are followed southeast into the bay by E, D, C, B, and A streets, and five further blocks with the names, Ship, Dock, Tevis, Von Schmidt, and Pollock before arriving at "Water Front" boulevard. Obviously these streets were never created since the bayfill on which they depended never happened.




My favorite ghost streets are short blocks, usually either bedecked with amazing gardens tended by loving neighbors, or else just odd stubs that continue to defy the rigid grid-imposing city planners of days gone by. In these small patches of nature, sometimes groomed, sometimes not, we can free our imaginations from the sterile symmetry imposed by endless blocks of asphalt crisscrossing the city. When we whisper to each other "One Lane for Food" or other equally "preposterous" depaving notions, the ghost streets echo back to us a knowing wink with a survivor's resilience. Probably the best patch of ghost streets in town is the Filbert Steps and its cross "streets" Napier Lane and Darrell Place. The Grace Marchant Garden that fills most of the Filbert right of way on the east side of Telegraph Hill is one of the true ecological treasures of San Francisco, home too to a big flock of much-celebrated parrots.


I live near 24th and Folsom which gives me a good staging area for visitng the ghost streets of Potrero Hill, Bernal Heights, and both Noe and Eureka Valleys. There are many more than I can fully list or display here, and yes, you can take that as an invitation to get out there and explore! But a couple of my favorites on Potrero Hill are Kansas between 22nd and 20th, and 19th Street between Rhode Island and DeHaro. Potrero Hill in particular used to be a favorite walk many years ago when you could walk up the hillside below McKinley Square and visit the amazing community garden at Vermont and 20th, or take this Kansas ghost path uphill, continue to 19th, and then go right (east) to the ghost of 19th, popping out above the high school and then skirting the Potrero Commons that once graced the slopes above the old Northwest Pacific railroad tunnel (the train's right of way makes another ghost of transit past, cutting diagonally northwest from Potrero Hill through the Showplace Square area before petering out in the confluence of Potrero, Division, 10th, and Brannan Streets...).



A real undiscovered treasure close to the intersection of Corbett and Clayton that I wro