Off the Record, Vol. 13-589

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“This autumn, Pittsburgh has become a Midwestern metropolis full of pop art exhibits. For the past month, the city has declared custody of a giant rubber duck designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. The duck has generated millions of dollars for the local economy and brought in tens of thousands of visitors to the region. In mid-August, in conjunction with the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh, yarn enthusiasts from all over the world donated blanket-sized knitted panels that were sewn together by volunteers and draped over the Andy Warhol (7th Street) Bridge for a month-long exhibit called Knit the Bridge.”

The original article was published on October 20, 2013 by Read the full version here.

Off the Record, Vol. 13-573

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“It is primarily for this reason that I was pleased to see Bono address the issue of U2’s tax status during Tuesday night’s broadcast of The Meaning of Life with Gay Byrne. In a frank conversation with one of country’s most influential and respected television personalities, Bono called it very ‘churlish’ of his countrymen to be critical of U2 acting like a business. He described Ireland as a ‘small rock’ which greatly benefitted from low corporate tax rates through the late 1990s thus saving the economy from drowning. He went on to argue that while critics might call U2’s philanthropic involvement ‘idealistic’ (he thinks it is ‘pragmatic’), it is entirely unrelated to good business sense. In essence, the band is where it is today as a result of rigorous management (‘Paul McGuinness is the Winston Churchill of rock) and praiseworthy administration. The path U2 has followed is not only legal, he emphasized, it is within ‘the spirit of the law.'”

The original article was published by on June 30, 2013. Read the full version here.

Off the Record, Vol. 13-562

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“The last day and a half of his life were filled with music that comforted us all — the nurses arranged for a harpist to play at his bedside in the ICU, and later, when he was moved to a hospice room, we all plugged in our mp3 players and took turns filling the room with music that had been important in our lives. It was the Bach cello suites that accompanied my dad on his journey from this world to the next.”

The original article was published by on April 14, 2013. Read the full version here.

Off the Record, Vol. 12-538

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“Am I the only one enjoying the quadrennial pestilence known as presidential politics? Unlike past election cycles during which I have immersed myself in the primary season as early as Jan. 4, this year I thankfully warded off my usual obsessive behavior until the middle of August. Now U.S. the presidential election is little over a week away. It frustrates me that I can’t figure out who is going to win; I like to know those kinds of things. I loathe uncertainty.”

The original article was published October 28, 2012. Read the full version here.

Off the Record, Vol. 12-529

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“Because I’m on the subject of Amnesty International, I want to highlight some significant developments this summer in the plight of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, which I have had a deep interest in ever since the song “The Mothers of the Disappeared” was released. In June, financial scandal shocked the group when its former legal adviser, Sergio Schoklender, his brother and more than a dozen others were charged with fraud, money laundering and siphoning public money into personal businesses. This has sent shockwaves through the halls of the highest political powers in Argentina and, most unfortunately, victimized these grieving women once again.”

The original article was published by on August 12, 2012. Read the full version here.

Off the Record, Vol. 12-518

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“What has stayed with me most about the exhibition, however, is that I found myself inside every frame, literally. Most of the pieces are hung at eye level and are behind such highly reflective glass that I was able to find my own travel-weary face staring back at myself among the pudgy faces of four Irish teens. I still feel as young as U2 looks in those photos, as if no time or distance separates me from those early days of anticipation and promise. For the few moments I stood in front of those frames and saw our faces connect in that fragile pane of glass, our lives were entirely and irrefutably parallel. I can’t stop thinking about that irony.”

The original article was published by on June 10, 2012. Read the full version here.

Off the Record, Vol. 12-507

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“Last week was a vacation for me. Although it was spring break, a time when students abandon their books and follow their appetites to Panama City or Miami Beach for the sun, surf and certain other amenities, I stuffed midterm papers and portfolios into my suitcase and made my way to Sounds of the City: The 2012 EMP Pop Conference, held jointly with New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music and the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM-US).”

The original article was published by on March 25, 2012. Read the full version here.