Sunday Joni Mitchell Blogging

by John Holbo on December 7, 2008

I’m going to go out on a limb: Joni Mitchell is a great singer/songwriter/pianist/guitarist.

Pursuant of this theme, a pair of YouTube videos – really just song tracks. The first, a sweet and mournful heavy-orchestration-makes-it-good track, “Down To You”, from Court and Spark (1973). Especially the French horn bits. That was the album that gave us “Free Man In Paris”, “Help Me”, and the (slightly annoying) “Raised On Robbery”; but if you ask me: “Down To You” is the drop-dead achingly beautiful one. Right. That’s settled.

Next, “The Jungle Line”, from The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975). She’s getting into all the fusion-y jazz stuff which, for me, is mostly hit but sometimes miss. But “Jungle Line” has this crazy thumpy blatt-y bass-y bassoon-y oboe-y, synth-y stuff over the sampled African drums. Is it the long lost Brian Eno-produced Björk album from 1975? I think a few bars from this one would be great for baffling your friends/incorporating into some oddly unplaceable mash-up. What do you think?

Speaking of dubious mash-up projects, I have a very bad idea: a mash-up of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” with Randy Newman’s “Little Criminals“. Obviously you would have to call it “Smooth Little Criminals”. Can you sort of hear it? (Perhaps not. But I think you will agree that the original Jackson video is a stronger effort than the middle-school action figure Newman offering.)

The economic lessons of World War II

by John Quiggin on December 7, 2008

As it has become evident that the financial crisis is comparable, in important ways, to the early stages of the Great Depression, there has been a lot of debate about the lessons to be learned from the responses to the Depression in the US, most notably the various policies that made up the New Deal. There’s a lot to be learned there, but it’s also important to remember that the Depression, in the US and elsewhere, continued throughout the 1930s before being brought to an abrupt end by the outbreak of World War II.[1]

Not only did the slump end when the war began, it did not return when the war ended – a huge difference from previous major wars. Instead the three decades beginning in 1940 were a period of unparalleled prosperity for developed countries, with economic growth higher and unemployment lower than at any time before or since.

What lessons can we learn from this experience?

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