John Lennon poetry fest...Wi-fi coming to Air New Zealand..Hurricane warnings
"Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup...."
With apologies to any non-Beatles fans, that's an excerpt from the lovely tune of John Lennon's called "Across the Universe." It's not my favorite Beatles song, but it's got some of his best, poetical writing. "Lucy in the Sky" has some great stuff ("tangerine trees and marmalade skies" is a line I've always liked), not to mention "A Day in the Life", "Strawberry Fields," "Julia" and many more.
Anyhoo, it seems there's a big John Lennon Tribute Season going on in the fall in his hometown of Liverpool, a two-month cultural program to mark 70 years since Lennon's birth and 30 years since his untimely death (that's from the press release I got, which perhaps unwittingly quotes from the end of "I Am the Walrus," where you can hear snippets of King Lear and someone saying, "Oh, untimely death.")
UK Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy will judge an international poetry competition "celebrating the life of master lyricist, published poet and world icon John Lennon," the release said. The final stages of an international hunt for "Liverpool Lennon Poet 2010" will take part during the two-month program running from Oct. 9 to Dec. 9.
The competition is being organized by "the world’s leading permanent Beatles-themed visitor attraction, the Beatles Story" and by Liverpool-born poet Roger Cliffe-Thompson.
"This world-wide poetry competition will form a significant part of the John Lennon Tribute Season, bringing tourists and poetry lovers from across the globe to
Liverpooland culminating in a Liverpool Lennon Performance Poetry Slam on 6 November."
As much as John wrote some wonderful lyrics, don't forget some of the great work by Paul McCartney and George Harrison. Paul's greatest line has to be from "Eleanor Rigby," where he wrote that she's "wearing a face that she keeps in a jar by the door." (Also, I've always liked the line in "Hey Jude" where he sings "the movement you need is on your shoulder." He wanted to change it but John convinced him to leave it in.) Wonderful, evocative stuff.
Harrison had plenty up his sleeve, including the lovely ballad "Something," which Paul has taken to play on a ukelele when he's on tour, the uke being one of George's favourite instruments and one he no doubt played often at his Hana, Maui hideaway. Frank Sinatra once called "Something" one of the greatest songs of all time, and that's saying a lot.
As for Ringo, well, there's always Octopus's Garden.
WI-FI IN THE SKY
Got a note a few minutes ago to say that Air New Zealand's new Boeing 777-300's will be enable for wireless work starting in November when the first aircraft are delivered.
It will allow Air New Zealand customers to use their iPhones, blackberries and GSM mobile phones for email and text purposes, as well as their laptops in conjunction with their mobile broadband connections for emails and Internet.
"Feedback from our customers has shown they wish to be able to text, and check emails, to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues during their long-haul flights," said Ed Sims, Air New Zealand.
"Based on recent customer feedback, Air New Zealand does not currently plan to enable voice calls onboard," Sims said.
HALLELUJUAH! My sister flies Virgin America at times and says you can use your cellphone a half hour after takeoff and up to a half-hour before landing. I can't imagine anything worse (well, the screaming baby and the guy slamming his seat back into your lap while you're sipping hot coffee might be up there) than having some person next to me on a plane yakking to his or her boyfriend/girlfriend/significant other or boss/mentor/co-worker. I find planes to be about the only place I can close my eyes and get away from the world.
Being able to catch up on emails I've missed would be helpful, but would cut into my rest time on board. Still, I think I'd probably use it for a few minutes if it wasn't too expensive.
But cell phones on a plane? Please, lord, no.
Air Canada has been testing wi-fi on some planes from Canada to the U.S. west coast. I've asked them for an update on the test, which has been going on for some time now...
YOU ARE, LIKE A HURRICANE
Yes, that's quite enough musical references for one day (Neil Young on that one, for those of you keeping score at home) but I couldn't resist. The salient and important point here is that U.S. weather forecaster William Gray, something of a hurricane expert, says the threat of an above-average 2010 Atlantic hurricane season has heightened over the past month.
It now promises to be "a hell of a year," he said, and that's not good news for folks down in Florida or the Caribbean, let alone poor Louisiana and the gulf coast.
"The numbers are going to go up quite high," Gray said this week.
There's talk that this year might equal or top 2005, when a record 28 storms formed and killed nearly 4,000 people and caused $130 billion in damages. That was the year of Katrina, Rita and Wilma, which I don't much recall but which apparently had a record peak wind of 295 kilometres an hour.
An average Atlantic season has 10 tropical storms, six of them hurricanes. I didn't know that.