Tag Archives | Appalachia

Alan Lomax: American Ethnomusicologist

Alan Lomax an ethnomusicologist, much like Bela Bartok, was responsible for the recording and preserving of American folk music in the 20th century, much of which has ceased to exist in a living form. Without the foresight and diligent cataloging performed by Lomax and his colleagues, the Americana not practiced in modernity would have been lost to history.

Alan Lomax was born to a pioneering folklorist, John Lomax, and employed by the Library of Congress from 1937-42 collecting folk music. Unfortunately, due to the dogs of war being unleashed, in 1942 the budget for collecting folk music was cut by Congress. Coincidentally, the FBI also began investigating Lomax off and on from 1942 until 1979 for some flimsy communist allegations. We can tell that Lomax was one of the good guys by a description given of him in an investigation:

An FBI report dated July 23, 1943, describes Lomax as possessing “an erratic, artistic temperament” and a “bohemian attitude.” It says: “He has a tendency to neglect his work over a period of time and then just before a deadline he produces excellent results.” The file quotes one informant who said that “Lomax was a very peculiar individual, that he seemed to be very absent-minded and that he paid practically no attention to his personal appearance.” This same source adds that he suspected Lomax’s peculiarity and poor grooming habits came from associating with the “hillbillies who provided him with folk tunes”.

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Chevron: Sorry For The Explosion. Who Wants Pizza?

Pic: PD

Pic: PD

Well, this is a frackin’ mess… Would a large pizza and a two liter of Mountain Dew make it all better?

Via Raw Story:

Last Tuesday, residents of the small town Bobtown, Pennsylvania woke to an explosion and a massive, high-temperature fire, at the site of a fracking well owned by the Chevron corporation. It wasn’t just any fire, either. Wrote the Pittsburgh Post Gazette Feb. 12:

More than 12 hours after an explosion that “sounded like a jet engine going 5 feet above your house,” as one neighbor put it, the fire, fueled by the well’s gas, continued to shoot flames and smoke into the air, causing a hissing sound that could be heard a quarter-mile away.

The heat from the blaze — which caused a tanker truck on site that was full of propane gas to explode — was so intense that first responders from local fire departments had to pull back rather than risk injury.

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The Inbred Appalachian Family With Blue Skin

bluefamilyA real-life blue-blooded family exists, ironically, in the impoverished hills of Kentucky. As they have mingled with the broader population, the number of blue children has dwindled, sadly. Via Daily Mail:

Dating back to the early 1800s, an isolated family in eastern Kentucky started producing children who were blue. As a result of a coincidental meeting of recessive genes, intermarriage and inbreeding, members of the Fugate family were born with a rare condition that made them visibly discoloured. Looking at the portrait, they appear to have been either Photoshopped, but science proves that the condition is in fact real.

It began when Martin Fugate, a French orphan, settled on the banks of eastern Kentucky’s Troublesome Creek to claim a land grant in the early 19th century. He married a red-haired American named Elizabeth Smith – who had a very pale complexion – and their union formed a genetic mutation that resulted in their descendants being born with blue skin.

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The Social Crisis in Appalachia

Appalachian_region_of_United_StatesFrom the World Socialist Web Site::

This article is the first of a series on the history, economy, social and environmental conditions in the Appalachian region of the United States. Part 2 was published on July 24, part 3 on July 27, and part 4 on July 30. World Socialist Web Site reporters recently visited the coalfields of southeastern Kentucky and southwestern West Virginia and interviewed residents on their conditions of life. Accompanying interviews are posted in four parts here: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4.

The region has long suffered a deep economic distress. One-third of the 100 poorest counties in the United States, as measured by median household income, are concentrated in the coalfields. This “pocket of poverty,” as economists sometimes refer to it, has, for decades, recorded extremely high levels of deprivation, unemployment and all the social problems that accompany them. This has been exacerbated by the dearth of government spending on the region and scarcity of basic infrastructure—freeways, commuter rail, airports, Internet connectivity, public universities—which lend the region a remote and disconnected air…

[continues at the World Socialist Web Site:]

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