Sometimes the many pieces making up the puzzle that is our world combine in curious ways, conjuring meaning from what is really just a freak coincidence. The other day I listened to X96 for the first time since I left the US. Literally five minutes into the stream, excerpts from a newspaper article on Warren Jeffs were read, detailing what a fine teacher that fellow was at the Alta Academy, scolding girls for being too cute and not sweet enough.
For the uninitiated, Alta Academy was a private educational institution almost in the middle of Salt Lake run by fundamentalist, polygamist Mormons of a particularly fervent, radical, and dangerously nutty kind, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Warren Jeffs became the leader and prophet of this sect and is now the husband of most women in the community, which is restricted these days to a desolate strip of dirt on the border between Utah and Arizona. He also considers himself the One Mighty and Strong, sent to earth "to set in order the house of God".
Having finished Under the Banner of Heaven, John Krakauer's captivating account of religious fundamentalism in Utah, not too long ago, I was left wondering what the sudden attention was owed to. The mystery was unshrouded a little further down the show when, probably for the umpteenth time that morning, the story of Jeffs' apprehension outside Las Vegas was run. The man had been on the run from worldly authorities for several years. Now, out of nowhere, a highway patrol cop had taken him into custody. Apparently, the invisibility shield on his Escalade was defective.
So much for today's edition of Stories from Zion. In other news, we have music and, against all odds, it blends with the theme. Passionate debates can be held around the question of who might count as mighty and strong in popular music. Without a doubt is Bob Dylan's status as the one singer-songwriter mighty and strong. Two fine articles in the New Yorker, a very recent book review and a profile from 1964, paint a vivid picture of the man and are certainly worth reading. If words don't do it for you, get the complete collection of Dylan's recordings at iTunes, 773 pieces for $200.
In case you are, just like me, still and always looking for new and interesting music, here are three French stations I discovered recently. They're far removed from the charts, don't annoy with excessive commercials, and have decent sound quality streaming from the web. Radio Nova plays mostly world music, TSF is full of jazz, and France Inter Paris plays everything, or so it seems. All have a playlist that goes along with their songs, vastly more enjoyable than anything X96 offers musically. Enjoy!