At the keys, Duke Ellington abstracted from stride piano, which modernized ragtime. Ellington's own spare percussive style then refracted through Thelonious Monk and Cecil Taylor, as well as a generation of freewheeling pianists active in Europe, like Aki Takase. Her new solo piano album is My Ellington, on which she plays some stride bass herself, as in "In a Mellow Tone."
The job of postmaster general was once one of the country's most politically powerful. It is also one of the oldest; a version of the position existed before the Declaration of Independence.
But today, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe finds himself continually caught in the political crossfire. Donahoe is tangling with unions and members of Congress over how to manage the Postal Service's future — as it faces huge losses, dwindling mail volume and ballooning costs.
It may seem strange now, but Donahoe was originally drawn to postal work by the money.
From manufacturing to cupcake sales, companies are finding that machines can often do the job just as well, or better, than humans. But some tasks – like picking and tending to fruit and vegetable crops – have remained the territory of low-wage laborers.
But labor-starved growers are now eying machines with increasing interest.
Some 90 percent of the strawberries and 80 percent of the salad greens grown in the U.S. come from California. These crops and a lot of others have always been picked by hand because they don't ripen all at once and can bruise easily.
Pro football player Aaron Hernandez, who until today was a member of the New England Patriots, was charged with murder and other crimes in a Massachusetts courtroom Wednesday. He was arrested this morning and formally charged this afternoon, with authorities blaming him for the death of Odin Lloyd, 27, whose body was found on June 17.
A judge has ordered that Hernandez be held without bail.
The National Institutes of Health says it will retire hundreds of chimpanzees that the agency had been using for research. Animal rights activists see the move as a big step towards ending the use of chimps in research, but it will be awhile before any of the research chimps find their way into retirement homes.
China appeared perfectly happy to let Edward Snowden slip away despite a U.S. request for his arrest. Russia appears to enjoy thumbing its nose at Washington as Snowden cools his heels at a Moscow airport. Ecuador is toying with the notion of granting him asylum.
First there was Rusty, the red panda. Now there are reports that a bear was captured after roaming around in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, prompting (mostly unserious) concerns of a possible siege on the nation's capital.