I'm critical of CNN. If you watch them on cable, you're just becoming less-informed. It's visual twitter. A stupid game. I'm not faulting the on-air personalities. They're hard-working, and I think they want CNN to be informative. But there's too much working against them. It's the same for most of the cable news shows. Best to be avoided. I think that's worth emphasizing - if you're watching cable news, you are making yourself stupid. No judgment - I know I do things that aren't going to help me reach the 22nd century.

And yet in my internet weakness, I'll click on CNN to see the crisis of the moment. And occasionally I have to eat crow. Or humble pie. India Stoughton has an incredible article about how the recent blast has affected the Beirut arts community. The personal stories, the images...an excellent bit of journalism, all conducted by phone.

I've never been to Beirut. Close but no cigar. Good chance I'll never get there. Their history is incredible...Phoenicians, Arabs, Ottomans, Crusaders, Byzantines, Druze, Jews. Stoughton's article will take you there. Take you there in tragic circumstances, but their strength, resilience, and fears come through. I think those are stories that connect us.

In reading the story I realized that I hadn't listened to the band Beirut in ages. I love that band, and I mistakenly assumed they were from eastern Europe. I made the same mistake with Devotchka. I decided it was time to learn more about Beirut. That decision paid dividends. Zach Condon set out to live.

Speaking of Devotchka, do yourself a favor and watch this (unless you're epileptic - lots of moving lights in the backgrounf). The violin at the end guts me.

Devotchka, How it Ends.