Patrick Watson has a lovely, flexible voice and a gift for wringing evocative sounds out of everything from vintage keyboards to bicycle chains, but his real gift lies in his ability to maximize beauty at all times; to guide every noise in such a way that it coheres into something dramatic and graceful. When the Polaris Prize winner performs, he seems almost hypnotized by the sounds around him, yet every second and every unlikely component seems plotted to maximize its impact.
Sheik Jawdat Said, 81, has been urging nonviolent protest in Syria for decades, and has been arrested many times. A scholar and an activist, shown here speaking at American University in Washington in March, he is heading back to Syria this week and plans to resume his call for peaceful opposition to the government.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is down to the 50 semifinalists. Today at 10:00 Eastern, they'll compete in the semifinals (broadcast on ESPN2), and then tonight at 8:00, they'll hold the finals (broadcast on ESPN). You can also follow an online streaming version at ESPN online, but to be honest, it's an extremely cumbersome process that I haven't yet gotten to work for me.