J.C. Lodge is the type of artist reggae purists have no use for. As they see it, blending reggae with elements of pop, urban contemporary and dance music in so sleek a fashion only serves to water reggae down. But then, Lodge never claimed to be a purist, and in fact, Tropic of Love is fairly decent. The expressive Lodge has an alluring, sexy quality to her voice that works to her advantage on such sleek pop-reggae offerings as "The Prey," "Why" and the hit "Telephone Love." Most of the material is very 1990s-sounding, but "Come Again" is a pleasant number that, except for some dancehall-minded toasting, recalls the reggae of the '60s (when Jamaican artists were paying very close attention to what the American soulsters of Motown were up to). Also noteworthy is Lodge's cover of Sylvia Robinson's seductive 1973 hit "Pillow Talk." Tropic isn't breathtaking, but it's definitely more soulful and enjoyable than reggae's purists claim.
From Africa to Asia and Latin America, the era of climate wars has begun. Extreme weather is breeding banditry, humanitarian crisis, and state failure. In Tropic of Chaos, investigative journalist Christian Parenti travels along the front lines of this gathering catastrophe - the belt of economically and politically battered postcolonial nations and war zones girding the planet's mid-latitudes. Here he finds failed states amid climatic disasters. But he also reveals the unsettling presence of Western military forces and explains how they see an opportunity in the crisis to prepare for open-ended global counterinsurgency.
A film crew is in Southeast Asia filming a Vietnam-war memoir. It's early in the shooting, but they're already behind schedule and over budget.