Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Christmas Carol: Marley's Ghost

Merry Christmas! I made my Christmas card. I hope it suits and brings good cheer. There is an extra treat at the end.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Buyer's Remorse

Don't get into the habit of the Republicans with Clinton: every time Bush made a misstep, the Republicans would cite something from Clinton and say 'this is better than that'. It may be but successful governance unlike some politics is about what is Next more than What Just Happened. I'm a Democrat and I say Obama is losing his support faster than the Titanic lost passengers. With all the first class advantages he has or had, he is too stupid to find a life vest or too proud to swim.

The problem of learning from history is that those who do are never in the majority when the time comes to use that knowledge. Among those that didn't learn, those that refused to learn, those that refuse to remember and those that are too young to know and have only the glossy reimaginings of those who pretend otherwise, perhaps the last are most to blame because they have the energy to act on a dream but not the real grit to see through it.

Of the rest, they were lost to cause at birth.

Politics is about individuals and unless the character is there by dint of experience, the substance is not no matter how compelling a dream they sell. A puffpiece bio and two years in the Senate do not a President make. Hillary was our best shot and Democrats aimed it at her head. Que lastima.

Friday, December 04, 2009

So You Wanta Start A Rock 'n Roll Band

Sometimes I get asked why I still record my songs and release them on YouTube for essentially free. The truth is I enjoy it and it's a lot of fun. I listened to Arlo Guthrie talk about the music business at The Church two months ago and as a veteran he described how marvelous it is that the young musicians no longer had to sell their souls to the entertainment industry. I listened to Sam Phillips (the female singer, not the dead Elvis producer) explain how despite the time she worked with T-Bone Burnett and thrived, she really likes the immediacy of the web that enables her to release straight to the public.

In other words, while most of us believe we really want a major label deal and the instant riches and fame that flow from that, veterans of the industry seem to think otherwise. Why?

Here are two articles that you should read to understand the economics of the deal. Once you understand this, then step back and ask why you really want to be in that business if this is the probable outcome. Meanwhile, I'll go back to making my homebrew videos. I never expect any measure of real success except insofar as I still enjoy the heck out of it.

  • How Major Labels Cook The Books

  • The Problem With Music

  • Here is a new homebrew video.

    Monday, November 30, 2009

    Silent Night

    An early Christmas card before it is too late...

    According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, 1.35 million U.S. children are homeless on any given night. (2000)

    Families with children are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population, accounting for almost 41% of the nation's homeless. (2005)

    In 2003, children under the age of 18 accounted for 39% of the homeless population.

    42% of homeless children are under the age of five.

    Monday, November 16, 2009

    Moo Boo Bouree

    I was playing with the video editor. It seems gif animations will work as drag and drop video objects. Obvious, but I'd never tried it before. Since the web is brimming with free gif animations, it's a nice add to the library of cheap tricks.

    UPDATE: I win Stump The Googler. After a week it can't find a video to relate this to. All those billions and billions invested and beaten by a lowly children's folk song about tap dancing cows. There is a God and she loves barnyard humor.

    Sunday, October 11, 2009

    Arlo and The People - Episode 1: The Pumpkin Singers

    Episode I - The Pumpkin Singers. Where The People sing the ceremonial Pumpkin Song to disturb The Monster and the good citizens of Great Barrington Massachusetts.

    Episode II: The TailGators. Where Loopy Len and Dutiful Dana explore the mysteries of the magic parking lot and The Church.

    Episode III: Sailing on the Golden River

    A beautiful voice sings a beautiful song. If you have it to give, send a few shekels to the Guthrie Center. They feed the poor, help the needy and put on the best concerts in the northeast. And they need HEAT!

    Thursday, October 08, 2009

    This Little Light of Mine

    This nation needs a rebirth. It has lost its soul. - Jim Flynn

    Lost? Misplaced in my opinion. The soul of America is no longer to be found in the malls, in the megaconcerts, or even in a lot of town halls. It has retreated into the small places where neighbors are still helping neighbors, cleaning up after storms, taking children to school, singing in the church choirs, in short, to quote my wife, "choosing to be family".

    Globally, economically and militarily we are mightily messed up at the moment. We did that to ourselves. Our fathers did it too. We almost recovered and then we let the city on the hill hawks lead us again and when we let the stupid rise to power, we pay because once in, they are tediously difficult to root out.

    Choose your family. Choose to be with them. Watch the nefarious and don’t let your own need for significance blind you to the harm they do. Vote cautiously and often. Buy local. Read the lyrics to the songs your children listen to.

    Give a damm but not a dime. Evolve your way. The nation is not due for rebirth. Our soul is intact. The universe sings to us. We quit listening.

    Why? Someone trying to make a bigger buck told us we had to belong to a party, a cause or a hair club and we bought it.

    Our soul is right where it’s always been in the small places where the chosen gather for the joy of being together, to be family.

    This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.

    Wednesday, October 07, 2009

    The Trickster

    Photo Credit: Arlo Guthrie

    Trickster is at one and the same time creator and destroyer, giver and negator, he who dupes others and who is always duped himself. He wills nothing consciously. At all times he is constrained to behave as he does from impulses over which he has no control. He knows neither good nor evil yet he is responsible for both. He possesses no values, moral or social, is at the mercy of his passions and appetites, yet through his actions all values come into being. - Paul Radin

    Again, knowledge cannot be aggregated into a single ruling body." John Papola

    That quote from Papola isn’t precisely true. It is actually a limit on tracking identified resources in real time, that is, kinds, types and precision converted to actionable intelligence. The entire focus of web/Internet design has been to increase the precision given real time feeds.

    No, you can’t know what goes on inside a human mind but you can observe, record and analyze speech acts. So trying to use human purposefulness as a defense or offense is to hide behind the rat hole of intensionality. You can know enough to make locally rational decisions.

    To provide investors and other control mavens such information, you’ve been steadily and eagerly giving up your privacy and submitting to a 365 x 24 x 7 surveillance society. You did it for your convenience, fun and need to increase your self-perceived significance. By the very same game rules for markets, you are now hostage to the business models of IBM, Oracle/Sun, Microsoft, Apple and so on where next year’s profits rely absolutely on increasing your use and submission to the very technologies that provide that transparency.

    After almost two decades of crying in the wilderness about this, my best advice is find a little place full of good people where you are secure with whatever your ambitions are and adapt.

    Feed the trolls whatever will cause them to evolve. You can use the greed of others to modify their behaviors. That is the role of The Trickster.

    Eat more rabbits.

    Tuesday, September 29, 2009

    Apple: Rouge The Corpse

    When Apple ripped off Gary Lewis and The Playboys for the music to their new commercial, the emerging crack in their brand became obvious.

    Cultural archaeology is one way to get ideas but at least rouge the corpse.

    Monday, September 28, 2009

    The Ballad of Rip Van Freaker

    I was riding home from Woodstock
    Tokin' on a spliff
    When my psychedelic hippie van
    Went flying over a cliff
    Maybe it was the hand of God
    That bent time in a wrinkle
    I'd slept like a dog for forty years
    A modern Rip Van Winkle
    So I hitched a ride to the nearest town
    To see what I had missed
    And oh man what a bummer
    2009 is this

    TV is a picture hanging on the wall
    Women dress like men
    But the men don't care at all
    Underwear is advertised
    Where everyone can see
    Gasoline is expensive
    But pornography is free
    Milk will give you cancer
    Water is a snack
    The cars are made of plastic
    The president is black
    The Chinese are our bankers
    Ho Chi Minh's our friend
    And Arlo Guthrie's a Republican

    The criminals go on talking tours
    While preachers go to jail
    They'll take your right to own a gun
    But ammo's still for sale
    A hunter needs a license
    But an animal can sue
    With the whole world turning upside down
    What's a freakin man to do
    The hippie thing is all messed up
    A long hair just can't win
    And Arlo Guthrie's a Republican

    The Russians fly our astronauts
    To an international station
    While the United States of America
    Becomes a third world nation
    Good men just can't find a job
    While bad ones still get rich
    Some things keep on keepin on
    And Brother, that's a bitch
    Designer drugs are legal
    But reefer's still a sin
    And Arlo Guthrie's a Republican

    I wasn’t sure how it all went down
    I was sure I didn’t care
    We’d had it right in 69
    And now we’re running scared?
    I prepared to hide my love away
    When a voice said, “No kid, Wait!
    You can’t change their wicked ways
    But you can infiltrate!”
    And that was what I needed to hear
    The Revolution is style
    Before the next election
    Put an R beside a smile
    "What’s in a name?" a poet asked
    When your heart comes marching in
    Singing “Arlo Guthrie’s a Republican.”

    Urge for Going: The Weird Ways of What Comes To Us

    Most references to this song I see on the web cite Joni Mitchell who authored it but apparently didn't record it or Tom Paxton who recorded it and some say made it famous.

    I'd never heard of either of them when I learned it in 1967 although I saw Joni's name as the author on the RCA 45 produced by Chet Atkins and performed by George Hamilton IV. The funny bit is that I learned it on solo guitar and couldn't reproduce the Atkins arrangement so by the time I played it, my part sounded like Joni. It's still one of my favorites to play this time of the year. My old 45 is not playable so I'm glad to find this, though now I prefer Joni's version from a live Canadian TV show on YouTube. Still, it's fun to hear this again. I wonder if I had heard the others if I would have attempted it.

    Thursday, September 24, 2009

    Getting To No Me

    Are you tired of answering Facebook quizzes designed to help your friends help the marketing departments of the companies that pay Facebook to pester you with these questionnaires? Consider them an opportunity to throw mustard on their spyglasses.

    Getting to No Me

    1. What time did you get up this morning? 3:15AM. Ask me when I went back to bed.

    2. How do you like your steak? I take roses to the pasture.

    3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Butter on the seat cushion.

    4. What is your favorite TV show? A form of entertainment.

    5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? As long as I'm breathing, I'm there.

    6. What did you have for breakfast? My health.

    7. What is your favorite cuisine? I don't date relatives.

    8. What foods do you dislike? Humans. They are too salty.

    9. Favorite Place to Eat? Wherever she sets the table.

    10. Favorite dressing? Blue jeans.

    11.What kind of vehicle do you drive? The kind that run on gas.

    12. What are your favorite clothes? Loose.

    13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? The 23 century... meet Jane Jetson.

    14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? Which side?

    15. Where would you want to retire? Off the interstate. OTW, one gets run over.

    16. Favorite time of day? Quitting time.

    17. Where were you born? Next to Mom.

    18. What is your favorite sport to watch? Bingo.

    19. Who do you think will not tag you back? Kelly.

    20. Person you expect to tag you back first? Kelly.

    21. Who are you most curious about their responses to this? Kelly.

    22. Bird watcher? Poll watcher.

    23. Are you a morning person or a night person? I'm a might person.

    24. Do you have any pets? Kelly. Almost trained.

    25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? Whatever you report.

    26. What did you want to be when you were little? Bigger.

    27. What is your best childhood memory? My children standing at the window when I came home.

    28. Are you a cat or dog person? I'm a Batman.

    29. Are you married? I'm not your type.

    30. Always wear your seat belt? Only in the car. It chafes in the shower.

    31. Been in a car accident? I hiked to the top of one once.

    32. Any pet peeves? No. Peeves is a house servant.

    33. Favorite Pizza Toppings? Cash.

    34. Favorite Flower? Martha White Self-Rising.

    35. Favorite ice cream? Frozen.

    36. Favorite fast food restaurant? Our kitchen.

    37. How many times did you fail your driver's test? Only once, but I found the bug and recompiled.

    38. From whom did you get your last email? Ethiopia.

    39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Don't they have their own?

    40. Do anything spontaneous lately? I regenerated my liver.

    41. Like your job? Almost as much as Noah.

    42. Broccoli? Didn't he make Bond movies?

    43. What was your favorite vacation? When we moved out of my old apartment.

    44. Last person you went out to dinner with? Me.

    45. What are you listening to right now? Oh Happy Days. It's stuck in my head.

    46. What is your favorite color? Petunia.

    47. How many tattoos do you have? All of them.

    49. What time did you finish this quiz? Quitting time.

    50. Coffee? I never rent.

    Wednesday, September 23, 2009

    The Undisputed Truth

    You can watch 24 x 7 x 365 violence on Spike TV, or watch YouTube for the undisputed truth. It will be fun to read the defenders of laissez faire business models argue about this.

    Thursday, September 17, 2009

    Where There Is Sadness, Joy!

    This is the beautiful and ever inspiring Burns Sisters. With the passing of Mary Travers and the resurgence of racism and hatred in America, take a moment to listen to a prayer for joy.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Mama Told Me Not To Come

    Want some whiskey in your water?
    Sugar in your tea?
    Whats all these crazy questions theyre askin me?
    This is the craziest party that could ever be
    Dont turn on the lights cause I dont wanna see
    Mama told me not to come
    Mama told me not to come
    She said that aint the way to have fun, son
    That aint the way to have fun, son

    As the days of protest ground on in the Sixties, it got louder, noisier, nuttier and finally the cities were on fire.

    Anyone up for a repeat of that except this time without the good music?

    Not moi. Some pointers:

    1. The tea baggers are Americans. They have the right to protest. One may not agree with their signs but then we did ourselves no favors with the Sarah Palin bashing and the Hillary Clinton bashing. Don't say it's not the same. It's EXACTLY the same.

    2. The tea baggers have some points to make. Listen to them. If you can refute those points calmly and with facts, do so. Otherwise, DO NOT ENGAGE. This is critical. Having both sides throwing gas on a log fire is bound to set the forests ablaze. Everyone will lose.

    3. Change doesn't come without discomfort. These people are scared. They should be. The forces out there who are pouring money into these campaigns are doing their best to scare them. Before calling them ignorant, racist rednecks, take a look at those cool cats on Wall Street and in the multi-nationals paying the big money to scare them.

    4. Some of these people are racists. That's a fact. It is a disease and it will never be vanquished as long as there are differences to fear however stupidly. Calling them that won't change it. Worse, many of them, in fact the majority are not racists. Save that tag for when someone's civil rights are being denied them. The race card is too important to play it when all the other side has is a pair of deuces. Worse, it is incindiary. It sets a fire that won't be easily put out. Save it for the real thing.

    Stay cool. Learn the facts. Answer the charges with the facts. Most of those people are good people upset and scared but determined. In their minds and hearts they believe they have to stand up for America. Let them know you are marching with them wherever our freedoms are threatened. Use reason and calm presentation to show them their freedoms are in fact not being threatened.

    Don't surrender to your rage. As the rabbi said, an eye for eye leaves us all blind.

    Friday, September 11, 2009

    On 9/11

    I was pulling into the parking lot at Intergraph when the DJ said a plane had struck the WTC. Because our business was 911 systems and a pilot had explained the scenario to me years earlier while we were flying into Reagan, I suspected this was the one predicted.

    I also knew our business was suddenly solid gold.

    It was a terrible feeling so instead of watching the TV with the others, I went to my desk to remove from our web pages the name of a colleague who had died from heart attack a month earlier. I walked down the hall in time to see the second tower collapse. A lady in the room said, "What happened to the firemen that ran in there?" and I said, "They're dead. You just watched them die."

    It was macabre.

    The irony is some of us who are analysts began the research into how our systems could be used to protect us. As a result, Intergraph Public Safety would become a sub to Lockheed for New York/New Jersey MTA and today, that is newsworthy on ABC.

    You can know what will happen, what to do, try to do it and fail. The usual meme is you learn from your mistakes. That isn't always true for reasons I won't go into here and now because even if you believe me, it won't make a damm bit of difference.

    Wednesday, September 02, 2009

    Hitler Was Obsessed

    Some say the web is killing mainstream entertainment. Some say, "GOOD!!"

    All I know is the web is starting to deliver entertainment waaaay funnier than anything on cable these days. Thanks to Danny Ayers for posting this on Facebook.

    Wednesday, August 26, 2009

    Do You Wanta Date My Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie

    I gotta love this video. a) she was born in my hometown which means nothing but hey, go with it and b) it's funny.

    Every season has its Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini hit. This song and video is that for this season.

    Monday, July 13, 2009

    Sam (for Liz)

    Old song. New mix. Maybe done. :-)

    Monday, July 06, 2009

    Domine Iesu; the MP3

    I finished demoing a piece for a Lent service next year, Domine Iesu.

    This is the first religious piece I've written specifically for a mass in Latin. Latin confounds some ears, so here are the lyrics translated:

    Domine Iesu, Christe fili dei,
    Miserere mei, peccatoris
    Kyrie eleison,
    Christe eleison
    Miserere, Domine
    Domine Iesu, Amen.

    and the English translation:

    Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,
    Have mercy on me, the sinner
    Lord have mercy,
    Christ have mercy
    Have mercy, Oh Lord
    Lord Jesus, Amen

    The first two lines are known as the Jesus Prayer from Egypt originally and later adopted into a Greek tradition according to Wikipedia.

    Thursday, July 02, 2009

    License Costs for Open Government Systems

    As the Obama administration proceeds with the open government initiatives, a laudable effort in and of itself, I wonder what their plans are to cope with the ever rising costs for licensing third party content such as map data.

    There are different licensing agreements for data that is inward facing and outward facing and different cost structures. Are these initiatives in the name open systems, a la cloud systems, accounting for the ever rising costs of deploying copyright information licensened for internal use originally?

    The cloud may be open but it isn't free. IBM and Oracle won't tell you that.

    Sunday, June 28, 2009

    For Iran and the World

    A post from Arlo Guthrie at Arlo.Net:

    You guys wearing sacred clothing, holding the Holy Koran in hand, while your thugs beat, maim and kill your fathers, brothers, sisters & mothers - Yeah you guys (if you're reading this) - You have shown the entire world that you would sacrifice your own children for your temporary authority over them even as you KNOW you will grow old and pass away, and they will live to create a world of their own. The only question is how many will perish before you come to your senses or stand before your creator... How much blood will be spilt before your shame overcomes you and you shed tears for forgiveness? If the power of your authority comes only from clubs and guns, what does that say of your God? It would be better to have no faith than to have as little as yours... adg

    P.S. Same goes for any nation anywhere, anytime (including ours) when tyrants cover the rotting stench of their cold dying hearts with the outward appearance of holiness.

    For Neda

    Sunday, June 21, 2009

    On The Other Side

    My brother, Michael made this video as a tribute to our Dad.

    We'll pick again on the other side. I miss you, Daddy.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009


    As I read blogs from those who like to put "Hussein" as their middle name (upper middle class white kids who grew up on the right side of the tracks) criticizing the American response to 9/11, I find I am torn between my own criticism of the Bush Administration and the horror of that day.

    So now I keep this photo taken by my son on his trip to New York to remind why devastating events shared all over the world tend toward over reactions.

    Now let's look at the other side because from that event we went to this event and the clustering to both ends of the whipping stick is going fractal fast.

    If the left keeps trying to replenish their endorphin high from the election just as the right is going calculating cold, polished chisels in Karnak are going to be scraping Obama's legacies off the temple walls faster than you can say Akhenaten.

    I am not a Democrat or Republican, left or right in this analysis. I am a behaviorist and any behavioral strategist be they Axelrod or Rove can tell you this is a game of percentages of stimuli fed into the press amplifier. All those "Husseins" are playing the game plan of the very forces they wish to defeat. The defeat of Laura Hall should be a bell ringing. You are the other end of the same stick that walked into the Holocaust Museum and shot a man dead. It's a waste.

    Tuesday, May 26, 2009

    Am I in Alabama?

    Reading some of the snarky comments about Alabama having a symphony on Facebook, I try to stay civil, as in not restart the War of the Northern Aggression. Still one can't not recognize the quirks. Two true examples of life in the Heart of Dixie:

    1. From the news, a local school principal disciplined a student with an uncivil name and then slapped the kid on the back of the head. The next day the kid's father was arrested and immediately released for going to the school and whipping the principal's uncivil behind.

    2. My ex-boss at Intergraph was in India recently and visited a temple with another friend. A temple priest asked to be allowed to bless them. When he reached out to place his palm on the fellow's forehead to give the blessing, my ex-boss high fived him.

    Ok, but we have excellent symphonies.

    Saturday, May 23, 2009

    Beautiiful Boo

    Here is something fresh but old folkie sweet. Daddy loves his little girl, and this just got me the biggest smile. Awwww!

    Tuesday, May 19, 2009


    The story of the devadasi who became sharii, Umrao. This is a sequence from the VRML world, The River of Life, with music by Ravi Shankar and Jean Pierre Rampal.

    Sunday, May 17, 2009

    The Boat Ride

    The boat ride to the Temples of Saraswati is the opening sequence to the VRML world, The River of Life.

    Wednesday, May 13, 2009

    Walking Kamala

    This video is the Walking Kamala sequence from "The River of Life" VRML world referenced in several places in my 3D blog.

    Video does not do VRML rendering justice, and it isn't as fun for the adventurous who do download the plugins and play the games. It is practical.

    The music is sampled under fair use.

    Wednesday, April 15, 2009

    Gentle On My Mind

    The picture was taken in 1966 when I was 12. I was asked to visit a nearby school and play for an English class. It wasn't my first gig but it was the beginning of neighborhood fame. That is an album cover. The title is the humorous response to, "Whatever happened to that kid?"

    The guitar is a Stella 12 string. It was a big beastie but I was a determined kid. A few months later, my sister friend and I would pass the audition to play for the Cerebral Palsy Telethon at a local TV station. Being kids, they put us on in the middle of the night. Ralph Embrey, a famous Nashville impressario was hosting. The next morning at ten, I would be roused from where I was sleeping on the floor to come see Ralph who told me someone had called and would donate $5 if I would sing "Gentle On My Mind" on camera. Having no fear then, I did just that. Ralph then looked at me and said, "Your Dad called that in" then asked "I know Glen and he can't remember all the words to that song. How do you do it?" I told him, "My Dad asks for it a lot."

    Dad didn't want me in the music business. He said it was a rough game and I had too many brains for it. We were asked that morning to come to Muscle Shoals but my parents declined and for the better or worse, it would presage things to come. I would play it one last time on TV three years ago on a morning show when the host who remembered me playing it for his father on TV years earlier in the 80s asked for it. I told him I didn't think I could remember the words, but he insisted and I did. Dad got up early that morning to watch it proud as he could be.

    A year later as Dad lay dieing, I sat in the next room and sang this song for him. We can't know why we remember all the words until we need them. Then life is clearer and all the moments that didn't make sense do. Art isn't about fame. It is about service, reflecting emotions so it will make sense.

    I did see Glen in an airport many many years later and was on the flight with him. I didn't introduce myself because I have a rule about not being rude to famous people, but I think I would have liked to tell him the story. Dad would have liked that too.

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    Haunting Faces

    Some faces haunt me and not in a bad way, they become hazy images at the periphery of consciousness that never quite go away.

    Kate Bush - Anyone who knows me knows I'm a Bushaholic. I believe she is the finest female rock musician - no contest. Yes there are plenty of more famous, bluesier females but Kate captured the heart of what it is to be rock: she goes her own way and never repeats herself. Kate is the Queen.

    Dame Wendy Hiller - the essence of the smart self contained actress who had a way of reaching around to find the heart of the part. She was not a classic beauty; she was a quiet determined intelligence who was beautiful and above the fray of an industry that consumes women like chocolate.

    Cecile Chaminade - the most famous woman composer of an age and possibly one of the greated composers of that age, she wrote salon music, songs, orchestral works, opera and more. They buried her before she died because she refused to modernize and she was a woman. She blazed the trail for all the women composers after her and her reward was to die alone in a small apartment with an amputated foot and a broken heart never having met the man who was her equal.

    There are beauties that we should not let go of or forget even if fashion and other's needs say we should. We empty our hearts onto our lives only to find our hearts are the only springs that fill them. The price is we must stay where we stand while our lives flow away into ever deepening fog, but if we do not remember beauty, it will be as if we never lived at all.

    Sunday, April 12, 2009

    Music Tribe Alert!

    Music Tribe:

    I’ve completed the scene in Facebook/Vivaty integrating the videos, music other materials:

    1. Smooth. Easy Drag Drop and Go.

    2. Integration: fast dialog building for pulling in YouTube, Facebook, and externally hosted audio

    3. Time to setup: about eight hours total. It sets up in minutes, then you customize and I have lot of media assets to put in there. For those of us who have to spread work across pages, this is the BEST way to integrate them as services.

    4. Results: Excellent.

    Bands on Facebook who don’t build one of these for their act and business quick need cranial exams. This is the way to get it done in social network markets.

    As the stagecraft objects improve, this will also be how albums are made, released and navigated. In fact, these become the albums++.

    Big juju, musicTribe. Bery big.

    Media convergence at long last!!!

    Sunday, April 05, 2009

    Epiphany - The Video

    Here's a new video suitable for the season. Short, meditative, peaceful good for early risers who want a moment before they drive.

    The music was written for the University of Western Australia's virtual reality campus. Big thanks to Oz and Surak!!

    Thursday, April 02, 2009

    Making Money on The Web

    A discussion asks how in the era of the Web As Copy Machine From Hell can the artist use scarcity as a means to increase or preserve the value of art.

    First, the medium of distribution has nothing to do with the value of the art as meaningful.

    On the other hand, no product no market no sale no pay.

    Copy protection simply won't work anymore. It’s of no value to fight the machine/human interface behaviors. It simply won’t work.

    The Internet figures values in terms of URLs as coin of the realm. Wealth is created as a scalar applied to the functions such as edit, copy, delete, revise, publish, yadda.

    All Internet business models must first describe the process or means for URL production. You don’t want to stop copies; you want to be sure that the right URLs are created during the copying. Essentially, that is what the web services for any business model eventually come down to.

    A social network is a URL amplifier.

    1. Release the video.
    2. Post the video.
    3. Watch the download stats for the URLs.
    4. Rate, collect, respond to inquiry, invoice or acknowlege, in other words, sell or discuss.

    This isn’t hard. Everything I need (now) to create and sell product is managed from a single desktop. While it is not true for any communications industry model, it is essentially true at all scales of application.

    Don’t think in terms of scarcity of copy. It is scarcity of talent and ideas that drives the production of significant URLs.

    It will always come back to quality, fidelity, novelty, the gig, and the deal.

    If I may ramble a little more: the big picture sea change so trivial it’s barely noticed is that web 2.0 is evolving toward a mass notification system where the messages are controls, that is a a message and link to a page for the purpose of task-orienting.

    It’s a cosmic merely to the RSS/Atom community of feedfans, but in terms of higher order social norm organization, it is significant in that at one scale it is organizing your acts, at another, it is reorganizing your DNA. Still another cosmic merely to the social theorists.

    At the monetization level, it is the very key to the product evolution. There are any number of public services that can avail themselves of Facebook, Twitter, etc., and these are subscription services.

    Wednesday, April 01, 2009

    My Son's Time To Go - The Video

    If we are to use human memory as our guide, we may only be fair witnesses, but we must reveal all that we see.

    This is the video for My Son's Time To Go. I didn't set out to write an anti-war song. It's in the questions.

    My Son's Time To Go

    Saturday, March 28, 2009

    Early Morning Light

    At every moment in every spot in the world, light is different. If one could see that in aggregate, one would possess the all-seeing eye. If one can feel that in aggregate, one possesses the all-compassionate heart. If one understands all that in aggregate, one has the all-knowing mind. Light is the expression of the universe over it's own preponderant darkness. Light is the soul of life given to the universe as love.

    Tuesday, March 24, 2009

    Wise and Clever

    Watch the video below. In case like so many of us elders you think the kids aren't thinking hard about the future, some are wiser than we know.

    I guess this means I can stop circulating the petition to skip over their generation and pass the power and the money straight to our grandkids.

    Dial M for Mayhem

    In the beginning was the blank space. The data barrier was void and lo, it was good. Then came the round bracket. It was found to nest and the days of the never-ending cooder were upon us. Then came the curly brackets and all could C the structs before them but verily the semi-colon and the comma could not be banished from the land. Then came the pointy bracket with its faithful companion, the quotation mark to sweep all that came before them away. The data landscape was fruitful and the trees multiplied without number.

    There are rumblings in the land of the Elder Edda of the monster, M. With spare incantations and in secrecy, it seeks to resurrect the curly by whose topology it will sweep all the pointy brackets into the bit buckets of the cloud hereafter around and anon.

    Lo, the days of darkness have returned.

    Monday, March 16, 2009

    This Land Is Our Land

    Remember when songs meant something? Here is an interview with Pete Seeger, a man who saw the entire span of modern American folk music and who as much as anyone made sure they did.

    Little organizations doing what is right right near where it needs doing is the message. We can't count on the government and we sure as hell can't trust the bankers. We spawned a generation of rich sociopaths who believe they can steal right in front of us and there is nothing we can do.

    I dunno. I know what we learned from people like Pete: we have to tell the story and maybe we better write some new songs.

    Whoever makes the best biopic of Pete Seeger can tell the story about what is best about this country: people who keep doing the right thing.

    Change is necessary but it only works if we know what is right. Is that corny? I don't care. It's right.

    Saturday, March 14, 2009

    In Times Like These

    In times like these we wonder where old friends are, who friends are and who are just the liars that litter the alleyways of streets where we took a wrong turn and stayed on that path a little too long. Then one day we run out of shoe leather and gasoline, feel that engine winding too shrill and the slide on wet roads from tires without enough tread left to keep up going forward.

    Then someone sends a good song from an old friend and I remember how many people are on that road with me. Thanks Joe Cookbook. I thank the big guy for friends.

    Thursday, March 12, 2009

    The Long and Winding Road

    The bad news is I start the treatments for leukemia (NHL) today. It's a schedule of two weeks of steroids followed by 18 weeks of chemo in three week cycles. Every third week, they hook me up for four hours while I sit in a chair. It may be time to find something I actually want to read or set up a laptop for midi composition.

    The good news is I get out of yard work for most of the summer and I can rent out the top of my head for Google Ad Space. :-)

    I'll be fine. Steroids are an emotional roller coaster though so if I write whinier than usual, well, it's coals to newcastle. I'll see if I can compose a blues mass for the church choir. Hey, emotions should not be wasted. Minds should.

    And I still have fine music.

    Saturday, March 07, 2009

    THe Watchmen

    Don't bother. If you have young children, don't let them see this. In fact, thumbs down. It has it's own audience, no doubt.

    Normally I don't diss a film like that, but these guys are running ads that don't tell you the degree to which this movie is soft-sci-fi porn with full frontal of men and women, and some explicit gettin' it on. People who took their kids were dumbfounded.

    And the plot sucks. Good CGI.

    The Star Trek preview looks excellent.

    Wednesday, March 04, 2009

    Amazing Grace

    Arlo keeps on the path he has been on since he was thirteen years old, straight down the middle toward a home he can see or just because he likes the road. Wherever he performs, he brings a unique but familiar perspective some might say is old Hippie talk, but others of us know is the gospel truth. At the core of the Hippie thing was peace and love. It's hard to object. Then togetherness. That's tougher. It gets tight in small corners and we start pushing against each other for space and air to breathe. We can push so hard that even while we have reasons good enough to make Officer Obie stop and think twice, we aren't making more room. We're making each other hurt.

    The Guthrie family purchased the old church building where much of Alice's Restaurant was filmed. It is called The Guthrie Center. If you order CDs from his label,, they come in a US Postal Priority mailer, meaning someone carefully put them in there out of the box and hand-sealed it then dropped it off at the Post Office on the way to shop for groceries. Inside the box with the rightly priced CDs is a form to send a donation to the Guthrie Center. I may send the money but I think I'll keep the form.

    Arlo stayed on his path and that path led him straight home, straight to the heart of love and peace and togetherness. In the video below, he describes the Guthrie Center as a "Bring your own God" church. Maybe it gets crowded in there, but maybe in that church there is room for all of the people who bring their God and because they do, no one's getting hurt.

    So he could be right. Maybe we should stay in that log until we outnumber the dogs outside howling. Breeding's got to be better than marching.

    Wednesday, February 25, 2009

    The Perfect Folk Song

    I know a lot of Dylan fans. I've never been one. It isn't that I don't admire his songs but Bobby always came across to me as a bit mean and so do most of his fans. It's the We Are Too Smart To Care What You Think Brigade and well, I guess I don't follow that trend in folk music.

    Then there's Arlo. For my time, Arlo Guthrie was and is the perfect folk singer. He is incredibly gifted as a writer, a wry commentator on the times, a fantastic musician, but through it all, he is funny, he is generous, he is kind, and he sees through the bullshit. He is never mean. Of all my heros in a lifetime of making music, writing songs and listening, he is still the one guy I want to sit down and pick with for an evening somewhere away from the crowd. He simply impresses me as a man who would be a good friend and teacher.

    Here is the perfect folk song seen through the eyes of the leader of the first family of American folk music: Arlo.

    Tuesday, February 24, 2009

    Give A Damm

    They say the times of change are upon us like the Sixties but without the good music and the sex. That only leaves war, drugs and politics which means the worst of the Sixties are back. What to do?

    In a 1993 concert just before performing “When A Soldier Makes It Home”, Arlo Guthrie observes that after all the movements of the 60s, he found there are only two kinds of people: those who give a damm and those who don’t and there were always both of those on both sides of an issue. What surprised him was how over the years he found he had more in common with those who do give a damm regardless of which side of the issue they were on.

    As we continue on during the times of change and internationalization, maybe that is the best badge to wear.

    Wednesday, February 18, 2009

    The Great Gazoo

    Someone sent me yet another reference to Facebook's weak defense of their policy that once on Facebook always on Facebook. I tell them to try get rid of their MySpace page and see how that works out.

    Relational databases make it difficult to remove related entities once in the system and used by other entities. Given the numbers of friends one befriends, Facebook is possibly a tedious thing to administrate. That said, people seem shocked as they begin to finally realize the Web's existence has a dark side manifesting in everything from intellectual property to keeping one's DNA private. Databases leak and if one is using free services without reading the terms and conditions one is a fool. The world does not protect you. It will let you starve while it buys back a dime on a dollar of your retirement account from the men who stole your water.

    If I am in a bad mood, I describe the web as a man-made viral pathogen rewriting our cultural DNA quickly, quietly and without our permission. No one knows how this will turn out for those who turn it on and can't turn off, but if you don't mind being the naked emperor, it should be ok at least until dildonics come with a URI and that is not far away.

    In a good mood, I think of the web as the Great Gazoo combined with Fred's two feet. In the first case, a self-admitted "undependable, bit of a kook" alien can raise havoc if you call on him. In the second, a car made of stone, wood and animal skins can take you on a wild ride downhill. If you get in, you may not get out. How good are your own two feet?

    Did anyone forsee all of this? Sure. We even warned you. First we were told it wasn't a problem, then it was society's fault, then that we were sick people for wanting to hide information from the commons.

    What do I have to say now? "Take heed. Don't ask for more than you can handle You may get it." Toodaloo, Dum-dums!

    Monday, February 16, 2009

    The Mirror Ball Mosh or Buffy The Umpire Slayer

    To assess digital art in these modern times, there are ten critical criticisms:

    1. Popularity: How many sites link to it.

    2. Citability: How many reviews link to it.

    3. Authority: Of the links, how many links link to the sites that link to it.

    4. Covetability: how many copies were stolen.

    5. Enviability: how many competitors ripped it off and changed the names to claim originality.

    6. Originality: huh? Who would link to something they don’t recognize? This one doesn’t matter but I toss it in here to satisfy the need for a ten item list.

    7. Authenticity: how many animals were harmed making the thing.

    8. Cultability: how many forums are dedicated to proving the artist is wrong about the interpretation of their work.

    9. Derivability: how many forums dedicated to proving the artist is wrong are right.

    10. Extensibility: how many new pieces of art are created to *honor* the resource at the bottom of all of those links.

    The best way to assess art is to find the average size of the pile on top of it that keeps you from finding it times the number of those looking for something like it divided by the number of those who claim to have it for a price they will reveal to you if you give them your social security number.

    Protest Songs and The Punctured Pretension

    A friend of mine is letting his freak flag fly with political protest songs on mySpace. I sang on some of those including Sly Stone's "Stand" and "Vicious Love Affair". Ground Level Sound still covertly records when no one is looking. Well... no one is but... we have a good time together.

    Everything I know about protest I learned from Doug Kenney, Henry Beard and Robert Hoffman although it was Christopher Guest who finally nailed it to the masthead.

    That song is A Mighty Wind years ahead of the time but somehow these days, it's even more relevant. We should stop to deflate our shoes occasionally.

    Thursday, February 12, 2009

    Schadenfreude is for Losers

    What an incredibly beautiful day!

    I am amazed how far some will run to hide a truth everyone knows. Life in a golden cage isn't life at all.

    Wednesday, February 11, 2009

    The Perfect Sportscar

    In the photo, I'm the whelp in the middle. My sister, Beverly, is standing and my younger brother, Michael, is front. He now looks much older than me proving it really is the mileage.

    The car was called "The Shingle" by the men who built it. In the Fifties, we lived on Monte Sano Mountain, a hill on the edge of town that once had a resort for the northern wealthy to escape the heat but enjoy the charms of the South. We lived across the street from the site of the hotel long since burned to the ground and then only a chimney remained. The photo was taken down the street a few blocks and the house is still there. We lived in an old rock house that is also still there. The car is in a museum somewhere up north. I don't know where. I was away at college when Dad finally sold his proudest work to make bills.

    The Shingle was infamous. It was the second car of two my Dad built with his neighbor and friends who were exceptional ex-Army Missile Command and when the photo was taken, NASA scientists. Dad had customized cars to run 'shine, and these guys got on like a house on fire. They wrapped the engine in special thermal blankets developed for heat shielding. The instructions to the driver was simple: put the pedal to the metal and leave it there. The car was a rolling wing and the air over it held it on the track even in curves. At the experimental track in Courtland, they would infuriate the Europeans who could not believe this 6'5" hillbilly was beating them with a piece of tin junk and a Crosley engine. The secret sauce was the two smiling men at every race wearing coveralls like my Dad and drinking coffee from his special thermos, both of whom would also help send man to the Moon in the next decade. Boys with toys.

    Life as a kid was fascinating.

    Follow Your Leader! NOT!

    Obama makes a speech. Geitner makes a speech. The markets tumble.

    Surprise! Why?

    Where Ali Baba once had only 40 thieves, now he has 40000 and they are too old to learn new tricks. They want the money. They don't want conditions.

    It was the wrong speech. Obama was selling fear and when it gets right down to it, people will be angrier with the man who took their hope than the men who took their money. He is still, when off teleprompter, a bit too much the minority professor who did well and feels entitled to respect because he won. Washington doesn't work that way. Heck, the world doesn't work that way. The big guns in the financial world and the Republican Party are looking at him and saying "Whatcha got? Whatcha gonna do about it?" and they mean in terms of real consequences. Otherwise, they stand back and let him posture.

    Did we think this was going to be a Beach Party with Moondoggie making up with Annette and then everyone boogaloos to Dick and The Dervishes? Or does Erick Von Zipper dress in a suit and suddenly his gang becomes civilized? This is the scene in Gone With the Wind where the young men have parties with young women all gaily dressed thinking they are going to a summer lark called The Civil War. This is the beginning. It won't be civil.

    Welcome to the reality of what the Kennedy Administration was like, not the rose-colored view in the rearview mirror through the fog of generational wish fulfillment. He was young, brash, occasionally out to lunch and all the world wondered if the kid had any moxie or plans. Enemies moved on us, the markets were a roller coaster, and the social agendas were all pushed at one time. It was scary. Then he was killed and the Beatles came to America to distract us and Johnson dulled us into self-medicating a generation.

    By contrast, this isn't that bad. Feel better now?

    Tuesday, February 10, 2009

    The Lonely Bull

    Odd bits of bull from the bullmeister:

    Recommend: Herb Alpert at the Montreux Jazz Festival - 1996. Excellent!!

    Don't Recommend: Paul Graham's blog on keeping identity small. Ok, so the Buddha was right: attachment to self is the root cause of suffering. It bears repeating from time to time, but blogs like that get into the Web Mythos as Yet Another Profound Insight but it is more rebranding of ideas best learned from the original master.

    Recommend: Write your own funeral music. I'm working on a 'kyrie', or penitent choral piece suitable for the pre-Easter season. I'm using a seven note theme from a Beethoven piano sonata. Anyone who thinks I won't have my own music played at my last gig above ground doesn't know me very well. Why do it? Because as a habitual composer, it rounds out the season for my time here and there is a certain peace in knowing it is done. It doesn't mean I'm taking the A-train soon, but just that when I do, my bags are packed.

    Don't Recommend: Java The Language. Why? After a decade of the mob beating on Microsoft and ASP.Net, today with the economy shredding, Java programmers are a dime a dozen and ASP.Net programmers cost mucho dinero. The law of supply and demand was not suspended. By limiting the attractiveness to young programmers, they drove up the value of ASP.Net. Karma.

    Recommend: More patience with Obama. It takes more than a few weeks to sell a house. It takes a bit more to change Washington's negotiating strategies. Give him time.

    Don't Recommend: paying with cash at Wal-Mart or Target. "What's that?" "Well, we call it money." "What's it for?" "Look at the number on the display. Now add the numbers on those green pieces of paper and see if it is the same. Ok, now see those round metallic objects in the drawer. Yes, good, now take out three of the big shiny ones and one of the small shiny ones. That's right. No, you can keep the dull copper one."

    Sigh... the life of the lonely bull chasing the red flags of a society cheering for the gore!

    Monday, February 09, 2009

    Congratulations to T-Bone Burnett

    Congratulations to T-Bone Burnett, Allison Krause and Robert Plant who won five Grammys last night with their Raising Sand group. T-Bone is the wise old regular on Jon Taplin's blog, but a veteran survivor of a long career in music. While the DJs will make much of Plant and Krause, the genius is the long-haired blonde fellow on the guitar with the mensch smile. If you don't know who he is, go to your favorite search engine and find out. If you do, go to YouTube and enjoy!

    Way to go, T! Of course, this IS what the web and YouTube are good for.

    Monday, February 02, 2009

    Nothing From Nothing

    There are increasing concerns about businesses relying on third parties for services that start out harmlessly, get the reputation for being vital (self-selecting self-promoting self-fulfilling), then change the rules and harm the business. It's the cliche of drug addiction but nevertheless, terms of service, quality of service, and so forth have not been suspended to make Internet wealth possible. Social networks, Twittering, etc., may be the next big bust except for the data mining services. They are fun but vital for business?

    I'm not sure when, but somewhere in the next four years, the problems of the self-enamored web punditocracy that grabs any morsel of information from the middle of the long tail, pushes it to the top, then amplifies it as 'newly discovered facts' across the web will come front and center. Not only will overhyped technologies begin to evaporate, but the reputations of the names of those pundits will as well. Then 'cloud' will have meaning; it may become synonymous with 'foolish'.

    Jimmy the Greek was a terrible handicapper. He was a great self-promoter. Then he made one prediction too many.

    Thursday, January 29, 2009

    A Fading Geisha

    The life of the office geisha is one of popularity and intense interest followed by sudden exile to a pen full of former geishas who once the bloom was off the rose, found they had to work harder than anyone else to justify their office space. Office cultures left to themselves will consume their young geishas like rats consume fresh cheese first and only bother with the aging cheddar when hungry or too lazy to reach the top shelf.

    The hard thing to realize is that the geisha not only trades on beauty but trust and these are antithetical goods. Once she trades on the beauty, the trust evaporates particularly among other women. It is not they will hound her out but that they will slowly make her subordinate to them and if she doesn't like that, she has to move on.

    It's an old story and most of us who have lived the office life know it. Every year will bring a fresher flower and no matter how hard one tries, pheromones fade in potency. The wise geisha cultivates her inner light at all times because it will grow brighter if she does not surrender to the frustration and disappointment of realizing that many around her who befriended her are fickle. Woe to the one who decides that the office life is the only one worth living. We usually discover these working longer hours for the same money fading and becoming bitter as those that do trust and love them fade into the distance.

    If she is wise, she cultivates the inner light and does not break faith with those who did not break faith with her. Faith is not adoration or approval. It is truth, even the one she cannot believe though she heard every word they said. Sometimes the word needed is found not on the billboard of her beliefs but in the wastebasket of her frustrated desire.

    Wednesday, January 28, 2009

    Tell It All Brother

    In Bay City, Michigan, Marvin E. Schur, a 93 year old widowed war veteran froze to death in his house because an unregulated power utility company sent a worker to put a filter on the man's power meter that cut off his heat if he used too much power. When he was discovered, he was wearing four layers of clothes and had icicles hanging off the blankets. The city expressed its dismay and regret, then raised the electric rates 3%.

    In New York City, Bernie Madoff who stole the retirements of hundreds of investors is living luxuriously under house arrest. At CitiBank, they are having to explain how they could buy a luxury jet while being bailed out with our retirement money while giving out millions in bonus checks to the very crooks who can't explain where the bailout money is going. Nancy Pelosi stands on camera and blames George Bush but it is Obama's problem now and no one is stepping up.

    Is this what we are? Did we get so mad at the crooks that we forgot to look in on the old man next door? Are we so numb and so protective of our jobs that we will hang a note on a door of this man instead of pounding on it until we find out who we are condemming to a slow painful death in the freezing winter?

    Is this America?

    No bloody wonder the world hates us. I can't get my head around it and I don't want to. Years ago my first fiance and I were walking in the middle of a heat wave when an elderly lady called out to us from behind a screen door. When we opened it, we saw a double amputee from diabetes with a hot jug of water next to her. She wanted us to move her old floor fan closer to her wheelchair. We did that then we called the police. The young officer came and took information, and within the week, a local church came and put in a window unit air conditioner. The lady died a few months later but not from heat stroke.

    In Los Angeles this week, a man capped his wife and family because having both lost their jobs, they couldn't envision going on. They lost hope.

    Times are hard and getting harder. People are hurting. Others are getting away with their crimes and I can only hope God or karma tends to them. But today I and mine are ok and I can be thankful for that.

    But I can't get my head around that old man freezing over an unpaid $1100 power bill.

    Don't accept it. Don't. Don't let an old man who went to war and came home to raise his family and lose his wife die alone with an icicle as his last medal. If we want to get back on our feet, we will have to start caring again.

    Tell it all, brother, before we fall.

    If You Could Read My Mind

    Reflecting on the Google deal with publishers of copyright works and digitization, it occurs to me that the change is not simply one of access but form. One wonders if it has the same effect as single outlet systems have had on other media.

    There was a time when MTV ruled the music industry when it became the only radio that mattered. In the beginning, it was experimental, fast and very trendy. The fly in the ointment was that instead of being a sound medium, it was a visual medium and popular music was driven straight into the New York fashion houses. Thus the infamous Bo Diddley statement live on camera to Chrissie Hynde, “You ain’t no musician; you a model.”

    Anytime a single media outlet dominates a media type, the form of that outlet begins to shape the evolution of the content. Digitization of books will follow the path of online communications: it will shred the language. The pressure to write shorter sentences and use punchier but less evocative words is strong. You see it in the Twits and Tweets. You see it in comments such as “OMG put a period in that sentence”. Pop music publishing first in sheet music, then in radio formats killed the long form composition for any practical commercial uses. TV did irreparable damage to movie structures and topics.

    If Google is the only access, expect the quick death of the novel and possibly other forms of print. Once it is on the screen, patience turns into umbrage. Add a high energy drink or two, and it becomes vitriol.

    The redeeming thought is that hypermedia systems are multimedia systems and have their own forms of expression such as being able to embed the videos for effect or accentuate a point. That is good for new forms, but older forms do suffer. The consolation is that MTV wasn't able to hang on to its monopoly and today has very little influence. Radios are increasingly irrelevant in the day of the download. Pop music has never recovered but some form of it will return in the pop mashups.

    Few can carve in marble as well as some once could two thousand years ago. Themes may be eternal but forms evolve. Still, a couple of nuclear airbursts can wipe out that Google library, so perhaps we are not yet ready to burn books for kindling to make room for new monitors. We aren't becoming Bradbury's Montag having to memorize a book to save it from book burning, but any complex instrument left unattended surrenders to entropy. Evolution is not continual improvement, but it is continous forgetting.

    Caveat emptor.

    Tuesday, January 27, 2009

    You Know The Economy Is Bad When

    You know the economy is bad when the wait staff at IHOP becomes unusually polite.

    Monday, January 26, 2009

    Bippity Bobbity Boo!

    As pointed out elsewhere, the overwhelming choice of those answering Obama's Chicago web site call for votes for the change most desired of the new President was repeal of the Federal laws criminalizing pot. Predictably, Obama's transition team had to issue the terse statement
    “President-elect Obama is not in favor of the legalization of marijuana.”
    Because in the early campaign, Candidate Obama had hinted that he was for decriminalization, some of his fervent worshippers, umm, supporters, were dismayed. One asked, "What does this all mean?"

    It means the current pipelines become stronger and if Obama changes his mind, they become the new suppliers of a bigger tax base. According to CNBC, California and the Federal government are already collecting millions in taxes from "product" grown in the Emerald Triangle openly and without fear. With ten more states having decriminalized, this only made the trade more interstate than intrastate. When dry counties go wet, bootleggers become distillers.

    And the idea that these Mendocino farmers, the hippie's kids who figured out how to turn outlaw into entrepeneur botanists by increasing the potency a dozen times, who recruited the truck drivers and fishermen, who turned a poor region profitable, might be the new money on the block, well, that isn't acceptable in Chicago and Washington DC. If big money is to be made, the old Lords of the City will be the ones to make it.

    And they don't know how to grow righteous reefer. Yet.

    This is one where the wisdom of crowds or plain common sense loses to the political expediency of ensuring the lustre does not wear off the New Spiel before other agenda items are safely tucked into the Speaker's pocket. The herb goes under the bus with the gays just as it has with every election before when they dared to hope for common consideration.

    No change but then, no surprise either. I get the distinct impression now as I did before the election that some people who work their hearts out for these candidates should take a job in the Beltway for six months to get the cold dash of reality that it brings. The day after the election, voters go back to being mice and pumpkins while Cinderella goes to live in the castle.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009

    The Weight

    A lot of needs are expressed, a lot of hands are out and all of them are real. The man tells us it is in ours to do and most of our problems are self-made or of the last administration, and quotes Corinithians telling us in effect to grow up.

    There are words of hope in that speech, but the beginning of political cover as well.

    Now comes the test. As Truman said, "the buck stops here". The mettle of Obama and his team will be determined not by the words but by the deeds and further than that, by what they do if they fail.

    Some will say that means we have all failed but failure in politics is never a shared commodity. The man who holds the title holds the ring and if he cannot wield it, he either accepts that or he casts about for others to take the blame.

    Obama will be held both to his ideals and to his promises. Let's see how those priorities stack up to the realities of diminishing supply and increasing demand.

    The weight has moved on and the stakes couldn't be higher.

    Wednesday, January 14, 2009

    Birds Do It

    There is considerable discussion about copyrights, intellectual property, and how all of that works in the brave new digital world on the web. Here is an article describing research into the evolution of bird songs.

    Note where imitation, near neighbors, migration and competition for sex are strong determininants of the evolution of songs. Note where it is better to get one style and stick with it versus constantly having to hunt for the next new thing. Note that the preferences vary but how little the songwriter actually controls the environment in which they work, but rather have to adapt to it or find one where they fit.

    Nothing about copyright impedes creativity. Territory can.

    Tuesday, January 13, 2009

    Apropos of the Daily News

    Crediting my friend, David Blalock, for this one:

    Who knew when this financial crisis began that 'bonus' was two words?

    I can't improve on that.

    Monday, January 12, 2009


    Odd bits that show up in my world:

  • Get a drawing of Akhenaten, father of Tutankhamen and the first monotheist, and put it next to a picture of Barack Obama. Spoooooky. Of course, put a picture of Nefertiti next to Michelle Obama and there is no comparison. A good friend of mine, David Blalock, pointed this one out.

  • We've been having a very long thread at Jon Taplin's blog on DRM, copyrights, and so on. What if all you had to do to copyright a song was to fill out a form and upload an mp3 on the web? Wouldn't that be cheaper? What if we treated songs like software and released alpha, beta versions and updates? Some of us (me included) do, but then I'm not part of the industry where rights to first recording and publication are a very big deal. One thing is certain, we get a lot of advice and criticism from people who don't do any of this for a living; they just want free music anyway they can get it. And yes, that includes Kevin Kelly.

  • Is it better to be good than lucky? Only if you want to get lucky twice.

  • So the manager tells him, "I'm sure the next person doing your job won't be as good as you are. Six people have had your job so far and every one of them was worse than the one before them.

  • The story of Noah and the Ark always seemed cruel when I was a kid. As an adult, I found out that the Bible was a heavily edited book and the parts of the story that would have made sense were in a banned book, The Book of Enoch. Oddly enough, it was an informative and possibly normative text in its day because even Jesus quotes from it. But he wasn't an authority then.... anywho, the flood not only got rid of the bad people, but several species of demons roaming the Earth in those days because wicked angels knocked up willing human women and their offspring were chips off the old block.

  • Or so the stories go. The power of text over time is one of the true wonders of life among the mammals... at least until blogging was invented and the power meter went sub-db. Copyright everything. Cheap tricks are the essence of the market when the customer wants it for free and you have to make a living off of volume instead of quality and originality.

    Friday, January 09, 2009

    The Mama Bear

    Most of you know I am a musician by choice and once upon a time, career. To be specific, I am an acoustic guitar player. Although I can play other instruments and electric, I pretty much suck on most except acoustics.


    I came across something acoustic guitarist should have: The D-TAR Mama Bear. It is a pre-amp for acoustic guitars. On stage, acoustic guitars are hard to make work right particularly in loud venues or rock bands. One reason is the guitar acts like a microphone and that means its internal pick-ups have to be turned down. Another is most guitars, particularly inexpensive ones, use a piezo pickup on the bridge and that is a very thin sound without reinforcement. As a result, guitarists have different combinations of pickups and live mics to get That Wooden Sound. It is all a compromise and can be a pain to manage in different rooms.

    Also, an acoustic guitar, depending on the wood used, the design and the talent of the luthier (guitar maker, don't bother looking it up), only makes a limited variety of sounds.

    Enter Mama Bear. This pre-amp not only enables a much quieter live sound, it acts like an emulator, software/hardware to make one guitar sound like another. These beasties are usually very pricey. The Mama Bear is right in that sweet spot between $300 and $400 that a weekend warrior can afford.

    Go to the D-TAR page and watch the video with John Jorgensen if you are into this. It is well worth it.

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