30 Years of the Space Shuttle
July 10, 2010


NASA App Image
May 12, 2011

From MP - Twitter: @GarlandStewart

Image Credit & Copyright: Anthony Ayiomamitis (TWAN)

Looks okay on Broken Baroque

Favorite .GIF: Barbershop
April 28, 2011

But do I get a haircut?

Point/Counterpoint: Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged"
April 27, 2011

Here's a couple of views.

1994: Thoughts on Tablet Computers
April 25, 2011


One of the best ever made is my IBM x60 (2006).

Time to Write
April 10, 2011

For the past 10 days or so my health suffered, my view of the world declined and my brain went berzerk.
It doesn't happen to everyone I know, but it's happened to me before.
I was again fortunate to have a few long-suffering friends continue to exchange ideas and keep an eye on things.
Thanks, all of you who were in contact with me over the last week.


Hey More Music
March 27, 2011

oh no... Joy Division
A few guys just talkin' to some record a-holes.

"With measured steps they walked in line..."

Repeat Business 101
March 21, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day
March 17, 2011


Tom Waits inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
March 15, 2011

Neil Young and Tom Waits

2011 Geneva Auto Show Gallery
March 4, 2011

From Wired

iPad 2 Week Comes to an End
March 4, 2011


Now let's look at some other company's products. I see several that also make nice things.

Lost Pole Meta
February 28, 2011

From Win!

Discovery Launch Today
February 24, 2011

^ Discovery

^ Atlantis

From Lance Ulanoff
(or At-Lance-tisoff)

The Difference between the United Kingdom,
Great Britain, England and the Crown
It's a mess.
February 1, 2011


Not the worst way to live
January 25, 2011


Making their way in America near Canadia.

(as always, if ads show up at the bottom of the video,
you can close it with a click on the x at the top-right of the ad.)


Sundance Film Festival 2011 "Skateistan: To Live and Skate Kabul"
January 22, 2010


The lowly art and sport of skating was brought to Kabul, Afghanistan
to give kids in an unending war a way to see the West.

New Broken Up Site
January 7, 2011

This site just turned 1!
(ok, last Monday)
I'm still working on navigation simplicity;
for now all links look live except some of the
"Spots on this Site" anchors up top.

It's the baby brother of sites as old as teenagers.

Happy New Year
January 1, 2011


That penguin has a positive attitude about the new decade,
and his dancing is better than mine.
Or maybe he's just freezing cold.

Office Blake
New Year 2010/2011

Contently focused on work after sunset.
Later that eve, NYE art video shorts here.

Christmas Time!
December 20, 2010

Cartalk's gifts for guys.

ZZ Top
December 19, 2010

La Grange
How I get from Houston to Austin.
Hwy 71

"What I didn't know was that my dad, who died a few years ago, was in an early version of ZZ Top."
(yet unknown)
Read more,

Layne Staley
December 19, 2010

Long Gone Day
One of the greatest modern white-boy singers,
after me and a bunch of others.

Jah Loves in Return
December 11, 2010


The Abyssinians

Why so much music lately, Blake?
December 10, 2010

Johnny Mars
This is how well the Europeans treat even an American harmonica player.

Johnny: with all the garbage news "reports" and government moves,
these were my positive posts amongst the trash.

Get free.
Now listen to Johnny Mars and his band.

Jim Morrison in a Florida State University Film
November 22, 2010


Pre-rockstar pro-education actor.
Could be worse; still interesting.
Plenty more after the break.

3 Performances for your Perusal:
November 8, 2010

Herbie Hancock - Cantaloupe Island


Trumpet by Freddie Hubbard.
First recorded by Herbie in 1964.
Anyone know the date this video was shot?
blake at wilblake dot... you know.

Simon and Garfunkel - Scarborough Fair


My church invited me to play Scarborough Fair on piano during services when I was 12 or 13.
Yeah, I accepted.

James Brown and Pavarotti

I specifically remember not being asked to sing or play "This is a Man's World" in church.


Apple's Pricing Advantage in the Mobile Space
November 9, 2010

I have a Mac, but not a fanboi here.
A compelling argument for Apple products' price points, especially in the developing mobile market.
Written by John Gruber.

Texas Governor Rick Perry on The Daily Show
November 9, 2010

I was surprised and impressed by Mr. Perry's interview.
The interview starts at about 14 minutes in, if you don't like The Daily Show.
I'm admittedly unfamiliar with
the details of Mr. Perry's politics,
though I'm pretty familiar with Texas cultures in most parts of the state.
The rest of the interview is an extra 7 minutes on the The Daily Show's home page, for now.


Note to an IBM x60 touchscreen convertible tablet
November 1, 2010

OEM pics; we see how you're used every day.
At 3.5 years old, you're still a genius and past retirement in laptop years.
But you keep going.
You have the IBM badges, a touchscreen and Wacom penabled.
An iPad or any other tablet, even any other laptop, can't touch what I can do with you, my IBM.
For people who ask, I tell them you're the Darth Vader iPad, especially the plentiful MacBook users.

And at the home office, you have a real IBM docking station.
Even your hypotenuse is better.


Jesus Christ in India
Studying the Buddha, I presume

October 27, 2010.

Play the right-pointing white arrow/triangle in the middle of the screen.
India is ~3000 miles from Palestine.
I think that's where he went.
I doubt Jesus visited the UK, though.
They didn't have an airplane, but they did have boats.

I don't think anyone knows what happened to Christ.
No reason not to get along, as this clip implies...

A Walt Disney History
October 26. 2010


Reminds me a little of Steve Jobs, plus extra bigotry.

10th Amendment
October 24, 2010

States' laws override federal laws.
If it isn't in the Constitution, states rule.
See you in another of the great US states.

Read it. It's the shortest thing you've ever read:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states,
are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.


What I like about Americans
(both North and South)

October 12, 2010

We have the emotional and comedic dryness of the northern Europeans.
We have the manufacturing skills of the Germans and Chinese.
We have a collection of differences, like the Iowans and the San Franciscans, that work together.

We speak freely sometimes, but Americans are still shy about things like sex
and at times unable to see the hipocrisy of our views.
Or the largeness of the rest of the world, as presented to us.
The big companies are allowed to openly sell your kids Ritalin while we
spend money putting naturally-growing from God's green Earth smokers in prison.
We need to fix that and a couple other things,
like racism and growing our own tomatoes.

Americans took democracy a step further than even the Greeks.
Remember the Constitution and keep your States' rights right after you keep your Individual rights.

Train Hopping
October 12 2010


The film "Train on the Brain" has been taken down. The trailer is here.

No Agenda in the Morning
October 10 2010

October 10 2010


Paul Thurrott on Walt Mosspuppet
October 7 2010


Paul likely plays a perfect comedic straight guy on this.
From mosspuppet.com
"The only technology journalist in the world."

24 of the English Accents
October 1 2010


He is looking at a script, but always fun to see a Brit do an American accent.

Good audio and people work
Sept 26 2010

Notice the beautiful African women don't give a damn about the headphones.
Some of the sharpest editing I've seen in a while.

Re-post: A Gentleman's Music
Sept 25 2010

"Sad Yoda Cat is Sad"
Sept 20 2010
A cat video after all the political stuff and blabby music

(from Boing Boing)
poor little guy
The cat is fine; we're getting news he's dry now.
Washington State is beautiful, and so is surfing.

Patrick Henry
Sept 14 2010

"Give me liberty or give me death."
(I said those words playing Patrick Henry in my elementary school play, a couple years ago...)

Police Truck
Sept 6 2010

(Found out of Washington State)

Seattle and Tacoma, Washington
Aug 30 2010

Blue sky is natural and non-'shopped in these pics and on our days out in the cities.
3 out of my 5.5 days in NW Washington were perfectly sunny,
and the wet sprinkling cloudy days were just as peaceful.

Metroplex, Texas
(Bonus entry from the past! - late June)

Aug 23 2010

Never too many years late for good rock and roll
(this isn't the '50s)

I have an idea: instead of spending eleventeen trillion dollars killing brown people...

This coincidence is fine with me: 1 more Fred
Aug 19 2010

New article from a favorite journalist.
Order your wilblake.com sunglasses now

A couple more Freds
Aug 17 2010

These pics don't do justice to these two characters' personalities.
They're both gone now, like all of us go.
No, it wasn't the yogurt dips or silly bottled water.

We Cows Hijack this Page
July 21 2010


sorry about the ad - just click on the X at the top right of the ad itself.
(and let the little ad button stay there.)

OK Music
July 20 2010


José González ~2007

Not necessarily The Best Music in the Universe
July 19 2010

1992, after a show

K, don't blame Peter Frampton, but jump ahead to ~4:00 on this track:
July 3 2010

Do you feel the audience?
Sure, after a few mins Frampton's band gets going, and listen to the audience during the last 10 mins.
If any audience acted like that these days, they might be arrestable.
This isn't the punk rock we used to play.
Don't forget Frampton is a British redcoat, that guy.
Yeah, and in the middle he pretty much just goes down on all the women in the audience w/ his guitar.
Not shabby.
Protect our friend Frampton, the fans and ourselves.


Metroplex, TX

June 24 2010

Stepbrother, nephew and me in Arlington, TX
(Home of the Dallas Cowboys)
This site is comedicalogically responsible: "but i AM smiling".


Surfing 25-foot Waves

June 16 2010


The music has a great slowed-down tempo as it goes along.
I like to call it "buried" or "retarded" tempo. I used it all the time in my recordings.
And these are some of the best surfers most of us will see. Those waves are huge.

From Chris Arkenberg on Boing Boing:

"I'm a surfer but I'm not crazy. I wouldn't go anywhere near these waves. But I really like this video by iamkalaniprince capturing a seemingly relentless set
of 25+ foot peaks rolling in at Jaws on the North Shore of Maui.These monsters come barreling across the deep water trenches of the Pacific then heave up
onto the Hawaiian reef creating some of the biggest and fastest waves in the world. The slow-motion (and the glorious Canon optics)
underscores, to me, the majesty of this great dance and the strange harmony we human apes find amidst the power of nature."

The American Stylists
June 14 2010


1958 corpo-film. Have a bag handy.
Best inadvertent laugh in a long while.

New phone pic
June 06 2010

Tina Fey shows the other best SNL host of the season
May 23 2010

It's on Hulu.

Betty White embiggens Lorne Michaels, NBC and SNL
May 09 2010

Along with past cast members-turned-moms, Betty took care of comedy business.

There is no Up and Down in Space
May 09 2010

All that stuff is barely relevant.

Plus free J.S. Bach here
don't try to play it too many times in a row.

First images from the NASA Solar Observatory
April 21 2010

Well over 10 of our Earths would fit in the loop alone.
Get used to it. You suck.

Clockwise to Tighten
April 17




This might count as step 9 for nerds
April 15 2010

...or uhnapaulogy from a leet.

April 07 2010

From prettygeekything

We get Mail: Synchronizing Files and Folders
Mar 17 2010

K, here's today's mail of the lunar week-year:

Billy Bob,

I wonder if you could point me in the right direction here:
I want to synchronize some of the folders on my two PCs, so that changes made on one PC saves the same changes to the same folder on the other, or sends a new file there. This doesn't have to be automatic (I don't mind synchronizing once a week, or whenever...), but that would be a cool feature too.
One PC uses Windows 7 Home, and the other uses XP Pro Corporate (first one's Kosher - concerning licensing - the second one is like ham...).

[There is no such thing as XP Pro "Corporate" - ed.]

Is there any built-in functionality in the OS(s) for this?
Do you know of any cheap software that would be good for this?
File safety is of vital importance, of course...

Thanks for any ideas...


Mail answer:

A free utility offered by Microsoft is SyncToy, which I have used in the past. It's a simple tool you use manually, but file synchronization can still get confusing if you're multitasking or your mind wanders, which can cause critical mistakes. A lot of these mistakes are due to version changes, etc., but SyncToy is quite controllable and looks at not just file name and date but also the hash code built way down into the file properties/attributes.

Alternately, here's what I've been doing. I choose my main computer (in your case I would suggest the kosher one), and create a shared folder (with folders inside if you need), and "point" the same named folder on your XP machine to the folders actually residing on your Windows 7 machine. Of course, there should always be a separate data backup system in place.

For example, on my desktop I could share the folder "ITconsult", and on my laptop the same-named folder there is really a mapped drive to my desktop's folder, so the content is always exactly the same. When I take my laptop mobile, I just save anything that later needs to go into the "ITconsult" folder at home into a folder named "Sync" or whatever.

I don't have to do this much anymore, and file/folder synchronization has been just one of those things that still gets discussed. You would think it should be straightforward, but it isn't quite. Some files have the same names, but different directories. Some files have the same name and directory path, but one of the files has a slight change to it, etc. It can get cuckoo.

I can recommend SyncToy for its relative simplicity and decent control. Try it out on some small test folders for a while before you put it into production on your critical files. The download page is here. There is some information about SyncToy and download is near the bottom of the page.

Or, create a reasonably straightforward mapped drive from one PC to another on the local network, and the files and folders, and their structure, will always be one and the same and therefore sync'd. If you use this technique, remember to have a separate backup procedure in place (burn to DVD or use external hard drives, which I do).

Billy Bob

PS: ppl can learn from others who've been friends at least as long as half your whole life.
Or half your age; I dunno who reads this.

Update: For Windows 7, here are some useful tools on Paul Thurrott's site.
Again, you can always keep your critical files in sync manually, like I caught myself doing this lazy Sunday.

Son House's "Death Letter" on Video
Mar 13 2010


Around 1990 I listened to Son House (1902-1988) all day, when I first got hold of his recordings.
I was happy with the cassette copies; we didn't have YouTube back then.
The White Stripes dedicated their debut album to him, and Martin Scorsese featured him in his 2003 Blues collection.
Most important, Son House's music predates Robert Johnson's, and the sound is just as intense.

Relative Sizes of Bodies in Space
Feb 27 2010

Click-the-pic for the animation
in a separate window.

Airport Without the Security
(and in this case without the flights)
Remember the days?


A 10-hour overnight layover in Pittsburgh in 3 minutes.
Read the comments to this creative young woman.
I probably would have spent the time on the laptop, napping, and discarded reading.

New England Road Sign Win
Feb 23 2010

From FailBlog

20th Anniversary of Photoshop
Feb 23 2010

That's nearly the same version I use up there.
The actual anniversary occured on Feb. 19.
Compare the original splash to the latest.
Click on the original above to see an unofficial PS splash screen history.

Click on the latest below to go to the entertaining Photoshop Disasters site.

Caption The Photo
Feb 22 2010

Keyboard Shorts
(not mine)

"Where is the Insert key?"
"What happens when you press the Enter key?"
"Does the Delete key work? How about Ctrl-Alt-Delete?"

Etc etc...

"The Best Talent Money Can Buy"
A quick word from Manfred Wolf
Feb 18 2010


Manfred Wolf has been a professor of English in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 40 years,
and a friend to me for just over 6 of those.
His book, "Almost A Foreign Country", is available here.

The Carbon Footprint of the EPA
and the Copenhagen Summit
Feb 18 2010

Not the new BP logo.
I thought it'd be nice to put a flower here after the last post.

This news is not particularly new, but because I've recently received some thoughtful and profane (and sometimes both) responses to my comments regarding Al Gore's cap and trade plans, I thought I'd supplement even more material. Anyone could see that the Copenahgen climate change summit was attended by thousands who took private jetliners and then large automobiles to the world theater meeting. I thought I'd share this article, which is new, and goes into more detail.

Another article coming in the same publication, but with a somewhat different perspective, is here.

The least the cap-and-trade people could do is to set an example for the rest of us regarding environmental care.

A Solid News Day for America

Feb 18 2010

Texas Taxpayer Flies Plane into IRS Office
Las Vegas Mayor Rejects Obama Invitation
Man Dies Waiting for Ambulance after 10 Phone Calls and 30 Hours
Atlanta Police Arrest 61-year old Woman for asking, "Why?"
School-issued Laptops used for Spying in Kids' Homes
Highest Earners Pay the Lowest Taxes

Pardon my alternate use of the word "solid".

An Older Brother? Fred on Everything
Feb 13 2010

Vietnam veteran, police beat journalist.
And he listens to real Blues.

Let him make a few comments; and being Valentine's weekend, it'll be perfect.

More Superbowl News Op/Ed: The Who Blew

Feb 10 2010

Not quite my generation, but liking the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, I was point-5-to-1 generations too young. That is, when I was young.

I didn't even feel sad for these guys; without Moon and Entwistle they positively blow. If you saw anyone else play that way in some club by a cover band (or even themselves) somewhere, they would at least be ignored if not booed and chased out of the venue. What a pile. Please retire and have some personal dignity. I'm sure their "farewell" tour was in the 80s. If you just have to play, tour in Vegas with Cher like a proper waste case, guys.

Speaking of piles, I heard one person say The Who's appearance was to avoid the "wardrobe malfunction" problems that was unfairly placed on a couple of other younger musicians on a television network, then in a series of legal battles, a few years ago. I think that's a strong possibility. Not that I care about television networks or have ever probably heard Ms. Jackson's or Mr. Timberlake's music, but it brings up two points for me:

1. Get old English-scooter-rocker dudes to play so that even if all the possible wardrobe malfunctions occur, the lawsuit would be drawn up by completely different motives. That is, all of us would sue, not just fake pious religious freakouts.

By the way, for those of us who happen to live in southern (you know the ones) or otherwise religious (I'm looking at you, Utah) states, you sure consume a lot of porn and commit a lot of violent rapes compared to the rest of our already scared-to-mention-sex country. You were born from sex. A specific kind of sex act. All of you. That's right. I know that fact is not allowed to be taught in our schools lest a teacher be fired and never work again.

2. Appeal to the classic-rock types who listen to the same exact tracks from the exact same artists, over and over, by those who listen to the radio loud (think my age and older American working-class) on the way to work, and especially on the way home from work on Fridays. I'm pretty sure many of these same people I am admitedly stereotyping have no idea the British invasion bands did not come from the States, except for maybe the Beatles. I've been in more than one discussion over the years with Ah-mir-ikuns that swear 'Zep and The Stones are midwest prairie people.

In any case, these folks who appeared at the Superbowl halftime show were pathetic, as even any mediocre musician would have a right to say. And not just because they were missing two of their best, Entwistle and Moon, but because it was just a bad excuse for a classic rock music performance.

Great game, though.

iCan: Superbowl 44
The New Orleans Saints

Feb 07 2010

Geeks and non-geeks alike watched this game, and many who did may regret Indianapolis' "inevitable" win-turned-loss; it was surely a comeback from quarter one.

I have a certain bias for New Orleans, since in most American cities musicians are treated like junk, especially in "music" cities like Los Angeles and Nashville. In places like Austin and New Orleans, we are treated as professionals. Even by the local artists who've been playing much hotter and longer than our young dumbbutts have. When they could easily be dismissing brats like us or sending us to the wolves, they teach us instead of talking down. Then they feed us a square meal and make sure we get some peace, practice and rest for our next show. If we're especially young or just thoughtful back to them, they protect us from hard drugs and the rougher sides of the city.

Regarding the Louisiana city and their people more recently, they have been struggling to survive after nearly every facet of our own government all but ignored them since New Orleans took a major hit from Katrina (and old engineering) less than five years ago.

It was a good sports championship comeback from any point of view and a victory for underdogs everywhere. My congratulations to New Orleans and the Saints of all types who are from there.

Feb 05 2010

The Apple iPad:
What a pretty piece.
- No multitasking
- No Flash
- No USB ports
That's just 3 of the several weaknesses for at least $500
Think about your reaction if any other company put out the same exact product,
at the same price and the same obvious missing features. No, really.

Pros: probably a nice e-reader, living room browser (no Flash!) and gaming device for kids.

I mentioned I feel bad for the guy's obvious health degradation at the presentation,
and considering how much he gave to his industry. We all needed a sort of anti-Gates.
Buyers of the v.1 product should wait.
Here's my post of the original colorful paintjob.

Feb 04 2010

Just an RSS test (fail - screenshot win): I sent this to Leo Laporte last January 19,
from a screenshot of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
Leo didn't say a word one way or another about his appearance on Jon's show.

Superbowl News!
Feb 04 2010

Colts, Saints Blinded By Natural Sunlight Upon Arrival At Stadium

From The Onion :

"MIAMI—Members of both Super Bowl teams, who played the majority of their regular season and playoff games in domed stadiums, squinted in pain and sought refuge from the sun Thursday after walking onto the field at Miami's Sun Life Stadium.

"What is that thing? It's not gonna be on during the game, is it?" said Saints running back Pierre Thomas, who experienced lingering spots in his vision after his attempts to look directly at the unfamiliar object.

"Usually, stadiums have, like, a lot of little lights on the ceiling. I really hope that burning spot thing just goes away before kickoff."

During the team's afternoon walk-through, frightened players reportedly retreated into the stadiums' interior when, according to Thomas, "the air started doing this freaky-ass swirling around stuff for no reason."

Nerd Proximity Shirt
Feb 03 2010


John Blake and Norman Rockwell
Feb 03 2010

Birthday of my father, John Blake, and the artist Norman Rockwell; born 45 years apart.
Rockwell died early in Nov of 1978; my dad died almost exactly 25 years later.

Total Americans. See many of them around anymore?

Time to Write
Feb 02 2010

Johnny Carson with the Rat Pack:
I don't even like the Rat Pack that much (below); Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. can be ok, but Sinatra is especially overrated. My opinion is outnumbered by a huge margin on this and many other topics I know. Take the paragraph below:

The TV series "Lost":
I couldn't get through even a simple pilot episode of the television show "Lost", which is wildly successful in these modern times. Never mind all the other shows producers sell like crazy to the same public; a public that can't have an original thought in their own schools without getting overworked cops and mysterious black helicopters involved. But that was an earlier post (what's that picture above for? Click here).

Let's continue with "Lost" for a moment: The dialogue is way too slow for being so inane. The beginning of the show starts off with a shiny dude going on and on with a cute girl about whether she knows how to sew quilts and darn socks for several minutes so that he can finally ask her to stitch his plane crash gash-wounds. Their dialogue is slower than relaxed: as if his and her main priority is to be polite and sexy for each other. Never mind the drama back music and green-screen shots. C'mon.

I feel bad because an actual professional tech journalist asked me directly to watch it and I promised to get back to him. Another future friend I might've "lost". (Hah!)

This post is not about a TV show. It's just time I write before I rest a few hours. You readers keep in mind this is just so I get myself to type. Not that any of my earlier essays are that good or bad, and this could be especially poor. Or great. Let's see.

The other day was my birthday and like many of us who are not kids anymore, I woke up in another battle of introspection and decided to remember how bad things might really be, and are for many many of us. I was starting a new job so I had almost zero to gripe at myself (or life) about.

BB Gun News:
Here's something. I didn't just turn 9, but I could have because one of my most memorable birthday presents arrived the other day in the form of a BB gun. And that's right, it's a Daisy Red Ryder (70th anniversary model), compliments of my stepdad. Tonight I read the whole user booklet, filled with the "caution" and "danger" symbols covering nearly every paragraph while I set up a stuffed cardboard target box against the fireplace. I'll have to wait to put a folded blanket up as a backstop until tomorrow when it isn't too late to hammer a couple nails in the wall to hold it up. I live in a half-decent place, but it is an apartment and my neighbors are working people, some with young kids. Funny I'm more worried about making hammer-and-nail noises late at night than I am BB gun noises with ricochets, accompanied by my screams as I "put an eye out".

Anyway the sparkling-new Red Ryder is against the wall, still yet unloaded. I think I got it because it was featured in the first Christmas movie I openly liked, which was last December with my mom and her husband. It was a thoughtful gift, and a couple days ago the stepdad presented it to me just like in the film, hidden behind something near their fireplace. I can respect his gesture

Just trying to wrap it up, whatever it is I'm wrap-writing.

I didn't get a .38 for my birthday, which would have been cool too. Or a shotgun. Or a number of rifles. I might be good as a sniper, but I'm not even a gamer. I've never owned a gun just because (no real reason), but I did want this one .228 I saw at about 12 or 13 when my dad went to buy more molds for his bullet-maker thing. Then later I liked a short .38. My dad didn't shoot often but he owned several basic firearms. When my brother and I inherited them we donated the lot to our brother in law, who didn't quite live in the big city and knew more about guns anyway. Sinatra's friends knew about guns too I hear.

See? I just thought of a way to wrap this up: I said bad stuff about Sinatra and that's good for them. They can use more than a BB gun on me, right? Never mind what the fans of certain TV shows might do. Or technical middle school administrators whose students attempt to become the next Nikola Tesla.

"Birth of the Blues": Johnny Carson sings with the Rat Pack
Jan 31 2010


I wouldn't consider this anywhere near the birth, nor is it strictly blues, but it's a fun couple of minutes.
Fun fact for you kids: Johnny Carson was the host of The Tonight Show for 30 years.

IPCC Chairman Denies/Admits Knowledge of Glacier Claims
Jan 31 2010

Nice photo op.

I've been trying to tell ya. I do not personally follow Limbaugh or Olbermann or anyone in between - nor care all that much for anyone bringing attention to themselves while asserting they speak absolute truth. Celebrity talk show host or not.

Maybe we need to take care of our tiny sections of Earth more than it gives a crap about us. Earth has been through Mars-sized sideswipes and earthquakes and is orbiting the Sun fine. Earth is 70% water and so are we. We are like fleas to our planet; it doesn't need us giving Gore or anyone else heed for their business plans. Earth just doesn't care.

All life as we now know it is carbon-based; to tax us for that, well, isn't that convenient for Gore?

Here's the article. Plenty more where it came from. If Mr. Gore were sincere about environmental sustainability, there would be no data withheld, no quick name-changes from "global warming" to "climate change" and no "trade" in his "cap and trade" market plans. It took me a couple of years to about-face on this topic, but I grow weary of inconsistencies.

Clean up your messes, stop wasting and consuming just a relative amount and de-elect our fearful leaders that give a business entity more liberties than any living thing. Now go and enjoy your Sunday like a pre- 9/11 human being might.

A Gentleman's Music
Jan 30 2010

A couple days ago I posted some music and pictures from my years (1988-1993) based out of Long Beach, and much of the southern US, in a few snapshots, at the end. During the last several months in LB, CA there was one person there who did more for me on both personal and musical levels than anyone else.

I like to think that I'm this demanding of my friendships because of people like Stuart Richardson. It's a level of generousity and intellectual honesty that is truly rare. I hope each of you know someone like Stu.

Anyway, here I would like to promote a couple of his recent projects. He is a gifted multi-instrument musician in the strict sense (as opposed to my music, in which I get away with utterly incorrect handling of a guitar, for example). He is also an author of both fiction and nonfiction books.

True to his nature, he has given permission to post samples of both his music and text for you. To be sure, these are mid-quality audio files and just a portion of one his books (and two complete books) so that you'll consider ordering the full content and a couple bucks will get back to him.

Click here to go to my revised version of Stuart Brooke Richardson's books and music page.

A Vagabond's Music

Jan 27 2010

In an earlier posting I mentioned my own old music, so here we go:

Old-time history, kids:
From the early 1980s into the 90s I would take off from the confines of the studios and pubs (and my dad's house even earlier) to recharge by traveling somewhere around the country without the band. Sometimes I would go by car, truck or motorcycle, and often as not I would hitchhike. Either way I went, it got me in touch with new people and new landscapes; certainly the travels helped seed new songs.

My longest single hitchhiking trip was during the summer/early fall of 1993; it started out in Long Beach, California and went into central Florida and back. I was gone for four months and had walked and hitched rides for just over 6400 miles by the time I saw Long Beach again.

Wake up, there's pictures and music:
Look to the right of the one cent symbol above and see an old photo of one of the miles. It shows a picture I took of myself before I sleep by the road. The little stuffed orange elephant tied to my backpack/pillow I was given, along with a couple dollars, from a mom and her kid who watched me play in St. Augustine, hundreds of miles before. All the shots are a little clearer in the web gallery, or you can download a PDF of the whole picture book here (8.4MB). Never mind that now; you can get them whenever.

Now, some old music: just before that trip I recorded a solo album of acoustic slide guitar and vocals. The title is "Texas Mess" and was recorded in 1992. I'm sharing 12 of those songs; I don't like the other two that much anymore and I doubt you would either.

The takeaway:
Sometime after my long walk we started post-production on the mostly electric album "Broken Baroque" (caution it's a mosque; no I'm not muslim). It was completed in 1994 (copyrighted in 1999; includes archive recordings from 1984 on) with the help of a good sample of the musicians I had worked with during the previous decade. I'll post those later as well.

That was about as close (and far) as I would get to technology back then. I refused to record on anything but tape and insisted that actual people played actual intruments, especially old instruments. Back then some of the digital audio guys liked to rip on me and call me terrible terrible names like "analog". Clever. But we worked together anyway.

Later I finally started catching up and bought my first Denon portable DAT recorder in the mid-90s. But by that time I was headed out of music and starting to mess with PCs, Macs and the Internet.

Here's the music in case you missed it up there.

How to Report TV News
Jan 29 2010


"Gliding through the...matrix. Me has this report..."
Don't miss this if you're a J-school or R/TV/F student. It's all here, hopeful broadcast people.

Cable, Satellite and Broadcast Television
Jan 20 2010

Enjoy an evening in front of a large screen, after dinner on a comfortable couch with popcorn and a box of candy, maybe beer and homemade nachos if that's what you like*. Your favorite weekly drama is about to air, or perhaps you found a good movie on HBO. There is nothing like it for most people, and certainly no desk chair in front of a computer watching a YouTube clip can compare. That's how most see it anyway.

Then there's me. I rarely watch broadcast television at all, though I do end up catching up with SNL, 1am reruns of South Park or a football game from time to time (over-the-air digital broadcast - free HD!), mute button in hand for the numerous commercial breaks. I prefer to use my TV as a second monitor and stream my shows from media storage or the Internet.

In the 30-something years since the advent of cable and satellite offerings, not once have I had a subscription. Comcast and the like haven't received even a penny from me.

Why is this? Well, in the beginning there was just no reason to subscribe: I was on the road too much, and I was usually broke. Hotels had cable and that was convincing enough. Now it's just habit not to subscribe.

Shoot, the number and length of the commercial breaks is enough to drive me crazy because I'm just not used to them. For every hour of programming, 20 minutes or so is some drug company going on about skin conditions and thoughts of suicide or some such thing. Not only does it destroy the continuity of a movie, the 3rd-grade propaganda is irritating as all get out.

Now when I want to see an episode of The Daily Show I go to their website. When I want to monitor C-SPAN I go to their website. For every 30 minutes of programming I get about 3 minutes of commercials in most cases. Compare that to 10 minutes. I get the content I want without being reminded that the show is just there to make me watch the advertisements. I know it is, but at least for now the website content makes me feel like the commercial breaks are comparative tokens within the show instead of the other way around.

I'll set the sofa up for you in front of the television next to the popcorn and we won't be watching from Comcast.

*text 86ueat2much

Old and New Devices

Jan 19 2010

Both Old.

With the upcoming Apple announcement due in about a week, tech fans look forward to Steve Jobs and Co.'s latest beauty. Since there are already dozens of professional writers who have posted their expectations, my intention here is to go back over a gadget policy I've had since before I owned a Teac multitrack reel-to-reel tape recorder.

Even a decently maintained and upgraded Pentium 4 (wow!) or PowerBook G4 (whoa!) still works fine, with similarly aged software, for most of today's tasks. I'm writing this on an XP Dell desktop with Dreamweaver 4 (no way!) and Photoshop 5/7 (egads!), because I've already spent the money and as most of you can see my site is just text and images anyway. My latest machine, an IBM-branded X60 convertible tablet, which is nearly three years old, is the love of my device collection. Its baby "brother", a touchscreen Nintendo DS lite, looks like a cute mini-version next to it. When I received the DS as a gift a few years ago from a dear friend, it prompted me to save even faster for the the laptop I really wanted, which x60 I finally owned several months later. Yep, boring.

Who would've thought that a tablet computer would be so anticipated a week from now? For well over 10 years only people like warehouse inventory and medical personnel (and myself) used them. So, when you do buy a new gadget, buy one you'll like for years to come. That goes for anything from a television to a cell phone.

The flip side of this policy is to wait for at least the second-generation of a device before you buy. Chances are you'd get about twice the power and features for less money and the bugs will be worked out. Both my 12" PowerBook and my IBM touchscreen tablet are the very last generation of their respective lines. And though the new MacBook Pros are much more powerful than my Mac, they are certainly not more beautiful. No tablet out there as of this week can touch my 3 year-old X60, though I assume Apple's will.

(Update Jan 27 2010: Um...no. The new iPad is pretty, but I'm even more sure of what I wrote below. Unlike what I wrote above, The new Apple product cannot touch my Thinkpad for a variety of reasons.)

I'll happily wait until the second or third version of the iTablet, or whatever it will be called...

Enjoy the show.

The Beatles at 14, 15 and 16
Jan 19 2010

Harrison is 14, Lennon is 16 and McCartney is 15 in this photo.
(Apple Computer, below, fought the Beatles' record company, Apple Corps,
for quite some time: 1978 to 2006).

Fruit News Flash

Jan 18 2010

Apple invites us to SF, CA for their new secret product. Could it be the Apple Banana?

Podcasters and Bloggers (for beginners like me)
Jan 18 2010

In high school and college I considered a career in radio, and when company is just right I have a lot to say and attempt to make people laugh, if not think. By choice I spend a lot of time alone and therefore not saying a word - which might especially surprise those who know me best. Sure, I talk to myself from time to time. I don't even mind writing that I answer my own questions aloud once in a while. Some say that's a sign of neurosis. I say watching "reality" television, or "unscripted" drama, is at least as bad.

For about 14 years I was one of legions of musicians struggling and traveling, and felt radio was a "conflict of interest" to a musician, though I know several who have been able to have both occupations. I've lost or given away copies of most of my recordings and other artistic efforts, but I still have about 30 recordings that both make me cringe and bring me pride. I'm sure I'll post a link to them here before too long.

As my namesake might imply, I have more experience writing lyrics and other blurbs versus real essays, articles and books but I do enjoy a variety of columnists and 'casters that post to the web. The Internet as we know it did not exist for non-scientists (and many scientists) before the early 1990s, but I am sure glad we have it now.

Below I have decided to give some link-love to a couple of bloggers and podcasters whose postings I've enjoyed. I realize some of my regular favorites are guilty pleasures; I guess I consume them instead of the garbage on cable and broadcast television. My search for contributors and material new to me is still evolving; I'll share those in the future as well. If you are trying to get out of the current news cycle trash, this is good for beginners:


This Week in Tech
Leo Laporte is probably the biggest name in tech news broadcasting. His multiple cable shows on the extinct Tech TV have evolved into over 30 hours a week of various podcasts (audio and video) streamed from a homestyle-yet-professionally-equipped dining room style studio in northern California. My favorite is the weekly Sunday TWiT show, but his offerings also include TWiG (This Week in Google), TWiL (This Week in Law - the legal kind, not the spouse's parents kind) as well as MacBreak Weekly and many others. Leo is the tech broadcast world's "nice guy" as much as John C. Dvorak is its grump.

No Agenda
John C. Dvorak, a longtime columnist for PC Magazine and MarketWatch was talked into doing a mostly political-news audio op/ed by, and with, an original MTV video jock, Adam Curry. Adam plays as a Crackpot (paranoid "ex-" pothead) and John is The Buzzkill (under-emotional pragmatist). I've been enthusiastically listening in since their first 'cast in October 2007, though the last couple of shows were more irritating than entertaining to me. If this is your first listen, try a show from a couple weeks or months back.

Note: The link above sends you to their show notes page, since Adam Curry still insists on having the main pages load with dozens of cookies and worse, blaring audio. Mute your speakers and peruse the listings, then select a show. Most are very entertaining. I choose to subscribe with iTunes on a Mac instead of visiting the site pages.

The Steve Dahl Show
Steve goes far back enough to be one of the "Disco Sucks" originators of the 1970s and has been a radio personality in cities such as Chicago though he originally hails from the Pasadena, California area. Dahl currently broadcasts from Florida. Good thing, because his mood was not good from Chicago on the show Jan 12. Radio giant Howard Stern regards Dahl as a major influence, which Dahl seems to have mixed feelings about. Dahl's daily show runs about an hour and can also be subscribed to in a variety of ways.


Joe Bageant
I've just recently become aware of Mr. Bageant's work, and his essays have already become some of my favorites. Bageant is from Virginia working class stock and he is a decently talented thinker and writer. He's reasonably concerned for the future of our country and society as a whole, and is currently writing from Jalisco, Mexico. I don't know why just yet, but I'm a little envious though it might just be an extended vacation.

Charlie Ehlen
Another new one to me. Actually learned about Charlie from Joe. Ehlen is a retired Vietnam-era Marine and machinist living in Louisiana. I learn plenty as a somewhat younger brother to guys like this.

Guilty pleasure links:

Dvorak Uncensored
John C. Dvorak and company post general interest stuff.

Fun and sometimes funny pictures with captions. The top of the page gives you links to even more from the same family of picture-blogs.

Like Consumer Reports for the web, except sometimes the OPs and commenters can get a little gripey for some tastes. The site has helped turned some bad company/consumer situations around, though.

OK, that's more than enough for now. Hope you're enjoying the end of a long weekend if you're an American worker. I'd write something about MLK or the Haiti earthquake disaster, but there are plenty of better (and worse) writers out there.

My previous old school on the Web:
Jan 18 2010

"But, I AM smiling!"

My current old school (off the Web):
Jan 17 2010

Testing testing embedded video...

Pigeon: Impossible
Jan 16 2010


Testing testing images and text...
Jan 03 2010

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