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"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" . 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: 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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