Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bach - Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor

Everyone knows it, or at least the beginning of it. It's that spooky Halloween piece, except I'm pretty sure Johann didn't have Halloween in mind when he wrote it. Anyhow, check out this video.



I came across this yesterday as I was looking for nyckelharpa info, and went ahead and downloaded it in hopes I could get a decent audio rip for my mp3 collection. I found myself utterly fascinated. Why? I think I've mentioned before that music always creates impressions of images in my mind that can best be described as spots and ribbons of various hues and brightnesses. This video comes closer than anything I have ever seen at roughly approximating the kinds of things I see in my mind when I hear music. One reason I so love Bach and organ music in general is because of the intense layering of varying colors and textures they generate.

More at Music Animation Machine.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The nyckelharpa

My dad called me a little while ago to tip me that a show on KLRN was going to have a "nickel harp" performance. Unfortunately, the show is on 9.2, and although I do have a digital-capable TV, I don't have a regular antenna to hook up to it right now and we don't get any of the extra digital channels via DishNetwork. So I went a-hunting.

It turns out he was not saying the word correctly: nyckelharpa. I had never heard of this instrument before but it is a very old instrument of Swedish origin in the violin family and could very roughly be described as a cross between a violin and a hurdy-gurdy. Click the above link for Wikipedia entry or just check out the video below.

Pi Records Amazon Sampler (2009, mp3 download)

I just wanted to be sure and get a word in about this collection while it's still available--you never can tell which of these free downloads will eventually become not-free or disappear altogether.

The Pi Records Sampler is a good, solid collection of jazz that is worth the download. Nothing at all weak about this one except maybe track #8 which is a spoken-word "art" piece with some jazz noodling in the background.

So...get it while you can.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

I would've thought that was pretty much self-explanatory

10 more albums #67


All except the last two are free downloads from Amazon.com.

Eagle Armory Records Metal/Hard Rock Sampler (2009)
Hardly Art Sampler (2009)
Large Music Sampler (2009)
Lost Highway Sampler: T for Texas, T from Tennessee (2009)
Sargent House Sampler (2009)
Scandinavian Gold (2009)
Vanguard Visionaries Series Sampler (2009)
The B. Reith EP (2009)
Black Acid Prophecy - A Trip Into Unknown Kadath (2009, mp3 download)
Richard Davis - Harvest (1977, mp3 download)

Eagle Armory: pretty much meh. Notable artists get 2 out of 10 and overall gets a 1.4. Mostly just so-so, the notable artists being Deep Purple and Stratovarius. One track by Poison that's well worth deleting and the rest just your run-of-the-mill hard rock verging on metal. Older acts such as the aforementioned DP, Alice Cooper, Dio, Twisted Sister (really?) and Rainbow plus a few others I've never heard of.

Hardly Art fares not much better: Notable artists 3 out of 15 and overall a 1.6. Groups worth mentioning are The Duchess & The Duke, Pretty & Nice and The Pica Beats. Conversely, one other track by The Duchess & The Duke got a deletable rating, plus one other deletable by Talbot Tagora. Indie/alt rock.

The Large Music sampler gets an overall 1.3 with no notable artists. A collection of your typical trance/dance that fulfills its place as background music adequately.

Lost Highway, on the other hand, gets good marks. 3 out of 6 for notable artists and overall a 2.5. Highest marks go to Ryan Bingham, Robert Earl Keen and Willie Nelson. Three other nice tracks by Lyle Lovett, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears and Hayes Carll. Unfortunately no longer available.

Sargent House is another one of indie/alt rock with one notable artist (Rx Bandits) and an overall score of 1.5. A few nice tracks that are mostly instrumental and several that aren't worth mentioning.

Scandinavian Gold is a decent collection of pop with an overall of 2.3 with 3 out of 6 notable artists: El Perro del Mar (2 tracks) and I Was a King. Not bad at all and still available.

The Vanguard Visionaries sampler is a collection of vocal jazz & blues that is great and still available. Notables are 4 out of 5 with Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Doc Watson, Peter Case and Odetta. Overall gets a 3.6.

The B. Reith EP is not really my kind of music. Still, I gave it an overall of 2.8 which is pretty high for someone considered a "Christian hip-hop artist." The lyrics are funny and sometimes self-deprecating and not at any time obscene or profane, and he's a good composer and singer. Still available.

The Richard Davis album was downloaded from Kathleen Loves Music. This is jazz, with Davis playing bass and accompanied by bass, trumpet, guitar, piano, drums, alto sax and flute. Two basses? you might be thinking. Yes. The accompaniment bass holds the traditional bass place in the jazz band. Davis himself plays an upright bass as a lead instrument, often playing it with a bow. Unusual, interesting, and definitely worth checking out. Ripped from vinyl and there are a few pops & clicks but as I usually say: don't let that keep you away.

Album count: 680.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Oh yeah...

It completely slipped by me, but last Monday the 21st was my 6th Blogiversary.

Writing

I guess the season has finally inspired me and I churned out another "chapter" for The Hunter Chronicles. But I think I'll sit on it a while and try to improve upon it. Here's the obligatory teaser.
It was one of those lonely nights that happen only around Christmas-time, when you remember what it was like to be part of a loving, happy family. When you remember what it was like going outside at night just so you could look back at the Christmas tree lights twinkling through the window and enjoy the feel of a chill wind on your neck—knowing a few feet away was the warmth of a house and the love of a family. You remember the sound of your mother’s laughter from inside the house, and through the window you can see your dad grinning his quiet, closed-mouth grin at something silly your little sister had done.

You were going to be opening gifts in the morning and according to the stern instructions you had been issued to stay out of the tool shed, you were pretty sure you would get that bike you wanted. To top it all off, you had a crush on the redhead next door and you were pretty sure she was not uninterested. The world was perfect.

But the world wasn’t perfect anymore and I hadn’t decorated a Christmas tree in years. There was nothing in my 256-channel cable package that grabbed my attention, so I tried the radio. The spectrum was filled with Christmas cheer. It was unbearable. Even the jazz station was jumping on the bandwagon. I tried the classic rock station, but after 25 minutes they still hadn’t played any Pink Floyd and when I heard the opening twang of “Stairway to Heaven” I decided enough was enough, turned off the radio and left a dark apartment behind me in favor of the dark streets before me.
It sounds like a downer, but it has a happy ending.

They never saw it coming...

Hilarious.

Nineteen dollars for a chess set?!

I got rooked.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

This and that

I am still here. Just going through one of those phases when I don't feel much like posting anything. But I figured it was time to scroll that previous post down from the top.

I've been working on cleaning up that record of The Messiah, and it came out quite well. Then I decided to re-rip a record that was one of the first I tried my hand at to see if I could make it come out better. Some of it, mostly side 1, did end up better than the first time. Side 2 has some vinyl damage and there doesn't seem to be much I can do about it.

I did my Christmas shopping today. My wife takes care of most of this and I never even think about it, except for gifts for her. Found exactly what she wanted, at Walgreens of all places. All I need to buy now is a halfway-decent chess set for my kids. They've both joined the chess club at their school. They aren't very good yet, but they love playing.

I remember when I was a kid, some cereal box had some cut-out chess pieces on the back of the box. So I cut them all out, but no one in my family knew how to play. So I broke out my grandmother's ancient encyclopedia and looked it up. Taught myself how to play from the encyclopedia. Unfortunately, there was no one to play with, so I didn't get very far. But when my grandmother found me reading about chess, she gave me a small wooden box containing a set of wooden chess pieces that my great-grandfather (her father) had carved. I still have it, but haven't let the kids get their hands on it yet for fear that they will lose pieces.

Tomorrow is the last day of work for the week, and I'm really looking forward to spending Christmas Eve at home. Christmas Day we'll be running all over the country visiting. It always gets on my nerves.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Shot placement



More:



Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday night vintage video: The Smithereens - Behind the Wall of Sleep

This is one of those videos that has embedding disabled. So...here's the link.

Especially For You by The Smithereens is one of the great forgotten albums* of the 80s. This was their second-biggest hit from it.

An unusually normal-looking bunch of guys for 1986. If you met them walking down the street, you'd never guess they were a rock band. And their lead singer (Jim Babjak) has a great voice.

*I don't mean they were forgotten by their fans. When say "forgotten album" I mean that it's a group or album that is never mentioned on any of those 80s nostalgia music programs.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Welcome to the party, pal!

I find a sort of perverse joy in seeing others find evidence that modern "journalism" is largely a sham. Anyone who pays attention knows how they continually lie about topics such as guns and liberty (actual liberty, not Redemopublican faux-liberty).

In this case, ABC is working on a report of an alleged "Bigfoot" photo taken by a trailcam in Minnesota. So they call the man who is probably the current most expert person in the United States (possibly the world) for his comments on the subject. He tells them he thinks it's "bogus," and points out reasons why.

So what happens? They don't even mention him, or his comments, in their report.

Also, more shmournalism at the Today Show.

"notorious"


Hmmm...I have never heard of the word "notorious" being used in such a positive sense, unless the speaker was trying to be ironic. But I doubt that someone who has been sending out emails all month in alternating font colors of red and green is well versed in the concept of irony.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Old-school nerds on the east side

At Commerce & Cherry.

And here are a couple more shots of the train at Sunset Station, all decked out for Christmas.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Humbug, Mr. Baldrick?

I know it has been a little slower even than usual around here lately, but that's because I have not been feeling entirely well and I have been medicating myself and hitting the sack earlier than usual most days this week. Also the holiday season coupled with Boy Scout and Girl Scout activities--and my daughter being in the school choir--has made life a little more hectic than I prefer. Sigh...and the choir concert is Monday night, scout meetings again Tuesday night...but then the rest of the week should go back to normal, except for Christmas shopping. Argh.

Tonight was the annual tree lighting at the city park. Although they announced several times to "stay off the snow" until the tree was lit, did they really expect to dump several tons of fake snow around the tree and not have it result in utter chaos?

The scouts raised the flags, led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance, and sang some carols. The high school band played some carols. Some praise band from one of the local churches did a bunch of pop-carols that were completely uninteresting.


And then the misting rain started, which I was expecting and dreading because I'm usually outside in that kind of weather only when I'm getting paid to do it. So we came home and had hot soup for supper, and the tree-lighting ordeal is over with for another year.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Yahoo earns its place in the Takedown Hall of Shame

EFF:
Here's where the bogosity begins in earnest. Yahoo sent a formal DMCA takedown notice to Cryptome.org, demanding the removal of the compliance manual. In the letter, Yahoo's lawyers allege that posting the manual infringes Yahoo's copyrights (the only proper basis for a DMCA takedown), as well as claiming that it's a trade secret (absurd for a marketing document) and that posting it constitutes "business interference" (huh? informing customers about Yahoo's disclosure practices "interferes" with business?).
A bogus use of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by Yahoo, just in case you think it's a better alternative to Google. It isn't. Yahoo just isn't as big and powerful. If they were, they'd be just as evil. Read the whole thing for the full explanation--and this has an "Only Ones" connection.

Bonus points to EFF for using the word "bogosity."

Thank G-d it wasn't an Elite

A few nights ago I was awakened in the small hours of the morning by a high-pitched, rapid-fire staccato beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep-beep! As usual, no one else was awakened.

What the?! I thought. I know that sound...what...that is the low battery alert for some kind of Motorola pager. Previous employment experience has made me sort of an expert on these sounds. And then the weariness overcame me once again and I passed out.

The next day in poking around the house I found the culprit. One of these.

I still have a few old pagers laying around, mostly in junk boxes left over from when I worked as a pager repair tech, and some of them would probably work if they had service. My son had found one and put a battery in it so he could play with it.

That was a weird way to be awakened at one o'clock in the morning.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Alice

Innsmouth Free Press has a good review of the Sci-Fi* "remake" of Alice, as in Alice in Wonderland.

I have not watched the whole thing yet, but I plan on finishing it tonight. The short version of the above review is: meh.

If you have never read the original and you don't have very high expectations, I guess it would be okay. However, if you grew up reading the original then forget about it. This is another screwy hatchet-job of a classic, similar to what they did with Tin Man, except much worse. Also Tin Man was improved by starring the willowy Zooey Deschanel. The star of Alice is so brittle she looks like she could easily be snapped in half.

Alice herself is probably the second least-likable character, the first being her boring and feckless boyfriend. The plot manages to be both predictable and nonsensical.

I like it most for Matt Frewer, whose fake English accent has improved dramatically since 2000, at least to my American ears.

P.S. Okay, I finished it. Yes, I could see the ending coming from a mile away. Meh.

*I refuse to write their newer and much more stupid name.

A Christmas ringtone for you

click

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Cthulhu makes Express-News

At mySA.com, which is the Express-News' online version, Cult of Cthulhu crowns its icon:
There's a famous line by horror writer H.P. Lovecraft that goes like this: "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn."

OK, untie your tongue from that unholy terror and try it again like this: "In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming."

Cthulhu (kuh-thool-hoo) is a giant monster that first rose from the depths of Lovecraft's imagination in his 1928 short story The Call of Cthulhu. The tale unfolds as accounts of an enormous, otherworldly being with a bizarre cult that awaits his rise from the submerged city of R'lyeh and worships him to the point of madness.
Mostly it's about how Cthulhu has become a target of satire.  Anyhow, it always amuses me to see...er...an "outsider" write about Lovecraft to other "outsiders."  Also I find this comment by "Kat" hilarious:
Ummm, I'm a huge reader and I've never heard of this "popular" character. sounds interesting, but I
agree, how is this incredibly obscure character news?

Oh, Kat.  Kat, Kat, Kat.  If you want news, why are you reading the "Life" section?

Thanks to Albatross who tipped me by email.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Voynich Manuscript dated

Mysterious Voynich manuscript is genuine, scientists find:
Many historians have so far believed that the so-called Woynich manuscript, which includes illustrations related to natural sciences, is a forgery, and mathematicians and other experts have not able to decode it.

The book is named after Polish-American antiquarian Wilfrid Voynich, who acquired the text in 1912 in Italy.

Researchers at the University of Arizona used the radiocarbon dating method on the 246 pages written in Europe by and found that the parchment was made between 1404 and 1438, said Walter Koehler, an ORF producer who oversaw the TV documentary on the manuscript.

In addition, experts at the McCrone Research Institute in Chicago determined that the ink was not added in a later period. The text was likely written in Northern Italy.

Before these findings, 'there was no serious expert who would have dated it to pre-Columbian times,' said Koehler, but rather to the 16th century, when coded texts were in fashion.
This kind of blows the main theories about who wrote it right out of the water.

Voynich made it up himself - he was born in 1865
Roger Bacon - died 1294
John Dee - born 1527
Jacobus Sinapius (Emporer Rudolf II's personal physician) - born 1575
Jan Marci - born 1595
Raphael Mnishovsky - born 1580
Anthony Ascham - lived during 1500's
Antonio Averlino - born about 1400, died about 1469, a possible!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Music and speech

Music and speech based on human biology, new evidence shows:
The two new studies found that the musical scales most commonly used over the centuries are those that come closest to mimicking the physics of the human voice, and that we understand emotions expressed through music because the music mimics the way emotions are expressed in speech. Composers have long exploited the perception of minor chord music as sad and major chord music as happy, now the Duke team thinks they know why.
Interesting article that relates speech patterns with musical scales.  They probably should do more research into cultures that use non-Western musical scales before they draw any more conclusions.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Toreo Band: Tijuana Christmas - 1968

When the time is right, I do enjoy listening to Christmas music, but not all "Christmas" music. I avoid like the plague that station that starts the week of Thanksgiving and flogs it to death 24 hours a day until the new year. If you live in S.A., you know which station I'm talking about. If you don't, then chances are there's a station in your area that does the same thing. Yeck.

When it comes to traditional Christmas music, I'd rather hear it performed by highly practiced, highly polished choirs or orchestras. I'm really not interested in Christmas pop/rock/country tunes. They just bore me.

Jazz treatments of Christmas music are another matter. Especially if they are musically valid enough to stand up to listening at any time of the year on their own merit, regardless of the traditional season that our culture has pigeon-holed them into. And although they seem to be less common, there are some "new age" artists who have tackled the Christmas music sub-genre. I'm probably not stating my opinion very well, but it seems that I have no taste at all for tired, rote recordings of such songs by pop/rock/country artists, who expect us to love the music just because suddenly our favorite pop/rock/country artist has recorded it. I want to hear such music either in a purely classical and unchanged fashion, or I want to hear it in a newer, more alternative way that will get me to hear something new in the old songs that I hadn't noticed before.

Tijuana Christmas is not your typical Christmas album. Liner notes:
Christmas is the most joyful festival of the Christian year, when we celebrate at the same time the turning point of the winter and the new hope that was brought to men with the birth of Jesus. Christmas is a time when we make up for the bleakness of the weather outside with the warmth of our spirits, and it is no coincidence that the songs which have come to be particularly associated with Christmas should be carols, which have always been the most cheerful and often the most secular of Christian songs.

On this record you find your favourite carols in an unfamiliar guise–we’ve called the album ‘Tijuana Christmas’, but you will find the mariachi sound taking on a richer and more varied flavour as the Toreo Band bring out the charms of our most beautiful carol tunes in imaginative brand new arrangements. ‘The Holly and the Ivy’ sets the pace with a bright, sparkling beat that even adds to the gaiety of one of our oldest and liveliest carols; ‘Silent Night’ a much more recent and a more devout carol, is given a quite contrasting treatment, slow and tender. ‘Hark, the Herald Angels Sing’ sets off again at a brisk, bouncy pace–and if you feel like dancing, why not? It may come as a surprise to you that our oldest carols used to be dances, and that the word itself described a form of circular dance.

In the preface to the Oxford book of carols you will find carols described as songs with a religious impulse that are simple, joyful, popular and modern. You’ll never have heard them sounding more joyful, popular or modern than they do on this exciting and original L.P.
If you're looking for Christmas music to serve as background sound while you have a Christmas party or to help pass the time while you're at work, this is not your album. If you're looking for something different that will catch your ear and get you tapping your feet and humming along, then this is for you.

I haven't been able to find much information about the band who recorded this album, but it falls into the same flavor of music as Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, if that helps. You can read more about it and download the whole album at Forgotten Albums. Just do it. You don't even have to thank me.

The mp3s at the link above were ripped from vinyl and therefore include a few pops & clicks, but don't let that bother you. It certainly doesn't bother me.

It's only a coincidence

Baltimore Weather Examiner:
Al Gore's scheduled December 16th speech with the auspicious title "Climate Conclusion" has been canceled amid the scandal of Climategate.
Also totally unrelated:
Houston, Texas had their earliest snowfall on record Friday when 0.8 inches of snow fell making it the earliest date ever. This beats the old record of December 10th set in 1944 and again 2008 (last year) with 1.4 inches. Houston averages one snowfall every four years, and this is the first time ever that snow has fallen two years in a row.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Snow, schmow

Although it would be technically correct (which is the best kind of correct) to say that I got snowed on today, I am honestly a little embarrassed even to mention it.

So...nevermind.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

One of my favorite musicians...

Eric Woolfson has passed away.
We are sorry to announce that Eric died from cancer in the early hours of the 2nd December 2009, aged 64.
All of my most favorite Alan Parsons Project songs were sung by him.

You gotta be kiddin' me

Although I have no documentation to prove it, I'm almost certain my ancestors settled in this part of Texas specifically to escape snow. And hurricanes.

A mixed week so far. Monday was just a typical day. Tuesday I got drizzled on all morning and was fairly miserable, and then I saw that big cloud coming out of the northwest and ran the end of my route in hopes that I wouldn't get really rained on. I finished literally seconds before the deluge began.

Yesterday, due to what I believe was an error in judgement, me and one other guy were assigned two days worth of work. We finished about 4:15. I actually read meters non-stop for over 8 hours.

Today was a total breeze, but I think I deserved a break after yesterday. And tomorrow...

I'm not worried about being out in the mid-30-degree temps all day tomorrow. I know how to dress for that, and I know it won't be a problem. But snow...$#@!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Not something I ever expected to see...


A stanza of one of my poems translated into Hungarian. I hope it sounds better to Hungarian ears than it does to an online translator I found.

I've been looking for a good calendar...

Available at Amazon.com.

Goats in Trees 2010 Square Wall (Wall Calendar) (Multilingual Edition)

Via Oddee, where you can view 9 other odd calendars.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cthulhu by Lovecraft

Found this while browsing the Facebook graphic archives of The Lovecraft News Network. I had seen this once before somewhere, a long time ago but it was nice to run across it again. I believe this is the only visual rendering that The Man Himself ever gave to Great Cthulhu.

The Bands and Ensembles of the US Armed Forces: Veterans Day Honor

This is a free mp3 album that Amazon.com released this past Veterans Day and which I have only today gotten around to downloading and listening to.

I am not usually given to listening to patriotic music for entertainment, so I doubt if this will go in my main mp3 directory, but it's still a keeper.

Ensembles included are the U.S. Navy Band, U.S. Coast Guard Band, U.S. Marine Band, U.S. Air Force Band of Flight, U.S. Army Strings, U.S. Air Force Airmen of Note, U.S. Army Band, U.S. Navy and Sea Chanters Chorus, and the U.S. Air Force Band & Singing Sergeants.

The only bad points of this album, to me, are tracks number 7 & 10, which are not traditional patriotic pieces but more modern patriotic pop songs which completely fail to stir my soul. But of course ymmv.

Big plus points for introducing me to the stirring and evocative hymn "Eternal Father, Strong to Save," which I have learned is the U.S. Navy Hymn.

I am most impressed by the impeccable tightness and precision achieved by all these bands.

Side note: I looked "Eternal Father" up in the hymnal which we currently use at my home congregation. It has four stanzas, the original two of which (modern stanzas 1 & 4) were written in 1860 by William Whiting. It was set to music the following year by John Bacchus Dykes. In 1937 Robert Nelson Spencer added two more stanzas in between the original two. Although none of the branches of the armed forces are mentioned by name, the pattern of the stanzas is clear: stanza 1 refers to those on the sea, stanza 2 refers to those on the ground, and stanza 3 refers to those in the air. Stanza 4 is all-inclusive to wrap it all up. The hymn as a whole is a prayer song for the armed forces.

Of course I have already begun teaching it to myself but it has some unusual harmony that would probably challenge most amateur congregational singers (among whom I include myself). There is a modulation for a few bars to the 3rd of the scale (from C major to E minor), which is not something that most of us are used to hearing, so it would probably take some practice to get right. Still, I've put it on my learning list.

Just click on Veterans Day Honor to download it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hot sauce review: Habañero Heat Wave

On my last birthday I received a set of hot sauces from the Dat'l Do-It company. I don't eat hot sauces as much as I used to, not because I can't stand to eat them, but because of the...er...shall we say--aftershocks. So far I have opened only one, Habañero Heat Wave.

This is what I would consider a medium-heat sauce, that is, suitable for consumption on food straight out of the bottle. There are other sauces that I would consider suitable only for the novelty or for spiking other sauces that are too mild, such as Vicious Viper or Butt Twister. I use Vicious Viper to spike a relatively mild habañero sauce called El Yucateco that I get at H.E.B., and which I use to make my habañero jerky. A couple of drops of the Viper mixed into a bowl of chili is also a good way to give the chili an extra kick. I have eaten it straight, smeared on a corn chip, but I wouldn't make a habit of it.

So anyway, this post was to comment on Habañero Heat Wave. It has plenty of heat, but when it comes to hot sauces, I am more impressed by flavor than heat. Some people eat hot sauces because they enjoy the heat and seem not to care too much about the flavor, but if a sauce doesn't have good flavor I don't give a toss for the heat.

I must say that the flavor of Habañero Heat Wave does not impress me at all. It's only okay by my standards, but not nearly up to the level of my favorite all-purpose habañero sauce, Sontava XXX.

So if you're a hot sauce lover and you're looking around at new sauces to try, I'd say skip the Habañero Heat Wave. The flavor is simply nothing to recommend.

One last post about CRUdGate

I don't see much point in my going on about the CRU fiasco here, now that I've mentioned it a couple of times in my own tiny and obscure corner of the internet, but here is one last good article that is recommended reading.

CRUdGate* - Why this can't be swept under the carpet at Devil's Kitchen.

P.S. More fudging turns up in New Zealand.

*Note: I personally would never use the -gate suffix in describing any incident except in an ironic manner. But that's how everyone else refers to it so I want to write so that everyone knows what I'm talking about.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving

I almost went two whole days without a post. Unusual. Yesterday my dad's water heater bit the dust, which I don't consider quite a real tragedy since it lived to a ripe old age and is almost as old as I am. Anyhow, I helped him install the new one which was a little more complicated than it should have been because we had to improve on some errors he made when he installed the old one more than 35 years ago.

Spent some time again at my dad's house today for Thanksgiving. I am thankful that he has become just about as politically radical as I have, even though he doesn't often show it. It's nice to have someone at my back when I get set off at some of the larger family gatherings.

I've been feeling a little under the weather again for the last couple of days, but not too bad, so I'm thankful for that. I have a feeling next week is going to be pretty tough, though. Cold weather and rain in store.

And I'm thankful for all you folks who think this blog is worth checking into now and then. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Jumpy today...

I was working in a nice, quiet neighborhood today when a tiny terrier-looking dog ran up behind me and yapped. Like my mother sometimes says, "I nearly came unglued." I mean my hair stood up so straight that I almost lost my hat. I started to swing my hook in a reflex I've developed from being jumped from behind by dogs, and managed to swing it a little too high at the last moment so I wouldn't take off that poor little guy's head.

Afterwards, I got to wondering why I was so jumpy. And then it came to me...


I watched Quarantine last night. Man, if we ever have a zombie apocalypse like that, forget about fighting back. It's over.

Lots more coming out of the CRU scandal

Brian Micklethwait has a lot to say about the CRU scandal at Samzidata. Click here:
Many scientists, commenting in recent days on blog postings, have been declaring themselves baffled. Why all the fuss? Is it some kind of big scandal that scientists are - shock - human? They sometimes use less than noble methods in their fights with one another, making their own opinions seems more solidly justified than they really are, their own data seem more precisely in accordance with their theories than they perhaps should, or would in a morally perfect world. And especially in what they thought were private emails to one another. So? That's science. It's a tough old world, and sometimes, yes, they do fight a bit dirty. As do we all. So, why this huge blogo-fuss about pretty nearly damn all?

Why the fuss is because of the vast, globe-spanning policy conclusions that have been plucked from these in themselves rather minor deceptions. The fraud revealed isn't just in the fiddling of some numbers. There is also the faking of that precious scientific consensus that has so dominated public and official thinking about climate and climate policy during the last decade. The world is being sold a gigantic economic and political upheaval, backed by the claim that all this scientific rough-and-tumble, this slightly dodgy infighting, was in fact a blandly uniform scientific consensus. And the "scientists" (who more and more now look like politicos who have barged their way into science) are the engineers of this political fraud, not just the contrivers of the scientific opinions around which they have assembled their bogus consensus.
Further:

Bishop Hill provides several tasty tidbits.

Boy On a Bike reveals this beauty:
* the ruling by the Earth Court of Justice of the abolishment of the debt of the poor or developing nations as it is really a form of global tax to be paid annually by the rich or industrialized nations to the developing nations
I would recommend to especially take the time to read all of Micklethwaite's comments at the first link.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Possibly the most awesome money quote I have ever posted

"I was flailing away underwater carrying a dog with a kangaroo ripping into me."

As long as I'm sort of on the subject...

From eternal darkness springs cast of angels and jellied jewels (17,000 new deep-ocean species discovered)

Marine marvels found in the darkness of the deep (more on the same topic)

Dumbo of the deep: Discovered in the ocean abyss, the elephant-eared octopod (some cool photos)

Black Acid Prophecy - A Trip Into Unknown Kadath


Found via H.P. Lovecraft and His Legacy is this (legal) free-to-download mp3 album inspired by Lovecraft. Black Acid Prophecy are Paul Allih and Curtis D. Cousins. I don't know exactly which sub-genre this music would fit into, so I'll call it industrial electronic metal. Yeah, that should work.

A Trip Into Unknown Kadath consists of 12 tracks, all named after/inspired by various Lovecraft stories. Some of the tracks have vocals, some are musical soundscapes. Dark and forboding, heavy, lurking...all the kinds of moods you might expect from music based on Lovecraft's works.

Track list:

1. The Doom That Came To Sarnath
2. Lurking Fear
3. Whisperer In The Darkness
4. Herbert West
5. From Beyond
6. Ex Oblivione
7. Cool Air
8. Shadow Over Innsmouth
9. Colour Out of Space
10. The Horror At Red Hook
11. At The Mountains of Madness
12. Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath

The full album plus artwork can be downloaded in one fell zip-file swoop from MegaUpload, or as individual files from Archive-dot-org. All mp3s are encoded at 320 kbps. Total playing time, slightly more than an hour.

Should make for some quite suitable background music if you're playing some Call of Cthulhu, or just good listening when you're in the mood for some Lovecraftian music.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Not Cthulhu but...

...still quite horrifying, I'd say.

To post a small-res version here would be an injustice, so go over to Martin Rajmund's site for all the details and click the link for high resolution.

10 more albums #66


Various artists - Love in the 50's (2004, CD)
Various artists - 20th Century Masters: The Best of Bluegrass (The Millennium Collection) (2002, CD)
Donna Fargo - Good Old Country (2000, CD)
Don Gibson - Good Old Country (2000, CD)
Patty Loveless - When Fallen Angels Fly (1994, CD)
Various artists - Real Hot Jazz (1982, mp3)
Jimmy Smith - Straight Life (1961, CD)
Various artists - Anti Sampler, Fall (2009, mp3 download)
Various artists - Brushfire Records Fall Sampler (2009, mp3 download)
Various artists - Anti Fall Sampler (2009, mp3 download)

Love in the 50's is something my wife bought, as are many of these. A collection of pop songs from the 50s that included both more established as well as up-and-coming artists, and I deleted more than half the collection. The big score on this one is Sarah Vaughan singing "Misty," which is one of my favorite songs, regardless of artist or genre.

The Best of Bluegrass is another from the Millennium Collection series and was purchased from yourmusic.com. Not a spotless collection, but pretty good. My only minor gripes are with Ricky Skaggs on the first track (which is okay) and Vince Gill on the last track (which doesn't even sound like bluegrass to me). In between are more traditional bluegrass artists: Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, The Osborne Brothers, The Stanley Brothers and a couple of others. Has "Rocky Top" by The Osborne Brothers so that's a big plus. I always liked that song a lot when I was a kid, except when I was a kid I thought it was a woman singing it. The dude had a high voice.

The two Good Old Country albums are apparently part of a series of more "classic" country singers. I think the "greatest hits" tape I had of Donna Fargo when I was a kid was better than this CD. This one had one spoken-word piece which I deleted. Don Gibson was one of the true greats of country music who seems to me to be too-often overlooked. This disc has a lot of good songs on it, most notably "Sea of Heartbreak" which has been covered a multitude of times by other, often lesser artists. P.S. The first time I ever heard "Johnny B. Goode," it was sung by Donna Fargo (but it's not on this disc).

Patty Loveless was another of my wife's purchases. I'm not sure I'm going to keep it. It doesn't really do anything for me.

Real Hot Jazz is another of those very early digitally-recorded CDs from the very early years of the compact disc. It is out of print and I received an mp3 CD of it in trade for an mp3 CD of my out-of-print First Class Jazz. It's a great collection. Artists include Don Menza's 80s Big Band, Jack Sheldon's Late Show All-Stars, John Dentz Reunion Band and Freddie Hubbard.

Then we have yet another album by the great jazz organist Jimmy Smith. One more for the collection.

The last three are all free mp3 downloads from Amazon.com.

CMJ09 turned out to be pretty good. I give it 7 out of 16 for notable artists and an overall score of 2.4, which is pretty good for these samplers. It's a mix of various kinds of indie/alt rock with one reggae track thrown in. Notable artists/group are: The Antlers, The Depreciation Guild, La Strada, The Generationals, Still Flyin', The Two Man Gentleman Band and The Budos Band. This collection has The Antlers' "Two," which I recently posted the video of.

The Brushfire sampler isn't quite as good. I gave it a 2.2 overall with only one notable artist: Zee Avi. She has a great voice. One track, "Peace, Love and Happiness" by G. Love and Special Sauce, I would have given a 2 but had to minus 1 for stupid lyrics.

The Anti sampler is another pretty good one, 7 out of 16 for notable artists and an overall score of 2.5. A wide sampling of various musical styles from the Anti label. Notable artists/groups: The Swell Season, Alec Ounsworth, Dead Man's Bones, Joe Henry, Booker T., Frank Turner, Jason Lytle. The Booker T. piece, "Hey Ya," is an instrumental that is funky, jazzy rock all rolled into one. Nice.

Total album count: 670.

It's dead, Jim

Global warming, that is. Of course the fanatics will still be flogging it since it gives them an excuse to exert control over others, so...if this turns out to be factual, and it looks like it will, be prepared to disseminate this information every chance you get.

From Andrew Bolt:
Hackers have broken into the data base of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit - one of the world’s leading alarmist centres - and put the files they stole on the Internet, on the grounds that the science is too important to be kept under wraps.

The ethics of this are dubious, to say the least. But the files suggest, on a very preliminary glance, some other very dubious practices, too, and a lot of collusion - sometimes called “peer review”. Or even conspiracy.

A warning, of course. We can only say with a 90 per cent confidence interval that these emails are real.

(ALTERNATIVE link to the files. And another link.)

Later...(same link as above):
8.15 PM UPDATE: The Hadley University of East Anglia CRU director admits the emails seem to be genuine:

The director of Britain’s leading Climate Research Unit, Phil Jones, has told Investigate magazine’s TGIF Edition tonight ..."It was a hacker. We were aware of this about three or four days ago that someone had hacked into our system and taken and copied loads of data files and emails."…

TGIF asked Jones about the controversial email discussing “hiding the decline”, and Jones explained what he was trying to say….

So the 1079 emails and 72 documents seem indeed evidence of a scandal involving most of the most prominent scientists pushing the man-made warming theory - a scandal that is one of the greatest in modern science. I’ve been adding some of the most astonishing in updates below - emails suggesting conspiracy, collusion in exaggerating warming data, possibly illegal destruction of embarrassing information, organised resistance to disclosure, manipulation of data, private admissions of flaws in their public claims and much more. If it is as it now seems, never again will “peer review” be used to shout down sceptics.

This is clearly not the work of some hacker, but of an insider who’s now blown the whistle.

Not surprising, then, that Steve McIntyre reports:

Earlier today, CRU cancelled all existing passwords. Actions speaking loudly.

More commentary and a roundup of links at Samizdata.

Sorry about the weird formatting. Something was not totally kosher in the copy & paste.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Night Video: The Raveonettes - "Dead Sound"

The Raveonettes are rapidly moving upward in my favorite groups list. I'm going to have to buy a couple of their CDs pretty soon. Here's another one from them, dark, spooky and sorrowful.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I am giddy with delight

Untold eons ago, in internet relative terms, there was this website called The Gallery of the Absurd. Sometime in the mid-to-late 90s I came across it one Saturday--this was before either of the kids were born--while my wife was at work, and I sat here (actually there, in the old house) drinking Carlos Rossi red sangria and laughing hilariously for hours. Hours. Well, all good things must come to an end and eventually the guy who had put it together moved on to other things...

Having just caught up on all my blog reading and not being quite finished with my pipe, I decided to pass the time as usual...Scroogling my own name to see what turned up.

I do this fairly often, so I was surprised to see a new link turn up in the search results.

The Gallery of the Absurd is back, or has been back for a while, in blog form. And Derek has re-posted some of his old archives from the old site, which is how I found it because I had submitted a couple of things.

Boy, I can't wait to catch up.

P.S. And he's also still posting annoying J. Crew models.

P.P.S. And scary clowns.

When capitalism goes unregulated...*


Buy it at Amazon.

*It's satire, son, satire!

Juvenile coelecanths photographed for the first time

Details at Cryptomundo.

Pumpkin Fluff recipe

This is a recipe that a co-worker gave me and which is very easy and quick to make. It's always a big hit. NOTE: according to the woman who gave it to me, this is a Weight Watchers approved recipe. Of course you can also use the non-lite versions of the ingredients if you want to make it really rich.

1 can pumpkin (15 ounces)
1 tub Cool Whip (12 ounces, sugar free)
1 small box vanilla pudding (4 serving size, sugar free)
Pumpkin pie spice to taste

Combine all ingredients in a big bowl and mix with your electric mixer. Chill 2 hours.

You can use this to fill a graham cracker pie crust or--my favorite method--just leave in the bowl and use as a dip with graham crackers.

Weight Watchers stats: 1 cup of fluff equals one point (whatever that means) not including the graham crackers.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Justice rides a Segway


I saw this guy patrolling the parking lot of the H.E.B. at the old McCreless Mall site and it just cracked me up. Like an elderly Captain America who can't handle a bike anymore.

It's closer than you think

Dork Tower comments on the "2012" hysteria.

(An extra joke is almost concealed in his post title).

Monday, November 16, 2009

A.A. Milne quote

One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.
Don't I know it.

Signs

I was going to post a work pic today but the glare from the sun was too harsh and it didn't come out, so the sign couldn't be read. But what the heck, this is something I've wanted to complain about in a public forum for a long time so here goes.

The sign which I attempted to photograph is at the intersection of Iowa and S. Mesquite streets. It says that the block numbers for that part of Iowa are 600 to the east and 500 to the west.

It's wrong. It should say that the block numbers are 500 to the east and 400 to the west.

Based on my experience over the past several years--and particularly when I had a job delivering final cutoff notices for the local electric & gas utility--I can say with some confidence that a good 1/3 of these block number signs are wrong. They are either: 1) on the wrong block, 2) facing the wrong direction, or 3) both.

This is probably not something that most people will ever notice, unless you have a job that entails knowing exactly where you are at all times.

After making more wrong turns than I can remember from looking at these signs, I quit paying attention to them except as a rough guide for an approximate idea of where I might be on any given street. If you really want to know which block you're on, you have to look at the house/building addresses.

If you don't believe me, just start paying attention to them as you drive around. I'm quite certain that you will eventually be dumbfounded at how inept the city of S.A. is at the seemingly simple task of putting up street signs.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lovecraft's enlistment papers

I've been browsing through a site I recently discovered called H.P. Lovecraft and His Legacy, which is more about Lovecraft the person rather than about what he wrote. Lots of stuff about HPL himself and Lovecraft-era Providence, RI. A recent post shows Lovecraft's enlistment papers from June 5, 1917.

Cool.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A slightly surreal and quite hilarious moment

I was on a two-man route today so we got to use a company truck. It's Friday, so that meant we had to wash the truck. We finished early, and there's a silly rule that we can't return to the office until 11:30, no matter how early we finish, so rather than wait for the prescribed time and then wash the truck at the yard, we went to a public car wash and shelled out a couple of dollars to get it done. I had always thought it was quite obvious that we are both blue-eyed eastern(ish) European-ancestry types. Well, suddenly a trucker who was lost stopped on the street and came running over to us to ask directions. This happens fairly often, because when people see us in our work shirts they always think we know where everything is. Anyway, the guy comes running up and the first thing he says is...

"Hey, you guys habla Inglés?"

And I answered...

"Sí!"

Friday night video: The Antlers - "Two"

This song was part of a sampler I recently downloaded from Amazon. The music leans toward the sad and wistful, the lyrics are dark, disturbing and tragic. These are already good reasons for me to include it here, but this song has a good example of a musical phenomenon that has always interested me and tugs at my soul: suspended notes. This might also be referred to as "drones," but I don't like to use that word because of the negative connotations it holds for many; "drone" is often equated with "boring."

I will probably not be able to adequately put into words what I'm getting at, but I'll try. A suspended note when used properly adds its own kind of depth to the music: the sweetness of the harmony when the surrounding chord structure fits the note, and the tension of an out-of-place note when the surrounding chords do not fit with that note. The given note remains the same, but its color changes as the chords around it change.

In this song, listen for the distorted guitar in the background that holds the same note throughout almost the entire song. I believe the song is in the key of A, and the note we're listening for is an E, the fifth of the scale (or a "So") in this key.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Song ratings

In the past I started posting some song "ratings" on the free Amazon sampler downloads. I thought I might extend this rating system into other albums as well. The ratings I use were entirely made up by myself, and are pretty much arbitrary on how the song strikes me. This is largely based on my gut reaction to the piece, and seldom has anything to do with the proficiency of the musicians or the technicality of the music. Each song gets its own rating and the overall album score is simply the average of all the individual song ratings. It's a six-point system.

0 - "Bad." Originally this meant that I hated the song so much that I just deleted it. I have since changed this because I don't want to delete all of them even if they are really bad. Sometimes I keep it because I don't want to have an incomplete album. Sometimes I keep it as a future reference for the kinds of songs I really hate. If I heard such a song on the radio I would immediately change the station.

1 - "Meh." Nothing to recommend it, but it isn't entirely offensive, either. One of these would probably make me change the radio station, or at least turn it down a little.

2 - "Okay." Just a run-of-the-mill song that is just fine as background music but which I wouldn't go out of my way for.

3 - "Nice." With a rating of 3, a song is beginning to get into the better categories. Any song of 3 or higher would prompt me to further investigate the artist and likely buy their album. A 3 song would likely make me turn up the radio and probably try to sing along with it if possible, but would probably not effect me much emotionally.

4 - "Good." These are songs that I really like, songs that I will always try to sing along with if I hear them on the radio, and songs that have an emotional impact on me. I may not be able to describe exactly the kind of emotional impact, but I can feel it in my soul.

5 - "Great." It's almost impossible for a song to get a 5 rating. These are songs that, for one reason or another, have a deep emotional impact on me, or songs that trigger strong memories. The biggest difference between a 5 song and a 4 song are the depth of emotion they trigger.

Because of the nature of this "system," it is very unlikely that pieces without lyrics can score very high, and almost completely impossible for any instrumental song to get a 5. It's a very rare non-lyrical composition that can give me that "hit in the gut" feeling, but it has happened.

I'm working on building a list of "favorites," which I consider songs that I would rate a 3 or higher, and a list of "favorite favorites," which will be a list of 5's or possibly 4's and 5's.

I don't really like quantifying music like this, but I figured if I'm going to blog about music, I have to come up with some way to give a rating that I can remember and be consistent about and most everyone else can more or less understand.

Telegram from the Secretary of the Navy to All Naval Stations Regarding Mars, 08/22/1924

All the details here.

The unofficial city dump

What a neighborhood. I first read this route last month, when this street was still open enough to drive through. Not anymore. This is a view of Jenull Ave. from its intersection with Giddings.

There is nothing on the entire street except for one unidentified building with a high chain-link and barb-wire fence and hazard warning signs on the doors (something official, but no signs to say what the heck it is) right on the corner where I was standing. If you click the link and zoom in one level so you can read the smaller street names, neither is there anything on Hamel or Monsoon (I walked right past them and barely even noticed there were "streets" there) and barely anything on Giddings. A good one-third of the houses on Rotary are vacant. It's one of those places that is quiet...too quiet. There are so few meters in that little neighborhood and so much of what we call "dead walking" (walking a long distance without reading any meters) that at one point I read only 35 meters in 30 minutes. Terrible.

So if you ever need a place to dump your garbage or possibly a dead body...here you go.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Road kill

I didn't take a picture of it, but today I came across a very nice buck with a perfect 8-point rack dead on the road on Wurzbach Parkway eastbound just before you get to Thousand Oaks (actually at a little dead end road called Tool Yard). He tried to cross the road in the wrong place. What a shame, and what a waste.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Unknown snake update

Back in May I posted a work pic of a snake that I couldn't identify. Recently a friend of mine who is quite knowledgeable in herpetological matters was hired as a temp and when I told him about it he immediately identified it from my vague description.

It is the Texas patchnose snake. And in the last few weeks I have seen several more.

From Beyond

'Something may come through' dimensional 'doors' at LHC • The Register
A top boffin at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) says that the titanic machine may possibly create or discover previously unimagined scientific phenomena, or "unknown unknowns" - for instance "an extra dimension".

"Out of this door might come something, or we might send something through it," said Sergio Bertolucci, who is Director for Research and Scientific Computing at CERN, briefing reporters including the Reg at CERN HQ earlier this week.
In the words of Crawford Tillinghast:
"What do we know," he had said, "of the world and the universe about us? Our means of receiving impressions are absurdly few, and our notions of surrounding objects infinitely narrow. We see things only as we are constructed to see them, and can gain no idea of their absolute nature. With five feeble senses we pretend to comprehend the boundlessly complex cosmos, yet other beings with wider, stronger, or different range of senses might not only see very differently the things we see, but might see and study whole worlds of matter, energy, and life which lie close at hand yet can never be detected with the senses we have. I have always believed that such strange, inaccessible worlds exist at our very elbows, and now I believe I have found a way to break down the barriers. I am not joking. Within twenty-four hours that machine near the table will generate waves acting on unrecognized sense organs that exist in us as atrophied or rudimentary vestiges. Those waves will open up to us many vistas unknown to man and several unknown to anything we consider organic life. We shall see that at which dogs howl in the dark, and that at which cats prick up their ears after midnight. We shall see these things, and other things which no breathing creature has yet seen. We shall overleap time, space, and dimensions, and without bodily motion peer to the bottom of creation."
P.S. boffin: British slang. a scientist or technical expert

Monday, November 09, 2009

Important reading

And I ask, whose paranoid are you?: On Ground Report - Just as it was sent.

Information from someone on the ground at Fort Hood as the mass murder was happening. Read it.

A fundemental misunderstanding of "free market"

BBC NEWS | Special Reports | Free market flawed, says survey
Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a new BBC poll has found widespread dissatisfaction with free-market capitalism.

In the global poll for the BBC World Service, only 11% of those questioned across 27 countries said that it was working well.

Most thought regulation and reform of the capitalist system were necessary.

There were also sharp divisions around the world on whether the end of the Soviet Union was a good thing.
In a world where governments (and unions) continue to dictate how much employees may be paid, who companies are allowed to trade with and where they may trade, and collecting permission fees (a.k.a. "taxes") for their ability to operate, someone please tell me exactly where this fabled free market is and how I can get there.

X-rays

X-ray machine voted most important invention in Science Museum poll - Times Online:
Russell Reynolds had only one wish when in 1896 at the age of 15 he learnt of the discovery of X-rays: to possess his own X-ray machine.

The Westminster schoolboy enlisted the help of his father, John Reynolds, a GP, and set about building one. Within a year the machine was finished, and it is now displayed in the Science Museum in London.

Yesterday Reynolds’s pioneering spirit gained further recognition as the X-ray machine was voted the most important invention in the history of science. In a museum poll nearly 50,000 people voted on ten inventions and discoveries, which included penicillin, the Pilot ACE computer and Stephenson’s Rocket. The X-ray machine was a clear winner, with 9,581 votes.
Although I am not a scientist and therefore am probably wrong [smirk], I would allow that the x-ray machine is the greatest scientific invention of the 19th century.  However, my opinion is still that the greatest scientific invention of all time is the transistor.  Just remember how many great inventions that are in common use today would not have been possible without it.

Chernobyl

Michael Jennings at Samizdata has posted a riveting photo-essay on his trip to Chernobyl and the USSR. Recommended reading.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

It's very, very quiet

Both kids are at a slumber party. My wife is studying her information pack for becoming a new Girl Scout leader. It's pipe time.

Even though I haven't ripped any records lately, I have a big backlog of stuff that I could post about, but I haven't felt like doing any critical listening lately. Sometimes making even brief notes and rating songs is just too much effort and I need to just let the music play and not think about it too much. Also I have been downloading free stuff from Amazon like mad.

I got all those Mojo Nixon albums they had, but had to partly pay for the last one because they went back to being not-free before I could finish. We finish paying for my truck in a few more months; that will be an extra $391 per month that we won't have to worry about and since I just put a new engine in the truck I hope for it to last for several more years. I've begun looking into options for a high-, or at least higher-speed, connection.

Work has been fairly easy lately, mostly because of the cooler weather. Also we are at full staff plus several temps for the first time since I got hired, and many of the 2-person motor routes lately have had three people on them because we are actually ahead of schedule, which seems quite strange to me. We just went past cycle 5 and are coming in to cycle 10 without having to work on a Saturday, which is a first during my time there.

I have nothing much to say about the atrocity of this past week. It was an act of terror, nothing less, despite what the MSM has to say about it. There are a multitude of blogs covering it, but in case you haven't yet seen it, be sure and read this twist at Atlas Shrugs.

Also, mainstream "journalists" would do well to read a dictionary now and then. There is a big difference between a tragedy and an atrocity. A flood, an earthquake, perhaps a car wreck is a tragedy. The Fort Hood shooting was an atrocity.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Friday night video

This one has embedding disabled, so you'll just have to click through to watch it, but I recommend it. All those great vintage toys!

I was going through my "misc singles" folder again recently to see if anything jumped out at me, and this one did so I looked up the video. I also really like the song and have added the album to my queue at yourmusic.com.

Owl City - "Fireflies"
You would not believe your eyes
If ten million fireflies
Lit up the world as I fell asleep

'Cause they'd fill the open air
And leave teardrops everywhere
You'd think me rude
But I would just stand and stare

I'd like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It's hard to say that I'd rather stay
Awake when I'm asleep
'Cause everything is never as it seems

'Cause I'd get a thousand hugs
From ten thousand lightning bugs
As they tried to teach me how to dance

A fox trot above my head
A sock hop beneath my bed
A disco ball is just hanging by a thread

I'd like to make myself believe
That planet earth turns slowly
It's hard to say that I'd rather stay
Awake when I'm asleep
'Cause everything is never as it seems
When I fall asleep

Leave my door open just a crack
(Please take me away from here)
'Cause I feel like such an insomniac
(Please take me away from here)
Why do I tire of counting sheep
(Please take me away from here)
When I'm far too tired to fall asleep

To ten million fireflies
I'm weird 'cause I hate goodbyes
I got misty eyes as they said farewell

But I'll know where several are
If my dreams get real bizarre
'Cause I saved a few and I keep them in a jar

I'd like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It's hard to say that I'd rather stay
Awake when I'm asleep
'Cause everything is never as it seems
When I fall asleep

I'd like to make myself believe
That planet Earth turns slowly
It's hard to say that I'd rather stay
Awake when I'm asleep
'Cause everything is never as it seems
When I fall asleep

I'd like to make myself believe
That planet earth turns slowly
It's hard to say that I'd rather stay
Awake when I'm asleep
Because my dreams are bursting at the seams

What the?!

Just checking my work email from home, and found this message. Other's names blurred out of respect for their privacy, whoever they are. There is a 118 Gayle Ave. in S.A., but I have never read that route. Also I have never turned off anyone's water. That's not my job. I can't help but think that sometimes our system is so convoluted that occasionally it generates emails all on its own. It just hasn't gained the required consciousness necessary to create true communication.


I wonder what would happen if I sent back a receipt.

Raising the flag




A few pix of the Cub Scouts raising the flag for tonight's football game. This is the first time they've ever raised it to half-staff, as far as I know.

My son is the one holding the bottom corner of the U.S. flag in the middle picture.