Sunday, December 25, 2011


Still just reading for escapism. Tags for the post are "fantasy", "science fiction" and "urban fantasy".

Tweeted on Oct 27th:

Just finished "A Dance With Dragons". 5000 pages down, an estimated 25,000 more to go :-(
This series is very good, but, I think he needs several authors helping him to finish this thing -- if indeed it is ever intended to be finished. So many characters, so many narratives.

I did read this in the iBook format rather than the Kindle format. Couldn't tell much difference.

Read two short-story collections, which I still buy in hardcopy and leave at the house in Florida. "Down These Strange Streets", edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. An urban fantasy collection. The marquee author was a woman I have never heard of, who turns out to have written the novels that the HBO "True Blood" series is based on. Generally fairly enjoyable. Two stories had male homosexual partners as the primary characters. I normally enjoy a little gratuitous heterosexual sex in novels. I still pretty much get a "yuck" reaction from gratuitous male homosexual sex scenes. For pulp, genre fiction like this, I think that virtual sex scenes, where you can specify your orientation and get appropriate verbiage, would be good tech. Ha ha.

The other collection was my annual favorite "Year's Best Science Fiction", edited by Gardner Dozois. 28th edition, nothing really stood out at it often does.

Then back to Kindle books. I'm still of two minds about this. I guess you can loan them, I'll figure out how someday. Meanwhile, it's so damn convenient, and cheaper. I discussed it with my friend Michael who owns two bookstores in Louisville. He says that volume genre readers like me are accounting for the majority of Kindle sales. He seemed to think it's OK, that the volume that genre readers tend to consume makes it economically compelling.

So read on the iPad:

  • "Boneshaker", by Cherie Priest. Steampunk and zombies in an alternate history Seattle. An entertaining read. I just saw where they are making a movie of it. 3 stars.
  • "Reamde, A Novel", by Neal Stephenson. For the 1st 500 pages of this, it was like, didn't I just read this in Cory Doctorow's "For The Win"? But it brings in Islamic terrorists, which, frankly, I'm kind of sick of. But it is a good read. Stephenson's turns of phrase make me laugh out loud, annoying my wife. 4 stars.
  • "The Children of the Sky", by Vernor Vinge. This is a long-awaited sequel to "A Fire On The Deep", which, with "A Deepness In The Sky", were totally great space operas 20 years ago. This one is a good read, but quite a bit less cosmic, more local politics and empire building. 3 stars.
Several more books queued on the iPad. Time to clear the magazine stack first.

Thursday, December 15, 2011



So there was a great crowd at O'Neill's tonight, they were still playing at 10:40 when I left, past the 10:30 quitting time, because they still had a good crowd. I signed up at 7:40 and was like 8th guitarist on the list. I did get to play my 1st song with Sherri McGee on drums, what fun! We did "Who Do You Love", Sherri really rocks out on that, she is so fun to play with. Then did "Crossroads" and "How Blues Can You Get" with a different drummer, they were OK.

So I went to Lynagh's, got there a little late, like 10:50. Jamie Greene, who runs the open mic there, says he could use me to play. Jamie is a fabulous musician. He plays Kaki King / Preston Reed style, left-handed, he is a genuine talent. He says he's got a group that will play after me who are annoying the hell out of him.

So I do "I Need To Know" by Delbert McClinton, 1st time ever. Flubbed a few times, but overall OK. Then "You Don't Know Me", my favorite Ray Charles song. Then someone said "let it rip" so I did "Rollin' and Tumblin'".

Then I started "Me and the Devil Blues", by Robert Johnson, played in a 1930's Robert Johnson style. Halfway through it, I hear noise behind me. The guitarist from the annoying group is tuning his guitar. Then he starts shredding in B with a fuzz tone on max distortion -- I'm playing in A. I stop, tell him I'm playing in A, and that he's welcome to play blues fills behind me. So I start up again, he plays masturbatory shredding with max fuzz over me. What an asshole! So I finish quickly, don't do my last song (Hard Times), and leave the stage. I finish my drink, and as I'm leaving, he's still just shredding away. I told him, "Man that was rude -- just rude". He follows me outside and says "I apologized twice -- I was trying to play with you." What an asshole. Jamie was very apologetic, said he was already thinking of banning them, now it was official.

I don't know. There's other old guys play there. It's mostly acoustic. I can appreciate young turks getting in the face of old farts. But, the total lack of musicianship was really, really offensive. And the total disrespect of Robert Johnson just adds to it.

BTW, here's a recording of Robert Johnson doing "Me and the Devil Blues". I really like the art someone has put to it.

Sherri and Keith Hubbard are playing tomorrow night at Skybar downtown. Keith said I was welcome to come sit in, so I'll put on a gigging shirt and take the Blues Junior and Black Beauty (Les Paul with all gold fittings) out and see how that goes. Never been to Skybar before, hopefully it will be fun. Keith said he's starting at 8, Sherri will get there around 9. When I played fill behind Bob Hopps solo on keys it went well, hopefully this will too.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I Didn't Know This Was Called A Pen

I actually had to read around 5 articles on squid anatomy via The Google before I found one that identified the clear, feather-like spine that supports the squid's mantle as the "pen". I guess it is an appropriate name.

I made spaghetti sauce with diced calimari (squid) instead of meatballs last night. Kroger sells California squid frozen in 3 pound boxes. I partially thawed the box and split it into 3 one-pound servings. (Separating the partialy thawed squid was greatly complicated by their tentacles have frozen together in tangled clumps.) I cooked one pound last night and refroze the other two.

Cleaning the squid is easy. The 1 pound of whole squid clean up to maybe 7 ounces of tentacles and diced mantle. Saute in olive oil with garlic, onion salt and pepper; add diced zucchini and canned mushrooms; then add your tomato sauce, sugar, oregano, basil, and bay leaves and simmer. Yum!

This "pen" was around 5 inches long.

The "pen" looks and feels completely artificial, like it's made of plastic. The part off the spine is completely clear, like stiff cellophane. It amazes me how much it looks like a feather.

It does smell like squid tho.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Good Bird Day

This past Thursday at around 12:30, I getting ready to make my lunch and was looking out the back window. It was snowing fairly hard, although nothing stuck. There are the usual 5-6 goldfinches at the 2 feeders. And, on the ground, 6-8 juncos -- the advance scout had brought the whole gang!

And then, on the pear tree right in front of the window, a downy woodpecker came around working its way up the tree -- followed by what may have been a white-breasted nuthatch! I have seen these at the in-laws in Louisville but never here. This one was going up the tree, rather than down the tree head-first as nuthatches are known for. Didn't get to see it for long, but I think that is what it was. It was dark on top and white underneath, smaller and rounder than a junco. We have wrens around, but no wrens in the bird book have this coloration. I'll keep watching for it and hopefully can confirm the identification.

Meanwhile, at my wife's direction, Carlos cut the burning bush outside my office way down. And then my wife trimmed the hell out of my ficus. It is now around 1/3 of its former size. This tree was given to me by my employees at Renlar sometime in the early 90's. It has moved with me from job to job; it has been in at least 6 different offices. I have always said, "As grows the tree, so grows the software." I guess I'll have to watch and see how my software career goes ;->

In the meantime tho, I'm guessing that from here on the crazy cardinal will be leaving my screen alone. We'll see, I guess.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Almost A Rock Star

Aw man! Justin Wells got my slot for The Last Waltz doing "Mannish Boy". Justin is a monster, he is indeed more worthy. #AlmostARockStar

So once or twice a month after playing at O'Neill's on Wednesday night, I go into Lynagh's, where the Old Farts Blues Jam played for several years, and do 4-5 songs solo at their open mic. A couple of months ago, I was talking to Tim the bartender/drummer & vocalist about Levon Helm's recent (fabulous) work. Tim sez, "I get to channel Levon soon, at The Last Waltz recreation." Local musicians have been, for the last 6 years, around Thanksgiving, staging a recreation of The Band's Last Waltz, with different musicians taking the place of the all-star cast of the original Last Waltz.

Then Tim sez, "We try to get different people every year, you should do the Muddy Waters "Mannish Boy" number. Check back in November."

Hell yeah! So I was in there last week, and he tells me, he thinks they could use me. He took my number and told me he'd call me Friday after meeting with the organizers.

So no call came in, I went in there tonight. Turns out the posters were already printed, and Justin Wells is doing the Muddy Waters. Aw, so close.

Justin is the lead singer and guitar player for Fifth on the Floor, a very good local band who had a very successful regional tour earlier this year. I played behind Justin once at Lynagh's, playing lead fills on the Strat and singing harmony behind his flattop and lead vocals. He is a good guy, a real performing personality, and a great musician. He's a big guy, well over 6 ft, with the long haired and bearded mountain man look going on. His stage presence is totally kick-ass, he is way more worthy. Still, I would have loved to have played Buster's once. It is a really nice venue. probably Lexington's best music club.

Tim offered to put me on the sitting-in list, I declined, I'll hang out with my baby instead. He said, maybe next year I would have another shot, and could maybe do "Further On Up The Road", which was one of the first songs I started doing in my musical career revival. I also do "Who Do You Love" and "Up On Cripple Creek" from The Last Waltz.

Ha ha. It's fun for me, at my age, just go get to know and play with some of the good and great young musicians in Lexington. A rock star gig at Buster's would be completely icing on the cake.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

The First Junco of Winter

Cleaned and refilled my safflower seed feeder at the back of the yard yesterday. Scattered some safflower below the feeders and on both patios for the juncos. They only like to feed from the ground.

Within an hour, there was a junco in the crabapple tree by the lower patio checking it out. But I didn't see him eat any. Normally they are in flocks of at least a half dozen birds. Maybe he was an advance scout.

Don't seem to see to many birds lately. The goldfinches are there year round, and the crazy male cardinal is still rattling my screen and trying to get at the ficus in my office. The people two doors down the street who had several cats moved recently, maybe that will help the bird numbers.

The Cooper's hawk is still around as well. I haven't seen her in my yard lately, but I've seen her around the neighborhood.


Thursday night I'm walking my dog Dexter. Just taking our 6 o'clock stroll around the block (Lyon Dr and Ft. Harrod). There's a rabbit in the back yard but he doesn't see it -- he is at this point pretty oblivious to critters unless they trip his motion detectors. So we're out front on the sidewalk, he's running, running, running in the easement -- blam! Right into the next door neighbor's brick mailbox. Yeouch! You could hear the thunk. But, he must have a pretty thick skull, he just kept on going.

I guess I'll have to add that to my list of stuff you got to watch.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Kingfish

So watched an Austin City Limits that was 100% Randy Newman, solo at the piano. That got me thinking of his song "Kingfish", which was recently covered by Levon Helm on his excellent album "Electric Dirt". I love the lines:
Who took on the Standard Oil men and whipped their ass,
Just like he promised he'd do?
Ain't no Standard Oil men gonna run this state,
Gonna be run by little folks like me and you.
Kind of reminiscent of what Occupy Wall Street (#OWS) is all about, isn't it? Here in Kentucky, we could substitute "Massey Energy" for "Standard Oil".

So I looked up Huey Long, aka The Kingfish on Wikipedia. All in all, sounds like we could use him today.

He was a populist. His motto was "Every Man a King". I think his speaking style drew comparisons to Hitler, but his song is pretty damn catchy.

I like this one too. It reminds me of my wondering, how much do the ultra-rich really want? (Answer, all of it.)

Huey Long was a demagogue, which I thought pretty much meant "rabble-rouser". But here's the definition from google. Note particularly the second, older meaning:

  1. A political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.
  2. (in ancient Greece and Rome) A leader or orator who espoused the cause of the common people.
So I wonder how long it took the old lizards to get "espousing the cause of the common people" redefined to be "rather than by using rational argument". Nice trick, that.

I think my impression of Huey Long from growing up was that he was tyrannical and dictatorial. I probably got that from seeing the movie "All the King's Men", with Broderick Crawford as the Huey Long inspired central character. But from the wikipedia article, it looks like FDR did a lot to portray Huey in that light when Huey decided to run against him.

Right now, I think the rabble are pretty much roused already. So the question is, can OWS harness that energy, that righteous anger at the appropriation of our democracy by big money and big business, via the internet and social media, to get some real change accomplished here? Or will it take someone like Huey?

Maybe in a second term, Obama could push for the things we need to fix this, like real campaign finance reform and a much fairer tax structure. But, even tho Barack is my BFF, from what we've seen so far, I doubt it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Generative Grammars

So basically, all human languages are generative -- which means, there is no limit to the complexity of the statements that can be constructed. For example:
I saw the boy with the telescope who was watching the girl with the binoculars who was watching ... "
And, basically, this made our brains get big, but it is not hard tech.

I have written an interpreter and a compiler with a corresponding pcode machine, both of which are still in production and generating $millions of income. Both of them, it is so cool, when someone gives you logic 10s of times more complex than any you ever imagined, 100s of parentheses, and it just keeps pushing it up onto the stack, and then, it just works!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Not the Sharpest ..

I have been working full-time out of my home office since late June. The whole time there has been a very sporadic rattling of the screen in the window behind me. That window has a large burning bush in front of it. I assumed it was the wind blowing the burning bush against the screen -- although there would also sometimes be a bird chirping to accompany the rattling.

Inside that window in my office is the ficus that was originally given to me as a winter solstice present by my employees at Renlar, so sometime before 1995.

So a few days ago I finally looked around during the rattling and there is a male cardinal hanging on the screen. He looks like he really wants to get to that ficus -- not sure why. But he's been trying for 5 months now ?!?!?

Wind Advisory

From mid-morning to mid-afternoon. So didn't bike far. Out Keene Rd to Keene, back via 169 to 1967 to Military Pike and Parkers Mill. 22.1 miles, 1h40m, top speed 30.0 mph.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

He Would Have Kicked Its Ass

Holy crap! Got home, turned on the back lights, let Dexter out. Looked out and saw ... a full grown possum 10 ft from the door. Got between them and ran the possum off into the bushes, thought Dexter was following me in, then into the bushes he goes! Possum got him on the nose. Finally got Dexter corralled and carried him in. Put some neosporin on Dexter's nose.

The last thing I need is my 16 YO dog fighting a possum -- although he has done some serious possum ass-kicking in his younger days. Phew -- thump, thump, thump. Definitely more excitement than I was expecting.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Borealis Maximus

So actually got some new yellow on my biking maps, and went the farthest north I have been. I took the Heritage Trail to Ironworks Pike, then east to Newtown Pike and north another 3-4 miles. Left (west) on Lemons Mill Rd. The northern maximum came at the intersection of Lemons Mill Rd and Lisle Rd (KY 1962 and 1963). Took Lisle back south to Georgetown Rd, then Ironworks to Yarnallton to Elkchester. 3h21m, 40.5 miles, top speed 31.5 mph.

The Heritage Trail is definitely one of the flattest routes I take around here. At the one hour mark I was just about to Ironworks Work and I had done 14.5 miles -- considerably above the 12-13 mph I normally average. Of course, I always get slower and slower the longer I ride.

Last week I spooked a female deer off the side of the road. This week I spooked a 6-point buck, just off Citation Blvd.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Music In

I feel like I've been doing better keeping up here -- except maybe for music in. Still need to figure out how to keep it from being quite so boring. Anyways, here's the Music In for August and September.
  • "Cruisin with Ruben and the Jets", Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention (1968). One of the guys I play music with started talking about this, I offered to burn it for him. Turned out I didn't have it, and it's not available in MP3 form. So, I got out the vinyl and used the USB turntable my kids got me a few years ago. It worked a lot easier than the first time I tried, and the quality was surprisingly good. The Mothers basically created an alter ego and recorded an album of doo-wop songs. Great fun, 4 stars.

    They brought back lead singer Ray Collins for this. I talked to him, along with Ian Underwood, who had just joined, and Jimmie Carl Black, when I saw The Mothers in the spring of 1968 at Changes Unlimited, a hippie club on Hill Street in Louisville. Collins had a beautiful, silky lounge lizard type voice. I looked him up on Wikipedia. There is a link to an article about him in the Claremont CA (where he lives) local paper. It says he quit The Mothers after a few albums because he wanted to be a serious singer like Nat King Cole and didn't like all the satire and snarkiness, and that basically nothing he did since ever came to fruition. He was the one who invited Frank Zappa to join Soul Giants, which became The Mothers. Crazy.

  • Ollabelle, "Neon Blue Bird". Levon Helm's daughter Amy is in this band. This album is really all over the place. I put it in as Southern Rock. 3 stars, 4 stars for "Lovin' In My Baby's Eyes", a Taj Mahal song I think I'd heard before, and "Wait For The Sun".
  • St. Vincent, "Strange Mercy". I don't know that it is about her music that I like so well. Just thinking about, it kind of reminded me of how Radiohead seemed to suddenly realize, we can do whatever the hell we want -- we are in complete control. Annie Clark seems to mix such diverse styles and orchestration, with mostly sweet, emo lyrics. I'm a fan-boy. 4 stars.
  • Sunset Hearts, "Haunted Cloud". A Portland Maine 8 piece super group put together with members of 3 other bands. My nephew Max is the most excellent drummer. Lots of 80's sound, Beach Boys, many influences. Very nice tunes, an excellent effort, 4 stars.
  • The Boxer Rebellion, "The Cold Still". Very nice alternative mostly guitar sound. I don't think a weak song. 3 stars, 4 stars for "Step Out Of The Car".
  • Beiirut, "The Rip Tide". Very listenable, very consistent with their earlier work. Featuring Kelley Pratt, a Dunbar grad and friend of Erica's on brass. They are playing in Lexington this Wednesday, if I weren't playing I might have gone to see them. 3 stars.
  • Ivy, "Long Distance", 2001. I had really liked this groups earlier "ApartmentLife" and then kind of lost track of them. At first I thought, this is just too peppy and emo, but then, of course it grew on me. I am such a sucker for this stuff. 4 stars.
  • 50 tracks of flamenco from my friend Patrick that my daughter Christie wanted for her wedding. What a great genre this is! We saw a movie recently that had a great flamenco performance, an older (50ish) woman singing and dancing. I'll have to track that down.
OK, thats through September, the October stuff still needs more listens. Maybe that's why I wind up getting behind on Music In, because anymore I have to listen to most things 5-10 times before they're sufficiently burned in.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Experimental Philosophy

Interesting article in November Scientific American. A more scientific approach to philosophy, asking hundreds of test subjects to answer various thought problems. One interesting example on relativistic morality: if the morally ambiguous choice is fairly "here and now", then people decide with common sense, emotion, and "folk morality". If the choice is placed relatively far in the future, that apparently causes the mind's more "abstract thinking" modules to kick in, and decisions become more logical and abstract, if somewhat less "human".

Also, people who are more open to new experiences (liberals?) tend to be more open to moral relativism. So maybe there's a genetically selected difference between us right-thinking liberals and those backwards-thinking, inbred conservatives.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Way overdid it today. I'm thinking, "Biking weather over soon, let's go for it!" -- mistake. So went to Clifton, the only place I've found where you can get down to the Kentucky River and then get back up without having to walk the bike. The road back up (heading south) is a long, gradual incline. Here's a view from between Lower Clifton and Old Clifton Roads:

So went straight out Old Frankfort Pike to KY 1285. Crossed US 60 north of Versailles at the cylindrical water tower. By the Woodford Reserve Distillery, then left up a long, bad hill -- there are two more smaller ones before you start the downhill into Clifton. Back in through Versailles and Huntertown Rd. 48.9 miles, 4h10m, 3 stops, top speed 36.5 mph. And I am dead.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


I liked Knotmuch Farm on the south side of Nonesuch.

I quit biking to Nonesuch, which is much closer to the Kentucky River in western Woodford County than I would have thought, a few years ago. Funny how time managed to erase the memory of how bad those hills are. At least I came from the north rather the south. From the south, just past Clover Bottom Baptist Church and south of Nonesuch, there is a nasty hill. Steep for 1/2 mile, you think you're done, you turn a corner and there's another 250 yards up. It is one of only two hills (the other is Fords Mill just north of Nonesuch) in my biking paths that I have to stand up to make it up. Riding the brakes, I did 36.4 mph coming down that hill (from the north). If my death wish were a little stronger, I think I could easily have hit 45 mph coming down that hill.

So I took Delaney Ferry to Mortonsville, then went south through Nonesuch to KY 33, then back in Keene Rd. 3h4m, 35.8 miles, top speed 36.4mph, 2 stops.

I am on page 897 of 1491 (in the iBook on iPad) into "A Dance with Dragons", book 5 of "A Game of Thrones". I remember once positing something to the effect that a book must have a minimum of 100 pages per narrative thread. I think if you apply that to this series, you will wind up needing a few million pages. So many characters. The fifth book is actually book 4b, with the fourth book being book 4a. Still a good read, but, it's almost like a book is the wrong technology for this much content. Not sure what the right tech would be.

Reaching the end of grilling season, made my baby mixed vegetables and salmon on the grill. For the shitake bacon effect, you have to cook the shitakes 15 minutes by themselves. Half way through, the Cooper's Hawk came swooping over the house and wound up somewhere in the trees of the neighbor to the left's backyard. It is such a rush when that big bird comes flying through our airspace.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Loki was Odin's Blood Brother

Beautiful weather. I was afraid it was going to be too sunny this morning, but it wasn't. Biked to Highbridge Park, then took a long-cut back: north on KY 1268 then south on US 68 to KY 33, then back 33 and Keene Rd. 3h20m, 43.1 miles, top speed 34.3 mph. A nice long stop at the park, which has a beautiful scenic overlook over the junction of the Dix and Kentucky Rivers.

That is such a pretty little park, and pretty much empty every time I have been there. My wife and I have picniced there, very nice.

I read the latest Steven Gould "7th Sigma" in Kindle format on the iPad. Very enjoyable, it reminded me of his first novel "Jumper". It really makes you remember and feel how much you would have enjoyed the book when you were 14. Teenage protagonist who is a master of aikido rather than a teleporter. Relaxing to read.

Then started the latest "Game of Thrones" book "A Dance of Dragons". 300 pages into 1500, I think we've been reintroduced to the characters of interest, maybe some stuff will start happening soon.

I had been buying all ebooks on amazon in Kindle format because they seemed to be consistently cheaper. This one (and the others in the series) not so -- same price in iTunes and amazon. So I figured I'd try the Apple version. Seems slightly inferior in that it didn't show up on my iPhone until I synced, whereas the Kindle books are there from the getgo. I think Apple is supposed to be fixing that soon.

Speaking of adolescent entertainment, "X-Men First Class" was very enjoyable, "Thor" not so much so. "Thor" just didn't work. I think it was because I am such a fan of Norse mythology, and have been for > 40 years. The relationship between Thor, Odin, and Loki is complex and an important theme in Norse mythology, and completely unlike what was represented in the movie. Of course, I'll have to watch it again to see if it gets any better.

Music out, a better crowd at the Wednesday night jam. My brother Mark and his wife Carrie came from Leitchfield, on their anniversary no less. He says they enjoyed it. I played and sang well.

Currently watching the 1994 miniseries of Stephen King's "The Stand" with my wife. Many young actors who later went on to successful careers. But, it reminds me how much I don't like Stephen King's stuff. Totally predictable, kind of preachy, blech.

Damn, I'm way behind on Music In. Plus have to sort out from what I had to reload after my C: drive crashed 9/2. We'll save that for another post.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Unknown Bird

Maybe overdid it a little today. Took a long cut -- Parkers Mill to Ft Springs-Pinkard to Old Versailles to Rosalie to Bosworth to Elkchester to Redd instead of Van Meeter to Elkchester to Redd -- to Old Frankfort. Then Paynes Depot to Waizenberger Mill through Midway to Spring Hill Station. Then KY 1685 back to Old Frankfort to Pisgah Pike to Military. 41.9 miles, 3h29m, 1 stop, max speed 33 mph. I thought about taking 1685 across US 60 north of Versailles, then coming back through Versailles from the north-west. Glad I didn't, pooped enough as is.

Saw what I think was a new bird I think west of Midway. It was a small hawk (smaller than 2 crows sitting near it on a fence), stripes across its tail, and a light head. I think this might have been a sharp-shinned hawk, which looks like a cooper's hawk but is smaller.

Bill O'Reilly was interviewed in parade magazine today. Talked about Lincoln, and, if he were around today, he'd be a Republican: "I don't think he wanted a social welfare system. I think he wanted people to be self-reliant ..."

Quel bull. I will reproduce again this Lincoln quote that I like a lot. It sounds to me like Lincoln believed in "social justice". Try to get a modern republican to say those words without their head exploding.

It is the eternal struggle between these two principles — right and wrong — throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity, and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, “You toil and work and earn bread, and I’ll eat it.” No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle.

–Abraham Lincoln, Seventh and Last Joint Debate with Steven Douglas, held at Alton, Illinois, Oct. 15, 1858.

I became aware of this quote because it is in Copland's "Lincoln Portrait", at around the 10:50 point. I have the Philadelphia Orchestra version with Adlai Stevenson narrating. Here it is with what sounds like James Earl Jones narrating. The quote is at around 10:05.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


So played 6 straight tonight. Drippin' sweat when done. Somehow most of the audience decided to leave during this period. Somewhat discouraging. But I'm figuring it was just they had alarms set for 10:00 pm, of course, not that I sucked. I had my good friend and most excellent guitarist Ron Northrip behind me for the 1st three, and my good friend and most excellent guitarist King William (Allen) on the 2nd guitar for the 2nd three. I played:
  1. "I Got Loaded", the Tab Benoit version. Struggled somewhat.
  2. "Who Do You Love". Hadn't done this for a while, worked well. A good jam.
  3. "Roadhouse Blues". Fuzzy (Steve) the harp player called it. It's fun to play and sing, but there is for some reason some serious anti-Doors sentiment at the jam.
  4. "Stuff You Gotta Watch" (Muddy Waters, recently covered by Levon Helm) for the second time. Not too bad, the band seems to like it.
  5. "I'm Ready", another Muddy Waters song, that I had been attributing incorrectly to Buddy Guy. Worked well.
  6. "Rollin' and Tumblin'". A cross between the Cream and the Jeff Beck/Imogen Heap versions. This is the favorite of my friend Ron of the songs I do. He was on keys for it. Erik Shields the drummer calls this song, he likes it, I am honored, he is such a completely solid musician. It is a workout. If I'm not sweating when I start this song, I am when I finish.
My lead playing was mediocre. Need to practice more playing the faster stuff with an open right hand. I have been practicing more lately. I skip leads on any songs that really needs the rhythm guitar to carry the song, like "Rollin' and Tumblin'". Plus, in general, I think that there are too many solos in the jam format.

Allen the drummer was really kicking it tonight. It was (our alpha guitarist) Lindsay Olive's birthday (58), they played some of his jazzy compositions at the end, with the 2nd guitarist being our beta guitarist David Ponder. Really well done. David says he's going to come out more.

Monday, September 26, 2011


So this past Sunday, I biked a route that I have done many times before, but for the first time in the opposite direction. I went straight out Delaney Ferry. Then, south on KY 33 to Cummings Ferry to Pauls Mill to KY 33 south of Troy, which I have always done the other way. Then back in Keene Rd. 2h24m 30.1 miles. The stretch on KY 33 seemed less steep than coming the other way. And Pauls Mill near KY 33 I have often thought was odd, in that it looks flat but you pick up speed. Coming the other way, it is definitely a hill -- duh.

On Pauls Mill, I think I saw a red-bellied woodpecker, which would be a new one. It has a red mohawk.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Biked north this morning, Van Meter to Redd to Paynes Depot, west on Moore's Mill towards Equus Run vineyard, but then north again on Cane Run over I-64 to Ironworks Pike. Back in Yarnallton to Spurr past the prisons, then Greendale to Alexandria and home through the baseball park. 3h0m, 37.3 miles, 2 stops, top speed 34.2 mph. I had checked the radar before I left and it looked like I might get rained on towards the end, but I figured, what the hey? I did get misted on the last 1/2 hour or so. But neither the roads or my brakes got particularly wet, so it was kind of nice.

I saw a good sized red-tailed hawk on Greendale.

I finished reading "The Name of the Wind", by Patrick Rothfuss. An OK read I guess, but clearly part 1 of a 2000 page novel. The hero is telling his life story over 3 days, day 1 is done at no particular stopping point, so clearly this volume must be over. None of the characters seem very self aware, which seems kind of annoying. The protagonist is only supposed to be 15-17 years old (which you forget because he has so many superpowers) so I guess that's his excuse.

Went from there straight into "Circle of Enemies", the 3rd Twenty Palaces novel by Harry Connolly. Supernatural noir cheap detective fare, definitely popcorn for the mind. Reading science fiction, I feel like it's not totally escapist, that you do get new concepts, and real glimpses at possible futures. Fantasy, no such excuses. It is strictly escapist. I think that the 6 months I recently finished of working two jobs and working 7 days a week has left me fried to the point where escapism is mostly what I'm up for. Maybe I'll read something worthwhile -- maybe even non-fiction! -- before I retire in 3-4 years, maybe not.

I also finished the 2nd novel by Lauren Beukes, "Zoo City". Kind of more noir and magical realism than cyberpunk. A very good read.

Got "Thor" to watch on the Apple TV tonight, woo-hoo! Hard to believe Kenneth Branagh directed that. iTunes recently had his excellent mystery "Dead Again" (1991) on sale for $4.99, so we purchased and watched it. Great movie.

I've played OK at the jam the last few weeks. Had a good new drummer, Ken Baker, behind me last week. Called "Summertime Blues", "Rollin and Tumblin", and "All Along the Watchtower". Then got to do 3 more playing lead guitar behind someone else. I ducked out of there early, hit Lynagh's. Talking to Tim the bartender/drummer/singer about Levon Helm's recent work, he mentioned how he gets to channel Levon when they recreate "The Last Waltz", which some great local musicians have been doing for 6-7 years now around Thanksgiving. He said they try to get new people every year, and suggested I could maybe do the Muddy Waters "Mannish Boy" number!!! Holy crap, I'm not worthy! But, we'll see what happens.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tropical Storms

Last weekend was 60's cold and rainy -- after having been 97 degrees 3 days before -- as Tropical Storm Lee met a Canadian cold front as it made its way to Ohio. At one point the low pressure cell was sitting over southern Ohio and dropping moisture from the Great Lakes onto us.

Tropical Storm Lee formed in the southern Gulf of Mexico, west of the Yucatan peninsula, and worked its way up the Gulf Coast until it decided to head north when it hit Alabame. Nate is there now. Lee was formed there a couple of weeks ago. At one point the NHC maps showed Lee crossing into northern Florida from the Gulf at the same time as an Atlantic hurricane made landfall in northern Florida. Could they join for a 2x hurricane? Lee decided to head north through Alabama, and the Atlantic hurricane (Katia?) stayed offshore, so we didn't find out. Unfortunately, I'm sure we will find out soon enough :-( I don't remember tropical storms forming in the Gulf like this. Double hurricanes, yeouch.

So I did walk Dexter yesterday morning and bike this morning with pretty much the same results as 2 weekends ago: 1/2 hour of knee pain walking, hours of knee-pain-free bicycling. Biked out Delaney Ferry through Mortonsville to McCowans Ferry. Back in on the west side Versailles bypass to Dry Ridge to Military Pike to Parkers Mill. 2h38m, 1 stop, 36.1 miles, top speed 37.4 mph. I must have been tired on some hilly stretch to let myself go that fast.

Finished reading "Darwin's Bastards", a collection of Canadian science fiction short stories, edited by Zsuzsi Gartner. I think it was a birthday (or solstice) gift from one of my children (Alexis?). Anyway, very interesting stories. A lot of them kind of fragmentary, seeming to stop in the middle of nowhere, missing the normal nice ribbons and bows of clear meaning. Post-modern maybe? Very enjoyable.

Started on "The Name of the Wind", by Patrick Rothfuss. A high fantasy, 1st book of the Kingkiller trilogy, rave reviews on the jacket blurbs. Going OK I guess.

So this is the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Several people have posted that they would turn off their TVs to spare themselves the excesses of the punndits, etc. Not a problem for me as I never watch that kind of stuff. But the newspaper had a bunch of commentary, and several blogs I read did as well.

Clearly the loss of 2800 lives of people from all over the world was a tragedy. And the first responders to the twin towers did what they do for a living: they were heroes, putting the welfare of others above their own. The passengers of the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania did the same thing: they put the welfare of others above their own.

So how does America honor the sacrifice of those who put themselves in harms way, as well as the innocent victims? Aside from flag-waving and meaningless pontification, in my opinion, not so well.

This editorial by Louis Friedman compares how America responded to the Cold War vs the War on Terror. He summarizes:

We used the cold war to reach the moon and spawn new industries. We used 9/11 to create better body scanners and more T.S.A. agents. It will be remembered as one of the greatest lost opportunities of any presidency — ever.
We started 2 wars, and instead of raising taxes as had been done in the past for wars, taxes were lowered. Ask the rest of America to sacrifice to do the right thing? Apparently not. And now that the bill has come due, let's cut Medicare, Medicaid, the EPA, OSHA, and everything else that stands in the way of robber barons in industry and finance. Republican politics at its finest.

And this decade has seen the outsourcing of war-making to private corporations. How much are their lobbyists going to be doing to further world peace? Maybe, not much? Just has the outsourcing of prisons is leading to record incarceration levels as their lobbyists push for stricter and stricter sentencing to "fight crime". But NYC has figured out how to lower crime rates without putting half of your young adult males in prison, as detailed here.

I am an American exceptionalist. I believe that the USA is the greatest country in the world. Why? Because we are the melting pot that accepts the best and brightest from all over the world, and where any entrepreneur can become a billionaire. We've always had a "can-do" attitude, and the knowledge that if we pulled together and maybe sacrificed a little for the common good, that we could accomplish anything.

But, if politicians keep bowing to the ignorant conservative factions in the country over things like teaching evolution (we are the only country in the world where this is an issue), and responding to serious problems with knee-jerk lizard-brain reactions and flag waving, then we are throwing away our potential. Instead of a political discussion based on solving serious problems and promoting the common good, we have nothing but unbridled greed, and every billionaire and corporation for themself. Self-sacrifice? No way, some of these people don't belong to my country club!

This was another good post about 9/11. At the end, he says:

I can’t shake the feeling that, in ways we don’t want to admit, the terrorists have won something. It gave us fear, and the will to attack. It changed our hearts and minds.
So we now have The Bush Doctrine, which says we will attack first if we feel threatened. It used to be a point of national honor that we never struck the first blow. But now, we've become such cowards that if we are feeling threatened or uneasy, out come the cruise missiles. And, Osama Bin Laden said he wanted to bankrupt us. The paper today says that the cost of our 9/11 response is currently at $3.3 trillion. That seems low to me.

I know that the ties of clan, tribe and country are strong. But sometimes we forget that people from over 90 countries died in the World Trade Center towers. After 9/11, we had the entire world on our side, and then we pissed it all away.

We should also remember that the 9/11 terrorists primary justification for attacking us, aside from general dislike for our cultural imperialism, was the placement of US troops in their Holy Land (Saudi Arabia) in the first Gulf War. But do we try to do anything serious to get us off our foreign oil dependency that has led us to 3 mideast wars in the last 20 years? Of course not, not when it might upset the profits of the current energy barons.

So people will today and for years to come stop to remember loved ones lost, or just the fear and uneasiness we all felt on 9/11/2001. I wonder though, if we will ever have maybe 10 seconds of silence for the 150,000 civilian casualties in Iraq, whose blood is on the hands of our reckless leaders of the time -- no, whose blood is on all of our hands.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Wheels == Good; Feet == Bad

So took a half-hour walk with Dexter yesterday morning. Knee started hurting almost immediately, fought off limping the whole way.

This morning, biked 39.25 miles, 3h6m, Waizenberger Mill Rd to Midway, then Hedden to Big Sink and back through Versailles. 5 or so degrees cooler than last week, very pleasant, but tired at the end. But, no knee pain at all for the entire ride. So I think in retirement I'll start every day with a 2 hr bike ride.

That Arthotec seems to have quit helping with the knee pain. I'll check with the doctor, see what he says. If it isn't helping, might as well quit taking it.

So I'm sitting at the bar at Azur and someone asks me if I golf. "No???" I reply. They point out that I have tan forearms, a tan line at the wrist and hands much less tan. They had assumed golfing gloves. "No, biking gloves". I hadn't noticed at all. Great, a biking tan. Another couple of years and it will probably be like my soccer tan, where my shins and ankles tan pretty much not at all.

We've had a single hummingbird using our feeders for a while. Nice to see them again.

OK, on to music. Stuff added in June and July:

  • Lykke Li, "Youth Novels" (2008). Classified this as Euro Pop rather than Chick Pop, despite the female lead singer. Has that Euro Pop peppiness about it. Nice tunes. 3 stars.
  • The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, "East-West" (1966). I have heard this album mentioned as being seminal so many times, and had meant to get it for quite a while, finally remembered to pull the trigger. This does have some seminal 60's blues tunes. Patty Butcher does a bunch of these: "Walkin Blues", "All These Blues". Ends with a 13 minute "jam" -- very early for a jam to be recorded -- that is really, really not very good. 3 stars, 2 for the jam.
  • Liam Finn, "Fomo". Very listenable alternative foo. More New Zealand alternative. 2nd generation rocker. 3 stars.
  • Fitz & The Tantrums, "Pickin' Up The Pieces". Yet another retro R&B artist trying to recapture the glory years of Motown. Works really well. 4 stars.
  • St. Vincent, "Marry Me" (2007), and "Actor" (2009). OK, I have to admit, I did a little bit of obsessing on Ms. Annie Clark, who is St. Vincent. Her orchestrations are compared to Kate Bush, very complex and odd. And seems really weird when she comes in playing very aggressive electric guitar. 4 stars for both albums, 5 stars for the track "Marry Me". I am such a romantic sap.
  • The Civil Wars, "Barton Hollow". A little close to modern country at times, we'll give it the benefit of the doubt and say it's Folk. Some nice tunes, 3 stars.
  • Bon Iver, "For Emma, Forever Ago". You think that the lead singer's mostly falsetto singing is going to get annoying, but it doesn't. Nice tunes, 3 stars.
  • "Johnny Cash's America". $5.00 special at Amazon. A couple of old favorites I hadn't remembered: "Don't Take Your Guns To Town" in particular. Some of the overly patriotic songs got an honorary 2 star religous rating.
    One song was crazy tho (too bad it's religious). "Children, Go Where I Send Thee", from his 1977 christmas special. Kind of does a "12 days of christmas" thing. So for the special, there's Johnny Cash and his wife June Carter Cash kicking it off; Carl Perkins, who was the band leader, dressed and with hair like an early 60's hoodlum 20 years later, sharing a microphone with Roy Orbison; Jerry Lee Lewis sharing a microphone with Roy Clark; the Carter Sisters; the Statler Brothers; and 5 other guys -- I have no idea who they are, although one might be Ronnie Milsap. Here's the video on YouTube, bizarre.
  • Joss Stone, "LP1". A very workmanlike offering from Ms. Stone, who can at this point be relied upon to produce solid albums. 3 stars.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Stadium Arcadium" (2006). Recommended by Grant at Azur. A double album, 29 tracks total, and I think, not a single bad track. But, 29 tracks is a lot to digest, and after 5 or 6 listens, still only recognizing 1 or 2 songs. 3 stars.
That brings us up to the Unrated folder, currently at 87 tracks. My iTunes has passed 15,000 tracks. A few of times in the last few weeks, I felt like listening to classical while I worked. So just did search, for Mahler, or Tchaikovsky, or Borodin, or Beethoven, and then just listened to it all. Symphonies weren't in chronological order, the way I used to listen to them, but still, pretty easy and convenient.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Nice that being down to one job, I'm getting to read again. I need to remember that this blog is my exocortex and keep track of it here. I still follow my algorithm: no starting a book until the magazine stack is clear. The magazine stack is deemed clear when the most recent issue of "Wired" has been read.

So anyway, read on the iPad in Kindle format, "The Clockwork Rocket", by Greg Egan. Egan's physics, math, and computer science chops are scary good. Here I think maybe a little too much so. The exercise of setting a novel in an alternate universe in which the laws of physics are different -- the speed of light is a function of its frequency -- seems to be perhaps a bit too conceptual of an exercise. Like conceptual music winds up being not quite music, this winds up maybe not quite a story. But, actually, you do get involved in the plot and care about the characters. 3 stars.

Then read, based on a recommendation from Charlie Stross's blog, a $0.99 kindle special, "Child of Fire: A Twenty Palaces Novel", by Harry Connolly. Very noir, the central character is a thug who works for a secret society of stone-cold killers who take out magic users -- they are of course magic users themselves. Reminded me of the one Jim Butcher novel I read. Good comic book level material, lots of action and gore, worth the $0.99.

So I then bought the 2nd book in the series for $3.99, "Game of Cages: A Twenty Palaces Novel". About the same level of quality. The 3rd one is out in a couple of weeks, I'll be there. 3 stars for both.

One thing I like about the kindle book format is that these have under "Book Extras" a numbered list of the books in the series. How convenient! Several times I have had a problem, particularly with mystery/detective series, keeping track of what I have and haven't read. This should definitely help.

Next read in hardcover Charlie Stross's latest "Rule 34". I have a lot of his stuff in hardcover, so I will stick with that for a while longer. (Dan Simmons is another one I will do that way). I had thought that maybe Charlie was losing his edge, but this novel is right up there. The central characters are members of basically the Meme Police. The overall concepts of the novel are bizarre but scarily credible. 4 stars. BTW, Rule 34 of the Internet states that "If it exists, there is porn of it. No exceptions".

Finally, finished "Moxyland", by Lauren Beukes a couple of days ago. Near future South African cyperpunk. Somewhat existential (i.e., not a real strong narrative story arc), but great concepts. Yet another dystopia which stands out for the many different and new ways The Man has figured out how to stick it to us. 4 stars.

Maybe music tomorrow. Easier to catch up with that since it all comes through my iTunes client. Of course, most of my books, kindle or not, come through amazon, so my purchase history was used as source for this post. So even if I forget to enter in my exocortex, my friendly vendor remembers for me.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Only Have Eyes For You

So, a great 50's song, recorded by the Flamingos in 1959, right?

Wrong, written for the 1934 (horribly sexist) musical "Dames". Initially performed by a very young Dick Powell (in an excellent tenor), sung to Ruby Keeler (who looks like my cousin Peg). Here's one Youtube link. Here's another, with a little bit of the incredibly psychedelic Busby Berkely choreography.

After you know, you can clearly hear the 30's origin. The 1st one of these I had was "Let's Fall In Love", which I would have put at 50's until I got a 1934 recording of Annette Hanshaw doing it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Biking (yawn)

Took the Heritage Trail to the Horse Park today. 15.8 miles. Came back Yarnallton, Elkchester and Van Meter. 35.8 miles, 2h44m. 7-8 degrees hotter than last week, I was dying when I got home. Breezy today too. Funny how quickly a breeze can go from "so nice and cooling" to "f#cking headwind".

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Thursday evening, I was on my lower patio cleaning up after grilling out, and our Cooper's Hawk came swooping down maybe 8 ft in front of my nose. She was 3 ft behind a dove. Crazy.

Went for a short walk with Dexter yesterday morning. Malone to Beaumont Pkwy, then the path to the park and home. 2.3 miles, maybe 45 minutes. Bursitic knee hurting after 10 minutes. After coming through the park, 3 very sharp pains -- ouch! So I think I'm going to try to take very short walks -- just around the block or so -- every day.

Biking this morning was great. The heat has finally broken -- actually cool at 11:30, current temparature at 1:45 is 74. Took Parker's Mill to Military Pike to Dry Ridge (which has signs "Hills -- danger, 35 MPH"). I was going to take 33 back through Versailles, but I was feeling pretty good, so I continued west on Scott's Ferry to McCowan's Ferry, then into Versailles and back by Huntertown Rd and Military Pike. 34.8 miles, 2h39m, 1 stop.

Blog posts seem pretty boring lately. From December to late June, I was working two jobs, a day job and my own startup, which didn't leave much time for any interesting thoughts. Mercifully just working on the startup since late June. So maybe some spare time soon, more than just biking and birds, I swear!

Saturday, August 06, 2011


Last week just did 16.4 miles, out Parkers Mill through Little Texas, back in McGee, James and Military pike.

This morning did 26.3, Van Meter to Redd to Psynes Mill, back in US 60 to Shannawood to McGee, James, and Military pike. Still hot and humid but a little better than the last couple of weeks.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The World's Greatest Dog

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of biking 21.5 miles with my charming middle daughter. We went through Keene and came back via Clear Creek, 169, Woods Ln, and Delaney Ferry. We also visited Blockbuster and the Beaumont library in an unsuccessful quest for the movie "Green Card".

This morning, I was going to go to the falls at Waizenberger Mill, but it was already getting nasty hot when I left at 9:00, and after 5 miles my bursitis started talking to me (it shut up after only a few minutes), so I decided to make it short. So I went Van Meter to Elkchester, back in Old Frankfort Pike and Alexandria. 16.1 miles, 1h18m, top speed 35.1 mph.

When we visited our graphic designer oldest daughter in Brooklyn a few weekends ago (did both the Met and the Brooklyn museum), I read my first novel on the iPad: "Fuzzy Nation", by John Scalzi. A reworking of a 40 YO short story, very old school, very readable. I think I will increasingly buy more books on the iPad in Kindle format ($11.99 for Kindle vs $15.99 for Apple eBook). I bought the new Greg Egan novel for $3.99!

I just finished "Songs of the Dying Earth", edited by Gardner Dozois and George R. R. Martin. Stories written in tribute to Jack Vance's "Dying Earth" stories, borrowing the settings, characters and tone. A fun read (770 pages), the authors contributing were definitely an all-star group. All of them wrote afterwords telling how they had discovered Jack Vance and how much the stories meant to them.

It reminded me that, in my sophomore or junior year of college, I wrote an English paper on one of the stories from the original Dying Earth collection. The story was "Chun the Unavoidable". Two of the stories in the new collection feature its characters. My English professor completely hated it, excoriated pretty much everything I said about the story, and gave me a lousy grade. I guess it's a matter of taste thing.

The World's Greatest Dog

Our dog Dexter, a 23 pound long-haired Jack Russell terrier, was 16 years old last month. We've had Dexter since he was a puppy.

Before Dexter we had a small black terrier mix named Shadow.  He was an outdoor dog with a doghouse.  He got one of the support ropes for a volleyball net that was set up in the back yard wrapped around his neck and strangled.

Dexter was always laid back.  Back when we were always at soccer games, he submitted to a 3 pound and a 4 pound yorkie.  So he was not a "good" Jack Russell -- they are supposed to be very aggressive and hyper. Dexter has always been great around people, particularly children.  He doesn't care one way or the other about other dogs (neutered at an early age).  He hates squirrels, is not very fond of birds either, and one evening a few years ago, when he was tethered in the back yard, he was kicking the shit out of a small possum -- circling and darting in for the neck grab and shake.  He grew into a fine looking dog -- when walking him, you invariably get "what a pretty dog" comments.  The dog on the box of Small Milkbones looks like him.

I was never much of a dog person, but I really came to like Dexter because, in addition to his laid back personality, he has proven to be very smart. Here is the story I tell about how I became impressed with his intelligence.

At one point, the females of the family decided Dexter was lonely.  So they bought another Jack, a small short-haired female that we named Ripley.  Ripley made Dexter's life miserable.  She would attack and bite him.  But here's where Dexter outsmarted her.  He was playing with a toy, and, as usual, Ripley came and took it away from him.  So he went and got another toy, one that he didn't like, and started playing with is in a very exaggerated manner, throwing it up in the air and shaking it more vigorously than normal.  So Ripley drops the first toy and comes and takes the second one away.  Dexter then immediately goes and gets the first  toy, carries it to where Ripley can't see him, and resumes playing with it.

So Dexter perceived a desired future outcome; made a plan to achieve it; and executed his plan.  In cognitive science, this is called intentionality.  It shows high-order intelligence. (BTW, my wife found Ripley a new home with an older woman down in Monticello, KY.)

Dexter still jumps and gets air when he thinks he's going out or for a walk, or getting a treat.  "Stop it, old man, you'll hurt yourself".  He still runs in the back yard.  It's nice, when I'm grilling out, I can leave him loose now.  He's mostly deaf, but he can hear my loudest whistle and will come back in the yard if he strays.  I keep  2-3 milkbones in my pocket, he gets one every time he comes in when I beckon him to.

He's mostly deaf, losing his sight, and maybe his smell.  He sometimes can't find treats on the floor.  Coming up steps now sometimes he slips and bangs his chest;  he gets confused walking around obstacles and bangs his head.  And he sleeps most of the day.

I haven't been walking him near as much this summer, due more to my bursitis than the heat.  In the spring we were still taking 1h15m to 1h30m walks.  But it is nice that I'm working out of the house.  I leave him in the back in the mornings.  When I get back from lunch I let him outside, then let him hang out with me the rest of the day.  At 4:00 we go out and get the mail. He sleeps at various places in the office or family room.

He was at the vet last summer, the vet says it's unusual to see a Jack that old.  Their normal, aggressive behavior includes things such as picking fights with bigger dogs and chasing cars which tend to be longevity-limiting.  So Dexter's laid-back attitude has stood him well.  The Sambi's over by the pool had a Jack about Dexter's size that lived to be 17-1/2.

So anyway, we've got him a while longer, and again, I'm glad that I've got this period to spoil him a little in his waning years.  Like I told someone, when I'm his age, I would like it if I got a treat every time I went to the bathroom.  And, he has really improved my apprecation of "man's best friend".  Dogs plan, execute, feel sorrow, guilt, and other emotions we have taught them.  I would estimate a smart dog like Dexter has around 0.6 of a human soul.

I'll miss him when he's gone.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Great Man Theory

Took another short bike ride Sunday morning: 19.7 miles, Delaney Ferry to 169 to Keene and back in Keene Rd. Knee feels pretty good most of the time now but occasionally flares up in sharp pain :-( One thing about biking vs walking tho -- walking, you adjust your walk, up to and including limping, trying to avoid the pain. That gets your muscles sore, and your good leg as well. On a bike, you're pretty much constrained in how your leg can move, so this is avoided. "There's no limping on a bicycle". Sounds like a good t-shirt or something.

The Great Man Theory posits that history advances because of the superhuman efforts of Great Men, without whom the masses would flounder rudderless. It is generally promoted by Objectivists, Libertarians, and Conservatives, as a justification for keeping power in the hands of the few rather than in the hands of the many.

I read an article about the making of the movie of Ann Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" -- in which The Great Men get tired of carrying the world on their shoulders and drop out -- and it talked about what a hard time the film-makers had not making the main characters seem like vain, conceited, self-centered, selfish pricks.

Easy to understand their difficulty. The more I learn about this mindset, the more I am repulsed by the self-centered attitudes, the inflated egos, the sense of self-indulgence, self-importance and self-entitlement. Some recent examples:

  • The chairman of BP declaring "he wanted his life back" after the gulf oil spill that killed 9 workers. Those men's families might have a slightly more valid claim to wanting lives back than this prick does. I think he did have to miss a yacht race he was supposed to compete in.
    So often we forget the sacrifices of the common workers -- the tens or hundreds who died building the Hoover Dam, or the Empire State Building, or any other of man's great works.
  • The Tea Party spokesperson who, in defending Michelle Bachmann's incomprehensible claim that "the founding fathers worked ceaselessly from the time of the signing of the constitution to get rid of slavery", stated that "there are many forms of slavery". So here is a presumably wealthy, 21st century white male comparing his having to may more taxes than he would like to an 18th century African, kidnapped, shipped to America in chains, and treated as an animal for his entire life. "Forms of slavery" -- completely insipid, repulsive and disgusting.
  • And not to be outdone in his arrogance and self-serving behavior, our own oh-so-embarrassing Senator Random Paul, randomly goes on a rant that declares that "if there is universal health care, then doctors will be slaves". Did I mention that he is a doctor? In a specialty where the average annual salary is $163,836? Actually kind of low compared to other specialities. I'm sure your 18th century slave would be very sympathetic to his plight -- imagine, having to take care of patients all the time. Wait, isn't that what doctors are supposed to do? And paid very well to do it?
So do the Great Men have a point? I believe, absolutely not.

In 1997 I had a year working for Pitney Bowes. At one point they had an IP (Intellectual Property) lawyer come in to teach us about the importance of software patents and other forms of IP. I decided to have some fun with the guy, so I spent a few minutes declaiming, according to modern memetic theory:

  1. That as replicators, memes were a form of life.
  2. That they chose human brains as their habitat and breeding grounds was immaterial.
  3. That I chose not to enslave this newly-discovered life form with strictures like patents and DRM.
  4. "Free the memes!"
Heh heh heh. I definitely got some nut job points from that guy.

But, really it is not that far off. If you look back through history, there are countless cases of simultaneous invention:

  • Newton and Leibnitz simultaneously developing The Calculus.
  • Darwin and Wallace both formulating Evolution at around the same time.
  • From the wikipedia article on Marconi, "the inventor of the radio": "There was controversy whether his contribution was sufficient to deserve patent protection, or if his devices were too close to the original ones developed by Hertz, Popov, Branley, Tesla, and Lodge to be patentable."
  • The great American inventor Edison was constantly trying to outdo his great rival Tesla.
The memes circulate through all our brains, and the more memes you let circulate, and the bigger your brain is, the more chance that the memes will breed and a new idea will be born. But the same memes are shared by a multitude of minds, so the parallel development of new memes it not at all surprising.

So are their great men, who have great ideas, and create great theories, or build great companies? Yes, there are. But are there irreplacable Great Men? No, there aren't. If they decided to opt out, the forces of memetics and history would push someone else into the role. And if that person didn't handle it quite as well, then history might be a little different, for the worse. But if that other person handled it better, then history might be a little different, for the better.

The other piece of this rant is that, modern software patent law is awful. The patent office has had no clue re prior art or obviousness. I have been involved in two software patent lawsuits. In one the patent was violated by the Unix operating system, which predated the patent by 25 years. In both, if I took a 2nd year computer science student and told them, "I need a system to accomplish X", they would have generated a system pretty much identical to what was patented. So how then is it that the patent is not deemed "obvious"?

The software patent situation is getting worse and worse, constricting the industry, and stifling innovation. And it doesn't look like anyone is going to try and do anything about it anytime soon. After all, what percentage of our lawmakers are lawyers, who make big bucks ($ millions on the average software patent lawsuit) on this system?

Sunday, July 03, 2011


Biked this morning, 16.4 miles in 1h16m. I got diagnosed with bursitis (inflammation of the bursae) in my right knee a couple of months ago. My doc gave me samples of a new strong NSAID Arthrotec, that seemed to bring the pain under control -- no pain, no limping. It came back with a vengeance 2 weeks ago. I went on and got a script for the Arthrotec -- 90 day supply (2 a day), $125 copay, $477 cost. I like my doc, but he really seems to like to write scripts for the newest drugs, cost be damned. So I've been taking it since Wednesday, seems to be helping, but I think I'm going to keep the biking under 2 hours. That's long enough for several seriously aerobic incidents going up hills to occur. I may forgo walking the dog for a while. He is now 16 YO and still loves to walk. Walking seems to be worse on the knee than biking.

Lots of new music since that last mega-music-post. The only thing that made 4 stars was some tracks off of the new Gorillaz album "The Fall". All albums are 2011 except as noted.

  • Robbie Robertson, "How To Become Clairvoyant". Robbie's 1st album in 11 years, great to hear it. Eric Clapton plays on most of the tracks. Well-balanced, but no real standouts. 3 stars.
  • Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, eponymous (2009). Some nice quirky stuff, apparently a lot of people like "Home". 3 stars.
  • Oh Land, eponymous. Another chick/euro pop singer, transported to Brooklyn. A nice first effort, 3 stars.
  • Les Nubians, "Nu Revolution". Nice, listenable world music, no real standout tracks. 3 stars.
  • Gorillaz, "The Fall". A great follow-up to their previous album. 3 stars, with 6 4-star tracks that were just great songs.
  • Freelance Whales, "Weathervanes". Death Cab for Cutie, with a banjo player. Nice emo/alternative tunes, 3 stars.
  • The Naked and Famous, "Passive Me, Aggressive You". Hot New Zealand alternative band, nice solo effort, nothing really standing out tho. 3 stars.
  • Fleet Foxes, "Helplessness Blues". Man, their prior 1st album came in under the radar, this one got a ton of attention. Not a bad follow-up, but I like the 1st better. 3 stars.
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "It's Blitz!" (2009). Good tracks, great for a techno club. 3 stars.
  • Stevie Nicks, "The Wild Heart" (1983). Don't remember what prompted me to buy this. A couple of hits -- "If Anyone Falls" and "Stand Back". I've always liked Stevie. 3 stars.
  • Moby, "Destroyed". Nothing special, 3 stars.
  • Florence + The Machine, "Lungs". I liked this a lot. Some good quirky tunes. 3 stars.
  • My Morning Jacket, "Circuital". The Louisville band continues to get better and better press and become increasingly a national star. 3 stars, 4 for "Wonderful (The Way I Feel)".
  • Death Cab for Cutie, "Codes and Keys". Relatively disappointing. 3 stars.
  • Kate Bush, "The Dreaming" (1982). I thought I was buying a new Kate Nash album, whoops. I had run across Kate Bush before when I put "Running Up That Hill", which she wrote, in my songbook. She's had quite a career, she's much better known in the UK than the US. Known for very creative and odd orchestration, evident in these tracks. 3 stars.
  • Maroon 5, "It Won't Be Soon Before Long." (2008). I'd had Maroon 5 recommended by several people, and this was on Amazon, 18 tracks for $5.00. It reminds me of Jamie Lidell, white pop singers recreating motown R&B. But I like Jamie Lidell's voice better. 3 stars.
Well, that leaves us with only 4 albums in the Unrated list. Enough for now.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Startling Beauty

A few nights ago I had 4 mockingbirds at the back feeders; I guess I know now who's eating the suet cakes. Nice to have mockingbirds back.

A beautiful goldfinch came swooping up to the front (thistle) feeder , and a tiny (fearless) chickadee was hopping around 2 feet in front of my face. The (male) goldfinch popped his wings to brake and made a golden flash that was so startlingly beautiful, it made my heart ache. And I thought, "Well, I guess that the $8.50 a bag for thistle seed is totally worth it." -- duh. Startling beauty is always all around us, if we take the time to see it.

Replaced my bird bath yesterday. The old one was metal and was more holes and patches than metal. I started out patching with lead exoxy, then switched to silly putty (don't ask) when I ran out of epoxy. The new one is plastic, fits into the same holder, and holds more water. I haven't seen any birds use it yet, but it's rained a lot the last two days.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Biked Today

I missed last weekend. My granddaughter Lucy was here with her parents, which gave me a great excuse to dodge the nasty 90+ heat.

Heat has finally broken. Did 28.9 miles this morning, 2h25m, 1 stop, top speed 35.4 mph. Parkers Mill to Ft. Springs / Pinkard to Old Versailles to Rosalie to Bosworth to Elkchester to Redd to Old Frankfort to Paynes Depot to Waizenberger Mill. Back in Leestown to Alexandria, out Parkers Mill and cut through Cardinal Run park.

No sun the whole way, about 77 degrees, cool breezes. What a relief!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Libertarian Varieties

Just walked Dexter 40 minutes this morning -- already nasty hot at 9:45. Biked 28.7 miles yesterday to Paul's Mill Rd. 2h18m, 1 stop. I thought about biking again this morning (Memorial Day), but my legs were pretty sore. Dexter and I did 1h20m Saturday morning, but it was 10-15 degrees cooler. In the hot weather, I'm going to try to keep his walks below 45m. He will be 16 YO next month.

So when politics comes up around any of my Libertarian WRAs (WRA == Work Related Acquaintance), I pretty much just start shouting at them. I am filled with righteous anger, and desire solely to verbally smite them. So, I got to thinking, why does this make me so mad?

I believe that it is because most conservative politics violates one of my 3 basic principles of life (blogged here, in my first ever post): #3, Children are Sacred. The belief means to me that the top priority of any civilization is to make sure that all mothers have access to the best prenatal care; that all children have enough to eat, a place to live, education, and health care. And sure, up to age 18.

Opposed to this view, conservatives, of which Libertarians are currently the most prickish, do not care if children go hungry. They are more interested in trying to regain the status quo of feudal times: of kings and lords with everything, and peasants and serfs with nothing.

I am a Jeffersonian democrat: I believe that this country will not achieve its full potential until "all men are created equal". And to me, this cannot happen without taking care of our children as described above.

Conservatives say, it's the parents' responsibility to take care of their own children. It's nice when that works out. But, children do not have a choice to be born, nor into what family they will be born (unless they're a bodhisattva ;->). If they are born into a family that has been destitute for generations, without a social safety net to assure them access to food, health care, and the best education, then they are not "created equal".

How can anyone argue that we can go wrong if our goal as a country it to attempt to maximize the possibilities for every child? I perk up every time I see a reference to the "economy of plenty", rather than the "economy of scarcity". I firmly believe we can get there; that Jebus was wrong when he said "the poor are with you always".

On the other side of the coin, here's some lyrics from the (pessimistic and homophobic) 70's song by Ten Years After, "I'd Love To Change The World":

Tax the rich, feed the poor
Til there are rich no more.
Are we ever going to get rid of the rich? I totally doubt it. I believe in the free enterprise system. I believe hard work and good ideas will result in new companies and new billionaires. This is a good thing. (Half of the world's richest 50 people were self-made, the other half inherited.) But I believe that they need to pay their fair share of taxes, which is, however much it takes to balance the budget.

There have been numerous articles on the shocking levels of wealth inequality; here's one. In the last 40 years, the top 1% has had their income and net worth increase ~600%, the next 9% has gone up 8%, the bottom 90% has gone down. Reagan's busting the unions helped. Trickle-down economics don't work for crap.

And now the Republicans are insisting, cut this, cut that. How about instead we get rid of the Bush Tax cuts for starters? And get estate taxes reasonable again?

The deficit is such a smokescreen issue. Sure, we can balance the budget by restricting abortion; by getting rid of OSHA and the EPA; by getting rid of everything conservatives don't like. I balanced the budget -- it was easy. And I did not cut defense spending.

Why do the ultra-rich want more, more, more? What did I read the other day -- "When money rules you, it becomes a bucket with no bottom". When you go from millions to 100s of millions to billions to 10s of billions, it surely must quit being about anything real -- after all, how many houses, cars, boats, planes, helicopters can you really manage? It just becomes score-keeping, and they want to make sure that their score is highest. That's OK, but not when there are children hungry

And our Libertarian senator, Random Paul. What an embarrassment. Determined to stick to his Libertarian principles. Known so far for his dislike of low flush toilets and CFC lightbulbs, and his contention that universal health care would enslave doctors and other healthcare professionals. Oh, BTW, did you know he was a doctor? A mealy-mouthed, self-entitled prick of one?

So anyway, I have a new, kindler, gentler strategy for talking with Libertarians. I will attempt to determine what variety of Libertarian they are. Are they a:

  • selfish prick me, me, me libertarian;
  • ignorant dupe of billionaire polluters, financial fraud con artists, embezzlers, and thieves libertarian;
  • willing accomplice of the above libertarian;
  • all of the above.
That will surely open more of a dialogue ;->

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Finally, after being rained out 4 Sundays in a row, I got to bike this morning.

When Keeneland is running, I go south rather than west or north to avoid the traffic. Keeneland was like April 9-30 this year, so after 4 weeks off, it was nice to go north. Van Meter to Elkchester to Old Frankfort Pike to Piscah Pike to Shannon Rd and back in Military Pike. 2h10m, 1 stop, 25.3 miles, max speed 34.1 mph.

Saw a kingbird while biking. Also a glimpse of what may have been a large woodpecker, but I just got the glimpse.

Yesterday there were 5 chickadees who flew from our feeders in the back of the yard to the crabapple tree in the front of the yard. I'm guessing a breeding pair and 3 young ones, as some of them were kind of clueless: landing on branches far too small to hold them and then dangling upside down. The bird books say that you can train chickadees to eat from your hand. I believe it, I have had them come within a few feet of me when I'm grilling.

A couple of weeks ago, walking Dexter on Man-O-War Blvd, we spooked a hawk into flying from a lamppost on our side of the street to a lamppost right in front of Dunbar. It was a big hawk with what looked like an upside-down W across its forewings and back. No three tail bars, so not a Cooper's Hawk. No red tail, so not a Red-Tailed Hawk? I've checked 3 bird books and my birding app, not sure what kind of hawk it was.

Had an excellent dinner at Azur last night, a grouper special and a thick pork chop special that was most excellent. I almost didn't get the pork chop because it came with fried plantains, of which I'm not a big fan. But, they were BBQ'ed, and delicious.

Anyway, internationally renowned guitarist, the inimitable Ben Lacy was playing. Always such a pleasure to listen to Ben and chat with him. I was telling him how I tell the story all the time of my giving up playing with a pick because he told me I had too, but how I still struggled with fast solo stuff playing open-handed. He then went on about, for some of that stuff a pick is better for playing faster, but he avoids it because then it becomes just all about fast, instead of, fast is a given, now let's move beyond that. He was dissing Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and that general guitar shredding school of playing as being mostly popular with 14 YO boys. Periodically I read a glowing review of one these guys albums, and whenever I check it out, I'm always disappointed. So I think I agree with him on that one.

I enjoy so much getting to talk guitar and music with someone as accomplished as Ben is. Rob used to kid me 5-6 years when we first were seeing Lacy at High On Rose and I was raving about how good he was, calling him my boyfriend. An evening out listening to Lacy and chatting is definitely one of my favorite things in the world.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Music, Music, Music

No biking today, rain from 4 to 10 am. But Dexter and I had a nice 1h20m walk after the radar gave the all clear. So I will take this opportunity to get caught up on, what 7 months of new music?

Lots of good stuff. I appear to be a total sucker for peppy pop and emo stuff. God, it goes back to liking early Todd Rundgren. Well, here we go:

  • Phoenix. From Versailles, France, with southern accents. Wow, I gave all four of their albums, "United", "Alphabetical", "It's Never Been Like That", and "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix", 4 stars. My favorite song was "Long Distance Call". Erica pointed me at them, her favorite was "If Ever I Feel Better".
  • I got another big dose of music from Erica at the winter solstice. Another peppy french band I also liked was Jamaica, "No Problem". They only got 3 stars tho. Here's one of their good ones.
  • "National Ransom" by Elvis Costello. Nothing special, 3 stars.
  • "Merriweather Post Pavilion", by Animal Collective, via Erica. Interesting, reminiscent of Department of Eagles, 3 stars.
  • eponymous, by Miike Snow, via Erica. More peppy euro-pop, 3 stars.
  • "The Cold Nose", by Department of Eagles. This was their 1st album, a very interesting contrast to their 2nd album "In Ear Park", which I gave 4 stars. There's much more experimentation with different styles, which had gelled for the 2nd album. 3 stars.
  • "Featuring Norah Jones", by Norah Jones. A compilation of Norah Jones performing with other people. Some great stuff, 4 stars. Who can resist "Baby It's Cold Outside", with Willie Nelson?
  • "Lost Where I Belong", by Andreya Triana, via WRFL. I really liked the beat of "Up In Fire" that I heard on the radio. But it's by far the best song on the album. 3 stars.
  • eponymous, by Brett Dennen, via Alexis. 3 stars. Of note is "All We Have". Quite the androgynous voice.
  • "I'm Having Fun Now", by Jenny and Johnny. Fairly mainstream popish with maybe a little country tinge occasionally. 3 stars, except I have "While Men Are Dreaming" 4 stars.
  • "The Winter of Mixed Drinks", by Frightened Rabbit. Very nice, more folky, 3 stars.
  • "Flamingo", by Brandon Flowers. I think he was the lead singer for The Killers. Good tunes, 3 stars.
  • "xx", by The xx. Decent alternative, 3 stars.
  • "All Delighted People", by Sufjan Stevens. No new ground from his earlier work, 3 stars. He does like long tracks: 11:40 and 8:09.
  • "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy", by Kanye West. This got great reviews, I figured I'd give it try. Mainstream rap/hip-hop just don't do much for me, 2 stars.
  • "Maintenant", by Gigi, via Erica. I put this in genre "Girl Groups", it's kind of got a Phil Spector production sound?!?!? Overall the album strikes me as "cute". 3 stars.
  • "Love and Its Opposite", by Tracey Thorn. This album really grew on me, 4 stars. Songs by a middle aged woman (former techno queen), about divorce, hormonal clashes with her teenage daughter. I love the chorus on "Long White Dress" which starts with the full band at 2:15. "And I filled my head with so much shit." -- nice lyrics. Also good is "Swimming".
  • "Strange Weather, Isn't It?", by !!!, via Erica. Kind of reminded me of Jamiroquai, funky dance music, I classified as R&B. 3 stars.
  • "Northern Lights-Southern Cross", by The Band. Their last studio album, somehow I missed it. "It Makes No Difference" another one of those Band songs that makes you feel like your guts have been ripped out. "Hobo Jungle" and "Arcadian Driftwood" were both new to me and very good. 4 stars.
  • "Brothers", by the Black Keys. These guys still don't do much for me, 3 stars.
  • "Halcyon Digest", by Deerhunter. So nice quirky alternative stuff here, 3 stars.
  • "The Man on the Moon II", by Kid Kudi, via Erica. Actually somewhat listenable for Rap/Hip-Hop. 3 stars.
  • "Sound of Silver", eponymous, and "This is Happening", by LCD Soundsystem, via Erica. NYC hipster dance music. I like that Wikipedia gives him their own genre: dance-punk.
  • "Big Echo" and "Talking Through Tin Cans", by The Morning Benders, via Erica. More peppy pop, young emo dudes. "Dammit Anna" blogged yesterday. 4 stars. Sigh.
  • "Astrocoast", by Surfer Blood, via Erica. Standard alternative stuff, decent tunes. 3 stars.
  • "King of the Beach", by Wavves, via Erica. Kind of like tripping surf music. 3 stars.
  • "Kiss Each Other Clean", by Iron & Wine. Nice tunes. 3 stars.
  • "Let's Roll", by Etta James (2003). I enjoyed this more than most blues I listen to. Ms. James still had it going on in 2003. BTW, watched "Cadillac Records" last night, about Chess Records, founded by Leonard Chess and Muddy Waters. Very interesting file, and Etta James plays a big part. 3 stars.
  • "Deerhoof Vs. Evil", by Deerhoof. The unique sound that almost puts them in to the "Unclassifiable" genre. Another good effort, 4 stars.
  • "The King Of Limbs", by Radiohead. It gets better with more listens, but still, nothing standout. 3 stars.
  • "21", by Adele. I like this less than her first, but some strong songs. The Rolling Stone review says she has taken over from Amy Winehouse as the R&B belter. Here's a nice video of Gwyneth Paltrow covering "Turning Tables". Oops, YouTube has taken it down. 4 stars.
  • "Rock 'n' Roll Party (honoring Les Paul)", by Jeff Beck. 20 tracks. The world's greatest living guitarist. Imelda May and her husband Darrel Hingham. Les Paul and Mary Ford songs. What a value! Here's "How High The Moon", and "Peter Gunn", featuring Trombone Shorty. 3 stars, with a couple of 4s.
  • "Wake Up!", by John Legend and the Roots. Protest songs and songs of freedom, somehow somewhat depressing??? 3 stars.
  • "Kaputt", by Destroyer. More emo, this time out of Vancouver, BC. All the songs sound alike -- but I like them all??? 4 stars??? Here's a sample. Takes a while to get going (and sounding like all the other songs on the album).
  • eponymous, by The Head And The Heart. Folky alternative, nice tunes. 3 stars.
  • "Towards The Sun", by Alexi Murdoch. Very folky, I like it less than his first. 3 stars.
  • "Go", by Jonsi. The lead singer of Sigur Ros. Swooping, very high, totally emo lyrics. But, somewhat uplifting. 3 stars
Phew! 7 more albums still in the Unrated list, we'll save those for next time. I've been leaving stuff there longer, letting it burn in more, that's working out much better.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Heuristic # 16,348

Heuristic # 16,348 states:
All songs with the woman's name "Anna" in them are good songs.
The Rule of Three (1st time's an accident; 2nd time's a coincidence; 3rd time's data) was fired by "Dammit Anna" by The Morning Benders. It's been stuck in my head for a couple of days now.

Anna song #1 was "Anna (Go To Him)", by Arthur Alexander, covered by the Beatles.

Anna song #2 was "Anna Begins", by Counting Crows. This is actually my favorite Counting Crows song.

The first two are in my song book. Both are fun to play and sing. #3 has fun guitar chords, but the vocals are a little high. Crap, look at the guys in the video. Young, young, young. We'll see.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Too Much Government

So you watch "Inside Job", and ask, where are the indictments? Where are the special prosecutors?

I read a piece a few days ago that said: after the S&L/Keating scandal of the 80's. there were many indictments and many convictions because, while the bad behavior was going on, Federal regulators were gathering data that later became evidence.

But, for the 2008 financial meltdown brought on by fraudulent behavior by the majority of Wall Street investment firms, there will be no indictments and no prosecutions, because the Bush administration got rid of ~90% of those Federal regulators.

So the bastards who almost destroyed the world economy will get off scott free with the 100s of millions of bonuses they paid themselves.

So when any politician says there is "too much government", realize that they are saying that "If there were even less government than we have now, it would be so much easier for my masters in the banking and financial industry to steal us all blind. It would be so much easier for my masters in the fossil fuel and other mining industries to poison us, our children, and the planet in the name of their overweening greed and lust for profit above all else."

That is 100% the message of every single politician out there now who is saying "there is too much government" -- except, of course, for our own Random Paul, who is saying that if it weren't for all this government, he could buy a toilet that flushes. WTF is he eating???

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I dreamt that I was walking with my granddaughter Lucy. She was 5 or 6 years old. We were on the Beaumont paths. Dexter wasn't there.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Headwinds All The Way

Beautiful and sunny morning, a little chilly at the start, and bad winds the first hour. I only did about 11.5 miles in that first hour, slow even for me. Finished with 22.2 miles in 1h50m.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Apparently this is the 200th post to this blog. 200 down, 200 to go?

First bike ride of the year this morning. 16.3 miles, 1h20m. Parkers Mill to Little Texas, back in via James Ln and Delaney Ferry. Uphill all the way.

Watched "Inside Job" last night. Where are the indictments? Where are the special prosecutors?

I'm getting tired of fighting the man, but, we have to keep on keeping on. Else the old, entrenched lizards win.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Muse

Thursday and Friday I was feeling really worn out -- maybe all this freezing weather. I resolved to get up this morning, take the dog out, and go back to bed. Which I did around 8.

So back in bed, I'm in the hypnagogic state, half awake, half dreaming, and I notice three times that the hit parade (the music that always plays in my head) is playing original songs! Brand new! Just then made up! And of course, completely forgotten now.

So, when I want to starting writing songs, here's the methodology: stay abed late, with a recorder, and record these new songs as they come in.

Interesting, the way your mind puts together random memes to produce your dreams -- the exact thing seemed to be happening with the background music to the dreams, hence the new songs. Hmmm, memes recombining frantically, this is probably a good source of creative input for most things. Just a little directed dreaming when you stay in bed too long with a recorder handy. I had a really good idea about work that is now forgotten.

I'm blogging this hot of the presses so I don't forget it. You know how dreams are.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Who'da Thunk It?

Happy New Year! I was looking for a file from late 2000 on my computer and stumbled across ... the outline for a book I was apparently thinking about writing, dated November 18, 1999. I had completely forgotten about this. A post-humanist manifesto!  It does look like topics that were covered in the blog. Anyway, here it is:

In Our Childhood – 
The Human Race Emerges from its Infancy

“There is nothing new under the sun”

History of Human Intelligence 
follow outline from Bicameral Theory

Bicameral Theory 

Modern Theory – the Influence of Computing 

Traces of our Infancy 

Primate Social Patterns

  • male social models – hierarchy – mapped into most governments
  • female social models -- networks 
  • statistics on belief in a god, life-after-death
  • UFOs and modern cults 
  • history of gambling???
  • Similar activity in other species?
  • Risk-taking behavior as a variant? 
Substance Abuse
  • background and history
  • other species that use mind-altering substances 
  • things people collect – include books, skills, ideas;
  • other species that collect 
Cult of Personality
  • suspension of disbelief for actors
  • role-playing games
  • fanhood 

Signs of Maturation
  • are we putting “pecking order” behind us? No -- look at mating patterns in high schools -- still totally instinctive alpha/beta. Columbine -- video/role-playing games short-circuit normal alpha dominance reinforcement rituals. 

Future of Human Intelligence
  • interfaces to computing
  • engineered memes