Various bits of flotsam that washed up on our computers, before we moved to a better blog system in November 2004. Now a repository for YouTube videos and testing new tools. Go to for more recent content.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Delete delete

I'm pretty sure Mr. Johnson meant to write, “read over your blog posts”, but his editor is probably to blame for the typo.

The Lives of the Poets: Boxed Set (Oxford English Texts)

“The Lives of the Poets: Boxed Set (Oxford English Texts)” (Samuel Johnson)

Samuel Johnson

“Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.”

I'm worst when posting last thing at night, or first thing in the morning. Either too full of certain chemicals, or not full enough of others, depending.

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War on Trees

Judge Phyllis Hamilton dealt a blow to George Bush's less publicized War On Trees.

Trees Vents

Federal Judge Strikes Down Forest Management Rules :
A federal judge in California on Friday overturned the Bush administration’s revised rules for management of the country’s 155 national forests, saying that the federal Forest Service violated the basic laws ensuring that forest ecosystems have environmental safeguards.

The rules, issued in early 2005, cut back on requirements for environmental reviews and safeguards for wildlife, and limited public participation in the development of management plans for individual forests.

Instead, they broadened the power of forest managers to decide whether mines, logging operations, cellphone towers or other development would be appropriate uses of forest land.

In the ruling Friday, Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton of Federal District Court in San Francisco said the Forest Service had violated several laws when it changed the rules forest managers must follow when making decisions, and did so without consulting the public or considering environmental impact.

The judge issued an injunction forbidding the service from using the rules to make decisions about the national forests and grasslands, which cover 8 percent of the country.

The Bush-ites tried to use their favorite trick: “facts are what we say they are, just trust us”. Ummm, no.

Judge Hamilton said she could not determine if the rules were environmentally benign, as the Forest Service argued, or if endangered species would be unaffected, because no studies had been done.

“The agency was required to undertake some type of consultation, informal or otherwise, prior to making a conclusive determination that there would be no effect,” she wrote.

She sent the management plans back to the Agriculture Department, the parent agency of the Forest Service, to be redone, this time in consultation with the public and with the federal agencies that protect wildlife.

Tim Preso, a lawyer who argued the case for the environmental group Earthjustice, said Friday, “Basically, the importance of this decision is that the Bush administration had been trying to take all mandatory environmental protections out of forest planning process and this decision puts them back in.”

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Bending photons

Hammered Foil

Hammered Foil
late afternoon, West Loop looking east.

Forced Camaraderie

Forced Camaraderie
Canal and Jackson, or thereabouts.

click to embiggen

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Fuel efficient cars

Notably, Toyota and Honda aren't whining about how expensive building fuel-efficient cars is, and surprise, surprise, Toyota and Honda are selling more trucks and cars than ever.

Bush to Meet With Auto Makers Over Alternative-Fuel Vehicles - :

Mr. Bush scheduled a White House meeting Monday with General Motors Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Rick Wagoner, Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally and DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group CEO Tom LaSorda.

Messrs. Wagoner, Mulally and LaSorda told a House committee this month that raising fuel economy standards by 4% a year, under a White House plan, would be expensive and challenging.

Auto makers have been resistant to swift fuel economy increases imposed by Congress

4% (in other words from 20 m.p.g. to 20.8 m.p.g.) is not much of a stretch is it? Whatever happened to American engineering ingenuity? Sounds really like Detroit is looking for government tax hand-outs.

I agree with what Tom Toles said (drew?) recently:
Tom Toles 03182007 Detroit Whiners

e85 Ethanol

Auto makers intended to stress that they could make half of their cars and trucks capable of running on alternative fuels by 2012 if there is enough availability and distribution of E85, an ethanol blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline.

“If the production and distribution of ethanol can match the volumes that we've committed to building, there's an opportunity to significantly reduce gasoline consumption within our grasp,” GM spokesman Greg Martin said.

Industry officials note that only 1,100 of the nation's 170,000 fueling stations offer E85 and have argued that the distribution system is critical to getting more vehicles running on alternatives.

this is also true, there aren't that many E85 fueling stations in Chicago for instance. Of course, if sugar tariffs were reduced.....

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Guitar Tabs

Speaking of music industry stupidity, forcing Olga and others to remove guitar tablature was an ignorant decision. Now, a company is trying to commercialize tablature, using transcriptions created by others. Seems like theft, but maybe there's more to it. If I had transcribed some Velvet Underground song (for example), uploaded it to a tab site like Olga, and now some company was selling this same transcription (or more precisely, selling advertising where the tab is being displayed), I'd be pissed off.

Seth and guitar 1971

E-Commerce Report: Hoping to Move Guitar Notations Into the Legal Sunshine

A popular system for teaching and learning guitar online will enter the legitimate business realm for the first time.

ast year popular sites like, and others — where users post tablature, usually called “guitar tabs,” for rock songs — suspended operations after the music publishing industry threatened them with copyright infringement lawsuits. Under the new initiative, MxTabs, which is owned by MusicNotes, will share an undisclosed portion of advertising revenue with music publishers, who in turn will give a portion to artists.

The effort could face a chicken-or-egg problem, in that publishers may balk if they do not see enough potential for advertising revenue, and advertisers may balk if publishers do not free enough of their music to attract a big audience. Advertising analysts suggest the revenue could be significant, but even a little is better than none.

“It’s a huge opportunity, in that this is a revenue stream publishers haven’t had before,” said Gary L. Churgin the chief executive of Harry Fox Agency. “In a sense, the sky’s the limit.”

The initiative is still in the early stages, and Mr. Churgin has not yet formally asked publishers if they would like to participate. Artists are even less familiar with the agreement.

yeah, no shit the revenue stream didn't exist before: how could it? Why not just break into people's houses and steal their notebooks, and publish those too?

I like how the artist always gets the short stick in the eye:
The initiative is still in the early stages, and Mr. Churgin has not yet formally asked publishers if they would like to participate. Artists are even less familiar with the agreement.

Music publishers, of course, love the idea of making money off of consumers and music fans/students without having to do anything extra.

Mr. Robinson, whose company represents Linda Perry, a songwriter for Christina Aguilera and Pink among others, said that about 2 percent of the songs in the company’s catalog have licensed guitar tablature associated with them.

For the remaining songs in Famous Music’s catalog — and the vast majority of the music publishing industry’s collective catalog — there is insufficient demand to justify the costs of publishing tablature.

As a result, guitarists who want to know how to play less mainstream songs have gone to sites where amateurs post tablature. Under this agreement, MusicNotes, publishers and artists will essentially earn money from an army of volunteers, who are creating content that the publishers are not creating on their own.

Tim Reiland, chairman and chief financial officer of MusicNotes, which is based in Madison, Wis., said publishers would receive “a very healthy split” of the advertising dollars.

“We’ve got lots of work here to get the publishers signed up, but we think they should,” Mr. Reiland said. “We think it’s a good deal.”

MusicNotes bought, one of the most popular guitar tablature sites, last year as it came under legal attack by music publishers. Publishers claimed that even incorrect versions of music notation violate copyright laws, since the postings represent “derivative works” related to the original compositions, to use the legal parlance.

The guitar tablature sites were typically small operations, running on little more than revenue gleaned from Google text ads. Many shut down rather than challenge the publishers in court. (, which has a New Jersey phone number but claims that it is based in Russia and that it complies with Russian copyright laws, still operates. Its advertisers include AOL, T-Mobile and Dell, among others.)

not to mention getting more data on the people who visit the site:

Ms. Marsh said the site “already has a lot of interest” from advertisers. “This demographic — teenage boys to young adults — is very similar to the demographic for gaming. There are a lot of advertisers who are interested in that group.”

Shar VanBoskirk, an analyst with Forrester Research, said tablature sites could also join other online publishers and anonymously track the Internet travels of their users. The budding guitar players might somehow show that they were shopping for a car, for instance, or other expensive goods. Suddenly, she said, “these users are really valuable targets for sellers of all kinds.”

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Trout Mask

Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica (33 1/3)

“Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica (33 1/3)” (Kevin Courrier)

I started reading the 33.3 book about Trout Mask Replica yesterday. There are certain records that are tied into one's personal history, and Trout Mask Replica is one of those hard-to-tune-out albums. I don't listen to it all that much, but when I do, I have to really listen.

I even remember the first time I heard Captain Beefheart, on a slightly-used vinyl album checked out of the Austin Public Library, circa 1988. I kept the discs checked out for a long time, eventually making a cassette copy (theft! theft!). Probably why I also associate the willful and literate eccentricity of Trout Mask Replica with the taste of LSD (even now as I write this, I have that peculiar metallic saliva Pavlovian response even though it has been 10-15 years since I've ingested any acid).

Trout Mask Replica is definitely not to everyone's taste, let's be clear.

Matt Groening writes:
The first time I heard Trout Mask, when I was 15 years old, I thought it was the worst thing I'd ever heard. I said to myself, they're not even trying! It was just a sloppy cacophony.

Then I listened to it a couple more times, because I couldn't believe Frank Zappa could do this to me - and because a double album cost a lot of money. About the third time, I realized they were doing it on purpose: they meant it to sound exactly this way. About the sixth or seventh time, it clicked in, and I thought it was the greatest album I'd ever heard.

I played Trout Mask for my blues-loving friends, who all went through the same reaction I had, and we'd sit around saying, Wow, if this is how great pop music is in 1969, just think what it’ll be like in 1984! Of course, we didn’t realize this was the best album of 1984... and it remains the best rock album I've ever heard.

I saw him perform in 1970, when he came to the Paramount Theater in Portland, Oregon, and all seventy-five weirdos in the city showed up. These were the people the hippies had rejected. I remember the lights dimmed, and then Ed Marimba came out with a plastic toy raygun, pulled the trigger a few times to make sparks, and intoned the words 'Raygun, raygun' over and over again . . . finally concluding with 'Ronnie Raygun', who was already Governor of California. Then Drumbo came out and they played a duet for a while, and finally the whole band walked on. It was the best concert I've ever seen, easily.

Trout Mask Replica

“Trout Mask Replica” (Captain Beefheart)

Speaking of 33.3 books, here is their publishing history all in one place. Perfect for building playlists.

Past, Present & Future
In case anyone's interested in some tentative dates for future books, I've put together this season-by-season overview of the whole series. (Here, Spring runs from March to August, and Autumn runs from September to February. It's a crazy publishing thing.)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Dick Dale

Dick Dale (and wiki) gives some his advice re how to stick it to the man (the record label consortium). Basically, he says don't bother signing a contract, make your own CDs, sell 'em at shows, build your own following and keep your own money instead of owing it to Big Daddy Coal Record label.


(Misirlou performed by Dick Dale and his Del Tones, from 1963, taken from lame-o film, A Swingin' Affair)

Better Shred Than Dead: The Dick Dale Anthology

“Better Shred Than Dead: The Dick Dale Anthology” (Dick Dale)

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