Friday, September 29, 2006

At Least That's What You Said

Word I Read Just Now That I Hate:

Look, I'm the first to say that I use big words.
I think they're fun in the same way as Jazz composition. As long as you understand and/or feel it, feel free. But when a word is retrofitted for the sole purpose of sounding "new," I have a problem with it.

In Robert J. Samuelson's column in this week's Newsweek, Trickle Up Economics?, I had only one problem. It wasn't of a political or feduciary nature. Only that he (or his editors, those fuckers) didn't say "influx" when he meant influx.

Influx is not a big word at a mere 6 characters. Regular readers, nay, everyone that reads that specific article, knows what influx means.
To be fair, I know enough about language to appreciate that influx probably entered the lexicon under pretentious circumstances; its lineage being of Latin descent.

It would appear that inflow made its first appearance decades later and it didn't exert itself, in my lifetime anyway, as the cooler word. Influx is fun to say. Inflow blows.
Sure we could play the F#9dim at that point of the song, but does it serve the song?

It stands: Influx is a word understood by most through prolific usage. Contextually or not, it's a word not to shy away from.
I suspect it's another example of the re-wording that is efforted by all media to make things seem homogenistic.
But when they're not coming up with new terminology, I find it issuatic. See?! That's no fun!
What's so funny 'bout peace, love and influx?

This is only interesting to me.

I can't finish an idea.

And about that, I think we're all in agreeance.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Do You Realize?

or What I Learn In Life Will Be the Death of Me

That one day...In a reverie that I once thought of as bliss, an afternoon was spent watching all 5 channels in Air-Conditioned splendor. Never one station for too long because, as the sages have said, "it's not what's on TV, it's what else is on TV." Nonetheless, I was in rapt attention when I clicked upon the imposing and all too cool mien of the dark father himself, Darth Vader"Holy smokes! Vader's on PBS?!?!?" What an incredible find! Star Wars on public television! The unseen hand of my adolescent existence became a cataract on my hardscrabble summer. And then I realized it was a mundane interview about religion. Well, not religion as I understood it, but I was willing to watch in hopes that I'd soon see a Tauntaun. Heck, even a glimpse of Ewok would've been sufficient in those days before I could watch Star Wars at whim. Turns out, it was my second step into a larger world. The first, Obi-Wan had mentioned. The one that George Lucas had written about, inspired by the writings and later the friendship of one Joseph Campbell. He was the subject of said interview. Skywalker Ranch was the setting of 4 of the 5 released hours of the Bill Moyers conducted series Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. Now, being raised a Lutheran, Bill Moyers had a lot in common with me and asked many of the same questions that I had only whispered in clandestine thought; Meaning of life this, where souls go that, what's up with the Star Wars thing, et cetera. Thus began a long-standing, although itinerant, love affair with the teachings of Joseph Campbell. Knowing the ebullience with which I write, I should say preachings, but I've learned Joe (we've got a good vibe) didn't care much about what others believed. His was not to proselytize. His was a journey of Self and Other. His Other was not you, her, or Johnny Bagodonuts down the street, but the incomprehensible everything that is. The Unifying Theory that moves like handheld sand in rational thought could be peeked at through Myth. All Myth. All human experience, religion, disposition and feeling. His life's work was to find a common path and perhaps THE path. In the end, I hope he found it. In the end, feel he did. Feelings. Nothing more than feelings. In many respects, I, feel that we are in touch with everything in ways that we're not trained to be. Break out your crystals and incense because it's time to recognize. Ever been in a situation where you had to make a choice and you went with your gut? Ever been in a situation that you couldn't define as right or wrong, but you felt was either/or? Ever created anything? Ever let yourself? It's at these times I feel that we allow...that we trust our feelings (sound familiar?). Something compels us if attuned, yet we spend much of our life learning about the ins and outs of civilized societal rules or what Nietzsche calls the "thou shalt." Propriety binds much of our understanding of self. Am I to do this or that? Am I to think this or that? But! There is an age at which we have not preconceived. We have only notions. These are indefinable truths we know with answers we can't. So we look to our authorities. Mom, dad, priest, teacher, butcher, baker, you know the rest. They impart to us at best what they feel and at worst what we need to know. A child asks about death because a child recognizes it, feels there is something to be known about it. Just like the sky or her fingernails or mommy's booby. Or why things end. Pretty simple question. Why do things end? I need fresh ears...lost a thought...will come back tomorrow. I'll change it tomorrow, I'll post it anyway.

Another Brick In The Wall, Pt. 2

This just made me laugh.
Not as much an indictment of our current school system as it is an indictment of any system.
Knowledge is power. Power trumps knowledge.
Click to enbiggen.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Heart-Shaped Box

I heart Pandora.

If you're not familiar, offers a chance to start as many as 100 streaming radio stations that allow you to, if not program, at least set the tone of the music you'll hear. Certainly one step better than the AM of Dr. Johnny Fever and Venus Flytrap.

It's a free service if you don't mind the innocuous Amazon ads at the top of the efficiently designed Flash player, but if you're among the squeamish that are ad-free (liars!), then you can opt for the paid subscription. I highly recommend dealing with the fact that an algorithm will decide to show you .jpgs of things that you can ignore.

The point is, in two days of use, I've already heard some great songs by artists I'd never have heard of before by simply telling Pandora one or more of my favorite artists or songs. The more you qualify, the more it specifies.

For instance, I started my first station (Pandora will store up to 100 for you) by typing "The Beatles" (all-time #1). Pandora immediately played "Hello, Goodbye."

This tells me Pandora is a specimen among unique species whose branch thrives somewhere between broadcast radio and your iTunes since you'll have trouble finding that song on either, while it's longed for on both.

[My "bookmarked" songs can be found above or below by clicking on "Craig's Radio."]

I had the option to one-click an up thumb or a down to declare my appreciation for that song. So very gladitorial...and can I admit, satisfying.

It should be said at this point that your participation is not necessary, but facilitated excellently by an unobtrusive design that lets you approve, deny, or ignore a song as you like.

[Due to licensing issues, Pandora can only allow 6 "skips" per hour and no rewinding or back-tracking. The reason being to avoid a "song-on-demand" situation. The legalities escape me because I used to tape "One Night in Bangkok" and "Oh, Sherry" off of Casey Kasem's American Top 40 and then play them however I chose.]

But I digress.

An interesting feature found with two clicks is "Why did you play this song?" It summarizes for you why Pandora played the selected song, giving you insight into the beauty behind Pandora.

According to what I've read, there are around 400 specific criteria. Based on your approvals/denials, Pandora suggests a song that fits your profile.

I added more favorite bands and the favored criteria contracted accordingly. I added a band that diverged from the conventional list and it expanded.

The process is called, not too preciously, The Music Genome Project. This, being the tracking of certain objective qualities of every genre of music except the most boring and pretentious; Classical and World.

I'm okay with that.

Timbre, tempo, instrumentation, dominant vocal, and apparently, mood all seem to be in play...effectively, in my experience.

Look, we've all had friends of like-mind that try to implore, admonish, or insinuate their desire to have us listen, no really listen to songs that they think will move us. Now, the ego has been removed and some dispassionate robot is doing the same without having to sit next to us at the bar.

Now, we need to find something else to slur unintelligibly about.

Nasty Boys

Two important! observations from my all-too hectic day of watching ESPN:

On that terrible, terrible show, Around The Horn, the topic was: "Is Liriano now the favorite for the Cy Young?"
Two of the retards said yes and the other two retards said that it's still Halladay because he pitched all year and Liriano started in the 'pen.
That stool sample Woody Paige qualified, "and Halladay plays for a lesser team. Also, I'm an idiot." [value added]

Thankfully, they resisted the endemic urge to use the words "nasty" or "filthy" in describing Liriano's "stuff."

On the record, Halladay has only one more win than Liriano and more than one-run-per in just over 30 more innings pitched.
Retards. I hate that show.

On the great show, PTI, Dan Le Betard posed the question to Michael Wilbon: "Is Liriano, with 11 wins and sub-two ERA, the favorite for AL Cy Young?"

Wilbon said, "I'm still taking Santana [who'll have] a hot August and September."

Earlier and appropos of nothing, Wilbon even referred to "Stat-boy" Tony Reali, host of said terrible, terrible show as Francisco Liriano Reali.

I love Wilbon.
And Le Betard is not to be confused with Les Retards.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Addicted to Love

I credit the late, adequate Robert Palmer with the title of my second blog. It sufficiently describes my first couple of hours as a blog initiate.

I've just been messing with the settings and I'm already excited about posting idle ramblings and fixating on insignifica. For instance:

One thing in the settings I didn't struggle with as much as I thought I would was deciding if I was going to use the Ads by Google option. If you're not aware, this is a program that will have content related ads appear on your site and based on traffic and other things I don't understand, they will actually pay you for writing about yourself...more or less.

At first, something felt dirty about the whole thing. I couldn't really put my finger on this dirty thing and as I'm not some Neil Young acolyte, I decided I would go ahead and participate.

I suppose I may develop compunctions on down the line if I'm not particularly supportive of the ads that happen to appear alongside my dazzling wordplay, but for now, I feel fine.

But let's say I'm crafting a blistering diatribe against penguin documentaries or something else similarly lovable and the Google robots think I support such things and thereby populate my page with links causing the sale of three more copies of an endearing DVD.

I'm not sure that's the end of the world, but I can't help thinking of that episode of Good Times when Florida was asked to give a consumer testimonial in a commercial for a product she didn't believe in.

Hey, it was good scratch for promoting bad crap and Michael sure could use some new school clothes or some such shit he was always whining about. And we know that J.J.'s Big Mac bill alone was enough to break the bank.

But in the face of all this pressure, at the moment of truth, Flo did the right thing and refused to ply the product...Whatever it was.
Might've been a Penguin DVD come to think of it.

Regardless, that episode taught me something about doing what's right. Namely, that it's okay to profit from things that you believe in, but disingenuous if you don't.
And that's just wrong, Mr. Leno.

Or something.

Ain't we lucky we got 'em?
Good times.

You're So Vain

Okay, I relent. I'll offer this up to the ether.
I'll write a damn blog.

I certainly have the requisite arrogance to think that my pithy observations and unsolicited commentary on minutiae are worthy of being read by friends, family, and complete strangers why not?

I might not even tell anyone about this and just see how many random people come across this thing and actually comment.

Whatever. Mostly I just like to type.