Maybe you remember that I participated in this big anti-war extravaganza recording project back in the spring. The song was called End War Now, written by T. Max, publisher of The Noise, and he called in just about every marker he had out to make a big splash with the project. Among other things, there were numerous video cameras at the session, not only to capture the singers singing their hearts out but "backstage" footage of the techies doing their mysterious engineering things, and interviews with various participants about what they're doing and why.
All this stuff has been edited together and pressed as a DVD, and T. Max is hosting a DVD release party this Saturday, December 8th, at the Abbey Lounge in Somerville. He will of course be the main attraction, with a bunch of new music he's been writing for what appears to be a Broadway-type stage revue with the title "Why Do We Go to War?"
Other acts on the bill tend to include people who've been involved with the project at various stages. Emily Grogan was one of the featured singers on "End War Now." The Liz Borden Band let T. and a couple other people (including me) get up on stage at one of their gigs and sing it. Best of all, from my perspective, the Cello Chix will play-- they really are two women cellists (and a female drummer) who play classic rock tunes arranged for cello duet, probably my favorite local band out there nowadays-- and one of the cellists is also playing on the "Why Do We Go to War" material. You should all come just to see them, they're amazing.
And I'll be there too. I'm one of three singer/songwriters doing short introductory sets on the pub stage in the front room between 8:00 and 9:00, before the show properly starts (so you can see us without paying the cover charge), plus I'm in the chorus for "Why Do We Go to War?" And if we do it the way we've rehearsed it so far (which is a big if: T. Max tends to change his mind about how these sorts of things should happen) I'll also sing "Man Behind the Curtain" and "Ministry of Oil" during his set. Oh, and I get to do some rapping too. Be very afraid
The Abbey Lounge is located at 3 Beacon St, just outbound of Cambridge's Inman Square. The show starts at 8PM on Saturday, and the joint will be jumping until 1AM-- in the most peaceable way, of course.
Don't get too used to doing that trick with your thumb to make a G chord, as in the post above. Yeah, Hendrix did it, but he was a mutant.
The real goal is not to learn the absolute easiest way to play each individual chord, but to learn a suite of chord shapes that minimizes the effort of changing between any two of them, especially the changes you're likely to have to make often.
For example, and to address the A chord question in your original post, the way I was taught to play an A major was: first finger on the G string, second finger above it on the D string, third finger tucked underneath on the B string. It doesn't cramp you up too badly, and once you get used to it it's actually pretty easy. But the big advantage is how good a platform it is to get to the chords most often associated with A. Your first finger is already in the right position to play a D chord-- move the third finger up one fret on the B string, and tuck the second finger under onto the second fret of the high E. And there are approximately thirteen million songs where you're going to go back and forth between those two chords.
I have just learned of an iPod software package called iRocker. It shows you the chord fingering chart on the screen, and the audio is the chord played one string at a time, then all at once. And it has a huge library of chords, up to and including all those weird Berklee jazz constructions. It's good for tuning assistance too.
Hope this helps!
Except I do so all the time, and I'm not gonna stop now
The Genesis/Purple comparison applies most strongly on the earliest stuff, specifically Trespass and Nursery Cryme (I don't remember Revelation well enough), and extra-specifically to the way the organ and the guitar work together. I think the texture of songs like "Hogweed" owe a lot more to Purple than to Procol Harum or Traffic or Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs or any other contemporary band with a heavy organ. Basically I asked myself the question, who would Genesis have been thinking of when they wrote and arranged "Hogweed?" If you've got a better answer than Purple, I'd like to hear it. I also think "The Knife" owes something to Jon Lord's choppy chord organ-as-rhythm-instrument approach in songs like "Hush," not that that's so unique.
By Foxtrot Genesis had certainly defined their own style, the prominent pedal point bass notes and the arpeggios that launched a thousand Marillions.
Why don't I get more into Deep Purple? I suppose I don't relate to Ian Gillan's intense vibrato-- sounds too much like grand opera, which I have a real hard time with-- and I never warmed to Ritchie Blackmore as a guitarist. And I know I'm way sick of "Smoke on the Water."
While I agree that Deep Purple were extremely influential-- especially the mega-gritty organ sound and the acrobatic vocals-- I don't think they were as powerful as the Who. The only song of theirs that really gets me pumped is "Highway Star," and there are dozens of Who songs with that much adrenaline.
Here's how I see it. (Stop me if you've heard this one before.) Heavy metal happened because white kids wanted a music that was all about power. They started to get it with the heavier British blues bands, e.g. Cream, Zeppelin, Ten Years After, but the hardscrabble, self-pitying aesthetic of blues wasn't quite right. So a number of bands came down the pike in the wake of Cream, using the roaring sound of overdriven Marshall amps, but mutating the "blues box" into more angular and scary scales, and singing lyrics that were explicitly about the rejection of everyday norms. Interestingly, many of these bands had colors in their names: Black Sabbath, King Crimson, Blue Oyster Cult, and yeah, Deep Purple fits in there too-- but not at the head of the queue, in my not so humble opinion.
But maybe I'm not the one to ask. Early Genesis, with Peter Gabriel, was the band that I thought did what Deep Purple wanted to do. If you don't know it, check out their first live album, and see if it doesn't make you think of a more sci-fi version of Deep Purple.
but I think their coalition was unstable anyway-- certainly at the dysfunctional and corrupt point they were at by now.
Rove stitched together three groups that didn't really have much to do with each other, or with the classic country club Republican brand, who we could think of as the Nixon Republicans, the Reagan Republicans, and of course the religious right. The Nixonians were all about power projection and neocolonialism. The Reaganauts were the less savory businesspeople, the ones who would rather buy their legislators (in bulk) than actually work for a living. And we all know about the theocrats. Their interests don't actually coincide: the PNAC types, although they don't mind stomping all over diplomatic niceties, now find that, tied as they are to the liars in the other camps, nobody will believe them (observe how the British are rejecting Tony Blair). And the businesspeople now realize that if the millennialists get their way, that'll adversely impact the bottom line. So the whole coalition is falling apart.
the Watergate affair was the exception, rather than the rule, for the American media.
For most of our history, newspapers have been extremely partisan. (Horace Greeley, one of my favorite goofball presidential candidates, was a newspaperman before he was a candidate.) Whenever there was an interest group strong enough to cast a shadow on local politics, it would publish its own newspaper, with a palpable editorial slant favoring its preferred policies. This tradition persists most obviously in the financial press, like the Wall Street Journal, whose editorials have been known to blatantly contradict the (generally accurate) stuff on their news pages.
Jefferson knew this, of course, and he felt that the genuinely informed citizen would read all of the papers, figure out which bits of the stories were confirmed by multiple reporters and which bits were spin, and winnow out the truth of the matter.
Because of media consolidation we no longer have an opposition press; what we have ranges from cute and fluffy corporatist right wing (Couric, Leno) to theocratic authoritarian right (Fox "News" and the Moonie-owned Washington Times).
We need our own newspapers. Desperately. And we need to recognize that Watergate was an aberration-- and probably happened only because reporters got peeved that they were on a presidential "enemies list."
What I'd like to see is exactly what the wingnuts imagine the New York Times is: accurate reportage, a liberal editorial slant, comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable.
It's so far from the reality that I'm not even sure I can describe it convincingly. What power there is in a paper like the Times is not only to decide what slant to put on a story (the administration gets its wording in the headline, the Democrats' response appears in paragraph 17 on the jump page) but even more to decide which stories are newsworthy. Note how they never dealt with the Downing Street Memo, first because it was thinly sourced, and when it was later confirmed because by then it was old news. Catch 22 much?
So I want a newspaper that will actively seek out news about things like the Downing Street Memo. I want a respectable-looking gray non-hippie broadsheet to run Robert Kennedy's followup article to his Rolling Stone piece. I want to read on the printed page that when Iraqi civilians are abducted by persons unknown, wearing police uniforms and carrying police weapons and using police vehicles, that it's not unreasonable to assume that the perps are in fact the Iraqi police. I want a regular newspaper to point out, every time there's a workplace accident like a mine disaster, who runs the responsible regulatory agency and what his previous allegiances are, and how far oversight and enforcement have sunk.
Somebody pointed out that every newspaper in the country has a section called Business, but not one called Labor. I'd like a newspaper to address that, to at least not pretend that corporations simply have to lay off people and outsource jobs in order to compete, while still paying obscene salaries and benefits to their CEOs.
What I envision might well be the exact opposite of the Washington Times, which Sun Myung Moon runs, at a huge loss, counted so far in the billions, but it's worth it to him because it gets his wackjob ideas into the public discourse. We should do that too, and maybe we can't afford billions like he can, but maybe we constitute a readership that might support an anti-Bushit newspaper. If we really are a free market economy with entrepreneurs actively seeking underserved markets, then this seems like it'd be an obvious opportunity for one such. Where is it? (Is it on line, masquerading as DU and DailyKos? I think we need it on dead trees-- the "marketplace of ideas" seems to require it.)
Tonight notmyprez and I saw Dweezil's Tour de Frank, a/k/a Zappa Plays Zappa. It started out slow-- they started with some stoopid modern rock sounding piece that none of us could recognize, then did fairly cartoony versions of "Hungry Freaks Daddy" and "Let's Make the Water Turn Black" and "The Idiot Bastard Son," all songs recorded before Dweezil was born. But Napoleon Murphy Brock was the featured singer, and when they went into his old repertoire, and stuff from that era, it got very good indeed. "Montana," "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow"/"Saint Alphonso's Pancake Breakfast," "Inca Roads," "Cheepnis," "Village of the Sun"/"Don't You Ever Wash That Thing," and yeah, they did "Zomby Woof," which reminded us of you. Terry Bozzio came out and they did a bunch of his features: "I'm So Cute," "Trying to Grow Me a Chin," "Punky's Whips," and "The Black Page" as a drum trio (there was a full time drummer and a mallet percussionist too). Then they brought Steve Vai out to do the guitar version of "Black Page," and some more pyrotechnics-- that was the point where I decided I ought to go home and burn all my guitars. The last number of the real set was "Cozmik Debris," and they came back and did "Eat That Question" and "Trouble Every Day" as encores. The band consisted of Dweezil and another guitarist (who had to do enough tricky parts in tunes like "Peaches En Regalia" that it wouldn't be fair to just call him rhythm guitar), bass, keyboard guy doubling trumpet and harmonies, saxophonist doubling synth and high harmonies (a woman), the drums (who also sang) and the mallets, plus Brock on sax and flute, plus Bozzio and Vai.
Now I'm going to bed. I'd appreciate it if somebody could kick this so ZombyWoof can see it...
First of all, why do you take Luskin at his word? Spinning is his job.
Secondly, think about how Fitz does *his* job: he gets underlings to flip, and rat on their bosses. If he got Rove to cop a plea, it can only mean that Rove will spill the beans on somebody above him in the White House heirarchy, and there are very few people that answer to that description, and we would all love to see indictments handed down on them.
Fitz won a conviction against the governor of Illinois, but it took him years, and he had to make his case against a lot of lesser luminaries first. I believe that this is his modus operandi.
Think about the optics of United States v. Cheney, especially some time like October... that would be a Fitzmas to remember!
I'm not such a great fan of Ligeti's music, but this is a shame.
Seems to me the sparse and atonal is more important to understanding Ligeti than the rejecting classical forms. Actually that whole generation rejected classical forms because there was no reason to retain them. Functionally, I believe, musical forms exist because they organize repetition, and I think those composers realized that, now that we had recording technology, repetition was no longer necessary. And aesthetically, these forms, and functional harmony and all the trappings we normally think of as "classical" music, represented a world view that had demonstrated its moral turpitude with two horrendous world wars. (And this is in my view the real reason that we call these people the greatest generation: not just that they fought the war, but that they faced the horrors lurking behind the veil of civilization and did their best to defend what was decent, without cynicism. We will probably never know such nobility again...)
Posted by Squeech in General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009)
Mon May 22nd 2006, 09:20 AM
The idea that the best security would be for America to act less insensitive and arbitrary should be obvious to everybody, but apparently it isn't.
Also the motivations of the criminal cabal running things-- saving their asses is possibly the best they can hope for by now. (And better than they deserve.)
Moreover, I want to amplify my earlier remarks (as well as kick a worthy thread) but I'm not quite sure how to say what I want to say, so please bear with me here.
I'm too well aware of the way conservatism emerges as the political expression of old-fart-ism or nostalgia. This is not (quite) what I think I'm feeling. It's like the old joke about the text "Kids these days, they don't respect their elders, and their music sounds like a bunch of noise!" Who was it that first wrote that? And the joke is, if you allow for a certain poetic license in translation, Plato. Wanting things to be like the good old days is something all of us of a certain age are subject to.
But as it happens, the last few novels I've read have been that species of chick-lit where the heroine, of a certain age, looks back at her life and at certain events and decisions which at the time seemed like big important declarations of independence, then came to be seen as mistakes, and finally in the warm and fuzzy wrap-up they simply became stepping stones in becoming the person she now accepts that she is. But what I've been most interested in in the books is the subtle indicators of social change. Being chick-lit, there's a lot of domestic chore stuff being discussed, and it's interesting to see how the girl of one era thinks nothing of chopping onions, boiling potatoes, peeling carrots, and all the other tasks necessary to make beef stew, which the woman she grows to be assumes that a frozen dinner in the microwave will simulate.
It's the beef stew that I want to conserve. (Do you know there's an organization called Slow Food, devoted to appreciating food prepared with craftsmanship and attention and care? And what they oppose is the unhealthy and slapdash but increasingly profitable concepts of fast food.)
And not simply the stew, and certainly not the social constraints that assumed that the housewife would always be available-- and expected-- to cook the stew, and bake a cake from scratch, and iron the shirts and darn the socks, et home ec cetera.
But I miss a world in which it isn't a problem to block out the time you need to do something like cook a stew. I miss a world in which it's not assumed that when you set out to cook a stew, you're supposed to be grateful for every little time-saving tweak, for which reason the supermarket will happily sell you your beef trimmed and pre-cubed for your convenience and hope you won't notice or care how much more it costs per pound than the brisket of your youth.
I think the simple version of what I'm trying to say is, I miss being something other than an economic unit in the vast majority of my interactions with the outside world.
I want to conserve what it's like to *not* be someone that marketeers target, slicing and dicing their demographic analyses ever finer until they think they have a handle on exactly what motivates me, in order to sell me stuff I don't need, or to "improve" the products I do need until they hit on the combination that convinces me to pay twice as much, so they can then take the original version out of production.
I want to conserve not being alienated from the sources of stuff. When I was a kid, my dad once took me to Hershey, Pennsylvania, where the candy company of the same name is based. Back then you could tour the plant, and see the big machines (called "conches," I forget why) where they blend the various extracts from the cacao plant back together to make chocolate as we know it. Later I returned as a grownup-- and got a substantially different tour, where I sat in a goofy little cart and watched a cartoon character on a video screen explain the process while the cart took me past an audioanimatronic simulation of a conch. I guess the lawyers convinced the company of the risks involved in letting little kids have any access to a working factory-- but to me it meant that kids these days never get to see the actual process. What do they learn of it now, the Willy Wonka version? And when they grow up, will they support equal rights for oompaloompas?
(On the other hand, the street lights in town are made to look like Hershey's Kisses. I miss that our corporate citizens never miss an opportunity for branding. Talk about a company town!)
What else have we lost? I remember cider mills, where you could watch a big wooden machine slowly contract to squeeze the juice out of several bushels of apples at once, and they told us that there were sheep out back who would be happy to eat the leftovers. Do kids still get to see this? I remember the ice cream parlor with the actual freezer they made the stuff in in the shop window, churning away happily while we munched on our hot fudge sundaes. Do kids still get to see this?
The end of the line for this particular idea is, not only does America not have an industrial base any more, but the American worker has practically no role in the production of actual goods for the American consumer, as if they were completely disjoint societies-- a far cry from Henry Ford's realization that his assembly line crews were likely to be his customers, which meant that he had to pay his workers enough to be able to afford the cars. Now the world of work means sitting in a cubicle staring at a computer screen and doing something to data. In extreme cases it means Enron-- figuring out how to use leverage (in both the economic and the psychological sense) to manipulate the flow of electrons in wires in order to squeeze out profits from unwitting customers you'll never have to meet.
I want to conserve a sense of society that understands that there's more to life than business.
I hope this make some sort of sense...
Watergate was the high water mark for the American press corps. Unfortunately, it was also something of an anomaly. The American press has a long history of carrying water for nasty administrations and other evil actors. Remember Pulitzer telling his photographer, "You supply the pictures, I'll supply the war," just so he could boost his papers' circulation. Remember the Hearst papers giving front page treatment to Harry Anslinger's sensationalist Reefer Madness campaign, for no better reason than to prevent Hearst's tree farms from losing market share to hemp paper. What's going on now is in that ignoble tradition.
The real question is why. One theory is that the right wing noise machine has "worked the refs" to the point where editors and publishers are afraid to print anything that would elicit their typical overreaction-- except that everybody knows they'll overreact to anything. (Howell Raines is said to have encouraged Judith Miller to print all her Chalabi propaganda as hard news to save his own job, but it didn't work.) Another theory is that reporters are so afraid of losing "access," as if the opportunity to be lied to in person is so much better for one's career than just copying the lies off the fax machine.
But I favor the idea that BushCo has offered media conglomerates more market share in exchange for sycophancy. In the case of NBC, this has been documented by reporter David Podvin. "Neutron" Jack Welch had his reporters lay off Bush and pick on Gore, and in exchange, they let him (and others) violate FCC regulations about how much media one entity could control. At this point half a dozen corporations control over 90% of America's media. Follow the money, campers.
Maybe I can post something serious in this thread. I saw on Digby's blog that there's a wingnut site selling this on a tee shirt: "Rope. Tree. Journalist. Some assembly required."
I am totally flabbergasted at that. Obviously these are the people that think the librul media is somehow responsible for the miserable failure of every BushCo initiative-- but exactly what country do they think they're living in here? Do they really think the press shouldn't be free, or speech? Do they really think the government should never be accountable to the people-- or if it should, how is it supposed to happen, how are the people supposed to get the information?
Or are they just all bullies with a predilection for frontier justice? I had the idea, after 2004 and the 51% vote that gave BushCo "political capital," that this was an endorsement of torture by the red(neck) states-- that, God help us, these creatures are nostalgic for the days when real men maintained social order by lynching. I believe the buyers of these tee shirts kinda wish they said something other than "journalist," like maybe the N word.
On the other hand, if I were a covert operative looking to build a database of serious hatemongers, I could certainly do a lot worse than the file of purchasers of this tee shirt.
He wasn't even a militarist. He was a proud alumnus of the military, specifically the Navy, and he was pissed when they wouldn't let him re-enlist to help fight World War 2. (Is the desire to defeat Nazi Germany a common characteristic of fascists in your experience?)
Nor was the government in the novel a fascist government. Yes, the vote was limited to citizens who'd served a hitch in the military or some equivalent federal service. This was justified in the novel both by the pragmatic reason that it was stable (anybody aggressive enough to enlist in a revolution has already enlisted in the ruling class and can vote) and because they have a putatively advanced system of behavioral psych, called History and Moral Philosophy, that deals with the mutual obligations of society and its citizens, and teaches that only those who are willing to put their asses on the line for the community have demonstrated the empathy to make good decisions. This may strike you as fascist, but there's no Fuhrerprinzip in it, so I don't think it qualifies. Having read most of Heinlein's published work, It's obvious to me that he very strongly values independence of thought-- as opposed to the fascist ideal, where everybody is supposed to agree with Dear Leader.
There were a couple issues Heinlein was dealing with in the book. Explicitly, he was trying to tell his readers (American adolescent males) what he thought was appealing about military life. And the really cool part was, he was trying to keep it on a fairly elevated moral plane-- we kill because we must, because superior officers we trust think it necessary to defend ourselves, not because we get our jollies doing it. Implicitly, he was also trying to think through what kept the military (or at least his version of it) free of the sort of psychopaths we commonly see in banana republics, where congenital thugs enlist so they *can* get their jollies taking potshots at peasants. Heinlein's idea of a mandatory high school course in his invented science is part of his plan to weed out the bullies and monsters before we give them either arms or authority. (Note that this privileges the first clause of the Second Amendment. Does that sound fascist to you?)
There's a short story by Heinlein, I'm forgetting the title now, where there is a military coup-- an ambitious officer attempts to seize a nuclear arsenal in satellite orbit and use it to cource the various governments of earth. He is thwarted only by one of his techs, who gets in and disables all the bombs, exposing himself to fatal doses of radiation in the process. He's the hero of the story-- and in fact he reappears in another Heinlein military adventure yarn, Space Cadet, as one of four iconic heroes the cadets are taught to revere, in an attempt to inculcate a tradition of respect for civilian authority and the rule of law. Does this sound fascist to you?
All the movie took from the book was the names of the characters and the plot outline of the war on the bugs. All the philosophy and aesthetics of the movie are in (admittedly) distinct opposition to the book. As a result, Heinlein is now spinning in his grave with a rotational velocity sufficient to power 250 average American homes, if we could only hook him up to a generator.
we made mahjoun, which is a Middle Eastern fruit compote flavored with cannabis. (We knew a guy whose summer job one year was to clean about 80 lbs, and they let him keep the seeds and stems, and he knew we could use it. This was long ago in a galaxy far away.)
Clarify a pound of unsalted butter. Boil the weed in a stew pot with the ghee and water to cover for at least an hour. Strain the solids out and let stand until the water and the butter separate. The substances you want are lipid-soluble and will end up in the butter, and the stuff you don't want turns the water seriously icky. Scrape the butter off the surface (it will probably have solidifed) and put it in a bowl, adding raisins, dates, walnuts, cinnamon, cardamom, and anything else you can think of. Mix well and bake for an hour or so in a slow oven. It's real good on English muffins or toast. Don't eat more than a tablespoonful at one sitting, if you can restrain yourself
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