Log in

Previous 10

Apr. 12th, 2007


So it goes

Kurt Vonnegut died last night. Sigh; we were just talking about him last weekend.

Mar. 12th, 2007


Ain’t It Strange?

By PATTI SMITH Op-Ed Contributor NYT

Published: March 12, 2007

ON a cold morning in 1955, walking to Sunday school, I was drawn to the voice of Little Richard wailing “Tutti Frutti” from the interior of a local boy’s makeshift clubhouse. So powerful was the connection that I let go of my mother’s hand.

Rock ’n’ roll. It drew me from my path to a sea of possibilities. It sheltered and shattered me, from the end of childhood through a painful adolescence. I had my first altercation with my father when the Rolling Stones made their debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Rock ’n’ roll was mine to defend. It strengthened my hand and gave me a sense of tribe as I boarded a bus from South Jersey to freedom in 1967.

Rock ’n’ roll, at that time, was a fusion of intimacies. Repression bloomed into rapture like raging weeds shooting through cracks in the cement. Our music provided a sense of communal activism. Our artists provoked our ascension into awareness as we ran amok in a frenzied state of grace.

My late husband, Fred Sonic Smith, then of Detroit’s MC5, was a part of the brotherhood instrumental in forging a revolution: seeking to save the world with love and the electric guitar. He created aural autonomy yet did not have the constitution to survive all the complexities of existence.

Before he died, in the winter of 1994, he counseled me to continue working. He believed that one day I would be recognized for my efforts and though I protested, he quietly asked me to accept what was bestowed — gracefully — in his name.

Today I will join R.E.M., the Ronettes, Van Halen and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On the eve of this event I asked myself many questions. Should an artist working within the revolutionary landscape of rock accept laurels from an institution? Should laurels be offered? Am I a worthy recipient?

I have wrestled with these questions and my conscience leads me back to Fred and those like him — the maverick souls who may never be afforded such honors. Thus in his name I will accept with gratitude. Fred Sonic Smith was of the people, and I am none but him: one who has loved rock ’n’ roll and crawled from the ranks to the stage, to salute history and plant seeds for the erratic magic landscape of the new guard.

Because its members will be the guardians of our cultural voice. The Internet is their CBGB. Their territory is global. They will dictate how they want to create and disseminate their work. They will, in time, make breathless changes in our political process. They have the technology to unite and create a new party, to be vigilant in their choice of candidates, unfettered by corporate pressure. Their potential power to form and reform is unprecedented.

Human history abounds with idealistic movements that rise, then fall in disarray. The children of light. The journey to the East. The summer of love. The season of grunge. But just as we seem to repeat our follies, we also abide.

Rock ’n’ roll drew me from my mother’s hand and led me to experience. In the end it was my neighbors who put everything in perspective. An approving nod from the old Italian woman who sells me pasta. A high five from the postman. An embrace from the notary and his wife. And a shout from the sanitation man driving down my street: “Hey, Patti, Hall of Fame. One for us.”

I just smiled, and I noticed I was proud. One for the neighborhood. My parents. My band. One for Fred. And anybody else who wants to come along.

Patti Smith is a poet and performer.

Aug. 29th, 2006


The war on terror as viewed from the Bourne shell.

I originally found this on the Sun Ray Blog, but I thought that you all deserved a look as well.

The War on Terror

As viewed from the Bourne shell.

$ cd /middle_east
$ ls
Afghanistan Iraq Libya Saudi_Arabia UAE
Algeria Israel Morrocco Sudan Yemen
Bahrain Jordan Oman Syria
Egypt Kuwait Palestine Tunisia
Iran Lebanon Qatar Turkey

$ cd Afghanistan
$ ls
bin Taliban
$ rm Taliban
rm: Taliban is a directory
$ cd Taliban
$ ls
$ rm soldiers
$ cd ..
$ rmdir Taliban
rmdir: directory "Taliban": Directory not empty
$ cd Taliban
$ ls -a
. .. .insurgents
$ chown -R USA .*
chown: .insurgents: Not owner
$ cd ..
$ su
Password: *******
# mv Taliban /tmp
# exit
$ ls
$ cd bin
$ ls
$ cd ..
$ rm -r bin/laden
bin/laden: No such file or directory
$ find / -name laden
$ su
Password: *******
# mv bin /tmp
# exit
$ pwd
$ cd /opt/UN
$ ln -s /Bad_Guys/Al_Qaeda /middle_east/Iraq/.
ln: cannot create /middle_east/Iraq/Al_Qaeda: Permission denied
$ su
# ln -s /Bad_Guys/Al_Qaeda /middle_east/Iraq/.
# cd /middle_east/Iraq/Al_Qaeda
Al_Qaeda: does not exist
# rm /middle_east/Iraq/Al_Qaeda
# mkfile 100g /middle_east/Iraq/Al_Qaeda
mkfile: No space left on device
# rm /middle_east/Iraq/Al_Qaeda
# cd /opt/Coalition/Willing
# mkfile 1b /middle_east/Iraq/Al_Qaeda
# chown -R USA:Proof /middle_east/Iraq/Al_Qaeda
$ cd /middle_east/Iraq
$ ls
$ ls
$ ls
$ ls -a
. .. saddam
$ find / -name [Ww][Mm][Dd]
$ wall Propaganda.txt
Broadcast Message from USA (pts/1) on USS_Abraham_Lincoln Th May 1st
Mission Accomplished!
$ rm saddam
saddam: No such file or directory
$ find / -name saddam
$ wall NewsWorthy.txt
Broadcast Message from USA (pts/1) on Time.Magazine Sat Dec 13
We Got Him!
$ mv /var/opt/dictators/spiderhole/saddam /opt/jail
$ cd /opt/USA
$ cp -Rp Democracy /middle_east/Iraq
$ cd /middle_east/Iraq/Democracy
$ ./install
Install Error: Install failed. See install_log for details.
$ more install_log
Installed failed!
Prerequisite packages missing
Conflicting package Wahhabism found in /midde_east/Saudi_Arabia
Packages Church and State must be installed separately
File System /PeakOil nearing capacity
Please read the install guide to properly plan your installation.

Feb. 26th, 2006


100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists

The top three are by far my favorites and I agree completely with their rankings. However, I would have moved "Duck" Dunn (#24) and JPJ (#21) up much higher on the list.

100 Greatest Rock Bass Guitarists

Feb. 9th, 2006



Xeni Jardin at Boing-Boing has trained her hypegun on Songbird, the "Open Source iTunes Killer".

Songbird, a (currently) Windows only media player is supposed to be designed to play "any and all" available music on the web. It's open sourced and and uses the Mozilla engine found in Firefox. This combination seems to make the bleeding-edge geeks out there practically wet themselves with delight. In fact, the Songbird server was swamped today as the pisssoaked lemmings hit their 'reload' buttons in order to get a shot at a pre-pre-preview version of their latest messiah.

Now, I'm a simple man. I like the thought of a well designed free media player that doesn't look like the interface was designed by a one-legged blind donkey. However, this thing is currently a mess.

The first clue to the problems ahead when you open the player is a sidebar containing bookmarks of many open-sourced music blogs/zines/search engines. There are icons representing each of the many sites logos on each of the bookmarks, each one a clashing contrasting color of the next one. So much for clean design. With that aside, I selected Shoutcast and loaded up one of my favorite radio stations and started streaming the station right away. As far as features go, so far so good.

However, when I went to stop the playback, I discovered that there was no stop or pause button. The only way to shut the damn thing up was to either switch to an MP3 and stop it that way or shut the player down. I guess 'stop' is in the next version.

OK, big deal. Seeing as we are one happy open-sourced family, I loaded in some ogg files that I have not been able to use without some kludging in iTunes. I was surprised to find that, like the iTunes kludge, my tags didn't appear in the player. Useless.

Next, I clicked on the Pitchfork bookmark in the sidebar. Instantly I was harassed to install the Flash plugin. Clicking the message took me - well, nowhere. Why can't the player can't use the Flash player that I already installed into Firefox? I have to install it again? So I can use my media player? Forget it.

Beyond playing my music, the main extra features that I want from my media player is for it to be responsive when handling large libraries (107,651 files as of this writing) and to be able to share my music across the local network. iTunes can share my library, but is slower than the special olympics when you get above 30,000 songs. WinAmp handles the library better, but doesn't share. Sharing doesn't appear to be an option in Songbird. I never did find out how responsive it was seeing as I deleted the unbaked preview thing after about 30 minutes.

Now I understand that it is preview software, but "iTunes Killer"? There's less hot air coming out their mascot's ass than out of Xeni's mouth. This player has a long way to go before it is useable. I also understand that it is version, uh... good question. I was talking with a friend about Songbird when he asked me what the version number was. I opened the Help/About screen, the traditional place to find versioning information, only to find that it was not listed. Instead there was a copyright date and a 30+ page screen with the GPL EULA. This ride is over.

Wake me when version 2.x comes along. Until then I'm still stuck with the iTunes and WinAmp combo on my Windows boxen. Curses, foiled again.

Feb. 3rd, 2006


LSD Tested on British Troops

They gave these guys a rocket launcher!

Today In History

Feb 3, 1959

The Day the Music Died: A small plane carrying The Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson), Buddy Holly, and Richie Valens crashes near Mason City, Iowa, while en route to a show in Fargo, North Dakota.

Feb. 2nd, 2006


Soul star McFadden dies aged 56

The BBC reports:

Soul star Gene McFadden, best known for singing and co-writing the 1979 hit Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now, has died from cancer at the age of 56.

The R&B star, half of the songwriting duo McFadden and Whitehead, died at his home in Philadelphia, it has emerged.

Discovered by Otis Redding, McFadden and Whitehead wrote a string of hits, including Back Stabbers, For the Love of Money and Wake Up Everybody.

Read More

Jan. 28th, 2006


'Rosetta is faster than a G4'

The folks at Mac on Intel are reporting that:

"...apps running under Rosetta, Apple's PowerPC emulation layer that's part of Mac OS X for Intel, are generally faster than they are when running native on a G4. "

Of course when I follow the link that they got they're information from it takes me to a page labeled 'Intel iMac benchmark... completely unscientific, and other observations.'

Sounds like just another steaming pile of not-so-objective-Apple-zealotry to me. Too bad.

Jan. 26th, 2006


Mercy Mercy Me

According to MTV News:

The Sisters of Mercy have lined up a North American tour — the band's first in more than six years. The goth-rockers' 16-date run kicks off February 16 in Las Vegas, with dates running through March 22 in San Francisco.

Previous 10