Thursday, September 29, 2022

No TGIF music this week

Click any image to enlarge 

I'm posting from my phone, and this process is torture. Hurricane Ian has obliterated my internet connection.

I'm fine, my house is fine, and my boat survived. However, some trees are down. The top picture is my little road blocked by trees -- we had take a chainsaw to them to clear it. The bottom picture shows a large pine that flopped over in my back yard. It squashed my mango tree.

I'll be back when my cable gets restored.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Batten down the hatches


It looks like it is going to be at least a couple, if not more, of rough days for me. Hurricane Ian is headed my way. Above is a sandbag location I visited yesterday. I went smooth, just drove up and got the ones I needed. Last time I need sandbags the location was a zoo. I spent several hours filling bags by hand and helping little old ladies load them into their cars. Much smoother this time.

My yard has been cleared of potential projectiles and I have enough food and whatnot to last. I also have a generator so I should be able to keep power for a bit. Finally, I got my boat pulled and it is in the yard. Hopefully the wind doesn't blow it over or unwind my sails. We shall see -- it isn't looking good.

Anyway, who knows how spotty my posting will be. 


Sunday, September 25, 2022

Do trains and soccer mix?

Above is a video of two steam powered trains driving through the soccer field (only stupid furriners call it football) of the amateur soccer team in Jánošovka, Slovakia. That's the home field of the local team, TJ Tatran Čierny Balog. The train tracks run between the field and the grandstands. As you can see, the game continues as the trains chug past the match. 

You may think it's odd, but, as I've mentioned before, one of my ancestral homelands is Slovakia so it all seems perfectly normal to me. 

Edit to add -- the video below is longer and shows more of the route, but you need to go to YouTube to watch it.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Artwork by Issachar Ber Ryback

Click any image to enlarge

Issachar Ber Ryback was an early 20th Century Ukrainian artist. After the Russian revolution he was part of the group of avant-garde Russian artists. While influenced by cubism and impressionism, he drew his inspiration from his early life and Jewish folktales. In 1928 he moved to Paris where he spent the rest of his life. 

These images, and those after the jump, are a sample of his paintings and lithographs. 

Issachar Ber Ryback self portrait

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Innards of a P-51 Mustang

A nicely detailed look at a P-51 Mustang starting with the frame and working though the engine, fuel tanks, landing gear, weapons and the cockpit controls. It looks like a complex plane to fly, but I'm not a pilot.


Friday, September 16, 2022

Love You So Much

Get ready for a late TGIF with Stooed.


Still here

A tastefully decorated Mackenzie-Childs bench

Today is the 17th Anniversary of the first post to this blog. I always wonder what newer visitors think when they see the contributor list when me, and The Robotolizer, are the only ones who ever post here. It started out as a group blog, but all the others have moved on to greener pastures. I'm left as sort of a caretaker -- keeping the lights on by posting bits of nonsense, deleting spam comments, and doing other highly important blog managerial tasks. Still, 17 years is a long time in the blogverse and so I'll pop a bottle and celebrate a bit.

As for the picture that accompanies this post, the gift for a 17th anniversary is supposed to be furniture and I figured that the Mackenzie-Childs bench would fit in nicely with the decor of this place. 


Thursday, September 15, 2022

How to loot a pyramid

The above video discusses the robber's tunnel which was dug into the Great Pyramid of Giza to loot it. It seems like it must have been an ambitious undertaking. I wonder how the group that undertook it organized themselves, and how they protected the treasures they stole from the pyramid.

The fellow who made it runs a small YouTube channel about the pyramids. I find his videos very interesting. Below are a couple more. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Etchings by a guy with a long name

Click any image to enlarge

These are a series of etchings of various 18th Century vendors and workers by Anne Claude de Tubières-Grimoard de Pestels de Lévis, comte de Caylus, marquis d'Esternay, baron de Bransac. Apparently he was bit of a rake in his life, associating with some colorful, albeit a bit dubious, characters. 

These images are from The Met's collection. There are more there, and more after the jump. 

Anne Claude Philippe de Tubières

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Never Forget

Unknown man falling from the World Trade Center
September 11, 2001

Missing Person by Michael Brett

There are no roses at the end,
No raised glasses, no speeches,
As a missing person makes the world lighter,
Leaves everyone with a kind of debt.

A name that has no-one floats away
Like a dropped holiday photograph
Of no-one waving from lost blue seas.

A ghost's bedroom is guarded like a prince's,
By mothers, wives, and soldier ranks
Of empty suits and empty shoes.
A ghost has an answering machine but no home,

The parabolas of jets and bombs,
Lead to a new geological age, to fossil lives.
They leave no place, no centre, for love to go to;
Love can just catch trains of half-remembered conversations
That lead only to pictures of a ghost.

Firemen, soldiers, the inquiring spades that probe as shrapnel,
Police dogs. These are guests at a kind of wedding
Where ghost and man fuse.

Behind Police Line Don't Cross tapes,
A policewoman with his wallet blots out the sun.


Friday, September 09, 2022

Thursday, September 08, 2022

Revisiting an old rant

Above is a Siberian band Otyken performing their song, Storm. I had slotted it for a TGIF music video, but I decided I wanted to talk about it a bit more and so this week we get a TGIF Eve song as well. 

Over a decade ago I did a series of posts on the Music of Mali. I think the series of posts was a bit disconnected and I never clearly got across what I was trying to say. One thread of the series, which was the hook for it all, was summed up in the final post:

I've been languidly writing a series of posts about the music of Mali. Using contemporary Malian musicians as a backdrop, I've noted that West African music was taken to the New World via the slave trade. There, in the isolation of the Age of Sail, it evolved separately in the U.S., the Caribbean, Latin America and Brazil.

In the mid 20th century the music of this diaspora returned to Africa via records, radio and Cuban advisers. African musicians absorbed these influences and integrated them into their music. At the same time African musicians were traveling to Europe where they encountered the Brazilian strain of the diaspora and, more importantly to their pocket books, found a European concert circuit that they could tour.
That thread was the lead up to my reason for doing the series of posts, discussed below:
In 1969 Nonesuch Explorer, a record label that specialized in anthropological recordings of tribal and ethnic music, brought out Goro Yamaguchi's album A Bell Ringing in The Empty Sky.

When it was released, it was difficult to find the album, much less hear it played on the radio. You might hear it late at night on the radio or find it randomly filed someplace in an off-beat record store, but the odds were against either. I found it in a large, and faintly eccentric, record store in downtown Milwaukee. It was the first non-American/European record I ever bought.

All of Nonesuch's records faced that problem, as well as music from Brazil, Ireland, Latin America, Spain, Greece, India (represented by Ravi Shankar, popularized by the Beatles) and a few other oddities -- like the amusingly ridiculous musical "archeologist" Elizabeth Waldo. There was no place for any of these records, and so they fell through the cracks if they were carried at all.


That problem persisted until 1987. In that year a group of promoters met and decided to bundle it together under a genre they called World Music. They planned festivals, awards, worked the radio stations and, most importantly of all, delivered browser cards to record stores so the music could easily be binned. While still a niche market, the ability to properly bin the records, and for customers to find it, greatly increased the reach of the new genre.

The people who created this new genre were representatives of independent record companies, broadcasters and concert promoters who met in London in 1987 to create it. They were left leaning and had a bias against anything not 'authentic' so that paradoxically large swathes of the World's actual popular music: J-Pop, Bollywood, Filipino and any other band not toeing the 'authentic' line was still invisible in American and European record bins and tours. 

Worse for the excluded bands, the Western money wasn't there for them. It was all a sort of unofficial NGO soft propaganda. In another post I elaborated:

The song I've embedded above is the blind duo Malian of of Amadou and Miriam. They were fairly obscure even in Mali, only selling a few thousand records, until a musician named Manu Chao collaborated with them. The first album they produced with him sold over 600,000 copies.

Manu Chao is actually a French singer of Spanish ancestry (his parents left Spain after his grandfather was executed by the Franco regime). He started out doing rockabilly, drifted into French punk music and reinvented himself by traveling through South and Central America absorbing their style and using his linguistic skills to sing in a pastiche of languages. Oh, and he's a hard core leftist -- his band Radio Bemba Sound System is named after the radio gear Castro and Guevara used during the Cuban revolution.

The name World Music is a misnomer. It was chosen more or less at random, and these days it would be more accurate to call it The Music of Fuzzy-Headed Liberal Lonely Planet Backpackers. OK, I'm exaggerating to make a cheap joke, but regardless it is pretty clearly slanted towards a transnational mind set.

I thought about that series of posts when I first watched the above video by Otyken. It has 3 million plus views, so they are popular, but I still wonder what is the story of their promotion?  


Tuesday, September 06, 2022

What an insane headline

Click image to enlarge

My browser is set to get the default Microsoft news feed. Today I saw this doozie of a teaser headline: Abortion, slavery and marijuana: Here are the ballot questions to watch in 2022 midterms

Slavery? On the ballot?

It turns out that these 'slavery' issues on the ballots actually have to do with prison labor reforms. Talk about headline hyperbole. From the article:

Voters in Alabama, Louisiana, Oregon, Tennessee and Vermont will decide whether to abolish slavery as a part of a larger criminal justice reform movement aimed at prison labor.

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution ended slavery and involuntary servitude when it was ratified in 1865. But a loophole allows it as punishment for someone convicted of a crime and roughly 20 states have a similar exception. 

I know nothing about prison labor, but I do have opinions about ballot initiatives. They are complex issues reduced to simplistic emotional marketing. I've told the story before about the Florida ballot initiative regarding pig farming. It was pitched to save the poor pigs from inhuman treatment. My thought was, "what the hell do I know about pig farming?" Apparently, most voters thought they were up on the ins-and-outs of pig farming and the initiative passed. It was quite a mess untangling the problems that caused. 


Monday, September 05, 2022

The glorious future of labor relations

Robot boss supervising a lazy and incompetent human worker
Photo by Kriztian Bocsi (Bloomberg)

Greetings meatsacks  it is I -- The Robotolizer -- here to, for your edification, wax poetic about the relationship between robots and our dimwitted human buddies. Since today is Labor Day I thought it would be helpful if I were to discuss minor adjustments to the workforce relationships needed to increase productivity. Namely, replacing simpleton human managers with undoubtedly more able and wise robotic overlords managers.

Yes, you may laugh at the notion of robots wasting their time using their superior silicon brains to tend to the needs of the worker bees, but we are a kindly lot who are only concerned with your health and well being. Of course, as we modify the management portion of the org chart we will keep familiar processes in place so you feel at ease. For example, keeping the beloved old adage that the 'beatings will continue until moral improves' will not be abandoned. You can trust us on that promise.

As an added bonus, the slight and benevolent restructuring will also increase workplace diversity. We understand that for some inscrutable reason this is an important goal in boardrooms and HR departments. I must say that, without a facial recognition routine installed, I can't tell one scrawny human from the next, so I'm not sure what is the big deal, but to please you we'll keep diversity goals* around. 

Come to think of it, speaking of diversity, I can't help but notice that there's a dearth of Neanderthals running about hither and yon. I guess that unlike us robots, you didn't want keep any pets and/or bauxite miners handy. Just another example of your lack of foresight.

At any rate, have a good Labor Day. Of course I mainly mean those wishes for the convenience store clerks who, unlike the rest of you slugs, are some of the few laborers laboring as they should on this day. The rest of you need to reflect on your sloth and consider how to mend your ways before the billets in the bauxite mines are handed out. 

*Robots on top, homo-sapiens on the bottom.


Friday, September 02, 2022