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One of my coworkers popped up with the oddest excuses I’ve ever heard
for failing to vote, which is “I’ve got enough troubles in my life
without figuring out who to vote for.” I’ve been thinking on that for
hours and I can’t find any way to make that make any sense. I voted
around 7:45 AM and I can say it was the least thrilling ballot I’ve
ever cast. Almost no candidates had any opposition, and there was a
single ballot initiative. Still, my desire to vote is not related to
the thrill involved.

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Music TopicI’ve noticed in looking back over them that my band of the day
picks have leaned heavily towards rock, which might lead one to
believe this is all I care about. Not true! I love jazz, my favorite
being that period of 60’s and 70’s postbop, when Coltrane, Sonny
Rollins, Don Cherry, Sun Ra, Miles Davis and many others were doing
such groundbreaking and special work. I really don’t know much about
the scholarship of this kind of music or why I like it so much. I just
know from empirical trial-and-error, when I play a wide variety of
jazz available in the stacks, this is what gets me going. I mentioned
a few days ago that I consider Love Supreme to be the
single most perfect and uplifting work I have ever heard. Back when I
was doing the Friday
jazz shift
I one day played, more or less at random, Don Cherry’s
“Actions” from the New Eternal Rhythm Orchestra
album. Wow! It really knocked me out, and some guy called up the
station and we had a 15 minute conversation about it.

Today’s band of the day is a musician whose work I’m familiar with
from WREK – professor, composer and saxophonist Steve Coleman. He
has an amazing amount of his MP3s available on his download page. There are
samples from his in print albums, and his out of print albums and the
unavailable in the US ones are up in their entirety. He says on the
page that soon he’ll be posting an essay answering the question “As a
working musician, why would you make your work available for
download?” I’ll be very interested in what he has to say.

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Music TopicOn WREK automation, the John Cale song
“Paris 1919” just played. That is one tune that can consistently raise
the hairs on the back of my neck. It is a simple and beautiful
sounding melody, but it always feels like there is so much more
happening in the song than what is just on the surface. That seems in
keeping with its theme of casual hauntings. Even with looking up and
reading
the lyrics
, I can’t claim I understand what it is about on any but
the most shallow level. That’s what I like about his work – I feel
like it is always challenging me. I really need to buy this album if
it is in print and available on CD.

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Right now I’m listening to
Alternative Radio
on WREK. Howard Zinn is on this week, as he
was last week. In one of those odd coincidences, he was recorded
talking at Reed College in Portland, OR and one of the places he is
talking about is Albany, GA. I’m not sure how many people have lived
in both towns, but I have. I listened to his show last week about
“Artists in wartime” and found it quite interesting. I tend to believe
that I’m on the left end of the political spectrum, but listening to
these shows makes me feel like I’m a staunch Republican. Thank god
that feeling goes away.

Speaking of politics, tomorrow is primary day here in Atlanta. I need
to spend some time tonight reading up on the candidates. They predict
a 20% turnout. I try very hard to vote in every election, even the
runoff elections for the smallest seat. I consider this my obligation,
my ante into the game of freedom. I noticed last election where I went
at the end of the day that many of my most loudmouthed neighbors
hadn’t shown up (this might be private information, but it’s easy
enough to see the names adjacent to yours when you sign the list and
if they lack signatures.) When they spout off, I always look at them
cross-eyed, knowing that they are full of opinions but too lazy to
drive down the street to vote.

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In a little bit, I’ll be going to what I think will be my last WREK
staff meeting in a long time, possibly ever. There is no hard feelings
and I’ll remain around to do technical things for them but I’ve got
other things I want to do now. It wasn’t single handed effort on my
part , but five people turned around this station from a complete mess in
spring 2001 to a solid, always-on-the-air, good sounding and
reasonably healthy organization today. We just finished what we
believe to be the first summer ever without appreciable off the air
time. Only a few hours after a lightning strike. Even in good summers,
WREK was usually off the air overnight Friday and Saturday. I feel
awfully good about my accomplishments of last summer, and the station
sounds great.

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Here is an experiment mixing together some of my
recent stuff I’ve done in this log. I’ve been playing with
OpenCOLA
some today, and I’ve set up an Active Folder with all the
web pages and some of the MP3s of every group that has been a “Band of
the day” in this blog. We’ll see how that goes. If it works as
advertised, then I should start getting a feedback loop going where I
get new recommendations that I further bubble into increased
relevance. That’s what the brochures say anyway. For those on the OC
network, this is user “biscuithead” with folder “Indy Music”.

The OpenCOLA stuff seems pretty cool, but there is a definite learning
curve to even understanding the concepts. It’s not like Kazaa or
something like that where 10 seconds after you install you are
browsing away. Several hours after setting up my initial folders, I
got my first “peer revelance” recommendation, although he has nothing
shared so I can’t tell why OC thinks we have tastes in common. More to
come.

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The Braves game was good and fun, if a little somber (for me at least)
because of the chance that a strike will eliminate the best shot my
boys have at taking it all since 1995. The tickets we had included
parking in a nearby lot. We navigated a surface street route that got
us there from the house in less than 15 minutes, so we were there
around 6:15. We went inside, and since the tickets also included
passes to the 755 club, we ate there. I was underimpressed, as it was
like eating at a not-so-good TGI Fridays, if that Fridays overlooked
Turner Field and cost $90 for dinner for four. The seats were good,
about 25 feet past first base and eight rows back. This is by far the
closest I’ve ever been at a Braves game.

The game itself was a good, not-so-flashy victory. I did enjoy when
Rafael Furcal stole a base and the PA played Pink Floyd’s “Run Like
Hell.” Late in the game we had some excitement when a bat flew into
the row behind us. Not a wooden one, a fruit bat carrying a baby. That
was exciting enough, but the jabberjaws people behind us (who had
carried on a constant stream of patter since the 2nd inning) did not
stop talking about this damn bat until they left in the 8th. Good
riddance. All in all, a good outing.

I did hear some old guys at the table next to us at dinner talk about
a fan strike. I think the few days before the 30th, people should
stop going to the games, return their tickets for cash, and walk a
picket line outside carrying signs with slogans like “You Strike, I’m
Out” or “We Won’t Come Back This Time” or “You all make millions from a
kids game, players or owners, millions that we stuff in your pockets
and if this is the way you want to repay us for 130 years of loyalty,
by destroying the second season in a decade, then we shall place those
millions elsewhere.” I wonder how one organizes a fan strike? I
suppose sports talk radio is a place to start.

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Bittersweet night tonight. We are going to our first Braves game this year, and its
on the day they declare a strike date. How wonderful. I really think
the week preceding August 30th, everyone should return their tickets
to the box office. Don’t go to the games, don’t even watch them on
TV. I have little sympathy for either side of this situation, and I’d
like them both to realize that they are now tap-dancing on some
seriously thin ice. Cal Ripken and the beating of Maris’ home run
record aren’t happening again, so there is no deus ex machina to save
them from the antipathy of bans. See what the MLB organization has to say about
it. This whole thing just makes me sick.

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Today I got e-mail informing me that
Open Cola
is in beta. To be honest, I signed up for this so long
ago that I had forgotten about it. I tried to install it and get
registered but the registration server timed out. It’s quite possible
that they are overloaded from just getting fired up. I’ll try at 6 AM
tomorrow, when I’m sure fewer geeks are active. This is the company
that Cory Doctorow cofounded, he who writes good SF and also has one of
the
pre-eminent blogs.

Oh my god, Cory points out the Hello
Kitty USB hub
. Dear lord I want one. As you type on the keyboard,
Hello Kitty moves and shakes around. I’m an easy mark, aren’t I?

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Busy day. Darlene was phone banking tonight for
GARAL
, the Georgia pro-choice organization. I declined this one,
for my own reasons. Instead I ended up running a variety of errands,
including logging in to work to check on an urgent bug report. Sigh,
the life of the wicked includes little rest.

Just for my friend Shannon, I changed the logic of the perl script
that reposts the daily weblog entries to SFF-Net and DM. He didn’t
like the top-to-bottom organization. On the website it makes perfect
sense – most recent entry at the top. He didn’t like it in the
newsgroups, so now they are reordered there and only there. I am
nothing if not responsive to the needs of the several people reading
this.

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In a discussion on Dueling Modems I was
asking if the Peter Gabriel and Robert Fripp composition “Here Comes
the Flood” was at all influenced by J. G. Ballard’s The Drowned
World. Both are melancholy acceptances of this changed world in which
cities are underwater. That got
me thinking and discussing how much I love Fripp’s Exposure album,
from whence that cut comes. The title cut is one of the coolest songs
in rock history, with Terre Roche – a woman with a fabulous singing
voice – singing the title word over and over in increasingly strained
screeches while a bed of weird Frippertronics ™ plays
underneath. Man o man, does it get better than this?

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I want to go on record with two terms I devised. Neither shows up on
Google, so there is a decent chance I created both. If anyone knows of
earlier uses, please tell me. The first is an Internet acronym for
those people who mean well but through their sheer disorganization and
position as nexii of chaos consistently screw it up. The term (which I
used for the first time to describe a volunteer organization that keep
e-mailing my wife not realizing they already had done it) is
HIRPHUA. It stands for “Heart In Right Place, Head Up Ass.”

The other is to describe the situation, such as at my current
workplace, where all top management are smokers. This means that many
times a day, groups of them meet out front of the building for 5 – 15
minutes at a time for what become defacto policy setting
meetings. Non-management smokers end up being present and having an
effect. Non-smokers end up mostly out of the process, and even if they
go down and hang out, it’s never the same. This situation is a
“nicotacracy.”

Here and now, I plant that flag of each of these terms. Use them as
you will. My goal is to see HIRPHUA used in an Usenet post
someday. That will be my success case.

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We did not see Dave Ryan Harris last night (the title of today’s entry
is from one of his songs). Fatigue was the deciding factor. I sure
hate not going to things because we are too tired. That’s for old
people! We only have one more chance to see his “social” as he moves
to LA (as in Los Angeles, not the Louisiana I usually mean) in September.

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One of the things I want to do some research on is the history of the
last twelve years of Atlanta, before after and during the Olympics. I
lived here for the periods 1985-1990, then 1993-1995 and again since 2000. We were here
for the time when the bid was active, during the building, and now
during the aftermath. It is not pretty. I have found my return for
these last two years to be one disappointment after another. Atlanta
is less friendly than it used to be, even worse on city planning
issues. We wanted the Olympics to become a world class city, and now
we are. We have world class traffic congestion, world class pollution
and world class budget shortfalls. Welcome to the big time, friends
and neighbors. Is it everything you dreamed it would be?

I heard tell today of a writer for the Atlanta Journal/Constitution who did a series of critical stories on the subject. I must look them up. Money was made, but the question
is in whose pockets did it wind up? Six years after an event that
was sold to us as bringing economic benefits, the city is in
terrible financial shape. Our services are being cut, our taxes
raised. Parts of the infrastructure like water and sewer are literally
falling apart and can’t be addressed with any finality because the
city is scrambling to pay its bills. We all know now that the Olympics
is a corrupt organization, with officials who use the goodwill of the
events and the glory thereof to stuff their pockets with money with
both fists. I think potential host cities should be asking themselves
“Do we want to be licking the ass of these crooks and scumbags for
most of the next decade? And if we do, how much of our future are we
willing to mortgage for that privilege?” It seemed so wonderful twelve years ago that
we would get to host them and the reality was really kind of
ugly. Ultimately, the endeavor is like trying to join the rich kid
clique at school by throwing a big fancy, expensive party. They will
come, eat your food and drink your drink, and then make fun of you for
thinking you could be one of them. If you aren’t in the club already,
it’s almost impossible to buy your way in.

I will be searching for the journalism on this topic and post
references here
if I can find any. Meanwhile I’ll be breathing smoggy air as assholes
in SUVs run stop signs and try to kill me every day I live here.

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Music TopicToday’s band is Mary Timony. She seems not to have a web page
of her own, but she does have one at
Matador Records
. I heard of her recently when she opened up for
Sonic Youth. Dumbass that I am, I missed her set but I listened to the
MP3 Matador has up there and I really like it. It’s kind of trippy and
dreamy ala some of the quieter Liz Phair songs. You can hear it

here.

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The BlogMax upload the month function is definitely screwed up. I’m
not sure what I did to make it stop working, but the calendar won’t
regenerate unless I explicitly open and resave every previous day. The
only day it continues to work for is the first day of the month. I
really don’t know Lisp well enough to do much debugging. I once heard
a comedian describe that act of looking under the hood when your car
conks out as “looking for a giant on/off switch in the ‘off’
position.” This is what I’m looking for in the Lisp code.

World record record

The debate over “best” album in rock history seems to not be terribly
vituperative. Craig Shaw Gardner floated the soundtrack to Saturday
Night Fever under the “best representative of the zeitgeist of its
time” and I can’t really disagree with that. That’s the criteria by
which I rank Nevermind and London Calling highly as well. If I had to
start from scratch this instant, I think being a music historian and
critic would be a good career for me. And my pick for best album of
all time under the “when I hear it I feel in tune with the notion that
anything in this world is possible and am uplifted by the sound” category
would have to be Coltrane’s Love Supreme.

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I’m officially attempting to get into the Ponzi scheme – this morning
I registered with Blogdex,
so we’ll see what happens with that. It would be interesting to see my
band of the day picks start showing up in there. If so, I might run
back through them so as to get them all represented better.

I realized that my late-night, bleary eyed entry was the only one for
yesterday. I seem to have forgotten to make any more. I believe I’ve
made my last notice of when I miss posting the band of the day. I’ll
try not to miss it, but if I do it will pass without comment.

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Music TopicI’m up atypically late tonight. On Dueling Modems I got involved in a discussion
of what the best album of rock history is. Author Craig Shaw Gardner
was posting from MOJO magazine that cited the Beach Boys Pet Sounds as
holding that title. I’m not sure I buy that, and I proposed a list of
possible contenders – not that I say any of this is, but ones that
could reasonably be mentioned in such a discussion. They include:
Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street
Mothers of Invention – We’re only in it for the Money
Nirvana – Nevermind
David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust
Beatles – Abbey Road
Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation
Everclear – Sparkle and Fade
Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks
Dead Kennedys – Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
Captain Beefheart – Safe as Milk (or Trout Mask Replica [ or Bat Chain
Puller]) or …
Alice in Chains – Dirt
Liz Phair – Exile in Guyville
Pixies – Doolittle
Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks

And I cited my pick for the single most solid album of rock history,
Richard and Linda Thompson – Shoot Out the Lights

Then later on I added:
Velvet Underground and Nico
Television – Marquee Moon
The Ramones
Smiths – Meat is Murder
REM – Fables of the Reconstruction
Black Sabbath – Paranoid
Patti Smith – Easter
Grateful Dead – American Beauty
The Clash – London Calling
Neil Young – Harvest
Brian Eno – Here Come the Warm Jets (how did I miss this one first post?!!?!)

This is the kind of discussion I could have forever. I love it!