Quotulatiousness

February 11, 2018

The Austro-Hungarian Serial Killer Vampire I OUT OF THE TRENCHES

Filed under: Europe, History, Military, WW1 — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

The Great War
Published on 10 Feb 2018

Chair of Wisdom Time! This week including the story of the notorious Bela Kiss.

February 10, 2018

Johann Sebastian Bach; Toccata & Fugue in Dm, by Sinfonity

Filed under: Europe, Media — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

SinfonityTV Guitar
Published on Dec 14, 2014

Johann Sebastian Bach; Toccata & Fugue in Dm, BWV 565
Live recorded in Segovia (Spain), Aug 2014. Video produced by NURILANDS FILMS, directed by Núria García.

https://www.facebook.com/Sinfonity
http://www.sinfonity.es

February 9, 2018

John Perry Barlow, RIP

Filed under: Liberty, Media, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Gareth Corfield on the death of John Perry Barlow, author of the Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace:

John Perry Barlow, a co-founder of the US Electronic Frontier Foundation, and also a lyricist for the Grateful Dead, has died aged 70.

Barlow passed away “quietly in his sleep” yesterday, according to the EFF, which he helped set up in 1990.

“It is no exaggeration to say that major parts of the Internet we all know and love today exist and thrive because of Barlow’s vision and leadership. He always saw the Internet as a fundamental place of freedom, where voices long silenced can find an audience and people can connect with others regardless of physical distance,” said the foundation’s executive director, Cindy Cohn.

The BBC reported that Barlow had been ill for several years but “few details were given about his medical problems”.

In the history of the Internet, Barlow will be forever remembered for his 1996 Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace.

“I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear,” wrote Barlow, a bold vision of the future that, sadly, did not come to pass.

The EFF defended Barlow against the inevitable criticisms of the Declaration, with Cohn acknowledging that he was “sometimes held up as a straw man for a kind of naive techno-utopianism” but insisting that he understood “new technology could create and empower evil as much as it could create and empower good”.

I wasn’t a fan of the Grateful Dead, but I read his Declaration soon after it was released and found it inspiring (if not particularly realistic, even then). Few people can have a significant role in a single endeavour, but Barlow was undeniably prominent in the music scene and the early internet community. We’re all poorer for his passing.

January 27, 2018

Remy: Wedu Nagivafaka

Filed under: Government, Humour, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

ReasonTV
Published on 26 Jan 2018

The classic Hawaiian-themed song ‘Mele Kalikimaka’ gets a government makeover.

——–
Parody song written and performed by Remy. Produced by Meredith Bragg.
Music tracks and production by Ben Karlstrom. Steel guitar by Wayne Addleman.

LYRICS:
Wedu Nagivafaka is the thing we say any bright Hawaiian winter day
You send an island greeting out to everyone saying nukes are on their way
But don’t clean out that desk quite yet and don’t you sob—
You work for the government, you’ll keep your job
Wedu Nagivakfaka is the way we say
There’s nothing that we will do to you

Wedu Nagivafaka if your kids can’t read when their senior year’s adjourned
Or if you make six-figures and you spend your days at your desk just watching porn
See you don’t have a normal job, you’ll be just fine
Come tomorrow morning you’ll be “reassigned”…

Wedu Nagivafaka is the way we say
There’s nothing that we will do to you
What else would I have to do?
There’s nothing that we will do
To you…

January 17, 2018

Simon Phillips (L. Ritenour & M. Stern) – Smoke ‘n’ Mirrors, [drums only camera]

Filed under: Media — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

SimonBak90
Published on 28 Apr 2012

Another great DVD release featuring Simon Phillips on drums, called ‘Lee Ritenour & Mike Stern Live at the Blue Note Tokyo’. The DVD features two extra ‘drum cam chapters’ offering you a unique view of Simon playing the songs ‘Smoke ‘n’ Mirrors’ and ‘Big Neighborhood’.

Definitely a must have for the SP fans.

January 10, 2018

Rowan Atkinson – Interview with Elton John

Filed under: Britain, Humour, Media — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

SlugBalancer
Published on 23 Mar 2009

Rowan Atkinson interviews Elton John at Hysteria 3 (1991)

December 28, 2017

QotD: The 1960s cultural revolution

Filed under: Books, Liberty, Media, Quotations, USA — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

The entire political and cultural trajectory of the decades following World War II in the U.S. was a movement away from the repressions of the Cold War standoff with the Soviet Union, when the House Un-American Activities Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives searched for signs of Communist subversion in every area of American life. A conspicuous target was the Hollywood film industry, where many liberals had indeed been drawn to the Communist Party in the 1930s, before the atrocities of the Stalinist regime were known. To fend off further federal investigation, the major studios blacklisted many actors, screenwriters, and directors, some of whom, like a favorite director of mine, Joseph Losey, fled the country to find work in Europe. Pete Seeger, the leader of the politicized folk music movement whose roots were in the social activism of Appalachian coal-miners in the 1930s, was banned from performing on network TV in the U.S. in the 1950s and ‘60s.

There were sporadic landmark victories for free speech in the literary realm. In 1957, local police raided the City Lights Bookshop in San Francisco and arrested the manager and owner, Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, for selling an obscene book, Allen Ginsberg’s epic protest poem, Howl. After a long, highly publicized trial, Howl was declared not obscene, and the charges were dropped. The Grove Press publishing house, owned by Barney Rosset, played a heroic role in the battle against censorship in the U.S. In 1953, Grove Press began publishing affordable, accessible paperbacks of the voluminous banned works of the Marquis de Sade, a major thinker about sex and society at the close of the Enlightenment. In 1959, the Grove Press edition of D.H. Lawrence’s 1928 novel, Lady Chatterly’s Lover, then banned in the U.S., was confiscated as obscene by the U.S. Postal Service. Rosset sued and won the case on federal appeal. In 1961, the publication by Grove Press of another banned book, Henry Miller’s 1934 novel, Tropic of Cancer, led to 60 obscenity trials in the U.S. until in 1964 it was declared not obscene and its publication permitted.

One of the supreme symbols of newly militant free speech was Lenny Bruce, who with Mort Sahl transformed stand-up comedy from its innocuous vaudevillian roots into a medium of biting social and political commentary. Bruce’s flaunting of profanity and scatology in his improvisational onstage act led to his arrest for obscenity in San Francisco in 1961, in Chicago in 1962, and in New York in 1964, where he and Howard Solomon, owner of the Café Au Go Go in Greenwich Village, were found guilty of obscenity and sentenced to jail. Two years later, while his conviction was still under appeal, Bruce died of a drug overdose at age 40.

This steady liberalizing trend was given huge impetus by the sexual revolution, which was launched in 1959 by the marketing of the first birth control pill. In Hollywood, the puritanical studio production code, which had been adopted in the early 1930s under pressure from conservative groups like the Legion of Decency and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, was gradually breaking down and was finally abandoned by the late 1960s. The new standard of sexual expression was defined by European art films, with their sophisticated scripts and frank nudity. Pop music pushed against community norms: in 1956, Elvis Presley’s hip-swiveling gyrations were cut off by the TV camera as too sexual for the Ed Sullivan Show, which was then a national institution. As late as 1967, the Ed Sullivan Show was trying to censor the song lyrics of major bands like the Doors and the Rolling Stones, who were imitating the sexual explicitness of rural and urban African-American blues. (The Stones capitulated to Sullivan, but the Doors fought back — and were never invited on his show again.) Middle-class college students in the 1960s, including women, began freely using four-letter words that had rarely been heard in polite company, except briefly during the flapper fad of the 1920s. In the early 1970s, women for the first time boldly entered theaters showing pornography and helped make huge hits out of X-rated films like Deep Throat, Behind the Green Door, and The Devil in Miss Jones.

In short, free speech and free expression, no matter how offensive or shocking, were at the heart of the 1960s cultural revolution. Free speech was a primary weapon of the Left against the moralism and conformism of the Right.

Camille Paglia, “The Modern Campus Has Declared War on Free Speech”, Heat Street, 2016-05-09.

December 25, 2017

Repost – “Fairytale of New York”

Filed under: Media, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Time:

“Fairytale of New York,” The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl

This song came into being after Elvis Costello bet The Pogues’ lead singer Shane MacGowan that he couldn’t write a decent Christmas duet. The outcome: a call-and-response between a bickering couple that’s just as sweet as it is salty.

December 23, 2017

Repost – Kate Bush – Christmas Special 1979 (Private Remaster)

Filed under: Britain, Media — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 5 Oct 2013

I know there’s a good few copies of this out on YouTube, but here it is, again! The other copies were either split up into individual tracks, the best complete one (from BBC Four’s rebroadcast in 2009) had the wrong aspect ratio, which annoyed the hell out of me! So, here this is…

Video and audio have been tidied up very slightly, not much was needed!

Kate Bush – Christmas Special
Tracklist:
(Intro) 00:00
Violin 00:29
(Gymnopédie No.1 – composed by Erik Satie) 03:44
Symphony In Blue 04:44
Them Heavy People 08:20
(Intro for Peter Gabriel) 12:52
Here Comes The Flood (Peter Gabriel) 13:22
Ran Tan Waltz 17:02
December Will Be Magic Again 19:43
The Wedding List 23:35
Another Day (with Peter Gabriel) 28:05
Egypt 31:41
The Man With The Child In His Eyes 36:21
Don’t Push Your Foot On The Heartbreak 39:24

“I was recently asked about this BBC TV special and I thought I’d share my comments here. Kate: Kate Bush Christmas Special is a stage performance by Kate Bush with her special guest Peter Gabriel. Though most of the songs are not holiday ones, they come from Bush’s first three albums (Never for Ever her third album would be released in 1980 after this 1979 TV special was taped). The performances include costumes, choreographed dances and a wind machine, creating an eclectic music TV special to say the least.

This is one of the programs that makes my research quite difficult — because it calls itself a Christmas Special yet it contains only one performance of a Christmas song “December Will Be Magic Again” (a song that wouldn’t be released as a single by Bush until the following year, in 1980). TV programming that calls itself a Christmas Special and yet contains little to no Christmas entertainment is actually quite common — especially on the BBC.

Between the end of November and the end of December each year, there is quite a bit of special programming on television. Remember Elvis’ 1968 Comeback Special — it aired in December that year and includes only one holiday song, a performance of “Blue Christmas.” Is it considered a Christmas special? No, not really. And so, despite its title, the lack of holiday programming in Kate Bush’s 1979 TV special means it shouldn’t be considered a Christmas special either. But the Kate Bush Christmas Special is certainly worth watching!”

H/T to Ghost of a Flea for the link.

December 21, 2017

Repost – The Monkees – “Riu Chiu” HD (Official Music Video) – from THE MONKEES – THE COMPLETE SERIES Blu Ray

Filed under: Media, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Uploaded on 15 Dec 2015

The Monkees perform “Riu Chiu” from Episode 47, “The Monkees’ Christmas Show”.

H/T to Kathy Shaidle for the link.

December 19, 2017

Repost – “An ‘American tradition’ is anything that happened to a baby boomer twice”

Filed under: Humour, Media — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Hard to refute the latest xkcd take on Christmas music:

December 18, 2017

Repost – Induced aversion to a particular Christmas song

Filed under: Business, Cancon, Media, Personal — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Earlier this year, I had occasion to run a Google search for “Mr Gameway’s Ark” (it’s still almost unknown: the Googles, they do nothing). However, I did find a very early post on the old site that I thought deserved to be pulled out of the dusty archives, because it explains why I can — to this day — barely stand to listen to “Little Drummer Boy”:

Seasonal Melodies

James Lileks has a concern about Christmas music:

This isn’t to say all the classics are great, no matter who sings them. I can do without “The Little Drummer Boy,” for example.

It’s the “Bolero” of Christmas songs. It just goes on, and on, and on. Bara-pa-pa-pum, already. Plus, I understand it’s a sweet little story — all the kid had was a drum to play for the newborn infant — but for anyone who remembers what it was like when they had a baby, some kid showing up unannounced to stand around and beat on the skins would not exactly complete your mood. Happily, the song has not spawned a sequel like “The Somewhat Larger Cymbal Adolescent.”

This reminds me about my aversion to this particular song. It was so bad that I could not hear even three notes before starting to wince and/or growl.

Back in the early 1980’s, I was working in Toronto’s largest toy and game store, Mr Gameway’s Ark. It was a very odd store, and the owners were (to be polite) highly idiosyncratic types. They had a razor-thin profit margin, so any expenses that could be avoided, reduced, or eliminated were so treated. One thing that they didn’t want to pay for was Muzak (or the local equivalent), so one of the owners brought in his home stereo and another one put together a tape of Christmas music.

Note that singular. “Tape”.

Christmas season started somewhat later in those distant days, so that it was really only in December that we had to decorate the store and cope with the sudden influx of Christmas merchandise. Well, also, they couldn’t pay for the Christmas merchandise until sales started to pick up, so that kinda accounted for the delay in stocking-up the shelves as well …

So, Christmas season was officially open, and we decorated the store with the left-over krep from the owners’ various homes. It was, at best, kinda sad. But — we had Christmas music! And the tape was pretty eclectic: some typical 50’s stuff (White Christmas and the like), some medieval stuff, some Victorian stuff and that damned Drummer Boy song.

We were working ten- to twelve-hour shifts over the holidays (extra staff? you want Extra Staff, Mr. Cratchitt???), and the music played on. And on. And freaking on. Eternally. There was no way to escape it.

To top it all off, we were the exclusive distributor for a brand new game that suddenly was in high demand: Trivial Pursuit. We could not even get the truck unloaded safely without a cordon of employees to keep the random passers-by from snatching boxes of the damned game. When we tried to unpack the boxes on the sales floor, we had customers snatching them out of our hands and running (running!) to the cashier. Stress? It was like combat, except we couldn’t shoot back at the buggers.

Oh, and those were also the days that Ontario had a Sunday closing law, so we were violating all sorts of labour laws on top of the Sunday closing laws, so the Police were regular visitors. Given that some of our staff spent their spare time hiding from the Police, it just added immeasurably to the tension levels on the shop floor.

And all of this to the background soundtrack of Christmas music. One tape of Christmas music. Over and over and over and over and over and over and over again.

It’s been over 20 years, and I still feel the hackles rise on the back of my neck with this song … but I’m over the worst of it now: I can actually listen to it without feeling that all-consuming desire to rip out the sound system and dance on the speakers. After two decades.

December 15, 2017

Josephine Baker

Filed under: France, Media, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

I think I first heard of Josephine Baker in the Al Stewart song from his Last Days of the Century album:

At Open Culture, Josh Jones has a brief biography of Josephine Baker that touches on most of the salient points of her career and life:

There has maybe never been a better time to critically examine the granting of special privileges to people for their talent, personality, or wealth. Yet, for all the harm wrought by fame, there have always been celebrities who use the power for good. The twentieth century is full of such figures, men and women of conscience like Muhammad Ali, Nina Simone, and Paul Robeson — extraordinary people who lived extraordinary lives. Yet no celebrity activist, past or present, has lived a life as extraordinary as Josephine Baker’s.

Born Freda Josephine McDonald in 1906 to parents who worked as entertainers in St. Louis, Baker’s early years were marked by extreme poverty. “By the time young Freda was a teenager,” writes Joanne Griffith at the BBC, “she was living on the streets and surviving on food scraps from bins.” Like every rags-to-riches story, Baker’s turns on a chance discovery. While performing on the streets at 15, she attracted the attention of a touring St. Louis vaudeville company, and soon found enormous success in New York, in the chorus lines of a string of Broadway hits.

Baker became professionally known, her adopted son Jean-Claude Baker writes in his biography, as “the highest-paid chorus girl in vaudeville.” A great achievement in and of itself, but then she was discovered again at age 19 by a Parisian recruiter who offered her a lucrative spot in a French all-black revue. “Baker headed to France and never looked back,” parlaying her nearly-nude danse sauvage into international fame and fortune. Topless, or nearly so, and wearing a skirt made from fake bananas, Baker used stereotypes to her advantage — by giving audiences what they wanted, she achieved what few other black women of the time ever could: personal autonomy and independent wealth, which she consistently used to aid and empower others.

Throughout the 20s, she remained an archetypal symbol of jazz-age art and entertainment for her Folies Bergère performances (see her dance the Charleston and make comic faces in 1926 in the looped video above). In 1934, Baker made her second film Zouzou (top), and became the first black woman to star in a major motion picture. But her sly performance of a very European idea of African-ness did not go over well in the U.S., and the country she had left to escape racial animus bared its teeth in hostile receptions and nasty reviews of her star Broadway performance in the 1936 Ziegfeld Follies (a critic at Time referred to her as a “Negro wench”). Baker turned away from America and became a French citizen in 1937.

December 12, 2017

Why Hold Music Sounds Worse Now

Filed under: Business, History, Technology — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Tom Scott
Published on 27 Nov 2017

It’s not your imagination; hold music on phones really did sound better in the old days. Here’s why, as we talk about old telephone exchanges and audio compression.

Thanks to the Milton Keynes Museum, and their Connected Earth gallery: http://www.mkmuseum.org.uk/ – they’re also on Twitter as @mkmuseum, and on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mkmuseum/

November 26, 2017

Dropping Bombs on Germany – WW1 in Heavy Metal I OUT OF THE TRENCHES

Filed under: Europe, History, Media, Military, WW1 — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 06:00

The Great War
Published on 25 Nov 2017

Indy’s back in his Chair of Wisdom, and ready to answer more of your questions. This week we discuss Allied bombings on Germany and the influence of WW1 on Metal, including on the power-metal band Sabaton.

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