2019 June❮❮prev

May 2019 new music playlist

June 1, 2019
Huh. Plenty of new music, but not much that I really loved. 4 star stuff (all low 4s) in red:

June 2, 2019

spring 2019 one second everyday
Unrequited love is way underrated. It's kind of like smoking. Ultimately it's bad for you, especially in the long term. Both are bad for your health, make you "smell" worse to others, and cause you to pick up annoying repetitive habits, whether it's constantly wanting something in your mouth (smoking) or anxiously checking e-mail (unrequited love). But on the other hand, both have a certain glamour, give us something to do with ourselves, and have a huge deserved mystique and romantic history behind them. Smoking gets you outside where as otherwise you might stick yourself in the office all day, unrequited love gets you to write amusing bon mots where as otherwise you might write nothing but pedestrian e-mail.
Journal entry I made July 12 2000

I don't remember who gave me the idea, but I'm SO much happier now that I'm framing my task manager in terms of what benefit I'll get from doing things rather than having an endless list of tasks I "need" to do.

June 3, 2019

This is the real world, muchachos, and you are in it.
B. Traven from a 2008 loveblender piece, somehow the line has stuck with me but without the "muchachos"
Sometimes I wonder if the Mayans were right and that this quote is less true after December 2012 or so.
If you ever get a chance to work in mysterious ways I highly recommend it because you can get away with ANYTHING.

I really do appreciate how Trump's new hairstyle is doubling down on "Future Biff from Back to the Future 2"

Speaking of the Trump and the UK, I wonder if Boris Johnson was an inspiration? The whole "lets have a wacky bad blond hair situation that distracts people from what god-awful idiots we are"

June 4, 2019

What seems to have changed in our psyches was a great catastrophic event--probably related to climate change--that decimated our ranks about 135,000 years ago. At that time, the entire population of the subspecies that we now call human plummeted to just six hundred.
Leonard Mlodinow, "Elastic: Unlocking Your Brain's Ability to Embrace Change". Man that is a crazy scary number!

The creative adult is the child who has survived.
Prof. Julian F. Fleron (or at least not Ursula K. Le Guin (as it is cited in the book)... she resents the misattribution and considers the sentiment vapid, which kind of bums me out because I like it, for sometimes all too obvious reasons)

Everything matters, but nothing matters that much

June 5, 2019
A while back I wrote
One other line from "Fear of Flying" has stuck in my head, and that's Adrian saying "Courage is the first principle" as he cajoles Isadora into running away with him. [...] I think he might be citing Aristotle, actually, the quote sometimes given as "Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others."
This idea has been stuck in my mind today, and I was reading some summaries of the Aristotelian roots.

I have friends and loved ones afflicted with industrial grade anxiety, and it's so hard for them to deal with. And so often I have my own troubles with courage, this fear of proving less capable than I need myself to be resulting in a lack of productivity and a plethora of avoidance behaviors.

Some of the difficulty comes from the way we use emotions to think with. I'm not sure if it's even physically possible to spur ourselves into any action without some level of emotional energy - but we overdo it. It's so, so hard to find that space between "this doesn't matter, nothing matters, who cares" and "this is so important, if it doesn't go well things will be just awful - awful!"

My best suggestion is to try to encourage the stance of "Everything matters, but nothing matters that much".

(I acknowledge there's the "first world" vibe to this problem, privilege involved in having a place in the world that seems fundamentally comfortable and stable - but I also know every person tends to have a hedonistic setpoint, that people from a really wide variety of circumstances end up able to adapt and end up with a similar level of subjective contentment whatever their external circumstance.)
"We here at Weyland-Yutani Corporation would like to wish a happy Pride Month to all of our LGBT colonists on LV-426."
While looking up the design, I found this site: https://speculativeidentities.com/ - lovely deep dives into the typography and logo design of future companies.

I think most "time management problems" are really emotion management problems.
Matt McIrvin (on my FB post of this)

June 6, 2019

Robert Lambry's 1930s les animaux tels qu'ils sont is a terrific looking "how to draw animals book"
(via kottke)

It's interesting comparing Ed Emberley's stuff - Emberley is aimed a bit younger, or at least simpler, and showing kids (and timid grownups) that they have the basic skills they need to make basic cartoon-y stuff. Lambry's title ("Animals As They Are") gives a hint as to its ambitions - it reminds me of the studio drawing class I took, where I learned about starting with the most basics of line and curve and building around that.

And I guess I'll plug my Ed Emberley tribute animals.alienbill.com - 25 drawings that fly in from their component shapes and squiggles and become interactive puppets.

June 7, 2019

RIP Dr. John - got to see him live in 2015 w/ Liz...

I was at a fight when a hockey game broke out. In the stands.

Don't ever change, Boston.

No, wait, I mean: please change, Boston.

June 8, 2019

*writing résumé*
Strengths? I'm great at multitasking
*explosion in kitchen*
My popcorn!
*car crashes through fence*
I forgot I was driving!

An Oral (FNARR!) History of HBO's Real Sex. This show was in the news recently as a casualty of HBO deciding to remove its adult content, and that's unfortunate- it was such an enormously sex-positive show, and both the feature segments and the "people on the street" parts were fascinating. The two scenes I remember most were one scissors/blade enthusiast gal brightly saying "SKIZZORS!" and then the folks who had a full-on bacchanal with everyone in clown makeup and gear - that lingers in my mind as a golden standard of cheerful hedonistic enjoyment, and I wish I had more things in my life that I so blatantly delight in as much as they were enjoying their clownish time together.

The thee liquids for the Pride brass player: water, sunblock, valve oil

Emma Hunsinger's How to Draw a Horse. So, so, so, good.

June 9, 2019

NY Times on The Making of a Youtube Radical.

The algorithms that show you "Up Next" aren't politically biased by design, but in practice - yow.
"There's a spectrum on YouTube between the calm section -- the Walter Cronkite, Carl Sagan part -- and Crazytown, where the extreme stuff is," said Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google, YouTube's parent company. "If I'm YouTube and I want you to watch more, I'm always going to steer you toward Crazytown."
The story talks about how the algorithms at first focused on proximate content (i.e. videos with similar outlooks) but when they introduced the goals of getting people to stay on longer, started selecting towards pushing people to more engrossing stuff - and folks on the alt right figured out how to leverage this pattern.

Here's the most bullshit, weak-sauce, mathematically illiterate defense I've read this week:
In interviews, YouTube officials denied that the recommendation algorithm steered users to more extreme content. The company's internal testing, they said, has found just the opposite -- that users who watch one extreme video are, on average, recommended videos that reflect more moderate viewpoints.
LOL, I think they're arguing that regression to the mean somehow shows there isn't a trend. I mean come on - if someone lands on some of the most wackadoodle stuff, chances are, statistically, the recommendations will be somewhat less wackadoodle than that. Math is hard!

A slim silver lining is that the left is figuring this out as well, a "group [that] calls itself BreadTube, a reference to the left-wing anarchist Peter Kropotkin's 1892 book, 'The Conquest of Bread.'" Previously I enjoyed Contrapoints response to Jordan Peterson and the unlikelihood of the conflation of "Post-Modern Neo Marxism".

But yeah. These algorithms are god-awful. "You might also like" was sort of cool on Everything2, but it's too clear that rabbit holing can be utterly abused. (And while I'm at it, screw Netflix and autoplaying next. It's like a self-refilling glass for casual drinkers.)
An x-ray of a brown long-eared bat.

(Photo: Chris Thorn)


"I'll Fly Away" from the Second Line for Dr. John (spotted by Daniel in SoH)

Just so it's known - I'm no Dr. John but if I die any time soon I sure as hell want as much music as the Boston area folk I've played with this past half-decade or so can muster. Probably w/ a lot of School of Honk songs so everyone can join n.
LOL, so Marvel/Disney are being uptight about streaming rental of Captain Marvel (gotta get that new gawd forsaken DisneyPlus mojo working I guess, grrrrrrrr) - maybe it'll be time to go to frickin' Red Box physical media for a while til they get this shit settled or I succumb to the Mickey Christ and subscribe or steal a subscription.

June 10, 2019

*event happens* but how does this affect Me, the Protagonist of Reality

June 11, 2019

Gonna go see The Man Who Killed Don Quixote tomorrow!

when I find myself in times of trouble mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom "log off"

I wasn't quite happy with any of the free Invoice generators out there so I hacked together my own.
So astonishing that the film The Matrix is 20 years old. Still feels fresh. Here's the best analysis of it I recall seeing:

June 12, 2019

Pressley: How many extremist murders has the FBI linked to Black Lives Matter or similar black activist groups?

McGarrity: We don't work Black Lives Matter it's a movement. It's an ideology. We don't work that.

Pressley: So the answer is none. Can you just say that for the record? There has been no killing that the FBI can link to black Lives Matter or similar black activist groups, to your knowledge.

McGarrity: To my knowledge--I'd have to go back--but to my knowledge, right now, no.

June 13, 2019

Things are not what they seem; nor are they otherwise.
Shurangama Sutra

Play all the Steely Dan albums in release order.
Diane's Turing Test for voice-activated music playback software. It's not quite "consciousness", but when the automated assistant can do the right thing based on that query, we know we are doing with somewhat more clever things!
Sometimes I'm not sure if our grammar processors are as sophisticated as Infocom parsers on old text adventures. I could tell the turtle in "Enchanter" 'turtle, go se then get the scroll then go nw.' and the turtle would do that.
G is for gin! T is for tonic! Our six titties are supersonic! We don't mind men - We don't like fuss. We're the Glee team - Come and get us !
The Glee Team chant from "My Dad Wrote a Porno" (I'm clearing out some backlog 'todo' items here...)

Band Life Hack - having trouble keeping your group together and tight on the descending line in a cover of Herbie Hancock's Chameleon (like around 0:55 of that one?) Try the mnemonic "HERbie / Hancock / CuriOsity is good...."

June 14, 2019

From the cries of Sinn Fein to the whines of Jackie Mason, everybody's got an agenda and everyone thinks he or she is right. Trying to change someone's mind usually becomes an exercise in futility, so it is your job to pretend to care. Offer some tepid advice and move on. Cultivate the Switzerland of your soul and remain delightfully detached.
Janeane Garofalo, "Feel This Book" (co-authored with Ben Stiller in 1999). That final line has been buzzing around my head lately - the usual caveats of there being some privilege in it, and that some struggles ARE worth pursuing - but you gotta pick your battles, or maybe more importantly - pick your battlefields.

ThinkGeek kinda going away...
Oh, that's kind of a bummer! They had a nicely curated bunch of geeky stuff....
People who like Hawaiian Pizza - would you also enjoy, say, a banana slathered with mayo? 'Cause to us that's the same energy, right there, more or less.

June 15, 2019

enamored of equality

June 16, 2019
On FB a friend, one I respect greatly despite, or because of, long term political and artistic differences, but usually handled collegially, posted
Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom
Alexis de Tocqueville
My response was this:
So, this is half true in the way Tocqueville probably means, but the other half is - man, that is just basic human psychology. People would rather be the slightly richer person in their poor peer group than the poorest of a somewhat more well-off cohort. I think it's because, when everyone is poor, it feels like that is just the way the world is, you know? Everyone is in more or less the same boat, but maybe you did better or worse than your shmuck neighbors - that's where the competition is, always local. If everyone were "equal in slavery", then freedom would be largely unknown and almost unimaginable.

Personally the american level-seeking characteristic I'm more concerned with these days is smarts; some Americans are so convinced of their own truthy gut intuition that they refuse to recognize that smarts and expertise actually exists; that some problems take a lot of study and though - sometimes pursuing their own specialized glossary or vocabulary so that to the outsider, it's almost impossible to tell if it's just some weird, out of touch intellectual circle jerk or more hard won esoteric knowledge. This point is why I was rather disdainful of that Intellectual Yet Idiot post you linked to here.
My favorite image from a remarkable The Public Domain Review page, X is for - what did alphabet books do before X-Rays and Xylophones were in the zeitgeist?

(The site has the full content of Charles H. Bennett's 1855 Beasts, birds and fishes : an alphabet for boys & girls - the n-word makes an unfortunate appearance as a music descriptor, only somewhat mitigated by isolating it in quote marks.)

head-like a-hole

June 17, 2019
A recent Netflix "Black Mirror" has what many Gen X/Millennial types will find blasphemous: "Ashely O" (Miley Cyrus) doing a retooled, relyricked bubble-gum pop cover of "Head Like a Hole":

I was delighted they released the MP3 for this (as with other NIN covers that lighten things up, it reveals that Reznor is a crazy good tunesmith.) I also delighted in planning to subject Melissa to it in the car...

She was frustrated because she couldn't think of a good revenge song for me. And I admit it's a tough road! I like many things musically (anything that I don't find boring in terms of bass and rhythm floors) and I don't hold much sacred... even, say, a country western version of my most sacred song "Groove Is In The Heart" might be kind of fun!

"NIN" was definitely a teenage expression/rebellion piece for many folk. I guess the nearest thing I had to that was Beastie Boys "License to Ill". (I remember my mom asking if something was wrong when she saw I destroyed the tape during a bout of spiritual repentance.)

Anyway, did you have a "teen rebellion" song or album or genre? What was it?
I also loved that they released this shirt:

Anyone else seeing an extra amount of spam slipping through Gmail's filters today? (And being labeled 'important', is the goading thing for me)

apocalypse whenever

June 18, 2019
Been thinking a bit about Revelation. Saturday I was discussing my takeaway from Elaine Pagels' book about it, which is the irony that even though it is so revered by so many (Gentile, not particularly semitic) Christians today, it spends its first part taking a strong stance for a partisan "Christianity needs to be seen as an outgrowth of Judaism" view (vs "Gentiles are the bestest Christians") but that part is usually glossed over by most readers, who are generally looking for the future juicy, scary and vengeful stuff. (Actually, "readers" isn't the right term. As a preteen I got through one of those "read the whole Bible in a year!" plans, but I think that level of reading is uncommon in most churches these days - many churchgoers seem content with the little cherry picked excerpts you get in service. Which, if true (and I shouldn't speak too broadly, I'm sure there are plenty of exceptions) is kind of a return to the old "Mystery" days where the actual texts were reserved for the learned few...)

An early 1980s Sunday School class about the subject, including an illustration of a Christian in front of a firing squad along with other terrors to come, left me with an indelible association of Christianity with future horrors, especially if you don't act right (all the Jesus acceptance and born-again-ness) and even if you do. Which then fed into a disdain I still carry for "pre-tribs", folks who think the Christians get swept away to their eternal happiness before all the shit goes down, because God must love us too much to let that happen to US, right? (I have bitterness when pop-religion seems to sugarcoat the source material - the way a "Grampas looking down from us in Heaven right now, Timmy" view seems more grounded in consoling hopefulness than the actual scriptures - my church's 11th and final doctrine was "We believe in the immortality of the soul; in the resurrection of the body; in the general judgment at the end of the world; in the eternal happiness of the righteous; and in the endless punishment of the wicked." I realized that that view of a bodily resurrection and a judgement at the END of the things is more caught in "Man of Constant Sorrow"'s final verse ("as I lay sleeping in my grave") than most of the songs I had been singing in Sunday School... and so I'm both envious of and sometimes a little disdainful of folks who have a softer, gentler form of Christianity, even as I realize I can't be sure their view is less reliable than mine harsh one - it's certainly more pragmatic and psychologically sound, whether or not it feels like wishful thinking to me.)

A few years ago I ran into the idea of Preterism, the idea that the stuff in Revelation happened along with the destruction of the Temple in 70CE. (Heh - compare that to the tongue-in-cheek pop-culture idea that Mayans were right, time ended in 2012 and now we're just watching things fall apart.) Anyway, I wish I had a better feel for this view, I can't read the fantastical and completely apocalyptic imagery outside of the lens of a "guide to future events" that has stoked both way too much of my childhood fears and informed too much of our foreign policy in the Middle East...

Man, this ramble got longer than I expected when I found an old blog note on "Preterism". I'll leave you with a reference to APOCAMON - the first few pages are rough, implying sexual abuse of John of Patmos by Roman soldiers, but then gets into a fascinatingly literal illustration of the warring angelic and demonic forces of the final battle.

OK, finally finally, I remember this quote:
Pick up a reggae album at random. Any reggae album. Listen to it and you will find a far more accurate, reliable and theologically sound exegesis of the meaning of Babylon than you will ever get from Tim LaHaye or any other so-called 'prophecy expert.'

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