January 22, 2018

"I came to the city when I was twenty and became a fruit seller. It's allowed me to build a house in my village. I feel healthy. I get to eat. A lot of people don't get to eat on time. So I've gotten everything I wanted. The minute you think: 'I have a lot'--that's the moment your spirit is at rest. My spirit is at rest."
--Fruit seller from Jaipur, India via Humans of New York
I've been using "Google Translate" to help facilitate with Omar, leader of "Banda de Paz", a group JP Honk partners with. My own high school and college spanish is so unreliable... so far my favorite observation is if you translate "rehearsal" into Spanish (ensayo) and back, you often get back "trial" or "test". That makes me think that many people rehearse harder than I do.
Did I mention I was born in Philadelphia?
"What I wanted was an image of Trump's first year that would stimulate the imagination without paralyzing the will. The writer Deanne Stillman put it best, I think, when she wrote on Twitter that Trump is luminol, the chemical that police spray on crime scenes to reveal traces of blood. Stillman was responding to a remark I had made about the astonishing profusion of secrets, tensions, lies, and dirty deals that have been exposed since Trump took office -- I was thinking of racial crimes, sex scandals, acts of espionage, political tricks, even the outlandish CIA plots, real and contemplated, that were disclosed in the JFK assassination files. It felt as though the country had been laid out on a slab for a giant inquest, an autopsy of the remains from a mass grave.

Trump had to be the cause. I could find no other. But how the process worked was harder to figure out. What had he done to lift the lid off the coffin? Why had all the bloodstains started glowing? I'd heard it said, for example, that Trump's alleged sexual assaults were the trigger for the #MeToo movement. That may be part of it, but there was something else going on, something bigger: a realignment of power. Many of the men accused of sexual misdeeds had enjoyed protection from the very institutions -- the political parties and media organizations -- that were partly leveled by Trump's election. Silencing women who had been sexually harassed or assaulted was business as usual for the Establishment. But Trump was not allied with the TV networks that employed such once-untouchable figures as Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose. He owed nothing to Harvey Weinstein's Hollywood, which conspicuously advertised its ties to Democratic causes and candidates. Trump's election shook the confidence of the wrongdoers within the Establishment, and their accusers sensed that, I suspect. Had Clinton won, Weinstein, an old friend and donor, would almost certainly have been partying at the White House, which might have given his victims pause. With Trump as president, though, no one knew what the new order would look like.

This is not a defense of Trump. Nor is it an apology for him. It is merely an acknowledgment that Trump breeds chaos, and chaos upends everything. It has ripple effects and unforeseen consequences. Conservatives are so afraid of chaos that they tend to oppose even thoughtful, reformist change, lest it spin out of control. Now they have a true maniac to deal with, and things are certainly out of their control. Over at the State Department, Trump's contempt for tradition and expertise has proved devastating. Morale is down and early retirements have jumped. Meanwhile, the NFL, the consummate fraternity, can no longer count on politicians' support. The league used to do its business quietly, behind the thickest of closed doors, but now its owners' thoughtless comments are leaking to the public: one of them recently compared the players to inmates in a prison. The same anarchic forces that dissolved the elite boys' clubs of the media are destabilizing these other entities that depend on school ties, teamwork, loyalty, and handshake deals. Gentleman's agreements, for good or ill, the ones that oppress and the ones that foster stability, need gentlemen to maintain them, after all. And Trump is not a gentleman."
--Walter Kirn writing in Harper's, The Uncertainty Principle
Any other fellow computer nerds out there subconsciously bugged that a trombone slide held all the way in is "first position" and not "zeroeth position"?

Actually, for my School of Honk'ers that might be curious about the pattern valves have -- I don't know if sectionals run this by new members when they start, so apologies if everyone knows it :-D (For School of Honk, this mostly is about the trumpets and tubas, though or baritone friends we get sometimes play the same too)

Most brass instruments with valves work the same way - pressing down more valves is like moving out the slide on a trombone, the air goes through that tube, so overall the instrument is "bigger", in terms of more tubing = slower vibration = lower sound. (Of course it's more complicated than that, since you have to learn to adjust your lips to buzz at a different "partial". Or it could be simpler than that- with a bugle (or heaven forbid a Vuvuzela) and no valves- in which case you can play nothing but partials. Bugle calls like "taps" and "reveille" make their music out of that- a trumpet player can play all those songs without pressing any valves, or just keeping one down all the time)

ANYWAY, the middle, "second" valve moves you down a half step, first valve a whole step, third valve -- 1 1/2 steps. Which seems pretty weird! I think it's meant to put the more-used whole step on the stronger pointer finger, maybe? And you can combine valves to lower more steps (you might have noticed the third valve is more-or-less the same as first plus second.) Some big horns like concert tubas will have a fourth valve, which will put you down 2 whole steps, and so is about the same as pressing 1 and 3, but lets you dig even lower beneath that.
from The Guardian's 'Trump hasn't just done a good job, he's done a great job' – the view from Muncie, Indiana:
The first is that every Trump voter I speak to thinks he is doing a good job. Since only one of them voted for him in the primaries, they cannot be written off as core supporters. Among achievements cited are cutting taxes; deregulating; putting a conservative on the supreme court who will oppose abortion rights; defeating Isis; and presiding over jobs growth and a record high on the stock market. "I don't just think he's done a pretty good job," says Ted Baker, executive director of The Innovation Connector, which provides office space, advice and support for local entrepreneurs. "I think he's done a great job. It's not easy when you have the mainstream media in your country battling you all the time."
I think us leftists need to look at this. Yeah, I understand these are people for whom white nationalism and privilege isn't a thing for, who will never be Pro-Choice, who haven't seen what will happen to health care, that everything positive Trump has done has almost been an accident or an inheritance from Obama's economy, and that once the Winter Olympic-driven North/South Korea we'll see what the hell happens there, but Next Draft was also right in pointing to McSweeney's parody article I've Been Asking Trump Voters Every Couple Seconds If They Still Support The President.

They're aware of many of the faults of our pussy-grabber-in-chief, but they're willing to chalk it up him being like your drunk racist uncle, but who still gets things done, and some things they care about. Cobert-ian "Truthiness" reigns supreme, expertise can be poo-poo'd, they thought health care sucked before anyway, hey look at Isis, and what the f*** do we care, we're white and Cis. Actually we don't even know what Cis-means hahaha!

January 21, 2018

Blender of Love

rereading slaughterhouse five

January 20, 2018
Re-read Slaughterhouse Five. Forgot what a brisk read it is. The view of time is so striking
The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist.
It's hard to figure out if that stance is profound or delusional; but it reminds me of "Still Life with Woodpecker" pointing out that it's a little prejudicial to care about something only because it's animate; there's that hint of shinto-esque animism, that just by having design and purpose and reflection of human intention or desire, there's a bit of a life there.

From a typical western point of view, both views are absurd; a moment in the past is a nothing, just an idea that has fundamentally dissolved, the curtains of steadily moving time having firmly come down in front of it, in fact an ever-moving series of heavy curtains slamming down. And of course we favor the animate; anything animate is more our cousin than anything not - hell, if that weren't true would there be any there there from which to do the favoring?

And yet.

Two other passages that stick with me:

And Lot’s wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human.
And also the story of stealing a spoonful of vitamin syrup meant for pregnant women:
Billy thrust [the spoon] into the vat, turned it around and around, making a gooey lollipop. He thrust it into his mouth.

A moment went by, and then every cell in Billy’s body shook him with ravenous gratitude and applause.
Sometimes I've felt a hint of that, like when I hit on a vegetable that my body seems to be craving... it just feels so right.

January 19, 2018

Today's random playlist shufflefruit:

"Papas Fritas" (Spanish for "french fries", also a pun for "Pop Has Freed Us") was a pop band from Tufts, their drummer Shivika was in a poetry class I took. This song was also used in a Dentyne Ice commercial.
First, you need some water. Fuse two hydrogen with one oxygen and repeat until you have enough. While the water is heating, raise some cattle. Pay a man with grim eyes to do the slaughtering, preferably while you are away. Roast the bones, then add to the water. Go away again. Come back once in awhile to skim. When the bones begin to float, lash together into booms and tow up the coast. Reduce. Keep reducing. When you think you have reduced enough, reduce some more. Raise some barley. When the broth coats the back of a spoon and light cannot escape it, you are nearly there. Pause to mop your brow as you harvest the barley. Search in vain for a cloud in the sky. Soak the barley overnight (you will need more water here), then add to the broth. When, out of the blue, you remember the first person you truly loved, the soup is ready. Serve.
--Dean Alan, RIP. I missed him back in the day but online a lot of people I dig really dug him.

January 18, 2018dream

For the longes time I had a Sticky note on my Mac desktop "enterprise volltron - dream of".... I guess it would look something like this:

Don't "Help" by stacking plates at restaurants
I sort of hate when people rip on Beats headphones assuming it's just a branding thing, and also that you can truly tell the quality of headphones by pure audio fidelity.

Bass is emotionally resonate, so a pair of headphones that emphasizes that may well be better for many people: see Pump up the music -- especially the bass -- to make you feel powerful and Here's Why People Love Deep Bass Sounds In Music

Of course, I think modern Beats headphones aren't as over the top in bass as the first few years of 'em.

Then again, I am a tuba player, so take it with a grain of salt.

Fake News, and Meta Fake News.

January 17, 2018

There was a survey out with a some disturbing results about "Fake News".

The WaPo headline is "Study: 42 percent of Republicans believe accurate -- but negative -- stories qualify as 'fake news'"

But the paragraph I see at Politico says
Asked to rate "Accurate news stories casting a politician or political group in a negative light," Democrats said 26 percent always, 50 percent sometimes, 22 percent never, while Republicans replied 42 percent always, 46 percent sometimes, 10 percent never.
That 42% to 26% is still something, but a lot less than the headline might suggest. And complicating that is this line from WaPo:
Four in 10 [or 42 percent of] Republicans consider accurate news stories that cast a politician or political group in a negative light to always be "fake news." [The corresponding figure for Democrats is 17 percent.]
So reading the damn PDF -- Politico is attributing to Democrats what the chart in the PDF says is Independents??? The numbers for Democrats are 17% always, 55% sometimes, 25% never

Yeesh. So I'd say WaPo is more accurate. And while 17 is too damn high, it's significantly less than 26 and ESPECIALLY 42. It is pathetic and sad that this is all lumped under "FAKE NEWS" when "BIASED NEWS" would do the damn job. (In my Morality OCD, objective truth is CRITICAL even as I understand that the presenting and withholding of facts can add a lot of bias.)

Be Warned: Your Own Trump Is Coming Pretty good Cracked piece on what the Left-Wing-Trump will look and sound like....
Man, that was cool

via animatedscreenshots.tumblr.com

January 16, 2018

I posted this link to the Consolation of Philosophy webcomic a year ago. Man, Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal really gets me. Like, REALLY gets me... ""There's so much stuff that matters, but so little of it matters to my well-being!"
The bad UI that scared the bajeebers out of Hawaii

"Trying to remember you is like carrying water in my hands a long distance"
--Stephen Dobyn. What an image! I love metaphors that reveal further parallels as you think about it more.
"[during lull in conversation] maybe people who say the earth is flat are thinking of maps"