tuba weekend day 1

November 6, 2010
I declare this lazy weekend to be Tuba Weekend, thanks in part to this image from xoxoBruce... (he seems to be keeping an eye out for tuba-themed images for me.)

I would like to add that is about the first realisticly drawn sousaphone I've seen in this kind of thing.
"Oh, that bottle of soda I left in the car! You drank some of it..."
"I left you some, is the other way of looking at it."

tuba weekend day 2

November 7, 2010

http://catalogchoice.org/ - Amber saved 3 trees, 316 gallons of water, 890 lbs of greenhouse gas by using this site to not get catalogs...
The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing.
Marcus Aurelius (turns out classic Stoicism is like happier Buddhism!)

http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1938433 - the power of braces
What it is, what it was, what it might become.
Dr. Teeth (of Muppet "Electric Mayhem" fame), right?

Product idea: Doc Jimminy Joe's Old Timey De-Stinkifyin' Sweat-Blockin' Armpit Rub
The last Patriots game I watched bits of was the loss to the Jets. At least this one was to my semi-beloved Cleveland.

tuba training

March 30, 2011

--via xoBruce. I guess that's a good warning for any hobos who might be asleep on the tracks!
Amber points out this is the last day I can make that joke "Old? No way! It's like I have the power of two 18 year olds stuck together!"
invisible hand
Invisible AND Opaque?
Had a thing, my neighborhood was really weird, you know, because my mother's a Puerto Rican a little bit. Huh, and my father's colored a lot.
Richard Pryor

July 29, 2013

Trigger warnings galore, this is one of the most disgusting local abuses of power I've ever seen... http://boingboing.net/2013/07/28/nv-court-marshal-sexually-assa.html Thank God there was a video record of it, and that the broken system at least kept the tape undeleted.

"Sousaphonic Cityscape" from JP Honk Band @ Figment 2013

(Someone else's photo, but my horn!)

September 7, 2013

blender of love

October 13, 2013

Interesting Times! Marching in the Honk! Parade today, then tonight I fly to the UK for work for a week. I don't feel like i should be a nervous traveller, but one thing I've learned in the past few years is that I am, that the days before a big trip I'm all wound up. I think it's just the sheer number of known unknowns, unknown unknowns, and little chances to be hosed by own lack of competence, slash familiarity with wherever the hell I'm going: from missing a damn plane to forgetting a passport (got that one covered at least) to not realizing I need a Visa (I don't) to just screwing up Customs or the customs.
I've decided to nickname my tuba "Beauty"

Honk! Parade went well.

Is imperturbability to bad news something you are born with, or can you will and practice it into being? And would it come at the cost of other, more positive strong reactions?
I said to Aaron, upset, why are they all so angry here? & he took my hand gently and said, that's just how they talk in Boston.

Life is meaningless, but you can customize the meaninglessness.

tuba'ing at overlook ruins

October 27, 2013

tuba, front and off-center

July 21, 2014
Me at Saturday's JP Porchfest... I have to say the day was a smashing success! Awesome turn out for a first-year event and great enthusiasm and fun all around. As far as I could tell my lil' website for it (http://jpporchfest.org/) held up fine - in fact I've heard rumors some of the Somerville Porchfest Organizers (who were the (freely admitted!) inspiration for this event) might like to pinch some of our ideas to punch up their own site.

I swear I should consider moving to JP one of these years.

Also, later, I grabbed Leigh's percussion wearable, and my cousin Bill took a shot:

I love things that recast pop culture mythos and show how the lens we're given to watch and read this stuff as children isn't the only one: "LotR DVD Commentry" by Zinn and Chomsky http://kottke.org/14/07/lotr-dvd-commentary-from-zinn-and-chomsky and even better: https://storify.com/tcarmody/the-people-s-history-of-tattooine A People's History of Tattooine, where Luke Skywalker group up.

August 18, 2014

The jaded sousaphonist...


October 31, 2014

This year my tuba gets a costume too:

Look like 6 years of being the party of no and blaming that on the president will pay off for the Republicans

November 16, 2014

So, a few weeks late, here's what the costume for me and my tuba looked like on Dunster Rd Halloween night... I'm not sure if my makeup actually looked "skull-like" as was its intention, but overall it kind of added to the effect. Or maybe the affect.

Even though it was reviled as being inconsistent and unpredictable, I preferred the old OSX "zoom" button behavior, where it (kinda sorta) maximized the window within the context of the current set of windows over the new "take over the whole screen world" pattern it has in Yosemite. I often want a bit more real estate for a given window, and rarely am I thinking "boy I wish I was looking at this window AND NOTHING ELSE MATTERS IN MY COMPUTER'S WORLD".

Besides predictability (especially when resizing browsers; some people found it odd that it didn't always try to be as wide as possible) I suppose Apple is trying to catch an iOS-like sense of "focus on this one thing" monotasking, and so they hide the dock and title bar. Personally, I think this is a UX misthink; a flavor of multitasking (or at least quick task switching) is fundamental to many people's use of a laptop or desktop.

(I like how Windows 7 did it; the window still takes up the full screen, but then you can reposition it)

Anyway, you can hold "option" when you click the green circle, and then gets the old zoom behavior; I just wish there was a way to switch which one was the default.

November Blender of Love!

So, New Orleans changed its basketball team name to "Pelicans"?
They're bitter about Utah hogging the name "Jazz", but somehow passed on the name "Krewe" or "Brass". Too bad!
Ah, Inbox + Todo List Zero! It has been a while.

april 2015 new music playlist

May 3, 2015
Only a few 4 stars, listed in red. The rest put in descending order of interestingness, either for the song or the video.
A few photos by Joni L, from JP Honk at yesterday's "Wake Up The Earth" parade and festival in JP. It was a LONG haul up Centre St but the chance to do a set at Stony Brook, and really walk around and through the audience, was special

July 10, 2015

Last Night The Jamaica Plain Honk Band​ did a gig in co-operation with the Hyde Square Task Force, and afterwards a few of us ducked in the formerly closed Blessed Sacrament church to encounter the acoustics of the empty sanctuary... this is before we put together some jams, Pachelbel Canon, and Toccata and Fugue...

Every time you write, ask yourself: Could this scene take place in a hot-air balloon? If the answer is yes, then it probably should.

On my UI blog, I really love this sleep sort...
Donald Trump Chrome Plugin - Enhance all of your browser's references to Donald Trump with pithy quotes from the man himself
Atomic Fireball candy in the Apples & Cinnamon Quaker Instant Oatmeal I get for free at work. Great idea, or greatest idea?

August 7, 2015

Some footage from the Hatch Shell HONK! Disorchestra gig... you can see my tuba bell whirling in the background

October 11, 2015

On the escalator at Davis Square T, I have an epiphany: tubas are kind of ridiculous.

(that yellow strip is a cheat sheet to "Seven Nation Army" I put on a long time ago....)

November 7, 2015

Gotta have opposites dark and light, light and dark in painting. It's like in life. Gotta have a little sadness once in a while so you know when the good times come. I'm waiting on the good times now.
Bob Ross

December 11, 2015

advent day 11

Beginning of the End for Giant Glass? I would be kind of bummed if Giant Glass fell - including that jingle (why do I not mind it when 1-877-Kars-4-Kids unfailingly causes me to angrily stab for the radio dial? Maybe horns vs guitar?)

Fun fact: Giant Glass was named after the football team. Don't hold that against them though - that was before the Patriots. Hell, even my Waltham-based granddad liked the Giants then.
Yesterday I learned that Scheiny (nee "Beauty"), my lovely Holton Collegiate Sousaphone, has a serial number that dates it to 1954...

New Airplane Seating with a View More for the "I Wish I Was Insanely Rich" file.
glad I looked up from my book

December 13, 2015

advent day 13

today's game is one of the better playing ones, I think (yesterday's was probably way too difficult). If I was thinking more clearly "enemy mine" or "mine enemy" would have been a better name.
Melissa took this photo of my tuba in its Christmas lights doing Honk carolling Saturday night...

February 8, 2016

Bill the Splut mentioned the first half of Bob and Ray has also passed on - great low-key comedy. (Like he said, "By the time we figured out we were introverts, it was too late to do anything about it.") This bit Bill shared is great:

Frinkiac is a great Simpsons' quote finder and meme maker:

That's one of my favorite quotes, just a reminder at how out of perspective problems are when they show up right in front of us.
A kiss is just a kiss, but a sigh is a reflex that happens a several times an hour and helps preserve lung function.
My sousaphone roots, Euclid High School Panther Marching Band!

The 1991 Homecoming Game, by the looks of it.

February 18, 2016

"Awlaki was, to a certain cast of mind, a mesmerizing preacher. This world is but a station, he proclaimed. It is the next station, the Hereafter, that matters. 'We do not belong here. We are travelling. . . . We need to prepare for death.'"
I think this is problematic with a lot of faiths, especially with an emphasis on a supernatural hereafter, and in fact the Awlaki quote reminds me of messages I would get from time to time in my Christian church upbringing. Why give a damn (so to speak) about anything around us, what in the finite can measure up to the infinite that awaits? Yeah, some faiths say God wants to be good stewards, but why worry about the planet when we're careening toward the apocalypse? (Revelation was written 19 centuries ago, and still waiting, but it must be around the corner now...) Some religions emphasize charity and kindness in the here and now but those goals have to be weighed in the balance of spreading the word and fighting the fight.

I understand faith adds to the lives of many people. On the one hand, a more mature faith is balanced by basic humanity concerns, but if you start using "basic human concerns" as a litmus test for your religion, you're down the path of admitting they might be more important than religion... that it's something with common values that might transcend which of the many, many possible faiths we cling to. I wish establishing that common ground was the priority - it seems a lot healthier than this "people of faith, any faith no matter how mutually incompatible" lined up on the righthand sheep side against the skeptics on the lefthand goat side..

I know in some ways science - or rather, what science thinks is most likely true about how the universe functions, for now - requires some kind of faith. I've often longed for a good kitchen-sink science demonstration of atomic theory! (And one of the things I found bugging me most in the Scalia retrospectives was that he thought evolution was just a theory, and a crummy theory at that.) But why science differs from most other faiths is that it offers a method of its own correction; its core is coming up with ideas, and putting them to the test, and letting other people put them to the test. Knowledge is painstakingly grown, not handed from on high, or merely homegrown in our hearts. (And science doesn't tell us what to do - you can't get ought from is -- that's the job of moral philosophy, and when people try to shove science into that role you get crap like social darwinism.)

The Secret Lives of Tumblr Teens I'm less interested in the rags-to-riches-to-rags aspect than the general take on tumblr culture; admittedly FB has been a better mirror for my old (and ongoing) kisrael.com but I really appreciate the "relatable" style culture, relative to other cultures (twitter or especially chan/twitter) it is very human.
Wow, an insult that bugs that Short-Fingered Vulgarian.
In 1990 my high school marching band travelled to Detroit for a band competition and the parade... jump to 27:50 for some fine tuba, cymbals, and majorette dancin' to "My Sharona".

Good for anyone who has a fetish for badly lit vintage shots of the Henry Ford Museum.

March 17, 2016

Last night I played at Aeronaut Brewery in Somerville... they're trying to improve their zoning situation, though last night's hearing got postponed we had a mini-rally anyway.

Man, it's tough to look cool playing a tuba. Never sure of the best place to put my other hand. (and at one point I'm sneaking in a Second of the Day...) Still, some great footage.
Irvin D. Yalom's "When Nietzsche Wept", spoken by the title character:
Dying is hard. I've always felt the final reward of the dead is to die no more!
The enemies of truth are not lies, but convictions!
Maybe, Josef, Living safely is dangerous. Dangerous and deadly.
I've always believed, Josef, that we are more in love with desire than with the desired!
A very solid book, I think it's a great introduction to Nietzsche's view of the world, especially as lived through his own suffering, as well as early psychotherapy.

April 30, 2016

Russian Warplane Flies in 'Unsafe' Manner Near U.S. Aircraft The start of the War With Russia, or maybe just revenge for "Top Gun".
Of course, we know that humans are political, but we still often assume that our political actions come from thinking about beliefs and desires. Even in election season we assume that voters figure out who will enact the policies they want, and we're surprised when it turns out that they care more about who belongs to their group or who is the top dog.

Nice debut for BABAM! - the Boston Area Brigade of Activist Musicians, a loose affiliation of like minded players from various bands for last minute but worthy events and big umbrella gatherings.... today we supported the rally to get Somerville's Retirement fund divested from fossil fuels - a real loser investment these days no matter how you slice it.

(I was having a water bottle crisis where it somehow flooded by hip pack... I gotta stop carrying stuff during gigs :-) (local copy of video)

Chelsea Ruscio's Photos of School of Honk May Day Dance Party

May 2, 2016

It turns out the knack for selling 'luxury' to people with no concept of value is the same as the one for selling 'liberty' to people with no instinct for democracy.

Heh, Liz Ryan who throws together a marching group for Boston Pride asked me to record a little bassline I made up last year, to supplement the cadence the percussionists were doing.

It's meant to be easy on my jaw, 'cause it's kind of a long parade!
I just now noticed Iron Man and some of the better folks from Game of Thrones share the name "Stark".
From "The Book of Honk", the School of Honk bass section:

May 9, 2016

How did the U.S. become so much more conservative than other Western democracies? I thought there was some thoughtful discussion here. I've been thinking about what the USA does better and does worse than some of its peers, and why...
Alanis does Ironic 2016
"Old Jon Snow knew nothing. Existentialist Jon Snow knows nothingness."

There's a big difference btw knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is something you can glean by Googling. Wisdom comes from Googling for years.

Played tuba with my super niece yesterday...

May 15, 2016

Some nice footage from Joe Mac of JP Honk at the Jamaica Plain Open Studios juried exhibition last night:

JP Honk

A video posted by @jmceachern36 on

I really liked Cracked Against Trite Inspirational Memes. Especially the stuff about travel; I've done my fair share, but I think it's easy to get hung up on "I want to be the kind of person who travels" vs actually absorbing the experiences -- I know my interest is usually more in getting a feel for the differences in mundane day to day life stuff.

May 22, 2016

Porch-i-oke by Sari w/ Rev Dave and the Reprobates was a lot of fun!

Teenage logic leaps swiftly and without fear.
Daniel Nester, "Shader"

time for pride

June 12, 2016
Re Orlando: fuck fundamentalism of any flavor. When you "know" you have the answers before the questions are even asked, you're part of the problem. If your doctrine is more important than basic humanity, you are the problem. Anyway, then off to march with Brass Republic at Boston Pride: (and after School of Honk at Arlington Porchfest)

June 21, 2016

Yes. Fruit is good, too, you mentioned fruit. Yeah. Fruit kept me going for a hundred and forty years once when I was on a very strict diet. Mainly nectarines. I love that fruit. It's half a peach, half a plum, it's a hell of a fruit. I love it! Not too cold, not too hot, you know, just nice. Even a rotten one is good. That's how much I love them. I'd rather eat a rotten nectarine than a fine plum. What do you think of that? That's how much I love them.
Mel Brooks as the Two Thousand Year Old Man.
He's right, just had one and they're great.
This was another shot from School of Honk at the Arlington Porchfest:

By Nobuko Ichikawa. I'm not soloing (I think Carlos on the metal clarinet is), just dancing, but still, I love how expressive my posture and hands are... it's more cluttered than my previous profile-able tuba shot but has more energy, and I like that it's my own horn ("Beauty") not a School of Honk one I was borrowing for kicks.
Typeset in the Future takes on Blade Runner
Trump pays $30K to a well-nigh fictional ad agency. Jeez, what's the line here? "Mad Men, indeed?" "Truth is fictioner than fiction?" Trump is a shyster par excellence. He goes to where what his audience wants to hear; the trouble is some of that is understandable, but the rest of it is really, really gross.

June 23, 2016

From last night's School of Honk @ Aeronaut...


June 30, 2016

Last week with Porch-i-Oke at Make Music Boston...

So, a Zika bill poisoned by Republicans with amendments to promote the Confederate flag and other crap repugnant to everyone but GOP loonies. Republicans, you are unfit to lead. If you can't understand politics has to have SOME level of bipartisanship, you deserve Trump.

2008 photo bonus: scenes from japan!

July 30, 2016

Is It Just Me, Or Is the World Going Crazy? Great article - maybe a little privileged, but like Jesus said, "the poor you will have with you always", so while we should always fight for economic justice we shouldn't think it's newly awful.

There's so much demonization going on. Our fellow citizen republicans are still people. Maybe misguided, maybe drinking way too deeply from this fountain of fearmongering, but people. And not even idiotic people, always.
No one stays home and watches TV on Sunday - everyone's out playing polo!
Wealthy Potential Ad Buyer in Blake Snyder's guide to filmwriting "Save The Cat!"
(The title refers to putting in a scene early that makes the audience like the main character, for example saving a cat.)

After JP Honk played Figment, I got myself framed by artist Franklin Marval
Protestant Minster: "God loves everyone!"
Catholic Priest: "God is love."
Eastern Orthodox Presbyter: "God is who is."
Rabbi: "This is special? Who isn't who is?"
Hail Caesar

September 1, 2016

Never is a shortened version of 'not ever'... i feel like I am supposed to have known this...

One Second Everyday for August! A lot of band stuff as always (at a funeral on the 5th, at the hatch on the 11th, in front of a ribbon acrobat on the 21st), other highlights like underwater Melissa on the 13th and seeing my German friends on my way to Ireland on the 15th.

Diggerland, USA Wow. Plans for my next NJ trip! Who wouldn't want to operate a massive earthmover machine?

September 3, 2016

Aug 11 we had a repeat of playing with the Landmarks Orchestra at the Hatch Shell...

here I am front and center, both as we calmly played along with "Hall of the Mountain King" and then when we went into full on honkin' mode

October 10, 2016

Donald Trump's own daughter doesn't want a kiss from that loathsome man.

via Jezebel's Donald Trump Got Curved by Both His Daughters Tonight
tomorrow, we are all going to wake up and try and go about our lives with some measure of normalcy... but please, take a moment to remember that tonight, in front of the entire country, the republican nominee for president said that he would use his office to persecute and jail a citizen... allegedly for a crime of which she has already been investigated and found free of wrongdoing, but probably, more likely for daring to be his political opposition.
Javier Grillo-Marxuach

Such a busy weekend at Honk!

Photo by Candace Esslinger - this was the clear Saturday before the Drenched Sunday
Man, iTunes store search is so pathetic. Supposedly a while back they had a power search mode, but now it's just keywords. You can't search for just a song title, for instance, you're going to get any artist or album who has the same name. Even better - their version of "All Results" cuts off at 100. So if there are over 100 non-title matches for a song you're trying to find a good cover of, and the song's title is later in the alphabet, there's no way the song you're looking for will show up on the list.

Even more insulting is the message after those 100 items:
"Less relevant items are not displayed. To narrow your results, use more specific search terms."

I would if you'd let me, jerky.

October 11, 2016

mid-Honk subway micro-jam; bassline is "Chas Jammer":

Quando pensei que o HONK tinha acabo, entro no trem pra ir embora e...pá!#honkneverends#honk2016#honk

A video posted by Rafaella Marinho (@rafabellam) on

Go Pro Hot Wheels are pretty keen!

October 16, 2016

Three photos (from School of Honk's trip to Georges Island) by drummer Lilia Volodina

I love the sky in the first one.

February 22, 2017

--photos by Andrew Huang
Trump to say transgender protection is a "state's rights issue"

Huh, I didn't realize states had genders.
I just read the book Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences. I took the "Left/Right 20 Questions" quiz from the appendix and put the 20 Questions online with automated scoring. I score reasonably liberal, a 5 or 6 spots over.

February 26, 2017

IT'S GETTING PERTINENT HERE #pertinentpoliticalpuppetparade

A post shared by Emily Pacheco (@emilypoprocks) on

More shots from yesterday's puppet action...

February 27, 2017

From the Women's March a few weeks ago...

When I read that nobody should ever feel ashamed to be alone or to be in a crowd, I realized that I often felt ashamed of both of those things. Epictetus' advice: when alone, "call it peace and liberty, and consider yourself the gods' equal"; in a crowd, think of yourself as a guest at an enormous party, and celebrate the best you can.
My introduction to modern stoicism was via William Irving's "A Guide to the Good Life", Batuman's reading of the original texts brought some distinct thoughts and quotes I hadn't yet encountered. (I also liked "Starting with things of little value--a bit of spilled oil, a little stolen wine--repeat to yourself: 'For such a small price, I buy tranquillity.'")
RIP Judge Wapner...

March 29, 2017

Some of my lunch hour yesterday made it onto the front of the Globe!

(Click for a larger version - that's me and my tuba on the right, nice visual balance to the french horn, and showing the name of our metaband BABAM!)
Here's the photo from the web article

It wasn't Congress who sold your privacy, it was 100% Republicans, for big campaign bucks.

March 31, 2017

Happy Birthday to Me! Off to Austin.
behind the scenes at HONK!TX

that's my horn Scheiny on the right

April 18, 2017

Bass Section of the School of Honk in Austin, TX, via The Book of Honk (prints available)

(The Ride 'Em Cowboy is my favorite from this batch - usually the tuba is riding me, nice to turn that around, though the "hero shot" might be even better than Franklin Marvel's Take at Figment.

You might see punching bags are even better hugging bags if you'd just calm down for a second.

Write up about Ze Frank and The Show. Man that was great. Also, I really miss his page of little digital toys, he was a really inspiring toymaker...
What do you care what other people think?
Arline Feynman

April 23, 2017

Ezequiel playing in the March for Science in today's NY Times; Andrew, Dave, and me behind

It's cool how both the Boston Globe and the NY Times select photos with younger players front and center, and some taller folks backin' em up
I've moved around 20 times in my life. You think I'd be a bit less crap at it by now...

April 25, 2017

I've been thinking that maybe I could get my inner toddler to become, like, an inner precocious teen (though it's odd to think that I can't tell it "use your words!" because that's not how it operates) but I'm concerned I might lose some kind of vitality in that process, some part of essential Kirkness.

And also concerned that I'm not sure what to trust to tell me if that is a risk of being the case, because I don't know to what extent the inner-narrator/rational self vs subconscious self is the same for everyone. Various paths of self-improvement call it different things (the Id, the inner child, the right side of the brain, the unconscious mind, etc) and imply different functional relationships.

Even something like meditation has contradictions in advice about its methods and goals. Like, is it to have that zennish empty mind, where my verbal inner-narrator is finally silent and my whole self can enjoy purer sensation, unmitigated by simplification into verbal simplification and categorization? Or is it to be 'mindful', and allow that inner narrator to calmly process and analyze and pontificate but without encountering spikes of anxiety and other disruptive emotion? (Which, in my current way of thinking, tend to emerge from my inner toddler.) I kind of prefer the latter; it's less work and a lot more fun.

In "Eat, Pray, Love" Elizabeth Gilbert writes
Like most humanoids, I am burdened with what the Buddhists call the "monkey mind"--the thoughts that swing from limb to limb, stopping only to scratch themselves, spit and howl. From the distant past to the unknowable future, my mind swings wildly through time, touching on dozens of ideas a minute, unharnessed and undisciplined. This in itself is not necessarily a problem; the problem is the emotional attachment that goes along with the thinking. Happy thoughts make me happy, but--whoop!--how quickly I swing again into obsessive worry, blowing the mood; and then it's the remembrance of an angry moment and I start to get hot and pissed off all over again; and then my mind decides it might be a good time to start feeling sorry for itself, and loneliness follows promptly. You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.

The thing is, to me it feels backwards... like the thoughts are the slaves to the emotions, and then I'm the slave to the thoughts. Or something. But basically, the process is more my inner rational narrator teaching my wordless sometimes-raging sometimes-fearing sometimes-frolicking subconscious self about the world. You know, it feels a bit like the relationship between Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller.

So I feel there's lots of room for that inner toddler - who will probably never grow up to have words - to mature, and develop a real camaraderie, rather than the current paternalistic relationship. And without assuming that subconscious part of me is only feeling, not thinking. I suspect feeling and thinking are the same thing but at wildly different time scales, feeling taking in the long term evolutionary wisdom and near term immediate reaction, with thinking occupying the middle ground.

Also through all this, I feel my rational, verbal, narrator self is trying to reassert the throne of being "The Actual Me", the real me, that it lost when I read Dennett's "Conscious Explained". I think it's time for a reread of what I pin as the "most important book I read", even though it's mighty long.

May 7, 2017

Quote from Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat Pray Love":
"There is no old age like anxiety," said one of the monks I met in India. "And there is no freedom from old age like the freedom from anxiety."
Maria thinks that in a civilized society one should be able to rely on such things as the post office delivering one's mail in a prompt manner, but Giulio begs to differ . He submits that the post office belongs not to man, but to the fates, and that delivery of mail is not something anybody can guarantee.
Learning how to discipline your speech is a way of preventing your energies from spilling out of you through the rupture of your mouth, exhausting you and filling the world with words, words, words instead of serenity, peace and bliss.
To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life.

Talking with Liz the other day, she asked if I had always worn glasses- yes, ever since 4th or 5th grade or so, with a brief unfortunate attempt at contacts in high school. So glasses are a part of my face, and I'm pretty comfortable with that. But I wasn't at first, which is funny- back around that time I tried to pretend that I liked classical and jazz because that's what smart people did and I was a smart person, but somehow I failed to make the same, perhaps even more obvious, leap for eyeglasses.
I still do like PostSecret...

Stood in with Prone to Mischief today on the Vietnam Memorial Bridge in Western MA - photo by John Bell

June 10, 2017

BABAM! with Senator Elizabeth Warren...

June 11, 2017

Elizabeth Warren Pride Parade Video - BABAM! is playing in the background and then there's a shot of the band (with me bopping along with the weird left-hand style I sometimes use) at 0:39
I LOVE the Boston Pride Parade

I LOVE the Boston Pride Parade. It shows our Commonwealth and our country at its best.

Posted by U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren on Sunday, June 11, 2017

RIP Adam West...

The atoms that make up my body aren't mine, it's just my time to use them.
I guess I still prefer Avatar's "all energy is only borrowed, and one day you have to give it back"

Blender of Love

July 8, 2017

My horn and its rain shadow...

simplify.thatsh.it - dynamic, intriguing generation of extremely simplified abstract art from photos,
I just read David Sedaris' Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002). Made me realize how anemic my own journaling is... I don't put much effort into thinking of evocative scenes, it's more just to provide a footprint for the day.

Some excerpts:

from the Introduction:
That's the thing with a diary, though. In order to record your life, you sort of need to live it. Not at your desk, but beyond it. Out in the world where it's so beautiful and complex and painful that sometimes you just need to sit down and write about it.
from May 5, 1987:
I told Dad I was disappointed that I wouldn't be graduating in a cap and gown-- the Art Institute doesn't swing that way-- and he said, "I've got your old cap and gown from high school. Want me to bring them when we come up?" Then he said, "Do you think it will still fit?"

A person would be in pretty serious trouble if his graduation gown no longer fit. It's like outgrowing a tent, basically.
He predicts the emoji keyboard on November 4, 1987:
I saw a bumper sticker the other day that read I LOVE KILLING COMMUNISTS. The word love was replaced by a heart shape I'm guessing they'll put on the typewriter keyboard any day now, right beside the exclamation point.
from March 31, 1989:
"So I said to him, 'Well, money's not everything.' Then he said, 'Maybe not, but it's about ten thousand goddamn miles ahead of whatever it is that comes in second.'"
from December 7, 1990:
I got yelled at twice today, once when I was working as an entrance elf. The job amounts to hustling up visitors, and I thought I did a pretty good job. "Patronize Santa," I said. "Behold his chubby majesty. Santa was born and raised in a small home. Hail him. Santa's patience is beyond your comprehension. Come test it."
I'd been at it for ten minutes when a manager came by. Then he went and rounded up two other managers and the three of them brought me to the desk for a scolding.
from November 9, 1991:
I worked for Alba, who was sick, throwing up all day. At a party last night she had eleven Bellinis, those peach-and-Prosecco cocktails. These were followed by three tallboys. Yikes. You'd think an adult would know better: Beer on wine, you're fine. Wine on beer, stand clear. But eleven Prosecco cocktails should not precede anything, not even a twelfth.
from September 9, 1996:
I walked so long and hard in Paris the other day that my overgrown toenails rubbed against one another and started to bleed. Before leaving for the airport, I went to cut them and, finding no clippers, I used a pair of Colette's poultry shears. That is exactly why you don't want people staying in your apartment when you're not there, or even when you are, really.

JP Honk @ JP Porchfest 2017

July 10, 2017
JP Honk @ JP Porchfest 2017, Photos and Video Courtesy Agustina M

My brain conflated my curiosity about rumors of a special "Pro" iPhone with the old Onion Tim Cook:' I'm Thinking Printers' for a dream where I went to some kind of launch event in a drab auditorium (no stage, just a table up front) and my reward for preordering was an "upgrade" to the new phone... about the form factor of a Nintendo Wii, where the phone was kind of the face of it that was detachable, and a receipt-printing size setup inside. BEHOLD THE FUTURE.

@School of Honk's performance, photo by Tom H

Imma tryin' to help Ezequiel use his tuba powers only for good... but also thanks to Robert for locating a good size sousaphone for him!

August 9, 2017

A tuba player holds a weighty object and breathes deeply.
The poet Donald Hall

Exercise is boring. Everything is boring that does not happen in a chair (reading and writing) or in bed. Sculptors and painters and musicians live longer than writers, who exercise only their fingers with pen or on a keyboard. Sculptors chisel or weld or mold clay. Painters work standing up. They drink quarts of cognac every night but return to physical activity the next morning. A tuba player holds a weighty object and breathes deeply. Even a harmonica requires more fitness than writing.
Donald Hall, in "Essays After Eighty".
(Context for the tuba reference.)
Also, Donald Hall quotes Henry Moore quoting Rodin quoting a stonemason:
Never think of a surface except as the extension of a volume.

Stupid Human Tricks!

I made a simple countdown timer to count down to 00:00:00. You can pass in simple RGB colors for the background and foreground for the start and once it hits zero, e.g. this link. See my devblog for more info.

August 13, 2017

photo by Jason Victor Rosenman
Trump: "*All* cars driven into peaceful counterprotestors matter"
By all means, compare these shitheads to the Nazis. Again and again. I'm with you.

August 20, 2017

I can't say enough that the folks playing in the protest band today were HEROES, going (nearly) nonstop for a good 4 hours, elevating and uplifting the entire event, sounding like a million bucks. Anyone who knows any of these Honkers, feel free to pass along my heartfelt thanks.

Posted by Sarah Darling on Saturday, August 19, 2017

Random Memory: St. Patrick's School in Salamanca was changing "Fathers", and to the outgoing one they had us students sing "Hasta Manana / 'Til We Meet Again / Don't Know Where / Don't Know When / Father Our Love is Much too Strong to Die / We'll Find a Way to Make a New Tomorrow".

Turns out that's a slightly tweaked Abba song. But that's a... pretty generous translation by the second line of the first... guess they just went for the sound and not the sense of the Spanish.

These people are doing it right.

Violence allows Nazis to pretend to be victims.

Tubas just make them look like the dumbfucks they are.

August 23, 2017

My horn "Scheiny" and a little friend, Matt M's pocket trumpet:

"What does he want from me?"

"He wants you alive."


"I don't know."

"That's all anyone can tell me. 'I don't know'. So what's the point in serving a god if none of us knows what he wants?"

"I don't think it's our purpose to understand. Except one thing: we're soldiers. We have to know what we're fighting for. I'm not fighting so some man or woman I barely know can sit on a throne made of swords."

"So what are you fighting for?"

"Life. Death is the enemy. The first enemy and the last."

"But we all die."

"The enemy always wins. And we still need to fight him."

"That's all I know. You and I won't find much joy while we're here. But we can keep others alive. We can defend those who can't defend themselves."
Jon Snow and Beric Dondarrion, Game of Thrones Season 7 Episode 6

Did I really just order a $20 sewing machine? (And are they any good for light tasks?)

August 27, 2017

can i get a little squee for my super-niece cora and my tuba scheiny?

Goddamn! Once you got no legs, everyone takes everything so serious. Heh - I mean, there's only so much any of us have any control of, good or bad. If you didn't learn that in Afghanistan, you were not paying attention. [...] I mean, ma'am - Kim - you've got to move on. You're giving yourself way too much credit. You embrace the suck, you move the fuck forward... What other fucking choice do we have?
Specialist Coughlin in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
Great film! (Though, err, not quite the comedy-per-se the dvd cover led Liz and Arun to believe. Funny in parts though.)

September 18, 2017

After a long beautiful 4 gig weekend - Mill City Grows in Lowell, Prospect Hill block party, Boston Makers at the Children's Museum, and the Revels RiverSing parade.

RIP Stanislav Petrov whose profound application of common sense over following official procedure stopped WW3 from being started when some clouds looked like ICBMs to a computer system.
The revenge of bullet time: makes me wish I spoke Russian!


Amish life is about recognizing the value of agreed-upon limits, and the spirit of the internet cuts against the idea of limits.
I've had a deep respect for the deliberation that the Amish apply in terms of technology, ever since I read Wired's fair-handed treatment of them in 1999.

September 21, 2017

Scenes from the Revels RiverSing:

The tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.
(A work I hadn't seen before, but I dig it.)

It was quoted by Dan Dennett in "Intuition Pumps". Just this morning I decided to try switching gears away from podcasts to audiobooks. It's a challenge for me to listen as attentively as a book demands, relative to a chatty podcast or an NPR show structured to be listened to. (More and more I feel aware of how my preferred reading mode is "skim, get the gist and go back for the tough bits.) Maybe it's a good discipline for me. I am wondering if I'll be as able to extract tasty quotes as readily as I do from ebooks.
Making the rounds - If Bostonians Loved Other Local Institutions the Way They Love Their Local Sports Franchises

glug glug

October 22, 2017
JP Honk played the wedding of Lilia + Jason yesterday at the arboretum...

let the girls be funny
Justin Timberlake is going to do the superbowl halftime. Haven't been paying too much attention to the interview coverage they had, but I didn't notice them mentioning "nipplegate" so much. The nipple shield in the room, so to speak.
Because of fog they're broadcasting the Pats game with a lot of low, behind the QB angles rather than the usual high up views from the sideline... it's pretty awesome! Not only is it more visceral but you can see where the receivers are running. I wonder why NFL broadcasters don't use it more often.

November 12, 2017

The Globe had a reverse angle from yesterday's shot, where BABAM! marched with Veterans for Peace

November 26, 2017

Good day for the middle aged tubist getting ready for the Quincy Christmas Parade

February 20, 2018

Greg Cook took photos of BABAM! and Second Line and Boycott playing for HONK! volunteers at Aeronaut.

Tetris is a REVERSE Metroidvania, where you're the bad guy, and the game is leveling up as it continues and keeps attacking you.
Chris Sims
...from the Retronauts episode Symphony of the Night and the near-death of Metroidvania games. (Springing from a disagreement between a surprisingly narrow and a much more loose definition of "what's a Metroidvania")
In many ways, the United States is not at the forefront of the Enlightenment project, even though the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution were the earliest and greatest gifts of the Enlightenment. The United States was conceived as an Enlightenment nation, but it always entertained counter-Enlightenment forces of cultures of honor; of manly self-defense; of a kind of millennial, quasi-religious, messianic role of the United States in particular as the indispensable nation, the city upon the hill--both very counter-Enlightenment notions.
Steven Pinker.
He speaks of optimism, not withstanding the glitches we're seeing in social progress now. (Not that it should be an excuse for complacency either)
Gunfire erupted from a window high above them, but it was only a bass player getting shot for playing the wrong riff three times in a row, and bass players are two a penny in Han Dold City.
Douglas Adams, "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish".
Thought of this when musing on being asked to stand in with New Magnolia Jazz Band for playing at a funeral this Saturday...
I'm convinced that no one can amount to a damn in the arts if he becomes sweetly reasonable, seeing all side of a picture, forgiving all sins.
Kurt Vonnegut to Miller Harris in his collected letters.
Man, here I am reading a deadtree book (hardcover, no less, but $8 from the remainders table of the MFA) drinking a little Crown Royale and taking a break from screens (sort of). #throwbacktuesday

(Other notes: he made and tried to sell a boardgame HQ or GHQ, apparently moldering in his collection at Indiana University and the terms "work the bugs out" and "you were hosed" were used in the 50s/early 60s.)

February 23, 2018

The Harvard Crimson did a short article on BABAM
Great piece on tech nostalgia, a guy powers up his original 2002 iPod, old songs and playlists intact.

Only the final third is about the hardware itself, as classic and still functional (modulo the battery life) as it is; the rest is a nostalgic exploration of the author's digital musical life of the era, and the idiosyncrasies he had in categorizing songs and arranging playlists.

There are some old digital "snapshots" I treasure, like a folder with all the files stuffed on my Windows Desktop directory - one of those things I kept meaning to get back to, to curate out "the good stuff", but now holds holistic value as a slice of my old digital life. Similar for old screengrabs I have, or just photos with the monitor visible... the ones that inadvertently show what all I was up to those days are much more interesting than ones that just show an app. (The same phenomenon happens for old photos - ones where my old book stacks - or even just clutter - are intriguing no matter what the subject of the photo is supposed to be.)

Do you share in this kind of object nostalgia, digital or otherwise?

Florida Lawmakers Advance Bill Requiring Schools To Display 'In God We Trust'
I think these Florida Lawmaker assholes would be being 1000% more honest if the signs read "IN GUNS WE TRUST"

So damn stupid. "Thoughts and Prayers" codified by assholes who have a higher concern for their love of guns than for public health and safety.

And for all those asshole gun lovers who are like "oh you don't even know what assault weapon means" - doctors do - these guns do much much worse damage than handguns. In both the quality and quantity of bullets these unleash, these guns have ZERO FUCKING LEGITIMATE ROLE in society. And the way the NRA has blocked research into this? THAT IS A MORAL OUTRAGE.

Funny (well, maybe not funny ha-ha) thing to think as you're drifting to sleep: "I'm about to apply for dual citizenship: the United States and the People's Republic of Sleepistan".
Yeesh. You know, despite living more or less near Davis for two decades I never realized the Rosebud wasn't just the diner part in the front.

February 24, 2018

Today I had the honor of playing with the New Magnolia Jazz Band at the funeral for Madam Laguerre, a member of the local Haitian community.

I knew really little about the Haitian Creole in which the lion's share of the service was conducted... looking up the Wikipedia page, they cited some proverbs I liked:
"Apre bal, tanbou lou"
"After the dance, the drum is heavy"
i.e. There are consequences to your actions
"Dan konn mode lang"
"Teeth are known to bite the tongue"
i.e. People who work together sometimes hurt each other
"Ravèt pa janm gen rezon devan poul"
"A cockroach in front of a chicken is never correct"
i.e. Justice will always be on the side of the stronger
"Si ou bwè dlo nan vè, respèkte vè a"
"If you drink water from a glass, respect the glass"
"Tout moun se moun"
"Everybody is a person"
i.e. Everyone matters
"Bouch granmoun santi, sak ladan l se rezon"
"The mouth of the old stinks but what's inside is wisdom"

school of honkin'

April 18, 2018

--An old shot, but not sure it ever got on the site. A relatively rare tuba shot from the last few years in that I'm not playing Scheiny - trying out one of the School of Honk's polka dot horns.
The Calmness of Airline Pilots and, most recently, Tammi Jo Shultz, one of the first female Navy pilots. And also the demeanor of the flight controllers - makes me wanna watch "Pushing Tin" again.

me and wally down by the school yard

June 9, 2018
BABAM ran into Wally before marching Boston Pride

Follow Your Blisters.
Companion advice to "Follow Your Bliss", and don't expect it to be effortless or always fun.

June 14, 2018

Happy Flag Day Dedham

June 25, 2018

Got on page B7 of the Boston Globe, reporting on a Cosecha anti-family-separation rally that BABAM! backed.

Had I know I'd'a worn a better T-shirt than Rick and Morty.

Boston, which used to be a city of a thousand nooks and crannies, back-alley restaurants and shops, dive bars and ice cream parlors hidden under its elevated, is now one long, monotonous wall of modern skyscraper.
I mostly feel this in Harvard Square. Too many landlords holding out for too much rent from too stable and boring a business, like another f'in Bank Branch or CVS. Squares with nothing but empty lots and boring as dishwater franchises are a blight on our land. I think they should be dealt with via tax breaks for funky, less-corporate businesses and harsh tax penalties for landlords who just sit on spots, waiting for the right boring client and bringing down the neighborhood values for everyone.

July 8, 2018

Photo by Jonathan Richmond
More photos here (on FB, but works even in an incognito window)

jp honk at jp porchfest

July 11, 2018
JP Honk @ JP Porchfest 2018 doing Mercy Mercy Mercy -

from a playlist of six videos from new member Sam

can it fit a sousaphone?

August 3, 2018
There's a new Facebook page, Can It Fit a Sousaphone? talking about what horns can fit into what cars. They did some outreach to my company CarGurus, and we did some cross-promotion with them.

Very flattering lens. Also last night we were reminded my car can fit TWO tubas...

On my devblog, the crushing equalizing of modern social mediums.
The Best TV Episodes of the past century. I liked the UI of this, with nicely sized clips starting as they scroll into view.
I always love lists of hard to translate words - this one has some especially important-to-that-culture ones.

August 12, 2018

The Marines don't have any race problems. They treat everybody like they're black.
Gen Daniel "Chappie" James Jr., USAF, the first African American to reach the rank of four-star General.

with BABAM at a Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence fundraiser cabaret at Club Cafe:


August 18, 2018
Two shots from today's alt-right counterprotest-- Marie and my mom's old trombone, and then our merry little crew (not shown, Dave B who set it up at the last minute and then did his double slide whistle). Things were at a standstill, with the remainders of the 30-odd alt-righters standing there in their army helmets staring at the 300-odd counter-protestors chanting anti-Nazi thoughts at them, then the band (who had been doing a lot of chant backing and the odd song) stepped forward and backed a kind of chanting-crowd/honk-band duet, and then shortly thereafter the police said "enough" and shoo'd away the alt-righters. (I guess they try to spin it as they left the left there and went off to bunker hill, but it was clearly not a victory for them.) Anyway, timing might've been a coincidence but maybe not! I believe both Antifa and the alt-right-folk were prohibited from amplified music by the police, which means HONK! style groups like BABAM give the left a current asymmetrical advantage.

Marie and my mom's old trombone!

How fleeting are all human passions compared with the massive continuity of ducks.
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night (1935)

Blender of Love

tuba pinwheel

August 19, 2018
Shaunalynn parade led a parade where brass sousaphones were in full effect ...

A cat heroically struggling to call 911 with his paws while you watch, dying and helpless on the floor, but he's using the tv remote
Sometimes, my friends' big problems feel like the person on the floor, and me the frantic cat - trying to help with some feats of empathy and intellect that on some level could impress but really, I'm just fumbling with the tv remote.

September 28, 2018

photo by Jason Victor Rosenman, on PARKing Day
Tom Hanks and Wilson on Gilligan's Island. Gilligan then makes his own Wilson out of a coconut. Skipper feels displaced. And he's worried it may be his blood on Gilligan's Wilson.

October 9, 2018

HONK portrait by Steve Jewett

PRONK portrait by Daniela G


October 29, 2018

--Shot at yesterday's rally for Transgender rights - If you live in MA Vote Yes on 3, please. If you know + like or love a TG person, or you don't but you're willing to believe the world is more complex than you mighta guessed, it's the humane thing to do.
Ugh, Brazil.
on them red sox
Being an adult means not having your bed pushed up against a corner. That is literally the only criteria

BASIC and the joy of little improvisational programs

October 31, 2018
Daring Fireball just posted a link to a 2014 article, TIME Magazine's Fifty Years of BASIC, the Programming Language That Made Computers Personal. As Gruber puts it
For those of us of a certain age, a BASIC prompt was what you’d expect to see when you turned any computer on.
This article is the best I've read on the subject (marred slightly by the amount of ads on the page) In particular, I hadn't realized how important it was as computers moved from the batch process punchcard era to the expectations of real-time interaction we enjoy today - and of getting students to realize that programming was something that mere mortals could do.

That was in the 60s - in the 80s, BASIC was the bedrock of home computers - and most kids were given a chisel and some other basic tools so that if they were motivated, they could get the computer to do whatever they wanted.

The article briefly touches on BASIC's detractors. But as my friend Jeremy Penner (founder of everyone-can-and-should-make-games celebration site Glorious Trainwrecks ) mentioned to me, line numbers, while limiting in many ways, are a super intuitive way to get a kid making that first step of "computer programs tend to go step by tedious step". I think Dijkstra infamous complaint "It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students that have had a prior exposure to BASIC" is way out of line; understanding simple step by step flow does not preclude later learning of modularity and other more sophisticated topics.

As Harry McCracken writes:
BASIC was so approachable that you could toss off little improvisational programs with barely any effort at all. I probably wrote hundreds of them in my high school’s computer lab—games, utilities, practical jokes to play on my classmates. Most were meant to be disposable, and unless any of them show up on forgotten floppy disks at my parents’ house, almost all of them are long gone.
That hit home for me. In the 2000s, that's sometimes my style for stuff in Processing and P5.js (though I'm a bit of self-absorbed nerd so I archive "the good stuff" at toys.alienbill.com.) Other people I know, like Anna Anthropy write books about writing your own games in Twine, Puzzlescript, and Scratch.

But it's still a long way from the "booting into BASIC" days - Mac/Windows/Phone environments are great program launchers, but don't have that ramp into "you type things and computer stuff happens!" Also, the gap between "real" programs and what an amateur can write is MUCH bigger than it was in 1980s - especially for games. "Casual" games are a welcome exception to that, but a beginner programmer usually isn't using a toolset for 3D stuff.

(An upcoming thing I'll be keeping an eye on is Dreams for PS4 - "a space where you go to play and experience the dreams of Media Molecule and our community. It’s also a space in which to create your own dreams, whether they’re games, art, films, music or anything in-between and beyond." That's the same folks who made LittleBigPlanet which had a pretty rich online maker community too, so it'll be neat to see what comes of it.)
A sign you're becoming an adult is when you watch a movie and you stop seeing yourself as the protagonist and start seeing yourself as one of the minor characters.

Thinking how FB offers "plausible deniability" when some issue seems too complex or fraught to provide a compassionate response. Like, maybe the algorithms didn't choose to show it to me, that's why I made no comment.

election night

November 7, 2018
My friend Hannah saw me and some folk entertaining at Elizabeth Warren's election night shindig:

Besides the robocall spammers, who is profiting from not stopping the robocall spammers?

November 17, 2018

Playing tuba with Veterans for Peace on Armistice Day:

melissa's birthday surprise!

November 18, 2018
Melissa's got a milestone birthday coming up, and I conspired with Anna H. and crew to have Anna's "Pre-Thanksgiving Cocktail Party" convert into a full-on surprise party once Melissa and I came over from seeing Patton Oswalt-- I sweet-talked a subset of JP Honk into lying in wait, and stashed my tuba there that afternoon...

We did "Space Cadet", "Mercy Mercy Mercy", and then a "Little Light of Mine" singalong:

Same close-in:

Here friends made up a photocake:

December 6, 2018

A great fallacy of the world is this:
that every opinion must move to purpose.
I think it's akin to the perpetual dissatisfaction Buddhists warn us against; we ask why merely think and categorize when we can feel and judge? How else would we be brought to right action? Why strain our selves looking for all the pluses and minuses, the reasons and results, when we can just collapse into a single thumbs up thumbs down?
I was delighted by this mural inside the Rosebud near Davis Square-

"Al Cass FAST" was my favorite valve oil even back in Cleveland - the rocketship and the way it proudly displayed its hometown really appealed to me, along with the"ODORLESS / WEATHER CONSCIOUS / DOES NOT SEPARATE" copy on the bottle, from an era when products sold themselves as much as facts as feelings. According to Wikipedia
[Al Cass] was the manufacturer and creator of the "FAST" valve/slide/key oil combination for brass instruments, which has been considered the industry standard since inception. It was developed after 18 months of R&D at the request and final approval of Dizzy Gillespie.
which is super hip.
If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish.
David Foster Wallace

There is no art without resistance in the material.
William Morris

I've been digging using old school (but touchscreen) e-ink Kindle - but they still have the disadvantage of not letting me use the color coding for highlights I did when the app on iPad mini was my main reader. Also it's less easy to copy and paste quotes onto my website and Facebook. Both of these problems are somewhat mitigated now with what might be a new feature (or not?) where the device can email you a nice PDF and CSV with your notes.


December 7, 2018

BABAM Takes Music To The Streets from Julia Maruca on Vimeo.

December 23, 2018

--Grinchy, wealthy universities have a change of heart and start making PILOT payments in City Hall Christmas fable

December 31, 2018

As 2018 draws to a close I'd like to say that I feel like the idea of the 10,000 Year Clock is underappreciated.
Shout out to Bright Brass instrument repair in Waltham- John took great care of my tuba over my holiday travels and frankly did more than he charged me for. (He's also run some instrument care lessons at School of Honk)
nbd just jamming out the new year with Keytar Bear

Just realized that besides "kirkjerk" "kirkamundo" and "the great kirkini" I could have been using "kirkus maximus" this entire time.

arts advocacy day

April 9, 2019
A few weeks ago BABAM supported Summer Street Brass Band in helping out MASSCreative's Arts Advocacy Day....

One of the first 3 CDs I bought was Maynerd Ferguson's Chameleon - I think Jeff Shaffer introduced me to this astoundingly brash and funky cover of Herbie Hancock's classic in the late 80s or early 90s:

It's a popular song in HONK circles, and as far as I can tell it's the focused Ferguson version that is the more direct influence for street bands, rather than Hancock's synth-heavy jam.

(My band JP Honk has played it for a while, but one tricky bit, kind of a reverse arpeggio, was never quite as tight as it should be, so I slowed down the part by about a third...)

Anyway, in researching itm and finding some liner notes I found out it and the album was recorded the week after I was born.

Coincidence? There's no such thing.

Damp Tubas Whispering Secrets

April 26, 2019

Train your heart like a dog.
Frida Kahlo

group troop

May 19, 2019
A few weeks ago I had a small epiphany at my therapist.

The back story: my parents are officers in The Salvation Army, which (in parallel with its emergency and charity operations) is a church; a denomination called "Salvationism", a near offshoot of the Methodists that took the idea of waging a war against sin to heart, and modeled itself after a military - churches are called corps, members are called soldiers, pastors are called officers and there are uniforms, with tunics and hats and everything.

As in the military, officers get assigned to live wherever the 'Army feels their skills will be put to the best use, and so "OKs" (Officer's Kids) have to be braced for moving every few years.

So, looking back, here's roughly how I viewed the structure of authority:

I'm perched on top, the most precarious place. I am taught how I should live - and then, told WHERE I will live - by my parents. (Here represented by a home) But my parents are supported by The Salvation Army. It has the authority to tell them where to go and what to do, and they comply. The Salvation Army, then, was anchored on and drawing its authority from God. From God! Can't get much bigger than that!

I'm sure the whole "parents are your minister and representative of God" thing is another topic for therapist fun, but right now I'm thinking more about the top 3 levels; when you combine it with the Good of the many outweighs the good of the few or the one attitude I think I inherited from my mom (where our personal needs should not be ignored, but weighted in the general balance for choosing best course of action), you get an especially acute sense of "the group will ask sacrifices of you, and you must make them."

As an "OK", less than average of your material life is actually owned by your family... the quarters- the assigned house (or apartment over the church in my case) - will be mostly stocked with its own furniture. Utilities and reliable transportation will be arranged for and life will otherwise be frugal, and your parents are potentially on call at all kinds of hours - especially during that Thanksgiving-Christmas "Red Kettles" season. I'm not trying to bellyache, there are plenty of worse environments to grow up in - but still, the sense of authority and chain-of-command was strong, and The Salvation Army was a calling, not just a job - for example I had a precocious and impeccable "business" phone mojo going when answering the shared line, evn as a pipsqueak elementary schooler - my folks would be commended on their extremely polite secretary.

(My family was graced with longer appointments - I was especially lucky by "OK" standards of the time to be in mostly the same place for most of middle and high school. But I was bummed about the move from Western NY to Upstate NY before third grade, and had so much adolescent resentment moving to Cleveland after sixth that I switched to going by my middle name Logan as a form of existential protest. (err, before I knew it was a "Wolverine/X-men" reference))

So, too much backstory, here is the point, and the small epiphany: So I had deeply ingrained sense of the importance of the group. Imprinted on me: Groups are manifestations of greater goods (even when they don't claim to be prayerfully reflecting God's will) and so can expect sacrifices of you. And not only of you, but of loved ones you're with! People who probably won't be directly involved with the group on a regular basis, and who may have only had been partially aware of the strength of your commitments

(and being reliable isn't just import to me in terms of my concern for my reputation in the group, but my integrity as a person - a group being angered with me for not being dependable would be awful mostly as a signpost towards me not being a dependable person. (I think. Causing someone or some group strong bad feelings because of my own "selfish" needs also does poorly on "greater good" scale, so there is a social aspect of it - not just the objective judgement of God of me, the individual potential sinner.))

So, I need to remember that groups - mostly brass bands for me these days (which actually are also kind of a gift from The Salvation Army for me, come to think of it) - aren't just asking sacrifices from me me, but of me and my presence and energy that might otherwise by my partner's. I need to be more cognizant of that.
Bonus content: it took me years to notice there was a pun/metaphor in calling the printed offering envelopes "cartridges" - these are roughly the ones I grew up with

I remember the "If you are absent, remember the Corps expenses go on just the same". The admonition was watered down a bit from this antique one of the 1800s that has further instructions in a militaristic vibe.
Ever wake up from a nap, and kind of disoriented? Your inner monologue is like "Ok... I think... I'm on a planet... called Earth? And it has... gravity? And sometimes frogs?"
Today at the Friendshipworks Walk to End Elder Isolation - a lesson in photographic perspective, and why you usually put the tuba player and the horn behind the arc not where it angles around... it kind of towers over everyone!

September 16, 2019

Saturday was a busy day for JP Honk... we started with the Augment parade- here's a close up of my favorite tuba accessory, the piles of cheap Mardi Gras style beads, $1 for about a dozen strands at Dollar Tree...

photo from Now+There's twitter feed that has some good photos. Also, see Donna Dodson's video of the band.
Oh and earlier that day I posted this, with my usual selfie joke "feeling cute, might delete later" which is two half-lies.

Next time I'm explaining why the concept of "well now it's a level playing field across these demographic groups" is false I should remember to link to these 3 paragraphs of Fran Lebowitz where she puts it rather well...

September 21, 2019

"Small Government" means "a government small enough to spend my money only on things that I am interested in and not tax me for the rest". It is used by political opportunists to unify a diversity of short-sighted, selfish people under a common flag, expending the gathered political capital to achieve their own agenda. It results in the three D's: deregulation (usually the first victim, can't make money if the government is limiting profits on necessary services), degradation (of the existing infrastructure and services benefitting the bottom portion of society), and deception (of the middle class, telling them everything is looking rosy while the stability of the class below them crumbles).

While it may mean a specific policy within different Libertarian camps, its abuses by the the current [Bush] administration are well documented. The "small government" promised by the president in the 2000 campaign has devoured the entire surplus and increased debt to record levels. Many of our safeguards of a civil society have been removed or gone wanting for enforcement while this "small government" parades around the globe on the cheap capital it flooded the market with between 2001 and 2005.

"Small government" is a complete red herring, uttered by those who would make the government subservient to the capital it creates and defends. This self serving attitude would have prevented the National Highway System, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Hoover Dam, and the eradication of Polio.
EB, my estranged debate partner, in 2006
From this day's blog entry when my blog's daily comment section was a small community, pre-Facebook. That day had some decent followup debate and dialog.
BABAM closing yesterday's climate strike at the Boston Statehouse:

jp honk @ pronk

October 14, 2019
JP Honk played PRONK!

October 20, 2019

Today I am marching in solidarity with the spooky skeletons that are inside us all, waiting to get out. #justwait

October 26, 2019

14 years ago I posted this Laffy Taffy joke:
Q. What kind of tea can be hard to swallow?
A. Reality
"The Tea" is such a meme now - even the center of frickin RCN ads - and it's probably unrelated, but I could see it coming from this kind of wordplay. (Hell, I'm not sure I believe bae's commonly received origin story...)
I'm not trying to argue in the book that the scarcity mindset is either shallow or completely useless. If you're caught in a warzone, if you're in a poverty-stricken area, if you're fighting for your survival, if you're in a competitive sport like boxing, the scarcity mindset does play a very important role.

Most of us are the products of people who survived in what was for a very, very long time, in our evolution as a species, a scarcity-oriented universe. Food was scarce, resources were scarce, fertile land was scarce, and so on. So we do have a very hard-wired tendency to be scarcity-oriented. But I think what has happened over time is we don't have to literally fight for our survival every day.

I think that as intelligent beings we need to recognize that some of the vestiges of our evolutionary tendencies might be holding us back. If I'm at an advertising agency, for example, or in software design, those are the kinds of fields where it is now being shown in quite a lot of studies that you actually perform better if you don't put yourself under the scarcity mindset, if you don't worry about the outcomes and enjoy the process of doing something, rather than the goal.

I'm wondering if that scarcity mindset tends to amplify the tribalism we see in politics now. Even folks who have pretty comfortable clouds of privilege and relative comfort, there's this human tendency to raise the stakes about everything, make everything urgent. I wonder though - that kind of contradicts this idea that life was pretty good and maybe easy for humans when we were small groups of hunter-gatherers. I wonder if people in groups were most often what we'd see as relaxed, or if it was constant stress.
Some interesting thoughts on stadium design - how it's about community and thoughtfulness...
Two views from the Annual JP Dog Parade - JP honk was able to muster a quintet- the first is actually a screenshot from a video I took at the head --

Not sure who took the second, but they say it's #nofilter - lovely foliage and vibrant band outfits...

Salamanca Press and Gothic

November 22, 2019
One of my parents' favorite appointments was in upstate NY, the city of Salamanca - as Salvation Army officers they really connected with the communities and groups there, from the Seneca people (from whom the land was leased in an odd arrangement) to the Newspaper that was literally right next door to the church to the Catholic school down the street (St. Patrick's, where I attended and my folks got a "clergy discount") to the local theater troop "The Village Players" to the people who had standing orders for bread or cookies when my dad did a round of baking...

The best way not to be unhappy is not to have a word for it.
Douglas Adams
(I'm not sure if this is actually true- it's a pretty big stretch for the whorf hypothesis)
F*** Trump's use of the phrase "Human Scum"

november 2019 new music playlist

December 2, 2019
What A Five-Star song???

Whole Lotta Funk (Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars vs. Led Zeppelin)
DJs From Mars
Fun mashup.
For some reason I've been stockpiling old Best of Booties.

Hypnotize Mama (Notorious B.I.G. vs. David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha & Afrojack)
DJ Schmolli
Hiphop mash.
For some reason I've been stockpiling old Best of Booties.

Tempo (feat. Missy Elliott)
Excellent hiphop. Wish I could roll my Rs.
Caught this on some random tweet.
Track Suit Kopanitsa
Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band
"Track Suit" is a popular song in the HONK crowd- this mixes it East European hardcore.
My friend Dave B had a copy of the new ENSMB album when it was still upcoming, we listened to it on the way back from PRONK
Trombone Shorty
Instrumental, some sweet horns.
My young bandmante Ezequiel loves this song, we might try to work up an arrangement for our group.
Nicki Minaj
I think there's a Street Fighter backstory I'm missing here...
this page on Tik-Toks
Under the Milky Way
Very pretty and romantic song.
Reading up the back story of that old VW "Pink Moon" ad, originally they were thinking of the original version of this, but I liked this better than "The Church"'s original.
Once In a Lifetime
Talking Heads
Kind of a classic...
Saw David Byrne live recently! Realized I didn't have much of his older stuff.
Atheists Don't Have No Songs
Rocky Mountain Jewgrass
I think Steve Martin made up this song maybe? But I like this version better.
Found a reference to it doing Blog cleanup...

To Turn You On
Nataly Dawn & Ryan Lerman
This song moved me greatly when first hearing it... it just captures all the energy of every post-breakup person I've chased after.
- found doing backlog grooming
Holy Water
Struggle Jennings
Kinda redneck hiphop, and I think Jesus-y?
from the end credits of the season finale "What We Do in the Shadows"

Super Good
Russian song - Melissa look up the translation, about how many of his peers left the country but the singer stayed behind and is doing "Super Good"
From "What We Do in the Shadows" orgy episode end music ...
You Spin Me Round (feat. Silver Letomi)
The old How To Make A Blockbuster Movie Trailer had this song with "Introduce Unexpected Cover of a Classic Hit" (more specifically, 'creepy gal singing...' I'd say) - they released it as a single but honestly they left way too much movie trailer in it - a proper moody female vocal cover of "You Spin Me Round" would be awesome.
What More Can I Say
Angry hiphop.
Seeing Trever Noah live, this was his walk-on music.

Beautiful modern stuff.
Heard in a New Jersey Old Navy

They Don't Make Em Like Me
Pigeon John
I adore the Motown sound of this, combined with modern stuff
This was background music for a new RAZR phone ad
A Thousand Miles
Vanessa Carlton
What am I, a young woman in the early 2000s? Maybe.
Some random Youtube recommendation.

The Wire
Acoustically these folk are doing really interesting stuff, and the breakup theme, but from the breaker rather than breakee, is a good match to "To Turn You On" above.
This tweet: "What is the name for the mental disorder where you listen to The Wire by Haim five times in a row" --@bea_ker

As a liberal, do you agree with Donald Trump on anything at all? An interesting point about how Trump maybe has the benefit of challenging some of the presumptions of the global political status quo. Right now I'm reading "A Warning (by Anonymous)" and I think both that book and the Quora answerer also point out that- he does not study issues nearly deeply enough or listen to enough studied opinions for a person who wields as much power as he does.

Also, compared to the Neocons, he's less bellicose - GWB nostalgia is kind of weird given that whole Cheney Iraq trumped up thing.

(I am by no means a Trump supporter or fan, and I also recognize that focusing on his global political outlook is neglecting the damage he is doing to so many groups at home.)

To be an American is of itself almost a moral condition, an education, and a career.
via Eun Kim's "The Ying and Yang of American Culture: A Paradox", a turn of the millennium view of the USA from a Korean lens. (Found in a used bookstore in Maine)