Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Red Right Hand

If there isn't already a law against the maximum approach velocity of one's hand into a handshake, there ought to be one. And guys, if you find your arm-shoulder swinging by more than a couple of degrees to the right just before a handshake, you are probably overdoing it.

BTW, anyone remember the name of the comicbook detective with the bone-crushing handshake? Rip Kirby, was it? It was definitely one of those 1940s-style noirish strips.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Jimmy Miller: The Other George Martin

The "Let It Bleed" CD cover had been sitting on my stereo for like 6 months and the other day, I picked it up just to read its production credits. I had always assumed L.I.B. was produced by Mick and/or Keith. Turns out it was produced by a man named Jimmy Miller. A Goog/Wiki search revealed this man produced the "fab Four": Beggars' Banquet, Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main Street (and Goat's Head Soup.)

Super-producer, you say? Well, hold on just a second. This man also produced Blind Faith, Spencer Davis Group, Traffic and just in case those names don't mean much to you, he produced Motorhead. How's that for sheer diversity in musical styles?

Rhino Records' website has a good column on Miller's contribution to the Stones' sound. I also found this GREAT page which has a lot of quotes from and about Jimmy Miller and the making of Beggars' Banquet.

Anyone got any more dope on this man? If you do, please update the Wiki. Jimmy Miller deserves a more substantial Wiki entry.

Rock 101 quiz: How are the Rolling Stones connected to that classic John Bonham drum sound on "When The Levee Breaks"?

Iconic Pictures (And The True Stories Behind Them)

"My Adobe files are constantly hanging, most of my software can't be installed and I am just too scared to run iTunes on it!" - Johnny Cash, about his Vista experience.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Recording The Beatles: Drool, Drool

What do you get a Beatles-obsessed audiogeek for Christmas? This book, of course. (Link via BoingBoing)

Here's a sample page (WARNING: opens a PDF file) about the recording of "Mother Nature's Son" (not my most favorite tune from the White, but still...and Paul was reading "The Song of Hiawatha" in 1968?)

What Dream?

My cab driver is a forty-something guy - white, bespectacled and balding. I am jet-lagged like hell and try to beat it with conversation and I ask him if he usually finds passengers this early in the morning. He takes that as a cue and tells me about his daily schedule. He works 2 shifts - 14 hours a day, 7 days a week. Then, in a soft, worried tone, he clarifies "but it's so hard to make ends meet". I am curious about his health insurance. "That's the other thing. I am 40 and I don't have health insurance. I worry about that a lot. What if something were to happen to me?"

You could be working 84 98 hours a week and still not be able to afford health insurance.

Only in America, folks.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lost In Cubicleland

Apologies for not doing the follow-up post on that haiku dare. A new consulting gig, extreme travel conditions and stuff...but c'est la vie, said the old folks, right?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Haiku And A Dare

Harsh Scrabble discord -
someone has placed putzhead on
a triple word score..
This haiku page is a riot. So naturally, I want to know, why don't we have a "Haiku for Hindus"? We got plenty to poke fun at, don't we?

I know there are some very gifted blogger-poets on my blogroll. If any of you have some verses, post them in the comments or put them up on your blog and send me the link. (Give yourself bonus points for NOT writing about "sacred cows". And triple-bonus points for sneaking in multilingual puns. Tabula Rasa, I hope you will try :) Gazillion-bonus points if one of those languages is Sanskrit.)

Update1: OMFG. Falstaff gets the job done. He comes up with not one or two or three but SEVEN of 'em. Sir, you have not upped the bar. You've blown the damn thing out of sight.

(I will compile the verses in a separate post later, but for now, you can read Falstaff's contribution in the commentspace.)

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Out Raving

The Bigger! Better! India Uncut looks *very* impressive and I am not saying that only because I am on the "Raveout" team.

Amit and MadMan: As Saddam must have often said to Chemical Ali, kudos on the execution.

A commenter (Neela) on a fellow Raver's (Raveouter's?) blog put it really well: "I have a feeling that I am going to get an overdose of Sartre, Kafka, some unknown Israeli author and a few suicidal Eastern European filmmakers in there."

Fear not, Neela. The blog sure has a great bunch of contributors - "Alpha-bloggers" - the ones who know their stuff and can write very well - but they also have ME :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Not Heart Shaped

February 14. A very happy Bhagwat Ekadashi* to you too.

Don't laugh, you brainwashed, western propaganda-buying imperialist sheep! Today is Lord Vishnu's day of rest. Is there anything more important than that?

/*I have no idea what that festival is all about.

//Just saw a young man leaving a store with not one but three bouquets of flowers and he had that worried "OMFG-I-still-have-to-buy-the-chocolates" look on his face. What's with the pressure?

Mama Likes Movies

Called mother up on the weekend. She sounded weak. The poor thing, she's down with a nasty flu and food poisoning. As you can guess, the needle on my Guiltometer hit the extreme end of the dial.

"So what did you do", I asked her, meaning if she had seen a doctor.

"I visited the doctor and he has prescribed me medicines."

I felt relieved and the needle sort of slid back a notch.

"And then", she continued, "I saw an Ingmar Bergman film - The Silence."

Food poisoning and flu? Bah! Minor obstacles to enjoying things that *really* matter, like a Bergman film.

The needle quickly dropped to zero.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Grammy '07

"We are the Police and we're BAAACK" is not the most creative way to announce your comeback. A better way to do it might have been to not play "Roxanne" and surprise the hell out of everyone. But Sting sounded strong, Copeland seemed to have lost none of his drumming chops (though he now resembles Jerry Springer) and Andy's battered Telecaster still produced that sound. (Jamie Foxx's profound observation after Police's performance: "this goes to show the power of collaboration is HAWT".)

Gnarls Barkley's rendition of "Crazy" was *insanely* brilliant. Has any band in the history of pop ever performed in an airline pilot uniform?

Rick Rubin is God but the Dixie Chicks put me to sleep. As did the unconvincingly fake "country" tribute to The Eagles and Bob Wills. Playing a tired, note-for-note cover of "Hotel California" and - YAWN- "Desperado" is not a tribute. It's karaoke. Did the Grammy organizers (and Carrie Underwood) know that Bob Wills wrote "Sittin' on top of the world"? Not just any song, but "Sittin' On Top of the world", ok? You want to pay a tribute to that great man, why not get someone who can really sing? Like Christina Aguilera. She did JB proud.

Mary J.'s inspirational epic-song-duet with Ludacris and little girls marching out with candles in their hands magically transported me to Hallmarkland.

Uh, "Hello". Hello?

As expected, Chili Peppers played a solid gig. Just like AC/DC, they have a sound and a formula and they are faithful to it. Besides, they showed their love for Ornette Coleman and that's what good bands do. Expose their fans to new ideas.

The Grammy Dude's speech was only slightly less interesting than John Mayer's performance. But thanks to such moments, I was able to catch most of The Simpsons, King of the Hill and Family Guy.

Where is the Soy Bomb guy when you need him?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Choked On Vomit

Derek: Well, uh, it's not a very pleasant story...but, uh, he died...
uh...he choked on...the ac- the official explanation was he
choked on vomit.
David: He passed away.
Nigel: It was actually, was actually someone else's vomit. It's not....
David: It's ugly.
Nigel: You know. There's no real....
Derek: You know they can't prove whose vomit it was...they don't
have the facilities at Scotland Yard....
David: You can't print, there's no way to print a spectra-photograph...
Nigel: You can't really dust for vomit.
(That's way sadder than D minor)

They went this way too...and now, Anna Nicole.

Unprotected Is Good

Unprotected music, that is. And EMI is "mulling".

DRM will die. Sooner or later. (Link to Steve Jobs' thoughts on DRM)

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Nobody Ptolemy The Way To The Library

I was in the magazines and periodicals section of the library and noticed a boy, not more than 3 or 4 years old, perched comfortably on a chair, with a big book spread out on his little lap. He appeared to be studying a map. His fingers were tracing the lines on the map and with a serious, studied look, he said softly to no one in particular, "there we are".

A 3 year-old reading a map? All hail the New Male of the Species, I thought to myself. This one doesn't have to stop at gas stations to ask for directions. Not because he doesn't want to, but because he doesn't need to. (The downside? He and his future wife will have very little to talk about when driving to a dinner engagement.)

Then, a couple of minutes later, the boy's father sat down next to him with a bunch of books in his hand. Before the father could even open a book, the boy asked him very coolly "Dad, can we go to the library?"

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Yup, They Do No Evil

Still, opt the heck out of Google's search history aggregation. (Link via BoingBoing)

Procreation Through Coercion

"Under the initiative, marriage would be limited to men and women who are able to have children. Couples would be required to prove they can have children in order to get a marriage license, and if they did not have children within three years, their marriage would be subject to annulment."
Such a delightful idea, this Initiative 957. (link via Drudge)

I am sure the proponents of this initiative are using results from the solid research performed by the great social scientist and observer Bobby D., (Darin, not Dylan) who, in 1961, had anticipated this situation and wrote these powerful, rousing words:
When you see a gentleman bee,
'Round the lady bee buzzing,
Just count to ten, then count again,
There's sure to be an even dozen.

Multiplication, that's the name of the game,
And each generation, they play the same.
The way I see it, you can't legislate the fuck out of marriage and you certainly can't legislate the fuck into marriage.

Monday, February 05, 2007

My Superbowl

Prince played a Telecaster. Then he switched to a beautiful Strat. And then he played that strange, unwieldy symbol-guitar. But my God, the guitar tone on all three instruments was KILLER (even if it was unabashed Jimi puja.) Despite an utter lack of nippage, a most enjoyable (half)time was had by all.

And yeah, Carlos digs Prince.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

From The Red Special To Bang!

Look who's co-written a book on the history of the universe. Yes, that same Dr. May.
As part of his continuing Phd studies May designed and built a zodiacal light observation hut on the site of what is now the huge Observatory del Tiede in Tenerife, a facility now internationally shared amongst astronomers. From there May pursued his investigations into the motions of interplanetary dust. He remains in touch with various astronomers in The Observatory.

May is also regarded as an expert in the field of Victorian Stereoscopic Photography. He contributed some of his major collection to a Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition earlier this year, and is currently working on a book on TR Williams, a prominent stereo photographer of the 1850's.
Since I am a BIG fan of his old band and especially his guitar-playing (had "Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy" on repeat all day yesterday just for the guitar parts), I think Brian May deserves to be blogrolled :) (See his blog entries from Dec '05 where he talks about the recording of Bohemian Rhapsody.)

Oh, and do read this unbelievably prosaic entry for "Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy" in Wikipedia. That second 'graf is duller than cricket commentary delivered by a radio announcer on Valium.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Just Zerotasking

1. Read the entire dictionary.
2. Give yourself 5 points for each word or phrase that sounds familiar.
3. If you catch yourself saying "this is not jargon, this is my everyday language" give yourself 10 points.
3. Add up 2 and 3. If your score exceeds 50, go kill yourself.

I am so dead.

(Except that I think the word "assmosis" is just brilliant and deserves wider currency.)

link via lifehack

Man And Wife And A Snarky Blog

Who can resist a blog with such a tagline:
A glimpse into that haven of superficial, pretentious, pseudo-aristocratic vanity: The NY Times' Wedding & Celebration Announcements
A real shame the blog hasn't been updated since June 2006.

(After the Crime/Police Blotter section in a newspaper, matrimonial announcements and obituaries are my favorite reading material at the breakfast table on weekends. If only Hollywood would produce a "Four Weddings, a couple of funerals and a shoplifting at Target"...)