Bobbi Gentry’s Ode to Billie Joe, remembered

I was listening to a Pravda Records cover of a song from the late ’60s called “Ode to Billie Joe” (originally a Bobbi Gentry tune). It made me think about the original, the words, and musings about how hard it is to play on the guitar.

I recall there was also a mysticism regarding the words and what the story was really trying to say. It turns out upon buy tramadol online overnight shipping looking things up that it is a story about suicide and how callous people can be about the death of those not close to them. And sure, the pragmatic farmer’s mentality really comes out in the song. Rumor has it that the Tallahatchie Bridge (the one in real life) collapsed in 1972.

Wes Clark discusses this topic to its ultimate futility.

Aimee Mann

Something that is currently under high rotation on my iPod (actually, it’s an el-cheapo SanDisk that does the same thing) is a song called “Calling on Mary” by Aimee Mann. Aimee Mann has had a few good tracks after she parted from ‘Til Tuesday. But for some reason, this one, from what must be one of the moodiest Christmas albums I have ever heard (“One More Drifter in the Snow”), has me addicted. The song has that addictive quality of hitting all the right notes and the has all the right chord changes to keep it engaging. I would like it to be a love song or something, but here it is, a Christmas song. There is definite heart-ache in the music, more so than the words. It is an articulation of feeling I would put up there with George Harrisson. At least in that tune.

One wonders why she hadn’t been bigger as an act. There is definite hit quality in her music. It seems her “image” is of a female who thinks, who ponders, who is moody and introspective. None of these qualities are common in female acts.

Are there unused icons on your desktop?

Nothing brings Windows to its knees more than unused icons on your desktop. It must be so, because every so often whenever I use Windows, I get this annoying message on my toolbar (one of those balloon things) saying that there are unused icons. This must be some kind of important message, otherwise it wouldn’t be bugging me so much about the icons. I imagine that it must be the reason Windows is so slow. All those icons are just gumming up the works somehow. Pretty soon, I imagine that the icons will cause a fatal crash and bring on the dreaded Blue Screen Of Death. And you know, in cyberspace, no one can hear you Blue Screen. I will end up as roadkill on the Information Highway, with packets of information whizzing past me, with not one of them stopping to help. Perhaps some of them will slow down to stare at me like I was some kind of spectacle, and then you know what will happen next… the entire network will slow down to accommodate the rubberneckers on the Information Highway. This will ultimately bring networks to a crawl, and ultimately, the entire Internet will slow down, and it will all be my fault, because I didn’t clean up my desktop. That will probably be my final thoughts as I lay dying on the Information Highway’s “Slow” lane. And as I rise to go to heaven to meet St. Peter at the gate, he will know about my slothful and slovenly ways and take that into account as he figures out whether I should wind up in heaven or hell. I imagine that there must be a special place in hell roped off for those who commit the egregious sin of not removing unused icons from their desktop.

Of course, there is an answer to the cancerous scourge of unused icons on the Windows desktop. It is a signal, my friends, that Windows is no longer useable. It is time to rip it out and install Linux. I guarantee, my friends, that Linux will not give a hoot about your icons. You can cover your whole goddamn desktop with them and the operating system will not complain. That has got to give you peace of mind. Sure, there is a bit of a learning curve with the new operating system, but at least St. Peter will be pleased with you, and you will have one more reason to remain in heaven. And as a bonus, you can take the passing lane on the Information Highway.

Models make bad computer geeks

Computer Gique Chic
Computer Gique Chic – Unknown who the model or photographer is, but the main attraction is, is that darned computer!
I saw some images, professionally shot, of these stylish models in front of this mostly glass computer monitor with a glass touch keyboard. There were two problems I had with this: 1) there is no such keyboard or monitor; and 2) if I was that good-looking and stylish I wouldn’t be spending so much time in front of computers. This is the trouble you run into where can i buy tramadol when you have too high a budget and hire high-priced models to fill the job of conveying some kind of realism in the cyber world.And, no there is no such computer. There exist various see-through LCD displays for some of the fancier clock radios, but this has not filtered into computer screens. The patent for glass keyboards have been around since 2003, but I am not aware of see-through ones except as artwork or as props.

This article previosuly appeared in other tags.

Pink Martini

Pink Martini is a Jazz ensemble (although much of what they do is of an “international” flavour) featuring a lead vocalist, a pianist, and a string and horn section. I purchased a CD recently called Hey Eugene, whose title track is really hilarious. It was played on our local jazz station. The other tracks are worthwhile also, but live up to different expectations. I say that because the title track appears to be geared up as more of a pop tune. I enjoyed it, but I like Jazz, and these were interesting tunes. The lead singer China Forbes sings in different languages, but the lyric booklet has English translations.

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The longest running show in television history

The longest-running soap opera took a bit of looking around. I had believed it was likely to be the British soap opera Coronation Street, which has been running for over 47 years (since December 1960 according to a fan site) and is still running in the UK and in several other countries in Europe and North America. ITV, the network which produces the show, does not appear to have a special web page on the program, as far as I could tell, but has links to plenty of character-based trivia on the soap.

However, I do some further snooping, and the Americans have a daily soap opera, aired on CBS, called Guiding Light, which has been airing since 1952, making the serial 56 years old. Before television, it apparently was aired on radio as a 15-minute drama spot since 1937. So, if you count radio, then, the serial will celebrate its 75th anniversary on January 25, 2012.

The longest-running show on TV of any description of which I am aware appears to be NBC’s Meet the Press, a current affairs program which has been airing daily since November of 1947, making the program 60 years old on television as of last year.

Ad parody for Windows Vista

Follow this link. It is the best Nat Lamp parody I have seen in a long in waterbury can i buy viagra at a store time. Apologies for the repost, it is being posted to several new categories.

 

Deep Purple

I have a retro cassette of pre-Beatles music from the 1959-1963 era. I have had it for years, and it is full of really boring tunes that I hardly ever play. It was an era of sappy sentimentalism, when torch songs reigned supreme, and everyone tried to outdo each other with the ultimate love tune. If you are the kind of person who expects more than McCarthyist, sappy sentimentalism from music, then it wasn’t a good time to grow up. I wasn’t born then, but came accross this cassette in a delete bin at a record store. I guess no one else wanted it either.

There is one song among the collection whose title stood out because I was a Deep Purple fan (you know, those ’70s musicians with the loud guitars — that Deep purple). The song, sung by Nino Tempo and April Stevens, was actually called Deep Purple. Of all the music I heard on the cassette, it was the most mellow among this collection of already mellow tunes. I had largely forgotten about this tune, until this week when I was listening to an all-Jazz radio station, and they began playing a 1940s version of Deep Purple by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra (by WWII — the time of the recording — it became a specially-commissioned orchestra to play for the troops of the Allied Command (British and US)).

In listening to Glenn Miller, I learned something about the Tempo/Stevens version of the song — it was played very fast! Miller’s rendition was at half of the tempo, with no words (I don’t know if Mitchell Parish had written the words yet at that point). I look this song up on Wikipedia, and find it was written in 1929 by Peter de Rose. It was already over 30 years old when Tempo/Stevens sung it, and over 40 years old by the time Donny and Marie Osmond sung it (a version I haven’t heard about).

Sampling versions that they have of this song on EMusic, (there are over 80 different versions listed), most versions I sampled are super-slow Jazz tunes, usually played with piano in the lead, or as the only instrument other than voice. After some sampling, I have to say that I am partial to the Tempo/Stevens version of the tune. I was able to search out the chords to play it on guitar.

Forgiveness

As I understand it, forgiveness is something that is given after the other party has admitted wrongdoing. If they had not, then forgiveness is futile, except maybe in one’s mind. In other words, if I had wronged you, and I don’t say I am sorry — in fact, I refuse to even acknowledge that wrong was done — then it would sound absurd for you to say to me “I forgive you”. It falls on deaf ears. I know I said that before, but it is worth repeating. There are a lot of wrongdoers in my life, who seem to have a warped sense of morals, who think in their own minds they have done nothing wrong; that they are perfect somehow.

I guess for some people, the two simple words “I’m sorry” are the most difficult words to say in the English language. It is an admission that you are not perfect, and with it an acceptance, I guess, of a certain loss of self-esteem (which seemed too high to begin with). After that, there should be an attempt to make up for it — a reparative justice, like the Greeks used to do.

But it seems for some people, it has gone beyond that, especially where rape and other forms of irrepairable harm was committed.

Dying my wife's hair

The fun thing about colouring my wife’s hair isn’t about the hair so much, but more about the fact that we can talk and share our feelings more. My work keeps me so busy that I had to find ways to cut down on travel time, which is a barrier to things like exercise and finding further spare time to do things.

This morning (Saturday) I got up, went to work, did some heavy photocoying, which by the afternoon left only 1 hour in the gym before church. So I did that, came to church a bit late, then had a small supper and did my wife’s hair.

I think it is healthy for us to do things like that, since we can share our feelings, talk about things going on over the past week, and so on. It’s a great way to share things with each other. Of course, we both tell jokes also. It’s great.

She chose truffle brown.

The anaesthetic aesthetic

A while back I was fascinated by the idea that the lack of aesthetic was still an aesthetic. Sterile, no ornamentation, no frills, no distractions. Clean. Pest-free. Anaesthetic is the antithesis of aesthetic. Anaesthetic is the complete avoidance of aesthetics. Anaesthetic guarantees that you will be uncontaminated by life, love and art.

Sometimes I use the term to refer to some of the modern buildings whose facade is ostentatious, slightly tasteless, but ends up being bland and utterly unmemorable. I know some of the new offices and campus buildings downtown that could serve as examples. The kind of architecture that looks expensive and took a lot of manpower and materials to make, but winds up only looking “blah”.

Victorian novels, whose flourishes of expression reveal an underlying suppressed sexuality — a genuine aesthetic, but an anaesthetic one at heart.

I say that because my definition of art ought to celebrate the whole of human experience — sexuality, love, love lost, birth, marriage, hardship, injustice, harmony, discord, and death. There ought not to be subjects that are taboo to write about. To remove such subjects is to sterilize art: to anesthetize it. This doesn’t mean we have to read it; but it does mean that people should be allowed to express themselves fully.

If we agree that art needs such sterilisation, then who would be the first to volunteer to read all of the obscene novels in order to decide if they should be censored? In this undertaking, someone, the censor, is the sacrificial lamb who must allow himself to be debauched by obscene publications so that the rest of us may be uncontaminated by the obscenities therein. But it is probably not just going to be “someone”; it will more likely to be a group.

Who are the people calling themselves Christian, who go through all the pornography, all of the obscene novels, all of the political writings, in order to come out and complain about them? It would seem that they read so much of the stuff, that they constitute the writer’s biggest fan base, and the writer’s cheapest advertising medium.

Foggy essays

I have a “foggy” essay generator that just did the following, for an essay on folklore:

Of course, the characterization of critically co-optive criteria adds explicit performance contours to the profound meaning of "The Raw and the Cooked". Conversely, a constant flow of field-collected input ordinates must utilize and be functionally interwoven with Krapp's Last Tape. Similarly, a primary interrelationship of system and/or subsystem logistics is holistically compounded, in the context of improved subcultural compatibility-testing.

If I handed a whole essay like this in to a prof, I don’t know what I’d get, but it’s likely he’d see through it and just think it was junk, which it is. anti fungus. It has a database of random sentences and catch phrases, and it just weaves them together into a mind-numbing treatise of meaningless drivel. I think George Orwell would have had something to say about it.

A shaggy dog

I have always been in stitches every time I read Peter Applebome’s imitation Hemingway:


We were young and our happiness dazzled us with its strength. But there was also a terrible betrayal that lay within me like a Merle Haggard song at a French restaurant. …

I could not tell the girl about the woman of the tollway, of her milk white BMW and her Jordache smile. There had been a fight. I had punched her boyfriend, who fought the mechanical bulls. Everyone told him, “You ride the bull, senor. You do not fight it.” But he was lean and tough like a bad rib-eye and he fought the bull. And then he fought me. And when we finished there were no winners, just men doing what men must do. …

“Stop the car,” the girl said. There was a look of terrible sadness in her eyes. She knew about the woman of the tollway. I knew not how. I started to speak, but she raised an arm and spoke with a quiet and peace I will never forget.

“I do not ask for whom’s the tollway belle,” she said, “the tollway belle’s for thee.”

The next morning our youth was a memory, and our happiness was a lie. Life is like a bad margarita with good tequila, I thought as I poured whiskey onto my granola and faced a new day.

— Peter Applebome, International Imitation Hemingway Competition
Click here for the unedited version Once there, scroll to the bottom.

Little known books by JK Rowling

Welcome Back, Potter

Harry Potter gets teacher training, graduates, and gets sent back to Hogwarts to teach. He is assigned a classroom of the worst students in the school, referred to as “sweathogs”, or to be more precise, “warthogs”. See what happens with our future witches and warlocks who have emotional and learning problems, who are unable to manage themselves in a regular witchcraft learning environment. Vinnie Barbarino is played by the son of Count Dracula. Soon to become adapted for television as a sitcom.

Positive thinking is a form of denial

I just wanted to make an observation. In the clinical sense, positive thinking is in fact a form of denial. I say “a form of”, since the difference is in who is in control. Denial is, to me the ignoring of certain aspects in your life in order to make life seem as if it is going the way you want. That is the same as positive thinking. The only real difference is — who is in control, and this is important.

I object to the whole dialectic regarding substance abuse, since it is difficult to discuss any use of illicit substances without talking about it as abuse, and about the user as an addict. I don’t use drugs or drink, yet in my lifetime I have twice been approached by people who say I am an alcoholic. These are presumably people with some authority on the matter. It seems that it is a difficult dialectic to avoid, whether you imbibe or not.

For any kind of real denial — and I do believe that such a thing exists (it’s just that it is so over-used) — the person is truly out of control. I know people who are out of control, and whom no one can control. These same people would act as if nothing is wrong, and would keep the game going causing all manner of stress and sadness for everyone around them.

But even they would readily open up and tell their story in their own voice to those who are receptive enough. Those who have not had their ears tainted or eyes blinded by the jargon and paradigms of what passes for “addiction psychology” would hear their voice in the most authentic way, uncorrupted by jargon, uncontaminated by self-help books. You find that many of them want to get some bearings; to get at the heart of their lack of self-control. But they must know their own thoughts; and hear their own voice. They can’t do it if someone is labelling, “treating”, or giving un-wanted advice. Their minds need to settle.

Addiction psychology doesn’t make life easy for the addict; it makes life easy for the psychologist. It gives them a nice battery of terminologies that simplify thought; a collection of predigested ideas and concepts that one can grab for to help ease the containment and control of the patient. Jargon has a tendency to reduce people to generalities, and only aids their dehumanization. Beyond all else, it saves the therapist all the bother of really getting to the heart of the matter, since addiction psychology already provides them with what they feel is an adequate surrogate “heart of the matter”. And that is good enough.

A person who is addicted is out of control. If they are out of control, then what they really need is more control over themselves and their impulses. The AA/Al-Anon programmes advise people to “let go” of all control. I am at a loss as to why they would think that would succeed. The failure of this programme is blamed on the subject who has “fallen off the wagon” again.

My intuition tells me that, because this goes back to the rise of industrialism and the Temperance movement, this could have been motivated by industrialists who would view the heavy drinkers as disgruntled with industrialism, and the counselling to “let go of control” was meant to temper the anger early workers felt at being displaced from their farms and earlier trades which the machines and assembly lines obsoleted. Because regaining control would work against the interest of the capitalists. Since then, that motivation is gone, but in its stead a whole industry is built around “kicking the habit”. And these interests must be respected above the needs of those who they purportedly serve. A better question is “why” do people drink? Interesting answers may be found there that would allow others to really be of help, I believe.

As for positive thinking, it involves an ability to ignore negative things, emphasize positive things, and to see the world as better than it really is. A positive thinker is dealing only with a partial reality. Thus they are happier than they really ought to be, and they work hard to maintain a mental environment where they can work toward goals that would be otherwise impossible had they been more “in touch with reality”. For its ability to result in greater achievement, a greater sense of satisfaction, a greater sense of self-control, and more rewarding relationships, it is difficult to say that positive thinking is a “bad thing”. Indeed, it is the very mentality we all need to survive and to lead rewarding lives.

Positive thinking is not the knee-jerk alteration of negativity that is characteristic of what we popularly know as “denial.” We all face personal problems of one kind or another. This can only be negative if we say to ourselves that there is no way out of these problems. Dealing with these problems result from optimism, in the sense that we would not deal with these problems if we felt that the effort was futile. Contrast this against dealing with our ongoing and challenging problems by pretending they don’t exist. The latter way of dealing with problems arises not out of positive thinking but out of a profound sense of hopelessness. It might work if the problem is not serious, or temporary. But if it lasts any length of time without being dealt with, it becomes crippling.

In those cases, the help we need to give these people should not be formulaic, like the 12-steps program; and the resolution will not be as easy as giving up a bad habit, although that is part of the goal. What causes a person to drink? Underneath that question lies the tangled emotions between family, work, and other pressures, wherein lies some kind of imbalance. Balance must be restored, and this is not an instant solution. It requires heroic self-honesty and an optimism that the problems the person faces are solveable, and that a brighter future lies waiting for those willing to put in the effort to tackle the problems one faces as they really are. I am not sure I see many other ways out.

Michael Tarry, "Rosalie", and the Summer of 1973

Rosalie,
Michael Tarry (1973) (Can Con)
Peaked in Canada at #8 in the first week of July

[flv: http://sj.foodsci.info/wp-content/uploads/misc_media/Michael_Tarry_-_Rosalie.flv]

If you check the Canadian charts that week, he was up against some serious competition, which included — all in the same week —
“My Love” by Paul McCartney;
“Frankenstein” by Edgar Winter;
“Yesterday Once More” by the Carpenters;
“Tie a Yellow Ribbon” by Dawn;
“Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)” by George Harrisson;
“I’m a Stranger Here” by 5-Man Electrical Band;
“Stuck in the Middle With You” by Stealer’s Wheel;
“You Are The Sunshine Of My Life” by Stevie Wonder;
“Cisco Kid” by War;
“Space Oddity” by David Bowie;
“Walk On The Wild Side” by Lou Reed;
“Drift Away” by Dobie Gray;
“Kodachrome” by Paul Simon;
“Daniel” by Elton John;
“The Farmer’s Song” by Murray McLaughlin;
“Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple;
“Leroy Brown” by Jim Croce;
“Shambala” by Three Dog Night.
I could go on. These consist of the hits that to me characterise what the ’70s were about, musically.
Ref: Chart

That’s most of my all-time favourites, all charting in the same week.

Rosalie was one of those songs I heard once in a while and stuck in my head henceforth, and until today I only had a vague idea what the words were. I finally had enough (almost 40 years later), and Googled a lyric snippet and got this (see below). I also know the author finally — Michael Tarry McDermott, born in England but presently residing in Marmora (population 1671), Ontario, a place somewhere between Kingston and Peterborough, just north of Belleville (Google Earth to the rescue!). The name that appears on the single is “Michael Tarry”.


She was a ballet dancer,
with the grace of a dove she would dance up above in the other room.
I would invite her down to tea,
but she never would agree,
she didn’t like my way of doing things;
it’s not her way.

And when the music played,
like arrows in your heart,
bleeding from the start she meant everything.
Make the answer lie within
and your troubles not begin,
can you make it that way for me?

Rosalie Rosalie
can I sing you a song?
and tell you all my secrets?
and tell you all my thoughts?
There’s nothing I’d like better
and there’s nothing I would not do for you, Rosalie.

Of all the things we talked about,
it would never come across,
you would always get so cross and ruin everything.
You know I tried my very best;
when I did I pleased you less,
there’s no use in trying anymore.

Rosalie Rosalie
can I sing you a song?
and tell you all my secrets?
and tell you all my thoughts?
There’s nothing I’d like better
and there’s nothing I would not do for you, Rosalie.

Rosalie Rosalie
can I sing you a song?
and tell you all my secrets?
and tell you all my thoughts?
There’s nothing I’d like better
and there’s nothing I would not do for you, Rosalie.