Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"Book"-shops in airports

Odds that an airport "book"-shop will contain actual reading matter that WON'T dissolve brain-cells? < 0

Monday, August 30, 2010


PHX: Well, it may be ground-zero for state-mandate Know-Nothing fascist intolerance...but the airport's got free wi-fi!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


TTU Musicology hosts AMS-SW chapter meeting Oct 23-24 2010. PLEASE PASS THE WORD! http://ping.fm/BUSbp

Friday, August 27, 2010

Got yer class war right here, you CEO bastards!

For the same reason: so that working-/middle-class money winds up in CEOs & shareholders' pockets. It IS class war: they started it!

NB: the financial elites don't want to "cut" Social Security: they want to *privatize* it--just like Iraq reconstruction, US army, etc.

Memo to the ladies who lunch...

Who wear $1000 worth of "workout" clothes and full war-paint at 8 in the morning, drive $60,000 cars, push $2000 strollers, talk louder than the entire rest of the room:

Do you do anything other than consume? If not, why not?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Healing Power

Was recently reminded of this one, which I hadn't thought of in years. Used to play this tune, transcribed from this performance by the Night Music band, Bootsy Collins, composer/pianist Carla Bley, and the great bassist Steve Swallow.

Y'all hip to Healing Power, baby?

People Get Ready

Greatest song that Curtis Mayfield ever wrote and, with Dan Penn's Dark End of the Street and Sam Cooke's A Change is Gonna Come, a song that helped end segregation in this country.

And, this is the only band situation which Rod Stewart never postured: the mighty Jeff Beck, a true survivor.

And I keeps one in the chamber in case you pondering.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pristine cloudless sky, cool breeze, 76 degrees on the South Plains. Gassho.

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren..."

Jesus was a radical, too:

We believe it is time to shine light on the hypocrisy of politicians and pundits who expound on the freedom of religion for their chosen sects while seeking to tell our Muslim brothers and sisters where they can and cannot worship. Using a political podium to bully a religious community threatens one of our most fundamental freedoms.
Not hatred.

Unexpected bonus: the great Betty "Bebop" Carter on the coffeeshop sound system. http://ping.fm/XG9ZO

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Numinous moment

Numinous moment: hundreds of dragonflies, like mythic beasts out of fantasy, sweeping in circles over the suburban lawns.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

And the little girls in the Paris Hilton-wannabee sunglasses absorbedly texting while their parents carry their stuff into the dorms.

Watching fraternity pods in the grocery-store is funny, but it's also pitifully obvious that they're incapable of feeding themselves. Mom?!?

Bach would have approved

This is very possibly the greatest bass line in the history of popular music. In my "Jif & the Choosy Mothers" (horn band) days, I transcribed an entire set's worth of Motown horn parts and bass lines. It was a stone education.

Ladies & gentlemen, I give you the great, great Wilton Felder:

Selah (and a h/t to my great teacher, Larry "Guitar" Baeder).

The 'Rents have Arrived

Summer must be over: the parents have arrived: overdressed, overcoiffed, driving oversized gas-guzzling cars with out-of-zip-code plates the wrong way on campus roads, buying cheap university-brand knockoff hoodies and ball-caps for their offspring, who are hidden behind Paris Hilton sunglasses and tremulous posturing bravado. The parents look simultaneously possessive and petulant, simultaneously irked that they're not in control of their offspring's situation anymore and scared that they've done an inadequate job of preparing those offspring to take over their own lives.

In Texas, where privilege runs high and a sense of consequences is nil, the quicker the parents leave the better: because it means we can start doing the job of maturing their children which they themselves omitted to complete. Sheesh!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Little bit of Hieland hyperbole, right here

Bill Millin, who piped them ashore at Swords Beach, has died.

He went in with the Special Service Brigade near Caen on D-Day., and in the nightmare of that horrific kill-zone, Lord Lovat, the hereditary chieftain of the Frasers asked him to play. Millin was willing, but cited War Office regulations, which forbade thus exposing pipers as targets. The Fraser replied "Ah, but that’s the English War Office. You and I are both Scottish, and that doesn’t apply.”

He played "Highland Laddie," up and down the beach that day. Later, German gunners who had him their sights said they didn't shoot “because they thought I was crazy.”

No. He wasn't crazy. That's not what they call it, back where I--and the MacGregors and Orrs, the Roundheads and Tories, before me--come from.

I often wonder if the rich men in quiet offices, the demagogues screeching over loudspeakers or Twitter accounts, hundreds or thousands of miles from the firing line, ever consider how little they deserve the courage of the men and women who go into battle.

Aw haw hey, Private. Go well.

Of the seven Silver Star recipients in Afghanistan, four are Hispanic. Hope none of them want to walk down the street in Arizona!

Wheel of karma: turning in key of first office here, after 10 years' occupancy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Semester looms: newbies on campus driving as if whacked-out on Quaaludes.

Effort = value

From a post about exploiting social networking, the following a jackpot:

  • Do good work. Create a good product, have great customer service, etc.
  • Listen. What is being said about you is as important, if not more than, what you are saying about you.
  • Care. In social media channels where conversations are more intimate, people can really tell if you are paying lip service or paying attention.
  • Add value. What you bring to the conversations and communities better be relevant, thoughtful, and of real use to the community members (friends, fans, followers).
  • Be real. Authentic, transparent, honest — you know the drill, but are you doing it?
Not a bad set of rules for any work.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dept of "Thank you Capt. Obvious": venting may make anger worse: http://ping.fm/skWAh

Re/ right-wing "hallowed ground" argument against the Ground Zero mosque: the US Constitution is also hallowed, dammit!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Textbook prices are horribly and unfairly inflated: here's Lifehacker's guide to economy. Worth sharing! http://ping.fm/JbBoQ

Friday, August 13, 2010

Woza Mandela! Woza, Woza!

Johnny Clegg--who went to jail for making biracial music in apartheid South Africa--sings a song for Nelson Mandela:

"It is music and dancing that makes me at peace with the world." --Nelson Mandela

Nkosi sikeleli Afrika

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Read, write, think, play, teach, cook, garden, listen: what privileges!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mike Katz and Bill Whellan. Just...damn! http://ping.fm/smAK1

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Dr "glass-half-empty" Coyote

Hate to do it, but when a 16-year-old writes and says "all I really want to do in my life is compose and record music--what are my career options", if you're a responsible respondent, there ain't but about one kind of answer [lightly redacted]:

Sure, I remember you.

The fact of the matter is that there are very, very few full-time jobs to be had playing and composing music for a living. This is why most people who DO make a living in music have one or more parallel streams: arranging, teaching, etc--and many others have full-time non-music jobs.

To be a full-time musician, you have to have (a) absolutely top-notch chops; (b) a good support network (to tide you over between jobs, or in the event of unforeseen problems--medical, financial, etc; (c) a relentless work ethic--12-14 hours per day; (d) a great deal of patience and fortitude, being prepared to put up with the possibility of years of poverty and/or frustration; and (e) a lot of luck. (a) through (d) are do-able--because they are (mostly) under your own control. (e) is a killer, because it is not. I've been a professor for 10 years. Before that I was in graduate school (Master's and a Doctorate) 12 years. Before that I lived on less than $20,000/year for about 6 years. All through those years I had straight jobs to help pay the rent.

I would encourage you by all means to keep writing, keep recording, keep working on your chops. But unless you are prepared to either be a music teacher, and get the necessary formal schooling that certifies you for that, or else to accept a great deal of uncertainty, unpredictability, and (probably) poverty), I would not advise that you try to make a full-time career in music.

Be advised that there are LOTS of very talented musicians who don't work full-time or exclusively in music: I know psychiatrists, doctors, lawyers, carpenters, auto mechanics, etc who are every bit as talented and make music every bit as good as that created by "full-time musicians." You can do the same.

Probably the most valuable things you can do right now are to (a) keep working on your chops; (b) diversify your skills: learn about marketing, computers, graphic design, contract law, copyright law, etc; (c) work with a lot of different collaborating musicians--expand your horizons and your network of contacts; (d) get out there and gig, in as many different types of circumstances as possible. My wife's nephew has had songs he's written pitched to Avril Lavigne--but he's not counting on that to make his fortune. He's also going to college for music education; also plays drums, guitar, and trumpet; also sight-reads like a whip and sings bass; is also an excellent beat-boxer. The competition is fierce and there are thousands upon thousands of excellent musicians out there.

Good luck.

Dr Coyote
Reading back, it's a big bummer, though not intended to be such. Just cain't lie to the young'uns about possible/impossible it might be.

Updated to add: he wrote back:
Thank you for some practical advice, instead of the "don't do it" I'm getting from everyone else. I will look into some other options, as I really don't want to be poor.
Guess it was the right medicine. One doesn't always know.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Splendid: CO gubenatorial candidate thinks bicycles are a "UN Stealth Campaign"-http://ping.fm/VHkmk

Hatred & opportunism go down to defeat at Ground Zero

Ground Zero, where the Towers fell on 9/11, is--ought to be treated as--as sacred site: a place where we are all to be reminded of the pointless loss and human suffering that hatred and political opportunism can create. It was thus particularly contemptible when Rudy Giuliani, Sarah Palin, and a raft of hateful right-wing nutjob political and media hacks, campaigned against the building of a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero: as if no Muslim suffered and died in the Towers that day! What arrogance!

So I was really, really happy to get this note from the J Street folks who are working to create more effective interfaith dialogue [redacted].

The best part?

The embrace.

Dr Coyote --

Yesterday, J Street New York City supporters and I delivered over 10,000 of your signatures in support of the Islamic Center in Lower Manhattan to a critical hearing of New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The response by our community to our call to action on this issue was overwhelming and demonstrated that J Street supporters clearly understand that tolerance and religious freedom are not only essential values, but that sacrificing them weakens us in the fight against extremism.

And I've got great news -- despite the outcry against the project, the Commission voted 9-0 to allow it to proceed.

Yesterday, after the vote, Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave a stirring defense of the project and religious freedom on Governor's Island with the Statue of Liberty in the background.

Mayor Bloomberg was joined by a group of interfaith leaders as he gave his remarks in front of the Statue of Liberty:

Every local official I spoke with at the hearing truly appreciated our support for the project.

I also had an emotional moment with the Community Center's lead developer -- Sharif El-Gamal -- who couldn't help but give me a hug, even though we'd never met before!

For those of you that stood with us, thank you so much. Our voices are so needed in the national political debate and within the American Jewish community.

If you would like to support J Street financially, allowing us to keep standing up for our values, click here to make a gift.

Until next time,

- Isaac

Isaac Luria
V.P., Communications and New Media
J Street
August 4, 2010

Monday, August 02, 2010

Give thanks and praise: Beryl Marriott

A damned shame. Beryl Marriott was one of the greatest English-style ceilidh-band pianists. She gave Dave Swarbrick his first fiddle gigs, and she ruled on his great solo discs Swarbrick and Smiddyburn.

We owe her a lot.