Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Update on NASA politics

The NYTimes reports that NASA is coming under Congressional fire over the allegations of a top scientist that the politically charged atmosphere is hampering science, especially discussion of global warming.

From the Times:
"Good science cannot long persist in an atmosphere of intimidation," the chairman, Representative Sherwood Boehlert, Republican of New York, said in a letter to NASA's administrator, Michael D. Griffin.

"Political figures ought to be reviewing their public statements to make sure they are consistent with the best available science," Mr. Boehlert said. "Scientists should not be reviewing their statements to make sure they are consistent with the current political orthodoxy."

Previously: Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him

Sweet Jamiroquai Video

I'm slippin on my boy Jay. I just recently found out about his new record. Don't have it yet, but what I've heard sounds as good a Jamiroquai fan might hope. His Grammy-nominated video for "Feels Like it Should" is eye candy. At first its a bit Verve, then a bit Aphex Twin, then a bit Justin Timberlake, then Japhex Twimberlake, with a liberal dash of Michael Jackson throughout.

Quicktime Link

On the nature of DJ Retirement

A real DJ never dies, he just gets hungover. But in retirement, the urge that sparked the first record store session, thumbing through hundreds of unknown 12" singles, and the subsequent session of a rockin throw down on the decks, hearing the music for the first time, playing it, with control, total spontaneity, total vibe; the irrepresible drive to do it for others in the hope of finding understanding, that urge is still there.

What puts a DJ into retirement might be the same thing that sends an alcholic to AA. Or what makes a boxer hang up the gloves. It's not a lack of love, but perhaps a rearrangement of priorities.

But alcholics relapse, and I could swear I heard that Marvin Haggler is getting back in the ring. Must be something in that.

Monday, January 30, 2006

God is a DJ

This is maybe the neatest video clip I have ever seen. Please look at it.

Detroit's Oslo in NYTimes

In a Super Bowl prompted article about Detroit's nightlife, the NYTimes mentions one of my favorite Detroit spots, Oslo.
Nearby on Woodward Avenue stands Oslo, an aggressively minimalist sushi restaurant that opened in 2004, featuring a chef from Tokyo, a staff clad in black and a chic dungeonlike nightclub in the basement. Young people with a bent for vintage wash down river eel sushi with $15 cold sake to a Kraftwerk soundtrack.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him

From the New York Times:
The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Purpose Of Poetry

In this month's Atlantic appears excerpts of a speech that JFK delivered at Amherst College, memorializing the poet Robert Frost in 1964. The whole speech (including audio) may be found at the link at the bottom of this post, but the Atlantic's editing keeps the best bits. Here it is as it appears there. I post it here in the hopes that it may inspire you as it has me.

A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers. . .

The men who create power make an indispensable contribution to the nation's greatness, but the men who question power make a contribution just as indispensable, especially when that questioning is disinterested, for they determine whether we use power or power uses us. . .

When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses, for art establishes the basic human truths which must serve as the touchstones of our judgement. The artist, however faithful to his personal vision of reality, becomes the last champion of the individual mind and sensibility against an intrusive society and an officious state. The great artist is thus a solitary figure. He has, as Frost said, "a lover's quarrel with the world." In pursuing his perceptions of reality he must often sail against the currents of his time. . .

If sometimes our great artists have been the most critical of our society, it is because their sensitivity and their concern for justice, which must motivate any true artist, make them aware that our nation falls short of its highest potential.

I see little of more importance to the future of our country and our civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist. If art is to nourish the roots of culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him. . .

In free society art is not a weapon, and it does not belong to the sphere of polemics and ideology. Artists are not engineers of the soul. It may be different elsewhere. But in a democratic society the highest duty of the writer, the composer, the artist, is to remain true to himself and to let the chips fall where they may. In serving his vision of the truth, the artist best serves his nation. . .

I look forward to a great future for America - a future in which our country will match its military strength with our moral strength, its wealth with our wisdom, its power with our purpose.

I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty, which will protect the beauty of our natural environment, which will preserve the great old American houses and squares and parks of our national past, and which will build handsome and balanced cities of the future.

I look forward to an America which will reward achievment in the arts as we reward achievement in business or statecraft.

I look forward to an America which will steadily raise the standards of artistic accomplishment and which will steadily enlarge cultural opportunities for all our citizens.

And I look forward to an America which commands respect throughout the world, not only for its strength but for its civilization as well.

And I look forward to a world which will be safe, not only for democracy and diversity but also for personal distinction.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Konica Minolta, too

First Nikon, now Konica Minolta.

From the New York Times:
TOKYO, Jan. 19 (Reuters) - Konica Minolta Holdings said on Thursday it would withdraw from the camera and color film businesses, ending one of the best-known brands in the photography world.

As part of the surprise move, Konica Minolta said it would sell a portion of its digital single-lens reflex camera assets to the Sony Corporation for an undisclosed sum and cease production of compact cameras by March.

The company said it would stop making photographic film and color paper by March 2007, withdrawing from a market that has been shrinking more than 20 percent a year as a result of the spread of digital cameras.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Theo Mix

Here's a music site I recently found out about. I'm listening to a Theo Parrish/Rick Wilhite mix right now. Interesting deep selections. Top notch mix. This site also features mixes from Mike Huckaby, Glenn Underground, and others.

Blowing My Mind

I just linked from Boing Boing to this. It's Joe Rogan, the dude who hosts Fear Factor. What would he have to say that is of interest to me, right? Holy Sh*t! This dude goes off about DMT, a psychotropic drug that produces a 5 minute trip of unbelievable intensity, so I've heard. Joe Rogan sounds like he's freaking reached freaking enlightenment! He sounds like a really brilliant guy. This is truly incredible. "We're Bacteria."

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Awesome Beard Story

I have some theories about the rise of beards, but I'm not gonna go into them right now. If you wear a beard, ever did, ever thought about it, or love someone who does, you will like this article. This post is very unbeardly, and I'm torn up about it, which is also very unbeardly, but I love my beard.

*P.S. don't be afraid of the NYTIMES! They are good people. Register and get in there, it doesn't cost a dime, and dividends pay every day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Huey No Hooey

If you like classic soul and you haven't heard of Baby Huey, don't fret. In fact, just the opposite, be glad; much goodness is in store for you. I thought I recalled hearing the name before, but it never conjured up anything other than the nephew of a famous animated duck with a bad temper (possibly due to a serious speech impedement) and a serious speech impedement (a condition often inflamed by a bad temperament). This is not the same Huey.

All I know about Baby Huey I just read in the All Music Guide review of his only, and postumously released, album, eeriely titled "The Living Legend." I know he's dead now, and has been for some time. I know he recorded this before the date of his death. Apparently he was a very large man. I know his album was released on Curtis Mayfield's Curtom imprint, and I know that Curtis not only produced the record, but also wrote 3 of it's 8 songs. I know that the cover is really great. I know that the average review for it on iTunes is a perfect 5 stars. I know that it is freaking awesome.

Huey has a voice. A voice freakishly meshing the raw screeching bombastic energy of James Brown at his most excited with heart-breakingly soulfull power reminiscent of Otis Redding. The backing band freaking cooks. They're called The Baby Sitters, and this record is more than worth classic status based on their work alone. Huey liked smoking weed, dressing in crazy outfits, wearing a big afro, dropping acid, and making the most pleasing funky psychedic soul music I never heard before tonight.

I rocked so hard on the first cut, "Listen To Me" that I had to rock it twice. Huey's voice astounds, and the band builds from a solid foundation of heavy organ guitar drums horns funk to such an ecstatic plateu that I think I'm dancing half naked in the mud at Woodstock. Santana's tuning up and Sly and The Family Stone are prepping their costumes, but they stop to cheer on Huey and the Baby Sitters from stage left. This is energetic stuff.

But wait, let's slow it down. I've heard Sam Cooke sing "A Change is Gonna Come." I've heard Otis Redding sing it too. But I've never felt it as much as when I heard Huey sing it. Horn bombast again. Think Ike and Tina. But the best is the end, when we take it down and Huey gets nostalgic for that very first time of "getting mellow," when "the whole world sorta brightens up a little bit." Huey man, you crazy. Nine minutes plus? Thank you.

Get your neck bob back for Mighty Mighty, somehow better than Curtis's version? Is that possible? Depends. If you'd rather just get funky without the heavy duty socially relevant message music, it's better. (What??! A guy has got to let his hair down every once in a while, right? I love Curtis more than you do, so step off.)

It's a crime that I never heard of this record before now. But damn, it's a good feeling to finally be here today. Have some fun and check this out with no delay.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Kool Herc Show

The above is some raw video (with very distorted audio) from the Kool Herc show at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on January 14th.

The opening act was One Be Lo, and I was actually very impressed. One rhyme mentioned Dennis The Worm. Good Detroit stuff here. Solid.

Kool Herc was a little sloppy at first by today's standards, but I was there for a bit of a history lesson, and I'm sure that many of the records he played were the same records that inspired the world's first breakdancing. Matching beats wasn't a thing when Herc was rockin the high school jams back in the day. The b-boys were in full effect and Herc occasionally got on the mic saying "B-boys, GO OFF!! GO OFF!! GO OFF!!" He also made a big speech before he started, trying to explain his embarrasing portrayal on the VH1 hip hop award show that aired a few months back. Herc's gotta be 50 or older, but he still did some little dancing behind the decks, and every record was a jam.

All in all it was a great night, and it reminded me a bit of the good times I used to have at Family Funktion at Alvin's 10 years ago.

Many thanks to the good people at the Denny's on Stadium for making this post possible with the safe keeping of my camera, which I retrieved Sunday morning. That late night Lumberjack breakfast made me forget it.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Here comes the sun

Yesterday we saw some massive sun. We hit 50 degress, close to a record. Work sent me out to the state park in Muskegon, to see if anyone was on the lakeshore. I found an middle aged couple who walk there everyday. I asked them about global warming, and they admitted that they were very concerned about it. I also found a solitary man walking the beach. He said that the sun represents Jesus, who would be returning soon, and that he believes the strange weather phenomenon was a sign of end times. I asked him about global warming, and maybe his misheard me, because he replied using the phrase "global warning." When I returned to my car I found a pamphlet under the wiper.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

My Fancy Phone

I bought a new phone last week. It takes pictures and even movies. These are my first photos.

Et Tu, Nikon?

The New York Times reports that Nikon is easing out of the film camera business, slashing it's lineup up film cameras. This saddens me.

From the Times,
The company, based in Tokyo, is the latest to join an industrywide shift toward digital photography, which has exploded in popularity. Rivals like Kodak and Canon have already shifted most of their camera production into digital products.

Nikon said it would halt production of all but two of its seven film cameras and would also stop making most lenses for those cameras. The company will halt production of the film camera models "one by one," though it refused to specify when.

I have been a big evangelist for my little Kodak 3.1 megapixel pocket digital, and I haven't shot film in 6 months, but I've really been meaning to. I wonder, will I ever find a cheap negative scanner?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Free MP3s With Your Vinyl

Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that some indie lables are now offering free MP3's to those who buy the vinyl editions of their offerings. This is fantastic news and I hope to see more of it. I've recorded vinyl to MP3 before, and it's not difficult, but it's a lot harder than sticking a CD in a tray and hitting "import."

From EFF:
There's a new trend underway among indie labels, dubbed "digital vinyl": offering free MP3 downloads for customers who buy albums on vinyl. First Merge Records offered free downloads to those who bought vinyl releases by Clientele and Robert Pollard. Now Saddle Creek Records has announced that they will be doing the same thing for their customers who prefer vinyl, starting with What the Toll Tells, the new record by Two Gallants due in February.

Monday, January 09, 2006

I Finally Love the White Stripes

It took a couple Michael Gondry videos to do it. But they blow my mind. This one's new, I think. Conan's in it, and it blows my mind. Did I mention it blows my mind?

(picture and link stolen from stereogum)

Big Question TV

It seemed like it was up on Slate and then gone, but I googled and found. In the same vein as the last post, this is some heavy thinkers expounding on the cosmic tip. God, death, you know, the "unanswerable" and such. My attention span for watching a head spout something that I'd prefer to read on the page or discuss in person isn't endless, but the subject matter is so damn interesting.

Not sure if you're living in the moment? Try observing yourself while listening to music, suggests Joseph Goldstein.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Dangrous Ideas

Originally posted on Boing Boing, this is a list of responses from esteemed thinkers to the question: "What is your dangerous idea?" Like the folks at BB, I found Mr. Chalupa's idea of a 24 hour period of complete solitude as brain enhancement very interesting.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

2005 in Pictures

For best results, wait until clip is completely downloaded before starting. Hopefully I'll be able to repost with less compression, but for now, here it is. I hope you see yourself somewhere in here.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Sleepover Pixies Lipsync Video

This is worth a view at least once. It definitely had some pleasant effects on me. These are the kind of girls I dreamt about in high school.