Inhuman Swill : March 2006

Where the money goes

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We were having an email discussion with some friends about what musicians we like are Scientologists. It started at Chick Corea, but by the time it got around to Beck our friends were asking if this means the money they spend on Beck albums might end up in L. Ron Hubbard's skeletal hands, and if they should be concerned by this. I said:

I'm sure that's what it means, yes. But part of your money will also go to getting Beck's children braces, and organic soy milk, and some of it will end up in the pockets of evil record company executives. I guess my feeling is that all the money we spend will eventually pass through hands we don't approve of, the same way all the atoms in our bodies will eventually recycle through other people and animals and trees and clouds and landfills. I guess I look at the pool of available money as a closed ecosystem, and some of it will always be in the hands of organizations we don't like. But it won't necessarily stay there. It will keep cycling and maybe do some good too.

I feel like money to Beck is a reward for talent, and for giving me some aural pleasure. ("Heh heh, he said aural pleasure.") I feel better about rewarding talent, even if the talent might give the money to L. Ron Hubbard Inc., than I do about giving money to faceless companies like Blockbuster and Land's End (is that right?) that donate huge amounts of money to causes I dislike. I can go elsewhere for videos or yuppie hippie clothing, but I can't go anywhere else for Beck music.

What do you think?

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Medical emergency on the downtown 6 uptown this morning, messing up subway service roundly. I keep forgetting why I hate coming to work during rush hour.

Anyway, I had another lovely U.N. night last night in Astoria. Actually it started right after work in Murray Hill, where I went to Artisanal for mostly French cheeses and white wines with an out-of-town colleague and his wife. The best cheese we sampled was the Bleu de Basque from French Basque country. Yum. One wine from our flight had gone bad—full of sediment and tasting very thin—and our waitress promptly replaced it with a similar Spanish wine. Yum.

Later that evening, back home in Astoria, Laura and I walked over to an Irish pub called The Quays that we'd been meaning to try for some time. (Sadly, there was no live music, though I have it that Shane McGowan of the Pogues has appeared there in the past.) But when I say Irish pub, I mean Irish pub—I.R.A. ballads on the stereo and the whole nine yards. We might have had the only American accents in the place, and Laura was one of only three females. The third female, by the way, was a young pug named Lucky (yes, a dog) whose owner was feeding her Guinness from a plastic cup. The Guinness was four bucks a pint, and we had a great time. We'll have to come back when there's music.

Laura was hungry on the walk home, so we stopped at a place called Ukus, offering Balkan pie, for a late dinner. We each had a huge pizza-like slice of spinach pie, and the nice owners brought us each a mug of a cold, thick, sour, yogurty drink the name of which I can't now recall, on the house. They told us that this drink goes with the pie, and damn if it didn't. We watched American Inventor on the wide-screen televisions as we ate. I went home feeling happy and full, but poor Laura had a stomachache by the time we were greeting the dog again.

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It seems that and the usually ultra-reliable (my Web host) are completely inaccessible this morning. Wondering if it was just a local DNS problem, I VNC'd to my work machine and tried from there. No go. No word on how long the outage will last, since of course I can't get to for email or news on the subject. I'm hoping it's just a bad DNS table at some important node between here and there and not something more serious.

Update:  We're back. If you sent email in the last hour or so, it might not have gone through.
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Badly drawn boys

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I'm afraid I'm compelled to filch the link to this news brief from the redoubtable [info]asphalteden:

Science-Fiction Novel Posits Future Where Characters Are Hastily Sketched

That's our issue!

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Do you read well aloud? Do you know how to record your own MP3s? If so, you should think about volunteering with LibraVox:

LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain, and then we release the audio files back onto the net (podcast and catalog). Our objective is to make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet. We are a totally volunteer, open source, free content, public domain project.
I wanted to volunteer for a chapter of Three Men in a Boat, but they are all claimed!
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More new old stuff for sale

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Two more older stories have gone on sale at this week, by the way: "Colin and Ishmael in the Dark" and "Divided by Time." Get 'em! They're cheap!

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Pod Metheny Group

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In more enlightening news, Pat Metheny has a video podcast!

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Not so big love

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Dooce this week has a terrific post about the new HBO drama Big Love and the legacy of Mormon polygamy in general. You won't be surprised to hear that I sympathize with her in many particulars. (My comment is #245.)

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Because poor Kenny G seems to come in for abuse in this blog from time to time, I thought it might be fun to revisit what I consider one of the greatest examples of musician-on-musician slagging in the history of jazz writing: guitar giant Pat Metheny putting the hurt on well-known sax-noodler Kenny "G" Gorelick.

The material below was many years ago deleted from the Pat Metheny Group web site. Pat himself posted it in response to a fairly innocent question in the fan forum there no later than 2000, and I'm glad I saved a copy because it somehow vanished within the year. I've added capitalization to the text since Pat didn't seem to want to bother with the shift-key. Despite the fact that the sentence-by-sentence writing here sometimes falters, Pat is clearly articulate on the topic of jazz and very passionate.

Full disclosure: I've been a rabid fan of Pat Metheny since at least age 15. And even though I cut my teeth on smooth jazz (my first album purchase having been Feels So Good by Chuck Mangione), I've never ever been able to stomach Kenny G's "music."

So over to Pat.

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ShunnCast #12

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Epidode #12 of "ShunnCast" is now available, in which I fly to Canada for my first day of service as a Mormon missionary, but before departing perform amazing feats of transubstantiation upon an ordinary chewing gum wrapper.

ShunnCast #11 was accessed over 1,300 times after the BoingBoing link, producing a 30 Gb bandwidth spike. My monthly bandwidth limit is 40 Gb, so I'm very anxious to see how many of those listeners continue on as regular subscribers. File under "Getting what you ask for."

See also [info]shunncast.

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