Why thinking of Amy Winehouse makes me cry

Every time I watch this I get teared up and happy at the same time. What you have on the surface is a clip of Amy Winehouse rocking the fire out of Valerie with just her voice, her awesome presence, and an acoustic guitar player nearby. If she was still with us I would just smile and be like “wow she is the real deal, the truth” because folks, as any performer knows who is capable of rocking it with an acoustic, there is no faking that. But she is not and it hurts my heart and heals it back up hearing her inflect ‘Lawyer’ and you can hear the dub set Jamaican influence I am starting to catch more as I listen. The British kids are always hipper than we are about music. We are more soulful but they have the edge on pure musical immersion.
Like the last drop of ice cream in the bowl or the last little bit in the package you pine for knowing there “ain’t gonna be no more.” And this is what the clip does. There will be no more new Amy Winehouse. Sure she left us some gifts but we will never get to see her struggle, conquer her demons, and come back stronger. Imagine the music that would have poured out that girl!
I am going to listen again for the 20th time today and encourage you to as well.
Amy you are missed everyday.


The 2 Racist Kids in Florida

I watched the video and it was, I have to admit, difficult at best. I am not going to post any links as I usually do because I do not want to purposefully lead anyone to it. Of course you might say “well why even blog about it? Aren’t you contradicting that?” and I will have to agree and answer: I am blogging because that is all I know how to do at this point. If you want to watch it go right ahead you will have no trouble finding it.
To say I am shocked is not fair. Growing older is starting to teach me to never be surprised at anything we humans do so the racist rant these kids displayed, for the world, was not a complete “oh my gosh,” at least until it sunk in a bit.
I am sure you have heard or read about it.
The things they said were terribly insensitive and insulting to many people. I have even watched some response VLOGS and am gathering a sense of where this is all going to lead and why Singularity is going to be much more shocking in the years to come and this is one small, yet powerful example.
20 years ago the awareness of these kids and their beliefs would have been limited to those around them and even those around them might not have been aware of the extent or theme of them. Now the entire world has immediate access.
What does this issue have to do with Singularity?
If this had happened 20 years ago it would have been limited to a few people, maybe. Even if someone 20 years ago had thought to video tape them going on about African-Americans in a racially insensitive fashion it would still have been limited and had a very small viewership. Fast forward to now and the entire WORLD gets to witness your thoughts as a 14-year-old.
Here is where freedom and speech, bad choices, being a kid, and singularity collide.
If you had told me in 1994 we would have the ability to broadcast our thoughts, High Definition digital video quality thoughts, to the world at large I would have been hard pressed to believe it. Now it is commonplace. So much so that people are used to the idea. I am not sure these girls really grasped the power their words were having. Maybe they were and the most explosive video has them reading their hate mail they had received for previous postings. It appears to me they were deriving some joy from the attention.
They should have never done what they did. It is their right to be as base and cruel as they want with their thoughts and words no matter how much we do not like them or disagree with them. It is also their right to post these thoughts it just wasn’t that great of an idea and they are now seeing the repercussions of them now and most likely for a long time to come. One VLogger posited “forever” and I hope, for the sake of the future of a 14-year-old, not.
Singularity comes into play because now anyone is capable of sitting down in front of their computer, ranting on about something and simulcasting or, at a minimum, posting it immediately after they are done. The world can then immediately view it and if someone downloads it or rips it from You Tube it exists in the world, unfortunately for these two kids, forever. The best they can hope for at this point is a large piece of anti-matter to brush up against the world and begin devouring it, a huge comet to nail us, or some other earth shattering catastrophe to happen because this is the only way the awful video of them will be removed from the internet and the conscious of America and possibly the world.
They have received death threats and this is wrong but expected. At 14 you do not realize the impact you can have in this world and Singularity only magnifies that. The commercial where people have a T-shirt which describes who they are on the front is not so foreign in light of this.
As we move faster and progress our thoughts and beliefs will be more on display than ever. Maybe the good of this is that we can have open discussions across the country and react to this with reflection and honesty.
I hope the kids apologize for this and I also hope no one gets hurt, not over words or ideas.
No matter how ignorant or mean-spirited they were.

Oscar Snub: Driver

Good Blog Here on the Oscars
This is a really good blog which handles the Oscar nominees and, more importantly, the snubs, and most importantly, the snub of Driver.
I just watched this movie Saturday. If I had only known! Guilty is what I should be called. Guilty for being prejudice against “car” movies. I think it was the Gone in 60 Seconds and the other features of the genre which totally turned me off completely. I am so glad I jumped off my high horse and viewed this very sharp and very poignant film.
There are several reasons this film works so well. The star (Ryan Gosling) pulls off the “man with no name” character, which is far too often absent from today’s cinema. It is revivalist in that it brings to mind Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood characters of old. Driver, who is never called by his name, is at first seemingly one-dimensional but as the film progresses he becomes so very complex and powerful. This guy does more than just drive cars.
Don’t be a sucker, like me, go watch this movie, right now.

Mitt Romney Likes Trees

What a difference 2 weeks make.
Rick Santorum is back folks. And I made this ill-informed comment a few weeks back:
“I am going to be shocked if Mitt Romney is not the GOP guy.”
What was I thinking?
Fresh off 3 wins Rick Santorum is acting like Rocky, albeit Rocky from the first Rocky and not the one who fought the Russian. It appears this thing is going to go down to the wire and the media is loving it. Why wouldn’t they? They love it the same way Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and their staff of writers, love it. This gives them so much material. Here is where I might end up going wrong with Romney but I still think he will get the nod:
Gosh some people really do not want to like him. Wonder why? He emits a level of fake pander which seriously scares me.
You like the height of the trees?
I know there are those that insist the contextual significance of this is skewed but come on! He also likes lakes, and not just the big ones in Michigan apparently and oh, also, he likes cars, which just so happen to be made to a large degree in Michigan. The man is from Michigan and Michigan may just become poor Mitt’s Waterloo in this race.
I was expecting him to say “I like people who process oxygen into carbon dioxide” or “people who are people I just love them.”
Rick Santorum on the other hand is going after the POTUS and I understand why. It makes him look presidential or at least it looks like he is attempting to be presidential looking but I think Bob Shieffer tested those waters a bit. He seemed shaky holding that mantle there on Face the Nation. Yet it was smart politics in light of Mitt going on about his love for his home state. Mitt appears desperate and Santorum appears with it or at least capable of getting with it.
I am going to stop the guessing game for now as this thing plays out because it is definitely interesting. All the positioning and the money. They are even pontificating a RNC where no one wins and they appoint someone like Jeb Bush to take the baton and run with it. I would say this is beyond the realm of reason but with Romney spending the kind of money it is reported he is spending and down in the polls the way he is nothing can be out of the picture.

My Mind Hole: Like Wild Geese from the West

You know I laid down last night
And I though to take some rest
But my mind got to rambling
Like a wild geese from the west

Skip James, Devil Got My Woman

Just did a blog which made me think of another stream and then this lead to another and then the mind hole felt like it was rambling along like the Skip James lyrics above. Below is a comment I made in a previous blog:

Here is our problem in light of that and I will explore this more in my mind hole later: we humans who grew up entirely analogous, I really pity the boomers, thought, because it was the natural way of things “sure there is going to be some change in the way the music industry works but soon enough the “NEW MODEL” will become established and then things will settle down, we will all learn it, play by it, and then wham everything will become static and understandable.” Not happening.

I am blessed with adaptability and want to be able to adapt even until the day I take my last breath. The ones I refer to in the analogous sense are as lost as the elderly trying to change the television on a satellite based television. They were used to 2-3 channels and this only required the turn of a dial. So to are the people who were once confused by email, they just do not know it yet and those unable to assimilate are about to be irrelevant. So sorry, thank you for playing.

I can remember conceiving a way in which I could form a record label with a friend way back in 1998. He was an extremely talented guitar player, played on the Grand Old Opry every weekend, and had a home studio which was my greatest envy at the time. I can remember then him discounting the digital age which was coming and that analog recording would always be in demand, 2 inch tape was the standard, and much of the fuss would all pass over. This friend is no longer with us and I miss him a great deal. Looking back on that time though it seems as though I am taken back to a time almost as distant as the 1980’s where a computer was this desktop thing with a black screen, green or orange writing like Matthew Broderick used to almost cause Global Thermonuclear War. My dear friend was simply lost or oblivious to the coming revolution. I was lost as well but prepared to embrace as opposed to ignore it and pretend like things were going to remain the same. I was thrilled because I knew that soon enough I would be able to build a recording system which was computer based and have a home studio which could rival the ones I had been using to that point thus freeing me up to do all sorts of musical mischief.

And since that point I have done some musical mischief, not as much as I want, but some and plan to do a whole lot more.

The point is once you throw your hands up to the new way of doing you might as well put them down, go grab a shovel and dig you a grave somewhere. You do not have to immediately jump in but just know to go ahead and make peace with those you need to make peace with because your time is short.

Washed Out might be the new Model #CROWDSOURCETHECLUB

Great story on CNN yesterday about the electronic music group Washed Out which is really just this guy Ernest Greene who created all the music. They are a full-fledged band, oh yes indeed, but their conception and inception is where the story is interesting.
Ernest had received his Masters and was applying, unsuccessfully, for jobs, Du DU DU Duh: had to move in with parents to the bedroom he grew up in since childhood. Not a shred of shame to be had here, times be tough. So what does this unemployed, Masters degree holding, musical young man do? He starts making music there in his bedroom and shares some tracks on the internet, they get shared further by some bloggers, and then the music, apparently spreads like wildfire. WTG Ernest!
Then something I am not sure he planned on happened: he was asked to play live and this meant he needed a band to recreate the sounds he made in his bedroom. If he did plan on it he might have envisioned the new future model, which I am all for and have been since I became a parent.
Now Ernest’s group, Washed Out, are all the rage or at least very popular in the electronic world which is a huge market. What is interesting is Ernest’s story is very counter intuitive to what many or most or even all, will tell you about getting started as a band or an act. This is the message: you have to tour relentlessly, years probably, and then one day it will click. Do I think this is a viable plan, yes and have seen it work for people I know on a professional and personal level, pressing the flesh, if the music is good, works very well. Is this the only tried and true method? Probably not anymore.
I claim to be no expert on the subject and much like modern religious prophets you better be very wary of anyone who acts, claims, or does both when it comes to the music world now and in the next 5-10 years, it has evolved so much from the old model and now it is gaining speed.
Here is our problem in light of that and I will explore this more in my mind hole later: we humans who grew up entirely analogous, I really pity the boomers, thought, because it was the natural way of things “sure there is going to be some change in the way the music industry works but soon enough the “NEW MODEL” will become established and then things will settle down, we will all learn it, play by it, and then wham everything will become static and understandable.” Not happening.
Back to the point though Ernest’s story is remarkable and beautiful to me as if should be to any musical creator who has sat in their bedroom making music and wondered: will anyone hear this? I think the average listener would be shocked to know the local or creation point for much of the music they devour. Many probably still believe there is this huge studio and all these people and basically everything you are used to seeing on television or the movies.
Ernest’s model makes a great deal of sense from a listener/audience stance and from a creator’s stance and just might really X out not only the label, who are really dead on the water anyway, to the even the promoter, who are supposed to be one of the last bastions of big music business clout left.
Look at it this way.
You take an act like Washed Out and how it grew to popularity. Then you create a sharing stream for other bands, which are already there but localize it to each city, and then start swapping music and having the patrons of one club start voting in the acts, bypass the promoter and have the patrons of the club be the promoter, because, after all they have decided they like this act’s music so much they want to see it live. UH OH! Thus falls another vaunted iconic monolithic dinosaur of the music industry. If people are canny enough to form massive flash mobs how hard is it for patrons of clubs to listen to a grouping of music, pick the acts they really want to see, vote via an online poll, and all show up when the act is booked by the club owner?
The club will most likely be packed, the bands are going to get paid, the lame factor will be nil because after all the group standing there picked the bands (provided they come with the goods live) and everyone wins, the club owner, the acts, and the fans!
Let’s get with it people!

Has ESPN lost its Feng Shui, Kung Fu, Stir Fried Mind? Jeremy Lin is decent for now

Ahhhhhhhhh you might think I am being culturally insensitive yet in light of ESPN’s headline about last night’s Knick’s loss I simply summoned the most random things I could think about Americanized Chinese culture to take a sarcastic stab at them. “Chink in the Armor?” Seriously. How on earth did that ever make it to press or, in today’s world, pass the gatekeeper to the web page? Who is running the asylum over there at ESPN?
First I no longer follow the NBA until the playoffs and usually late into playoff time. It is a joke. It is high paid, glorified pick up ball made up to look like a real game when in reality everyone is either half pacing it, gold bricking, or padding their stats until the games start to really count. Do they play hard? Of course they do but their determination and drive is exponentially increased once we start approaching the big games.
Jeremy Lin is a very exciting player but before all these regular season games he is playing become too important let’s put things in perspective. The NBA has to have a hype machine, someone to vault forward and increase the ratings. His agent was on Piers Morgan last night doing everything short of calling this guy the new messiah of basketball. Hello? He is in his first season doing anything and this thing just got going good. I will not lament the days of Kareem, Magic, Bird, or Jordan even but folks, come on, let him get his team to the playoffs before you hype him off the map. He is good, yet has not done anything to merit the work his publicists have obviously been doing to this point. Take a breath from the Linsanity for a second or two.
But back to the egregious HEADLINE on ESPN. Are you guy’s seriously not watching what people post on a website viewed probably millions of times a MINUTE by the public?
I am now going to order Chinese take out and watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I just love the stereotypical way Mickey Rooney’s character mocks the entirety of Japanese culture. SNARK