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

Made to order: Checklist makers and the folly of the 2012 election

Mitt Romney, and also Rick Santorum to a certain extent but not quite as deftly, is made to order. As one of my friends mentioned, and I think he cribbed this from Jon Stewart or Steven Colbert, and if he did not he needs to write for them, “it is like Romney was looking at a book on how to look presidential. Haircut just so. Sideburns this length.” In our assembled, programmed world a candidate like Ron Paul cannot compete with the checklist Makers. And that is the way the powers that be want it. A campaign with Paul versus Obama would be much more competitive than people might think but he does not energize the “core.”

When I use the term Checklist Maker I am referring to those duped by the same tired, divisive issues which separate us all into our camps and do not allow many to reach out of them. Much like a FBI pro-filer hunting a serial killer knows there is a process by which you can cut whole swaths of people from the general population. GOP and DEM stats makers know this too. They also know they have to have a candidate which jingles the jangled so to speak. Without that person the election is bound to be a wash.

This is the bothersome secret the plan makers, the ones who get the check list makers in line, do not want people to know. If they do not energize their core no one shows up and they lose. Same principle is in effect for the POTUS but he is his “core’s” only choice so that ship has been sailing for quite a while now. The GOP is stepping lightly these days, and not so sure footed. It’s collective foot will stamp down for Mitt one day and then edge back and slam down for Santorum the next, and even Paul every now and then. And that pesky Newt will not give up the Gravy and guess what? If he takes the South in the Spring and early Summer things are going to be very interesting.

This is where the beast that is the GOP has let out just enough hate mongering to damage itself come Super Tuesday. Running strictly on hatred for someone will let you down every time. Candidates win elections, lack of them lose elections. George W. Bush, like him or don’t, was a strong candidate, or at least 7 votes stronger than Al Gore. Face it, it was a likability factor and Al Gore has none. And guess who doesn’t either? Any of the GOP candidates. I do not like to be so base but it is a factor and the ones not too busy hating our POTUS like him. Check the polling. It comes down to the independent voter, the undecided, the core has called in their vote a long time ago.

Put Chris Christie or Mitch Daniels in the driver’s seat and POTUS is in a fight for his office. Why? They are likable, at least Christie is. I am not so sold on Daniels, and that makes a difference. Who do you take your car to when it is broken? The guy who is fair and who you like. Not the guy who is fair but who is a turd to you! People like people who are likable and Mitt Romney is not one of them.

Let’s make it simple (and sure he has been in office so that skews this a bit)
Twitter followers:
President Obama 12,562,591
Mitt Romney 339,433
Rick Santorum 129,174
Ron Paul 239,174
Granted POTUS is the POTUS but these numbers are kind of telling. I have over 3,000 and I am not even running for Dog Catcher.

Ron Paul Declares War on War on Drugs: FOX NEWS EXCLUSIVE

I gleaned this from Foxnews.com.

I have noticed that most of their articles are very short and concise. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm wonder why?
Nonetheless it points to a glaring issue, to me, with Ron Paul. The guy is just so interesting and I mean in an old school, real human, exceptional and flawed, warts and all, kind of way. Sure he is nutty but on some things he is so deadly outspoken and nano-level correct you cannot ignore him. Unlike his GOP counterparts. Let me get to that after the first thing: his stance on the war on drugs.
At what point do we get our act together on this? I am not shocked at how easily duped some Americans are considering their sources yet drug addiction, law enforcement failure (were they ever really in the game on this one?) to do one whit of good, and the mounting deaths from this problem should be enough of a harbinger to allow us to drop the old model, or the facade of the old model which made us think someone was actually doing something about the problem.

More people died from drug overdoses last year than in automobile accidents.

We have too many people, leaders on the front lines, on both sides of the fence, conservative and liberal, and across the strata of our country who know, from first hand experience what we are doing has never and will never work at dealing with our drug problem. Just like everything else, with the coming Singularity, it is up to us, as a race of people, to start making the changes necessary to better our world.

Ron Paul is bold in many of his assertions and this is the very reason he will not have a shot, ever, of getting the nod from the GOP, and most likely someone like him, on the other side of the fence, would never get the nod from the DEMS. Why? Because he does not present as a pre-cut cookie. As much as I want to dislike both the Doctors Paul for some of their stances I cannot help but grudgingly admire them for sticking to their guns and being the old and young coot who says what they think and believe and do so loudly. How absolutely American of them. I used to feel a similar affinity for John McCain but he was not as Maverick as I once thought or maybe he should have made a run for the gold when Maverick was still Top Gun era Maverick and not Grand Torino era Maverick.

MSNBC Fires Pat Buchanan… and gets compared to Fox News

Pat Buchanan has been fired by MSNBC. I normally would not even bother to process it past reading the article because I rarely, if at all, watch MSNBC so it really, really did not affect me. I happened on another article about the same subject. Some of the issues in the article did pique my mind a bit though and when this happens I inevitably scroll down to the bottom to see what the other neophytes say about the thing they just read.

Then this struck me:
44 Fans
8 minutes ago ( 8:56 AM)
MSNBC is a bigger joke then FOX is. At least FOX puts on both sides of the argument (even though they tilt to the right). I tune in MSNBC and they a have Rachel Maddow interviewi­ng 2 liberal pundits, and they’re all agreeing on how evil the conservati­ves are. Wow, thats some interestin­g television­! No wonder FOX is beating MSNBC in the ratings!

I call BS on this one. Let me extrapolate.
1) MSNBC is a bigger joke then FOX is.
Being that I do not watch MSNBC I do not know how much bigger of a joke it possibly could be than FOX news. I do, on occasion watch FOX news just to say I have sampled the other side and it would not be hard for MSNBC to be any kind of joke in comparison to FOX news because FOX news is not a joke at all. That is the sad thing. Those folks are pretending they are serious. And if they are serious I am running for the hills. A joke ends with a punchline and a “get it…get it?” then maybe some canned laughter. Theirs never have a punchline and seem to never end but always let you know that something bad is about to happen at any second.
2) I will leave the Rachel Maddow point alone because, again I do not watch her show, so she might be a blithering pinko leftist agitator for all I know or she might actually be thought-provoking and insightful. I am not really in the game on this one.
But here is the one that caused the words you are reading now to be put on this blog today,
February 17th, 2012
3)I tune in MSNBC and they a have Rachel Maddow interviewi­ng 2 liberal pundits, and they’re all agreeing on how evil the conservati­ves are. Wow, thats some interestin­g television­! No wonder FOX is beating MSNBC in the ratings!
Here is where I am going to unkindly disagree with the comment and allow it to be a representation of anyone who would defend FOX news on the premise that they “give the other side a voice” or that they “beat people in the ratings.”
First, shows like American Idol get great ratings. Do you get your view of the world from Randy Jackson? Would you like Steven Tyler to be your ‘eyes in the sky’ when it came to formulating how you feel or think about the world around you? (Well maybe Steven Tyler would be kind of cool but anyway) This is the lamest direction to take any argument. Just because a large number of people consume something does not quantify or legitimize it i.e cigarettes. Used to be that 50% or more of our society smoked them. Do we stand around today saying “that is why cigarettes are so much more popular than chewing gum?” No because the things will kill you and it would sound stupid!
Second, apparently people who view FOX news are not that smart, or at least not that well-informed, which to me kind of goes hand in hand. And before you jump on my source, the LA TIMES (it was the first one that popped up for me) the survey was conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University, not the LA Times. Google it your self here.
In light of the Post-Information Age and the coming Singularity there is no excuse to not derive your view or a view from multiply sources. It is almost, well just this side of close to exactly, like reading those endlessly inane chain emails and regurgitating them by mouth or forwarding them to your friends as fact when in reality they contain false or misleading information or are just plain made up bunk.
Gang Bangers thrown any eggs on your car windows lately? This was a recent one someone swore to me as fact.

Second, is the part about how ‘at least FOX news presents both sides.’ No it doesn’t, really. I have been acutely aware for some time when FOX has the person who would be the ‘left leaner’ on their show they somehow seem to get belittled. The repartee which should exist with a 3 person format, host and two guests, which I have come to expect to be the equal exchange of banter, many times seems to immediately evaporate and turn into one side doing the bantering and the host almost playing the part of the disapproving parent, totally lacking objectivity. A good argument is healthy. A fake one is, well, like pro wrestling and you almost get the feel that the ‘left leaner’ is the ‘weak heel’ setup for the pretty boy to come in and knock out so the crowd can cheer, whoop, and eat more popcorn. That is what they paid to see after all, isn’t it?

My grandmother used to watch her “stories” (soaps) and get lost in the world of the characters and talk about them as though she to was not just observing their made up world but inhabiting it. Is this a safe respite from the harsh realities of a hard world? Absolutely. Is the same format one you sanely pull back from when returning to pondering the realities of the day? Yes.

Lastly. I will not speak to conservatives being evil or MSNBC being good or bad. I do not believe the first and am ignorant or have no real opinion about the later. I would say that most definitely I have views on certain issues that would be conservative. I also have those that would be considered liberal. This makes me a human, more likely an American Human or a Western Human, but most definitely a human on the planet earth. So in order for me to believe that all conservatives are evil would prove I was ill-informed and possibly stupid. I do not like to feel or appear stupid.
Yet to believe that FOX news is inhabiting or accurately interpreting the same world which we live in is a stretch at best. A complete view is, albeit impossible, but a tainted, baited one, is easily created and so proven. Flipping around to the ‘other’ network and going back and forth, in 30 minute intervals, is like panning back and forth between a drama, sometimes partial comedy, and a suspenseful thriller/horror movie where at any second the world just might, maybe, blow up, entirely. FOX news keeps you on the edge of your seat. For that I give it credit. If killing was its business then business is good.
Yet in light of the fact its viewers are less informed I wish someone would do a stat on what the usual viewer’s cortisol and hypertension levels are. I get the heeby jeebies after about 10 minutes.