Archive for the ‘Blackbirdabilia’ Category

By JC

A hot saturday afternoon of playing tunes and guitar, and a slew of photos arriving in my Google+ inbox reminded my of an old John Hartford elegy, “Going to Work in Tall Buildings.” For those who may not remember, John was the accompanist to Glen Campbell in the Goodtime Hour about 40 years ago, during my “formative” days. This is a mild exhibit of Hartford’s subtle subversive nature.

A person (a recently discharged marine) I met a few weeks ago in Missoula as he was hitchhiking across America to the Occupy Wall Street demos, finally arrived and will be feeding some live updates back. His photos as he entered the Wall Street district were foreboding. I hope he sends me more good stuff, so I can give folks a street-level view of the happenings.

These are the the tall buildings where the raveling and unraveling of our financial system’s catastrophes takes place. This is where the people that control the fate of our country’s political and economic future might clash. But just maybe it won’t be those that live and work in tall buildings that get to make the final determinations on our future. Maybe it will be those who take to the streets, and eschew working in tall buildings.

Here’s what Nathan Scheider at Truthout had to say about the fledgling movement yesterday:

A lot of what you’ve probably seen or read about the #occupywallstreet action is wrong, especially if you’re getting it on the Internet. The action started as an idea posted online and word about it then spread and is still spreading, online. But what makes it really matter now is precisely that it is happening offline, in a physical, public space, live and in person. That’s where the occupiers are assembling the rudiments of a movement…

What’s actually underway at Liberty Plaza [at Wall Street] is both simpler and more complicated: music making, sign drawing, talking, organizing, eating, marching, standoffs with police and (not enough) sleeping. It’s a movement in formation…

Ted Actie, who lives in Brooklyn and works for On the Spot, a minority-owned talk-show production company, called on the protesters to speak more directly to the communities around them. “You do so much social networking,” he said, “you forget how to socialize.”

Those barons of finance might do well to come down out of their gilded towers and do some socializing with the rabble down below. Otherwise, they may find that their president–and maybe their next president–can no longer stand between the pitchforks and the doors barring entry to tall buildings.

Lyrics after the jump:
Continue Reading »

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By JC

Well, not quite: Tax the rich, cut Medicare and Medicaid…

40 years later, it all still makes sense (at least to this old hippy). Alvin Lee — once known as the world’s fastest guitar player — has always been one of my all-time favorite guitarists!

Open thread on Obama’s overture to the right. Lyrics after the jump. Continue Reading »

Worker’s Song

By JC

’nuff said ’bout labor day… Enjoy!
Continue Reading »

By JC

Continuing on with our celebrating the 20th birthday of the WWW, I found this interesting nugget as I perused the webiverse today. As a web developer, I have had a particularly bad opinion of Internet Explorer over the years, as it always takes some extra hacking to make it surrender to the open standards that control how web pages should be written and displayed on the web.

Now I know why so many people just don’t upgrade to a browser that works better. Maybe the saying “the browser of the Tea Party” when referring to IE has some substance to it!

PhysOrg.com, the premier online source for all news that is geeky, is reporting today on a controversial study just released by AptiQuant, a Vancouver, British Columbia based Psychometric Consulting company:

“The test results were collected from over 100,000 English speaking people from New Zealand, Australia, the UK, Canada and the United States, over a span of four weeks and the score results were compared with the browser used to reach the site offering the test, which were offered free to random users…

After the four week trial period, test scores were correlated with browsers and AptiQuant says that the results very clearly show (via graph) that people who scored higher on the test were moving away from Internet Explorer to other available browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Camino and Opera. In addition to labeling those who scored lower as less intelligent, the AptiQuant authors also suggest that such visitors were also likely more resistant to change, which they suggest would probably be the case with any other software on the market as well…

An interesting twist to the story is that a group of loyal Internet Explorer users are apparently banding together to sue AptiQuant over its report and company CEO Leonard Howard has reportedly said that his company has received a lot of hate mail as well.”

This report also suggests that Microsoft, the company that authors Internet Explorer, has good cause to advise its customers to upgrade from IE 6. Maybe it’s because the company realizes that extended use of IE has a negative effect on its customers.

But more likely, as Microsoft’s “Friends don’t let Friends use Internet Explorer 6” campaign reveals, it’s because MS understands that more intelligent people are migrating to Firefox, Google Chrome, and Apple’s Safari browsers, and it’s only solution to retaining market share in the browser wars is to get people migrating to its most recent version, which happens to be more copacetic with internet standards than its previous versions.

Here’s a graph from the study showing their results:

If you’d like to read the study yourself, head on over to AptiQuant (and please don’t let their disclaimer dissuade you from reading the report, it’s worth it! ;-) ).

By JC

(While you read this article, please listen to this song by Les Horribles Cernettes–a group whose members’ significant others worked at CERN or on the WWW project, so they spent their lonely time writing goofy songs about the web and their SO’s work.)


–The computer that created it all, including coding and hosting the first public web server, coding and surfing the net with the first web browser, and editing the first web page. And that computer? It’s a NeXT, the computer company that Steve Jobs founded after he was ran out of Apple in 1984.

August 6th, 1991. The day it all started with the first public-facing webserver going live. Or maybe for some, it was the day it all began to unravel. Most likely I spent the day harvesting raspberries by the gallon from the quarter acre patch I had.

In any case it was a scant few years earlier that the quest began (and you can view the site of the world’s first-ever webserver here):

“CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is where it all began in March 1989. A physicist, Tim Berners-Lee, wrote a proposal for information management showing how information could be transferred easily over the Internet by using hypertext, the now familiar point-and-click system of navigating through information…

The idea was to connect hypertext with the Internet and personal computers, thereby having a single information network to help CERN physicists share all the computer-stored information at the laboratory. Hypertext would enable users to browse easily between texts on web pages using links. The first examples were developed on NeXT computers.

Berners-Lee created a browser-editor with the goal of developing a tool to make the Web a creative space to share and edit information and build a common hypertext. What should they call this new browser: The Mine of Information? The Information Mesh? When they settled on a name in May 1990, it was the WorldWideWeb.”

Berners-Lee’s first concept for the web was called “Mesh.” As you can see in the drawing below, the first concepts of the WWW were no better than the doodles I was making while daydreaming in grad school at the time. But who would have known in 1989 that this drawing and the proposal that was drawn up for CERN would presage as radical of a change in mass media communications as the original printing press, or radio, or tv, or… iPad?

Well, I had a lot more to say, but it was all pretty boring self-indulgence about growing up technologically with the web, so i deleted it. Anyways, Happy Birthday WWW, and a big hat tip to Les Horribles Cernettes:

“They were born at the same time, and in the office next door to… the World Wide Web. No wonder they were the first band to have a website and their picture posted on the web! [Their] website is kept pretty much in the original shape as it was in 1992.”

cernettes
Surfing on the Web, by Les Horribles Cernettes:

You can ring, you can ring and I won’t show up
You can phone you can phone and I won’t pick up
You can write and you can fax, straight in the scrap
You can scream and you can shout and I won’t wake up

But you can catch me on the Web
Click me, click on me
Link me on the Web
Baby, I’ll hyperlink to you
Surf me on the Web
My page is all for you
Call me on the Web
I’ll open my windows to you

By JC

Woof, Woof, Woofnothin’ but trash and you know… I might like ’em more after my lobotomy.”

With apologies to Weird Al.

Update: Seems I forgot a few lines:

“…Judge Wopner, oh my
You gotta be Rainman to like this guy
Thirtysomething is alright
If you like hearing yuppies whining all night…”

By JC

He of the recently brain-swollen, having returned from their pilgrimages to NN11, pulled out of a thread here to regroup his attack on all things 4&20. Yes, the hall monitor of LitW has resumed his attacks on the writers here in full force, this time taking on jhwygirl and lizard directly, and the rest of us by inference:

I submit that when liberal and/or progressive blogs join that media narrative of how the Democrats should be able to *do* something about the Republicant intransigence, they reinforce the voter idea that ‘might makes right’. It’s a twist such that Republicants, instead of looking like the saboteurs of the American dream that they are, end up looking like the strong leaders, and Democrats are again punished for not joining in the right-wing pogrom against the common folk. 4 & 20 is certainly not the only website to join in that insane chorus. But insane it is. jhwygirl’s post and many comments to it paint the same picture.

Having once again been thrust into another of Rob Kailey’s megalomaniacal “You’re either with us or your against us” Bushian rants, I feel compelled to answer the question “Do you understand what you’re doing?” in his most recent “Who’s Side are you On? [The Triumphant Return of Thought Cop III]” diary at Chicken Little is no Pillager:

Who the f*ck cares if you think we don’t understand the world the way you do?!!!

Carry on…

By JC

Well, lizard opened a can of worms with his post below about the Rainbow Gathering coming up soon in Washington. Which reminds me of a little event going on this weekend put on by some sort of non-affiliated local conglomeration of rainbozos called Rainbow Productions. Seems that Missoula is going to get either a wonderful cultural treat, or something for hippy-bashers to wring their hands in glee over.

More Information and Main Stage Performance lineup after the jump. Continue Reading »

By JC

Open thread for this glorious, rapturous spring day!

Continue Reading »

By JC

I’m not going to break the big news–we’re going to leave that up to Pete whenever he shows back up, but 4&20 has many reasons to celebrate, and I hear there may be a flock gathering somewhere’s about town tonight. And I don’t want to mix that up with the other reason I have to write this. So I’m going meta here.

What I want to point out, in response to a comment I took down yesterday for violating a rule I imposed on one particular abusive troll, are a few stats about this site. Here’s a clip from the comment I took down:

“…this circle jerk is getting more pathetic by the second. If any of you would actually get beyond the boundaries here, or quit whining about your own sweet sadness, you’d see that this website is losing readership far faster than some others you brave liberals might pretend are being dominated by your little … members…

For the last week, I’ve gotten more emails telling me that this website is the suck than I have that tell me how much of an asshole I am… You are welcome to disbelieve me.”

I left out all of the insults and BS that led to my pulling the comment. But the gist being that because some of us write outside the mainstream, and have the temerity to criticize the center, that we are negatively affecting this site’s readership is just wrong.

And that sort of commentary coming from someone whom used to be more widely respected in the Montana blogosphere attacking our credibility and readership needs to be answered. And because it was I, mostly, who have inspired this angst in our critic from the center, I don’t want to leave it up to jhwygirl or Pete to defend the site from my opening my mouth (or typing stream-of-thought, which is what I do).

I’m a big boy. I can take my lumps and punch back. And I hear it when some people say I have been less than sociable in my discussions–I know when to say mea culpa and not be so blunt in the future.

Anyways, the facts:

The last quarter, Q1 2011 saw a rise in page views of 12% over Q1 2010, and 36% over Q4 2010!

And lest we think quarterly results may not be the best marker, a look at this April’s numbers show us on track to have a 27,000 page view month. To put that in perspective, we have only had 2 27,000 page view months in the last 2 years.

So clearly our writing is not negatively affecting our viewership. Not that that doesn’t keep some from trying to intimidate writers here into keeping silent, and running them off of other blogs. This attempt to stifle dissent and over-the-top bullying and abusive approach to trying to control the blogs, in the words of some is “troubling.” But it has gotten me to thinking of the role of the dissident and the critic–criticizing the mainstream from the fringes– in today’s society, on which I may have more to write in the future.

And the last accusation from the comment I took down:

“you’re going to be attracting the conflict trolls”

You mean people like you, Rob?

Anyways, I just wanted to point out some wonderful site news, of which more will be said soon, and to say this on the glorious Earth Day:

VIVA 4&20!!!

By JC

And now for something completely different:
mothership
Mesocyclone photo by Sean Heavy of Glasgow is part of the NatGeo’s annual photo contest.

When I first saw the photo, I was sure that American politics had become a thing of the past…

by JC

One good bit of pr0n deserves another! ;-)

Slow day at the office… Enjoy!

By JC

Wild & Beautiful

It’s been a while since I’ve put up a new piece of Blackbirdabilia, but I came across a nice ditty from Silly Wizard tonight as I was perusing the more obscure corners of my iTunes library. I ran across this great tune, as I was listening to some songs I had learned years ago. This version is sung from the man’s perspective. There also is a females’ version that is quite lovely.

I bring you “If I was a Blackbird” from the album Wild & Beautiful. Enjoy!:

I am a young sailor, my story is sad
For once I was carefree and a bold sailor lad
I courted a lassie by night and by day
But now she has left me and gone far away

Chorus:
Oh if I was a blackbird, could whistle and sing
I’d follow the vessel my true love sails in
And in the top rigging I would there build my nest
And I’d flutter my wings o’er her lily-white breast

Or if I was a scholar and could handle a pen
One secret love letter to my true love I’d send
And I’d tell of my sorrow, my grief and my pain
Since she’s gone and left me in yon flowery glen

I sailed o’er the ocean, my fortune to seek
Though I missed her caress and her kiss on my cheek
I returned and I told her my love was still warm
But she turned away lightly and great was her scorn

I offered to take her to Donnybrook Fair
And to buy her fine ribbons to tie up her hair
I offered to marry and to stay by her side
But she said in the morning she sailed with the tide

My parents they chide me, and will not agree
Saying that me and my false love married should never be
Ah but let them deprive me, or let them do what they will
While there’s breath in my body, she’s the one that I love still

by JC

ziryab
“Oud Improvisation” by Naseer Shamma, from the album The Fire This Time.
———-

For this weekend’s Blackbirdabilia #5, we are going to journey back, way back to Baghdad, northern Africa and medieval Spain to explore the story of Ziryab, “Blackbird.”

Here is the intro from the story “Flight of the Blackbird” published in Saudi Aramco World. Yes, I am dredging up some culture provided via Saudi Aramco, one of the largest oil companies in the world. So consider this a return on your gas-guzzling commuting investments:

“If you eat asparagus, or if you start your meal with soup and end with dessert, or if you use toothpaste, or if you wear your hair in bangs, you owe a lot to one of the greatest musicians in history.

He was known as Ziryab, a colloquial Arabic term that translates as “blackbird.” He lived in medieval Spain more than a thousand years ago. He was a freed slave who made good, charming the royal court at Córdoba with his songs. He founded a music school whose fame survived more than 500 years after his death. Ibn Hayyan of Córdoba, one of Arab Spain’s greatest historians, says in his monumental Al-Muqtabas (The Citation) that Ziryab knew thousands of songs by heart and revolutionized the design of the musical instrument that became the lute. He spread a new musical style around the Mediterranean, influencing troubadours and minstrels and affecting the course of European music.

He was also his generation’s arbiter of taste and style and manners, and he exerted enormous influence on medieval European society. How people dressed, what and how they ate, how they groomed themselves, what music they enjoyed—all were influenced by Ziryab.

If you’ve never heard of this remarkable artist, it’s not surprising. With the twists and turns of history, his name has dropped from public memory in the western world. But the changes he brought to Europe are very much a part of the reality we know today.”

Life is too short to just sit around and argue politics all the time. So sit back, play the music, read the story of Ziryab, and enjoy. Blackbirdabilia at its best: obscure, yet enlightening!

by JC

For your weekend viewing pleasure, we bring you another oddity from the archives. Because life is too short…

Remember: Hope Springs Eternal!

by JC

For this week’s viewing pleasure, I bring you “Barack Meets The Birds“, a slightly anachronistic, out-of-time mashup of Hitchcock’s thrilling masterpiece.

Enjoy!

by JC

Next up in our ongoing series is Blackbirdabilia #2: Stephen Stills at the Big Sur Folk Festival, September 14th, 1969. This clip is taken from the documentary, Celebration at Big Sur. This was one month after Woodstock, and in honor of its 40th anniversary, I thought you might enjoy it.

I first listened to Stephen Stills live in 1974 in Tempe Arizona, playing with some sidemen by the name of David, Neil, and Graham.

Enjoy!

by JC

Here to start your week off bright and early, we bring you our first edition of Blackbirdabilia, Paul McCartney singing his song “Blackbird.” Enjoy!




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