Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Major Award

It is with a full heart that I humbly accept the prestigious Leibster Blog Award, given to me by my good blogger friend Sue, the talented writer who so ably runs the blog called Runaround Sue which I hope you all will now visit and comment on.

I was only kidding about her blog being named "Runaround Sue." That's just a song by Dion and the Belmonts from the 1880s. The real name of her blog is "View of Sue" although you won't really have a view of her if you go there which I hope you do. You can use the same Runaround Sue link (but it will take you somewhere else.) Kidding. Of course it will take you to her blog. The linkback is to let her know I got the award ok and that I have 3 followers.

Sue doesn't really read my blog very often, I don't think. Few do. This was pretty much a pity award on her part. She said she was only allowed to give this major award to 5 bloggers. 5 really cool bloggers, I think is how she put it.

The purpose of the award is to attract new followers and direct attention to other noteworthy blogs. Accordingly, I am allowed to pass this award on to 5 bloggers. That's a poser, of course, since the last time I did that you may recall I ended up in the hospital with that back injury thing. So there's that. After much thought, here is the first of my list of five blogs I have been impressed with and would like to nominate this award to. I will go invite him. The other 4 I will post at a later date, so as to get as much exposure as I possibly can.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Not so free speech

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Congress shall pass no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.

That sounds pretty straightforward.

Which of these words did Congress not understand? Where is the part that the Supreme Court thinks implies, "Except when we think the speech is something we don't like or Americans shouldn't hear?"

Every time the Supreme Court rules some speech or some writing is obscene or a detriment to the morals of Americans, is that not changing the words and intent of the Constitution? Does the Supreme Court, or any federal court, have the right to pass new laws under the guise of interpreting existing laws?

Perhaps more importantly, is restricting the kinds of words a person can write and publish on a press, or speak in public, not the same thing as restricting the very thoughts of that individual?

Did you know there are cases where people have been convicted on obscenity statutes (which are themselves contrary to the directive of the Constitution that "Congress shall pass no law") when all he did was write his thoughts down in a private unpublished journal kept in his house? Or that people are being convicted of sex crimes because they have "obscene" cartoon drawings on their computer -- even though the search warrant was to look for drugs in the house?

Cartoons include Anime and Manga, in case you are not sure. Manga often portrays underage sex, you see, and so the entire genre is suspect. Fantasy drawings? Who cares; you'll still go to prison for owning them.

Just a reminder: it's ok to put a crucifix into a jar of urine and put it in an "art" display in such a way that the viewer has to walk on a flag on the floor in order to get close enough to see what it is. "Piss Christ", remember?

And it's certainly within the bounds of free speech for a group of fanatics to harass grieving families at cemetery services with hate speech during a soldier's funeral. So has said our courts recently.

I suppose that most people don't care that they can't write about anything at all that they can conceive in their minds. Perhaps I shouldn't either.

What follows should probably be in a separate post, but let me just say that my open-mindedness doesn't extend to photographs and films of actual people doing actual things; I think that needs to be regulated. I am only talking in this post about writings and thoughts. For adult consumption. (Parents decide what their children can read.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Some balls of par

Ephraim Titleist Jr.

To a young boy, a golf ball is only good for one thing, to cut open and unwind and see how high he can bounce the little rubber thing containing the liquid center off the sidewalk.

Yet others have often wondered who winds that single elastic thread which is at least 5 miles long. Armenian school children is the real answer, of course, though I have dreampt of Rumple Sklitskinner spinning it from a gossamer of latex silk on a magic spinning wheel.

And now I am no longer a curious dreamy boy. All I think about is what club will be forgiving enough to let me get on in two.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cymbals of Power

Zildjian. World class Turkish cymbals since 1623. Not all made in Turkey now, though.

You have probably long wondered how cymbals are made. They are spun from a single metal thread. Mostly by Armenian school children.

Kidding. They are stamped from sheets or forged or cast (sometimes roto cast), then worked on a lathe. Mostly. No more hand hammering. The "tone grooves" are remnants of the lathe, not from spinning individual wires.

Most drummers, especially loud drummers, prefer the sheet-made ones, and orchestras commonly prefer cast. The sound is a bit different, and is purely a matter of taste.

Sabian (brand) cymbals are made in Canada. Along with maple syrup and most of the world's snow.

You have probably long-wondered how huge gongs are made...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Fun fact: In the 2010 U.S. Census, 36.9 million people claimed Irish as their ancestry. This is more than 8 times the population of the Republic of Ireland.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Do you need a word processing program but don't want to shell out the bucks for MS's Office suite?

Here's one you can download for free.

This open-source software includes word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. Works on most computers. Can be used completely free of charge for any purpose.

It's supposed to work with Kindle, so I am thinking about using it to upload Kindle authorings.

Here's what the website says:

"OpenOffice.org 3 can be downloaded and used entirely free of any licence fees. OpenOffice.org 3 is released under the LGPL licence. This means you may use it for any purpose - domestic, commercial, educational, public administration. You may install it on as many computers as you like. You may make copies and give them away to family, friends, students, employees - anyone you like."

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Two or three things

godard, tea, wood, metal, lissitzky, eames, uniforms, neutrals, avocados, made in u.s.a, opera, alice waters, django reinhardt, bali, jean prouvé, trains, sand dunes, wilco, avocados, maps, l'avventura, rodarte, wyoming, espadrilles, sea, victorian, corbusier, grey, red, anna karina, this american life, denim, trousers, tall ships, bauhaus, stripes, lines, spirals, fibonnaci, josef müller-brockmann, robert smithson, general stores, lavender, constructivism, nyc, elvis, prada, man ray, roark, moholy-nagy, mozart, twine, walker evans, succulents, picasso, todos santos, neil young, frida kahlo, dadaism, ayn rand, tao, gershwin, teak, mosses, william eggleston, leather, clay, shells, matisse, canvas, the blues, savannah, luigi ghirri, shaker, pedro almodovar, tall ships, saul leiter, mackintosh, rudolf schindler, beijing, donald judd, paris, monasteries, charlie parker, calvin klein, bolinas, rome, fellini, agnes martin, ballet, paul newman, newspaper, walter cronkite, julius shulman, hemingway, fog horns, john steinbeck, corn tortillas

I know nothing of the vast majority of these things. I recommend you visit this blog though.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Eggs and barrels. And pearls.

Suppose that a barrel contains many small plastic eggs. Some eggs are painted red and some are painted blue. 40% of the eggs in the bin contain pearls, and 60% contain nothing. 30% of eggs containing pearls are painted blue, and 10% of eggs containing nothing are painted blue. What is the probability that a blue egg contains a pearl?


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