Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Promising 2014 on New Year's Eve despite Russia's bombings

Was listening on the shortwave radio as I usually do every New Year's Eve, but propagation was kinda shitty and I managed to hear just N. Korea and the usual assortment of U. S. religious nuts on the air.  Gave up altogether as the sun got higher, and shortwave radio hobbyists know that the sun's effect on the ionosphere isn't good unless skip is active, and it usually isn't at this time of year.  MUF (maximum useable frequency) sometimes goes well beyond 30 MHz and the LUF barely skims 10 meters if at all--especially true when the 11 year solar cycle ramps up to max, and we're on the initial side of that curve.  Gonna wait until local late afternoon to resume.

What's providing better promise at this point is that me and an old Norwegian friend from 'way the hell back have reunited as a debate team, just like the good ole days when there was such a thing as a PBS Discussions board.  He's Gnostic, I'm an atheist, but despite differences, we click like well-oiled machinery in the debate arena.

There's a new no-holds-barred Facebook Group where it's atheists vs. Christians, and recently a Muslim chimed in to show where the Quran agrees with the science that atheists usually swear by, and once again I find myself in the odd position of defending the Muslim against atheists who, for some inexplicable reason, still believe the tommyrot taught by Christians as "truth"...and I've had to call 'em on atheist belief in Christian tenet.  It's not the first time; I've had run-ins with "atheist Jews" on Rational Responders because my basic question to atheists of this ilk is this: how can you be an atheist if you believe what a religion teaches as a fact?  In my book, you can't.

And there's a lot of rot taught by religions about Islam that simply isn't true, and yet believed by a good number of atheists as if it's fact.  Again, I point out that my ability to sort out the fact from the fiction is the fact that I'm a time traveler and recognize a bogus account of book history when compared to history of record.

A good example is the Christian claim that it was Arab Muslims that destroyed the Alexandria Library because they preferred faith over science.  Not true, and it's on record that a great deal of what was in the Alexandria Library was translated into Arabic--before the Christians destroyed the Library because Christians preferred faith over science.  It's also history of record that Europe was all but decimated by various plagues as the Califate Empire, putting the sciences to use, flourished.  It saved Christianity from itself with science and the proof of that on record is the fact that Europe adopted the Arabic number system while relegating Roman numerals to simple enumerations and titling.  The most important aspect of the Arabic number system which caused a scientific boom in the Renaissance was the concept and usage of the zero.  There is no zero in the Roman system, and thus the Roman system does not lend itself to scientific pursuits at all.  It was plenty good for construction, but scientific testing of theory to execute scientific development and discovery? Forget it.

The Arab Muslims had Arabic translations of ancient Greek medical knowledge and Europe did not.  Arab Muslims developed scientific abstract thinking and methods via al gebra while Europeans were still stuck on rudimentary basic Euclidean geometry.  Muslim Arabs knew that the ratio between the radius and the circumference of a circle was slightly greater than 3 while Europe was still stuck on the notion of the "perfect circle" where the perfection lie in an exact 3:1 ratio of circumference to radius.  Arab Muslims had all the gold, which is why gold became as prized a "rare metal" as it was, and it's not because Arab Muslims had any actual gold mines.  It was because Arab Muslims were traders, first and foremost, and in pre-Islamic times got it by trading with Africa, like for instance the Ghana Empire.  When Arab Muslims introduced the concept of al chemy to Europe, Europeans readily traded with those infernal Saracens regardless.  It's where Europe's insatiable appetite for gold comes from.  It's via Arab trade with China that Europe's Dutch glommed onto Delft Blue porcelain.  In China, that would be Mohammedan Blue, and both names refer to cobalt, at one time found only in Arab held/Arab influenced territories.  Therefore any European who could convince any ruling class that they'd learned something from Muslims whether or not they actually did, gained favor from the ruling class in question. It's all quite elementary, my dear Watson.

Exploring this avenue in history a bit further: the above may seem to be simple observations leading to a "D'OH!" moment to someone not seeing something that simple before, but the reason isn't the presumed intelligence level of the person looking at this history--it is entirely due to temporal altitude.  This kind of stuff can't be observed from ground level where one is inundated with the weeds of local-only detail, so it's actually not surprising if that's where the observer was when he didn't see the pattern.  Said another way, one can get lost in a maze carved out from a cornfield on the ground, but the map through looks pretty simple from an aerial view...a less detailed overview.  You can view from directly overhead, but you can also gain an overview of value at an angle--useful for looking at run-ups from beginning to the actual event, and useful for looking at the impact of an event, after the event happened.

I still think I could have done a better job of debating Dinesh D'Souza than Chris Hitchens did.

Yeah, me & Rasmus Gjesdal disagree on a number of things, but DAMN he's an awesome debate partner, and it's all good. Ras was the brightest spot of 2013 when he was returning from a vacation and dropped by to visit me on the way back...and in the process generated a lively religion debate in the Hastings book store which brought in a couple of locals too, and a good time was had by all.  Luvz ya, Ras!  And yes, his wife Glenda knows. ^_^


Already?  Well, as of 6pm Central, it struck midnight across the globe in terms of UTC.  I rang that in with both WWV and the BBC...which, now that I think about it, gives them license enough to lay claim to timelordism mainly because they lorded over Greenwich until we went to atomic timekeeping for the planet.

Here's another New Year's tradition: Capitol Steps: Politics Takes a Holiday (on the radio)

Capitol Steps (launches mp3 player)


I managed to get a vid of the reception of Brazil's Radio Nacional Brasilia announcing its local midnight.  I thought if I left the dust layer on the radio's face that I wouldn't have much problem with reflections obscuring the readout, but I was somewhat wrong about that.  You can even see the logo on my camera, dang it.  That, and the type of radio, and I'm not proud of that radio when I've got two Drakes on the bench (I think that the power supply electrolytics are dried up on one of 'em, and they're both in need of alignment and me in need of enough time in one spot to mess with 'em. GAWD I miss Gilfer Electronics).  I'm ashamed to admit that I use a Radio Shack DX-390, which is a Sangean under the skin, so nobody tell Keith Perron I said that about Sangeans.  Please.  Reception wasn't the best, either.  Anyhoo, here goes...

MIDNIGHT UPDATE: Some time ago I found a number of Leo van der Walts on Facebook and took a stab at figuring this one guy was THE Leo formerly of the Radio RSA DX program.  I tried asking if he was, but he never confirmed or denied it.  He posts mainly in Afrikaans, but this moment, he took the time to wish me a Happy Birthday in English.  That, people, made my year. WOOT!

...UPDATE 2:  Got another wonderful surprise later in the day, and the only way this is believable is to post a screenshot...

Salvador Dali


This is the banner image chosen for the page of the group me & Ras teamed up in, and as of this pm, it's very descriptive since the group has now turned into a clusterfork.  Seriously considering sitting this 'un out...but then...somebody just made a statement perfect for one of my infernal questions.  The statement was about how atheists will never get to heaven, and my question was WHICH heaven--one, two, or three?

Believe me, it had the calming effect of evoking a counter demand to explain WTF I was talking about...and I answered with St. Paul's observation that there are at least three heavens...didn't he read his Bible?  I already know where this is going, as my next question about his Bible will be, "Which version of Bible is that?"

Questions are wonderful things.
................welllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll..........ahem...........okay...................they *can be* wonderful things..........

Granted, it's not for the person with a weak stomach.  For the record, I've been a moderator as well as a sysop for a number of "free speech" debate boards as well as a moderator over an intra-Muslim debate on Islam.  I wasn't born yesterday and along the way I did manage to learn a thing or two here n there.

When thing stay civil, as they did with an impromptu discussion of religion that cropped up between me and my Obamacare navigator, it was rather rewarding as she had a bigger interest in understanding what's at the root of atheism rather than preaching absolutes in my face praying for a miracle conversion.  When both parties agree that the goal of a discussion is to get at the truth of something, it turns out to be an exchange of ideas or an exploration of perspective and is quite rewarding for both parties involved.  Such was the case with the navigator. No conversions occurred, but a greater mutual understanding did--which made the whole thing worthwhile.

MINI-UPDATE on the Facebook Group: it doesn't fall into the rewarding category so with all due respect to my ol' buddy Ras, I'm gonna bail out. The main essential point of the new direction in this new year is to put maximum distance between me and senseless, baseless squabbling, and this doesn't cut it--it's exactly the crap I'm itching to put far into the rear view mirror.  I have no stomach for this. I don't even want to have a stomach for it. Enough.

Ah--time for the Vienna Philharmonic's annual New Year's fete via PBS Great Performances program.  Nice music to take refuge to after the battles of the Bible...and Julie Andrews later announces that it marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War.  And wouldn'tcha know it--Julie then took us through a quick tour of the Austrian office of one Sigmund Freud.  Damn.

#Prosil2014     "Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind...."

Guy Lombardo now gets to trump Guy Lombardo with the following favorite, and that's a better note to close the day on...

Note to self.....

LOLz-- A 'nuther note to seff...

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 mini-retrospective--c'mon 2014!

Nuff said.

...and with that out of the way...Kyle Dillingham concert, here I come!

....and I'm back early from Kyle's afterparty cuz I done run outta fresh batteries.  I'd swear that man makes me send some Duracell employee's kids to college.

Yeah--it was worth it, too.  And guess what else...I got the same seat I got last year.  I'll bet if the preacher noticed, he would have said that the Lord put my name on it and what I should do is go there more often.  Yeah, right.

Same EXACT location I was in last year. ^_^

Best seat in the house for a clear shot at the stage.  Not only that, but when the announcement was made that there would be two carols sung first before Kyle made his entrance, guess where Kyle was standing while the carols were sung...

I done hit the jackpot here.

I came, I went, I got the autograph...even though I've gone to watch Kyle every year, and intend to go see him next year. I've never really been an autograph hound, either--saw William Shatner at a convo once, never asked *him* for one. I guess there's just something about 2013 that is just 'way out of kilter, that's all...perhaps a matter of missing perfectly good opportunities to show people appreciation when there was the chance to.  Good riddance to 2013.  Anyhoo, here's Kyle, who does know now that he's appreciated by me...

I was surprised to hear him perform that Yusuf Islam tune, "Father and Son", at the Five80 Coffee House though--you don't usually hear Christians around here wanting to go anywhere near his material...

...for youngsters who don't know--Yusuf Islam used to go by the name of Cat Stevens before he converted. This is also the first time I've seen Kyle with something other than a violin, too.

Meanwhile, back to the (almost) beginning.  Actually, near the end of the first part, which consisted of the usual religious-themed carols.  And then Kyle mentioned a request, which didn't include his usual Orange Blossom Special (which I've never heard him play the same way twice). What came next was a bit of devilishness in something one could call "Come All Ye Faithful Down to Georgia"...

How 'bout that--on my b-day, too...

UPDATE: Not only do I get a super moon on my b'day, I get a super sunspot, too.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Umma eruptions

While Americans were partying, Islamic nations erupted again and now we have Lebanon added to the mix, and Libya, again.  Things are happening fast and this blog won't be able to keep up--am spending a lot of time on Twitter just to keep up.

Mona Eltahawy has been involved in a controversy over a photo depicting Egyptian police dragging a woman, which some have claimed was photoshopped. Ahram Online, the middle eastern version of Buzz Feed, has been posting frequently about a lot of events as they happen, so I encourage you to click on that link I provided on the lower right side of this blog if you're not reading Ahram Online already.

Here's a video posted on YouTube via Future TV where a live interview was interrupted by a bomb blast.  It doesn't matter if you understand the language or not--the effect of the bomb blast is clear.  Will update as time permits.

The biggest deal involving the United States is the deal where Egyptian military has declared the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization but via John Kerry, the U.S. has declined to do the sameTurkey's recent corruption scandal brings to the fore the role that the military seems to need to play in Islamic government, one I'm sure that Egyptian military pays close attention to and seems to be using that as a model. It's clear to me that Islamists of whatever stripe are making the Sinai a problem for not just Egypt but all its neighbors, and it's too convenient to blame a political party because the voters are most likely to buy that line.  Whatever is going on in Sinai amounts to the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party with the Republican Party getting all the blame for what its wingnuts do.

Stay tuned.
To Follow me on Twitter...  I'm not a regular--I'm there only when global snit hits the fan.

Voice of Russia, re: Turkey
Ahram Online, re: South Sudan
Ahram Online re: Russian police station bombing
Al Jazeera: Meanwhile in Iran...
The Guardian re: Kabul killings
BBC reporter's personal take on S. Somalia
FP reporter's take on the role of charities in Egypt

China takes advantage of global distractions too-Karma Tsewang & followers arrested --but this happened Dec. 6 and we're just now hearing about it.

Meanwhile in Thailand...TPP anyone?
Forgot all about Brazil's tiff about the World Cup? Here's another thing...
Guardian: Mugabe strikes again. Australia?

Things seem to have quieted down on Twitter, so taking a timely break now...

...meanwhile, back on Facebook, this was posted...
...along with the questions, "Were you read to as a child? If so, what was your favorite bedtime story?"  Answer: Yes--"The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins". Dr. Seuss of 1938 vintage and part of The Children's Hour library.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Enid Christmas Sampler deux

I've got a backlog of vids at this point, but this late in the Christmas season, the best stuff is apparently saved for last...not that First United Methodist wasn't good (it's one of my favorites, but they put on more than one festive event, too). I'm just now back from Central Christian Church, and they're darned good and I haven't featured them yet.

Yes, it all began solemnly enough, but you should have seen what else they've been doing.  They even did a choral version of what an opera soloist performed in the previous sampler post.  You just gotta see this.

Kyle Dillingham hasn't done his performance yet, and that's a must-see but I can't promise I'll successfully get into his church.  He packs the place and you'd be lucky to find a place to stand, even.

I will not feature Emmanuel Baptist's notoriously lavish pageant, as they're usually pretty packed, too, but I won't even try.  Out of personal principle.

Anyhoo, the videos are in process at this time--so please check back periodically for additional material.  You know the routine. ^_^

At Central Christian, the presentation' solemn beginnings...

That's the Chancel Choir, which, according to the programme, launched things prior to intermission.  The pic is of the Mixed Company group which followed the intermission.  Here's the programme:

So then--what the dickens is a "liturgical dance"?  It is this:

Okay...intermission...and now introducing...Mixed Company:

You'd be correct in presuming that there are ongoing issues with the bald Santa in the pew in front of me.  You would also be correct in presuming that a nod to Bob Rivers occurred.  But before that occurred, there were the 12 Days After Christmas.  You were warned.

Lyrics for "12 Days After Christmas"

Now, a Bob Rivers standard.  Yes, Bob Rivers is standard these days. ^_^

Next--le coup de gras...


Well, another part of the vid backlog situation is that infernal Blogger uploader.  It takes me 6 or 7 tries to get the !#$&*!! thing to take.  As long as I'm iced-in or snowed-in, I've got the luxury of babysitting it, but that's not always the case.  Thank you in advance for your patience.

A note on the quality of the posted videos--as you can tell from the screenshot still, the vids I record are of HD quality.  When they're processed for blog posting, they're converted to VGA.  Sorry about that, but I have no control over it.

Here's some Kyle Dillingham for ya, from last year's church appearance...

Heh.  Thank you, Kyle, for the invitation!

...and, FYI...

John Ferguson is something of a state-wide Oklahoma legendary vampire known as Count Gregor. He moonlights on occasion for The Mysterious Lab of Dr. Fear, a show masterminded by Brian Young...who is also a Celtic scholar.  It was Brian's Solstice party that I had to bail out of.
More on Count Gregor
Still more on Count Gregor

XMAS DAY UPDATE:  What follows now is an assortment, in no particular order, of videos in the backlog, and there'll be something from the past summer of the Summer Wine program at Enid Symphony hall and Enid Lights Up the Plains, etc. 

Two Front Teeth--Jazz Ensemble

Turtledove Tango

Enid Lights Up the Plains band...which a couple of people danced to...
Next, amateur radio club...
Enid Amateur Radio Club shows off its UHF network linkup

View of Broadway Tower & Enid lighting up plains with fireworks

Central National Bank--a birthday is celebrated and the show choir puts on boogie shoes

These folks followed the show choir.  A couple of shots at an oddly-aimed vidcam and the mayor, whose bank CNB is.

A house near Pheasant Run and Country Club rocks out to Mannheim Steamroller

Sunday talking heads mini-commentary

Not only is the year 2013 the year that the Christmas season began before Halloween, but it's also the year that New Year retrospectives begin before Christmas. Wut?

Looks like I'm not the only person on the globe that can't wait for 2013 to be over already.  It's clearly not been a good year for a lot of people. It's not like I'm looking forward to turning another year older on January 1 or anything like that.

Looking forward to changes, different direction. Same ol' same ol' just won't cut it.

Don't get me wrong--I've got a few personal traditions that I'll still observe, primarily because those same ol' same ol's are about to approach extinction, like my tradition of turning on the shortwave radio on New Year's Eve and, beginning from the International Date Line, listen to nations ring in the New Year in consecutive order of time zones.  More shortwave services have gotten the axe this year and there's no telling how long I'll even be able to do that.  A person can even expect surprises with this on occasion, like the occasion that Spain's Radio Exterior de España was broadcasting live and in co-ordination with the Canary Islands.  That sparked a lively listening party on Facebook.

And I'm always a sucker for a good Viennese waltz--and Walter Kronkite--when I've tuned in to the annual Vienna concert on PBS, which was later hosted by Julie Andrews.  It always ends with the Radetzky Marsch and for some reason I never get tired of hearing it (or anything by any Strauss). I guess my boogie likes it.

Outside of that--stuff that just gets stale gets the dustbin.  C'mon, New Year.

As for Christmas, there are a few interesting things to catch on the shortwave radio, like Midnight Mass direct from Vatican Radio--midnight THEIR time, that is.  Greek Orthodox service is interesting, too, but their Christmas is on a different date.  On shortwave, you can haz two Christmases.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter storm update deux Dec. 21

Last night I was battening down the hatches, bracing for possible power outages and what-not and posted a weather update on this blog at the time.  I took it down just before turning in and noticed by morning that roads were passable and the only power outage that occurred overnight was in a different section of town and it was caused by ice that caused a short--no power lines down.

I was fixin' to go to that Winter Solstice party I mentioned earlier...but here it is, 1 pm, and we're just now getting seriously hit.  Gonna have to cancel.

Pic taken within a minute of posting this blog entry.

....and look what Google Plus Auto Awesome just did to one of my pics.  DANG they're fast!!

These asparagus fronds look plenty lacy when they're green. Brown with white doesn't look bad either.
============================ 4:30 pm ======================

National Weather Service canceled the ice storm warning and said there'd be snow from here on out, but that's not what I'm seeing.  Still getting ice.
Now snow and ice.
And now the worst is over. Whew.  Jumped the shark again. WOOT!

^^^ Released this day in 1959

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Trans-Pacific Partnership and Camping

When it comes to the Trans-Pacific Partnership issues, this is where I depart from the usual liberal line and go all independent on ya. That's because I'm looking at the geopolitical stresses in that region primarily involving China and North Korea--and we all know about the high level execution which took place in North Korea as well as China's expansion of its Air Defense Protection (Identification) Zone.  Yes, the TPP will create labor issues but it also solves Pacific Rim issues which were long overdue between South Korea and Japan.  They are both American allies and under the circumstances can little afford to squabble any further with each other, and insofar as the TPP will make it necessary to address that, as well as the ramp-up of military purchases and operation conducted by Japan--to the chagrin of not only China and N. Korea, but principally S. Korea and other Pacific entities as well.

China, your price for keeping N. Korea as your personal kept woman 韩国妓女 just doubled.  Again: the cost of maintaining a dictatorship, whether yours or someone else's, is not sustainable. It's now cheaper to just hire border guards along the northern N. Korea border.  That's also cheaper than continuing to build brand new metro complexes that nobody's moving into.

UPDATE December 21: Jim Hightower passes along the following as a means of rallying people against the TPP.  I've noticed that there's a certain entity putting a lot of anti-TPP vids on YouTube, too--Acronym TV.  Something that makes me go "hmmm!"

The biggest issue is the secrecy, and given the current distrust of corporations, I can see how stuff like this can raise a rally.  But this is an area of the world where the affected parties are the likes of Russia, China, and N. Korea, and with the nuclear/militarization ramp-ups regarding those nations, I can see where confidentiality, rather than secrecy, would be a benefit under the circumstances.  

With the Sochi Olympics, I don't see Russia being interested in turning down western money even though he's trying, at the same time, to make Russia into some sort of alternative to western systems even though all he's managed to do is attempt to re-invent the wheel when it comes to economics.  He's on an unsustainable path.  With its alliance to N. Korea, so is China, and Russia and China are still rivals.  But so are S. Korea and Japan.  The TPP remains the only way to resolve rivalries between western allies, something Russia, China, and N. Korea don't have.  It may very well be the most effective countermeasure to N. Korea belligerence out there.  Dennis Rodman sure as hell ain't one.

Thom Hartmann was on BookTV discussing his book "The Crash of 2016" in November and although he was spot on regarding his understanding of the history and current situation of the stock market, I have to disagree with him about being against the TPP and supporting unions.  As a former union member, I have to say that unions are going to have to substantially change before they're supportable.  They are unsustainable in current form, and the TPP is so much more than just a labor issue.


As for the Camping part, that is in reference to the passing away of Harold Camping, formerly the powerhouse behind WYFR on shortwave radio and whose facilities have been sold to Jeff White (dang, I still remember him when he was just a kid, ha) of Radio Miami International.  Jeff has become quite the shortwave radio mogul with this purchase, and apparently is letting us Earthlings all know in that in his station identifications, he's employed some very well known radio names (vintage, of course) to make those announcements--not the least of which is one of my most favorite people who ranks right up there with Tom Meijer and Leo Van der Walt: Rudy Espinal (Rodolfo Espinal) of the Dominican Republic, formerly of Radio Clarin...whose transmitter Jeff White purchased much earlier.  Hey Rudy, you still have a fan over here! DAMN it's good to hear your voice again!

(I've tried to find online archives regarding Radio Clarin and Rudy, but none of them are user-friendly, the bulk of which contains info on a lot of other items and info about Radio Clarin is heavily buried in them, not easy to find without a lot of reading first. I found a PDF form of the now-defunct Monitoring Times which contains an article about Jeff White et al.  Sorry.  I did manage a copy of the photo of Rudy and Jeff from that same issue, though.  The fellow on the left is Rudy, not Jeff.  Jeff's on the right.)

UPDATE via Glenn Hauser's World of Radio:

"Glenn Hauser"
[dxld] WRMI wants reports
12.20.13 01:24 AM

Glenn: Could you mention that we would be interested in reports from North America about the reception quality of the following transmissions?

7570 kHz (355 degrees) - 0200-0600 UTC
9690 kHz (285 degrees) - 1100-1500 UTC
9955 kHz (315 degrees) - 1400-2200 UTC
11730 kHz (285 degrees) - 2200-0600 UTC

Many thanks (Jeff White, WRMI, Dec 19, DX LISTENING DIGEST)

Report to info@wrmi.net

These are all Overcomers (except 14-15 on 9955), so should be easy to spot. All provide generally strong to very strong signals here in Oklahoma. 9690 has QRM from All India Radio in English at 1330-1500, and I wish WRMI would go somewhere else for this broadcast (Glenn)"

 This issue of World of Radio includes a report of official Chinese radio activity in the South China Sea (Voice of the South China Sea), so there's more to add on that aspect, too. (Stream WOR 1700 audio) ... (WOR 1700 mp3)
(items about Chinese broadcasting are about 1:48 into the playback; Voice of South China Sea item begins at 2:42 in.  Frequency: 17710, 0600 to 0700 UTC, which the World Radio TV Handbook says is supposed to be in English, but only an English ID was actually heard, per report)

Clandestine station Shiokaze (Sea Breeze) aimed at N. Korea on the matter of Japanese abducted by N. Korea is an interesting part of that report, too.  On the WOR 1700 audio, it's about 15:20 in...and I just realized that I mis-identified the station playing "At Seventeen" when telling Janis Ian about hearing that; I called it "Radio Free Asia", when it was actually Shiokaze.  My bad--sorry Janis.  Frequency and UTC numbers were correct.  It was on 9775; WOR says it's on 1400 UTC.  However, I'm thinking that "Radio Free Asia" would make better sense to non-Japanese-American people better than "Shiokaze" would.  There's that.

Usually when recent developments occur regarding an old topic, I'll just post an update to the topic in question instead of writing a new post, or amending a new post...but...this situation is a little different because of the age of the post which cited "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke via Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (Roots version).

My position on the new spat over that is reflected by this Slate article, which also goes to which version of that song I chose to post.  There are a number of versions out there.  With the years I've spent in a non-traditional career, I know where the lines are drawn, legal and otherwise--believe you me that in this line of work, knowing that is a necessity for all parties concerned.

I've said in a previous post that especially in my current surroundings, I'm more at ease talking with the guys than the gals but let it be understood that I mainly talk shop.  The guys around here by and large figure I'm not capable of talking shop because of my gender, and they'll get all huffy because they're not showing off as some kind of expert.  The guys I get along with best are the guys (and gals, for that matter) that can talk shop without involving that goddamn ego, and both genders have an overabundance of that 'round here. No single human being can possibly ever be a know-all expert on anything--it's just not humanly possible.  We all just walk different paths, we exchange ideas and notes, and that's all there is to it. Vive la difference.  It's called diversity.  Get used to it.  You too, ladies. We're all different, distinct individuals.

I have an agreement with G+ to keep this blog non-adult-rated and so I won't post the Blurred Lines Rebuttal here--so if you insist on a Fairness Doctrine sort of thing, use the link I provided, with the warning in advance that it contains adult language and suggestive images.  Sure, I know that it's posted on a Google entity, as are all the videos I post on this blog; the distinction is indeed a fine one.  Thank you.

For the record, I think that the nation needs to not just have a serious frank discussion about race relations, but on gender relations, too.  Things have gotten entirely too Talibanish, IMHO, and I'll be damned if I expect women to wear beekeeper suits and bow to some damn Saud-style morality police.

As I am a language geek, you may correctly presume that I have no problem with the use of anglo-saxonisms.  People around here call it cursing, swearing, profanity, and what-have-you.  They just never call it what it really is: the anglo-saxon part of the English language.  I would add that it's a legitimate part of the English language.  And no, I am not gay; I have no problems with gays, though, either.  I support equal rights for LGBT folks because I support equal rights for everybody who hasn't been convicted of a felony--and even then, I am, well, liberal.

DUCK DYNASTY UPDATE: All in all, I think what happened to the guy who got fired is ironic, and that's from a legal point of view given that the people coming to his defense verbally are the same people who saw to it that Right to Work laws were passed in their states.  Right to Work means the Employment At Will Doctrine rules, and an employer can fire anybody even for no reason provided that the firing doesn't violate federal discrimination laws.  Sorry, but no employee has a right to any job, especially in a Right to Work state.  It's why these same people hate unions--unions means a contract for work and being required to uphold their end of the contract.  Oh gee, I'm looking like an expert on labor law, huh.  Well, a person learns stuff when one is a union member...and does extra reading on the subject.  Okay, I admit that I know my way around a law library. And a sharia court. I feel like I can take on any number of kangaroos.

The term "politically correct" was given recent birth thanks to laws governing employment, in that an employee cannot represent himself with his speech as long as he's on the payroll--he's to represent his employer and if the employee shows discourtesy via bigotry, an employer has proper cause to dismiss that employee...not that an employer even needs cause to dismiss an employee in a Right to Work state. This extends the sense of irony further, because the people who bastardized the meaning of "political correctness" are the same people who assert an employer's absolute right over his employees.  Guess why the formal title of "labor law", in the eyes of legal eagles, is "Master-Servant Law".

Now, with regard to the copyright infringement lawsuit by the late Marvin Gaye's people, look up the term "derivative work" in U. S. copyright law.  M. C. Hammer never lost to a suit like that when he sampled "Superfreak" for his "Can't Touch This".  Nobody else who sampled previous works to produce new content ever lost, either.  The one thing that "Blurred Lines" is not, is an exact copy of Gaye's "Got to Give it Up".  It just isn't.

Further, the "look and feel" argument in copyright doesn't hold up because that would outlaw parodies and lampoons.  The "look and feel" argument is a trademark argument, not a copyright argument.  And how do I know all this?  From doing patent research back at Arizona State University, where the patent repository covers trademarks and copyrights too.  I'm not claiming to be an expert; it's just that I wasn't born yesterday knowing absolutely nothing. I learned a few things here n there.

Here's the biggest difference between me and an expert: an expert lectures--me, I ask questions. I never stop learning; I always manage to find a new avenue I haven't explored yet--and I welcome that.  The expert takes pride in perfecting the same ole thing done year in and year out; me, I take pride in learning something I didn't know how to do just yesterday.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

There's no place like Enid for the holidays.

As I write this I've just gotten back in from a celebration at the Mennonite Grace Church on the outskirts, winding up a tour of a handful of competing church productions, meaning I had to cut 'em all short without attending a single one of them for the entire presentation, just so I could post a sampler.  In brief, today's fare was a bell choir, operatic bits, a senior chorale with kids bringing up the rear, and then the Mennonite carols with "a tasting".  A tasting?  Of what?

Well, I was late coming in so I was back by the door...which means that I was the first one out when it was over.  I was directed to an adjacent hallway where I saw this:

Right after I snapped that pic, two people came out of the dining area and worried aloud that they hadn't set everything out yet.  I tell ya, folks, if you were to begin at the near end and taste everything on that table til you got to the far end, you had more than a meal.  Take my word for it--it was necessary to skip stuff, which was a shame because it was unusual fare right down to the pfeffernusse.

This was the end of today, and I have videos from today and the past few to post, and processing each will take time...so...if you're interested in the local customs (and I know my friends abroad will be) keep checking back for new video postings.  Posting 'em all will take me a while, believe me.  I am going to apologize in advance for any videos that seem to move around a lot. In most cases I'm either avoiding a shot which includes other people taking videos/people moving around during a performance and that sort of thing.

 Okay, just got an interesting question about how I've been talking more about the guys than the gals.  You can boil it down to this: in the state of Oklahoma, I've got next to nada in common with the gals around here.  With them, it's all about gossip and neighborhood soap operas, and I can't stand either one of those.  On top of that, Okies as a rule have an 18th century concept of the "proper place" for each gender (except on ranches) and I violate that on a daily basis.  When I first moved here, went to my first yard sale and attempted to buy a long-handle axe, some idjit guy piped up and proclaimed that to be a man tool.  I looked him up and down, looked the axe up and down, and proclaimed that the axe didn't have any balls.  Yeah, he backed off. 
You get the picture.

Kicking off the holiday season in Enid are the open house events held by banks.  One of those was the mayor's bank (that's his day job) which featured Enid High's Show Choir, but they were in everyday street clothes and the place was still packed.  The best place I could set up was, well, not an optimum angle.  But when Enid High put on its show, the Show Choir reprised their bank performance in full performance dress, and I'll post both versions.  Eventually.  Stand by.

Next, here's the Show Choir at the CNB (Mayor Shewey's) bank, performing "It's Cold Outside"...

...and then we have the stage production...

Yeah, that particular camera has focus issues when it's been used for a fairly good amount of time.  It gets tired or something if it doesn't get to rest well between shots.

Next is a vid of a remarkable Enid keyboardist who also plays at Enid High presentations, but the last time he did perform, his name wasn't on the programme, and that's unfortunate.  Although I've heard him numerous times, like on First Fridays downtown, I never got his name.  The most accurate way to describe him is a smooth keyboard talent with special needs.  The word "handicapped", in my view, is a terrible misrepresentation of this gentleman.

The Enid Public Library's event was billed as a fundraiser, so there were no freebies--not even photos with Santa, who looked rather lonely the entire time I was there.  I got out my camera and stated that there was a difference between a photo and a video.  Well, there was a cheery chorus of kids up ion the 2nd floor mezzanine, but no traditional carols for them at all.  They were just rockin' it out up there.  Below is their rendition of "Do You Know Blitzen?"

The real Santa Claus in Enid actually looks more like this guy...

...and I'm more than certain nobody at Holden would recognize him as such.  They'd probably give him the boot.  If there's a holiday reception, you're sure to see him more like an old man looking for handouts.  He's actually a veteran whose only concern he'll mention, if you see fit to talk to him, are returning veterans and will talk your ear off about "adopting" families of returning veterans.  Just talking to somebody can make a world of difference, before you jump to conclusions.  I confess that I didn't think much about him until he showed up at the church which was hosting a discussion on race relations and heard what he had to say back then.  Some people just are NOT what they superficially seem to be.

This pic wasn't taken in Enid. It was taken in Covington (about 20 minutes out of Enid), at the Covington Historical Society building, where there was an event for retired and other veterans. 

They had some interesting old-time artifacts on display...

Beep beep.

That's a peeler.

Google Plus Update:  No sooner than I posted the NOC programme than somebody on G+ turned it into a Super Auto Awesome pic with twinkles!  Voila:

The Google Plus community is awesome!  What's surprising is how quickly the "Auto" part of that page operates.  If I were to do this same thing with what I've got to work with, it would have taken me the better part of a half hour to get it just right.  I wonder what software they were using to make it that automatic.

Next, the Big Blue Band, in its various sections.  Absolutely THE best of Enid High, in the state and among 3 (or 4, sometimes) states in the region via the Tristate festival.

Here's the Bellringers introduction.  Guess who else was there...

Yup--Richard.  Enid Symphony Orchestra director Doug Newell was, too. This is the church he goes to.  I shot the back of his head pretty good in the next vid. After this intro, the ringers made a grand entrance while "Christmas Bells Are Ringing" was sung, and then they were explained...

Next--La Boheme Act I Finale...

...and unfortunately the first few words of the next vid got clipped, alas. "On the first day after Christmas, my true love and I had a fight..."

The following is from the Mennonite Grace Church, and as I mentioned earlier, I got in a tad late...

Later,  a gal was handing out small candle sticks...

...and then...

...back to school for 6th graders...

...and there's more. I plan on posting the videos near the appropriate programme images. In the meantime, enjoy a performance of Doc Bryant and Kyle Dillingham staged last year.  Doc Bryant said he played with one of the Dorsey big bands and I forget which (Jimmy's or Tommy's).  When I asked him if he knew another Dorsey alum by the name of Sy Gordon, he said that he didn't.  Both Sy Gordon and Doc Bryant are horn players, so whichever Dorsey band they played in couldn't have been the same one.  I met Sy at a thrift shop in Mesa AZ and can attest that he's a helluva wiry, spry guy even at his age.  Anyhoo, still uploading stuff, so please stay tuned.

The autofocus still sucks, and I try to nudge the thing by looking at the dancers, but alas and alack, it's not good.  The music's still great and both Doc and Kyle are still amazing.  Close your eyes if you have to, sit back and just enjoy the tunes.
Blue Skies--

Below, from Emerson school...

What follows is the 6th grade band performance of "My Dreidel"...which somebody at the front office didn't know how to spell or something...

And then there's Go Big Santa, which is a Christmasized version of Go Big Blue, the band theme...