Skinny Puppy’s ‘Nature’s Revenge’ and Tracing a Sample’s Provenance

As should be clear from the contents of this blog, I fly my nerd flag proudly. One way in which this nerdiness manifests itself is absurd pleasure in etymology lessons. (For instance, I’ve just discovered the Civil War-era origins of  ‘shoddy‘ and ‘sideburn‘ and feel curiously gratified as a result.) This morning, I’ve chanced upon anotherContinue reading “Skinny Puppy’s ‘Nature’s Revenge’ and Tracing a Sample’s Provenance”

Traveling Away from Distraction and Fast Clocks

I am writing from a new location today. I still have book shelves as companions, but their contents are interestingly different. (An impressive collection of graphic novels and lots of medieval history of science for instance.)  The computer runs a different browser (Firefox, not Chrome) and the Pandora station is playing bluegrass, which I haveContinue reading “Traveling Away from Distraction and Fast Clocks”

David Brooks Went to a Springsteen Concert, And All I Got Was A Stupid Op-Ed

David Brooks, the man who claims to have his finger on the pulse of down-home, All-American, Middle-American, (heck, Any-Which-Way American), plain-n-simple, family-values-oriented folks is a man who jets off to Europe for a Bruce Springsteen concert tour. No big deal. Lots of those good folk take vacations in Europe too. (If they can get toContinue reading “David Brooks Went to a Springsteen Concert, And All I Got Was A Stupid Op-Ed”

Nick Drake’s ‘At the Chime of a City Clock’ and Urban Melancholia

I discovered Nick Drake late, very late. Back in 2007, Scott Dexter and I were busy dealing with the release of our book Decoding Liberation: The Promise of Free and Open Source Software; mainly, this involved engaging in some spirited discussions online with other folks interested in free software, the creative commons, free culture, andContinue reading “Nick Drake’s ‘At the Chime of a City Clock’ and Urban Melancholia”

MCA Still Do What You Please

RIP Adam Yauch aka MCA. I first heard the Beastie Boys in the late 1980s (via Licensed to Ill). Their sound was unfamiliar; their sensibility seemed to peg them as immature, loud, juvenile, trash-talking ‘wiggers‘ taking the piss out of rap. (What sorts of props did they have on tour? Girls in cages and a giantContinue reading “MCA Still Do What You Please”

RIP Levon Helm, Thanks For The Memories

Levon Helm, drummer and singer for The Band, died on Thursday in Manhattan. He was 71. The only live performances of his that I have witnessed were on film, or rather, in one movie, The Last Waltz. And in particular, there was one that stood out, whose memories have endured, clearly, distinctly, across the many,Continue reading “RIP Levon Helm, Thanks For The Memories”

Record Albums, Artwork, and Physical Immediacy

At the corner of 7th Avenue and Flatbush in Brooklyn, a sidewalk entrepreneur has set up a vinyl LP sale. This has gone on for a few weeks now (and possibly longer). There’s a pretty wide selection on display, ranging from Johnny Mathis to Lil Wayne. I’ve never bothered to inquire about prices; I don’tContinue reading “Record Albums, Artwork, and Physical Immediacy”

The Sneaker Pimps as Accompaniment for the Morning Newspaper

I’ve written before on this blog about the ability of music to recall specific memories: working as a bartender in a jazz bar, or suffering through a hot Brooklyn summer while working on a book. Today’s recalled memories are about a  simpler time that might have felt hectic then but feels positively bucolic compared toContinue reading “The Sneaker Pimps as Accompaniment for the Morning Newspaper”

Game Not On: Santorum Exit Left

Rick Santorum is not our man any more; the Republican candidate tree has been pruned, and suddenly, we are left with Mitt Romney (and, I believe, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul). Now is the time for Rick to swallow the bile, and get on with the business of beating the Anti-Christ, er, Barack Obama, inContinue reading “Game Not On: Santorum Exit Left”

Tourism and the Invented Tradition

Ian Johnson interviews Tian Qing (New York Review of Books Blog, April 6th, 2012), the head of China’s Intangible Cultural Heritage Protection Center, “an institution set up by the government to protect China’s native traditions in the performing arts, cuisine, rituals, festivals, and other forms of culture” in an attempt to figure out whether these culturalContinue reading “Tourism and the Invented Tradition”