Happy 75th Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan with son Jessie 1968

Yesterday it was Bob Dylan’s 75th birthday. We spent a good deal of it driving back roads, billowing up clouds of dust between Tioga and our farm. Mike Olson (http://www.prairiepublic.org/radio/roots-rock-and-jazz), the afternoon dj on Prairie Public Radio was playing deep Dylan tracks along with a lot of covers. It made a great soundtrack for driving down a gravel road.

 

When I was a young man, I didn’t relate too much to Dylan. The music wasn’t hard enough and the lyrics were often inscrutable. Something cracked as I approached my thirties and the Biograph box came out (sold my vinyl copy of that years ago and boy do I regret that). Since then I’ve only gotten in deeper and deeper. My wife…less so.

Anyways, happy 75 the Bob. May you continue to march on: confounding, delighting, and transporting. And of course, cutting one of the best car ads ever made.

There’s a ridiculous amount of Dylan songs I could post here. Things Must Change is course one of my favorites because it helps me come to terms with my age, and it’s in the soundtrack of one of my favorite movies of all time. Below is the one that I cranked up last night when we got home. After a long time of not playing anything “fun” and certainly not as loose or blues-based like he often did in his hey days, this b-side caused quite a fuss in the 80s. I suggest you play it loud. Bob did.

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The Future…and Past…of Music

Desert Winds by Andreas Rocha

North Dakota native Chuck Klosterman did a piece today for NY Times Magazine that poses this quandary: Which Rock Star Will Historians of the Future Remember?

“I imagine a college classroom in 300 years, in which a hip instructor is leading a tutorial filled with students. These students relate to rock music with no more fluency than they do the music of Mesopotamia: It’s a style they’ve learned to recognize, but just barely (and only because they’ve taken this specific class). Nobody in the room can name more than two rock songs, except the professor. He explains the sonic structure of rock, its origins, the way it served as cultural currency and how it shaped and defined three generations of a global superpower. He shows the class a photo, or perhaps a hologram, of an artist who has been intentionally selected to epitomize the entire concept. For these future students, that singular image defines what rock was.

So what’s the image?”

The kids over on Metafilter are having some fun with this one and I couldn’t help but contribute. Riffing on the notion that some were proposing that we’d be in rough shape after extensive climate change, I came up with the following scenario.

In the year 2316, the question will be asked in Last University. After much debate and little agreement, the Grand Chancellor makes a decision. A band of scholars are sent out. They cross the wasteland that was once a great continent, brave storms of biblical proportions and combat feral packs of roving bandits. Less than half survive but they endure, climbing the Holy Mountain to the Sacred Bunker of the Ancient One. The fierce Brotherhood of the Stone protect the Ancient One but even they acknowledge the validity of the quest, the need to answer the question. The scholars are allowed inside.

The Sacred Bunker is choked with a strange smoke and its twisted halls filled with both temptations of the flesh and of mind-altering substances. But the scholars were warned and they march to the deep heart of the mountain, unwavering in their pursuit. Finally they reach the mighty domed chamber where the Ancient One holds court. He is in the center of the room, lounging on a filthy couch, a squarish bottle of some vile nectar near him. The Ancient One strums an ancient device with withered arms and unclothed sycophants dance around him.

One of the scholars clears her throat and the Ancient One lifts his head.

“Master, we are a band of historians who have journeyed from the Last University. We come to you seeking your knowledge, your expertise. Can you please tell us, what was the defining image of rock music?”

The old man laughs, a hoarse and almost hideous sound. With a snap of his gnarled fingers an enormous image appears in the center of the room, reaching almost to the great ceiling. “Lemme tell ya about Chuck Berry,” Keith Richards says.

Keith Richards drug free

 

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Caturday – Out of Wind

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The wind is chugging along at about thirty mph today and this is one outdoor warrior that’s had enough. Daniel has roughed up what was a neat, folded blanket until it met the level of disarray that he’s comfortable with and now he’s crashing. The other cats are scattered around the house doing the same. This evening the wind will die down and they’ll be rested and ready to go out for more chaos. And I’ll be tied down in the living room, watching yet another marathon of that godforsaken Ghost Adventures. There are prices we pay for love and some of them are so trying.

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Another Kind of Opening Day

opening day

Yesterday was our opening day of the grilling season. I found charcoal on sale for $5 a bag, there was no wind with temps in the upper 70s, and I got some fresh burger from our local meat market. Time to break out the grill and its chimney!

The menu was just your basic misshapen burgers, covered with thick slices of colby-jack cheese, and then enveloped in a fresh bun. I nearly overdid the burgers by making by patties 1/5 lb instead of the usual quarter pound and then underestimating the heat of the coals. So they were definitely medium but still juicy enough. And ye gods, there are few things done better than meat grilled outside. Well, anything grilled outside. I am sure that soon enough Carjo will be back to experimenting with wrapping veggies in foil. Those are great too.

Now I’ve got an enormous work project to get back to and it takes me forever to build up a head of steam these days. Still, I am very pleased with myself to start up grilling again. Now if a certain baseball team would pull their heads out of their asses my summer prognosis would be nothing but sunbeams…

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Independence Day!

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Well, Independence Day for my ancestral lands anyway.

It’s not one of those drunken holidays. We’re too Lutheran for that. The main excitement around here is that it’s the day that tickets for the Norsk Høstfest go on sale. Remember the most enduring tenet of Lutheranism: moderation in all things. I think I’ll have just one beer.

http://hostfest.com/

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Rule #1: Don’t Be Evil

steve-jobs-devil

Apple is causing a bit of an uproar again:

Apple Stole My Music. No, Seriously.

Keep in mind that Apple (though they’re not exclusive to this kind of language) inserts this lovely paragraph into its user agreements. You know, that thing you click on without reading:

…IN NO CASE SHALL APPLE, ITS DIRECTORS, OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, AFFILIATES, AGENTS, CONTRACTORS, OR LICENSORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, SPECIAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES ARISING FROM YOUR USE OF THE APPLE MUSIC SERVICE OR FOR ANY OTHER CLAIM RELATED IN ANY WAY TO YOUR USE OF THE APPLE MUSIC SERVICE, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS IN ANY CONTENT OR APPLE MUSIC PRODUCTS, OR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE OF ANY KIND INCURRED AS A RESULT OF THE USE OF ANY CONTENT OR APPLE MUSIC PRODUCTS POSTED, TRANSMITTED, OR OTHERWISE MADE AVAILABLE VIA THE APPLE MUSIC SERVICE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THEIR POSSIBILITY.”

I’ve seen the original blog post appear on both Metafilter and Progressive Ears, no doubt it’s getting even wider distribution. There are many individuals reporting similar incidents. Hell, Apple Music did it to my iPhone as well before I disconnected and disabled that piece of shit. The writer Jon Bois (of SBNation) wrote this back in March:

I thought I was the only one who messed up a sync and ended up wiping an entire music library that I had spent years building, but multiple friends have told me that they did the exact same thing. iTunes is like having your hand held by a robot who wants to walk into the ocean and die.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, these tech giants are not your friend. You can buy into their “culture”, use their products, swear unyielding allegiance, and they do not, will not, cannot CARE. They are in this not to provide a service that gives you joy. They are in this to make money and increase the value for their shareholders. They can do this by creating products and services that you like and will buy, but they’re not your friend. They are not accountable to you unless you’re a stockholder. A major stockholder.

Back in the beginning of All Things Internet, the founders of Google had a motto: Don’t Be Evil. It’s not exactly their motto anymore. If you upload music to Google Play Music, it can and sometimes will replace your music file with something it has that is similar. Say you uploaded the alternative tracks off one of the Led Zeppelin remasters, a live Gov’t Mule track, or Beethoven’s Sixth conducted by Karajan. There is absolutely no guarantee that you’re going to get Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic, let alone the alt track of When the Levee Breaks. If you are a casual partaker of music, that’s fine. For a serious music listener it’s a goddamn nightmare.

My recommendations are simple. Stay off the Cloud. The cloud is unreliable and it is not there for your best interests, its there for the convenience and profit of your corporate overlords. Back Up Your Data and I don’t mean to the goddamn Cloud. OK, there are reliable online backups like Carbonite. But nothing beats having a few external hard drives. Hell, next time I’ll flush I’m getting another 3TB drive so I can stash it in a safe deposit box. And remember, Tech Giants Are Not Your Friend. They’ve all forgotten about Rule #1 a long time ago.

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Temporarily Grounded

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Sansa was back to her usual bullshit again. Last night she stayed out until four am. It’s been very nice this week and the day before she spent all the daylight hours outside. Yesterday, after resting for about sixteen hours, she felt obligated to stay out late to compensate. Too late by even our lenient standards.

Today the high was almost eighty and the cats were wandering in and out. Sansa slept inside until early afternoon, secure in the knowledge that she’d be able to pull the same crap tonight. My goal, as always, is to be smarter than the cat. So when she went out this afternoon I tried to keep an eye on her. When she made the mistake of wandering inside for a fuel stop around eight tonight I took advantage of it. I hustled all the other cats in, made sure the dogs were peed, and locked the doors. The dogs will get one more shot to relieve their bladders but the cats are done for tonight. I suspect that if they knew it was Sansa’s fault they’d turn on her but they’re cats and they won’t. It’s almost ten thirty pm now and they’re all winding down. Except of course for Sansa whose running up and down the halls, complaining.

You made your bed cat. Enjoy an evening in it and I’ll let you back out tomorrow morning.

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