Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mushrooms Have More Magic Than You May Know

This is a lecture by Paul Stamets and the title looks like he's from the Aluminum Hat Club but listen to what he has to say.  Although, guessing wildly, I'd say you had no previous interest in learning anything about mycology today but he really knows mushrooms and it's incredible what he does with them.

This is not a gag bit or a doper bit.  You may well find it's worth your time.  It runs seventeen minutes but I found it most interesting.

Looking Up John Boehner in the Library of Congress

John Boehner is cast as one of the leaders in the United States and I thought I would take a look to see what he has done to earn that status by reviewing his authorship of legislation in Congress.  This information is available in the Library of Congress.  (Congress.gov:  Legislation Sponsored or Cosponsored by John A. Boehner)

Here are some representative pieces of legislation for which we can thank John Boehner of Ohio:

H.R.6604 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)

To designate the federal building currently known as Federal Office Building 8, located at 200 C Street Southwest in the District of Columbia, as the "Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. Federal Building".

H.Res.784 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)

Celebrating the life and achievements of Neil A. Armstrong, a United States patriot who humbly and selflessly served his country, State, and community as a naval aviator, test pilot, astronaut...

H.Res.292 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)

Declaring that the President shall not deploy, establish, or maintain the presence of units and members of the United States Armed Forces on the ground in Libya, and for other purposes.

H.R.1815 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)

Lena Horne Recognition Act

H.R.6534 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)

National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act

It goes on and on with one inconsequential piece of crap after the other.  From this it becomes clear that Boehner did not achieve his position of leadership through innovative introduction of legislation but rather, as shown previously in his dispensing of checks in the Senate from the tobacco lobbies, he has achieved leadership through bribery and manipulation.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Best Wishes to Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher had an accident skiing yesterday and hit his head on a rock.  At first they said it was not serious as he was conscious and talking when they airlifted him out of there in a helicopter.  Later they said it was a serious injury and today they say he fights for his life.  (CNN:  Formula 1's Michael Schumacher in critical condition after skiing accident)

They performed brain surgery as soon as he arrived in the hospital and they have been keeping him in a medically-induced coma ever since.

Right now everybody who ever heard of Formula One in the last twenty years or so has heard of Michael Schumacher and is pulling for him with very best wishes and the hope that he pulls through ok.

I Want a Gun for Christmas, Mom - Updated

There's a series online featuring gunners whose dreams came true on Christmas when they got assault rifles.  I don't know about you but when I think of the Baby Jesus, the next thought that comes into mind is that it would be so fantastic to have a military-style assault weapon that can rip the shit out of the enemy in close-range combat.  I thought that was just me until I saw these pictures.  If these don't give you hope for 2014, I don't know what will.

First off we have Bambi, the Gunner Queen:

See Bambi for your guns or your Mary Kay cosmetics, she's got it all.  She's got a pretty head.  Too bad there's nothin' in it.

Said Bambi, "I like to stroke it before I go to sleep."

And then she quickly added, "But first I always check the safety!"

Then she giggled.

Here we have Gunner Runner-Up Number One:

The NRA says it strongly recommends weapons training for responsible gun ownership.  Yah, right.  Look at where the kid has his finger.  This one was voted most likely to shoot up a high school before 2014 is out.

Here we have Gunner Runner-Up Number Two:

Here's another dime store Rambo who doesn't know what the hell he's doing.  He's going to get killed trying to rob a liquor store when he's nineteen.  Such a shame.

Best of all, the Texas High School Debating Team:

There's not enough aggregated IQ in the room to manage an ant farm.

There's nothing that's more comforting to me for the future of the country than knowing there are so many high-capacity weapons in the hands of so many low-capacity people.

Oh damn, I'm a liberal elitist.

If it makes me an elitist to prefer not to be shot, particularly not shot by a dumb ass, then sign me up.

Also, I'm not a liberal as those are the pansies who agree with Obama.  I'm a full-out socialist.

It really doesn't interest me how mechanically Communism, Socialism, and Marxism interrelate with each other as fundamental to it all is the original from Karl Marx:  from each according to ability and to each according to need.

Where that fails is why should anyone give to the most of their ability if that doesn't yield any more than sorting buttons, painting speed bumps or being a politician.  That's a bit of a problem but I rather suspect it can be resolved more easily than the current approach of routine combat that lasts for generations.  Gunners, to your marks.

Miley Cyrus Has Sex with an Elephant (no video)

You're tired of me bashing Miley Cyrus and so am I but she manages to ooze back into the news with such regularity that she begs for it.

The latest event is a video she has just released in which she's masturbating for the audience.  I guess that's hot ... if you're thirteen.  I've seen parts of the video and it definitely won't excite the prurient interest of anyone past puberty.  The object of the video was to top her previous video as it just wasn't sexy enough for her.

(Ed:  so what's interesting about the video at all?)

Nothing.  What interests me is what she will do to top it and that's where having sex with an elephant comes into it.  Since she likes to try to be shocking and it usually involves sex, that's my recommendation for her next project as having sex with an elephant would even shock someone who lived through the sixties.  We did a lot of crazy things but we didn't fuck pachyderms.

(Ed:  you're probably just having dirty old man fantasies about her and you're pissed off they can't be real.)

Spare me, oh wise one.  If I'm to amuse myself with a sexual fantasy, it will be about a woman, not a child.

The interest in this isn't specifically Miley Cyrus, she's just the focus of it.  In general, the idea of trying to be shocking with anything sexual is ludicrous when you're following the most sexed-up generation the world has ever seen.  Since the act sells, what it tells me is that kids have no idea what their parents / grandparents were doing in the sixties.  The old duffers apparently never told them!

The parents I see who were most successful with their kids are the ones who were honest and forthcoming about what happened during the maniac years.  However, what I see from this Miley Cyrus phenomenon is that a whole lot of parents must not have done that.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

"There's Something About Marigolds" (video)

This was recorded in the show on Friday night at Cat's Art MusikCircus.  The images are from random events as I didn't think the video would be complete without a spaceship from Amsterdam and Lotho in a gigantic orange hat.  Fellini had a spaceship.  I have a spaceship.  Ha!

Looks like that feller has been smokin' a whole lot of ganja.  Yep, that's what it looks like to me.  (This was maybe four years ago in Cincinnati.)

There are some parts in the tune where I cringe as the overall sound of the guitar is vastly improved but it can get screechy way up the top of the neck.  That's not a fault in the way it was fixed but rather the way I have the sound patch defined but the details on that will get exceptionally geeky.  Overall I like the tune and it surprised me that it happened as it did.  This is definitely a Cat tune as she has said many times how much more she likes clearly stated notes from the guitar as she is not impressed by machine gun shredder stuff.  This is a gentle way of saying TURN OFF THE DAMN ECHO.  There's no echo in "There's Something About Marigolds" and I like what came of it.

Peace in Syria and Pope Francis Mojo

Assad sent a letter to Pope Francis that said Assad is ready for peace talks.  This is novel for a number of reasons as Assad could easily have sent that word to the U.S. or Russia via existing diplomatic channels but instead he sent a real physical letter to the Pope.  (CNN:  In message to Pope, Syrian President says he's ready for peace talks)

The Pope Francis juju is growing all the time.  Conservative Catholics (not the only kind) are all aflutter over what to do about it as Pope Francis has been ripping all hell out of Denaro the One True God of Money.

Pope Francis has been calling out for peace but all Popes do that and I've never seen a response like this before.  Maybe this has nothing to do with Pope Francis and his mojo and Assad just thought this was the appropriate way to deliver his message.  Perhaps this is all because Assad figured there would be some public relations spin in reaching to a Christian authority.  That seems pretty trivial so I'm really inclined to go with the Pope Francis mojo explanation.

It's most interesting to me as America has now whacked the strongmen leaders in multiple Middle Eastern countries and has subsequently seen each of them descend into terrorist chaos thereafter.  Likely Assad would have been whacked also had not Russia intervened but that's just history now.  It appears Assad will not get whacked so what comes after that.  My guess is that he can restore order if given any realistic support.

Sure Assad is a bastard but so is Obama, the latter just kills people in other countries.  They're equally brutal.  In my view, it's not possible to keep order in those countries without that kind of strongman as they sure don't do very well without one.

The U.S. has tried to appoint itself as a surrogate strongman but it's really sucked at it.  The local boys, much as you love to hate them, keep order a whole lot better.  (I'm not ignoring what Hussein did to the Kurds but I submit what America did about it was even more destructive.)

Whenever there are multiple religions in one place, they fight.  Without someone strong enough to prevent that, they will end up eating each other.  This has no relationship to atheism, it's just an observation on how people are.  It's utter madness and yet that's how it is.

And the irony to all of the religious combat is the religions aren't even all that different.  It seems a lot of the variance is how they regard sex so ...

It's all about the sex
chugga chugga
all about the sex

There's an Alligator in My ...

The McMicken house was an incredible place of music with an accompanying set of illegal indiscretions that made it all the more entertaining.  This was an excellent place to get hammered and hear the latest, ultra coolest music as this was the realm of the Laughing Gecko and his compadres.

Usually there were quite a few people there and this time they had a visitor, we'll call him Bertrand, from the UK.

As a brief aside, it may be important to note that saying 'toilet' makes an American's teeth hurt.  Americans need to say bathroom.  We don't know why.  This relates to the story as the toilet was in an actual bathroom and that's what makes the story interesting.

After the evening had progressed for a time, Bertrand announced that he needed to use the toilet.  While Americans don't like to say the word, it is recognized and another Lizard Man directed him down the hallway to the bathroom.

When Bertrand left the room, everyone went silent and waited.  They knew what was going to come as this was not the first time.

After a short time, there was a scream and Bertrand came racing out of the bathroom, shouting indignantly, "There's a fucking alligator in your bloody bathtub!"

Lizard Man said, "Relax.  It's only a caiman."

"Caiman, alligator, I don't bloody care.  It was looking direct at my gentleman's area," shouted Bertrand.

"Is your gentleman's area still present, Bertrand," asked Lizard Man.

"That's not the bloody point!  I'm not accustomed to exposing my gentleman's area to large creatures with vastly more teeth than they really need."

"No worries, mate.  He's been fed," said Lizard Man.

"He looked bloody hungry to me."

And so life goes at the McMicken House.

New Years Week Schedule for Cat's Art MusikCircus

The CALENDAR is accessible via the tab at the top of the blog and it has been updated for the upcoming week.  The only change is for New Years Eve as neither Michi Renoir nor Reis and Aldo will be performing.  They will be at parties and, what do you know, so will Cat.

For my part, I'll be doing the first show in a U.S. time zone in quite some years.  I have no idea when the last one took place but it was way over a year ago and was likely quite a bit before that.

So, I'll be playing at 9:50 pm SLT on New Years Eve at Sunshine Daydream.  Maybe you think that's past New Years in New York and that's true but no New York Yankees are going to tell Texas when the New Year has started.  Texas will tell them.

So, y'all, I'll be playing at midnight in Texas and that's two hours ahead of when 2014 comes for Grateful Stryker who is out in California.  Of course he is playing the same show and it will be hugely wonderful to see him again.  He's been a good friend for a long, long time.

For the rest of the week there are no changes to the MusikCircus schedule but do notice that this is an alternate week in which Laralette Lane and Phoenix J return so there are extra shows.  Something people may not realize is that each night is quite different from the others at the MusikCircus and this is very specifically Cat's design.  The object of the article isn't to go through that point by point but it's worth knowing.

About M4A Audio Format

Some of the files I've uploaded to the Ride the Dragon podcast have been in M4A format (as opposed to MP3, AIFF, etc).  This file type is created by exports from Quicktime and I have used that utility because that's been the quickest way to slice up the recordings of Second Life shows so I can upload single songs to the podcast.

However, there's one tiny problem and it's that Windows doesn't know how to open an M4A file.  There isn't a problem if you have Quicktime on your Windows machine but otherwise you're screwed.  If you do have it, open Quicktime and then open the M4A file from within it.  Then it will play just fine.

What I need to do to prevent the problem is to convert the M4A in iTunes to MP3 and then it's universal.  If the software designers showed any more responsibility than a Navy boy on his first shore leave, the plethora of file types wouldn't exist ... but that's not the case so let's go find some bars and some hookers.

The M4A situation doesn't matter unless you download the file.  When you're playing it from within your browser everything will be ok as you will almost certainly have a Quicktime plugin.  If you have the plugin then you probably have the Quicktime main program for offline but that's not so sure and that's where the problem comes.

The fix is to switch to uploading only MP3 files but that won't change the files I've uploaded already and the article is to show you how to deal with them.

"Wish I Was" - Gamma / Ronnie Montrose (video)

For this one it's best to let the video speak for itself.  I don't know if Lotho or I found the first Montrose album.  That was quite a long time ago.

If when I croak someone says I passed then I'm going to come back and fart on your head.  Tell me what's passing now, snowflake.

When Cops Are the Problem

Cops in west Pennsylvania went out to search a place for drugs.  Douglas Lydic was there and was arrested.  The cops hand-cuffed him and put him in one of their cruisers while they searched for the drugs.  No drugs were found but meanwhile Lydic had escaped from the cruiser and had got to his girlfriend's house several miles away.

So the cops find Lydic and release him because no drugs were found, right?

Well, no.  When they found him they charged him with stealing the handcuffs.  They also charged his girlfriend with assisting him.  (PoliceOne:  W. Pa. man charged with stealing cuffs in escape)

Perhaps it's difficult to understand how cops can be so stupid ... until you check out another story.

Herewith the saga of the cop who shot himself while he drove to the bagel shop to stuff his fat face.  Here's the beauty part:  it wasn't even his service revolver that fired the bullet.  Why he was carrying something other than his service weapon was not revealed in the story.  (News 12 Connecticut:  Bridgeport residents protest against cop who accidentally shot himself)

The Pussy Riot is Over

Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, the members of Pussy Riot who spent the longest time in jail and were recently freed, have said the 'musical experiment' is over and they will now form a human rights group.  (RT:  Pussy Riot abandons ‘brand,’ will form human rights group)

All things except red states will evolve so perhaps this is a natural flow from where they were based on what they experienced in prison ... or perhaps this whole event has been well-played as entry into politics was the target the whole time.  The motivation isn't tremendously important as what they have been doing has been a classic case study in non-violent resistance.  Through that resistance they almost single-handedly exposed the plasticity of Vladimir Putin's public relations campaign.

The problem is that the girls may not be making such a good decision on their human rights group as they have said already they want Khodorkovsky to replace Putin in leading Russia.  Khodorkovsky was freed from prison after ten years and is labeled an activist but, in his case, there is quite a bit more to the story.  He was a tycoon in Russia but he was more than a businessman as he is said to have ordered at least three or four executions.  Khodorkovsky is currently in Germany and has said he has no interest in direct conflict with Putin so there's no telling where this leads.

Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova said in a news conference that they will not accept any money from Khodorkovsky to fund their human rights group and this is an excellent decision as it's likely very dirty money.  It would also give Khodorkovsky the opportunity to play them for his own purposes and that may not be exactly what anyone wants.

As to the musical experiment being over, sometimes it's better that way.  Pussy Riot was brilliant as a social experiment but their music was like that of a lot of punk bands in that they had lots of passion but very little training.  Part of the nature of music is knowing you will never make it to MTV and continuing to play anyway but Pussy Riot has decided not to do that.  I don't fault that decision but I question where it leads.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Airport Perimeter Security Detects Anything ... Except Transvestites

As with most security systems that arose after 9/11, this one doesn't work and it's used to maintain the perimeter security around large airports.  The reason we know it doesn't work, despite the outlay of about one hundred million dollars by the Newark Airport, is that some fellow who was dressed up as a woman said he was scared of what someone in a car might do to him so he climbed over the perimeter fence at the airport and walked across some runways to one of the terminals.  A day or two later the airport security staff detected the intrusion.  (CNN: 'Inebriated' man, cross-dressed man jump airport fences in Newark, Phoenix)

The reason it didn't work is that monitoring of the security cameras is lax or nonexistent.  This is the same flaw as in the system of CCTV in Great Britain where there are cameras all over the place.  As the number of cameras increases, what in the world is going to watch them all.  As I was told by the police when my stuff was stolen in Dallas, the CCTV in the Holiday Inn parking lot would probably not have shown anything as they hardly ever work.  The cops didn't even look.  So you've got two problems:  the cameras aren't monitored and why would they be when they probably don't even work.

In other news, "Duck Dynasty" will be returning to television and those of the Tea Party will be celebrating the victory for free speech.  Of course they've forgotten how they were when the Dixie Chicks were speaking about George Bush but we'll see how they react when they're reminded that the red states are among the biggest welfare recipients in the country.  We'll see how free speech stands if A&E were to report on the details that many of the red states are taking more federal dollars than they send to Washington in income tax so they are a highly-committed piece of the socialist state they so loudly decry.

Note:  You'll see in the comments a link to a site that shows the opposite about red states.  As to which is true.  Your call.  I read another article that demonstrated the opposite.  With such varying positions, it's likely that neither is true and it's just more pundits playing number games.  Most unfortunate.  In fact, here's the link from the comments.

We Need Regulation to Ban What I Do (video)

John Boehner has a beefy speaking voice which makes him sound like one of the few Republican men who is not looking for sex in airports.  This has carried him a long way ... OR ... perhaps it was giving out tobacco lobby checks on the floor of the House.

(Ed:  these cheap slams are really tiresome)

He admits it.  Here's the video:

Now obviously Boehner is a sleaze, he has proved that countless times although cutting retirement benefits for veterans while calling himself a patriot will probably be a standout moment for him.  In any case, what's amusing about this clip to me is that Boehner is admitting what he did ... but then he says there needs to be regulation to prevent him from doing it.  Oh yes, Jesus, I would have followed the law, if only there were one.

Here's the beauty part:  Boehner wasn't trying to to repeal the Affordable Care Act as this was in 1995.  Nope, he was trying to ensure cigarettes stay accessible and plentiful ... so your kids will be able to get them long into the future.

This bitch is bought, paid, and packaged for convenient sale.  In other words, the perfect Republican for big business.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Silas Getting Unstuck in Time at Cat's Art MusikCircus w/Podcast

Vonnegut tells us what getting 'unstuck in time' means and "Trips" is about what it feels like.  This is a looper bit from the Silas Scarborough show tonight at Cat's Art MusikCircus.  (Podcast:  Trips)

"Trips" wasn't a blow stuff up kind of tune and it does what it says and hopefully you will like where it goes.

I was feeling a lot more confident about playing as the health situation is improving.  It had been making me really dizzy to the point of near falls but that aspect is much improved.  Blood pressure is 117 / 71.  That appears to be dialed correctly now.  Check.

So, on with the show.  "There's Something About Marigolds" is the one that opened the show and I've uploaded that to the Ride the Dragon podcast as well.  (Podcast:  There's Something About Marigolds)

This one isn't a blow 'em up song either but it felt like just the thing to open the show.

I did "Ice Cream Blues" also but I screwed that up as Sister Julie wasn't at her computer at the time.  Sorry about that, Sis.  I should have said I was going to do it.  Maybe I will have to do that one again sometime.

The Podcast links are directly to the songs in the podcast rather than the intro page.  There's no charge for anything and I hope you like them.

I will be playing again at the MusikCircus on Thursday and Voodoo Shilton will be back to his regular time next Friday.

Silas Playing at Cat's Art MusikCircus Today / Tonight

Silas Scarborough at Cat's Art MusikCircus at 3pm SLT which is 5pm Texas Time and 12:00am Germany Time.

Ordinarily Voodoo Shilton would be playing but he has another commitment and will be back next week.  He's a much better guitarist ... but I'm better looking ... AND ... I've got fireworks.

The wobbly stuff is much improved.  I was pretty good and sick plus the blood pressure was quite low due to a change in meds and that was making me very dizzy.  All that is stabilizing so I don't expect to take a dive in the gig.  (I'm not looking for sympathy as half the planet had the same thing.  It's three weeks of misery and will thump you to the wall!)

I'm not really sure what I'll play but coming out of the gate hard has been going well.  There still has to be room for squishy stuff as going full-tilt for the hour isn't musically cool plus it breaks a lot of guitar picks.

Christmas on Boxing Day

We went to a Christmas dinner yesterday and no-one likes too much RL detail online so let's just say they've been family for years and it's been over a year since seeing any of them.  As to why Christmas was on Boxing Day, well, this is the State of Texas and here you do things however you like.  So I was going out there to be sociable as Yevette was going with her son but she wanted company.  It was still Christmas so let's go.

I was going to beg off as the Mutant Malaria or whatever it was is fading but it's not gone.  I'm glad I didn't as it was interesting talking to the Texas Tallboy on the way out there.  He's optimistic that Texas will one day be a blue state and he's also optimistic for his generation dealing with what Washington is doing.  Frankly, I don't see it but I hope he is right.  (This is not the CNN view of Texas but rather the real thing.  The Texas Tallboy is a down home Texan and, no, he doesn't wear a cowboy hat nor does he chew tobacco.)

Something else that was very cool was all the deer.  I saw more deer at one time than I had ever seen before and there were at least eight of them.  We saw multiple groups of them along the way but it wasn't light enough to get any pictures.

(Ed:  if this is an article about food, I'm gone.)

No worries, bro.  It's enough to say we started eating almost the moment we arrived and there were multiple courses of the Christmas repast.  To go beyond that and tell you of the ensuing digestive process is probably more than your Christmas experience needs.

(Ed:  and no pictures?)

It's a deal.

I thought this was the extent of it as it was a huggy time with lots of happy Christmas and everyone got stuffed on Christmas goodness.  That all made for a very sweet time plus I learned that one of the kids will be getting married in just about a week and a half.  She's a sweet kid and I wish her a lifetime of joy.  (We all know life doesn't quite work that way but, hey, it's Christmas, roll with it.)

Yevette's mother surprised me altogether as she had a gift for me.  I haven't seen her really in years and yet she remembered.  See above about Texas Christmas!

In part, Yevette wanted me to see her mother's house as she does well with life and had moved into a luxy place that's well outside the city.  And this place is enormous, really enormous.  I don't care much for the exterior appearance of new Texas houses ... BUT ... the interior was exceptionally well-designed and was very elegant.  It was very big but still homey and someone, I think Yevette's mother, had obviously put a lot of thought into it.

(Ed:  no steer horns on the walls?)

I'm telling you, bro.  Texans are cooler than you think ... but they've got guns.  Don't screw with 'em.

Some more coolness is that there's a chessboard in the lawn with heavy, all-weather chess men which are all about half a meter or so tall.

(Ed:  is it wise to play chess with someone who owns a gun?)

Your call, bro.  Your call.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Strymon from Designa Devices in Hollywood

Strymon is a major sex word in guitar playing.  If you really want to make a fashion statement with your guitar then Strymon devices are the ones you need to use with it.  Get one now, darlings.

Or so they say.

The Strymon devices have all manner of knobs for tweaking any given effect in fantastic and incredible ways.  For example, the tape echo has an adjustment for Tape Age.  (This is really necessary?)

The devices suffer from two fundamental liabilities:

  1. All of the Strymon effects boxes are separate which means complex cabling and power supply management.  All stompboxes have this liability and the point is only that Strymon has not solved it.
  2. The cost of Strymon devices is stratospheric.  Multiple Strymon single-effect devices (e.g. Reverb, Delay, etc.) cost more than $500 US.

Converse to the second problem, a Boss GT-100 multi-effects device is about $512.  This unit solves multiple problems as it's reasonably-priced and has a very wide range of effects, including a looper.  For the cabling problem, there is one in from the guitar and mono or stereo out to the amplification stage.  Einfach.  (You can run that output directly to a mixer for an RL show and I've done it.)

This is not a sales pitch for a Boss GT-100 as there are some things I like about it and some I don't.  It's also not a critique as the point is only to evaluate your choices carefully rather than getting swept up in the fervor to get the latest equipment.

You really have to be careful with this sort of thing and deliberate hard as you will put a lot of money down when you get this level of device ... and that is only the first problem.  The second is that after paying that much money you will feel compelled to use it.  For example, when jammers get their first wah-wah, suddenly every lead guitar line after that needs wah-wah.  That won't get better as your stompbox patch grows, it will just get more complicated.

As to whether it's better to have a multi-effects device, one of the premises is that single-effects devices are cleaner.  However, that's very unlikely to be true if you use multiple of them to achieve your aggregate sound.  Multiple devices require multiple cable connections and, just as with computer networks, the more connections, the more the noise.  That's almost invariably where the buzzes, etc originate.  (Another is a low-quality power supply.)

I don't think it's likely there's a significant difference in noise and my guess is the multi-effects device would be cleaner anyway due to a much less complex signal path (i.e. it's not going through the input / output stages of multiple devices).  In any case, any difference in noise, apart from that coming from cables, is probably so minor that only dogs can hear it.

As to the suitability for purpose, the single-effect devices are almost all more flexible than the various effects stages of a multi-effects device.  This is why you're paying the big bucks but think hard on it.  That you want one device today won't at all stop you from wanting another one tomorrow and then you're on a path that's too expensive to change.  If anything, getting one device makes it sooner that you will want another one.

A huge advantage to a multi-effects device is that you can save patches which contain the configuration for any given sound.  Maybe one sound needs heavy grunge on the guitar with lots of compression and, etc, etc.  You can save that configuration as a patch and select it easily rather than pressing a series of buttons on multiple stompboxes to accomplish the same thing.

Another quite large advantage of multi-effects devices is that changing the signal path (i.e. the order in which the effects are encountered) is effortless.  You can only do that with a series of single-effect devices by re-cabling it and that's much too time-consuming for live.

I'd be very careful about listening to what the designer kids are saying as they're the same ones who were paying $500 US for blue jeans with holes in them.

Oh Yeah, About Socialised Medicine

What people have been calling socialized medicine (i.e. Affordable Care Act or Obamacare) isn't socialized medicine at all but what you have had all along most certainly is.

Socialized medicine is when the state is the Super Mama and pays for the doctors, the care, the medicine, etc.  The ACA doesn't even come close to doing that.

In my recent health debacle there was a trip to the E.R. as the first part of the illness featured brutal coughing.  The bill from the hospital has now arrived:  $5300.  (This is NOT a plea from me for money)

Maybe you ask what's socialized about that.  It's socialized because there's no way in hell I can pay it.  You will.  This is how it works for anyone who has no money for doctoring and you have been paying for it for years.  Cleverly enough, E.R. doctoring is, by far, the most expensive kind so this is a rather less than intelligent form of socialized medicine.

Fortunately for me, the Veterans Administration has now picked up my doctoring and it costs nothing but that doesn't change anything for those who are not eligible.

As I understand it, the ACA will pay your medical insurance premiums if you are unable to pay them yourself.  That still doesn't make it socialized medicine as the corporations control the benefits, not the government.  America had the most faulty medical management in the world and the ACA really doesn't do much to change that.  The insurance companies were corrupt before and they will be corrupt after (shrug).

The loudest opposition to the ACA comes from uninformed dolts like Bill O'Reilly who recently said that Jesus would not have supported food stamps for the poor.  (Raw Story:  Bill O’Reilly: Jesus is not ‘down with’ food stamps because most poor people are drug addicts)

Of all the tabloid news monkeys, O'Reilly is probably the worst and he's definitely the most vicious.  If you're poor then you're probably a drug addict and you should just die.  Most of the people I know who are broke don't even use drugs but think whatever you like, you nasty little man.  We in the real world see what a shameless slut you really are.

Happy Birthday to My Ol' Mother

With my ol' Dad's birthday on Christmas Eve and my ol' Mother's birthday on Boxing Day, Christmas was a little strange.  It must have sucked for them for their whole lives as likely no-one ever paid much attention to their birthdays and instead rolled them into Christmas.  It could have been worse, tho.  If you have a birthday that ever falls on Easter then you'll be a damn vain sinner if you call any attention to it.

She would have been ninety-five today and she made it pretty close as she hasn't been gone for all that long.

She picked up some expressions as we went along and, with her kids being a rowdy lot of stoners, some of them were drug-related.  For years she would say something 'blows me away' and after a while she knew what it meant but she used the expression anyway.

Happy birthday, Anne!

Christmas is When

Christmas is when ...

it makes sense to tell people to support the troops ... as they go to other countries to wreck Christmas for other people.

it makes sense for Rush Limbaugh to show how much he loves God ... by bashing the Pope.

it is finally revealed to me something actually more annoying than Miley Cyrus ... and that could only be Will Ferrell.

I can look happily at the Galaxy Guitar ... and feel the love from the beautiful socialists who helped me keep her and get her fixed.

I can eat sliced turkey from Wal-Mart ... and smile happily because no-one is going to have to wash the dishes.

It's been a peach of a day and there was some playing but getting past twenty minutes is still difficult.  Sure I've done it in a few gigs but they were fueled a whole lot more by determination than common sense.  I've been extremely dizzy from whatever made me sick but now I'm mostly cured.

I won't be playing at the MusikCircus for the weekly gig as today is one for being sociable and I will go visiting with Yevette.  There will likely be some feasting but if I didn't get fat by now then it ain't going to happen.  It's possible I could play late (für Deutscher Stunden) but I'd mark that as flimsy for now.  I'm gaining energy but I doubt it will be enough for both.

The MusikCircus calendar is updated and the next shows will be on Friday with Joaquin Gustav and Voodoo Shilton.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

What Is This Woman Doing - Updated with the Answer

Frankly, I have no idea what she is doing but I think I have a pretty good idea where she learned how to do it and she does have a quite well-informed technique, doesn't she.  Nevertheless, the question remains as to what the hell she is doing and why is the kid putting up with it.


The woman is Rebecca Nile of Santa Rosa where she is known as 'The Bubble Lady' and here she is blowing what she calls a bubble hat on Hannah Rosenberg.  The article did not reveal why Hannah wanted a bubble hat.

The Silas Cosmic and Non-Cynical Christmas Celebration Continues

When you're poor, the state has beaten you but when you're broke things just suck for a while. When you're broke you also appreciate all the more that the best parts of Christmas don't come in a box.

(Yah, the graphic is weak but GIMP and I are not friends and I did the image with GraphicConverter.)

I'm not looking for anything under a tree as, quite apart from anything else, there is no tree.  But there doesn't have to be one as it's been Christmas all year.  There won't be a retrospective on everything that happened this year as it would almost be bragging.  It's been more true than at any time in my life that you get by with a little help, in this case a lot of help, from your friends.

Maybe you're in Australia and celebrating Christmas on Bondi Beach.  Maybe you're in Bavaria where they get all kinds of snow ... but it never falls on Christmas Day.  Maybe you're in Scotland where it's, well, still raining.   Maybe you're in Greece where they will make you family faster than most people would give you the time of day.  I haven't yet been to Bavaria but that's for Christmas to come.

Wherever you are and however you do it, I hope it's a great celebration for you.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It's a Pussy Riot Christmas Eve - The Protest Continues

Pussy Riot, specifically Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, announced today the band will continue and, by the way, thanks for all the new material as they have plenty to say about the miserable state of women in Russian prisons.  (CNN:  Freed Pussy Riot rockers say they will continue to rock Russian system)

These are the finest kind of females as they're hot, smart and very dangerous.  These girls have huge courage and I have boundless respect for them.

This is Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and the only way you can stop this girl is to kill her.  Those are the eyes of Russian protest and that look of defiance is a magnificent thing.  Everywhere else people have rolled over but this girl never will.

Play it Pussy Riot!

Maybe you say you don't like it but you're not supposed to like it.  Performance art is something to appreciate rather than consider as you would a candy bar or some such.

They've been members of kind of an art commune in Moscow and Pussy Riot is one manifestation of it.  There has been lots of support from various Western artists but Pussy Riot rejects them too as they're part of what they call a 'capitalistic model of music' which they find unacceptable.  The band has given away everything it has ever done.  (Wiki:  Pussy Riot)

It's an excellent Christmas gift to see the girls all dolled-up and drinking coffee together rather than seeing them in a jail cell.  I don't thank Putin but rather I thank the girls for being tough to enough to withstand Putin.  It was great to see them released from prison and it's even better to see they are undeterred.  I'm immensely impressed.

What Was Hot on the Blog - 2013

There are some retrospectives floating about so here's one for the blog and these are the all-time greatest hits.  The titles link to the articles.  (If it looks like the article is in German then it is auf Deutsch.)

Jan 25, 2013, 1 comment
Oct 4, 2013, 6 comments
Apr 30, 2013, 1 comment
Oct 19, 2013

"Griechisch Autobahn Denkmäler" is about Greek highway monuments that are memorials for people who have been lost.  It tickles me that there are so many hits on something I wrote in German.

The number of reads for "Great White Sharks in the Mediterranean" and "Mediterranean Shark Attacks: You Are Food" makes me laugh every time.  Germans really really do not like sharks.

"Evolution of Eohippus" didn't start any fights on the subject nor was it meant to be incendiary.

"Kreuzfahrt Katakolo im Regen" is another in German in the Top Five.  No-one said if it's funny but people keep coming to read it.

Thanks for reading and I very much appreciate that you do.