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Category: theremin

06/26/07 03:06 - 89ºF - ID#39814

More Theremin


I was planning on editing my Theremin post down to just facts, after all it was just a crudely constructed fiction around little snippets of vaguely related fact. And then I found this video.

Enjoy children

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Location: Buffalo, NY

Category: npr

06/26/07 01:36 - 86ºF - ID#39813

NPR: Why must you suck?

I have to giggle,

When the National Review, the conservative magazine who gave a national voice to conservatives back when it was considered a social disease, sells out its founder William F Buckley, jr. you just know it is going to be a fun day for the media. (And for those who have opinions on such things, how awesome would a Bill Buckley/Gore Vidal fighting video game be?)

But chiming throughout the news of the hour on NPR this morning was talk of Al Quada. Not the warm fluffy Al Quada who is hiding meekly in caves licking their wounds, no, but the scary let's-take-Iraq-from-these-Democracy-lovers Al Quada.

You see, the term used by everyone until recently was insurgents. Insurgents. A nice term. A neutral term upon which we can afix our own private fears and expectations. But, as the war becomes less popular than a Three's Company spin off it is necessary to wag the dog in a different sort of way, a handjob from your grandmother that is so good you have to pretend it isn't your grandmother sort of way.

So bam, suddenly the insurgents are all gone and the White House has been using the term Al Quada to replace it. Just like magic. It is such a bold faced lie, so factless that surly respected media outlets wouldn't use it, right?

No... please back away from the kool-aid

But hey, to make it up to me they ran a story about how an evangelical Christian magically turned himself from gay to straight. As if he found the philosophers stone and poosh! Went from glitter to gold.

That isn't news folks. Any more than it would be if I convinced myself I was no longer human but unicorn.

Well, if your childhood was as reclusive and dull as mine was you probably know that unicorns have the ability to sense virgins (no, really). And NPR, your doe-eyed wonder today indicates you are in a painful need to get your cherry obliterated. May I suggest Sylvia Pajolie and Nina Totenberg in a rub full of My*T*Fine pudding?

No, Vanilla would do nicely, but thank you NPR for the suggestion.
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Location: Buffalo, NY

06/23/07 11:19 - 64ºF - ID#39789

Everything I know about the Theremin

Properly titled: Everything I know about the Theremin without the use of reference material.

Already, I have told you a lie. For this post does not contain everything I know about the Theremin. For complete knowledge of this musical instrument require secrets learned in hermetic chambers of occult brotherhoods, like the free masons, or cub scouts. Furthermore, a mind is a leaky sieve. Which is to say, it forgets things, only more so. For a sieve is leaky to begin with, but a leaky sieve is practically useless. So if you were shooting to get a C on your term paper on the Theremin, allow me to suggest wikipedia. If you were hoping on getting a C on your masters thesis, allow me to suggest Little Tikes My First Encyclopedia.

First, meaningless anecdote.

I first became interested in the Theremin when, as a child, my father told me that the Theremin was like a woman. That is, it makes a lot of noise without you even touching it. I didn't know what he meant, but some years later when I thought I figured it out it turned me gay. Which is a shame as I had a promising career in cunilingus ahead of me.

Many people will say that America won the cold war. This is only partially true, and therefor mostly wrong. For yes, we won the space race and the arms race, and yes we broke them with the Berlin airlift but we lost the war on several other fronts. We lost the propaganda war. The Russian version of Leave it to Beaver, called Glorious Praise to the Technological Wonder of the Peoples Progress by Comrade Beavervitch, not only won audiences over with greater canned laughter exposures, but also indoctrinated household pets in the same room at their masters' television set.

The war was also lost on the musical front. While the west invented jazz, rock and roll, and the power ballad, the Soviets had developed the Theremin: an instrument part technological wonder, part war machine, and capable of emitting high power waves capable of disrupting karaoke machines.

The inventor, Leon Theremin had invented several other important modern instruments; including the acordiolla, the electric timpani, and the canon which would be later added into the 1812 overture by Americans conscious of the musical race.

After this, his most important invention Leon toured Europe and eventually came to New York (a colony of the United States) where he set up a lab to work on unpractical applications of the Theremin. A decade later he would mysteriously disappear. He was brought back to Russia by secret agents and sent to a laboratory gulag to work on military applications of the Theremin. It was from these labors that we know have the heat seeking missile and the swiss army knife.

Decades later, the Soviet government realized they had left Leon in the work prison. This was their official position on the mater however. While at the labor camp Leon had devised used his Theremin as a teleportation device and let his fellow prisoners escape but remained behind to operate the machine and ensure that guards could not pursue the prisoners through the devise.

None of the prisoners were ever to be seen again though. Leon had opened up a portal, not to the safety of the west, but rather to the surface of Mars in the hopes that by winning the space race for Russia Leon would be let free and exalted as a hero. The prisoners grandchildren are still on Mars, waiting for the Glorious Space Rockets of the Proletarian will come to rescue them. Mars is temperate, but dull they will report.

Leon's fate was not so pleasant. His final gulag meal would be three weeks later where he choked to death on the bit of pork fat in a plate of beans. This would not be what killed him however. Seeking to use his Theremin as a teleporter once again an explosion occurred when pork fat came into the instruments radiation field. This is why all Theremin players today are strict Jews or Muslims and refuse to play in slaughter houses.

The secrets of the instrument unlocked by Leon would die with him. The soviet government wished to destroy his lab and his many notes. The resulting bonfire would be the chief cause of the Chernobyl melt down. Many people would say that then Leon had his revenge, but they don't know this to be true so they do not say it.

As for the Theremin's future, well, like many technologies modern man has received from lost civilizations, we may never fully understand it; but we may gaze in wonder and fear.
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Location: Buffalo, NY

06/19/07 09:34 - 69ºF - ID#39737


Oh ya, this election season is going to fricken rock!

First off, the GOP has the worst field of candidates possible. Which makes me giggle. But then, what is this? Quinipiac has a poll that shows Guiliani beating the snot out of Hilly, Obama, Edwards, and Richardson in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida. But can't win against Al Gore. Guiliani moderate image (and let's face it, he is putting on a show for his party, he is pretty fly for a GOP guy on abortion, GLBT rights, etc) tugs at the heart strings of swing stators.

But then what happens?

Michael Bloomberg tonight filed with the board of elections to change his party from Republican to non-affiliated. The man has an approval rating of 75% in NYC, and can steel the thunder from Edwards (poverty and education) Gore (environment, holy shit his green city plan is awesome) and Hilly (New Yorkers love him).

His announced plans are to finish his term in office until 2009 and then spend the rest of his days in philanthropy.

But yesterday he was in California speaking at the Google campus. It was not officially part of the series of stumping that presidential candidates have been doing (Clinton, Edwards, McCain, and Richardson). He spoke on Presidential topics like Iraq and Immigration. And in announcing his resignation from the Republican party he sited that two distant and entrenched parties are hurting America, Michael Bloomberg is sounding like the anti-partisan answer to the most pervasive problem in contemporary American politics.

It sounds like we may have a third party candidate who can pull some major support from both parties.

Watch out Bull Moose party, I think Bloomberg is out to topple your record.

My apologies to Leon Theremin for postponing my post about him.
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Location: Buffalo, NY

06/19/07 10:28 - 82ºF - ID#39732

Pet Sounds

Everyone loves the Beatles.

They are a very safe band to love. They have the ability for their fandom to encompass the burgeoning psychedelic with Sgt. Pepper, Rubber Soul, Revolver. The radio-friendly pop-rock of their early career. The avant-gaurde and fluxus with John and Yoko.

By liking the Beatles you can say that you are a man of taste. A universally likable person.

Over the last month we have been looking back and celebrating the 40th anniversary of the seminal Sgt. Pepper album. Yes, yes. A fine album. But man, we sure missed a bunch of great albums along the way.

For example, last year was the 40th anniversary of the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album. And I did not hear even a bar of their cagillion part harmony on the radio. And it is an album, which I think, in the long run will be much more influential than Sgt. Pepper (next time you hear an orchestra, theramin, timpani, tuvan throat singing, anything other than a guitar, bass, drums, or keyboard you have Brian Wilson to thank).

Or this year we have the 30th anniversary of the Sex Pistols' Never mind the Bollocks album. That hits the big 3-0 this October. It is an album that defined punk which gave emo boys license to scream, metal bands license to burn churches, and something other than those fucking guitar lines in ska bands. Punk made rock, rock again. The swinging hips of Elvis were reborn as STD ridden filth children.

But, neither of these bands are nearly as likable as the Beatles. Wilson's tragedy isn't as compelling as the Beatles because he is mental ill. Where as the great tragedy of the Beatles is that the two least talented members are the only ones alive. And while punk may be coming back into fashion it is difficult for people to get hard thinking about heroin shooting Sid. Where as even Ringo has that muppety charm that could weasel a perked nipple on anyone.

so, happy birthday gents. I am sure Paul will be spending it with a Wings reunion tour.
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Location: Buffalo, NY

06/17/07 06:57 - 80ºF - ID#39707

In inescapable grasp of the summer BBQ

(e:Jim) and I had a BBQ for the Buffalo flickr group yesterday.

The rules went like this

We provide meat, buns, and condiments you folks provide side dishes and beverages. Only one person told us they would be bringing anything before the day of the BBQ, so here is what I made on the fly.

Fake Tapenada
tomatoes, black olives, green olives, garlic, and parsley whirled up in my beloved food processor toped on sourdough bread toasted with butter.

time: eight minutes

Everything but the kitchen sink salad
Romaine, carrots, cucumber, croutons, capers, parmesan cheese. Bottled caesar dressing (home made creamy dressings gross me out to make.)

time: six minutes

Not Just cow hamburgers
80% lean chop meat, worcestershire sauce, oats, garlic, cayenne pepper, more salt than you really should use, 2 eggs.

time: five minutes

let me tell you, there is nothing as disgusting as mixing six pounds of chop meat and eggs in an aluminum bowl. The bowl chills with the meat in it and cold metal and meat is just gross.

Well, folks showed up, and they brought stuff in abundance in a delightful uncoordinated way. We have four bags of tortilla chips, a gallon of salsa, and so much beer. OH so much beer. Most of the beer is gone now. Through we did get a mini-keg of Heineken which went largely untouched to to its late arrival. I am not much for light beer and Jim doesn't drink the stuff. So if you want it, it is yours.

Alternatively, we could have a nacho and light beer party.

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Location: Buffalo, NY

06/14/07 09:04 - 73ºF - ID#39662

Oh Mother Russia, I Take it All Back!


Over the last month or so I have been rehashing reports about how backwards Russia is on Gay rights. Backwards, my history training tells me, is both a word considered insensitive as well as often heard in reference to Russia. And while smuggling a radioactive agent across several borders to poison a states enemy is pretty hot shit, where as having fat bearded priests gathering hordes of dull eyed ass midgets to harass gay people at a meeting place is backwards. Yes, not permitted to love in public we will fuck on the fringes of society. That is how it works Mr.Bishop. Sorry it happened to be a shrine. Boo hoo.

backwards Russia, backwards.

Say it with me, backwards.

But then, something like this happens and for some reason two guys can have hot oral sex in public with a cheering crowd around them.

And Russia, I have to think that maybe you aren't all bad.

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Location: Buffalo, NY

06/14/07 02:38 - 77ºF - ID#39658

The Goons

I love Metafilter.

It means that if I find a good link I can waste the better part of an afternoon. In this case though, it was a comment on a question in which the person didn't know what he was talking about. An irrelevant introduction to what I am talking about: the goons.

Before there was Money Python there were (WIKIPEDIA - The_Goon_Show). A comedic trio, deadpan BBC announcer, and a live band. The show was broadcast before a live audience on radio in the early 1950's and had a very brief incarnation as a TV program.

The show lives on the sort of absurd puns that made Python iconic and which influenced generations of comedians. For example:

There is the reoccurring villain the Red Bladder. Or in the riding hood sketch a nervous elderly noblewoman asks her stage coach driver "where are we" to which he replies "Riding in a coach madam." Which, on its own isn't that funny but each line in the show is a rhythm of set up and punch line. The collective chuckle of each mediocre joke gets a weigh of immense hilarity. It is the sort of writing and performance that is at a break neck pace. You wonder how the heck anyone could have the stamina to do this.

The three principle comedians involved are Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe, and Peter Sellers of Being There and [i]Pink Panther[i] fame.

The show makes heavy use of special effects. The sort of sureal noises created in a lab and used in really strange context. Stranger still are the various voices the actors use. A beloved retarded man who when asked a question replies "hold on, I have it written down on a piece of paper" even when asked 'what time is it' or 'who are you?' it is a reoccurring character. You just wet yourself when you hear it.

And you should hear it. There is a streaming podcast, which is getting me through work today. Check it out.
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Location: Buffalo, NY

06/13/07 10:18 - 73ºF - ID#39635

Zombie TV makes me happy


Doesn't talking about tax bases and city planning just get your week off to a lovely start? And now for something completely different....


James Burke.

One of my favorite TV shows has been posted on youtube until some copyright privateer ruins the party. Connections by and staring James Burke was a BBC show in which Burke began with something very simple and shows how that one invention was a trigger for immense historical change. I have a few books from grad school all about such triggers, and let me tell you, James Burke delivers it in a much more enjoyable way.

For example.

In one episode he shows a village square full of medieval peasants laughing, feasting, playing music, and dancing. The camera angle is from the ground looking straight up and Burke says "Now, I want you to do me a favor, look up the ladies dresses. Yup, that is right, the trigger for historical change is frilly knickers" and 20 minutes in the program later you have the computer.

The show is wonderful. When/if I become a social studies teacher I hope to do a James Burke routine with a few topics. Hear that? He is inspirational. That is a damn good show.

Anyway, here is the first part of the first episode. All of them are on youtube, all of them are cut up into five, ten minute bits. All are wonderful. Enjoy them while you can.

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Location: Buffalo, NY

06/12/07 12:28 - 69ºF - ID#39620

A post in which nothing funny happens

Politicians don't get me hard.

Oh ya, those young left leaning kids love Obama, and certainly he is spreadable like butter. But no hard on, just limp with missed expectations.

And activists? Unless you want to add Emma Goldman's face to Mt. Rushmore, well, you might as well just smell like patchouli and volunteer for NYPIRG.

But then, there is Kevin Gaughan.

Kevin is not a politician. Yes, he has run for mayor, but not being a gear in the local machine he missed out.

Kevin isn't a 'all wet but no boner' activist. He isn't saving Pandas or documenting the east side as it crumbles into memory. The man has done research, crunched his numbers, has lifted a veil, and he has a plan to stick it to the bride.

This, is The Cost.

A site in which Kevin has tabulated the cost of running the local governments and compares them to a comparable city. The findings are absurd.

It is like this. Decades ago Atlanta was the sort of city you were as likely to find a McDonald's as you were to be having sex with your first cousin. That is to say, it was a place you wouldn't want to live. But as corporations moved down and took the population of New Jersey with them the city grew. As the city expanded so did the city line. Atlanta ate hamlets and villages and all became one big city with a normal rate of web-toed incest babies.

Buffalo never has.

Kenmore is a good place to start. It has 15,555 people living there and six elected officials. Buffalo has a population of 279,745 with 24 elected officials. That means, if Buffalo had the same ratio of people to elected officials there would be 90 members of the common council instead of 10.

The figures in his report jump off the page and makes us wonder just why the hell we are spending so much money on government. How many officials do we need to pick up the trash anyway? If Kenmore were to become apart of Buffalo we could save over $600,000. And that is just dinky Kenmore. Imagine what would happen if villages like Sloan or Brant were incorporated into municipalities? Not necessarily Buffalo, but a greater Williamsville, or Amherst.

How does all this stack up to the comparable cities. This is a real hoot.

What Kevin is calling greater Buffalo has 439 elected officials and 45 governments. Somehow New York City with ten times the population manages to get by with one government and half the elected officials. Indianapolis, which has a similar population to us has 14 governments and half the elected officials.

Gaugen solution isn't as draconian as the research suggests. The hatchet sounds really nice to me, but Kevin is nicer than me. He proposes that local governments each drop two elected officials by attrition, for a total of 84 politicians.

That doesn't sound to bad, does it?
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