Wednesday, April 20, 2016

elbow in the ribs

I like reading fiction, even though I don't do much these days and real serious mowers-through-pages would laugh at my book-per-year count.  I think more than I read at this age.

I read whatever passed in front of me from age 3 or 4 (depends on whom you ask in my family) to first grade, where my school's librarian was tasked with helping reading-inclined kids find books to hold their interest.  She put me in touch eventually --maybe 3d grade-- with Heinlein's kid scifi.  My family got me Hardy Boys mystery series books, not often enough really, I read each one probably 10x minimum, eventually had a bunch of them.  My aunt, who taught French & Spanish when first starting out as a public school teacher and who spent 2 years living in Spain, used to give me Tintin cartoon panel stories in Spanish to supplement the standard Spanish we got at that school in each of grades 1-6.

None of this was my family trying to fast-track me for Excellence in Education, a/k/a Admission to Harvard.

It was just them, trying to keep me occupied, because I was otherwise going to pester them with questions about everything.

And it wasn't limited to reading.  I used to take things apart and put them back together again, too.  Sometimes I'd get stuck and have to go tail-between-legs to my grandfather, "...now I can't get it back together again, what did I do wrong?"

*********************

Using tools was as instinctive as breathing.  My grandfather didn't have to teach me how to use a screwdriver or wrench -- their application was obvious to me.  The phillips head screw was pure genius to my kid mind.  "Look at how it stops the screwdriver blade from slipping out as you turn it!"  Incredible.

Around age 7 I thought I was going to be a mechanic or designer of mechanical devices.  I'd taken apart and reassembled enough things to want to be the person who designed the complex machine arising from all those parts. 

There were limitations.

For example, like everyone I've ever known, I had to be taught to lock out the wrist when trying to hammer a nail.

From the elbow, not from the wrist!

It took a little practice, but soon the hammerhead stopped denting the wood instead of driving the nail.

**********************

I read so much my friends thought I was a human computer or something.  "What's the point of all that reading?"  "Don't you get enough reading from school work?"  "You mean you don't read comic books?"

I did read comic books for a couple years around 2d or 3d grade, I'd ride my bike to the 7-Eleven and get an Iron Man or Green Lantern comic book, but they were good for maybe 5 mins of reading fun.  What a ripoff!  After maybe five comic books:  I wasn't spending my scrounged quarters on such a waste.

Obviously I was wary about the wily fabricators and marketers of quick-buck wares even at an early age.

**********************

Juvenile fiction gave way to stories about explorers and mountain climbers, people who were test pilots for aircraft, race car drivers, astronauts.  I got my first car and then all reading turned toward learning how the internal combustion engine works, how to improve its power output and delivery to the wheels, how to work on engines and drivetrains.

Around the same time, I was also trying to become a good golfer, albeit of the public course-tshirt-Budweiser variety instead of countryclub-Izod-G&T variety.  I read a lot about the history of the game, its great players, the changes in equipment over time, the development and refinement of the golf swing, the common flaws of learning golfers, shotmaking strategy, whole-game strategy.

Then I went to college.

**********************

At some point in my extended collegiate tenure, I restarted on fiction reading and went through many of the novels I'd speed-read for easy-B grades in English during grades 7-12, this time reading them slower.  My first college English class was Intro to Short Fiction, using the Norton Reader, packed full of short stories we never read or discussed in class.  I read through all the stories in the Reader and then read novels by several whose short stories I'd really liked.

In the summers I'd read a lot of fiction.  I had my plow-through-the-pages period at the same time my college & grad school workloads had me reading tons already.  Apparently being forced to cram lots of science-related information made me want to keep shoving material into my mind, just not the scientific kind.  More the imaginative kind.

**********************

During my own personal progressive era, I read a lot of the stuff people might now call meta- or post- whatever.  Several "difficult" writers, a good number of "difficult" books.

Unlike the politics I explored and tried to inhabit during that era, the fiction had some durable value.  Some of the work I read in that era formed my thoughts/views today.

In contrast, the political experiment was excellent learning, but gave me nothing to chew on later, instead offering plenty of examples of what not to do, how not to be, and/or which conclusions one should not draw from the evidence.

I did take some value from the work called The Tunnel, which I read during the halcyon days of my progressive political journey.  Gass is an example of a word-artist, a term that I generally use sarcastically but in his case, and in that of a few others, it does apply.  But it applies so extensively to Gass that it almost is about words-as-words, rather than words-as-conglomerate.  I suppose I should be startled a publisher finds novel-esque cohesion in the work, but then, I never understood why Jackson Pollock was considered a genius for literally hurling paint at a canvas.

**********************

The point:

A publication from the squishy-left, culture-maven-aesthete perspective will always find a way to remind you that the truest values are those of the progressive, and in so doing will remind you of the historical demons progressives have battled for millennia:

Gass emerged from rural Ohio and turned himself into a writer to save his soul from sure destruction. According to Gass, his father was a racist and an anti-Semite, and becoming a writer was a way of discovering the opposite, the path toward mental freedom and a means of understanding the world. “Good little clerk, my father hated workers, blacks, and Jews, the way he expected women to hate worms.” But those ugly childhood years set the table for a lifetime of literary examination.

Normally I'd hate to remind Ben Weissman of a simple fact, but I'm forced to do so in order to drive the point home, to not dent the wood with the hammerhead.

No matter what family you grow up in, your parent(s) will have flaws. Even the most treasured pansexuality-approving, all-races-loving, dripping-with-kindness Lovable Hippie facade parent will have his/her bugi men. And among Salon's readers, even if your parents were gay themselves, and loved all expressions of sexuality including overt displays designed to offend the prudes and progress our society, they'd have their own demons, hating on rednecks and everything else that William Gass had to endure from a redneck father.

Remember: rural is BAD, people. Uncultured, unabashedly smallminded and bigoted, lacking parchments and all their indicia of refinement. Thank Yahweh Mr Weissman grew up with parents who taught him rednecks are bad.

But more importantly, thank Mr Weissman for finding a way to suggest that reading William Gass is the same as knowing it's far better to despise rednecks than it is to be a redneck.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

we baaad-athhhh. we pwogWESSSive.

The "industry insiders" of ridemonkey:

Sandwich said:

I'd be more worried about the e-tard bumping into a hiker, who just happens to go to the same right winger church as his local congressman, and having MTB access to the land curtailed.

By the way, fuck horses.

Exactly this sentiment. The trail Connects directly with Multnomah Falls and the hike-only access trails. Two million people visit it each year making it the most visited recreation site in the PNW.

And yeah, fuck people riding horses. The only legal multi-access trails here are covered in horse (and dog) shit, and it's Giardia season.

These are the same dipshits who talk about someone being a "great ambassador for the sport" and who get excited when they see "growth" in "the sport."

And always, they find a way to express their brilliant omniscient wisdom in terms which are stoutly progressive and stridently anti-everyone-who-isn't-a-progressive.

They know dressage and steeplechase and fox hunt riders, and think that's the whole of horse people. They encounter snooty country club people on horses with jodhpurs and a riding crop and one of those dorky helmets, sneering down his/her nose at the cyclist on MTB, and think that is who closed the Boulder-White Clouds in Idaho.

What morons. They know nothing politically, nothing interpersonally, nothing in the realm of what constitutes the full breadth of human perspective.

****************

The horse people you encounter in places like the Boulder-White Clouds or the Bitterroots are more likely to be people who have ridden horses on rugged western rocky cliffy rutty irregular trails for decades, whose parents did likewise.

In my experience, if you have a bad interaction with any of them, you brought that to the mix.  I've encountered them plenty of times and never had a negative interaction.

In contrast, snooty yuppies who are on foot, generally in expensive footwear of the marathon trail runner type and likely seen on Kilian Jornet's feet, or a rugged approach shoe approved by the REI sales person for their first real western "hike," commonly will try to tell you that you don't belong in the hills on the trails on such a horrible machine which creates ruts and scares animals.

That's been my experience.

Looking at horse people for why we have trail closures to MTBs in the west is idiocy, and reveals a gentrifying urban progressive perspective. 

I'm feeling your Bern, SandyAndy and BoneyMoronie.  But to continue using that stupid metaphor but modifying it for my own purposes:  you're the ones who've burnt all your fuel well in advance of the long winter. 

Can't get wood from a reactionary's logpile or cut down a tree on a reactionary's land, since you told them to fuck off. 

Hate them like an enemy, don't know them as neighbors.

Yep, it's them.

****************

This is why 99% of the time, Fred Armisen isn't funny in Portlandia.  He's too much a hipster himself.  He's not mocking himself in the skits though.  He's just acting like it's someone else who's an insufferable hipster.

Meanwhile...

Fred Armisen argues progressive points when he talks politics.  And makes money with lousy insufferably self-impressed "comedy" skits -- cynically, negatively, destructively toward his fellow person.

Is he just doing that Marxist in-fighting thing?

Is that what the Portland OR - Boston MA contingent from ridemonkey are doing too?

****************

I'd guess Armisen and the ridemonkey Pride of Progressives might try to backpedal with a claim that they're just doing The Aristocrats, and I'm too square/reactionary to see the subtle comedy in their refined rhetorical displays.

They'd soldier on, not realizing such a move just reinforces their one-sidedness, their smugness, their ultimately self-destructive hubris.


Friday, April 15, 2016

take your fad-creation urges and stuff 'em

From Barnoldswick, England we get Hope's prototype MTB frame which sports a relatively non-unique appearance and somewhat ubiquitous suspension type, but also these unique features:

• 17 x 130mm rear hub spacing
• Zero dish rear wheel

As makers of hubs they are familiar with "the industry" changing standards on hubs merely as a way to force new sales, and as a seller of the hubs they make themselves, they know what helps or hurts sales at the hub-maker's end of things. Apparently, they don't agree with what "the industry" has been doing on wheel hub "standards" during the past decade.

I would not be surprised to hear people at Hope say something like,

Well, actually, when people raised concerns about 100mm wide 9mm axle fronts and 135mm wide 9mm axle rears, we did have 150mm width thru axle rear and 110mm width/20mm axle front standards already for wheel & frame sturdiness, but apparently hair-splitting of existing sizes was more important and so "the industry" needed to create multiple sizes shy of the DH standard, selling them with false claims regarding "improvements" through such things as 15mm axles rather than 20mm axles, or 143, 145, 147 and 148mm widths when we already had 150. And why do we have 100mm wide 15mm when there's 110/20? Well, we're tired of that shit, so here's our project bike. Quit mucking about with people's wallets already, "industry."

In fact, with those two bullet points, that's precisely what they've said.

Pretty good craic from Hope, if you ask me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

lacking imagination

Usual morning internet scan includes reading technobabble at EpicSki.  A few days back someone started an interesting thread about the PSIA Certification Process.  I've been through that process and had some thoughts of my own regarding what I experienced myself and saw in other skiers participating in the same clinics, groups, etc.  But since I don't post on EpicSki, I just sat back and waited to see if anyone had thoughts similar to mine.

Eventually the issue arose in this post.  I shouldn't be surprised that it was Metaphor_ who brought it up.  He didn't actually raise it directly, though.  It wasn't raised directly until later, when people had watched the skiers in this video and were commenting on what they saw here:



I watched that video and thought, "on what planet are those people L2 ready?" Most of them I would not want teaching anything but how to put on skis and stand up/get up from the ground, basic balance, basic slide/glide, wedge basics.  I wouldn't want them teaching me anything else, I wouldn't want them teaching anyone who cared about skiing well either.

I don't think any of them knows how to make a turn, but each of them has a unique way to throw the skis around (hey, maybe that's why "throw them around" is such a big deal in Blister reviews) to change which side of the run the tips are facing.

I wondered if anyone else thought the same.

Someone did.  In a somewhat reserved fashion.  But eventually people admitted that around the country, people who ski much better than those in the video above fail to make L2, while others skiing not much better than the video subjects will gain L2.

Inconsistency in standards.

It's an inevitable victim in a need it now! hyperactivity-based culture.

Of course lousy skiers get L2s, they can look like decent intermediates on nearly any modern ski, which has the capacity to make most if not all of the turn for the passenger standing atop it.  In an era when people begin to ski off-piste not because they've learned to ski well on groomers first, but because they got the right skis, of course L2 is automatic, like getting the right skis.

It couldn't, and therefore shouldn't, be about rigorous fundamentals.  L2 skiers shouldn't be able to ski crud on 80mm waisted skis, that would be an impossible standard to meet in an era where the average all mountain ski recommended for 75% of skiers has a 106mm waist!

If the industry's marketing tells beginners they are now "advanced" if they are on the right ski, I suppose instructors should be the same.

******************

A little sanity seemed to be creeping into the discussion when this observation was shared:

Inconsistently is definitely a problem, however the only solution for it is more money in the system, and due to the fundamental issue of low pay in the US, instructors aren't willing to pay more for certification, so examiners don't get paid or trained as thoroughly as they could be. I've never worked on the EC but are most examiners full time instructors? My perception is that a lot of them are part timers as well.

The only way to have a completely consistent nationwide level would be to have an examiner pool of full time examiners, paid better than they would earn at Aspen (otherwise why do it) travelling to the exams. Unfortunately that's never going to happen.

Hang on a minute!

Strict standards and rigorous compliance with those standards doesn't cost any more operationally than lax standards and vague sorta-compliance.

I bet I could make a strong argument that over the long term, it costs less

But I only craft such arguments for pay.  And nobody's paying me.

Just kidding. 

I'll make the argument -- if it's still necessary once you've reached the bottom of this post, but I don't think it will be.

******************

Ask yourself why someone would assume money is needed for this lax standards problem.

The same assumption is made regarding public education, and it's just as wrong there.

Why do you need more money to have high standards?

Why do you need more money to maintain them?

******************

I've never needed the attraction of money in order to set high standards for myself.

Maybe the problem is found in why someone has gone into ski teaching or school teaching.

Saying "I really like kids" or "kids are tomorrow's hope" or such things, that doesn't speak much on the issue of education.  That's what you'd want from a babysitter/nanny, I suppose, but not what you'd want from a teacher.

Or, not what I'd want from a teacher, at least.  I don't need much comforting, just the details. 

If you don't catch what I'm saying here, try this: 

If a child needs "a safe space" in which to learn, and hearing "objectionable words" makes the space "unsafe," that's a home life problem we're talking about.  Parents have failed to teach their children that the world is a diverse place full of people who use different ways of seeing things, different ways of communicating, different types of clothing choice, eating different foods even!  The school should receive children who have learned this at home.  Schools are not for teaching that softy stuff.

Come to school ready to learn, or be prepared to fail!

That would be the motto of my school, if ever I started one.

And that should be the motto of all "certification standards" mechanisms used by entities like PSIA.

Maybe if they divorced themselves from the "resorts" and the "industry" -- got away from the "grow the sport" mentality, I mean -- they might see that high standards are easy to set and maintain, if you simply choose the proper target/focus.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

bent and woozy



ERRATA:

Pablo told me I was seriously lapsed when I failed to include this:



Jesus F Chromium Plastic Crucifix, Chet! The Verlaine solo! You idiot!

was his precise wording.

All right, Pablo, I fall on my sword.

The other Verlaine on Penthouse:


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

they're both progressives

Silent T Cosmotarians

vs

NPR/PBS Progressives

This is where each of the parties' energies are put.

Rs --> Cosmotarian,

Ds --> Progressive

And as I said earlier, they agree more often than not, especially when it comes to social status matters.  Identification with totems of accomplishment and display of consumer power through various types of trophies are characteristics of progressives and cosmotarians alike.  Both are more concerned about gay/lesbian/bi/trans/∞ rights, abortion access, eternally improving technology and constant dogged pursuit of biosynthetic life than everyone else in America who wouldn't ID as progressive or liber( actually, cosmo)tarian.

The cosmo may pretend he/she is a fan of personal liberty, minarchist government, etc., but if the essays by present day cosmotarians and the posted thoughts of commenters at places like the Silent T are any indication, really their liberties are about greed (lower my taxes because I want more, not because I care about efficiency in govt); promiscuity (everyone should fuck everyone all the time, PLUS it's way more important that gays/bis/whatevers are treated with kid gloves than it is to ignore all sexuality matters unless the acts in question might actually constitute sexual assault or sexual battery); and hedonism (we like weed, but tax-and-regulate; we're not really minarchist or libertarian, we just like money, and tax-and-regulate sounds like a niche we might slide into for some extra profit ourselves, PLUS we hate those blue collar working class idiots who grow and sell weed on the black market).

Tell me how that's different from the progressive.  Tell me how they're not both one-upping themselves by putting down any blue collar, uneducated, redneck indicia they encounter in their own brand of American Lifestyle.  

********************

To prove the interdependence and/or difficulty-in-distinction, I just hit a Middle Class Bubble test at the PBS website, and I arrived at that website because of a link at the Silent T.

********************

Answering the questions honestly, I scored a 64.

What this means only Charles Murray knows for sure, and Mr Murray's past work hasn't been the most objective I've seen.  He likes confirmation bias enough to make his work unscientific IMO.  But if you value someone's work for what it may trigger in your thinking, rather than for whether it's earned the Ultimate Authority shield, there may be something to what Murray's done here, or at least as far as the questions I answered showed Murray's perspective.

Apparently a 64 is a pretty high score, and I have to say that my relative unemployment (hence: enhanced poverty) during the past 5 years made the score a bit lower, since there was a question where I was asked how many movies I'd seen in the past year, and I haven't seen any, mostly because of the cost.  Probably I'd have a 68-72 if I was more eager to risk the cost of a SONIC BARRAGE experience at the local multiplex.

According to the PeeBeeEss website, my 64 score means this in Murray-land:
48–99: A lifelong resident of a working-class neighborhood with average television and movie going habits.
Sounds pretty accurate to me.


--Paul Behrer, whose familiarity with lace curtains is non-existent.

this is the mind of the person whose skull is filled with organically grown cotton

Thanks to technology, we can provide a digital simulation of an analog gauge, which costs only about 30x what an analog device would have cost if digitizing-the-world hadn't rendered actual working parts and skilled labor as pseudo-redundant or, at least for the present era's collective mind, not useful for any purpose we'd like to see achieved.

Analog needles, but the analogy stops there.
The depth, breadth, scope of consumerism in America circa 2016 really will be something for people to think about in 2066 and 2116.

*******************

Imaginary scholarly work from 2066, in their field of study which has a name we can't predict right now, but which resembles sociology and/or economics and/or anthropology using the labels of the second half of the 20th Century.

There was no form of material excess conceivable to the American Consumer of 2016.  As of 2016 in America, digitizing was the known landscape for pre-teen and teen consumer world -- to them it wasn't reality being digitized, reality was digital.  Young adults watched .mp3 players disappear only to resurface in the smartphone, which in the average young adult imagination of near future reality was sure to replace the wristwatch in size, shape, design, and place-of-wearing/-carrying, at least for those with young eyes.  Middle aged and older people had seen everything find a digital replacement which, despite all sales pitches contrariwise, often was no match for the original mechanical/organic version in quality, durability, reliability, or ease of use.

Likewise, pornography -- which before the Digital Era was a seedy practice with equally grimy products sold generally in places of dubious reputation -- was transformed into a freely available thing accessible to anyone with a computer, smartphone, tablet, internet connection, etc.  Every image, drawing, video, or conceptual art work the human sexual drive might promote if given free reign with absolutely no boundaries of any type, all of it could be found.  The tacky little pamphlet in your daddy's bottom drawer that Frank Zappa sang about in Dirty Love, it was no more likely found in a father's dresser drawers in 2016 than a rotary-dial telephone wired to land lines would be that same father's primary household telecommunications device.

As with the key parties of the 1970s, cultural signals in 2016 suggested that women should be having extramarital affairs because sex was half a buck of verdigris or something to that effect, rather than whatever smaller number of shades in the sexual tonal palette of the woman's pitifully inadequate and carnally incompetent husband/partner/mate/co-parent.

It has been said that a dying culture appeases only the adolescent view, and ignores the longer-term view of the seasoned, challenged, failed-yet-got-up-and-tried-again-many-times elder human.  Whether that is a cliche with no real substance is not worth arguing over, because looking back on it 25 years later, the America of 2016 resembled nothing as much as a 15 year old adolescent whose raging hormones, early notions of individual personhood, and existential confusion find him/her unable to focus on anything for more than a few moments.

Excerpt from the cloudcipherdoc3.0 titled America 2000-2025: The Paranoia and Collapse, author ID 82xYr6+qq37, origination claimed CY 2041.

********************

Obviously, I made up the idea that 25 years from now we won't call things "books" or "treatises" or "texts" but rather, the nomenclature will have been re-imagined by those who have no organic tangible page-flipping documents in their background.  Also I fabricated the notion of something like your firewall-secure router access key being what people will take to using as their actual personal ID, rather than the reactionary, tawdry, sad, dirt-eating thing we now call, in redneck-Christian-snake-handler ignorance, "names."


--Karl Franz Ochstradt, who thinks you should be happy you have so many gadgets to use for distraction from how unfulfilling your life is -- not just sexually unsatisfying, but also in so many other ways that you most surely are embarrassed to admit.


Saturday, April 2, 2016

you'd need a pretty big turbo-fan to clear the air

Appeals to authority are so instinctive to so many people.  Maybe it's because our incredible public school system doesn't know how to teach to inquisitive minds and only manages to require conformity as the best approximation of actual education.  But at least the teach... oops, I mean educators, are well paid and only work 9 mos year and 7 hrs/day during those 9 months.  And they have a great union that makes sure everyone follows the company line:  conformity!  Standards!  Memorizing trivia!  Multiple choice!  Composition is unnecessary in the computerized spellcheck era!

On and on it goes in the minds of the mushy thinkers.

***************

So you never learned how to discern shilling from earnest information sharing, and the best tool you know for managing that gap is the Appearance of Authority, eh?

Around these parts, we call that the White Lab Coat blunder.  Typical victims are people who never studied any science at any depth, and if they are presented with something scientific-ish and the presenter wears a White Lab Coat, it's probably true!  See, e.g., Nigel West Dickens and the entire topic of science, over which he assumes editorial authority at the Silent T.  Also see the past five years of slavish infotainment media devotion to Elon Musk and the largesse bestowed upon his business enterprises in the form of public money.  Look, he promised us the moon and free open source access to all the technology his businesses have developed when being funded by public money!  No way he's a con artist!

***************

In the world of the pseudo- or aspiring-intellectual, the poker tell for the pseudo- or aspiring status is the way in which the pseudo/aspirant consistently gets gulled by pompous or quasi-academic presentation.  The most famous practitioner has been ribbed several times by this blog's prior authors:  Noam Chomsky.

When reading people such as Chomsky, it helps to have handy a copy of Paul Fussell's book Class and opened to Chapter VII - "Speak, That I May See Thee" - where on pages 160-161 he says:

Rawson goes on to develop a nice pseudo-social-scientific "Fog or Pomposity Index," by which a euphemism's relation to the word or phrase it replaces can be quantified, high numbers indicating the greatest multiplication of syllables, or euphemistic success.  Rawson's arithmetical details need not concern us.  We can just note that the FOP index of prostitute in relation to whore is 2.4, and in relation to harlot, 1.4.  One of the highest FOP Indexes Rawson notes is earned by the designation Personal Assistant to the Secretary (Special Activities), given to his cook by a former cabinet member.  This euphemism registers an FOP number of 17.8, which must be close to an all-time record.

So terrified of being judged socially insignificant is your typical member of the middle class, so ambitious of earning a reputation as a judicious thinker, indeed, almost an "executive," that it's virtually impossible for him to resist the temptation constantly to multiply syllables. 

Fussell provides endless examples of this if you use the link I provided earlier and scroll down to pp 160-161.

What people like Mr Chomsky do is appeal to that terrified of being judged socially insignificant status, and that ambitio[n toward] earning a reputation as a judicious thinker, and gull you with fog and pomposity.  It might be said that reading Chomsky lends one to the fantastic conclusion that it's just like getting a genuine graduate degree level education at MIT, and actually getting admitted to MIT and taking a whole raft of u-grad and grad classes, that's for chumps!

That's not an interior conversation you're likely to admit having yourself, though.  Is it?

It's comforting to have such experts on whom you can rely unconditionally to deliver an accurate presentation of reality, or at least those parts you don't really know/understand yourself.

At least you're not some pentecostal Christian shackled to some reactionary religious beliefs, or anything like that.


--Harold Caidagh, who thinks you could learn a thing or two from the Stampers.

Friday, April 1, 2016

can I keep it around?



It's the way of the world. Not a single comment after the video on YT.

Used to amaze me how, in the city-est city of a city-happy world -- NYC -- a loser like me could see Buckner and the room wouldn't be the least bit crowded.  Not once out of five times live was it crowded.



Of course his song hadn't appeared in a Volkswagen commercial back then, back in the mid-late 90s. But he's still invisible, mostly.

Maybe it's the fact that his voice isn't crooning, smooth, silky, or whatever quality it is he's not providing for your sense of fancy/proper.

But then maybe you could look past that and listen to the lyrics.

Maybe the "country" in "alt-country" turns you off. If that's the case, more's the pity at your end of the world. Don't know what you're missing, etc.

Even NPR finds Buckner tolerable, y'know. 

That right there, it may explain his off-radar status!



This album is more likely to be familiar in its full-band sense, so start there. If you like it, go backward to Devotion+Doubt, then to Bloomed. Then go forward from Since.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

gosh it's just like an episode of CSI

When the video for the first round of the SuperBro of the World (SERIOUS!) ends up more over-produced than the 2d Duran Duran album, you know you're MAINSTREAM BRO!  It's like traveling to Monaco, full boat, on the company card!

*****************

Overheard thanks to my trusty drone flying around Corral, Chile:

--This year we are the Spokesman for the Industry.  Our videos have to focus on lifestyle, exotic locations, enviable views, interesting locals, rare food items, indigenous flora/fauna, and of course, the bikes.  The lust objects themselves!

--Right.  Totally agree.  It's not about racing or riding skill, it's about being in enviable locations riding bikes you can only dream of riding.

--Exactly.  Can't agree more.

--Product placement, then.

--Lots of product.

--But subtle.  And with Euro music in the background.

--Right.  Again, totally agree.  Should feel like you're on vacation at a club at 3 AM on the French Riviera.  I mean, who ever gets to do that?

--On the money.  Bang on the money.  Give that man a cigar.

******************

Instead of 20 mins of Hollywood, I'd take 4 mins of RAW.

Rather than an airbrushed version of a model who's had 4 different facial re-making surgeries already, I'll take the natural woman.

But thanks for trying to drag me up your social ladder.  I appreciate your thoughtful ways, how you make me feel guilty for not liking the fancy version.  Quite sly.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

everything recycled, even if not green, but especially when green is part of the bargain

I'm predicting/guessing AC Newman listened to this song (and its album) many, many times in the period during or just prior to writing or thinking about songs, lyrics, tunes for Mass Romantic and Electric Version.



AC Newman using Neko Case on those two listed New Pornographers albums resembles Anton Fier using Syd Straw on the two Golden Palominos albums Visions of Excess and Blast of Silence.

The ways Syd Straw colored the two GP albums?  Hey it's right there again, with Neko Case on the two NP albums.

************************

A lot of the music made in the early and mid 1980s got screwed by idiotic money-chasing record labels who hired "producers" to square-peg-into-round-hole whatever band was available to the $-grubber "band manager" or "promoter" with contacts to someone at some record label.  And to lesser degree, by bands being immature and unwilling to believe their own sound ideas were worth following.   But mostly, because it was so often done against artists' wills, we can blame the record labels and the other vampires who do not create anything themselves, but instead make money by taking others' creations and then repackaging those creations.

In the 1980s, what did record label idiots do to fuck with and perhaps even destroy the vibrant musical talent offered to them?

They were like Ron Bailey at the Silent T, and couldn't leave anything in its natural state, and had to create synthetic reality.

Therefore:  synthesizers were over-used and, for reasons I'll never understand, were treated through filters that killed everything below mid-range.  So the music was thin, shrill, tinny, and without any solid foundation.

Some bands managed to avoid getting tainted by the money-grubbing producers and record label promoters, and/or by lack of self-respect leading to following whatever seems like a popular trend of the moment, sonics/vibe wise, in whatever musical niche one occupies.  

These two GP albums are among the handful created in that decade which don't sound squashed like a bug, or like they're being rendered through a kazoo chorus.  I can see why Newman would want to emulate either of them, but especially the Blast of Silence one.  Visions of Excess was a bit too grindy, dour and visceral for an upbeat and only slightly sarcastic pop band like New Pornographers.


-- Karl Franz Ochstradt, who thinks you should own this album.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

scottish











this one isn't McGinley or Teenage Fanclub but it belongs anyway




--Karl Franz Ochstradt, and may all your 6-strings be fuzzy and distorted

Saturday, March 26, 2016

more technobabble

Prior mumble focused on "shin to win" and "be on the balls of your feet," and now arrives that concept's cousin for more ...uh... inquiry as to why things get mis-communicated and then turn into mantras of wrongness.

Here's where the buck-toothed cousin arrives at the upscale dinner party:

Maybe I should have phrased the question like this... "Technically speaking, why should one's hips be over their feet in the bottom third of a turn?"

The father's sister's son reveals his prominent beaver-biters with this: hips over feet.

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The origins here again are similar to those with "get on the balls of your feet."  You'd tell someone "hips over feet" if they habitually sit back and lever their turns with the swing of their big behonkus (as my brother would have said it in jr high).

Once again, it's a matter of addressing symptom rather than cause.  So, really:  why is this skier using his/her ass-pelvis-femurs-spine consortium to create turns (or at least ski-torquing/ski-braking forces) when it should be starting down at the feet with everything else happening to remain in balance, with the greatest economy possible.**

Ideally such a skier should be projecting the core down the intended line, and not using the hips/ass as a move-initiator or gravity-resistor.

Once again the skier needs to ratchet way back on slope difficulty and learn to move with the skis rather than defending against their movement.  That's the only way to un-make the hip/ass bias in the skier who gets told, "hips over feet."  And the advice "hips over feet" might be a useful cue, as long as it's understood as a cue for getting the core moving in the ways it should be moving.  But it's easily misunderstood as a mandate to have an artificial position of literal hips-over-feet-ness.

***************

Let Bob Barnes show why he's the guru.

Why do you need to believe anyone? Whenever I lead an instructor clinic, or a lesson, one of the first things I tell the participants is that they must not believe anything I tell them. Question it, challenge it, test it, and only then will you begin to understand and learn. Plus, of course, I could be wrong. (I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken....) But they must likewise not believe that anything I tell them is wrong, either, without questioning and testing it. (It just might be right!) Furthermore, they must not believe anything anyone else has told them. And they must question even what they themselves already believe. If you learn and believe what I tell you, you'll gain "knowledge" (but how will you know if it's right?). Only when you question it will you gain understanding. With understanding, you won't need to remember the "right answer." There will be no need to believe me, or anyone else, anymore!

Question everything. Question even--and perhaps especially--your own beliefs. Believing and understanding live on opposite ends of a spectrum--if you understand, you don't need to believe, and we only have to "believe" things we don't understand. In everything in life, we have the choice between questioning and believing--that is, between questioning and not questioning. It's your choice.

This may sound cynical, but it is far from it. It's really just being scientific--seeking evidence, and being open to evidence that is contrary to what I thought was true. It is amazing to me how often many people--including experienced instructors and race coaches--will see an image or watch a skier clearly demonstrating something that runs counter to their belief system, and yet somehow refuse to believe their eyes. They see what they look for, and turn a blind eye to contrary evidence. As CGeib often says, "believing is seeing"--there is no limit to how much our belief systems can color our perception. Even more interesting to me is that the higher the level of accomplishment, the more difficult it often becomes to "see." Questioning means opening your eyes!

The topic of this thread--fore-aft movements and managing fore-aft pressure--includes some of the the least-questioned and deepest-seated bits of conventional wisdom in all of skiing. You must be forward--it's one of the sacred canons of skiing. It's doctrine, it's dogma, and the mere thought of questioning it is out of the question, ... right? Well, in my opinion, the more something is unquestioned, the more it should be questioned. And when you take a good, hard, questioning, scientifically skeptical look at these issues, I believe (!) you'll find that a whole lot of the dogma is just, plain, wrong! (But please, don't believe me.) Why is there so much confusion about fore-aft movements? Simple--because so few people question it! Although really, I suggest that the problem is not so much confusion as ignorance. Confusion requires thought--questioning, letting "contrary evidence" in to challenge your belief system. When you believe without question, you are never confused. Confusion is not such a bad thing, really, is it? Ignorance is blissfully simple and clear. Learning requires the will to embrace a little confusion!

So how do you know who to believe, you ask? You don't need to believe anyone. Once you understand something, you won't need anyone else to tell you whether it's right or not. Mahatma Gandhi said, "Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear."

Question everything--especially me. I'm probably wrong. But you'll never know until you question!

You should own a copy of this if you find technobabble interesting.

And to clear up the way you have been thinking about forward-ness, in the context of skiing at least, just read Bob Barnes' later post in that same thread, here.



______________________

** Though Nigel West Dickens and the cosmotarians may like to say I don't understand economics, I assure you that when it comes to efficiency in athletic movements, in conceptual logic, in reasoning, in argument, in rhetoric, in mechanical operation of a device or group of people (factory) -- I know economy and efficiency very well.  And I don't think many economists actually do, as their eye tends to resemble a bean-counter's.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

confection

The way an international terror event happens right when the infotainment media are starting to feel pinched on which POTUS candidate should be distinguished enough to gain the White House?

Yep.  That's sweet.

An event that justifies all the negative developments since nynah leaven is exactly what's needed to help pitch the 2016 POTUS race in just the right tones and terms.

Like drinking Karo syrup.

I think nothing fits better than this:




-- Paul Behrer, who has enough fillings in his mouth already, thanks very much.