Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fight The Dour!

Once more, if Nature had given a scope for things
To be forever broken more and more,
By now the bodies of matter would have been
So far reduced by breakings in old days
That from them nothing could, at season fixed,
Be born, and arrive its prime and of life.
For, lo, each thing is quicker marred than made;
And so what'er the long infinitude
Of days and all fore-passed time would now
By this have broken and ruined and dissolved,
That same could ne'er in all remaining time
Be builded up for plenishing the world.
But mark: infallibly a fixed bound
Remaineth stablished 'gainst their breaking down;
Since we behold each thing soever renewed,
And unto all, their seasons, after their kind,
Wherein they arrive the flower of their age.

Lucretius, "On The Nature Of Things" (50 BC) link
The Power of Dour fights the Flower
Fight the Dour!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Boys Of Summer

Because I like this version better than Henley's

Monday, October 22, 2012

It's Only Rock and Roll But I Like It

Driving up the 5 freeway the other day, tapping out the drum part on the steering wheel on "It's only Rock and Roll (But I Like It)," I noticed the most remarkable thing about the song:  The Ben Hur drum track!  Watch this clip again:

Now check out this brief clip of the Stones' song I made;  I counted out the syncopated snare beats to draw attention to them: Link

I had always assumed that Charlie Watts played drums on that track--wrong!  It was Kenny Jones of The Faces, along with ex-bandmates Ronnie Wood and David Bowie!  The incredible story is here. Here's what Charlie Watts says:
I didn't play drums on that, Kenny Jones did. I was in bed, sleeping at the time. They called Kenny Jones because he lived nearer to Richmond, it was done in a very beautiful house there that Ronnie used to own. Pete Townshend owns it now:

Keith Richards wrote about the making of the song in his autobiography, Life.
That's where I first heard "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll," in Ronnie's studio. It's Mick's song and he'd cut it with Bowie as a dub. Mick had gotten this idea and they started to rock on it. It was damn good. Shit, Mick, what are you doing it with Bowie for?  Come on, we've got to steal that motherfucker back. And we did, without too much difficulty.  Just the title by itself was so beautifully simple, even if it hadn't been a great song in its own right.  I mean, come on. "It's only rock and roll but I like it."
You can hear traces of the original track embedded in the song. Listen here to the "quiet" part near the end--all the original players emerge: link

What about the Rolling Stones' big 50th anniversary tour? There are rumors that Keith Richards is fighting an unnamed illness.  Here's what the man says:
'Basically, we’re just not ready,' says Richards. 'The Stones always really considered ’63 to be 50 years, because Charlie [Watts] didn’t actually join until January. We look upon 2012 as sort of the year of conception, but the birth is next year.' link

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

All According To A Nefarious Plan

This struck me as odd too last night:
So Obama thinks high gas prices are due to a vigorous, recovering economy that’s supposedly no longer on the “verge of collapse”?   There are so many fundamental errors in basic economics that it almost leaves one speechless. link
Of course, it's all according to plan: another link

My wife suggested that oil companies might be colluding to raise prices in California in order to help Romney.  I reassured her that Dianne Feinstein was already on the case.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Whole Chicken

Cross-posted as a comment here: link
The [Chinese] currency manipulation has been going on for at least 10 years. I happen to think it was bad policy, but I understand why it happened.  I did not personally gain from it to the extent that others have, for example by occupying an over-leveraged property or working for a company which does. I don't want to see military action with China but I wouldn't doubt that it will come to that. 
Years ago, when I worked for a Bay area start-up with the late Henry Taube ("The Conversions with Henry" guy I blog about), we hired a young Chinese guy who worked for us for about a year.  He was a hard worker but contributed no patents or publications (intellectual property), and left, returning to China.  He ended up (according to my former boss) appropriating a decent chunk of alkane activation technology back to China.
Zhu-lin (I recall his name) spent what little time he socialized talking about how the map of the real China resembled a giant chicken, with Korea being the Korean peninsula as the wattle and Vietnam being the feet and legs.  You can see this rightward facing chicken if you look at a map and use a little imagination. He said (ca. 1998) that it was only a matter of time before the chicken was whole again. 
China has ancient enemies in Asia which I'm sure you know.  They have historically been weaker and may not wish to remain so always, though that may be inevitable. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Regarding That Biden Smile...

I called it back here: link

Parenthetic Nation

According to Real Clear Politics, the Electoral College map is starting to like this:

( IL )

Deep blue states on both coasts (right and left parens) with only Illinois solidly for Obama.

Sixty Grit asks, Did you drop an "L"?

( ILL )

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Glenn Reynolds pulled a different quote from this story on electric cars: link

I liked this one because it reminded me of how fuel taxes act like brakes:
If you’ve ever ridden in a Prius, you may have noticed that it creeps forward when you take your foot off the brake.
Also, Bremsstrahlung is such a cool word/concept that I wanted to put it out there.

Rhodium and I had a thing going on once...

It's a coaster I made from a ceramic tile blank--painted, glazed, and kiln-fired.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

FLW's German Warehouse (update)

A comment just left on a old post here updated the status of Frank Lloyd Wright's German Warehouse.

The heir of the deceased owner of the warehouse has offered the building for sale to the City of Richland Center at a modest price. The community is in the process of organizing an effort to purchase and restore the building. It is structurally sound but will need restoration work to the decorative concrete friezes, tuck pointing of the brickwork and, yes, a new roofing system. Anyone interested in the effort can follow the project on FaceBook: or contact the Richland Chamber and Development Alliance in Richland Center:, (608) 647-6205

Bob Dylan's RMS Tempest

I've been thinking about the 14 minute song called "Tempest" on Bob Dylan's eponymous new album. I had some thoughts, but then went fact checking and ran across this site which has a head start.  I especially liked the insight into the old Carter Family song which I linked after the lyrics below:
The pale moon rose in its glory
Out on the Western town
She told a sad, sad story
Of the great ship that went down

T'was the fourteenth day of April
Over the waves she rode
Sailing into tomorrow
To a golden age foretold

The night was black with starlight
The seas were sharp and clear
Moving through the shadows
The promised hour was near

Lights were holding steady
Gliding over the foam
All the lords and ladies
Heading for their eternal home

The chandeliers were swaying
From the balustrades above
The orchestra was playing
Songs of faded love

The watchman, he lay dreaming
As the ballroom dancers twirled
He dreamed the Titanic was sinking
Into the underworld

Leo took his sketchbook
He was often so inclined
He closed his eyes and painted
The scenery in his mind

Cupid struck his bosom
And broke it with a snap
The closest woman to him
He fell into her lap

He heard a loud commotion
Something sounded wrong
His inner spirit was saying
That he couldn't stand here long

He staggered to the quarterdeck
No time now to sleep
Water on the quarterdeck
Already three foot deep

Smokestack was leaning sideways
Heavy feet began to pound
He walked into the whirlwind
Sky splitting all around

The ship was going under
The universe had opened wide
The roll was called up yonder
The angels turned aside

Lights down in the hallway
Flickering dim and dull
Dead bodies already floating
In the double bottom hull

The engines then exploded
Propellers they failed to start
The boilers overloaded
The ship's bow split apart

Passengers were flying
Backward, forward, far and fast
They mumbled, fumbled, and tumbled
Each one more weary than the last

The veil was torn asunder
'Tween the hours of twelve and one
No change, no sudden wonder
Could undo what had been done

The watchman lay there dreaming
At forty-five degrees
He dreamed that the Titanic was sinking
Dropping to her knees

Wellington he was sleeping
His bed began to slide
His valiant heart was beating
He pushed the tables aside

Glass of shattered crystal
Lay scattered roundabout
He strapped on both his pistols
How long could he hold out?

His men and his companions
Were nowhere to be seen
In silence there he waited for
Time and space to intervene

The passageway was narrow
There was blackness in the air
He saw every kind of sorrow
Heard voices everywhere

Alarm-bells were ringing
To hold back the swelling tide
Friends and lovers clinging
To each other side by side

Mothers and their daughters
Descending down the stairs
Jumped into the icy waters
Love and pity sent their prayers

The rich man, Mister Astor
Kissed his darling wife
He had no way of knowing
It'd be the last trip of his life

Calvin, Blake and Wilson
Gambled in the dark
Not one of them would ever live to
Tell the tale on the disembark

Brother rose up 'gainst brother
In every circumstance
They fought and slaughtered each other
In a deadly dance

They lowered down the lifeboats
From the sinking wreck
There were traitors, there were turncoats
Broken backs and broken necks

The bishop left his cabin
To help others in need
Turned his eyes up to the heavens
Said, "The poor are yours to feed"

Davey the brothel-keeper
Came out dismissed his girls
Saw the water getting deeper
Saw the changing of his world

Jim Dandy smiled
He never learned to swim
Saw the little crippled child
And he gave his seat to him

He saw the starlight shining
Streaming from the East
Death was on the rampage
But his heart was now at peace

They battened down the hatches
But the hatches wouldn't hold
They drowned upon the staircase
Of brass and polished gold

Leo said to Cleo
I think I'm going mad
But he'd lost his mind already
Whatever mind he had

He tried to block the doorway
To save all those from harm
Blood from an open wound
Pouring down his arm

Petals fell from flowers
Til all of them were gone
In the long and dreadful hours
The wizard's curse played on

The host was pouring brandy
He was going down slow
He stayed right to the end and he
Was the last to go

There were many, many others
Nameless here forever more
They never sailed the ocean
Or left their homes before

The watchman, he lay dreaming
The damage had been done
He dreamed the Titanic was sinking
And he tried to tell someone

The captain, barely breathing
Kneeling at the wheel
Above him and beneath him
Fifty thousand tons of steel

He looked over at his compass
And he gazed into its face
Needle pointing downward
He knew he lost the race

In the dark illumination
He remembered bygone years
He read the Book of Revelation
And he filled his cup with tears

When the Reaper's task had ended
Sixteen hundred had gone to rest
The good, the bad, the rich, the poor
The loveliest and the best

They waited at the landing
And they tried to understand
But there is no understanding
On the judgement of God's hand

The news came over the wires
And struck with deadly force
Love had lost its fires
All things had run their course

The watchman he lay dreaming
Of all the things that can be
He dreamed the Titanic was sinking
Into the deep blue.