Mozart’s Birthday

My bust of Mozart

I think about Mozart a lot. I guess that a lot of musicians do. It’s that burial in a pauper’s grave. About the only thing that the American musician’s union used to do for you in return for the dues (besides preventing you from playing with 99% of the musicians in the world) was to take out a burial insurance policy in your name. When I was an actual member of the muso’s union, back in 1975, I thought this was the most absurd and pointless thing. Now, of course, with the mouth of the grave looming ever larger in my horizon, I’m not so sure. I am also convinced that they did this to prevent the Mozart effect. You might have rotten teeth and bleeding gums, you might starve, but at least they wouldn’t dump you in a hole and cover you with lime like the final scene of “Amadeus”.

And speaking of “Amadeus”, I cringe to admit that the movie made me cry. I identified with Salieri and Mozart both. I would mist up over the how tragically the world had under-appreciated my genius and then I would take another pull on my whiskey bottle. Boo hoo hoo.

I don’t know what Mozart was. I think that he, like Da Vinci and Einstein, was some sort of ubermensch, far far removed from the rest of us paddling in our ordinary pools of sludge. If we can be compared to amoebas swimming around in our puddle, Mozart was at least a tadpole.

So, happy birthday, Wolfie! Wherever you are now, and whatever you are doing. Maybe you and Salieri are a married couple living in New Jersey. Maybe Paulie Mozart plays bass in a metal band at a mob roadhouse while Marie Salieri-Mozart tends bar. Maybe their son Lynch Mob thinks he has a shot at “Jersey Shore”. Probably not.

The wikipedia entry on Mozart

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (German: [ˈvɔlfɡaŋ amaˈdeus ˈmoːtsaʁt], English see fn.),[1] baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart[2] (27 January 1756 – 5 December 1791), was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, operatic, and choral music.via Wikipedia

non union musician’s burial

Django Reinhardt’s Birthday

Today in 1910, Django Reinhardt was born. He died in 1953, the year I was born. That was not the only run-in I had with him. For years in Brussels, every time I got an accounting from SABAM, the Belgian performing rights society I would get a tidy sum for my song “Nuages” on my record “Broken Fingers”. My Nuages is basically another song on that record “Petit Piece Chinoise” played backwards, so I thought myself very clever and lucky to be getting money for that song. After some time had passed, I received a letter from SABAM telling me that that money had been intended for Django Reinhardt for his song “Nuages” and that I had to give it back! And they withheld my royalties for quite some time until I paid it back. Morons. Anyway, he was marvelous and so was his violinist Stephane Grapelli who was a hero of mine. Now here are some videos of him from youtube, followed by my song “Les Nuages”.

Django Reinhardt “Nuages”

 

Blaine L. Reininger “Les Nuages”

Les Nuages Blaine L. Reininger

 

Kodak Files for Bankruptcy

File:You press the button, we do the rest (Kodak).jpg

This is epochal news, indeed. This is like reading “Gutenberg abandons printing business”. Kodak started the whole thing only 130 years ago with their “brownie” camera. And now they are bankrupt. That is the Tao for you, in the immortal words of Katy Perry “you’re up, then you’re down.”

I was always bored by the idea of developing photos, particularly the expense, so I didn’t really get into photography until digital cameras came along, and then I dived in. I found that this medium suited me more than anything as a means for keeping a record of my perceptions to some unknown end. Now we can record everything all the time and create a past that is tangible and accessible like we always thought it should be. Perhaps, once everything is catalogued and digitized it will magically coalesce and start a new big bang. When everything is known, the package can be wrapped and presented to God, who will then know why he made it all in the first place.

And poor ol’ Kodak will have done its bit. Not to mention the fact that they made a hell of a lot of money before going obsolete. In the words of that precious poseur, Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away”.

Eastman Kodak Files for BankruptcyEastman Kodak said early Thursday that it filed for bankruptcy protection, as the 131-year-old film pioneer struggled to adapt to an increasingly digital world. As part of its filing, made in the federal bankruptcy court in the Southern District of New York, Kodak will seek to continue selling a portfolio of 1,100 digital imaging patents to raise cash for its loss-making operations.

Stuffed. Taxidermy and other curiosities

I saw a post on my friend Esmerelda Kent’s Facebook page and got on this taxidermy kick. I decided to include a gallery of some photos I took in Porto in 2010 and Paris in 2011 of examples of the taxidermist’s art. The Porto exhibition was in the Museum of Natural History, tucked away in a neglected corner. The animals were all pretty dusty and disheveled and there was a miasma in the air, a desperate funk of obscurity and moldy leather.

There is no further justification for this post. Just that this is what I was viewing as I was re-acquainting myself with the world online this morning.

 The Squirrels in the Funeral Home

 
 
 

My own stuffed gallery

Ekranoplan, Gibson’s Zero History

Like this guy, Mark Boss, I encountered this thing, the ekranoplan, in the pages of William Gibson’s latest book “Zero History”. I have been a huge fan of William Gibson ever since my friend Jonathan Formula (deviser of the bass line to Tuxedomoon’s “The Stranger” and sound engineer for Snakefinger and Captain Beefheart) told me about him in 1985. I have all of Gibson’s books. I have read all of them at least twice. I regret to say that I didn’t like this latest very much. I just couldn’t get behind all of this Gibsonian fiction whose central quest was the manufacturer of a “secret brand” of jeans. Very cool, very canny, sure, but mostly boring. In any case, my concentration span becomes more gnat-like with each hour spent online, so maybe I’ll like it better on the second reading.

Here is a review of “Zero History” by William Gibson

Book Review – Zero History – By William GibsonWhen I first heard that the had brought in a group of science fiction writers to brainstorm new ways that terrorists might attack America, something changed for me forever. I realized this was one of the first news stories I had ever totally believed – in part because it was like something from fiction.

Chimp With Pencil: The Curious EkranoplanThe craft pictured above isn’t a sea plane. It’s an ekranoplan, or sea skimmer. And it’s a very curious vehicle. I first read about the ekranoplan in one of William Gibson’s novels. Gibson is usually three steps ahead, and one step diagonal, of most writers and I admire how he integrates wonderfully obscure technology into his work.

Who Keeps Destroying our Probes To Phobos?

With the destruction of yet another Russian mission to Phobos,

the tiny moon of mars whose name means “terror” in ancient Greek, one may wonder who is trying to keep us from finding out what’s there. The non-onomatopoetically named “Phobos-grunt” probe (grunt means ‘ground’ in Russian) has just crashed into the Pacific Ocean. As these clippings attest, Earth’s efforts to understand Phobos are continually thwarted. Is this just bad luck or is there something more sinister involved?  Many have claimed that the failure of the second Russian mission was due to a missile of some sort launched from Phobos and offer the probe’s final photo as proof. Who is hiding out on Phobos? (Or inside it as still others assert?) Who wants to keep us out of space? Of course, if I were an alien (as many claim) I certainly wouldn’t want the killer apes from Earth to start flooding my nice quiet galaxy. I would thwart their space efforts too. Read on for a taste of some of this wackiness.

destruction of phobos grunt

Fragments of Phobos Grunt crash into the Pacific OceanRussia’s 13-ton (11.8-tonne) unmanned Phobos-Grunt interplanetary space probe that was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on November 9, 2011 has reportedly burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere. According to Russian Air and Space Defence Forces, the spacecraft was destroyed on Sunday, January 15th, 2012 at 1745 GMT as it made an uncontrolled re-entry and broke up 775 miles (1,250 km) west of Chile in the South Pacific.

The Phobos Incident

The Phobos Incident – Malfunction or Early “Star Wars”?Phobos, one of the two moons of Mars, has itself always been considered a rather mysterious object, as has its smaller twin, Deimos. Joseph Shklovskii noted member of the Soviet Academy of science and co-writer with Dr Carl Sagan of ‘Intelligent life in the universe’, once calculated from the estimated density of the Martian atmosphere and the peculiar “acceleration” of Phobos, that the satellite must be hollow.

The Phobos Program

Phobos program – Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaThe Phobos (Greek: Φόβος, Russian: Фобос, Fobos) program was an unmanned space mission consisting of two probes launched by the Soviet Union to study Mars and its moons Phobos and Deimos. Phobos 2 became a Mars orbiter and returned 38 images with a resolution of up to 40 meters.

Or is The Onion correct after all?

Mars Probe Destroyed By Orbiting Spielberg-Gates Space PalaceCAPE CANAVERAL, FL—NASA officials have confirmed that the space agency’s $170 million Mars Rover was destroyed Sunday by a ship-to-ship phaser fired from the defense array of the $950 billion Spielberg-Gates Space Palace, an opulent, Rhode Island-sized orbiting mansion which serves as an outer-space getaway for moviemaker Steven Spielberg and computer magnate Bill Gates.

Charo’s Birthday

It’s charo’s birthday, bitches. She says she was born in 1951. Others beg to differ. 1941, they say. Ay ay ay! Cuchi cuchi! (and so on). Oh man, you will die from ironic anti-pleasure when you dig Sammy Davis Jr. in a headband introducing Charo on guitar, followed by some lameo comedian. Can’t have everything.Who knew she could actually do something?

Hollywood Palace with Xavier Cugat, Charo and Sammy Davis Jr.

 

And on another note, here is a magnificent animation of the interior workings of a cell in the human body from Harvard.

Nobody for president. some dadaist political candidates

Of course, the argument can be made that all political candidates are jokes, but that is a subject for another post. I turned up this first guy, Vermin Supreme, thought he was okay and so started to look around for some more. I have included Screaming Lord Sutch, father of them all. This guy ran his stupid Benny Hill type campaign in pretty much every English election from the 60’s until his death in 1999.

My interest in this sort of campaigning started young. In 1970, I ran for Student Council office at my high school in Pueblo, Colorado on the “Don’t Vote for Blaine” platform. No one did. My running mate was a cholo named Mingo Sena who had once pulled a knife on me. I thought he epitomized the Bizarro world perfection that was my campaign.  Here is one of the campaign flyers, incredibly saved by a friend of mine from the East High Facebook page, Melanie Osterman.

don't vote for blaine
from my 1970 campaign for student body president at East High School, Pueblo Colorado

First, though, Vermin Supreme.

Introducing Vermin Supreme, 2012 U.S. Presidential Candidate

and another incarnation of ol’ Vermin
Screaming Lord Sutch his own bad self

and the wikipedia article on the Lord

Origins of ziggy

I just found out that Vince Taylor + The Legendary Stardust Cowboy= Ziggy Stardust. My education progresses. Learn something every day thanks to the miracle of the internets.

This

+This

=This

and there is also this, lifted from a wikipedia article, which is itself lifted from this burroughs interview.

In a Rolling Stone interview with William S. Burroughs, Bowie expanded on the Ziggy Stardust story: The time is five years to go before the end of the earth. It has been announced that the world will end because of lack of natural resources. Ziggy is in a position where all the kids have access to things that they thought they wanted. The older people have lost all touch with reality and the kids are left on their own to plunder anything. Ziggy was in a rock-and-roll band and the kids no longer want rock-and-roll. There’s no electricity to play it. Ziggy’s adviser tells him to collect news and sing it, ’cause there is no news. So Ziggy does this and there is terrible news. ‘All the young dudes’ is a song about this news. It’s no hymn to the youth as people thought. It is completely the opposite. […]The end comes when the infinites arrive. They really are a black hole, but I’ve made them people because it would be very hard to explain a black hole on stage. […]Ziggy is advised in a dream by the infinites to write the coming of a Starman, so he writes ‘Starman’, which is the first news of hope that the people have heard. So they latch onto it immediately…The starmen that he is talking about are called the infinites, and they are black-hole jumpers. Ziggy has been talking about this amazing spaceman who will be coming down to save the earth. They arrive somewhere in Greenwich Village. They don’t have a care in the world and are of no possible use to us. They just happened to stumble into our universe by black hole jumping. Their whole life is travelling from universe to universe. In the stage show, one of them resembles Brando, another one is a Black New Yorker. I even have one called Queenie, the Infinite Fox…Now Ziggy starts to believe in all this himself and thinks himself a prophet of the future starmen. He takes himself up to the incredible spiritual heights and is kept alive by his disciples. When the infinites arrive, they take bits of Ziggy to make them real because in their original state they are anti-matter and cannot exist in our world. And they tear him to pieces on stage during the song ‘Rock ‘n’ roll suicide’. As soon as Ziggy dies on stage the infinites take his elements and make themselves visible.[15]

Ripped apart on stage. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

Bowie, Elvis birthdays January 8th

Hippy Birthday grandpa and grandma. Elvis would be 77, Bowie 65. Now the thin white duke can ride from station to station with a senior discount ticket.

David Bowie 65th birthday: 65 iconic images of the ever-changing starA very happy birthday to the Thin White Duke, Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane. Yes, the man behind all those guides and more, David Bowie, who is 65 years old tomorrow. Over the course of 40-odd years, no-one has been able to match his ability to flit between the worlds of music, acting and art.

also born on January 8th

Robbie Krieger of the Doors, Stephen Hawking, and Shirley Bassey.

Let us not forget Scott Walker, 69 today.

More celebrity birthdays at

http://www.famousbirthdays.com/welcome.html

Primate Watching (junky plaza)


from stamatis gr photo blog

 

Yesterday I had to go over to the post office on Ebay business. The local post office around here is at the Platia Dimarchios, city hall plaza. For some reason, local junkies and other permanently bewildered types have taken up a sort of residence there. There seems to be only minimal dealing going on, furtive ingestion, not much else except for a sort of Brownian motion and social interaction. I told Maria it was like going to the monkey house to watch our distant cousins. Big time voyeur action. I watched a strange menage a trois as one belle of the balle, her left eye blackened and swollen, squeezed into jeans and boots, decorated with chains flirted openly with another candidate as her bearded oblivious companion phased in and out of existence off to one side. He lifted her up from behind, stretching her back while beardo, resplendent in plaid shirt and baseball cap had image iteration and rendering problems. Then the police came by and no one altered their behavior in any way.

I guess the dope in this town must be of a very high potency because all the junkies are so zombied. They are like calf fetuses suspended in aspic as they dance their slow motion dance of perdition. I suppose they mix it up with rohypnol or some such. What always amazes me is that they often chop up and snort their painfully acquired cargo out of doors, where wind doth blow and rain doth dissolve. I can’t fathom this. Must be cheap too. Or they must be stupid.

I want to feel compassion for these poor dupes (and I do) and contempt for the hell spawn who sell them their ticket to limbo. I don’t mean the low level junkie peddlers who spin in the same blender, I mean the alien-sucking demons who build their economical and political power on their backs, who use chemical shackles to enslave an army of idiot thieves to prey upon society. It’s the old primate game, dad, purple-assed baboon politics.

If I were world emperor I would institute genuine rehabiliation for all, long slow detox assisted by as much of the chemical in question as required, self-analysis and therapy to try and restore the victims of this chemical spill to sanity, dissolution of clandestine pharmaceutical networks and conversion of their assets to fund health care and education initiatives for all.

Oh yeah. That’s all gonna happen. Just the other day I heard Newt Gingrich talking about it with Baron Sarkozy.

Epiphany, the 12th day of christmas

It is Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas in Greece. Bells are ringing, priests moan into microphones everywhere. In honor of the Baptism of Jesus, the priest tosses a cross into the waters (which abound) and swimmers contend to retrieve it.

and furthermore

EpiphanyThe modern observance at Piraeus, the ancient port of Athens, takes the form of a priest hurling a large crucifix into the waters. Young men brave the cold and compete to retrieve it. These days, the cross is generally attached to a nice, safe long chain, just in case that year’s crop of divers is something less than desired.

White House Denies CIA Teleported Obama to Mars

 

White House Denies CIA Teleported Obama to MarsForget Kenya. Never mind the secret madrassas. The sinister, shocking truth about Barack Obama's past lies not in east Africa, but in outer space. As a young man in the early 1980s, Obama was part of a secret CIA project to explore Mars.

via Wired

 

White House Denies CIA Teleported Obama to Mars | Danger Room | Wired.com.

 

Trip to Rijeka and Venice

Just back from our new year’s trip to rijeka, croatia with an extra bonus trip to venice. Had a good time in Rijeka, meeting and greeting some of the enthusiastic and friendly Croatian folks and fans, played on a boat, then a blissful little excursion to la serenissima, queen of the adriatic, wenedig, venice, dig. What a gas. Life is good. Maria had never been there. The look on her face as we rode into town on the water taxi was priceless.

The following is a favorite bit from “A Bit of Fry and Laurie” about Venice