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Monday, February 28, 2011

Inversion: Part Deux

This business of inverting or flipping tunes to parody or give the same "feel" in a non-royalty-costing way does not necessarily entail every single note or phrase...just enough to bring to mind the tune being invoked. The beat does the rest.

Here is an anime inversion of Barry Gray's "UFO" series theme. It is by Toshihiko Sahashi, and despite the whingings of the great unwashed on YouTube, it is an homage to Gray's work, not a "ripoff". It was the theme for the second season of Big O, a wonderful anime series from the early "aughts". First, Barry Gray's "UFO":

Next, the "Big O" second season piece:

Great stuff, and very mood-setting.
I have had an interest in soundtrack music ever since I was a little feller (3-4 years old).
One type of incidental music writing involves what I call "inversion". There may be a music theory term for it, but I do not know it. The method involves taking an extant piece of music and flipping it. One of the most obvious examples is Barry Gray's piece "Formula Five" which was a pop music tune set in far-off 2062 or so on "Fireball XL5". When Gray wrote it, the hot jazz craze of the time included "Take Five" performed by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. It was the record that put jazz on everyone's turntable, and transformed Space-Age Bachelor Pads forever. Here is Brubeck's work, with Barry Gray's inversion below it.


See how it works? I have another one for tomorrow, where a Japanese composer inverts a Barry Gray piece.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

OK...spent the weekend in Atlanta at AnachroCon, the third installment of the steampunk convention. The entire cast of characters did an amazing job putting on the con, with some 600 attendees partaking in the Victorian SF goodness (I say that to tweak my new friends at Frenzy Universe, fellow hucksters, and purveyors of gear-ey, vacuum tube-ey decorative wonderment for steam enthusiasts. Their blog is cheerful, and informative, too. Their last post corrects the manifest belief that all steampunk is British, or at least revolves around Merrie Olde. They quite correctly remind us of a vast swath of Industrial Revolution history exists this side of the Pond. Hello, M&K!
Safe journey, and Good Hunting!

Mark Helwig
is a fun neighbor to have, and a good artist to boot. I say good in the correct sense, not the "he's OK, and uses his colors well" sense. Click his name to be amused. Be sufficiently amused to plunk down the shekels for a print of your favorite. I did.

There were other dealers there, who are also many other places. Wolfhome was there. Jennifer and Kip were well, and their entourage. They sell excellent genre clothing, at SF and anime cons, and at Ren Faires.

It was a great con, and I look forward to next year's!

Friday, February 18, 2011


I have long tried to stay out of the Alabama / Auburn rivalry because I don't like messing with other people's religion.

(Pauses a beat.)

"Al from Dadeville" called in to the Paul Finebaum show on Jan 27, bragging about his act of fannjish terrorism:

"OK, let me tell you what I did the weekend after the Iron Bowl. I went to Auburn, Alabama, because I live 30 miles away and I poisoned the two Toomer's trees. I put Spike80DF in 'em. ... They're not dead yet, but they definitely will die."

Ahhhhhhhhh, sportsmanship.

The rivalry between the two schools has been bitter, but an egregious act of vandalism like this is unacceptable in any sense. "So what?" you churlishly retort, "It's just a coupla trees."

Yes a couple of 130-year-old oaks that are a community treasure. The trees are regularly mulched with toilet paper. The locals roll the trees mightily after Auburn wins. They are beautiful landmarks, especially when not so festooned.

Harvey Almorn Updyke Jr., 62, of Dadeville, AL, is the miscreant "Al" who poisoned the trees. One defense attorney has already recused himself from the case. This will be interesting.

Mammoth effort is being put forth to rehabilitate the toxic site and save the oaks, Perhaps Toomer's Corner will be blessed with the trees for a long time to come.

"Tide for Toomers" is a Facebook page put up by Crimson Tide fans who deplore this senseless act, and who are raising money toward the effort to save the oaks.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Plumbline's

I am a Republican, a black, dyed in the wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress.
Frederick Douglass

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

But was there EVER a question?

Socio-Sexual Hierarchy Quiz

My Results:


You don't give a damn. You are off doing your own thing, with or without anyone's approval. You radiate cool and intrigue, and women find you intensely interesting, despite you not trying or noticing. You don't go to parties or social gatherings, but if you do, you're usually with a friend and a gorgeous woman you brought. You're the lone wolf of the hierarchy, almost as attractive as Alphas. You shun leadership in favor of getting the hell away from everyone.

Vidad and Mr. McLeod may giggle as appropriate.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

SO, the Dread Dormomoo and I were talking, herself in the throes of the viral orgy, having unspeakable things done to her cellular integrity: aches, fever, chills, do the math. She is still clearer-thinking than I on my best days. The business of Ron Paul's straw-poll win at CPAC came up, and Fox's love affair with Anyone-But-Paul. The big-big-BIG news apparently is that Mitt Romney came in second, that meaning in anybody's lexicon that he lost .

The question of the day is, If a polygynous Mormon were to make it to the White House (and yes, I know it would take an event equivalent to an asteroid strike -read Niven and Pournelle's Lucifer's Hammer - for this to happen) who would be First Lady? Or First Sister-Wife?

Perhaps the fever has affected her summat.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

"Herbalife Reviews -- 98% Of Herbalife Reps Get Burned Discover Why. Get the Free Report"


Because it's an MLM, THAT'S why.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Egypt's President Mubarak has gotten his back up.

"I have to responded to your calls, but I am also embarrassed and I will not listen to any foreign interventions or dictations, regardless of their sources."

He is responding to things like this from President Obama:

"Third, we have spoken out on behalf of the need for change. After his speech tonight, I spoke directly to President Mubarak. He recognizes that the status quo is not sustainable and that a change must take place. Indeed, all of us who are privileged to serve in positions of political power do so at the will of our people. Through thousands of years, Egypt has known many moments of transformation. The voices of the Egyptian people tell us that this is one of those moments; this is one of those times.
Now, it is not the role of any other country to determine Egypt’s leaders. Only the Egyptian people can do that. What is clear -- and what I indicated tonight to President Mubarak -- is my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful, and it must begin now."

It is NOT our business to instruct another Head of State in what to do, and President Obama is a wiseguy who knows better than everyone else What To Do, and he is not shy about letting them know. Barack Obama is "That Guy". Mubarak clearly did not appreciate it. Silly man.
(Incidentally, I do not know where this "brutal dictator" business is coming from. He was never on the "Axis of Evil" radarmotron to my knowledge.)
Mubarak is a Middle-Eastern ruler. Period. He does not fit our sanitised Western mold of What a President Should Look Like. He is no Reagan, but neither does he appear to be a Saddam Hussein. I am open to correction on this, but this whole Egypt thing appears to be straight from the box. This is an organised flash crowd.
I dunno, but I am of Tevyesque mind where Egypt is concerned. The Pragmatic Aardvark says that Mubarak is our and Israel's ally. The current regime is stable, at least by Middle-Eastern standards. On the other hand, the PEEE-PUL are raging and want him out, Democracy uber alles! On the other hand, the whole thing seems a ready-made, instant revolution, just-add-water. On the other hand, look at you. A baby and a sewing machine. You're a person.
There is no other hand.
I do not harbor end-timey-wimey thoughts. My understanding of Revelation, and the gospels (especially the Matthew 23 & 24) is historical, in that I believe the historical church's understanding that Jesus was speaking of things SOON to come to pass, during that time period. I do NOT follow the New York Times bestseller version. That was developed by John Darby early in the 1800s, and popularised by C.I.Scofield (the P.T.Barnum of eschatological humbuggery) in the early 1900s. That said, Israel is important to us in the region, not as The Budded Figtree, but as a strategic ally. Egypt is a mutual ally, at least until the Muslim Brotherhood gains control. You know, kinda like Iran in 1979. THAT went well.

I am moving into G.R.O. mode: "Get Rid Of"; finding my inner Buddhist , or at least my inner Don Aslett. (Why is it that the really useful people with good ideas seem to be Mormon nowadays?)

I am going through my junk roo...er, office and Throwing Things Away. I felt a heady sense of accomplishment as I found a stack of DVD-ROM disks, and started tossing them. Dark Age of Camelot free trial disks. For them wot knows, DAOC trials were the gamer equivalent of those ubiquitous AOL "FREE TRIAL!!!" disks. Anyway, they are bound for the dustbin, now.

Must start looking for other junk of which to divest myself. I am afflicted with the "but I might need one of those one day" mindset, and so find it difficult to G.R.O. stuff. I didn't go through the Great Depression, but I was raised by some who did, hence my problem. You know those little bits of PVC coated wire that power cords and suchlike come bound with to keep 'em neat in their packaging? I find little outcroppings of them in drawers, my rationale being: I always lose the twist-tie from the bread, and these are better than the paper-and-wire ones that come on the bread." Sadly, these are in my office drawer, four miles from my kitchen where my bread resides.

No, I do not have towering stacks of newspapers stored Babelesque about my house.

My office is done up in a charming melange of "Childhood Toys", "Space-Age Bachelor Pad", and "Industrial Mayhem", with a couple of David Goodman's paintings thrown in for good measure.

Yes, I own TWO Goodmans!

So, I am trying to lose a ton of stuff, to streamline my life. Wish me Godspeed, or Luck, or Qapla', whatever you are comfortable with, and if you know someone with a Bobcat for rent cheap, let me know, please!

Friday, February 04, 2011

This may be a re-visitation, but in a time when the "why" of someone's actions may be more important than the actions themselves (think "hate crimes"), Christians are again given the nasty end of the stick.

I pause to allow you to pick your jaw up from the floor.

One of the most annoying things the True Believers do is share, or witness, or evangelise. (Remember, evangel means "good news") The militant atheist crowd, as well as the "just want to be left alone" crowd really militate against this hateful practise of telling them about Jesus. They see it as judgmental, that they are being told they are bad people who are going to hell.

Admittedly, there are some who take it upon themselves to punch someone's ticket, but the scriptures themselves do not offer that as part of the job description. We may speak as far as the gospel does...no farther. Thus-and-so will keep you out of the Kingdom of God. It is up to the hearer to make the connexion. One must recognise peril to recognise the need for rescue.

Since the motive is more important than the action in today's enlightened view, please consider this: is it a bother to you for a flagman to stop you to warn of the bridge being out? Do you malign his callous disregard for your time schedule? The reasonable person sees through to motive: "I don't want you and your family to die at the bottom of the gorge.". Likewise the coworker, friend, family member, or artless stranger who wishes to tell you about the gospel. This person does so with the highest motive: concern for your well-being. He sees you in spiritual peril (Jesus said "No-one comes to the Father except through me".), and wants to throw you a life-ring. Do you argue with the lifeguard who is pulling you to shore?

You may not believe at all, or you may be a lifelong neo-Zoroastrian, but when an unsophisticated evangelist sees you as his personal mission, please understand that he is doing it out of love, out of a true desire to do you good.

Motive IS important.