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I do not have a subscription to read the Washington Post, where the source article appeared, but I appreciate the quotes pulled out at 9TO5Mac. This seems like an appropriate stance for technology companies to take, and I appreciate it.

Microsoft president attacks type of government gag order imposed on Apple

Especially the sentiment behind this statement:

So that’s what they do. In secret. By serving search warrants on companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft to obtain emails and messages that belong to our customers.

Listening to the Nineties, today.

The author of a sub-blog I follow produced a series of posts called Insanely Great Nineties Songs You Aren’t Sick Of. Start here if that speaks to you… He has a post per-year and links to YouTube videos of all of the songs he mentions.

I worked for a record store from the summer of 1990 to the summer of 1994 and these hit home for me. But fair warning, these are mostly not Top 40 song lists.

So there’s a music project called Lost Horizons—that I didn’t know about 30 minutes ago—that features former Cocteau Twin Simon Raymonde and Richard Thomas who has drummed with Dif Jus and Jesus and Mary Chain. Their In Quiet Moments album includes a track called Every Beat that Passed which is the most Cocteau-Twins-like music I have heard since… Cocteau Twins. This project is no attempt to return to that sound, but that track is spectacular. The tracks I have heard from the same album have a Saint Etienne vibe, in that the tracks recall the 60s and 70s.

I am very pleasantly surprised with the most current release of the iOS Bullet Journal application. It is in no way designed to take the place of your paper journal. But allows you to photo your pages and assign them to a calendar day and page number inside of a journal. Another nice feature is the ability to assign a page to a Collection.

Most importantly, it backs up to the iOS Files application. I can use my iCloud Drive to store the backup file. No new account is required. No new subscription is needed.

The application fully supports the Bullet Journal methodology, but gives you a way to review your notes even if you are away from the physical copy.

Lastly, in a pinch, there is an ephemeral 72-hour Log for Tasks, Notes and Events. This provides a way to continue to capture until you can return to your paper Journal.

Lovely.

Today I learned about xkpasswd, a password generator inspired by the xkcd comic.

The internet is brilliant when you look for the helpers.

Between the apps I use and my browser history, I can’t figure out who had the link to the “Beautiful Bubble”–however I fully support and endorse this. I had already taken several of the steps outlined and this is a great framework for improvement.

From an email subscription today:

So be good to each other. Be humble and kind. Be generous. If you fight for anything, fight for justice and fairness. That’s what we were put here for.

This is what I believe.

I recently relistened to Feels So Good by Chuck Mangione. I was in search of the source of a sample. I was in the right era and close to my target, but this was a miss. Except, listening to the full album track, I really enjoyed the musicianship—not only of The Man Himself, but also of the full accompanying band. Now, of course, it’s my current ear worm.

You’re welcome.

Tonight’s project. I actually thought for some time that I had been shorted one critical piece. Then I had to backtrack when I learned I had used an extra piece in error.

Listening to Wolfmother today.

They are a retro-looking blend of 70’s hard-rock, prog-rock and a little punk-rock. But with the vocal strength and musicianship to back it up. Not to mention cowbell and distorted organ.

I wish I could say I have been listening to them for a long time, but they came to me via a compilation from a friend. Today, I have been mining Apple Music for their back catalog.

Half-day at work, then cleared the drive of snow. Grateful for snow throwers. Husqvarna has been good to me.

I don’t know to which deity I owe the most thanks and praise, but I am grateful for the shoegaze genre and for Apple’s recommendation engine. I listened to a group called SPC-ECO on my commute this evening and loved it.

Do I start by genuflecting toward Grangemouth, Scotland?

Impenetrable Absurdity

The longer I live, the more I like this guy:

In a world whose absurdity appears to be so impenetrable, we simply must reach a greater degree of understanding among men, a greater sincerity. We must achieve this or perish. To do so, certain conditions must be fulfilled: men must be frank (falsehood confuses things), free (communication is impossible with slaves). Finally, they must feel a certain justice around them.

—Albert Camus

The Halloween Tree

I love the novel The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury.

It was one of the early young adult novels I read in my life, and possibly my first exposure to Ray Bradbury as a youth. As a boy it was the first time I had deeply considered death.

What I appreciated most was the historical scope and sweep of history, but I won’t lie that I don’t appreciate being so deeply mislead about Samhain. It’s fiction, of course. An author can write what he wishes. Powerful imagery, but… wrong.

Yet I own paper and electronic versions.

It means that much to me.

Danse Macabre, Op. 40

My love affair with Danse Macabre began in elementary school. Mrs. Otten played Halloween songs on the piano and we sang from mimeographed lyric sheets.

I was introduced to parts of the melody via a song called the Halloween Song, which has stuck in my head ever since, because the refrain includes singing the letters that spell the holiday.

It sounded a lot like this YouTube. I’m certain my teacher played a copy of this very recording.

In music classes in later years we listened to the symphonic version while watching filmstrips of artistic conceptions of what the various parts of the music could represent.

Here’s a great article from CBC which includes some great background on the piece and some really enjoyable renditions including one for two pianos.

For me the piece is tied to Autumn and to All Hallow’s Evening, even though it wasn’t the intent of the composer.

Schools don’t track holidays the same way as they did, a long time ago. So for my daughter, I have work to do If I want this to stick.

“The Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled today that the NSA’s bulk collection of phone call metadata violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and was likely unconstitutional.”

Via EPIC

“The Greeks had no original sin and no eschatology because they saw nothing inherently wrong with the world in the first place.”

Things you find reading papers from Academia for the joy of it

To speak is to risk being misunderstood.

Please allow me to quote heavily from The Bard Terence McKenna—this selection comes from a discussion about language:

We use rapidly modulated small mouth noises. As primates we have incredible ability to make small mouth noises. We can do this for up to six hours at a stretch without tiring. No other thing we can do approaches the level of variation with low energy investment that the small mouth noises do. A person using a deaf-and-dumb language is exhausted after forty-five minutes.

But a problem with the small mouth noises mode of communication is: I have a thought, I look in a dictionary that I have created out of my life experience, I map the thought onto the dictionary, I make the requisite small mouth noises, they cross physical space, they enter your ear, you look in your dictionary, which is different from my dictionary, but if we speak what we call ‘the same language’ it will be close enough that you will ‘sort of’ understand what I mean. Now if I don’t say to you, ‘what do I mean?’ you and I will go gaily off in the assumption that we understand each other.

I stand behind my words.

What do I mean?

Technology Nostalgic: Tape Deck

Aiwa AD-F350U

Used a tape deck very much like the one pictured here. It was the first audio equipment I purchased. It played through a little amplifier I purchased in kit form and assembled in a high-school electronics class.

I dubbed many, many records from friends. Listened to hundreds of albums purchased new on cassette. Thousands of hours of my life are connected to this. Such an 80s artifact. It survived into the early 2000s but one too many lightning strikes to the power grid took it out. Still have the library of aging cassettes.

For two decades, this was a critical furnishing in any of my living spaces.

Listening to older music makes me think of the past.

The internet did not disappoint me. I was able to triangulate and find an image of the very model I used to own.

AirPods Pro

Despite the shipping company doing almost everything possible to unbox my AirPods for me, Apple’s overkill packaging protected the cargo very well.

The setup experience has been truly lovely, the controls are lovely, integration with Apple Watch is lovely, audio is lovely, Transparency is lovely, Noise Cancelling is impressive.

Okay, I’ve only had them for scant hours now.

These aren’t the first bluetooth headphones or earbuds I’ve worn, nor the first true wireless pair.

But I will say these are the most thoughtfully designed and possibly among the best sounding

It’s here! Got myself a birthday present from @schoolstoic

One of my favorite photos, from June 2010.

#michelewhitephotography

Apple Music has generated a radio station based on my preferences. It is eerie to have me fed back to me, but also it’s on point.

Today, I learned that evapotranspiration, also called Corn Sweat (in the parlance of our times), is capable of influencing humidity over large areas. Ex: the Corn Belt

File Under “Things I Wish I Had Thought of, Sooner”:

Deadpan Existential Jokes

Would work great as a blog name or profile description

Just unboxed this Macally keyboard and I’m already a fan!

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Tron Legacy character Zuse is probably not a reference to the Hellenistic pantheon as much as a nod to Konrad Zuse. I had wondered why the character was so vulnerable.

I have been using Foursquare (now Swarm) for location check-ins for 10 years, now. I’m not consistent with lots of technology tools, but this one has stuck.

It’s fun to look back at where I have been. When I look at a sequence of check-ins, remembering where and why, it helps me to reconstruct a day. It’s a fun tool that has helped me personally and professionally.

“If there’s anything I’ve learned about politics it’s this: as soon as you conclude the other guys are complete idiots and intentionally doing evil things, immediately stop – because something is wrong. Your BS detector should be going off like a fire alarm.”

How to Know What’s Right in Politics

One last re-watch of The Polar Express before… Mama and Poppa perform elven magic

The Death of the Rude Press

“In the elite press—on cable news, in newspaper opinion sections—you can say the most monstrous things imaginable, as long your language is polite. What you can’t do is rudely express a desire for a more just world…”

”…If your local media has no place for people who voice contempt for your city’s police chief, say, or your state’s attorney general, or the publisher of your city’s largest newspaper, all of those people will feel more comfortable in abusing their power. They will grind you down, and in the process, they’ll tell you to be civil about it.”

The Death of the Rude Press @ New Republic

“It is expected that work of all kinds will be generally suspended, and that the wage workers of the whole city will enjoy the holiday.”

Minneapolis Tribune, 1894

/via HCLib

Pink Moon

There is no end to discovery in music.

I have been listening to _Pink Moon_ by Nick Drake on repeat for about the last two hours. Just the one song, which is something I rarely do.

I watched The Lake House on TV last night, and it was featured in the soundtrack. And I remembered that it was in Volkswagen convertible commercials a long time ago. Maybe ten years ago? I had assumed at that time that it was a current song by a current commercial artist. You know, because Volkswagen and Mitsubishi had been using Crystal Method, Dirty Vegas and Propellerheads tracks. I won’t lie: I have purchased albums on the basis of television commercials.

But hearing it again made it fresh and I was determined this time to find it and download it.

It’s not on the soundtrack album for The Lake House. Fortunately, IMDB lists the songs in the movie, in what I’m guessing is order of appearance.

I made a lot of wrong guesses as to which song it might be, because I didn’t think through the lyrics as they related to the song title. And I assumed incorrectly the song was from the late 90s.

SO. If he was still alive, I would owe Nick Drake an apology. And I find myself wondering what the rest of his œuvre is like. _Pink Moon_ is the title track of his third album, released in 1972. He didn’t live long enough to produce a fourth.

It’s a sweet, stripped down, two-minute song. Two guitars and a few notes on a piano, and a few lines of poetry repeated twice:

See also: Nick Drake Pink Moon 1972 Full Album

Kim and Jessie

Kim and Jessie is a song that I can easily put on repeat.

M83’s last two albums have been trending toward a sound that is very nostalgic for me, and this particular song is a stand out example.

Though the song was released in 2008, it is heavily evocative of mid-1980s groups like ’Til Tuesday, Flock of Seagulls, and Tears for Fears. If you played a string of Top 40 hits from 1985 or 1986, and slipped in Kim and Jessie, I think a lot of people would think it sounds similar and familiar. Whether that makes you die inside a little or makes you a little giddy is personal, of course.

The lyric is simple, and most of the song is repetition of the chorus:

Somebody lurks in the shadows
Somebody whispers
Somebody lurks in the shadows
Yeah, yeah, yeah

But the repetition of the lyric in the last part of the song really works for me, because it gives me a chance to notice the additional vocal parts and the simultaneous guitar solo which are layered subtly, not detracting from the melody but awaiting your attention.

I had not seen the video until just before writing this piece. While it doesn’t sync to the lyric, I think it tells a similar story that is equally open to interpretation.

Album information at M83’s official site
Video at Last.fm
Video at YouTube
Lyrics Sites