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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Weekend Roundup

After last week's referendum when 52% of the UK's voters decided to chuck it all and take Britain out of the European Union, David Eversall sent me this clipping from the Financial Times, adding "Probably has relevance for the Presidential election especially the last point."

A quick note on the first three tragedies. Firstly, it was the working classes who voted for us to leave because they were economically disregarded and it is they who will suffer the most in the short term from the dearth of jobs and investment. They have merely swapped one distant and unreachable elite for another one. Secondly, the younger generation has lost the right to live and work in 27 other countries. We will never know the full extent of the lost opportunities, friendships, marriages and experiences we will be denied. Freedom of movement was taken away by our parents, uncles, and grandparents in a parting blow to a generation that was already drowning in the debts of our predecessors. Thirdly and perhaps most significantly, we now live in a post-factual democracy. When the facts met the myths they were as useless as bullets bouncing off the bodies of aliens in a HG Wells novel. When Micahel Gove said 'the British are sick of experts' he was right. But can anybody tell me the last time a prevailing culture of anti-intellectualism has lead to anything other than bigotry?

Aside from the quibble that I suspect it's bigotry that leads to anti-intellectualism rather than the other way around, my reaction to the third point was "welcome to my world." Politics in America went counterfactual in the 1980s when Reagan came up with his "Morning in America" con.

Some scattered links this week:

  • Israel links:

Also, a few links for further study (briefly noted:

Monday, June 27, 2016

Music Week

Music: Current count 26732 [26705] rated (+27), 438 [440] unrated (-2).

Been sick the last couple days. Probably just one of those passing bugs, but it's really kicked my ass. I started a Weekend Roundup yesterday, but couldn't finish (or even get very far into the thing). Lots to say about the whole "Brexit" thing, but no point trying until I feel up to it.

Phil Overeem liked the extended 3-CD It's Too Late to Stop Now, so I gave it a try. I can't say that all the redundancy is worth it, but I can't find much fault either. It was enough to get me to do a deep dive into all the Morrison I had missed -- almost everything from 1983-1999. Turns out the best of that stretch is another live double. Only one I'm still aware of missing is You Win Again (with Linda Gail Lewis).

Rhapsody Streamnotes is due by the end of the month, which is to say Thursday. I don't feel up to wrapping it up right now, but hopefully will recover somewhat by then. (Otherwise there's always backdating.)

New records rated this week:

  • Adele: 25 (2015, XL): [r]: B
  • Ben Adkins: Salmagundi (2016, Ben Adkins Music): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Alchemy Sound Project: Further Explorations (2014 [2016], ARC): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Kris Allen: Beloved (2015 [2016], Truth Revolution): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Lou Caputo Not So Big Band: Uh Oh! (2015 [2016], JazzCat 47): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Andrew McAnsh: Illustrations (2014-15 [2016], self-released): [cd]: B-
  • Jason Palmer/Cedric Hanriot: City of Poets (2014 [2016], Whirlwind): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Tyshawn Sorey: The Inner Spectrum of Variables (2015 [2016], Pi, 2CD): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Allen Toussaint: American Tunes (2013-15 [2016], Nonesuch): [r]: B+(**)
  • Harvey Valdes: Point Counter Point (2016, self-released): [cd]: B+(***)

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries rated this week:

  • Van Morrison: It's Too Late to Stop Now: Volumes II, III, IV & DVD (1973 [2016], Legacy, 3CD): [r]: A-

Old music rated this week:

  • Van Morrison: Inarticulate Speech of the Heart (1983, Warner Brothers): [r]: B
  • Van Morrison: Live at the Grand Opera House Belfast (1983 [1984], Mercury): [r]: B+(**)
  • Van Morrison: A Sense of Wonder (1985, Mercury): [r]: B-
  • Van Morrison: No Guru, No Method, No Teacher (1986, Mercury): [r]: B+(**)
  • Van Morrison: Poetic Champions Compose (1987, Mercury): [r]: B+(*)
  • Van Morrison & the Chieftains: Irish Heartbeat (1988, Mercury): [r]: B-
  • Van Morrison: Enlightenment (1990, Mercury): [r]: B+(***)
  • Van Morrison: Hymns to the Silence (1991, Mercury, 2CD): [r]: B+(***)
  • Van Morrison: A Night in San Francisco (1993 [1994], Polydor, 2CD): [r]: A-
  • Van Morrison With Georgie Fame & Friends: How Long Has This Been Going On? (1995, Verve): [r]: B+(**)
  • Van Morrison/Georgie Fame/Mose Allison/Ben Sidran: Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison (1996, Verve): [r]: B+(*)
  • Van Morrison: Back on Top (1999, Point Blank): [r]: B+(***)
  • Van Morrison: Magic Time (2005, Geffen): [r]: B+(**)

Grade changes:

  • Van Morrison: Too Long in Exile (1993, Polydor): [r]: [was: B+] A-

Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • The Corey Kendrick Trio: Rootless (self-released)
  • Ron King: Triumph (self-released): July 8
  • Allison Lewis: Seven (self-released)
  • Os Clavelitos: Arriving (self-released)
  • Putumayo Presents: Blues Party (Putumayo World Music)
  • Scott Reeves Jazz Orchestra: Portraits and Places (Origin)
  • Jim Snidero: MD66 (Savant): advance, August 26
  • Sound Underground: Quiet Spaces (Tiny Music): September 15
  • Peggy Stern: Z Octet (Estrella Productions): July 8
  • Brahja Waldman: Wisdomatic (Fast Speaking Music)

Monday, June 20, 2016

Music Week

Music: Current count 26705 [26674] rated (+31), 440 [447] unrated (-7).

First, some business left over from yesterday's Weekend Roundup post. David Everall wrote a long and informative letter on the "Brexit" question. Main point: "both the linked to article and your comments vastly underestimate the racist, xenophobic nature of the 'leave' side of the debate here." I've added the whole letter to the Comments section of the "faux blog" post. (If you seriously want to comment on a post, best way is to send me email -- look for the "Contact" link.)

What Everall says makes sense to me, and not just because I'm tempted to see a parallel in Donald Trump. I've probably tended to underestimate Trump movement racism because I find his more conventional Republican opponents so horrifying, but I do think that Laura Tillem has a point when she says that the worst thing about a Trump election is that it could happen (i.e., what it would show about the dim-witted viciousness of the American people). The takeaway of a Trump election would surely be that racism and xenophobia are acceptable, even majority, views, and that's probably what people would glean if "Brexit" succeeds. I can't say as I ever thought the latter would happen, as both right and left have their own reasons for keeping the union together. But I finally looked up some polling, and the referendum looks to be very close, with either outcome possible. But whereas, say, last night's NBA Finals Game was so close I figured either side winning would be a meaningless fluke, the "Brexit" is even close is already some kind of racist, chauvinist triumph -- even if what it really suggests is the utter breakdown of Britain's conservative elites' ability to keep their popular base in line. Again, this runs parallel with America's conservative elites inability to derail Trump. Whoever thought that decades of cynical manipulation of racial and ethnic grudges would have led to this?

Of course, a big part of those conservatives elites' failure comes from their disastrous excursions abroad. For example, see Record 65 million displaced by global conflicts and The translators promised visas but made into refugees by the US Army.

Another thing I haven't been paying sufficient attention to is the Trump meltdown. Given a little more time, the Trump section could have grown to two or three times as many items as I cited. Just from TPM today we see Trump Adviser Resigns After Celebrating Top Aide's Ouster, How Did Trump's Internally Loathed, Embattled Top Aide Last So Long?, The Real News Is Trump Is Broke, and Panicked Utah GOP Chair Is Another Sign That GOP Stronghold Is in Play. The first of those four starts out:

After sending out a tweet Monday dancing on ex-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski's grave, top aide Michael Caputo admitted the tweet was "too exuberant" and resigned his post with Trump's campaign.

There's also this: Trump says US should adopt Israel's racial profiling model.

I also want to note that Al Leiderman passed away -- Uncle Al to us. Born 1917, married Lillian Tillem for 74 years until her death in 2015, owned a laundry business and did fairly well. I met Lillian and Al twice: in 2008 when they came to Kal Tillem's funeral, and in 2014 when Laura and I visited them in Palm Beach. Googling Al gets us to several episodes of Old Jews Telling Jokes, like this and this and this. Not great jokes, but more of a legacy than I usually find.

Fairly hefty list of newly rated albums this week, mostly drawn from Christgau's Expert Witness (Aesop Rock, Chance the Rapper, Robbie Fulks, Heartsrevolution, Mr. Lif, Thao, White Lung), a Jason Gubbels SPIN World Report (Kel Assouf, Can't You Hear Me?, Romulo Fróes, Elektro Hafiz, Ukandanz), Phil Overeem's latest Good to My Earhole (Chance the Rapper, Elizabeth Cook), and Stereogum's The 50 Best Albums of 2016 So Far (Chance the Rapper, Pinegrove, Pup, Radiohead, Underworld). Looks like everyone (but me) loves Coloring Book. I gave it three plays, bumping it a notch from my original grade. I could imagine getting to like it somewhat more, but unless I figure out how to burn a copy I doubt I'll bother. Too much mess, even before there's too much God. Cook also got three plays, but they finally took. I got off on the wrong track with Heartsrevolution, but the widget at Noisey did the trick.

Taking my jazz queue pretty much in order, which leaves Tyshawn Sorey up for next week. First three or four albums after I got back came in B or worse. Wondered whether that was because I had spent the previous two weeks listening to classics, but I'm pretty sure they weren't very good.

Looks like AMG dropped their anti-AdBlock hostageware. No idea why, but I had decided to see how long I could live without it. Still, glad to have access again.

New records rated this week:

  • Aesop Rock: The Impossible Kid (2016, Rhymesayers): [r]: A-
  • Jonas Cambien Trio: A Zoology of the Future (2016, Clean Feed): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Chance the Rapper: Coloring Book (2016, self-released): [r]: B+(***)
  • Elizabeth Cook: Exodus of Venus (2016, Agent Love): [r]: A-
  • Jeff Denson Quartet: Concentric Circles (2016, Ridgeway): [cd]: B-
  • Kali Z. Fasteau: Intuit (2012-13 [2016], Flying Note): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Romulo Fróes: Por Elas Sem Elas (2015, YB Music, EP): [r]: B+(*)
  • Robbie Fulks: Upland Stories (2016, Bloodshot): [r]: B+(***)
  • Brian Groder Trio: R Train on the D Line (2014 [2016], Latham): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Electro Hafiz: Electro Hafiz (2016, Guerssen): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Heartsrevolution: Ride or Die (2013, Owsla, EP): [r]: B+(*)
  • Heartsrevolution: Ride or Die (2014, Owsla): [dl]: A-
  • Kel Assouf: Tikounen (2016, Igloo): [r]: B+(**)
  • LUME: Xabregas 10 (2014 [2016], Clean Feed): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Branford Marsalis Quartet: Upward Spiral (2016, Okeh): [r]: B-
  • Mr. Lif: Don't Look Down (2016, Mello Music): [r]: B+(***)
  • Nacka Forum: We Are the World (2016, Moserobie): [cd]: B+(***)
  • New Standard Jazz Orchestra: Waltz About Nothing (2015 [2016], OA2): [cd]: B-
  • Sebastian Noelle: Shelter (2015 [2016], Fresh Sound New Talent): [cdr]: B
  • Bruno Parrinha/Luis Lopes/Ricardo Jacinto: Garden (2015 [2016], Clean Feed): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Pinegrove: Cardinal (2016, Run for Cover): [r]: B+(*)
  • Pup: The Dream Is Over (2016, Side One Dummy): [r]: C+
  • Radiohead: A Moon Shaped Pool (2016, XL): [r]: B
  • Jim Self and the Tricky Lix Latin Jazz Band: ¡Yo! (2016, Basset Hound): [cd]: B
  • Thao & the Get Down Stay Down: A Man Alive (2016, Ribbon Music): [r]: B+(*)
  • Ukandanz: Awo (2016, Buda Musique): [r]: B+(*)
  • Underworld: Barbara Barbara, We Face a Shining Future (2016, Astralwerks): [r]: B+(**)
  • Waxwing: A Bowl of Sixty Taxidermists (2015, Songlines): [r]: B+(**)
  • White Lung: Paradise (2016, Domino): [r]: B+(**)

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries rated this week:

  • Can't You Hear Me? 70's African Nuggets & Garage Rock From Nigeria, Zambia, and Zimbabwe (1970s [2016], Now-Again): [r]: A-

Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Brazzamerica (self-released)
  • Sara Gazarek/Josh Nelson: Dream in the Blue (Steel Bird): August 5
  • Mike Jones Trio: Roaring (Capri): July 15
  • Mathias Landaeus: From the Piano (Moserobie)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Weekend Roundup

Travel disrupts my normal news browsing. I'm lucky to keep up with my email, find it hard to write on notebook keyboards, never listen to the radio, only watch TV when that's happening somewhere I'm staying (which did get me some History Channel in CT, CNN in Buffalo, and Weather Channel in AR). So I'm catching up here, and this week's links and comments are pretty hit-and-miss.

  • David Atkins: Gun Violence Research: If Republicans in Congress Won't Do It, California Will: One of the major problems with debates over gun control is the general lack of serious research into the problem. We have some rough numbers about total shootings but little else, in large part because the NRA has worked very hard to keep any research from getting funding. So if California does this, it will be a big help to anyone who wants to base policy on real data.

  • Andrew Cockburn: Victory Assured on the Military's Main Battlefield -- Washington: Back in the 1980s the "star wars" program was originally dubbed SDI, but I recall someone quipping that it should have been SFI, for Strategic Funding Initiative. It is one of the Pentagon's more famous multi-billion-dollar boondoggles, but far from alone. The military may or may not get the wars they lobby for, but somehow they always manage to get extravagant funding:

    Inside the Pentagon, budget planners and weapons-buyers talk of the "bow wave," referring to the process by which current research and development initiatives, initially relatively modest in cost, invariably lock in commitments to massive spending down the road. Traditionally, such waves start to form at times when the military is threatened with possible spending cutbacks due to the end of a war or some other budgetary crisis. [ . . . ]

    The latest nuclear buildup is only the most glaring and egregious example of the present bow wave that is guaranteed to grow to monumental proportions long after Obama has retired to full-time speechmaking. The cost of the first of the Navy's new Ford Class aircraft carriers, for example, has already grown by 20% to $13 billion with more undoubtedly to come. The "Third Offset Strategy," a fantasy-laden shopping list of robot drones and "centaur" (half-man, half-machine) weapons systems, assiduously touted by Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work, is similarly guaranteed to expand stunningly beyond the $3.6 billion allotted to its development next year.

  • Steve Fraser: How the Age of Acquiescence Came to an End: Author of last year's The Age of Acquiescence: The Life and Death of American Resistance to Organized Wealth and Power, now admits that:

    So consider this essay a postscript to that work, my perhaps belated realization that the age of acquiescence has indeed come to an end. Millions are now, of course, feeling the Bern and cheering The Donald. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the first signs of what was to come as I was finishing my book: the Tea Party on the right, and on the left Occupy Wall Street, strikes by low-wage workers, minimum and living wage movements, electoral victories for urban progressives, a surge of environmental activism, and the eruption of the Black Lives Matter movement just on the eve of publication.

    Also, after noting that not just the left but also the right has rediscovered the class struggle of the 1930s:

    Hillary Clinton is broadly distrusted. Sanders has consistently outpolled her against potential Republican opponents for president because she is indeed a limousine liberal whose career has burned through trust at an astonishing rate. And more important than that, the rebellion that has carried Sanders aloft is not afraid to put capitalism in the dock. Trump is hardly about to do that, but the diseased state of the neoliberal status quo has made him, too, a force to be reckoned with. However you look at it, the age of acquiescence is passing away.

    It should be added that while both right and left seek to build on mass disposession, the left offers programs that appeal to those without power, whereas the right seeks to redirect that fear and anger against others, thereby insulating the wealthy from the wrath of the masses -- if not from the consequences of their own lust for violence.

  • Paul Krugman: Notes on Brexit: Eleven of them, concluding that Britain would be slightly better off if they vote down the referendum threatening to part company with the European Union. Still, the biggest point is that exit would be bad for the City's financiers, which probably means as little to the average Briton as Wall Street bonuses mean to most Americans. Beyond that, he dismisses "claims that Britain, freed from EU rules, could achieve spectacular growth via deregulation." I haven't read much on this topic and don't have much to offer, other than the thought that exit might be preferable if Britain was solidly to the left of Europe -- and therefore able to use its independence to further equality -- but with the Tories controlling Parliament that pretty clearly isn't the case. (On the other hand, Scottish independence would likely have moved Scotland to the left, although that wouldn't have been good for English Labour.)

    The Brexit thing took a nasty turn with the assassination of Jo Cox, a Labour MP who strongly opposed Brexit, by a right-winger who shouted "Britain first" while attacking her. It would be fitting if her martyrdom swings the vote to no, but I can think of more than a few strategic assassinations that, often despite initial sympathy, did the job. As for the killer, there is much available, like Ben Norton: Suspected killer of British lawmaker is neo-Nazi -- but media blamed mental illness, like Charleston 1 year ago.

  • Stephen Kinzer: Don't mythologize Ali's rage: Probably much more worth reading on the late Muhammad Ali, but this is a good start, focusing on his courageous political stances against racism at home and imperialism abroad, and how recent eulogies tend to sanitize him in a time when "his message is every bit as urgent today as it was when he first began preaching it."

  • Ronald B Rapoport/Alan I Abramowitz/Walter J Stone: Why Trump Was Inevitable: Nothing deep or surprising or even very informative here. The authors merely did some polling among likely Republican voters and found out that Trump was the most popular candidate, beating all the others in one-on-one contests with Cruz (48%), Rubio (43%), Carson (42%), Paul (37%), and Fiorina (36%) his closest challengers -- the most notable finding is that among ten contenders (the polling was done around Iowa caucus time) the lowest rating belonged to Jeb Bush (31%), with Kasich and Christie just a whisker better (32%). Another chart shows that Republicans thought Trump was more likely to win in November than any other candidate (56%, vs. 44% for Cruz, 39% for Rubio, and a mere 13% for Bush). Other charts show that Trump's signature issues (banning Muslims, building his wall) were widely favored not just among Trump supporters but among all Republicans. As I said, nothing revealing there (except perhaps how doomed the Bush campaign was from the beginning).

  • Aaron Rupar: Senator Who Has Received More NRA Suport Than Anyone Blames Obama for Orlando Shooting: John McCain, $7.7 million, although most of that came during his 2008 presidential campaign, an unfair advantage compared to all the other NRA stooges in Congress. McCain's thinking here is that Obama opened the door for ISIS when he oversaw the withdrawal of US occupation forces from Iraq. The implication is that were it not for Obama's folly no one would have heard of ISIS, so no deranged westerner could pledge allegiance to the group in the midst of a killing spree. McCain may be one of the last true believers in the magical powers of American military power, or he may just have wanted US troops to stay in Iraq because their presence sustains the war he so dearly loves. If one has to blame Obama for this, it would make more sense to question his decision to send troops back to Iraq (and on to Syria) to fight ISIS, reinforcing the view that America is at war with Islam and has callous disregard for anyone who gets in the way. Clearly, America's long and seemingly intractable involvement in the Middle East's wars is leading to both sides disrespecting and dehumanizing the other. I don't think either Bush or Obama ever wished to paint their wars with racism but as those wars drag on, with us and them killing the other, their remonstrations are lost on demagogues like Trump. McCain, at least, has started to walk back his charges. Still, he hasn't betrayed his sponsors.

    Of course, what actually happened in Orlando doesn't fit at all well with the preconceived notions of someone like McCain. That the shooter was born a Muslim and had heard of ISIS seems almost incidental, even as that he was so filled with rage and armed with an assault rifle is so quintessentially American. For a profile, see 'Always Agitated. Always Mad': Omar Mateen, According to Those Who Knew Him.

  • Some light reading on Donald Trump:

Also, a few links for further study (briefly noted:

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Krugman's Truthiness

I wanted to write about this scurrilous piece [Paul Krugman: The Truth About the Sanders Movement] before my trip -- it was posted May 23 -- but never found the time (and my tools weren't much help). The problem isn't that Krugman claims the high ground of truth, although that's usually a tell of an impending bullshit dump. It starts with a quite from Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels charging that "Mr. Sanders's support is concentrated not among liberal ideologues but among disaffected white men." Rather than finding Sanders' support from "disaffected white men" a damning fault, I'd argue that it is a remarkable breakthrough: it shows that a demographic that has lamentably trended Republican in recent years -- indeed one that seems to be the not just the core but the limits of Trump's constituency -- is less monolithic and more open to a progressive candidate whose articulation of not just their interests is free of the Republicans' customary chauvinism. That sounds like a win to me -- one that Clinton should study and aspire to. As for Sanders' shortfall "among liberal ideologues," that may be because differences between pro-labor social democrats (leftists) and liberals run deep. The latter have always been pro-business individualists -- something partially bridged by the New Deal but which has come roaring back with the New Democrats' hook, line and sinker embrace of the chilling economic doctrines of neoliberalism.

Krugman goes on to observe that "Sandersism has been an assemblage of people with a variety of motives," and offers this taxonomy:

  1. Genuine idealists: "maybe because they're very young" and "ready to dismiss practical arguments about why all their dreams can't be accomplished in a day."
  2. Romantics: "shades over into something that's less about changing society than about the fun and ego gratification of being part of The Movement"; but "when reality began to set in, all too many romantics reacted by descending into bitterness, with angry claims that they were being cheated."
  3. Purists: "those for whom political activism is less about achieving things and more about striking a personal pose; "Naderites in 2000; the results of that venture don't bother them, because it was never really about the results, only about affirming personal identity."
  4. CDS victims: "Clinton-haters, deep in the grip of Clinton Derangement Syndrome"; "Sanders has gotten a number of votes from conservative Democrats who are voting against her, not for him, and for sure there are liberal supporters who have absorbed the same message, even if they don't watch Fox News."
  5. Salon des Refuses: "policy intellectuals who have for whatever reason been excluded from the inner circles of the Democratic establishment, and saw Sanders as their ticket to the big time."

I suppose Krugman would consign me to the "purists." I did, after all, vote for Nader in 2000, and have been consistently critical of many of the policy choices made by the Clinton and Obama administrations: especially how they continued with little (Obama) or no (Clinton) critical thought the neocon establishment's imperialistic foreign policy, but also how they (again, Clinton more blatantly) have repeatedly slagged their voters to advance the interests of their financiers. But where Krugman sees me as merely "affirming personal identity," I see real and substantial policy differences, especially regarding war/peace and inequality -- easily the two most important political issues we face today. Implicit in Krugman's argument that we should make pragmatic choices is the assumption that policy options like peace and equality aren't possible, but his logic is circular: as long as we keep picking politicians (like the Clintons) who believe that war and inequality are inevitable, they will be. Sanders offered the first explicit challenge to this paradigm since Nader -- sure, Obama offered vague hope for change but that didn't amount to much -- so my view is that it would have been dishonest and cowardly not to vote for Sanders over Clinton when given the chance.

Krugman goes on to speculate that "Purists and CDSers won't back Clinton, but they were never going to anyway." Maybe I'm not such a purist after all, as I've been planning on voting for Clinton (assuming she is nominated) vs. the Republican nominee all along. Granted, I know and respect people who say they won't -- they don't want to feel responsible for the next war she blunders into, and I have to admit that the odds of that happening are scary high. But one lesson I learned from the Nader debacle in 2000 was that most of the people we realistically hope to support leftist candidates will in the end vote Democratic anyway. Sometimes you have to support them in order to get them to support you. Indeed, most of the people I know in Kansas who are planning on supporting third-party candidates will be watching the polls and voting for Clinton if it gets close. Clinton carrying Kansas won't make much difference in the electoral college, but a Democratic win would chip away at the myth of invincibility that helps the Republicans dominate (and ruin) the state. Even "purists" realize that electing lesser evils than Sam Brownback would help reduce the damages caused by Republican extremism.

I have less to say about Krugman's other categories, especially idealists and romantics, the sort of fuzzy terms use to dismiss people who haven't yet degraded into embittered cynics. I find it hard to believe that any Sanders supporters are as deluded as the self-described progressives who profess that Hillary is (perhaps secretly) one with them -- and I say that knowing a few that believe just that (including at least four old friends from my recent road trip).

Some while back Krugman argued that Obamacare was practically equivalent to single-payer, and I more/less bought his argument. The key equivalency there is that both aim at universal coverage, and my takeaway (which, by the way was also Bernie's) was that it was important to support Obamacare because it would establish universal coverage as basic public policy. Still, Obamacare wasn't as effective at realizing universal coverage as single-payer would have been, and it left every facet of the profit-seeking health care industry intact, in some cases slightly more regulated but in most respects as greedy as ever. And it also meant that Democrats were taking any prospect for a much better health care system off the table, out of their platform, and moving it into "pie in the sky" territory. Krugman seems to be arguing for a similar equivalency between Hillary and Bernie, saying that for all practical purposes neither will achieve more than the other, but at least Hillary is possible (and necessary given that the alternative is Trump), whereas Bernie is off limits, tempting us with more than we can possibly hope for. Some of my friends think the same thing, although Krugman is exceptional in that he claims the laws of economics disprove Bernie -- although few things are more deeply rooted in politics than the so-called laws of economics.

It might be amusing to work out a similar taxonomy of Clinton supporters, but it's likely to be equally misleading. There can't be all that many neocons or bank lobbyists, although their money speaks volumes. Mostly she leads the timid, promising them little and, if the past history of campaign populism from Wilson to Obama holds, delivering even less. The one thing you have to credit the Republicans with is that even in abject defeat after colossal failure they strut like they rule the world and cower the mainstream media into fawning cowardice. But part of the problem is that the Democrats have never been able to distinguish friends from foes. How else can you explain them blaming Nader for Gore's loss in 2000, as opposed to packing the Supreme Court, or the media's eagerness to treat the teetotaling GW Bush as America's favorite drinking buddy while never noticing Dick Cheney lurking behind the scenes. And could Bush have done so much damage had no Democrats joined in his tax cuts, deregulation, "no child left behind," Patriot Act, or invasion of Iraq? As with Clinton's NAFTA, "crime bill," "welfare reform," balanced budgets, and repeal of Glass-Steagall, often the most effective enemy of Democratic voters is their own leaders. It's not clear to me how Hillary, whose career is dogged by bad decisions, unreliable allies, and one stupid scandal after another, breaks that mold.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Music Week

Music: Current count 26674 [26674] rated (+0), 447 [424] unrated (+23).

That is, nothing new rated in the last 15 days, while I've been busy driving around half of the the eastern half of the United States (KS, MO, IL, IN, KY, WV, MD, DE, NJ, NY, CT, MA, PA, OH, AR -- twice missed OK by only 1 mile). Took me a couple extra days to get this post together, so I can report the unpacking, way down below. Also didn't manage to buy a single CD -- I remember past trips of similar length where I brought back a hundred or more. As it was, the only record store I even saw was CDepot in College Park, Maryland: drove by and meant to return but didn't manage it. (I don't think I've ever been there without spending at least $200, so it would have been the one store to go to if I managed to go to one.) Still, I hardly ever buy things these days, so that streak would likely have fallen.

I got a rude awakening when I got back: All Music Guide has added some programming to prevent you (or at least me) from seeing any of their pages. Their gripe is that they've detected that I'm using Add Blocker, and they're insisting that either I disable it or "continue with a paid subscription." The $12 annual "ad-free" subscription is actually pretty modest considering how much I've used their website in the past, but the way they're going about this is pretty nasty. I also wonder what happens when they realize I'm also running NoScript and have 11 of their 15 JavaScript domains blocked -- all sorts of hideous, annoying, possibly dangerous shit.

So I balked, then turned to All About Jazz to at least get the musician lineup and song list on the album I was streaming, only to find that they want "$20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!" That doesn't sound like nearly as good a deal. (OK, review-wise AAJ is a cut above AMG, but it's less useful discographically, harder to search, more confusing, and it's only jazz.) They also have a "sign up and become a member" feature, like (or unlike, I'm not sure) AMG introduced a while back. AAJ doesn't charge for membership -- looks like it mostly lets them spam you, and lets you contribute free data to them. But then I'm only allowing 6/12 AAJ script domains, and fear that funding their "website expansion" will add more to the clutter than to content or accessibility (I understand there are some cases where JavaScript might be useful, but all this promiscuous script cross-referencing is a plague on the web).

AMG and AAJ are valuable websites, and it can't be easy funding them. But they're also profit-making companies, and they are at least partly built on contributed content (no idea how much if anything they pay writers -- M. Ricci has offered to publish me but hasn't offered to pay me anything). So it's hard to say that adding new revenue streams will offer anything in return to anyone but the owners. And while some websites may be worth paying for, as a practical matter most people cannot afford or justify more than a few such subscriptions. I expect that the effect there is that those sites that succeed at subscriptions will crowd out any others. That may indeed be part of the rationale. But it should also make those sites less popular, and ultimately less valuable. I don't know what the answer is (other than the currently utopian one of publicly supported democratic sites; free markets work OK for rivalrous goods, but are pretty much impossible for non-rivalrous ones).

One thing I haven't tried yet is an "anti-adblock killer" like Reek. For one thing, it adds to the arms race between between sites that try to seize control of your browser running on your computer and your basic right to defend yourself against their attacks. For another, it seems to depend on Greasemonkey, a piece of possibly invidious technology that I've never gotten the hang of. (Basically, it allows you to write or use scripts that change the way your browser works, for better or perhaps more often worse.)

Two more bits of news on returning:

  1. I see that Rhapsody has decided to rename itself Napster, thereby throwing away all the free promo work I've done for the streaming service since 2007. They're promising the same service for the same rates, so this shouldn't be as disruptive as when they switched to Flash for their streaming layer (what a headache that was). But it probably means I'll change the name of my monthly compendium of music notes to something else, and almost certainly that won't be Napster Streamnotes.
  2. Speaking of profit-seeking websites, the people who gave you that free resume-sharing site LinkedIn are cashing in on all your data and loyalty to Microsoft for $26.2 billion. The likelihood that they're going to share any of that bounty with you is nil, and the chances the site will become any less parasitic or predatory aren't much better. This is, of course, just a bigger version of the fortune AMG and AAJ are aiming for, and it's easy to see their recent member programs and ad extortion as efforts to improve their market value -- i.e., as signs that the end is near. It may be time to start thinking about new website projects again.

Lots of ideas pop into my head while I'm driving. I met John Chacona in Erie, PA, and one thing he was interested in was what I was my music cases and what I was listening to on the road. I have two cases with 80 CDs each, plus one more with 40, so I usually take 200 with me. I used to load these things for each trip, but had gotten lazy and had only shuttled a few discs in and out each trip: the first things to go were current jazz I was working on, then I generally cut back on jazz and hip-hop, often in favor of old rhythm & blues, rock & roll, and country -- those seem to work best for driving, although I preferred jazz in the motel room back when I thought to bring a boombox along. (My wife's iPod would eliminate the need for the boombox, but she doesn't always come along.) So I resolved two things: one is to jot down a list of the CDs for this trip; the other is to unpack the cases when I get back, so I can start fresh next time. What follows is the list, with date/label data from the database (which doesn't always match the disc, especially in cases where the CD replaced an LP). Multiple disc sets are noted, and something like "1/3CD" means I only had one of three CDs.

  • The Abyssinians: Tree of Satta: Volume 1 (1969-2003 [2004], Blood & Fire)
  • King Sunny Ade: The Best of the Classic Years (1967-74 [2003], Shanachie)
  • Lily Allen: It's Not Me, It's You (2009, Capitol)
  • Lily Allen: Sheezus (2014, Warner Brothers/Regal)
  • Louis Armstrong: 16 Most Requested Songs (1954-66 [1994], Columbia)
  • The Beautiful South: Welcome to the Beautiful South (1989 [1990], Go! Discs)
  • The Beautiful South: 0898 Beautiful South (1992, Go! Discs)
  • Sidney Bechet: The Legendary Sidney Bechet (1932-41 [1988], RCA)
  • Big Youth: Screaming Target (1973 [2006], Trojan/Sanctuary)
  • Bobby Bland: The Voice: duke Recordings 1959-69 (1959-69 [1991], Ace)
  • The Blasters: The Blasters Collection (1980-85 [1991], Slash)
  • Bootsy: Back in the Day: The Best of Bootsy (1976-82 [1994], Warner Brothers)
  • James Brown: In the Jungle Groove (1969-72 [2003], Polydor)
  • James Brown: The Best of James Brown Volume 2: The '70s [20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection] (1970-76 [2002], Polydor)
  • James Carter: The Real Quietstorm (1995, Atlantic)
  • Johnny Cash: The Essential Johnny Cash (1955-1983) (1955-83 [1992], Columbia/Legacy, 3CD)
  • Manu Chao: Clandestino (1998, Ark 21)
  • Ray Charles: The Birth of Soul (1951-59 [1991], Rhino/Atlantic, 3CD)
  • The Clash: London Calling (1979 [2004], Epic/Legacy)
  • The Coasters: 50 Coastin' Classics (1954-68 [1992], Rhino, 2CD)
  • Leonard Cohen: Live in London (2008 [2009], Columbia, 2CD)
  • Cornershop: Handcream for a Generation (2002, Beggars Banquet)
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival: Chronicle (1968-70 [1976], Fantasy)
  • Culture: Two Sevens Clash [30th Anniversary Edition] (1977 [2007], Shanachie)
  • Miles Davis: A Tribute to Jack Johnson (1970 [2005], Columbia/Legacy)
  • Ani DiFranco: Which Side Are You On? (2012, Righteous Babe)
  • DJ Shadow: The Private Press (2002, MCA)
  • Fats Domino: My Blue Heaven: The Best of Fats Domino (1949-61 [1990], EMI)
  • Dr. Sir Warrior and the Oriental Brothers International: Heavy on the Highlife (1990, Original Music)
  • The Drifters: The Very Best of the Drifters (1959-64 [1993], Rhino)
  • Champion Jack Dupree: A Portrait of Champion Jack Dupree (1990-93 [2000], Rounder)
  • Ian Dury & the Blockheads: Jukebox Dury (1977-80 [1981], Stiff)
  • Dave Edmunds: From Small Things: The Best of Dave Edmunds (1970-2002 [2004], Columbia/Legacy)
  • Duke Ellington: Duke Ellington's Far East Suite (1966 [2003], Bluebird)
  • Duke Ellington: Meets Coleman Hawkins/And John Coltrane (1962 [2011], Impulse)
  • The English Beat: Special Beat Service (1982, IRS)
  • Eno: Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) (1974, EG)
  • Marianne Faithfull: Broken English (1979, Island)
  • Ella Fitzgerald/Louis Armstrong: Ella and Louis Again (1957 [2003], Verve, 2CD)
  • The "5" Royales: Monkey Hips and Rice (1952-62 [1994], Rhino, 2CD)
  • Franco: Francophonic: A Retrospective, Vol. 1: 1953-1998 (1953-98 [2008], Sterns Africa, 2CD)
  • Aretha Franklin: Aretha's Gold (1967-68 [1969], Atlantic)
  • Lefty Frizzell: Look What Thoughts Will Do (1950-63 [1997], Columbia/Legacy, 2CD)
  • Slim Gaillard: Laughing in Rhythm: The Best of the Verve Years (1946-54 [1994], Verve)
  • Gang of Four: A Brief History of the 20th Century (1979-83 [1990], Warner Brothers)
  • Marvin Gaye: The Very Best of Marvin Gaye (1962-82 [2001], Motown, 2CD)
  • Don Gibson: RCA Country Legends (1958-66 [2001], Buddha)
  • The Go-Betweens: 1978-1990 (1978-90 [1990], Beggars Banquet)
  • Al Green: Greatest Hits (1972-75 [1995], Hi)
  • Coleman Hawkins: Hollywood Stampede (1945-47 [1989], Capitol)
  • Coleman Hawkins: At Ease With Coleman Hawkins (1960 [1992], Prestige)
  • The Holy Modal Rounders and Friends: I Make a Wish for a Potato (1975-99 [2001], Rounder)
  • Lightning Hopkins: Jake Head Boogie (1951-54 [1999], Ace)
  • Howlin' Wolf: Howlin' Wolf/Moanin' in the Moonlight (1951-61 [1986], Chess)
  • Michael Hurley/Unholy Modal Rounders/Jeffrey Frederick & the Clamtones: Have Moicy! (1976 [1991], Rounder)
  • Mississippi John Hurt: Rediscovered (1965-66 [1998], Vanguard)
  • Abdullah Ibrahim [Dollar Brand]: Tintinyana (1971-79 [1988], Kaz)
  • Elmore James: The Sky Is Crying: The History of Elmore James (1951-61 [1993], Rhino)
  • Etta James: The Definitive Etta James (1954-2004 [2006], Geffen/Chronicles)
  • Linton Kwesi Johnson: Making History (1984, Mango)
  • Louis Jordan and the Tympany Five: The Best of Louis Jordan (1942-45 [1975], MCA)
  • Louis Jordan: Five Guys Named Moe: Original Decca Recordings Vol. 2 (1939-55 [1992], MCA)
  • Joy of Cooking: American Originals (1970-72 [1992], Capitol)
  • Le Grand Kallé: Le Grand Kallé: His Life, His Music (1953-83 [2013], Sterns Music, 2CD)
  • Ronnie Lane: One for the Road (1976 [1995], Edsel)
  • Jerry Lee Lewis: Rare Tracks (1956-63 [1989], Rhino)
  • Jerry Lee Lewis: The Definitive Collection (1957-81 [2006], Hip-O/Chronicles)
  • Nick Lowe: Jesus of Cool (1975-78 [2008], Yep Roc)
  • Taj Mahal: The Best of Taj Mahal (1967-74 [2000], Columbia/Legacy)
  • Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions: The Anthology (1961-77 [1993], MCA, 2CD)
  • Roger Miller: All Time Greatest Hits (1964-85 [2003], Mercury/Chronicles)
  • Charles Mingus: Mingus at Carnegie Hall (1974 [1996], Rhino)
  • The Modern Lovers: The Modern Lovers (1971 [1986], Rhino)
  • Van Morrison: Into the Music (1979, Warner Brothers)
  • Maria Muldaur: Richland Woman Blues (2001, Stony Plain)
  • Maria Muldaur & Her Garden of Joy: Good Time Music for Hard Times (2009, Stony Plain)
  • Willie Nelson: [/Webb Pierce:] In the Jailhouse Now/[/Hank Snow:] Brand on My Heart (1982-85 [2000], DCC)
  • New Order: Brotherhood (1986, Qwest)
  • New York Dolls: In Too Much, Too Soon (1974, Mercury)
  • Niney and Friends: Blood and Fire (1971-72 [1998], Trojan)
  • Pere Ubu: Datapanik in the Year Zero (1975-82 [1996], Geffen, 1/5CD)
  • Houston Person: The Art and Soul of Houston Person (1996-2008 [2008], High Note, 3CD)
  • Pet Shop Boys: Very (1993, Capitol)
  • Astor Piazzolla: The Rough Guide to Astor Piazzolla (1957-88 [2005], World Music Network)
  • Wilson Pickett: A Man and a Half: The Best of Wilson Pickett (1961-71 [1992], Rhino, 2CD)
  • Pink Floyd: Wish You Were Here (1975 [1992], Capitol)
  • Prince: The Hits/The B-Sides (1978-93 [1993], Paisley Park, 1/3CD)
  • Professor Longhair: Crawfish Fiesta (1980, Alligator)
  • Public Enemy: Power to the People and the Beats: Public Enemy's Greatest Hits (1987-98 [2005], Def Jam)
  • Don Pullen: Ode to Life (1993, Blue Note)
  • Amy Rigby: Diary of a Mod Housewife (1996, Koch)
  • Roberto Juan Rodriguez: El Danzon de Moises (2002, Tzadik)
  • The Rolling Stones: Exile on Main Street (1972, Virgin)
  • Sonny Rollins: Way Out West (1957 [1988], Contemporary OJC)
  • Pharoah Sanders: Welcome to Love (1990, Timeless)
  • The Shirelles: The Very Best of the Shirelles (1958-63 [1994], Rhino)
  • Horace Silver: The Very Best (1954-66 [2005], Blue Note)
  • Zoot Sims: Zoot Sims and the Gershwin Brothers (1975 [1991], Pablo OJC)
  • Sly and the Family Stone: Greatest Hits (1967-69 [2007], Epic/Legacy)
  • Todd Snider: Live: The Storyteller (2010 [2011], Aimless, 2CD)
  • Hank Snow: The Essential Hank Snow (1950-73 [1997], RCA)
  • Swamp Dogg: Best of 25 Years: F*** the Bomb, Stop the Drugs (1970-95 [1996], Virgin)
  • Rachid Taha: Diwan (1998, Polydor)
  • Art Tatum/Ben Webster/Red Callender/Bill Douglass: The Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol. 8 (1956 [1990], Pablo)
  • Television: Marquee Moon (1977 [2003], Elektra/Rhino)
  • The Velvet Underground: Loaded (1970, Warner Special Products)
  • Bunny Wailer: Crucial! Roots Classics (1979-82 [1994], Shanachie)
  • Loudon Wainwright III: High Wide and Handsome: The Charlie Poole Project (2008-09 [2009], 161, 2CD)
  • Muddy Waters: The Definitive Collection (1948-76 [2006], Geffen/Chess/Chronicles)
  • Ben Webster: Soulville (1957 [1989], Verve)
  • Ben Webster: Ben Webster Meets Oscar Peterson (1959 [1991], Verve)
  • Mary Wells: The Best of Mary Wells [20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection] (1961-64 [1999], Motown)
  • The Who: Meaty Beaty Big and Bouncy (1965-68 [1971], MCA)
  • The Wild Tchoupitoulas: The Wild Tchoupitoulas (1976, Island)
  • Hank Williams: The Original Singles Collection (1942-52 [1990], Polydor, 3CD)
  • Lucinda Williams: Lucinda Williams (1988, Rough Trade)
  • Sonny Boy Williamson: The Essential Sonny Boy Williamson (1955-64 [1993], Chess, 2CD)
  • Wire: On Returning (1977-1979) (1977-79 [1992], Enigma)
  • Stevie Wonder: Number 1's (1963-2005 [2007], Motown)
  • X-Ray Spex: The Anthology (1977-78 [2002], Sanctuary/Castle, 1/2CD)
  • Lester Young: The Essential Keynote Collection 1: The Complete Lester Young (1944 [1987], Mercury)
  • Lester Young: The President Plays With the Oscar Peterson Trio (1952 [1997], Verve)
  • Neil Young: Tonight's the Night (1975, Reprise)
  • ZZ Top: Deguello (1979, Warner Brothers)
  • African Connection, Vol 1: Zaire Choc! ([1988], Celluloid)
  • Afro Latin: Via Dakar (1960s-80s [2011], Syllart, 2CD)
  • Afro Latin: Via Kinshasa ([2011], Syllart, 2CD)
  • Atlantic Rhythm and Blues 1947-1974, Vol. 3: 1955-1958 (1955-58 [1985], Atlantic)
  • The Best of Ace Records, Vol. 2: The R&B Hits (1955-60 [1993], Scotti Brothers)
  • The Best of Doo Wop Uptempo (1954-63 [1989], Rhino)
  • The Best of Excello Records, Vol. 2: Southern Rhythm 'n' Rock (1954-66 [1990], Rhino)
  • The Best of Studio One (1967-80 [2006], Heartbeat)
  • Creole Kings of New Orleans (1950-58 [1992], Specialty)
  • Dance Floor Divas: The 70s (1974-82 [1996], Rhino)
  • Finger Poppin' and Stompin' Feet: 20 Classic Allen Toussaint Productions for Minit Records 1960-1962 (1960-62 [2002], Capitol)
  • Girl Group Greats (1960-65 [2001], Rhino)
  • Groove 'n' Grind: '50s and '60s Dance Hits (1957-67 [1990], Rhino)
  • Guitar Paradise of East Africa ([1991], Earthworks)
  • Hurricane Zouk ([1988], Earthworks/Virgin)
  • Millennium Funk Party (1972-83 [1998], Rhino)
  • Motown: The Classic Years (1960-72 [2000], UTV, 2CD)
  • The Music in My Head ([1998], Sterns)
  • New Millennium Rock 'n' Roll Party (1954-59 [2000], Rhino)
  • Nigeria 70: Sweet Times: Afro-Funk, Highlife and Juju From 1970s Lagos (1970-84 [2011], Strut)
  • The R&B Box: 30 Years of Rhythm and Blues (1944-74 [1994], Rhino, 6CD)
  • Roots of OK Jazz: Congo Classics 1955-1956 (1955-56 [2010], Crammed Discs)
  • The Roots of Rock 'n' Roll 1946-1954 (1946-54 [2004], Hip-O, 3CD)
  • The Rough Guide to Highlife [2nd Edition] (1969-84 [2012], World Music Network)
  • Scratchin': The Wild Jimmy Spruill Story (1956-63 [2014], GVC, 2CD)
  • This Is Ska! (1962-70 [1997], Music Club)
  • Wall of Sound: The Very Best of Phil Spector 1961-1966 (1961-66 [2011], Phil Spector/Legacy)

Not necessarily the best 200 CDs I could have taken. There's some amount of accident and drift here, but they're all A- or better (often much better). I probably played a little more than half of these on this trip. I can't say as I was ever disappointed.

Unpacking: Found in the mail last couple of weeks:

  • Ben Adkins: Salmagundi (Ben Adkins Music): July 8
  • Kris Allen: Beloved (Truth Revolution)
  • Ricardo Bacelar: Concerto Para Moviola: Ao Vivo (Bacelar)
  • The Michael Blum Quartet: Chasin' Oscar: A Tribute to Oscar Peterson (self-released)
  • Corey Christensen: Factory Girl (Origin)
  • Sylvie Courvoisier/Mark Feldman/Ikue Mori/Evan Parker: Miller's Tale (Intakt): advance
  • Dan Cray: Outside In (Origin)
  • Orbert Davis' Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Chamber Ensemble: Havana Blue (3Sixteen)
  • The Diva Jazz Orchestra: Special Kay! (self-released)
  • The Evenfall Quartet (Blue Duchess)
  • Cheryl Fisher: Quietly There (OA2)
  • Fresh Cut Orchestra: Mind Behind Closed Eyes (Ropeadope)
  • Fred Frith Trio: Another Day in Fucking Paradise (Intakt): advance
  • David Greenberger, Keith Spring, and Dinty Child: Take Me Where I Don't Know I Am (Pel Pel)
  • Joonsam: A Door (Origin)
  • Jon Lundbom & Big Five Chord: Play All the Notes (Hot Cup, EP)
  • Joel Miller: Dream Cassette (Origin)
  • Russ Miller and the Jazz Orchestra: You and the Night and the Music (Doctheory)
  • Bob Mintzer: All L.A. Band (Fuzzy Music)
  • Bryan Nichols: Looking North (Shifting Paradigm)
  • Marc Ribot/The Young Philadelphians: Live in Tokyo (Yellowbird)
  • Daniel Schmitz/Johannes Schmitz/Jörg Fischer: Botanic Mob (Sporeprint)
  • Jürgen Wuchner/Rudi Mahall/Jörg Fischer: In Memoriam: Buschi Niebergall (1997, Sporeprint)

Monday, June 13, 2016

Trip Report

Monday, May 30, 2016

Music Week

Music: Current count 26674 [26660] rated (+14), 424 [428] unrated (-4).

Right. Week cut short on Friday, after I posted Rhapsody Streamnotes on Wednesday. Missed the Festen album there -- you always miss something. RED Trio is pretty good too. The other Clean Feeds will have to await my return, in a couple weeks or so. I'll be checking email, but not much more. Hopefully get some reading done. Maybe even figure out what the fuck I'm doing with my retired, reclusive life.

New records rated this week:

  • Adult Books: Runing From the Blows (2016, Lolipop): [r]: B+(*)
  • Lucy Dacus: No Burden (2016, Egghunt): [r]: B+(***)
  • Festen: Festen (2015 [2016], Clean Feed): [cd]: A-
  • Kevin Gates: Islah (2016, Atlantic): [r]: B+(*)
  • Will Goble: Consider the Blues (2015 [2016], OA2): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Tony Malaby Paloma Recio: Incantations (2015 [2016], Clean Feed): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Sei Miguel: (Five) Stories Untold (2014-15 [2016], Clean Feed): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Nick Millevoi: Desertion (2015 [2016], Shhpuma): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Myriad 3: Moons (2016, ALMA): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Oddisee: The Odd Tape (2016, Mello Music Group): [r]: B+(*)
  • RED Trio/John Butcher: Summer Skyshift (2015 [2016], Clean Feed): [cd]: B+(***)

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries rated this week:

  • Fame: Jon Savage's Secret History of Post-Punk 78-81 (1978-81 [2012], Caroline True): [r]: B+(**)
  • Allen Lowe: Louis Armstrong: An Avant Garde Portrait (1992 [2016], Constant Sorrow): [bc]: B+(***)

Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Andrew McAnsh: Illustrations (self-released)
  • Jason Palmer/Cedric Hanriot: City of Poets (Whirlwind)
  • Roberta Piket: One for Marian: Celebrating Marian McPartland (Thirteenth Note)
  • Samo Salamon/Stefano Battaglia: Winds (Sazas/Klopotec)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Rhapsody Streamnotes (May 2016)

Pick up text here.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Music Week

Music: Current count 26660 [26641] rated (+19), 428 [428] unrated (+0).

Another low rated count this past week. Been busy with other stuff, and took my own sweet time with several of these items. Next week promises to be even more distracting, then I'll drive east, making the rounds (DC, NY, parts of New England which may or may not touch Boston, Buffalo, then back through Arkansas and Oklahoma). No real schedule other than June 1-5 in New York City, the main event my nephew's wedding. I haven't driven out of town since October, so I figure I'm overdue for a break from the humdrum. Just not sure how much longer I'll be able to do this sort of thing, so it's also something of a test.

Before I leave, I'll post a Rhapsody Streamnotes. Draft file has about 108 records in it, but only 48 are new -- most of the body count came from my Merle Haggard mop up nearly a month back. Very little new non-jazz in the draft file -- nothing A-list (vs. five A-list jazz albums), only three B+(***) (Open Mike Eagle, Homeboy Sandman, Linda Gail Lewis). Actually, until this month the year-in-progress list wasn't so imbalanced: it's currently 18 jazz, 13 non-jazz (counting Gary Lucas as jazz), so a month ago it must have been 13-13. I admit to not having looked very hard, with nearly all of those 13 non-jazz albums recommended by trusted sources: seven A- or higher from Robert Christgau, four more from Michael Tatum (counting Pet Shop Boys, which he wound up dropping to B+, and Gwen Stefani, which I got to first). That leaves Gambari Band and Margo Price (both on Jason Gubbels' First Quarter list.

Tatum published his second Downloader's Diary last week, which includes plaudits for two records not yet on Rhapsody: Beyoncé Lemonade and Robbie Fulks' Upland Stories. I'll get to them when I find them, but for now will only note that they are also Christgau-approved -- also haven't heard Kevin Gates' Islah, which Christgau likes (A-) and Tatum doesn't (B-). Only other quibble I have is the pan on Margo Price. Reminds me of the gripes some people had about Gillian Welch, complaining that her "authenticity" was fake because she hadn't earned it. Of course, could be that I have the record overrated -- I'm not terribly picky about clichés, and when I saw her on some late night show she came off quite dull. Should give it another spin at some point.

Christgau's column on Beyoncé and Kevin Gates is here. Hope to get an update done on his website by the time I drive off. Maybe he'll finally offer us a 2015 Dean's List?

Clifford Ocheltree and Phil Overeem both wrote in to assure me that the remastered sound on Dust-to-Digital's Blind Alfred Reed's book/CD, Appalachian Visionary. I had given a somewhat qualified A- to Document's old Reed compilation, the prosaically titled Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order (1927-1929), so I took the unprecedented step of writing up an A- entry on the new comp in May's Rhapsody Streamnotes. That way it will show up on my year-end list, which is always hurting for reissues. I should, however, offer two warnings here: one is that the $30 list price is stiff, not that the fancy book won't be interesting; the other is that Reed is not for anyone who is the least bit squeamish about political correctness: he's probably a racist, and definitely a misogynist, and if you can't laugh at his absurdities, you shouldn't bother.

New records rated this week:

  • The Bill Belasco Trio: Three Musicians (2016, Summit): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Ran Blake: Ghost Tones: Portraits of George Russell (2010 [2015], A-Side): [dl]: B+(***)
  • Anthony Braxton: 3 Compositions (EEMHM) 2011 (2011 [2016], Firehouse 12, 3CD): [r]: B+(**)
  • Marialuisa Capurso/Jean-Marc Foussat: En Respirant (2016, Fou): [cd]: B
  • Empirical: Connection (2015 [2016], Cuneiform): [dl]: B+(***)
  • Erik Friedlander: Rings (2016, Skipstone): [cd]: B+(***)
  • The Funky Organics: The Funky Organics (2016, Chicken Coup/Summit)
  • Trevor Giancola Trio: Fundamental (2015 [2016], self-released): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Glitterbust: Glitterbust (2016, Burger): [r]: B+(*)
  • Barry Guy: The Blue Shroud (2015 [2016], Intakt): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Mimi Jones: Feet in the Mud (2015 [2016], Hot Tone Music): [cd]: B+(*)
  • The Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra: Storming Through the South (2016, Summit): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Lok 03+1: Signals (2016, Trost): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Luis Perdomo: Montage (2015 [2016], Hot Tone Music): [cd]: B+(*)
  • ResAUnance: Migration (2014 [2016], FMR): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Ron Stabinsky: Free for One (2015 [2016], Hot Cup): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Greg Ward: Touch My Beloved's Thought (2016, Greenleaf Music): [cd]: A-

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries rated this week:

  • Allen Lowe: Julius Hemphill Plays the Music of Allen Lowe (1989-91 [2016], self-released): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Joey Negro: Remixed With Love by Joey Negro: Vol. Two (2016, Z, 2CD): [r]: B+(*)

Old music rated this week:

  • Joint Venture: Ways (1989 [1990], Enja): [r]: B+(***)

Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Alchemy Sound Project: Further Explorations (ARC): May 27
  • Jonas Cambien Trio: A Zoology of the Future (Clean Feed)
  • Lou Caputo Not So Big Band: Uh Oh! (JazzCat 47): June 3
  • Chat Noir: Nine Thoughts for One Word (Rare Noise): advance, June 17
  • Lume: Xabrecas (Clean Feed)
  • Magnet Animals: Butterfly Killer (Rare Noise): advance, June 17
  • Sei Miguel: (Five) Stories Untold (Clean Feed)
  • Pascal Niggenkemper: Le 7ème Continent: Talking Trash (Clean Feed)
  • Jim Self and the Tricky Lix Latin Jazz Band: ¡Yo! (Basset Hound): June 3
  • Tyshawn Sorey: The Inner Spectrum of Variables (Pi): June 6
  • Harvey Valdes: Point Counter Point (self-released)


  • Lyrics Born: Now Look What You've Done, Lyrics Born! Greatest Hits! (1997-2015, Mobile Home)

Sunday, May 22, 2016

No real time for this today, so I'll just try to note a few brief links without providing much in the way of commentary. Main thing that chewed up time today was my sister's birthday. She wanted a party in the new/very old house, although circumstances pretty much restricted us to the living room (repainted bright blue, wood floors refinished). She set up a table on my sawhorses, and I brought over a large pot of jambalaya and a spice cake -- two old never-fail standbys. Only work on the house today was to reinstall the toilet, but after rebuilding the bathroom floor and covering it with vinyl sheet that feels like a milestone.

One minor piece of housekeeping: Laura Tillem urged me to send an excerpt from last week's Blowing Smoke post on Hiroshima and Obama, and something like it was published in the Wichita Eagle's Letters to the Editor today:

Columnist Leonard Pitts Jr., who normally is sensitive to racial affronts, insists that we not apologize for killing 200,000 Japanese with atom bombs -- the only time such weapons have been used on civilians -- because it was war ("Obama not apologizing for Hiroshima, nor should he," May 16 Opinion). So war means never having to say you're sorry?

I get that "war is hell," but I don't see that one should deny regrets after a war, or that there's no value in the simple decency of an apology, however paltry.

I fear that refusing to apologize for Hiroshima implies that atomic bombing of cities is something we can excuse doing again -- that it's one of those "options" that our political leaders insist they won't ever "take off the table." Indeed, current plans to spend more than $1 trillion to upgrade America's nuclear arsenal suggest that America's leaders are more committed than ever to threatening what we're repeatedly told is "a dangerous world" with instant destruction.

On the other hand, if we started to apologize for the atrocities that even Pitts admits America committed, maybe we'd be less prone to repeat them going forward.

OK, one big piece and long quote and comment:

  • Matt Taibbi: RIP, GOP: How Trump Is Killing the Republican Party: Just riffing on the headline, my initial reaction is that he's got it totally wrong. The Republican Party has been intellectually and morally dead for some time now. The Bush administration proved that any pieces of their agenda that they managed to implement rebounded disastrously, they've continued to perform similarly awful at the state and local levels, and under Obama congressional Republicans (even with their recent majority control) have failed to offer a single constructive proposal -- all they seem capable of doing is jeering and obstructing. So they're already brain dead, not that the media -- so fascinated with their spastic twitching -- has noticed let alone certified. Still, one thing Trump has going is that he's pretty clearly not implicated in their past failures, so how can one accuse him of killing the party? The more apt metaphor is that the party is already dead, and Trump is reanimating it, much like Dr. Frankenstein animated his monster. (I'm not current enough on the relevant pop culture to judge whether some sort of zombie trope might fit better, but John Quiggin's critique of "zombie economics" -- "how dead ideas still walk among us" -- applies to most of the rare occasions when Republicans attempt to present us with their version of thinking.)

    The main argument against the death of the Republican Party is that Republicans keep polling well and winning elections, despite a track record of unmitigated horror. While some pundits argue that Trump is so repugnant and reviled that he may drag the whole party down to a calamitous defeat this fall, I don't see how adding palpable energy (and a soupçon of deniability) hurts the GOP. Taibbi's article is more nuanced than his headline, partly because it's more about Ted Cruz's failures than Trump's successes:

    This led to the hilarious irony of Ted Cruz. Here was a quintessentially insipid GOP con man culled straight from the halls of Princeton, Harvard, the Supreme Court, the Federal Trade Commission and the National Republican Senatorial Committee to smooth-talk the yokels. But through a freak accident of history, he came along just when the newest models of his type were selling "the Republican establishment sucks" as an electoral strategy.

    Cruz was like an android that should have self-destructed in a cloud of sparks and black smoke the moment the switch flipped on. He instead stayed on just long enough to win 564 delegates, a stunning testament to just how much Republican voters, in the end, hated the Republican kingmakers Cruz robotically denounced.

    All of these crazy contradictions came to a head in Indiana, where Cruz succumbed in an explosion of hate and scorn. The cascade started the Sunday night before the primary, with a Cruz stump speech in La Porte that couldn't have gone worse.

    Things went sideways as Cruz was working his way into a "simple flat tax" spiel, a standard Republican snake-oil proposal in which all corporate, estate and gift taxes would be eliminated, and replaced with a 10 percent flat tax and a 16 percent consumption tax. Not because the rich would pay less and the poor would pay more, but because America and fairness, etc. He was just getting to his beloved money line, claiming, "We can fill out our taxes on a postcard," when a 12-year-old boy interrupted with cries of "You suck!" and "I don't care!"

    Cruz couldn't quite handle the pressure and stepped straight into the man-trap the moment presented. He lectured the kid about respecting his elders, then suggested the world might be a better place if someone had taught a young Donald Trump that lesson. It was a not-half-bad line of the type that the Harvard lawyer is occasionally capable. But Cruz couldn't help himself and added, "You know, in my household, when a child behaves that way, they get a spanking."

    Boom! Within hours the Internet was filled with headlines about how Ted Cruz had suggested spanking someone else's 12-year-old for telling him he sucked.

    This was on top of the ignominy of having already called a basketball hoop a "ring" while giving a speech on the gym floor in Knightstown, the home of the fictional Hickory team from Hoosiers. No American male would call a basketball hoop a ring, and even a French immigrant would know better than to do so in Indiana, but this was the kind of run he was on.

    The rest of the race was a slapstick blowout. Carly Fiorina fell off a stage, and Cruz's wife, Heidi, actually had to answer a question from a Yahoo! reporter about her husband being called the Zodiac Killer. Heidi Cruz calmly responded that she'd been married to Ted for 15 years and "I know pretty well who he is." This, of course, was exactly what the wife of the actual Zodiac Killer would say, making for a perfectly absurd ending to a doomed campaign. [ . . . ]

    Finally, on the morning of the Indiana primary, Cruz woke up to hear opponent Trump babbling that Cruz's own father had been hanging out with Lee Harvey Oswald before the assassination of John F. Kennedy, a bizarre take on a ridiculous National Enquirer story that Trump, of course, believed instantly. Trump brought this up on Fox and Friends, which let him run the ball all the way to the end zone. "I mean, what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald, shortly before the death -- before the shooting?" Trump asked. "It's horrible."

    American politics had never seen anything like this: a presidential candidate derided as a haggardly masturbating incarnation of Satan, the son of a presidential assassin's accomplice, and himself an infamous uncaptured serial killer.

    Despite the media humiliations, Cruz talked passionately of his supporters' resolve. "Just a few days ago, two young kids, ages four and six, handed me two envelopes full of change," he said. "All of their earnings from their lemonade stand. They wanted the campaign to have it."

    The crowd cooed: Awwww! There was no way he could quit now and let those kids down. Except that moments later, Cruz did just that, announcing he was suspending his campaign because "the path to victory has been foreclosed." Then he fled the stage like he was double-parked.

    Didn't initially plan to quote all of that, but it kept coming, and helps explain why Cruz, who had long been favored to win Indiana, and who supposedly cinched the win with a deal to get Kasich to skip the state and not split the anti-Trump vote, imploded so suddenly. But the key word there was "foreclosed": precisely the sort of word a Harvard lawyer would choose to indicate that he was quitting not because he had lost face with the voters or had decided that the principled differences he claimed against Trump had ceased to matter; rather, the moneyed interests behind his campaign decided to cut their losses and live with the consequences. Then, less than a week later, Kasich -- who after his deal with Cruz had nothing riding on the Indiana results -- dropped out as well, conceding the nomination and obviating the rest of the primary schedule. Clearly, the folks with the money decided that whatever uncertainty Trump posed wasn't enough of a threat to keep fighting against.

And a few real brief links:

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Daily Log

Thought experiment: Nephew Mike's wedding is June 3. Laura flies to New York on June 1 and has hotel reservations there until June 5 or 6. If I were to drive out, to get there on June 1 I would have to leave when?

  • If I drove to New York on Wednesday June 1 from DC. I would want to have at least one whole day in DC, so I would need to get to DC on Monday May 30.
  • If I drove straight to DC from Wichita, to get there May 30 I'd have to leave here May 28 (nominal three day drive: on I-70 I would normally get to Effingham first day, then Wheeling on second day, so third day would be relatively short).
  • Alternate route would be to leave May 27 for Independence KS -- I could get off pretty late as that's only two hours -- and spend night there, then take I-44 across Missouri, skirt south of St. Louis to Louisville and West Virginia. I've done Independence to DC in two days, but they were very long. (Part of the problem was that I took a more direct, but much slower, route from Springfield to Lexington.)
  • A longer alternate route would be to drive through Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee before heading up to DC, possibly taking some of the Blue Ridge Parkway. I have people to see in each of those states, which would add to the time required but break the drive up. I'm more inclined to reverse this route on the way back, after Buffalo. At least then I'd have more time, if not more patience.

The way back would head north from New York into Connecticut and Massachusetts, then west to Buffalo, then could continue to Detroit and Chicago, but more likely I'd head south to Nashville, then west through Arkansas and Oklahoma.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Daily Log

Laura suggested I send an excerpt from my Hiroshima piece to the Wichita Eagle as a letter. Let's see what can be done with it:

Leonard Pitts, who normally is sensitive to racial affronts, insists that we not apologize for killing 200,000 Japanese with atom bombs -- the only time such weapons have been used on civilians -- because it was war. So war means never having to say you're sorry? I get that "war is hell," but I don't see that one should deny regrets after a war, or that there's no value in the simple decency of an apology, however paltry. For instance, apologizing for the Trail of Tears didn't return the Cherokee to the Carolinas, but it did admit that we are embarrassed that our ancestors force-marched thousands of people over a thousand miles into permanent exile, and it affirmed that this is something we cannot contemplate ever doing again.

I fear that refusing to apologize for Hiroshima implies that atomic bombing of cities is something we can excuse doing again -- that it's one of those "options" that our political leaders insist they won't ever "take off the table." Indeed, current plans to spend over one trillion dollars to upgrade America's nuclear arsenal suggest that America's leaders are more committed than ever to threatening what we're repeatedly told is "a dangerous world" with instant destruction.

On the other hand, if we started to apologize for the atrocities that even Pitts admits America committed, maybe we'd be less prone to repeat them going forward.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Music Week

Music: Current count 26641 [26610] rated (+31), 428 [425] unrated (+3).

Rated count rebounded last week from a low 16 the previous week. Most of the gain came from delving into the back catalog of soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom and drummer Matt Wilson. Both have good new records -- Wilson's Beginning of a Memory was a B+(***) last week, Bloom's Early Americans an A- below -- and sizable back catalogs going back to 1982 (Bloom) and 1996 (Wilson). I didn't find anything I didn't like, and did find a couple of albums that demanded A- grades.

For 2016 releases I've been working off several recent "so far" lists from redoubtable sources like Jason Gubbels and Phil Overeem. One recommendation there was a Dust-to-Digital compilation of Blind Alfred Reed called Appalachian Visionary. I couldn't find it but Rhapsody has Document's compilation of Reed's Complete Works, so I gave that a try. (The new compilation contains the same twenty songs plus two more attributed to the West Virginia Night Owls, and is packaged in an 84-page book.) I was conflicted on the grade: on the one hand, it features some of the worst misogynistic lyrics ever, and there's also that line about "we'll all be white in that heavenly light"; on the other the music grabs you even while it's obviously so primitive. And there's something to be said for its historical value.

The other old record that came up A- was a new compilation of Coleman Hawkins' European recordings. I didn't bother to check how redundant it is with other compilations I've heard -- I do know that it doesn't include the "Crazy Rhythm" sessions with Benny Carter and Django Reinhardt (one of the great moments in 1930s jazz). The Commodore sessions popped up in a search for something else. I'm pretty sure the Chu Berry sessions previously appeared on CD with some Lucky Thompson recordings: they're not enough to fill out a CD, and not great enough to validate Berry's legend. On the other hand, Hawkins' half could have been rated higher. I hedged because pretty much everything he recorded during the 1940s is brilliant.

I should also note that Paul Smoker died last week, age 75. Born 1941, played trumpet on various obscure avant-garde labels. I can't say as I've heard much of his early work, but Michael McNeill sent me his last two albums -- Landings and (with Phil Haynes) It Might Be Spring -- and they both came up A- for me. I'll look around for more -- probably won't find the CIMP albums, but maybe his Joint Venture with Ellery Eskelin?

New records rated this week:

  • Bobby Avey: Inhuman Wilderness (2015 [2016], Inner Voice Jazz): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Jane Ira Bloom: Early Americans (2015 [2016], Outline): [cd]: A-
  • Etienne Charles: San Jose Suite (2015 [2016], Culture Shock): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Rhys Chatham: Pythagorean Dream (2016, Foom): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Open Mike Eagle + Paul White: Hella Personal Film Festival (2016, Mello Music Group): [r]: B+(***)
  • Brian Eno: The Ship (2016, Warp): [r]: B+(*)
  • Field Music: Commontime (2016, Memphis Industries): [r]: B
  • Gunwale: Polynya (2016, Aerophonic): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Linda Gail Lewis: Hard Rockin\' Woman! (2015, Lanark): [r]: B+(**)
  • Linda Gail Lewis: Heartache Highway (2015 [2016], Ball and Chain): [r]: B+(***)
  • Mexrrissey: No Manchester (2016, Cooking Vinyl): [r]: B+(*)
  • Naftule's Dream: Blood (2013 [2016], self-released): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Dave Rempis/Joshua Abrams/Avreeayl Ra + Jim Baker: Periheleon (2015 [2016], Aerophonic, 2CD): [cd]: A-
  • Snarky Puppy: Family Dinner Volume Two (2016, Decca): [r]: B-
  • Snarky Puppy: Culcha Vulcha (2016, Decca): [r]: C+
  • Matt Wilson's Big Happy Family: Beginning of a Memory (2015 [2016], Palmetto): [cd]: B+(***)

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries rated this week:

  • Coleman Hawkins: Intimate: Duo, Trio, Quartet & Quintet Recordings 1934-38 (1934-38 [2016], Acrobat): [r]: A-
  • Professor Longhair: Live in Chicago (1976 [2016], Orleans, EP): [r]: B+(**)

Old music rated this week:

  • Jane Ira Bloom: Mighty Lights (1982 [1983], Enja): [r]: B+(***)
  • Jane Ira Bloom: The Red Quartets (1997-99 [1999], Arabesque): [r]: B+(***)
  • Jane Ira Bloom: Sometimes the Magic (2000 [2001], Arabesque): [r]: B+(**)
  • Jane Ira Bloom: Chasing Paint: Meets Jackson Pollock (2002 [2003], Arabesque): [r]: A-
  • Jane Ira Bloom: Like Silver, Like Song (2004 [2005], ArtistShare): [r]: B+(***)
  • Coleman Hawkins and Chu Berry: Tenor Giants (1938-43 [2000], Polygram): [r]: B+(***)
  • Blind Alfred Reed: Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order (1927-1929) (1927-29 [2012], Document): [r]: A-
  • Matt Wilson: As Wave Follows Wave (1996, Palmetto): [r]: B+(*)
  • Matt Wilson Quartet: Smile (1999, Palmetto): [r]: B+(***)
  • Matt Wilson: Arts and Crafts (2000 [2001], Palmetto): [r]: B+(***)
  • Matt Wilson Quartet: Humidity (2002 [2003], Palmetto): [r]: A-

Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Jeff Denson Quartet: Concentric Circles (Ridgeway): June 10
  • Kali Z. Fasteau: Intuit (Flying Note)
  • Festen (Clean Feed)
  • Erik Friedlander: Black Phebe (Skipstone): June 10
  • Will Goble: Consider the Blues (OA2): May 20
  • Tony Malaby Paloma Recio: Incantations (Clean Feed)
  • Nick Millevoi: Desertion (Shhpuma)
  • Myriad3: Moons (ALMA)
  • Nacka Forum: We Are the World (Moserobie)
  • New Standard Jazz Orchestra: Waltz About Nothing (OA2): May 20
  • Bruno Parrinha/Luis Lopes/Ricardo Jacinto: Garden (Clean Feed)
  • RED Trio/John Butcher: Summer Skyshift (Clean Feed)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Blowing Smoke

A propos, I guess, of Obama's planned visit to Hiroshima this week, Tom Carson tweeted:

Only one thing is worse than Hiroshima. That is the likely death toll (American and Japanese) if we'd had to invade -- the only alternative.

The visit has raised the question of whether Obama should, on behalf of the government he is president of, apologize for the deliberate slaughter of some 200,000 Japanese civilians -- and, for that matter, for the fact that the United States was the first and thus far is the only nation to violate the taboo against using nuclear weapons in a war. We've been assured that he will not, and indeed that he can not offer any such apology -- although Ramesh Ponnuru's reasoning rests on a fairly dubious assumption:

If it was wrong to drop atomic bombs on civilian populations, and present leaders can rightly apologize for past wrongs, why shouldn't Obama apologize at Hiroshima? I think the answer is simple. Almost all Americans recognize that slavery and Jim Crow were grave moral wrongs. Most Americans don't view Hiroshima and Nagasaki similarly. They think we were justified.

Obama therefore cannot legitimately apologize on behalf of the American people. He can regret the loss of life while staying silent on the morality of the bombings. Any apology should be left to a future president -- and issued only if America reaches a new consensus on this issue.

Like many issues, what passes for a consensus here is rooted in a serious lack of historical information and a lot of myths that try to continue justifying war in modern society. The history is complicated and elusive, but the from a pure present-tense view the immorality of the bombings should be obvious. I'm not saying that we should make a habit of revaluating past events through present sensibilities -- I would even go so far as to argue that doing so precludes us from being able to understand why history happened as it did -- but really, you cannot seriously claim that dropping nuclear bombs on two cities is in any sense justifiable morally. Sure, you might try to argue that in some case political and historical exigencies make it necessary to do such a thing, and you may present some calculation that such an act produces results that are less awful than not doing it, but that doesn't alter the matter of morality -- at least I don't see how it could.

The historical question was originally muddied by Harry ("the buck stops here") Truman, who as president ordered atomic bombs to be dropped on two Japanese cities (Hiroshima and Nagasaki). Truman claimed that by using the bombs American troops might avoid having to invade and subdue the four main islands of Japan. His argument resonated because in recent battles -- especially Okinawa -- Japanese troops had refused surrender, fighting to the death, and because Japan surrendered unconditionally a few days after using (in Hirohito's words) "a new and most cruel bomb." This view has been repeated ever since, especially in the essay (and later book title) by Paul Fussell, Thank God for the Atom Bomb. (Fussell was a soldier who fought in Okinawa.)

Carson gives us a variation of this standard argument in his tweet -- although notably he includes future Japanese dead as well as American soldiers in the toll expected from invading Japan, a consideration that Truman and Fussell did not make in the least. Indeed, one could also include Japanese dead on all of their war fronts, as well as dead of their opponent armies and the civilians killed by both sides, and maybe even factor in some of those who starved or fell to disease, although the cease fire didn't put an immediate end to the latter. The nuclear bombs ultimately killed about 200,000 people, but you wouldn't have had to shorten the war by much to balance that out.

But even Carson is assuming here that the war had to be fought to a definitive end, that had the US not used nuclear bombs the only way to end the war would be through invasion, and that the invasion would have been far bloodier than Okinawa had been. (American deaths in Okinawa were 20,195, about 4% of all Americans to die in WWII. Japanese deaths included an estimated 77-110 thousand soldiers and 40-150 thousand civilians, i.e. 13-50% of the total civilian population. Japan had a population of 73 million in 1940.) Hardly anyone talks about the first point, since early in the war Roosevelt declared that he US would only accept unconditional surrender, but it's worth noting that that is rarely the way wars end, and in the end the US accepted a condition that Hirohito be allowed to continue, at least nominally, as Emperor (and not be prosecuted for war crimes).

We now know that by mid-1945 Japan was in extremely precarious straits: the US had effectively blockaded the homeland, isolating Japan's troops with no chance of resupply, and preventing import of food and other critical goods, causing widespread famine; and the US had bombed nearly every Japanese city, killing hundreds of thousands and displacing millions; many (perhaps most) government leaders saw that they had lost the war and were contemplating some sort of surrender; the Soviet Union, at the urging of the US, had finally declared war on Japan, which raised the prospect of divided occupation (as had already happened in Germany) -- some historians have suggested that fear of the Soviet Union had more to do with Japan's surrender to the US than the nuclear bombs did.

In 1965, Gar Alperovitz published the book Atomic Diplomacy: Hiroshima and Potsdam, which argues that an important factor in the US decision to drop the atom bomb on Japan was a desire to intimidate the Soviet Union. I've never quite bought this argument: if the US had seen the Soviet Union as an adversary at that time, why would Truman have pressed Stalin to enter the war against Japan? For that matter, why invite Stalin if Truman had understood that the bomb would have proven so immediately decisive (and therefore so intimidating)? Stalin himself accelerated the Soviet Union's planned entry into the war, perhaps because he was aware of plans to drop the bomb, but more likely because he was aware of Japanese feelers aimed at negotiating peace -- the Soviet Union had been ostensibly neutral in the US-Japan conflict, so seemed to Japanese leaders like the obvious intermediary. Not clear to me whether Stalin jumped in to restore Russian imperial claims (many lost during the disastrous 1905 war with Japan), to advance communism (as happened with the partition of Korea), or simply to provide a counterweight to the expansion of American interests -- all likely factors. But Stalin commanded a huge mobilized and battle-hardened army that quickly routed the Japanese in Manchuria and would have proved decisive in a ground invasion of Japan. And there can be no doubt that Japan's leaders, both for nationalist and capitalist reasons, feared the Russians much more than they dreaded a purely American occupation.

Weighing these factors, I find the Soviet entry to be the more decisive factor behind surrender, but it's easy to understand why that aspect has been forgotten in America, and why the atom bomb has been raised to such a high pedestal. Some major reasons:

  1. Politically, the US (and notably Truman) wanted to hog the credit for defeating Japan, and that desire grew over time, especially after containing Russia became a Cold War priority and the Communists took over China in 1949. In particular, Truman could point to his order to unleash the atom bomb as a decisive personal coup.
  2. Belittling its allies gave the US a much freer hand in occupying Japan and in molding the Japanese government to its taste.
  3. The Japanese found a certain solace in being the victims of such destructive technology, which helped them adopt a submissive stance -- what John Dower wrote about in his book Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II -- which made occupation more tolerable.
  4. Ever since, the decision to bomb Hiroshima has been tied up in political struggles, attacked by opponents of the Cold War (Alperovitz, for one) and by advocates of nuclear disarmament, defended tirelessly by supporters of post-WWII American militarism.

The thing to notice here is that the debate is less about the historical war than about later political stances. Still, those who do examine the history tend to raise questions, such as in this piece (which Milo Miles cited in response to Carson): Mark Weber: Was Hiroshima Necessary?. I think Weber makes a good case that a Japanese surrender could have been obtained without the atomic bombings. On the other hand, I also think that there was no way that either the political or military command in America could have decided to show such constraint, and I also believe that the bombings were a fitting end to the era of global imperialist war -- what Arno Mayer called the Thirty Years War of the Twentieth Century -- a demonstration of the futility of such war so graphic that no one could fail to get the point (not that certain vested interests didn't try).

As for the inevitability of the decision, you should understand three key things: how profoundly racist the US was regarding Japan (anti-Asian racism was layered on top of anti-African racism, but had a long and deep history in its own right, and that provided a prism even for viewing Japanese successes in stereotypes); how the US leadership had adopted an ethic of total war (something Churchill had practiced in WWI, but which when combined when racism would turn genocidal against Japan -- US firebombing of Japanese cities started well before Hiroshima); and nobody in the US command from Gen. Groves up seems to have really understood that nuclear weapons were anything more than souped up versions of the conventional bombs already used so prolifically, so it never occurred to them not to use a weapon they had invested so much money in (some scientists understood this, and eventually the concept sunk in).

No time tonight to unpack these three points, but John Dower's 1987 book War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the Pacific War is the place to start on how racism fed into the war -- a prequel to Dower's Embracing Defeat, cited above. There are also numerous books on the history of anti-Asian racism in the US, not least on the internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry during WWII -- itself a revealing prism into the racial attitudes of the time. There are even more books on the atom bomb project, of which Richard Rhodes' The Making of the Atomic Bomb and Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb stand out.

One additional point I do wish to make is that the argument that had Truman not dropped the bomb the US would have had to invade Japan (as opposed to waiting for surrender) is at least as big and hoary a contrafactual as not dropping the bomb. The fact is that an orderly surrender with the Japanese political system intact was a much preferable solution than an invasion and occupation (as had already happened with Germany in 1945, although the US occupation of Iraq in 2003 is another example).

Also, the assumption that an invasion of Japan would have been a repeat of Okinawa scaled up about 150 times was unrealistic (basically a fever dream of American racism, which viewed all Japanese as preferring suicide to submission. Okinawa was a military outpost, where over 20% of the population was uniformed and ordered to sacrifice themselves to make Americans so fearful that they wouldn't dare invade. Japan itself had few soldiers left to defend the island -- most were stranded abroad -- and would have collapsed rapidly (not that the resulting chaos would have been easy to govern -- as I said, an orderly surrender was much preferable).

As Americans, we grow up accepting all sorts of self-flattering falsehoods, including the notion that the undoubted evil of the Axis powers' aggression justifies everything that the US did to defeat them. The fact is that the US did many things that later generations should be ashamed of, and apologizing for them would be one small but concrete step toward making sure that they never be repeated again. The genocidal bombing of cities with fire and, ultimately, nuclear radiation is just one glaring example. The fact is we never paid for those war crimes -- justice is something we imposed on defeated regimes without ever aspiring to ourselves, and failing to acknowledge that makes it seem that we needn't restrain ourselves from committing future war crimes (especially those explicitly called for by Trump, most Republicans, and more than a few prominent Democrats).

One last book I want to recommend is perhaps the most important, not least because it challenges so much of our accepted understanding of how WWII came about: Nicholson Baker's Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization (2008). One thing you will find there is documentation about various steps Roosevelt took to provoke the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which unified American public opinion in favor of entering the war. Another thing you will find is that the only people who made any serious efforts at preventing WWII before it broke out were pacifists. Anyone making excuses for the atrocities of war -- indeed for war itself -- is just blowing smoke.

UPDATE (May 16, 2016):

Woke up Monday morning to find Leonard Pitts writing in the Wichita Eagle that Obama not apologizing for Hiroshima, nor should he. Pitts is normally a liberal thinker especially sensitive to racial slurs, yet he dredges up all the old racist stereotypes to justify his no apology stance:

In the end, then, one can only answer to conscience, and this particular conscience is disinclined to second-guess the long-ago president and military commanders who felt the bombs might obviate the need to invade the Japanese home islands at a ruinous cost in American lives. Remember that the Japanese, inebriated by the "Bushido" warrior code under which surrender equals shame and dishonor, had refused to capitulate, though defeat had long been a foregone conclusion.

Indeed, even after Hiroshima was leveled, it still took that nation nine days to give up.

He then brings up three specific examples of American POWs who were treated horribly by Japan, as if their inexcusable abuse exempts us from having second thoughts about obliterating two cities and 200,000 people. (I'm reminded of the famous Stalin quote where he regards an individual traffic death as a tragedy but the thousands killed in his purges as a mere statistic.) He then gives us of other atrocities that important Americans have apologized for, yet doesn't find anything similar:

Should America apologize? No.

This was not slavery. This was not the Trail of Tears. This was not the incarceration of Japanese-Americans. This was not, in other words, a case of the nation committing human-rights crimes against innocent peoples.

No, this was war, a fight for survival against a ruthless aggressor nation. Japan committed unspeakable atrocities. America did the same. Such is the nature of war.

So war means never having to say you're sorry? I get that "war is hell," and even that once you are stuck in a war it may be better to do something unspeakably cruel to end that war sooner. But I don't get that there is no place for regrets after a war, or that there's no value in the simple decency of an apology -- regardless of how inadequate the gesture may be. For instance, apologizing for the Trail of Tears didn't return the Cherokee to the Carolinas, but it did say that we are embarrassed that our ancestors force-marched thousands of people over a thousand miles into permanent exile, and it also said that this is something we cannot contemplate ever doing again.

I fear that refusing to apologize for Hiroshima and Nagasaki implies that atomic bombing of cities is something we anticipate doing again -- that it's one of those "options" that none of our political leaders want "to take off the table." Indeed, current plans to spend over one trillion dollars to upgrade America's nuclear arsenal suggest that America's leaders are more committed than ever to threatening what we're repeatedly told is "a dangerous world" with instant destruction.

On the other hand, if we started to apologize for the atrocities that even Pitts admits America committed, maybe we'd be less prone to repeat them going forward.

After Hiroshima, Obama is traveling on to Hanoi, where again he won't find anything for the United States to apologize for -- although the slightest amount of research would unearth volumes (and not just bad things we did to the Vietnamese and Cambodian people -- we did bad things to ourselves as well). We seem to be living under a taboo against conceding that the US has ever done anything regrettable against anyone ever, a delusion that keeps us making the same mistakes over and over. So we owe it not only to past victims to apologize. We owe it to ourselves to reexamine our past behavior and resolve to become better people.

Daily Log

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Daily Log

Finished build on Laura's new computer today, installing Xubuntu 16.04. Thus far at least, very pleased with the performance. Main complaint in the build was that the Corsair power supply didn't have the modular cables I've used in several builds. Instead, it had many more power cables than we actually needed. Was also confused by the 8-pin CPU cable, but it split into two 4-pin pieces so one could fit in the ATX 12V socket.

Looks like a cheap way to add USB 3.0 functionality to front panel (port is currently unplugged) would be to pick up a SYBA USB 3.0 PCI-e x1 2.0 Card, which provides 2 external ports on back and a 19-pin USB header for the front panel cable. Also has a 4-pin Molex connector for power, which is supposed to be optional. $15.99. Don't need more ports in back, but the front panel port might come in handy.

Decided time has come to finally load Linux onto the little shoebox computer (mini-ITX -- my notes say micro-ITX but there doesn't appear to be any such thing) that's been sitting around for years now. Looking back in the notebook, I see that what I bought (Aug. 2010) came to $250 (component prices $242.95). Some of my notes (also checking prices and specs from Amazon and Newegg email):

  • Intel Mini-ITX motherboard D510MO with integrated Intel Atom processor D510 ($76.99)
  • Kingston HyperX 2GB RAM 800MHz ($45.99)
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200 320GB hard disk ($44.99)
  • ASUS DVD burner DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS% ($19.99)
  • D-Link NIC DGE-530T Gigabit ($16.00)
  • Apex MI-008 Tower Black P4 Chassis with 250W power supply ($38.99)

I see now that the Intel Atom D510 has a passmark score of 661 -- probably fine for its intended use as a router but compare to the 8945 score of the AMD FX-8350 Eight-Core I put in Laura's new box.

Wondering tonight whether I could replace the motherboard/cpu with something more usable. Let's start with mini-ITX motherboards. Under AMD I don't see much (all are 6GB SATA, 3.0 USB):

  • ASRock AM1B-ITX AM1 Radeon Re: $34.99
  • ASRock AM1H-ITX AM1 Radeon R3: $48.99
  • ASRock A68M-ITX FM2+/FM2 Radeon R7/R5: $63.99
  • ASRock A88M-ITX FM2+/FM2 Radeon R7/R5: $76.99
  • ASRock FM2A88X-ITX+ FM2+/FM2 Radeon R7/R5: $98.99

AM1 socket processors top out at AMD Athlon 5370 [pm 3182] $57.05. FM2+ processors range from AMD A6-7400K [pm 2849] $58.69 to AMD A8-7650K [5005] $84.99 to AMD A10-7870K [5584] $124.99 to AMD A10-7890K [6124] $168.99.

More Intel motherboards (again, 6GB SATA, 3.0 USB, 2xDDR3 or DDR4; not sure about video (probably built into cpu):

  • ASRock B85M-ITX LGA 1150: $59.99
  • ASRock H110M-ITX/ac LGA 1151: $67.99
  • ASUS H110I-PLUS/CSM LGA 1151: $79.99
  • ASRock H170-ITX/ac LGA 1151: $94.99

Intel processors are more expensive. Some LGA 1150 units: Celeron G1840 dual-core 2.8 GHz [2971] $47.22, Pentium G3240 dual-core 3.1 GHz [3278] $58.99, Pentium G3460 dual-core 3.5 GHz [3651] $71.49, Core i3-4130 dual-core 3.4 GHz [4774] $120.99, Some LGA 1151 units: Pentium G4400 dual-core 3.3 GHz [3687] $64.99, Pentium G4500 dual-core 3.5 GHz [4043] $91.49, Core i3-6100T dual-core 3.2 GHz [4788] $124.99, Core i3-6300 dual-core 3.8 GHz [5768] $146.99, Core i5-6600 quad-core 3.3 GHz [7623] $229.99, Core i7-6700 quad-core 3.4 GHz [9970] $314.99.

Memory is limited to 2 SIMMs. For DDR3, 16GB (2x8GB): Crucial Ballistix DDR3 1600 $52.99. DDR4 can support 16GB units, so 32GB (2x16GB): G.SKILL Ripjaws V DDR4 2133 $114.99.

Cost to upgrade to AMD A8-7650 [pm 5005] / ASRock A68M / 16GB DDR3 1600 would be: $201.97 (63.99+84.99+52.99), assuming power supply (250W) holds up. A similar setup: Intel Pentium G4400 [pm 3687], ASRock H110M / 16GB DDR3 1600: $185.97 (64.99+67.99+52.99). A more powerful processor like the Intel Core i3-6300 [pm 5768] would bump this up to $267.97. Not sure any of these is worth it, but computer as currently built is probably too slow to bother with.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Daily Log

Fresh Market here in Wichita is going out of business. The back story, I gather, is that they got bought out by some private equity ratfuckers, who then decided to cut back geographically, shutting down their farthest west stores (they're based in North Carolina). I've been regularly buying Ducktrap smoked trout there, but they were sold out when we got there, so I bought their last chunk of smoked whitefish instead. Made whitefish salad. After consulting a couple recipes, I winged it: flaked the fish (trying to avoid bones), added finely chopped red onion, chinese leeks (like chives), dill, roughly equal amounts of olive oil mayonnaise and sour cream, about half that much cream cheese, some lemon juice, some capers, salt and pepper. Spread on a toasted English muffin. Came out pretty great.

Donald Trump won his first two unopposed primaries Tuesday, receiving 76.8% of the vote in West Virginia (Cruz 9.0%, Kasich 6.9%), and 61.4% in Nebraska (Cruz 18.5%, Kasich 11.4%), which leaves 7.3% and 8.7% not reported (presumably cast for other defunct candidates). Trump is still 130 delegates short of clinching the nomination (466 still available).

Bernie Sanders won the Democratic primary in West Virginia, 51.4-36.0%, for +5 delegates. Hillary Clinton is still 144 delegates short of clinching (1057 still available). (I've also seen reports that Clinton won a primary in Nebraska, but does that count for anything? Sanders won the caucus there back in March. Google still shows a 57.1-42.9% Sanders win there.) Clinton is +286 in pledged delegates (54.5%), but has a huge superdelegate lead (93.1%, 523 to 39). Two primaries next week (May 17): Kentucky (55 delegates) and Oregon (61 delegates). Haven't seen any polling on either, but I imagine Kentucky will lean Clinton and Oregon go to Sanders. Clinton probably won't clinch before the June 7 primaries (California, New Jersey), which she won't have to win (although it would look bad if she didn't).

Monday, May 09, 2016

Music Week

Music: Current count 26610 [26594] rated (+16), 425 [422] unrated (+3).

Huge drop in rated count this week, from +53 to +16. The explanation of the big count was that I was working through a deep catalog of old (and generally short) Merle Haggard albums on Rhapsody. Indeed, four of this week's sixteen were from the tail end of that project. I don't have a good explanation for the drop, although I did spend much more time working on my sister's house, where we've been playing vintage gold from one of my travel cases. Also seems like I had Claudia Quintet in my changer for two (or maybe three) days before I admitted I wasn't getting much out of it. The Ivo Perelman full house also got anywhere from three to six plays each. Other items that popped up came from a Phil Overeem best-of-so-far list (Charles Bradley, Dälek) and from an Expert Witness post (Homeboy Sandman, Lyrics Born). That didn't leave much time for the new jazz queue.

No time for a Weekend Roundup either. I was tempted by a piece in the Wichita Eagle (in the recycle now, can't find the link) about how negatively presumptive candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are viewed (you can find similar data here). The article predicted exceptionally nasty campaigning ahead. After all, you don't have to like your candidate -- just loathe him or her a bit less than the other one. This wouldn't be so much of a problem if the parties and their dark money backers weren't planning on spending upwards of a billion dollars amplifying their hate speech. Makes a good case for draining the money out of political campaigns.

One reason for taking a break is that I'm rather disgusted that both Cruz and Kasich quit after the Indiana primary, leaving Trump -- who was by no means a cinch to win on the first ballot, and almost certain to degrade on later ballots -- unopposed. Cruz is somewhat easier to take: his Indiana campaign was one of the worst I've seen, especially after the almost mechanical precision of his caucus wins and dominance of the Wisconsin primary. But Kasich had no expectations from Indiana, and should have gotten a big bump as the last anti-Trump candidate left. The reason they both dropped is likely the standard one: their money dried up as soon as they were seen as lost causes -- and that mattered to a donor class more interested in influence than ideology (which is pretty much uniform among Republicans, including Trump; Sanders, on the other hand, continues to raise money despite far worse odds, because he stands for something different than Clinton).

Another article that caught my eye was one predicting that this summer will be exceptionally hot here in Wichita. We've caught a break the last couple years, after heat waves in 2011-12 that broke dust bowl records from 1936. Also predicting an upsurge in severe thunderstorms, including tornados. Hasn't been bad so far, although we had a tornado watch yesterday, and more storms are forecast today (officially just a "severe thunderstorm watch" -- upgraded to "severe thunderstorm warning" as one passed through town around 6pm).

I haven't found much good information on the Fort McMurray wildfire, which has caused immense devastation in northeast Alberta, an area that was sparsely populated until recent expansion of tar sands operations. At 490,000 acres the burn area is somewhat larger than the 397,420 acres burned in the Anderson Creek wildfire southwest of Wichita, and the photos are more dramatic -- probably because Alberta is more forested (although I wonder whether all that tar, including waste tailings that have made the area such an environmental disaster, hasn't contributed something to the fire).

One last note on the music this week: although I picture two Merle Haggard best-ofs among the A/A- records on the right, the best single-disc Haggard collection remains 2007's Hag: The Best of Merle Haggard. It actually matches the 19 cuts of Best of the Capitol Years and adds six more later cuts. Haggard's post-Capitol stretch at MCA isn't all that good, but he did enough quality work for Epic (1981-87) to make The Essential Merle Haggard: The Epic Years worth having, and his post-2000 work is generally quite solid (no compilation yet). Still, his most famous songs came out on Capitol, mostly in the 1966-72 period.

One more note: I got email from a sysadmin today saying that my website (presumably has been put on a "block list" by OpenDNS for malware. OpenDNS is some kind of commercial service, and all I'm seeing on their website is advertising, so I haven't been able to confirm that this is true, let alone find out why. If anyone can enlighten me, please do.

New records rated this week:

  • Mike Bogle Trio: Live at Stoney's (2015 [2016], MBP/Groove): [cd]: B
  • Charles Bradley: Changes (2016, Daptone): [r]: B+(*)
  • Claudia Quintet: Super Petite (2015 [2016], Cuneiform): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Dälek: Asphalt for Eden (2016, Profound Lore): [r]: B+(*)
  • Cory Healey's Beautiful Sunshine Band: Beautiful Sunshine (2016, Shifting Paradigm): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Homeboy Sandman: Kindness for Weakness (2016, Stones Throw): [r]: B+(***)
  • Ivo Perelman: Soul (2015 [2016], Leo): [cd]: A-
  • Ivo Perelman/Karl Berger: The Hitchhiker (2015 [2016], Leo): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Ivo Perelman: Breaking Point (2015 [2016], Leo): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Ivo Perelman/Joe Morris: Blue (2016, Leo): [cd]: A-
  • Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp: Corpo (2016, Leo): [cd]: B+(*)

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries rated this week:

  • Merle Haggard: Best of the Capitol Years (1966-76 [2016], Capitol): [r]: A
  • Lyrics Born: Now Look What You've Done, Lyrics Born! Greatest Hits! (1997-2015 [2016], Mobile Home): [r]: A

Old music rated this week:

  • Merle Haggard: 20 Greatest Hits (1966-76 [2002], Capitol): [r]: A-
  • Merle Haggard/George Jones/Willie Nelson: Walking the Line (1987, Epic): [r]: B-
  • Bonnie Owens and Merle Haggard With the Strangers: Just Between the Two of Us (1966 [2015], Capitol): [r]: B+(**)

Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Marialuisa Capurso/Jean-Marc Foussat: En Respirant (Fou)
  • The Funky Organics: The Funky Organics (Summit)
  • Trevor Giancola Trio: Fundamental (self-released)
  • Mimi Jones: Feet in the Mud (Hot Tone Music): May 13
  • The Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra: Storming Through the South (Summit)
  • Luis Perdomo: Montage (Hot Tone Music): May 13
  • ResAUnance: Migration (FMR)
  • Greg Ward: Touch My Beloved's Thought (Greenleaf Music): July 8

Miscellaneous notes:

  • Merle Haggard: The Best of the Capitol Years (1966-76 [2016], Capitol): A [rhapsody]
  • Lyrics Born: Now Look What You've Done, Lyrics Born! Greatest Hits! (1997-2015 [2016], Mobile Home): A [rhapsody]

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Daily Log

Parts order for Laura's new computer:

  • Cooler Master NSE-2000-KKN1 micro-ATX mini-tower case: $46.99
  • Corsair CX600 600W ATX12V v2.3 power supply: $54.99
  • AMD FX-8350 Black Edition Vishera 8-Core 4.0GHz AM3+ processor: $149.99
  • ASUS M5A78L-M/USB3 AM3+ AMD 760G uATX [4x240 DDR3 2000/1866/1800/1600/1333/1066 SDRAM 6 SATA 3Gb/S ATI Radeo HD 3000 GPU 2 USB 3.0 4 USB 2.0] motherboard: $54.99 + $1.99
  • Crucial Ballistix Sport 32GB (4x8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 1600: $129.99
  • G.SKILL Ares Series 32GB (4x8GB) 240-Pin SDRAM DDR3 1866 F3-1866C10Q-32GAB: $129.99
  • Seagate Desktop HDD ST1000DM003 1TB 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5-inch internal hard drive: $49.99
  • Samsung 24X Internal DVD Writer SATA Model-SH-224GB/BSBE OEM: $19.99

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Daily Log

Laura's computer died. Thought I'd do a shopping exercise to see what it would take to build a new one:

ThinkPenguin has a Penguin Pro 5GB GNU/Linux Desktop for $499. Features: Intel Dual-Core Pentium G3220 (3M Cache, 3.00GHz), 4GB DDR3, 320GB HDD, DVD-RW; $+95 for 16GB, $+89 for 1TB.

Looking at components, a computer in the $500 range might have:

  • Intel Core i3-4160 Haswell Dual-Core 3.6 GHz LGA 1150 [passmark 5030]: $119.99
  • ASUS Z97-E/USB3.1 LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s ATX Intel Motherboard: $129.99; or ASUS B85M-G R2.0 LGA 1150 Intel B85 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s Micro ATX Intel Motherboard: $64.99
  • G.SKILL Area Series 16GB (2x8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2400 Cas Latency 11: $64.99; 4x8GB $129.98
  • Seagate Desktop HD ST1000DM003 1TB 65MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" internal hard drive: $49.99; 2TB $64.95


  • AMD FX-8350 Black Edition Vishera 8-Core 4.0 GHz (4.2 GHz Turbo) Socket AM3+ [passmark 8945]: $159.99
  • ASUS M5A78L-M/USB AM3+ AMD 760G + SB710 uATX Motherboard: $54.99
  • G.SKILL Area Series 16GB (2x8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2400 Cas Latency 11: $64.99; 4x8GB $129.98
  • Seagate Desktop HD ST1000DM003 1TB 65MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" internal hard drive: $49.99; 2TB $64.95

   Mar 2001