MCMLXXXVIII #thiswasweirdbutcool

The YouTube channel Rock n Roll True Stories did a video about the Pixies this week.

For several weeks some time ago I’d been reading a blog that encouraged his readership to write about songs inspired by specific words in the titles or lyrics of songs that came to mind.

A Valentine’s Day prompt was the following: Brain/Mind/Think

Inside Our Heads – A Unique Title For Me (wordpress.com)

The Pixies weren’t the biggest band in the US, but the word mind is in both the title and the lyrics of the band the Pixies’ 1988 tune, Where is my Mind?, so both checkmark boxes have been scratched.

Valentine’s Day is a magnificent day. Likewise, Where is my Mind? is a wonderful rock song, that, for example, concludes an excellent feature film, and it is a spoiler to tell you which movie. Notwithstanding, about the topic of taking care of business, it doesn’t hurt us horribly to battle, on the off chance that we have a way before us, of both self-assurance, and trust.

An anti-hero doesn’t always get the girl.

In 1988, I think the Pixies were already a lovely band.

I don’t know right away what the lyrics of Where is my Mind? are about. The phrase of the title is an apologetic expression which means: it’s unfortunate that I have not been paying attention. The word mind is in the title of the Pixies tune, and furthermore provides the ensemble with a chorus, sung by Black Francis, some repetition.

urban dictionary

I agree that a couple of Pixies melodies examine the Caribbean, the extraordinary swimming there.

At the point when I was in my first year of school, one friend hailed from Barbados, and he was a pleasant man. Settling the riddle of turning into a grown-up appeared to be an easy decision. It would include music and entertainment and other beloved properties of our combined cultural experience, growing and unfolding.

I’m attempting to say that to get an opportunity to throw about something like nineteen-eighties period hardware and that sort of business, is fun. To tell the truth, our guy in the dorm liked Star Wars, for example. That’s not the film with Where is my Mind? at the end, by the way.

where is my mind?

The Pixies

it’s what you say when your head callaspes and there’s nothing in it.

with your feet in the air
your head on the ground
try this trick
and spin it

by “marooned” October 31, 2004 https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=where%20is%20my%20mind%3F

Before that, my sibling Josh had been known to indicate a proud interest in music at school. You might think it was his CD I grabbed for myself, but I usually didn’t do anything as mean to my brother as stealing from his music collection. When he’d been moved out for years, I sometimes sneaked into his bedroom to find a CD to listen to, left behind by him, but only once in a blue moon did I do something facile like that.

The line-up of the Pixies includes singer Black Francis, which is a stage name, and also Kim Deal, playing the bass guitar. Joey Santiago plays lead guitar and David Lovering plays the drums.

Charles Thompson IV is an American vocalist, musician, and guitarist. Come 1988, Thompson (“Frank Black”) put together a recording of seventeen songs, I recall from the Rock n Roll True Stories video. He had met both Kim Deal and for the first time when she were looking to join a band, and she answered his newspaper ad.

They got a bunch of songs together, and after several rejections, they narrowly struck a deal with 4AD. I think Rock n Roll Stories said that Steve Albini recorded seventeen of their songs. Their first release as a band is the EP Come on Pilgrim. You know, my Come on Pilgrim CD may be as yet kicking around here.

Where is my Mind?

The band split in 1993 but I got a little more interested in the music the Pixies had heretofore done thanks to an interest a friend had in it. The first Pixies EP is from the year 1987, followed by a 1988 LP, on which you will find Where is my Mind?.

The Pixies

Rock N Roll True Stories says that their 1989 album Doolittle was the band that was most commercially successful, with two hits in the US and a third in the UK.

The cover art of the 1997 Pixies retrospective Death to the Pixies, a line which frequently identified the Pixies as being, perhaps, avant-garde, or punk, presents 1987 as the band’s first year. Wikipedia says Where is my Mind? is the seventh track on the Pixies’ 1988 introduction Surfer Rosa. I think that tune was composed by Black Francis while he went to the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, recalling scuba in the Caribbean.

I only took a little interest in what my brother was playing on his stereo, but I saw he had Last Splash by the Breeders, since it was on the radio a lot, the Breeders’ most popular record. Until an unknown visitor left for me on this blog a comment about the Pixies on their 2004 reunion, I carried the mistaken belief that the Breeders’ Kim Deal had long quit the Pixies, opting not to rejoin when the band synched up again, in the year 2004. It seemed to me, from the Rock N Roll True Stories video, that Deal rejoined long enough to do one new song, and there was an accompanying Best of the Pixies type release.

By the way, the word “stop” in the first line of this Pixies song has from time to time got me thinking of why listeners wouldn’t consider stopping the album during play. I think it is a metaphor (though a weird metaphor). Could Black Francis have been speaking to Kim Deal? By the way, Black Francis sings the word mind nine or ten times during the song.

Where Is My Mind? PixiesOfficial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49FB9hhoO6c

Pixies

Ooh, stop
Ooh
Ooh
With your feet on the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
But there’s nothing in it
And you’ll ask yourself
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Way out in the water
See it swimming
I was swimming in the Caribbean
Animals were hiding behind the rock
Except the little fish
Bump into me, swear he’s
Tryin’ a talk to me, say wait wait
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Way out in the water
See it swimming
With your feet on the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
If there’s nothing in it
And you’ll ask yourself
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Where is my mind?
Way out in the water
See it swimming
Ooh
With your feet on the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Ooh
Ooh
Ooh
Ooh
Ooh

Songwriter: Black Francis
Where Is My Mind? lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

MCMLXXVI Rock and Roll Heart

It feels like spring is here, this day in May. It’s been a cultural revolution.

Microsoft teases a ‘next generation of Windows’ announcement ‘very soon’

https://www.theverge.com/2021/5/25/22453222/microsoft-windows-next-generation-announcement-sun-valley-build-2021-keynote

One evening, the other day, I’d got to feeling, oddly, like how I did when I was an unfulfilled young person, feeling regret at letting time go, without, you could say, stopping to smell the roses.

Two weeks ago, the YouTube channel for IGN posted the Indiana Jones trailer commemorating forty years since Raiders of the Lost Ark made its premiere in 1981.

#IndianaJones
Darth Vader and the Death Star

It was kind of weird to think about a related film, The Rise of Skywalker, being in theatres an entire year in the past. Things have certainly changed.

Song Lyric Sunday is is a blog hop organized by Jim Adams. For Sunday, December 20, Jim’s prompts include: “circle.”

https://jimadamsauthordotcom.wordpress.com/2020/12/19/the-shape-im-in-2/

A blog hop is a social experience, a little fun if you blog.

About music, to be a famous musician is a powerful fantasy. I regard exciting music or any sort of expert musicianship.

The prompt circle reminded me of the late, great Lou Reed’s song Vicious Circle, on the album Rock and Roll Heart. In 1976, Reed’s first album with Arista Records followed the records he did for RCA after The Velvet Underground ended, and was kind of immediately enjoyable for a casual listener, though Reed seems to flirt again on Rock and Roll Heart with self-destruction, not unlike what a depressed but notable musician can be like. Rock and Roll Heart is the seventh solo studio album by Lou Reed, released in 1976. Heart is the seventh collection by Lou Reed. It was his first for Arista Records after record magnate Clive Davis safeguarded him. There’s a TV interview with Reed in Australia recorded around 1975, just before he made Rock and Roll Heart, where Reed seems unhappy.

Reed tries a joke about the tyrant Adolf Hitler, calling him a great organizer. The interviewer admonishes him. I think Reed was obliquely referring to Andy Warhol, who once managed him as a musician.

Reed is a championed rock guitarist and singer who is seldom rivalled, given the influence of his personality. He is gone, but when I was in college, one long-haired, heavyset history teacher taught us a little about him, calling Reed “the godfather of punk.” In the library, I found a little book about subculture, music subculture in the nineteen seventies, and I put energy into understanding it.

Lou Reed’s New York

Because of the acclaim of The Velvet Underground, that was after they ceased making music together, as a group, songs of theirs began to be popular.

When in the year 1999 I went into the HMV store in New York City, the international chain of CD shops where you went if you wanted music, in the days when you bought music on physical media, the Velvets were well-advertised, as in giant letters in the store announcing, “The Velvet Underground.” You knew it was their town.

Years before I was born, Lou Reed had a Top 20 hit, contributing to the new popularity of both Reed, and, consequently, the Velvets. The most popular song by Reed is a song I first heard on FM radio, cruising the streets of my town, probably for no particular reason, or for no good reason.

Lou Reed a Life by Anthony DeCurtis

I didn’t know who that singer was, on the radio, until I heard the song again, as though it were still 1972, in some kind of Doctor Who-type parallel universe. I still didn’t know whom it was singing like that, but eventually, a friend of a friend listened to me describe the song, and he knew who it was, given a moment (between thought and reflection).

I was in a circle, then, being a kid in high school, dealing with pressures that are specific to what I think is most kids’ experience. It wasn’t vicious, by the way, just sayin’.

The song Vicious Circle could be about having social pressures, like specific patterns ingrained in you to run up against a wall. The song is less up-tempo than most of the songs on Rock and Roll Heart. I am not sure the better part of Reed’s listeners would embrace music like his, if they didn’t feel, at least from time to time, that the intrigue about the music was coming from a place touched by despair.

There are stories about Lou Reed, when he was the frontman of the Velvets, like that he played Woodstock in ’69, but nobody could hear the sound. I don’t think the Velvets did play Woodstock. They broke up amid tension.

The third and fourth of the Velvets’ records were more straightforward as rock albums than the first and second albums. I believe in 1968 they performed in Hamilton, Ontario, but if so, that was likely the Velvet Underground’s only show in Canada.

Lou Reed’s hit in 1972 includes the B-side Vicious (not Vicious Circle). Four years after that, after Reed was back to being a struggling songwriter, Reed with Vicious Circle was possibly pointing to his choice of making a livelihood as a rock singer, because Vicious Circle points to the song Vicious, and the 45 format itself is circular in shape, music being on vinyl discs, records. There is a hint of weariness in Vicious Circle.

There is a Bowie song, too, with the word circle in its title, and I know there’s a reference to him in the title of Vicious Circle in all likelihood.

Reed had a great sense of humour, I read in college, the Velvets’ drummer Moe Tucker remarking on that about Lou Reed.

Reed expounded on experience in his music, including thoughts about sex and culture. Reed did much of his very best music with the Velvets, who were John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Moe Tucker, and Doug Yule.

Everything Lou Reed did music-wise is very acceptable, I think. The Velvet Underground is a legendary band. Many an amateur rocker knows whom the Velvet Underground are, and get songs like What Goes On, and Sweet Jane, west coast surf type stuff.

I used to wonder what Reed intended for the fate of his music.

I think with Rock and Roll Heart Reed was trying his hand at again being a straightforward rock musician. I would venture to guess that he was a pretty hot musician, trying to move into AM Radio with the record Coney Island Baby, but had simultaneously conveyed the ability to fail with his 1975 noise opus Metal Machine Music.

Metal Machine Music sort of seems easier to take as an experimental ambient noise album, but I take it fans of the artist would have wanted more rock songs, not something altogether weird like Metal Machine Music. Wikipedia says, “In 1979 Reed said ‘Saying ‘I’m a Coney Island baby’ at the end of that song is like saying I haven’t backed off an inch. And don’t you forget it.'”

Photo by Emanuele Bresciani from StockSnap

Reed lived a long life, until October 27, 2013, passing away at the age of 71. When I was In college, I didn’t believe Reed’s image as a street-weary rock musician, compared to who he was. I don’t have any acquaintance with it all, however.

Thanks to Jim Adams for the December 20 word prompt circle.

https://www.facebook.com/findingenvirons

https://about.me/patrickcoholan

Vicious Circle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfceMTlEq7s

You’re caught in a vicious circle
Surrounded by your so called friends
You’re caught in a vicious circle
And it looks like it will never end
‘Cause some people think that they like problems
And some people think that they don’t
And for everybody who says yes
There’s somebody who’s staring, saying don’t

You’re caught in a vicious circle
Surrounded by your so called friends
You’re caught in a vicious circle
And it looks like it will never end
‘Cause some people think that it’s nerves
And some people think that it’s not
And some people think that it’s things that you do
And others think that you were cold, when you were hot
They think that that is what it was about

You’re caught in a vicious circle …

Surrounded by all of your friends

MCMLXIX #GiveThanks

It’s a time for words of thanks.

Ontario is on target to meet its objective of getting 65 percent of grown-ups before the month’s over, and there is good faith it very well outperform.

They expect that May 24, around 2,490 drug stores provincewide will offer Pfizer and Moderna. There ought to in the long run be around 280,000 traveling through the network every week, authorities said.

It is such welcome news.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/covid-19-ontario-may-12-2021-cases-icu-vaccines-1.6023305

Here on WordPress, occasionally I find specific bloggers to be interesting for me.  One guy like that is Jim Adams, who has a blog and who has planned blog prompts.

https://jimadamsauthordotcom.wordpress.com/2020/11/28/domesticated-animals/

Jim has an interest in music and knowledge to share.

I recall the previous winter when my father brought up to me that the sharing I was doing online didn’t appear to be excessively important, as should have been obvious. I help out my father with his business.

https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited/

http://www.maplelawncemetery.org/24701.html

While I enjoy Facebook and Twitter, the day he offered that criticism about my content, I was a little miffed.  I know that my dad clowns, but I tried to look past that, to see if I could think of a better approach. I tried chancing to utilize the focus right now that Jim has been providing.

I’ve been blogging since MySpace, kind of a wow.  On WordPress, I have done some posting with a bit of humour to it, and in the months since my dad said that to me about how I seem on social, I eventually decided I still wasn’t too far off the mark.

There aren’t too many “rules” for running a social presence.

For November 29, 2020, Jim’s prompts include: “bird.”  The late Leonard Cohen made the song Bird on the Wire.

By the mid-1960s, Cohen started to form rock and pop melodies.  He had already written an expansive amount of writing, both poetry, and novels.

He studied at McGill in Montreal and made a name for himself through the sixties.  Cohen kind of burned out about that stuff in the early nineteen seventies, but music came to him his whole career.  The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame enlisted Cohen in 2008, and Leonard Cohen got a Grammy Award in 2010.

Bird on the Wire is on the record Songs from a Room, released April 1969, and is like a poem set to the sound of Cohen’s guitar.   The title Songs from a Room is very simple, understating the mastery of the music.

Songs from a Room LP

Being able to enjoy something from the years before I was born is lucky, as hearing Bird on the Wire is an experience that has power to it, sentimental.  Strange song title, eh?  A listener feels like the hardships of life have been met by others just the same, whether more talented, or more fortunate.

Photo by Burst from StockSnap

Not to sound presumptuous, but Bird on the Wire is great that way.  Leonard Cohen got into music as a popular singer when he was losing interest in writing.  Wikipedia says that Bird on the Wire is a country song, a detail which surprises me, and reading that, I thought additionally that the song just has a simplicity that sets it apart from other country songs.

The country genre of music isn’t something I understand, and maybe neither is the language of love, but when I was in college, I got to study, one semester, Canadian music.  Country music in the Canadian Prairies is a favourite choice of many resident Canadians.

I can infer that Bird on the Wire could be a favourite of many who can remember 1969.  It was years before I was born.

There is something about cowboy music, that we’ve adopted in Canada, that reflects how life in the Prairies shaped up.  The first herders calling themselves “cowboys” got to the Canadian prairies in the 1870s, riding up from the US territories of Idaho and Montana.

The romantic image of the cowboy emerged around this American subculture.  British Columbia “buckaroos” likewise sooner or later adopted the cowboy appearance.

I doubt that Cohen identified with being a cowboy; he was a novelist, poet and musician.  He identifies, I think, with the archetype of a cowboy’s passion.  I think of the scene in the Hollywood movie City Slickers, where Billy Crystal’s Mitch Robbins character plays the harmonica at the campfire.

Curly, Jack Palance’s character, interrupts the music.

Mitch Robbins:  [Playing harmonica]

Curly:  Put that away.

Mitch Robbins:  [Stops, then resumes playing harmonica]

Curly:  I said, put that away!

Mitch Robbins:  Hey you know, the first time I tried to talk to you, you embarrassed me.  So I teased you a little bit which maybe I shouldn’t have done, so I’m sorry.

And now you’re sitting over there playing with your knife, trying to frighten me – which you’re doing a good job.  But if you’re gonna kill me, get on with it; if not, shut the hell up – I’m on vacation.

City
Slickers

Wikipedia explains that before writing Bird on the Wire, Cohen carefully structured the song, before committing it to tape.  To tell the truth, before I read Wikipedia’s description, I hadn’t thought that the song would be identified as a country song.

Cohen’s music is usually in the genres of folk, and soft rock.  Romantic country music doesn’t meld with the other interests in music I have thought of.  If Bird on the Wire is a country song, it breaks, I think, with the tradition of country music that country music fans enjoy.

It’s unique that way.  I wonder if a country song should be simple, but distinctive.  The answer isn’t straightforward.

Sometimes answers to questions like that turn up unexpectedly, even if it isn’t initially clear where to begin, to get an answer to the question.  A post like this one, doing the research and writing the content, helps me understand better something that already interests me, the music.  Also, maybe somebody else interested in this blog challenge thought to say something about this specific song.

I first heard Bird on the Wire when I was in high school, the twelfth grade or so, on a simply dubbed audio cassette.

Leonard Cohen passed on November 7, 2016 (aged 82).

I saw him once in concert.  It was terrific.

Here are the lyrics to the song, followed by the song itself, in a video.

Bird on the Wire

Like a bird on the wire

Like a drunk in a midnight choir

I have tried in my way to be free

Like a worm on a hook

Like a knight from some old-fashioned book

I have saved all my ribbons for thee

If I, if I have been unkind

I hope that you can just let it go by

If I, if I have been untrue

I hope you know it was never to you

For like a baby, stillborn

Like a beast with his horn

I have torn everyone who reached out for me

But I swear by this song

And by all that I have done wrong

I will make it all up to thee

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch

He said to me, “you must not ask for so much”

And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door

She cried to me, “hey, why not ask for more?”

Oh, like a bird on the wire

Like a drunk in a midnight choir

I have tried in my way to be free

Source: LyricFind

Songwriter: Leonard Cohen

Bird on the Wire lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

https://youtu.be/BmPUu-rMpWA

WordPress Discover: Instrument

For April 2020, the WordPress Discover prompts have returned, which are thoughts that have as their starting point a solitary word, the brief.  This week Krista Stevens is organizing them.

Krista’s prompt today is “instrument.”  When I think through what would be the challenges of learning to play an instrument, I think of the 2000s, and what the English pop band McFly did to celebrate breaking up. I think McFly did a few albums that were successful and, oddly I’d say, for young successful musicians, they finished with an album of self-parody, renaming themselves Son of Dork, what I think is a reference to the 1985 Robert Zemeckis motion picture Back to the Future, where Michael J. Fox and Crispin Glover both play characters with the name McFly.

SAMSUNG

One of the songs on the Son of Dork album is the ditty “Boy Band,” a woefully self-deprecating song that addresses the interest of a young man who day-dreams of being in a band.  That said, “Boy Band” does have a nice beat.

Anytime I feel like satirizing day-dreaming of being in a band, one listen “Boy Band” helps cool my heels.  I like the tune, as well.

Self-parody isn’t something I explore to get satisfaction with, it is just something neurotic that certain people play with.  Sometimes people who are both creative and successful resolve their neuroses with acts of self-parody, but I suspect too wide a foray into that avenue of thought is self-sabotage.

I try to keep an attitude to music that The Four Hour Work Week author Tim Ferriss describes.  Music is in, he writes.

When the Son of Dork CD was on my shelves, I’d arrived at the finish of the time in my life that I was finding myself and what my identity was, and I had unexpected interests in comparison to when I was more youthful and when I’d been bound to wander off in fantasy land, of playing an instrument.

WordPress Discover: Pairs

The April 2020 WordPress Discover challenges continue with another essay by Michelle Weber, on the subject of “pairs.” Today’s Discover challenge for me is particularly enjoyable. I am thankful.

five best books you’ve ever read, and a song

Photographer:
Suzy Hazelwood

the stranger, by Albert Camus
killing an Arab the cure

a gentleman deals with the death of his mother. killing an Arab might have been the first single put out by the cure. i am sure the cure were inspired by the stranger when they wrote this song, which, despite its theme of “killing” is not a song about hate

brave new world, by Aldous Huxley
chrome injury the church

in the future, a man from lands outside civilization tries to come to terms with how people are living. chrome injury is a song from the church’ first record, a new wave record entitled of skins and hearts

bonfire of the vanities, by tom Wolfe
a well-respected man the kinks

an accidental hit and run are the minutes that serve to ruin a rich man’s life. a well-respected man tells the story of a man whose desires are controlled by his need to fit into “normal” society

one flew over the cuckoo’s nest, by Ken Kesey
ballad of Dwight Frye Alice cooper

a rogue goes into an insane asylum rather than face jail time. Alice cooper’s song ballad of Dwight Frye from their first album love it to death is on a similar theme, about a deadbeat dad who gets locked up

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance, by Robert Pirsig
born to be wild Steppenwolf

a man “throws away his wristwatch” and travels the united states. born to be wild by Steppenwolf is identifiable as being about that same kind of thing

by the way, you’re welcome to follow and/or to comment

A Difficult St. Patrick’s Day

It’s the end of March and two weeks ago was St. Patrick’s Day for 2020. The weather in Southern Ontario was reasonable in light of expectations. I found myself spending less time on Facebook. My sister telephoned me a couple of times.

A cousin of my mother, Cathie, along other lovely people, with a hobby of genealogy, ending with a nice account of the Irish my mother’s side of the family has. It looks like this St. Patrick’s Day, 2020, I’ll be a little less Irish.  It looks grim.

Photographer:
Tiago Almeida

change

the act or instance of making or becoming different.

I wish a lot of things were different, but I never would have chalked up the possibility of experiencing our pandemic catastrophe in my own life.  I read of environmental warnings, like that there could be, say, eight years until the damage to the planet caused by humans becomes irreversible, or that global warming will cause sea levels to rise, however active God is on the picture at large. I don’t know how human beings will fare.

To consider attacks between warring groups the world over, hellbent on decreasing each other to iotas, to very small pieces, I think also police and military unfairly treat peaceable citizens, because the police loathe the skin colour or addiction, behaviour that doesn’t toe the line for the safety of the public.  I think about these now and again, yet I hadn’t thought of what really descended three months ago. It is hard to contextualize that.

I always do my best to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day, as so many do with aplomb and style.  I welcome the end of winter. We are all called on to be, not so much Godfearing, as instead socially distant from one another.

Good on us all the same, that we can find solidarity in separating from one another, in a fashion that, like the lot of the unlucky addict, is no fault of our own.

Photographer:
Peter Hershey

We will have to come up with new measures to survive, and we have to do it at a time when I am sure many of us would be happier celebrating St. Patty’s in the usual fashion, wearing the colour green, and staying out late.  We’re told to stay out of bars and restaurants and nightclubs and still young people want to go to those kinds of haunts. I want to be young myself, but not to the extent I want to risk sacrificing growing old.

I wanted to think about a superb St. Patrick’s Day, and although I recall it every year, I don’t know I could say that any specific March festivity was better than some other.  A number of them were beautiful and left me feeling blessed. I am grateful to The Lord.

1998 occurs to me, becoming 21 years of age.  However, against how this spring is going, I don’t think the excitement of taking a visit back in time is going to especially cause me to feel better. I like to enjoy speaking a kind word at certain times, because a little kindness sprinkled in the mix, while not reversing the uncertainty that we’re facing, does help temper the darkness.

I would like to wish you a happy St. Patrick’s Day, dreadful or not.

St. Patrick’s Day isn’t to be overlooked, obviously.  Go with the luck of the Irish! Let’s have a safe spring!

You’re of course welcome to comment and to follow.  All the best to you, and to your loved ones.

Find us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LouthUnited

We’re also on Twitter https://twitter.com/findingenvirons

I enjoy social media.

Star Wars Celebration on YouTube: Where’d You Go? Chicago

It’s Good Friday, and I’m having browser issues.  Microsoft put up an alpha version of its Edge browser, and I tried, like a web developer, to surf it before it’s finished, and it lasted maybe three days.

Star Wars Celebration went on from April 11 to April 15 in Chicago.  The celebration is an army of devotees sharing a love of Star Wars.  This year Star Wars Celebration premiered a teaser for Episode IX, a preview of Star Wars series The Mandalorian, the cinema for Jedi:  Fallen Order, and a trailer for S7 of The Clone Wars.  It is all interesting.

Being that this year is 2019 and that Lucasfilm put The Phantom Menace, a prequel film to Star Wars, in the cinema in 1999, the twenty-year anniversary of Phantom Menace was observed.


Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace score
S

Five days is a long time to spend with Star Wars, but between Thursday and Monday a viewer watching the events on the Star Wars YouTube channel got to see the panel discussions each day at 12:00 and 4:00 Chicago time.  Celebration, which I think is nine years running, moves around the US, but this year they put it on in Chicago.  Given the audience’s enthusiasm, it seems like that worked well for them.


Photographer:
donterase

Jedi:  Fallen Order is the name of the EA game that is the first new Star Wars game since Battlefront II.  EA is a notoriously difficult game company.  The decisions EA makes are known to send gamers away.

I suspect Disney needs Episode IX in December to be a sensation if they want their investment in Disney+ to succeed.  Disney+ is the streaming service available this fall, in November, when Disney is making available their animated features, along with the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, the Star Wars films, and The Mandalorian.  Disney+ could rival Netflix, and it is expensive for Disney in the short term, so it is reasonable to think that if Episode IX is a major success, it is an indication Disney+ will do well.

It is hard to anticipate what Netflix is planning in response to its rival.  If there is already talk about what Netflix is going to do, I haven’t caught it.

I believe that Lucasfilm CEO Kathleen Kennedy is leading Lucasfilm for the next ten years, and her decisions to put a lot of roles that are empowering for girls affect her hold on the Star Wars fanbase, because a large number of male fans of Star Wars have made a backlash owing to the perception that they are “toxic.”  A space opera such as Star Wars has a lot of male fans, so the response has been loud about how Star Wars has met its “demise” in the sense that there will never again be a great trilogy.  The next trilogy of Star Wars films is going to be directed by Last Jedi director Rian Johnson.

The Last Jedi was the film that divided the fanbase, perhaps deliberately.  That said, there was a backlash to the Star Wars Prequels, which subsided, so the same may be true of the problems facing the Star Wars Sequels, the films The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and now Episode IX, concluding the Saga.  Be that as it may, The Mandalorian, continuing Return of the Jedi from 1983, looks fantastic.  Some of the success of Disney+ is probably going to be affected by whether Episode IX proves to be a giant.

Good luck to Lucasfilm.

You’re welcome to “like” this, to follow, and/or to comment.  The inspiration for Where’d You Go? is from the Medium publication newsletter Publishous, 11,000 strong and available every week or two.

Will this be the #spring in history that sees curtains for YouTube?

While the protests and the petition signatures were clear, the directive to restrict copyrighted material, known as Article 13 in the EU, received a “yes.”

Video on YouTube will likely no longer include “remixed” content once individual nations of the EU establish how they’re going to legislate protection for mainstream media, its images, film clips, and music.  For years now, the Internet has taken liberties in the name of freedom, to borrow from established media and then return to it transformative work, for the purpose of review, satire, parody and other kinds of humor.  This will likely end.

On YouTube, content filters for video uploads could become stodgy, and uninventive.  Removing freedoms to speak with ideas recycled from mainstream media inhibits Internet creators’ ability to articulate.  These come in the form of memes, even when it is an upset to the original, and identities in solidarity with views closely held to championed archetypes.  In the face of traditional media protected by Article 17 in the EU, emerging voices can and will fall by the wayside.

School bus pausing at Louth United Church, St. Catharines

If the nations of the EU no longer can upload or view content that contains copyrighted elements, for YouTube, a platform that facilitates hundreds of millions of hours of new and original video every day, doors are closing for what is a livelihood for hardworking creators.

In addition, the possibility that social accounts would be charged fees to link to webpages is a terrible limitation for small bloggers, with pages that have no hope of affording such a privilege.  This was the spring, 2019, that Articles 11 and 13 became Article 17.  There is every possibility that the restrictions on uploading copyrighted content in the EU will drift into the same freedoms available regardless where the Internet is accessed and overtake them.

A content filter is complex; it could be, despite how valuable original content is for Google and for Facebook and Twitter, that content filters will only function effectively if they are applied universally, and not just in the EU.  This could be a matter of months or years from now, but the challenges facing the EU, by creators on YouTube, and users enjoying social, and the right of Google to chart the world as it’s understood online, should be informing you.  You should at least consider the possibility that you need to be informed.

Photographer:
Kelly Sikkema

An Internet structured around Article 17 will heavily favor the promotion of mainstream media.  Independent voices will lose the opportunity to include portions of copyrighted media, and this could mean a “talking head” style of video on YouTube rather than video containing the freedoms we enjoy now.  All art and video would be required to be free of copyrighted material, which I think is a practical impossibility.

There are creators who thrive on the “remix” of media images or industry music or PC games.  Formerly, they were smart enough to make a living doing that, and exceptionally.  Their opportunities are going to disappear.

The outcome of Article 17 in the EU is only just beginning to take shape, but there will be changes for Facebook and Twitter and YouTube that Article 13 is necessitating, the requirement to filter content video users upload.  Users on the Internet, with the support of the infrastructure of YouTube and Google, will have to strategize differently once Article 17 goes into effect.  It is a sea change.

You are welcome to “like” this post, to follow the blog, and/or to leave a comment.  Whatever your age, if you are interested in tech, you stand alongside the brightest minds challenging the narrative of the mainstream media.

10 Reasons Radical Success is the Weakest Link Part II

The White Album puzzle

Updated November 9, 2018

December 2017 my brother and his wife and kids gave me an unusual gift for Christmas, a puzzle game celebrating The Beatles’ music The White AlbumIt is unusual mainly for the fact that the cover of The White Album is entirely the color white, which makes the puzzle an exercise in assembling puzzle pieces all the color white.  It is as if the wrong end of a game of chess game came down on you.

September 24, 2018, the Stereogum music history website posted to Facebook about the fiftieth-anniversary release of The White Album.  The Beatles Announce 50th Anniversary “White Album” Reissue With Previously Unreleased Tracks

The White Album puzzle
The Beatles

I think of The Beatles being a radical success in music history, given the enormity of their popularity, even decades later.  However, how does that view of The Beatles relate to contemporary ideas about success, and how it is won?

I have ten reasons I’m suggesting that success like what The Beatles enjoyed is actually a weak link in terms of what it means for the individual to pursue preconceived notions of success and how it is misleading.  The first four were presented in a previous blog post.  The remaining six are presented here.

Streaming services

  1. Netflix is the leader of the pack, I believer, for video streaming.  They devote an enormous budget to original content and their selection of existing content is good.
    That being said, Disney is entering the streaming video service market soon, as is AT&T, I understand.  Netflix in my region is compatible with my TiVo, as is another video streaming service, the free video streaming site Tubi.  The selection on Tubi is big, but they don’t offer original video.
    Both Netflix and Tubi are compatible with my TiVo, but the selection of videos on Netflix is good and for Tubi, not so much.  I want to step out of the chain of logic to ask if that implies that Tubi is a weak link.  Netflix is a completely enjoyable experience if you watch video and Tubi is an extra addition to the TiVo I watch TV with.
    It isn’t too hard to say which could be better assessed to be a radical success in the future.  That being said, while Netflix needs to make a lot of important decisions before the day is done to remain ahead of the curve, Tubi is probably under far less pressure.
    Does Tubi’s relative weak link status mean that it isn’t a success?  It is free.

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    Photographer: Rawpixel.com
  2. Going forward with the theory that radical success means enormous difficulty, consider the contender that could grab much of Netflix’ market share, Disney.  Disney is certain, given its weight as an entertainment brand, to include great films and shows, being known for its films, television, toys and theme parks.

Which of the two, Netflix or Disney, will be more of the radical success–that a good streaming service can be?  Or will they both amount to great success?  Disney has built in family-appeal given its products for both adults and kids alike; Netflix has been building that kind of appeal from scratch.  Will either Netflix or Disney be a weak link?  It seems important to me that entertainment be good when it is accessed or experienced.

It would be a shame, I think, for the bottom to fall out of Netflix if it were to become a weak link given competition.  Netflix has a reputation for spending extravagant amounts of money on shows and films while not necessarily having a concrete plan in place to recoup its expenditures.  As I said, Disney already has an enormous built-in capacity for success in the future, in addition to plans for its new streaming service

I would ask if streaming video is right for Disney, given all they’ve done to pack movie houses with so many great family films.  Will Netflix Ever Actually Make Any Money?

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Photographer: Jakob Owens

3. I started this post by saying there is a fiftieth-anniversary release of The White Album coming 11/9.  From what I understand about music streaming services, Spotify has a great conversion rate bringing customers from free use of Spotify to the premium version.  I would ask if taken to task whether Spotify will be a “weak link.”

From what I can tell, the selection of music with Spotify is wonderful.  I’ve never actually searched for The Beatles, but I am sure they are there.  The selection is good.  I have fewer specifics on hand, but I wouldn’t appreciate seeing Spotify become relegated to “weak link” status, as it seems to be an awesome service.

It is understood that The Beatles essentially recorded The White Album live to 8-track tape, and for everything they’d done in the name of their music they were in fact recording music that would be a bit of a farewell to their fans.  If less scrutiny was being given to the music emerging on The White Album, would The Beatles have lasted longer and recorded songs for longer than they did?  I think it is possible, for when something is intended to be “perfect,” it is often a departure the way a pinnacle climbed must then be descended.

US Politics 

4. If you are following this argument, you can guess that the weak link I’m referring to is the President of the United States.  I don’t like to posit criticism of the United States or its politics, but an example of someone about who there is much to decry that could be a weak link is the President.

As he is someone who was a TV star, I think it is worth mentioning here the radical success that he is known for enjoying and how at the same time the President has mounting problems that he is both a radical success, being wealthy and commanding power, but also a “weak link” in that he could bring down the whole show if he is not effective.  President Trump has a knack for appearing with ferocious emphasis again and again in the news, and yet he faces so much criticism and real-life repercussions and consequences that I think he makes a great example of a “weak link” who is at the same time a radical success.

The President brings to mind so many components and elements of radical success gone wrong that it is becoming clearer all the time that the President of the United States is an extremely divisive man. Donald Trump Says China Remix

 

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Photographer: Diego Jimenez

Motivated to Entrepreneurship

5. The ninth reason I want to assert that a weak link can be very much undermining is the idea that if you begin to succeed as an entrepreneur you can find yourself under more pressure than you ever anticipated facing.  Making money is many people’s idea of success, but you have to put in years of work to make dreams come true.  And in this scenario, ironically, you yourself could be the weakest link if you don’t meet obstacles well.


Unless you keep improving, day in and day out, you could end up being the weak link in your organization simply owing to the fact that your luck could change.  If you have found a strategy that makes you King Midas, turning everything you touch to gold, if all of a sudden your luck changes, you may now be suddenly in a seat of weakness.  The Secret to Self-Motivation | Gary Vaynerchuk’s GREATEST Motivational Speech Ever! 

Photographer: Rawpixel.com
Aerial view of computer laptop on wooden table

You need to keep improving and being good.  Everything that took you somewhere is behind you; you have to continue to make great decisions.  I suspect you’ll see for yourself if you falter.

6. The final reason I want to take back to Geeks + Gamers.  If you have someone, like Jeremy, who has more than one channel on YouTube, who is comfortable discussing games, films, and sports, a very articulate individual, who sees success coming from YouTube, from a Facebook group, from Twitch I suppose, who challenges who is at the top, as with The Last Jedi remaining a highly successful film, however vocal its detractors, I think it is a philosophical note to say that if you are at that pinnacle I referenced above, there is any number of reasons your descent will be hastened by those who come after you.  You have to reach that pinnacle in excellent form; and you have to leave it in such a way that it endures, that there could be a fifty-anniversary, that there could be another billion-dollar blockbuster, that there could be a second term.  This is all vital, from a philosophical standpoint, what must be done if radical success, like the kind that spreads all around the globe, is to be achieved and then preserved. CLICKBAIT : A YOUTUBE STORY

I was amused by the Christmas gift last year of The White Album puzzle game I got from my brother and his family.  If you have read this, please feel free to “like,” “follow,” and/or comment.

10 Reasons Radical Success is the Weakest Link Part I

Puzzle game

Updated November 22, 2018

In December my brother and his wife and kids gave me an unusual gift, a puzzle celebrating The Beatles’ music on The White Album.

Puzzle game
The Beatles

The puzzle is unusual mainly for the fact that the cover of The White Album is entirely the color white, which makes the puzzle an exercise in assembling puzzle pieces all the color white.  It is as if the wrong end of a game of chess game came down on you.

Beatles’ White Album: Five myths the 50th anniversary deluxe edition puts to the test

 

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Photographer:
Little Visuals

I have ten reasons I’m suggesting that success like what The Beatles enjoyed is actually a weak link in terms of what it means for individual success and how it is misleading.  Four are presented here.

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Suzy Hazelwood MONOPOLY FOR MILLENNIALS MAKES NPCs CRY The YouTube channel Geeks + Gamers fascinates me.  When Jeremy announced that he had fallen prey to a phishing spoof six weeks ago, I wanted to describe the problem in this post.  Jeremy was distracted at the moment and made a rookie error, surrendering control of Geeks + Gamers for seventeen minutes until he could get it back in order.  A second oversight occurred, when Jeremy neglected to secure his Google AdSense funding for the channel after the spoof.  When he realized that an entire month’s worth of  monies designated for Geeks + Gamers was stolen, he finally revealed what happened:  My YouTube Channel Was Hacked, Money Lost – Learn From My Mistakes  I’d been paying attention to Geeks + Gamers because I feel it protests and dissects conventional scholar on media.  The Geeks + Gamers team typically tackle major film projects like the DC universe on film, or more often the Disney Star Wars trilogy, as though the success, usually financial, of studio film output speaks to the conclusion that if a film is not fun, that if it doesn’t “work” in terms of being appealing to an audience, the film is not so much a radical success as it is a weak link.

  • It didn’t matter to Jeremy that The Last Jedi is another splendid blockbuster in terms of the money it made for Disney; it was to him a complete letdown and something that was a disservice to the favorite films that remind him of his childhood, the Star Wars films.  Disney Has Concerns About Star Wars After The Last Jedi  It is interesting that while ostensibly the financial success of a film doesn’t mean the film is magical for Jeremy, when it comes to his YouTube channels, Geeks + Gamers and others, it is certainly a problem when a month’s loot is stolen, by cyber-crime means.  I wish Jeremy and the other members of Geeks + Gamers hadn’t had to go through that.Halloween with Geeks + Gamers was interesting for the fact that Jeremy argued that very bold criticism of what he does with Geeks + Gamers had been declared, criticism that included the idea that “code words” were being communicated to Geeks + Gamers subscribers that subscribers should launch literal hate and violence at targets which Geeks + Gamers usually defame, a video you can watch here:  NPC Star Wars Writer Continues To Lie and Spread False Information  Jeremy responded firmly that Geeks + Gamers is in no way is supportive of violent attitudes in any situation, and further that Geeks + Gamers made no attempt to “boycott” the recent Star Wars film Solo, a position I’d heard Jeremy take before in a discussion how Solo ws lacklustre in terms of box office returns.

All this keeps me quite rapt about what this YouTube channel is saying about the Star Wars films–Geeks+ Gamers plays a role in backlash concerning the Rian Johnson Star Wars film The Last Jedi.

  • For Geeks + Gamers to become a successful YouTube channel, it meant starting from basics and building a subscriber basis and becoming a success, with people watching the videos and comment and so on.  If Geeks + Gamers were reviewing music, instead of films, and it was fifty years ago, perhaps they would have spoken about The White Album.  Instead, they are speaking out, frequently, about The Last Jedi, in a way which makes it completely clear that they regard Episode VIII of Star Wars as rubbish.When I watched The Last Jedi when it arrived on Netflix, I enjoyed it and even felt moved.  The mods of Geeks + Gamers had no such experience.  Instead, they despise the film and regale in making that clear rather than taking a positive spin on something that’s an extension to something they loved in childhood.I would guess that Geeks + Gamers take such a broad interest in film criticism that they feel they can succeed with a successful YouTube channel.  The idea of success they have is different from the idea of success that’s reflected in something like the fiftieth-anniversary of The White Album, or in the success of the blockbuster The Last Jedi.
  • The mods of Geeks + Gamers don’t seem to see The Last Jedi as a success at all because they despise it so much.  Their YouTube channel extrapolates messages like that Star Wars has been mostly reduced to rubbish, or that the DC comics universe could similarly face a death grip in the cinema.  I believe I had misunderstood Geeks + Gamers with my belief that Geeks + Gamers doesn’t desire or see any value in success at the level of the “blockbuster”; instead they expound on problems in entertainment which is compromised by identity politics in the entertainment that they criticize.  Now that I understand some more about Jeremy’s point of view,  it has me feeling a touch more informed about how identity politics show up in entertainment.
    To them, The Last Jedi is a weak link.  They wouldn’t aim for that kind of success in their own lives, for example.  It is notable, having learned of their misfortune with a phishing spoof, that their success has been compromised by their own position as a good-sized YouTube channel.

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Rawpixel.com  In addition, an example of underhandedly reacting to what’s been said on Geeks + Gamers is the shout-out they gave Mike Zeroh after film director Rian Johnson mean-spiritedly called out Zeroh who is devoted specifically to exploring what’s going on in Star Wars.  The Mike Zeroh channel is Zeroh’s speculation about “behind the scenes” in Star Wars.  In the initial days of shooting Episode IX of Star Wars, Johnson, reflecting on Twitter about what he was accomplishing with his Star Wars film, referred to YouTube’s Mike Zeroh as being a zero, although Johnson later apologized.

  • It is the same kind of weak link that exists when Geeks + Gamers tackles Star Wars because for all the enthusiasm Mike Zeroh puts into anticipating Star Wars, Mike Zeroh has personally explained that he feels The Last Jedi is a poor effort.
    Mike Zeroh Vs Rian Johnson… Thank you Rian Again!!!

I was amused by The White Album puzzle game I got from my brother and his family.  I am also grateful for the opportunity to share these opportunities.  I am glad if you have read this.  You’re welcome to “like,” to “follow,” and/or to comment.