Monday, August 30, 2021

Eliane Elias, Jazz Singer and Piano Player

Eliane Elias is a beautiful and talented Brazilian jazz singer and pianist who transcribed jazz solos at age 12 and taught piano at age 15, attended Juilliard and started playing professionally soon after, first with Steps Ahead and then solo.

I could write a bunch of words here, but why? You should just listen to the music for yourself. 

You can thank me later.


 “They Can’t Take That Away From Me (Live)”

“Call Me”

Friday, August 27, 2021

Friday Music with Three Dog Night

“One” is the title, appropriately enough, for the first song on the first side of the first album by Three Dog Night. 

Here’s the story on creating the song featuring two of the three lead singers, Chuck Negron and Danny Hutton.

It was a Top 5 hit in the U.S. and Canada, an outcome that songwriter Harry Nilsson surely appreciated.

According to Wikipedia, Nilsson wrote the song after calling someone and getting a busy signal, and then stayed on the line listening to the “beep, beep, beep” of the busy signal while writing the lyrics including the classic opener “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do ...”.

It’s a great story, and it might even be true.

Many years later after nearly two dozen Top 40 hits and becoming one of the biggest bands in the world — turns out “Jeremiah was a bullfrog”, did you know that? — their last Top 20 hit in 1974 “Sure As I’m Sitting Here”.

Written by John Hiatt, who would go on to have a long career as both songwriter and performer.

These two songs bookend their hit-making career and both show their good taste in choosing high quality material from excellent songwriters. 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Target Heart Rate

It’s Just a Number, After All 

For decades the accepted wisdom for maximizing cardiovascular fittness levels has been the “target heart rate” defined very simply and roughly as 80% of your age subtracted from 220. 

In a formula, ( 220 - age ) * 0.8. 

For example: 

  • For a 20 year old ... 200 * 0.8 or 160 
  • For a 50 year old ... 170 * 0.8 or 136 
  • For an 80 year old ... 140 * 0.8 or 112 

You can see that for every 10 years of increase in age, target heart rate drops by 8. 

This target heart rate is an ideal to maximize the beneficial cardiovascular effects, it’s not the minimum before any beneficial effects occur. 

This point is the single most important thing to understand about cardiovascular exercise:  any kind of movement is a good start and will be better for you than sitting on your butt. Going beyond that is fine tuning for personal goals, whatever those might be. 

Benefits occur within a range. You will definitely still realize some benefit from hitting 70%, or 60% — probably even 50% — as long as you do it long enough, compared to a baseline of sitting and doing nothing.

This debate often shows up in opinions on whether or not walking “counts” as cardiovascular exercise. Just asking the question is evidence of a classifcation error for people under the spell of counting and measuring, and “data”, and studies, and every damn thing under the Sun except for the only thing that matters: trying it and evaluating what it does for you.

Active is active and your body doesn’t much care what you are doing, as long as you are somehow moving your legs, which are by far the biggest muscles in your body and kick the entire cardiovascular machinery into gear. Leg exercise also engages your core — glutes, abdominals, lower back, hip flexors, pelvic floor, etc.

Leg exercise of any kind *is* cardiovascular exercise, as long as you do it long enough. 

I fell victim to the “what good could walking possibly do, it’s too easy” fallacy myself, until I actually ... you know ... tried it. In the winter of 2010 or 2011, after years of knowing I missed outdoor exercise during the winter (I like biking in warmer weather), I decided to try walking 30 minutes or more several times per week, in the middle of the day during the best daylight hours, as part of a lunch break, and see what happens.

I was impressed and amazed at the energy and focus I gained afterward, the mood improvement, and then — a most welcome surprise — the improvement in sleep quality. It was quite the discovery and really opened my eyes to the benefits of moving your legs, for long stretches of time, even at lower intensity levels — much lower than we’ve been taught are required.

Sleep quality! It was life-changing. Just from walking 30 minutes at 2pm. Who knew? 

Key point: I only discovered this by doing it myself and learning how it helped me. 

I didn’t pay any attention to target heart rate, either. I just treated it like an activity break, as much for mental and emotional recharging as anything else. And yet, the other benefits were obvious and pronounced. I became a big fan, and have been walking ever since, along with biking and other activities. And I do not stress about counting steps, or target heart rate, at all.

Target heart rate is of course a fine concept and we need it to have something to aim towards, especially for cardiac patients and the ultra-competitive among us. But at the end of the day, it’s a very simplistic, rough guideline based on the idea that, well, people need a number to aim for, so let’s give them one. It’s not magic and it’s not a mimimum, and it obscures the more important divide, the only divide that really matters: sedentary vs. active. All else is details.

I’ve learned a lot over the years about exercise, and I can say with confidence that there’s just something magic about moving your legs at a steady pace, outside, for at least 25 minutes, that produces real results for your entire cardiovascular sytem plus better sleep quality, mood, energy, focus, and more. 

You may find these same results, or they may be different, but either way, you really should try it for yourself and stop listening to people’s opinions about what “counts” as cardiovascular exercise. It’s your heart, you own the condition it’s in, and you want to keep it healthy as long as you can.

Dr James Meschino does a great job of explaining this.

Here’s the Cleveland Clinic on the benefits of aerobic exercise and how to realize them — they say as little as 30 minutes a week will at least help a little bit, and I have no reason to doubt it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

“Light My Fire” Back Story

Written by 20-year-old guitarist Robbie Krieger ... his first ever attempt at writing a song ... 

Ray Manzarek explains how his solo was inspired by John Coltrane’s wonderful “My Favorite Things”, and added the epic Bach-inspired keyboard intro from his background musical knowledge.

That’s a pretty valuable guy to have in your band, right there.

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Top 10 Satchel Paige Quotes

One of the greatest pitchers of all time was also one of the greatest Original Quote Machines of all time. 

My favorites:

  1. "Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter.”
  2. "How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?"
  3. "I ain't ever had a job, I just always played baseball."
  4. "I don't generally like running. I believe in training by rising gently up and down from the bench."
  5. "I use my single windup, my double windup, my triple windup, my hesitation windup, my no windup. I also use my step-n-pitch-it, my submariner, my sidearmer, and my bat dodger. Man's got to do what he's got to do."
  6. "Just take the ball and throw it where you want to. Throw strikes. Home plate don't move."
  7. "My pitching philosophy is simple - keep the ball way from the bat."
  8. "One time he (Cool Papa Bell) hit a line drive right past my ear. I turned around and saw the ball hit his ass sliding into second."
  9. "There never was a man on Earth who pitched as much as me, but the more I pitched, the stronger my arm would get."
  10. "When a batter swings and I see his knees move, I can tell just what his weaknesses are then I just put the ball where I know he can't hit it."

"Just take the ball and throw it where you want to. Throw strikes. Home plate don't move." 

Sounds easy when you say it like that! 

Number 10 sounds like great advice for any pitcher at any age.

More at Baseball Almanac

Satchel Paige on Wikipedia and at Baseball Hall of Fame.

Here he is on “What’s My Line” in the mid-60s.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Look Up At the Sky Once In A While

You May Be Surprised 

Walking out of the grocery store Saturday afternoon around 5pm, I looked up at the sky and saw this, stopped walking, took out my phone and took two photos, in the parking lot, with other people pushing carts and walking to and from their cars.

30 minutes later it rained very hard, for the second time in two hours. But for at least these few moments, this was your reward if you looked up and stopped thinking and just observed with your senses. 

Did you ever notice how many people spend their whole lives only looking ahead, never up, or back, or to the side? Literally and figuratively. 

Seems to me that’s too much living inside your head, focusing on what’s next, checking items off of lists, missing out on beauty happening around you. 

I’m not sure how that is much different from being a mouse on a treadmill. To each their own, I guess. 

Friday, August 20, 2021

Friday Music

Gliding into the weekend with . . . 

An excellent version of the Allman Brothers classic “Jessica” by Six String Soliders . . .

. . . and John Prine and Iris Dement with his instant classic “In Spite of Ourselves” . . . 

Enjoy your weekends everyone, and go listen to some great music. 

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Walking and Taking Photos and Wondering Why People Do Stuff

Out on a walk and I noticed this extremely odd situation ... a cellular tower or something like it rising up in someone’s backyard ... what exactly is going on here??

A closer look ...

Trying to imagine the scenarios here ... you either bought the property with that cancer-factory monstrosity in the yard, or you as property owner allowed someone to install it, with some form of monetary compensation I would hope ... but still.

Yuck. Electromagnetic radiation, it’s a thing. Good luck with your health, and as a seller of that cursed property someday.

On the same walk I saw one of these annoying things:

I get why they use them — too many drivers speeding on a stretch of road, ostensibly causing dangerous conditions for bikes and pedestrians and little kids. This is on an arterial road with side streets crossing it, so it is exactly the kind of place we are used to seeing them. Yay for public safety, and all that. I’m on board.

However. They set these things to rudely flash your speed at you if you go even 1 MPH over the limit. ONE MILE PER HOUR. 

Let’s review. My car does not suddenly become a dangerous missile on the transition from 30 MPH to 31 MPH. The very idea is idiotic. 

We all know the actual problem is drivers who go 40+ in a 30 MPH. Even law enforcement admits that. But by setting it to flash my speed at me when it’s just 1 MPH over, you’re putting me in the same bucket as those that go 45+, the actual dangerous drivers. This is not just insane on a practical level, it’s annoying as hell.

On another street not far away, they cut the speed limit to 25 MPH for the same reason. And cops started camping out in strategic spots to pull people over and give them at least a warning for going — I kid you not — 26+ MPH. 

Guys. Don’t do this. You’re criminalizing normal and safe driving to reduce the amount of 40+ MPH drivers. 

Here’s what you should be doing: ignore the 26-35 MPH drivers, because I’ll bet you $100 right now you cannot quote me honest traffic studies that show attentive, suburban, responsible drivers — mostly moms in vans, let’s be honest here — are dangerous at any of those speeds. But target *all* of your efforts in this area to nail the 40+ MPH drivers, since that is where the danger arises. 

Those are two very distinct groups, and we all know it, because we all see it with our own eyes every day. It’s not a big mystery how this works.

By doing it this way, you’re training people like me to laugh at and ignore this idiocy. I am not your problem. Don’t treat me like one. 

For me this is just another reminder of the way policy makers and law enforcement ignore the incentives they create in everyone who is not the target of their genius plans. 

There’s a downside to that: building distrust one small thing at a time, a “death by a thousand cuts” kind of thing. Law enforcement is facing quite a headwind with certain segments of the public these days; this obviously is a very small piece of the puzzle, but rebuilding law enforcement’s public image starts with small adjustments to actual enforcement practices. 

A journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step.

All photos in this post owned by me, copyright applies, etc.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

How Does a Carburetor Work and F1 Pistons

 Just another miracle of physics ... from the “Smarter Every Day” channel

Formula 1 piston costs 50,000 pounds?! 

That is one expensive sport. 

And from yesterday, a article about how Honda caught up with Mercedes on the technical side.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

A Few Examples of the Art of Camille Pissarro

A Field in Varengeville, 1899

A Path in the Woods, Pontoise, 1879

Riverbanks in Pontoise, 1872

Rue de L’Epicerie, Rouen, on a Grey Morning, 1898

Stagecoach to Louveciennes, 1870


Monday, August 16, 2021

Nanci Griffith, R.I.P.

Goodbye to a legend in the folk music world.

Nanci Griffith, In Memoriam: An Appreciation of Folk and Americana Music’s Sweet but Gritty Beacon 

Nanci Griffith dies at age 68: The Grammy-winning folk singer-songwriter best known for the song Love At The Five And Dime passes away

Her album “Other Voices, Other Rooms” from 1993 was a tribute to her many and various folk music influences, with songs written by Tom Paxton, John Prine, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Townes Van Zandt, Buddy Mondlock and several other greats. It’s just as great as you might think it would be.

I bought “Other Voices, Other Rooms” when it came out without having heard much of her music, or even knowing she had written and recorded the Kathy Mattea hit “Love at the Five and Dime”. 

Over time it became one of my favorite albums because of its incredible warmth and intimacy, along with the great music. 

It feels like family and friends playing music with great personal meaning while sitting on your front porch.

This album was, along with John Prine — who passed last year — my true introduction to folk music. I became a fan directly as a result of listening to it.

The first song on it that I really latched onto was “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness”, a beautiful John Prine song about running from life to escape failed love.

The first two verses and choruses:

You come late and you come home early
You come home big when you’re feeling small
You come home straight and you come home curly
Sometimes you don’t come home at all

What in the world’s come over you
What in heaven’s name have you done
You’ve broken the speed of the sound of loneliness
You’re out there runnin’ just to be on the run 

I got a heart the burns with a fever
I got a worried and a jealous mind
How can a love that’ll last forever
Get left so far behind

What in the world’s come over you
What in heaven’s name have you done
You’ve broken the speed of the sound of loneliness 
You’re out there runnin’ just to be on the run 

She of course had other great albums which I have discovered over time, and remain to be discovered.

A solo, live version of her classic “Love at the Five and Dime”. She tells a good story about how the song came about: she had to write a song for a songwriter’s seminar and came up with it in 20 minutes from a short story she had written, and thought she would never play it again!

The original, from her excellent 1986 album “Last of the True Believers”. 

Friday, August 13, 2021

Friday Music: “It’s the Space Between the Notes”

Rick Beato tells us about a beautiful two minutes of improvised piano by Keith Jarrett.

Again: all improvised.

The creative beauty that can spring spontaneously and fully formed from the mind of a musician ... it just blows me away. 

One minute there’s nothing and the next minute something completely new, truly beautiful and awesome just flows out, sounding like it must have always existed because it’s so perfect. 

The name Keith Jarrett is familiar to me but I had never lisened to any of his music, and frankly I was not ready to listen to it for a long time. 

Over the last several decades my tastes in music have expanded several times, including major shifts into Jazz and Country and Brazilian / Latin Jazz and more recently Folk and Bluegrass (“Americana” or “roots music”) and Jazz/Pop singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and others.

With these shifts — plus just getting older — I have learned to appreciate on a deeper level the space between the notes as the magic behind all music. 

Lots of people can play a bunch of notes, sometimes very fast, but the feelings we get from it are determined by the space between those notes. That’s where the drama is, that’s where the feelings are.

Something like this beautiful improvisation by Keith Jarrett would have been lost on me until recently.

Another Keith Jarrett live performance, “Bye Bye Blackbird” recorded in tribute to Miles Davis shortly after his passing.

From, Five Essential Keith Jarrett Albums to Mark His 75th Birthday (May 8, 2020)

His extensive discography (quite prolific, this guy was).

Thursday, August 12, 2021

In Case You’re Wondering About the Weather in Chicago in August

... “sweaty and uncomfortable” describes it well.

Also “gross”.

“Sticky” works too. 

Feels like 108°F is not really ever what you’re looking for when you check the weather.

So it’s Indoor Weather, for those of us who have that choice. For me this gets in the way a little bit for things like riding the bike, but I did one of those anyway on Tuesday evening and today I plan to do some walking and stadium stairs despie the weather.

Fortunately this patch of hot and humid weather — did I forget to mention stormy, with loud thunderstorms, thunder and lightning, high winds, and a few tornado warnings for some extra fun — is due to end tonight with much more pleasant weather for the weekend.

Nighttime lows over the next few days: around 60. Turn off the AC, open the windows, feel some cool night air, good for sleeping.  

It’s amazing how different the day can feel depending on something we have zero control over: the weather. 

But as I have to remind myself often during the warmer months, “it’s Summer in Chicago”, and you do what you gotta do despite the weather, and despite these warnings they issue for hot weather, as if nobody ever had to deal with it before. I strongly reject such pandering to fear, a very noticeable trend in weather reporting over the last 20-30 years (and all types of news, really). It’s exhausting and I will not be a party to manipulaion like that.

There’s a fine line between sensible adaptation and living in fear. Most of us used to know where that line is, and didn’t need weather scolds screeching at us to avoid dying on any given day.

I’m very fatalistic about such things. Bring it on. We’ve seen it all before, right? Yes we have. And life has always presented challenges to everyone who ever lived, in fact, far more challenges than we face in our pampered existence in the 21st century. There’s nothing special about our time here as opposed to any other people at any other time, and it’s pure hubris to imagine otherwise.

When it’s hot, drink more water and just don’t be foolish. Know the warning signs for heat exhaustion and then go live your life. Take control of your choices because ... they’re yours. 

Here are the symptoms of heat exhaustion — didn’t you already know most or all of these?

  • Clammy skin
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Extreme thirst
  • Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)
  • Dehydration
  • Fainting
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Decreased urine output

Besides, as the old saying goes about the weather around here, “if you don’t like the weather, just wait, it’ll change”.

Now go face the day.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Dalrymple on Accepting Lies

When the lies told to a society become endemic, it’s vital to understand that it’s no longer about separating truth from lies, it’s about “othering” and humiliation. 

It’s about being subjugated one lie at a time.

This Theodore Dalrymple quote explains it very well:

Political correctness is communist propaganda writ small. In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. I think if you examine political correctness, it has the same effect and is intended to. 
This is how you subvert a nation and a people. 

Once again:

“... not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate ... the less it corresponded to reality the better ...”

Read that again three or four times, until it really penetrates the rusted recesses of your mind.

It’s tempting, after hearing a pile of lies from the government or anyone else trying to take your money, freedom, and self-respect, to point out what is untrue and then assume victory. 

This is a victory only on the debate stage in your mind.

Comprehending such a thing as lies told on purpose, for the explicit purpose of humiliation, is very difficult for those of us raised in Western society based on Enlightenment values of logic, reason, facts, and truth. It just doesn’t fit into the worldview. 

So you need to find a new worldview. “What is true and what is not” … it’s just not relevant in this context.

But consider the next part of the quote:

“To assent to obvious lies is in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.

Don’t be a willing party to your own subjugation.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Young Man Discovers Colors For First Time

I’m on Twitter but I don’t live my life there, checking it maybe 3-4 times a day, for 10 minutes, like and retweet a couple things, with an intentional focus on funny and cool, a little sports, animal videos, etc.

Mostly for fun, in other words.

But I like anything inspiring, too. Like this video, with a boy who is color-blind getting new glasses that allow him to see colors for the first time in his life.

We are surrounded by beauty every day but we usually ignore it.

Can you even imagine the impact of seeing the color in the world around you for the very first time, as a 10 year old? Red, green, blue, yellow, for the first time?

It would be overwhelmingly beautiful, and the tears from the young man show that.

I love the reaction from the teacher, who is so enthusiasstic and encouraging for the young man. As the video explains, teacher and principal Scott Hanson is also color blind and has these EnChroma glasses that enhance colors to help people like them who cannot see them naturally. 

Originally found here @TechBurrito a very cool Twitter account.

See, it’s not necessarily Twitter that is toxic and inflammatory, it depends on which accounts you follow. The quality of your Twitter feed reflects your preferences. If it sucks, it just might be a “you” problem.

Monday, August 09, 2021

Sarah Vaughan ...

Simply an incredible singing voice ... here’s “Broken Hearted Melody”

I’ve been absolutely geeking out on Sarah Vaughan the last couple of weeks, discovering great tunes like this and “Lullaby of Birdland” ... 

And so many others.

Part pop, part jazz, all great. 

Personally I’m more into the jazz side — but with an incredible singing talent like Sarah Vaughan, you don’t really want to get too bogged down in details like that. 

As Duke Ellington famously put it, “there’s only two kinds of music, good music and the other kind”.

Typically on my walks and bike rides I like to mix it up between podcasts and music, and rarely listen to the same type of content twice in a row — but Sarah and her great voice have accompanied me on most of my recent such adventures, plus during some of my leisure time too. 

She recorded a lot of albums — her discography is here — so if you like these songs but don’t know where to start, or if you find her artist playlist on your streaming service too long and intimidating as an introduction, try the Golden Hits album as in the first video above. Eighteen songs, including those above plus “Misty” and more, 51 minutes and some change, from 1958.

Friday, August 06, 2021

Walking with Joni Mitchell’s “Miles of Aisles”

For my walking music last night I decided to listen to Joni Mitchell’s live album “Miles of Aisles” because it’s the only album I have not listened to in full from her middle-70s jazz phase, with her excellent band The L.A. Express.

This is my favorite phase of her career, by far. For me, she hits her most comfortable performance place with a good jazz-oriented band and the full instrumentation and the arrangements and production that go with it. 

She’s always been a great songwriter who is very creative with melodies and jazz chords and funky guitar tunings, and for me she hits her performance peak matching that and her natural singing style with a great 5 piece jazz-oriented band. 

I was not disappointed. 

This was (mostly) the same excellent band that backed her on her prior album “Court and Spark” — with “Help Me” and “Free Man in Paris” and several other great tunes — a truly ground-breaking album that has been my favorite Joni Mitchell record since I bought it a few years later, and one of the best albums of the entire decade of the 70s.

Several familiar songs like “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio” ...

... and “Carey” ... 

... and “Both Sides Now” ... 

... plus “Big Yellow Taxi” ... 


... and “Circle Game” ... 

I much prefer these live versions to all of the originals, mainly due to the band, instrumentation, and arragnements, as noted above. Your mileage may vary, of course.

This was her very first tour with a band, after touring solo for several years.

Here’s more info on the album, produced by Joni Mitchell and arranged by Joni Mitchell and The L.A. Express 

The L.A. Express personnel:

  • Max Bennett - Bass
  • John Guerin - Drums, Percussio
  • Robben Ford - Electric Guitar
  • Larry Nash - Piano
  • Tom Scott - Woodwinds, Reeds

The 1973 version of the band that appeared on “Court and Spark” included Larry Carlton on Electric Guitar and Joe Sample on Keyboards — also excellent musicians — instead of Ford and Nash. 

Thursday, August 05, 2021

Borrowing or Stealing? Hard to Tell Sometimes

10 Beatles Songs that ‘Rip Off’ Other Songs, David Bennett Piano

Stealing, borrowing, ripping off, honoring, paying tribute ... these things are closely related and hard to separate sometimes.

Nonetheless it’s interesting to have a musical expert point out these similarities that most of us would never catch ourselves, including visuals with the notes on the scale.

A list of a few of the tunes - but definitely watch the whole video, it’s quite interesting and very well done:

  • “Come Together” and “You Can’t Catch Me” (Chuck Berry)
  • “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I’m Talking About You” (Chuck Berry)
  • “Revolution” and “Do Unto Others” (Pee Wee Crayton)
  • “I Feel Fine” and “Watch Your Step” (Bobby Parker) — this one is especially interesting, because even Parker admits he borrowed his riff from “Manteca” by Dizzy Gillespie, and later several other bands used similar but not identical riffs

That last example is why I sometimes have trouble criticizing songwriters and musicians who borrow a little from here and steal a little from there during the creative process. 

Obviously, outright theft is a thing that happens, and we absolutely cannot reward that, and compensation may be due to the original creator. But how exactly do you draw the line between outright theft and homage in the form of borrowing?

I’m not sure I get how that would even work. Say a given riff is 12 notes; is it stealing if 11 of them are the same? 10? How about 9? 

Is there some Board of Music Evaluation that officiates here? 

What if all 12 notes are the same, but the next set of 12 notes immediately following uses some sharps or flats as a variation on the original 12? Or turns one or two of them into shorter or longer notes? Is that stealing?

What if the chord structure is different even though the notes are spaced similarly, or even identically? What about modes and keys?

Trying to create something new, original, and good is very, very hard:

  • Start with 12 notes in Western music, called the Diatonic scale, spaced across the 3-4 octaves (a piano spans 8) that comprises the vast majority of all popular music. 
  • Each major or minor key only uses 7 notes, repeating across the 3-4 octaves. 
  • There are half notes and quarter notes and shorter and longer ones, but in most popular music quarter notes and shorter are used in most of the melody and various instrumental parts. 
  • These patterns determine the tempo and feel and most importantly the space between the notes, which is where the texture resides. 
  • Finally, there are certain chord progressions that are pleasing to the ear and others that are not. 

All of these limit your options, and to have lawyers and courts step in later to evaluate all of this in some manner that is fair to all seems just a bit iffy to me.


Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Both 400M (Men’s and Women’s) Hurdlers Destroy World Records

And Silver Medalists Destroy Them Too

Track and Field is a sport where records are broken in tiny increments over many years, as a rule.

But over the last two days at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Karsten Warholm (Norway) and Sydney McLaughlin (United States) both demolished their own world records. 

This basically never ever ever happens. 

In fact in both of these races the 2nd place finisher also broke the world record, both of which were set just weeks ago.

Warholm broke his own world record by 76/100 of a second, in 45.94 (the old record set just weeks ago was 46.70).

Silver medalist Rai Benjamin (U.S.) also demolished that same world record by 53/100 second in 46.17.

In the women’s race the following day McLaughlin broke her own record by 44/100 of a second, in 51.46 (the old record 51.90 was set just weeks ago). 

Silver medalist Delilah Muhammad, also defending Gold medalist from 2016, also demolished that same world record by 32/100 second, in 51.58.

Congratulations to all. Records are made to be broken, and it’s good for the sport. I love watching track events, and greatly respect the athletes, who work so hard to get where they are, and are 100% accountable for the results.

But I have to wonder a little bit just what exactly is going on here.

Men’s 400M Hurdles results

Women’s 400M Hurdles results

Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Two Artworks for a Tuesday

Van Gogh, Path in the Woods, 1887

Pissarro, A Field in Varengeville, 1899

Monday, August 02, 2021

Well now I know what happens when the blood donation needle gets yanked out right after insertion

Not much, as it turns out. Just a tiny little spot of blood right at the puncture wound, sitting there, looking at us, calm as could be.

No drama, no spurting. You might think blood starts spurting out from the wound — I did — but if so we were both wrong. 

I guess the reason for that, thinking on this a bit more, is that as soon as the needle is removed, the skin closes up and so does (one hopes) the puncture in the vein, since the only reason those wounds opened up in the first place was due to the puncture. In other words, with skin being somewhat stretchy and elastic (and veins too, I guess), upon needle removal, those wounds would naturally close up. And this does seem to be exactly what happened. 

Now if the needle remained but the rubber hose connected to it got yanked out somehow, that would be messy, I would bet. 

Many years of donating blood several times per year, and nothing like this ever happened. First time for everything I guess.

Obviously we had to switch to use the other arm, and the donation was successful. 

So that was a thing that happened on my Saturday afternoon. 

Donating blood is obviously a good thing to do for others, but did you know that it’s good for your health too? Especially for men and post-menopausal women, because it thins your blood and helps remove any excess iron and other heavy metals that are not removed in natural ways. Excess iron is a risk factor in heart disease. If you donate 6x per year (every 8 weeks) you are changing over about 1/2 of your blood volume per year. 

It’s easy to do, doesn’t take long, helps others — especially if you have O- which makes you a universal donor in very high demand particularly at neonatal intensive care units — and good for you too. 

By the way, I learned something else new today, the name of that vein at the top of the forearm used for blood donation is the “median cubital” vein

Sunday, August 01, 2021

Esteban Ocon Wins Hungarian Grand Prix

Congrats to Ocon on his first F1 win ever, and to the Alpine racing team. 

His win illustrates the fact that all of these drivers are excellent but on race day “shit happens” creating opportunities — and on this day there was a bit of a pile-up in the first turn of the first lap on a rainy, wet and greasy track that opened up a big lane for him to jump ahead from his starting position at #8.

After the first lap, and then a red flag to clean up debris on the track, and then a restart, 5 cars were retired — Bottas, Perez, LeClerc, Stroll, and Norris. Bottas is later penalized 5 spots on the grid for the next race for braking too late. 

Hamilton started at the pole position but fell to last (14th) during a pit stop, to change over to slicks from rain tires I believe, but managed to pass 11 drivers to finish 3rd and get another podium. Vettel was second (but later disqualified, see below).

Click image or here for the video of the start and turn 1 collisions.

Later Sunday F1 announced that 2nd place finisher Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) was disqualified for being unable to extract 1 litre of fuel at the end of the race, costing the team and driver 18 points. What issue are they resolving with a requirement of 1 full litre as opposed to, say, 1/2 or 1/4 or even 1/10? Probably to avoid hazards from running out during the race, I guess, but wouldn’t 1/2 litre do that too and avoid bullshit penalties like this? This seems far too punitive. Aston Martin will appeal of course, good luck with that.