Archive for the ‘Isaac Asimov’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: RHEOSTATICS-Scotiabank Centre Halifax NS (December 07, 1996).

This is the 19th night of the 24 date Canadian Tour opening for The Tragically Hip on their Trouble At The Henhouse Tour.

The show starts with Dorothy introducing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and then she begins singing the song.  After a verse, the acoustic guitar comes strumming in and Tim announces that “This one’s for Wilf Carter.”  [Wilf Carter, known as Montana Slim in the United States, was a Canadian Country and Western singer, songwriter, guitarist, and yodeller. Widely acknowledged as the father of Canadian country music.  He died on Dec 5].

It sounds great.  the final strains of guitar lead into a beautiful “California Dreamline.”  It’s followed by a “Fan Letter to Michael Jackson” that features a middle “dance” section, with Dave chanting: “Tuesday night at the discotheque, I can dance, what the heck.  I’m an Uzbek.  Wer’e all freakin’ Uzbeks.

The ending feedback segues into the introductory noises of “Motorino.”  Martin says it comes from their new album.  “It’s called The Blue Hysteria its about not having much money.  Dave: “That’s the green hysteria, martin.”  Tim:  “Blue hysteria as about playing your stereo too loud and blowing it up.”  That’s a sort of introduction to “Bad Time to be Poor.”

Dave says “It’s great to be in hockey rink, The Moosehead Dome.  We played in the Devonshire Arena last night, a private affair.  It was hockey though, not rock.  We’re all a little sore, a little better off, a little stronger in character.

Up next is “Sweet Rich Beautiful Mine,” during which Martin drops out of an entire verse–the music sounds great through.  You hear someone asks “want to do it again?”  but they press on and martin platys the noisy guitars that lead into RICH!

Then comes “two big songs back to back,” a ripping “Feed Yourself”  followed by a full 8 minute “A Mid-Winter Night’s Dream.”  It begins with a pretty, meandering guitar melody that Martin songs along to (in a high falsetto, la la l a)–its  quite lovely.  Then it segues into a roaring version of “Midwinter.”  The band sounds great and the feedbacking noise martin generates before the end is just amazing.

This might be my favorite version of the song.  It’s a show-stopper indeed.

[READ: March 20, 2019] Science Comics: Robots and Drones

I have enjoyed every Science Comic that has come out.  Most of them seem almost too full of information.  But this one was actually one of the less jam-packed books.  And that was kind of nice.

After an introduction from Sabine Hauert, the co-founder of Robohub.org, we are taken to a prototype robot from 350 BCE (!).  In Tarentum Italy, we see a “mechanical” bird created by Archytas.  It flies (perhaps on a string) and crashes instantly.   The bird snaps out of it and introduces himself –call him Pouli.  Pouli was the first machine to ever fly and he will take us through the past and future of robots and drones.

Pouli tries to break our familiarity with what a robot is by showing a simple robot–the coffeemaker.  It has as simple job.  It’s a modern version of the automaton.  Of course we have more sophisticated R/C cars and roombas now.  Some day soon there will be self-driving cars. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: CYMBALS EAT GUITARS-Live on KEXP June 18, 2009 (2009).

Cymbals Eat Guitars are from Staten Island (with members from New Jersey).  They have released two albums, although this recording is from after the release of their first album.    They play four songs:  “And the Hazy Sea,” “Cold Spring,” “Tunguska,” and “Wind Phoenix.”   They are noisy songs (mostly) with squalls of guitars (squalls is a good word since two of the guys are from Manahawkin, New Jersey.

The band has true progenitors in the indie rock scene–there’s sounds of Pavement, The Replacements,  even more melodic Sonic Youth .  They play noisy guitars and the vocals veer from softly sung to loudly screamed (often within the same line).    “Cold Spring” starts like a kind of shoegazery song and then after almost three minutes it turns into a  blast of pummeling rock with a noisy guitar section, before moving into a third more melodic section.

There’s   a lengthy interview with the band, where they give a shout out to New Jersey and seem genuinely surprised by the success they’ve had.  It’s a good show, and you can hear it here

[READ: September 25, 2012] God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian

Again, against my better judgment I brought this Vonnegut book home too because it was on the shelf (and it was very short).  I still haven’t finished Bluebeard yet, but I have been curious about this book for some time.  It references Vonnegut’s early novel God Bless You, Mr Rosewater, but it also name checks Dr Jack Kevorkian.  So just what is it?

Well, it is collection of radio spots that Vonnegut did for WNYC radio in New York back in 1998.  Vonnegut claimed that he went to Kevorkian’s facility, was strapped in and almost killed multiple times, but Kevorkian brought him back each time creating a near-death experience. And each time Vonnegut travelled through that “blue tunnel,” he would interview a dead person.

The people he interviews vary quite a lot in fame and stature: (more…)

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