Saturday, July 28, 2007

etta james in hospital

The great Etta James is off the B.B. King Blues Festival tour as she recovers from complications stemming from abdominal surgery. She has been replaced on the tour by Little Richard, two years older than her at 71.

The 69-year-old James is reported to be in a stable condition at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She is suffering post-operation complications from mid-June abdominal surgery.

In recent years she has struggled with obesity and reached more than 400 pounds, experiencing mobility and joint problems that frequently confined her to a wheel chair. In 2003, James underwent gastric bypass surgery and lost over 200 pounds.

Friday, July 27, 2007

retail deceit or ignorance

A couple of recent retail encounters have left me bothered and bewildered but not bewitched. Some retail people are either willfully ignorant or simply liars.

The other week. Suburban shopping strip and hub.

Strolling into the OPSM eyewear shop I ask if they have any Silhouette rimless glasses like the ones I already have. Rimless, light, fold flat and will fold into a flat hard case that is light.

- “No. They don’t make then anymore”

Me quizzically: “You sure? I only got these last year and the latest range is on the web”

– “No they don’t make them anymore”. Ok then. Alright.

So I walk around the corner and up the block into another optometrist.

- “Sure – ones like you have now or would you like to look at the latest range?”

Today. JB HIFI.

“I’m looking for LightScribe writable blank CDs and DVDs”

– “Nope – you can only get them overseas. You’ll have to import them”

Me quizzically – “Oh Really”. Ok then. Alright.

So I drive down to Harris Technology and choose from amongst three different brands of Light Scribe Ready CDs and DVDs.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

ac dc

I've buggerised around and done something like this:

But I could have done something like this:

I read all this and more but it still hasn't stopped the annoying buzz I get when listening to AM Radio.

Don't laugh. Some people not only still listen to AM Radio but actually care about fidelity.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

update on inputs

Fred Neil at Cafe Wha? 1961 accompanied by Karen Dalton and young folkie Bob Dylan

The Rough Guide to Bob Dylan, 2nd edition, Nigel Williamson.
This is surprisingly good. A good buy for the person that doesn't have much DylanLit. It covers most of the better written stuff and has a good album guide and a comprehensive collection of useful bits and pieces by Williamson who is respectful but not afraid of the odd opinion of his own. Good history and context. If, like me, you have too many Dylan books, then this one is useful for the way it brings them together. It's a book worth having whether you are a Dylan tragic or just want to know a bit more, or to start on the way to being a tragic

Do it yourself Camera and Music Phone Projects. 24 cool things you didn’t know you could do, Ari Hakkarainen - Exciting stuff like – share photos by email - I didn't really give it much time.

Audio deMystified, A self teaching guide. By Stan Gibilisco - includes voltage-current-resistance circuits, Phase Difference, Waveforms, Impedance matching, properties of sound.
Interesting, hard core, techhead stuff, with diagrams. Didn’t help me get rid of the buzz I get on AM radio when I turn on those bloody greenie mini fluorescents in every room.

Aliens Why They are Here, Bryan Appleyard.

I could do without the first half that talks about the various experiences people have had with aliens, but the second half, it is divided into two halves, (no not three halves), is a wonderful exploration of how we have built up certain images and characteristics of aliens. It also looks at the conventions of how we should greet and alien and yes it does touch on the sexual explorations. Well worth a read of the second bit.

The Celtic Book Of Living And Dying, An Illustrated Guide to Celtic Wisdom, Juliette Wood.
Delightfully put together with illustrations and photos by an academic who has written for the general reader.

DVD - AILEEN – The Selling Of a Serial Killer and Life and Death of a Serial Killer. – 2 documentaries about Alieen Wournos who was executed in 2002 for killing seven men in Florida USA. By Nick Broomfield

CD - Summertime - Sarah Vaughan – – 17 well known standards

CD - Original Seeds Vol 2 – Songs that inspired Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
I ended up liking this more than I expected. Includes lots of big sounding vocals – Harry Belefonte, Tom Waits, The Bobsta, Elvis, Nina Simone, Iggy, and even the Gang of Four. But I was most impressed by the inclusion of
Hoyt Axton and Fred Neil.

Fred’s song A Little Bit Of Rain inspired me to scruffle amongst the vinyl to pull out the
Fred Neil albums and give them a hearing again. I’ve always liked Fred and this just reminded me how good he was. Fred was acknowledged as a huge influence and teacher by Dylan and many others including John Sebastian, Paul Kantner, Richie Havens, David Crosby, Stephen Stills, Felix Pappalardi, Josh White, Jr., Denny Doherty. Let me quote from the wiki entry on Fred:

"Neil was an accomplished professional musician atypically inclined to a very modest frugality. "Candy Man", his first of two Top-40-hit compositions, substantially introduced him to a sufficient income stream for life in his early 20s; he became increasingly disinclined to work if he did not feel like it. Consequently his two fully realized albums are remarkable for their singularly unpretentious authenticity. His combination of baritone vocal and 12-string guitar remains unusual, and his combo recordings provide his shimmering melodies with muscular grooves; but his exemplarity is that of resolving the apparent opposition between aesthetic integrity and commercial value almost entirely in favour of aesthetic integrity, which gives all of his recordings a unique historical resonance. "

CD - My Name is BuddyRy Cooder – on high rotation - this probably deserves its own post later. Buddy is a Cat on the road in the depression – great Cooder.

White Dog (Jack Irish Thriller) and Broken Shore Peter Temple – I was re-reading both these before the
Golden Dagger Award. Since Broken Shore I had put Temple up with James Lee Burke so it was good timing to hear him win.

The Question of Life, An Invitation to Philosophy,
Fernando Savater

The Coast Road Peter Corris – 2004 – a Cliff Hardy gig. Nicely plotted but I reckon Cliff needs to show his age a bit more and wander down the Kurt Wallander path – but would that be un-Australian?

Cherry Pie by Leigh Redhead - the latest Simone Kirsch book. Kirsch is a stripper who is saving to set up her own PI agency but still takes on PI work. I've only just started but it's heading to comedic country too fast for me at the moment. The previous books were set in Melbourne inner city. This one is about to head to Sydney. Which brings me to:

Sucked In
- Shane Maloney’s new Murray Whelan escapade. Is it just me or has Maloney written Whelan into a tight corner with his upward rise in politics? A bit too light and funny for me this time but then Whelan has never really been hard boiled. Rather Maloney has taken elements of hard boiled and used them to paint an accurate and endearing picture of our Melbourne. And good on him for it. It’s a bit churlish of me to expect a Dave Robicheaux or Joe Cashin every time. I‘ll just wait until Temple gets Cashin into Melbourne. It occurs to me that if Murray Whelan gets to retire and not be so much part of the political machine before he’s too old we might see some better Murray to come.

The End of Oil – The Decline of the Petrol Economy and the Rise of the new Energy order – Paul Roberts.

Two Trains Running Andrew Vachss

The CEO of The SofaP J O’Rourke

The Crimes of Jordan WiseBill Pronzini – an enjoyable well constructed novel of one man’s successful crime.

Sex Thugs and Rock and Roll and Most People I Know - Billy Thorpe – giant edition with both books in one. Spookily I picked this up off the new books table at the library two days before Thorpe died. Thorpie tells a good a tale and does an important job of getting down some of the early days of rock and roll in Australia but his insights are restricted to placing himself at the centre of all action. May even be true. Some useful stories about the early days in Melbourne and the pace of life for working bands in the heyday. I was reminded by this book that Dylan’s publisher was the subject of legal action by Mick Slocum of the Bushwhackers about Dylan's arrangement of "Jim Jones." Dylan's publisher was forced to concede their error.

New Orleans Noir – Edited by Julie Smith short noirish stories set in the Big slEasy - some set before Katrina others after. Great snacking if you are a crime noir buff and who isn’t.

Lost Michael Robotham the unknown Australian crime writer – even Temple name checked him – sets his stuff in UK. I haven’t made up my mind.

Convincing Ground – Learning to fall in love with your country - Bruce Pascoe – a book about aboriginals around the Otways and an invitation to look at our history and country through indigenous eyes. Having grown up around the Otways this is the book I wish was available years ago. I’ll try a do a bigger write up later.