Saturday, January 31, 2009

Subterranean Gardening and the Dreams of Cats

My friend David from Confluent Forms and I were IMing last week about how to use Twitter for business, specifically promoting music. He linked me to this post from his CF blog about the subject. I highly recommend reading it if you're in a business or any venture that wants to better understand what this tweeting is all about and take advantage of the latest unprecedented developments in online communication.

Okay, that said, what jumped out at me in his article was his descriptions of his initial reactions to some previous innovations. David has a skeptical mind which serves him well. He doesn't succumb to the hype on a YouTube, Facebook, etc. but watches them develop and tinkers with them. His initial feeling about blogs: "why should I care what some nutjob thinks about whether his cat has dreams, how to garden in your basement, or any slightly less ridiculous topics."

This seemed almost directed at me specifically! I suddenly felt like my blog was frivolous and a waste of time, especially compared to David's more purposeful and goal oriented work with the internet via Confluent Forms. He's innovating and I'm flagellating! David has a trait that doesn't come naturally to me. Talking to him, I can sense that his thoughts actually connect to each other and lead to a logical discovery or a useful conclusion. My thoughts (and words) are like a bullet ricocheting around a room. Peeyowww! ZiiiiDIP! Bing! Eventually they lodge in something but it's pretty random.

Obviously the difference is I do mine for fun, and his company is a business. But I always get the nagging suspicion that I'm wasting my potential by not jumping into his world. That I should be learning how to use the internet to generate income while also doing something creative instead of goofing around. I should be monetizing! Let's go monetize!

But I love goofing around.

Friday, January 30, 2009

John Martyn 1948-2009

LONDON – British singer-songwriter John Martyn, whose soulful songs were covered by the likes of Eric Clapton, died Thursday. He was 60.

Martyn's official Web site said the musician, who lived in Ireland, died Thursday morning. It did not give a cause of death.

A skilled guitarist and earthy vocalist influenced by folk, blues and jazz, Martyn performed with — and was admired by — musicians including Clapton, Pink Floyd's David Gilmour and Phil Collins.

Collins said Thursday that Martyn had been "a great friend."

"He was uncompromising, which made him infuriating to some people, but he was unique and we'll never see the likes of him again," Collins said.

Martyn was born Iain David McGeachy near London in 1948, but grew up in Glasgow, Scotland.

He took up the guitar in his teens, moved to London and released a series of enduring albums, including "The Road to Ruin" and "Solid Air," regarded by some critics as one of the best British albums of the 1970s.

Martyn never became a household name, but his songs were praised by critics and highly regarded by other musicians. One of the best known, "May You Never," was recorded by Clapton and a host of other artists.

Martyn had a reputation as a hell-raiser, and acknowledged that alcohol and drugs had sometimes led him into trouble.

"I've been mugged in New York and luckily I fought my way out of it," he told the Daily Mirror newspaper last year. "I've been shot a couple of times as well, but I just lay down and pretended to be dead.

"I guess I'm hard to kill."

Martyn had suffered health problems in recent years, and in 2003 had a leg amputated below the knee because of a burst cyst. He continued to perform, appearing at last year's Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow.

Last month, Martyn was named an OBE — Officer of the Order of the British Empire — by Queen Elizabeth II for his contribution to music.

There was no immediate word on survivors or funeral plans.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New Method of Suicide- The Bacon Explosion

This recipe is the Bacon Explosion, modestly called by its inventors “the BBQ Sausage Recipe of all Recipes.” The instructions for constructing this massive torpedo-shaped amalgamation of two pounds of bacon woven through and around two pounds of sausage and slathered in barbecue sauce first appeared last month on the Web site of a team of Kansas City competition barbecuers. Continue story. (thanks to David and the NY Times...sorry...I'm reduced to links when I'm too busy to do original posts.)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Thomas Says

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs."
Thomas Jefferson, (Attributed)
3rd president of US (1743 - 1826)
Window of APE, Main Street, Northampton 1/25/09

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Admit it. The Bonobos turn you on.

I am linking to this thorough, interesting, and probing New York Times Magazine article. What Do Women Want?
"Meredith Chivers is a creator of bonobo pornography. She is a 36-year-old psychology professor at Queen’s University in the small city of Kingston, Ontario, a highly regarded scientist and a member of the editorial board of the world’s leading journal of sexual research, Archives of Sexual Behavior. She has been pondering sexuality, she recalled, since the age of 5 or 6, when she ruminated over a particular kiss, one she still remembers vividly, between her parents. And she has been discussing sex without much restraint, she said, laughing, at least since the age of 15 or 16, when, for a few male classmates who hoped to please their girlfriends, she drew a picture and clarified the location of the clitoris." Read more.

The Laws of Haymarket Alley aka Amber Lane

This is the alley behind The Haymarket. The yellow wall is Faces. The free-standing brick house to the left has a sign that says 1 Amber Lane. Somebody must live there but I've never seen anyone enter or exit and all the windows are shuttered. It's a mystery to me.
There are things you shouldn't do in the alley. Things you would never have imagined doing anyway. But just in case you were thinking about bagging one of the wild deer that graze in the alleyways of our city, back off! This sign is only logical if it went up in response to a specific incident. Maybe someone was on the fire escape picking off Canadian geese as they flew over?
There is no hoop in sight and the area behind 1 Amber Lane is filled with cars... but you kids take that basketball and skedaddle or we'll sick the law on ya! Where exactly would one get authorization to play basketball anyway? Yet again, this is so specific that it undoubtedly dates back to a particular incident or incidents. I picture a guy in hunting garb with a shotgun approaching the hoop game and saying, "You kids mind if I finish off this deer that limped onto your court?"
Rules rules rules! The floating face and the carpet remnant are turf markers from two local rival gangs; The Floating Faces and The Carpet Remnants.
Now this is my kind of rule!
The wild vine of Amber Lane!
That concludes this photo documentary of an alley in Northampton. Here at Life In The Nohodome, we take you where there is really no reason to go.

Suddenly, Coke!

I've looked up at the old Nonotuck Savings Bank sign on Main Street thousands of times but only this morning did I notice the Coca-Cola logo. Dave had never noticed it either. We're both very detail oriented dudes who would notice something like this. What is the explanation? Has anyone else not seen this before? Incidentally I work in the building. The first three windows from the left at the top are my office. Nonotuck Savings used to be where Ten Thousand Villages is now.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Don't Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out.

American Life Today: 365 American profiles. 5 Questions for a different American every day of the year.

You may recall some posts last summer about a visit from my friend Alison Turner (left) who I met when I lived in LA. She had quit her job, bought a teardrop trailer, and set out to explore the country with her dog Maggie. She has a website, American Life Today, that is the product of a simple idea. She asked 5 questions each of people she had met on her trip, 365 of them, and each day, she posts the answers in a profile of the subject. She has informed me that I'm up soon and what better time for me to post a plug for her project. The latest Facebook buzz is the "25 random facts about yourself" that is circulating. This is a more focused version of that idea. It all comes from the curiosity and fascination of a species that just can't seem to get enough of itself. Click Alison or the link below.

Unseen Gaza - Channel 4 Video Report - Broadcast - January 22, 2009

I've just discovered the superb UK News outlet Channel 4 and their reporter Jon Snow. I wish we had some journalists like this in the states. This link (click here or click Jon) is to the site Information Clearing House which has posted a probing Channel 4 news feature documentary on life in the ground in Gaza with Jon as anchor. It's long but educational.
Then watch this interview between Jon and Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev. What to make of all this?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

More free music from artists playing in Northampton in the near future.

Thanks to all the musicians and singers who agreed to be on this new 13 track sampler. Everyone who's included will be at the Iron Horse, Pearl Street, or the Calvin Theater. Check 'em out and see if you want to check 'em out.
Click HERE or click image for the artwork. Click HERE for the free music download. The file is zipped FYI.

Dr. Strangelove Transformation Complete

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Will Work For Food

GWB at the front of the Hampshire County District Court building ; corner of Main and King. In response to a commenter, the police station is on Center Street across from the Iron Horse more or less. The Fire Dept just got a sexy new building and now the police are in line for an expansion; probably a tear down of their current building which looks like a big brick. The new one will be behind Urban Outfitters.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Human Rights Lawyer, Journalist Shot Dead in Russia

While we celebrate...

MOSCOW — A human rights lawyer who fought the early release of a Russian colonel who had killed a Chechen woman was shot dead in central Moscow on Monday by a masked man using a pistol with a silencer, officials said. A journalist who tried to intervene also was gunned down.

(Below: 2007 photo of Anastasia Baburova, a journalist who was shot Monday, Jan. 19, 2009, along with a human-rights lawyer on a Moscow street, released by Novaya Gazeta. Novaya Gazeta editor Sergei Sokolov said Anastasia Baburova, a freelance journalist who had worked for the paper, died on the operating table hours after Monday's shooting.)
The broad-daylight shootings of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova prompted grief and outrage in a country where lawyers and journalists who challenge the official version of justice are frequently targeted. It also sparked anger among Chechens, already upset by the release of last week of Col. Yuri Budanov.

Colleagues drew comparisons with the 2006 killing of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya — a client of Markelov's and a fellow enemy of rights abuses in Chechnya and across former President Vladimir Putin's Russia. More here.

Nominative Determinism

Thanks to Paul Coombs for the link!

The New Scientist gave it the name nominative determinism - the idea that there is a link between people's names and their occupation.

In their book Yes!, Goldstein, Martin and Cialdini cite the classic piece of research that supports the idea that nominative determism really exists. A study of the rolls of the American Dental Association shows that more people called Dennis become dentists than you would expect if the choice of profession were purely random.

And now we have the exquisitely named Bernard Madoff, making off with his client's cash.

Here are my top 10 examples of nominative determinism.

1. Theodore Hee. Mr T. Hee was responsible for most of the early comic storylines for Walt Disney films.

2. Cardinal Sin. (left)The classic example, I think. Jamie Sin was an Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church of the Philippines. Wikipedia helpfully notes: "His name should not be confused with "cardinal sin", which is synonymous for the seven deadly sins".

3. Judge Judge. In July of this year Sir Igor Judge was appointed Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.

4. Amy Freeze. Fox News Chicago's Chief Meteorologist could hardly have chosen a different profession. Save, perhaps, setting pay for Government employees.

5. Patty Turner. The inevitable name of the wife of McDonald's CEO Frank Turner.

6. Governor Blagojevich. The man responsible for introducing Americans to the British slang term "blag" which as the dictionary puts it means "To rob, steal [origin unknown]

7. Dr Fred Grabiner. This is what the internet is for. A forum on appropriate names yields this moniker for a gynecologist.

8. J. W. Splatt and D. Weedon. The New Scientist campaign was spurred on by the discovery of these two authors of an article on incontinence in the British Journal of Urology (vol 49, pp 173-176, 1977).

9. Usain Bolt. Surely his surname influenced the career of the world's fastest man? 10. Paige Worthy. Nominative determinism has also fascinated the Freaknonomics blog ever since they discovered this fact checker for Good magazine.

Happy Valley Showdown 1/11, Disco Biscuits light/soundcheck, new Fancy Trash line-up, more.

The Happy Valley Showdown, created/curated by Mark Sheehan is in its second year, and I was asked to judge the second week. Week 2 - Jan 11th - Rust Knuckle Raptor, Martin Popst, Drew Hickum & The Colonels, Robert American's Little Brother, Salvation Alley String Band, Bunny's A Swine. Below,the 2nd Week Judges in Judgely Wigs: Jim, Ken, Alex, Jodi, Christian (not pictured).
Drew Hickum & The Colonels- Great songs + a straight read of "Oh Yeah" by The Magnetic Fields.

Rust Knuckle RaptorThe Salvation Alley Stringband played in front of the stage, but only half the house shut their yaps. MARTIN POPST: Members of Us Against The Archers/The Slow Film/ Sue/ and more. 5 acoustic guitarists + 3 originals + The Cure's "Close To Me''.Bunny's A Swine won the night with a blistering set capped with an obscure (to me) Nirvana cover. Easily the best balance of confidence, poise, and stage presence all night.
I didn't get a decent shot of ROBERT AMERICAN'S LITTLE BROTHER with drums by Thrillpillow's drummer James, acoustic/electric guitar explosions courtesy of Jeff Lloyd (Tal Vez), Earl on Bass and Josh Boyle on electric guitar and vocals. These guys rattled the collective intestines of the room and delivered a mighty dorsal blast of rawk...with no rehearsal to speak of.

Dave Houghton and a new Fancy Trash rhythm section played (for the first time?) at the Sierra Grille last Thursday. Houghton is the real thing. I've seen him solo acoustic and with the band and I've never not stayed to the end.
Photographer extraordinaire Oliver Snure. I covet his SLR.
Ariel and I had coffee at the Woodstar on Sunday. I apologized for the misleading (but not insulting!) post (Bored to Tears) I did on her art opening with her friend Molly a few months ago. The title of the post referred to the boy outside who was bored and crying. She thought it was a comment on the show! That is not her art below, for the record.
An empty Calvin Theatre on Friday night preparing for two nights of Disco Biscuits madness.
Trimming and chipping trees on Main Street.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Sweet Mixed CD of Music from Bands Coming to Northampton Soon

Hannah Ward put together a collection of songs by bands that are coming to the Iron Horse and Pearl Street in the months ahead. I've listened to it dozens of time here at work. It's downright addictive. Please help yourself to the whole thing for free. Just click on the cover. It's a zipped file so you need to unzip. That usually means clicking on the icon once it's downloaded, going to FILE in upper left of your desktop, and unpacking ore whatever the command is.

Indie Sampler # 2
Deer Tick- Art Isn't Real (City of Sin)
OK Go- Do What You Want
Brett Dennen- Ain’t No Reason
Marah-Coughing Up Blood
Paper Route- Empty House
Blitzen Trapper- Furr
The Everyday Visuals-I’ll Take It All In Stride
Bishop Allen-Rain
Passion Pit- Sleepyhead
Cale Parks- Wet Paint
Loney, Dear-I Am John
Fountains of Wayne-Valley Winter Song


Iron Horse Music Hall

Thursday, January 29th, 10 pm -Loney, Dear + Dennis Crommett, Aric Bieganek
Saturday, January 31st, 10 pm - Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad
Friday, February 6th, 10PM- Marah
Saturday, February 7th, 10 pm - Passion Pit + Paper Route, Cale Parks
Saturday, February 14th, 10 pm -Deer Tick + Marissa Nadler
Saturday, February 21st, 10 pm - KaiserCartel, The Dig (Co-Bill)
Thursday, March 12th, 10 pm - That 1 Guy
Friday, March 27th, 10 pm - Hadoken + Caspian, A Troop of Echoes
Thursday, April 2nd, 10 pm - Bishop Allen

Pearl Street

Wednesday, March 11th, 7 pm - OK Go + Oppenheimer
Friday, February 6th, 9 pm - High Places + Soft Circle, Eric Hnatow
Sunday, February 8th 7PM-Brett Dennen, Angel Taylor
Wednesday, February 25th, 8:30 pm - Blitzen Trapper + Alela Diane
Monday, April 6 7PM- Cloud Cult, Margot and the Nuclear So and So's,Ice Palace
Friday, April 10th, 9 pm -Mr. Lif

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Why can't he just use a cantaloupe like a normal person?

Man Almost Loses Penis Humping Steel Bench

hk-man-penis02 Man Almost Loses Penis Humping Steel Bench picture

Last night in Hong Kong, the police received a disturbing call from a man in trouble.

Xing, a 41 year-old man, was calling from LanTian park in the middle of the night. The lonely and disturbed man had apparently thought it would be fun to have sex with one of the steel sit-up benches around the park.

The bench has numerous small holes in it, which Xing used to attempt to satisfy himself. However, once he became aroused he found that he was stuck and could not get his penis out of the small hole.

He panicked and called the police to help him.

When police arrive they found Xian stuck face down where he had been stuck for some time.

When doctors arrived on the scene they tried to release some of the pressure by removing some of his blood, but the penis was so swollen that they ended up having to cut the entire bench free and take it, with Xian attached, to the hospital.

4 painful hours later, Doctors finally separated Xian from his bench.

Doctors stated that if he had been stuck for even an hour longer, they would have had to remove his penis. Full story here.

I'll have some original content again soon! Promise!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Click the image to link to the screamy goodness. Try clicking several in a row and create your own symphony!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Mofo of a Sycamore.

During an adventure to the Montague Book Mill with Llama today, we spotted this tree off Rt 47 just past Sunderland center. According to the plaque placed in front of this tree, it was alive and growing when the Constitution was being signed in 1787. It is thought to be the largest Sycamore tree east of the Mississippi River. The trunk circumference has been measured at 25' and the height is roughly 110'. Here are some other noted Sycamores around New England.

Below, the Sunderland Sycamore looking up and Jim and Llama below that looking at.
There's a new TURN IT UP! store at the book mill. Wylie Smith who was the heart and soul of For The Record in Amherst for 30 years is the proprietor. The store is really good lookin' and the stock is inscrutable as one would expect from Mr. Smith. I forgot to take a picture of him in the store so instead I will show you what I bought.
I used to own a ton of pianist Bill Evans music back before I lost my record collection in a fire of sorts. I never read up on him and only know a bit about his history. I listen to a lot of jazz ignorantly, unlike rock of which I'm a minor scholar. I know he had a heroin habit and was a huge influence on the contemporary pianist Brad Mehldau. I could always rely on him to improve my mood, or at least lay down a score for it with the drop of a needle. Even the sadder stuff. Especially the sadder stuff. Aside from that, he has one of my favorite album covers of all time, Undercurrents, which is of a woman floating in the water at Weeki Wachee Spring, Florida. The image by fashion photographer Toni Frissell was published in Harper's Bazaar in December 1947. Click it for a nice high res version. I sourced the photo from the webiste Shorpy, who's slogan is "Always Something Interesting." Shorpy is an amazing archive of historical photos. So, of course, is the Library of Congress Digital Collection.