Technique, 2015

Art, Technology

Patsy Cline and the Paddle

Fri, 18 Dec 2015

An Patsy Cline, in today's parlance, gave zero fucks.

I feel a certain kinship to Cline, if only because I attended the same school she did, Gore Elementary, 12 miles west of Winchester, Virginia (though I attended 30 years after she did). Back up against the Blue Ridge Mountains, Gore is a tiny unincorporated town, mostly a few buildings coalescing around a single road breaking off Route 50.

Many of the refined folk in the nearby metropolis of sorts, Winchester, had looked down on Patsy Cline, as being from the wrong side of the tracks, even after she became famous. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

An American Band

Sat, 24 Oct 2015

Grand For these three minutes in 1973, Grand Funk Railroad were the smartest kids in the room (cribbing no doubt from Todd Rundgren, who produced the track, "We're an American Band"). Bet Freddie King still beat them at poker though.

GFR got its start in Flint Michigan, just up Route 75 from Detroit, a city where, at the time, a band couldn't BUT to learn rock n' roll. The prog-rockers could wallow in the studios and confabulate delicate imaginary musical worlds, but GFR would slog from town to town and boogie HARD every night so everyone across the land can party down. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Romance and Rebellion in Software Versioning

Sat, 26 Sep 2015

How While everyone probably agrees a consistent numbering scheme for software releases is a Good Thing, there are those software and package managers who flout the largely agreed-upon conventions of numerical versioning, either out of ignorance or of a willful disregard. This is the subject of Sentimental Versioning where Dominic Tarr seems to both hold in awe and at the same time subtly mock the singularly odd versioning schemes of a few software packages, such as Node.js and Tex.

Draw inspiration from the way their version numbers express intangible aspects of the project, and are a work of art on their own, Tarr writes, maybe in jest, maybe not. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

There Is No Now, Universally Speaking

Wed, 23 Sep 2015

How The problem with humans is that they are only hard-wired for local time. For hundreds of thousands of years, we have carried around with us the notion that it is the same time wherever we go--Noon is when the sun is directly overhead.

This was not a problem until about a hundred years ago, when the railroads started ferrying people between different cities, each of which had a slightly different definition of what time it was. It proved to be such a dilemma that it spurred Albert Einstein to start thinking about the problem. His solution? The Theory of Relativity. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

The Dark Music of 9/11

Fri, 11 Sep 2015

How The gradual but inevitable dissolution of William Basinski's Disintegration Loop 1.1 -- a brief, ancient tape loop is literally falling to pieces with each repeated play -- is heartbreakingly beautiful. And the hour-long single-shot video of the smoke that just continued to billow up so many hours after the WTC collapses captures, for me, the dark undercurrent of what September 11, 2001 felt like. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Friends of John Sargent

Wed, 26 Aug 2015

The Oscar Wilde's Dorian Gray remained young while his portrait aged in an attic. John Sargent (1856-1925), in a way, pulled off the opposite trick, preserving on oiled canvas the full beauty and animism of people who are now all long deceased.

Sargent painted portraits of his friends, often trading a payment for freedom of artistic direction, which allowed him to more accurately capture their personalities. Tight with Claude Monet, Sargent often borrowed techniques from impressionism to make his work more dynamic and subtle. The results remain almost eerily vivacious over a century later. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Surprisingly Short History of Women Singers in Country Music

Fri, 10 Jul 2015

A A few months back, a country radio consultant remarked that "If you want to make ratings in country radio, take females out." The comment ignited a brief wave of indignation. This is 2015, after all! But the comment was just the latest example of how country music marginalizes women, a tradition as old as the genre itself, and one that singers from Kitty Wells to Miranda Lambert have fought against through song and their presence, I've learned. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Gravity, Not Entropy, May Propel Time Forward

Tue, 23 Jun 2015

How Time, as we experience it, moves only in one direction, forward, by our vantage. Eggs break, we get old, etc. Conventional wisdom says time is the measure of decay, or entropy, or the Second Law of Thermodynamics, to get progressively STEM-y about the matter. But there is nothing inherent in the laws of physics that forbid time to go in reverse. Now here is a fella asking what if entropy is not the measure of time. What if gravity is? Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Open Studios: Bushwick Christmas

Fri, 12 Jun 2015

A "Bushwick Christmas" is how my pal Tania describes Bushwick Open Studios, which takes place in early June in Brooklyn NYC (June 6-7 this year).

Visitors throng the hood, seeking out art, drink, and camaraderie. The artists get their work noticed, the locals see a shit-ton of eye candy, and the bar staff pull their largest paychecks for the season. Everyone hits a roof-top party to watch the sun set on Manhattan. Celebrate!

Like any holiday, participants make elaborate plans in the months before, only to rush around in the hours prior assembling something, anything, for their soon-to-arrive visitors. This year especially so, it seemed. BOS2015 could have been called the seat-of-our-pants year, to hear a few artists describe their last-minute frantic preparations. Still there was a lot of cool art to check out. After all, something is new if you haven't seen it before... Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Waiting For The Sun

Sat, 30 May 2015

Onlookers Even during the apocalypse, people will still check their smart phones, I bet.

Here, westward-facing onlookers wait for the sun to descend between the two columns of New York City skyscrapers along 42nd Street, Friday, May 29, 2015, 8:10 PM. The urban equinox. ManhattanHenge. You can blame Neil deGrasse Tyson. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Call This Number, Buy This Car

Wed, 27 May 2015

A Go on and call on your telephone. The number is right there on the For-Sale sign under the windshield 350-9801 all seven digits ask the guy who answers how much for the blue Chevy Impala with the 400 ci V8. He will tell you its a Historic Car. I bet he tries to sell it for $800 but you could talk him down to $600. It runs too. Do not believe him when he tells you it gets more than 8 mpg. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Reality Doesn't Exist Until We Try to Measure It

Mon, 25 May 2015

Richard Explaining the law of quantum interference, in which an event that is observed has different properties than one that goes unobserved, Richard Feynman his Caltech students that "No one has found any machinery behind the law."

"No one can explain any more than we have just explained," he said. "No one will give you any deeper representation of the situation." Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Caterpilla: Walk Don't Run 2015

Sun, 24 May 2015

Short I love how Instagram forces me to be in the now, if only for a few seconds. You can plan for an Instagram moment, but the freshest ones are those off-the-cuff. Observation takes the place of preparation.

So, that said, Click below for an Instagram video of a caterpillar hauling ass across the backyard picnic table to the transistorized sounds of The Ventures. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

The Technolithic Mayans

Sat, 23 May 2015

The As giant piles of rocks go, the Mayans did a phenomenal job building El Castillo at Chichen Itza, in Yucatan Mexico. The pyramid, built sometime between the 9th and 12th centuries, has 91 steps on each side, adding to a total of 364. An additional single step at the top brought the temple in align with the modern yearly calendar of 365, one trip, more or less, around the giant ball of fire in the sky. Was this design intentional? Click to Read More...

		
		
		

B.B. King, Back in the Day

Fri, 15 May 2015

The People forget, but BB King used to make the young women holler back in the day. He had some good advice for the menfolk too. 1965's Live at the Regal album was one of the most electrifying live albums I've ever encountered, and one, inexplicably, scrubbed from the Innertubes. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Bo Knows Records

Sun, 19 Apr 2015

Bo Bo Diddley's booming voice sounded so solid on tiny, crappy speakers, able to cut through the din of any rent party or jukejoint. Chess Records knew what was what. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Bob Dylan in Three Songs

Sat, 18 Apr 2015

Life Something that I can (probably) safely cop to, now that I'm on the senior side of 50, is getting my drink on and listening to Bob Dylan. I mean, I've never been a Dylanologist, per se. But the man's music has been with me for pretty much my entire life, in one form or another. Some of it is pleasant; A lot of it is crap. I can't really defend Dylan to anyone otherwise uninclined. He's creaky, cranky and makes a snarled racket. That said, at three distinct times a Dylan song has crashed into my life speaking to me directly with a lucidity I never thought possible from a pop song. These times, and from these times alone, I see why Dylan could be one of those rare artists of an Olympian stature. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

From Monsters to Ghosts

Sat, 21 Mar 2015

The Street art is like television for urban perambulators. A secret channel open to anyone who just tunes in, it tells stories and captures your attention with brash spectacles of color and form.

When I first started walking about New York City five years ago, Roycer700 was one of the first street artists whose works I'd come to recognize. I'd see his monsters about town, everywhere. On neglected walls, hidden into industrial crevices, on anonymous post boxes, on the Williamsburg bridge. The man clearly got around.

Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Bleak, Beautiful Roadwork

Sun, 15 Mar 2015

Margaret America is a vast country. Even today, there is probably too much land for the people who inhabit the place, and we lay much of it to waste. The tangles of roadway connecting our homes and points of interest are rarely scenic; they are littered on each side with hastily erected fast food joints, strip malls, scrub land.

Which is why Margaret Morrison's latest series of oils, shown by the Woodward Gallery in NYC, are so fascinating. She draws beauty from these ravaged wastelands, using not only the colors they exude, but also the promises they hold. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Welcome to the Machine

Thu, 05 Mar 2015

The I don't know much about art, but one thing I do know a little bit about is LP covers. I grew up before MTV, which is to say before music came with visual accompaniment. Those days, when you bought an album, you took it home, put it on the record player and just listened. If you wanted visuals, you scanned the LP cover.

Which is why, at this year's Pulse NYC contemporary art fair, I gravitated to the oil paintings of J.P. Roy. His work reminded me of those album covers from progressive rock-era British bands of the 1970s, especially those from Roger Dean and the Hipgnosis studio. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

The Reckoning of Sun Kil Moon

Sun, 01 Mar 2015

A "Beard oil," I thought when I first heard Sun Kil Moon. From a remove, it rang out at similarly rarefied level of attention, a fussy rough-hewn acoustic guitar traveling at a somber pace of introspection, accompanied by vocals of unrelenting gravitas. But while "Benji" comes in the husk of hipsterism, there's something much more going on here. I've never heard an album quite like this, an intensely personal musical novella where each song is a chapter that builds on the others, that, all totaled, offers an almost uncomfortable intimacy of one man's life at 50, both the wisdom and the warts. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Get Smart! Deep Learning Networks

Sun, 22 Feb 2015

Deep Machine learning models can solve any problem at hand, given infinite data and time for training. With infinite resources, you could simply map into memory every possible answer, and then every possible path to every answer. The challenge in making deep learning practical is to find a way to get the desired result with only a finite amount of resources, namely, what you have on hand. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

An Odyssey is a Long-Ass Voyage

Thu, 19 Feb 2015

omer's Young prince Telemachus was hanging around the fam's castle, increasingly fed up with all these sycophantic suitors sucking up to Mom, wearing down his long-lost father's riches with all their feasting, dancing and having their hands washed by his family's servants. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Long Tall Glasses With Wine Up to Yar

Sat, 14 Feb 2015

Long Tall Glasses If you're over, say, 45, and lived in the states, "Long Tall Glasses" is pretty much in your DNA, even tho you probably don't remember it now. And when you hear it again, you'll probably recalled that you hated it. But, really, back then, whenever it floated over from some nearby radio, you dug it (maybe secretly). That'd be my guess, anyway. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Final Flights

Sat, 07 Feb 2015

Janet I don't know why exactly, maybe I was finally warming up from the frigid temp, but walking into the room of Janet Bohman's works, I felt a surprising and somewhat unexpected sense of joy. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Street Art Banished by Instagram

Fri, 30 Jan 2015

Instagram I am not entirely sure how many cultures this image could piss off, really. It is a quick camera phone capture of some rain-washed paste-up street art in Williamsburg. A veiled, topless woman, rife with religious symbols, gives the viewer a heavily tattooed finger, with what appears to be 'thug' tattooed across her stomach. But it was probably the nips that got it taken down from Instagram. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Confusio Linguarum

Sat, 10 Jan 2015

Tower The Tower of Babel, for me, was always a cautionary tale about the limits of technology: The more sweeping your vision, the more complex to build, and once it gets too complex, it will collapse entirely because no one working on the thing will understand what anyone else on the project is doing... Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Strong Enough to Bend

Thu, 01 Jan 2015

/ This is Cassie, Karoaking in a neighborhood bar in Hedgesville, a small West Virginia town just outside of Martinsburg. When I came in, Cas was singing a frisky Dolly Parton song. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

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