Robert J

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Everything posted by Robert J

  1. Killer Kowalski, RIP

    He was born in my home town of Windsor, Ontario. My great-grandparents - from Slovakia - had lots of Polish neighbors. They'd go see him fight quite often in Detroit and kept up with his progress after he left town. I think that's when there was actually a time when there was no phony wrestling.
  2. I was a Yamaha guy for awhile and then went Roland with my current piano an FP3 (about 5 years old). They now have an updated version with much better organ sounds though I am still happy with what I have. The Rhodes is good too. I always liked Rolands weights. http://www.roland.com/PRODUCTS/en/FP-5/features.html Otherwise, when I worked at a piano store 4 years ago, I got hooked on the Kawai mp9500, though it is not cheap. Has real wooden hammers inside (but shorter) which actually strikes something giving a true feel. You can probably find one used somewhere. http://www.cleverjoe.com/synths/kawai_mp95...ano_review.html
  3. Story link: http://blog.wired.com/music/2008/08/one-mans-quest.html Site link : http://78records.cdbpdx.com/ Thousands of recordings that had been largely consigned to the realm of prehistory in the digital age have gained a new life, thanks to the tireless efforts of one man. Cliff Bolling didn't realize what he was getting into when he picked up a copy of the first record he ever owned (Cliff Steward's "Aba Daba Honeymoon") and realized soon after that "there's a whole world of music that you don't hear anymore, and it's on 78 RPM records." Once that first discovery started him collecting the early singles known as 78s, he decided to dub some of them to cassette for playing in his car and sharing the music with fellow enthusiasts. That was about ten years ago. As the digital music movement started in earnest, Bolling began digitizing his records, and posted a list of first 1,500 songs he had digitized so fellow collectors could see what kind of progress he had made. Finally, he decided to upload MP3s of every song on the list so that he could access them from anywhere, and so that curiosity seekers could find them. As things stand now, the 57-year-old Portland, Ore., native has uploaded 3,739 MP3s, with plenty more in the pipeline. Even with the MP3s, Bolling's site only received 10-30 hits per day until appearing on reddit and StumbleUpon in July, reaching over 11,000 hits at its peak. "I really didn't know there were so many people in the world interested in this music," said Bolling told wired.com. "A lot of younger people go to the site, and it's amazing that they hear songs today that originally were recorded 75 years ago. It's pretty cool that people get to listen to this stuff. As far as copyrights, apparently I'm okay, because nobody's come to shut me down or anything." But his wife had worried that recordings from the early half of last century would prove offensive to 21st century ears. Would listeners be sophisticated enough to handle once-mainstream sentiments that have since been revealed as racist or sexist? As a result, the site contains a a note that reads, "Please note that what was considered humor early in the 20th century might today be deemed offensive and politically incorrect. Some of these old songs reflect that." Bolling explained, "My wife told me that I shouldn't put those songs on there because they're racially offensive or sexually offensive. So I asked around, and people said, 'you know, First Amendment –- (do) anything you want." Despite his wife's warnings, Bolling posted the songs with the exception of one, called "Uncle Tom," which can only be heard by contacting him. So far, he says, no one has complained. "Everybody else seems to think 'well, put them up there -- that's the way they are,'" he said. On the day I spoke with him, Bolling said his site received traffic from Australia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Romania, Canada, New Zealand, France and Belgium. The collection itself now transcends US borders too, and encompassing vintage recordings of Arabic, Greek and Japanese music. Like the early US recordings, many of these are fairly noisy. But to clean up the hiss and delete the pops using digital techniques would lessen the impact and appeal of hearing such old recordings played over a global network through tiny, great sounding speakers. As for the equipment he has used for this formidable project, Bolling told us his approach was decidedly old school, in fitting fashion. "I have an old 1950s Gerard turntable that I bought at an estate sale for two and a half bucks, and it's got a GE (General Electric) VR cartridge in it, which is just excellent for playing 78s." The copyright situation surrounding some of these songs is as murky as their sound quality. But as with the music's political content, Bolling said he has yet to receive a copyright-related complaint about the recordings being online. Everyone who has come across the recordings seems happy that they've reappeared, or at the very least, doesn't care one way or the other -- somewhat refreshing, in these times of copyright related lawsuits and name calling. "I get dozens of emails every day from people telling me how wonderful it is to hear this music, and people post links to my webpage on websites all over the world," Bolling told us. "It's truly amazing." Bolling plans to upload an MP3 for each of the records listed on his site, but his quest doesn't end there. "I think there's only like 150 more (songs on the list) to go, but I've got about 2500 more records to record," said Bolling. "I've been digitizing for about five years," he said, "and it'll probably take me another 10 or 15 years to do the rest of it."
  4. Wow - thanks for the tip. Just installed it. Should I try for all 3,739 ?
  5. Recommend small speakers?

    SVS I've heard these and am looking to use them in a surround set up. Canadian site http://www.sonicboomaudio.com/sbs01-booksh...black-p-14.html US site http://www.svsound.com/products-spks-sbs01.cfm Company has a good rep for its sub, which I may also buy!
  6. Left Handed Piano Players

    I recall an episode of M*A*S*H where a wounded soldier was saved, but he lost his right arm. He was crying out "why not my legs instead?". Then it was revealed he was a concert pianist in civilian life. Major Winchester went out of his way to find the Ravel score so he could practice his left hand and build his music performance confidence. Fair to say we'll never see that kind of storyline ever again on a 1/2 hour prime-time show.
  7. Left Handed Piano Players

    Pete- You are correct, the left hand typically does do chords, bass-lines etc, and controls the bass (lower register) of the piano. Unlike many guitarists who play left-handed by using a lefty guitar, the piano is designed to have the 88 keys in front of you which is why we get the left/right bass/treble distinction. Though there are some freaks out there http://www.lefthandedpiano.co.uk/about.html True, most pianists have a stronger right hand, but ideally both hands should have the same facility. Of course, then there’s guys like Cecil Taylor and Stanley Cowell who will cross their hands over to both ends of the piano. As for accomplished jazz lefties? Dunno. History shows many excellent pianists who happen to have strong left hands (as well as the right). I can’t speak for other instruments. I suppose a lefty would progress faster with the left if starting out. Classical people would argue otherwise http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/t....msg231961.html Ravel wrote a piano concerto just for the left hand.
  8. Detroit Sax man Larry Nozero

    Damn - I missed this news the first time it was announced! I saw Larry quite a few times at Hart Plaza for the jazz fest and at Mitch's. Really liked his bands and sound. I miss those Detroit musicians! There's nothing like that in Toronto in terms of intensity, dedication and community. Was this Mark Stryker? http://www.larrynozero.com/Critics.htm
  9. Depressing Day on Organissimo

    Re - Moore Allen - you could have said the word "vagina" to her and she wouldn't have been offended.
  10. I am in the same boat with about 1000 rock LPs. I acquired about 400 in the last few years from others offloading to me, but now a basement reno is killing my storage space. Why the sentimentality? Could be the whole vinyl experience – holding the cardboard, taking out the sleeve, the smell, the needle hitting the vinyl. Or it could be just that fond memory of being 13 listening the The Wall when it just came out (my 1st record purchase!). I think my Dark Side of the Moon copy still has a few “seeds” stuck in the middle of the gatefold. Or it could be the anal pack rat instinct. Now that I have 4 copies of DSOTM, what to do? I have been begging people to take them, and nobody is accepting. Maybe I was foolish for taking the lot. But I will have to purge by the end of the summer, and will keep some essentials. I also recently purged many of my university books. Similar to a poster above – I was a philosophy major and I had tons of stuff – philosophy and otherwise – that I will never read again (or never read in the first place) . I pared everything down to “essentials” and donated about 400 to the library. There’s got to be some weirdo into French Structuralism still. And I don’t miss or even notice the absence. Maybe the same will happen with Foreigner, Kansas and Styx. However: All the Zappa vinyl stays!
  11. Jo Stafford R.I.P.

    A nice clip of Jo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-QXhJPLmAk
  12. BRUSSELS – Anheuser Busch Cos. said early Monday it had agreed to a sweetened $52 billion (all figures U.S.) takeover bid from InBev, creating the world's largest brewer and heading off what was shaping up as an acrimonious fight for the maker of Budweiser and Bud Light beers. Inbev brands include Stella Artois, Beck's and Bass. The deal, which would also create the third-largest consumer product company, will be called Anheuser-Busch InBev. The Anheuser-Busch board accepted the higher takeover offer Sunday night from Belgian-based brewer InBev SA, according to a joint press release. The deal is expected to close by year-end. "What consumers care is that their Bud will always be their Bud, and that's what we're committed to, not only the product, the quality, the beer ... but also the heritage, the breweries, who brews the beers, and everything that's connected to the breweries," InBev CEO Carlos Brito said in a media conference call. For InBev, the deal gives an aggressive company an iconic beer brand – Budweiser – to sell into emerging markets such as China and Brazil where it has already established a wide network. InBev is the world's second-largest beer-maker, narrowly behind SABMiller. Swallowing Anheuser-Busch sees it leap ahead, capturing half of the U.S. beer market and a fifth of China and Russia. Brito will be chief executive officer of the combined company, while Anheuser-Busch CEO August Busch IV will step back into a non-executive role. He will be a member of the new company's board alongside one other nominee from Anheuser-Busch, yet to be named. "We went through some difficult times together, and our employees did as well, but in the end this is a friendly transaction and we are going to work very hard for our new shareholders," Busch told reporters. Shareholders will receive $70 a share, a $5 increase over the offer Anheuser-Busch rejected in June. Both companies' shareholders must approve the deal, as must U.S. and EU antitrust regulators. Anheuser-Busch shares rose 59 cents to $67.09 in late morning trading. The deal drew the attention of Mexico's Grupo Modelo. Anheuser-Busch also owns a 50 percent share in Grupo Modelo, which said in a statement Monday that its relationship with Anheuser-Busch gives it consent rights to the deal. But Brito told reporters that he didn't "see any impediments coming from Modelo" and he was in "positive" talks about keeping the company as a partner. He said there were no immediate plans to buy out Modelo or divest Anheuser-Busch's stake in the company. InBev said it plans to use St. Louis as its North American headquarters, and that it will keep open all 12 of Anheuser-Busch's North American breweries. Brito tried to reassure workers worried about possible job loses, saying the company could instead expect "growth and investment" despite Anheuser-Busch's existing plans to shed 1,185 positions – mostly by offering early retirement and not filling existing vacancies. The companies will, however, sell off "noncore assets" that they would not name to raise some $7 billion to finance the deal. InBev will also borrow $45 billion and plans to issue new shares to raise another $9.8 billion. Shareholders won't see much joy in the short-term. InBev warned of lower dividends and no benefit to earnings per share until 2010. But it is promising longer-term rewards in a stalling market. Beer sales in North America and Europe are flat as drinkers turn to wine and spirits. InBev has compensated by finding new drinkers in Latin America, eastern Europe and Asia that will now be handed a cold Bud. InBev cost synergies of at least $1.5 billion a year by 2011 over three years. Most of that will come from managing the supply chain better. InBev's sharp eye on costs – which forces managers to justify every cent spent – will also play a major part. Monday's kiss-and-make-up announcement from both companies came after several weeks of guns blazing. InBev said on June 11 it wanted to buy Anheuser-Busch, which distributes its beers in the U.S. Anheuser-Busch shrugged off the first offer as two low, prompting InBev to seek the removal of all Anheuser's board members. Anheuser counterattacked, calling InBev's bid an "illegal scheme" because the company failed to mention that it owned a brewery in Cuba. Few products are associated with America as much as Budweiser, which its owner calls the King of Beers. Its Clydesdale horses are fixtures of Super Bowl ads, and even the label is red, white and blue, with an eagle swooping through the "A.'' To some in St. Louis, losing Anheuser-Busch to a foreign buyer meant losing a little bit of history. From college buildings to theme parks to offices to the stadium where the Cardinals play baseball, the Busch name is virtually everywhere in the Gateway City. Despite more than 600 years of brewing beer in Belgium, InBev is more rootless. Although based in Leuven, Belgium, it is run by a Brazilian management team and sells most of its beer outside Europe. It owns a massive portfolio of local brands from Siberia to Argentina that rarely travel. InBev has only recently started to push its two best-known brands – Stella Artois and Beck's – more widely.
  13. When musicians get pissy...

    When I was in the union I had the pleasure of paying dues/fees for all the jobs I got myself - I estimate 90% was my own hustling. 10% were union-referral gigs when one of the retired musicians at the union office had gout or something and couldn't take that plum gig.
  14. Dan's A to Z

    Case closed!
  15. Get yer wallet out!

    But Jim, if you had that baby on your gigs, imagine the crowds rushing to see Organissimo live! (JB = Jim, B3-er) Plus, how many times has your tush sat on red vinyl?
  16. 'Windy' - The Association But then again, Pam Anderson was also born on the same day as me
  17. Happy Birthday to a fellow Cancerian
  18. Hancock

    Saw Wall-E on the weekend with family. Absolutely amazing! The first half, with almost no dialogue, is stunning. Like a bleak Twilight Zone episode. You forget it is animation. Also that first half is incredibly bleak for Pixar (or Disney for that matter) in its view of the future of mankind - though possible. At one point you see a scary aerial tracking shot of the destruction and what’s left of the city in the film. That in itself is a big leap forward for a G movie. The second half is more like a Pixar movie, but there are no cutsie characters here or wisecracks such as what Crystal and Goodman did in Monsters Inc. The two main robots are the draw, but are understated in their need to connect. The message about waste, trash and the environment is also done is such a away that its show not tell – ie, you are not hit over the head constantly with the message. Oddly, Disney itself has done its fair share of accumulating waste on this planet, so the message even attacks them.
  19. Happy Birthday RobertJ!

    Hey thanks and all. But after my 40th last year in Paris, everything else seems like a let down. Just came back from my mother's place in Windsor, Ontario. Always get a little closer to Organissimo, but not enough to see them. Wish I could be around for the Baker's gig. I just put up some drywall panels with my wife as we're doing the basement reno. I am now enjoying my beer.
  20. What's Gone Wrong With Rock?

    My condolences. I've gotten my pre-teenage son into the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Who, Yes, King Crimson and Lambs era Genesis. Now he CAN'T think ME odd Of course, the downside is that both he and his sister tell me that "your jazz sucks"! My wife as well, for a different reason. Last summer I was enjoying the guitar solo to "Final Solution" in my car and - while oblivious to life around me - I scraped the side panel of the vehicle against my garage while parking it
  21. What's Gone Wrong With Rock?

    Die Kreuzen! Never thought I'd see a mention on Org of them. Saw them a few times in the 80s as well as several other Touch & Go bands. Now that label (and Albini) never had anything go wrong
  22. What's Gone Wrong With Rock?

    Or conversely, if THEY start liking YOUR music, then you can reach for Pere Ubu. Oh man, I saw Pere Ubu last fall on a "4 day tour" that hit Toronto, Montreal and Upstate NY. It was a concert that completely recharged my faith in the power of ___ (I won't say "rock", but that feeling, of, you know, intense sound channelling great emotion and unbridled lyrics). I would say that concert - for the 400 or so of us there - was one of the best live shows I have seen in any genre. My teenage son already thinks me odd for listening to Ubu.
  23. 'Oldest' computer music unveiled By Jonathan Fildes Science and technology reporter, BBC News http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/technology/7458479.stm A scratchy recording of Baa Baa Black Sheep and a truncated version of In the Mood are thought to be the oldest known recordings of computer generated music. The songs were captured by the BBC in the Autumn of 1951 during a visit to the University of Manchester. The recording has been unveiled as part of the 60th Anniversary of "Baby", the forerunner of all modern computers. The tunes were played on a Ferranti Mark 1 computer, a commercial version of the Baby Machine. "I think it's historically significant," Paul Doornbusch, a computer music composer and historian at the New Zealand School of Music, told BBC News. "As far as I know it's the earliest recording of a computer playing music in the world, probably by quite a wide margin." The previous oldest known recordings were made on an IBM mainframe computer at Bell Labs in the US in 1957, he said. "That's where the whole computer music thing started but they were not the first to have a computer play music," said Mr Doornbusch. That honour goes to a third machine called CSIRAC, Australia's first digital computer, which "stunned" audiences with a rendition of Colonel Bogey. "It played music months or weeks before [the Manchester] recording," said Mr Doornbusch. However, no one has yet unearthed a recording of CSIRAC in action. Mood machine Documentary evidence of the Manchester machine's musical abilities exists thanks to a BBC outside broadcasting team who had gone to the University to record an edition of Children's Hour. At the time Manchester was home to a Ferranti Mark 1, the first commercially available general purpose computer. How the BBC reported on the birth of "Baby" in 1948 "Word must have got around that this electronic brain could play music," explained Chris Burton of the Computer Conservation Society (CCS). The music program was written by a friend of computing legend Alan Turing called Christopher Strachey, a maths master at Harrow. "My understanding is that Chris Strachey got on and wrote a program for playing draughts and when the program terminated it played God Save the King," said Mr Burton. Others contend that the program was purely for playing music. Either way, following the recording, a university engineer called Frank Cooper asked if he could have a copy. Unable to give him the original, the BBC team cut him another version. "At the time of the recording outside broadcasts were recorded on to acetate disks," explained Mr Burton. "You can hear the presenter tell the recording engineer in the van 'lift Jim' and that meant lift the cutter off to stop recording." During the session, the temperamental machine managed to work its way through Baa Baa Black Sheep, God Save the King and part of In the Mood. Following one aborted attempt, a laughing presenter says: "The machine's obviously not in the mood." The disc was eventually passed to the CCS, who, along with the University of Manchester, has released the recording to mark the 60th anniversary of the Ferranti machine's forerunner. Modern marvel In the late 1940s Manchester was a hotbed of computer innovation following the birth of Baby, or Small Scale Experimental Machine, in 1948. Baby was the forerunner of the Ferranti Mark 1 and was the first computer to contain a memory device that could store a program. "Baby was the first universal computer," explained Mr Burton. "It would perform any task - within its capacity - depending on what program was put in." The memory was built from a Cathode Ray Tube and allowed scientists to program 1024 bits, compared to the billions in today's modern computers. Before Baby was built, computers such as ENIAC and Colossus had to be rewired to perform different tasks, said Mr Burton. "You couldn't easily change what they did," said Mr Burton. Baby successfully ran its first program - to determine the highest factor of a number - on 21 June 1948. "That particular program was devised solely to make the machine work very hard so we could see where it was about to go wrong," Geoff Tootill, one of the builders of Baby told BBC News. "If you gave the problem to a mathematician, he would take a fraction of a second to give you an answer." However, companies quickly capitalised on Baby's unique abilities, giving rise to machines like the Mark 1. "It was the start of the computer age," said Mr Tootill. "Although we didn't know it was going to be epoch-making or earth-shattering other than for weather forecasting and other scientific disciplines."
  24. Firefox 3.0

    Another think I like about FF is more of a geek thing. As a web producer I am always looking under the hood of the sites I work on and to see what other people are doing (playing?) with theirs. If you view the page source code, it displays the format nice and in colour so I can sort through the html and javascript - not in notepad like IE.
  25. Firefox 3.0

    Sleek and quick. Bookmarks and history are better displayed now with icons and a description of links in the browser url field. Have not looked at the toys/addons yet. RSS feed reader still kicks IE's ass.