Music Rules: Nick Lowe turned 70 years old in March

Aged Reasoner is another Nick Lowe fan.  But since he didn’t mention this, I will:

Nick Lowe was born on March 26, 1949, turning 70 years old this year. His career as a recording artist spans five decades and many musical genres, with many hit songs and yet most couldn’t name him. The New York Times said in 2011, “The 40-year career of the English singer-songwriter Nick Lowe constitutes a paradox: the songs he has written are better known than he is.” Look below the fold for a selection of songs and stories about him.

Lowe first recorded with Brinley Schwarz in the 1970s before linking up with guitarists Dave Edmunds and Billy Bremner and drummer Terry Williams. After Rockpile ended, Lowe performed solo until forming Little Village (one of the “supergroups” of the late 1980s and early 1990s) with David Lindley, Ry Cooder and Jim Keltner. What a list of talent.

Lowe earned the nickname “Basher” for his work as a record producer, his oft repeated quote, “Bash it out now, let’s tart it up later.” Lowe produced Elvis Costello’s first five albums, as well as The Damned’s debut album (“Damned Damned Damned”), The Pretenders’s first single “Stop Your Sobbing”, Graham Parker’s “Howlin’ Wind”, and many others.

And then there’s Lowe’s songwriting to consider, writing classics such as “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding”, one of Elvis Costello’s biggest hits, and “The Beast In Me” for his father in law, Johnny Cash on his 1994 “American Recordings” album. Lowe’s own recordings and success is numerous, if largely without his name (e.g. “So It Goes”, Stiff Records’s first ever single, “Cruel To Be Kind”, “Teacher Teacher”, “I Knew The Bride When She Used to Rock And Roll”, and many others).

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Left Handed: Bad science and bad attitudes are the problem, not the left hand

As I state in the first item I posted today, the bias against and forced hand switching of left handed children is the original “reparative therapy”, a form of emotional, physical and mental abuse.  If you’re against “reparative therapy” being imposed upon LGBTQIA people, why aren’t you against it being imposed upon left handed children? (And if you aren’t against “reparative therapy”, what’s wrong with you?)

Left handedness is natural and almost certainly genetic.  Even if it is not genetic and a matter of choice, how is it harmful to a child?  Violence and abuse are the harm.  Let kids be.

Below the fold are three sections.  The first is on good science and positive news items, enlightened minds and unbiased articles.  The second is on bad science, with some commentary from me.  The this are reports of abuses that left handed children are subjected to.

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Left Handed: August 13th is International Left Handers Day

Yes, it’s that time of year again, time to speak up for the one large minority that still has no voice.  While it is true that Left Handed People are unlikely to be murdered for their handedness (except in places where they still believe in and kill “witches”), it’s still a form of discrimination that society tolerates.

Yes, discrimination.  North America, Western Europe, and Australia/New Zealand may not openly discriminate or look down on being left handed, but the rest of the world still does.  It’s considered “rude”, “dirty”, “disrespectful” and other nonsense, and the abuse of forced hand switching still considered “acceptable”.

Yes, abused.  The bias against and forced hand switching of left handed children is the original “reparative therapy”, a form of emotional, physical and mental abuse.  If you’re against “reparative therapy” being imposed upon LGBTQIA people, why aren’t you against it being imposed upon left handed children?  (And if you aren’t against “reparative therapy”, what’s wrong with you?)

#leftiesrule  #internationallefthandersday

Below the fold are several sections on left handedness: resources, campaigns, information, groups, and others.  A second post will contain news and scientific articles with commentary.

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Let’s Backtrack: Tandy’s Model 100 portable computer came out in 1983

In 1983, Tandy produced the first widely used laptop computer, the Model 100.  The Epson HX-20 preceded it by two years, and luggable computers by a year, but the Model 100 was first lightweight portable (3.5 pounds) that was suitable for more than just data collection.  It was later followed by the superior Model 102 and finally the less liked Model 200. The series sold roughly six million units, one of the biggest selling computers, ever.

There is more below the fold.

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Copying Again: Jeffrey Epstein is the american Jimmy Savile

Jimmy Savile was the worst pedophile in British history.  He was not just a sexual predator and a sadist, he was a procurer, the organizer of pedophilia, providing access to children for other pedophiles.  And because of his “charity work”, high profile and connections to politicians and the “royal family”, he was protected by the media and the government, committing serial rape of children for almost 60 years.

Jeffrey Epstein oozed from the same mould, slime that orchestrated and participated in the organized serial rape of teenage girls.  Like Savile, Epstein was a procurer, the organizer of rape, providing access to children for others like himself.  And also like Savile, Epstein’s circle of friends (and often participants in crimes) protected him, enabled him to continue: politicians, business owners, scientists, and many others.

Below the fold are two documentaries on Savile.  Will one ever be made on Epstein that isn’t propaganda and whitewashing?

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Dead But Not Buried: Esptein’s suicide must NOT be used to protect others

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Jeffrey Epstein is dead.  Despite attempting suicide six days previously, he was take off suicide watch and put in a regular cell, not a suicide-proof cell.  Prisoners on suicide watch as supposed to be monitored until a psychological evalution is done.  That never happened.

This doesn’t happen by accident.  No, it doesn’t require a “conspiracy theory”, it only requires ineptitude, corruption and arrogance – the same sort that allowed for the abuses and murders of other people in New York jails.  And if there was any hypothetical outside interference, it wouldn’t require assassination or massive conspiracy.  It would only require one person telling the warden to move Epstein to a cell where he could kill himself.

Epstein escaped consequences at his first trial in large part due to his circle of friends, many of whom are alleged to be participants in his sex crimes against girls and women.  The list runs the gamut of the wealthy, powerful, and influential: business owners, politicians, lawyers, many different scientists, alleged intellectuals, and (not the least bit surprising) a member of the UK’s royal family, a group of criminals with connections to Jimmy Savile and his crimes (more about that in a later post).

With Epstein dead and a Department of inJustice under Cheetolini, there is the potential for abuse.  We might see either partisan prosecution (the republicans demanding that only democrats are targeted) or the investigation buried along with Epstein to prevent and protect any of Epstein’s friends from facing prosecution, just as they did for him in 2008.  There are many who want this to go away, for Epstein’s victims to be silenced and no case ever brought to trial.

This is a partial list of those who have been accused of participation in Epstein’s sex crimes or continued to defend him after his first conviction:

  • Marvin Minsky, AI pioneer, named by one of Epsteins’s victims as a participant in organized rape.
  • Lawrence Krauss, who left Arizona State University in disgrace after many sexual harassment accusations.
  • Alan Dershowitz defended Epstein during the 2015 trial.
  • Prince Andrew, member of the British “royal family”.
  • George Church, geneticist.
  • Lee Smolin, physicist.
  • Murray Gellman, physicist, who refuses to return Epstein’s donations to Harvard.
  • Steven Pinker, psychologist.
  • Martin Nowak, mathematician.
  • Roger Schank, computer scientist.
  • Larry Summers, economist and sexist.
  • Leslie Wexner, victoria’s secret CEO.
  • Glenn Dubin, billionaire investor
  • An unnamed foreign prince
  • An unnamed foreign president
  • An unnamed foreign prime minister
  • An unnamed French hotelier

If any of these are incorrect, or there are other names involved, let me know and I will amend it.  These names are culled from the news items and sources linked above.

How (To) Appropriate: Cisgender Supremacist

Don’t you hate it when you think you’ve coined a phrase, but it turns out that others have been using it for years?  Regardless, I’ll be happy to run with it.

I decided on a replacement phrase for TERF and transphobe, since one is gender specific.  From now on, they’re Cisgender Supremacists, because they are as  rightwing as white supremacists, they associate with them, and they employ the same tactics.  It feels à propos for the inappropriate like them.


Weather Report: It’s been an interesting day.

I had a premature wake-up call this morning at 5:30, a 6.0 earthquake.  The epicentre was about 80km as the crow flies.  I’m from British Columbia, so earthquakes never bother me, but my fridge teetering and bouncing certainly did.  I had to hold it or it would have fallen over.  This quake had a lot more lateral movement than most that hit Taiwan.

Tonight we get a typhoon warning, the government closing classes and government offices on Friday.  Yay, an unplanned three day weekend.  Typhoon Lekima won’t hit with full force, but the rain and winds are already bad enough.  Last year the government stopped forcing people to work an extra Saturday to make up the lost day.  Yes, they used to do that and we didn’t have a choice.

Does this mean I’ll be staying home tomorrow?  Hell, no, a friend who works as a flight attendant is flying in tomorrow for a dinner with friends.   She comes in once every two months.  The day off means I have time to see her.

There was weird rain yesterday, the “plum rains”.  In the span of ten minutes it went from clear skies to torrential downpour and a centimetre of standing water.  Then within an hour it was clear again.

Dots Connected: How Cheetolini and Fox Nuisance incited the El Paso shooter

Brandon Friedman was regularly monitoring the rhetoric coming from the mouths of Der Duffer and Fox Nuisance.  After the El Paso shooting happened, he compared the “manifesto” of the shooter with the words that incited his violence.  Large amounts of Crusius’s diatribe are direct quotes of the Pestulence in Chief and his ministers of disinformation.

Here is a direct link to Friedman’s twitter page.

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Speak Out: Politico wants you to solve the US’s problems – in 100 words or less

Seriously, that’s what they’re asking the public, one hundred words or less.  (I say seriously because they have no intent of taking people’s comments seriously.)

How Would You Fix America’s Broken Politics?

We aren’t looking for diagnoses. We’re looking for cures. If the problem is that America is not democratic enough (or too democratic), how would you change that? If the problem is with the news media, or inequality, or information technology, or social mobility, or racial relations, or gender equality, or Wall Street, or our religious institutions, or how we raise our children, or something we haven’t identified, what’s a structural reform—to our government, our economy, our society—that would make things better? In particular, we’re looking for ideas that are daring, new and specific.

Submit your suggestion below—in 100 words or fewer—by August 16, and we’ll feature the best ones in our issue, launching in September.

It’s farcical, until you remember that you can write in point form.  Below are my first fifty-six words:

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Final thoughts: Three verses for the three shooters

The mass shooters are all white,
And the mass shooters are all male.
The mass shooters are all childish,
In their small lives, all did fail.

Their self-inflated views are not,
A form of poor mental health.
They know exactly what they’re doing,
When they plan to kill by stealth.

“Alpha” incel underachievers,
Leaving wreckage, ruin, rubble.
If they just killed themselves first,
It would save everyone the trouble.

Murdery Rhyme: How many more before US politicians grow a spine

A murder-y rhyme, as opposed to a nursery rhyme….

The bullets they spat,
And who do you think they be?
The butcher, the killer,
The coffin-box filler,
All on a killing spree.

The bullets non-stop,
Empty shells all falling down.
The AR, the AK
All legal they say,
And fire off 200 rounds.

The racists did sing,
And who do you think they be?
The criminal who rules,
The gun-toting fools,
All counting bodies with glee.

I’m glad to hear Elizabeth Warren speak out.  Now let’s see if anything comes of it.

Let’s Backtrack: Breaking Away was officially released on July 13, 1979

This is the second of two posts about memorable 1979 sports films. Were you expecting “Meatballs”?

Breaking Away is a great coming-of-age movie with believable characters, a likable cast, and makes you believe an underdog can win (because they sometimes can).  It’s about four misfit Indiana teens, call the “Cutters”. They are sons of the stonemasons who built the universities, but aren’t welcome there. They form a cycling team and compete in the Little 500 bicycle race.

The movie won the 1980 Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, plus other awards elsewhere. An odd thing about Breaking Away is what happened to the cast. Dennis Christopher, the lead actor, had the least successful career, while the supporting cast’s careers speak for themselves: Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, Jackie Earle Haley.

The Little 500 is a real race for women and men that takes place every April at Indiana University, 200 laps around a 440 yard track, emulating the Indianapolis 500. (At the speed it would take to ride a lap, the two races are equally long, about three hours.) The film’s Cutter team could never have competed because riders must be IU students. Most teams are from “greek” fraternities. A real life Cutters team from the general student population was formed in 1984.  They have won 14 of the 36 races since, becoming the most successful team.

“Breaking Away” at Rotten Tomatoes. How many films have a 94% rating?

Roger Ebert wrote a glowing review when he saw it in an early release:

“Breaking Away” is a movie to embrace. It’s about people who are complicated but decent, who are optimists but see things realistically, who are fundamentally comic characters but have three full dimensions. It’s about a Middle America we rarely see in the movies, yes, but it’s not corny and it doesn’t condescend. Movies like this are hardly ever made at all; when they’re made this well, they’re precious cinematic miracles.

“Breaking Away” can be found on youtube.

(Okay, Meatballs is a funny coming of age movie, especially Bill Murray’s “It just doesn’t matter” speech and the likable Chris Makepeace. But it’s not a great sports movie.)