I Am NOT Satisfied by Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Response

Okay so… Neil deGrasse Tyson was probably my favorite living scientist and science-popularizer. He has carried on the scientific legacy of Carl Sagan in a way I can only admire. I absolutely adored his take on Cosmos, and I loved Startalk (until he decided to have Michael Shermer on as a guest… recap on that for those who’ve forgotten). I was a huge fan of his, to the point where I was defending his “ruining” of movies. I loved when he pointed out the scientific failings of films, regardless of what film it was or if science was at all relevant to the film. He was like CinemaSins, only with science (and yes, I like CinemaSins… get over it).

So, by all accounts, I’m the exact right person to defend his statement about these allegations.

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Rock Isn’t Innovative Anymore

From reading my blog, my tastes in music should be obvious. I like Progressive Rock, Classic Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Blues, Folk, and even some experimental stuff. But my tastes tend to be rather limited. I like guitar in my songs… and not just guitar, but, at least most of the time, guitar solos. But even with those, I’m picky. I don’t like “look at how fast I can play” odes to toxic masculinity (let’s be really… straight speed is basically “look how big my dick is”). I don’t mind speed, but only as one technique in a guitarist’s arsenal of techniques. And considering that David Gilmour is one of my three number one all-time favorite guitarists, speed isn’t even the most important technique, in my opinion (though he did have it to a point, he barely ever used it).

To be fair, no guitar isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. Emerson, Lake, & Palmer is another of my top 10 bands of all-time, and they only had guitar sometimes, with most of the leads being taken by Keith Emerson on keys, while the guitarist, Greg Lake, favored playing the bass guitar, instead. But even then…

Perhaps it’s because I’m a songwriter, but I don’t really listen to music as an escape. I don’t like going to clubs (too many people, too loud, not enough personal space), and I hate dancing (because I’m really, truly, honestly bad at it… I promise you… you don’t ever want to see me dance… you’ll have nightmares). So I’m not listening to music for the rhythm. I also don’t listen to music as background for something. The best time I have listening to music is, in fact, when I can gather a small group of friends, we can pour some drinks, grab some snacks, turn some music on, and sit and discuss it. I only got to do this rarely (and I haven’t done it in a long time… I miss it), but I have done it with Jimi Hendrix, ELP, Led Zeppelin, Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Chantel McGregor, Anna Calvi, Living Colour, and Steven Wilson.

And this means that most of today’s mainstream music, including Pop, Rap, Hip Hop, R&B, Top 40 Rock, New-Age, etc isn’t my jam. I don’t hate them… I realize music is subjective, and I absolutely acknowledge the monster talents that can exist in these and other mainstream genres (Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar are just two of many, many examples [yes, I genuinely believe that Kendrick Lamar deserved that Pulitzer for “Damn”]). But, overall, when I look for music to listen to, I look, basically, for guitar-driven Rock… whatever that may mean. In short: I’m absolutely a music snob of sorts. (I still have trouble with Metal, though… I don’t like 80’s Metal at all, and I have a lot of trouble with the harsh growls and screams of heavier, darker Metal [some Prog Metal, and most Death Metal, Doom Metal, Black Metal, etc], despite the fact that the music in these genres is often incredible.)

So you might be surprised to find that I kind of agree with Steven Wilson, here

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Quick Blog and Personal Update (That Ableism Post I Promised)

I can’t remember exactly how long ago it was, only that it feels like it was in 2016, when I promised a blog post about ableism and words like “stupid”. Of course, that never materialized, but I kept posting here about how it would be “soon”.

In one blog post I put up a tiny bit more recently (back in August of 2017), I talked about how I actually had a private deadline. No one will believe it, but that deadline is actually approaching. It’s Monday.

Yeah, I did honestly give myself that long.

Why?

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And…

I’m officially 31 as of 1:28 pm.

Today.

It’s my birthday, I guess…

Yay me?

Tomorrow (Wednesday), I embark on a drive down to Georgia (from New York), where I’ll spend a couple weeks or so…

I need a job, by the way. Anyone know of anything?

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I Saw a Stranger in the Mirror…

I mentioned in my last post that something a bit scary happened to me. No one was hurt, no one else was involved, but it was scary nonetheless. It was all mental, and disturbing, because it dragged up memories and feelings I haven’t had in over 15 years. And I’m not really sure what to do with that because I am as far away from how I felt about life and myself 15 years ago as it’s possible to be.

So anyways…

Content Warning for mention of suicide, for discussion of anxiety, stress, and depression, and talk of (I think) dissociation(?).

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In Memory of Grandpa

Grandpa Sal as a Young Man in ROTC

Grandpa Sal as a Young Man in ROTC

On the morning of Friday, December 1st, I had dropped my parents off at the airport. They were heading to Atlanta for a conference. Later in the day, I drove over to work to get my schedule for the coming week. While I was heading there, Dad had rented yellow Mustang convertible for their week, and had texted me a picture of it. So I got to work, got my schedule, and hung out for a bit.

Then I got a phone call from my mom, who was crying. At first, she could barely talk, and two horrible thoughts went through my head. First, I thought she and Dad had gotten into a bad accident. Then I thought my brother, and best friend, Aaron, had gotten into an accident.

What she finally told me did not make me feel better.

At all.

Her dad, my grandpa, in Connecticut, had had a heart attack. He was in the hospital on life support.

Not long after, Dad called me. Grandma was taking him off life support, so he wouldn’t suffer.

I picked up my parents and my brother at the airport the next morning, and we went straight to Connecticut.

That side of my family is Catholic. The wake was Wednesday. The funeral was Thursday. And we came back home on Thursday night.

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לשנה טובה! זה תשע״ח

Oh… *ehem*… my apologies…

So it’s Rosh Hashanna, the Jewish new year. The year is 5778. For two days, we celebrate and eat far too much delicious food, so that the week after, on Yom Kippur, we can fast for around 24 hours or so to atone for our sins (because unlike Catholics, we only have to feel guilty once a year, instead of year round… we spend the rest of the year making everybody else feel guilty. BOOM! [I can make that joke because I’m Jewish… you can’t… unless you’re Jewish]).

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Streaming Service for Rare, Hard-to-Find, and Out of Print Music

I’ve already posted most of this on Facebook, so it will be familiar to some or all of y’all. But here I’m gonna expand a tad…

First, like I said on Facebook… I’ve been going over the take-down of What.CD, a private torrent site that, yes, shared official material (music, audiobooks, e-books, etc… no video, though).

Now, before I continue, I’m going to quote what I said on Facebook:

No, I don’t want to talk about how or why I know as much as I do about it, and yes, I agree that piracy is wrong, it’s right that piracy is illegal, people should support artists they love with money, and blah blah blah… we’re not having that conversation here.

And I’m gonna stress that here. We’re not here to discuss the relative morality of torrenting sites, question why I know as much as I do about the site, etc. So that’s the commenting policy. And that includes you, too, NSA, CIA, and FBI.

So anyways… I called What.CD the Library of Alexandria of music, and one of the reasons for that is because What.CD amassed an amazing collection of out of print, rare, hard to find, and/or prohibitively expensive music you basically couldn’t find anywhere else. It was incredible what could be found on What.CD, what new music you could find that you never heard before, and so on. And now that’s gone. Sure, torrent sites are like a massively exagerrated Hydra (shut down one site, a thousand more will pop up in its place), but it’s going to take a seriously long time to rebuild the What.CD Library.

But there could be another way, too… a… perhaps… more legal way… to rebuild a part of that library and make it accessible to everyone…

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Welp… Guess I’m a Terrorist, Now…

Okay… I should probably qualify that title a bit… thanks to my anxiety, I haven’t actually participated in many protests (though I’m working up the courage to actually start participating in more… and I have participated in dialogues and such). Plus, despite realizing that I’m not a pacifist, I’m actually a coward who’s usual reaction to face-to-face conflict is to curl up into the fetal position and cry for Mommy. So… you know…

However, I do support Antifa and consider myself Antifa, and I’m friends and comrades with Antifa. Despite the qualifications above, I am part of it… or at least I try to be…

So… that title? It’s not clickbait.

The DHS has officially classified Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization.

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