Astronomy Picture of the Week – In Saturn’s Shadow

Time for a new series!!!!! Astronomy Picture of the Week!!!!

Totes original, right? I’m… like… the first person to ever think of doing this!

But seriously… I’m not an astronomer, but I’m addicted to the universe. Whether presented in false color or true color, the images sent back to us by our satellites and telescopes are wonders to behold. And I have to start with this…

This image, In Saturn’s Shadow, is why Saturn is my favorite planet… it’s simply beautiful.

Saturn Eclipses the Sun

In Saturn’s Shadow

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Wanna Contribute to Great Guitar Solos?

Many have been doing it already, but now you have a dedicated thread where you can recommend, and link to, guitar solos you consider amazing. They don’t have to be complicated shred fests (hell… I’ll be highlighting Nirvana’s “Come As You Are” in a future post), but they can be if you think they’re incredible.

The one’s I like the best will be highlighted in future posts in the series, and you’ll get credit, with a link to your comment!

Let me know what you listen to and what you love. And don’t worry about the genre… I’m interested in the guitar solo, not the style. You may even see classical and flamenco show up!… if I’m not careful, that is… 😉


Great Guitar Solos – Karn Evil 9, 1st Impression, Part 2 by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer

(Quick note about this song: one of the lyrics after the guitar solo is “soon the Gypsy queen in a glaze of vaseline…”. “Gypsy” is, of course, a racial slur. And that’s not up for debate in this post, either, so don’t bother. Just do some research [like reading the link I just posted, and maybe also this one and this one] to understand the history and context for why, and leave it at that. Thanks!) 

So this is actually part of a full 30 minute suite by ELP called “Karn Evil 9“, released on their album “Brain Salad Surgery”. This part is the most famous because they often played just this cut live, and it was played on the radio all the time. The opening line (“Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends.”) is somewhat known, as well, often separate from the song (I actually know people who have no clue who ELP are but recognize that line instantly when I say it).

Honestly, if I were to do a “Great Keyboard Solos” series, this would be the first song highlighted, because Keith Emerson was a god of the keys, in my humble opinion. But the guitar solo is amazing, too, which is why I’m highlighting it here. It’s such an amazing solo, another one that’s simple yet powerful. Greg Lake was an underrated guitarist, partly because of how rarely he played it (sticking more to the bass guitar).

This is the studio recording, so no need to actually watch anything… just listen… the guitar solo, BTW, starts at 2:01 and ends at 2:57:

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The Led Zeppelin Sunshine Woman Controversy

Nope… it’s not about a copyright lawsuit…

(This is another light-hearted post to fill the time while I’m working on the police post. There’ll probably be more light-hearted stuff until I finally have that finished, sourced, and ready to post.)

So… I think at this point it’s obvious that I’m a pretty big fan of Led Zeppelin, and I will generally shell out the absolute maximum limit of what I can afford to purchase basically anything and everything they release officially.

I have a bit of a soft spot for their BBC sessions, from 1969-1971, because that was how I first heard Led Zeppelin. My first Led Zeppelin official release was their 2-disc BBC sessions release, and my very first unofficial recording/bootleg was A Secret History of Led Zeppelin, which was an early compilation of BBC sessions that were not on the official release, plus live tracks from other shows during their 1969 tour (I cannot put into words what it felt like listening to that CD for the first time, but, amazingly, I still feel that every time I put the CD on, and I absolutely love it). Later, Empress Valley, a Japanese bootleg label, came out with The Complete BBC Sessions, which I also have (one of only two “silvers” I ever purchased, and I will never purchase any again because of how guilty I felt [Led Zeppelin should have gotten that money]; I’ve gotten and get all the rest of my bootlegs either for free or, at most, the cost of shipping and blank CDs [for trades]).

So you can imagine how excited I was when an expanded edition of the BBC Sessions was announced. I was all set to preorder it, but then I saw that the music from the Alexis Korner sessions, including the song Sunshine Woman, were included. Now this is interesting, because the official tapes for that show were either wiped or went missing. We only have the sessions because they were recorded off of the radio, so the audio quality isn’t official-level quality. When it was first announced, there were a lot of questions about the music from the Alexis Korner sessions, the main one being the audio quality. And I decided to hold off on preordering the set until more information came out, because, technically, I already have the complete BBC sessions in the Empress Valley release, and the quality is actually surprisingly good for an unofficial release.

Well, Sunshine Woman was recently released online, and I am… unimpressed. If you can get Soundcloud to work, and you’re interested, here’s a link to listen.

Notice anything about the quality?

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So… Podcasts…

(Since I’m still working on my promised post about the US police force [I’m doing tons of research for this, to back up everything I say, so it’s a lot of work and I don’t have that much free time, which of course means it’s taking longer than I expected], I thought this would be a good, fun, light interim post.)

So… I listen to a lot of podcasts. I thought it’d be cool to list and talk about podcasts. As I said… I have a lot here, and I am going to list them all, and include links. However, I’m only going to give details on a select few, so this isn’t overly-long.

So here we are… my podcasts:

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Great Guitar Solos – Dazed and Confused Live @ Earl’s Court

This right here is literally why I play guitar.

Jimmy Page playing his guitar with a violin bow. I don’t know what exactly it was that made me sit up and take notice, but this blew my mind, and made me think of the guitar in ways I had never imagined the guitar before seeing this.

This is live at Earl’s Court on May 24, 1975. Yes, it’s over 30 minutes long. No, that’s not the longest Dazed and Confused has ever gone.

The bow solo starts at 11:33 and ends at 19:00.

Again… this is why I play guitar. This is how see the guitar.

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What the Hell, Wikileaks?!?

I should start off by saying that I am a fan of whistleblowers. Hidden corruption, be it in major corporations or governments, deserves to be seen by the public, so that changes can be forced through. So it should go without saying that I consider many whistleblowers, including Chelsea Manning, Andrew Maguire, Blake Percival, Vijay Pandhare, Antoine Deltour, Edward Snowden, Ben Strickland, and many others to be heroes.

I have also always believed, and maintained, that whistleblowing should be a protected act worldwide. When exposing corruption, whistleblowers should be given immunity from prosecution and protection from retaliation. So, in the past, I’ve admired sites like Wikileaks for trying to do just that. Protection provided by such sites is, of course, extremely limited, which is why whistleblowers like Manning and Snowden often end up in prison or in exile.

Wikileaks has often proved to be a fascinating site. Filled with a treasure trove of interesting, and sometimes important, information, it’s a site that has remained controversial throughout its existence. Not only can you find the corruption that Chelsea Manning exposed, but you can also find quite a bit that the Church of Scientology would rather the average person didn’t know about their beliefs and their operations.

But Wikileaks apparently no longer cares what it leaks, so long as it does leak…

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White Supremacy and Violence (Repost) #BlackLivesMatter

In light of the recent protests in Milwaukee over the murder of Sylville K Smith, I’m reposting this. It’s not the best thing I’ve ever written, but it’s an important reminder for all of us white people. It was originally posted at my old blog and at Daily Kos, before initially being moved here. And now, here it is again… please note that this was written in the context of the Baltimore protests in 2015. I’m also including some relevant commentary, which you’ll see in this color, and italicized.

So back in early May [2015], while the Baltimore protests were going on, Rabbi Benjamin Blech wrote an article about violence in the riots. I’m linking you to, but I first saw it in the May 8th – 14th edition of the Long Island Jewish World. I wrote a response and looked for a few friends to edit it. I actually got around to finishing it a few weeks ago (back in 2015). First I sent it to Aish, who decided not to publish it but did forward it to the Rabbi. I also sent it to Alternet, but never heard back.

I’m sick and tired of white people crying about black people “violently” rioting against violent White Supremacy while those same white people condone the very violent White Supremacy that is instigating and causing this backlash in the first place. And I wanted to say something about it. Please note: I use the narrative of the Exodus because the Rabbi does; I don’t actually think that happened. I also did not use the Holocaust as an analogy. In hindsight, this probably would have been better, but I also feel as if my decision to present the alternate universe was a more direct (if ham-fisted) way of conveying what I was trying to say.

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