Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Zino Francescatti

Video Find of the Day

Finally, I've found a video of Zino Francescatti. This is the violinist I named my Green Singing Finch Zino after. Because Zino (the bird) reacted so strongly to Zino the violinist's cassette tape.

La Ronde des Lutins, Op. 25 - Zino Francescatti, Violin

Monday, September 29, 2008

How Bad Is It?

Video Find of the Day

The Dow fell about 777.7 today, a Biblical number representing infinity in a decimal fraction. Let's put this event in further perspective.

Stock Market crash 1929

Ouch, an 80% loss over 4 years! But the Dow fell only 7% in one day, today. Let's see -- compounded daily, 4 years, carry the one, drop the two, roll the three -- oh shit.

Wait a minute, the Dow is only one index! Yeah, it isn't that significant! It's only based on 30 selected stocks! Let's look at the Nasdaq Composite, based on nearly 3000 stocks. Oh, sure, that will be better.


OK. Let's look at it the other way. So the economy tanks. So we end up like India, which, in spite of having all our tech jobs, has less than a quarter of our GDP per capita. So our middle classes all end up working at Pizza Hut, like these guys in Jalandhar, Punjab. You think that would be bad?

Jalandhar Pizza Hut Bhangra Dancing

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Other Culture War

Video Find of the Day

The conservatives have hijacked the concept of Culture War. There are other culture wars besides theirs. For example, there is the long struggling but still strong Rebel Alliance against Disney.

Disney Geneticists Debut New Child Stars

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Precision Is Sexy

Video Find of the Day

KING5.com has a news story about the Nickelsville eviction which contains this sentence: "The event was a precision protest by homeless advocates, who insist the mayor has failed the city's most vulnerable citizens."

Now, I need to mention that Nickelsville has always been about survival first, and only secondarily a protest against the sweeps (that make it necessary by endangering survival.) It's like when someone tries to hit you, you might simultaneously duck and also yell "NO!" The ducking is the primary act, the yelling "NO" (the protest) is secondary. First you don't want to be hit. Only secondarily do you want to register your objection to being struck at in the first place.

Still, calling what went down "a precision protest" is pretty cool isn't it? It immediately called to mind Mission Impossible, and made me long for the theme song. And what do you know, some Mission Impossible fan with a VCR in the early 90s and a YouTube account today has edited together the intros to six episodes.

Mission: Impossible Opening Montage 1

Yay! -- Wait. Huh?

Great news out of Florida. According to an AP story, a federal judge has struck down Orlando's law against feeding the homeless in downtown parks on the grounds that it violates the rights of homeless activists. Yay!

But, wait a minute. The rights of homeless activists? Why weren't the rights of the homeless people to receive the food mentioned in the story? Were they not considered at all? I'm hoping the AP reporter just left that part out. Still, what would that say about the AP reporter then?

One way or the other I can't give this news a full five cheers. It has to be four cheers and one jeer.

Greg Nickels Is A Fool

The events of the eviction of Nickelsville from alleged city land yesterday felt a little like a Beethoven sonata to me: attack, release, attack, release. Except with a background drone. My description of it for YouTube users is intended to get the idea across to non-Seattleites:

Sept. 26, 2008. Nickelsville, a tent city with ambitions to become a shantytown for the homeless in Seattle. After three and a half days of existence, Greg Nickels, our mayor who hates the homeless, whom Nickelsville is named for, as a dishonor, orders Seattle police to evict the occupants and demolish the camp. The police don't want to do it. They tell the people privately that they know that the mayor is a liar and that there is not enough shelter to house them. They will have no choice but to find yet another place to camp. But orders are orders. In every scene the sound of news and police helicopters overhead nearly drowns out the human voices, but hopefully the sense of the hour is conveyed.

Eviction at Nickelsville

Friday, September 26, 2008

Nickelsville Video

Video Find of the Day

Not my video. I haven't got around to the editing yet. This one is by Aimee Curl and Laura Onstot (posting as lonstot) for the Seattle Weekly.

Nickelsville in Progress


I went to Nickelsville today to take Anitra some boiled peanuts and to check out a news report. I heard that Mayor Nickels was sending homeless activists to do shelter outreach at the same time that he was sending police to break Nickelsville up. I wondered what homeless activists would want to circulate among 150 homeless people and try to tell them all that the meager extra shelter beds that the city has coughed up to justify the sweeps would suffice for all of them.

I found them; they were not really what I would call homeless activists. Social workers in the employ of the Department of Social Services are that: they are social workers. They do social work. They do not necessarily qualify as activists. When I asked one what they were saying to the campers, she told me that they were offering referrals.

So that's how they deal with the cognitive dissonance. They don't actually tell everybody that there is shelter for everyone. They tell each one, one at a time, you call this number on this card, and they can fix you up. They don't ever have to contemplate what would happen if everyone they talked to called the number on the card. Like I say, they aren't activists. Activists would think of that.

Meanwhile I took a bunch of pictures, and some videos. I'll try to post the videos later if they're any good. Here's a few of the still pictures.

When I first arrived I had to find Anitra, of course. She, in turn had to show me her precious pink tent.

Then I ran into some of the other usual suspects, like Joe Martin and friend Hap, and real Change Director Tim Harris, who I got to pose in front of the main area of tents.

Next, I asked just the tents to pose. I didn't photoshop this shot at all. That's how pink they are.

A Freedom Socialist wandered in with a nice sign that met with approval from the crowd.

Since yesterday, and right up to the police eviction today, some permanent structures were being built. Here Anitra is posing with Aaron in front of his pink sheltered pink shelter.

One of the No Trespassing signs the city installed three days ago was lying on the ground when I got there.

Then, the police arrived. There were "negotiations." Anitra took the task of relaying what the police offered to the rest of the "Nickelodeons." It basically boiled down to: if you want to be arrested stick around. If you don't want to be arrested go away.

As it happens, by the time the police came back to conduct the arrests, Nickelsville has word from the governor through her senior aide Ron Judd, that they could set up tents on a nearby parking lot , on state land, safe from Seattle police, at least for a few days. So that may have led some who had planned to let themselves be arrested change their minds. But still 22 people chose to be arrested. By the time I got this shot of the police peacefully, slowly, nudging the crowd back while making arrests, Anitra was already in a police van.

Maybe the last one to be arrested was our Real Change vendor Jewd. She was really into it. I think she ought to be the Nickelsville poster girl.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Campbell Brown Justifies Herself

Video Find of the Day

I haven't been a great fan of Campbell Brown in the past, but I'm turning toward her.

Campbell Brown rips McCain campaign for sexism

University Priorities

... or, The Propagation of Idiocy

Another email list I'm on is ALGTOP-L, devoted to algebraic topology news. I never contribute, I just read the posts to try to get a sense of what's going on in my former research field. There's also news about the people involved, some of whom I remember, and conference announcements.

Today there was a conference cancellation announced at a major Midwest university, with part of the explanation being, "With the tightly packed topology calendar this Fall and the hotel constraints imposed by the sports season, it proved impossible to reschedule."

In other words, one of the principle purposes of a university, the dissemination of knowledge, literally was canceled in this case to make room for sports fans.

Idiocy begets Ignorance, which propagates Idiocy.

Email to HPN

The Homeless People's Network is an email list for homeless and formerly homeless people to talk about whatever, and share information. A lot of the posts direct attention to items in the news about homelessness. Yesterday there were two opinion pieces noted. One was this Seattle Times Editorial, the other was this Las Vegas blog. Both were outrageous and I immediately wrote this in reply, only to find that my email reply function wasn't working. I think I worked around it and the email should be posted to HPN soon. In the meantime, it's here:

I'm having trouble doing email replies in this account, so I'll just respond to the gist of the two posts yesterday regarding Seattle's "pink tent city".

There's some bullshit in both that needs calling out. Both refer to Seattle as one of the most liberal cities in the country with respect to the homeless. This is crap. Until a year and a half ago you could make a case for that claim. In spite of the fact that we've never had more than about half the shelter beds we have needed, we could claim to be liberal because food was easy to obtain and homeless people sleeping outdoors were not often harassed if they stayed away from downtown and away from residences.

But in the spring of 2007 our current mayor, Greg Nickels, SECRETLY initiated a draconian policy of sweeps of outdoor homeless encampments. Even though our One Night Counts have determined that there have been as many as 2600 homeless people in the city in addition to the number that can fit into about 2700 existing beds (these don't count car campers and people who scored couches that night; if you count them there are fewer than half the shelter beds as there are homeless people), even though the mayor has not been willing or able to challenge those figures, he has ordered "cleanups" of homeless encampments. These "cleanups" consist of ripping up tents, sleeping bags, mats, even blankets, and trashing them. People were left with no survival gear, vulnerable to the elements, and no new shelter.

Real Change, the street paper I work with, had to use the Freedom of Information Act to find out what was happening. After we uncovered the policy, which had been hidden even from the city council, the mayor's office "revised" the policy to "take into account public concerns." The revised policy has the appearance of meeting objections, but the fine print contains major loopholes. We have already seen the loopholes exploited since the revised policy went into effect early this year. We have also seen safeguards advertised in the revised policy turn out to be lies.

The revised policy brought with it new shelter, that was touted as the place people swept could go. How many new beds did they provide for the more than 2600 at risk? TWENTY! Not even one percent of the need.

In the meantime, we already have had at least one confirmed case of a man who has died as a direct result of the sweeps. He was driven from a safe spot under a bridge and died from exposure soon after. The fact that they are continuing the policy in the face of that death, a death that was predictable and certainly not the last, is proof that Nickels is a criminal who must be stopped. This policy amounts to attempted genocide, and it has succeeded once so far.

The Seattle Times says Nickels is no Hoover. Given what he has been doing, he is worse than Hoover. He is engaged in nothing short of criminal, unconstitutional, harassment of the homeless population. He has attempted to carry out government policy changes without public view or legislative oversight, a violation of democratic principles of open government. There's nothing liberal about Greg Nickels on this issue, and if Seattle as a whole lets him get away with carrying out these crimes, then Seattle will have lost the right to call itself liberal, too.

As for the pink tents. They're temporary. The plan is to use them only until permanent structures can be built. As for whether they came from a breast cancer charity, I don't know, but I know that Real Change got them earlier from the Girl Scouts of America, and we turned around and gave them to the Nickelsville people. Maybe the Girl Scouts got them from a breast cancer charity, but it's not like a breast cancer charity handed them directly over to Nickelsville.

-- Wes Browning, Real Change News, Seattle

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Celtic French Polynesia

Video Find of the Day

So I was just talking about European influences on Polynesia. Here we have something called Breizh Polynesia. Breizh, if you recall is Britannic Celt for Brittany, France. So what we have is evidence of an interest in Tahitian dance in Celtic France. Why not?

If you're wondering where Lorient is, it's a port city on the Atlantic. If you think of the sticky-outy part of France as a nose, Lorient guards the left nostril.

Breizh Polynesia Lorient

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Isla de Pascua

Video Find of the Day

I'm fascinated by the way cultures impact one another. I've remarked before that I can hear the France in supposedly "traditional" Tahitian music. I think I can also hear the Spain, by way of Chile, in music and dance of la Isla de Pascua, AKA Easter Island, AKA Rapa Nui.

OK, I blow my thesis from the start with this one, a Rapa Nui Hymn. But wait: check out the costumes!


In this next, the background music has an unmistakable Spanish flavor.

Bailes de Rapa Nui - Isla de Pascua

OK. Well. This next one dashes my sorry thesis to bits. But I must include it as I am so fond of red.

Ula Ula en Isla de Pascua


Astro-mythological news: Wikipedia News reports that on Sept. 17, '08 the International Astronomical Union agreed to name an object one-third the mass of Pluto in the Kuiper Belt Haumea. Haumea is now the fifth recognized dwarf planet in the Solar System, after Pluto Ceres, Eris, and Makemake.

Haumea is the Hawaiian Goddess of childbirth and fertility. Her children include Volcano Goddess Pele, Hi'iaka, and Nāmaka, and some dozen to 40 others. The dwarf planet Haumea has two moons which have thus been named Hi'iaka and Nāmaka.

Haumea has a 4 hour day, very fast for her size, which is believed to make her an oblate ellipsoid as wide as Pluto at her widest, but only half that through the poles. So she is a pregnant icon of fertility. I am very pleased that Hawaiian deities are cropping up in the sky.

[Below: Artist's rendering.]

Monday, September 22, 2008

Theodore Bikel

Video Find of the Day

A favorite actor, I never knew that he was also a folk-singer until I started finding videos like this on the internet. This was broadcast around 1966 on Pete Seeger's Rainbow Quest, but I didn't see it back then, probably because it ran opposite something more important, like Gilligan's Island, or Lost in Space. But now I can see hours of clips like these, 123 clips in all, provided by the Rainbow Quest Channel on YouTube (user name peglegsam.)

Old Testament - Peace

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Back At You, Bartok

Video Find of the Day

Bela Bartok drew upon all sorts of Eastern European ethnic music, including gypsy music. So it is right and meet that some should draw back from Bela.

Taraf de Haidouks : "Ostinato" music video

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Donald Lambert

Video Find of the Day

I really just wanted a decent version of Anitra's Dance from Peer Gynt. I found this one, from the 1960 Newport Jazz Festival. Terrible video, terrible audio, but you get the idea. This guy couldn't read music, but he was a genius.

Donald Lambert - "Anitra's Dance"

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sept. 19

Video Find of the Day

... is Talk Like A Pirate Day! Love it or walk the plank!

Talk like a Pirate

Talk Like a Pirate Day: "I'm a Pirate" song

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fake 1951 Ed Film

Video Find of the Day

Here's a video that fails to answer a question that is on my mind literally hours every week. It's provided by MediumLargePresents. Francesco Marciuliano, who has a blog, may be mostly or entirely responsible for it.

What Is Comedy?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Video Place-holder

Video Find of the Day

The message on YouTube:

"We are currently performing site maintenance. Be cool - we'll be back 100% in a bit."

So you get (it's actually awesome):

Pussy versus Printer

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Unguiltable Me

Video Find(s) of the Day

It being Mexican Independence Day, I went looking for Mexican Independence music. What I found was really Mariachi music, and I thought, what the hell, I'll just find some good Mariachi music. So I did a search on "mariachi music" on YouTube, and the first of these videos popped up, and I got severely sidetracked, away from Mexico, and all up into Spanish speaking America. This happens all the time with me. I've learned to be unashamed and unguiltable about it.


Obama Song Spanish Reggaeton

Cumbia de Obama

For Obama: "Si Se Puede Cambiar" by Andres Useche

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Onion On Obama

Video Find of the Day

I've had a long day, so I'm just going with the sure thing.

Portrayal Of Obama As Snob Hailed As Step Forward For Blacks

Bethe's Birthday

Tomorrow would have been my daughter's 27th birthday. She was born Diez y Seis de Septiembre, the second to the last all squares day of the century, 9/16/81 (the last being 9 days later.) Her 24th birthday was in 2005. For that one I made 24 designs for her in Photoshop, each one based on a number from 1 to 24. Here are numbers seven through 12:

I've posted the lot of them at Somewhat Art. Clicking on the image above will take you to just that post.

Photoshop Games

While I was in Seattle's Pike Place Market yesterday, I saw a scene that looked like an impressionist painting, took the photograph and ended up with this. It's the sort of thing that keeps me from taking the dirty filthy poisonous paints out. Why poison myself with paints when I have electrons?


I completely forgot about this year's Pike Place Market Buskers' Festival. The man I count on to remind me that it's coming up is Artis, AKA Artis The Spoonman, fellow editorial committee member at Real Change. But Artis has been busy with a move recently, so he hasn't been around to give me the expected heads up.

But fate brought me to the Market anyway. I go there once every 3 months just to load up on El Yucateco Mayan XXXTRA Hot Sauce Salsa Kutbil-ik de Chile Habañero. Three 4 ounce bottles last me that long, if supplemented and extended by 6 ounces of 90,000 Scoville Unit Cayenne pepper. The only store I know in Seattle that sells the Mayan sauce consistently is off Post Alley in the Market.

I get the hot sauce, I walk out into Post Alley, and there's Artis, doing the next to the last set in the Alley as part of the festival.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Vain Alley

Alley of the Week

I'm behind on these so expect another one sooner than a week from now. Fortunately for me my OCD God doesn't hold me to calendar weeks strictly. Days, yes; I have to do daily video finds on the day they're due. But weekly stuff can come in anytime so long as it all averages out. Praise my OCD God and her bountiful munificence.

These pictures were taken here in an alley in Seattle a block and a half south of the backside of the Real Change office, parallel to 1st and 2nd Avenues, between Virginia and Lenora Streets. You're gazing upon a mural on the rear of Vain, postcursor of Vogue, an entertainment venue. I'm not very grafitti-literate, so if there's a signature here that is guaranteed to be that of the artist of the predominant piece I'm clueless of it. But if you're out there and you see this, dude: nice.

How My Brain Works

Video Find of the Day

I see this:

SNL: Sarah Palin & Hillary Clinton (Tina Fey & Amy Poehler)

I think this:

Jerry lee lewis - Put On Your Red Dress & I Believe In You

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Harlem Hot Shots

Video Find of the Day

Some dance videos. Frida Segerdahl and Sakarias Larrson are members of the (Swedish!) Harlem Hot Shots.

Frida & Sakarias

Sakarias again, with two other members of the group.

Charleston jazz performance 1 by Hanna, Mattias and Sakarias

Here's six of them Lindy Hopping at a Swedish version of American Idol, complete with the judge's reactions and votes at the end.

Harlem Hotshots - Talang 2007 E04

Friday, September 12, 2008


Video Find of the Day

Guy I went to high school with looked just like this Rachmaninov dude: he was a dork; his dream was to get a easy bachelors degree (like, you know, majoring in DC comics) and then joining the Seattle Police. So my point is, don't go by appearances.

Rachmaninov plays Rachmaninov: Prelude in G minor

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Call & Response

Video Find of the Day

This video recalled to me the love I have for call & response. There isn't enough call & response in the world I find myself, outside of sports events. I don't understand that. Why is it that the only way Americans can get together like this is to agree upon defeating a rival football team?

the Celebratory dance - Polynesian / Hawaiian

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rappelling Scene

Video Find of the Day

I keep going back to The Third Man. It has everything: good story, humor, good score, great cinematography, and a chase scene with rappelling in a sewer.

Harry Lime is chased through sewers ("The Third Man", 1949)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Happy Feet

Video Find of the Day

Three amazing clips posted by archt01 from a movie featuring Paul Whiteman (The Right Man, The King of Jazz), Rhythm Boys, Bing Crosby in too much makeup, chorus line dancing, singing heads, and Rubber Legs Al Norman. I'm freaked out.

King of Jazz: Happy Feet: Part 1 of 3

King of Jazz: Happy Feet: Scene 2 of 3

King of Jazz: Happy Feet: Part 3 of 3

Monday, September 8, 2008

Nebtidi Mnain El Hikaya, Why Not?

Video Find of the Day

Here's something different. It's bellydance music without the dancer. Parsing the title of the video: Oud; the guitar-like thingy. Darbuka, AKA Doumbek: the tabla thingy. Nebtidi Mnain El Hikaya: the title of the music. I can't parse more than that.

Oud Darbuka Nebtidi Mnain El Hikaya

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hora Staccato

Video Find of the Day

A piece I can't hear enough, composed by Grigoraş Dinicu. Since I can't hear it enough, expect me to post other renditions as I find them.

Jascha Heifetz plays Hora Staccato

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Lambda, by Julia

Video Find of the Day

I missed this one the day before yesterday. These are Lambda Julia sets, which is math code for Julia sets associated to complex quadratric mappings parametrized in the fashion of "complex number goes to LAMBDA times itself times one minus itself." It's one of my pet peeves that to read math you have to learn all this jargon. Oh well. Check out the pretty movie. This is MATH!

[Above Right: The Julia we've been talking about. Gaston Julia, Algerian/French mathematician.]

Lambda Julia [Where the lambda is going for a leisurely walk around a circle in the complex plane, and you're seeing the results.]

Friday, September 5, 2008

Then & Now

Video Find of the Day

Then, we had a police riot. The national media paid attention. They put it on the Nightly News. I watched John Chancellor get escorted out of the Democratic Convention on live TV. Dan Rather got punched in the stomach by security on live TV.

history rocks 1968 democratic national convention

Now. The police don't need to riot. They just control everything. Starting with intimidating raids for non-existent contraband.

Amy Goodman Jumps Fence To Question Cops [Aug. 30]

Continuing with arrests of anyone who even threatens to report anything that hasn't been approved for reporting.

Amy Goodman Arrested at RNC [two days later]

And intimidation of those who object to intimidation.

LIVECAM: Lawyers' Conference Interrupted by Riot Police [during last minutes of this video]

Where is the national media now?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Parameters of Themes

Video Find of the Day

Here's a video that graphically shows the way the Mandelbrot set M describes the character of Julia sets of the quadratic mappings "complex number goes to itself squared plus c" by the position of the complex (planar) parameter "c" relative to M. That doesn't make sense to most of you, does it? You're welcome! Enjoy the pretty pictures!

The Julia set

The next video does without the attempt at explanation and just shows the Julia sets transforming as the parameter c varies. Most of the Julia sets shown correspond to values of c near the boundary of the Mandelbrot set. You can know that because in those cases the Julia set is connected but doesn't appear to enclose area. Those that enclose area show black regions. Their parameter c lies in the interior of the Mandelbrot set. The Julia sets that fall apart into a myriad pieces (called "Fatou dust") are those whose parameter lies outside the Mandelbrot set.

The thing that gets me about all this is that in 1971 I took a course in higher analysis that dealt with Julia sets. We had to learn all their weird properties without being able to see any of these pictures! How did we get by?

Julia circle

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I Don't Know

Video Find of the Day

My xenomania is tickled by the subtitles on this. After reading them I feel like I know less what's going on than without them. Bandish?

Pandit Bhimsen Joshi - 'Sohay Larayee' - Raag Kedar

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

It's All in the Knees

Video Find of the Day

-- that's what they tell me. Damn my arthritis! I could be doing this.



Monday, September 1, 2008

Nigel Kennedy

Video Find of the Day

I first noticed Nigel Kennedy doing Vivaldi's Four Seasons. He's been around far longer than I've been aware. Turns out he was getting attention as a ten year old child prodigy back in the 60s. I paid more attention to Jimi Hendrix back then. Perhaps so did Nigel Kennedy.

Nigel Kennedy - Tribute to Jimi Hendrix - Purple Haze

Here he's doing Vittorio Monti's Czardas. Like the Purple Haze it wanders away from the original and comes back again.

Spirits of music III (Leipzig) - CZARDAS - Nigel Kennedy