28 October 2010

Korean GP update

I realized I hadn't given my impressions of last weekends Korean GP. Thankfully nobody called me on it. Briefly, it sucked. I was looking forward to the slippery conditions, and it looked like it was a bit too slippery. Fernando Alonso of Ferrari won and he deserved it.

On a more cheerful note, I bought the a new album that rocks. Its by a group out of Austin TX called The Black Angels, and the album is named "Directions To See A Ghost". It was released in 2008, but I never heard of 'em so it's new to me! It's one of those great albums where most of the songs are awesome, and the ones that aren't are still pretty damn good. They have a 60's sound to them, which I can dig. Check it out if you are so inclined. I buy everything from Amazon. They seem to be the least evil. They certainly aren't Steve Jobs/Apple evil.



The song that initially caught my ear:

People have been asking why all the old ass music, so hopefully this will convince them that I'm not possessed with the spirit of a 90 year old man. 

Sheesh, my life sucks. Watch movies, listen to old music, and work. Repeat over and over. Where did it all go wrong? I assume Tijuana.

24 October 2010

Louvin Brothers ~ Cash On The Barrel Head

Ahh yes, this is great. What a closeted redneck I am. My thinking is "Who doesn't tap their foot when hearing this?" Probably civilized society!

20 October 2010

Just A Little Lovin'

Artist: Eddy Arnold
Songwriter: Eddy Arnold, Zeke Clements

Just a little lovin' will go a long way
And you'll make me happy the rest of my days
Put your arms around me then I'll be your slave
'Cause just a little lovin' will go a long way

Ever since the time began love has ruled the world
Eve and Adam set the pace and started at a whirl
I met you and now I know that you're the one for me
Come on back and you will plainly see

That just a little lovin' will go a long way
And you'll make me happy the rest of my days
Put your arms around me then I'll be your slave
'Cause just a little lovin' will go a long way

I don't believe you really know how much that I love you
If you did you'd come on back and make my dreams come true
Your eyes, your lips, your loving kisses seem to linger yet
I'll forgive but please don't you forget

That just a little lovin' will go a long way
And you'll make me happy the rest of my days
Put your arms around me then I'll be your slave
'Cause just a little lovin' will go a long way

He needs attention

I saw the story of the American Muslim convert who was urging Muslims to attack the South Park creators. The story is HERE if you want to read it. When I read it and saw the photo of this kid, I wondered WTF he is thinking. I assume this kid grew up in America as a typical white American kid. Why would he choose to convert to being a Muslim? There's nothing at all wrong with being a Muslim, but he was trying to move to Somalia and join Al-Shabab. I'm quite certain he grew up laughing and enjoying South Park and generally living the good American life. Al-Shabaab has outlawed all music in Somalia because it's un-Muslim. How could any 20 year old American go for THAT?

It seems to me that he latched onto this whole Muslim identity to be different. Is that really the life he wants? From now on, he's "Muslim Guy" and has to live that identity. His friends are like "Hey Zack, why don't you take the night off from jihad and go to the pizza parlor with us?" Al-Shabaab is about as far from the American way of life as you can get and not physically be doing time on Rikers Island. That appeals to people brought up in war and poverty in Somalia, but how can this appeal to him? Check out that photo of him protesting in front of the White House. There must not be a male role model in his life because that guy would have said "Knock it off asshole!" years ago.

Let me make it clear: I have no problem with Islam. I do have a problem with some little jerk-off posing as a wanna be terrorist. Who is he to determine that the South Park creators need to be punished? He's a nothing trying to be something. I mean he pleaded guilty at the snap of a finger. The FBI guys probably had him crying. Didn't take long to break this e-thug. Man, what a prick.

Korean Grand Prix

Formula 1 makes its inaugural visit to Korea this weekend. This is a race that almost didn't happen. The organizers are still working on finishing the new track, and as I write this the race is 3 days away! The important parts are done and have been for about a week(!) so we're in good shape. From the initial reports, the track surface is very slippery with hardly any abrasion. I'm not sure what the rest of the motorsports community thinks of the track condition, but I love it. F1 drivers are the elite of the elite. Only a handful of men are capable of being a competitive driver, and I think their job should be extraordinarily difficult. I don't want guys getting hurt, but this group is more than capable of putting on a good show.

Since it's a new track that none of them have driven, setups will be difficult to nail down. Race strategy will be just a guess. Hopefully this will be like a race in the rain. The cream will really rise to the top this weekend!

My guess for the winner will be Sebastian Vettel. He is the natural talent and is driving the best car in the world right now. I'm hoping for McLaren to make a better showing. The greasy track should put Jenson Button at the front of the pack. His performances in the rain have been excellent and he's known to be gentle on his equipment however, he's the current world champion so he's capable of winning. Mark Webber would make me happy if he won. Him being the champ wouldn't be bad, seems like a nice enough guy.

I guess in the end, I'd prefer either McLaren or Red Bull. Anybody but Ferrari. Ferrari doesn't have any style.

We'll see in a couple days.

16 October 2010

Hank Snow

As I mentioned in an earlier post , I've been listening to Hank Snow. I can't seem to stop listening to this album! It was Jimmy Rodgers, then Lefty Frizzell, now Hank Snow. Curse you Pandora, why do you expose me to such auricular delights?

It's a really great album, but I doubt anybody else on earth could enjoy it like I do. He had a prolific career, performing for decades. Clearly he has fans, I just don't know any of them. I love it and can't stop listening, I just can't imagine having this in common with anybody else. Why am I cursed with such unusual listening tastes?

Anyway, if you are interested, here it is. There's a bunch of stuff on YouTube as well



Movin' On - 30 Songs

For the record, I don't like any modern country music. I can't name a single artist or song released in probably the last 15 years. There's just something about this old stuff that really talks to me.

14 October 2010

Netflix yankin my chain

I've been a Netflix member for a couple months, and at first the service was excellent. I was stunned by how fast they could turn around DVD's. I could drop a DVD in the mailbox on Monday, Netflix would email me at 6am on Tuesday that they'd received it, then I'd get the next DVD in my queue on Wednesday. I was really drinking the Kool-Aid. Netflix would send emails asking when I mailed the DVD and when I received the DVD.

Thats where my conspiracy theory comes in. I eagerly answered the "When did you send this?" emails because I wanted to be a good citizen helping keep the machine oiled. I now suspect that Netflix uses these emails to help them throttle my account. After about a month of these emails, I started noticing it was taking longer and longer for Netflix to receive my DVD's. A couple DVD's took longer than a week to arrive so I marked them as lost in the mail. Netflix quickly sends the next DVD in my queue, so thats not a problem. Typically the lost DVD magically shows up on the same day that the next DVD I watched shows up. Coincidence? I think I've reported three DVD's as "lost in the mail" and they've all found their way back to Netflix on the same day as the next DVD I sent back.

Netflix wants to make money, thats understandable. Why don't they just say "You can have ONE DVD a week mf-er and no more!" rather than doing this sneaky throttling bullshit?

Racing Le Mans, 1950's style

YouTube is a great place to find obscure videos. I'm consistently amazed by whats being posted.  An example is this video taken during practice for the 1956 running of the 24 Hours of LeMans.

Where do I start? First off, isn't it amazing that they were able to put an onboard camera in 1956? The sound is really good. You can hear a slight ignition interference in the audio, but I'd expect that with the spark leads and plugs Jaguar likely ran. During the run you can see several regular cars on the course. LeMans  is run on public roads that are blocked off for the race. They couldn't block the roads for a whole week, so they allowed drivers to run the course while "civilians" where riding bikes on the course. I can't even imagine anything like this happening today. The driver was Mike Hawthorn, who won the 1955 LeMans and also was the first British Formula One champ driving a Ferrari in 1958. Being onboard with him is a real treat. I've read a few books on him and always wondered what he sounded like. This video has him speaking in his very proper British accent.

One amazing fact, the car was a Jaguar "D" Type with a 285hp straight 6 engine. The fastest "D" Jag was clocked at 192mph on the Mulsanne straight in 1956! Thats insanity on those non speed rated, rock hard tires. If you'll notice, there are no soft barricades around the course, just trees. A blowout on Mulsanne would have almost certainly meant death. Those pilots back then had nerves of steel.

Mike Hawthorn retired after winning the 1958 F1 championship. He only lived a few months afterwards. He was killed in a car accident after he lost control of his road Jaguar in the rain. He was 29. Too bad for such an incredible driver who made it through several years of dangerous competition to be taken in a simple road accident.




If you are interested in Mike Hawthorn, there is a very detailed and informative website dedicated to him here: http://www.mike-hawthorn.org.uk/home.php

Parlez-vous français?

I've always been fascinated with other cultures. I probably should have been an anthropologist. It sure beats welding, thats for sure. Anyway, I was searching through Netflix looking for interesting things to watch and had the French film "Amélie" recommended. It guessed a 4 star rating for me, which is very high. I saw the movie was in French and subtitled, which normally would turn me off. I decided to watch it. What an nice movie! The story line was great (HERE if you are interested) with a lot of Euro humor mixed in. The cinematography was very pleasing. If you have Netflix, watch it. It's available on instant streaming.

This movie was so good that I looked into other French films. Turns out that the lead actress in Amélie is Audrie Tautou. English audiences recognize her as Sophie Neveu in "The DaVinci Code".  She's been a very prolific actress in France during the past decade. All of her films were highly recommended to me by Netflix, so I started watching them one by one. I liked every one I watched and would gladly watch again. Thats really saying something. Even her lower budget work is entertaining. It wasn't hard to watch while reading subtitles.

If anybody is interested, HERE is a link to all her work that Netflix carries. I recommend seeing all her movies. I feel like I've discovered something really good thats unknown to most Americans. These French made movies are very entertaining, and reading subtitles enhances the experience for me rather than detract from it like I had assumed it would. I'd be willing to bet that most Americans are unaware that anything is filmed in France!

Check her out, you'll be pleasantly surprised! (Disclaimer: I don't parlez anything but English)

12 October 2010

Podcasts

In the past year or so, I've discovered podcasts. It all started with my purchase of an iPhone. Poking around on iTunes I noticed many podcasts were highly rated and had huge amounts of listeners. Podcasts have turned out to be the greatest thing since loaf bread. I have an XM Satellite radio, but I think I'm going to cancel. Too many quality podcasts for free to deal with XM's repetitive bullshit.

Some of my favorites:


  • This American Life: They choose a theme and have reporters tell stories based on the theme. Typically 2 or 3 different stories stretching over an hour. Very entertaining. New shows released every Monday. I bought the iPhone app which allows me to listen to all shows going back into the 1990's! I donate as often as I can; it's worth it! I've bought a couple This American Life DVD's that are made from their show that lasted 2 seasons on Showtime. Who knows why the show didn't last, I love my DVD's and have watched them several times.
  • Radio Lab: This is a very high quality science themed show. They cover a topic by telling stories, speaking to top scientists, and discussing scientific studies. The story telling is excellent and entertaining. The soundtrack and sound mixing is very good. My only complaint is the frequency that new shows are posted. 1 hour long. So good I've donated several times
  • Planet Money: Podcast dedicated to current economic issues and told in a way that the average guy can follow and understand. If it wasn't for these guys I wouldn't have a clue what happened with the economy implosion. Very smart, witty presenters who never talk over your head. 2 podcasts a week, approximately 20 minutes each.
  • BBC Global News: News stories around the globe reported with no bullshit. BBC reporters never interview or cover stories with kid gloves. I've heard reporters grill major political figures and not back down until their questions are answered. Plenty of coverage for America as well as Europe and the rest of the globe for that matter. Usually 20 minutes each and they post 2 a day Mon-Fri.
  • Handel In The Morning: This is the Los Angeles KFI morning show recorded into podcasts. The host, Bill Handel, is a real asswipe, so I identify with him. His co-hosts are really funny and I always laugh hard when listening. There are 4 podcasts. if you have to choose just one, get the "Handel On The News" podcast. Great stuff!
  • Ricky Gervais Podcasts: These are basically Ricky, Steven Merchant and Karl Pilkington sitting around talking. Karl has a warped view of the world and whatever he says is comedy gold. The only problem is that he says it being serious. That makes it even funnier. These podcasts typically cost money and are released on an erratic schedule. I don't care, I've bought them all and I anxiously awaiting further episodes!
People who aren't taking advantage of podcasts are missing out on something. Why deal with AM or FM radio when you can get what you want? Almost all are free, but if you like them, toss them a few bucks so they stick around.

Nuclear power in the USA

I saw this story on Slashdot about not building nuclear power plants: NY TIMES ARTICLE . The reluctance to build nuke plants really disgusts me. All this money that was printed to bailout business in America, and they can't even cut Constellation Energy a deal on loans? Whats the absolute worse case scenario if they default? The US citizens own a power plant that will crank out (relatively) pollution free energy for years and years? Countries like France depend heavily on nuke plants to supply them with their energy needs. Consequently French citizens never worry about brown outs or how much coal is needed to keep a light on.

We can't keep burning fossil fuels like there is no consequence. We must embrace nuke power. The US Navy has had nuclear powered submarines since 1954 with no accidents. Sailors aren't dropping over dead even though they sleep yards from the reactor in an enclosed tube. The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz went 30 years on its original core/fuel! There are issues of waste disposal, but I think they can be dealt with in an intelligent manner that would cause no problems.

Bottom line; we can't ignore nuclear power because of disasters in foreign countries with inherently dangerous reactor designs.

Banjo playin at its finest

Let me start out by saying Pandora is wonderful. Whilst listening to it, I heard "Corn Cob Blues" By John Hartford. It's a classic Bluegrass song with some great banjo playing. I liked it so much that I bought the album. What a great purchase! Many times you buy the album and only like a song or two. Not this one, every single song is at least good with most being great. All his lyrics are nice and he's a hell of a banjo player.

This album is so great, I even thought about buying a banjo to learn to play! I highly recommend this album. The link is below. Go ahead, just buy it already!




11 October 2010

Dell Streak

Dell released a new cell phone several months ago called the Streak. It is an incredible device with a 5" screen, 1gHz processor and it runs Googles excellent Android operating system. I was really excited to hear about this because I am a huge proponate od Open Source Software. The iPhone is a great phone and I've had two, but I really dislike the fact that Apple rules the iPhone with an iron fist and tells the users what they can and can't do with the phone they own. To be fair, this keeps the iPhone really stable and smooth with less chance of the user becoming victim of any nefarious exploits and viruses.

Back to the Streak. Dell released it with an absolutely ancient version of Android (1.6 vs the current 2.2) and then didn't release any of the software sources. Part of the GPL license says that Dell must release all the source code used to mek their binaries. To Dell's credit, they eventually released the code after being asked. Very quickly, developers realized that Dell only released some of the sources and incomplete sources. Again with the gentle prodding and Dell finally released their entire 1.6 and 2.1 sources.

Private development very rapidly took off. It took no longer than a week that guys were releasing 2.2 Android ROMs. I've seen notes where Dell executives are using the aftermarket ROM! How embarrassing should that be?

Why doesn't Dell simply open source the entire phone? Development would take off like a rocket. Incredible things would get done to the phone. You'd have to believe it would help sales.

Instead, we have Dell pulling an "Apple" on us. Thanks.

Modern English in America



I often hear people talk about how poorly English is spoken and written in America today. Who hasn't seen the Facebook page "Click LIKE if you know the difference between there, their, and they're. They are not interchangeable"? The whole thing seems like a load of shit to me. I make these errors all the time and I know they're not interchangeable. Usually right after I send a text or email, I reread it and immediately notice that I've written your rather than you're. Eh, what are you gonna do after the cow has already left the barn? 

The fellas at my work slaughter the English language on a daily basis. Most of them pronounce "wheel" as "will". I admit it's mildly amusing, but everybody in the room understands the point of whats being said. I heard a guy use the made up word "frutation" several times. I gently told him that it's fruition. He didn't fully believe me, but it was no big deal. He's a smart guy who made a mistake. Keep reading my blog and I'll be making enough mistakes to embarrass my high school English teacher! I do have a small Oxford English Dictionary and several other grammar books to help me, but what the heck, I'm lazy! I also have a dictionary iPhone app that I consult often. I'm trying to be better, but at the same time I realize it's not a priority in other peoples lives. 

My advice? Do what makes you happy. If you are happy with your level of language, and it fits your social circle, great! Me? I'll always strive to improve. I have a feeling that most people will too.

Watching the bubbles in my beer!

Anthology 1935-1973
Click the Album cover to purchase.
Sometimes I feel like this, but not usually for long!

BUBBLES IN MY BEER

Recorded by Bob Wills (Vocal by Tommy Duncan)
Words and music by T. Duncan, B. Walker and C. Mills

(Bob Wills: Aah! Ha!, Now, Yea! -- Watchin' The Bubbles In My Beer
Well, come in Tommy, give us the low down on it)

Tonight in a bar alone I'm sitting
Apart from the laughter and the cheers
While scenes from the past, rise before me
Just watchin' The Bubbles In My Beer.

A vision of someone who loved me
Brings a lone silent tear to my eye
Oh! I know that my life's been a failure
Just watchin' The Bubbles In My Beer.

I'm seeing a road that I've traveled
A road paved with hearthaches and tears
And I'm seeing the past, that I've wasted
While watchin' The Bubbles In My Beer

As I think of the heart that I've broken
And of the golden chances that have passed me by
And the dreams that I made, now are empty
As empty as The Bubbles In My Beer.

video

I'm Movin' On

I heard this Hank Snow song (I'm Movin On) on Pandora, so I searched YouTube to see if there where any videos and I found this little jewel. What makes the video to me is the train. The train pictured is the Union Pacific 4-6-6-4 Challenger UP 3985. I just love how it's belching out black smoke as though it's giving Mother Nature the finger. I know it's wrong, but I love it!



Here she is in another video where she is really having the coal shoveled to her. Gives me goose bumps!



I've always liked trains. Diesels are great, but there's something magical about a steam train. The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI has the Allegheny 1601 on display. I so wanted to have my picture taken at the controls of this thing, but there were a bunch of school kids there hogging all the action. This is an incredible piece of machinery that really symbolizes Americas industrial might. If you ever have a chance to visit The Henry Ford Museum, you owe it to yourself to do it!

From Henry Ford Museum


From Henry Ford Museum

10 October 2010

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel absolutely dominated the Japanese Grand Prix today. His performance was incredible with no doubt from qualifying on that he'd be at the top of the podium. If you've read the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 sites, most people are cheering for Mark Webber. While I wouldn't mind seeing Webber take home the World Championship at the end of the year, I honestly feel Vettel is a superior driver. He's made several mistakes this year, which I chalk up to his youth, otherwise he'd likely be much closer to Webber in the points. This kid has some incredible natural talent. Mix that with the top notch Adrian Newey designed RBR chassis, and you have a world beater

Next year I think he's going to dominate. I say this even though I'm still a little bitter about Vettel smashing into Jenson Button at Spa!! ;)

09 October 2010

Blue Yodel #3

I've become fascinated by old (Really Old) country music. One of my favorites is Jimmie Rodgers. At first, I was just diggin the sound of his voice. Then I really started listening to the lyrics. The lyrics of his Blue Yodel #3 are especially entertaining. In it, he talks about a girl who's exceptionally gorgeous. The problem is, he always see's her on the streets and he says "You hang out on the corner like a police on his beat". It soon becomes apparent (to me at least) that the girl is a prostitute and the singer isn't aware of it. Pretty racy for the 1930's!