Monday, 4 April 2016

Anthropocene is not our scene

Albert Enstein once said:
I don't know what weapons they'll use
in World War 3, but WW4 will be
fought with sticks and stones.

What he means is, in our haste for results,
we're going to lay waste to all we've created.
And this is from an intelligent man, who
actually helped atomic research.

We are having such an effect on the planet that
we got our own -cene, the Anthropocene.
The problem is that we are so rapacious as
regards our use of the planet that we seem to
forget that one should not shit where one eats.

Nuclear energy (and bombs, for that matter) is
one sign that we would prefer energy now
and toxic radioactive waste for 50 000 years.
"Just turn the feckin tv on!
Split an atom, if you have to.
I don't care about future generations."

There are parts of this planet that we know as
no-go areas. Unfortunately, animals don't have
an understanding.
the fish will fight back, though

 We have Fukishima:




Bikini Atoll

We have wrecked enough of this planet and
still we haven't got the message. Let's not
even talk about standard pollution, or climate
change. Trump and most of the US don't
even agree that it exists, largely because
they think it means we have to surrender
our fossil-fuel-burning toys (supercars, yachts).

And now, there's a new underground bunker
for nuclear waste that will be sealed and have
signs posted warning people  not to go in.
What is telling is that they're are trying to
create visual signs for people who don't
speak any earthly language.
What does that mean? That there's every
possibility that humans will destroy so
much of humanity that languages will
no longer be taught in those things we
call schools. The US and UK are well on
their way to de-educating poor people already.

I have some ideas for these people:
-the three-eyed fish.
-the melting man from Robocop
-the pictures of the men who split
the atom. they'll be famous and
believed to be the devil bythe
23rd century shamanic religion.

checkit: Guardian
Generation Anthropocene: How humans have altered the planet for ever

We are living in the Anthropocene age, in which human influence on the planet is so profound – and terrifying – it will leave its legacy for millennia. Politicians and scientists have had their say, but how are writers and artists responding to this crisis?
Robert Macfarlane

Friday 1 April 2016 12.00 BST
Last modified on Saturday 2 April 2016 00.06 BST

In 1981 the research field of “nuclear semiotics” was born. A group of interdisciplinary experts was tasked with preventing future humans from intruding on to a subterranean storage facility for radioactive waste, then under construction in the New Mexico desert. The half-life of plutonium-239 is around 24,100 years; the written history of humanity is around 5,000 years old. The challenge facing the group was how to devise a sign system that could semantically survive even catastrophic phases of planetary future, and that could communicate with an unknown humanoid-to-be.
Construction of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, an underground nuclear waste dump. Photograph: Eric Draper/AP

Several proposals involved forms of hostile architecture: a “landscape of thorns” in which 15m-high concrete pillars with jutting side spikes impeded access; a maze of sharp black rock blocks that absorbed solar energy to become impassably hot. But such aggressive structures can act as enticements rather than cautions, suggesting here be treasure rather than here be dragons. Prince Charming hacked his way through the briars to wake Sleeping Beauty. Indiana Jones braved wooden spikes and rolling boulders to reach the golden idol in a booby-trapped Peruvian temple. Sometimes I wonder if the design task should be handed wholesale to the team behind the Ikea instruction manuals: if they can convey in pictograms how to put up a Billy bookcase anywhere in the world, they can surely tell someone in 10,000 years’ time not to dig in a certain place.

The New Mexico facility is due to be sealed in 2038. The present plans for marking the site involve a berm with a core of salt, enclosing the above-ground footprint of the repository. Buried in the berm will be radar reflectors, magnets and a “Storage Room”, constructed around a stone slab too big to be removed via the chamber entrance. Data will be inscribed on to the slab including maps, time lines, and scientific details of the waste and its risks, written in all current official UN languages, and in Navajo: “This site was known as the WIPP (Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Site) when it was closed in 2038 AD … Do not expose this room unless the information centre messages are lost. Leave the room buried for future generations.” Discs made of ceramic, clay, glass and metal, also engraved with warnings, will be embedded in the soil and the shaft seals. Finally, a “hot cell”, or radiation containment chamber, will be constructed: a reinforced concrete structure extending 60 feet above the earth and 30 feet down into it: VanderMeer’s “Tower” made real.

I think of that configuration of berm, chamber, shaft, disc and hot cell – all set atop the casks of pulsing radioactive molecules entombed deep in the Permian strata – as perhaps our purest Anthropocene architecture. And I think of those multiply repeated incantations – pitched somewhere between confession, caution and black mass; leave the room buried for future generations, leave the room buried for future generations … – as perhaps our most perfected Anthropocene text.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

the new suicidal reality show

This is a story which is an indication of how
twisted it is that UK folks defer to upper-
class bosses and their stupid ideas without
questioning danger/stupidity/full-body traction casts.
See banks
See politics
See dying manufacturing sector 

The art of ski jumping is ridiculously dangerous.
I can hardly believe that the Olympics has this
human-as-bird lark as an official sport.
Nevertheless, the athletes are obviously well-
trained and rarely get injured.

Now, the UK, in its search for new reality gold,
has tried to send complete neophytes of a ski

A lot of them are quitting.
Many are injuring their spines.
[so, what's a little spinal tap, amongst friends?]

I would hate to think that it was designed to
advertise the new movie about Eddie the
Eagle. As in, we're proud of Eddie, so
let's chuck ourselves off a ski jump. What
could go wrong?
[a knock-off of Cool Runnings?]

I don't know who's crazier, the show's
creator, the idiot who signed off the
development of this show, or the
"you want me to jump what?"

more later

Checkit: BBC

The Jump: Ex-Girls Aloud star Sarah Harding leaves show

27 February 2016

Former Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding has become the sixth contestant to drop out of Channel 4 series The Jump because of injury.

The 34-year-old said she had "no choice" but to leave the reality skiing show because of a ligament injury.

Olympic gymnast Beth Tweddle, actress Tina Hobley and Olympic swimmer Rebecca Adlington have already pulled out.

Harding, whose departure will be aired on Sunday, said she was thankful for the "once-in-a-lifetime journey".

The Jump sees celebrities taking part in various winter sports competitions, including ski-jumping, bobsleigh and speed skating in Austria.

The show's third series has now seen six stars retire from the slopes.

Britain's most successful gymnast Tweddle, 30, needed neck surgery following a fall during training
Former Olympic swimming champion Rebecca Adlington, 26, withdrew after dislocating her shoulder.
Holby City actress Hobley, 44, also headed for the exit after she dislocated her elbow and suffered two fractures to her arm
Made In Chelsea star Mark-Francis Vandelli, 26, pulled out after fracturing his ankle
1992 Olympic 100m champion Linford Christie pulled out after he failed to recover in time from a hamstring injury

After revealing her injury, Harding tweeted that she had been "gutted" [NOT HALF AS MUCH AS IF YOU LAND ON YOUR STOMACH & BLOW A FAT HERNIA- Cos67] to receive the news that after six weeks of training she would not be able to continue.

But she said to make it as far as she did had surpassed her own expectations.
'Great competitor'

A spokeswoman for Channel 4 confirmed Harding had withdrawn on medical advice after pulling a ligament in her knee during training on Friday.

"She has been advised by medics to rest and will undergo physiotherapy. Sarah has been a great competitor and we wish her a speedy recovery," she said.

Image caption Beth Tweddle tweeted a picture of herself wearing a neck brace before leaving hospital

Former England rugby player Ben Cohen, 37, who was drafted in as some of the stars were forced to drop out, was also injured after he said he had used his face to stop himself in an accident.

He lost two teeth and needed 20 stitches, he said on Twitter, but will remain in the competition.

At the beginning of February, Channel 4 said it had asked producers to "review safety procedures again to further reduce the prospect of accident".

The first review came after Olympic bronze medallist Tweddle had surgery to fuse fractured vertebrae in her neck. She was discharged from hospital 10 days later.

Harvard discovers racism

This is a multi-layered story about how the richest,
most famous, best US university has finally decided
to recognise the racism in its midst.

In a similar development, Oxford University is facing
the spectre of Cecil Rhodes, a slave owner. Yes, that
Rhodes, of the Rhodes scholarship.
I think that you have to be transparent and then the
public will decide what to do. In most cases, slave
abetters and especially slave-owners need to be
taken down a rung, because they became the famous
grandees of history because of slavery.

At Harvard, their Law school symbol was taken on
from the Royall family (sounds made up, like Cadillac)
which donated its estate to fund the Law School.
Unfortunately, as the symbol hints at, the Royalls'
money was made thanks to the free but not
freely-volunteered work of slaves.
The wheat bushels on the real crest
have been modified here to show
slaves carrying bushels.

So, the family had slaves? A certain
kind of proof, given to us by the
reality shows which, for example
showed the Ben Affleck's family
were slave owners, is that the
African slaves took on the name of
their slave owner, and often gave
birth to their "illegitimate"
-under-the-"law" children.
It's hard to find any.

[this is why Tarantino is brilliant. As if small-time thugs have been
to Paris and Amsterdam.]

Nevertheless, blacks in the US,
or the UK, did not have
it as easy as Dido.

The blatantly obvious part of this is the fact that,
forgetting what the story below says, the wheat
pictured is not on the backs of workers, but
we can now "see" the slaves, because that's
what they were meant to depict, even if the
Royall family didn't consider slaves to be

I don't think this goes anywhere near the topic
of how much slavery has helped make the US
what it is, including Harvard University. I just
discovered that George Washington was not
only the richest man in revolutionary Americaa,
but also a land speculator and a slave owner. The
US must come clean and admit all this to start
healing the wounds. It's just symbolism, but
it means more than that to many whose family
history is entwined with the chains of slavery.

checkit: Guardian

Harvard law school drops official shield over slavery links

University committee rules shield donated by family that built wealth through slavery does not reflect institution’s values

Staff and agencies

Saturday 5 March 2016 03.59 GMT
Last modified on Monday 7 March 2016 11.44 GMT

Harvard law school will remove its official shield following months of protest at the symbol’s ties to an 18th-century slaveholder.

A committee at the prestigious university, which counts president Barack Obama among its alumni, was convened to rule on the issue and on Friday decided the shield was inappropriate.
Harvard 'black tape' vandalism brings law school's controversial past to fore
Read more

“We believe that if the law school is to have an official symbol, it must more closely represent the values of the law school, which the current shield does not,” the panel, made up of professors, alumni, students and staff, wrote in its recommendation.

The school has sent its decision to the university’s governing body, the Harvard corporation, asking for the emblem to stop being used as its official shield. It was not immediately clear when the corporation would take up the issue.

The shield’s meaning has changed over time, said Bruce Mann, committee chairman and Harvard law professor.

“Too many people think the shield has become an impediment,” he said. “Too many people see the association with slavery.”

The committee’s 10-2 recommendation was backed by Dean Martha Minow.

“I endorse the recommendation to retire the shield because its association with slavery does not represent the values and aspirations of the Harvard law school and because it has become a source of division rather than commonality in our community,” she wrote to students and alumni.

The shield, officially adopted in 1937, depicts three bundles of wheat, an image borrowed from the family crest of Isaac Royall Jr, under the university’s motto “Veritas”.

Royall donated his estate to create the first law professorship at Harvard University. His father, Isaac Royall Sr, made much of the family wealth on the backs of slaves on Caribbean sugar plantations and Massachusetts farms.

Minow created the committee after some law school students formed a group called Royall Must Fall to denounce the shield.

“We definitely consider this a victory that represents our tireless advocacy,” said AJ Clayborne, a third-year Harvard law student and member of Royall Must Fall, adding that the group was also dedicated to fighting other racial injustices at the school.

Not everyone agreed with the recommendation. One professor on the committee, joined by a student, said keeping the shield was a way to honor the slaves whose sacrifice provided the Royall family with its wealth.

They said the shield should be tied “to a historically sound interpretative narrative about it” and suggested adding the word “Iustitia” (justice in Latin) below the word “Veritas”.

The move to drop the shield came after Harvard University announced it would change the centuries-old title “house master”, used to describe the Ivy League’s residential administrators, to the term “faculty dean”.

There were waves of protests in late 2015 across several US college campuses, including Yale and Princeton, where students rallied against what they saw as institutional racism. Activists claimed the title “house master” was inappropriate and conjured a connection to slavery.

Associated Press contributed to this report

Microsoft's Artificial Troll

That's what the world needs. More Internet trolls.

I think that Microsoft's project is worthwhile,
unlike its computer software which is still
the binary version of a bucket of  bolts,
even after 30+ years.

It's good because it is supposedly a learning,
mind-like system. So, it may even mimic
some of the human stages of Internet Chat
Literacy (trademark).

What it shows is an arc of development of
that is similar to that of a human. It is
"cognitive" overload.
It is mind-blowing to be able to sit in front
of your computer and chat with people on
the other side of our blue sphere. This is
especially life-changing if you're a lonely
neurotic blogger, like me.
What that means is that you get a response
where in Reality 1.0, you get ignored even
by your mother. That opens a pandora's box
of repressed emotions, from happiness (and
vulnerability) but through a series of
disappointments (cuz others just don't play
in the way you want to) to curmudgeonly
Admit it. We've all been there, at least for a
short while.

What I don't like is that the AI bot's twitter
account shows a human face. That can only
confuse things.
Indeed, I've noticed some
troll bots let loose on twitter. They seem
to engage with people but then if you
insult them ever so indirectly, they do
not react. A human troll would.

What I have practiced, in order to discover
if a troll is a computer or not is to use my
Turing Troll Test.
I assume that if you use the word "asshole",
the computer could be programmed to produce
an appropriate response.
If however, you use a more nuanced critique
that nevertheless would insult any human on
the planet, then the Trap is set. If the troll
doesn't get it, then it's a bot.
Then I enquire: "isn't it strange that you're
not responding to my concerns," and again
no answer is forthcoming.
When I claim "you're a bot", some of
the trolls respond back and say that they
"are" not. But I already have my answer.

checkit: Guardian

Microsoft 'deeply sorry' for racist and sexist tweets by AI chatbot

Company finally apologises after ‘Tay’ quickly learned to produce offensive posts, forcing the tech giant to shut it down after just 16 hours
Microsoft’s artificial intelligence chatbot Tay didn’t last long on Twitter.

Staff and agencies

Saturday 26 March 2016 16.52 GMT
Last modified on Tuesday 29 March 2016 09.53 BST

Microsoft has said it is “deeply sorry” for the racist and sexist Twitter messages generated by the so-called chatbot it launched this week.

The company released an official apology after the artificial intelligence program went on an embarrassing tirade, likening feminism to cancer and suggesting the Holocaust did not happen.
Tay, Microsoft's AI chatbot, gets a crash course in racism from Twitter
Read more

The bot, known as Tay, was designed to become “smarter” as more users interacted with it. Instead, it quickly learned to parrot a slew of anti-Semitic and other hateful invective that human Twitter users fed the program, forcing Microsoft Corp to shut it down on Thursday .

Following the disastrous experiment, Microsoft initially only gave a terse statement, saying Tay was a “learning machine” and “some of its responses are inappropriate and indicative of the types of interactions some people are having with it.”

But the company on Friday admitted the experiment had gone badly wrong. It said in a blog post it would revive Tay only if its engineers could find a way to prevent Web users from influencing the chatbot in ways that undermine the company’s principles and values.

“We are deeply sorry for the unintended offensive and hurtful tweets from Tay, which do not represent who we are or what we stand for, nor how we designed Tay,” wrote Peter Lee, Microsoft’s vice president of research.

Microsoft created Tay as an experiment to learn more about how artificial intelligence programs can engage with Web users in casual conversation. The project was designed to interact with and “learn” from the young generation of millennials.

Tay began its short-lived Twitter tenure on Wednesday with a handful of innocuous tweets.

— TayTweets (@TayandYou)
March 24, 2016

c u soon humans need sleep now so many conversations today thx💖

Then its posts took a dark turn.

In one typical example, Tay tweeted: “feminism is cancer,” in response to another Twitter user who had posted the same message.
Tay tweeting
Tay tweeting Photograph: Twitter/Microsoft

Lee, in the blog post, called web users’ efforts to exert a malicious influence on the chatbot “a coordinated attack by a subset of people.”

“Although we had prepared for many types of abuses of the system, we had made a critical oversight for this specific attack,” Lee wrote. “As a result, Tay tweeted wildly inappropriate and reprehensible words and images.”

Microsoft has deleted all but three of Tay’s tweets.

Microsoft has enjoyed better success with a chatbot called XiaoIce that the company launched in China in 2014. XiaoIce is used by about 40 million people and is known for “delighting with its stories and conversations,” according to Microsoft.

As for Tay? Not so much.

“We will remain steadfast in our efforts to learn from this and other experiences as we work toward contributing to an Internet that represents the best, not the worst, of humanity,” Lee wrote.

Reuters contributed to this report

Saturday, 26 March 2016

welcome to Bling-On-Thames

The oligarchic class in the UK are a sparky
bunch of people. They have a lot of life in
The Tory government gives the oligarchs
tax breaks, funds the things that oligarchs
like, and life is just wonderful.

But they're not happy. Wouldn't you know
it. The Entitlement Class wants to have
even more, and they want the poor plebs
to pay for it.

They want something public,
something austentatious
something everyone will see
so that they'll say
"what oligarchs you have"
£60 million of public money ought to do it.

It's a bridge too far.
A bridge over the River. Why?

In honour of Sacha Baron Cohen,
I re-christen London as
In song. All together now:

Don't take my bridge,
my argy-bargy bridge.
Goddamn plebs don't understand
but if you take my bridge
my argy bargy bridge
Bo Jo might blow up and stop this span

The Thames has other bling, but it's quite dated.
[It's so 19th century]

You see, rich people grew up with this bling even in
their nursery rhymes, and feel driven to bling it up,
now that they're in power.

Garden Bridge is failing now
failing now
failing now
Garden Bridge is failing now
my fair Joanna Lumley
more later

checkit: Guardian

Will Self joins London ‘mass trespass’ over privatisation of public space
Author warns of ‘threat to national psyche’ as campaigners rally outside City Hall to protest at corporate takeover of streets and squares

Mark Townsend

Saturday 13 February 2016 16.52 GMT
Last modified on Monday 15 February 2016 11.34 GMT

The spiritual wellbeing of our cities is being eroded by the creeping corporatisation and privatisation of its public spaces, the author Will Self has warned.

Addressing the first “public space intervention” to protest against the fact that sizeable chunks of London are falling into corporate hands, Self said the trend was having a deleterious impact on the capital’s residents.
Public spaces in Britain's cities fall into private hands

“What people don’t understand is that it does affect you psychically. It constrains you in how you think about what you can do in a space, and it constrains your imagination. It’s like a condensing of time and money and space – it needs to be resisted.”

Self added: “The kind of ludic, playful potential of living in a city is being significantly impoverished by this kind of stuff.”

The author was one of the speakers at a growing campaign to preserve UK cities for their residents. Protesters on Saturday cited London’s Canary Wharf, Olympic Park and the Broadgate development in the City as public places now governed by the rules of the corporations that own them.

Privatised public zones are appearing throughout Britain and include Birmingham’s Brindleyplace, a significant canalside development. In Exeter, there is Princesshay, described as a “shopping destination featuring over 60 shops set in a series of interconnecting open streets and squares”. The spaces there are owned and run by property group Land Securities along with the monarch’s property portfolio, the Crown Estate. In addition, Land Securities owns a large waterside complex of shops, bars and restaurants in Portsmouth.
Comedian Mark Thomas talking at the same event.

Writer Anna Minton said that in London the proposed Garden Bridge was symbolic of the trend, pointing to the fact that despite using £60m of public money it would be plagued by corporate restrictions: cyclists would have to dismount to cross while social gatherings, playing musical instruments, making a speech, releasing balloons and many other pursuits would be banned.

Asked what he thought of the Garden Bridge, Self replied: “It could be great – it will be shit.”

Described as both a “public space intervention” and a “mass trespass”, the protest included a series of speakers defending the rights of urban residents as free-roaming citizens. Among them was comedian Mark Thomas, who attacked the coalition government’s introduction of the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which allows councils to make illegal activities such as sleeping rough in an attempt to drive homeless people from town or city centres.
Analysis London's garden bridge: the end of the road?
It has seemed impervious to a barrage of criticism to date, but is the flawed fairytale plan to build a forest across the Thames finally beginning to wither?
Read more

Campaigners gathered on a patch of grass near City Hall on the banks of the Thames, chosen because it gives visitors the illusion of being a public space but is in fact controlled by private security, with its own set of regulations. Tourists can be admonished just for taking a photo, as Assembly Member Jenny Jones discovered while taking a picture of her place of work.

Gesturing to the surrounds, Self said: “How anybody can think this is one of the nicest parts of London. It can only be because they have been deprived of the capacity to make free choices of their own: you’re told what to do in a space like this, the very architecture tells us.”

Self added: “This is part of a gathering campaign to resist what I call ‘piss-pots’, Public Space Protection Orders which are a kind of extension of the law into the very psyche of the urban stroller. This is non-trivial.”

Other speakers at the event included comedian Mark Thomas and Sian Berry, Green party candidate for mayor of London, who pledged to introduce rules to ensure that new publicly accessible spaces in the capital were governed by the law of the land. Her modification of the London Plan would prevent controversial projects such as the Garden Bridge excluding the public at the request of its owners.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Football is about humans, not just gut feelings

If gut feelings were all you needed, GWBush
would be president of the world. but alas, no.

As John Cusack said in High Fidelity:
My guts have shit for brains.

Unfortunately, fans have to listen to pundits
just go with their gut feelings.
That can go wrong when you're trying to
bet on who will win the championship.

So, they go to the talking heads on television
for some words of wisdom, and what do they
get? They get the gut feelings of pundits
whose job is so easy that they don't even
have to use their brains, let alone do any
proper research.
They think they have all they need in what
Brits call their "nut." i.e. their brain

Gary Lineker is so famous due to his
World Cup expoits (10 goals), he would have
to "mistreat" some girl on the royal family
line of succession to lose his job as a football
commentator, and he knows that. What that
does is, it shuts off your brain.

Lineker rejected Claudio Ranieri as the new
coach of Leicester before the start of the season,
without even talking to the man, looking at his
stats, discussing how he works with people.
No research. Does Lineker even have a degree?
Sports Management? that's a real degree. I know
this. Loughborough Uni, in Leicestershire.
No, he doesn't have said degree.

From wikipedia:
"Lineker left school with four O Levels. One of his teachers wrote on his report card that he "concentrates too much on football" and that he would "never make a living at that". He then joined the youth academy at Leicester City in 1976.[7]"
-concentrates too much on football?
He must have obviously taken too many balls to the head.
[I never liked the idea, when I played as a kid]
You know about all that new research on
the long-term effect of concussions.

[Will and the writers must have taken too many
shots to the head. repeating same drivel. failing
to show human emotions. Can't tell a decent story.
Smith also played Muhammad Ali the boxer]

You also discover from Wikipedia that Lineker
grew up in Leicester and played for that same
Leicester City team. Still he had no desire to
investigate things. What does it take to motivate
this man?

When I was playing the hockey pools, during the
early days of computers, I used stats and watched
games religiously to try to win the season. I spent
most of the year in last place, but by the playoffs,
I had got into contention. I ended up losing the
finals 4 games to 1. Why? because I studied the
thing to death (perhaps too much, ok mom?).
Lineker doesn't feel he needs to do this.

For football, which has many variables, one of
the tools you can use is a Rasch table. It puts
all the teams on X and Y axes and shows how
the play against each other.

From Wikipedia, Ranieri's managerial achievements:

Serie C1: 1988–89
Serie B promotion: 1989–90

Serie B: 1993–94
Coppa Italia: 1995–96
Supercoppa Italiana: 1996

UEFA Intertoto Cup: 1998
Copa del Rey: 1998–99
UEFA Super Cup: 2004

Ligue 2: 2012–13

Premier League Manager of the Month: September 2003, March 2004, November 2015

Don't you think a guy like this deserves to be
given a chance to at least explain himself?

Update: with 8 games to go, Leicester is 8 points
ahead of Tottenham, a team that also should
not be there.

more later

checkit: Independent

Remembering what Gary Lineker said about Claudio Ranieri when he was appointed as Leicester City's manager
Posted 2 months ago by Evan Bartlett in sport

Leicester City sit top of the Premier League following their 3-1 victory over title rivals (yes, title rivals) Manchester City on Saturday.

The Foxes, under the guidance of manager Claudio Ranieri, have now taken 53 points and with just 13 games left in the season are proving to be an immovable force at the top of the league.

But when the Italian was appointed in the summer, just months after being sacked by Greece, his arrival was hardly greeted with optimism from the club's supporters.

Gary Lineker, former England centre forward and Leicester fan, slammed Ranieri as an "uninspiring" choice.

He said on BreatheSport:

Claudio Ranieri is clearly experienced, but this is an uninspired choice by Leicester.

It's amazing how the same old names keep getting a go on the managerial merry-go-round.

Here's a quick look at the Premier League table as it stands:

And Lineker's reaction on Saturday as the Foxes were beating City

Doesn't seem so "uninspiring" now, does he Gary?


Note: This post has been updated because, well, Leicester City just keep winning football matches

Sunday, 7 February 2016

a hook in time 2: no no no, with a boogaloo

I tripped over this amazing boogaloo song when
simulating dancing in a Bath pub, with a gal
friend and here's the story:

In a dark, low-ceilinged pub, cut into a hill-side
in Bath, we were standing listening intently to
the DJ's cool tunes. Nobody but us was dancing.
In fact, we were also so self-conscious and
half-assed about it, others thought we wanted
to sit down, and kept offering us chairs. When I
heard this song, I was driven to ask the DJ about it.
He had it on a vinyl 45, with this picture on
the sleeve:

I've already expressed my interest in salsa,
recently, but what confused me with this song
was the use of English in a salsa song. And
there were lyrics that I semi-recognised. It's a
bilingual tune but from what I figure, the band are
Americans, but I know nothing about their
What they are doing is called the
Newyorican (New York Puerto Rican) sound,
which was sung with mixed English and Spanish
lyrics. Also called boogaloo (9:45), it was a wave in
1970s New York. I'll dig up the documentary.
Here it is, with , you guessed it, Ruben Blades.
New York Salsa (see 6:40):

 From the beginning:
So, finding this song started a search that
took me back to the 1950s. What we have
here is another awesome mix of mixes.

in 1955, Bo Diddley (not greatly appreciated)
wrote a song "She's fine, she's mine" where
we get a wicked, minimal blues beat with harmonica
and the words "you don't love me" in the
the closest-thing-to-a-chorus. A hook is born.

check it at 0:35
Credit for the song is given to E McDaniels,
Ellas McDaniels, the legal name of the one and only
Bo Diddley. Actually, he was born Ellas Otha Bates
and had it changed as a child.

The dawn of the 1960s sees Willie Cobbs
taking the beat, speeding it up and using
the chorus words from the opening onward.
"oh, oh, oh, you don't love me. Yes I know"
He added some v good guitar work (starts at 1:00).
Very much a good example of 1960s blues,
that has hints of Chuck Berry in the tuneship.
This time, it's supported by a tenor sax.

we hear:
"if you love me, I'll get on my knees and pray"
 near the end.

In 1967, the song is exported to Jamaica.
Dawn Penn took the song and lyrics, turned
the beat inside out with a rocksteady syncopation
(that's a precursor to reggae).
She added an impressive, cool intro with
a percussive& guitar double beat that gets your
attention. The metal drums cascade, like a lot of
reggae, and then the angst-ridden (for a Jamaican)
"no,no,no. You don't love me and I know now"
rings out. 
The guitar bar chords & piano keep a steady slow
beat as the lyrics slowly leave her lips. There
is the coolest use of echo in the recording
that probably was caused by the actual recording
conditions. This time, the spice comes from horns,
heard on occasion.

By 1994, Penn had the song morphed into a classic
reggae song, with a toast at the beginning. Though
the instrumentation changed a lot including a
a reggae high-hat and drum rim beat, the
words are the same. The song seems to be about
15% faster than her 1967 version. It's a professional
piece of reggae with the sorta-sexually charged,
scripted video. Gotta have a
,sexy video to get famous on MTV
, or so the story goes.

The ultimate version, in 2013, took
the Jamaican version,
some boogaloo beats from Joe Cuba,
some Spanish lyrics
and created a song with dizzying musicality.
the piano dominates one beat. a Spanish percussion
instrument (I can't name yet) keeps another beat.  Total
salsa time is kept here. The single singer
is replaced by salsa harmony. Throw in some
flute, sax and trombone and there you are. This tune
is twice as fast as the 1994 version.

These fellas have their own youtube channel, as you
As mentioned earlier, the no-no-no musicology is
not the whole story. They have mixed this song with
Newyorican music, which for me is a big find. It is
very much based on Cuban Salsa but it rocks with
a metropolitan feel.
If you want to dive in with lots of tunes, check this:

One key example, that likely affected their tune was
these songs by Joe Cuba Sextet 1 "Sock it to me"
for the beat

but, the Ritmo starts with the almost the exact tune
as the Assassins:

Here's a live version of no-no-no:

If you hear them talk, you can see they're Americans.

There have been other versions by Rihanna and Beyonce,
so far only live versions. I'll dig those up, but
they cannot touch the boogaloo.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

a hook in time: Maria Lionza

In this first of a series (I hope), I will look at
how musicians find a sound, a tune, a riff
a hook!
& take it somewhere else. 

I guess that being on the quiet side has meant
that I have spent more time carefully studying
music. I like technical aspects of music, but
I find the money business tiring.

I'm interested in how artists are affected by
the music they love. Sometimes, borrowing is
indirect or unintentional. Other times, artists
might like a sound so much, they want to
add their own flare to it.

1 the Original
It started as a Latino song
by Ruben Blades, called
It was a slower than mid-tempo song which
came alive with a horn intro (0:35) that was
really quite cool, but you had to have
your antennae up to catch it's coolness.
A hook is born.

This video is from 1979 in Venezuela. I'd heard
of Blades, but was too young to appreciate. I
have since appreciated Latino tunes greatly,
especially Salsa. I would nevertheless, never
have spent time on this song. How wrong I

The weird thing is that the horn bit is
never heard again. Odd. In English music,
they bang away at the hook mercilessly.

Tune: Lionza instrumental riff
part of song: intro
Artist: Ruben Blades & his hot horns
Musical source: Latin America
Sound source: real horns!(plus clapping)
Speed: slow
Musical style: Salsa 
song writer: Willy Colon , Ruben Blades

2 First transmutation
The next step was in 2011 by Flexican, a Dutch DJ.
He included the spliced riff into the
mid-tempo Latino-type moombahton rap song,
with Typhoon rapping in Dutch.

Song: Bumaye
Tune: Lionza riff
part of song: chorus
Artist: Flexican with Typhoon
Additions: new tune, rap, title
Musical source: Holland
Sound source: spliced sample
Speed: mid-tempo
Musical style: Moombahton

3 ultimate transmutation (2013)
The final piece of the puzzle was to give it
a Jamaican dancehall beat and a Jamaican English
patois toast.
It is quite impressive to match a Latino riff
with dancehall. I believe that such cross-pollinations
are at once rife with potential for great music
and also can generate entire new sound trends.
A salsa riff seems to underlie the dancehall
beat in many parts of the song. It's quite a mind-blower.
Other times, the salsa sound dominates. That's a new genre.

The video here is very colourful,
and maybe a bit much. The scene appears to be
Kingston Jamaica, with Canadian DJ Diplo being
the square peg.
Great dance moves, style and coolness abound.

The singer, Busy Signal,
refers to the Yardies (gangs)
and his friend named a-Yannis,
which to him, seem to rhyme.

watch out for the riff as the tune builds up
to an ecstatic Lionza chorus several times.
That's banging away at the hook!

The hook is even used in a couple
 of bridges, it's that good (like at 1:43),
but instead of over-use, it is just a well-crafted tune.

As judged by Youtube (1.7 million views) it
was nowhere near as popular as "Lean on" (1.1 billion),
with the gal of the yeast dance (several entries ago).

The song went platinum in Belgium & France and
gold in Italy. It never went number 1, but hit
#2 in Belgium, and was #28 on Billboard's
hot dance chart (US).

Verdict: this is the best version yet because
it sped up the tune, released it from the
heavy beat of the previous rap song,
perhaps due to the dancehall influence,
and it is euphoric.

Song: Watch out for this
Tune: Lionza riff (+clapping)
part of song: chorus
Artist: Major Lazer with Busy Signal
Additions: new tune, toasting (and lyrics), bassline
Musical source: Jamaica by way of Canada?
Sound source: spliced sample
Speed: up-tempo dance
New musical genre: Jamaican dancehall/ salsa mix
Producer: Flexican (the guy who wrote the previous one)

4 the mashing of Maria Lionza
Bang La Decks vs. Major Lazer - Watch Out For Zouka (Billy S Mashup)
I usually find mashing to be a great art
form. A DJ finds a way to meld 2 songs
with some artistry. In the following case,
it's just a cold cut between songs, but the
video is a booty-check.

5 the Latino reggaeton rap- Daddy Yankee
It's a rap with some mixing changes. It takes
advantage of the fact that the underlying tune
is essentially salsa. I don't really have
time for this version. See for yourself.

6 The Siberian aerobics dance number
Major Lazer - "Watch out for this" dance super video by DHQ Fraules

Whoever Maria Lionza was, she certainly
motivated a lot of musical cheer.