Monday, December 30, 2013

Scenario: Cumin gets huge.

There are many foods and spices with health benefits, but how can one suddenly erupt, like kale, from boring also-ran to godhood adorned with prestigious and pseudo-prestigious branding from the food-industrial complex doping it with its proven addiction enhancers, a crunchy host, saltiness and/or sweetness and/or fat, marketing, an upthumb from Dr. Oz, blogosphere hype, and the resulting buy-now-reflex from hoi polloi Whole Foods shoppers?

Recently there has been mild buzz about cumin, one tip from Dr. Oz and the hype-trigger will blow, the food cartel will clog consumer markets with cuminy processed foods, cumin chips, cumin shakes, cumin flakes, cumin smoothies, cumin pops, cumin cupcakes, cumin frozen yogurt, cumin steak sauces,cumin beer, cumin vodka, cumin lattes, cumin rings, cumin tea, and cumin kale crunches.

But perhaps the next Big Thing is another, so thus in the above paragraph replace 'cumin' with either 'ginger', 'turmeric', 'cilantro', 'clay', or 'seal blubber'

It's as good as lost

Oh shit I lived part of my life in the pre-internet period, it might as well have been the Bronze Age, if you don't scan it in.

In the 32nd century, all they will know of me and mine are the digital relects left?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas, not Festivus

The Airing of The Grievances only pertains to Festivus, if a house has Christmas decoration up, and not an aluminum pole, everything must be cheery and jolly, or else just get out and die.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Schlock and Troll Hall of Lame, Cleveland's brown is fecal.

The proposed 2014 "inductees" to the so-called Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have been reviled; oops I mean revealed...

Okay, I have to toss yet another boring nutty over this "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame". Inducting Nirvana is a no-brainer, but to include the middling likes of Hall and Oates, Cat Stevens, and Linda Ronstadt, who nobody cares about anymore, refluxes the nausea and unease I felt when Jann Wenner and cronies first forced the "Hall of Fame" conceit in the 80s.

I suppose that they eventually had to include the pathetic cartoon characters Kiss (I will NOT uppercase their stupid name), younger children of the 70s, not knowing any better liked their shtick; to my mind costume rock is better served by Insane Clown Posse and Gwar. Kiss only had one halfway decent song; contemporary uninducted middle of the road yeomen like Bad Company and Boston had at least a half dozen.

They are giving some kind of award to the E Street Band for their pompous bombastic recycling of 1950's rock cliches.

Hall and Oates joins Abba in the Hall of Lame wing, while Kiss of course will be in the Hall of Damn Shame annex. Hall and Oates. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Hall and Oates. The Onion? No, sadly true. They are in and but not Jethro Tull, whose song "Living in the Past", by itself, is worth more than Hall and Oates entire career of pale painfully lame white music. Could it be because George Starostin only gave Tull a C? So Tull made some not so good later albums, who hasn't?

Nirvana set a standard for arch lyrically and musically we will probably not see again, my opinion of course being we are in a downward spiral of formula schlock in popular music. While the rest of grungists had downward chord patterns like "Black Hole Sun" and the musical question "Would", Nirvana had crazy ups and downs in songs like "In Bloom" (verse: A# F# D# B A) and "Lithium" (chorus:E G# C# A C D B D) that Cobain managed to carve Michelangelic melodies from, and were well-served by the growled wordplay about angel hair and baby's breath, a mosquito my libido, teenage angst has paid off well.

Linda Ronstadt? Some people like her voice, I saw her at the old Boston Garden, she does not move on stage, not a hair. Have her songs aged well? Do you ever hear any of them? How is she more deserving than Yes? That is indeed a long distance run around.

Cat Stevens had a few entertaining pop songs, but so did Seals and Croft, Jim Croce, and John Denver. Oo baby, baby it's a mild world.

So I think the R+R HoF just enjoys the attention, even from cranks like me lambasting them, they are laughing all the way to the bank, as the saying goes. They held off Rush as long as possible, until 2013, and Rush fans are indeed fanatical, they choose a ready guide with some not so celestial voice.

As the years go by, there are going to be fewer and fewer old acts to "induct"; there are a handful of obvious candidates from the 90's, but 10 years from now they will be at 25 years past the de facto end of the rock era, please don't make me listen to post-rock bands like Arcade Fire or the dreadful Imagine Dragons, torturous predictability. I think a basic shortcoming of today's music is a genuine inability to sing and play with feeling, these whelps have no blues in them. They don't even have any folk in them. What is their base? Their base is the old rock's patina, under which we no longer see the blues and old music that anchored the first 20 years of rock.

Peter Gabriel sans Genesis, that's fine, he had some good sounds. I can't listen to one of his albums all the way through, but "Games without Frontiers", "Big Time", and "In Your Eyes" are terrific songs.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Getting through, entangled up in wormholes.

They found a reason for gravity, previous a big mystery, it's all quantum entanglement, the quazillion quarks of the universe hold things together through wormholes.  So goes the scenario.

Another day, another mind blowing article from the science section.

But does this legitimize astrology by saying the gravity of the spheres effects every brain upon borning?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My top 25 iPod tracks in 2013, all of which were recorded in the 20th century.

Use my iPod only for running, its library has just 535 songs after eliminating most of those which really didn't make sense for my run motivation, so let's see what has been the Top 25 this year

49 Byes-Byes
I hadn't heard this song in decades before adding it to my playlist during my Buffalo Springfield revivalist period and revisiting CSN, but then I listened to it near the end of every run for months and it ended up my most played song for the year, never skipped.  I like the 60's sound in the guitar and drums, the electric organ phrases, the changes in the melodies, and the goal is the way Stills sings the musical question "Who do you love?"

Golden Slumbers
Once there was a way to get back home... not anymore.  Abbey Road was my third album, after The Monkees Greatest Hits and Buffalo Springfield.  This is McCartney's best granny-song (Lennon's phrase) moment, always singing the granny tunes like "Martha My Dear" and "Your Mother Should Know", so concerned with the vanishing past, but here he addressed his issue directly.  The Golden Slumbers filled his eyes when a lad, when there was a way to get back homeward, he took the phrase from an old English work that resonated with Paul, The Greatest Sentimentalist of our time.

For No One
This McCartney tune has a pace in the rhythm guitar in both verse and chorus that matches my  characteristic trot, and the classical trumpet solo helps.  The lyrics are yet another rock song complaining that his woman hurt him, maybe it's more convincing when given by Paul McCartney than when more philandering types like Robert Plant and Mick Jagger assert it's some woman's fault.

Mean Mr. Mustard links to an early acoustic version which is worthy, but the original Abbey Road version along with Polythene Pam/She Came In Through the Bathroom Window was my favorite song when I was 10; cartoony Beatles songs were all the favorites, and Yellow Submarine was my favorite movie; Britishy and Sixtiesish as anything, I took that movie as a monumental document, though you don't hear much such acclamation anymore.

Lilywhite Lilith - The opening track of record 2 of Genesis' "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway", which I didn't listen to until a year or two ago, while long worshipping the album title track, the similar "Fly On A Windshield", and the immortal "Carpet Crawlers"; now I skip a jump when I hear that bass countdown that the chamber was in confusion with all the voices counting down, what a great song; Genesis did a bad job putting together what should have been their definitive rock opera, the second album drags with the ill-considered imagined lysericity, and even the first album drags at times, Gabriel was only partially committed, he was also undergoing some personal drama, mairrage stuff.

Outside Woman Blues - The much beloved blues remake from side 2 of Disraeli Gears, with Clapton's "woman tone" guitar stylings, written by whoever, but originally recorded by Blind Joe Reynolds in 1929; the Clapton arrangement is very playable, any chords website should have a version.  You can't watch your wife and your outside wimmins too, this old song says.

Let It Loose - Mick's best gospel-inspired contribution to Exile On Main Street.  The lyrics about some pickup, I wish Mick had stepped it up for this tune instead of being ironic, because the tune picks up throughout and is terrific; the drums cutting in art 2:27 announce the higher revelation with majestic horns, and Mick's more involved melodic performance at 3:04, and again at 3:40, he totally redeems himself from screwing with Keith's drug-stoked initial album tracks from France for Exile.

Eleanor Rigby - Another Beatles rhythmic runner's helper, with the pathos, Paul should have asked John to sing with him, it always sounded better with Lennon vocals, two of us.

Doing That Scrapyard Thing - This is one of my favorite Cream songs, perhaps for sentimental reasons, playing albums in the 80's in Dorchester, but maybe I just like Jack Bruce's Beatlesqueries.

Don't Stay Home - 311 always with the positivity and distorted guitar, and I stayed home many a time, I like the admonishment, this is the 311 tune they should play more often!

Helplessly Hoping
I think I like a few CSN songs for memories and resonance, though most of their work is off my list. The rhythm of the acoustic picking pattern fits my running pace, the amateur alliteration is fun, even when the G's in "Gasping at glimpses of gentle true spirit" match on paper but not in pronunciation.  I don't expect a lot from rock lyrics, not everybody is Bob Dylan, many of my favorites fail to achieve what they want in their lyrics, George Harrison aims high and falls short sometimes, Townsend has some awkward lines.  Still it's fun that Stills tried to be alliterative.

On the Way Home - Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young song sung by Richie Furay, a great song,

Bluebird - Stephen Still's best Buffalo Springfield song, starts with Neil Young guitar, but Stills matches guitars later, the guitar match is conversant, a great 60's sound from all the instuments; at the end the whole song is made transcendent by a Charlie Chin banjo piece, which Young had not expected and objected to, yet is completely appropriate and necessary to enjoyment nowadays,and I pick up a banjo every time I am in Guitar Center without luck,

Mellow My Mind - Now my favorite song from Neil Young's Tonight's The Night, the favorite album of Neil Young heads,  Sloppy and glorious, the great moment is the voice breaking in the chorus, "lonesome whistle on the railroad track, ain't got nothing on that feeling, that I had".

Let It Grow  - Eric Clapton still in 60's mode, singing deliberately, heavy breath to start,

Ain't Wastin Time No More - You don't need no gypsy to ask you why this is the best Allman Bros song becausethe slide is all over like hot fudge,

One Love - The Bob Marley classic anthem, for some reason the more topical "Three Little Birds", Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino's muse and Fenway Park 2013 World Series sing-along is not the one that made my cut, although it is equivalent culturally.

Dance the Night Away - Cream from Disraeli Gears side one, the drumming never stops, the vocals total Bruce falsetto vibrato, a great insurgent Cream discoteque dance tune.

Lovely Rita - Paul makes his bass melodic and propulsive, it has rhythm and pace,

Go and Say Goodbye - From my rediscovery of Buffalo Springfield,Stills and Young guitar interaction magic, a tight country-rock song that was ill-served by the slowed-down version acoustically played in the ill-fated 2011 Buffalo Springfield reunion tour that Neil Young ungentlemanly aborted,

Come On Baby Let's Go Downtown - The showstoppper, the last song from side one of Tonight's the Night, a song about The Junk from addict Danny Whitten, whose death Neil would mourn in The Needle and the Damage Done.  What a great song.   I like it when Neil sings with somebody else, Stills  and Furay, Stills and Crosby and Nash, and especially Danny Whitten in this song, while Ralph Molina pounds on the drum and Billy Talbot hurts his bass, Crazy Horse style.

Sea and Sand - has been my favorite song twice from Quadrophenia, once in the 80's when that was my favorite album, but also once again in the Two-Tens as a runner.  Dirty Jobs was my favorite song for Q in 2009-2012, and perennial second-place finisher The Real Me is retired to the Hall Of Fame.  Sea and Sand has a noise-and-quiet interplay, and now as I live near the sea and sand there is that resonance.

The Unknown Soldier - The Doors, in their theatrical mode, I consider them better when theatrical, that was their contribution, along with baroque keyboards.  Jim played the execution victim in the original, the images play on my mind as this plays,

Mother and Child Reunion -  This reminds me of fishing with my father in the early 70's, but is also one of the best Paul Simon songs during his fairly glorious early solo period, I used to listen to "There Goes Rhymin Simon" on 8-track, the imitation of reggae was beneficial to PS,

Waiting for John Hawks to comment on Denisovans in Spain...

As a blogger I await the opine of the master anthropology blogger John Hawks from the U of Wisc Madison to weigh in, but he is deep in the caves of Malapa these days, at least mentally, only super thin spelunkers can get in there.  It's great work, but bloggers need immediate waggery.

Maybe Deinekes will have an opinion

Here it is:

The Denisova-Sima de los Huesos connection

Denisovan genetics in Spain screw up the apple cart and apple sauce squooshes underfoot

The Denisovan line of humans, as separate from us modern human as the Neanderthals, was only known by a finger bone in a cave in the Altic region of Russia until the other day, when it was broadcast that advanced DNA analytical methods revealed that bones in a Spanish cave had DNA really similiar to those of the finger bone.  Denisovan genetic mixture is only found in people from west of the Wallace Line (google it) indicating ancient mixture in Asia, but they found this in Spain, a long way from Asia.  As a result, the story lines of recenter human evolution are messed up.

As DNA analysis get more nuanced and human remains are more digged upped, the results will get resultinger.

Denisovans in Spain? Human origins may now be characterizsed as "It's Complicated"

Firstly, the National Geographic link.

They tested the Neanderthal bones from Spain and the result said Denisovan, the still apparently poorly understood third strand of modern human genetics, along with homo sapiens sapieins and the cold-adopted Neanderthals of Eurasia.

Maybe the Denisovans were the original Eurasian population and Neanderthals replaced them in their range?

Maybe any hypothesis can float a while in the current void of knowledge.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tarim Basin

Last year, so very late in life, I learnt about the Tarim Basin, a huge area in west China that is obvious once you stare at it, with a unique history, home of the "Tocharian" Indo-European languages and mummies wrapped in Celtic-like tartans.

Indo-European, as everybody should know, is the language family encompassing all languages from Western Europe to Iran and India.  This is the beginners explanation of the centum-satem west-east split of these languages: The Tocharian languages' word for 100 belongs to the "centum" (Latin centum, English hundred are descendent words in this group), along with the Germanic, Celtic, Italic and other western branches of the Indo-European language family, as opposed to the more eastern group of the Indian, Iranian, and Slavic group of languages whose word for 100 is derived from "satem", no nasalized vowel or hardened initial consonant.  But why is the "centum" language Tocharian only found on items from the Tarim Basin, thousands of miles from the other "centum" groups like Italic and Germanic?  Supposedly the development of the "satem" language features arose in the eastern part of the Indo-European homeland after the emigration of the group now known as Tocharian.

The Tocharian people lived 2000BC into the first millenium CE, until the Uighurs overran the Tarim Basin in 800AD or something like that, but the people of the area still have features like red hair and blue eyes, so ponder that.

That is the 30000 foot overview of the Tocharians, the name is cool but is probably an inaccurate exonym.

Geologically, the basin is a micro-continent embedded in the Asian supercontinent, once a separate land mass but now quite ensconced within Asia, ringed with its mountains.  It's a forsaken desert surrounded by mountain stream nurtured oasis Silk Road towns for 4000 years now 

Glib remarks on "Correlations in the population structure of music, genes and language"

The original article Correlations in the population structure of music, genes and language is now paywalled by the so-called Proceedings of the Royal Society, I could log in using Facebook Oauth voodoo but I don't feel like  it, so as I won't be quoting from it, I'll just misrepresent and mischaracterize it, internet-style.

Here's the money shot, or, if you will, the tl;dr:  "An examination of population structure for genetics showed stronger parallels to music than to language".

One might think, "One wandering minstrel and the whole model crumbles".  Popular music today has certainly no limits, but even in the Bronze Age stories and songs wandered.

This study would have us believe that on Taiwan, an island slightly smaller than the combined area of MA, CT and RI, there were distinct districts of genes and music.  We know that in pre-Columbian times, the Algonquian peoples of southern New England would and could from the Berkshires to the ocean and back, maybe even every year, but the aboriginal peoples of Taiwan apparently kept apart from each other.  Or liked different music, because of cultural identity and religion, and taste?  What about the Malay and Polynesian folks who long ago descended from one or more of these Taiwanese groups?

I think we need a Papua New Guinea study.


Most men are either fit or unfit, but I am both; historically unfit with poor eating practices, but compulsively a runner.  After this latest typically fattening, obesening American holiday, went for a jog in the cold yesterday, carbo loaded, at first plodding, but with musical help better, breathing fully, varying pace, never stopping, finished covered with sweat.

Beforehand, I drove slow and careful, but afterwards I was racing, winning, I swaggered through Trader Joe's, insouciant, insolent!  A different man!

I see why men take pills to restore their testosterone, but you don't need a pill.