SAST 12

Welcome to the twelfth production of Short Attention Span Theater. This installment is brought to you, not by hay fever and inconveniently draped felines, but by Like Herding Cats. I’m deeply enmeshed in what I hope will be the final revision, and don’t want to take the time to develop complete thoughts about much of anything right now.

Act One: Apple introduced new hardware earlier this week. No, not iPhones; that was back in September. The latest goodies-to-be are a new MacBook Air, a new iPad Pro, and a new Mac Mini.

I don’t have any particularly strong feelings about the laptop and tablet. I’ve never used a MacBook of any sort, and while the iPad Pro sounds like a nice bit of gear, it’s way to rich for my wallet–and massively overpowered for my tablet needs.

That said, I do appreciate Apple replacing the iPad Pro’s Lightening Port with a USB-C port. One less bit of proprietary gear, and more access to existing third-party hardware.

As for the Mini, I’ve got mixed feelings there. I’ve got an original Mac Mini around here someplace. It’s not in use because its power supply has wandered off, but it was a nice piece of kit in its day. I’m glad to see Apple hasn’t killed off the line, but I’m sad to see that they’re changing its emphasis.

The original point of the Mini was to bring in non-Apple users. As such, it was cheap. Cheap to the point of almost entirely forgoing the usual Apple markup. It seems, however, that Apple has decided the Mini has attracted all the Windows users it’s going to, and so they’ve decided to make it a more “professional” machine.

In case you didn’t realize it, in the tech industry, the word professional means “more expensive”. As such, the price has gone up $300. It’s still a good deal for the price, but it’s not as good a deal as it used to be.

Act Two: Our darling president’s latest threatpromise has been getting a lot of press, as usual. No, not that one. No, not that one either. I mean the one about wiping out birthright citizenship.

All the hysterical responses to the effect of “He can’t do that! It’s unconstitutional!” are missing the point.

First of all, “unconstitutional” is what the Supreme Court says it is. If you believe the current lineup of justices is a threat to abortion rights, why would you think they’d be any less of a threat to citizenship?

Secondly, Trump doesn’t care whether he can “do it”. It’s a distraction. Just the latest of many. When was the last time you saw any news about Russian interference in the upcoming election?

Third, nobody can actually stop him from issuing a proclamationan executive order. He may well go ahead and do it, on the theory that even if it doesn’t squeeze past the Supreme Court, it’ll be tied up there for months, leaving everyone scared–the administration’s preferred mental state–and providing the Republicans with the chance to spin the battle as “Democrats are soft on immigration.”

Third-and-a-halfth, if there is an executive order, you can be sure it’ll be written to exclude children whose parents are from countries that aren’t on Trump’s shit list. Because there’s nothing the administration would like better than than to divide the opposition by carving out a block of people who are going to feel like they dodged a bullet. Those are the ones who’ll be shouting the loudest about how Trump’s not such a bad guy after all…

Act Three: We end this production on a cheerier note.

The Austin Lounge Lizards are still doing their thing, thirty-eight years down the road (only eighteen years less than the Rolling Stones!)

Maggie and I went to last night’s show at the Freight and Salvage* in Berkeley. The band’s had a line-up change since the last time we saw them, which suggests that it’s been too long since we last went to one of their shows. It happens. The current group seems solid, though.

* Temporarily renamed the “Fright and Savage”. Though we were disappointed to see that the e and l on their neon sigh were left uncovered.

Granted, there were a few rough edges here and there, but to be fair, it’s probably been two decades or more since some of those songs were on their setlist.

The Lizards have tried out a number of things over the years–you can get damn stale doing the same thing over and over (Rolling Stones, anyone?)–including flirtations with folk, gospel, rap, and a few other styles that are currently eluding me.

The current experiment is with medleys, pairing (and sometimes tripling and quadling) selections from their back catalog with songs from across the rock and roll era–all in their inimitable bluegrass style. By and large, it works. I didn’t know the world needed a bluegrass rendition of Radiohead’s “Creep,” but now that we have one, I’m convinced we’re all better for the experience. (For the record, “Creep” goes very nicely with “Shallow End of the Gene Pool,” an instrumental take on The Stones’ “Paint It, Black,” and The Doors’ “When You’re Strange.”)

The current California mini-tour hits Winters tonight, Felton tomorrow, Culver City on Saturday, and winds up with an Election Night show in Houston, TX. Yeah, I know Houston isn’t in California–and thank all the deities for that–but that’s the Lizards for you. If you can make one of the shows, do it. Show some support for an American icon.

The Belated Father’s Day Post

Not belated because I forgot, or anything stupid like that. Belated because I don’t normally post on Sundays. Okay, so maybe it is a stupid reason. But sticking to a schedule helps me avoid slacking off. For the same reason, I work on novels in the afternoon–so I can start at the same time every day, even when I’m working on blog posts in the morning.

Bad night’s sleep? Doesn’t matter. Gotta write a blog post. Distracted by something shiny (or ragged and cat-eating)? Tough. Go write some words of fiction.

Dad was mildly amused by my schedule adherence, but he understood. “Do what works for you,” is a bit of writing advice that made perfect sense to him. Much as he loved word processing, he absolutely couldn’t edit on a computer. He printed every draft, edited it with a pencil, and then typed his changes in. Which mildly amused me, but again, it worked for him.

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Last week, I linked a story in the Sedalia Democrat about the Smith-Cotton High School String Orchestra appearing at the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival, and promised more words about their appearance. These are those words.

The short version, for anyone who finds the Democrat’s website annoyingly hard to use, is that the high school orchestra’s appearance was supported by the Larry Karp Memorial Fund. See, when Dad died, we asked that contributions in his name to be made to the Scott Joplin Ragtime Foundation. We–and the foundation–were amazed and pleased at the number of donations, and we all agreed there was an opportunity to do more than simply add the funds to the foundation’s general budget.

I often say that Dad was a storyteller. It’s no accident that he gravitated to baseball and ragtime: both are fields with enough stories to fill every library in the world. Dad liked teaching in the classic sense, but he outright loved teaching by telling stories. He could, and frequently did, talk ragtime for hours*. One of the reasons he enjoyed research was for the stream of new stories it brought him. When he started looking into Brun Campbell–a storyteller himself–the stream turned into something more like the Columbia River.

* Baseball, too, but there are more storytellers working that beat than spinning ragtime yarns.

Any community needs new blood to live. And Dad worried there might not be enough new ragtimers coming in to keep the music alive. When a new “Ragtime Kid”–a young talent consumed by the need to play ragtime–came along, he was delighted. Using the money donated in his name, not for immediate needs, but to teach the next generation of ragtimers was an easy call.

What that’s going to look like is still up in the air. We’ve got some immediate plans, and some ideas for the medium- and long-term, all aimed at getting a new generation interested in ragtime and its stories. But no project succeeds if it never gets started. We threw a whole lot of ideas around for where to start. Bringing the Smith-Cotton students to the festival this year was where we wound up. We got a couple of dozen students and their families to the festival. That’s a win no matter how you look at it. If only one of those dozens sticks with ragtime, whether as a performer, researcher, or listener, then it’s a major victory.

Now that we’ve started, we need to keep going. And that means we need to keep the fund healthy. (You knew there was a commercial message coming, right?)

I mentioned last week that the festival was somewhat smaller this year than in the past. Money’s tight all over, but especially so for art programs. We’d love some help.

If you’re willing to lend a hand, please drop a note to sjfsedalia@gmail.com.

Thanks from Dad, from the whole family, and from the entire ragtime community.

I’m Back. How Are You?

Hi, folks. I’m back from vacation and getting caught up on what’s been going on while I was gone. Thanks to all of you for playing nice. I’ll be going through the accumulated spam comments shortly after I post this, and then catching up on the real comments.

One bit of housekeeping: This blog is hosted at WordPress.com, which is run by Automattic. They’ve updated their privacy policy in accordance with the European GDPR. You can review the policy at the link; I’ve also turned on a feature to display a notice below the comment form. This isn’t strictly necessary, since I’m not in Europe, but I figure it’s not much of a burden, and probably worth doing if only for the sake of those of you who are in the EU.

Also, due to the timing of my vacation, there won’t be a snarky recap of Apple’s WWDC this year. If you feel the lack, you can re-read last year’s. Based on what I’ve seen of the mainstream coverage, not much has changed.

Moving on.

Sedalia was, as expected, hot and humid. Despite that, the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival was successful. The music was good—not that I expected otherwise–and this happened. I’ll have more to say about that next week. And on a more personal note, I did sell most of the copies of The RagTime Traveler I brought, and even signed a few.

I wouldn’t be so crass as to post my recordings from the festival. Those are for my personal enjoyment–and, while I support the musicians by buying CDs, I couldn’t force anyone who watched the videos to do likewise.

But not everyone is so conscious of the artists’ wishes. As usual, a YouTube search for “Sedalia Ragtime” or “Joplin Ragtime Festival” will turn up samples.

That does raise an interesting point, however.

Most of what’s been posted from this year’s festival so far has been from one group, the Holland-Coots Jazz Quintet. Which, as their name states, isn’t actually a ragtime ensemble.

Programming the festival is a balancing act. Purists would prefer three days of nothing but ragtime. But the general public’s reception of that would be dire. Not a good thing when you’re trying to expand your audience. So the organizers experiment, bringing in some performers who aren’t ragtime, but broaden the potential audience of the festival. The Quintet was one of this year’s experiments, and they were justly popular. Except among those who want all ragtime, all the time, of course.

Unfortunately, budget constraints made for a smaller festival this year. That always makes for trouble; this year, IMNSHO, it meant an imbalance in acts with ragtime sometimes feeling like an afterthought. The organizers are well aware of the issue–the “Holland” in the Quintet’s name is Brian Holland, who also happens to be the festival’s Musical Director–and will, I’m sure, lean back the other way next year.

Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed the heck out of all of the performers, ragtime or otherwise, and my CD purchases included the Quintet’s offering.

But if you attended the festival for the first time, or are looking at online videos and considering attending in the future–and you should–be aware that the contents of this particular cereal box have settled. It still contains a full serving of ragtime–nothing says you have to eat all of the side dishes.

Last Chance to See

Paul Simon is kicking off his farewell tour in May. This comes on the heels of Elton John’s announcement of his own farewell tour.

I was all set to suggest they save us all some time and money by combining their tours–call it “The End of an Era” show, take turns as headliner and opening act, mix things up by covering each other’s songs, and so on–and then I realized Mr. Simon is being a bit wimpy about his tour.

Twenty-nine shows over two months.

Mr. John is doing three hundred shows over the course of three years.

So much for that idea.

Seriously, though, both of them are outliers, albeit in opposite directions. And it does leave me wondering what the right length for a superstar’s farewell tour is.

On the one hand, fans want a long tour with plenty of shows, to maximize their chances of getting one at a convenient location. On the other hand, the performers are, by and large, tired of touring, possibly in ill health, and probably want to wrap things up as quickly as they can. And that’s without considering the possibility of wearing out their welcome. “What, is he on tour again? I thought he quit that two years ago?” “Nah, it’s still the same tour. Greedy, ain’t he?”

Maybe there isn’t a universally-applicable answer–almost certainly, in fact–but a few thoughts occur to me.

People like round numbers, and the double zeros in one hundred are particularly appealing. Similarly, they like numbers that are easy to grasp. Everyone knows viscerally how long a year is.

So how about setting a target of one year, 100 shows?

Consider the advantages for the performer. On a normal, lengthy tour, shows typically average about one every other day. That’s a big part of the grind that wears them down and turns them off of touring to begin with. With a year to work in, those hundred gigs can be spaced to average more than two off days between shows. A much more relaxed approach.

Granted, the economics of touring a big show mean it makes sense to bunch them. But it ought to be possible to insert more off days during the active periods without breaking the bank, while still leaving time for longer rest breaks. (As an example, instead of doing a three week tour of the West Coast, how about adding a few off days and a longer break between the Washington/Oregon leg and the California/Nevada leg and getting it done in five weeks?)

Let’s not forget: in addition to being tired of the grind, many musicians cite wanting to spend time with their families and an unwillingness to miss birthdays, holidays, school graduations, and such as primary reasons for wanting to give up touring.

If you’ve got a show Monday in Cleveland and the next one is Wednesday in Houston, you’re not going to catch Junior’s birthday in LA. But use some of those vacant dates to push the Texas shows out to the weekend and you can get a night’s sleep in Cleveland, still arrive early for the party in LA, hang out with the kid for a couple of days, and still make it to the Golden Buckle of the Sunbelt* the night before the show there.

* Yes, really.

There are probably reasons why this wouldn’t work–any professional musicians want to educate me? But from a layman’s perspective, it seems like a reasonable set of working guidelines.

Realistically, though, history suggests you’re always best off assuming your favorite performer’s current tour is their last, whether they call it that or not.

Latest Trends

Note: this post was written Monday evening. It’s likely that some of the data will have changed by the time you read it.

I see Google is reporting a lot of interest in the forthcoming Hall & Oates tour. I mention this not because I’m particularly interested in the duo–I’m not, beyond taking the opportunity to point out their take on “Family Man” falls into the category of cover versions that have become definitive, despite being far less interesting than Mike Oldfield’s original.

But this is the first time I’ve dug into the details on Google’s latest version of their “Trends” page.

The “Interest over time” chart is fun–though a longer baseline would be nice–but the chart I found most intriguing is “Interest by subregion”. In this case, you can read “subregion” as being equivalent to “state”; I presume this is done to make the chart more flexible for use in other countries.

It’s not particularly surprising that most of the interest in Hall and Oates is in Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas. They’ve always been big in the middle of the country. I was surprised to see Louisiana coming in at Number Four. Maybe some influence floating down the Mississippi River?

But the fun part was looking at the states with no apparent interest in them at all: aside from Alaska, which often goes its own way, we’ve got Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming: a tight cluster of states immediately to the north of the center of Hall and Oates’ support. What’s happening there?

I’d say something about not giving the obvious answer (“Nothing”), but that might actually be the correct answer. Consider the interest from another item on Google’s list.

Searches for “Asteroid, Earth” are hot, probably because right-wing news sites are spreading FUD about the government shutdown putting Earth at risk for an asteroid strike.

Leaving aside the stupidity of the claim*, I found the geographical breakdown of interest fascinating. The most interest is in Alaska–remember what I said about them doing their own thing? But the next most interest is in North Dakota. At the other end of the spectrum, we’ve got Hawaii (which is justifiably more concerned about missiles than asteroids right now), Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

* First, the risk of an asteroid hitting Earth is no higher whether we’re watching or not. Second, it’s not entirely clear to me whether the shutdown has any significant effect on the Asteroid Watch program–it’s a distributed program with participation by astronomers, both professional and amateur, from around the world. And third, even if we know an asteroid is coming, there’s very little we can do about it at this point. The technology to intercept and redirect or destroy an asteroid isn’t there yet.

Yeah, three of the four central states that have no interest in Hall and Oates are also the only central states that have no interest in their chances of being wiped off the map by an asteroid. (Insert your own joke about being wiped off the map by Hall and Oates here.)

I can only come up with two possible interpretations: either the inhabitants of those states aren’t interested in anything or they’ve already been wiped out by zombies.

Note that those states show no interest in Netflix or the Supreme Court. But Montana and North Dakota are right near the top of the list when it comes to the Megyn Kelly/Jane Fonda contretemps.

I rest my case–and suggest you update your zombie vaccinations before you visit Montana.

Semi-Vacation

About the time this post goes live, I’ll be boarding a plane, heading for Sedalia and the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival.

I’ve uploaded Feline Friday posts for the next two weeks–I know better than to leave y’all with no cats–but don’t count on anything else. There may be a few short posts. There may be a few tweets (If you’re not following me on Twitter, why not? I’m @CaseyKarp over there.) Or not. We’ll see.

Regular posting will resume June 13th.

In the Mood

I’m finding it difficult to get into the Christmas spirit this year. I don’t think I’m alone in that.

Music helps–but let me be clear: I’m not talking about the usual carols that are infecting every public or semi-public venue these days. Those things will, if you’re lucky, only induce ennui and low-grade tension; if you’re out of luck, expect homicidal rage shading to full-blown psychosis. We all have our triggers. For the record (sorry), mine is “The Little Drummer Boy”.

The next tier is a bit better. That’s the tracks you’ll only hear on the radio (or modern equivalents). The Brian Setzer Orchestra. Mannheim Steamroller. Trans-Siberian Orchestra. They’re not active downers, but the spiritual uplift is modest and temporary.

No, if you want to get the biggest Christmas bang for your musical dollar, you need to dig deep.

Jugology/The Christmas Jug Band or Bob and Doug.

Deeper:
Spike Jones (one more) or Tom Lehrer

Deepest:
Yogi Yorgesson (one more)–and don’t forget Stan Freberg

Don’t stop there, though. Keep digging, and you’ll find yourself in the Christmas spirit soon enough.

Uh… Now that I think about it, what is the Christmas spirit, anyway? I mean, what is it for those of us who aren’t actually, you know, Christian? Is that even a legitimate question?

I think it is. If nothing else, adopting some of that spirit makes for good camouflage. We may need as much of that as we can scrounge up in the next few years. Whoops! I think I’m slipping out of the mood again. Sorry.

Anyway, stripped of the explicitly religious trappings, the answers I’m seeing online to the question of what the Christmas spirit might be include such gems as “selfless action that brings people together,” “a generous heart and forgiveness,” and “a warm and gooey feeling.”

Hmm.

I can get behind some of that.

Selfless actions I can do. Maybe not enough to change the world, but that’s not really the point, now is it?

Generous heart? Within curmudgeonly limits, sure. I might not give you the shirt off my back, but I’ve got a dresser full of ’em that I’m not wearing at the moment. But I’m going to have to skip the “forgiveness” bit. There’s a general implication of universal forgiveness there–probably a relic of that religious “turn the other cheek” thing. Sorry, but I’m one of those annoying people who insists universal forgiveness is hooey. I’m going to insist on seeing a least a hint of repentance and some faint hint of an effort at recompense before I forgive an offense. I’m not going to name names, but I’m quite sure the people I’m not forgiving this year know who they are. Growl.

Ahem. Sorry. Moving on.

Warm and gooey? Got that feeling down. See, for the last couple of weeks, Rufus has been climbing into our laps and curling up to purr. It’s nice, but it could just be the weather. Overnight temperatures are getting into the thirties here. Not as cold as elsewhere, sure, but definitely cold enough to qualify as winter. So we’ve been taking Rufus’ cuddles with a grain of salt.

Until last night. He settled down, started his chirr, and then stretched out his neck and started licking my fingers. And no, he wasn’t after dinner leftovers.

Warm and gooey? Oh, yeah.

So if the music isn’t doing it for you, try a lapful of cat. Don’t have a cat and can’t afford to adopt one? Ask around: the odds are good you’ve got a friend who’ll loan you one. ‘Tis the season, after all.

Merry Christmas, y’all.

Warped

Apparently, today is one of those days.

You know what I’m talking about, right? A day where you feel perfectly normal and as rational as you ever do, yet the entire world around you is just a little bit off-kilter.

For example, you do something you’ve done every day, and it goes awry. Allow me to assure you that boiling water does not improve the flavor of crispy rice cereal, nor does cold milk make good tea.

The cup and bowl were in the same relative positions as always. If nothing else, muscle memory should have ensured that the liquids went into the correct vessels. And yet breakfast was a flop.

Fast forward a few minutes. I sit down in front of the computer and, as usual, hit the “minimize everything” key. Nothing happens. Hit it again. One more time. Stare at screen. Realize that nothing has happened because there are no programs running, thus there’s nothing to minimize.

* If you’re using Windows 10, that’s Windows Logo + D. Handy.

A little investigation reveals that Firefox and File Explorer aren’t running because the computer rebooted to install updates while I was eating breakfast. Doesn’t that usually happen in the middle of the night?

It can’t really be the entire universe that’s gone kitty-wumpus, can it? I mean, Occam’s Razor suggests that it’s more likely me than everything else.

And then I launch Firefox. It opens with the last page I had been looking at before I went to bed last night. And I discover that the BABYMETAL Reddit is swamped with reports that–well, take a look at this and tell me the universe hasn’t gone berserk.

OK, yes, it’s fairly common for high-profile Jpop groups to have TV shows. It’s not even unheard of in the US. Leaving aside made-for-TV groups like The Monkees and made-for-animated-TV groups like Jem and the Holograms (and what child of the seventies could forget Josie and the Pussycats, no matter how hard he tries,) real bands have made the jump to drawings before. Let’s not forget that there was an animated Beatles TV show in the late sixties.

So there’s precedent.

But. “The action-adventure will take viewers inside the magical world of heavy metal music as it comes under attack, and one lonely god, Kitsune, forms the warrior band BABYMETAL to save the day.”

Yes, it’s in line with BABYMETAL’s existing iconography, but at best, this has to be a finalist for the title of most peculiar premise in history. (I hesitate to say “lamest,” if only because I think The Banana Splits have that one sewn up.)

The whole portal fantasy aspect of the pitch makes me suspect that the animated parts of the show won’t be voiced by the band–there’s nothing new about that, either–and I do have to wonder what the ratio of live action to animation is going to be.

Not that anything is set in stone at this point. The project is “currently in development.” As we all know, that means there’s a conference room somewhere, with a bunch of animation studio executives on one side of a table, music industry executives on another side, both groups liberally flavored with lawyers, negotiating everything from story arcs to whether costumes can be reused from stage performances.

Heck, we don’t even know whether the plan is to go for TV or the Web. That room full of executives probably don’t know yet, either.

But, still. I think my universe is warped, like an LP left too near the radiator. Can I get an exchange, please?

A Local Infinity

I’ve found a new online toy, and it’s almost as much of a time-sink as TV Tropes.

Well, OK, this toy is new to me; it actually dates back to 2012–positively ancient in Internet terms. If you already knew about The Infinite Jukebox, I beg your indulgence while I babble for a little while.

Before I get into the details, I should point out that you’ll need to use Safari on a Mac or Chrome on anything else to follow the links. But that shouldn’t be a problem. Everyone has at least five browsers* installed on their computer, right?

* In my case, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Konqueror, Vivaldi. Windows users, feel free to replace Konqueror with whichever browser Microsoft gave you.

TIJ is founded on a seemingly simple premise: in any piece of music, there will be multiple points where the sound is very similar. Not just the specific musical notes, but the instrumentation, vocal tone, lyrics, and so on.

By mapping those points of equivalence and matching them up, it becomes possible to jump from one to another, extending a piece of music indefinitely.

It can work very well. Naturally, the first piece of music I tried was a BABYMETAL track. It turned out to be an excellent candidate for eternity: there are a large number of matching points, relatively evenly distributed through the piece. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I listened for half an hour before I decided it was time to try something else.

Other selections didn’t work as well. Chihiro Onitsuka’s “Gekkou” doesn’t have enough matches to generate enough variety to be infinitely entertaining, and it has a regrettable tendency to get caught in a repeating loop.

Note that there’s no philosophical reason to limit TIJ to popular music, though there are technical reasons. I first tried a favorite Classical piece, Brahms’ “Variations on a Theme by Haydn”*. It took a long time to process–not surprising, since it is more than twenty minutes long–before erroring out.

* The theme isn’t actually by Haydn, but that’s a different story.

So I tried something a bit less ambitious: the overture to Rossini’s “William Tell”. As it turned out, I wasn’t the first person to try that selection. There were already at least three different versions in the database. It worked very well, once I got past the mental hiccup of “that’s not the way the music goes”*. It was much harder to do that with Rossini than with any popular piece I tried. Given the amount of time I’ve spent listing to BABYMETAL over the past few years, it can’t have anything to do with familiarity. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’ve played the William Tell Overture, not just listened to it. I invite speculation from any psychologists, amateur or professional.

* Those of you familiar with Rossini’s approach to composition are already asking “How can you tell it was being played by TIJ?”. You may be amused to hear that the playback got stuck in a complex series of jumps shortly before the end of the piece, and it was a couple of minutes before I realized it was going around and around the same territory.

Quite a few people have tried the “Mars” movement from Holst’s “The Planets”. I didn’t think it held up well. The connections were plentiful and well-balanced, but so much of the piece’s impact depends on the way it builds to the climax, that jumping ahead or back is hugely jarring. Portions of the playback did sound oddly like the Main Title from the original “Star Wars,” however; a connection I’d never made before.

Huh. There are a hell of a lot of people who tried the “Cantina Band” track. Now there’s a piece that lends itself well to eternal fragmentation and recombination, since it’s already heavy on repetition.

Ragtime works reasonably well. How about an infinite “Maple Leaf Rag“?

I could go on and on in a sort of textual infinite jukebox, but I’ll spare you. To send you off appropriately, here’s one last link illustrating the perils of dropping down this particular rabbit hole.

Shameless Pandering

Hello and welcome to the hundreds of readers who came by to check out the BABYMETAL portion of Tuesday’s post. Thanks to all of you, Tuesday’s total of 303 page views is this blog’s best day ever, and the second-most popular post ever. Mind you, it’s got a long way to go to beat the most popular, but that’s beside the point.

When the daily traffic jumps by an order of magnitude, there’s really only one thing you can do: more of the same! So, for my regular readers who don’t care about BABYMETAL, come back tomorrow for the usual Friday cat post–and for those of you who don’t care for the cat posts, I promise I’ll have something not-at-all-cute on Tuesday.

But before I begin pandering to public demand, a brief public service announcement.

Tomorrow, July 29, is the last day to get the free Windows 10 upgrade. If you’ve been planning to do it, but keep putting it off, it’s time to stop procrastinating. I still suspect the free upgrade will return, but if you’re going to do it at all, don’t take the chance that you might miss out. For those of you who have upgraded, the Windows 10 Anniversary Edition is supposed to be released next week. Don’t be surprised if you see a really large download happening in the background.

Moving on.

More pictures from the July 14 concert in San Francisco. As before, these are my humble fan shots, not professional pictures taken with pro-grade equipment and the cooperation of the subjects. Don’t expect sharp focus or perfect framing and we’ll get along fine.

I mentioned on Tuesday that my camera had problems with the red lighting. And there was a lot of red. I wound up with several shots like this:
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And more than several that are vague, red blurs. But I rather like the way this one came out, in that it looks more like the result of a filter than a visit to the near-infrared.

This next one is one of the few cases of perfect timing I managed.
28-2
Just enough red to accent the iconic pose, and–as you can see at the lower left corner–just before the infamous Left Arm of Doom swept away the view.

For all that I joke about my camera, I have to say that it has an excellent optical zoom.
28-3
That was one of my top criteria in selecting it. Technology may have advanced in the five years since then, but as long as it keeps getting me shots like that one, I don’t see any reason to upgrade.

Shortly after that shot, I got this one:
28-4

You know, I often think the band doesn’t get enough recognition. That’s usually the case, and not just in music: the headliners get all the credit, and the supporting cast just get paid. But sometimes a “thank you” is just as important as a paycheck.28-5
Thanks, guys. You done good.

I’ve got dozens more photos, but I’ll save them for some future occasion where I want to pull traffic this way.

For now, I’ll just say
28-6

“See you!”