Saturday, November 17, 2007

Little Eddie Blog #11, "I'm Back!"

Okay, so I goofed off last week. I let others write my blog. (Stole from others, you mean!) So sue me. I think it was really important to let Jammie Thomas tell her story in her own words. I’m not going to enter the Radiohead, comscore debate, I have never even heard the band Radiohead, my current musical tastes evolved from Bing Crosby and Kay Kyser’s Kollege of Musical Knowledge to folk music which in turn and with age blossomed into The Beatles and Pink Floyd, and in spite of my sons’ earnest attempts to bring me up to date in the realm of music I pretty much cling to what I know and like. But the Radiohead move to offer their album online for whatever the user wanted to pay for it is perhaps one of the most ingenious moves by a band yet. It might have worked better if the user had been able to listen to the album before fixing on a price. Perhaps that was the way it was done, it certainly would make more sense to do it that way. At any rate, any attempt to do away with the established music industry whose RIAA is fighting its ongoing war on music lovers, is certainly a giant step in the right direction.
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I get up at six am each morning, and at the same time my iMac’s energy saver program wakes my computer up from sleep. I go about my business, emptying ye ole bladder, brushing what little is left of my hair, washing my face, turning on the coffeepot, getting dressed and finally cleaning off my glasses. By the time I have finished it is after 6:10 and a handy little program called iKey has opened my Mozilla Mac OS X web brower Camino and taken it to http://www.chron.com and I can sit down and read the morning’s news. There’s only one thing wrong with this. Every time I happen to glance to the top of the page I’m reminded that I am not logged in. Later when I go to the Washington Post and to the New York Times I am greeted with the phrase “welcome eddybad,” and it makes me feel right at home, but every day chron.com nags me to log in. Fellas, logging in is so Yesterday! So Twentieth Century! Chron.com if you’re curious about who I am please put a cookie in my web browser that tells you who I am just like the Post and Times do. Otherwise I’ll log in if and when I have a comment to leave, but otherwise, it’s early in the morning, I haven’t had my coffee yet, and logging in is Drag One. But you run a great online newspaper though, even if you do nag. I am especially enamored with your Tuesday technology section, and Dwight Silverman’s daily TechBlog. And especially I am hooked on his LinkPost columns. I also check out The Tech Chronicles from the San Francisco Chronicle and Todd Bishop’s Microsoft Blog from the Seattle Post Intelligencer both of which have links on the technology page. In his Friday 11-16 Tech Blog Dwight Silverman published the following:

I wanna rock 'n' roll all night, and litigate every day! Gene Simmons: You kids, get off my lawn!

Gene Simmons – the tongue-wagging bassist from the seminal, pseudo-metal hair band KISS – doesn't see much of a reason to release new music in the digital age. In an interview with Billboard by way of Reuters, Simmons blames college students for the downfall of the music business:

IT HAS BEEN NINE YEARS SINCE WE'VE SEEN A NEW KISS ALBUM. ANY PLANS TO GET BACK INTO THE STUDIO? The record industry is in such a mess. I called for what it was when college kids first started download music for free – that they were crooks. I told every record label I spoke with that they just lit the fuse to their own bomb that was going to explode from under them and put them on the street.

There is nothing in me that wants to go in there and do new music. How are you going to deliver it? How are you going to get paid for it if people can just get it for free? I will be putting out a Gene Simmons box set called "Monster" – a collection of 150 unreleased songs. KISS will have another box set of unreleased music in the next year.

The record industry doesn't have a [. . .] clue how to make money. It's only their fault for letting foxes get into the henhouse and then wondering why there's no eggs or chickens. Every little college kid, every freshly-scrubbed little kid's face should have been sued off the face of the earth. They should have taken their houses and cars and nipped it right there in the beginning. Those kids are putting 100,000 to a million people out of work. How can you pick on them? They've got freckles. That's a crook. He may as well be wearing a bandit's mask.

Simmons is right in one sense. The recording industry doesn't have a clue, but not for the reason he's suggesting. He was also asked in this interview about the experimental approach to pricing taken by Radiohead with its In Rainbows album, and Trent Reznor's plan to move to independent distribution.

That doesn't count. You can't pick on one person as an exception. And that's not a business model that works. I open a store and say "Come on in and pay whatever you want." Are you on [. . . ] crack? Do you really believe that's a business model that works?

Apparently, it has worked for Radiohead, which recently dismissed as inaccurate a comSense report that 62 percent of the folks who bought In Rainbows. However, Radiohead is not saying just how many people downloaded the album, nor what they actually paid. Still, in public statements, the band seems pleased.

And why shouldn't they be? Whatever buyers pay, a much larger cut is going to end up in the band's collective pockets. The only losers in this case are the record labels who are cut out of the deal.

It's hard to tell how many Neanderthal musicians such as Simmons are out there, but fortunately many of them do understand the new opportunities that lay before them. One is U2's Bono, who is offering an unreleased song from The Joshua Tree sessions via the iLike application on Facebook. U2 will probably sell more copies of the updated version of that classic CD as a result – and many will probably be snatched up the by the freckle-faced college kids Gene Simmons wants to sue.

Yeah. Somebody doesn't have a clue . . .

Good news: This fellow Sir Paul McSomebody, says, as reported by Billboard Magazine, that the full Beatles catalogue will be available online next year. "[I]t's all happening soon. Most of us are all sort of ready. The whole thing is primed, ready to go — there's just maybe one little sticking point left, and I think it's being cleared up as we speak, so it shouldn't be too long," said sir Paul. "It's down to fine-tuning, but I'm pretty sure it'll be happening next year, 2008."
McCartney adds that any delays in bringing the Fabs' music to the Internet have been due to "contractual" issues, as well as deliberate planning by all parties involved. "You've got to get these things right," he explained. "You don't want to do something that's as cool as that and in three years time you think, 'Oh God, why did we do that?!’"

“And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make!”

“Sort of ready” is perhaps the understatement of the year. It should be pointed out that all of the Beatles’ individual post Beatles solo albums have been available on iTunes for some months now.

Meantime no less than Edgar Bronfman, chief honcho at Warner Music, now faults his industry in it’s ongoing battle with the lovers of its product. Bronfman is from a Canadian Distillery family (Seagrams) a man who loved music and entertainment, and who left the family liquor business to get into the music and entertainment some years ago. Interestingly, on his Wikipedia page Bronfman admits his children have downloaded music from the internet, but feels that their “punishment” should remain in the family, not in the legal system. It’s a shame he doesn’t promulgate that idea among his RIAA partners. What follows reports on a talk he made at a mobile phone convention and is from Mac User online.

The boss of Warner Music has made a rare public confession that the music industry has to take some of the blame for the rise of p2p file sharing. Speaking at the GSMA Mobile Asia Congress in Macau, Edgar Bronfman told mobile operators that they must not make the same mistake that the music industry made. "We used to fool ourselves,' he said. "We used to think our content was perfect just exactly as it was. We expected our business would remain blissfully unaffected even as the world of interactivity, constant connection and file sharing was exploding. And of course we were wrong. How were we wrong? By standing still or moving at a glacial pace, we inadvertently went to war with consumers by denying them what they wanted and could otherwise find and as a result of course, consumers won."

Mobile operators risk the same, he said. Fewer than 10% of mobile owners buy music on their handset, the vast majority of which is ringtones. "The sad truth is that most of what consumers are being offered today on the mobile platform is boring, banal and basic," he said. "People want a more interesting form of mobile music content. They want it to be easy to buy with a single click - yes, a single click, not a dozen. And they want access to it, quickly and easily, wherever they are. 24/7. Any player in the mobile value chain who thinks they can provide less than a great experience for consumers and remain competitive is fooling themselves."

Bronfman suggested that mobile companies have much to learn from Apple, despite being critical of and iTunes in the past. "For years now, Warner Music has been offering a choice to consumers at Apple's iTunes store the option to purchase something more than just single tracks, which constitute the mainstay of that store's sales," he explained. "By packaging a full album into a bundle of music with ringtones, videos and other combinations and variations we found products that consumers demonstrably valued and were willing to purchase at premium prices. And guess what? We've sold tons of them. And with Apple's co-operation to make discovering, accessing and purchasing these products even more seamless and intuitive, we'll be offering many, many more of these products going forward."

And the iPhone and iPod touch shows that approach can be made to work on mobile platforms, he said, "You need to look no further than Apple's iPhone to see how fast brilliantly written software presented on a beautifully designed device with a spectacular user interface will throw all the accepted notions about pricing, billing platforms and brand loyalty right out the window. And let me remind you, the genesis of the iPhone is the iPod and iTunes - a music device and music service that consumers love." Bronfman appears to be experiencing an epiphany when it comes to digital music. From threatening to withdraw from iTunes and suggesting that to drop DRM would be "without logic or merit", he is now heaping praise on Apple and recently opened a DRM-free section on Warner's own Classics and Jazz music store. – Simon Aughton Mac User

At least the man knows how to publicly admit he was wrong. Would that this malady would spread to his brethren in the recording and music industry. Meantime the artist who used to be a Prince after a past of being somewhat sympathetic with music downloading has turned full circle and has brought suit against Pirates Bay, a well known bit torrent search engine website. And Democratic lawmakers in the House have attached legislation to a spending bill that will force colleges and universities to turn in their downloading students, or else have all of their students, even those who don’t download, lose their government funding. What kind of an undemocratic idea is that? Can you say Democratic Corporate Lackeys?

The Wall Street Journal reports on the latest attempt to turn free music downloading into a money making business. It is a website called: Rcrd Lbl (pronounced: Record Label) -- will be a test case. The new venture will give away the music drm free and enlist advertisers to cover costs. It is a joint venture between Downtown Records, an independent label behind Gnarles Barkley and others, and Reter Rojas, a journalist and entrepreneur who founded the respected technology blogs Gizmodo and Endgadget. The company has signed up three sponsors so far: Richard Branson’s Virgin America Airline, Nikon Corp, and PPR SA’s Puma AG sneaker unit. The site will also include short articles, social-networking features and internet radio stations. More is here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119508767828793513.html

And from chron.com’s TechBlog Linkpost 11-15-2007 comes the following comment from a reader: Of course RIAA isn't close to the same epiphany, they are acting as gatekeepers and a conduit for income streams. They are a bureaucracy whose very existence is threatened. They are dominated by bean counters and lawyers.

The main problem is that the RIAA profits from a dying business model. Anything that has the potential to bypass their services is income lost to them. They are running scared and the courts offer the only apparent safe refuge. Alas, they are chewing off their own foot to escape from the trap of change. They may get away for the moment, but they create their own ultimate demise.

Their impetus to change will come from their clients whose royalties they collect and distribute. Every new group or musician or writer that eschews RIAA's services and seeks to profit directly from their customers are the ultimate agents of change. Posted to Chron. com by: David at November 15, 2007 10:37 AM
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After a couple of weeks of sporting slightly ruffled feathers Hillary Clinton got her campaign back on track Thursday night in the CNN Democratic Presidential Candidates debate in Las Vegas. For one thing, it was chaired by Wolf Blitzer, a far more neutral chair than was Tim Russert who in the previous NBC sponsored debate managed to skewer Hillary equally along with Edwards and Obama. The crowd in Vegas reacted to Obama’s and Edwards’ barbs with boos and after about ten minutes of this kind of reaction they wisely began to temper their comments. And virtually every so-called pundit who was heard after the debate conceded that Hillary did herself proud.

And so although it is way to early to predict the outcome of the upcoming Democratic primaries it does begin to look as if there is a possible Clinton in our democratic future. And unlike the Republican take on the situation, real people with true democratic inclinations realize that the eight years of a Bill Clinton administration were truly golden years, eight years of a sound economy, of an admistration conscientiously shrinking the huge Republican deficits of the Reagan and Bush 1 years. It was eight years of no war, of improving, not trashing America’s image on the world stage. And eight years of Truth, not the falsehoods and fabrications of the current Republican Bush Administration. Bill Clinton successfully led the nation through it’s crises, handling things like the bombing of the Cole and African embassies, the burning of black churches in the south, and the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City with skill and charisma. But best of all, unlike Republican presidents who despise the federal government and staff it with incompetents at best and poachers at worst, Clinton had the smarts to put effective people running his government. Under Clinton the government was rolling and was an institution you could be proud of.

The fact was that Bill Clinton was able to lead the country so effectively in spite of the best efforts of a full time Republican Trashing Industry, which poked their highly partisan noses into every part of Clinton’s past, and finally could only settle on his relationship with a young lady who was of age and we presume of sound mind, and who had proudly announced to friends before leaving for her Washington interneship that she was going there to earn her Presidential Kneepads. Come on, how many real men out there would resist a young lady who wanted only to give him oral pleasure. For shame, you Republican hypocrites who chase after Washington’s young male interns and who tap your feet seductively in airport mens’ rooms, also you “lying swiftboater” sleazeballs who wouldn’t know the truth if it came up and hit you full in the face. You assholes think you’re going to have a field day with Hilary, but you just might find that the worm turns, and maggots have been known to feed on the the flesh of Republican liars just fine. All in all, from the perspective of the middle of November, 2008 looks like one hell of an interesting political year.
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Speaking of interesting, ever notice how everything in our educational institutions stresses the necessity for using authority for all extrapolations. This implies that all ideas not reinforced with the citing of authority are somehow suspect and/or invalid. But this flies in the face of logic. It has made the academic community lazy and devious. And it has propagated many false ideas among the populace. It is also an impediment to true progress in areas where there is no prior authority to cite. And as a side effect what it has done is propagate a way of thinking that leaves the drawing of conclusions to others. Thus the popularity of pundits in politics, and so-called experts in legal fields and the military. This voluntary deference of judgement hereby absolves us of the possibility of our having to make a mistake ourselves by inferring that our individual observation is of no consquence in the first place. And it has led us to the position of being led by experts who in all too many cases are not really qualified to lead anyone anywhere.

But the problem with turning our judgement over to the so-called expert echoes the problem the military faces every time it tries to fight the next war in the same way it had successfully conducted the previous one. The fact is each enemy is different. And each army must exchange what is known and what is comfortable for what is new and untested. Generals and war planners must use their imaginations, and that is a subject that is not taught in military college. In fact imagination is a gift which is very suspect in the minds of the military, as it can’t be quantified or verified by past actions. And the same is generally true that each political campaign as well as each legal campaign is different.

What this has meant is that from grade school through wherever our education has taken us, we have been very subtly taught to distrust our own senses, to not value our own perceptions. Instead we have been encouraged to rely on the perceptions of so-called experts. And yet, if we realize and recognize it, each of us is an expert on our own body and our own situation and our own perceptions. We are the master of our own particular piece of the universe. It takes a certain amount of courage to look at a situation and form an opinion of it, but the effort is one that is always well worthwhile.

One needs to resist having opinions force fed into us but instead use our powers of observation and reason to determine for ourselves what is what. If the general population had been encouraged to do this we would never have swallowed the pack of half-truths and out and out lies which were used to ensnare us into that completely futile campaign in Iraq. It is a shame but selling that skewed data to the United Nations has ruined Colin Powell from any further meaningful public service; honorable man as he is, who would buy a used war from the likes of him? I would like to think that Mr. Bush has so poisoned the environment for wars that in the future Republican or Democrat alike will have no success short of an out and out Pearl Harbor type attack on the country. Which of course is as it should be, for with but a few exceptions America has no history of arbitrarily starting wars as we did in Iraq, and before that in Viet Nam and Korea, and which Bush and Cheney seem to be trying to lay the groundwork for in Iran.

And it is high time that we Americans ceased allowing our presidents and the State Department and CIA and armed forces to back every tin horn dictatorship in the world in the interest of “protecting us from the evils of communism.” The primary evil of communism is that it takes the power and resources from the rich, and gives it to those it considers politically relevant. This is not a good thing, granted, but it’s no more unfair than the typical South American type dictatorship in which only the wealthy have all the power as well as the money and which our military helps prop up by giving their military special training. Jimmie Carter is right, we should only back true democracies, even those tilted to the left, but only those whose political structure reflects the aspirations of its people.

And while we’re on the topic as a father and a grandfather, it is a disconcerting to see BushtheFather’s now and again in public agony over the public skewering of his son, but the man needs to face the facts. BushtheSon by shunning in practice the very “bringing together” he professed in running for office and having gone about doing what he pleased with no input from the majority of Americans, has earned every invective a weary, grossed out public can come up with. We would suggest W. try some of the following on for size: dogged, hard, hardened, hardheaded, hardhearted, headstrong, immovable, implacable, inflexible, mulish, obdurate, opinionated, ossified, pat, peevish, pertinacious, perverse, pigheaded, rigid, self-willed, stubborn, unbending, uncompromising, unrelenting, unyielding, willful (or wilful); or if you would prefer, hidebound, narrow-minded; resistant, wayward, wrongheaded; persistent, tenacious; iron, relentless; grim, severe, stern, strict; determined, firm, inexorable, resolved, single-minded, steadfast, sure, unflinching; contrary, disobedient, froward (habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition), insubordinate, intractable, recalcitrant, refractory, uncooperative, ungovernable, unmanageable, unruly; defiant, insurgent, mutinous; indomitable; confirmed, inveterate, unregenerate.

Most of BushtheFather’s advisors in the past have wisely advised BushtheSon against the path he ultimately chose, and he owes his 2000 election victory to James Baker, his father’s Secretary of State who successfully pleaded W.’s case before the Supreme Court, but obviously W. preferred to listen to the Cheney’s and Wolfowitz’s of the world rather than listen to the voices of sanity and reason. I grant you BushtheFather, it’s a damned shame, but it’s no one’s fault but his own. BushtheSon obviously slept through Civics and Government classes, and people elected him because they thought, like father like son, and they were so terribly wrong. – • –
Occasionally I mention the 81 years I have been observing this world, and I do it to point out how our country and its people have changed during all of these years. It has changed in many, many ways, but certainly one way as been our public attitude towards sex. And most particularly sex among children. When I was growing up the really bright and inquisitive children I knew discovered sex frequently at an early age. When I was in elementary school a classmate of mine was regularly having sex with a female classmate. They seemed to really love and care for one another and were going at it so hot and heavy that when her parents found out the father changed jobs and the girl’s family moved to a faraway city so as to break up their tryst. The young man whose name I won’t mention here grew up to become a psychologist and there’s no telling how many young ladies he was able to lead down the path to fulfillment during the many years that followed.

Since the beginning of time children have experimented with other children, and in some cases with sympathetic adults to learn the whys and wherefores of their body and the pleasures they could obtain therein. When I was a child there was nothing particularly wrong with this. Adults never want their children to indulge in sex simply because it can be a force so powerful they are afraid children will be so absorbed they might neglect and let falter other aspects of their lives like their schoolwork. However, it was not the sin and the abuse that today’s society labels it. Bright, inquisitive kids indulged in it to the extent they could find the time and place, and no particular harm was done. After all, when we grow up we will have to live with and have sex with a member of the opposite sex so we that we can procreate and carry on the human race. And how could it be that obtaining prior experience would actually hurt one? Surely you would not want to be flown by a pilot with no training or experience. Nor be cut open by a surgeon who opted out of anatomy classes in medical school. Why embark on a life with a partner with neither knowing what the hell they are doing? However nowadays society is in such a sorry state that a five year old boy who kisses a five year old girl in kindergarten gets himself prosecuted and labeled as a sex offender. Absurd but it happened. And what is even more frightening boys bring automatic weapons to schools to eliminate classmates and teachers. Teenagers have always had problems with suicide, even way back in my time. But teenagers did not use automatic weapons to end the lives of others until recently. Once would be one time too many, but it has happened more than once. And several more cases were nipped in the bud before they happened.

I would like to propose a cause of the problem. It may or may not be correct, what the hell do I know? But it is this. Children grow up these day entangled in a web of lies and unspoken truths by the adults in this world. As I was growing up, it was possible to read about sex in novels. Particularly sexual discovery while growing up. But that changed when publishers began publishing novels with the idea of selling them for films. Films do not deal in sexual discovery when growing up. And of course, the popular media, television, ignores that aspect of life altogether. And so begins what I call the great disconnect. Parents, teachers, etc. pretend that what feels good, sex, is bad, is not done, even doesn’t exist. Abstinence is promulgated as the way to go. Purity (ie ignorance) is worshiped. Now this works with some children, but others are obviously festering in their frustration. And in some, with strong undercurrents of destruction and suicide running through their veins, disaster is just waiting to happen.

I could be full of it. But something in the fabric of our society is frayed, devastatingly frayed. And the solution won’t be in reinforcing the values of our society as they are being taught and practiced these days, for obviously it isn’t working. My solution is to apply some John Lennon to society’s mix: Give me a little truth. See things as they really are for a change, don’t mistake idealism for realism. See life not through some experts or pundits eyes, see life through your own eyes. And convey what you see as honestly as you are able to your child.

I write erotic stories, I’ve explained why before, I’ll not go there again today. To me its neat to use words to bring pleasure to others. And I think bringing sexual pleasure is among the most immediate forms of pleasure words can bring our fellow human beings. Not that erotica pleases all. But we do the best we can, and we write for those who enjoy it.

Uncle Pan’s latest story is called Polly’s Confession for Dr. Throckmorton and is available on his page: http://storiesonline.net/auth/Uncle_Pan It is written in the words of a little girl who discovers how to pleasure herself at age three, at age five discovers how boys are built bathing her two month old cousin, and at age six discovers sex games like doctor with a seven year old neighbor boy. At age nine, her neighbor boy having moved out of town the year before, she begins to seduce another neighbor, this one full grown. When at the age eleven her mother discovers her relations with the neighbor she sends her to a therapist to try and save the child.

Two other previously published stories were also added to Uncle Pan’s page. One, Roxanne and the Artist Next Door dates from 2005 and is a story suggested when my exwife told me of her friend growing up who at 12 learned about sex by seducing the artist who lived next door to her. The other story, Timothy’s Joy, is what I call it a feel good fantasy, which perhaps does not go as far as it might have, but then again how far should a fantasy go anyway. Cheers.

The Real Little Eddy

1 comment:

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