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What the hell…why not? Music Friday – A.I. Edition

What the hell…why not? Music Friday – A.I. Edition

Being stuck in the 1970’s like I am has it’s advantages.   One of them is that you can look around at all the “new” things and ideas floating around today and say “that’s just a different version of x, y or z that we did back in the day”.  Case in point:  current topics of discussion today about modern advances in technology that have given rise to research and creation of new machines – specifically robots, or Robots with a capital “R”.  And the creation of said machines begets further conversation, debates, etc over the limits of artificial intelligence or AI.  When does a machine become human? What will happen when AI surpasses human intelligence? What are the repercussions for human society?  I mean the “Rise of The Machines” and the coming robot revolution are what the Kool Kidz are talking about these days.  Except…

BEEN THERE DONE THAT, bitchez!

So how does this become a Music Friday post? As usual, by accident.  Because another of the advantages of being stuck in the 1970’s is being in the habit of listening to 1970’s Progressive Rock music  – like the progressive rock concept album “I Robot” by The Alan Parsons Project.  An album that was released in 1977.  Often in those halcyon days when people gathered to socialize, they listened to music and had discussions, or “talked”.  This is something people did before they had their phones to distract them since cell phones, smart or dumb did not yet exist.  So friends would gather together and listen to albums which were physical objects – vinyl discs which had grooves molded into them.  An album was placed on a turntable where a needle tracked through the groove, reproducing the music.  Rockin’ it old school in the 70’s meant using physical media since there was no internet, streaming, or a “cloud”.  OK, back on track, this concept album was based loosely on stories in a book by Isaac Asimov…wait.  Let me back up again.  A “book” was a physical object…Oh hell, just google it. The book by Isaac Asimov contained stories about robots and  AI. Getting back to the album, the cover inlay read:

“I Robot… The story of the rise of the machine and the decline of man, which paradoxically coincided with his discovery of the wheel… and a warning that his brief dominance of this planet will probably end, because man tried to create robot in his own image.”

And so the discussions revolved around the music, the music revolved around the topic.  And the current debates are merely history repeating itself.  So, been there, done that and I probably even have the T-shirt around here somewhere not that it would still fit.  Wish I still had the hair, but I digress.  All discussions aside, there was the music.  This is some of what we heard:

One song off the album that was released as a single:

And another single from the album:

And, saving the best for last as I am often wont to do:

Could it be? Are you looking into my mind? I warned early readers that they might find themselves walking around inside my head.  Hopefully you’ve wiped your feet.  Don’t bother setting the clock or changing the calendar, I like it here in the 70’s.  And please lock the door on your way out.

Blog Awakes From Coma! No Film at Eleven!

Blog Awakes From Coma! No Film at Eleven!

After having been on life support for over a year now, the blog has finally roused from it’s coma.  Extent of the brain damage if any is yet to be determined – your consultation is requested in the comments so that my prognosis can be assessed. As new content does not simply appear overnight, please peruse this hand picked recycled content while the new content matures.

Why I say THANKS!

In Vino Veritas

Old and Busted: “Smoking Bad”.  New Hotness: “Smoking Good, Vaping Bad”

Hey! You Kids! Get Your Internet Off My Things!

Ignoring The Sand In The Crotch of Life’s Swimsuit

Hmmm…I Wonder What the Internet “Looks Like”?

Everything You Know Is Wrong.  What Now?

Now It’s Time For Me To Harsh Your Mellow

Life In The FastLane…

Old And Busted: If You Build It They Will Come.  New Hotness: If You Build It They Will Go.

BarBots: Here To Help

Eulogy For A Metaphor

Of course, if you are a new reader then this content is not “recycled”, it is fresh and warm from the oven at the center of the blogiverse, where all blog content is created.  That should keep you going for a bit.  Thanks for hanging in there.

Merry 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown!

Merry 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown!

By the time A Charlie Brown Christmas aired for the first time in December 1965, the Peanuts characters had already been a part of American culture for 15 years, the comic strip having debuted in October 1950.  Perhaps not widely known is the fact that the TV special was nearly never made at all.  And once made, the finished product was disliked by the executives who commissioned it, and only aired because it had been committed to air and was completed too late to change it or substitute anything in it’s place.

And so befitting a franchise in which, according to creator Charles Schulz,

“All the loves in the strip are unrequited; all the baseball games are lost; all the test scores are D-minuses; the Great Pumpkin never comes; and the football is always pulled away.”

It became an instant hit and endures as a Christmas classic even today, fifty years later.

If not for a convergence of events none of this would have happened.   In the early 1960’s Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola were engaged in what are known today as “the advertising wars”, and in the summer of 1965 Coca Cola was looking for a vehicle with which they could gain an advertising advantage over their rival Pepsi.   About a year earlier producer Lee Mendelson had pitched a different Charlie Brown special about “the world’s worst baseball player” which was rejected by the three major television networks, but was remembered by an executive at the advertising firm representing Coca Cola. Mendelson, when asked by the ad exec representing Coca Cola if he could produce a Peanuts Christmas special, said yes without hesitation and without consulting his partner Peanuts creator Charles Schulz.  Further, Mendelson agreed to meet with the ad agency on the following Monday to go over the proposal.  The hitch was that no such project was in development and no proposal existed.  Mendelson recalls that he made a telephone call to Charles Schulz:

Mendelson: “I think I just sold ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’

Schulz: “What’s ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’?”

Mendelson: “It’s what you’re going to write this weekend”

Schulz and Mendelson did indeed get a story and a proposal together, thin as it was, though apparently good enough for the Coke ad execs to respond by telegram the next day:

“CONFIRM SALE OF CHARLIE BROWN FOR CHRISTMAS TO COCA-COLA FOR DECEMBER BROADCAST AT YOUR TERMS WITH OPTION ON SECOND SHOW FOR NEXT SPRING. GOOD GRIEF!”

Now producer Mendelson, creator Schulz and animator Bill Melendez had only 3 months to complete the project.  This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it left no time for revisions to the completed product which featured some unorthodox elements.  Actual children had been used to voice the characters, something that creator Charles Schulz had insisted upon.  The sound track was composed by San Francisco jazz musician Vince Guaraldi (more on that in a future post).  These unorthodoxies were considered flaws by the exectives once they saw the special for the first time – only a week before it aired!  The sponsors found the children’s dialogue stilted and felt that the jazz themes didn’t fit the scenes.  The tempo felt slow.  Certainly had there been more time, these “flaws” would have been edited or rewritten or cut altogether and we would have none the charm that makes the program so different and special.  And this is due to the creative vision of Charles Schulz.

There was one other unorthodox ingredient in the program.

Charles Schulz has been described as “fiercely protective” of his creation and so was able to wield nearly absolute editorial discretion.  The following element was included at Schulz’ insistence.  It was considered unusual content in a prime time television entertainment show and some of the parties involved balked at including it.  It is, in my opinion, one of the most endearing elements of the program and never fails to bring a tear to my eye.  I believe that it is an act of providence that these words are spoken to a great many millions of people by a young boy every year due to what are essentially fortunate outcomes in a chain of random events.

On December 9th, 1965 the special aired.  Nearly half of the television viewing audience that night tuned in.  It was a huge hit.  The audience response was enormous, and it was a great victory for Coca Cola in the advertising wars.  But much more than that, due to fortunate turns in a series of events, it is now a part of our culture.

Happy 50th Birthday!

A Merry and Blessed Christmas to all!

A Wal-Mart Miracle

A Wal-Mart Miracle

It’s often said that before one can know another person, one must walk a mile in their shoes.  Much fun is had on the internet mocking “the people of Wal-Mart”, but Wal-Mart is full of all kinds of people.  Some people have all the money and material goods they need.  What they need is only for someone to show them a little kindness:

Introduction:

I was one of those people who made fun of the “people of Walmart”.  And I’m an idiot.  I don’t know anyone’s story, their background, their pain or their journey in this world.  I judge the badly dressed, the overweight, the sloppy, the ignorant, the ill-mannered.  The same ones, yesterday, who cried when someone offered them a small kindness….

So, I ask again – who was giving who what??

The rest of the story:  Wal-Mart is a holy land

As we say on the internet: Read The Whole Thing

Gotta serve somebody

Gotta serve somebody

exquisite gears tumblr_lxcdndkZPS1r0o12to1_500

 

Discuss

This Blog Continues to not be dead

This Blog Continues to not be dead

This blog continues to not be dead.  Undead maybe?  That might be fitting description what with the current zombie craze and proximity to Halloween.  So, yeah I’m still busy, but I haven’t forgotten about you all.  Meanwhile may I suggest you review a few posts from the grooveyard of forgotten favorites?

Why Would You?  Because You Could.  But If You Could, Would You?

Vero dicta inermis ea

Saint Patrick’s Day revisited

Concupiscence

Any Major Dude Will Tell You…

Those are my recommendations for today, but feel free to browse around while you’re here.  I don’t cost nothin’.  Fresh content coming soon.  Stay tuned.

This Blog Is Not Dead

This Blog Is Not Dead

Contrary to appearances, this blog is not dead.  I’ve just been busy, that’s all.  I promise I’ll be back with new content but in the meantime won’t you look in the sidebar to the right and click on one of the “popular posts” or recent posts?  Or click on a category and scroll thru.  If this is your first visit I might suggest that you start scrolling and keep scrolling scrolling down, down, down.  Think of it as “the best of” Ego-Vero.  And by “best of” I mean “all of”.

Godzilla warning

My goal is to inform, entertain and enlighten my readers and myself.  Mostly myself it seems, but occasionally I have a reader.  And since you’re here…to get you started I’ve picked out a few relatively recent posts.  Enjoy!

Meet An Old Friend of Mine (June 3, 2015)

Eulogy For A Metaphor (April 28, 2015)

California’s Leaders, Visionaries Lacking in Leadership, Vision (April 20, 2015)

A Puppy’s Tale – epilogue (March 28, 2015)

In case you need one of these

In case you need one of these

Most Lunar Excursion Modules are getting on in years and occasionally need wrenching on.  The Haynes Workshop Manual is indispensable in these cases.

apollo 11 manual

 

Coincidentally (I’m sure) you can purchase one through the Cuana Enterprises store at this link.

Happy flying, and I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

This was kind of a big deal 46 years ago

This was kind of a big deal 46 years ago

Back in those halcyon days when a man’s tax dollars actually bought him a piece of some magnificent hardware, we sent men to the moon.  This year marks the 46th anniversary of Apollo 11 and, in fact, 46 years ago today Neil Armstong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin were the very first men to walk on the moon.  It was a moment in time when it felt like the aspirations of the entire human race were epitomized in the actions of two men.  The event was broadcast live and was watched all around the globe.  There were people who called the space program a waste of money, but I can tell you that in my lifetime there has never been another event like the moon landing that, if even for only a few hours, brought the whole globe together into one family.  And so for those moments alone it was worth whatever the cost.

Spare 15 minutes of your time and watch this video – made for schoolkids, but suitable for all ages.  It sums up the whole Apollo 11 mission very succinctly.

Now take a few minutes and think about how this was accomplished in fewer than 10 years.  The technology used was primitve comared to what is commonplace today – our cellphones are more powerful computers than those employed in the LEM and Command Modules.  There was no such thing as the internet.  Yet the task was completed and resulted in at least a few hours of  international brotherhood.  Something that we couldn’t do today even if we tried.

Cross posted at Men Out of Work Blog

Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day

July 4th, 1776: The Continental Congress adopts the text of the Declaration of Independence.

stone.tif

stone.tif

Though Congress had voted in favor of actually declaring independence from Great Britain on July 2nd, Thomas Jefferson was selected to draft the document and after 2 days of writing and editing, the text was ratified on July 4th.  This was not a trivial act – it was an act of treason.  Were the revolution to fail, it would mean a death sentence.

Listen to a reading of the Declaration of Independence here.

Reflect for a moment today on what we have to be grateful for, because some men a few hundred years ago had the courage to draft and sign a document.

Cross posted at Men Out of Work Blog

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