Hello World, again.

Thanks for visiting me here. I’m currently re-constructing this site with a mobile-friendly “responsive” theme, so it might be a little wobbly for a minute. Decided not to “dark” it because what the heck, it wont take long. I’ve switched a bunch of sites over to responsive designs to beat the “iPocalypse” recently, and when I got to mine, I decided to reorganize and refocus the content a bit so here goes. Help yourself to some musical snacks and we will be back in full effect shortly.

Wrestling “Wrestling Jerusalem”

Saw this.

Wrestling-Jerusalem

Absolutely brilliant. I can’t recommend it highly enough. There’s also a movie of it in the works, so you’ll get a chance later. He’s taking it on tour too. Very proud of my fellow Berkeley nutter, Aaron Davidman.

Aaron does all these characters, channeling people he met in the middle east and on both coasts of the US and elsewhere in his travels. They argue with each other, in between powerful monologues, wrestling strongly held ideas. But it’s all performed by one actor, who is on stage for ninety minutes, changing roles seamlessly, and sometimes very quickly. He even cops their accents, he assumes their impassioned voices. And the way it’s written, they are talking to him. He performs them, saying, “Aaron, you must understand that.. etc.. “ They tell him their arguments, share their stories with him. Only, it’s him acting, and then giving his own reactions, as himself.

He must have put in so many hours to rehearse that! It’s musical. He sings and dances in character too, as these folks he met in Hebron and Jerusalem and elsewhere did. A tour de force. And it carries a profound message of peace, love and compassion.

Will be interesting (or horrible) to see what zealots on any “side” of these issues might complain about, once they get word of it. But a person would have to be pretty thick not to be moved by this. I hope it’s seen far and wide. I think it will do some good. Actually, it already has.

Here’s a preview:

WRESTLING JERUSALEM – Stage Trailer from Aaron Davidman on Vimeo.

Faceplant

Gutenberg would be posting kittehs, you know he would. Einstein would be liking Oppenheimer’s existential freakouts and Lewis Carroll would wonder why Freud never friended him. James Brown would tweet “I feel good!” and Ian Curtis would ask “why?” John Cage would post three minutes of silence and Miles Davis would play some stuff with his back to all this and never explain his process.

U2 Hijacked My iTunes Playlist

And It Pissed Me Off MUCH More Than I Expected

Right, I had heard the kerfuffle, people were annoyed that U2’s new album came free with new iPhones. Some of the reactions seemed a little extreme to me, I mean, OK someone gave you an album, you can delete it, big deal. Maybe it’s even good. I was curious and I was going to get around to listening to it. I really like some of U2’s records. I finally went and got an iPhone two months ago. I like the thing, I’m getting used to it, I love having iTunes in a unit with my phone and email and blah blah, welcome to iSociety, I’m digging it, but THEN!

I’m driving on the freeway, listening to MY playlist, with music I selected, you know, songs I CHOSE to listen to, and this tune comes on I don’t recognize. WTF is this, I’m thinking. I can’t skip over it, or even look at the iPhone screen, because I’m driving, but then I hear Bono’s voice and immediately realize what has happened. The free download invaded my device. It didn’t wait for me to choose to download it. It crashed my party. It hijacked my iTunes playlist. And I was seriously enraged, just so much more angry than I would have expected. Yelling expletives at U2, I turned off my car stereo, the only thing I could safely do in that moment. I was just NOT going to listen to something that one of the biggest bands in the world forced me to. It turned me off to U2 instantly and properly.

Now here’s the thing. U2 doesn’t need me to like them. They don’t really need to care what any of us think of this. Apple Inc. gave them 100 million dollars to exclusively distribute that record for a period. Of course U2 took the money. Because even if you already have more money than God, as U2 has had for a long time now, you still accept a check for let me say it again: 100. Million. Dollars. I don’t resent them their success and I don’t blame them for taking the dough. But they lost me. I just have no interest in a band that would take my personal music set, that I am deejaying, for myself, and put their record on in an ambush. I don’t even care if it’s any good or not. It could be Sgt. Pepper for all I care.

When this happened, it really surprised me how much it offended me. But on reflection it makes sense. Our music collections are very, very personal. We each have unique, subjective, significant meanings attached to the records we love and the playlists we assemble. Bono, I can forgive his relentlessly self-aggrandizing Jesus cozying up to war criminals to Save The Children schtick, I want to think his heart’s in the right place. Edge, he wants to build a vast compound castle fortress whatever where he’s not supposed to because he can afford to buy the moon and Mars twice, fine, OK, he likes shiny things. Do not jump into my music collection like you are welcome and wanted there automatically for some reason. How fantastically arrogant. No.

I downloaded the delete U2 app. And ran it. I am sure the 100 million dollars more than makes up for pissing off a fan who bought WAR on its 1st pressing, and tickets to see them live several times in the 80’s and 90’s, and listened to Joshua Tree hundreds of time, joyfully and willingly, because I wanted to, and chose to.

This was an amazingly tone deaf move on Apple and U2’s part, in my perplexingly strong opinion. But I gotta call it as I felt it. My music playlist. Mine.

‘Ello, Ello.

I joined Ello. Was invited by a friend. Have invited some friends. Like the interface very much. Enjoyed their manifesto. Enjoying the heated debate about their Ello’ing. Enjoy that one of the founders is an old buddy from Berkeley, who woulda thunk! Enjoying the fact that someone is trying something with a social network designed to benefit the users and not the advertisers. There are no advertisers. “But how will they monetize?” is shrieked across the valley. I dunno. But I hope they work it out so they can succeed within the noble parameters they set. It’s a really pleasant user experience so far; The polar opposite of FB, which has become a never-ending insult to the intelligence, and an invasive mining of the very soul. Unlike MySpace and Friendster, which mercifully died after becoming awful, FB hangs on with the persistence of an aggressive tumor. So ‘ello, Ello. Long may you bellow. Friends, ping me for an invite if interested.

RIP Yahoo Web / Media Player

LADEEEEZ AND GENTLEMEN! Musicians and bloggers, audio web geeks and music lovers of every stripe the world over, we have an UPDATE! 10-2-2014 :->

It’s not: an update for the dearly departed Yahoo Web Player. It’s not: a solution for streaming video. It’s not: a solution for platforms other than WordPress. It is: a badass new WordPress plugin for audio streaming that works on (praise all that is holy) all major platforms including iOS, Android, etc. I am testing out the free version here. Pro version purchase imminent, as it allows for multiple playlists, drag and drop ordering of songs and other features which will be essential for the “power-user.” Wanted to make sure it hums along and works as intended and so far yes yes yes it does.

I will leave this thread open for further improvements, revelations, or laments about our old pal YMP / YWP. But I’m pretty sure the audio-player wp-plugin question has been finally solved by something solid, cross-platform, stable, and easy to use. Get the plugin here.

UPDATE 2-22-2014! Thanks Jaap for the Playlist function update! Awesome work, it’s great to see that part working again. Thanks everyone for your kind feedback and notes. Glad to see so much interest in this. Please feel free to post any links to your uses of the player, or blog posts about this subject, in the thread below.

UPDATE 1-28-2014! Scroll down to the more recent comments or click here for the latest exciting updates around this.

UPDATE 8-30-2013! OK, to summarize from the comment thread, what we’ve found is that you can host your own instance of the player and modify it to fit your needs. You can download it from here. This is unfortunately not a solution for bloggers who use shared servers and can’t install and run the software locally. What yahoo had going was a neat little snippet of code that activated the player from any domain, and served it up from Yahoo’s servers. The good news is if you can install it, it runs exactly the same way as the remotely served version used to. We have it running again on publicdomain4u.com and it seems to work perfectly. For those going this route: it’s important to note that you need to poke through the player code and make sure that all of the elements are served locally. There still are some images and bits that come off Yahoo servers, and given that they’re not supporting this software anymore, it’s a safe bet those elements will go dark sooner or later. It’s a hell of a piece, as others have stated here, it’s the best web media player out there, ESPECIALLY for music, by a country mile.

Big props to our server admin and chief propeller-hat, Lou Parmelee at Planet Six String for getting the player humming for us again!

UPDATE 8-20-2013! See encouraging developments in the comments below, and feel free to join in the discussion.

UPDATE 8-14-2013! It’s gone again. Bye bye. Yahoo Media Player, or Yahoo Web Player, or whatever it was called. How sad, that was the coolest thing Yahoo ever made.

UPDATE 7-8-2013! It’s on, the Yahoo Web Player is not discontinued, turns out that report was erroneous. You just need to change the URL to access it. View the very simple fix, right here. Truly happy news.

ORIGINAL POST:

Ack! Yahoo turned off their WebPlayer service. What a bummer for all the sites out there that used it. I used it extensively in PublicDomain4U, various other music blogs, and the band sites I manage. I know of roughly a bazillion other music sites that also used it. This was a simple way to make all your .mp3 or other media types load automatically in a neat little player – just by adding a line or two of code to your head tag.

I had wondered how Yahoo benefited from this magnanimous service to the Webmasters of the world. I had wondered what their expense in tech resources and cash amounted to, for making it available. If anyone knows of a media player that works similarly to the late, great, Yahoo WebPlayer, please leave it, or your #$%^&’s and laments about this, in the comments below.

For now, without any explanation or discussion, webplayer.yahoo.com redirects to the front page of Yahoo. I did find one article, on webpronews, which explains that Yahoo is shutting down a stack of services including the redundant AltaVista search engine. That’s understandable. But the Yahoo WebPlayer was a great service, and it will be sorely missed by myself and everyone else who wove it into the fabric of their websites.

Blah Blah Blah I Can’t Heeear You Wababababa

In the time I’ve been alive, wildlife populations have declined by half. It’s a crushing statistic that I can’t even fathom. Meanwhile human populations continue to explode, and the amount of data created by our activities in a day exceeds the amount created in all of history before 2011, approximately. So I’ll make this brief. It’s time for a reappraisal of what is important. An existential reexamination of why we exist and what we examine. Drastic measures are needed. So, I created an Instagram account and uploaded a kitteh.

Burning Snark or The Death of The Counter-Counter-Counter Culture

I was early to the Burning Man backlash. I avoided taking drugs in the desert long before it became a corporate team-building event. Growing up in Berkeley was enough. All I had to do to see people dancing naked with body paint was walk down the street. Sculptures, art, lunacy, music, it was normal. By the time folks burned a giant wooden man on Baker Beach while drumming with bones through their noses, I had developed an aversion to all things Woodstock-y. I love that it happened, and I love the music that come from it, but giant gatherings of stoned people make me nervous. Now it’s rich vs. richer stoned people with their apps and chefs, and the remaining shreds of counter-culture dangerousness are waning from it, and that’s normal. Soon it will be Budweiser Presents Burning Man and Google buses will arrive by the dozen. Maybe there will be an uprising, as not-so-rich burners rebel against the gentrification of their beloved ritual. I wonder what Burning Man riot police would look like? I’m guessing they’d have glowing neon nightsticks and hover-cars, maybe their own deejay truck with some dubstep theme music. The whole thing could be filmed as a reality show and they could sell tickets to enjoy the experience virtually from afar if you don’t want to actually die in the desert. Heck I might even go if I could stay home.

Tales Of Terror, Fun, and Great Rock n’ Roll In A Very Small World

I just listened to a great album that was released in 1984, by a band from Sacramento called Tales Of Terror. I learned about them from this article, ..the story of one of Sacramento’s best, almost forgotten bands by Aaron Carnes. It’s a great read yet a tragic story. The magic of recorded music is that work like this can be rediscovered long after its creation, and I’m just rocking the hell out to this album here in August of 2014. It’s fun, irreverent, original, tight, adventurous and did I mention, just incredibly fun. Wish I woulda seen these guys live, but I was woefully unaware of them. I do recognize some of the songs, probably from KALX, I’m guessing they would have been all over this. Love the lyrics and vocals, great guitar and bass work throughout, and monster drumming. OK, that cues up the “small world” part: I knew the drummer! This guy Mike Hunter, an amazing player with a heavy foot and brilliant rock and punk sensibilities – he played a few gigs with Stiff Richards in the mid 90’s! I had no idea about his history with Tales Of Terror until this morning. And listening to the record, I recognize his playing immediately. I hope their friends’ goals of making a documentary and licensing the album are realized. I’m listening through a 2nd time now (youtube listen #2,146!) and just loving it. It’s downright sexy, and that’s not the 1st word we use to describe most punky records, izzit? Cramps meet Buzzcocks meet Elvis doing 80’s hardcore in a roadhouse with skateboards. What’s not to love?