A Rant, A Rant By Any Other Name

I’m behind on my blogging. Can this happen? Yes. Why do I blog? I do it Because. Because, is the reason. It is the same reason I make songs, or records, or little forts for cats to play in. Because is the best reason to do anything. I don’t blog here for the money. There are no ads on this site even though I get notes from companies saying “Don’t waste your traffic! Monetize your site today!” They want to put click-bait ads in front of my “users” (IE, readers, friends, you) and I don’t wish to do this. It isn’t worth the pennies to have them muck up the experience here and make it annoying. You can donate if you want to encourage my blogging, how about that? I’ll put up a “you can donate” widget. Entirely optional. Unlike the New York Times and other storied publications, I don’t track you and make you pay a buck after you’ve read ten articles or whatever. Who reads ten of my posts anyway? Have I even made that many posts? Oh my, yes, I just counted. 112 posts! Since I started this blog. It’s a regular institution.

Sometimes I can’t keep to the “one idea per post” format, and I bleat instead like a column, in the old Herb Caen sense. Many little observations and thoughts. This reduces the possibility of being read even further, and amplifies my sense of a tree falling in the woods. At the point one feels one is talking to oneself, one can speak freely, and perhaps should not.

Circling back, you are not “users,” you are not “traffic,” you are people, and I like you. So I wont subject you to click-bait here. There’s a permanent tsunami of corporations and individuals desperately trying to get one second of our attention any way they can and make part of a penny for their efforts. It’s gotten so even respected publications like the BBC use click-bait headlines, because I guess they feel they have to, in order to stay competitive. It sucks and the world is bad. I’m not prone to overstatement. Stop reading, now. I warned you.

Click-bait. Here’s the thing. I wrote a detailed and exhaustive article about this, some time ago. It is the definitive text on the subject, and I am waiting for my Nobel Prize. Here it is, if you want to learn more: Top 5 Reasons Why Click-Bait Is Responsible For The Demise Of Everything

You’re welcome.

More Complaining

There are many ways to release music these days, and all of them are wrong. Some are less bad in some ways, others simply horrible. The on-demand service that is the best for end-user experience IMO, is still Spotify. But they are also among the most determined to make all the money they can, pay out as little to music rights-holders as possible, burn through as many rounds of investors as they can bilk, getting absurdly rich on other peoples’ intellectual property and money before finally sinking. The CEO is a billionaire, I think. His name is Ek. He has made a billion and a half or so, from a company that is not profitable, and likely will not ever be. Other start-up chiefs also sit on vast fortunes for creating companies which only ever lost money. It’s comical, really. The new economy. Fail big. The executives are part of the loss. Pay them lots of money to try and launch a thing that can never actually stand up on its own. Genius.

Apple Music is different. The interface is dreadful but it has a large and growing user-base, and they don’t need to make money on the streaming service itself. Apple Music can lose money forever and Apple will never hurt from it, because they sell iThingys, and besides they have more money than God. Will they pay artists and songwriters a fair share because they can? Or will they too be greedy because it’s so fashionable to be greedy? I can see the boardroom discussion, all three seconds of it: “Should we increase royalty payouts to music rights-holders?” Short pause before entire room erupts in laughter and “Oh that’s a good one! Haha you say funny thing!” No, they will likely pay more only when forced to by law. But at least they have the option to be fair, and not have it ruin their business model. Maybe they’d even do the right thing, because doing the right thing is, well, right? Maybe?

For Spotify, ethics and fairness simply don’t come into it. The corporate rule is: Make money for your shareholders. If that is impossible to begin with, then where do you cut as much as possible? Music creators, of course! Let them starve. Corporations must have their fancy employee lounges and bonuses and team-building sex-yoga retreats in Bali. Spotify will burn through another billion and then tank, you heard it here. They’ll get bought by a bigger leviathan, be it Google or Amazon or whomever, or they’ll simply croak in a few years. Someone with a business model that doesn’t depend on streaming music will probably tack Spotify onto their brand to add “value” for their users. Then they’ll work out clever ways to not pay the artists and songwriters anyway, but by then the oceans will be swamping us and catastrophic weather events will be daily occurrences so who cares about any of this? I told you to stop reading. Oh, about our democracy. It all depends on voting in 2018. If the “Blue Wave” is significant enough, we can save the country and slow the end of civilization a wee bit, which still seems like a worthy thing to do. Stop reading.

The best thing about running my own blog with no editor is I can say absolutely whatever I want. It’s also a problem. You don’t know how careful I’ve been. You see, I really do NOT subscribe to the “no filter” approach to life. Yes, filter. Everyone filter, please, and let’s be careful what we say. Then life will be better. The bro-nonsense “no filter” attitude gave us today’s reality-TV “government.” I put government in quotes because they aren’t governing. They are destroying government, in cynical and nihilistic spasms of acute and total stupidity. Everyone will look back and say, gee, maybe we should have the EPA and State Dept. staffed with motivated and well qualified people, for the well-being of our society and the future of the world and our children, but, NO! They have to find out the hard way that this is stupid, and Putin is laughing his rectangular head off. Americans wrapped in the flag and waving crosses support a president who publicly licks the boots of foreign dictators. The opposite of patriotism, posing as patriotism. Hell, at least people who supported Reagan actually DID love the USA, in their way. They may have been nuts with their “trickle down” economics bile, but they weren’t traitors. No filter, indeed. I hope we get to the other side of this in decent enough shape that matters such as royalty rates and fairness in the music business don’t seem like trivial deck chairs on a Titanic of State plunging burning and broken into the freezing pitch-dark depths of oblivion.


Here is a rabbit.

Ranty McRantface Walks In The Cemetery, Again

Today’s delightful morning read was How America Lost Its Mind. Posting without comment. I have nothing to add as yet. On to other subjects, and possible rant, as coffee sets in.

My solo recordings are now in Pandora, so you can make an Eric Din channel and wowza it’ll take you to all sortsa related musics magically selected from their vast music genome. I listened for a bit and one thing that popped up was Critical Mass, with my good friend Michael Valladares! Approval. You can hear my tracks on-demand if you have a premium account there, or just jump on the “radio” train and see where it takes you. Here’s a link.

Walked in the cemetery again, this time with a friend. We enjoyed reading headstones aloud, especially the older ones. One feature we noticed is when married couples share the same headstone, it’s almost always the husband’s name first. Often it’s in larger type than the “loving wife”‘s name. Patriarchy even in death. I wondered aloud what arguments and discussions did or didn’t take place, when the bereaved families were having those stones designed and carved.

I especially love the old, retired names. No one calls their child Abernathy or Cornelius anymore, but perhaps they should. Josephine and Winnifred top my list. Sebastian, already. I might have a kid, just so I can have a Sebastian.

Reality, what a thing. Facts. Truth. A square is a square, a circle is a circle. That, and that the earth is round, and that child slave-colonies do not exist secretly on Mars, these little facts have always been part of the steady foundation of reason and science that we wake up and go to sleep in. Gravity in its reliability is a law, not a theory, and it wont keep you on the ground less, if someone tweets that it is fake.

Everything is upside down. It can’t last, and thank god (or whatever you may like to thank) that facts are permanent and indelible whether they are known or not, and that lies remain lies no matter how often they are repeated by how ever many raving madmen.

Will the Constitution of the United States serve its function, now that the test case it was designed for is upon us? Will the men and women who populate the checks and balances remove the tumor? Either way, vulgarity and baseness have taken on a legitimacy for some, that I didn’t expect to see, really, in this lifetime. In fact it’s odd, that some “conservatives” have become so foul-mouthed and uncouth, when in my youth, I remember the older conservative types generally frowned upon using foul language and they’d tell their kids to “wash your mouth out with soap” if they said naughty words. I wish they’d be around to hear the Mooch guy, whatever his name was, shortest white house career ever. Now that was entertaining.

That’s when I realized this is not a government at all. Our federal government is set to “Away.” It’s a “reality TV” show driven by ratings and advertising revenue, with a cast of cynical and insane clowns who hate each other, wielding immense power while staggering in random and unpredictable ways like drunk children fighting over a flame-thrower.

A zombie apocalypse would be benign by comparison. Will the Union survive this? We’ve survived many challenges. This is a new one. All our awful presidents plus the good ones all had this thing in common: A desire to serve for the good of the nation, as they perceived it. I didn’t agree with many of them, but they clearly felt what they did was not exclusively in their own self-interest, but also for a greater good of some kind, for at least some cross-section of the public, if not for everyone. Anyway that’s gone, for now. What ever will happen next?

Popcorn sales are brisk.

Everything Is Wrong (Except The Things That Are Not)

The number of Wrong things is mounting. Each horror makes the others seem trivial by comparison. It’s Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine” on gasoline. Each day we go to sleep and things have reached a new level of absurdity. Then in the morning, we wake up and things are twice as absurd again. We live in an article from The Onion and satire has lost its outline.

So we navigate our days, looking after ourselves and our communities the best we can.

In my corner of things that matter less than the demise of everything, we find the music biz becoming increasingly even more absurd (yes, it is possible). One Chris Castle has just posted a breakdown of what the corporate busy-bodies are trying to do now. Read it here with air-sickness bag.

Meanwhile the Democratic Party has come up with a slogan so tepid it makes skim milk look like your favorite beer. Get another air-sickness bag. Ready? Here it is:

“A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future.”

They spent money and did focus groups to come up with that. Shut up. Look, the orange buffoon has a slogan. It’s meaningless and stupid but it’s a slogan, and a lot of people relate to it and it helped him only lose the popular vote by about 3 million. Slogans can help. The Democratic Party needs some help. A good slogan would help. This one is shite. I am sad.

What else, lead singers committing suicide. Chester Bennington, on his friend Chris Cornell’s birthday, in the same way, are you kidding me? Send in the zombies already, this can’t be real. These guys are so loved and so successful and so talented, what would make them miserable enough to do that? I do grieve for them and pre-dismiss any snarks about them. Clearly they had their reasons. Clearly they meant business. More sadness.

The unpresident wants to pardon himself. That’s great, I appreciate his work as a comedian. Firing everyone and everyone lawyering up against each other and doing exactly nothing good for anyone. It makes me think, for some reason, of the vacuum-beast in Yellow Submarine, which sucks up everything and everyone around itself until everything is gone and he stands there alone. Don’t go near that thing.

Small good things. One small good thing at a time. We can do these things and they have meaning and they help. Yesterday morning I saw a woman’s car stalled on a freeway off-ramp and a man was preparing to help push her car to safety. I pulled over and got out and helped. Lo and behold the guy was an old friend of mine, Steve Lew, fellow musician and fact-enthusiast. We chatted as the nice woman waited for a tow, we caught up and went on our merry ways. It felt nice. Steve sent me a young guitar student earlier this year. I recently taught her to play Ziggy Stardust. This made her very happy. This made me happy. The Gods smiled and were happy. Now I am happy. Good morning.

Last Dance With SoundCloud

I used to love SoundCloud. I thought they had a great interface for both music listeners and creators. I recently heard they were having trouble, but I uploaded my latest single there, hoping the experience wouldn’t be awful. I quickly found out that the worst stories I’d heard about SoundCloud’s demise are true. You can read more about the sordid mess here if this interests you. Long story short there’s fake “plays” being sold to artists and you get hassled by bots and SoundCloud is barely paying for real plays anyway and they’ve laid off half the company and closed offices and it’s going down like Titanic. Meanwhile the CEO says everything is great, because that’s what CEO’s do, I suppose, to extract the last bit of blood from a dying, once-beautiful beast.

I’m leaving my song there, although I have removed the embed from my own site. I’m leaving it because the lyrics just seem right for this.

They’re making music with artificial intelligence
to be enjoyed by artificial life,
I’ll take it all in, watch babylon fallin’
Eatin’ popcorn with my artificial wife

The song is “Everything Is Wrong” and you can hear it (for real!) and download it here. You wont be spammed or asked to log in or give me your email or your firstborn or anything. Just play it and feel free to share if you like it.

Farewell SoundCloud. I shall miss thee.