Sunday, June 28, 2015

Moon Traveller Herald Dispatch with Report Sunday Review June 28

His Master's Voice (HMV)
In the winter at Strata West I had a chance to see Oscar Celma of Pandora discuss machine learning from the perspective of the most established streaming music company. Because at root Pandora has a lot of human intelligence about music, its machine learning applications of song suggestion are even more interesting. More to come.

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From Vault: Experiment in Abstraction 3
http://dispatchtelegraph.tumblr.com/post/122643156869


Sappo accompanied Popeye in the Sunday Funnies. Clear homage (or rip off) of Rube Goldberg. Kind of Rube Goldberg with a storyline. Thus, it devolves?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

From the vaults - if I can hold you in an envelope of ever greater abstraction - Sept 2009

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Experiment in Abstraction 1

I think America has the greatest music because it is such a hodge podge. So much in music is about dialectic, whether it is erudite Chopin encountering folk tunes, or Fats Waller goofing on a Bing Crosby tune ["the jingle bells done got him!]. So I look at a country tune from a few angles in this podcast including a riff on Sun record- era cowboy hipsters I met once in Eureka. This is in three parts, a nod to the restrictions on 'size of free post'.
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Experiment in Abstraction 2
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Experiment in Abstraction 3
I thought it would be great to be an Internet DJ. And to play music for my old friends like in the old days..except over the ether...well it is work. And I have a job. So I have been remiss on this. Technical hurdles amass in the Vaughan household and I get bogged down. So, this was originally done on Memorial Day..but it is posting on Labor Day. [I did get some sun this summer. :) ]Cecelia says I have a future with my voice, and I cant ever remember her being wrong about anything. By the way, Sat Sept 5 would have been Sunnyland Slim's 102nd birthday - play on Slim! Let them angels beat it out!
Comment on Experiment in Abstraction...Kink singer may be 'John Gosling', not 'John Dalton.'..

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Beyond the horizon

young5

This handsome fellow is my father, contemplating the horizon. I take it to be coming back from WW II. Once I offered him some Blatz that I put in the refrigerator, which elicited the fact that, coming back from Italy on a troop ship, they provided all with as much beer as they could drink. "We towed it along the side in cargo nets to keep it cold. It was Blatz. I never want to have another Blatz again" - he said. He'd sent every paycheck back since 1942 to his mother. He took the money and spent a year in Argentina. Why? "When I was in school there was a map of the world on the wall that I would look at, and Argentina was the farthest place in one direction." I guess that rings somewhat true because, when we lived in Racine, he took us to extremes: that is: La Crosse, and the Mississippi; Duluth, and Lake Superior, Green Bay and Door County. On Sunday afternoons like today, we'd take family drives. But today, as I said last year, he would be watching the U.S. Open. Happy Fathers' Day all.

A spy among friends

Kim Philby was the real third man you don’t meet every day. He went to all the right schools, loved cricket, with some like-minded friends secretly joined the Communist movement on the eve of the Spanish Civil War, rose to the top ranks of British intelligence, and enjoyed a catbird seat through World War II and much of the Cold War that allowed him to uncover for the Soviet dozens if not hundreds of opposition agents they could then debrief, imprison and liquidate.

He was in a position to tip off friends Guy Burgess and Donald MacLean just before their escapades had caught up with them (they fled to U.S.S.R.) and, despite enormously suspicious circumstances, he was subsequently able to hang on more than 10 more years before likewise fleeing Beirut, a wife, and a journalist's job on the Dolmatova, a Soviet freighter bound for Odessa. By then he'd cast a pale of paranoia that lingered over U.S. and British intelligence for many years.

His story is told ably in A Spy Among Friends by Ben MacIntyre. Not a word is wasted in this taut tome. The author looks to forge his narrative around Philby’s long friendship with - and treacherous betrayal of - Nicholas Elliot, a somewhat similarly upperclass Cambridge student who joined the intelligence service about the time Philby did, and who rose with him - and who seems finally – with some tacit approval from superiors – to have let him get away.

I haven’t read other books on this topic, so I can't vouch for the history here. An afterword by John LeCarre seems to second MacIntyre's basic characterizations of Philby and Elliot. While MacIntyre tries to form the story as an interplay between Elliot and Philby, he himself the latter is just too dynamic and enigmatic to leave air in the room for others.

It seems life was an endless round of drinking in those days for people in those circles. They hobnobbed their way through the run up to World War II, the war, and the Cold War. You feel at times as if you are watching Madmen - other times as if you are in the middle of a Hitchcock film or Grahame Greene novel. In fact, Greene and Ian Fleming both make appearances in this story, as does Anthony Blunt, the Queen's art historian, who's nefarious past become public shortly before his death. For Philby the party ended in 1988 in U.S.S.R. and, two years later, with communism in a crumble, his visage made it to a postage stamp there. It occurred to him he was allowed to do a fade instead of face a trial that would have rocked the establishment of the U.K (much as the establishment in US was briefly rocked by Watergate).

He went undetected, and then unpunished, it seems, because he was such a darn well placed good fellow. His father, St. John Philby, had been in the Indian Civil Service, and was an expert on the Middle East, who, rather like T.E. Lawrence, assumed the garb of the Arab. True to form, he was a bit of a cold duck. Maybe Philby Jr. wanted to out-rebel him or pay him back for parental indifference. The book focuses on Philby from the college years on, and drops the chase once he is Moscow for good. Some history fans would want a deeper drenching of detail and analysis. Others like me would rather a nice fast paced story like this one.

Philby largely shielded family and friends from his true self – and you walk away with the notion that this fact was his consuming objective, and source of kicks. To be someone else. He hid his intentions so that some might say there is not a whole lot of evidence to show that he really had very much zeal for communism.

While there are people sympathetic to Philby in apartments still with posters of Uncle Joe over the table in the kitchen and the army men's choir vinyl playing, most people would categorize him a dirty bastard. But a bastard worth a book treatment as lively as MacIntyre's. - Jack Vaughan