Sunday, April 30, 2006

Radio, radio!

Last week I sat down and recorded a podcast in my living room that was sort of my impersonation of a radio show. First show is called Overhaul Junction after an Albert King song.

[NOTE: Our first experience is in. For now, Podcasts will post and then remove in 1 month. If you access this page one month after publication, the podcast link will have expired..sorry. Get it while you can.]

I spin a few disks, various media really, and mutter a bit. This is experimental, hopefully the mix will improve. The show lasts 15 minutes, and it is a big 10 Meg download.

This took virtually no time to download on a corporate network, although, if you were to do it when the corporate network was busy .. say noon time, it might take 5 or 10 minutes. If you have DSL or cable modem, it should work okay at home .. but if you have dial-up, probably not. I think over the next few years, if the Good Lord is willing and the creek don’t rise, this podcasting will be easy to do, and we can all spin our disks in a sort of virtual party. And when we are gone, the party will just go on! Disks spinning in the cyber!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

From the vaults: Google velcro

At a keynote at Usenix a few years ago I heard Rob Pike describe the Google app dev environment. He gleefully described the cheapness of the hardware Google used, at least to get going, complete with photos of loose, stacked commodity disk drives held to racks with good old Velcro. Google, the killer app, uses cheap disks that are expected to fail. The company has been able to fashion Linux to make up the difference, creating a self-healing system, although day by day, individual humans - you might call them "Healers" - must go down the racks swapping-in good disk drives for bad, using velcro.

The biggest stories in recent application development history -- and Google -- are so big that they are pretty much hidden. Both applications required a big helping of chutzpah to happen at all. And both disrupted existing industries, creating whole new's and Google's development managers stuck their necks out and trusted clusters of cheap computers to deliver the goods. In Amazon's case, it was personalized shopping. For Google, it was lightening fast Internet searches that fed-up usually useful results along with targeted advertising. And velcro, which I used today, after scavenging about, to adhere a hub to a wall.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Cuttin’d’News - Judas: God’s Man in Judea?; Missing Link Makes Page1; Windows Inside Apple

“The Lord is subtle, but malicious he is not.” This inscription is ascribed to Einstein, said to bedeck a portal in his Princeton offices. It seems like a play on the quandary koan of whether or not God plays dice with the universe. Looking at this week’s news I would say, yes, the Creator has ceded to us a subtly mixed-up crazy world. But not a bad place. It was however a bad week for U. of Mich style Intelligent Design. On the other hand, Mr. Bad of All Time, Judas, is making a comeback.

Page One, New York Times, Friday April 7. The existence of a Gospel of Judas was known. I found reference to it in Beyond Belief, Elaine Pagels’ learned and popular book of 2003. Discovered near El Minya in Egypt, it is here now on Page One after a 30 or 40 year journey [including 16 years in a Long Island safe deposit box]. In Pagel’s book, the reference to Judas Gospel is per Irraneus, the Father of the Church who cut off the Catholic gospel project at Four. He referred to this gospel to indicate how wacky heretics [Gnostics] can be. My interest in Pagels stemmed from interest in the Gospel of Thomas, which I first heard about from Dennis Hopper via a Q&A he did on Easy Rider back in my Film Art days. Gordon also told me he heard of Gospel of Thomas through Hopper, on a drugged out edition of the Johnny Carson ["I did not know that! Wierd Wild stuff!"] Tonight show circa the time that The Last Movie was made.

[Unbeknownst to me, apparently, this whole Gnostic network has gained wide circulation of late via a popular book known as “The Da Vinci Code.” What era am I in, man?]
[Were those Gnostic caves or Manichean caves at the beginning of The Exorcist? – maybe the important thing is that they were in Iraq.]

Well. Clearly Judas had a lot of levels. And I do believe the Last Temptation of Christ and other tomes have picked up on this. The questions the Gnostics asked, and answered for themselves in this scroll, Was Judas as part of God’s plan not heroic? Christ had to leave his body behind, and Judas helped him, and even in the Cannon gospels, Christ is heard saying that Judas ‘will exceed all of [the apostles].”

Gnostics were not unlike kids in my 4th grade Religion class. We would pepper Fr. Sukup with questions: If Judas was just fulfilling a prophesy, why did he have to go to hell? This is all dim in memory, though I would venture to recall that our priests - in the Catholic Chruch, Bohemian extension – said Judas was the only person you could say for sure would go to h*ll. [Not even Hilter? Those were the types of questions that got us through the otherwise dreadfully boring hour.] On top of that, Judas, the assertion was, invented suicide, and took down the poor suiciders of all time with him.

Please those who read this understand, I know it aint for me to say who goes to hell. I try not to talk religion either, I’m kind of like Jerry Lee that way ... you have to be so pure ... but when news and poetics cross, I must blog. And these mystic Gnostic musings are poetic.

The Judas Bible is getting its time in the sun – it shouldn’t be overlooked that it is not entirely just poetry, but it is also putting out a point of view. It actually does seem a bit of a condensation of some key and not so nice aspects of the Gnostics – that is that there is a secret knowledge. That Christ gave this secret to Judas, and not you and me. Gnostics might a been a good lodge brotherhood of semi-madmonks at one point .. they did as a group get saddled with this secret sect typing before it was all over. Hope I know more when I finish The Gnostic Gospels, Pagel’s book now out as a book on CD. Recently started .. this the season.

For now, basically, I think it is for the good for Mystic Christianity to get ink. Jesus Christ was real historical person. Reality is always a mix, especially the more people involved, and in the case of Christ, it is all on an entirely other level. Let’s call the Gnostic cave network mystical diversity at work. Hopefully, we all finally drink the same bubble up. As Dylan famously wrote: “I cannot think for you, you will have to decide, if Judas Iscariot had God on his side.”

As for Irraneus, Its nice to have it laid out in a text. And you cant accept every possible point of view. And when things are bad and you’re deep in doo-doo, get the dust of that bible!
Still, the lord is subtle. We catch a bit on the wind, or find a monk’s cave scribbles. Catepillars and honey. Cabbagecakes and coffee. I arise today through the grace of God.

If you read the Judas bible you find a bunch of angels, clouds visions, cryptic sayings, confusion of names [Seth is Christ], missing lines...nothing remotely exonerating Judas – nothing to hang him with either.

Afterword: Let’s face it...there is something of the modern news cycle at work here. Every Easter-Passover the National Geographic seems to find something biblical that the wider popular media can briefly note. Kudos to USA today for the spot-on front-page pic of Judas Iscariot. Who knew he looked like Ming the Merciless in a wig?

Finally, let’s pull some straightforward bit from The Dead Sea Scriptures .. something that isn’t literally in the Bible on my bureau, but which is on my dashboard. It’s the melody, not the words.

I give thanks unto Thee, Oh my God
I extol Thee, Oh my Rock
And because though has wrought wonders with me.

National Geographic Lost Gospel pages -

New York Times report on Judas Bible -

My Radio Weblog writeup on St Thomas Gospel -

Hagfish and lamprey

Page A19, New York Times, Friday, April 7. A reconstruction of ancient genes from extinct animals has demonstrated, it is said, how nature modifies and reuses existing genes to create new cell mechanisms via evolution. The focus of U of Ore biology professor Joseph Thornton was on two hormone receptors associated with, respectively, stress response and kidney function in higher animals. Equivalent antecedents were found in jawless primitive lampreys and hagfish.

Big crawl to land

Page One, New York Times, Thursday April 6. The long-postulated big crawl from the sea to land got a shot in the arm with the lead story: Fossil called missing link from sea to land animals.
In the fishes' forward fins, the scientists found evidence of limbs in the making. There are the beginnings of digits, proto-wrists, elbows and shoulders. The fish also had a flat skull resembling a crocodile's, a neck, ribs and other parts that were similar to four-legged land animals known as tetrapods.

Now, with more belief in yourself than ever, when someone cuts you off in traffic, you may safely launch the invective: Go back to the Sea where you came from!” Intelligent Design proponents can jump in the lake and still be with their own.

Page One, New York Times, Thursday April 6. Apple does Windows

Apple introduced Boot Camp beta software that enables Intel-based Macs to run Windows XP. Boot Camp allows users with a Microsoft Windows XP installation disc to install Windows XP on an Intel-based Mac, and once installation is complete, users can restart their computer to run either Mac OS X or Windows XP. Are the strange bedfellow operating systems really in the same bed at last? No. The Apple approach is a bit less than elegant. Users must hold down the option key at startup to choose between Mac OS X and Windows. Users must restart to come back to the Mac. Read slightly extended version.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Time Life

I saw William Burroughs read in Boston, Probably around 1975. He'd just come back to the U.S. after many years. It was at the Charles Street Meeting House, and I, as student journalist, engaged him with questions afterward.

The one question I recall asking: "Is the U.S. more of a police state today than it was when you left?"

The answer was: "No." and he looked me in the eye, and up-raised an eyebrow in some surmise, and continued: "It's much looser now. It was much more uptight then."

Maybe in my query I was thinking of what he said in an interview about Time-Life and time as a police apparatus back in the mid-50s. There was a connection between Yale, and CIA, and Time. And Burroughs was especially aware of this.

Here is the partial text of the interview which is also offered as a podcast, below.

Q: What do you think of Time Publisher Mr. Luce?

A: I don't admire him at all. He has set up one of the greatest word and image banks in the world. I mean. There are thousands of words about anything and everything. All in his files. All the best pictures go into the files of course. They are reduced to microphotos now.

I have been interested in the Mayan system, you see. Which is really a control system.

Their calendar postulated really how everyone should feel at a given time. With lucky days and unlucky days, etc. and I feel Luce's system is comparable to that. It's a control sytem. It has nothing to do with reporting. Time is some sort of police organization.

Removed...a podcast version of this passage...we are remoiving old podcasts to make room for new ones...

My Anchovie cartoon on StripGenerator - This is kind of a nifty Ajax site where you drag and drop cartoon objects to create a panel or sequence of panels.

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