Atomized junior

Dedicated to the smallest particles of meaning on the web
Atomized Links:

theUsual Suspects:


Atomized junior

Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Radio Silence

 I never gave much creedence to the efficacy of a good public relations stunt. I used to allow the stunt nature of the relating to form soft edged but negative conotations within my draining thought. But no more. The public do not chat among themselves, but face each other institutionalised and atomised respectively. At all times. Things need to be done properly. Plus while the Copyright Royalty Board's (part of the Library of Congress apparently) ruling last April that would impose steep and retroactive fees on internet radio programming spawned some commentary in the press. It dropped off quickly and seemed un-inclined to ask any underlying questions on the matter.

 Questions like the relationship, in business and personnell, of the Board to the RIAA to the collection agency SoundExchange.  Of the universal mandate SoundExchange has to collect monies on others (artists) behalf who have never asked it do so, and may not desire they do so. There are question about the particulars of the schedule of rates as well as the over-all effect, repercussions, and critically the intention of all this.

 A "Day of Silence" last Tuesday by internet streaming radio stations brought out the press BBC NEWS | Technology | 'Day of silence' for US web radio and got them asking questions Playlist: Day of Silence.  WFMU had a unique take on the day. They choose to simply silence the mechanically reproduced output that was under the 'jurisdiction' of SoundExchanges mandate and play other things National Day of Silence for Webcasters.  There are always other things.

11:52:12 PM    comment [];trackback [];
One Day In Maine

 One of the indelible places that the children's book illustrator and author Robert McCloskey drew into the pages of his stories is closing down According to an article in the Monitor: Is it a Maine morning without Condon's Garage? | McCloskey is the author of Make Way for Ducklings and many other books. Condons' is a small town garage was featured in the story One morning in Maine. The McCloskey family's life in Maine was featured in a number of his books; Blueberries for Sal and a Time of Wonder, as well as One day in Maine that I've read at least. I remember once when my niece was still quite young after a storm on Chincoteague blew a tree over, by my sisters old vacation house, it was similar enough to one of McCloskey's illustratons that we were able to imagine ourselves in a similar story and extract a extra measure from the day. The only McCloskey book I have with me now is the Homer Price book.

 Living up on the Maine Coast back in the 1950's was probably tough. If you weren't from there weren't used to the winters, weren't used to the isolation, didn't have an innate fondness for broken down junk. My sister spent four years down Maine, going to college in Lewiston. That's four Maine winters. That's a heap of winter right there. My mother says that there was a hill on the Bates campus where you could sit and see the Northern lights in the winter. My childhood friend, George, from Holliston used to spend parts of his summers on Mt. Desert Island. I got a LL Beans seersucker shirt to see me through a Washington DC summer.

 So Kathleen Caldwell, Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor, as her byline puts it drops in on Condon's to talk over their closing of the garage and passing of an era. Don Condon has a few thoughts and tells a few stories before wandering off back into his daily life.  Beyond Boston in the lower forty seven we can only say: "Brooksville, Maine? No, you can't get there from here.

9:35:22 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Thursday, June 21, 2007
the Beeb in neutral

The BBC 'must become more impartial'. So say a couple of headlines from earlier in the week BBC NEWS | Entertainment | BBC 'must become more impartial'. "The BBC needs to take more care to ensure it is impartial, according to a report commissioned by the corporation." That report was echoed and amplified by pointed pieces in the [London] Times and Daily Mail as well BBC report damns its 'culture of bias'-News-Politics-TimesOnline. The problem with the BBC, apparently, is that it demonstrates "innate liberal bias" this is a qoute from one Andrew Marr, the BBC's former political editor. In fact most of the quotes bandied about derive from two individuals Roger Mosley and Andrew Marr BBC tackles allegations that it has 'an innate liberal bias'-Business-Industry Sectors-Media-TimesOnline. The report itself, a pdf which I downloaded and glanced at, is the sort of quiet desperate handwringing one expects from the English. Not everyone at the BBC, though, regards this report as confession even of the crime of holding opinions contrary to Rupert Murdoch's world view BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Does the BBC have a bias problem?

What set them, the BBC's detractors, off? Well principly an episode of The Vicar of Dibley Dawn French's character urges her parishioners to support the Make Poverty campaign and it seems the camera catches a glimpse of their web page over her shoulder. That episode was written by one of their people which apparently contravenes some editorial guidelines. Reading through the various articles on this I see Make Poverty History favors developing nation Debt relief. That's enough to send a cold cthlonic chill up the back of any Banker's Toad. And I suspect is the real sin here.

And sin it is. It's all too much; having left the confines of decorum if not reason itself lurching over to the wild mad lands of the left, by coming out against poverty. What next taking a position on hunger or even the effrontery of declaring starvation "bad". Clearly this needs to be walked back to an sensible center right position. (or Right-of-Centre as Andrew Marr likes to put it - but possibly he's upset the BBC wouldn't fund his Oswald Mosley documentry). A spokesman is wanted to explain the societal need to have great thick belts of poverty in place always.

I can see a potential shoot here for the evening news. A BBC announcer on remote location intoning in crisp RP: "Here are the dreadful poor. We could do something about this tragedy of the human condition - this squalor, But [fade-out and fade-in new location] surely we must also consider this." A man steps forward. "Well here you can see my swimming pool, which normally I keep full to the top with pound notes. It is at the moment only half full. If anyone were to dive in now from the high board they could certaintly hurt themselves. I lay this directly at the feet of the relentless charity campaigns that are destroying this nation. I hardly feel its worth entering bidding to buy football clubs anymore, behind Americans and Thai kings. Something must be done. The poor are selfish. They haven't the ability to understand that they and their marginal and unneccesary opinions simply need to remain on the outside. Where they belong. This just has to be accepted." BBC Announcer closing: "There you have it, clearly something must be done. I'm Craven Yawlp for the BBC".

A picture named NewBBCGraphic_sm.jpgAnother issue bundled with these BBC compaints which I saw in a different article said that an opening graphic the BBC uses, which shows a tilted map of England centered on London demonstates "insensitivity" to the Scots by depicting Scotland on the periphery. Insensitivity to Scots! When you start to worry about being insenstive to Scots it's over. Tell Nelson to haul down the jack and sail home. Fortunetly I can help them here with an improved and more accurate graphic of my own. Better then the version they use now (which I believe is centered over Tempo House.) The line is for visualization effects alone and is not intended as a depiction of Tony Blair's leash.

11:23:18 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Sunday, June 17, 2007
Ain't no cure for the Summertime blues?

In the course of conversation with my niece, Nicole, I learned that she knows the members of the third named band (the Boom Orangoutangs) of the inaugurating day of this summer's Fort Reno events, the singer in particular. The Fort Reno things are a set of free shows in a park by Wilson High school in DC. The Boom Orangoutangs are, in fact, classmates of hers. That show is tomorrow now. I will try to cut of work early at U.MD and make it over there if I can. That's a heck of thing to try to do on DC metro at rush hour. I should take my problems to the United Nations

In the vicinity of this conversation my sister adds that my nephew Lou's second grade teacher's daughter is playing a show there later on in the summer. When I get the chance I ask Lou: "Hey Lou, who was your 2nd grade teacher over at Murch?"

"You mean Mrs Timony" he says. "ah ha", I says, "Mrs Timony."

11:22:21 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

 There was a picture in the paper about a week ago. Fidel Castro and a man named Nong Duc Manh locked in a passionate embrace Castro Meets Vietnamese Official - I saw a couple of versions of this picture, some were simply standard pose'n shakes, but I do like the one where they are hugging.  Truly a picture is worth a thousand words. It's often better that way. Nong Duc Manh is the communist party chief of Vietnam and was in havana not only to express communist comradeship, but to work out the details of an oil field exploration and management deal.

 Co-incidently a few days after reading that article and while that image still hung before my eyes I read a short story (very short) by Andrew Pham  Gift's which relates two brief narrated intervals one in Saigon one in Havana WorldCat: Gifts (if you have any sort of access to ebsco host or the like you should be able to drill through this to a pdf otherwise: Pham, Andrew X. "Gifts." The American Scholar. 71.3 (2002): 93. ). In this story, for people who already know of his superb travelogue memoir Catfish and Mandala, you learn that he eventually does find his childhood friend Hoa. The significance here is the implicit comparison of Cuba with Vietnam. At some point I will have to go back and dedicate a post here on Atomized Jr. to Catfish and Mandala, which was a tremendous book. I read that book in a strange fashion; sections in quick bursts, then I would set it down and think about things for a while. Because there was thinking to be done. Soon after I read another piece not disimilar to the portrait Pham painted of Cuba, this one in Prospect Witness: 'A Cuban death rehearsal' by Bella Thomas. The main point of that piece is that Castro's extended and probably exaggerated illness is simply a way of testing his ability to pull off an ordered regime turnover to his brother. Which is proof if needed that all he ever accomplished is to set up a rundown kingdom or chieftency not a revolution. For that matter I've read that most of the characters in the Vietnamese communist politburo are children or other relatives of the folk which have been there since '75 if not '54. Thomas' piece was also billed as a cautionary tale for those inspired to view Cuba through a soft focus romantic lens either as a socialist paradise or an eden untouched by globalism. Besides Venezualia is the New Cuba anyway.  

 After the collapse of the Soviet Union the time of communist governments was supposed to be winding down not adjusting and winding up. Communist regimes are bad, this is the word on Bush's say so in a speech at a world leaders summit Bush honors victims of communist regimes - Yahoo! News. There are others cynics, and doubters who debate this now Bush Is Losing Credibility On Democracy, Activists Say - Not only U S's continuing use of that bully pulpit, but even the free market as the road to freedom An Unexpected Odd Couple: Free Markets and Freedom - New York Times.

 Lost in the tideless wash of an exhausted neo-Wilsonian world view. I make a distinction between the realm of the politicaly feasable, the realm of moral imperative. Viewing them as reasonably separate and distinct. In a way that my friend Tran does not. Specifically to what we were and were not prepared to do in Vietnam. Hold a line with 500,000 troops at the DMZ in misguided hope that a stable functioning government would form in the south behind us?  While we were simultaniously withdrawing all decision making potential and authority from them into our own monolith embassy. Leaving them dependent with little or no ability to take or effect responsibilty for their own affairs, driving them to the margins of their own society. Or invade the north, either taking Hanoi or breaking the NVA in a set-piece campaign. The realities of the cold war probably precluded the former and experience and ability of the NVA likely the latter. If I try to tell her that by 1969 few in positions of authority in this country, now her country also, thought that war was "winnable". She becomes upset and waves her hand and tells me "that's just politics." That I ought to know better - things in that realm are suborned to the good, to what is right. In the days after the fall of SaiGon, I probably just got on the bus and put in another day in school, zeroed out another algebra quiz. Tran and her whole family were put in prison, her father for the next six years. Enemies of the state. She, her mother, sister and brother during that time subsisting on millet rice without a formal place to live, formal license to work for their living, or schooling. Tran's father has been writing out a memoir of sorts, so she has been talking to him about those years. The ordeal of the end of the Vietnamese war has not been commented about much. In the Vietnamese community within the family, within organizations dedicated to social work of those left behind, the struggle left behind. Other than that, well, there were lives to rebuild work to be done, and it didn't seem as though anyone else cared to hear of troubles they preferred to forget.

 When I first came to the University of Maryland there was a Vietnamese groundskeeper who wore a hat of a type I recalled as being an ARVN campaign hat. He wore it while he rode a lawnmower up and down the length of McKeldin mall. He was cheerful and always said hello to passing students, but if he had a story to tell I never asked to hear it. I saw a small article in the Washington Post a few weeks ago folded deep inside the metro section Conference Explores Needs of Seniors Haunted by Past - George Mason University in Fairfax Virginia held a conference out of their Center for the Advancement of Public Health together with Boat People SOS, a Falls Church-based advocacy group for Vietnamese immigrants which focuses on the lives and hardships of the now aging generation of those who fled after the fall. To put together stories and account for the costs.

11:44:09 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Thursday, June 7, 2007
Radio Futures

I had the idea not to write about SoundExchange's war on internet radio until the 15 July deadline came round or something significant happened. There has continued to be a small stream of news on this, and as well with matters like this if some minimal pressure is not kept up the matter simply becomes decided. As penance I give burnt, well, toasted offering in the form of the lyrics to the song Mr. Giant Man as personally transcribed (sidebar).

Liz Berg has update in the WFMU blog on this from WFMU's perspective which is worth reading WFMU's Beware of the Blog: Radio News You Can't Use. She even travelled down to DC in May during the flurry on capital hill on this last month. There has been other press and activity since. What still puzzles me in the indiscriminate nature of SoundExchange's (RIAA) approach in raising the song usage fees. Two very different types of entities are being whacked here. In the first place streaming content from commercial and noncommercial radio. This is often though not always simulcasts of their over-the-air content and being simply part of that broadcast. SoundExchange insists; though, on separate and different pricing between these, significantly steeper for net content. Also they create a pricing structure based on number of (logged on) users a proviso that does not seem to have any direct analog to broadcast listeners. Also affected are web 2.0 user-created private Radio, which is a mix of enhanced playlisting solutions exemplified by Live365, and Pandora. Both relatively small companies, both in terms of size and revenue) Higher Music Royalties Create Static on the Net - SoundExchange, collection agent for the RIAA, would perfer not to see any distinctions, lumpen it all together Music Group Offers Some Web Radio Sites a Break -

The events of May: the bills in congress which would overturn the Copyright Royalty Boards validation of SoundExchange's new fee structure OpenCongress - H.R.2060, the petitions these provoked semi second thoughts, on SoundExchanges part. For smaller organizations - they decide - they would postpone the new fees until 2010 Music industry offers deal to small Webcasters | CNET The initial reaction of the Webcasters to this was no sale Webcasters ask appeals court to delay 'Net radio royalty increase. Digital Media Association and NPR "have filed for an emergency stay in the US District Court of the DC Circuit, seeking to delay the new royalty fee schedule for webcasts that is slated to go into effect on July 15." There also seems to be some discontent on another provision of the new rules. SoundExchange wants paid to them a flat $500 per channel administration fee, the suit refers to this as imposing "financial burdens that will stifle the technological advancement" Internet radio providers criticize SoundExchange's excessive administrative fees.

james last (hanzi) mr. giant man, voodoo beach party number six. (Germany, circa 1967)
Hi Ho I'm the King of Giant land. Ho Ho Party Time in Giant land. Hi Ho I'm a friend come along come along. Ho Ho In the land of Giant Man.
Chorus: Take me in your hand Mr. Giant man Lets go together to the Giant land Better get gone before the sun goes down Mr. Giant Man let's get on.
Hi Ho I invite you all to come. Ho Ho Everyone will be there. Hi Ho We will dance the Giant Way. Ha Ha You can Dance in Double time. Ho Hum There'll be fun for everyone. Ho Ho In the land of Giant Man.
Hi Ho I invite you all to come. Ho Ho everyone will be there. Hi Ho Party time in Giant Land. Ho Ho I'm a friend come along come along.
Hi Ho I'm the King of Giant Land. Ho Ho Come Along and we'll have some fun. Hi Ho Party time in Giant Land. Ho Ho I'm a friend come along come along. Hi Ho I invite you all to come. Ho hum There'll be fun for everyone Hi Hum Ho Hum.

What is the purpose of all this? Sure, there is always blatant greed. But greed is often complex like an '80s tv movie. These latest developments make it seem like the purpose of this is to confine the means of the mechanical reproduction of music. Within broadcast to terrestrial radio hopelessly mired as it is in homogenized burr-free national playlists. And the sterile niche-casting of satellite radio which never manages to give the impression they have any real idea of what they're doing. Against this the small tentative efforts by noncommercial traditional broadcasters to create a web presence, entirely in keeping with the idealistic visions of non-geographic communities of the like attuned. Communities created by groups often of volunteer Djs programming out of their own expertise (and record collections) who staffed these stations. For those trying to make their grubstake on music, it should be understood that these communities form the nucleus and heart of music culture. If you nickel and dime them to death, it all dies.

11:41:07 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Fort Reno 2007

 I knew it was about time for the annual free summer shows at Fort Reno park. This is part of a tradition of city/neighborhood organized band performances in Washington DC. I checked once about two three weeks ago and the site was in winter mothballs. I looked in a week ago and the site was lit and the 2007 logo was there, and then late last week they had the first show's date and its line up:  Monday, June 18th: Mass Movement of the Moth, Deleted Scenes, Boom Orangutans Fort Reno 2007. I thought I'd try to get this post written before that first date rolls by. Once they start shows occur on Mondays and Thursdays throughout the summer

 In previous year I had to Google the bands to find out any thing about them. I no longer really follow emerging bands except accidently. This year I see that the band names on the Fort Reno site are all links to their myspace pages where you can punch up their songs and get an immediate idea. This is sweet hep and ultra-groovy, as you young folks say. I also saw in the paper, last Friday I think, an interview with Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat, Fugazi) in the Washington Post reminiscing about the salad days growing up in that neighborhood and having these shows roll right up to your door  An Unforgettable Summer in the Parks -

 Fort Reno Park is in Washington DC sort of near Wisconsin Ave and Reno Rd. Between Wilson senior high school and the junior high where my niece graduates as valedictorian of her class in a few days.

11:39:40 PM    comment [];trackback [];

Click here to visit the Radio UserLand website.
Click to see the XML version of this web page.
Click here to send an email to the editor of this weblog.
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
2007 P Bushmiller.
Last update: 6/28/07; 1:51:05 PM.