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Preview: Why Fret?

Why Fret?

Catholicism, Guitars, Politics, Culture, Software, etc

Updated: 2014-10-07T01:50:20.798-04:00


The Next Best Thing


(object) (embed) The late Steve Goodman singing "Elvis Imitators". I bought the album Artistic Hair circa 1986 solely based on hearing Weasel play this cut on WHFS. Steve Goodman immediately became one of my favorite singer-songwriters. The performance in this video must be the same one as on the album. Goodman also wrote Arlo Guthrie's big hit "City of New Orleans".

Champions of Faith: Baseball Edition


(image) I just finished watching Champions of Faith: Baseball Edition and was really impressed. Tom Allen and the crew at Catholic Exchange have done a bang up job. The production is professional with crisp editing and is beautiful to view in HD. The real story, of course, though is, well, the stories.

Major league players who share their faith include:

  • Three time Les Milgram Royals Player of the Year, Mike Sweeney

  • 2006 Worlds Series Most Valuable Player, David Eckstein

  • 12 time All Star, Mike Piazza

  • Two-time Cy Young Award winner, Tom Glavine

  • Sean Casey

  • 2002 American League Major League Manager of Year, Mike Scioscia

  • Calliope Crashes


    Calliope Crashes. Goofy title. Maybe it should be "Cheez Whiz". That's what it sounds like.

    Bonus track: Very short take on Cool Jerk. Really edited down as sort of a blog theme song.

    Ban Water


    (object) (embed)
    I'm not much of a Penn and Teller fan, but this video is a hoot. I've met a lot activists with this level of knowledge.

    Crass Commercialism



    I've said it before, and now with Sean Hannity proving that he is a wimp, it is time to say it again.

    Broken Neck Blues



    Not a composition, per se. Rather a demonstration that my old Gibson Melody Maker is still somewhat playable even after my rather crude mending of its broken neck.

    Broken Neck Blues

    My wife asked "What is that awful whining racket?" You can't ask for a better recommendation than that, can you?

    Sean Hannity Proves his Ignorance


    Sean Hannity throws a tantrum when a priest calls him on the carpet for supporting contraception.

    via Gerald Augustinus and Amy Welborn.

    This should come as no surprise to anyone who remembers Hannity's gushing support of Arnold Schwarzenegger over pro-lifer Tom McClintock in the California Republican primary. Hannity does not understand anyone who would vote Republican because of principles, but rather bases his "principles" on being Republican.

    Many times Hannity does more harm to conservative causes than liberals do. He is an ill mannered boor who's idea of "debate" is shouting someone down who disagrees with him. How anyone could be persuaded by him is beyond me.

    How is pouting "I know latin" and "I went to the seminary" any different than Ted Kennedy essentially saying the same thing? Sean, are you trying to make Alan Colmes look good?

    A Hard Day's Midsummer Night's Dream


    The Beatles act out Pyramus and Thisbe.

    Live from the Bollywood Howl


    Indian Beatles

    Urban Pastoral


    Urban Pastoral

    Starting to experiment with basic stereo mixing.

    I'm running out of space on my ftp server. Does anyone know of a free mp3 hosting service?

    James Cameron Finds Christ's Tomb


    Brace yourself. James Cameron, the man who brought you 'The Titanic' is back with another blockbuster. This time, the ship he's sinking is Christianity.

    In a new documentary, Producer Cameron and his director, Simcha Jacobovici, make the starting claim that Jesus wasn't resurrected --the cornerstone of Christian faith-- and that his burial cave was discovered near Jerusalem. And, get this, Jesus sired a son with Mary Magdelene.


    But film-makers Cameron and Jacobovici claim to have amassed evidence through DNA tests, archeological evidence and Biblical studies, that the 10 coffins belong to Jesus and his family.
    Yeah, right.

    Who is he going to match the DNA to? Audrey Tautou?

    Musical Incontinence


    I don't seem to have the patience to slow down and work something out better. This could have benefited from further run downs, editing, etc, but here it is: Quivering Jellyfish

    Prince Rocked


    I'm not a big Prince fan. I actually do enjoy his music, but most of the lyrics would be banned in our house. That said, he rocked the Super Bowl half-time show. And was clean. If any of the lyrics were suggestive, I couldn't make them out.

    The guitar playing was awesome. I really dug the sound of the telecaster. When he pulled out his odd symbol guitar, he started a solo that was very dissonant, but managed to pull it back in.

    I really wanted him to play more of All Along the Watchtower. The amazing thing to me was that he made it rocking, funky, and soulful without any Hendrix licks. Does anyone else think it ironic that Prince played Watchtower when he has been purported to be a Jehovah's Witness?

    Truth in Advertising


    I don't particularly keep up with fashion as it is. "Men's" fashion is even more ridiculous than women's. "Men" is in quotes because no real man would be caught dead wearing any of this ..., well read the shirt.

    Researchers discover alternative stem cell source


    US researchers say stem cells nearly as powerful as embryonic stem cells can be found in the amniotic fluid that protects babies in the womb.

    They have used them to create muscle, bone, fat, blood vessel, nerve and liver cells in a laboratory, and say they believe the placenta and amniotic fluid can provide one more source of the valued cells, which scientists hope will some day transform medicine.
    Will this discovery stop Michael J Fox and Nancy "I've got the Power!" Pelosi from pushing to still kill babies for their embryonic stem cells? Sadly, I doubt it.

    Remember, though, that all of the actual cures attributed to stem cells have been from adult stem cells.

    Eins ...





    I've only in the last month started to play with recording myself. Here is the first mp3 of hopefully more: a brief take on Van Morrison's Moondance. There was only one take each for the rhythm and lead tracks. Please be kind.


    1980 Les Paul Custom through GuitarPort running GearBox 3.0. Recorded via Audacity and saved with LAME mp3 encoding.

    Here it is.

    Test your musical skills in 6 minutes!


    While working at the music and neuroimaging lab at Beth Israel/Harvard Medical School in Boston, I developed a quick online way to screen for the tonedeafness. It actually turned out to be a pretty good test to check for overall pitch perception ability. The test is purposefully made very hard, so excellent musicians rarely score above 80% correct. Give it a try!
    I was disappointed to only score 72.2% on the tone deaf test, but was quite surprised to score 80% on the rhythm test. I thought it would be exactly the opposite. I did, however, rush through the first test. After seeing how hard it was, I took my time on the second.

    Daily Power Pop Dose: Cheap Trick


    (object) (embed)
    I discovered Cheap Trick in 1979 and to this day I think In Color (and in Black and White)(image) is by far their best album. The video is from a song off that album performed on the Dick Clark show.

    Sweet Little Sixteen


    "Today marks the 16th anniversary of the World Wide Web. According to the timeline on the site: 'The first web page [was] Unfortunately CERN no longer supports the historical site. Note from this era too, the least recently modified web page we know of, last changed Tue, 13 Nov 1990 15:17:00 GMT (though the URI changed.)' A lot has happened in 16 years and this little 'baby' has grown into quite the teenager."
    I'm sure I've geezed about this before, but I remember FTPing the source code for Mosaic, compiling it, and being able to connect to only a handful of web pages.

    Air Guitar T-Shirt


    Scientists at the CSIRO's Textile and Fibre Technology division in Geelong have woven electronic sensors into a T-shirt so that it can be played liked a real guitar.

    Movements by the wearer's arms are mapped and beamed by radio to a computer which interprets them and turns them into musical notes.

    The wearer only has to act out playing the instrument to make sounds.

    "The left arm chooses a note and the right arm plays it," said Richard Helmer, a CSIRO chemical engineer who led the project. The arrangement can be reversed for left-handed musicians.
    When I first read about this I thought it was a put on. I've changed my mind after watching the video. When you are watching it, keep in mind that the player is only playing limited chords to a backing track that includes lead guitar. There seems to be a noticeable lag which is inherent in synth guitars too.

    Office Space


    Jimmy Akin posts about a funny re-make of the Office Space trailer that makes the movie look like a thriller.

    Am I the only one who found Office Space to be tedious? Duller than day old dishwater. Yes, it has many memorable, funny scenes that we often make reference to at the office, but those funny scenes are stretched out over a full length movie when they could have all been boiled down to a fifteen or twenty minute short. Sort of like Wayne's World, or for that matter, any Saturday Night Live skit that has been turned into a movie.

    Hey Bulldog!


    (object) (embed) Awesome video of the Fabs in the studio recording "Hey Bulldog". The audio was added later to an originally silent film. I never thought of the Beatles as playing SGs, but you can see both George and John using (the same?) one.

    This has always been one of my faves. Over the years since the breakup, Apple has at various times released "new" Beatles singles. I can clearly remember "Got to Get You into My Life" all over the airwaves in the late seventies after such a release. "Hey Bulldog" would be perfect to release now.

    Meet The Smithereens


    NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- November 07, 2006 -- KOCH Records announces the release of "Meet The Smithereens!," the new album by New Jersey's The Smithereens in January 2007. Paying homage to The Beatles' groundbreaking album, "Meet The Beatles!," the Smithereens have rerecorded the album in its entirety, and the result is a fun and nostalgic trip through 12 classic songs done Smithereens style. The CD also features liner notes by legendary promoter Sid Bernstein, musician (and some would say musicologist) Lenny Kaye, Beatles historians Bruce Spizer, Dennis Mitchell and Andy Babiuk, author of the fantastic book, "Beatles Gear."