Saturday, January 9, 2016

Jimmy Giuffre, Jim Hall Trio - Song Of The Wind

Jimmy Giuffre - Clarinet
Jim Hall - Guitar
Wilfred Middlebrooks - Bass

Update:  Afternoon 

Jimmy Giuffre, clarinet,
Paul Bley, piano
Steve Swallow, bass

I heard yesterday that Paul Bley had died, It's always a surprise when you realize people you remember as young grew old in the past fifty-five years and died.  
Duncan Black is too lazy to effectively troll anyone.  He couldn't even sustain it with "the Snitchens" when he was a lot younger. 

His community is too lazy to even read what they try to troll. 

Charlie Hebdo Est Toujours Puant

Apparently there was an abortive attempt to make the Associated Press decision to not publish the anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo cover on the "anniversary" of the mass slaughter at its office that spilled over into other places, into a cause célèbre.   As with its stupid, puerile cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, it has gone with a cover depicting "God" with a machine gun and blood on his sleeve with the caption "The assassin is always at large," my translation.  It's typical Charlie Hebdo, stupid, intentionally offensive in lieu of any cleverness, totally predictable and uninformative, the opposite of journalism.  It's typical of so much of the substitution of predictable humor geared to reliably get the agreement of its intended audience instead of telling them anything true or new or useful of informative.  It's a marketing strategy that has taken over pretty much of everything from American cabloid news, to newspapers, downward to the online webloids and even farther down to the common as dirt opinion blogs and into the intellectual and moral vacuity of the twitter-sphere.   Any part of that could disappear tomorrow and after the week of noticing its absence was over, it would be filled in by the same uniform product produced by some other equally stupid and pointless venue of sameness.

As I pointed out last year, the criticism of those who chose not to reproduce the cartoons of Muhammad that predictably and irresponsibly and pointlessly led to a violent reaction was as much of a violation of free press as the decision to ban publishing them would have been.  An editor choosing what not to publish is the very essence of free press.  The telling thing about that criticism is that it is an assertion that there's something wrong with being morally responsible, in not provoking a predictable and likely violent reaction, asserting that being grotesquely irresponsible is a moral duty, no matter how stupid, pointless, useless and intentionally offensive the thing not published is.  One of the most obvious things about the whole "draw Muhammad" shtick has been is that as long as it was brown and black people getting killed in Muslim majority countries in Asia, Africa and other places in the reaction, it was AOK with the white media of the West.

Last year media outlets were full of  "Je suis Charlie Hebdo", and considering how ubiquitous the sort of crap they publish, their irresponsibility their pointlessness, it's probably the most honest thing they said about it.

The only reason that anything the media does is important enough to take its protection seriously is when it seriously and responsibly tells the truth.  That was the only reason that the Bill of Rights should have created a special right for an artificial, corporate entity which has no natural rights, the only reason for anyone to consider those rights important to democracy and a decent society.  All the rest of it is nothing that any serious person needs to ever consider deserving any protection or support.  When it's as grotesquely irresponsible as Charlie Hebdo is, routinely, turning it into a cause is more pathology and far less courageous defense of freedom.

It's More Than Just Playing Yard Goods - Improvisation Isn't The Same Thing As Noodling

Apparently the same dim dolly who thinks that Christianity -  the very culture in which counterpoint and triadic harmony were invented - at one point in its history "banned thirds" thinks that someone who studied classical music knows nothing about improvisation.  I don't know where she studied music but it was certainly not with my teachers.  Certainly not my piano teacher and most certainly not with a competent classical organ teacher.  Improvisation is an essential part of organ instruction.

Aspects of improvisation are not only included in but are essential to the performance of some of the heart of the literature.  That is especially true of someone who studied music during the last fifty years when historically informed performance practice has been stressed more than it had been in the fifty years before.  And no intelligent and competent musician I know my age or younger hasn't practiced improvisation, in the performance of baroque music - in which it is not only possible but essential, in the improvisation of cadenzas shorter or longer and certainly no intelligent classical musician since the 1940s if not from earlier has be uninfluenced by jazz improvisation.  During my college years I went through Jacques Hotteterre's L'Art De Préluder and Francois Couperin's L'Art De Toucher Le Clavicin, both of which teach improvisation practices.  And both of which are available in English translations I didn't have access to back then.  I only wish my German had been up to going through C.P.E. Bach's Versuch über die wahre Art das Clavier zu spielen.  But I didn't know enough German until grad school and my goals weren't along those lines at the time.

I always, from the first lessons, encouraged my students to improvise intelligently and with an intentional purpose in mind, a structure and a goal.  And I try to teach them ways to avoid falling into habits and routines.  Music should never be made on a routine or habitual basis because it becomes pointless and boring background noise, though, for so many pop musicians, that's the point of it.

When I have said that I don't improvise, I mean that I don't improvise in the way that good and competent jazz musicians improvise, I certainly don't mean the kind of toodling around that Erin apparently does, either that or the brain dead backbeat banging that she once said she lived for.  I could do that when I was eight, any not entirely stupid kid figures out that they can make a semblance of music by noodling on the black keys of the piano just about as soon as they can reach them.

This discussion says a lot about what I'm talking about, especially avoiding cliches.

But when I talk about improvising, I mean something a lot more involved and interesting than the kind of junk that generates the musical genres of new age and space music.  I certainly mean something more than the aural wallpaper factory of pop music is based in.

Update:   More Out Of Duncan's Left Behind


  1. I mean something a lot more involved and interesting than the kind of junk that generates the musical genres of new age 

    No wonder you loved that "Icarus" by Oregon. You don't recognize proto-New Age when you hear it.
    1. Stupie, are you so illiterate that you don't get that I SAID I WASN'T SO HOT FOR THE GROUP, OREGON, PREFERRING RALPH TOWNER'S WORK WITH OTHER MUSICIANS? as in:

      "My brother corrects me that it wasn't Weather Report who played Icarus, it was Oregon, another group I wasn't that hot on. They were all right but I liked Ralph Towner's work with other musicians better."

      A life in pop music not only makes you insensitive to music of any sophistication or complexity, a life in pop music scribbling has made you illiterate as well. Or is that a result of remaining at Duncan's Brain Trust as the adults fled in droves?
    But it does have the upside of giving me a reason for reposting Gary Burton's brilliant masterful lesson on the basics of real jazz improvisation instead of the kind of toodling that Erin PDX apparently mistakes for the real thing. 

One for Duncy - Dinah Washington - You've Been A Good Old Wagon But Daddy You Done Broke Down

Update,  Apparently Erin thinks that toodling on a pentatonic scale or banging a brainless back-beat is improvising. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Johnny Costa - Fine and Dandy

I love Johnny Costa's playing.  Incredible technique and an improvisation style of his own.


Steve Swallow - Bite Your Grandmother

Steve Swallow, bass
Joe Lovano, tenor saxophone
Tom Harrell, trumpet, flugelhorn
Mulgrew Miller, piano
Jack DeJohnette, drums

I don't know what the title means except that it's attention getting.  It's a kind of gloomy dull afternoon here, figured I needed something up tempo.

And because I got more flack over my last post last night,

La Nostalgie De La Boue (Look it up, bunky)

Steve Swallow, bass
Mick Goodrick, guitar,
Chris Potter, Sax
Barry Reis, trumpet
Adam Nussbaum, drums

The Politics of Total Depravity Here And Now

The shame of Maine, that locus of viral hate, Paul LePage has done it again, he's exposed what a vile example of human being my state has made governor, not once but twice.   It's blatantly racist this time, blatantly disgusting, blatantly appealing to the lowest of the low, his natural constituency.

“These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty – these types of guys – they come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home,” LePage told a large crowd. “Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road.”

Other than being blatantly and provocatively racist, it's also a distortion of the problem with opiate addiction in Maine which, as in so many other places, was a product of over distribution of prescription artificial opiates.  There are doctors in Maine, the ones I'm aware of quite as pink as LePage, who run a buisness in writing prescriptions for them for people they certainly know are addicts.   There's a doctor in the town next to mine who has probably gotten more people addicted to Fentanyl and the Oxy- family of artificial opiates than your typical inner city neighborhood dope dealer.

But, tempting as it is to go into the relationship of our pharmaceutical and medical industries to the addiction crisis, with the illegal branch of Big Pharma also reaping the rewards, this is about how to prevent the LePages that our corrupt politics puts up for election gaining office.

LePage almost certainly could have been kept from being the governor if the election laws prevented anyone who didn't get over 50% of the vote from taking office.  Having an instant run-off election between the two candidates with the highest vote would probably have done it in his case.  Though I think it is as important to prevent millionaire vanity candidates, such as the one who enabled LePage's election, twice, from appearing on the ballot is also necessary.   I am confident that it is far less likely for a candidate of the gutter scrapings like Paul LePage to be able to get more than 50% of an election, at least in my state and the worst of the worst would probably be avoided through that reform.  Something is needed to fix the pudding-headed, earlier ballot reform that has led to this result.   "Reforms" largely at the behest of never-will-win 3rd party candidates having the names of their losing candidates appear on the ballot.  Maybe we didn't know the results of that then, we do now and it favors right-wing Republicans and their close political allies, it doesn't favor even the moderate left of the Democratic Party.


I am ashamed and totally disgusted that my state could have a governor as bad as Paul LePage and I am disgusted that the political establishment, especially that of the Republican Party has allowed him to do so much damage to peoples' lives.   And beyond doubt, he is a creation of hate-talk media in Maine and of the right-wing cabloid world of FOX, CNN and, as it is obvious the direction it's reportedly taking, MSNBC.  Oh, yes, our "public radio" has had a hand in it too,  The morning news reader might as well be considered Paul LePage's unofficial press secretary.  The idea that "more speech" was going to be a boon for progressive politics in the United States when that "more speech" was certain to largely be the opportune lies of corporate media is a total and complete sham.   The politics we've got are a result of the "free speech" "free press" rulings of the Warren, Burger, Rehnquist and, now, Roberts courts and the legal theorists who promoted those insanely irresponsible lines.  It originated in the relativistic morality in which the ability to discern the true from the false was denied.  That denial was not only an opportunity for liars to win through lying, it was an opportunity for those with responsibility to pretend that discerning the truth from lies wasn't the job description of judges, politicians, government officials, and the news media.

That program of sciency modernism has, as I think it's becoming obvious even within science, made anything like a democratic civilization impossible.  Democracy rests, absolutely and inescapably on the morality that values the truth above lies, equality over inequality, honesty over greed and the moral responsibility to make the right choices in such things.   The concept of morality, itself, was jettisoned by that intellectual regime as being old fashioned and inconvenient and not sciency.  Well, the real life results of that are in and the results are, unsurprisingly, amoral and awful, promoting politics through prejudice and hate, promoting conditions in which people are hooked on Oxycontin by doctors before the illegal drug pushers are given their crack at the remnants.   It can definitely get worse, wait to see what happens in November.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Hate Mail

Hey, I invited Duncan Black to delete the lies Simels, JR, etc. told about me on his blog, I've been inviting him to do that for years.  It's not my fault if it's an issue there.  

I do find it hilarious that some of his regulars seem to have real daddy issues with him.  Some of them older than he is.  I mean, they call him "Dad" and look on him like he's in loco parentis, with a heavy stress on the "loco". 

Update:  I couldn't possibly care less what Duncan Black thinks of me.   I can't say he's a has been because you have to have been to be a has been and he never worked hard enough to have had been. 

Overnight Hate:  An in-it-for-the-money blogger who has let his regulars regularly lie about what you've said for more than four years does tend to lose your respect.  Especially when you know that he knows what he's been doing because you've pointed it out to him.  Like with the replication crisis I mentioned yesterday, someone who knowingly lets his blog be used to slander and lie sort of brings down his own credibility by himself. It's the rump of his commenting community who produce the content of Duncan Black's blog, he hasn't been its foremost content provider for about the past nine years.  No, I won't include his comment free clipping and pasting and linking as his own work.  There's little enough of even that over there.   

The online sources that turn into vicious little cliques of people who do nothing but hate-on other people provide nothing to the left that the same vicious little cliques of people on the right provide.  They are equivalent forces in life and politics, the ones on the left bring down the left and aid the ones on the right in defeating the real left.  That's what those online venues of the pseudo-left have become. 

Johnny Costa - Holiday for Strings

Lounge music isn't necessary louche

Yes, Fred Roger's piano player was a very fine jazz musician.  This is fun and fun is good.  So is annoying a troll.

Update:  Yeah, I listen to everything I can and I love Johnny Costa's music.  He was quite amazing and had his own style.  And no one played Mr. Roger's music better.

Update:  Just One of Those Things

Hate Mail - Not Only Is It A Word It's You To A Tee

Simps is mocking my use of the word "unwisdom" implying that it isn't a word.

Well, Simps, imagine you having a career in writing without understanding how to use a dictionary.

Merriam Webster Online has this entry:


noun  un·wis·dom  \ˌən-ˈwiz-dəm\

Definition of unwisdom

Popularity: Bottom 10% of words
  1. :  lack of wisdom :  foolishnessfolly

And note that not only is it a word but, outdoing his etymology free erudtion of the other day, its first use in the English language is from before the 12th century.
Update:  You Should Have Quit While You're Behind


  1. Replies
    1. If it is it will never be honestly applied to you.

Steve Kuhn Trio - Two by two + Remember

Steve Kuhn, piano
Steve Swallow, bass
Billy Drummond, drums

I was looking for the Steve Swallow piece, Remember (at about 7:00 on this video) and found this great recording of it and Two by Two by Steve Kuhn.   So beautiful my eyes tear up when I hear it.\

Update:  Simples exposes himself as a true musical illiterate, calling the Steve Kuhn trio a "A cocktail lounge jazz band doing a blues."  If they're appearing at a cocktail lounge, count me in.  And, dearie, try counting the time of "Remember".  Try it.  I'd suggest following the form but let's see if you can get to 3 first.

Update:   Steve Swallow - Falling Grace

Gary Burton, vibes, piano,
Steve Swallow, bass
Larry Bunker, drums

Catholic Saints Unknown And The Unwisdom of Modern Canonization

For a change Religion Dispatches is about the best of religion instead of an opportunity to promote the alleged death of Christianity.   The piece which the playwright Gregg Mozgala remembers his friend, mentor and fellow disabilities rights activist, Fr. Rick Curry S.J. is a good reminder of what art at its best, in its greatest importance is for and what a life worth having lived is like.  Fr. Curry, a Jesuit was born without a right arm, was an example of both.

Screen Shot 2016-01-06 at 6.17.33 AM

For people who don't yet have disabilities, it's hard to get your mind around the hunger that people with them, who grew up with them must feel for the ability to be with other people who understand their daily experience.  And of being disappeared by the media and the larger society.

I can remember, during one of my first nights in Maine the following summer, a few of us were hanging out in the living room area yucking it up and getting to know each other. A young man with a severe case of cerebral palsy—a wheelchair user who relied on a personal attendant—in the next room overheard us and threw himself out of his chair, dragging himself over to us so he could join the conversation. I saw a man who couldn’t walk without crutches suddenly get up and run to the front of a bar when he realized it was his time to sing karaoke (a miracle?), and I watched people from all over the country and the world sing and perform everything from show tunes to Shakespeare. For many, this was the first time they were in a community of other disabled people like themselves, where they felt valued as human beings and were given the space (literally a stage!) to express themselves.

As a man of the cloth and as an artist Curry understood that attending theatre is not unlike going to church. Many medieval plays were performed in churches and dealt with issues of morality, justice and the human condition. Beyond that, both theatre and religion give one a sense of community. There is pageantry and spectacle involved in both; one dresses up to go to the theater the same way one dons their “Sunday best” to attend services. There is the collective belief in something not seen that is bigger than oneself. Both experiences are ardent practices in faith.

I remember, back in the early 1970s when I first heard of the National Theater of the Deaf and saw some of their work on TV it struck me how incredible it must feel for people to find themselves in a situation, not only where they were with other people from their community, who shared their language, but to have an institutional, public venue in which their language, their experience, their lives were the norm, to have other deaf people be their public, others welcome but not the ones who it was for, first and foremost.  And I'd grown up having a disabled father.

It has to be significant that Fr. Curry's work, as well, centered around theater.  It is certainly significant that it came from his religious vocation, that radical egalitarian vision of society.   In one of those lectures I posted last week, David Bentley Hart talks about how incredibly insane the egalitarian assertions of Jesus had to have seemed among pagans whose view of life was based in inequality and the assumption that inequality was an expression of the will of the gods or some expression of fate if not an expression of merit in the person or family so favored.  The difference between that view of things and the Bible, in which the status of the Jewish people as being "chosen" certainly didn't mean that life was going to be nothing but good times ahead is not only notable, it's crucial in understanding what made it different, why it has persisted even as the old inequality has.  Christianity has been and is still an aspiration to be attained, it certainly was not and has not been a reality achieved.  Though in some individual lives, even in some notable examples of institutional life, great strides toward living the Christian life have happened.  From what I can read about the work of Fr. Curry, that was at the center of it.


We are entering into one of the perennial repeats of Christopher Hitchen's ritual kicking around of Mother Teresa, the occasion is her impending canonization - of putting her into the official cannon of saints. I was never a great fan of the cult of personality that was raised around Mother Teresa, ironically much of it beginning in that most anti-Catholic of institutions, the BBC.   I don't think it was her finest period, when she went from a nun struggling to establish charitable institutions and efforts in which her lack of managerial experience, her naivety about modern medicine, sanitation, social issues,* etc. all became a problem.  I don't think she is to blame for a lot of it, she became a figure head into which a lot of people poured a lot of their own agenda.  I have to think she must have spent a lot of that time bewildered by it all, it must have been like being an unsuspecting rider of a rocket to which others had strapped her.

I don't think her canonization is a wise thing but no one asked me.  The problems with her order, with the institutions she founded will be made all important as her canonization becomes a weapon for anti-Catholics and anti-religious fanatics to wield.   Perhaps Pope Francis knows all about that and thinks there are better reasons for canonizing her, no one let me in on that, either.

As in the furor over the publication of her private diary and letters, what's most instructive isn't even her own mental state, she spent a large part of the time before she was famous feeling like even her religious belief had abandoned her.  For me that is what is truly heroic in her story, that she wasn't getting anything out of her labor in trying to take care of people who were entirely abandoned by the society in which they were dying, not even personal satisfaction, from the sound of it.  Yet she still did it in the years and decades before the idiotic Malcom Muggeridge turned her into a superstar.   I wonder if she might not have wished for that to go away sometimes.

It makes me wonder what will happen when one of my family heroes, Dorothy Day is canonized, as she will be.  What dirt the Christopher Hitchens crowd will try to dig up on her.   She was a lot more savvy than  Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu was and she never allowed herself to become the focus of the kind of publicity and fund raising machine that the elderly Albanian nun was turned into.  I can't help but get the feeling that Mother Teresa must have felt it was all unreal as compared to the stench, the dirt, the bodily secretions and sores, the human experience of real life.  I remember reading Dorothy Day talking about how the great city of New York dumped a street woman with a prolapsed rectum and other serious problems on her house of hospitality and the crisis it had presented to her always cash strapped and volunteer group.  You can ask the same thing about the responsibility of governments in India and elsewhere when it comes to the Sisters of Mercy.   If they had been taking care of those people, Mother Teresa wouldn't have found beggars dying in the street.  I have my problems with Mother Teresa as an international phenomenon and fund-rising cause, I can't help but think I have everything to learn from her in the period before she was famous.

*  In reading the recitation of individual examples when people being cared for in her institutions received inappropriate or incorrect care, in which there were wrong diagnoses, in which paliative care was inadequate and many other ways, I had to ask how much of the same can't be said every day about entirely secular and entirely up to date hospitals and health care facilities in the United States, Great Britain, France, etc.  And in those places there is no excuse of them being run by nuns who don't have the education or background to administer a modern healthcare institution.   It's not as if the secular health care systems around the world don't have similar problems of incompetence and failure to do what they know should be done.  I doubt that Mother Teresa was indifferent to the suffering of the most destitute of the street people of India, she certainly didn't just follow the local custom of just leaving them to the effects of their burden of karma or the American practice of trying to get out of caring for someone without insurance.   If she was to blame and it reflects badly on Catholicism or religion, why doesn't the frequently encountered indifference of modern medicine reflect badly on secularism and modernism?

North Korea And The Amoral Insanity That Marxism Was In Reality Instead of On Paper

Another thing I remember from the 1970s, as the new left was sinking into political powerlessness, was hearing an old lefty, one of those who left the Communist Party way later than any decent person should have, after Khrushchev's admissions to a fraction of the crimes of Stalin, after the invasion of Hungary, when trying to explain why she had remained when the crimes of her hero were published and had been for more than two decades.   In struggling to articulate a reason she had willfully overlooked the mass murders, the enormous numbers of individual murders, the oppression, the slave labor, the pact with Hitler, etc. she said that she had hoped for a "more logical society".  She didn't say she wanted a more equal society, a more charitable society but a more logical one.  What about that desire, for a "more logical society" would have led a literate person to ignore reality to that extent when the evidence that Stalin was just about the champion murderer and oppressor of the century, in a century was he was far from the only contender for that role.   I can't say that I've got any patience with such people who supported dictators of the pretended left.  I can't see such a yearning for "a more logical society" as being any less self-centered than those who yearn for a "freer society" who support fascists.

And so we have, in 2016 the remnant of the 20th century Communist dictatorships, especially the state-capitalist-Communists in China and the ultra-Stalinist state, North Korea which has been protected by China because they don't want a united Korea which would abut their border.  In order for that aspect of their state policy to stand, the Communists of China have been willing to tolerate and to protect what is likely the most oppressive dictatorship of the modern period.  The horrendous oppression, a mixture of the worst of Nazism and Stalinism with such horrible absolute dictatorships as those in Albania, Romania, with probably the largest number of people held in perpetual and inherited slavery, girls trained to be sex slaves to the ruling junta, the brutalization of society in an active and routine terror state.   For a lot of westerners, that is all secondary to the bizarre and horrific spectacles of parades and performances that look like fantastic variations on the routine as in the  practiced conformity on A Wrinkle in Time's  Camazotz mixed with Las Vegas style glitz.

Now the logic of Chinese Communism is presented with the prospect of North Korea not only having a small number of atomic weapons but a nuclear bomb, a result of its logical pursuit of its state interests.   And, we in the the west have a practical example in real life of what Marxism really has been for 99 years of its practical testing.   Anyone who still has any faith in it in light of its uniformly terrible nature is an idiot, no matter how logical their case is on paper.  The real history of that hugest catastrophe for the left is written in bloodstains and bones and destroyed lives. Now, going on, in light of the latter day history of Communism in North Korea, the death toll could get far larger.  The remnant romantics of Communism in the United States are depraved idiots, the most ignorant among them are still fighting the battles of the Red Scare from the 1950s, as seen in pop movie histories, without any concern at all about what the reality of Communism was to the people who actually lived under it.  The manner in which those who had the practical experience of living under the real life logic of communism have, notably, not chosen to repeat the experiment when it was up to them.

Though this latest stunt by North Korea's elite will be made Obama's fault in the United States, that has everything to do with our politics instead of anything relevant to the problem.  It is largely China's problem to deal with as they are the ones who have enabled it in the post Soviet period.  I doubt that China will be able to come up with a clean solution to the insanity its logic created but they are about the only ones who can.

Update:  Of course he fits into the stupidest of the pseudo-lefties who get most of what they mistake for knowledge from movies and other such crap.  It's not such a great feat for him to have realized he's in that category but only because it was me who said it. 


My brother corrects me that it wasn't Weather Report who played Icarus, it was Oregon, another group I wasn't that hot on.   They were all right but I liked Ralph Towner's work with other musicians better.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Nothing Says The 70s To Me Like Icarus

Ralph Towner, 12-string guitar
Gary Burton, vibes

I can't believe this is 40 years old.  It sounds as fresh as I remember it sounding when I bought the LP.   Wasn't a huge Weather Report fan but this brings back some memories.  As I recall, there's a lunar crater named for this piece, named that by astronauts, not geeks.

Update:  Song For A Friend 

I'm going to order the CD as soon as I post this.  I don't usually buy the CD if I've still got the LP but I want this without the pops and nicks.

Carla Bley & Steve Swallow - Major - Heineken Concerts - 2000

Simple Song 

Head In The Sand Science Can't Be Sustained Forever

The pretense of scientism is that science is the supreme means of discerning an absolute and objective truth.   But the truth is that science, as it's practiced in this time when the popular reputation of science is at its most unrealistic height is a mess.  That so many of the true believers actually know so little about science that they don't understand that when a huge percentage of published studies can't be replicated, that, alone, constitutes a total breakdown of science.  Replication of results, that results reported can be tested through replication is an absolute requirement for what is called "science" by scientists to be reliable.  And the discovery that large numbers of experiments and observations can't be replicated points out to other, equally bad aspects of science as it is practiced in the 21st century.   The failure of replicability crisis points out to other crises in peer review which has been verified in the exposure of fraud which went undetected for years in some of the more highly promoted and popularized fields of science.  The situation in that most PR driven of sciences, psychology is way past crisis point with fewer than 40% of studies even passing the agreed to standards of psychology (which I wouldn't trust to start with).

Don’t trust everything you read in the psychology literature. In fact, two thirds of it should probably be distrusted.

In the biggest project of its kind, Brian Nosek, a social psychologist and head of the Center for Open Science in Charlottesville, Virginia, and 269 co-authors repeated work reported in 98 original papers from three psychology journals, to see if they independently came up with the same results. 

The studies they took on ranged from whether expressing insecurities perpetuates them to differences in how children and adults respond to fear stimuli, to effective ways to teach arithmetic.

According to the replicators' qualitative assessments, as previously reported by Nature, only 39 of the 100 replication attempts were successful. (There were 100 completed replication attempts on the 98 papers, as in two cases replication efforts were duplicated by separate teams.)  But whether a replication attempt is considered successful is not straightforward. Today in Science, the team report the multiple different measures they used to answer this question.

And this report gives a succinct reason that this does constitute a true crisis in science.

There is no way of knowing whether any individual paper is true or false from this work, says Nosek. Either the original or the replication work could be flawed, or crucial differences between the two might be unappreciated. Overall, however, the project points to widespread publication of work that does not stand up to scrutiny.

Once you discover that there is this level of failure of peer review, of the process of publication, you don't know what is trustworthy.  And the bigger problem is that for the years and decades before the recent exposure of the problem, you don't know how much of what was presented as science deserved the trust that was insisted it deserved.   You don't know how much of anything which isn't subjected to a real and rigorous and MANDATORY replication and review process is reliable.  The fact that very little testing through replication is done because journals won't publish replication studies is a fatal failure of that scientific method we were all sold in the early high school years.

In sciences where this hasn't, yet been done with suffient rigor to really test the claims made, you don't know if the situation isn't as bad as it has been discovered to be in the fields it has been discovered in. The situation discovered existed for years, undetected as the irreproducable results were sold as science.  Perhaps most alarming of all are the failures in  pharmaceutical  science, the drugs and treatments sold by conventional medicine, what doctors rely on to have been rigorously tested.  Our medical care shouldn't be allowed to continue to be trusted to a process that's reminiscent of the marketing of Microsoft products, release it and try to fix it as problems are reported.

Scientists have obviously not been doing what they have told us they do, they have been misrepresenting the reliability of science and the rigor with which they have not been following their own rules.  That is a failure of morality, of doing what is advantageous for the scientists, for those who employ them, for the departments and institutions they work for.   Considering the political and other issues surrounding materialistic atheism and its inherent amorality and the claim often made by atheists that a large majority of scientists are atheists, I've got to ask if the amorality of their world view doesn't make it reasonable to expect that this kind of thing would be rationally expected to arise in such a materialistic milieu.

We put much too much faith in the genteel manners of the scientist class.   It's not a faith unlike that sold in businessmen and financial professionals, a skim coat covering a rather vicious bunch but one which will always break the rules if they know they can get away with it and who will come to gentlemen's agreements to break them to their mutual advantage.  I think it would be a lot more realistic to view science as being like every other profession, not trustworthy to police itself.  That is especially true due to the complex and esoteric aspects of science, in which any specialty will have its own body of founding facts which even other scientists will not know because no one can know everything.  Even scientists have to take what other scientists in another field say on faith.  Though the fact that bad science can harm a scientist, their family and friends has certainly has not kept a lot of scientists from protecting the community of scientists and keeping up the pose of the integrity of SCIENCE.

Well, now we know and science will have to prove that it will live up to its pretensions or it will suffer a loss of confidence that other institutions found to be corrupt and hypocritical have suffered.  Frankly, with the disasters that science has wrought, global warming, the creation of the most horrific of weapons, dangerous pharmaceuticals, food ingredients, etc. I don't see how it can't avoid getting taken down any number of pegs.  It's high priesthood will not be able to maintain the pose of omnipotence for science, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the skepticsim that annoys them isn't a result of past failures.  People have certainly noticed that the claims of nutritionists, their reliable, reported, reviewed science seems to change in the most contradictory of ways, at times depending on who payed the scientists.  The same is true all over, science has certainly not avoided turning into the paid shills and liars of industry and financial and military industrial power.   And they just absolutely hate it that the common folk, the plebs seem to have noticed that something's not as sold.

And the failure of replication is only one of a number of crucial failures of science that are becoming undeniable.  The entire animal testing industry has, as well, been being tested and many of its most basic assumptions, made in the 19th century and relied upon, untested since then, are also being found to be false or not as claimed.   I suspect entire sciences which have sprung up are based on sand that could turn into quicksand very fast as more testing of basic assumptions is done, forced by the building demand to test them.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Family Issues Are Keeping Me Occupied So I'll Knock Over A Hornet's Nest

Rupert and Charles Eisenstein talk about the foundations of science, both as an institution and as a path to knowledge. Like all the institutions of modernity, science faces a crisis that is increasingly recognized within science itself.

Charles Eisenstein takes a few minutes to get into the swing of things but it's worth waiting for it when that happens.   I know, going into this, that my typical trolls will pretend to have listened to it when they haven't so I'll only post what they say if it's entertainingly clueless. 

What Sheldrake says about the replicability crisis is a serious problem which I attribute to a number of conditions in science, not least of which is the arrogant, unwarranted confident belief in materialism.  The fact is that a lot of it is a moral lapse of scientists not being honest about their data, only publishing the data that confirms what they want to be true, of journals allowing a superficial and pro-forma replacement for review and publishing science done to order.  

More interesting, in light of what David Bentley Hart said about the destructive effects of the mechanistic view of reality, is the discussion between Eisenstein and Sheldrake of how that view of reality is part of us destroying the environment.  

Lots for the materialists and atheists to hate on in this one, you might note the difference in tone between Sheldrake and their febrile rage. 

Update:  Well, I'm not shocked to find out that the silly bint doesn't keep up with issues in science, I figured anyone who spent so much time gossiping at E-ton was probably pretty much going through the motions at the lab she supposedly works in.   Maybe she should look at Nature from time to time.   Try googling Nature Magazine Reproducibility Crisis and see what comes up.   I found this article from last September to be especially eye-opening, it was illustrated with the cartoon mentioned in the podcast. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Hate Mail

"He's an anti-Semite shithead."

In Simelspeak that means someone who regrets that more Jews weren't allowed to live in the United States instead of getting killed in Europe or Palestine, getting lots of Palestinians displaced and killed in the process.  

Maybe what he means is that if there were more Jews here he'd find it even harder to get attention for himself.   Attention for himself is his prime directive. 

As for any of the Eschatots who believe him, I don't care.  The ones who are left will obviously believe anything.   Duncan doesn't care what he hosts as long as the Bezos bucks keep trickling in, his blog is so OOs. 

Update:  "Skeptic Tank" (yeah, that's his own, chosen pseudonym, he should get together with Tlaz on that one) is just sore because I kicked his ass a few times.  He couldn't get over having a yokel hick from the wilds of Maine be able to do that.   He'll never get over it.  

Robin Eubanks and EB3 - Pentacourse

Robin Eubanks – trombone
Kenwood Dennard – drums & keyboard bass
Orrin Evans - keyboards

I love this group, how they use such simple strategies to make maximal music.

Update:  Here's a demonstration of what I mean.

Steve Swallow Quintet - Reinventing the Wheel

Steve Swallow, bass
Mick Goodrick, guitar,
Chris Potter, Sax
Barry Reis, trumpet
Adam Nussbaum, drums

Denying Jesus "Left" and Right

I have been engaged in an argument with a rather tedious athei-bot over at Religion Disptaches, he's one of the Jesus-deniers of the "Jesus is a myth" variety.  I have to admit that I've never taken those folks any more seriously than I do young-earth-creationists or climate change deniers so I never addressed them before except to note that one of their very own, Bart Ehrman has told them, in the plainest of terms that, like it or not, there is no serious historian with the requisite scholarly equipment who doesn't accept that Jesus was an actual person who lived in roughly the time and place that the Gospels describe.

The argument made to me is the one that the Gospels all date from decades after Jesus died and that the earliest mentions of Jesus, in the Epistles of Paul don't mention much if any of the material contained in the Gospels.   Why they never include the Epistle of James, generally considered the oldest of the books of the New Testament, I'm not sure.  But one thing is clear, these guys are parroting some atheist propaganda on the topic, they haven't even bothered reading the earliest of the Pauline Epistles, such as Galatians,  which scholars date as being written sometime between c. 49 and 55 CE.  It is generally believed that Paul was writing to one of the many communities of Christians he had founded in his many, long years of missionary work, spreading the teachings of Jesus and the belief in him and his teachings.

If the atheists who buy the current debunking argument had bothered to read the Epistle instead of what their alleged atheist experts say about it, it contains nothing but bad news for their effort.   As soon as verse 6 of the first chapter of Galatians Paul is talking about the existence of a true Gospel which he had given them and a false Gospel which is at variance with it.  Now, from Paul's own writing we now know that as early as the 50s CE there were Gospels about Jesus circulating among Christians, how much those Gospels coincide with the four canonical Gospels we have now isn't knowable but it is certainly not unreasonable to believe that much of the same material, the same teachings of Jesus and accounts of his life were contained in them.  The earliest dated Gospels, Mark and Matthew are often estimated to date from the 50s and not later than the 60s CE and what we have now are believed to have been based on either earlier editions of the same books or to have consulted earlier Gospels.  Matthew and Luke, along with Mark have all been gone over exhaustively, comparing both material common to them and not common to them to try to discern those issues.  The speculative Gospel they consulted, the so-called Q (from the German quelle, source) could have been exactly what Paul was talking about.

If the Gospel that Paul was talking about was in the oral tradition or written down is not known but, as it's obvious that accuracy was important to Paul AND IT'S OBVIOUS THAT HE WAS WRITING TO LITERATE PEOPLE, it's almost certain that the Gospel he was talking about would have been written down, perhaps even checked for accuracy by those who he gave it to.  I can't imagine that literate people who had been moved to convert to Christianity wouldn't have taken down in writing what they'd been told, if he had been able to write it out himself, I can't imagine Paul wouldn't have written things down for them.   And, as Paul was not the only person spreading the word, other Christians, many of whom, unlike Paul, would have heard Jesus and even known him would have had as much of a reason to have written sayings and accounts down, as well.

I don't understand why these would be debunkers think that the lapse of time between the death of Jesus, in the early years of the 30s CE, and the earliest written accounts we have of his life are some big problem. The time periods descried in short accounts you can read in twenty minutes amount to years and decades.  Those consisted of months and weeks when things happened.  Consider what a time line would show in the case of Paul.

From the time of the execution of Jesus we have the account of his resurrection, a period of regathering his followers who witnessed his Resurrection before his ascent into heaven and, then a period before the Pentecost event which might count as the beginning of Christianity.  Even if you don't believe in the Resurrection, the Ascension or the Pentecost, the earliest written records give a space of time between the execution of Jesus and the beginning of the movement of those who believed in him and in those events, including those who believed they were witnesses who experienced them.

By the time of the conversion of Paul from being a persecutor of the followers of Jesus to a latter day apostle of Jesus, we already have accounts of, not only a Church in Jerusalem but in other places. That certainly accounts for a number of years of development, first the community forming and then, after that existed, the organized persecution of the Church.  Those things are also talked about by Paul and in the book of Acts estimated to date from the early 60s CE.  And there is, as well, a period of time between the conversion of Paul and the writing of his earliest letters to communities he had established and which he feels are in need of correcting due to their straying from the Gospel he had given them.  It's as if the 21st century atheists have no patience to understand that life in the 1st century was not like it is today where you text someone or call them on your I-phone or even send them a letter on cheap paper written in ball-point pen, sent by reliable air-mail (an act that is so cumbersome and labor intensive so as would exhaust the patience and comprehension of a lot of these callow atheists, it would seem).

The time from Paul's conversion to his first Epistles has been estimated to be as long as 17 years, including extensive and arduous travels, staying in places long enough to convert people and establish communities, to run into opposition and get into trouble, have a major dispute with the leaders of the Church in Jerusalem which had to be sorted out, more missionary trips, etc.

Paul, knowing he had given these people the Gospel would not have gone over what he knew they had in a letter written, probably with a reed pen dipped in ink on very expensive paper, to be sent to them by arduous and far from reliable means.  He knew they had the Gospel he had given them, there would be no reason to go over it again.  He was dealing with specific issues that arose after that.

And Paul, by his own admission, had never known Jesus in life.  He, himself, would have to rely on the witness of those who had known and seen and heard Jesus for accounts of those things.  He, himself, asked the Church in Jerusalem for their blessing for his missionary work, naming James, the brother of Jesus and Peter, certainly the same Peter who is one of the closest associates of Jesus in the Gospels, he must have relied on them for direct knowledge of what Jesus said and did.  I wouldn't be surprised if he had not transmitted much of the information he had as he had been told it by them and others, unnamed, followers and associates of Jesus.  I would be surprised if he hadn't included such information in the Gospel he had transmitted to those early communities.

The alleged time gap that the Jesus mythicists rely on is, actually, no gap at all. It is entirely understandable that a small and rapidly growing movement of Christians, whose central figure was executed as a criminal, whose teachings were radically in favor of the poor, the destitute, the outcast and the alien and which excited a violent crackdown wherever it was announced would have a hard time organizing their written and oral accounts of what they were about.  Especially in that age when writing was not even as easy as it was with steel pens or lead pencils on cheap paper in the 19th century.

Everything about the new atheism is anachronistic, a failure of understanding and an ability to accurately imagine the conditions under which Christianity began.  Considering those conditions and the forces that would have to be overcome for Christianity to have become a real and dynamic movement, its survival and spread, even in the period before the catastrophic adoption of it as the Roman state religion, could be legitimately regarded as miraculous.  What isn't so miraculous is that the very documents that such debunkery rests on are the things which support the reality of Jesus and his teachings.   You have to pretend what's in them isn't there to do what the atheists want to do with them.  Which doesn't surprise me, not after seeing what they have to do to maintain some of their central myths.   But I won't go into the post-war St. Darwin myth or the heroic history of Marxism in America again just now.

To demand modern record keeping in the 1st century Mediterranean basin is as clueless as it would be to demand a full family tree of our ancestors in the Paleolithic period.  One of the most ridiculous aspects of the present atheist polemic around these issues is that the very same people will buy the most clearly opportune and even absurd myth making about our ancestors based on absolutely no evidence, whatsoever.  So many of them are the truest of believers in whatever some evo-psy guy makes up out of not even the thinnest of air but out of sheer and naked opportunism as having the reliability of science.  Clearly what they admit as evidence depends on what they want to be true, not what is there and what isn't.

I think the primary motive of the current attempt to lie about the existence of Jesus is a hostility to his teachings of radical egalitarianism, including a requirement to share, equally, available resources.  I am ever more convinced that what is beneath the attempt to bury the reality of Jesus by denying he was real is the same as those on the political right in burying the radicalism of the real Jesus with a phony substitute who was worried that men might sleep together above all else and that you are to shoot unto others before they can shoot unto you.  Their motives are exactly the same, inequality, acquisitiveness, feeling better about yourself through hating other people.  There's nothing in the Gospel that they welcome, that they have any intention of living by.

Update:  Simels apparently finds the word "perhaps" to be more complex than he's able to navigate.  I'd publish but we've already established that he's a post-literate kind of Brain Truster.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Carla Bley trio - Utviklingssang - Cully Jazz Festival 2012


“Utviklingssang” is a Bley original that sounds like a Scandinavian folk song (the title means “Development Song” in Norwegian). She’d been asked by a promoter to write a piece with a Nordic flavour for a tour with the Scandinavian All-Stars, and refused, “but the piece came out of me anyway.” The piece was titled after Bley witnessed an Oslo protest march against the building of dams to generate more energy for Southern Norway which, it was said, would adversely affect wildlife in Lapland. It must rank amongst the prettiest of protest pieces. Stereophile magazine once hailed it as “a hushed, modal masterpiece.” “Utviklingssang” was first heard on record played by a nine-piece band on the Social Studies album (1980), then appeared on Duets with the irreducible core team of Bley and Swallow in 1988, and in an octet version on 4 x 4 (with Shepherd as one of the sax players) in 1999.

Ladies in Mercedes - Steve Swallow, Gary Burton, Makoto Ozone, Mike Hyman

Steve Swallow wrote the music, this is a great performance of it, unique so far as I know because it's the only recording of Gary Burton playing marimba I've ever heard.  Makoto Ozone's solo is great, everything about it is great. 

Carla Bley and Steve Swallow

The duo performances by Carla Bley and Steve Swallow are one of the really great artistic and personal partnerships of all time.  

Carla Bley Trio - Ups And Downs (New Morning - Paris - October 21st 2015)

Carla Bley, piano,
Andy Sheppard, sax
Steve Swallow, bass

Carla Bley Trio - Ups and Downs (Brecon Jazz festival 1992)

Same players as above.  

This is one of the best things about Youtube, being able to listen to great players playing the same piece to see what they do with it at different times. 

John Cleese - The Scientists - 2008

I can't read something about Daniel Dennett without remembering this classic.

Hate Mail - Update On The Down Brow

Apparently other Eschatots are perplexed at how an educated person writing something for other educated people to read could use a word so obscure as "perplexity".  

Just how stupid does it need to get over there at Baby Blue?  

Update:  Steve, you boob.   Having a college level vocabulary isn't a sign of being a Republican.  You apparently are one of those people who believes that an education is only the rightful domain of the elite.  There are no bigger snobs than those who believe that poor folk don't have a right to think, a depressing number of whom mistake themselves as leftists.