Re: Tenement Slum

1

the chimes

That's actually glockenspiel (also called orchestra bells, but glockenspiel is way more fun to say), struck with metal-tipped mallets.

The chimes are the big stand-up thingies (see here), and you get to hit them with a big fucking mallet, which is fun, too. They make more of a "bong" sound, where the bells make a "ding" sound, as if that helps.

Also: killer song. I'd never noticed how sparse the use of the snare drum was until just now. Nice.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 10:20 PM
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Diana Ross sings, "Started my life in a old, cold, run-down tenament slum," and the back-up singers echo tenement slum.

Oh you, heebie.

Great song, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 10:26 PM
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yeah, i haven't heard this for ages.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 10:27 PM
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2: Sifu Drew-eety is forgetting that you're always right, even on spelling. Forgive him.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 10:28 PM
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I love this song. Another contender for best use of back-up singers is, surely, Leader of the Pack.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 10:29 PM
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Also "Excitable Boy".


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 10:30 PM
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Listening to it again, I think the first use of "tenement slum" actually has more voices, leaving open the possibility that they actually recorded it with the backup singers singing "tenement slum" for no particular reason. Which is even awesomer.

Actually I find it interesting, given the era, how much this song seems oriented towards being DJ friendly; the long intro, with the little taste of vocal hook like that, and not too much bass, is very much the way you build a track if you want it to be mixable. Probably too early, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 10:33 PM
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Skinny Elvis doing "In the Ghetto", which also boasts good backup vocals.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 10:37 PM
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8: That song may have been ruined by South Park, though.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 10:38 PM
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Re 7 - "Even awesomer" - Sweet Jesus - where is my pistol?


Posted by: Herr Torquewrench | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 10:40 PM
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Motown is a high point in American civilization. Smokey Robinson is my favorite, but opinions will differ.

My favorite point in this song is "Love child, never meant to be / Love child, society". No need for a long sociological exegesis. It all traces back to society! True enough, too.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 10:45 PM
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I'm starting to love "Dirty Water." It sounds like victory.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 10:50 PM
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Plus it's kind of an awesome song, fm. A lot better than sweet fuckin' caroline.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 10:52 PM
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Fuck caroline. That is all.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 10:54 PM
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The dropkick murphys do an awesome cover of dirty water, btw. Like, a pitworthy version.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 10:57 PM
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8: One of my favorite Elvis songs. And that's saying something.

He didn't stay thin much longer after that, though...


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 11:02 PM
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Best backup heckler ever. (I love this song so much.)


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 11:03 PM
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OT: My roommate is planning travel to Berlin, Spain, and maybe a few other EU countries in December. He's traveling around with a band but making no money. Does he need a visa?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 11:06 PM
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No, but he does need a map. Berlin is not in Spain.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 11:08 PM
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19: Right-o: I meant flying into Berlin, Germany, with subsequent travel to Spain and and other EU countries.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 11:10 PM
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Sidebar OT question (which is music-related and thus topical!): does the band need visas? They do expect to make money.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 11:12 PM
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You never used to need one. I don't think that's changed, but I haven't been to Europe in six years.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 11:17 PM
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If they are making money, they may need a work permit.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 11:18 PM
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Based on my reading of the Schengen Agreement, he's fine. Band is more complicated and not really my problem, but I was curious.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 11:20 PM
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You need one for Belarus. It's a pain in the ass. And you have to go through Belarus to get to Lithuania, usually. You don't even get to see the mighty Eurobison, the only redeeming factor of Belarus, on your train ride.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 11:24 PM
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I never really got around to appreciating Elvis, but I cannot deny the singability of "Suspicious Minds", nor the cheesy appeal of Elvis's fat and happy phase (3:50 in, where he screws with the backup singers, is hilarious).

And PGD is absolutely right about Motown. The Supremes had some of the most amazing productions, with "Love Child" and the morse code intro to "You Keep Me Hangin' On", but my favorite artists from the whole 60s-70s Motown era had to be the Temptations. Just an untoppable collection of singles: "Ball of Confusion", "Get Ready", "Papa Was a Rolling Stone", "I Can't Get Next to You"... Best vocal interplay and some of the best funk-inspired productions on the entire label. They were the soundtrack to my childhood.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 11:42 PM
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That Stevie Wonder kid has promise.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-16-08 11:45 PM
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||

So this friend of mine has this new TV show he's hosting, and I'm watching the first episode: that is a goddamned strange experience.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:04 AM
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My friend turns out to have pretty good TV presence, at that, which doesn't totally surprise me, but is funny.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:05 AM
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Is your friend that guy who lived with the wolves? Cool.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:12 AM
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Heh, no. He's that guy who's a nerd who does nerdy things with the other nerds.

Duh!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:18 AM
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28: That sort of shit scares me. I have to do a radio interview on Saturday. I'm so anxious in those spots. Sometimes I'm weirdly funny. Sometimes I'm just weird. I can easily clam up.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:18 AM
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What gets me about this is I know the way they do this kind of show is that you have to do retake after retake while acting natural, and my friend just nails it. Born to it!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:19 AM
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But the show, it's kind of awesome! You should watch it!

"Prototype This".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:23 AM
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re: 21

Seriously, what do you think? If some European dudes were coming to the US and charging money, what do you think the US would require?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:29 AM
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Fair skin and obedience.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:31 AM
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||

Actually I take it back, my friend's show is kind of awesome!

Who woulda thunk?

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:34 AM
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re: 36

Actually, US visa requirements for touring musicians are famously onerous. They changed them not that long ago to make them more difficult.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:35 AM
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http://www.performermag.com/touringineu.php

That site has info on visa requirements and various other things.

After you have your dates confirmed, the next step is to work on the particulars. The most important of which is obtaining your work permit. The best way to handle this is by going through a company that will file the applications for you. Don't try to sneak into the country as you might find yourself in dire straits, Katie Ray at Traffic Control Group, an Oxford-based group that handles permit processing 2/3 of the music industry (from heavyweights like Eric Clapton to up-and-comers like DMBQ) warns, "Many performers are incorrectly advised that if they are not being paid to perform in the UK, that work permits are not required. Recently this has led to two bands calling me from Stanstead and Heathrow airports, as they were being held in custody for removal back to the US."

Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:38 AM
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Seriously, what do you think? If some European dudes were coming to the US and charging money, what do you think the US would require?

That's an entirely fair question. I assume we'd make 'em dig the newest ditches around Gitmo before sending 'em back to Stockholm or whatever. And while that's not official policy (yet!), I was curious what that policy is.

That said, it's looking like band has legit visas, while my not-making-money friend is covered by the 90-day policy your not-yet-bullshit-crazy area of the world has agreed upon. Good on you guys.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 1:05 AM
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Aw, man, I want a tour.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 1:09 AM
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17: "You don't know nothin bout nobody" and
"You cain't go back home/policeman lookin for you"

Thank you for fixing my blues this morning!


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 1:24 AM
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OMG I had never heard the song "how long has that evening train been gone" until I was searching youtube for this video. it's so amazing!


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 3:19 AM
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re: 40

Yeah, I slightly misread your initial question. I have friends who've done this [EU citizens but in now-EU-member-states that at the time were not EU states], toured with friends bands just for the trip. I don't think they had any problems.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 3:24 AM
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While you need a passport to enter the EU, and the UK is pretty stringent about checking passports on entry, and everywhere's pretty stringent at airports now, once you're in the EU if you're not travelling around by air, you can get away with a hell of a lot (as far as I can see) just by letting everyone think you are an EU citizen. Everywhere except our islands, they just don't care.

I think if you were in a band with EU citizens, it probably wouldn't make a lot of diff that some of the band didn't have EU citizenship. Providing no one in the band got into any legal trouble so that the authorities started Checking Up, that is.

I don't know about a band that was totally non-EU though. Someone might notice.


Posted by: Jesurgislac | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 3:40 AM
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28 - I had that experience when my best friend started working for NPR. Very odd. I'm still not quite adjusted to it because he only occasionally does on-air work.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 6:57 AM
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"Many performers are incorrectly advised that if they are not being paid to perform in the UK, that work permits are not required.

I don't understand this. If you're not being paid, you're not working, as bureaucrats usually understand work. Is it a matter of competition with local musicians?


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 7:08 AM
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Late-period James Jamerson. So great, both here and on "evening train."


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 7:19 AM
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My favorite point in this song is "Love child, never meant to be / Love child, society". No need for a long sociological exegesis. It all traces back to society! True enough, too.

CF. Janis Ian "Society's Child".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 7:22 AM
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And there's Lou Reed's sensitive "And the colored girls go 'doop, da-doop, da-doop, da doop, da-doop'"

I have a friend who takes a Motown mix to every party he goes to, and if the party slows down or has trouble getting started he puts it on.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 7:27 AM
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Reading this made me flash back to watching The Goodies (British comedy show) on tv as a kid. There's an episode where they do some lame musical parodies - the Funky Gibbon, etc. - one of which involves Motown-style back-up singers coolly echoing out disgusting three-toed sloth... disgusting three-toed sloth...


Posted by: Amit | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 7:29 AM
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re: 47

Presumably because lots of the work actual musicians do is unpaid. Promo appearances, promo work, etc.

Plus people can be compensated in other ways. So it'd be pretty easy to fiddle it.



Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 7:33 AM
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I presume this has been circulated already [Obama being funny]:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7675927.stm

But, for a politician, it is actually not entirely shit.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 7:36 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 8:20 AM
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I have a friend who takes a Motown mix to every party he goes to.

I've done this. Funk mix too. I works well.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 8:35 AM
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"Love Child" is great.

I love the backup vocals on "Success".


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 8:58 AM
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37 et al.: There are 4 hosts. Which one is your friend?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:00 AM
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57: His name is Joe. Joe the Plumber.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:09 AM
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59Joe the Plumber is actually named Sam, not a liscensed plumber, and owes $1000 in back taxes.
Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:13 AM
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What did I do to do that?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:14 AM
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OOOOh, showing your superiority with special streamlined comments. How elitist.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:14 AM
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Also there is supposed to be a link


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:14 AM
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58 is half right.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:15 AM
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Where are my links going? link.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:15 AM
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62: I suspect the two are related...


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:18 AM
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Tenament slum!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:21 AM
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53: I caught that on CNN last night. In all fairness, McCain was actually funnier. Rory, however, was deeply offended when they cut to shots of Clinton laughing heartily at McCain's jokes. "Why is she laughing? He's not in her party!"


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:21 AM
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Re 39
"Don't try to sneak into the country as you might find yourself in dire straits"

So you find yourself in a ready-made band? Sounds like a good move.


Posted by: Herr Torquewrench | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:22 AM
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53 is funny. "Swahili for 'that one.'"


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:22 AM
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And PGD is absolutely right about Motown.

I'm surprised you like Motown given your affection for base and drums.

I'm going to caricature myself here, but it pisses me off that Motown made all these terrible recordings of great songs.

The story that I've heard is that the deliberately cut the low end out of the mix so that they could could mix the volume louder within the physical limits of an LP.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:26 AM
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There's more. McCain went too.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:26 AM
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And his question to Mr. Obama about paying taxes? According to some tax analysts, if Mr. Wurzelbacher's gross receipts from his business is $250,000 -- and not his taxable income -- then he would not have to pay higher taxes under Mr. Obama's plan, and probably would be eligible for a tax cut.

"According to some tax analysts"? WTF?

This should be an open and shut question. Tax law isn't that mysterious -- gross receipts certainly aren't taxed.

Either that paragraph should have been left out, or we should have been told whether Wurzelbacher would pay higher taxes or lower taxes. Instead the author invented a controversy where there is none.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:26 AM
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Love Child helped get me a radio show in college. Slots were very competitive and one good tactic was to come up with a political premise for your show. Ours was to explore why some musicians were classified as grown-up women and others dismissed as "girl groups" even when they sang about serious issues of race and class, to wit, The Supremes and Love Child.

We got the show and never raised the issue again. In fact, we played whatever we wanted, from Nina Simone to sound effects records to Don Johnson. (We played the latter merely so we could read the insufferable liner notes over the air.)


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:30 AM
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A journalist not understanding the difference between gross and net? Say it ain't so, JE. I sometimes think reporters think everyone gets a salary from the big salary god, or something. Someone else makes sure the money gets put into their account through direct deposit.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:30 AM
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53 (and 71 on preview): I actually am having mixed feelings about that whole deal (Al Smith charity dinner). Here is a Kos story that has the complete ~10 minute videos from both Obama and McCain.

On one hand it is healthy that they can get together and joke, but the whole deal, and especially the in-jokes with the press etc, do grate to a large extent. (The candidates were not invited in 2004 reputedly due to the negativity of the campaign.) You want to know how much real plumbers, community activists, joe sixpacks etc. matter in this country?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:35 AM
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Did any of you catch the NPR story this morning about the American husband and Iraqi wife, and their rough marriage? It was playing while I was half-asleep, and triggered the weirdest, most super vivid dream about the two of them, and I still feel a little haunted by it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:36 AM
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Motown is a high point in American civilization

But the "Wall of Sound" will drive you insane, and lead to murder.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Spector


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:37 AM
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I'm surprised you like Motown given your affection for base and drums.

James Jamerson is certainly one of the finest bass players of all time.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:38 AM
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I agree with 75. These guys can actually stand to be in a room with each other? That means they don't really think the earth will be destroyed if the other is elected. Well if Obama thinks that he's wrong, and if McCain thinks that he's lying about everything he ever says, and that should be obvious to every journalist there. What a depressing spectacle.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:39 AM
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These guys can actually stand to be in a room with each other?

They sat right there at the table together -- without preconditions! (Yeah, I stole that. Attribution to Obama.)

Seriously, why shouldn't they be able to behave civilly around one another? Must we always believe our political opponent is the antichrist?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:47 AM
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Listening to Motown I'm frequently surprised by unpredictable little instrumental touches. So much pop of any era is completely generic.

I've heard tasty little things on elevator music occasionally too. The musicians doing that shit are very talented, and they compete to shoehorn unobtrusively interesting stuff into the blandness. There's a book about it -- forget the title.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:48 AM
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80: No, Satan.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:48 AM
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The Wurzelbacher (refuse to say xxx the xxxxxxx) thing is driving me nuts. Obama's original dialogue with the guy was great, he stoppped and had a substantive 5-minute dialogue with someone who opposed him min a specific way. Since then McCain has exploited it well with an able assist from the media and Obama campaign, Dems and bloggers have completely screwed the pooch on the response* (remember that the facts don't matter) Forget the specifics of his situation, this guy was all about the American 'lottery winner' mentality—don't screw it up for me if I happen to make it big; he was voicing that is the new American Dream, not hard work, families or any of that crap. Not make me a schlub with slightly more money and health care, don't constrain me when I'm an American Idol winner. That shit resonates.


*This is now the "obscenity the obscenity" debate not the McCain sneers at health of women debate.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:51 AM
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What a depressing spectacle.

I can see how one would arrive at this opinion and I'm not trying to fault you for having done so; I want to be explicit about that. That said, my reaction - after Rah made me come watch - was to realize that this is how democracy works, how a society changes over time, how we grow. Surely fifty years ago the black men in the room were all waiters; now a bunch of rich crackers have to sit there and laugh as the likely next President makes jokes. If campaign rallies and negative ads and fear the world will end is where we exert ourselves as a society - and I wholeheartedly believe that we must exert ourselves to increase justice and fairness and access to joy - then surely it's OK for there to be moments in which we catch our breath. As much as it stings to see Obama play nice with someone I find as loathsome as McCain, the sting must surely be worse for many or most of McCain's supporters and either way the two of them at a fancy dinner beats the hell out of anyone reaching for a gun. (To some degree that's a result and translation of Rah's take on it at the time but I don't want to presume to represent his opinions on his behalf.)


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:54 AM
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80: Seriously, why shouldn't they be able to behave civilly around one another?

As I said above, mixed feelings. Good that they can be civil, but in that context, yucking it up with the media 9don't tell the rubes), it just rubs me the wrong way. I mean fucking Palin is out there saying she likes to visit the pro-America parts of the country like North Carolina.

As I said I am torn.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:55 AM
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James Jamerson is certainly one of the finest bass players of all time.

Which is why it annoys me so much how badly the recordings sound. Listen to how good his bass sounds on this remix and compare that to any of the original releases.

While looking for songs with back-up singers on youtube, I found this video for Show Biz Kids. I don't like the version of the song, but the video is great.

Also, this is a good performance with back-up singers. Not in the running for best ever use of back-up singers, but good.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:59 AM
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Surely fifty years ago the black men in the room were all waiters

This is the Al Smith dinner. Very Catholic (witness the Cardinal in between the candidates) One hundred years ago a Roman Catholic as President would be unthinkable. So, progress. Faster, please is ok.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 10:03 AM
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I love that Show Biz Kids song so much. I'm totally holding a candle for Steely Dan.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 10:06 AM
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As the Unfoggetariat will easily understand, one of the things that makes me uncomfortable here in Wobegon is Minnesota Nice. I can do it fine IRL, but in my opinion there should be a wall of separation between niceness and politics.

At the moment, after the nastiest, most personal negative campaign I've seen anywhere, Sen. Coleman has moved to the high ground and sworn off negativity. Presumably that's because Franken hasn't used this picture yet, so he'll be a bad guy if he does.

Coleman is the creepiest-, sleaziest-looking Senator of all. He just looks nasty. His complexion, his posture, his mannerisms. It's like he's the guy skulking around in some jetset bar who's always able to find the nastiest stuff for people who want it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 10:07 AM
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84: Yes, the whole thing is a real delicate balance. For instance I think it would violate the "table rules" if Obama were to go out and point out how conciliatory McCain was at a *WHITE TIE DINNER* in *NEW YORK CITY* in a room with a bunch of *LIBERAL MEDIA ELITES*.

I noticed that one joke of Obama's that got a very mixed response was his crack that the luxury of the event reminded him of an AIG executive sales retreat. In the current environment, no one was hesitating because he was trashing AIG execs, it came too close to ridiculing the event itself. (The White House Correspondents Dinner is an exercise in this every year. At some level was there any more obscene act than Bush ha-ha looking for the WMDs? On the other hand it was "funny".)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 10:08 AM
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re: 86

It's possible they were mixing for AM mono. Car stereos and 'dansettes' which have shit speakers and no bass. Huge amounts of upper mid punch and everything cranked. Just like today's loudness wars.

50s recording technology was able, if wanted, to produce recordings as beautiful as anything ever made since.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 10:10 AM
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86/91: yes, mixing intent is a huge deal.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 10:13 AM
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91: I was going to say something like that. Back when it was happening, NONE of the Motown I heard came through quality sound systems.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 10:13 AM
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83: the whole thing is beyond disgusting. Not only does Wurzelbacher not make $250K (very telling for the reasons you say), not only would the owner of a business grossing $250K before expenses potentially get a tax *cut* under Obama's plan, but even someone taking $250K in salary would not see a tax increase, since the marginal rate increase kicks in at $250K. But people don't understand the concept of marginal rates.

In grudging fairness to our ignorant press, though, the tax code is extremely complicated, and so are the campaign tax plans. Still, the world is full of experts -- this fairly right wing but credible anti-tax group estimates that someone earning $280,000 would pay only $800 in additional taxes in 2009 under the Obama plan.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 10:14 AM
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I've talked with friends before about how poor a lot of classical music recordings from the 50s and 60s sound, too. Woefully bad compared to the best jazz and popular music.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 10:15 AM
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I'll admit a lot of Motown stuff doesn't have much of a low end, but there are still songs like "Ball of Confusion" that are built around a bassline. And the songs I like often still have a fair amount of drum presence, it's just more snares or cymbals than kickdrum. I think this is why I also really don't care for the songs that a lot of people associate with Motown. R&B ballads? Blech.

But the wall-of-sound stuff! and the funk-inspired soul songs with horns! and vocal interplay and repetition! That's the Motown I love so dearly.

Plus, you always have a soft spot for the music you were raised on. 80s synthpop also rocks my world.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 10:18 AM
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95: Do you think that's true of studio recordings of soloists and small ensembles, or is it just recordings from performance halls?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 10:21 AM
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re: 97

Bit of both, I think. Compare how amazing the strings/woodwind sound on something like Sinatra's "Only the Lonely" album to mainstream orchestral stuff that was out at a similar time.

Or how great the small jazz combo recordings sound [the Van Gelder stuff, etc] compared to a lot of solo or chamber stuff.

I'm sure there's good classical stuff out there, but I've been very disappointed a few times.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 10:26 AM
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The first two Rolling Stones albums were mono. Barefoot in the snow uphill both ways, kids.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 10:30 AM
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re: 96

There's earlier stuff like "Going to a Go Go" which has a fat bassline and relies on low end.


http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=sWt4Hz1KGcQ

The mix is still pretty toppy. I have a CD remaster of this which is better.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 10:32 AM
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Just like today's loudness wars.

I almost said that in 70 -- Motown was one of the early entrant in the loudness wars.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 10:37 AM
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I like Zappa's doowop tunes.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 10:39 AM
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||

Sen. Stevens seems to be throwing his wife under the bus.

|>


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 10:49 AM
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While she's in jail I imagine he'll be subject to serious temptation. He's flesh and blood, you know.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 10:50 AM
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Re the loudness wars - probably the best long term investment right now is in treatments for deafness. All those dumbasses who listened to music cranked up to 11 will be paying the price as they enter their 50s and 60s.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 10:51 AM
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105: Speak up, I can't hear you.

My semi-deafness is hereditary, actually.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 10:53 AM
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This post is correct.

Further examples: No Matter What Sign You Are, which does have bassline...and fuzz guitar! And the horns on Get Ready.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 11:10 AM
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105: I smoke, almost incessantly. I'll be dead of lung cancer long before my metal days come back to haunt me. So there.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 11:11 AM
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You need to do more than that, FM. My dad smoked incessantly and lived to be 75. Three packs a day, though he claimed he didn't inhale, and cheated by often having two cigarettes going at once.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 11:19 AM
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I simply cannot imagine smoking three packs a day. You'd live your entire waking life one-handed.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 11:26 AM
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Love child. Not an archaic term?

Today's Washington Post:
New York congressman on his way to visit his mistress and their 3-year-old love child.

(There's also something at the end, for the lawyers, about Courts of Record in Virginia.)


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 11:30 AM
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Bastard- worthy of contempt
Love Child- worthy of pity
Baby Daddy- Comedy gold!

Progress?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 11:39 AM
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Three packs a day, though he claimed he didn't inhale,

What a pointless exercise, then.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 11:40 AM
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I simply cannot imagine smoking three packs a day. You'd live your entire waking life one-handed.

These days, the people who smoke that much (or anywhere close to it) almost all suffer from mental illness of some sort. It's the tobacco companies' most lucrative market.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 11:40 AM
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You'd live your entire waking life one-handed.

Obsessive masturbators and smokers. Welcome to the internet.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 11:45 AM
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Obsessive masturbators and smokers. Welcome to the internet.

Wait, wouldn't that take two hands? How do they type?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 11:48 AM
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I simply cannot imagine smoking three packs a day. You'd live your entire waking life one-handed.

I have a colleague who used to smoke that much. Because the office was already non-smoking at the time, she reportedly spent most of the work day across the street at a restaurant where she could smoke, drink coffee, and still get her work done.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 11:48 AM
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Dick-tation software.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 11:49 AM
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Wait, wouldn't that take two hands? How do they type?

One of those Steven Hawking head thingys.
http://www.lhs.berkeley.edu/hou/graphics/CarlPandStephenH.jpg


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:05 PM
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No more masturbating to Levi Stubbs.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:15 PM
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I worked with a guy who smoked three packs a day. It was his company, so it was a smoking office [this before the smoking ban]. He literally always had a cigarette on the go, and his habit was to light up whenever he made a phone call [and since he was basically a salesman he made a lot of calls]. So much of a habit that he often had two on the go.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:18 PM
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All our furniture bears the marks of burns made by spare cigarettes he forgot about.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:21 PM
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And we do not actually believe that our dad didn't inhale.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:22 PM
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re: 120

Shite.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:23 PM
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I had a friend in college who smoked 5 packs a day. She smoked in her apartment, though, and worked in an office that allowed smoking and hell at the time one could smoke in the hallways of many campus buildings and some departments had an "instructor's discretion" rule for classrooms during exams. She generally simply lit the next off the one about to burn down, a practice known colloquially as "butt-fucking."


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:26 PM
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I, on the other hand, have not had a cigarette in 7 months and 26 days.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:28 PM
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or "chain-smoking" in politer company.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:28 PM
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Wait, my bad; "butt-fucking" was used for anytime a cigarette was lit off another, whether it was the next one for the same smoker or someone else's, etc. That's really what I miss, to be honest, the little rituals and the slang.

Didn't mean to offend your virgin ears there, soup.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:33 PM
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128.1 : yeah, that's right.

Didn't mean to offend your virgin ears there, soup.

I'm just a modern guy, of course I've had it in the ear before.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:37 PM
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I'm just a modern guy, of course I've had it in the ear before.

...laydeez?

(Sincere thanks for good humor. I'm so tense about the election that I assume everyone else is on their last nerve, too, so I hesitate to make jokes sometimes.)


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:45 PM
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120: Wow, they were still touring as recently as 2005. (They don't sound like they did in the day, though.)


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:48 PM
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You know, it's funny, the financial crisis broke my worrier for a bit -- I was all wound up about it, and now I'm just kind of waiting for things to happen. Someone will win the election; there will be breadlines or there won't... worrying won't change anything. I'm not saying this is a desirable attitude, I just got stuck here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:48 PM
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132: I'm the same way. Either Barack will win, or we get front row seats for the fall of the American empire. Either way.

Also, the financial crises makes hitting refresh on the NYT front page more exciting. The little bar graph always moves!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:50 PM
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133: Or both!

As I understand, there are a bunch of Motown groups touring, some of which have a connection to the otiginals, and some of which don't.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:53 PM
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That was Stubbs in the link I gave. Two of the four tops had already passed away by that time. USA today says that the only line-up changes in their 30 history were when Lawrence Payton and Obie Benson died.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 12:58 PM
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134: On a related note, see Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings if you get a chance.

One of the few concerts I've seen in recent years where I actually felt pretty bad about how little the tickets were (and bought a bunch of stuff to compensate). I mean, I'll often buy stuff from a band to help out, but it's usually young bands starting out, many of them not that good (yet?). They're touring a full band of really pretty decent more middle-aged musicians and at least when I saw them in '04 or so, they were doing it for peanuts.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 1:01 PM
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126 - congrats. I'm in my third month, having quit for a decade only to pick it up again right after my divorce out of a desire to do something soothing and self destructive.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 1:03 PM
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126, 137: Good job, both of you!


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 1:06 PM
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126/137: It gets easier.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 1:08 PM
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So this friend of mine has this new TV show he's hosting, and I'm watching the first episode: that is a goddamned strange experience.

Heh, one of my cow-orkers also knows a couple of the hosts on that show. I suppose I shouldn't find this surprising.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 1:28 PM
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||

I need to write a page in German, on any topic. Please suggest topics.

|>


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 1:35 PM
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138/139 Thanks. At this point it's basically no big deal, since I spent a long time as a nonsmoker before starting up again. I remember the first time I quit I caught myself unconsciously timing my breathing as I approached the door of the Physics building so I'd be inhaling right as I walked through the little cluster of smokers outside.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 1:37 PM
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141 - explain what "swipple" means and why it matters.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 1:38 PM
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I need to write a page in German, on any topic. Please suggest topics.

"Grammar is my bitch."


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 1:38 PM
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Lead and zinc.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 1:39 PM
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Krazy Kat.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 1:40 PM
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Anything that lets you use the word "Eierlegendewollmilchsau".


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 1:40 PM
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141: "Why I Am A Little Bitch".


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 1:41 PM
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"Ogged, my imaginary friend."


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 1:42 PM
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Heliogabalus. Jugartha. Melchior Hoffmann.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 1:43 PM
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141: "Why I Am A Little Bitch".

Ah yes, the recently discovered last portion of Nietzsche's Nachlass.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 1:43 PM
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Torsten Rasch.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 1:44 PM
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The Ineffable Greatness of Candy Corns


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 2:07 PM
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I got through periods of giving up but still smoke. But I've never been a heavy smoker. I probably go through 2 packs a week, not two packs a day.

Some weeks I barely get through a pack.

I can't imagine smoking 3 packs a day. And I *like* smoking [just clearly not as much as others].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 3:09 PM
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I'm the same way. Either Barack will win, or we get front row seats for the fall of the American empire. Either way.

Both. Barack will preside over the fall.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 3:23 PM
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Well, at least historians won't blame him for it.


Posted by: CN | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 3:25 PM
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historians won't blame him for it.

Sure they will. Don't you know he's colored?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 3:27 PM
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142: I still like the occasional hit of side-stream smoke. I quit about 1.5 years ago. While there's no real urge to resume I will try to get downwind of someone smoking nearby.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 3:54 PM
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156:Optimist.

You think there are gonna be any hstorians?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 3:55 PM
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You think there are gonna be any hstorians? (sic)

More like anthropologists.
http://www.doyletics.com/_arj1/moteloft.htm


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 4:00 PM
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Someone will win the election; there will be breadlines or there won't... worrying won't change anything. I'm not saying this is a desirable attitude, I just got stuck here.

Funny, that's pretty much where I am too. Semi-related, a crazy hometown letter to the editor (scroll to the second one).

Also, the financial crises makes hitting refresh on the NYT front page more exciting. The little bar graph always moves!

I cannot for the life of me figure out why they make that a daily graph. All of the explanations I can think of are uncharitable, and center on my growing conviction that newspapers become stupider when writing about current events that disproportionately affect members of their journalists' social circles (cf. Washington Post and Iraq war).

explain what "swipple" means

Calling to set up phone service and having to earnestly explain multiple times that no, you are really not interested in cable TV service, no, not even for just $20 a month, no, not even if it gives you two!hundred!channels, no, no, no, I really do not watch enough television....ah, the heck with it, I should've just lied when she asked who my cable provider was, but it didn't occur to me.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 4:20 PM
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That was me.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 4:20 PM
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161.last "I don't have a television" usually shuts them up with only a couple of repeated offers.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 4:30 PM
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I don't have a television

True, but, well, I'm not quite swipple enough for that. And see above about the not-fast-thinking-enough to lie.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 4:34 PM
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164: I think the trick is to realize that you never really want to hear these offers. Once you know that, rather that waffling about telling them to piss off, you can concentrate on figuring out what it is they're calling about as quickly as you can. From there it's an obvious statement that will shut them down, quicker than telling them you aren't interested.

"We have these great rate plans" : "I don't use cel phones"
"You can have this cable package free until ...": "I don't have a TV"

"We can come by for a free in-home estimate": "We're renters"

Saves a lot of time. trick is not to hand them any statement they've been trained to respond to.

Of course, the best trick is not to have a phone number any of the bastards can find....


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 5:05 PM
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||

This story from fivethirtyeight is the funniest possible Obama-victory story imaginable:

So a canvasser goes to a woman's door in Washington, Pennsylvania. Knocks. Woman answers. Knocker asks who she's planning to vote for. She isn't sure, has to ask her husband who she's voting for. Husband is off in another room watching some game. Canvasser hears him yell back, "We're votin' for the n***er!"

Woman turns back to canvasser, and says brightly and matter of factly: "We're voting for the n***er."


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 8:21 PM
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The backup singer in 86.3 lives 20 minutes from here. And I live in the middle of nowhere. Thanks NickS and You Tube.


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:00 PM
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166: Didn't I tell y'all to leave Flava Flav alone, knocka?


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 9:03 PM
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166: I also liked the one, I think from TPM, in which one voter said, "I know Obama's a Muslim terrorist and all, but I really do need health care."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 10:36 PM
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The backup singer in 86.3 lives 20 minutes from here. And I live in the middle of nowhere. Thanks NickS and You Tube.

You're welcome, that's a crazy coincidence.

Playing with Bowie seems big time.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-17-08 11:11 PM
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166, 169: My friend from rural Pennsylvania said that when she was visiting her folks, she was at a supermarket and a right-wing tabloid caught her eye with headlines screaming that Obama was a muslim terrorist. The checkout clerk apparently followed her eyes and reassured her "Oh, it's alright honey. He gave it up!"


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-18-08 2:22 AM
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132: Sure took you long enough.


Posted by: pdf23ds | Link to this comment | 10-18-08 7:28 AM
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the motown production MO in the 60s was to playback a song in the studio through a tiny tinny transistor, such as kids and poor foax wd likely own* -- and adjust for what sounded punchiest then

they also did a lot of work on deepcut grooves** on 45s and 33s, for loudness (pete townshend was always obsessed by this: the early who had quite poor luck with recording and production power)

*someone once told me they had heard playback of a solo sting song in the studio it was made in, on the highest-end system imaginable -- this person was not a sting fan BY ANY MEANS, but said "omigod you have no idea how marvellous it sounded on that system -- i think everything NO MATTER HOW LAME would sound marvelous played back like that!" -- which is an interesting and sensible point to make about pop recordings, that "good" production should probably take into account that most people can only afford fairly lofi repro, and put a recording out that makes allowance for how it will sound there***

**it was routinely claimed about LPs in the 70s that if you had more than c.20 mins a side, the quality of the repro suffered -- "groovecramming", it was called (and a lot of motown LPs are quite short, side per side) (nick lowe/elvis costello make a joke about it in the sleeve notes on get happy!, their motown-stax pastiche LP)

***which is not say you can't reissue remixed version for later eras of more affordable hifi -- the point is that the "actual" performance at the time is the one that takes place in the purchaser's own home (or car)


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 10-18-08 7:57 AM
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173: it was routinely claimed about LPs in the 70s that if you had more than c.20 mins a side, the quality of the repro suffered

I assume this is what prompted The Pretenders to include the following note on the inner sleeve of their debut album:

This album has a longer running time than most average LP's there fore to achieve maximum effect
PLAY THIS ALBUM LOUD.

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-18-08 8:11 AM
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the best trick is not to have a phone number any of the bastards can find....

One of the great mysteries of the universe to me is how it can possibly be legal to charge a monthly fee for an unlisted number. What, they have to go through every month and remind themselves not to list you?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-18-08 8:44 AM
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Semi-related, a crazy hometown letter to the editor (scroll to the second one).

For some reason, I misunderstood this to mean that Witt had written the letter. This was a surprise not only because the content of the letter was incongruous for Witt, but also because I was almost certain that Witt was not Dave Campbell from Croydon.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 10-18-08 9:00 AM
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Dude, I write crazy letters and I write letters to the editor, but there ain't much overlap.

Also, I'm going to sulk for the rest of the day now that my Internet persona is exposed as inconsistent with being from Croydon. Or a Scot.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 10-18-08 9:04 AM
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175: If you'd only had Econ 102, or wherever they cover price discrimination, you would see that it could be no other way.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-18-08 9:50 AM
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one of the effects of groove-cramming was that there was sometimes a certain amount of muffled effect on the next door groove (ie when one groove was being cut, the one next door, in the still soft matrix, was being bumped a bit, so you'd hear a tinny little preview of the next groove over)

if you left plenty of space between each cycle of the groove -- there is of course (nearly always) only one per side -- you could afford to et the vibration register at a higher amplitude*, hence it was actually recorded loder in the groove, and less likely to be beset with interference... if you wanted to get more soundtime, you could do it with less amplitude but that meant the volume started at a lower level in the vinyl

this is one reason why dub and disco platters were 12-inches
-- you could cut in a greater range of quality sound, for deep bass and high treble
*is this the right word? higher peaks and lower troughs, anyway


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 10-18-08 10:27 AM
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The effort to get vinyl louder and better sounding is still ongoing. 12"s from some labels evoke nothing so much as a thick, undecorated vinyl cake.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-08 10:35 AM
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The Gospel accurding to The Dude. Coming soon to stores near you.

If people wonder what the source of my spirituality is, you need look no farther.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-08 10:38 AM
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I used to have some old 33 1/3 vinyl where you could hear an echo of the beginning of side one at the beginning of side two.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-08 10:41 AM
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the motown production MO in the 60s was to playback a song in the studio through a tiny tinny transistor, such as kids and poor foax wd likely own* -- and adjust for what sounded punchiest then

I thought that was Stax.

one of the effects of groove-cramming was that there was sometimes a certain amount of muffled effect on the next door groove ...if you left plenty of space between each cycle of the groove -- there is of course (nearly always) only one per side -- you could afford to et the vibration register at a higher amplitude*

That is my sense as well (and "amplitude" is the correct word). My understanding was that bass notes were more prone to this problem which is why Motown rolled the bass off so heavily in the mix.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-18-08 10:55 AM
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I've been wondering how it is that a stylus traveling in a groove (that presumably changes only with respect to its width and its amplitude) conveys enough information to recreate the full range of possible sounds, ie, pitch, loudness, and timbre (the latter itself having always been a bit mysterious to me, but wikipedia tells me that it alone "depends primarily upon the spectrum of the stimulus, but it also depends upon the waveform, the sound pressure, the frequency location of the spectrum, and the temporal characteristics of the stimulus.")

(I have a similar difficulty understanding how telephones do this.)


Posted by: lurky lou | Link to this comment | 10-18-08 11:16 AM
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There are little, versatile orchestras inside the speakers that actually play the music.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-08 11:29 AM
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183: it's SOP to listen to a song through crappy speakers now and then during the mastering process. Everybody does it.

184: it used to confuse me, too. Knowing the math -- and seeing it illustrated -- helped me a lot. Fourier tranforms are an amazing thing.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-18-08 11:30 AM
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I see an endorsement there. "We never send out our music without listening to it through Suxx (TM) speakers first!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-18-08 11:33 AM
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Fourier tranforms are an amazing thing.

I read this with the same intonation as Rick James' "Cocaine, is a hell of a drug."


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-18-08 11:36 AM
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Ahhh, magic math.


Posted by: lurky lou | Link to this comment | 10-18-08 12:15 PM
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