There Is No Cat

The alternative to flowers!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Le roi est mort

John Peel is dead.

I've been listening to Peel on the BBC World Service for more than 25 years. When the BBC stopped broadcasting on shortwave to North America a few years ago and shifted their focus here toward news programs rebroadcast on local public radio outlets, one of the arguments I made against their move was that there would be no more John Peel for North America. And now there's no more John Peel.

Fuck.

There are DJs and there are DJs, but there was only one John Peel. He is irreplaceable. His taste in music was all-encompassing, and every time I listened to him, I could count on hearing something I'd never heard before. Punk rock, African pop, Techno, it was all good music to him. He was a giant among men. There is nobody else like him. And now there's nobody like him at all.

Fuckity fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

(Found via Suw Charman's Chocolate and Vodka.)

Posted at 12:00 PM
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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Technical administrivia

I just made a couple of minor technical changes to the web site. First, I added a list of songs I've been playing in iTunes to the bottom of the right navigation bar. All hail Kung Tunes, the software that does this. I'm not sure I'll keep it, but it's there for the moment. Second is that I've changed the encoding of the page from Latin ISO 8859-1 to Unicode UTF-8. The addition of Kung Tunes is actually what provoked that. I discovered that if I play any of my songs by Russian artists, the song information gets mangled if I use 8859-1 for the page (not surprising, since Cyrillic characters aren't part of 8859-1). I have not tested this thoroughly, so if you see any problems with the site as a result of this change, please let me know.

Posted at 12:13 AM
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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Another Republican for Kerry

Bill Milliken, perpetual Governor of Michigan when I was growing up there and a lifelong Republican, has written an article for the Traverse City Record-Eagle explaining that the Republican party has abandoned him and its principles, and that as a result, he's voting for John Kerry for President. (Via Change for America.)

Posted at 12:57 AM
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Saturday, October 16, 2004

Speaking truth to power. Minor power, but still power

Jon Stewart was on CNN's Crossfire yesterday. Now, I wouldn't have known about this, because I don't seem to watch anything other than home improvement shows and college football (and Presidential debates, and The Daily Show, and that's it) on TV. But my brother was kind enough to post audio and video files of the appearance. It was brutal. Stewart horsewhipped Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala on their own show and made them like it. Well, maybe they didn't like it. I didn't notice them laughing along with the audience. Carlson in particular seemed offended. But I thought it was funny, and so did the live audience, and it had the added benefit of publicly eviscerating Carlson and Begala in an incredibly direct way.

The Fool played a time-honored role in history, being the only person who could speak unvarnished truth to the King, using humor to make his point. Jon Stewart is a Fool of the highest order.

Posted at 2:13 AM
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Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Two Americas

I think I just heard a brief echo of John Edwards' "Two Americas" primary season stump speech in John Kerry's answer to the question about faith. Two school systems, one for those with and another for those without. I wish I could say I saw a lot more of that. I was immensely impressed with Edwards when I saw him give that speech on C-SPAN.

Posted at 10:20 PM
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I've got you....

...Under my skin. Bush is practically screaming. Again. Kerry's getting under his skin.

Posted at 9:52 PM
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Changing the subject

Schieffer asks a question about jobs, and Bush's 90 second rejoinder talks entirely about taxes. Bah! He's like Chester O'Chimp; you pull his string, and the same old talking points come out.

Posted at 9:27 PM
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Anger management

I'll give this to Bush; when he wanted to get a 30 second rejoinder just now but Bob Schieffer went to another question instead, he actually restrained himself and didn't reach down Schieffer's throat and rip out his lungs. That's an improvement on his behavior in the last debate.

Posted at 9:23 PM
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Lies on taxes

Bush just claimed that Kerry has voted to raise taxes 98 times. Dick Cheney's favorite web site, Factcheck.org, disagrees. Lies and perfidy.

Posted at 9:20 PM
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Funny face

And what's with Bush's face? At the beginning he looked like a Tom Toles cartoon of himself. Now he looks like he's standing in a strong headwind or something. I guess the only way he can keep himself from looking angry is to freeze his face.

Posted at 9:16 PM
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Pants on fire

First lie: George Bush said he never claimed he wasn't worried about Osama bin Laden. Here's the quote:

"So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you.... I truly am not that concerned about him."

That's George W. Bush on CNN.

Posted at 9:13 PM
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Monday, October 11, 2004

Getting out the vote

This is a public service announcement... with guitar!

(No, it's not The Clash, just a PSA recorded by Chris Stamey and Yo La Tengo to get out the vote; along with that, they've released an album, not yet available in stores, and there's a sample track on the Yep Roc site.)

I know Stamey's played with Yo La Tengo before, offering some tastefully strangled guitar solos on a couple of their early songs, but this is the first time I've seen the band back him rather than the other way around. Interesting to see two of my favorite artists collaborating like this.

Posted at 8:47 PM
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Friday, October 8, 2004

Thumbs down to podcasting

Doc Searls writes about the latest fad, podcasting, where bloggers post "radio programs" in MP3 format for you to download (the idea is to download them automatically with RSS enclosures, which then transfer the audio file to your MP3 player, but I don't use an RSS reader regularly). I tried listening to Adam Curry's Daily Source Code program that Doc linked to, but got so bored that I turned it off. Presumably, Adam, the ex-MTV VJ and long time radio program host, knows something about how to make decent radio, but listening to him put on his seatbelt and start up his fancy car ain't it. Near as I could tell from what little I could bear to listen to, this podcast was about "hey, I can do this from my car!" BFD. I suppose if you've got a lot of free time on your hands, maybe you could do this, but according to the small portion of Adam's program that I listened to, it took at least three hours for him to produce something I couldn't bring myself to listen to more than three minutes of. Presumably, it would take even longer to make something worth listening to.

Good radio is hard to make. I can read faster than you can talk, so if you want to talk to me, you had better make it worth my while by doing something with audio that text can't do, otherwise I'm going to go find some text I can read rather than bore myself with your audio.

The podcasts I've listened to so far have roughly the production values and scripting of Radio Bulgaria in the late 1970s reading tractor production statistics at me. Once the novelty of hearing Bulgaria wears off, all you're left with is crap.

I'm a total stone cold radio guy, but podcasting leaves me cold. Maybe if you added a VRML-based 3-D world so I could navigate among radio clips, selecting programs to have pushed to my computer....

Posted at 11:54 AM
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Future Pundit

I understand that it's difficult to raise your children well, but this family seems to be doing a fine job. (1 MB, QuickTime required. Via Change for America.)

Posted at 11:17 AM
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Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Cheney Lies

Dick Cheney is a pathological liar. He claimed at one point during last night's debate that he had never met John Edwards until the debate, despite the fact that Edwards is a senator and Cheney is, as vice president, also the president of the Senate. So how can he explain this photo of the two of them standing together at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2001, and the fact that Cheney specifically addressed remarks to Edwards at that breakfast? Also, Edwards escorted North Carolina's other senator, Elizabeth Dole, to her swearing in as a new Senator in 2003 by, you guessed it, President of the Senate Dick Cheney. Is there nothing so trivial and unimportant that Cheney won't lie about it?

Of course, Cheney can also lie about more substantial matters, like stating that he never claimed there was a link between Iraq and 9/11.

You think that you're such a smart girl
And I'll believe what you say
But who do you think you are, girl
To lead me on this way?

Lies!
Lies!
I can't believe a word you say
Lies!
Lies!
Are gonna make you sad some day

- "Lies", The Knickerbockers

Posted at 5:02 AM
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Friday, October 1, 2004

Back on the chain gang

Make no mistake. Being pResident is hard work.

George W. Bush on a chain gang

Posted at 1:10 PM
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This site is copyright © 2002-2017, Ralph Brandi. (E-mail address removed due to virus proliferation.)

What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

- Albert Einstein, explaining radio


There used to be a cat

[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

Sylvester (the Dorito Fiend), who died at Thanksgiving, 2000.


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