There Is No Cat

A huge orangupoid, which no man can conquer

Friday, July 19, 2002

Roots music giant dead at age 87

Alan Lomax died yesterday; he was quite possibly the most important figure in American music (and yes, that includes Elvis Presley; without Lomax, Elvis wouldn't have been possible). Anyone who has ever listened to country, folk, blues, bluegrass, or any other form of what's known today as "roots" music, owes Alan Lomax and his father John a tremendous debt of gratitude for the work they did collecting and preserving the music of an era that was dying even as they recorded it. And since many of those musical genres were part of the stew that made up rock and roll, anyone who has ever enjoyed that form of music owes the Lomaxes a massive debt, too. An important part of our cultural heritage would likely have disappeared without the efforts of Alan and John Lomax. And if they were occasionally guilty of bad taste and a little condescension, such as their insistence that Leadbelly wear prison stripes in performance shortly after his pardon and release from prison, well, you don't hear it in the music they recorded.

Posted at 11:07 PM

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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 ]

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