Friday, October 7, 2011

the think system

Tonight we watched “The Music Man.” (Public TV -- no commercials, the whole movie uncut!)

I know the story, we have the LP of the sound track and I’ve seen the movie a few times. I still like it.

It is a story of a film flam salesman who set out to take advantage of people by selling band instruments to young boys on the premise of a band. His habit was to get the money and run. That worked until he met the gorgeous unmarried Librarian, and all things changed.

It has good music and a weak plot, I suppose.

But the premise off the fake Professor Harold Hill’s system what he called “The Think System.” You think the notes and out they come. Having played a brass instrument since I was 10, I know it is not that easy.

Still, there is a lot to be said for the premise. If you think evil it affects your head. If you think good it also affects your head and your view of others.

In the final scene, the boys band, boys who have never played an instrument and it was not hard to tell, imagined of themselves as a real band, and it happened, if only in their head.

The wise man said that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. If it was true then it is true now, Professor Harold Hill notwithstanding!

But a band with 76 trombones! That is a lot of brass.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

It ran at 25 MHz, had 4 MB of RAM and a 9.5 inch display.
We have come a long way.


My first Apple computer was a 1994 PowerBook 520.

Purposely I choose the black and white version, mostly because the battery would go longer. The top of the line color version sold for an amazing $4840, plus $1000 for an upgrade of the RAM, but I bought mine used. It was a couple years old. I think I paid $600 for it.

I still have a 540c, the top of the line book of its era. It is way to old to get batteries, but plugged in, it does run at an amazing 25 MHz. In those days hard drives were calibrated in Megabytes, RAM in kilobytes. 1995 was a dozen computer lifetimes ago.

That was my introduction to Apple and by extension to the Steves. (Apple was founded by two Steves in case you forgot). Since then I have owned other PowerBooks, a Quadra or two, settling down finally to a series of iBook and now MacBook notebook computers.

Jobs was just a couple years older than my oldest daughter. That makes me an old guy. But for an old guy with very limited resources, my high tech equipment is fairy extensive and I am reasonably savvy about it!

I use an iPod, a MacBook and an iPhone. I text. I email. Hardly cutting edge, but somewhat unusual for an old guy, I am told.

There are a few true geniuses around. Some have the numbers, but there are so few who have all of the skills and lay them all in a straight line. I have heard it said that at best there is one of them per century.

It may be little early to lay that heavy load on Steve, but at the least he is a candidate.

David Pogue in the New York Times says it well: “What are the odds that that same person will be comfortable enough — or maybe uncomfortable enough — to swim upstream, against the currents of social, economic and technological norms, all in pursuit of an unshakable vision?
Zero. The odds are zero.”

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


This bus (Newell) that we call home is infected.

Not in the usual sense. Newell are no snakes in the basement (but it live most of it’s life in the warm part of this country) and there are no bees in the vents (yet).

But in the 34 years of its life, since it rolled (or “rattled” since it is powered by a big diesel engine) off the line it has sat empty most of the time.

It did not come from the factory with a bed (only couches), so while someone could easily sleep in it, there is a doubt that anyone until Dave and David, have actually lived in it.

So, along the way, it attracted a few outsiders along the way.

There are some big black wood ants here and there. They are souvenirs of time on the Oregon Coast. Not a lot of them, I dispatch a few now and again, but are there more?

Then there are the little ants that seem to be pretty much everywhere. Dry food has to go into tight fitting bags or canisters, or the little guys will pay a visit. They don’t eat much, and I do not begrudge them that pleasure, but it is a wee bit annoying to see them swimming around in your cereal bowl.

But, like the storage under the bed, one learns how to adapt. Daughter 4 owned a house once that was really full of the little beasties. They would get into any food item that was not seriously sealed. Newell’s little zoo is tame by comparison.

Life is like that sometimes. We adapt.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A fortress?

my music

I am sort of a musician and music lover.

Maybe more of a music flirt. Hmm.

Went to an organ concert the other evening. One of the best organists on a fabulous organ. “Mostly Brahms” the program said. It was good, I enjoyed it.

But mostly I like music to be a background. The fact that I was in church and couldn’t read or watch or do something with my hands made me concentrate on the music, which was wonderful, but largely wasted on my sensibilities.

Now I am as big a music snob as anyone out there. Dead white guy music. That is my thing and I listen to little else. But, I know the names and composer of precious few pieces, considering the multiple decades I have been listening. I know a few of Ludwig’s pieces and here and there are a few of Wolfgang’s efforts I can identify. There is even one by the frenchman Gabriel Faure that I recognize.

Not too much of a list I fear.

We go to hear old time fiddlers every June when we are in Idaho. Pretty pure bluegrass, with a unique twang. Good listening. The music starts about 7 and goes to midnight, but about 9 or 9:30, we are ready to go home (it is a 40 mile drive).

As friend David says: “When all the tunes sound the same it is time to go home.”

I still do enjoy the sound of good music. I admire the skills of good musicians and the incredible dedication to their instrument, and even if I can’t name many tunes, I continue to listen and to occasionally attend real concerts.

Guess I am just a rather lame but ardent appreciator. I can live with that.