Musings @musicandmeaning.com

Tell me, how do I feel? Tell me now, how do I feel?
"He had a theory that musicians are incredibly complex, and know far less than other artists what they want and what they are; that they puzzle themselves as well as their friends; that their psychology is a modern development, and has not yet been understood." – E. M. Forster

Archive for July, 2005


Monday, 18 July 2005

Music to help keep me sane and healthy VIII

It’s about time for another edition! [Previously on MTHKMSAH…]

Richard Buckner is on tour again, so check him out at a U.S. city near you.

KCRW has been touting its new (non-music show) podcasts and on-demand music programs. I haven’t tried the podcasts yet (to be honest, I haven’t tried any podcast yet) , but the on-demand feature isn’t really that new. A number of the music programs have been available in the archives; what’s new is that all of the music programs are now available on the Web as streaming RealAudio files until their next live broadcast. Yes, RealAudio. It’s not exactly crystal-clear quality, but it’s not bad if you have a high bandwidth connection. If you happen to miss a show that isn’t archived, it’s definitely better than nothing — although, for some reason, only the Saturday show of Weekend Becomes Eclectic is available on demand. I guess if I have to miss a day of WBE and I can’t tape the show for whatever reason, I’ll try to adjust my schedule and miss it on a Saturday. 😉

Speaking of WBE, Anne Litt played from Laura Cantrell‘s new album a few times recently, much to my pleasant surprise — I don’t remember hearing Cantrell on the show before. I’m still waiting for the day I hear Allison Moorer on WBE.

Speaking of Laura Cantrell, last week I tuned in to her performing live on KCRW (her debut on the west coast, apparently). She had a show at McCabe’s, which, I can imagine, was great. I first learned about Cantrell in early 2001, when I heard Bob Edwards interview her for NPR’s Morning Edition (hmm, it doesn’t appear to be available on npr.org), and bought her CD Not the Tremblin’ Kind pretty soon after that. She has a charming, honest voice that cuts right to the lyrics she sings, and she’s not a bad songwriter, either.

Cantrell’s band for the KCRW broadcast last week included Mark Spencer, a multi-instrumentalist who’s well-known for backing up Jay Farrar. (You can read a previous post, where I provide links to free and legal Jay Farrar MP3s featuring Spencer’s great lap steel work.) And I just noticed on LauraCantrell.com that J. D. Foster produced her new album. Foster produced three of Richard Buckner’s (best) albums: Devotion + Doubt, Since, and The Hill.

Well, this is fantastic…Laura Cantrell has always had free MP3s on her site, and there are a few new ones I haven’t heard yet — including a song from her McCabe’s performance! I sort of had been saving her for a future edition of "Music to help me keep me sane and healthy," but it would be a shame to wait any longer. Visit her official downloads page and download away for some folk/country music with a truly classic sound. If you’re not sure what to try first, I recommend the new single, "14th Street," "Churches off the Interstate" (written by Cantrell), and/or "When the Roses Bloom Again," which was a song (i.e. not recording) removed from the Billy Bragg & Wilco Mermaid Avenue album (turns out it’s not a Woody Guthrie lyric). I’m downloading "Letters" right now…


Roll

Just some random-ish tech/geek tidbits:

I’m rolling out a couple of posts that I’d previously written but had saved in the queue for last looks. In the case of "The Lehman legacy", I decided to go with the original date of composition because I made minor changes.

In other post news, I have plans to start writing about old games — not to take anything away from Wil Wheaton, of course (I highly recommend his column). I’ve wanted to do this since I played (or re-played) a few computer games over spring break last year. I wouldn’t call myself a "gamer" per se, but I do have favorites (mostly of the adventure ilk) and would like to feature them here.

BTW, Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird 1.0.6 are on the way. The Mozilla Suite will skip over 1.7.9 in favor of a 1.7.10 release.

Posted at 12:18 pm | Filed under Tech/geek |  

WP shorts

[I started writing this on 6 July 2005, but I’m posting it now.]

This is old news, but WordPress 1.2.1.3 is a recommended security upgrade. Check the change log and the related support thread for more info.

Speaking of WordPress, now that I’ve had more time behind the wheel, I’ve arrived at these conclusions:

  1. If you know what you’re doing, WP is very easy to install.
  2. Customization is the tricky part. There are scads of plug-ins, themes, and other mods. Some of the plug-ins don’t work quite as smoothly as one might hope, and working with themes — as with any creative endeavor — may consume most of the blog-tinkering time.
  3. For Movable Type migrators who want to keep MT post ID numbers: it is much easier to do this from Movable Type 2.x rather than MT 3.x. At least, this was true for MT versions 3.15 and below — I’m not sure about 3.16 and 3.17. I found this migration guide by Scott Yang extremely helpful, especially modifying the MT CMS.pm file. After learning that trick, I used it in different ways (e.g. using the MT CMS to export only the comments in the database, while associating them with their correct post IDs).
  4. Before importing any posts into WP, make sure they will validate in XHTML 1.0 (you should be checking this when you write a post anyway — especially if your blog offers RSS or Atom feeds). Valid markup helps prevent blog quirks from occurring. Currently, WP uses the XHTML 1.0 Transitional DTD.
  5. Also, WP automatically formats entries (it inserts automatic line breaks and paragraph tags), so if you used <br /> or <p></p> in your previous blog posts, they may look funky after you import them into WP. Otherwise, you’ll have to install a plug-in that negates the default auto-formatting. (Here’s one: Text Control, which incorporates such plug-ins into the "Options" menu. N.B. I haven’t tried it.)

More WordPress observations forthcoming…

Posted at 11:10 am | Filed under WordPress |  

Thursday, 7 July 2005

The Lehman legacy

"Silly, only grown-up men are scared of women!"

That’s my favorite quote from one of my favorite movies. Duane Chase (playing a boy named Kurt) said it, but Ernest Lehman wrote it.

The movie? The Sound of Music.

Not a big fan of the schmaltzy Julie Andrews movie about nuns and Nazis?

How about…

Hello, Dolly!
The King and I…or…
West Side Story?

Not a fan of musicals?

How about Sabrina?

Not a fan of fluffy movies?

How about…

North By Northwest?

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

Ernest Lehman wrote the screenplays for all of them.* He died on Saturday at the age of 89.

I suspect that most people won’t know that unless they’re film buffs or otherwise pay attention to the writing credits for movies. I considered myself a film fan and I’d seen three of those movies, but the name "Ernest Lehman" didn’t stick in my brain until a number of years ago, when I read Charmian Carr’s autobiography (as any The Sound of Music fan knows, she played Liesl in the film). Lehman appeared often in her book, which I recommend to anyone interested in films/film history — especially, of course, SOM fans. Around that time, I also listened to Lehman’s interesting audio interview included among the special Sound of Music DVD supplements. And last year, I listened to his running commentary on the DVD for North By Northwest (which had an original screenplay), and felt like I’d spent a lovely afternoon with him while listening to his insights and asides. From those accounts, and from the films he wrote or adapted, he seemed like an amazingly talented, funny and friendly guy. I have no doubt that he was witty — his writing demonstrates that well.

Lehman left behind a diverse and prestigious mark in film and cultural history. (He even has a connection to tech history, thanks to Photo Matt and his first — and now default — WordPress plugin, Hello Dolly.) I can’t think of any current screenwriters who are responsible for such a range of revered and successful movies. I’ll have to check out the rest of the films he worked on. A few of his own print stories were adapted by other writers and produced for the screen.

In 2001, he received an Oscar "in appreciation of a body of varied and enduring work." It was the first honorary Oscar bestowed to a screenwriter. During his speech at the awards ceremony, Lehman said:

I accept this rarest of honors on behalf of screenwriters everywhere, but especially those in the Writers Guild of America. We have suffered anonymity far too often. I appeal to all movie critics and feature writers to please always bear in mind that a film production begins and ends with a screenplay.

However, this glorious night is demonstrating that film belongs to many — to the creators of original works, to superbly talented actors, directors, producers and to gifted collaborators. Had it not been for all of them, I certainly would not be up here having one of the most exciting nights in a long lifetime.

You have my admiration, Mr. Lehman.

[*He shared the writing credit for Sabrina with Billy Wilder and Samuel A. Taylor.]

More info:

Posted at 6:28 am | Filed under Film, News commentary |  

Warning about eNom

In the MeFi and Daily Kos threads linked in the post about Go Daddy, I noticed many recommendations for the domain registrar eNom.com or Namecheap.com (a reseller of eNom).

Last year, eNom started a questionable business practice: the company took clients’ personal information (name, phone, address, e-mail address, etc.) listed in the WHOIS database and, without permission, used this information to register .info domain names that matched their clients’ existing .com domains. For example, if you had registered [domain].com and [domain2].com with eNom, the company used your WHOIS info for those domains to register [domain].info and [domain2].info…without your permission. So, those .info domains showed up registered in the WHOIS database with your name, e-mail, etc. Then, eNom offered a "courtesy" service so that if you wanted to use those .info domains, you could then agree and pay a fee (in some cases — in other cases, the domains were free).

Some more details are in an article from the Netcraft news archive and in a thread from the WebHostingTalk forum.

A few opinions expressed in the WebHostingTalk thread are positive. They’re basically in the vein of, "So, what? The registrar did it as a service, for our own convenience. If we don’t want it, no prob" or "Why complain? We got free domains!" However, I’m with the customers who aren’t so thrilled. If you actually (and knowingly) register for a .info domain, there are different terms of service you must accept (separate from eNom’s TOS), because .info domains are operated by Afilias (afilias.info). Also, you have to agree to let the registrar release your personal info to Afilias. So, if eNom registered .info domains without your permission, it means that eNom agreed to Afilias’ terms of service for you, and also gave your personal information to Afilias without your permission.

Apparently, eNom’s method of .info promotion is still going on.

Namecheap.com is a popular reseller of eNom. I’ve seen the president’s responses to problems in the WebHostingTalk forums. The word is that Namecheap will become its own accredited registar soon, but until that happens and the company operates independently from eNom, I’m wary. (I’d also avoid other eNom resellers.)

Posted at 2:15 am | Filed under Tech/geek |  

Go Fishy

If you have domains registered and/or hosted by Go Daddy, you might want to read these threads at Daily Kos and MetaFilter. The top of GoDaddy.com features a link to the personal blog of Go Daddy’s CEO, who recently used the space to publicize his politics.

Also, Photo Matt linked to a Niall Kennedy-authored post about a not-so-well-researched Go Daddy press release.

GoDaddy.com is just one of the companies under the Go Daddy Group umbrella. The others include WildWestDomains.com (a GoDaddy.com reseller), BlueRazor.com (another domain registrar), DomainsByProxy.com (WHOIS privacy service) and StarfieldTech.com (SSL certificates).

A few years ago, I almost registered a few domains at GoDaddy.com. However, something (I don’t recall exactly what) in the terms and conditions agreement made me look for a different registrar.

Posted at 12:18 am | Filed under Tech/geek | 5 replies »