Dylan parodies have never appealed to me, because they are based upon brilliance (a Dylan song) but are not written by a master songwriter, so they fail. It's a perversion of Dylan's intent, which is always a serious attempt to create art, to make something new and wonderful in the moment; never to just joke around.
In 1983 he told New Musical Express in an interview, "The purpose of music is to elevate and inspire the spirit." This was his life work, worthy of gigantic respect because he put his whole life into this work and was successful far beyond what anyone else was able to achieve and in spite of what criticism came his way. He totally followed his own path, all the way to a Nobel Prize in Literature.
Read a newspaper review of a Dylan show by a rookie reporter who knows very little about Dylan, sent out by the newsroom to cover the show. The writer goes to the show having no idea of what to expect and finding himself in the presence of inspiring art, maybe for the first time in his life, is moved to experience previously unknown heights of aesthetic perfection. But he's an amateur when it comes to writing, so he's not up to the task of describing what he has experienced with the inadequate writing skills he has developed so far. But he tries the best he can because he has truly been inspired by the art!
It's like a youngster on a good acid trip who is experiencing incredible beauty, but has no words to describe what is happening to him. In the concert review this often comes out in some strange metaphor which attempts to describe Bob's unusual, expressive, unique voice. Well intentioned, but "bullfrog croaking" misses the mark by a mile. Same with parody songs.
This morning it dawned on me that a blogger I've been reading for years has become The Doomsday Blogger. This happened with him in 2016 too, during the run-up to the election. He was a big supporter of Hillary, the most hated woman in America, and he wanted so much for her to win. As it got closer & closer to election day, it seemed to me that he was losing it, writing very strange things, "the Martians are coming!" sorts of things. Finally I couldn't stand it any longer and stopped reading him, for many months, maybe even years. Then I started checking on him every so often and he seemed to be getting back to himself, so I started reading him regularly again.
But now it has started happening again. Now it's another election, but it's the pandemic too. He had moved out into the country, so he's in a very safe area as regards the virus. But it seems like it's all he can think about or write about now. This morning I realized he is just giving me stress with his Debbie Downer writings. I've been concentrating on lowering stress in my life and suddenly I realized that recently he has been the biggest source of stress in my life! So once again I'm gonna skip reading his blog.
Meanwhile I've been really enjoying reading the archives of my favorite ham radio mailing list. I'm reading in 1993, the first year of the archives and saving the best stuff as I go along. I'm gonna have to get a website set up with my ham radio domain for some of this stuff.
This morning I listened to the entire Taylor Swift new album, Folklore. Of course I've seen her on TV, but I've never listened to one of her albums before. I'd heard some discussion of her Folklore album on social media, so I decided to listen to it.
I mainly wanted to see whether it might compete with Bob Dylan's new album for Album of the Year honors. I had been thinking that Fiona Apple might be the only artist who might challenge Bob for that top honor.
So I listened to Folklore on YT Music and watched the videos, interspersed between some Apple ads, mostly about their watches. Not ideal, but free, which is what I wanted.
After a few songs, I found myself characterizing them as pretty, even very pretty. She is clearly skilled with words, but whatever words she was singing, the songs all seemed pretty to me. If she ever runs out of words, I think she could make a career as an interior decorator. I think she could make a house very pretty.
As the album progressed I found myself wondering whether she would sing about anything I might care about. Some of the lyrics described dire circumstances, but always with pretty music.
I got to the song Epiphany and I thought this one would be different, because an epiphany is a dramatic event, with big ideas falling into place. Those don't come along all that often in life! But nope, I didn't feel a thing. The song came & went, pretty enough, but that was all. In fact I was having trouble reading the lyrics with the tiny fonts on my phone, so I didn't even get much of any lyrics on that song.
Near the end there was a song called Betty that I liked. It had a feeling of nostalgia, even some regret about past events in it. Maybe I'll listen to that song again. I probably won't bother to play any of the other songs again.
I might look up the lyrics to Epiphany just to satisfy my own curiosity about what happened.
Overall I was disappointed. In fact I was feeling a little concerned about her. She seemed to be singing about some events in her life that didn't work out well for her, but it was all so uniformly pretty. She doesn't seem to have any connection with her feelings, which she describes in words at times, but I never felt those feelings in the music, except a bit in Betty.
When I was done listening, I googled the album and discovered quite a few people have written about the album. Most of them seem to be all about what the songs mean, with a lot of speculation about whether she was revealing herself to be gay. The writers seemed to be quite focused on identity, perhaps a generational thing. None of them made me want to listen to any of the songs again.
I found that Swift has a very large Wikipedia page. I read very little of it, but did discover that she was actually named after James Taylor. This seemed quite ironic to me, as I always found his music to be quite uninteresting, but pretty! He was not mentioned as one of her musical influences.
One of the articles mentioned the early part of her new album had "Dylan vibes," something that did not occur to me when I was listening to it. He was not mentioned as a musical influence in her Wikipedia page, but McCartney certainly was.
The Betty song seemed to be the most discussed song on the album, a focus for a lot of the speculation about her identity.
Yesterday Billboard announced that Folklore hit #1 on the Billboard 200 Chart & the album had the biggest week of 2020. I don't know how they decide what album wins Album of the Year, but for me Bob Dylan's album is way out in front. Maybe I should listen to the new Fiona Apple album to see whether it seems to be in the same league as Bob's album. For me, Folklore certainly is not.
I use Dave Winer's 1999 blogging software for writing these articles. Maybe some are annoyed that it produces old fashioned HTTP pages, rather than the modern encrypted HTTPS pages. Dave has a website where he discusses HTTP quite a lot and why he likes & uses HTTP pages. You might like to read it, so I have a link to it here. Links are the oldest & most important part of the web, especially for a blog.
This is a blog. All you can do here is read what I wrote. There are no user accounts, no where you could log in. If Google warned you about a possible risk in going to my blog, it is safe to ignore that warning. There is no risk to you in reading my blog, except for the risk of reading ideas that are not your own.
Here's an excellent review of early SSB transceivers. I never owned any of these. but I sure loved the looks of the Collins rigs, which were nearly as expensive as a new car when I was a kid. I now have the Drake twins, fairly recently acquired and not yet put in service, as I got them just before we moved across the country. I believe they are more recent than the Drakes shown in this video and have a reputation for excellence.
Here's a nice website with lots of classic rigs to explore. I need to get one of my ham radio domain names into service for blogging!
In our ham radio world, we celebrated the 4th with an annual special event that lasts several days each year, July 1-8. Hams from each of the original 13 colonies get on the air all over the ham bands and everyone else contacts them. It's just a quick hello, with signal reports & a statement of what state we're each in. It's a very popular event, both fun and addictive. I made 32 of those contacts, all on Morse Code. They're available on lots of other modes too (voice, digital modes) but I stick to Morse Code as it is the most fun. It is an outstanding way of getting in to the moment and staying there, because with code at 20 to 30 words per minute, you must stay in the moment to keep up. It is super effective for me and I never get wet from the rapids in a canoe.
In several days of doing this, not one discouraging word was heard, not even once. A great way to celebrate America and Americans.
Here's a head-to-head comparison of an Apple phone to an Android phone. I haven't read it myself, but did peek ahead to see which one won. When I started reading on micro.blog I was surprised by how much time the people spent complaining about Apple. But then each year they'd line up to buy the latest product. I was very much the rarity in being one on the platform using Android. It will always be a niche Apple blogging platform, as Manton only knows and cares about Apple stuff.
Dave Winer turned up such an amazing story about major league baseball in 1970. A pitcher for the Pittsburg Pirates beat the San Diego Padres in a 2-0 complete game in San Diego. He hit a batter, allowed three stolen bases and threw more walks than strikeouts in the game, but he still won the game. And not only that, he also threw a no-hitter!
But wait, there's more! He did this while quite high on LSD!! Don't forget, this was 1970. As you can imagine, MLB didn't go out of their way to publicize all the details about this game, but it really did happen. Read the full story about this and also watch the video made about it. This is a great American story!
The radicals in the US are pulling down statues all over America, but in Lithuania they just put up a new sculpture of J. D. Salinger, featuring its own rye field!
His book, Catcher in the Rye, was very important to me after I read it in high school. It set the standard I adopted and used for many years in evaluating the value of people. "Are they a phony?"
Read about Vietnam's record on the Covid-19 virus.
9A friend asked me for a guide on how to get into Bob Dylan's music. Of course people have been offering such guides for sixty years now. How does one learn how to experience the Pacific Ocean? Head west and dive in, I guess.
In May 1994, in the rec.music.dylan newsgroup, someone started a thread on How Did You Get Into Dylan? It was one great story after another. Mine was one of my first writings that I ever saved to my own corner of the Internet, the home page of taxhelp.com. I love to read it to this day, as it reminds me of that moment of inspiration when my life was changed in a very lasting way, for the better.
A few days before Bob's first album of new songs in eight years comes out, a bunch of writers got together and compiled a collection of their own such stories. There are some winners in that collection too. It includes a great description of my favorite album: the supreme fusion of poetry and rock’n’roll on Blonde On Blonde, as well as one story about what quickly became my favorite Dylan song, and has remained so to this day: Visions of Johanna. When I was living in Berkeley, I named my new Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, Johanna. I wonder how many millions of kids and pets have been named after Bob or characters in his songs?
Once again Dave Winer has defined what blogging is, this time on Twitter on June 7, then on his blog on June 10 & 12. On Twitter he wrote:
"What matters is people writing what they know, fluidly, publicly, with an archive for the future."
Then on his blog:
If blogging didn’t exist we’d have to invent it. “People writing what they know, fluidly, publicly, with an archive for the future.” That’s it. [Jun 10, 2020].
"The other day I wrote a short definition of blogging, including a word I suspect not a lot of bloggers would use -- fluid. To me the process of writing on your blog, if it isn't fluid, it isn't doing its job. By fluid I mean this. I have an idea. Count the steps before the idea appears on your blog and how complex the steps are. The more steps the more likely you'll lose your way, and find it hard to get back to what you were doing. You respond by skipping it altogether next time, the idea is lost. You can engineer fluidity, the same way you can optimize for other attributes. But most blogging software doesn't imho even try." [Jun 12, 2020]
RC comment on this:
Certainly when Dave writes on this subject, you gotta listen! Many argue he invented blogging to begin with. And he has created lots of blogging tools, many of which I have used . . . and liked!
When Andy Sylvester got 1999.io set up on my own server, so I could write a series of articles in 2019 to introduce Thailand to my friends & my brother, in advance of their first visits there, it was such a joy to use Dave's software for that task, after mostly using micro.blog for the three years before that. Those articles just came tumbling out, or flowing out. It was a HUGE improvement over micro.blog. I was over the moon.
So I agree with Dave. The difference was fluidity. The reason Dave's blogging tools are so great is that he wrote them for his own use. Blogging is his job, his life. He knows what is needed, because he is constantly blogging. He knows from many years of experience what is needed. If something starts to get in his way, he fixes it. If the tools don't let his writing flow, he fixes them, so they do.
"We all got here on many different ships, but it's clear we're all in the same boat now."
Dr. Alveda King, 2020
Niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
Now for a story about that Ceremonial Name. After four visits to Thailand over a period of more than two years, I learned of this ceremonial name while reading a travel article on the city. I was reading in bed late one evening and I turned to Supattra and informed her of my new discovery, with a pretended air of Aren't I soooo smart? Within seconds she began to recite the name out loud for me, in a beautiful light way that sounded more like singing than reciting. I still had my laptop open to the article (she couldn't see it, so she wasn't cheating) and I followed along and confirmed that she got it all right, 100% correct. Wow!
Then she told me why it sounded like she was singing. Because she was.
Asanee–Wasan is a popular and well-known rock band, formed by two brother's, Asanee "Pom" and Wasan "Toe" Chotikul. When my wife was still a teenager they had a hit song that put the Bangkok ceremonial name to verse in a song. Just like we learned the lyrics to our favorite songs as kids, she and her generation learned the lyrics to this song. But the lyrics consisted only in the recitation of the complete ceremonial name!
It's a beautiful song. Listen to it here, play it on repeat and maybe you'll end up knowing the complete name like she did and like the little girl in this video. If the pronunciation isn't clear enough for you, listen to this version.
I especially love the fact that the recorded song begins with the crow of a rooster. That is the first sound I heard in the early morning from my bed in a hotel in the ancient part of Chiang Mai, on my very first morning in Thailand. That sound is a good memory for me!
Once you're reached Bangkok, maybe you should know it's real name, as Bangkok is a name for the foreigners there, not the Thai people, who call the city ‘Krung Thep' or the longer version, ‘Krung Thep Maha Nakhon’ which means City of Angels. But nothing like the one in California. But even those two versions are not it's full name, as it has a Ceremonial Name, which is much longer. In Thai script it is written as:
‘กรุงเทพมหานคร อมรรัตนโกสินทร์ มหินทรายุธยา มหาดิลกภพ นพรัตนราชธานีบูรีรมย์ อุดมราชนิเวศน์มหาสถาน อมรพิมานอวตารสถิต สักกะทัตติยวิษณุกรรมประสิทธิ์’
or in English text as:
‘Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit’
which consists of Pali and Sanskrit root words which could be translated as:
The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (of Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn.
We will take you to see the Emerald Buddha while you are there, at the Royal Palace, of course!
I am following the great BBC documentary with my favorite film about Thailand in modern times. I believe it was produced by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and appeared on Facebook. Supattra sent it to me to watch in the months before I traveled to Thailand for the first time. I watched it many times! Eventually I visited some of the places featured in the film. I won't say anything else about it, so you can experience it for yourself. It took me a long time to find it again on the Internet. I wish I could have found it in one piece, but the best I could do was to find it in three parts, as follows. When you watch each part, you will have to end that part and come back here to start the next part, or YouTube will start an unrelated video instead. It's very annoying, but it was the best I could do.
Part 1 of 3 : Part 2 of 3 : Part 3 of 3
Anyway, I'm very glad I found the film again, it was full of happy memories for me!
This is the most important movie ever made about Thailand, made in 1979 for the BBC and first broadcast in 1980. It made me reallllly appreciate the love the Thai people have/had for their Royal family. The real power in Thailand rested in their King Rama IX, who reigned for more than 70 years and earned huge respect from his people, long before he passed away one day before my father passed on in October 2016. I saw this film after I had already been to Thailand, but I think it would be a good one for anyone to watch before actually going to Thailand for a visit.
I looked for the simplest Thai learning video I could find. In all such videos, recognize that the spelling of Thai words in English can vary. Soooo just as in learning Morse Code, learn how it sounds, NOT how it is spelled. Remember, for the Thai person, they learned to spell it with their own Thai script, which we don't know. Wellll they might not know our English script either! If you ask them how a word is spelled in our language they could easily NOT be able to answer you. So see whether you can learn to duplicate the sound they are making. Here's a video to teach FIVE words. I don't think #3 or #5 are essential at all. I never learned either one of them. The others would be good to learn and she also shows you how to do a proper Wai, a bow of the head with the hands held together. Being polite is fundamental in communicating with Thai people. Check it out!
In traveling with Supattra, I never had to rely on my ability to say any of these words! She took care of everything for me. But somewhere along the way, I learned to how to do a Wai and to smile a lot. That took care of pretty much everything. It will work for you too.
I'm putting a reference here, naming provinces that I have not yet visited in Thailand. The full details can be found here, but this listing is just shorthand to suggest new provinces we might want to visit in 2019, if they turn out to be nearby, or are on the way to somewhere else we are going. But many of these may be ones that we'll be unable to visit this year. Back up two postings in this blog (left arrow) to see a map that labels all 77 of the provinces (including Bangkok) in Thailand.
Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Pathum Thani, Prachin Buri, Ratchaburi, Sa Kaew, & Saraburi.
Chanthaburi, Rayong & Trat.
As you walk inside the airport (the main Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok in this case), you soon discover Thailand has gorgeous public art everywhere. This tug-of-war is right in the middle of a wide walkway to and from the airplanes. You may notice it is also right in front of a Gucci retail store! But no worries, there will be plenty of affordable places to spend your money all over the country. This may look like a picture of real people, but it is actually a life-size diorama with amazing detail. If you want to learn how to pronounce the name of the airport, go here. If that's too hard for you, no problem. Just say B K K.
Today I noticed that Andy Sylvester's River of 1999.io Bloggers now consists almost exclusively of Doc Searls and Frank McPherson. But Doc is on fire and posting often. Well I certainly don't mind being tangled up in that stream!
How do these tools go in and out of fashion? Maybe some just want to be using the newestfangled tool possible. (Yes, I made up a word.) I tend to go in the opposite direction. I like old tools that are easy to use and produce nice looking results. Like 1999.io.
There's no character count here. No knowledge of markdown required, but you can still use bold and italics, not to mention titles and other formatting niceties.
Maybe the youngsters would say I'm Old School . . . or maybe just Old.
BUT I'll let you in on a secret, Jack Baty has started using 1999.io again as well. Maybe Andy will add him to the stream. I hope so.
Will my Thailand Compendium still survive, when Fargo dies, because of the change at Dropbox? The information in the compendium was compiled as an outline in Fargo and now that outline has been copied into Little Outliner 2. The compendium was always viewed by using Dave Winer's Small Picture Reader software. I'm pretty sure that Dave wrote that this reader will still work once Fargo is killed off by Dropbox. I'm looking for where he said that . . .
Okay, I Found It!
It's in his original announcement about the upcoming timing out of Fargo. Last line: "This change should not affect smallpict.com sites. They should continue to function after the Dropbox API change."
The good thing (and bad thing) about Small Picture Reader is that the URL doesn't change when the OPML file changes. So whenever I would edit my compendium file in Fargo, the same URL in Reader would still read it, with the changes. So my compendium should survive after Fargo times out, even when I make changes in it with Little Outliner 2.
But what if I create a new outline in LO2 and I want people to be able to view it in Reader? Up to now, one would select "View in Reader" in Fargo and then one could save the resulting URL to hand out to others, so they could view it too. But once Fargo is not working, that won't be possible and LO2 does not have a corresponding "View in Reader" command. Then what?? Well the answer may lie with the "Get public link" command in the File menu of LO2. I used that command on my compendium file and when I opened that link in a browser window, I got my Thailand Compendium, looking pretty much like it does in Small Picture Reader! So that should work for any LO2 outline, as long as I don't mind the link being a public link. The only difference I see is that Small Picture Reader provides a button for sending the URL to Twitter, which is not present when using the LO2 public link. No big deal.
One other detail to tidy up. Above, I wrote, "The good thing (and bad thing) . . ." I explained the good thing, but what is the bad thing? Well it's a little more complicated than my short-hand of including "(and bad thing)" in that sentence. When I first discovered this connection between Fargo and Small Picture Reader, I was very excited that it seemed to offer a super easy way to add information to the compendium, but then providing a simple way to publish the new version immediately. But as the father in The Graduate said, "this whole idea sounds pretty half baked." Think about it. I had compiled a ton of information of all kinds about Thailand. But there was only ONE URL for that entire file and for all that information on many different topics! I could not send a URL to someone who might be interested in a subset of all that data that pointed to just that part to say, "Here, look at this." I was going to publish it on the World Wide Web, but without the key brilliance of the web, which was links being used to point to particular parts of all that information. Half baked, indeed!!
Paul Signorelli, W0RW, has advanced the art of operating a ham radio in the HF bands while walking around with the rig on his back more than anyone else in the US, maybe in the world. He mostly operates from the mountains in Colorado and I've had the pleasure of working him in the past in QRP contests. Ed WA3WSJ learned a lot about operating "pm: pedestrian mobile" from Paul, collected forty-seven stories about Paul's adventures and published them as an e-book for others who might like to learn how to do this unique form of ham radio.
Tonight I started reading Ed's book. The third article in the collection is W0RW 2004 FYBO Report. FYBO stands for freeze your butt off, as it is an outdoor contest held in February and it awards more points for contacts depending upon how cold it is outside. This was dreamed up by some hams in Arizona, maybe a lot easier for them in Arizona, than for Paul in Colorado!
In the article Paul describes his operating that day, walking six miles in the snow on a bright and sunny day at 9,000 feet on the west side of Pike's Peak, running his Elecraft KX1 rig at three watts into an eight-foot whip coming out of his rear pocket. It was 20F when he started and it warmed up to 25F. He worked thirty-five stations on CW that day, in at least fifteen different states. He thanked every operator who worked him and listed them all at the end of his article. At number twenty-four on that list is
Three things stand out in my mind about that day. (1) It was very cool contacting Paul, knowing that he was tromping around in the snow on Pike's Peak, a unique experience only possible with amateur radio. (2) The drive up the mountain was a lot more harrowing than I had been expecting, as we went around narrow turns on the crooked road, peering down steep drop-offs just past the edge of the road. (3) Some of the ride was scary, but overall, it felt so good to be out in nature, doing ham radio on a Saturday with two good friends. These good memories are still with me more than thirteen years later.
Of course I can recommend Ed's e-book without reservation after reading only the first three stories. Even more important, I urge all hams to get outside with some friends to do some ham radio together! Great times together, later, memories that may stay with you for the rest of your life.
In August 2016 Dave Winer announced that near the end of June 2017, Dropbox will be disabling a feature that Fargo requires to work and this will mean the end of Fargo outlines. No worries, he had already designed and built LO2, which can work with the same Fargo outlines. They just need to be imported into LO2. I have tried this and it works!
Here is the procedure I followed to get my Fargo outlines into LO2. I will preface this by saying that I started using Dropbox at a time when it came with a Public folder. It is my understanding that newer Dropbox accounts might not have such a folder. In that case, the user would have to discover how to get the public URL for a file in Dropbox.
Open four tabs in the (Chrome in my case) browser, as follows.
(1) Little Onliner 2 (LO2) where you want your outlines to be.
(2) Dropbox at Dropbox -----> Apps -----> Fargo which is where the Fargo opml files are stored.
(3) Another Dropbox tab, pointing to Dropbox -----> Public.
(4) Fargo at fargo.io which contains your Fargo outlines.
Go to tab (4) and find an outline you'd like to get into LO2 and make a note of its title at the top of Fargo. e.g. Planning Activities. Jump over to tab (2) and find the opml for that outline, which will be a file with that title ending in opml. e.g. PlanningActivities.opml. If there are several, be sure to pick the most recent one. On the line for that file, click on the square box around the three dots and in the choices that pop up, click on Copy. Dropbox will want to know where to place the copy, so navigate to the public folder at Dropbox -----> Public and click on the Copy button.
Now switch to tab (3) and find the opml file you just copied into that folder. On the far right for that file, click on the square box around the three dots and in the choices that pop up, click on Copy public link, which will open a new Dropbox window with that public URL. Click on the Copy to Clipboard button.
Now you're all set for being able to import that outline file into LO2. Jump to tab (1). At the top of LO2, click on File -----> New. Enter the Title you want for this outline in LO2. It doesn't have to be the same title that was used for it in Fargo. After you enter the title you want, click on the Okay button. A blank outline will appear.
At the top of LO2, select File -----> Import OPML. Paste in the public URL you got from Dropbox, which is in your clipboard, and click on the OK button. There may be some delay while the file loads and then Boom, the outline appears.
Look it over. Once you are satisfied it is correct, you could switch back to tab (4) and delete the outline from there [optional]. Just select the outline from the choices at the top of Fargo and pick the one you just copied to LO2. Go to the very top node of that outline, select it and hit delete on your keyboard and poof, it and everything below it will be gone. Or go to tab (2) and just delete the opml files there. Or just wait until 6/28/17 and Fargo will stop working anyway.
Right after the end of tax season, one of my clients on extension asked me for advice on how she could get hatted on the subject of taxes. In 33 tax seasons she was the first client who ever asked for a way to get herself informed about taxes. I was impressed, but not surprised. She has worked for decades at a private school where the kids develop learning skills and discover they can learn anything. Some people don't know this, but she does. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]
Since this had never come up before, I didn't have a list of recommendations ready for her, but I did some searching and came up with three recommendations for her.
There is a lot of jargon in taxes and that can have its pitfalls, a barrier to study. One can always google any term one comes across and then look for definitions and explanations in the results at the IRS website (irs.gov). I also found a well organized compilation of such things, a Wikibook with eight chapters on income tax. Its a bit academic, but presents all the key topics in taxation in a well ordered way with good definitions. It might be useful to keep it as both a primer and then as a reference.
I found a book that looks like it might be good. The usual tax time books that come out every year by Lasser and others are 800 page door stops with much more detail than the average person needs or wants. I found a simple book that is 100 pages, available for $5 as a Kindle book, $14 as a new paperback or $11 as a used paperback. It got 4.6 stars out of 5 stars from 158 reviews on Amazon. I have only seen the few pages in the preview of the book and read some of the reviews, but it looks good.
Of course tax matters are changing all the time, so some details in the above can be out of date. If you use any or all of these choices, please let me know your experience with them. So if someone else asks me again in the next 33 years, I can include some data about whether these are really very good or not.
I took a look at Andy Sylvester's river of 1999.io bloggers for the first time in a long time. I was pleased to see that Doc Searls is still using Dave's tool and enjoyed his comments about blogging, with its brilliant phrase "all have the permanence of snow falling on water," which is where I got the title for this posting. I thanked him for it and realized I am reticent to post here, as I don't have my own server yet, so I feel my using Dave's server creates an out-of-balance exchange with him.
And as I type this, I am reminded what an easy tool it is for blogging!
Doc Searls has started blogging with our favorite tool, 1999.io, giving it well deserved credit for its easy to use interface, much better than Wordpress or Medium, as well as for handling headlines correctly. I haven't used Wordpress in years and I've never used Medium, but I agree that 1999.io is super easy to use. And I totally agree about headlines. I often write my headline at the end, after I find out what my blog article is about. Dave's software lets you put the headline there when you're done and apparently other platforms make you decide on the title before you've written a word. It took an expert and frequent blogger, Dave Winer, to write the software the right way, and then for another one, Doc, to come along and notice this big advantage of 1999.io, which he then pointed out to us.
I don't know him personally, but with a name like that, you gotta call him just "Doc," right? I've noticed him using very early versions of Dave's blogging platforms in the past, before anyone else but Dave could use them. But this time he's using the same officially released version of the software, on the same server Dave provides, that I'm using here.
He always has interesting things to write about, sometimes way over my head, but still very informative, so he's definitely worth following, just like Dave. His very first 1999.io posting was a real humdinger about a recent talk that Maciej Ceglowski gave about surveillance capitalism. MC developed Pinboard, an essential tool I use every day to collect bookmarks for great stuff I find on the Internet. I've read other talks he's given before and they were brilliant. This one is too.
It's obvious from the start that he knows a lot more about this computer stuff than most of us and he always writes with humor. But he has a conscience too and this time he's warning us to pay attention to what is happening with computers. It's very illuminating, but kinda scary too. Go read it!
See, it's not just about keeping the web open, it's also knowing where to look in the nooks and crannies of the web to find the good stuff.
We took four days off from work and the Internet for road trips to Berkeley and Santa Barbara to see shows by Bob Dylan, with an opening act by Mavis Staples. Bob gave up guitar playing some years ago, but still plays the grand piano & mouth organ, and has really been concentrating on his singing, which is marvelous. He seemed very comfortable standing at center stage and singing in a loud & confidant voice with clear articulation of the lyrics, especially on the several covers of classic old songs he did in both shows, inspired by the Sinatra renditions of them, and still showing us that he's "as good a singer as Caruso."
In Berkeley one impatient fan cried out with the modern version of the Judas shout during the second half of the show: "Rock & roll!!" Unlike more than fifty years ago in Manchester, it elicited no direct response from Bob, who continued along with his standard set list for this tour. But there was plenty of fine rock & roll, capped off with the final encore, a searing Love Sick, no Soy Bomb this time, and then a big surprise exploding out into the darkness of the final applause, the instrumental portion of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird," with a blazing lead guitar solo to freedom. It was unexpected and brilliant and perhaps some of the longest minutes for Bob, who only got to stand center stage during the big surprise. Through the end of June 2016, it remains as a one-time event, the first time I've ever witnessed a one-time only performance, as far as I can recall.
These were the first two Dylan shows for my wife, who has a great ear for good music. When I played Freewheelin' on her Isuzu stereo as we drove down the road in Thailand, the first Dylan album she ever heard from beginning to end, she burst out in laughter when we got to Bob Dylan's Blues, correctly declaring "He's not singing, he's talking!" At the Santa Barbara Bowl, she leaned over near the end of Spirit On the Water to whisper in my ear, "He talk a lot!" Impeccable observation once again. After the show she voiced surprise that he didn't talk during the show, concluding that he did all his talking with his songs.
One of my favorite things at a Dylan show is to sit near someone who is seeing their first ever Dylan show, to be able to witness their reactions. In Santa Barbara it was a pretty young girl in her early twenties with long black hair and a short thin frame in tight jeans, perhaps one hundred pounds at most, in the row right in front of us, four rows back from the front of the stage. At intermission she apologized to those around us for standing and dancing during the songs. "But I can't help it. It's probably the only chance in my life to be able to see Bob Dylan perform in person!" I told her I didn't mind in the least and she should just enjoy the moment. I was very pleased that she seemed to be very familiar with ALL the songs and when the first few bars of Blowin' in the Wind were played, after a violin introduction (!), she let out a loud squeal; it was clearly the song she had been hoping for! Surely it is sounds like that, that keep Dylan out on the road, fulfilling his destiny, and once again ensuring that one more person will never have to say, "I never got to see Bob Dylan perform."
Suddenly there are new tools for embedding Tweets inside blog posts at Twitter Publish.
I put in the URL for one of my tweets, copied the code that it gave me, plopped that into a blog posting using the Insert HTML command and . . . got a mess that didn't look like my Tweet at all. So it's not working (for me at least) in our favorite blogging tool, at least not right out of the box.
Of course I can link to the Tweet easily enough, but embedded in the blog posting would be nicer. Hey wait, there's always been a way of doing this. If you click on the More button for a Tweet and then click on Embed Tweet, Twitter gives you the code to paste into a blog posting for that Tweet. But following these old fashioned instructions don't work for me in 1999.io either. Drats.
I'll bet Dave Winer will be trying these Twitter Publish tools as well. Perhaps we'll get an update to 1999.io that makes it work for us. OR . . . I might just be doing it wrong! That's possible too.
The golden age of QRP (low power radio) might have been in the late 1990's. The Norcal QRP Club was very active with monthly meetings after every Livermore Swap Meet, where radio designers and builders met to discuss and demonstrate the latest radios. Their quarterly journal, QRPp, was still being published, which made it possible for people from all over the US and the world to participate. This was a period of great creativity, sharing and frequent new milestones being achieved in the radio arts. Eventually Las Positas College stopped making their parking lots available for the swap meets and then the Norcal meetings nearby stopped happening.
Now in 2016 there seems to be a resurgence in low power radio among some of those same people, as well as a new generation of radio adventurers. Tons of hams are hiking up mountain tops to activate new Summits on the Air and others are operating from National Parks all over the country to help celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the National Park Service. This trend is likely to continue with the recent release of the Elecraft KX2 trail friendly HF radio.
There are still many hams who want to learn about how these radios work and a very popular training program from 1998, the Elmer 101 Series, is being revived, this time with a SW30+ CW Transceiver being the focus for learning. The latest incarnation of this very popular learning program is being presented by Joe Everhart N2CX and George Heron N2APB on their Chat With the Designers website. This looks to be a reprise of the time they did it starting in April 2015, but with a gorgeous red enclosure this time from AA0ZZ and the Freq-Mite frequency readout (which was also a Dave Benson design) at a special discount price from the Four State QRP Group. True VFO: 35-40 KHz coverage [10.1-10.135 MHz], so you have all but the very top of the band, the last 10-15 KHz to 10.15 MHz. Output power is adjustable to 2.5W max. If you'd rather have more power, it would be easy enough to add a power amplifier between the SW30+ and the antenna, for a full ten watts out.
The original Elmer 101 Series was developed and rolled out on the QRP-L mailing list in 1998, and documented in the Autumn 1998 issue of QRPp, the Journal of the Northern California QRP Club.All of the documentation for these exciting times has been preserved and is now being presented again online. The entire run of the QRPp journals have been scanned and are available for free on their own website. This is a fantastic resource, as the original copies of the journals have become much harder to find. The original course materials are still available from the website of KU4QO, and Dave Benson, K1SWL, has assisted with a revised edition of his SW40+ transceiver which was used in the original course, but this time for 30 meters.
If you didn't get to participate in the original days, now is a good time to get involved in these new activities. There is still a good spirit of sharing and cooperation and the QRP-L mailing list is still active. Join up at QRP-L and the CWTD website and get involved!
This video is painful to watch for ham radio folks, as it shows the destruction by explosion of the vast Voice of America Site A antenna farm in Greenville, NC in April 2016. The 2,800 acre site was opened in 1963.
What may seem even more amazing than these visuals is the fact that this was one of two identical VOA antenna farms taken out of service in 2006. Its identical twin system is still in service at another nearby site. In 2012 Thomas Witherspoon (K4SWL) of the awesome website, the SWLing Post, published an extensive article about his five-and-a-half hour tour of the site that is still in service, The VOA Edward R. Murrow Transmitting Station in Greenville, North Carolina. It is an excellent antidote to the unnerving destruction shown in the above video.
Thomas wrote, "The messages conveyed by these powerful antennas travel every day, every hour, across closed borders with no regard for those in power, into remote areas with no power or basic services, inviting those with radios to simply listen. Radio, I reflected, is free speech in its most available, equitable form."
May it continue.
I stumbled onto this video of the original Freewheelin' performance of Dylan's brilliant Don't Think Twice, It's All Right paired with some lovely 20th Century B & W film footage. Very very nice. One reason it works is that there is no original music video that goes with this song in our minds. There was no such thing in those days. So this doesn't clash with our expectation and the visual seems totally appropriate to the song.
Vintage Film would actually be a more appropriate title. I went to their You Tube channel, thinking I might find a lot of other great films. I discovered the Dylan video has been viewed more than 1.8 million times. There are 35 other videos in the channel and the next most viewed of them has been seen a bit less than 6,000 times, most of them less than 1,000 times. I watched two of the others. They were clearly not in the same class as this one. I have often found that the number of views of a musical performance is a good predictor of the quality of the video.
When Dylan went electric, his already visual music exploded into brilliant colors.
Robert Scoble has returned to his blog with a shockingly open long read about his financial challenges living in Silicon Valley. I remember years ago being verrrrrry impressed that this guy gave out his cell phone number on his postings on the Internet. Now he's gone way beyond that in openness. Surely he has one of the most extensive contact lists in the entire field of technology, so it seems to me he will surely find a new gig that will work for him. For years he has seemed like a little kid in a candy store, describing new technologies with an enthusiasm and spirit that seemed contagious.
I used to read him on Google+ but then he switched to writing mostly on Facebook and I fell off the sled. He mentions that "Fred Wilson was right that I gave up something when I left my blog." Wilson has been blogging since 2003 and doesn't plan to give it up. I've been listening to an interesting interview of Wilson from the Iowa City Public Library.