Links 2/7/2022

***In Haliburton, Grace the 125-year-old turtle has outlasted bubonic plague, speeding cars and ever-shrinking wetlands Narwhal

Airlines Face Unexpected Safety Issue in Pandemic: More Bird Strikes WSJ

Alberta’s response to Coutts blockade proof of discriminatory double standard, First Nations say Narwhal

Is Old Music Killing New Music? The Atlantic

Meet the Taiwanese grandparents who have become Instagram fashion sensations Scroll

Great balls of fire: A monk named Gervase saw ball lightning way back in 1195 Ars Technica

Nine killed in three days as a hundred avalanches hit Austria France 24

An Unlikely Meditation on Modern Happiness Hedgehog Review


Experts open the door to lifting last mask mandates The Hill

The 1918 flu didn’t end in 1918. Here’s what its third year can teach us. WaPo


Onward Christian Soldiers: Against The Military’s Vaccine Mandate American Conservative

Judges Weigh More Biden Vaccine-Mandate Cases After Supreme Court Rulings WSJ


Ottawa mayor declares state of emergency over ongoing trucker protests Globe and Mail

Frozen out of GoFundMe, Canadian protest convoy raises millions on Christian site WaPo


I didn’t take Covid seriously, admits leading statistician Guardian


‘We must stay at home’: Hong Kong expecting 614 coronavirus cases; health minister warns of ‘extremely severe’ situation South China Morning Post


Can Sinovac protect Indonesia from the Omicron wave? Al Jazeera


Covid: Australia to reopen borders to international travel BBC

Waste Watch

How ‘super-enzymes’ that eat plastics could curb our waste problem Guardian

Humans have breached Earth’s threshold for chemical pollution, shows a new study Scroll

Saving the night sky: New Zealand’s craziest experiment yet? BBC

Climate Change

The nuclear power dilemma: where to put the lethal waste FT

Climate change: Top companies exaggerating their progress – study BBC

Plants are flowering a month earlier – here’s what it could mean for pollinating insects The Conversation

Battery-powered trains are picking up speed Ars Technica

“What If I Can’t Insure My Home At All?” Daily Poster

Health Care

Why Don’t Medical Schools Prepare Us To Face the Void With Our Patients? The Wire

The Flu Factor: Is There a Link to Parkinson’s? Parkinson’s Foundation (martha r)

Mrs. J wanted a blanket in the emergency department. Saying no chips away at my soul Stat

Our Famously Free Press

New Cold War

Ukraine crisis: Macron says a deal to avoid war is within reach BBC

Emmanuel Macron heads to Russia on mission to de-escalate Deutsche Welle

Macron heads east on risky peacemaker mission Politico

Ukraine says don’t believe ‘apocalyptic predictions’ over Russia Al Jazeera

Why the EU needs Russian energy giant Gazprom Deutsche Welle

Ukraine is becoming a ‘powder keg story’ – always about to explode but never quite doing so INews. Patrick Cockburn.

WW3 Watch: Bloomberg misfires edition The Blind Spot

Old Blighty

Prince Charles pays tribute to ‘darling wife’ and future queen Camilla Guardian

Queen Elizabeth is hooked on political gossip Politico

NHS England waiting times for cancer referral and treatment at record high Guardian

Class Warfare

EXCLUSIVE: Trouble in paradise? Scowling Barack Obama inspects the construction of his new multimillion-dollar Hawaii mansion and controversial sea wall which his neighbors fear will erode the beachline Daily Mail (Michael Isomer). Hoisted from comments.

Corporate corruption in South Africa demands global action in response FT

Nigeria Is Planning A False Flag In Switzerland: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix Caitlin Johnstone

‘Capitalism is not a redeemable system for us’: AOC says capitalism does not benefit the vast majority of Americans and is a system run by a wealthy minority Daily Mail

Credit Suisse securitises yacht loans to oligarchs and tycoons FT

The tech giants are doling out political donations to antitrust skeptics in Congress WaPo

How the Sugar Industry Makes Political Friends and Influences Elections ProPublica


Time For a Victory Lap*  NYT (ChrisRUEcon). Hoisted from comments.

Sports Desk

Winter Olympics: Kamila Valieva’s ‘flawless’ in debut performance BBC

COVID-19 robs Olympic curlers of beloved social culture AP

A Skating Legend Powered by Slights, Real and Perceived NYT

Winter Olympics: Max Parrot wins snowboard slopestyle gold three years after cancer diagnosis BBC

NFL coaches’ claims of incentives to lose poses legal risks for league Reuters

Beat Feuz wins Olympic downhill, completes career collection AP

Mon Dieu! 41-Year-Old Frenchman Leads Oldest Podium in Olympic Skiing History WSJ

Kill Me Now

Andrew Cuomo Plans Comeback Months After Resigning Amid Sexual-Harassment Claims WSJ

Biden Administration

Manchin’s Likely Backing of Biden SCOTUS Pick Reflects Court’s Conservative Role TruthOut

Biden’s dangerous refusal to reverse Trump’s Western Sahara policy Responsible Statecraft

Are the Democrats in trouble? Gallup editor explains why the real story is that Americans hate both parties AlterNet

‘Taking the Voters Out of the Equation’: How the Parties Are Killing Competition DNUZ

Trump Transition

‘He never stopped ripping things up’: Inside Trump’s relentless document destruction habits WaPo

Trump White House staffers frequently put important documents into ‘burn bags’ and sent them to the Pentagon for incineration, report says Business Insider

Big Brother IS Watching you Watch

The Hidden Failure of the World’s Biggest Privacy Law Gizmodo

Tunisia’s top legal body turns against President Saied Al Jazeera


US outruns regional states in race for Kabul Asia Times



A king could have commanded the worst atrocities on enemies and yet built awe-inspiring temples’ Scroll

A Year Since Chamoli Disaster, Himachal’s Dam-Building Spree Unabated The Wire

This is how Bangladesh can avoid the middle income trap Dhaka Tribune


Will China’s Tall Space Goals Spur Further Competition? The Diplomat

Antidote du Jour. Tracie H. “A snowy egret at the Huntington Beach Central Park in Huntington Beach, California.”:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. anon y'mouse

      it’s undeniable that the wolves are after him. when i opened my browser this morning, 2/8 news blips showing up were intent on proving me his “bro-ness” through his use of the n-word unrepentantly and “mocking the disabled”.

      remember, this is how they characterized Bernie followers–insensitive and privileged “bros”. i mean, for all i know (and for my money), Rogan is a bro, but i don’t think he’d even deny it nor is it always and all of the time a bad thing, necessarily. i thought he was a comedian, and one should never try to use the same standards against them because usually they aren’t saying what people are claiming they are, and without the same intention but it can be read that way.

    2. fresno dan

      February 7, 2022 at 7:17 am
      So I have never listened to Joe Rogan, but only because I don’t listen to podcasts – I just find it much, much more efficient to scan articles and than I can decide if the whole article is good enough to devote time to reading every word. So in the one video I saw of Rogan using the n word, there is no context (are there better videos that give some context, instead of the utterance of just one word?) This video of Cenk Uygur using the n word makes the point of context, i.e., that nowadays, there is enough video history to find tons of examples of anyone saying a bad word.
      flora, I just am not interested enough in Joe Rogan to try and find the original podcasts, but I am curious enough to want to know the answer. Because you are much better informed on this than me, and I trust your objectivity and good sense, do you think Rogan is a racist or not?

      1. flora

        I do not think he’s an r-ist or a miso-ist from listening to him on occasion. He’s a supporter of comedian Dave Chappell (who the mob also went after). He talks to all kinds of athletes and mma fighters and all sorts of people in sports, comedy, politics, the military, scientists, authors, center-left writers and center-right writers, male/female/black/white, and I’ve never got the slightest indication he’s anything except respectful interest in what the guest is telling him – and he doesn’t let anyone, not even Bernie, slide off an assertion they might make without backing up their point. I think he’s a really interesting interviewer. I’ve learned a bunch of interesting stuff from listening to the short clips on youtube – from people in all sorts of discipline, from scientists to weightlifters – people I wouldn’t ever have known about. The world is a big and really interesting place! The MSM hate him for some reason. My 2 cents.

        1. Dr. John Carpenter

          “The MSM hate him for some reason.”

          He’s a reminder of their irrelevancy. He didn’t come up the right way and he’s getting the interviews and views they feel they deserve. The MSM is still trying to figure out how to conquer the on-line media and they still haven’t so all they can do is try to cancel the loudest voices.

          1. Ari

            I find it humorous that his ardent defenders are pretending that $100 million dollar Joe Rogan, on the largest streaming platform, is somehow not corporate MSM.

            1. Andy

              Fully agree. Joe Rogan is basically Oprah for bros and I find it hilarious that so many people take him seriously as some sort of important interviewer/cultural figure.

              1. lyman alpha blob

                Maybe some people (like myself) just enjoy the occasional guest he has on and are against censorship?

                In 2016 the cable news cut to Trump’s empty podium and blathered on until the Big Cheeto eventually showed up rather than letting people see Bernie speak live. Rogan talked to Sanders for two or three hours straight. That’s not nothing.

          2. Diogenes

            He’s also eating their lunch. The size of his audience swamps theirs.

            So he’s a direct threat.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        I have listened to Rogan and I do not think for one minute that he is a racist. You won’t find the original podcasts – pretty sure spotify just deleted all of them. But you can look at the guests he interviews and who he seems to be personal friends with and judge for yourself.

        I first started listening to Rogan when he started being called “transphobic”. I found the episodes and what I listened to didn’t match the criticism of him at all. Then I noticed that he interviewed physicists and other people I found interesting and started listening to him more often.

        By contrast, I also heard a lot of criticism of Jordan Peterson over the years. I decided to decide for myself if that criticism was valid, and if I remember right it was an interview between Peterson and Camille Paglia I listened to. It took about 20 minutes of Paglia batting him around before it was clear that all the criticism of Peterson was valid, and he was a lightweight tossing a lot of word salad.

        When Rogan interviewed Peterson recently, I skipped that one since I don’t enjoy Peterson’s drivel. Not sure why others can’t simply do that if they don’t like Rogan – to each their own.

        Instead it seems like the woke neo-Victorian hall monitors want to run society like the dailykos comment moderation system.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Thanks for that. I will give these people a small bit of credit for representing Colin Kaepernick, however I don’t know how effective they were given that Kaepernick never played in the NFL again.

        Hopefully they will be just as effective against Rogan.

    3. DonCoyote

      Rolling Stone wrote about MeidasTouch a few years back (and I want to say NC or WC had it linked):

      The Trouble With MeidasTouch
      The brothers behind the breakout anti-Trump PAC are the golden boys of the #Resistance, but when ‘Rolling Stone’ took a look beneath the surface, their response turned Trumpian

      Of course, people with rice bowls to protect (democratic consultants and their ilk) don’t like interlopers. But their antipathy to RS for doing the story as well as some of their shady connections to Adam Parkhomenko seem to put them pretty squarely in the “grifters gotta grift” category, at least IMO

  1. The Rev Kev

    “Great balls of fire: A monk named Gervase saw ball lightning way back in 1195”

    An interesting article but I am nagged by something from when I was a kid and that was that people who reported seeing ball lightning back then were assigned by scientists as being the same as those that claim to have seen UFOs. There were centuries of reports which you can read upon with Wikipedia but ball lightning was not a respectable subject. So what changed?

    One funeral at a time, one funeral at a time…

    1. Grebo

      Ball lightning never attracted the …imaginative… following that UFOs did, and it was clearly a natural phenomenon, so the scientific scoffing never got so entrenched. In 1994 sprites were photographed. Then in 2014 Chinese scientists caught some ball lighting on high speed video and, even more usefully, on spectrograph.

    2. HotFlash

      Charles Steinmetz was fascinated by ball lightening, but it’s hard to find in the wild, and it happens very fast. The professor had a cabin in the Adirondacks (? on the Hudson?) and one summer ball lightening struck a neighbours’ cabin. The ball crashed through the screen door, danced across the floor, and exploded on a mirror, obligingly frying a pattern into the silver coating. The delighted Steinmetz photographed the floor and bore away the mirror and the screen door. Wonder if GE was able to make any money on it?

  2. DJG, Reality Czar

    On the falling of vaccine mandates.

    I am fascinated by the sudden deep interest in bodily autonomy and bodily integrity throughout the United States. I guess that the “revolt” against vaccine mandates will also lead to:

    –voluntary vaccines against tetanus, measles, mumps, and other “childhood” diseases. Let’s bring back the good ole days.
    –greater availability of birth control. Oh, maybe not. Unlike getting Covid, sex is icky.
    –greater access to abortion for women who choose to have an abortion. Oh, not if we interpret bodily integrity as Every Sperm Is Sacred.
    –advocacy of the elimination of any remaining barnacles of laws on the books that forbid sexual acts between consenting adults. Heaven forfend. Covid is more fun!

    I’m getting a whiff of hypocrisy about a lot of “activism” around Covid.

    I won’t even bring up how much moral commitment it would take to go for elimination of the virus–how the collective (if it even exists after being whacked by Thatcher) would sacrifice for the sake of all.

    The problem is that elimination of the virus is by far the best ethical decision to hold to.

    1. lordkoos

      This weekend I was surprised and shocked to read in the local paper that our small-town hospital (serving a population of around 40,000) is closing its COVID clinic — they are really saying that this is over. A clinic that was adjacent to (but physically separate from) the hospital had been remade into a COVID testing center but now that it’s gone, people will have to buy tests out of pocket or order the ones from the gubmint (I ordered mine over a week ago, still haven’t seen them). The push to normalize is on… until the next wave.

      1. Juneau

        Reading the long haul and post covid blogs on facebooks and twitter, this is a trend in the UK as well and profoundly devastating for the chronically ill. The push to normalize=gaslighting the public. I fear for the long covid patients with no resources, there is a real sense of desperation coming from those people if you read their posts. Suicidal ideation is not uncommon.

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      “I’m getting a whiff of hypocrisy about a lot of “activism” around Covid.

      I won’t even bring up how much moral commitment it would take to go for elimination of the virus–how the collective (if it even exists after being whacked by Thatcher) would sacrifice for the sake of all. The problem is that elimination of the virus is by far the best ethical decision to hold to.”

      Oh, yes. Hypocrisy is a kind word to describe “true Christians” contempt for public mindedness and real patriotism. I.e. the lengthy American Conservative article about military officer anti-vax extremists. The writer never, ever spoke of vaccination in context with its efficacy in reducing the spread of death and debilitating illness to other, weaker members of our society. Instead, she crafted a saccharine hagiography about the virtue of warriors…. who care more about fetal cells than the weakest living people among their fellow Americans. (I can pretty much guarantee they disdain masks with just as much vigor as vaccines. Flashy egotists are pretty consistent that way, and masks are such visible signs of tribal identity. Few will forgo the opportunity to virtue signal by refusing to wear them).

      Likewise with the very Christian rush to crowd fund anti-vax activity in Canada, and the immediate, histrionic grandstanding of Republicans in defense of their sovereign right to do so. Capitalism and national borders be damned.

      These immaculate, elite right wingers are identical to the PMC in their hauteur, and equally damaging to us all.

      1. tegnost

        Likewise with the very Christian rush to crowd fund anti-vax activity in Canada

        Isn’t it anti mandate activity?

    3. Gumnut

      You seem to suggest that mandates would help virus elimination? Denmark & Portugal (84& 98% vaxxed) beg to differ.

      Bodily autonomy vs. PharmaIndustrialComplex is not a question of collective sacrifice..oh, hang on, might be after all…

    4. Geof

      A two-tier society with internal passports to control who can do what is not how I want to live. So if bodily autonomy is not an issue, please: physically restrain the unvaxxed and inject them with the vaccine. Don’t want to do that? Not even to save society from covid and end the conflict with the unvaccinated? You would rather exclude people, so that they suffer unseen and unheard? Then maybe they aren’t the only hypocrites.

    5. Yves Smith

      The vaccines are not sterilizing. They will not stop spread.

      We have published the results of a well done, peer reviewed study that found ZERO correlation between vaccination levels and Covid case counts, pre Omicron. Current vaccines only had some impact on the spread of wild type, little to none on subsequent variants.

      Booster shots lose their efficacy at about 10 weeks. The European Medicines authority has said multiple booster shots a year isn’t viable and runs the risk of damaging the immune system.

      And I’m not taking any more of the damned current vaccines. I am having to have a D&C to stop heavy periods (to the degree that I am becoming anemic, clearly vaccine induced at age 64, even my NYC doctors have put that in my records) that high doses of progesterone won’t stop. And that D&C may not do the trick either.

      1. The Historian

        Periods at age 64 and heavy ones too! What a total B*tch! I hope the D&C works. I’m not taking the next booster either. I have been getting cold sores routinely (I haven’t had cold sores since I was a child!) after the last booster, which may be a sign that my immune system is exhausted.

      2. Anonymous

        ”And I’m not taking any more of the damned current vaccines.”
        Is Novavax on your no-go list too, or just the 3 currently available? Im sorry you are having that side effect that sounds pretty rough

  3. Sam Adams

    RE: How ‘super-enzymes’ that eat plastics could curb our waste problem
    I keep seeing scenes of The Andromeda Strain playing in my head.

    1. anon y'mouse

      people that have medical implants will have to be embubbled.

      plus, what kinds of substances will the plastics be broken down to, and what subsequent problems will they cause?

    1. BeliTsari

      Kinda goes with The Hill’s Rochelle & Anthony now sneering a “forgetaboutit” punchline to Let ‘er RIP? Living with re-re-reinfection “co-morbidities” auto-immune inflammatory damage, as PASC becomes psychosomatic, malingering by uppity essentials gets like BLM (riots,) AGW (sabotage,) rank & file walk-out (looting) or mass protest (insurrection). ALL they’ve learned was obfuscatory cherry-picked & blatantly lying with BS statistics was BAD, when TX or FL hid COVID’s excess fatalities (behind ALEC’s private equity indemnifying budget poison pills, Cuomo used to disappear tens-of-thousands of terrified victims casually infected, counted as stroke, cardiac arrest, kidney failure, pneumonia… Now, it’s kids debilitated by autoimmune organ damage, weeks or months after a negative PCR? How will chronically PASC parents, 1099’d out of health insurance, pay for “living with” mutant strains?

  4. HawHaw

    That British statistician is a ripe idiot, not only for getting Covid wrong but for his claims that it saved 100 young people. Is he so dense that he can’t imagine the long term problems and future deaths from Covid for young people? What happens to young people when they get Covid 2, 3, or more times?

    1. The Rev Kev

      Agreed. He is still not understanding the effects of long-covid, especially for kids, and by now there is already enough data for a statistician like himself to work with. This article was a puff-piece to make him seem lovable but incompetent is more like it, especially if the UK government was listening to him to make their decisions.

    2. R

      Spiegelhalter is very much not an idiot. He very quickly revised his priors, like a good statistician who just got a sharp lesson is respiratory infections.

      And his point is that *lockdown*, not coronavirus, saved young lives by suppressing Rumspringer type behaviour in favour of a more mature Amishness for the lot of us. So no drink driving deaths, pub fights etc.

  5. Pat

    The only pleasant thing about Larry Summers opining again is that social media can rip him a new one. Responses as far as I got were approximately 60% you’re always wrong many with examples, 25% you and your close friend Jeffrey Epstein, 10% defense of MMT, 3% agreement. There were some odd negative byways and a couple of help me out what is MMT posts as well.

    Considering how often I read comments and come away more worried than I was reading the originals this indication that Summers has finally passed his sell by date and not eating his dog food was deeply cheering.

    1. griffen

      He earns all of it, Summers being ripped I mean. Can not stand that individual. And the link to the Time magazine cover, I remember that scenario quite well. 1998 was a financial calamity, and began spreading into markets like the Russian ruble. Most famously, a hedge fund that was levered to the hilt was at the nexus of all the best econometric models going wrong at once.

      When Genius Failed is a great retelling of that hedge fund’s calamity.

    2. ProNewerDeal

      Larry Summers, explemification of the terms smugnorant, Failing Upwards, & Dunning-Kruger effect

    3. Amfortas the hippie

      “Considering how often I read comments and come away more worried than I was reading the originals…”

      i do that, too…i never comment, but i read them to get a glimpse into the zeitgeist of a given readership…how that particular hivemind perceives things.
      wapo/nyt really are in a different universe than faux/wsj…which are in turn in different realms than gateway pundit…or alternet.
      and the almost official trolls at various sites are instructive, as well…providing an opportunity for declarations of faith, and other virtue signalling exercises, to the true believers…and reinforcement of the doctrine.
      and all the various and contradictory shibboleths…things considered as Read/True…
      very enlightening to a feral anthropologist.

    4. Ignacio

      I did exactly the same: take a look at the replies. I had the impression of Summers being ‘Grandpa always with his old manias’. Tweeter doesn’t look in any case a good place for polite discussion but simple opinion exchange.

      1. lordkoos

        There is a lot of useful information on twitter if you pick through the dross and avoid arguments. I especially appreciate the links to physicians’ posts here on NC. I follow a lot of far left types (mostly younger, self-declared socialists) and try to ignore or unfollow people who descend into the endless internecine squables.

  6. disc_writes

    Re: Is Old Music Killing New Music?

    I was buying second-hand CDs yesterday and wondering the same thing. Is the reason I only listen to old music that I am getting old and am out of the loop, or is new music generally less interesting than music from the 1960s-1990s?

    I saw young teenagers (13-15) listening to The Offspring at a skate ramp. Really? Where are the cool bands of today? Children, you are supposed to be revolting against your parents’ generation (mine), not imitate it!

    Is it Youtube’s fault? Is it the fault of reality TV? Is it because of how we (do not) educate children? Is it because corporations will not allow innovative stuff to come on the market? Is it that we have access to so much information, including music, for any of it to matter?

    1. Samuel Conner

      How many ways are there of constructing musical forms that can activate the human neural reward system?

      Maybe it’s a case of ‘first mover advantage’, and most of the potentially interesting forms have already been developed.

      Perhaps that in combination with IP law.

        1. Katy

          Someone already has! Watch Rick Beato’s YouTube channel. He has a series called “What Makes This Song Great” with over 100 episodes. He is a musician, former music producer, and music theory professor. He knows everything about popular music.

          Nicholas Taleb also points out in one of his books that survivorship bias predicts this. There are many, many more old songs than new songs. Only the top of the top songs from the past decades are remembered. Statistically, we should expect the number of good old songs to be larger than the number of good new songs.

          1. Eustachedesaintpierre

            Rick also believes auto tune is a problem which did explain to me why when I have been unfortunate enough to hear a snatch of something recent, I got the impression that a robot was the vocalist. He also blames the industry which if I am correct was due to Clinton doing the same with it as he did with the press, in an allowance of gobbling up the small guys sort of a way.

            1. anon y'mouse

              i call AutoTune “music made by and for computers”.

              and yes, i generally can hear it.

              the problem now is that people are singing deliberately in that style and actually trying to imitate it!

              insert Edvard Munch’s The Scream.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        This is a explanation relative to instruments and ip problems, but I remember a study done on something like Billboard’s top 40. Declines in diversity matched industry consolidation. It’s like how every movie is the same Marvel movie. Introducing country and rap to their source created a short term diversity, but even those categories swiftly degenerated to the same as rock and pop.

        Music is shaped to meet a return on investment. If Taylor Swift had not come along, Miley Cyrus wold have been the mainstream country pop into pop person. Except for Swift being better (she’s not terrible), they would be the same. Anyone off the main line won’t break out, regardless of talent. The DJs who would support them were wiped out or became VJs on MTV.

        Weird Al for example (I know, he’s great) would send his stuff into Dr Demento. That just doesn’t happen and hasn’t happened long before Spotify and pod casts became huge.

        1. Chris

          I disagree about declines in diversity. I listen to both old and new music in a variety of genres, and I see a great deal of diversity, including new takes on old styles. I should acknowledge that I’m not including pop chart-topping music in my observation here. I think it’s also matter of one’s willingness to explore and really listen. As a side note, I nostalgically recall the times when a new album (vinyl) by a favorite artist would come out and my friends and I would pore over the artwork, read the lyrics, and listen closely to the music, and afterwards we would engage extended discussion.

      2. Amfortas the hippie

        i listen to everything from bach to arvo part to pre-1999 jazz to carter family to well…you get the picture…i’m pretty diverse in my musical favorite is 70’s rock…likely due to when i came up.
        rap and hiphop are the only genre that don’t really move me…although i’ll jam Public Enemy or Tupac to make a point/keep my boys on their toes.
        i loathe corporate music..taking a perceived formula for “good music”, developed in the wild, and expropriating it and churning out pablum(mickey mouse club pipeline to mediocrity…or GAC(“gack” on the farm))
        boys, as a result, also have wide musical tastes…youngest likes rap…but the more edgy kind.
        eldest likes the sort of newish, independent country…”Texas” or “Red Dirt” and the like.
        but they both have leon redbone, the Beatles and django in their playlists.
        last few years, they’ve grown fond of 80’s bands, new agers, and more corporate weak tea pop.
        this is “oldies”, to them, of course.
        which i reckon is perfectly natural.

        as for the dearth of new cool music…it’s out there…but you have to hunt for it.
        youtube, bandcamp, KEXP, and all the various and sundry music festivals that have sprung up in the interstices of corpse domination….this marketing model flowing from the innovations of Phish and Dave Matthews and even the Juggalos…making their $ on a sort of subscription model and concerts..while encouraging what amounts to bootlegs to spread the word.
        of course, the radio/sirius are devoid of such new cool music…clinging to the old ascap/bmi model, and fighting, still, tooth and nail, the piracy that has become the norm.
        it’s a continual cat and mouse game, between centralised, hydraulic despotism, and wild and free expression.

        my music library consists of many GB of pyratid music on a flash drive…so i don’t have to be nickle and dimed and still listen to commercials on one of the platforms.
        also put all the cd’s i collected on there.
        i’ll load up 10 hours of myriad things and that’s what plays in the trees while i float around and do my thing.
        (geese respond to art pepper and john coltrane, altho i can’t tell if it bothers them or they like it—i do know that they don’t like Sun Ra or Ornette Coleman)

        1. John Zelnicker

          Amfortas – “my favorite is 70’s rock…likely due to when i came up.

          I have long theorized that most people’s favorite music is a combination of the genres their parents liked and exposed them to and the major genres of their teens and early 20’s. It’s the time when growing up that we are the most impressionable and open to new things.

          I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s so, of course, my favorites are good ole rock & roll from the Grateful Dead to CCR to The Band, etc. My parents exposed me to the old labor songs and folk music from Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, et al., as well as the jazz and blues greats of the 30’s to 50’s.

          In my pre-teens I fell asleep listening to AM radio with new artists like Elvis and Buddy Holly.

          1. Wukchumni

            I was at a public campfire in Sequoia NP with my family one fine night after the music had died earlier that day.

            When I was 15, Elvis was definitely not cool but better than disco, a low bar to entry. I could care less, but have since relented in my appreciation of the king, except for those 47 cheesy films he made, that is.

            All around me were 30-40 year olds bawling their eyes out, while my early 50’s parents wondered what the fuss was all about.

            We are all prisoners of our time…

            1. Eric F

              Yeah, same here re:Elvis.

              But then I saw some of the old movies.
              Something happened to him in the army.
              Look at the video from before 1960.
              King Creole is a real movie, and when I saw it I finally understood why Elvis was a big deal.

          2. Tom Bradford

            I have long theorized that most people’s favorite music is a combination of the genres their parents liked and exposed them to and the major genres of their teens and early 20’s. It’s the time when growing up that we are the most impressionable and open to new things.

            Sorry, but now I am 60 I listen to Mahler, Vivaldi, Bach, Barber, Goreki, Glass &tc. ad infinitum. I think my parents might perhaps have heard of Bach but didn’t listen to him and in my teens it was all Beatles and Rolling Stones. For me the waters broke in my early 20’s when a bird I was trying to impress took me to a concert of Mahler’s 1st Symphony. I went prepared to endure an hour’s tedium as the price for getting into her knickers, but it was a revelation.

            I think we are always impressionable and open to new things. What’s too often lacking is the willingness to try new things.

                1. LawnDart

                  I’m sad to hear that– sorry Amfortas.

                  You’re a good man, and she’s lucky to have you at her side– stay strong.

                2. The Rev Kev

                  Oh God. Just now read this. I am so sorry to hear this. I really don’t know what to say except to stay strong.

                3. Rodeo Clownfish

                  Very sad news. I’m so sorry. Will hope for her recovery and all the time you can have together.

                4. Michael Fiorillo

                  Blessings on you both.

                  I lost my beautiful wife to a statistically freakish cancer, and it was like having my heart torn from my body. It’s all so unfathomable, the fear, the yearning, the loss, the love amidst it all…

                5. Swamp Yankee

                  I’m so deeply saddened and sorry to hear this, Amfortas. Thinking of you all at this extremely difficult hour.

                6. Bazarov

                  So very, very sorry, Amfortas. I lost two grandparents to cancer and now my uncle is suffering terribly from it. It’s an awful disease. My heart goes out to you, your wife, and the rest of your family.

                7. Return of the Bride of Joe Biden

                  Dear Amfortas,

                  I don’t have friends, but if I did, I would want you to be my friend and so I wish there was something I could do. What a ridiculous notion.

                  So, all I can do is write a meaningless comment on the internet. I wish you and your wife any peace and rest you can find.

                8. Parker Dooley

                  Usually delighted to read your posts, but so sorry to read this one. My best wishes and deepest condolences.

                  1. sporble

                    Although I’ve never met you, I feel like I know you, at least a bit, since I’ve read so many of your insightful, amusing and biting comments over the years.

                    I’m wishing you and your whole family the openest of hearts – and as little suffering as possible.

                9. Bob Tetrault

                  My friend, I remember the initial news of cancer some years back.
                  I’m so sorry.
                  Tom Waits too heavy but appropriate.
                  With you in grief

                10. sgr2

                  Got to this blog entry of yours a day late, so you will probably not see my post, but wanted to let you know that my thoughts are with you at this difficult time. Please know that the you have the love and support of all of your friends here at NC, through this difficult time. Stay strong Amfortas. You have led an incredible life thus far, and this episode is just one more bump in the road.

                11. eg

                  Oh dear — it got my father and two of my best friends at work. Hopefully you and the boys can lean on one another and be strong for her.

        2. lyman alpha blob

          Here’s my recent favorite new cool music that might appeal to old farts who enjoyed some of the heavier 60s-70s psychedelia – Sergeant Thunderhoof!

          1. ChiGal

            it’s serviceable but not really an improvement on other stuff I already have more of than I have time to listen to. Nice for the band and anyone who can see them live (or could, in the beforetimes*) but that’s about it.

            *what I miss the most: live music

      3. Sailor Bud

        Careful with this thinking. Had Chopin lived another twenty years, we would have had twenty years more Chopin, and all the variety it indicates for pianophiles.

        I reject the idea, should anyone suggest it, that what he would’ve composed in those hypothetical twenty has since been written by someone else. I reject it because of what he did write, and my personal journey playing it all my life. Sure, maybe a melody or fragment of one, etc…but not the whole thing for any single piece.

        And that’s just Chopin. There’s tons more stuff waiting in those twelve tones, however they’re combined. Some years back there was an article that some computer had “discovered every possible melody,” and my instant reaction was “BS,” because it was. A melody isn’t just notes, but rhythmic combinations, and they happen to be infinitely combinable, which wasn’t accounted for in the program parameters at all. And then there’s harmony….

        Personally, the change I want to see: more education about how it all works. There are millions of musicians of decades’ experience who still don’t know that we don’t compose, for example, in the innocent-sounding keys of G#, D#, A#, Gb minor, or Db minor, though we can use them modulatorily in the middle of a piece, etc. They don’t know because they were never told.

        Chord functions, international scales, chromatic deformation of scale complexes, texture, form, etc…all should be the musical vegetables and lapped up like our A-B-Cs. Instead, we languish in the hellscape of an education problem stretching back to the 19th c. for most students and methods.

        1. Amfortas the hippie

          yes to different choromatic scales, weird(to us) rhythm structures…especially the ones(like in certain african folk music(as in, played by folks, often communally)) that change on weird contuui…we haven’t even scratched the surface of what’s possible, musically.
          it’ll take decades for this newfangled access to all of human musicality to sink in, ferment, and bloom forth something we could all of us agree was radical(of the root).
          prior to internet, all that strange foreign music ha to be actively sought afeter…and even then, it was hard.
          …and that’s growing up in a far exurb of Houston…international city, if ever their was one.
          now, i’m discovering all manner of high weirdness(to me)….and it further stresses just how like a rainforest we are, as a species.
          I dig Nusri Ali Khan, Huun Hur Tu, and a bunch of folks whos names are so exotic to me that i have to look at them to remember them.
          i carry the music around with me, though.
          Islamic women in the hospital hallway, looking at me, aghast, as i walk by whistling Masta, Mast.
          The Ferment is what’s important.

        2. juno mas

          As a fellow pianist on the Jazz side I very much agree that there are infinite combinations of Rhythm (beat), Melody (diatonic/chromatic scales), and Harmony (creating a sound of tension/settlement/motion/melancholy, etc.). But popular music (for the most part) does not use all of these elements and are not part of the general populations knowledge. (How many people know that a minor chord (created by flatting the 3rd interval) is what creates, in western music (Chopin) softer, somber sound?)

          Western music has been advancing since the Octal voicing of the Middle Ages into the Pentatonic scales of later years, then into the Diatonic/Chromatic music of the Baroque (early Classical). It was J.S. Bach who with his treatise on well-tempered tuning of the Clavier (instrument) in 1699 that led to the invention of the piano in ~ 1723. This progression is what allowed Chopin to develop his singularly virtuosic piano compositions.

          And this progression in both instruments and music theory has led to transition/advances in Folk, Rock, Jazz, and Classical. Unfortunately, technology now allows entertainers with modest musical ability to be promoted to a celebrity that Chopin could only dream about.

          1. Sailor Bud

            Yeah, totally. It’s basically what I was arguing for at the end. This world needs an artistic renaissance so badly amidst the constant barrage of cruelty and cultural abrasiveness.

            Hilariously, that may mean playing with cliches and not caring so much. I’m a jazzer too, and as you know, there are just idioms we have to learn that constitute “the modern style,” which includes quartal harmony, reharms, all manner of color tones, upper & lower neighbor tones in our lines, playing like Bud, Bill, Herbie, McCoy, Gonzalo, and on and on and on. That’s cliche, but it’s sure nice, all the time, and it still contains our improvising and creations inside the idiomatic stuff.

            Writing is the same. I think people should engage more historical fiction, to drench ourselves a bit in some of the better things about the slow agrarian-mechanical past and their arts, and the mindset of the crafty genius, with the wonder of a world that was once huge and unknown and is now just a little marble of tech and Borg-like absorption by our disgusting species.

            I have made the argument here before that the artist as celeb has been largely smothered and gated in the 21st. I can’t even name a household-name meedly meedly guitar soloist who got famous this century (and not a day before). I can name a lot more famous villains now than I used to be able to, though.

    2. Pat

      I think it is the disappearance of radio. There is a vacuum of music delivery where the end user does not curate their own playlists. When I was young, when you traveled or weren’t home you listened to radio. If you were lucky, you could switch between multiple stations, but others were deciding what was played and going around the dial could expose you to new types of music as well. If you tell Pandora and Spotify that you like Taylor Swift how are ever going to stumble on Coltrane, etc etc.
      I know there are people who actively gather new music, but they are the exceptions not the rule.

      And that doesn’t even think about the broken financial structure of music streaming.

      1. bwilli123

        Siloing is the one of the great community problems of our time. We no longer have the limited TV viewing, or listening options of the past that enlarged the cultural commons.

        The ad linked below, from 1982 was first broadcast on Australian TV on a Sunday night. I was then working as a barman. The following day everyone in the pub (and probably pubs across Australia) was talking about the girl in the Tab ad; the first appearance of Elle McPherson.

        1. griffen

          Many good things derive from the Land Down Under. She had a turn in a cameo role on Friends, portraying a short term roomie of Joey’s.

      2. jackiebass63

        I remember before TV when radio was the main form of entertainment.Where I liver in a rural are of northern PA at night you got the best reception. Most of the stations were AM. There was all kinds of entertainment not just music. Families would gather around the radio to listen to their favorite programs. Most households had only one radio.Things like listening to the radio helped facilitate more close nit families. I often think we were much better off without all of the material things we think we now need.

          1. Pat

            When I was very young growing up in the southwest, NM and Colorado, at night you were able to get KOMA out of Oklahoma City. It was my early introduction to rock and roll. It was a couple of years before local stations grudgingly began playing rock light. Rock was mainstream in Albuquerque by the time I became a teen, but that I attribute some of that to that weird ability of radio signals to travel farther at night and to bounce even farther then the increased power should allow.

            1. newcatty

              Pat , KOMA was a life saver. In tiny town AZ, I slipped out to the car late at night. My intro to rock, too. Funnily, sometime later our tiny local radio got in the groove and for a half an hour on week days played light rock and pop. Freshman year in state college and a wonderful new world.

              1. Ted

                I was under 10 years old living in FairPlay Colorado in the late 1950’s and the only radio station I could get at night was KOMA out of Oklahoma City and they would play El Paso by Marty Robbins, the signal would fade in and out. A good memory .

          2. ambrit

            Oh yes. The halcyon days of steam powered crystal sets! (I actually built one, crystal set that is. It worked!)

            1. foghorn longhorn

              uilt a Heathkit radio my sophomore year.
              Was able to pick up KOA radio out of Denver, at night, in far SE NM.
              Thought that quite exotic at the time, 1974.

                1. lordkoos

                  I used to listen to Wolfman on XERB, way up north in WA state I could pick the station up at night. He played some great music.

              1. Amfortas the hippie

                my dad gave me his old shortwave when i was a tween(didn’t predict that i’d glom on to Granma,lol)
                so i discovered “world music”…from venezuelan music(and the rest of south of the border) to weird african things, to all that central asian stan country music that the soviets put out in answer to VOA.
                that exoticism has definitely stayed with me.

              2. Val

                My Heathkit radio introduced me to the Midnight Funk Association. If you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot.

        1. sd

          College radio stations were where we discovered new artists when I was in high school.

          Seems harder to stumble on to new music today.

        2. BeliTsari

          In the Poconos, we’d bought those Boston Acoustics “Koss” cellphone technology retro radios (purportedly, for our folks) to listen to Felix Hernandez Rhythm Revue & Igor Kipnis (as well as the best Baroque college radio in Morgantown & “Porky” Chedwick & Terry Lee, down Pittsburgh). Just watched “Paper Moon” for the 796th time and Stan Freeburg was absolutely right about stuff you can’t do with TV. Radio was a SHARED family ritual?

          Maybe, it was the glowing plasma-state tubes?

      3. Wukchumni

        Very good points, Pat. The randomness of radio allowed for outsiders to get noticed once upon a time and we were the most captive of audiences, hooked on a catchy beat and clever lyrics, whadya got?

        I invested in 33 & 1/3 ‘on demand notes’ and much the same as everybody else, cassettes and CD’s, the latter with the highest rate of return compared to the others, which got scratched or sometimes tragically got jammed-making a dog’s breakfast of that thin thread of tape.

        Nobody bought an album to keep brand new in the cellophane-never opened, so as to be able to sell it on eBay 38 years later, it was all about playing it over and over again so as to know all the songs aside from the few hits invariably each effort by a band or solo performer yielded, and got airplay.

        Was I lucky to be born into an age where our troubadours were the impressionist painters of our time who bloomed briefly and brightly by word of ear?

        I think of all the music to choose from when I was a teenager, everything from Donny & Marie to the heaviest metal and a cornucopia in between. There was something for everybody.

        It’s a running joke in our over the hill ski gang, that every trip we will hear CCR being piped on the speakers on the lower slopes, seems to be a given.

      4. Carolinian

        Right about the radio and I think music was simply more important to people back then and not just pop. Orchestras these days are often struggling and very few classical artists now achieve the universal recognition once held by figures like Leonard Bernstein. Perhaps we’ve become less aural and more visual. Watching the Olympics–and I think the coverage is good–I’m struck by the wall to wall eye candy of the televisuals. The 20th c had radio–the 21st screens.

        1. Heidi’s Walker

          There are many reasons why radio helped new music flourish. Radio stations were independently owned. Each station had its own list of top songs. DJs played whatever they deemed their audiences liked. Local bands first tried to get their music played on their local station. Local band’s fans would call the station to request their favorite band’s songs… And then the best songs would spread virally.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            yes, re: independently owned.
            in college, i was the dj at the college radio station…and volunteered for the early sunday morning slot.
            they had a newfangled CD player that everyone else used…but they also had this huge library of vinyl from the 70’s…all this wonderfully obscure 70’s rock and folk and jazz and assorted weirdness.
            so i played all that, to the consternation of all but the coolest of the radio profs.
            i got away with it b/c it was a small town, and nobody was listening at that time any way.
            balancing a penny, dime or nickle as needed on the needle arm to get through the inevitable scratches.

    3. Noone from Nowheresville

      You gotta keep ’em separated.

      Seems liked the world has come full circle. When that song came out, I lived in Murderapolis and thought nothing of it, probably because I didn’t really pay attention to the news and also thought I was invincible. Looking at the news, it feels like a full circle with only slightly different players taking on different roles and widespread randomness of crimes (not just the official ones law enforcement tags).

      Heeeeyyyy, Come Out and Play

      On another note, I wonder if Henley’s All She Wants to Do is Dance and Dirty Laundry protest songs of a sort will come back in vogue.

      On a different note, I think Billie Eilish tackles some heavy topics but it’s not really skateboarding music.

      eta: Songs like Come Out and Play, Killing in the Name, etc. really feel topical right now. Or maybe timeless is the better word.

    4. bassmule

      An important part of the story has been left out:

      For the last 10-15 years, there were a handful of producers who all worked the same formula. Here is an excerpt from The Song Machine, a story that appeared in The New Yorker in March 2012:

      “A relatively small number of producers and top-liners create a disproportionately large share of contemporary hits, which may explain why so many of them sound similar. The producers are almost always male: Max Martin, Dr. Luke, David Guetta, Tricky Stewart, the Matrix, Timbaland, the Neptunes, Stargate. The top-liners are often, although not always, women: Makeba Riddick, Bonnie McKee, and Skylar Grey are among Dean’s peers. The producer runs the session and serves as creative director of the song, but the top-liner supplies the crucial spark that will determine whether the song is a smash. (When I asked Tricky Stewart to define “smash,” he said, “A hit is just a hit; a smash is a life changer.”) As Eric Beall, an A. & R. executive with Shapiro, Bernstein & Co., a music publisher, puts it, “The top-line writer is the one who has to face a blank page.” Stargate works with about twenty top-liners a year, and creates some eighty demos. These are sent out to A. & R. departments at record labels, to artists’ managers, and, finally, to the artists, for approval. Around twenty-five of Stargate’s songs end up on records each year.”

      Is it any wonder that after a while it all sounds the same?

    5. Louis Fyne

      in totality music post-2010 objectively stinks (pop, hip-hop, county, dance, even TV-film scores). Music has become a hodge-podge of aural tropes.

      death of 1,000 cuts of cultural nihilism: from risk-adverse music creators, unimaginative producers, and a risk-adverse audience that won’t listen to music outside of a “musical Overton window”

      1. The Rev Kev

        Agreed. It all comes down to music that lasts and the Beatles are one such group. I was in a bar in Greece once in the 80s when a group of Brits came into the place. One said there’s no Beatles music playing here and so all turned around and left. In my own music collection I have works from the Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Baroque, Bon Jovi, Pink Floyd, John Williams, CCR, Carpenters ( a guilty secret), James Horner, etc. but none from the past decade or two.

        To be honest, I have wondered from time to time how many recent songs will be worthy of playing on hits from the past on the radio in only a decade or two on the radio. Not that many I suspect. Once I was in an elevator and the tune playing seemed familiar and then the penny dropped – it was “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” How many tracks from the past two decades will be worth turning into elevator music? Again, not many I suspect.

        1. griffen

          I am making initial plans to possibly see the Eagles on their now launched or very soon 2022 concert tour. I’ve adapted my taste for their music, given how ubiquitous it was played in older brothers vehicles (Dodge Dart fans, mid 70s make).

          I figure it’s my one chance to see them, and pricing thus far is not egregious. Just before the pandemic took hold, their 2020 tour was pushing $200 per, and for this tour the cheap seats are < $150.

          And yes, I know it's the Eagles. I figure I now missed the window to see Fleetwood Mac with the excellent Buckingham on guitar and vocals.

          1. ambrit

            Great Googly Moogly! I can remember when concerts at The Warehouse in New Orleans were Ten or Twelve dollars, for name bands like The Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers, etc.
            Musical concerts are a case where prices have outstripped inflation. [Realistically, all prices outstrip “official” inflation.]

            1. griffen

              I’ve got my reasons, but otherwise yes parting with that amount of funds is not a hasty decision. I saw their performance from their 2018 or 2019 tour taped live from either the Forum or the Staples Center. I enjoy the band, Deacon is a reasonable substitute for his dad, and Vince Gill is an excellent musician. His rendition of Take it To the Limit was quite good.

              Guitar virtuoso Don Felder is persona non grata. But, Joe Walsh isn’t chopped liver.

            2. Wukchumni

              Saw so many new wave bands @ Madame Wong’s West in the City of Angles in the late 70’s early 80’s, and i’m not sure I paid more than a tenner to get in.

            3. Jonathan Holland Becnel

              Saw Elton John a few weeks ago in Nola. We ate some mushrooms. It was like listening to the radio but LIVE!

              Before that in October, I went to go see The Revivalists, which are a very good newish band from New Orleans.

              Great shows, both of em.

              Exhilarating being around all those people again for the first time in almost 2 years!

              That being said, Nola gave Elton the Rona and he had to cancel his next show! I haven’t seen something like that since Ozzy hurt his leg at the Merry Fn Xmas tour almost 20 years ago and canceled the next 2 weeks of shows!

          2. Amfortas the hippie

            ja. i saw Fleetwood in late 80’s at the Summit in houston(now, joel osteens “church”/moneylaundery)
            buckingham was pretty awesome…and i was, at the time, something of a regional guitar badass myself, so that was my lens.
            due to my lifelong aversion to parking garages, we had parked down the road a bit(theft proof beater), and after the show, walking down the sidewalk behind the place, Stevie Frelling Nix steps out and bums a smoke.

      2. Kengferno

        Completely agree. As a vaguely semi-pro musician and someone who needs to be up on music for my job, I’m constantly on the search for new music and it’s VERY hard to track stuff down.

        For those interested, here’s a Spotify Playlist that’s new rock material. I’m from Detroit and grew up on AOR rock radio, love punk and new wave and also college rock from the 90s so I have a very wide net. Disturbingly, it includes stuff from the last 15 years. So ‘new’ is a subjective term.

      3. Soredemos


        Yeah, okay.

        I think music as a whole is doing just fine. It’s just that the distribution channels are vastly more disbursed now than in the past. Whatever you’re into, I’m sure you can find good examples of it buried deep in Bandcamp or similar.

        In fact I’ll even say that genuinely good, even great, music still makes the charts and gets radio play, alongside all the vapid dreck.

        It’s true some genres are effectively dead in the English speaking world, like hard rock, but they live on in other countries.

    6. Chromex

      This has been going on for some time. Back in the day, I went to my friends dorm rooms on campus @ 1969-70 and heard the usual.. Hendrix, Joplin, Moby Grape, CSN,Santana- and jazz fusion at the more sedate dorms. During my life as working father in the mid nineties, I assisted a friend who was picking up his son at a large midwestern University. Entering the halls of the dorm I heard… Hendrix, Joplin, CSN….
      At that time I had a strange feeling and thought to myself.. you know I never heard Benny Goodman or the 4 Lads when I was in those late sixties and early seventies dorms.
      There is a lot of good new music. As a general rule, such music has not been monetized ( which imo is what happened to “pop” music ) and you have to wade through a sea of mud to find it but it is out there. The playing environment has also changed. The monetization of music has resulted in an overdose of plastic simulation of emotion ( also present in the music of yesteryear but not as dominant) and to go to what is promoted as great music these days is generally like eating junk food- still not satisfied and off one goes in search of something that resonates

      1. Amfortas the hippie

        aye! it’s the Rest of the Album that i’ve always preferred.
        B-sides…and many, many albums from the 70’s especially, it just feels wrong to listen to that one song that radiocorps allow…when the whole album is of a piece…and not just “concept albums”(Dark Side of Moon, Ziggy Stardust)…but decidedly non-concept albums(Who’s Next, Moondance).

        my main drummer, through 2-3 different bands, had “No Freebird” painted on the kick drum.
        and it was always a rule at my place:”No Stairway”…due to all those non guitar players mangling it.

          1. Amfortas the hippie

            their live at filmore east is currently #1 on my list.
            not so much now that its frelling cold all the time,lol.

            it perhaps says something about the denizens of east texas beerjoints in far orbit around houston, texas, circa 1988-1993…that i was never once asked to play allman brothers anything.
            that was a big part of who my bands were…that trippy country hippie jam band ethos…
            maybe echoes of the Gilley’s/Urban Cowboy malaise/exhaustion(socially/culturally) of that point in spacetime….they wanted Black Velvet, Dwight Yoakum, and others of the more cry in yer beer sort.
            they liked the most depressingly anodyne blues, too.
            we still drew crowds, though…and i insisted we do what WE wanted, rather than go by the whims of the crowds.

    7. Louis Fyne

      blame income inequality too (seriously)

      less disposable income = conservative buying habits. see mainstream fashion which has gone largely nowhere in 20 years (except for mass casual-ization of dress) versus 1900 – 2000.

      Less disposable income = subscribing to 1 AI-driven music service and/or less buying of music that pushes your envelope

    8. Basil Pesto

      much newly produced music is shite. there’s still plenty of great new music being produced.

      This is pretty much always true of popular music. There’s really no need to overthink it.

      down with back-in-my-dayizzzzzzm

      1. Laputan

        Except that the old days would introduce an act that had actual talent in the mainstream: Bowie, Springsteen, Young, the Strokes (though I don’t think they exactly deserve to be mentioned in the same company), etc. Now, all mainstream music is bad without exception; all of it bad in the same way – no instrumentation, bastardized, auto-tuned voices, dreadfully vacuous songwriting, And, what’s worse, it’s crept into and infected the subculture. The headlining acts for major music festivals like ACL used to be bands like the Pixies, these days it’s Cardi B.
        There is still good music out there but, with record shops being shuttered and zines and outlets like rolling stone or pitchfork bought out by corporate monoliths, it’s a lot harder to find than it used to be.

      2. Darthbobber

        Much newly produced music has always been shite. The main reason the present always seems worse is that we only remember that music of the past that stood the test of time. And the part of the past output that we liked will always be/have been better than a sample of the present that includes the best, the mediocre, and the dregs.

    9. Widowon

      I attended grad school back in the early 2000’s as a non-traditional, late-Twenty-something– Napster was in the process of being litigated to death and iTunes had just shown up– and I somehow discovered that my design school network computers cached all iTunes downloads on the servers until midnight. Rapturously, I could do a search for *.mp3 or *m4a, etc., and copy all of that day’s downloads. I was introduced to an extraordinary variety of music, and my wife became so concerned that my musical tastes were immaturing that she feared that my newfound love of Belle & Sebastion, et al. suggested that I may have been questioning the foundations of our marriage. It was NOT! But I’ve been a huge fan of Deathcab for Cutie, et al. ever since. There are some great streaming radio stations (, for example) that continue to introduce me to new music, but I also still favor and listen to the old. The “Oldies” used to mean music from the Fifties; I don’t even know what to call all the music from then until now.

      1. Robert Hahl

        One day I decided to demonstrate Napster to a neighbor. I told her pick a song then downloaded and played it. I said to pick another one. It was a Beatles song, probably Sgt. Pepper’s. As it began to play, she started breathing hard. I don’t usually have that effect on women, so I knew online music was going to be big.

    10. griffen

      New music is out there but can be really difficult to find it. I don’t subscribe to a music streaming service but do have SiriusXM on my late model year Honda (or is 2008…still 2000 and late?) Sirius will have devoted channels, and it’s where I have heard recently or fairly newer acts and artists.

      Lord Huron has an interesting sound, but that is one example. I also found Band of Horses (South Carolina based) over the last 5 to 10 years. But counter to these, my CD collection ends with the Black Keys excellent El Camino ( a live act worth catching, love the guitar work and the drummer is excellent!).

      I could not name the newest or latest trend. I am only familiar with the Weeknd based on his performance at the Super Bowl last year. I was in college when Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, STP, AIC et. al. hit big.

          1. Soredemos

            The rhythm guitarist is comparatively mediocre, but she also started from essentially zero under the tutelage of the lead guitarist, because otherwise she had nothing to do on stage (she started as the lead singer, then stepped aside for the current lead because the current one was better for the band, leaving the first girl as essentially a mascot). Off stage she writes most of the lyrics. Her guitar skills have advanced rapidly though.

    11. petal

      A good way to check out new music is to find your local college radio station, or non-profit educational station(yeah, I know they’re rare). There are some that stream, such as WITR (at RIT) and WBER(out of Rochester, NY). Most of the new music these days does suck, though there is some decent stuff. Not nearly like it used to be, though. Things seem to have crapped out after the 90s. The other week, a DJ friend did a show highlighting alternative albums released in 1992 and had enough material for 3 2 hour+ shows, could’ve easily been more. The 90s was such a rich time for music.

      1. jefemt

        I work on the road a lot, and stream to my PC local independent radio.
        Not for news — siloing is strong— but for music. New DJ every three hours, and some of the volunteers are young, passionate, interested and acquisitive. And if you don’t like the show, it’ll end in three hours, and NOT be the ‘loop’ of 40 songs playing nationally on corporate media.
        Here’s two I really recommend:
        KGLT- Bozeman, MT (college affiliate)
        KRFC- Fort Collins, CO (true Independent)

        I am sure there are others… one imagines Nashville, Austin, NYC and Boston must have some!
        I stumbled on a fair number working in CA a few years ago.
        Might be fun to have a list on a side bar on NC home page?

        AI, tracking, selling data and preferences – consequent ever-heightening, ever-narrowing siloing are really a frustrating feature in the modern age.

        1. griffen

          Chapel Hill, NC back in the early to middle 1990s apparently had a great music scene, and quite a few locally owned concert venues. There was also a student radio station, but not sure if it remains in operation. WXYC is the station.

          I think Ben Folds Five, maybe Squirrel Nut Zippers emanated from there, among others. Southern Culture on the Skids had a few really, really interesting tunes.

          1. wol

            UNC’s WXYC is still going, last I checked. SNZ and SCotS originated in CH, later Lost in the Trees. Duke has an indy station. My current tastes are all over the map, Christian Loeffler, Victor Deme, Schubert, and points in between. Lots of Beatles. I stream youtube for mixes, pretty happy with it except for the Google part.

        2. cyclist

          For fans of jazz or New Orleans music I strongly recommend checking out the streams at WWOZ in N.O. For garage/psychedelia/indie rock (it’s not entirely dead), check out the archives at WFMU in NJ for Bill Kelley’s Teenage Wasteland – seems like updates stopped in 2020, but it goes way back with lots of old/new stuff worth a listen.

          1. rowlf

            WFMU was awesome when I could listen to it from 1978 to 1988. A friend also had a show later on, making it even cooler.

            Alan Watts, Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, Church Of The Subgenius, etc. Good Times.

            The Bone Conduction Music Show out of Ypsilanti Michigan was fun too.

      2. Lemmy Caution

        Another great way to find new artists that appeal to your ears is to take advantage of genre playlists available on Youtube.

        For example, a poster named David Dean Burkhart puts up an Indie playlist every month that includes 50 or so artists. I put in on in the background when doing chores and whenever a song comes on that resonates, I add it to my own playlist. Every song is time stamped with the song title and artist’s name, so it’s easy as can be to build your own playlist.

        That’s where I discovered Japanese Breakfast, the aforementioned Lord Huron, Still Corners, Vök, and many, many more.

        Other Youtube sources for great new music are radio stations who host live in-studio performances. KEXP and KUTX feature an amazing range of bands.

      3. MP

        If you browse Stereogum or Brooklyn Vegan you can get a good sense of the new releases; it takes some time to sift through it but if you live in an area with concerts you can piece the two together into a pretty decent tapestry of excellent new music, which has sustained me for a quite a few years now.

    12. dday

      I was chatting with my 13 year old granddaughter about music. I asked her what she was listening to these days. She said, the Beatles. Ok, I said, but what about modern music, Beyonce, or Taylor Swift, for example. She replied, Paul McCartney.

      1. Mildred Montana

        I have two twenty-ish nephews who love Pink Floyd, The Stones, and Dylan. When I ask them about new music—I really want to know, so I can listen to it—I am met by blank looks and much hemming and hawing. They seem passionate only about the old stuff. And above all else, music-lovers are ?????????? about what they like.

        I worry about this apparent ossification of musical taste and sympathize with young musicians trying to make a living in the business. I try—I really try—to listen to new music, but when I do I almost always find it simplistic and formulaic. It is often some diva emoting for a (preferably danceable) three minutes with a little vocal harmony thrown in for variation. No sign that the backing musicians have mastered their instruments. Is this because the instrumentation is all computerized?

        I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me. I’m 70 years old and I am aware that old-age rigidity is a trap, one I’m trying not to fall into. But still, I worry. Have I become so out-of-touch that I can no longer appreciate the new even if it’s good?

        P.S. The author of the article is 64 years old. Perhaps The Atlantic could publish an opinion on the subject by a young musician? That would be interesting and provide some balance.

        1. MP

          I think a big feature of The Atlantic study is that class has become more generational; there is article after article of the industries that millennials “kill” when the nut of it is that millennials generally have lower purchasing power, affecting their purchasing habits. Even younger people in Gen Z, likewise, to a lesser degree with music. Most people cannot afford to buy albums regularly, or attend concerts that run $100 a pop. So you may listen to music on YouTube, or Soundcloud, or Spotify Free or whatever, so your musical habits reflect the class dynamic of greater transience. So I think there’s still a palpable sense that there’s new music; Hip-Hop/Pop generally still dominates with younger people but you are seeing with BTS a trend towards the international market and with the likes of Olivia Rodrigo a swing back towards the rock and roll of the early aughts. But I think the point of the article, that the studios skew their market power to more lucrative acts that usually tend to be older, rings true.

    13. ProNewerDeal

      I like rateyourmusic dot com as a way to find quality music that is underground/not promoted much.

      There’s a site feature where you rate your albums. Then you can generate a list of albums you have not heard, from users with similar taste to yourself.

      I believe much great new music exists, but it takes effort & time to find it. Many people lack leisure time, especially here in Murica.

      1. SteveB

        Little Steven’s Underground Garage plays a bunch of new music and everything from Do-Wop on up to the present… It’s my go to….. all DJ’s are artists themselves some old, some new.. all interesting
        I learn something new everytime I listen

    14. Andrew

      The article spells out pretty clearly that the culprit is financialization. New songs / albums aren’t heavily promoted or expected to make a profit on their own because it’s proven more lucrative to maintain a bulk IP portfolio across market segments to maximize returns for your stakeholders blah blah.

      1. Dr. John Carpenter

        The 80s CD boom showed the labels they could repackage old music at a hefty markup and not make the investment in new talent. Then the pool of major labels got smaller, and less likely to take chances because the stakes were higher. Add to that the consolidation of media, and the complete disappearance of local radio playlists, and the rise of the “independent promoters” aka Payola 2.0 which priced smaller acts out of radio entirely. Then there’s the collapse of mom & pop record stores, followed by the collapse of the big chains and the big box stores paring down their CD sections.

        I could go on. As a musician, one time DJ and record collector I’ve seen in happen in real time. There are plenty of musicians and producers taking chances and making amazing music. There are plenty of listeners ready to hear it. But they’re only being offered music from people old enough to be their great grand parents or corporately approved meteorically. Is it any wonder that’s what people listen to?

    15. Mark Gisleson

      Gioia’s take misses something truly huge. All his charts track who’s paying for music. I would suggest most younger people do not pay for music, getting their tunes from friends, message boards, pirate sites — anywhere you can upload/download music.

      This is why the charts are so ridiculous. Yes, parents and kids with hefty allowances still buy music, and the charts reflect their tastes. But do the charts mention Big Thief, Kami-Sakunobe House Explosion, Nurse With Wound, CSides, Robert Reed, Gasleben & Electric Friends, Magnum, Vörös Istvan, Lady A or Godspeed You! Black Emperor? Because those are the acts topping one of the major pirate charts right now.

      Somewhat amazed at the response to Gioia as on his own Substack I was far from the only person pointing this out. Look to see which concerts sell out. Freddie Mercury and The Beatles aren’t doing much performing these days but there are a lot of new voices who do not sound anything like the techno pop put out by the bald Norwegian songwriters who dominated the 2000s.

      1. Mildred Montana

        >”…most younger people do not pay for music…”
        >”Look to see which concerts sell out.”

        How’s a poor young musician supposed to make money if his cohort isn’t buying? Yes, there’s money in concerts but that’s a tough way to make a living as they don’t scale like music sales.

      2. Big River Bandido

        Gioia’s elite out-of-touchness makes me cringe. Is he completely unaware that the entire music industry suffered a catastrophic collapse 25 years ago, or is that one of the unspoken truths he is not allowed to mention?

        He writes about today’s “hits” without a touch of irony. Probably another truth he cannot tell is that actual record sales today are a pathetic, feeble, frail shadow of what they were in 1993, before the slide commenced. In 1993, a “contemporary jazz”recording artist was expected by their label to move around 100,000 units — this was peanuts compared to the chart categories. The artists playing straight-ahead jazz were only expected to sell 20,000. Today’s “hits” don’t even sell that much.

        If people don’t buy music, not even great artists can make a living at it. By the way: musicians can’t make up that lost income elsewhere because all their other income streams are under similar assault. The entire ecosystem which used to support music and musicians has collapsed.

        And just as musicians need to support themselves in order to, you know, make music, they also need healthy economies and healthy societies to support their art. A country with such chronic, self-induced socioeconomic pathologies as the United States cannot hope to support artists — most of its people have a hard time even supporting themselves.

        Which brings me to my last point, about nurturing music through education — or in the case of the United States over the last 40 years — not doing so. When children are not exposed to great music early, they never value it and they won’t care later in life. They won’t bother learning to play an instrument…or they will jus assume music is computer-generated, and that a musician’s command of technology is what’s important.

        Is it any wonder, then, that a nation which devalues music and the arts; which treats its citizens with such contempt and cruelty; and which teaches its children by such example, ends up with such crap for music? And is it really any wonder why the dogs will no longer eat the dog food?

    16. lyman alpha blob

      I think new music is killing new music. My kid likes to listen to a pop station and the vast majority of the songs are produced by no talent hacks alone in their bedrooms from what I can tell. It’s all digitally produced using tools you can get on an ipad, and it does not require the ability to play an instrument or sing. The thing that gets me is that with all the digital tools available, a lot of modern pop sounds like it was done using one of those old Casio keyboards, except now you don’t even have to play the keyboard, you can just program in samples.

      80s pop (which I wasn’t a huge fan of either) sounds like Mozart in comparison.

      1. MP

        Pop is just one kind of music, of which computer-generated sounds have been the norm for 15-20 years now. If you just browse the list of new music releases, most is not pop and is just lo-fi recording in a garage. The bulk of music actually hasn’t changed much over the last 40 years and the themes are just constantly recycled.

    17. Matthew G. Saroff

      The article is about music sales, not artist earnings.

      I would note that there are artists who released top 10 hits more than 3 decades ago who are not, “Recouped”, in the parlance of the record industry. (Aimee Mann of Til Tuesday, for example)

      The vast majority of artists have, at least since the 1950s, made their livings from touring revenues, ticket and merch sales.

      1. Yves Smith

        Right, and I am also told concerts outside the US typically pay better than ones here.

        But even in the era when consumers bought disks (so definitely in the vinyl era and I am pretty sure into the CD era) top artists would do well on record sales. It was Napster and services that allowed you to buy single songs that wrecked the economics of “records”.

        1. lordkoos

          Foreign music markets seem to have fans that truly appreciate American music forms, (jazz, blues, folk etc) more than they are appreciated here in the USA. This has been the case for decades. I know several musicians who depend on working overseas, as they are much better compensated for performing abroad than at home. There was a time when royalties from recorded music could still be lucrative, especially for songwriters, but those days are long gone.

    18. Harp

      New music is crap.
      Little whining suburban girls shrieking about their emotions or latest girlfriend, ghetto misogynistic drug violence hate noise,
      and drum machines, lots of electronics.

      The only decent things out there are is the local acoustic country music scene IMHO.

    19. lordkoos

      I’m a semi-retired professional musician. In my not-too-humble opinion, the American music of the 20th century cannot be topped — Jazz, Blues, rock n roll, popular song, Country/Hillbilly, Folk — all these genres were recorded and released in quantity from the 1920s up through 2000. I agree that the disappearance of radio and the rise of the playlist have somewhat “killed” music, but on the other hand, everything is on youtube now for free — recordings that were once extremely rare and difficult to find are now easily available to anyone. As a long time record collector I no longer actively acquire much music but I still have piles of vinyl, 45s, 78s and LPs and I still love playing them.

      Occasionally when in the car around town I will put on the local college radio station to hear what’s being played. Most of it is horrible, synthetic music entirely created on a computer, except for the vocals which are invariably auto-tuned. The music they play is very lightweight, even the rap, and I can’t see how any of it might be considered “classic” in the future. Much of it is clever but there is little soul in it. I have nothing against computer-based recording (I have my own digital studio) but I don’t hear a lot of creativity on this station. Of course, 60% of pop music at any given time is often commercial crap, but what I hear these days seems worse than in the past.

      Part of the problem is lack of diversity – there are internet sites where you can tune into radio from around the globe, like Checking out different stations I am often disappointed as much of it sounds like it was recorded in the same studio. Fidelity is overrated… (spoken like a true record collector I suppose).

      1. Otis B Driftwood

        Good points. I am guessing you don’t think very highly of some of the remixes of old blues tunes. I am ashamed to say that it’s currently among some of my favorites.

        1. lordkoos

          I haven’t heard that stuff, can you provide a link?

          My knee-jerk reaction is that I would dislike it, as I love the originals so much, but you never know. In a way, it’s the same idea as Kanye West using the sample from Ray Charles’ “Hit The Road Jack”, which was IMO the only soulful thing on that recording. Without that, the record would have been nothing. The same with early hip-hop people sampling killer drum breaks — it gives the recording a vibe that it would not have other wise. I must say that I much prefer the old-school beat sampling to the modern stuff which is mostly done with software drum machines.

    20. Kouros

      The problem is that in order to play the Hydrogen Sonata, one needs to grow an extra pair of arms, which is not doable yet….

  7. Pat

    Valieva is an incredible athlete in a sport that requires a certain amount of art with the athleticism. That she is only 15 is both mind blowing and heartbreaking. Her long program in the team event had her landing two different quads for the first time by a woman in the Olympics. She was thirty points ahead of the next skater. But she fell on another quad. She was clearly upset almost apologetic coming off the ice. Her coaches gave her hugs and a teammate squeezed her shoulder as the scores were announced.

    The commentary called her a perfectionist. What I saw was a person who could be and likely is in an abusive situation where she never knows how a mistake will be treated, but it usually isn’t good.

    I am stunned by how much this skater has in her arsenal, but I was also amazed at Medvedeva. She was replaced by the next Russian big thing at the last Olympics and despite breaking out and attempting to stay in skating outside of the Eteri school dominance she is gone, out. She is “retired” at 22. Valieva has too many of those examples not to know this is her future.

    Like I said, heartbreaking.

    1. Carolinian

      The Russians may feel they have more to prove given the sad politicization of even the Olympics–an event ostensibly meant to bring countries together. But they all seemed to be under a lot of pressure with a couple of skaters breaking out in tears at the end. It could be it’s just the nature of super elite sport. She was great.

  8. Stick'Em

    re: Gallup editor explains why the real story is that Americans hate both parties

    The 2016 Presidential election was a Godzilla vs. Kong level spectacle that left many praying Cthulhu would wake from the depths of dreaming and devour both candiates. Suddenly it was apparent to all who viewed the battle on Monster Island (aka the Facebook) the lesser of two evils is still rather evil. Verily, there are more Americans who hate both the Red people and the Blue people than support either. The Purple People Eater’s Party has arrived.

    If “Nobody” Had Run, They’d Have Won 2016 Presidential Election

    1. anon y'mouse

      my refrain that year was “Asteroid 2020–because we already have enough hemorrhoids!”

      think i’ll make some bumper stickers for next time around.

      still got my “Canada for President” pins from a decade ago.

      1. Stick'Em

        Same page. I’ve voted a handful of times (and always registered as an independent) during my lifetime but it is difficult to find a decent human being on most ballots, so usually I don’t vote. Because why sign off on used car salesmen, right?

        2016 was a jumping the shark moment in that for the first time I realized this point of view is actually the majority opinion rather than just me being an isolated weird idealist. Most Americans don’t want to be a Demublican or Repocrat teamember/dupe and now most of us realize this. So we have at least one thing (a national moment of self awareness) for which to thank Hillary/Trump!

  9. Lemmy Caution

    The U.S. Covid-19 reproduction rate (Rt) has fallen to .61 – the lowest rate since March 2020.

    Of course the national Rt is an average, hiding the fact that a particular locale may have a much higher or much lower Rt. So how do you know what the Rt is in your neck of the woods?

    This handy Covid-19 Spread Tracker from Harvard shows the county-by-county Rt for your state (the site automatically detects your location and displays the appropriate state).

    For example, the Rt in my county is 0.01. That seems to be very good news. According to the Harvard site:

    If the Rt is less than 1, the virus will stop spreading and the disease will eventually disappear.

    But here’s the question: Is the plummeting Rt rate cause for optimism that the pandemic is winding down, or a misleading metric that warrants skepticism?

    1. Yves Smith

      It’s meaningless now because most people are getting at home tests as opposed to tests that have to be sent to third party labs and are reported to public health officials. Now that most insurers are no longer paying for PCR or more accurate antigen tests (the lab ones are more accurate, if nothing else because the techs swab properly). Plus both the home tests and even the lab antigen tests have a tendency to produce false negatives. See here, for example:

      And with many cases under Delta having been asymptomatic, and many Omicron cases being “mild”, people may not even think they are sick enough to get tested.

      1. Lemmy Caution

        So in the U.S., fewer test results are being reported, ones that are reported may include false negatives, and fewer people are getting tested even though they may be infected — all these factors combine to create a false picture of the Rt rate. Fair enough.

        Yet Russia has expanded their test rate to the highest level since the pandemic began and the Rt rate there has fallen for 11 straight days. Still alarmingly high at 1.63, but surely you’d rather have the Rt falling than rising, wouldn’t you?

        1. Yves Smith

          The current Omicron wave tapering off says nothing about the long or even intermediate prospects for the disease.

          Those allegedly “mild” Omicron infections are in a disconcerting number of cases followed by quick reinfections. No minimum six months of immunity as from infections with prior variants.

          BA.2 is coming. Believed to be a smidge more infectious than original Omicron.

          And if you think this is the last variant, you are smoking something strong.

          The Omicron reinfection rate means we might see a spring/summer wave, or alternatively see infections remain at an elevated rate.

      2. tongorad

        I haven’t had much luck with the home tests. My wife and I both work in public schools, and we both recently came down with covid.
        It all started with TX Cedar fever symptoms. We did a PCR and a home test on the same day. Going by the home test, which showed negative, we went to a family gathering.
        Symptoms worsened and the PCR test came back days later as positive.
        Thank goodness no one else at the family gathering got sick.
        We have been extremely cautious – Lesson learned regarding the home tests.
        I assume I got the Omicron variant, which I didn’t find it mild at all. I’m into the 3rd week and there are still lingering symptoms. Beyond absurd that they couldn’t shut down schools during the peak for a couple of weeks at least.

        1. lordkoos

          I suffer from SAD in the winter and so does my wife. I am fairly certain I had COVID a couple of weeks ago as I felt even more low-energy than usual for the better part of a week, but I did not get a test so I can’t say for sure. “Brain fog” can be one of the symptoms of SAD so your question makes sense.

  10. Otis B Driftwood

    Hahaha, when I saw that Kelton story in the NYT yesterday I was hoping failing-up Summers would see it and that it would ruin his brunch.

    This exceeds my Schadenfreude.

    1. anon y'mouse

      add him to the long, long list of “i can’t prove it wrong. i just don’t like what it says”.

      so many people actually start their criticism there, and even openly admit it. but with him, i’d say he’s in denial.

      then again, perhaps these people don’t know what MMT says, because their criticisms always include things like “the ability to spend any amount of money and never worry about inflation”. if they bother to give reasons, it’s usually a long list of straw men, straw dogs, straw sheep but essentially they can’t overcome their fixation on “money supply” and also that money is not a real, definable and thus limited quantity (which they and ilk can hoard for themselves).

      they’ll abstract away our suffering quite easily, though.

  11. The Rev Kev

    “COVID-19 robs Olympic curlers of beloved social culture”

    Don’t let the sentimentality of that article fool you. The Olympics is yes, famous for its sports, but it is also renowned as an International Bonk Fest with mostly young, healthy, fit men and women mixing it up together after their events are over. Last year during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, the Japanese issued some 160,000 condoms to the athletes but this was down because of the Pandemic from the 450,000 condoms handed out during the 2016 Rio Olympic games-

    1. griffen

      Well there is the motto about be prepared. There is yet another / other motto, Always Be Closing.

      That volume of free contraceptives would need to be bumped higher if Wilt Chamberlain had lived in the modern NBA era. Wilt had a notorious statistical impact on the court, and substantially an entertaining lifestyle off the court.

  12. Glossolalia

    An anecdote to make of what you will: I live in the DC suburbs and routinely drive by John Bolton’s house. After Trump fired him on 2019 the black State Department SUVs disappeared from his driveway. Well, recently they’ve reappeared, along with a County police cruiser parked across the street as well. So it appears he’s plying his trade somewhere in the government again…

  13. ChrisRUEcon


    Hoooo-boy, JLS … do I have thoughtz … and feelz … thanks for posting this.

    The TL;DR here comes toward the end of the article, IMO:

    “The problem isn’t a lack of good new music. It’s an institutional failure to discover and nurture it.”

    I’ll nitpick on the “discover” part, but failure to nurture is definitely real. I’ve fallen into the trap of saying “new music isn’t any good”, until you realize that it’s the music being chosen to grace popular outlets – be they on television or radio – that really is cookie cutter bad.

    Few years ago, NPR (and at least one other outlet) published articles that broke popular music down scientifically, and showed that so many of today’s popular songs “sound the same”. The same keys, the same progressions, the same equalization (heavy treble, low mids) and with voices largely using autotune, almost indistinguishable vocal delivery. When you dig deeper, you will find the articles about “sound factories” – teams of song-writers from Scandinavia, LA, NYC or Atlanta whose sole purpose it is to crank out similar-sounding, supremely-sellable song-craft. If you keep digging, you’ll realize that the “song contest” shows were evil-genius-level industry shift inducing. The first few graduates of that platform came to define what was expected of a pop star and that “sound” persists today.

    It’s no surprise people are flocking to older music in one sense – love the shout out to the Police! – what’s surprising is that you can still find a lot of great music, but you do have to look for it – the algo’s aren’t going to help much. The rise of vinyl is also something that has caught my attention in the last decade or so. Crate-digging is such a wonderful thing to do, and even though the pandemic has no doubt hit local “record stores” hard, I can imagine that in some places, masks and proper ventilation are allowing a few to continue the time-honored tradition.

    The Grammys are a joke. Unsurprising that its absence this year drew but a few yawns. The decline of the music industry coincided with the rise of the internet – even before Napster. Steve Jobs managed to prolong the music-buying period, but as online gaming and app development grew, people had more things competing for their time, and subscription services took over because fewer people wanted to – or even could – buy music. And that too was a nail in the industry’s coffin – making music so expensive! $20 CDs for big artists and new music were the norm if one were shopping at Tower Records back then. This is how “CD bin diving” then became a thing.

    So … what to do? Find other people who love music! Word of mouth – or its online equivalents – is still the best way to discover new music. I find that taking a wild goose chase after someone recommends something is often a worthy endeavor, as it will eventually lead to some gems.

    I’ll leave you with one gem that came recommended from a former co-worker: “Counter-Clockwise” by rapper/musician Oddisee (via YouTube). Love this track, because AFAICT, there are real instruments laying down the groove; rap fits my preferred delivery style/substance: laid back, erudite; video filmed backwards (!); and finally a rap groove in 5/4 time!


    1. Katy

      I was at Target the other day and saw they are now selling vinyl records. About one third of an aisle was taken up with vinyls. You can buy Adele’s latest there. The margin must be high enough to justify the linear feet of space the albums take up.

      1. ChrisRUEcon

        Yep! Vinyl sales are the only segment of the physical media market that is actually growing IIRC.

        Vinyl record sales in 2021 at highest level for 30 years (via NME)

        There are some good data points in the article:

        “2020 also saw vinyl outsell CDs for the first time since the 1980s. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), vinyl contributed a staggering $232million (£181million) to total physical sales of $376million (£278million) in the first half of 2020.”

      2. Dr. John Carpenter

        Yeah, Target sells some vinyl, but it’s the most safe and boring selection you could put together. The margin is good and it’s physical media (some) people will still buy. Walmart, Best Buy and some other big boxes sell it too, but same deal. You’re not exactly going to see anything new or interesting.

        As to the article, that Adele record is an excellent example of the problem. Because her label (one of the big three) was making such a push for her new album on vinyl, they essentially elbowed everyone else out of the way at the pressing plants. A number of small labels who are doing things leagues more interesting had to delay scheduled releases because Sony was having them pump out Adele. For some of these labels, that caused real problems as they operate on such slim margins they can’t afford to not have product available, not to mention how it hurts bands trying to tour on a record people can’t buy. And the cynical take is, most of those Adele albums are just going to be hung on a wall and never even played.

      3. Glossolalia

        My 15 year-old son and his friends love vinyl records. At $15, $20, even $40+ for sought after records all us parents are bemoaning the fact that we got rid of our vinyl collections years ago. But yes, for the interesting stuff you need to go to second hand record stores, not Target.

  14. .human

    ‘Capitalism is not a redeemable system for us’: AOC says capitalism does not benefit the vast majority of Americans and is a system run by a wealthy minority Daily Mail

    “Capitalism is the legitimate racket of the ruling class.” ~ Al Capone

    1. Glossolalia

      Especially not the American version of capitalism, where the government has its fingers on the scales in favor of big business.

      1. anon y'mouse

        someone please show me where this is not the case, either now or throughout history. because i really want to see this libertarian’s paradise.

        Hamilton was in the big money/capitalist banker’s cadre of his own day and got to write the rules. regardless of what some people keep prattling on about “civic republicanism” and its supposed lofty ideals.

        rhymes with “our democracy”.

  15. jr

    So I got a chance to talk to my historian buddy who is retiring from the Pennsylvania State system at the end of this semester. I’d mentioned how the system is consolidating schools, amongst other ills. I got some more detail and it’s really bad.

    The decision to consolidate came, of course, in the face of near universal disapproval from students, faculty, and the more enlightened administrators. Their fears were noted and ignored. The consolidation received scant attention in the MSM; my friend told me that the majority of his students had no idea anything was even going down. The school sent the faculty an email to that end, ordering, yes ordering them to NOT discuss the mergers in their classrooms. Oh, and since they are telling the professors what to talk about anyway, the administration is now taking a much larger hand in deciding what the professors can teach at all. As I mentioned the other day, the older faculty are all fleeing, the middle-aged faculty are being told to teach classes outside their areas of focus and are planning to flee, and the young faculty, well, there aren’t very many young faculty at all in the history department.

    Oh, just an aside, the consolidators never took the time to see how the NCAA would react, so now all those individual schools may lose their sports teams.

    But the thing that really hit me in the gut was his description of the absolute malaise that lays upon the students. My friend is a tough professor, he was notorious in the school when I was his student. He was constantly under pressure to lighten up from above, to make the numbers look pretty. He caught a lot of crap from below too, some students just don’t make the connection that you will fail this man’s class if you don’t do the work.

    So when, last semester, he found himself facing the greatest number of failing students in his 20+ year career, he braced himself. Sure enough, he heard it from the department chair and whoever. Whatever. I’m retiring.

    Of the dozens of students he failed, only one gave enough of a $hit to contest the failing grade.

    He’s done. I offered my condolences and he accepted. It’s really heartbreaking, this man believed in the State system and is a wonderful, dedicated academic. Now he is fleeing the US to go teach in a country where education is valued, where a master historian doesn’t have to run his syllabus by some semi-literate bureaucrat.

    1. griffen

      That is a pretty unfortunate description. My native state, North Carolina, has a large system of state universities and colleges with UNC-Chapel Hill at the top of that mountain. I am unaware if there was any budget cutting during the pandemic, and of course there probably was. But quite a few of these institutions have had tremendous growth in the undergraduate population, ECU in the east and Appalachian state in Boone.

      Degrading the grading system just should not become accepted. Anecdotal, it happened in Greensboro, NC at the local technical or community college. I’ve heard an indirect account of an instructor fired because he refused to lighten up or go easy.

    2. anon y'mouse

      Of the dozens of students he failed, only one gave enough of a $hit to contest the failing grade.

      i would have never even thought to do this, even of the few failing grades i actually did have.

      those are the grades i “earned” through my lack of focus, and there is no appeal. and no, i never asked to make up work either. “just move on and try to do better next time” after spending a couple of weeks grounded to my room was what the parental units said. after, of course, the lecture about “no one in our family is THAT stupid!”

      so, what looks to you like not giving a crap looks to someone else like “suffering their just desserts”, “lying in the bed they made for themselves”, etcetc.

      1. jr

        I’m not sure what you are trying to say. I will say this: the vast majority of students my friend has had to deal with over the years are generally entitled, relatively prosperous, and could care less about education. It’s all just something you do, after the drinking and boinking, to get your mid-tier job and start reproducing per the schedule. A car upon graduation isn’t just a gift, it’s a right of passage into adulthood and one they probably fret over more than their degree.

        These people have no problem trying to wheedle and whine their way out of failing grades; they never grasped the import nor even the concept of them, that they are actually a tool for themselves. It’s just some hassle they think they can squirm out of. They never get anywhere with my friend, to be sure, the man personifies academic integrity. So when only one of these worthies deigns to come begging to his office when he was expecting a literal horde, it in fact speaks volumes about the state of malaise that holds.

        1. anon y'mouse

          I will say this: the vast majority of students my friend has had to deal with over the years are generally entitled, relatively prosperous, and could care less about education. It’s all just something you do, after the drinking and boinking, to get your mid-tier job and start reproducing per the schedule.

          this holds true for a lot of the poor as well. you just go to satisfy the law and the “forms” in our society, and then get on with things (the same crappy jobs they would have had otherwise, i’m guessing). because even if you do bother to pay attention, there’s no payoff or not much payoff for you if you’re going to end up slinging burgers or working in your uncle’s roofing business anyway, for lack of connections to get into anything “better”.

          perhaps blame the system and not the students, is all i’m indicating. masses of people “not giving a shit” is a symptom of something. they’ve calculated that the odds of giving a shit don’t provide a return, or enough of a return to bother with. and perhaps that is true, and not exactly the students’ faults

          actually, i was just wondering how your friend can read people’s minds and motivations so easily and indicate he may be making a fundamental attribution error.

          this conversation apparently looks a lot differently in Finland, or so i hear.

    3. Big River Bandido

      In my 17 years as a professor at a prestigious Northeastern college, I’ve never encountered so much grade grubbing as I faced this past fall. And this in *music*, a field students are supposed to pursue out of love. I think back to my own classmates and my days as a student, how hungry we were for knowledge and how hard we worked. I see precious few students who demonstrate that level of dedication today. I failed more students last term, possibly, than in my cumulative career prior to that. The requests for “extensions” on assignments due weeks before, and for “extra credit” (from students who didn’t even do the *assigned* work!) were so ubiquitous and so aggressive — in some cases outright harassment — that I instituted a new policy of docking final grades of students who engaged in grade grubbing.

  16. diptherio

    Fear and Trembling was the first book of Kierkegaard’s that I read, though it’s not my favorite of his. It was recommended to me by a drunken philosophy student who noticed me reading John Stuart Mill at the dive bar I frequented during college. It was a good recommendation, as Kierkegaard became by far my favorite philosopher, almost as much for his brutal wit as for his philosophical insights, to which I’ve often returned over the years. He is someone who, whether you agree with him or not, is at least willing to – as he puts it – think a thought through to its end, no matter where that end might turn out be.

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      I took a semester course in Kierkegaard from the man who then was the premier American scholar of his work. Unfortunately I was dealing with other issues at the time and didn’t get nearly as much out of it as I could have. That was 60+ years ago and now my interests have gone elsewhere.

  17. upstater

    re. Battery-powered trains are picking up speed Ars Technica

    This should be filed under bezzle.. Musk alumni says it all, doesn’t it?

    A startup that came out of stealth last month has another idea: Parallel Systems wants to move freight using self-driving, battery-powered, autonomous rail vehicles. The trains would assemble automatically and travel with no conductor, no locomotive, and no train whistle. Should Parallel Systems succeed, fully autonomous self-driving could come to rails before roads.

    Parallel Systems was founded in January 2020 by a group of ex-SpaceX executives and is largely still a concept

    There have been battery powered locomotives for over a century, but they never got traction (pun intended). In the mid 2000s there were 2 smaller firms that produced hybrid switchers as a test for compliance with California air quality rules. Both went belly up after a few years.

    The current crop of battery locomotives (eg, the Wabtec engine in the article) perhaps will change the industry, but it would be a very long haul (another pun!). It is non-trivial to add what amounts to a locomotive tender (think of the coal and water tenders used for steam locomotives) behind multiple engines at the head of a train. The battery tenders would need huge cables connected to the locomotives and have to be integrated into the electronics and drive train of the diesel-electric locomotives. Equally important is to use the energy generated by dynamic braking to charge the batteries. Huge amounts of energy is now dissipated as heat on metal grids on top of locomotives. Modern locomotives now use AC traction motors (they used to be DC). The batteries are DC and there would be significant inverter losses baked in. Having a battery tender, IMO, means a complete redesign of motive power and does not lend itself as an add-on to the current locomotive fleet. You would have essentially two fleets of locomotives that would be complicated to mix and match operationally with very high capital costs.

    A cynic might consider this as a form of greenwashing for ESG. I have a better idea… how about electrifying mainline with overhead catenary and use railroad corridors for an upgrades EHV grid? But this is very unlikely in the US. We do bezzles and PR.

  18. Jason Boxman

    As anticipated, the Democrat party is declaring the pandemic over in practice, if not in fact (as Republicans would):

    Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey, a Democrat who has imposed some of the nation’s most stringent pandemic-related mandates, will no longer require students and school employees to wear masks, signaling a deliberate shift toward treating the coronavirus as a part of daily life.

    Mr. Murphy, the vice chairman of the National Governors Association, said on Sunday that he would officially announce the elimination of the mandate on Monday afternoon. The new policy will take effect the second week of March, two years after New York and New Jersey became early epicenters of a virus that has since mutated and resurged, killing more than 900,000 people nationwide.

    (italics mine)

    Liberal Democrats want to avoid another Virginia, clearly.

    Does this mean NJ schools have adopted robust defense in depth besides masking? Anyone in NJ know?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      In Virginia, the problem is the kids missed more days than anywhere with a hodge podge of inane decisions and Terry McAuliffe on the ballot. In retrospect, it looks like Terry under performed against Ken Cuccinelli during his second successful run for governor.

      Northam the previous governor didn’t offer any leadership on the issue at all. I sort of feel like he was moving in a direction but then moved to support the doofus in the White House. That might be going on.

      Younkin’s behavior has seemed to cause his governorship to peter out. I really expected him to make legislative victories peeling off a couple of senate dems, but that isn’t happening.

  19. KD

    “Are the Democrats in Trouble/”


    The other party is voted into office in response, and then they go off too far in one direction: Bill Clinton in 1994 with health care, George W. Bush with Iraq in 2006, Barack Obama in 2010 with government spending and health care, Donald Trump in 2018 with immigration and other issues and quite possibly Joe Biden in 2020 with government spending programs.

    Yes, that was problem, Bill Clinton and Obama went “too far” with health care, and Joe Biden went “too far” with government spending programs. It is like the 2008 Financial Crisis never happened. Its those damn “centrist” voters that almost nominated Michael Bloomberg in 2020 before the radicals snuck Uncle Joe past the line.

    Political Polarization is bad:

    Now, because of polarization, people won’t really say that if the other political party is in control. They are pretty negative across issues.

    Polarization works in the other direction as well, where the party of the president in office, to a large degree, determines whether everything is great or whether obvious problems in the country are minimized when evaluating national conditions.

    But the Editor/Reporter reminds us:

    The real problem is that American democracy and the future of the country are in peril because of the Republican-fascist movement’s escalating assaults, and the deep structural problems and other cultural problems that made such a disaster possible.

    Is it interesting that the “deep structural problems and other cultural problems” (bad Netflix series?) have just emerged from the void without any human agency at all? Obviously, if we all just get together in ally-ship and perform a group hug and a ritual denunciation of the Republofascists and January 6, I imagine all will be well provided we don’t go “too far” on government spending or health care.

    1. KD

      Is it just me, or are people having a hard time with modern journalism, remembering the old days when you had “balanced” stories with scribblings based on competing opinions from corporate think tanks, which now has to be wall papered over with something that reads like a press statement by the Stazi? It kind of feels like whip lash. If you are fighting Repulicofascism, you can’t be quoting people who try to say things are nuanced or claim some kind of professional detachment. Republicofascism requires necessitates one voice from the Party Vanguard. Dialogue is inherently surrendering to Republicofascism.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “Why the EU needs Russian energy giant Gazprom”

    Simple. It is plentiful, cheap, reliable, and it doesn’t have Washington’s klutzy fingers on the pump handle. The US would love to ship their gas to Europe but it is much more expensive and is vulnerable to not only political winds but also the vagaries of weather events of the Gulf. I came across an article recently which talked about the problems encountered by the US trying to shut out the Russians-

    Great photo in the Antidote du Jour sent by Tracie H. Didn’t Frank Sinatra like them so much that he wrote a song about them?

    ‘Egrets, I’ve had a few
    But then again, too few to mention..’

  21. Jessica

    Another factor working against new music is harsher conditions for folks in the age range that produces most new music. Massive student debt for those who go to college. Lower wages for those who don’t. Reduced social safety nets. During the days of the British Invasion, British musicians could get by on the dole.
    It used to be possible for young musicians to scrape by with a part-time job. Nowadays, people have to work longer hours just to get by.

    1. AndrewJ

      This is a huge factor. It’s well-known among the local musicians I know – some of whom are quite good, even original! – that in order to “make it” you need to have gobs of money behind you. Bands like Tennis that have pulled it off came from wealthy backgrounds. Even if you’re only working one job and have the time to pursue music, most musicians aren’t making the money needed to fund PR and tours, much less studio time and mastering. The indie bands that rise into national consciousness lately all come from money.
      As an example – a ten year old record, “Libraries” by Carolina musician The Love Language. To my ears an incredible set of songs and a heck of a recording. They never caught on. I hope some of y’all go give it a listen. It’d warm my heart to know one of the best albums I’ve ever heard, by an obscure indie band that never caught on, is wafting through the air from some trees in Texas.

      1. Eustachedesaintpierre

        Agreed on both the above comments & back in the late 70’s there were a lot more independent pubs, some of whom would feature bands even as part of an open mike night. I managed OK on 25 quid dole with the odd bit of roofing work on the side after I almost ran screaming out of my pen pushing job. Now something like 40 years later universal credit would expect a youngster to get by on about 60 quid. I watched a docu the other night on BFI called New Town Utopia featuring the most infamous of those estates being Basildon in Essex. Part of the post-war dream & certainly not perfect but a worthy effort to give those East Enders a better life. Thatcher basically put paid to that & gradually the cultural life was strangled, the industry left & I think that it doesn’t really matter that much where you live if you have no prospects- some sighs of life returning & I wish them luck.

        Very good film IMO & sums up the fate of hundreds of other working class areas in the UK.

    2. anon y'mouse

      i want to know how the widespread elimination of music instruction from public schools has played into things.

      private lessons cost money that po’people don’t have. my mother was largely self-taught for this reason, but that means she had to do it the harder, longer, slower way.

  22. ambrit

    Is it perhaps Seasonal Affective Disorder, or am I imagining the general air of sullen churlishness in the public places lately?

    1. petal

      Up here in NH, it seems like it’s been like that for the last year or so-doesn’t matter the season. It’s been sadly interesting to observe. Was talking about it the other week with a friend in FL. She’s noticed the same thing where they are in Jville.

      1. Wukchumni

        People here are nervously wondering if winter left them, not to return.

        After one hell of a storm over xmas and new years, nary a drop since and nothing coming, with possibility of a shutout for both January and February, traditionally our best producing months in matters of precipitation.

        Those early storms may have set up the golden poppy season to be quite memorable. I’m already seeing patches of 24k eye candy-a bit early but welcomed after last year’s dismal showing on account of the drought.

        1. marku52

          Terrible weather up here in SW OR. After a wet Dec, we’ve had no rain for 32 days. Afternoon temps in the hi 60s. Very unusual, and looking bad for the this summer’s fire season. Daffodils are coming up.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Will China’s Tall Space Goals Spur Further Competition?”

    That’s quite an ambitious program that China is setting itself. It’s the sort of stuff that NASA in the 60s set themselves as targets. It is a good thing that in the west that we now have Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk who will meet their challenge on our behalf.

    1. Apparently Permablocked

      Perhaps Musk, with his proven track record at SpaceX. Bezos is just delusional about his ambitions, calling attendees on his suborbital pop-ups ‘astronauts.’

  24. Wukchumni

    (I want my, I want my MMT)
    (I want my, I want my MMT)
    (I want my, I want my MMT)
    (I want my, I want my MMT)

    Now look at them 1’s & 0’s, that’s the way to do it
    Ginning up money via the MMT
    That ain’t workin’, that’s the way to do it
    Money for nothin’ from the mouse clique for free

    Now that ain’t workin’, that’s the way you do it
    Lemme tell ya, them guys ain’t dumb
    Maybe get a blister on your little finger
    Maybe get a blister on your thumb

    Look at that, look at that
    Money for nothin’ QWERTY clicks for free (I want my, I want my MMT)
    Money for nothin’ clicks for free (I want my, I want my MMT)
    Money for nothin’ clicks for free (I want my, I want my MMT)
    Money for nothin’ clicks for free (I want my, I want my MMT)
    Easy, easy money for nothin’ (I want my, I want my MMT)
    Easy, easy clicks for free (I want my, I want my MMT)
    Easy, easy money for nothin’ (I want my, I want my MMT)
    Clicks for free (I want my, I want my MMT)
    That ain’t workin’

    He shoulda learned to play the market
    He shoulda learned to play them Harvard funds
    Look at that MMT mama she got PR from the camera man
    We could have some-

    Money for nothing, clicks for free
    Money for nothing, clicks for free

  25. Reify99

    Follow the money.

    For example, if you want to record a cover song, technically you don’t need copyright permission (a cover license is called a mechanical license, perhaps because it cannot be denied,) but you need to give notification and pay a fee (rent) to the Harry Fox agency, owned by blackstone. This is metered, it will last a year, has a finite and defined number of streams, etc.

    The little guy needs to use the SongFile website (begat by Harry Fox), to pay song rent. It’s a Potemkin project where there are not enough hamsters to deal with any flaws in the workings, even a data entry error from one of the gazillion songs out there. So then the little guy is stuck if the Potemkin web site doesn’t work and he or she wants to follow “the law.” It no workie.

    The big copyright holders agglomerate the copyrights of say, 26,000 songs, together and use them as collateral for loans, to fund acquisitions, buy buildings, etc. These are just assets to them.

    Think of them as baleen whales comprised of piles of lawyers, (it’s lawyers all the way down), their AI sifting song fragments for similarities to their body of copyrighted work. (e.g. Rodrigo). Find a match and threaten a law suit, get a co-authorship. Ka-Ching!

    Why do they need new art when the money from the old stuff is so good? Or if new, and AI can find a similarity to their (old) property…

    And all of those unauthorized covers on yTube will one day be filtered by metadata when the big guys need to make book for the quarter.

    I look forward to the day when everyone’s cell phone goes into a Faraday box before the home concert, no CD’s are burnt, no hobbies are monetized.

    Then the culture can thrive, under the radar of corporate oppression, kinda like Cuba.

    1. R

      Mechanical copyright is the fee for the reproduction of a tune, I.e. your new recording of the cover. If you were going to tour the performance, you would need a performing copyright licence I believe.

      When schools put on Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, they have to rent the scores and librettos (you cannot copy them legally and I don’t think you can buy them cheaply enough to justify it) and pay a fee graduated by numbers of performances and audience size.

      1. Reify99

        My point was that the mechanical license is compulsory- they can’t say “no” to it,- yet the accommodation for that, in my experience, is less than reliable. Perhaps I did not articulate it well enough.

        Yes, there are a variety of other licenses, using the music in a film, for a ring tone, changing the work enough that you have really created a new work, etc. None of them are compulsory.

        The situation you describe is bread and butter revenue for copyright holders and, as such, they are going to facilitate it. In my case they are going to make like $30, so it does not warrant a response from the actual ginormous copyright holder.
        That’s what the SongFile website is supposed
        to handle.

        Truth be told, I was looking to pay a mechanical license fee for something written in the 1940’s which era, before 1978, had not been digitally entered into the system at the time it was copyrighted. These have been entered manually. I suspect. I wasn’t even sure it was still copyrighted.
        The US Copyright office cannot/will not tell you if a work is NOT presently under copyright so you have to take the info on Songfile as to who the copyright holder is (even if inconsistent or containing an error) and contact them. Hoping they will respond.

        Or you can hire a private service to go to the Copyright Office and do a search. Or hire the Copyright Office to do a search. (Then they will tell you something.)

        So after hiring an arts lawyer and an agency to go to the Us Copyright Office and search, including the lawyer posing the question to an online group of arts lawyers, (to no avail) and all of this taking so long I was beginning to feel like an obscure Seinfeld character, “The guy who is going to record that song someday”, I was finally instructed to send a letter to the copyright holder telling them my plan to record this work, my willingness to pay, and the other parameters. “If they want the money they will find you.”

  26. Wukchumni

    Ottawa mayor declares state of emergency over ongoing trucker protests Globe and Mail

    Two people in that area were arrested for mischief

    You’d think we’re talking about the siege of Looniegrad!

    1. ambrit

      “FrontierSpirit Airlines announces a new ‘budget’ seating class; the Phoenix class. Personal pods attached to the wings give the budget conscious traveller the perfect view while flying. Fly the Phoenix!”

      1. griffen

        It will be like Hunger Games, but in the unfriendly skies and absent the witty banter of the commentators. And the toilets are coin-operated.

        This merger news is a great example, considering the Stoller tweet that was posted over the weekend.

      2. Bart Hansen

        Also look for a ‘Pueblo Class’, with two levels of seating, one atop the other in slightly remodeled 727s.

  27. Screwball

    Ran across this today from Tulsi Gabbard (tweet);

    Biden promised to unite our country

    She ended the Tweet with “unfit to lead”

    While I don’t disagree, what brings her to do this? There were a few other Tweets recently of the same tone. Is she angling for a spot on some ticket in the future? It would have to be for team Red at this point. I had hopes for her at one time, but I’m not sure what she has morphed into, and that’s not good.

    The D team has a weak bench, Biden is a train wreck, as well as the cackling VP. If Cuomo makes a comeback as linked above, and now that he is free and clear of any “violations” of any sort – maybe he’s the guy.

    As awful as these people are it would not surprise me one bit. They can whitewash away his stench and tell the base he’s the guy. They vote him in – because Trump.

    Crazy, I know, but we live in crazy times.

    1. Dr. John Carpenter

      Who is listening to Tulsi Gabbard these days? That’s my question. I don’t disagree with her Tweets either, but is she even slightly relevant anymore?

      1. KD

        Remember, she is a Russian Asset, so we have to monitor her to see what her KGB handlers are feeding her. [What do you do when you have a career in politics, you demonstrate loyalty, endorse and support Marshmellow Man and Cackles, but then the Establishment turns around and knives you in the back? I guess you position as a red pol and hope for a future cabinet appointment.]

      2. Screwball

        Agreed. She seems to want to stay in the public eye, hence the Tweet kicking Biden in the groin. The Tweet, only 8 hours old, got 15.5k likes, and 3k retweets, so someone is listening (granted, that’s not a huge amount). Can’t go over well with the D party or the blueMAGA people, but they already hate her anyway.

        I just wonder if she is angling for another run, but with the other party. She would have to as team D would have no part of her. I’ve always liked her, but became more suspicious as time went on. Tweets like this feed that suspicion.

        1. Michael Ismoe

          If Trump wins in 2025, he will have the same problem he had in 2017, he can’t trust anyone. Tulsi may want to fill that void. She’s make a perfect UN Ambassador/NSA candidate.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      After her betrayal and rejection by the Democratic Party, Pelosi, etc.; Gabbard is probably engineering a slow move over to the Republican Party. She is auditioning for their possible favor, but will wait for them to overtly invite her in, and may well set her own must-be-met terms for joining.

      If she runs through the Republican Primaries for election 2024, I will vote for her unless the Democrats offer something better to vote for in their primaries.

  28. marku52

    In the recent past, someone posted a link to a reliable source for KN95 masks. Can someone redirect me to it. Thanks!

    1. sd

      I’ve been searching for reliable KN-95 masks.

      One of the things I am continually running into is changing / falling standards. I found a brand of mask that fit and was well made, etc. Next time I ordered, quality went to crap. Found a new mask, etc when I went to reorder, drop in quality. Rinse and repeat. This has now happened to me 3x across 3 different brands.

      It just feels hopeless and is a huge waste of money.

    2. K.k

      Someone here in the comments recommended Project N 95 not too long ago. Im happy to report they came through with prompt delivery and quality product. I ordered some of Gerson duckbill masks for my mom. She like them a lot. I on the other hand, with my large nose, found the metal part that seals around the nose to be pretty uncomfortable. They do create a solid seal. Im glad my mom likes them. It may seem a bit overkill for some, but i dont care. I know of a diabetic neighbor in his 40s who recently had his foot amputated after his latest round of the mild Omicron variant. From my understanding his diabetes was completely under control before the infection. The man refused to go to the doctor even as his toes were turning blue and kept convincing himself and his wife its nothing to worry about. Its Mild! Turned into a mild amputation. Right now he is in denial it had anything with covid. His wife not so much, is long past the denial stage and is down right pissed. Sheesh. So yeah, still not letting my guard down.

  29. griffen

    Sports desk commentary, NFL super bowl week sad-face edition. The coach who begat this entire saga dropped the news of his lawsuit last week late on a Tuesday, I think. Brian Flores was successful during his tenure as the Dolphins head coach, and the Dolphins for whichever reason fired a coach after two successive winning seasons.

    Flores lawsuit has specific points he is trying to make, and every season a number of key head coach positions are open. There are only 32 teams, so on average 4 to 6 teams each year are looking for a replacement. As it stood last night, Robert Saleh, Mike Tomlin and Ron “Riverboat” Rivera comprised the minority list of head coaches. Maybe the Texans or the Saints have named a new coach but I am not too sure.

    NFL owners give the appearance here, or at least the teams named, of feigning interest in their hiring decisions to meet the minimum standard of the Rooney Rule. Each NFL franchise is valued in the $billions, even the lousiest of teams merit interest from their most often rabid core of US football fanatics.

    Last note, and just to provide an example. The Houston Texans were giving serious consideration to a long time pro QB, who has zero head coaching experience. They appear to have moved off that choice. Texans are the latest example of a dumpster fire.

    1. savedbyirony

      The lack of black coaches (and not just at the head coaching level) in the NFL is an important element of Flores’ lawsuit, but you left out the juicy part (and the part i think has the NFL sweating). Flores asserts that the owner of the Dolphins offered to pay him $100,000.00 per game to lose. If true, what type of liability with the law and/or other team owners does this bring on the owner given all the legal gambling involved with the NFL?

      According to the ESPN rumor mill, the Texans are likely to hire Lovie Smith as their head coach. Check two boxes there – he is black and he has head coached in the NFL before. (Black coaches receive less opportunities for second chances, etc in the NFL.) But, as you say, the Texans are a hot mess and he’d be likely to last 2 years, if that.

      1. griffen

        I lack the legal knowledge or context to wade into that debate, the supposition that team owners were pitching the idea to lose games. Fair or not, tanking for whomever is not a new idea or unique to NFL teams. That said, players on losing teams want to continue their career or play for a winner and effort shows on tape. They are professionals at risk during the season and in practices.

        The Texans franchise is moving ever so quickly into just weird territory. Any affiliation with the Patriots will do on the resume, at least my reading and understanding of their front office. Smith was successful at Chicago with a mediocre quarterback, but they had Urlacher and a great defense (my recall anyway) when they reached a Super Bowl.

        I caught an interview or a panel discussing the topic. Charles Barkley as he is wont to do, summed it up in blunt terms. “A lot of these NFL coaches suck, even the white ones too.” But the second chances to be that leader and head coach are increasingly rare for a minority.

  30. Jason Boxman

    From the Washington Post story today:

    Eventually, experts say, the novel coronavirus is likely to transition from a deadly and disruptive pathogen to a milder, more seasonal nuisance.

    I’ve helpfully highlighted the wishfully ignorant nonsense from supposed experts.

    The best that anyone can say is simply, we do not know. What’s more, SARS-COV-2 is not the flu, so any comparison is fraught with error.

    1. marku52

      These would, I suppose, be the same “experts” that have been wrong about everything else so far?

      I was watching a Mayo Clinic update fro money of their vaccine developers and he quite plainly said “Do not believe those in the media that we are heading into a herd immunity situation wit the virus evolving to a less virulent variant.”

      In fact, he wouldn’t be surprise by a variant next fall that is as infectious as Omicron, but more deadly, leading to wide spread unavoidable lock downs.

    2. sd

      I don’t know what to really believe anymore which I assume is deliberate.
      The movie ‘Dopesick’ seems to be a parable for our times.

    3. Big River Bandido

      Cannot tell you how much I abhor the use of the word “transition” as a verb. It’s one of those BS words invented by MBAs who think it makes them look “smart”

  31. antidlc

    RE: Experts open the door to lifting last mask mandates

    And then we have this…

    It’s Time to End Mandatory Masks in Schools

    I am a physician and mother of four children, two of whom attend public elementary school in northern Virginia. Our state’s newly inaugurated governor recently issued an executive order giving parents the choice of whether or not their children wear masks to school. But instead of complying, several districts including mine are suing the state to keep mask mandates in place. I believe it is time to follow the science and give parents the choice when it comes to masking in schools.

    As with any medical intervention, risks must be weighed versus benefits, and there is no proof that universal masking in schools is beneficial. We need to take into account the lack of evidence for mask efficacy and re-evaluate our policies and procedures. We know much more now than two years ago. The virus is likely shifting from a pandemic to endemic, and we need to shift with it. Parents should be able to follow the science, properly evaluate risk, and have the choice to unmask their children.

    The only info listed for the author:
    Knips is an internist based in northern Virginia where she lives with her husband and four children

  32. marku52

    “The virus is likely shifting from a pandemic to endemic, and we need to shift with it. ”

    wishful thinking is not useful in contact with the enemy.

    1. wendigo

      The removal of all attempts to mitigate the spread of the virus means it will be more persistent, hence an endemic.

      Pandemics end.

      Besides, an endemic is milder than a pandemic, apparently.

  33. Terry Flynn

    re Spiegelhalter mea culpa. There’s already been one disparaging comment above. However, this is a much more complex issue than a two line “drive by” on him. I personally got the “uh-oh” feeling quite early on in his Observer pieces. I knew from NC pieces and my personal knowledge of where Spiegelhalter comes from epistemologically that he was making mistakes. However, he’s not a Bad Person and doesn’t IMNSHO have an “agenda” like many people NC has drawn attention to.

    His problem is simple. He thinks Bayesian statistics is the solution to too many problems. “Empirical Bayesians” who now have totally taken over the fields of health economics and a lot of medical statistics, use the flat prior “get out of jail free card” when they are accused of using priors that are contentious: “We’ll just use a flat prior and everything is OK”. NO. You don’t just use a statistical fix. You use theory, history and family-blogging common sense to inform your priors….just like NC has been advocating in telling people to look at year 3 of the 1918 pandemic.

    The problem is the current generation of “top people” in health services research have never ever taken a course in economic history. It was 25% of the curriculum in economics when I read Economics at Cambridge. I was invited back to present at that alma mater once or twice as a post-doc to present my work – Spiegelhalter was unfailingly polite and tried to be constructive. However, I even then saw the lens through which he saw the world. And that’s why I moved laterally in HSR to another branch that only “worked” if you used theory and proven results from “revealed preferences” (like McFadden did in collecting data on transport use before predicting the demand for the BART successfully before it was built and which got him a “nobel” prize).

    Spiegelhalter is a great statistician. He’s a very poor modeller because he doesn’t know history or theory. And he has “ridden the pendulum to Bayesian stats” all the way to the opposite end….when future historians (if they exist) will judge Bayesianism to be a good tool but which in the 2020s was a hammer that treated every problem as a nail.

    Good man? Yes. Deserves a Knighthood? NO.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I can’t comment on Speigelhalter, I don’t know much about him apart from the odd Guardian article, but what you say rings true. So many statisticians rest on the maths and prefer to just blame bad projections on the priors. We should have learned from the polling flops over Trump that Bayesian stats is not some sort of magic wand.

      Your comments also remind me of my own mediocre economics degree. I’ve often wondered what I learned from it that was useful. The truth is that the only courses that taught me anything were related to economic history. And tangentially, I also had a strong interest in economic development and economic geography, both of which require an analyses of facts on the ground and not obviously discernible in the stats or the math. I honestly think I learned more about economics from a year I spent doing a module in archaeology and anthropology than I learned from economics.

      1. Terry Flynn

        Thanks. I too learnt “proper” economics only after leaving Cambridge. The last time I was invited to present at the MRC Biostatistics unit in Cambridge I added in a lunch with my (very) old Director of Studies who ran supervisions in economic history back in early 90s when I was an arrogant SOB. When I believed in the 3rd way.

        He taught the “university dictated” syllabus for an hour….. Then often spent 5 minutes telling us what REAL economics was (MMT before MMT was popularised) and told us never to put this in our exams or we’d fail.

        He was an unapologetic paid up member of the SNP back before it sank into political swamps….and a genius. My last lunch in Fellows’ dining room was both heartwarming (to apologise that “I never got it back then”) and sad (because he couldn’t remember clearly just how sharp and firey he had been).

        He supported Professor Wynne Godley (who to my eternal shame I, like my peers, never took seriously when he lectured us). He was one of the last of the best generation at Cambridge.

        It’s a shame Spiegelhalter never took anything from people like him.

    2. anon y'mouse

      sounds like a person confused into thinking that just counting things equals analyzing them.

      which is where the entirety of the field of econ. has gone wrong.

      not to mention, how one quantifies things is ideologically driven in many cases and yet almost no one recognizes this, and simply keeps pointing at the charts muttering “the data says, the data says…”

      they need to go to my former Symbolic Logic 101 instructor, who had a fine exercise in trying to turn a series of slighly varying but rather simple human statements (changing the order, punctuation and occasional word or two of things like “Jack & Jill fell down the hill”) into symbolic logic statements, and then said as an aside but with heavy import “translation is not always straightforward, here and presents some difficulties”.

      indicating that interpretation lies behind and before quantification.

  34. Maritimer

    Alberta’s response to Coutts blockade proof of discriminatory double standard, First Nations say Narwhal
    NC posts many CDN media links but apparently is unaware that over the past three years the Trudeau Government has spent at least $660 million dollars influencing and purchasing CDN media cooperation, influence and silence. So today’s “story” from Narwhal should be taken with a grain of salt:

    “Environmentalist media outlet The Narwhal has received around $355,000 from the Trudeau government over the past two years.

    According to Blacklock’s Reporter, The Narwhal has received $99,057 through the federal government’s Local Journalism Initiative and a $254,655 grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage.”

    Much of CDN media is just CDN MSM in disguise.

    1. Yves Smith

      Ahem, we also run links from RT and Sputnik, the BBC, as well as US MSM.

      “News” nearly always originates in the mainstream media because they the resources to do independent reporting. You can count on one hand and have fingers left over as to the outlets that do DAILY original reporting in the US, as opposed to commentary and analysis of “news”.

      If you want us to stop posting on anything on Canada, which is what your request amounts to, I am confident we have far more readers who think otherwise.

  35. Savita

    Lambert Strether

    Thankyou for your informed and insightful comment to my comment on 6-02-22 about Joe Rogan and Neil Young right at the end. I enjoyed reading your response and you clarified two important things – one, ‘Merck’ as in the one in relationship with Neil Young music, is unrelated to the Pharma Co. And two, the Blackrock connection is tenuous. That were indeed the two dominant components of the argument I had read. I also appreciate your response because, being in Sydney Australia and the time zone distinction, I regularly come in way late for commenting and I always fear it’s too late for anyone to catch my end-of-thread comment. Anyway on a refreshing note, here is a song I’ve been meaning to share with you for years, because I think of you when I hear it. The first line – think – ‘ I grew up in Strether’ that’s the play on words I think of. So, the artist is completely independent, apparently his lyrics are sophisticated – triple, quadruple entendre’s from sentence to sentence. Totally self made, genuine critical respect.Very socially aware. I’m not really into this genre but when the rhythm is real and heart felt it speaks to my body, my body responds to it ( if not necessarily my ears) Anyway, I bring you a song with the first line, in my imagination ‘ I grew up in Strether..

  36. Airgap

    My thoughts are heavy for you and your wife. You are a pillar for many so know that we all feel for the burden you carry. Feel our love.

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