Thursday, August 26, 2004

Nils Lofgren Tribute Concert

Tommy Lofgren and others at rehearsal at Tribute to Nils Lofgren.

Just back from "A Tribute to Nils Lofgren"  at Strathmore in North
Bethesda, Maryland. A perfectly wonderful late summer evening with joyful musicians. This was part of the Washington Musical Timeline Concert Series organised by WAMA. Congratulations to all who put this together.

Poster info: They were selling copies of the the show poster to help pay for the video. So even if you were not able to attend, apparently a video will be available at some point.

I arrive about three hours prior to the show and was able to listen in on several rehearsals and sound checks. The facility is acres of rolling hills just south of very high end shopping mall and nearby million dollar homes. The weather was perfect, in fact surprisingly nice. I couldn't accurately guess how many people were there. My position ended up being on the edge of the Lofgren family patchwork of blankets. Lots of young kids enjoying a late summer evening.

The show started at 7:00 pm with the sun setting behind the stage about 15 minutes after the start. The first two hours were tributes to Nils by many local musicians. Please see the poster for a complete list of performers. I'll try to put together the set list and players. There were so many changes that I'm sure my notes contain several errors.

After a short break and under the hazy stars, Mrs. Lofgren, mother to the four boys introduced each of her sons. The boys played a tune, a few more players join Nils for another. Then the reunited Grin took the stage. The rest of the night was Grin except for "I Came to Dance" encore. I'll try to get this set list up too.

Outdoors is not as intimate as clubs can be, but tonite was a delight. The tributes by various artists were touching and a pleasure. Each player or singer seemed to have personal connections to Nil's songs that came through. Though Nils plays Grin songs during his solo shows, the second part of the show was clearly a Grin performance. For me, this was pleasure to hear the Grin take on the songs. And of course, Nils on guitar.

Friday, August 20, 2004

A Story About Mark

Joan suggested that I tell my daughter a funny story about my cousin Mark. I feel that my son and daughter, ages 17 and 19, are old enough for this story now. I grew up with Mark living just about a block away. Mark being a little older, he was always a little more independent. My family moved away in early grade school and his family took the two hour car ride to visit us a few times. One trip stands out today. He and I and our two younger brothers were swimming out in Lake Michigan. And I mean out - straight out with basicly a raft. It was a complete calm day and the sailboat was our raft. We kept pushing the boat out. We heard our parents, aunts and uncles yell at us that we had gone out far enough - probably 1/2 mile. I told Mark that we better turn around. Mark looked at me in complete disbelief. "What? I don't hear anything." I followed my cousin's lead for probably another 1/2 mile in disbelief and enjoyed the day in the Lake. PS. My daughter made her big decision for her life and acted on it today. I'm sure Mark smiled.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Choices on Family Life and Death

My cousin's funeral is tomorrow. He laughed like his father and always invited me back into our extended family. He was two years older and after many afternoons in backyards in first and second grade, we heard from each other less as the years and miles went on. I feel sad about this because of all of my cousins, he is the one I knew.

It is also too bad because he had recently started a blog. While he may have started it to help solve his son's murder, it really reads like he did it for himself. He died driving "his couch" back from northern Canada. He hoped to return a better writer. I feel glad to have his blog to read and wish he could have read my blog before his death. Perhaps we could have become close again in the blogsphere. I'm sure we would have enjoyed that.

Even though I just heard about his wake and funeral, it is possible for me to get there. And my daughter needs me here. Work could wait. A choice between family and family, between cousin and father, between living beyond death and living healthy.

I see what the day brings.

Tetrad Mobile Devices

From the interview with Kristov Nyiri, the director of the Institute of Philosophical Research, part of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, in TheFeature, one can draw a tetrad for mobile devices. These are mobile phones with screens, messaging and cameras.

McLuhan Laws of Media Tetrad
Mobile Devices
Visual thinking and

Sometimes, someplaces
Mobile Phones

These devices are obsolescing mobile phones.

The retrieval is face-to-face communications. Nyiri says "most of the people that you have texted or called today are actually people you will meet face-to-face at some point today. From my research, many mobile calls are to people who are physically close, and many texts are to people you are about to meet."

Mobile devices enhance non-verbal communications and thinking according to his research with usage by carpenters versus soft drink salespeople and real estate agents. "From a philosophy perspective, many academics believe that people think in terms of images and not words. Research shows that at least 50% of face-to-face communication is through expressions, gestures and tones. MMS can make mobile communications even closer to face-to-face conversations."

Nyiri does not discuss reversal, but from my experience, as mobile devices become ubiquitous, problems arise. Instead of anywhere and anytime, use of mobile devices are being banned from concerts, operas, movies, some restaurants and other public locations. Spouses are banning them from vacations. Schools ban student use. So the reversal is sometime and someplaces. 

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Tetrad: Mobile Phones

Kristov Nyiri is director of the Institute of Philosophical Research, part of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and was interviewed in TheFeature. This interview references research studies on mobile phone usage. While not using the Tetrad it discusses components of the tetrad for both mobile phones and mobile devices. The interview indirectly points out that mobile devices (phones with messaging, cameras and screens) are now obsolescing mobile phones. He quotes philosopher Robin Dunbar that "gossipping is the essence of language." And mobile phone enhance gossipping and thus language. His  "research [shows] that many mobile calls are to people who are physically close" and that is what is retrieved.

There was also interesting comment about the adaption of mobile devices being delayed because of culture. At school people "are discouraged to think in terms of images." His research showed that carpenters were by far bigger users than soft drink salespeople and real estate agents. His conclusion was that carpenters were use to thinking in terms of drawings and images. My conclusion would be that more research would show if it was based on schooling (i.e., how much ABCEDmindedness training someone had) or if it was linked to the nature of their work (i.e., lots of paperwork) which was more literate.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Canadian Wal-Marts Progressing Toward Unionization

Today the The Globe and Mail reports that employees at Wal-Mart in Jonquière, Quebec were granted certification by the Quebec Labour Relations Board. Yesterday an article highlights the progress in Weyburn, Saskatchewan in gaining certification. An employee states that "This province is a union province."

You might say "Why Care?" but better wages and benefits help everyone.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Dem Convention Bloggers

There are a lot of comments about bloggers at the Dem Convention. So I thought I'd give my comments.

First, thanks to Dave Winer for setting up Excellent site and great to have the OPML list of bloggers so I could import it into my FeedDemon.

A remarkable number of bloggers noted the difference of the experience between the speeches in the Center and the same on TV. (Weinberger in Boston Globe, etc.) Personally, I experienced Clinton speech on, Dean and Obama's on live cable tv coverage, likewise for kids and Max's introduction to Kerry. And Kerry's speech on TiVo. All different experiences. I most enjoyed the intros because I was watching with my kids live as history was being made - one of my media biases.

Third it seems bloggers expected critics to follow their rules. Dave Winer comments that one critic "didn't give us a list of blogs..." Rick Heller complained that his quote was used out of context by a CNET critic without a link back to the original post. Are bloggers surprised that others don't follow blogger best practices?

Fourth blogging is now recognised as a different medium but even some bloggers don't recognise this: The fact that other media covered bloggers extended the recognition of credential granting by the Dems to the entire country and world. The fact that there were events (e.g., parties) just for bloggers sponsored by political organisations. The fact the blogs were well read.

Final observation. Blogs present a different reality or view of the Convention and I enjoyed that view.