Media Archive

March 10, 2009
Transgendered character in advertisement

An ad presenting a transgender character in a good light.

Posted by JoKeR at 09:43 PM
September 28, 2006
Which super-hero are you?

Your results:
You are Spider-Man

Iron Man
Green Lantern
The Flash
Wonder Woman
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Posted by JoKeR at 01:28 AM
September 03, 2006
Dancing on Treadmills

I've just been having too much fun watching this video.

Posted by JoKeR at 10:14 PM
September 02, 2006
Have You Had Enough

DownWithTyranny! has written about how the song Have You Had Enough came about. DWT links to Crooks and Liars to hear the song, but the links provided didn't work for me, so I've linked to eMusic above where they are providing it as a free download. DTW says this song is a collaboration between DTW and the Squirrel Nut Zippers with vocals from Ricki Lee Jones. If you haven't figured it out yet, the question in the title is asking if you have had enough of the current administration.

Posted by JoKeR at 02:31 PM
July 02, 2006
Name that comic character

OK, so I know I'm a fan of comics and comic strips (more strips than books in recent years), but I admit I didn't know the answers to several of the questions on this quiz. I did know some of them and some I recognized when I read the answers, but I found it fun. Youngsters out there (anyone under 65 or so) might find that your media savvy has a few holes in it.

Posted by JoKeR at 11:42 PM
June 30, 2006

Once again, I have found what I think is a terrific link via Metafilter. This time it is a flash presentation called Gapminder which graphically shows income and health statistics about countries all over the world over a span of several years. It was created by Hans Rosling who apparently has some other videos at his site (or is that a shared site, it is apparently so overburdened by people accessing what might be his latest video that I haven't been able to get the site to respond, thus my speculation that the site is overburdened at present). I am, in fact, making this posting as much to remind myself of this information (and maybe get into the site later when it isn't so busy) as from a desire to share it with my reader (I do have one, don't I? Hello?)

Posted by JoKeR at 10:30 PM
February 16, 2006
Camera battery = pictures

So, I finally found my camera battery recharger. Somehow it had gotten buried under the pictured pile o'stuff.

But now that I have a working camera again, allow me to show you our newly rebuilt, refinished, and reupholstered rocker. This had been my wife's grandmother's rocker and so it is not only beautiful, but it has a lot of sentiment attached to it as well. Behold!


Posted by JoKeR at 10:43 PM
January 07, 2006
Book of Daniel

The new TV show Book of Daniel generated controversy even before it was first shown. While the creators don't see what the problem is, I can see why it should be expected that people will complain.

In the first place, whenever churches and church leaders are shown on TV there are people who complain because what is shown doesn't match what those people expect. Usually only the most bland, non-denominational pastor/priest types can be shown without someone complaining (think 7th Heaven).

Secondly, this show definitly portrays the pastor as not being a perfect person, something many lay people don't want to admit about their own clergy. At this point I intend to reveal all sorts of plot points, so if you don't want to hear spoilers, don't read the rest of this.

Beyond just "not perfect," this family seems to be a drawing card for constant controversy. The father is addicted to prescription pain killers. The daughter was caught selling pot (not smoking it, just selling it as a way to raise some money). One son comes out of the closet in the first episode (which the parents are OK with, even though I get the impression (having missed the beginning and the actual coming out event) that they hadn't suspected it until they were told). While I think showing a loving acceptance of their son is good, there are certainly many who are not happy about anything that hints that GLBT folk can be acceptable as normal people. The second (adopted) son is caught in a compromising position with the daughter of an influential and contentious member of the congregation. The father's mother is suffering from Alzheimer's which seems to be the one problem the family is encountering which is not something which could be considered in any way blame worthy. However, the father's father (himself a Bishop) is having an affair with the other Bishop we have met on the show who supervises the star of the show. While married. With an ailing wife. We also see said supervisory Bishop planning to tell a lie and expecting the priest to go along with it.

However, all of that is not enough to hang a TV show on. The actual plot involves the priest's brother-in-law (priest's wife's sister's husband) who was recommended by the priest for a position of trust, betraying that trust by stealing the $3,000,000 building fund and running off with his secretary. Then the BIL was found dead in unsavory circumstances (no money found). Then the secretary shows up and starts having an affair with the sister-in-law, the new widow. Turns out there had been some three-way action between the SIL, BIL, and secretary. I guess this part of the show was supposed to be part of the comedic elements of the show.

But back to the main plot, the missing millions. Rather than risk a scandal by going to the police, the priest goes to the Roman Catholic priest and gets him to serve as a go-between with the mob in order to get them to find the money. Which they do. But they will "lose" it again unless they can name the company to get the contract for the new building for which the $3 million was raised. So in addition to the scandals the show is portraying among the Episcopalean leadership, the show also implicates the Catholic church as being practically a front for organized crime.

Yet the creators don't think anyone will find this objectionable? What fantasy world have they been living in?

Posted by JoKeR at 08:09 PM
December 13, 2005
Merrywoods Singers

MerrywoodsSingersLetItSnow.JPGI have often bought CDs on the chance that it will be good. One such purchase from somewhere (I don't even remember where) is Let It Snow by the Merrywoods Singers. All I know about them is what I read in the liner notes. They are a quartet based in Los Angeles. They've had occasional appearances on TV shows, sung on albums recorded by others, performed at a presidential library, and perform regularly at the Regency and Sherwood Country Clubs in LA. A note I made indicates I bought it in 1999. They reference the web site of the company holding the copyrights: Platinum Entertainment, Inc., but the link appears to be dead. In any event, I have found the CD enjoyable. Interesting a cappella arrangements performed well. Good luck trying to find it, they don't seem to be very visible on the net.

Posted by JoKeR at 11:50 PM
December 12, 2005

I thought that I'd do something a bit different today with my Christmas music recommendations. In fact, I'm not even really recommending all of the recordings I mention here. I just wanted to identify some of the odder Christmas music which we have.

When discussing odd Christmas music you can't get much odder than Jingle Cats. Snippets of meows and yowls by cats, edited together to "sing" Christmas songs. When we first played this it freaked our cats out as they alerted when they heard these other cats "saying" nonsense. What I didn't realize when I started this post is that there are multiple Jingle Cats products including toys, books, videos, and who knows what else. This is not something we ever listen to all the way through (maybe the first time we played it), but it is on the juke box. I get a chuckle to hear one of these songs pop up ever now and then (every RARE now and then).

Having started with Jingle Cats, I guess I'll mention Woody Phillips' Toolbox Christmas. Instead of cats this features the sounds of a wide varieties of tools. The sounds of saws, hammers, and all sorts of things are edited together to make Christmas music. Unlike the Jingle Cats recordings which use normal instruments (plus some dogs barking) in addition to their distinctive cat sounds, the toolbox songs are all from shop sounds. It is impressive to hear just because it is so unexpected. But I don't have this in the regular rotation. As musical as Phillips has managed to make these sounds, it is still the sound of tools, not musical instruments. I found a little of this went a long way.

Bob Rivers has released a few different recordings of Twisted Christmas recordings. I haven't listened to these in years, but I still have a fondess for "Oh Little Town of Bethlehem" sung to the tune of "House of the Rising Sun" from one of his other recordings.

Rita Ford has put together a recording of tunes played on music boxes. However, these are not your normal small music boxes. These are old boxes that use multiple different disks to play their music. They have a greater range of notes and a fuller tone than most music boxes you're likely to hear. This is a wonderful recording to have, but I find that after a few songs I'm ready to hear some singing or other instruments again. Unfortunately, Ford has concatonated multiple songs together so that the CD only has four tracks, each of which runs about 15 minutes. By the time I'm halfway through one track I'm sometimes ready for something else. Still, I would actually recommend this recording, unlike some of the others I've mentioned here.

Crash Test Dummies released a Christmas recording called Jingle All the Way. I enjoy this CD quite a bit, but I include it here because of some of the vocals. The lead singer of the group featured on their big hit "God Shuffled His Feet" has a very deep and almost mournful voice. When I hear him singing "Jingle Bells" the contrast is so striking between his voice and the usual tone of this song that I find myself laughing almost every time I hear it. For that reason alone I include it here among the oddities. Otherwise it is a very nice recording (I'm listening to it as I write this) and doesn't really fit with the oddities.

There was a limited edition release called Trojan Christmas Box Set. (Get your minds out of the gutter! Trojan is the name of the record label.) What I didn't realize when I bought it is that Trojan publishes primarily (exclusively?) reggae music. It was inexpensive and included 50 songs by artists I'd never heard of. I was hoping for some folk/blues/rock something. Instead I got reggae. I'm not sure that I've ever even listened to the whole thing. I think it is definitely odd. Amazon doesn't even seem to list it. That link is to BestPrices.com.

Clearly there are many more recordings of odd Christmas songs and songs about Christmas. I don't begin to claim that this list is comprehensive of either the market or even my own collection. However, I thought I'd share these few. What recordings do you have that you'd consider odd?

Posted by JoKeR at 09:50 PM
December 11, 2005
Westminster Choir

Christmas Masterpieces & Familiar Carols is another recording which we have had for many years. These are not a cappella performances, but the Choir itself is strongly featured with the instrumentalists serving more to accent the pieces than as equal partners in the music. All of the selections are sacred music (that is, none of the songs are pop music tunes) which is important to me. I will sometimes see a Christmas recording by a performer I like, but if I notice that none of the songs have anything to do with Jesus or God then I'll usually not buy it. I enjoy some of the popular songs, but I prefer the songs with a religious meaning. Anyway, the Westminster Choir give very well done performances of many well known, and some not so well known, Christmas carols. Always in the rotation come the season.

Posted by JoKeR at 10:51 PM
December 10, 2005
Judy Collins

Judy Collins has a few Christmas recordings, but it is the Biltmore Estate recording which I have found myself noticing as it comes up on the juke box. It is a live recording with some support from a children's choir and other musicians. Her voice sounds like it may have improved with age. It is very full and gentle, not wavery (is that a useful description?) as sometimes happens with older singers. Standard Christmas songs and carols performed extremely well. Worth hearing.

Posted by JoKeR at 11:47 PM
December 09, 2005
Inner Voices

This is a recording I picked up years ago as a cut out. I had enjoyed the Roches "We Three Kings" and saw this CD featuring four women singing Christmas Carols in tight harmony and decided I'd give it a try. I have enjoyed it right from the first. For some reason my wife doesn't care for it so much so I try to listen to it when she's not around, but the other Amazon reviewers agree with me that this is a wonderful recording. Apparently it is now out of print and dealers are asking collectibles prices for the used copies. If you ever stumble across a copy of this at a decent price I recommend you pick it up. I only rarely decide to spend as much as $20 for a single CD, so I won't urge you to pick this up at their prices unless you have more spare cash than I do (a distinct possibility). But if you enjoy interesting vocal harmonies and Christmas music, then I hope you will get a chance to hear the Inner Voices' CD sometime.

Posted by JoKeR at 10:45 PM
December 08, 2005
Christmas in the Smoky Mountains

smokyMtnXmas.JPGWhile on vacation some time back I bought a CD called Christmas in the Smoky Mountains (sorry, the only place I could find it online is on eBay, so that link will probably expire before too long, but as of this posting it is still available, and only a $0.49 bid required!). This is basically old-time folk music featuring guitar, mandolin, violin, harpsichord, banjo, harmonica, and other acoustic instruments. While this is not the most deluxe production or arrangements I find it enjoyable and am glad I picked it up. Buying Christmas music CDs as souvenirs has become a regular routine for me when I travel. It has led me to all sorts of unusual recordings and some of them are very enjoyable. At the very least they help to bring back memories of various trips.

Posted by JoKeR at 11:33 PM
December 07, 2005
Snow Angels

I bought this because it had some of my favorite singer/songwriter performers on it and because it was cheap. When I first listened to it I was disappointed. I did not find it very exciting or vibrant. However, as I've had the christmas music on random play for the last couple of weeks I repeatedly noticed a track and thought "That's nice" or "That's interesting" and checked to see what was playing (usually the monitor had gone to the screen saver so I had to tickle it to wake it back up) and found it was one of the tracks on this recording. So I spent some time this morning just listening to this single CD and I found I really do enjoy it. The arrangements are generally sparse, half the songs have nothing but vocals and guitar (Joan Osborne's "Children Go Where I Send Thee" is accapella except for some finger snaps). Some of the vocalising is not as polished as most of the other recordings I've recommended, but I enjoy this accoustic/folk style of music and these performers are some of the best around. I hope you'll give this one a try as it is not one that most people are likely to have run across. And besides, it's cheap!

Posted by JoKeR at 12:32 PM
December 06, 2005

George Winston's December was one of the first CDs we got after buying our first CD player. Solo piano improvisations on classic Christmas songs (at least, it sounds sort of jazzy/improvisational to me). We've been listening to it ever since. In looking for a link for it I see that there is a new 20th anniversary edition with additional tracks. I may have to check that out. I only have the original recording, but it is one of our (many) favorites.

Posted by JoKeR at 11:24 PM
December 05, 2005
Butch Thompson

Butch Thompson recorded Bethlehem After Dark with Laura Sewell. Thompson plays piano. Sewell plays cello. No vocals. The arrangements are simple yet very effective. I prefer this recording to Thompson's other Christmas recording because the cello adds a wonderful counterpoint to Thompson's piano which makes for a much richer sound, while still maintaining an elegant simplicity. They pass the melodies back and forth so that they are beautifully entwined. Both Thompson CDs stay in our Christmas music rotation, but this is the one that I prefer.

Posted by JoKeR at 04:05 PM
December 04, 2005
Manhattan Transfer

The Manhattan Transfer released this Christmas recording more than 10 years ago. They have released many recordings which have some very fun arrangements of popular and jazz songs featuring the Transfer's wonderful vocals. Their Christmas album is more subdued than I expected when I bought it. I was thinking that their renditions would be bouncy and exciting, but it is actually very laid back and relaxing. This is not always the mood I want for my Christmas music listening, but when that's what I want I can't think of a smoother, more beautiful set of songs than these from this group of talented vocalists.

UPDATE: OK, as I wrote this I started listening to this recording again. While there are some very mellow tunes here there are also a few nicely upbeat and jazzy renderings. My overall impression is still that this recording is not as energetic as some other Transfer recordings or as I expected it to be. In any event, it is very nice and is regularly in our Christmas music rotation.

Posted by JoKeR at 04:50 PM
December 03, 2005
Philadelphia Orchestra

This recording by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra has been in our Christmas rotation for many years. Good arrangements performed beautifully. A thoroughly enjoyable recording which I would recommend to anyone for their Christmas listening pleasure.

Posted by JoKeR at 11:57 PM
December 02, 2005
Charlie Brown Christmas

This is a classic christmas recording. The music is itself very enjoyable, but the thing that makes this special is, of course, that this was the music from the first animated Peanuts television special. A Charlie Brown Christmas is something that we try to watch every year. Its timeless commentary on the meaning of Christmas is welcome anew each time we hear Linus recite the story of the shepherds and the angels. And even when we don't see the video, we see it in our mind's eye when we hear this wonderful music that has become (IMHO) an icon of Christmas in America.

Posted by JoKeR at 12:59 AM
December 01, 2005
Oy to the World

Oy to the World by the Klezmonauts is a funny collection of songs sung in a klezmer style. It has songs about both Hannukkah and Christmas (what? you need a link for that?) related topics such as Santa Claus. I don't know that I consider it one of the best Christmas/holiday recordings ever, but it is so very different from any other Christmas recording I've heard that I thought it deserved a mention. What I don't understand is that Amazon lists it as only being available as "new and used" as a collectible, when it is available from the Klezmonauts themselves at the Oy to the World website refereced above. It doesn't seem to list the price, but when I stepped through the buying process (stopping short of actually buying) they offer them for about $15 apiece (actually, their default order is three copies, but it looks like you can adjust the quantity). I wonder why they aren't listing it with Amazon? In any event, this is a very different kind of Christmas/holiday recording and sure to get a laugh from most anyone.

Posted by JoKeR at 11:13 PM
November 30, 2005
Dream a Dream

I think that Charlotte Church really does have a voice like an angel. I have enjoyed her Christmas recording Dream a Dream many times. She is not as polished a performer as Julie Andrews or Barbara Cook, but I do love the sound of her voice. While I'm not too sure I'm going to get her latest recording which is a foray into pop music, I have enjoyed many songs from her other recordings. The frustrating thing is, I cannot find my copy of "Dream a Dream" I misplaced it before I started ripping CDs onto my dedicated music computer so I don't even have it there. One of these days it will turn up again. In the meantime I'll just have to remember.

Posted by JoKeR at 11:13 PM
November 29, 2005
Mannheim Steamroller

Mannheim Steamroller has now done several Christmas recordings, and I think this one was the first. After all these years they have almost become too familiar instead of innovative as they seemed to be when they first recorded it, but I still enjoy their recordings quite a bit, the earlier ones more than the more recent ones. Their synthesized, new age kind of sound is quite different from most Christmas recordings, but beautiful and invigorating.

Posted by JoKeR at 10:42 PM
November 28, 2005
Canadian Brass Christmas

I'm not really familiar with the Canadian Brass except from their Christmas recordings. This is my favorite of their Christmas albums that I've heard. The music is beautifully performed and the arrangements are interesting. One point in particular that makes this recording stand out is the humorous renditions of "Frosty the Snowman" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." I've got a variety of Christmas recordings which feature different instruments. Originally I bought this in order to expand that collection by adding a brass ensemble Christmas recording. However, the beauty and joy presented have made this a favorite of myself and my family for many years now.

Posted by JoKeR at 06:06 AM
November 27, 2005
Robert Shaw Christmas

Robert Shaw is one of the most celebrated choral directors in living memory. He has directed multiple Christmas recordings, including The Many Moods of Christmas pictured here. He is best known for directing the Robert Shaw Choral and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. In fact, there are recordings available of this music by both of these groups directed by Shaw. The chorus I sing with is going to be performing part of The Many Moods of Christmas in concert this coming week. Even though this is the Shaw directed performance I have picked specifically to feature, I also recommend the other Shaw directed Christmas recordings, of which there are several. I think I've got them all and have enjoyed every one of them. These would be a fabulous addition to any collection of Christmas music.

Posted by JoKeR at 12:14 PM
November 26, 2005
Peter, Paul, and Mary Holiday Celebration

ppm_holiday.jpgPeter, Paul, and Mary's "A Holiday Celebration" is the next Christmas music recording I wanted to mention. This is a bit unusual for PPM as they have an orchestra and choir supporting them, but the three of them are still the focus of the music. They do terrific renditions of several Christmas classics as well as music from other traditions. I found "Light One Candle" to be an especially moving song. They finished up their concert by performing an encore featuring "Blowing in the Wind", which, while not a holiday tune, is still a powerful song.

Posted by JoKeR at 01:36 PM
November 25, 2005
Julie Andrews Christmas

OK, I cheated. I back dated that last post in order to put it on yesterday so that I can immediately write another post about some more christmas music.

Julie Andrews has released multiple christmas recordings, so I just picked one to feature, but I recommend them all. I don't want to spend multiple days mentioning each different recording I have by her and I'm not even sure if they are all available, so this one can serve for all.

Julie Andrews has been one of the great singers in my lifetime. She is well beloved for her many stage and screen appearances (if I have to mention them by name then they probably won't mean anything to you anyway, you hermit). Her Christmas recordings are beautifully recorded and arranged. Her vocals soar above the instrumental accompanyment without being obtrusive. Her selections are timeless classics and a worthy addition to anyone's Christmas music playlist.

Posted by JoKeR at 01:57 AM
November 24, 2005
We Three Kings

Now that we are past Thanksgiving I guess we are in the Christmas season (at least as far as music on the radio, in the stores, etc. is concerned). With that in mind I thought I'd spend some time talking about some of my favorite Christmas music. In order to keep this post short and to give me something to write about over the days to come I plan to write about one CD per post. You've been warned.

One of my very favorite recordings, one which I have recommended again and again over the years, is We Three Kings by The Roches. This is a very fun recording of songs that these sisters have sung together for years. Some of them they grew up singing. Some of them are done very seriously presenting the reverent tone of the song. Others are quite silly. Frosty the Snowman is especially funny as they sing with some children, chiding them about believing in a walking, talking snowman to which the kids respond by yelling back "He's REAL! What do YOU know? You're just a bunch of grown ups!"

If you're not familiar with the Roches then they are worth getting acquainted with. The three sisters sing in wonderful harmonies. They have sung back up for Paul Simon and many other artists. In addition, they have released more than a dozen recordings, mostly as a group but also as individuals and duets. But despite my enjoyment of the multiple Roches CDs I have, the one I listen to the most is We Three Kings since it gets played every year, while the others might not get pulled out so often (too many CDs, too little time).

Posted by JoKeR at 11:58 PM
December 31, 2004
Sokoban is better on JokoSoko

I've enjoyed Sokoban for many years. I first discovered it on a Unix box at Georgia Tech sometime in the 1980's. As I've gotten different PCs I've found different versions of the game and even written a few myself. But I have now put together the most complete implementation I've ever done:

I still have some more work to do, but the game plays accurately for any size puzzle (at least, I've never seen one too big for it). It allows you to undo moves back to the start of the puzzle. It tracks up to ten scores for each solved puzzle and can replay the solutions at whatever speed you like. It can record and play back macro sequences so that repetitive moves can be done quickly and easily, allowing more time for actually solving the puzzle instead of repeatedly stepping through sequences that have already been solved.

I've included six puzzles that I developed myself. I'll probably add more puzzles later as I develop them.

I developed the game using the Euphoria programming language. I will be submitting the Euphoria source to the archives if you have any interest in seeing it.

Future enhancements include mouse usage, puzzle editing, and a few other ideas I have in mind.

I also intend to put together some more Sokoban links on this page. There are many Sokoban web sites and many hundreds of puzzles available. Watch this space for links to some of them.

N E W! January 3, 2002 Hexagonal Sokoban! Based on an idea suggested by David W. Skinner (maker of many excellent Sokoban puzzles) I made a modified version of JokoSoko which I am calling HexoSoko. Please give it a try. I've only played with it for a couple of days, but it at least demonstrates the way hexagonal Sokoban could work.


I am going to post-date this message so that it stays at the top of my games blog page. I see that Euphoria is close to coming out with the next revision of the interpreter. When that happens I will probably pick up the program again and add some additional features (such as import LURD files, I want that too, George, thanks for the comment!).

Posted by JoKeR at 11:59 PM
April 24, 2003
A Mighty Wind

I've actually been to see a first-run movie. I go to movies so rarely that this is a notable event. I usually haven't even seen movies which have been released as videos. However, the confluence of my interest in folk music with the release of the mockumentary A Mighty Wind was too much to pass up. My wife had the day off (and I, of course, have all days off at present), so we took in a matinee showing this past Friday.

It was a lot of fun. The movie recounts the reunion in the present of three imaginary folk groups from the sixties. Each group is modeled after a well known folk group, or type of group, of that era. One group was modeled after the three-young-men groups such as The Kingston Trio. A second group bears a remarkable resemblance to The New Christy Minstrels. The final group is a duo similar to Ian and Sylvia.

The movie follows the promoters who are trying to quickly throw together a memorial concert for the manager of the folk groups. We see the various members get together for the first time in years (except for the New Mainstreet Singers (Christy Minstrels) who have been performing right along with shifting memberships in venues such as amusement parks). Fun is poked at the performers, the songs, the promoters, and just about everyone. But even with all of the quiet humor, I got the sense that there was also a genuine enjoyment of some of this music. The manipulative, feel-good climactic moment still felt good, even though it is in the midst of a comedy making fun of this music and the people involved.

One particularly interesting point about the movie is that the actors generally wrote their own songs for the movie. The title track was probably somewhat inspired by Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" and the Chad Mitchell Trio's "A Mighty Day". Many of the other songs are similar enough to real folk tunes popular in the sixties that the whole experience felt very familiar, even as I watched singers I'd never seen before.

The movie's creative team is the same group that has done other mockumentaries about metal bands (This is Spinal Tap), community theatre (Waiting for Guffman), and dog shows (Best In Show). I look forward to their next movie, especially if they tackle another subject with which I am familiar.

Posted by JoKeR at 01:45 PM
March 27, 2003
Skip and Pete bumped!

I was shocked to read that cable station TBS has decided not to use Skip Caray and Pete Van Wieren as part of their broadcast team. Skip and Pete will still do broadcasts with Turner South which is seen in fewer homes than TBS, but Don Sutton and Joe Simpson will be doing the broadcasts on TBS. Pete and Skip will also be doing broadcasts on the radio.

This actually doesn't affect me very much. I live in Atlanta and can tune in WSB to get the Braves broadcast any time. However, Skip and Pete have more than a half century of Braves broadcasting experience between them, and it just seems like a slap in the face to them.

I hope that TBS and the Braves get a boatload of complaints so that these beloved broadcasters can continue to be heard across the country and around the world.

Posted by JoKeR at 09:53 PM
March 10, 2003
Finished reading

As with my Listened To article, I will be using this article to archive data about books which I have finished reading. I guess I should say, books which I have stopped reading. Occasionally that means that I've just stopped without finishing, but not often.

Archived: 08/20/2006

Cost of Discipleship by DIETRICH BONHOEFFER - There is a discussion of this going on over at Real Live Pirate.

Knife of Dreams (The Wheel of Time, Book 11) by Robert Jordan - Been too busy watching TV to read it much.

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4) by George R.R. Martin - In hand and ready to go.

Archived: 1/14/2005

Shaman's Crossing by Robin Hobb - Not as engaging as her previous series, but circumstances are not allowing me to read it very quickly as well.

A Light Blazes in the Darkness:Advent Devotionals from An Intentional Online Community

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu. Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

Archived: 11/25/2005

Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. I've linked to some of the bad reviews on Amazon which says better than I could some of the problems with it. Recommended by my brother, but not my cup of tea. Bleah!

The Complete Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz. Terrific, of course. The fourth volume is slated for release soon.

It's Easier Than You Think by Sylvia Boorstein. This is more interesting than the Eldredge book above. Helping me to rethink some attitudes.

Sorcery Rising by Jude Fisher. Another fantasy novel, and its sequels in the trilogy.

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

Archived: 11/25/2005

Wild at Heart by John Eldredge. I've linked to some of the bad reviews on Amazon which says better than I could some of the problems with it. Recommended by my brother, but not my cup of tea. Bleah!

The Complete Peanuts by Charles M. Schulz. Terrific, of course. The fourth volume is slated for release soon.

It's Easier Than You Think by Sylvia Boorstein. This is more interesting than the Eldredge book above. Helping me to rethink some attitudes.

Sorcery Rising by Jude Fisher. Another fantasy novel, and its sequels in the trilogy.

Archived: 3/1/2003

Golden Fool by Robin Hobb

Archived: 3/10/2003

Why Christianity Must Change or Die: A Bishop Speaks to Believers In Exile by John Shelby Spong

Posted by JoKeR at 05:38 PM
Listened to

I've decided to create this posting in order to track recordings that have been in my play rotation, both as a reference for when it moves back into rotation and as a history of what I've listened to. I anticipate that I will update this article rather than post new articles as recordings cycle out of the current play list so that I can have a single location where I can find these entries. Thus this article will see updates beyond routine blog maintenance. I may update its update date to push it to the top if I have no other articles worth featuring. I think I'll keep the bulk of the data in the extended message area, with the data moved most recently from my "Listening" area in the main portion of the article.

Archived: 08/20/2006

Christmas Music (too much to list)

Laura Love

previous entries

Archived: 11/25/2005

The Soft Parade by The Doors. Classic.

Color Came One Day by Chuck Brodsky. His latest. I've really been enjoying it.

Short Stories and Bones, both by Tom Kimmel. Bought for 35 cents each at a charity yard sale. A great bargain and worth full price.

Archiveded: 11/25/2004

maggie drennon by The Maggie Drennon Band

Chaos & Calm by Still on the Hill

Storming the Castle by Full Frontal Folk

Archived: 3/17/2003

Come A Little Closer"
by Patchouli.

A four song sampler from the Pat Humphries Duo

Songweaver by Amy Carol Webb

Time Flies by Small Potatoes

Archived: 3/10/2003

Ghost Of Things To Come by Pat Haney, reminds me of John Prine (praise not lightly given)

Good Tar by David LaMotte

Monuments by Kate Campbell

The Song Inside by Sloan Wainwright

Vigil, N.Y. songs since 9/11
by various artists, compilation benefitting Windows Of Hope family relief fund, featuring Christine Lavin, Jack Hardy, Suzanne Vega (producer), Wendy Beckerman, and many more

Posted by JoKeR at 11:07 AM
February 06, 2003
NAFA in Nashville

The North American Folk Alliance is having their annual conference in Nashville, TN this year. I attended last year's conference in Jacksonville, FL. I had planned for a long time to attend this year's gathering as well. However, I changed my mind when I heard that Walter Wink was going to be the featured speaker at the PC(USA) Peacemaking Conference in Montreat, NC this summer. However, as the NAFA conference got closer and I saw the list of people who would be performing there I changed my mind again. The conference started today, but I was unable to tie up my obligations at the office until today. However, I am about to leave home to drive there this evening, so I will still be there for most of the conference. It has been convenient that the conferences these two years were close enough to drive to. I also attended the NAFA Conference when they held it in Memphis a few years ago.

I also plan to meet Dale there since Nashville is his home town. This will be the first F2F meeting of other bloggers for both of us. It was seeing Dale's meeting on Ecunet that first got me started thinking about putting up a blog in my webspace, so I am looking forward to our get together. I should be home Sunday (just in time for the Session meeting).

Folk on!

Posted by JoKeR at 08:50 PM
October 24, 2002
Who elected her?

Marybeth Peters is in a position to make far reaching decisions concerning copyright issues. Her responsibilities in the Library of Congress include authority concerning DMCA exception rulings (rarely granted), Internet radio license fees, and other issues related to creator/owner rights vs. fair use. Her views seem to be almost totally with the money interests of the publishers and creators with almost no concern for the public's rights. This is an incredible amount of power and influence for someone who was never elected, nor were many of these responsibilities part of her job when she was hired. Scary.

Posted by JoKeR at 10:37 AM
October 12, 2002
Wainwright and Campbell

Sloan Wainwright and Kate Campbell have been touring together recently. I was fortunate enough to catch them at Eddie's Attic in Decatur. Eddie's is one of the best venues in the Atlanta area for folk music, and this was one of the finest shows I've seen there.

Both of these singers are outstanding performers who have inspired me to seek them out for their individual performances when they have been in town. When I saw that they were going to be performing together I simply couldn't pass it up.

Sloan had the opening set and was accompanied by Stephen Murphy on guitar and Cary Brown on keyboards. Her rich alto tones and hypnotic gestures make for a mesmerizing performance. Her songs cover a variety of topics and sometimes have an almost etherial quality. I think perhaps my favorite song of hers is Martha in which she tells of some of the many strong women who have meant a lot to her through the years who happen to have been named Martha. The fact that in my life my mother (Marty), my wife (Mary Martha), and my niece (Martha) are all named Martha (or variants as shown) is no doubt a factor in why this song speaks so powerfully to me. Kate joined Sloan to provide some harmonies which made it all the more enjoyable. I was thrilled to find that she has now released this song on her latest CD, which I immediately bought.

Kate's story songs about life in the south can inspire both laughter and tears. I try to catch her whenever I can and I have never been disappointed. With stories about idiosyncratic people, the civil rights movement, and her strong faith in God she is a truly inspiring performer. Having local fretless base wizard Don Porterfield accompanying her only added to the show. She also invited Sloan to sing with her on different songs which allowed Sloan to tease Kate behind her back as Kate had done to her during Sloan's set. The friendship between these two very different women was evident throughout the evening. I was pleased to find that Kate also had a new CD (again, bought without hesitation) and by seeing her live I was able to learn the story behind the song Corn in a Box (now I hope you'll go see her so you can learn that story, too).

This was one of very few concerts I've seen at Eddie's where the performers were called back for two encores, but I am glad that that was the case because midnight was just too soon for this magical evening to end.

Posted by JoKeR at 11:29 PM
Spirited Away

I saw the Japanese Anime Spirited Away last Saturday. This week has been busy enough that I just haven't been able to focus enough to even bother with this brief comment.

This is an excellent movie. No doubt I am missing quite a bit of the meaning of the movie because of my ignorance of Japanese culture. However, even with that handicap this movie is an incredibly rich story. As other reviews have indicated, it is hard not to compare it to compare it to Alice in Wonderland. The basic plot of a little girl transported to a fantasy land is an obvious parallel to Carroll's classic story. However, outside of that practically unavoidable comparison based on that simplest plot summary, there is very little further similarity. (Possible spoilers in the extended entry.)

Carroll's fantasy world is almost completely non-sensical with many of the characters being deliberately illogical and contradictory in terms of helping Alice understand what she needs to do. However, Chihiro is confronted by a confusing but more or less organized fantasy land based on a bath house for spirits. She is able to demonstrate courage in the face of danger, vulnerability in the face seeminly insurmountable obstacles, love in the midst of attacks, and loyalty to her family above all else.

The movie made me laugh, cry, and cheer as Chihiro works her way into and out of trouble, making friends in unlikely places. Despite conflicting advice she is able to follow her instincts to help people who need her help while recognizing those who do not intend to help her.

The animation is beautifully complex and fluid. It provides an excellent example of just how good anime can be. Besides the smooth movement and complex backgrounds and textures, the direction was handled well enough to give a clear sense of the layout of the fantasy land so that it was easy to follow movement from one room to another without being chaotic.

This is only in limited distribution but with Disney helping to distribute it there is a good chance that it could come to a theater near to most major cities. I heartily recommend it if you get a chance to see it.

Posted by JoKeR at 10:58 PM
October 08, 2002


Posted by JoKeR at 12:49 AM
October 01, 2002
Flash Illusions

Thanks to David Weinberger of JOHO the Blog for this link to a fascinating demo of optical illusions using flash technology as well as this similar optical illusion which is getting noted around the net a lot.

UPDATE: In trying to follow the link I found that it had moved so I have updated it to point to the current site.

Posted by JoKeR at 07:53 AM
September 29, 2002
First Filking

I spent this past evening at a very pleasant filk singing event held by the GaFiA organization. That's Georgia Filkers Anonymous. Filk singing is a tradition that grew out of the singalongs held during science fiction conventions (as I understand it, anyway). I was told at this gathering that a definition of filk music is anything that is song by filkers (or something like that). In other words, it can be just about any music that the participants want to sing. This group had many talented musicians and it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Posted by JoKeR at 01:44 AM
September 27, 2002
Ted Rall

Wow! This was a really funny and frightening piece by Ted Rall. Of course the Repubs can't see anything except slander in this type of writing, no matter how exactly the barb hits the target.

Posted by JoKeR at 07:13 PM
September 24, 2002

The season premier is about to start! I, um, might have something to say about this in a little while.
OK, now its later. Spoilers in the rest of the record.

Well, there were still some things which were unexplained and left hanging in tonight's episode, but overall, I liked it.

Not showing too much in the tornado was good. It left a lot to the imagination. It would seem, though, that Lana is the one who has figured out that Clark is not what he seems. And Clark seems to be starting to develop his flying ability.

Not enough was said about the space ship. Clearly it will be found by someone. I think I saw that the little hexagonal chip that somehow seems to control the ship fell off and has been lost again.

The relationship between the Luthors is as unstable as ever. With Lionel blinded, does that make him more dependant upon Lex or angry at him and even more alienated? With current technology they are starting to develop chip implants to give limited vision to people who have been blinded by damage to their eyes. It is not clear to me if Lionel is blind because of eye damage or brain damage, but this could be a running plot thread. Perhaps he will take an extended break while his scientists turn him into a cyborg during which time Lex gains greater control. Lex did not completely sell his soul by allowing his father to die, but he has deliberately killed someone. Granted, it was done in order to save another person, but Lex is now blooded.

Jonathon Kent saying that not killing Nixon was the hardest thing he'd ever done seemed like a stupid line. It certainly looked as though he were trying to kill him.

Too bad about Chloe pushing Clark away, but she's only a bit player in the Superman story. It's not like they can have Clark and Chloe fall in love and get married or anything.

So little Pete this episode it was disappointing. I was really looking forward to Pete figuring out Clark's secret and having a bigger part in the series. Oh well.

Lots of plot threads going in multiple directions. At least Whitney is out of the picture. Can hardly wait for future episodes.

Posted by JoKeR at 08:59 PM
Quick review

Just wanted to point people to the Quick Review on my media page.

Posted by JoKeR at 07:47 PM
Quick review

This is actually not a quick and dirty review. Rather, it is a review of Quick by Eddie From Ohio (EFO). EFO is an eclectic group that writes songs covering an amazingly diverse range of topics.

My favorite song on the CD is Hey Little Man. This is an acapella harmony arrangement of a lovely song that seems to be sung to a son going to sleep. The singer provides images of what the child might dream about with hope for love, friendship, exploring ideas, and family. Beautiful. It has been running around in my head for weeks.

There are tongue-in-cheek songs about Einstein's theory of relativity, the mesolithic era, envy felt by a single person of the happiness of couples, and other things. There are also songs about monotony, regrets, and the death of innocent bystanders during fighting.

While the subject matter is diverse, the songs all feature clever word play using rhymes (not always perfect) and rapid-fire delivery to keep the listener engaged. It closes with another acapella song of praise to God for the Great Day which God has given. Very nice.

While I enjoyed this recording tremendously, a few of the songs don't hold up as well under repeated listenings. The derogatory remarks about Tommy the Canexican (Mexican/Canadian) wear a little thin after awhile. This list of cutesy names which the loving couple calls each other in The Best of Me is a bit too long. The regrets the singer feels as compared to Abraham are too unclear to draw the listener into understanding of his situation. Even so, this recording has a lot of entertaining and surprising songs.

I've been aware of the excitement many fans feel for EFO, and with this recording I can see why.

Posted by JoKeR at 08:19 AM
September 21, 2002
Comic strips I read

I like to read the comics. If I fall behind in reading the newspaper, I'll work on catching up on the comics, but I won't usually try to catch up on a backlog of news articles. I have been thrilled to find that I can get to so many strips via the internet that are not carried by my local paper.

I've included links here to you can see the comics that I read on a regular basis. (Also so that when I travel I have a concise list of the comics I'm following if I can get to an Internet link.)

Adam at Home

Arlo and Janis


Calvin and Hobbes


The Fusco Brothers

Grand Avenue

Jane's World

Kevin and Kell




User Friendly

The Houston Chronicle has a great selection of today's strips available online for free. You can even build a list of strips which it will display for you, up to 8 strips per screen.

This next link is the comics I look at each day there.

Houston Chronicle selection

This next link is to the comics I read in the AJC in case I want to continue to follow them while on the road (at least, most of the comics I read (not all are my favorites), those I was able to get from the Chronicle).

Atlanta Journal-Constitution selection

Posted by JoKeR at 10:03 PM
Enterprise - Shockwave II

My son stuck in a tape and recorded the second season opening episode of Enterprise for me while I was at choir, so I got to see it on the same day that it was originally broadcast. Overall I enjoyed it. (possible spoilers in the remainder of this entry)

I thought that the fact that the Suliban could not contact their future-time conspirator made a lot of sense. If Archer's departure from the current time (at least current for them, trying to talk about time-travel issues concerning shows which are set in the future can make for complicated verb conjugations) prevented the eventual formation of the Federation, then their temporal enemy would no longer have an incentive to be probing the past looking for allies to help thwart the beginnings of the Federation. Also, the desperation shown by Silik at having been abandoned helped to demonstrate just how dependent the Suliban are on their collaborators/facilitators from the future.

After the crew had made a big deal about how crowded the passageways were so that Hoshi was the only one who could crawl through them, I thought they did a lousy job of showing any part of the passageway that would have been impassable for anyone else. I am also a bit annoyed at the gratuitous titilation shown by having Hoshi's shirt ripped off instead of just having the cloth tear or not even get snagged. I do have to say that I am surprised that most of the postings I've seen in different places speculating about T'Pol's potential for a relationship with Tripper seem to focus on T'Pol as the primary sexual interest for viewers. Personally I find Hoshi more interesting and attractive than T'Pol. Not that I have any purient interest in either of them as I am, of course, happily married.

I think that the ease with which the Suliban overtook and overpowered the Enterprise demonstrated the serious plot hole in the first Enterprise episode where they managed to get the Klingon out of the hands of the Suliban and then had no more trouble from them. Why hadn't they been pursued and overpowered then? This is is the kind of "we're out of time so we'll just end the episode and let people imagine how they got out of it" plotting that I have found annoying on the show. This episode handled it better by having a hostage which would allow them to negotiate their way to freedom since they could not win free by force. Unfortunately, it exposed the plot hole of the original episode all the more.

I liked the somewhat ambiguous way they handled Archer's rescue. Had their plan been to let Daniels' future device fall into the hands of the Suliban in hopes that the Suliban would activate it? That seems unlikely, but why else would this critical aspect of their mission, sneaking this device out, have been left unmonitored by the other active crew members? I guess they were just busy with their staging of the apparent core breach. I do think that the Suliban's willingness to simply ignore Daniels' quarters instead of breaking into it was absurd, especially since T'Pol had told them Archer's suspicions about Daniels being from the future. Even supposing they didn't want to break in through the security on the door for fear of damaging the equipment inside, why did they wait until after it had been relocked to catch him with the temporal equipment? Even if they had only just closed in on him after he had finished re-locking the door, why didn't they work on forcing him to re-open it instead of again ignoring that room? Major plot hole.

I like some of the hints about the importance the Enterprise and its mission will play in the eventual establishment of the Federation. This should help to make the show quite significant in the lore of Star Trek.

Some speculation about the future of the show. The buzz I've heard is that the Temporal Cold-War will continue to be a major plot line this season. I hope it doesn't drag on throughout the entire series as there should be plenty of material for episodes without requiring the intervention of people from the far future mucking in the past. Time travel gets very convoluted and it is very difficult to handle it cleanly without lots of ambiguous or clearly contradictory plot elements.

However, given that they seem to be going in that direction, what part will Daniels play in the series? Was he lost in the future where Archer left him? That future should not now develop. So where is he? Would he be back in his own time with no memory of the events in the Shockwave episodes? We have already seen him killed once. What does that mean? Did we see his actual death but the "later" visits by Daniels were perhaps done by a younger Daniels before his death? Perhaps that death had only been faked. Will there be a new visitor from that future time?

I saw some speculation on Wil Wheaton's website that the "mysterious" benefactor of the Suliban from the future might be revealed as the Vulcan Ambassador. That would certainly go a long way to explain the Vulcans' strange actions (their clandestine spy operation running under their religious retreat for example) and the particular hostility of the Vulcan Ambassador to the mission of the Enterprise.

In any event, I'm enjoying the show and look forward to seeing what happens next.

Posted by JoKeR at 12:43 PM
September 19, 2002
Enterprise - Shockwave II

My son stuck in a tape and recorded the second season opening episode of Enterprise for me while I was at choir, so I got to see it on the same day that it was originally broadcast. Overall I enjoyed it. Possible spoilers in the full posting on my Media page.

Posted by JoKeR at 07:14 AM