Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Saturday, April 8, 2017


You don't have to drive all the way out to Carrizo Plain to find a nice springtime display. Tidy tips, goldfield, and owl's clover. Right here in good ol' Redwood City!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Carrizo Plain

The dominant color palette is all in shades of yellow and gold. Rust-orange fiddlenecks, pale lemony tidy tips, aptly named goldfields, and glowingly psychedelic yellow coreopsis, in mindboggling meadows. The lovely blue accent is phacelia, and the pinkish-purple a native mustard, with a heavenly scent. I don't expect to see something like this many times in my life. I'm grateful I did.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Arthur Blythe, RIP

His album Lenox Avenue Breakdown is, simply put, one of the very best jazz albums ever produced. His music epitomized the immediate post-free-jazz avant-garde, when musicians like Blythe, Henry Threadgill, and David Murray sought to restore some of traditional jazz's compositional sophistication and swing while retaining the challenging sonic edginess of free jazz. It's not surprising that some of the best of this music was created in mid-sized bands that opened up options for richer rhythms and harmonies, not to mention unconventional instrumentation, such as electric guitar with tuba.

The NYT obit includes the following:
In 1982, the critic Francis Davis wrote that Mr. Blythe “may well prove to be the magic figure of reconciliation, the force for consensus, that modern jazz has been looking for in vain since the death of John Coltrane in 1967.”
That was not to be. Within a few years, a young crop of neo-traditional musicians had seized what spotlight remained for jazz. Mr. Blythe left New York at the end of the 1990s, and his playing career tapered off.
Well, yes and no. True, and sad, that great innovators like Blythe lost audience to the traditionalists. No diss to Wynton Marsalis, who is a musician of exceptional gifts, but his success represented a compromise and a retreat. On the other hand, "Black Arthur" will live on in the music of such fellow altoists as Rudresh Mahanthappa and Miguel Zenon. Each in his manner expresses Blythe's eclecticism and compositional complexity; each could take a lesson from Blythe and get up in the face of his audience just a little bit more.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Exposure to robots and imports

Someone needs to correlate this with Trumpism (source)...

Yes, robots will take your job... and yours too...

"These numbers are large but not implausible. For example, they imply that one more robot in a commuting zone reduces employment by 6.2 workers..."

So says Professor Acemoglu. He doesn't cite Marx, which is an unfortunate oversight, since Marx had a lot to say about technological unemployment. Myself, I'm a robot pessimist/ optimist. Pessimist because I am very confident that AI/robotics will displace workers in a way that lowers equilibrium wages for a large majority, by a lot. Optimist because all of this liberates humans from toil, if only we can see our way to a mode of distribution that decouples consumption from labor. That's called socialism.

Single payer in America

I knew Medicare was important... but Medicaid even more so?! I guess the exchanges and mandates were just a sideshow to Obama's stealth strategy for achieving socialized health insurance. It was all about Medicaid expansion. The GOP takes control of the entire apparatus of government and can't reverse it. Props, Barack.

Why can't some songs go on forever?

Only three short minutes of this groove... it's just cruel, Eddie.