Domingos-Antonio Gomes, a professional musician who has been playing since he was 7 years old, set the Guinness World Record for “Most piano key hits in one minute” by playing the B7 key 824 times in 60 seconds.
Gomes’ technique, which involved alternating between two fingers to press the key on the unmodified Yamaha CFX concert grand piano, allowed him to beat the previous record of 765 hits.
He practiced the feat for four months and used a metronome to keep the rhythm as he frantically tapped each finger on the key in rapid succession.
I do hope your teeth don’t hurt after that.
I mean, 13.7 notes, and the same note at that, per second. It’s not a root canal, but it’s got to be close.
With the duct tape and chewing gum wads of the Movable Type software that holds this site together slowly falling apart, I’ve no choice but to move the type here to another platform: WordPress. This means that I have to do what nobody my age ever wants to do: learn a new program. Result? Posting here shall be light through the weekend as I try to set up a new home in space.
All I have to do is move over 30,000 items from one planet to another. Confidence is high. Repeat: Confidence is high.
I got this task done over the equivalent of a weekend in 2008, but I had only 4061 items to move. And it took me several passes to import all those posts. Still, it did work, sort of, the first time out, and I’m content enough to spit in the eye of anyone who suggests another migration.
The story goes that Sam Phillips, upon first meeting the young truck driver, asked him just what sort of songs he sang.
“I sing all kinds,” said Elvis Presley, and over the next twenty-odd years proved it.
Rebecca Black is no Elvis. She’s not even twenty yet. (Less than two weeks away, though.) But while she doles out her rare originals slowly and deliberately, nearly every week she’s covering something new, adding thirty thousand fresh YouTube views to the 150 million or so she already has. This time around it’s “Scared to Be Lonely,” a future-bass number by Dutch DJ Martin Garrix and British vocalist Dua Lipa, though RB’s arrangement is clearly based on a later acoustic remix:
Speaking of which, the late Tony Peluso, who played that amazing guitar solo on the Carpenters’ “Goodbye to Love,” also played narrator on “Yesterday Once More,” and suddenly I hear his perfect Top 40 voice over the last notes of “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes”: “One of Bobby Vee’s biggest hits!” True; Vee had one Number One, one Number Two and two Number Threes, and “Eyes” was a Number Three.
The other Number Three was “Come Back When You Grow Up,” listed as by “Bobby Vee and the Strangers.” “Come Back” was written by Nashville songwriter (and later label executive) Martha Sharp, who had written Sandy Posey’s first two charters, “Born a Woman” and “Single Girl.” (For a while, rumors persisted that Sharp really was Sandy Posey. She wasn’t.) “Come Back” was first recorded earlier a few months earlier by Shadden and the King Lears, and, yes, “Shadden” was Shadden’s real first name.
Over the years, Vee proved to be an astute selector of material, whether or not it would be a big hit for him. “Yesterday and You” made it to #55 in late 1963; the song, he got from labelmate Ross Bagdasarian, who had recorded it in his pre-David Seville days. (Yes, that David Seville.) As “Armen’s Theme” — Armen was Mrs Bagdasarian — Seville’s instrumental made #42 in 1956.
In the summer of 1966, Vee and the Strangers covered an indie-label song by Texas band The Playboys of Edinburg. “Look at Me Girl” wasn’t a big hit for Vee or for the Playboys, who immediately got picked up by a major label — Columbia, arguably the major-est — but the Strangers rather easily picked up on the Playboys’ modified norteño beat.
One more? In 1961, Vee put out a semi-successful cover of the Crickets’ “More Than I Can Say”:
It would have charted higher than #61, I think, had it not been relegated to a B-side. Nearly two decades later, British producer Alan Tarney remembered it, and suggested it to client Leo Sayer, who took it to #2 in both the UK and the States:
I think Tarney’s instructions included “Sound as much as you can like Bobby Vee.”
We went to Walgreens to buy a Tracfone, because nobody has landlines any more and a phone could come in handy. Walgreens didn’t have any Tracfones, but they had a Verizon flip phone for $7, which sounds like a deal until you have to buy some airtime and the smallest increment they have is $15, which isn’t really enough to actually get your phone turned on. For that you need to spend another $30. So I spent $50 to make maybe two dozen phone calls.
I remember buying a TracFone in some place like Walmart, which back then was still Wal-Mart.
It’s been rather a long time since I hit the car-rental scene:
The car rental kiosks are a good mile from the airport terminal. They have carpeted halls, slidewalks and a train. Kind of a pain when you are hauling 200+ pounds of luggage. Yes, we rented a cart for $5. Finally get to the car and they have upgraded us to a full size SUV, a Chevrolet Tahoe. What a beast. It feels like you are encased in six layers of armor, and in between adjacent layers of armor there is a layer of rubber, so every little bump sets up sixteen different harmonic vibrations. It had more jiggles than a go-go dancer.
That’s impressive, since a “full-sized” car is likely to be something like a Chevy Malibu, which is no more full-sized than Sally Field.
It is generally accepted that a kid’ll eat the middle of an Oreo first. (How to do it? You unscrew it.) It was this particular characteristic, I presume, that gave birth to this Walmart/Sam’s Club knockoff of the Oreo:
I await a Lorna Doone-alike named for Eleanor Rigby.
How to get rid of all these damned weeds? Sustainability as we know it requires manual intervention: someone gets to drop to the ground and pull ’em. Otherwise, we spritz them with something like Agent Orange. (Also available: Agent Grape and Agent Root Beer.) Neither of these choices is particularly desirable. But what if you had, say, robots with weed-zapping lasers on their fricking superstructures?
The computer scientists in the Photogrammetry Laboratory at the Institute for Geodesy and Geoinformation at the University of Bonn are currently developing a novel system: using cameras on an all-terrain robot vehicle or even a tractor add-on, unwanted wild weeds should be automatically identified in the various crops and combatted in a targeted way. “The robot shoots the leaves of the unwanted plants with short laser pulses, which causes a weakening in their vitality,” reports Dr. [Julio] Pastrana. “It is thus predicted that we will no longer need to use herbicides on our fields and the environment will be protected,” adds [Tim] Wigbels.
It’s interesting in that they have selectively chosen lines … so, they cut out “so we bought a pack of cigarettes … and Mrs. Wagner’s pies…” (Because cigarettes are Not Correct for people to be implied to consume these days, and Mrs. Wagner’s pies haven’t existed since the summer of 1969.)
But more importantly, given what a car ad is trying to do, vs. what I saw as the original intent of the song, they don’t play the lines:
“‘Kathy, I’m lost,’ I said, though I knew she was sleeping,
‘I’m aching and empty and I don’t know why…”
Not exactly the mood that a company looking to sell a family or couple their product would be going for … I always saw “America” as fundamentally a song of disaffection, about people who don’t know their place in the world, and are kind of anti-consumerist (they’re riding around the country on a bus, for goodness sake — though maybe buses were nicer 50 years ago than they are now). Not the sort of song that would persuade me to buy a car.
And you’d think they’d have come up with a more appropriate background for “Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike.”
Still, all the ads I’ve seen so far for the VW Atlas SUV are terrible, except for this one. One of those Jettas looks just slightly wrong to me, but this is, I think, the proper spirit for a brand that started out telling us to “think small”:
Then again, if this van is rocking, perhaps suspension work is in order.
With no guarantee of a long summer in the UK, I always advise my VIP clients to select timeless sandals which will last them for several years.
Which isn’t a bad idea even outside of the UK. But what exactly makes a sandal timeless? A few of these ideas make particularly good sense to me:
Avoid heavily embellished styles (e.g. beading, embroidery, appliqué) as they can date easily.
“Oh, yes. I remember those. They were all the rage in 2014, for about a week and a half.” Unless you have a budget for throwaway shoes, it’s probably better to pass those beaded wonders by.
Do select colours which complement your entire summer wardrobe. Chances are the weather won’t justify a drastic change to these seasonal items any time soon.
This is true. Summer runs for about four, even five months here on the prairie. But we’ve all seen days where winter and summer seem to be nestled together, cheek by jowl, and dressing for those days, I fear, will always be somewhat problematic.
Avoid exact high street copies of styles from the catwalk. There’s too much chance of having the same sandals as someone else.
Down at the salt mine where I toil, there are women who swear by specific brands: one buys SAS whenever possible, another swears by Skechers. (Then again, I have never seen the Skechers fan in sandals, which may be just as well, since Skechers doesn’t make a lot of sandals to begin with.)
However hot it gets up here in Soonerland — answer: “very” — it’s typically a couple of degrees, or more, warmer down by the Red River, and a couple more by the time you get to Interstate 20. So this tale of the Fort Worth police gains the kind of resonance that a Texas summer inevitably inspires:
Fort Worth Police officers on a call Thursday came across a 95-year-old man whose air conditioner wasn’t working.
Which is far too close to a death certificate in one of those Texas summers.
The officers went to Home Depot and bought Julius Hatley a brand new unit.
It’s a small house, probably about the same size as mine, or maybe a tad smaller; they fetched a decently-sized window unit. And they had help:
The gesture struck a chord with the store’s managers and employees, prompting them to put $150 of their own money towards the purchase.
Mr Hatley was just as grateful as you think he’d be.
What happens here is simply this: a lot of people come here, not to see what sort of absurd observations I might be making, but because they’re searching for something. Of course, I know what they’re searching for, and if it’s funny enough or ludicrous enough or simply weird enough, it will show up here on a Monday morning.
I saw it in a YouTube comment: “This was Rebecca Black before Rebecca Black.” No way could I not follow up on an assertion like that.
And actually, Jenna Rose’s 2010 recording of “My Jeans,” while it’s objectively pretty terrible, has some of the same irritatingly catchy quality that made “Friday” a viral hit, albeit with orders of magnitude more Auto-Tune. And she was paid back in much the same currency: online cruelty at a high level and all matter of real-life bullying by peers.
Jenna eventually disowned her early work, but continued to record and did some acting, including community theatre and a couple of TV pilots. And amusingly, she’s covered a couple of songs RB has covered, including “Scared to Be Lonely”. Her most recent single is “Do Or Die”:
She has survived, and of course we wish her well. Last we heard, she was working on a music degree.
A group of men ran afoul of Spanish authorities after using a camera drone to spy on several women bathing topless, on a yacht off the coast of Majorca.
The men, who were partying on a different yacht parked nearby, used the tiny flying robot to photograph at least seven women, five of whom were completely nude.
It’s none of my business, of course, but I can’t help but wonder about the, um, holdouts.
Still, if it’s true that guys will be guys, and I suspect it is, inevitably those guys would be undone by their very guyness, and so they were:
Fortunately for the women, the guys weren’t subtle about their “discovery” — the women told police they spotted a group of men laughing and joking while pointing at a tablet screen, and presumed they’d found the offenders. The women then pulled out their own phones, recorded their oglers, and headed into shore, where they filed a police report.
Majorca is fairly well-known for its “textile-free” beaches, according to TripAdvisor, but with the advent of drone technology, “European-style” sunbathing is getting riskier. This is at least the second such incident of drone-based voyeurism European authorities have encountered since cruise season began.
And at least it’s presumably locals; God help us if the poor, depraveddeprived immigrants treat this as a moral issue.
“We recommend you don’t handle male iguanas during menstruation,” warned Breitweiser. While iguanas are usually very calm pets, they have been known to attack their owners that are menstruating. Breitweiser attributes these attacks to their owner’s changed pheromonal odor and the iguana’s characteristic stoicism that makes the reptiles hard to read. “Because they’re stoic, you can’t really tell if iguanas love their owners. I have anecdotal evidence that they love their owners, such as when they change colors or recognize their owners,” Breitweiser explained. “But some get males aggressive for whatever reason with these different pheromone levels. Especially if you’re at eye level.”
And “aggressive” may be just the beginning:
In Male Iguanas in Breeding Season and Human Females by Melissa Kaplan, author of Iguanas for Dummies, we learn that not only do iguanas attack menstruating women, but they also attempt to mate with them. Kaplan explains that some iguanas have special organs that can detect a menstruating woman’s hormones, and that these abilities might lead them to feel they’ve detected a mate: their unsuspecting female owners.
On a whim, Monday I dialed over to Wikipedia for June 14 birthdays, and found the likes of Boy George, Donald Trump, and Che. (Che, of course, rates a footnote.) None of these fit into Rule 5, not even Boy George.
And so I’m doing now what I did then: a brief piece about Oscar-winning screenwriter (for Juno) and former stripper Diablo Cody.
Among some of her current projects: a musical based on the Sweet Valley High book series; a pilot for Fox called Prodigy, about a girl genius who up to that point had been homeschooled; and the current Amazon Prime series One Mississippi, starring Tig Notaro.
And while she’s legendary for passing on the occasional barb, she’s all sentimental here accepting her Academy Award:
“Makes you wonder how they made the very first Kit Kats.”
Right back at me:
“They sprang fully formed from the forehead of Milton Hershey.”
This isn’t close to being true or anything — Nestlé acquired Rowntree, which created the Kit Kat, and Hershey licensed the product, first from Rowntree, then from Nestlé — but I definitely like her explanation better.
I watched highlights of the Comey hearings. This public theater reminded me of a fact I learned decades ago watching the Sunday News shows — namely, that it is evident our best and brightest don’t usually choose politics as their career. I think politics is filled with a whole bunch of Frank Burns of M*A*S*H fame. In addition to being not that bright, I think a vast majority of politicians are egotistic corrupt power-hungry asswipes. At every level of government. Yes, that is a sentence fragment. You may fix the syntax on your own. Diagram the corrected passage and send it to me in order to get your final grade.
Add just a hint of avarice, and you’ve got them down to a formula.
It’s not that I object to the premise, it’s that I hate acronyms and backronyms of this sort:
The true definition of “covfefe” — born from a deleted, after-midnight tweet from President Trump — remains unsettled, even to the commander in chief, who appeared to mistype it into existence on Twitter last month. But a congressman from Illinois wants to bring new meaning to the word.
The COVFEFE Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) on Monday, aims to preserve tweets from the president’s personal Twitter account, ensuring that Trump’s social-media posts are archived as presidential records.
“In order to maintain public trust in government, elected officials must answer for what they do and say; this includes 140-character tweets,” Quigley said in a statement. “If the President is going to take to social media to make sudden public policy proclamations, we must ensure that these statements are documented and preserved for future reference.”
Seems perfectly reasonable to me. I just wish Quigley’d called it something else; nine times out of ten, a stupid name undoes a sensible law. (The other time, it’s something like the PATRIOT Act, which was a stupid law with a stupid name.)
Last year, I made a couple of small loans through Kiva, on the basis that having escaped the hospital without going bankrupt due largely to the kindness of friends, I was due for some forward-paying. One of those loans has been completely paid back, the other more than halfway, so I sprang for a third. Carmen Josefina is 55, lives with her husband in Portoviejo, Ecuador, and this is what she does:
She is a great housewife, who in order to obtain her own resources works in artisanal crafts and as a merchant. She makes flowers out of fabric, cushions for furniture, and Christmas decorations with a lot of designs. She makes these handmade items to order or to sell to the public. She has been doing this activity for more than 20 years, and thanks to it, she helped her children get ahead.
This loan is to buy more raw materials for all of the products she makes. She likes it because with the loans, she has gotten a lot of help to continue with her business. Her dream is to have good health to keep going forward.
She asked for $1325 over eight months. As is typical with Kiva, there is a Field Partner, in this case an Ecuador-specific charity operation reporting a default rate (on 22,000 loans) of 0.11 percent.
A busy metro thoroughfare was narrowed to one lane each direction for the majority of the afternoon Wednesday following a semi rollover.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reports that at approximately 12:48 p.m. June 14 multiple lanes of both eastbound and westbound Interstate 44 are blocked near the Kelley exit following a crash semi rollover.
Authorities say the semi traveling eastbound rolled over throwing copper wire onto westbound traffic. A motorcyclist was transported to the hospital after striking the wire. A third vehicle was struck in the crash along eastbound traffic.
It was actually worse than that: when I came through at 4:45 pm or thereabouts, all three westbound lanes were blocked, and traffic was forced onto the shoulder. They were still picking up the wire, and I’m sure I’m not the only person who was asking “What the actual fark is that on the road?” There seemed to be one lane open on the eastbound side, but traffic was backed up to beyond Western (two miles). Grateful am I that apparently no one did anything stupid during our exile from the roadway, unless you want to count flooring it once past the accident. (Would I stomp the pedal under those conditions?)
For what it’s worth, the Francophone spammers, at least in my limited experience, understand their language of choice better than the broken-English specialists who dominate the spam traps. This item was dumped on me last night:
En général, si une room interdit l’utilisation d’outils, les logiciels vont respecter ces interdictions, par suite il ne procèdent pas aux diversifications qui permettent à l’outil de fonctionner avec les spécificités de la room, notamment le codage des mains.
More or less:
In general, if a given room prohibits the use of certain utilities, the software you bring will comply with that prohibition, which means that you will not necessarily be able to work to the specifications of the room, even coding by hand.
I mean, yeah, it’s still spam, but it doesn’t insult one’s intelligence.
[S]ocialism has always had a unique version of the free-rider problem: Dorks jumping on the bandwagon trying to get laid. All the chiliastic socialists of the Middle Ages and Reformation preached that “common property” included common wives; Marx and Engels were still getting asked this question — and dodging it — well into the 19th century. Which makes sense when you look at Bolshevik women. If that’s your dating pool — and I think we all take it as read that SJWs have zero game — then oh my god yes, let’s socialize sex. Here again, the best Alt-Realist tactic seems to be: Make fun of these dorks for the dateless wonders they are.
Better yet, they’ll provide you, at least temporarily, with a forum in which you can mock them. It will last as long as they’re paying the freight, or they figure out what you really mean, whichever comes first.
Weirdly, I’ve encountered far fewer issues with way-left women. I’m not sure why, though it may simply be a case of too small a sample.
In some places, you can’t buy a plot no matter how much money you have. As a result, cremation rates have risen fast. In 1950, if you suggested your grandmother be incinerated after she died, you’d probably be kicked from the family deathbed. But today, almost half of Americans choose cremation, citing simpler, cheaper and more ecological as reasons. I used to think that cremation was a sustainable form of disposition, but just think about it for a second. Cremation destroys the potential we have to give back to the earth after we’ve died. It uses an energy-intensive process to turn bodies into ash, polluting the air and contributing to climate change. All told, cremations in the US emit a staggering 600 million pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually. The truly awful truth is that the very last thing that most of us will do on this earth is poison it.
Politics is a rough game; talking smack is a game for adolescents and nitwits. At their intersection, bad stuff happens, the kinds of things that can screw up a civilized government. I’m sick and tired of hearing that this President (or his predecessor, and on and on back) is the end of everything, a threat that needs to be rubbed out — Oh, nonsense. They’re all temporary jobs, for a couple of years, or four, or six, and then we can throw ’em right out if they’re a problem.* Talk against them if you don’t like them? Oppose the polices you think are bad (and cheer on the ones you like)? Sure, do that. But try to be a grown-up about it — because a few of the nominal adults around you aren’t.
* All right, except for Supreme Court justices. Still, having grown up in a rural county with “IMPEACH EARL WARREN” stickers on the fence posts at every third or fourth intersection leaves one aware that there’s a way to remove them, too.
Though no SCOTUS justice has ever been removed — yet.
Yoko Ono will, legalities willing, be added as a songwriter to one of the most famous pop songs in the world — and John Lennon’s biggest solo hit — “Imagine.”
“Tonight, it is my distinct honor to correct the record some 48 years later,” David Israelite, president and CEO of the National Music Publishers’ Association, said Wednesday night in New York at his organization’s annual event.
Just before announcing Ono’s addition, a clip from a BBC interview with John Lennon was played in which he admits her centrality to its creation and his “macho” omission of her from its credits:
“Actually that should be credited as a Lennon-Ono song because a lot of it — the lyric and the concept — came from Yoko. But those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted to mention her contribution. But it was right out of Grapefruit, her book.”
I can’t help but wonder if Yoko pointed this out to John when “Imagine” was released in 1971; she’s never exactly been known for her reticence.
The first question that came to me, though, was “Will this extend the copyright on the song?” It will not: under the law in force in 1971, the song enters the public domain 70 years after the death of the last author, and at the time, John Lennon was the one and only author of record. Not that I’m going to put out a PD version of “Imagine” in 2050 or anything.
Rebecca Black turns 20 on Wednesday, which means I’ve been following her for nearly six and a half years. A lot of things have happened, and a lot of things are happening: this weekend, she’s moving to a new apartment. And before too awfully long:
big day. today two songs that have been in the making for over a year and a half are now almost ready.
A chemical called sulforaphane, found in broccoli sprouts, has previously demonstrated an ability to reduce glucose levels in diabetic rats. Anders Rosengren of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, and his colleagues wondered whether the same might be true for humans. To test the theory, his team gave 97 people with type 2 diabetes a concentrated dose of sulforaphane every day for three months, or a placebo. All but three people in the trial continued taking metformin. Those who didn’t take metformin were able to control their condition relatively well without it.
The concentration of sulforaphane given was around 100 times that found naturally in broccoli. “It was the same as eating around five kilograms of broccoli daily,” says Rosengren.
On average, those who received the broccoli extract saw their blood glucose reduce by 10 per cent more than those on the placebo. The extract was most effective in obese participants with “dysregulated” diabetes, whose baseline glucose levels were higher to start with.
“We’re very excited about the effects we’ve seen and are eager to bring the extract to patients,” says Rosengren. “We saw a reduction of glucose of about 10 per cent, which is sufficient to reduce complications in the eyes, kidneys and blood,” he says.
Besides, if you tried to eat 5 kg of broccoli, your intestines would be playing the opening to Also sprach Zarathustra.