Tag: The Breakfast Club

The Breakfast Club (Organics)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgAh, yes.  Now that the tumult and hubbub are done and we can wait for April 13th to have the Mets disappoint us again, and the leaves brown and sere crunch beneath the feet of costumed children while the long night is lit by sacrificial gourds, it is time to resume my musical whimseys.

This morning we shall start with one of the oldest instruments in common use, the Organ.

If you watch that purveyor of speculative fiction and conspiracy theories laughably called The History Channel I’m sure you’ve been subjected to many, many hours of Ancient Discoveries where the slack jawed narrators marvel at the fact that our ancestors were more than feral brutes wearing animal skins, stabbing and slashing at each other with crudely made implements with none of the sophistication and subtlety of a Maxim or Thermonuclear warhead.

Hah, the reason they didn’t fix up the Iowa after the turret explosion is we no longer have the tools or skills to do it and that was only WW II.  We can’t build Space Shuttles or iPods anymore either.  We have facebook and Twitter instead and I think it’s a fair trade, even 140 characters seems tl;dr.

So anyway it should come as no surprise the Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese, etc., ect. were capable of stunning feats of engineering and craftsmanship based on a deep understanding of Math, Physics, and Chemistry.  Curse you Dark Ages.

Such an item is the Organ.  It basically operates according to the principles invented (as far as we know) by Ctesibius of Alexandria for the hydraulis between 285 – 222 BCE (about 2200 years ago).  He was an expert in pneumatics, the science of compressed air, and water had little to do with the mechanism except to provide a motive force to the bellows.  He did make other advances in hydraulics like the the world’s most accurate clock (a water clock) and is said by most to have been the first head of the Museum of Alexandria.

He is also reputed to have been notoriously poor.  So much for genius.

Now believe it or not music was just as important to non-contemporary culture as it is to ours, maybe more.  ‘Oral’ history in non-literate societies (those without a written language) is frequently conveyed by song where the beat and melody remind the performer of the correct wording and sequence of events in the story.  The Iliad and the Odyssey are nothing more than long songs.  We don’t have a record of most of these because musical notation, the written language of music, was not yet invented and ideas about the difference between what is called music and what is called noise change quite frequently (those damn kids).

There is some evidence that even the earliest western instruments used either a chromatic or diatonic scale so most can produce sounds we would recognize as music even if they weren’t actually used that way and the same would be true of the Organs of Ctesibius.  The problem is that they used big old pipes to create the resonant tones and are expensive and not so easily moved.  Thus they were usually installed in Houses of Worship, be they Pagan Temples or Christian Cathedrals and their purpose was to establish the proper awe and respect a major religion deserved.

And so things stood until 1517 (ironically, this very day the 95 theses were posted by Martin Luther) and the Protestant Reformation when the sects that split away from the Catholic Church (and the Orthodox one for that matter) were basically poor and despised (on theological principles anyway) the ritual and ceremony.  If they captured an Organ in battle they were as likely to melt down the pipes for musket balls (most of them were made of lead, or even more valuable brass and bronze which could be re-cast as cannons) as to use it to make music.

In time the Protestants developed their own musical tradition and Organs evolved more secular purposes especially the relatively portable ones that used Reeds or electronics to develop their tones.

However, since a large number of early “Art” composers were employed by the Catholic Church which maintained its tradition of musical accompaniment there is a substantial body of work intended for the Organ of which arguably the most famous is Toccata and Fugue in D Minor attributed (wasn’t published until 1833 and was promoted by Mendelssohn) to Bach.

This particular recording (Columbia Masterworks ML 5032) is E. Power Biggs, one of the most noted organists of the 20th Century, playing the piece on 14 different Organs in Europe.

  1. Stockholm, Sweden
  2. Weingarten, Germany
  3. Lubeck, Germany
  4. Luneburg, Germany
  5. Hamburg, Germany
  6. Steinkirchen, Germany
  7. Neuenfelde, Germany
  8. Heidelberg, Germany
  9. Sor, Denmark
  10. Gouda, Holland
  11. Amsterdam, Holland
  12. Amstelveen, Holland
  13. Westminster Abbey, England
  14. Royal Festival Hall, England

Since Organs were, in the tradition of Ctesibius and the ancient engineers, hand crafted individually, I’d like you to pay attention to the very different acoustics of each individual instrument as the same piece is played by the same artist.

But you’ll be forgiven if you just want it as background music while you answer the door.

Happy Halloween.

Obligatories, News and Blogs below.

The Breakfast Club (The Witch’s New Year)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

Samhain: The Thinning Of The Veil

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Samhain is one of the eight festivals of the Wiccan/Pagan Wheel of the Years that is celebrated as the new year with the final harvest of the season. It is considered by most practitioners of the craft to be the most important of the eight Sabats and one of the four fire festivals, Imbolc, Beltane and Lughnasadh. Beginning at sundown on October 31 and continuing through the next day, fires are lit and kept burning to recognize the shortening of days and the coming of winter’s long cold nights. [..]

It is also the time of the year that we reflect and honor our ancestors and especially those who have departed since last Samhain. According to Celtic lore, Samhain is a time when the boundaries between the world of the living and the world of the dead become thinner, allowing spirits and other supernatural entities to pass between the worlds to socialize with humans. The fires and the candles burning in western windows are believed to help guide the spirits of the departed to the Summerlands. Like all Wiccan festivals, Samhain celebrates Nature’s cycle of death and renewal, a time when the Celts acknowledged the beginning and ending of all things in life and nature. Samhain marked the end of harvest and the beginning of the New Celtic Year. The first month of the Celtic year was Samonios – ‘Seed Fall’. [..]

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This Day in History

‘War of the Worlds’ spooks Americans on Halloween Eve; A deadly mudslide hits Nicaragua after Hurricane Mitch; Muhammad Ali beats George Foreman in the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’; Comedian Steve Allen dies.

Breakfast Tunes

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TBC: Morning Musing 10.29.14

I have 3 articles for your perusal this morning.

First, an accurate treatise on the state of ‘we the people’ in this country:

So Long, Liberty: 10 Ways Americans Have Lost Their Rights

Our most fundamental rights-to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness-are under assault. But the adversary is Big Wealth, not Big Government, as conservatives like to claim…

(snip)

These changes didn’t just happen. Wealthy individuals and corporations made it happen – and they’re still at it. Meanwhile, Corporate America’s wholesale theft of your individual liberties has been rebranded as a fight for … the corporation’s individual liberty.

Jump!

The Breakfast Club (No Pain Inside)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

The Statue of Liberty is dedicated in New York; Benito Mussolini takes control of the Italian government; The Cuban Missile Crisis ends; Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and actress Julia Roberts are born.

Breakfast Tunes

TBC: Morning Musing 10.27.14

Well, I had drain issues so I spent most of my time on that, but I do have one article for y’all. It’s a long one, but it’s a good one.

Apocalypse Now: Seriously, It’s Time for a Major Rethink About Liberal and Progressive Politics

So I am sorry to share my deep-seated opinion, which should jibe with anyone who is paying attention. After decades of engagement in progressive politics and media, it is very clear to me: we progressives, liberals, common-sense people, are losing badly to the conservative business state, the tyranny of massively expanding tech companies, theocratic right-wing forces and pervasive militarism, home and abroad. By virtually every measure, things are getting worse. And things are trending much, much worse in ways we can easily measure, like inequality, climate, militarization of police forces, etc., and in ways that are more psychological and emotional.

No jumping today. Just one good read.

So how you doin’?  😀

The Breakfast Club (Sunny Side Up)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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Today in History

Breakfast Tune: Cigar Box Banjo #4- Whole World Waiting for the Sunrise

Breakfast News & Blogs Below

The Breakfast Club (Draw Back in Fear)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Cuban missile crisis fuels Cold War clash at UN; China’s UN seat changes hands; ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’ battle takes place; Author Geoffrey Chaucer dies; Golfer Payne Stewart killed in plane crash.

Breakfast Tunes

The Breakfast Club (They’re Still Fighting)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Dawn of the UN; Dwight Eisenhower vows to end the Korean War; Suspects caught in D.C.-area sniper shootings; Concorde makes last trans-Atlantic flight; ‘Star Trek’ creator Gene Roddenberry dies.

Breakfast Tunes

The Breakfast Club (Retro Tech)

breakfast beers photo breakfastbeers.jpgSo, almost a Million for an Apple 1.

Did I mention I have a 2C new in the box?  I do, actually.  Also a Commodor 64 (not in the box), 3 TS 1000s (1 in box), couple of XTs (with Monitor, try finding an MDA today), an all ISA AT, a P-386 500 driving 98 SE and 4 x 8MB drives, and various other spare parts that I could assemble into different configurations of different vintages.

I started out playing Star Trek over a 300 Baud Modem on an ADAM 3A Terminal using CompuServe and did my first programing in COBOL and RPG on Holerith cards.

So I’m not old, I’m well connected.

I started out in the biz with a translation of an Insurance Rating program from TRS-80 to Apple Basic (anyone remember Romar?  It was like the very first clone).

The machine that’s missing from my collection is a Kaypro 10.  64K and 10 Mb of C/PM goodness that I developed my bread and butter XTab app on that I have ported through a variety of iterations of MS-DOS, CCPM, DesqView, OS2, and Windows.

I’ll tell you this- there is no money in poetry for machines or maintaining them either.

I’ve ended up with a skill set that includes 7+ languages- COBOL, RPG, FORTRAN, BASIC, C (and about 5 variants), Postscript and HTML, and MS Macro as well as a heap of hardware that I’m willing to let good homes adopt as well as friends and family who accuse me of being a cat lady who never met a stray I didn’t like.

I have a friend who collects rarer hardware than that.  He has a Poly-88 with full OS source directly from one of the developers.  It’s good for what a 4K 8088 with a hard sectored floppy and an S-100 bus can do.

I also ended up with bookshelves of Bytes, PC Mags, Dr. Dobbs, and Computer Shoppers.

Sigh.  It all ought to go to a museum.  My current main ride (down at the moment after a voltage surge) is a Asus M4A88T-V EVO USB 3.0 with 16 Gb and a 3.7 6 Core AMD Athlon II.  Because it’s not working I’m on my laptop, an HP 6475b sporting the same 16 Gb and a 2.5 Dual Core AMD A4 so don’t cry for me Argentina.  I think the voltage surge screwed up my Windows virtual memory file, but I haven’t tested that yet.  If I have to replace the Motherboard it’s $120.  If I have to replace the CPU it’s $170.  If I have to replace the memory it’s $130.  I think the hard drives are recoverable (already have the important data) but they’re $80 for 2 Tb.

This is why there is no money in computing.

The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations – then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation – well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.

Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (1927)

Science News

Henry Ford Museum acquires 1976 Apple-1 computer

Dearborn Press & Guide

Published: Wednesday, October 22, 2014

“When acquiring artifacts for The Henry Ford’s Archive of American Innovation, we look at how the items will expand our ability to tell the important stories of American culture and its greatest innovators,” said Patricia Mooradian, president of The Henry Ford. “Similar to what Henry Ford did with the Model T, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs put technology directly in the hands of the people with the creation of the Apple-1, completely altering the way we work and live. The Apple-1 was not only innovative, but it is a key artifact in the foundation of the digital revolution.”



Only 64 of the originally produced 200 Apple-1 computers are known to exist – with 15 of this group known to be operational. In addition to the central Apple-1 motherboard, the acquisition also includes a hand-built keyboard interface, power supply, facsimile copies of the owner’s manual and schematics, Sanyo monitor and Apple-1 Cassette Interface.

Just as an aside, the part about “first pre-assembled personal computer ever”, not true.  Altair 8800, IMSAI 8080, Poly-88.  What these all lacked was an integrated video terminal and keyboard.

I was there and I bootstrapped a paper tape reader from front panel switches and I swore I’d never, ever touch a computer in my life.

Heh.

Tech News

Science Oriented Video!

The Obligatories, News, and Blogs below.

TBC: Morning Musing 10.22.14

Well, I have only one article for you to ponder this morning, and I feel pretty vindicated in light of it, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone among liberals.

Obama Is a Republican

They were not wrong. In my opinion, Obama has governed as a moderate conservative-essentially as what used to be called a liberal Republican before all such people disappeared from the GOP. He has been conservative to exactly the same degree that Richard Nixon basically governed as a moderate liberal, something no conservative would deny today. (Ultra-leftist Noam Chomsky recently called Nixon “the last liberal president.”)

No jumping this morning! So how you doin’?  😀

The Breakfast Club (The Supremes)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Thomas Edison perfects workable electric light; Anthrax scare claims first of two U.S. postal workers in Washington, DC; Britain wins Battle of Trafalgar; Actress and author Carrie Fisher born

Breakfast Chuckle

TBC: Morning Musing 10.20.14

I have 3 things for you all this morning.

First, this should be a great interview, and it will be live streamed. See the link for more info:

Lawrence Lessig interviews Edward Snowden

Institutional corruption and the NSA: Edward Snowden will be interviewed (via videoconference) by Lawrence Lessig about the NSA in a time of war, and whether and how the agency has lost its way.

Jump!

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