Sunday 31 May 2009

The six degrees of lois weisberg

Lois is far from being the most important or the most powerful person in Chicago. But if you connect all the dots that constitute the vast apparatus of government and influence and interest groups in the city of Chicago you'll end up coming back to Lois again and again. Lois is a connector.

Lois, it must be said, did not set out to know everyone. "She doesn't network for the sake of networking," says Gary Johnson, who was Lois's boss years ago, when she was executive director of the Chicago Council of Lawyers. "I just think she has the confidence that all the people in the world, whether she's met them or not, are in her Rolodex already, and that all she has to do is figure out how to reach them and she'll be able to connect with them."

Someone recently asked me about LinkedIn; I told them about my old TeledyN post on how your network really isn't 'larger than you think' but perhaps what I really should have said is that you won't get anywhere with LinkedIn unless you know a Lois, and if you know a Lois, you won't need LinkedIn.

I had a Lois once upon a time, an agent by the name of Steve Hope, and I was never without a really nice gig. Steve knew me, loved my work, and he just had the knack. It was a beautiful relationship, but sadly Steve made his money and left The Biz; I did fairly well with another Lois-like agency who collectively had some ins, but it was nothing like the says with Steve and their agents each wandered off in their own directions, all outside of the realms of my work, and that was it, pretty much, the end of my illustrious career. I rode on my own network for a while until the dot-bomb blew them all out of the game, but without my Lois, there was no one to inject the neo-connections that could sustain full time work, and despite what the vested interests say, it isn't really something you can just do by yourself, you have to be the type who does this, ie A Natural.

Your task then, is to find a Natural Hope, and do what you do from there.

Saturday 30 May 2009

Happiness Theory: our Brains Lie

Recognizing that our brains lie ??? that we must cultivate a healthy skepticism of our own mental processes ??? is an important step in the pursuit of happiness.

Not precisely 'science' in the sense of a revelation from new study, but a hilarious summary of some key findings of the past few years summed into an inviting proposal for a 'new' enlightened approach to sanity in what the ancient Buddhists might have called Great Doubt.

Thursday 28 May 2009

Jazz For Beginners

selected for enjoyablility as well as importance, from the broad "modern" period extending from 60 - 2000. excluded are both earlier classic styles such as Dixieland or Big Band, also leaving out later day completely improvised/free recordings.

A wonderful list, widely scoped and very accessible, completely endorsed by Mr.G, although I might have included more newcomers like Butch Morris's conductioned NuBlu Orchestra, the harmolodious The Bad Plus, and Darcy james Argue's big band Secret Society with their brand new CD Infernal Machines

Wednesday 27 May 2009

Vint Cerf Speaks

podcast interview with Vinton Cerf, one of the founding fathers of the internet:

if (FlashDetect.installed) { $('flash_embed-dfxtjqmpGf').show(); $('quicktime_embed-dfxtjqmpGf').hide(); } else { $('quicktime_embed-dfxtjqmpGf').show(); $('flash_embed-dfxtjqmpGf').hide(); }

Just click on the link and the podcast will download to the desktop (in parts to start, but unified at end)

Vint now works for Google and has a lot to say about what's happening behind the secrecy. He is also the leading proponent of the basic human right of free and unfettered access to all that the network has to offer. 

I had the great honour of serving with Vint on the board of directors of his Internet Societal Task Force, back in the days before The Terrowar engulfed US policy. The ISTF was an activist wing of the Internet Society, charged with ensuring open and uncensored Internet access to every human on this globe and beyond.  In our last open media transmission we strongly criticised the US government for completely and without warning suspending entire national ISPs in Africa on the grounds of "suspected" links to Al Qaida, effectively stranding all legitimate Internet users in those countries -- we found our UN-granted political immunity quickly overruled, our mandate quickly redefined and our group silenced within days.  Rather than carry on as a powerless 'advisory discussion group' reporting only to the US officials, we disbanded.

Sunday 10 May 2009

Mother???s Day Proclamation (1870)

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!

Say firmly:
???We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.???

From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: ???Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.???
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

Julia Ward Howe (27 May 1819 - 17 Oct 1910) was a prominent American abolitionist, social activist, and poet most famous as the author of ???The Battle Hymn of the Republic.??? Her ???Mother???s Day Proclamation??? was one of the early calls to celebrate Mother???s Day in the United States. Written in 1870, it was a pacifist reaction to the carnage of the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War.

Wednesday 6 May 2009

El Sistema USA

33 years ago in a parking garage in Caracas, Dr. Jos?? Antonio Abreu gathered together 11 children to play music. El Sistema was born. It now teaches music to 300,000 of Venezuela???s poorest children, demonstrating the power of ensemble music to dramatically change the life trajectory of hundreds of thousands of a nation???s youth while transforming the communities around them.

Tuesday 5 May 2009

On Being a Baby

children are like the R&D department of the human species. They???re the ones who are always learning about the world. But if you???re always learning, imagining, and finding out, you need a kind of freedom that you don???t have if you???re actually making things happen in the world. And when you???re making things happen, it helps if those actions are based on all of the things you have learned and imagined. The way that evolution seems to have solved this problem is by giving us this period of childhood where we don???t have to do anything, where we are completely useless. We???re free to explore the physical world, as well as possible worlds through imaginative play. And when we???re adults, we can use that information to actually change the world.

On the topic of Children's Day, some up to the minute research-fueled developmental psychology thinking about just what it is like to really be a child, and no, not some cheap faux inner-child, but the real thing, the real McCoy, the real child. And why is it they are the very strange little creatures that they are, and why might Nature find them being this way is so important to its Humanity.

Kodomo no Hi (Children's Day)

Kodomo no Hi (??????????????? meaning "Children's Day") is a Japanese national holiday which takes place annually on May 5, the fifth day of the fifth month, and is part of the Golden Week. It is a day set aside to respect children's personalities and to celebrate their happiness.

Traditional celebration of Kodomo no Hi includes the annual marking of the posts with the height of each child, which around here is probably easier than trying to hoist a family of carp up the flagpole. The Festival marks the edge of summer, the original name literally meaning "the edge of five" which I'll wager is a term instantly understandable to any four year old.

Monday 4 May 2009

Happy Birthday, Giant Steps

"The only reason you can sing the blues and not Giant Steps is because you have done it far more often."

Raul Midon demonstrates how while singing with spirit is great -- singing without spirit is useless -- but when you add in a little bit of Coltrane intellect ...

Busking Owen Sound? Absolutely!

I've been corresponding with Doug Cleverley over at the Owen Sound Special events office on the topic of their plans for a late summer busking festival, and in my bid to have this folded in to make Summerfolk Weekend a really-folk festive occasion for the whole of the town (which apparently would not please the GB'f'S, so they won't) I made the comment that I thought we should have buskers all the time in Owen Sound. And guess what ...
"there is absolutely no reason - including municipal bylaws - why buskers could not play downtown during Summerfolk, even if it's just a spontaneous, saloon-clearing kind of activity. In fact, few people realize that Owen Sound has a virtually open door policy on busking. It's allowed in any public area, as long as the busker isn't interfering with any business or impeding traffic, doesn't use offensive language, and isn't aggressively trying to get money (i.e. panhandling).


You might enjoy talking with Irwin Seidman, the DIA's new general manager - he's hoping the Busker Festival will help launch a new program that actively encourages busking downtown, if he can get support for it.

if you want to get involved and/or show some support, you can contact Doug at dcleverley (at)

Sunday 3 May 2009

Lee ???Scratch??? Perry

"what they???re thinking about now is dancehall, and I???m thinking about righteousness. It???s a different vibration."