Piece of My Heart

September 28th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink


Janis Joplin sings Piece of My Heart

And again, with slightly cleaner sound, in Germany:

What a song. (By the way, read this Wikipedia article about songwriter Bert Berns.) What a singer. What a singer for this song. Piece of My Heart was always my favorite of Janis Joplin’s recordings. She just takes this thing – of course I’m talking about the chorus – through the roof.  And what is it about this chorus, anyway? Well, there’s a build up the the chorus that eventually grows on a dominant chord for a full three bars before breaking into “Come on – take another little piece of my heart”. (Oh yeah – about Bert Berns – he also wrote Twist and Shout, another pop song that sits on the V chord for a week before breaking into a I IV V chorus with great backing vocals…)  The horn stabs on the back beats. The ascending backing vocals that lead up to Janis’ “Take another little piece…” Eventually it stops on the IV chord – “You know you’ve got it…” and then actually quiets down for the verses.

It’s always interesting for me to speculate on whether a song embodies some Platonic ideal – whether a perfectly realized arrangement and performance is implicit in a song. Something about the Janis Joplin/Big Brother and the Holding Company arrangement – just the vibe of the thing – is transcendent.  The singer meets the song and magic happens.

It isn’t even about how it sounds – the above recordings leave a lot to be desired. It’s just that Janis Joplin hops on this thing and takes a ride.

God bless you, Janis.

By the way, here’s audio of the original release of Piece of My Heart, recorded by Erma Franklin in 1967. I’d like to see/hear Erma Franklin doing this one live.

(Again on Bert Berns – the Isley Brothers cut Twist and Shout first (oops, second – The Top Notes were first in 1961) – and yet it’s the Beatles version and John Lennon’s vocal that will forever be the recording.)

The Obama Plan in 4 Minutes

September 21st, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink


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Why Physics Will Not Be Unified

September 20th, 2009 § 1 comment § permalink


Driving around Ann Arbor doing my day-job, moments of clarity visit me.  I write them down on index cards – the little spiral bound 4×6 ones.  Most of the cards are about music and songs.  Some politics.

The other day I was thinking about Nature (not Physics) and wrote down, not for the first time, my take on the now nearly century long effort to unify Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity.

The title of my card was “Why Physics Will Not Be Unified”.  It read:

– Physics is not fundamental.  The “physical” is an emergent phenomena.

– “Number” is fundamental.  “Consciousness” is fundamental.

– All possible mathematical constructs coexist physically as best they can.  THEY NEED NOT INTERPENETRATE!!!

(On the flip side of the card I wrote:)

Like Prime Numbers on a number line, all are divisible by one, but not each other.

(Unifying General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics as “Physics”) is like wanting to find a commonality between 19 and 31, but not being willing to concede that “1” is real.

I could expand upon this, but the essence of the argument might get lost in all the words.  I think I’m right.

(number/consciousness – chicken/egg)…?

We Have Just Begun Our Part of the Fighting

September 14th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink


This morning a metaphor for our current battle to include a Robust Public Option in the President’s health insurance plan struck me.  Have a look at these lines from Walt Whitman’s The Battle of the Bonhomme Richard and the Serapis.

Our frigate takes fire,

The other asks if we demand quarter?

If our colors are struck and the fighting done?

Now I laugh content for I hear the voice of my little captain,

We have not struck, he composedly cries, we have just begun our

part of the fighting.


President Obama, we are ready to fight for your health plan if it contains a Robust Public Option.  Most of us Americans are sick and tired of having our lives lorded over by Corporations, much as the American colonists with whom John Paul Jones was fighting in 1779 were sick and tired of having their lives lorded over by the British.

This is really where we’re at, isn’t it?  Either we are Sovereign Citizens or we are just little pansy Consumers, and all this noise about Democracy and being represented in Congress is just a Potemkin village, a soporific,  a farce to keep us pacified while the Big Bosses have their way with us.

What’s it going to be, America?

Serene stands the little captain,

He is not hurried, his voice is neither high nor low,

His eyes give more light to us than our battle-lanterns.

Toward twelve there in the beams of the moon they surrender to us.

Beethoven in Color

September 13th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink


The Internet is great.  Basically, what we have here is a graphical (not notated) score of the Allegro from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony scrolling by while you listen to a recording of the music.  There are a bunch of these. Best to watch/listen in full screen.

I first ran across this stuff at The Daily Dish...

Making Steel

September 10th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink


Worth a look…a United States Steel puff video – but it’s interesting, none the less.

Fired Up? Ready To Go?

September 8th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink


Barack Obama – Labor Day 2009…

Why Theater?

September 7th, 2009 § 0 comments § permalink


Today, just an observation.  Natural Science – what I hesitate to call Physics because in my opinion that which is most essential about the subject matter of what is usually referred to as Physics is not physical – has led me to Theater.

How very interesting that Physics and Theater resonate with each other.

Why Theater?   The live audience is the key. From my post Night Flight:

It recently occurred to me that what was truly special to me about live theater was the way in which a group of people, including – especially including – a live reactive audience as an indispensable component of the magical dynamic – a group of people “self consciously” agree to surrender to a theatrical dream within the dominant shared “reality” dream.  Within the magic circle of a suspension of disbelief (or is it rather an affirmation of belief?) all are creating together, all are aware of and swept up into the common alternate reality that all are purposely – I won’t say mindfully – dreaming up together.

From Listen to the Moon:

In fairness, Science has indeed generated a concept, the Anthropic Principle, which explains the conveniently life-friendly physical constants and attributes of our universe by noting that only universes that have laws that facilitate the generation of observers will ever be observed. But I don’t think even the Anthropic Principle can have anything to say about why the discs of the Sun and Moon appear to be the same size as seen from Earth.

I say this because this synchronicity of observed disc size plays out in a realm of aesthetic rather than physical necessity. There is no physical necessity for the discs to be the same size. For instance, the moon could be farther away and a bit denser and achieve the same gravitational and tidal effects on Earth with a smaller apparent disc size.

There are, however, aesthetic reasons for the discs to be the same size. As currently constituted, solar eclipses look strikingly cool. Furthermore, the current arrangement of Earth, Sun, and Moon is also balanced and symmetrical. We have two lights of the same apparent size, one for the day and one for the night…

It seems that the audience in a theatrical system plays a role analogous to the role of observers in a physical system.  Hmmm….

Where am I?

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