a left leaning political blog -- it's not really about pie
a political blog, mostly, with a few cat pictures

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Say hi to Bill Maher and Conceptual Guerilla.

Soon I will stop writing about cellos, but not today.

Apocalyptica (realplayer) and Rasputina (quick time) are two bands that prove that if you have enough cellos, nothing else is needed (except for the occasional drummer.)


As I was saying, I finally bought a new cello. I tried several cellos that cost a few thousand dollars more than this one, but this one sounded the best. It has a big, warm sound. Most stringed instruments are modeled after those made by Stradivarius, but there are a few cellos around modeled after a slightly later violin maker named Montagnana. They are just a little bit wider than a normal cello. The bigger body gives the sound more low overtones, and thus a "warmer" or "darker" sound. They sound fantastic, and I will never play another Strad, which now sound to me like they have a stuffy nose.

Someone asked me what makes a cello "good." Most would say that it is just the sound. The tone and evenness of tone throughout the range of the instrument. Some look at the materials used. Here's a page on what a stringed instrument made with good materials looks like. See especially the part on "flaming." Good flaming is essential to many, even though it has no effect on the sound. Good flaming is "3D" and is very, very pretty. It's usually an indication that the maker used good materials and took the time to do a good job. People have bought well flamed stringed instruments on ebay, only to find out that the flaming was painted on.

A cello is probably among the things that one should not buy on ebay.


Go here for my review of the Maestro Cello from Stringworks.com.

Monday, July 28, 2003

Pictures of the new cello(s)

Some have expressed an interest, so I will write one last cello post along with a review of the Stringworks instrument that I tried out, for the people that inevitably will be coming from the search engines looking for information on them. Maybe later today.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

I have to send it back. Damn. I'll be shopping at the local luthier today and the one in LA on friday. Wish me luck.

Monday, July 21, 2003

It now seems clear that Iraq was better off under SH

Or at the very least, it will be a good long while until they are better off.

Death on the road to Basra

They are Shia Muslims, persecuted by Saddam Hussein. After the war, many of them welcomed the coalition forces but now they blame the Americans.

"I thought they came here to protect us and give us security," the dead boy's mother says.

Wounded children sway US battle for Iraqi hearts and minds "Instead there's death and more suffering."

She looks at the body of her son, which has been covered by a blanket. Tears run down her face. Another woman kneels down, she is frustrated.

"I can't understand - why has this happened?" she asks.

A few minutes later, the boy's father lifts the body into the boot of a car. The father is crying as he drives off to the hospital morgue.
My translator, Wissam, is furious.

"Why didn't the Americans stop when they saw they'd run over the child?" he asks me.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

My jaw literally dropped just now

Atrios links to an LA times article:

Still, he and other Pentagon officials said, they are studying the lessons of Iraq closely to ensure that the next U.S. takeover of a foreign country goes more smoothly.

"We're going to get better over time," promised Lawrence Di Rita, a special assistant to Rumsfeld. "We've always thought of post-hostilities as a phase" distinct from combat, he said. "The future of war is that these things are going to be much more of a continuum.

"This is the future for the world we're in at the moment," he said. "We'll get better as we do it more often."

We have got to vote these neocon idiots out.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Sorry for the lack of recent postings, but if I were blogging much right now, this blog would only morph into "the cello blog." I wrote recently that I sold my old cello and am looking for a new one. I now split my time between researching stringed instruments, and driving very far to try out instruments. It is all very time consuming.

i sure hope so
It arrives on tuesday. I hope I don't have to send it back.

Update: Go here for my review of the Maestro Cello from Stringworks.com.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Take this quiz to see which presidential candidate you are. (from metafilter)

My results: (I had the test include undeclared candidates and leave out 3rd party candidates, since hell has not yet frozen over.)

1. Kucinich (100%)
2. Dean (91%)
3. Kerry (86%)
4. Jackson (79%)
5. Lieberman (78%)
6. Moseley-Braun (78%)
7. Gephardt (76%)
8. Leahy (76%)
9. Edwards (75%)
10. Sharpton (72%)
11. Feingold (69%)
12. Graham (66%)
13. Biden (63%)
14. Kaptur (59%)
15. Clark (59%)
16. Feinstein (52%)
17. Bradley (43%)
18. McCain (29%)
19. Bush (18%)
20. Vilsack (8%)

I figured that I would agree the most with Kucinich, but I won't be voting for him. One need go no farther than to look at his hair to see that he is not electable.

Go Dean!

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Xymphora is speculating that the Pentagon and Kuwait are conspiring to clandestinely smuggle oil out of Iraq, based on the observations of a retired military meteorologist :

Meteorologist's work featured in national weather magazine

On May 25, while scanning the Air Force Defense Meteorological Satellite Program images pipelined into his desktop from 450 miles in orbit, Hank Brandli skidded at a nighttime photo of Iraq. It looked familiar. But not exactly.

Brandli retrieved another DMSP image he'd archived from May 3. He compared the two. The most recent photo showed a blazing corridor of light running the length of Kuwait, south to north, all the way to the Iraqi border. The image wasn't there on May 3.

"It's going right up to Iraq's oil fields," says the retired Air Force colonel from his home in Palm Bay. "Maybe I'm full of s---. Maybe all they're doing is building a highway to put in McDonald's and sell hamburgers. But why go that way? I think we're in bed with Kuwait. I think we're pumping oil out of Iraq to pay for this war."


"If you're building pipelines, you've got to have power, you've got to have light -- trucks and personnel and food and all sorts of support. If I had to bet, I'd say it looks like we're running Iraqi oil through Kuwait. It would make sense, because Kuwait's got its infrastructure intact."