Monday, July 28, 2014

Jack White slays Pittsburgh

Jack White used Lillie Mae's violin bow to play his guitar during Ball and Biscuit at Pittsburgh on July 27th. Edit: The photo is by tour photog David Swanson.

 photo jackpitts_zps6e5941aa.jpg

I can't find any footage of him using it on Yootoob, but a friend who was there described it as the caressing style, rather than the Dazed and Confused "smacking" style.

Until footage appears, here's Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground and Hardest Button To Button from the same show.




Sunday, July 27, 2014

Jack White's Vescovo video explained

Jack White fans will remember the Vescovo & Co Clinic for Contagious Diseases gig on July 2nd in London.  Third Man Records describes it this way

Last night at midnight in Central London, Jack White played a secret show in the basement of a disused office block, to fans clad entirely in powder blue medical gowns.
The event was a collaboration between Jack and the Punchdrunk Theatre Group who had temporarily transformed the space into the Vescovo & Co Clinic for contagious diseases, and had staffed this fake medical facility with dozens of their actors playing the roles of doctors, nurses and orderlies at the time of a disease outbreak. 
Drawing on the themes of Jack White's current album, 'Lazaretto', a term used to describe a quarantine island, the experience began with an elaborate online treasure hunt. A spoof medical infomercial from 1949 appeared in the archives of online medical resource The Wellcome Trust, which contained various obtuse clues that led Jack's superfans to a website belonging to the fake medical company, Vescovo & Company. Thousands of fans submitted their details to this website as part of an online screening for a contagious disease. A lucky few progressed through the screening process that lead to them receiving a telephone call from Punchdrunk actors inviting them to an out-of-hours appointment at the Vescovo Clinic. The clinic had been created for this one occasion by Punchdrunk Theatre across multiple floors of a disused building owned by The Vinyl Factory.
On arrival, fans were asked to change in to blue medical gowns before being subjected to a variety of treatments testing in a maze of medical rooms staffed by Punchdrunk actors. Chaos descended as an outbreak alarm was raised and terrified fans were herded into a smoke filled quarantine chamber. Finally a screen was dropped to reveal Jack and band in full medical uniform who proceeded to belt out a thirty minute set before Jack himself succumbed to the mysterious disease. The rock star fell to the ground in a fit of convulsions before being strapped to a stretcher and wheeled off to a waiting ambulance.
As the press release states, one of the items in the online treasure-hunt for clues on how to win attendance was "a spoof medical informercial...appeared in the archives of...the Wellcome Trust".

I wondered how a record company could get a spoof video into a medical resource library.

The infamous video.


The US musician Jack White (formerly of the White Stripes) recently launched a new album, ‘Lazaretto’. Lazaretto is also the name given to maritime quarantine stations typically in the Mediterranean with many being established during the time of Venetian mercantile domination. Some were associated with the slave trade and others with leper colonies.
He got in touch with the Wellcome Library through a production company, Nomad, about a secret gig he planned for fans on 2 July whilst on tour in the UK (just after he played at Glastonbury).Punchdrunk who produce immersive theatre were engaged to create a one-off event themed around the idea of a lazaretto and contagion.
The producers at Nomad had already selected one of our videos – How to Mask (above) – and re-edited it. They made the highly unusual request of asking us to ‘hide’ their video on our youtube channel. In the accompanying metadata we were provided with, there was a link to what turned out to be a ‘fake’ pharmaceutical company, Vescovo & Co, and people who navigated to this website were invited to register for unspecified medical experiments. After some discussion around the value of our contribution, we were keen to get involved in a project that used our content so creatively and we agreed to go ahead and host the new video called How to Stop Contagion part III, Vescovo & Co (1948).
Nomad agreed to let me attend the event.
So I guess the answer was: We got bribed by a chance to go to a Jack White/Punchdrunk happening.  And there was "some discussion around the value of our contribution", whatever that means.

The blog goes on to describe what a fun time they had.  They also embed the original film that was edited to form the Vescovo&Co video. I can't seem to embed it here, but it's worth a trip to their blog to see it and the rest of the write up.

Edit to add: It's hardly possible to use an ampersand on blogger without the html "amp:" appearing after it. I'll try to wipe it out but it will keep coming back.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

San Juan Capistrano Summer Night

Yesterday my city put on a little fun in the park. We had a Creedence Clearwater Revival band called Creedence Relived for entertainment. They were a fun band who had the hassle of dealing with people who were already wedged in their folding event-seats, and yet managed to achieve about a 15 to 20% dance rate by the end of the second set.

 photo creedence_zps65d923c3.jpg
Creedence Relived. The man on the right with the scrolls who looks like a town cryer is the town cryer.

It's odd how old this music sounds. I mean, it is old - CCR's heyday is before my time as a listener - but this sort of southern boogie is primevally old; it's in people's DNA now. It doesn't sound as though someone is playing it, more that it is leaking out of the cosmos on its own. I think everybody is born knowing the words to Proud Mary (hint: it's the "rolling on the river" one); Bad Moon Rising must be taught to everyone in the cradle by their mothers (STB described it as "a jolly little song if you don't listen to the words); and Susie Q sounds like a primal force, more like Zeus or Thor than something someone sat down and thunk up.  Still, the familiarity with the material didn't stop the audience from failing to complete their half of the sing-alongs.

We also had marvellous cream puffs by someone I've unfortunately forgotten, thingy burgers by someone I've unfortunately forgotten as well, and a whole park full of shills getting in on the act, including the famous Sectum Sempra Energy, who want to build a three-storey electrical substation approximately next door to me in a town which does not allow three-story buildings but apparently can't stop a utilities company from doing whatever it wants. In an effort to sway the populace, they were giving away beach balls and little flashlights with their logo on, or "outreach" as they called it. SJC's herd of chiropractors was out in force, adjusting people by the dozen. The Toll Roads were there - weird really. I mean the stables weren't there, or the ridgelines or the creek. But the roads made the trip, and handed out clever lie-flat emergency water bottles which I hope does not signal lack of faith in their product (which is otherwise branded as efficient transportation without the possibility of getting stranded in a dry desert). Elsewhere much coconut water was hawked, but I didn't see any salted caramels.

Mayor Allevato was there, looking tanned and well, along with Councillor someone or other, whose name I have unfortunately forgotten. No, I wasn't drinking. 

Success! My home grown pineapple

After only six years of hand-watering and personal care, my pineapple top has grown an entire new pineapple.

 photo pineapple140716_zps71e39483.jpg

It's a very small version of a variety that's currently $2.99 in the stores. So this is a great victory indeed.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Low flyby of military planes this morning in Orange County

Two warplanes flew over my house this morning. Twice, unless there were two separate flights of them. I hid under a desk for the first flight as I thought the world was ending, but shortly after the second flight I took this picture of a much higher altitude plane that seemed to be associated with the low-fly group.

 photo plane_zps0287e193.jpg

What is it? And what were the other planes? One friend suggests it was the Commemorative Air Force.

Minnesota would-be governor explains AIDS. It's caused by sperm.

The internets are a strange place. On the one hand, you can learn a lot from them. On the other hand,  it's rife with "facts" so erroneous that they make your eyes bleed. And, although I haven't set foot in a children's classroom in years, and I know teachers who will strenuously disagree with me, I get the very strong impression that American education is so fluffy that you can quite easily graduate high school without being able to tell the difference.

In this case, Mr Loudly Incorrect is Bob Frey, a candidate for Governor of Minnesota. At least I assume he finished high school.  His views, according to MinnPost:

"But when questioned about his position on social issues, Frey added that it “does certainly need to be addressed for what it is. It’s not about the gay agenda but about the science and the financial impact of that agenda. It’s more about sodomy than about pigeonholing a lifestyle.”

Frey then explained his view: “When you have egg and sperm that meet in conception, there’s an enzyme in the front that burns through the egg. The enzyme burns through so the DNA can enter the egg. If the sperm is deposited anally, it's the enzyme that causes the immune system to fail. That’s why the term is AIDS – acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.”"
His son Mike Frey said the same thing, when testifying before the MN House Civil Law Committee about Gay Marriage.


It's utter bullshit, of course, and anyway fails to explain why gays shouldn't get married, as I imagine if they couldn't get married they'd just go in for premarital sex. In fact, I think premarital gay sex may have been observed in some societies already.  So there aren't many benefits to preventing gay marriage on disease-prevention grounds.

Tracking this statement down a little further, I was directed to this page -Towleroad.  Here, the authors are debunking a group founded by yet another Minnesotan politician, Rep. Glenn Gruenhagen, which put out bizarre videos that make the entirely incorrect claim about anal sex, above, as well as a number of other equally peculiar ones. Weirdly, the video is entitled Sodomy, Health, Money, and HF-826,” which is to say it was produced to address a school anti-bullying bill that somehow can only be attacked by videos filled with endless descriptions of anal and oral sex.  (Full disclaimer: I have not read HF-826.)

Here's the video which makes the anal sex claim.  If you're short on time, start at 3:21.


Or just take my word for it that the stills below are from the video.
 photo Untitled-1_zpsfcb221e3.jpg

 photo Untitled-2_zpsed9ac4fa.jpg

 photo Untitled-3_zpsde74b393.jpg

It claims that the references are peer reviewed before publication.  There's only one reference in there – Judson et al's COMPARATIVE PREVALENCE RATES OF SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES IN HETEROSEXUAL AND HOMOSEXUAL MEN Am. J. Epidemiol. (1980) 112 (6): 836-843

Note the date.  It's from 1980. HIV/AIDS was not known at the time. Even the early name for AIDS, Gay Related Immune Deficiency (GRID), was not in use before 1982.  Judson's paper, which according to that site has been cited only once, concerns the higher prevalence of syphilis and gonorrhea in homosexual men attending STD clinics compared with heterosexual men.   Other STDs had a lower incidence in gay men. The speculation on the cause?
"It is speculated that higher rates of gonorrhea and syphilis result from a larger mean number of sexual contacts, more potential sites of infection, and more hidden and asymptomatic disease, while the lower rates of the other STD result from a lesser susceptibility of anal mucosa to the causative agent(s) of NGU, herpes genitalis, and venereal warts or from a lack of pubic apposition (pediculosis pubis)."
Nothing about the sperm "burning" through the mucosa with its enzymes.  This is because that is not a peer reviewed fact. It is more along the lines of hooey.

Larry Burtoft's Setting The Record Straight, also mentioned, is a book. Not a peer-reviewed paper.

Sperm do have enzymes in a vessel at the top of their heads.  Called the acrosome, it contains hyaluronidase (the -ase ending to enzymes means "I eat it") to break through the egg-surrounding cumulus cells it comes into contact with (they are suspended in hyaluronic acid, sometimes known as "goo" as it functions by "gluing" cells together or lubricating things that should slide over each other), and acrosin, which dissolves the clear zone around the egg so that fusion can begin . However, in the vast majority of cases, the acrosome is only activated after the sperm swims in the uterine environment and meets the chemical signals coming from an egg.  Sperm are not born as armed nuclear warheads looking for mucosa to "burn through", or happily burrowing with gimlet-eyed ease through rectal skin that's tough enough to keep billions of fecal bacteria – some armed with hyaluronidase – out of your bloodstream.

Still, that's not the weirdest part about the video.  Anybody can fail to remember what a zona pellucida is (or lack the nous to look it up), but most people can ask "what if?" questions. Such as "In that case, why aren't women getting AIDS in their mouths in vast quantities?" and "What about heterosexual anal intercourse?" and  "Why aren't all female porn stars dying?" and "If it's just due to the membranes being thinner there, why don't we see AIDS cases going back thousands of years? and "What is this HIV thing we've heard about – are you saying it doesn't exist?' and "If sperms have little cell-dissolving bombs on their heads,  why don't all teenage boys have a permanent rash on their hands?

Do politicians have a duty to at least partly understand the world we live in, or is it our duty to kick out the ones that clearly don't have a clue? In this case, he hasn't a clue. Don't vote for him, for heaven's sake. 


9:37 pm edited for clarity.
10:45 edited because Minneapolis is not a state

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

The Bees buzz awhile: Chicken Payback

This is not new to anyone who listens to adverts in Britain, but I heard it for the first time yesterday in a movie called How to Lose Friends And Alienate People, which I watched because Netflix said I'd like it. (It said that because it has Simon Pegg in it.) Like many oughties movies, it has a carefully curated soundtrack ranging from the worst torch singers yea even unto Motorhead, but the only one that made me want to get up and dance (which would have been inappropriate in my living room during a rom-com) was Chicken Payback, by The Bees.

Like the one that goes Woo-hoo woo hoo! and is probably called Woo-hoo! in Tintin Quarantino movies, it's remarkably catchy. At first I could have sworn I'd heard it on Nuggets, or Boulders, or Pebbles, or possibly Gravel, but apparently not. It's not real freakbeat. But I'm relaxed about authenticity, as I've mentioned before, so here are the Bees with Chicken Payback.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Jack White on Zane Lowe, 14-07-02 (audio file); follow up Vescovo show article

If you missed Jack White's appearance on Zane Lowe's show yesterday, it's up at the BBC site. But more importantly, it's up on YouTube, thanks to uploader Matthew and that won't age off the site (I hope). It's audio only, so there's just one nice picture to look at while it plays.

There's an interview with Jack first, and the performance is the last 45 minutes or so of this file.




Jack followed this up with a secret invite-only gig in a "contagious disease clinic" that featured a full immersive performance by the theatre group Punchdrunk.  It sounds thoroughly wonderful and I'm sorry I couldn't be there! (They did send me a consolation email with some nice pictures this morning, though.)

His record company, Third Man Records, described it this way:

Last night at midnight in Central London, Jack White played a secret show in the basement of a disused office block, to fans clad entirely in powder blue medical gowns.
The event was a collaboration between Jack and the Punchdrunk Theatre Group who had temporarily transformed the space into the Vescovo & CoClinic for contagious diseases, and had staffed this fake medical facility with dozens of their actors playing the roles of doctors, nurses and orderlies at the time of a disease outbreak. 
Drawing on the themes of Jack White's current album, 'Lazaretto', a term used to describe a quarantine island, the experience began with an elaborate online treasure hunt. A spoof medical infomercial from 1949 appeared in the archives of online medical resource The Wellcome Trust, which contained various obtuse clues that led Jack's superfans to a website belonging to the fake medical company, Vescovo & Company. Thousands of fans submitted their details to this website as part of an online screening for a contagious disease. A lucky few progressed through the screening process that lead to them receiving a telephone call from Punchdrunk actors inviting them to an out-of-hours appointment at the Vescovo Clinic. The clinic had been created for this one occasion by Punchdrunk Theatre across multiple floors of a disused building owned by The Vinyl Factory.

On arrival, fans were asked to change in to blue medical gowns before being subjected to a variety of treatments testing in a maze of medical rooms staffed by Punchdrunk actors. Chaos descended as an outbreak alarm was raised and terrified fans were herded into a smoke filled quarantine chamber. Finally a screen was dropped to reveal Jack and band in full medical uniform who proceeded to belt out a thirty minute set before Jack himself succumbed to the mysterious disease. The rock star fell to the ground in a fit of convulsions before being strapped to a stretcher and wheeled off to a waiting ambulance.

Completely missing the point personal note: I've worked with infectious disease (ID) doctors most of my working life and I've never heard them say "contagious disease" but what do I know? (Apparently it refers to diseases which are infectious on close contact - appropriate for a lazaretto, I suppose.)

He's done this kind of show in London before - Halloween at Shoreditch Church.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

I won't shop at Hobby Lobby

I'm fed up with several recent events concerning the Supreme Court, so here's Maru sitting in a box. Really, he just sits in the box. But that's Maru!

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
I sometimes mention a product on this blog, and I give a URL to Amazon or similar sites. Just to reassure you, I don't get paid to advertise anything here and I don't get any money from your clicks. Everything I say here is because I feel like saying it.