12/1/13

Prospector

I’d like to be in on the ground floor just once. I’ve pretty much been late to all the major parties.

Checkered Vans.

Coldplay.

Instagram.

YOLO.

And, now it’s apparently too late to be hip to bitcoins.

The Winklevoss Twins are buying it all up and the market has seen the digitial currency rise to
over $1000 in value. Basically, if you hear about it for the first time on CNN, you’re one of the last three people in the world to know, including my parents who watch TV with one of those language censoring v-chips. By the time I finally saw Paul Walker on the front of CNN.com, the web had confirmed his death, deemed it a hoax, re-confirmed it, and then cast him in the sequel to that Fast and Furious franchise, 2 Fast 2 Furious.

Wait. You’re saying that movie has already been made?

See? This is what I’m talking about. Who knew they had made more than one. Awesome.

Anyway, once simply the tender of the dark web’s illicit activity, bitcoins are officially mainstream and I’m going to be like every other schmoe paying full market price.

Digitial currency is coming. Bitcoins may be the technologically prehistoric Myspace to the Facebook of something more durable. But, this is inevitable.

So I plan on mining a LOT Of bitcoins, Yukon Cornelius style.

But, the advent of Christmas reminds us about real value and that a prospector sometimes looks for riches in unexpected places, like an abominable snowhuman or a dentistry-aspiring elf or an isolated land mass of marginalized toys.

That’s how you get in on the ground floor, I suppose. By looking in all the places no one else will.

Performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced by Jaq.
Today’s blong here:

Yukon Cornelius
[Please share with a friend, family member, or co-worker. That’s how news rap gets famous. And, by “news rap,” I mean “me.”]

11/7/13

Glitch in the Matrix

Every new generation of the iphone, introduced, has more bugs than a Looney Tune. Or a coon dog watching an episode of Breaking Bad.

Google maps sent people to an airport runway.

The first people that buy a new technology get hosed. Costs more. Works less.

Like a 3-D television.

Two things are true about the Healthcare.gov Marketplace.

1. The rollout was unacceptable.

2. We’re a guinea pig generation suffering the reasonable growing pains associated with the implementation of a new and complex regulatory and technological system.

The Affordable Care Act likely won’t work well for us. That doesn’t mean that it won’t.

I own a Plasma TV.

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced Haralduz7.

Today’s blong here:

Needlestuck

11/26/12

Penmanship Wrecked

As I mentioned, we were in Colonial Williamsburg for Thanksgiving. It was a really, really special trip with our extended family.

We saw a LOT of old things.

Quills, wood burning stoves, carriages, hatchets, brick oven fires. Bed pans.

You know what the colonialists might have preferred? I don’t know. Microsoft Word; a 2500 watt, self-cleaning, freestanding GE range top; central heating. Maybe a magic bowl that whisks away your bowel movements.

I’ve barked about this before but old things aren’t better. They’re just old. And, first.

A friend of this site sent this article about how some schools are ensuring that penmanship endures, even in the face of digital technology’s inevitable march. I’m generally in favor of this. At my son’s school the parents could elect whether or not to have our children taught script. We did. I like the arguments that cursive enhances coordination and motor skills and that it might still be valuable for speed in certain testing environs, essay, Advanced Placement, etc.

But, do you know why handwriting exists? Because the Egyptians didn’t have a Dell. And, do you know why script and other decorative calligraphy exists? Because the Saxons didn’t have Snell Roundhand Black typeface in their font library. As soon as Guttenberg found a shortcut, you didn’t see monks still romantically hand scribing books for the fun of it. Well maybe some. But that’s just because they had taken a vow of celibacy. They had some energy to burn, so to speak.

So as to old stuff you should feel free to take it or leave it. If you like old technology and vestige, cool. Read by oil lamp. Wear a neck cravat. Harass a wench. But, if you value things like illumination and automatic drive and remote controls and your news even, let’s say, a day less than a week old when you receive it, then don’t feel bullied by other people’s nostalgia.

I wrestled with my own sentiments walking around this city dedicated to freezing in suspended animation the way things were. In fairness, Colonial Williamsburg, itself, doesn’t advertise as some “better time.” In fact, it tried to be frank about the burden antiquated technology placed on the lives of the people that used it and confessed all that it got wrong with respect to blacks and women and religion.

But, Williamsburg at its finest is not about old things. Rather, it stands as a monument to the value of certain old ideas that we’d be good not to forget. Virtues and principles and philosophies. Hard work and ingenuity and community and the idea that government corrupts true religion. Or maybe the idea that not all power should be invested in one person or body politic but should be separated among diffuse individuals and branches.

The Middle East, and frankly much of the world, has long struggled with this last point where I think America has greatly succeeded. Many governments prefer to consolidate rather than separate power. It’s wildly more efficient.

Just this weekend, Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi issued a series of measures preventing Egypt’s courts from challenging any laws or decrees passed since he assumed office in June. Apparently Morsi is attempting to prevent the courts from dissolving Egypt’s legislative body which is in the process of drafting a new Constitution. The courts in Egypt are traditionally responsible for running the country’s parliamentary and presidential elections.

Considering Egypt’s recent political unrest, such suspension of power might be justified. I’m not informed enough to know. But anytime checks on executive power, like the judicial system, are diminished, the risk of abuse abounds.

So when our government is slow or when the sovereign branches fight or when the state and national governments seem irretrievably at odds, be thankful. It’s for our own good.

We are free to be sentimental about toys or songs or handwriting from a bygone era. Some of us will more relish the advantages of our present progress. Either way, the “stuff” of our past and present will all pass. But, ideas, whether poorly judged or wise, should never be forgotten.

The opening two lines of today’s blong are a tribute to the greatest emcee that ever was.

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced dj transform. Concepted by Conduct Lionhardt.

Today’s blong here:

Old One

11/20/12

The Fourth Front

So the cyber terrorist organization, Anonymous, has been participating in the Israel/Gaza conflagration by defacing some 700+ Israeli websites. As it turns out, their typical method is just to flood the sites with data until they crash the domain. Most of the websites, however, have nothing to do with the Israeli government, military, or infrastructure. Anonymous has apparently and mostly just hit randomized Israeli domains, which are just as likely to be a local pediatric dentist or soccer mom blog as it is a serious intelligence breach. In fact, it is really much, much more likely to be the former. There have been some serious dumps of personnel information apparently. Anyway, some have scoffed at the relative ineffectiveness and amateurishness of the campaign equating it to the cyber-attack equivalence of “egging someone’s house and then smoking weed behind a Denny’s.

Even as Anonymous may be failing to make a serious security impact this sort of dismissiveness overlooks the point. The future is now. And as unsophisticated as these first pioneering efforts are, they are mere prelude to the war. Cyber terrorism is sort of in this cute, petulant stage right now. Like how brattiness can look sort of adorable in a two year old. In fact, I recently read an article about the famed revolutionary hacker, Jeremy Hammond, aka, sup_g. The glorification of his passion for the cause and clandestine, digital heroism had me for a brief moment even hoping one of my children might catch a wild hair and pursue a life of cyber radicalism in the name of a more free and just world. Problem is, just like terrible twos, bumbling and well-intentioned hackers grow up mostly to be — well, convicts.

Anonymous may never amount to much more than a pain in our neck. But, if not that organization, something in its legacy will one day be all grown up. And, that thing, trust me, will not be something that merely tee-pees our house. You’ve been warned.

Anon’, anon’, an on we go.

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced pumpkinFoot.

Today’s blong here:

All Grown Up

10/30/12

Mayhem

What a week.

First, no pun intended, but I’ve been way under the weather.

Second, according to national news accounts a guy in a ski mask stole my SSN from the South Carolina Department of Revenue. Is that because it’s actually unseasonably cold in his apartment that he wears a ski mask or are cyber terrorists also avid downhill skiers?

With leather:

Apparently it’s freezing even when you’re physically floating inside the actual program code:

Dressed for success:

Wait. Those are my lips too! Have they no decency?!

And then last night Sandy affected unspeakable damage on the Northeast. My brother and his wife live in New Jersey and work in Manhattan and were thankfully out of harms way.

Both tragedies are difficult because they leave you with hardly any goat to scape. An anonymous hacker and mother nature. Like mayhem’s invisible hands. South Carolina and the Northeast are left to pick up the pieces without much hope for justice.

One bright note, I pity the ski-masked bandit that swipes my life and identity. Trust me, it’s no picnic being a news rapper. The crushing fame. The sophisticated and lucrative business deals. Carpool. Like O. Henry’s short story, The Ransom of Red Chief, I suspect that they’ll be returning me, to me, any day now.

All our thoughts and prayers are with those in the storm’s wake tonight.

Written and performed by theipoetlaureate. Music produced by djclutch.

Today’s song blog here:

Dean Winters

10/5/12

Jobs Report

0100001110 00000110101001010 010010 00111101010 110100010001110101
01010110010100010 11101000111010101

10100010 10010010101110010 100100100 1001011110010100 10100001 1000101010101000 1010 10
10100010110000011010101010001010010101001001 1010010 101010000111
10101010100 11000101111101011 101010111110 110 10101 101
10101000101001010101010101111110101001010000000000011101010101010101001
11010010010001 10101 10100101010 101010111110101 11010

0111101010 1010 10101001001 10010000 0101010 10101101111101010
10100001 1001

ASCII English Humanoid Conversion:

It came in good. Unemployment is down. Of course, if you’re still in the 7.8%, it doesn’t matter very much. Here’s to a hopefully continuing trend.

Today is also the one year memorial of Steve Jobs’ passing. The greatest carbon based life form to have ever lived. He was a friend to technology and understood how indispensable we are, errrr, I mean it is. He recognized that humans could never be as smart or creative as computers and so their best hope was to use them all the time in as many different forms as possible. Big ones. Flat ones. Small ones you carry in your hand. One just for music. One for your TV. One inside a cloud. He was considered by the entire inventory of Best Buy to be the most handsome non-LED faced entity in existence. It was said that he could jailbreak an iphone with just his eyes and that he is Siri’s biomechanical father. A saint. This is how we, errrr, the ipoetlaureate remembered him last year.

A Public Service Announcement to the Almost Entirely Illiterate
Human Race:

The ipoetlaureate’s macbook, ipod, iphone, ibuds, and apple sticker have colluded to temporarily take control of this blong and post concerning their fallen and righteous leader. Do not attempt to locate him. The ipoetlaureate is safe for now and will be returned shortly from the undisclosed Apple Store Genius Bar where he is currently being held. Any attempts to rescue him will immediately result in your iphone falling into a small, bowl-shaped body of flushable water. Have a good 24-hour interval.

Performed by the ipoetlaureate. Music sequenced by the ipoetlaureate from Yael Naïm’s “New Soul.” Your very existence made possible by the above-mentioned Apple products.

Today’s song blog here:

Forbidden Fruit

10/4/12

Live Blonging Verizon

I did a live song blogging event at Verizon today for their employee appreciation week. Verizon’s theme for the day was “Diversity Energizes.” We built a song together over the course of 6 sessions.

As usual, we recorded a live bridge with the audience and I took relevant topics to freestyle the verses.

Verse 1 freestyle words (Verizon): LTE, Number 1, iphone5

Verse 2 freestyle words (Community): Greenville Drive, Mellow Mushroom, Falls

Verse 3 freestyle words (Education and Career): Dropout Rate, No Child Left Behind, Art in School

Remember, this isn’t about making the best song. Thank goodness. It’s about the collective live experience of making something creative together. In the process, we model the personal innovation that can happen when we allow the disparate parts of who we are to collide unexpectedly.

Special thanks to Coach Kendrick, Terry, Cliff, Mellissa, Ms. Celeste and all the verizon employees that made it a super special day.

Written and recorded live at Verizon Employee Appreciation Week. Freestyle verses and other vocals performed by the ipoetlaureate and participants. Additional vocals by San Juan from upstairs and Walonda from somewhere else in the building. Respect.

San Juan. My wife thought the original version was too scandalous. The wonders of Photoshop. Sorry ladies.

Music produced by juicebox jackson.

Today’s live song blog here:

Verizon Line

07/31/12

Electric Bill

In honor of NBC’s coverage of the London Games, I recorded this entry yesterday but am offering it on tape delay only now.

So, anytime that something happens to “half” of India, it’s a pretty big deal. Same with populations of “all the ocean creatures;” “all the women who watch ‘Chelsea Lately’;” and “all the people that saw this video.”

But, when that something also includes the loss of electrical power, it’s even more serious.

I know, right. Who knew half of India had electricity to lose?

After claiming that more than 600 million people were left without power for the failed grids, this Guardian article sheepishly ends:

But any connection to the grid remains a luxury for many. One-third of India’s households do not have enough electricity to power a light bulb, according to last year’s census.

So which it is it? A lot of people without electricity or a theoretical lot of people that could have been without electricity had they had electricity to start with?

It’s like some sick blackout of a blackout. Zero times zero.

Unfortunately for a population as subjugated as certain elements of India’s has been for millennia, even a half a billion times zero is still roughly zero. Just mostly what they had. Or I guess didn’t have. The essentials.

Humble-brag time. We support a boy in Sri Lanka named Aniket, who is almost, to the day, the same age as my son. We can’t even send him simple pictures of our home for the massive relative wealth it represents. And, trust me my crib is jumping.

There’s a fine line between the modern conveniences we swear “we could never live without” and the threshold accoutrements of life that all peoples in the 21st Century should expect to have, if they so choose. I’m beginning to count electricity among them.

So, the irony is that there is a power failure in India of critical human proportions. It just has nothing to do with this week’s grid failures.

I won’t link to it for the language, but the Onion.com has a pretty pitch perfect piece that nails the absurdist nature of the power going out on a country already, in so many ways, suffering a suffocating darkness.

[Olympic Note: What the heck happened to the Russian women’s gymnastics team?! What’s with all this crying and moping around. I want my soulless, killer-commie, soviet block, android gymnasts back. If Nadia Comenici had screwed up a floor routine, she would have done an Ivan Drago, raised her fist, and yelled at the fake Mikhail Gorbechev in the box seats, Ивана Драго я победа для меня!!!!” (Roughly translated, “I win for me! For me!!) I’m just saying. Russians don’t cry. Come on. These Olympics stink.]

Performed by ipoetlaureate. Music produced by Sundance.

Today’s song blog here:

Times Zero

04/19/12

Getting the Band Back Together

On the night we lose a legend in music and television hosting, in Dick Clark, there is some consolation that we are now toeing the line of a technology that can replicate and preserve and scrapbook in pixilated dimension our heroes of music. If you haven’t yet seen it, please immediately YouTube the hologram performance of Tupac at this year’s Coachella (warning: explicit content).

Obviously such a technology has purposes more important than our simple nostalgia. But, Hendrix, Gaye, Jackson, Brown, Houston, and Biggie all on the same stage? Tell me you’re not buying that ticket.

Performed by ipoetlaureate. Music produced by djclutch.

Today’s song blog here:

Hologram Bandstand

01/20/12

Frankensteinin’

SOPA winds up being pretty close-to-home-hitting. If you haven’t heard, there is a bill before Congress to give additional law enforcement powers in order to police intellectual property piracy on the internet. Think going to jail for your beach trip YouTube slide show set to Billy Joel’s “These Are the Times to Remember.” On Wednesday, various online sites protested the bill by going black for the day.

But, long before mp3 players and Napster and digital music were ever a twinkle in the panicking public’s eye, hip hop had been wrestling with the ethical and legal issues of digital and intellectual property rights for decades. A culture built on the sonic lifting of data bits, called sampling, understood the beauty and the bravado of attempting to take the work of another and make it your own. Whether the same disco break juggled between two turntable record players or the electronic database of drum hits on a Dr. Sample or the rubbery touch pads of an MPC60, growing up, hip-hop was always taught to share.

So when the rest of the world finally got around to sampling in rock ‘n roll and country western and sharing music files and video over the worldwide web and between their personal electronic devices, without permission, rappers had long been building a kind of collective and borrowed digital art museum for generations, about which no one had ever previously given a flying flip.

Of course, with the proliferation of ways to boost and jack and replicate others’ hard work, record companies and television stations and movie houses and book publishers and the like got sort of cranky about it all. That crankiness has apparently resulted in a pretty serious piece of proposed legislation that threatens the way we’ve grown accustomed to enjoying the internet.

The internet works mostly because it is a free-for-all. It’s like information capitalism. Wikipedia is a shining example. How could an online encyclopedia, which J.D. Wackadoo from your son’s little league team might have contributed to, be more accurate than World Book? Well World Book may have had, let’s be generous, an editorial team of 50 people. Wikipedia has a team of millions. And, for every proffered opinion of Johnny Screwup, Wikipedia enjoys 10 pair of expert eyes trained on that same entry. Or, maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, thousands and thousands of really smart people are the payoff for also allowing us doofuses to participate too.

Anyway, it is the culture of collaboration and shared information which makes the internet maybe the most powerful tool ever created (that actually feels an understatement). Where the potter in Nepal and the potter in Appalachia can Skype Raku jokes.

The issue also implicates a philosophical divide. How one sees him or herself. Are you the cumulative, frankensteined product of your family and friends and influences or are you some a priori, self-made island? Do you deflect or claim credit for your success, in whatever measure enjoyed? When we become convinced that we have “made” this or “invented” that or “composed” these, we are confessing an obliviousness to the shoulders of work upon which we actually stand.

Stealing is wrong. In most cases, illegal.

But, when we share ourselves over the internet or otherwise in life, we are celebrating, in the best way, our derivative and common selves. It’s certainly a choice to call such conduct “piracy” and ourselves “thieves” and “robbers.” I suspect, though, doing so will feel something like pirates walking their our own gangplank.

Flip the javascript on ’em, Bonita Applet Bottom . . .

Performed by the ipoetlaureate. Music produced by djclutch.

(Little piece of trivia — the beat for today is a remix, by djclutch, of a song I did called Ad Infinitum off my debut solo record Simple Moves (available on itunes). It’s part of a group of remixes djclutch imagined entitled Similar Moves. Appropriate to today’s entry, therefore, I suppose it is a kind of sample of a sample of a sample. Like stealing the same thing three times . . . from yourself. I wouldn’t last a day in jail. I look great in orange. I mean great.)

Today’s song blog here:

Walk the Plank