Saturday Review

On March 15th the trio played two sets at the Soiled Dove in Denver. The audiences were great, and we really enjoyed playing. On the 16th Jon and I drove to Rifle, Colorado, for the first of three duo gigs.

That’s a photo taken duing our duo performance in Rifle, Colorado, a week ago, captured by Twitter user @BarbiegirlToki. Jon and I also performed in Fort Collins on March 18th an 19th. These duets are very enjoyable and we are planning on doing a few more. Having worked togather for thirty years, we are very comfortable on stage and a lot of improvisation naturally happens. After joining with Chris to perform as a trio in Portland and Seattle next month, Jon and I will play more duets in May. May 9th through 11th we will be at The Iridium in Manhattan, and on May 12th we will perform at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.

Dick Dale, the Surf Guitar Legend, died this week – more here. His real name was Richard Anthony Monsour and his father was Lebanese.

His high-energy interpretation of an old song from Asia Minor, “Misirlou” (Egyptian Girl), became the most famous song of surf rock: He had learned the tune from his Lebanese uncles, who played it on the oud.

What’s more American than surf rock? That’s as American as baseball, apple pie, the electric guitar, and the personal computer – and Steve Jobs’s father was also Middle Eastern, from Syria.

Time + Counting

Tonight I found this in a folder on my computer. It’s from earlier this year.

My friend asked me why Flamenco musicians count a bulerias or solea rhythm starting with 12 instead of 1. This was my lengthy answer to him, and I quickly went off topic… :-)

The gypsies took the example of a clock, is what I heard. Looking at the clock face the 12 is at the top, so you start on the 12. The old traditional pattern has accents on 12, 3, 6, 8, 10, then came the newer one you described 12, 3, 7, 8, 10, and now there all kinds of variations of that. So, the clock is probably the cause of starting the count with 12.

Old Byzantine math used 12 as the basis, instead of 10. Decimal time was also called French Revolutionary Time. Anyway, the church wanted to hold on to old Byzantine math, which is why they made a deal with Napoleon. He had been excommunicated by the church, but was feeling his age and wanted the church to accept him again. At the time France was moving to decimal everything, after all they had invented the meter, the kilogram, etc. So naturally the French divided the day into 10 hours instead of 24, which made each hour rather long, into 100 minutes per hour, which made the new minute not much longer than the old minute, and 100 seconds per minute. There are 1,440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds in a 24 hour day, and 1,000 minutes, or 100,000 seconds in the French 10 hour day. It’s what Star Trek time sounds like: 6.3.5 hours, meaning the sixth hour, plus 30 minutes (3/10 out of 100) and 50 seconds (5/10 or half of 100 seconds). Midnight would be zero, 6AM would become 2.5, noon would become 5, 6PM would become 7.5. A 90′ performance as we know it, would last 62.5 new minutes. 120′ would become 83 new minutes. 10 minutes of old time would become 6.94 new minutes. I bet we would get used to it really quickly. Might need two dials on the Apple Watch so we can switch back and forth while we are learning to change. Or a conversion page added to the clock app. Easy!

So anyway, the pope made the condition that if France should go back to the old 24/60/60 division of time, he would lift the excommunication from Napoleon.

On one hand it’s a total bummer that we are still dealing with inches and feet in this country, with the ridiculous armpit scale called Fahrenheit, and a 24 hour day, but on the other hand maybe it’s nice to use some old things that have no value and purpose other than this is how we used to do stuff. It’s not smart, it’s not practical, but it’s a piece of history.

PS: The reason I refer to Fahrenheit as the armpit scale is because 0° = freezing of salt-slush and 100° = the armpit of the inventor’s wife. Unbeknownst to him she was running a fever at the time.

Compare that to the clean and sensible French method of freezing water and boiling water at sea level. Now that makes sense.

Two Years Ago

I get up a little before 4AM and start to get ready. While I shower this comes into my mind:
Whatever you want, this world has it.
If it is greed and ignorance you are looking for, we got that.
Selfishness and inflated egos, yes, got that.
Hatred and violence, yes, plenty.
but also…
Poetry and wonder, yes.
Love and care and gentleness, yes.
Beauty, creativity and awe, yes.
Disliking greed and ignorance does not make it go away. Instead we notice more of it.
Hating violence and hatred doesn’t make them go away. It amplifies them and we see hate and violence everywhere.

Sure, we may know this. But, it slips my mind all the time.

All that and a marvelous moon!

Cell Phone Use While Driving

National Security Council calls for nationwide bans on cell phone use while driving
The National Security Council sent out a message on Monday that calls for all 50 States to implement bans on citizens using cell phones while driving. The group referred to a study done by the Harvard Center of Risk Analysis, which revealed that 6% of all automobile crashes in the U.S. are caused by cell phones.

And they mean any cellphone use: includes headsets… (((maybe even email and IM?)))

6% of all crashes, about 40,000 traffic deaths per year – does that mean that 2,400 people die every year because somebody had to be distracted by their mobile?

In 2006 I wrote:

I get the sense that in a few years either a chip in each car will prevent a phone from identifying itself to a cell-tower while the car is moving – thus the phone won’t work – or a person applying for a driver’s license will have to master a multi-tasking test in addition to the other tests…

Tuesday, December 9th

Snow on the ground. Roads a little slippery.

I spent the afternoon in the studio, recording a guitar solo for a piece of music by slide-guitarist Roy Rogers (((and this is his web site))). We used Dropbox – love that Dropbox!!! – to exchange files: he sent me an mp3 of his guitar to play to, and I uploaded a 24/96k file of my guitar for his album. Roy called in the evening to tell me how much he enjoyed the combination of slide and Flamenco guitar. Flamenco – the Blues of the Gypsies…

In the evening I watched Women in the Dunes, which I had never seen. The photography is spectacular, and I especially liked the scenes of sand-as-water.

The cat George stayed out all night again. Impressive since it was cold, around 20ºF. He does have a thick coat of fur and maybe he has already found a second home, found a warm spot somewhere, or is hunting all night. When he returned in the morning he was hungry and went right to sleep.

Podcasted “Morning Light”, recorded live in Portland this Summer. Recorded by Alan Behr, improved by Jon. If you subscribe to our podcast via iTunes or other means you can download it there. You can also go here to listen or download. (((I was inspired to podcast more free live recordings by four Romanians who drove all the way to Milan to hear me perform in May. Afterwards they requested more live free live recordings to listen to.)))

Apple and Gift

No, this is not about poisoned apples

I would like to write an ode to apples, but how could I top Pablo Neruda’s ODA A LA MANZANA (Ode to the Apple) from 1956. What a perfect Autumn fruit! Braeburns, Fujis, Honey Crisps… I could go on. An apple a day etc.

Rode about 12 miles this morning. Rode into town to pick up meds for my dog, then to Counter Culture for breakfast with my favorite bass player. Two more stops along the way and grocery shopping… When one bikes one is a Mensch and I find that people react different to bicycle traffic. Pedestrians smile, other bikers wave, even people in cars sometimes roll down their window and smile. A bicyclist is part of the world, not riding around in an “armored car”, seperated and protected from life, listening to loud music or hiding behind tinted windows… You know what I mean? Santa Fe was not known for being particularly bike-friendly in the past, but – knock wood – I have had only good experiences.

Need more juice for your iPhone? I am looking into this and this option.

Looking for a gift for the holidays?
This is a great idea. And here are two more:
Travertine’s Shea Hand and Nail Cream rocks. Great gift for dry Winter skin. No Parabens!!
Or how about something from Pangea Organics. I use all of their their face-products and the best part is that they are perfect for traveling. The bottles lock up and never open in transit. No parabens, all organic and recyclable glass bottles.

Oh, and we will soon release “Miranda”, Stevo’s first album, wonderfully remastered by Jon Gagan (((if you are working on an album you owe it to your music to contact Jon about mastering your recording!))). “Miranda” contains the music from Steve Stephen PLUS two additional previously unreleased tracks. Stevo also created a new sequence which has a great flow, and I just told him this morning that it feels like a whole new album. We will add “Miranda” to the LL soon, maybe even this week. Other digital download retailers should have the album in a few weeks. We have no plans to manufacture CDs.