All Energy Is Solar Energy

August 25, 2012 at 11:06 am (Alternative Energy, Cool Tech, Entertainment, The Economy) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Long time since the last post, I know. This has been another busy year. So I’ll try to make this interesting.

I was visiting my father recently, and having a nice chat, as we often do. We got to discussing cars, and then electric cars. It’s an open secret that I’d like to build one someday. (After all, gasoline is not going to get any cheaper, now is it?) I mentioned that an actor – Robert Llewellyn – who had a role in one of my favorite TV shows ever (“Red Dwarf”) now has a very cool show on YouTube, called Fully Charged. In this series, he reviews electric cars, and discusses other issues & events related to electric vehicles and energy in general. Fun and funny. Here’s a recent episode, as an example:
 

Mr. Llewellyn does a marvelous job of covering some of the details and advances that are under-reported in the American main-stream media. In short, there is a lot more going on these days than you might think, especially in Europe, where energy costs have historically been much higher than in the USA.

But back to the discussion I was having with my dad. I pointed out to him that ultimately, all energy is solar energy. This caused dad to give me that look. The one that I remember from my youth. (You may know that look too!) The one that says, “What the hell are you talking about, kid?” So I explained what I meant.

I began by asking where the oil and coal came from. Of course, they are composed of old plant and animal material that got buried and transformed into coal or petroleum. And what caused those plants to grow? Sunlight. Solar energy.

And what about nuclear? Where does the uranium come from? Yes, out of the ground. But before that? In fact, where do all the elements come from, that make up our planet Earth? From other suns! Yup. All elements, aside from hydrogen, were fused together in the hearts of ancient suns – suns which eventually used up their hydrogen, and exploded, scattering their star-stuff throughout the galaxy. That stuff re-condensed into our Earth, our moon, and the rest of our solar system. And here we are – we’re made of stardust.

Any other energy you care to mention – wind, tidal, even geothermal – all of it can be traced back to the energy from our sun, or from ancient suns which burned billions of years ago. Think it through. It’s another inconvenient truth. And it’s why I like renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and so on. It cuts out the middleman.

Feel free to refute me, below. More soon, fellow Netizens!

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February – Thirty Years Later

February 29, 2012 at 12:52 am (Entertainment, General) (, , , , , , )

Whew! What a year 2011 was, and 2012 is starting out to be equally busy!

But I’ve decided to post more blog entries this year. The feedback from WordPress was very encouraging. The stats are good, and I am excited about making my blog more of a presence on the net.

I’ll get started with something I haven’t shared online before. This is a poem I wrote almost exactly thirty years ago this month. (I’ve almost run out of February, for Pete’s sake! Good thing I decided to get on the ball here.)

Without further ado, here is my poem, unchanged, as I wrote it when I was 25…

February

Tall hunter Orion stands
Stiff-legged in the grey night sky.
His sword gleams dully at his side.
I walk
In the cool, clear dusk
Between rows of friendly houses.

Wood smoke.
Smells of simple food being prepared
With care and love
Touch my face
As my footfalls quietly crunch
Rattling gravel.

The city-machine’s growling roar
Is muted
By calm somnolence of Sunday’s lateness.
Where tomorrow, soon, will be
Madly whirling exchanges
Of the business of life
Is now only the dimly neon-lit quietness,
Waiting
Behind tight-locked dark glass doors
Adorned with colorfully sorry plastic signs
Encouraging me to return when
Light and life glitter within.

And now I go
To my own warmly familiar rooms
To sleep an uneasily lonely sleep.

And, rested once again,
My soul nourished by pastel-tinted dreams,
I rejoin my fellow souls, all loved –
Spirits in a gloriously imperfect material world.

(c) 1982, 2012 David Lockman, all rights reserved

Let me know what you think, below. Garbage or gold – go for it.

More soon. I’ve got some nifty little life-hacks to share, some other thoughts, and a blog post about how stories affect our lives. All in my mental queue. Looking forward to sharing with you all.

Image of Orion from http://xiaofury.blogspot.com/
(c) 2010 Natalie N. Johnson

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Ludwig von Drake on Music – Vintage Disney

April 2, 2011 at 10:00 pm (Entertainment, Media, Music) (, , , , , , , , )

Hello, Internets! (grin) Decided to take a few moments and offer up a brief post. Once again, life got in the way, and has kept me from posting for several months. I hope to get a few more entries posted in the near future.

But – let’s get started with today’s enjoyment! I ran across this nifty little blast from the past while on YouTube today. Disney’s Wonderful World of Color was a regular part of my childhood, even though we only had a black and white TV. (1955 Zenith, for those who care. And that’s probably only me.) And one of my favorite characters was Ludwig von Drake. (The image at the left is the cover of a record album we had when I was a kid.) Voiced by Paul Frees, one of my favorite voice actors of all time, old Ludwig helped to crystallize my interest in science. Disney released quite a few classroom films and short features hosted by Ludwig von Drake, including this one – A Symposium On Popular Songs:

And here’s part 2:

Oh, man. That is such cool stuff. You really can’t beat old-school Disney animation. Well and truly part of the Golden Age of cel animation, combined with stop-motion. I am a big fan of animation history and techniques, and the people who provided the voices. One of these days, I’ll have to write up some posts about my favorite voice actors, who include (in addition to Paul Frees) Mel Blanc, June Foray, Maurice LaMarche, and Billy West.

Have a great weekend, everyone, and look for more soon.

P.S. About the call letters – KBOO – on the microphone shown in part 2… It’s a real station, right here in my local area, Portland Oregon! I did a bit of volunteer engineering work for them back in the early ’80s. KBOO is a listener-supported community radio station, supported by grants and contributions. They’ve got quite a varied schedule, and I recommend checking them out. You can find the schedule on their web site, or listen to the online stream here.



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A Mongoloid Love Story

August 8, 2010 at 10:46 pm (Entertainment, Music) (, , , , , , , , )

Yay howdy, surfers and surferettes! Time for another entry in the “this song sounds like that song” series here on Dlock’s Pop Culture Reflux.

I’m sorry it’s been so long since the last post. My best friend has been terribly ill, and I’ve been doing a lot of driving to and from doctors, helping out… all that stuff that happens when someone you care about is sick.

And it’s been pretty busy at work, too. Our free press release site has been “discovered”, and we’re getting a lot of traffic & submissions. We’ve also migrated our brainstorming software web site over to a new host and a new shopping cart. Lots of work to get that done. Anyhow, on with the show…

I’m listening just now, as I type this, to Love Story by Layo & Bushwacka! (Not my exclamation point.) Never heard it before. It came up the rotation on my Pandora channel. No idea why – the channel seeds are bands like Cutting Crew, Pet Shop Boys, and The Cure. Big shrug. Strange and manifold are the ways of Pandora. But I digress, as usual. Here is the tune, for your listening and dancing enjoyment:

Now, if you are as old as I am (and apparently that’s older than the very soil beneath my feet) the melody / bass line of this song may sound familiar to you, especially if you had ever been a fan of the boys in yellow rubber suits, from Akron, Devo:

Yeah, you hear it too? At first, I was sure that it was Devo’s Mongoloid that had come up on Pandora just now. Bit of a surprise.

Great band, and a powerful influence in the punk music scene. Did I ever tell you my Devo story? For those who haven’t heard it, here ’tis…

It was August 14, 1980, at Portland’s old Paramount Theatre. (I looked it up. There’s this thing called Google, ya see.) I had a seat on the main floor, about 6 rows behind the mixing console, on the left aisle. Waiting for the show to begin, two cute young girls approached the two young guys sitting right in front of me. The blonde, whose white jeans were probably applied by means of a paint roller, said “My friend and I can’t find seats. Can we sit on your laps?” Well, the two lads looked at each other, wondering if they were dreaming, looked again at the two ladies, and nodded their heads like characters in a Warner Brothers cartoon – “uh-huh! uh-huh! uh-huh!”

And then the show began. Well, both shows, really – Devo and the blonde. Up, down, squirming on the boys’ laps, dancing… I’m not sure what became of the guys and the blonde’s friend, who all disappeared at some point, but the girl in the white jeans was really enjoying herself. During one song, I was standing up, as often happens at rock concerts, and suddenly felt something against the front of my trousers. It was the top of the blonde’s head. I looked down, and there she was, sitting in the seat, looking up at me. I smiled and waved a little wave, and went back to watching the show.

A short while later, Missy McBlondehips found her way up onto the stage, and treated the audience to a sexy little dance, while Devo played Freedom of Choice. Mark Mothersbaugh waited until two security guards were in position, and exercised his Freedom of Choice, delicately tipping her wriggling butt off the stage, and into the arms of security, who hustled her past me, up the aisle, and out to her destiny. I only regret that I didn’t get her number.

So, there it is – my Devo story. Great concert, otherwise. An early multi-media show. There were at least two interludes, as I recall, when the band left the stage, and music videos for some of their songs were projected on screens. I understand that things can be quite a lot more sophisticated these days, but then – I’m an ancient, decrepit wreck who doesn’t attend concerts these days. I don’t “get” a lot of modern music, and I know I am beginning to sound like my dad.

Dad’s doing quite well, by the way. He had a kidney out in February 2010, and is now getting around better than he was a year ago. 87 years old, and still motoring along. I can only hope to reach 87.

And I hope to be posting a little more often. My friend is better, and much of the heavy lifting is done on the web sites. Though that usually means that more stuff is about to hit the fan any old time now. C’est la vie.



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FloRida Spins Us Right Round (Like a Record)

February 25, 2010 at 12:58 am (Entertainment, Media, Music) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

I’m afraid that now that I’ve got this whole “this song sounds like that song” thing started, I may not be able to quit. It’s becoming like a sort of addiction, or compulsion. Every time I turn around these days, I spot another new song that sounds like a tune I heard years ago. Case in point…

I was visiting a friend the other day, and the TV was playing a music on demand channel. This song by FloRidaRight Round – popped up, and my memory ran up a flag, too. Let’s listen to FloRida:

Yep. There it is, a nifty little musical hook from 1984. Back when I was a much younger man, a band called Dead or Alive had a big hit titled You Spin Me Round:

At least FloRida seems to be open about the origins of the hook, which was sampled for Right Round. The Wikipedia entry for Right Round discusses the source, so it looks as if the lawyers will not be called from their crypts to put the bite on FloRida.

Hey, maybe there’s some hope for modern music after all! And no, I’ve got no idea why the eye patch. Or that ’80s Big Hair! Damn, man! One forgets. Go back and watch music videos or movies from the ’80s, and you’ll see what I mean. Stick thin girls with short skirts and hair teased and sprayed until the blondes look like dandelions with eyeliner.

Tank GirlWhich reminds me. Not sure why it reminds me, but – it reminds me. I ran across a site online where you can watch the movie Tank Girl all the way through for free. Never seen Tank Girl? Oh, it’s an experience. Go ahead. Check it out, and let me know what you think.

More soon, film fans and music mavens. It’s a busy time. Got a sick friend, and my dad had surgery a couple weeks ago, too. So – chaos, discord, and mayhem. Lovely.

And if you have any ideas for topics, go ahead and leave a comment below.

Oh, one more thing, in the immortal words of Columbo. I had a really interesting comment on my most popular entry, They Call This a Jeep? Click the link to read the comment, and my response.



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Kookaburra Sits And Laughs While Men Work

February 5, 2010 at 1:33 am (Entertainment, Media, Music) (, , , , , , )

Once again, dear readers, we will take a few minutes to revisit the concept of the borrowed melody, or as I’ve called it, kleptomelodica.

Apparently, some cases of misappropriated tunes take some time to come to light and be resolved. I was surprised to see in today’s news, that a band I was quite fond of, back in the ’80s, have lost a lawsuit over their biggest hit.

The BBC reports that Men At Work, an Australian band whose big hit, Down Under, had borrowed a bit of its melody from the old song, Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree. Let’s start by having a listen to Down Under

Now that’s a bunch of bonza blokes who seem to be having a good time. Oh, yes… I do remember this one from my misspent youth, lo so many years gone by. And I even used to buy Vegemite at the local health food store, where I also had a bit of a crush on the young lady who worked there. Fun little tune. And funny that I didn’t notice the similarity to Kookaburra. Hell, even I knew that melody from my childhood. Here’s the Aussie song about the bird, then…

Now that I think about it, and listen to Kookaburra alongside the flute riff from Down Under, I can see (or rather hear) the similarity.

But I wonder why, in this performance, the lyrics are changed from “gay your life must be” to “rich your life must be”.

Probably to keep the boys from sniggering uncontrollably.

Ah, well. Whatever. The bottom line is – the courts have decreed that Men At Work shall compensate the estate of Kookaburra composer Marion Sinclair.

Good on yer, mates.  And maybe an “I’m sorry” might not be out of place.

More soon.



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They’re Coming To Take Me Away (hah hah!)

January 28, 2010 at 6:12 pm (Entertainment, Media, Music) (, , )

Hey, fellow music nerds! In the last few days, I ran across something completely unexpected. It’s one of those things that you really don’t think about until you see it, and then it becomes obvious – even inevitable.

Since it seems that all the good melodies have already been written, those bands who choose not to sample or rap are mining our musical past for golden nuggets. Here’s one such effort. Neuroticfish with a cover version of “They’re Coming to Take Me Away”:

Yes! Very nice! Wonderfully deranged, in a way that the original version from the 1960’s, by Napoleon the XIV, could never be allowed, back in the day… With the added benefit of the bass line from the Dr. Who theme. For comparison, here’s the happily bent little ditty that I first heard when I borrowed the LP from my neighbor, Mike Platt:

Ah, they don’t make ’em like that any more. Sometimes, they make them even better.

Well, for a given value of “better”. Like the difference between making a fire “better” by putting water on it, or gasoline. It all depends on your point of view, really.



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Even More Silliness

December 31, 2009 at 3:44 pm (Damn funny, Entertainment, General, Music) (, , , , , , )

Rebus PuzzleReba McEntire

RebusReba

Well, I did say that it was more random silliness.

And as I wrote today on my Facebook page, 2010 is bound to be better than 2009, especially if we all go out into the world, in the days and weeks to come, holding that intention in our minds and in our hearts. Spread a little compassion, a little joy, a little happiness. Here’s a start. Enjoy.

Happy New Year!



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Surfin’ With Sweet Little 16

November 15, 2009 at 11:48 pm (Entertainment, General, Music) (, , , , , , , , , )

web_surferGreetings, fellow web surfers! And my apologies – it’s been over two weeks since I last posted. Life’s been getting in the way. (And that’s getting annoying…)

But let’s get on with the fun, and revisit the “Stolen Songs” theme that I was doing a couple months ago. For some reason, this one came wandering through my head the other day like some sort of melodic vagrant, mooching for spare change. First, the original moldy oldie – from 1958, Chuck Berry’s Sweet Little Sixteen:


Chuck Berry is, without doubt, one of the biggest influences ever on rock & roll. Everybody learned to play his songs, covered them in bars and clubs, and his records were in every jukebox. That probably explains why The Beach Boys song, Surfin’ USA, sounds so much like it.

I’m kind of surprised that I never really noticed before. Chuck Berry sure did -in 1963, he apparently accused Brian Wilson of stealing the melody, and Murry Wilson – Brian’s father – seems to have agreed. He signed the rights to Surfin’ USA over to Chuck Berry… including the royalties for the lyrics!

And before I get slammed for ripping off someone else’s blog, I will insist right now that my connection between these two songs was not prompted by the October 15th entry on SoundsJustLike.com.  But here’s the link, nevertheless.

Back soon with more goodies, everyone!

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Parody – Not A Low Art Form At All

October 24, 2009 at 1:17 am (Damn funny, Entertainment, Media) (, , , , , , , )

Earlier this week, I spotted a lovely little parody of Pixar’s Luxo Lamp intro – the one you see at the beginning of all the Disney / Pixar movies.

Here’s the original, to refresh your memory:

And here’s the parody.  Wonderfully twisted, and perfectly in the spirit of the Hallowe’en season…

Now, here’s a really fun parody with a different approach.  Certainly a little more lighthearted:

A bit of looking on YouTube indicates that the Pixar Luxo Lamp intro is a very popular subject of parody and imitation.  There are many, many videos done by aspiring CGI animators out there.

Let’s wrap up with a quick “outtake”:

Enjoy the weekend, and I’ll be back soon with a more serious subject to discuss.

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