Ian Anderson’s “Pirate Music”

For me, Jethro Tull has a unique place in the classic rock lexicon.

One of my favorite musical memories is an entire day of sitting in a room listening to the Songs from the Wood album, hearing these epic tracks stretch out and condense themselves on an old cabinet style record player scavenged from somebody’s front yard.

So imagine my surprise when, a few years ago, the word came out that the band was going to follow-up on Thick as a Brick, an album that’s one of their best-known and prog-rockish pieces.

When TAAB2 came out, I rushed out and bought it, and was initially really disappointed that they didn’t keep the old one-track format, which made the original music more unique, less accessible and less conventional. But over time, the sequel grew on me.

I don’t listen to vinyl anymore, but I can still enjoy the album through the degraded sound experience of the busted-up speaker system in my 2001 Nissan Altima, as I shuttle my kid to and from the day care center. My son’s take on the album is that various tracks are “Jake and the Neverland Pirates music” and that Ian Anderson is “Captain Hook.”

One of the biggest drawbacks of TAAB2 is the subject matter – IMHO there’s entirely too much focus on strange and possibly predatory relationships between Gerald Bostock as a kid, and another character. Just like with the masterful novels of Dennis Lehane or some of the last decade’s best-thought-out television cop shows, it left me kind of wishing they’d left a little bit of the darker stuff out. Regardless, there’s a lot of really interesting social and economic commentary in the album that can cast some light on the weirdness we’ve been through over the last 15 years. And we’ll need that light, as we keep explaining to our kids why it is that certain crummy things are endemic in our social system.

Anyway, there’s also a lot of the classic musical artistry of Jethro Tull in TAAB2. Which is why I was delighted to be able to cover this album in a piece at ANewDomain. So if you want some of the highlights of this album from someone who has listened to it over fifty times, take a look! – and let me know what you think. I thought taking a contrasting approach between the 1970s album and the new one would show a little bit of how TAAB2 is different from the original. And if you do take a listen to it, feel free to put some of your thoughts down on the NewDomain page. I’d ask for comments on this post, but the thousands of spam comments I get make it hard to approve any actual ones. Happy listening!


Here’s this story, apparently it posted on Jan. 12 – timely, because of the news of SpaceX opening up a new Seattle office.

I am a big fan of what this company is doing and I hated to include the details on PR. But my experience was really daunting. Never got a name or anywhere to go for press contacts….maybe with the new Seattle office they will have a phone number that’s connected to a FT receptionist :) – anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next from this massively innovative firm…..

It’s not You – It’s the IVR!

Every time I have to sift through ridiculous, frustrating IVR, I think about this issue. Comcast, I’m looking at you.
Here’s a story that just went live on GetVoip.com – our first foray into call center operations and the application of context-awareness.
Thanks to Guy at CustomerMatrix and Bill and Barbara at CallFire for weighing in on this kind of technology – I’m looking forward to emerging questions about why, with all of the new stuff available, businesses can’t seem to come up with just a little more love for customers, or help time-starved parents, workers and others save a few precious minutes when calling in routinely to ask about bills, fix issues with services, or otherwise manage their day to day.

Are Americans ‘Unique’ on Climate Change?


In order to look at American attitudes on what we refer to as ‘global warming’ or ‘climate change,’ you don’t need to go any further than John Oliver’s latest take on his new HBO show, detailing how the media is failing to report facts, and instead likes to conflate opposing views on even scientific and factual subjects. We’re facing by far the biggest challenge that any of us have ever seen, and we’re sitting around talking about whether it’s real or not.


But are we alone in this struggle with ourselves? How do our attitudes as Americans stack up to others around the world?


I’m going to try to save a few people about 5 to 10 minutes on Google by taking a look at some of what’s on the Internet about international opinion.


European Views


One of the best contrasts is to look at European views on the issue. That’s not because they’re inherently ‘so much smarter than us’ or ‘so much more advanced’ etc. but because our societies are similar in other ways. Some of those ways are related to legacies of colonialism or our actual ‘birth’ as  a nation from quasi-EU state, or should I say neighbor, Brittania – other reasons also make it easier to get Euro-views — namely, we speak the same language – (since English has been being adopted as the official language of the EU.)


So what do Europeans think?


A set of official EuroBarometer studies from the European Commission and European Parliament in 2008 provide some telling details. The studies use both phrases, ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change,’ to try to figure out how dire Eurocitizens generally consider the problem to be.


One finding of the study is that European countries feature populations where the majority see global warming climate change as a serious problem, ranking right up there with lack of drinking water. The study mentions that the rates are lower for the Czech Republic, as well as Italy and Portugal, and that Cyprus and Greece had the highest levels of respondents who really felt alarmed about the issue.


A simpler point to contrast to the American consensus is that three quarters of Europeans think that global warming and climate change is a very serious problem, while an additional 15% find it a fairly serious problem.


That leaves about 7% of Europeans who do not think that it is a serious problem. The study shows that the highest levels of non-seriousness about the issue are in the UK and the Netherlands, as well Estonia, where over one in ten citizens would downplay the problematic nature of global warming.


The study breaks down respondents into various other demographic groups, but this basically gives us our answer. According to these reports, there’s not a strong back-and-forth debate within the European Union about whether global warming exists.


More Attitudes Around the World


Another report by Pew Global in 2006 shows the United States well in the lead when it comes to downplaying climate change, with 47% of Americans saying they’re only concerned “a little bit or not at all.”


Next is China, with 37%.


After that, there’s Germany at 36%.


I forgot to mention Pakistan at 39%.


Countries like Indonesia, Egypt and Jordan have much lower numbers, with countries like Spain and France down at 14%.


Japanese are down to 7% on the same metric, with Indians at 13% and Nigerians at 20%.


Bear in mind, this study takes into account people’s access to information — in other words, if people don’t know about global warming, it’s hard to get their opinions.


But to return to the main idea here: in the United States, we’re super informed about a lot of things, and global warming is one of them. That’s why I’ve been hearing so much on the radio, just today, about melting glaciers. The question is what do we do with the information that we get? Apparently, a disproportionate number of us decide to make up our own opinions, regardless of actual science coming out on the issue, even when it starts looking pretty much unquestionable. It’s a shame, because this isn’t like other issues that you can disregard when you want to. This is something that’s going to affect all of us, and when it comes, we’re probably not even really going to be able to put into words how important it is. But as you can see here, we’ll always know how unimportant it was, until the very last minute.





Records Management and the “Golden Corral” Syndrome

This one has been getting a lot of attention. My wife always tells me GC is disgusting and I never believed her…but this is some compelling evidence. Yuck.


I also think the metaphor holds here. Some companies are doing pretty sketchy things with data that’s supposed to be “secure” and it’s an interesting part of all the horse trading that goes on around new tools/resources.

IRSGate Subsides

Looks like the newest IRS fiasco is slowly dwindling back into the shadows – unfortunately, the whole media cycle failed to cast any light on the real issue, which is the complexity of the tax code, or even a secondary issue, which involves systems efficiency in general. This article linking systems efficiency to oversight may be a relatively obscure little snippet, but here it is anyway…http://www.ironmountain.com/Knowledge-Center/Industry-News/Industry-News/I/IRSGate-Shows-Electronic-Records-Won-t-Save-Embattled-Businesses-But-a-Good-Plan-Might.aspx

Battling Spectrum Crunch

I may not have done justice to all of the details of this exciting new technology, but I was excited to get some direct input from one of the leading scientists on the issue – thanks Yingbo Hua for your input! It’s going to be interesting to see which of the various limiting factors will be alleviated first in order to push back against this “telecom shortage”…or, as mentioned, whether new services will become so cost-prohibitive that a lot of us will go back to watching movies on DVD, etc…



The Legal Blog – An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Here’s a great article on why blogging is such as essential part of outreach for so many legal firms. As for some of the comments, good bloggers will NOT leave a law firm vulnerable to libel charges. Professional legal bloggers know how to always, always, always hedge any statement with the right qualifiers so as not to represent improper ‘guidance’ on the blog itself. The blog post is a resource to help the client and the lawyer get connected. It can convey important information, but it shouldn’t be construed as actual legal advice, at least, not in most cases. Anyway, there’s a lot more in here that’s good.