Friday, February 02, 2007

Miscellany

Here's some fun stuff I found lying around the web.

This is the most mystifying optical illusion I've ever come across. From the page: If your eyes follow the movement of the rotating pink dot, you will only see one color, pink. If you stare at the black + in the center, the moving dot turns to green. Now, concentrate on the black + in the center of the picture. After a short period of time, all the pink dots will slowly disappear, and you will only see a green dot rotating if you're lucky! It's amazing how our brain works. There really is no green dot, and the pink ones really don't disappear. This should be proof enough, we don't always see what we think we see.




When I was in college, the evils of backwards masking (or gniksam sdrawkcab, for literalists) where artists hid satanic messages or invitations to do drugs was all the range amongst the campus crusade for Christ folks. I went to one of the talks for sheer amusement, and it was a hoot. I got quite a few crusty looks when I would burst out laughing at some of their claims. (Ah, the arrogance of youth.) My final year in college, they installed a fully packed recording studio, and I took the year-long course to learn how to use it. What fun! For one of my assignments, I pulled all the supposed messages from the albums (I had them all, natch), reversed them, cleaned them up, and presented them in class. (Got an "A" on that one, methinks.) Anyway, you don't have to go through all that trouble, because somebody has already done it for you (on the most notorious ones, at least).




It is sometimes shocking what people will actually sell to you. Like, in theory, you're not supposed to be able to buy the infamous lock-picking gun, but clearly it's for sale, too.




It looks like Stephen Hawking has been one-upped.




Suppose Ms. Rowling is consulting George Lucas for names? I mean Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for crying out loud? Oh well. Like everyone else, I'll be incommunicado for a couple days following the July 21, 2007 release date. And then another era will end.




Here's an illuminating interview with Donald Fagen about his solo albums, and his recent achievement with Morph the Cat. His three solo albums comprise a trilogy, surprise surprise, so now I'm gonna have to sit down and listen to them in order. Yay!

Oh, and he nails exactly what's wrong with most current pop:
Well it all sounds so canned that it's basically...since they use drum machines and sequences for even the ballads now…people are used to it now, but to me, it also sounds like the kick drum comes in the wrong place, or it sounds wrong. You know like it's...there's really something wrong with the groove. Although, they're getting better at mimicking real grooves. To me there's always something, and the fact that it's unchanging makes it sound, it may be hypnotic, but it has no dynamics, and it has no shape.

And what's more, if you want to continue with the technical thing, as far as the other instruments are concerned, if you use synthesizers for all the keyboards and stuff like that, they're always out of tune, technically, and I can hear it. It's like the top end is always a little flat, and the bottom end is always a little sharp, because the keyboards aren't what they call "stretched." Like, when a piano tuner tunes a piano, aside from being tempered, they'll stretch the tops of the harmonics so they aren't flat on the top and sharp on the bottom. So they're...there's no groove and they're out of tune




Oscar Wilde’s last words were, "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or other of us has got to go." (source) Now that's comedy!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

In regard to the backwards masking, the Led Zepplin and Queen sample do in fact sound like some intentional recording-studio fun, but I'm unconvinced about the Spears claim. What I hear Yentirb saying is "mm seep mrbr... young...mbrd", which is really not all that inflammatory.

Intellectual Pariah

Yahmdallah said...

I'll agree that the Led and Queen ones sound suspicious. I still am leaning towards it being an accident.