Saturday, May 20, 2006

msb-0022 Ouch!, Audiobooks Speedbumps & msb-0023 Sounds of Silence 0002

msb-0022 Ouch!, Audiobooks Speedbumps & msb-0023 Sounds of Silence 0002

Feedback goes first, but I don't have any. Boo ... hoo... Nobody wants to talk with me. (Its like they all have lives or sumtin'.)

Hey, here's an idea: Why not drop me a line on my web page next to an episode you really liked? Or hated?

Music is a very personal taste. What are your tastes?

I appologise for the fact that I'm fixing my web page. Soon the normal email weblink will be back and I'm adding ways to give me audio feedback on line, on the phone and to Skype me too.

For now you can email me at (Its actually a catch-all re-mailer so you could email me at and it would probably reach me as well. :-)


I'm delighted with the BBC. They added a section for disabled people.

On the third episode it featured somebody (and that's some body! Wow!) with MS.

Its at Its irreverant, funny, topical and well worth the listen.

Go to their website and they explain it better than I can.


I've been listening to "Ancestor" and "Infection" by Scott Sigler and its something to really get your mind off of your problems.

You can find his site at .

What friggin' great bunch of audio books.

I started listening yesterday, as I write this, its a couple of weeks in 'real-time' and fell asleep with episode one of "Ancestor" still ringing in my ears and rattling 'round in my brain.

I'm up to episode nine as I write this because I can't pull the buds outta my ears.

(Later: I've finished the book and I gotta tell you it was a real nail chewer right up 'til the end. If you've got a vivid imagination, its positively addictive. Good thing he has already got another one for me to get into.)

I've actually used my iPod to go through a fifteen week course in logic. I love being able to 'attend' the lectures on my iPod without actually having to be there. I might miss the in class interaction but, since there is no way I could actually attend, this is the next best thing.

I've also bought and listened to "Linked: the New Science of Networks" by Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, which is available at the iTunes Music Store.

Okay, those are not podsafe music but they have filled my ears with some great themes. Like wow!


I've been reading "Speed Bumps" by Teri Garr (ISBN 1-59463-007-0)

She is a driven and talented (but very driven) woman. (Did I mention she is driven? :-)

Its a great read. A funny, charming and a very personal look at Ms. Garr. her childhood, her adolescence, her career and her struggles to underestand and come to grips with her own MS.

Go buy it!

Its as interesting and inspirational a book as I've had a chance to read in a long time.

She and I share something: Rebif. (Hey Serono, want a podcaster as your spokes person?)

I also share her view of MS.

Its a speedbump in the parking lot of life, and we're all getting to that 'final exit' anyway.


Now on with the show.

Greensleves is the only tune attributed to Henry VIII and like all royalty, he isn't getting any, royalties that is.

That's going straight into the pockets of the RIAA.

What a useless bunch of bloody tripe chewers.

Their heads covered in gore as they eat the living liver of some musical Prometheus.

I'm putting these podsafe shows together and they aren't getting a friggin' dime out of it.

They must be muttering "We'll get you. Your ass is grass. We'll squeeze our pocketful of music lobbists and we'll kill your show; you sick li'l cripple. We'll squash you like the insignificant bug you are."

Okay. That's bear baiting, but they're not my masters. The worst thing I can wish on them is that they have to deal with themselves.


I'm having a wonderful time with my life and thriving, in spite of having MS.

I've got a job that's not too demanding.

I've got side projects that are at the bleeding edge of computer science to keep me sane.

I've got podcasting and the occasional feedback.

And I've got a life with Lee.

What the fuck more can a man ask for?

(Okay, I wouldn't mind being able to play guitar again, dance again or even walk normally again. But overall, things are good.)


As always I'm hungry for feedback from you. How'd you like the last show? I shut up and let the music speak for me. (Anybody figure out the theme? Don't feel bad if you didn't. It was rather obscure.)

I've got another one lined up too.


msb-0023 Sounds of Silence

Simon & Garfunkle aren't involved.

Today I thought I'd give you a rest from my ranting and just play da music, man; just play da music.

Friday, May 19, 2006

msb-0020 Musical Musings & msb-0021 Sounds of Silence 0001

msb-0020 Musical Musings & msb-0021 Sounds of Silence 0001

Feed back come first.

Hello Juliana. Its always nice to hear from you. I'm glad you had a lovely day for the MS Walk in Michigan. We had rain for our in New York City. It was an absolute deluge. I didn't go out there.

It was enough that C.C. Chapman and Amanda Monaco were out there. They got soaked while I stayed dry and raised a glass to their health.

I don't know about using nutritional supplements specifically for MS and for remyelination but maybe someone out there knows.

Yo! Audience! Drop me a line. Juliana wants to know if there are any foods or supplements that you noticed make a difference in alleviating your symptoms or helping you remyelinate.

I eat fatty lamb chops but I suspect that that's just a matter of taste. (And I eat duck too, but that's out of revenge for the flu virus. :-)

Its more anecdotal than scientific but any little bit helps.

You hit the nail right on the head with your sentence "I think the worst part of the disease is that it effects a human being's sensuality, i.e. the information we take in through our five sense and therefore the very essence of humanity."

There isn't any more, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. :-)


This episode is about the selection of music on these podcasts.

The selection is poor, well maybe not so poor, but limited because I can't access my personal music collection to create these podcasts.

I am a musical omnivore.

As long as its well played, I like it;
  • Beebop,
  • blues (Mississipi Delta or Chicago style,)
  • classical, (baroque, romantic or modern,)
  • Dixieland,
  • Effin' Annie,
  • folk in almost all its forms,
  • jazz in almost all its forms, (though I don't enjoy it when it sounds like someone is blowing a sax like fist-fucking an elephant,)
  • rock in almost all its forms, (though I don't enjoy it when it sounds like someone is blowing an axe like fist-fucking the lead singer,)
  • show tunes,
  • Tuvan throat singing,
instrumental or lyrical. I like it all.

I own a great deal of it. My sixty gig iPod is stuffed and I'm waiting for Apple to come out with a one hundred twenty gigger iPod because I have over 400 vinyl albums waiting to be digitized.

And I've heard all of it.

I've got Carmina Burana "Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi: O Fortuna" playing in my ears as I type this. The first time I heard that live was at McGill university back in the seventies.

So much music that I can't share and artists that I can't promote because of the excessive greed of the RIAA, ASCAP/BMI and the rest of 'em.

I'd say screw 'em if it wasn't for their humorless phalanx of lawyers that they use as an enforcement arm.

Basically, if I don't know a piece of music is copyright free or if I don't have the specific permission from the artist, I can't take any chances.

That severely limits my selection to play from and it severily limits your selection to hear from too.

I could have themed shows with a better selection of tunes, and since I give links in all my show notes, you could be buying the artists' opus.

But that's not going to happen until RIAA, ASCAP/BMI and the rest of 'em wake up and smell the "venti latte."

They're still operating on a model of control over a scarce resource.

They try to collect whatever the market will bear at every step of the way until its impossible for someone to start a broadcast for a small market, and lets face it MS is 0.083% of the potential market. I can't afford thousands a year to get a license for music I don't want to play; the Brittany Spears and the other manufactured idle idols.

Now with podcasting, I can reach that 0.083% and the people who make drugs, products or provide services that they couldn't reach before.

The problem is that the RIAA, ASCAP/BMI and the rest of 'em are so greedy that I can't use any of my own music. I don't dare. I don't want to get my ass sued off.

So we're using podsafe music by independent artists, people who don't appeal to the mass marketers out there, or people who got fed up with having their artistic vision compromised by the record labels.

Those labels are only in business end of the music business and only care about their bottom line. To them. its a product, like a screw, and distinguishibility and individuality is not a good thing.

Its bad enough when the artist has to come up with the same sound time after time but they have to come up with the same sound as everybody else.

For the most part, the A&R people are a kind of virulent pond scum that smothers all individuality while infecting everything they touch.

"You got to have 'that sound', man. Maybe if you recorded at [insertname of studio here], [insert name of recording engineer here] could use his backup crew to give you 'that sound.' "

At that point you, as an artist, have probably already lost. You've got a contract and you're recording but its not going to be your music.

That kind of crap can only work when [insert your name] really mesh with [insert name of recording engineer here] and [insert name of recording engineer here] approaches the project with his skill but not with his preconceptions.

Then its golden; an all too rare collaboration; a melding of your skills at your instrument and his skills at the console.

Otherwise you'll be indinguishable; a homogenized product fed into the maw of the machine and shat out before the record company's next meal.

And you as an artist are paying for it.

You don't think the contract you signed before any of this came about was actually going to pay you a dime before they took all of their expenses did you?

Oh, and you've got to tour on your own dime too.

You didn't think that they were actually promoting this turkey, did you?

As far as they're concerned, you're on the hook for the x thousand copies that got spewed out of the CD press, at their rates, not at their cost.

That's why they're so screwed up with the internet.

They're confusing their product with their process.

Their product is your music, whether as artist or as audience.

Their process is to gouge you, whether as artist or as audience.

But the 'scarce resource' model doesn't apply when recording equipment is digital.

For the artist, you can record what you want, mix tracks, craft a CDs worth of tracks, or not, and put it out on the 'net.

The quality is limited by your own talent and when you say 'Enough, I wanna move on'.

Your success is limited to the appeal of your sound, and screw the A&R men.

msb-0021 Sounds of Silence

Simon & Garfunkle aren't involved.

This show is music only because I've got some interesting work to get through.

Today I thought I'd give you a rest from my ranting and just play da music, man; just play da music.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

msb-0019 Jockeying for Position

Feedback come first so here goes:

There wasn't any...

So what am I doing about it? Enjoy! Relax... Gather my wits and some strength before it hits.


I am going to Podcasters Across Borders at the end of June, Friday June 23rd and Saturday June 24th, to be exact, so there's bound to be some influences one way and/or the other.

I'm hoping to speak to some other 'small market' podcasters.

I'm also hoping to have a good time and geek away the week-end. :-)

Lee's coming with me to keep me on the straight and narrow, but I still intend to enjoy Uncle Seth and the rest of the shows.

I'm encouraged by the success and longetivity of the Otaku Generation podcast. Talk about a specialized interest podcast. They are still running. They are at episode #49 and show no sign of podfading (and those guys still make me laugh so ... I download the 'cast and laugh to myself on the PATH train during the morning commute.)

I am in a holding pattern as far as MS stuff goes so today, I get to DJ away.


I've been reading "Polio An American Story" (ISBN: 0-19-515294-8) and I found out that polio actually affected 1 in 3,000. That's three times fewer people than MS.

But they happened to be mostly children and that scared the crap out of people. Well, infantile paralysis would. Also the progress of the disease is dramatically different.

Roosevelt got it, so much for the infantile part, and he brought something that other patients didn't.

I refer of course to money.

Money bought profile and when the rich got less rich during the depression of the thirties, he used his profile to tap into the general population with the "March of Dimes."

That raised more money, a dime at a time, than could ever have been raised at parties for the rich, a hundred dollars a plate at a time.

That also raised the consciousness of the general public and it launched lots of interest for the 'stake holders', the health care facilities, research facilities, doctors, nurses, and, most importantly, for the people afflicted by polio.

In those days the broadcasting industry was still nascent and newspaper space could be bought for cheap.

The consumer attention span could be focused, a page at a time, one minute at a time, on the disease.

And it worked! Salk and Sabin became bitter rivals and some of the research establishments engaged in some unscrupulous folderol, but Polio was eventually neutralized as a disease.

Now imagine what could be done with a pool or research subjects, read guiney pigs, almost three times the size.

Now the FDA is not going to allow the kind of medical torture that was engaged in back in the day and progress is slow and steady partly because of it, but its cumulative.

Mick Jager got it wrong. Its the song not the singer.

If, in the medical world, the equivalent to the RIAA and ASCAP/BMI and the rest of 'em were to enforce their vision of intellectual property and we were reduced to using a 'clean room' approach, as we are currently stuck with when trying to develop sofware, the state of medecine would be set back to the middle ages.

But the profiteers aren't in charge entirely so medecine builds on the discoveries of the past.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

msb-0018 Gift of giving

Feedback goes first, so here goes.

You're not rid of my voice and my 5 tunes per show any time soon. But I hope not to be doing this all by myself forever.

I feel good about all the feedback my wife got about this podcast at the caregiver's confab two week-ends ago, or at least the idea behind this podcast.

The general consensus is that its a good way to fill the great sucking void concerning MS and MS news in the general for-profit broad-band media.

I also am getting some more feedback from other sources.

Apart from trying to meet me face to face, I've just paid for and activated the external number (201)984-7448 and my SkypeIn voice mail so you can call me and leave me messages from anywhere anytime with or without a computer, or you can call my Skype account at MSBPodcast.

(I'm going to have to get some new business cards printed. :-)

This podcast is a great way to combat the loneliness and feeling of isolation that MSers get from the general lack of knowledge about the disease, and the pervasive lack of exposure in the media.


I've been reading "Robin Hood Was Right", by Chuck Colins and Pam Rogers (ISBN: 0-393-32085-5) and reading about the history of "The March Of Dimes" covered in "Polio An American Story" by David M. Oshinsky (ISBN: 0-19-515294-8)

I am getting and gaining from a deeper understanding of the democratization of philantropy.

In my case, its leading to trying to run this podcast for you and for the various MS organizations, pharmacos and service providers by running along the bleeding edge of technology razor and making "wire" time (as opposed to air time,) available to us all.

Yes its all coming out of my pocket right now, but we're worth it, damn it.


Its about time for us MSers to take advantage of what the internet has brought us.

Shining glass fibers and copper wires that unite us in our paradoxical sense of being alone.

Its a very disconnecting thing, this isolation and lack of empathy among the general population, who simply can't relate to our experience of life.

They can't "grok" it because they just can't, anymore than I could "grok" it before getting this disease myself.

But I did.

Since then, since the stupid disease became an undeniable fact in my life, I have given some thought to all of the other isolating factors at play in our life.

Its sort of warped.


Technology, as exemplified by the iPod, can be the ultimate isolating factor.

We can seal ourselves off behind our earbuds.

Getting fed content by the media conglomerates, who can collect money broadcasting the noise with which we shut ourselves off from everyone else.

That was the state of things with Sonys' Walkman.

Tastes in music didn't matter. I could be listening to "Rat Music for Rat People" or "Sibelius" or "Bach" and I was alone listening to whatever I'd paid for.

Now with Podcasting, I can listen to whatever I pull from the 'net.

While that could be not much better that listening to a Walkman, because its the 'net, I have so much more music available to me, stuff that the record execs ignore because they can't figure out how to make money from it, (lets face it, they can't figure out a lot of things,) and I can give and get feedback.

I am no longer alone; because its the 'net I am no longer limited to whatever the media conglomerates find it the most profitable to sell me.

They can't "grok" podcasting anymore than they could "grok" MS, because they just can't, anymore than I could "grok" it before getting this disease myself.

But I did. And I do.


My tastes in music are only partially reflected in this podcasts.

While I have a really extensive collection of music, 800+CDs and 400 vinyl albums, I can't share any of it with you.

The RIAA, ASCAP/BMI and the entire suite of lawyers related acronyms would haul my skinny li'l butt to the hoosegow if I played any of it without paying them.

Not that they created any of it, composed any of it, or played on any of it.

No, they just want me to fork over all my dough because their clients, the record companies, don't really care about promoting the people who did create it or composed it or played on any of it.

So I'm stuck bringing you the music I can play. Luckily, there's more and more of that. It's not as extensive as I'd like and there are some examples, some artists and some genres that I doubt I'll ever be to play. There was only one Edith Piaf and she's walled off from this podcast as surely as if she'd never existed.

In their view, the politics of scarcity still apply.

That's why they're trying to turn the internet, a scalable, asynchronous medium for content delivery into a streaming medium under corporate control with rate tiers for delivery reliability.

They're selling you a load of crap. With podcasting, we don't have to depend on them for a damn thing.

We don't have to be reduced to mere spigots for mammon while our needs for meaningful information go begging.