Thursday, September 21, 2006

msb-0072 "Feeling allright. Unh Yeah. Not feeling too good myself"

msb-0072 "Feeling allright. Unh Yeah. Not feeling too good myself"

Nothin' like an old Joe Cocker song to send me tripping down memory lane.

He originally got the song from Paul Weller.

"Seems I've got to have a change of scene
'Cause every night I have the strangest dream
Imprisoned by the way things used to be
Left here on my own or so it seems
I've got to get out before I start to scream
'Cause someone's locked the door and took the key
You feeling alright?
I'm not feeling too good myself

Well boy, you sure took me for one big ride
And even now I sit and wonder why
An' then I think of you and I start to cry
But I just can't waste my time and must keep dry

Gotta stop believing in all your lies
'Cause there's too much to do before I die
Don't get too lost in all I say
Though at the time I really felt that way
But that was then and now it's today

Oh - can't get out feeling, so I'm here to stay
Til someone comes along to take my place
With a different name, just a different face
You feeling alright?
I'm not feeling too good myself"

Don't worry, I've got the lyrics in the blog (at ) but I'm not going to sing along.

I've never had a singing voice.

It's not false modesty either.

I just don't have a singing voice.

Maybe that's why I became a good instrumentalist.

I couldn't fake it by humming along.

---- Tin Hearts

Anyway, feedback should come first, so...

I promised "Have myelin?" from Colorado, that I would do something on an iPod for her, despite her deafness, which you must admit pretty much defeats the purpose having an iPod.

(Well, it would if it wasn't for her cochlear implants. She has the "potential" for much better hearing than us "mere mortals".)

But it was an interesting gedanken experiment.

Firstly, it has to be a G5 or better iPod, otherwise an iPod is less useful to the hearing impared than the equivalent volume of chewing gum.

Secondly, the usage is completely wrong.

She will have to stop whatever she is doing in order to focus on the iPod instead of partitioning and multi-tasking and lettting the audio fall to the background while her eyes help her to navigate.

Thirdly, it would require the development of software (and the installation of said software) for her iPod.which would:
  1. enable the opening of a PDF file,
  2. viewing a PDF file, (with a slider, cursor mechanism,) with an 'auto advance' mechanism (sort of a karaoke machine but over an entire screen,)
  3. closing so as to terminate the PDF file viewer.
I suppose I could do it that way but there's something kind of "yeech" about it.

Then again, there is something kind of "yeech" about it regardless of how I attempt to compensate over a medium that's the wrong bandwidth.

Eyes take in so much more information than ears but they require so much more attention.

I was thinking of mis-using the m4a file format to accomplish this (complete with chapters) and having an accompanying audio track, which she would not hear, (well, that she wouldn't hear properly.)

Basically, I would have to abuse the format in the exact sensory obverse from Violet Blue's Open Source Sex. (Yes, there are those kinds of podcasts too.)

Instead, I've written to Apple with all the hints they need to do it so we' d be able to tie in a 'chapter' to a dictionary of text files (one per langage,) and get them to add subtitling (or closed captioning,) properly.

Eventually, the "frozen music" image will be the text and illustrations on "Ludwig Mies van der Rohe" from "The Oral History of Modern Architecture" ISBN: 0-8109-3669-0, while the audio will be my usual tomfoolery.

---- Clockwork Family

I've been blogging a lot more. The list of other bloggers on my site has been growing and I owe a by thank you to mdmhvonpa for providing an extentive list to start with. I am starting a whole series of wiki pages, one per MSer I encounter.

I heard some sad news today, Friday October 6th, 2006.

Mdmhvonpa sent word through his website that a fellow MSer, mouse at , has lost a spouse.

Its kind of a double tragedy when an MSer loses not only the love of their life but someone she could always depend on to help.

Leave her a message of condoleance and encouragement at:

---- Twisted Family Ties

Medicare restrictions on mobility devices are scheduled to take effect November 15, 2006.

Yes, your elected officials just don't get it. That because it not representative. There are no handicapped people, no sick people, no disabled people in any part of our legislative bodies... This sucks...

Beginning Monday, October 2 through November 8, members of Congress will be in their home districts for the electoral recess. While your legislators are back at the fount, call or visit their local offices!

We've got to stop the Medicare policy that restricts device coverage and restricts mobility.

People with multiple sclerosis and other disabilities will lose mobility under a new Medicare power mobility device policy.

Coverage will be restricted to certain devices, limiting people with MS to lower-quality, poorly-performing mobility devices. And against their physicians' recommendations.

People with MS need mobility devices that meet their level of function and allow them the greatest possible quality of life. This is not be what you might be entitled to.

Basically, if you don't speak up, you're going to get shafted.

---- A Question of Family

I'm going to end this podast with the song "Reinstalling Windows" by Graham Holland. This is going out specially for Michelle, a cute biking MSer from Alaska who blog I've just read. (It , is on the show notes folks.)

One of her earlier posts got me thinking about the stages of grief:
  1. DENIAL --- What's the first thing you do? You try to start it again! And again. You may check to make sure the radio, heater, lights, etc. are off and then..., try again.
  2. ANGER --- "%$@^##& car!", "I should have junked you years ago." Did you slam your hand on the steering wheel? I have. "I should just leave you out in the rain and let you rust."
  3. BARGAINING --- (realizing that you're going to be late for work)..., "Oh please car, if you will just start one more time I promise I'll buy you a brand new battery, get a tune up, new tires, belts and hoses, and keep you in perfect working condition.
  4. DEPRESSION --- "Oh God, what am I going to do. I'm going to be late for work. I give up. My job is at risk and I don't really care any more. What's the use".
  5. ACCEPTANCE --- "Ok. It's dead. Guess I had better call the Auto Club or find another way to work. Time to get on with my day; I'll deal with this later."
(from )

I guess I was on a fast track to acceptance since I went directly from denial to acceptance (Yeah, I walk with a cane now, shit!) but there is a big difference between acceptance and accomodation.

While I accept that I now have some limitations, I'm not laying down and weeping. I refuse to go gently into that long goodnight.

I will have to continually learn to work around my limitations to find some way of accomplishing my goals.

If way one doesn't work, I've got to come up with another, better way.

Economically, its simple supply and demand: because I've got a smaller supply of me I've got to be far more efficient in my use of me in order to accomplish my goals (Do I sound like a recent college graduate in business. That's because I am. :-)

In effect, I have to become a better much better capitalist than the average person because getting this disease has raised my ambitions while simultanously lowering my physical capital.

---- Reinstalling Windows

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

msb-0071 Sucks to be me? Nah. Well, maybe a little.

msb-0071 Sucks to be me? Nah. Well, maybe a little.

I'm feeling in a classical mood today so you're going to be subjected to a heavy dose of it.

The usual five pieces of music but l-o-n-g-e-r.

I'm changing for format, the frequency and the duration of the show.

Sit back, have your breakfast, lunch, dinner or a late night snack (I have no idea when you're listening to this,) drink a glass of whatever's handy, OJ or brandy, and lets get on with the show.

Feedback come first so...

Carlo Magno is almost ready to get back on the road.

And what a road it is. Across the northern portion of the United States, raising money for MS.

Hope to see you for an interview before you get home.


I'm still enjoying blogging and reading/writing on other's people's blogs.

One Crazy Chick, aka Miss Chris, has been leaving some nice comments on my blog.

Yes mdmhvonpa, of the "White Lightning Axiom: Redux", I had indeed looked up Pennsyltucky.

Like I said, I loved the description I'd found about it.

Mullet wearing husbands of their own sisters leads to a family tree which does not fork.

You don't write like that is your problem.

MS yes, inbreeding, nope.

I got more feed back which is going to influence this show, or at least the production I apply to this show. (Isn't nice to be able to infuence people and make a difference? More and more of you are coming at this show the web and not using iTunes.)


I guess this next bit is "feed bag" instead of "feed back."

I went to the Chefs For MS (they are no longer on the links because this year's event is over.)

It was a great big event (definitely well attended,) on a great big ship (the "Cornucopia,") on a great big river (well two actually, the Hudson and the East rivers,) for a great big city (the 'Big Apple",) and the food was delicious.

The chefs had stations all around the perimeter of the boat, on two of the three levels) and people went all over the place gathering and grazing. (Which I must admit was a bit of a challenge of me as I only had one hand free while the other of course was being used for my cane.)

It was a beautiful night out and the air was crisp with the chill that announces fall.

As for the wine < sigh > I only had one glass of red. I didn't stray from the straight and narrow.

They had divvied up the dozen bottles and made up baskets with donatted items. I didn't bid on any of the items but was mentionned on a placard and I was able to place some cards and handouts on a table.

The cruise ended off with a passage in front of the Status of Liberty. It looks very inspirational when its all lit up.

Next year, I hope to attend again, but, failing that, will definitely be a sponsor and donor.

But it was an evening of grazing on "Amuse Geules" rather than actually chowing down on something substantial.

For that I waited until Wednesday when "She Who Must Be Obeyed" proceeded to make me the most fan-ta-bulous lamb chops I had ever eaten.

They were perfect.

She made them with a rosemary and a touch of lime marinade and then broiled them until the meat was just past pink.

They were accompanied with broccoli cauliflower, carrots and delicious bread and washed down with a bottle of Boggle Merlot red wine.

Damn, I've got it good.


I bought a nice black T-Shirt from Brad Sucks.

He is somebody who's songs I really like, specially "Making me Nervous," and he's from Ottawa, a town that I called home for almost ten years. (Point your browsers at and support him.)

I've been in touch "Ultravox" ( ) I love Midge Ure's voice. They're still around and I'm trying to turn them onto the PMN (Podsafe Music Network.)

I still need for some you to drop me a line. I know you're out there. My download stats haven't cratered yet. In fact, I've picked a few people since I started posting on other people's blogs.

But I got some good feedback this week.

As a result, I'd going back to a weekly format.

It'll be hard for me because this show provides me with a means of expression and I really like that.

I'm hoping to take the time and make the effort to improve the production on this show.

I think I'm going to go to a radio school ( and check out what I can take.

I simply have to slow down and enunciate.

Getting a metronome with a blinking light to pace myself is one technique. Its also helping me with my breath control.

As my friend Eugene pointed out to me over a beer, (or three, :-) my show has almost no actual MS content.

I don't feature the latest and greatest from the labs or have interviews with great and learned doctors.

Well, I'm actually of two minds about giving you that kind of show.

Yes, I could record all kinds of stuff and track down various doctors and other kinds of health care providers.

But as someone from the care givers confab pointed out, they already know all about MS.

They don't want to hear about it any more.

They don't wan't to hear more suff which possibly scares them even more, depresses them even more or gives them news that might, and I say might, maybe, give them some hope ... in ten years.

And frankly that's not what I had in mind when I started doing this show.

I was bitching about how you never hear a peep in the media about what you can do for yourself today, and how you never see or hear about products you can use today.

Not some worst case scenario. (The aproach used by most fundraisers.)

Not at some nebulous point in the future. (The approach used by most researchers.)

But something that you can use right now to help you over life's little bumps right now.

And legally, I am severely ham-strung.

I am not a doctor (and I don't even want to play one on TV. :-)

I'm not a nurse.

I am not a therapist.

I am not a medical technician.

Face it, I'm not much of anything else that would be useful in any kind of emergency.

What I am though is an MSer.

I know what you're going through, and, at a meta level, I can make sense of it all. (With my looks, I 'd better be bright. Otherwise I'd have nothing going for me. :-)

I've figured how we can keep advertising out of out faces unless we need to see something at some point in time.

Then I can help the advertisers by cutting the cost of delivering their message down to a fraction of any other medium.

Now, just like a pusher, 'the first one's always free.' After that they gotta pay.

I'm going to be putting these shows up for anybody with anything related to MS. One show per ad and one ad per show.

That way we don't have to download them except when we need them. (Of course the show notes will become filled with references to these ads/shows and I'll be organizing them and reciting them at the end of the shows.)

Give me some feed back about that. How do you feel about advertising this way?


I'm still a bit pissed off at my mom for getting rid of all my old LPs. Some of that stuff was really choice. Really "get your ass out of that chair and shake your bootie" fine music.

But mom's birthday came up so I did the obligatory bunch of flowers type thing. (I live over a day's drive away, so don't give me crap about not being a good son and never visiting, okay?)

I had all kinds of music by Jimy Hendrix, Johnny Winter, early Alice Cooper, (though I still think "Flush The Fashion," which came out in 1980, was one of the most grossly under-rated and media ignored albums.)

Now I'm not blaming my mother for all of my losses since I was already married to my first wife and living my a bungalow with an attached granny flat on 40th avenue in Lachine, Quebec Canada, Canada by that time. (I hate the burbs, but its because I've done my time there.)

The entire granny-flat type extension was dedicated to my collection by then.

And I had an enormous stereo system to go along with it. A honkin' big Elextrovox Circa series. It could pump out 180 watts RMS per channel through two enormous wooofer cabinets and a pair of sattelite tweeters.

Man, I loved that thing.

When I played "Sky Pilot" by, uh, I'm having a senior moment here, (Eric Burdon & The Aminals maybe?) a Scotsman who lived across the backyard came to tell me he "liked the bagpipes, but could ye turn it down a wee bit."

And then I started making a list of all of the stuff I'd lost whenever I'd moved from place to place. Gawd... What a little tragedy.

Did you know that, in insurace terms, three moves equals a fire? Between one thing and another, breakage, outright losses, abandoning stuff before you leave, not bothering to unpack boxes when you finally get to your new house, you can lose everything you originally owned and get all new stuff in three moves.

I've lived a peripatetic lifestyle, must have moved from one end of the continent and back again at least twice, with stops along the way, and I must be a friggin' turtle because I still have alot of my stuff. But some of course was lost.

Still, I've managed to hang onto about 800+ CDs and 400+ albums.

And I've managed to hand onto a lot of my old books too. :-)


Having MS and having it take over my life sucks.

Sucks to be me? Nah. Well,maybe a little.

Right now Lee is in my office. She should know better but she's going away for the week-end and wants it tidy.

Damn. I've got Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me With Science" running as a background.

Specially the passage:
"I -I don't believe it!
There she goes again!
She's tidied up, and I can't find anything!
All my tubes and wires.
And careful notes.
And antiquated notions."

Like my notion that a man's office is sacrosanct.

Hey I've noticed that this show is less about "moi" and its becoming about the people I run into. This is "Grr-rr-eat!"

'Til next week then.

Friday, September 15, 2006

msb-0070 Wine whine.

msb-0070 Wine whine.

Feedback come first so...

I've actually got some.

First to the people who have spammed me about paedophiles on

Its not that I don't care. I do care.

But I rather have one source out there which can catch them all and round 'em all up for, uh, "re-reducation."

Unlike Bush's approach to "The War On Terror" which cause Al-Queda to metastasize out of Afghanistan, to Pakistan, to Malaysia, to Iraq, to Spain, to France, to England, and beyond.

He had a chance to let them fail all at once in Afghanistan [they were demanding food and it was falling on deaf ears,] and instead he attacked them and make martyrs out of ben Laden and the rest of them.

What an ignorant simp. A real semi-simian. His knowledge of how to handle international relations would fit on a 3x5 card and it would include exactly the wrong advice.

Oh happy me. Being somebody's tech-support. :-)

[climbs down from soabox]

I'm helping (well trying to help) some of you to get iTunes and to download the episodes.

No Michelle, you don't need an iPod.

Its so much easier to use RSS and downloading with iTunes, or another podcatcher, than trying to listen to these live.

Specially if you don't have a good broad band connection.


"Veni, vidi, vinci" blogs.

I'm finally getting into blogging and reading other people's blogs ... Social networking ... What a concept ...

I'm really getting into this; I started with reading Ms. Chris's site, and it has pointed me to other blogs by or about MSers.

One of these was from someone who goes by the handle mdmhvonpa.

He's from Pennsyltucky.

I love the definition I found in the Urban Dictionary: (

"A state in which it is considered 'gauche' to marry outside your immediate family.

You are required to own at least two off-road vehicles and if you have a firm grasp of the English language you are considered a homosexual.

Non-whites are severely frowned upon as are people with their own identity, thoughts and more than three books in their home...unless those books include Jeff Foxworthy's "You might be a redneck if..." or "Guns and Ammo" or any book pertaining to incestuous relationship with your daughter.

This state is known for it's infamously archaic infrastructure, most notably it's highways and byways.

It's chief exports include 'Yeungleung' beer, coal and tarts with floppy breasts and flabby white legs who dance in G0-Go bars in NY and NJ and who compete visciously with the Russian and Brazilian girls for that 'almighty dollar'.

One final note on 'Pennsyltucky': it might be said that the mullet is alive and well in this godforsaken state.

'I went to Pennsyltucky this weekend to play a little golf and nearly got run off the road by some mullet wearing neanderthal and his sister/wife.' "

Now, you just know I'd going to do a show on Appalachian music soon.

If only I could find some effin' music and some jug band music, it would be perfect. Gotta seach the PMN with a fine tooth comb. (An appliance about as likely to be found in them there parts as a to-oo-oth brush.)

I've read every book he's got on his list of favorite books. (But I'm such a print-o-holic that I could say that about almost everybody.)

I've seen every movie on his list too. He's a media soul mate. :-)


I've also been communicating with a few other people.

This blogging is great.

Its all asynchronous so you have time to compose an intelligent reply instead of blathering piffle and waffle.

(Hmm ... Sounds like my show... Well it can be entertaining piffle and waffle. :-)

Drop me an email at charles at and tell me where your blog is.


But today, in keeping with the theme of libations, its about whine, uh wine.

Wine came before beer by at least 2,500 years.

Beer didn't come into its own until the development of agriculture and the cultivation and processing of grains, about 6,000 years ago.

Wine may even have led to the development of agriculture!

Since fruits and berries were part of every diet since earlest hunter/gatherer stages of human development (not evolution but development :-), it stands to reason that it came first.

Heck, you don't even have to be human to enjoy a tipple.

I've heard of bears getting absolutely sloshed on berries at the absolute tail end of the growing season. (The thought of facing a bear with a hang-over is something I don't want to even contemplate. Though it would exlain why they run off if you make loud clanging noises at them. :-)

Wine is basically crushed grapes and its all white.

There are lots of varieties of grapes, lots of colors of grapes, but if they are peeled they all make white whine, uh, wine.

Wine becomes red when its combined with red grape peel and left to ferment.

A wine's color is called its robe. After several bottles you begin to disrobe.

All wines have a nose. Well, actually its your nose; and you shove it into the glass twice. Once when the wine has just been poured and once again when its been swirled around in your glass.

Then wines have a body. (Its usually hiding under its robe.)

Wines have a start, which you taste at the front of your mouth. It usually sounds like you're slurping your supper off the dining room table and you can't do it too loud 'cause is would upset the other people in the psych ward. And you definitely don't want to get the staff to notice you either. They've got hipodermics and wooden clubs and they know how to use them.

Wines have a palate, which you taste in the middle of your mouth. It usually sounds like you've just been told that you're eating rat's ass-hole but that's okay because it really spicy and really really hot.

Wines have a finish, which you taste at the back of your mouth. It usually sounds like you've managed to get rid of most of the rat and you're looking up at the ceiling, gargling to wash the taste uut of your mouth while trying to keep it shut, so the spiders you've just noticed crawling on the ceiling, don't fall in.

Then you've got the age old decision to make.

Do you spit, and risk hurting his feelings or do you swallow, and make a new friend for life.

Although there's no way to be genteel about spitting, if you've been swallowing the vinters' guff all evening, you may find yourself either sitting there slack-jawed and just letting it drool out, or laughing like an idiot and then it gushes out your nose.

Wine tasting is not for amateurs.

There's all kinds of tricks with the ripeness of the grapes.

Sauterne wine is made from grapes that have over ripened and have a much higher sugar content that the same grape when picked at its normal gathering ripeness. (I'm thinking of the bears again; drunk off their asses on what amounts to Sauterne. :-)


Oh Joy, Hosana du plus haut des cieux, Angels are weeping with joy. Halleluyah and hoo-fuckin'-ray!

I have managed to finally track down, find and buy a copy of "Eefin-Nanny Down Home" by Billy Hutch his harmonica and orchestra.

This is possibly the most influential album you've *never* heard. At its heart is the quintessential, definitive root sound underlying ALL of American music. Its reverberation can be felt even to this day.

I had a copy of this album, along with all kinds of gems of delta blues (Mississippi Fred Macdowell, Mississippi John Hurt, Robert Johnson,) early proto-punk music, (Albums like "Moonquake." Music from bands like "Rhinoceros," "Big Brother and the Holding Company," "Echo and the Bunnymen") and about a hundred more. All of it primo choice.

Unfortunately my mother not realizing their inestimable value to music history (or perhaps in an attempt to rid of her son of his obsession with music in all of its forms,) just threw them away when in one fell swoop.

Haaa! I was dumb struck and heart broken when I discovered. I came home from school one day and my crates were gone. Just ... gone.

I've never quite forgiven her for that shock. It was like Maxwell's demon had taken all the air from my bedroom and my lungs were sucking in sulphurous fumes instead.

< sigh >

To inject a little levity (instead of Rebif or Copaxone or whatever your poison might be,) I got in touch with Alex Whitmore and he got back to me PDQ (Pretty Damn Quick) giving me permission to play the following song.


Monday, September 11, 2006

msb-0069 Bier, bier, Ich liebe mein bier

msb-0069 Bier, bier, Ich liebe mein bier.

Feedback come first so...

My download stats are showing me a couple of things.

First is that I've got over 3,000 thousand downloads.

Not bad for a 'cast I'm only getting around to promoting.

I started this thing nine months ago.

I fumbled around trying to see what it could do and how it could do it.

Apart from the nacent business model, there has been the therapeutic, almost cathartic, effect of just not shuting up about having this disease and, keeping a stiff upper lip, soldiering bravely on.

(Screw that. There are some days I just want to hiss at the facing throng, like Marullus in Julius Caesar: You blocks. You stones. You worse than senseless things!)

Now I think I've found a stable enough format that would allow me to continue for an indefinite amount of time while giving advertisers the space and time they need.

They almost stay out of my content and I stay out of their ads.

That's the kind of sponsorship I can tolerate.

And if the advertising budget can be reduced by the cost of the old content delivery, from over four dollars a patient down to 5 cents a patient, maybe the cost of the treatments could go down too. (Who am I kidding? ... Never happen!)

Second is that more of you are coming at my show from the web than from iTunes and that that portion is growing slightly faster.

So be it.

So then, who the heck are you?

I thought my audience was going primarily composed of one segment of the iTunes+iPod listening public but I'm being sort of proved wrong; not that that's necessarily a bad thing.

The audience pool is much larger that I'd originally estimated ... maybe.

Over 60 million iPods have been sold.

I figured that half of those are "repeats', people who own more than one. Say 30 million of 'em.

I also calculated that with the reliability of Apple products, over half of the replacements are due to new styles or capacities and not due to devices crapping out. Say 15 million of 'em.

I also figured that half of the kids would buy the new ones and and give the older working ones for their 'rents to find. Say 7.5 million of 'em.

Statistically, if one person in twelve hundred, or 0.0833% of the population gets MS, (a figure I'm using that's given out by the National MS Society,) the odds were that 6,250 of you would have MS.

Given the multiplier effect that people with MS have care-takers and relatives, that might double the potential audience and make for a final audience of about 12,000.

But about half of you now aren't listening with an iPod or even downloading through iTunes; you're picking the shows up directly from the web.

So my assumptions were wrong, but in a good way. (We all know that when you assume anything, you make an ass out of u and me.)

So who the heck are you?

Drop me an email to charles at and just tell me how you're picking up the show.


Like Simple Simon, I went to the fair, the church art fair.

I stumbled and shambled about, met people, handed out my card, ate the food, drank the seltzer (when I'm on, I eschew all forms of alcohol,) and checked out the art.

It was interesting; some of the pieces were choice; several of them were arrestingly beautiful; it was not at all run of the mill, (the black and gleaming chrome Harley Davidson with the saber toothed tiger skull headlight was definitly not what one expects to encounter in a church apse.)

A few of the pieces were quite interesting, as were a few of the people who were more decked out for Carnaval that for church.

Hats off for the pastor.

But the building was still a church and churches give me hives.

Like all churches built in that era (the thirties,) the building was ramshakle and remarkably unfriendly to people with disabilities.

There were a few people with canes. We confined ourselves after one trip through the art to scattering ourselves about the ample available seating, not confortable but ample.

The stairs between the nave above and the hall below were definitely not ADA.

Heck, with the pipes that passed for handrails, it wasn't even safe for healthy people.

Women in heels slowed to teetering precariously while we disabled were slowed to less than that.


I'm still reading the book "Who's in Control of your Multiple Sclerosis?" by the Codes.

Man there's a lot in there. (And he's got plans to podcast it too.)


I'm still communicating with One Crazy Chick.

The beauty of RSS is that you can set a podcatcher, such as iTunes, loose and it can download all day long or all night long and it can tell you what new episodes are ready for you to play when they're finally all caught.

You don't have to sit there and wait, which what you have to do if you don't have a rock steady reliable broadband connection.

Podcatchers are great at taking the need for synchrony out of communicating.


I posted a comment on a what turned out to be an almost brand new blog, "Hello life, now lets get cracking." (, by Justin Eggar, which seems to have been up and runnning since September 4th, 2006.

I discovered that yet another techy from North Carolina, has another relative (his aunt) with MS.

Like me he's into project management. Unlike me, he's much younger and less dissolusioned by the whole process.

Following links around I managed to discover that were both subscribed to "The Project Management Podcast". (iTMS podcasts ) Kewl.

Project management is the art of both leading a parade with a baton, in front of a circus elephant, and following behind it with a shovel...

Actually, that's why you need proofs-of-concept trials, object and behavior models, prototypes, standards and checklists and, most importantly, PIRs (Post Implementation Reviews).

Its tough to convince upper management that, just like doctors and architects, we don't really know what we're doing when ever were confronted with something new.

Unlike doctors, who can always bury their mistakes and achitects who can sometimes advise their clients to plant vines, if you're doing software project management, you have to fight a short history of blood-minded denial.

Its not like trying out a new surgical procedure which will cure or kill (cemetaries are filled with those,) or erecting a building which will let gravity inform you of your success of failure by standing or falling down. (Many a cathedral did exactly that.)

Because software project aren't dealing with reality, we often get stupid and ignore the glaring errors and omissions in our projects by "shrinking the project box," and jettisoning everything that sticks out over the edge of "the project box".

That's why things don't ever seem to change. The interesting parts of the project, the parts that should have been worked on first, the APIs (Application Progam Interfaces) to the other things we will have to co-exist with, have all been jettisoned when the schedule got tight.

(Why is Microsoft once again stuck with yet another kludge to its file system instead of starting clean? Why else? Because instead of having an operating system capable of supporting several file systems, they think monolithically and that part of the OS keeps getting jettisoned.)

Project management, no matter how good it is, no matter how good the techniques and tools are, won't change a corporate culture which inevatibly leads to project stagnation.

Sorry to have gone off on a bit of a rant here but this is something I actually care deeply about.


I know I'm supposed to be loooking forward to Chefs for MS and all the wine I'd bought, but, lets face it, I'm staying sober that evening; walking the straight and narrow (always an iffy proposition with MS,) and putting my best foot forward. (An expression which never made much sense to me. I mean: "best foot." I only got two! And they don't exactly do what I want or go where I thought I was sending them all the time.)

In fact, I'm a beer lover.

I've had beers from every continent except Antartica, 'cause there's no brewries there, and from almost every country around the globe.

Some of which tasted bloody awful, like the beer from the Horse People in Outest Mongolia, who lived on horseback, ate horse flesh, wore horse hides, fashioned twine, or gutta percha from horse sinews and drank a weak, thin beer, who'se origins don't bear thinking about. (Apologies and thanks to Terry Pratchett, Rincewind the wizzard [that's what it said on his hat,] and the entire Disk World series. :-)

Some of which, like Belgian Abbey beer, tasted like the am-freakin'-brosia.

My favorite is Chimay. On those occasions when I can find it, I like to sit back with a liter of it and just savor it.

Beer has quite a history.

Its a legacy from the Sumerians.

About 6,000 years ago life was tough.

Specially if you're somebody's slave.

It could be that a piece of bread or grain became wet and a short time later, began to ferment; and a inebriating pulp resulted.

Nobody but a slave would ever have known that it was alcohol laden because nobody but a slave would be so hungry and so desperate not to throw it out but to actually eat it, mold and all.

Anybody else would have tossed it to the dogs.

This feat of ingesting a familiar substance, an improperly stored grain, it having strange side effects, getting whacked out and stoned, and surviving to tell the tale, was not to be repeated in recorded history until 1692 when the a couple of kids in Salem Mass. ate grain that was infected with ergot. (This halucinogen made for all the fun at the witch trials in that town. [Better living through chemistry. {At least when people were dropping acid in the sixties, they knew what to expect.})]

Luckily alcohol is a much more, uh, benign substance; and beer, while an acquired taste, is definitely an acquirable taste.

Like wine, which is the bi-product of rotten, moldy grapes, beer is the bi-product of rotten, moldy grains. (Actually, you can make an intoxicant from almost plant product. Not fungus and not flesh, but plant.)

But beer holds a special place near my heart (my stomach.)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

msb-0068 Memes, Words, Phrases and Sentences

msb-0068 Memes, Words, Phrases and Sentences

Feedback comes first so...

Carlo Magno has been in touch. He's scheduled to get back on the road at the end of this month. Lets hope everything goes according to plans. I'm hoping to get my banner on his three wheeler, Blue.

I'm still looking forward to Chefs For MS. I'm printing up about a hundred handouts and business cards as I write this. (Its fun being a techy with lots of hardware. :-)

I'm still in touch with one CrazyChick on her blog.

She'd written something about a colleague who perished on 9/11/01 and I was quite moved by it. I don't know which I liked better, the piece on the blog or the fact that it was written so well and so lovingly


As I mentionned in msb-0067, the last episode, I went to the MS function and found out what promise stem cells hold for you (I think I'm a little too advanced to qualify at this stage of the research. I'm also too chicken. They have to make swiss cheese of your hip-bone to extract enough marrow. Youch! :-)

The treatment seems to be geared at completely obliterating the disease by completely obliterating the immune system, (that what the chemo therapy does,) and then replacing it, either with screened portions of your own system saved before the chemo, which gets around all kinds of immune system rejection problems, or with using an uncompromised immune system as a transplant source, which brings those immuno-rejection problems back into focus.

I'll stick to my cane and keep on with Rebif. (Though I'm still up with for testing an oral or inhalable form of treatment instead of injectables.)

I gotta ask, why are so many of you downloading, or at least catching the episodes, off of the web?

You're proving that a plan never survives contact with reality.

There are more of you who aren't subscribing via RSS. You seem to be going to the site instead of through iTunes.

I hope that you are able to get the chapter headings and the links to the bands' websites which I have just discovered how to do in GarageBand for the iPod and iTunes. (Thanks to Screen Casts Online.)


So what is a meme?

Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (ISBN: 0-19-286092-5) defined it as "a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation." That means that a meme is some form of non verbal idea or other copy-writable object. (Not patentable but copy-writable.)

What is a word?

We'll ignore the computer science definition of a number of bits in a regularlized chunk of data, and stick to the human definition of a unit of language that native speakers can identify; "words are the blocks from which sentences are made."

What is a phrase?

We'll ignore the musical definition of a repeated pattern of notes and stick to the human definition of an expression consisting of one or more words forming a grammatical constituent of a sentence. However, phrases tend to be our verbal equivalent of memes. Thus we tend to 'grok' memes or complete phrases.

What is a sentence?

We'll ignore the legal definition of a period of incarceration or other restrictions on a person, and stick to the human definition of an expression consisting of a string of words satisfying the grammatical rules of a language.

Given that there are hundreds, nay thousands of languages, with special sentence structures SOV, SVO and other rules to express memes, we're obviously going too far.

So lets go back to the definition of phrase, and skip back before we have to apply a grammar.

Human beings tend to think of things in memes and express those memes in phrases.

Objectively, in the computer science sense of the word, objects are insufficient. To properly express things we have to construct memes and express these memes in phases.


Now lets take on a definition of a language.

Its got an alphabet of some form, a vocubulary, a grammar and a grammar.

Lets take a very simple alphabet, 0&1 which lets us express things as binary streams, or ACTG which lets us express things as quaternary. (ACTG sound familiar. It should you're composed almost entirely of and by it. All of life is defined by sequences of ACTG.)

Want to step up? Lets take Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti. (I don't need to restate Do which is just a point on the octave helix.)

Lets take a more complex alphabet, say Roman, (its easier for me to type :-) which lets us express things in a host of languages.

We're expressing ourselves, our memes, in the English language.

This implies certain word selection, certain word order and places some other restrictions on the form of what we can express but not on the memes we can express.
  • I love alphabets.
  • I love words.
  • I love phrases.
  • I love sentences.
  • I love grammar.
  • I love syntax.
  • I love language.
But mostly I love playing with the objects expressed in the seven previous sentences to express memes.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

msb-0067 "He not busy being born is busy dying"

msb-0067 "He not busy being born is busy dying"

Bob Dylan wrote some words that kind of got into my mind.

I was only twelve but they have stuck with me all these years.

If my mother had her 'drudders, she'd 'drudder I wouldn't have MS.

Actually, I'm pretty sure she'd 'drudder a lot of things but ... shit happened.

Shit like:
  • her bout of pleuresy
  • the Great Depression of the thirties,
  • the second world war,
  • the Korean war,
  • Cyprus, where Canadians wore UN blue targets, uh, hemets,
  • my first "unofficial" MS episode in the early sixties,
  • my first "official" MS episode in the late seventies,
  • my second MS episode in the mid nineties,
  • her own small strokes, which have left her in a home with short term memory impaired,
  • the attack, in 2001, on the World Trade Center, which could have killed me and still ruined my life for about a year,
  • and the attack on Israel, though the Lebanese would say that they were attacked instead.
I hear a reverbration of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start The Fire" bouncing around in the back of my head.

Life is made up of the shit that we get smeared with.

Sometime we can just wash it off and sometimes we friggin' drown in it.


Feedback before I go any further:

There are no more videos until I can check out some more things about permissions, feedback to artists and the like.

I'm sending messages to Adam Curry about Democracy. It seems like the PMN (Podsafe Music Network) would benefit from and could be an asset for the guys at Participatory Culture.

For all the useful info on ScreenCastOnline, I'm giving a BIG SHOUT OUT to Don McAllister and ScreenCastsOnline [ ].

Hello Miss Chris. Hope you're hangin' in there.

Hello Carlo Magno. Stay healthy and get back on the road according to your schedule. I don't know how it will be to travel with Jerry Caldwell aka Binky, the World Famous Clown. I hope he is a real good friend. Traveling on the road is sometimes a lonely trek, but sometimes you want it to be.

I'm still looking forward to going to Chefs For MS.


I'm finally reading doctor Code's book "Who's in Control of your Multiple Sclerosis?"
(ISBN: 0-9737918-0-2) and I must say its already teaching me things and confirming some things I'd sort of figured out for myself.

This book is thin, 223 pages, but dense.

Yesterday, Lee brought home "Twelve Sharp", the latest Stephany Plum novel by Janet Evanovich (ISBN: 0-312-34948-3) and I read it in a single sitting.

Its partly Evanovich's fault. She's an engaging writer and Stephany Plum is a great character.

But I was able to read the 310 pages of the novel at my own pace rather than the creep I am having to read the good doctor's book at.

Its got so much information in it and I'm constantly looking things up on the web because there are resources out there I never knew existed or hadn't appreciated properly.

I can tell you that this book is a lot better than repeatedly wasting time watching Dr. Phil waiting for information on MS.

I like the fact that he places importance on social relationships in recovering your sense of self-esteem and affirming your self-worth.

Which I must confess I didn't, until I thought about it and realized that this entire podcasting venture is a great way for me to build a social network and to communicate with you.

I am defining my life in this podcast and its keeping me going.

I just wish more of you sent me an email or Odeo'd me or took my survey or got onto my Frapper map. Find it all at

He's confirmed some things that Lee, my wife, had thought about Omega-3 oils.


Speaking of Lee, now I'm on a cod liver oil regimen, enforced by "she who must be obeyed"

I'm a very happy, very well fed, very married man and my wife is a diva, nay, a godess in the kitchen.

I not only know which side my bead is buttered on, but also how its made and by who. Its great.

We stay away from all kinds of processed crap. It might cost a bit more but our health is worth it.


Actually, its something that doesn't really make sense, does it?

I have to pay more to have them just leave our food alone, than if I let them have their way and then they, the agri-businesses,
  • truck it to a factory,
  • mush it all down,
  • do all kinds of expensive processes
  • with all kinds of expensive processors,
  • some of which involve treating it with stuff we are now going to sue them for,
  • like trans-fats and
  • hydrogenated oils and
  • high-fructose corn syrup, and then
  • box it all up and
  • truck it back to some store with all the ambiance of a food morgue,
rather than some corner grocer with the ambiance of a boudoir where foodie porn is being filmed.

Something is very wrong here.


Why does milk, which is fine for lactose tolerant kids, less so for adults because they no longer need it, [why does milk] cost more than an equivalent volume of cola?

Why are we willing to pay a buck for 12" of water when its free from the tap?

Why are we willing to eat crap when we could be eating stuff that tastes better and isn 't at the center of debates on obesity, diabetes and other diseases that affect our digestive tract from one end to another, from the teeth to the ass-hole.

Basically, we're eating ourselves into an early grave and making ourselves ill doing it.

I know, lets find out what the agri-business parents are feeding their kids and buy that.

I sure as shit doubt its the crap they make and sell.


There are no more videos until I can check out some more things about permissions, feedback to artists and the like.

For all the useful info on ScreenCastOnline, I'm giving a big SHOUT out to Don McAllister and ScreenCastsOnline [ ].


P.S. I know what day it is.

Its the fifth anniversary of 9/11... I was a personal witness to that little bit of Arab street theatre.

But I don't wanna to celebrate it and I definitely don't want Bush wrapping himself in our tragedy.

He's in New York City, tying up traffic, and he's not welcome.

I was attending an MS function and he managed to screw us all over from one end of Manhattan to midtown.

After an excellent presentation on using stem cells by a Canadian doctor, something else Bush doesn't believe in, like global warming or pollution, Dr Herbert's presentation was cut short because the traffic was being brought to a standstill by all of Bush's security.

Let him stay away, go and read something about sex with a goat to a bunch of Texan kiddie gardners, rather than trying to screw the rest of us, and shut his lying cake hole.

It ain't working Bush. Nobody buys it anymore.

I suspect that your family's political heritage is going to be that they will be exempt from any elected office for at least the next century. Until the globe cools down again.

It'd be easier to take if he was being genuinely hipocritical but I suspect that he's just flummoxed by our refusal to fall for his inconsistency and his outright lies.