Thursday, April 1, 2010

We are in the future now, y'all

The Incense Merchants, Red Star, Baton Rouge, LA

James Joyce - "Three Sisters" from Dubliners
Big Star - Keep an Eye on the Sky (lala)
Erykah Badu - New Amerikah Part Two: Return of the Ankh (lala)

Media Announcement: My previews for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Lafayette's Festival International de Louisiane and the Baton Rouge Blues Festival are in this month's issue of 225. 225 has a rather long lead time so doing these previews a couple months out is always a bit of a gamble, but I think for the first time in my history of doing these, everybody is still on the bill for all three.

I also have in this issue a portrait of mercurial improv outfit the Incense Merchants, mercurially pictured above.

While avoiding both working on assignments and falling completely in a TV hole, I played around with the Stanza e-book reader for iPhone and its interaction with Project Gutenberg. The reader is nice, comparable to the Kindle app except that the page turning simulation is a little too much; I don't really need to pretend I'm reading a book, ya know. I'm here so I'm cool with it. Project Gutenberg is the OG free electronic book service hopefully paid for by the property taxes of Tea Baggers whose kids have never been to the library because those people hang out there. The formats of these dusty classics feel very "free service." There is a message after the opening non-copyright stuff that goes
like it's the header record of the old mainframe COBOL data files that I used to process when I worked for the state. Maybe those three asterisks trigger a magnet sensor that starts the Mainframe. I half expect a calm, feminine robot voice to announce "PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK LOADED. COMMENCE READING EBOOK DUBLINERS....NOW." It would be funnier if it was Steve Gutenberg's voice doing it.

There are some unnecessary omissions of page breaks and formatting that I find a little quaint. We are in the future now, y'all. I supposed these books were prepared by Bell Labs techs under a mountain in the 70's for us to read on wall-mounted teleputer screens via data cartridge player like they do in Infinite Jest. Since these books are freed from the shackles of copyright, you can copy and paste from it and even tweet snippets directly from the reader, which I almost did until I realized I would be compelled to beat myself up later for doing so.

I'm OK with a future of idly perusing Joyce readouts on teleputer screens if the piped-in muzak in the bio-dome is done by the clones of Erykah Badu.

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