Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tim Harris, the publisher of Seattle’s excellent street paper Real Change, is a friend, but I did not find out that he has a blog until I read about it in this Seattle Weekly expose that not all of Real Change’s vendors are homeless. The Weekly article mentions that Tim pre-empted their coverage with a blog post. The article doesn’t mention it, but Tim’s pre-emption became the story, and which I only found out about when I got around to reading Tim’s blog.

Weekly’s angle: A reporter new to town finds out that not all of the vendors for Seattle’s paper “for the poor and homeless” are homeless. He checks with other street papers in the country, and they all have the same policy as Real Change: they don’t means test, they don’t test for homelessness, they assume that if someone wants to hawk something they need the money and they aren’t remotely close to having a middle class income.

What’s the story here? Apparently it’s that some
Weekly writer and his editors think that Real Change and like organizations should consider putting in place a bureaucracy to make sure that nobody is making too much money selling their paper -- maybe up to $20,000 a year if they work long days year-round with no benefits.

Before the actual print article came out, the
Weekly editor complained on their blog that Tim -- who, after all, is a journalist -- scooped them, only he didn’t say “scoop,” he called names. Tim and other journalist/bloggers weighed in -- Metroblogging Seattle has a run-down of the chronology -- before and after the article came out. Because of Tim’s pre-emption, the story became, Why did the Weekly think to print such a non-story?

I do not know why it did not occur to the
Weekly editors that investigating another newspaper -- one widely respected both for its journalism and for its social mission -- might lead to public push-back.

Welcome to Blogville, Tim!

* * *

It has started to happen a little bit, but soon computer technology will be such that I will be able to digitally “conduct” a piece of music without any of the instruments. I can imagine feeding a score of, say, Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony, into a computer program, and being able to manipulate the dynamic changes and gradual tempo shifts into a sound play-back system that would sound like an actual orchestra, with even a bit of pitch muzziness that an actual orchestra would have. In some respects, the Joyce Hatto scandal was a remixing scandal -- her husband took other people’s recordings and passed them off as Hatto’s, and in some cases he altered tempos -- he remixed! But what I’m talking about would not rely on already-existing recordings but a vast sound-sampling program that would read scores and know which instrument should play which notes. Sampling systems and score-reading programs do this somewhat already, but as far as I am aware the playback programs do not yet sound convincingly like acoustic instruments.

* * *

During Sunday morning’s walk back from the food co-op a week ago, the boy was picking up sticks. But one he picked up happened to be a dog turd. “Why is it soft, Daddoo?” Gross! It did look like a stick. Fortunately we were almost home by then.

During Sunday morning’s walk to the co-op a couple of days ago he must have remembered last week’s encounter because he said, “If dog poop didn’t look like sticks it would be sticks.”

“All animals poop,” I said.

“I know, but if animal’s poop didn’t look like sticks or big rocks or little rocks, it would be sticks or big rocks or little rocks.”

“Well, then things would be totally different, and nobody knows how they would be.”

“No, you’re wrong. I know. Don’t contradict me.”

“How do you know? Did somebody tell you?”

“I don’t recall anybody telling me. I just know.”

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