Hey, Mom! The Explanation.

Here's the permanent dedicated link to my first Hey, Mom! post and the explanation of the feature it contains.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #690 - Rock Documentaries - Kate Bush, Pink Floyd, the Clash

Kate Bush
Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #690 - Rock Documentaries - Kate Bush, Pink Floyd, the Clash

Hi Mom,

This has been the week to just post basic stuff, simple shares, re-posts, content for me to share with you and save for myself for later, and if readers find it of interest all the better.

I am constantly amazed by You Tube and the wealth of material available.

There's tons more where these came from, but here's a nice selection of documentaries on music: two on Kate Bush, one Pink Floyd, one Clash, and then a playlist of 59 videos from the BBC on music and musicians and bands and all sorts of goodies.

I will never get this all watched.

Enjoy.










59 videos of documentaries from the BBC via the following ----->




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Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 692 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1705.27 - 10:10

NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #689 - Genetic Testing - xkcd



Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #689 - Genetic Testing - xkcd

Hi Mom,

I felt it was time for another xkcd comic, and I thought this one is particularly funny.

Lots of things happening around these parts, and so this is very short and a day late.

Enjoy.

Permanent link to this comic: https://xkcd.com/1840/




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Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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- Days ago = 691 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1705.26 - 10:10

NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #688 - Mad About the Mouse - Throwback Thursday - photo series one #22

Mad About the Mouse - 1963 - one years old
Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #688 - Mad About the Mouse - Throwback Thursday - photo series one #22

Hi Mom,

This is a quickie. I tend to write that a lot, eh? Lots going on these days and I tend to always be at least a day behind. But our lives are somewhat chaotic right now.

I was very into the Mickey Mouse Club as a child. Isn't that just the classic example of media programming from the most formative age?

Not sure who that is behind me? My Dad? I think it is.

I like seeing your cook books in a low shelf in this shot, Mom. We still have those on a shelf at Dad's house, and we always will.

See me there? I am waving at you.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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- Days ago = 690 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1705.25 - 10:10

NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #687 - consciousness and time of the mind


Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #687 - consciousness and time of the mind

Hi Mom,

Still in share mode. Show and tell.
I love Aeon. It's a site worth checking and supporting.
There's a newsletter.
Again, this is stuffed here for reading.
I added some pictures.


FROM - https://aeon.co/essays/consciousness-is-not-a-thing-but-a-process-of-inference

I have a confession. As a physicist and psychiatrist, I find it difficult to engage with conversations about consciousness. My biggest gripe is that the philosophers and cognitive scientists who tend to pose the questions often assume that the mind is a thing, whose existence can be identified by the attributes it has or the purposes it fulfils.
But in physics, it’s dangerous to assume that things ‘exist’ in any conventional sense. Instead, the deeper question is: what sorts of processes give rise to the notion (or illusion) that something exists? For example, Isaac Newton explained the physical world in terms of massive bodies that respond to forces. However, with the advent of quantum physics, the real question turned out to be the very nature and meaning of the measurements upon which the notions of mass and force depend – a question that’s still debated today.
As a consequence, I’m compelled to treat consciousness as a process to be understood, not as a thing to be defined. Simply put, my argument is that consciousness is nothing more and nothing less than a natural process such as evolution or the weather. My favourite trick to illustrate the notion of consciousness as a process is to replace the word ‘consciousness’ with ‘evolution’ – and see if the question still makes sense. For example, the question What is consciousness for? becomes What is evolution for? Scientifically speaking, of course, we know that evolution is not for anything. It doesn’t perform a function or have reasons for doing what it does – it’s an unfolding process that can be understood only on its own terms. Since we are all the product of evolution, the same would seem to hold for consciousness and the self.
My view on consciousness resonates with that of the philosopher Daniel Dennett, who has spent his career trying to understand the origin of the mind. Dennett is concerned with how mindless, mere ‘causes’ (A leads to B) can give rise to the species of mindful ‘reasons’ as we know them (A happens so that B can happen). Dennett’s solution is what he calls ‘Darwin’s dangerous idea’: the insight that it’s possible to have design in the absence of a designer, competence in the absence of comprehension, and reasons (or ‘free-floating rationales’) in the absence of reasoners. A population of beetles that has outstripped another has probably done so for some ‘reason’ we can identify – a favourable mutation which produces a more camouflaging colour, for example. ‘Natural selection is thus an automatic reason-finder, which “discovers” and “endorses” and “focuses” reasons over many generations,’ Dennett writes in From Bacteria to Bach and Back: The Evolution of Minds(2017). ‘The scare quotes are to remind us that natural selection doesn’t have a mind, doesn’t itself have reasons, but is nevertheless competent to perform this “task” of design refinement.’

I hope to show you that nature can drum up reasons without actually having them for herself. In what follows, I’m going to argue that things don’t exist for reasons, but certain processes can nonetheless be cast as engaged in reasoning. I use ‘reasoning’ here to mean explanations that arise from inference or abduction – that is, trying to account for observations in terms of latent causes, rules or principles. 
This perspective on process leads us to an elegant, if rather deflationary, story about why the mind exists. Inference is actually quite close to a theory of everything – including evolution, consciousness, and life itself. It is abduction all the way down. We are thrown into the world as a process already in motion; and processes can only reason towards what is ‘out there’ based on sparse (if carefully selected) samples of the world. This view dissolves familiar dialectics between mind and matter, self and world, and representationalism (we depict reality as it is) and emergentism (reality comes into being through our abductive encounters with the world). But just how did inference happen before there were inferrers around to do it? How did inert matter ever begin the processes that led to consciousness?


Let’s first establish a few ground rules about the nature of processes, and see how far we get. We’re interested only in the processes that make up complex systems, those objects of study that are more than the sum of their parts. A good way to understand this notion is to look at its opposite. If you fire a gun at a target, it’s easy enough for a physicist to anticipate which part of the bullseye it will hit, based on the angle and momentum of the bullet as it leaves the barrel. That’s because the firing range is nearly a linear system, whose overall behaviour is determined by the interaction of its constituent bits, in a one-way fashion. But you can’t pinpoint the precise position of an electron when it’s circling an atom, or say for sure if and when a hurricane will hit New York next year. That’s because the weather and atoms – like all natural processes – are not reliably determined by their initial conditions, but by the system’s own behaviour as it feeds back into the interactions of its component parts. In other words, they are complex systems.
According to physicists, complex systems can be characterised by their states, captured by variables with a range of possible values. In quantum systems, for example, the state of a particle can be described by a wave function that entails its position, momentum, energy and spin. For larger systems, such as ourselves, our state encompasses all the positions and motions of our bodily parts, the electrochemical states of the brain, the physiological changes in the organs, and so on. Formally speaking, the state of a system corresponds to its coordinates in the space of possible states, with different axes for different variables.
The way something moves through this space depends on its Lyapunov function. This is a mathematical quantity that describes how a system is likely to behave under specific conditions. It returns the probability of being in any particular state as a function of that state (or, put differently, as a function of the system’s position in the state space, similar to how air pressure is a function of the density of air molecules at the point at which it’s measured). If we know the Lyapunov function for each state of the system, we can write down its flow from one state to the next – and so characterise the existence of the whole system in terms of that flow. It’s like knowing the height of a mountainous landscape at every location, and then being able to describe how a stream of water will run over its surface. The topography of the mountain stands for the Lyapunov function, and the movement of water describes how the system evolves over time.
Now, an important feature of complex systems is that they look like they are using their Lyapunov function to move towards more and more probable states. That is, the number returned by the function gets smaller and smaller. In turn, this means that such systems tend to occupy only a small number of states and, moreover, that those states tend to be frequented again and again. To pursue the mountain stream analogy, water flows downwards to the sea, after which it evaporates and returns to the mountainside by rainclouds. Or you might take your own body as an example: your temperature hovers within certain confined bounds, your heart beats rhythmically, you breathe in and out – and you probably have a daily or weekly routine.

What’s remarkable about this sort of repetitive, self-organising behaviour is that it’s contrary to how the Universe usually behaves. Everything should actually get more random, dispersed and chaotic as time marches on. That’s the second law of thermodynamics – everything tends towards chaos, and entropy generally increases. So what’s going on?
Complex systems are self-organising because they possess attractors. These are cycles of mutually reinforcing states that allow processes to achieve a point of stability, not by losing energy until they stop, but through what’s known as dynamic equilibrium. An intuitive example is homeostasis. If you’re startled by a predator, your heartbeat and breathing will speed up, but you’ll automatically do something to restore your cardiovascular system to a calmer state (following the so-called ‘fight or flight’ response). Any time there’s a deviation from the attractor, this triggers flows of thoughts, feelings and movements that eventually take you back to your cycle of attracting, familiar states. In humans, all the excitations of our body and brain can be described as moving towards our attractors, that is, towards our most probable states.
On this view, humans are little more than ‘strange loops’, as the philosopher Douglas Hofstadter puts it. We all flow through an enormous, high-dimensional state-space of manifold possibilities, but are forced by our attractors to move around in confined circles. We are like an autumn leaf; tracing out a never-ending trajectory in the turbulent eddies of a stream, thinking our little track is the whole world. This description of ourselves as playful loops might sound teleologically barren – but it has profound implications for the nature of any complex system with a set of attracting states, such as you or me.


To recap: we’ve seen that complex systems, including us, exist insofar as our Lyapunov function accurately describes our own processes. Furthermore, we know all our processes, all our thoughts and behaviours – if we exist – must be decreasing the output from our Lyapunov function, pushing us to more and more probable states. So what would this look like, in practice? The trick here is to understand the nature of the Lyapunov function. If we understand this function, then we know what drives us.
It turns out that the Lyapunov function has two revealing interpretations. The first comes from information theory, which says that the Lyapunov function is surprise – that is, the improbability of being in a particular state. The second comes from statistics, which says that the Lyapunov function is (negative) evidence – that is, marginal likelihood, or the probability that a given explanation or model accounting for that state is correct. Put simply, this means that if we exist, we must be increasing our model evidence or self-evidencing in virtue of minimising surprise. Equipped with these interpretations, we can now endow existential dynamics with a purpose and teleology.
It’s at this point that we can talk about inference, the process of figuring out the best principle or hypothesis that explains the observed states of that system we call ‘the world’. Technically, inference entails maximising the evidence for a model of the world. Because we are obliged to maximise evidence, we are – effectively – making inferences about the world using ourselves as a model. That’s why every time you have a new experience, you engage in some kind of inference to try to fit what’s happening into a familiar pattern, or to revise your internal states so as to take account of this new fact. This is just the kind of process a statistician goes through in trying to decide whether she needs new rules to account for the spread of a disease, or whether the collapse of a bank ought to affect the way she models the economy.
Now we can see why attractors are so crucial. An attracting state has a low surprise and high evidence. Complex systems therefore fall into familiar, reliable cycles because these processes are necessarily engaged in validating the principle that underpins their own existence. Attractors push systems to fall into predictable states and thereby reinforce the model that the system has generated of its world. A failure of this surprise minimising, self-evidencing, inferential behaviour means the system will decay into surprising, unfamiliar states – until it no longer exists in any meaningful way. Attractors are the product of processes engaging in inference to summon themselves into being. In other words, attractors are the foundation of what it means to be alive.


To the extent that you accept the above formulation, you now have the ultimate deflationary account of every kind of complex system, living things included. Any process (like you or me) that repeatedly occupies certain states must, by virtue of its very existence, be performing inference.
But does this make sense? You’d hardly consider the process of evolution or natural selection in terms of inference – or would you? In fact, that’s exactly the interpretation currently found in theoretical neurobiology. It turns out, for example, that the way nature ‘selects’ organisms for their capacity to survive and reproduce is based on inference. Take a population of crabs as the system in question, and the aggregated features or phenotypesof its individuals as its ‘state’. These crabs can have claws of different sizes, shells that are harder or softer, and eyes that see better above water or below. Such diverse phenotypes amount to multiple hypotheses about what might ‘work’; each individual is a hypothesis or model of what should occupy this ecological niche, and must compete for selection under pressure from the environment.
Since evolution is a complex system, it must also be self-evidencing – that is, it will always ‘choose’ organisms that are more and more likely to occupy their ecological niche. Large claws might persist because they’re better at catching prey; hard shells might help to resist predators; marine eyesight might make it easier to spot food where the food is most plentiful. Adaptive fitness, then, is nothing more or less than the marginal likelihood of finding a phenotype in its environment. In other words, its survival is nothing more or less than the evidence that it is a good model for its niche.

Applying the same thinking to consciousness suggests that consciousness must also be a process of inference. Conscious processing is about inferring the causes of sensory states, and thereby navigating the world to elude surprises. While natural selection performs inference by selecting among different creatures, consciousness performs inference by selecting among different states of the same creature (in particular, its brain). There is a vast amount of anatomical and physiological evidence in support of this notion. If one regards the brain as a self-evidencing organ of inference, almost every one of its anatomical and physiological aspects seems geared to minimise surprise. For example, our brains represent where something is and what something is in different areas. This makes sense, because knowing what something is does not generally tell you where it is and vice versa. This sort of internalisation of the causal structure of the world ‘out there’ reflects the fact that to predict one’s own states you must have an internal model of how such sensations are generated.
But if consciousness is inference, does that mean all complex inferential processes are conscious, from evolution to economies to atoms? Probably not. A virus possesses all the self-organising dynamics to qualify as a process of inference; but clearly a virus doesn’t have the same qualities as a vegetarian. So what’s the difference?

What distinguishes conscious and non-conscious creatures is the way they make inferences about action and time. This part of my argument rests upon the reciprocal relationship between the system and the world. The world acts on the system to provide the sensory impressions that form the basis of inference. Meanwhile, the system acts upon the world to change the flow of sensations to fit with the model of the world it has discerned. This is just another description of the cycle of action and perception; for example, we look, we see, and we infer where to look next.
If action depends upon inference, then systems must be able to make inferences about the consequences of their actions. You can’t pick what to do unless you can make a guess about the probable outcome. However, there’s an important twist here. A creature cannot infer the consequences of its actions unless it possesses a model of its future. It needs to know what to expect if it does this as opposed to that. For example, I need to know (or subconsciously model) how my sensations will change if I look to the left, to the right or, indeed, close my eyes. But the sensory evidence for the consequences of an action is not available until it is executed, thanks to the relentless forward movement of time.
As a result of the arrow of time, systems that can grasp the impact of their future actions must necessarily have a temporal thickness. They must have internal models of themselves and the world that allow them to make predictions about things that have not and might not actually happen. Such models can be thicker and thinner, deeper or shallower, depending on how far forward they predict, as well as how far back they postdict, that is, whether they can capture how things might have ended up if they had acted differently. Systems with deeper temporal structures will be better at inferring the counterfactual consequences of their actions. The neuroscientist Anil Seth calls this counterfactual depth.
So if a system has a thick temporal model, what actions will it infer or select? The answer is simple: it will minimise the expected surprise following an action. The proof follows by reductio ad absurdum from what we already know: existence itself entails minimising surprise and self-evidencing. How do systems minimise expected surprises, in practice? First, they act in order to reduce uncertainties, that is, to avoid possible surprises in the future (such as being cold, hungry or dead). Nearly all our behaviour can be understood in terms of such uncertainty-minimising drives – from the reflexive withdrawal from noxious stimuli (such as dropping a hot plate) to epistemic foraging for salient visual information when watching television or driving. Second, the actions of such systems upon the world appear to be endowed with a purpose, which is the purpose of minimising not-yet-actual, but possible, surprises.


We might call this kind of system an agent or a self: something that engages in proactive, purposeful inference about its own future, based on a thick model of time. The distinction between thick and thin models of time, then, suggests that viruses are not conscious; even if they respond inferentially to changes in their external milieu, they do not embody a deep understanding of their past or a long-run view of their future, which would enable them to minimise that hasn’t-yet-happened surprise. Vegetarians, on the other hand, are surprise-minimising and self-evidencing in a prospective and purposeful way, where the future prospects of the agent becomes an inherent part of action selection. For example, if we were operating at the level of the virus, we could reflexively counter low blood sugar by mobilising our glucose stores. However, our vegetarian might take a much longer-term view of herself and start preparing a meal. In a similar vein, we sidestep the problems of calling evolution conscious. The process of natural selection minimises surprise (that is, it maximises adaptive fitness) but not uncertainty or expected surprise of the whole system (that is, adaptive fitness expected under alternative, non-Darwinian evolutionary operations).
The key difference between consciousness and more universal self-organising processes, then, appears to be the imperatives for selection. In non-conscious processes, this selection is realised in the here and now; for example, with selection among competing systems (such as phenotypes in evolution) or the evocation of reflexes (such as chemotaxis in simple organisms, in which they move towards or away from a higher concentration of a chemical). Conversely, the sort of selection we have associated with consciousness operates in parallel but within the same system – a system that can simulate multiple futures, under different circumstances, and select the action with the least surprising outcome. The conscious self is simply a way of capturing these counterfactual futures, in a way that facilitates active inference.
Does consciousness as active inference make any sense practically? I’d contend that it does. From a psychiatric perspective, altered states of consciousness come in two flavours. There can be a change in the level of consciousness; for example, during sleep, anaesthesia and coma. Alternatively, there can be altered conscious states of the sort associated with psychiatric syndromes and psychotropic or psychedelic drugs. Different levels of consciousness are entangled with their impact on action. Put simply, the hallmark of reduced levels of consciousness is an absence of responsiveness. Try to imagine someone who is not conscious but acts in response to stimulation. The only responses one can elicit are reflexes that reflect minimisation of surprise in the here and now. By contrast, once this person is awake, she can fire up her predictive machinery about the past and future. In our daily lives, this suggests that temporal thickness or depth waxes and wanes with the sleep-wake cycle – that there’s a mapping between the level of consciousness and the thickness of the inference we’re engaged in. On this view, a loss of consciousness occurs whenever our models lose their ‘thickness’ and become as ‘thin’ as a virus’s.





As a psychiatrist, I’m drawn to the notion of altered conscious states as altered inference for several reasons. Key among these is the ability to understand psychiatric disorder as false inference. For example, in statistics, there are two types of false inference: false positives and false negatives. False positives correspond to inferring something is there when it is not, such as hallucinations and delusions. Conversely, false negatives are when one fails to infer something when it is there, such as a failure to recognise something or to entertain impossible ambiguities (for example, common questions posed by patients: Who am I? or Am I the right way up?). This translates clinically into disorientation and the various forms of agnosia that characterise dementias and other organic syndromes of the mind. From a practical point of view, this is a useful perspective because the neuronal machinery behind active inference is becoming increasingly well-understood.
We’ve gone fairly rapidly through the arguments. First, if we want to talk about complex systems, including living ones, we have to identify the necessary behaviours that their processes exhibit. This is fairly easy to do by noting that living entails existing in a set of attracting states that are frequented time and time again. This implies the existence of a Lyapunov function that is identical to (negative) self-evidence or surprise in information theory. This means that all biological processes can be construed as performing some form of inference, from evolution right through to conscious processing.

If this is the case, then at what point do we invoke consciousness? The proposal on offer here is that the mind comes into being when self-evidencing has a temporal thickness or counterfactual depth, which grounds the inferences it can make about the consequences of future actions. There’s no real reason for minds to exist; they appear to do so simply because existence itself is the end-point of a process of reasoning. Consciousness, I’d contend, is nothing grander than inference about my future.



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Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 689 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1705.24 - 10:10

NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #686 - CHICAGO CUBS! Joe Maddon is my Cub!


Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #686 - CHICAGO CUBS! Joe Maddon is my Cub!

Hi Mom,

I have a lot going on, so this is just a quick share of a good article from ESPN on Joe Maddon, who I love.

Mainly, I just stick this here so I can read it. If others like reading it, all the better.

GO CUBS!

FROM - http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/19181901/get-dictionary-school-joe-maddon-session

Get a dictionary, because the school of Joe Maddon is in session


Tim KurkjianESPN Senior Writer


The marketing people at Dos Equis blew it. They chose that dorky-looking guy as their new "most interesting man in the world," when they should have taken Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon. Like the new guy, Maddon surely could kick a coconut through a goalpost made of giraffes. Maddon is a renaissance man, he is eclectic, he mixes old and new school, he owns a restaurant, he helped save his hometown by bringing together all races and colors, he knows all about wine and music. President Obama recently called Maddon "the coolest guy ever," when he showed up at the White House in January with a wild sport coat and no tie. He owns eight vintage cars and he reads incessantly, which explains how he used the words intrinsic, intuitive and ameliorate in a postgame media conference during the 2008 World Series, and in this story, he used the word "transmogrified" in a complete sentence.
Joe Maddon is The Most Interesting Man in the World. Stay thirsty, Cub fans.


What have you learned from the restaurant business after opening the restaurant Ava in Tampa, Florida?
Maddon: You learn to have a lot of respect for the fire marshal. You learn it's a volatile situation owning a restaurant, 50 percent of the people that start with you aren't there in a month.
What are some of the cool features of the restaurant?
Maddon: We repurposed the windows from an abandoned elementary school in Alabama. They are cool. The big table in the middle of the restaurant we got from Verona, Italy, then we cut the table in half. There's a story behind many of the features. I think people like those stories.
Can you cook?
Maddon: Well, I'm not [Gaston] Gourmand, I'm not that dude, and I don't cook at the restaurant. But I can make sauerkraut and pork. I make spaghetti and meatballs, I got that from my mom. I'm good at palatable pops. I like to sit in the pizza bar across the street from the restaurant and drink coffee and talk to the chefs. I ask them lots of questions. I want to learn.





You are a shot-and-a-beer guy from Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Where did your love of wine come from?
Maddon: I got it from my wife, Jaye. She taught [me] most of what I know. In my late 40s, I started sipping it, and I liked it. So I've transmogrified from beer to wine. With wine, you don't really have to know what you're talking about, you just have to know what you like. I know what I like. I like reds. I like blends. I like California wine, I really like wines from Washington state. I love wines from Spain and Italy. I don't know about French wines at all.
Can you tell the difference between a $50 bottle of wine and a $200 bottle?
Maddon: Sometimes. There are some pretty darn good bottles of wine for $50. I think I can tell that from a bottle of wine that costs $15 or $20. When I was with the Angels, [pitcher] Paul Byrd and I, on road trips, used to have a contest to see who could find the best bottle of wine for less than $25. He beat me with a wine called Sea Smoke. That one won the tournament.
You have music playing every day in your clubhouse. From where did you get your love of music?
Maddon: I was 10. I was riding my bike to Correal Stadium [in Hazleton] when I stopped at my friend Mike Vito's house to shoot pool, and I heard the Stones play "No Satisfaction." It was [1965], and I loved it. Then I started listening all the time. And when I'd ride my bike to Little League games, I would listen to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. That music would get me all jacked up to play. The album was called "Whipped Cream and Other Delights." ... I think that the suggestive album cover also might have attracted a 10-year-old.
What music followed?
Maddon: Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Simon and Garfunkel. The Beatles. Springsteen. Growing up, I listened to "Runaway" by Del Shannon so many times, I wore out the record. I would record all of it on my tape recorder, one of those old Channel Makers. Then I would set up more speakers all over our house, it was my version of stereo -- just having more than one speaker made it stereo to me. I'd have wires running all over the house. I can't sing, and I can't play an instrument. But my aunt was a great violin player. My cousins were in Jay and the Americans. My cousin Bobby can really play a 12-string guitar.
Where did your love of books come from?
Maddon: My Uncle Chuck, my dad's brother. He was a voracious reader. So was Uncle Eddie, another of my dad's brothers. Uncle Chuck gave me a copy of "Centennial" by James Michener, and told me, "Read this book." I couldn't put it down. In the minor leagues, on every bus trip, I was always reading a book. It gave me something else to think about. It opened my mind to so many things other than baseball, which is important. So I wiped out everything from Michener, then Robert North Patterson, [Tom] Clancy, Nelson DeMille, Ray Ives and [Pat] Conroy. Back then, in the minor leagues, there was no TV like we have today, there was no Netflix or Hulu. Every night, I would fall asleep reading a book. And I always had a dictionary with me when I read so I understood all of the words.
Did all your reading give you a love of words?
Maddon: Yes. And at Lafayette, I had an English professor there named Sheldon Liebman. He had long hair, he wore it in a ponytail, he had horn-rimmed glasses. He taught me so much. I was a terrible writer then. We had to write eight papers that year, on the first four, I got F's. I would go into his office, and he would help me. He taught me to spread my mind. He taught me to put words together. He was very hard on me. I'm glad he was. And then there was my Uncle Rick. He challenged me on everything I said. Everything. If I used a word incorrectly, he'd crush me. He went to Harvard, he was brilliant. He'd drink Coors Light with VO, and we'd sit and talk and drink. He taught me that in the word "often," the t is silent. He would tell me, "it's pronounced offen." He taught me that when you're talking about the second-best thing in a subject, not the best thing, the word to use is "penultimate." ... So, in 2016, the penultimate team was that great Cleveland Indians team.

You wear some really cool clothing, including during the Cubs' visit to the White House. You were the only one not wearing a tie. Where did your sense of style come from?
Maddon: Hey, the '60s and '70s, man. I hated that badly dressed people were telling me how to dress. Back then, our country had a love affair with polyester, and I hated polyester. I loved cotton. I never understood how wearing a collar signified something important, and I never understood what was wrong with a shirt without a collar. I never understood why wearing a coat and tie was a model of anything. Then you grow up, and you learn some things, but it always bothered me when someone wearing something ridiculous would tell me how to dress. For me it was like, "Leave me alone. Hey man, have you looked in the mirror?" Anyway, the jeans I wear cost more than your sports coat, and more than your slacks.
You have nearly a dozen vintage cars. From where did your love of cars come?
Maddon: I have a '56 Bel Air, a '67 Galaxie. ... I love cars. Where I grew up, in Hazleton, cars were big. We lived in an apartment on a hairpin turn, and in the middle of the night, cars would speed by, just burning rubber. God, it was so cool. My first car was a '53 Chevy, The floor was eaten out, and there was coal under the back seat. Then I got a '65 Galaxie and traded it to my cousin, Richie Tombaso, for a '65 T-Bird, which I drove to Florida [from Hazleton]. Every time I stopped for gas, I had to put oil in it. It burned oil as much as it burned gas.
Does being so diverse help you as a manager?
Maddon: It's liberal arts, man. That's why I went to Lafayette for a liberal arts education. The more well-rounded you are, the better. I want the Cubs to be a liberal arts baseball team, one that's good at running the bases, fundamentals, defense, all the things that make you complete. Michener always said not to decide what you want to do until you are 26 years old. He didn't start writing until he was 40. He wants you to create a better base for your mind.
What is HIP?


Maddon: It's the Hazleton Integration Project. My wife is behind it all. All this other stuff we're talking about here is fun, but this is the jewel, it's the whole point of what we do. To effect change on social issues, to integrate people and bring them together, is important. In our country today -- and this worries me -- if you disagree with someone, then you have to be wrong, and you have to dislike that person. When did that begin? Hey, bring me the other opinion, I want to hear the other side. We are doing that in Hazleton, trying to bring different opinions together. We want to set an example for all of northeast Pennsylvania. It is happening.
Have you seen the new Dos Equis commercials?
Maddon: The new guy looks like the caveman from the Geico commercials. But I would love to do a Dos Equis commercial. They are so good. They are so funny.

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Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 688 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1705.23 - 10:10

NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #685 - ISON, the full album by Sevdaliza plus The Formula and "Human" - Musical Monday for 1705.22


Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #685 - ISON, the full album by Sevdaliza - plus The Formula and "Human" - Musical Monday for 1705.22

Hi Mom,

This whole blog avocation is a constant cycle of catching up and falling behind.

I am not posting Musical Monday on Wednesday, and I need to make it a quick to finish post so I can do two other posts today plus work.

I discovered Iranian-born Sevdaliza earlier this year. I have posted many of her videos in previous Musical Mondays.

I am re-posting the first video of hers I found, "Human," here again plus a link from Atwood magazine about the song and about Sevdaliza. The article is definitely worth a look.

At the end of April, Sevdaliza, who now lives in Rotterdam, released her first full album, Ison.

The album may be named for the "sun grazing" comet, ISON -

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comet_ISON

But it's probably named for the drone note in music:

ISON - Ison is a drone note, or a slow-moving lower vocal part, used in Byzantine chant and some related musical traditions to accompany the melody, thus enriching the singing, at the same time not transforming it into a harmonized or polyphonic piece.

ISON has already gained great acclaim in the almost 30 full days since it's release.

http://www.popmatters.com/review/sevdaliza-ison/

http://www.npr.org/sections/allsongs/2017/04/26/525594654/sevdaliza-releases-stunning-debut-ison-with-surreal-visuals

http://www.thefader.com/2017/04/26/sevdaliza-ison-album-stream-video

I agree. I find Sevdaliza and her work to be quite mesmerizing.

I am also sharing her short film The Formula, which is well worth watching.

SEVDALIZA HYPNOTIZES US WITH THE OTHERWORLDLY “HUMAN”












Published on May 26, 2016
Never one to work within borders, Iranian multi-medium artist Sevdaliza marries new music and visuals together for short film, The Formula. Featuring Sevdaliza in the lead role, while handling co-director and producer duties, the short follows the two relationship of two lovers while examining themes of death, love, and happiness. All before culminating in a dramatic ending that feels bitter and unexpected, much like real life.

The Formula

Original music by SEVDALIZA

A film by EMMANUEL ADJEI
Produced by SILVER FRAME
Starring SEVDALIZA & SAMAN AMINI
Cinematography by PAUL OZGUR
Producer: STANISLAW ZABOROWSKI, DARIA MAŚLONA
Screenplay: MARLEEN OZGUR & EMMANUEL ADJEI
Production designer: PAULINA RZESZOWSKA
Art department: KATARZYNA SZCZUROWSKA
Steadycam: ADAM MENDRY
Production assistant: MARIEL SOUSA
Administrator: HALINA KARLIŃSKA
Sound: ZOFIA MORUŚ
Editor: EMMANUEL ADJEI, MARLEEN OZGUR
Make-up artist: CELINE BERNAERTS
Costume designer: ZAHRA VAN DER KORPUT
Colorist: JOPPO DE GROT
Sound design: KLEVR SOUNDDESIGN
Original music: SEVDALIZA, MUCKY, JOEL DIELEMAN

TRACK LISTING
1. THE FORMULA
2. THE LANGUAGE OF LIMBO
3. MAD WOMAN

Produced with the support of the POLISH FILM INSTITUTE and MASTERSHOT
Best Cinematography Student Etudes Competition Plus Camerimage 201








Published on Apr 26, 2017
"in this life, you are the knife, with which i explore myself"

sevdaliza's debut album ISON is available now

stream ISON: http://spoti.fi/2px0sLn

buy ISON: http://apple.co/2q5EbUM

There's a sale of the vinyl at Sevdaliza's web site (see link below)

visual experience directed by hirad sab

tracklist:
00:00 Shahmaran
05:12 Libertine
09:01 Marilyn Monroe
12:30 Hubris
16:36 Amandine Insensible
20:50 Hero
24:49 Scarlette
28:15 Bluecid
32:44 Loves Way
39:39 Human
42:51 Do You Feel Real
45:21 The Language of Limbo
49:08 Replaceable
53:03 Grace
57:00 When I Reside
59:19 Bonus: Angel

sevdaliza.com

mucky.nl




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Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 687 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1705.22 - 10:10

NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #684 - Anti-Net Neutrality and Networked Protest Movements


Hey, Mom! Talking to My Mother #684 - Anti-Net Neutrality and Networked Protest Movements

Hi Mom,

I am off to the Motor City Comic Con today and leaving very early with no time to create a worthwhile post, and then even when I got back, all day Monday, I was too busy to create a worthy post when I thought I would write about seeing Wil Wheaton at the con (which I will do next week sometime), and I still have to finish my Penguicon posts.

So, instead of more original content than what I just wrote, here's two articles from Boing Boing, both written by Cory Dotorow, whose new book Walkaway I am almost done reading and loving so much that I will read it again (though not immediately).

from - http://boingboing.net/2017/05/21/err-on-inclusions-side.html


The FCC will not disregard anti-Net Neutrality comments left by identity-stealing bots

Before the FCC stopped taking comments on its plans to destroy Net Neutrality (but after so many people rallied to tell it not to that its site crashed and the agency manufactured a fake denial of service attack to avoid admitting how much America hated its plans), the FCC's comment form was flooded with 128,000 identical comments sent by bots that used an alphabetical series of stolen names and addresses, possibly taken from an old voter registration data breach.
The 128,000 fake comments are likely to be "considered" by the FCC. The agency and its chairman, Dingo Babysitter and former cable lobbyist Ajit Pai have repeatedly said that the Commission likes to "err on the side of inclusion" and thus not discard comments unless they have obvious fake names like Joseph Stalin.
Pai said the agency wouldn’t consider comments with obviously fake names, like Wonder Woman and Joseph Stalin, but declined to go further. Reached for comment after Pai’s statement, an FCC official declined to comment specifically on astroturfed comments.
“You heard his answer on erring on the side of inclusion,” the official said.
Sohn said Pai’s reluctance to condemn astroturfing was further evidence his FCC was less democratic than its predecessor.
“We’ve heard not a peep from Chairman Pai about what he intends to do about the failed electronic comment filing system and the numerous fake comments filed to the net neutrality docket,” she said.

(Image: Lorie Shaull , CC-BY-SA)




from - http://boingboing.net/2017/05/21/read-zeynep-tufekcis-book.html

How can networked protest movements hold power while staying flexible and inclusive?


Zeynep Tufekci (previously) is one of the most consistently astute, nuanced commenters on networked politics and revolutions, someone who's been literally on the front lines around the world. In a new book called Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest, she sets out a thesis that (as the title suggests) explores the trade offs that political movements make when they use fluid, improvisational networks to organize themselves, instead of hierarchical, traditional organizations.


The upsides are all about flexibility and spontaneity -- oppressive governments have a hard time getting into the decision-making loops of opposition groups that don't have decision-making loops! But the downside is about follow-through, cohesion and decision-making efficiency. Given that these two seem to be two sides of the same coin, how can networked political movements overcome the deficits of networks without giving up their strengths?
This is literally the question I have been thinking about since I was a kid, and chronicling here for more than 15 years, and organizing for, and writing novels about. In an era in which networked insurgencies are destroying old political institutions from the major US political parties to the EU -- and also threatening some of the world's most-entrenched autocracies -- Tufekci's book could not be more timely.
For example, the ability to use digital tools to rapidly amass large numbers of protesters with a common goal empowers movements. Once this large group is formed, however, it struggles because it has sidestepped some of the traditional tasks of organizing. Besides taking care of tasks, the drudgery of traditional organizing helps create collective decision-making capabilities, sometimes through formal and informal leadership structures, and builds a collective capacity among movement participants through shared experience and tribulation. The expressive, often humorous style of networked protests attracts many participants and thrives both online and offline, but movements falter in the long term unless they create the capacity to navigate the inevitable challenges.

These movements rely heavily on online platforms and digital tools for organizing and publicity and proclaim that they are leaderless although their practice is almost always muddier. The open participation afforded by social media does not always mean equal participation, and it certainly does not mean a smooth process. Although online media are indeed more open and participatory, over time a few people consistently emerge as informal but persistent spokespersons—with large followings on social media. These people often have great influence, though they lack the formal legitimacy that an open and recognized process of selecting leaders would generate. The result is often a conflict-ridden, drawn-out struggle between those who find themselves running things (or being treated as de facto leaders) and other people in the movement who can also express themselves online. These others may challenge the de facto spokespersons, but the movements have few means to resolve their issues or make decisions. In some ways, digital technologies deepen the ever-existing tension between collective will and individual expression within movements, and between expressive moments of rebellion and the longer-term strategies requiring instrumental and tactical shifts.


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Reflect and connect.

Have someone give you a kiss, and tell you that I love you.

I miss you so very much, Mom.

Talk to you tomorrow, Mom.

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- Days ago = 686 days ago

- Bloggery committed by chris tower - 1705.21 - 10:10

NOTE on time: When I post late, I had been posting at 7:10 a.m. because Google is on Pacific Time, and so this is really 10:10 EDT. However, it still shows up on the blog in Pacific time. So, I am going to start posting at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time, intending this to be 10:10 Eastern time. I know this only matters to me, and to you, Mom. But I am not going back and changing all the 7:10 a.m. times. But I will run this note for a while. Mom, you know that I am posting at 10:10 a.m. often because this is the time of your death.