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We don’t have Frank Zappa to advise us anymore… but we do have Gail

Records on wheels, Toronto, sept. 24 1977

 

 

This is for all folks getting involved in politics and for women in particular. Gail Zappa calls up the spirit of her late husband, Frank Zappa:

 

 

Many of us have missed Frank for years and celebrate Zappadan every year. It’s nice to hear from Gail in this season of political madness.

 

 

 

Steve Jobs Died Today…

This has me so broken up I don’t even think I can write about it… so here is the article I first got the news from in Variety:

Steve Jobs dies at 56
Apple mogul gave Hollywood a digital distribution outlet

By DAVID S. COHEN

This is the Photo I want to remember Steve Jobs by...

Steven Jobs, the pioneering mogul who led Pixar Animation and Apple to banner success and became a leader in the computer, consumer electronics and animation industries, has died. He was 56.

Hollywood did not always agree with Jobs — there were tiffs over the pricing of music and other offerings on iTunes and over the fact that Apple rendered iTunes content unplayable on non-Apple devices. But in an environment in which huge numbers of consumers were illegally downloading music and other content from P2P file-sharing sites, the series of devices Apple introduced under Jobs — the iPod in conjunction with the iTunes Music Store, the iPhone and the iPad — made the legal (and therefore, for showbiz, at least potentially profitable) consumption of digital content possible and popular, weaning some consumers of the piracy habit.

Jobs first gained fame as one of the “two Steves” — Steve Wozniak was the other — who co-founded Apple Computer in a garage in 1976.

He lost control of the company in 1985 and saw his reputation and personal fortune dwindle over the next decade. But during that time he acquired from George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic, at a bargain price, a small computer-graphics unit that was quickly remonickered Pixar. Jobs put his own cash into the money-losing company long enough to see it deliver the blockbuster “Toy Story” and make him a billionaire.

In time, Disney bought Pixar, and Jobs became the Mouse House’s largest shareholder, with holdings dwarfing those of any other individual, and a member of its board. By then, he was a well-established entertainment executive, having returned to Apple and led it to market domination in a new arena: music.

Under Jobs, Apple introduced the first popular system for legal music downloading: the combination of iTunes software, the iTunes Music Store and the iPod music player. The iPod, dismissed by critics at its introduction for being too expensive, too quirky and too tied to Apple’s software, became an iconic entertainment product and transformed Apple into a key player in electronic distribution, including TV shows and movies.

Personally, Jobs was one of the corporate world’s most effective pitchmen. His appearances at trade events, especially the Macworld tradeshow in San Francisco, always clad in his trademark black mock-turtleneck shirt, were among any year’s most anticipated tech events.

Apple fans would hang on every word, waiting for the famous “One more thing…” at the end, which often signaled some astonishing new product, like the iMac or iPod.

He was famous for his ability to persuade — or bully — people into doing the impossible, or at least convince them that the impossible was possible.

Those who worked closely with him often described an abrasive, arrogant and occasionally petty leader who did not brook disagreement. Companies or people that ran afoul of him were often “Steved” — fired on the spot.

But for better or worse, Jobs commitment to high-quality, cutting-edge products made him indispensable for the companies he ran. His career resurrection after his first flameout with Apple was, as the unauthorized biography “iCon” put it, “The greatest second act in the history of business.”

Born in San Francisco and given up for adoption, Jobs was raised in the Northern California area that would eventually be called Silicon Valley, growing up around many of the future leaders of the digital revolution, including Wozniak. He entered Reed College after high school but soon left.

After traveling in India, he teamed with Wozniak in a venture to make and sell small, pre-assembled computers, something no company had ever tried before. The success of their Apple II created the personal computer industry almost from scratch, but the market came to be dominated by the cloneable IBM PC design and Microsoft’s operating system.

Apple responded in 1984 with the Macintosh, the first personal computer to successfully mass-market a graphical interface.

Even the launch of Macintosh had a hint of Jobs’ future. Ridley Scott helmed a “1984”-themed commercial touting the launch of the Mac, and the commercial became one of the legendary spots in TV history.

Jobs was forced out of Apple in 1985.

Just the next year, George Lucas — needing cash for his divorce settlement — sold the nascent Pixar to Jobs for just $10 million.

Pixar was a money pit at first, though its Renderman software became the first and most popular computer animation software. Jobs’ funds and patience were running low, but when Pixar’s “Tin Toy” won the animated short Oscar, he negotiated Pixar’s first feature deal, for “Toy Story.”

The picture opened to rapturous reviews and socko B.O. When Pixar took its stock public days later, Jobs became a billionaire.

“Toy Story” was the first in a three-picture deal with Disney and the beginning of an unprecedented run of hits from Pixar.

Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 and began a rapid turnaround. The company’s products quickly came to reflect Jobs’ personal tastes.

He loathed buttons on handheld devices, and the result was the sleek, uncluttered interface of the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Apple’s success with iTunes and the iPod made it a major player in entertainment, but record labels chafed at Apple’s insistence on a flat 99¢ for every song. ITunes helped reduce but did not end illegal downloads, so it didn’t put vast sums in labels’ coffers. The primary beneficiary, went the complaints, was not artists or labels but Apple itself.

With Jobs in charge of Pixar and the prickly Michael Eisner running Disney, negotiations over a renewal of Pixar’s distribution deal with the mouse became highly contentious. Disney retained sequel rights to several Pixar titles, including the “Toy Story” franchise, and began developing its own “Toy Story 3” without Pixar involved. Meanwhile, in a notorious 2004 investor call, Jobs mocked Disney’s toons, singling out “Lion King 1 1/2” as “embarrassing.”

An impasse in the negotiations seemed unavoidable. Jobs wouldn’t sell Pixar for cash, and Disney wouldn’t pay what Jobs was asking.

The solution, it turned out, was for Disney essentially to pay Pixar to take over its own animation efforts.

Disney paid $7.4 billion in 2006 to merge with Pixar. Jobs acquired a 7% stake in Disney and a seat on the board but gave up his posts as Pixar chairman and CEO, and Pixar executives Ed Catmull and John Lasseter took charge of the Disney animation slate.

Jobs pulled another techno-shocker in 2007, unveiling the long-rumored Apple iPhone. With its smooth touchscreen face and media-centric design, neither of which had been anticipated by tech-watchers, the iPhone proved a game-changer for the cellular phone/PDA business, just as the iPod had been for the music business.

But Jobs’ health was beginning to fail even as his companies were achieving their greatest success yet.

He was treated for pancreatic cancer in 2004. He seemed to recover but looked gaunt in public appearances in 2007 and 2008, sparking rumors about a recurrence of cancer and even rumors of his death.

He announced late in 2008 that he had a hormonal imbalance that was causing him to lose weight, and on Jan. 14, 2009, he took a medical leave of absence from Apple. It was later revealed that he underwent a liver transplant during his leave.

He remained gaunt, however, and took another health-related leave of absence in late 2010, amid rumors his cancer had returned and he was near death.

Jobs abruptly resigned as CEO of Apple on Aug. 24, 2011, and was elected chairman of the board. He recommended Tim Cook as his successor; Cook had already been serving as Apple CEO since January, when Jobs took a third medical leave from the company, though he still made most of the major decisions at Apple.

Jobs disliked publicity about his personal relationships, which could be difficult. He found his birth parents and biological sister, the novelist Mona Simpson.

He is survived by his wife, Laurene Powell; a son; and three daughters.

Not sure I can do the Podcast this morning…

BlogTalkRadio appears to be down at present. If it isn’t up by 10 AM, I won’t get to the Under The LobsterScope podcast today… stay tuned for more info.

– Bill

UPDATE: WE’RE CONNECTED AGAIN. GO TO  BlogTalkRadioHERE .

My Podcast is at 10 AM Today if you want to tune in…

… we’ll be spending some time talking about the economy, the political future of the Middle Class, and a few other things.

That’s 10 o’clock this morning http://www.blogtalkradio.com/billtchakirides/2011/07/19/under-the-lobsterscope.

I’m making another stab at the Under The LobsterScope Podcast this morning at 10…

So, if you want to see if I get through or not (which always seems questionable) go  HERE to  BlogTalk Radio.

If you miss it, the recording will be at BlogTalkRadio, HERE .

You can call in during the half hour that it’s on at 1 (661) 554-9186. I’ll be glad to discuss just about anything with you.

________

UPDATE

_________

Success, Success! I only did about 15 minutes since I was testing out the iPhone and connections, but it worked.

I’ll plan bigger and better for next Tuesday.

My Podcast is Live this morning at 10 Am Eastern Time…

Stop by and have a listen… Go  HERE to  BlogTalk Radio.

If you miss it, the recording will be at BlogTalkRadio, HERE .

You can call in during the half hour that it’s on at 1 (661) 554-9186. I’ll be glad to discuss just about anything with you

.

Wow… three hours went by as I played with my new iPhone 4…

… so, of course, I didn’t do a damn thing on the blog (even though in the back of my head I could hear the broadcast of the House arguing about cuts to one thing or another and who is doing more to preserve Medicare) as I downloaded freebie apps and tried out the silliest ones I could find… moved my favorite iTunes songs over to the iPod in the phone and called Elly in Minnesota to tell her the phones came.

I’ll bet she can’t wait until Sunday to get back and play with hers.

At least the Podcast next Tuesday will have much better sound quality (and I finally found a music intro…a little snip from Offenbach) for those of you who tune in.

Today was my first UTL Podcast…

This morning at 10AM, the Under The LobsterScope half-hour podcast went live for the first time. I admit it was AWFUL, not AWESOME… but this was my first time.

It will get better, though. When it gets really good I’ll submit it to iTunes which will make it much easier for you to pick up.

Come back next Tuesday (and every Tuesday) at 10 AM and hear the improvements. Call in if you want to.

Meanwhile: you can click on my name or picture below and play the “On Demand” recording of this morning’s Podcast.

– Bill

Listen to internet radio with BillTchakirides on Blog Talk Radio

btw: I’d appreciate comments (or e-mail if you want to click on the mailbox) and suggestions from you. Listeners always know more than producers.

Saturday Morning…

I don’t know why it is, but, standing in the shower this morning, I was overtaken by the score from “Carousel” and started singing Billy Bigelow‘s Soliloquy out loud, persisting until it’s completion as I was getting dressed. Byron, our younger dog, lay on the bedroom floor staring at me.

I hadn’t been thinking about Carousel… I don’t recall thinking about it and I hadn’t dreamed about it. I have been thinking about Candide, however… since I am reviewing the Shepherd University production next week for WSHC radio. I’ll be going to a dress rehearsal in order to get the review on the air timed with the Friday opening on the 4th.

I have been playing a couple of versions of Candide from my iTunes collections… primarily the Harold Prince version from 1974 and the British Royal National Theatre version from 1999 (and somewhere I have the Original Cast album , sometimes known as the Lillian Hellman version, whose story and Richard Wilbur lyrics and Barbara Cook soprano vocals, many prefer over the revisions… but I don’t know where it is right now. On a CD download somewhere (although I have a 33 1/3 rpm record somewhere as well.) That is where the thoughts of Carousel may have come up.

Each of the two musicals have significant overtures which often stand by themselves in legitimate Orchestra performances. Richard Rogers’ Carousel Waltz and Bernstein’s Candide Overture (available on YouTube with Bernstein conducting it shortly before his death) are both splendid, long (4 minutes or so) pieces which are quickly recognized even by people who have not seen either shows. That’s a thought which may have brought Carousel into my mind this morning.

Isn’t it interesting how music I learned at age 14 persists at age 64.

Wednesday morning as we proceed down the drain…

Here it is, 30 years to the day, the anniversary of the death of John Lennon at the hands of a young loony. Thirty years! We still listen to Lennon’s music (iTunes has just released all the Beatles stuff for the first time – including the later Lennon stuff) and kids who weren’t even born when Lennon died are just discovering the Beatles and Lennon and buying it up.

From my point of view, it brings me back to a time when we were trying to Give Peace A Chance because All We Need(ed) Is Love. But it didn’t happen. We went into war after war… we blew our budgets and debt up like Macy’s Parade balloons… we put ourselves into a split society which is killing itself (and not slowly any more.) For example: this week we are working as hard as we can to sell our bodies and souls to China and Saudi Arabia by increasing our debt and getting little in return.

This morning I’m watching the comments of Representatives (mostly Democrats) who are pretty pissed off. I hear that Joe Biden is meeting with the House Dems today to tell them that “the deal’s not sealed.” Yeah, sure. This is how they are going to hold Nancy Pelosi off.

The Senate is going to spend a big part of their morning with the ongoing Impeachment Trial of Judge Thomas Porteous. This has been taking up their time all week and, of course, is not taking care of the things the people need to get down to. Only 8 days left, guys.

As to what the Senate is going to do with the Tax Cut Extension legislation, seeing they have to get 60 votes to do anything (thanks to the Republicans requiring the filibuster level vote for EVERYTHING), I’m not sure what’s going to happen. And there are a bunch of Democrats, and the Independent Bernie Sanders, who will do what they can to keep the Obama agreement from going through as well. If we get through December 31 without the Congress passing on this, then the Tax Cut is ended and the taxes go back into play across the board.

And what are we going to do. As the voters, the population as a whole, and 98% of us not rich enough to benefit from what’s going an and all of us split into groups that are designed to not get along with each other by the political controllers who the rich have put into place, what can we do? We write blogs, send letter, call offices and everything else we can do to get our two cents in, and it doesn’t seem to matter.

And as I write this, Judge Porteous seems to be being found GUILTY by a unanimous Senate (at least on article 1 for having a “corrupt financial relationship” with a law firm and failing to recuse himself from a case). Watching these concerned Senators stand up 1 by 1 to vote “guilty” is pretty impressive, considering how many of them, to me are just as guilty of covering up so many things and flat out lying to voters during their campaigns. It reminds me of the lyric from Fiorello, “the only crime is to be caught.”

Have a nice day, folks.