Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Isaac Asimov's Robot City: Book 2: Suspicion by Mike McQuay

The experiment continues. This statement goes for both the challenge Isaac Asimov presented to 4 sci-fi writers and to the experiment in the Robot City series of books of Robots and Humans working together. But before I jump too far let me give you a little more of a background.

As stated in my review of book 1 in this series, Isaac Asimov's 3 laws of robotics were used by other science fiction writers but only Asimov was allowed to quote them. That is until this series came about. Asimov challenged other writers to write in HIS realm about HIS robots. Michael (Mike) McQuay wrote this book in the series. Some of his previous books are: Life-Keeper (1980), Escape from New York (1981), State of Siege (1984), Jitterbug (1984), My Science Project (1985), The MIA Ransom (1986), Puppetmaster (1991), and Richter 10 (1996) (with Arthur C Clarke). "Suspicion" was published in 1987 along with the other books in the series.

In this book we again join Derec and Katherine after they have mysteriously been transported to Robot City by a device called the Key to Perihelion. The mystery is where this device originated and why were they chosen to "use" it, and the mystery as to who Derec really is, he is suffering from amesia and has no idea who he is. But before they can solve those mysteries there is another one that takes precedence. Derec and Katherine are suspected of murder in Robot City. Only because they are the only other humans on the planet and Robots are incapable of harming humans, thanks to the deeply programmed 3 laws of robotics. It turns out that the murdered human is named David. In the first book in the series we learned that Katherine knew Derec previously and knew him as David. Katherine is still holding back secrets in this book. In fact it is found out that she is only calling herself Katherine, and that that is not HER real name. (curiouser and curiouser)

Another problem is that the city is itself a robotic entity and is in overdrive defense mode. This cause for defense mode is thought to be because of a perceived alien threat. The city is burning up the planet's resources at an alarming rate and the by-product is a speeded up version of global warming, bringing dangerous storms to the planet.

Katherine goes out to examine the body of the murdered David while Derec goes to explore the cause of the defense mode. When Katherine sees that the body of David is an exact "replica" of Derec/David she goes into hysterics and the robots must bring her to safety. In the meantime Derec discovers the cause of the "alien" attack and tries to explain to the central core that there is no attack but the robots need verification before it can stop the defense mode.

This book has more of a Sherlock Holmes mystery feel than does the first book which was a great space adventure. I will not give out the ending of this book, as I always try not to give away endings in any of my reviews. But when I finally get Book 3 I'm sure that review will contain a summary of this book's ending. The only problem is I'm having a hard time finding books 3 and 6 of this series. Both are written by William F. Wu and seem to be out of print. My local library system doesn't even have them.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:19 PM Comments: 0

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Legends of Dune Trilogy Book 1: The Butlerian Jihad by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

It was time to pick up another book to read and I was trying to figure out what to read. I am already reading the "Isaac Asimov's Robot City" series and thought I'd better not do another sci-fi book. When I read I read multiple books, and I try to keep them opposite types. I then realized that my reading of the Asimov series was going to be hitting a speed bump. I can't find books 3 or 6 of that series. So I said what the heck, and looked at another Sci-fi book. I was going to re-read "Dune" by Frank Herbert, after all I loved the David Lynch movie, the Sci-Fi channel mini-series and of course the book itself. But I did some research on the book and remembered there were several books written in the "Dune" Series, including some prequels. So here I am on my trek through the stars with Dune. This time I was glad to see Frank Herbert's son, Brian Herbert, had joined in the Dune mythos.

The Legends of Dune Trilogy covers a time 10,000 years before the first book published, "Dune." This series covers some areas mentioned in the earlier (written not timeline) books. Also I read that the information shared in these books will play a vital part in the next book to be released August of 2007. So here's where I jump in.

As it stands in this book there are 3 factions of planets: the Synchronized worlds (run by thinking machines & Cymeks), The League of Nobles (the humans), and the unallied planets (which consists of Arrakis or Dune).

As is learned in "Dune: The Butlerian Jihad," published in 2002, The empire had grown "lazy and complacent." A group of humans decided to overthrow the empire and started calling themselves "the Titans." These Titans have enhanced their bodies to live for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. This is not enough, they then find a way to remove their brains from their bodies and place them into "robot" bodies. Now called Cymeks they take over the empire. After enslaving man the Cymeks then allow the thinking machines to work for them, even giving the thinking machines human traits. One such trait, the need to conquer goes too far. The thinking machines then take over, enslaving the human race and creating the Synchronized worlds. Worlds that are all linked to the great evermind "Omnius." Omnius keeps the Cymeks for his dirty work and because deep in the programming the evermind cannot bring harm to the Cymeks.

There are the Synchronized worlds, ruled by Omnius, and the League of Nobles, a democratic form of planet alliances, that pretty much get by without harming each other, but then the Cymeks and the Thinking machines attack, forcing intergalactic war. During this war heroes and martyrs are made. If you have read the other books and wondered why there are no computers, how the Fremen got their start, why Spice Melange is so vital or how the 3 main houses (Harkkonen, Atreides and Corrino) came to be in power. This book is a must read.

The authors create and build on the mythos which include the same ideals created by Frank Herbert. In this first book we learn how Tio Holtzmann created the personal shields and the shield technology (which I thought was so cool in the series). The beginnings of the Bene Gesserit witches are also discussed and why they came to be. So basically this book (along with the other 2 "Legends" books) tells the whys of the mythos created in one of the best epic Sci-Fi series ever.

I now can't wait to get started on the next book, "The Machine Crusades," so I'm going to close this review. But before I go, If you have not ever read any of the Frank Herbert's Dune series, it won't hurt to start out with this introductory book. It is written with the same passion as all the others and besides, it's always good to start at the "beginning."

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posted by Gil T. @ 7:52 PM Comments: 0

Sunday, February 25, 2007


The moral here: Never wear a red shirt when hanging out with the bosses.

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posted by Gil T. @ 1:09 AM Comments: 0

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Isaac Asimov's Robot City book 1: Odyssey by Michael P. Kube-McDowell

In science fiction, the Three Laws of Robotics are a set of three rules written by Isaac Asimov, which almost all positronic robots (designated by their Asimov created positronic brains) appearing in his fiction must obey. Introduced in his 1942 short story "Runaround", although foreshadowed in a few earlier stories, the Laws state the following:

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Isaac Asimov created these laws as more or less a challenge to himself for writing his novels. Later, Asimov added the Zeroth Law: "A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm;" the rest of the laws are modified sequentially to acknowledge this. He created murder mysteries in space using the 3 laws and the Detective Elijah Bailey. Bailey would receive help from R. Daneel Olivaw, a human appearing robot. Many science fiction writers have used the ideas of Asimov's robots, but no other author could directly state 3 three laws. Many sci-fi writers used the ideas of the laws but never stated them as Asimov did. Even the positronic brain was copied in the series "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Commander Data had a positronic brain. Asimov was honored to have many sci-fi writers copy the ideas but the laws were his and he did not allow this. Not until the Robot City series of books. This series of 5 books was a challenge to 4 different Sci-Fi writers to write stories based solely on the laws and Asimov's universe.

Isaac Asimov's Robot City is a series of novels written by various authors and loosely connected to Isaac Asimov's Robot Series. It takes place between The Robots of Dawn and Robots and Empire. The novels were written in response to a writing challenge issued by Asimov to write a series involving the Three Laws of Robotics, which brought about a collaboration of several talented authors.

The books in this series are:

  1. Odyssey by Michael P. Kube-McDowell (1987)

  2. Suspicion by Mike McQuay (1987)

  3. Cyborg by William F. Wu (1987)

  4. Prodigy by Arthur Byron Cover (1988)

  5. Refuge by Rob Chilson (1988)

  6. Perihelion by William F. Wu (1988)

So being the guy that has to read things in order and loving series of books, I have set off in my quest to read the Robot City books. (I have already read all the Asimov books from the "Robot" series to the "Empire" series and ending with the "Foundation" Series.)

In "Odyssey" we are introduced to the character of Derec. Derec has no idea who he is or where he's from and finds himself in the beginning of the book in an escape pod on an uncharted asteroid. The asteroid is being mined by robots that aren't actually mining but looking for what Derec later learns to be a key. The robots bring Derec into the station and as Derec is trying to find humans on the station (which there are none) the asteroid comes under attack from a mysterious ship. The robots have orders to destroy the asteroid but in doing so would end up destroying Derec, the first law prohibits this, so one robot hints that he may have to escape. As Derec is escaping the lost item (the key) is found and a robot insists that Derec take it with him. Derec modifies a space suit to allow him to "jump" from the asteroid into space. The problem here is that this puts him on the mysterious ship.

The ship is run by aliens, who seem also interested in the "key." A side note here, throughout all of Asimov's books one thing that is missing is aliens. All of Asimov's universe is populated by humans or robots. The aliens take Derec into the ship where he is forced to create robots for the aliens since they have no such technology. This knowledge lets the reader know that Derec has had some training in robotics and engineering, even he finds it odd that he can do such work and not know who he is. On the alien ship Derec befriends a canoid alien named Wolruf, and finds that another human is onboard. This other human is the mysterious Katherine. Katherine knows Derec but will not reveal what she knows. Just as Derec and Katherine are to get their hands on the Key once again, something blows up.

The next section of the book takes place on Rockliffe Station a way station for settlers and spacers travelling to distant systems. Again no humans on board the station but the staff of robots are medical professionals. In order to pay for their medical treatment the commander of the station has confiscated the portion of the ship that Derec and Katherine were found drifting in, along with the key. Derec for unknown reasons, feels he must get the key back and Katherine (too eagerly) agrees to help. In the process of searching they find Wolruf is hiding on the station. Wolruf seems to know more than she is saying also and leads them to where the robots are guarding the key.

Now I'm keeping this review as pretty much a recap of events for one simple reason. The book is not meant to be read independently. At the end of the book Derec and Katherine find what the Key can do. It is a teleporter of some sort and sends them to a city of robots "Robot City" there the book ends and leaves the reader hanging completely. To find out what happens the next book in the series has to be read. That is my next quest. So I'll have more for you then. Be ready for a series of cliffhangers.

For some further information the Robot and Aliens series is a spin off of the Robot City series, dealing with the Three Laws, Robots and what would happen if robots were to encounter alien life. The series also features Derec and Katherine.

  1. Changeling by Stephen Leigh

  2. Renegade by Cordell Scotten

  3. Intruder by Robert Thurston

  4. Alliance by Jerry Oltion

  5. Maverick by Bruce Bethke

  6. Humanity by Jerry Oltion

Robot City also had a mystery game of the same name released for the PC in 1995. You played as the role of Derec.

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posted by Gil T. @ 8:33 PM Comments: 0

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Movie Review: A Scanner Darkly

I can easily start this review out by saying I have just seen one of the most intriguing films of our time.
But I won't, at least not yet. I want to let you know some of the logistics first.

A Scanner Darkly is a Richard Linklater film based on the book of the same name by Philip K. Dick. You may recognize Philip K. Dick's previous books turned to movies that have become underground/cult favorites, "Blade Runner," which was based on his book "Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep?" and "Minority Report." With this portfolio you can safely assume that the movie is a bit of a Sci-Fi movie. Well, not quite, at least not too far fetched. But then again that's what makes Mr. Dick's books more interesting is that they don't require a stretch to be believable.

With the Sci-Fi aspect of the film grabbing some attention, another aspect of the film is that Richard Linklater did some very creative cinematography. Borrowing some animation techniques from Ralph Bakshi, this film used real actors that became animated. Ralph Bakshi films were most famous for his "rotoscoping" in which the actors were filmed but the movie was animated over the film. (Some great examples of this are "Cool World" starring Kim Basinger and Brad Pitt, "The Lord of the Rings {the animated version}, "Wizards" and my favorite "American Pop") The actors were filmed and the images were then turned to animation, at times just simply coloring in the faces and clothes to some very elaborate hallucinations and effects. So now you have 2 intriguing aspects of the film.

The next intriguing aspect is the AWESOME cast used in the film. Individually all the actors are underrated and have very unique personalities, but thrown together in this ensemble creates a completely different view of the craft of acting. The actors are:
Keanu Reeves .... Fred/Bob Arctor

Rory Cochrane .... Freck

Robert Downey Junior .... Barris

Woody Harrelson .... Luckman

Winona Ryder .... Donna

These actors all do a great job in portraying some very interesting characters. Yes the "animation" helps but the director still filmed their movements and facial expressions and they are used. At times I found myself thinking there was some typecasting going on...but then I get the realization that these guys are really just great actors and need more roles like this.

Now for the rundown. The film takes place 7 years from now, in Los Angeles, a future where America has lost the war on drugs. When one reluctant undercover cop is ordered to start spying on his friends, he is launched on a paranoid journey into the absurd, where identities and loyalties are impossible to decode. In fact, Bob Arctor (Reeves), at some point is not sure if he is keeping watch on himself or his friends and at times loses his own identity. New-Path (a major corporation) has created a new drug called Substance "D" and while other drug use in the story is "acceptable" the police want to stop the dealing of Substance "D." New-Path has also created a major system in which the police can actively watch everyone everywhere (very Big Brotherish) except on the campus of the corporation. And to make matters worse the undercover police are so far under cover that they cannot appear in a professional manner unless wearing a scramble suit, which holographically portrays the wearer into multiple appearances to be the "ultimate everyman." So the police don't even know who's who on the force.

In the process of being undercover, Arctor, becomes addicted to the Substance "D" and soon loses all concepts of reality. At this point the movie becomes a rollercoaster of plot twists and turns, that no-one can predict the final outcome. And it is a great surprise ending, which I won't giveaway, but will give you a heads up: "Give her small blue flowers."

With the use of animation, the constant twists, and each character behaving so "bizarrely" you may feel as if you, yourself are using some psychotropic substance, but you can relax...it's just a movie. In fact you may have to watch it twice, to get the full efect. Then you will realize that you, like me, have seen the most intriguing film of our time.

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posted by Gil T. @ 9:13 PM Comments: 0

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Music Review: The Bastard Fairies "Memento Mori"

Wow, here's an idea. Give away your album. That's just what this band is doing. They are giving away their CD.

At first I wondered why would an Indie band want to giveaway their music? After listening to the cd, I can tell you they have talent. They are something new to the music scene from attitude to sound. At last something new to break the Green Day, My Chemical Romance soundalikes out there.

Just Click on the Banner Below to join their squad and/or download their free album.

The female vocalists are perfect for something unique and different on a musical scale. The music has some different twists. At times it's Beatlesque, then some reggae beats on a song or two, some haunting melodies and a fun synthesized song thrown in to round it all out.. Check them out after all it's free.

Just Click on the Banner Below to join their squad and/or download their free album.

My favorite tune so far is Moribund. When I heard it I immediately thought of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" by the Beatles.

Just Click on the Banner Below to join their squad and/or download their free album.

"...the most controversial band since the SEX PISTOLS"...
TOP 20 Most Viewed ALL TIME on YouTube.com
TOP 20 Most Favorited ALL TIME on YouTube.com
THE BASTARD FAIRIES download the album now for FREE!!!
...in-stores with 5 Bonus tracks & DVD April 10th...

The shiny, new, and must-have album Memento Mori from The Bastard Fairies hits stores April 10!! The album contains 5 Bonus Tracks AND a Bonus DVD
that are not avaialble on the free download!! Clearly, you NEED this
album! While anxiosuly awaiting spring thaw to get your hand on a copy,
don't be selfish!!! Spread the word to everyone you know-- "Memento
Mori" hits stores April 10!!

Just Click on the Banner Below to join their squad and/or download their free album.

Download-- "Memento Mori" FREE!!!!!

The Bastard Fairies are giving free downloads of their debut album Memento Mori!!!
Just click the link below to download your copy of this fabulous album
today!! No tricks, no gimmicks, just great music absolutely FREE!! All
we ask??? SHARE THE MUSIC-- download the album, burn cd's and hand them
out to all your friends!!

Now that's giving to the fans and yet great marketing at the same time.

They are also using the street team/squad type marketing that got Corinne Bailey Rae recognized and nominated for a grammy. So while the word gets spread you can earn points. So the promoter/fan gets rewarded plus the music is free. And to top it off They have talent.

Give these guys a listen, you won't be sorry. Besides, it won't cost you anything.

Just Click on the Banner Below to join their squad and/or download their free album.

The Bastard Fairies Official i-Squad™ Banner

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posted by Gil T. @ 2:12 AM Comments: 0

Friday, February 09, 2007

Brother Odd (Book 3 of the Odd Thomas Novels) by Dean Koontz

Book three of the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz has lived up to the greatness created in the first of the series. In the first book, "Odd Thomas," we are introduced to the dynamic character of Odd, the young fry-cook that can see dead people. Odd uses his gift/curse to help the lingering dead move on by usually solving the puzzles of their deaths. He also has the gift of what he calls "psychic magnetism," which is a form of intuition which will always lead him where he needs to be, so he’s never lost.

Assisted by the ghost of Elvis (yep, Presley, the king of rock) Odd Thomas has some interesting adventures. In this adventure/episode Odd has taken up residency in a monastery. No he hasn’t become a monk, he’s just a guest. At this monastery only the Mother Superior and a few Brothers and the Abbot know of his special talents. He has also been given a master key which will allow him into any area of the monastery. This was given to him because the monastery has a poltergeist. A Brother who was believed to have committed suicide in the bell tower, and takes to ringing the bells at various times of the day.

This monastery is also home to a large number of children that have been "forgotten" by society. These are orphaned children that are "damaged." Most are what are called "crack-babies" others are just orphans from very bad home lives. Another resident-become-monk is a brilliant physicist that has endowed the monastery with over 400 billion dollars to take care of these children. Brother John has taken all his vows to become a full fledged monk, but has a dark secret. This secret could lead to the death of the children, the monks and the sisters of the monastery, unless Odd Thomas can do something to help.

Odd is aware of the impending doom by the sudden arrival of bodachs, a dark paranormal creature that is another thing that Odd sees which no one else can. When bodachs arrive there is always trouble, which in all cases means large disaster, looming. Odd follows the bodachs to try and find what may be the disaster. In following, he comes across an entity of which the likes he’s never seen. This new entity is as dangerous as it is mysterious. It is constructed of what appear to be a cacaphony of bones but with multiple types of joints that allow flexibility unlike anything seen in this reality.

Once again Dean Koontz weaves a tale of horror, mystery and even fun that is just a great read. Oh yeah and the moments of poignancy are back in this book so be prepared, just a few tissues are needed, but in various parts of the book, not just the end as in book one.

I’m moving to a sci-fi mode for my next few books if you want to know what’s next click here:

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posted by Gil T. @ 8:01 PM Comments: 0

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"Ozzfest tour to offer free tickets" or "Someone's been reading my blog"

Fans won't have to strain their budgets to attend this year's edition of Ozzfest --organizers plan to give away tickets for free.

"For the last few years, ticket prices have steadily climbed as artists demand more and more money for summer tours," said Sharon Osbourne, tour namesake Ozzy Osbourne's wife and manager. "We certainly want everybody to make money; however, we also want the kids to be able to afford to come out and have an incredible experience. If we continued with the traditional touring festival model, we would have no choice but to raise ticket prices again this year."

Under Ozzfest's new business model, the tour--to be headlined by Ozzy--will be underwritten by various sponsorship deals.

Exactly how tickets will be distributed remains to be announced, but fans will eventually follow sponsored links at the Ozzfest website or tour promoter Live Nation's site to obtain tickets.

Looks like someone read my previous blog.

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posted by Gil T. @ 8:31 PM Comments: 0

Monday, February 05, 2007

We need to save the music industry or it dies this year...

A little harsh on the title but something needs to be done.

Okay, first of all it's not the entire music industry that needs saved, only some parts of it. The other parts just need some tweaking.

I'm a dj at a small town radio station in the midwest and have noticed that within the last 4 years or so the music industry is going sour. This is most seen when it comes to the releases of new music. There are no bands out anymore that seem to have staying power. Sure you may get your little cult faves, but there are no more Led Zeppelins, Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley and so on. What do we have instead? My Chemical Romance, Brothermadude, and Justin Timberlake. Don't get me wrong these are all talented people, except for that Timberlake guy, he's part of the problem. More on that later.

You could say that U2 is a band that has staying power, well that is because they have stayed since the early '80s. What we have today some people have attributed to the internet and even more so that source of music pablum MySpace. With so many bands able to get there music out to the public, it's harder for the public to filter. That job used to be filled by the Music Industry labels and Radio Stations. But like anything corporate those have been corrupted. Don't get me wrong...I'm not saying they were perfect, remember "Payola?"

The record labels are just pretty much releasing crap and high priced crap, at that. I remember buying my first CD release in 1986 and paying $18 at Tower Records. Now if you go into any remaining music store CDs are still the same price. The major labels should have found a way by now to bring down prices. I mean really, I get enough spam and junk snail-mail that tells me I can get 12 CDs for a penny. And while were here I think that is one of the reasons "Record Stores" (CD stores just doesn't fit for me) are going belly-up. There's more but you'll have to wait for that.

In the 80s many of the punk/new wave bands set out to prove you didn't have to have musical talent to get rich quick. It seems that tradition is continuing and growing. And some of the talented groups have a hard time competing in the world where what is now, this second, sells so forget the talent. Many of the Independent labels today are what are going to be the future of music, the problem is even they are not going at it the best way.

Many Indies are finding that it is more economical to sell your song for commercial backgrounds or, even more recently popular, to tv networks to make their new shows "trendy." So, for many the new music comes from watching an episode of "The O.C." (I just picked that one out because it's one I hate most.)

Another way for artists to get their stuff out is through the internet. But that is so hard to filter through. Take for example the hugely talented but highly underrated Ryan Adams (not Bryan) on his website you can download several thousands of his freshly written songs...actually tens of thousands. That's just from one artist. Where is my overkill filter?

Also with these downloadable songs quality has been lost (even with the LEGAL downloads). I used to love crisp clean music, maybe even some old Pink Floyd in quadraphonic sound. The movie industry improved their sound quality why has the music industry lost theirs?

Now back to "record stores." In our area we lost Sam Goody's and I hear that my all time favorite Tower Records is bankrupt. It seems that only small independent record stores are left. I think a lot of this is due to the ability to download music, whether legally or illegally. I think this will be good for me, in that I love going to the independent record stores and some of the corporate stores bored me. But, these guys could be gone soon, unless we do something. Okay maybe not "we" but mainly the "Record Labels."

Here are a few suggestions that may save "Record Stores" and maybe even save the industry at the same time.

First, record stores and the industry should get together to allow some sort of musical ATM in the store where you could bring your iPod, Zune, or whatever mp3 player you have, plug it in and pay per download.

Next, BRING DOWN THE PRICE OF CDs!!!! Even stock prices drop after some years (okay hopefully not mine). Next, stop releasing any piece of crap you have just to make a buck. I mean really just because they tried out for American Idol doesn't mean they can sing. I really see CDs as a dying music form, just like the 8-track, reel-to-reel, records, etc. But some artists still release vinyl (yeah I was amazed also). So release CDs as special and worth buying...but cheaper priced, remember. Remember the artists like Pink Floyd that would release an album and the whole album told a story? Green Day and My Chemical Romance have recently tried to bring back that art. Those would be perfect CD releases.

Finally, another issue with prices, Bring down the price of a concert ticket. I would rather listen to a bootleg, than pay $50 for a one hour performance of some band. The indies have proven there are other ways to make money. Besides, do the artists really get that money?

Okay those are some of my ideas, rants and raves. What about you?

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:15 PM Comments: 1

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Interview with Tommy Chong 1997

Okay, for those of you that don't know I work in radio. You can always tell a radio person because they have thousands of photos of themselves with people (usually famous) that they'll never hang out with. Anyway 10 years ago I got the privilege of interviewing Tommy Chong. This was before his arrest for selling drug PARAPHANELIA (not drugs) across state lines and doing some prison time. I have transcribed that interview and well here it is. If it goes over well I may transcribe many of my other interviews (mainly w/ blues musicians, such as Son Seals, Koko Taylor, etc.).

Gil T. Wilson's Interview with Tommy chong
November 8, 1997
(brief but fun)

Gil T. Wilson: Here with me I have Tommy Chong, who has just played/performed at Stanford & Sons here in Kansas City, Playing/Performing, what would you call what you do?

Tommy Chong (as Blind Melon Chitlin): I be Playin', I be playin' guitar, this is Blind Melon Chitlin, Tommy Chong, Tommy Chong's done lef' the building. This is Blind Melon Chitlin, cause ya'll's playin' blues songs, this is a blues show. Ya'll like the blues. You, you yououou, know what the difference between Rock-n-Roll and de blues, don't you?

GTW: Well YOU tell me.

TC/BMC: Rock-n-Roll is what happens when white boys try to play the blues. You a white boy?

GTW: umm, yes.

TC/BMC: I figgered so. White boys love the blues.

GTW: You see though the best blues instrument I play is a CD player.

TC/BMC: If it weren't for white people there would be no blues.

GTW: How so?

TC/BMC: The white folk, they dug it up. The black people, they played it and then they left it. They left it and walked away to do the Hip-Hop. But the white people they love the blues. See the Rolling Stones they tried to play the blues and it come out like that. It came out like, you see that's Rock-n-Roll. That ain't the the blues.

You see if you ask me what the blues is I'll tell you what the blues is.

GTW: I'll bite, what is the blues?

TC/BMC: The blues is the blues, a yeah. If it were green it would be called the greens.

Wait a minute Tommy Chong, just walked in the door. A yeah. Hol' on. Hol' on.

TC: (as himself) Hey, How ya doin' man?

GTW: Pretty Good. (laughing)

TC: Sorry about that. He gets carried away. Just worked at Stanford's, I hope it was good. It was fun.

GTW: You started out doing Blues, right?

TC: Yeah, I think the very first tune, in fact the only tune I know all the way through is Honky Tonk by Bill Doggett. I know the Guitar Solo, I'm one of the few living guitarists that knows every note of that guitar solo. And I also know a lot of Jimmy Reed songs, he was my favorite. I love Jimmy Reed. I love Sonny Boy Williamson too. I've met a few people. I met John Lee Hooker years and years and years ago. When he was a younger, older man. (laughs) John Lee Hooker in this little blues club. There was NO ONE there. Just me and about three other guys.

GTW: Where was this?

TC: In Vancouver, Canada. That was when John Lee Hooker was playin' whatever gig he could get. You know?

I met B.B. King one time, He was funny. He came up and introduced himself to me. I just had to die laughing. He goes, " Mr. Chong, I'm B.B. King." I said, "Man I know who YOU are." (laughs)

GTW: With the blues starting you into where you are going, are you still doing blues with your performance now?

TC: Oh yeah, yeah. You know, that character that was on earlier (referring to Blind Melon) he's in my show. He's probably the feature act in my show. And I play guitar and sing funny songs. Funny blues songs you know. Like I sing about the dumbest man in the universe, a good old white boy named Michael Jackson.

So I sing about Michael, I sing about oh, a lot of things. I can't talk on the air about it, but uh, ..

GTW: One thing I was going to ask Blind Melon, was about the controversy over his album cover that was going to come out. Did they ever get that to fit on the album cover?

TC: Oh, Oh, we couldn't get it on the album cover. He don't care. See Blind's got tired of , He's got a manager 'cause he got tired of being messed around by the record company. They'd take him into record stores and they'd grab his hand and say, "Feel those? Those are ALL your records. Feel this poster this is your poster." And they'd be lyin', he knows they'd be lyin'.

GTW: On another note. On you, I saw an episode of Nash Bridges

TC: Ah HA.

GTW: And all this controversy going around, you and Cheech are supposed to be Mortal Enemies, aren't you.

TC: Well, we're, we're not mortal enemies, by no means, but uh, we definitely have a difference of opinion when it comes to , uh, you know our public personas. I think that if you're a comedian you should be funny. You know. I may be old-fashioned, but I think if you're gonna call yourself a comedian you should be funny. But Cheech is a serious actor now. I look at him like I look at all serious actors, like yeah, yeah, nice to meet ya. Don Johnson, you know is a big "Cheech & Chong" fan. And he would love nothing more to have us both on the show. But, you know, I can't do that Cop Stuff. I don't believe in it.

GTW: It's like you'd be on the other end?

TC: Well yeah, it's like you said I'm a Blues musician and smoking pot has never been a problem with me as far as the law goes. You know, evil is what you think it is. There's no good or bad, it's just what you think it is.

GTW: Well, blues music, itself, used to be seen as Evil.

TC: Yeah, exactly. You can always blame something on something else it's just a way to try to hold down a whole culture. But rather than give up they gotta, you know Cheech he makes his own decisions as far as what he wants to do with his life and he chose that path. And God Bless him.

GTW: And you're doing your movies, your last was "Far Out, Man", that's been a while when is your next one coming out?

TC: I just finished a movie called "Best Buds." And It'll be in the theatres hopefully, by spring. We'll try to come and do a premier in Kansas City, I've got quite a few friends here. Like this one guy who own's this club. (referring to the former Stanford & Sons comedy club) He's on the witness protection program, he knows a lot of the mob. He's really connected. They'll leave me alone here, you know I can work here without being hasseled. And if I was a teamster I'd be really well off here.

GTW: Thanks, Tommy, for taking the time off to talk with us. If you have a request, I'll see if I can play it for you.

TC: Okay, do you know that Muddy Waters thing where he sings, "Gimme my reefer I don't want umm Champagne but don't give me no cocaine.." something like that?

GTW: Okay, Here's Muddy Waters, Champagne & Reefer.

So should I transcribe the rest?

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posted by Gil T. @ 1:52 AM Comments: 0

Friday, February 02, 2007

"On Bullshit" by Harry G. Frankfurt

At the risk of being censored I'm going to review this book anyway. Yes, that's the name of the book. Or rather a mini-book.

Harry G. Frankfurt is Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Princeton University, and has written this philosophical essay on the subject of Bullshit. In this 67 page book he discusses what can and can't be properly termed as Bullshit.

Using actual historical examples and the Oxford English Dictionary, Professor Frankfurt clarifies what Bullshit is. I think I can sum it up as follows:

"The mode of creativity upon which it{Bullshit} relies is less analytical and less deliberative than that which is mobilized in lying. It is more expansive and independent, with more spacious opportunities for Improvisation, color, and imaginative play. this is less a matter of craft than art"

So the Bullshit artist is an artist

"Since bullshit need not be false, it differs from lies in its misrepresentational intent."

So Bullshit is only to misrepresent no matter if true or false.

And in closing:

"Sincerity itself is Bullshit."

The fun part of this book is reading the wordplay that finally arrives at the final outcome. At times humorous and at times very philosophical, this book is a neat read.

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posted by Gil T. @ 10:44 PM Comments: 0