I Get It

Severian said today:

And yeah, I deliberately chose Taylor Swift, because she’s pretty much already an AI. As I’m sure I’ve written, I “admire” her in a way, for a certain deeply cynical value of “admire” — Sir John Hawkwood himself wasn’t that openly mercenary (did I mention that one of the reasons I love this place is that I can drop an allusion to Sir John Hawkwood and bet everyone will get it?).

Yeah, I got it. After all, I read John Hawkwood: An English Mercenary in Fourteenth-Century Italy fifteen years ago and briefly tried to get the Internet to replace Chuck Norris jokes with John Hawkwood gags (such as John Hawkwood invented the color Burnt Sienna. Poor Sienna.). I also had the domain name johnhawkwood.com for a number of years before I started culling my portfolio (I’m down to 18).

It makes one feel smaht to get allusions and references, and it’s cool to drop them into conversations. Even when nobody gets it.

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What A Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

The blog turns 20 today. It started on Blogger and Blogspot in the days before blog posts over there had titles; in January 2010, I switched over to WordPress and my own domain (I think the first post is this one), and I have since imported all the Blogspot content here and cleaned it up to replace all the internal links to point to this blog and to replace my old Amazon affiliate links with my new Amazon affiliate links (which are now also old Amazon affiliate links, as Amazon kicked me out of the program again, this time because you cheap bastards gentle readers weren’t buying anything through them).

I started it after having read other blogs for a couple of years. I had just finished my novel John Donnelly’s Gold, and I thought a blog would be a good place for me to post essays–something to keep me writing daily, or at least semi-regularly.

But it didn’t work out that way; instead, I found myself posting short, snarky bits on news items. You know, like a blog. More of a linker than a thinker (which was not the original intent, note), but I guess I found I did not have the time to write a well-reasoned essay every day.

Ah, in those early years, I was quite up there in blogs. I was in the top, what, 5000 blogs on the planet (according to the Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem). Of course, there were fewer blogs then, and they tended to be individual blogs. And then the consolidations came.

I didn’t really make a whole lot of blog friends, or blog contacts that led me into the wider blog industry. I mean, some people have made a go of it for fifteen years, whether supplementing income or deriving side income from blogging, but I never got called up to the bigs. I did some work for 24th State for a while, but that has been, what, a decade? And I never hit the big time.

These days, I’m mostly writing book reports and thoughts on movies I’ve seen interspersed with stories from my life, little humor bits, and the occasional snarky bit of commentary on the news. I’m not overly political these days because frankly, that’s wearying and boring. I can’t work up the same zeal for it as I did twenty years ago.

But I write it mostly for myself, gentle reader, for myself in a couple of years when I’m wandering back in the archives for some reason–looking to see what I thought about a particular book (and surprised how much time has elapsed since I read it) and then wandering a couple posts forward or back.

I hope you continue to find some amusement in some of the posts. Or, at very least, pleasing photos of actresses on select movie reports.

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Brian J. Joins The Cool Kids Club

Google has put a post of mine behind a Content Warning:

You know, Google, I have not used Blogger/Blogspot for 12 years now, and you’re not making me regret my decision.

Gentle reader, you can read the post here without the warning, although I will point out it’s based on a joke that Laura Bush made about her husband, President George W. Bush, at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in 2005:

He’s learned a lot about ranching since that first year when he tried to milk the horse. What’s worse, it was a male horse.

In terms of telling bloggers who had cases of the vapors because Chimphitler Bush! (remember the good old days?) to get a grip, I might have used the word masturbation and related slang.

What a potty keyboard I had then.

Also recently added to the cool kids club: Neo.

Clearly, Google is settling old business, perhaps before Elon Musk can buy it.

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The Latest Scandal Of Brian J.

Gentle reader, you might have noticed no Good Album Hunting or Good Book Hunting posts recently, even though the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library held its autumn book sale last week.

I did not go.

I alluded to this in book reports leading up to the event–that I might not go–but in the end, I did not go.

I had work for both my employer and my longtime client that chained me to my desk for twelve or fourteen hours a day, which made it difficult for me to get up to the fairgrounds on a weekday. Although I thought about taking a change of clothes to the NFFF Memorial Stair Climb and running through the sale briefly on Saturday, half price day, between the second and third of my stadia last weekend, but I did not–I couldn’t remember how long the stair climb actually took, so I demurred. I also did not want to go up on Sunday afternoon, bag day–in my experience, it’s pretty picked over by then, and I would not have found much.

So I did not go.

And, gentle reader, when my mother-in-law downsized earlier in the year, it broke me.

Well, all right, it didn’t break my spirit, but it really dampened my enthusiasm for book or record buying for a time. For, you see, I could get away with putting a couple or a couple of dozen books or albums on my stuffed book or record shelves, filling gaps in the to-read shelves created as I actually read books.

But the books and records we received from my mother in law were boxes’ worth. I have two boxes of books and a couple atop those boxes in my office that I cannot fit on my current shelves. I will enumerate them when I can find a place to put them. I have a box of records under the desk with the 60s folk music she favors as I have no room on the record shelves until I build more.

So, gentle reader, for the nonce, I have enough.

Or, more to the point, I cannot fit the amount that I would normally accumulate at the book sale into the existing storage.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ll run up to ABC Books from time to time or pick up some records at antique malls as I do my Christmas shopping as long as the prices haven’t gotten too out of hand.

But a book sale? Not until next spring at the earliest.

And here I know you hang onto my look at what I bought! posts. Maybe I’ll do a Musical Balance post since I haven’t done one in…. almost a year? Wow.

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What the Squirrels Taught Me

Today, Wilder posts about media consumption and says:

The medium of video is “hot” (in the theory of Marshall McLuhan) and is especially wonderful for propaganda. Hot media fully engages one sense, and spoon feeds the content directly into the viewer’s mind. Cool media, like this blog, demands interaction, and demands thought.


Hey, I know that. Not from reading MacLuhan (although I have, a little). I learned that from Nuts About Squirrels.

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Again, Brian Knows Wilder’s Source Material

Wilder begins a cheery post entitled The Coming American Dictatorship, Part I with a quote from Star Trek:

“Well, Captain, the Klingons called you a tin-plated overbearing, swaggering dictator with delusions of godhood.” – Star Trek

Oooh, oooh, Mr. Kahtter. I know which episode that comes from. Not only did I read the short story version of “The Trouble with Tribbles” in Star Trek 3, I actually caught the episode on a DVD I bought a couple weeks ago.

But that’s a story for another post.

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Weird, How I Know The Source

So yesterday, I found myself watching Steven Wright’s first appearance on The Tonight Show:

I don’t even know how I got to that. Did I go to YouTube for something else and see that on the front page? Did a blog post it? I couldn’t tell you.

What I can tell you is that Wilder borrowed a joke from that routine yesterday:

The world is a really big place. Oh, sure, sometimes people say (when they run into a coincidence) that it’s a small world, but my standard response to that is, “let’s see you paint it.”

That alignment is interesting.

Does Google know I read Wilder every day, so it presented me with the source of the joke? Does Wilder read the same blogs I do and see the same post with the embedded video? Did everyone on YouTube get Steven Wright presented yesterday? Or is it just a little mind trying to detect patterns in mere coincidence?

When conspiracy theories become fact, print the conspiracy theories!

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I Know How They Feel

Sarah Hoyt sez

However, around the edges, I actually found out what makes people bond with you personally. I found it out both by reading a lot of blogs and running one: People want to know you. As a person. They want to know the funny little things in your life. They want to feel you’re one of their friends, and they could drop by the kitchen for a cup of coffee. (To be fair, my fans who know where I live are welcome to.)

So I’ll riff off of a couple of other posts I came across today with a personal flair. Continue reading “I Know How They Feel”

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On My Watch List, I Guess

I guess the world wants me to look for Pete Metheny records at book sales.

  • A couple weeks ago (I thought, but actually a month and a half ago), Jack Baruth posted about his relationship with the artist:

    My relationship with Pat Metheny is about as complicated as an entirely one-way thing can be; obviously Pat has no idea of who I am or what I might be thinking about him at any given time. I bought Letter From Home in 1989 and was a compulsive customer of his from then till 2019 or thereabouts. I have pretty much everything he has ever recorded, in multiple formats. Bought all the sheet music. The practice-exercise book. T-shirts, guitar picks. Hell, I bought Zero Tolerance For Silence, a repulsive cacophony of noise that was meant to be a final middle finger towards David Geffen. Have seen him in concert more than a dozen times, including three separate episodes when I caught the same gig twice in a week, at different places. You get the idea.


  • One of the marching bands I’ve seen in competition recently based part of their program on some piece or another from the artist; he was mentioned by name in the introduction. It’s not like I could tell Metheny’s music from any other bit of marching band music.
  • Today, Lileks mentioned him:

    If you call the number, you are warned that we are experiencing high call volume, and have not adjusted staffing levels at all; why would we? At least that’s what they should say. I was on hold longer than the actual length of the flight I was calling to change, it seemed. At least the hold music was unobtrusive. Meandering jazz. It made me wonder how much demand there is these days for smooth jazz – you know, the stuff secretaries put on the stereo in 1983 when someone was coming over for dinner for the third date. I was listening to some Pat Metheny the other day, and wondered: is this stuff just over?

    I mean, it seems to be over for Pat Metheny, inasmuch as I don’t hear him doing this type of music any more, so perhaps that’s a clue.

So I’ll watch for some of the early work of the artist on records when I hit the book sales and whatnot.

Of course, the mentions of the artist accumulating in my subconscious would have made me pick up something even if I didn’t say on my blog like a blood vow to the unheeding Internet that I would be looking for the artist in the future.

I’m not convinced to pay full freight for it, though, unlike that hard rock album Lileks told me to get.

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