Booker T. Jones – What’s In My Bag?


Soul legend Booker T. Jones went shopping at Amoeba Music in San Francisco before the pandemic. His latest album ‘Note By Note’ is available from Edith Street Records.

Check out his picks:
Steve Cropper – Dedicated: A Salute To The 5 Royales (CD)
Jimmy Smith – The Sermon! (CD)
Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (CD)
George Shearing – My Ship (CD)
Itzhak Perlman – Vivaldi: The Four Seasons (CD)
Ashkenazy/Stein – Sibelius: Finlandia (CD)
Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited (LP)
Ray Charles – In Person (LP)
Marc-André Hamelin, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Litton – Shostakovich: Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 2 / Shchedrin: Piano Concerto No 2 (CD)
John Coltrane – Giant Steps (CD)
Luciano Pavarotti – Pavarotti’s Greatest Hits (CD)
Albert King – King Of The Blues Guitar (CD)
John Coltrane – Blue Train (CD)
John Coltrane – Live At The Village Vanguard: The Master Takes (CD)

Depression and Medication – NYTIMES on

Experts initially thought that depression must be caused by low levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, in part because the first antidepressant drug — accidentally discovered in the 1950s — increased circulating amounts of the chemicals. Further research suggested that serotonin played an especially important role in mood. This so-called “chemical imbalance” theory gained a foothold in the cultural psyche and was promoted by ads for the medications.

However, starting in the 1990s, researchers began to understand that depression was much more complicated and that serotonin played only a nominal role. For one thing, S.S.R.I.s increase serotonin levels immediately, but it takes several weeks before people start to feel better. Studies also started to emerge showing that another brain system played a role: People with depression consistently have less volume in an area called the hippocampus that’s important for regulating mood.

The current prevailing theory, Dr. Hellerstein said, is that chronic stress can cause the loss of connections — called synapses — between cells in the hippocampus and other parts of the brain, potentially leading to depression. Antidepressants are now thought to work at least in part by helping the brain form new connections between cells. Researchers aren’t exactly sure how increasing serotonin with an S.S.R.I. causes these synapses to regrow. One possibility is that the medications also increase levels of other brain chemicals, called growth factors, that help those connections form and spread.

A paper published earlier this year made headlines for presenting several decades’ worth of evidence that people with depression don’t have less serotonin than people who are not depressed. To most psychiatrists, the paper didn’t reveal anything new, and it didn’t mean antidepressants aren’t effective (a widely held misinterpretation of the paper). Instead it revealed a fundamental disconnect between how the public viewed depression and how the experts thought about it.

Antidepressants Don’t Work the Way Many People Think
The most commonly prescribed medications for depression are somewhat effective — but not because they correct a “chemical imbalance.”

Some Americans Talking About Their Jobs

It is hard to talk about this work. It is hard to do it, too. The best time to work is when it’s quiet, from ten at night till two in the morning. Because sometimes, well, [laughs] almost always, it’s a frustrating job. You know, it’s easy to use finished product, like computer games or Microsoft products, but the process to completing software is very frustrating. It is sometimes even pretty easy to write a program, but to make it so the users who will use the program cannot do anything stupid or cause some problems you have to imagine every single thing the user could do on keyboard. That part takes almost all of time. And it is a very boring time.

Out where this place is, it’s just all desert, and there’s a lot of weird people that live out around here. They’re kind of scary. They actually scare me more than the freeway people do because the main reason anybody’d live all the way out here is because of drug problems and problems with the government. Most of them are like that. Not all of them—there’s nice ones, but there’s a lot of weirdos that do weird things, they drive really awful-looking cars. White trucks with blue doors. No teeth. I try not to get involved with them. I’m polite. I smile, take their money, bag what they’re buying, but that’s it. I’m scared so I try not to get personal. That’s probably the worst part about the job. The drive is no fun, but the scary people, they’re the worst.

And by the way, I have never, and I mean this, never met an honest man. I have had rabbis lie. I have had priests lie. I have had witnesses of every color and denomination and persuasion lie. Clients come to me and tell me that they were caused to have an accident and they were injured in a certain way. But the truth is that it usually didn’t happen exactly the way they say it happened. The client may be fundamentally and inherently a good and honest person, but when it comes to their case their theory is, well, it’s a goddamn insurance company, and they’ve got more money than God, and it isn’t right, and it isn’t fair. And so it’s okay if, on the margins, on the fringes, they improve or enhance their story a little bit.

So we have to begin with a premise that it’s not a question of whether someone’s honest, it’s a question of the degree. And lawyers are the most dishonest people of all. A lawyer will prepare his witness in such a way that he, the lawyer, thinks he’s being honest, but in truth and in all candor, he’s really not. Because he’s kind of steering or directing the witness in a certain direction—the direction that says the other party is at fault. And that’s part of our business. A good lawyer has to approach every accident, every case, with the mindset that his client is not at fault. The other party is at fault. And so a good lawyer is often dishonest and so is everyone else.

I’m not an actor. I’m not into that. I’m a temp, a forty-year-old temp. Let’s leave it at that, okay? I mean, I know there’s stigma attached to being a forty-year-old temp. At forty, people assume you should have achieved something. And they don’t see this as an achievement. But I don’t care. I’m happy doing this. I’ve never fit in. The more I see what fitting in is, the less I want to. It’s plots that you already know the ending to. Why do you want to live out a story and know that you’re gonna do this or do that, you know? A steady job is a plot. I will stay here and I will do this, then I’ll retire, then I’ll move to Florida. Then I’ll die, you know? You spend your days at work dreaming of the future, you spend your days at work getting ready to get off of work. Me, I don’t know if I’ll make it to my job tomorrow. So it’s the moment, living in the moment.

Like last year, I took a vacation. I’d been at this place a couple of months and it was getting old. I called up and said, “I’m going on a vacation.” And they’re like, “Well, we don’t know if we’ll have a job for you when you get back.” I said, “I know you don’t know if you’ll have a job for me when I get back ’cause I’m not even sure when I’m coming back.” So I went on this bike trip; I took a bunch of time. I love to travel and see things. Two-week vacations just don’t do it for me.

Gig: Americans Talk About Their Jobs
NOTE – Highly recommended book

Tom Waits Interview

Q: What’s heaven for you?
A: Me and my wife on Rte. 66 with a pot of coffee, a cheap guitar, pawnshop tape recorder in a Motel 6, and a car that runs good parked right by the door.

Q: What’s hard for you?
A: Mostly I straddle reality and the imagination. My reality needs imagination like a bulb needs a socket. My imagination needs reality like a blind man needs a cane. Math is hard. Reading a map. Following orders. Carpentry. Electronics. Plumbing. Remembering things correctly. Straight lines. Sheet rock. Finding a safety pin. Patience with others. Ordering in Chinese. Stereo instructions in German.

Q: What remarkable things have you found in unexpected places?
1. Real beauty: oil stains left by cars in a parking lot.
2. Shoe shine stands that looked like thrones in Brazil made of scrap wood.
3. False teeth in pawnshop windows- Reno, NV.
4. Great acoustics: in jail.
5. Best food: Airport in Tulsa Oklahoma.
6. Most gift shops: Fatima, Portugal.
8. Most unlikely location for a Chicano crowd: A Morrissey concert.
9. Most poverty: Washington D.C.
10. A homeless man with a beautiful operatic voice singing the word “Bacteria” in an empty dumpster in Chinatown.
11. A Chinese man with a Texan accent in Scotland.
12. Best nights sleep-in a dry riverbed in Arizona.
13. Most people who wear red pants- St. Louis.
14. Most beautiful horses, N.Y.C.
15. A judge in Baltimore MD1890 presided over a trial where a man who was accused of murder and was guilty, and convicted by a jury of his peers… and was let go- when the judge said to him at the end of the trial “You are guilty sir… but I cannot put in jail an innocent man.” You see – the murderer was a Siamese twin.

Self Deception – ChatGpt on

How is it possible to lie to yourself? I think Sartre considered this question. What did he say on this and what are some other thoughts on the issue?

Jean-Paul Sartre, a prominent existential philosopher, delved into the concept of self-deception and the ability to lie to oneself. He argued that self-deception is a fundamental aspect of human existence. According to Sartre, people often deceive themselves as a way to escape responsibility for their choices and actions. This self-deception allows individuals to maintain a positive self-image and avoid confronting the harsh realities of their existence.

Sartre’s perspective on self-deception is closely related to his existential philosophy, which emphasizes individual freedom and responsibility. He believed that people create their essence through their choices and actions, and self-deception can be a way to deny this freedom and evade the anxiety that comes with it. By lying to oneself, individuals can convince themselves that they are not truly free or responsible for their circumstances.

Other philosophers and psychologists have also explored the concept of self-deception from various angles. For example, Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, proposed the idea of defense mechanisms, which are unconscious psychological strategies used to protect oneself from unpleasant thoughts or feelings. Denial, one of these defense mechanisms, involves refusing to accept reality or the truth.

In addition, social psychologists have conducted extensive research on cognitive dissonance, a theory developed by Leon Festinger. Cognitive dissonance occurs when individuals experience discomfort due to holding conflicting beliefs or attitudes. To reduce this discomfort, people might engage in self-deception by changing their beliefs or justifying their actions.

Overall, the ability to lie to oneself is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon, explored by various philosophers, psychologists, and scholars from different disciplines. These perspectives provide valuable insights into the human mind and the ways individuals navigate the challenges of self-awareness and personal responsibility.

Integration in Las Vegas

In 1955, limited integration came to heavily segregated Las Vegas when the Sands first allowed Nat King Cole to stay at the hotel and perform.[2] Sinatra noticed that he never saw Cole in the dining room, always eating his meals in solitude in his dressing room. When he asked his valet George to find out why, he learned that “Coloreds aren’t allowed in the dining room at the Sands”. Sinatra subsequently stated that if blacks were not permitted to eat their meals in the dining room with everybody else he would see to it that all of the waiters and waitresses were fired, and invited Cole to dine with him the following evening.[28] Cole was allowed permission into the casino, as was another black performer, Harry Belafonte, who took a more aggressive approach by walking into the casino on his own accord and sitting at a blackjack table, which was not challenged by the bosses. Belafonte became the “first black man to play cards on the Las Vegas Strip.”[29]

Sammy Davis Jr. was instrumental in bringing about a general change in policy. When the Will Mastin Trio began performing at Sands in 1958, Davis informed Entratter that his father and uncle must be allowed permission to stay at Sands while he was performing there. Entratter granted them permission but continued his objection to admitting other black guests.[30] In 1961, an African-American couple entered the lobby of the hotel and were blocked by the security guard, witnessed by Sinatra and Davis. Sinatra told the guards that they were his guests and let them into the hotel. Sinatra subsequently swore profusely on the phone to Sands executive Carl Cohen at how ridiculous the situation was, and the following day, Davis approached Entratter and demanded that Sands begin employing blacks. Shortly afterwards the hotel changed its policy and it began hiring black waiters and busboys and permitting blacks entry into the casino.[30]


Evolving and Accumulating Requirements, Example of

For example, consider the most basic issue of coverage: whether a given worker is eligible to claim unemployment benefits. According to the DOL, to answer that question you must figure out, among other things, whether the worker’s “employing unit” qualifies as an “employer.” Under the Federal Unemployment Tax Act, that term originally applied to “employing units” that, “during any calendar quarter in the current or immediately preceding calendar year, paid wages of $1,500 or more” and to “employing units of eight or more workers on at least one day in each of 20 different weeks in a calendar year.” In 1956, that threshold was changed to four or more workers; in 1972, it dropped to just one worker. Today, about half the states use this federal definition, but the others strike out on their own. In Montana, the minimum payroll to qualify as an employer is $1,000 in the current or preceding year; in New York, it’s $300 in a single quarter; in Iowa, any wages at all paid in the current or preceding quarter will qualify. In Massachusetts, thirteen weeks of payroll is enough to be an employer; in Arkansas, it’s having a single employee for ten or more days.

The unemployment department in any given state would have had to update its systems as the federal definition changed, as their own state definition changed, or as their labor agency switched back and forth between the federal and state definitions. Few updates succeed in catching all past references to the former rule, so you will find artifacts of previous regulations strewn throughout documentation and code. That’s probably how the EDD came to have work items for “Stop Payment Alert” and for “Stop Payment Alert—Claim Review” that mean two totally different things. Perhaps some law changed and programmers coded a new work item to fit the new rules, but the original one persisted, most likely because it was still attached to active claims. Everything accumulates.

Recoding America: Why Government Is Failing in the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better
Jennifer Pahlka

AI Revolution – 20 Year Prediction Window

And it’s about time. Machine thinking is another area where early expectations were not fulfilled. Attempts to invent artificial intelligence are generally dated to 1956, and a summer workshop at Dartmouth College for scientists with a pioneering interest in “machines that use language, form abstractions and concepts, solve kinds of problems now reserved for humans, and improve themselves.” At the time, machines with humanlike intelligence were often predicted to be about twenty years away. Now, they’re often predicted to be … well, about twenty years away.

The futurist philosopher Nick Bostrom has a cynical take on this. Twenty years is “a sweet spot for prognosticators of radical change,” he writes: nearer, and you’d expect to be seeing prototypes by now; further away, and it’s not so attention-grabbing. Besides, says Bostrom, “twenty years may also be close to the typical duration remaining of a forecaster’s career, bounding the reputational risk of a bold prediction.”

Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy
Tim Harford
NOTE -> Copyright © 2017

Jon Batiste on Thelonius Monk

Five Minutes That Will Make You Love Thelonious Monk
We asked Jon Batiste, Arooj Aftab, Mary Halvorson and others to share their favorites.

Jon Batiste, pianist and composer


It’s not possible for me to choose a favorite Monk song. At 19, I became obsessed with everything Thelonious and spent a year focused exclusively on absorbing as much as I could. Monk is a world. “Introspection,” from the album “Solo Monk,” is borderline atonal while still distinctively melody-rich. The melody is akin to a nursery rhyme in its playful logic and symmetry, all while whistling overtop a bed of through-composed dissonance. Those chords! The way he constructs the harmony to shift between at least three identifiable key centers creates a trance-like quality to the recording that rides the borders of Eastern mysticism and some obtuse sanctified hymn. The chord voicings are constructed for every note to have a deliberate intention. There’s no room for harmonic interpretation here — if you add or take away any of the notes from his chord voicings, the song risks completely losing its identity. Monk’s way of “super syncopation” is utilized significantly in this tune as well, making his charismatic approach to aligning the harmony and melody a defining characteristic of the composition.

He named it “Introspection” ’cause he certainly had a lot on his mind with this one. Very concentrated in all harmony, melody and rhythm. The master of repetition. Over the years it’s the least played Monk tune of all. This is significant given that he is one of the most covered and influential composers of the modern age. I love the “Solo Monk” version because he doesn’t even improvise over the chord changes, he just states the melody twice and walks out of the studio (or at least that’s how I envision it). Sometimes that’s all that needs to be played: the tune.

Adam Kinzinger – Fresh Air Interview

Rep. Adam Kinzinger on investigating Jan. 6 and being a ‘Renegade’ in the GOP
The former Illinois congressman reflects on confronting the “fanaticism of the hardcore” of his own party. Kinzinger served on the House committee investigating the attack on the Capitol.

KINZINGER: It’s been life-changing in a number of ways. So, you know, my father’s cousins, I guess, basically sent me a letter disowning me at one point, which was…

GROSS: Wait, wait, wait, she said you served in Satan’s army when you joined the committee.

KINZINGER: Yep. That’s it. That’s it. I was a member of the devil’s army. But it said things like, you serve in the devil’s army, you’ve lost the trust of great men like Mark Levin and Sean Hannity. And it goes to show, to me, the brain rot – right? – the rot going on, the absolute abuse of people that put their trust in some of these – you know, these radio folks or these TV folks. I had – you know, a year ago, I had – my copilot in Iraq sent me a text that said he was ashamed to have ever served with me. I mean, I can’t imagine what goes through somebody’s head, how angry you have to be to wake up, for whatever reason, to send a person that you fought with in a war that you were embarrassed to have served with them.

I mean, that’s just some of it – having a 24-hour security detail when I’m in D.C., wondering if my family’s protected while they’re back in Illinois. I mean, these are a lot of the sacrifices. But – and a lot of the ways it changed. And now I’m obviously a much more public figure than I was even prior to that. But I have no regrets. If I had to go back in time, knowing everything I know now and how it would turn out, I would still do it.

GROSS: I don’t want to ask you anything that further threatens your security, so if this question does, let me know. But you got a lot of threats after joining the committee. You got voicemails saying things like, I hope you die quickly.