Accordion, Instrument of the Gods It Happened to Me

Cameo Appearance in “Open Sources 2.0”

Book cover: O'Reilly's 'Open Sources 2.0.'

My friend and former housemate Paul Baranowski is a developer with Campware, an organization whose purpose is to “develop, distribute, support and implement useful tools for independent news media in emerging democracies.” As such, he keeps up with the literature on Open Source, such as O’Reilly’s book-in-progress, Open Sources 2.0: The Continuing Evolution.

The book’s introduction [link leads to a PDF file] covers the spirit of open source by describing the vibrant gift economy that exists within the annual bacchanal Burning Man, which takes place in Black Rock Desert, Nevada. I attended in 1999 — the year I took up the accordion — and as a result, make a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance on page XXXIV:

Unfettered from monetary exchange, however, most denizens of Burning Man gravitate toward a gift economy. Acts of giving range from the mundane to the extravagant: the accordion player who serenades those in the porta-potty line with his renditions of AC/DC; the massage therapist volunteering her services; the water-gun brigade, spraying people down for a moment of cool relief from the midday sun; or the man who brings along a week’s supply of dry ice so he can serve cold ice cream every day.

In the News

R.I.P. Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks get processed after breaking the law by

refusing to give up her seat for a white guy. Click to see the photo at

full size.

Rosa Parks passed away yesterday at the age of ninety-two.

Thanks, Ms. Parks — because you refused to give up your seat for the wrong reason, I don’t have to, either.

(Mind you, I’m an able-bodied relatively young man, and I still give up

my seat for ladies, older folks and really-tired looking parents with

young children.)

In the News

Teaching the Liberal Media a Lesson They Won’t Soon Forget!

Sometimes when things come down hard on you — like being razzed by

your own supporters for your choice of Supreme Court Nominee and

members of your posse getting indicted — you have to go for whatever

little victories you can get. In this case, the victory in question is

putting the smackdown on The Onion. The New York Times reports:

“It has come to my attention that The Onion is using the

presidential seal on its Web site,” Grant M. Dixton, associate counsel

to the president, wrote to The Onion on Sept. 28. (At the time, Mr.

Dixton’s office was also helping Mr. Bush find a Supreme Court nominee;

days later his boss, Harriet E. Miers, was nominated.)


the United States Code, Mr. Dixton wrote that the seal “is not to be

used in connection with commercial ventures or products in any way that

suggests presidential support or endorsement.” Exceptions may be made,

he noted, but The Onion had never applied for such an exception.

Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)


I was unaware of Linuxcaffe’s

existence until I got the mailing from the PyGTA (a Python group for

the Greater Toronto Area) that its meetings will be held there from now

on. Linuxcaffe, whose motto is “Open kitchen, open source and open

atmosphere”, is a new cafe that caters to the geek crowd. It boasts

coffee from Ideal (a local cafe and roastery) and food that they

promise will be made from ingredients by local providers and will aso

be “healthy, fresh and reasobaly priced”. It also has open WiFi,

facilties for hosting geek gatherings and a library on all things

computer-y and Linux-y.

Perhaps I’ll check out the place at tomorrow night’s PyGTA meeting.

Linuxcaffe is located at

326 Harbord Street, on the northeast corner of Grace and Harbord, a block south of Christie subway station.


Interview with the Messiah

or :”Anne Rice Returns to Catholicism, Writes Book on Jesus at Age 7. Expect a Goth Freak-Out in 5…4…3…”

Photo: 'Buddy Christ' statue.

[via Metafilter] Call me an intellectual snob if you must, but I’ve made it a point to

give Anne Rice’s novels a wide berth. It’s not that I’ve got anything

against a good vampire story, it’s just that many of the grown-ups I’ve

encountered who have a large collection of her books would be lucky to

get a two-digit score on an IQ test. My feelings on the matter are best

summed up in a Simpsons gag in which Otto the pot-addled bus driver, who is staying over at the Simpsons’ house, asks Marge for something to read: “Hey, Mrs. Simpson — you got anything written from the vampire’s point of view?”

I find it mildly amusing that Ms. Rice’s upcoming novel, the first in a series, is taking an

interesting direction that some of her legions of goth fans may find


In two weeks, Anne Rice, the chronicler of vampires, witches and—under

the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure—of soft-core S&M encounters, will

publish “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt,” a novel about the 7-year-old

Jesus, narrated by Christ himself. “I promised,” she says, “that from

now on I would write only for the Lord.” It’s the most startling public

turnaround since Bob Dylan’s “Slow Train Coming” announced that he’d

been born again.

Even more strange: Kirkus Reviews gave it a star and calls it:

a triumph of

tone — her prose lean, lyrical, vivid — and character. As he ponders

his staggering responsibility, the boy [Yeshua — the Hebrew name we know as “Jesus” — Joey] is fully believable — and yet

there’s something in his supernatural empathy and blazing intelligence

that conveys the wondrousness of a boy like no other.

My curiosity is piqued now. I may have to purchase a copy.

I’ll also have to keep an eye on LiveJournal for the next little

while. The goth freak-outs over the development should be amusing.

Graphic: A mopey goth.

It may be time for some folks to re-read The Mopey Goth Handbook of Despair.

It Happened to Me

Photos from CASCON

On Wednesday afternoon, I participated in a panel discussion

group/workshop at IBM’s CASCON conference titled “The Business of

Blogging”. I’ll write up more next week, but in the meantime, here are

some amusing photos of yours truly. I don’t know who took the photos,

but he caught me at some primo moments…

“And then when I woke up, my pants were gone!”

“Duuuuuude, half my music collection came straight from the old Napster.”

“Oh God, not another question about syndication formats…eyes heavy…can’t stay…zzzzz….”

The full set of photos is available at the Business of Blogging photoset on Flickr.


Well Said, Adam!

Adam Bosworth has held his blog posting titled Speaking Up in reserve since July, but he’s finally published it.

I fear now for my children growing up into a world where the leaders

turn their backs on the spirit of reason and inquiry. Where the new

cardinals of the church deny evolution not on any grounds of empirical

reason or evidence, but rather like children having a temper tantrum

because they want it not to be so. Where the leaders of this country

try to take Terry Shiavo’s husband to court not because of any

evidence, but because they are angry to have been proven wrong by

science. Where cowardly murderers kill innocent men, women, and

children and claim to do it in the name of a religion, meaning

something that no one can possibly argue with from a rational point of

view. Where the education board of Kansas makes the state a mockery by

demanding that irrationality be held to be as valid as science. Where

1.2 billion people consider it acceptable for some man with a vision to

utter a Fatwa ordering some person killed simply because he doesn’t

like what the other person chooses to believe in or even just

disapproves of his line of inquiry. Where political correctness means

that if some lines of inquiry are pursued, others feel free to harass

and abuse and even threaten the people trying to find out the facts.

Where people believe that they have the right to tell others what to

believe, what to wear, what to eat, what to say, and what to think.

Reason and Inquiry trumps Irrationality and Edicts. While

it’s been said before, it’s worth repeating, especially by someone in

my field with a well-rounded education (Adam was a history major).

A side note: Adam didn’t publish the entry when he wrote it

three months ago because he “didn’t want to hurt Google”, his employer.

As he wrote in an earlier posting on his blog:

I find that most of what I want to post these days would rile a fair

number of people and then Google would get the blame even though these

are my personal opinions, so I chose to keep my thoughts to myself. The

last thing I want to do is hurt a company that has been very good to me

and fun to work at.


haven’t the time to discuss this subject in further detail, but it’s

one that I should cover at some point: can you truly be separate from

your employer on your blog? It’s a question that we touched upon at the

“Business of Blogging” workshop at the CASCON conference yesterday, and my short answer is “to varying degrees.”