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July 20th, 2007

krush

Tonight I went to the Salvation Army to seek to win souls for justice. The weather turned warm and dry, so the turn-out proved very heavy indeed. Usually I see people until between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., but tonight my last interview did not finish until
9:40 p.m. I find very stimulating these windows into issues I do not handle in the ordinary day.

I've been listening to my mp3 player a good bit lately. I'm quite taken with the St. Elijah's Children's Choir, the Ukrainian ensemble of singing children I got from the "We are Not Evil" creative commons netlabel,
Magnatune.com. I love pieces like "We are Guarded by the Cross", choruses of voices in melodic drone, ascending and descending, surely nearer to Heaven then to Texas. I like the mildly awkward picture of the choir posing forthe camera.

Magnatune is "not evil" because it encourages remixing, gives the artists half the purchase price of each album bought, and permits the listener access to the music to test drive prior to committing to buy the higher quality mp3s. This model will be emulated by others, and will eventually become "the" standard for commercial music.

My little 30 dollar Philips 3.0 digicam gave up the ghost Monday, when I put it into a pants pocket without its case on, resulting in the battery chamber fraying off. In aoother time, factory elves would fix it by mail-order, but in this time I am trying to locate an inexpensive new digicam to replace it.

I've also been enjoying two Creative Commons albums by netlabel artists. Tangtype combine a fellow playing pleasing electronica with a Belgian woman singing in English with an ethereal something in her voice. Aerodyme records work whose nods to Satie amidst the Eno are frequent but not at all cloying--as if the Penguin Cafe re-opened with a single sequencer. Both Aerodyme and Tangtype released albums into the Creative Commons, so that anyone may download them for non-commercial purposes. I'm also enjoying listening to Cagey House, a fellow who interviewed me for a music webzine about netlabels, and who turned out to do delightful electronica in his own right as well as a potpourri of other styles.

I am working very hard these days, but when I get a spare moment, I go and review the games from this week's United States Women's Chess Championship, which are set out at a special website so that one can replay the moves with a little virtual chessboard. I cheer for one of the also-rans, Elizabeth Vicary. I admire her because she teaches chess to kids at a junior high in the Bronx, and the kids she teaches, despite a lack of some advantages richer kids have, flourish. I am not much for starlets or power sluggers, but I admire very much people who try really hard and work to do good. If I were a less busy man, it would have been fun to drive up to Stillwater, in Oklahoma, and watch a round or two of the tournament. I might have gone to play in the open tournament up there this weekend, but I have family coming for a much-anticipated visit.

The miracle of the internet, though, means I can go on-line and learn tomorrow afternoon if the amazing Irina Krush, a recent college graduate who is an International Master,
pulled away with the title in the last round. My hope is that she becomes one of our next grandmasters someday soon.

Tonight I advocate counting blessings.