Listen to the music of Donald Trump’s face

This is what Donald Trump’s photo sounds like when I feed it to my software for converting images to music:


Donald Trump
Here’s a second rendering of Trump’s face, using a different algorithm:


Here’s what Barack Obama’s photo sounds like:

Barack Obama
Here’s a second rendering of Obama’s face, using a different algorithm:


Here’s what a young woman, Brenna, sounds like:


Here’s what a photo of a plant sticking up through a grate sounds like:

Plant sticking through a grate


Here’s what a photo of a pair of Northern Gannets sounds like:

Northern Gannets


Here’s what a photo of a cute child sounds like:

A question for opera lovers

Many opera critics say that if a singer (such as Andrea Bocelli) needs a microphone to sound good then they’re not an authentic, great opera singer. But is that fair and reasonable criterion?

Why are volume and the ability to project over an orchestra valued so highly?

I’d much prefer to hear a musical, beautiful and amplified voice than a loud, less musical voice. And if amplification makes it easier to sound good, hell, why not? What’s the big deal about volume and amplification?

The public loves Bocelli and he’s made a lot of money, but the critics generally pan him. For example, see this New York Times review, where the critic says, “The critic’s duty is to report that Mr. Bocelli is not a very good singer. The tone is rasping, thin and, in general, poorly supported. Even the most modest upward movement thins it even more, signaling what appears to be the onset of strangulation.” See also Is Andrea Bocelli an Opera Singer? and the comments at the bottom therein.

When Bocellis uses a microphone is his voice beautiful?    Being able to project the voice above an orchestra is impressive, sure, but beautiful tone and interpretation  are more important.

A new style piano keyboard that would be easier to play

About 20 years ago I had an idea for a piano with a black key between each white key. The piano keys would look like the second set in the image below. The advantages of such a piano are

  1. To play a piece in a different key, one need only shift one’s hands to the right or left.
  2. To play a standard, old style piano, one has to learn 12 different fingerings — one for each note in the scale.  With the new style piano, one would have to learn just two different fingerings:  for the white keys and for the black keys.
  3. The piano would result in a larger hand span: one full note extra in the span of a user’s hand from the thumb to the little finger.

A disadvantage is that a major scale in the key of C would no longer involve just the white keys. That disadvantage is minor compared to the convenience of needing to learn just two fingerings and the ability to switch keys by shifting to the right or left.

Beginners would more quickly master such a piano, I believe.  Pianists accustomed to old style pianos would have to learn the new fingerings.

It’s a rather obvious idea. Why haven’t instrument makers adopted it?

New Style Piano

Unfortunately, a patent search in the European Patent Office showed that a Chinese inventor, Yu Shusen, already patented such a keyboard in China (patent number CN201117227).  According to this, the patent has expired. This demonstrates that I should have taken the initiative and filed a patent 20 years ago.  Trust and value yourself.

Plutocracy is comin, to the USA

New, alternative lyrics for Leonard Cohen’s “Democracy is coming, to the USA” (see videos below)


Lyrics © Donald A. Smith
       D               G           D
It's coming from corruption that's profane
             D          A                 D
From Grover Norquist's government-hating brain
       G
It's coming from the spiel 
       G_sus          G
That makes your head reel
    D           G                 D
when you listen to the right wing refrain.

          F#
From the Tea Party crazies
          Bm
From the Chamber of Commerce hacks
          F#
From neocon imperialists
          Bm
From Karl Rove's Super-PAC
 A                    G       D
Plutocracy is comin, to the USA.

---------------------------------
       D               G           D
It's coming from tax cuts for the rich,
       D          A                 D
From the Supreme Court, the 1%'s bitch.
       G
It's coming from evil folk 
       G_sus           G
like David and Charles Koch 
    D                          G                D
and from Bill and Barry's traitorous rightward switch.

          F#
From Citizen United
          Bm
From Clarence Thomas's smut
          F#
From John Robert's smirk 
          Bm
From Anton Scalia's butt
 A                   G        D
Plutocracy is comin, to the USA.

---------------------------------
      D               G           D
It's coming from the wars. Open your eyes.
            D            A                  D
Killed millions. Wasted trillions. Hear the cries.
       G
From the disaster in Vietnam
       G_sus           G
to the debacle of Afghanistan
    D               G         D
to the war in Iraq based on lies.

          F#
From the CIA's dirty deeds
          Bm
From collateral clone attacks
          F#
From targeted assassinations
          Bm
From illegal wire taps
 A                   G        D
Plutocracy is comin, to the USA.

---------------------------------
          A         G
    Bail out, bail out,
         D         G    D
    O sinking Ship of State!
             A
    To the Shores of Greed
             G
    Past the Reefs of Need
             D
    To the Squalls of Hate.
          A      G     D
    Bail out, bail out, bail out.

---------------------------------
      D               G           D
It's coming from your neighbor's SUV
      D               A           D
From the toxins that are killing off the bees.

       G
It's coming from Big Oil,   
       G_sus           G
and the fracking and the spoil
    D                   G        D
and climate change denial fantasies. 

          F#
From ugly suburban sprawl
         Bm
From filthy factory smoke,   
          F#
From the local big box mall
         Bm
From David and Charles Koch
 A                   G        D
Plutocracy is comin, to the USA.

-------------------
      D               G           D
It's coming from right-wing media hosts
            D            A                  D
From the wingnuts with their hate-filled posts.

       G
It's coming from Fox News
       G_sus           G
and its pro-corporate views
    D                    G          D
that are unfair and unbalanced at most.

          F#
From Limbaugh and Glenn Beck
         Bm
From Bill O'Reilly's rants
          F#
From Hannity and Savage's drek
          Bm
From Dennis Miller's cant

 A                   G        D
Plutocracy is comin, to the USA.

---------------------------------

       D            G           D
It's coming from income inequality,
      D                 A         D
From tax loopholes  for Apple and GE.

       G
It's coming from tax havens   
       G_sus           G
and accounting tricks so brazen
    D             G           D
it's a wonder they're not on TV.

          F#
From low capital gain tax rates 
          Bm
From Walmart and Goldman Sachs
          F#
From Boeing and Microsoft
          Bm
From tax enforcement cutbacks.

 A                   G        D
Plutocracy is comin, to the USA.

Here are two versions of Leonard Cohen’s original song.

Veterans For Peace Concert Saturday in Seattle, Jim Page video

Please join us Saturday night (the 27th at 7-pm) in Seattle for a great music performance for the benefit of Seattle Veterans For Peace. with Jim Page and Tom Neilson. 

Veterans For Peace 92 Fundraising Concert
Saturday, July 27th, 7:00 PM
University Temple United Methodist Church, Fireside Room
1415 NE 43rd St. (at 15th Ave NE), Seattle
(free validated parking at University Bookstore across the street)

VFP chapter 92 has done historic things; they just need a couple thousand bucks each year for the costs of printing, transportation, permits, and so forth. For example 30-40 of them march in the rightwing Auburn veterans day parade, get rained with insults and blocked by city officials (they sued and won the right to march in the parade last year.) They counter recruiters in schools, organize marches several times a year, build alliances with other races and groups like Nickelsville homeless encampments, free bradley manning, etc. So please chuck your $15 in the basket and have a good time, Saturday!!!!!! note free parking. note. if you don’t have $15, come anyway. I want to see you there!!

Here’s some highlights of these awesome VFP concerts in Seattle in past years.
Over my dead body: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kokHkOBroYo
Last of the Abraham Lincoln Brigades http://vimeo.com/17551196
When Johnny comes Marchin Home http://vimeo.com/11125871

Go to VFP92.org and click on Brown Paper Tickets. Or pay at the door… Call 206-499-0226 for any questions.

Jim Page performing Over My Dead Body