Music probably cannot change the world. But it is a good idea to act as though it could.

The situation is hopeless but you try to make the best of it. At the very least, you stand a chance of producing good music. And music is always better than no music.
-Frederic Rzewski
Lepus californicus
Freeport, NYWhen I was a kid and used to go to the beach with my family in the summer, one of the high points of the drive was crossing Utz Street, whose name seemed incredibly silly to my brother and me.

I can't be the only one who occasionally uses online maps to reminisce.
It's 102° out and Ansel wants to play fetch.
Sceloporus uniformis
Lizard relaxing in the shade.
103°F outside now.
🔥 Max temperatures expected over the next week.

The past few years have featured hot weather in July so I was expecting it again. Seeing 133°F (56°C) in a forecast is kinda surreal though. I'm anticipating about 104°F in my neighborhood.
A Pink Floyd film from 52 years ago has a song featuring a dog on vocals. ...and I first heard about it today
So if I put a spike in the top of the cone, that'll stop them, right? there is NO WINNING
Sayornis saya
The cone did not deter birds as intended.
Betula occidentalisI like birds and I didn't mind them perching on my antenna (see yesterday's pic) except that they were using it as a toilet. To get them to hang out somewhere else, I turned a cone from a piece of birch that a friend gave me two years ago.

If my lathe ever broke, I think I'd have to get another one. Just substitute lathe for thickness planer in the quote from my dad that I blogged about a while back.
Sayornis saya
Say's phoebe on my ADS‑B antenna.
Rzewski:  The People United Will Never Be Defeated!
Gotta love directions like this (from The People United Will Never Be Defeated! by Frederic Rzewski).

I wish I had discovered Rzewski's music before he died. I would've liked to have thanked him for it.
Cupressus arizonica
The Arizona cypress that started from seed 12 years ago is now taller than I am.
A solid-body electric guitar isn't an acoustic guitar. Rather than using a thin soundboard to move air, its tone comes from electromagnetic pickups adjacent to ferrous strings, and then from whatever electronics and speakers the signal goes through.

And yet you can feel the solid body of an electric guitar vibrate when you pluck a string. The materials in an electric guitar potentially affect the duration and character of the strings' vibrations. But by how much? Opinions vary (understatement). I don't know the answer.

Jim Lill, a guitarist from Nashville, experimented: he mounted the same guitar strings, bridge, nut, and tuners on different guitars, including one he cobbled together from a piece of 2×4 construction lumber. He even mounted strings on no guitar at all but rather across the space between two benches. He described what he found did affect tone significantly (e.g., pickup-to-string spacing) and what didn't (e.g., type of wood in the guitar's body). air guitar One person's experiments don't settle a question but Mr. Lill showed his work and anyone could make the same experiments if they wanted to. My impression is that he tried to do fair tests. His YouTube video showing his experiments has over 2 million views.

A year after Mr. Lill's video, another YouTube channel interviewed Paul Reed Smith, the founder of PRS Guitars. Mr. Smith believes that woods make a noticeable difference in the tone of solid‑body electric guitars. Some of his company's guitars feature expensive woods. An interviewer asked Mr. Smith if he'd seen Jim Lill's video (he had) and asked what he thought of it. Mr. Smith said,
I thought he was in the right garden at the beginning of the journey. I don't think he was at the end of the journey.
The phrasing of that response is remarkable. It's expressed in metaphor and thereby avoids saying anything specific. It doesn't say what, if anything, was wrong with the design of Mr. Lill's experiments.

Mr. Smith goes on to say that he is convinced that wood affects electric guitar tone significantly, so are various renowned guitarists, and that's that.
Lepus californicus
Corvus corax
Ravens this afternoon.
I never had anxiety about playing Frank's stuff. I learned early on that some of it was technically theoretically impossible on marimba and the only way to make it happen was to throw my hands at the lick and accept fate. That usually worked.
-Ed Mann (1954-2024)
He [Ed] could read anything Frank Zappa threw at him and I never once heard him make a mistake.
-Chad Wackerman
If you have 10 seconds to spare, watch this lick Ed played in 1981.

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