“So, What?”: Miles Davis note for note

I can play an instrument, but I can’t read music.

It must be great to look at a page of sheet music featuring the work of someone like Miles Davis (or John Coltrane or Cannonball Adderley) and be able to “hear” the song, just by reading the notes. It probably would be something like this:

(A really nice interlude posted by Brad Plumer at the Washington Post.)

Photo finish II: Obama vs. Perry

A few more thoughts circulating on the Obama vs. Perry photo at the age of 22.

There’s this:

And this:

And my personal favorite, from a Balloon Juice link:

Gov. Perry age 60; President Obama age 50

As Big Baby DougJ says: “Real Murkins don’t want Yosemite Sam in the White House (do they?)”

Little League: California beats Japan in World Series

It all ended with a walk-off hit in the bottom of the last inning. California won the championship, 2-1.

An American flag draped around his shoulders, Braydon Salzman couldn’t contain his glee when he found California teammate Nick Pratto to give him a postgame hug.

The boys from Huntington Beach are headed home with a Little League World Series championship.

Pratto singled in the winning run with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of sixth inning, and Salzman pitched a complete-game three-hitter in a 2-1 victory Sunday over Hamamatsu City, Japan, and the tournament title.

Just a bad storm

Despite all the TV hype, looks like Hurricane Irene wasn’t the end of the world, at least in Washington.

As Hurricane Irene moved on to flood the streets of New York City Sunday, people in the Washington region were dealing with an aftermath of power outages, flooding and trees that continued to fall in high winds.

As of noon Sunday, almost half a million customers were without power in the region, including 117,1780 in Prince George’s County, 111,344 in Anne Arundel, 82,461 in Northern Virginia, 70,341 in Montgomery and 30,223 in the District.

Slight damage, but unfortunately 14 storm related deaths. Cleanup will take a while, but isn’t overwhelming. Transportation, though, is a mess. Lots of cancelled flights, including my trip back to DC, but there are alternatives.

Creeps and stalkers

A couple of bizarre stories last week involving famous men and the women they were stalking.

In the entertainment world, Jim Carrey did this:

Now, Emma Stone is probably weirded out by this, but imagine what Condoleeza Rice must feel after reading this:

“Deeply bizarre and deeply creepy.”

That’s how the State Department is describing a surprising find inside the compound of Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi: a photo album filled with page after page of pictures of Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state who visited Tripoli in 2008. The pictures were first highlighted here on PhotoBlog and went on to be published around the world.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera television in 2007, he said this:

“I support my darling black African woman,” he said. “I admire and am very proud of the way she leans back and gives orders to the Arab leaders. … Leezza, Leezza, Leezza. … I love her very much. I admire her, and I’m proud of her, because she’s a black woman of African origin.”

Steve Jobs: the art of innovation

Years ago, Steve Jobs of Apple appeared on a PBS special on Silicon Valley. The segment began with the announcement of Windows 95, Microsoft’s new user interface that was supposed to revolutionize personal computing.

But Macintosh users knew that the new version of Windows was inferior to the operating system that Mac had four years earlier. Macintosh software was always more user friendly that Microsoft’s. The Macintosh computer was easier to used than anything put out by any other company. Apple put out a far superior product. But the company languished.

In the following two clips, we see the unappreciated dominance of Apple’s products, and, for lack of better words, the contempt Jobs held for his competitors at Microsoft:

Photo finish: Obama vs. Perry

Let’s say the 2012 will boil down to Barack Obama vs. Rick Perry. Here’s what you can expect (of course you’ll have to work your way through the implied message and the lies):

The creator of this little gem is Rush Limbaugh’s brother, and you can see what’s going on here.

1) The Republicans are going to paint the Texas governor as a war hero, even though he never saw a day of combat. The closest he got to a war zone was flying a cargo plane in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East, when in 1972, the real war was winding down thousands of miles away in Southeast Asia. They’re going to paint Obama as a radical or pimped out black guy, safely in the states. They won’t mention that Perry’s 22 comes near the end of the Vietnam War, while Obama’s 22 takes place during the Reagan administration, which gave us “The Raid-a in Grenada.” And don’t forget that the last time a real war hero got the presidential nomination, it was John Kerry, who the Republicans completely denigrated as a false hero even though he was wounded in combat, in Vietnam.

2) Note the prominence of the names: James Richard “Rick” Perry vs. Barack Hussein Obama II. A wholesome American name against a radical African Muslim name. Of course, at 22, Obama was going by “Barry.” Maybe I’m not paying attention, but I don’t see Barry anywhere on the photo.

3) Boy vs. boy. Read into it what you will, but the message here is that Perry isn’t a boy, he’s a man in uniform, while Obama is a “boy” in every racially denigrating way you can interpret.

4) The best part of this lie: Obama isn’t 22 in the photo. That photo was taken in 1980, when he was 19. He was a freshman in college. Perry’s photo is taken when he was 22, in 1972. He’s already graduated. (Obama was 11 in 1972.) Here’s what Perry looked like when he was 19 or 20:

Troy Donahue, meet General Patton. What a dork.

So there you have another set of lies from the right. The eras were completely different. The historical context is distorted beyond belief. The racial stereotype triggers have all been set. And the age comparison is nothing more than a lie.

Some idiot with Fox News will say a picture is worth a thousand words. But for this little piece of propaganda, I can think of two. One begins with a B. The other begins with an S.

Assorted disasters, naturally

There was an earthquake in Virginia earlier this week. And this weekend, Hurricane Irene is headed up the Atlantic Coast. (See its path as of Friday, below.)

Both natural disasters have Washington, D.C., in their path of destruction. A lot of America will look at that as justice. I’m sure the folks on the right will say it’s Obama’s fault.

I see it as a reminder that I have to buy homeowner’s insurance one of these days.

Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Opens

The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial opened this week in Washington, D.C., and — weather permitting — there is a dedication scheduled on Sunday. Jerry Bembry, with Baltimore public radio station WYPR, visited the national mall to get people’s reaction to the memorial, and to see how the public felt about Dr. King’s dream.

Steve Jobs and Pat Summitt: legends and mortality

Two big stories today on two legendary figures in business and sports: one man, one woman. Each revolutionized their fields. Each will be studied for generations to come. And both reveal the sadness that greatness does not mean immortality.


Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple. He has been on medical leave since January, having gone through pancreatic cancer and undergoing a liver transplant just two years ago. His resignation letter was brief:

To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.


It’s clear from this letter that his health is getting worse, but he remains Apple’s chairman.

This is a man who has simply changed the world. When I was a kid, I wondered what the future would be like. Jobs has brought the world beyond my imagination.

Fifty years ago, a computer was a giant machine that took up multiple rooms. Jobs has made the computer a household appliance. The computers used in the Apollo space program to put men on the moon were less powerful than the machine I’m using now to type this post. I’m working on a mini-Mac, something I can carry in a backpack.

Back in the mid-1960s, the most advanced technology offered in television science fiction included a hand held communicator that Captain Kirk would use to contact the USS Enterprise from the surface of a planet. Spock carried a device that could give data at the touch of a button. In comic strips, the detective Dick Tracy had a two way wrist television as a communications device. That’s all those inventions did.

I have an iPhone, and it does thousands of things more than those concepts of the future ever could.

In the “olden days,” people kept thousands of albums that filled bookcases, milk crates, cabinets and shelves, taking up walls of space.

I have an iPod that does the same thing, but I don’t use it much because my iPhone also holds the music that would take up a room.

A little less than a decade ago, Tom Cruise was in a movie where he had a touch screen device that contained data, records, video and could call up any information imaginable.

I have an iPad. It doesn’t predict the future, but really, how far off can that be.

These are products that Steve Jobs brought to the world. More surprising, he did it after the company that fired him asked him to come back.

I haven’t even gotten into how he changed the music industry with iTunes. Or how he revolutionized animation with Pixar.

Walt Mossberg at the Wall Street Journal explains how Steve Jobs is a historical figure here.


Pat Summitt, the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers women’s basketball team announced she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Summitt is simply the greatest living basketball coach today. Her record at Tennessee says it all: 1,037 wins to 196 losses, 18 Final Four appearances; and eight national championships.

Some will dismiss that, saying she’s just a women’s coach, but that isn’t fair. Her success at Tennessee has made women’s sports viable. The Volunteer women constantly sell out their arena. Her program is stronger than the Tennessee men’s program. If you’re a middle-school or high-school girl who’s a star at basketball, there are two places you’d want to go: Connecticut and Tennessee.

Summitt has proved women are competitors, and that influence carries into other team sports: soccer, softball, track and field, even ice hockey. Girls watched Tennessee women tear up their competitors and realized they, too, could excel at whatever sport they chose.

The coach is a legend, and, according to Sally Jenkins at the Washington Post, her encounter with mortality is a painful one:

“I just felt something was different,” she says. “And at the time I didn’t know what I was dealing with. Until I went to Mayo, I couldn’t know for sure. But I can remember trying to coach and trying to figure out schemes and whatever and it just wasn’t coming to me, like, I would typically say, ‘We’re gonna do this, and run that.’ And it probably caused me to second-guess.”

A brilliant basketball mind is being destroyed by an irreversible degenerative brain disease. Summitt’s interview with Sally Jenkins is here.

She’ll still be coach at Tennessee. Jenkins’s story indicates Summitt wants to stick around another three years. It’s possible she’ll win another national championship. That would be great to see.


We have no immortals. But we have legends. And for now, they’re still with us.