[FR : Utilise un site indépendant pour ta campagne de crowdfunding pour éviter que Facebook enregistre et exploite (1) tes actions et (2) ta carte bancaire.]

 

Friends have been using the Facebook donation/fundraiser machinery. This is a bad idea for numerous reasons. Here are three big ones.

1. Facebook records, and will then exploit, every click you make concerning a charitable donation. What’s more, they do not share all this information with the charities.
2. Your personal data is not safe with Facebook. This includes your donation propensities. Need proof ? Just google “facebook data breach”.

data breaches
3. Facebook insists on capturing your PayPal or credit card information. You may not have noticed this, but they say “CONNECT PayPal” and “ADD new card”. This means that your PayPal or card information will be retained by Facebook “to facilitate future transactions.” You are not given the option (like on most sites) to not capture the info. Do you want Facebook to retain your card information ? (See #2 above.) So Facebook’s “kindness” in facilitating charitable donations allows them to harvest personal data (#1 above) and credit card information for free.

add new card

When I run into this situation, I send the money to the person directly with PayPal rather than going through Facebook donations.

There are numerous independent crowdfunding and fundraising sites that can be used instead. When I want to donate to a campaign that is on one of these sites, I do not click through Facebook (which will capture my activity) ; I go to the fundraising site in a new window, navigate to the fundraiser’s page and make my donation.

Here are some more articles on this subject.
http://artfulfundraiser.com/2017/11/01/some-concerns-about-facebooks-donation-platform/
http://www.achieveagency.com/the-pros-cons-of-facebooks-fundraising-tools/
http://cellosignal.com/blog/facebooks-new-fundraising-button-mixed-blessing
http://www.givegab.com/blog/nonprofit-know-facebooks-donate-button/

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Please note that I am not responsible for any damage you do to your theremin as a result of my blog. Hack at your own risk ! If you don’t know how to work on electronics or wood, ask a friend.

IMG_20190104_152301.jpg

This blog concerns the Moog Etherwave theremin. It deserves credit for being the pioneering modern “professional” theremin. It unfortunately suffers from a few errors in its design.

My girlfriend has played this theremin in her punk band for about 10 years. Experience has proven that the Moog was not designed for use “on the road”. So I had to fix four problems, as explained below, that I did not expect to encounter in a €450 device made for professional use. Boo !!!

IMG_20181231_181328.jpg

(1) A key problem is that the output is line level, not “guitar level”. So, if you connect your theremin to a guitar amp or play it through guitar effects pedals, the level is much too high, and you will get clipping and distortion. Booooo !!! I suspect many Moog theremin players are not aware of this.

In order to connect properly to an amp or an effects pedal, we need to reduce the output level. I give a big tip of the hat to the Big Briar service manual, which explains precisely what to do. Resistor R33, 4.7K, needs to be replaced with a 47K resistor. I went a step farther and installed a 47K pot in series with R33, allowing adjustment of the level between line level and guitar level so I could experiment. Finally, I wound up leaving the pot at its maximum resistance anyway.

IMG_20190104_165712.jpg

(2) On this €450 device, Moog saved $1 by not having a power indicator. This is very important for a serious musician on stage to rapidly verify that the power is working. How many times have users set up on stage, found that there is no sound output, and wondered whether it was the power supply or something on the output side ? Booooo !!!!!!

I added a 12 volt LED across the power supply. (Black and green wires to front-panel pots.) I chose a 3mm LED and drilled a hole in the front panel for it. Wonderful ! Now you get an immediate indication on stage when the unit is powered on. Of course you can pay €70 more and get the Moog Etherwave Plus which does indeed have a power indicator.

IMG_20190104_152336.jpg

(3) The power supply connector is a three-pin DIN, although only two pins are used. Perhaps this was done intentionaly to discourage people from plugging in other power supplies, but a DIN plug, with its small pins, is more fragile than the standard low-voltage connectors. The mating power connector on the theremin is hidden inside the case behind the wood, making it difficult to orient and connect on a dark stage (or even a well-lit one). Boo !!!

Much worse, the power connector on the theremin is simply soldered to the circuit board; there’s nothing to hold it in place except its three wires. So after a few years of constant use, the wires break and the theremin does not work. Booooooo !!!

I replaced the connector with a surface-mounted one that is screwed into and supported by the wooden case, so it is not fragile. And, being on the exterior, you can see the positions of the pins, making it easier to plug into.

IMG_20190104_161715.jpg

(4) The last area of concern is the wooden case. My girlfriend dropped her theremin off a 6-foot stage, bringing to light certain design deficiencies.

Moog’s design is clever because, with four screws, you can take the upper box off and operate/test the unit when it’s open (see first photo at top of page). But the short sides of the lower box (with the antennas) are not supported by the case, even when it’s closed, so they are exposed to stress when the antennas move, or when it’s dropped. So the side panels crack. Boooooo !

What’s more, the short sides of the lower box are made of wood (rather than plywood) which cracks along the grain. If Moog had chosen plywood, this would be less of a problem.

wood cracks.jpg

Strangely, the front and back of the upper box are attached to the top with special screws and threaded plugs, rather than being grooved and glued. Presumably this was an attempt to make it stronger. The correct way to make the upper box strong is to complete the upper box with 2 more panels with glued dado joints on the inside (see photo below with post-it notes taking the place of these panels). There is room for these to pass on the two sides of the PC board where the metal plates are. These two panels do not have to extend all the way to the base, they could pass above the 2 metal plates. If Moog engineers had paid attention in Wood Shop 101, they would know this. The upper box would be very strong. And they could save money on those funky threaded plugs. Boo !!!

upper part.jpg

However, those threaded plugs would find a much better use holding the top part of the short sides of the lower box, which support the antennas. I used wood screws instead. Now the side panels are stable when the unit is closed. I glued the cracked side panels, which seem to be holding up fine. If I had needed to replace these panels I would have done it with plywood as explained above.

IMG_20190104_164511.jpg

Also, one of the wooden “feet” fell off. They are glued and nailed with tiny nails. A grooved joint (or screws) would have made them much more solid.

There you go ! Now we have a more usable, sturdy theremin that’s ready to take abuse on the road !

 


[FR : Quelques tuyaux pour bricoler votre Silvertone… à vos risques et périls !]

I love my Sears Silvertone 1457 guitar. Cheaply built almost 50 years ago, and apparently stored in a damp closet for a while, it deserved a little “tune-up”. Here is what I did. (Note: I have no training in guitar repair. I will take no responsibility for the content of this article or its consequences. Proceed at your own risk!)

IMAG0750 I drilled a new hole and moved the strap button to a better position so the strap doesn’t fall off all the time.

CIMG7567CIMG7568CIMG7569 I removed the strings, the knobs, and then the pickguard (careful, it’s fragile and the electronics are attached), and cleaned the electronic components with a cleaning spray. I cleaned the crud off the pickguard and knobs.

CIMG7575CIMG7573 I used very fine (400) emery cloth, lightly moving along the fret (not up and down) to clean the crud off. I masked the rosewood with masking tape when sanding each fret to avoid damaging it. I then cleaned the neck and fretboard with a guitar-cleaning product.

IMAG1753 IMAG1748 IMAG1749 IMAG1750 IMAG1752 The tuning pegs did not turn smoothly. I removed the tuning pegs (a couple of screws and they come out neatly) and cleaned them, and then applied lithium grease to all friction points: on the gears and on the plates.

IMAG1745 The original rosewood bridge saddle was badly worn, with repercussions on the guitar’s sound. I found an original new-old-stock saddle on the Internet. There are also modern replacement saddles available. Another approach would have been to replace the bridge with a metal adjustable one.

IMAG1746 IMAG1743 I wanted to lower the action (height of strings above the neck) but the top end of the bridge is held up by 2 wood screws that could not go any deeper in the body. Tightening them further would have made them pierce the body and stick out the back. The bottom end of the bridge is also held by a wood screw and in order to keep the strings tight against the saddle, this one must go in further as well. So, I used a metal saw to remove a few millimeters from each screw, allowing their heads to go lower. (This could have also been accomplished with a bench grinder or perhaps by changing to shorter screws.) I put a washer under the bottom screw to raise the bridge slightly, making more space for the balls on the ends of the strings to catch under the bridge, so they don’t slip out.

IMAG1744 Having replaced the saddle and lowered the bridge, it’s time to set the intonation. Here’s how I do it; I don’t claim it’s correct.

  • Tighten the screw on the back of the saddle so you can still move it a little bit. Position the saddle in a reasonable place and mount the bridge.
  • Put on low E string. Stretch it. Tune it. Now fret at the octave position and adjust the left side of the saddle to tune to E.
  • Put on high E string. Stretch it. Tune it. Now fret at the octave position and adjust the right side of the saddle to tune to E.
  • Tune low E string, verify intonation of both strings and correct if necessary.
  • Put on B string. Stretch it. Tune it. Now fret at the octave position and adjust the right side of the saddle to tune to B.
  • There are now enough strings to hold the saddle in place, it should not move easily any more.
  • Tune all three strings, verify intonation of all three strings and correct if necessary.
  • Put on, one by one, A, G, D, and tune all strings each time.
  • Verify intonation.

You can now set the height of the pickups using the screws on the back of the guitar. I put them close to the strings for more volume, but not too close or else they will buzz.

IMAG0741 I have heard that it’s good to put some graphite on the slots in the nut when changing strings to help the strings slide, especially since the beautiful angular arrangement of the strings puts a lot of lateral stress on the string as it passes through the nut.

IMAG0328 Also, I have a theory that the low E string should be wound around the tuning peg in the opposite direction, to reduce the angle and make it look better. If you try it, you will see that it’s logical. Yes, this means you turn it the opposite way to tune it.

The guitar looks and plays much better now. Good luck with your own Silvertone/Danelectro.


[FR : en bas]
switchJust a detail. In the film “Inside Llewyn Davis,” when the cop arrests Johnny Five, leaving Llewyn Davis alone in the car with the (dead?) jazzman Roland Turner, there is a brief close-up of the ignition switch. It is left on “OFF” and not “LOCK”.

In that case, on those old GM cars, you could start the car without the key. My grandpa had one.

bezelSo Llewyn could have driven away, but he didn’t. Did he know? I’m sure the Coen brothers do.

Juste un petit détail… Dans le film “Inside Llewyn Davis”, quand le flic embarque Johnny Five et laisse Llewyn Davis dans la bagnole avec le jazzman (mort ?) Roland Turner, on aperçoit en gros plan le contact de la voiture. Il est en position “OFF” au lieu de “LOCK” (verrouillé).

En ce cas, on peut démarrer les vieilles voitures General Motors sans mettre la clé. Mon grand-père en avait une.

Du coup, Llewyn aurait pu s’en partir en voiture, mais il ne l’a pas fait. Est-ce qu’il l’a su ? Les frères Coen le savent certainement.


[FR : Laisse tomber ton plan idiot de visiter à Paris, une ville sans intérêt pour le tourisme, tout comme pour l’habitation.]

I used to live in San Francisco, and moved to Paris in 1999. Ironically, both are leading tourist cities whose attraction and reputation is largely based on bygone times. For example, in San Francisco: the Victorian era, the fifties, the sixties. In Paris: the Middle Ages, the Belle Époque, the fifties. Vestiges of these truly wonderful periods do still exist, as well as modern elements that make these cities interesting for tourism or habitation, coexisting with the many disadvantages and annoyances of modern life (one of which is living in a city overrun with stupid tourists).

But enough philosophizing, let’s get practical.

Planning

For your Internet research before leaving home, use

official Paris tourist office

Time Out Paris

vide-greniers (neighborhood garage sales) (attention: green dots only)

General Tips

Paris has shitty weather, kind of like NY or Boston, although pleasant surprises can happen. Don’t forget your umbrella. Dress nice: there is no such thing as being overdressed in Paris. English is almost universally spoken in tourist situations (hotels, restaurants, museums), but it’s nice to ask first “Pardon me, do you speak English?” (or much better, “Excusez-moi, parlez-vous anglais ?”) Like everywhere, a few basic words like “merci” et “s’il vous plaît” are appreciated!

Transport

Getting around Paris on public transportation is easy, and there is no reason at all to have a car in town. Ask for a Métro/bus system (RATP) map (“plan de réseau”) in any station. Most buses run until about 11pm, the Métro runs until about 12:30am. The Métro runs 1 hour later on Friday and Saturday night. There is a system of (less-convenient) buses all night (Noctilien). A Métro pass “Paris Visite” for zones 1-3 (good also for the bus and most importantly for the funicular of Montmartre) for the period of your visit is a good idea and saves having to worry about tickets. At http://www.ratp.fr click the British flag. There is also the one-week Carte Orange, which starts on Mondays no matter when you buy it. At the worst, you may need to pay for a few cab rides, but they are not too expensive. When you get here you should buy a proper street map with all the streets (about 5-10 euros at a newsstand, booklet form is best. I like “Paris facile A-Z”). The free maps are good up to a point, but do not show all the streets. You can get from the airports to central Paris on public transport. If you are alone this is more economical (about 10 euros) but if you are two or more, or with a lot of baggage, consider taking a cab (minimum 30 euros), except if you are in the middle of rush hour when traffic will affect the cab fare and driving time.

Telephone

Paris numbers start with 01. Portable phones start with 06. You would dial my old home number (no longer in service) 01 48 04 72 84 from the USA as 011 33 1 48 04 72 84. Tobacco is sold only (officially) in tobacco shops, which have a red “tabac” sign. Most bars have some under the counter. To make phone calls here in pay phones (increasingly rare) you will need a phone card (Télécarte) which is sold at tobacco shops. Get ONLY a Télécarte, not any other card; there are all kinds of other sleazy ones. You can buy a small one, 50 unités. Some pay phones take credit cards too. Much less complicated: your American portable phone may work in Europe if it is GSM (digital) tri-band. Check into it before you travel. Do not expect to find free WiFi everywhere like you have back home. There is free WiFi in some Paris parks.

Meals

Breakfast is an espresso and a croissant, or a tartine beurée (bread and butter), perhaps at the counter of a bar (where there may be a basket of croissants already so you can grab one). Do not attempt to get complicated with the coffee, this is not Starbucks. As you have an American accent, you will be asked if you want a “little coffee.” Answer in the affirmative, this should get you an espresso. Otherwise, your coffee will be diluted with lots of hot water since it appears that Americans like it that way. If you choose to sit at a table in a café (and especially outside), the prices may be higher than at the bar, but you have bought the right to sit at the table for a long time and read your book, look at chicks (don’t forget your sunglasses), etc.

Lunch can be a sandwich bought at a boulangerie (bakery) if you are on the run or economizing (but don’t forget to take a little piece of pie too). Look for a nearby park to eat in. Theoretically it is prohibited to drink alcohol in the park, so be discrete, and be polite if the guard busts you. Otherwise, have a nice meal at a restaurant or brasserie. Many places have a menu (a set of particular dishes, often entrée-plat-dessert) at a good price (10-14 E) at lunchtime, which by the way begins between 12:30 and 1:30pm; noon is a little early. Attention: Americans call an entrée an “appetizer” and a plat a “main course”. British call an entrée a “starter”. If the weather is nice, be sure to take advantage of tables on the terrasse (sidewalk).

At the end of the afternoon is a nice time to have an apéro (cocktail), particularly on another terrasse or in a bar where the tables have a view of the street so you can look at chicks. But here, it is considered exotic to drink “cocktails” in the American sense of a mixed drink (Sex on the Beach, etc.). Very popular are: beer, wine (by the glass), anisette (Ricard, etc.: add 5 volumes of water), cooked wines (Martini, etc.). You can have a coffee if you like. The big brands of French beer are atrocious just like in the USA (Kronenbourg, 1664, etc.) but you can often find a Belgian brand on tap (à pression).

Dinner should be in a nice restaurant so you can profit from being in Paris. Dinnertime starts at 8pm, although you can go later if you like. Any restaurant will serve until 10pm, most later. Most places offer wine by the glass, pitcher, or bottle. A pitcher of 25 cl is a good start for one person, 50 cl for two. The wine selection in pitchers is often more limited and more basic than what you can get in bottles, suit yourself. There are menus available in some restaurants in the evening as well. If there are specialties indicated at a restaurant, give them a try. A meal lasts at least one hour, a proper meal two hours. If you are in a rush, you are in the wrong place!

Do not assume that ethnic restaurants that would be good at home in the US (and especially in SF) are good here. In particular, Chinese and Mexican food is often atrocious in France. On the other hand, small restaurants run by people from former French colonies (North Africa, Viet Nam, Italy) may be worth a try.[1]

Activities

There are tons of things to do in Paris. A short visit will leave you disappointed to have missed many things. Five to seven days will give you enough time to see a bunch of stuff, and leave you eager to come back. There are hundreds of museums and expositions of art and photography. (Attention, the “Éspace Dali” is a rip off!) As soon as you arrive, you should buy a guide like:

L’Officiel des Spectacles

Pariscope

These are cheap weekly magazines with all the listings. They are not on the Internet because then they would not sell any more magazines. They come out on Wednesday, which is the day when all cinemas change their programs. There are kiosks (newsstands) all over.

Neighborhoods and walks

If you have decent weather, walk around, and then take a break on a nice terrasse. Take a walk along the Canal St-Martin (quai de Valmy, pause at Point Éphemère, quai de la Seine, or if you’re feeling energetic, all the way to la Villette); square du Temple to Marché des Enfants rouges to rue Veille du Temple to rue des Rosiers and rue des Francs Bourgeois to place des Vosges; in the Bastille neighborhood along rue de la Roquette and rue Keller; rue Tiquetone and rue Montorgueil; rue d’Orsel and rue des Abbesses and rue Lepic; starting at place du Tertre (hyper touristy) and then following your nose on small streets around Montmartre; Île St-Louis; les quais de la Seine from approximately Île St-Louis to pont des Arts; rue de Seine to rue de Buci to boulevard St-Germain to rue Danton then follow your nose; rue de la Montagne St-Genviève to le Panthéon to rue Mouffetard; Jardin du Luxembourg; Jardin des Plantes; la Coulée verte (promenade plantée) (elevated railway track converted to park); buttes Chaumont; Parc Floral; Jardin des Tuileries; etc. The Marché d’Aligre (open-air produce market), place d’Aligre, daily 7am-1pm except Monday, or go at 5am to drink a coffee on a terrasse and see the merchants setting up the stands. Enough? While walking around, look for Space Invaders (see photo).

Picnic Spots

Western tip of Île St-Louis (go down stairs). Canal St-Martin. Buttes Chaumont. Parc Floral during concerts. Parc de la Villette.

Music

Paris is great for jazz. The big shows are expensive, but especially during the week you can find jam sessions for free where you just have to buy a beer now and then (for example Caveau des Oubliettes 5e). On the other hand, Paris is terrible for rock, and you (and I) will be lucky if there is a decent show during your stay. Check this site, and the posters and flyers at Born Bad Record Shop, 17 rue Keller 11e (noon-8pm except Sunday), and then buy some records from my friends there. The main punk place at the moment is the Mécanique ondulatoire, 8 passage Thiéré 11e (near Bastille).

Money

As you know, the currency is the Euro, which used to have a value somewhat close to a dollar. You can take out money from ATM machines (distributeurs) all over Paris; you are never far from one. Watch your back when using the machine, just like back home. Be sure to verify before your departure with your US bank that your card is OK for international withdrawals. Then there is no need at all to have travelers’ checks or other stuff. There is no need to all to go to a “change” place, except that if you have a moment before leaving the USA to get a few Euros in your pocket; that will take the pressure off you to find an ATM right away at the airport, that’s all.

Booty

You have the right to bring back two 75 cl bottles of alcohol per person to the USA. One or two extra will probably not land you in jail. With current regulations about liquids, you will be forced to put them in your checked luggage, so pack them extremely well and pray. For shopping, there is of course a lot of fashion and cosmetics here, if you are into that. There are flea markets on the weekend (Sat-Sun) porte de Clignancourt, porte de Montreuil and porte de Vanves, which have become increasingly professional and decreasingly interesting. The equivalent of the Salvation Army is called Emmaüs, but probably not worth your time unless you travel outside of Paris. Stores are basically all closed Sunday and some are closed Monday.

“I want a good bakery!”

There are many; here are a few of different types, in no particular order. (There are bad ones too, sorry about that.)

1. Manon, 87 rue St-Antoine 4e, closed Mondays

2. Landemaine, 130 rue de la Roquette, 11e, closed Mondays

3. Du Pain et des idées, 34 rue Yves-Toudic, 10e, closed Saturdays and Sundays

4. Les Délices de Parmentier, 142 av Parmentier, 11e, closed Sundays

5. Durand (L’Autre boulange), 43 rue de Montreuil, 12e, closed Sundays and Mondays

6. Pichard, 88 rue Cambronne, 15e, closed Mondays and Tuesdays

[1] However, the Italian restaurants in my neighborhood are mainly run by Turks and Egyptians. Let the buyer beware!


[FR : Autobiographie d’un criminel américain qui fait aussi le portrait des bas-fonds solidaires dans la société américaine fin 19e.]

This autobiography of a career criminal is also a fascinating portrait of the American proletarian criminal class and their associates at the end of the 19th century, from hobos hopping trains and being beaten mercilessly by railroad “bulls” to Salt Chunk Mary, an incredible character and the best fence for stolen property in the West. Black pops in and out of jail while continuously improving his connections with a widespread and mutually-supportive underworld. When one is in trouble, friends all pitch in: a socialist model in stark contrast to the prevailing mentality in America.

In passing, he profits from his experiences to provide first-hand social criticism that was surely radical at the time, and still bears up.

I’ve read a number of books of this type; Edward Bunker’s “Education of a Felon” is an interesting comparison. During my reading, I was increasingly disturbed by a nagging doubt: was the book genuine? The lack of documented detail [1] and Candide-like structure were capped by the classic “exploitation” formula: a final chapter of the form “I hope my story will serve as a warning to stay away from the criminal life.”

Does this make me more of a skeptic (or less gullible) than William S. Burroughs, who cites the book as a key influence? Perhaps. But now we have the Internet. Some searching led me to on-line archives of the San Francisco Call, the newspaper run by Fremont Older, a progressive with faith in the inner goodness of Black who bargained him out of jail and set him on the good path.

I discovered something marvelous. The timidity of Black to set out the gory details of his criminal life did not affect the reporters who covered the police blotter for the SF Call. [4] Quite the opposite. Here are a few examples that make for entertaining reading, and that also removed any remaining doubts about the authenticity of Black and his adventures. I suppose we have to take into account the vast differences in society and what has become allowable in literature since 1926, but imagine if he had let loose with all the nasty details that even the reporters didn’t know! Whew! What a book that would have been. [2] (Links below.)

It was not long after Black landed at Ingleside [jail], five years ago, that he became a power within the walls. He set himself as the commercial king and sold the most sought after commodity — “dope.” It is known that when in his cell Black sold “shots” of morphine through the wicket to other prisoners at 10 cents for each hypodermic injection. He would insert the needle in the customer’s arm, inject the “shot” and collect his fee.

San Francisco Call, Volume 111, Number 36, 5 January 1912

Black was the wealthiest man in the county jail, not excepting the officials. He was known as the “king of the opium ring,” and made a small fortune in the sale of morphine and cocaine to the other prisoners who desired the drugs. It is known that several days before his departure he had $2,700 of his own money strapped about his waist in a money belt. Two weeks ago he told a grand Juror who was inquiring into conditions in the jail that his “bank roll” amounted to $2,000. Among his other possessions he had diamonds, unset, solitaire, clustered, and watches and other jewelry. He was abundantly supplied with expensive clothes of the latest fashion.

San Francisco Call, Volume 111, Number 36, 5 January 1912

When the officers attempted to place the suspect under arrest Black drew a revolver. Before he could make use of the weapon, however, the detectives closed in on him. A desperate struggle ensued, and Black was not subdued until beaten almost into insensibility.

San Francisco Call, Volume 95, Number 138, 16 April 1904

A remarkable detail is the prevalence of opium sales and consumption by Chinese people, who seem to have their own separate underground society. In one scene, Black is in an unfamiliar town and needs a hit of “hop” (opium) [3]. He simply looks for a Chinese laundry, in the way that someone today might look for a McDonalds, knowing in advance what is on the menu.

Another recurring theme is corruption in the criminal justice system, and the book finishes with an appeal for its reform. Black repeatedly buys himself out of situations in the most matter-of-fact way. At least today these practices are more concealed.

Overall, an interesting read in spite of my regrets over what this book could have been. Thanks to my friend Phil for recommending it, and to my old neighbors AK Press in SF and Amok in LA for putting it out.

[1] For example, when he steals a (fake) ruby, he says “strangely, it never made the papers.”

[2] The book’s excellent Afterword, written by Bruno Ruhland, lifts a phrase from an article without crediting it, while nevertheless citing the wrong date (1906). “Black, in 1904, caused a reign of terror in the Mission district during the course of a number of daring robberies and holdups.” (cf. SF Call 24 December 1912)

[3] Now I know where the fifties (?) term hop-head came from!

[4] Here are links to these articles, which are well worth reading. [5]
5 January 1912
24 December 1912
16 April 1904
18 April 1904
19 April 1904
20 April 1904

[5] The catastrophically bad Veridian OCR software for on-line newspapers apparently does not perform even the most elementary heuristic cleanup on the scans, leaving things like numbers and capital letters in the middle of words. It relies on “crowd sourcing” (cf. Wikipedia): the kindness of strangers to come in and fix up the lousy scans. As a public service, I located as many articles as I could about Jack Black and manually corrected them. Example:
A. Kriox, ;a /Valencia Street Gf roceiy ; Identifies ;. Him as ;tlie:Man^hat Held Him Up
-> A. Knox, a Valencia Street Grocer, Identifies Him as the Man That Held Him Up


[FR : Jon Spencer, malgré son renommé, n’a qu’une compréhension superficielle de la musique qui est censée l’inspirer.]

Certain friends of mine with otherwise acceptable taste get excited about Jon Spencer and his so-called Blues Explosion. I don’t. In fact, his music really annoys me.

And Jon is not the only musician that bugs me in this special way.
Spencer has this problem in relation to blues and roots music.
Henry Rollins has this problem in relation to punk music. He was the death of Black Flag.
Brian Setzer has this problem in relation to rockabilly music.
This defect is particularly galling in the case of the artists discussed here because, nonetheless, each one has attained great popularity, respect and renown playing a style of music that I revere. Their public images imply a mastery of their style and feed a vicious cycle that legitimizes them to consumers, even to the point of their becoming icons. Yet they only have a superficial understanding of their style of music, without comprehending the core, the dirt, the truth behind it. They exploit a style of music without truly “digging” it. For me, their work has a pretentious, annoyingly false aspect. It has proved impossible for them to become as good, or as cool, as those they imitate. They come off as humorless and stiff; they sample, but it’s copy-paste.

A shining counterexample is Lux Interior. He had a perfect grasp of rockabilly music and American culture, right down to its dirty core, and was able to cover, write and play songs in his own style that remain true to the spirit of their roots and ring true.

How can I justify my iconoclasm? A gut feeling, backed up by a lifetime of listening to music. It’s like pies, I can tell if somebody really knows how to make one, or if they are just following Martha Stewart’s recipe.

So what’s the word? [“Thunderbird!“]

“Dilettante” is not bad, but emphasizes a lack of seriousness. This is not precisely the problem. These fellows have made a career out of knowing their style; they simply have not succeeded in penetrating it properly.

“Poseur” is not bad, but emphasizes that the pose is struck to impress others. That is indeed the case with these three, but is not the focus of this diatribe.

“Phony” or “sham” is not bad, but does not specify why their music is not true to its origins.

Ah, I finally found the answer in 60s surfer slang. These guys are hodads: somebody who tries to ape the look but does not really dig, is not really cool, and hangs out with the real surfers anyway.