The Linear Canvas
This journal is about the wrongs and rights of the world, as I see them.

The Linear Canvas

Psychic Powers

March 31st, 2010 . by Alexander Fisher

I saw this photo and it reminded me of a woman I knew named Sue, that used to work for the Psychic Friends Network. She was a nice person that, I’ll only say, was just a little odd at times. She had also taken a mystical sounding name and was using it when she talked to her telephone customers.


The Psychic Friends Network was a company that did a lot of infomercials on TV starring singer Dionne Warwick in the 1990’s when the 900 number business was first getting popular. A few years later the bottom fell out of the Psychic Friends business and they closed and disappeared. Not long after that Sue came over to visit and told us that she had just been laid off from her job at Psychic Friends.

I smiled wryly and said, “Didn’t you see that coming?

Not thinking much about it, she said “No.”

Dusty Springfield – Get Ready (video)

March 28th, 2010 . by Alexander Fisher

Dusty Springfield had one of the most unheralded soulful voices of the sixties. I think she just tears this song up, hits every note, and while wearing an evening gown (or is that a maxi dress?). The sound engineer in me wonders why they didn’t make her take her rings off as every time she changes hands with the mike, you hear a click.  click.



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Intimidation, Not Just For the Far Right Wing Anymore

March 25th, 2010 . by Alexander Fisher

"Rich People pay Fox (News) People to make Middle Class People hate Poor People."
John Fugelsang (comedian)

After the healthcare bill was signed into law on March 23, 2010, there were a number of acts of violence and vandalism involving those that were aligned with corporate interests in preserving the status quo in healthcare. These persons resorted to violence and intimidation mainly because they just didn’t get their way on this. (childish?) In addition, the political representatives of this group were in charge for the last ten years and ran the country into the ditch, that it is still in. Red Necks

I must say that those politicians did this with the help of the same lunatic fringe that is now threatening our democracy with violence, unless they get their way. (treason?) Most of these same political “leaders” have never responsibly denounced this violent behavior, only excused it. This is of course how they governed as well, irresponsibly.

For a few years after September 11, 2001, I rarely would talk about, and often hid my political and religious views from strangers, family, and co-workers. After I "exposed" myself as a Democrat in 2004, I was confronted by co-worker’s twice. Both were near physical confrontations about me being pro-abortion, although I am anti-abortion. But these individuals were convinced that "Libruls" were all the same.

The intimidation by the right wing is only ratcheting up, it has been fomenting since the Reagan days. As long as they have a cable channel and an overly compliant mass media to disseminate their corporate propaganda to their minions, this will only get worse. And I’m sure it will.

I don’t have any issue with gun owners or gun ownership. During the cold war, I used to fantasize that if the Russians ever attacked us, the NRA members would be an asset. Now I think if we were attacked, by one of their corporatist allies (Saudi Arabia?), the right wing propaganda machine, and the NRA, would be aligned with the attackers, against the “Libruls”.

My impression is that some of these people committing violent acts feel empowered and dominate as long as they are armed, and that a weapon gives the armed citizen one more vote than the unarmed. If they’d gone to government class in high school instead of skipping out, they’d realize that’s exactly what can kill a democracy, not save it.

My Newest Recording: The Old Prisoner

March 22nd, 2010 . by Alexander Fisher

This really isn’t a new recording. I recorded it about a year ago. That version came out OK and I also recorded a version with my niece. My sister told me she couldn’t hear the lyrics when I sang it and after listening to it again, I agreed. This is a better mix, I hope. The only thing else different is that I recorded a new bass part. The old one was probably recorded before I fixed my bass and there was a lot of buzzing in it. I think it also makes it chug along just a little better too.

The Old Prisoner

[audio: Old Prisoner 20100322_2013_256.mp3]

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When I posted the previous version of this song, this is the text I included with it.

I wrote this song thinking about my uncle Herschel Kelly. Born in the 1920’s in the Kentucky Appalachians, he struggled to get out of poverty like many at that time, later becoming a veteran of the Army in World War Two and then enlisting in the Air Force after the war. He found time to go to college and became among many things, a prison guard and a school teacher.

He was a mature good looking man but was never married, quite a controversy in Baptist circles that he grew up in. Somewhat of an outcast from his family at times and mysterious to neighbors. Strangers knew him as a helping hand when they needed him. I think he was a bit of a communist too.

He was very attentive to me. I think he saw some of himself in me. I am grateful for his presence in my life, but as he aged his demeanor changed and he became more distant from me. My life was changing in ways that didn’t include him. At the end our relationship had become non-existent and he was not answering my letters. When he passed away several years ago, he was separated from his family and resentful of his past. I always thought he felt trapped in the expectations of his family and society and he remained angry until the very end.

As usual I wrote the song, sang, and played all of the instruments. I recorded the song on my Fostex VF-16 digital multi-track and processed it with Cakewalk Sonar 7 Producer and Sony Sound Forge 9.

(The new bass part was recorded on my desktop PC directly into Cakewalk Sonar 7 Producer using my PreSonus Firebox audio interface)

My Newest Recording: Hangin’ On To Yesterday (unplugged)

March 9th, 2010 . by Alexander Fisher

Right after I broke my ankle last month, as I lay on the couch wondering how I was going to cope, I thought about my Toshiba netbook and how it should be capable of multi-track recordings. I figured that it have have just enough horsepower to do the job. I saw a similar model in my Musicians Friend’s catalog that was meant to be used as a multi-track right out of the box. It was about $200 more than I paid for mine and came with some shareware and some low cost audio software. My netbook has an Edirol USB audio interface and Cakewalk Sonar 6 LE digital audio workstation (DAW) software on it. I knew it had to work, but I have two other DAW’s and had no time to experiment with it.

Until now.

Here’s the song I recorded on it, over the last month:

Hangin’ On To Yesterday

[audio: On To Yesterday 201003091646.mp3]

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I thought about writing a new song. I still might, but just to get up and running I decided to use a song I wrote a few years ago about a former classmate that passed away recently. I had recorded it once before, but I had done it with drums and electric instruments. I have always wanted to do this song “unplugged”, so this was my chance. I wrote some additional lyrics and changed the arrangement too.

"The Kitchen Tapes" I decided to limit myself to just an acoustic guitar, a microphone, and a tambourine. I really couldn’t get to the electric stuff in the basement anyway. Because of my ankle, I can’t play drums even if I wanted to. So, this would just have to do. I set up the netbook on the table in the kitchen. I plugged in my audio interface and my Korg NanoKontroll programmable controller and plugged in my guitar, a microphone, and started to record. I did most of this recording sitting in a wheel chair but by the time I mixed it down, I was able to do it on my main DAW in the basement. I proved my point that I could record on the netbook, so I wasn’t going to punish myself mixing it all down on that small screen when I didn’t have to.

What I proved was that I have enough portability to create digital recordings whenever and wherever I want to. I thought maybe I would do some nature audio, like setting up some mikes by a remote waterfall or by a bubbling brook. A CD of something like that would be nice to fall asleep to. In addition getting others to help on my recordings would be much easier as they wouldn’t have to come here. Not that they do anyway.

I recorded this song on my Toshiba netbook using Cakewalk Sonar 6 LE DAW software. I used my Takamine G-Series jumbo acoustic guitar and two Shure SM-58 microphones and a tambourine. I mixed it down on my main desktop computer using Sonar 7 Producer Edition and Sony Sound Forge v9. The only effects used were equalizers echo, and reverbs and not a lot them either. The natural reverb in the kitchen actually made the dry recordings almost sound interesting enough.

Cheap Trick – Auf Weidersehen (video)

March 7th, 2010 . by Alexander Fisher

Cheap Trick really kicked butt live as evidenced by the fact that no one ever really paid that much attention to them until their Cheap Trick at Budokan (1979) live album was released. Then it became a little too much about songs  like I Want You To Want Me and other power pop rock tunes in their repertoire, for me at least. I’m glad they got the attention, because they deserved it. They are all great hard rock musicians and even rockers have mortgages and car payments.

I saw them live once and guitarist Rick Nielsen must have tossed six guitars over the backdrop after he was done playing them. I am sure someone was catching them, hopefully. He also had a custom five neck guitar that was very cool. He didn’t throw that one, at least not that day.


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Corporatism: Killing Demcracy For Profit

March 4th, 2010 . by Alexander Fisher

No matter what you think about the current administration or the previous one, the problem with our government has always been the level of corporatist influence in it and the corruption that it has caused. But I just don’t believe that it has ever been this bad and out in the open. The last thirty years has been a real bonanza for the well connected corporatist

The end of the broadcast fairness doctrine and relaxing media ownership concentration rules certainly played a part in this, as the watchdog of investigative journalism was finally under the control of the corporate owned media conglomerates with no equal time for dissenting opinions and any real fact checking. Other factors are the uncontrollable propaganda that 500 different cable channels could broadcast, again without any requirements any of it be true, or fair. The fairness doctrine never covered cable, so that was never an issue anyway. Another is that corporations have long been about controlling whatever government agencies and branches they could, to extinguish labor and safety regulations and their resulting law suits and other responsibilities. Corporations know that it’s hard to market a defective product when people know the truth about it and them.
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