Monday, December 12, 2011

Wheel of Rants

Home from a lovely but work-filled weekend, I wish to rant on a few things that I've come across recently...

A friend recently mentioned how much he hates it when people put copyright information on their photographs (specifically, so that it completely distracts from the image). I couldn't agree more. I've always thought the copyrighting of photographs to be a sign of hubris, but that's not what bothers me about the incorporation of the copyright tag on photos. To me, every single pixel of the image is a necessity. Why in the world would any serious, or even semi-serious, photographer want to inject something so inharmonious into the image? I've always had the same problem with artists signing their work. This completely demystifies the art. Leave the creation alone. There are other ways of signing the image.

If people are so worried about others infringing upon their copyrighted imagery, there are a substantial number of alternatives that prevents self-vandalizing of the photographs. First, you could only provide the image to the public at a cost. That is, make people pay for the right to look at and/or have your photographs. Second, place a copyright note on the webpage in which it is provided. No need to do this on every single image you present -- yet it still covers all of the images you provide. Third, prevent people from copying/pasting your imagery elsewhere. This is done on several reputable sites, and is certainly a nice way of enforcing your copyright in a more active manner. The list goes on.

But what you've done, in my mine, is destroy your own art -- your own creation. Basically just to say that you made the art. Hubris self-vandalism.

My thoughts on photography -- share it. I keep the photos for memories, and share the ones in which I don't mind sharing the memories. If someone wants to claim it as their own -- strange, yes. But I'd probably consider it a compliment.

By the way, there is no better way to improve a mood than by going to a photo website (like flickr) and going through a slideshow of something that makes you happy. I usually choose "glacier", "mountains", "Canada", "Norway", "fjord", or "alpine". You may have your own list.


I understood the divisive nature of Tim Tebow when he was in college. Every single damn announcer mentioned him, even in situations in which his inclusion in the conversation made sense to nobody. The negative attitude toward him was one of overuse.

Now? I don't get it. Although several players/coaches have expressed doubts, whose opinions I value much more than a typical layman, the vitriol with which the general public and several (unqualified) television announcers have shown when panning Tebow's efforts is sickening. Who the hell cares, anyway? Or, maybe I should be asking, why do you care so damn much? He's playing football, not curing cancer. Tebow may be a particularly stirring example of a religious athlete, but he is far from the only one -- and not even the most zealous. And his leading of a team that has made a string of victories against almost uniformly underwhelming teams is hardly a miracle. But it does prove that he can lead a team, and win in the big leagues. We should be happy for him, not metaphorically throw him under a bus in a jealous rage.


You know, I love Alec Baldwin as a performer. And who knows what happened on that plane, but if the stories of his behavior on the plane are true, I certainly would have clapped when he was escorted off, after yelling for a half hour that he was probably making me miss my layover.


I have recently become a fan of trip hop, but in this discovery, I've learned just what a fine line I draw between good music and absolute garbage. There is a strong association with the inclusion of the harpsichord, particularly if joined by a solo violin. I've also reaffirmed my general hatred of songs with lyrics, which explains in part my embracing of the trip hop genre.

I'm not sure why I hate so much music, really. There is an abundance of high-quality lyrics out there, but it's often complemented by the most unoriginal music. Then, there are those songs where the music is outrageously good, or at least fun, but the lyrics are a complete joke. It seems incredibly difficult, and incredibly rare, that both are better than embarrassing. I guess I'm too demanding.

I'm usually booed out of the conversation when I express my usual disdain toward a particular song or band, but I'm also often asked what makes for a great song or piece of music for me. I'm not really sure, but most of my favorite songs fall into a few categories:

1) Classic rock ballads with very few lyrics (e.g., "The Rain Song" by Led Zeppelin)
2) Piano sonatas, particularly Beethoven-era (Appassionata, e.g.)
3) Short trip hop pieces with a piano and a female voice (e.g., "Greenland" by Emancipator)
4) Post-1990 rock without the use of drums (or very little use of drums; e.g., "Just One Thing" by Finger Eleven)
5) Any soundtrack by Thomas Newman or Bear McCreary (American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Battlestar Galactica (2003), The Walking Dead)
6) Any song with inclusion of the gamelan or erhu

So if I don't like your song, just remember, my musical taste is eclectic and certainly mock-worthy.