Sunday, August 26, 2012

iPod and iPad in Spanish

WARNING: International Phonetic Alphabet ahead. I try to make it easy for people who don't know IPA, which is most of you, and people who don't see the symbols. IPA makes this kind of discussion way easier.

There are only two things I wanted to find online that I couldn't: 1. Train schedules for the railroads in my town and 2. How Spanish speakers pronounce "iPad" and "iPod". I did a bunch of searches for the second thing and couldn't find anything.

Apple's iPad has the worst product name ever. It sounds like "iPod" with an annoying accent. In fact, most languages don't distinguish the vowel /æ/ in "iPad" from the vowel /ɑ/ in "iPod". Most of them merge them together into /a/, which sounds similar to /ɑ/. So I asked my Facebook friends. They said it's "like in English". This doesn't help me. The English pronunciations are /aipæd/ and /aipɑd/, and Spanish would merge them both into /aipad/. Spanish spelling suggests /ipað/ "ee-pahth" and /ipoð/ "ee-pohth".

I found a page about how Japanese speakers say iPad and iPod. They say /aipad/ for "iPad", which sounds more like "iPod" to me, and /aipod/ or /aipoud/ for "iPod", which sounds like "eye-pode". This is interesting because Japanese doesn't allow "d" at the end of a syllable. Japanese syllables only end with a vowel or "n".

So I asked two actual Spanish speakers in person. They both told me they pronounce it "like in English", /aipad/ and /aipad/. (Final /d/ may have been /ð/ because final /d/ in Spanish always becomes /ð/.) One may have been /aipɑd/, but I definitely did not hear /aipæd/ or even /aipɛd/ or /aiped/. So they basically say them the same.

The final lesson: Apple doesn't respect people who don't speak English. Gives me less reason to respect Apple.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I enabled comments on new posts now. I have to enable them on the old posts by hand. There's still some I don't want comments on, but I decided there's no point in not having comments when half of my posts start discussions with my friends anyway. I am a sellout.

Another long rant on politics, religion, personality, and forgiveness

I told some of my friends a few days ago that I feel like I get more conservative every day. It's not based on the beliefs, it's based on the lifestyles and the arguments. I explained that I understand conservatives even when I disagree with them, but I don't understand liberals when I disagree with them. So I have more sympathy for conservatives who say stupid stuff than for liberals who say stupid stuff. My conservative and libertarian friends were happy and my liberal friends were not. One of my liberal friends, who I respect a lot, accused me of confirmation bias. Which is probably true. Everyone's more likely to believe something they already agree with. I also said I like to fit in with people who are like me. Most people are like this. No matter how good liberal arguments are, they won't win me over because I like small towns and I don't drink. Stereotypical, but more true than it should be. And as I've said before, religious liberals have more in common with secular liberals than they do with religious conservatives. I may have liberal opinions on some things, but I have a conservative brain. So conservative arguments make more sense.

My Christian faith makes me more moderate or liberal than I would be otherwise. A lot of my liberal opinions go against what logic tells me. For me, logic supports conservatives more often than not. When I was in college I was both a hardcore Christian and a hardcore liberal, and I was every bit as obnoxious as the Religious Right. I disagreed with the left on a few things but I liked the way they talked. As I explained in a ha-ha-only-serious post on religion and politics last year, liberal arguments are similar to religious arguments. And both groups can slip into self righteousness real easily.

It really bugs me when some secular people, usually secular liberals, try to claim Jesus agreed with them. It bugs me when people claim Jesus was a socialist, a capitalist, a Republican, a Democrat, a Libertarian, a monarchist, etc. I also don't know why someone who rejects Jesus's supernatural claims would follow Jesus's morals. They're not practical at all. There are other moral teachers. It's a lousy attempt to try and win over Christians. I respect other religions and philosophies too much to cozy up to their followers. Too bad not everyone's that way.

For example, I don't understand why so many secular people are so pro-forgiveness. If I left Christianity that's the first thing I'd throw out. I honestly don't understand forgiveness. I never have. I think it perpetrates evil. It prevents evil from being punished. It keeps the forgivers subordinate to the forgiven. I guess I should be glad most people aren't as vindictive as me, but I don't understand it. Non-Christians usually tell me I'm a horrible person. Christians either do the same or admit they have no answer to my questions. I want to be more forgiving, but forgiveness makes no sense!

But once again I have a conservative brain. There's a lot of liberal arguments against Christianity, but very few conservative arguments, and the conservative arguments are the only ones that make sense to me. They reflect the way I see the world, which makes sense to me. And in the US nearly all conservatives are Christian. Whether they follow Christian morals or not is another matter, but they call themselves Christians, so they claim Christian teachings and morals as their own.

There's a book I want to read called The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics And Religion by Jonathan Haidt. I've read the first few chapters and I like it so far. It covers a lot of the same ground as some of my blog posts, only more positive and from a very different perspective. Haidt is a psychologist. He's also a former liberal turned moderate by his research into morality. Maybe he can help me make sense out of the world. The world looks absurd to me. My own half-baked theories make more sense than most of what I see out there. And when things seem to make sense, they always exclude me and say I can't exist.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Christian music industry is dead

The Christian music industry is dead.‭ ‬Cornerstone Festival announced this is its last year.‭ (link) When I was younger I wanted to go to Cornerstone. I never did and I have no desire to go now, but I'm still sad to see it go.

I grew up in the‭ ‬90s in the evangelical Christian sub-culture.‭ ‬Back then,‭ ‬a lot of Christians wouldn't listen to secular music,‭ ‬but they listened to Christian music.‭ ‬The Christian music industry thrived thanks to this.‭ ‬There were lots of charts listing Christian bands as‭ “‬Christian alternatives‭” ‬to secular bands.‭ ‬The bands themselves hated this,‭ ‬except for the few who saw themselves as the‭ “‬safe‭” ‬versions of secular musicians.‭ ‬The charts were pretty far off base too.

As a result, Christian artists gained a reputation as cheap knockoffs of secular artists. Sometimes this was true, but it often wasn't. There were a lot of bad bands from my childhood, but there were some good ones too. I still listen to some of them. And it ruined my musical taste forever.

Why did this happen‭? ‬In the late‭ ‬80s,‭ ‬popular music was very dirty.‭ ‬Your average rock album from‭ ‬1989‭ ‬is way dirtier than your average rock album from‭ ‬1969‭ ‬or‭ ‬2009.‭ ‬This was the era of the Parents Music Research Council,‭ ‬the Parental Advisory sticker,‭ ‬etc.‭ ‬Parents want to protect their children.‭ ‬So we got an entire music industry designed as an alternative to one that some people think went off the deep end.

The Christian music industry did convert a lot of the more fundamentalist Christians who believed all popular music was evil.‭ ‬They had music with evil drum beats and guitars,‭ ‬but they're singing about Jesus‭! ‬Nice things too.‭ ‬What do they do now‭? ‬Some people bashed the Christian bands,‭ ‬but I think it made a lot of them more tolerant.

What killed it‭? ‬One thing was commercial acceptance of Christian bands in the mainstream market.‭ ‬A few had big hits before,‭ ‬but not like the breakthru in the mid-00s.‭ ‬Another was that mainstream rock music got a lot less dirty after Marilyn Manson took shock rock as far as the mainstream would let him.‭ ‬By the way,‭ ‬Marilyn Manson was a marketing genius.‭ ‬All the parents complained about him,‭ ‬so he was one of the few secular artists I knew of when I was a kid.‭ ‬All the church kids knew:‭ ‬If you want to rebel,‭ ‬listen to Marilyn Manson.‭ ‬Back to the main topic...

Also,‭ ‬Christian music stopped being‭ “‬safe‭” ‬sometime in the past few years.‭ ‬Musicians start ed swearing and singing about controversial topics,‭ ‬e.‭ ‬g.‭ ‬Derek Webb.‭ ‬Christian music wasn't all G-rated any more.‭ ‬It wasn't all Focus on the Family approved any more.‭ You couldn't be sure you'd agree with everything the music said.

Christian musicians will survive.‭ ‬We'll have new Christian musicians in all styles,‭ ‬but they won't be part of a separate market.‭ ‬I hope some of them better ones,‭ ‬such as House of Heroes,‭ get the attention they deserve. I'll miss having Cornerstone around, but there's no need for a separate music market any more.

What I want to know is why almost all‭ “‬heavy‭” ‬Christian bands do hardcore or metalcore.‭ ‬There are so many styles of heavy music but Christian bands always go for‭ ‬-core music.‭ ‬Maybe they want to fight the image that Christian music is always mellow and pretty,‭ ‬so they scream over everything.‭ ‬Maybe there's less bias against Christianity in the‭ ‬-core world than in power metal or thrash metal.‭ ‬Maybe none of them can play guitar solos.‭ ‬Maybe it's like how third wave ska was huge in the Christian world for way longer than the secular world.‭ ‬The Christian music industry was usually a few years behind the secular music industry,‭ ‬but they were right on the ball with ska.

Monday, April 30, 2012

The World's Most Hated Bands

I read the article A Night With the World's Most Hated Bands by Chuck Klosterman. Pretty good article. A little snobby, but he does well considering he's a rock critic.

Klosterman says there's five bands it's "okay" to hate for no reason: Bush, Hootie and the Blowfish, Limp Bizkit, Creed, and Nickelback. He saw the last two of them play live the same night and dissected the reasons people hate them. He boils down the Creed hate to people thinking they were Pearl Jam ripoffs. He says Nickelback's hate is just because; there's no reason.

My take on the Nickelback hate: They're the most popular of a lot of similar bands. A lot of these bands are worse than Nickelback. Hinder, for one. Also Puddle of Mudd. Some of these bands are better - such as Shinedown. When people say they hate Nickelback, they mean "I hate post-grunge music". I don't like Nickelback, and I don't even care for Shinedown apart from a few songs. But I like Foo Fighters and Switchfoot. Before I got into Muse I thought they were another post-grunge band and now they're one of my favorites. I can't dismiss the whole genre.

I don't like Nickelback, but some of my friends do. I also don't like the Velvet Underground or the Pixies and some of my friends do. I'll leave any room where the Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony" is playing, but some of my friends like it. I don't know why, because it sucks and I hate it. But people have different tastes. I won't judge somebody based on that.

I also like a lot of music the critics hate. I like a lot of prog rock, which many music nuts dismiss with the wave of a hand. However, prog rock gets a lot more respect than Nickelback or Creed on sites like Rate Your Music.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Trayvon Martin

Wikipedia: Shooting of Trayvon Martin

Huffington Post: The Trayvon Martin Tragedy

THIS is why racism's not dead. From everything I read, Trayvon Martin, a black teenager, walked thru a neighborhood unarmed in Sanford, FL. He committed the crime of Walking While Black. George Zimmerman, a Neighborhood Watch captain, security guard, white Hispanic, and racist idiot, killed him for looking "suspicious". He broke all the Neighborhood Watch rules. The Sanford police department didn't arrest or charge Zimmerman because of a stupid Florida law about self-defense. So, Martin's family took this to court. I hope they arrest Zimmerman. I hope they kick his ass. I hope they throw him in jail.

I had two dentist's appointments a few weeks ago. There was an hour between them and they told me I could run some errands. There's a bank a half mile away, so I walked to the bank and back. I'm white so nobody thought I was gonna shoot up the neighborhood. If I was black I wouldn't have that luxury. People assume if you're black and walking on a sidewalk, you must be a criminal. They don't say that if you're white.

Also interesting when it's one minority against another.

Dunno if this petition will do anything, but I signed it. Which means I'll get way more email.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Another Election Year

The Republicans are going to lose. This is not opinion, this is fact. I like Ron Paul pretty well, I'll probably vote for him, but he won't win the nomination. He's too far from the Republican establishment. Mitt Romney's too close to the Republican establishment for most people. Plus he's Mormon, and Mormons face a ton of prejudice. Every other Republican candidate's an idiot. It's like the Republican party isn't trying to field a good challenger to Obama. They had McCain last time. It reminds me of 2004. Everyone hated Bush then like everyone hates Obama now. People always hate the incumbent. But every Democrat candidate sucked, so they went with the least worst, Kerry, who nobody hated but nobody liked either. Romney's going to win the nomination because he's got standard Republican views and some connection to reality. But nobody likes him. He's everything the Republicans want to get away from.

Meanwhile, most Obama supporters try to see how annoying they can be. You get the occasional nice liberal, but most of them are snobby assholes. Usually it's the Republicans who hate random people - this time it's the Democrats. I don't want a thing to do with the Democrats. If you're too polite the Democrats mock you. Hell, the Democrats I know mock people more than they offer any solutions. Or they offer their solutions, then mock you if you disagree. Obama doesn't come across like this. What is it about Obama that attracts stuck-up pricks? Ron Paul gets this too, but not as bad as Obama. I have a little respect for most conservatives I know, but none for most liberals. If a conservative says they care about others - and most of them don't - they're honest. If a liberal says they care about others, 9 times out of 10 they only care about themselves. It's a smokescreen.

Everything comes down to idiots vs. assholes. Should I leave my ballot blank this year? Probably not. It's like this every four years. The only reason they put elections in leap years is so we get an extra day of political torture.

EDIT: I'm harsh on here a lot, but this post was harsh even for me. I'm sorry for stereotyping. I saw about five annoying left-wing Facebook posts in a row, got real pissed off, and wrote this post. A lot of Democrats are very nice people who really do care. However, a lot of them aren't. I thought about writing a similar post about conservatives but I decided not to. Once again, I'm sorry.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Maximalist Rock and Minimalist Rock

Zaragon, an Internet music critic, says there are two main "camps" in rock music, maximalism and minimalism. If you got a few minutes, read thru this link from his blog. If you got a bit longer, try this one. These two articles he wrote explain the differences between maximalism and minimalism. If his writing style confuses you, the maximalists build on the basic elements of rock while the minimalists deconstruct them. In short, it's the difference between the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and the Velvet Underground's The Velvet Underground and Nico. Both albums pushed the boundaries of rock, but they did it in very different ways.

As you can tell, Zaragon's biased toward maximalist bands. I would complain, but most rock critics are biased toward minimalism. I share his bias anyway. Here's his list of minimalist bands:

The Stooges, The Shaggs, The New York Dolls, T.Rex, Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers, Neil Young, Graham Parsons, Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Faust, Can, Patti Smith, The Ramones, Pere Ubu, James Chance & the Contortions, The Buzzcocks, Joy Division, The Smiths, Wire, Bauhaus, Gang of Four, AC/DC, Nerdvana (sic), Violent Femmes, Suicide, Throbbing Gristle

Most of those are critics' favorites. And he really hates Nirvana. I kind of like them but I won't push the matter either. It's a diverse group but there's something a lot of those artists have in common. A lot of indie fans have that taste. Now look at his list of maximalist bands:

Led Zeppelin, King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, Emerson Lake & Palmer, The Who (post-1968), Jethro Tull, Chicago, Earth Wind & Fire, Deep Purple, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, Mike Oldfield, PFM, Tangerine Dream, Magma, Harmonium, Supertramp, Al Stewart, Boz Scaggs, Rupert Holmes, Queen, Electric Light Orchestra, Steve Harley, 10cc, Styx, Kate Bush, The Stranglers, Ultravox, Magazine, Japan, U2, Simple Minds

Most of these are bands critics hate. There's progressive rock, hard rock, jazz-rock/fusion, and the technicolor pop the Beatles launched, along with a handful of new-wavers that critics also hate. And U2. A lot of prog fans like the non-prog artists on this list.

I used to wonder why punks went into singer-songwriter territory and metal bands went into progressive territory. This explains it. Most singer-songwriters are minimalists and most metal is maximalist. With lots of exceptions of course.

Where I disagree with him is he thinks maximalism ended in the 1980s. It's alive and well today. Modern maximalists include: Radiohead, Muse, Coldplay, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Flaming Lips, Blur, Porcupine Tree, Sigur Rós, The Mars Volta, Dream Theater, and Faith No More among many others. Some of these are questionable but so are some of Zaragon's picks.

I like a few minimalists like Kraftwerk and Brian Eno, but most rock artists I like are maximalist. There's more possibility there. There's more emotion. There's more extremes of beauty and ugliness. There's more power. There's a lot more color - the minimalists are so gray-toned. I like complex things better than simple things.

It's a simplistic view of rock music. A lot of artists fit in both categories. A lot fit in neither. But it makes sense to me. And if "maximalist" artists between the mid-60s and mid-80s interest you, check his Rate Your Music page. It includes best album lists for every year from 1967 to 1985. Be warned: He hates modern music. He ignores 99% of everything made after the mid-80s. He dismisses lots of albums solely based on their release date. If you can deal with that, check it out.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Positive stuff?

I want to write more positive stuff. It's hard! Being negative is easy. Being positive is hard. It's easy to bash people and hard to offer solutions. I'm good at bashing people but I never have the answers.

I used to be more positive than I am now. Then I hit my twenties. Most people are jerks in their twenties. Teenagers believe the world can get better. Twentysomethings believe everything sucks and we're screwed. I know teenagers who are so positive about the world. I fear for them. They'll get out in the real world.

Here's an example: A college student decides he wants to make a difference in the world. He's a political liberal with plenty of money. He's part of a "mainline" Christian denomination, the Presbylutherans or something. He's a straight white guy but he's aware of his privilege. He wants to change the world! He wants to end poverty around the world. And the Democrats will do it! If it wasn't for those Republicans the world would be a better place. He won't consider the Republican view on anything. Despite his middle class background, he identifies with the "working class" and their struggles. He graduates from college having never met more than a few working class people. Then...

The economy sucks so he gets a low-paying part-time job. That's all he can afford. He still lives with his parents. His co-workers, most of whom are "working class", look down on him for being from a well-off family. They think he's a snob, which he may be. He's mad at them for voting Republican, shopping at Wal-Mart, driving gas guzzlers, etc. like Stuff White People Like wrote about. They hate him for being holier-than-thou and not enough of a Real Man. Eventually he realizes he doesn't know jack about the world and stops caring. He gives up all political views and barely holds on to his religion. It's easy to have convictions when they're not tested.

That example was not me, but I based it loosely on my experiences. The people at my jobs have always been nice to me regardless of social class. I grew up with very little money. I was a liberal in college but I grew up super-conservative.

I need to be less prejudiced against the working class. There are lots of awesome working-class people. But working-class culture is anti-intellectual. Something your average college Marxist will never admit, because Working Class = Good and Middle Class = Bad. I grew up "working class". Poor people aren't stupid or inferior but the culture tries to keep them that way.

See? I want to be positive, but when I try, I can't! The world's a horrible place and I'm convinced it won't get better. I'm also convinced it won't get any worse.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Exploring Music

I have about 250 albums in my music collection. When I open iTunes I realize how much I have. I can't decide what to listen to half the time. I got some genre playlists I put on shuffle. Sometimes something comes up and I decide to play the whole album. Sometimes I get in the mood for one artist and play everything I got. Sometimes I play the same album every 2-3 days for a month. I shuffle my music collection enough that I rarely go more than a few months without hearing an artist.

There's a wide world of music out there to explore. I got music I want to buy. There's a lot of stuff I want to explore someday. But I won't have the time to listen to it all. I got a lot of time to listen to music now. It won't be like this all my life.

On the other hand I don't want to go too fast and burn myself out. Usually it depends on money and free time. If I have a lot of both, I buy lots of music. I usually have one or the other.

There's a lot of artists I listened to when I got their music but I rarely listen to them now. Sometimes I get back into them for a while and sometimes I don't. It depends on my mood. I don't buy music I know I won't play much. However, I always listen to my favorite artists. I'm sure I've played some songs over 300 times in my life. If a song's good enough I never get sick of it.

The problem: How much more should I explore? I got a lot of music I want to get, but how much will I listen to it a year after I get it? I only play a handful of artists on a regular basis. Only a few in each genre. I like a lot of others but I don't play them as much.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Christianity Is a Religion and Jesus Is a Religious Figure

I'm sick of Christians saying Christianity's not a religion. Only Protestant Christians do this. Catholics and Orthodox don't. Here's why Protestants say it:

1. They want to distance themselves from formal liturgical churches. I like formal liturgical churches so this doesn't hold water with me.
2. They want to agree with people who bash religion. I don't know any anti-religious people who joined Christianity because it's "not a religion". Most secular people get pissed off when Christians say Christianity is not a religion.
3. They want to set themselves apart from the bad things done in the name of religion. In reality they sound like they're shrugging off any blame for the sins of the past. Like it or not, some Christians did evil things.
4. They want to be "cool" and "edgy" and "shocking". They fail. Saying Christianity is a religion is way more shocking than saying it's not.
5. They want to emphasize that it's about a relationship with Jesus. Which it is. I don't see how this conflicts with Christianity being a religion. It makes Christianity a distinctive religion but it doesn't make it any less of a religion.

The web site has two interesting things on this here and here. The first link says other religions do this. I can believe this. A lot of Buddhists claim they're a philosophy, not a religion. But every Muslim I've met uses the word religion. The second link quotes James 1:27: "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." (ESV) This is from the Bible. It doesn't say "relationship", it says "religion".

While everyone else boasts they're not part of a religion, I claim it with pride. It's honest. I don't claim everything done in the name of religion is good. Members of my religion did horrible things thinking it pleased God. But members of my religion also did great things thinking it pleased God. I believe organized religion has brought more good into the world than evil. I only wish I was a better follower of Jesus. If you read my blog you know I'm not.

P. S. Most secular people bash "organized religion" instead of any specific one. They always mean the group they grew up in.