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introduction to

THE ORIGINAL SUBTITLE FOR NEAL UMPHRED DOT COM was “ratiocinations out of thin air – observations recollections recommendations.” It still is, except that this lovely theme that I am using (Readit Pro by Modern Themes), doesn’t allow for me to use it at the top of the homepage in a manner that I like, so it’s a missing! So then I am retitling my introduction (this post) after my old subtitle . . . Ratiocination is the “process of reasoning,” or to think thinks through logically, non-emotionally. It appears to have originated in the early 16th century from Latin ratiocinationem… Continue Reading introduction to


a fishing expedition with a nasty dude in camelot

BEING A CREATURE OF HABIT (well, sort of) (um, not that often, really, but occasionally), I turn first to tried and true Merriam-Webster when looking up definitions for new (and sometimes old) words and phrases. It’s still one of the best online dictionary resources, even if I do find more appropriate definitions for my needs in other dictionaries. Such is the case here regarding the term “a fishing expedition.” And I trust we all know what a nasty dude is. Using Merriam-Webster, I found a legalese definition of a fishing expedition as “an inquiry as by the use of… Continue Reading a fishing expedition with a nasty dude in camelot

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the astounding creatures of masayoshi matsumoto

“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” Starfish. Centipede. Jellyfish. Bee. Lizard. Butterfly. Scorpion fish. Caterpillar. Hermit crab. Flamingo. Phoenix. Beetle larvae. Octopus. M asayoshi uses balloons only! Masayoshi Matsumoto has taken care to keep a very low profile: he is 25-years old and a recent graduate of Tokyo Institute of Technology, where he studied 有機高分子物質 (organic polymer materials). I did find what appears to be his website: Isopresso. There he claims, “バルーンで色々なものを作っています。このページに掲載している作品は全て風船のみからできています。シール・ペン・接着剤などは一切使用していません” (“I make many things with balloons. The images that are posted on this page are made only… Continue Reading the astounding creatures of masayoshi matsumoto

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replacing graffiti’s calligraphic howls with helvetican readableness

I CHOOSE SPONTANEITY! Spontaneity over the prepared. Usually. I like the playful kineticism and calligraphic howls of free-hand, spray-canned, torpedos-be-damned graffiti at least holds attempts to achieve. I would choose that over predictably tame, looks lame machine-generated typography. But sloppy is not spontaneous, and most graffiti is not art, it’s just ugly—often an eyesore replacing an eyesore. The article “Guy Paints Over Shit Graffiti And Makes It Legible” from the Design You Trust website introduces us to Matthieu Tremblin, an anti-graffiti graffiti artist. Matthieu wanders around France, finding ghastly graffiti everywhere. And if we recall Sturgeon’s Principle (it ain’t no law!) that “90%… Continue Reading replacing graffiti’s calligraphic howls with helvetican readableness


sometimes ‘alias’ ain’t no alias at all

I LOGGED INTO MY KCLS ACCOUNT and in the Search field typed “alias.” I wanted to place a hold on the fourth and fifth seasons of the ABC television series Alias from earlier in this century, starring Jennifer Garner. Aside from the five DVDs for the series and perhaps a few books about the show, I wasn’t expecting a large amount of entries under that word. Hah! There were more than 250 entries for ‘alias.’ But before I continue, first there is Alias the series. Berni and I are Jennifer Garner fans—we’ve actually seen Butter (twice!) and rave about it to… Continue Reading sometimes ‘alias’ ain’t no alias at all


philando’s first law of resistance

FIRESIGN THEATRE’S FIRST FOUR ALBUMS make up a small body of work that stand as some sort of achievement in recording. They combined various forms of humor (from the lamest puns and sophomoric in-jokes to the subtlest of witticisms and allusions that take many, many listenings to appreciate) with political, social, and cultural satire. Along the way, they created several gems that have use outside of their alternative reality, such as Fudd’s First Law of Opposition. But the albums were equally remarkable as technological achievements: the alternative reality in which each took place was created by production and engineering… Continue Reading philando’s first law of resistance


think on the craziness of that!

ELVIS DIED WITH ONLY 28 GOLD RECORDS. That is, he collected only twenty-eight official RIAA Gold Record Awards during his career. Neither he nor Colonel Parker nor RCA Victor showed any real enthusiasm for the awards while he was alive. Since his death, the Presley People have done an admirable job in getting RCA and the RIAA to make things right. Working with the vast personal files of Colonel Parker, the RIAA certified and awarded 110 Gold and Platinum Record Awards to the Presley estate in 1992. Since then, another eighty-eight Awards have been added to the list. There… Continue Reading think on the craziness of that!

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you’re probably reading a source that don’t know nothin’ ’bout nothin’

MOST INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET about gold and platinum records of the Sixties is crap! That is, most of the “information” regarding RIAA Gold and Platinum Records awarded to albums from the ’60s and early ’70s is factually incorrect. This applies to almost every website: the few that aren’t incorrect are often misleading, and this includes the RIAA’s own website! This article will assist most readers in understanding RIAA Gold and Platinum Record Awards for records issued prior to 1975.   On January 20, 1964, Capitol Records released MEET THE BEATLES, and it sold 750,000 copies in its first week of release, for which it was awarded an RIAA Gold Record. It… Continue Reading you’re probably reading a source that don’t know nothin’ ’bout nothin’


young democrats learn to sit on the floor (instead of shooting people)

DURING THE DEMOCRATIC SIT-IN led by Representatives John Lewis (D-GA) and Katherine Clark (D-MA), I posted an article from the BBC on Facebook with a comment of “Bravo  and Brava for the Do-Something Congress!” A comment from another person allowed me to address the issue of how Democrats are taught from childhood to sit on the floor to get their way instead of beating up others or shooting people. So, in an act that can easily be interpreted as adult petulance, the Rep*blican Majority actually turned off the CSPAN cameras that run 24-hours-a-day (if necessary) broadcasting the doings (and the not-doings) of Congress to… Continue Reading young democrats learn to sit on the floor (instead of shooting people)


some (piss) poor writing about hillary’s “role” in the attack on benghazi

THE LAST WORD ANYONE would use to describe me is “conservative”—at least not regarding most issues related to politics. But there’s more to life than politics: I remain old-fashioned on the issue of prescriptive versus descriptive dictionaries (strongly believing in the former) and the misuse of the designated hitter in major league baseball (not at all what you think). And I am adamantly conservative about the correct use of grammar and punctuation and opposed to piss poor writing in all sizes and shapes. Oh, and I still think vanilla malt shakes are yummy! 1 Nonetheless, I have subscriptions to several politically rightwinged newsletters, which… Continue Reading some (piss) poor writing about hillary’s “role” in the attack on benghazi


just liberalate yourself (attempts to do it to others usually fail)

I AM WORKING ON TWO RATHER BIG PROJECTS: on Rather Rare Records I am compiling a discography that tarted out as a small, simple things that will will up in excess of a hundred pages when completed! (If it’s ever actually complete: I need to liberalate myself from the need to know it all.) In fact, this morning’s cup of coffee—currently a blend of Trader Joe’s Dark French Roast and Café Bustelo—moved me in the direction of breaking the one BIG article into several smaller ones. Here on Neal Umphred Dot Com, I have been experimenting with several premium… Continue Reading just liberalate yourself (attempts to do it to others usually fail)