Saturday, July 19, 2008

Al Gore Can Be Funny Too

Al Gore Gave This Speech Two Years Ago At TEDTalks

Former Vice President Al Gore comes off in a very entertaining, even funny, manner.
Naturally when Mr. Gore begins to talk about global warming it takes a greater level of concentration to follow along, but it's an important message - one we all need to learn.

Al Gore's (July 2008) WeCanSolveIt Speech

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Here's the transcript of Mr. Gore's speech - thanks to WeCanSolveIt.Org

Ladies and gentlemen:

There are times in the history of our nation when our very way of life depends upon dispelling illusions and awakening to the challenge of a present danger. In such moments, we are called upon to move quickly and boldly to shake off complacency, throw aside old habits and rise, clear-eyed and alert, to the necessity of big changes. Those who, for whatever reason, refuse to do their part must either be persuaded to join the effort or asked to step aside. This is such a moment. The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk. And even more - if more should be required - the future of human civilization is at stake.

I don't remember a time in our country when so many things seemed to be going so wrong simultaneously. Our economy is in terrible shape and getting worse, gasoline prices are increasing dramatically, and so are electricity rates. Jobs are being outsourced. Home mortgages are in trouble. Banks, automobile companies and other institutions we depend upon are under growing pressure. Distinguished senior business leaders are telling us that this is just the beginning unless we find the courage to make some major changes quickly.

The climate crisis, in particular, is getting a lot worse - much more quickly than predicted. Scientists with access to data from Navy submarines traversing underneath the North polar ice cap have warned that there is now a 75 percent chance that within five years the entire ice cap will completely disappear during the summer months. This will further increase the melting pressure on Greenland. According to experts, the Jakobshavn glacier, one of Greenland's largest, is moving at a faster rate than ever before, losing 20 million tons of ice every day, equivalent to the amount of water used every year by the residents of New York City.

Two major studies from military intelligence experts have warned our leaders about the dangerous national security implications of the climate crisis, including the possibility of hundreds of millions of climate refugees destabilizing nations around the world.

Just two days ago, 27 senior statesmen and retired military leaders warned of the national security threat from an "energy tsunami" that would be triggered by a loss of our access to foreign oil. Meanwhile, the war in Iraq continues, and now the war in Afghanistan appears to be getting worse.

And by the way, our weather sure is getting strange, isn't it? There seem to be more tornadoes than in living memory, longer droughts, bigger downpours and record floods. Unprecedented fires are burning in California and elsewhere in the American West. Higher temperatures lead to drier vegetation that makes kindling for mega-fires of the kind that have been raging in Canada, Greece, Russia, China, South America, Australia and Africa. Scientists in the Department of Geophysics and Planetary Science at Tel Aviv University tell us that for every one degree increase in temperature, lightning strikes will go up another 10 percent. And it is lightning, after all, that is principally responsible for igniting the conflagration in California today.

Like a lot of people, it seems to me that all these problems are bigger than any of the solutions that have thus far been proposed for them, and that's been worrying me.

I'm convinced that one reason we've seemed paralyzed in the face of these crises is our tendency to offer old solutions to each crisis separately - without taking the others into account. And these outdated proposals have not only been ineffective - they almost always make the other crises even worse.

Yet when we look at all three of these seemingly intractable challenges at the same time, we can see the common thread running through them, deeply ironic in its simplicity: our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels is at the core of all three of these challenges - the economic, environmental and national security crises.

We're borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that's got to change.

But if we grab hold of that common thread and pull it hard, all of these complex problems begin to unravel and we will find that we're holding the answer to all of them right in our hand.
The answer is to end our reliance on carbon-based fuels.

In my search for genuinely effective answers to the climate crisis, I have held a series of "solutions summits" with engineers, scientists, and CEOs. In those discussions, one thing has become abundantly clear: when you connect the dots, it turns out that the real solutions to the climate crisis are the very same measures needed to renew our economy and escape the trap of ever-rising energy prices. Moreover, they are also the very same solutions we need to guarantee our national security without having to go to war in the Persian Gulf.

What if we could use fuels that are not expensive, don't cause pollution and are abundantly available right here at home?

We have such fuels. Scientists have confirmed that enough solar energy falls on the surface of the earth every 40 minutes to meet 100 percent of the entire world's energy needs for a full year. Tapping just a small portion of this solar energy could provide all of the electricity America uses.

And enough wind power blows through the Midwest corridor every day to also meet 100 percent of US electricity demand. Geothermal energy, similarly, is capable of providing enormous supplies of electricity for America.

The quickest, cheapest and best way to start using all this renewable energy is in the production of electricity. In fact, we can start right now using solar power, wind power and geothermal power to make electricity for our homes and businesses.

But to make this exciting potential a reality, and truly solve our nation's problems, we need a new start.

That's why I'm proposing today a strategic initiative designed to free us from the crises that are holding us down and to regain control of our own destiny. It's not the only thing we need to do. But this strategic challenge is the lynchpin of a bold new strategy needed to re-power America.

Today I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years.

This goal is achievable, affordable and transformative. It represents a challenge to all Americans - in every walk of life: to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and to every citizen.

A few years ago, it would not have been possible to issue such a challenge. But here's what's changed: the sharp cost reductions now beginning to take place in solar, wind, and geothermal power - coupled with the recent dramatic price increases for oil and coal - have radically changed the economics of energy.

When I first went to Congress 32 years ago, I listened to experts testify that if oil ever got to $35 a barrel, then renewable sources of energy would become competitive. Well, today, the price of oil is over $135 per barrel. And sure enough, billions of dollars of new investment are flowing into the development of concentrated solar thermal, photovoltaics, windmills, geothermal plants, and a variety of ingenious new ways to improve our efficiency and conserve presently wasted energy.

And as the demand for renewable energy grows, the costs will continue to fall. Let me give you one revealing example: the price of the specialized silicon used to make solar cells was recently as high as $300 per kilogram. But the newest contracts have prices as low as $50 a kilogram.

You know, the same thing happened with computer chips - also made out of silicon. The price paid for the same performance came down by 50 percent every 18 months - year after year, and that's what's happened for 40 years in a row.

To those who argue that we do not yet have the technology to accomplish these results with renewable energy: I ask them to come with me to meet the entrepreneurs who will drive this revolution. I've seen what they are doing and I have no doubt that we can meet this challenge.

To those who say the costs are still too high: I ask them to consider whether the costs of oil and coal will ever stop increasing if we keep relying on quickly depleting energy sources to feed a rapidly growing demand all around the world. When demand for oil and coal increases, their price goes up. When demand for solar cells increases, the price often comes down.

When we send money to foreign countries to buy nearly 70 percent of the oil we use every day, they build new skyscrapers and we lose jobs. When we spend that money building solar arrays and windmills, we build competitive industries and gain jobs here at home.

Of course there are those who will tell us this can't be done. Some of the voices we hear are the defenders of the status quo - the ones with a vested interest in perpetuating the current system, no matter how high a price the rest of us will have to pay. But even those who reap the profits of the carbon age have to recognize the inevitability of its demise. As one OPEC oil minister observed, "The Stone Age didn't end because of a shortage of stones."

To those who say 10 years is not enough time, I respectfully ask them to consider what the world's scientists are telling us about the risks we face if we don't act in 10 years. The leading experts predict that we have less than 10 years to make dramatic changes in our global warming pollution lest we lose our ability to ever recover from this environmental crisis. When the use of oil and coal goes up, pollution goes up. When the use of solar, wind and geothermal increases, pollution comes down.

To those who say the challenge is not politically viable: I suggest they go before the American people and try to defend the status quo. Then bear witness to the people's appetite for change.

I for one do not believe our country can withstand 10 more years of the status quo. Our families cannot stand 10 more years of gas price increases. Our workers cannot stand 10 more years of job losses and outsourcing of factories. Our economy cannot stand 10 more years of sending $2 billion every 24 hours to foreign countries for oil. And our soldiers and their families cannot take another 10 years of repeated troop deployments to dangerous regions that just happen to have large oil supplies.

What could we do instead for the next 10 years? What should we do during the next 10 years? Some of our greatest accomplishments as a nation have resulted from commitments to reach a goal that fell well beyond the next election: the Marshall Plan, Social Security, the interstate highway system. But a political promise to do something 40 years from now is universally ignored because everyone knows that it's meaningless. Ten years is about the maximum time that we as a nation can hold a steady aim and hit our target.

When President John F. Kennedy challenged our nation to land a man on the moon and bring him back safely in 10 years, many people doubted we could accomplish that goal. But 8 years and 2 months later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the surface of the moon.

To be sure, reaching the goal of 100 percent renewable and truly clean electricity within 10 years will require us to overcome many obstacles. At present, for example, we do not have a unified national grid that is sufficiently advanced to link the areas where the sun shines and the wind blows to the cities in the East and the West that need the electricity. Our national electric grid is critical infrastructure, as vital to the health and security of our economy as our highways and telecommunication networks. Today, our grids are antiquated, fragile, and vulnerable to cascading failure. Power outages and defects in the current grid system cost US businesses more than $120 billion dollars a year. It has to be upgraded anyway.

We could further increase the value and efficiency of a Unified National Grid by helping our struggling auto giants switch to the manufacture of plug-in electric cars. An electric vehicle fleet would sharply reduce the cost of driving a car, reduce pollution, and increase the flexibility of our electricity grid.

At the same time, of course, we need to greatly improve our commitment to efficiency and conservation. That's the best investment we can make.

America's transition to renewable energy sources must also include adequate provisions to assist those Americans who would unfairly face hardship. For example, we must recognize those who have toiled in dangerous conditions to bring us our present energy supply. We should guarantee good jobs in the fresh air and sunshine for any coal miner displaced by impacts on the coal industry. Every single one of them.

Of course, we could and should speed up this transition by insisting that the price of carbon-based energy include the costs of the environmental damage it causes. I have long supported a sharp reduction in payroll taxes with the difference made up in CO2 taxes. We should tax what we burn, not what we earn. This is the single most important policy change we can make.

In order to foster international cooperation, it is also essential that the United States rejoin the global community and lead efforts to secure an international treaty at Copenhagen in December of next year that includes a cap on CO2 emissions and a global partnership that recognizes the necessity of addressing the threats of extreme poverty and disease as part of the world's agenda for solving the climate crisis.

Of course the greatest obstacle to meeting the challenge of 100 percent renewable electricity in 10 years may be the deep dysfunction of our politics and our self-governing system as it exists today. In recent years, our politics has tended toward incremental proposals made up of small policies designed to avoid offending special interests, alternating with occasional baby steps in the right direction. Our democracy has become sclerotic at a time when these crises require boldness.

It is only a truly dysfunctional system that would buy into the perverse logic that the short-term answer to high gasoline prices is drilling for more oil ten years from now.

Am I the only one who finds it strange that our government so often adopts a so-called solution that has absolutely nothing to do with the problem it is supposed to address? When people rightly complain about higher gasoline prices, we propose to give more money to the oil companies and pretend that they're going to bring gasoline prices down. It will do nothing of the sort, and everyone knows it. If we keep going back to the same policies that have never ever worked in the past and have served only to produce the highest gasoline prices in history alongside the greatest oil company profits in history, nobody should be surprised if we get the same result over and over again. But the Congress may be poised to move in that direction anyway because some of them are being stampeded by lobbyists for special interests that know how to make the system work for them instead of the American people.

If you want to know the truth about gasoline prices, here it is: the exploding demand for oil, especially in places like China, is overwhelming the rate of new discoveries by so much that oil prices are almost certain to continue upward over time no matter what the oil companies promise. And politicians cannot bring gasoline prices down in the short term.

However, there actually is one extremely effective way to bring the costs of driving a car way down within a few short years. The way to bring gas prices down is to end our dependence on oil and use the renewable sources that can give us the equivalent of $1 per gallon gasoline.

Many Americans have begun to wonder whether or not we've simply lost our appetite for bold policy solutions. And folks who claim to know how our system works these days have told us we might as well forget about our political system doing anything bold, especially if it is contrary to the wishes of special interests. And I've got to admit, that sure seems to be the way things have been going. But I've begun to hear different voices in this country from people who are not only tired of baby steps and special interest politics, but are hungry for a new, different and bold approach.

We are on the eve of a presidential election. We are in the midst of an international climate treaty process that will conclude its work before the end of the first year of the new president's term. It is a great error to say that the United States must wait for others to join us in this matter. In fact, we must move first, because that is the key to getting others to follow; and because moving first is in our own national interest.

So I ask you to join with me to call on every candidate, at every level, to accept this challenge - for America to be running on 100 percent zero-carbon electricity in 10 years. It's time for us to move beyond empty rhetoric. We need to act now.

This is a generational moment. A moment when we decide our own path and our collective fate. I'm asking you - each of you - to join me and build this future. Please join the WE campaign at need you. And we need you now. We're committed to changing not just light bulbs, but laws. And laws will only change with leadership.

On July 16, 1969, the United States of America was finally ready to meet President Kennedy's challenge of landing Americans on the moon. I will never forget standing beside my father a few miles from the launch site, waiting for the giant Saturn 5 rocket to lift Apollo 11 into the sky. I was a young man, 21 years old, who had graduated from college a month before and was enlisting in the United States Army three weeks later.

I will never forget the inspiration of those minutes. The power and the vibration of the giant rocket's engines shook my entire body. As I watched the rocket rise, slowly at first and then with great speed, the sound was deafening. We craned our necks to follow its path until we were looking straight up into the air. And then four days later, I watched along with hundreds of millions of others around the world as Neil Armstrong took one small step to the surface of the moon and changed the history of the human race.

We must now lift our nation to reach another goal that will change history. Our entire civilization depends upon us now embarking on a new journey of exploration and discovery. Our success depends on our willingness as a people to undertake this journey and to complete it within 10 years. Once again, we have an opportunity to take a giant leap for humankind.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I Had The Bell Bottom Blues

Bell Bottom Blues Derek and the Dominos

My first foray into rock-blues arrived at the very time when I was breaking up with my first real girlfriend. Or maybe that's just the way I remember it, for perhaps I had just never really paid much attention to the blues until I was down and out - under the influence of a broken heart.

At the time my hair was down well below my shoulders, I wore hand patched pairs of bell bottoms, and I, along with all my west-side friends, managed to stay high most of the time - especially during the summer.

My luck would have it that my best west-side Springfield-Leland-Grove, Illinois buddy, Dave, was moving upstate and he and his girlfriend decided that I would be the perfect person to take over as her boyfriend.

This may have been a seemingly generous gesture on the part of Dave, but I don't think he was too happy about leaving his girlfriend. Dave ended up drinking like a fish, and one evening he broke a large window at Penny Lane which at the time was located at the corner of Ash and MacArthur.

A rather dangerous, and fully grown adult, Tony Wables (one of the "founders" of Penny Lane) quite seriously threatened to kill Dave if he ever stepped foot near Penny Lane again - which scared off Dave for about one week.

Dave was a bit cocky as Tony was straight out of prison at the time on an attempted murder charge in which he tried to kill a cop by running him down in his car. Oh well, we were young at the time - and Dave may have felt that death would release him from his broken heart.

Anyway, Dave's girl was a friend of mine and had been for what seemed like ages. I was very conflicted about just stepping into Dave's boyfriend role, and Dave's obvious jealously didn't make it any easier. I had betrayed my best buddy by holding hands with, kissing and making out with his girlfriend - at least that is what I felt at the time - even though they both agreed that I was the heir apparent.

There was also the matter of which kind of person I was supposed to be. All my buddies wanted me to be a total burn out - which I was at that time - and which they were at that time - and which they wanted me to remain at that time - and which they wanted to remain at that time.

Pot, acid, and booze were like gods to be worshiped. And yes there were girls in our little gang, but it was getting high which was paramount above all other considerations - not love.

But my new girlfriend didn't approve of this lifestyle. She had fought Dave on this, and lost, and she was quite determined to win me back from the dark side. For she had known both of us before we ever took our first puff of the evil Mary Jane. In fact she was a jock.

I recall literally watching about five of my friends heading on foot over to Penny Lane, to pick up some rolling papers, or god knows what, and there I was standing across the street with an open invitation to join them, and get high with them like I had a thousand times before.

My girlfriend made it very clear that she was not going to come with me, so I just waved my friends off, but I knew then that my relationship with this girl wouldn't last. It was over - that's how stupid I was at the time. Pick the girl! Pick the girl - not the drugs! Damn it, he can't hear me!

Still I had feelings for her big time, and as we were headed toward the inevitable, "You have to choose either your stoner friends, or me" choice, I often felt confused and brokenhearted. I had never felt brokenhearted before. Having those feelings allowed me to understand the blues for the first time.

And it was Bell Bottom Blues by Derick and the Dominoes (Eric Clapton, et. al.) that I'd end up listening to when I'd get home from partying with my friends during that period.

Upper Respiratory Infectious Agent In Illinois

For most of the month of June, 2008 I worried that I had lung cancer. Although I knew that several coworkers had similar symptoms I had never before been visited with such a persistent low key respiratory infection during a summer month.

The seemingly non-stop rains which have visited Central Illinois this year have made this summer the wettest on record in over one hundred years.

Combine the soggy humid air with the fact that Illinois is one of the moldiest states in the United States and something has got to give.

I would often find myself drinking a half gallon of tea (decaf please) in the morning, and another half gallon in the afternoon just to get through the day without coughing uncontrollably.

And of course I found the whole experience of grabbing for a bag six month old cough drops rather dispiriting. Was this not Summer?

My only comfort came from knowing that others were experiencing this low key respiratory infection too. Some seem struck a bit worse than others, and most people were not affected at all.

Finally after more than a month of shortness of breath, upcoming phlegm, quick triggered coughing fits, and a strange burning in my lungs - it has gone away.

I had almost forgotten about it when today I spoke with a young woman who had been fighting this evil nasty infection. I made sure that she knew that she was not alone, and that no she didn't have some incurable form of lung cancer.

I often wonder how many of these quiet infections pass through our population - never being officially reported. I wonder about the changes such diseases make to our tissues, to our cells, to our bodies - with no government body even attempting to track what could easily be a form of germ warfare, or perhaps an accident at a lab somewhere.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Renaissance - Can You Understand

Renaissance - Can You Understand

Really loved this group, and bought all of their albums. I no longer have a music collection as it was stolen by my daughter and sold for drug money. Thank goodness for Youtube, and Rhapsody.

Renaissance - Can You Understand

Dollars down the penny drain
Frozen in the clouds
Dream away the last of pain
In waterfalls of sounds

Float across the icy pools
Leaves with curl and sway
Now your mind is floating cool
And you can find the way

Can you understand you can really understand
When the darkness comes you still shine
Open up your eyes and make the day shine sunshine now
Open up your dreams and and make the way shine sunshine now
Can you understand you understand
Can you understand you understand
Open up your life and make your lifetime sunshine now
Open up your soul and make your lifeline sunshine now
Can you understand you understand
Can you understand you understand

Dancing without moving now
Growing with your soul
One with all around you now
Related to the all

Purple mist around your hair
Eyes are fading blue
Smiling into everywhere
Love is coming through

Renaissance - Carpet of the Sun

Needless to say I was in love with Annie, as was I'm sure many a young teenage boy who was lucky enough to hear her beautiful voice.

The combination of romantic trip mystical lyrics, fine instrumental performance, and great vocals made this British group one of my favorite groups.

I never shared this group with any of my friends, that I can recall, as I felt at the time that they just wouldn't get it.

Renaissance - Carpet of the Sun

Come along with me
Down into the world of seeing
Come and you'll be free
Take the time to find the feeling
See everything on it's own
And you'll find you know the way
And you'll know the things you're shown
Owe everything to the day

See the carpet of the sun
The green grass soft and sweet
Sands upon the shores of time
Of oceans mountains deep
Part of the world that you live in
You are the part that you're giving

Come into the day
Feel the sunshine warmth around you
Sounds from far away
Music of the love that found you
The seed that you plant today
Tomorrow will be a tree
And living goes on this way
It's all part of you and me

[Chorus 2x]

See the carpet of the sun
See the carpet of the sun
See the carpet of the sun
See the carpet of the sun

Renaissance - Ashes Are Burning

And no post about Renaissance would be complete unless it included a mention of their anthem song Ashes Are Burning.

The following is from Wiki


Former Yardbirds members Paul Samwell-Smith, Keith Relf, and Jim McCarty organised a new group devoted to experimentation between rock, folk, and classical forms. This quintet — Relf on guitar & vocals, McCarty on drums, plus bassist Louis Cennamo, pianist John Hawken, and Relf's sister Jane Relf as an additional vocalist — released a pair of albums on Elektra (US) and Island (UK-ILPS 9112), the first one being produced by Samwell-Smith, As touring began to grind on them, the band gradually dissolved one by one, leaving McCarty and Jane Relf to hold things together. As the rest drifted off, new or guest members were added. A barely finished second album, Illusion, was released in Germany in 1971. It was finally released in the UK in 1976. (Island, HELP 27)]

One of the new additions was Michael Dunford. McCarty and Relf soon left, and Dunford, inheriting the helm of the band, started auditions for a new lineup. Vocalist Binky Cullom came and went. Reflecting his academic training, Dunford started rebuilding the group with more classically-trained personnel. With some vocal training and local gigs under her belt, Annie Haslam saw an advertisement in the music sheet "Melody Maker" for a singer in Dunford's new group. She was hired, and the second incarnation of Renaissance was begun.

This lineup was the best-known and longest running, consisting of Annie Haslam (vocals), John Tout (piano), Jon Camp (bass pedals/vocals) and Terence Sullivan (drums). Rob Hendry (electric guitar) left the group after the first album was recorded. Michael Dunford took over as lead (acoustic) guitarist. The group released Prologue in 1972 on EMI-Sovereign Records (UK), with music composed by Dunford with the exception of one track by McCarty. Renaissance began its long-standing collaboration with Cornish poet Betty Thatcher-Newsinger as lyricist; Dunford sent her sheet music and demo tapes, and she wrote poetry to fit.

The next album, Ashes are Burning, was released in 1973. Dunford, McCarty and Thatcher continued as composers and lyricist, and Dunford debuted with acoustic guitar contributions. Andy Powell, of the group Wishbone Ash, was brought in for a blistering guitar solo on the final track "Ashes are Burning," which became the band's anthem piece.

The band left major label EMI, and was recruited by Stewart Copeland's new prog rock boutique label BTM Records-British Talent Managers. The label's first release was Turn of the Cards in 1975/76*. With a larger budget, the album went from folk-flavored to a more dark, lush, orchestral rock sound. One of the album's two standout pieces, "Things I Don't Understand" clocking in at 9:30, was Jim McCarty's last writing credit with the group. A lengthy tribute to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, called "Mother Russia", closed out the album, with lyrics inspired by his story "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich".

The LP was first issued in the United States on Sire Records in August 1974, capitalizing on the group's increasing popularity there in Northeast coast cities. It was released in the UK in March 1976, followed only a few months later by their epic tone-poem Scheherezade and Other Stories, released on both sides of the Atlantic in September 1976.

In the 1970s, Renaissance defined their work with folk rock and classical fusions. Their songs include quotations from and allusions to such composers as Bach, Chopin, Debussy, Rachmaninoff, Rimsky-Korsakov, Prokofiev. Renaissance records, especially Ashes Are Burning, were frequently played on American progressive rock radio stations such as WNEW-FM, WHFS-FM, WMMR-FM, KSHE 95 and WVBR. Although commercial success was limited during this period, Renaissance scored a hit single in England with Northern Lights, which reached #10 there during the summer of 1978. The single was taken from the album A Song for All Seasons. With the unionization of professional orchestral musicians that followed, it was no longer financially feasible for the band to continue with its traditional orchestral sound. Renaissance floundered following 1979's Azure d'Or, as many fans couldn't relate to a largely synthesizer-oriented sound. Michael Dunford and John Camp assumed most of the band's songwriting, and after Azure d'Or, John Tout and Terry Sullivan left the group. Subsequent albums Camera Camera (1981) and Time Line (1983) brought Renaissance more into the contemporary New Wave genre. Neither garnered enough commercial interest to make a viable future for the band, which then ended its second incarnation.

Renaissance albums were not available individually on CD for some time. A pair of compilations were issued in 1990. In the next decade most of their catalog appeared on cd from reissue record labels such as Repertoire Records (Germany). In 2006 Repertoire did much higher quality remasters of Ashes are Burning, Turn of the Cards and Scheherezade with markedly improved sound.

In the late 1990s both Haslam and Dunford formed their own bands using the name Renaissance and released albums with different line-ups.

Renaissance partially reformed in 2000 with several new musicians to record the cd Tuscany. They played one concert at the Astoria in London before embarking on a short Japanese tour. Annie Haslam, who had become the band's spokesperson, said that several factors made further touring and recording impractical. The band's short third incarnation was soon over.[1]

Terry Sullivan has since recorded an album called South of Winter with a studio group he named Renaissant. It is evocative of Renaissance's music, with lyrics by Betty Thatcher Newsinger and keyboard contributions by John Tout.


The original 1969 line-up comprised Keith Relf (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Jim McCarty (drums, vocals), John Hawken (keyboards), Louis Cennamo (bass) and Jane Relf (vocals). This lineup released Renaissance (1969) and appeared on most of Illusion (1971). (Note: The following list includes temporary replacements & sidemen.)

  • 1970 - Added Terry Crowe (vocals), Terry Slade (drums) Neil Korner (bass) replaced Cennamo, Michael Dunford (guitar) replaced Keith Relf. This lineup recorded one track for Illusion (1971).
  • 1970 - Binky Cullom (vocals) replaced Jane Relf
  • 1970 - John Tout (keyboards) replaced Hawken
  • 1971 - Annie Haslam (vocals) replaced Cullom
  • 1971 - Danny McCullough (bass) replaced Korner
  • 1971 - Frank Farrell (bass) replaced McCullough
  • 1971 - John Wetton (bass) replaced Farrell
  • 1972 - Crowe left, Terence Sullivan (drums) replaced Slade, Jon Camp (bass, guitar, vocals) replaced Wetton, Mick Parsons (guitar) and Dunford reduced his role to composing for the band.
  • 1972 - Rob Hendry (guitar) replaced Parsons (who had died in a car accident). This lineup released Prologue (1972).
  • 1973 - Peter Finer (guitar) replaced Hendry
  • 1973 - Michael Dunford (guitar) replaced Finer. This lineup released Ashes are Burning (1973) through Azure d'Or (1979).
  • 1981 - Peter Barron (drums) replaced Sullivan, Peter Gosling (keyboards) replaced Tout. This lineup released Camera Camera (1981).
  • 1983 - Gavin Harrison (drums) replaced Barron, Mike Taylor (keyboards) replaced Gosling
  • 1984 - Greg Carter (drums) replaced Harrison, Raphael Rudd (keyboards, harp) replaced Taylor
  • 1985 - Charles Descarfino (drums) replaced Harrison, Mark Lampariello (aka Mark Lambert) (bass, guitar) replaced Camp
  • 1998 - Terence Sullivan (drums) replaced Descarfino, Roy Wood (bass, keyboards, percussion) replaced Lampariello, John Tout (keyboards) replaced Rudd
  • 1998 - Alex Caird (bass) replaced Wood, Mickey Simmonds (keyboards) replaced Tout
  • 2001 - David Keyes (bass) replaced Caird, added Rave Tesar (keyboards)



Where An Old Fence Meets New

Photo: JeromeProphet - Where An Old Fence Meets New

Where An Old Fence Meets New
by JeromeProphet

Old fences gray with age. The sun and rain. The wind and snow. Faded and worn.

New fences filled with color. Beautiful and proud. Protecting. Dividing. Ageless somehow.

Yet each is simple. Each was stained. Each stood tall. Each proclaimed. Here I stand.

A Dead Man's Flowers

A Dead Man's Flowers

For many years you ignored the property line
That divided your yard from our own.
You repeatedly walked a half block
just to gain access to our back yard.

Without ever asking permission.

You brought your poisons with you
To kill the flowers which had spread
From your back yard
Into our back yard.

Along our common fence.

It never made sense to me.
In fact I thought you were insane.

You were one of those people
Who must control every plant,
and every blade of grass in your yard,

but even that wasn't good enough
for you had to show us disrespect too.

I just wanted you to see
from your lofty perch in Heaven
The flowers that bloom along our fence today.

They are still here,
But you are gone
Because you are dead.

Like one of God's weeds
you have been removed.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Remember - Turn Off Your Air Conditioners!

Bush Tours America To Survey Damage Caused By His Disastrous Presidency
Bush Leaves The U.S. A Disaster Area

President Bush advised the American people to turn their air conditioners off when they're at work - so as to bring down gasoline prices.

Thank you President Bush for supplying us with yet another reason to detest you.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dozens Of Major U.S. Banks To Go Bust

The Bush Legacy - War and Recession

Hundreds of lending institutions have already gone bust (see below).

Now FDIC insured banks are starting to go bust as well. It is estimated that dozens of FDIC insured banking institutions (many of them major institutions) will implode over the next two years! Some estimates place the number of failing financial institutions at well over one hundred.

The remaining solvent FDIC member banks will be forced (FDIC rules) to finance the bail out, closure, or purchase of the less responsible insolvent members. To raise the hundred's of billions of dollars to save the U.S. banking industry interest rates charged by banks to their consumers must be increased, while interest awarded to account holders, and bond holders will decrease. There simply is no other way to raise the hundreds of billions of dollars it will take to save all of the failing banks.

U.S. consumers and investors should expect the cost of borrowing to increase.

This process has already begun, which is driving fears both in the stock markets, and the bond markets that the U.S. economy is plunging into a long lasting (years) recession.

The Federal Reserve will be unable to lower interest rates much lower than they already have, and thus using monetary policy to prevent or shorten the recession in unfortunately off the table.

The Fed's actions of decreasing interest rates to stave off the coming recession has resulted in a weak dollar which has driven the cost of oil and food up - actually driving the economy toward a recession.

Why has all of this come to pass?

The Bush Administration appointed "anti-regulators" to run the financial regulatory bodies which were charged with preventing this nightmare from happening.

The anti-regulators chose to do nothing even though they knew what was happening years ago.

Hundred's of Billions of dollars in foreign investment had kept the U.S. housing industry afloat based upon the assumption that no matter how poorly based mortgage lending became that U.S. real estate market would prevent the coming disaster of hundred's of thousands of home mortgage defaults and home foreclosures. The collapse has led to a historic collapse of lending institutions and soon - banks.

The pyramid scheme is falling apart - just as the U.S. Clown King Bush and his merry band of fools are leaving power - like rats deserting a sinking ship.

As all scam falls apart a major recession has been predicted by wide range of economist - and it could last as long as the next President's administration.

It appears that "priming the pump" (fiscal policy) won't stave off the recession any more than monetary policy, but it may shorten it somewhat.

Calls are being made that the next President, and Congress spend hundreds of billions of dollars in rebuilding the United State's crumbling infrastructure, and that this, at least, might keep millions of otherwise soon to be unemployed and idle housing construction workers off the dole.

Also, with six hundred billion dollars (and climbing) leaving the nation each year for foreign oil it has also been suggested that investing in alternative domestically produced energy supplies would help the country recover - however - this will have to wait until an administration not owned by the oil industry is able to break the stranglehold that big oil has on the U.S. government.

The U.S. should expect several rounds of major layoffs in a broad variety of sectors over the coming three years, with a short lived rebound and continued relapses into recession driven by ever increasing oil prices.

Here's a list of failed (non-FDIC) lending institutions (Since 2006)

266. Lehman Brothers SBF
265. IndyMac Bancorp
264. Mortgages Ltd.
263. Wilmington Finance - Wholesale
262. Accredited Home Lenders, Home Funds Direct
261. Assured Lending Corp. - Wholesale
260. Homewide Lending Corporation
259. Vanguard Mortgage & Title, Inc.
258. Chase Home Equity - Wholesale
257. Chase Subprime - Wholesale
256. Evergreen Investment & Carnation Banc
255. Casa Blanca Mortgage/Shearson - Wholesale
254. Guaranty Bank - Correspondent
253. Citi Residential Lending
252. Montgomery Mortgage Capital Company
251. E*Trade Wholesale Lending
250. Shearson Financial Network, Inc.
249. American Bank Mortgage Group - Wholesale
248. AmeriBanc Corp.
247. Washington Mutual - Wholesale
246. Century Bank, F.S.B. - Wholesale
245. Diversified Mortgage, Inc.
244. National Wholesale Funding
243. Centennial Mortgage and Funding, Inc./Award Mortgage
242. Fidelity Home Mortgage Corp. - Wholesale
241. LMI Funding, Inc.
240. Millennium Mortgage - Wholesale
239. Origen Financial, Inc. (Correspondent)
238. CitiMortgage - Home Equity Wholesale
237. Bear Stearns Residential Mortgage
236. East West Mortgage Co. of VA
235. New Vision Residential Lending
234. Washington Savings Bank, F.S.B. - Wholesale
233. Macquarie Mortgages USA Inc.
232. Global Mortgage, Inc.
231. Unique Mortgage Solutions (UMS, LLC)
230. First Franklin - Merrill Lynch
229. First National Mortgage Sources
228. Resource Mortgage (Wholesale)
227. KH Financial
226. Lydian Mortgage
225. OMG Wholesale Lending
224. Saxon Mortgage (Wholesale)
223. Beazer Mortgage Corp.
222. E-Loan (Wholesale)
221. Allpointe Mortgage (Broker Program)
220. Popular Warehouse Lending
219. Allied Lending Corp. (Wholesale)
218. BF Saul Wholesale Lending
217. Community Resource Mortgage
216. Lehman/Aurora Loan Services
215. Residential Mortgage Capital
214. Maverick Residential Mortgage
213. Countrywide Financial Corp.
212. First NLC Financial Services
211. First American Bank (Wholesale)
210. Soma Financial
209. National City Corp. (Wholesale)
208. Heartland Wholesale Funding
207. Homefront Mortgage Inc.
206. PNC Bank H.E.
205. Family First Mortgage Corp.
204. First Fidelity Financial
203. BSM Financial
202. 1st Choice Mortgage
201. Wescom Credit Union
200. Coast Financial Holdings/Coast Bank
199. WaMu (Subprime)
198. First Madison Mortgage
197. Southern Star Mortgage
196. TransLand Financial
195. Secured Bankers Mortgage Company (SBMC)
194. ComUnity Lending
193. Delta Financial Corp
192. BayRock Mortgage
191. Empire Bancorp
190. Option One - H&R Block
189. Citigroup - FCS Warehouse
188. Charter One (Wholesale)
187. Wells Fargo - Home Equity
186. Paul Financial, LLC
185. Webster Bank (Wholesale)
184. Fieldstone Mortgage Company
183. Tribeca Lending Corp. (Wholesale)
182. WAMU Comm. Correspondent
181. Marlin Mortgage Company
180. Countrywide Specialty Lending
179. UBS Home Finance
178. MortgageIT-DB (Retail)
177. Edgewater Lending Group
176. ResMAE Mortgage Corp.
175. Citimortgage Correspondent (2nds)
174. AMC Lending
173. Liberty American Mortgage
172. Exchange Financial (Wholesale)
171. FirstBank Mortgage
170. Bank of America (Wholesale)
169. Diablo Funding Group Inc.
168. Honor State Bank
167. Spectrum Financial Group
166. Priority Funding Mortgage Bankers
165. BrooksAmerica Mortgage Corp.
164. Valley Vista Mortgage
163. New State Mortgage Company
162. Summit Mortgage Company
161. WMC
160. Paragon Home Lending
159. First Mariner Wholesale
158. The Lending Connection
157. Foxtons, Inc.
156. SCME Mortage Bankers
155. Aapex Mortgage (Apex Financial Group)
154. Wells Fargo (various Correspondent and Non-prime divisions)
153. Nationstar Mortgage
152. Decision One (HSBC)
151. Impac Lending Group
150. Long Beach (WaMu Warehouse/Correspondent)
149. Expanded Mortgage Credit Wholesale
148. The Mortgage Store Financial
147. C & G Financial
146. CFIC Home Mortgage
145. All Fund Mortgage
144. LownHome Financial
143. Sea Breeze Financial Services
142. Castle Point Mortgage
141. Premium Funding Corp
140. Group One Lending
139. Allstate Home Loans / Allstate Funding
138. Home Loan Specialists (HLS)
137. Transnational Finance Wholesale
136. CIT Home Lending
135. Capital Six Funding
134. Mortgage Investors Group (MIG) - Wholesale
133. Amstar Mortgage Corp
132. Quality Home Loans
131. BNC Mortgage (Lehman)
130. First National Bank of Arizona
129. Chevy Chase Bank Correspondent
128. GreenPoint Mortgage - Capital One Wholesale
127. NovaStar, Homeview Lending
126. Quick Loan Funding
125. Calusa Investments
124. Mercantile Mortgage
123. First Magnus
122. First Indiana Wholesale
121. GEM Loans / Pacific American Mortgage (PAMCO)
120. Kirkwood Financial Corporation
119. Lexington Lending
118. Express Capital Lending
117. Deutsche Bank Correspondent Lending Group (CLG)
116. MLSG
115. Trump Mortgage
114. HomeBanc Mortgage Corporation
113. Mylor Financial
112. Aegis
111. Alternative Financing Corp (AFC) Wholesale
110. Winstar Mortgage
109. American Home Mortgage / American Brokers Conduit
108. Optima Funding
107. Equity Funding Group
106. Sunset Mortgage
105. Nations Home Lending
104. Entrust Mortgage
103. Alera Financial (Wholesale)
102. Flick Mortgage/Mortgage Simple
101. Dollar Mortgage Corporation
100. Alliance Bancorp
99. Choice Capital Funding
98. Premier Mortgage Funding
97. Stone Creek Funding
96. FlexPoint Funding (Wholesale & Retail)
95. Starpointe Mortgage
94. Unlimited Loan Resources (ULR)
93. Freestand Financial
92. Steward Financial
91. Bridge Capital Corporation
90. Altivus Financial
89. ACT Mortgage
88. Alliance Mortgage Banking Corp (AMBC)
87. Concord Mortgage Wholesale
86. Heartwell Mortgage
85. Oak Street Mortgage
84. The Mortgage Warehouse
83. First Street Financial
82. Right-Away Mortgage
81. Heritage Plaza Mortgage
80. Horizon Bank Wholesale Lending Group
79. Lancaster Mortgage Bank (LMB)
78. Bryco (Wholesale)
77. No Red Tape Mortgage
76. The Lending Group (TLG)
75. Pro 30 Funding
74. NetBank Funding, Market Street Mortgage
73. Columbia Home Loans, LLC
72. Mortgage Tree Lending
71. Homeland Capital Group
70. Nation One Mortgage
69. Dana Capital Group
68. Millenium Funding Group
67. MILA
66. Home Equity of America
65. Opteum (Wholesale, Conduit)
64. Innovative Mortgage Capital
63. Home Capital, Inc.
62. Home 123 Mortgage
61. Homefield Financial
60. First Horizon Subprime, Equity Lending
59. Platinum Capital Group (Wholesale)
58. First Source Funding Group (FSFG)
57. Alterna Mortgage
56. Solutions Funding
55. People's Mortgage
53. Zone Funding
52. First Consolidated (Subprime Wholesale)
51. EquiFirst
50. SouthStar Funding
49. Warehouse USA
48. H&R Block Mortgage
47. Madison Equity Loans
46. HSBC Mortgage Services (correspondent div.)
45. Sunset Direct Lending
44. Kellner Mortgage Investments
43. LoanCity
42. CoreStar Financial Group
41. Ameriquest, ACC Wholesale
40. Investaid Corp.
39. People's Choice Financial Corp.
38. Master Financial
37. Maribella Mortgage
36. FMF Capital LLC
35. New Century Financial Corp.
34. Wachovia Mortgage (Correspondent div.)
33. Ameritrust Mortgage Company (Subprime Wholesale)
32. Trojan Lending (Wholesale)
31. Fremont General Corporation
30. DomesticBank (Wholesale Lending Division)
29. Ivanhoe Mortgage/Central Pacific Mortgage
28. Eagle First Mortgage
27. Coastal Capital
26. Silver State Mortgage
25. ECC Capital/Encore Credit
24. Lender's Direct Capital Corporation (wholesale division)
23. Concorde Acceptance
22. DeepGreen Financial
21. American Freedom Mortgage, Inc.
20. Millenium Bankshares (Mortgage Subsidiaries)
19. Summit Mortgage
18. Mandalay Mortgage
17. Rose Mortgage
16. EquiBanc
15. FundingAmerica
14. Popular Financial Holdings
13. Clear Choice Financial/Bay Capital
12. Origen Wholesale Lending
11. SecuredFunding
10. Preferred Advantage
9. MLN
8. Sovereign Bancorp (Wholesale Ops)
7. Harbourton Mortgage Investment Corporation
6. OwnIt Mortgage
5. Sebring Capital Partners
4. Axis Mortgage & Investments
3. Meritage Mortgage
2. Acoustic Home Loans
1. Merit Financial

Monday, July 14, 2008

Obama - It Started In Springfield, Illinois

It Started In Springfield

Barack Obama's presidential campaign is funded entirely by grassroots supporters like you. Senator Obama does not accept money from special interest groups and Washington lobbyists. As a result:

* Barack Obama owes nothing to the Health Insurance Industry
* Barack Obama owes nothing to the Oil Industry
* Barack Obama owes nothing to the Weapons Industry

Instead, Senator Obama truly represents the change we can believe in because his only obligation is to the best interests of the American people, made possible by individual supporters like you.

At the end of the video when Michelle Obama, and Barack Obama hug, if you look at the crowd behind the Obamas - that's where Dave of, and I were. Standing out in the crowd with the giant American flag behind us.

It was so cold that morning, but it was the most historic event I have ever participated in.

If you haven't donated to Senator Obama's presidential campaign visit his website, and donate five or ten dollars - or more if you can.

The Republican National Committee, and John McSame's campaign raised nearly $100 million dollars last month - and almost all of it from washington special interest lobbying firms and PACs.

If we want to liberate our government from the stranglehold of the special interest which have derailed universal health care, kept our nation embroiled in a trumped up never ending war in Iraq, prevented all efforts to promote what's best for the common American family - then it's now or never.

Obama's campaign is NOT taking PAC money, and it's not taking money from lobbyist.

It's your choice folks - be jaded, and sophisticated, be too wise to get suckered into supporting any politician - and don't donate.

Say to yourselves that it won't matter, or someone else can donate for you, and watch as this country continues down the same horrible path of war profiteering, of government by lies, of government run by the most corrupt.

If you want eight more years of WAR, if you want FIFTY MILLION WORKING AMERICANS to continue to have no medical insurance, If you want a government as corrupt as a McCain Administration will be - then simply do nothing - and you'll get your wish.

But if so, you'll have no credibility whatsoever when you complain - none.

But if you care about your country, about your future, about your family, then now is the time to donate to the Obama campaign.

Even a five dollar donation will allow you the bragging rights to having helped put the best candidate in office - someone who cares about you - instead of the millionaire's club that the Republican Party caters to.

It's time to take our government back - for the people - for the real Americans.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

My Cat Koshi On Dope

Video: Poor Koshi Cat Doping It Up

I've tried and tried to persuade my cat to break his addiction to dope, but will he listen?

While I'm out working all day all Koshi does is sleep, and stare out the window.

He doesn't seem to think it's a problem.

But years from now I'm sure he'll look back at all the wasted time, and he'll see that he really could have used his energies more wisely.

Note: I had a coworker tell me today that she thought Koshi was eating Marijuana in the video above. Koshi is eating cat nip. I don't smoke pot, but if I did I sure as hell wouldn't let my cat eat it at the current price of pot. From the look of the video that would be about ten dollars of pot there - and don't ask me how I would know such a thing - the point is - it's cat pot, not human pot.

email jp






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