Expert In a Dying Field (2022) – The Beths

The Beths is a exciting Indie Rock group from New Zealand. I became familiar with their music reading Max’s blog at PowerPop. This is the second song to appear from them here after Happy Unhappy. I am still in the early – discovery stage of their music, but I like what I have heard so far. They produce hip and breezy alternative music.
Today’s featured song – Expert in a Dying Field is an exemplar of why I find them so appealing. The music video below cleverly delivers their message. It’s homely, intimate, transparent, unusual, witty and engaging. Frankly, it’s just a breath of fresh air to see young talented music artists holding a candle up to older generations. The finale of the song from 3:00 is bold and stunning.

Expert in a Dying Field is the title track from The Beths third studio album released on 16 September 2022. It received acclaim from music critics.

[Verse 1]
Can we erase our history?
Is it as easy as this?
Plausible deniability
I swear I’ve never heard of it
And I can close the door on us
But the room still exists
And I know you’re in it

[Verse 2]
Hours of phrases I’ve memorized
Thousands of lines on the page
All of my notes in a desolate pile
I haven’t touched in an age
And I can burn the evidence
But I can’t burn the pain
And I can’t forget it

How does it feel (How does it feel)
To be an expert in a dying field?
And how do you know (How do you know)
It’s over when you can’t let go?

As a librarian, I feel this song haha

The group principally consists of lead vocalist Elizabeth Stokes, guitarist Jonathan Pearce, bassist Benjamin Sinclair, and drummer Tristan Deck. Elizabeth Stokes and Jonathan Pearce originally met in high school, and they met both Benjamin Sinclair and Ivan Luketina-Johnston when all four attended classes at the University of Auckland, studying jazz. The Beths were formed in late 2014.

The band is known for its use of vocal harmony, using the voices of all four band members. Members of the band have cited Alvvays and Bully as inspirations for their work. The former group has already featured here.

1. Expert in A Dying Field – The Beths – Wikipedia
2. The Beths – Wikipedia

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Let It Rain – Michael W Smith

Today’s song Let It Rain could be described as a meditative companion piece of a previous song I wrote about by Michael W Smith Healing Rain. Let It Rain was written by songwriter and artist Michael Farren; However, Michael W. Smith released it first according to The Berean Test web site dedicated to analysing lyrics in Jesus’ name.
The Chorus repeats the same line 18 repeats throughout this song.

[Chorus 1]
Let it rain, let it rain
Open the floodgates of Heaven
Let it rain, let it rain
Open the floodgates of Heaven
Let it rain, let it rain
Open the floodgates of Heaven
Let it rain, let it rain

According to the reference below: (Let It Rain) disseminates a request for God’s blessing upon us, narrates His rulership and reign over all creation, and describes His mighty demonstration of His strength...All of the words are quoted or paraphrased from the NIV translation of the Bible.

The intermittent Bridge is from Psalm 97:

The Lord reigns, let the earth be glad;
    let the distant shores rejoice.
Clouds and thick darkness surround him;
    righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.

You can read more about Michael W Smith’s biography in my previous posts, but below is a snippet of his upbringing from Wikipedia:

Michael Whitaker Smith was born to Paul and Barbara Smith in Kenova, West Virginia. His father was an oil refinery worker at the Ashland Oil Refinery, in nearby Catlettsburg, Kentucky. His mother was a caterer. He inherited his love of baseball from his father, who had played in the minor leagues. As a child, he developed a love of music through his church. He learned piano at an early age and sang in his church choir. At the age of 10, he had “an intense spiritual experience” that led to his becoming a devout Christian. “I wore this big cross around my neck,” he would recall, “It was very real to me.” He became involved in Bible study and found a group of older friends who shared his faith.

1. Michael W Smith – Let it Rain – The Berean Test
2. Psalm 97 – Bible Gateway

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A Thousand Years (2011) – Christina Perri (The Live Room)

Christina Perri meeting her music-maker in the Live Room

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: ‘It wouldn’t be a week in my blog-space without a Christina Perri song‘. The last song by Perri – You Mean the Whole Wide World to Me was presented here 16 days ago, so effectively my blog-space has been in hiatus for 9 days.

When I first heard this song ‘A Thousand Years‘, I wasn’t smitten with it. I found it a bit too commercial and sappy for my musical tastes. Then my daughter Katherine surprisingly put ‘A Thousand Years‘ on, and it woke me up. I understood; ‘If my daughter likes this song, then I’m missing something in it‘. My seven-year-old angel put me onto Andres Calamaro so it’s not as though I’m not going to revisit ‘A Thousand Years‘ through her lens. And by golly was I missing something!

[Verse 1]
Heart beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave?
How can I love when I’m
Afraid to fall?
But watching you stand alone
All of my doubt
Suddenly goes away somehow

One step closer
I have died every day waiting for you
Darling, don’t be afraid, I have loved you
For a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more

The version of Perri singing this below in The Live Room is in my humble estimation one of the best live music performances I have ever seen. As I described above, this event appears to me as though Perri is confronting her musical maker. Muhammad Ali in his fight against Foreman in Zaire had a similar glare to Perri discussed here. A surreal occasion of sanctuary, sobriety, perfectionism and creativity. You can almost taste it. ‘It’s now or never‘.

Ali went back to the corner. The nightmare he’d been awaiting in the ring had finally come to visit him. He was in the ring with a man he could not dominate. He was stronger than him. Who was not afraid of him. Who was going to try to knock him out and punched harder than Ali could punch. This man was determined and unstoppable. And Ali had a look on his face that I’ll never forget. It’s the only time I saw fear in Ali’s eyes. Ali looked as if he looked into himself…’Alright this is the moment.This is what you’ve been waiting for. This is that hour. Do you have the guts?’ He kind of nodded to himself. Like, got to get it together boy. Really got to get it together and you are going to get it together. He nodded some more as if he was looking into the eyes of his maker. And then he turned to the crowd and yelled ‘Ali boma ye‘ and a hundred thousand yelled back ‘ Ali boma ye‘.

I find watching Perri perform this song in the video below so comforting, but awe-inspiring. Pure beauty at it most rudimentary. The astute musicians accompanying her – ‘have got her back‘ and they are rallying to help her do the best she can and make this ‘her sanctuary‘. I recalled in other articles how the guitarist and back-up singer Johnny Hanson reminded me of my best friend John Lilburne, not only because of how he looks, but in measure of temperament. He’s steadfast and so supportive.

A Thousand Years was written by Perri and David Hodges, for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1. The song is about the love affair between Edward and Bella in the novel and subsequent film series Twilight. This song’s official video has over 2 billion views, making it one of the top 100 most-viewed YouTube videos. By July 2013, the song has sold over three million digital downloads in the US.

1. A Thousand Years (Christina Perri song) – Wikipedia

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The AnkiDroid Collection (Part 37) – Tutankhamun, Radiation & The Bronze Age

Ankidroid additions related to Science, History and Philosophy. More information about Anki can be found in this article.

Pharoah Tutankhamun (King Tut)

Face of the pharaoh. A gilded wooden statue of Tutankhamun, which was found in the room of his tomb known as the treasury. His youthful face is a reminder that Tutankhamun died young, but his reign was of major significance for restoring Egypt’s traditional gods.

Howard Carter above with anonymous worker at the opening of King Tut’s tomb

Tutankhamun (King Tut) was the antepenultimate Pharoah of ancient Egypt. He died in 1323BC aged 19.

His tomb was discovered in 1922 in the Valley of Kings and revealed 5000 artifacts. King Tut’s curse was associated with those people associated with the opening of the tomb who soon fell victim of the curse. The reality is the average duration of life for those who should have suffered from the curse was more than 23 years after the curse was supposed to become effective according to James Randi. he also added the group who guarded his tomb died at an average age of 73 years. It seems the curse of Tut was a beneficial curse.

The head of the team of discovery Howard Carter did try to dissuade the nosey press, intruders and robbers with the threat of a Supernatural event.

What is Radiation?

Radiation is the emission of energy as electromagnetic waves or as moving subatomic particles especially high energy particles which cause ionization. The electromagnetic force is a charge which causes chemical reactions. This is what makes chemistry happen. Chemistry is the the study of electron configuration. Light for example is electromagnetic radiation. Ionizing radiation starts knocking electrons out of molecules causing them to break up or stick together and hence break the bonds of DNA.

The Bronze Age

The Bronze Age was a prehistoric age between 3000 and 1200 BC which covered South East Europe, North Africa and West Asia. The age was characterised by use of tin and copper to make bronze and protowriting. It encapsulated the early features of urban civilisation.

Its violent and sudden collapse was caused by volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, invasions by sea peoples, drought and economic collapse due to ironworking.

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Let It All Go (2007) – Mark Knopfler

Let It All Go is the third song to appear here from Mark Knopfler (inc. Dire Straits) and it certainly won’t be the last. He’s been on my playlist for years. A lot of his solo music (post Straits) is unassuming and restrained, but I find it very soothing.
What are the chances this song article is released exactly one year after I highlighted the video – Mark Knopfler – Shows how to play guitar finger picking style.

This is a fascinating little instructional video by one of the greatest guitarists Mark Knophler on Skavlan TV.  Knopfler is so articulate. (Watch video excerpt here)

My friend and fellow blogger Max from Nashville responded: ‘Mark Knopfler is amazing…you cannot get his sound without finger picking. I know one guy who learned the solo to Sultans of Swing with a pick and he finally gave up and done it with his fingers…it was dead on that way.’

Today’s featured track was released on Knopfler’s 5th studio album Kill to Get Crimson. The album’s title comes from a line Let It All Go. The album cover image is taken from the painting Four Lambrettas and Three Portraits of Janet Churchman by John Bratby, painted in 1958.

When it’s pop goes the weasel, let go of the easel
You don’t want this rickety rackety life
It’s seat of the trousers, it’s all sink or swim, son
I’d kill to get crimson on this palette knife
And I’d steal in a minute, I’m up to here in it
You here behaving as though I’m a saint
Get a job with a pension, don’t ever mention
You once had a craving for the brushes and paint

So go, forget it, let it all go, let it all go
Go, forget it, let it all go
Go, forget it, let it all go, let it all go
Go, forget it, let it all go, let it all go

[Verse 2]
A hack writer judges my swipes and my smudges
He doesn’t like pictures with blotches and blots
The drawing room tea set wants horses, sunsets
Sweet nothings, the seaside with yachts
Here’s the end of the thirties, no time for arties
Over in Poland, a right old to-do
So go join the navy, the air force or the army
They’ll all be enrolling young fellows like you

The album Kill to Get Crimson debuted at number 26 on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling about 23,000 copies in its first week. The Kill to Get Crimson Tour promoting the album started on 29 March 2008 in Amsterdam, Netherlands and ended on 31 July 2008 in Miami, Florida.

1. Kill to Get Crimson – Wikipedia

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20/3 – 26/3/23 – Chat GPT 4.0

news on the march

Welcome to Monday’s News on the March – The week that was in my digital world.

Ordinarily I highlight 3 or more references illuminating the week passed, but I wish to devote this entire News on the March to one topic regarding AGI due to its order of magnitude in how it may affect our lives, even in the immediate to short – term future.

Bret and Heather 167th DarkHorse Podcast Livestream: AGI: Where Will it End?
Video podcast at Bret Weinstein

GPT-4 is more creative and collaborative than ever before. It can generate, edit, and iterate with users on creative and technical writing tasks, such as composing songs, writing screenplays, or learning a user’s writing style.

I remember watching the documentary Game Over (2003) when World Chess Champion Gary Kasparov played a chess match against IBM’s computer Deep Blue in 1997. He lost the match. Now it’s a given that even the best Chess players in the world including Magnus Carlsen can’t hold a candle to Artificial Intelligence game – play.

AGI, that is Artificial General Intelligence has now attained a capacity to understand or learn any intellectual task equal or better than human beings or other animals, but most strikingly it appears now that experts of this AI can’t ascertain how it could realize its deductive reasoning to achieve such extraordinary output.

To put this into perspective, according to Bret’s comments and reflections about the findings of the paper Bubeck et al 2023. Sparks of Artificial General Intelligence: Early experiments with GPT-4 this is a first in Artificial Intelligence advancement; specifically, how experts, or even the AI creators don’t know how this Intelligence deducted its reasoning to outperform humans.

Our findings suggest that GPT-4 has a very advanced level of theory of mind…We have argued that the ability to explain oneself is a key aspect of intelligence, and that GPT-4 exhibits remarkable skills in generating explanations that are output-consistent, i.e. consistent with the prediction given the input and context.

AI has got so advanced that it impossible for humans to discern whether or not videos / pictures are real as seen already in many tic-toc and facebook snippets ..I recently wrote an article called Joe Biden AI Voice Speech where Bruce my New Zealand amigo chimed ‘I don’t believe it was edited at all‘ (a bit tongue in cheek). From here on on in and it will get worse. We might never be able to trust our own senses about what is real, as alluded to by Joe Rogan in that article.
Also, I point y’all to my article on the movie: Ex Machina for more stimuli on this topic.

You see even today; the press and the Government will claim a lie as truth. By the time it can be demonstrated to be a lie, the damage is, for the most part, already done, because people already believe the lie because that’s what they heard, and they haven’t seen it retracted.

It gets even worse than this. On an individual level, Meritocracy could be dead in little time. The average C plus student with a bent on such technology could subtly acquire the skills to allow the technology to write their answers for them, but not in a way that makes him or her a plagiarist, but a student advancing. And in their subsequent correspondence appear a struggling but agreeable student worthy of support.

Another example, a composer of Classical Music who seeks fame in their field, could use such AI to compose the best music of their preferred artists. Or a talentless songwriter who adores Nick Cave will start writing like Nick or at least writing to such an advanced level that he could be deemed as ‘great’ as Nick and no one else the wiser except perhaps Nick. Nick Cave recently remarked that ‘ChatGPT’s AI attempt to write Nick Cave lyrics ‘sucks.
The list is endless how this AI could be exploited.

Even on a collectivist level; a Regime or Government could learn to harness such technology to implement the policies as advocated by the program (the part of the Overton window in policy range) to win more votes in the subsequent election. On a local level instead of having ‘focus groups‘, this AI could do the focusing for them and arrive at outcomes better than they intended, because, to put it frankly, the AI knows what is assured to succeed.

Artificial Intelligence and ChatGPT—should we be worried? If so, how worried? Bret proposes three categories of AI: malevolent, misaligned, and deranging. (Watch entire video segment on GPT4.0 here)

news on the march the end
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Special Edition Post – Persephone in Hades – Theodora Goss

This poem was just published by Theodora:

Persephone in Hades
by Theodora Goss

Poppies have never been my favorite flowers.
Here they bloom all year long, if one can say
a year in Hades, where no seasons pass,
where summer never fades. Ironic, that —
a land of death where nothing ever dies.

I have almost forgotten how it feels
when snowflakes fall and melt against my cheeks,
when frost spreads her white veil across the landscape,
covering the hills, decorating the leaves
that rattle on the trees with intricate lace.
I miss that time of year when autumn fires
bloom in the household hearths. Here, no fires burn.
Instead, among the wheat, the poppies sway:
an endless field to drug men into sleep,
relieve their pains or worries for a while,
here, in this silent land where all are welcome.

As silent as my husband, Hades himself,
who sits all day in his library reading scrolls
lost to the world above us. “Why did you bring me
to this stagnant country,” I ask him, “if not to talk?
To sit and brood in a chair made out of bones,
or stare out the window at the unchanging garden,
in which only yew trees grow, and never speak?
Why abduct the daughter of Demeter?
Why not some other girl?” He shakes his head
and sighs. He would be handsome, if not so lost
in his own dreams. Or if he would trim his beard.
“I saw your hair lift in the wind,” he says,
“and thought of it blowing back against my face,
but there is no wind down here. I saw your mouth
and thought perhaps it would kiss me, or whisper poems
into my ears. Perhaps then I’d wake up
from this endless sleep, this abyss of timelessness.
I thought you might love me in time, forgetting that love
cannot live in this land.” He looks at me, frowning.
“You’ll never love me, will you, Persephone?”
“Not,” I say, “as long as you keep me here,
while above us frost and snow blanket the earth —
away from death, among the endless dead.”
“Yet how can I let you go?” His eyes plead with me,
I suppose to be forgiven or understood,
but I turn away, unsympathetic. He should
know better: you cannot have love on such terms.
Even the gods, selfish as children, know that.

It is useless, here, to count the days, and yet
a day will come, a day without a dawn,
when I will feel that ache within my chest,
as though a string were tied around my heart,
and know, with crocuses and hyacinths,
it’s time to push my way through the dark soil
into the sunlight, into my mother’s arms.
It’s time to blossom like the olive trees,
be born again into mortality
for a little while, laugh and shake water drops
from my hair, dance across the sunlit meadows
sprinkled with daisies and cornflowers, forget the land
of death and poppies, at least for a little while.

To forget, for a little while, the silent husband
who waits implacably at summer’s end.

You can view Theodora’s blog at Theodora Goss

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Let It Grow (1974) – Eric Clapton

Let It Grow is one of my favourite Eric Clapton songs and surprisingly the first song to appear here from him at the Music Library Project. I remember when I was at the Defence Academy in my late teens listening to this incessantly. It whetted my appetite to enjoy the night ahead when we had ‘leave’. The other song by Clapton which I was besotted (and still am) was his achingly beautiful Wonderful Tonight.

Let It Grow was released on Eric Clapton’s 1974 album 461 Ocean Boulevard which is the address of the house in Miami where Clapton and his band lived while they were making the album. In 1970, Eric Clapton released a song with his group Derek & the Dominos called Keep On Growing where he sang about finding fertile ground for love. In his gentle solo track Let It Grow he stays with the garden theme as a metaphor for love, singing, “Plant your love and let it grow.”

[Verse 1]
Standing at the crossroads, trying to read the signs
To tell me which way I should go to find the answer
And all the time I know
Plant your love and let it grow

Let it grow, let it grow
Let it blossom, let it flow
In the sun, the rain, the snow
Love is lovely, let it grow

461 Ocean Boulevard is the second studio album by Eric Clapton. The album was released in late July 1974 (5 months after I was born). It was released shortly after his hit single I Shot the Sheriff in early July the same year. The album topped various international charts and sold more than two million copies.
Yvonne Elliman sang backup on this record. Before joining Clapton’s band in 1974, she played Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ, Superstar. If you want to point your ears towards an almost forgotten fantastic disco hit then listen to Yvonne’s If I Can’t Have You.

1. Songfacts – Let It Grow
2. 461 Ocean Boulevard – Wikipedia

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Less of Me (1968) – Roger Miller

My father listened a lot to the Sydney’s talkback radio broadcaster John Laws. Today’s song – Less of Me by Roger Miller was John Laws theme song. Suffice to say my father was a fan of it. It is such a beautiful song… It could easily be a prayer. The lyrics and melody are on another level. Less of Me evokes such strong memories not only because I heard it so often growing up, but I think about my Dad and how he tirelessly devoted himself to us. I wrote a tribute to him in my article – ANZAC Day in Australia and Memories of my Father.

Let me be a little kinder let me be a little blinder

To the faults of those about me let me praise a little more
Let me be when I am weary just a little bit more cheery
Think a little more of others and a little less of me
[ Mhm mhm mhm ]

Let me be a little braver when temptation bits me waver
Let me try a little harder to be all that I should be
Let me be a little meeker with the brother that is weaker
Let me think more of my neighbor and a little less of me
[ Mhm mhm mhm ]

Let me be when I am weary just a little bit more cheery
Let me serve a little better those that I am striving for
Let me be a little meeker with the brother that is weaker
Think a little more of others and a little less of me

If I had to safekeep just 10 songs of sentimental value, then Less of Me would be high up on that list. This song always gives me goosebumps and puts things into immediate perspective. Someone wrote in the comments below:

This is the Ten Commandments ‘in song’. Truly inspirational. If the human race lived by this basic credo, we’d have no more war or dispute. Happiness and peace would be ours.

Roger Dean Miller Sr. (1936 – 1992) was an American singer-songwriter, widely known for his honky-tonk-influenced novelty songs and his chart-topping country and pop hits King of the Road, Dang Me, and England Swings, all from the mid-1960s Nashville sound era. Today’s featured song Less of me was released on his 1968 record – A Tender Look at Love.

1. Roger Miller – Wikipedia

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Leopard-Skin Pill Box Hat (1966) – Bob Dylan (Live 1966)

Bob Dylan is obsessed with his ‘honey’s’ Leopard-Skin Pill Box Hat. So much so he asks her: Honey, can I jump on it sometime? Yes, I just wanna see If it’s really the expensive kind.
If I had a gal who owned a Leopard-Skin Pill Box Hat (like a dreamy Audrey); I too would be obsessed and fancy jumping on it, to the point where a doctor might suggest Audrey (‘that lass in your dreams‘) is bad for your health. It goes without saying: ‘I wouldn’t act on his advice’.

Leopard-Skin Pill Box Hat is the third song to appear here from from the legendary Manchester Free Trade Hall 1966 concert. I wrote about Edward Norton’s comments of Dylan’s impact on the music scene and the immensity of this concert.

Oh, you like what I’m doing? I’m gone..I’m over here..’enjoy’…You’re not gonna like it because you liked what I just did and now where I’m going you are going to be discombobulated and upset and eventually, you’re going to catch up and when you catch up, I’m going to move onto something else.

How many people do you know, in any of the things we all do, who get a taste of a thing and don’t lean into it for a while? Who don’t think…’well this feels good’. May be I’ll just hang-out right here.

Leopard-Skin Pill Box Hat was first recorded here, one month prior to its official release on the mercurial new-rock record Blonde on Blonde.

[Verse 1]
Well, I see you got your
Brand new leopard-skin pillbox hat
Yes, I see you got your
Brand new leopard-skin pillbox hat
Well, you must tell me, baby
How your head feels under something like that
Under your brand-new leopard-skin pillbox hat

[Verse 2]
Well, you look so pretty in it
Honey, can I jump on it sometime?
Yes, I just wanna see
If it’s really the expensive kind
You know it balances on your head
Just like a mattress balances
On a bottle of wine
Your brand new leopard-skin pillbox hat

Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat peaked at number 81 on the American Billboard Top 100 chart.

According to Dylan’s lyrics, Wikipedia states that he affectionately ridicules a female “fashion victim“who wears a leopard-skin pillbox hat. The pillbox hat was a fashionable ladies’ hat in the United States in the early to mid-1960s, most famously worn by Jacqueline Kennedy. Dylan satirically crosses this accessory’s high-fashion image with leopard-skin material, perceived as more downmarket and vulgar. The song was also written and released after pillbox hats had been at the height of fashion.

Some journalists and Dylan biographers have speculated that the song was inspired by Edie Sedgwick, an actress and model associated with Andy Warhol. It has been suggested that Sedgwick was an inspiration for other Dylan songs of the time as well, particularly some from Blonde on Blonde. Following her estrangement from Warhol’s inner circle, Sedgwick began living at the Chelsea Hotel, where she became close to Bob Dylan. Dylan and his friends eventually convinced Sedgwick to sign up with Albert Grossman, Dylan’s manager.

1. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat – Wikipedia

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