The Incredible Korla Pandit

23 02 2017

Do you know about Korla Pandit?  Have you even heard of him?

Yeah, neither had we, until we recently caught the better part of a PBS World documentary about this fellow.  A real enigma, but one that was eventually figured out (to a certain extent) by a journalist, shortly after his death.

 

Being as we are nearly at the end of Black History Month in the U.S., I thought it germane to share this incredible story.  Korla, of mixed African-American and French heritage, assumed the identity of an Indian musician in order to be accepted during his time. The documentary suggests that racism and Jim Crow policies would have made it difficult, if not impossible altogether, to perform and pursue a career otherwise.  A contemporary of Liberace’s, he was one of the earliest musicians to be featured on a television broadcast in the U.S.

PBS SoCal has some additional info and links here.  We highly recommend this excellent and entertaining documentary about a very interesting man and persona.  He was an incredible musician as well – play the video above, of Korla performing Miserlou on an electric organ and a piano simultaneously!

By the way, in the documentary, I happened to pause it to refresh my cocktail, and noticed that the frame it froze on included an address on Los Feliz Blvd (an address where he was performing).  I looked it up on Google Maps and looked at the street view, curious as to what was there these days.  It appears to be an apartment building, but next-door to it (or perhaps the correct address?) is a curious institution that seemed to fit right into the allure and mystery of Korla Pandit:

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That website takes you to the University for Philosophical Research. Some interesting info about that institution can be found on Wiki.

More music from Korla Pandit (a solid 35-minute chunk):

 

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Fun with Google Auto-Complete

18 01 2012

While researching a client’s name today, I found some surprisingly hilarious autocomplete suggestions.

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I have censored the name to protect this person’s anonymity. At first I had only blacked out the first name, but then discovered that the last name plus one of these suggestions revealed the first name after all.

If Google is to be trusted, this person may be a slob, a CPA, or on a chain gang.  Perhaps s/he is all of the above!





PIPA and SOPA should help themselves to a hot cup of STFU

17 01 2012

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Tomorrow, January 18th, 2012, the English language version of Wikipedia will go dark for 24 hours in protest of the so-called Stop Online Piracy Act currently being considered in the American Congress, and its equivalent PIPA in the U.S. Senate.

I must confess that while I have heard rumblings from the free speech crowd over the past six months or so, this was what prompted me to actually read up on it. After all, this blog is a tribute to my trips down the “Wiki hole” as one of my friends describes it – random click on links to articles within articles.

One wants to believe that this legislation is well-intended but misguided, but sometime you have to wonder. The online free speech advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation suggests that portions of both bills are worded to allow for corporations and government departments to shut down websites for highly subjective reasons.

Corporations with conflicting interests could use their newfound powers to stifle free speech if they so desire. An example they give is a cable television company who is also a local ISP (as many are) who blacklist a video sharing site because that site competes against the cable company for revenue. They could block the IP address for the video site, citing these bits of legislation, and basically hide behind the claim of “possible copyright infringement.”

Other companies could use it against open source software developers to snuff out competition.

Worse still, the anti-circumvention clause in SOPA could hinder free speech for a very important constituency, people who live in repressive societies without the right to free speech. So websites and services that allow for anonymous browsing could come under fire if these bills pass, because potentially the same sites could be used for piracy and copyright infringement. 

I heard someone on the radio today make an analogy to that point, stating (I’ll paraphrase):

It’s as if the banking industry told Congress, look, cars are used in committing bank robberies, so we should outlaw cars.

Important recent historical events such as the Arab Spring could not have taken place in the same way (or, some would argue, at all) if not for access to the Internet.

Racing to the Red Light fully supports Wikipedia’s decision to go offline in protest of the SOPA and PIPA legislation, and urges American politicians to resist these ill-conceived attacks on Internet free speech.