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it’s 2:30a July 17, 2008

Posted by d.w. in misc.

i had a dream a month ago that i had a pet cobra. it was a boy cobra. and he wasn’t just a cobra, he was king cobra. and he wasn’t just my pet, he was my best friend. like dogs are supposed to be. but king cobras can murder dogs. they usually aren’t interested in murdering dogs though, since their diet consists primarily of snakes. maybe even cobras. but not other king cobras. they’re not even in the same genus, so it’s not cannibalism. plus it’s smart for snakes to eat snakes since they’re the same shape. anyways, so i had this best friend king cobra in my dream. and there was an emergency of some sort. and i had to go somewhere fast. so i borrow this brown truck (i don’t know anyone who owns one in real life, which is how i knew it was a dream — and anytime cobras are involved, it’s always a dream), and my cobra and i take off. the king cobra is well-behaved in vehicles (even trucks), and starts out on the seat. i’m driving on the freeway pretty fast and the king cobra gets bored of freeway scenery and starts slithering around under the seat. i thought this was a very natural thing for him to do, since it wasn’t my truck. so he’s checking it out down there and i’m driving fast. then this other truck (two trucks in one dream? i should’ve known it was actually a nightmare) cuts in front of me. i swerve to miss it and slide off the road and i do a 180 on the dirt and come to a stop. my first reaction is to check to see if my best friend cobra is okay. so i reach under the seat to pull him out (and it’s obvious to me that this is how i normally interact with him) and he bites me in the hand. this reaction by my best friend is completely understandable, since the truck had slid all around and probably startled the snake. plus he’s a king cobra. and he naturally bites creatures that it deems threatening. so in my dream, i don’t even hold the king cobra accountable for biting me. it just seems like an unfortunate series of events. (is that the title of a book?) i have cobra nightmares at least 8 times a year. no kidding. they’re almost always the same. i think the king cobra and i have an understanding and i get bit and wake up.

so i’ve been staring at the screen for like 14 minutes. and the letters now seem gigantic. it’s like i’m watching a movie where someone else is typing. actually, it’s exactly like when i have the flu. when i get the flu, my dreams usually consist of these gigantic but delicate objects smashing really really tiny spheres. every time i have a dream like that it think it’s totally weird. but that’s what it’s like right now. the letters are huge. and they seem like they could break apart. or get crushed by something even bigger. like the twin towers.

how did anything hit the pentagon on 9-11? isn’t it the most protected airspace in the world? aren’t there automatic anti-aircraft missiles? wasn’t the entire pentagon and u.s. military on alert since there had been two planes flown into buildings and at least two more hijacked at the time? and isn’t there an air force base within 10 minutes driving of the pentagon.

the letters are back to normal size.

two christmas’s ago i read a lot about the claim that paul mccartney died and was replaced by a look-a-like. i read for about 5 hours on 4 straight days. i wanted to believe it. i really did. i usually want to believe these far-fetched conspiracies. but i can’t. because they’re usually completely implausible. how would they find a paul look-a-like that plays bass left-handed and sings the same? how would they keep linda and john and george and ringo quiet? how would they keep the look-a-like’s family and friends quiet? i read this page called “undeniable forensic dissertation.” it has pictures of the real and fake pauls and compares them. pretty convincing. except for how impossible i think it would be. but i spent some time trying to convince brian, even though i didn’t believe it. i just did some more reading a second ago. this guy gary patterson was on coast to coast AM to talk about this stuff. i guess he’s written a book. in his article, he quotes someone, “The resolution of the pictures is not comparison quality- different angles are not a scientific way to examine photographs especially to back up an argument. Different angles are there to give an overall view only but not for comparison. It has to theoretically be an exact of the one you are comparing it against. Changes in muscle movements in various photographs cannot be seen with the naked eye but can change measurements if you are comparing only photographs. That is why unless you can see beneath the skin to the actual muscle-then you cannot say precisely what a facial measurement is especially using two photographs that are that dissimilar in expression for comparison.”

also, he links to a couple of interesting websites that deal with this idea of comparing images of paul pre-1967 and post-1967. “paul mccartney is not dead” and “sir james paul mccartney“.

anyways, my point is that i like to read about this stuff. but i’m very skeptical. i try to convince people, but i really just like talking about this stuff. then i started reading about 9-11. and this is different. at the beginning i watched a bunch of videos and stuff about how live television was doctored and stuff. very fascinating, but not super believable. but then i started really reading about it. and there’s a lot of stuff i do believe now. like that the planes weren’t intercepted out of incompetence but out of negligence. or that the pentagon might not have been hit by flight 77. right now i’m reading this book called “the new pearl harbor” by david ray griffin. i thought it would be way annoying. but it’s surprisingly pretty good. i think he jumps to conclusions too often, but the evidence is laid out very nicely. it doesn’t convince me of his claim that the white house was involved in planning the attacks, but it has convinced me thoroughly that almost the entire official 9-11 story is fabricated. and also i’m convinced that members of the defense department knew what was happening and allowed it to happen. but mostly, i’m convinced that a serious investigation needs to be made. a website that i’ve been looking at a lot is 911research.wtc7.net. it suffers from jumping to conclusions from time to time, but i think it’s been pretty fair in most of my reading.  but i have a new favorite website: 911review.com.

so for the first time in my interest in these sorts of “conspiracy theories”, i’ve actually started buying into one. but i’m reluctant to, because of the association people make between conspiracy theorists and crackpots. i don’t believe the crazy stories. but in some ways, i think the crazy stories are more plausible than the official story. so i tell people about this stuff i’m reading all the time. and they probably think i’m just joking. like with the paul mccartney stuff. when i tried to convince brian and greg and krista, i didn’t really believe it at all. so when i talk about this 9-11 stuff, i sometimes laugh it off so i don’t seem like i’m obsessed or something. but i guess if i stay up until 4:00a reading about it, i might be obsessed anyways.

i just go through phases, right? 2 years ago i read about cobras all the time. last year paul mccartney. this year 9-11. i don’t understand it really. but i do know that this is the worst, most boring blog i’ve ever written in my life. i don’t dare go back to read what i wrote. it’s 3:52a and i’ve been reading stuff and writing a few things for an hour and a half. and i don’t think i’ve tried to make any jokes. i actually started this blog because i re-read the one about wimbledon and hated it. i hated that it was the top blog. and i wanted to write something. so i wrote about cobras. and 9-11. it’s too hard to come up with jokes in the middle of the night.


wimbledon, 2008 July 9, 2008

Posted by d.w. in sports.
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for posterity’s sake, i’d like to mention that sunday was one of the greatest days of my life. i got up at 7:30a to watch the wimbledon final between rafael nadal and roger federer. during the first rain delay, i went up to brian and gavin’s house. there’s was a big party, basically. i ate some waffles and then the rain delay was over. we watched a riveting 4th set. i couldn’t believe it. really. then there was a brief rain delay in the 5th set, and i played ping pong outdoors. which is nice because of how much space you have, but also kind of weird because you have to deal with the wind. i typed in “ping pong wind” into google, but it thought i said wind, not wind. like a wind up toy ping pong, pictured below.

when tennis started again, we went back inside and watched a fantastic 5th set that i was sure would spill over into the next day. but by some miracle, nadal broke federer and served out to win. there were so many incredible shots by both of those guys. i was really glad to see federer playing so well, especially considering that according to djokovic, federer was vulnerable after his french open loss.

the main point is that this was more than just the best sporting event i’ve ever been a part of. for probably the only time in my life, i wasn’t disappointed by the athletes i love. i don’t get disappointed in them. disappointment isn’t the right word. but it does make me sad when they don’t play as well as i know they can. in basketball my favorite teams always lose, and they usually lose early. same in everything. but not with this wimbledon. if i’d planned wimbledon out, it might’ve been really close to this. i was glad to see all the early upsets: blake and roddick in the 2nd round; djokovic choking in the 3rd; sharapova in one of those early rounds. and i was really excited to see nadal and federer reach the final so convincingly. nadal only lost a set en route to the final and federer didn’t even drop a set.

so wimbledon is supposedly the most sacred tennis event. i don’t buy into that, but according to people, this wimbledon victory for nadal is the best tennis result spain could hope for. and now spain is trying to do what boston couldn’t… win the championship in 3 major sports. the patriots lost to the giants in last year’s super bowl, so only ended up with 2 championships: the red sox in baseball and the celtics in basketball. basketball, baseball, and football are arguably the most popular american sport and boston is one of the favorite cities, despite a history of racism. but they only got 2 out of 3. i’m trying to think of the top sports worldwide. obviously soccer is number one, and spain just won the uefa final. i think tennis is one of the top 3. and nadal just won two straight majors for spain. maybe basketball is becoming more of a world sport. at least the nba is trying to convince me that it is every chance they get. so all spain needs to do is win basketball in the olympics. and spain will be better than boston. i’m pretty sure most people already think spain is better than boston. except maybe scorsese. that departed movie was awesome.

i found these spanish commercials last week. rafael nadal and pau gasol. the premise is that they’re going to be given these really great watches. but they have to perform some task. after they fail, the lady tells them that they can only have the watches if they give up sports. then they hang out on the beach, making margaritas and telling girls what time it is using their sweet watches.

not the best commercials. i wish nadal would only ones like that commercial from last year’s us open. which reminds me, i’ll be very interested to see how he fares in the us open. he’s on like a 26 match winning streak but has never been able to get it done on hard courts. so maybe this will be the year.

mixtape #2 June 26, 2008

Posted by d.w. in mixtapes.
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i haven’t finished the second half of that mix for m.i.a. yet because i was working on another mixtape. here is the completed version for your listening

mixtape #2: side A (right click to download)

  • frosted ambassador – untitled
  • culture – pirate days
  • the field – the little heart beats so fast
  • of montreal – gronlandic edit
  • can – vitamin c
  • kraftwerk – the model
  • deerhoof – green cosmos
  • e.l.o. – strange magic
  • ghostface – save me dear
  • shuggie otis – inspiration information
  • panda bear – good girl/carrots
  • velvet underground – pale blue eyes
  • duke ellington – in a sentimental mood
  • big star – nightime
  • demon attack – shark reef
  • bob dylan – it takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry

mixtape #2: side B (right click to download)

  • os mutantes – trem fantasma
  • animal collective – banshee beat
  • harry nilsson – everybody’s talkin’
  • love – maybe the people would be the times or between clark and hilldale
  • beck – sleeping bag
  • t-rex – mambo sun
  • beatles – ballad of john and yoko
  • sonic youth – jams run free
  • television – friction
  • wire – filed day for the sundays
  • wire – three girl rhumba
  • beat happening – midnight a go-go
  • devo – uncontrollable urge
  • talking heads – life during wartime
  • caribou – bees
  • zombies – she’s not there
  • beach boys – heroes and villains
  • olivia tremor control – i have been floated
  • david bowie – lady stardust

and in tennis news June 26, 2008

Posted by d.w. in sports.
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the raptors want to trade t.j. ford. they’re ready to go with jose calderon as their point guard. supposedly they were going to trade ford and rasho nesterovic for jermaine o’neal. which i think would have been a mistake. but mostly because i don’t like the pacers and i do like t.j. ford. so if they’re interested in keeping me happy, indiana and toronto made the right move in stopping the negotiations. i’m not a knicks fan or anything, and i’m certainly not a mike d’antoni fan, but i think the knicks should try to get t.j. ford. he could just run all over the place. or i think the hawks should. but they just got mike bibby. or maybe the trailblazers. as guess as long as he doesn’t land on his neck again i’ll be glad that he’s still playing. even if he’s playing on a team i don’t like.

deron williams and carlos boozer are on the usa olympic team. i still think iverson should be on the team, but i’m glad they went with williams. i think boozer might be an olympic dud, but maybe i’ll be wrong. even if boozer is on the jazz, he still went to duke, so there’s plenty about him to not like so much. especially since he never responded to brian’s suggestion that he take on the nickname slambidunkxtrous.

rafael nadal played his opening match of wimbledon this morning against andreas beck. i kept thinking he was playing against john beck, but i think he wouldn’t have dropped a point against john beck. or against jon schmidt. if one of the sets was a piano competition, i still think nadal might win. i don’t know if nadal has ever played the piano, but i’m sure i’d like him as a piano player. i’m biased though. i think i would root for nadal in anything. and i know that i would root against jon schmidt in everything. like if he was up against cancer (even just skin cancer) or something, i’d root for cancer. so nadal won 6-4, 6-4, 7-6. he didn’t face a break point all day, and was (clearly) totally dominant on his serve. but his return game left a lot to be desired. he was on the defense during beck’s service throughout the morning. only 2 breaks. anyways, they went to tiebreak in the 3rd set and nadal beat beck 7-0. it’s just the first round, and it’s not nadal’s favorite surface, so i think he’ll get more return confidence. his next round matchup is against a big server, so hopefully he figures that out quick.

the williams sisters won. they both looked really good. venus was playing really well, i thought. and serena played in a trenchcoat. well, she warmed up for like 2 minutes in a trenchcoat and then took it off. i think that a williams sisters final would be awesome. i would root for venus. they’re doing a piece on lindsay davenport. how she lost to venus in the 2005 final 4-6,7-6,9-7. then some really touching music came on. you know, kind of like the where amazing happens music, but more touching. and it showed davenport’s baby and she said that tennis isn’t her top priority anymore. i wonder if her baby will be a tennis player. or a piano player. i wonder if lindsay davenport has ever met jon schmidt. somehow that guy is “semi-popular” outside of utah as well. that’s something i just don’t get. they just said her husband’s name is jonathan. makes you wonder.

so federer showed up to wimbledon with a cardigan that has and “F” on the chest. and it has 5 buttons. one for every wimbledon championship. i don’t remember how many buttons his jacket had at the french open. but i do remember how many french open championships he has. dis. anyways, i like federer. i don’t get why everyone thinks that he’s struggling so much. so he lost to djokavic in the australian open and to nadal in the french open. big deal. djokavic is playing really well and nadal is the best clay-court player ever. so coming into wimbledon everyone was talking about how this is the year because federer is on the way down. but he hasn’t lost a grass court match since like 2004 or something. i think 60 straight grass court matches. not only is federer probably the best tennis player in history, he’s for sure the best grass court player in history. so i don’t know what people are talking about. i mean, i think nadal is going to make him work for it. if they face off in the final, i’m hoping for another match like last year’s. but still, it’s federer. and he’s the one to beat. but even if you’re roger federer, you don’t have to buy into how you’re supposed to wear something classy to wimbledon. wimbledon dress-code is worse than the nba dress-code which is racist. wimbledon tries to make you remember that you’re not supposed to play tennis unless you’re rich. i guess you don’t play wimbledon unless you’re rich. or rather, as soon as you win wimbledon you’re rich. and then you can buy cardigans to wear. so despite everyone worrying about roger’s focus and his abilities, he cruised to victory in the first round. i don’t want to look up the score. he won in an hour and 19 minutes.

oh yeah, and sharapova won. her dog gave her the signal to eat a banana partway through the second set.

mixtapes!! June 18, 2008

Posted by d.w. in mixtapes.

i have this new thing i’m going to start doing. i’m going to start posting mixtapes that i make. sometimes i make them for people, sometimes i pretend like i make them for people. the fortunate thing is that everyone (like 2 people) who reads this blog will be able to listen to these mixes. you can either listen online, or download them for later listens. the unfortunate thing (maybe it’s not a big deal) is that i’ll be posting them as one long track, so if you’re impatient and want to skip ahead it’ll be tough.

so this first mixtape i’m making for m.i.a. i think i’m in love with her ever since i saw her in concert. i thought i’d write her a letter and tell her, but then i thought she might think i was a creep. so instead, i’m going to co-write a letter with teresa and send her this mixtape. we’re also going to take a polaroid of the two of us and tell her how much we think of her. i haven’t finished the tape yet, but you can listen to side A:
mixtape #1: side A

or you can download it here.

side A:

  • talking heads — i zimbra
  • gui boratto — gate 7
  • stereo total — i love you, yoko
  • brian eno — burning airlines give you so much more
  • wire — french film blurred
  • beach boys — don’t worry baby
  • charles mingus — goodbye pork pie hat
  • rolling stones — no expectations
  • olivia tremor control — california demise, pt. 3
  • deerhoof — spiral golden town
  • dr. octagon — trees
  • jorge ben — taj mahal
  • os mutantes — a minha menina

the future of tennis June 9, 2008

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this morning rafael nadal and roger federer fittingly faced off in the final of the french open. (i know alliteration impresses brian, and i want him to think that i’m a decent writer.) this is the third straight year where nadal and federer played each other in the final. the year before, nadal beat federer in the semifinal. last year rafael nadal didn’t drop any sets on the way to the final before beating roger federer 3-1. then in wimbledon federer won 3-2 in one of the most incredible matches i’ve ever watched. so this year i figured would be a close one. both federer and nadal were playing the best clay court tennis of their careers. federer had only dropped 3 sets before the final and nadal had again not lost any. the match wasn’t close at all. nadal got an early lead and broke federer twice in the first set to win it 6-1. roger f. was down 2-0 in the second set and put together a good twenty minutes of tennis with some stunning winners to tie it up at 2-2. each held serve and then rafael n. went crazy, winning the next 9 games to finish the match in around 2 hours.

i figured the match would last a lot longer. i’d planned my whole morning around watching tennis and found myself with a lot of free time. luckily, there was another competition going on: robonaut vs. athlete.

robonaut is a humanoid robot designed by nasa to be able to perform extra-vehicular activities (i.e. space-walks). it has a torso shaped like a human with arms and hands and a helmet that looks like boba fett. the helmet has two eyes, so that visual relays can provide depth. the arms have a total of 14 degrees of freedom each: 2 in each wrist and 12 in each hand. this gives the robonaut a surprising amount of dexterity, which in turn enables robonaut to perform tasks that were not designed to be handled by robots. the size of the hands is roughly the same size as a suited astronauts hands, so robonaut can get to those hard-to-reach areas (much like a nice toothbrush). the torso can be placed in a number of lower “bodies” depending on the required task. the two that i’ve seen is the segway robonaut where he has a segway for legs and the centaur robonaut where he “sits” on a 4-wheeler of sorts.

athlete is a six-legged robotic lunar rover. athlete stands for All-Terrain Hex-Legged Extra-Terrestrial Explorer. the athlete is 4 meters in diameter and can stand 6 meters tall. each of the six legs has six degrees of freedom. athlete can roll along or walk, depending on the terrain, and is capable of sustaining a load of 450 kg. multiple athletes can be docked together to form what some call ultrathlete, which i can only imagine stands for Ultimate Laterally-TetheRed All-Terrain Hex-Legged Extra-Terrestrial Explorers. it can move over 10 kmh on terrain like that of the moon, 100 times faster than the mars rover, and can climb 35 degree inclines of rocks.

the competition of interest is a race up to the top of a hill in a crater in arizona, which is essentially a simulation of robot racing on the moon or on mars, which will become widely popular in the late 21st century.

the competitors arrived early. athlete on the left, robonaut in the middle, k-10 on the right with scout right behind k-10. the suited astronaut was the ref.

after a brief rain delay, k-10, robonaut and athlete are ready to go. robonaut shows off his dexterity with a little bit of a cheap move, tying athlete to an anchored stake.

with robonaut and athlete busy battling each other, k-10 heads for the hill,

and then remembers that it is not capable of climbing hills. with athlete tied to a stake, robonaut takes off up the hill.

athlete finally breaks loose and heads for the steepest part of the hill, in hopes of cutting off robonaut’s path.

athlete passes robonaut, since hill-climbing is its strong-suit. but robonaut has some more tricks up his sleeve. he hooks a tether-line to athlete and catches a ride during the last quarter of the hill.

robonaut takes advantage of its understanding of the slingshot maneuver to swing past athlete for the victory. robonaut wins and gets its picture taken with athlete.

but what robonaut didn’t know is that there was no prize. they give robonaut a box with the label “trophy” and robonaut opens it up, only to be embarrassed in front of all its friends.

looks like athlete gets the last laugh. (that was for brian again.)

they hate our freedom June 8, 2008

Posted by d.w. in sports.

i got on tennis.com last night to check what time today’s matches started. the two matches today are nadal-djokavic and federer-monfils. so i wanted to set my alarm and wake up early to watch. nadal is the world number two and he’s the three-time french open champion who has never lost a match at the french open. in fact, he hasn’t even dropped a set in this year’s french open. on the other hand, djokavic is the world number three who won the australian open and has won more matches in the last year than anyone else. the winner of this match will be the world number two and will be playing in the french open final. i only saw half a set by monfils and i thought he was fast and looked cool, but brian said that he’s got a great game. so i obviously wanted to get up and watch. i know the matches start early in the french open, and tennis.com said that at 10:00a eastern time the tennis channel was going to start broadcasting. i woke up at 8:00a mountain time and turned on the tv. there was nothing on. so i got online to see when the games would start only to find out that the nadal-djokavic match was already over. what a joke. not only do i have to wait for 2 hours before i can watch tennis, but one of the matches i was interested in watching was already over and i had already seen the result: nadal in 3 sets. nadal is in the final and he still hasn’t lost a set.

i had two hours to kill. so i did the only sensible thing. i read about the september 11th attacks on the world trade center and the pentagon. did you know that there were large (and lethal) amounts of asbestos in lower manhattan for a few months? there’s been over 60 people associated with the cleanup effort that have died of cancer. oh yeah, and the air had been declared safe without testing it first.

so it’s finally 10:00a and tennis is on. maybe they’ll just skip the nadal-djokavic match so i can watch monfils and federer before i have to go up to school. nope. they’re going to show the nadal-djokavic match. if only i hadn’t already seen online. that’s okay. nadal is my favorite player and i don’t like djokavic, so it’ll be worth it to see him get killed.

it’s tied 1-1 and nadal has advantage. he’s already had 4 break chances this match. and he hits this incredible backhand winner to go up. so he’s up 2-1 now. game four, nadal is serving but down 15-30 and hits another backhand winner. 30-30. another winner, this time a forehand. 40-30. passing shot for the game.

now they’re talking about nadal’s foot and knee problems. apparently he’s a size 11 1/2 but wears size 10. no wonder i always think his feet look so small. djokavic comes to the net twice in a row. first time gets a volley winner. second time nadal loops it over him. 15-15. unforced error djokavic. 15-30. “You have 10-story buildings that leave more debris than these two 100-story towers, Where the f*** is everything? A serious week-long search and we’ve found 200 [bodies] in a pile of 5,000? What’s going on? Where is everyone? Why aren’t we finding more bodies? Cause it’s all vaporized — turned to dust. We’re breathing people in that dust.” Mercedes commercial. the game must’ve finished while i was reading. it doesn’t matter, i already know nadal will win the set (and the match). djokavic won. nadal’s up 3-2 and serving.

i just read this page: a critical review of morgan reynold’s “why did the trade center’s skyscrapers collapse?”

and now nadal is up 5-4 and 40-30. set point. first serve fault. second serve unforced error by djokavic. prediction: nadal will win 6-4, 6-2, 7-6. so i have to leave now. maybe i’ll tape the monfils match. and not look online. i already saw that they were tied after 2 sets. good for monfils.

airplane May 15, 2008

Posted by d.w. in hate.

the 20-year-old girl sitting on the plane next to me for three hours watched all of the deleted scenes, all of the interviews, all of the storyboards, and all of the other extras from the mulan dvd on her laptop. then she watched a knight’s tale. the in-flight move was 27 dresses. i sort of still want to die.

gray codes August 18, 2007

Posted by d.w. in misc.

the moment you’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived.  my thesis is now online for the general public to read.

generating some binary gray codes

charles mingus – the black saint and the sinner lady May 30, 2007

Posted by d.w. in misc.
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we’ve started a new blog at killerbuds.wordpress.com. each week one of us will pick an album that we would like to get to know. check it out, it’ll be awesome. here’s my first pick and post:

charles_mingus_std.jpgthe black saint and the sinner lady came out it 1963. at that time, mingus had already released 13 or so albums and was considered a bass prodigy. he was known for his unconventional compositions and his temper. he punched band members in the face on a few occasions and would regularly stop his shows to chastise the audience for being too loud, saying things like, “isaac stern doesn’t have to put up with this sh**.” part of his temper stemmed from his quest for perfection in performance and recording. this is seen in the black saint and the sinner lady, since he used studio overdubs in certain sections. but he was also extremely interested in group improvisation and this group interaction is on public display in this album.
the black saint and the sinner lady is a six-part suite (the 4th cd track has three of the parts) recorded by an eleven-piece band. charles mingus said the following of this album: “I feel no need to explain any further the music herewith other than to say throw all other records of mine away except maybe one other.” he got his psychotherapist to write the liner notes, although i haven’t read them.

listen to it: if you’re a grastard member, i’ve uploaded the album there and you can get it to listen to; or i’ve made a playlist of it on andreaspacemountain.com.