Look What They’ve Done To Our Songs

Look What They’ve Done to Our Songs

Digital recording was never meant to reproduce sound faithfully. Rather, it was a way to replace bulky tapes and records and to allow recordings to be easily shared and manipulated. Digital only samples, analog recordings capture the entire and continuous sound wave that makes up speech. And music.

Analog is human, digital is not. That extends throughout our digital life. There’s a perfection sought with all things digital, something we humans can’t achieve. We make mistakes. Digital wants to erase them. Every music producer now seeks to deliver a clean, perfect sound that is often beautiful and also quite inhuman.

Melanie almost blows out the microphone is this live performance. That would be cleaned up today in post-processing. Maybe an equalizer to do a little fixing here and there. Digital lends itself to endless and easy editing, putting us further and further away from the truth and our humanity.

Look What They’v Done to My Song, Ma (1971)
Melanie Safka (external link)

Look what they done to my song ma
Look what they done to my song
Well it’s the only thing
That I could do half right
And it’s turning out all wrong ma
Look what they done to my song

Look what they done to my brain ma
Look what they done to my brain
Well they picked it like a chicken bone
And I think I’m half insane ma
Look what they done to my song

I wish I could find a good book to live in
Wish I could find a good book
Well if I could find a real good book
I’d never have to come out and look at
What they done to my song

La la la la la la la la la
La la la la la la la la la
La la la la la la la la la
Look what they done to my song

But maybe it’ll all be alright ma
Maybe it’ll all be okay
Well if the people are buying tears
I’ll be rich someday ma
Look what they done to my song

Ils ont changé ma chanson, ma
Ils ont changé ma chanson
C’est la seule chose que je peux faire
Et ce n’est pas bon, ma
Ils ont changé ma chanson

Look what they done to my song, ma
Look what they done to my song
Well they tied it up in a plastic bag
And turned it upside down ma
Look what they done to my song

Ils ont change ma chanson, ma
Ils ont change ma chanson
C’est la seule chose que je peux faire
Et ce n’est pas bon, ma
Ils ont change ma chanson

Look what they done to my song ma
Look what they done to my song
It’s the only thing that I could do alright
And they turned it upside down
Oh ma
Look what they done to my song

Poetry Thoughts on writing Uncategorized video Writing by others

Richard Dawkins Reads A.E. Housman

Richard Dawkins Reads A.E. Housman

From Poems that Make Grown Men Cry, Anthony and Ben Holden, ed., Simon and Schuster, Limited (2015)

This video was for the UK’s National Poetry Day in 2014: (external link)

Turn on the close captioning.

Last Poems (Part XL) by A.E. Housman

From the Gutenberg Project  (external link)

Tell me not here, it needs not saying,
What tune the enchantress plays
In aftermaths of soft September
Or under blanching mays,
For she and I were long acquainted
And I knew all her ways.

On russet floors, by waters idle,
The pine lets fall its cone;
The cuckoo shouts all day at nothing
In leafy dells alone;
And traveler’s joy beguiles in autumn
Hearts that have lost their own.

On acres of the seeded grasses
The changing burnish heaves;
Or marshalled under moons of harvest
Stand still all night the sheaves;
Or beeches strip in storms for winter
And stain the wind with leaves.

Possess, as I possessed a season,
The countries I resign,
Where over elmy plains the highway
Would mount the hills and shine,
And full of shade the pillared forest
Would murmur and be mine.

For nature, heartless, witless nature,
Will neither care nor know
What stranger’s feet may find the meadow
And trespass there and go,
Nor ask amid the dews of morning
If they are mine or no.

More on Housman at my website here (internal link)
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Back from Goldfield, Nevada

Here’s a look at the countryside north of Goldfield, Nevada. I was hoping to film antelope but they didn’t show up. They usually do.



My Writing Desk

This setup works for me. All this equipment pays off in more work, better work, less frustration. The cost of our profession.
Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley

rocks and lapidary Uncategorized

Dah Rock Shop in Tucson, Arizona

Dah Rock Shop

I missed these people on my Travel List, apologies. (external link) It’s easy to get distracted when you are in Tucson for the Big Show.

I have heard of this shop but I think I got it scrambled with Dials Rock shop, which I’ve covered, and a man named Dahl, who came up with the Pet Rock. In any case, I am looking forward to visiting this rock shop which also sells crystals and beads.

Dah Rock Shop
3401 N Dodge Blvd
Tucson, Arizona 85716
520 323-0781

N 32°16.16333′ -110°54.87833′ W

No website but a Facebook page:

I normally take my own photos but I can’t do that now. I have taken two off the net, one from Gordon G and another from Steve S.
Follow me on Instagram: tgfarley


You Don’t Have Enough

I recently took fifteen minutes to write out my thoughts on the satellite terminal I just bought to a website that had little information on the device. That site deals with communicating on the road, particularly to the RV set. The website said they had no plans to test the equipment themselves so I thought I’d share what I found out and included links to the videos I have done.

The response? “Thank you for the feedback. You can leave your comments on the SatFi page if you are a member.” Memberships start at $85. They want me to pay them $85 to tell them what I know!? This is completely insane and right in keeping with every dull tool that thinks I am profiting over what I do.

If I am rockhounding, law enforcement always asks if I sell what I collect. No. If I am taking photographs, the question is always whether I am selling my photographs. No. A security guard at a park came over to me when I was experimenting with my satellite phone, to ask me if I was running a business. No.

Am I making money off my websites? No. See any ads? See any copyright restrictions? Am I selling anything? No. Why not? Because you don’t have enough money to interest me.

Nothing you can afford to pay me would be worth the bother of running ads or selling a rock or a photo. In years past I tried a variety of schemes to make money off of my websites and they were all stupidly impossible to carry out. Ads made the sites look messy, they disrespected my readers and there was this stench of begging that repulsed me. You don’t need that, I don’t need that.

Notice my videos? I stopped using YouTube because of their ads and am now using Vimeo which I pay quite a bit of money for each month. Just to kill the ads. Google sticks ads on them when they get published to YouTube but I collect _nothing_. Google does not have my bank account information, I am in no program to monetize them.

Whatever the average reader can afford to look at my work is not enough to bother with charging. I have over a hundred photos and videos and Wikimedia Commons that I put in the public domain with no restrictions on them whatsoever. Maybe they can do somebody some good. There isn’t any good for myself by trying to sell them. There’s not enough money in that hustle for me to want to do that. So, why bother producing all of this material?

Because I want to share my interests, of course, just like the 100 million other personal websites on the web. And also, perhaps, just perhaps, to help some people along the way. My rockhound related travel files (external link) took over two years of off and on work to complete. They are an enlargement of chapters I had written for my now dead book project. Might as well put them on the web, expanding them along the way. I’m charging nothing for them and I know from reports that many rock shops say I have driven customers to them. I support the rock, gem, and mineral trade and I do so by doing!

Sorry for the rant, I am still bothered by my offer of help to be turned into a pitch for money. I don’t know why I am still astonished by bad behavior on the net as it is a breeding ground for soulless cretins who only want your wallet. After all, the internet and everything related to it was designed for one purpose and one purpose only: to get you to click on an ad.

I’m done. For today.



non-fiction writing organizing writing Thoughts on writing Uncategorized

Thinking of Def Con

Def Con 28 will be held this year in a virtual “safe mode”, the physical event in Las Vegas cancelled. I went to Def Con II and III. That was a long time ago.

In  1994 I was at the edge of the hacker community, tolerated, despite my older age and my chief interest in telephones.

At the time I self-published a magazine on the telephone system and I always gave away free copies whenever I went to hacker “meetings” in Sacramento or San Francisco.

These get togethers were somewhat like Meetup Meetings today, people simply showed up. These monthly happenings were organized, and I hate to use that word, under the thin shade of 2600 magazine.

They published meeting places for cities across the country at which almost anyone might show. These locations were often at a mall near a bank of payphones. The San Francisco meeting site was near Mrs. Fields Cookies at the Embarcadero Plaza. Which was nice. Back to Def Con.

My first trip to Las Vegas was for Def Con II in August of 1994. It was held at the Sahara, now torn down. Wikipedia says there were 200 people there, that sounds about right. Def Con 27 last year drew over 30,000.

The highlight for me was the video linkup with the Chaos Computer Club in Germany. The video stammered and stalled but it was a remarkable achievement. A 56K dial up modem was the best data transfer you could get at the time, perhaps both groups paired two modems, I don’t know. In any case, Def Con got consumer grade, off the shelf hardware using regular telephone lines to work a video connection half-way around the world. Really impressive for 1994.

The first presentation, though, wasn’t impressive, although totally in keeping with the spirit of the times and the attendees. I walked in early to a hall with fifty or sixty mostly empty chairs. A group of six or seven hackers were in the far corner watching a big screen TV on the wall showing hard core porn. Okay. I mentioned something to Dark Tangent about that not being appropriate but he was busy since the first speaker hadn’t shown up. And there was no “Plan B.” As if hackers would ever have a Plan B.

The mood became somewhat restive as the the hall filled with people. Word was getting around that the speaker was missing and yet this was the kickoff to the event.

Peter Shipley was in the crowd and many of us knew him enough to badger him with an idea we all had at once. Our little circle pounced on him, begging him to give a talk on UNIX. I knew him from San Francisco although he lived in Berkeley. I once went to a big 2600 meeting afterparty at his house in Berkeley, where I overheard some odd talk from an older guest. I went up to Shipley, “Do you know that guy is from the F.B.I.?” “Yeah, I invited him.”

Shipley refused to give a talk. Wouldn’t do it. But with the crowd becoming restless, Shipley broke down. “Okay, I will not give a talk on UNIX. But I will get up and answer questions on UNIX.” Fair enough. I think he hung in for at least 30 minutes on stage, answering every question. I doubt anyone in academia or government could match him at that time in discussing that operating system from a practical point of view. This was the invented “Plan B.” The hacker conference had been hacked.

And then there was III in 1995, still really informal. Two young kids sat behind a table, taking money and making up entrance badges. Because I was older and looked very square, the first kid asked me if I was a Fed. I said, “No, I just play one on TV.” He looked stunned. His friend said, “That’s the best comeback line you’ll hear all day.” The kid slowly nodded.

Def Con III was very enjoyable for me even though I didn’t attend many talks. My magazine was coming along and I had brought boxes of copies to give away. When I didn’t feel like listening to a presentation, I went out to an exhibit hall where there were a few people selling things. I would just sit down at a table and spread out copies. No vendor table fee, no Nevada resale license required, no nothing. Sit down. Many people came along who had read the magazine, enjoyed it, and I got many subscriptions. Although that wasn’t my goal, I was there to talk telephones and hacking and anything else.

You never knew what would come up. Someone might say that they just had their car washed and then the next thing you knew, five or six people would gather round to venture how an automatic car wash might be hacked. It was really just curiosity, challenge,  inventiveness, and sport.

A favorite memory of Def Con III was when Dark Tangent gave away a “I Am The Fed” t-shirt. The hall that day was packed, with probably a hundred people attending a talk. Dark Tangent broke in at one point to show off this beautifully designed t-shirt, a really pretty thing, a great souvenir. _If_ you were a a Fed. “All you have to do to claim this,” Dark Tangent explained, “Is to come up here and show your badge.” A low stir welled in the crowd. We all knew law enforcement was present, most assuredly some older guys, but there were also private security consultants of the same age. After a long minute, a man stood up and walked quickly down the aisle, his head bent a little, his hand outstretched showing a big gold badge. Treasury Department. Everyone clapped and hooted as he got his shirt and hustled back to his seat.

Those were early days in computer hacking. At that time, some consultants told me that the F.B.I. and other agencies were working out how they could attend hacker meetings and whether they should at all. The debating point was this, are we in law enforcement inhibiting free speech by our presence? Most of the younger hackers, though, seemed enthralled to talk to law enforcement, something I can only attribute to inexperience and being starstruck. “I’m talking to a real G-Man!” I think this caused trouble later on for many of them. I had been a freelance legal assistant in years past, often for criminal defense lawyers and I never talked to anyone who could put me in handcuffs. Besides, it was only one way talk.

Law enforcement was constantly soaking up information but never giving anything back, unlike hackers where a free flow of information was common. Like today with cryptology. The NSA constantly trolls universities and industry for information but never reveals how far they are ahead of both. Academics think the NSA might be ten years ahead of them but the NSA will never say.

This highlights, too, the great divide between hackers and the police. Law enforcement types favors control, hackers push control away. You’re never going to reconcile this. At the time, the F.B.I. and other agencies had to teach hacking to their agents. They’d go to classes during the day and then go back home to the wife and kids. Meanwhile, the hacker is up at three in the morning, maybe awake for two nights on Mountain Dew, hacking and coding on his own because that’s what he does. The motivation and the desire to learn is completely different between the groups. The F.B.I., though, makes up for their lack of motivation, knowledge, and talent with money and resources no hacker will ever have. I guess the F.B.I. and the like now recruits hackers, I don’t know. But it was a big, glaring difference.

Above all, I admired the dedication of Dark Tangent to his conference. It became clear early on that he was working nearly full time on a once a year project. At Def Con II he was planning Def Con III. At III he was working on IV. That’s Big Picture Thinking, when you you devote yourself 365 days for three days. There wasn’t any money in those days for him, except to lose it. It was his project, though, and what he did benefited everyone in the hacker community. Def Con was always something a hacker wanted to go to and a happening everyone asked me about. It gave people something to look forward to all year long, like waiting for Christmas. Being in Las Vegas just added to a hacker’s desire to get there. Hackers around the world knew about Def Con and most wanted badly to go. Dark Tangent allowed these people to dream about a place where they would be welcomed and embraced. Very few people create a dream.

I’ve gone on too long. I doubt I’ll ever return to Def Con but I am glad it is still there. Over the decades the image of a hacker has improved somewhat, as many of the people I knew went into security, in other words, became legitimate, professional hackers. White hat hackers. Whatever. Trust me, they’re still trying to figure out how to hack that car wash.

books Thoughts on writing Uncategorized Writing by others

The Best Used Book Store In Las Vegas, Nevada is For Sale

MARCH 15, 2021


From Amber Unicorn Books

June 13, 2020

Many of you are aware that Amber Unicorn has been ‘up for Sale’ since last fall. We have enjoyed some positive feedback and genuine interest. However, with the Covid-19 complications, things have understandably been delayed.

With this in mind, we have significantly dropped the price of the store, hoping to stimulate some local interest. Ideally, we would love to see the store continue to serve our customers and the Las Vegas community. Perhaps you have the dream of owning a bookstore (with an incredible inventory and established customer base) or possibly know of someone within your circle who has expressed the desire. NOW IS THE TIME!

The quarantined pause in our lives has caused many of us to reconsider and revaluate. Amber Unicorn remains steadfast in its mission to serve our wonderful customers and community. It has always been our intention to honor this position until a buyer could be found, and as long as we could financially survive. With the recent decrease in price, we hope that a prospective buyer can be found in our community.

Any inquiries can be directed to Myrna Donato owner ( at 702-648-9303, or if preferred, to our commercial real estate agent Carolyn Johnson (; Transworld Realty, at 702-333-4449

As always, your loyalty and support are very much appreciated.

The three Amber Unicorn Ladies, Myrna, Sally and Stephanie

Let me add something.

Amber Unicorn is a tremendous resource for the Las Vegas Valley and all of Southern Nevada. They are in a typical strip mall toward the center of town. That mall lost their major tenant a year or two ago and floor traffic at Unicorn dropped almost fatally. They have been struggling ever since.

A major tenant is coming to the mall but will perhaps have a different clientele than the old business. This new tenant has construction crews at the site actively repurposing the vacant building for their use.

I buy the majority of my geology and rock books from them. If you buy the store you won’t have competition, there is no other used book store like it in the Valley, in fact, there are hardly any used bookstores left at all. Can someone step up?

This is their website. They _are_ open: (external link)

Here is a map:


Only a Pawn in Their Game

One of Dylan’s best, only now being listened to again.


As Predicted: The Death of Journalism and Truth

From today’s Wall Street Journal

Cancel Culture Journalism, by the Editorial Board of the Wall Street Journal

(in part)

An ostensibly independent opinion section was ransacked because the social-justice warriors in the newsroom opposed a single article espousing a view that polls show tens of millions of Americans support if the police can’t handle rioting and violence. The publisher failed to back up his editors, which means the editors no longer run the place. The struggle sessions on Twitter and Slack channels rule.

All of this shows the extent to which American journalism is now dominated by the same moral denunciation, “safe space” demands, and identity-politics dogmas that began in the universities. The agents of this politics now dominate nearly all of America’s leading cultural institutions—museums, philanthropy, Hollywood, book publishers, even late-night talk shows.

On matters deemed sacrosanct—and today that includes the view that America is root-and-branch racist—there is no room for debate. You must admit your failure to appreciate this orthodoxy and do penance, or you will not survive in the job.

Some of our friends on the right are pleased because they say all of this merely exposes what has long been true. But this takeover of the Times and other liberal bastions means that there are ever fewer institutions that will defend free inquiry and the contest of ideas that once defined American liberalism.


Orwell would not be surprised at cancel journalism, except, perhaps for its delay. After the year 1984 passed, hackers used to say that Big Brother was behind schedule. He’s now caught up.

“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”