Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Why I Hate Saturn

I recently aquired a scanner for the purposes of OCRing foreign-language papers and then running them through an automatic translator, rather than actually being able to read foreign languages like proper academics do. One spin-off from the purchase is that it came with a gadget to let you scan slides.

Now, unlike most people I know, I do actually have some slides - the product of spending your teenage years taking photos of the night sky, rather than doing something healthier, like talking to girls.

So, for the first time on the internet, some of the results. First up, Comet C/1996 B2 Hyakutake:

Comet Hyakutake

Comet Hyakutake 2

Then, a bit later, Comet C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp:

Comet Hale-Bopp

Comet Hale-Bopp and Cassiopeia

With the constellation Cassiopeia

Comet Hale-Bopp 2

Taken slightly later, you can see that the tail has changed shape as the comet changes position relative to the sun

Friday, April 17, 2009

Walled In

[River Deep-Mountain High] was the simulacrum of all Spector's grandiosity, his overarching ambition; it was all his passion, his thirst for revenge and his madness. It was a record that swept you up into its particular psychosis and left you stunned and exhausted in its wake. You could be enthralled by it, but you could never love it.
- Mick Brown, Tearing Down The Wall Of Sound: The Rise and Fall of Phil Spector (2007)

Second-degree murder is, I suspect, a pretty accurate reflection of what happened. I was curious in the media reports of the verdict that Spector was described as having a history of threatening women with guns - this is true, but only in the sense that he had a history of threatening people in general with guns, The Ramones only being the most famous example.

This isn't to say, of course, that Spector's relationship with women wasn't extremely odd. That much was testified in the music, going right the way back to the beginning: tell me that there isn't something a little strange about the last line of "Spanish Harlem".

All in all, yet another case of someone being a great artist and a terrible human being.