Sleeping Disorders And Stop Snoring Mouthpieces

Snoring is not considered a formal disease but it can be even worse than a formal disease. Snoring can turn into some very serious sleeping disorders including sleep apnea. These zquietmouthpiecesleep disorders will make you suffer throughout the night and you will not be able to sleep continuously even for half an hour. Some people think that it is not possible to cure snoring but this is not entirely true, but there are lots of things that you can do to control snoring. Stop snoring devices are an easy way of controlling it and advanced devices are capable of handling sleep apnea as well. A lot of these devices include snoring mouthpieces, many of which are reviewed here. CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) is a very advanced device that was initially developed to address sleep apnea but modifications have made it useful for snoring as well. Basic feature of these devices is related to addressing the breathing issues. These devices provide a healthy air pressure around your mouth and nose and this air pressure allows you to breathe continuously. Continuous breathing stops both snoring as well as sleep apnea. Proper consultation with a doctor is always required before choosing a snoring device because only he can prescribe a good mouthpiece for you.

Do Not Disturb Your Partner: Use Stop Snoring Devices

If you are really looking to quit snoring, then using stop snoring devices is the right option for you. You can try to control snoring with ordinary methods that include using oral appliances as well as using some ordinary nasal openers. Those ordinary methods may be effective for people that have a very mild and light problem but for people that have developed an intense case of snoring, only more serious stop snoring devices can help. When you do not address snoring early in early stages, it will turn into another type of sleeping disorder and that disorder will need very advanced device to be tackled.

CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) is a similar kind of device. This device was initially manufactured to help people with sleep apnea but there have been certain modifications in its design and now it is equally effective for snoring. People that snore loudly and think that nothing can help them should try this device and they will find positive results for sure. Price of this device is high because this device is tailor made for every person. You cannot just purchase a readymade device from the market but the manufacturer will prepare a design that suits your mouth size.

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Chicago Knows The Blues

Before the blues became a tourist attraction, bands like Tail Dragger‘s had their choice of more than a dozen South Side and West Side clubs in which to perform. They were dingy and smoky, and they were plentiful. Now, most blues clubs are tourist-oriented venues with valet parking, tacky souvenirs, and clean toilets–places you’d be comfortable bringing your boss or even your mother-in-law.

With a heavily hyped Blues Brothers sequel due out in February, the trend will almost certainly continue. Last year, enormous crowds met the opening of the House of Blues, which looks like an opera house for beer drinkers. A blues hotel–whatever that means–is slated to open next door this year. Two blues clubs are already crowded into the trendy neighborhood that is home to the Rainforest Cafe, Planet Hollywood, and the Hard Rock Cafe. A blues t-shirt and poster store is preparing to set up in the same area this year. And, up the block, a Minneapolis-based chain has begun construction on an 800-seat restaurant and blues bar. The owner of the blues club across the street isn’t worried about competition because the demand for the music seems limitless these days.

The Dragger himself.

Or at least it is for certain types of music. At 57, Tail Dragger, whose real name is James Y. Jones, has been singing professionally for half of his life. He’s also been invited to blues festivals all over Europe. Yet most nights he earns just $65 or so, plus tips. He sings in a rich voice, between a tenor and a bass, and he delivers lyrics with a rugged emotion that gives even tough men goose bumps. But he still works full-time as a diesel mechanic. Playing Chicago just won’t pay the rent.

Tail Dragger’s band plays a brand of blues that hasn’t changed since he first heard it on the radio 50 years ago in his native Arkansas. His sound, filled with raw sexuality and a homesickness for the South, descends from the plugged-in country blues of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. “You don’t hear too much real blues around no more,” he says, chatting between sets at a table near the back of the bar. He’s tall and powerfully built, wearing a handsome gray suit and a black Stetson hat. A gold-capped tooth flashes when he smiles through his graying beard. “A lot of people are going to the North Side to hear the jump-up blues [a more raucous blend of blues, rock, and pop]. They see black people playing, so they think it’s the blues. But they don’t put no feeling in the jump-up blues. If you came down here playing that stuff, these people would run you out.”

Behind the music, Tail Dragger has a resume of hard work and adversity–he served a 17-month prison term for second-degree murder. (He shot a blues man who he claimed was threatening him.) In contrast, most of his band members are from the suburbs. One sells chemicals for a living. This, too, reflects the marketplace. The black players get offers to start their own bands, slick up their sound, and play the North Side–where the money is better and producers are more likely to catch their acts. White musicians, meanwhile, have a hard time getting gigs on the North Side–so they end up playing for black crowds such as this one.

To be fair, there are many fine musicians playing the North Side, and it is the support of suburbanites and tourists which makes Chicago’s blues scene the world’s most robust. Buddy Guy, perhaps the city’s biggest star, has a club of his own. Magic Slim and the Teardrops, Eddy Clearwater, Melvin Taylor, Otis Rush, Otis Clay, Big Daddy Kinsey, and Pinetop Perkins can all be heard most every week. “The out-of-towners have really kept the blues alive,” says Gino Battaglia, who owns two clubs called Blue Chicago and markets blues paraphernalia around the world. He estimates that half of his customers are tourists. “Thirty million people come to Chicago on business every year,” he says, “and they have to go somewhere at night…. Michael Jordan and the blues: those are two things that really define the city for visitors.”

But the clubs give the novice audiences what they want, even if it’s not always what the musicians want to play. When Battaglia finds a band he likes, he hires them only on the condition that they use one of his female singers to lead the outfit. At most North Side venues, the bands usually play on stages, above and apart from the crowd. And they often play the same songs night after night, featuring most of the hits made famous by the Blues Brothers. Band leaders play fast and loud, sometimes plucking guitar strings with their tongues, striving for a sound closer to Jimi Hendrix than B. B. King.

One recent night at a popular North Side club called b.l.u.e.s. (the initials don’t stand for anything), a group of sales reps smoke burrito-sized cigars and chat on their cellular phones as they crowd around the stage to hear Big Time Sarah and the BTS Express. b.l.u.e.s. offers fine wine by the bottle or glass; the club, which charges $8 at the door, also sells b.l.u.e.s. t-shirts, boxer shorts, and lingerie. Big Time Sarah sings mostly about her gloriously large body and the many difficult-to-imagine sexual acts she performs with it. She thrills the sales reps by inviting them to sing along on stage. Twice during her act, she allows members of the audience to smother themselves in her bosom. “We ought to invite her to our next sales meeting,” one of the reps exclaims to his buddies.

This vaudeville act, almost completely devoid of musical meaning, attracts a strong following. Big Time Sarah appears several nights a week at the city’s top clubs, but, if you’ve seen her act more than once, you’ve seen enough. The songs and jokes are the same from one night to the next. The music, removed from its urban cradle, has already lost some of the sweet and sweaty force that made it great.

On the West Side, meanwhile, Tail Dragger’s joint has no stage and no spotlight. A pool table is pushed aside so that the band can play. Tail Dragger sometimes sings from his favorite bar stool like just another drinking man in a long line. And he sings the songs that mean the most to him, improvising lyrics to reflect his own experience. The audience doesn’t applaud so much as chide, chat, and laugh with him. The economy may no longer support a club in this neighborhood, but here, at least, the music is alive.

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Midwest Teens Are Big Spenders

It’s no wonder that Chicago-area discounters and drugstores devote considerable space to attracting teenaged customers, considering that in recent interviews with several local teenagers, each estimated she buys a new cosmetics product once every other week and almost exclusively on impulse.

Ulta 3, the suburban Romeoville-based discount cosmetic chain and salon with 18 stores in the Chicago area, has strategies for attracting both teens aged 12 to 18 years old and “tweens,” girls between the ages of nine and 12, said Julie Staggs, cosmetics buyer for Ulta 3.

While national names Cover Girl and Maybelline cap the two aisles of cosmetics for teenagers in Ulta 3′s suburban Norridge store, Staggs said several newcomers are dominating the market. Brooklyn-based Sweet Georgia Brown and Fetish, which is based in Garden Grove, Calif., were among the bestsellers for the first months of 1998.

A repositioning of the Sweet Georgia Brown line, from adult ethnic to across-the-board teen, has resulted in high-volume sales for its nail enamel, body glitter, and La La Lips and La La Lashes products, Staggs said. In particular, teens have been drawn to small vials of the line’s colored mascara because they allow trial without commitment.

“I tried some of those colored mascaras, but I thought it looked weird on me,” said Jennie Thomas, a 14-year-old Evanston, Ill., teen. “I don’t usually get in on weird stuff like that.”

In Ulta 3, Sweet Georgia Brown displays are still relatively small and conservative, nestling the brand into seven-foot-high aisles next to perennial category leaders like Wet `n’ Wild and Bonnie Bell, as well as other newcomers like Fetish and Hollywood-based Professional Makeup Co.

At one of Jewel/Osco’s flagship stores on the city’s North Side, Sweet Georgia Brown received more shelf space in an open, three-foot-high cosmetics area. In addition to the line’s fun moniker La La products, Osco’s Sweet Georgia Brown displays included brochures with the “411″ on makeup application and an entry form to receive free samples and beauty advice.

When queried about the brochures, most of the teenagers who were shopping the store said they did not even notice them, much less take them home and read them. On the other hand, at Ulta 3, Staggs said the bins for similar brochures from the Jane brand constantly need to be refilled.

“Since the brochures don’t scan, it is a little bit hard to say, but they do have to be refilled pretty often,” she said. “I think the brochures stem from everyone’s research that teens want and need more information.”

In addition to the series of informational brochures, Jane is also “getting into more fun cosmetic items,” Staggs said. This initiative follows on the heels of strong sales by other brands that focus on more avant-garde products, she added.

Jane was acquired by the Estee Lauder Cos. late last year. There have been no major changes to the brand as a result of this development, but many buyers feel the brand will benefit from Lauder’s marketing savvy.

The best sales in the Fetish line are coming from novelty items, including body charms, body stamps and body glitter, Staggs said. Eye-catching packaging, in steel metal containers, especially for mini tube-shaped lip gloss, help enforce the brand’s cutting-edge image, she added, as do product names like Two Timer and Flip Your Lid, which are both multicolored eye shadows.

Other brands vaguely grouped together in a teen section at Osco also focused on fun, including Pop Rocks body glitter, Smart Mouth Unpetroleum all-natural lip treatment and Yum-Flavored Crazy Coffeez flavored lipsticks.

Staggs said the flavored lipstick category is increasing in popularity these days, especially with tweens and younger teens. Brands that have not traditionally emphasized trendy colors were losing part of the teenager market, Staggs said, because teenagers are much more likely than adults to try a new lipstick or nail enamel even if the color is sure to be out-of-date quickly.

“I think in teen cosmetics there is a little more fad then trend,” Staggs said. “It might be a six-month thing, versus a year or two years for an adult line.”

Ulta 3 is currently featuring a new display unit from Professional Makeup Co. The merchandising effort attempts to deliver more eye-appeal for the upstart brand and more focus on new items, which despite low price points, are packaged to resemble upscale, salon brands. Staggs said the brand’s sales have “skyrocketed” with the new display and new colors of nail enamel, including Passionate and Drive Me Wild.

A recent Professional Makeup Co. promotion featured a shirtless male model walking through Ulta 3 stores, urging customers to test new colors on his chest. The approach, Staggs said, is indicative of the brand’s “radical attitude” and garnered a lot of in-store attention.

While Professional Makeup Co.’s value price point — nail enamel is priced at less than $2.00 per bottle — positions it next to traditional economy brands like Wet `n’ Wild and Bonnie Bell, teenaged shoppers said cost is not a factor in their purchasing decisions.

“I really don’t pay that much attention to price,” said Clare Thompson, a 14-year-old Park Ridge resident. “If I see something new out, I’ll try it.”

Thompson shops at Ulta 3 for its selection, not its discount status, and only when she and her mom are out doing something else. Otherwise, she’ll stop in Osco or Walgreens to get what she needs. One recent impulse trip netted a silver eyeliner.

“I guess I am just a shimmery type of person,” Thompson said.

Thompson did not remember the brand she recently purchased, the usual response from the teenaged shoppers interviewed.

Jennie Thomas said she considers herself a Clinique girl, but will buy mass market cosmetics when she’s walking through Walgreens or Osco drugstores, if she sees something she likes.

In an effort to up brand recognition among teenagers, one Osco featured a freestanding cardboard Fetish display that included the brand’s Spicemania Sweepstakes, which was a four-month contest that allowed teens to try to win products and tried to tie in with the Spice Girls mania among teenaged girls.

In contrast to the exciting images of Fetish’s Spice Girls tie-in and the Professional Makeup Co.’s shirtless wonder, Cover Girl’s supermodel Tyra Banks promoted both the brand and her new book with more conservative in-store appearances and book signings at Ulta 3 in April, Staggs said.

The dichotomy between approaches to the teenage market is fairly typical, said one teen marketing guru, because teens are fickle and want different approaches on different days.

“What turns teens on? Reality and fantasy, but no hype,” said Marian Salzman, director of Brand Futures Group, which is a division of New York-based Young & Rubicam. She is also the author of “Next: The Flow of the Future,” a youth marketing book to be published by Harper Collins next year. “Teens think older, although it’s manic — some days they are juvenile and seek slapstick, and the next day they seek high concept,” said Salzman.

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Types of Hard Drive Problems

Hard drive problems can be categorized in several types. Sometimes, a faulty hard drive can be transferred to another machine and copy the data if the previous machine cannot detect the hard drive. Data recovery tools are often enough to recover lost data when files are deleted from a malware attack, hacking or lost partition, as some examples. It is easy to recover the erased data in these situations.

Other troubles can be such things as obtaining partly overwritten files which again, because it is a file system problem, is not too bad.

These are essentially the most likely file system failure situations, which are far less dangerous than a severe crash. For the latter, there might be a reason such as a hardware shock or a voltage oscillation. The cause could also be a malfunctioning product. Most conditions like these can be recovered by an affordable data recovery service like Hard Drive Recovery Associates of Irvine, CA, but that’s truly about it. Cases like this require a data recovery clean room, which is not that easy to find.

Hard drive recovery is usually an essential service, especially as we tend to be more reliant upon hard disk drives in general. Hard drive problems may be classified directly into a couple of forms:

Logical complications: These kinds of complications arise once the file system corrupts. This disk drive is okay physically, but the data files cannot be accessed. The cause for this may be data files deleted by accident as well as intentionally, malware attack as well as the particular disk drive may have been reformatted. Virtually all logical hard drive problems may be recoverable without opening the hard drive with professional help. Logical information recovery software can restore data when these problems occur.

Physical complications: This disk drive may be faulty when it isn’t really spinning; you will discover big problems when looking at the particular drive, and it may have bad sectors as well as lots of noise coming from it. This is the consequence of a manufacturing problem, mechanical crash or electronics failure. Here, the only technique to recover data from a physically failed hard drive is to either replace the broken hard drive or move the platters to other donor drive. This process is something again that only a professional can do effectively.

Hard drive recovery is truly the work of experts. However, not all hard drive failures require need of the experts who recover hard drive. When your system crashes or when a drive in your system does not open or work properly, the first thing to be done is to check whether it really is a problem with the drive or the operating system. For this, you have to disassemble the system, take out the seemingly faulty hard drive, and attach it to another computer. In many cases, the drive will surely open in the new system. In that case, the fault is with the operating system, and that can be solved with a reinstallation of the system. If that is not the case, that is, if the drive does not open even in the new system, the problem is of course with the drive. Such a hard drive will require the expert hands of a data recovery specialist to recover hard drive.

There are two things to keep in mind here. The cost of repairing the hard drive is very affordable and there is no guarantee that the drive will be completely fine after repair. Fortunately, the expertise of those who recover hard drive can definitely recover all the lost data that was in the crashed drive.

An abrupt hard drive crash can cause great losses for a computer user. Computer users are recommended to carry out regular file system maintenance on their computers as a suitable way of safeguarding their stored data from loss. Computer specialists recommend a number of really quite simple practices that user can employ to lessen the effects of lost data following a hard drive failure. Backing up is probably the most common proactive move in which end users take precautions just in case a disaster arises. Backing up data simply means making copies of the original data then storing it in an external storage devices such as CD-ROM, DVD-ROM or flash drive.

Data corruption and anomalies are common effects of data redundancy and thus redundancy should be avoided at least in most consumer applications. Though risky, data redundancy can be used in a desperate hard drive crash recovery procedure. Self Monitoring Analysis and Reporting, commonly abbreviated SMART is yet another solid tool used to lessen the effects of a sudden hard drive failure. The technology is aimed at monitoring the hard disk drive and then alerts the user to any indications of failure. Depending on the reported failure indications, a user may decide to swap the drive or simply copy it to another drive as soon as possible before the drive failure becomes permanent.

Can Your Hard Drive Be Recovered?

The worst news a computer user wants to hear is that the data lost following a hard drive crash is unrecoverable. As computing technology continues to evolve, so too does the rate at which more sophisticated software is required. Troubleshooting a failed drive is ultimately aimed at restoring the data that was previously stored in the device prior the crash. The exercise of recovering data from a hard drive crash is not easy compared to fixing other issues.

Once a crashed hard disk drive is sent for repairs, swapping the circuit board through the use of an identical disk is definitely the easiest repair operation. However, a hard drive crash with a faulty read write head is a rather delicate operation. Swapping a malfunctioned read/write head is the most recommended operation but the major challenge linked with the procedure is the delicacy involved. Sophisticated tools are required and the operation ought to be performed in an environment without dust, known in professional circles as a data recovery clean room. At first, a hard drive crash might be really frustrating especially during the first time experience. Today, freeware utility technology has made it possible to recover data even without a backup. To find out more, check here.

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Tips for Laptop Data Recovery

It is always an amazingly scary nightmare to discover that the data in your laptop is lost because of a severe hard drive crash. A laptop computer, whether PC or Mac, is one of the most used gadgets by people of every profession. Sometimes, however, accidents may happen and the data stored on a laptop may get corrupted. This could result because of the failure of a hard drive, a virus invading your system or a simple mistake like dropping water on the system. Fortunately, data from any laptop can be recovered almost every time. But, we must pay attention to some simple precautions if faced with such a situation.

Uh, no chance of recovery, sadly.

First of all, if data has been lost, avoid using your laptop. Minimum level of activity would help the laptop hard drive recovery professionals to trace the data back from the system and recovery will be easier. However, if it is very important to use the laptop, it will be wise not to use the drive subjected to the loss of data. Most crucially, once a situation of data loss has been encountered, save no more data on your laptop unless the disk problem has been removed completely, and all your previous data has been recovered entirely. Following the above-mentioned tips will speed up the process of laptop data recovery and save your time for new tasks.

One should be capable of handling their own problems, even if we’re talking about lost data from a portable computer. Laptop data recovery can be performed very easily using the internet when the file system is the issue. The internet is loaded with varieties of software especially designed for recovering data from the laptops when that data is lost. These free software products help in the retrieval of data even if the hard disk has been formatted multiple times. The task is very simple if done with awareness.

It is always important that the software should be downloaded on another PC which is in perfect condition, and not the laptop from which data has to be recovered. The guidelines provided with the software should be attentively read. Software is very system sensitive so it should be checked beforehand that the software is compatible with the notebook. If the software needs to be installed, it should be on a USB drive or a pen drive and using the USB port of the victim laptop, it can be installed. This software greatly cut the time and money wasted for laptop drive recovery by complex ways. If software can’t help, HDRA can.

Everyone who owns and works with his computer knows the trouble that comes with a damaged hard drive. Some take the problem seriously and productivity dips. But if this happens to you, don’t waste all your energy throwing tantrums at something that you cannot change. The best thing that you can do is to pay attention to the available solutions when it comes to hard drive repair. The good news is that you will find a number tested solutions on how to make it happen. In fact, there are available extreme and odd solutions that you can take if you do not want to work with the experts and you would like to take the hard drive repair into your own hands. Just be sure that before you undertake these projects, make sure that you are ready to recover the files.

One extreme way of repairing the hard drive is to subject it to a physical shock. This is an option of the last resort when all other fails. You can try to whack or tap the side of your hard drive using a small mallet or the back of the screwdriver. Another odd and extreme approach to hard drive repair is to drop your drive from a height of roughly 15 cm. consider these as odd solutions to revitalize hard drive.

As tempting as it is to throw your broken hard drive against the wall, you know that the action is futile since you badly need to recover the files you have stored in the hard drive. There is no need to berate yourself for forgetting to back up. You can still retrieve your data through hard drive repair, but you also have to be financially prepared for it. Before you actually go through the motions of recovering your files, decide first if the files in your busted hard drive are worth saving. If the data the hard drive contains is vital for your livelihood, then you must secure all means to have your hard drive repaired so that your files can be secured.

It used to be that hard drive repair is can only be done by computer experts, but now you can manage to do the repair yourself though your knowledge about the computer may be mediocre. This can be done by using software applications intended for hard drive failures. Such programs are created to fix hard drive problems that are logical in nature. This means that the drive is not working because of some problems in the file system. This happens when the drive becomes corrupted because of a virus attack, or when the drive was formatted improperly. It could also be due to an unintentional deletion of a registry entry. In such logical failure cases, hard drive repair software applications can work efficiently. However, if the cause of the problem is due to mechanical failure, it is time to bring your hard drive to the experts.

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RAID and Recovering Data

Raid recovery has really changed the outlook for performance of servers all over the world. If storage of ever-increasing data was a tormenting task in the bygone days, it is seldom an issue with the availability of various RAID technologies. And although raid recovery started off with software versions of RAID, it was soon realized that RAID hardware was better for higher performance and drive stability.

RAID 5 servers are a popular choice.

The software versions run with the help of the operating system whereas the hardware versions run through hardware exclusively for taking the data from the system to the drive array. Though the software implementations are low cost, the performance of the system drops with each raid recovery. In the case of hardware RAID, the system is not that affected because the recovery is done by the array of external drives. As RAID is the acronym for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks, the external array of disks are very inexpensive compared to using a single large capacity hard drive for data storage. The single drive also has the defect of being prone to data loss due to lack of backup. So, one or the other RAID versions that are out there in the market today can be used, depending on the system specifications for easy recovery of data during system failures.

Raid recovery often enables the data in server environments to be safe from loss due to failures. When large capacity servers, which are very inexpensive, prove to be easily flustered in such cases, causing a lot of important information to be lost, raid recovery services stand their ground and provide excellent data recovery.

The success of RAID or Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks depends on various factors. One of these factors is the cost. Compared to the large capacity drives, RAID uses very cheap drives. An array of such low cost drives proves to have much greater storage capacity and can easily recover from a system failure. Depending on the version that is used, RAID provides different levels of storage and raid recovery. RAID 0 is a useless version on its own. But when combined with RAID 1, to form RAID 10 or RAID 0 + 1, RAID 0 can work wonders. The other version, RAID 5, is by far the best version of RAID, with the capacity to work 24 hours and full data redundancy. A disadvantage of RAID 5 is the higher implementation costs and the degradation of performance while recovering. Therefore, using the apt raid recovery version is the key to hassle free server performance.

Have you ever encountered a situation in which your files were lost and you needed the professional help to help those files recovered? If you haven’t been in that situation, this article will help you understand why the data recovery prices are not as friendly compared to the other services such as laptop or cell phone repair.

The procedure of recovering any lost data is critical because there are processes involved within a process. You are paying for every process and that increases the price. The person doing the data recovery is protecting your most valuable asset and that is “confidential” information that only you should now. The contractor needs to guarantee that whatever is recovered will never be reproduced or copied for whatever purpose. They say you cannot pay for honesty but this job requires you to do it. You would pay for an additional amount if the security of the files were guaranteed. Data recovery prices are
higher because of this “extra service”.

Now let’s take a closer look on the other factors which will determine the cost for the job. The types of disk, the reason for the hardware failure, the operating system being used, the previous attempts made to recover the data, and the factor that matters most is the “other services” defined as necessary such as additional work in recovering the operating system before the data etc. The result is an ugly truth, since a normal person will never understand how this thing really works; they may end up truly hating the above-ceiling data recovery prices. Check some reasonable drive recovery prices here.

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Recovering Lost Data On Hard Drives With Problems

When your operating system crashes, the first thing that you have to analyze is whether it is, in fact, a hard drive crash, or a problem with the operating system. Usually, such crashes are mostly due to some trouble with the operating system. This can be checked by removing the seemingly damaged hard drive and connecting it to a new computer. If the drive functions, then there is no issue with it. You just have to reinstall the operating system. If the drive does not function, then you have to approach the experts who do this kind of job to recover hard drive. The specialists who recover hard drive are very costly to hire. Therefore, you must double think whether you have to recover hard drive or just throw it away. However, if you have a lot of data that you need to be recovered, then it is best to get the experts on the job. They have all the technology to bring back the lost data. Such technology is utilized widely in the field forensic studies today. For example, even corporate criminals who have carefully destroyed all the incriminating data on their laptops get caught by the foolproof evidence that the forensic experts retrieve from the very same laptops.

Repairing hard drives that have been damaged is a very difficult task. If you do not have the credentials to do that, it is better to hand the drive to the data recovery specialists who can do just about anything with any kind of hard drive, be it mechanically damaged or logically damaged. Mechanically damaged drives are those, which were burnt, broken, water-damaged, or electrically damaged. Logically damaged drives are those that have some issue with the circuit boards or the actuator arm due to unprepared shutdowns, virus attacks, or partitioning issues. Therefore, finding the cause and adopting the solutions are the major hurdles on the way to recover hard drive.

It is very expensive to hire professionals to recover hard drives. If the repair costs and the lack of guarantee regarding the durability of the repaired hard drive were considered, you would definitely trash the damaged drive and go get a new one. However, if you have important data that you want to get back from the drive, then you had better hand it over to the professionals to recover hard drive. With all the modern technological advances, professional hard drive experts like Hard Drive Recovery Associates have all the required skills to recover data from any kind of damaged hard drive.

A hard drive crash is not a new thing today, even for the very average computer user. People are well aware of the fact that hard drives are bound to crash sooner or later, and are usually prepared to face a crashed hard drive. One of the precautionary measures that people take against such a disk failure is having multiple backups of all the data that they store in their systems. Another precaution is having an array of low cost drives rather than a single costly high capacity drive. This prevents these crashes to a large extent. But even then, on that busy day, everything seems to go haywire, and busy computer users end up with a hard drive crash, with all the data hanging on edge. In such cases, they seek the help of data recovery software that can bring back all the lost data.

But, first of all, in case of a crash, it has to be diagnosed whether the issue is really with the hard drive or with the operating system. The grinding or gyrating noise that the drive makes before the crash is a sure giveaway of a physical failure or a hard drive crash – some other examples are here.

The hard drive is the component in our laptops and personal computers that stores all the data and information that we transmit. Whether it is pictures, software or work data, all of this information is stored in the hard disk. Despite its importance, hard drive crash does occur from time to time. Do not worry as all your data is probably still safely stored inside!

With the proper equipment and technical skills, computer experts can study what went wrong with your hard drive and take the proper actions to correct what went wrong. In most cases, hard drive crash occurs due to faulty mechanical parts, malfunction in the circuit board and also logical problems within the hard drive itself. After identifying the cause of breakdown, experts can dismantle your hard disk and repair, and replace faulty components. Hard drive crash is bound to occur, especially if your computer has been used for many years. So to keep yourself safe, remember to always back up your data into an external hard disk from time to time. But if you do not, and your hard drive crashes, do not worry as there is still a solution. With the expertise of professionals, your hard drive and the information inside can be saved in no time!

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What to Do When Your External Hard Drive Is Not Working

Your dilemma began on the day you plugged your external hard drive into your computer’s USB port, and your computer failed to recognize it. You tried using it on other computers, only to get the same result. You have no back up and you need the files that and say your drive. What can you do to retrieve the data you stored and now may be lost because your drive has rash? Before you without a bunch of cash and spend it all on data recovery, you should know that media device manufacturers created applications that can recover the files from an external hard drive. Referred to as external hard drive recovery application, this software was designed to be installed and run in the damaged drive. Another computer (or hard drive) is needed to store the data you want to save. Utilizing the external hard drive recovery is actually the first option for a broken external/removable hard drive. There is plenty of such software available on the internet. Some are free but most come with a price.

These applications have very easy-to-follow instructions that will basically walk you through the entire recovery process, so there should be no trouble using them. Carefully select the application that is most efficient. Reading data recovery reviews and forums can assist you in picking the right one.

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Jean Coutu “Lovin’” Their POS Systems

What a lot of people don’t know is that Jean Coutu franchise holders do take most of the back-office and accounting software, local area network support and hardware his department has developed for them, realizing just as executives at headquarters do that computerization and use of the latest POS  systems technology is necessary to thrive in the world of retailing today.

The information system at the heart of Coutu’s operation is its pharmacy program. First implemented in the late 1970s and only used in the company’s 195 Quebec stores, it has been upgraded three times since it was first installed. The continual increase in computer sophistication since that time made developing new systems inevitable, Boucher says.

“I think I can say that the current system is meeting the needs of the franchises very well,” he says about the pharmacy computers. “It is a bit more expensive in certain respects than other pharmacy systems but that’s because it is centralized and does everything for the stores. It is worth the price.”Drugstore pos systems

 

The program sets all pharmacy pricing and price changes, transmitting them to the stores’ computers via telephone lines. An enhancement that is expected to be made next month will allow franchisees to use the system to order prescription drugs from the company’s distribution center here. “It is not going to be automatic because I don’t believe in that,” notes Boucher. “Someone will still have to approve generated orders and push a button.”

The enhancements to Coutu’s prescription drug program are being done simultaneously with the company’s rollout of point-of-sale (P-O-S) scanning technology.

Already in about 30 outlets in Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick, Coutu’s POS system can be a hard sell to franchisees, Boucher admits, because many provinces continue to require price stickers on all products and store owners often fail to see the economic advantages of the technology.

“It’s just a question of better understanding all of the benefits POS can provide,” he says. “Many of the franchisees have been out in the field for 25 years and doing very well without this. But they’re coming around.”

Executives at Coutu have decided to bring users into the POS system in two phases. Phase one will let them familiarize themselves with the technology by collecting just sales data. The second phase will allow franchisees to delve deeper into the reports generated by the system and better control their inventories.

When the system is fully operational, Coutu franchisees and executives at headquarters will also be able to get a clear picture of what is being sold and who is buying it.

“The benefits are many,” explains Boucher. “You can remodel your planogram. The realities in the rural areas are not the same as in Montreal. By using this and knowing better what you are selling, you will surely adjust your inventory to fit the desires of your customers. Rather than measuring the dust on the item to see the turnover, they can now look in the computer.”

The other side of the inventory equation for Coutu franchisees is electronic data interchange (EDI). A series of pilot sites have already been established with five of the company’s largest suppliers, and the system is expected to be extended to the stores within a few years.

“When the whole network with the vendors is finished we will work with the stores,” he says.

The retailer’s EDI link with manufacturers will initially be used to eliminate paper purchase orders, with the eventual goal being the creation of a paperless and completely electronic ordering and receiving process.

Coutu’s two distribution centers are also the beneficiaries of one of the company’s most ambitious projects – a radio frequency system that will scan the universal product codes on products to ensure that the orders that go to the stores are filled more accurately (see the stow at the top of this page).

Boucher and his team have developed Coutu’s information systems to such a point that they were implemented at the Brooks Pharmacy chain almost immediately (four months) after the company acquired the Rhode Island-based retailer last fall.

“Our systems are accurate for the business we do,” he notes. “We worked very hard on the development of them, and they were ready to go. We have the knowledge, and if they are good for us, they are probably good for Brooks.”

The host computers at both Coutu headquarters here and at Brooks’ main office in Warwick, R.I. are currently linked through high-speed telecommunications lines. Currently, all transactions involving prescription medications at the latter are transferred here into a “hot site,” a back-up system at Coutu’s Canadian headquarters.

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Clearing Music And Sampling – Much More Streamlined Now

The process of clearing popular and recorded music has certain “rules of thumb” of which producers should be aware. Understanding these guidelines is the first step in a process of music planning that will help secure the highest quality music at the lowest possible price. * First, understand that some songs or recordings aren’t available for use at any price. A song’s owner may restrict its use for any reason, understandable or not. Increasingly, songs are tied in to exclusive endorsements or sponsors. Some publishers or writers may not want their songs associated with certain products or businesses. * Second, the time frame for clearing music varies. A song might be controlled by multiple publishers, agents, attorneys, songwriters, artists and estates. Getting these consents can be time-consuming. Exhaustive research may not turn up an owner with whom to negotiate. Leaving too little time to clear a song, and then trying to clear it after it’s been used, is a variation of Russian Roulette. * Third, music publishers don’t have a standardized “rate card” – every negotiation is unique. A background instrumental use of one song might be more expensive than a visual vocal performance of another. “Obscure” songs may not be cheaper than “famous” ones, “new” songs may not be pricier than “old” ones and songs that are public domain in the U.S. may still be protected in other countries. * The fourth guideline follows from the first three: If you don’t know whether or not a particular song can be used, how long clearance will take or how much a license will cost, don’t commit to using it (unless a last minute re-write, re-shoot and re-edit seems like a fun exercise.)

Although music clearance may seem difficult, corporate producers can effectively manage these issues. A producer gains control by dealing with music earlier rather than later in the production schedule, allowing as much time as possible to acquire the best possible music, and to make sure corporate legal interests are protected.

The process can begin by contacting a producer’s music-clearance service, which can suggest creative and affordable options before production begins. Producers require overall music planning, accurate cost projection and research that’s thorough and timely. The negotiation and business-affairs skills, such a service provides, protect the interests of the company in many ways and ultimately reduces overall costs.

Publishers and record companies consider many factors in deciding whether or not to grant permission.

Some of the questions owners might ask are: * Who is the company using

the music and what do they

do? * What is the nature of the

meeting or production? * What kind of images will accompany

the music? * How much of the music is

being used? * Will there be special or

parody lyrics added to the

song? * Will copies of the program

be distributed? * In what territory will the

production be shown?

License fees vary based on the answers to questions such as those above. Yet the price of one song as opposed to another may also have to do with how many owners each song has and how fees are shared. Fees may not be lower when the use is for good will purposes, such as a “video greeting card.” While they generally fall within known parameters, fees can’t be confirmed until negotiations are completed.

The Basics

Learning the basics about the rights involved in corporate communications can make the day-to-day business of licensing much clearer. For a practical illustration of music rights, the following is an example of a song which is used in several ways:

A weekend trade show makes several uses of the song, “One Moment in Time,” which was made popular by Whitney Houston. The original recording is played over the p.a. system as the audience enters the hotel ballroom the first morning. To continue the theme, a specially re-recorded version with new lyrics is used in a video presentation during the meeting. What rights should the producer get? (Answer: A synchronization license with adaptation rights, a master use license and possibly a performance license.)

A brief description of the rights involved in this usage follows. These rights are the ones most frequently licensed for corporate uses. 1. Synchronization Rights: In audio/visual production, the right to reproduce a copyrighted song is called a “synchronization” right because it’s reproduced/recorded in synchronization with visual images. When music is reproduced in an audiotape containing dialogue, music and effects for a slide show or a videocassette for distribution to attendees, synchronization rights must be secured from the publisher(s) of the material. If the music is only being performed by live musicians, or a commercial audio recording is played back alone, a synchronization license isn’t the kind of license that’s required. 2. Adaptation Rights: When a song is altered or adapted by way of arrangement, parody, comedic use or lyric change, permission is required from the owner. Some owners are open to the use of their material as it was originally written, but don’t permit any adaptations. (Jerry Herman, lyricist and composer of “Hello Dolly,” refused to allow Barry Goldwater to pay for a parody entitled “Hello Barry” for his presidential campaign in 1964. Herman subsequently gave permission to Lyndon Johnson’s campaign to use “Hello Lyndon.”) 3. Master Use Rights: While a song has a distinctive copyright, a recording of the song has its own separate copyright. Record company permission is required when the recording is being re-recorded to another audio or videotape. For example, if a program uses “We Are The Champions” by the group Queen, permission must be secured from the publisher and the record company. The record company itself may need to secure permission from the artist(s). The AFM (American Federation of Musicians), the union representing musicians, may also be due “re-use” fees on behalf of the member musicians who made the recording. 4. Public Performing Rights: Performing rights refer to the right to do such things as recite, play, dance, sing, act out or broadcast a composition. A performance in a corporate sales meeting of an audio or video program, a slide show or a live presentation qualifies as a “public” performance and is subject to licensing. The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) or Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) collect royalties from its licensed music users, (broadcasters, hotels, night clubs, etc.) and pay royalties to the songwriters and publishers it represents.

There’s no doubt that popular and familiar music is an enormous creative resource. The music clearance process helps the producer make the best use of that resource by assisting in creative decisions, and providing “bottom line” financial and business affairs answers.

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Editing Music Will Never Go Away

Geof Benson loves editing music. It’s been his job for what seems like forever now. His position in this hybrid of sight and sound is different than for many others. Geof Benson Music, his company, is a joint venture of Swell Pictures and himself (“They own the walls, I own the equipment”), in which the in-house capabilities are dramatically enhanced by his music, and sound designs for spots are cut by others on the 35-member staff.

“Us music guys bought into the technology before the post production houses did,” said Benson. “Before I came here, they had no audio facilities, just video. When you have your own computer and sound equipment, it makes more sense that when you write music for a spot; you can lay in digitals and voiceovers at the same time. And again, you can change whatever you want at any time. As long as you backup your data and avoid hard drive repairs, you’re probably going to have real longevity to your data. It makes sense – I have a data recovery provider, for sure, but he helps when I need him, and that’s it. DETAILS. If you want to change elsewhere, you have to drive all over town. It’s very efficient, especially in time. For the client, it pays, in that it’s done faster and they can move on.”

Screens like this are key to music editing software used by professionals.

“I especially like the fact that we have a lot of flexibility in post now,” said Portune. Pegging himself as a “misplaced musician who wandered into editing,” Portune is a trained one-man operation who composes, arranges and performs the music for the images that he cuts on film and tape. His arrangement at Pineyro is a little over a year old and came about “almost by accident.”

“I had edited a commercial, and all of us – the producer, the client – were disappointed, because it looked terrible,” he recalled. “We had a synthesizer in the office, kind of as our own toy. When we finished the spot, we didn’t think we could present it, so I threw together a music-box kind of track very quickly on the synthesizer and put it in the track. It changed the whole style of the spot. People started asking me, `How do you feel about doing your own jingles?’ So bit by bit, primarily by word of mouth, it grew, and we invested in more equipment. It’s ironic that the whole thing was prompted by an editorial decision.”

“My best feedback comes from producers,” noted Chubak, vice president and co-owner (with Steve McCoy) at FilmCore, a two-location Los Angeles facility that for seven years had had a full-time sound engineer on the premises. “Their feeling is that our room is pretty sophisticated for an editorial house. Even music composers are impressed with us. Twelve or 15 years ago we didn’t have quarter-inch abilities, and now we have the capacity for complete sound design. Sound cutting in commercials, to me, is often more important than picture cutting. I don’t understand how anyone can do without it. In the saving of time and travel, it’s cost-efficient. I don’t think there’s that much capital investment involved, and even if it had to be a luxury that didn’t generate revenue, it would save time or money. It really is a must.”

One Example

One spot springs to mind for Chubak as a perfect illustration of the benefits of his house’s capability. “It was for Armorall protectant, and it was shot totally silent. We did all of the effects here, and all of the sound design, which we had to research heavily. It was a great use of all facilities, the kind of job where the sound equaled or surpassed the picture quality,” he said.

“Traditionally, at an editing house, you’re expected to be able to do effects,” he continued. “But sound is so sophisticated that if you know you don’t have facilities with any degree of sound, you hire a music man. If we didn’t have this ability, we would lose the sound portion of a job to a sound facility. Our clients don’t have to drop off the film at one place and the sound at another. We’ve taken a very sane attitude.”

“We’ve distinguished ourselves as having a lot of in-house departments,” added Chubak. He reeled off the namebrand capabilities of his sound mini-empire: “We’ve now got a Harmonizer, a digital sampler, a Macintosh with interfacing sound software, a CD player with an extensive collection, a Westrex four-track 35mm recorder reproducer, and a DAT, a digital-audio tape. We’ve supported ourselves with a lot of hardware. It is certainly not cost-prohibitive, and it makes perfect sense.

“Still,” he said, “I have an old Wurlitzer at home and a jukebox in my office. And I still like 78′s.”

“In a back-door way, I’m back to music,” said Portune, who as a composer/arranger/editor/musician can also list himself as a freelance producer as well. “Over the years, I’ve gotten more and more involved in film and post production, and it’s nice to get back into music. If I’m working on a spot that I’ve cut, I really know it inside out now, and that’s an interesting angle.”

At Pineyro, which handles a lot of Hispanic-market spots, Portune still lists himself as a freelancer per se. “We’ve established an association in which I share the profits from the editing and the music. Once Gloria began seeing the advantages for both of us, she bought additional equipment.”

Pros And Cons

Beyond the considerable outlay of funding for facilities, there are disadvantages. “The advantage, of course, is that one guy is able to do everything,” said Benson. “A disadvantage is that people in the business can view me as an engineer.”

“The heart of sound design is still someone’s mind,” added Chubak. “No library or sound facility can make you a soundman.”

A veteran editor at a prominent mid-sized New York house begs to differ, “I can’t see too many clients who would prefer to edit with some Joe Blow in a Mickey Mouse room when they can go to top-notch experts. A soundman at an editing house will not have a reputation, and we only go with the top six or seven guys. Convenience doesn’t sell. People don’t do what’s convenient, they do what’s best. They want the best director, the best DP, the best editor and the best soundman.”

His house features “whatever sound facilities are needed to do a cut, but not on-air quality. If it’s a film job, we can record a scratch announce. If it’s tape, we can roll in any sound they want for a basic scratch mix, for presenting the cut. Many a heart has been broken on opening a shop built on promises. I don’t think one-stop shopping is a selling point.”

For Portune, the disadvantage lies in the fact “that I never seem to get home, because more often I’m wearing two hats. My wife could list a ton of disadvantages.”

But there’s no loss for words when it comes to naming clients and products that have reaped rewards from the two-headed deal. Noted Chubak, “One of our biggest fans is a producer at Della Femina, for the Joe Isuzu spots. He can’t espouse our virtues enough, and neither can those who are used to us.”

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Music At School – A Necessity?

In 1988 the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) issued its own report on the state of arts education in the nation, the first such study mandated by the Congress in more than a century: Toward Civilization: A Report of Arts Education. it focuses the attention of the American people, the education community, and those who love the arts on the nation’s cultural welfare. It does not paint a pretty picture.

“In general,” the report concludes, arts education in America is characterized by imbalance, inconsistency, and inaccessibility …. There is inconsistency in the arts education various students receive in various parts of the country, in different school districts within states, in different schools within systems, and even in classrooms within schools. Because of the pressures of a school day, a comprehensive and sequential arts education is inaccessible except to a very few, and often only to those with a talent or a special interest.”

The implicit question of Toward Civilization is: How basic are the arts music -among them-to education? Are they a frill, or a “fourth R’,” along with reading, writing, and arithmetic? By definition, “basic” means fundamental and essential. What many seem to have lost sight of in the stampede to tie our education system to narrower national goals of international competitiveness is something it took us centuries to learn – knowledge of beauty is as essential to what it means to be a human being as the knowledge of the world and how to use its resources.

The arts are utterly basic, says the NEA, because they are the clearest windows on our civilization, because they are the essential nutrients of all human creativity, because they are primary teachers of communication skills, and because they equip young people and adults to exercise critical judgment about what they see and hear. Far from being icing on the curricular cake,” the arts are as much meat and potatoes in a young person’s schooling as the basic skills of literacy and numeracy.

But if the arts are to do these basic jobs, young people must be exposed to them continually and from an early age. As Dr. Frank Wilson, writing for the American Music Conference, has pointed out, developmental specialists now know that the earlier a child begins with music, the more benefit music brings to the child. Music reinforces many educational tasks in very powerful ways: memory, concentration, coding and decoding, and symbol recognition among them, as well as the esteem-building that comes with the achievements of music making.

Unfortunately, the message about the basic contribution arts and music education can make, and their essential role, remains muted. Getting that message across is, in no small measure, the job of the music industry. Not merely because it is in our narrow, economic self-interest to do so, but because it is, in the very deepest sense, basic to the national interest and to the future of our children. We can no more afford a new generation of cultural illiterates than we can afford illiterates of any kind.

We already know that total reform of the education system is called for, and the nation is proceeding with that agenda, however haltingly. The tide seems to be turning. The nation’s governors have already met with President Bush to set the stage for national education goals, echoing the sentiments of men like David Kerns, CEO of Xerox, who writes in his best-seller Winning the Brain Race: “The task before us is restructuring our entire public education system. I don’t mean tinkering. I don’t mean piecemeal changes, or even well intentioned reforms.”

We in the music community have a responsibility to this process as well. We can not let the nation forget that the arts are basic tools for producing a world-class work force; but more than that, they will help our children become the kind of men and women whose inner lives are connected to their jobs and to their futures.

The NEA report reminds us: “The most powerful force in education is the individual school, along with its principal, its teachers, and the parents who support it. The school district, with its power to shape policy and make budget allocations, is second…federal or national entities, such as the U.S. Department of Education and national education membership organizations, have less influence … Those outside the education sector need to mesh their efforts with state and locally mandated school programs.”

But the NEA’s most telling observation for the music products industry lies in its call to the individual citizen: “The arts will become part of the school curriculum only when concerned citizens work to make it happen. They are the parents and voters who elect the officials and legislators who set the educational goals and establish education budgets.”

Thus, we in the music industry who -are also concerned citizens, parents and voters – have a definite role to play. If we are not happy with the music program – or lack of one – in the local schools, we are the ones who can and should do something about it. Unfortunately, when the news arrives on our doorsteps that yet another district or school has dropped its music program, too many in the music industry retreat into passivity. What the state of music education in our schools is telling us, however, is that the time for retreat has passed.

What is also interesting and of note is that music has become far more digital, which means that a student can easily carry his music in a Macbook or on an external hard drive. Keeping that data safe, and hard drive failures to a minimum is a goal of many in the data recovery industry, pioneered by this website.

As individuals and as an industry, we have to intensify our involvement, to become a force for music in our schools. The only way to make a difference for educational responsibility and for music is to assert ourselves. That will mean, of course, getting involved, becoming familiar with school programs and the budgets that support them. It will mean getting the word out and rallying support. It will mean working to establish priorities where there are none, and realigning them where they ignore or short-change music education.

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I-VI Reviewed

About The book: I-VI. The title is a shorthand abbreviation of the lectures’ real title: MethodStructureIntentionDisciplineNotationIndeterminacyInterpenetration-Imitatio n Devotion Circumstances VariableStructureNonunderstandingContingencyInconsistencyPerformance. The volume is well made, expensively produced, and extravagantly set. It is even packaged with two tapes, one of which contains the entire performance of one of the six lectures that John Cage delivered, and the other a session of questions and answers with the Norton lecturer that followed the talks. “Instead of looking for mushrooms in a forest,” the composer tells one interrogator when describing his lectures, “I’m looking for ideas in a brushing of source material.” Cage doesn’t develop ideas, or create them. They just happen to appear as he strolls through his “source material,” mushroom basket in hand.

Cage will be missed, and not just by the avant-garde.

Here, for example, is one specimen that the casual hiker in these pages might come across: food for themselves and/have discovered legal ties to/burn wooden/points in time when there Are not points but/rejected Israel and the united states face to/a new job and even a totally new

The capital letters should align themselves vertically on the page to spell INDETERMINACY. Each set of lines in the lectures, in fact, has one of the words from the lecture’s titles-method, Structure, Intention, etc.-running down its center. Cage refers to these constructions as “mesostics,” a term invented by Norman O. Brown to describe Cage’s peculiar variation on the acrostic. Printed underneath this poesy are three lines of small print, without punctuation or capitalization, that contain the running text of Cage’s discussions with questioners and challengers-as if forming a layer of mulch out of which the text seems to sprout. Cage is asked about the time he played poker with Jacqueline Susann (he doesn’t remember it), or for his views on politics and performance (he is an “anarchist”), or to respond to observations about how difficult it is to concentrate on the lectures.

The source of the difficulty is simple enough. Each line in the lecture had its central word selected b what Cage calls “chance operations.” There is no particular reason why one line should follow another; they are randomly put together. “This frees me,” Cage gleefully explains, “from memory, tastes, likes and dislikes.” Cage once used the I Ching as his instrument of liberation-thus giving the choices of tones and phrases a semi-mystical aura as he tossed sticks according to the ancient Chinese oracle. But the aura evidently became less convenient the more exotic Cage’s techniques became. Now he depends on a computer program for assistance, its spit-out numbers determining the locations of words and ideas and sounds.

The most surprising thing about this technique-which Cage has used for nearly four decades-is how influential it has been. Our century has been notable for continuing attempts to create musical systems to replace conventional tonality. One system, popularized by the European avant-garde during the 1950s, involved increasing the territory governed by law, to systematize everything from pitch to timbre. Cage’s system-which affected generations of self-inspired American avant-gardists-abdicated law and control nearly completely by submitting to the vagaries of dice or the I Ching. (At the Phillips Gallery in Washington, there is currently a show of watercolors by Cage painted in consultation with the I Ching.) Schoenberg, with whom Cage once studied counterpoint (and who was himself preoccupied with creating a compositional system), called him an “inventor of genius,” but declined to use the word “composer.”

For Cage was not primarily looking for a way to create art music. In the midst of the discussions that accompany these lectures, Cage tells a story he has told before, of a dinner with Marcel Duchamp in which they discussed the aesthetic qualities of bread crumbs falling on the table. The veteran French avantgardist-who once installed a urinal in a museum-argued that haphazardly dropped crumbs were hardly deserving of much aesthetic notice. But Cage argued that the crumbs, as they landed, were art enough. The point was simply to come upon them and to point to them.

This means not placing the urinal in the museum, but placing the museum around the urinal. It is an idea that Cage has turned into his own distinctive aesthetic religion, mixing it with allusions to Zen. All sounds, all words, all crumbs, are worthy of equal attention. All life is art. All art Is beyond judgment. For Cage, the object is almost to become innocent of all choice and rules and distinction, and then to remain ignorant of why one thing is being heard over another. “What is the advantage of not knowing what you are doing?” John Ashbery once asked Cage.”it cheers up the knowing,” the composer answered. “Otherwise, knowing will be very self-conscious and frequently guilty.” Cage’s choice is to avoid choice.

But of course Cage doesn’t treat all events equally. He makes guilty choices; he just hides behind the dice. One such choice is to give “chance” events more value over anything chosen, to value chaos more than regulation. Cage’s art is not just “found” art. It is created as found. It’s as if mushrooms were planted in the woods and harvested as wild.

Cage makes sure to plant them in very particular places-wherever they will hasten the disintegration of ordinary language and meaning, which Cage calls militarized.” His mushrooms feed off these meanings, destroying them. “During the period of harmony and counterpoint,” Cage once said, “there was good and bad, and rules to support the good against the bad. Today we must identify ourselves with noises instead.” One of music’s purposes, he told one interviewer, is “to undermine the making of value judgments,” and his works take this as their project. Cage once said he would agree to conduct the Beethoven symphonies only if he could assemble enough players to perform every symphony at the same time (with electronic data stored and protected here). He has also suggested the founding of a university in which all lectures would be given in the same room simultaneously.

So the point is not really some Zen-like appreciation of bread crumbs; it is the Dadaist mess the m k B not even fully Dadaist, this mess. Cage has claimed, for example, he wanted his music to “be free of my own likes and dislikes,” and he claims the same for these lectures. Yet the “point” of most of these lectures, the exercise of likes and dislikes in their composition, is unmistakable. Every random word in the lectures is chosen from a long text reprinted at the book’s conclusion-a set of quotations Cage has put together from newspapers and pet philosophers. Thoreau is quoted, as are Buckminster Fuller and Wittgenstein. (“I have long been attracted to his work,” Cage says, “reading it with enjoyment but rarely with understanding.”)

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Easy Steps to Fix A Failed Hard Drive

How do you keep your files and keep your hard drive from damage? As time goes by, your hard drive will start to show its age. It may start to have problems with some of its physical areas where your files are stored. This may show up as a problem within the file system or bad sectors on your hard drive. If your drive is damaged and you do not want the computer to use those areas, especially when storing data from important programs, be careful. You can use the error-checking tool included in your Windows XP to check any file system and any bad sectors in your hard drive. It is called the Check Disk. It is proven and suggested that you run this once a month; create a monthly reminder in your calendar. All programs must be closed first before starting this Check Disk program, and to start it right away. If there are files in use in the hard drive, you selected, a message box will appear to ask you if you want to reschedule the disk checking for the next time you restart your system. Your computer will not run Windows or any program until the check on the disk is done, and you have a fixed hard drive.

Maybe a lot of laptop or computer owners are running with the issue of getting blue screens every now and then, or their computer is basically locking up and shutting itself down. You may be confident that you have a well functioning hard drive. A lot of times, this blue screen problem and shutting down problem can be due to hard drive problems. First thing you should do if you are having blue screens; make an immediate back up of all your files as soon as you can. Fix the hard drive of your computer by following these simple steps:

Go to Start menu, click on Computer. Right click on the drive you want to check and then go to its Properties. From there, click on Tools, and under the Error Checking, click the “Check Now” button. There will be a message of a check disk command on a hard drive. Make sure you have checked the “automatically check file system errors” and also check the box that says, “Scan for an attempt recovery of bad sectors.” It will scan every single area that saves your data. If it had detected a bad sector it will be automatically blocked and continue scanning so, your computer system will not use that bad sector anymore. Read more here.

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Chicago And Stereo? Who’d A Thunk It?

My boombox beats loud.

Of those Chicago music producers queried, a landslide has either mixed in stereo for years or are currently gearing up for the occasion. Outside of incidental music and sound effects, audio has been a notoriously neglected element of tv since the advent. But of late, with the music video rage embraced by networks and ad agencies alike, and with swelling requests for Top 40 imitations, the demands of sound have at long last been heard.

“The consumer is much more critical compared to three or four years ago. And next to their great stereos, tv is sadly lacking,” commented Universal Recording vp and studio manager Foote Kirkpatrick, who also predicted that the new consumer sophisticate will incite an industry clamor for more specialized engineers. “The great engineer will be in even greater demand.”

According to Chuck Thomas, president of Chuck Thomas Music, a lot of bright new talent will be young. “They won’t have the business experience, but they’ll have the creativity and knowledge of the technology. The daytime engineer can’t experiment for the most part because of time constraints.”

“We’re anticipating a lot of changes,” said Gary Fry, partner and arranger/producer at Com/Track. “We’re planning a lot of experimentation with the new equipment and with the stereophonic effects.”

Music producer Chuck Thomas echoed the sentiments of many when he said that he was looking forward to the coming age of sound. “Stereo mixing affects the placement of each instrument. I look for a particular space for every instrument and I try to place each on a 3-D axis so each one has its own perspective, which adds to the texture of the piece.”

And the differences between stereo and mono mixing, according to professionals, are staggering.

“The one phrase that I could use to sum it up is spatial quality. The coming of stereo tv will offer that where the monos don’t,” said Mark Weinstein, music producer/partner of Klaff/Weinstein Music.

Aesthetically, stereo mixing is measurably more lucid and full-bodied. But personally, it’s just more fun.

“It’ll be like a little mini-movie sound studio. You can get all those great sounds and a richer ambiance. It might take more money and definitely more time,” said John Tatgenhorst, of Tatgenhorst Music, “but it’ll be much more fun.”

Visually, rock videos are a playground to the talent and technicians involved. They have offered a needed opportunity to create what would otherwise never be created for conventional network programs and commercials. In the past few years, howeer, the commercial conventionality has died down somewhat–to the ecstasy of many. For the jungle man, however, the same change is slower in coming.

Agencies traditionally have jumped on the bandwagon of Top 40 hits, soliciting reproduction of the sounds and mood of a song for commercial use. But, also traditionally, they’ve jumped on the bandwagon at a time when the band had already gone home.

“They didn’t even start breakdancing bits until that was almost dead and then everyone had to have a breakdancer,” observed Salvatori. “They generally come to us about six months after a song is a hit. People still come and ask for a ‘Flashdance’-type thing.” But, Salvatori happily admits that the gap between a current hit and a past-tense imitation is quickly closing.

Cliff Colnut, of Colnut/Fryer, thinks that, because of their resiliency, today’s hits can be initiated without fear of time constraints. “I just did something like [The Police's] ‘Every Little Think She Does is Magic.’ Top 40 songs like that become faithful standards and have a remarkable staying power.”

Also demonstrating remarkable staying power is the synthesizer, once thought of as a fad. A sophisticated update of that instrument is the complex Synclavier II, which reproduces sounds and instruments with amazing results. Only three Synclavier IIs are currently utilized by Chicaco-based music houses, and music producer Steve Samler thinks he knows why.

“It offers a variety of different sounds but it falls under the heading of ‘generic sound.’ Devoting the time and the money to it would distract from other work, and in the end you’d have a lot of the same type of sound.”

Jim Dolan, general manager of Steeterville, looks forward to the more contemporary, aggressive musical approach that agencies are taking.

“Across the board, we’ve seen the change. There’s hints of the change in the use of synthesizers and electric drums and the whole design,” said Dolan. “The [genre of music] has gone from zero to 50 percent of our work.”

Chicago as Jingle King

Somewhere along the line, Chicago acquired the title of jingle capital of the country, according to many Chicago-based jingleers. Of course, ask a New York or L.A. professional the same question and the answer likely won’t be affirmative.

Based on volume alone, New York squeezes by the Chicago market according to industry figures, but per number of houses, Chicago does a greater percentage of business.

“We’re a quiet jingle capital, we don’t make a lot of noise about it,” said Universal’s Kirkpatrick. “But Chicaco is the home to major, major accounts. United Airlines calls his home, McDonald’s calls this home, Bud Light and Michelob. These people are dedicated to doing their music here.”

Yes, but can Chicago tout the title of jingle king?

“Anyone, anywhere in the industry, regardless of location, would acknowledge us as one of the main centers. But a capital? Tell that to New York,” said Don Kaufman, president at Mozart Midnight Productions.

Music producer Bobby Whiteside, who three months ago opened a New York office, theorized that the title fluctuates with location.

“I think, though, that it’s pretty much an even split. There is no capital. Just a lot of business at a variety of places,” he noted. Whiteside opened a New York office four months ago to boost the percent of his business which that market already represents.

Chicago’s reputation carries over from the ’50s, according to Salvatori, when, “If you wanted to record music, you’d come to Chicago. The reputation of Dick Marx and Universal Recording still influences the city’s reputation as a whole.”

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Radio: Suckers Never…

Remember when Radio really mattered to people???

The long-time radio leader in Chicago, MOR/talk WGN(AM), has regained its top 12-plus metro share standing while urban/contemporary hit KPWR(FM) overtook contemporary hit rocker KIIS-AM-FM for the numberone spot in Los Angeles, according to the just-released local market summar Arbitron reports. In New York, it was status quo in the ratings race for first place with contemporary hit WHTZ(FM) still leading the pack. The latest Arbitron ratings are based on listening for Monday through Sunday, 6 a.m. to midnight, from June 25 through Sept. 16.

WHTZ maintained its dominance in the nation’s top market by finishing with a 6.2 overall metro share. Next was urban contemporary WBLS(FM) and contemporary hit WPLJ(FM), both finishing with 4.8. There was also a tie for third place at 4.6 between easy listening WPAT-FM and urban contemporary WRKS(FM) as well as for the fourth slot at 4.5 with all-news WINS(AM) and talk WOR(AM) and for fifth at 4.3 with soft rock WLTW(FM) and “dance-oriented’ contemporary hit WQHT(FM).

Other station finishes included the market’s 20-year-old album-rocker WNEW-FM, 4.0; up from 3.5 in the spring book; oldies WCBS-FM, 3.8; up from 3.7; classic rock WXRK(FM), 3.7; up from 3.3; and all-news WCBS(AM), 3.1, down from 3.3.

In Los Angeles, KPWR(FM) moved from second place last spring to the top spot in the summer report with a 6.6 12-plus share. Falling from first to second was KIIS-AM-FM at 6.5. That was followed by talk KABC(AM), 5.8, up from 5.2; soft rock KOST(FM), 4.9, up from 4.3; and easy listening KJOI(FM), 4.5, down from 4.9.

In the all-news category, KNX(AM) finished ahead of its crosstown rival KFWB(AM), 2.8 to 2.6. Meanwhile, progressive rocker KROQ(FM) with 4.3 beat out KLOS(FM) at 3.0 in the battle among rock outlets. Also finishing with 3.0 was classic rocker KLSX(FM).

As for the market’s newest station phenomenon, new age/jazz KTWV(FM), known as The Wave, registered a 2.7 overall share, up from 2.5 in the spring and 1.9 in the winter book when it switched from albumrock, under the call of KMET.

In Chicago, WGN, which fell from first to second last spring after being on top for many years, jumped back to its familiar post with a 9.7, up from 8.4. Urban contemporary WGCI-FM was second at 8.2, dropping from 8.6 and first place, with all-news WBBM(AM) landing third at 6.3, up from 5.7. Next was easy listening WLOO(FM), at 5.3– the same share as the previous book–followed by urban contemporary WBMX(FM) at 5.1, up from 4.4.

Among the stations gaining in 12-plus audience share since the spring were: contemporary hit WBBM-FM, from 3.8 to 4.1; classic rocker WCKG(FM), 2.9 to 3.7; adult contemporary WFYR-FM, 2.6 to 2.9.

Those stations showing a 12-plus decline from the previous report included soft contemporary WLAK(FM), from 4.2 to 3.3, and news/talk WMAQ(AM), which dipped from 2.2 to 1.9. WMAQ is one of three stations being sold by NBC and industry sources say Group W is the primary suitor (“In Brief,’ Spet. 28).

Looking at the remaining top five markets, AM stations won the first three 12-plus share positions in San Francisco. KGO(AM) continued its stronghold over the Bay Area with an 8.7, followed by all-news KCBS(AM), 5.6, and adult contemporary KNBR(AM), 5.2–another NBC station up for sale.

Yep. It was a long time ago.

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The Master Of Jazz

One hundred thirty years of Black Entertainment, Big Bands, and the Blues Jazz is not yet 100 years old (Jelly Roll Morton used to claim that he personally invented it in 1902; the claim was exaggerated but the year was about right), yet already a welath of history has accumulated around the music. Like most history, the chronicles of jazz deal mainly with the kings and the commanders, the heroes and the rebels–the likes of Morton and Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. Lesser luminries of jazz and popular music have won due recognition, too. But very little attention has been paid to the foot soldiers, the almost anonymous rank-and-file players who filled out the bands as they swung through the years from ragtime to bebop and beyond.

Clyde was a true master.

Few jazz books mention the name of Clyde E. B. Bernhardt, for example, yet Bernhardt has played in big bands and small bans, in name bands and no-name bands, at society affairs and at rent parties, in clubs run by the mob in Prohibition days, at roller-skating rinks and in walkathons, in an airplane flying over New York City (in 1932, with Marion Hardy and his Alabamians) and in Harlem ballrooms, including one distinguished by its own resident basketball team. He toured with the legendary cornetist King Oliver and accompanied Ella Fitzgerald when she was 16 years old, he recorded “In the Mood” before Glenn Miler did, he worked alongside Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. And at 80, as this book was published, he was still on the bandstand, false teeth adn trombone firmly in place, blowing lip trills and high Cs, hot music in a cool age.

Bernhardt was never a remarkable musician–evidently, not one of “the sharks,” as he calls them (“Never considered myself one, just a regular player that could read, fake some, play a good solo-take care of business”). His book, though, makes a remarkable contribution to the story of American music and entertainment.

He has an extraordinary memory and his recollections, clear adn precise, range from blues singer Ma Rainey’s tent show in 1917 and a band tour of Europe just before the Nazis took over, to a lunch at the White House followed by a performance for President Ronald Reagan at Ford’s Theatre in 1982. His descriptions go beyond the bandstand to tell of his North Carolina childhood (in a wooden bungalow ordered by mail from the Sears, Roebuck catalog) and of sweeping the street for a living in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

In today’s world of show-business glitterand instant stardom, his account of touring the dance-hall circuit on mud roads in ramshackle cars-with the patched suitcases and instruments roped to the roof, steam spouting from the radiator–sounds like life on another planet. So does his mention of the band’s having to eat behind a storeroom curtain so no white customers would see black men being served a meal. Bernhardt’s bitterness at racism, however, tends to focus on color prejudice between light- and dark-skinned blacks.

Here is a whole vanished era of show business–carnivals and minstrel shows, circus parades and vaudeville troupes, and entertainers like tap dancer Peg Leg Bates, who performed on a wooden stump, and the celebrated Bill (Bojangles) Robinson, who traveled in a chauffeur-driven Duesenberg and carried a gold-plated pistol. And King Oliver, who turned down a Cotton Club engagement that made Duke Ellington famous. (Oliver, forgotten, wound up as a pool-hall attendant in Savannah, Georgia.)

Bernhardt’s career, like jazz itself, spans much of the 20th century. “Somehow it all seems to fit in a kind of bigger picture,” he writes. “Perhaps a picture of America.” So it does.

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When Jazz Met Pop

Thankfully, jazz dancers didn't always look this bad.

Although the critics have said it, the observation remains valid: America’s only significant contribution to music has been jazz and the popular song. Both came into being at the turn of the century and reached their apotheosis in the Twenties, Thirties, and early Forties. Both held themselves at arm’s length from the “serious” composers, who, with the exception of William Grant Still, feebly echoed a European tradition, for the most part reduced to a whimper. (Today that tradition has given us what? Pierre Boulez!) Popular song moved with its most talented and ebullient composers from Tin Pan Alley, a sparkling thoroughfare, to the musical-comedy stage. Jazz, which had come to a focus in the musical melting pot of New Orleans, overflowed into the North when Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels padlocked the whorehouses in 1917. Both fell victim to television and the dismal uproar of rock.

Now gaudeamus igitur. The Smithsonian Institution, which has reissued much of our recorded legacy of music, has now devoted six LPs to American Popular Song, encompassing six decades of popular songs and singers, accompanies by an overview of the genre in a 152-page booklet (Smithsonian collection of Recordings, Wasington, D.C. 20560). Here, in a selection from an inexhaustible catalogue, is the music that rang from nightclub and stage and was echoed by a million radios: the best of Harold Arlen, Rodgers & Hart, Cole Portr, Irving Berlin, Vernon Duke, and a host of others, enunciated by singers of less embonpoint than their operatic cousins–singers once household names but now remembered only in pallid TV specials. Here the sense, the sensibility, and the sentimentality of America is expressed–a song whose modalities, when studied, are far more subtle and sophisticaterd than many would believe.

There may be some quarrel over the inclusion or exclusion of this or that song, this or that singer. I found it odd that there should be so much of Fred Astaire, whose genius lay elsewhere, and nothing of Maxine Sullivan–or that the Kurt Weill-Maxwell Anderson “September Song” should have been assigned to Frank Sinantra rather than heard in Walter Huston’s incomparable rendition. But there is compensation for the set’s sins of omission and commission in the inclusion of “I Got It Bad and That Ain’t Good,” that lovely juxtaposition of Duke Ellington’s music and Paul Webster’s lyrics. Gaudeamus, indeed, for American Popular Song, a glorious compendium that should be played and replayed.

DEDICATED small companies–and to a far lesser extent the recording giants–have kept alive the jazz performances of the past in reissues for the small legion of aficionados, and the Meritt Society is an honored member of this sodality. Now Meritt has issued a series of Teddy Wilson solos, never before available to the general public–only five hundred copies were pressed in 1938–which he cut for his short-lived School for Pianists. Wilson won fame and some fortune as the pianist whose solid yet elegant improvisations gave their character to the Benny Goodman Trio and Quartet. He also made innumerable recordings with a Who’s Who of great jazz sidemen, and vocalists like Billie Holiday and Mildred Bailey. The solos for the School for Pianists sides are a distillation of his jazz style and demonstrate the intricacies and varieties of his improvisational genius.

But I suspect that Classic Small Groups (Meritt No. 6) will bring greater pleasure to jazz lovers. The reissues in this album offer a sampling of the music and musicians heard on New York’s 52nd Street, in basement clubs like the Famous Door and the Onyx, before and during the swing era. The small bands of that period preserved, extended, and refined the jazz of New Orleans as it was modified by the Chicago school. Unlike the stylized and often rigid “big-band” jazz, the music of these small bands relied on head arrangements, collective improvisation, and the instrumental solo. And they took this music into the recording studios, where they were limited by the three-minute stretch of the old shellacs but in which they recaptured the spirit of their nightly stints.

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Reviewing Blues, Ideology, and Afro-American Literature

The blues are good down here.

HOUSTON A. BAKER JR.’S impressive study, ”Blues, Ideology, and Afro-American Literature,” reminds us that what is at issue in our debates among various schools of literary criticism is nothing less than the nature of American reality. Using a fusion of new and traditional critical methods – along with insights from the black American vernacular – Mr. Baker insists that whatever else American culture is, it is part black. No charting of American literature can be valid without taking into account the Afro-American contribution. He means not simply acknowledging a token black book or two but recognizing an entire expressive culture – a perspective, a set of values, motives and forms that characterize black Americans and their literature.

Accordingly, Mr. Baker examines Afro-American literary works against the background of what he calls the blues matrix. Here he has in mind not ony literature bearing the impress of the folk-become-fine-art form that began to be widely circulated at the turn of the century. He is referring also to the black American’s disposition (antedating blues music as such) to improvise resiliently with opportunities that arise and to the sense of life as unrelentingly hard and unjust but allowing for the possibility of fruitful achievement that was shared by slaves and their children.

From this perspective, Frederick Douglass, Linda Brent and Gustavus Vassa (all writers of slave narratives, forms crucial to the making of an Afro-American tradition in literature) are self-portraitists imbued with the blues. Their books describe a world of trouble where only improvisers can survive. Mr. Baker also argues that the blues culture has contributed elements not only to slave narratives but to all of black literature. Among those elements are playfulness of language, driving irony, compression and the use of undercutting references to other literary works and conventions.

Ralph Ellison and, especially, Albert Murray already have explored in detail the poetics of black music and the bluesiness of certain American writers. What’s new about Mr. Baker’s interpretation is his emphasis on the economics of the blues. Blues music, he observes, has been for sale almost from its inception, and blues musicians have long been cast as entertainers – merchants of the blues as property. So there are special overtones, inevitably recalling slavery, related to the predicament of blues artists whose forebears saw not just their art but themselves and their family members sold.

With this economics of the blues in mind, Mr. Baker presents detailed readings of the slave narratives. His main point is that from the accounts of their lives it is clear that Douglass, Brent and Vassa did not rely on providence alone to free themselves; they engaged slavery’s treacherous economic system on its own terms. By saving, trading and stealing, at last they were able to buy their way out of slavery, organize independent family units and work for themselves.

This critical view also produces fresh insights into certain key works by black writers of the 20th century, such as Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison. The reconsideration of Wright, whose critical star has lately sunk so low, is particularly valuable. For Mr. Baker, Wright is the master symbolist within the tradition. He is not only a blues writer of the first rank (all his characters negotiate in a low-down, dirty world full of economic woes) but, in Mr. Baker’s eyes, a ”deconstructionist writer.” Of ”Black Boy,” Mr. Baker writes: ”From one analytical perspective, Wright and his autobiographical narrator are forerunners of Roland Barthes’s project in ‘Writing Degree Zero.’ Like Barthes’s idealized writer, Wright confounds the ‘literariness’ expected of ‘novelists’ (and) of ‘literary autobiographers.’ ” Wright’s impulse was to lay waste to the world he knew (and to help generate a better one) with language as inversive as it is switchblade sharp and swift. Therein, Mr. Baker writes, lies ”Richard Wright’s attractive singularity.”

While Mr. Baker is at his best as an interpreter of specific texts, he also is a solid theorist. Painstakingly, he sets his ”vernacular theory” in context. Obviously, he defines his task in opposition to that of American literature’s official historians. According to Mr. Baker, when these mainstream critics do not leave out black writing altogether, they reduce it to a ”shadow” or a ”cross-hatch” on the national canon.

In a longish chapter, he also takes to task certain major theorists of the Afro-American literary blurb tradition. He inveighs against the proponents of ”integrationist poetics” (Richard Wright, Sterling Brown, Arthur Davis), who deny the existence of formal peculiarities in black literature, lest it be judged ”in an alcove apart” from literature by white Americans. ”Presumably,” he writes, ”integrationism holds that structurally peculiar Negro forms are trapped in an evolutionary backwater.”

He is somewhat more generous when he turns to critics of his own generation – the Black Esthetic critics and those he terms the Reconstructionists. In the fullest and fairest treatment anywhere of Black Esthetic critics – those associated with this movement, which emerged from the explosion of black arts and letters in the 1960′s, include Stephen Henderson, the late Larry Neal and, originally, Houston Baker – Mr. Baker admits that they romanticized the ”poetry of the people” and sought to catch in loose-weave nets the elusive smoke of blackness, unknowable by those unswathed in the black experience. Still, these critics did make abundantly clear what we now take for granted – black literature, albeit an American literature that at its best has international significance, has specific formal characteristics. How could it be otherwise, with black writers sharing not just the ”concord of sensibilities” defining them as an ethnic group but also the desire to define in their work the meaning of this group’s glories and travails from Africa to slavery toward freedom? Unlike Reconstructionists, Black Esthetic critics insist on context (literary, historical. political, economic, cultural) as well as text – one explicates and enriches the other.

Reconstructionists, according to Mr. Baker (he also terms them Aristotelian Metaphysicians), are the new New Critics, who would attempt to cull text from context. Robert Stepto and Henry Louis Gates Jr., both contributors to the landmark book ”The Reconstruction of Instruction” (hence Mr. Baker’s term for them), are the villains of this section of the book. They proclaim the existence of a black literature connected not so strongly by a common black culture or struggle as by images and techniques found from book to book (”intertextually”). Mr. Baker criticizes them for loading their work with jargon and ill-fitting critical armor. But then he goes on to praise them for serving notice to the modern critic of black literature: don’t condescend to black literature by applying to it the dead metaphors of shopworn critical theory. A great literature needs not just great audiences but great critics as well.

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Gettin’ My Shopping IN

Although at the time, I figured this was simply heavy-duty rationalization, it proved to be true when I made a return visit to the swimwear departments in mid-August to look for another suit.

I first visited Marshall Field’s State Street flagship. As I approached the misses’ swimwear department on the sixth floor, I tried to think of questions to use to enlist the aid of a salesperson. Lost in thought, I was momentarily startled to see a young man carrying a woman in his arms clad in activewear. But after doing a double-take, I realized it was only a lifelike mannequin.

I arrived at the swimwear area and although I saw a nice display of preview 1989 merchandise in front of the elevators, the general swimwear department seemed highly disorganized. This, I assume, reflected the growing pains of Field’s $110 million, five-year, storewide renovation currently in progress.

But not all the disorganization was due to construction. All sale merchandise, for example, was displayed on rounders with about half of the suits falling off the hangers. It made the department look sloppy.

Most of the department was crowded into a narrow passageway with the salespeople stationed at the very back of the department. But although I felt slightly claustrophobic here, other shoppers were not deterred. About a dozen women were circulating among the rounders, rummagging through the clearance merchandise.

The rounders were labeled according to size, but the smallest size I could find was a 10. I found a clerk and asked her where I would find smaller suits.

“There aren’t many left,” she said sadly, but told me to go back to the size 10 rack. “There should be some 8s and a couple of 6s there.”

I walked back to the front of the department again, but didn’t see anything that appealed to me. While I was looking at a display, another saleswoman came up next to me and hung some suits back on the rack. She neither greeted me, or offered her assistance.

I walked to the rear of the department and found the younger woman again, asking for her help. I explained that I was going to a beach party over the weekend and wanted to find a new suit with a matching sarong skirt.

She shook her head. “We had some earlier, but now we’re all out.”

“Don’t you have anything?” I prodded.

She hesitated. “We have some purple wrap skirts with matching suits from Elizabeth Stewart, but they are priced at about $50 each.” I think she assumed I was only looking for a suit on sale since all the other shoppers were at the clearance racks.

I told her I didn’t care how much it cost, I just wanted a terrific outfit.

She told me to go back to the front and turn left. “The suits are hanging in the lower corner,” she said.

I wandered over alone in the direction she pointed. I found the skirts, but the swimsuits were all in larger sizes and were heavily constructed silhouettes. I had to giggle because I knew none of them would fit me.

I waited a few minutes to see if the saleswoman would come and help me, but she didn’t, so I left the store and headed down the block to Carson Pirie Scott & Co.

On the second floor of Carson’s, I stopped quickly to check out the junior department. But almost all the swimsuits were tankinis, which make me look very short-waisted.

On the fourth floor, the misses’ swimsuits were well-organized. Even the clearance ranks looked neat and were not overly crammed with merchandise.

I browsed around a few minutes then finally approached a saleswoman. I told her the same story — I was looking for a suit with a matching sarong or cover-up for a party. She took me over to a rack of Harbour Casuals and showed me a bright print sarong and matching suits, however I really didn’t care for the print.

Next she led me over to another rack and pulled out a mint green long cotton gauze skirt. “This isn’t a sarong, but it’s split up the side and would look pretty over the right suit,” she suggest, but we couldn’t find a suit with the right colors to match.

“We had several sarongs outfits earlier in the season, but they sold fast,” she said, then paused. “I don’t suppose you sew?”

I surprised her by saying I did. She suggested I make my own sarong. “That’s what I did this year,” she said, and proceeded to give me instructions. She then excuse herself to help another customer.

I continued to look around the department for a few more minutes, but saw nothing that motivated me to go in the dressing room.

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Shaggin’ It Hard

 

Each year during  the second week after Labor Day thousands of people from all over the Southeast flock to North Myrtle Beach, a town on a stretch of the South Carolina coast called the Grand Strand. The event is a gathering of the Society of Stranders, and its principal function is to celebrate a dance called the shag, a staple of Carolina life. The shag is a slow, easy dance that developed in the late 1940s and early 1950s to early rhythm-and-blues music, but it has endured a lot of changes since then. After a hot summer’s day at work, or at the beach, many Carolinians think there is no greater pleasure than grabbing a few beers, heading for a local nightclub, and shagging the evening away. Small wonder that the shag is the state dance of South Carolina, that shag clubs exist in every major city and hundreds of smaller towns in both Carolinas, and that perhaps hundreds of thousands of people do it all over the South.

But few people outside the South have heard of the shag, and even fewer can do it. This may change soon, with the release this month of Shag, a film featuring the dance as choreographed by Kenny Ortega, who achieved national recognition as the choreographer of Dirty Dancing. Ortega first learned about the shag from some extras who worked on Dirty Dancing. “When I finally saw tapes of people shagging, I fell in love with it,” Ortega says. “The shag is stylish, it’s sexy, and all kinds of people of all ages do it. And what I hope we’ve captured in this movie is that the shag is a central part of the Carolina life-style.”

THAT ESPECIALLY AMERICAN confluence of black music and white kids, usually at hangouts frowned on by adults, gave birth to the shag in the 1940s on the Grand Strand, the fifty-five-mile crescent-shaped beach running north from Georgetown, above Charleston, to the North Carolina border. At that time the Strand was the summer habitat of large numbers of college kids, from all social levels in North and South Carolina, who had become addicted to the free and unruly character of beach life. Away from the supervision of parents or campus authorities, these college kids tended, of course, to act like irresponsible good-for-nothings–beach bums–and were treated as such both by locals and by servicemen on leave from the many military bases in the area.

The college kids learned to make a virtue of necessity by accepting this community rejection and cultivating an aloof, “cool” demeanor. Cool meant, first, a look: for the boys, long, slicked-back, peroxided hair with ducktail, V-necked sweater with no shirt underneath, custom-tailored baggy pants; for the girls, short shorts, cut to reveal a sliver of panty. Cool footgear consisted of simply Weejuns or moccasins; socks were uncool. But cool also meant following a certain routine. Days were spent on the beach. Shortly after dusk the beach bums walked along the boardwalk to the numerous open-air pavilions that were the social centers of all the communities along the Grand Strand. Each had a refreshment stand, an arcade, and, most important, a wooden dance floor with a Wurlitzer jukebox. There the beach bums hung out until somebody came along who could afford to set the machine whirring: a nickel bought one song, a quarter bought five. Until the end of the war white teenagers heard only swing music and danced only the Lindy hop, better known as the jitterbug–a vigorous, jumpy dance that had swept the country in the 1930s. The cooler beach bums preferred hot black bands such as those of Lucky Millinder and Jimmie Lunceford, and the steps they danced to them were smoother and less frantic.

“Nobody started out to invent a new dance,” says Billy Jeffers, who first came to the Strand in the late 1930s and stayed through the mid-1940s. “We just didn’t think all those jerky jitterbug movements fit in with what life was like at the beach. So we began to dance the way we talked to girls–nice and easy, and real laid back.”

An accident of geography changed that slow, cool jitterbug into a distinctive dance all its own. Smack in the middle of the Strand was a single, utterly segregated black community called Atlantic Beach. To this day the beach road makes a detour inland to avoid the town. Atlantic Beach jukeboxes were then stocked with what the trade called “race music”–that is, records made by black musicians and marketed to a black audience. (Only in 1949 did Billboard magazine reclassify “race music” on its charts as “rhythm and blues.”) Around 1947 Jim Harris, a white man who owned and stocked most of the Strand jukeboxes, including those in Atlantic Beach, began to stick some race-music records, as a curiosity, into some of the Wurlitzers in the white pavilions. To his astonishment they were instant hits. Four years before the Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed inaugurated the great “crossover,” by programming black music on white stations, Strand beach bums had already incorporated race music into their lives.

One avid race-music fan was Jo-Jo Putnam, a white South Carolina drummer who first landed on the Strand in 1947, at the age of thirteen. “We loved race music, but you couldn’t find it on the radio,” he says now. “You also couldn’t hear it anywhere else: the black groups couldn’t play in white clubs and were restricted to what was known as the ‘chitlin circuit.’ So the only place we white kids heard race music was at the beach.”

The dance now called the shag originated when Jo-Jo Putnam’s generation met Billy Jeffers’s generation–when the slow jitterbug perfected by the latter was adapted to the race music adored by the former. Putnam, for instance, never forgot the moment he first saw Billy Jeffers dancing at Robert’s Pavilion, in Ocean Drive Beach (now called North Myrtle Beach). “I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Putnam told me at a recent Society of Stranders party. “A whole realm of self-expression opened up to me. I thought I’d just been granted the opportunity to participate in a new art form. I almost broke down and wept.”

Robert’s and the other open-air pavilions with race music on their jukeboxes were the perfect environment for a group of white kids who were cocky and creative enough to invent their own forms of expression and competitive enough to goad one another on. The beach bums would meet nightly to improvise new steps and inspire one another, and to showcase what they did. A new dance had been born. It didn’t have a name, and was referred to as “beach dancing,” “nigger boogie,” “fas’ dancing,” and “dirty shag,” this last after an old Lindy step that vaguely resembled another Carolinian dance, the Charleston. “Shag” eventually stuck.

Some resemblances to the Lindy hop remained. Both are highly improvisational dances, and in both the partners mostly stay at arm’s length, rather than clutching each other ballroom-style. In both it’s mainly the male who shows off, whereas in ballroom dances his principal function is to show off the woman. But the differences between the Lindy and the shag are fundamental. While Lindy hoppers charge into their steps, shaggers stay aloof and detached. The shag is sexy, but it’s not the sweaty sexuality of the Lindy, with its wild animal energy, nor the explicit, aggressive sexuality of the tango, with its pantomines of hunter and hunted. Instead the shag has a languid sensuality that involves slow, casual thigh and chest contact.

The beach bums put it simply: the shag, done right, is cool. Uncool is holding your partner with both hands, ring-around-the-rosy style. Uncool is picking up your feet more than six inches off the ground. Uncool is looking like you know how good you are. Cool is letting your right arm dangle carelessly by your side. Cool is making your feet act as if they are sliding on glass. Cool is looking away from your partner, or facing away from her as if she didn’t exist.

In 1951 a black group called the Dominoes released what quickly became the shaggers’ anthem of cool–”Sixty Minute Man.” The song combines a perfect rhythm-and-blues tempo, an aggressive masculine ethic, and sexual innuendo. It concerns the exploits of a certain Lovin’ Dan, who invites women attached to no-good men to drop by his place. Dan tells them what to expect: There’ll be fifteen minutes of kissin’, then you’ll holler please don’t stop. There’ll be fifteen minutes of teasin’, fifteen minutes of pleasin’, and fifteen minutes of blowing my top. If your old man ain’t treating you right Come up and see old Dan. I’ll rock ‘em, roll ‘em, all night long I’m your sixty minute man.

IN OCTOBER OF 1954 Hurricane Hazel ravaged the Strand from top to bottom, and the Strand beach-bum culture was nearly annihilated. All the boardwalks and pavilions were torn to splinters, along with most of the mom-and-pop cottages that beach bums inhabited during the summer. Few of the pavilions and cottages were rebuilt. Developers bought up beachfront property, and big motels began appearing along the coast. With the cottages gone, the college students stopped coming in the same numbers and stopped learning to shag. The older beach bums moved back inland, to acquire jobs and families.

Here and there small clubs opened up to keep shagging alive. The most notorious of these was The Pad, in Ocean Drive Beach, which opened in 1955, across the street from the remains of Robert’s Pavilion. The Pad was in the open carport of a beach house on stilts whose owner had decided to allow dancing and to sell beer. The owner was eventually forced by offended local citizens to build a wall around the dance floor, so that the shag dancing wouldn’t corrupt passers-by. At last community pressure prevailed, and in 1967 The Pad went the way of the earlier beach-bum hangouts.

Yet another serious blow to the shag was the sudden stardom, in 1956, of Elvis Presley, followed by Beatlemania. Although nominally inspired by rhythm and blues, Elvis and those who followed sped up the tempo and abandoned the original feeling. The shag had the flexibility to adapt to the considerable variations that rhythm-and-blues music underwent, but the new popular dances, such as the stroll (1957), the twist (1961), and the shake (1965), were essentially separate steps with no such flexibility. Predictably, these steps enjoyed some popularity for a time and then faded away.

The time between Hurricane Hzel and 1970 is known to local historians as the dark ages of shag. What followed is known, logically enough, as the shag renaissance. In 1970, when disco music was just coming into its own, a former beach bum named Bob Barnhill took over the management of an old bar, called Fat Jack’s, in Ocean Drive Beach. Barnhill began with the intention of turning Fat Jack’s into a disco. Halfway through the renovations he had a change of heart.

“I told myself I’d give it one more try,” Barnhill told me at the Society of Stranders gathering. “Shagging, and the music it was done to, was born here, and I thought it shouldn’t die here.” He stopped buying mirrors and colored light bulbs, got an old Wurlitzer, and stocked it with rhythm and blues. One of the songs, of course, was “Sixty Minute Man.” Barnhill says, “Fat Jack’s took off like wildfire. The old beach-bum crowd was ready to return to what they had done as teenagers.”

 

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The Chicago Music Community

We will all grant, I think, that what the Nashville music community has achieved in the past 20 years is something of a modern music industry miracle. It is true that much of the achievement has been made possible by “damn yankee” money in the form of significant major label investment, but that investment has been protected and multiplied by a strong sense of competitive cooperation rooted in a system of shared cultural and musical values. This is perhaps best expressed by a songwriter I was talking with recently who phrased the attitude like this: “Nashville is really like a big family. When you have a hit and you’re hot, everyone is genuinely happy for you, and when you’re having a cold period, even if it’s for a number of years, they understand and don’t shut you out. . .they still invite you to all the parties anyway.”

Massive amazingness, Chicago-style.

It would be wonderful if the Chicago music community could develop such a mature, supportive attitude for each of its members, but that seems highly unlikely without a major shift in thinking and awareness. We will not ever develop a sense of togetherness until we tackle the main obstacle head on and get it out of our lives. That obstacle is not, as you might think, profit-motivated competition for what is perceived as a small slice of an ever-shrinking pie, for the pie has actually gotten much bigger than many of us realize or fully understand yet (more on this topic in later columns).

The main problem is that Chicago musicians and music industry pros lack, and will probably never have, the one element that has made Nashville’s success possible–a common musical style rooted in a shared cultural tradition. Unlike the homogeneous “good ole boys,” Chicagoans represent a true cultural melting pot: the CSO aligned in uneasy, uncaring co-existence with Kiss. Musical Chicago is a conglomeration of social and cultural factions, and the suggestion that such diverse human groups as those that support “new wave” and “Classical” musics might find cooperative strength in their very differences may indeed qualify as a profound example of wishful, schizophrenic idealism. Yet that is precisely the course we must follow for our own mutual benefit and ultimate success as a powerful music community.

Until and unless we can find a common ground, one of which each of us is allowed equal status in the profession, the larger profession will not flourish. Leonard Bernstein said it eloquently in his acceptance speech at the 1985 Grammy Awards, to paraphrase: “The goal of my career has been to show that music, fundamentally, is music, regardless of the color or race or cultural origin of the people who make it, and I find myself at once pleased at my own sucess and anxious to finish this speech quickly and make way for another true artist–Tina Turner.”

This attitude, the simultaneous acknowledgement of difference and esthetic acceptance of those differences is, I feel, the key to Chicago’s success as a force in the music industry.

Look around you. There is an astonishing array of musical styles and activity, each contingent mining its own musical vein largely unaware of its neighbors. A huge Polka market exists side-by-side with an ever-strengthening Hispanic presence with a broad range of white and black gospel music, jazz, and blues, with a resilient folk scene, with a brilliant classical constituency, with a hip cadre of jingle producers, and so on and so on. Chicago is an intensely creative musical community, but because it never takes time to get to know its neighbors, it is never able to capitalize on its true strength. . .the very diversity that keeps us apart.

So I propose that we all think about this, and find ways to acknowledge our true strength and capitalize on it.

We should begin now to support such professional organizations as NARAS and the Chicago Music Coalition. We should lobby the governor and mayor and city council for a Chicago Music Office. We should develop the powerful marketing techniques that exit today to strengthen independent labels of all kinds. We should educate professionals to run the companies that will make us all rich. We should look beyond ourselves to what’s happening in other parts of our area in musical communities cultural light years away from our own. We should make sure we don’t ever need mac hard drive recovery in general (for more, see http://www.harddrivefailurerecovery.net/). Then we should come together in common effort to help each other out and develop communication networks built on mutual respect for our differences and recognition of the wonderful opportunities that a true music community can generate.

If we do that, 20 years from now they’ll be talking about the fantastic things that were achieved when the Chicago music industry giant woke up and discovered its true strength. And you know what? They’ll still be inviting us to the parties.

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