(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘The Who

“Never miss a good chance to shut up”*…



Death metal band Dead Territory performing 4’33”, a 1952 composition by John Cage.

Written for any instrument or combination of instruments, the score instructs the performer(s) not to play their instrument(s) during the entire duration of the piece throughout the three movements.  Though often referred to as as “four minutes thirty-three seconds of silence,” the purpose of the piece is to focus the audience’s ears on the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed.

[TotH to The Whippet]

Black Sabbath, arguably the first heavy metal band, is turning 50 this year…

Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi credits a welding accident with the creation of the band’s signature sound. A machine at the factory where he worked as a teenager chopped off the tops of two of his fingers, which could have ended his guitar-playing days. But he fashioned thimbles with plastic and leather and put lighter-gauge strings on his guitar, down-tuned so they were looser and easier to play. The low, sludgy riffs he went on to write set the tone for metal music to this day…

The history of headbanging: “Heavy Metal.”

* Will Rogers


As we savor the sounds of silence, we might recall that it was on this date in 1967, in Portland, that The Who began their first U.S. tour… as the opening act for Herman’s Hermits.  The Who played “Pictures of Lily” (a power-pop tune about masturbation) and their guitar-smashing finale, “My Generation” to warm the crowd for Peter Noone and his crew singing “There’s a Kind of Hush (All Over the World)” and “I’m Henry VIII, I Am.”

42321-photo-of-pete-townshend-and-who source


Written by (Roughly) Daily

July 14, 2019 at 1:01 am

“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected”*…



Change in population aged 65 and older, 2010-2023. [Screenshot: ESRI]


We’re all getting older. It’s the one thing that every single person alive right now has in common. But we’re also getting older as a population, with Americans both living longer and having fewer children. Census projections show a major demographic shift already underway and accelerating in the years to come.

At the same time, populations are not aging evenly, and issues related to aging will impact individual communities in vastly different ways, boosting economic opportunity in some areas while putting a strain on social services in others.

For instance, real estate developers that invest in progressive senior housing projects now could benefit down the road as demand for modern facilities that cater to active seniors grows. Similarly, American tech companies will see opportunity in developing innovative high-tech solutions for senior care, such as health-monitoring devices, ride-share services aimed at seniors, and care-bots. (Take a look at how Japan has embraced high-tech solutions for its aging population for more on how that might play out in the United States.)

On the flip side, social safety nets are likely to face increasing financial challenges with the continued retirement of America’s Baby Boomers, the youngest of whom will reach 67 by 2031. As that happens, rural counties—where people on average rely on Social Security as a larger portion of their overall income—may disproportionately feel the economic effects of aging.

One way to sort out who will be most impacted by aging is to look at age demographics across the country and how they will change over time…

America is aging, but not evenly: “7 maps that tell the incredible story of aging in America.”

See also this essay by Don Norman, the 83 year-old dean of user-centered design (author of The Design of Everyday Things and a former VP at Apple): “I wrote the book on user-friendly design. What I see today horrifies me.”

* Robert Frost


As we stand up to senescence, we might recall that it was on this date in 1965 that Peter Townsend wrote “My Generation”– inspired by the Queen Mother, who’d had his 1935 Packard hearse towed off a street in Belgravia because she was offended by the sight of it during her daily drive through the neighborhood.  The song was released as a single later that year and became first a hit, then an anthem.


Written by (Roughly) Daily

May 19, 2019 at 1:01 am


Pinball machines as we know them are descendants of 19th century bagattelle tables.  Pinball emerged when, in 1871, British inventor Montegue Redgrave invented and patented “Improvements in Bagatelles”:  he made the game smaller, inclined the playfield, replaced the large bagatelle balls with marbles, and most notably, took advantage of the recent (1857) development of steel springs to add a coiled spring-rigged plunger to launch the balls.



The first machines, table-top units, were not coin-operated; players rented the balls.  Coin slots and legs were added in the early 30s; power and a “tilt” mechanism, in the mid 30s– the the games spread in mass.   The bumper was born in 1937, but the flipper didn’t appear until 1947.  In the 50s, lighted scoring and two-player games appeared.  And in the 60s, drop targets and digital scoring debuted.  The 70s– the pinnacle of pinball penetration– saw the introduction of the first solid-state, or electronic pinball machine.  By the 80s, digital video arcade games had begun to threaten pinball’s place.  Pinball added stereo sound; and the 90s, electronic flippers and ceramic balls.  But by the turn of the millennium, pinball machines had fallen prey to arcade video games; indeed, in 2006, “digital video pinball machines” appeared, replicating the look and feel of traditional machines, and allowing gamers to play any of a dozen retro games…

 The “Visible Pinball Machine” (source)

Readers can stroll– and pull and flip and bump and and jostle– down memory lane this weekend, at the 6th Annual Pacific Pinball Exposition at the Marin County Fair Ground, a benefit for the Pacific Pinball Museum.  Those who can’t make it can wander through the Internet Pinball Database.


As we collect our rolls of quarters (and further to yesterday’s missive), we might recall that it was on this date in 1967 that The Who “exploded” onto the American music scene with an appearance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.  Three months earlier, the later-to-be-Pinball-Wizards had appeared at Monterrey Pop, where their set-closer– Pete Townsend’s guitar bashing and an flash charge under Keith Moon’s drum set, had inspired Jimi Hendrix (the act that followed them) to burn his guitar.  The Who brought this same act to TV, closing their performance of “My Generation” with Townsend’s ritual destruction of his axe and an explosive charge that was apparently mis-rigged– so strong that it singed Townshend’s hair, left shrapnel in Moon’s arm, and momentarily knocked The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour off the air.

The action, of course, is toward the end, beginning at about 7:25…

 The remnants of Townsend’s Vox Cheetah, destroyed that night, as auctioned by Christies in 2010 (source)

Written by (Roughly) Daily

September 17, 2012 at 1:01 am

“I hope I die before I get old (Talkin’ ’bout my generation)”…


From illustrator Bruce Worden and writer Clare Cross, a children’s classic for the new millennium (albeit, about the last one), Goodnight Keith Moon.

[TotH to Tyler Hellard, aka Pop Loser]


As we prepare to explore the teenage wasteland, we might spare a thought for Sophia Cecelia Kalos (who later became much better known by her stage name, Maria Callas); she died on this date in 1977.  The pre-eminent bel canto soprano of the Twentieth Century, Callas was known by her legion of fans as “La Divina,” (“The Goddess”), a superlatively-specific appropriation of the approbation reserved by opera aficionados for the very finest female singers.  The term “diva” (while it dates back to the late Nineteenth Century as a descriptor of a “fine lady”), emerged among Callas’ following as a shorthand for “divina”– making her the first singer who was a diva.




Written by (Roughly) Daily

September 16, 2012 at 1:01 am

That Viking Spirit!…

From Reddit user depo_ (via Flowing Data), this map showing metal bands per capita around the world.  Crank it up- all the way up to the 60th parallel!


As we turn our amps to 11, we might recall that it was on this date in 1993 that Tommy premiered on Broadway.  The Peter Townsend-Des McAnuff collaboration got mixed reviews; indeed, the Times’ theater critic Frank Rich liked it, while music critic John Pareles suggested that “their (Townshend’s and McAnuff’s) changes turn a blast of spiritual yearning, confusion and rebellion into a pat on the head for nesters and couch potatoes.”  Still, the production ran for 899 performances.


Written by (Roughly) Daily

April 22, 2012 at 1:01 am

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