Saturday, July 16, 2011

Underground Music Awards UMAs Song of the Year Vote

 LYRIC, Can't Back Down ft Anna

...and now for something completely different...

 You Can Help--BIG time

You can help this lady 'Lyric' win the 2011 Underground Music Award on August 21 by voting for her song for the Song of the Year. Her handle on youtube is LyricsJourney and on the song she is going by 'Lyric.'

Probably some shmoe already took her name before she got there, on the youtube site. That has happened to me too, look at what I ended up with.

The song is up against two other songs for Song of the Year at the 9th Annual UMAs in the Bronx on August 21.

What it needs is not just to listen to it and look at it but go to the site and vote, like yeah, this is the winner.

That way you are a winner too.

Vote Early and Often

I had pizza with her last night (from Sarpino's) about six hours ago, so I said I would try to help by enlisting some voters. You are already registered, you just need to know how to do it and remember to keep on doing it again.

In Chicago we are used to the concept that if you vote early and often, you can help your candidate win better. And it's legal. You can vote every day.

It doesn't matter if urban music is to your taste or not. You still get a vote, not only today right now but every day from now until August 11, then the winner comes out on August 21. And your votes count!

Here's What You Get:

That means you don't just get a vote, you get all the rest of July plus August up to the 11th, which is like --
26 votes per computer. 

Plus you get the quick gratification of seeing you, me and her which is  us WIN on August 21, which is not that far in the future to have a chance to forget.

In fact it would be BETTER if you don't like it generally because then you won't mind voting against those other two guys, the one attacking the pope among other things and the other one, I forget what he was supposed to be talking about.

You can vote even if you're in Siberia or Russia or Norway or Senegal or even somewhere where they don't even HAVE votes, because this is different. You can vote again every day, and the more you do, the more likely it is that you, me, and her all win this UMA together.

I know her from the Salt Mines where we work together. That was how that happened. We consult on blog work all the time. Besides music she can also be kind of computer geeky too, that's her other passion, that and writing poetry which she is then turning into music. With the computer stuff she might show me how to do simple stuff sometimes. Like how to vote for her for the UMA.


 So here's How To Do It

 You can go to the UMA site here, scroll down All The Way To The Bottom Of The Page until you find 'Click Here To Vote For The UMA Song Of The Year'  and there's a place where it says Vote. Then click to vote, a window opens and you pick Lyric, Can't Back Down.

Just ignore those two other choices, those are the Wrong Answer. Forget a and b.
You want answer c. Lyric, Can't Back Down

It's that simple. But if you try it again right away, it'll say sorry we already counted your vote--by your IP, (which means they just think you are that computer at that time).

It's OK to vote again tomorrow, and the next day, right on up to August 11.Winner announced on the 21st.

Lyric's Web Site

This link will take you to her website:

Since that site changes all the time I can't say if at any moment it has her poetry books on it or what, but right now there's a kind Anita Baker-sounding song on it when it first opens up. She keeps changing it because she is heavily into computers and likes to mess around with the code. It has been three or four different ways in the past year or so.

I can't do all that fancy CSS and what not, I can only guess at HTML if I think I see it. I do usually guess okay, though.

But this I figured out: You're looking at a trash can in an alley in the picture as it opens, so take your scrollbar and scroll over to the right to open up to the street in that alley, and then you see some ways to Enter the site.

Ninety-Nine Cent Downloads

Check with her there about trying to get downloads, it would be legal and good to do it right, and it would be illegal and bad to do it wrong.

BUT Where's The Song?

I said it doesn't matter, the main point was vote anyway.

But it's on youtube, or else you could probably dig around her site for the better versions. What's up on youtube right now is two songs, and two sets of audition vids. That's four vids, but it could grow, like I say she's changing stuff all the time, you never know.

The Can't Back Down ft Anna one that is up for the award shows a pic that looks like it could be an album cover, and then this other song has a fully developed video. The other one is called 'Death of a Poet,' and in fact I was thinking I liked that one better from last week, but the one that is up for the award is growing on me too since then.

I didn't understand it is about women being abused, that's the point behind the lyrics of this one. She usually has meaning in her lyrics, seeing as how she's a poet on that end first.

I voted for it anyway, like I say it doesn't matter if you like the other one better, because this is the one that's up for the song of the year.

Thanks, everybody, keep going! Let's win this.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Getting Started in Imex 1/72 Napoleonics

Imex Does Not Have Napoleonics

They have about five sets planned, between Waterloo and the War of 1812, but I am not going to sit around and wait for them. 

I'm going to use what they do have.
Webmasters get a report of the varous search terms people have used to find their blog, to help with planning.

Someone was searching for information about how to paint Imex figures, and wound up looking at my posts earlier in June about the Revell Prussians and the Imex British redcoats that I had converted to serve as Austrians for the Seven Years War.

So, I don't know, I do think that people should be encouraged in getting started out whether in wargaming itself, a new period, or in a new line of figures. But the person did not make a Comment, so I don't know how to really answer that.

 It is common enough to be getting started with something though, it happens all the time.

It could be a new scale, or a new material such as plastic versus metal or vice versa, for someone who already has some other kind such as World War Two models and wants to try something else.

Earlier this spring I was bit by a plastic 1/72 bug so I have been painting and collecting them since about February. I already had some, a few hundred, left over from what must have been thousands I used to have but that were victims of the vicissitudes of my life.

So in that sense, I am also getting started again, and relearning several familiar old lessons in the process as I go.

From the 1970's I had a large collection of most of the output of a company called Airfix, from the UK. They had figures from the Romans against the Ancient Britons, on up through Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham, to more familiar periods such as the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. They even had a set of spacemen based on the Americans going to the moon, with lunar rovers, if I remember correctly.

 Most of them are lost, but some are still in my possession. I also had from the 1980's a few more boxes but they were harder to find then, and I was focusing on other things, so there were not so many. I had ancient Egyptians that were from Atlantic, and I still have a Soviet heavy machinegun by itself in the bitz bag. And those Revell Prussians I finally just painted a few weeks ago.

Nowadays there are hundreds more sets more or less available from many manufacturers.

It used to be we had seven or eight that were supposed to be Napoleonic, and some others from other periods that could be somewhat plausibly substituted in for various purposes. Everyone did it that way, including the big and famous names in wargaming from that era.

When the French Imperial Guard set finally came out I did not get them, because for me it was too late, and I had been using British 1776 Grenadiers for that purpose for years already. They had bearskin hats and muskets and the coats were close enough.

I am now still operating from that same mindset, although I am not sure everyone else is, these days.It is a built-in part of my mentality when it comes to these plastic figures, to use them in the Old School way.

It would take four or five pages to print out just a list of all the Napoleonic sets that have now been put out on the market. It didn't used to be that way. People are spoiled nowadays.

So as I have been buying up the sets available around my town before resorting to mail order, I have a mix of different periods. It's not just the 18th century. But there are only a limited choice around town, and that is what I have been stocking up on and painting furiously day after day. Eventually I will exhaust their stock, and then see what's out there from outside companies, but right now I'll support the local guys at least until they have nothing else I can use.

Part of it is Napoleonic. I have got one good box of British Infantry for Waterloo in 1815 from A Call To Arms, with 32 men. One box was all they had at the store.

Then five boxes of both Esci and Italeri British Light Dragoons (Hussars). There are three boxes each of French Cuirassiers and French Artillery, and a British Royal Horse Artillery.

The French artillery and Cuirassiers are Accurate, but they are actually the same old figures from Airfix in a newer box under a different label. That means that besides the three guns each, they also include eight marching infantrymen, so I have 24 French infantry to face those 32 British infantry from  A Call To Arms.

I've also got two or three more sets of these left over from earlier phases of life.

Well that is not very much and it is kind of heavy on the supporting arms, especially cavalry. Not even five dozen infantry. They must not be glamorous enough, or else somebody else already bought all of them up.

But I also have those Mexicans for the Alamo. They are rather disappointing, to others, in their review at PSR
they explain the reasons well enough. But they do carry the Brown Bess musket and wear a shako. And as you look through there at the hundred-plus sets now available, from many companies, set after set have certain flaws anyway. That means the 'right' ones aren't always quite right either.

I am going to convert the Mexicans with paint to serve as generic Napoleonic infantry to hold me over until I can collect more from all these other guys. There are lots of these available in my town, whenever I am ready, and at half or less the price they charge by mail order.

The reason I turn to this expedient is that one box of  A Call To Arms British already completely exhausted the supply of Napoleonic infantry on sale in my town. That was the only box there was. From here I cannot expand in Napoleonics locally unless I want a bunch of the British Royal Horse Artillery, because there are still a few of those left in the store.

The Alamo sets are still plentiful though, and by using the Mexicans to represent almost any army with shakos, for the time being, I can form up some better-balanced forces quickly and locally before I gradually replace them later with the more correct counterparts as and when I can. So far then I have over a hundred French, some Swedes and some Prussians.

Also I can use some of the Alamo defenders set and the US Infantry for the Mexican War for the Prussian Landwehr, even though they don't wear the litewka coats. Some of the real Landwehr didn't get those either, and the hats are close enough until I can get some of the right ones to replace them.

In this way I have my sights set on using Imex 'Napoleonics,' which don't actually exist yet except in their planning stage, to do the great battle of Leipzig in 1813. I've done it before, but not in this scale.

I'll apply the same sort of thinking to other periods as I expand my range.

How To Paint Them

As to how to paint them, I would recommend you put them in hot water with dishwashing soap at least to soak, and if you can be careful use a toothbrush to scrub a little. This is to remove oils or greases from the factory to hopefully take the paint better.

Next a primer. I have been using either an acrylic gesso from an art supply shop, or just ordinary acrylic paint. It does not seem to make much difference either way. The plastics are not the same from one set to another, but most will reject the paint at first. I just go over it again and assume it will need a few coats. The first one will not be complete usually, but even if it only halfway sticks, it gives you something to stick the paint to later on a second and third coat. The artists call this aspect having some 'tooth,' something for the paint to catch on and stick to, and that is what gesso is meant to do for their canvas or paper too.

Then there are several types of paint, and for that I would use acrylic. The enamels I originally used in the 70's worked, but had usually been sitting in the store way too long and were often dried out, which did not help. Some of the acrylics are that way too, but I have had better luck and better results with them.

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Declaration of Independence

Images: PD US Wikipedia: Jean Leon Jerome Ferris, Writing the Declaration of Independence

Thomas Jefferson wrote the document. Here we see Benjamin Franklin and John Adams helping with the initial and relatively minor editing. They were the committee to draft it. There were also two others who did not make any changes, at all, to what Jefferson wrote.

 This is at Jefferson's house in Philadelphia. As you can see he was a naval wargame collector and used large ship models. (see top)

These men fully expected to be hanged for treason and that is exactly what the British were trying to do. Of the 56 Signers, many did suffer, and so did some of their wives and much of their property. Several were caught and mistreated in prison including the prison hulk ship out in the harbor at New York. That's another story of its own.

When they were satisfied they put the document before the rest of the Congress Assembled and there were major changes made before they agreed on it. The document as signed and published, after the changes, has 1337 words and as such it is not that difficult to read it. I recommend that you do read the text itself, rather than only what someone tells you about it or what it means.

I will continue to tell you just that a little bit though, for the sake of completeness. And I have another link to make it a lot easier for the visually-oriented.

The major changes largely had to do with slavery--and around 500 words were cut out before they all agreed on what's left of it. It would be very interesting to see those words too, but I have to hurry to the Salt Mines through the holiday crowds.

By the way, fireworks are illegal in this state, and they are exploding all over the place every few seconds. D---the King.

The important point for this article is that these words were in there from the start, but had to be cut out to get agreement. For them the main point at hand was to set out reasons to dissolve all ties to Great Britain.


Also some northern seaport states found anti-slavery language objectionable on grounds that it would be bad for their business, not so much their need of having slaves themselves. They had Irish and other indentured servants and cheap labor available generally in those parts, then as now. I fall in the last category myself.

So those parts were objectionable to southern states generally, and in particular South Carolina and Georgia objected to those parts. Jefferson himself was the number two man from Virginia, behind Richard Henry Lee. It is interesting to note he not only had slaves, but is widely believed to have a very large family of descendants through them. That is why it would be interesting to see those other 500 words, and important to know they were originally there.

Speaking of Richard Henry Lee ( as in the later Robert E. Lee) Adams thought July 2nd would be remembered by posterity, because that was the day Lee proposed the resolution, and this document only put it into a writing. But the date on the document is what caught on, because of the proclivity people have to appearances and style over substance generally, then as now.

So then at 1337 words it was signed and published. When published in the newspapers it was typeset instead of handwritten.

There were 56 Signers. John Hancock put his extra big, front and center because he wanted to make sure King George could see it without his spectacles. We still refer to signing a document as 'put your John Hancock on there.'

Here is how it looked in the newspapers.

would a click embiggen?

At the time these men were meeting to sort out legal details and documents, the British army and navy had pulled out of Boston in March, leaving lots of good stuff behind, and sailed up to Halifax, Nova Scotia to do some regrouping, training and wait for fresh reinforcements from Europe. The trip across the Atlantic could take more or less six or eight weeks and depended on weather, tides and currents.

There were Hessian and other German troops in the contingent that came to join up, and this whole vast combined fleet was already anchored off New York even as these scenes were happening. The next military steps would be the Long Island and New York campaigns.

Inside New York, where the British had not yet landed for their main invasion, people heard about the Declaration and here is what they did:

Johannes Adam Simon Oertel, Pulling Down the Statue of King George

You can read about it more here.

And as promised for those who are visually-oriented or also audio, here is Morgan Freeman and his friends performing it, which he will explain is how it ought to be done. This is a vid for 14:26 and is in solid Hollywood style, with many famous faces and voices at the Congress Room in Philadelphia.

And remember the British fleet with 30,000 men is already riding at anchor not too far away, looking for their heads.

Another interesting assignment for your next vacation to Washington, DC is to make a careful note exactly which key phrases do NOT appear in the granite and marble edifice the Jefferson Memorial, even though it appears to have these ringing phrases. Some are not there.


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