The Real Paul Jones

Accept no substitutes

Month: August 2009

Yellow Mystery Bird at the Hummingbird Feeder

Few the past few days this bird has been living at our hummingbird feeder, sipping nectar and enjoying him/herself. Note a slender light beak, grey wings with no bars or stripes, yellow to white underside, no easily noticed eye bar or ring.

Candidates: Blue-winged Warbler dark legs, wingbars, eye line (not matching our bird) Northern Oriole aka Baltimore (Female) no white underside as seen on our bird, Summer Tanager (female) too heavy beak and markings off, your guess ???

Presenting the Mushroom Book Project

Jeff Beam presents John Cage's Mushroom Book

Jeff Beam, Jeffrey Pomerantz and I are there in the picture showing one of the rare copies of John Cage’s Mushroom Book which will serve as a jumping off point for our presentation/project/happening/theatre piece at the CHAT or Collaboration: Humanities, Arts and Technology Festival early next year.

CHAT, which will take place on the UNC campus February 16-20, 2010, will showcase the possibilities for innovative, collaborative arts and humanities work enabled by technology by drawing together the regionís diverse digital resources in a series of performances, colloquies, demonstrations and training sessions.

We say:

John Cage’s Mushroom Book captures the experience of mushroom hunting through a collaboration between a noted mycologist (Alexander H. Smith), an extraordinary illustrator (Lois Long), and Renaissance man/visionary John Cage. Using scientific illustration and description, poetry, typography, and text the book is essentially an early multimedia event. We will re-capture the experience of their hunt and collaboration through a reinterpretation of the Mushroom Book: an interactive, three-dimensional, technologically-enabled multimedia experience.

This Happening will fulfill the as-yet unfulfilled promise to Dr. John Couch’s widow, by the UNC-CH John N. Couch Biology-Botany Library to make use of the Mushroom Book in the educational mission of the University. The volume was a gift from Mrs. Couch in memory of her husband’s and John Cage’s friendship. Dr. Couch was a world-renown mycologist for whom the Biology-Botany library at UNC was named. Couch, Cage, and others made a number of mushroom forays together. [revised/expanded JB 7/14/2009]

The book is discussed here in Cage’s biography, Roaring Silence (Amazon preview) page 235-236. also Cage on technology on page 237. (at UNC Music Library ML410.C24 R5 1992 ) In Conversations with Cage, John Cage says 10 lithographs were by Lois Long (the scientifically correct mushroom images) and 10 by Cage, himself ( “My texts … handwritten in five different litho crayon intensities (… superimpositions making much unreadable) … enabling the reader … to go hunting in my handwritten page.” (letter to Smith from Cage)

Read more and help us think about how to do all of this on this Google Doc at

Four tasty local tomato dishes

Watermelon Tomato Salad tastes great too! Thx Bill Smith on Twitpic

That’s dishes made with local tomatoes — not all of them contrived locally:

Chilled Yellow Tomato Soup (used local Yellows – Sungolds perhaps)

White Wine Gazpacho (used Cherokee Purples)

Watermelon and Tomato Salad (from Bill Smith) (used a variety for colors and textures) Subbed Thai Basil for regular and dropped the cayanne in favor of a dash Cackalacky Sauce.

Vegetarian Gumbo (used locally grown Romas) – you know this one Trinity (from Red Onion, Roasted Peppers, Celery) + Garlic + Okra + Maters in stock

Time off the blog explained

I started this blog in August 2004. At the time, I made a commitment to post an entry per day no matter how brief and I kept that commitment for several years — I did give myself time off for weekends and I did post multiple posts per day in some cases.

In the past two years, I’ve been slowing down on my posts to once a week. Twitter, which you see on the left hand side of the blog, picked up the traffic for short comments. Delicious, which is also on the left side bar, picked up the interesting links traffic. keeps my itunes listening current. Facebook mostly picks up tweets as its status updates but it’s there too.

I claimed that Twitter Ate My Blog! but it is more complicated than that. The interlacing of my social communication meant that different special tools (twitter, delicious, picked up a lot of what the most general tool (the blog) was doing — and better they have become part of the blog itself instead of separate disparate entities.

Over the past three weeks, when there was blog silence, there was plenty going on. We were on a long for us vacation on the Left Coast and then moving our son into his new school, NC School of Science and Math, but the blog as still active — even though no new articles were being posted — thanks to Twitter and others.

Almost five years into the blog, it’s now updated more often with more information than ever before even when I’m off, I’m on. Scary in a way, but also reflective of the why we all work and play these days.

No readings, no writings, all video

I’ll be teaching my blogging, social media, virtual communities course this semester only using video on the net. The syllabus is here.

We will view videos of lectures and other events pertaining to the class topics: Categories: Brainz!, Citizen Journalism and New Journalism, Cyberculture, Marketing, Remix (including legal issues), Simplicity, Social Networking research and theory, Vernacular Video and YouTube Anthropology. The viewings are presentations by some of the top experts in each area — the kinds of people, sometimes the exact same people, that whose papers and articles and books I would have had the class read in other years. We will not be viewing videos during class; we’ll be discussing the topics when f2f.

Class members will not be writing papers in response to the viewing, but instead will be producing (very lightly produced in most cases) video responses from their webcams, phones or digital cameras (such as Flips).

We will also have several guests during the course of the semester. These guests will not be lecturing but instead will be holding a question and answer session with the class over Skype. The class will have prepared for the session by having had watching a video by each speaker before hand. Among those who have agreed to visit us are: Dan Gillmor, Howard Rheingold, danah boyd, Fred Turner, Barry Wellman and in person, our Duke Law neighbor, James Boyle. The response from the potential speakers has been overwhelmingly positive. This has turned out a wonderful way for an expert to engage with students at a very low time cost and with on special preparation.

The class has not yet met, but the class members have already been helping design their course but voting on polls to determine how video intensive the course will be and on how the assignments and grades will be handled. — No, I didn’t use video for this part. I did use Doodle for the polls and email for contacting the class.

So participatory culture, vernacular video, simplicity all played a big part in the class already.

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