Firefox 1.5 web browser is out ! Following more than 100 million downloads of the open source Mozilla Firefox 1.0, the latest version is available now as a free download ( look for links to free download on right column & bottom of this page).
According to the Mozilla team, Firefox 1.5 has been enhanced with a new "drag and drop" feature for tabbed browsing, an improved pop-up blocker, improved Live Bookmarks feature, and easier to adjust browser settings.
The browser moves ahead of Microsoft's security compromised IE browser & promises improved performance with a new generation rendering and layout engine that speeds navigation between previously viewed Web pages through caching and more accurate display of complex Web pages.
With Firefox 1.5 Mozilla developers continue their partnership with Google, and have also added new capabilities contributed by IBM, that make it easier for the mobility and sight-impaired to navigate the Web. The browser can now be used with technology that reads Web content aloud; allows users to navigate with keystrokes rather than mouseclicks; and reduces the tabbing required to navigate documents such as spreadsheets.
The early years of racist recordings:
The history of audio recordings basically begins with the New Jersey genius Thomas Edison whose early innovations made the technology available to consumers. Among his first finds for his new format of entertainment were two characters who had an instinctive knack for tapping into "popular culture" and in turn made history while vocalizing some of the era's basest insights.
ARTHUR COLLINS & BYRON HARLAN were white ragtime minstrel's who started recording "coon" songs on Edison's wax cylinder's in the early years of recordings in the late 19th, and early 20th century.
Collins first went to Edison's West Orange NJ labs on request in May 1898 and eventually laid down hundreds of recordings including such now tasteless gems as "Every Night I See That Nigger Standing Round", "I Don't Allow No Coons to Hurt My Feelings" and "All Coons Look Alike To Me". Collins was the baritone voice, and rather prolific as according to one account recorded
"from 1898 to 1912, no fewer than 227 solo two-minute cylinders, including both brown wax and the louder and less fragile Gold Moulded type, introduced in 1902....the team Collins and Harlan recorded approximately 65 Blue Amberol duets."
The earliest Collins & Harlan recordings were sold on Thomas Edison's wax cylinders, but by 1912 the cylinders had mostly been supplanted by the 78 rpm discs that were first made in the 1890s by Emile Berliner who owned The National Gramophone Company. In addition to recording for Edison's National Phonograph Company, Collins also appeared on releases from labels like Columbia ( now Sony), National Gramophone, and his "plantation songs" were amongs the first recordings for the new Victor label (slogan : "His Master's Voice") many pressed at the Oakland CA Victor pressing plant.
Collins, an ex-sailor, was the son of a devout Quaker and preferred to be called "the King of Ragtime Singers", although trade publications of the day still called him a "coon singer".
Here's a few typical numbers & skits with his partner Harlan, featuring plenty of references to a sunny life down south in Alabama with lazy forgetful african americans shunning cotton picking, dancing on one wooden leg, sleeping & enjoying watermelons, hams & yams ...
Collins & Harlan - Alabama Coon Song
Collins & Harlan - Cotton Blossom Time
African American customs weren't the only thing that was funny to these recording stars, and here the "honest" American Indian "Chief Coca Cola" of Broadway is portrayed in a night of downtown caberet hopping with authentic war whoops...
Collins & Harlan - Honest Injun
Here they project a festive mood, and relay a little innuendo as to the pleasures of jiniteras in the early 20th century Cuban sex tourism industry, proving that this interest predates Castro's control and that the island has long lured male American tourists with images of cheap cigars, rum, and easy loving.
Collins & Harlan - Cubanola Glide
Not content to stereotype Latin American, Native American and Black culture, NJ's finest singing "comics" took the lead in audio exploitation of anti-Asian American sentiment as a subject as well. They happily sing with derision about finding "gambling politicians", "oriental misery" and mocked the "snaky" voices of residents.
Collins & Harlan - All Aboard For Chinatown
This style of music, and it's less than polite racial implications gradually fell out of favor, with the last known Collins & Harlan performance in December 1925 in Muncie, Indiana, "under the auspices of the Edison store." Edison stopped production of cylinders as the Great Depression came on. Collins died a fairly wealthy orange grove owner in Florida in 1933, whose recordings were mostly out of print, but as late as 1941 Montgomery Ward's kept a popular Collins recording in print in it's "rural" music catalog.
The Collins & Harlan records chould be construed as cruel out right racist attacks, but they are interesting to judge through the lens of historical perspective. Maybe they should be considered as the potential Lenny Bruce, Denis Leary, David Allen Coe or Dave Chappelle's of their era. They were show people, who used shocked value, travelled and entertained audiences by poking bawdy fun at various ethnicities, cliche's and practices, whether their targets were stereoypically Black, or Irish, they were always outlandish.
Here, Harlan does a 1904 comedy sketch routine that pokes fun at two "Rubes" a.k.a unsophisticated country hicks...
Bryan Harlan & Frank Stanley - Two Rubes At The Vaudeville
here's some influential tracks in which these pioneers make possibly the first mentions of New Orleans Jazz on commercial recordings.
Collins & Harlan - "That Funny Jas Band from Dixieland"
according to music historian Tim Gracyk this track for Victor from 1916 is a fairly important record, and he has a nice essay on it at his site...
Byron Harlan playing the female in minstrel show fashion. He asks a question that musicologists have tried to answer for years:other related tracks worth noting:
HARLAN: "Say, Henry, what is a jas band?"
COLLINS: "Why, a jas band am essentially different from the generalities of bands."
HARLAN: "In what particularity, Henry?"
COLLINS: "Oh, in many ways, Mandy. Now, for instance . . . " [A slide trombone roars]
HARLAN: "Lordy, lordy! Is that one of the ways?"
COLLINS: "Uh-huh. And another is . . . " [Clarinets play]
HARLAN: "Is there any more, Henry?"
COLLINS: "Oh yes, and it goes something like . . . " [Drum roll, bugle call, crashing of cymbals]
HARLAN: "Well, I must say, Henry, your explanation am lucidiously comprehensible!"
COLLINS: "And does you like the jas band, Mandy?"
HARLAN: "Ah sure do."
COLLINS: "Then we'll sing some more."
Collins & Harlan - Everybody's Jazzin' It
Collins & Harlan - Abba Dabba Honeymoon
Collins & Harlan - Old Black Joe
footnotes :Thomas Edison did not perfect the lightbulb alone, but hired a self taught black inventor who was the son of runaway slaves named Lewis Latimer who was designing better lightbulb filaments than Edison out of bamboo. Latimer worked in NYC away from the main Menlo Park NJ lab. A self taught draughtsman, Latimer actually drew A.G Bell's telephone patent and was a key figure in Edison's patent defenses & supervised installation of street lighting in NY, Philly & London U.K. Over the years Latimer aided other black inventors, and his diaries occasionally complained of racism working for Edison Electric. Ironically, Edison unsucessfully sued and later tried to buy out telegraph patents owned by a black inventor named Granville T. Woods.
Incidentally, Edison's motion picture company and patents were challenged in the courts under Anti Trust legislation and his company was dissolved and he was fined 20 million for having an illegal monopoly in 1915.
WFMU has a program that's available online called Edison's Attic featuring rare old recordings from the Edison archives in West Orange New Jersey
this web page lists a number of specific cases in which the Bush admin has ignored or distorted science that it didn't like. it only starts with the stupid aluminum tubes in iraq... it goes much further and for those who are truly ambitious, there is an in depth report available under the 'related links' sidebar on this page.
here's a topical / historical intelligently deigned song that I suspect Bush might have on his I-Pod
Smokey Hormel played with Beck's band for awhile, and now has a loungey act all his own with a former member from Cibo Matto.
Smokey & Miho - Blue Glasses
Nina Gordon is an LA based chanteuse who has been lurking on the edges of the music industry, and made a minor sensation earlier this year with her version of NWA's Straight Outta Compton
Nina Gordon - Straight Outta Compton
Nina Gordon - 18 & Life ( Skid Row cover live at Largo)
The teen queen w/ new boobs and mysteriously starved for our attention pays tribute to Cheap Trick. The strained vocal delivery is a bit lacking at times, although I doubt I could do it any better. From a recent appearance on MTV's TRL, let's let lil' Lindsay speak for herself.
Lindsay Lohan - I Want You To Want Me
X-Mess Section :
The daughter of West Coast Latin music legend Pete Escovedo, and sister of former L.A punk / respected Americana bluesman Alejandro Escovedo, here's lil' sis and former Prince sidekick Sheila E...
Sheila E - Santa Baby ( from Playboy's Latin Jazz Xmas)
From tonight's tv special "Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer", an animated broadcast that's been popular for well over 40 years...
Burl Ives - Holly Jolly Christmas