Guitar: Pachelbel’s Canon Rock

Funtwo: Pachelbel’s Canon Rock

About eight months ago, a mysterious image popped up on YouTube, the video sharing site that now shows more than 100 million videos a day. Known only as funtwo, a thin figure in a blue T-shirt, his eyes hidden by a beige baseball cap, was playing electric guitar. The video was called simply “Guitar.” The piece that funtwo played with mounting dexterity was an exceedingly difficult rock arrangement of Pachelbel’s Canon, the composition from the turn of the 18th century known for its solemn chord progressions. The exacting part is the canon itself: a counterpoint played over the bass, originally by the three violins.

Guitar sites, MySpace pages and a Polish video site called Smog linked to it, and viewers thundered to YouTube to watch it. If individual viewings were the equivalent of shipped records, “Guitar” would have gone gold almost instantly. Now, rapidly approaching eight million views, and a spot in the site’s 10 most-viewed videos of all time, this performance by funtwo would be platinum many times over. By following a series of clues, a New York Times reporter was able to trace funtwo’s video to Jeong-Hyun Lim, a 23-year-old Korean who taught himself to play the guitar over the course of the last six years. A close analysis of his playing style and a comparison of his appearance in person with that of the figure in the video, left little doubt that Mr. Lim is indeed the elusive funtwo.

On Oct. 23, 2005, Jeong-Hyun Lim first uploaded his video to a Korean music site called Mule. From there, an anonymous fan calling himself guitar90 copied it and posted it on YouTube with the elegant intro: “this guy iz great!!!” “Funtwo just pure ownz the world,” commented another. Over the past year, as funtwo’s videos have been broadly distributed on every major video sharing site, hundreds of other guitarists have tried their hands at the “Canon Rock.” Neoclassical guitar technique has fallen largely out of favor in American popular music. In the YouTube guitar videos, however, technical accomplishment itself carries a strong emotional component. Many of the new online guitarists began playing classical music as children; they are accustomed to a highly uneven ratio of practice to praise. Mr. Lim’s fans said they watch his “Canon Rock” video daily, because his accomplishments inspire them to work hard.

YouTube Awards for Funtwo’s Canon Rock

#1 – Most Discussed (All Time) – Music

#1 – Most Viewed (All Time) – Music

#1 – Top Favorites (All Time) – Music

Funtwo: Canon Rock

The original arrangement and performance of Canon Rock was by JerryC. JerryC (Jerry Chang) is a Taiwanese guitarist and composer. One of his best-known songs is the Canon Rock, which is a rock version of Pachelbel’s Canon in D. He is 24 years old, and has been playing the guitar for 7 years and piano for 10. The rock re-arrangement displays his technical virtuosity and creative abilities on the guitar, instantly making him a internet phenomenon. Following JerryC’s popularity, numerous covers of Canon Rock have been made in an attempt to emulate JerryC’s unique style. The best-known cover is the one presented above by funtwo, whose performance has become a video phenomenon; interestingly, it has far surpassed the popularity of JerryC’s own original performance of the Canon. As an unsigned artist, JerryC currently has a small repertoire of known covers and original compositions, including:

  • Canon Rock
  • Rock On
  • Whose Autumn
  • No More Distance
  • Alien Walker
  • Wedding in the Dream
  • I’m Alright (Neil Zaza cover)
  • Sweeping from Heaven
  • Tender
  • Beloved

JerryC: Canon Rock

JerryC: Canon Rock (Canon in D)

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Wofford College: “Classical Old Main” and Other Images

Wofford College

I’ve noticed that my web site recently has had a number of visitors who live in South Carolina. As an expression of gratitude to them, I’m posting this small collection of pictures, including one  my favorite things in South Carolina, the historic “Old Main” building on the campus of Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The photographs include two recent pictures of Wofford’s “Old Main” building and a recherche, daguerreotype of “Old Main” from 1854 (said to be the first known picture of the building).  The last picture is of the newer Franklin Olin Building for academics and technology.

A Spartanburg landmark since its construction between 1851 and 1854, “Old Main” was designed by the noted Charleston architect Edward C. Jones. The original architect’s sketches, donated to the college in 1902 by Julia Chreitzberg, show that Jones conceived one of the most ambitious projects ever built in the classical Italianate style, then popular throughout the South for academic and other public buildings.

Wofford is one of only a handful of colleges and universities in the United States that were founded prior to the Civil War, which still operates and remains on its original campus. The Wofford College campus has been named a National Historic District. It has five of the six original college buildings, all of which are in use today for various purposes. The beauty of its campus has resulted in its designation as an officially registered South Carolina arboretum.

Wofford is presently becoming known in the wider academic world as a true “Phoenix rising from the ashes.” It was devastated by the loss of almost its entire endowment as a result of the Civil War. However, despite its meager financial resources, Wofford proudly struggled through the next twelve decades to provide an academically challenging education to its small student body. One illustration of the sterling academic quality maintained by the college is the fact that forty-two Wofford alumni have gone on to serve as college and university presidents.

For example, through the years Wofford graduates and faculty have included the Founders or Presidents/Chancellors of Duke University, Vanderbilt University, The Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Southern Methodist University, Hendrix College, Randolph-Macon College and Mary Washington College. A former President of the college went on to become the President of Southern Methodist University, Drew University and, finally, Chancellor of The University of North Carolina (as well as head of the entire University of North Carolina educational system).

Today, gaining increasing national recognition as an academic “jewel” in the South, its endowment has been increasing rapidly and a significant new endowment drive has recently been completed. There has been an unprecedented acceleration of the restoration and construction of student residences, academic, recreation and sports facilities. It is also presently distinguished by being the smallest college in the nation (1,500 students) with sports teams competing (quite successfully) in both men’s and women’s NCAA Division I athletics.

Academically, Wofford has been focusing upon a significant expansion of its faculty, with new faculty members currently being drawn to teach at the college from some of the most prestigious universities in the country. For many years, Wofford served students who came, for the most part, from South Carolina and its immediate surrounding areas. Presently, it’s become quite competitive in attracting exceptionally talented students from across the nation, as well as from abroad. In the 2007 U. S. News & World Report rankings of National Liberal Arts Colleges, Wofford’s national ranking is now in the company of such selective, prestigious colleges as: Pitzer College (CA), Lawrence University (WI), Reed College (OR), Wheaton College (MA), Agnes Scott College (GA) and Earlham College (IN). In the more recently released college rankings by The Washington Monthly, Wofford is ranked 29th out of 202 National Liberal Arts Colleges.

Intaminatus Fulget Honoribus

Shining with Untarnished Honor

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DIGG IT !! Time Magazine Honors DIGG among Best Websites, as a Top News Site!!

DIGG Is Named One of the Internet’s Best News Sites: Included in Time Magazine’s List of The Year’s 50 Best Websites !!

from Time Magazine has just listed “The 50 Coolest Websites for 2006.” She notes that web logs, reading them, writing them or both, have become a way of life for so many of us. Hundreds of candidates for the 50-Best List were evaluated, some suggested by readers, colleagues and friends, others discovered during countless hours of surfing. Here is Time’s listing of The Top Spots on the Internet, which highlights DIGG:



A variety of amusements, from classic rock to famous photography, collage art to custom radio, plus our favorite video web logs

  • Podcast Pickle
  • Pandora
  • The 9
  • YouTube

  • Yummy food, Hollywood fashion and helping hands for those do-it-yourself projects


    The Web’s best war correspondent, a snarky sports blog, the pioneers of “social news” and a news treasure–DIGG !!


    A humming social network, community sing-along, instant-messaging hub, mobile-launched pub-crawls and numbers-crunching by committee


    Juicy celebrity gossip, mindless computer games and other guilty pleasures


    An airfare predictor and subway guide, restaurant reviews and car sharing


    Ordering take-out, finding phone numbers and a slew of alternative search engines

    Big-Time YouTube Blooper: Fox News Anchor Shep Smith

    Fox News Anchor Shep Smith: Mug Shot

    How on earth did this classic blooper find its way into the head (of course, no pun intended) of Fox News Anchor Shep Smith?? Here’s the YouTube of it. You decide.

    Fox News Anchor Shep Smith: The Really Big Blooper !!

    Bush Administration Seeks Official Approval for Extreme Torture

     

    Rewriting the War Crimes Act to Authorize Extreme Torture

    Andrew Sullivan has posted a disturbing article today, taking a closer look at the latest “draft” of the war crimes bill that the Bush’s White House administration has been sending around. It appears that the proposed legislation is, in fact, a scheme that would ensure that the Central Intelligence Agency retains the right to extreme measures of cruel treatment of detainees. In other words, Sullivan concludes,the administration wants to rewrite the War Crimes Act to permit the CIA to continue the KGB-innovated “cold cells”, the immersion in freezing water, the threats to wives and children, and the “water-boarding” techniques that the Bush administration has made part of American military practice:

    “Marty Lederman has an important take on the latest draft war crime bills the White House has been circulating on the Hill. Marty – who has emerged as the most perceptive and subtle legal analyst on the whole torture issue – thinks the whole Bush-critic emphasis on exculpating civilian officials from war crimes charges is off-base. (I’d be included in his criticism.) His interpretation of the draft legislation is that it is designed to ensure that the CIA retain the right to cruel treatment of detainees, including potentially “water-boarding.” Money quote:

    I happen to think it would be a mistake to exclude humiliating and degrading treatment from the WCA. But many will disagree with me. What’s important is to realize that this dispute about how “degrading” treatment should be handled is not why the Administration is proposing an amendment to the WCA. Their public focus on subsection (1)(c) of CA3 – the provision dealing with humiliating and degarding treatment – is a feint to throw everyone off the scent. The real issue is the CIA. And that agency is not so interested in making use of the stupid and offensive techniques that were used on Al-Qahtani at GTMO – religious degradation, underwear on the head, etc.

    What they are interested in are the “enhanced” techniques that they’ve been authorized to use — including hypothermia, threats of violence to the detainee’s family, stress positions, “long-time standing,” prolonged sleep deprivation, and possibly even waterboarding. With respect to these techniques, the issue isn’t the ban on humiliation or degradation – it’s that they are “cruel treatment,” perhaps even “torture,” under subsection (1)(a) of Common Article 3.

    And so the administration wants to rewrite the War Crimes Act to permit the CIA to continue the KGB-innovated “cold cells”, the immersion in freezing water, the threats to wives and children, and the “water-boarding” techniques that the Bush administration has made part of American military practice. Knowing how passionately Cheney and Rumsfeld feel about retaining the right to inflict cruelty on military prisoners, this makes sense to me.”

    Bush’s Own, Personal Attitude in Favor of Torture

    An additional interesting and frightening note about President Bush’s own attitude favoring the use of torture comes from Nat Hentoff in the Village Voice:

    When George W. Bush signs a bill from Congress into law, he adds a “signing statement”, more of them than any of his predecessors, that he will not enforce that law if it impedes his inherent constitutional authority as head of “the unitary executive.” (Press secretary Tony Snow brushes these off as “little statements”).

    In Bush’s first term, he has, as the Associated Press notes, issued at least 750 of these,” reserving the right to revise, interpret, or disregard laws.

    Most notoriously, after a televised White House surrender to Senator John McCain, Bush signed a law including McCain’s banning of “cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment” of U.S. detainees, but then, in a signing statement, he said he could ignore that part of the law in the war on terrorism.

    The 50 “Coolest” Websites: Time Magazine

    DIGG Named One of the Internet’s Best News Sites: Time Magazine Chooses Year’s 50 Best Websites

    has just listed “The 50 Coolest Websites for 2006″ in Time Magazine. Noting that web logs, reading them, writing them or both, have become a way of life, hundreds of candidates were evaluated, some suggested by readers, colleagues and friends, others discovered during countless hours of surfing. Here is Time’s listing of The Top Spots on the Internet:



    A variety of amusements, from classic rock to famous photography, collage art to custom radio, plus our favorite video web logs

  • Podcast Pickle
  • Pandora
  • The 9
  • YouTube

  • Yummy food, Hollywood fashion and helping hands for those do-it-yourself projects


    The Web’s best war correspondent, a snarky sports blog, the pioneers of “social news” and a news treasure–DIGG !!


    A humming social network, community sing-along, instant-messaging hub, mobile-launched pub-crawls and numbers-crunching by committee


    Juicy celebrity gossip, mindless computer games and other guilty pleasures


    An airfare predictor and subway guide, restaurant reviews and car sharing


    Ordering take-out, finding phone numbers and a slew of alternative search engines

    Fidel Castro: The Cuban Revolution

    Fidel Castro Assuming Power in 1959

    Castro first attracted attention in Cuban political life through his nationalist criticisms of Batista and United States corporate and political influence over Cuba. He began to attract an avid following, but also soon began to draw the attention of the authorities. He eventually led the failed 1953 attack on the Moncada Barracks, after which he was captured, tried, incarcerated and later released.

    He then travelled to Mexico to organize and train for the guerrilla invasion of Cuba, which took place in December 1956. The final phase of the Cuban Revolution occurred in January, 1959, and he assumed power immediately. Since that time, Castro has evoked both praise and condemnation (at home and internationally). Castro is frequently described by opponents as a dictator and accused of gross human rights violations, including the execution of thousands of political opponents, while his supporters have hailed Castro as the charismatic liberator of Cuba.

    Domestically, Fidel Castro has overseen the implementation of various economic policies which saw the rapid centralization of Cuba’s economy: land reform, collectivization of agriculture, and the nationalization of leading Cuban industries. The expansion of publicly funded health care and education has been a cornerstone of Castro’s domestic social agenda. Some credit these policies for improvements in the lives of Cuba’s citizens. Others, however, view Castro and his policies as being responsible for Cuba’s general economic depredation, and harshly criticize him for the criminalization of political dissent, free speech, and provoking hundreds of thousands of Cubans into fleeing the country. On July 31, 2006, Castro temporarily transferred duties to his brother Raúl during an expected long recovery period due to serious intestinal surgery.

    An interactive essay on the final days of the revolution can be viewed here: The Cuban Revolution

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