FirewallNOVA is a state of mind

Someone once said to me: “You know, back in my day we didn’t have PHP, and we didn’t need databases behind the scenes. All we needed was a hammer, some flint, and a text editor.”

I said: “Tell me more, Grandpa.”

But those were the last words he ever spoke to me.

But I think if my old grandfather had ever deigned to speak to me again, he probably would have told me about long nights hunched over a keyboard, copying and pasting text and code, and spinning fresh ideas onto that spartan framework. Uploading each new page via FTP. Having to quickly revise and re-upload if he forgot to change a date from one copy-and-paste job to the next. And occasionally having to edit manually dozens or even hundreds of pages every time a new element needed to be propagated across the entire site.

Isn’t it sad, here in 2017, how we’ve lost that hands-on craftsmanship, that personal approach to the Web?

Well here at FirewallNOVA, we say “Enough.” Enough with the impersonal, automated publishing. Enough with the page design. Enough with all the “software.”

The Web is a place for writing. Why do we need software to publish? When a man goes fishing in his rowboat in the canal, does he need to bring the Army Corp of Engineers along for the ride? Hell, no.

So in that spirit, and with the added factor that we don’t see an immediate way forward for our erstwhile mission of covering certain segments of politics and culture yet are not quite ready to delete the entire WordPress thingmajig, we are going to quietly transition to a different format and a different mission.

It will be simpler, yes. It will be plainer. It may remind you of days spent sitting around the dinner table with no television or any other noise in the house at all.

And it will probably – nay, very likely – load FAST, even on your phone or your seven-year-old’s seven-year-old tablet.

I bet the page will load so fast you get whiplash just by visiting. Whoa.

In concluding this first new portal to the new-old FirewallNOVA, let us say as an old man of old-time radio used to say:

“Good day.”

An Interruption Of Your Irregularly Scheduled Programming

Now that the principal Firewall NOVA founder has taken leave of the site (which I will continue to think of, hopefully, as “leave of absence”), I will post this brief two-point update:

1) Firewall NOVA Right will possibly continue contributing, though he will need to clarify that matter. I have it on good authority that he is extremely grateful for the leadership provided by FW Left, and also for Left’s much more consistent work here.

2) We are going to conduct a housekeeping task which may cause some strangeness for a spell.

This has been a good experience for all involved. Perhaps we will be able to resuscitate or revive the project, on the off chance our world continues to be beset by controversy and trouble.

Yes, It’s Us

FirewallNOVA Left and FirewallNOVA Right are Joe Budzinski and Stevens Miller, though probably not respectively. Kudos to those who have already guessed, though it’s not like we were really keeping it a big secret.

Why have yet another political blog, particularly one with no clear political slant? It’s tempting to say that, if political slants are worth having, that makes this place twice the fun of other blogs, since we’ve got (at least) two of those here. However, that’s not the point of this project. Your proprietors are, in fact, as different in their political inclinations as you think we are. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing we agree on.

Politically, we’re in mutual opposition, and that’s not likely to change. Philosophically, however, we are both way past the point of being fed up with bullshit. Theoretically, if one of our sides is correct, then straight facts and plain talk will make that clear to everyone. But, regardless of what might be promised elsewhere, it’s asking a reader to believe quite a bit when a forum is run by, for, or in the name of one side and not the other, while its hosts proclaim their God-like powers of fairness and objectivity.

We don’t claim, nor do we offer, neutrality (and we don’t suggest you put a lot of faith in anyone who offers that, either). We do claim and we will offer two things: first, we offer a place where, if you have a case to make, you can make it, provided you don’t waste anyone’s time with jive, bull, hearsay, or insults. We’re largely going to enforce that by relying on the honor system. If you’re clever enough for jive, you’re smart enough to know it. Police yourself, so we won’t have to. Second, we claim to be an example of political opponents actually cooperating with each other and making something work. Everyone says that’s what they want, but no one seems to think it’s possible. Well, this little project isn’t going to change the world, but we like to think it proves a point worth proving.

By the way, we don’t edit each other’s stuff. If you see a post or comment by FirewallNOVA Left, blame (or praise) Left, as Right had nothing to do with it. Likewise, if you see a post or comment by FirewallNOVA Right, blame (or praise) Right, as Left had nothing to do with it. When we’re on the same page, we’re just “FirewallNOVA.” (Posts from someone trading as “FirewallNOVA Guy” appear from time to time, but we’re not really sure if he’s real, a figment of our imaginations, or a hacker. Stay tuned.)

The 2015 cycle will soon be (or already is) under way. We thought this was the right moment, between elections, to go public.

Now on with the show.

Postmodern Jukebox At The Birchmere, January 19

STOP THE PRESSES: For those who who were dawdling around with politics and missed the big news for Washington DC on November 4: Scott Bradlee and Postmodern Jukebox announced they are returning to the East Coast on January 19 for a single show at The Birchmere in Alexandria. (They missed the DC area on their recent tour).

You might, perhaps, notice who is running the United States Senate in January. But you will definitely rue your fate for the remainder of your days if you miss the chance to see PMJ while they are in town.

Tickets go on sale, formally, tomorrow at noon at Ticketmaster; HOWEVER, you can buy tickets right now, “pre-sale,” through the PMJ Web site.

If you want to see Postmodern Jukebox, you should get the tickets now, because last time they played in our area they sold out two consecutive shows at The Hamilton in DC. They have a serious fan base here.

Also, tomorrow at 2:00 pm, you can get tickets for the pre-show “mingle” with PMJ which is fun, inexpensive and, well, just silly to miss.

It’s one of the best shows you will ever see in your life, and it’s in Alexandria for goodness sakes, so make a list of all the people you really like and go buy tickets for the January 19 show while you can.

PMJ For A Cold Night – Von Smith “Shake It Off”

Coldest night since last winter!

So, here is something to warm up with: the Postmodern Jukebox version of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.”

(If video above does not play click here for YouTube.)

On lead vocals for PMJ: Von Smith, ladies and gentlemen. He’s come a long way from the top 17 on American Idol, has he not?

PMJ Overnight: “On Hold” Genre Variations

If you’re up late randomly clicking on links in search of diversion, the selection above (or click here) likely will suit the purpose:

The great Scott Bradlee and Postmodern Jukebox performing “on hold” recorded message variations in 10 different musical genres. I’m partial to Motown.

With Postmodern Jukebox, The Future Is Meta – And It Is Beautiful

Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox is a cultural phenomenon on the verge of breakout, currently putting on a series of powerhouse concerts in select cities.

Postmodern Jukebox in Pittsburgh
Scott Bradlee (on keyboard) and Postmodern Jukebox launched their current tour on Friday at the Rex Theater in Pittsburgh.

We were able to get tickets to Pittsburgh’s Rex Theater this weekend for their North American tour’s sold-out opening night (Friday) which, fortuitously, featured Von Smith in his first live performance with the group. (Smith is “Man with Chihuahua” in the “Anaconda” video, on which more below).

Here’s the one-word concert review: Whoa.

My advice: Run, do not walk: Tickets are still available to see this amazing group of performers, on only their second trip in North America. There are about six cities left in the Eastern portion of the tour from Montreal down through Knoxville, and then about as many out West from Seattle to Tucson. If you’re in the DC area, the best bets are probably Philadelphia on October 26th or Charlottesville on the 27th.

Click here to find tickets. For most shows they also offer a separate meet and greet “vintage mingle,” a unique opportunity to talk to the band, at this early stage in the growth arc when they can still do this type of thing. Ticket prices are ridiculously low.

(I learned, for instance, that bassist Adam Kubota already has a Three Wolf Moon shirt, but has not been able to get himself a bolo tie. So, holiday gift idea.)

Don’t miss this. You can thank me later.

(Check #PMJTour on Twitter, or on Facebook, for audience reviews and reports.).

With a respectable portfolio of viral videos, and having their first group performances before live audiences earlier this year, much of this talent-soaked musical company just relocated from Brooklyn to Los Angeles – from the cultural outskirts to the center of influence, which is appropriate because they have one of the few veritable “new ideas” in recent memory.

Not too far in the future, they are likely a Next. Big. Thing.

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