Author Archive

Mar/09/11//Charlie Jones//IISC:Outside

KISS or Keep It Simple, Stupid

Fender Telecaster

“The Fender Telecaster is an instrument of beautiful simplicity.” Jim Mauradian, luthier.

For you non-guitar geeks this may take a moment to explain. The electric guitar as we know it today, is a product of the 1950′s. Back in the stone ages of electric guitar making, it was an accepted practice to trick out the instrument with as many buttons, knobs and toggle switches as could be fit on a block of wood. And dang it if those guitars didn’t look sweet. Problem was, most of those guitars sounded like crap and because of the complex nature of the design, were in constant need of adjustment when not in a state of total ill-repair.

In response to this over complicating trend, a Luthier named Leo Fender set about to design and produce an electric guitar that was (1) simple to use, (2) durable, and (3) sounded great. Leo Fender’s genius was in stripping away all of the unnecessary crap, reducing the design to the barest essentials.

The product of his design was an electric guitar called the Fender Telecaster, which to this day is considered by many guitarists (myself included) to be the platinum standard of guitars. Go figure.

I wonder how it might look if we consistently applied Leo Fender’s approach to our own work and lives. Thoughts? Anyone want to put in a good word for complexity?

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Mar/19/10//Charlie Jones//Inspiration

Spring Ahead

I believe New Years Day ought to be celebrated on the first day of spring.  It just doesn’t seem right to start a ‘new’ year in the dead of winter as we do.  In fact, prior to 1752 (more or less), most European countries (and their respective colonies) celebrated New Years Day on or about March 25th rather than January 1st.  Thus, until New Years Day was shifted to January 1st, one went to bed on March 24th in one year and awoke the next day on March 25th in the next year.  Pretty crazy, eh?

That the New Year used to be marked on March 25th makes total sense for a number of reasons, most obviously because the spring is the beginning of the planting season.  It is a time to sow the fields and start again.

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Oct/23/09//Charlie Jones//What We Are Reading

The Social Change Agent of American Politics

I read this column in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and thought it appropriate to share.  Enjoy!

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Sep/02/09//Charlie Jones//Power, Equity, Inclusion

Taking America Back? Back to Where?

“Some of the people who have been appearing at town hall meetings lately say they want to take back their country. Me too.  However, I am left wondering what country they want to take back.”  Excerpt from “The country we should have back”.

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May/13/09//Charlie Jones//Power, Equity, Inclusion

The Hawt Post & Hot VIP Post Blogs – oh the balance, oh the irony

Does anyone else read the blog posts that appear in either the Hawt Post or Hot VIP Post?  I have read these from time to time and am astounded by the right wingishness of the content.  Now, I’m all for freedom of speech – and I’ll fight for anyone’s right to say something offensive to me (or to you, for that matter) – but it does strike me as odd (or perhaps, in a perfectly twisted way, balanced?) that such hateful (IMHO) material is there to read before I make the magic click into the left leaning, liberal safety of the IISC blogspot.  It is sort of like running through a grove of thorn bushes before you get to the flower riddled meadow.

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