JOHN ESCREET TRIO + EVAN PARKER || Live at North Sea Jazz Festival

Jazz You Too

Evan Parker was also present at the Festival Jazz Contemporâneo Setúbal 79, he played solo, the best way to display his creative and innovative music. Some years later, here he is at the North Sea Jazz Festival playing along with the John Escreet Trio.

John Escreet (Piano) — John Hébert (Bass) — Tyshawn Sorey (Drums, Percussion) — Evan Parker (Saxophone)

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CUTTING DOWN THE PILES

By the Mighty Mumford

CUTTING DOWN THE PILES

Time to cut down the collection

And take up less room on inspection…

Eight containers

Of rolling stock remainders,

With more needing commercial connections!

I have a “knuckle coupler set”

Which I’ll keep with no regret…

The “Rapido” couplers

Get suitably shuttled,

Along to another ones net!

–Jonathan Caswell

nscalelayouts.com

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Boppin’ With Bif during the Power Plant Downsizing

Power Plant Men

About a year after I had joined the electric shop at the Coal-fired Power Plant in North Central Oklahoma, when it was my week to be the truck driver in Fall of 1984, I had an conversation with a contract electrician that I have never forgotten. It was with a guy named Mark Meeks. I have talked about him before in the post entitled, “Life Cycle of a Power Plant Lump of Coal“.

At the time, Mark was working as a contract help for the electric shop. He had been hired to help Mike Rose and Bill Ennis to work on Freeze Protection. I was driving him to the coalyard. He was telling me how he liked working on a job for a while and then he would move on to do another job working somewhere else.

I replied back that I liked having a job where no…

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Don’t Drink & Drive, You May Spill Your Drink

The Lonely Author

My apologizes to all.

Lonely Author usually uploads a writing related post on Tuesday to stir up discussion. But I have an important message I want to share. I will try not to preach.

During this holiday season it is easy to get caught up in the festivities. When family and friends get together it will be tempting to have an extra glass of wine (or whatever you are drinking).  Lonely Author knows all about excess, he usually gets drunk on life.

This time of year also marks the height of DUI season.

Please be careful on the road. If you see a relative or friend has had to much to drink, don’t let them drive. Don’t let them become a statistic.

Don’t let your holiday celebrations end in tragedy.

Holiday blessing to you and yours.

Keep smiling. Keep writing.

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POS Data Sharing – the Ultimate Big Data

Point of sale (POS) data has long been the domain of the retailer that collects it. It hasn’t always available – in detail, anyway – to manufacturers and suppliers that could use the data for such things as demand planning, improving supply chains to avoid stock outs and to better understand and act on buying habits so they can more accurately allocate advertising dollars. Of course, all those benefits would in turn benefit the retailers, which could improve planning and forecasting, reduce (or eliminate) stock outs, and even have leverage to enact and enforce service level agreements with suppliers.

Slowly but surely, more and more retailers are sharing sales data as POS transactions with more and more vendors. Mass merchants have led the way, and many now share POS data with their suppliers. As many as 120 retailers have implemented collaborative programs in which they share store-level sales data, inventory data, and margin information. Drug retailers and grocers have not been as forthcoming, but there is movement even in those sectors. Drug store chains CVS Caremark Corp. and Walgreen Co., for example, do, as do many of the grocers including The Kroger Co. and Safeway Inc. Whenever retailers and suppliers share POS data, the general outcome is a far more strategic relationship with advantages for both.

Just recently there’s been another development that could help spur POS data sharing.  A group of the merchants announced formation of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a new company dedicated to offering consumers a versatile mobile-commerce experience that will combine the convenience of paying at the register with customizable offers. MCX is currently developing a mobile application for merchants that will integrate a wide range of consumer offers, promotions and retail programs. The application will work with any smartphone. Merchants involved in MCX include 7-Eleven, Inc., Best Buy Co., Inc.; CVS/pharmacy, Lowe’s; Publix Super Markets, Inc., Sears Holdings; Shell Oil Products US, Target Corp., and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., among others.

Will Europe really back more passenger rail competition?

THE announcement last month that the 26 transport ministers of the European Union (EU) have finally decided to open up the domestic passenger rail market in each member state to competition from 2020, and to reform the way loss-making passenger services are funded and procured, could herald a passenger rail revival in many countries provided private operators are given the chance to compete fairly.

The current situation in Europe is a hotchpotch. Open-access competition ranges from a fully-liberalised market in Sweden, partially-open markets where competition is allowed on certain routes in countries such as Austria, the Czech Republic and Italy, or countries where the market is supposed to be open but there are so many obstacles to private operators that access is in reality very difficult, such as Britain and Germany, to the majority of EU member states where access is currently denied.A similarly fragmented picture emerges for the concessioning of passenger services which require subsidy. While Sweden and Germany put all such services out to tender, the Netherlands and Denmark currently grant their incumbent national operators exclusive access to a defined core network of services, while tendering all other rail services. Netherlands Railways (NS) has a 10-year contract which expires in 2025, and this will be affected by the new legislation. Some countries tender a portion of their services or are starting to introduce concessions, while others have made no such changes. France allows regional authorities to plan and specify local services but they are often frustrated in trying to implement change as French National Railways (SNCF) is the sole operator and all rolling stock must be procured through SNCF.

Britain has a unique system of franchising passenger services where franchisees bear the revenue risk for the services they provide and either have to make premium payments to the government or receive a subsidy. These payments are determined for the life of the franchise as part of the bidding process. Two open-access operators compete with the franchisee on the East Coast Main Line, and a third has been granted access for a Blackpool – London service on the West Coast Main Line. But the process of applying for access is long-winded and tortuous. Access is only granted for a specific route, such as Hull – London, a defined number of paths per day, and for a fixed period of time. Despite these restrictions, there is still a thirst from the private sector for greater access. Stagecoach and Virgin, which jointly operate the West Coast and East Coast franchises, have suggested doing away with franchises on these two important corridors and auctioning batches of paths to the highest bidder.

While incumbent railways have generally been opposed to open-access operators for fear of losing traffic and revenue, and often use their dominant position to put obstacles in the path of private operators, in most cases direct competition has expanded the overall rail market and led to an improvement in quality and performance. The advent of NTV on the Italian high-speed network spurred incumbent Trenitalia to up its game by relaunching its services under the Frecciarossa brand. As a result, Italy now has some of the highest-quality high-speed services in Europe.

Concessioning has usually led to a reinvigoration of local and regional services, with new or refurbished trains and higher-frequency services which attract more passengers.

So why are some governments still opposed to private operators? The reasons include strong opposition from trade unions, protectionism, fear of change, and political opposition. Some countries would rather see rail services wither away and die than allow someone else to have a go.

The EU proposals, which will form part of the Fourth Railway Package, will now go to the European Parliament for further deliberation which could result in changes or compromise. Each member state then has to transpose the directive into national law, which takes several months or even years. Some member states have a poor record of applying EU legislation even when it is adopted, and too many politicians pay lip service to new EU directives but have no intention of applying them, knowing that it will be years before the European Commission takes legal action against them.

If European politicians are serious about opening the domestic passenger market in each country to competition, it will take more than legislation to make it work. Governments need to ensure that the rules of the game are fair, and that incumbents do not obstruct private companies from competing fairly. Train paths and access to stations and maintenance facilities must be granted equitably and at an affordable price. Regional procurement authorities must be given the tools and expertise to be able to issue tenders, judge them dispassionately, and monitor the performance of the contracts when they have been awarded.

Private operators should be allowed some freedom to innovate. This is a major failing of the British franchising system where the contracts are so tightly controlled by the government that innovation is stifled and making any changes to services becomes so difficult that they often have to wait for a new franchise.

Competition is usually a spur to improve performance and achieve growth, and Europe’s incumbent railways should not be afraid to embrace it. Yes, rail competes with road and air transport, but it is not quite the same as having another train company on an adjacent track. Europe’s railways must not lose sight of the main goal: to grow rail’s market share.

What is an XPL?

In every EDI application, knowledge of the business needs and functions is of paramount importance. If you don’t understand a “purchase order” or a “load tender” or a “health care claim or encounter” you’ll never be able to map the ANSI or EDIFACT EDI data format for these transactions. In my experience, logistics is the toughest because of the many, many unrelated (by ownership) parties who need to be in the loop.

EDI started out simply. The manufacturer sent an EDI Purchase Order to the supplier. Gee boss, we are on EDI!!! Now we wanted to “automate” the link to the trucker or rail carrier that brought the part into the factory. Yup! Can do; but they have their own EDI format. OK, done! But were we really linked with all parties?

The manufacturer changed his concept. He started getting sophisticated. He started issuing blanket Purchase Orders and ordering his product through a Material Release. The Advance Ship Notice followed shortly. But the suppliers and the shipping companies started getting sophisticated too. But they were not all in synch….and forget about parts imported into the country.

Time to go back to school on that whole transportation thing.

Set free those chained thoughts

Words dipped in Happiness

Just like we need to breathe in this moment, for life to take us to the next moment, similarly we need a little inspiration, for our time to take us into the next phase of life.

Sometimes we think too much about things which already happened in our life or things which we fear that may happen in the near future. This makes our present angry on us as we don’t give enough attention to it. Yes, our present is an attention seeker. Keep it happy. Our present is the only portal that can fulfill our dreams of tomorrow. Cherish your memories of yesterday and learn from the mistake of yesterday so that you can build new memories of tomorrow without making any wrong choices for your life.

Keep talking to yourself. What do you do keep a relation going? Keep talking, right? So keep yourself busy talking to yourself…

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Charlie Brown Christmas

Barataria - The work of Erik Hare

Christmas is a time for remembering everything that has come before us. It’s not a kind of memorial day when we remember what we lost, but instead a day to remember the great gifts that have come to us over the many years. The circle of gratitude is widened every year as the holiday expands with new love and new memories.

This is a special Christmas because fifty years ago we received one of the great gifts of television, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. In many ways this defines the tension of Christmas itself, even though very little in popular culture has been willing to decry the commercialism that is the true “War on Christmas”. And in the process it gave us a new definition of holiday cheer, bringing Vince Guaraldi’s cool jazz into the warm holiday like a sprig of winter itself.

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