iTunes Update

My iTunes listening project is officially over the hump. I’ve listened to 1,359 songs over the last six months. I’ve listened to more songs from Colin Hay (48) than any other artist in my library. Second place goes to Tom Petty (39) and Frank Sinatra (34) comes in third. In terms of genre, Rock & Roll is the clear favorite with 651 songs from that genre listened to. No other genre comes close. Buddy Guy’s “Feels Like Rain” and Duke Ellington’s “Do Nothin’ ‘Till You Hear From Me” are tied for the most listened to spot (10 times each). My Top 23 list this time around includes songs listened to 7 times or more.

Feels Like Rain - Buddy Guy with Bonnie Raitt
Do Nothin’ ‘Till You Hear From Me- Duke Ellington
Here’s That Rainy Day- Frank Sinatra
Freedom Calling- Colin Hay
Season Of The Witch- Blues Brothers w/ Dr. John
Are You Lookin’ At Me?- Colin Hay
Beautiful World- Colin Hay
Over the Rainbow- The Blanks
City Of Blinding Lights- U2
Bring Me Some Water- Melissa Etheridge
Bottom Of The River- Delta Rae
Your Latest Trick- Dire Straits
Fade To Black- Dire Straits
Here’s That Rainy Day- Doc Severinsen & the Tonight Show Band
Body & Soul- Doc Severinsen & the Tonight Show Band
Another Day- Buckshot LeFonque
Super Bon Bon- Soul Coughing
Mumbles- Oscar Peterson & Clark Terry
Down Under- Colin Hay
Big Man On Mulberry Street- Billy Joel
For What It’s Worth- Buffalo Springfield
Walking in Memphis- Marc Cohn
Classical Gas- Mason Williams

I don’t answer my phone unless I recognize the number. This call went to voicemail. And, oh, what a voicemail. Don’t know the language (you’d think she heard my voice on the outgoing message and realized she had the wrong number, but no) but she’s clearly unhappy… and she’s going to the bathroom (either that or somebody gave her a swirly). Obviously a wrong number, but the voicemail made me laugh, so I felt compelled to share. If you happen to speak whatever language she’s speaking, please tell me what she was saying.

Interesting essay about a Christian concept I personally struggle with, specifically to love thy enemy and turn the other cheek.

Top 20 Countdown

OK. It isn’t really a countdown. It just so happens that, 1/3 of the way through the calendar year, there have been exactly 20 songs that I’ve listened to six or more times, at least according to my iTunes Library

Looks like a lot of jazz and blues made the cut, which does sort of suit my mood these days. Only three songs feature women on vocal, which is unusual to me since I tend to think I prefer a strong female lead in what I listen to. Delta Rae is the most current artist in my Top 20, while the late Duke Ellington’s “Do Nothin’ ‘Till You Hear From Me” dates back to 1944. The only artist to appear twice on the countdown is Doc Severinsen & the Tonight Show Band, but one of their songs, “Here’s That Rainy Day,” is on the list twice; the second version sung by Mr. Francis Sinatra is tied for most listened to, along with Buddy Guy and The Blanks (with eight plays each). 

That’s all for now. Until next time… keep your feet on the ground, but keep reaching for the stars. 

Feels Like Rain - Buddy Guy with Bonnie Raitt
Here’s That Rainy Day - Frank Sinatra
Over the Rainbow - The Blanks
Season Of The Witch - Blues Brothers w/ Dr. John
Do Nothin’ ‘Till You Hear From Me - Duke Ellington
Big Man On Mulberry Street - Billy Joel
Another Day - Buckshot LeFonque
For What It’s Worth - Buffalo Springfield
Freedom Calling - Colin Hay
Bottom Of The River - Delta Rae
Walking in Memphis - Marc Cohn
Lay Down (Candles In The Rain) - Meredith Brooks
Mumbles - Oscar Peterson & Clark Terry
In Your Eyes (LIVE) - Peter Gabriel
Super Bon Bon - Soul Coughing
The UnderdogSpoon
Fields Of Gold (New Version) - Sting
Here’s That Rainy Day (LIVE) - Doc Severinsen & the Tonight Show Band
Body & Soul - Doc Severinsen & the Tonight Show Band
City Of Blinding Lights - U2
Harlan Ellison on the Internet

from a 1994 interview on CNBC’s Tom Snyder Show

What I don’t like are the hair-brained idiots who get on these computer bulletin boards and spend all night long bad-mouthing people with impunity, spreading gossip, and doing ugliness… What bothers me about the “information super highway” is that it is going to be traversed by the same inbeciles who are walkin’ around without an information super highway… They’re like members of a devil cult who resent it when you say you shouldn’t bite the heads off chickens… These people are spring-loaded vomit, that’s all they are… There are nice things on the computer-nets, I do not deny it… It’s like a knife. A knife can carve a piece of sculpture. A knife can carve a piccolo for a child. A knife can also be used to behead a woman in the street. It depends whether you’ve got an imbecile wielding the implement. 

Obligatory sunset pic, taken while walking the ball o’ fluff, otherwise known as Nigel the dog.

Obligatory sunset pic, taken while walking the ball o’ fluff, otherwise known as Nigel the dog.

Probably not many of my Facebook friends or Twitter followers use the Russian website to engage in social media with people in the other hemisphere, but it has roughly 250 million users. I still have a VK account to chat with fellow students (and, to be honest, because there are a lot of hot women in that hemisphere who like to practice their English, and who enjoy allowing me to practice my Russian with them). I actually like VK for many reasons. First, the format hasn’t really changed in the five years I’ve been on it. Second, no ads. Third, easy control over who can see what. Fourth, its founder is a cool guy.

Pavel Durov openly opposed corruption in the Russian government. He fought “the man" for years. He believed his social network ought to be free for all (the lack of censorship of any kind on VK can be graphic and disturbing if you wander onto the wrong profiles). But as Kenny Rogers taught us, "you got to know when to walk away, and know when to run." 

This month, Durov resigned as CEO of VK and is high-tailing it with his millions. Putin’s cracking down on media descension, and nowhere is it more pervasive within Russian borders than on VK. I suspect in a few months VK won’t be nearly as user-friendly or fun (and it certainly won’t be as open an environment). But you have to hand it to Durov. In his f*ck you letter, he concluded it with the phrase, “so long and thanks for all the fish,” along with an image of dolphins. 

A longtime champion of free and open discourse thumbs his nose at the establishment one last time, using a Douglas Adams quote? That’s what makes him cool. 

Missing your period dramas like Downton Abbey?

Jonesing for more House of Cards?

Lamenting that it could be years before we see another new Sherlock series?

Here’s a show you may have missed. Foyle’s War is a murder mystery set in a British seaside village during WWII. The actor who plays DCI Foyle also played the king in the UK House of Cards series, and his detecting skills rival that of the Baker Street boys. Memorable characters, great stories, beautiful camerawork, and an attention to detail really make Foyle’s War stand out. 

The first episode is presently free at the iTunes Store. They’ve done seven series (22 episodes) and there is still talk of them doing one more to wrap up the storylines of the regular cast of characters. Take my advice. Give this show a try.

Conspiracy theory of the day: Flight 370

I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I believe the Twin Towers fell because terrorists crashed planes into them. I believe the Boston Marathon bombing was committed by a couple of nutjobs who were quickly identified. I believe Oswald shot Kennedy. I believe the moon landing wasn’t staged in a studio. I believe Elvis died on his toilet. 

I don’t believe Flight 370 is missing. 

We have satellites in orbit that can detect troop movements, weather anomalies, forest fires, seismic activity, active cell phones, the tide, the Titanic, and Mickey Rooney. Telecom companies archive their data indefinitely so they can share it with governments, sell it to advertisers, and overcharge consumers. Every government has a covert intelligence division that is used to spy on the rest of the world. We have radar for tracking objects in the air and sonar for tracking objects under water. Devices exist to track heat, radiation, metals, and human remains, all from great distances, heights, and depths. Planes have been hijacked by terrorists many times. 

The media has focused on the press conferences and prepared statements (and even Twitter posts) by officials, which are then reported as fact and then speculated about. That isn’t journalism; that is regurgitation. 

I obviously don’t know the whereabouts of the missing plane or the people who were on board, but it is evident that somebody knows. It is also evident that the press isn’t interested in tracking down who knows what, because there is more money to made in factless speculation. It costs money to gain access to the technology that can track the flight path of a jet aircraft. It costs money to conduct thorough research. It costs nothing to vomit up yesterday’s lasagna and call it news. 

Flight 370 is not missing. But officials responsible for telling us where it is aren’t telling us, and reporters responsible for holding officials accountable aren’t doing their jobs. As to why, that would be speculation, but I suspect if/when the why is ever known, it’ll scare the living crap out of us. 

My one face-to-face encounter with the Phelps clan took place outside Comic-Con in San Diego a few years ago. It seemed fitting to share my photos and memories of that, given the passing of the king moron. A lot of people hate the Westboro Baptists, and I understand that. But after seeing them up close, I found them too pathetic and sad to hate.