Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The thirty-day song challenge

I found this meme via Terry Teachout. In repayment, I'll steal his formatting and follow his example by giving all answers now.

1. A song you like with a color in the title
Nat "King" Cole and his Trio and Stan Kenton and his Orchestra, "Orange Colored Sky" (Delugg/Stein)

2. A song you like with a number in the title
Caro Emerald, "One Day" (Schreurs/DeGiorgio)

3. A song that reminds you of summertime
Naked Eyes, "(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me" (Bacharach/David)

4. A song that reminds you of someone you would rather forget about
Paula Cole, "I Am So Ordinary" (Cole)

5. A song that needs to be played loud
Sammy Davis Jr., "Talk to the Animals" (Bricusse)

6. A song that makes you want to dance
Smoove & Turrell, "Hard Work" (Watson/Turrell) (?)

7. A song to drive to
John Hiatt, "Memphis in the Meantime" (Hiatt)

8. A song about drugs or alcohol
James Taylor, "A Junkie's Lament" (Taylor)

9. A song that makes you happy
Art Brut, "Good Weekend" (Argos/Breyer/Catskilkin/Chinchilla/Feedback) (?)

10. A song that makes you sad
Karla Bonoff, "The Water Is Wide" (traditional)

11. A song that you never get tired of
The Beatles, "I Saw Her Standing There" (Lennon/McCartney)

12. A song that you love from 2011
Fountains of Wayne, "Acela" (Collingwood/Schlesinger)

13. One of your favorite Seventies songs
Robert Palmer, "Sailin' Shoes" (George)

14. A song that you would love played at your wedding
Frank Sinatra, "Around the World" (Adamson/Young)

15. A song that is a cover by another artist
Mason Jar Music featuring Gabriel Garzón-Montano, "You Can Make It If You Try" (Stewart)

16. One of your favorite songs from a movie
Keira Knightley, "A Step You Can't Take Back" (Alexander/Brisebois/Carney)

17. A song that features your favorite artist
James Taylor, "(I've Got To) Stop Thinkin' 'Bout That" (Kortchmar/Taylor)

18. A song from the year you were born
Tom Lehrer, "The Vatican Rag" (Lehrer)

19. A song that makes you think about life
Hem, "Not California" (Messé/Maurer)

20. A song that reminds you of your mom
Frank Sinatra, "Nancy (with the Laughing Face)" (Silvers/Van Heusen/Burke)

21. A favorite song with a person’s name in the title
Donald Fagen, "Maxine" (Fagen)

22. A song that motivates you
Todd Rundgren, "Drive" (Rundgren)

23. A song that you think everybody should listen to
Ben Folds and Nick Hornby, "Belinda" (Hornby/Folds)

24. A song by a band/group you wish were still together
The Beatles, "I've Just Seen a Face" (Lennon/McCartney)

25. A song by an artist no longer living
Ray Charles, "Smack Dab in the Middle" (Calhoun)

26. A song that makes you want to fall in love
Sting, "Fields of Gold" (Sting)

27. A song that breaks your heart
Lyle Lovett, "Nobody Knows Me" (Lovett)

28. A song by an artist with a voice that you love
Kelly Jones, "Subway Song" (Jones/Viola)

29. A song that you remember from your childhood
The Joe Cuba Sextet, "Bang! Bang!" (Cuba/Sabater)

30. A song that reminds you of yourself
Joni Mitchell, "The Last Time I Saw Richard" (Mitchell)

Full playlist here.

(I've made some changes since first posting this.)

Friday, February 17, 2017

Others have made the comparison, but I'm startled by how much Trump's presidency resembles the plot of the movie Network.

In each story, an outspoken celebrity wins followers, and neither he nor they realize that the true power lies in the background: in Network, with producers and company executives; in Trump's presidency, with advisors and cabinet secretaries.

The resemblance isn't exact, of course. Unlike Howard Beale, Trump holds final say. If he doesn't sign the order or the bill, it won't take effect.

But Trump's authority means less than it should. Lacking intelligence, ideas, and philosophy, he's subject to manipulation by cleverer men. (From a New York Times report: "Mr. Bannon remains the president’s dominant adviser, despite Mr. Trump’s anger that he was not fully briefed on details of the executive order he signed.")

Trump shouts and scraps, his fans applaud, but he's a tool of those behind him.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I ROAM, MAINE MEN. I AM MAORI.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I was wrong.

And I'm not happy about it.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Donald Trump Is Not Smart

A man out of his depth, trying to sound impressive.

I've pulled this video. Now that he has the nomination I'm neutral, in a pox-on-both-their-houses way.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

When people say Trump voters are "venting," this is what they mean.

Take my friend Steve as an example. He runs a 15-person firm in New York City. It’s a business he started, and I assume he makes a lot of money. He’s very conservative politically. Last fall he told me he was supporting Trump. When I asked why, he explained he was tired of political correctness and sick of Wall Street bankers getting away with murder. And then he told me about the stresses of his business—specifically, that he works with people who sign contracts featuring non-compete clauses with major corporations. When their time is up and they’re ready to move on, their employers threaten them with legal action due to the non-compete clauses. These claims are without merit, Steve says, but litigating them would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. So his people stay where they are. It’s unfair, he says.

What on earth, I asked, does he think Trump would do to help him and his clients with a non-compete problem? What does this have to do with anything? It’s the big guys, Steve said. The big guys are lording it over the little guys.

Now, in no way is Steve a little guy—except by comparison with major corporations. But he feels like the little guy.

This illuminated my understanding of the Trump phenomenon. His candidacy is an emotional outlet for his supporters. They have taken his message about “winning” and the “losers” who are running things and doing it badly—and they have applied it to their own circumstances.

Monday, March 14, 2016

From a short review by Stephen Dobyns of Patricia Goedicke's poetry collection The Tongues We Speak. (Emphasis added.)

Often she uses words not exclusively for their meaning but as intensifiers. For example, she sometimes likes to establish a rhythm with a number of double stresses. In the first eight lines of "In the Aquarium" one finds "front door," "back garden," "guests stream," "straight line," "then stop," "dark fish," "night sky," "moon like," "just short," "calm pool" and "blind friend." One has the sense of certain words being used primarily for stress. Does it really matter if the fish in the poem is a light or dark one? The reader comes partly to distrust her language, feeling that word choices may be made for reasons other than sense. This, coupled with the lack of proportion, tends to weaken the credibility of an entire poem.

My disappointment in the lyrics to "Alexander Hamilton," and in nearly all other lyrics I hear, arises from a similar loss of trust. There are songs I love, but most of them require a lot of forgiving.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A lovely, generous comment from James Taylor regarding his 1968 song "Something in the Way She Moves."

When I heard George Harrison used the title for the opening words of "Something," I was thrilled. I didn't feel like I was being poached at all — besides, "Something in the Way She Moves" quotes the Beatles' "I Feel Fine": "She's around me almost all the time/And I feel fine."

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Good excerpt at Delanceyplace today, from the book Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything.

Most of what humans experience as perception is actually furnished by the memory. This is because the conscious brain can only process a trickle of data. Psychologists agree that only one to four 'items,' either thoughts or sensations, can be held in mind, immediately available to consciousness, at the same time. Some have tried to quantify these constraints. According to the work of Manfred Zimmerman of Germany's Heidelberg University, only a woeful fifty bits of information per second make their way into the conscious brain, while an estimated eleven million bits of data flow from the senses every second. Many psychologists object to these attempts to measure thoughts and perceptions as digital bits. But however they're measured, the stark limits of the mind are clear.

(That's a small excerpt of the excerpt.)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Rest in peace, George Martin. We were lucky to have you.