In Some Particular Order (part 1 of 10)

I’ve enjoyed expanding the topical reach of this blog, but I also liked last weekend’s column where I pontificated about Prince songs throughout the years after listening to a playlist of them. It was a throwback to the original point of this blog, where I was going through all my family’s music in alphabetical order by song title. I actually got pretty far into it before life got in the way of constant exercise and constant posts. Now I am back to exercising–particularly thanks to my Fitbit as nothing is more frustrating that looking at the number of steps I have on a particular day and thinking how far I am from 10,000 steps/5 miles. But I use my iPhone as my electronic workout buddy, and it is harder to fit music on it, forcing me to be a bit more selective in my choices.

However, one playlist that is a staple on my phone is DEAN100. This is a list I created of my 100 favorite songs of all time. It’s the kind of idea that starts off easily enough–50-70 songs absolutely have to go on it. Then as the remaining number of slots dwindle, difficult choices have to be made. However, once I settled on the 100, it has remained solid. I think there was only 1 or 2 changes due to me remembering a song I had completely forgotten. One quick note–there was no limit on the number of songs from a particular artist or album. I never understand these types of artificial constraints on these lists. If you are picking the 10 greatest movies of all time, and want 5 of the Fast & Furious films there, go for it! So several artists are represented more than once.

I also started to put them in order 1-100. This proved to be a frustrating experience, and once I realized that I listen to my list in shuffle, I decided it was pointless. However, my top 10 or so did stay up high, so seeing that I will be walking through the list in groups of 10 starting from the bottom, my absolute favorites will only appear at the end of this–properly building up your anticipation. So this batch is not 91-100 by any stretch of the imagination, just the first group.

  • My Way–Frank Sinatra
  • Secret Separation–The Fixx
  • Don’t Answer Me–The Alan Parsons Project
  • The Magic Number–De La Soul
  • Head Over Heels–The Go Go’s
  • (Keep Feeling) Fascination–The Human League
  • Do You Believe in Love?–Huey Lewis & The News
  • Slip Slidin’ Away–Simon & Garfunkel
  • Nuthin’ But a “G” Thing–Dr. Dre Featuring Snoop Dog
  • Word Up!–Cameo

My father died in a car accident when I was seven years old, so my memories of him are spotty at best. One of the things I never really knew about him was his pop-culture touchstones. What movies did he like? What TV shows did he try not to ever miss? (Well, I can guess that there was almost nothing on that second list as he was a bartender so he tended to work nights, and this was before one recorded shows with a VCR, let alone DVR.) I do remember him liking certain hymns at church (“Let There Be Peace on Earth” and “Go Forth” in particular) and I remember being told “My Way” by Frank Sinatra was his favorite song. For this simple reason, I always had an affinity for the song, and I purchased a Sinatra CD to make sure I could always listen to it. Before I bought the CD, the only Frank Sinatra song I owned was his duet of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” with Cyndi Lauper on A Very Special Christmas 2.

I mentioned having to tweak my 100 list a couple of times because of a sudden realization that I had forgotten a song. The first one of those was “Secret Separation” by the Fixx. I think I’d even put a different Fixx song on the list–“Stand or Fall.” I even listened to it on the list once or twice before realizing I meant to include a different Fixx song–“Oh yeah! Secret Separation!” These both come from the same CD, and the only Fixx album I own, React. I had purchased it thinking it was a greatest hits album, not knowing it was a live album until I got it home. I kept it, as their live versions of all their songs are pretty great.

I am hoping this blog is a safe space, one where I can freely admit to some potentially embarrassing choices without being mocked too badly. I would think that having “Don’t Answer Me” is possibly a choice like that. My first encounter with the Alan Parsons Project was winning a 45 of “Eye in the Sky” at a Bar Mitzvah, but it was “Don’t Answer Me” that really caught my ear. It also caught my eye, as the goofy animated video was a favorite of mine as well.

De La Soul came into my life during my year of graduate school as a friend had Three Feet High and Rising on cassette and played it fairly constantly in his car. The album is entertaining beginning to end, but the group’s tribute to Schoolhouse Rock is my favorite track. Years later, I tried to buy the album on iTunes or at a store, but could not find it anywhere. Luckily it was available on Amazon.com, so now the CD is a proud part of my collection. It even came with a second disc of rare tracks and outtakes.

Seeing that I started listening to Top 40 music on the radio in the 1980’s and seeing that 80’s music is awesome, it should come as no surprise that my 100 list has a significant number of 80’s tracks and groups represented, including the next three songs. I figured most people would pick one of “We Got the Beat”, “Our Lips Are Sealed”, or “Vacation” if asked to name their favorite Go Go’s song, but for me it’s “Head Over Heels” and it’s not even close. (Side note–when the Go Go’s reunited and toured in 1991, I got to see them play in Boston. I went with someone from my college, but she was joyless at the show, refusing to sing along or dance to the music. Meanwhile, about five rows in front of me were other friends who I did not know would be at the show and they were having a great time with audience participation. To this day, I wish I had gone with them.) I remember loving “(Keep Feeling) Fascination” when I first heard it back in 1983, and it has remained one of my favorite songs ever since. Finally, I was a Huey Lewis fan, owning both Picture This and Sports on cassette back in the day, but their first chart hit is the one that has most stuck with me.

The second live song in this initial group comes from the famous Simon & Garfunkel concert in Central Park. (Spoiler alert–this will not be the only appearance of a song on this list, but you will have to wait to the final group–my top 10–before you see them again. I have always said that I think Paul Simon continued to write Simon & Garfunkel songs for the first decade after the duo broke up, and “Slip Slidin’ Away” is a perfect example. The Paul Simon version of the song is good enough, but when he performs it with Art Garfunkel, it becomes transcendent. It just sounds like it was written specifically for their combined vocal styles. To be fair, this may be true of all music and not just 70’s Paul Simon.

My relationship with West Coast rap got off to a rocky start. I remember not wanting to listen to Straight Outta Compton because the song “Fuck tha Police” seemed disrespectful. (I was a bit of a toe-the-line kind of teenager.) However, thanks to MTV I was able enjoy the first few releases from Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. After purchasing the album on CD, I have made it a regular part of my listening rotation, and the track “Fuck wit Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’)” almost made the top 100 as well, and would certainly make the top 200 list. But “Nothin’ But a ‘G’ Thing” was a lock for this list, and if I had order the top 100, it would have been much higher, in the top 50 for sure. By the way, thanks to the film last year, I finally picked up Straight Outta Compton and I regret not doing it sooner. The album is dynamite from top to bottom, and “Express Yourself” is just below the top 100 for me.

The last song from this first group is another 80’s hit and another song that’s been in my favorites since I first heard it on the radio 30 years ago. (Do you ever find yourself catching your breath when you realize how long ago something happened? Here’s one–next year is the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.) I just knew that “Word Up” was completely unlike any other pop song I’d ever heard, so I bought the album back in high school and still own this track to this day. I am all for this song getting as much exposure as possible, and I often love covers, but I think it is a crime that the Korn version of this song is the one available in the Rock Band video game franchise. It should be Cameo all the way.

 

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Late to the Commie Party

One of the greatest new developments in pop culture over the past five years is the ability to binge watch television programs. This viewing pattern shift hit us just at the right time–we don’t watch as many programs as we used to and we’ve gotten far more selective on films we see in theaters. (I remember about 10 years ago, when it seemed like I had appointment television almost every night of the week, with most nights having multiple shows. My Tivo got quite the workout back then. The change away from this habit is partially due to the rise of reality television, but also an unwillingness on my part to invest in programming when the network could pull the plug after half a season or so.)

This pickiness has led to an opportunity for my wife and I–spend our free nights and weekends binge-watching programs, particularly ones that got great in their second or third seasons. It does lead to you deciding what camp you are in with respect to streaming services. Netflix, Amazon, Hulu–each has its highlights and not everyone wants to pay for all three. For years, we were Netflix only, and I will always subscribe to Netflix as a way of saying thanks for more Arrested Development, Bob & David, and the Marvel series. Plus, my wife and daughter love Orange Is the New Black. I also sometimes watch their older network series, particularly The X-Files, Parks & Recreation, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. On that last series, no one has watched it (and its spinoff Angel) as much as my oldest daughter. I think she has watched each series all the way through four or five times, each with a new friend. She wanted to introduce each of them to these shows–she was serving as Joss Whedon’s personal Pied Piper.

There’s a number of other shows on Netflix that people rave about, yet we’ve never watched when they were originally on TV. Chief among these are The West Wing and Friday Night Lights. Until recently, you could have added House of Cards to that list, but we have now watched the first two seasons of that show. We would have kept going on that, as well as the second season of The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt (which served as a comedy sorbet any time the machinations of Frank and Claire Underwood got a little too much to take), but we’ve taken an Amazon-related detour.We never had Amazon Prime until recently, but it has opened up our binge-watching possibilities. Both my wife and I had heard so many raves about The Americans that we’ve decided to dive right in. What a great choice–all the plaudits are well deserved. The show really threads a needle, getting the viewer to root for Russian spies. That might be the most surprising anti-hero movement since The Sopranos. Getting to know both the Russian spies and the golden boy of the FBI leads to a nice programming balance. We are already seven episodes into Season 1, and I’ve heard the next two seasons get even better.

After we get through The Americans, Amazon gives us some additional binge possibilities, including Hannibal, Deadwood, Veep, The Man in the High Castle, Transparent, Catastrophe, and Justified. (The last one is a bit of a stretch–I have actually seen Justified all the  way through, but I want to make others watch it as well, and I’d be happy to see it again. I guess that makes me an Elmore Leonard or Graham Yost pied piper).

So what do people think? Is our list of binge candidates solid and complete, or are we missing some great possibilities? And of the ones we haven’t seen yet, what should be our next priority? Just don’t suggest getting fresh air and sunlight–no one wants to binge that.

Royal Discography

As I mentioned recently, I tend to listen to podcasts more than music when exercising these days, but in light of the passing of Prince, it has been 48 hours of Prince songs (I had to dig out the old iPod to do this). Prince on YouTube, Prince on AppleTV, and Prince while walking on the treadmill.

When I first heard that he had died, I stated that Prince’s death was going to be tougher on me than Bowie. Not just because Prince was a bigger artist and I liked his music more–both are true, but they are not the only reasons. I did not really get into music until 1983. Sure, I would listen to the occasional family 8-track tape before that, but popular music (and Saturday mornings listening to American Top 40) did not start until then. While I know that Prince had three albums and several hits before that year, it felt like he truly arrived with the late 1982 release of 1999. I do now enjoy much of his earlier work, particularly “Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?” (although as a piece of advice, if you are trying to rev your wife’s engine, saying that your sex life is like a Prince song, with you being “Soft” and her being “Wet” does not work that well), but 1983 is when I started to love Prince.

  • “1999”
  • “Little Red Corvette”
  • “Delirious”

I think more people at the time loved “Little Red Corvette, but the jarring combination of uptown dance beat and “the world is ending”lyrics was so damn appealing. At one point I was sure that Prince sang all the parts on the song, including the female-sounding parts. Going by the expertise one finds at Wikipedia, I have now learned that Wendy and Lisa from the Revolution handled the ladies singing. When “1999” came out in 1982, the year seemed so far off, like 100 years in the future. It was less than two decades away,  and we did not get our flying cars and monkey butlers. (Although, when Prince sang about people who “…run from their destruction…” do you think he was predicting the Y2K problem?)

  • “Let’s Go Crazy”
  • “When Doves Cry”
  • “Purple Rain”

I did not see Purple Rain in theaters when it came out in 1984–it was an ‘R’ rated film and I was a nerdy-follow the rules 15-year-old (as opposed to now, where I am a nerdy-follow the rules 47-year-old). It wasn’t until three years later that I saw the movie on VHS. The film was amazing, but my favorite part of the film was Morris Day and the Time. I purchased their album Ice Cream Castle based on their appearance in the film. I enjoyed their record, but the soundtrack was inescapable that summer and for the rest of the year. While these three were the big hits from the album, I remember having that soundtrack on cassette and listening to it beginning to end almost nightly. That’s an album I can brag about listening to all the time, along with Born in the U.S.A, Synchronicity, Thriller, and Strong Persuader. It’s a little harder for me to brag about how often I listened to Chicago’s 17.

  • “Raspberry Beret”
  • “Pop Life”

Like everyone else, I was dying to see how Prince would follow up the success of Purple Rain. I remember initially having mixed feelings about the song “Raspberry Beret,” but the more I heard it on the radio, the more it grew on me. Both of these songs from Around the World in a Day seem more airy than Prince’s earlier work, but his ability to shift gears really made him stand out from his musical contemporaries.

  • “Kiss”

Talk about standing out–I needed no time for this to grow on me; I loved it from the first listen, and I ran out and purchased it on 45. I also enjoyed the cover of the song done by Tom Jones and the Art of Noise. (If you want an underrated greatest hits album, go get the best of the Art of Noise).

  • “Sign o’ the Times”
  • “U Got the Look”

Once again, Prince shifted gears, giving us a powerful song about the issues of the day. Thanks to “Sign o’ the Times” I learned what horse was. I also learned that the sweet, innocent Sheena Easton of “9 to 5 (Morning Train)”, “For Your Eyes Only”, and “We’ve Got Tonight” was gone, thanks to the raw sexiness of “U Got the Look.” Frankly, I should have figured that out sooner, particularly when she oh so subtly asked people to spend the night inside her “Sugar Walls.” Like horse, it took me time to understand what exactly she was getting at.

  • “Alphabet Street”

This is the single I have been listening to the most since I heard of his passing. I think it’s the “slipped through the crack” song. You know when an artist has a deep catalog of songs, some do not get the attention that others do, and you often re-discover the song later. Sometime you think “cool, so-and-so has a new album out” only to discover that it’s a song years or even decades old.

  • “Thieves in the Temple”

One song I do not have in my Prince selection is “Batdance.” When Batman came out in 1989, I made the choice to purchase the instrumental soundtrack by Danny Elfman rather than the Prince release. This was clearly a mistake, as thanks to ownership complications, none of Prince’s songs from it can appear on his greatest hits/B-sides CDs that I listen to. I mentioned on Facebook recently that no artist could have taken “Batdance” to #1 other than Prince and I still believe that. I think it would have seemed like a joke in the hands of any other, but if you watch Batman, it’s clear the film was influenced by Prince and not the other way around. Prince’s success with the film is nice to see, as it was clear with Under the Cherry Moon and Graffiti Bridge that Prince was not going to replicate the success of Purple Rain, at least not on screen. The album by the same name worked, producing “Thieves in the Temple,” which is not a favorite of mine, but still a good song.

  • “Cream”
  • “Gett Off”
  • “Diamonds and Pearls”

I am not sure how I feel about the transition from the Revolution to the New Power Generation. I guess the important thing was the constant Prince, but I loved the the Revolution as well. These three songs from Diamonds and Pearls did make the transition a smooth one. I was always a big fan of “Diamonds and Pearls” even if it has spelling within the song.

  • “7”
  • “Pink Cashmere”
  • “Nothing Compares 2 U”
  • “I Feel for You”

I always had meant to buy the Prince box set, but I was a broke new worker fresh out of graduate school, so I settled for the two discs of “The Hits/The B-Sides”, which not only had all his big hits (sans “Batdance”), but also his versions of hit songs that he wrote for Sinead O’Connor (“Nothing Compares 2 U”) and Chaka Khan (“I Feel for You”). Of course I also knew about “Manic Monday” being written for the Bangles, but it was only recently that I learned he also wrote “Stand Back” for Stevie Nicks.

  • “Cinnamon Girl”
  • “The Marrying Kind”
  • “Life ‘O’ the Party”

Sadly, I lost interest in new music from about the mid 1990s until 2004 or so. However, thanks to my time at WWE, I received a copy of Musicology. I remember when I first got home thinking how odd it was that Prince would cover a Neil Young song. But his version of Cinnamon Girl was all his own, and the album was an incredible return to the world of Prince. I didn’t partake of much of his music after that, but now that he’s passed away, I feel it is time to do just that, giving me an opportunity to keep his musical spirit in my life.

Embracing the Dreadful

After two autobiographical posts, I thought I would get back to the original spirit of this blog–forcing readers to listen to my ramblings about what I listen to when I walk to get some exercise in. Again, thanks to my iPhone and its more limited storage space, I am not listening to all my songs in alphabetical order. Instead I have been listening to focused playlists (including one I made of my top 100 songs, which I plan to cover in a series of future posts) as well as podcasts. I believe podcasts are one of the extremely undervalued content forms in history. People put so much time and effort into creating unique niche long-form content in a variety of topics and genres. They are great to listen to during walks, commutes, and long car trips. Most people really came to know about podcasts thanks to the runaway success of Serial in late 2014, but the format had been around for years.

(Side note on Serial: Like almost everyone else, season 1 of the show hooked me with its fascinating story of Adnan Syed. You can debate all you want whether he committed the crime, but there is no way he committed the crime in the timeline the prosecution presented–it is a sham that he was convicted based on the presented evidence. I know many people weren’t as happy with season 2 of the show about Bowe Bergdahl. I understand the complaints–there wasn’t the “solving a mystery” element that season one’s story had, although the show tried to make it seem like what happened to Bergdahl would be solved over the course of the season. Once the show abandoned this subtext after the first few episodes of the new season, it got stronger. Also, it would have been almost impossible to recapture the cultural lightening in the bottle of the first season. However, there was a third reason the second season would have never reached the dizzying heights of the premiere season. The Joe Buck effect. If you don’t know Joe Buck, he’s a lead baseball/football announcer for the Fox network, and he has the unique skill to be hated by all fanbases. When he is broadcasting a Red Sox/Yankee series, for example, all of the Red Sox fans (myself included) feel that he is openly rooting against our team and pulling for the Yankees. However, if you ask Yankee fans about Buck and the same games, they too feel he is biased against their squad and is acting as Pravda for the Red Sox. The only team he doesn’t generate this feeling for is the St. Louis Cardinals, because he does subtly root for them–and it’s easy to understand why as his father was a longtime announcer for the team. Anyway, the Bergdahl case is so politically charged that no matter where you fall on the spectrum, you’d feel that the Serial squad was carrying the water against what you felt the case reflected. This is the danger in modern America to covering both sides of a story–each side openly whines that you spend any time giving credence to the other.)

Back to podcasts in general. I love a spectrum of offerings, but my favorites, my week-in-week-out listens tend to clump in two categories: sports and comedy. One of the latter entries is a film-focused offering called How Did This Get Made? On this bi-weekly show, three comedians–Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, and Jason Mantzoukas–along with one or two guests spend 60-90 minutes discussing a “so bad it’s good” movie. If you’d like to see a list of the 130+ movies they have covered since late 2010, here’s a list: Wiki for How Did This Get Made. In addition to listing the movies, you can also see who was the guest in case you have a favorite comedian. Does it help if you have seen the film they are discussing? Absolutely. Can you enjoy the podcasts even if you haven’t seen the films? Absolutely. Each member of the cast brings something special to the discussion, but for my money, Jason makes each show. If you’ve ever seen The League, Jason played Rafi on that show–he was also Dennis Feinstein on Parks and Recreation and Detective Adrian Pimento on a recent run of Brookly Nine-Nine episodes. His willingness to criticize others as well as his absolute love of craziness in film shines in almost every episode. The episodes can vary in quality, but if they have a top-notch guest, the shows are almost guaranteed to be hilarious. For a first-timer, I’d recommend 108 Con Air, 109 Face/Off, or any of the Sharknado episodes. They’ve also done each of the last three Fast & Furious movies with Adam Scott, and those are always fun as well.

The interesting thing about this show is that it has gotten me back into caring about things that are so bad they are good. I have been, and always will be, a pop culture maven. When I was younger, I was interested more in the bad things as well as the good, but as I got older, I found it harder and harder to justify spending time watching that category of camp. My twins find it frustrating–they want me to watch films like Mac & Me and Birdemic with them, but I often refuse. Ironically, both of those films have been covered by How Did This Get Made?, so perhaps I should find a bit of time to squeeze them in, scoring quality family time and preping myself for another enjoyable podcast. I’m not sure if I’d be doing it for John and Alice, or Paul, June, and Jason.

Bruising Your Groin (for all the Wrong Reasons)

I suggested that I may be willing to discuss my recent medical misadventures in more detail if that was what people wanted to hear. Well, the response was overwhelmingly positive–100% of the readers that chimed in expressed interest in hearing more about my recent surgical procedure!

(Truth in advertising department–one person replied and said that they’d be willing to read anything I wrote. So for you that struggle with math, one affirmative out of one response is 100%. I’ll take it, particularly as it was proof that someone read my last blog.)

So, as I mentioned yesterday, I spent the beginning of last week in the hospital for a cardiac ablation. My doctor had recommended it back in January after an echo cardiogram showed that one of my atrium valves had grown in size, which would increase the probability of future arrhythmia episodes. An ablation would attack the problem, bring down that probability, and perhaps eliminate the need for medications. I tried to  put it off for some time, particularly as I had a major deadline at work (one we hit although I will not be there to see the fruits of that labor), so it was scheduled for April. I had to check in on Monday when they did a TEE, a procedure in which they stick a camera down your throat to check for any blood clots before the ablation. Luckily you get put out for that as well, but not before you get to gargle some disgusting liquid to numb you first. After I woke up from that procedure, I had an MRI on my heart so they could get a sneak preview of the region for Tuesday’s 8AM surgery.

Checked into my room with nothing to do until the next day. I was fairly confident about the ablation, even though they had to give me the standard “complications can include death” speech. That hit my wife more than it hit me. However, laying on a hospital bed with twelve hours to can lead to the mind wandering into unpleasant briar patches. If only I had something to distract me. TV was not that successful, but thankfully the hospital staff had something in mind to prevent me from dwelling on the upcoming procedure…

If you haven’t been in the hospital lately, congratulations! But I also thought I would mention that you are assigned a nurse and a technician. The latter is mostly responsible for checking your vitals every few hours. On Monday night, my technician checked my blood pressure, pulse, and temperature about 8PM. Everything was normal. An hour later, a second technician came in to tell me he was assisting the technician assigned to my room. He also informed me that he’d be coming back soon to “prep” me for the surgical procedure, and that prep involved shaving my chest (ok) and groin (I knew it was coming, but it is not anything you are truly prepared to have done, particularly by a stranger–unless that’s your thing). After he came back, he helpfully explained that the chest had to be shaved in case they needed to use the defibrillator paddles on my chest. Remember earlier when I said that I wasn’t worried about the procedure? Hearing the term “defibrillator paddles” has a way of spiking fear–every time they are used in a medical television or movie situation, there’s nothing laid back or fun about the application of the paddles. Visualizing someone yelling “CLEAR” as they tried to shock my heart back into performance was concerning to say the least.

Thank God I had the humiliation of being shaved from shoulder to knee to keep me occupied! The one I didn’t get was he also shaved my armpits. That created a bit of razor burn, but not as bad as the razor burn on both sides of my groin area. This led to a “funny for everyone but me” situation. When I was in recovery after the procedure and the nurse there was checking the area of incisions, she noticed the razor burn. She asked me who had shaved me there and expressed anger that he had created the bumps and cuts. That should have been enough, but she proceeded to call over several other nurses and technicians to show them the poor shaving job–or more simply put, to show them my groin. Each made a point of agreeing with her that it was too bad–hopefully referring to just the razor burn and not my genitalia.

That was not the last indignity my groin would suffer. After getting out of the hospital, the area around one of the incisions started to develop a purple and red bruise. I was told this might happen and it was nothing to cause alarm. I was frustrated though that if my groin was going to be this black and blue, I’d have hoped to have a little more fun getting it in that shape.

 

 

A weedy vacant lot

Hey, I remember this neighborhood! I used to have a blog here! Then I finally found my next job post-WWE, which required relocation to Buffalo. That lasted about a year before I found a better opportunity in Orlando, Florida, working with Ripley Entertainment, home of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! I got to work with some incredible people and learn some truly bizarre information, but after 20 months, I am now looking for my next opportunity.

It’s always scary working without a net, but my wife and I are confident that things will work out the way they are supposed to. Plus the break right now isn’t so bad–I had been super stressed at the position and last week I had a cardiac ablation. There’s probably many of you out there wondering what that is. Hell, I would have been in that camp until early January when a doctor suggested it for me. Basically, a cardiologist sticks catheters into your body, either through your arm, neck, or groin. All men just shuddered at the description of door number three, so of course that’s what I got. the doctor then kills the electrical impulse ability of part of your heart tissue in order to prevent future arrhythmia. There’s risks associated, but the procedure was a success for me. Perhaps I will share more details in a future blog if people want.

A future blog? I am working toward a second relaunch of this blog. I am thinking about altering format, as I have not been listening to my 10000+ songs in alphabetical order any more. It’s not that I’ve stopped walking. In fact, thanks to my Fitbit, I now walk more than 5.5 miles a day. However, I now use my iPhone when I walk and I cannot fit all my songs, so I listen to podcasts more during my extended walks. Perhaps I can talk about those, or about broader pop-culture topics. Maybe I’ll just write about my medical procedures–who wouldn’t want to read that? If my ego is healthy enough to think you’re interested in my extemporaneous thoughts, everything is in play.