Fixing the Presidential Debates with a little help from Community

So we’re going to have a bit of a temporal shift today. I’d like to talk about my time at the gym last night (Wednesday, October 3rd) even though the songs being discussed are from earlier in September. I just feel it would have a bit more impact to be more timely in my openings. Wednesday night I was working out at the gym from 9:30 to 10:30, and while I was listening to my music, I was reading the debates on the overhead TV screens. It felt like my childhood a bit, as the televisions at my end of the gym are set to ABC, NBC, and CBS, the three networks from the first 15 years of my life (this always comes as a complete surprise to my children when I tell them there was a time when Fox was not a network–well, surprise or boredom; I can’t always read their expressions when I’m telling them stories about the olden days). So all three networks were showing the debate, and while I had no sound, I was able to follow the close captioning.

While I agree with the general consensus that Romney outperformed Obama, my larger question is “Who Cares?” For years, debates have been worthless, a test of who can memorize pithy platitudes about why their position is beneficial to the American people and their opponent is looking to destroy our country. It’s not a true debate because there’s no true back-and-forth, no discussion of key issues/topics, in fact, I’d argue that neither side truly listens to what his opponent even says–each is too busy feeding red meat to his party base.

So how to fix? You can’t just eliminate the debates, but maybe we could radically restructure them. Then I thought about Community. Last season they had an episode where two students were each trying to form a school Model UN club, and to settle which group would get the school’s charter, a “Model UN off” was held. A moderator would pick random crisis topics out of a fishbowl and each group had to work out how to solve the proposed problem. (Trust me, it was very funny.) Comedy aside, wouldn’t this make a better format for a debate. Each candidate, and perhaps 3-5 advisors on stage with them, would have scenarios that might happen over the next four years tossed their way that they then have to suggest how they would solve. Wouldn’t that better inform us of the Presidential mettle of each man? Now, the moderator would probably be some venerable journalist, but I would prefer they use Erik Charles Nielsen from that episode of Community, just to re-create his awesomely shrill cries of “Crisis Alert!” before announcing each topic–“Crisis Alert! Russia declares war on Germany!” or “Crisis Alert! A large-scale hurricane devastates Houston, Texas”. It’d be better than what we’ve got right?

Thursday, September, 6, 2012

3.15 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Die, All Right!–The Hives
  • Diesel Blues (Diesel)–WWE
  • Different Finger–Elvis Costello
  • The Difficult Kind–Sheryl Crow
  • Dig A Little Deeper–Peter Bjorn & John
  • Dig A Pony–The Beatles
  • Dig A Pony–The Beatles
  • Dig For Fire–The Pixies
  • Dig It–The Beatles
  • Dig My Grave–They Might Be Giants
  • Digging in the Dirt [Live]–Peter Gabriel
  • Dignity–Bob Dylan
  • Dime–CAKE
  • Dime Mi Amor–Los Lonely Boys

While there are some out there, it’s not often you get a song with a really mean title, but I think the Hives telling me to “Die, All Right!” certainly qualifies. I am willing to forgive the brusque nature of the title because it is a kick-ass song, like just about every offering from the group. It’s a return of a pair of music-list standards next, starting with another WWE theme, this one for the Kevin Nash persona Diesel and then Elvis Costello. I can make a mental tie from Costello to the next artist on the list, Sheryl Crow, as I believe the two performed at a online concert before the 2009 MLB All-Star Game in St. Louis. I remember watching it on my laptop so that my wife could see her favorite, Costello, do his thing.

I enjoyed the next seven songs, starting with my favorite track from Peter Bjorn & John’s most recent album (which if you think you’ve never heard of the band but you watch 2 Broke Girls, well, then you have heard the band, as the opening theme is performed by them. Thanks to Let It Be and Let It Be Naked, I got three Beatles songs about digging, with a Pixies number snuck in there as well.  Things got even better with a fun They Might Be Giants song, and then a live track from Peter Gabriel. Speaking of Peter Gabriel live, he’s apparently coming to Connecticut for a concert later this year. I’m getting to an age where I think going to a concert seems like a hot of hassle, but for some reason I’d like to see Gabriel (although finances make it unlikely).

For the last three songs, I get “Dignity” from Bob Dylan, which I find a little ironic seeing that when I saw Dylan perform live a few years back, his voice was so shot that if he had any dignity, he wouldn’t be touring any more. I enjoy CAKE so much, but often forget about this enjoyment, so I forget to listen to their music at times.  The final number in today’s list was a Spanish-language track from Los Lonely Boys.



Letters to my Parents, God, the President, and The Man

Well, it hasn’t happened for some time, but nobody’s perfect, as I demonstrated by publishing this post with the placeholder [opening graf] before the exercise lists. So this is an edited second edition! Labor Day weekend is coming to an end, and hopefully so is my summer at home. I’d like to hear from prospective employers and I’m thinking that the odds of it increase after Labor Day as tons of people took the last week or two of August off and now places should be running at full capacity again.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

3.00 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Deadbeat Club–The B-52’s
  • Deadly Game–Theory of a Deadman
  • Deadly Game (“Survivor Series” Theme)–WWE
  • Dear Agony–Breaking Benjamin
  • Dear God–Avenged Sevenfold
  • Dear John–Cyndi Lauper
  • Dear John–Taylor Swift
  • Dear John (I Sent Your Saddle Home)–John Prine
  • Dear Mary–Linda Thompson
  • Dear Mr. Man–Prince
  • Dear Mr. President–4 Non Blondes

Today’s list began with my last three “Dead… songs, with a B-52’s number from Cosmic Thing and two versions of the WWE theme song “Deadly Game”. I’d say that it’s nice to see a cover of a WWE song indicating it’s general success, but seeing that the cover also appears on a WWE album, that seems to be a bit of a stretch. Next up was the title track to Breaking Benjamin’s fourth album and another band my kids love, Avenged Sevenfold. (Although I will admit that in certain moods and situations I enjoy A7X–awesome abbreviation, by the way–songs as well, including “Dear God”).

The next three songs are “Dear John” numbers. I wonder if Dear John letters are a concept that kids today understand, or if they just think of it as a Channing Tatum movie. It was easier to know the concept when I was growing up when M*A*S*H reruns would occasionally hit the topic and Judd Hirsch starred in a sitcom named after the idea (and it had one of those “explain the concept” title songs). Of the three songs, I like the John Prine  number the most, although it was the only song from his In Spite of Ourselves that was not sung as a duet. After all the John letters (which is the name of my father), the next song was named after my mother, Mary, which is good as she would have been upset to be left out. After the personal letters, we get to letters to the people in authority, with Prince seeking out Mr. Man and flash-in-the-pan 4 Non Blondes reach out to Mr. President.

Monday, August 27, 2012

3.00 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • Dear Old Man of Mine–Linda Thompson
  • Dear Old Shiz–Wicked Cast
  • Dear Prudence–The Beatles
  • Dear Sweet Filthy World–Elvis Costello
  • Dear Yoko–John Lennon
  • Dearest–Buddy Holly
  • Death and All of his Friends–Coldplay
  • Death of a Martian–Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Death of Me–Crooked X
  • Death or Glory–The Clash
  • Death to My Hometown–Bruce Springsteen
  • Debaser–The Pixies

I was going to say that the letter-writing continues, but I believe the use of “Dear…” at the beginning of the first two songs is more a term of endearment that a salutation. The first is the second Linda Thompson number in this update (which is interesting as we only have one of her solo albums total) and the second comes from the Wicked soundtrack, a favorite of my youngest daughter. With all due respect to Broadway showtunes, but the list really picked up after that starting with a Beatles’ White Album track and then an Elvis Costello number.

I like to give my wife a hard time about Paul McCartney, and yesterday I was getting under her skin by referring to Sir Paul as the leader of  the Beatles. She angrily exclaimed that he was not the leader of the group, but then I continued needling by (I believe correctly) pointing out that if John was the leader, Yoko’s name would have been in so many more songs, like today’s “Dear Yoko”. I figured we would have had “Yoko’s Silver Hammer”, “Hey Yoko”, “Let It Be Yoko”, and more. She did not like that point. A great Buddy Holly song from the Juno soundtrack followed. I really liked that movie and if it helps introduce kids today to great music like Buddy Holly, the Kinks, and Sonic Youth, all the better.

After Coldplay, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Crooked X, I get the excellent bonus of  London Calling and Doolittle tracks with a Bruce Springsteen number in between.

Back into a routine

Boy that was quite the list of songs I dumped on you last time, and if it got to a point where your eyes glazed over and you skipped to the bottom, I understand completely and apologize. I’m attempting to make sure that doesn’t happen again, although I am now six visits behind again, although it’s for a good reason–while I was preparing that massive list, I’ve found my exercise inspiration and have gone to the gym each of the last six days (so I have to go tonight to make it a solid week!). It feels great to be back on an exercise routine–it may be my imagination, but when looking in the mirror this morning, my face looked thinner. I think I’ll have a cheeseburger to celebrate!

Friday, August 24, 2012

2.75 miles on the elliptical machine plus upper-arm weight work at the gym

  • Day Tripper–The Beatles
  • Day Tripper–The Beatles
  • Daybreak–Barry Manilow
  • Daylight–Drive-By Truckers
  • Days/This Time Tomorrow–Ray Davies
  • Days Go By–Keith Urban
  • Days Like These–Asia
  • Daysleeper–R.E.M.
  • Dazed and Confused–Led Zeppelin

There’s certainly no problem hearing a song two consecutive times when it opens with an amazing guitar riff like “Day Tripper”, which is certainly my favorite Beatle opening and is in the all-time running as well. As an added bonus, hearing the name of the song makes me think of The Daytrippers, a great independent movie from the 90’s featuring Parker Posey. (Boy, she truly was the Queen of the Indys back then–Party Girl, Clockwatchers, The House of Yes, and more.) If you are looking for a musical talent to pair with the Beatles, there aren’t many candidates that can hang with the power of Lennon-McCartney-Harrison-Starr, but Manilow is one that works, right? (I kid, I kid, for the most part, but I still enjoy the occasional Manilow number.)

Two of the next three songs fit into the broad “country” label, with my preferred group being the Drive-By Truckers. The Keith Urban song is one I’m less familiar with, even though it was on one of my daughter’s first CDs she ever owned, Now That’s What I Call Music 17. Those modern-day K-Tel collections always collect 20 songs and 18-19 are pop, rock, or hip-hop, with one of two country songs thrown in, and Urban filled the quota on Volume 17. Sandwiched between the songs was one of my favorite numbers from the Ray Davies compilation of re-imagined Kinks numbers See My Friends, the medley of “Days” and “This Time Tomorrow” with Mumford & Sons. The Asia song “Days Like These” was an add-on song to their greatest hits collection (isn’t releasing a best of album after three studio albums a little ridiculous?).

After the R.E.M. song “Daysleeper”, it was time for some live Led Zeppelin. Usually I get to hear 12-15  songs during a gym workout, but today was only nine, owing to the 26-minute length of “Dazed and Confused”, meaning I thought this song would never end. (I guess when The Song Remains the Same was released as a double-record, this song was a side unto itself–easier to skip!)

Saturday, August 25, 2012 

3.12 miles on the elliptical machine at the gym

  • De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da–The Police
  • De Todo Un Poco–Michael Lloyd & Le Disc
  • Deacon Blues–Steely Dan
  • Dead–The Pixies
  • Dead–They Might Be Giants
  • Dead End Street–Ray Davies
  • Dead Hearts–Stars
  • Dead Horse–Guns N’ Roses
  • Dead Letter–Elvis Costello
  • Dead Man (Undertaker)–WWE
  • Dead Melodies–Beck
  • Dead Men Tell No Tales–Set Your Goals
  • Dead of the Night–Bad Company
  • Dead on Arrival–Fall Out Boy
  • Dead on Arrival–Fall Out Boy
  • Dead on Arrival–Fall Out Boy
  • Dead or Alive–Journey

Old school Police is an excellent way to get the exercise ball rolling, even if an instrumental number from the second Dirty Dancing soundtrack follows and attempts to kill all forward momentum. When I play the “worst CD purchase I ever made” game, that secondary bonus soundtrack is a strong, strong contender. It’s so bad that I even feel guilty trying to pass it off as something my wife brought into our relationship. I have to take full responsibility for it. I will also take credit for the Steely Dan in our collection, although it is only a greatest hits collection, which I think is more than enough for me.

The music of the “Dead..” starts next, and I’m talking literal titles, not selections from Jerry Garcia’s band. I own two simple “Dead” songs from great sources–The Pixies and They Might Be Giants. I’m more attached to the TMBG song historically, but who doesn’t love the source of the Pixies’ number, the amazing album Doolittle?  I then got another Ray Davies offering from See My Friends (it seems like an inordinate number of tracks on the album start with ‘D’–3 of 14 to be exact). I highly recommend this album, which has received a significant bump in plays in the family household recently.

“Dead Hearts” is an excellent number from the Montreal-based band who, if you’re looking for a new album to enjoy, will be releasing their latest, The North, next week (9/4/12).  This was followed by a hate/love combo for my wife, as she cannot stand Guns N’ Roses, but I think I could have gotten her to hang on through the song with the promise that Elvis was coming up next. Of course, a WWE theme following would have gotten her to leave post haste, even if it is one of the many cool variations on the Undertaker’s music. She’d eventually regret leaving, as she would then miss an awesome Beck number (it’s like the alphabetical list is playing tennis with my wife’s musical emotions!)

I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about Set Your Goals, one of the many new musical acts my son got into this past summer. I probably need to give their work more attention before making a decision. I do feel fine about one of my daughter’s groups, Fall Out Boy, but they’ve been part of our library for a much longer timeframe. (Although I’m not a big enough fan that hearing “Dead on Arrival” three times in a row made me happy.) My list closed with some Raised on Radio Journey, the album that made us realize that group was effectively “Dead…” and is now just a touring nostalgia act.


Celebrating My Musical Moralist

For the most part, I am trying to keep my bonus Red Sox walks exactly that–bonus exercise. So when I go to the gym each day, I don’t want the time I spend doing cardio to double up as the commemorative walks as well. So today I needed to pull double duty and get out and walk and go to the gym. It feels great to do both when I have the time (and right now time is something I have in abundance), but it leads to a large list of songs to discuss…

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

4+ mile neighborhood walk to commemorate Red Sox victories #37 and #38 of the 2012 season

  • Cars–Gary Numan
  • Cartwheels–Reindeer Section
  • A Case of You–Joni Mitchell
  • A Case of You–Prince
  • Casey Jones–The Grateful Dead
  • Casey Jones–The Grateful Dead
  • Cassie–Flyleaf
  • Cast No Shadow–Oasis
  • Cat Like Thief–Box Car Racer
  • Cat’s In The Cupboard–Pete Townsend
  • The Catalyst–Linkin Park
  • Catch Hell Blues–The White Stripes
  • Catch My Fall–Billy Idol
  • Catcher in the Rye–Guns N’ Roses
  • Catching On Fire–They Might Be Giants
  • Catfish–Bob Dylan
  • Catholic Pagans–Surfer Blood
  • Caught By The River–The Doves
  • Caught By The River–The Doves
  • ‘Cause Cheap is How I Feel–Cowboy Junkies
  • Cautious Man–Bruce Springsteen
  • The Cave–Mumford & Sons

If you asked me to name a quintessential 80’s song, “Cars” has to be a strong candidate, or at least would have been for me until I just found out it was released in August of 1979. So that would have disqualified the song from being an answer and made me look foolish for even considering it as a choice, so I’m glad we never had that conversation.  I guess I could argue that the song, like car models, came out late in the previous year in order to make buyers/listeners feel like they were on the cutting edge. Perhaps it’s best to move on to the next song, another OC soundtrack selection. It’s a favorite of mine, but not one that got me into a new group, as I guess the Reindeer Section were not going to be a full-time act. Next up is an old original-and-cover combo, but the pairing of Joni Mitchell and Prince was certainly unique and worth my time.

I was just thinking about when I was young and used to object to songs that had the wrong message in them. Now that could pretty much wipe out half of all music to me, as sex, cheating, drugs, etc. are all open season, but I am talking about a time when I was really young and subtlety was generally lost on me. The song had to really hit you on the head for me to understand. As a result, three songs really bothered me back then, starting with the Grateful Dead’s cautionary tale “Casey Jones” (how much clearer can ‘Driving that train, high on cocaine’ be?) As an FYI, the other two were Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Woman # 12 & #25, which I was sure was about smoking pot (and may be more  concerning the literal meaning of stoned), and the Carpenters’ “Top Of the World”, and I’m sure this one takes some explaining, but when Karen sang of being ‘on top of the world, looking down on creation’, my young Catholic mind thought she was equating herself with God and I knew that was wrong. Those were the three biggest offenders in my mind. “Brown Sugar” by the Rolling Stones? They were right, it did taste so good–particularly on oatmeal!

Flyleaf led into my first Oasis song from their incredible (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? album. I was not an Oasis fan when I started watching Lost back in 2004, so I didn’t initially get the Oasis/Driveshaft links that I get now. Box Car Racer is a Blink-182 spinoff band my son loves, but if I met them, I’d have to chastise what I think is their poor syntax. I believe they need a hyphen in the title “Cat Like Thief” between the first two words unless they are expressing the affection their feline has for a burglar. The Pete Townsend song is from his Empty Glass album, a particular favorite of my wife, and the Linkin Park song is from one of my son’s albums. I like the band, but I’m finding that a number of their songs are bleeding together in my opinion. I was able to push myself on the walk thanks to the rocking efforts of the White Stripes, Billy Idol, and Guns N’ Roses.

They They Might Be Giants song is one of their quick numbers from the “Fingertips” section of the Apollo 18 album. There was certainly a flavor to the closing of the list that my wife would enjoy, as she has always been the family’s biggest fan of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and the Cowboy Junkies, but her current interest (or I may go so far as to say obsession is Mumford & Sons. Their CD is being worn out in the car and she has finally learned that youtube can be used for band videos and live performances. When I played for her the Ray Davies and Mumford & Sons collaboration from the former’s recent See My Friends album, the joy in her face was evident. The remaining songs were favorites of mine, with a Surfer Blood selection from their first album and two versions of the Doves’ “Caught By The River” (we own it on both an OC soundtrack and an MTV compilation album)

3 miles on the elliptical plus upper-arm weight work at the gym

  • Cave In–Owl City
  • Cecilia–Simon & Garfunkel
  • Cecilia–Simon & Garfunkel
  • Cecilia Ann–The Pixies
  • Cedars of Lebanon–U2
  • Celebrate Me Home–Kenny Loggins
  • Celebration–They Might Be Giants
  • Celebration Day–Led Zeppelin
  • Celebration Day–Led Zeppelin
  • Celebration of the Lizard–The Doors
  • Celebrity–Barenaked Ladies
  • Celebrity Skin–Hole
  • Cell Block Tango–Music from the film Chicago
  • Cell Block Tango–Music from the film Chicago
  • Cell Block Tango–Music from the film Chicago

Gym time began with the techno pop of Owl City. While it’s not the catchy hook of “Fireflies”, it’s still a fun song to both listen to in stationary mode or while working out. I got to hear two copies of “Cecilia”, which I think is the biggest Simon & Garfunkel song to not make the Concert in Central Park. It did however, get a nice mention in an episode of How I Met Your Mother a few years back, complete with a visual aid to the gag. (I will not spoil it for those who haven’t seen it). I guess the Pixies felt like it wasn’t enough for there to be a song celebrating girls named Cecilia, they wanted to be a bit more specific with their tribute to gals with the moniker “Cecilia Ann”. I think I’ve mentioned before that I haven’t given a close enough listen to U2’s newest album, so I wasn’t familiar at all with “Cedars of Lebanon”, the album’s closing tracks.

Time to celebrate! (Not that I have good news yet, I’m just to the four “Celebration…” songs on my list!) The first is by decades the most recent, and the one I like listening to the most from old friends They Might Be Giants. I also have studio and live versions of Led Zeppelin’s song, and apparently the Doors track was a previously unreleased number from the group, although it’s nice to see our friend the Lizard get his proper celebratory due, particularly as he makes his film debut in The Amazing Spiderman, out today in theaters. (Of course my daughter saw it at midnight and loved it!)  I heard two songs that cover the pitfalls of fame, with Barenaked Ladies singing about how amazing it would be to be famous and Hole covering the darker side of it all. My last three songs were from the film adaptation of the musical Chicago. Now I don’t want to get your hopes up if you haven’t seen it–it’s not like Mama Mia, only with the songs of Peter Cetera and Chicago. It’s a musical about jail, fame, and jazz. It’s supposed to be a great film (it won the Oscar for Best Picture), but to date I have had no interest in seeing it.


Entering my Blue Period

Well, it’s been a while, but I’ve hit another milestone! With today’s list, I’ve now heard more than 1,000 songs. The milestone song would have made my son happy, as it was a Sum 41 song, “Blood in My Eyes”. Looking at the songs in the vicinity, there wasn’t one I’d have been excited to be the one, which is sad as milestones should always be special.

May 14, 2012

2+ miles on the treadmill to commemorate Red Sox victory#15 of the 2012 season

  • Blinuet–Zoot Sims
  • Blood–Pearl Jam
  • Blood (Gangrel)–WWE
  • Blood & Roses–The Smithereens
  • Blood Doll–Anarchy Club
  • Blood in My Eyes–Sum 41
  • Blood is Thicker Than Water–Wyclef Jean featuring G&B
  • Blood Makes Noise–Suzanne Vega
  • Blood on My Hands–The Sundays
  • Blood Orgy of the Atomic Fern–The Dead Milkmen
  • Blood Pt. 2–Buck 65
  • Blood Sugar Sex Magik–Red Hot Chili Peppers

While you may not recognize “Blinuet” by name, if you’re a fan of the Wes Anderson movie Rushmore, you may remember this distinctive jazz track from the man who’s name inspired the Muppet character. Pearl Jam must be all about simple titles–when I started the “Black…” section of my list, they led off with the simple song “Black” and now they also begin the “Blood…” section with another one-word title. I guess the like getting to the point, or they’re a fan of the “Yankee Taciturnity” that my first writing teacher in college used to talk about. The other simply titled “Blood” song is the theme used by WWE Superstar Gangrel and the Brood. I always thought they were a cool group (and Edge and Christian obviously went on to bigger and better things) and I wished they (the Brood) could have stuck around longer.

I’m already a fan of the music of the Smithereens, and I particularly enjoyed the visual imagery of the song “Blood & Roses”. While Rock Band led to my children and me discovering new musical likes, some of the artists in the game didn’t connect. Anarchy Club, who’s “Blood Doll” is included in the original game, is an example. As I mentioned earlier, “Blood in My Eyes” was my 1,000th song–and as I guessed, my son was happy to hear it, telling me that he really liked the song, so at least it worked for someone in the family. Speaking of families, “Blood is Thicker than Water” gave me a chance to remember how much I enjoyed watching the Sopranos (the song is from the soundtrack) and it might be time to start rewatching the entire arc.

It’s interesting to think that to many music fans, Suzanne Vega is a one-hit wonder, particularly if the remake of “Tom’s Diner” goes to DNA. Her catalogue of songs is so strong and diverse, yet most will only think of  “Luka” when her name comes up, which is truly a shame. After the Sundays, and yet another serious “Blood…” song, we finally got a tongue-in-cheek “Blood…” number courtesy of the Dead Milkmen. My favorite part of the song is when he deadpans “God I hate poetry” in the middle of the lyrics, ironic because all pop music is a form of poetry, including the Dead Milkmen. Things get a little serious once again with Buck 65, but the Chili Peppers are another band that brings a little fun and joy to their music.

3 miles on the elliptical machine plus upper-body weight work at the gym

  • Blood to Bleed–Rise Against
  • Bloodbuzz Ohio–The National
  • Bloodbuzz Ohio–The National
  • The Bloodmobile–They Might Be Giants
  • Bloody Mary–Lady Gaga
  • Bloody Well Right–Supertramp
  • Blow it Up–The Vaccines
  • Blow Me Away–Breaking Benjamin
  • Blowin’ in the Wind–Bob Dylan
  • Blowin’ in the Wind–Joan Baez
  • Blowin’ in the Wind–Ziggy Marley
  • Blowin’ in the Wind [live]–Bob Dylan
  • Blown Away–Pixies
  • Blue–The Jayhawks
  • Blue–The Jayhawks
  • Blue–Joni Mitchell

Nice start to my elliptical work with Rise Against and then two copies of a National Song. (I really should delete one of them, which I got free from iTunes when I preordered their last album High Violet. I just have trouble getting rid of tracks, but when there’s nothing unique about it, it makes no sense to keep the second copy.) Things took a turn for the educational with a They Might Be Giants song about the circulatory system. I’ve probably said it before, but if you have children, nephews, nieces, grandkids, friends of the family, any children you want to introduce to awesome music, you should pick up the They Might Be Giants albums about the 123s, ABCs, and Science. You will learn something and love the songs as well.

The flow of blood finally ended after the dyamic duo of Lady Gaga and Supertramp. I need to listen to the Lady Gaga song more carefully to figure out whether she’s singing about the drink or the urban legend. The Supertramp boys are pretty clear in their meaning. I then got a number from one of the new acts I enjoyed discovering this past year, the Vaccines. I think their work has charted in their native UK, but has not seen much traction here in America, but I’m hoping that will change soon.

One of the greatest rock songs of all time, and probably one of the most covered, “Blowin’ in the Wind”, followed. We have four versions of the song, including original and live cuts by the man, Bob Dylan, as well as a Joan Baez cover from back in the day and a more recent version performed by Ziggy Marley. This is such a great song, one who’s lyrics are even more apt and important today than when the song was first released 40 years ago (and I wonder how Mr. Dylan would have reacted to hearing that back then).

After a Pixies song from Bossa Nova, things got “Blue…” around here, starting with two copies of the amazing Jayhawks. I completely understand that when the average music fan hears the song title “Blue”, they are far more likely to think of the Joni Mitchell number (which closed today’s list, and is an awesome song as well), but I do think the mournful number from the Jayhawks is getting the short shrift and deserves more attention.


The One Good Thing About The Star Wars Prequels

So I get to open with some excellent news–I’ve started to weigh myself each Monday at the gym before my workout to see whether I’m making any progress, and between last Monday and this Monday, I’m down 3.4 pounds–a nice start, and the kind of news that pushes me to exercise harder with the hope of losing even more next week (plus, we’re getting closer to swimsuit season!)

Monday, April 2, 2012

3.33 miles on the elliptical at the gym

  • American Without Tears–Elvis Costello
  • American Without Tears No 2–Elvis Costello
  • American Without Tears No 2–Elvis Costello
  • Americano–Lady Gaga
  • Amie–Pure Prairie League
  • Amigas Cheetas–Cheetah Girls
  • Amnesia–David Byrne
  • Among The Americans–10,000 Maniacs
  • Amongst the Waves–Pearl Jam
  • Ana–The Pixies
  • Ana Ng [Live]–They Might Be Giants
  • Ana Ng–They Might Be Giants
  • Anagram (For Mongo)–Rush
  • Anakin Defeats Sebulba–John Williams
  • Anakin’s Theme–John Williams

Three Elvis Costello songs to begin today’s run. It’s a problem that I don’t have a lot to add with respect to Elvis, but we have so much Elvis in our collection. I did enjoy both the original “American Without Tears” and the “No 2” versions of the song as well. (Fun but rare treat when you get a song sequel.) Lady Gaga really got me moving on the elliptical machine–I think the entire Gaga catalogue would be a solid workout choice.

“Amie” is in our collection thanks to Freaks and Geeks. I didn’t watch the show on the air during it’s only season, but I then received a DVD set of the complete series. Since then, every member of my family became a convert of the show. I highly recommend watching it if you haven’t–the show helped launch the careers of James Franco, Seth Rogan, and Jason Segel. An episode that featured laser shows at the local Planetarium closed with “Amie” playing, and I liked the song so much, I bought the single

One of the last concerts I’ve seen is the Cheetah Girls (the things I’ll do for my daughters!). I won them four tickets to see the group and got to be the chaperone. The worst part is that it was a lesser version of the group, as the tour lacked Raven Symone.

In an earlier post, I spoke of over-crediting Donald Glover because I want him to be super successful. I think the opposite occurs with David Byrne. I’m such a big Talking Heads fan that I undervalue Byrne’s solo work, as if a lack of success on his own will lead to Byrne returning to the Talking Heads and I’ll finally get to see them in concert. Another band I’d like to see get back together is 10,000 Maniacs, and by that I mean the Natalie Merchant version of the band. I actually think a Talking Heads reunion is more likely.

I got a nice run of rock with deep album cuts from Pearl Jam and the Pixies, and then leading right into studio and live versions of the first single off They Might Be Giants’ second album, Lincoln. I’m curious what Rush fans feel about Presto. I purchased the CD during a period of CD overbuying, and frankly, it doesn’t get a lot of play by me. The funny thing is, taken as individual songs, I like a number of the songs, I just always expect Rush albums to hold together better as a whole.

There’s a lot of anger about what George Lucas delivered to the world in the form of his three Star Wars prequels, and I understand. I’m a nerd, and I love the original Star Wars trilogy; so I was so excited about new Star Wars films. I saw each at midnight, and like most of the nerd universe, I was bitterly disappointed each time (I mean Jar Jar Binks? Really? The kid playing Anakin? A plot that hangs on trade federation politics? So much went wrong, but the music was not on that list. Once again John Williams delivered magnificent scores for each film, even the pieces dealing with the young, future mass murderer, Anakin Skywalker.

And on Sunday, I rested

I knew the run had to end at some point, and thanks to a family visitor, pulled pork, a selection of pastries, and an inviting couch, things stopped just short of double digits. But I knew I only wanted it to be a 1-day break and I wanted to make sure I pushed myself a little harder on my day back. So I decided to hit the gym and do a more extensive outdoor walk. The latter activity demonstrated some exceptional timing, as after a solid week of 65-75 degree, record-setting temperatures, I decide to walk 2 1/2 miles when it’s back to the 50’s with a strong chilly wind. I just tell myself it was all part of the plan to walk in cooler temperatures and push myself in the bracing air.

March 26, 2012

2 1/2 miles walking outside

  • All I See–Linda Thompson
  • All I Wanna Do–Sheryl Crow
  • All I Want–Joni Mitchell
  • All I Want–The Offspring
  • All I Want for Christmas is You–Glee
  • All I Want Is You–Barry Louis Polisar
  • All I Want Is You (Live)–Carly Simon
  • All I Want Is You–U2
  • All I Want to Be (Is By Your Side) [live]–Peter Frampton
  • All I Wanted–Paramore
  • All I’m Thinkin’ About–Bruce Springsteen

Girl power abounds to kick off today’s list, with two of my wife’s favorites sandwiched around a CD from my collection. Linda Thompson has a great voice, and I really like sometimes to fall asleep to some of the Richard and Linda collaborations, like “Dimming of the Day,” so I do enjoy Fashionably Late. Meanwhile, Sheryl Crow is a pop bubblegum for me. I proudly own her Greatest Hits album. Blue is of course and album everyone should own and listen to at least once a year (a sort of musical Strunk & White.)

Same song title (“All I Want”) but a polar opposite musical act in The Offspring. My twins both decided to pool money and bring their Greatest Hits into our collection, a decision I secretly endorsed.

One of the things that’s going to happen when you listen to your entire list alphabetically, is that you get your entire list alphabetically. This includes holiday music, a genre I own quite a bit of. I never got the Mariah version of the song, but my youngest got a Glee cover of it on one of the two holiday CDs we own from that show. She’s also a big fan of the movie Juno, which produced a kicking soundtrack that starts off strong with the Barry Louis Polisar and gets even better.

So I wonder if after Katrina, Carly Simon ever regretted singing about a “sexy hurricane” on “All I Want is You”. For me, it starts a “live album” run, with each album being progressively more famous, as Simon’s live release is dwarfed by the soundtrack to the U2 concert release Rattle and Hum, but it can’t hold a candle to Frampton Comes Alive, one of the musical pillars of the 70’s. It’s then back to studio releases with another favorite band of all three of my kids, Paramore, and a Bruce Springsteen track from Devils & Dust, a release I’ve come to appreciate more and more as I get older.

3.29 miles on the elliptical at the gym

  • All in White–The Vaccines
  • All in Your Mind–Echo & The Bunnymen
  • All My Life–Echo & The Bunnymen
  • All My Life–Kenny Rogers
  • All My Life–Linda Ronstadt & Aaron Neville
  • All My Love–Led Zeppelin
  • All of Me–Willie Nelson
  • All or None–Pearl Jam
  • All or Nothin’–Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
  • All or Nothing At All–Frank Sinatra
  • All Out of Love–Air Supply
  • All Over the World–The Pixies

It’s always fun to find to find a new band. There’s plenty of ways to introduce myself to new music–sometimes, I just explore iTunes, listening to the samples of newer alternative bands. That’s how I found the Vaccines last year, and after hearing pieces of several songs, I bought their debut album. What Did You Expect From the Vaccines? I’ve really enjoyed the album, and I expect their popularity to grow as fans discover this and later releases.

With more than 10,000 songs, the likelihood of two different songs in a row by the same band seems remote, but Echo & The Bunnymen (one of the more ridiculous names in pop music history) managed to achieve the feat. For years, the only Echo we owned was from a pair of soundtracks, Pretty in Pink and The Lost Boys. But after playing “Lips Like Sugar” in Rock Band 3, and finding a couple Echo albums at my local library, we’ve managed to expand our collection.

I had to be self motivated for a period of time on the cardio trail, as it’s not like Kenny Rogers or a Linda Ronstadt/Aaron Neville duet is likely to get you fired up. Even the Led Zeppelin song that followed didn’t really do it for me. In other circumstances, I enjoy all three songs; I just wouldn’t recommend adding them to an ultimate workout playlist (something that may be fun to build in the next few months). Luckily for me, Willie Nelson performing a 1930’s jazz standard like “All of Me” is sure to get the adrenaline flowing. Pearl Jam and Tom Petty do get me moving, giving me the momentum I needed, as my adult contemporary festival continued with the Chairman of the Board and Air Supply (a band I was way, way too into in high school). Thank goodness I was able to reclaim a little street cred by closing with the Pixies, right? Right? (Maybe I should have taken another day off…)