Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Just Wait 'Til More Boomers Get Older

One of my first Christmas purchases arrived today, a black-and-white paddle cutting board. With its stark contrasting sides, it should be the perfect thing for my mom, who has macular degeneration. And that got me thinking about another product I'd like to get for my mom and dad: a cellphone that is easier for them to use than what they have now. Their smallish Nokia model is OK, but they are really interested in a Sanyo "Jitterbug" phone they've seen in ads in the AARP and American Legion magazines. Its screen and number pads are larger than your typical cell these days, so it's better-suited for older folks. The problem is that you have to buy a special service to get the phone-it isn't sold by other providers, like Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon. Maybe there's something comparable out there, but I haven't found it yet, and that's a real shame. This is a huge opportunity for somebody to come along and provide a great product to what will be a fastly growing market.

Monday, December 03, 2007

My Top 10 Music Lists For 2007

There was some really outstanding music this year, from old favorites like Wilco to the ongoing trainwreck who is Amy Winehouse. Will I still be listening to any of it very much next year, never mind five years from now? Aside from The Arcade Fire, maybe not. And, it's going to be real interesting to see how the recording industry continues to decline next year, after the big release of Radiohead's In Rainbows. With all of the competition from Internet radio streaming, HD radio, downloading, and MySpace, the old marketing/promotion model is crumbling, and what takes its place is anyone's guess.

Well, enough of that speculation ... for now. Here are My Top 10 Songs of 2007:
"Play Tough"-Apples In Stereo
"Hang Me Up To Dry"-Cold War Kids
"No Cars Go"-The Arcade Fire
"Into Action"-Tim Armstrong
"Jarhand"-Immaculate Machine
"Split The Difference"-Aqueduct
"Valerie"-Amy Winehouse
"Good Excuse"-John Butler Trio
"Knock 'Em Out"-Lily Allen
"Thou Shalt Always Kill"-Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip

My Top 10 Records of 2007 are:

Neon Bible-The Arcade Fire
Sky Blue Sky-Wilco
In Rainbows-Radiohead
The Reminder-Feist
Back In Black-Amy Winehouse
Or Give Me Death-Aqueduct
a CHILD in life yet a DOCTOR in love-Magic Bullets
Wincing the Night Away-The Shins
Immaculate Machine's Fables-Immaculate Machine
Two Shoes-Cat Empire

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday

Today, the day after Thanksgiving, is Black Friday. And although I am a strong & proud capitalist, I will not be participating in the buying frenzy. All I have to do is watch how people misbehave on days like this to know that I don't want to be part of the extraordinary madeness of crowds. No thanks. That is all!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

885 MMMM Top 100: The Monkees

I was too young when "The Monkees" debuted on TV in 1966. I only caught the "Pre-Fab Four" when the show was rerun back in the 70s. As a kid, I liked their manic energy & comedy, of course. But as an adult, I've come to appreciate their music, some of the finest pop to come out of that time.

Monday, October 01, 2007

885 MMMM Top 100: Grateful Dead Tour

I know time often passes in a blur, especially for some Deadheads, but the entire dead tour as a "moment"? Okaaay. I was never a huge fan of their music, maybe that's why I only went to one of their shows, at the Vet in Philly sometime in the late 80s. What a long strange trip that was ... even before we went through the gates. I remember my buddy Dan looking a bit bewildered as we walked by a group "partaking" in a certain illegal substance. I didn't buy any incense, or tie-dye shirts. But I remember having a lot fun that day! But don't ask me about the music though.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Phils Win! On To The Playoffs ...

Congratulations to the Philadelphia Phillies, winners of the National League Eastern Division! Jimmy Rollins, favored by many to win the National League MVP, drove in two runs with a triple in the last game of the season today against the Washington Nationals. That also gave him 20 triples for the year; with more than 20 home runs, doubles, stolen bases, and over 200 hits, it's obvious that his boast early on, that the Phils were the team to beat in the division, was not to be taken lightly!

Thanks to the Mets for collapsing over the last 17 games!

Now, it's on to the Division Series, the opponent to be determined today in a one-game playoff between the Padres and the Rockies.

Go Phils!

Friday, September 28, 2007

885 MMMM Top 100: American Idol

I've never watched an entire edition of American Idol since it debuted on Fox in 2002. Maybe it's because it seems kind of like karaoke to me: singers attempting, often badly, their versions of others' songs. But its influence cannot be denied; it has produced some big recording stars, like Kelly Clarkson, and Chris Daughtry. And it is clean, non-offensive entertainment that attracts the most diverse audience of any program on American television-quite an accomplishment these days.

885 MMMM Top 100: John Lennon's "Imagine"

I could write about how "Imagine" is a memorable song because it's about hope, optimism, peace, etc., etc. But I won't. I mean those are fine lyrics and all ... if you're on board with that vision of an ideal world. But "No possessions"? I don't think so. I don't buy into much of the consumer culture, but I think people acting in their own individual self-interest is what drives humanity (as a whole) forward in so many ways.

One of my memories of this song is an objection to another lyric in the song-"no religion"-expressed by an evangelical minister character on WKRP in Cincinatti. Hewanted the station to the ban the song for that reason, and the "Big Guy", Arthur Carlson, backed his DJs and refused to do so. Right on!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

885 MMMM Top 100: "Rock Around The Clock"

Written in 1952 and recorded two years later by Bill Haley & His Comets, "Rock Around The Clock" is the song widely regarded as the first true hit of the rock 'n roll era, selling tens of millions of copies. Of course, we can all argue for days on end about rock's origins in R&B and country. Many of those songs are recognizable as what we could call rock music. But this one put rock on the map, much more than Haley's cover of Big Joe Turner's "Shake, Rattle & Roll". George Lucas used it in American Graffiti, and Haley recorded a version of it for TV's Happy Days.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

885 MMMM Top 100: Metallica vs Napster

When Metallica sued the file-sharing service Napster in 2000, I knew the days of worry-free downloading were numbered. I myself never shared on Napster, of course (wink wink), but I had many friends who did. At one point, I joined Kazaa, but didn't get too far in searching for what I wanted. Then I noticed that adware & spyware was being installed on my computer, so I deleted the program. These days, I only download mp3s from legitimate or record company sites. But the larger question, about how the law treats intellectual property, has yet to be answered.