Where I’m Going (By Dressing Up As A Dragon)

I could have titled this post:

Where I’m Going?   (The question mark would change things, wouldn’t it?)

Where I’m Going With The New “RESOURCES” Page On Emichaelmusic.com.

Where I’m Going By Dressing Up As A Dragon & Standing On A Globe Looking In A Different Direction.

This could get very philosophical, couldn’t it?  But I’ve only got a few more Boca Livre songs left to hear on their Boca Livre album, so I need to get on with my points.

I love this cover photo.  When I saw it, I knew it captured my feelings on this beautiful morning here on Wingaersheek Beach.

I’m glad I’m aware (sometimes) of how many mistakes I make.  It’s paid off this morning as I remembered many sites I forgot to include in my Music & Entertainment Industry website resources.  Here are the first of them.  Notice that they are now active and embedded in my RESOURCES section:

AFM Local 257  –  the Nashville Chapter of THE UNION, as we musicians refer to the AFM, not what Abraham Lincoln had in mind when he said THE UNION.

Caetano Veloso  –  One of my favorite Renaissance people – excellent composer and songwriter, musician, singer, poet, political activist and giant from Brazil.

Hypebot  –  this site does everything right.  Excellent writing, insight and analysis of contemporary issues in music and technology and the new music business.

MTV  –  MTV was a great idea when it was launched in 1981.  Now it’s part of some gargantuan corporation.  MTV has all of the bad that comes with corporate and little if any of the good it once had.  It’s in my Resources because it probably should be there (someone will think so, anyway).  But blah blah to M blah T blah V blah.

Nonesuch  –  Nonesuch thrilled the hell out of me growing up, from freshman year in high school until I stopped (c. 2046).  Nonesuch and its superb budget classical music recordings – budget, in that they didn’t cost very much – $1.99 was normal.  And Nonesuch was daring with their avant-garde classical music (I am/was one of these avant-garde classical composers).  And as if that wasn’t great enough, Nonesuch had their EXPLORER series that brought the best ethnomusicology recordings our way.  Ethnolmusicology predates “World Music.”  And I could go and on about that and will at another time.

Putumayo  –  excellent world music recordings and packaging.  And they seem to have their heart and soul in the right place.  And they have a heart and soul unlike MTV.

Rykodisc  –  if all Rykodisc did was to sell the recordings of Frank Zappa and 3 Mustaphas 3, that would make them great a label.

VH1  –  My comments about MTV can be re-stated here.  But, I started to write several excellent world music television show episodes for a very interested VH1 back one century ago.  It was to be called OrigiNATIONS and was to be my take on the importance of world music and just how much world music had already seeped into our western popular culture.  I still have all of the materials I did.  I should turn them into a book, e-books, or some other fun expression.  If you feel moved to encourage me, please do.

I’ve included some legal/law websites in this list as well some for the most obvious reasons and others because they are friends’ websites.  For example, one should never get too serious about the creation and dissemination of music without thinking about—-



So I included the U. S. Copyright Office and the U. S. Patent & Trademark Office.

Now I am pondering a few more things with respect to the nature of my Resources:

1.  Should the Resources be more focussed and contain fewer non-music sites, or

2.  Should the Resources contain more sites that are not primarily music or entertainment industry, and if #2 holds, then

3.  Resources will be more a reflection of me as I love to connect things that some think are not so connected.  For example, all of us intersect daily with law, business, technology and communication.  That seems to give me the kind of carte blanche to just post away, and fun away!

LAW  –  What we do is either legal, illegal or somewhere in between

BUSINESS  –  How much does that cost?

TECHNOLOGY  –  We have power (electricity)/We do not have power (electricity)

COMMUNICATION  –  “Are you talking to ME?”  (I proudly used that quote without permission or attribution.)

I think I’ll go with Door Number 3.  Let me know what you think.


John Lennon – “I Got Resources On My Fingers!”

I’ve wanted to do this for awhile and now it begins.

I want to have access to information and intelligent resources.  I surround myself with great friends, music, books, gear – musical and digital – recordings, musical scores, videos, DVD’s, VHS tapes (from one century ago), cassette tapes, albums, MP3’s, MP4’s, MP5’s (when it’s their time), wax cylinders, paper from trees not welded into books and more.  (There was a joke and an intentional mistruth in the previous sentence – I love and study but do not possess any wax cylinders but I’d be happy if I did).

Tonight I’ve added a new section to www.emichaelmusic.com – one called, “Resources.”  It will be a living document.  I’ll update it frequently and I look forward to adding readers’ suggestions as well.  I’ve been compiling resources like this for years and dividing them into categories.  I’ve posted these in various places. The College Music Society has posted my resources for the past 5 or 6 years.  I’ve also included some of these in some of my course syllabi at different universities.  As of tonight, the first installment resides here at my site.

The first of my Resources is a list of music and entertainment industry sites that I visit – almost all of which I value.  Some might be included for good reasons – because I like or love the content at the sites, others because I feel that they should be there, and still others because they will irritate or irk people.  And why not?  Doesn’t the Bible suggest that we should afflict the comfortable?

The title of this post is a paraphrase of an actual John Lennon quote.  At the end of The Beatles “Helter Skelter,” (4.25 of the song) Lennon yells, “I got blisters on my fingers!”  Tonight it struck me that he might have said “I got resources on my fingers.”  Or at least that would make for a good title of this post.

Without further delay, I present to you the first installment of my R E S O U R C E S.   I hope you enjoy and find them helpful.  This site will be updated and revised.  Please feel free to send your comments and suggestions.  Future installments of RESOURCES will include favorite books, Twitter accounts, social media services and companies and more.

If you missed the RESOURCES in that last paragraph, I’ll repeat myself.




Annuit Coeptis



Did Big Happens Here Do Digable Planets?

I love the 1993 Digable Planets album, “Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time And Space).”  Their big single from the album, “Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat),” might have been overplayed and overhyped but I still like it.

I love seeing how others view music that is not their native music.   By “native,” I mean this is music that is not their primary music – not the music that they first performed or were “into.”  Many in hip hop came to R & B and jazz after they were first immersed in hip hop, just as many in jazz may have started in rock, and so on.  One of the things that intrigues me is how someone from outside a musical tradition can latch onto a small phrase that might seem not extremely interesting or important to those who are the REAL practitioners of a style, i.e., musicians who are inside that tradition.  For example,  what a hip hop musician might think is important in a jazz composition can be much different from what a jazz musician might think is most important.

I know that many traditional jazz players, especially in the early and mid-1980’s, would not likely latch on to a short phrase, repeat it many times and make this small and almost “throw away” motif into something big.  This tiny melodic gesture, in the hands of an outsider (with respect to a musical tradition), could become the most important part of the melody, or sometimes the only melody that matters to someone from outside of that tradition.  This “how does a foreigner view our music” idea is one I will explore later.  I’ll include myself in this – how and why did I get into hip hop, or Senegalese, Malagasy, Brazilian or Cuban music.

All of this to get back to that famous Digable Planets song that samples some jazz.  Digable Planets were not the first group to sample jazz but this song did influence a lot of people and inform others that something new was happening.  And that this new thing was happening from the confluence of more than one musical style.

I got thinking of Digable Planets a few days ago (during Hurricane Sandy) when I saw a television commercial promoting the idea that New York state is a great place to have technology companies – that New York is “home to the fastest-growing tech sector in America.”   (Massachusetts needs a “tech is our kind of place” and “we are the [tech] champions, my friend” commercial to top New York, but I digress.)

As always, I was doing something other than watching television passively.  I must have been playing on my iPad waiting for the winds to blow harder (as they did).  I heard music that seemed quite familiar – my instant thought was that this music on the tube was a “write around” aka “writearound” aka “reference” of Digable Planets’ “Cool Like Dat.”

Fortunately, the tech commercial was on YouTube, so I lassoed it and placed it here:

Big Happens Here:  Technology

Now here is Digable Planets’ “Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat).”

Digable Planets – “Rebirth Of Slick (Cool Like Dat)”

What do you think?  Do you hear a relationship between Big Happens Here and Digable Planets?

Is Big Happens Here a ripoff of Digable Planets?

Is Big Happens Here somewhat similar to Digable Planets?

Is Big Happens here not related to Digable Planets?

I think there is a relationship.  I’d rather not divulge my thoughts but read of yours.  I’ll explain my thoughts later.  Soon.  Maybe tomorrow.  But I await your responses.  :  )

Big Wind – a set list for Hurricane Sandy

I hope everyone is having a safe Hurricane Sandy.  I am in Framingham MA having moved away from my residence on Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester MA.  Because I live 100 steps from the ocean, I thought it was a good idea to move away from the storming ocean for a few days.

I’ve seen a lot of Sandy here – increasing winds, downed branches & trees, closed roads….  In other words,  I was driving near the time when it was stupid to be driving (very few were on the road but I wreak of confidence!).   We had a blackout, I readied myself for that, and then an hour later, the lights went on.  Very nice.  Lots of limes and cachaca, a perfect muddler, Tupperware shaker.  Yes, all that.  Many have it much worse.

I’m having all kinds of computer & telecomm problems between the new cord for the new iPhone 5, its $29 adaptor, the failed adaptor in my car, the fact that Jupiter rotates in the wrong direction, etc.  AT & T makes life difficult for my iPad use as these scoundrels insist on the identification of where I have “service,” where I am billed, whether I am Michael, E. Michael or Edward Michael and which of my addresses (two in MA, one in NJ and one in TN) I use.  I can’t keep this stuff straight!  I keep writing more and more complex melodies o be used as passwords.    In addition to that, I’m supposed to know where I live?  Send help.  I can’t do the mundane  :  )

I was living in New Jersey for the last big hurricane – Irene (2011)  –  to hit the Northeast.  In preparation for that disaster, I thought it would be a good idea to put together a set list of songs about big winds.  All of the songs from my Big Wind set list were in my iMac.  I also wanted to feature songs from many styles, and some non-obvious  wind songs.  (I omitted The Association’s “Windy,” for example.)

So, here is my 2011 set list reprinted here for your meteorological  and emotional comfort.  May you have as many smiles with these songs as did I.

Annuit Coeptis


Friday, August 26, 2011

Pompton Lakes, New Jersey – a day before Hurricane Irene arrives

In honor of The Big Wind (and Rain), I thought I’d compile some of my favorite songs about wind into a set list.   These songs are carefully arranged by my mood – what I want to hear and what feels right following each song.  The styles often don’t flow according to those who restrict themselves to a single style or two.  But I restrict myself to music and sound that I can perceive – I love as many varieties of music as I do varieties of food, people and geography.

Here goes:

1. Florida Hurricane – St. Louis Jimmy

2. The Wayward Wind – I have & love 3 versions – Neil Young, Gogi Grant & Patsy Cline

3. Let The Wind Blow – The Beach Boys

4. Parry The Wind High, Low – Frank Black

5. Like A Hurricane – Neil Young

6. I Hear The Wind Blow – They Might Be Giants

7. The Eye Of The Hurricane – Herbie Hancock

8. In The Wind – Johnny A.

9. March Winds Goin’ To Blow My Blues Away – Carter Family

10. A Pillow Of Winds – Pink Floyd

11. Summer Wind – Frank Sinatra

12. Summer Wind – Desert Rose Band

13. Hurricane – Bob Dylan

14. Hurricane Eye – Paul Simon

15. Hickory Wind – The Byrds (BR5-49 version is also great)

16. Smoke In The Wind – Walela

17. Inherit The Wind – Elvis Presley

18. Trade Winds – Frank Sinatra

19. Blowin’ In The Wind – Bob Dylan

20. Little Wind – Geri Allen

21. Night Wind – Benny Goodman

22. I Talk To The Wind – King Crimson

23. (I’m Not) A Candle In The Wind – Tammy Wynette

24. Temple Of The Winds – Bill Bruford’s Earthworks

25. Prairie Wind – Neil Young

26. Idiot Wind – Bob Dylan

27. Ill Wind – Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

28. That Ol’ Wind – Garth Brooks

29. Listening Wind – Talkin Heads

30. Santa Ana Winds – The Beach Boys

31. Teenage Wind – Frank Zappa

32. Tahmizyan:  A Cool Wind Is Blowing – Kronos Quartet

33. Third Wind – Pat Metheny

34. Twistin’ In The Wind – David Byrne

35. Aprilwind – Pat Metheny

36. Blow Wind Blow – Dr. John

37. Blow Wind Blow – Muddy Waters

38. Catch The Wind – Donovan

39. Cast Your Pod To The Wind – They Might Be Giants

40. Dust In The Wind – Kansas

41. Easy Wind – Grateful Dead – (God bless Pig Pen!)

42. My Oklahoma Home (It Blowed Away) – Sis Cunningham

43. G-Spot Tornado – Frank Zappa

44. Any Way The Wind Blows – Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention

45. Blow Away – George Harrison

46. Four Strong Winds – Neil Young

47. Gone With The Wind – Sun Ra

48. Shelter In The Rain – Stevie Wonder

49. Blowing Down That Old Dusty Wind – Woody Guthrie

50. A Mighty Wind – the last song from “A Mighty Wind”

Please feel free to add your storms, Norm.


Igor Got Game: A Musical and Legal Comparison of The Beastie Boys and Igor Stravinsky

Igor Got Game:  A Musical and Legal Comparison of the Beastie Boys and Igor Stravinsky

Today I am beginning my trip to New York.  It was going to begin with a stop at the Natick Mall for the only reason I go to any mall – an Apple store.  My iMac won’t play DVD’s and my 13 inch MacBook Pro won’t even turn on.  The laptop died about 30 minutes after I made the appointment at the Genius Bar for the iMac.  It was as if it too wanted attention and injured itself so they could visit the Genius Bar together.  But I canceled this as I now won’t be gone for 4-5 days as I had planned due to Frankenstorm.  I’ll bring the computers to an Apple store closer to Gloucester at some other time.

I’ll be in New York to speak at the 2012 IBS/CUNY Kingsborough Community College Media Conference.  One of the best things about this conference is its location on Oriental Blvd on the Atlantic Ocean.  My best and most expensive app, Navigon, indicates that the location of 2001 Oriental Blvd. is 3 ft. from Oriental Beach on the Atlantic Ocean.  Smile smile!!!  It is so nice to speak with a view of the ocean.  I’ll be in the building on the left in this photo.  And the water will really be that blue.  :  )

On Monday, I would have  spoken to a Corporate Social Responsibility class at 10 AM, and then to a Writing for Radio & TV class at 2 PM, both at William Paterson University.  I had prepared some really fun stuff – there really are enough examples of corporate social irresponsibility in the music and entertainment industry – but that will have to happen at a later time.

But Frankenstorm has changed that.

And now…something completely different.

This was the title of a presentation I gave at several conferences one century ago.  I loved what I was finding when analyzing the Beastie Boys new album at that time (1999) – Hello Nasty.  For one, they had sampled the music of Igor Stravinsky and Stephen Sondheim and found ways of connecting both Stravinsky & Sondheim.

I’ll return to this subject in the near future and possibly post this paper in installments.

Here is the abstract to that presentation:

“Igor Got Game:  A Musical and Legal Comparison of

The Beastie Boys and Igor Stravinsky”

E. Michael Harrington



Igor Stravinsky’s “Pulcinella” (1918) drew heavily upon music composed by Giovanni Pergolesi and others in the early 18th century.  The Beastie Boys, an extremely popular rap/hip hop music group since the mid-1980’s, in their best-selling CD, Hello Nasty (1999) drew upon the music of Stravinsky by means of the digital sampling of Stravinsky’s “Firebird.”  Both of these “borrowings” share important similarities and differences.  Furthermore, these borrowings shed light on several seemingly unrelated disciplines and fields of study.  These include music composition and the nature of creativity and originality, the intellectual property law of different times and societies created to protect authors from appropriations of their original works, the means by which borrowed music may be used and transmitted (sampling, digital streaming, MP3, etc.), and the business (financial, licensing, retail, broadcast, etc.) considerations involved in such borrowings.  Although neither Stravinsky or the Beastie Boys were alone in using preexisting music in their compositions, the manner in which they have borrowed in these specific instances is historically significant.  In addition, these borrowings, taken as a related whole, constitute an important educational paradigm by which we can better understand the definitions of creativity, and originality, and how these definitions have changed and remained the same in light of today’s legal, cultural, economic and technological developments.

Using the Beastie Boys’  Hello Nasty, and Stravinsky’s “Firebird” and “Pulcinella,” this presentation will demonstrate the advantages of a more multidisciplinary – creative, technological, legal and business – approach to the understanding and teaching of  music in the 21st century.  Classes which can be positively enhanced by such an approach include music appreciation, music theory, music composition, business, intellectual property law and technology.

The Order Of Songs On An Album – Part 1


While writing about the Grateful Dead song, “Black Peter,” it occurred to me that “Black Peter,” like the rest of the songs on the Grateful Dead’s album “Workingman’s Dead,” was strategically placed, or strategically dipped.   Strategically dipped?

“You walked into the party

like you were walking onto a yacht

your hat STRATEGICALLY DIPPED below one eye

your scarf it was apricot?”

Does that lyric sound familiar?   It’s from Carly Simon’s, “You’re So Vain.”

Before I get to the simple point I want to express, I have an enormous and probably flawed assumption – that in 2012  there is such a thing as an “album.”  Many have decried that albums died with Napster, P2P and the ability to cherry pick songs you like – fans just want to select the good stuff and ignore the weaker songs on an album.

My old fashioned premise is that albums are artistic statements – a collection of songs in a specific order which were conceived, arranged, produced, recorded and eventually distributed in order to make an artistic statement, expression or series of expressions.

The content of an album is important but so is the placement of the songs – what comes first, third, etc.  I’ve noticed patterns to song placement on better and best albums and concluded there is one I favor.

And now to my simple point – this is how one should do song placement on an album:

You put the four (4) best songs in these places.  And it’s often best to think of the album as a two-sided/two-headed entity, you know, like a 33 rpm vinyl record.  For many of us raised in the Album Period (1965-1999), albums will always have (or NEED) two (2) sides.  CD’s are approximating albums, and mix tapes and set lists can also approximate 2-sided albums.


Side 1

FIRST SONG – best song on side 1.  It doesn’t have to be the best but it has to be an invitation to listen to the rest.

LAST SONG – best on Side 1, other than the first song on side 1, which could be better.  But after this song ends, you think, “I can’t wait to get to Side 2.”



Side 2

FIRST SONG –  “Wow!  Side 2 is great too!  I’m really glad I got this album.  They’re still my favorite band!”  Also, the first song on side 2 is to tell the listener that this band is DEEP – there’s a lot more and some surprises to come.  The first song on side 2, I think, should be where one introduces something very new.  If you’re trying to show how eclectic and creative the band is, this is the spot.  This should be the most experimental place because if the listener is on side 2, chances are she/he sat through all of side 1, really liked it, and is looking forward to side 2.

LAST SONG – “Wow – that was the best song.  This is a fantastic album!  I’m glad they took chances, and after this song, I wonder what the next album will be like.”



To support this, I will turn to:


The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

The Doors – Waiting For The Sun

The Grateful Dead – Workingman’s Dead



and other albums in later posts.



What do you think about any of the commentary above?



Baseball and Music – The Right Songs for the Right Season

I thought of calling this post, “15  Songs for the Soul.”  But that thought lasted for two seconds.  Elvis Costello’s great lyric from “Alison” came to mind, and rescued me:   “I’m not going to get too sentimental like those other sticky Valentines.”

I also liked the title, “I see St. Peter wave ,” but decided against that too.   If you don’t know, that is a short phrase from a song by They Might Be Giants.   “I see St. Peter wave” then led me to the rest of the song which burrowed its way perfectly into this post.   And I love the messages the songs below convey.  They are perfectly suited for this day, don’t you think?

I’d love to get reactions to these songs in this season.  :  )

To quote ELVIS COSTELLO again (re this post):


*   *   *   *   *   *

I’ll only write a baseball post this once (in 2012) but because I love music and baseball, I thought I could fuse the two, especially because this is prime time baseball season with the 2012 World Series about to begin.

Music, and music with words, can make us connect with our emotions.   Our emotions can become more intense through and with music.  We can use music to heighten our feelings, to subdue our feelings, to bring us out of sadness, or even to take us down a more languished and lugubrious path.

Have I mentioned that I am from Cambridge/Boston/Framingham?   I love New York City – visited it hundreds of times, lived in midtown Manhattan for a lot of 2004-2006 (51st & 7th Avenue), and in nearby NJ from 2008-2012.  These few facts are central to why and how I constructed today’s post.

The New York Yankees lost four (4) straight games to the Detroit Tigers (their final loss came last night) and will not be in the  2012 World Series. New Yorkers view winning the World Series as a birthright.  Bostonians, on the other hand, do not have any kind of birthright but we get great joy when New York sports teams fail.  I think the sports fan enthusiasm with NYers and Bostonians are nearly genetic in origin.  According to contemporary health and medicinal talk, what we have are PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS!

So with that in mind, I offer some music for New Yorkers today on this bleak day, the morning after a $200 million team collapsed into darkness….



T H E Y   M I G H T    B E    G I A N T S


 T U P A C  

B O B     D Y L A N 

H A N K    W I L L I A M S

E L V I S    C O S T E L L O

T H E    M A V E R I C K S

T H E    P O L I C E



I would be remiss if (I love cliches like, I would be remiss if) I didn’t offer some music for Bostonians today as well.  With that in mind, let us pray (no, I won’t use that cliche) —-  let us turn to some more music:



T H E     B E A T L E S   

B O B    M A R L E Y

R O L L I N G   S T O N E S 

U 2


E A R T H,  W I N D   &   F I R E

T H E    C O W S I L L S


Have a great weekend!

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, flamboyant red shoes, Harvard Law School

I knew this day would happen – I just didn’t want it to happen yet – happen today.  What’s the thing I’ve sort of dreaded?

The ocean temperature has finally dropped into the 50’s!  It’s 59 F this morning.  The air is 59 F and feels 59 F, both by the Weather Channel’s standards and mine.  I’ll go see what 59 F salt water feels like soon.

And if and when the day comes that I can no longer walk in the ocean barefooted, or shoed with my flamboyant shoes (essentially, barefoot), I’ll deal with it.   (If you want to see my flamboyant red shoes, there’s plenty of footage – shoe-age – in Socialcam, or you can see them here:   http://bit.ly/RWQNmy )   I don’t know about wetsuits. Maybe it will be time to research those, or ask the next wet-suited person I see in the ocean.

Today will be a long but exciting day.  I’ve got projects to work on, USPS mail to await (am I a voter or not?), and a lot of talking to do.

Late this afternoon I’ll be speaking to students at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.   The subject will be copyright and music – some real nuts & bolts stuff from my perspective.  Because I’ve been in the middle of a lot of copyright issues, questions and disputes, I’ve been forced to think and make decisions.  It’s always amazing to think that federal law is used to evaluate and appraise someone’s creative expression – that the law would say EXPRESSION X is of more value and worth more “protection” than EXPRESSION Y, and that I’m asked to do the evaluating of expression.  Fun and humbling.  In the same way that teaching/professing is fun and humbling.  More than just humbling, it’s quite an honor.

This will be my second time speaking to students at UWO.  “UWO” – that’s a cool acronym.  It makes me think of EMO, which is sort of an acronym.

I hope to be good enough that there will be a 3rd time for me at UWO.

30 minutes after that ends, I meet with a class online, for 60 minutes, then a break of 30 minutes, than another online class for 60 minutes, and then I’ll know more about the state of the baseball playoffs.  There were times in a distant past (Stone Age pre-Internet days) when I’d bring a little TV to a class I was teaching, turn on the baseball playoffs with no sound but the TV facing me, and profess away.  When things got exciting, I’d turn the TV to let my students watch too.  Today, I’m in a nice house, the TV is much larger, and the Atlantic Ocean is on both sides of the TV (the TV is between two large windows) and I’ll be sitting in my only expensive piece of furniture – my Herman Miller Aeron chair.  Life doesn’t get much better the this, does it?  :  )

Another aside – a Harvard Law professor and friend invited me to lunch yesterday.  I got to see his office in the incredible new Wasserstein Hall.    (How cool is it to see a United States Supreme Court Justice – Elena Kagan – with big blades about to cut a ribbon?)   I was not surprised to see how Harvard Law treats their faculty.  He had a Herman Miller Aeron chair just like mine.

Some of my next ideas for this blog are:

  1. start out a-talkin’ about what’s on my mind – the temperature of the ocean and times for the tides, mostly  :  )
  2. delve into more music, technology, law and business news – the sale of Sprint, Apple rumors, etc.
  3. respond to friends’ questions and comments
  4. figure stuff out – copyright and creative expression being a big part of that
  5. get interrupted with better ideas and suggestions (this again is where my friends come into it)

Onward!  I hope we have an excellent day!

Annuit Coeptis

As Apple Annoys Again

There are millions of Apple fans worldwide – those who will anxiously await the newest shiny silver Apple device. If it is shiny and silver we’ll buy it, or at least I love to say that given any chance.   Samsung’s new (September-October 2012) commercial for their Galaxy S-3 smartphone makes good fun of us Apple fanboys and fangirls who will wait in lines for hours and days to be the first to get the new Apple toy, most recently, the iPhone 5.

I use “shiny” in deference to my all-time favorite Onion parody – a fictional news story about a fictional new Apple product – the MacBook Wheel.  If you don’t know this genius of a parody, you’ve come to the right place!  I  consider this Onion parody on Applemania and technology reporting to be on a par with the original and quintessential “mockumentary”  – “This Is Spinal Tap.”

In The Onion’s news exclusive, “Apple Introduces Revolutionary New Laptop With No Keyboard,” we were introduced to the funny but too-accurate saying, “I’ll buy almost anything if it’s shiny and made by Apple.”

There were many gems in this short piece including my favorite – Apple’s new “Predictive Sentence Technology,” with its millions of sentences from which to choose:

The aardvark admitted its fault.
The aardvark admitted it was wrong.
The aardvark asked for an aardvark.
The aardvark asked for a dagger.
And so on…..

But now to the problem I have with Apple today:

I listen to KCBS’ technology expert, Larry Magid’s brief daily podcast where he gives concise summaries of important news developments in technology, new gadgets, and services, as well as problems faced in cyberspace.

Here is one of Larry’s recent posts from his “Larry’s World” blog, on an annoying “improvement” in Apple’s iOS 6.

Apple claims that its Ad Tracking is  “a non-permanent, non-personal device identifier that adverting networks will use to give you more control over advertiser’s ability to use tracking methods.”

But it is not so “non-permanent” and it might give you “more control” but certainly not enough control.  Or the ability to completely opt out of being tracked by advertisers.

As Larry points out, the opting out option is not in an intuitive place, and is nearly completely hidden.  One might think to look under “Settings” and then, “Privacy,” or under “Settings” and then “General,” and then “Privacy,” but none of these would be correct.

Instead one has to go to “Settings” and then “General.”  OK.  That’s sensible.

But the next step is bizarre – one must click on “About,” not “Restrictions,” or “Accessibility,” or another heading.  (And under “General,” there is not even an option entitled, “Privacy.”)  “About” is where one usually finds one’s serial number, device model indicator, cellular data number, wi-fi address, etc.  Not where one would dig to change a privacy feature.

Next, after one has highlighted “About,” one must scroll down nineteen (19) headings to the word, “Advertising,” which is located just below “Modem Firmware” and above “Diagnostics & Usage.”  Huh?

Next, one will click on the only option available – “Limit Ad Tracking.”  So if you then click on “Limit Ad Tracking,” you are supposedly in for some relief from advertisers.  But what kind and how much relief?  Why isn’t there an option to “Eliminate” or “Disable” ad tracking?

You have only one option – the ability to “limit” advertisers’ ability to track you.  You won’t know that advertisers have truly been limited and to what extent.  Just trust Apple on this one – you have taken firm control of your online privacy with respect to advertisers, or as much as Apple will permit.

Apple is a great company for brilliant U.I. and ease and fun of use of their shiny silver toys.  This feature and its obscure location, however, makes one realize that Apple plays by rules that aren’t benevolent or consumer-friendly (Apple loves us, don’t they?).   Apple has sold us another expensive toy, so that we can buy into an expensive monthly marriage with a telecom and then sell us to as many advertisers as possible.  And in addition, millions of us are now choosing to rent the music and books we have already purchased.

But as Kip Dynamite sang at his wedding in the film, “Napoleon Dynamite:”

“Yes, I love technology, but not as much as you you see, but I still I love technology, always and forever…”

When You Don’t Know What To Say…… (Part 1)

Sometimes when you’re writing, you can draw a blank.

Sometimes when you’re writing a song, you can also draw a blank.

You don’t know what words to use, or how this melody or chord progression should evolve.  When that happens, people react in different ways.

  1. You step away and do something else.
  2. You step away and listen to other music you’ve written.
  3. you step away and listen to other music someone else has written.
  4. You start to write nonsense words or syllables that will hold the place of better words, when these better words are finally made.

I am reminded of one of the slogans at the fictitious “Faber College” from the film, Animal House.

“When better women are made, Faber College men will be there to make them.”

But to get serious, sometimes the telltale sign that a songwriter had writers’ block can be heard in the lyric that was selected.

One of the best examples of not knowing what words to write, I think, can be heard in a big international hit by a Canadian band.  All I have to write are three (3) words and you’ll likely know what I’m getting at:  Crash Test Dummies

Their 1993 song, “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm.” (see video)

Can you sing the song?  Can you twist your mouth from side-to-side like lead singer Brad Roberts does at 1.32, and 2.53-2.57?  He only does that facial contortion twice but according to Weird Al Yankovich, in his brilliant parody-satire of “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm,” Roberts does it most of the time!

But for me the question is:  What did they really mean to write and sing at these points in the song?  Surely they tried to write something other than “mmm” a few – no, MANY – times.

Would you be able to help Crash Test Dummies by writing the lyrics that SHOULD HAVE been written?

Try it in “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm.”

“Mmm mmm mmm mmm” happens ten (10) times in the song.  You can hear “mmm mmm mmm mmm” at these ten (10) places in the song:

1,00, 1.03
1.45, 1.47, 1.55, 1.57
2.53, 2.55,  3.03, 3.05

So, by my count, there are forty (40) syllables that need to be inserted into this song.

Surely, the song in its prenatal stage, did not need forty (40) statements of “mmm.”  Please.  Go ahead.  Insert the forty (40) syllables you think Crash Test Dummies should have sung!  How can one waste forty (40) words, potentially, or forty (40) syllables, actually, when trying to covey the three (3) short stories the song’s lyric seems to be conveying?  [If you study the lyrics, you’ll understand the three (3) short stories contained within the song.  Or you can cheat and watch the video as it telegraphs the story conveyed by the lyrics.]

Or do you think that this important chorus should have consisted of only 40 statements of “mmm?”

And why should the syllable, “mmm,” which must be sung with a closed mouth, win out over “better” and/or more-suitable-for-singing syllables?

By more-suitable-for-singing syllables, I am referring to:

“lar” (the Boston pronunciation of “lah”)
“far” (Boston for “fa”), etc.
“nar” (the Boston for “nah”)


Are you ready to begin the rewrite?


Mmmm, Mmmm will now become:

(Insert your lyric)____________________________________________________

Mmmm,  Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmm will now become:

(Insert your lyric)____________________________________________________


Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmm will now become:

(Insert your lyric)____________________________________________________


I look forward to your answers/rewrites in the comments below!