A Very Stupid Lawsuit @OzzyOsbourne #music #Caturday

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I was searching the internet for something for Caturday and found this.

Science Caturday on Tumblr – The Finch and Pea

I immediately thought, “Well, sure. Every Ozzy Osbourne fan knows that.” That in turn led me down the mental rabbit hole of one of the dumbest consequences of the Satanic Panic. I’ve mentioned the Satanic Panic several times, including a brief post hinting at my experiences with it in the context of gaming. This is a different angle, and one that’s more mainstream.

Ozzy Osbourne wrote a song called Suicide Solution. Here are the opening lyrics.

Wine is fine by whiskey’s quicker.
Suicide is slow with liquor.
Take a bottle and drown your sorrows.
Then it floods away tomorrows

So, what do those lyrics mean to you? What is this song about? If you answered, “Putting a gun to your head and shooting yourself,” then you’re an idiot. I get that not all of you are chemists. I understand that “solution” meaning “a liquid mixture in which the minor component (the solute) is uniformly distributed within the major component (the solvent)” isn’t the first thing you think of when you hear that word, but when analyzing the lyrics to this particular song, it’s clear that’s what Osbourne meant. Moreover, any fan of Osbourne would have known that even if you didn’t.

His parents insisted that young, impressionable adults were particularly susceptible to being influenced by Osbourne’s music . . . .

Yeah, so they understand the meaning of the words, which warned of the effects of alcohol and drug abuse.

To say that this song caused someone to kill themselves not only flies in the face of logic (supported by the fact that this lawsuit was dismissed), but it also diminishes the importance of factors that actually cause suicide. If you can’t identify the cause of a problem, it’s probably going to be difficult to solve it, and yes, sometimes that means admitting that you, the parent, have far more control over your child’s mental health than a public figure and stranger who has deeper pockets.

Censorship is stupid, and this case is yet another piece of evidence as to why that’s so. Not only was it an attempt to run from responsibility by scapegoating Ozzy, but if it had succeeded, it would have silenced a positive message about avoiding alcohol abuse based solely on ignorance and prejudgment. Let’s not relive the past in this regard.

But hey, it’s Caturday, so . . .

See the source image
. . . kittens!

Censorship is bad in whatever form it takes.

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Follow Ozzy Osbourne @OzzyOsbourne

Musings on Game Design and Revisiting AD&D 1st Edition: My AD&D Playlist #DnD #RPG #ADnD #music

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Introduction to Each Post in This Series

On Friday (July 23, 2021), I mentioned that I was relearning AD&D 1st Edition (“1e“) with the intention of running it. As I read through the Player’s Handbook (“PHB“), certain mechanics or text will strike me as odd or surprising, but in either case worthy of discussion. In fact, the most surprising thing I’m experiencing is that I’m finding a lot more great ideas in 1e that we’ve since abandoned. I find myself asking, “Why?” As a result, I’ll be writing several posts over the next few weeks. I’m sure everything I’m thinking has been discussed before — sometimes be me — so perhaps my questions have been answered, and my concerns resolved, years ago. My experience with RPGs is relatively limited in scope, having played a small number of games, so I’m sure a lot of what I’m going to say has been incorporated into games I’ve never even heard of. (Some have certainly been addressed by future editions of D&D themselves.) Nevertheless, bringing this directed conversation to the public is new to me, so here it goes.

Posts in this series: | My Playlist | Campaign Settings and Pantheons | Languages | Level | “Dead Levels” | Division of Labor, Distance, and Time | Initiative | Combat Subsystems | Armor Class Ratings | Alignment and Reputation | The Feel of a School of Magic | Boring Magic Items | Ability Score Bonuses and Skill Rolls | The Problem with Democracies | Hitting More Frequently | Encounter Balance and Shooting Yourselves in the Feet |

That was a big build up. I hope this doesn’t disappoint. This post was written today (7/25), which means it’s actually the seventh post I wrote in the series. Why am I front-loading it? Because Sundays are always reserved for posts that celebrate other people’s thoughts, deeds, or work; something silly; some of the above; or all of the above. That, and not game theory, is what this post is about. You should expect the same tomorrow, as Mondays are reserved for mythology. So, consider the next two days sessions 0 and 0.5 if you will.

Like all of you, when I hear a song, it takes me back to the time I first heard it and/or listened to it the most. As a result, there are a lot of songs that bring me back to 1e that wouldn’t necessarily put high fantasy into your brain. Nevertheless, if I’m at the gaming table, I don’t want to hear the 1812 Overture, the Anvil of Crom, or even Sisters of the Moon (a later-discovered song) by one of my two favorite bands, Fleetwood Mac. No, these specific versions of these songs are what I want to hear. While gaming. Seriously.

  1. Limelight, Spirit of the Radio, and Closer to the Heart by Rush;
  2. Sweet Dreams and The One That You Love by Air Supply;
  3. While You See a Chance by Stevie Winwood;
  4. Sara, Monday Morning, and Say You Love Me, Not That Funny, Rhiannon (one of the strongest vocal performances I’ve ever heard), and Landslide by Fleetwood Mac;
  5. Literally anything off of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors album;
  6. Turn Your Love Around and Give Me the Night by George Benson;
  7. Goodbye Stranger, Take the Long Way Home, Fool’s Overture, and Babaji by Supertramp;
  8. Just Between You and Me and Sign of the Gypsy Queen by April Wine;
  9. Almost any song I can name by Triumph, but especially Magic Power and Fight the Good Fight;
  10. The Voice and Gemini Dream by the Moody Blues;
  11. Find Your Way Back and Jane by Jefferson Starship
  12. Ebony Eyes by Bob Welch;
  13. Don’t Fear the Reaper and Burning for You by Blue Oyster Cult;
  14. Babe and Best of Times by Styx;
  15. Lady by the Little River Band;
  16. Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen;
  17. Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 by Pink Floyd;
  18. Games People Play by the Alan Parsons Project;
  19. Refugee by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers;
  20. Almost every song from Foreigner’s album, Four;
  21. Almost every song from the Police’s album, Ghost in the Machine;
  22. Almost every song from Asia’s debut album, Asia;
  23. Point of No Return by Kansas;
  24. Hold on Loosely and Caught up in You by .38 Special;
  25. I’m Winning by Santana;
  26. Don’t Let Him Know by Prism;
  27. Switching to Glide/This Beat Goes On by the Kings;
  28. No Time to Lose by the Tarney/Spencer Band;
  29. On the Loose by SAGA;
  30. A Life of Illusion by Joe Walsh;
  31. My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone) by Chilliwack;
  32. Take It on the Run by REO Speedwagon;
  33. American Pie by Don McLean;
  34. Blinded by the Light and For You by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band; and
  35. Tragedy by the Bee Gees

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few big ones. I’ll add them as I think of them.

There’s a surprising number of songs on this list released in 1981/1982, which is the last year I played until 2005. I wonder what it says about me that I have the strongest association with songs that were there at the very end before the Satanic Panic kicked my ass. Probably that I’m a sociopath. That would check out.

Just order some pizza and put that shit on continuous loop, and I’ll keep playing the entire weekend nonstop.

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Dungeons & Dragons is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, LLC, who neither contributed to nor endorsed the contents of this post. (Okay, jackasses?)

Concerts, Concerts, Concerts @LBuckingham @PhilCollinsFeed @tonybanksmusic @officialmatm @genesis_band @Tromboneshorty @VerticalHorizon @Wolf_Trap @thebirchmere @TallyHoTheater #concert #music #Genesis

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I’ve been to only 10 concerts in my life. Why? Because I don’t like going, and I go only when going is really important. Needless to say, I’m pumped about seeing Genesis later this year. While not my favorite band, my favorite album of all time is their 1980 effort, Duke.

With the pandemic winding down, Wolf Trap and many other local venues have announced concerts again, and I’m so desperate to go out and do things with people (that isn’t work) that I may just double my entire concert-going experience this year alone. Among the local shows are Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbitch, Air Supply, Trombone Shorty, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Ann Wilson, Harry Connick Jr., Abba, Joan Jett, Three Dog Night, Bog Bad Voodoo Daddy, Bob Mould, Indigo Girls, and Train (with Vertical Horizon. I doubt I’ll see all of these shows, but if I did, that would more than double my lifetime concerts. Lindsey Buckingham is touring, but I’ll be in Las Vegas while he’s here. We’ll see how the summer shakes out, but I’m bound to see some of these.

But I really don’t like attending concerts. 🙂

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Classic Movies: Excalibur @Tubi #movie #Excalibur #music #ClassicMovie #GoodWatch

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This past weekend, I discovered that John Boorman’s Excalibur (1981) was available to stream on Tubi. In case you didn’t know, Tubi is a free streaming service with commercials, and it’s often useful for watching movies showing on pay services to which I don’t subscribe. I took advantage of a rare day of not working out and re-watched it.

To me, Excalibur is a classic, and it has a moderately funny story behind it (for me). My dad was always present but never paying attention. He left our upbringing to our mother, taking interest only when our interests collided with his. So, if you weren’t playing tennis, playing chess, or visiting the Renaissance Festival, you were a nuisance. He wasn’t cruel; just uninterested. When Excalibur came out, both he and I were interested in seeing it. I was a mythology buff, and he a history buff, and the movie appealed to both of us. Well, I was 13, and when my mother found out how much nudity was in it, she blew a gasket. Of course, my dad was pissed off at me because I was the one that told her.

That was a fun day.

My Impression

Nudity aside, I loved the movie. I was familiar with the basics of Authurian legends and wanted more. The next time I saw the movie was in high school, which were the days of VHS movie rentals. My cousin and I rented it, and my view had changed. I found the base storyline just as interesting but the delivery goofy at times. Also, being a high school kid, I was a bit put off by seeing Sir Lancelot’s nut sack. This weekend was the third time I had seen it, and it was fantastic, errrr … nut sack and all.

It’s a quick telling of the Arthurian legends, taking some liberties with the story in the interests of getting the story told in less than 8 hours. What’s not to love about that? I’m sure many readers agree, so I’m not going to dwell on any of that. Instead, I’m going to point out something I found interesting and unusual.

The Soundtrack

The soundtrack is, as one would expect, filled with grandiose, classical music pieces. However, what’s interesting about it is that the music never played (to my recollection) during the battle scenes. All you heard was the sound of battle, and that produced a chilling effect. Because I’m a nerd, I’m reminded of an observation Lt. Cmdr. Data made about alien poetry that often included pauses that could last for days. That seems ridiculous, but pauses do have value. They’re analogous to negative space used in graphic arts, such as the arrow in the FedEx logo between the ‘e’ and ‘x,’ and this effect was used very well by John Boorman here.

As always, YMMV, though how could you not like Excalibur?

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Art Is in the Eye of the Beholder @billyjoel @StarWars @kesseljunkie #movie #music #art #StarWars #BillyJoel

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I have a phrase I like to use. By now, you should know it, but I’ll repeat it anyway: Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. There’s a meme running around . . .  okay, going viral that completely misses this point. I’d like to trash the meme, but it goes all “sociopolitical,” and I’ve already done my annual sociopolitical post for the year. Instead, I’ll address another meme that reimagines the story told in Billy Joel’s fantastic song, Piano Man. The song is actually about Joel during his early days playing seedy bars filled with alcoholics and underachievers. The meme could be said to be sociopolitical too, but I don’t see it that way, so here it is.

Now, there’s a problem with the theory of this meme: Paul never had time for a wife. This means that if would have had a wife if his priorities are different. Also, not everyone who’s an alcoholic, failure, underachiever, or sailor is gay. That makes the statement at the end, “yep, it’s definitely a bar full of gay dudes,” to be rather arrogant, but that doesn’t mean that one can’t fairly infer that it’s at a “gay bar.” It still fits, and you just ignore the imperfections in the spirit of having fun with the lyrics.

Another Theory: They Still Live

Well then, it’s no less legitimate to instead imagine that Piano Man takes place in the They Live universe, but in a sequel called They Still Live in which a few surviving aliens have recovered their ability to hide their true selves. Joel is playing to bunch of extraterrestrials and doesn’t know it. Why can’t Billy tell they’re aliens?

Because those sunglasses are just ordinary ones. Instead of a bunch of homosexuals having a betting pool, it’s a bunch of aliens wondering when he’ll figure out that they’re aliens in hiding. They’re reluctant underachievers because they must remain in hiding until they reclaim control over the Earth. Is this a perfect inference? No, but remember, neither was the “gay bar” interpretation. This interpretation also has no clear contradictions within the lyrics, so it’s just as good. So would any interpretation in which people, extraterrestrial or otherwise, we’re in hiding. I’m sure the song could be put to use in a pretty good Al Qaeda recruitment video, and I doubt Joel would approve.

Revenge of the Sith

Let me give you another example. This one’s more on point with the meme I don’t want to discuss. In Revenge of the Sith, Mace Windu, et al. attack Emperor Palpatine, a.k.a., Darth Sidious. The others fall, so it’s just Mace and Sidious going at it, and Mace gets the upper hand. He starts to reflect Sidious’s force lighting back on him. According to the dialogue, as wells as a (long-lost) interview with George Lucas, the reflection disfigured Palpatine.

I never bought that, and I think Kessel Junkie and I have discussed it.

My interpretation from the moment I saw it was that Sidious was already disfigured from his long term use of the Dark Side. Within the movies – I don’t concern myself at all with the Expanded Universe – there’s nothing in canon to contradict that. With Mace Windu’s attack, Sidious’s power was being tasked, so his veil dropped. Everyone was seeing him for what he really was. He initially lied to Anakin to complete his turn to the Dark Side, then maintained the lie to convince others of the treachery of the Jedi. That in turn meant that he no longer had to use a portion of his power to maintain that veil. Win-win as far as he was concerned.

Am I wrong? Not according to me, so why do I care whether George agrees? Why would he care if I disagree with him?

The point is that you can interpret art, especially good art, in a way that suits you, even if it contradicts the intent of the creator. Unless you’re way off base, your interpretation is as legitimate an interpretation as anyone else’s. Whatever makes the art work for you is fine.

As long as you’re buying it, the creators won’t mind.

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YouTube Music Is Great @youtubemusic #music #YouTube

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I have an android phone, and the native music application went the way of the dinosaur at the end of the year in favor of YouTube Music. Some of the announcements had me worried about privacy, so I was reluctant to make the switch. Instead, I installed an ad-infused third-party music application. Eventually, I decided that I might as well give it a try, so I upgraded.

YouTube Music is great.

I pay for the premium, so maybe that has something to do with it, but when I search for a song and play it, the application creates a playlist of 49 additional songs that are related by artist or genre. As I move from one song to the other, a new song is appended to the list. I suspect, but can’t prove, that the appended song takes into account the songs I skip, because as I get beyond the original list, there’s less of an incentive to skip songs. As a result, every day I hear good to great songs I never knew existed, even for artists I thought I knew well. Sure, there are some stinkers in there, but I’m discovering a lot of hidden gems. I’m also rediscovering music I’ve previously forgotten. Who can’t get behind seemingly unlimited, new music, all legal to download?

I’m still concerned about a potential bait-and-switch on their policies, which may relate to privacy.

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DC Area Radio Stations @947theDrive @washfm @1027jackfm @98Rock @Todays1019 @dc101 #music #radio

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My cell phone recently died, so I had to replace it. It’s an identical phone but nevertheless won’t connect to my car stereo via Bluetooth. Google tech support was worthless, but if you want to hear me whine about that, you’ll have to visit my Facebook wall from a couple of weeks ago. This is a different rant.

Because I can’t connect to my phone, I’ve had to resort to listening to radio stations for the first time in about 5 years. I’m so used to hearing what I want to hear the moment I want to hear it that I’ve become spoiled. I forgot how bad it is to be at the whims of the deejays and program directors of radio stations. They play what they want, when they want, and with a very limited number of songs. I thought CHR went the way of the dinosaur when “mix” stations came into being, but the old habits (and FCC regulations) die hard.

You Know What Grinds My Gears?

But even that’s not my rant. My rant is this: The changes to the radio stations during those brief five years have been monumental. Nothing is as it was (see notes below), and that was an unexpected jolt as to how old I really am. I expect that phenomenon to rear it’s ugly head when I’m looking back at childhood, but I can’t even go back five years without a total upheaval.

Chicago

This isn’t the first time I’ve experienced this. I left the DC area in May, 1996, to attend law school in Chicago. When I came back at the end of 2000, the restaurants, radio stations, and roads really stuck out as completely different. I actually had difficulty driving around certain areas that were regular destinations for me in the early 90s (and especially those prior to that). I lived in Delaware from 2007-2008, but I frequently came back during that time, so the gradual changes never had an impact.

Don’t misunderstand me. I love change — I always want things mixed up — but this isn’t something that can be ignored. For someone with a fear of aging, it’s probably very difficult.

Notes

Some notes for DC area listeners.

WQSR (102.7) claims to “play everything,” and that sticks when it comes to the relative diversity of what they play. However, they still play a small number of different songs during any given week. It’s been two weeks, and all I’ve heard is Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper, Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi, Hot Blooded by Foreigner, Der Kommissar by After the Fire, and Hungry Like the Wolf by Duran Duran. The songs aren’t bad to a 70s/80s guy like me, but it feels like false advertising (even though they probably have a larger playlist). This isn’t much of a change from where they were when they started, but it’s more frustrating now that I’m dependent on them.

One of our mainstays since my childhood, Mix 107.3, nee WRQX, has changed its call letters to WLVW and gone Christian. There’s nothing wrong with that; it’s just not for me. With all these changes, I went scrolling through the wavelengths looking for replacements and found tons of new Christian stations where there used to be nothing but static. It seems like a plurality of stations that I can pick up in Northern Virginia are Christian.

At 10:07 am on Labor Day, 101.9 rickrolled me. Thankfully, 94.7 has stayed loyal to me.

Further complicating things are that I live in Northern Virginia, not Maryland, so some of the stations are too far away for me to hear. Losing them in 2000 wasn’t so bad, but now that I need them, their static-filled signal is a tease. I’m looking at you, 98 Rock and 101.9.

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