Not-So-Subtle Advertising @FleetwoodMac #FleetwoodMac #music #wine #booze

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These guys really want me to drink their booze.

It may work.

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Connections @BBC #physics #science #engineering #history #tv

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Look at me. Ending my streak of posts after an entire year, and the very next day posting every day for a week. Will it last? (No.)

I recently rediscovered the BBC show, Connections, hosted by James Burke. I used to watch this with my dad when I was a kid. This is a show about the marvels of science and engineering throughout history and, more to the point, their connections to one another. That is, a technology over here gets merged with a technology over there, and voila! A new invention. 

It’s enough to drive you mad.

I apparently remember it extremely well, because I find myself saying the host’s lines before he says them. Nevertheless, I’m relearning a lot of material. I recently learned about, and wrote a post on, the Cistercian numerals. To my recollection, I never heard of the Cistercian monks before learning about their numbers, yet they were mentioned in the one of the first few episodes, so my memory is exceptional, but not perfect. (My short term memory is failing, which is very unsettling.)

Another thing threw me off a bit. In the first episode – which is a bit scary, by the way – the host describes the New York City blackout of 1977, which left several planes circling overhead with nowhere to land. The flight he expressly mentioned was flight 911. A spooky an odd . . . connection.

Whether your academic or professional background is in science (like me) or history, this is still a fascinating and relevant show.

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I’m About to Turn 54 @blink182 #aging #happybirthday #birthday #music

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Once a decade for an entire year, I get to make myself the subject when I sing Blink 182’s What’s My Age Again? Today is the last day of that year. Sing it for me as well. See you in 9 years.


I’m still a child.

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Golden Anniversary #aging #movie #music #art #history

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To make some of you feel as old as I do, here are things that have or will turn 50 this year. Some held up very well.

The sequel was better. 🙂

Even the younguns know this one now.



A “Wet Paint” song.

Basically matheletes.

A song remade this many times must be great.

Just the theme song is all it takes to make me laugh.

But it took 47 years to release a chicken sandwich.

My cousin, Tom, always beat me at this at Mr. T’s restaurant.

All of these things are younger than I.

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Drastic Measures @KansasBand #music #Kansas

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If you’d rather listen to this blog, you may watch the video here.

No, this isn’t about something serious. Rarely will I discuss serious things on my blog. Drastic Measures is the title of my favorite album by the band Kansas. My guess is that their most popular album is either Leftoverture or Point of No Return (both of which I love), and so perhaps in that way they’re in some odd sense objectively better albums, but the value of an album is always subjective, and this blog isn’t about your opinions. 😛

Well, that was an obnoxious thing to say.

Sure this album’s hits weren’t as popular among their 18 hits. None of its songs are in VCR’s top ten list of Kansas songs. In fact, Leftoverture and Point of No Return are the only two albums with more than one entry. The same can be said for Louder’s list, Classic Rock History, Return of Rock, and Chaospin. I think there’s a clear consensus, but just like with my favorite Rush album, Grace Under Pressure (also an unpopular choice), the heart wants what it wants, and as far as Kansas is concerned, mine wants Drastic Measures.

Being that this is a subjective issue, there’s no point in providing an argument, but there is something that I can say about the album that I find interesting. First, an anecdote. The first concert I ever attended was Billy Joel on The Bridge tour. Among many great aspects to his show was his ability to reduce the intensity at exactly the right moment (ordinary among true pros). His first three songs were high energy, followed by a slower song, Piano Man (which nowadays he reserves for the final encore), and then he ramped it right up again. Once we got to Only the Good Die Young, no one sat down again . . . but I digress.

Drastic Measures mirrors this technique on a smaller scale. The first three songs (Fight Fire with Fire, Everybody’s My Friend, and Mainstream) are high energy, with the first two being the songs released as singles. After that, they slow it down a bit with Andi. Andi is a song that’s either ahead of its time or a prediction of the end of the world, depending on your politics. I’ll let all of you dopes argue over that one.

Well, that was an obnoxious thing to say.

In any event, Andi has a wonderful sound to it. After Andi, everything picks up again. Don’t let Dust in the Wind fool you. Kansas has always been a high-energy band, and Drastic Measures is no exception.

I know we no longer listen to 8-track tapes, so we can listen to songs in whatever order we want, but even today you may sometimes just want to put on an album and let it ride exactly how the artist intended. This is the best way to enjoy my favorite album, Duke by Genesis, and it’s certainly the best way to listen to Drastic Measures.

. . . which I’ve been doing an awful lot lately.

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Weirdly Misheard Song Lyrics @ThatEricAlper @TheClash @ThePoliceBand @IronMaiden #music #TheClash #ThePolice #UpTheIrons #IronMaiden

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Still on break from gaming posts, today’s post is about a thought triggered by a tweet from Eric Alpert.

This is by no means an original idea, but I suspect I have something to add to it. As we all know, there are some song lyrics that have been famously misinterpreted by the fans. For example, in Manfred Mann’s Blinded by the Light, “wrapped up like a deuce” has been misinterpreted as “wrapped up like a douche.” Then there’s Rockin’ the Casbah by the Clash. Cingular Wireless made a commercial in which the actors were arguing over the song’s lyrics, including the title itself (e.g., “rock the cash box” v. “stop the cat box”). Again, this is not an original thought.

There are two examples of this going back to my teen years that I’ve never discussed with anyone. It’s not that these embarrass me; I point that out to illustrate that I have no idea whether anyone has ever misheard these lyrics in this way. First, in Every Breath You Take by the Police, I always heard, “how my poor heart aches” as “I’m a pool hall ace.” It didn’t make any sense to me, but I can’t understand these damn British and their mangled form of the English language.

Then there’s Caught Somewhere in Time by Iron Maiden. The lyric in question is the title of the song, so of course I always knew what was being said. Nevertheless, “caught somewhere in time” still sounds like “constant wear and tear” to me. I have to force myself to hear it correctly. Considering Bruce Dickenson’s tedious inflection and tone while singing it, there’s some sense to that being the lyric, isn’t there?

There was another silly one for me, but at least a couple other people heard it too.

I love Stevie Nicks.

Again, I’ve never discussed these with anyone, so I have no idea whether either is common. I’d be surprised if “pool hall ace” is common, but as I point out, Bruce’s approach leans a bit towards my mistake. In any case, I bet you’ll never hear those songs the same way again.


What are your weirdly misheard song lyrics?

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In case the tweets are deleted, here are images of them.

Participatory Songs: Music Involving the Crowd @acdc @VanHalen @originalasia @linkinpark @QueenWillRock @Nirvana @jimmybuffett #music #ACDC #VanHalen #Asia #LinkinPark #Queen #Nirvana #JimmyBuffett

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It’s time for another break from gaming posts. This one will last two days.

A random thought popped into my head on my morning commute on March 18 (I’m way ahead on writing posts) when my random music mix spit out AC/DC’s Thunderstruck and Van Halen’s Ain’t Talking ‘Bout Love in succession. For lack of an established term, I’m calling them participatory songs. Fans sing along with all sorts of songs, but some songs actively encourage it, giving the crowd cues as to when it’s their time connect with the musician.

Sing Along

The two songs I mentioned above have moments serving as a clear cue for the crowd to sing along in unison. All they have to do is sing one word, “Thunder” and “Hey” respectively, with a particular cadence and repetition. Even the worst singers in the world can handle that.

Another song comes to mind: Wildest Dreams by Asia. Back in the 80s, there was a Friday or Saturday night show that ran concert footage for a different band every week. One week, it was Asia playing in Japan. When they got to the relevant points in the song (I think this is the actual video), the crowd knew exactly what to sing. Why? Because all they had to do was repeat exactly what John Wetton (R.I.P.) had just sang. This was made even easier by the fact that in the studio version of the song, the crowd’s part is intentionally sounds like a crowd shouting rather than a chorus singing. Again, that’s easy for everyone.

Sometimes it’s forced. I have an mp3 of Linkin Park’s In the End live in Mexico City. The singer tells the crowd, “Sing along with Chester [Bennington]!” I guess that works too, but the best songs in this regard don’t require a command. Still, that song demonstrates a benefit to creating a participatory song. By encouraging a particular part for the crowd to play, the majority tend to sit out waiting for their moment. More on why that’s a benefit in a moment.

Playing the Beat

Then there’s another type of song that cues the crowd to make some noise, but not with their voices. Queen’s We Will Rock You immediately comes to mind. Not only is its three-beat hook extremely recognizable, but as it’s such a simple rhythm, it’s easy to perform. The movie, Bohemian Rhapsody was heavily dramatized, taking remarkable liberties with history, but that was discussed as the intended goal of the song, which is certainly believable.

Dance Moves

These two types of songs can screw up the musician’s cadences. For professionals, not so much, but I’ve heard bar-band amateurs actually say, “I hope they don’t start clapping.” As I mentioned with In the End, expressly or implicitly cueing up the crowd keeps them focused and in turn keeps their distracting effect to a minimum. But there’s a third way to involve the crowd that avoids that issue altogether. Enter the third category of songs: Dance moves.

Note: “Dance” is being used very broadly here, but “dance moves” is easier to digest than “bodily movements,” and is, well, less suggestive of digestion.

When people hear that opening guitar riff to Nirvana’s Smells Like Team Spirit, they start stretching, because they know within seconds, they’re going to be getting an aerobic workout. As soon as the rest of the band kicks in, everyone starts jumping. Then there’s Jimmy Buffet’s Fins, a song that analogizes men in a bar to sharks hunting their prey. The crowd uses their hand(s) to simulate a shark’ dorsal fin, leans to the left, leans to the right, and then sways back and forth.

Jimmy attracts . . . an older crowd.

Songs made for audience participation allow the audience to feel connected with the artist, and thus can make a song particularly memorable.

What are you favorite participatory songs?

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A Weird Music Thingy @billyjoel @SpandauBallet #music

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Music has a way of evoking emotion, and I’m certainly no exception to that. I’m writing this after a trip to the gym. Like most people, I listen to music while I work out, and a particular song came up on my random music mix, inspiring this post.

Dread GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

There are two songs that oddly fill me with dread when I hear them, and one of the artists is one of my favorites.

I love Billy Joel’s work as much as anyone’s.

And then there’s this one.

Horrifying, right? These two songs make me very uncomfortable, and I don’t know why. It’s certainly not the lyrics. Just the opening of the song starts the dread.

I should see a shrink.

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Genesis is in Danger! @PhilCollinsFeed @tonybanksmusic @officialmatm @genesis_band @StarTrek #music #StarTrek #Genesis

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Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, it’s about a recent conversation. Strangely, a coworker asked me just this past week whether I enjoyed the Genesis concert from 11/18/2021. I told him . . . yeah.

But as you know, I also love Star Trek.

A perfect mashup.

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Music and Education #music #education

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Sundays now are lazy days for me. I either post something silly or other people’s work. Usually both. Today, it’s a lesson in how to work music into your other classes. First up, geography.

If this were accurate, I’d rather live in Asia.

How about combining music with your English lesson?

I can’t verify any of this.

Health class?

Believe it or not, I’m not a professional teacher.

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