11
May
12

The interconnectedness of all things

I’ve been observing several stories in the news lately that all seem to have a common thread:

1. The Federal Government was proposing child labor laws that would prevent kids from performing manual labor on their family farms (since withdrawn due to public outcry).

2. States and towns, like Massachusetts, are banning bake sales (they’re now backing down due to public outcry).

3. Playgrounds are becoming safer… which is why no one is using them anymore.

4. Obesity continues to be a problem and will require the Federal Government to define and prevent.

“Question authority” used to be a phrase associated with the Baby Boomers (or 70s “hippies” – though they’re probably mostly one in the same). It’s meaning and use actually go back to Benjamin Franklin and strongly suggests that the people should always be questioning the government.

The irony is that those people who were adhering the “Question authority” bumper sticker to their cars are now the ones WITH the authority and are dictating rules that affect every area of our lives.

There’s a movement of people out there who are concerned about losing our freedoms, and those who think there’s nothing to worry about are often those who support the people making the regulations that take them away.

Which brings me to the second point: the growing concern over obesity.

In general, losing weight has always been a simple equation (in theory, if not in practice). Burn more calories than you take in, and you will lose weight. Take in more than you burn, and you will gain weight.

So, Americans are generally gaining weight. Well, what else are we doing? We’re making laws that would prevent kids from working… physically working. We continue to invent more outlets to sit and play video games and more games to play.

All learning takes place on the Internet, so kids aren’t even engaging in the simple act of getting out of their chair to go and get the Encyclopedia.

America doesn’t make anything anymore that isn’t digital, so adults that may have been engaging in jobs with physical labor aren’t that active anymore.

Our entire culture – social, commerce, leisure, etc. – continues to move toward the virtual plane. We don’t walk, or even drive to the store, anymore. We don’t have to go to events when we can live stream them. We play our games online. We interact online. There’s simply less natural points during one’s day during which they’d have to get out of their chair.

We’re essentially heading down the path that led to Wall*E – only without the environmental destruction that forced them to leave the planet.

Obviously, I’m speaking in generalizations, but when I was little, I don’t think I went a day without hearing my Mom say “Go play outside.” Now, we don’t let our kids play with others without a pre-arranged “playdate.” And if we do, leave the house, they’re on a tether with a radius of 10 feet in which they can safely play.

Atari came out when I was little, and everyone in the neighborhood, including my family, was getting one (or an Activision, but those were more complicated with that dialpad). Once we had Defender or Space Invaders, I would sit in the basement for hours. Multiply that by a factor of 10 with all the opportunities to play video games these days. And with the safe and boring playgrounds of today, it’s not as fun to go to a park. Bring back the jungle gyms made of steel or truck tires.

The safety snakes of today who are trying to take all of the risk out of society have made it harder to expend our energies. There’s simply less to do that fun and risky. It won’t be long before football is banned on playgrounds (although I suspect Ultimate Fighting will still be allowed). One sport after the other will be deemed too dangerous until kids won’t have any sports to play. And then we’ll wonder why they’re obese.

Our restaurants serve larger and larger portions to compete with the others, and processed foods are continually the cheaper, but more commonly available option.

And of course, the definition of “obesity” itself. According to the BMI guidelines, I’m obese right now. I don’t think I look too obese. And I don’t feel like I am (although sometimes, after devouring an entire pizza, maybe…).

More often than not, we reap what we sow and we get what we deserve. All of the above is related in several ways. Not sure one thing directly leads to the other, but they’re all pieces to the puzzle we see building around us. If we don’t like the direction, we must analyze the component parts and make sure they’re what we want them to be.

09
May
12

Everything counts

I just watched this with my daughter last night, and we both found it very inspiring.

And if you were around when this song originally came out and hit the underground music scene at a high school near you, you’ll appreciate this on several more levels. (It all seemed so deep and meaningful then, no? Well, these kids bring the meaning right back to it…)

My hat’s off to DMK (Dicken, Milah and Korben) for this rendition.  And a thank you to Martin L. Gore for the angst.

Enjoy.

01
May
12

What a wonderful day

For those of you who’s musical roots go well into the 80s and beyond, you might appreciate this most wonderful day I recently had.

I came home from work to find a box from Amazon (always a welcome experience).

In it was new CDs from David Byrne, Joe Jackson and World Party (Karl Wallinger, really…).

David Byrne has a new live CD out that he recorded with Caetano Veloso from Carnegie Hall. There’s some great versions of Byrne/Talking Heads classics, plus his participation on some Veloso songs, as well.



The Joe Jackson double disc set
is a compilation of Jackson’s Rockpalast appearances from the early 80s. I actually had all of this from various bootlegs, but it’s good to have a clean copy.

The World Party set is a 5-disc set called Arkeology (with the tagline “Dig it”). I had a lot of this via bootlegs and through Karl Wallinger’s dropbox he used to have on his old worldparty.net website. But there’s some new gems, and if you’re a fan, this is definitely worth the time.

01
Apr
12

There’s just something troubling about this…

Maybe it’s the accuracy. Maybe it’s how complete it is. I don’t know, but I was compelled to share, anyway…

I don’t actually believe this represents America, but kind of how the worst that fraternities have to offer obscures all of the charity work they do, images like this really make it difficult to explain that this isn’t actually an accurate portrayal of the people it’s mocking. After all, I come from middle American, and… these are my people.

01
Apr
12

Note to Little Stevie… freedom is not a privilege

This weekend, I pulled out my vinyl copy of Little Stephen’s Artists United Against Apartheid project – Sun City.

Unlike Band-Aid or the “We Are the World” project, Little Stephen brought artists from a wide variety of genres – and far more alternative, at the time, than the more poppy predecessors. Also unlike them, his assembly of rappers and rockers produced an entire album’s worth of materials – seven songs in all.

All of the songs on it are pretty solid, which doesn’t surprise me given the musicians involved, but as I was listening to the song and thinking about where we are these days, politically, I was struck by one lyric:

“Freedom is a privilege nobody rides for free”

This gave me pause for two reasons:

1. The first half claims that freedom is a privilege, but it’s not. Freedom is a right. No man or woman has the right to own or shackle another. In this day and age, when people believe things like health care, a job and even a driver’s license is a right, I’m surprised that this group would produce a lyric stating the ultimate right – freedom – is a privilege.

2. The second half says “nobody rides for free.” I’m making an assumption, but I’m guessing most of the people involved with this record believe in Obama’s healthcare law – which claims to give things for free. In fact, Obama’s approach to government is to redistribute wealth and give money and benefits for free to those who “cannot” fend for themselves. (And by “cannot,” I don’t mean the truly unable, but those able-bodied and often educated people who’ve decided to reap the benefits of government programs.) It’s all about “free” these days.

I was stunned that in one sentence, they got two fundamental ideas so backwards, and in fact, they don’t actually support either notion.

But aside from that, the song is still solid – though I think it may not entirely be holding up well against time. There are other great songs on this album though, including the largely Peter Gabriel-based “No More Apartheid.” If you can find a copy, I recommend checking out this historical relic from the 80’s.

25
Mar
12

coming april 10 – world party arkeology

It’s been a great year for older music fans. The methods for finding new music continue to grow, and some of the great bands of the past are continuing to put out new and great music.

This year alone, Thomas Dolby is touring, Joe Jackson is releasing a new album and touring and Dead Can Dance is touring (and I think putting out a new album, as well).

And today, I just learned that Karl Wallinger is releasing a new 5 disc World Party set called Arkeology. Thanks to the good folks at superdeluxeeditions.com, I learned that the new World Party retrospective will include 5 discs of music that Wallinger’s had laying around for the past 25 years. The set will include many covers, unreleased originals and live versions we’ve never heard unless we got them from bootlegs.

Here’s the tracklist. Look for this sure to be great set on April 10:

DISC 1

  • 1. “Waiting Such A Long Time”
  • 2. “Nothing Lasts Forever”
  • 3. “Everybody’s Falling In Love”
  • 4. “Where Are You Going When You Go”
  • 5. “Photograph”
  • 6. “Everybody Dance Now”
  • 7. “Closer Still”
  • 8. “I Want To Be Free”
  • 9. “I’m Only Dozing”
  • 10. “No More Crying”
  • 11. Interview/”Sweet Soul Dream” (Live Radio)

DISC 2

  • 1. “Lucille”
  • 2. “The Good Old Human Race”
  • 3. “Put the Message in the Box” (Live)
  • 4. “Trouble Down Here”
  • 5. “Basically”
  • 6. “Silly Song”
  • 7. “Man We Was Lonely”
  • 8. “She’s The One” (Live)
  • 9. “Ship of Fools”
  • 10. “Mystery Girl”
  • 11. “This is Your World Speaking”
  • 12. “All The Love That’s Wasted”
  • 13. “Lost in Infinity”
  • 14. “New Light”

DISC 3

  • 1. “Words”
  • 2. “Dear Prudence”
  • 3. “Call Me Up” (Live Radio)
  • 4. “Like A Rolling Stone”
  • 5. “Sooner Or Later”
  • 6. “Love Street”
  • 7. “Time On My Hands”
  • 8. “Who Are You”
  • 9. “Sweetheart Like You”
  • 10. “Another World”
  • 11. “You’re Beautiful, But Get Out of My Life”
  • 12. “Living Like The Animals”
  • 13. “Stand” (Live)
  • 14. “Thank You World” (Original Jam)

DISC 4

  • 1. “Break Me Again”
  • 2. “Baby” (Demo)
  • 3. “Ship Of Fools”
  • 4. “Put The Message In The Box”
  • 5. “When Did You Leave Heaven”
  • 6. “Nature Girl”
  • 7. “It’s A Pity You Don’t Let Go”
  • 8. “My Pretty One”
  • 9. “De Ho De Hay”
  • 10. “We Are The Ones”
  • 11. “World Groove”/”Mind Guerilla”
  • 12. “Happiness Is A Warm Gun”
  • 13. “Kuwait City”
  • 14. “Do What I Want”
  • 15. “All We Need Is Everything”
  • 16. “Outro”

DISC 5

  • 1. “Mystery Girl” (Early Version)
  • 2. “What Is Love All About” (Outtake)
  • 3. “I Hope it All Works Out For You”
  • 4. “And God Said” (Long version)
  • 5. “It Ain’t Gonna Work”
  • 6. “Another One”
  • 7. “I Am Me”
  • 8. “It’s Gonna Be Alright”
  • 9. “In Another World”
  • 10. “Thank You World”
  • 11. “Cry Baby Cry”
  • 12. “Temple Of Love”
  • 13. “Fixing A Hole”
  • 14. “Way Down Now” (Live)
  • 15. “Change The World”
20
Mar
12

Live happenings – part IV – is now available

2012 continues to be a great year for so many reasons. If this truly is the end, we’re going to go out with a bang.

This fall, Dead Can Dance is reuniting with a tour and a new album. They haven’t announced their US dates, yet, but the European dates can all be found at their website.

To whet our appetites, the Dead Can Dance site has been sharing four-song downloads of live music from past tours. This most recent one includes “I can see now,” “American dreaming,” “Sanvean” and “Rakim.”

Pick ’em up now, share your email and stay tuned for more tour details.

Here to help get you excited is this video for “The Lotus Eaters,” one of my favorite DCD songs.




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