My blogging has come to an end. Over the past year I had a lot of posts queued up, but now the well has run dry. Much of my writing for this blog has been in bursts of inspiration, writing anywhere from 3 to 12 posts at a time, and then periodically publishing those posts over time. Now I’ve run out of posts.
I could easily say that I don’t have time to write more, but more often than not when people say they don’t have time what they really mean is that it is just not a priority. And so it is with my writing. I have plenty of ideas of things to write about, but I simply have other priorities. If there were 26 hours in a day, I could easily spend the extra time writing for this blog. But with only 24 hours in a day, the blog has been taking a back seat.
It has been nearly three years since I began this blog and I wanted to thank everyone who has read my ramblings and for all of the comments, especially those that keep me in check because a blog can easily become a soap box if no one talks back and tries to at least correct any mistakes and make counter-arguments.
While there have been many college football coaches who have won multiple national championships, I cannot think of a coach who has won a national championship with two different teams other than Nick Saban.
I’ve heard the song “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd hundreds and hundreds of times, and I’ve played it probably as many times on the guitar over the course of over 15 years. But the amazing thing about the best music is that even after countless times listening to it, it can still reveal new aspects of itself.
The verse and chorus of “Wish You Were Here” is made up of four chords: G, C, D, and A minor. As noted in Wikipedia, “minor chords sound darker than major chords.” What I’ve only just discovered is that in the lyrics of “Wish You Were Here,” the words “hell,” “fear,” and “war” all occur on the change to the A minor chord, the “darker” chord in the song.
By no means is this revelation earth shattering, but it is one of the little things that makes music so fascinating.
Eyes Open by Snow Patrol sat on my shelf for a while because I had bought it at the same time that I bought Snow Patrol’s previous release, Final Straw. While there was nothing bad about Final Straw, nothing made me want to immediately listen to Eyes Open. Some of the radio friendly hits on Eyes Open aren’t bad, such as “Chasing Cars,” “Shut Your Eyes” and “Hands Open,” but two other songs are the standouts.
“Set the Fire to the Third Bar” is a duet featuring the addition of Martha Wainwright on vocals. It seems like such a simple and basic idea to have male and female vocal harmony in a pop song, so why isn’t that done more often these days? Did it go out of style with Fleetwood Mac or have I just not noticed it? Whatever the case, the vocal harmony in “Set the Fire to the Third Bar” works perfectly.
“Open Your Eyes” is the other standout track. The first half of the song builds the tension through the verse and chorus leading to the song breaking out the full band for about a minute and a half of only instrumental music before a short refrain at the end, making for an effective composition.
Overall there are some nice pop songs on Eyes Open, and I probably like Eyes Open a little better than Final Straw, though with the exception of “Set the Fire to the Third Bar” and “Open Your Eyes” none of the songs are really that special.
Rating: 6 out of 10.
When did “what is going to happen” (the future) become more important than “what has happened” (the past)? The question was sparked by comments from Pro Football Weekly editors on how their publication has changed throughout the years. When they first started their weekly publication, they estimated that about 75% of their coverage had to do with recapping and analyzing the previous week’s football games. Now, about 75% of their coverage is about previewing the upcoming week’s games. This shift in focus by the media is prevalent in coverage other industries as well, specifically the financial markets and especially entertainment. When the closing bell rings at the New York Stock Exchange at 4pm, the coverage on CNBC focuses on things such as upcoming earnings releases at 5pm and questions about whether those numbers will beat the street. I think that part of this focus on what has yet to happen is due to these types of 24 hour news networks assuming that you are watching them 24 hours a day. So if you tune in to CNBC at 4pm looking for a recap of the day’s activities, they assume you already know what happened because you were supposed to have been watching their channel the whole day while those events were occurring.
This phenomenon is especially prevalent in the media coverage of entertainment, especially movies. Coverage of movies seems to be singularly focused on what has yet to be released. Entertainment publications are riddled with the latest deals and rumors of any entertainment property that sells its rights to a movie studio. The speculation begins about who will direct and star in the feature film that would be released 5 years from now, if at all. Once a movie has been screened for critics (in advance of its release), it becomes old news. Yet with today’s increasing home viewership of movies through high quality home entertainment systems and cheap DVDs, more and more people are experiencing these movies months after the entertainment media has forgotten about them.
Are we all just living behind the times? Are we all simply experiencing “old news?” Hardly. Rather it is simply that not all consumers feel the need to always live in the future.
Keane’s first album, Hopes and Fears, is a good album in the mold of Coldplay that fit the year 2004 very well. Perfect Symmetry sounds a little too much like generic 80s pop music – so much so that I can’t even single out any tracks to comment upon, as many of them are rather bland. Beyond that, there is nothing really negative about Perfect Symmetry, but there is also nothing compelling that says that this is music that needs to be heard.
Rating: 5 out of 10.
Highway 61 Revisited had been sitting my shelf for years, not being listened to after I didn’t really enjoy The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.
The opening and closing tracks on Highway 61 Revisited are outstanding. “Like a Rolling Stone” really needs no explanation from even someone such as myself who isn’t a fan of Bob Dylan. “Desolation Row” is the other outstanding track.
The rest of the album is rather forgettable. It matters nothing to me that Highway 61 Revisited is Dylan’s first album to be entirely recorded with a band. What matters is if I can still relate to the music that was recorded. Highway 61 Revisited was released in the same year as Rubber Soul (1965). I can easily see why Rubber Soul is considered a classic because in addition to making an impact at the time of its release and influencing many musicians, Rubber Soul also still makes an impact on people who had never heard the album until 30 years after its release (such as myself). I realize that Highway 61 Revisited is regarded as great album (a glance at Wikipedia has all 8 of their “professional reviews” giving it their highest rating), but two great songs do not make a classic album.
Rating: 4 out of 10.
In the last 10 years, 15 teams have been to the World Series, which is exactly half of all Major League Baseball teams. Those teams are as follows:
- Anaheim Angels (2002)
- Arizona Diamondbacks (2001)
- Atlanta Braves (1999)
- Boston Red Sox (2004, 2007)
- Chicago White Sox (2005)
- Colorado Rockies (2007)
- Detroit Tigers (2006)
- Florida Marlins (2003)
- Houston Astros (2005)
- New York Mets (2000)
- New York Yankees (1999, 2000, 2001, 2003)
- Philadelphia Phillies (2008)
- San Francisco Giants (2002)
- St. Louis Cardinals (2004, 2006)
- Tampa Bay Rays (2008)
It bears repeating: half of all Major League Baseball teams have played in the World Series in the past 10 years. No other major sport can boast this many teams in its championship in the past ten years.
Season 4 of Babylon 5 starts out by leaving some questions unanswered from the end of Season 3, but by no means does that affect the enjoyment of this season. Season 4 seems to move along at a rapid pace, with major developments in the overall story arc that were set up in season 1 being resolved only 6 episodes into this season in the episode “Into the Fire.”
Even as conflict with alien races gets resolved, tensions among individual worlds comes to the forefront for the remainder of this season. Plot lines dealing with the rule of the Centauri and Minbari homeworlds play a role in this season, as well as human conflicts on earth and mars.
Season 4 features several unique episodes. “The Illusion of Truth” features impressions of Babylon 5 as portrayed in the media. “Intersections in Real Time” is a gripping episode which is nothing but an interrogation. The season finale “The Deconstruction of Falling Stars” looks ahead to the future in what seems to be a fitting end to the entire series. I’m not certain of this, but I believe that when season 4 ended, no one knew if there would be another season of the show, so the storylines all wrap up nicely at the end of season 4. The season ends so well that it feels like the end of the series, despite another season subsequently being made.
I honestly do not know where the direction of the series will go in season 5, but I do know that I enjoyed season 4 immensely.
Rating: 9 out of 10.
Major League Baseball batters use pine tar to get a better grip on the bat. But they always put the pine tar half way up the length of the bat, and then touch the pine tar to apply it to their hands. Why don’t they just put the pine tar right on the handle where they grip the bat?