2013 Year in review: WordPress Annual Report


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 29,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

2013 Year in Review: Favorite Books


Here’s my annual list of my ten favorite books read in the year.  As always, this is merely the best books I read this year not books published in 2013.  For previous years see 201220112010200920082007 and 2006. You may also want to check out My Favorite Books of All Time or see Every Book I’ve Ever Read cataloged in Library Thing.

In no particular order:

And the complete list of books read in 2013 (books published in 2013 are in bold). And yes, I do intend to catch up on my book reviews as soon as I can:

January

  • Band of Demonby Rob Blackwell – ***1/2
  • The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt (A) – *1/2
  • Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku (A) – **

February

  • Walkable City by Jeff Speck – ****
  • A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage (A) – ***
  • Take Five: Poems in 5/4 Time by Tad Richards – ***
  • The Price of Inequality by Joseph E. Stiglitz (A) – ***

March

April

  • Doctor Who: The Forgotten by Tony Lee – **
  • We3 by Grant Morrison – *
  • Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy (A) – ***
  • Transatlantic by Colum McCann – ****
  • Laika by Nick Abadzis – ****
  • Back to Our Future by David Sirotta – ***1.2
  • Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield (A) – ****

May

  • A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon (A) – **
  • Through Time by Andrew Cartmel – ***
  • The Discontinuity Guide by Paul Cornell, Martin Day and Keith Topping – **1/2

June

  • Cape Cod by Henry David Thoureau – ***1/2
  • Star Trek the next generation / Doctor Who. Assimilation² written by Scott & David Tipton with Tony Lee ; art by J.K. Woodward v1 – ***
  • Atlantic by Simon Winchester (A) – **
  • Who Could That Be At This Hour? by Lemony Snicket – ***
  • Doctor Who : the writer’s tale by Russell T. Davies and Benjamin Cook – **
July
  • Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein – ****1/2
  • My Song by Harry Belafonte (A) – ***1/2
  • Because I Said So by Ken Jennings – **1/2

August

September

October

November

December

What did you read in 2013, and what did you love?  Let me know in the comments.

Book Review: Fables: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham


Author: Bill Willingham
TitleFables: Legends in Exile
Publication Info: New York : DC Comics, c2002
ISBN978-1401237554
Summary/Review:

Characters from fables and folklore have been forced out of their magical lands and forced to reside in New York, many disguising themselves to look like “mundane” humans.  In this first story, Bigby Wolf (the anthropomorphized Big Bad Wolf) is the sheriff of Fabletown investigating the brutal murder of Rose Red, with the assistance/interference of her sister Snow White (who is deputy mayor).  The story follows a basic police procedural routine leading up to a parlor room summation that is commented on within the story.  The premise of Fables intrigued me, but as it is basically a detective story with requisite comic book gore thrown around, it didn’t quite deliver.  Still there are enough elements of a hidden past and hints of a greater story to make me want to try to read more.
Recommended books: The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde

Rating: ** 1/2

2013 Year in Review: Favorite Songs


With the top ten or so songs listed for every year of my existence, it’s time for the year-end review of my favorite songs of 2013.

For previous year-end lists of previous years check out my lists for 2012,  2011,  2010  and  2009.

I’ve featured many of this songs in my Song of the Week posts this year.  If you see a link from a song title it will take you back to the Song of the Week post for that song.

San Francisco – Foxygen

That’s ok, I was bored anyway

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GMF – John Grant

You could be laughing 65% more of the time

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.Number 9 – Moon Hooch

Please stand away from the platform edge

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A Tattered Line of String – The Postal Service

In the glow of the nights golden hue

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Fam Jam (Fe Sum Immigrins) – Shad

Now when you’re Third World born, but First World formed/
Sometimes you feel pride, sometimes you feel torn

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White Foxes – Susanne Sundfør 

For the gravy of your soul

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Indians From All Directions – A Tribe Called Red feat. Das Racist

To the L to the L to the L to the Ella

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Delicate Cycle – The Uncluded

And my heart started with a quarter

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Step – Vampire Weekend

The truth is she doesn’t need me to protect her

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Slyd – !!!

No, that’s weird

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Honorable Mentions:

Song Most Often Played at the Request of My 5 y.o. Son:

Feel this Moment – Pitbull feat. Christina Aguilera

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Funniest Viral Song that You Can Dance To:

The Fox – Ylvis

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Best Boston History Lesson Set to Music:

The Great Boston Molasses Flood – The Dead Milkmen

[Listen on The Dead Milkmen website]

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Best Drunken Barroom Sing-a-Long of a Traditional American Folk Song:

Shenandoah – Tom Waits w/ Keith Richards

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Scariest Song You Can Dance To:

The Terror – Flaming Lips

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Best Song That I Was A Part Of Creating With a Video That’s Not Safe For Work:

The Wolf is on the Hill – Beck (arranged by Krissy Skare, performed by a 50 voice chorus, choreography by Sugar Dish)

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Let me know what you think of these songs in the comments, and of course, let me know you’re favorites for 2013

Ten Favorite Songs of 2012


The project continues with my favorite songs of 2012.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

I originally covered 2012 with a Year in Review post.

Bright Whites – Kishi Bashi

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Caliban’s Dream –  Underworld

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Cartao Postal – Souljazz Orchestra

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Default – Django Django

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Dirty Money –  Antibalas

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Goatman – Goat

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Hold on When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It – Stars

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Look at This – A Tribe Called Red

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Oblivion – Grimes

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Same Love – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert

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And here are five songs from 2012 worthy of an honorable mention:

Akale Wube –  Debo Band

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Dog Physics – Plaid Dragon

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Gun Has No Trigger – Dirty Projectors

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Here Again – Quantic and Alice Russell

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Please Forgive My Heart – Bobby Womack

And there you have 40 years music and over 400 songs that helped define my life!

Stay tuned for the best songs of 2013.

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Beer Review: Ommegang Wild at Heart


Beer: Wild at Heart
Brewer: Brewery Ommegang
Source: 750 ml. bottle
Rating:  **** (8 of 10)
Comments: Popped the cork on another fancy beer that pours out with a rich amber hue and thick white head.  I detected a whiff of tropical fruit and the taste is a tart fruitiness with a dry finish.  Yu

Beer Review: My Antonia


Beer: My Antonia Pilsner
Brewer: Dogfish Head Brewery
Source: 22 oz bottle
Rating: *** (8.3 of 10)
Comments: This is a fancy, champagne of beers type of beer, that pours out in a golden haze with a thick lumpy head.  The aroma is sweet and flowery, while the taste is a nice balance of hops, malt and fruity yeast.  The empty glass features stratigraphic layers of lace with a lot of leftover foam.  Yummy!

 

Ten Favorite Songs of 2011


The project continues with my favorite songs of 2011.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

I originally covered 2011 with a Year in Review post.

Bite of My Soul – The Fleshtones

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Cruel – St. Vincent

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Eleven –  Thao & Mirah

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Helplessness Blues – Fleet Foxes

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No Banker Left Behind –  Ry Cooder

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Romance – Wild Flag

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Santa Fe – Beirut 

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Shake It Out – Florence + The Machine 

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Up Up Up – The Givers

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We Are Young – fun. feat. Janelle Monáe

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And three songs from 2011 worth an honorable mention:

Bizness –  tUnE-yArDs

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Midnight City–  M83

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Turn It On – Waines 

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Ten Favorite Songs of 2010


The project continues with my favorite songs of 2010.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

2010 was the second time I published a year-end list of favorite songs, offering a chance to see what’s changed in the intervening years.

Bloodbuzz Ohio – The National 

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The Cave – Mumford & Sons 

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Down By The Water – The Decembrists

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Horchata – Vampire Weekend 

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Howlin’ For You – Black Keys

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MC’s Can Kiss – Uffie 

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Money Grabber – Fitz and the Tantrums 

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Rill Rill – Sleigh Bells 

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Rolling in the Deep – Adele

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The Sweetest Thing – JJ Gray and Mofro 

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And three songs from 2010 worth of an honorable mention:

Fuck You  – Cee Lo Green

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Good Day Today – David Lynch 

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Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) – Arcade Fire

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Ten Favorite Songs of 2009


The project continues with my favorite songs of 2009.  Read the first post for the detail on this project.

2009 is the first time I made a list of favorite songs at the end of the year, so we can look back and see what songs stood the test of time, and what songs I’ve learned of in the intervening years.

The End is Near – The Fiery Furnaces

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Home – Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros

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Inspiration Information – Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

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People Got a Lot of Nerve – Neko Case

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The Rake’s Song – The Decemberists

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Sabali  – Amadou & Mariam

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Stillness is the Move – The Dirty Projectors

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The Strangers – St. Vincent

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Two Weeks – Grizzly Bear

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Wavin’ Flag  – K’naan

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And here are four additional songs from 2009 that I thought worthy of an honorable mention:

Bonkers – Dizzee Rascal & Armand Van Helden

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I and Love and You – Avett Brothers

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My Girls – Animal Collective

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1901 – Phoenix

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What were your favorite songs of the last year of the last decade?