30-Day Song Challenge Day #22


Day 22: A song that moves you forward

“A Plea from a Cat Named Virtute,” which is basically a pep talk from a pet to a person paralyzed by doubt and depression, is a song that can get me going.

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30-Day Song Challenge Day #21


Day 21: A song you like with a person’s name in the title

Not only is “Sweet Susan” by Mamadou a song I like with a person’s name in the title, but I really, really like Susan, my wife.

30-Day Song Challenge Day #15


Day 15: A song that you like that is a cover by another artist

Sun Ra released “Nuclear War” in 1984, but Yo La Tengo recorded four different covers of the song.  “Nuclear War (Version 2)” is my favorite because a chorus of children singing profanities just slays me in all figurative uses of that word.

30-Day Song Challenge Day #13


Day 13: A Song You Like from the 70s

The 1970s offers some great songs, and some awful, terrible, no good songs.  “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum is one of the good ones.

I’ve made a top ten list for every year of my life, so if you want to see more songs I like from the 1970s, check out these pages:

Album Review: Be the Cowboy by Mitski


AlbumBe the Cowboy
Artist: Mitski
Release Date: 17 August 2018
Favorite Tracks: “A Geyser,” “A Pearl,” “Me and My Husband,” “Nobody,” “Washing Machine Heart,” and “Two Slow Dancers.”
Thoughts: Something of a concept album from the point of view of a married woman expressing her angst and ennui underneath a cheerful veneer. I love Mitski’s dynamic vocals and her guitar-playing style. She’s versatile musically too, transitioning through country, disco, and electro-pop without breaking a sweat. Lyrically she has a power with words to express introspection and vulnerability, even if it’s coming from the point of view of a character.
Rating: ***1/2

Podcasts of the Week Ending September 8


StarTalk :: The Stars that Guide Us

Discussion of the traditions of celestial navigation used by Polynesian voyagers to traverse wide expanses of the Pacific Ocean.

To The Best of Our Knowledge :: What’s Wrong With Work?

Work is bunk.  Find out why employment is meaningless and “work ethic” is just there to control us, along with some more human alternatives.

Hidden Brain :: Bullshit Jobs

Another podcast goes in depth on how meaningless work is wearing us down.  I sense a theme.

Twenty Thousand Hertz :: Jingles

Catchy tunes have been used to sell things since the early days of radio.  This episode also offers a good deep dive into the phenomena of earworms and how to defeat them.

Hub History :: War, Plague, and the World Series

I’ve long been fascinated by the great number of significant events that happened in Boston around 1918-1919.  This episode is an interview with Skip Desjardins who wrote a book about what in just September 1918.

99% Invisible :: The First Straw

Drinking straws have been in the news lately as they’re being banned for being a pollutant.  This episode explores the origin of straws, their beneficial purposes, and possible alternatives to straws.

99% Invisible :: Double Standards

Yes, a double dose of 99 P.I. this week! This episode discusses blepharoplasty, a controversial cosmetic surgery which makes the eyes of people of Asian descent look more “Western.”

Decoder Ring :: The Paper Doll Club

Paper dolls are a toy that has fallen out of popularity with children, but there are sizable communities of adults who collect and design paper dolls, and a surprising connection with queer identity.

Risk! :: Man at Hawaii

Risk! host Kevin Allison tells the story of how his Catholic high school missionary trip lead him to become a storyteller.