Ego Vero Seek and you shall find... Ask and the door shall be opened - page 5

Read This…

Read This…

…then break up into groups to discuss until I get back.

Stray Dog Joins Swedish Adventure Racing Team and Completes Grueling 6 Day Race

Robots Move Into Japanese Homes 

Photos of Two Small Pluto Moons Open The Door To A New Vastness

Music Friday – 1974 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Music Friday – 1974 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

A cursory glance at the calendar reminds me that it has been about a month since my last Music Friday post, so I missed a couple Fridays in there.  Sorry.  In the pursuit of determining my “Peak Music Year” I have so far examined the BillBoard Hot 100 charts from 1965 thru 1973, now all we have left to look at are 1974 and 1975.  What a long strange trip it’s been.  Today we shall inspect the 1974 Chart.  Lemme just get a quick look at it…holy crap.  This is another one of those schizoid years that bounced all over the place.  There’s no shortage of weirdness either, and the mood changed frequently.  A strange trip indeed.  There are only nine songs that stayed at #1 longer than one week and out of those nine, six stayed at #1 for only two weeks, and three stayed at #1 for three weeks.  So…those three songs must have been killer, right?  Right?  WRONG!  These three songs are examples of everything that was wrong with popular music in the 70’s and quite possibly what was wrong with the actual 70’s.  In hindsight I don’t understand why these songs did not cause protests, riots and mass hysteria in general.  If these songs were “killer” in any sense it would be in the sense that after listening to them one becomes markedly suicidal.  I hesitate to even post them here for fear of alienating the very few readers I have.  OK, here goes.  Just remember I didn’t write them or perform them.  I didn’t like them in 1974 nor do I like them now.

Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks

The Streak by Ray Stevens

(You’re) Having My Baby by Paul Anka with Odia Coates

The list of oddball stuff goes on…Kung Fu FightingThe Night Chicago DiedBilly Don’t be A Hero.  AAARRRRGH.

Hmmm…this may have been a covert plot by Canada to overthrow the U.S. because I see in the Wiki bios of Terry Jacks and Paul Anka that they are Canadians.  That’s it.  There’s no other explanation.  This fact alone may disqualify 1974 as my peak music year.

But wait!  There’s more!  There is a smattering of goodenss if not greatness, especially if you are a folk rock fan.  The 70’s were the hayday of artists like John Denver, Jim Croce, Harry Chapin and Gordon Lightfoot, all of whom had #1 songs that year.  And also in the mix are a few #1’s by ex- Beatles John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and (honorary Beatle) Billy Preston.  But 1974 apparently being the year of the short National Attention Span, these songs stayed at #1 for only one week apiece.

How did I describe 1974 earlier?  Schizophrenic?  Maybe Manic-depressive is a better description.  Or bi-polar as they call it now.  High highs and low lows.  I believe I can safely rule it out as my Peak Music Year, but I won’t rank it last because of a few gems in the pile of rubble.  There is no clear winner this year, so I will simply present a couple of my favorite songs from that year.  Enjoy!  Gotta go!

 

 

In Which I Make Excuses

In Which I Make Excuses

I may have mentioned that I am longer a Man Out Of Work.  I am now a Man Who Seems To Work Every Waking Minute Of His Freaking Life.  But that’s a poor name for a blog.  I’m not complaining, mind you, but I am playing the excuse card for light *non-existent* blogging.

I like blogging.  I want to blog.  I know that all the great bloggers whose blogs I read and who have inspired me to begin blogging work jobs that are undoubtedly more demanding than mine, yet they still crank out the content.  I just haven’t figured out how to make the adjustment from having lots of time to having almost no time.

Right now three things take up virtually 95% of my time.  Work 40%; Sleep 30%;  Wife 25%.   The wife’s time budget has already taken the biggest hit, so there’s no cutting back there.  In fact she is in need of an increase of at least 10%.  Can’t cut back on work, so it looks like sleep is gonna have to take the hit.

We’ll see how it goes.  It should be fairly easy for you to tell:  as the posts get more frequent and less coherent you’ll know I am making an adjustment to my sleep schedule.  Stay tuned!

Cross posted at Men Out Of Work Blog

Who’s Smarter? You or Your TV?

Who’s Smarter?  You or Your TV?

 

Who’s smarter?  You or your TV?  You or your phone?  You or your (fill in the blank)?

We are on the verge of The Internet Of Things where more and more everyday devices we use become “smart” and collect data about us which they transmit to a central collection point somewhere all in the cause of creating for us a better “user experience” or a more convenient life.

So if you want to buy a  “Smart” TV because you need that extra convenience of being able to speak to it instead of wearing out your fingers on the remote, you’r in luck.    Such gadgets are available from major manufacturers including Samsung.  And if your able to speak to it, it’s going to have to be able to listen to you, right?  And in order to obey you, it’s going to have to understand you.  And in order to understand you, it’s going to have to learn about you.

So?  What could possibly go wrong?  I mean, as long as I gets to watch me some TeeVee, it’s all good.

Sure, it’s all good now.  As more and more data is collected the potential for it’s abuse grows.  One thing we know for sure is that if something can be abused, it will be abused.  That, my friends is a lead pipe cinch.  First comes prediction, then manipulation, then outright control.

So when your smart thermostat won’t let you turn the heat up, or your smart car won’t drive you to McDonald’s, or your smart bottle opener won’t open your beer (all for your own good), don’t come whining to me.  Of course, I suppose if a smart tv keeps just one person from watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians it will all be worth it.

Cross posted at Men Out Of Work Blog

Cat Videos…

Cat Videos…

…they are the reason why the internet was invented.

 

 

Music Friday – 1973 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Music Friday – 1973 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Welcome to this week’s Music Friday installment in the project to determine my peak music year.  We are in the home stretch, since starting at 1965 we are now up to the year 1973 with only two more years to go after this.  An initial observation – as we plow forward from the 60’s into the 1970’s, I’m feeling less personal attachent to the music in the BillBoard Hot 100 chart.  One reason for this may be that at this time in my life I was in high school and though I was still exposed to the popular music through the magic of AM Radio (what we had in cars in those days), most of my serious music fare was consumed through my (and my friends’) growing personal music collections and the burgeoning free form FM radio format.  There was little common ground between the AM and FM playlists of the day, and the culture I was part of at that time was more in touch with the FM genre.  So, like I said – an observation.

Here we go: the 1973 BillBoard Hot 100.  This year is similar to 1972 in that it’s a bit of a smorgasbord, though lighter on the bubblegum and with only a little weirdness.  And still, three solo Beatles managed to crack #1 – Paul McCartney with My Love, George Harrison with Give Me Love and Ringo Starr with Photograph.  Another interesting tidbit is that with the exception of only five songs, none of the #1’s spent more than two consecutive weeks at the top spot.  And of those five songs, three spent 4 weeks apiece at the top, and two spent three weeks apiece there.  And finally, no artist or group had multiple #1 songs that year.  So there was no easy obvious runaway “winner” this year, and I could easily call it a three way tie much like I called 1972 a four way tie.  Perhaps we’ll take a poll of the comments?  Of course that would require you, dear reader, to leave a comment.

Here I will present the three songs that spent four weeks apiece at #1, and you can choose your favorite from among them.  First is by Roberta Flack, Killing Me Softly:

Next is the bubblegum entry, Tony Orlando & Dawn with Tie A Yellow Ribbon:

And finally, we have Paul McCartney & Wings with My Love:

Nice mullet, McCartney.  The last offering is the only song of the three that I could say I really like, being a Beatle and McCartney fan.  But it’s nowhere near my favorite McCartney tune.  Even the other songs aren’t horrible, they just aren’t for me.  Safe Bet:  1973 is NOT my peak music year.  That’s all for now – thanks for watching…err…reading.  Listening!  Yeah, that’s the ticket.  See  you soon!

I Told You So…Part Seven Or Eight…

I Told You So…Part Seven Or Eight…

…or I’ve lost count.  Sure, I’ve blathered on about the potential downsides of Artificial Intelligence.  I’ve also expressed my skepticism of the coming Internet of Things.  Certainly I may be paranoid, but even a blind squirrel will eventually find a nut.  No, I have not been found by a blind squirrel.  What I mean is that other less paranoid and more credible people are expressing some of the same misgivings, with actual evidence to back up their concerns.

In this article at TechnologyReview.com, it is posited that the lax security built into comsumer devices, specifically home wireless routers, poses a real hazard to individuals and society in general.  And why is the security so lax in these devices?  Because we as consumers demand it.  We demand easy setup and our attention spans are too short to read more than a 3 step setup process.  So even as we are promised smarter and smarter home appliances and systems, the door is practically wide open for mischief or outright crime.  So when you wake up one morning and your toaster is holding a gun to your head, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Cross posted at Men Out of Work Blog

May I Make A Suggestion?

May I Make A Suggestion?

You may wish to patronize another blog I contribute to:

The Men Out Of Work Blog

There are a couple new things up over there today.  Plus, it’s an Amazon portal, so you can shop.

THANKS!

Music Friday – 1972 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Music Friday – 1972 BillBoard Hot 100 Edition

Sorry I’m late with this – it’ll never happen again.  In fact, forget I said that…this never happened in the first  place.  Welcome to this perfectly on time Music Friday wherein I will examine the BillBoard Hot 100 chart for the year 1972 in furtherance of my attempt to determine my “peak music year”.  A quest, incidentally that was inspired by this post at the Althouse blog.  Althouse is a “who”, not a “where” .  Though she is aware.  Anyway, you should click over and take a look at her blog.  It is well worth your time.  OK, hat-tipping now having been dispensed with, let us move on to the chart.  My first impression is that this years offerings are a fairly diverse group of songs with (without?) one notable absence – there are no counterculture overtones in any of the rock songs.  This seems a little odd to me, given the year.  As I remember that time much of the unrest that began in the late 1960’s was coming to a boil.  Anyway, any social unrest of the time isn’t reflected in the music that charted that year – most of it is pretty typical pop music.  There’s also some serious nonsense, which I will adress in a followup post.

It’s a little difficult to pick a “winner” since no group or artist had multiple songs reach #1, though one artist did reach #1 twice with the same song.  But if I declare him the winner, I will just have to end this right now by hanging myself.  Or treating myself to jumping off a nearby tower.  Because that artist is Gilbert O’Sullivan and the song is Alone Again, Naturally.  Another song worth noting, and possibly worth a “win” based soley on it’s iconic status in popular culture is American Pie (parts I & II) by Don McLean.  It feels a little like the folk-rock protest songs of the day (Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag, anyone?), but McLean’s ballad is a lament – not a protest.  So here you go:

The song with the longest stretch at #1 was The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by Roberta Flack with six weeks at the top.  On that basis I would have to say that it is also a contender for “winner” of 1972.  Give a listen:

There were two other songs that spent four weeks apiece at #1.  One was Without You by Harry Nilsson.  I am a Nilsson fan, though this is not one of my favorites:

The next one was I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash:

Meh.  In my opinion.  Though it did have some longevity – I still hear it today.  But this is about my taste in music.  Me me me.  So, I guess I need to pick a winner.  I know who the loser is – me.  I don’t really care enough about any of these songs to pick a winner.  I’ll call it a four way tie and leave it at that.  Or you can vote for your favorite in the comments and I’ll declare the winner based on that vote count.  No matter what, I know one thing I can declare:  1972 is NOT my “peak music year”.  That is all.  See ya!

 

 

Governor Brown Delivers Hope For San Franciscans, Angelinos

Governor Brown Delivers Hope For San Franciscans, Angelinos

San Francisco and Los Angeles, two cities long isolated from the rest of the physical world and indeed from reality itself, were delivered a beam of hope on Tuesday when ground was broken on the Bullet Train Project by California Governor Jerry Brown.  Travel between the only two cities that really matter in California will now finally be possible.

As anyone with a decent IPO fortune or a journalism degree knows, there are only two cities in California – San Francisco and Los Angeles.  Everything that happens in California revolves around their needs.  A longtime problem has been the fact that to travel between these two points, An Important Person must leave their bubble and pass through long stretches of California’s icky outerlands, populated by working class people, heterosexuals and often *shudder* Republicans, making it difficult for our Politicians and Money Traffickers to maintain their delusion that these places and people don’t exist.  Long sought was a way for the Elite to get back and forth without having to soil their shoes among the commoners.  Many ideas for achieving this outcome have been floated over the years.  One suggestion was to build a giant 400 mile long replica of the Golden Gate Bridge between the two cities, an idea that was quickly scrapped as being “too cheap” and with “not enough downsides”.  The ideas to actually use the existing system of highways for automobile travel, or using readily available and cheap air travel between the dozens of airports in each vicinity were quickly dismissed as being too “reality based” or having been “done to death”.

A problem like this, that is to say a non-existent one, called for a solution that is really big – with a really big price tag.  A price tag with lots and lots of zeroes.  It needed to have a big residual price as well.  It wouldn’t suffice to just have a big one shot spend.  No – what was needed was something that we could spend big on…year after year for eternity.  It would also need a big governing board with highly paid board members so that termed out politicians could have jobs for life.  Next, it would have to be a colossally stupid idea…so sublimely idiotic that in California’s bizarro world it would seem cutting edge and futuristic.  And finally it would need a big reason to exist…We would need it to…to…dare I say it?  To Save The Planet!

Such a big pitch would require a Pitchman extraordinaire.  Legendary California mover and shaker Willie Brown (no relation) was approached to be front man for the project, but declined stating “Are you F***ing crazy?”  If someting of this scale was to be pulled off, it woud require a visionary with a healthy disregard for reality and public opinion.   Since no one has ever accused Governor Brown of not having a good imagination, sometimes bordering on the delusional, he seemed like a natural for the job.

So, the idea of a Bullet Train to save the Planet was born.  And what better way to fund a project like this than with Tax Money We Haven’t Collected Yet (and may never).  A big fantasy project calls for an even bigger fantasy revenue stream, and so since California’s carbon tax money must be used to save the planet after all, we’ve budgeted anticipated Carbon Tax revenues for the project.  And since everyone knows that government tax revenue projections are always spot on, we’re sure to have at least a fraction of the costs covered.  Can we afford it?  How can we not afford it?  The very future of the human race hangs in the balance.  Besides, if that doesn’t work it’ll be a great excuse to raise other taxes later on.  Did I say that out loud?  Never mind.

Thus, a new moon rises over California spreading beams of hope for our beleaguered betters in San Francisco and Los Angeles!  You don’t like the idea?  Why do you hate the planet?  Also – shut up!

So finally, in only a few short decades we’ll be able to shout:  All aboard California’s Bullet Train to Progressive Utopia!  No single use plastic shopping bags, bottled water or e-cigs allowed!  Thank you for your co-operation!

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