Monday, May 24, 2010

Music Monday: I Love Me Some Bari Sax

Listening to someone rock out on a bari sax is really special. It's like watching Lindsey Vonn slalom on men's skis. It's not supposed to be possible, but it's this wonderful combination of finesse and power that is irresistible.

DJ Kool: Let Me Clear My Throat
That bari sax line is great. It gets stuck in my head and I can't get it out.

Menomena: Weird
I like these guys. They are especially good live: In Juan's Basement and in Paris (the dancing kids are the best part).

Charles Mingus: Moanin'
Ronnie Cuber brings it with the bari that opens this tune.

Stan Kenton's band (Greg Smith on bari): A Smith Named Greg
Skip to 2:15 for the good part. The beginning is lovely, but it's not until 2:15 that he starts kicking it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Video Series: Look Around You

I have seen many educational videos in my day, but these are the best. The series is called Look Around You. Here are some examples:
  • Maths: The round curve that meets up with itself (if it only had a name)
  • Germs: The mitotene germ incubation
  • Music: "Number 9 of the series" (nice Beatles reference)
  • Iron: "We are working with AC/DC because it's heavy metal"
I am so much smarter now. Other topics include Ghosts, Sulpher, Brain, Calcium, Water, and Computer Games.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Music Monday: Running Music

Someone I follow on Twitter (@samjshah) asked for suggestions for workout music. I don't workout in a gym, but I go for runs in the woods by my home. Here are some of the songs I am listening to while on my runs:

Start with:

In the middle:
The English Beat: Ranking Full Stop
Vampire Weekend: A-Punk
Naughty by Nature: OPP

The big finish:
Animal Collective: Peacebone

BTW: I now have some great running headphones (Sennheiser PMX80). They have good sound, never slip even a little bit, and are washable.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Extended Tweet: Clarence Thomas and Blackness

Here is an attempt to expand on a discussion that started on Twitter. Here are some quotes from the back and forth we had:
  • hemantmehta: Black people don't really claim [Supreme Court Justice] Clarence [Thomas]. Just saying.
  • dcox21: Why's that? Must one think a certain way to be considered 'black?'
  • hemantmehta: I think that's what a lot of the black community would say, but you'd have to ask them!
  • dcox21: Am I the only one who sees the irony in that? "You're different from us so we exclude you." Seems like we're moving backwards.
  • me: There is no irony in folks disliking a judge with politics that are opposite theirs. Thomas is conservative. Most blacks are not.
  • dcox21: But aren't most blacks conservative when it comes to moral issues?
This dialog kept on for a while, but eventually I decided that I needed more than 140 words for my reply.

Let's face it, when we look at the Supreme Court, diversity comes up as an issue. White people make mention of Thomas' blackness as if it is a nod to racial diversity on the court. In my opinion, this is very superficial. The value of diversity in any governmental entity is not to have a group picture that looks like The Mod Squad. The value of diversity is to represent a broad range of values and perspectives.

When hemantmehta indicated that blacks don't claim Thomas, he meant that most blacks don't believe that he shares their values. When it comes to anyone in government, that's a pretty important consideration: Do people in power share your values? Thomas is pretty conservative, but most blacks are pretty liberal. It's true that many religious blacks have some morally conservative inclinations, but overall, their politics are still liberal (regardless of the race of the candidate).

Does this mean that blacks exclude Thomas from black society? No, he's still a brotha (even if he's a hypocritical one), but it means that blacks will always bristle at the idea that he represents us in any way on the Supreme Court. I know that justices aren't supposed to represent any constituency, but the fact is that he was selected because of his skin color, yet his jurisprudence doesn't reflect any values to which most blacks can relate. Trading Marshall for Thomas was a pretty brutal downgrade.

Music Monday: Guess the Title...Wrong!

Some songs have odd titles, but some of my favorites are the songs for which most people assume that the dominant phrase from the chorus is the title, but it isn't.

The Clash: Train in Vain
Most obvious (but wrong) title: Did You Stand by Me
Neither "Train" nor "Vain" appear in lyrics at all. Heck, "in" only appears once and it's a freakin' preposition! Heard this song today on Slacker Radio and it motivated me to finally write this up. The seed of this post was planted during the Super Bowl halftime show when I heard The Who perform ....

The Who: Baba O'Riley
Most obvious (but wrong) title: Teenage Wasteland
Neither Baba nor O'Riley appear in lyrics.

Simon and Garfunkel: 59th Street Bridge Song
Most obvious (but wrong) title: Feelin' Groovy
No bridges or streets are mentioned, but I get this title. It's like a pastoral piece. Still, If I played the song for 100 people and asked them to name the title, how many would name it correctly? Certainly not many who were born after Kennedy was shot.

New Order: Love Vigilantes
This is added to the list mostly because I love Iron and Wine's rendition of the song.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Music Monday: A Couple Good, Crude Musical Women

Recently, I have been listening to a fair number of rocking women. Here are a couple that really caught my ear. They both make me smile.

Dahna Rowe: I'm Drunk, You're Ugly (audio at
This is rather crude, but makes me laugh every time I hear it. The country sound with the crude lyrics is a contrast that adds to the amusement for me. If you can't relate to the lyrics, then you were never a twenty-something single.

Lily Allen: Fuck You (video at YouTube)
I know I generally keep my posts clean, but this one has great lyrics. Give it a listen. I like the juxtaposition of her sweet voice with the directness and strength of the lyrics and the crudeness of the chorus. Lily Allen is like a younger, edgier, less mature version of Dido. I like them both, but would like to hear Lily do an acoustic album so her lyrics and sweet voice can stand out in even starker contrast.