Wednesday, December 08, 2004

on the word "disgruntled"

Technically, calling the soldiers who confronted Rumsfeld today "disgruntled" is a correct use of the word. According to my Yahoo! Reference, it means "to cause unhappiness by failing to satisfy the hopes, desires, or expectations of."

In terms of real-world communication, however, there's a full five-piece set of baggage attached to the word. In general, we do not use the term "disgruntled employee" to describe someone who complains to HR or lays out some hard truths for their boss. No, we save that term for the employee who keys the boss's car or slashes his tires in the parking lot after work. Or we use it to describe former employees who take out their frustration by returning to work with a shotgun.

Disgruntled employees are those who take out their anger with excessive inappropriateness. The subtext to the subtext is that their disgruntled-ness is misplaced or unfounded.

Does any of that apply here? Exactly what information does the AP (no point in holding Fox to any standard) have to support the use of this inflammatory term?

Saturday, December 04, 2004

online music revisited

Hmm. I just reread my early post about the Rolling Stone 50 list and realized it appears to have been edited by a chipmunk (moi), who while cutting large chunks of rambling also decimated the point I thought I was making.

It's not that Rhapsody doesn't have a good selection. It does. Most online services have similar content, because once the music labels finally chucked their Napster-terror and agreed to online distribution, they OK'd it for everyone. (Credit my old alma mater MusicNet for contributing a lot of the groundwork.)

So when an artist's entire or near-entire collection is inaccessible, it means that whoever owns the rights just isn't interested in online distribution. And when you see a list of about 40 top artists and only a handful are still balking, well, I think a little exasperation is understandable.

rhapsody rock school

Hurray! Check out this blog for Rhapsody subscribers: rhapsody rock school: "from the musical mindes of the people who brought you Rhapsody"--I'm guessing this is some of the old bunch.

There are about 15 contributors, and they post news as well as share playlists. Scroll down and there's a playlist of 39 of the Rolling Stone 50 list.


Friday, December 03, 2004

a "political public service message"

Salon Politics reports on "Our Leader" billboards in Florida. Leaving aside certain parallels, I was struck by another phrase on the billboard: "a political public service message brought to you by Clear Channel Outdoor."

Exactly what is a political public service message? Is this as in "it is in the public interest to support the current regime", with the corollary that it is NOT in the public interest to oppose the current regime? Public service messages generally advocate behaviors that the vast majority agrees with (at least in the abstract): "don't do drugs/alcohol/nicotine", "protect children from abuse", "stay in school", etc.. While there can be an element of political agenda, the most effective ones are apolitical. But they do all have one thing in common: they take a tone that says "we know better". They say our way is the right way, and its time to shape up and fly straight or suffer the consequences.

Hmm. I think we'll need to keep this attitude in mind in the coming years. We've already seen vast and varied attempts to somehow shame people into supporting the status quo regardless of their performance. Something tells me we ain't seen nothin' yet.

online music

So I decided to take advantage of my Rhapsody online music account to listen to the recent Rolling Stone Top 50 rock songs of all time. I really expected that services like Rhapsody would create a playlists such as this for their subscribers, but no.

So I decided to create my own. And I quickly found out why it was a no go. Here's a list of artists from the list with almost *no* music available online:

The Beatles (I seem to remember something about Michael Jackson outbidding McCartney for the rights??) There is only one Beatles album: "In The Beginning".

Led Zeppelin Zep is not even listed in my Rhapsody catalog. Not one song. Although it was a little scary to see all the remakes of Stairway to Heaven. Anyone ever hear the classic Dolly Parton cover???

Eagles One compilation song only, that huge hit "Rasta Harvest".

Ray Charles This one was intensely disappointing. Only a few albums, and only a few songs available on each. Significant exception is the tremendous "The Birth Of Soul (1952-1959)" which unfortunately doesn't include "Georgia on My Mind" which was recorded in 1960. The only "Georgia" recording available is a live performance from 2002 on the less-than-stellar "Late in the Evening".

On the flip side, a number of artists from the list are gloriously accessible, which extensive collections online, including:

Bob Dylan
The Rolling Stones
Aretha Franklin
The Beach Boys
Elvis Presley
The Who
Sam Cooke (somewhat smaller collection but still representative)
The Clash
Jimi Hendrix
Bruce Springsteen
Otis Redding
Johnny Cash
David Bowie

Note: I work in the online music field, and its my perception that most online services have most available titles. I don't know of any artists that are exclusive to a service, although some individual tracks might be, at least for a limited preview.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

answering the bushies

With regard to the breathtakingly outrageous "tax simplification" proposals put out by the administration today:

Can we please not get suckered in *again* by the Bushie's trick of throwing pie at us just so we'll be grateful when they squirt us with seltzer?

If we follow past patterns, we'll spend the next weeks yammering ad nauseum about how catastrophic these policies would be, analyzing them, drumming up facts and figures, etc.

Then the bushies come out with a different policy thats only slightly less extreme, and it sucks all the wind out of our sails.

Let's do something different this time. Lets start talking about some tax simplification proposals that really *are* moderate, revenue neutral, etc. Then the general public has some real opportunity to compare policies, instead of between ultra-outrageous and simply nowhere-close-to-fair.

Note to Congress: You don't have to drop pointing outraged fingers to do this. Do both. Make sure people *know* exactly how outrageous these proposals are, in addition to showing them a better, more responsible way.

tax on jobs

Seen in Eschaton Comments:

Republicans clearly believe that people who work for a living should pay more of the tax burden and people who collect money from invested wealth should pay less.

It is a tax on jobs.

Monday, November 15, 2004

litany versus narrative

Kevin Drum irritates everyone today by pointing out that the reason Dems have a litany and no resonant narrative is because we've already achieved so much of our agenda we've been reduced to backing and filling in response to Repub erosions.

While my initial reaction to this post was "what rose-colored world are you living in???", I realize that its the prospect of losing all those things won last centery that makes it seem so catastrophic. Things look bad because we measure them against what we had, not pie in the sky we hope for.

Also, Kevin's post made me realize that Dems don't so much lack a narrative as we do a *new* narrative. Our narrative is decades old, and it's all about achieving what in many ways we already have achieved. The narrative still has great value as our core, but it no longer has resonance.

So instead of maintainance repair people, we should be thinking like designers. At the same time, our design should be solidly built on the basic foundations that are currently crumbling away, so that we simultaneously shore them up as well as proving their worth and our consistency.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

12-step program for the "blues"

For anyone who doesn't already check Mark Fiore's weekly flash comic, this week's is a must see. Be sure to catch all the details, including the disclaimer on the last screen!

The Depressed Democrat's Guide to Recovery