Monday, January 09, 2017

This was the year that was ... in 2016 Dodo Avatars! #Dodo #2016inReview

Here's the year in my dodo avatars:





























Sunday, January 08, 2017

This was the year that was ... my new music from 2016 #2016Music #2016inReview

This year I'm going to start off by listing my favorite releases of the year. It was a hard year to make top picks. Some releases by classic artists who then died, some simply classic (or future classics.

First, let me note that both David Bowie (Black Star) and Leonard Cohen's (You Want it Darker?) could easily vie for my top spot. Likewise, The Rolling Stones (Blue and Lonesome) and Green Day (Revolution Radio) turned in albums that will eventually lodge in the top of their all time best. Another veteran, Bob Weir (Blue Mountain) waxed a stellar low key album. And since he's for a wristband, let's not forget to name check  Rhymin' Simon's Stranger to Stranger.

In the more recent artist category, Bastille's Wild World and Regina Spektor's Remember Us to Life stayed on my frequent play list from the time they were released. 

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds released Skeleton Tree, a simply brilliant addition to their work.

But the top album for me was the sprawl-y, hooky, sloppy, brilliant mess (in the mold of Exile on Main Street) that was Miranda Lambert's Weight of These Wings. Forget about the soap-opera that was her life the past year, forget it's "Country" if that turns you off, forget she's "Hell on Heels" or "Platinum" or even a "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend", Weight of These Wings is full of brilliantly executed music ... 

In a year that, as the meme says, was like a dumpster fire, there was some pretty good music. There were significant losses over the year, so let's look back at them first before we get to the full list:
* * * * * 

But on a happier note, here's my music year in review. I'll also add as a bonus, one I missed at the end of last year, The Hollywood Vampires' The Hollywood Vampires (September 15, 2015) -- most excellent!

If I had to name a Top Fifteen, this would be it (in order of release):
  1. David Bowie, Black Star (January 8, 2015)
  2. Bonnie Raitt, Dig in Deep (February 26, 2016)
  3. Iggy Pop, Post Pop Depression (March 18, 2016)
  4. Paul Simon, Stranger to Stranger (June 3, 2016)
  5. Jeff Beck, Loud Hailer (July 15, 2016)
  6. Ingrid Michaelson, It Doesn't Have to Make Sense (August 26, 2016)
  7. Bastille, Wild World (September 9, 2016)
  8. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Skeleton Tree (September 9, 2016)
  9. Devendra Banhart, Ape in Pink Marble (September 23, 2016)
  10. Bob Weir, Blue Mountain (September 30, 2016)
  11. Regina Spektor, Remember Us to Life (September 30, 2016)
  12. Green Day, Revolution Radio (October 7, 2016)
  13. Leonard Cohen, You Want it Darker? (October 21, 2016)
  14. Miranda Lambert, Weight of These Wings (November 18, 2016)
  15. The Rolling Stones, Blue and Lonesome (December 2, 2016)
Honorable Mentions:
  1. Loretta Lynn, Full Circle (March 4, 2016)
  2. Radiohead, Moon Shaped Pool (May 8, 2016)
  3. Paul Simon, Stranger to Stranger (June 3, 2016)
  4. Phish, Big Boat (October 7, 2016)
  5. Pretenders, Alone (October 21, 2016)
In the list of re-releases or "from the vaults", I'll add:
  • Allman Brothers Band, Live from A&R Studios (April 1, 2016)
  • Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Miss Sharon Jones! (August 19, 2016)
  • The Beatles, Live at the Hollywood Bowl (September 9, 2016)
  • Bob Dylan, The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert (Live) (December 2, 2016)
Let's not forget a couple of singles:

Singles:
  • "No," Meghan Trainor
  • "Used to Love You," Gwen Stefani
And now, the complete Albums of 2016:

JANUARY
  • David Bowie, Black Star (January 8, 2015)
  • Megadeath, Dystopia (January 22, 2015)
  • Aoife O'Donovan, In the Magic Hour (January 22, 2016)
  • Dressy Bessy, Kingsized (February 5, 2016)
FEBRUARY
  • Bonnie Raitt, Dig in Deep (February 26, 2016)
MARCH
  • Gwen Stefani, This Is What the Truth Feels Like (March 18, 2016)
  • Loretta Lynn, Full Circle (March 4, 2016)
  • Iggy Pop, Post Pop Depression (March 18, 2016)
APRIL
  • Allman Brothers Band, Live from A&R Studios (April 1, 2016)
  • Graham Nash, This Path Tonight (April 15, 2016)
  • Santana, Santana IV (April 15, 2016)
  • Ace Frehely, Origins, Vol. 1 (April 15, 2016)
  • Brian Eno, Ship (April 29, 2016)
MAY
  • The Rides, Pierced Arrow (May 6, 2016)
  • Cyndi Lauper, Detour (May 6, 2016)
  • Meghan Trainor, Thank You (May 2016)
  • Bob Dylan, Fallen Angels (May 20, 2016)
  • Eric Clapton, I Still Do (May 20, 2016)
  • Mudcrutch, 2 (May 20, 2016)
  • Radiohead, Moon Shaped Pool (May 8, 2016)
JUNE
  • Paul Simon, Stranger to Stranger (June 3, 2016)
  • Neil Young, Earth (June 17, 2016)
JULY
  • Heart, Beautiful Broken (July 8, 2016)
  • Jeff Beck, Loud Hailer (July 15, 2016)
AUGUST
  • Dolly Parton, Pure and Simple (August 19, 2016)
  • Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Miss Sharon Jones! (August 19, 2016)
  • Ingrid Michaelson, It Doesn't Have to Make Sense (August 26, 2016)
SEPTEMBER
  • Soundwalk Collective with Jesse Paris Smith featuring Patti Smith, Killer Road (September 2, 2016)
  • Wilco, Schmilco (September 9, 2016)
  • Bastile, Wild World (September 9, 2016)
  • The Beatles, Live at the Hollywood Bowl (September 9, 2016)
  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Skeleton Tree (September 9, 2016)
  • Daniel Lanois, Goodbye to Language (September 9, 2016)
  • Meat Loaf, Braver Than We Are (September 16, 2016)
  • Devendra Banhart, Ape in Pink Marble (September 23, 2016)
  • Bob Weir, Blue Mountain (September 30, 2016)
  • Marianne Faithfull, No Exit (September 30, 2016)
  • Van Morrison, Keep Me Singing (September 30, 2016)
  • Regina Spektor, Remember Us to Life (September 30, 2016)
OCTOBER
  • Phish, Big Boat (October 7, 2016)
  • Lisa Loeb, Feel What U Feel (October 7, 2016)
  • Leonard Cohen, You Want it Darker? (October 21, 2016)
  • Pretenders, Alone (October 21, 2016)
  • Green Day, Revolution Radio (October 7, 2016)
  • Kacy Musgraves, A Very Kacey Christmas (October 28, 2016)
NOVEMBER
  • Miranda Lambert, Weight of These Wings (November 18, 2016)
  • Bridget Medler, Nemesis (November 18, 2016)
DECEMBER
  • The Rolling Stones, Blue and Lonesome (December 2, 2016)
  • Bob Dylan, The Real Royal Albert Hall 1966 Concert (Live) (December 2, 2016)
  • Neil Young, Peace Trail (December 9, 2016)


Sunday, January 01, 2017

This was the year that was ... my reading from 2016 #2016Books #2016inReview

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62
books
13,922
pages
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The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber
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SHORTEST BOOK
15 pages
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
by 
LONGEST BOOK
1,515 pages
Notes of a Botanist on the Amazo...
by 
Notes of a Botanist on the Amazon and Andes by Richard Spruce
AVERAGE LENGTH
244 pages
MOST POPULAR
144,651
people also read
The Sound and the Fury
by 
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Horizon Report by The New Media Consortium
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LEAST POPULAR
1
person also read
Horizon Report: 2016 Higher Educ...
by 
MY AVERAGE RATING FOR 2016
4.4
Is University Research Missing What Matters? by The Chronicle of Higher Edu...
HIGHEST RATED ON GOODREADS
Is University Research Missing What Matters?
by 
it was amazing
5.00 average
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MY 2016 BOOKS

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Catching up on some quotes from Empire of the Sun (1984) and pic from Shanghai visit

Empire of the Sun by J. G. Ballard (1984)

His father was physically a strong man, but Jim knew that it was the kind of strength that came from playing tennis.

Jim had little idea of his own future—life in Shanghai was lived wholly within an intense present—but he imagined himself growing up to be like Mr. Maxted. Forever accompanied by the same glass of whiskey and soda, or so Jim believed, Mr. Maxted was the perfect type of the Englishman who had adapted himself to Shanghai, something that Jim’s father, with his seriousness of mind, had never really done.

He always looked forward to the evening drives through the center of Shanghai, this electric and lurid city more exciting than any other in the world.

Plant classification was an entire universe of words; every weed in the camp had a name. Names surrounded everything; invisible encyclopedias lay in every hedge and ditch.

None of the Japanese at Lunghua Airfield had given the aircraft the briefest glance. Fires were still burning in the hangars by the pagoda, and a cloud of steam rose from the bombed engineering sheds.

His mother and father were agnostics, and Jim respected devout Christians in the same way that he respected people who were members of the Graf Zeppelin Club or shopped at the Chinese department stores, for their mastery of an exotic foreign ritual.

We’re the Lunghua Sophomores, We’re the girls every boy adores, C.A.C. don’t mean a thing to me, For every Tuesday evening we go on a spree . . . . As he crossed the parade ground toward E Block, Jim paused to watch the Lunghua Players rehearsing their next concert party on the steps of Hut 6. The leader of the troupe was Mr. Wentworth, the manager of the Cathay Bank, whose exaggerated and theatrical manner fascinated Jim. He enjoyed the amateur dramatics, when everyone involved was at the center of public attention.

We’ve debates and lectures too, And concerts just for you . . . .


Rumor and confusion had exhausted everyone in Lunghua. During July the American air attacks had become almost continuous. Waves of Mustangs and Lightnings flew in from the air bases on Okinawa, strafing the airfields around Shanghai, attacking the Japanese forces concentrated at the mouth of the Yangtze. From the balcony of the ruined assembly hall Jim witnessed the destruction of the Japanese military machine as if he were watching an epic war film from the circle of the Cathay Theater. The apartment houses of the French Concession were hidden by hundreds of smoke columns that rose from burning trucks and ammunition wagons. Fearful of the Mustangs, the Japanese convoys moved only after dusk, and the sound of their engines kept everyone awake night after night. Sergeant Nagata and his guards had given up any attempt to patrol the camp’s perimeter for fear of being shot by the military police supervising the convoys.

“Basie . . .” A familiar thought occurred to Jim. “Has the next war effectively begun?” “That’s a way of putting it, Jim. I’m glad I helped you with your words.”

“Shanghai? That’s one dangerous city, Jim. You need more than luck in Shanghai.

He had learned nothing from the war because he expected nothing, like the Chinese peasants whom he now looted and shot. As Dr. Ransome had said, people who expected nothing were dangerous. Somehow, five hundred million Chinese had to be taught to expect everything.

Jim remembered the light that lay over the land, the shadow of another sun. Here, at the mouths of the great rivers of Asia, would be fought the last war to decide the planet’s future.

He had failed to grasp the truth that millions of Chinese had known from birth, that they were all as good as dead anyway, and that it was self-deluding to believe otherwise.

Jim suspected that while he sat through another double feature at the Cathay Theater the car was being rented out as a film prop.