Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Music Starter Pack

Are you unpopular? A 98 POUND WEAKLING? Could you get them to notice you if you only liked the right music?

"But," I can hear you say, "I have no idea what type of music I like! Now I will have acne forever!" Sob not, future pillow-biter!

Here are 100 albums and recordings to get you started on your path to Music Awesomination. In this starter set you'll find:

- Music recorded over 6 centuries!

- Chronological arrangement for easy browsing!

- A wide variety of genres for each decade!

- No repeated artists for maximum diversity!

- No Randy Newman!



The Electric Lady by Janelle Monae, 2013
The Suburbs by Arcade Fire, 2012
Radio Music Society by Esperanza Spalding, 2012
Hadestown by Anais Mitchell, 2010
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West, 2010


Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, Neko Case, 2006
The Crane Wife, The Decemberists, 2006
Largo, Brad Mehldau, 2002
Original Pirate Material, The Streets, 2002
Don't Give Up on Me, Solomon Burke, 2002
Discovery, Daft Punk, 2001
Is This It?, The Strokes, 2001
Stories from the City Stories from the Sea, PJ Harvey, 2000
Tanto Tempo, Bebel Gilberto, 2000
Who Is Jill Scott? Words and Sounds Vol. 1, Jill Scott, 2000


Global Underground 013: Ibiza, Sasha, 1999
The Velvet Rope, Janet Jackson, 1997
Jagged Little Pill, Alanis Morissette, 1995
Illmatic, Nas, 1994
Grace, Jeff Buckley, 1994
The Next Hundred Years, Ted Hawkins, 1994
My Life, Mary J. Blige, 1994
A Meeting by the River, Ry Cooder and VM Bhatt, 1993
Anodyne, Uncle Tupelo, 1993
I've Got That Old Feeling, Alison Krauss, 1990


Paul's Boutique, Beastie Boys, 1989
Tracy Chapman, Tracy Chapman, 1988
It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, Public Enemy, 1988
Appetite for Destruction, Guns n Roses, 1987
Graceland, Paul Simon, 1986
Purple Rain, Prince, 1984
Shoot Out the Lights, Richard and Linda Thompson, 1982
Thriller, Michael Jackson, 1982
My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, David Byrne and Brian Eno, 1981
Back in Black, AC/DC, 1980


The Koln Concert, Keith Jarrett, 1975
Rubycon, Tangerine Dream, 1975
Talking Book, Stevie Wonder, 1972
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, David Bowie, 1972
Pink Moon, Nick Drake, 1972
What's Going On, Marvin Gaye, 1971
Led Zeppelin IV, Led Zeppelin, 1971
The Inner Mounting Flame, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, 1971
Pieces of a Man, Gil Scott-Heron, 1971
Tea for the Tillerman, Cat Stevens, 1970


Trout Mask Replica, Captain Beefheart, 1969
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles, 1967
I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You, Aretha Franklin, 1967
Pet Sounds, The Beach Boys, 1966
Highway 61 Revisited, Bob Dylan, 1965
A Love Supreme, John Coltrane, 1964
Live at the Apollo, James Brown, 1963
We Shall Overcome, Pete Seeger, 1963
Breakfast at Tiffany's: Music from the Motion Picture, Henry Mancini, 1962
Two Steps from the Blues, Bobby 'Blue' Bland, 1961


Kind of Blue, Miles Davis, 1959
Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs, Marty Robbins, 1959
The Genius of Ray Charles, Ray Charles, 1959
My Fair Lady: Original London Cast, Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, 1958
Here's Little Richard, Little Richard, 1957
West Side Story: Original Broadway Cast, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, 1957
Ellington at Newport, Duke Ellington, 1956
Elvis Presley, Elvis Presley, 1956
Black Coffee, Peggy Lee, 1956
In the Wee Small Hours, Frank Sinatra, 1955


The Anthology (1947-72), Muddy Waters, 1947-72
Appalachian Spring, Aaron Copland, 1944
Stormy Weather Soundtrack, Original Film Cast, 1943
Dust Bowl Ballads, Woody Guthrie, 1940
The Famous 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert, Benny Goodman, 1938
King of the Delta Blues Singers, Robert Johnson, 1936-37
Ziegfeld Follies of 1936, Ira Gershwin and Vernon Duke, 1936
Anything Goes: Original London Cast, Cole Porter, 1935
Complete Hot Fives and Sevens, Louis Armstrong, 1925-30
Rhapsody in Blue, George Gershwin, 1924


From Argentina to the World, Carlos Gardel, 1917-35
The Rite of Spring, Igor Stravinsky, 1913
La Mer, Claude Debussy, 1905
21 Favorite Arias, Enrico Caruso, 1902-21
Transfigured Night, Arnold Schoenberg, 1899
The Nutcracker, Peter Tchaikovsky, 1892
The Pirates of Penzance, Gilbert and Sullivan, 1879
Carmen, Georges Bizet, 1875
Der Ring des Nibelungen, Richard Wagner, 1869-76
Symphonies, Ludwig van Beethoven, 1800-24
Die Zauberflote, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1791
"Sun" Quartets, Opus 20, Josef Haydn, 1772
St. Matthew's Passion, Johann Sebastian Bach, 1727
Yemenite Songs, Ofra Haza, ~1720
Three Ragas, Ravi Shankar, ~1660
L'Orfeo, Claudio Monteverdi, 1607
Music for the Gods: The Fahnestock South Sea Expedition, Various Performers, ~1600
Missa Papae Marcelli, Palestrina, ~1562
Missa Herculares Dux Ferrariae, Josquin Des Prez, ~1480
Motets, Guillaume de Machaut, ~1377
A Feather on the Breath of God, Hildegard von Bingen, ~1179
Monastic Song: 12th Century Monophonic Chant, Peter Abelard, ~1142
The Spirit Cries: Music from the Rainforests of South America and the Caribbean, Various Performers
China: UNESCO Collection, Various Performers
Aka Pygmy Music, Various Performers

Thursday, November 5, 2015

President's Rankings - Worst Ten

And now, to complete the list, here are the ten worst:

10. William Henry Harrison, Whig. Known for: Shortest Presidency.

Presidential Legacy: Died within the month. That’s it.

Perhaps it’s not fair to critique a President who died of flu 30 days in. He is the first of the (terrible) Whig Presidents (on this list).

09. Millard Fillmore, 1850-1853. Whig. Known for: A lot of the bad stuff before the Civil War.

Presidential Legacy: Oversaw the Compromise of 1850, and the Fugitive Slave Act. Failed Presidency saw the dissolution of his party into the aptly-named ‘Know Nothings’.

The last (terrible) Whig, Fillmore inherited the position when Zachary Taylor died. Much of the tension that would lead to the Civil War began heating up under his tenure.

08. Franklin Pierce, 1853-1857. Democrat. Known for: Hating abolitionists.

Presidential Legacy: Kansas-Nebraska Act / Bleeding Kansas, Gadsen Purchase, Using federal troops to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act. Halted the building of the Washington Monument.

Granted only one term, Pierce made the secessionist situation, begun under Fillmore, a whole lot worse. This is a man who appointed Jefferson Davis Secretary of War.

07. Andrew Johnson, 1865-1869. Democrat. Known for: Screwing up Reconstruction.

Presidential Legacy: Fought nonstop with Congress leading to his Impeachment, Purchased Alaska, Veto of the First Reconstruction Act. Oversaw 14th Amendment passed, and 15th begun.

After Lincoln’s assassination it fell to Southern Democrat Johnson to carry out the late Northern Republican’s vision. Needless to say, it went very badly, largely due to his megalomania.

06. Herbert Hoover, 1929-1933. Republican. Known for: Hoovervilles.

Presidential Legacy: Lack of intervention during the Great Depression/'Volunteerism', Most policies not enacted, Bonus Army - Firing on US troops demanding benefits. But helped Glass-Steagall pass.

The classic example of laissez-faire theory gone wrong, Hoover did little to help as Americans tried to cope with the Depression. One of the few examples of trying to help was to create Hoover Dam.

05. Warren G. Harding, 1921-1923. Republican. Known for: Dying in office.

Presidential Legacy: Established Veteran's Bureau, Teapot-Dome Scandal, Administrative corruption/fraud. He had a number of affairs, some only recently confirmed.

Harding had the odd view of letting each member of his cabinet do what they was best, and basically running amok. With his administration’s failures the beneficial Progressive era officially ended.

04. Ronald Reagan,1981-1989. Republican. Known for: Being an actor.

Presidential Legacy: Iran-Contra Affair, Reaganomics: widening of rich and poor gap/greatest national debt in history/Wall Street deregulation, 'Star Wars' Defense Project, War on Drugs.

Reagan revitalized a Republican party that could have died out with Nixon. Although charismatic, he damaged the middle class economy, ruined international standing, and fought organized labor.

03. Richard Nixon, 1969-1974. Republican. Known for: Watergate.

Presidential Legacy: Escalation of Vietnam to include Laos and Cambodia/Removal of troops from Vietnam, Equal Rights, Chinese and Soviet Diplomacy. Used the ‘Southern Strategy’.

For a man to openly court white supremacists to get elected is bad enough. His lying, paranoia, megalomania, and attempts to sabotage peace talks with Vietnam under Johnson put Nixon near the bottom.

02. James Buchanan, 1857-1861. Democrat. Known for: The collapse of the Union.

Presidential Legacy: Dred Scott Decision, Panic of 1857, Utah War, Deadlocked Congress. Also, you know, watching the country fall apart at the Southern States began secession.

In 1860 the Confederate States split from the Union. For the rest of his term Buchanan did: nothing – not getting troops ready for the now inevitable war, excepting the attack on Fort Sumter.

01. George W. Bush, 2001-2009. Republican. Known for: War on Terror.

Presidential Legacy: Response to 9/11 by invading Afghanistan, War in Iraq and “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, PATRIOT Act, Guantanamo, Homeland Security/Wiretapping, No Child Left Behind, Hurricane Katrina response, Environmental Record - Refusal to implement Kyoto Protocol, Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, Stem Cell Research Veto, Secure Fence Act, Economic Crisis of 2008. All of this of course ballooned the deficit and national debt, while giving tax breaks to the wealthy.

He began as a lame duck, with record-breaking vacation days following the total lack of a mandate caused by the disastrous 2000 Election. Then he destroyed pretty much everything.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Presidents' Rankings - Top Ten

01. Abraham Lincoln, 1861-1865. Republican. Known for: Gettysburg Address.

Presidential Legacy: Leadership during the Civil War, Emancipation Proclamation and 13th Amendment ending slavery, Reconciliation, Assassination. Made Thanksgiving a holiday.

I mean, come on - Lincoln had to keep this nation from ripping itself apart. He freed the slaves and reconciled the Union and Confederacy and began planning Reconstruction.

02. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1933-1945. Democrat. Known for: The New Deal

Presidential Legacy: New Deal - Lowered unemployment and raised the GDP while lowering the national debt, WWII intervention and leadership, Internment Camps, Only president elected to four terms.

Besides the Civil War and slavery, surely the Great Depression and World War Two were the two greatest challenges we ever faced. The man didn't even have use of his legs.

03. George Washington, 1789-1797. No Party. Known for: First President.

Presidential Legacy: Set the two term precedent, Invented the idea of a cabinet, Whiskey Rebellion, Jay Treaty reestablishing relations with Great Britain.

He set the tone for the Presidency, showing the Federal Government under the new Constitution wouldn't be a repeat of the Articles of Confederation. And rebuilt the country after the Revolutionary War.

04. Thomas Jefferson, 1801-1809. Democratic-Republican. Known for: Louisiana Purchase.

Presidential Legacy: Barbary Coast War - America's first conflict, Lewis and Clark Expedition, Assimilation policy for Native Americans and Tecumseh's War.

By doubling the size of the country, Jefferson transformed the US into a continental power. He also had to deal with America's first big conspiracy with Wilkinson and Burr.

05. Theodore Roosevelt, 1901-1909. Republican. Known for: Panama Canal.

Presidential Legacy: Trust busting, Pure Food and Drugs, Conservation and National Parks, Roosevelt Corollary. First American to win a Nobel Peace Prize for arbitrating the Russo-Japanese War.

The most recent of the Mount Rushmore Gang, Roosevelt defined the Progressive agenda that would define 20 years of American policy. Also lays claim to a number of Presidential 'firsts'.

06. Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1921. Democrat. Known for: League of Nations.

Presidential Legacy: Creation of the Federal Reserve, Approval of racial segregation, WWI intervention, 19th amendment - Women's Suffrage.

Wilson had to get involved in World War One, and afterwards redefined how Western nations viewed war and its aftermath. Unfortunately his stroke meant his Presidency ended on a whimper.

07. Barrack Obama, 2008-present. Democrat. Known for: Obamacare.

Presidential Legacy: LGBT Rights, Handling of the Financial Crisis, Deescalation of Iraq and Afghanistan, Further encroachment of NSA wire-tapping, Bin Laden, Cuba, Prison and drug reform..

Despite the worst Congress in US history, he pushed through a significant Progressive agenda. Inheriting the worst Presidential legacy, and turning it around, was quite the feat.

08. Dwight Eisenhower, 1953-1961. Republican. Known for: Golf.

Presidential Legacy: Sent first soldiers to Vietnam, CIA coups overseas, Nuclear stockpiling, Creation of NASA, Interstate highways, Little Rock, Alaska and Hawaii. Liked taxing the wealthy.

The last of the Lincolnian Republicans, Eisenhower saw the Federal government as a way of increasing prosperity - which he did for all Americans. His foreign policy decisions were less ideal(istic).

09. Harry Truman, 1945-1953. Democrat. Known for: Hiroshima bombings.

Presidential Legacy: Truman Doctrine - Communist containment, Creation of the US Air Force and CIA, Support of NATO, the UN and Israel, Korean War. After WWII began America's desegregation.

Truman is slowly coming round for historians, as blame for an inevitable Cold War is no longer on his shoulders. Instead he's lauded for rebuilding Western Europe and setting the tone for Civil Rights.

10. (tie) John F. Kennedy, 1961-1963. Democrat. Known for: Assassination.

Presidential Legacy: Bay of Pigs Fiasco, Cuban Missile Crisis, Partial Test Ban Treaty, Escalation in Vietnam, Peace Corps and Civil Rights. His Playboy affairs likely included Marilyn Monroe. 

10. (tie) Lyndon Johnson, 1963-1969. Democrat. Known for: Civil Rights

Presidential Legacy: Reaction to the Free Speech Movement/Counterculture, National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, Medicare and Medicaid. Overseas he furthered involvement in Vietnam.

The combined Kennedy/Johnson administration has a core of idealism - going to the moon, a Great Society, the Voting Rights Act. But both Presidents had significant drawbacks: escalating Vietnam and being ineffectual. Each of these drawbacks, ironically, is countered by the actions of the other - Johnson was more effectual than Kennedy, and Kennedy wouldn't have heightened Vietnam.