Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Happy B-Day Vangelis (a day late)

I wanted to pay homage to one of my favorite old school electronic/ambient (not to be boxed in) musicians, Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou, better known as Vangelis. Though best known for his academy award winning score for the movie Chariots of Fire, he has also composed some lesser known works which are really stunning. Though I have been listening to his music for decades, I still find it emotionally stirring. Yesterday Vangelis turned 68 so happy belated b-day! And here are some of my favorite Vangelis Songs: -Theme from Antarctica -Theme from Missing -Love Theme from Bladerunner -Memories of Green -Reve -Chromatique -Dawn -Morning Papers -Procession -Le Singe Bleu I recommend not watching the videos while you listen.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Alternative Inflation Index

The fed's quantitative easing and the ever growing federal debt have caused many to worry about the possibility of higher inflation. Some of those concerned individuals, who tend to have a more conspiratorial outlook, also believe that the government's Consumer Price Index numbers are purposely being kept low in order to avert attention the true inflation rate.

Whatever your thoughts on the matter are, one interesting way of evaluating the government numbers is with M.I.T.'s BPP Index. The BPP(Billion Price Project) is a real time inflation index developed by M.I.T. economist Alberto Cavallo and Roberto Rigobon. The system uses software to scan the Internet for price information on various products, which it uses to calculate the index. Currently you can look up info for Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Germany, Russia, Turkey, USA, & Venezuela.

The system does have its limitations. For example, the price of services are not well represented on websites and thus the index is no doubt under weighted in this area. Even so, as far as the U.S. is concerned, the BPP has closely matched the CPI(though over the last 6 months the BPP is about 1% higher than the CPI). In contrast, if you look at Argentina's numbers you see currently a difference of over 10%. Looks like some major government fudging going on there. Anyway, check it out here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New from Royksopp

"The Fear" is a fairly new song from the Norwegian duo known as Royksopp. It has a darker sound than some of their earlier stuff but it has really grown on me. Check it out if you are into downtempo.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Then and Now

I must be getting old. It seems like the world has changed so much since I was a boy, especially in the realm of music. Whenever I turn on the radio (which is rarely) I always find myself muttering about how terrible the songs are both musically and message wise. Music is largely subjective so perhaps I just have different taste than the majority of people listening to the radio. But what about the message? Has mainstream music really changed that much from when I was boy or am I just being a crotchety old man? This was the thought in my head on the way to work today so I thought I would take a moment to look at the Billboard top 5 songs as of today and today's date thirty years ago. Lets start with today's date back in 1981:

1)9 to 5 by Dolly Parton
-A song about the difficulties of work.
2)Keep on Loving You by REO Speedwagon
-A song about love and commitment while facing difficulties.
3)Woman by John Lennon
-A song about love
4)The Best of Times by Styx
-A song about two people in love in a difficult world.
5)I Love a Rainy Night by Eddie Rabbitt
-A silly song about loving rainy nights.

And now today's top songs:

1)Born this Way by Lady Gaga
-A song about accepting who you are.
2)Fuck You(Forget You) by Cee Lo Green
-A song about a guy whose girl broke up with him and is with another guy so he
just says fuck you alot. "I guess the change in my pocket wasn’t enough, I’m like
f*ck you and f*ck her too."
3)S & M by Rihanna
-A song about well, sado-masochism. "Sticks and stones may break my bones but
whips and chains excite me".
4)Fuckin Perfect by Pink
-A song about self esteem. "Oh pretty, pretty please, don’t you ever feel like
you’re less than f***in’ perfect.(how poetic)
5)On the Floor by Jennifer Lopez Featuring Pitbull
-A song about dancing and drinking at the club with sexual double meanings. "Now
pump it up and back it up like a Tonka truck...All I need is some vodka and some
chunka coke and watch a chick get donkey konged"

This might not prove one way or another whether I'm a crotchety old man but I think the comparison speaks for itself. If this is the kind of stuff we are filling our kids heads with it is no wonder they are more dysfunctional than ever.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sunday night jazz with Oscar Treadwell is a treat I rarely am able to enjoy. But on those few occasions when I am travelling in my car during those times I will turn on the radio and chill to the wonderfull combination of jazz, poetry and Oscar's distinctivelly smooth, mellow voice. Though Oscar died in 2006, you can still catch replays of his shows every Sunday night on 91.7 WVXU. Today I wanted to listen to some jazz at work and started surfing the web to find something. To my great joy I discovered that WVXU has archived a great many of his shows and has made them available on their website here. If you have an interest in jazz and are not familiar with the show, I highly recommend you check it out. Kick back, turn the lights down and tune in to some jazz with O.T.