2007 was a great year for new music for me. One of the records that got a lot of play in the ipod was Wincing the Night Away, by The Shins. The album is an innovative rock masterpiece. It led me to purchase the other 2 albums by the band, Chutes Too Narrow, and Oh Inverted World, which are equally exceptional. (Interestingly enough, I noticed the other day that one of the iphone commercials shows the hands flipping through the itunes library of the supposed owner, only to have him stop on Chutes Too Narrow. Look for it the next time you see the commercial – should not take too long.) The sound of the Shins brings 80’s new wave together with the harmonies of the early Beatles sounds, to create something completely fresh. The lyrics are not contrived or trite, and the melodic lines are often surprising and catchy as hell. Of particular note on this album is the second song, Australia. The song is rich with orchestration and instrumentation. It took me a few dozen listens to pick up on the banjo in the background. There are countless gems on this one, and it truly defines synthesis by putting together disparate elements into a thing of beauty. What was your favorite musical offering of 2007? More of mine to come…
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Last Friday, I was named as the newest member of the board of the Epilepsy Foundation of Western Ohio. I am honored to be part of the organization, and I look forward to making a positive difference in the lives of those afflicted with Epilepsy. This group has a special meaning to me. Gone unchecked, Epilepsy can be frightening and debilitating. Through proper medical care and education, epilepsy can be managed and overcome. I thank the board for choosing me to help further the cause.
I also want to mention that the Foundation will be hosting a Mardi Gras Gala on Tuesday, February 5th. The event will help to fund the operations of the foundation for the coming year. I encourage you to attend. For more information please visit http://www.daytonmardigras.com. I hope to see you there.
Wilco, Sky Blue Sky – Favorite Things 2007
While working today, I had Wilco’s Sky Blue Sky playing in the background. What an amazing album. Truly one of the musical gems of 2007 if not of the modern era of rock. As I type this, I am listening to the amazing guitar solo on “Impossible Germany,” envious, mesmerized, and completely delighted to be given the chance to soak in such beauty. I picked this album up the day it came out, and have damn near worn the thing out now that December is here. Melancholy and hopeful, melodic yet inventive, this is one of my favorite things for 2007. Every time I listen I discover some new subtle nuance about the album. From the haunting vocal harmonies on You Are My Face, to the gritty “Hate It Here” – which evokes warm sounds of the late Beatles / early John Lennon, to the hopeful lyrics of “White Light” the album is a work of beauty and a creative masterpiece.
What are your favorite things about 2007 – musical and otherwise?
More to come from me on this…
Yesterday I completed the MBA program at the University of Dayton. What an experience. I have learned so much, met so many wonderful people, and pushed myself further than I ever thought possible. The whole experience has been life changing, and I am so glad that I made the decision to embark on accomplishing this goal. I would like to thank my wife for supporting me through all those late nights, weekend study groups, weeknight project meetings, and being there when I needed inspiration. I could not, and probably would not, have done it without you. Thanks also to my family and friends for your encouragement along the way. You can’t imagine how much it has meant. I did it! Woo Hoo!
I do not ride the bus, nor do I plan on it any time soon. My job requires a considerable amount of local travel, often without much notice. My car is basically an office on wheels. Thus, I am not particularly well suited for mass transit – so take this as solely the outside, uneducated opinion of a casual observer.
There is an article in the Dayton paper today about RTA, in which it expresses an intent to raise bus fare while simultaneously cutting service. Pay more, get less. They apparently have a shortfall of funds and need to increase prices and prune routes and personnel to make up for the lack of revenue. Again, I am no expert on this – but if I was hoping to increase demand for anything would charging more and offering less work? It seems that with gas prices regularly above $3.00 and showing no signs of decreasing, RTA has an amazing opportunity, albeit a difficult one. For RTA to increase its user base, it needs to change the fundamental behavioral patterns of human beings who love the freedom afforded by an automobile. That is hard to do. Some would argue it is darn near impossible. So logically, it will take something remarkable to change the fate of mass transit, change consumer behavior, and ultimately make RTA viable. Incremental rate increases and pruning are futile and actually counter-productive long term. RTA needs a game changing idea. Remember, freedom (i.e. the freedome to drive a gasoline powered vehicle) comes at a price – again currently over $3.oo per gallon. So here are a few of my thoughts.
- Make it Free! What if for 1 month RTA charged nothing. Ride for free. Learn that you won’t get killed on the bus. Learn that bus travel is clean, safe, low stress, and gets you to your office and back on time. Stress free commuting. Stimulate demand. Change user behavior and perception, and make people consider the cost of driving relative to the alternative. Once the promotional period has ended, go back to the normal fares – perhaps even increase them to cover loss of the promotional period. First and foremost build a user community.
- Make it Fun! Bucher on the bus. Radio on the bus. Networking on the bus. Trivia on the bus. Folk Singers on the bus. Rappers on the bus. Bagels – sold on the bus for profit. Coffee – sold on the bus for profit. Newspapers – sold on the bus for profit. Wifi on the bus, available with a bus pass. Corporate bus memberships at a reduced rate. Bloggers on the bus, telling the world about our cool buses, real time, twitter on the bus. The list goes on. The idea would be to make the bus the most amazing part of the day. Make it a place for business to happen. Make it a place where friendships are forged. Make it more than mass transit connecting a to b – make it about connecting the experience of the bus to the consumer and the consumers to one another.
Yes, there are countless flaws in the theory, but it is about the mentality. Reinvent what “riding the bus” means. Give more. Make it remarkable, and create a real future. As Weird Al so wisely said….”Another one rides the bus. And another gets on and another gets on, another one rides the bus…” Showing my age. I digress.
What would it take for you to ride the bus?
It is this simple as this. Joe Nuxhall is the most venerable man on the a franchise that is one of baseball’s most historic. He belongs in the hall of fame. With everything that is wrong in the sport of baseball today, Joe represented everything that is right with it. Perceived as an “average Joe” by the way he conducted himself, he was far beyond average in his accomplishments. The impact he made on the lives of the fans of baseball and the Reds is immeasurable. Broadcasting from WLW for years, nearly every memory I have of the Reds was delivered to me courtesy of Joe Nuxhall and his partner Marty Brennaman. Nevermind that he was the youngest player ever to take the field for a major league club, Joe Nuxhall is and will always be a legend amongst legends. He is Reds baseball. He belongs in Cooperstown. More than any hit king. More than any home run king. Joe Nuxhall is what baseball is all about. Put Joe in the Hall.
Oklahoma is winning, Pitt has won. The BCS is in total chaos.
New Orleans…here come the Buckeyes!
The big question is who will be joining them…