Tournament of Rock – Legends: The Rolling Stones vs The Police

Results: When you saw that two legendary bands were going head to head you probably expected a slugfest. Hopefully you weren’t disappointed by what proved to be the tightest match we’ve seen. In the end, Pink Floyd nudged ahead for an extremely narrow win. The numbers: #2 Pink Floyd 52%; #1 Led Zeppelin 48%. Floyd is into the Final Four.

Up next, our search for the greatest band of all time takes you to the Budokan regional final. Do The Police have one more (really huge) upset left in them? We’ll soon find out.

#2 The Rolling Stones: Listen #4 The Police: Listen

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Game over? Billionaire elites now blatantly rule American politics

What drives a man or a woman to spend millions of dollars — even tens of millions — of his or her own money to get a job that would place the words senator, representative, governor, or mayor in front of his or her name? For most of us unwashed heathens, the multiple millions of their own money these financial elites spend on their political campaigns represent seemingly staggering amounts.

But viewed in the rarified context of the very wealthy, the amounts are petty cash.

For example, former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman has put $19 million so far into her campaign for governor of California — but that’s barely 1.5 percent of her $1.3 billion fortune.

Whitman has “publicly floated the notion of a record-shattering $150-million campaign budget” — but even if she financed $100 million of that herself, that still would only be 7.7 percent of her billion-dollar-plus wallet. Continue reading

Christmas Music (4)–Best Christmas album by an American medieval babe group

This would be Anonymous 4, not only the best, but perhaps the only American Medieval Babe group. I used to go hear them at the lunchtime concert series at Trinity Church in lower Manhattan in the 1980s, before they got famous and sold something like a gazillion albums of what is basically 14th century chant. Good for them. They called it a day back in 2004, but you know how these things go—they still tour occasionally—check out the website. Anyway, the problem here is which one?

They’ve done four Christmas albums (including the most recent one, discussed below)—the chant ones are On Yoolis Night, Legends of Saint Nicholas, and The Star in the East, which is a bunch of 14th century Hungarian chants. My slight preference is for the third one, because it has a little bit of an eastern edge, but they’re all wonderful. Anonymous 4 was a real person, by the way–musicologists actually know who some of the different “Anonymous” personages were–they just don’t know their names. There’s even some suggestion that Anonymous 4 was a woman. And there were certainly women composers back then, Hildegarde von Bingen for one. This was before the church decided women needed to be relegated somewhere out of sight, though. Continue reading

Democracy & Elitism: an introduction to the American false consciousness

Democracy+ElitismPart one in a series.

Is there a more radioactive word in American politics today than elitist?

Admit it – you saw the word and had an instinctive negative reaction, didn’t you? If not, then count yourself among the rarest minority in our culture, the fraction of a percent that has not yet had its consciousness colonized by the “evil elitist” meme. If not, you’re one of a handful of people not yet victimized by a cynical public relations frame that poses perhaps the greatest danger to the health of our republic in American history.

Pretty dire language there, huh? Perhaps we’ve ventured a little too deeply into the land of hyperbole? It might seem so at a glance, but in truth the success of any society is largely a function of the things it believes and how those beliefs shape its actions and policies. Continue reading