As a fan of a wide variety of popular (and not-so-popular) music from the 1950s (and sometimes even earlier) up through the present, one of my bucket list projects for years has been to put together a list of my 100 favorite songs of all time. At some point I decided that, once I got around to figuring that out, I could put it out on a blog, for the infinitesimally small proportion of the Internet world that might be interested. So, here we are. While the Top 100 will be a major focus, I also plan to post on a variety of other musical (and occasionally non-musical) topics, in which you may or may not be interested. (If a particular posting doesn’t ring your bell, you’re only a few clicks away from a dancing cat video on YouTube.)

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The religious right carries its golden calf into Steve Bannon’s battles

“Who would now identify conservative Christian political engagement with the pursuit of the common good? Rather, the religious right is an interest group seeking preference and advancement from a strongman — and rewarding him with loyal acceptance of his priorities. … When Christians ally their faith with bias and exclusion, they are influencing how the public views Christianity itself.”

Saturday, October 14, 2017

October 12, 2017 – Cubs 9, Nats 8 (NLDS Game 3) – Nationals Park

Attendance: 43,849
Duration: 4:37
Weather: 62 degrees, Cloudy
Wind: 13 MPH In From Right
Umpires: HP: Jerry Layne. 1B: Will Little. 2B: Cory Blaser. 3B: Ron Kulpa. LF: Fieldin Culbreth. RF: Laz Díaz.
Game notes – Nats’ 4-1 lead after 2nd-inning homers by Murphy and Taylor didn’t last, as Gio gave up 2 more runs in his third and final inning, and Cubs scored 4 off Scherzer in the unbelievable 5th frame … Cubs scored 1 more run each off Kintzler and Solis, giving them just enough to hold off the Nats’ 4 in innings 6-8, including another RBI hit by Taylor … game ended as Werth and Harper fanned against Chicago closer Wade Davis, running on fumes in his third inning of relief … longest 9-inning post-season game ever
Other – traffic on the way down was not as bad as it could have been (although slow on the GW Parkway), and we had no trouble getting into our parking lot, although getting out of SW onto M Street after the game was over was unbelievably slow … chilly and breezy on the concourse before the game with a little rain, but rain-free and reasonably comfortable once the game actually started … concessions stands were out of pretzels (both levels) and pizza (upper level at least) by the top of the seventh … Metro wound up letting people in until 1am, thanks to them and to Exelon (but no thanks to the Nats)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The problem with some progressive politicians

Not to particularly pick on Sanders-endorsed Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous, but he’s the one who happened to catch my eye today:
“Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous is calling for Maryland to join the state of New York in providing public higher education for a large segment of the population free of charge.”
And four paragraphs later …
“Jealous has not estimated how much a Maryland tuition-free state program would cost, how many students would benefit or what type of income-eligibility requirements would be required.”

Sunday, October 8, 2017

October 7, 2017 – Nats 6, Cubs 3 (NLDS Game 2) – Nationals Park

Attendance: 43,860
Duration: 3:06
Weather: 82 degrees, Partly Cloudy
Wind: 8 MPH Out to Left
Umpires: HP: Ron Kulpa. 1B: Fieldin Culbreth. 2B: Laz Díaz. 3B: Jerry Layne. LF: Will Little. RF: Cory Blaser.
Game notes – Rendon broke the Nats’ scoring drought with a first-inning homer, but Willson Contreras answered for Chicago in the top of the second … visitors took the lead in the fourth on a Bryant double and Rizzo HR off Gio, who wound up with a kept-them-in-the-game 5-inning outing, giving up only those 3 hits and runs … Nats didn’t get another baserunner off Jon Lester until the 5th, when they loaded the bases on a leadoff single by Zim and 2-out walks to Taylor and pinch-hitter Howie Kendrick, before Turner fanned to end the frame … Washington finally broke out in the bottom of the 8th, when pinch-hitter Adam Lind singled, Harper hit a 2-run HR to tie things up, and Zim hit a 3-run shot after a walk to Rendon and a Murphy single … Doolittle got the save, finishing up 4 innings of scoreless ball by the Nats’ bullpen

Saturday, October 7, 2017

October 6, 2017 – Cubs 3, Nats 0 (NLDS Game 1) – Nationals Park

Attendance: 43,898
Duration: 3:02
Weather: 77 degrees, Partly Cloudy
Wind: 5 MPH Out to Left
Umpires: HP: Cory Blaser. 1B: Ron Kulpa. 2B: Fieldin Culbreth. 3B: Laz Díaz. LF: Jerry Layne. RF: Will Little.
Section 306, Row D, Seats 19-21 – our home for the NL playoffs, a few sections beyond our usual location behind 3B, but certainly not bad
Game notes – Strasburg was dominant through the first 5 innings, allowing only one baserunner (on a walk) while breaking the franchise record for strikeouts in a postseason game (finishing with 10) and keeping his pitch count down … with 2 outs in the 6th, the no-hitter and shutout ended when Kris Bryant singled on an 0-2 pitch, scoring Javier Baez from second, which he had reached on a Rendon error and a sac bunt … Bryant got to second when Harper missed the cutoff man, and scored on Anthony Rizzo’s single … Cubs added what proved to be a completely unnecessary insurance run in the 8th off Ryan Madson … Nats “offense” didn’t get a hit after the second inning off Kyle Hendricks and 2 relievers, and only 2 for the game (Harper and Taylor)
Other – perfect weather for short sleeves … Metro worked well in both directions … took longer than I expected, but I did get back the remote for my Prius that I lost on Sunday

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tom Petty

Like the Doobie Brothers, there’s not necessarily a correspondence between Petty’s best work and his biggest hits.
Favorite songs:
A Face In The Crowd
A Woman In Love
I’ll Feel A Whole Lot Better
I Won’t Back Down
American Girl
Trailer [Mudcrutch]
The Waiting
Runnin’ Down A Dream
The Last DJ

Monday, October 2, 2017

October 1, 2017 – Pirates 11, Nats 8 – Nationals Park

Attendance: 35,652
Duration: 4:22
Weather: 67 degrees, Clear
Wind: 2 MPH In From Right
Umpires: HP: Chris Guccione. 1B: Dana DeMuth. 2B: Paul Nauert. 3B: Carlos Torres.
Section 125, Row S, Seats 3-5 (PNC Diamond Club)
Game notes -- longest regular-season nine-inning game in both Pirates and Nationals history … Nats never led, as Gio (apparently under the weather) gave up 5 runs in the top of the 1st, which featured 2 walks, a hit batter, and a 3-run double by Bucs shortshop Max Moroff … Nats battled back in the bottom of the frame, as Rendon reached 25 HR and 100 RBI following a Turner double and a walk to Harper … Nats continued to battle back throughout the game, but also missed several opportunities as they left 16 men on base (Pittsburgh stranded 10) … Pirates extended their lead with 1 more off Gio in the 5th, 2 off Roark in the 6th, and 3 off Oliver Perez in the 8th … Bryce looked better than at any time after his return from the DL, with 2 singles and a walk
Other – “fan appreciation” worked both ways, as the crowd gave standing ovations to Zim, Rendon, Gio, Bryce, and (especially) Jayson Werth, as Dusty removed them one-by-one over the course of the game … as is the final-game custom, the Racing Presidents threw numerous pieces of swag into the stands after the game … we also appreciated the free food, beer, and ambiance of the PNC Diamond Club … personally sampled the braised pork roast, slow-roasted strip loin, roasted root veggies, rice pilaf, tomato salad, hot dogs, cupcakes, dessert shots, and Goose Island IPA

Saturday, September 30, 2017

September 29, 2017 – Nats 6, Pirates 1 – Nationals Park

Attendance: 36,339
Duration: 3:06
Weather: 72 degrees, Clear
Wind: 5 MPH Out to Center
Umpires: HP: Paul Nauert. 1B: Carlos Torres. 2B: Chris Guccione. 3B: Dana DeMuth.
Section 312, Row D, Seats 11-13 – great seats, two sections closer to home plate than our regular location
Notes – almost a replay of our last game: dominant performance by Strasburg, 2 homers by Zim, close game early until the Nats’ offense finally arrived … but cooler and earlier-ending, with a lot more people, presumably due largely to the beer stein giveaway (which we arrived too late to get) … Stras only allowed 2 hits in 7⅔ innings, retiring the first 14 batters and not allowing a runner past second base … Nats scored a run in the first on singles by Rendon and Murphy and Zim’s double … added 3 in the 6th, capped by Zim’s 2-run HR, and 2 in the 8th on back-to-back solo shots by Zimmerman (who had 2 doubles in addition to his 2 round-trippers) and Werth

Friday, September 29, 2017

#157 The Big Heat – Stan Ridgway (1986)

You can have roman noir and film noir – Stan Ridgway is the king of music noir, if that’s an actual thing. (It’s no accident that the title of this song is identical to that of the 1953 movie starring Glenn Ford.) This one is Ridgway’s best, but if you like it, check out “Peg And Pete And Me”, “Drive, She Said”, and “Camouflage”.

#156 (I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone – The Monkees (1967)

Like many other red-blooded American 13-year-olds, I refused to watch the 1966 TV series starring the “Prefab Four” (who didn’t even play their own instruments!), which we saw as a cynical corporate creation to make tons of money and drive our female counterparts crazy. (They were, of course, wildly successful on both counts.) I did, however, actually buy two of their 45s on the strength of their B-sides: this one (which backed “I’m A Believer”) and “Words”. Later in life, I did come to appreciate the quality of the material, arrangements, and production of much of their oeuvre.  It didn’t hurt that “Pleasant Valley Sunday” (by the always-excellent team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and the A-side of “Words”) could be interpreted as a somewhat sarcastic ode to the college where I spent four mostly wonderful years.
Two things really make the song great: the overall garage-band sound, and the drum solo. It was first recorded by Paul Revere & The Raiders, but I didn’t hear their version until a few years ago. I still like the Monkees’ rendition better.