Do Not Stay Tuned

I dumped commercial radio several years ago, and this week I was reminded why. It’s the ads, the copycat “artists,” and the wacky morning deejays.

I like news for the drive into work and music on the way home. The former informs me, while the latter helps me unwind. The past couple weeks my usual morning radio station has been holding its fall fundraiser, which interrupts regular programming. Thursday morning, for the morning commute I switched back to commercial radio.

I have concluded that I would rather keep my mp3 player loaded with plenty of music and NPR podcasts than listen to one more minute of morning commercial radio broadcasts.

The station with the music format I like the most, 102.1 KDGE (The Edge), plays the occasional tune by an independent artist. For the most part, however, they play bands that the recording companies try to make sound like Nickelback or some other wildly successful act. When they aren’t playing that new “music,” they’re typically playing decent songs I already have memorized. That isn’t bad as a rule, but when I finally tune back to commercial radio for a while, I hope to hear something new.

I suspect the dissatisfaction with the music is largely a factor of my age. Sadly, I think I’m to the point that nothing sounds new anymore, and I thrive on fresh content.

Then there are the antics of the morning deejay. On Thursday morning, host Billy Madison called and antagonized a man after a listener called in to give her side of a story. Disguising his voice, Madison yelled at the man, peppered his speech with expletives, and demanded to know why he was not doing what he should. The man got agitated and threatened to call the police. Unlike when I listen to NPR, I was glad I had arrived at work so that I was forced to stop listening to the train wreck of a morning program.

Are there people who really enjoy starting their day with this drivel? An occasional cookie-cutter song accompanied by mindless banter and tasteless, baseless gags? Is it my age or my mind that makes it worthless to me? Both?

For my 23-minute commute home, the lame attempts at entertainment are gone, but I’m lucky if I hear two or three songs among all the ads.

Do you still listen to traditional commercial radio? If not, then what has taken its place?

Name That Sound Clip (My Geekiest Post Ever?)

These sound clips should take some of you back to your childhood. Sadly, they may take some of you nowhere because you weren’t born yet. Or, and this might be sadder still, you just aren’t geeky enough.

Naming the clip is encouraged.

1.   2.
3.   4.
5.   6.
And, finally, a bit longer, more musical number.

I wrote this in anticipation of a movie slated for a 2010 release. For extra phantom bonus points, name it.

The Part With The Cattle and the Creeping Things

Face Off
The Hindu wedding we attended was an enriching experience.
(More detail another day. Click to enlarge)

I’m trying something different today — brief comments on What I’m Hearing, What I’m Reading, What I’m Seeing, and What I’m Doing, including sound clips and pictures.

What I’m Hearing

Lately I have been listening to a mix CD made by Moksha Gren (frequent commenter here). High points are artists Sufjan Smith Stephens, Death Cab for Cutie, Rilo Kiley, and The Hold Steady. While cruising home from work with the top down in Texas, I can’t get enough of the opening line, “They got to the part with the cattle and the creeping things,” on The Hold Steady’s “Cattle and the Creeping Things.”

Also, a Jedi with an identity crisis has been hanging around our house. I recorded a bit of my conversation with him.

Read more

Free Christmas Songs Again

(Note: The new banner for December, 2008 is from a mall in Frisco, Texas. Our son is the blur. Please force a reload in your browser — Shift-reload — to load it and a slightly different stylesheet.)

For the free songs now without their history, go ahead.

Some of you already enjoyed the Free Christmas Song Each Day that I posted a couple years ago. It seems like a good time to post it again, since the page already is getting search hits and my wife is in a choral group planning a Christmas program.

The difference this time? You get them all at once.

These tracks are from her college days, when she was with a chamber choir. Five mornings a week she hit the snooze bar far too many times before her 8 a.m. rehearsal as I tried to sleep off my night of waiting tables.

Some of the songs are from the larger, less exclusive group, but still are very good. Most are not the typical songs sung around the family’s piano. If you’re looking for Frosty’s theme, you’re in the wrong place.

Each features a 20-second sample and a link for the full download. It’s all free. Enjoy.

P.S. The empty spot in the picture is where my wife would have stood had she not been ill that night. Kind of funny since I was the photographer. Also, I cropped it to fit the page banner dimensions I was using at the time.