Computers in Libraries – tentative schedule

Here is a tentative schedule for the sessions I plan to attend at Computers in Libraries next week. I am generally more ambitious when I am planning my schedule than when I am actually at the conference, so we’ll see if I make it to or through all of them (occasionally, a session turns out to be not at all what I expected, and if I can, I will leave it).
Continue reading “Computers in Libraries – tentative schedule”

But we have the white wizard. That’s got to count for something.

When I agreed to review The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King (The Complete Recordings), I had no idea what reviewing a soundtrack of this magnitude would entail. My usual genres are those that have singer/songwriters, or band members who compose and perform the music. Reviewing a three hour recording of music composed by one person and performed by many was far more daunting than I ever could have expected.

In the end, I did what I could, but I feel that someone with more experience in classical music reviewing would have done a better job of addressing aspects of the music itself. My approach ended up being as a fan of the films and the books, and how the music effected my experiences with them.

Tolkien provided rich material, ready to be harvested and presented by any talented composer. And, much in the way Jackson approached the film adaptation with reverence for the source material, Shore has done the same with the soundtrack. I don’t know what I expected for the soundtrack, but the one Shore has given us fits, and will forever be what plays through my mind as I re-read the books.

do it! do it!

Weird Al doesn’t want you to download this song — or does he?

If Michael Jackson is the King of Pop, then Weird Al Yankovic must be the Court Jester. For the past twenty-five years, Weird Al has been simultaneously entertaining and annoying millions of music fans around the world. He’s set to do it again with a new album later this month (Straight Outta Lynnwood).

A clever — if demented — bit of marketing has made the first single from the album, “Don’t Download This Song,” a free download. Mind boggling, isn’t it?

The song is an original ballad of the raised lighter variety, including a chorus that swells with a choir of backing vocals. Don’t be too surprised if it gives you flashbacks to “We Are the World” and other songs of that sort. Even with the sentimental touch, Weird Al is able to convey a sense of poking fun at the genre. It’s a sincere cupcake iced with irony.

The first verse sets up the extreme RIAA fascist perspective:

Once in a while maybe you will feel the urge
To break international copyright law
By downloading MP3s from file sharing sites
Like Morpheus or Grokster or Limeware or Kazaa
But deep in your heart you know the guilt would drive you mad
And the shame would leave a permanent scar
‘Cause you start out stealing songs, then you’re robbing liquor stores
And selling crack and running over school kids with your car

The chorus changes every time, and the first one is:

So don’t download this song
The record store’s where you belong
Go and buy the CD like you know that you should
Oh don’t download this song

Essentially, they all end up with the same message – illegal downloads are bad and you really should know better.

Some music fans write off Weird Al as a novelty act. This song is yet another one that demonstrates he can write songs with humor and also have something worthwhile to say. “Don’t Download This Song” points out all the evil bad things with illegal downloads, but this legally downloadable song will likely result in numerous sales of the album. Rather than getting all Lars Ulrich about it, Weird Al is going with the flow while still making music worth buying.