Tag Archives: pop culture

Oct. 11, 1975 – Oct. 24, 2006 – Generation X

I am a member of Generation X. I am the core demographic os Generation X. I was born in January of 1973 which, by generational standards places me at exactly the half-way point of Gen X. And while there are overlaps in all generations there is no doubt where I am. My favorite bands are R.E.M. and Depeche Mode, my favorite movies likely featured Molly Ringwald or Christian Slater, my favorite TV shows were Beverly Hills 90210 and Miami Vice, and my favorite athlete is Dan Marino. I am a child of the Reagan and Clinton years, the first major news event of my lifetime was the Challenger Disaster in 1986. I graduated high school in 1991 and by September Nirvana had released Nevermind, just in time for me to start college. Continue reading

Day Four – #SeptVinylChallenge – Four Album Titles that Describe Me

This was a tough assignment. While finding four albums that describe you can be an easy task (fine four albums your love and Viola! You have the post) but in this case it was four album titles that best describe you. That is a bit harder. So I dug deep, did some real thinking, and went back into the recesses of my mind to remember which albums were actually in my collection to find four albums that describe me.

1. Strange Ways Here We Come – The Smiths

This album is one of my favorite albums of all time but also describes my life. I have lived in 8 states, lost my father to drug addiction, earned my doctorate, traveled to 49 states, been a pizza guy, fell in love, become a father, seen Depeche Mode 12 times, – I have lived a strange life. It has been wonderful and I look forward to the decades to come. This album typifies what my life has been like. Songs like Girlfriend in a Coma and Stop Me if You Think You’ve Heard This One Before create a story of how strange life is and the melancholy changes they bring.

2. The Lost Boys Movie Soundtrack

I consider myself a Lost Boy. I grew up moving all over the country, I often feel alone and disoriented. I have to be a bit of a chameleon to fit in and I don’t feel comfortable with the mainstream. This album and movie by the same name is about isolation and the vulnerability of not fitting in. While kind of about vampires it is metaphor for the kind of people who interrupt a person’s life when they are alone and vulnerable. So many times I was tempted by fitting in and I resisted. The music is also part of that equation — even if they were not sure at the time it meant anything. Echo and the Bunnymen doing a version of People are Strange, Though Shall Not Fall (Cry Little Sister) by Gerald McMann, and Good Times by INXS are all in reference to band leaders or singers who were painfully introverted but acted extroverted for their art. This lead to two of their deaths. This album shows my painfully shy and lost side.

3. Document – R.E.M.

I love R.E.M. For far more reasons than I have time for in this post. But I can tell you that this album does 100% reflect my personality. This album and it’s title is a celebration of historical context in political, social, and emotional context. Finest Worksong, The One I Love, Exhuming McCarthy, and King of Birds are all blue collar songs of memory and lesson that is mean to serve witness to those who cannot represent themselves. I believe that history is more important than the future and this album is an antebellum relic of that. R.E.M. Are southerners who have a real sense of who they are what their heritage represents. I hope I do too.

4. The Immaculate Collection – Madonna

In 1990 Madonna released a “Greatest Hits” album that was more than that. It had new songs like Justify My Love and also featured remastered versions of songs that spanned her early career. The reason I selected this album was because like her songs I am a collector of things that spark memory. Sports cards, record collections, playlists, AFI Movie lists, you name it I love to collect things. I am not a hoarder, quite the contrary. I am actually a person who lives a minimalist lifestyle. But what I do collect I do with completion and purpose. I think Madonna did that with this album. It was intentional on how it was ordered, the music selected, I have listened to this album perhaps 100 times. It’s amazing.

So these are the four albums that describe me.

Day Three – #SeptVinylChallenge – An Album Given to me because I collect

I was born in 1973. The day I was born the biggest album in the United States and the world was Carol King's Tapestry. It was a singer songwriter album of sorts and is still considered one of the great folk/singer-songwriter album of all-time. The album is anchored by such mega-hits as I Feel the Earth Move, It's Too Late, and Tapestry but essentially the whole album is a hits collection. The album speaks to the complexity of love and commitment during the early, turbulent 70s and the power and pain of womanhood. It is a beautiful album of emotional depth and intellectual peaks. Carol King's voice is angelic and she sings with authority and wit.

I was given this album because my mother felt I should have her copy to keep in my collection. My mother loved this album and she felt it was important I have the album that was number one when I was born. Luckily for me that album was not a Tony Orlando album or something. I got lucky that the album that kicked off my life is as timeless as we hope out existence is. My father really introduced me to and cultivated my appreciation of music. But my mother understands how music affects me and its nostalgic qualities it has. So Carol King and I will forever be linked and that is pretty cool.

Tired of Celebrity Deaths? Don’t Blame 2016.

Look, no doubt about it, 2016 was the worst. The election was a drag, the Olympics were meh, and in general it seemed that live was a little edgier. And then there were the celebrity deaths. Starting with David Bowie in January it was everywhere from music to movies to athletes – it seemed every ten days or so we were losing someone many of us cared about. And the only thing that they seemed to have in common was this stinking year. But I have another theory; maybe for a good number of these deaths 2016 was not the reason at all (and yes, I know cosmically that is true as well so save it . . . .) Continue reading

Monday Musing – A More Ethical Campus

What does it take to make a more ethical campus? What does it mean to have a more ethical campus? What elements must we have, what culture must we extend to have a more ethical campus? The answer may be in the work of Architect and Zoo Director Dr. David Hancocks. In his 2002 book; A Different Nature, Dr. Hancocks explores the paradox of the modern zoo. The idea that, as humans, we take animals that were meant to life and thrive in the wild and place them on display at zoos for the purpose of study and our own entertainment. We take these animals that are meant to roam free in wide geographical expanses and place them in a controlled environment. Of course this can go tragically wrong as we were made aware in early 2016 when a male gorilla was killed after a 3 year old boy fell into his enclosure. The incident sparked a spirited debate on the part of both animal and child welfare activists. However, one of the central arguments was not really pursued. That argument is what is the place of zoos in modern society?  Continue reading