24. Judy Garland: Live at Carnegie Hall

envelopes the audience
at least the men there.

It gets exciting
Unlike screams for Beatles
doesn’t must the tunes.

There’s great city songs,
“San Francisco” “Chicago”
why not St. Louis?

“On that silver arch,
How you first kissed me that March,
Mississippi sweet,

Gosh i think you’re neat,
St. Louie you are our home!”
Million dollars, please.

22. Radiohead: Moon Shaped Pool

Once my favorite band,
The Bends, OK Computer,
were my obsession.

It’s like King of Limbs,
great and unmemorable,
pretty and morose.

They have found their sound
Johnny’s great orchestrations,
Thom’s great falsetto.

But after one week
only the first and last tracks
have stayed in my mind.

20. The Ramones: The Ramones

Easily dismissed,
If not for such catchy songs,
and punk attitude.

Track by track: Great, shit,
great, great, shit shit shit, shit, great,
good, shit, good, good, great.

Oh I don’t know why,
“Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue”
deserves any praise.

You all know what’s good
You’ve heard them. Except maybe
“Havana Affair.”

19. George Michael: Faith

Five songs in I thought
Am I gonna know all these?
Damn me, he was good.

Beautiful voice, sure.
But could craft a great song too,
Damn me, he was good.

Fun picking up clues,
the religious imagery,
nods to Prince and Bo.

“Father Figure” “Faith”
“Kissing a Fool” “One More Try”
No dud on this disk.

15. Alabama Shakes: Sound & Color

Listened to this blind.
Thought, wow, this white guy can sing,
Soul and falsetto.

My apologies,
this lady kicks so much ass,
I am now a fan.

Country shoegazing
White Stripes and Strokes inspired
Soul, heart, sound, color.

Brittany: what a force!
Stereotype destroyer!
Check out “The Greatest.”

14. The Hamilton Mixtape

Nothing bad to say,
Well not true. There’s “You’ll Be Back.”
Lost its sassy-ness.

Most of the covers
Don’t beat the originals
Although “Burn” gets close.

“Immigrants” is great
“America’s ghost writers”
They get the job done.

On the next mixtape
I’d like to hear more from the
original cast!

13. twenty one pilots: Blurryface

Good and terrible.
So honest, so fake.

Fun and melodic,
Genre bending and stealing
What’s with the accents?

Jamaican accents,
your “wanted and on da run”
from simple feeeeelings.

Am I jealous? Sure.
Did I roll my eyes too much?
Sure. Probably. No.

“Polarize”, “Hometown”
Good songs, well done and harmless,
But enough of this.

8. Frank Ocean: Blonde

His beautiful voice,
His lyrics, his melodies
Dancin’, relaxin’

And like Queen Adele,
Ocean mines a broken heart
That long since healed

That’s okay with me,
To get albums this real.
Twenty sixteen’s best.

Check out “Self Control”
Hidden track is bad, but hey
So was Nevermind’s.

Fix the Primaries: Bellweather Sort Order

What if the order of primaries and caucuses were be based on which state’s vote percentage for the winner of the previous election was the closest to the national vote percentage for the winner. Eg. Obama won in 2012 with a national vote of 51.19%. 51.16% of Virginia voted for Obama.

In 2016, Virginia should have voted first.

State / Victory Rank 2012 vote Difference
Winner’s % (Obama) 51.19%
Virginia 51.16% 0.03%
Colorado 51.49% 0.30%
Ohio 50.67% 0.52%
Pennsylvania 51.97% 0.78%
New Hampshire 51.98% 0.79%
Iowa 51.99% 0.80%
Nevada 52.36% 1.17%
Florida 50.01% 1.18%
Minnesota 52.65% 1.46%
Wisconsin 52.83% 1.64%

By this measure, non accounting for any kind of butterfly-effect, Virginia would have been the lead primary in 2012 as well. Here are the top ten for the last six presidential elections. Iowa and New Hampshire are in bold to show that they’d still be early on:

2012 2008 2004 2000 1996 1992
1 Virginia Virginia Ohio New Mexico New Mexico New Jersey
2 Colorado Colorado Nevada New Hampshire Pennsylvania Iowa
3 Ohio Iowa Iowa Wisconsin New Hampshire North Carolina
4 Pennsylvania Minnesota New Mexico Iowa Wisconsin Washington
5 New Hampshire New Hampshire Colorado Florida Washington Georgia
6 Iowa Ohio Florida Oregon Iowa Minnesota
7 Nevada Pennsylvania Wisconsin Pennsylvania Florida Delaware
8 Florida Florida New Hampshire Nevada Tennessee Oregon
9 Minnesota Nevada Pennsylvania Michigan Missouri Michigan
10 Wisconsin Indiana Missouri Ohio Ohio Connecticut

South Carolina, on the other hand, would fall tremendously. Here are the first four states in 2016 and their ranking (out of 50 + DC)

2012 2008 2004 2000 1996 1992 Average
Iowa 6 3 3 4 6 2 4.0
New Hampshire 5 5 8 2 3 28 8.5
Nevada 7 9 2 8 32 35 15.5
South Carolina 22 24 30 33 33 24 27.7

Proposed Retroactive 2016 Schedule 

Date Winner percentage Diff from 51.19%
1/5/2016 Virginia 0.03%
1/9/2016 Colorado 0.30%
1/12/2016 Ohio 0.52%
1/16/2016 Pennsylvania 0.78%
1/19/2016 New Hampshire 0.79%
1/23/2016 Iowa 0.80%
1/26/2016 Nevada 1.17%
1/30/2016 Florida 1.18%
2/2/2016 Minnesota 1.46%
2/6/2016 Wisconsin 1.64%
2/9/2016 New Mexico 1.80%
2/13/2016 North Carolina 2.84%
2/16/2016 Michigan 3.02%
2/20/2016 Oregon 3.05%
2/23/2016 Washington 4.97%
2/27/2016 Maine 5.08%
3/1/2016 Georgia 5.71%
3/5/2016 Illinois 6.41%
3/8/2016 Arizona 6.60%
3/12/2016 Missouri 6.81%
3/15/2016 Connecticut 6.87%
3/19/2016 South Carolina 7.10%
3/22/2016 New Jersey 7.19%
3/26/2016 Indiana 7.26%
3/29/2016 Mississippi 7.40%
4/2/2016 Delaware 7.42%
4/5/2016 California 9.05%
4/9/2016 Massachusetts 9.46%
4/12/2016 Montana 9.49%
4/16/2016 Texas 9.81%
4/19/2016 Alaska 10.38%
4/23/2016 Louisiana 10.61%
4/26/2016 Maryland 10.78%
4/30/2016 South Dakota 11.32%
5/3/2016 Rhode Island 11.51%
5/7/2016 Tennessee 12.11%
5/10/2016 New York 12.16%
5/14/2016 North Dakota 12.50%
5/17/2016 Alabama 12.83%
5/21/2016 Nebraska 13.16%
5/24/2016 Kansas 13.20%
5/28/2016 Kentucky 13.39%
5/31/2016 Arkansas 14.31%
6/4/2016 Vermont 15.38%
6/7/2016 West Virginia 15.65%
6/11/2016 Oklahoma 17.96%
6/14/2016 Idaho 18.57%
6/18/2016 Hawaii 19.36%
6/21/2016 Wyoming 23.37%
6/25/2016 Utah 26.44%
6/28/2016 D.C. 39.72%

Fun fact: DC is the least-bellweathery of all, ranking 51st in the last six cycles.

I Spy

In the vein of 20 questions.

Player 1 picks an object that is visible to all players, and says “I spy [with my little eye] something” and then give the object’s color.

Pretty simple.

What’s a What What?

This is a game where you take turns creating definitions, creating clever similarities and working cooperatively.

Player 1 says a statement, like “I pet a cow today.”

Player 2 asks for a definition for one of the words, like “what’s a cow?”

Player 1 answers with a correct definition that is not so exact as to mean just that word, like “a cow is black and white.”

Player 2 then asks confirmation that the answer fits the definition of a different word, like “oh, you mean like an Oreo?”

Player 1 then asks what that new word means, like “what’s an Oreo?”

Player 2 defines the word in a new way, like “an Oreo is a layered food item”

Player 1 then asks the confirmation question, like “oh you mean like a sandwich”

And then it goes on and on until exhaustion (or joy).

I’m thinking of something

This is a pretty simple game in the vein of 20 Questions, first person who guesses a secret word correctly wins.

For two players:

Player 1 thinks of a noun.  Player 2 tries to guess what Player 1 is thinking of.  Each question has to be answered with either “yes” or “no” until the answer is guessed.

How to play courteously:

The noun should be something everyone playing knows exists. Unless you want to sabotage friendships, best to stay away from concepts. Yes: Statue of Liberty. No: The Theory of Relativity. If the driver is playing, don’t pick an object that is dangerous to look for.

For more than two players:

Player 2 guesses. If Player 2 gets an answer of “yes” then can continue guessing. Once Player 2 get an answer of “no”, it is Player 3’s turn. The winner of the game then becomes Player 1 for the next round.

Presidents Podcast

I have currently produced and edited four podcasts on the American Presidents, a gossipy audio chat between a few non-historians with little accuracy (and sometimes a bit of willful ignorance).  The latest is on James Madison.


I’m in charge of the audio (using two decent mics, as well as a camera microphone for guests, recording and editing through Adobe Audition). Sometimes our dog or our heater messes up some of the audio, but overall a clear listen.

Creativity Blocks

MK wrote on twitter on April 30, 2012:
Fact: Babies, they are the enemies of comics, killing most efforts at productivity.
This is my take-away from talking to cartoonist parents.”
One day later, Jane was born. Earlier today:

Cat burglar

Here’s a video of our cat Ozzy taking a dollar out of my wallet. This was staged only in that I set up the wallet, the cat, and the camera in a manner so that he would repeat what he had done earlier while I was on a conference call. It was tough to explain to the participants that I yelled “Hey! No!” and laughed because the cat had hit my wallet off the table and took out a dollar from it.

Ozzy sadly passed away in 2011, but we have plenty of great memories of him, including this.

Cider Mill

I recorded and edited this video at a local Cider Mill for a local band’s song of the same name. I was very happy to get the spirit of the song in the video, as well as a brief five-second moment where you learn cider is made.

Back in 2005 I was an assistant on this shoot, which mainly meant I was involved in throwing fake blood at my friends.