Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy and Dotsy

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, my mother is unaware of what has just transpired.

There was no disaster in her universe, no howling winds, no loss of heat or light, no paper that did not come to the door or phone that suddenly served no purpose. The only things that she knows, the only things that she comprehends are the comfort of the bed and the taste of the food. Unable to see or to take in a change in any other circumstance, she perceives that all is in order.

My wife has made the trip up the seven flights in the stairwell before me. Like a coal miner, she wears a small headlight to guide her path. There are no emergency lights here. As I hold onto the railing as a guide, there is suddenly illumination coming towards me. A family of four heads down to the lobby, two young children clearly enjoying the novelty. They move away from me, and darkness again becomes my companion. I become slightly dizzy, making what seem like constant sudden turns to the left.

I try to count the floors, and when seven is reached, I move towards what should be a door. I push it open and find myself in a hallway. Hearing the sounds emanating from but a few feet away, I know I have calculated correctly.

On the kitchen table are close to a dozen hard boiled eggs. What appears to be recently cooked meat sits nearby. The gas stove is still working and so, at least for the moment, is the running water. Well, only the cold water.

My mother lays asleep in her room. During the worst of it, her hospital bed was wheeled down the hall into an alcove, across from her bathroom. Here she would be safe, even if the window in her room shattered. Now, it was back in its place. The problem, and it was one, was that the electrical controls were, like almost everything else in this altered world, not working. And so, it was an immovable object, at least in the sense that it would lower its inhabitant into position to be lifted up and out. My mom was a prisoner.

Today I made two trips up and down the stairwell. The first brought news to my mom's caretaker of the outside world. There was no certainty when power would be restored. The apartment was getting colder, and only a few lanterns kept this space from total darkness as soon as night fell. The second was to return dirty laundry now clean and a cell phone now charged.

My sister and I, and our respective families, must decide with my mom's caretaker if it is time to leave. But how and where? The first hurdle is to get my mom down seven flights to begin her journey. It seems to me that everything that holds her together is so fragile that I dread the thought of what that trip will do. And even if that happens, even if the fire department, or the ambulance corps, or whoever rescues people rescue her, then what?

We have all been on the phone trying to locate a local facility that is willing and able to take on the responsibility, short term, for my mom. Some have too much red tape, some have no openings, some are struggling with the impacts of the storm themselves, and are unreachable as a result. We struggle to match need and availability.

And my mom's caretaker insists that she and mom are fine. There is plenty of food and water, and no good reason to put my mom through the stress of displacement. What if the power comes back soon? What is the right thing to do and when?

In the morning a call should come from one of the nursing homes. Two of their residents went to the hospital today, and if they are not returning to the home, then there will be openings and a decision to be made.

POSTSCRIPT (NOV 1, RJ): Good news! Hard-working PSE&G crews have been restoring power all over the state of NJ, and Dotsy's building got it back late last night. She lost power for just over 48 hours. There are still hundreds of thousands of homes in the state without power, but we are grateful that our situation has improved markedly, and so has that of many of our neighbors.

Opening Bell

A guest post by Richie Jay. 
Look, I've got no problem with Mayor Bloomberg ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, and I realize how integral Wall Street is to the identity of New York City (as well as to Bloomberg's own success). But I think that Bloomberg doing it today -- to the ecstatic cheers of traders on the floor -- shows a kind of tone-deafness to the immediate needs of everyone in the NY area. It feels like one of those "Go Shopping" moments to me.

While countless New Yorkers lack power, heat, and water, and thousands across at least 4 of the 5 NYC boroughs lack homes right now, it seems to me that the mayor of the largest city in the country, by far the highest-profile politician in the storm's destructive path, should be, both in deed and in message, laser-focused on the highest-priority and most immediate needs of his residents.

In other words, the emphasis should be on humans, not markets. The big Wall Street banks will return to business-as-usual without any help from Mayor Bloomberg. But recovery from Hurricane Sandy will not be measured by the operations of the NYSE or the level of the Dow, but rather by the rebuilding of lives and communities that have been affected. Despite Mitt Romney's recent proclamation that "Corporations are people too, my friend," they are, in fact, not. And while reopening Wall Street may have large symbolic and practical value for the city, its immediate, short-term impact on getting lives, roads, power, water, heat, transit, schools, waste collection, and essential social services back to normal is virtually nil.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Big Lie

("The Upside of Opportunism")

It is the Big Lie. It is the tale that the Republican party likes to tell so it can be trusted. It is the fable that this is a party that is, at its core, flexible and reasonable and will, once in control, shed all the right wing babble and settle into policies that make the centrist comfortable. It is simply a lie.

Congress is the tail that wags this dog . Mitt Romney is not  now nor never will be the center of this universe. The Tea  Party is where the power and the platform resides.  Exhibit A was the emasculation of John Boehner, the putative leader of the House Republicans as he was forced by his own to backtrack from statements made in attempting to negotiate the Grand Bargain.

Yes, it is true that if President Obama is back for a second term, he will face more of the same and his accomplishments may be muted. But what he will not do , and will never permit, is the destruction that will inevitably follow a Republican ascension. There will be no overturning of health care reform on day one, no decimation of  the poor, no trickle down economic debacle and no safe haven for the most well to do to get even better to do.
Mr. Brooks is too clever by half in suggesting that the Republican party be rewarded for 4 years of despicable behavior with the keys to the kingdom, so that they will stop being who they are. It is tortured logic both harmful and full of deceit.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Inconvenient Truth, a Perfect Storm and the Cat in the Hat

8 days until election and a disaster of possible unparalleled magnitude is coming. While there is overriding concern for the safety and well being of those in its path, each candidate must be assessing the damage not only to person and property but to campaign. Virginia and New Hampshire, swing states, are in flux and in harms way. The storm's impact on early voting, and even access to the polls on election day is uncertain. And traditional stump speeches are blown away by the strong winds. Everything that was so regimented and orchestrated is no longer, as the President and Mr. Romney alter plans to deal with the unexpected realities of the moment. With due reverence and concern for those whose lives may be affected in the coming days, and with my apologies to Dr. Seuss, this might today be what one would hear behind closed doors at election headquarters in each camp:

The sun did not shine on our hero today
It was too wet and cold to put him on display
So we sat here and fretted and worried a lot
And contemplated bad weather and our tough spot

I sat there with many with no place to go
We sat there morose, with nothing to show
And I said how I wish we had something to do
But worry and wonder and suffer and stew

Too risky to go out and seem so uncaring
Too harsh we'd appear with our stump speech blaring

So with 8 days to go we sat in our house
And fretted and fumbled, grumbled and groused                               

So all we could do was to groan, groan, groan,groan
Of New Hampshire and Virginia we endlessly droned
And we did not like to consider it fit

That all we could do was sit, sit, sit, sit

Sunday, October 28, 2012

IT'S A (Much More) WONDERFUL LIFE (Than the Alternative)

He believes in the value of the common man and that each person is worthy of his concern and compassion. He opposes the forces of the most well to do, and will not succumb to offers to abandon his principles and pledge allegiance to those interested only in their own well being. His life has great meaning and implication. If the future were left in the grasp of the rich and selfish, the world would be a far uglier place, filled with struggles and the disappearance of the middle class.

"It's a Wonderful Life" was a 1946 Frank Capra film that taught one man, George Bailey, how critical he was in protecting the welfare of all those whom he touched. In his absence, Henry Potter, the wealthiest man in town, would create "Pottersville," a desperate and lonely universe without moral underpinning.

I understand that we don't reside in a movie and that the choices we make are not as stark and clear as those that Clarence reveals to a disconsolate George Bailey, unable to understand all the good that he has done. I don't pretend that Mitt Romney would be a perfect fit for the role of the villain. But the direction that Romney would take this country, prodded by those in his party who would certainly demand fidelity of the President, is not very far from the desolation of Pottersville. And while Barack Obama may not come to mind when one imagines the star of a 2012 remake, what he has accomplished despite the fiercest of opposition from those whose allegiance is to the Henry Potters of this world should reveal his great worth.

If Obama had not been in office, and if instead we had just come through another Republican administration and enacted their policies, Medicare and Medicaid recipients would be many fewer in number and the benefits provided much less. Millions now covered by the most important piece of legislation to address the  needs of the underclass in half a century, and many millions more who will be covered in future years, would have been left unattended and unprotected by health insurance. Roe v Wade would likely be but a memory, and women's rights to make their own choices and create their own equal path would be decimated. Guided by economic principles that have shown themselves unworkable in the past, and duplicating a theory that is laying waste to many of the countries in the European Union, we would be much nearer depression than recovery. Foreign diplomacy would be an oxymoron, and we would have stumbled our way towards further conflicts and to an ever lower standing in the world community. Millions of immigrants would have been beaten down psychologically and  told that if they remain among us, suffering and denigration is all that awaits. And the regulations meant to protect us from the worst abuses would be nowhere in evidence.

For those who can't see clearly what would have been, and what lies ahead if Mitt Romney and the Republicans write the remake of the Capra classic, Clarence is waiting for you. But hurry, after November 6, he disappears.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Race Card

 ("The Company Romney Keeps")

Yes, it is the company Romney keeps. Maybe, as Cory Booker suggests, not every aberrant remark made by every Republican is attributable to their candidate. But now, when tension increases and the days until election dwindle, now is when the ugliness comes out in full force. Now is when Donald Trump feels emboldened to speak of the President "monkeying" with unemployment numbers. Now is when he challenges the President to produce his college transcript, with the implicit understanding that it will reveal that affirmative action, not intellect, allowed this man into an Ivy league college. Now is when the one time standard bearer for her party, Sarah Palin, chastises the leader of our country for his "shuck and jive" that "ends with Benghazi lies." And now is when John Sununu, who has for so long acted as a surrogate for Mr. Romney, now is when his insinuations about Colin Powell's racial bias are in evidence.

There is something much more than coincidence here. No, Mr. Romney may not be Mr. Trump or Ms. Palin or Mr. Sununu, or Ann Coulter who referred to the President as a "retard" after one of the recent debates.. But there is a loud and distinct statement coming from all corners of this party that is informing the white electorate that the disquiet inside, the thought that it might be better for our country if the grand experiment with a black man in office came to an end, the desire to go back to a time that seemed more understandable and comfortable, that all of this is reasonable and appropriate. And that the only way to act on that sense of unease is at the ballot box. 

You will never see an ad in which Mr. Romney says, "I am Mitt Romney and I support this message". But, while he may not explicitly endorse any of these comments, if you believe that Mr. Romney will not quietly approve these actions taken in pursuit of his ascension, I think you have not been paying attention. We have seen him throughout this campaign do and say whatever is required in the name of political expediency. And now, in the most critical of moments, his failings will only be exacerbated. Yes, it is the company that Romney keeps.

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Clear and Definite Path

("A Final Swing through the Swing States")

Well, at least there is a clear and definite path for the candidates to take in the final frantic hours before November 6. Having read and absorbed the advice now espoused by the experts, we should expect to see a former Governor Romney who gives a straightforward and simple explanation on jobs and the economy (New Hampshire), who must be specific on jobs and the economy and can't afford to be vague (Nevada), who shouldn't even bother communicating his positions since they are already well understood but should merely energize his staff and stop at campaign offices (Virginia), and who must travel the entire state and make impromptu or unscheduled stops to press the flesh with all voters (Iowa). 

President Obama seems to have the tougher job of convincing undecided voters (New Hampshire) but may in fact have an easier time (Ohio). He must criticize Mr. Romney as a "radical experimentalist" but at the same time speak of his opponent in positive terms as generosity and courtesy matter (also Ohio). He has to stress the GOP war on women (New Hampshire) but set an example of cooperation not confrontation and tell us something about his opponent that may merit commendation (Colorado). 

It does appear that getting out the vote may be the most important way for the candidates to spend the few precious days that remain until the election (New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio), and thus even focusing on the undecided may be a mistake.

We are heading on a collision course with another hanging chad election, where anything could be the deciding factor in the direction this nation takes from here. Thus, the candidates must leave no stone unturned and are compelled to be everywhere and everything over the next 10 days, aggressive and cordial, specific and general, friend and foe to their opponent, ignoring or courting those who have yet made their final choice. For one, this will be a final swing and miss tour. For the other, a clear and definite path to the presidency.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


What do Jim Thorpe, Muhammad Ali, Ben Johnson, Marion Jones and Lance Armstrong have in common? Each was stripped of a title, some for their own hubris, others by something far different.

Exactly 100 years ago, in 1912, Jim Thorpe stood, literally and figuratively, on an Olympic pedestal. Winner of both the pentathlon and decathlon in the Summer games of that year, he was the greatest athlete of his era. But in those long ago times, amateur participation was a rigid and harsh mandate. For the sin of having played 2 seasons of semi-professional baseball prior to the 1912 games, Thorpe's medals were taken from him, not to be returned until 1983, 30 years after his death.

In 1967, with the Vietnam War raging, the heavyweight champion of the world, stated that he "ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong." For refusing to be inducted into the service of the United States, he was initially deemed a criminal, his title was lost outside the ring, and 3 years of his career vanished before he could return to the sport and to those epic battles with Joe Frazier.

In 1988 and 2000, the world of track and field witnessed greatness in the Olympics from Ben Johnson and Marion Jones, who vied for the titles of fastest man and woman on the planet. Only the ugly world of performing enhancing drugs entered, and Johnson and Jones later were denounced and disgraced, without their Olympic crowns and ultimately, for Jones, with time to ponder her mistakes while in jail.

Each of the stories of these athletes is sad and brutal in its own right. There are tales of Thorpe's struggles financial, and with the bottle, that plagued him until the end of his days. Ali, with all that could have been during his prime years, of greatness not on display. Johnson and Jones, their denials and finger pointing making their ultimate truths so much the worse.

And now Lance Armstrong. Heroic in ways that only story books could imagine. A tribute to man's unbreakable spirit. An athlete who was not just better, but seemingly beyond human. Today he is stripped of far more than his titles. In the elaborate nature of his ruse, in his willingness and even demand that others play not by the rules of the game but by the rules of Armstrong, in all that he meant and in how little he now means, there is a tragedy epic in its proportion.

These athletes form the pantheon of the great who were once acclaimed as the best, and then deemed unworthy. A strange team, bound together by a common thread.  Thorpe and Ali now appear as victims, not demons. For the rest, there has not been and surely will not be redemption or salvation.  And Mr. Armstrong, in the harsh light of today's media spotlight, has captured the gold medal in a category no one wants to win: The most deserving of being deemed the most egregious, and of having his crown removed unceremoniously.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Failure to Debate Foreign Policy

There were 2 Democrats on the stage this evening discussing foreign policy. Forget what Mitt Romney may have stated over and over during the primary season. This version of the most malleable man in America no longer advocated bombing Iran, but rather working on effective sanctions. He no longer objected to a timetable to leave Afghanistan but applauded one. The President's decision to go after Bin Laden without the consent of Pakistan, and to move heaven and earth to take out one man, was now found entirely justified. It was just 90 minutes of "yeah, what he just said."

Both men tried repeatedly to leave this forum and to head back to the economy where the votes are waiting. Both veered radically off topic to accentuate their differences on domestic policy. It was an accumulation of the best hits from the 2 earlier debates surfacing time and again.

So much was left untouched. Latin America, the European Union, global warming warranted not a mention. The focus was myopic, and while the Middle East turmoil certainly merited much attention, it is far from the only area of concern abroad.

What we witnessed in these debates was a Mr. Romney certain that his base will follow him no matter what he had to articulate to garner the undecideds. And hoping those who are undecided can find in one of his iterations someone they can believe in.

The President fought to recover from a dismal initial showing that left what once seemed a certain victory anything but that. He acquitted himself well in the last 2 skirmishes, giving those who support him reason to take solace. But he should have emphasized with even more force how he saved our economy from doom, and how much the Republican strategy thwarted his attempts to bring us even further forward.

What did I learn from all of this? How hard it is to pin down a moving target in 2 minutes. How little Mr. Romney finds himself accountable for all his misstatements and manipulation of the facts. How President Obama is not as invulnerable as I perceived, despite having the facts strongly on his side. And how glad I am that the debates are now over.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Third Debate, A Synopsis in Advance

And now, the last debate. Foreign policy, meaning that any interest in this policy is foreign to Mr. Romney. He will be loaded up with facts and figures, talking points and stern statements for this last tete a tete with the President. But his philosophy, short of an attack of Romnesia between now and tomorrow night, can best be simply described as "spend a whole lot and carry a big stick".

In keeping with the rest of his pronouncements, there will be no underpinning to support his monetary stance. Seeking to raise defense spending to 4% of GDP, Romney is following the time tested path of unpaid for defense spending engineered to disastrous consequence in the last decade by President Bush. While Mr. Romney speaks often of how America can no longer ignore the debt that has been created, his budget for defense can mean only one of two things: either the debt will continue to increase or, as President Clinton would say, now listen closely to this, the money to pay for this will have to come from an evisceration of spending on various domestic programs. Because, as we have been advised through the looking glass of Mr. Romney and his fuzzy math, the shortfall won't be made up from tax increases on the rich, or anyone else.

The programs that will line up as victims of reduced funding are those that help the elderly, the sick the poor, the unemployed, the children who have no vote and no voice. These are the 47% who Mr. Romney believes can be discounted and discarded while $2 billion is expended on an extra submarine or troop levels remaining much higher than a war weary country needs, or reality dictates.

We learned today that Iran is making overtures for direct talks with our country on their threat of becoming a nuclear threat. We understand that crippling sanctions have possibly lessened their resolve and may allow a peaceful resolution of this crisis to occur. We know that warnings of war should be deemed a last, not a first resort. And tomorrow, Mr. Romney may indeed make some of those assertions.

But Mr. Romney has consistently shown disdain or anger, not comprehension or compassion in speaking of foreign powers. He would declare China a currency manipulator on his first day in office, consider the Israel- Palestine problem one not capable of answer, deem Russia a dangerous enemy and find negotiation with Iran a useless waste of time. To Mr. Romney, no matter what we hear on that stage tomorrow night, America is in decline and can only reemerge as a power by a demonstration of force in word and deed.  To him, subtlety and nuance, understanding not only of your viewpoint, but that of the other person, has no resonance and no meaning.

But for the desultory performance of the President on the stage in Denver, this last debate would have been of little consequence. Now, an uncertain result awaits. For those still able to be persuaded as to whom they want to lead us in the next four years, I ask that they consider carefully where Mr. Romney intends to take us. To the brink of war, to creation of more enemies throughout the world, to a disintegration of the safety net that protects our most vulnerable, and on a straight line to potential disaster at home and abroad.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Adding A Fifth Season to the Calendar

In case you hadn't noticed, a fifth season has just been added to the calendar. In addition to being able to Spring forward and Fall back, thanks to the 2012 New York Yankees, you can now "Spiral downward". Tucked neatly in less than a week in October, it will serve as reminder to us that the temperature can go from warm to frigid without warning. While there are cynics who may believe that global warming is but a hoax, there can be no questioning that "Spiral downward" is an identifiable mid-October phenomenon.

Alongside the 1927 Murderer's Row, we now have the 2012 Rally Killers. Instead of the Sultan of Swat, we witnessed the Kings of K. Gone was the swagger and the belief in one's own greatness. 

It seems the team featuring the heroics of Raul Ibanez was born from a different mother than this collection masquerading as pinstripe legends. If I didn't know that the economics of the sport were vastly changed  from the days of the 1919 Black Sox, I would swear that there was some financial incentive given for this group to perform with such historic ineptitude. They all couldn't become that bad that quickly. Not so many, not so precipitously. Not possible.

At the end of the regular season, Robby Cano got 24 hits in little more than a week. Then, in a blink of an eye, he appeared to forget which end of the bat to hold. Curtis Granderson went from grand to ghastly, unable to  make contact with even the most inviting pitch. One moment there was discussion as to whether a struggling A-Rod should be dropped from the 3rd hole, and in the next breath he became the most expensive mistake in baseball history. Is there such a thing as an anti-steroid drug that overnight makes you weaker and wholly incapable of performing the simplest baseball task?

October, 2012 will be long remembered by Yankee fans as the time when humbling became but a distant cousin to the thrashing they watched in horror. When fist pumping was replaced only by head shaking. When the aura of superiority met an ugly death. And when $200 million couldn't buy a bloop hit.

The Fall classic will soon commence. Baseball has always been a harbinger of spring, a companion throughout the dog days of summer, and a parting friend when autumn leaves turn bright and then disappear. Now, thanks to the bumbling Bronx bums of 2012, it has ushered in a new time of year. The short season of "Spiral downward" has mercifully come to an end.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Second Presidential Debate

This was the debate that the President forgot to have in Denver. Governor Romney's own words on immigration, on taxes, on women's rights and most critically on the 47% kept coming back to make his present assertions hollow. It was almost inconceivable that, in his closing remarks, the governor would open himself up to attack by portraying himself as the champion of 100% of this country. It was an invitation to disaster, and the President, pounced on it.

Whether this evening's gains will prove enough to offset the declining numbers of the President and right not only his ship, but those in Congress who will ride his coattails in their own elections, is unknown. And with one final debate upcoming, the answer may have to wait for another day and another performance.

But what I found distressing and disturbing in the remarks of both the President and Governor Romney was the ceding of the second Amendment to the NRA. When asked about the assault weapons ban, both men wandered off into discussion on education and parental responsibilities. This was all but an announcement, from the Democrat as well as the Republican, that this continues to be untouchable territory. We are a nation of hundreds of millions of guns and persistent mass violence, but, so it appears, there is nothing here to talk about.

In all likelihood, this topic will have little play in the coming days. And in the succeeding years. While there was a victory, large or small, for President Obama tonight, there will surely be an ongoing enormous and unnecessary loss for this country.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ties To Be Fit

See what results when a very creative mind, that of my wife, is handed all the ties of her late father. The birthday present for our daughter came together only after hours of trial and error, many evenings spent sewing, and a lot of finger pricking yelps.

Name That Tune

("Pop Goes the President")

To answer Mr. Bruni's question, it says more about us. It is an indictment of many in the voting public who can be swayed more by the number of times that Vice-President Biden smiled (53 by one count) during his debate with Congressman Ryan than by the content of his words. A public that is attracted to style and distracted by substance. A public that cares more about peeking into private lives than policy pronouncements.

President Obama, from all that we read about him, is a serious politician who studies and considers each issue with great care and concern. Yet his future may well be decided in the next 2 debates not by what he has accomplished, or failed to get done during the past 4 years, but by how often he grimaces or looks down at the floor while former Governor Romney goes off on one of his "I never said any of those things" or "if I did say any of those things, I didn't mean it" rambles.

To far too great an extent, ours is a nation of very little concern for detail on the issues and a great deal of interest in playlists. We demand appearances on "The View" to keep us entertained, not informed. If President Obama is a day time TV regular, the fault lies not in this political star but in ourselves.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Data Can Be Fun and Musical

This is a guest post from Richie Jay.

I was talking to a friend last night about data. Specifically about how modern technology makes it so much easier for us (and, for better or worse, other people and companies) to collect tremendous quantities of data about each of us.

Most of that data is boring. Or necessarily private in the hyper-connected world (birth date, social security number, income, credit report, etc). But some of it can be quite fun. And very revealing if shared.

In Summer 2004, in the early days of iTunes and Internet 2.0, I started using a little software plug-in called Audioscrobbler (later renamed to Last.fm and purchased by a giant media conglomerate), whose sole purpose was to keep track of the music that I listened to (to 'scrobble' it, in Audioscrobbler parlance), and to use that information to provide music recommendations. Initially, it only worked with iTunes, but later it incorporated many streaming sites and portable players (although Pandora, Songza and some other sites that I frequently use are not supported or require creative work-arounds).

Long story short, 8 years later I'm just a few songs short of 17,000 individual pieces of data about my listening habits. This is actually only a partial sample of my total music consumption in 8+ years (misses some ways I listen to music at home, online, and on portable devices, plus concerts, radio, PA systems, parties, friends' houses, and other places I hear music; occasionally has data errors, like double-counts or missing 'scrobbles'), but probably a pretty good representation of my overall musical preferences.

Obviously, my tastes have changed over the years, and I also can't be blamed for the capricious whims of the oft-used shuffle feature, so this list does not necessarily represent a present-day ranking of my favorite or most-listened-to artists. Furthermore, any time you share this much data about yourself, there's bound to be something 'embarrassing' in there (perhaps, in this case, a total lack of certain genres high on the list, even though I aspire to broaden my musical predilections, and like to think of myself as musically diverse and adventurous).

Beyond that, because the technology now exists (and is often used) to correlate various sets of data, this data set begs a few additional questions: What do my music listening habits say about me? What other information can be gleaned from this data? Can it be used to determine any number of seemingly unrelated (but most likely highly-correlated) things like my age, gender, race, political leanings, religion, education level, income, profession, home state, favorite sports team, favorite ice cream flavor, hobbies, boxers vs. briefs, cats vs. dogs, and/or blood type?

Without further ado, here is the list of the Top 50 Most Listened to Artists by me, Richie Jay, since August 2004, according to Audioscrobbler / Last.FM:

RANK          ARTIST

1 Play
2 Play

3 Play

4 Play

5 Play

6 Play

7 Play

8 Play
9 Play

10 Play

11 Play

12 Play

13 Play

14 Play

15 Play

16 Play


18 Play

19 Play

20 Play

21 Play

22 Play

23 Play

24 Play

25 Play

26 Play

26 Play

28 Play

29 Play

30 Play

31 Play


33 Play

34 Play

34 Play

36 Play

36 Play

38 Play

39 Play

40 Play

41 Play

41 Play

43 Play

44 Play

44 Play

44 Play

47 Play

48 Play

49 Play