In Words and Phrases

Hey folks – I still get occasional blog traffic on this site, but I’m not sure if that’s really people visiting or bot hits. Either way, I’m doing Best Music of 2011 stuff over at my new blog, so if you’re interested head on over to In Words and Phrases. It wasn’t a great year for music, but it still had some worthwhile releases and countdowns are always fun.

Go check it out. There’s nothing happening here!

Essential Ending (for now)

It’s pretty clear to anybody who follows this blog that things have slowed to a complete crawl.  Even my typically more-active summer was without any new posts or other commentary.  So I think it’s time to play the final track on Essential Listening.

I am not, however, quitting the blogging world.  You see, Essential Listening slowly became more tedious over time because I had limited myself from the very beginning.  If I was tired of writing about music, it was hard to push elsewhere in a place that had a title about music.

So today I am going to suspend operations on this blog and point you at my new one – In Words and Phrases.  IWP will be focused on “ideas and events.”  Of course, that’s pretty broad – and intentionally so.  I will still write about music (it is a very rewarding adventure), but also my other favorite hobbies and passions – sports, cooking, photography, and other far-reaching topics.  I do hope you’ll join me over there.

And if you’ve been with this blog until the end, I thank you for even so much as pretending to pay attention.  I think it’s time to play the final track:

Catching Up on Things

Wow I’ve got a lot to get up to date. First, I’ve got a concert review (Flaming Lips and Black Keys). Then I need to get some record reviews in (Arcade Fire, Karkwa, Janelle Monae, Tokyo Police Club, Wolf Parade). And maybe I can also get some other posts thrown in?

It’s an exciting music summer for me, and I hope I can share some of this with you guys in the next few days. More downtime should hopefully be in my future.

Of Automobiles and Freezing Rain

After a very successful run of blog posts (the entire Best of 2008), things seem to have quieted again.  Luckily, all is not lost – I’m still writing away.

However, we’ll be in for a brief dip in activity.  Over the past few days, two out of three family automobiles have been put out of commission by various mechanical problems.  This has resulted in countless hours spent driving back and forth and making phone calls to get the cars into the shop and humans to and from various places (home, the car shops, picking people up from school).

A new obstacle has reared its head as well: freezing rain halts my journey back to school in the North Country.  So, I now sit without my car and unable to get to school anyway.  Thus, I’ve been a bit distracted from the joys of music.  But fear not!  I’ll be back within the next three days with more reviews and commentary.

Also: Thank you to everyone who has been reading Essential Listening in the past few weeks.  It’s very exciting to check the admin side of things and discover how many hits the site has had.  We now have over 1000 total hits!  Definately a cool feeling – and it’s thanks to readers like you.

Politics: Election 2008

Yes, I am an internet slacker. The life of a Chemical Engineering major does not always involve much free time. So, I am making time to post this minor update. Tomorrow, there will be more about music again. I promise.

It is Election Day.

I’m sure that such a statement was more John Madden-esque than you needed today – everyone has been talking about Obama and McCain since January. But, now the real choice must be made and Americans will decide the nation’s fate. Being a resident of New York, I freely admit that my vote doesn’t much matter (the state will go Democrat every time), but I do have a strong opinion on one of the candidates. Barack Obama is a terrible choice for America.

Much of the current media conversation has focused on the apparent economic crisis in our nation. Unfortunately, that focus seems to neglect the proposals brought forth by both candidates. Obama has constantly discussed the importance of universal health care, increased corporate taxes, and a greater focus on funding that amounts to more welfare. How does he intend on funding these options?

Surely the increased corporate taxes will aid his goals, but they will ultimately backfire. As jobs continue to leave the US and head to foreign shores, new taxes on those providing employment (corporations) will only serve to push them further away from our country. How are middle class Americans to fare then? “Thanks Obama, I have low taxes now, but I don’t have a job!”

In foreign policy, too, Obama does not have a firm grasp on reality. He believes that simply talking to other leaders will accomplish great things. Quite simply, I’d find it hilarious to see Obama chat with Vladimir Putin or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. These aren’t people you simply sit down and chat with on a whim. Specifically, Ahmadinejad (the President of Iran, by the way) must be talked to after conditions are met. His absolutely insane views on Israel and insistence on the possession of nuclear arms serve to make him a highly dangerous person who should not be given any leverage.

Obama is a terrifying individual who has views that are highly contradictory to mine and thus I cannot imagine supporting him. In fact, I’d like to (in this late hour of the campaign) announce my un-endorsement of Senator Obama. I fear that he will win tonight, and that America will be driven to being like Europe – socialist and economically stagnant. Now is the point where Americans can make the difference, and now we can only pray that the right choice is made.

This blog supports the non-election of Barack Obama. His views and policies can only drive our nation into a true depression.

Mission Statement

A blog is a terrible thing. For someone with a random mind (like me), it’s easy to overlook the presence of something that you promised to follow. In the past, I’ve tried to do the whole blogging thing. Each time, it has failed. Rather miserably, at that. After a few days of consistent posting, I’d entirely forget the fact that I had accounts on Blogger or WordPress. Then days would turn into months. Eventually, I’d look in my bookmarks folder and see that I hadn’t done a thing with a blog I created. So, I’d delete it. I think I’ve had two blogs thus far and each has failed.

Maybe this time I’ll get something to work out. Now that I’m trying the whole Twitter and Facebook thing, I guess that now would be the right time to get back into blogging. However, I’m not going to keep this as a journal, nor will I promise any sort of consistency in posting. I think I’ll keep this as a music commentary place, first. Thus the name: “Essential Listening.” Here, I hope to comment on my view of music. I know that I’m no musical expert, nor do I claim to have better tastes than anyone else. However, I have opinions and I figure that this is a valid means of discussing that which fills my ears.

So, I suppose I should move forth and get another post on here about an album. It would be a very fitting way to begin a blog that claims to be about music. Here’s hoping that this journey isn’t too short and that maybe others will learn about music as I learn from those around me.



-Zekebud (MSS)