Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘grammys

Could You Be Loved

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Call me old school, but for me the best part of the Grammy’s last evening was the Bob Marley homage, led by an energetic Bruno Mars and joined by the likes of Sting, Rhianna, and several of Bob Marley’s offspring.

Though there seemed to be some decent enough performances otherwise, I guess my musical tastes are increasingly running old school as well, which I guess just makes me old.

That’s okay, I’ll wear the fabric of time and wisdom if it’s cloaked in a little Led Zeppelin and Eagles and Beatles and Lynyrd Skynyrd and a whole lotta current from AC/DC.

Contemporary music doesn’t seem have much of an edge to it.  For me, much of it seems too apologetic, too timid, certainly too soft.  I much prefer the Motown and doo wop of the 50s, the psychedelia of the 60s, the classic rock of the 70s, the metal edge of the 80s, the grunge of the 90s.

But that’s yesterday’s news. What about today’s?

Well, if you’re a Google Reader user, good luck. TechCrunch informs us this morning that the RSS feed-reading service “has gone completely mad,” heading into a second day of usability issues and the reappearance of thousands of old, unread items.

Maybe old news could be good news, in this case. Maybe we can use Google Reader to travel back to the good ol’ days, when we didn’t have worry about Facebook SPAM and blocked Twitter APIs.

Hey, Google, no big deal I bet my RSS farm on your dawdling feedreading horse.  Maybe throw the old nag a fresh bale of hay at least once in a while?

Not exactly encouraging news in terms of the service life and TLC that geriatric Google apps receive, now is it?

Of course, there’s always new horses coming into the race, and those just reaching their strides.

Golf journeyman Brandt Snedeker, who took the PGA Tour’s FedEx cup last year, is off to a fast start in 2013, making his walks around Pebble Beach this past few days look like a stroll in the park.

I first saw Snedeker play golf in person at Torrey Pines in 2007, and even then I remarked at how fast the guy plays. Considering the lethargic state of pace of play for most golf courses these days, Snedeker’s a breath of fresh air.

Not only does he make putting look simple with his laser-like lines and Ouiji-board green reads, he plays fast!  Like really fast! Like if you want to get a picture of that swing (from a distance, please), you’d better have multiple auto-shots and lightning fast shutter speeds!

In his post-round interview, Snedeker explained to CBS’ David Feherty his next big golf stop is a major. In 2008, when he was a Masters contender he melted down in the homestretch, but this time he may well have the confidence, maturity, and course management to leap ahead of the pack and get himself some new green threads.

And being a good Southern boy, here’s hoping he listens to some good old-fashioned Allman Brothers Band tunes as he prepares to psych himself up for Augusta.

Written by turbotodd

February 11, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Whitney

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The older I become, the more people I know and love who seem go off and die on me.

That’s just a part of growing older, I know, but the the past couple of years the pace seems to have picked up a bit.  I’ve lost three good friends and a dear uncle to cancer-related illnesses and an accident in the past year alone, and all of them well before their years.

So when I heard the news about Whitney Houston over the weekend, like so many others, I was stunned.  We hadn’t heard much from her in recent years, and when we did, it was often initiated in tabloids.

But back in her heyday, when we heard from her regularly, it was from that whopping, stunning, belting angelic voice — it was like she could reach out and sing to the whole wide world.

Judging from the outpouring of love, sadness, sympathy and fond remembrance in the social realm this weekend after the news was out, she did reach the whole wide world. I never knew there were so many Whitney Houston fans out there.  Yesterday afternoon, Facebook was literally a living memorial to the singer.

I also immediately felt bad for the Grammys producers.  To receive such momentous and tragic news the night before the Grammys broadcast, and then to have to try and figure out how to both remember Whitney and continue to fete the year in music??!

Not an easy balance to strike.

In 1998, I had occasion to work with the Grammys team when IBM sponsored and produced the official Webcast. That year, the Dixie Chicks broke out, Monica was celebrated, and Will Smith won for best rap album. But what I always remembered was how professional and capable were the people behind the scenes at the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

So I was hardly surprised when this year’s excellent Grammys emcee, LL Cool J, walked onstage after Bruce Springteen’s opening act and addressed Whitney’s passing head on and with a prayer, explaining “This night is about something truly universal and healing. This night is about music.”

Or when several of the other artists tipped their hat to Whitney in some way during their own respective performances.

Or, of course, during Jennifer Hudson’s haunting performance of the song Whitney made famous, “I Will Always Love You.”  I’m not sure how Hudson got through that song without breaking down onstage herself.

However carefully orchestrated the tribute was, it was tastefully executed and left me thinking this was one of the most exciting Grammy’s broadcasts in years.

I hadn’t planned on watching the Grammys this year, but curiosity got the better of me — not only because of Whitney’s passing, but also because I knew I’d likely see a lot of music I wouldn’t have otherwise known about.

Like Adele.  I missed Adele on the first go around at the Grammys, and though I have heard a couple of her songs, I never put the name and the face together.  She was just a name I kept hearing.

And before you suggest I live under a rock, the fact is, I don’t listen much to the radio anymore, and I certainly don’t live on iTunes (you’ll more likely find me on Pandora). So for me, the Grammys is as good as a place as any to find out about new music — and to find out who Adele is.

Well, after seeing Adele interviewed by Anderson Cooper before the broadcast, and after watching her rendition last night of “Rolling in the Deep” during the broadcast, I became another instant in her otherwise millions of fans around the world.

Adele seems like she’s got a good head on her shoulders. She doesn’t seem to take all this fame and fortune stuff too seriously — but then she walks out on that stage before a few hundred million people and delivers that powerful singing punch like nobody’s business.

I hope she keeps it that way.  Too many of our other great artists were taken too soon because of a combustible mixture of drugs and alcohol that are always, quite literally, a recipe for disaster.

We ask so much of them sometimes, our celebrities.  We want to know everything about them.  We want them to be perfect.  We want them to be always on.

Instead of letting them just be human like the rest of us.

Elvis Presley.  Marilyn Monroe.  Jimi Hendrix.  Janis Joplin.  Michael Jackson.  Amy Winehouse.  And now, it seems, Whitney Houston.

I don’t know about you, but that list is enough tragedy to last me a lifetime.

So, I suggest we let Adele take her six Grammys and disappear back into the English countryside and that we leave her the hell alone until she’s ready to leave her compound and go back on tour.

Let her enjoy her gramophone trophies and hanging out with her new love — we’ve all got our own lives to get on about.

As for Whitney Houston, may she rest in peace. I, like so many others, will choose to remember her when she belted them out like in the video below, where she took the U.S. national anthem to a whole other level.

Whitney, you will be missed.

Written by turbotodd

February 13, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Gaga for Ebooks

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Didja see the Grammys last night?

I caught the opening act with Lady Gaga and Elton John, which I found quite entertaining.

And then Stephen Colbert took the stage to kick things off as this year’s Grammys emcee.

And before too long, it became clear Apple’s product placement team had been earning their keep, because instead of a staid ol’ envelope containing the names of the nominees for “Song of the Year,” Colbert pulled from his jacket what appeared to be a working Apple iPad.

You could hear Mac fanboys sighing in synchronicity from around the globe.

They were sighing almost as loudly as the digerati were crying about Amazon’s decision to acquiesce to Macmillan publishing’s request to sell their e-books on Amazon for $15.

Why the —storm?  Well, as Henry Blodget points out, the incremental costs for publishing e-books is “pretty much zero,” and Macmillan’s driving Amazon to adopt Macmillan’s pricing regime as opposed to letting Amazon continue to decide at what price to price its books.

Hey, at least they’ve not jumped completely into Chris Anderson-land and announced they’re giving them away for free.

Who’d a thunk that 10 years after I got my first e-book reader (the Rocket e-Book reader), that the publishing and e-retailing industry would still be squabbling over the price of an e-book?

Life’s really too short for this.

All I know about the book publishing industry is this: I went in to my local Borders yesterday to get a copy of the new political tome Game Change, only to find out they were charging $27.00 U.S.!

I came home and surfed through Amazon to find they were offering it for $13.99.

Done, done and done.  I’ll give one guess as to where I bought the book.

And really, that’s all you need to know about the Amazon juggernaut.

I’m hopeful that Amazon’s caving to Macmillan’s pricing request is part of a larger strategy.

Can we all just get along?  Or better yet, move it along?

When’s somebody gonna unleash Steve Jobs on the negotiating case with Macmillan?

That’s a negotiating session I’d like to be a fly on the wall for.

And, one for which I might even pay a premium so I could get a signed autographed copy from the author.

Written by turbotodd

February 1, 2010 at 5:00 pm

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