Archive for the ‘Adele’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: TIANA MAJOR9-Tiny Desk (Home) Concert # 107 (November 6, 2020).

I had never heard of Tiana Major9 even if

in August Adele took to Instagram to call the song “Same Space?” “absolutely stunning!!” (The post was liked more than 430,000 times.)

Interestingly, she does not play that song in this set.

She begins her Tiny Desk with an ending of sorts: the devastating “Collide,” written for the final sequence of Lena Waithe’s critically acclaimed film Queen & Slim.

“Collide” opens with a gentle (but high note) bass melody from Benjamin Bekantoy and Tiana singing.  Then some softly echoing keyboards from Daniella Bernard follow the melody.  After the chorus, the acoustic guitar from Gaetan Judd comes in and plays along.  Tt all sounds very pretty.

It’s followed by “…Exclusively,” a chill love ballad.  Tiana’s voice really is quite lovely.

Later, she shows off her range and timbre on “Think About You,” a stunning love song that infuses elements of jazz, alternative R&B and her Jamaican roots. The sweetness in its refrain “I need more hours in the day … just to think about you” feels like a blueprint for how to spend the third wave of quarantine.

“Think About You” is a slightly faster song with a more uptempo bass line. There’s fun jazzy instrumental vamp with her more or less scatting along with the musicians.  That’s my favorite part.

“Lucky” is an upbeat song with some cool bass slides.  Once again, Tiana’s voice absolutely shines here.

Never did find out what the heck her name means, though.

[READ: December 5, 2020] “Fast Hands, Fast Feet”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my fifth time reading the Calendar.  I didn’t know about the first one until it was long out of print (sigh), but each year since has been very enjoyable.  Here’s what they say this year

You know the drill by now. The 2020 Short Story Advent Calendar is a deluxe box set of individually bound short stories from some of the best writers in North America.

This year’s slipcase is a thing of beauty, too, with electric-yellow lining and spot-glossed lettering. It also comes wrapped in two rubber bands to keep those booklets snug in their beds.

As always, each story is a surprise, so you won’t know what you’re getting until you crack the seal every morning starting December 1. Once you’ve read that day’s story, check back here to read an exclusive interview with the author.

It’s December 6. Alexander Weinstein, author of Universal Love, figures he’ll just have leftover rocks for lunch.  [Click the link to the H&O extras for the story].

This story is a fairy tale (as the title suggests).

It is written in several short sections.  In the first, Father Troll Watches his Children Hunt, Father Troll is saddened that his children have to resort to eating rocks.  He was injured recently by humans and is not able to bring home proper food as he’d like to.

Father Troll tells Mother Troll about his fears and his concerns–he should have taken more sheep this summer, etc.  He should have killed more humans before they had a chance to hurt him.  Father Troll also thinks about other trolls–younger trolls.  He imagines the fun he could have with a youthful female troll.  Until he looks at himself and realizes they would never want him. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: DANKO JONES-Garage Rock! A Collection of Lost Songs From 1996-1998 (2014).

Danko Jones has released nine albums an a bunch of EPs.  Back in 2014 he released this collection of songs that he wrote and recorded before his first proper single (1998).

This is a collection of raw songs, but the essential elements of Danko are in place. Mostly fast guitars, simple, catchy riffs and Danko’s gruff voice, filled with braggadocio.  With a cover by Peter Bagge!

He describes it:

Back in the 90’s,the Garage Rock scene, as I knew it, was a warts-and-all approach that favoured low-fi recordings and rudimentary playing over any modicum of musical prowess in order to glean some Rock N’ Roll essence. However, once a band got better at their instruments, songwriting and stage performance, the inevitable crossroads would eventually appear. Deliberately continuing to play against their growing skill would only evolve into a pose. There were a lot of bands who did exactly this in order to sustain scenester favour. We did the opposite.

What you hold in your hands is a document of what we were and where we came from. We didn’t know how to write songs and could barely play but we wanted to be near to the music we loved so badly. We ate, slept and drank this music. We still do. That’s why we have never had to reunite because we’ve never broken up. After 18 years, we’ve stayed the course, got tough when the going did and, above all else, we have never stopped. This album is the proof.

The first two songs are the best quality, with the rest slowly deteriorating with more tape hiss.

1. “Who Got It?” a big fat bass sound with lots of mentioning of Danko Jones in the lyrics. [2 minutes]
2. “Make You Mine” is 90 seconds long.  With big loud chords and rumbling bass Danko says “one day I’m going to write a book and let everybody know how to do it.  Seems to me there a lot of people around who want to see if I can prove it.  I been a rock prodigy since the age of 20 and my proof… my proof is right now.”
3. “I’m Your Man” is a bit longer.  The quality isn’t as good but the raw bass sound is great.
4. “She’s Got A Bomb” is good early Danko strutting music.
5. “Rock And Roll Is Black And Blue.”  He would name an album this many years later.  This song is fast and raw and only 90 seconds long.
6. “Dirty Mind Too” This is a fast stomping one-two-three song that rocks for less than a minute.
7. I’m Drinking Alcohol? This is funny because later he says he doesn’t drink.  I don’t know what the words are but the music is great–rumbling bass and feedbacky guitars with lots of screaming.
8. “Love Travel Demo” and 9. “Bounce Demo” are decent demo recordings.  “Bounce” has what might be his first guitar solo.
10. Sexual Interlude” “ladies it’s time to take a chance on a real man.  I’m sick and tired of seeing you women selling yourselves short, going out with a lesser man.
11. “I Stand Accused” Unexpectedly he stands accused of “loving you to much.  If that’s a crime, then I’m guilty.”
12. “Best Good Looking Girl In Town” a fast chugging riff, “oh mama you sure look fine.”
13. “Payback” This one sounds really rough but it totally rocks.
14. “Lowdown” Danko gives the lowdown: “You want a bit of romance?  I got you an bouquet of Flowers and a box of chocolates.  Why you crying for?  That ain’t enough?  Me and the fellas wrote this song just for you.”
15. “One Night Stand” garage swinging sound: Danko is a one woman man and you’re just his type.
16. “Instrumental” is great.
17. “Move On” is a long, slow long bluesy track about love.

It’s not a great introduction to Danko, but if you like him, you won;t be disappointed by this early baby-Danko period.

[READ: August 10, 2019] I’ve Got Something to Say

In the introduction (after the foreword by Duff McKagan), Jones introduces himself not as a writer but as a hack.  He also acknowledges that having something to say doesn’t mean much.  He has too many opinions on music and needed to get them out or his insides would explode.  He acknowledges that obsessing over the minutiae of bands is a waste of time, “but goddammit, it’s a ton of fun.”

So this collection collects some of Danko’s writing over the last dozen or so years. He’s written for many publications, some regularly.  Most of these pieces are a couple of pages.  And pretty much all of them will have you laughing (if you enjoy opinionated music writers).

“Vibing for Thin Lizzy” [Rock Hard magazine, March 2015]
Danko says he was lured into rock music by the theatrics of KISS, Crue and WASP.  But then he really got into the music while his friends seemed to move on.  Thin Lizzy bridged the gap by providing substance without losing its sheen or bite.  And Phil Lynott was a mixed race bassist and singer who didn’t look like the quintessential rock star.  What more could Danko ask for? (more…)

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As on October 1, NPR has started the Tiny Desk Playlist page.

As of today there are 9 Playlists on the page.  I’m not going to comment on them, as I’ve already posted about all of these shows (except CHAI as of now).  I might disagree with some of these lists, but whatever the case they are a good introduction to Tiny Desks if you haven’t already seen one.

5 Tiny Desk Concerts That Will Literally Make You Cry
• Julien Baker (read more)
• Yusuf/Cat Stevens (read more)
• Bernie and The Believers (read more)
• Rev. Sekou and The Seal Breakers (read more)
• Barbara Hannigan (read more)

The 5 Most Uplifting Tiny Desk Concerts
• Lizzo (read more)
• Superorganism (read more)
• Fragile Rock (read more)
• Dan Deacon (read more)
• Mucca Pazza (read more)

The 5 Wildest Tiny Desk Concerts
• Gogol Bordello (read more)
• Red Baraat (read more)
• The Cristina Pato Trio (read more)
• George Li (read more)
• Dirty Three (read more)

The Best-Sounding Tiny Desk Concerts, Vol. 1 [selected by “the guy mixing the performances and bopping his head along just off (and sometimes on) screen” Josh Rogosin].
• Monsieur Periné (read more)
• Andrew Bird (read more)
• Nick Hakim (read more)
• Tedeschi Trucks Band (read more)
• PJ Morton (read more)

The Best Of The Very Beginning Of Tiny Desk Concerts
• Laura Gibson (read more)
• Vic Chesnutt (read more)
• Tom Jones (read more)
• Thao Nguyen (read more)
• Dr. Dog (read more)

The 5 Best ‘Before They Were Stars’ Tiny Desk Concerts
• Brandi Carlile (read more)
• Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals (read more)
• Adele (read more)
• H.E.R. (read more)
• Mitski (read more)

Tiny Desk Trick Or Treat: Our 5 Favorite Concerts In Costume
• Neko Case’s Halloween Special (read more)
• Blue Man Group (read more)
• Mucca Pazza (read more)
• CHAI (read more)
• Preservation Hall Jazz Band (read more)

#ElTiny: The Best Latinx Tiny Desk Concerts, Vol. 1
• Natalia Lafourcade (read more)
• Jorge Drexler (read more)
• Juanes & Mon Laferte (read more)
• iLe (read more)
• Café Tacvba (read more)

Lianne La Havas’ 5 Favorite Tiny Desk Concerts
• Tank And The Bangas
• Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
• Noname
• Tamino
• Mac Miller

[READ: October 28, 2019] “God’s Caravan”

This story opens with boys crouching in the dirt shooting marbles.  I assumed it was set in the 1950s, so I was surprised to see that the boy knew of Michael Jackson’s moonwalk.  But it is set in Memphis, Tennessee–“Soulsville the black part.”

Earl was kicking butt and winning marbles left and right when the boys heard an ice cream truck trundle up.  But this was no ice cream truck.  Rather it was a van and it was playing “I’ve come from Alabama with a banjo on my knee.”  On the side of the van, painted in “blood of Jesus” red were the words “God’s Caravan.”  The speakers then broadcast “When I say, ‘Ride or die’…you say ‘Amen.'”

The voice said “Ride or Die” and Earl and the other boys all shouted back “Amen.”

The door opened and there was the pastor, dressed in black judge’s robes.  He said he had sweets for their hearts. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: MILCK-Tiny Desk Concert #752 (June 8, 2018).

I know of MILCK the same way anyone who has heard of her knows her:  from her performing her song “Quiet” during the Women’s March On Washington last year.

MILCK is the music of Connie Lim:

Before the concert, we talked a lot with her and her production team about how to best share her deeply affecting, anthemic pop songs. Should we have a choir? Maybe a string quartet? Or should she bring out all her gear and perform as a one-woman band, live looping everything with backing tracks, to recreate the album experience? In the end she chose the simplest (and perhaps most fitting arrangement for an artist often billed as a one-woman riot): just MILCK, by herself, with a keyboard.

MILCK has a great powerful voice and she writes some very pretty melodies.

The beautiful soaring “Black Sheep” is restrained in this version.  Her voice sounds lovely but this song needs to soar.  Nevertheless, her positive message is undeniable.  Indeed:

the ultimate message in “Black Sheep,” like pretty much all of MILCK’s music, is that you are not alone. It’s a celebration of universal, unconditional love, something the whole world could stand to hear and get behind. These songs also resonate so profoundly because they come from a genuine and heartfelt place – from MILCK’s own experiences and not a corporate office churning out scientifically proven pop formulas

Next came “Quiet” which she says she wrote as a healing song.  It has become an anthem for women and men around the world.  She laughs that this song pulled her out of her own emo isolation.  It’s wonderful how clear and powerful her voice is on this version of the song.

She encourages everyone to take a deep breath which reminds herself how shallowly she breathes.  She was comfortable being emo and then complains that “Oh My My” is “infuriatingly joyful,” it reminds us that even if we suffer there is still room for joy.

The verses are spoken/sung with this amusing start

Thought I’d be 50 still alone chain-smoking cigarettes at a bar
talking shit about my married friends to my single friends

Mid song she annotates a line that she was singing songs in hotel lobbies–covering songs by Adele and Jason Mraz and now she is opening for Mraz, so she gets to tell his audience that she used to be ignored singing his songs in hotel lobbies and now she opens for him.

It’s a lovely happy song, with some pop leanings although she keeps it on this side of good taste.

[READ: February 7, 2018] “My First Real Home”

This story was in Vicky Swanky is a Beauty which I read so long ago I don’t remember. Of course these stories are so short I don’t remember most of them anyway.

For a Diane Williams story, I felt like this one was actually pretty enjoyable and pretty understandable.

Of course, once again, it ended and I had to double-check to make sure I hadn’t lost the last page.

This is about a man who sharpens knives .  He did a great job and the narrator discovered him because Tommy used to use him and Ernie’s have hit the chain saws.  Or the man’s name was Ernie and he would do Tommy’s chainsaws.  It’s not clear. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: ALICE RUSSELL-Tiny Desk Concert #288 (July 15, 2013).

I read the name Alice Russell and pictured some kind of folk artist.  Boy, was I surprised to see a woman with  bleached blonde hair, a leather jacket and a funny t-shirt.  And then her band started playing low groovy soulful music.

Turns out:

Russell is a classic soul-infused singer — close your eyes and it’s easy to hear a Southern drawl, but truth be told, she’s a Brit. American-style R&B from Britain has a long history dating back to the 1960s with Dusty Springfield and on up through 21st-century artists like Adele. As for Alice Russell, she’s been making great soul music for 10 years, and her arrangements on To Dust often include a dose of electronics.

I didn’t love her voice when the first song “To Dust” started.  But as soon as the chorus kicked in I was hooked–wow, what a great voice she has and with the full band playing behind her it sounded amazing (the sampled backing singers was a bit flat, but otherwise OK).  And by the second chorus, man she is belting out the song—it’s great.  The Adele comparisons are spot on.

Then she hit Bob’s gong at the end of the song and told us that it was an ode to the taxman.

“For a While” is a great big soul song.  The drummer gets some great sounds out of that one drum he has.  And they keys sound great too.  I love the middle part where there’s some seriously long pauses in between beats–they are all wonderfully in sync.  At the end of the song she yells “I didn’t gong!” and then makes a peculiar hand gesture about a turtle.

“Heartbreaker” has such a classic-sounding riff it’s hard to believe it’s a new song.  I like it a lot (although I don’t care for the chanted “when it falls, when it breaks” by the guys).

I have to agree with this blurb about her:

To Dust is Russell’s fifth album, but the hiatus that followed 2008’s Pot of Gold may be the reason too many people don’t yet know what she’s doing. This stuff is as powerful as the work of any American singer making soul music in the 21st century. If you haven’t heard of her yet, think of this as a well-overdue introduction.

[READ: May 15, 2016] I Kill the Mockingbird

I bought this book from the bookstore in Bethlehem, PA.  I don’t buy too many books these days but I saw this one in the PA authors section (and it was 20% off) and the title sounded intriguing.  So I grabbed it.

And I’m I glad I did. This book was outstanding.  I loved it from the first chapter and was thrilled that the ending was also very satisfying–not easy given the way the story was heading for a conclusion that could have gone in many different directions.

So what’s this about?  Well, there are three kids, Lucy Elena and Michael.  They are at the heart of the story.  I loved loved loved that these three were great friends who’d known each other forever.  And they were all big big big readers. Such an awesome start to a story. (more…)

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julySOUNDTRACK: JESSIE WARE-Tiny Desk Concert #434 (April 20, 2015).

jessieI don’t know Jessie Ware.  She is one of those singers who has a beautiful singing voice which totally masks the fact that her speaking voice has a hugely pronounced British accent (have you heard Adele speak?).  Ware’s speaking voice sounds a bit like Tracey Ullman, which I find charming.

She sings three songs.  They feature her and an electric guitar (played by Joe Newman) and they are soulful and pretty.  On the first song “Say You Love Me,” she is accompanied by her opening act Jesse Boykins III (meaning that this post features a Jess, a Jessie and a Jesse).

The other two songs are “Wildest Moments” and “Champagne Kisses.”

The blurb says that her shows are usually pretty big nightclub dramatic events (which is hard to imagine given how sweet she is).  I can see her really belting out these songs.  She sounds very good in this subdued setting, although it’s not my kind of music at all.

You can watch Jesse and Jessie here.

[READ: April 13, 2015] “To the Corner”

I didn’t really enjoy the other two items in this month’s Harper’s and I was a little disappointed with the way this story started out.  Interestingly, I checked and I didn’t like the way the last story of Walter’s that I wrote about started either.

This story starts with a bunch of kids–shirtless, pants hanging low, standing on a street corner. They are being tough, watching as the girl from their bus walks by.  And I just thought–yawn.

But after a few paragraphs, the perspective shifts to an old man who is watching the kids.  The man has lived in this house for nigh on fifty years.  He has been through boom and bust and bust and bust.  His siblings have all moved away and their houses are worth a fortune, but he remained, and his neighborhood has gotten worse.  He looks at the boys and their whole attitude offends him.  He, Leonard, worked hard all of his life: Korea, G.I. Bill, Junior College, marriage, kids.  And his kids are successes (even the one who listens to right-wing talk radio).  But look at these layabouts. (more…)

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fivedials_no30SOUNDTRACK: Random songs at the roller rink (December 29, 2013)

skateWe went rollerskating on Sunday and they played all kinds of pop hits.  They played “Dancing Queen” and “YMCA,” sure, but they also played a lot of recent big hits.  And I said to myself either I have grown more tolerant of pop songs or pop songs are simply better than they were in the 80s and 90s.

Because I thoroughly enjoyed hearing “Gangnam Style” (perhaps a pop song where you don’t know the words is really the way to go) and “What Does the Fox Say?” (or perhaps when the words are so preposterous).  “Blurred Lines” is incredibly catchy (although it would be better without the offensive lyrics).  I also enjoyed “Call Me Maybe” which is treacly sure, but the melody is super catchy and “Rolling in the Deep” because Adele kicks ass.

Of course when I looked at the list of #1 hits for 2013, I literally didn’t know any of them (except “Blurred Lines” and “Royals,”) so maybe pop is not what I think it is.  Maybe I just like YouTube sensations.

Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!  Happy New Year.

[READ: December 27, 2013] Five Dials #30

I was surprised to get this issue of Five Dials just as I was reading the other recent ones.  It allowed me to finish up Five Dials and the year at around the same time.  This issue introduces a new graphics editor: Antonio de Luca and he really changes the look of the magazine.  (He also used to work for The Walrus).  Rather than pictures being centered in the page, they spread from one page to another (which works well online but less so if you print it out).  The illustrations are also much bolder.

This is a short issue (which I appreciated).  And it does what I especially like about Five Dials–focusing tightly on one thing, in this case Albert Camus, who I like but who I have not read much.  It’s his centenary and many things have been said about him, so what else is there to say?  They find two things worth saying.

CRAIG TAYLOR-A Letter from the Editor: On Tony, On Dean, On Camus, On Algiers
Taylor talks about the illustrations of the issue–they were spray painted on walls by an Algerian-French collective known as the Zoo Project.  The new editor took photos and then Photoshopped away the extraneous stuff to leave us with just the graphics–giving them a permanence that they would normally not have.  Taylor also says goodbye to Dean Allen, the outgoing art director.  Then he gets to the heart of this issue: Albert Camus and Algiers (where Camus is from).  Curtis Gillespie decided to go to Algiers to find out how much the people there know and love Camus (and he found it to be a much more difficult trip than he imagined). (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: ADELE-Tiny Desk Concert #112 (February 17, 2011).

Adele is one of the few pop superstars who I not only like but who I like quite a lot.  21 is a really great album.  And what this Tiny Desk Concert proves is that, whatever she is marketed as, she is not just a pop singer.

Adele sings three songs here (and she has a cold or something).  She does the biggie, “Someone Like You” which sounds even more naked and unprotected in this version, because the piano is mixed quite low.  Next is “Chasing Pavements,” a song I knew from when it was first released two years ago.  It’s got a straightforward adult alternative vibe and sounds great here.

The final track is “Rolling in the Deep” which is one of my favorite songs lately, even if I don’t quite understand what the lyrics mean.  But this is where you know that Adele’s voice is amazing.  She belts this song out like she’s in a massive concert hall, not a tiny office.  And she sounds incredible.  It’s a wonderful version of the song.

The funniest thing about this Tiny Desk Concert is hearing Adele talk.  I don’t know a thing about her.  And I had no idea that her speaking voice was so heavily accented. She sounds like some crazy teen from a British sitcom.  Especially when she cackles.  To hear her prattling on about something and then shift in a second to that amazing singing voice is a moment of mystery to behold.

Check it out here.

[READ: January 13, 2012] “A Brief Encounter with the Enemy”

Saïd Sayrafiezadeh has written some very cool stories (and some cool pieces for Five Dials).  But I have to admit I was a little concerned when I saw that this was going to be a military story.

Lately I’ve been reading outside of my comfort zone quite a bit.  And this is another one.  I just don’t like military stories.  I’m not a war guy, I don’t really like guns, and in my limited experience, military stories are about little more than degradation, death and violence, glorious violence.

But as I said, I’ve enjoyed Sayrafiezadeh’s varied stories quite a lot, so I wondered what his take on the issue would be.  And I was pleasantly surprised by the story.  Even though, really, the story (the bulk of it anyway) is kind of a downer.  (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: ADELE-“Someone Like You” (2011).

I’ve been hearing this song in unlikely places–like on a radio station that plays The Foo Fighters and the Butthole Surfers.  So I thought I’d actually listen to it and see what the fuss was about.  It has been selected as one of 2011’s Best Songs (So Far) on NPR  (where you can hear it in full). 

It’s a sparse piano song, a pretty, desolate melody .  But the real selling point is Adele’s voice.  I had heard her described as a kind of Amy Winehouse (who I don’t like) or a sort of R&B siren,(which I wouldn’t like).  But she has a kind of husky voice that belies its power.  In some ways she reminds me of a more mature Fiona Apple.

On this song at least, it’s just her and her piano–no pretensions to genre or style, just an honest emotionally naked song.

The melody isn’t obvious–it’s not an immediate grab you by the lapels hit.  But it is haunting and her voice supplies the bulk of the tune.  She can carry the whole thing with ease.

I’m not sure if it fits on that radio station, but it is certainly a wonderful song.  I wonder what the rest of the album sounds like.

[READ: October 31, 2011] “One Year: Storyteller-in-Chief”

I am posting this review today because it is Election Day (in New Jersey, anyhow).  One can only hope we get some of the awful incumbents out of town, but we’ll see.  I’m also posting this now because I feel the need to vent about our current Presidential Candidates.  Not the men and woman themselves (who are all barely qualified to be in charge of their own car keys, much less the country).  What I’m venting about is the fact that we know these men and women are candidates at all.  Or the fact that so many prospective candidates have already dropped out.

The election is a year away.  A YEAR.  It’s bad enough that the media talks about everything the President does in terms of how it will affect his chances for re-election (again, A YEAR away) but that we have all of these bozos running around talking about what a bad job the President is doing as well is just dreadful.  And basically, instead of actually doing something about being President, he must do triage on the damage these loose cannons are causing.  True, Obama appears to be somewhat less than concerned with what they say about him, but the fact that everything that happens in Washington is foreshadowing the next election, it sure makes it hard for anything to get done.

Anyhow, in other countries, the citizens have a few months at most to decide who their candidates will be.  And a few months in our country would translate to much less expensive candidacies, much more opportunities for fringe candidates to be heard (for better or worse) and less candidate exhaustion (both them and us).  Why in the hell does it take eighteen months to run for President?  In what way are we served by having all of these people running for office for over a year?  And things are only going to get worse now that so many states have moved their primaries up so far (January 3, Iowa?  Really?  You want to narrow down the presidential choices ten months before the election?).

I know that my opinion won’t even cast a ripple in Washington, but come on.  I propose that people aren’t even allowed to declare their candidacy until the May before the election.  That gives them six months, which should be ample time to run an election campaign.  Have the primaries in August and September and then the general election in November.  That gives two months early in the season for primary debates and it gives a month and change after the primaries for general election debates.  This way the President isn’t distracted with running a reelection campaign and the populace (and the media) isn’t distracted for 18 months with candidates running or not running.  And seriously, if you can’t be organized enough to win an election in 6 months, you don’t deserve to be President.  How can I get this policy enacted?

This article from Diaz is a very good one.  It criticizes President Obama for not being a good storyteller.  He was an excellent storyteller before he became President (both as a campaigner and an author-Diaz cites Dreams from My Father in particular).  But since he has taken office his storytelling has lapsed. (more…)

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