U2 Taking a Page from Bastille’s Success?

Long time fan of U2. I do not agree with the bru-haha that U2 is now a punchline. No, they are not Nickelback. Nickelback did have 50 million sales worldwide (not too shabby!). But U2 has 22 Grammy Awards (more than any other band) – including six (!) for best album of the year, is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, is #22 in Rolling Stones’ Greatest Artists of All Time. And they sold over 150 million records worldwide. Significantly non-Nickelbak-y. No disrespect to Nickelback.

Needless to say, my interest was piqued when I heard the word that Apple paid $100 MILLION to push a half billion albums for “free” to all of its iTunes users. Wow.

The first radio release, “The Miracle (of Joey Ramone)” did not grab me by the shirt collar and throw me on the ground in a joyous fit of dance fever. But it wasn’t horrible. It did, however, remind me a lot of another song that was really popular just last summer.

I thought there was some borrowing here by U2 of the popular chorus/boy chant style that Bastille made big with their song, Pompeii. Have a listen to the two tracks and see if you find any similarities. I am not claiming “plagiarism”. I am giving props to Bastille where I think they should be given – they made headway in a crowded space, and did such a good job that one of the best rock bands ever took note and gave (perhaps) a homage in their own lead single.

Quitting Football is “a thing”

In the week before the 2014 NFL season kicked off, I noticed three different blogs of fairly high profile folks who state that they are quitting the NFL.

Quitting football?!?

Why, yes. And guess what? Most of it is not even because of the Ray Rice debacle.

Jason Kotte is quitting the NFL.

Steve Almond is quitting football.

And even Pittsburgh’s own Virginia Montanez is breaking up with America’s game.

I admit, after doing a little reading, it might be easy to climb onboard and declare that, in light of the arguments made by those above, yes, I too, am quitting football. Comments like, “it is immoral to watch a sport that causes brain damage” (Almond) are fairly difficult to argue against. But something less atomic, such as, “I’m tired of having to explain to my kid what NFL player was arrested on any particular week and how it might affect his fantasy team” (Montanez) still raises the cackles of anyone who has been unexpectedly forced to explain to a child the world’s moral “gray” ground.

Cool. I’m game.

But what was I doing last Thursday? I was watching the Steelers-Ravens game on TV. Sure, I missed most of it (because: kids). But I had it on; I wanted to watch; I intended to be a witness to the smash-mouth spectacle presented by our modern day gladiators.

The Steelers lost. They were not just beaten, but tarred and feathered by the Ravens. The Black & Gold’s defense had more holes in it than Penn Ave. And you know, that might be the single thing, the one thing that helps me to quit the NFL. Not the abusive culture towards women that pops up every season; not the “slave-auction feel” to the NFL Combine (minute 9:24 in the audio); not the basic raping of local municipalities of land and tax revenue that the non-profit NFL garners when it plunders low income communities for shiny new tax-payer-purchased stadiums. I might quit the NFL simply because the team I like stinks. At least this season.

If that isn’t a good old fashioned brain washing, I don’t know what is. I think, America, we’ve been suckered. We should snap out of it.

A Bike Route in Pittsburgh

I am looking to get a bike-friendly path from the neighborhood of Morningside over to Oakland. Riding on Negley, Center, or Baum are off the table for me – they are too busy, fast, and aggressive. I would like a calmer route.

Here are a few options I have come up with:

Via Highland Ave

Via Black Street

WordPress 4.0 Released

There is a new version of WordPress being released today – codename Benny. There will be great new features, such as enhanced visual browsing of the media and plugin libraries.

Mostly, though, I was struck by a figure included in their launch post: there were 275 contributors to the release. Wow!

WordPress is open source. Folks from all levels of experience can chip in and contribute from their skill sets. To jump into the awesomeness yourself, check out the offical “Make” website and get started.