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Archive for August 2009

Shuffle #4

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After syncing the Cohen 2008 concert CD added to my collection this week, we’re now shuffling out of 4377 tracks –

1 – Rollin’ and Tumblin’. Bob Dylan. Modern Times. [6:01/6:01] Good one to queue up next bout of insomnia.
2 – Barrytown. Steely Dan. Pretzel Logic. [3:22/9:23] Doing things strange.
3 – Sinner’s Prayer. Ray Charles & B.B. King. Genius Loves Company. [4:25/13:48] I could do with more of B.B. on the Zen.
4 – Where Are You Tonight? (Journey Through Dark Heat) Bob Dylan. Street Legal. [6:16/20:04] Mediocre.
5 – Charmaine. Jim Reeves. The Unforgettable Jim Reeves. [2:11/22:15] When blue birds are mating?
6 – Villanelle for Our Time. Leonard Cohen. Dear Heather. [5:56/28:11] Lennie recites a villanelle!!
7 – Houston. (unidentified artist and album) [2:57/31:08] A country & western number, from one of the mp3 files Jim sent me, I think. “Here I am in Houston, and I’m one day closer to you.”
8 – Meeting Across the River. Bruce Springsteen. Born to Run. [3:19/34:27] Pure gold from the Boss! One of the best I’ve ever heard for rhyming and keeping form in something that still sounds like it came straight off the street!
9 – Island Girl. Elton John. Greatest Hits 1970-2002 (Disc 1). [3:44/38:11] Not one of my faves from Elton.
10 – Most Anything You Want. Iron Butterfly. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida. [3:42/41:53] One of those never-heard pieces from the flip side.
11 – Sing Another Song Boys. Leonard Cohen. Songs of Love and Hate. [6:15/48:08] “They’ll never, they’ll never ever reach the moon, at least not the one that they’re after.”
12 – Love’s Recovery. Indigo Girls. Artist’s Choice: Sarah McLachlan. [4:22/52:30]
13 – Stories of the Street. Leonard Cohen. The Songs of Leonard Cohen. [4:35/57:05] Curious! – without hitting any of the tracks from the new Lennie concert CD, the Zen still seems to sense that this shuffle belongs to the man born with the gift of a golden voice!
14 – Stagger Lee. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. Murder Ballads. [5:15/1:02:20] Let’s just say this one won’t go out to the pool CD player, unless we wish to be exiled from the neighborhood.
15 – 17 Year Locust. Rob Zombie. Educated Horses. [4:06/1:06:26] We’re in that segment of the shuffle, one would gather.
16 – Are You Ready? The Fairfield Four. Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan. [2:36/1:09:02] LOL! The previous two tracks in this shuffle had me thinking that I needed maybe George Beverly Shea or one of the praise songs to queue up, to wash my head out. This about does the job.
17 – The Girl from Ipanema. Astrud Gilberto. Classics in the Key of G. [4:03/1:13:05] Still steering clear of the Cave/Zombie mudhole.
18 – Have I Told You Lately That I Love You? Jim Reeves. Golden Hits. [1:29/1:14:34] He keeps forgetting. . .
19 – To the Sons of Man. Killswitch Engage. Alive of Just Breathing. [2:02/1:16:36] Headfirst back into the mudhole. This one will be one of the first to disappear when I get short of space.
20 – From Me to You. The Beatles. 1. [1:56/1:18:32] We’ve had several that were under 2 minutes this shuffle.
21 – Thoughtless Kind. John Cale. Fragments of a Rainy Season. [2:40/1:21:12] So if you get tired of the friends you made?
22 – Love Touch. Rod Stewart. Encore: The Very Best of Rod Stewart, Vol. 2. [4:03/1:25:15] Is this Rod’s first appearance in the shuffles?
23 – Don’t Go Breaking My Heart. Elton John & Kiki Dee. Greatest Hits 1970-2002 (Disc 2). [4:28/1:29:43]
24 – Parlami d’ Amore &etc. The Three Tenors. Best of the Three Tenors. [2:51/1:32:34] Can one get much farther from track #19 of this shuffle? Not just in style, but in quality, in ability, in reality even?
25 – I’m So Blue. Veggie Tales. [3:28/1:36:02] Ditto, although perhaps not at the same hoity toity level as the tenors.
26 – Stairway to Heaven on Glass Harmonica. Peter Bennett. [1:42/1:37:44] Another sub-2min track. We;re headed for a record low with this shuffle’s duration.
27 – Mary Was Pretty. The Kingston Trio. The Capitol Years (Disc 2) [2:04/1:39:46] And another relatively short one. They needed to know more women? Nah, Joanie would’ve thrown a fit.
28 – Angie. The Rolling Stones. Jump Back: The Best of the Rolling Stones 1971-1993. [4:32/1:44:18]
29 – The Island. Barbra Streisand. A Love Like Ours. [4:37/1:48:55] Absent a miracle, we won’t break the 2-hour threshold for this shuffle….
30 – Flute 1. Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. Indian Classical Maestros Vol.1. [26:50/2:15:45] …And we get our miracle in the form of one of my Indian music CDs! This shuffle had been aiming for a record low below 1:59, then shot to a record high past 2:11!!

Written by macheide

29 August 2009 at 7:08 pm

Posted in vision:m

Zen Shuffle 3

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Shuffle 30 out of 4340 tracks, including 3 episodes of The Writer’s Almanac synced over this past week –
1 – I Can’t Keep from Crying, Sometimes. The Blues Project. Anthology (Disc 2). [4:27] Good Al Kooper to start this shuffle, but one I’ve rarely heard played.
2 – Colorado Trail. The Kingston Trio. The Capitol Years (Disc 2). [2:50/7:17] Not one of the ones on any of the several KT records I had during my childhood, so this one is relatively unknown to me. This shuffle starts with two of my fave groups, but with rare numbers from them.
3 – Spirit on the Water. Bob Dylan. Modern Times. [7:42/14:59] We continue the draft touch of this shuffle: core in terms of singer or group, but with the song itself one of the lesser heard numbers.
4 – All the Way. Brian McKnight (with Kenny G). Paradise. [4:18/19:17] Still not yet touching a number that would be in the top thousand if I ranked them all precisely, although it does still belong on my device.
5 – 4th of July, Adbury Park (Sandy). Bruce Springsteen. The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle. [5:36/24:53] Ah, there we go, at least into my top 500, maybe even top 250. This is one I enjoy dancing to, singing to, great great Bruce.
6 – Romeo and Juliet. Dire Straits. Alchemy. [8:17/33:10] Another in my top 500! And we’re going to easily break the 2-hour ceiling on this shuffle if we keep pulling down these longer numbers. Not that I mind.
7 – Black Sunshine. Iggy Pop (with Rob Zombie). Past, Present & Future ` “` (Disc 1). [4:49/37:59] Back down to the lower quadrant: still belongs on the Zen, but ain’t up near the top.
8 – Most Likely You’ll Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine. Bob Dylan. Biograph (Disc 1). [3:29/41:28] Two from Bob out of the first 8? That’s my Zen!
9 – Crow Jane. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. Murder Ballads. [4:14/45:42]
10 – Elegy. Michael Maxwell. Elegance of Pachelbel. [7:15/52:57] Here’s an inversion!–a fave number by an artist I’d never even be able to pick out of a multiple choice police line-up!! This is my top fave from this CD we’ve listened to hundreds of times both awake and asleep.
11 – The Pretender. Jackson Browne. The Next Voice You Hear: The Best of Jackson Browne. [5:51/58:48] Used to be the theme song for the sitcom of my life.
12 – Cocks ‘n’ Asses. Nick Cave. B-Sides & Rarities (Disc 1). [5:43/1:04:31] What and what? Let’s just say we won’t be queueing this one up on our poolside CD player. Meanwhile, we’ve crossed the 1-hour mark in record time; I need to pause here and recharge the Zen battery.

And will take the opportunity to sync 10 additional tracks: a few more episodes of The Writer’s Almanac, along with some recent episodes of Wait Wait. So when I pick it back up, the final 18 will be shuffled up out of 4350 tracks –
13 – Don’t Cry Blue. Jonathan Edwards. Jonathan Edwards. [2:44/1:07:15] Good song (although not my fave) from a great CD. (Dont you cry either, Cuddles.)
14 – Natasha. Rufus Wainwright. Want One. [3:28/1:10:43] Relaxing, maybe. But I never have gotten all that much into Wainwright, so this one might even rank in the lowest several hundred.
15 – Henry Lee. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. Murder Ballads. [3:58/1:14:41] Not one of my top faves from Nick Cave, but shows how little emotion I feel toward Wainwright’s to call this one at least a thousand higher than that one stood. And as for randomization?-Note this is the second from Cave’s Murder Ballads CD.
16 – High Water. Bob Dylan. The Bootleg Series, Vol.8: Tell Tale Signs (Disc 1). [6:46/1:21:27] Still plugging away quite steadily toward a new record for shuffle duration.
17 – I’m a Changed Man. Otis Redding. Dreams to Remember: The Otis Redding Anthology (Disc 2). [2:22/1:23:49] Cutting down the average track time for this shuffle set, but not a bad track for rounding out the diversity.
18 – Easy Does It. Al Kooper. Easy Does It. [5:28/1:29:17] Belt it on out, Al! Blast from my 12th grade past! And “when I grew a little older….”
19 – How Beautiful are the Feet of Them. London Philharmonic Choir. Handel’s Messiah (Disc 2). [3:07/1:32:24] Another good one for rounding out the shuffle set’s diversity.
20 – By the Time I Get to Phoenix. Glen Campbell. The Very Best of Glen Campbell. [2:47/1:35:11] Ah yes, reaching back even further into high school day memories!
21 – On Again, Off Again. Sean Lennon. Friendly Fire. [3:18/1:38:29] Another mild diversity-widening track – as with Wainwright, I’ve never quite clicked with John’s kid the way I have done with Bob’s.
22 – I Shall Be Released. Bob Dylan. The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3. [2:10/1:40:39] My Zen has this mis-labeled (as is the case on several dozen scattered tracks, the source of the problem unknown) – the track being played is from the same CD, but is Santa Fé.
23 – She Belongs To Me. North Country. North Country: Pickin’ Bob Dylan. [3:26/1:44:05] And I don’t even know what they’re trying to pick here, but it sure doesn’t sound like She Belongs To Me. I suppose maybe it is, but . . .
24 – The Writer’s Almanac for 8/19/2009. [5:16/1:49:21] Ah cute! Only this past week did I begin downloading podcasts of The Writer’s Almanac, and already it’s creeping into my shuffles.
25 – O Caritas. Cat Stevens. Catch Bull at Four. [3:42/1:53:03] He should make sure to sing this one at any current concerts, especially if they ever let him set foot in the U.S. again.
26 – All Heaven Declares. Jack Hayford. Men in Worship. [2:28/1:55:31] Another good diversity-widening track.
27 – Coast of California. The Kingston Trio. The Capitol Years (Disc 2). [2:38/1:58:09] Now creeping toward that 2-hour mark.
28 – Across the Universe. The Beatles. Let It Be…Naked (Disc 1). [3:38/2:01:47] Finally passing the 2-hour threshold. We were originally stretching for a record on this shuffle, but then slowed down. We had reached the 2-hour mark on the 27th track for shuffle set #2 last week.
29 – People Ain’t No Good. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. The Boatman’s Call. [5:41/2:06:28] Nick gets the prize this shuffle, claiming three of the thirty slots.
30 – Don’t Fence Me In. Mitch Miller. Sing Along with Mitch. [2:05/2:08:33] And we come in slightly more than three minutes under last week’s duration record. Even so, a familiar one to close out this shuffle, fitting nicely with earlier selections from The Kingston Trio and Glen Campbell.

Written by macheide

23 August 2009 at 8:01 am

Posted in vision:m

Hospital Within Walking Distance

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HospitalWalk.090820
Had Susan not had a doctor’s appointment elsewhere at about the same time as my appointment for a CT chest scan today, she probably would have driven me. But with two good days of walking to the park with her behind me, I felt challenged to leave the Blue Bug parked home, and walked the 1.45 miles to (blue line) then the 1.55 miles back from (red line) my appointment. Which was scheduled for 1pm, but I wasn’t called back for what was then a quick 10-minute procedure until almost 2pm.

And I forgot to take my cap and a bottle of water (although I did get a free bottle of water at the hospital for the return walk), so just about died in 98° (before heat index) sun with few clouds and almost no breeze. But I survived! And I look forward to our walk to the park again this evening.

bumper sticker [www.internetbumperstickers.com] - adrien

Written by macheide

20 August 2009 at 3:50 pm

Posted in Adrien

Sunday Shuffle 2

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30 Shuffle 2: 30 “random” selections from 4332 tracks on my Zen Vision:M –
1 – Have a Talk with God. Stevie Wonder. Songs in the Key of Life (Disc 1). [2:42]
2 – Parker’s Band. Steely Dan. Pretzel Logic. [2:45/5:27]
3 – Too Much of Nothing. Bob Dylan. The Basement Tapes (Disc 2) [3:03/8:30] This shuffle has started out just a step or two off the beaten track – not all that unusual to my main tastes, but not the most commonly heard of tunes.
4 – Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You. Bob Dylan. Nashville Skyline. [3:23/11:53] Ah, that’s a little closer to center. I sing along on this one, even think of scooting it back to replay it again before shuffling along.
5 – Alone. Kenny G. Breathless. [5:28/17:21]
6 – All I Taste Today is What’s Her Name. From Autumn to Ashes. The Fiction We Live. [3:41/21:02] Odd bit of shuffle, this one is so far.
7 – Worried Life Blues. John Cephas. Homemade. [3:18/24:20] And the oddness continues. All these do belong on my Zen, but they do a job at showing off some of the odd corners I listen to.
8 – Slow Train. Bob Dylan. Slow Train Coming. [5:58/30:18] Even when it does try to get to the center of the room, it’s somewhat off in another building altogether. Again, belongs; but again, not one you’d see listed among the most common to come to mind during any typical stray open moment.
9 – Spirit on the Water. Bob Dylan. Modern Times. [7:42/38:00] The shuffle maintains its rep.
10 – For Lovin’ Me / Did She Mention My Name. [3:29/41:29] A week of traffic since track 29 on the first shuffle, but this still comes soon enough to lend more emphasis to the off-beaten-track feel of the rest of the rest of this shuffle.
11 – Dink’s Song (Minneapolis Hotel Version). Bob Dylan. No Direction Home. [5:02/46:31] And speaking of mixing the norm (doesn’t get any more so than for another Bob to come up) with the unusal (this is as much so as if it were brand new).
12 – Nobody Does It Better. Carly Simon. Reflections: Carly Simon’s Greatest Hits. [3:44/50:15] Makes one feel sad for the rest.
13 – Pressing On. Chicago Mass Choir. Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan. [6:07/56:22] Ditto the mixture of norm with abnorm.
14 – Tempus Vernum. Enya. A Day Without Rain. [2:24/58:46]
15 – Bridge Over Troubled Water. Johnny Cash. [3:55/1:02:41] LOL, it really doesn’t mix up much better than this classic cover!
16 – I Shall Be Released. Bob Dylan. The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961-1991 (Disc 2). [3:56/1:06:37] The parenthetical in the CD title says it well: although this particular song is one of my Dylan faves, this shuffle can’t even manage to key up the usual version.
17 – Bunch of Lonesome Heroes. Leonard Cohen. Songs From a Room. [3:12/1:09:49] But for me, this is dead center: from the first Lennie album I had, sung for the crickets even.
18 – Lonesome Suzie. The Band. Music from Big Pink. [4:04/1:13:53] Coincidence of this shuffle: two songs in a row about the lonesome ones.
19 – Blue Boy. Jim Reeves. The Unforgettable Jim Reeves. [2:12/1:16:05] And we can call this a moderate extension of that coincidence: Jim doesn’t sing “lonesome,” but he does sing of being “lonely” and the song does fit well enough with the previous two to give us a shuffle trifecta.
20 – Moments to Remember. Barry Manilow. The Greatest Songs of the Fifties. [3:34/1:19:39] How to wreck to beautiful classic: it’s “we’ll,” Barry.
21 – Beethoven. [7:06/1:26:45] Identified on the Zen as “track 4,” one of many tracks I’ve not got clearly enough marked to know for sure exactly which Beethoven this is.
22 – Sonata for Flute & Piano: Cantilena. Poulenc: Chamber Music. [4:10/1:36:55] Sweetly melancholic.
23 – All Things New Again. The Wallflowers. Rebel, Sweetheart. [3:44/1:40:39]
24 – Barges. Ralph McTell. From Clare to Here: The Songs of Ralph McTell. [4:03/1:44:42] One of Ralph’s best.
25 – This Dream of You. Bob Dylan. Together Through Life. [5:54/1:50:36] From his most recent CD!
26 – Ballad of Ira Hayes. Peter Lafarge. [3:26/1:54:02] And sorely regretting not having Dylan’s cover of this on my Zen.
27 – Racing in the Streets. Bruce Springsteen. Darkness on the Edge of Town. [6:54/2:00:56] Yes, and it’s about time: the Boss finally puts in an appearance on the shuffles.
28 – The Mountains of Mourne. The Kingston Trio. The Capitol Years (Disc 2) [2:51/2:03:47] Not one of the Kingston Trio tunes I recall from my childhood.
29 – You’ve Got a Friend. James Taylor. The Best of James Taylor. [4:29/2:08:16]
30 – If We Try. Don McLean. American Pie & Other Hits. [3:32/2:11:46]

Written by macheide

16 August 2009 at 9:06 am

Posted in vision:m

Sync – Michael Jackson: Number Ones

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Picked up at Kroger today for $9.99, today we synced up Michael Jackson’s Number Ones

  1. Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough (2003 Edit) [3:56]
  2. Rock With You (Single Version) [3:40]
  3. Billie Jean (Single Version) [4:53]
  4. Beat It (Single Version) [4:18]
  5. Thriller (2003 Edit) [5:11]
  6. I Just Can’t Stop Loving You [4:11]
  7. Bad [4:06]
  8. Smooth Criminal (Radio Edit) [4:17]
  9. The Way You Make Me Feel [4:56]
  10. Man In The Mirror (2003 Edit) [5:04]
  11. Dirty Diana [4:40]
  12. Black Or White (Single Version) [3:18]
  13. You Are Not Alone (Radio Edit) [4:34]
  14. Earth Song (Radio Edit) [5:01]
  15. You Rock My World (Radio Edit) [4:25]
  16. Break Of Dawn [5:29]
  17. One More Chance [3:49]
  18. Ben (2003 Live Edit) 2:58]

Written by macheide

9 August 2009 at 2:52 pm

Posted in vision:m

Sunday Shuffle 1

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Shuffle 30 [4314] –
1 – The Ground Folds. Senses Fail. From the Depths of Dreams. (4:30) [3497] Can’t recall ever hearing this, but finding it worth returning to for more of a listen.
2 – Like a Rolling Stone. Bob Dylan. Before the Flood (Disc 2). (7:10/11:40) [2001] From the concert series during which I attended the one Dylan concert I’ve been to. Almost the entire final minute of this track is simply applause.
3 – Yodeling Veteranarian of the Alps (Track 5). Veggie Tales. (4:17/15:57) Every shuffle 30 does benefit from at least one Veggie Tale smile.
4 – Watermark. Enya. Paint the Sky with Stars: The Best of Enya. (2:26/18:23) [4056] Relaxing instrumental, one of my personal faves of Enya.
5 – It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry. Al Kooper. Super Session. (3:30/21:53) [1776] I’ll always prefer Dylan’s own H61R version, but his session pianoman doesn’t do it any injustice on this version with Steven Stills helping to push it through.
6 – Concerto No. 2 in G Minor/G-Moll “Summer.” Salzburguer Kammerorcherter – Dir. Alexander von Pitamic. The Four Seasons. (5:39/27:32) [705] If we’re going to have one of the four seasons keyed up for this morning’s shuffle 30, of course it would have to be summer.
* 7 – Tombstone Blues. Tim O’Brien. Red on Blonde. (3:42/31:14) [3762] From a great album consisting entirely of Dylan covers by O’Brien. Cute: three of the past 6 songs in this shuffle have been versions of songs from my favorite album of all time, Highway 61 Revisited, but without actually playing H61R itself!
8 – Harvester of Hearts. Rufus Wainwright. Want One. (3:35/34:49) [1314]
9 – Million Miles. Bob Dylan. Million Miles Recordings 1997-1999. (4:40/39:29) [2244] And a million miles away from H61R, too.
10 – With God on Our Side. Manfred Mann. A Tribute to Bob Dylan (Vol. 1). (4:25/43:54) [4192] Pretty standard shuffle so far: out of 10 songs, 2 Dylans and 3 Dylan covers. Background music on this version feels somewhat mindless (the singing too, in places), as though perhaps not grasping the point of the song.
11 – On That Day. Leonard Cohen. Dear Heather. (2:06/46:00) [2506] Lennie does a 9/11 tribute song!
12 – Won’t Last Long. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers. Echo. (4:22/50:22) [4205] Mediocre, Tom, and it lasted a minute or two longer than it really deserved.
13 – Angel Below. UnderOath. The Changing of the Times. (3:27/53:49) [278] Yes, even with all the Dylan & friends, a good shuffle is bound to come around to one of these frequently enough to stake its own claim to sound time.
* 14 – Toe Hold. Al Kooper. I Stand Alone. (3:53/57:32) [3757] Al Kooper grabs second asterisk for the shuffle by pulling in his second slot.
15 – Passages. Kenny G. The Moment. (5:57/1:03:29) [2611] Kenny closes out this shuffle’s first hour of play.
16 – What’s Good. Lou Reed. Magic and Loss. (3:22/1:06:51) And here the shuffle took itself a battery recharge break.
17 – Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door. North Country. North Country: Pickin’ on Bob Dylan. (4:12/1:11:03) [1896] Yet another Dylan cover, apparently this shuffle’s theme.
18 – Tom Dooley. The Kingston Trio. The Capitol Years (Disc 1). (3:03/1:14:06) [3760] Recalling one of the first records I had, reaching back about 45 years into my early childhood.
19 – Daydream. John Denver. Greatest Hits. (2:54/1:17:00) [777]
20 – Wake Me, Shake Me. The Blues Project. Anthology (Disc 2). (5:20/1:22:20) [4033] Of course, this gets recognized as Al Kooper’s 3rd slot grabbed in this shuffle. Go Al!
21 – Moonlight at Cove Castle. Mannheim Steamroller. Romantic Melodies. (3:19/1:25:39) [2277] A rarity: MS playing something other than Christmas music!
22 – Take This Waltz. Leonard Cohen. More Best of Leonard Cohen. (5:58/1:31:37) [3342]
23 – The Ballad of John and Yoko. The Beatles. 1967-1970 (Disc 2). (2:59/1:34:36) [3418]
24 – Les Soirées de Nazelles, for piano, No. 1-4 complete: Le coeur sur la main. Olivier Cazal. Poulenc: Piano Music, Vol. 2. (2:25/1:37:01) [1947]
25 – Here Comes the Sun. The Beatles. Abbey Road. (3:05/1:40:06) [1376] As this came up in this morning’s shuffle, the sun here was disappearing behind approaching thunderclouds…and here came the son, Kelly.
26 – The Sign of Love. Mannheim Steamroller. Romantic Melodies. (3:58/1:44:04) [3607] This shuffle set’s best illustration of my suspicions that my Zen’s shuffle mode is not entirely random.
27 – My Back Pages. Bob Dylan. Another Side of Bob Dylan. (4:22/1:48:26) [2327] As if sensing that the easy listening category might be gaining the upper hand in the shuffle, along comes a Dylan classic.
28 – Just One More Day. Otis Redding. Dreams to Remember: The Otis Redding Anthology (Disc 1). (3:30/1:51:56) [1870]
* 29 – For Lovin’ Me / Did She Mention My Name. Gordon Lightfoot. Gord’s Gold. (3:29/1:55:25) [1093] This gets its aserisk for an odd coincidence: out of the 30 in this shuffle set, this is the 2nd (after the John Denver song) to echo the three CDs that happen to currently sit in our pool CD player.
30 – Tombstone Blues. Tim O’Brien. Red on Blonde. (3:42/1:59:07) [3762] How’s that for pseudo-shuffle: repeating the 7th selection of this same shuffle set. Yes, even with complete randomness, there is a chance that a number could be repeated even back-to-back. Even so, things like this seem to happen more often than I would expect. Oh well, if we were going to repeat anything, Tombstone Blues ain’t a bad one to do it on.

Written by macheide

9 August 2009 at 11:00 am

Posted in vision:m

M-3 Ammo

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Delivered the first work-related presentation I’ve done in a while today. And in several respects, this one was unique from most of the presentations I’ve recently done or might normally expect to be doing these days –

  • Audience – Instead of speaking to actuaries, or even pension lawyers or other pension professionals, my audience was IRS agents who generally had zero knowledge of pensions or employee benefits.
     
  • Topic – My basic topic was the difference between the accounting applicable to pensions under U.S. standards versus international standards. That topic would not have been odd at all while I was at Milliman – in fact, I wrote two separate pension accounting articles for the Enrolled Actuaries Report within my final 18 months there. But at the IRS, accounting issues have been as distant from my work as some distant galaxy light years away, so far off that I have felt completely comfortable keeping my spreadsheet “hobby” separate from official work.
     
  • Geography – Do I get “travel comp” time for the commute up the Gulf Freeway? This speech was delivered at the IRS building in downtown Houston. At least I didn’t need to struggle with GovTrip paperwork!
     
  • Prep Time – Rhonda phoned me about doing this speech less than 2 weeks ago. Although of course I’ve had enough background on the topic to feel comfortable with the material, the absence of focus on accounting issues during my IRS tenure did mean that I needed to dust off some rust and double-check for any updates during the past two years; so I did not finish my preparations sufficiently to actually prepare my slides until this morning!

All in all, I think it went well. As usual for my presentations, I instantly knew there were some things I will be changing if and when I deliver this presentation again (which might actually happen, given emerging developments in pension accounting). Notably, I think the presentation would do well to center around a structure building a reconciliation between the two standards that would focus specifically on the six components of pension cost under the U.S. standard (including the different places in a financial statement that those items can land, since the profit statement won’t always be the target any longer).

And perhaps some actual M-3 illustrations. Since the Schedule M-3 was the premise for the 2-day meeting of which my 30-minute presentation today was part. That corporate income tax return schedule giving rise to a concern I afterward expressed to my own manager: that I worried that many of our own pension actuaries might think an M-3 to be some type of rifle, thereby failing to be in any position to provide any support to our agents on any pension-related M-3 questions. My manager responded by saying that I was “it” – another sign that this is unlikely to be the last I see of this topic (and leaving me scratching my head as to why it took them until less than 2 weeks ago to let me know this was all coming up).

Written by macheide

5 August 2009 at 1:10 pm

Posted in deskjob