And The Nominees Are

side_oscarThe 92nd Academy Awards are going down Sunday night, so here’s my uneducated predictions for the non-acting awards. I have seen a couple of these movies, so I will still mostly be going on gut feel and word of mouth with just a little bit of personal experience.

Best Original Screenplay

Rian Johnson, Knives Out
Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns, 1917
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won, Parasite

I’ve seen none of these films, so this is a total shot in the dark, but I’ve heard lots of good things about Knives Out.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Steven Zaillian, The Irishman
Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit
Todd Phillips and Scott Silver, Joker
Greta Gerwig, Little Women
Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes

I’ve only seen one of these, but my guess is that Greta Gerwig takes home the prize.

Best Animated Feature

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
I Lost My Body
Missing Link
Toy Story 4

I’m assuming the continuing adventures of the talking Mr. Potato Head and friends will be the winner.

Best Cinematography

Rodrigo Prieto, The Irishman
Lawrence Sher, Joker
Jarin Blaschke, The Lighthouse
Roger Deakins, 1917
Robert Richardson, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Well, again, I’ve seen one of these, so I will go with the war effort 1917.

Best Costume Design

Sandy Powell and Christopher Peterson, The Irishman
Mayes C. Rubeo, Jojo Rabbit
Mark Bridges, Joker
Jacqueline Durran, Little Women
Arianne Phillips, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino’s tale of 1960s Hollywood is my choice to win this particular prize.

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Those Non-Acting Oscars

side_oscarThe 90th Academy Awards are going down next Sunday night, so here’s my uneducated predictions for the non-acting awards. I have seen a couple of these movies, so I will still mostly be going on gut feel and word of mouth with just a little bit of personal experience.

Best Original Screenplay

Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani, The Big Sick
Jordan Peele, Get Out
Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, The Shape Of Water
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

I’ve actually seen three of these films, and, while I would love for Emily and Kumail to win, my money is going on Jordan Peele for Get Out.

Best Adapted Screenplay

James Ivory, Call Me By Your Name
Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, The Disaster Artist
Scott Frank, James Mangold, and Michael Green, Logan
Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game
Virgil Williams and Dee Rees, Mudbound

I’ve only seen one of these, but my guess is that the legend behind the story of The Disaster Artist will earn it the nod.

Best Animated Feature

The Boss Baby
The Breadwinner
Loving Vincent

I’ve only heard of two of these, one of which is from the good folks at Pixar, so I’ll go with that.

Best Cinematography

Roger A. Deakins, Blade Runner 2049
Bruno Delbonnel, Darkest Hour
Hoyte van Hoytema, Dunkirk
Rachel Morrison, Mudbound
Dan Laustsen, The Shape Of Water

Well, again I’ve seen none of these, so I will go with the war epic Dunkirk.

Best Costume Design

Jacqueline Durran, Beauty And The Beast
Jacqueline Durran, Darkest Hour
Mark Bridges, Phantom Thread
Luis Sequeira, The Shape Of Water
Consolata Boyle, Victoria & Abdul

Another category where I’m at a loss, so I’ll go with the live action Disney hit.

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iTunes Top 200 Artists: #61-70

3 years ago, we first counted down the then Top 100 artists in my iTunes library.  Since that time, I’ve successfully managed to migrate my music collection to a new PC with the stats intact.  So, I figured it was time to take another look, expanding out the field to the top 200 artists, based on number of plays from late 2007 through January 1, 2017.

We continue the long slog towards the top with today’s entry, which includes:

#70: The Muffs
iTunes stats: 62 plays
Previous ranking: #67

A slight 3 spot drop for the band most well known for a Fruitopia commercial back in the day.

#69: Bush
iTunes stats: 63 plays
Previous ranking: #68

The British band rode the alternative wave of the early to mid 90s to have 6 songs make up their total, with 28 additional listens in the past 3 years.

#68: DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
iTunes stats: 64 plays
Previous ranking: #80

An impressive 12 spot jump for the rap duo, who added 1 new track and 34 new listens over the past 3 years.

#66: Mazzy Star
iTunes stats: 65 plays
Previous ranking: #59

Only 25 new listens contributed to the 7 spot drop for the tippy band.

#66: John Williams
iTunes stats: 65 plays
Previous ranking: #98

The composer of some of the most popular and recognizable film scores in cinematic history, including the Star Wars and Superman series, has a nice 32 spot jump thanks to 42 new listens over the last 3 years.

#65: Warrant
iTunes stats: 66 plays
Previous ranking: #74

The favorite of strip clubs everywhere, and the Adam Carolla Show, added 34 new listens, good enough for a 9 spot jump.

#64: TLC
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iTunes Top 200 Wrap-Up

itunes_imageLast week, we wrapped up our latest look at the top 200 songs I’ve listened to, according to iTunes, since 2008.  Now it’s time to take a final look at those 200 (or 203) songs and the 109 artists that made them.  The average number of listens was just over 28, with the median number being 20.

Most Represented Band

Foo Fighters – 17
The Beatles – 13
The Cast of Buffy The Vampire Slayer – 11
Garfunkel and Oates – 8
Garbage – 7
Tegan and Sara – 7

Least Recently Played

7/6/2013 10:15 AM – The Beatles – Paperback Writer
11/23/2013 8:28 AM – Young MC – Bust A Move
4/3/2014 12:26 PM – Goops – Build Me Up Buttercup
5/10/2014 1:33 PM – Neil Sedaka – Calendar Girl
5/30/2014 3:28 PM – Mexican Cheerleader – Do The Stanley

Most Recently Played

12/21/2015 12:09 PM – Boyz II Men – End Of The Road
12/21/2015 12:03 PM – Love Spit Love – How Soon Is Now?
12/18/2015 6:42 PM – Purdue “All-American” Marching Band – Hail Purdue
12/18/2015 6:39 PM – John Williams – Prelude And Main Title March
12/18/2015 6:39 PM – Purdue “All-American” Marching Band – Go Purdue Cheer


iTunes Top 200: #79

itunes_image3 years ago, we first counted down the then Top 100 songs in my iTunes library. Since that time, I’ve successfully managed to migrate my music collection to a new PC with the stats intact. So, I figured it was time to take another look, expanding out the field to the top 200 songs, based on number of plays as of January 1, 2016.

Today, we continue with the next grouping of 10 songs tied for 79th place with 21 plays apiece since late 2007.

#79: Mexican Cheerleader – American Nice
iTunes stats: 21 plays, most recently on 9/12/2015
Previous ranking: Unranked

The song that serves as a ringtone for the band’s singer on my phone.

#79: Me First And The Gimme Gimmes – Rainbow Connection
iTunes stats: 21 plays, most recently on 8/9/2014
Previous ranking: #58

A punk cover of the quintessential Muppets hit.

#79: The Lonely Island – Dick In A Box (ft. Justin Timberlake)
iTunes stats: 21 plays, most recently on 8/21/2015
Previous ranking: #76

The SNL Digital Short premiered on December 16, 2006 and became a viral hit when the uncensored version was posted online the following day.

#79: John Williams – Prelude and Main Title March
iTunes stats: 21 plays, most recently on 12/18/2015
Previous ranking: Unranked

The iconic theme song to the original set of Superman films.

#79: Hole – Doll Parts
iTunes stats: 21 plays, most recently on 8/16/2015
Previous ranking: Unranked

The hit from Courtney Love and company also appeared on Volume 16 of my mix tapes.

#79: Hole – Celebrity Skin
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Predicting The Non-Acting Oscars

side_oscarThe 88th Academy Awards are scheduled for Sunday night, so here’s my uneducated predictions for the non-acting awards. I likely have seen very few of these movies, so I will mostly be going on gut feel and word of mouth.

Best Original Screenplay

Matt Chapman, Ethan Coen, and Joel Coen, Bridge Of Spies
Alex Garland, Ex Machina
Peter Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, and Ronnie del Carmen, Inside Out
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, Spotlight
Jonathan Herman, Andrea Berloff, S. Leigh Savidge, and Alan Wenkus, Straight Outta Compton

I haven’t seen any of these films yet, but if I had to guess, which I guess I do, I’m going to say that, partially thanks to the outrage over the relative whiteness of the acting nominees, Straight Outta Compton will take home the prize.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Adam McKay and Charles Randolph, The Big Short
Nick Hornby, Brooklyn
Phyllis Nagy, Carol
Drew Goddard, The Martian
Emma Donoghue, Room

Another category where I have not seen any of the nominated work. I’m guessing, based on very little, that The Big Short will win this one.

Best Animated Feature

Boy & The World
Inside Out
Shaun The Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

No clue here either, but Inside Out was the only one I had heard of.

Best Cinematography

Ed Lachman, Carol
Robert Richardson, The Hateful Eight
John Seale, Mad Max: Fury Road
Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant
Roger A. Deakins, Sicario

Well, I’ve almost seen one of these, since I have Mad Max home from Netflix.  My guess is that Emmanuel Lubezki takes home the Oscar for capturing the rape of Leonardo DiCaprio by a bear.

Best Costume Design

Sandy Powell, Carol
Sandy Powell, Cinderella
Paco Delgado, The Danish Girl
Jenny Beavan, Mad Max: Fury Road
Jacqueline West, The Revenant

The odds do seem to be in Sandy Powell’s favor, but I’m guessing Paco Delgado brings home the prize for The Danish Girl.

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Concert Flashback: Star Wars In Concert

09starwarsIn 2009, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra went on tour performing the music from John Williams’ Star Wars scores, featuring edited footage from all 6 films and narration from Anthony Daniels, who played C-3PO.  Given the early December date of the Chicago performance, I planned on getting Danny tickets for his birthday.  In a twist of fate, there were plans afoot to get me tickets for my birthday as well.  So, we got a set of 4 and split them up, 2 for me and 2 for Danny.

As the date of the approached, an interesting conundrum popped up.  I was offered a trip to Belfast for work, but would need to leave the day before the show, on December 5th.  Initially, I turned down the trip, but was eventually able to finagle my way into a Sunday afternoon flight, which meant heading straight to O’Hare from the United Center and arriving in Belfast Monday morning, heading straight to the office.

The concert itself was a faithful recreation of the score from the favorite films of my childhood (plus the later 3 abortions).  The mixture of the film clips worked well given they were the original source of the music, and Anthony Daniels led the proceedings with the familiar voice we had all come to know and love.  This was my first, and so far only, concert at the UC.  It doesn’t seem to be the best venue for it, but it got the job done.

It turns out that George Lucas himself was at this show, only the second time he had seen it in person and the first time in this country.


The Lesser Oscar Predictions

side_oscarWith the Academy Awards scheduled for Sunday night, here’s my predictions for the non-acting awards.  I likely have seen very few of these movies, so I will mostly be going on gut feel and word of mouth.

Best Original Screenplay

Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell, American Hustle

Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine

Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack, Dallas Buyers Club

Spike Jonze, Her

Bob Nelson, Nebraska

I haven’t seen any of these films yet.  The backlash against Woody Allen after the Golden Globes will likely hurt him.  I’m thinking Spike Jonze’s tale of falling in love with a Siri-like AI will take home the prize.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, and Ethan Hawke, Before Midnight

Billy Ray, Captain Phillips

Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, Philomena

John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave

Terence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street

Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street, with John Ridley taking home the Oscar for his adaptation of the 1853 memoir.

Best Animated Feature


The Croods

The Wind Rises

Despicable Me 2

Ernest & Celestine

Again, I haven’t seen any of these and I’m likely not ever going to.  That said, Frozen appears to be a hit for the ages, so I’m going to go wih that.

Best Cinematography

Philippe Le Sourd, The Grandmaster

Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity

Bruno Delbonnel, Inside Llewyn Davis

Phedon Papamichael, Nebraska

Roger A. Deakins, Prisoners

The technical wizadry that was Gravity should have no problem taking home this prize.

Best Costume Design

Michael Wilkinson, American Hustle

William Chang Suk Ping, The Grandmaster

Catherine Martin, The Great Gatsby

Michael O’Connor, The Invisible Woman

Patricia Norris, 12 Years a Slave

There’s nothing Oscar voters for this category like more than period pieces, and this year gives them many to choose from. My guess is that the Roaring 20s will rule the day and that The Great Gatsby will take home the prize.

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Goodbye, iPhone 4S – Music Edition

A little more than a week ago, I upgraded my phone from the iPhone 4S to the newly released iPhone 5S.  The biggest difference, aside from a slightly bigger screen, is the jump from 3G (or 4G, if you believe AT&T’s hype) to LTE.  I had the 4S for a little under 2 years, and in that time, we traveled the world together (well, at least going back to the UK) and have listened to a lot of podcasts and music. Here is every song (all 2079 of them) I’ve listened to on the phone, with some (ok, very little) bonus commentary.  Godspeed.


Let’s Go-Go-Go White Sox Captain Stubby and the Buccaneers 33
He’s a Pirate Klaus Badelt Pirates of the Caribbean (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture) 32
Take Me Out To The Ballgame Harry Caray 31
Thunderstruck AC/DC The Razors Edge 31
Gordon Beckham Intro 29
Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye Steam Billboard’s Top Rock ‘n’ Roll Hits: 1969 29
Don’t Stop Believin’ Journey Journey’s Greatest Hits 27
sox05_montage 27
We Are The Champions Queen Queen: Greatest Hits I & II 27
Your Love The Outfield Play Deep 27
2008 White Sox Central Division Champs Montage Chris Tannehill WSCR 670 The Score 25
Take Me Out To The Ballgame Nancy Faust 25
Harvester Of Sorrow Metallica …And Justice For All 20

You would hope that these numbers would have been higher, but this past season’s miserable performance by the White Sox has put the songs on their playlist out of mind more often than not.

Cannonball The Breeders The First 1000 Years- Rock 19
Man Or Muppet Jason Segel The Muppets 15
It’s Time For Our Song Miss Piggy The Muppets 14
Get Out There And Help Those Guys Jason Segel The Muppets 13
Main Title LOST Soundtrack LOST Soundtrack 13
Are You A Man Or A Muppet? Amy Adams The Muppets 12
How Charming, A Finale Uncle Deadly The Muppets 12
I’m On A Boat (ft. T-Pain) The Lonely Island Incredibad 12
Down At The Ole Barbershop Kermit The Muppets 11
Me and Drugs David Cross Bigger and Blackerer 11
The Antichrist Howard Stern Private Parts: The Album 11
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iTunes Top 100 Artists: #91-100


My latest desktop computer arrived in late 2007, at which point I transitioned all of my music off of my laptop. 2 iPods, 2 iPhones, and an iPad later, that computer is still my main repository of music, with iTunes updating its stats every time I listen to something.

Having already gone through cassette tapes and CDs, and digital music, it’s time to roll everything up with the Top 100 artists that I’ve listened to as of 8/21/2013, according to iTunes. Today we look at the the bottom 10, which includes plenty of rock royalty.

#91: Letters To Cleo

iTunes stats: 26 plays

Split across 2 songs, both of which achieved success due to their inclusion on soundtracks.  The band broke up in 2000.

#91: Beastie Boys

iTunes stats: 26 plays

7 different songs make up this total for the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, who have not been active since the death of Adam “MCA” Yauch.

#91: Bloodhound Gang

iTunes stats: 26 plays

2 songs make up this total for the band known for humorous and off-beat, satirical lyrics.

#94: Ozzy Osbourne

iTunes stats: 24 plays

The bumbling TV dad of reality series fame used 5 songs, including a duet with Lita Ford, to compile this total.

#94: K’s Choice

iTunes stats: 24 plays

5 songs make up this total for the arguable one hit wonder from Belgium.

#94: 2Pac

iTunes stats: 24 plays

The slain rapper makes the list with only 2 entries, including his collaboration with Dr. Dre.

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