Doo Ba Dih Bee Dwee Doo Daah

The Lick

Referred to simply as The Lick this melodic element can be found in nearly all genres of music and played by all kinds of instruments. It has somehow managed to seed itself everywhere. It can be found as early as Stravinsky’s “Firebird” (1910). Player’s “Baby Come Back” and Santana’s “Oye Como Va” are based on variations of The Lick. Although the origins of The Lick are unknown, it has propagated throughout the entire musical kingdom as you can see from the two videos below.

I have come down hard on artists who use clichés too much. But I think The Lick proves itself as something greater than a musical cliché, something more like a musical meme. The best art copies, reconstructs, personalizes, mutates and owns up to other great artworks that came before it. Viva La Lick!

This Used To Be My Jam

This Is My Jam

It happened. This Is My Jam is no longer with us. But it died in the most beautiful way. Although This Is My Jam no longer accepts new submissions the site has been completely archived and remains for your listening pleasure. What a refreshing change from the usual “We’re deleting everything in a week because we got acquired/ran out of money.” thing we’ve heard so much of lately. No Jams were lost.

One really cool feature of the archive (here is my archive page) is the automatic generation of a Spotify playlist from your submitted jams. Though Spotify on had only 25 of my 37 jams you can listen to them all on the archived Wall O’ Jams. I’m sad to see This Is My Jam go but I’m glad they left with such dignity.

Top 10 Most Banned Books: 2014

For the past many years, during Banned Books Weak, I have put together a list of the top ten most banned books of the previous year. Out of 311 challenges (a slight increase from the 307 challenges reported in 2013) as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom, here are the top ten:


  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”
  2. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, by Marjane Satrapi
    Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”
  3. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  4. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues”
  5. It’s Perfectly Normal (The Family Library), by Robie H. Harris
    Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it child pornography”
  6. Saga, Vol. 1, by Brian K. Vaughan
    Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  7. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”
  9. A Stolen Life: A Memoir, by Jaycee Dugard
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group
  10. Drama, by Raina Telgemeier
    Reasons: sexually explicit

Click these links if you are looking for the top 10 lists for previous years with easy links to Amazon: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001.

Additionally, in 2010, I put together a list of the 100 Most Banned & Challenged Books Of The Decade by aggregating several lists from the American Library Association.

The Tallest Structure In The United States Is A TV Antenna

The KVLY Television Tower, located in Blanchard, North Dakota is the tallest structure in the United States. It is also the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere and the fourth tallest in the World (beaten by the Burj Khalifa, Tokyo Skytree and Shanghai Tower). It tops in at 2,063 feet (628.8 m) tall. Just a few miles away is the fifth tallest structure in the world, the 2,060 ft (628 m) KRDK Television Tower.

If you’re interested in what it might be like to climb to the top of one of these towers, check out this video.

KVLY-TV Mast Tower Wide.jpgImage via Wikimedia

First New Dr. Seuss Book In 25 Years

What Pet Should I GetImage via Random House

The first new Dr. Seuss book in 25 years, was released yesterday! “What Pet Should I Get?”” was discovered in a pile of papers by Audrey Geisel (Dr. Seuss’s wife) shortly after his death in 1991. It is thought that he wrote and illustrated the book sometime between 1958 and 1962. And there are more unpublished books from that posthumously discovered pile of papers to come!

I have read “Hop on Pop” to my son so many times I have it committed to memory. I sure he’ll like this new one too.

The Silent Sky Project#

Artist Rob Sweere has been inviting participants to take part in an original, traveling social project titled Silent Sky Project#. Since 2004 Sweere has asked people around the world to take 30 minutes out of their day to lay in silence amongst one another and contemplate the sky in complete silence. Currently there have been 65 Silent Sky occurrences with between 3 and 2000 participants. It all sounds very therapeutic.

All images via Rob Sweere

The Baffling Sculptures Of Fabio Viale

Fabio Viale makes some very deceiving sculptures. The deception comes from the fact that all of Vaile’s sculptures are carved from white or black marble. The meticulous and realistic artworks could easily be mistaken for styrofoam, rubber, or paper.

All photos via Fabio Viale

The 25 Least Visited Countries In The World

Here is a moderately surprising list of the 25 least visited countries in the world. North Korea doesn’t even make the list (because of a mostly Chinese tourist base). Why some countries are less visited than others varies, but location, travel related logistics, costs, visa availability, degree of war and governments or lack thereof all matter. Here is the top ten with their approximate annual number of tourist visitors:

10. Turkmenistan: 8,697
9. Guinea-Bissau: 7,500
8. Libya: 6,250
7. Kiribati: 6,000
6. Equatorial Guinea: 5,700
5. South Sudan: 5,500
4. Marshall Islands: 4,600
3. Tuvalu: 1,200
2. Somalia: 400 visitor
1. Nauru: 160 visitors

That would make on heck of a bucket list. The author Gunnar Garfors has visited 198 countries and shares some of his experiences in traveling to these far-flung and rarely visited countries.

The First Ever BMX Quad Backflip Has Been Landed

Quad Flip

After months of trial and error, yesterday Jed Mildon landed the world’s first quadruple BMX backflip. The jump ended a heated, year-long, race between Mildon and James Foster to see who could land the trick first.

Outside a couple of K.O.s in the airbag during initial attempts, Jed Mildon pulled the trick off without injury, which is an especially monumental feat considering James Foster broke ten ribs and suffered a separated shoulder while training for his attempt. You can watch the official Nitro Circus video here.

via: Laughing Squid

At Least I Have Chicken

Leeroy Jenkins changed the gaming world for the better. During a game of World Of Warcraft Ben Schulz was away from his computer reheating some KFC so he didn’t listen any of his group’s attack plans. His haphazard charge turned out to be a landmark event and it ended up spawning what is arguably the most viral video in online gaming history. It was ten years ago today, on May 11, 2005, the video of this event was uploaded to the site

The rest is history. At Least I Have Chicken.

We Have To Go To A Park And Record The Sound Of Birds Rising

This demo recording of Stevie Nicks playing Rhiannon (also known as the Birds Rising Demo) is spectacular. The sweet voice mixed with the powerful piano playing is a joy. Open you ears to the music, your heart to the feels, and you’ll understand the magic that is Stevie.

Mad Men Reading List

The New York Public Library (NYPL) has created a Mad Men Reading List, a collection of 25 titles read by the main characters during the course of the series. These titles are a great way to gain insight into the social and cultural eras in which the series takes place.










Billy Parrott has also written a more comprehensive blogpost that lists books seen on shelves and lying around on tables during the show.