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Thursday, February 15, 2001

All-time favorites

Having described how I choose favorite music, how do you choose yours? Or does it choose you? Either way, what qualities about it seem to insinuate it into your consciousness and fill a void or commend itself to your soul? Or have you had any breakthroughs in understanding the musical tastes of others whose choices vary widely from your own? Has a teenage son or daughter or something you've read or heard given you insight into what makes that "noise" appeal to another group on the other side of the musical abyss from you?

To take a less theoretical approach than that in yesterday's entry but to come back to the same point, my own tastes in music seem to run in the broad middle. The best-selling albums of both the 1970's and the 1980's were among my all-time favorites.

In the '70's, that was the Saturday Night Fever album, dominated by Bee Gees smooth disco favorites. (Much of the most widely played music called disco, which seemed to be little more than thumping backgrounds, didn't appeal to me at all, however.)

In the '80's, the best-selling album was Michael Jackson's Thriller, one of the few albums I've actually purchased (my lifetime record purchases—excluding gifts to others—are probably under two dozen albums). Thriller was, I thought, truly remarkable, with virtually every cut on the album going to the top of the pop charts, each in its turn.

Despite my appreciation for Jackson's album, my favorite single of the 1980's was not from it. That distinction goes to "The One You Love," by former Eagle Glen Frey. Though never a number-one hit like Jackson's string of them, it is still played, more often than any of Jackson's, on the radio stations I bounce around every day (except for Christmas season, when for me it's all Christmas music all the time). Not only was Frey's song my favorite almost immediately on first hearing it in the '80s, no other song has supplanted it in that position of favor with me. And ironically (perhaps), I don't have any inkling what the best-selling album of the 1990's was…was there one?

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Proper punctuation

An English professor wrote these words on the blackboard, directing his students to punctuate them correctly.

"Woman without her man is nothing."

The men wrote: "Woman, without her man, is nothing."

The women wrote: "Woman! Without her, man is nothing."

Sent by Mike Harrison


A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items in front of him. When class began, without speaking he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks of about two inches in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was.

Then the professor picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. He again asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed it was, but laughed.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. The sand filled up everything else. "Now," said the professor, "I want you to recognize that this is your life. The rocks are the important things—your family, your partner, your health, your children—anything that is so important to you that if it were lost, you would be nearly destroyed. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else. The small stuff.

"If you put the sand into the jar first, there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.

"Take care of the rocks first—the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

Sent by Trudy Meyers
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