An IPOD Top-10 List, and Other Diversions

Steve Bainbridge recommends that celebrities, politicians, and ordinary mortals create iPOD top-10 lists by accessing their 25-most played category. It is a troublesome metric for me. I wish I, like Nick Horby, spent time thinking about what music I like. But I don’t, so my iPOD tells me that I like eclectic, sometimes objectively weak, songs. But in the spirit of the news hole this holiday weekend, my top-10 list follows after the jump. Oh, and I’ll throw in a few lively sites that I read in the daily surf to divert you…


My “Top 10” List:

1. New Slang (The Shins)

2. Hurt (Johnny Cash)

3. (Sittin’ On The) Dock of the Bay (Otis Reading)

4. I Can See Clearly Now (Jimmy Cliff)

5. Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground (The White Stripes)

6. The Book of Love (Magnetic Fields)

7. Bitter Tears (Magnetic Fields)

8. Run Out Pon Dem (Sizzla)

9. King Without a Crown (Matisyahu)

10. Feeling Good (Nina Simone)

No, I’m not proud of all of these. But revealed preferences don’t lie. I guess Natalie Portman was right about the Shins. And, in the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll admit that somewhere in the next 11-25 lurked a Green Day song, something by Kenny Rogers (you can guess what), and something by Howard Shore. Sheesh.

In other news, President Bush made explicit his perception of a connection between the Cold War and the War on Terror. Except that he believes that terrorists do not respond to normal incentive carrots and deterrence sticks:

Today, at the start of a new century, we are again engaged in a war unlike any our nation has fought before — and like Americans in Truman’s day, we are laying the foundations for victory. (Applause.) The enemies we face today are different in many ways from the enemy we faced in the Cold War. In the Cold War, we deterred Soviet aggression through a policy of mutually assured destruction. Unlike the Soviet Union, the terrorist enemies we face today hide in caves and shadows — and emerge to attack free nations from within. The terrorists have no borders to protect, or capital to defend. They cannot be deterred — but they will be defeated. (Applause.)

Two comments. First, MAD deterred us too – now, we’re left to weak internal controls. Second, in its intra-generational, geographic, and religious scope, this is a grim message. Glenn Greenwald explains the domestic problem here. (See a contrary view of civil life here.)

The Lincoln Hall/Everest climbing story reminds me quite a bit of the Case of the Spelucean Explorers. Assume that Lincoln Hall survives, and further assume that Everest falls within the jurisdiction of a U.S. state. Can Hall sue his team? Can the estate of David Sharpe sue his team? Assume that other climbers, passing Hall who they assumed to be near-death, took air canisters and food from him. Can they be criminally prosecuted?

And finally, a ghost ship has washed ashore in the Barbados. Can Disney refrain from using the tragedy in its advertisements for its next (stale) popcorn thriller? Time will tell.

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3 Responses

  1. John Armstrong says:

    There’s a problem with this: iPod and iTunes increment the play count every time a track starts. They also weight slightly by play count on shuffle. That means that if you’ve got a mediocre song that you often skip, it’ll still spike in the play count.

    For example Stereolab’s “Vonal Declosion” comes up at a whopping 126 in my count, while second place is Herb Alpert’s “Little Spanish Flea” with only 46.

  2. Belle Lettre says:

    I think it’s pretty cool that you listen to The Shins and The White Stripes. Granted, you have some “The Big Chill” type picks there, but all in all, pretty hip! (no Margaritaville by Jimmy Buffett?) I wish more law professors, particularly those that aren’t of the bow tie wearing variety, would share their music preferences with their not-that-much-younger students. Maybe then we wouldn’t think of you guys as old fogies! I think many students would be surprised to see that they have a bit more in common with their professors than they would like to think!

  3. Paul Gowder says:

    Feeling Good is not an objectively weak song! It’s not as good as Wild is the Wind or I Put a Spell on You (god, I need to learn how to capitalize titles), but it’s a start. 🙂