Music I First Heard in 2014 – Muhammad Ali (Black Superman) by Johnny Wakelin and the Kinshasa Band

These posts are for music I first heard in 2014 which I love and want to share. This one is just super! Great story, great groove, great tune to sing to. I don’t know why it’s not more popular and frequently played! Great video, too!

I just LOVE it! I can even shadow box dance to it, lol!

There are other videos with just the music, and not video and audio clips of Ali but not as fun, in my opinion. That’s the stuff that inspired this song!


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Quantifying Fame

Here Comes Everybody, by Clay Shirky

I’m reading a great book called Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations by Clay Shirky. However, I’m not done yet so this is not a book review. I wanted to share a point he makes within the chapter I’m reading about quantifying fame.

Clay’s definition of fame is essentially when someone can no longer respond to all the attention he/she gets. That is, someone like Oprah could spend all her life responding to fan mail or email and she wouldn’t be able to get it all done, no matter how impersonal and short the reply is, using whatever technology she currently has at her disposal. But that’s it! You don’t need to win 8 gold medals at an Olympics, or be on your favourite music awards show, necessarily. You might just have to whine about how the press is treating Britney Spears so unfairly on YouTube. No, I’m not wasting my time linking it. You go find it if you really want to.

Actually, some bands and singers who appear on these big music awards show, or other shows that would seem to make them famous in the more socially accepted definition of the word, couldn’t even come close to having as many people know about them as people know about someone like that whiner. So who’s big now?

Where Clay comes in with his book is that media like the Internet and all its features, whether blogs or Twitter, comments on photo sites, etc. have drastically changed the ability to become famous. It’s so easy to reach people and contact them now, so fast, that fame can happen faster than ever before, not to mention far more easily, like with Susan Boyle. It can also happen anonymously, like with some blogs that have cult following audience, without all the taboos associated with the word cult. But inevitably, it has to happen and happen far more frequently than ever before, at an increasing rate as we are more “in-touch” with the world through all our technology.

It’s absolutely true! I just never thought about it that way or articulated it that way, though way back in 1995, I saw this coming with how news was starting to include deaths of all kinds of people, some of whom I didn’t think were famous enough to deserve a national mention to bring everybody’s spirits down. One may not know or care about a person, but news of death doesn’t leave one feeling neutral, especially if there’s a reason attached to it like there often was mentioned as a cause of death. Worse is the tragic story, more tragic than the old age cancer that might have been inevitable anyway. And from that, I wrote a free verse poem called Media Obituaries.

Clay Shirky (photo from

Clay Shirky (photo from

Why I wanted to share Clay’s definition of fame is because I wanted to get you thinking and see if it would reshape your frame of reference with respect to fame. Does that make certain people you know famous, then, that you had not considered famous before?

Are you?

Remember, you achieve fame when you can no longer respond to all your correspondence even if you devoted your entire time to it.

And while I’m here talking about Clay, I’m going to throw in a superb video of a 21 minute talk Clay gave at a (my favourite learning source) conference in 2005 on Institutions vs Collaboration. It’s about how an institution like government could choose to either enable or be an obstacle to collaboration afforded by new Web 2.0 technology. I work for government, I love this stuff, and I wish I could break down a few walls so we wouldn’t be such an obstacle but rather be an enabler that government should be.

Imagine that! Wish me luck!

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 9.7


Serendipitous Discovery of Leah West’s Music

Leah West, from her ReverbNation profile

Leah West

I am not active on MySpace, checking into my MySpace profile just once in a few months, probably. It’s not my main point of contact, but rather a venue to share the one song I have written and recorded thus far… which will change this summer. I usually check in just to see if anything happened I should know about, that’s about it.

Tonight, I saw a Friend Request from one Leah West (MySpace), a musician (and model, actress, painter, photographer, etc.) formerly of New Jersey and now of Kelowna, BC. I had never heard of her but am long past that sort of thing to be surprised by it. I know it’s about social networking, not necessarily people who know each other. On the same principle, if people send a Friend Request of me, I won’t turn them down unless they seem really scary… more in a social sense than physical sense. I just accept, be flattered at face value they sent me a Friend Request, a little more if they typed something like Leah did, and have a listen to their music. I often enjoy it, but that might be that. However, every once in a while, I find something that’s delightful and tonight, it was Leah West’s music!

First thing to notice was her beautiful voice. The music moves and is moving. There is breadth to it, from simple and fun songs to deep and personal songs loaded with intelligent, thoughtful, meaningful lyrics. All of them are tied together by a genuine sense of honesty that it all came from within Leah, that this is the person she is. Someone who has decided to give us the privilege to look into her soul, just the way it is, through the sounds of her music.

There are six great songs on Leah West’s MySpace profile, but her ReverbNation profile has 54 songs. I’m half way through the list now and have not found a bad track yet. So many good songs I’m starting to believe there isn’t a bad one! They are all of the pop / alternative / indie styles she classifies herself as, though, so if you have a quota on that for how much you can listen to at one time, 54 might be a bit much. Mind you, 54 of anything, even the Beatles, can be a bit much for most. Still, I believe there is a lot more to this young lady than p/a/i. With a voice and, more importantly, a spirit like hers, I think she can do and succeed in a lot of other genres. She just has to determine which of them are within her, when the time is right for her. But absolutely, I very much highly recommend you have a listen to her music at the link above.

Both profiles contain a lot of other interesting information about Leah, including artists she’s worked with, appearances and so on, but Leah’s website has even more, including her photos from modeling, acting, her blog and so on! Rocking! She’s also on YouTube as the video above shows, though it only had 280 views at time of this posting. Contrast that to the well over 1 million views her MySpace profile has had since June 24 2008 (i.e. just 10 months from this posting!).

Anyway, social networking is quite a lot like the lottery. A lot of times, there isn’t much to be gained, if not something lost like time. You have to have that mentality to play it and survive. However, every once in a while, you feel like you won something. Discovering Leah West’s music tonight has definitely been worth my while. As for her, I see she’s got close to 12,000 “friends” on MySpace, but she won over one geniune fan tonight in me!

Clay Shirky (photo from

Clay Shirky (photo from

Btw, did you know the mean number of Friends a user on MySpace has is 55? That’s just if you averaged out the number of friends every user had, though this should probably be 54 since everybody has Tom, the default friend on MySpace. Compare that to Facebook users who have an average of 125.

However, and this is a BIG however, the median number of MySpace friends a user has is just 2! That is, if you ordered each user in a list from most friends at one end and least friends at the other, and you walked halfway down that line, the person there would have 2 MySpace friends! (Source: Clay Shirky in Here Comes Everybody)

Wow! Talk about saying something about the nature and interactions of its users given people like Leah has almost 12,000!

What social networking if half the users literally have 2 or fewer friends, with 1 by default to start???

This fact is true despite MySpace still being ranked #9 on’s web traffic rankings at time of posting! Lots of traffic but not of the true interactive kind, obviously. At least not anywhere near where it could be. ReverbNation sits at 7,347 at time of posting, if you’re curious.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 6.3