Happy 70th Birthday Bob Dylan! (and my Top 10 Dylan Songs)

Bob Dylan

Happy 70th Birthday, Bob Dylan!

Ah, you were so much older then, you’re younger than that now… and may you stay forever young no matter how much the times, they are a’changin’, you rolling stone you!

Man, can you believe the Bob is 70???

I sure can’t… mostly because my main association with him is through his music, and that’s mostly timeless, never aging, so the icon seems that way to me.

For Bob’s 70th, Rolling Stone magazine did a huge number of features this month on him:

Me, I did a meme tribute on Facebook to share one of my favourite Top 10 Bob Dylan songs each day leading to his birthday today. Here is my list, which was generally presented in no particular order except for the last two being my favourite two Dylan songs. It gets too hard to separate the order of the others for me.

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Tag Your Top 10 Best Looking Facebook Friends

This is a new type of Facebook tagging that can really get you into trouble, if you dare to use it!

That’s because you have to decide which of your Facebook friends are the best looking, and tell everyone else about it in tagging them! Those who make your list will love you for it! Those who don’t, definitely won’t! This will be especially true if they think they are better looking than someone else on your list. How they react will vary, but you’ll have to live with the consequences. 🙂

Can you handle the stress and pressure? If so, let’s get going!

You can either do this outright, males and females in the mix, or you can do it with males competing against each other, and same with females. Don’t think of it as being sexist, but rather that you can reward 20 people instead of 10, and bruise 10 fewer egos. 🙂

If you do it with males and females separately, pick the memes called Guy Edition and Girl Edition, respectively. If you mix males and females, you’ll have to make your Top 10 list first. Then see how many females are in the mix and choose the meme with the same number of females.

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Tag Your Top 10 Most Athletic Facebook Friends

This is a new type of Facebook tagging, and one that could get you in a lot of trouble, too! 🙂

It’s not because this Facebook tagging is “inappropriate” with language, images or topic. No. It’s because this is going to bruise some egos!

It’s meant for judgmental people so if that’s you, and you’re not afraid to bruise some egos, then go for it! The trade off is that you’ll also praise some people, like giving them an award, so you can also win some favours!

In this Facebook tagging, you have to decide who are your 10 most athletic Facebook friends and tag them.

Those 10 are going to be happy. Those who felt they could have been in the top 10 based on who they saw you tag, cause they thought they were more athletic than at least one of those tagged, won’t! Depending on their personalities, they’ll react in a variety of ways, some of which won’t be pleasant.

Do you think you can handle that? If so, then let’s get on with it!

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Ten Tips To Better Tweeting

Twitter Logos

If your ADHD from Twitter has progressed beyond reading paragraphs, here are the ten tips to better personal tweeting in point form, without elaboration so you’ll have to figure it out:

  • Tweet in the third person
  • Be positive
  • Practice humour
  • Two tweet jokes
  • Don’t advertise
  • Ask questions
  • Gigantic concepts and miniscule details
  • Nothing like feelings
  • Use interesting words
  • WTF

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I’ve been looking into a lot of tweets for a few months now and, to be frank, there wasn’t all that much to keep my interest. People and their lives just aren’t that interesting from what comes across. Even the people you think would be interesting aren’t that interesting. Or is it because they don’t know how to convey it? And if they’re like that, think of what the more “normal” people tweet. Yeah, you know the ones I’m talking about. Many of your friends, my friends, me, and very possibly you.

But if you need to tweet, at least put some effort into all that phoniness associated with Twittering, would you? Use it to improve your writing skills, story telling skills, sense of humour. Use it as motivation to actually do something interesting with your life so you could tweet it without having to try any of those other things. Use it to spread good energy. There’s a lot of potential in tweeting for real life skills improvements and value, if only people would embrace the thought rather than drown in all this shallowness associated with tweeting. You don’t have to “fake” your tweets in doing all this. Just show a little flair people maybe don’t see much of from you, or at least not on the text side.

To help these boring tweeters you know improve their tweets, I have created ten tips for better tweeting. These aren’t meant to be the greatest or best tips or anything, in no particular order. They are just ten I came up with which I know helps. However, let’s start with a tip zero, which is getting over denial. You can’t solve a problem till you admit you have it. That’s why you’re going to send this to somebody, post it to their Facebook wall or something, right? I’m posting it to my own!

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TWEET IN THE THIRD PERSON. There is so much “me” culture in Twitter it’s sickening. Talk about yourself in the third person the way someone would read that tweet. Ban the “I” word. Starting with a verb is also a good thing because it’s action-oriented.

Tweeterbird is singing the sweetest song heard.

I’m singing the sweetest song heard just sounds a lot vainer.

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BE POSITIVE! You’d be surprised how human negativity spread among people by any means, and how it builds up through self-affirmation like a tweet. If you need to self-affirm, do it in a way that doesn’t spread to everyone else! Also, telling the same message without the negativity is not only a challenge, it’s a nice way to look at the same problem through a better lens.

Tricycle got a flat tire today but still had three left (optional: If two out of three ain’t bad, then three out of four can’t be, either).

I don’t know about you, but I get a very different reaction seeing that rather than something like Can’t believe I got f#&$ing flat tire today!

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PRACTICE HUMOUR. Humour can be the easiest way out of being negative, but it can also be the hardest thing to try to find something funny out of a bad incident. Just try writing something funny. It doesn’t have to be what you’re doing, just maybe what’s on your mind, or what came into your mind as you tried to think of something funny. You could develop your written sense of humour this way. You can think up things until you’re ready to tweet it. People might know that, but so what? You’re putting an effort into it… which is more than they can say of their tweets. Whether the attempt elicits a groan, smile or laugh, people will at least have a reaction, which is more than they can say of most tweets.

Punster‘s body is like Iraq after a 23 mile run… full of free radicals causing lots of pain and suffering.

If someone doesn’t get it, it might intrigue them enough to ask you about it rather than reading about your body hurting after such a long marathon training run if you plainly tweeted it that way.

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TWO TWEET JOKES. Good jokes are often set’em up, knock’em down affairs. Not these long drawn out stories. So find some and share them. Ask something in the morning. Let your followers think, or just plant the thought in the back of their heads so when they get the punchline later in the day, they’ll remember and get it, have a good laugh and release. Tension and release is something quite often referred to in music, but this is the same idea. Your followers can try to finish your jokes , and they might (which means you’ve engaged them), but you ultimately hold the answer for all your other followers who will be waiting for it.

NovaScotian How many Newfies does it take to have an orgy?
NovaScotian Just one, though more than two hands would make it a better orgy.

Don’t ask. I just made it up on the spot. If you also find you don’t have enough jokes, well, take it as a sign to get some more for the next party you attend.

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DON’T ADVERTISE. If you’re trying to sell something, chances are your friends already know about it. I don’t care whether that’s Avon or chocolate or otherwise, aside from the occasional special event, I’d tolerate one tweet about it. Any more and I’m buzzing you out for good! You didn’t get into Twitter for commercials, do you think they did?

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ASK QUESTIONS. If you learn something new, share it by asking a question? You can ask with the answer in the question, or create suspense by asking the question and answering later. The latter is good for when the question is too long.

Socialstudies Did you know ears makes noises of its own, albeit at a level only detectable by supersensitive microphones?

Socialstudies Do you know what the NSFM policy for Internet posting is?
Socialstudies Not Safe For Mom. Don’t post anything not safe if Mom ever saw it.

If you’re ever short on ideas, may I introduce you to the Social Studies column in the Canadian national newspaper, the Globe & Mail. It is written by Michael Kesterton and is exactly what it says it is, a daily miscellany of information. It is my favourite week daily reading by far and has been for many years! The username is fictitious. Questions about details in your life could also be fun, although it might sound vain after a while. Still, imagine if you did one of those 25 Things about You Facebook memes one tweet at a time!

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GIGANTIC CONCEPTS & miniscule details. Can you think big? Can you think philosophically? Give your followers something to ponder for a while? Or give them a chance to be smart and tweet back an answer. But maybe you’re one of those types who has an eye, ear or other awarenessfor detail. Can you describe it?

Burncock If a tweet goes unread, does anybody hear?
RockingRobin
is listening to old skool tweeting of nightingales. Tweet! Tweet!

The first is actually a very practical rather than useless philosophical question. The username is not meant to be offensive, but is a play on the spelling of Bruce Cockburn‘s (pronounced KO-burn) last name. He is the writer of the referenced phrase, If a tree falls in the forest, does anybody hear? from the song If a Tree Falls, in 1989. I’ve been fortunate to have met Bruce in the summer of 2008 and he’s a very nice and candid guy. The second is a nice thought to me rummaging through hundreds of techno-tweets.

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Nothing like feelings. Add some feelings to whatever it is you tweet to humanize the tweets. Like being positive, feelings are contagious so keep it to the good ones. Feelings can also liven what is otherwise a mundane tweet.

Gogetter is peeing with a passionne.

I would have enjoyed that tweet over one that said is peeing. Would you?

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USE INTERESTING WORDS. Why think big concepts and notice little details when you can conceptualize gigantic concepts and be aware of miniscule minutaie to expand yours and your followers’ lexicon?

Wordwatcher believes in kaizen, gestalt and arete rather than religion.

Kaizen (the art of constant self-improvement), gestalt (a total greater than the sum of its parts) and arete (excellence in the fulfillment of purpose of function) are three of my favourite words, as well as my spirituality.

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WTF TWEET. If you’re not familiar with the acronym WTF, it stands for What the f*ck and is used when you’re wanting to express that reaction and question in Internet or chat jargon. Every once in a while, throw one in out of the blue. See if anybody asks.

Machoman is putting on a tutu & prancing about… “I could have danced, all night, I could have danced, all night, and still, have begged, for more!”

I just used this one the other day. The reference was to little 10 year old Hollie Steel, by whom I was amazed and had blogged about recently.

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Got any interesting tweeting twips two share?

Please do in a comment below!

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 6.7

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What’s Your Song of Religion? (Part 5 of 7 on the World in Six Songs)

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Book and Theory Background

Daniel J. Levitin wrote an absolutely brilliant book called The World in Six Songs, supported by a great website with the many music samples referenced, among other great related material.

My basic paraphrasing of the concept is this. All the songs in the world could be fit into at least one of six categories providing an evolutionary benefit to humanity, often ultimately tied to our social nature.

The book and website offer far more detailed interpretations, of course, but I will expand on my paraphrasing with each post and the associated topic.

Daniel J. Levitin and The World in Six SongsIn a series of posts, I will describe each of the six categories in brief, one at a time:

  1. Friendship
  2. Joy
  3. Comfort
  4. Knowledge
  5. Religion
  6. Love

I will describe what the categories are about because they are not as limited in scope as the category names suggest. I will then supply one of my choices and ask all readers to do the same if they so wish. In the seventh post of the series, I will offer the chance to put the song choices all together so readers can read the entire set on one post. I do this because it would be a long post to describe all six categories at once, but to have all the answers in one place might be nice.

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This post focuses on Songs of Religion

July 30th add-on in italics, from Dan Levitin in a summary article
Religious ceremonies and ritual go hand in hand, with music frequently accompanying a ritual. Music acts as a retrieval mechanism to guide the movements and words of a particular ritual, and ritual can allow people to stop worrying and focus on the task at hand. Music is also tied to religious ceremonies such as weddings and funerals where acts can be performed as a community, providing social bonding.

Songs of religion are not simply songs about religion. In fact, the songs of knowledge post showed how the Oral Torah was really a song of knowledge, not religion, even if its lyrics were all about religion. Songs of religion are really ritual songs intended to give meaning to something greater than just the subject itself. Furthermore, this meaning is attached to a belief system that establishes some sort of “social” order, both, less and more than us. It is this search for meaning, a self-conscious act of awareness on our part, for our place in this order which truly separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. However, it is what we embrace in this search, in turn, that has benefited us in evolution.

In our search for something greater that is part of our religious beliefs, we embrace sets of rituals that exist in all religions. Religion gives meaning to these rituals that have little meaning on their own otherwise. Just look at rituals in religions foreign to you and see how you feel about them compared to those in your own. However, those not familiar with your religion would have no different overall reactions to rituals in your religion. Pages 194-195 has a great list of 11 rituals universal to all religions, though, which is an absolutely fascinating read!

Now, the rituals of religion come in two flavours: self-rituals and group rituals. Self-rituals tend to be of the type which promotes survival, like not murdering others or coveting their mates which could cause conflict among us that is not good for survival. Rituals also mean the actions get repeated, which helps survival if all the actions were good for survival. As for religion’s role, religion gives self-ritual self-meaning, like what it could mean for someone in their current and/or afterlife. Religion also monitors external and internal states for danger in guiding rituals to be done at various times throughout life.

Like it does for self-rituals, religion gives group rituals group meaning and monitors internal and external states to the group. This is the more important benefit to evolution when compared to the self. This is because group rituals promote group activities, which not only protect us from ourselves but also from other factors of harm to us, and better than individuals could do alone. Group rituals are essential to religion because one cannot find a place within a greater social order if there were no one or nothing else around oneself to create this social order.

Finally, all rituals, with their meanings given by religion, are intended to reduce ambiguity in life by changing the state of the world into something more exacting. It also lets us move on with our lives with the direction given so we don’t subject ourselves to situations not beneficial to our survival.

At this point, I would like to insert a note to say that while the general big picture descriptions of religion described in the World in Six Songs are beneficial to evolution, when it comes to the main organized religions in human history, I’m not sure I would concur. I think modern organized religions have become so warped from the spirit of religion’s concept I would debate whether it has had net benefit on humanity or net hindrance. Ironically, this has been since we supposedly have become “civilized”. So much wrong has been done in the name of organized religion, or hidden by it, that I really do think we could do better without it. I think we’d be better off if we only embraced religion in its intent rather than its meanings that it often has no business giving. Organized religion is just a pretense to guide us as if those leading it knew what were happening when they have no idea.

Songs associated with rituals mean there is a time and a place for songs of religion, with consequences. Thus, funeral and wedding marches count, but not national anthems or Christmas carols. There are places and times for national anthems, football fight songs and Christmas carols when you could break out in one or the other, and there wouldn’t be much problem. Try the same with funeral or wedding marches, especially the former, and there might well be. Children’s songs where participants move parts of their body selectively also count as songs of religion because of their ritualistic nature. This practice to develop motor coordination through repetition when we are young and learning is also of benefit to us evolutionally. Finally, gospel songs are religious songs, and it was mentioned that Dan Dennett had suggested that atheists should have pro science gospel songs as atheism doesn’t have gospel religious songs — a thought I, both, like and found tremendously amusing.

Audio sample of songs from the Religion chapter in The World in Six Songs can be found on the website. No direct link was available, but click on the Songs menu option and appropriate page number range link carrying pages 189 to 228. Please note that not all songs are meant as samples of Religion songs. Some are just referenced material in the book text.

Overall, I found this chapter on songs of religion to be very profound and deep, as it should be considering the subject matter. Despite the long post, I have only touched upon the many things Daniel Levitin touched upon for which there is much to think about each.

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Author Daniel Levitin chose

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My choice for Song of Religion is

Lacrymosa , by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart from his incomplete Requiem (funeral music), K. 626, that is magnificent from beginning to end.

It seems the current opinion is that only the first 8 bars were actually written by Mozart, with the rest under instruction for completion. However, listening to it, sounds like the instructions were pretty complete to me.

I have had the pleasure to sing this piece in choir and, well, let’s just say when you hear this piece with all the parts around you, singing one part, that’s when you really “get” the genius of Mozart.

I have also heard this version sung whereby the choir stopped at where it was thought Mozart stopped composing (I believed that version was about 8 bars into the vocal section), and they just stopped dead and walked off. It was so moving, the reminder that Fate doesn’t care for what we do and stops where it wants, that I cried in realizing the finality of it all.

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Frederic Chopin’s Funeral March, from his Sonata No. 2 in B flat minor, Op. 35, also works well. This version is by Vladimir Horowitz. Masterful!
(the music, not video which is just black which might be appropriate but boring as heck)

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Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Pie Jesu from his Requiem is also a favourite of mine. I have also sung this in choir. Sissel Kyrkjebø does a beautiful job here!

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I don’t know what to say about all the funeral music selections here. I LOVE classical funeral music for some reason. It gives me such peace and lets me focus incredibly well. I especially like writing anything I need to focus and be concise on to it. Obviously, I don’t blog to it. :-)

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What is your choice for Song of Religion?

Please leave your choice as a comment.

Lyrics and YouTube/audio link would greatly enhance your answer so readers can know more about your choice. They are not necessary, though, and not possible if no lyrics or version exist.

You can include songs you wrote as a choice, too!

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 10.7