About me

I'm a geek working as a distance learning specialist for a large corporation.

My Pandora "radio station" profile
This is my favorite way to listen to music now.

My Yahoo "radio station"
(Unfortunately, only works in IE.)

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[tag]Christian Bale[/tag], [tag]Michael Caine[/tag], and [tag]Christopher Nolan[/tag] (all of whom worked on [tag]Batman Begins[/tag]) join [tag]Hugh Jackman[/tag] to create one of the best magician movies I've ever seen. Actually, thisReview: The Prestige

Well, I had planned on another retrospective post to celebrate 5 years of typing random things into this blog, but the day passed a few days ago and it doesn't5th Blogiversary

Well, here's my first post of 2007. I'm going to start off with a gripe. To paraphrase Peter, Paul, and Mary: "Where has all the QA gone?" Quality Assurance is an essentialQA - Quality Assurance or Questionable Assurance?

Well, the 15,000th version of Star Wars is coming out on Blu-ray soon. I'll give Lucas a lot of credit. The man is a genius at marketing. He must have aStar Wars... they did it again!

Murder in the First, based on a true story, tells the tale of Henry Young (Kevin Bacon) and his attorney (Christian Slater) as they expose the brutality of the AlcatrazReview: Murder in the First

Wow. I've never seen anyone lose that much weight for a movie before. [tag]Christian Bale[/tag] was a walking skeleton in this movie. It hurt to watch the man move. Even [tag]TomReview: The Machinist

My second guest shot on the Midnight Movie Club was posted this week, reviewing the film "Return To Me" (with a stellar cast led by David Duchovny and Minnie DriverReturn to MidMo and other short subjects

Okay, look, here's the thing: Doctor Who travelling to some alternate reality where he meets Bugs Bunny would be incredibly cool in a very strange, and possibly acid-induced way. It'sTuesday TubeWatch Two-fer! Doctor Who meets Bugs Bunny!

Lots of series finales showed up this year. Some of them were only supposed to be season finales, but the shows were cancelled. Most of the time, they didn't knowSuper-Review: Cancelled shows

I despise the entire idea of Toddlers & Tiaras. This, however, I can totally get behind... Awesome. How many plugs for Tom Hanks' roles can you spot? Here are the ones I caughtCelebrity Toddlers & Tiaras

Star Wars: The Clone Wars | Star Wars: The Clone Wars In Theaters and on Television in 2008 The Clone Wars animated series is going to start with a theatrical release! ThisSend In The Clones!!!!

In any Highlander movie, it's expected: heads will roll. In this case, though, it should have been heads of the film's creators. Why would you go and make a movie, probablyReview: Highlander: The Source

To review: I’m talking about an article on ZDNet that tries to make the case for streaming first-run movies to a home theater. In the first part, I laid out the argument theyMovie Theater vs. Home Theater (part 3)

One of the things that surprised me most about Dr. Horrible was the quality of the music. I knew Joss Whedon had written a musical episode of Buffy The VampireHorrible music is really pretty good

Gone are the heady, playful days of American Ninja, and Ninja III: The Domination. These days, Ninja movies are more serious business, focusing on the real historical Ninjas, like theNinjas in history

I’m a prejudiced idiot

Apparently, I’m prejudiced.

Despite all evidence to the contrary, I persisted in believing an unfounded assumption rather than taking a few minutes to find out the truth. Because of that stupidity, I missed out on some enjoyment. Luckily, I can make up for that in this case. As I’ll come back to, that’s not always true.

The name “Five for Fighting” applied to a music group immediately conjured up images of hard, driving rock music, with lots of screaming and anger. It’s just the name alone that brought that image to mind. The only music I had heard from the group at that time was “Superman (It’s Not Easy),” which is one of my favorite songs. But I persisted in my faulty image, thinking that maybe this was the song that broke their mold, and the rest of their songs were just as I imagined.

Then I heard a couple more of their songs, and they were all very nice, acoustic piano-driven songs with thoughtful lyrics and beautiful orchestration. And still I rationalized. “Maybe they do one nice song per album.”

Eventually I realized that was a stupid assumption to make and I should look into the group and see if I was missing out on something great. Still, it took a while to do anything about it. In fact, it wasn’t until I started exploring Pandora that I really found out how stupid I am.

I had a lot of my facts wrong. First off, “Five for Fighting” isn’t a group. It’s a guy. He just figured his name was harder to remember than a marketing title, and he was right. I haven’t had any trouble remembering the name (which refers to a hockey penalty) – I just associated it poorly. Which leads to my other large mistake. It’s still amazing to me that presented with nothing but music that I loved, I still had this notion that the majority of Five for Fighting’s catalog would be stuff I hated. I’ve listened to probably 15 of his songs now, and I have liked all of them. Most share the same acoustic, orchestrated, piano-led sound.

While I have a few contenders for my favorite so far, I have to give the nod to the radio hit “100 years”.

That song perfectly blends many of the elements I love. Strong rhythm piano, nice orchestration, a distinctive sound, strong solo work moving into full instrumentation, and lyrics about the passage of time and life. I’m a sucker for the “time passing” motif.

So why, presented with only music that I love, did I persist in my prejudiced viewpoint? Ignorance. Ignorance is at the heart of all prejudice.

There are people who hate others based only on their race. They don’t get to know the people or what they stand for at all – they simply believe their prejudiced views, despite evidence to the contrary. The same applies to religion and politics. There are Republicans who recoil at anything labeled “Democrat” without any knowledge of the message’s content. Likewise, there are Democrats who cringe at anything to come out of a Republican’s mouth, simply because a Republican said it, with no regard for the content of the statement (or its context).

This problem of prejudice is exacerbated by the sound-bite driven, attention-deficit guided media coverage that focuses on isolated incidents or statements with no regard to context, frequently presenting a misleading, or even wholly inaccurate, picture.

Don’t allow prejudice to guide you. Don’t be ignorant. Don’t assume that you know; know that you know. Find out the truth. You don’t have to agree with it, but discover the truth. Unlike choosing which music group to listen to, some choices can have lasting and dangerous consequences.

And on your way out, take a listen to this lesser known Five for Fighting song that I discovered after I started paying attention.

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