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Ten Best Albums of 2010

Here are my picks for best albums of 2010. I've done it a few years now, but this year my primary goal was to have a list where Kanye West's waaaaaaaay overrated album isn't on it.

(Here are my lists from 2007, 2008, and 2009.)

10. Yeasayer- Odd Blood

Delightfully weird. This is the sort of music Lady Gaga dresses like she wants to make.

I Remember


9. Aloe Blacc- Good Things

Snubbed by many "best of" lists, Aloe Blacc put out the best R&B album of the year and barely got noticed.

Femme Fatale


8. Dan Mangan- Nice, Nice, Very Nice

This dude can write. But the album isn't the just the stereotypical singer/songwriter guitar and microphone act (not that there's anything wrong with that). It is actually quite funky as well.

Road Regrets


7. Sufjan Stevens- Age of Adz

I was able to see Sufjan while he toured in support of this album. I thought the album just the right mix of electronica and folk-rock. (The show was amazing by the way.)

Now That I'm Older


6. Joanna News…

Abe

No matter what, everyone has a level of pride they must keep. This is needed to care not just about themselves, but about anything, or anyone. Abe knew this. It’s that same sting that makes a dancer cover herself while picking up the currency hurled her way when she was stark naked only moments before. Without it, we wouldn’t even get out of bed. We wouldn’t even clean ourselves. What’s the point?

Some days Abe had to remind himself he still cared. It was strange. And a bit grandiose. Most people don’t have to sit and wonder if they care. Not about any particular issue, but about anything and everything. This worried him. As I suppose it should.

Just like you and I, Abe was born somewhere. And it was somewhere to a tee. It wasn’t anywhere that needs anymore description than that. To make things even more familiar, Abe didn’t much like his father. We’ve heard this story before. Abe set out on his own. Not so groundbreaking. And not with high ambitions, but with a humming timidity that ha…

Change

hunting and gathering to herding and settlingThings haven't always been this way and things won't always remain this way. Much like our underlying knowledge we will someday be no longer, we all understand this but don't particularly care to dwell on it. While we can physically see many of the more tangible things change- like our jobs, friends, homes, physical appearances- we sometimes don't see, or maybe even refuse to see, our institutions, our political realities, our "world," so to speak, change.For much of the 200,000 years us homosapiens have been around, we've been communists. Now, as far as words in the English language with baggage attached to it go, communism must be close to the top of the list. Let me explain. Of course I'm not talking about the "Communism" we all learned about in school with its gulags, its Stalin, its dreary sunless and Godless skies; I'm talking about hunter-gatherer societies where every abl…

Social Security Under Attack... Again

From IDOM:

One could easily be forgiven for thinking the Baby Boomers appeared out of nowhere. The way it’s presented in the media, it would seem they just suddenly appeared -- near retirement, of course -- with their hands cupped firmly open, waiting to be paid. They’re going to break Social Security! Ever since I can remember, this has been the spin. Because “big government” can’t do anything right, all the money you paid in is hopelessly lost. This is a fundamental, and cynical, misunderstanding of Social Security. It’s a distortion of both what it is and how it works -- and convenient cover for those who want to dismantle and privatize it.

But first off, what about those Baby Boomers? Did people really not notice they were packing four or five lunch boxes instead of two or three after the second World War ended? Well, of course they did. And so did the government. In fact, it was the now infamous but then-rockstar Alan Greenspan, along with the conservative…

The Young Man and the Sea

I sit at the edge of the beach with a bottle of wine and profound thoughts in my head.
In the darkness I think of the emptiness of the sea.
I can only hear the waves crash against the shore.

But the sea is teeming with life.
Life is in abundance in what seems to be the darkest and loneliest of places.
Such is the contradiction of our existence!

Just then a drunken man takes a piss over my shoulder.
The unmistakable feeling of relief hits him as he sighs in certain approval.
My profound thoughts are reduced to the more urgent thought of remaining piss free.

Fuck it.
I throw the near empty wine bottle into the sea.
There is no message, time, or tiny ship in this bottle.
Only salt water, wine, and the memory of profound thoughts.
Profound thoughts which, like all profound thoughts, are servants to a stream of piss.

- Tyrrhenian Sea, Tuscany, Italy

Panic! No, don't panic! Well, if you must, make sure you panic first.

Contradictions! Contradictions! Contradictions!

Now that the big European economies have decided to unabashedly, in no uncertain terms, put their pocketbooks where their mouths are and bail out capitalism (as if there was any doubt), the markets have rallied. Even the currency markets soared. At one point during the day the Euro gained over two percent on the dollar.

This comes only a few days after investors were convinced the sky was falling. It's now a distant memory, but remember when the Dow fell nearly one thousand points during the day? (It eventually gained back a good deal of that, but the psychological damage was done.) Much of this was blamed on the near default in Greece. But there were also reports of someone accidentally putting an extra zero somewhere in an electronic trade. Oops! Some Monday detail and all hell breaks loose!

The NY Times described it like this:

A bad day in the stock market turned into one of the most terrifying moments in Wall Street history on Thursd…

Market Aesthetics and the Institutionalization of Waste. Happy Earth Day!

We throw away a lot of stuff. In my near decade of manufacturing work, I'd say I've seen millions of dollars worth of products thrown out. Surely some of this was because of defects affecting performance. This is to be expected. But there's also a much more troubling side to the full dumpster at the end of the shift. Many of the items thrown out were perfectly functional. Because of any number of hundreds of small defects, they were simply tossed. Why? While their use value remained fine, their exchange value had dropped to the point of them being unprofitable to sell.

At first thought, this isn't too controversial. It's just sort of the way things are. When someone asks why we're throwing away so many usable products, as I have many times, the typical answer given is something along the lines of "a customer judges what's on the inside of a product by its appearance on the outside." This is no doubt true. As Fabio's once great career can attes…

Venezuela: The People in Arms

From IDOM...
As they wait for the arrival of the President, the militias stand listlessly, or sit on the ground to eat a sandwich. Some rest on their rifles, and one or two even had the muzzle of their AK-47s resting on their boot – a somewhat risky practice, one would have thought. In fact a professional drill sergeant would doubtless have a heart attack, looking at these half-trained civilians with guns.But this impression would be entirely false. These militias are the lineal descendants of the Cuban guerrillas, of the militias that fought Franco in the Spanish Civil War, of the workers´ militias that overthrew the Tsar in Russia in 1917, and if we go even further back in history, of the armies of the French Revolution and the militias of the American Revolution in the 18th century.

The Bathroom Mirror

How's the reflection?
Angles are important.
Lighting is more important.

If I'm vulnerable
Or conceited,
you're judgmental.

If these walls could talk,
I bet they'd beg
For seven years of bad luck.

I spend far too much time
Looking in your eyes.

Obama's State of the Union Address and "American Values"

From IDOM:

The following is from the end of Obama's first State of the Union address: In the end, it is our ideals, our values, that built America — values that allowed us to forge a nation made up of immigrants from every corner of the globe, values that drive our citizens still. Every day, Americans meet their responsibilities to their families and their employers. Time and again, they lend a hand to their neighbors and give back to their country. They take pride in their labor, and are generous in spirit. These aren't Republican values or Democratic values they're living by, business values or labor values. They are American values.Unfortunately, too many of our citizens have lost faith that our biggest institutions — our corporations, our media and, yes, our government — still reflect these same values. Each of these institutions are full of honorable men and women doing important work that helps our country prosper. But each time a CEO rewards himself for failure, or a…