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You never forget your first. Your first Congress that is. I initially began following U.S. politics in some depth during my senior year of college- ironically, when I was out of the country working as a teaching and resident assistant for my college’s honors program in London. This was in January of 2005, at the beginning of the 109th congress.

I say Congress, but really, it was usually just the Senate that fascinated me; the arcane procedurals, the easy-to-remember composition of two persons per state. It’s been 16 years now, and I thought it might be interesting to collate what happened to the senators from that first congress I followed. This is some back-of-the-envelope research here, and it’s probable that I forgot some people in some of the categories, but here is, to the best of my recollection, what befell these senators:

Still in the Senate:

  1. Maria Cantwell (Washington)
  2. Patty Murray (Washington)
  3. Dianne Feinstein (California)
  4. Ron Wyden (Oregon)
  5. Mitch McConnell (Kentucky)
  6. Dick Durbin (Illinois)
  7. Jack Reed (Rhode Island)
  8. Patrick Leahy (Vermont)
  9. Deb Stabenow (Michigan)
  10. Richard Shelby (Alabama)
  11. Lindsey Graham (South Carolina)
  12. John Thune (South Dakota)
  13. Jim Inhofe (Oklahoma)
  14. Richard Burr (North Carolina)
  15. Charles Grassley (Iowa)
  16. Mike Crapo (Idaho)
  17. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
  18. Jon Cornyn (Texas)
  19. Chuck Schumer (New York)
  20. Tom Carper (Delaware)
  21. Susan Collins (Maine)

Died:

  1. Craig Thomas (Wyoming)
  2. Ted Kennedy (Massachusetts)
  3. Robert Byrd (West Virginia)
  4. Arlen Spector (Pennsylvania)
  5. Ted Stevens (Alaska)
  6. Daniel Inouye (Hawaii)
  7. Robert Bennett (Utah)
  8. Jim Bunning (Kentucky)
  9. Daniel Akaka (Hawaii)
  10. Jim Jeffords (Vermont)
  11. Frank Lautenberg (New Jersey)
  12. Pete Domenici (New Mexico)
  13. Conrad Burns (Montana)
  14. Richard Lugar (Indiana)
  15. John McCain (Arizona)
  16. Tom Coburn (Oklahoma)
  17. Thad Cochran (Mississippi)
  18. Paul Sarbanes (Maryland)

Became governors after:

  1. Jon Corzine (New Jersey)
  2. Lincoln Chafee (Rhode Island)
  3. Mike DeWine (Ohio)
  4. Sam Brownback (Kansas)
  5. Mark Dayton (Minnesota)

Ran for president after 2005:

  1. Barack Obama
  2. John McCain
  3. Hillary Clinton
  4. Christopher Dodd
  5. Joe Biden
  6. Sam Brownback 
  7. Rick Santorum
  8. Lincoln Chafee 
  9. Lindsey Graham

Became president:

  1. Barack Obama
  2. Joe Biden

Became Vice President:

  1. Joe Biden

Served in the cabinet:

  1. Hillary Clinton
  2. Ken Salazar 
  3. Chuck Hagel
  4. John Kerry 
  5. Jeff Sessions 

Lost re-election: (* were losses in their party’s primaries)

  1. George Allen (2006)
  2. Lincoln Chafee (2006)
  3. Mike DeWine (2006)
  4. Rick Santorum (2006)
  5. Conrad Burns (2006)
  6. Jim Talent (2006)
  7. John Sununu (2008)
  8. Gordon Smith (2008)
  9. Ted Stevens (2008)
  10. Norm Coleman (2008)
  11. Elizabeth Dole (2008)
  12. Arlen Spector (*) (2010)
  13. Robert Bennett(*) (2010)
  14. Russ Feingold (2010)
  15. Blanche Lambert Lincoln (2010)
  16. Richard Lugar (*) (2012)
  17. Mark Pryor (2014)
  18. Mary Landrieu (2014)
  19. Bill Nelson (2018)

(Lisa Murkowski and Joe Lieberman both lost primaries but were re-elected anyway)

Chose not to run for re-election:

  1. Paul Sarbanes (2006)
  2. Mark Dayton (2006)
  3. Bill Frist (2006)
  4. Jim Jeffords (2006)
  5. Chuck Hagel (2008)
  6. Pete Domenici (2008)
  7. Wayne Allard (2008)
  8. George Voinovich (2010)
  9. Chris Dodd (2010)
  10. Kit Bond (2010)
  11. Evan Bayh (2010)
  12. Jim Bunning (2010)
  13. Judd Gregg (2010)
  14. Byron Dorgan (2010)
  15. Olympia Snowe (2012)
  16. Ben Nelson (2012)
  17. Kent Conrad (2012)
  18. Jon Kyl (2012)
  19. Joe Lieberman (2012)
  20. Kay Bailey Hutchison (2012)
  21. Daniel Akaka (2012)
  22. Jeff Bingaman (2012)
  23. Saxby Chambliss (2014)
  24. Carl Levin (2014)
  25. Tom Harkin (2014)
  26. Tim Johnson (2014)
  27. Jay Rockefeller (2014)
  28. Barb Boxer (2016)
  29. Harry Reid (2016)
  30. Barbara Mikulski (2016)
  31. Orrin Hatch (2018)
  32. Michael Enzi (2020)
  33. Pat Roberts (2020)
  34. Lamar Alexander (2020)

Resigned mid-term (for reasons other than taking a higher office)

  1. Mel Martinez 
  2. Trent Lott
  3. Jim Demint 
  4. Tom Coburn
  5. Johnny Isaksen 

At the Center of a Sex Scandal:

  1. Larry Craig
  2. John Ensign
  3. Pete Domenici

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For the fourth part of YIELD, I am redoing my Top 100 Elton John Songs list. I’m perfectly fine leaving whole albums (Leather Jackets, Ice on Fire, Wonderful Crazy Night, Empty Sky, 21 at 33) off, and similarly okay with keeping some hits off as well. Don’t expect to see “Nikita,” “Little Jeannie,” “Island Girl,” “I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That” and others on here.

  1. Tiny Dancer (Madman Across the Water)
  2. Rocket Man (Honky Chateau)
  3. I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues (Too Low for Zero)
  4. Ballad of a Well-Known Gun (Tumbleweed Connection)
  5. Your Song (Elton John)
  6. Latitude (Made in England)
  7. Come Down in Time (Tumbleweed Connection)
  8. Carla/Etude (The Fox)
  9. Better Off Dead (Captain Fantastic)
  10. Can You Feel the Love Tonight? (Lion King soundtrack)
  11. Sixty Years On (Elton John)
  12. Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding 
  13. Levon (Madman Across the Water)
  14. Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds (single)
  15. Pinball Wizard (single)
  16. Hey Ahab (The Union)
  17. Wake Up Wendy (South Park: Chef Aid)
  18. Believe (Made in England)
  19. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (GYBR)
  20. Madman Across the Water (Madman Across the Water)
  21. Amoreena (Tumbleweed Connection)
  22. Breaking Down Barriers (The Fox)
  23. Crocodile Rock (Don’t Shoot Me…)
  24. Border Song (Elton John)
  25. Blessed (Made in England)
  26. Mona Lisa’s and Mad Hatter’s (Honky Chateau) 
  27. Bitter Fingers (Captain Fantastic)
  28. Chameleon (Blue Moves)
  29. Take Me to the Pilot (Elton John)
  30. Philadelphia Freedom (single)
  31. The Circle of Life (Lion King soundtrack)
  32. Oscar Wilde Gets Out (The Diving Board)
  33. The One (The One)
  34. The Emperor’s New Clothes (Songs from the West Coast)
  35. Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word (Blue Moves)
  36. Don’t Go Breaking my Heart (single)
  37. I’m Still Standing (Too Low for Zero)
  38. Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (Caribou)
  39. I Feel Like a Bullet (in the Gun of Robert Ford) (Rock of the Westies)
  40. If the River Can Bend (The Big Picture)
  41. Grey Seal (GYBR)
  42. Honky Cat (Honky Chateau)
  43. Elton’s Song (The Fox)
  44. Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting (GYBR)
  45. Teacher I Need You (Don’t Shoot Me…)
  46. Skyline Pigeon (b-side)
  47. Are You Ready for Love (Thom Bell Sessions)
  48. Where to Now, St. Peter? (Tumbleweed Connection)
  49. Tower of Babel (Captain Fantastic)
  50. The Bitch is Back (Caribou)
  51. I Want Love (Songs from the West Coast)
  52. Sixteenth Century Man (El Dorado soundtrack)
  53. Something About the Way You Look Tonight (The Big Picture)
  54. Original Sin (Songs from the West Coast)
  55. Sacrifice (Sleeping With the Past)
  56. I Need You to Turn To (Elton John)
  57. Country Comfort (Tumbleweed Connection)
  58. Bad Side of the Moon (b-side)
  59. Michelle’s Song (Friends soundtrack)
  60. Healing Hands (Sleeping with the Past)
  61. On Dark Street (The One)
  62. Tonight (Blue Moves)
  63. Made in England (Made in England)
  64. Live Like Horses (Big Picture)
  65. The King Must Die (Elton John)
  66. Postcards from Richard Nixon (Captain and the Kid)
  67. Burn Down the Mission (Tumbleweed Connection)
  68. Crazy Water (Blue Moves)
  69. Too Many Tears (Peachtree Road)
  70. Legal Boys (Jump Up!)
  71. Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy (Captain Fantastic)
  72. The Last Song (The One)
  73. A Woman’s Needs (Duets)
  74. Tinderbox (Captain and the Kid)
  75. Candle in the Wind (GYBR)
  76. The Simple Life (The One)
  77. The Trail We Blaze (El Dorado soundtrack)
  78. Passengers (Breaking Hearts)
  79. Right Before My Eyes (Lestat musical)
  80. Roy Rogers (GYBR)
  81. I Never Knew Her Name (Sleeping with the Past)
  82. Recover Your Soul (The Big Picture)
  83. Whitewash County (The One)
  84. Holiday Inn (Madman Across the Water)
  85. Pain (Made in England)
  86. First Episode at Hienton (Elton John)
  87. Look Ma, No Hands (Songs from the West Coast)
  88. The Fox (The Fox)
  89. Amazes Me (Sleeping with the Past)
  90. Jimmie Rogers’ Dream (The Union)
  91. Big Dipper (A Single Man)
  92. The Heart of Every Girl (Mona Lisa Smile soundtrack)
  93. Did Anybody Sleep with Joan of Arc? (b-side)
  94. Saint (Too Low for Zero)
  95. Rotten Peaches (Madman Across the Water)
  96. Freaks in Love (Peachtree Road)
  97. Sleeping with the Past (Sleeping with the Past)
  98. The House Fell Down (Captain and the Kid)
  99. Heavy Traffic (Reg Strikes Back)
  100. Blues for Baby and Me (Don’t Shoot Me…)

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Here’s the third part of the Rock Hall trilogy of the list dump– this one exploring future eligibles who I think have a good chance to receive consideration for the Hall of Fame. This list will include artists who are eligible for the upcoming Class of 2021. I can’t wait to see who the nominees are in…late January? early February?

Anyway, here is my commentary-free list of artists who are not yet eligible who I think might have a shot.

  1. Beyonce 
  2. Jay-Z
  3. Eminem 
  4. White Stripes 
  5. Foo Fighters
  6. Coldplay 
  7. Amy Winehouse 
  8. Rihanna 
  9. Adele 
  10. Kendrick Lamar
  11. Destiny’s Child 
  12. Missy Elliott 
  13. Taylor Swift 
  14. Lady Gaga 
  15. Kanye West
  16. Shakira 
  17. Janelle Monae 
  18. Britney Spears 
  19. Bruno Mars
  20. Vampire Weekend 
  21. Chemical Brothers 
  22. Fiona Apple 
  23. John Legend 
  24. Puff Daddy
  25. Nicki Minaj
  26. St. Vincent 
  27. Justin Timberlake 
  28. Black Keys
  29. LCD Soundsystem 
  30. Alicia Keyes 
  31. Katy Perry
  32. Lauryn Hill
  33. Lana del Rey 
  34. Drake
  35. The Killers
  36. Modest Mouse 
  37. Nelly Furtado 
  38. 50 Cent 
  39. Marroon 5
  40. Neko Case 
  41. Queens of the Stone Age 
  42. Erykah Badu 
  43. Alabama Shakes 
  44. D’Angelo 
  45. Brandi Carlile 
  46. Belle & Sebastian 
  47. Black Eyed Peas
  48. Billie Ellish
  49. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings 
  50. Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  51. Mumford and Sons 
  52. John Mayer. I Guess. 
  53. Tame Impala 
  54. Sigur Ros 
  55. Sufjan Stevens
  56. Lin Manuel Miranda 
  57. Arianna Grande 
  58. MIA
  59. Muse 
  60. Kacey Musgraves 
  61. Danger Mouse 
  62. Jennifer Lopez
  63. Ed Sheeran 
  64. Florence and the Machine 
  65. Rhiannon Giddens 
  66. The Weeknd 
  67. Tedeschi Trucks Band 
  68. The Strokes 
  69. System of a Down
  70. Miley Cyrus 
  71. Arctic Monkeys 
  72. Drive -By Truckers 
  73. Pussy Riot
  74. Old Crow Medicine Show 
  75. Childish Gambino 
  76. Christina Aguilera 
  77. Franz Ferdinand 
  78. Death Cab for Cutie 
  79. OK Go
  80. Pharrell Williams 
  81. Bon Iver
  82. Zac Brown Band 
  83. Fleet Foxes 
  84. Lorde 
  85. Lizzo 
  86. Against Me!
  87. Harry Styles 
  88. Sara Bareilles 
  89. Adam Lambert
  90. Sturgill Simpson 
  91. Avril Lavigne 
  92. Greta Van Fleet 
  93. Sia   
  94. The National
  95. Fall Out Boy
  96. Gary Clark, Jr.
  97. The War on Drugs
  98. Jars of Clay
  99. Dua Lipa
  100. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes 

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No, I will not YIELD.

Anyway, here’s part 2 of my end-of-year compilations of lists. The first was on the top 100 already-inducted Rock Hall artists, here’s a simple list of my own Top 100 Rock Hall Prospects as they currently stand. This is not, in any way, intended to compete with my friend Nick’s ongoing Hall of Fame Prospects project on his blog- for which he is doing some excellent writing and fine analysis.

This list is a good demonstration of how my own ideas of what a qualified prospect is have changed through the years. Also, a good many of my original 100 have been inducted, and 3 or 4 years of newly-eligible prospects have shaped it as well. Soon, I’ll have pt. 3 up- my Top 100 future eligibles.

  1. Kraftwerk
  2. Carole King
  3. LL Cool J
  4. Judas Priest
  5. Mariah Carey
  6. The Smiths 
  7. OutKast 
  8. Smashing Pumpkins 
  9. Big Mama Thornton 
  10. Kool and the Gang 
  11. The Spinners 
  12. Dolly Parton 
  13. Chic 
  14. Monkees 
  15. Weezer 
  16. Eurythmics
  17. Kate Bush
  18. Duran Duran 
  19. Willie Nelson
  20. Sonic Youth
  21. Pixies 
  22. Todd Rundgren 
  23. The Go-Gos
  24. No Doubt
  25. The B-52s 
  26. Rage Against the Machine 
  27. Weird Al Yankovic 
  28. Iron Maiden
  29. Beck 
  30. Mary J Blige 
  31. Pat Benatar 
  32. Peter, Paul and Mary 
  33. Jimmy Buffett 
  34. Jethro Tull
  35. Solo Tuna Turner 
  36. Soundgarden 
  37. Cher
  38. Joy Division/New Order 
  39. Dr. Dre
  40. Dead Kennedys 
  41. Dave Mathews Band 
  42. War 
  43. The Replacements 
  44. Motörhead 
  45. Big Star 
  46. Ozzy 
  47. Bjork 
  48. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds 
  49. Snoop Dogg
  50. Black Flag
  51. New York Dolls
  52. Jane’s Addiction 
  53. Salt N Pepa 
  54. Toots and the Maytals 
  55. Indigo Girls 
  56. The Commodores 
  57. TLC
  58. Phish 
  59. Selena 
  60. The Shangri-Las
  61. Dick Dale 
  62. Peter Tosh 
  63. A Tribe Called Quest
  64. Tool 
  65. Gloria Estefan 
  66. Sleater-Kinney
  67. Patti Labelle 
  68. Wu-Tang Clan 
  69. The Meters 
  70. The Jam
  71. PJ Harvey 
  72. Dionne Warwick 
  73. Chuck Willis 
  74. The Pogues 
  75. Tori Amos
  76. Bikini Kill
  77. Brian Eno
  78. The Clovers 
  79. Erik B and Rakim 
  80. Flaming Lips
  81. Los Lobos 
  82. The Roots
  83. Daft Punk
  84. Sade 
  85. Cliff Richard’s and The Shadows 
  86. Sting 
  87. Lucinda Williams 
  88. The Buzzcocks 
  89. Bad Brains
  90. Harry Nilsson 
  91. They Might Be Giants 
  92. Aphex Twin 
  93. Richard Thompson 
  94. Emmylou Harris 
  95. Johnny Burnette and the Rock’n’Roll Trio 
  96. Pet Shop Boys
  97. Siouxie and the Banshees
  98. The Chicks 
  99. Portishead 
  100. Fela Kuti

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I know I haven’t been on the Countdown as much as I would have liked to have been. I’ll make up for some lost time and give myself some space for the next big project (ranking the failed presidential candidates) by doing a series of lists and rankings to close out the year. The first is a three-parter centered around the Rock Hall. I’ll start with my list of the Top 100 acts currently in, and I’ll try to follow with an updated list of 100 prospects (eligible acts that aren’t in) and for the first time, my list of top 100 future eligibles. What are my criteria? Who the hell even knows anymore!

And now, a list that I’m sure won’t cause any disagreement or acrimony, the top 100 inducted acts:

  1. The Beatles
  2. Bob Dylan
  3. James Brown & Famous Flames
  4. The Rolling Stones
  5. Bruce Springsteen
  6. Aretha Franklin
  7. Chuck Berry 
  8. Elvis Presley 
  9. Led Zeppelin 
  10. Michael Jackson 
  11. Prince 
  12. The Beach Boys 
  13. The Who
  14. Marvin Gaye 
  15. Jimi Hendrix 
  16. Nirvana 
  17. Elton John 
  18. Stevie Wonder
  19. Queen 
  20. David Bowie 
  21. U2
  22. Bob Marley 
  23. Johnny Cash 
  24. Madonna 
  25. Talking Heads 
  26. Pink Floyd
  27. The Clash 
  28. Simon and Garfunkel 
  29. Public Enemy 
  30. Ramones
  31. Black Sabbath 
  32. Ray Charles 
  33. Muddy Waters
  34. The Police 
  35. REM 
  36. Radiohead
  37. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers 
  38. Otis Redding
  39. Buddy Holly & the Crickets
  40. Little Richard 
  41. Tupac Shakur
  42. The Band 
  43. B. B. King
  44. The Doors 
  45. Sly and the Family Stone 
  46. Metallica 
  47. Velvet Underground 
  48. Fleetwood Mac 
  49. The Supremes 
  50. Santana
  51. Parliament/Funkadelic
  52. Joni Mitchell 
  53. Van Morrison
  54. Aerosmith 
  55. Janet Jackson
  56. Sam Cooke 
  57. Neil Young 
  58. Allman Brothers Band 
  59. Nina Simone 
  60. Eagles
  61. The Bee Gees 
  62. Nine Inch Nails 
  63. The Temptations
  64. ABBA
  65. The Kinks 
  66. Whitney Houston
  67. Elvis Costello & the Attractions
  68. The Cure
  69. Bo Diddley
  70. AC/DC
  71. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
  72. Creedence Clearwater Revival
  73. Fats Domino
  74. Patti Smith 
  75. Ike & Tina Turner
  76. Crosby Stills & Nash
  77. Run DMC 
  78. Roy Orbison 
  79. Van Halen 
  80. Grateful Dead 
  81. Genesis
  82. Dire Straits 
  83. Paul McCartney 
  84. Alice Cooper
  85. Heart
  86. Guns N Roses
  87. Peter Gabriel 
  88. Ruth Brown
  89. Green Day 
  90. Red Hot Chili Peppers 
  91. NWA
  92. Hall and Oates 
  93. Donna Summer 
  94. Leonard Cohen 
  95. Bobby Darin 
  96. Blondie
  97. Earth, Wind & Fire
  98. The Stooges
  99. Pretenders
  100. The Cars

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Biden cabinet predictions

Ah, crap! I forgot to post on here for a month. Since I’m fascinated with presidential cabinets, and previously posted my “wish list” or recommendations or whatever you want to call it, it’s time to delve more in the realm of the prognostic.

President-Elect Biden is slated to announce his first cabinet picks before Thanksgiving. Before this happens, I’ll post my predictions of who he will pick. Remember–this is me trying to “think like Biden,” and not my personal preferences for who will hold these offices.

State: Former NSA Susan Rice (gets bogged down in Senate) —> Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia

Treasury: Former Fed chair, Janet Yellen

Defense: Fmr. Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Michele Flournoy

Attorney General: Former acting attorney general, Sally Yates

Interior: Congresswoman from New Mexico, Deb Haaland 

Agriculture: Former senator from North Dakota, Heidi Heitkamp

Labor: Boston mayor, Marty Walsh

Commerce: Former governor of Ohio, John Kasich

HHS: Former surgeon general, Vivek Murthy 

HUD: Atlanta mayor, Keisha Lance-Bottoms

Transportation: Los Angeles mayor, Eric Garcetti 

Energy: Department of Energy physicist, Njema Frazier

Education: National Education Association president, Lily Eskelsen Garcia

Veterans Affairs: Former congressman from Maine, Michael Michaud 

Homeland Security: California attorney general, Xavier Beccara 

In the extremely unlikely event that I correct guessed all 15 cabinet picks, we would have a majority-female cabinet for the first time in U.S. history, and also its most diverse: two African-American women (Lance-Bottoms and Frazier), one South Asian-American (Murthy), three Latinx (Beccara, Garcia, and Garcetti), one Republican (Kasich), the first Native American in a cabinet seat (Haaland), and the first openly gay cabinet secretary (Michaud). I also like the regional diversity as well….New England gets some love with Walsh and Michaud, the South is very well represented with Lance-Bottoms, Yates, Kaine, and Murthy (who grew up in Miami). Kasich and Heitkamp represent the furthest western and eastern extents of the Midwest, California gets three people (Yellen, Beccara, and Garcetti), and the interior West is nailed down with Garcia (Utah) and Haaland (New Mexico).

I’m probably wildly wrong on almost all counts, but this is where I think things stand on 22 November.

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So Rolling Stone magazine, with little advance warning, dropped its updated list of 500 Albums a week ago. Truthfully, I don’t feel qualified to comment on it; there’s a LOT of albums on that list that I have not listed to, and my brainspace is occupied elsewhere at the moment. My understanding, though, is that everyone who was asked to vote on this project was given an opportunity to simply list 50 albums they wanted to be considered for this project.

Since I am an obscure, non-tenured faculty member at a merely above-average state university who doesn’t specialize academically in music, I was understandably not given a chance to contribute. But if I was, here’s the list I would have given them. These are not my candidates for the 50 Greatest Albums of All Time. Lots of great artists aren’t on my list because I was pretty confident that the Bowie-wanking, Bono-fellating, Springsteen-salad-tossing folks in Rolling Stone’s orbit had those bases covered. Nor are they my 50 favorite albums (my second favorite–Elton John’s Captain Fantastic–and my third favorite–Paul McCartney’s Flaming Pie–aren’t on the list.) Instead, these are the 50 albums whose prospects in the final ranking I wanted to boost– albums that I thought needed an advocate and deserved to either make the list or be ranked higher than they might otherwise have been.

  1. A Tribe Called Quest- Midnight Marauders (1993)
  2. Adele- 21 (2011)
  3. Alabama Shakes- Sound & Color (2015)
  4. Alicia Keyes- Songs in A Minor (2001)
  5. Amy Winehouse- Back to Black (2006)
  6. Aretha Franklin- Young, Gifted & Black (1972)
  7. Beatles- Abbey Road (1969)
  8. Beyonce- Lemonade (2016)
  9. Brandi Carlile- The Story (2007)
  10. Brian Eno: Ambient 1: Music for Airports (1978)
  11. Carole King- Tapestry (1971)
  12. Carolina Chocolate Drops- Genuine Negro Jig (2010)
  13. Chicago- Chicago Transit Authority (1969)
  14. Coldplay- X&Y (2005)
  15. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young- Deja Vu (1970)
  16. David Crosby- If I Could Only Remember My Name (1971)
  17. De La Soul- 3 Feet High and Rising (1989)
  18. Depeche Mode- Violator (1990)
  19. Dire Straits- Making Movies (1980)
  20. Drive-By Truckers- Southern Rock Opera (2001)
  21. Elton John- Elton John (1970)
  22. Eurythmics- Touch (1983)
  23. Fairport Convention- Liege and Lief (1969)
  24. Flaming Lips- Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002)
  25. Jam- All Mod Cons (1978)
  26. Janelle Monae- The Electric Lady (2013)
  27. Janet Jackson- Control (1986)
  28. Judas Priest- Killing Machine/Hell Bent for Leather (1978)
  29. Kate Bush- The Kick Inside (1978)
  30. Kraftwerk- Trans-Europe Express (1977)
  31. Linda Ronstadt- Heart Like A Wheel (1974)
  32. Left Banke- Walk Away Renée/Pretty Ballerina (1967)
  33. Los Lobos- How Will the Wolf Survive? (1984)
  34. Mumford & Sons- Sigh No More (2009)
  35. Nina Simone- I Put a Spell On You (1965)
  36. Otis Redding- The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul (1966)
  37. Peter Gabriel- So (1986)
  38. Pogues- If I Should Fall From Grace with God (1988)
  39. Ray Charles- Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (1962)
  40. Roots- Phrenology (2002)
  41. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings: Give the People What They Want (2014)
  42. Stevie Wonder- Innervisions (1973)
  43. They Might Be Giants- Flood (1990)
  44. TLC- Crazysexycool (1994)
  45. Tool- Aenima (1996)
  46. Van Halen- Van Halen (1978)
  47. War- The World is a Ghetto (1972)
  48. Wendy Carlos- Switched-on Bach (1968)
  49. Yes- Fragile (1971)
  50. Zombies- Odessey and Oracle (1968)

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After several bearimys* of anticipation, the four Beatles are ready to perform their last and only reunion concert in The Good Place. The physics of the hereafter provide fine seats for everyone who wants to attend, in a makeshift amphitheater inside a reconstructed Hyde Park. (*a “bearimy” is a non-euclidian unit of afterlife-time in The Good Place).

A little past 8 in the evening, the band comes out to thunderous cheers. The four lads look like their mid-70s selves. Paul is wearing a vest and his hair is shoulder-length in a near-mullet. John is wearing his granny glasses and a beret, and dusted off his old olive-colored army jacket. George has a jean jacket and Maoist-red trousers, his bushy mane of hair complemented by a mustache. Ringo is bearded, and has a “puffy shirt from Seinfeld” sort of tunic on, accentuated by a colorful ascot. Back and off to the side, barely visible, Jeff Lynne is there too, providing extra keyboards or guitar as needed to fill out their sound.

With the first two snaps of Ringo’s snare drum, the concert begins with “Free As A Bird,” the band’s posthumous reunion track, this time allowing for John, Paul, and George to sing harmony in real time. Rapturous applause follow; the energy in the park is electric. Taking the barest moment to bask in the accolades, the band dives right into “I Saw Her Standing There,” another bookend in the band’s career as the first song on their first album.

“We’re back!” remarks John. “And it only took the four of us dying,” adds George dryly. “There seems to be this website called PredictIt,” notes Lennon as he chews some gum between songs. “And some of you are trying to make money guessing which songs we do. I think you’ll be in for a few surprises.” With that, they launch into the obscure Larry Williams cover from their 1964 EP, “Slow Down.”

When they finish, Paul speaks to the audience for the first time. “We’re really proud of all those great Lennon-McCartney songs,” he notes, “but we had a third songwriter in the group who really came into his own by the time we got to Rubber Soul.” With that, the familiar chiming guitar of “If I Needed Someone” plays. Then “Getting Better.” Then “A Hard Day’s Night,” with its famous opening chord reverberating through the crowd.

“Hey Ringo,” shouts Paul– “do you want to sing something, luv?” With that invitation, “I Wanna Be Your Man” starts, with a much heavier backbeat and a longer, extended guitar solo from George. After a string of upbeat numbers, the band slows it down just a bit to perform “This Boy,” with exquisite three-part harmonies from John, Paul, and George.

“We’d like to carry on now,” says John with a mischievous grin, “with a song that wasn’t good enough to be on any of our albums,” as the four of them strike up “Leave My Kitten Alone,” an outtake from Beatles for Sale that wasn’t formally released until Anthology 1.

“We’ve got a couple of blokes we’d like to bring out,” announces Paul. To delighted cheers, Stu Stucliffe and Pete Best walk out, with a right-handed drum set wheeled in for Pete. Paul switches to guitar, while Stu plays the bass (even after plenty of rehearsal time in the hereafter, his skills are still on the choppy side.) Nevertheless, their performances of two numbers from the Cavern days, “Move on Down the Line” and “The Hippy Hippy Shake” are two of the best received of the evening, in no small part because of Stu and Pete’s surprise appearances.

Stu and Pete take their bows, Ringo rejoins his mates, and the band concludes their first set with “Nowhere Man” and a string of uptempo numbers: “Ticket to Ride,” “She Said, She Said,” and a rollicking “I’m Down,” with Lennon going unhinged on the keyboards a la Shea Stadium.

A short intermission follows, and when the Second Act begins, a scrim is lifted to reveal George Martin and a small orchestra. They play a medley of “Pepperland,” “Sea of Holes,” and “Yellow Submarine in Pepperland,” as the four Beatles and Jeff Lynne return to their places. From the first notes of Lennon’s keyboard intro, followed seconds later by the orchestra chiming in, a cheer erupts through the crowd. It’s “I Am the Walrus.” With orchestral backing, the band does some psychedelic favorites previously thought to be almost impossible to pull off on stage. This includes “Penny Lane,” replete with a stately trumpet solo, a surprise “It’s All Too Much,” with the audience joining in the barking of “Too Much!” during the coda, and “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

“There’s been one or two decent songs since we broke up,” drawls Harrison, as the Beatles and the orchestra cover David Bowie’s “Changes,” with Lennon doing the famous “turn and face the strain” refrain that sounded so much like him on the original. As the scrim comes down and the orchestra departs, The Beatles perform a more recent cover, “Champagne Supernova” by Oasis.

After a loose, jam-like version of “I’ve Got a Feeling,” Lennon wanly walks up to a mic and whispers “shoot…”, triggering Ringo’s drum fills and some of the loudest cheers of the night as the band performs “Come Together.”

“We’d like to bring another friend,” says Ringo from the mic near his drum kit, “someone we met in Hamburg and we stayed friends for some time after…Mr. Billy Preston!” All smiles, Preston jogs out to a keyboard that has been prepared for him, as the band performs both sides of the “Get Back”/”Don’t Let Me Down” single. Ringo gets his other number of the night when the band performs the earliest song of their second set, “Act Naturally.”

“This is a song I maybe shouldn’t have written in hindsight,” Lennon remarks, as he plays the guitar part to “Happiness Is A Warm Gun” and sings along. Paul and George are clearly having a great time doing the girl-group harmonies on the song’s fifties-style coda.

“I’m afraid I wasn’t around when something named Spotify was invented” says George. “But they tell me that the song they…what is it?…streamed the most out of all our numbers…” (he grins at John and Paul) “was one of mine!” Acoustic guitar in hand, he starts “Here Comes the Sun,” with Jeff Lynne doing plenty of synthesizer work in the background to make this number work.

“Anyone here have a birthday?” asks Paul. As sporadic cheers follow, “Birthday” gets the crowd dancing again after George’s mellow song. As the song reaches its end, Ringo keeps up a beat for several measures before the others join in with guitar and bass…it’s the “Sgt. Pepper” reprise, followed by “A Day in the Life,” with the George Martin Orchestra. As John plays that last, resonant piano chord, the four bandmates leave the stage.

But naturally, there’s an encore. They start with a rocker: “Revolution,” with Lennon screaming “All right!!” with glee at its end. Paul moves to piano and George takes up a bass guitar as they perform its A-Side, “Hey Jude,” with the orchestra and the requisite audience participation during its drawn-out coda.

The band once again leaves the stage and once again returns, for a bright, jaunty “Day Tripper” and a final performance of “Twist and Shout,” with Lennon screaming his throat raw and leaving nothing on the table, just as in 1963.

And with that, the band does one of their signature bows, and they bring out a surprised and deeply honored Brian Epstein and George Martin to join them for one final bow before leaving the stage, and bringing the band’s story to its eternal conclusion.

It’s nice to imagine, right?

The setlist, again, is:

  1. Free As A Bird 
  2. I Saw Her Standing There 
  3. Slow Down 
  4. If I Needed Someone 
  5. Getting Better
  6. A Hard Days Night
  7. I Wanna Be Your Man 
  8. This Boy
  9. Leave My Kitten Alone 
  10. Move on Down the Line (w/ Stu Sutcliffe and Pete Best)
  11. The Hippy Hippy Shake (w/ Stu Sutcliffe and Pete Best)
  12. Nowhere Man
  13. Ticket to Ride
  14. She Said, She Said
  15. I’m Down
  16. Pepperland/Sea of Holes/Yellow Submarine in Pepperland (w/ George Martin Orchestra)
  17. I Am the Walrus (w/ George Martin Orchestra) 
  18. Penny Lane (w/ George Martin Orchestra)
  19. It’s All Too Much (w/ George Martin Orchestra)
  20. Strawberry Fields Forever (w/ George Martin Orchestra)
  21. Changes (w/ George Martin Orchestra)
  22. Champagne Supernova
  23. I’ve Got a Feeling 
  24. Come Together 
  25. Get Back (w/ Billy Preston)
  26. Don’t Let Me Down (w/ Billy Preston)
  27. Act Naturally
  28. Happiness Is A Warm Gun
  29. Here Comes the Sun
  30. Birthday
  31. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise)
  32. A Day in the Life (w/ George Martin Orchestra)
  1. Revolution
  2. Hey Jude (w/ George Martin Orchestra)
  1. Day Tripper 
  2. Twist and Shout

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Although other projects have delayed the conclusion of this series, I’m submitting for your consideration the four most iconic fictional characters from our final ten states.

Oklahoma:

  • Tom Joad (The Grapes of Wrath)
  • Ponyboy Curtis (The Outsiders)
  • Curly McClain (Oklahoma!)
  • Mike Doonesbury (Doonesbury)

Texas:

  • J.R. Ewing (Dallas)
  • Cordell Walker (Walker, Texas Ranger)
  • Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
  • Bo “Bandit” Darville (Smoky and the Bandit)

New Mexico:

  • Pecos Bill (folk legend) 
  • Ethel Mertz (I Love Lucy)
  • Walter White (Breaking Bad)
  • Will Kane (High Noon)

Arizona:

  • Eleanor Shellstrop (The Good Place)
  • Thunderbird (X-Men…for three issues, anyway)
  • John Rambo (Rambo)
  • Thel (The Family Circus)

Nevada:

  • Ben Cartwright (Bonanza)
  • Jim Dangle (Reno 911)
  • Leslie Chow (The Hangover)
  • Rusty Martin (Viva Las Vegas)

California:

  • Bojack Horseman (Bojack Horseman)
  • The Dude (The Big Lebowski)
  • Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
  • Ron Burgundy (Anchorman)

Oregon:

  • Homer Simpson (The Simpsons)
  • Coraline (eponymous graphic novel and movie)
  • Ramona Quimby (eponymous children’s novel)
  • Chief Bromden (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest)

Washington:

  • Frasier Crane (Frasier)
  • Bella Swan (Twilight)
  • Poison Ivy (Batman comics and Batman & Robin)
  • Anastasia Steele (Fifty Shades of Gray)

Alaska:

  • William Riker (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
  • Buck (Call of the Wild)
  • Maggie O’Connell (Northern Exposure)
  • Meyer Landsman (Yiddish Policeman’s Union)

Hawaii:

  • Lilo Pelekai (Lilo & Stitch)
  • Dano Williams (Hawaii Five-O)
  • Thomas Magnum (Magnum PI)
  • Gilligan (Gilligan’s Island)

What do you think? I realize putting down Homer Simpson for Oregon was cheating a little bit but Matt Groening has been more than open about his childhood in the Beaver State inspiring his most famous television series.

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This is our fourth installment of Fictional Mt. Rushmores, positing the four most prominent fictional characters from each state. The medium of the fiction can be anything- comics, movies, television, tall tales…they just need to be fictional or an obviously fictionalized version of a real person. This installment takes us squarely into some of America’s most boring states.

  • Iowa:
    • James T. Kirk (Star Trek)
    • “Radar” O’Reilly (M*A*S*H)
    • Miss Piggy (Muppets)
    • Hawkeye (Marvel comics)
  • North Dakota:
    • Low-Light (G.I. Joe)
    • Jay Gatsby (The Great Gatsby)
    • Carl Showalter (Fargo)
    • Annoying Orange (youtube star)
  • South Dakota:
    • Laura Wilder (Little House on the Prairie)
    • Per Hansa (Giants of the Earth)
    • Hollis Brown (Bob Dylan song)
    • Rocky Raccoon (Beatles song)
  • Nebraska:
    • Antonia Cuzak (My Antonia)
    • The Wizard of Oz
    • Isaac (Children of the Corn)
    • Penny Hofstadter (Big Bang Theory)
  • Kansas:
    • Dorothy Gale (Wizard of Oz)
    • Clark Kent (Superman)
    • Cousin Eddie (National Lampoon Vacation)
    • Matt Dillon (Gunsmoke)
  • Colorado:
    • Eric Cartman (South Park)
    • Charles Foster Kane (Citizen Kane)
    • Johnnie Goodboy (Battlefield: Earth)
    • Michaela Quinn (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman)
  • Wyoming:
    • Jack Twist (Brokeback Mountain)
    • The Virginian (eponymous television series)
    • Joe Pickett (eponymous detective series)
    • Shane (eponymous novel)
  • Utah:
    • Billy Chapman (Silent Night, Deadly Night)
    • Fievel Mousekewitz (Fievel Goes West)
    • Nicki Grant (Big Love)
    • George Hayduke (Monkey Wrench Gang)
  • Idaho:
    • Napoleon Dynamite (eponymous film)
    • Emma Lou Morgan (The Blacker the Berry)
    • Leslie Zevo (Tots)
    • Mr. Potato Head (look, he ran a semi-legit campaign for mayor of Boise, and there has to be some residency requirement, yes?)
  • Montana:
    • Peggy Hill (King of the Hill)
    • Zephram Cochrane (Star Trek)
    • Paul Maclean (A River Runs Through It)
    • Cameron Post (The Miseducation of Cameron Post)

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