TV and the new Ping “social” network from Apple are two recent examples of how underwhelming products can get over-hyped by fan boys.
It was hard to take the latest blaspheme hurled in the Beatles direction with American Idol contestants, by and large, butchering Beatles songs for two straight weeks. Sure there were some standouts such as Brooke White’s rendition of Let It Be, Carly Smithson’s version of Come Together, A Day In the Life and Across the Universe by Michael Johns, and Yesterday by Syesha Mercado but nearly all the other performances were bizarre? What do all those songs have in common? They are good. Hello? Why pick the crappiest Beatles songs to sing? If I Fell, Michelle, I Should Have Know Better, Day Tripper, The Long and Winding Road, She’s a Woman, Back in The U.S.S.R., and Eight Days a Week are all terrible.
I’ve Just Seen A Face (Chikezie) and You Can’t Do That (Amanda Overmyer) are two possible exceptions, as I thought they took poor songs and at least made them interesting.
Almost without variance the judges and the call-in voters like performances more if they like the songs being sung. That is why there are cover bands. That is also why, according to the Guinness Book of Records, “Yesterday” has the most cover versions of any song ever written. The song remains popular today with more than 3000 recorded cover versions.
As I sit in the office today listening to the songs I have heard thousands of time before, I am reminded of how good the Beatles were and how good their music still is. Here are a few achievements, feats, and fact from various Wikipedia entries on the Beatles and their music:
- The Beatles are the best-selling musical group of all time, estimated by EMI to have over one billion discs and tapes sold worldwide.
- The Beatles have notched up the most multi-platinum selling albums for any artist or musical group (thirteen in the U.S. alone).
- The Beatles have a record six diamond-selling albums (10 million copies): Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles, Abbey Road, The Beatles: 1962-1966, The Beatles: 1967-1970, and The Beatles 1.
- The Beatles have had more number one albums than any other group (19 in the U.S. and 15 in the United Kingdom).
- The Beatles spent the highest number of weeks at number one in the albums chart (174 in the UK and 132 in the U.S.).
- The most successful first week of sales for a double album (The Beatles Anthology Volume 1, which sold 855,473 copies in the U.S. from 21 November to 28 November 1995).
- The Beatles have the fastest selling CD of all time with 1. It sold over 13 million copies in four weeks.
- The Beatles have had more number one singles than any other musical group (23 in Australia, 23 in The Netherlands, 22 in Canada, 21 in Norway, 20 in the U.S., and 18 in Sweden). Ironically, the Beatles could easily have had even more number ones, because they were often competing with their own singles.
- In terms of charting positions, Lennon and McCartney are the most successful songwriters in history, with 32 number one singles in the U.S. for McCartney, and 26 for Lennon (23 of which were written together). Lennon was responsible for 29 Number One singles in the UK, and McCartney was responsible for 28 (25 of which were written together).
- During the week of 4 April 1964, The Beatles held twelve positions on Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, including the top five positions, which has never been accomplished by any other artist. The songs were “Can’t Buy Me Love” , “Twist and Shout”, “She Loves You”, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, and “Please Please Me”. Furthermore, two Beatles tribute records appeared on the chart: “We Love You Beatles” by The Carefrees (at #42), and “A Letter to the Beatles” by The Four Preps (#85).
- The next week, 11 April 1964, the Beatles held fourteen positions on the Billboard Hot 100.
- With their performance at Shea Stadium in 1965, The Beatles set new world records for concert attendance (55,600) and revenue. This was the first time in the history of popular music anyone had played in a proper stadium as opposed to a theatre or concert hall.
- The Beatles broke television ratings records in the U.S. with their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show with over 70 million people viewing.
There are plenty of iPhone reviews out there. This is not another. This post is just an observation as to why the iPhone is so different and inspires such goodwill from those who use it. It is simple really, but Apple has taken tasks that on most (all?) other phones are cumbersome, non-intuitive, and often just plain crappy and made them a joy. I am not really over stating this, the iPhone is really fun to use. Browsing the web is not reminiscent of the “real” real web, it IS the real web (ok a web without Flash – for now). Google maps works just like Google maps should. Email is great, not some crippled version, and the phone, despite what some have said, is very nice too. Almost all the interfaces are easy to use and it is easy to know where to go and what to do to make things happen. My previous Windows Mobile phone and my Palm PDA phone before that, took a while to master and it was only because I learned their backwards way of doing things was I able to manage on those devices.
This should serve as yet another lesson from Apple that design matters. Make interfaces (both physical and virtual) that are fun and intuitive and people will enjoy using them and tell their friends.
A couple other observations – No wonder there is a 10% restocking fee if you return an iPhone. With the amount of plastic they use – wrapping everything multiple times in their way. It would take a while to wrap all that stuff back up, I imagine. And what is up with the industrial glue used on the bags they put the phones in when you buy them. Not sure if it is the same at Apple stores but at the at&t store the clerk put the phone in this bag and then pulled away a strip between the two insides and the bag sealed up tight – had to use keys to rip a hole in the bag to open it. When we asked him about it, he said Apple was making them do that. Think different, I guess.
FNB politics can be tricky to write about, and to pin down, because it relies on surfacing deep-seated anxieties and archetypes that, when revealed to the light of day, appear ridiculous.
To a large extent my perceptions of public figures is based only upon how the news media (a term used very loosely here) chooses to present them. I have been too naive to realize or too stubborn to admit it, but I just have not known the extent to which political parties use back-channels and media-types to conduct swift-boat style attacks on the character of their “enemies” and just how effective such attacks have been. While I admit to being oblivious to Edwards’ manhood being called into question (for the most-part), I have known about the attacks on Hillary as far back as before she was first lady. The attacks on Barrack are a little more covert, but comments by Rush Limbaugh (shown below), while appearing humorous at first, are no doubt attempting to bring up (in some people) antiquated fears of black men “stealing” “our” white women. It is outrageous!
One of Limbaugh’s ongoing jabs is that white female reporters find him sexually irresistible. “Snerdley is convinced Maureen [Dowd] wants Barack Obama,” he sighs. “I don’t even want to go there.” He depicted Time’s Ana Marie Cox as helpless before Obama’s overpowering sexuality, putting the following thoughts into her head: “Well, there’s no question the power is crackling through his jeans!”
It is surprising how much interest there is in this cake. Several photos are nearing or have surpassed the 25k view mark and there are 127 people who call one a favorite. I have seen this on Digg, Reddit, joystiq, and TotalFark.com, among many others. It really makes me wish I had done something more than snap some photos of this great cake. In case you didn’t see it, this was made by Robin of Gateaux Inc. Hit her up for your next wedding cake.
At perhaps the best wedding (congratulations Brent and Annette) I have been to, there was by far the best wedding cake I have seen. Other people tend to agree as the photos have been linked to from Boing Boing and Wonderland to name just two. That explains how some of the photos have nearly 7000 views and over 50 people calling one a favorite.
UPDATE: The creator of this cake, Robin, from Gateaux Inc which is located in Plymouth, MN. “was amazing to work with and of course is amazingly talented” according the the bride and I can’t say that I could disagree. Just look at some of her other work.
The cake toppers were very hard to find. The bride looked for months and months and finally found a set on eBay.com; they were from Japan’s “Nintendo Club”
Here is the whole set (with more to come as I get some closeup macro shots I took, uploaded.)
- WWTD: They would soon rollout the video-on-demand service we all know they’ve had in the works for a while now. – Now if they just get with Netflix and offer their full catalog it will really be something.
- WWSOD: What would Sinead O’Conner do? Apparently go Rasta in Jamaica.
- WWSID: What would the smart investor do? Go against, incorrect consensus thinking.
- WSWSSW? What sports would Sharon Stone watch? So-called “lesbian” sports”.
- WWMBAD? What would male Broadway actors do? Strip down more often than their female counterparts (4:1)
- WWYDIYHOTNCUSJ? What would you be doing if you had one of the newly create U.S. jobs? Unfortunately, you would likely be serving food, cleaning, transporting stuff, pushing papers, or working retail. Hypothesis: So you won’t need a college education to work in the U.S.
- WWBD: What will Ben do? Retire this tiring theme.