Jewel 0304: The Review

As some of you might know, I purchased the new album from Jewel Kilcher, 0304, when it came out three weeks ago. A member of my adoring public (which means if it ain’t you, it’s the other one) asked for a full review of it since I, after listening to it once or twice, gushed enough to convince him to buy it. He hasn’t spoken to me since. Let this be my apology.

Jewel’s got a new sound, as you have read elsewhere. Her other albums have been folksy, with her voice and subtle acoustic guitar giving her a subtle, breathy sexiness in her love songs (think “Morning Song”). When I first heard 0304, with its dance beats and a more confident sexuality in songs like “Leave the Light On”, “Sweet Temptation”, or “2 Become 1”, I thought, wow! It was something akin to seeing the little sister of your bestest buddy blossom from a cute kid into a woman.

Unfortunately, after a couple more listens, the song “Yes You Can” sticks in my head. The song’s a celebration of dance club/rave culture casual sex. Suddenly, it’s akin to seeing the little sister of your bestest buddy blossom from a cute kid into a woman who happens to be a prostitute. Ick.

Maybe prostitution’s a good analogy. After all, she’s changed her music and her image to target a demographic instead of trying to please her core audience with some expansion (Dr. Thomas to emergency, please; Dr. Thomas to emergency).

She’s sacrificed some of her other, more thoughtful songs about things aside from chasing members of the opposite sex. No “Hands”, no “Down So Long”, no “Who Will Save Your Soul” (her best song, period). The album changes pace (allowing listeners to recuperate for a minute and slam some ginseng and saw palmetto) with “America”, but I saw the same Songwrite-By-Numbers kit in K-Mart.

So I’m disappointed with the album, but it’s not all bad. Jewel can carry a playful dance number when she uses her manic voice. You know the one I am talking about. The less breathy (although still breathy), with clear, aggressive notes (“Who Will Save Your Soul” and “Hands”). When she tries to mesh her plaintive voice (“Adrian”) into the bubbles of notes and backbeat, it fails. Fortunately, she stays away from the bleats. After all, the albums all about coming together for a night, not breaking up badly.

I give it a two of four whatevers, and I am disappointed because I expect a little more from Jewel. I listened to Pieces of You over and over again, for crying out loud. I hope it’s only a departure, as do many of the reviewers on Amazon. I guess it will depend upon whether her new audience is bigger than her old audience.

UPDATE:


Items mentioned in this review

On Second Thought, Nat….

Maybe it’s not a good gamble to demand renegotiation on your recording contract, threaten to return to Australian serials, and hold your breath for more money since you’re a big star based on your 1998 album Left of the Middle and your two hits, “Torn” and “Wishing I Was There.”

It might be more of a bluff than you think, and if they call you on it, your career might be in real trouble.

High School PoilitiAngst

Brian’s plog–paper log, aka “journal” (because boys don’t keep diaries)–entry for January 5, 1989:

I just heard on the radio that it’s two weeks until Reagan leaves office. I have been an admirer of his and true to Dean (Theologian’s) [a BBS friend, you damn Internet era whippersnappers] prediction, I have a Reagan-[George H.W.] Bush picture over my mirror. I sincerely hope Bush can handle the country, especially with the new Libyan pressures–the two jets downed yesterday and all [story].

I wrote my secret pal yesterday & she ought to get it today. That’s only my third for the year. The Honor Society Hit Squad oughta get me.

Up to 50 degrees today! Gawd! It’s only January! We need some snow for snowdays.

Th-th-th-th-that’s all, folks!

Yessir, I am easily influenced by what I read, and the Henry Reed series of books (read much earlier than my junior year in high school, thank you very much–as I recall, my tastes around then were fairly heavy into mystery, as my essay “Meeting Robert B. Parker” attests). I started journaling several times in high school, and this particular stretch (my junior year) captures some political thoughts. The remainder is daily life in high school.

Which is why I appreciated my visit to Jared Myers’ PolitiBlog. It’s got a conservative political bent, but exposed in the life of a high school student. It’s the journal entries I would write today, were I short of a score of years.

Oh, yeah, and Wednesday is Hot Conservative Chick Day.

Except he’s forgotten the hot Libertarian-esque babes Heather, Rachel Lucas, and Virginia Postrel. Or maybe he just hasn’t gotten to them yet.

(Link seen on InstaPundit.)

Kerry’s Boolean Criteria for a Fillibuster?

Oh, and check out the Boolean construction in his criteria for a fillibuster. It’s not really clear. He’ll fillibuster a candidate who

((would turn back the clock on a woman’s right to choose OR would turn back the clock the constitutional right to privacy OR (would turn back the clock on civil rights AND individual liberties)) AND would turn back the clock on the laws protecting workers) AND would turn back the clock on the environment

That’s a pretty convoluted criteria, and a pretty tough one to meet. I reckon no candidate would, which means Kerry’s algorithmic condition will never be met. No fillibuster(String supremeCourtNominee) method call at all!

Senator Kerry Threatens to Deploy Evil Kerrybot

Drudge has pointed to a story in which Senator John Kerry, in which the Vietnam veteran claims:

“I am prepared to filibuster, if necessary, any Supreme Court nominee who would turn back the clock on a woman’s right to choose or the constitutional right to privacy, on civil rights and individual liberties and on the laws protecting workers and the environment,” Kerry said in remarks via satellite at a meeting of Democratic party officials in St. Paul, Minn.

As you know, Senator Kerry’s full-time job these days is running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee. This requires nationwide, or at lease extra-DC, schmoozing, gladhanding, speechifying, and fundraising–all things you cannot do while not yielding the Senate floor.

Hence, I can only infer that he is planning to unleash an android replica of himself to do one or the other since he cannot be in all those places at the same time.

I just threw in the evil part because it makes the copy snappier. We all know Senator Kerry is not truly evil, just misguided.

Schoolchildren Learn About Suburban Pettiness

Another suburb of Milwaukee is suffering from a shortage of Paxil. Residents in Cerdarburg have created a petition complaining that the colors of playground equipment are too colorful.

If it’s not the color of a duck blind, suburban Milwaukee communities don’t want it. Heaven forbid their property values not rise as quickly as the next drab suburb over.

Kerry’s Boolean Criteria for a Fillibuster?

Oh, and check out the Boolean construction in his criteria for a fillibuster. It’s not really clear. He’ll fillibuster a candidate who

    ((would turn back the clock on a woman’s right to choose OR would turn back the clock the constitutional right to privacy OR (would turn back the clock on civil rights AND individual liberties)) AND would turn back the clock on the laws protecting workers) AND would turn back the clock on the environment

That’s a pretty convoluted criteria, and a pretty tough one to meet. I reckon no candidate would, which means Kerry’s algorithmic condition will never be met. No fillibuster(String supremeCourtNominee) method call at all!

Senator Kerry Threatens to Deploy Evil Kerrybot

Drudge has pointed to a story in which Senator John Kerry, in which the Vietnam veteran claims:

    “I am prepared to filibuster, if necessary, any Supreme Court nominee who would turn back the clock on a woman’s right to choose or the constitutional right to privacy, on civil rights and individual liberties and on the laws protecting workers and the environment,” Kerry said in remarks via satellite at a meeting of Democratic party officials in St. Paul, Minn.

As you know, Senator Kerry’s full-time job these days is running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee. This requires nationwide, or at lease extra-DC, schmoozing, gladhanding, speechifying, and fundraising–all things you cannot do while not yielding the Senate floor.

Hence, I can only infer that he is planning to unleash an android replica of himself to do one or the other since he cannot be in all those places at the same time.

I just threw in the evil part because it makes the copy snappier. We all know Senator Kerry is not truly evil, just misguided.

Schoolchildren Learn About Suburban Pettiness

Another suburb of Milwaukee is suffering from a shortage of Paxil. Residents in Cerdarburg have created a petition complaining that the colors of playground equipment are too colorful.

If it’s not the color of a duck blind, suburban Milwaukee communities don’t want it. Heaven forbid their property values not rise as quickly as the next drab suburb over.

Future Brave Man Washes Out of Training

In Florida, a group of kids were swimming in a river even though they could see alligators nearby all day. Of course, when they saw the alligators, they got out of the water. Except for the toughest of the bunch, who might have been trying to prove his bravery. It didn’t work out for him.

Do you think we’ll get a summer of Alligator Attack! hype from this?

Future Brave Man Washes Out of Training

In Florida, a group of kids were swimming in a river even though they could see alligators nearby all day. Of course, when they saw the alligators, they got out of the water. Except for the toughest of the bunch, who might have been trying to prove his bravery. It didn’t work out for him.

Do you think we’ll get a summer of Alligator Attack! hype from this?

Shareware’s Triumphant Return

A CNN article describes how shareware is making a comeback. Well, duh!

The shareware distribution model makes a lot of sense. Smaller applications, many of which are home grown at first, have lower development, marketing, and distribution costs, and the author of the software can pass the savings on. Best of all, you get stripped down versions to evaluate at your leisure for free and for an unlimited time.

It’s hard not to appreciate it. Hey, I have been a fan of shareware for over a decade. I still have the original Duke Nukem and Cosmo’s Great Adventure loaded on my Windows 2000 box, running in all their two dimensional scrolling glories. Not only do they it run as well on my Athlon 1000+ as on my 286-10, but the replayabilty remains. Todd Replogle, where have you gone?

Hopefully not off somewhere to write the interchangeable first person shooters, like Duke Nukem 3D. I hope you retired off of your old Apogee earnings before sinking to that level.

(Link seen on /..)

Scandal: Defects Uncovered During Testing!

Headline on CNN: Missile misses target, officials call it a success. Implication seems to be that the officials (military-techno-industrial complex!) are, um, Mooring the truth a little, too say the least.

After all, the lead intones:

The Missile Defense Agency conducted a missile defense test over Hawaii Wednesday, and while the warhead did not strike the target, officials said they still considered the exercise a success.

“I wouldn’t call it a failed test, because the intercept was not the primary objective,” said Chris Taylor, a spokesman for the MDA. “It’s still considered a success in that we gained great engineering data. We just don’t know why it didn’t hit.”

Well, the missile test also did not:

  • Fix the economy.
  • Prevent the Oracle hostile takeover of PeopleSoft.
  • Repair France’s image problem with American tourist money.
  • Vote for my slogan at IMAO.

However, none of these was the objective of the test, and hence none represents criteria for success. The engineers, who are working on the project, probably have a reasonable idea of where they are in the development cycle. As a matter of fact, the officials indicate (but are not quoted in their own words) as saying:

Three previous flight tests were successful, Taylor said, but they used an earlier version of a system to control the warhead’s aim and maneuvering. Information from the earlier tests was used for a new design of the system, which was used in Wednesday’s test, the Defense Department said. [Emphasis mine]

So the MDA or its engineers redesigned a part of the system and are testing it out for the first time? Note how CNN uses a “but” conjunction in the quote above. I wonder if the second clause, or whatever source from which it came, opposed the first clause. I doubt it. I suspect criteria for the test might have included things like the operations of the independent systems within the interceptor.

No matter the criteria in this individual test, I am glad to see the flaws shaken out before the system’s deployed. If the MDA hadn’t caught this flaw now, it would have made living in Los Angeles or Seattle much more dangerous a couple years from now. Permanent shadows don’t log defects.

Maybe the media should understand the goals and process of testing before they start pontificating.

J. Bradord DeLong: Fellow Minion of Sid

In this column in Wired, DeLong admits his problem:

In the spring of 1994, I wiped the game Civilization off my office computer. I wiped it off my home PC. I wiped it off my laptop. I threw away the original disks on which it had come. It was clear to me that I had a choice: I could either have Civilization on my computers, or I could be a deputy assistant secretary of the US Treasury. I could not do both. It wasn’t that my boss ordered me to – she herself played a mean game of computer solitaire. In this, I was the boss, and I had decided that with Civilization on DeLong’s hard disk, DeLong’s productivity would be unacceptably low.

I, too, have struggled against Civilization since my esteemed spouse convinced me to install it on my old 486. And then Civilization II. And now the accursed Civilization III.

There have been times when I have removed it so I could better discipline myself to spend more time writing than manipulating little civilizations into conquest or other policy. When I have had to rebuild my computers from software or hardware disaster, I have often delayed putting it back on, but the la belle game sans merci hath me in thrall (sorry, Johnny).

I think he says something else in the piece, but I only saw the name of the game before feeling the compulsion to start a game. The CD’s already in the drive, don’t you know?

Shareware’s Triumphant Return

A CNN article describes how shareware is making a comeback. Well, duh!

The shareware distribution model makes a lot of sense. Smaller applications, many of which are home grown at first, have lower development, marketing, and distribution costs, and the author of the software can pass the savings on. Best of all, you get stripped down versions to evaluate at your leisure for free and for an unlimited time.

It’s hard not to appreciate it. Hey, I have been a fan of shareware for over a decade. I still have the original Duke Nukem and Cosmo’s Great Adventure loaded on my Windows 2000 box, running in all their two dimensional scrolling glories. Not only do they it run as well on my Athlon 1000+ as on my 286-10, but the replayabilty remains. Todd Replogle, where have you gone?

Hopefully not off somewhere to write the interchangeable first person shooters, like Duke Nukem 3D. I hope you retired off of your old Apogee earnings before sinking to that level.

(Link seen on /..)

Moore’s New Tautology Thriller

In defense of his comedy Bowling for Columbine, which critics have pointed out sometimes reflects reality kinda like Silly Putty does, Michael Moore has been quoted as saying “The facts in the movie are correct.”

With that in mind, I would like to add:

  • Michael Moore won an Oscar for his work.
  • Michael Moore is a gnork.
  • Morpolians from the third planet of the Ponolia system have begun controlling the thoughts of auditors who count voting results for the Academy.

I assure you, the facts in this posting are correct. The ad hominems and outright fictions, on the other hand…..

J.K. Rowling Closes Gap to $1 Billion The Easy Way

Authoress J.K. Rowling, whose prowess with fascinating people with 11-year-old boys rivals Catholic seminaries, is closing in on becoming the first billionaire author and has discovered the fast track to wealth. It’s not the book royalties or the merchandising rights after all. It’s $100 million dollar litigation.

She’s suing a newspaper for leaking details about the latest Harry Potter novel for $100 million dollars. Give me a schnucking break.

Oh, and Scholastic’s gonna punish retailers who break the rules:

Retailers signed agreements not to put the book on sale early, with Scholastic threatening to punish violators by withholding timely shipments of future Potter books.

Pah! I always like Tab book club better. Neener neener neener.