Archive for November, 2011

Non-Shopping Music

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 by

The last day of October this year was designated as the birthdate of the 7 billionth person on earth. Many like to point to the growing population as a stressor on the well being of the planet. It’s a rising source of stress, sure, but rising even faster is the global growth of the consumer class.

You’ve also no doubt seen that the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, has expanded to include increasing chunks of time on Thursday. Not to mention the transactions on Cyber Monday.

When it comes to buying, why waste it on one special day?

This year is the 20th year of Buy Nothing Day – a day to celebrate the choice not to over-consume. Interestingly, BND was begun by Adbusters.org, the same folks who had a hand in initiating Occupy Wall Street. You can Tweet about mashing the two with #OCCUPYXMAS

Or, you could simply take the day as holiday, enjoying some music to put you in the mood for not shopping.

Last year I put together a list of tunes that cover consumerism and our insatiable need to accumulate more stuff. I found half again as many songs this year as last. Almost all of the songs are available for a free listen by searching YouTube. I’d be interested in hearing if there are some you think I missed or if you think shouldn’t be on the list. Leave a comment – let everyone know your favorite & why.

And – should you happen to think of it – offer a business model for what to do with a curated list of such tunes. Perhaps there’s some edutainment potential?

2010 list:
Backyard Tire Fire – “Food For Thought” http://vimeo.com/3232290
Billy Bragg – “The Busy Girl Buys Beauty”
Brother Tree – “We Bought It”
Tracy Chapman – “Mountains of Things”
Chumbawamba – “Buy Nothing Day”
The Clash- “Lost In the Supermarket”
Janis Joplin – “Mercedes Benz”
The Kinks – “Dedicated Follower of Fashion”
Yo Yo Ma & Alison Kraus – “Simple Gifts” multiple covers available – also byJewel, Aaron Copeland
Tom Waits – “Step Right Up”
Gillian Welch – “Everything is Free”
Neil Young – “Piece of Crap”

2011 list:
Fugazi – “Merchandise”
Furnaceface – “How Happy Do You Want To Be?”
Bobby Gaylor – “Stop Buying Me Crap for Christmas”
The Go! Team – “Buy Nothing Day”
The Jam – “Shopping”
Billy Joel – “No Man’s Land”
Johnny Boy – “You are the Generation that Bought More Shoes and You Get What You Deserve”
Tom Lehrer – “A Christmas Carol”
Madonna – “Material Girl”
Numbers – “We Like Having These Things”
Reverend Billy & The Church of Stop Shopping – “Stop Shopping”
Root Boy Slim & the Sex Change Band – “Christmas at Kmart”
Talking Heads – “Nothing But Flowers”
They Might Be Giants – “Grocery Bag”
Shania Twain – “Ka-Ching”
System Of A Down – “Chic ‘n’ Stu”

Plenty of songs to choose from. If there’s not a playlist in there for you somewhere, then… well, maybe some shopping therapy is what you need.

New Google option: Search using your terms, verbatim plus some other search tips

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011 by

Google has rolled out another search tweak. Normally, Google makes guesses about what you meant to type, rather than what your fingers actually wrote. However, when the verbatim tool is on, Google will use the literal words you entered without making normal improvements such as:

  • making automatic spelling corrections
  • personalizing your search by using information such as sites you’ve visited before
  • including synonyms of your search terms (matching “car” when you search [automotive])
  • finding results that match similar terms to those in your query (finding results related to “floral delivery” when you search [flower shops])
  • searching for words with the same stem like “running” when you’ve typed [run]
  • making some of your terms optional, like “circa” in [the scarecrow circa 1963]

This functionality is useful if you’re searching for information with creative spelling or that includes specific terms for which you don’t want Google to include synonyms or similar words. You can access the verbatim search tool under “More search tools” on the left-hand side of the search results page.

Another way to refine your Google results is to use the Advanced Search page. Google also has a lot of nifty specialty search features, which are aggregated here. The two that I use most often are define:[anyword] to locate word definitions and site:[url] to limit my search to a specific web site.