A Public Information Announcement
“Discover tons of cool stuff like videos, lyrics, photographs, biographies, and more, related to what's currently playing. It's all in one convenient place, and just a click away with FoxyTunes.”In the first place, change your computer browser from Internet Explorer to Firefox. Students and lovers of music should then find, and download, free software called FoxyTunes.
You get a very small control panel at the bottom of the page when Firefox is open, which gives precise control of the music you're listening to whilst you're working at the computer. But that's just the beginning
You can then click an icon and go instantly to a web page called Foxy Tunes Planet that shows information about the artist and the tune that's currently playing. There's a biog of the artist, a list of web pages about the artist/band (including Wikipedia and the artist's own website), the lyrics of the song that's currently playing, a list of their videos available on YouTube and Yahoo, photos of the artist or band, a list of their albums, a list of their 'top tracks', and a list of 'similar artists' on Last FM. Bloody amazing.
What's more, having surfed around from artist to artist, song to song, each page you bring up actually stays up on its own tab at the top of the page, so it's easy to go back to the pages you've been visiting and browsing previously. Unbelievable.
Meanwhile your Windows Media Player will stay running, and you can go back and forth between the music you're playing from your computer's music library and the music that's available on the 'net, through FoxyTunes, YouTube, etc. Add in Spotify, and you're in music heaven. (see below, Guardian article)
My Zen tune of the day – BB King 'Into The Night' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuFNMj6eU0A
Going off on a tangent, Carlos Santana also has an amazing track called Into The Night on YouTube.Very different to BB's! Guitar playing does NOT come any better then this. Rock music at its very best too. MOVE ya body!
For better sound quality, and no distracting visuals, listen to it on Spotify. Pure, relentless, inspirational, emotional, physical music. Great vocals too, by Chad Kroeger.
Carlos at 62 is an absolute god of the guitar and rhythmic blues/rock. I reckon he'll be like BB and John Lee and just carry on playing till the end of his days. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlos_santana
Here's the track that brought Santana to the world's attention – the stand-out performance at Woodstock and also on their first album – Soul Sacrifice – 40 years old. Superb Hammond, drums and bass, as well as guitar - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnamP4-M9ko
Catch a great live performance of "Smooth" here -
Match of the Day
It's been quite a week for football, starting with the England international and qualification for the World Cup in South Africa. Yesterday's Premier League matches provided an incredible feast of exciting football, especially the games involving the top teams. Considering the top talent has supposedly left for, or is leaving for, Spain (Ronaldo, Alonso, etc) the left-overs played unbelievably well yesterday.
There was fantastic teamwork, brilliant goalscoring, and great midfield play in several games. Man U beat Spurs 1 – 3 at WHL, Man C thrashed the Gunners 4 – 2 in spite of being the second best team on the pitch for long passages of the game, Chelsea beat Stoke 2 – 1 thanks to another phenomenal strike by Drogba, and Liverpool hammered Burnley 4 – 0.
As said in a previous blog this week, the best games involve great goals, great imagination, great skills, creativity, and pulsating teamwork. We need excitement, and unpredictability – not just the 4 or 5 top teams grinding down lesser opposition.
It was good to hear John Motson keeping up standards in his commentary on the Man C – Arsenal game. . Adebayor blatantly kicked an Arsenal opponent in the face, horribly gouged his cheek, got away with it Scot free, and then, after scoring with a header, he ran the entire length of the pitch to celebrate his goal sliding on his knees in front of the hate-filled fans of his previous club – Arsenal. The ever sage and insightful Motty pondered, and asked, “Will that be seen as inflamatory by Adebayor?” Well Motty, we think it just might.
It was a pity, because Adebayor had shown incredible skill and application in this match, at one point dribbling from the half way line through four tackles in very tight spaces to set up a team mate in front of goal. It's not often these days we see anyone with the ambition or the ability to dribble past even one or two opponents. He even kicked a shot off his own goal line with his goalkeeper beaten.
And then he squanders all the credit he's put in the bank – by screwing up with those two moments of absolute zero emotional intelligence – no control whatsoever over his ego and his emotions, either his anger or his joy.
There are two photographs on the front of the sports section in today's Observer showing both incidents. Van Persie calls Adebayor's assault on him mindless and malicious. Adebayor is quoted as saying, “To be very honest, I'm very sorry for all this. Sometimes the emotion takes over.” He can say that again.
By contrast, Wayne Rooney has been much praised recently for the way in which he now deals with pressure, and emotion. We might start to think that learning to be emotionally intelligent is something that starts to happen to young men, and young athletes, after the age of 22 or 23, with the assumption that prior to that age it's impossible to acquire the attitudes and skills you need to be emotionally intelligent.
The reality is that learning to be emotionally intelligent is something that should be happening from the Nursery class onwards, and hopefully at home even before that. The problem is that boys (and girls) in many homes are exposed to the opposite – parents and siblings, and older brothers, sisters and cousins, to say nothing of the mainstream media, magazines, films, etc, who espouse the culture of aggression, hostile rivalry, egocentric selfishness, unrestrained competitiveness and macho posturing.
If schools then do little or nothing to combat such attitudes and teach the skills of emotional intelligence, you end up with young footballers, and in fact a whole population of young men, who haven't a clue how to cope with their extreme emotions. Some of them fail in life as a result; some fail in their profession, and their relationships, and others get themselves into situations where they get killed.
When will we ever learn?
F1 Emotional and Social Intelligence
At the other end of the sporting EQ spectrum we find guys like Rubens Barrichello and Jensen Button, who came first and second in today's Italian Grand Prix, driving Braun cars. The more I see of Button the more I'm impressed – and I'm not easily impressed – with his incredibly mature and intelligent aura, with his attitude to himself and others, and the way in which he expresses himself. Barrichello is another guy who's had to work hard for many years in the shadows of more successful drivers - so affability, humility and balance are now second nature to him. Maybe when ultimate success comes relatively late in life it's helpful in creating better human beings. The sheer joy of what he's been able to achieve with Braun, as compared with his Ferrari days, is so apparent whenever Barrichello speaks.
During the post-race analysis the pundits discussed the possibility of Braun changing their drivers for next season, possibly bringing in one of the 'top' drivers, at the expense of Barrichello, who's now in his mid thirties. There seemed to be agreement that the key factor in Braun's success this year, apart from having a good car, is what they called friendship, teamwork and cameraderie. It's what I'd call rapport. It's a key component of Social Intelligence.
The rapport and the success would be at risk if the team is changed, especially after their achievements this season. Succession planning is all very well, but why give Barrichello the boot when he's still driving so well - better than ever according to him?
Before the season began it looked as though this team was being wound up, and every single one of them was going to be out of a job. Then Ross Braun stepped in, bought the team, and the rest is history. A team that chronically underperformed for many years is now poised to take the constructors championship, with their drivers finishing first and second - an unprecedented achievement, even for the most settled and established teams.
The situation's akin to a football team that's achieved success in spite of the fact that their players are not considered to be the real superstars of the game, but they have rapport and they perform better as a team than the teams that are full of egocentric stars who are basically playing for themselves, and not the rest of the club.
Similar thoughts about the value of teamwork and rapport were expressed by Paul Wilson in his column today, in which he said, talking about effective counter-attacks, "Manchester City's initial attempts to build on their lead only served to demonstrate that while you can have all the pace and space in the world, it takes understanding between players [my italics] to turn quick counters into slick counters."
"Football's not about individuals."
Another mellow and affable soul, Alexei Sayle(!), was on TV this morning bemoaning the fact that the books in line for this year's Booker Prize all have historical subject matter. Alexei thinks people should be prepared to think about what's happening in the world in the present day. I agree with Alexei. I reckon that whilst there's a place for well-crafted fiction that throws light on the human condition through examining things that happened in the past, we surely need a balance of subject matter that encourages us to consider our current society and gives us immediate and direct insight into present-day politics and human affairs.
Good to see Rory Bremner on the same programme taking the piss out of our lamentable defence secretary, Bob Ainsworth.
Here's a very silly article about Spotify, and I've absolutely no idea why the Guardian decided to print it on their Comments pages.