The Book of Steely Daniel

I just recently learned of the Biblical book of Steely Daniel, which I found deeply moving. You can read it here.

Excerpt:

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. Everywhere around him he saw jealousy and mayhem, because no men had all their peace of mind to carry them. And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god. The Cuervo Gold, the fine Columbia made that night a wonderful thing.

Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility — young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. They got the shapely bodies, they got the Steely Dan T-Shirts. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. Nothing but blues and Elvis. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service. A man of mind can do anything.

Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. Worldly wise, they realized that everybody is crazy.

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Like the castle in its corner in a medieval game he foresaw terrible trouble; but he stayed there in the same. Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you. Your mind has turned to applesauce.”

* * *

At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. “I never seen you looking so bad my funky one,” Daniel said to them, “you tell me that your superfine mind has come undone.” So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.

To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. The weekend in college didn’t turn out how you planned. The things that pass for knowledge, I can’t understand. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. This was the day of the expanding man.

Apple to buy Spotify?

Bob Lefsetz, writing in The Big Picture, claims that Apple has decided to buy Spotify and that Spotify is totally on board.

The price?

A COOL TEN BILLION!

It had to happen. Apple’s stock rises when it has a monopoly. And despite all the iPhone profits, Android has greater worldwide market share. This is not the iPod revolution, wherein a seamless hardware/software combination, of iPod iTunes and FairPlay DRM, ensured that no other player could gain traction. Hell, Apple is losing traction every day in music. And if you believe that Jimmy Iovine can pull a rabbit out of his hat, you believe Jay Z is gonna turn Tidal into a raging success.

That’s right, Jimmy was left out of the negotiations. Tim Cook is still pissed about the U2 fiasco, wherein Iovine paid back the has-been stars and Apple ended up with egg on its face. Apple is a bigger brand than U2, and Cook feels like the company got hijacked, so therefore, just like David Geffen was left out of the MCA/Matsushita negotiations, Jimmy had no part in this purchase, it’s news to him.

Actually, credit Scott Forstall. You remember him, right? Mr. Software, Steve Jobs’s right-hand man? Forstall was agitating for a music streaming service so loudly that he got fired. But after promoting Jony Ive and closing ranks Cook had a chance meeting with Daniel Ek at the San Jose airport, while their respective jets were being gassed, and Cook realized the error of his ways. He couldn’t bring back Forstall, but he was man enough to recognize he’d been wrong, as Steve was too, files are history, streams are forever.

So the seed was planted YEARS ago! That’s why Spotify has never gone public. Projects at Apple take as long to develop as movies at Pixar and while you were looking for an Apple TV set and deriding Jony Ive’s Watch, Cook was positioning the company to win, and win big.

That’s right, now Apple’s going to own streaming music, no one else will be able to compete, it’s monopoly time all over again.

* * *

Launch date is Friday May 15th.

Why?

BECAUSE IT’S THE START OF TAYLOR SWIFT’S 1989 TOUR!

It was all a head fake. The joke is on you. Taylor’s been in cahoots with Apple for nearly a year. She removed her music from Spotify in order to drive down the purchase price! Every dollar below $10 bil was hers to keep. Alas, she was unsuccessful in this effort, but she’s coming out fine. She’s gonna get a dollar for every sign-up for the first twelve months. So, expect her to hawk Apple’s streaming service like she hawked her album, and no one’s a better marketer than Taylor, no one’s got a better relationship with the press. Didn’t you notice her absence at the Tidal press conference? She, of all people, should have been there. But “1989″ isn’t even streamable on Tidal, doesn’t that tell you something?

The full article is worth a read, but who knows whether he is correct. It does strike me as a real possibility though. And you might want to take a look at what he has to say here.

Darlene Love’s last Letterman performance

For the past 30 years, Darlene Love has appeared on David Letterman to sing “Christmas (Baby Come Home). Each year the performance has been bigger and better. Last week, she sang the song for the last time on Letterman, because he is retiring next spring. The final hurrah is spectacular. Watch it full screen in HD for the best viewing.

RIP iPod classic

English: iPod Classic 120GB Silver, Next to or...
English: iPod Classic 120GB Silver, Next to original box. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The iPod classic was my all-time favorite music player (at least until the iPhone came along). And now, finally, Apple has killed the product. My very old iPod classic, however, still works like a dream.

Break time

Andrew Sullivan is running a contest on his site to find the best cover of an original hit. He pulls this one up, and it is a two for the price of one production.  It is a snarky treatment by the Pet Shop Boys of U2’s song “Where the Streets Have No Name.” Snarky in the sense of treating U2’s classic anthem as no more profound or creative than the pop hit “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” The Boys run the two songs together seamlessly.

U2’s response was “What have we done to deserve this?” That plays off the Pet Shop Boys hit “What Have I Done to Deserve This?,” featuring Dusty Springfield.

Apple announces Beats purchase

Dr. Dre may indeed be on the stage at Apple’s 2014 keynote at WWDC on Monday. Apple has issued a press release announcing the acquisition.

Excerpt:

Apple® today announced it has agreed to acquire the critically acclaimed subscription streaming music service Beats Music, and Beats Electronics, which makes the popular Beats headphones, speakers and audio software. As part of the acquisition, Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will join Apple. Apple is acquiring the two companies for a total of $3 billion, consisting of a purchase price of approximately $2.6 billion and approximately $400 million that will vest over time.

“Music is such an important part of all of our lives and holds a special place within our hearts at Apple,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “That’s why we have kept investing in music and are bringing together these extraordinary teams so we can continue to create the most innovative music products and services in the world.”

Immediately after the announcement, made after the markets closed, Apple is up slightly.