Sports Identity (and Why I Have to Take Down My Steelers Banner)

steelers logo tradition

Two interesting things happened this weekend that led me to think a bit about sports, the need for identity, and conflict. Part One: As we are on our way this weekend to a baseball game between the Nationals and Padres (neither of which is a particularly important team to my Brewers-Mets-Pirates family), my three sons are discussing for which team they are rooting. My youngest announces that he is not rooting for any team but rather just going to enjoy the game (and the ice cream, popcorn, hot dogs, etc.) My other two boys tell him, rather forcefully, that he has to pick a side, he has to root for a team. “But why?” he asks. And he raises a good point.

Continue ReadingSports Identity (and Why I Have to Take Down My Steelers Banner)

British Reaction to Crash of 2008 and the Bonus Pool for Lehman Executives

Moneychanginghands The reaction is rightfully upset after reading news like this:

Up to 10,000 staff at the New York office of the bankrupt investment bank Lehman Brothers will share a bonus pool set aside for them that is worth $2.5bn (£1.4bn), Barclays Bank, which is buying the business, confirmed last night.

The revelation sparked fury among the workers’ former colleagues, Lehman’s 5,000 staff based in London, who currently have no idea how long they will go on receiving even their basic salaries, let alone any bonus payments. It also prompted a renewed backlash over the compensation culture in global finance, with critics claiming that many bankers receive pay and rewards that bore no relation to the job they had done.

Continue ReadingBritish Reaction to Crash of 2008 and the Bonus Pool for Lehman Executives

Tom’s Diner and the Origin of MP3s

Suzanne Vega has a fascinating essay over on the New York Times website about her song, “Tom’s Diner,” and its subsequent history, which is rich with details about the artistic creation process, how an artist reacts to an unauthorized remix, the burdens of licensing, and the history of MP3 files. “Tom’s Diner” was originally released as the lead track on her best-selling album (the one that had “Luka” on it). A few years later, a pair of studio engineers calling themselves “DNA” remixed Vega’s a cappella “Tom’s Diner” with instrumentals and a base beat, turning it into a dance track. They then printed up some vinyl records and began selling them, which attracted the attention of Vega’s label. But Vega herself liked the remix, and a licensing deal was struck. To Vega’s surprise, the remix took off and became a hit, three years after the original song was released.

And then there’s the story about how “Tom’s Diner” was used to create the MP3.

Continue ReadingTom’s Diner and the Origin of MP3s