Posts Tagged ‘free’
I like free music. Who doesn’t?
My unquenchable thirst for downloadable music — legal or questionably legal — took a strange turn when a friend turned me onto the archives of the United States military bands. The Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps bands all have their own websites and, because these bands are funded by the taxpayers, their recordings are free.
As far as I could find, our friends in the Coast Guard were left out. Please correct me if I’m wrong. I’ve been looking for a copy of their theme song — nine times catchier than Anchors Aweigh — to no avail.
Seven years of marching band in high school and in college well-prepared me for the huge collection of marches and patriotic music. Three hours later, I finished importing the complete John Phillips Sousa into iTunes. I don’t know who Colonel Bogey is, but he makes me smile.
I imagined military sanctions for band members.
Twenty push-ups for each missed chord change. Play through a rest means half-rations for a week. Talk during rehearsal? Court-martial.
Then it got weird.
Google gave me a link to the old Air Force archives, filled with recordings of our fighting men and women playing and singing music of all genres. Dixieland. New Wave. R&B. There was even a rap song.
It’s hard not to crack a smile at the idea of stoic, serious-faced officers playing the blues in their full dress blues, chiseled jaw and all.
I found all of these songs for free online. Most of them are cheesy.
Featuring the thrift-store Enya knock-off.
Imagine government-funded rap about living your life drug-free. Imagine it worse.
You can steal something like eight consecutive melody notes before it’s legally plagiarism. Joseph Spaniola knew this, and wrote for us the Space Fanfare. It starts by almost quoting the Star Wars, Superman and Star Trek themes. It’s a downward spiral from there.
They Died for You, They Died for Me
Hey — did you hear? Vietnam was a fight for freedom, at least according to this Nashville-style Soft Rock. “They died for freedom, God and family/ They died for you/ They died for me,” attests the honkey-tonk crooner. Strangely enough, references to carpet bombing, conscription or the Gulf of Tonkin were cut from the final version.
‘Taint So, Honey ‘Taint So
A white man doing his best Louis Armstrong impression provides the lead vocals about halfway in — as you’d expect, it’s immediately singable. Everything in this album really isn’t that bad, though this is the only selection with such a gravely hoarseness to it.
Tax dollars well spent.
Moving possessions from one house to another is one of my few legitimate loathings, and it’s second only to exercise on my all-time red crayon list of doom. Today, I did it twice.
Maybe it’s because I was lucky enough to live in the same one-story ranch house from birth to high school graduation, but I consider moving a rigorous, hateful ritual. Everyone involved seems to agree on moving day, whatever they say after the fact. I, however, am not afraid to fess up before, during and after moving day.
Even so, I just about always help my friends move. I recommend helping.
Loading up the U-Haul will evoke a one-way trip into the undiscovered country, and Tetris-ing together mattresses, lava lamps and long-forgotten tchotchkes into the cramped trunk of an already bulging sedan will begin more headaches than it cures. You’ll hate every moment, even though you have no tchotchkes here and you’ve never owned a lava lamp — there’s a lot more to hate than the bitter nostalgia of finding a postcard from an ex-girlfriend.
After 12 hours of menial labor, even the most energetic college kids have tired feet and aching backs. By the time you get your cheap mass order of pizza, you’ll have crankiness only salved by a multi-hour soaking bath, and yet, if given the chance, you’ll nap instead.
Help move not for the free pizza, and not because you’re doing your friends a favor to be paid back reciprocally. Do it because the chore is lightened the more workers there are to share it, and the fewer workers there are, the heavier burden there is for the rest. Simple charity, and simple goodwill. There is no catch, and there is no quid pro quo.
The worst-case scenario, easily, is that no jokey banter will lighten the mood when nobody else is there to banter back. I’ve moved alone enough to know that much.
Today, I helped move one household to the far southern boonies of the local valley, and as soon as possible helped move another to the rich town adjacent to my own. I count 12 hours worth of frustrating-itude, split between each friend in need.
That’s a lot of exercise. I do it gladly.
Thanks to the futzing of a roommate, I don’t have Internet, and I probably won’t until after Thursday. I’ll still keep up with daily posts, in part because of a national chain that tries way too hard to be trendy. In short: Thank you, Starbucks.
Even though your employees know absolutely nothing helpful about troubleshooting your free Internet, and even though “free” means “buy a $5 gift card and register it online to obtain Internet access,” it’s the thought that counts.
I don’t mind the gift card requirement — I knew you had the best intentions. As such, I went out of the way to make sure you didn’t end up a liar. I had my roommate buy a $5 gift card, using only negligible coercion of my own. As it turned out, she immediately used the card to purchase herself one of your many fatty, sugary, overcaffinated drinks, and she gave me the rest of the gift card.
Sure, there’s only 70 cents left. That’s still enough to register the card online to get my despite-your-best-efforts-still-free Internet.
I don’t even mind the two-hour limit on Internet use. I figure that this is for my own good. Without an artificial, largely arbitrary restriction, I’d stay on all day, and that would sorely diminish the chances I’d ever finish The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
Thank you, soulless, corporation of gargantuan proportions in every concievable sense. I will be a happy patron of your comfortable chairs and free Internet, and I’ll show it. Until your Internet policies inevitably change, Starbucks will be my exclusive source of iceless water in a pretentiously named large cup.
Please don’t take any of this personally. It’s just that if I at all behaved differently, my Internet wouldn’t be free.