Measuring the Unmeasurable: Ranking One’s Favorite Music, Part III

In June and September of 2021, I wrote the first two essays in a series on the evolution of the methods I use to rank my favorite tracks (a term I prefer to “songs”). These essays presented the history of the 309 individual “mix” cassettes, videocassettes and CDs I constructed between August 1981 and August … Continue reading Measuring the Unmeasurable: Ranking One’s Favorite Music, Part III

Crafting the “Soundtrack” to my Interrogating Memory book

In 2005, Rupert Holmes published his second novel, a murder mystery called Swing. Being, well, Rupert Holmes, he also wrote and recorded an accompanying seven-track CD of swing-inflected music; both are well worth finding. The combination, meanwhile, led him to quip, “I’ve been singing songs from my new book.” In the past month, I received … Continue reading Crafting the “Soundtrack” to my Interrogating Memory book

Measuring the Unmeasurable: Ranking One’s Favorite Music, Part 1

I recently updated a data-based discussion of my cinematic “guilty pleasures,” adding a comparison of “most-acclaimed” and “my favorite” films from a given year or years. In so doing, though, I side-stepped the question of determining with something approaching academic rigor just what my favorite films are, relying solely on my gut to select a … Continue reading Measuring the Unmeasurable: Ranking One’s Favorite Music, Part 1

Organizing by themes V: Popular music

This site benefits/suffers/both from consisting of posts about a wide range of topics, all linked under the amorphous heading "data-driven storytelling." In an attempt to impose some coherent structure, I am organizing related posts both chronologically and thematically. While I have told many stories from my life (and those of my ancestors), I rarely discuss … Continue reading Organizing by themes V: Popular music

And for my 100th post…100 random facts (about me)

This is post #100; thank you for continuing to “just bear with me.” December 19 is also the two-year anniversary of this site’s launch (so I should gift myself either cotton or china, and it should be red). To honor this symmetry, and to lighten the mood from my previous three posts (dealing—however obliquely—with the … Continue reading And for my 100th post…100 random facts (about me)

A Musical Mosaic

When I enrolled at Yale in the fall of 1984, I was undecided between majoring in political science or mathematics. A less-than-stellar experience in Math 230—required for freshman mathematics major—quickly decided me: political science, it would be. Luckily, two courses I took sophomore year taught by Professor Edward Tufte—Data Analysis for Politics and Policy and … Continue reading A Musical Mosaic