Ralph Lee “Mac” McCaughan is:
- the lead singer of Superchunk, a band I adore
- the lead singer of Portastatic, another great band
- a solo artist
- co-founder/owner of Merge Records, a bastion of indie rock and arguably the only decent semi-major label around.
- an insightful political commentator
Put them all together and you have this gem of a glass-half-full song for 2017: “Happy New Year (Prince Can’t Die Again)”
Last night, a minor modern-day miracle occurred, and I was thrilled to be a part of it. (Don’t worry, I won’t break my arm patting myself on the back.) I met up with four other adults for dinner and during the course of a two-hour meal, none of us pulled out our cell phones. Shocking! Amazing! Incredible! The five of us were connected by our work on freelance projects, but two of the folks there had never met each other before, and I’d met one person there just once previously, more than a year ago. So we weren’t exactly besties… which you would think would make us more prone to turn to the phone. But somehow we managed to muddle through, carrying on what is called a “conversation.” (Look it up, millenials. And try it someday!)
It made me think of a couple of things I’ve recently read about our phone addiction. Here’s an email from marketing guru Seth Godin:
And here’s an excerpt from Talking As Fast As I Can, a new book from Lauren Graham, where she’s channeling her inner old fogey, whom she calls “Old Lady Jackson”:
Amen, Old Lady Jackson. Stop by anytime for a cup of tea. We’ll chew the fat… and we won’t take a photo of the fat first to post on Instagram.
My Top 10 resolutions/goals for 2017:
- Learn a new language. (Russian would seem to make the most sense.)
- Buy the world a Coke. (Just to clarify so we’re all on the same page, I’m buying a single Coke and all 7 billion of you will have to share. Don’t worry, I’ll spring for a 2-liter. Bring your own straw.)
- Have an attitude of gratitude… when I finally win that Powerball jackpot that The Man has been cheating me out of for years.
- Avoid all media references to Kim Kardashian and/or Kanye West. (So basically go live in a cave.)
- Sell my idea for bacon-wrapped Canadian bacon to Hormel or Oscar Mayer.
- Stop, collaborate and listen (per the instructions of self-improvement guru Vanilla Ice).
- Stop making lists for everything.
- Somehow convince our incoming president that “counterintelligence” has nothing to do with knowing the difference between granite, quartz and laminate.
- Finish what I start.
A new year means 365 new opportunities to connect (with other human beings, not with your smartphone).
Singer-songwriter (and Gilmore Girls town troubadour) Grant-Lee Phillips recently sent a nice note to all those on his mailing list, and I thought a couple of excerpts were well worth sharing.
“A renewed commitment to compassion.” Yep, that’s a darn fine resolution from a darn good performer.