Saturday, July 2, 2016

The B.S. of Moving iTunes Libraries

It's been a long while since I last posted to this blog, my very first, and it's not because I haven't had anything to rant about.  It's just that the rants I've made to myself and to friends over the past year or so haven't angered me enough to want to write about, but here is a topic that I've found to be so frustrating, I just need to get it out...

Take a good look at this picture.  For any of you that have their music on their iPod or Iphone, you'll recognize that it is the iTunes page.  There's something missing from this particular page, though, a screenshot that I've taken of my own iTunes,  If you look towards the left of the screen, you can see the column that shows all of your iTunes playlists, and none that I have created over the years is there.

You see, about six months ago, I purchased a new laptop, something that, as a regular pc user, I need to do every six years or so.  Since my time is so limited during the school year, and since my old pc was still working, I was slow to start moving things over to the new one.  Moving over to a new computer is always a daunting task....bookmarks, passwords (ugh, everyone's got a different rule for that...use one capital letter and one symbol, at least one number, no less than eight characters), external programs, etc.  For any of you who use iTunes for your music, you'll know that moving your iTunes library over to a new computer can be the biggest headache.

This new pc of mine is probably like the sixth I've had over the years, and I've had iTunes on all of them, which means I've moved iTunes libraries over from one to the next, successfully, several times. This time, however, I am at a loss!  And here comes the rant...

I realize that in today's world, there is a lot of piracy out there, and with music it is especially so as a large number of people do not purchase their music, but find ways to download it illegally.  The only times I have ever not purchased music was when the song was not available on iTunes, and those times have been very few and far between.  Virtually all of the music I've got in my iTunes library was purchased through the site.  Yet, as always, I have to suffer because of this.

For twelve years, beginning in the 90's, I was a deejay, and so I've got a lot of CD's.  All of them were purchased legally back in the days when the CD was all we had.  Once I moved to the digital age of music, which overall I think is absolutely wonderful, I downloaded all of my CD music into my iTunes library.  It is the greater portion of the music I have there.  The other night, I had a lot of free time and I decided to work on getting my iTunes library over to my new laptop once and for all. Little by little, I've managed to get everything else over and this is the last thing that keeps me from ditching my old, slow computer.  

There I sat, in my office, for about four and a half hours, both pc's turned on and a passport in hand.  I copied every file I could find that related to anything music from my old laptop and moved it into the iTunes icon on the new pc via the passport.  All that moved over were my iTunes downloads, again and again.  No playlists nor music from any CD.  And to boot, it copied every song twice...something to do with clouds, which I am still trying to understand.  I searched through Google for answers. I tried everything.  Dead end after dead end.  Now we're into July and it's now been seven months since I bought my new computer and iTunes library.

I figure I have a choice.  I can either re-download all of my old CD's, which would probably take weeks, and re-do all of my playlists...weeks more, or I can put this out there in the hopes that someone can help me.  iTunes has a service called Match, where supposedly they will find all of your stuff in your iTunes library and match it with your account so this problem is supposedly solved, and all for the nominal fee of $24.99 a year.  Well I think that's bullshit!  Why should I have to re-pay iTunes for all of my music again, just because Apple makes it so hard to move my legally downloaded music that I got from old CD's I purchased?  

No, I refuse to do that!  I'd much rather go through all of that hassle than to pay again for my music. As it is, I hesitate to buy new stuff to add to my library until I've got my library in proper order, and that is pissing me off more than anything.  So, if only someone from Apple would read this and do something about it.  I should not have to suffer so because of these idiots who pirate music.  I do things the right way and yet I suffer for it.  Not fair!  If anybody within the reach of this blog has any advice for me before I start the trudgery of re-doing anything, please help!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sensible Commentary on Race Relations From Another Side

In a perfect follow-up to my post last night on the death of NYPD Officer Brian Moore and the big mess this country is in right now concerning race relations, here's a video I caught on Facebook via a website called LiveLeak.  The video is a self-made and impromptu one made by one Will Stack, a young African American man who had just been pulled over by a white cop in Lexington, South Carolina.

The video couldn't have come at a more appropriate time for me, as much of what I said in that post last night he echoes with very much the same sentiments.  I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks this way.  It deserves to be watched...

Monday, May 4, 2015

Rest In Peace Brian Moore, the Latest Casualty in a Big Mess

In case you've been living under a rock, you've no doubt heard by now that the New York City police officer who had been shot in the head on Saturday by an ex-con in Queens has died.  Officer Brian Moore, 25, was a native of Massapequa, Long Island, and his death was senseless in every way, yet it underscores the building tensions between police officers everywhere and people of color, and this particular case feeds into the views of those who side with police officers nationwide.  Yes, it's bad!

I, for one, see both sides of the issue, and though race thrown into the mix of law enforcement does no doubt seem to cloud the judgement of some, it doesn't for everyone, and it's cases like this that feed into the actions of those who act upon their prejudices.  The stresses that I am sure are placed on those who are paid to protect and serve us every day are far greater than any of us will ever know, and those who do wrong should always be brought to justice.  

I want to share something that I always tell my students, who are all people of color.  It speaks to what happened in Queens on Saturday, and in Baltimore a couple of weeks ago, and in Ferguson last summer...  

First of all, there is some truth to most prejudices.  That is a plain fact.  The stereotypes that follow any minority group come from known experiences with a number of its members over time.  But the world is not black and is gray!  Ignorance and prejudice comes are based on what we've heard, what we've read, and what we see on the television.  Most are not based upon interactions with the targeted group like they should be.  The greatest thing to break down the barriers of ignorance is more experience, experience with as many persons of the stereotyped group as it takes for us to learn that we are all individuals.

There are good cops and bad ones...Latinos who are illegal and those who aren't, good decent hard-working African Americans and ones who walk around with guns in their pockets looking for trouble.  There are effeminate gays and straight-acting ones, brilliant Poles and ones a little short on smarts, greedy doctors and ones who are in it to get it!  There are a gazillion and one stereotypes, but the world is NOT black and white.  

I tell my students that each and every time they interact with an American person, they are representing all Latinos, and that it is always their job to show those they interact with that they do not fit the stereotypes that the general public believes about them.  Every interaction they have with someone of another flavor is always an opportunity to break down stereotypes, and break down prejudice...and you know what?  I sincerely hope that my students take that to heart and represent themselves for the individuals that they are.

Prejudice seems to be a part of the natural human psyche.  We tend to naturally distrust and prejudge those who are not of the same ilk as we, whether it's a player on another team or a neighbor from a distant block.  But maybe if each of us does our part to break down those prejudices, maybe someday we won't have whites saying, Uh huh, that Demetrius Blackwell was a typical thug, just looking to kill white cops, or African Americans believing that the cop that shot down Michael Brown did so just because he was black.         

We should all be angry at the Demetrius Blackwells and the cops in Baltimore who are involved in the death of Freddie Gray, another 25 year old who died at too young an age.  Their the ones who perpetrate the stereotypes, but there are plenty of us out there who just want to live in peace.

So rest in peace Brian Moore, Freddie Gray, and any other person who's lost their life in this madness that divides us.  I am truly sad for your loss and hope that maybe one day soon your deaths won't be in vain.  

Monday, March 30, 2015

George Takei's Truth on Indiana's "Religious Freedom Law"

George Takei poses for a portrait during the Sundance Film Festival, on Jan. 18, 2014 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP)

If you don't follow George Takei on either Facebook or Twitter, then I ask what rock are you living under?  The former Star Trek actor, who just happens to be a P.L.U. (people like us!), has made quite a name for himself as one of THE masters of social media.  With all sorts of funny posts, thoughtful commentary and a great sense of humor, George Takei is one most followed person on the Internets.

So when George Takei has something profound to say, many listen, and today he's come out in a big way to share his thoughts on Indiana's new so-called "Religious Freedom Law."  For him, as for many of us, the mere existence of this issue is somewhat shocking given the inroads we've made in the last twenty years or so.  Yet there is still much work to be done, and a lot of hate to wash away, and George is certainly doing his part...

...Gov. Pence shamelessly pandered to the right wing of his party, perhaps because he is eyeing a run for the White House, or perhaps because he simply does not understand that bigotry, cloaked as religious protection, is still bigotry...

...I myself am a Buddhist, not a Christian. But I cannot help but think that if Christ ran a public establishment, it would be open to all, and He would be the last to refuse service to anyone. It is, simply put, the most un-Christian of notions.

...So let us be clear what this is really about: divisive politics. The far right has lost the war over marriage equality, and quickly. It now has staked out a new ground and shrouded itself ostensibly within the ambit of the First Amendment – for who can deny that we ought to give religious freedom its full and fair due? It seeks refuge in the recent, and regrettable, U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Hobby Lobby, which appeared to open the door for exceptions to “government regulation” in the name of protecting religious beliefs...

With all of the controversy that's been surrounding the passage of this law in Indiana, all sides are weighing in, but I think that George puts the truth out very succinctly in that last paragraph.  In this day and age, when we've come so far in learning that diversity is a good thing, there is still plenty of bigotry to go around, and politics obviously panders to that bigotry.  If you don;t see that, well then go back under that rock.

Check out the entire transcript of George Takei's op-ed on MSNBC.  He also appeared on this evening's episode of The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on the same station.    

Saturday, February 21, 2015

I Live on Long Island...No Wonder I'm Broke

After paying your rent or mortgage, transportation, utilities, and any other bills, how much do you have left at the end of the month? The answer probably depends largely on where you live...

Um, not much, and now I know why!  There's a piece recently published on a website called Trove that's making its rounds on Facebook this week and after seeing several of my friends share it, I decided to check out the article, called The 15 Most Expensive Places to Live In America. Guess what?  I live in the #1 spot.  Yes, the counties of Nassau and Suffolk that make up what many of us know as Long Island is THE most expensive place to live in the good ole U.S. of A.  No wonder I'm always broke!

Wow!  Who knew that this wonderful piece of real estate, just east of NYC and commonly called 'Lon Guyland' was such an expensive place to live?  Here's what Trove has to say about it...

Nassau and Suffolk Counties, on Long Island, aren't the highest in the country in terms of housing, taxes, or healthcare, but they're up there in each category, and that's enough to make the area the most expensive place to live in America. Also a major New York City commuting hub, it's known for high property taxes and pricey real estate, especially in Nassau County. Suffolk is home to the Hamptons, a popular summer spot for the wealthy and the famous.

Oh yeah, those property taxes.  My friends and I were just talking about that last night and between the four of us, we could probably buy a brand new car in cash every two years with what we collectively pay in property taxes.  Well, Trove neglected to mention the price of gas, coffee , the railroad, and just about everything else that we pay so much for here.  Heck, now that Patchogue, my hometown, has become a hopping place, they've put in parking meters so even more money can be squeezed out of our pockets. 


It's not just Long Island either.  Out of the 15 most expensive places in the U.S. to live, 3 are in New York State.  Westchester comes in at #5 and New York City at #8.  That's funny, because when I was 8 years old, we moved from the Bronx to Long Island because back then it was a cheap place to live.  My parents would have loved to live in Westchester, but at the time that was too expensive.  Now?  Even NYC is way behind us...go figure!  Maybe I should go back to my dream of living there.  It'll be cheaper.  

New York kills its citizens with taxes, especially in the downstate area as you can tell from the results of this article.  We pay ample state income tax when we make money, and we pay more taxes when we spend it.  Pretty disgusting, huh?  Most of us don't realize how bad we have it until we travel out of state.  Every time we leave, we find cheaper gas prices, cheaper coffee, and no tax on clothes!  Why is this so?  Who the heck knows?  I wish I had a solution to this problem because despite it all, I love New York (I hate winter, but that's another story!), but I do not (thus, a rant!).  I would guess the best solution is one which many people already do take, and that's to move out of the state.  As for me...I can't just yet, but perhaps the city is calling my name...

Here's how the findings were calculated:
FindTheBest created a cost of living index based on 2013 family budget estimates for housing, taxes, healthcare, childcare, transportation, and "other necessities" (like food) from the Economic Policy Institute to compare, in over 600 counties and metro areas across the US, where your dollar goes the farthest.
The average overall index for US cities and metro areas is 100, so a city with an index of 120 is 20% more expensive than average, and a city with an index of 80 is 20% cheaper than average. (Note: Long Island's index was 120!)
If you'd like to see if you live in one of the most expensive places in the U.S., check out Trove's article right here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

News That's Fit to Print: A Debate on Roadside Memorials
Are roadside memorials an eyesore? Are they a distraction? Do friends and family members have the right to erect such memorials in such public places where their loved ones have taken their last breath?
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Saturday, November 14, 2009


For the first time today, I saw a group of protesters in front of a shopping center in Shirley. It was damp and rainy, and they were there with American flags and signs that said "Take back our republic!", and "Honk for no new taxes." After just having written my little ode to the protesters, I have to admit that I still find it astonishing that these people are so up in arms over a thing like healthcare.

I don't want new taxes, of course. No one does! But compared to all of the awful things the Bushies did for the better part of this decade, I still don't understand why they weren't protesting then. George Bush inherited a surplus...he squandered it and put us into the heaviest debt we've ever seen. Obama comes in, and he's trying to fix it. I don't necessarily agree with all the decisions he's made so far, but it doesn't take only eleven months to fix such a problem.

"But, he's adding to it," you say.

Here's a surprise for you: I agree! Still, all of this pales in comparison to the many, many things Mr. Bush did that wasted way more money than Obama ever will. As a writer and a conscientious patriot, I feel a duty to add my voice to this discussion in the hopes that someone will see all this ruckus for what it is.

No, this is not Nazi Germany. What liberties are we losing? I could argue that I lost the freedom to take some toothpaste on an airplane with me in 2004. Teabaggers will argue, "well that was for your own protection!" Well, I say that mandating that everyone has health insurance carries the same mantra.

I need to think some more on this...