Friday, July 31, 2009

The Final Four of the Sabres

I've been reading a book called "The Final Four of Everything," which comes with a cute idea. What if it wasn't just the NCAA basketball championships that were paired off? What if we had brackets to determine the best sports cliche, best guy named Tom, best Olympic heroes, best state bird, best board game, etc. This is a little hit or miss depending on your interest, so that "best gun" sort of left me cold, but otherwise there's plenty to keep your interest.

Let's try "The Final Four of the Buffalo Sabres" as an example. I'll list the pairings of each round, and explain the winners:

Goalie Division (8 players)
Dominik Hasek vs. Martin Biron
Don Edwards vs. Bob Sauve
Ryan Miller vs. Roger Crozier
Tom Barrasso vs. Daren Puppa

Hasek is the easy winner over Biron, Sauve takes it up a notch in crunch time to surprise Edwards, Crozier's original Sabre glow isn't enough to beat Miller, and Barrasso accomplished more in his stay than his "good friend" Puppa.

Dominik Hasek vs. Bob Sauve
Ryan Miller vs. Tom Barrasso

Sauve can't stay close at this level. Barrasso won some hardware in Buffalo, but he was so unpopular on the team that he just can't top Miller.

Dominik Hasek vs. Ryan Miller

Was there ever a doubt?

Defenseman Division (8 players)
Mike Ramsey vs. Larry Playfair
Brian Campbell vs. Jerry Korab
Jim Schoenfeld vs. Bill Hajt
Phil Housley vs. Alexei Zhitnik

Ramsey was too good for too long to lose to the popular Playfair. Campbell's time was short but he might have been the second-best offensive defenseman in team history. Schoenfeld gets points for flamboyance over the steady Hajt. Zhitnik was underrated locally, but Housley put up some astonishing numbers for a defenseman.

Mike Ramsey vs. Brian Campbell
Jim Schoenfeld vs. Phil Housley

Ramsey played for a long time and with tons of heart and competitiveness. Housley is a slight second-round favorite but gets surprised by the popular Schoenfeld.

Mike Ramsey vs. Jim Schoenfeld

Schoenfeld makes a game out of it, but Ramsey packs for the Four Four.

Forward Division (16 players)
Gil Perreault vs. Dale Hawerchuk
Alexander Mogilny vs. Rene Robert
Danny Gare vs. Mike Foligno
Dave Andreychuk vs. Chris Drury
Rick Martin vs. Rob Ray
Craig Ramsay vs. Don Luce
Pat LaFontaine vs. Pierre Turgeon
Daniel Briere vs. Thomas Vanek

Perreault wins on longevity here, although you could have an interesting discussion about who was the better NHL player. Mogilny's breathtaking talent wasn't on display long enough to beat out a French Connection member. Gare and Foligno are similarly tough and popular; Gare had a little better scoring touch and all-around game. Drury records the biggest surprise of the tournament with a win over Andreychuk; Drury was a leader and could score too. Ray is a sentimental choice for the tournament but no match for Martin. Ramsay lasted longer in Buffalo than his linemate Luce. And speaking of fun matchups, LaFontaine was traded for Turgeon and gets the edge here. Briere became a great scorer here, even if Vanek might get the nod down the road.

Gil Perreault vs. Rene Robert
Danny Gare vs. Chris Drury
Rick Martin vs. Craig Ramsay
Pat LaFontaine vs. Daniel Briere

Perreault is an easy choice over Robert, while Gare scores points mostly for longevity in a good matchup with Drury. Ramsay is a personal favorite, but Martin was a fabulous goal-scorer until he hurt his knee. LaFontaine was better in his prime than Briere.

Gil Perreault vs. Danny Gare
Rick Martin vs. Pat LaFontaine

Perreault was a one of the few players in hockey history who could make a crowd rise to its feet on a regular basis. He sometimes was worth the price of admission. Gare was very valuable but doesn't reach Perreault's level. LaFontaine was as popular as any Sabre in history, and he provided some great moments while here. Those two go on to the final four.

Final Four
Dominik Hasek vs. Mike Ramsey
Gil Perreault vs. Pat LaFontaine

Ramsey was a superb defenseman, but he's not going to the Hall of Fame. Hasek is. Perreault's biggest edge over LaFontaine was durability, and that sneaks him past LaFontaine.

Championship Game
Dominik Hasek vs. Gil Perreault

Wow. Perreault was the franchise for more than 15 years, and a clear Hall of Famer. Still, Hasek might have been the best goalie in NHL history during the portions of his career here in the late 1990's. He wasn't bad the rest of the time here. Hasek is the champion.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Steroids and stats

While I still try to digest the news about David Ortiz and steroids, and it will take some time, I'll pass along some more general writing on the subject by baseball analyst Bill James.

As usual, he's not thinking the same way the rest of us do. And that's good. Check out his thoughts here.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Well played

Ever seen a more interesting hole-in-one than this one? Probably not.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Attention: George Carlin

Remember the routine the late George Carlin did about baseball vs. football? Football is played on a gridiron, baseball is played in a park. Football has its points scored in the end zone, baseball runs count when you go home. And so on.

He probably could have done a few more minutes on spring training vs. training camp.

The Buffalo Bills started training camp today. As one local reporter told me the other day, "Summer is over." At least for him.

That might be the main difference to the two sports when it comes to preseason workouts. When pitchers and catchers report, it's the first sign that winter is ending and spring is right around the corner. Yahoo. When football players arrive at training camp, fall isn't far away, and we'll be turning on the heat and getting out coats and sweatshirts (and no cracks about what a "wonderful" summer it's been this year either).

There are other differences of course. Most baseball players are signed before camp and ready to go these days. Football draft choices play the annual game of waiting to see what everyone else makes before signing a contract, which means that negotiations can drag well into August. And what do we hear from coaches at that time? That the unsigned draft choices are missing valuable workout time and if they don't sign within three days they might as well write off their rookie seasons. The fact that these players -- who have been in organized team activities and minicamps almost non-stop since the day they were drafted -- usually can sign in mid-August and start on opening day is quickly forgotten by all.

Anticipation by those involved is much different too. Baseball players can't wait to get out in the sunshine, work out a bit, maybe play a few innings of an exhibition game, and then go hit the beach or golf course. Football players arrive ready for some two-a-day workouts and a month of practice hits with the level of enthusiasm reserved for oral surgery. At least the era of three-hour workouts twice a day with no water has come to an end.

I'm not denying football fans the right to celebrate the fact that their favorite time of year is approaching. From a purely selfish, professional standpoint, football training camp is more than welcome to the Buffalo media. We haven't had that much to talk about since the Sabres season ended in early April. While we may get sick of Terrell Owens soon enough, Bills' news will at least keep the phone lines on talk shows humming and the space in the newspaper filled.

Still, I'll do my best to not take what happens with the Bills too seriously for the next few weeks. After all, can anyone remember what happened in an exhibition game a month into the regular season?

It's still summer. So running or playing golf in shorts and a t-shirt remains the top priority athletically speaking.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Space invader

Ever read a column that makes you want to race to the computer and type out a letter that begins with something along the lines of "Dear Idiot"?

Me too.

The column of the week in this category is from Bret Stephens of the Wall Streeet Journal. You can find it here. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Stephens gets off to a bad start here when he says the only people that will know Michael Jackson in a hundred years are "five or six cultural anthropologists and, possibly, a medical historian." Apparently Stephens has been reading Mary Kunz Goldman, since she expressed a very similar thought a while ago. (Note: Mary is no idiot and expresses her views much better than Stephens does.) As I wrote before, we'll probably be listening to Michael Jackson in 2109 because we can. If we had the technology to listen to Bach play his own work today, we would.

And later on, Stephens has a line about "uninteresting, detestable, loud or unaccomplished people: Paris Hilton, Princess Di, Keith Olbermann, Michael Jackson." I'm with him on Paris Hilton being uninteresting, but he should have stopped there. Princess Diana was placed in an impossible situation that you could argue eventually led to her death, but certainly used her platform to do important work concerning AIDS and land mines worldwide. Olbermann may come on a little too strong lately, but there's little doubt that he's smart and a first-rate communicator. Jackson probably is at least on the list of top five musical performers in the 20th century; he's another who never had a chance to live a "normal" life.

The main point of the column, though, deals with the concept of American celebrity. Stephens argues that Armstrong is the type of hero we should celebrate. Armstrong did his assigned job with Apollo and did it well. Then he faded out of the picture, turning up at the odd speech or public event but generally becoming something of a recluse.

Sure, it's nice that Armstrong isn't doing Viagra endorsements to earn spare change. A little dignity in our culture is always appreciated. But a happy medium between that and a disappearing act might have been welcome.

The space race essentially ended when Armstrong set foot on the moon, and so did much of the public's enthusiasm (which translates to funding of NASA by Congress). While I don't think Armstrong should be doing a lifetime of meet-and-greets, my perception is that he could have done more to keep the spirit burning a little brighter.

But that's not just my opinion. I first read it in Gordon Cooper's book. Cooper was the last of the Mercury astronauts to go into space. Cooper said John Glenn would have been a great choice to be the first man on the moon. Glenn, Cooper argued, would have been great at keeping us looking at the stars every so often.

I've been reading the Wall Street Journal regularly for more than a year now, and it does an excellent job on the news. I've yet, though, to find a columnist besides Peggy Noonan that is worth reading on a regular basis. As you may have guessed, Stephens missed the cut.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Leisure reading

There are plenty of stories out there about the problems magazines are having. It's interesting to see the warning signs, even when you are just a reader at home.

To wit:

1. I received a piece of direct mail from Sports Illustrated a couple of weeks ago. The subscription offer usually is something along the lines of 80 cents an issue, depending on how long you renew. The number can go up with a premium. This particular offer was for 39 cents an issue or so, so it was about $20 for a year -- and it included a gym bag. I renewed; I even have the gym bag already.

My subscription had quite a while before it ran out. So if it -- one of the big ones in the industry -- is slashing prices like that, it's easy to wonder what exactly is going on with the company.

2. The Sporting News recently switched from a weekly publication to a biweekly. The editorial content is different too, and quite interesting. But -- it already has taken a pair of issues "off", meaning that readers went four weeks between issues a couple of times.

3. Newsweek switched formats drastically earlier this summer, going to more analysis instead of trying to track down an extra fact or two. The publication has lowered its circulation guarantee drastically. I know the editors are working to get the hang of it, but so far I'm not sure I'd renew it right now. And Newsweek has been coming to my house (or my parents' house) for my entire life.

4. Paste magazine is relatively new, a handful of years. It mostly covers new music, but has a few movie and book reviews. I subscribed for a couple of years, mostly to pick up the free sampler CD that once in a while had some good songs on it, but dropped it a while back. There was something annoying about the way Paste sometimes would have an ad for a CD in one part of the magazine, and then an article on that CD and its band in another part.

I read a little while ago that its editors had to ask its subscribers and supporters for donations to keep the magazine alive. The move raised somewhere in the low six figures, and Paste is still publishing. You wonder how much longer it has, though.

Anyone who works at a newspaper shouldn't throw stones at another struggling literary form. I don't like the trendline for either medium.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Uncle Walter

Here's as close as I ever got to Walter Cronkite:

In the winter of 1976, my class at Syracuse University went to New Hampshire to cover the Presidential primary. We stayed at a hotel in Concord. As I recall, the place was nothing special as hotels go -- but it must have been convenient and universally used. I believe R.W. Apple of the New York Times stayed there.

But it did have a new-fangled invention in the lobby -- a coin-operated video game.

At some point shortly after the primary, I read an account of the primary. Some reporter wrote that the biggest laugh of his time in New Hampshire came in that very lobby, when he saw Cronkite look at his watch and say with quite a bit of enthusiasm, "I think we've got time for one more game of Tank!" And in the quarters went.

You'll hear the cliche "they don't make them like that any more" in the coming days, and it's certainly true. If Edward R. Murrow helped create radio news, Cronkite brought the electronic news business fully into the television era. The coverage of the Kennedy assassination and funeral really united the nation at that sad time. He became a giant in his field, to the point where CBS deserves major demerits for not using him more often after he left the Evening News.

Wiser people than I will be commenting on Cronkite's legacy, and I'll leave most of that to them. But not quite all of it.

Cronkite was at the height of his influence in the Seventies, when about the only place to get national news on TV was at 6:30. He brought a ton of experience to the table every night, starting with a job with the wire service UPI before moving on to CBS. Cronkite knew his craft.

It's interesting to note in hindsight how little talk there was about "bias" in the media back then. Everyone accepted the fact that news people really could compile a story and present the facts in a logical manner. Oh, there were suspicions that Cronkite leaned to the left, suspicions that were more or less confirmed when he wrote a book after retirement. And, it was admittedly a more innocent and less partisan time. Even so, Cronkite was believed when he came on the air.

What's more, he was a strong advocate of a "hard news" approach. I'm sure he wasn't happy about the trend toward "info-tainment" in the news business over the last several years.

I found it a little sad, then, to go dial-hopping Friday night to see how the story was reported. CNN had a graphic that said, "Breaking News: Cronkite dead." MSNBC and Fox had a similar look. Then on CNN Headline News, the graphic under Nancy Grace read something to the effect: "Breaking News: Michael Jackson may have used different names to obtain prescriptions."


Saturday, July 11, 2009

Words matter

I thought about writing something Sarah Palin's curious decision to resign as Governor of Alaska. Then Peggy Noonan came along today with this column from the Wall Street Journal.

It's a pretty thoughtful bit of writing, as usual. I don't always agree with what Noonan has to say, but she usually makes a good case. In this instance, I'm not sure I buy the line about the left and the media overplaying their hand with attacks on Palin's children. I don't think of either of those institutions as monoliths, and most of the criticism I heard was about some conservatives' reaction to the news about Palin's teen daughter (as in, good for her for having the baby rather than criticizing premarital sex).

Even so, Noonan does mention in passing the problem that Palin has had in expressing principles and opinions about the state of the world. That raises an interesting question.

When was the last time the Republican Party had a Presidential candidate that you would drive a good-sized distance to hear speak?

I would submit it was Ronald Reagan in 1984. Let's look at what we've had since then. George Bush ran in 1988 and 1992. Dana Carvey's impression was a show-biz version of Bush's speaking style, but it's fair to say Bush rarely inspired. If you've ever read a text of a Bob Dole speech from 1996, you know how badly he could come across. George W. Bush's problems with the language are well-known. John McCain wasn't too bad when he was shooting straight early in the campaign, but he did become a little programmed and less interesting later on.

The two best speakers the Democrats have offered in that time period are Barack Obama, who clearly knows how to put together a sentence, and Bill Clinton, whose brainpower usually was on display when he talked. Clearly the Democrats weren't overloaded with speechmaking talents in the past quarter-century. John Kerry, Al Gore and Michael Dukakis were not exactly William Jennings Bryan when it comes to speech-making. Without that edge, they might not ever have won an election.

There has been plenty of talk about how the Republican Party has to come up with some new ideas (most of this talk has come from the center and left, of course). There's always another side of the story that can be told. I'm starting to think that the identity of the party's leadership may come down to who is doing the telling.

If the Republicans can find someone out there who can express a proposed direction for the party and the country, he or she just might be able to grab the nomination for President in 2012. My guess is that such a person is operating under the radar at the present time, which means he or she is not named Romney, Huckabee or Palin.

That person will have a chance to "invent" himself or herself right before our eyes. Palin did that and did that badly in 2008, and she is almost certainly not going to be able to change the image she first projected as something of a lightweight. If you want to know what a burden that image can be, ask what Dan Quayle is up to these days.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Golf rules question

On this fine summer day in Buffalo, I decided to take a little time on my day off to head to the local par-3 golf course for nine holes of practice. I went by myself and hoped to zip around the course quickly.

By the second hole, I realized those thoughts weren't going to work. I was behind two women who obviously hadn't played much. Therefore, the next couple of holes I got to see the old "hit the ball 30 yards, walk up to it, and hit it again" routine. One did have a little more skill than the other, for what it was worth. You could tell the lesser player's inexperience by the way she would leave her clubs 25 yards down the fairway when she got the ball on the green, forcing her to walk back and get them after completing the hole. Heck, we all have to learn sometime, and a pitch-and-putt course is a good place to do it.

The women were on the fourth tee when I was finishing up the third hole. The lesser player, I'm pretty sure, had just hit a grounder of about 20 yards, and decided to hit another ball. By this time, I had finished on No. 3 and walked up behind the fourth tee. Our heroine got a hold of the ball for once, sending it down the middle. The ball took a couple of bounces and rolled on to the green. Then we all heard the distinctive sound of ball hitting flagstick, and then the ball was nowhere to be seen -- and we had a pretty good view of the green.

The golfer had to be talked into waiting for her friend to hit before running up the fairway. I stayed back on the tee, and watched the two get to the green. Yes, the ball was in the cup. Much hugging followed.

The question, then, is -- what was the woman's actual score for the hole?

A. One
B. Two
C. Three
D. She's disqualified

I told the woman on the fifth tee that it was clearly time to give up golf, because this game had become too easy for her.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

American idols

Think all this stuff about heroes and role models is easy? Think again.

The curious case of Steve McNair raises all sorts of difficult questions along these lines. I just wonder how many others are wrestling with them.

As you no doubt know, McNair was murdered in Nashville on Saturday. A 20-year-old woman also died in the incident. The police there haven't ruled it one of those murder/suicide cases, but there's plenty of alleged evidence that seem to be pointing in that direction.

When word of McNair's death first came out, sports columnists rushed to pay tribute to him and his football career. The word that was most often used to describe his playing days was "warrior." He took a lot of hits during a long career, and always came back for more. McNair was a very good quarterback by any standard.

In addition, he was, by any definition, a prince in the community. The man personally loaded packages on to trucks that were headed to help the victims of Katrina in the Gulf region. McNair won several awards for his community work.

But, and this is a big but, McNair allegedly was having an affair with the 20-year-old woman in question. No one deserves to have this sort of fate after engaging in that sort of risky behavior, but the end result is a wife whose life has been absolutely shattered -- can she ever believe in anything again? -- and four children who will grow up without their father.

Some followers of this situation are comparmentalizing McNair's behavior, no doubt in different ways. Some will choose to remember McNair only for his good deeds and play, perhaps remembering the phrase that starts, "He who is without sin..." Others won't be so sympathic. I've seen both sides represented on Internet message boards, and they aren't happy with each other.

That "split decision" also applies to someone like Michael Jackson. His music thrilled millions, yet his behavior with children was sometimes inappropriate and revelations about his abuse of prescription drugs continue to come out now. And just to complicate matters, I got a lesson in perspective about Jackson from one of our college interns. He has little idea what all of the fuss is about Jackson's music, having not lived through it, but he knows all about the other stuff and is a little horrified by the reaction to Jackson's death.

And still, those looking for perfection in role models are going to have a long search. We expect family and personal friends to have flaws, sometimes major ones; why should celebrities be any different?

No doubt about it -- anyone thinking about putting up a poster of a celebrity on the wall has got some difficult decisions ahead.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Getting younger by the moment

Had to share this back of a 1964 baseball card, brought to life on the blog of Keith Olbermann of MSNBC:

Bennett apparently did find the Fountain of Youth.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Past or present

Let's talk about the concept of the aging rock musician.

Back in the 1960's and 1970's, we never really thought about acts that would be playing 30 and 40 years in the future. We all sort of figured once a band had its moment or two, it would slowly disappear into the mist. Las Vegas? Hah.

Clearly, that was wrong. Take a look at the concert listings these days and it's an exercise in nostalgia. I saw America listed as playing a free show at Artpark in Lewiston last week. I saw that band perform at the Syracuse state fairgrounds in September of 1975, along with the Beach Boys, the Doobie Brothers, and Jefferson Starship, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and the Stanky Brown group.

The aging process for musicians, though, is full of trap doors. Yes, a band can play the same songs over and over again to baby boomers and make a decent living in the process. It can also try to stay relevant by writing and recording new songs -- no easy task with shifting audience tastes. "Hope I die before I get old," indeed.

Which brings us to Todd Rundgren's show in Buffalo on Wednesday night.

Rundgren had a bunch of hits in the Seventies. He's been a producer for some top acts over the years, and is still churning out new music. Good for him.

However, he played for two hours on Wednesday. Care to guess how many songs I had heard before? One, "Real Man." No "Can We Still Be Friends?", no "Hello, It's Me," no "Road to Utopia." And so on. What's more, the music Rundgren offered was pretty loud. The man can play an electric guitar, but his songs have a different style than they did 35 years ago.

Two moments from previous concerts came back to me during the course of the night. One was Billy Joel, who at some point once said during a show when he was about to play a new song, "I know you are saying, 'Yeah, that's cool, but what about the old stuff?' Don't worry, we have it all timed for maximum effect." And then there was the time the Who played a show consisting of Quadrophenia and a handful of other hits. It sure felt like an exercise in cashing in on old popularity and nothing more.

I heard from two other people around my age at the Rundgren show. One was impressed by his virtuosity with the guitar. The other had enough of unfamiliar, loud songs and a crowded hot club, and walked out early.

It's not easy to keep everyone happy, and it sure is tough to find that middle ground. I wouldn't want to be stuck playing "Nights in White Satin" 150 times a year in order to pay the bills, as members of the Moody Blues are no doubt doing. But I wouldn't want to turn my back on my most productive and popular period either.

Maybe that's one of the reasons why Bruce Springsteen has my admiration and respect in such matters. Yes, he has to play "Badlands" and "Born to Run" at every show with the E Street Band, but he also is writing new music and tries to mix up the set list as much as possible. Springsteen even played "Pretty Woman" Thursday night in Munich as a request.

Todd, I appreciate your efforts to grow. But don't forget what got us there, either.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

A century of progress

Co-worker Mary Kunz Goldman made an interesting point in her blog today. (Note: this in itself is not noteworthy.) It prompted a comment from me on her site, but the more I thought about it the more I realized it deserved more than that.

After mentioning that Jackson's newer material hadn't been heard on the radio much lately, she writes, "I have also not heard 'Beat It' for years. Or 'Billie Jean.' Which makes me think: They will not be listening to these songs in 100 years. Sorry."

I think that's a safe guess, but not for the expected reasons.

One hundred years ago, we were going through something of a transition in the music business. For generations, music was passed along in two ways -- through the composer and/or live performer (sometimes the same person). The composer would sit down and write something, and it would be performed somewhere else. The good stuff -- let's include material by people like Bach and Mozart, for example -- survived. So, if you had a dinner party, you'd pick up the sheet music, get someone to play the piano, and you'd have your post-food entertainment. Or, you'd go to a concert hall and hear someone perform some songs in front of a few hundred people.

What was the music that stood the test of time back then? The "classical" stuff, obviously. Some Broadway-type musicals could be carted around the country easily enough and performed. And then there was folk music. The number one song on July 1, 1909, was "Shine On, Harvest Moon," which was part of the Ziegfeld Follies, so I guess it fits into the musical category.

But change was on the way. The Victrola was just coming into its own as a consumer good in 1909. Suddenly, a performance could be captured for posterity. Singers and musicians could pick up fans in a great hurry.

Think about what's happened to music technology in those 100 years. People used to listen to a song at a time on 78's, which eventually led to 33's (more music by one artist without the listener getting up to change albums), which led to cassette players, which led, sort of, to 8-tracks (oops), which led to compact disks, which led to iTunes and the whole digital revolution. We've gone from record needles to computer chips in my lifetime alone. Then there's the issue of amplification, which means that hockey rinks and football stadiums can be filled with sound. Thousands can share the same musical experience instead of just those within the sound of the voice or instrument.

Meanwhile, the music itself (just ponder electric guitars and synthesizers) and the people who play it have changed in that time too. My guess is that the singers were mostly on the generic side until the 1940's, when particular bands and singers became closely associated with certain songs. In other words, you could draw a line from Frank Sinatra (who became the first star as we define it now) to Elvis Presley (who capitalized on the rise of the rock and roll) to the Beatles (singers who could write great songs) to, yes, Michael Jackson, a crossover artist who made us one nation under the same groove for a few years.

Jackson was one of the last artists who made Top Forty music matter back in the early 1980's. After that, the music business fractured and you could no longer drive down the Thruway hearing the same song on every station from town to town any more. How many artists can fill a stadium for a concert any more? Music is still finding an audience, of course, but the hip-hop crowd looks a lot different than the country crowd, and so on down the line, and there's isn't much mixing.

Which gets us back to Mary's point. We'll still be listening to some of today's music in 100 years, because we'll be able to do so. Sinatra will make some swoon. The Beatles will always leave listeners admiring their artistry. And Jackson will be around when people want to dance. But mostly, the people of the next 100 years will be listening to their own fresh music, reflecting their own times and delivered to their ears in ways that we can't begin to imagine.

And I kind of like that idea. Hope I'm around to hear as much of it as possible.