Wednesday, September 26, 2018


My ancestors.
If you have cable or satellite connection, you're guaranteed to see daily -- nay, hourly -- commercials for companies ready and willing to examine your spit so you can find out your genealogical history.

You know the spots. The idiot who thought he was German until he learning he was Scottish. Or the black woman who "discovered" her African history -- as if expecting to trace her family heritage back to Greenland.

Not even Rachel wears the
Rachel Haircut anymore.

I can't understand this sudden rush to find out who your forebears were, other than jumping on the latest fad. Remember Gigapets, Oxygen Bars, or the Rachel Haircut? No? There's a reason.

It could be I'm one of the few people trying to escape my family heritage -- like, to the Marshall Islands, if possible. But last year, my wife was delighted to find her own Ancestry spit kit under the Christmas tree.

It two months to get the results. And, other than realizing her Native American background was humbug, my wife didn't learn anything she didn't know already. She would have asked for her money back, but it was my 99 bucks.

I would be so cool with finding this guy in my background.
Oh, you can find out more details -- names, immigration records, criminal mugshots -- you know, the good stuff. But that'll cost you extra. A lot extra. I bet if you looked into the family background of the owners of these companies, you'd find con men and carnival barkers. See your great-great-grandfather's log cabin! Only $300!

And now they've come up with another way for you to part with your dough. Ancestry has teamed with Spotify to create a music playlist based on your DNA. Yes, for 99 more dollars, they'll throw together some music that, with five minutes of research, you could stream free yourself.

Take a look at your music collection. Or, better yet, my music collection. It's a mash-up of obscure 60s and '70s psych-pop, contemporary indie bands my daughter has turned me onto, soft instrumentals, loud rock & roll, "sunshine" pop -- along with Bing Crosby, Al Jolson, Frank Sinatra, and some guy name Sviridov. And that's only part of the 10 continuous days worth of music on my laptop.

But if I allowed Ancestry/Spotify to create a playlist based on my background, this is what they'd come up with:

When's the next military plane to the Marshall Islands?


Remember my passing reference to Sviridov? Here's the composition, "Time Forward!", from the 1965 Soviet movie of the same name. It's still the opening theme to one of the Russian evening newscasts. Imagine settling into your couch to find out the day's events, and hearing this:

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