In the first week of May, I made my 500th connection on LinkedIn. What does this mean?

I don’t know. But it must be a milestone because 500 is a cool number. It’s not a prime number, but it’s right next door to one: 499. So when I made my 400th connection I decided to work very seriously on my next hundred. Because these numbers look like career homerun totals, I made a game of it, announcing each stage to my wife:

407: “I’m neck and neck with Duke Snider.”
439: “I’ve got Andre Dawson in my rearview mirror.”
453: “Bye-bye, Yaz!”
493: “Did you know that Crime Dog was tied with Lou Gehrig? What? Who is Crime Dog? Why am I talking to you?”

I stood at 499 for about two weeks. I wondered if I should invite someone special for my 500th. The obvious choice was Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, but I figured he was kinda busy being a co-founder and I didn’t want to wait 200 years for Reid to say yes. I also thought it would be fun to connect with someone who had the same name as a person I admired, but either that person had no presence on LinkedIn or there were 119 of them (as with David Bowie).

Number 500 arrived when I wasn’t looking – an invitation I’d extended weeks before and forgotten about. Lucky 500 is an editor who works with a publisher I once worked for. As with many of my connections, I’ve never met this person, but if he’s one of my guys you can be sure that he rocks.

(Note: At this point I didn’t actually have 500 people in my network, because at least one had died. Her profile is still active. If we’re connected and you’re still breathing, write and say hi. I’d love to hear from you.)

When I hit 500 feedbacks on eBay, they sent me a certificate. Actually, they sent me a link to a certificate that I could print myself. I wasn’t expecting LinkedIn to give me a handjob and a parade, but still I was disappointed when nothing happened. Then I thought, maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way. Maybe I’m the one who should be doing something, and not just my end-zone dance. Maybe I should be printing T-shirts for my posse. (Don’t send me your shirt size. I’m not doing this.)

LinkedIn (the site also spells it “Linkedin”) long ago transformed itself from sparkly toy to networking ninja. If I want to find out who I know at a particular company, I can do it in seconds. Before LinkedIn, this would’ve taken days or weeks, if it could be done at all.

So if nothing much happens when you make your 500th connection, so be it. In fact I’ve moved past that mark now. I believe I’m tied with Eddie Murray (504), but then, who’s counting?

Random Pick of the Day
Various artists, The Crow (1994)
This movie is about a murdered man resurrected by a mystical crow to reign death and destruction upon his enemies. Please don’t make me write a sentence like that again. The heart of the soundtrack is “Burn” by The Cure, closely followed by Nine Inch Nail’s cover of Joy Division’s “Dead Souls,” “Snakedriver” by The Jesus and Mary Chain, and the dreamy “Time Baby III” by a band called Medicine. (The vocal on that one is by a former Bangle.)

As for the other 10 songs, Stone Temple Pilots’ “Big Empty” has had so much radio play that it bounces off my brain. The remaining nine are interchangeable, but appropriately mopey, metal.

Random Pan of the Day
The B-52s, Cosmic Thing (1989)
Why am I panning this record? I love The B-52s. Cosmic Thing was their big comeback. It has “Love Shack,” “Roam,” and one of their best lines, on the eternal topic of shaking your booty: “Don’t let it rest/on the president’s desk!”

But most of Cosmic Thing is easy-listening filler. “Roam” still sounds good, but “Love Shack” is getting tired. When this record came out, the mellifluously named Bart Becker, music editor at my paper, Seattle Weekly, wrote that this was a band that had pretty much lost it. Twenty-five years later, I reluctantly agree. By 1989, The B-52s were not even all that wacky anymore. I can only recommend Cosmic Thing to confirmed idiots such as myself. For anyone else, The B-52s and Wild Planet are all you need.

Bart Becker would’ve been the perfect name for an infielder on the San Francisco Giants.


  1. verlierer says:

    Look who’s not lighting up the scoreboard with their “Indian Love Call” cover artists. I’m looking for a girl/boy duet, soprano and baritone … say, Mariah Carey & Eddie Vedder.

  2. verlierer says:

    I never meant to imply that you “seek out” music before your time. Just like the teenager at the local dog washeteria, I was simply speculating that you might recognize a song from before your time and harbor a slight secret enjoyment of it. I’m assuming that the sudsy dog attendant did not seek out and set the music station for the canine bathhouse.

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      Sudsy Dog Attendant was playing songs from his iPod, but like many music enthusiasts he had never considered where his music came from.

      You make a good point as always. We should all seek out music from before our time, or from outside of our usual interests. We should do that every now and then, just to wake things up. But I am never going to secretly enjoy “Indian Love Call.” I just found the version by Ray Stevens, who recorded “The Streak,” “Bridget the Midget,” and the chicken-clucking version of “In the Mood” as well as “Mr. Businessman,” which would’ve made a good song for the Stones during their “19th Nervous Breakdown” era. What a bizarre career. He performs “Indian Love Call” perfectly straight…and no one should do that!

  3. verlierer says:

    I’m surprised that a musicologist like Run-DMSteve wouldn’t relate to teens singing along with the oldies. Did you not enjoy some tidbits of tune originating 20 years before your arrival to this planet? A little Bing Crosby, Billie Holiday, or Leadbelly? Perhaps you whispered a few lines from “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” or “The Lady is a Tramp.” I’d be surprised if your ears didn’t perk up when hearing some of the bawdy imagery from Ethel Waters or Mae West. Maybe you secretly hummed along to Louis Armstrong’s “When You’re Smiling,” or Fred Astaire’s “Cheek to Cheek.” Then who can resist anything from the Cole Porter songbook: “You’re the Top,” “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” “It’s De-Lovely,” “Night and Day,” ” Let’s Misbehave,” “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love),” “You Do Something to Me,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “Anything Goes,” to name just a few. Or, maybe I’m just projecting.

    “Tumbling Tumbleweed” possibly?

    Even if not a single one of those singles rings a bell of remembrance, I’ll guarantee that you had a strong visceral reaction the first time you heard Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy belt out “Indian Love Call.”

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      Most of what I listen to was originally recorded after 1960. What I listen to from before that year is usually jazz, classical, and blues. However, I’m married to a person who enjoys the American songbook, so I’m sometimes exposed to the songs you mention. I can appreciate the place in music history that Bing and Billie hold, for example, but I don’t usually seek them out. But if anyone wants to cover “Indian Love Call,” say Duran Duran, Neil Young, or The Fuck-ups, I’d be right there to listen to it!

      • Run-DMSteve says:

        You do me too great a favor in calling me a “musicologist.” I’m just some shlub who listens to lots of music. But thanks.

  4. verlierer says:

    The teenagers I work with would disagree on your “Love Shack” assessment. They love it. Today. Fresh, fun, and festive to their young ears. But then, they aren’t dealing with the number 500 so much.

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      I was washing our dog at the local dog washeteria awhile back and the teenaged attendant was singing along to “Hotel California,” which was released 20 years before he was born. I don’t understand teenagers and they don’t understand me.

  5. When you think you’ve reached 511 can you tell me what links Mel Ott with Joe Wood and Gil Hodges?

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      Oh no you don’t! You’re not going to catch me out this time. Before I approved this comment I used the Power of Goog-el and discovered that all three men walked out of the cornfield in Field of Dreams.

      Leave it to an Englishperson to try to stump me about baseball!

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