“So this is how liberty dies…”

September 15, 2019

…or, What conversation?

“O’Rourke promises he will ‘bring everyone in America into the conversation— Republicans, Democrats, gun-owners, and non-gun-owners alike.’ But if a gun owner says he’d prefer to keep his property rather than surrender it to the federal government, that’s too bad.”

That’s about right. Bob has made it quite plain he doesn’t give a shit about the gun owners’ side of all this. Which in its own way is admirable, because neither do any of the other Democrats running. Bob was just the one to say it out loud.

Of course, not only does his bold declaration expose the “no one wants to take your guns” as the foul and malicious lie that it has always been, but it also goes a long way towards killing certain other measures, i.e., universal background checks for ALL firearms sales.

How is that, you ask?

Well, think about it. How is the government going to know whether the law is being obeyed, i.e., whether a given weapon was sold with or without a background check? Registration, that’s how. And what do we always say?

“Registration leads to confiscation.”

To which liberals have always said, “No one wants to take your guns, you paranoid wing nuts!”

And Bob has come out here and said, in effect, “uh, yeah we do.”

To thunderous applause, even.

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Come on, Jason, really?

September 10, 2019

I do love Jason Isbell, but this is just next-level stupid, and considering all his Twitter rantings on gun control, that’s really saying something:

“Women are practically ghosts on country radio too, so it’s not hard to understand why female artists like (Maren) Morris, who had massive crossover success with the Zedd collaboration ‘The Middle,’ might pull away from the genre and gravitate to more welcoming formats like pop and Americana. ‘The country purists online, they’re the worst,’ Isbell says shortly after rolling up a pant leg to show off his ‘Highwomen’ tattoo, as well as some swell printed socks. ‘If you look at the country radio charts, and there is one woman every three weeks in the Top 20, what’s going to encourage women to try to make music in that direction?’

Wow, dude, way to make fans of more traditional country music fans not want to give the Highwomen album a chance. I mean, it’s not the revolutionary, world-beating stuff some people are claiming it to be, but this online country purist heard it and thought it was actually pretty good. I don’t intend to get it just yet, because I have other stuff I’d like to get first, but I do hope it does well so as to encourage more music like it.

Also, Willie Nelson would like a word with those of you who think “If She Ever Leaves Me” was the first gay country song.

Heroes? Negative, Ghostrider.

August 26, 2019

…or, if you needed yet more proof that Houston police chief Art Acevedo is still a flaming pile of shit, here you go:

“I still think they’re heroes,” Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo says of the narcotics officers who shot and killed Dennis Tuttle and Rhogena Nicholas during a fraudulent drug raid at their Harding Street home on January 28. At a press conference Friday, Acevedo said Gerald Goines, the officer who instigated the raid by falsely claiming that a confidential informant had bought heroin from Tuttle at the house the day before, and Steven Bryant, who bolstered Goines’ cover story, had “dishonored” their badges and the Houston Police Department (HPD). But Acevedo insisted that the other officers who participated in the raid had “acted in good faith” and killed the couple in self-defense.

I do not mean necessarily to bash the other cops involved here. They may well have acted in good faith. They were put in a bad position by their superiors, and said superiors should fry for their actions. But calling them heroes is just a bridge too far for me. And “acted in self-defense”? Ah, no, Chief. People without badges don’t get to play that card when they’re the ones initiating the confrontation, and people with badges shouldn’t get to do it either, particularly in a situation like this.

Wednesday political musings, 21.08.2019

August 21, 2019

Quote from elsewhere:

“The gun industry and the gun lobby are the problem. They won’t even let us do common sense reforms.”

No. NO SIR. If you’re gonna point the finger at anyone for pro-gunners’ refusing to compromise anymore, you need to be pointing the finger at Dianne Feinstein for giving away the endgame on 60 Minutes right after the 1994 “assault weapons” ban was passed.

For anyone who might have forgotten:

“If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them — Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in — I would have done it.”

Also, while I say this specifically in the context of more gun control, it actually is more universal than that:

“Polls reflect that the public wants tighter gun control.”

Yeah, that and a five-spot will get you a sausage-and-egg taco and a cup of coffee at any Bill Miller’s here in San Antonio before 10:30 AM. All this supposed “silent majority” allegedly in favor of more gun laws has had to do since 1994 is vote in people who will pass those gun laws, but they have yet to get off their asses and do it, so they obviously don’t want it bad enough, if they want it at all, which at this point I frankly just do not believe. And if they don’t want it badly enough to vote for politicians who will vote for it, well, that has the exact effect of not wanting it at all.

Which, of course, brings us back to polls in general. How many polls, to cite perhaps the most infamous recent example, said Hillary Clinton was going to lay a 1984-level ass-whipping on Donald Trump in the 2016 election right up until she didn’t?

And I am really, really getting tired of the whole “b-b-b-but muh tanks and drones” when it comes to stopping tyranny with rifles. It’s as if no one has any concept of how guerrilla warfare works. That drone, just to take one example, is not going to be of much use if the pilot gets shot in his driveway, or the mechanic has his throat slit in some seedy Vegas strip joint, or the armorer has his morning coffee laced with cyanide.

Tuesday music musings, 20.08.19

August 20, 2019

I am not really big on the whole streaming music bit. I much prefer to own music as opposed to just renting it or whatever. I also believe that artists should be fairly compensated for their work, and the streaming model in general presents some huge issues with that.

That said, I got a cool new job, one that allows us to listen to Spotify while we work. Most of my burgeoning library comprises stuff I’ve already bought, because I am weird like that, but I have been sampling a pretty good bit of stuff that I have ended up buying.

We’ll talk about the other stuff later, but right now let’s talk about Gary P. Nunn. We went and bought What I Like About Texas: Greatest Hits a few years back and have played it a LOT since then…

…but, of course, you see exactly where I’m going with this.

That album featured five songs from 1993’s Totally Guacamole. The other day I was browsing the GPN albums one day and clicked on that album, and what caught my eye right away was one of the other seven songs, a tune called “You Can’t Get the Hell out of Texas.” I thought, huh, that title sounds familiar. I knew that song from way back, sort of. Back when 99.5 the Wolf in Dallas was a pretty good station and had Justin Frazell doing the traffic reports in a chopper in the skies over D-FW, they’d play a George Jones song with that title every Friday afternoon at 5:00.

I saw that title on the Gary P. Nunn album and thought, huh, I wonder if that’s the same song. Suuuurrrre enough….

Gotta say, I take a backseat to no one when it comes to my love for George Jones, but with that doghouse bass and Floyd Domino cutting loose on the piano…Lord, but that is top-shelf stuff.

I do have to say this next song kinda rubbed me the wrong way at first. Lord knows I don’t subscribe to the “’90s country is best country” thing, but I did and do think most of the folks that were called out in that song were legit, especially Rodney Crowell (I mean, shit, anyone who’s an actual country fan KNOWS that man was SO MUCH MORE than Diamonds & Dirt)….

…but then I realized it does come off as tongue-in-cheek, and taken in that context it is actually pretty funny.

And then there was “I Don’t Live Here Anymore.” For years, I only knew this version…

…and thought, “Huh, I wonder if this is the same song. Sure enough…

I really, really loved the Todd Fritsch version of this song back in the late 2000s, and it’s still pretty good, but I gotta go with Gary P. here, too. He has this tear in his voice that just makes the whole thing. I did not know that song was written by Brian Burns! Not that that surprises me; I have always thought he was a fine songwriter in addition to a great singer.

But this next song….oh my dear sweet Lord, I think this is my new favorite Gary P. Nunn song.

Look, just admit it. You heard that and got the big ole stupid grin on your face, didn’t you? (Credit Flaco Jimenez on the accordion for that.) TELL ME that is not the coolest, most South Texas thing you have ever heard in your life. Good, good stuff.

Thursday music musings, 15.08.19

August 15, 2019

I am by no means just now figuring this out…

…but Sabaton takes Iron Maiden’s game and runs with it very, very well. Swedish power metal songs all about war? I mean, how can you not love that?

This song is particularly great, about this incident from World War II:

I bought Adam Makos’ book A Higher Call some time ago but have yet to read it. That’s gonna be rectified this weekend…

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I had this meme cross my Facebook feed earlier today…

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…and really, all I could say was, Yep.

I’ve said all this before, albeit in different words, but it bears repeating: People may dismiss it as old farts bitching, but it ought to be obvious to anyone with functioning brain cells that Nashville for some time has been targeting people who think country music didn’t exist before 2010. They barely know George Strait, let alone the people who influenced him, and never mind the likes of, say, Gram Parsons, Guy Clark, or Billy Joe Shaver.

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I am not just now figuring this out either, but damn. I remember hearing Rascal Flatts back in the day and thinking they were pretty awful…but Dan + Shay make Rascal Flatts sound like Hank Thompson in comparison.

(That’s not to say that RF actually sounds good now, mind you. Think of it as stomach virus vs. stomach cancer. They both suck. One just sucks a whole lot less, comparatively speaking.)

Random hit, 08.07.2019

July 8, 2019

It bugs the shit out of me that they’re making such a big deal out of Lil Nas X when we have folks like Charley Crockett singing actual country music. God damn but this is gorgeous.

Something to remember today.

May 27, 2019

Back in 2009, I remember going to the big Memorial Day celebration in Orange. The Patriot Guard Riders didn’t get to make their grand entrance as planned because of the torrential rains, but they still came. I remember that I just about lost it when Beaumont PGR chapter president Sandra Womack told everyone why they still came. She said of the fallen soldiers, “They didn’t get an opportunity to choose the weather they fought in, or to choose whether or not to go.”

We should remember that, today and every day.

Tuesday music musings, 07.05.2019

May 7, 2019

Lil Nas X and “Old Town Road” country, huh?

Negative, Ghostrider.

It may well be more country than (insert mainstream country song or artist here), but that’s more of a commentary on the toxic waste dump mainstream country has become than the actual merit of this as a country song. I listened to it, and sonically speaking it’s just your standard hip-hop song, which is fine if that’s your thing. But the arguments I have seen for this being a country song are absolutely insane.

“He sings about horses! And cheating on his girlfriend!”

Well hey, bully for him. But that doesn’t make “Old Town Road” a country song. I have mentioned this before, but some years ago, I heard someone make the observation that Metallica’s “Wherever I May Roam” was as good a loner song as anything Merle Haggard ever wrote. And they were right. That song and “Ramblin’ Fever,” thematically speaking, were identical to each other:

Rover, wanderer, nomad, vagabond, call me what you will…anywhere I roam, where I lay my head is home…

…and I don’t leave the highway long enough, to bog down in the mud, ’cause I’ve got ramblin’ fever in my blood….

So is Merle the metal titan? Is Metallica the revered country legend? These are the questions we have to ask these days, I guess, just to show how thoroughly fucked up things are with country music anymore.

And then there was this, roughly paraphrased from a random Redditor:

“George Strait’s ‘You Look So Good In Love’ was co-written by the dude who co-produced and co-wrote all the songs on Alanis Morrissette’s Jagged Little Pill!!”

(Glen Ballard, for the record.)

Yes, and Gary Stewart’s “Out Of Hand” — one of the greatest hard-country songs of the 1970s — was co-written by Jeff Barry, whose discography includes some of the most iconic pop songs of the 1960s, including Manfred Mann’s “Do Way Diddy Diddy,” the Ronettes’ “Be My Baby,” and the Dixie Cups’ “Chapel of Love.” So that argument doesn’t work either.

“B-b-b-but, Sam Hunt! And Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan!”

Yes, we know. We went over them when Beyonce’s “Daddy Lessons” not being a country song was the outrage du jour, if not before.

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And then we have this from Galleywinter, in response to a certain piece from Trigger:

Maren Morris and any other artist can do whatever he/she damn well pleases. It’s not their job to fit into a genre. It’s their calling to produce what speaks to them & follow the muse wherever it leads. It is the audience that determines boundaries & it really doesn’t matter.

Whenever someone doesn’t produce what the Texas audience feels is true we are quick to cry sellout and move on. The same goes for national acts and pop. It really doesn’t and shouldn’t matter.

Listen to what you want and ignore the rest. Some stuff is bad and some people still like it. Genre “restrictions” be damned.

Play something unrestricted today. And do it loudly.

Willie Nelson ignored and blasted “restrictions” in the 70s and it ended up creating just about all that has followed.

One final note. Maren Morris has been a badass since she was a teenager playing 4 hour basement gigs in The Stockyards alongside the likes of Josh Weathers and Cody Jinks. She’s paid her dues and can make whatever she wants. Listen or don’t.

I don’t necessarily want to get bogged down in the debate about Maren Morris in particular, but I will say that I doubt Trigger or anyone else carping about her would be so het up had Nashville “country” in general not turned into the flaming pile of shit that it’s been since about 2010 or so.

I will say that we can talk about alleged genre “restrictions” until the sun burns out, and that’s all fine and good, but, well, let’s just put it like this:

What would we say if, God forbid, George Strait started making music that sounded like Sam Hunt? Or if Jason Boland started doing songs like “That’s My Kind of Night”? I would bet the cost of my house that we’d all be raising hell. Because when you say those names, there are certain standards that are expected to be met. You might even call them “boundaries” if you like.

The same thing applies more generally to country music as a genre. When the term “country music” is uttered, there are a lot of us who have certain expectations and hold certain standards as to what that term means. And frankly, I don’t see anything wrong with that.

More than all of that, whether anyone wants to admit it, country music has always been the bastard stepchild of American popular music genres. A perfect example of such I saw recently, when some tabloid music webzine said George Strait was paying homage to Elvis Presley with “Milk Cow Blues,” when Strait said he actually got that song off an old Bob Wills album that came out when Elvis was all of six years old. Furthermore, you don’t ever hear rap fans talking about how a song is “too rap.” You don’t ever hear metal fans say a song is “too metal.” But you do hear alleged country fans say a song is “too country,” and you hear people apologizing for what it was, i.e., “this isn’t your grandfather’s country music.” There are a lot of us who are highly cognizant of that phenomenon, and it pisses us off. Sure, Maren Morris has the right to make the music she wants. But I don’t see anything wrong with calling her out for calling it country music when it’s nothing of the sort.

Perhaps that’s the worst part of Trigger’s rant here, is that it causes people to come out and defend Maren’s music when it doesn’t deserve a shred of such. 

Just some thoughts…

February 3, 2019

I would be interested to see how many people who sing the praises of Netflix, etc. for not having commercials also watch the Super Bowl specifically for the commercials. I am sure that more than a few people do just that; there’s a lesson in there somewhere.

I’m not really a sports guy, but I do follow what’s going on with the news events of the day, of which it is one every year. “Oh, so and so won, good for them.” I suppose a certain kind of person could appreciate a well-played, close game on some level, even if it’s not their thing, much like you can marvel at the Mona Lisa or whatever without being an art fiend.

(Y’all have fun, though! Enjoy your thing!)

If I was a football fan, though, I think I would have been put off the Super Bowl entirely back in 2004. I don’t remember if I watched it or not; all I remember is that it was one of the closest, most competitive contests in the history of the game…and that it was completely overshadowed by Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction during the halftime show. It was as if the game itself didn’t even matter in the end.

That does make for a neat little thing to point to when I hear people kvetch about certain singers’ live shows in which they “just stand there and sing” — you introduce this big, elaborate stage production with all the failure points, and this sort of thing is what you risk. I realize the Super Bowl would probably not be conducive to someone like George Strait playing at halftime, but at least with the commercials a screwup can be fixed before it airs. Sometimes I wonder why they even bother with a halftime show; shouldn’t the game (and maybe the commercials) be enough entertainment?