Archive for September, 2007

More Musical Musings For Your Sunday Morning: Stark Contrast and Numbers

September 30, 2007

So I’ve been thinking for a couple of days, well, since late Friday night as I went on an ice cream run to Walmart and Rascal Flatts was on the radio (WARNING: Bubble-gum-pop-masquerading-as-country-alert). Last night, one of the selections in the player was Cross Canadian Ragweed’s Live And Loud at Cain’s Ballroom, and on that set is an absolutely chilling acoustic cover of Neil Young’s “The Needle and the Damage Done.” And I couldn’t help but think of the stark contrast between those two songs, and the two bands that recorded them. I’ll be the first to say that CCR isn’t exactly country in the same way that George Strait and Alan Jackson are, but if one of the definitions of country music is something that is real, raw and edgy — and yes, you can wager your donkey it is — then Cody Canada and the boys are just about as country as country can be. Contrast that to something like Rascal Flatts, something that’s just had the edge and the soul focus-grouped right out of it for the sake of appealing to the most people, and it’s just sickening. I know that — taking CCR and certain songs in their repertoire as an example — songs about getting strung out and killing cheating lovers aren’t going to appeal to everyone, but is that necessarily a bad thing? And taking yesterday’s commentary as an example, just because somebody rakes in the cash when they go out on tour, why do so many people take that as an indicator of how good their product is? And make no mistake about it, that’s exactly what Shania Twain and Rascal Flatts make — a product, seemingly tailored to do nothing more than make money. I know the folks down here on the Texas music scene don’t rake in that kind of cash, but even so they all still make some damned fine music. And if it came down to picking between that limited appeal and the rest of the country taking notice of what’s going on here, I for one would just as soon take that limited appeal. Otherwise there’s the chance of the music getting more bland and watered-down for the bigger market, as happened with Pat Green — can anybody tell me why people dump on folks like George Strait and Alan Jackson but give Pat a pass? Nashville does indeed suck, but there are some diamonds in that particular lump of coal, even if they aren’t so easy to find these days.
And then there’s the whole live-show element of it — when I went to see Ragweed a couple of weeks ago, that $15 ticket got me less than ten feet from the stage. I could almost have reached up and shaken Cody Canada’s hand. On the other hand, the closest I’ve been to George Strait is the fourth row from the stage at Austin’s Frank Erwin Center, and only then because of tickets from a broker at a price about 3 or 4 times the face value. They were more than worth it, but I couldn’t shell out that kind of cash every time I went to see George or I’d be going to see him a lot less. You can’t even buy the kind of up-close-and-personal for the big names that you can get with the artists on the Texas scene for the price of a cd. There’s a lot to be said for that, I think. It’s good to be a Texan, yes it is…

Now playing….

September 30, 2007

here: Lee Ann Womack, “Does My Ring Burn Your Finger.”
Great, great stuff, what Lee Ann does best…

Come Again?

September 29, 2007

In comments to this post earlier this morning:

What a stupid comment by you. How has Shania Twain long disappeared from the scene lmao!!!! She is on hiatius with her family and is a music icon.
Shania is the biggest selling country female of alltime and has the money and power to do what you want.
Either you are stupid or hate Shania. Shania’s last tour in 2004 grossed over 120 million worldwide and all her albums are the top in music all over the world.
So to say the biggest selling country female has disappeared from the scene because she takes a few years off to look after her family is laughable.
Get a grip and face reality. Shania does what she wants and when she wants to.

Way to make friends and influence people there, Sparky. Really, I could give a damn how much money Shania grossed on her last tour. In fact, you can call that little tidbit another corroboration of the old saying that “there’s a sucker born every minute.” People bitch and moan about Apple Computer’s success being all about marketing — well, I’ll tell you straight up that the people in Nashville, New York and Los Angeles who have marketed Shania Twain’s “music” to the “country” audience for the last 12 years, make the marketing folks in Cupertino look like rank amateurs. And I love how these fans of Ms. Twain love to cite those figures, as if it’s validation of their taste. I am by no means a pop music hater — Evanescence was in the cd player yesterday on my ride to work — but pointing to sales and airplay figures to justify one’s tastes seems to me to be extremely shallow. As for Shania Twain being a “country” artist, we’ll just go back to what Peter Cooper said:

But if country means “whatever,” it really means nothing at all.

And of course this is just my opinion, but the inclusion of Shania Twain in the “country” genre would seem to indicate that there are some out there who indeed think that country does mean “whatever.” As for Ms. Twain being on hiatus…whatever you want to call it, I hope she stays on it. And it’s been quite the long hiatus, considering the last chart hit she had was about three years ago to the best of my recollection. No matter what you want to call it, she has indeed more or less disappeared from the scene, and all I as a fan of real music can say is, good riddance.

GOP Congresscritters To Start Fighting Back…

September 29, 2007

against an increasingly openly hostile media?
Via Ace of Spades, via Jeff Goldstein, we have this:

Looks like MSNBC correspondent David Shuster may have deprived loyal MSNBC viewers of their favorite GOP talking heads — at least for now.

This week, the MSNBC reporter “sandbagged” Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) during an interview by asking her to name the last solider from her district to die in Iraq. After she couldn’t, Shuster named the solider himself and then scolded the Tennessee Republican for her hypocrisy.

But it turns out that the soldier Shuster named — Pvt. Jeremy S. Bohannon — was not from Blackburn’s district after all. The incident landed Shuster in some GOP hot water, and the newsman was forced to make an on-air apology for the incident last night.

But that might not be the end of it, as irked Republican Hillers are now planning a boycott of Shuster’s employer.

“We don’t mind skipping MSNBC. No one watches that channel anyway,” says a high-placed Republican consultant.

If this happens, it’s about time. I for one have gotten rather tired of the coastal and big-city media continually trying to put over the illusion of objectivity when there’s evidence in spades that they’re biased so far to the left that they might as well all be the public-relations arm of the Democratic Party. As if that wasn’t bad enough, they actually bash the blogs for being biased as if it were actually a bad thing! Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t, but the thing about the blogs is at least they have the integrity to admit that bias up front. I know well that the media is supposed to be a watchdog over the government, but when they willingly become lapdogs of one side or start selectively reporting the facts in order to push an agenda, then that role gets to be undermined. Yet still they proclaim to be fair and objective. Do they really think Americans are that dense? The answer would seem to be “yes.” I’ve seen evidence here and there that circulation, ratings and revenues are all going down to varying extents, which could very well be taken as an indicator that Americans are on to what the coastal media thinks of them. It’ll be interesting to see what the effect of the GOP blackball of MSNBC will be.

Let’s Play, Spot the Incongruity

September 28, 2007

Saw this yesterday at work and found it a bit surprising….

Somebody puts copies of the Quran in the toilet of a New York university and is charged with a HATE CRIME against Muslims. I wish I was inventing this.

If the copies were his (apparently they were not), he may perhaps be charged with vandalizing the toilets. If the books were stolen, then he’s a thief too. But a HATE CRIME?

Praeger makes a very good point on this video–Piss Christ is a work of art, and this is a hate crime. The guy should have called up the press and announced the unveiling of his new work prior to doing this, maybe he’d have avoided the hate crime charge.

This should scare the hell out of everybody. This CAIR idiot laughs at the very idea that one is afraid of and dislikes religion, and would like to have that made illegal. He does not understand the American Constitution, he hates the First Amendment, and he and his kind have the ear of American public officials.

Now. Where’s the incongruity? Well, it would seem the individual who wrote the above commentary, also writes the feverish rantings featured here. So it would seem he’s afraid of the Muslims subverting our Constitution — and probably our beloved Republic created by said Constitution — but he would deny the people of said republic the means to fight back against the subverting of that Constitution. Now, I am not saying that a bunch of good ole boys with just 1911s and M1As could beat back an invasion by anyone, but I would think that small arms would play a fairly large role in at least certain terrorist operations. Yet the Culturologist with the mail-order degree would deny those arms to all but the military and police, never mind the inherent flaws of inadequate response time by both. The guns would be just another tool in the box, and by themselves might not be enough, but as for me I’d rather be able to take a few of those thugs out before I went down. As they say, better to die on your feet than live on your knees. And one could could modify that by saying, better to die on your feet than die on your knees. It’s too bad some folks can’t see that because of their fear and hatred of certain inanimate objects. Come to think of it, maybe they deserve to live in dhimmitude.

Too Effin’ Cool…Are YOU A Member Of the Tribe?

September 28, 2007

…or, alternatively titled, Maybe Laura Washington Is Good For Something After All…
Linoge, who is quite the enterprising soul, read the above-mentioned Ms. Washington’s bigoted rantings and took some inspiration from them. Behold, the tribal attire of the People of the Gun:

Wear the logo, friends, and wear it proud. I know I will.

Laura Washington Is A Bigoted Fool

September 26, 2007

Several other bloggers have commented on this already, and I wasn’t going to say anything, but now I think I just have to…

The gun army, made up almost exclusively of white men from suburban and rural areas, is loaded for bear.

It’s been said before, but it bears repeating: When you talk out of your fourth point of contact, a lot of crap is bound to come out. Call it yet more verbal diarrhea, but I find this little bit particularly offensive, not to mention stunningly ignorant of history. Unless my memory fails me (on what I’ve read about what’s gone on in the last 40 years or so), the folks beating the drum for yet more gun control back in the late 1960s were — wait for it! — almost exclusively white men! And gun control as a tool to marginalize disfavored classes of people goes back a lot further than that, back even to the days before the Civil War! Yet here this so-called “journalist” is, trying to cast less stringent gun laws as a seemingly racist proposition, when in fact the opposite is true, as shown by history. Beyond that, though, I’d say this whole “gun people are racist white men” angle is just another indicator of just how intellectually and morally bankrupt the gun controllers are. It’s comforting to know, though, that all they have to fall back on are emotion-driven arguments and ad hominem attacks. But wait! There’s more!

Through organizing, the Internet, and plunking down plenty of cold hard cash, the gun lobby has proven it is ready for primetime. Meanwhile, its opponents are languishing in the wee-hours of late-night local cable.

Languishing on late-night local cable? For a journalist — and someone who teaches the craft, to boot! — Washington does a piss-poor job of paying attention to various media. The TV networks and the various print media have been serving as a platform for various gun-grabbing organizations to spout their lies and brazen deceptions for YEARS now. Not only that, but the antis’ bias comes through in other ways also. Just for one example, you hear the figure bandied about every day that some 15,000 homicides are committed with guns each year — but how many times do you hear that countered with the Lott and Kleck studies that have shown that the number of defensive gun uses each year surpasses that by hundreds of thousands, at the very least, and it might well be into the millions (anywhere from 700,000 to 2.5 million defensive gun uses per year)? Those of us on the pro-liberty side do have money, but there’s no question the media has been in the gun-grabbers’ back pocket for a good while now — and as for the gun-grabbers having no money, just what the hell are they doing with all that cash they get from George Soros and the Joyce Foundation? Hmm, come to think of it, they’re probably just pissing it all away on half-hearted publicity stunts like the gunguys, licensetomurder and 50caliberterror web sites. Still, though, to cast this as some sort of David vs. Goliath battle is just so off-base that it almost defies verbal reaction.

The NRA has built a juggernaut of a website that networks gun advocates from hither to yon.

How odd. I don’t think I’ve ever once been on the NRA’s official website, even though I do get their e-mail updates. I just never really saw any reason for it, even though I am a member. And I know I am not the only one.

Women and the African-American church—get them behind the keyboard, and you’ll unleash a thunderous counterpunch to the gun lovers’ old one-two.

What a beautiful example of the glittering generality. Sounds gooood, but there just doesn’t seem to be much behind it. My question to Ms. Washington would be, what exactly would this “thunderous counterpunch” entail? To what end would it be? Yet more gun control laws that don’t work? Or are we talking about something more sinister like door-to-door confiscation? She doesn’t say, but of course she says nothing of the 80 million gun owners who didn’t commit a crime yesterday, so I am guessing she thinks women and blacks should agitate for just that, consequences be damned — and it would seem that with the title of this piece, “Let’s Pry Open Those Cold, Dead Hands,” she does indeed think forced disarmament is the way to go.

African Americans have plenty of motivation. According to a recent report by the U.S. Justice Department, nearly half the people murdered in the United States in 2005 were black. Most lived in cities and were felled by guns. While blacks make up about 13 percent of the nation’s population, they comprised 49 percent of all murder victims.

Oh, and here’s another of the tried-and-true gun-haters’ tactics — anthropomorphizing the inaminate object, the firearm. “Felled by guns”?! I had to cast another look at my nightstand just now to make sure that .45 wasn’t sneaking up on me…
Really now…once again, the words of Macbeth come to mind:
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Would that the idiots like Laura Washington only strutted for an hour….

More Leftist BS, and Another Glimpse of the Real Giuliani

September 25, 2007

First up this morning, in the Chicago Sun-Times, we have Richard Daley — the mayor of Chicago who thinks citizens shouldn’t have the right to defend themselves yet is himself protected by a round-the-clock battery of armed-to-the-teeth bodyguards — making fun of Fred Thompson:

“The sad comment is when you see some of the candidates going into a gun show and they think that’s machoism. Someone walks into a gun show and says, ‘Oh boy. I’m here watching people buy all types of guns and see all types of guns and ammunition,’ ” Daley said.

“The first thing you think is, ‘How about a police officer just driving through a community. Why don’t you go visit them and talk to them about gun violence. Why don’t you talk to some families of gun violence [victims].’ It’s like machoism: ‘I’m gonna go to a gun show, walk around and show you how macho I am.’ That’s not machoism. That’s strictly a political stunt.”

Daley never mentioned Thompson by name. But when pressed to identify whom he was talking about, the mayor said, “The newly arrived candidate on the Republican side.”

The mayor set his sights on Thompson after joining the International Association of Chiefs of Police in unveiling a new report on ways to prevent gun violence. Financed by the Joyce Foundation, the report includes 39 recommendations on ways to protect and better train police officers, control access to guns and improve public safety.

“It’s like machoism: ‘I’m gonna go to a gun show, walk around and show you how macho I am.’

Good grief, what a turd Daley is. I don’t think Fred Thompson’s manhood was ever really in question, gun show appearance or not. If I wanted to play psychoanalyst this morning, I’d say that Daley’s verbal diarrhea is a textbook demonstration of his insecurities vis-a-vis his own manhood. As for me, I don’t agree that it’s a political stunt on Fred’s part; it’d only be a stunt if someone like Daley dared to darken the door of a gun show. But the fact that Daley singled out Thompson as opposed to Mitt Romney or Rudolph Giuliani says something all by itself — if Thompson didn’t have a good chance at going all the way to at least the GOP nomination, I’m betting Daley would have kept his trap shut.
Speaking of Giuliani, via Armed and Safe, I see that the esteemed *sic* ex-NYC mayor will be speaking at a gathering of the International Association of Chiefs of Police — the same group that recently released a study calling for various gun bans, which was funded and apparently written by the Joyce Foundation, the same cretins that fund, and other places bursting at the seams with anti-gun asshattery — not to mention various and sundry disarmament schemes and organizations in various Midwestern states. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Giuliani would go before these people, considering his record — but still I find it to be more than a little insulting for him to claim that he supports the RKBA. I’d love to see him more publicly called out on his two-facedness on this issue, but somehow I just don’t see it happening. Which is more than a little disheartening…

Rita Reflections, Part II: Making The Most Of It

September 24, 2007

continued from here
I got into Sulphur Springs Wednesday night, and through the day Thursday in between watching CNN, the Weather Channel and whatever else we could find on the TV, I talked with a few friends back in the old hometown, making plans to go see ’em. I figured that while I was up in those parts I’d make the most of it. I talked with Kim at some point either Thursday or Friday, and if I remember right she had to work Thursday but was off Friday.
“How about we go out for a bite to eat Friday night?”
“Yeah, I think that’ll work out the best for us.”
I headed back to the old hometown about 3:30 or so Friday afternoon, as Rita was bearing down ever closer on the Texas-Louisiana coast. As it worked out, she had taken a last-minute turn and was weakening, and she was then projected to come ashore somewhere in the vicinity of Sabine Pass. This place was still going to be a hell of a mess when I came back, but nowhere near as bad as it would have been had we been on the dirty side of the Category 5 monster she was about the time I was riding into Smith County that Wednesday night. But for a little bit Friday night, I was going to spend some time with my best friends in the world and forget about what was happening back home — or at least not worry about it as much. I got into town a little before 5, met up with my brother from another mother — aka my best friend from high school — and ran around with him a little bit. I told him I was gonna split there in a little bit and meet up with the aforementioned female friend for a little bit before I came out to where we were all staying for the night.
“Oh, no you’re not. Bring her out here.”
Somehow I didn’t think she’d go for that, and truth be told I was looking for a different environment to talk with her anyway, so I more or less begged off on that point. Not so much because of any kind of romantic interest but because it would have been more than a bit uncomfortable considering certain things that had happened some time before. And I never wanted to take the chance on losing her friendship anyway. I knew that once that line was crossed there’d be no going back. And I was still smarting because of the three years of my life I had thrown away on my last so-called “relationship.” Back to the story, Kim called as we were riding down the road and I let it go to the voice mail and called her back a bit later. I was almost afraid I wouldn’t be able to get out, as brother from another mother was a bit insistent.
“I’ll be back in a little bit!”
“Well, all right…”
We met at her parents’ house, stayed and chatted for a little bit as I was introduced to them, and then it was off to Red Lobster. We got in her little Ford Escape and I left my car there, as she put in a mix cd she had made a while back…
“Since you been gone, I can breathe for the first time…I’m so movin’ on, yeah, yeah…”
More memories from that time a year before. At that point I hadn’t gotten to the point that I didn’t care anymore, hadn’t gotten to the point that I’d be feeling what Kelly Clarkson was singing in that song, and had you told me I’d get to feeling that way I’d have told you that you were crazy. We were both singing along, and for a few sweet moments it was like none of the previous year’s events had ever happened.
We got to Red Lobster about 6:30 or 7 that night, and as I was sitting there, I told Kim with a grin, “You know what? I’m gonna see if I can get the hurricane refugee discount. Let’s see what the waitress says.”
So the waitress came back to the table, and I did just that — asked her, with a grin on my face, “Can I get the hurricane refugee discount?” Kim, bless her heart, just busted out laughing. I wasn’t serious, but the waitress thought I was there for a minute. I told her I was from the area where Rita was coming in, but my driver’s license still had a Sulphur Springs address on it and I don’t think I had anything that was proof I was living in the Golden Triangle, so I don’t think I could have gotten said discount if I had kept pushing it. I was just having fun, though. 😉
I bid Kim goodbye about 9:30 or 10 that night and got back out to my other friend’s house, where they were all playing poker and, of course, drinking beer. And of course I brought some too…I was in the mood for Shiner Bock and bought a 6-pack on the way back to the house. Lucky for me the buy-in for the Texas Hold ‘Em game was low, because I am absolutely no good at poker…
I awoke the next morning, not quite feeling like death, but I did have quite the splitting headache…I stumbled out to the car and went to the Walmart in town to get some aspirin and didn’t even notice, until after it was pointed out to me, the big ole dent in the back side of the car right behind the driver-side rear tire. Friend’s mother was backing out to go to work earlier that morning and had backed right into it. We exchanged insurance information and I told her I’d take care of it when things got calmed down. I went back to Sulphur Springs later that morning…my grandmother told me to come back early, because at that point it looked like the remnants of Rita were going to come right up through that part of Texas, with heavy rain and tropical-storm-force winds (between 39 and 74 mph). Lucky for me, though, it came in further east and we missed the brunt of it, and all that was left to do when I got back to Sulphur Springs, was play the waiting game…

Now Playing…

September 24, 2007

here: Chris LeDoux, “This Cowboy’s Hat.”
As Scott Chaffin would say, good stuff, Maynard.