Archive for February, 2010

Ahh, my favorite song from …And Justice for All…

February 19, 2010

….right now, at the Boneyard, Sirius Ch. 19: “I give, you take, this life that I forsake…been cheated of my youth, you turned this lie to truth…”

I discovered Metallica via the self-titled black album as I’ve said before, but even so I thought Justice was the last of the truly great Metallica records — at least perhaps until Death Magnetic. There are those who defend what came after by saying that James and the guys had explored that sound as far as they could and that it was time to go in a different direction, but I don’t know if I buy that. Other thrash metal bands had explored it for about the same length of time as Metallica had, and they blasted on down that road even as Metallica took that detour. Maybe it all came down to inspiration; maybe Cliff Burton’s death really did affect them that much. At any rate, as I’ve also said before, I am glad they went back in that direction.

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If it don’t come easy, you better let it go…

February 18, 2010

One of my Facebook friends from high school posed a GREAT question:

“Why do you spend years trying to convince a man that you are good for him?”

Goodness, that’s a question for the ages, isn’t it? From a man’s perspective, I would argue that a woman shouldn’t need nearly so long. If a man is worthy of a woman, he’ll figure it out on his own and act accordingly. And it really is just that simple. Why so many men fuck around and string women along I don’t know, but I am so glad I don’t have to deal anymore with the consequences of other males doing that. What do I mean by that? Read on. No doubt many of you read between the lines last summer and figured out what happened with the one Sabra and I like to call Kitty-Eater, so I don’t figure I am airing any dirty laundry here that hasn’t been aired before…

Like I said before, Kitty-Eater got to where she’d be gone half the time and she’d be sleeping downstairs when she WAS at home. One thing led to another and I got the whole “I feel like we’re more best friends than a couple” thing. She wanted to stay friends and roommates, but I wanted no part of that after being the victim of her bait-and-switch. She blamed her actions on the fact that she’d always had problems with men, and a few months later out of the blue I got a text message from her saying she really did love me but she got the idea that I was too good for her, which I guess led to her withdrawing from me and things working out the way they did. And then there was the message I referred to in this post.

But I told you all that to tell you this. I wondered now and then if the way she did me was in any way due to anything that had happened in her previous relationships. Not that I’d ever excuse her treatment of me or try to rationalize it, because ultimately we’re all responsible for dealing with our own shit instead of causing pain for other people with our failure to deal with said shit. Those issues have to come from somewhere, though. And for all I know, Kitty-Eater’s issues — her thinking I was too good for her and sabotaging the relationship — might have come from the way men had treated her before. And THAT goes back to what my friend was talking about and what I was getting at in my reply: You don’t have to spend as much time as you think, or go THAT far out of your way, to show someone that you’re good for them. If they’re worthy of you, they’ll figure it out and they will SHOW you. And that goes for men and women too.

Of course, the flip side of that is this — you spend all that time trying to show someone you’re good for them and they never figure it out, and you get to thinking you’re not good enough for them — or (God forbid) ANYONE. And as I had to learn for myself, that gets to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. God help me, there are going to be those who think I am channeling Stuart Smalley here, but you have to say “I AM good enough,” you have to think it, and for heaven’s sake ACT like it. Don’t settle for less or think you’re worthy of less — because as sure as God made little green apples, you WILL get it.

None of that, however, is to say that things would have worked out between Kitty-Eater and myself had Kitty-Eater gotten her issues with men resolved by the time I came along — or that it would’ve been nearly as good as it is with Sabra. Like I tell her all the time, Sabra is not just a step up — she’s a turbine-powered escalator up. 😉 She dealt with her post-divorce feelings and gives me her all to make it the best it can be every single day. Instead of withdrawing from me, she comes closer all the time.

Ahem. The answer is NO, Sarah.

February 18, 2010

One Sarah Buxton had this to say, on genre inclusiveness:

“If you can put Colbie Caillat in the same genre as Fergie, then I can be in the same genre as George Strait,” Buxton says. “What was James Taylor? Was he a rock singer? Was he a folk singer? I don’t know – he was kind of both. I feel like I’m many things, and I’m not comfortable trying to change parts of myself to make it fit in a genre.”

Ahem. No, James Taylor was NOT a rock singer in any shape, form or fashion, and this attempt to cast him as such is one of the most pathetic attempts at justifying the bastardization of country music that I’ve seen in quite a while. I know they play him on the “classic rock” stations here and there, and I’d guess that’s where that came from, but if you’re going to lump James Taylor in with, say, Queensryche or Pantera, then what’s the point of having genres at all? And I’d guess this :

“With Lady Antebellum and the Zac Brown Band at the Grammys, I think we all saw that country music is doing some pretty cool stuff,” she says. “I’d like to see it be open to old-school country, traditional country, folk country, country rock, Southern rock – all kinds of different stuff.”

is as good of a jumping-off point to a rant I’ve had percolating in my head for a while.

There are those who say that country is a big tent with room for all kinds of influences. And I don’t have so much a problem with that big-tent philosophy, really. What I have the problem with is that so many people seem to see very little if any room in that big tent for the more traditional country singers — whom I and many others see as the very essence of country music. I remember that’s exactly how it came off to me right about 1999-2000, right after George Strait and Alan Jackson raised the controversy with their recording of “Murder On Music Row.” I remember Tim McGraw particularly saying that some of those singers, and more generally that style of music, had had their time and it was time for them to move on. And that really pissed me off. More so when he recorded that “Things Change” song. “It’s just good music if you can feel it in your soul,” indeed, but I think there’s a valid reason people divide music into genres and radio formats — they want to hear a certain sound. I love Metallica and Merle Haggard too, but if I tuned into a radio station wanting to hear one and got the other I’d be a little nonplussed to say the least. The categorization of music is going to happen no matter what anyone says. It’s just what humans do with things, whether it be music, food, or what-have-you. And I think there are perfectly valid reasons for that. Certain artists and bands are going to have similar sounds and those artists and bands are going to be grouped together despite protests about pigeonholing certain music into certain categories. And it works, because when you want to find more of that certain sound you have some idea of where to look for it — whereas, if it was “just good music,” that’s just way too general to be of any use at all. That’s just the way it is and it’s one of the things about music as a concept that I see as very helpful, as it enables me to direct my finite funds toward sounds that I like. Taking the “it’s just music” contention to its logical conclusion here, there are 67 Sirius channels focusing on various genres and subgenres. Should they get rid of 66 of them? Or have differently shuffled playlists on the channels still from all genres, where you have, say, Metallica followed by Rascal Flatts followed by Kelly Clarkson followed by Van Morrison and so on? I shudder to think how it’d be if that were the case. I’d probably still be waiting to hear the songs from the artists the parts of whose catalog I had yet to discover that I now may proudly count as part of my collection. So call me narrow-minded if you like, but my perspective on the concept of genres has served me quite well.

Back to Sarah Buxton — as Sabra said, “This must be why she is finding it impossible to differentiate herself from all the other blonde starlets in Nashville.” She puts forth what I guess would be a mishmash of utterly forgettable country-pop that is just like everything else out there, thereby causing yet more folks like me to seek their musical fulfillment elsewhere. I suppose if they discover all the great music I did that won’t be so bad, but it’s still not good for country.

Is it, now?

February 18, 2010

I am not surprised to see George Will, stuffed-shirt creature of the Beltway that he is, continuing to put forth this tired meme:

America, its luck exhausted, at last has a president from the academic culture, that grating blend of knowingness and unrealism. But the reaction against this must somewhat please him. That reaction is populism, a celebration of intellectual ordinariness.

For someone who fancies himself an intellectual, Will is certainly taking a shallow look at the reaction to this “president from the academic culture.” It isn’t that the proles are celebrating intellectual ordinariness. Before I go on, a bit of context for the remarks to come.

There are those who poke good-hearted fun at Kevin Baker’s long essays, but there is much goodness to be found therein, one example being this joke from this post that sums the whole thing up in a nutshell:

There is a story, a joke in some ways, an allegory in others, that dates way back. In it, a British Lord travels to the Frontier West, America in the 1800’s. His horse throws a shoe on the trail, so at the first little frontier town he comes to, he finds a blacksmith’s shop to have the shoe replaced. As he rides up, he sees a large, sweaty, filthy man hammering on a piece of red-hot iron. The Lord sits on his horse, waiting to be served, but the blacksmith doesn’t pay him any attention and continues to work his iron. Finally, the Lord, outraged to have been ignored this way by an obvious servant, dismounts, approaches the ‘smith, and taps the man on the shoulder with his riding crop.

“You, man!” he barks, “Who is your Master! I wish to have a word with him!”

The blacksmith turns, looks at the Englishman, spits a stream of tobacco juice on the point of the Lord’s boot and says,

That sumbitch ain’t been born.”

The fact is that those “from the academic culture” are fancying themselves to play the role of our masters, and it’s this fundamentally un-American idea that we should have masters at all that is causing this backlash. Working in conjunction with this is the fact that these supposedly smart people aren’t making things better — in fact, they’re only making them worse, driving the country deeper into debt and plundering the wallets of America ever more to buy the votes of those who don’t want to go out and make their own way in the world. We are seeing every day that beneath that shiny intellectual veneer — and yes, beneath the shiny fool’s-gold rhetoric of “hope” and “change” — lie the same old venal, self-serving politicians that have been the bane of the Founders’ Republic for way the hell too long. And that is ultimately what this is all about. I am reminded of another quote, this time from the great Bill Whittle:

We are, and remain, the descendents of people who had had quite enough of being told what to do by inbred aristocratic fops and unelected, intellectual sadists. When Europeans call us simplisme, they show themselves incapable of recognizing the difference between intelligence, of which we are amply endowed, and intellectualism, that circle-jerk of coffee table revolution and basement politburo planning that we have never had much patience with.

One could say the same of those who are trying to cast the backlash against the people in charge now as disdaining intelligence. I don’t know if I’d call them incapable of recognizing the difference between those two concepts. I think I’d just call them and their arguments shallow and/or dishonest, not to mention condescending and disingenuous. Considering Will fancies himself one of these intellectuals, I am not surprised he’d take this tack along with like-minded individuals on the other side of the political aisle, but it’s still an ugly and disheartening thing.

Crack down

February 17, 2010

Yes, indeed:

It is a crime to file a false police report. It should likewise be a crime to file a report of child abuse that is clearly made for the sole purpose of harassing another person.

It should, yes. I don’t know if we could ever finagle charging those who file those false reports with being accessories to child abuse, but that’s exactly how it works out in real life. No one will ever know for sure, but that caseworker who was investigating Sabra’s case could have been investigating the case of a kid who’s clearly being abused instead of being sent on that wild goose chase by that sorry excuse for a man she was married to. Said caseworker could have even saved that kid’s life. (And yes, I know it might have been someone else, but Sabra’s ex’s other clearly documented actions speak for themselves as to his character — and at any rate, those reports were made by some petty, vindictive asshole.) I do wonder if the people making those false reports ever stop to think about that?

Question of the day!

February 16, 2010

Right here:

On Feb. 9 and 10, ABC News’ “Good Morning America” reported the country lost $100 million in production each day because 250,000 government employees could not get to work because of the snow.

My question is: What do these 250,000 workers produce?

Frank Wehmeyer,

Bandera

That’s a damned good question, Mr. Wehmeyer.

Hey Leonard, two can play that game.

February 16, 2010

You really wanna do that?

In the Fox interview, you scored Obama for supposedly expecting Americans to “sit down and shut up” and accept his policies. But when asked when the president has ever said that, you couldn’t answer. Obama, you sputtered, has just been condescending with his “general persona.”

More to the point, something is wrong when we celebrate mental mediocrity like yours under the misapprehension that competence or, God forbid, “intelligence,” makes a person one of those “elites” — that’s a curse word now — lacking authenticity, compassion and common sense.
So no, this is not a clash of ideologies but a clash between intelligence and its opposite. And I am tired of being asked to pretend stupid is a virtue.

All righty, Leonard Pitts. Show me chapter and mother-fucking verse where Sarah Palin or any other conservative (or libertarian) has asked anyone to pretend that “stupid is a virtue.” You can’t. Which is quite telling, as it makes your mewling about Palin’s comments to Fox more than a bit hypocritical. You know what I’m tired of, Leonard? I’m tired of lefty pundits (and those who proclaim to be conservative yet who insult the conservative rank-and-file at every single opportunity) implying that educated people are intelligent, competent AND trustworthy solely by virtue of their education, that they know what’s best for us and that we should just sit down and shut up and let them do what they will. I seem to recall that being more or less what happened with one certain Houston-based energy company in the early part of the last decade, and we saw how that worked out, didn’t we, Leonard? The people who ran that company were educated too — the smartest guys in the room, as one film title sardonically referred to them — yet the people associated with that company up and down the line were ruined, from the CEO to the shareholders. Do you and your fellow lefties REALLY want that example writ large on the United States, Leonard? Sometimes I think you do. And we all know what you’d say in the aftermath, too.

“The philosophy cannot be wrong! Do it again, only HARDER!”

Evan Bayh channels his inner Eric Cartman…

February 16, 2010

…or, Shorter Evan Bayh: “Screw you guys, I’m going home!”

Two-term Sen. Evan Bayh says ever-shriller partisanship and the frustrations of gridlock made it time for him to leave Congress.

…Bayh said voters could simply decide they want to vote out people they believe are too partisan and said Congress should change its rules of operation “so that sensible people can get the job done.”

Yes, because implying your opponents aren’t sensible isn’t shrill partisanship at all, no sir. And you know he’s not just talking about Republican senators who oppose health care, either. I would be surprised if he did not agree with this:

Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, you’ve probably had some very nasty town hall meetings lately, and most normal human beings don’t enjoy being yelled at,” said Jack Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont-McKenna College in Claremont, Calif.

In other words, “Can’t these people see we’re doing what’s best for them?” Most folks would be thinking, “ok, if I’m being yelled at like this, maybe what I’m doing isn’t the best and I should change course. After all, I work for them. They don’t work for me.” But then perhaps that’s why I would never make it in Congress. Part of me would love to see the Democrats change those rules to get rid of the filibuster just to see the liberals overreach even more and get their tails beaten that much worse in November, but part of me says that would be a pyrrhic victory because there’s no telling what they’d ram through beforehand. At any rate, good frakking riddance, Evan. Don’t let the door hit you.

Yep, Sneering Scott Stroud is STILL an ass…

February 15, 2010

…and the proof’s in this morning’s column:

…the whole thing (the flap vis-a-vis Medina and 911 Truthers — ed.) suggests we in the media hadn’t probed deeply enough with Medina and that she, more than most hopefuls, should have been asked a few less orthodox questions: Have you ever been visited by an alien? Buried canned goods in your backyard? That kind of thing.

In retrospect, Medina might have dropped hints about her views when she talked about secession, an idea Perry didn’t reject outright, either.

Wow, so those who advocate secession are now equivalent to Truthers? Way to slander those who advocate smaller government, Scotty. And yes, that’s ultimately what those who advocate secession are tired of and don’t want — the bigger, more intrusive government advocated by those who were voted into office last November. They deserve better than to be lumped in with those who believe in alien abduction and the like. I suppose it’s some small consolation that if it comes down to it, Stroud will be one of those that gets eaten.

A mile wide and an inch deep…

February 15, 2010

…that would be E.J. Dionne, in this morning’s Chron

But Republicans (and in retrospect, you can say this was shrewd politics) understood in 1994, as they do in 2010, that allowing these talented icon smashers (Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — ed.) to govern differently and draw in members of their own party would be fatal to a GOP comeback.
So in Clinton’s case, Republicans voted to a person against his economic recovery plan that — combined with the first President Bush’s deficit-reduction moves — put the nation on the road to budget surpluses. Remember those? And then they killed Clinton’s health care plan.
Under Obama, Republicans have used precisely the same tactics without facing any criticism for a lack of originality. Obama’s stimulus bill got three Republican votes in the Senate — none in the House — and GOP lawmakers rail against it even as they claim credit for projects financed by a bill they opposed.
And the Republicans are doing all they can to make sure that Health Care 2.0 is ruined by the same political viruses that infected Health Care 1.0 under Clinton.

Once again, we have a liberal pundit trying to rewrite history. I don’t understand how Bill Clinton and the Democrats tried to govern differently back in the early 1990s. They were for a more activist government just as Obama and his acolytes are. And it’s widely acknowledged that Clinton’s “assault weapons ban” was perhaps the key to the big Republican victories in 1994. I don’t think it had anything to do with not allowing “icon smasher” Bill Clinton to govern differently. And I don’t know what the hell Dionne is talking about here as he speaks of “political viruses that infected Health Care.” The only viruses of which he speaks are inherent to the very idea of the Democrats’ plans for health care — more government regulation, more taxes, and under the latest plan a requirement to buy health insurance. (I guess that’s certainly one way to achieve universal coverage…)

And as for “spend(ing) more energy trying to win over their enemies than in rallying their friends,” you will also note that Dionne says nothing about the fact that Obama’s friends are running scared from his health care plan because of their constituents’ opposition to it. That seems to be the elephant in the room that he and his fellow lefty pundits don’t want to acknowledge. I wonder why that is?