Archive for August, 2012

Wednesday music musings.

August 29, 2012

Man, I really need to stay on the presets on the truck stereo. I liked Carrie Underwood’s “Just A Dream” a lot better back when it was called “Travelin’ Soldier” and was sung by Bruce Robison. The Dixie Chicks’ version of that song was pretty good too. (Man, has it really been a decade since that album was released? I feel so old.)

I was a bit disappointed to find out that Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential candidate had such poor taste in music, but it was almost worth it to see Tom Morello throw his little bitch fit in the pages of Rolling Stone. Rage Against the Machine got to be a lot better when they hired Chris Cornell as their frontman and changed their name to Audioslave. They should have kept him.

Speaking of Rolling Stone, over at Queensryche fan forum The Breakdown Room they were mentioned as butchering Tony Iommi’s name, and that reminded me of one of my more recent gripes against that rag. On one of their recent greatest-guitar-player lists they ranked Kurt Cobain ahead of both Alex Lifeson and Dimebag Darrell, with the reasoning that “(b)y snatching electric guitar from note-shredding technicians and giving it back to artists, freaks and poets, Kurt Cobain became one of the most important players ever,” as if solos in songs like “Cemetery Gates” and “YYZ” weren’t art in and of themselves. I am reminded of another comment from the post mentioned here:

“The first edition of the RS Record Collector’s Guide in the early ’80′s gave every Black Sabbath album (some of which they now hold up as four- and five-star classics) just awful ratings. So they were only too glad when grunge came along, and they could gush about how ‘meaningful’ it all was, just because the bands dressed down and acted mopey. It was like their precious alternative and college-rock was finally getting its day in the sun, and damn if they weren’t going to make the most of it.”

And RS’ treatment of country is every bit as bad, it seems. James Burton made that list as well, and that would have been great…except for the fact that they focused on his work with Gram Parsons, Elvis, and Joni Mitchell but completely ignored his work with Merle Haggard. Those signature electric guitar lines in “Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down,” “I’m A Lonesome Fugitive,” “Mama Tried,” “Workin’ Man Blues,” and other Haggard classics? Yeah, that was all James Burton.

But hey, Gram Parsons! That sound is me rolling my eyes.

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Shorter Mexican drug war survivors…

August 27, 2012

“Let’s legalize drugs and ban guns!”

It really is the damnedest thing. So many of those who support ending the War on Drugs because it has failed seem to want to ramp up the War on Guns. To be fair, the situation is reversed among those on the right — but there seems to be something that none of them get. If there were no black market turf for the drug dealers to defend — from the cartel level all the way down to the street level — there very well could be less violence. And what violence that remained — in this country, at least — could very well be chalked up to factors that don’t really have anything to do with the drugs themselves.

I don’t know. I could be blowing smoke. But it strikes me as funny that so many of those who claim drugs should be legalized because the laws against them (and the effort to enforce those laws) have been a complete and utter failure, claim out of the other side of their collective mouth that those very same laws and efforts will work when the target is something different.

Of course we shouldn’t champion them if they would work, because they’re all undue restrictions on liberty for a temporary, ephemeral feeling of safety. And we all know what Thomas Jefferson Ben Franklin (thanks, Crotalus) said about those who would trade liberty for safety.

Double standards on display, yet again.

August 26, 2012

Imagine, if you will, the uproar that would ensue if the keynote speaker at the Republican convention was someone whose mother was a leader in something called the Party of the United Race. You and I know all hell would break loose, right?

So why isn’t anyone saying anything about Julian Castro? Oh yeah, I forgot. He’s Latino, so that makes it okay.

Yeah, I know. Sins of the father and all that. But I read Albatross’ post about Rosie Castro’s derogatory comments about the Alamo and the men who died there, and his closing question about Julian’s disagreement with them:

“Is this a generational difference of attitudes, or is the mayor just saying this because he knows he will be up for re-election several more times and his mother knows she won’t?”

I posed that question to Sabra. Her answer?

“The latter. You can tell by the way he runs this city.”

I wonder…

August 25, 2012

…where they’d get this idea?

State Senator James L. Seward, a Republican whose district includes Ilion, said that passing new gun laws in Albany “would send a bad signal to this gun manufacturer (Remington — ed.) that they’re in a state that’s hostile to gun ownership and gun manufacturing”…

Really? The hell you say. It’s worth asking why the gun manufacturers didn’t leave a good long time ago. New York, Illinois, Connecticut, and Massachusetts all have some of the most restrictive laws in the country and yet the gun manufacturers remain. Can’t say as I understand that even the least little bit.

And don’t you love how the gun controllers come back by saying that microstamping would only be required on pistols sold in New York State? Even if they made just one gun that had that technology they’d still be spending that outrageous amount of money. I realize the costs of moving would probably be fairly high, but I bet you they’d be significantly less than the costs imposed by stricter gun laws. I remember a few years back, the Illinois gun manufacturers  — Springfield Armory and Armalite, among others — all threatened to leave the state if a ban on semiautomatic rifles was passed. It’d be great if they finally did that.

So what?

August 23, 2012

So Microsoft redesigned their logo. BFD. They’re still Microsoft, for better or for worse. It’s worth asking if this is in preparation for the inevitable bombing of Windows 8. I have seen several reviews of Windows 8, both good and bad, so I guess we’ll see.

Either way, beyond the logo, what I don’t quite understand is why Microsoft insisted on making Windows 8 the operating system for both the tablets and the desktops/laptops. I can understand the convenience from the point of view of the manufacturer, but from what I’ve read about Windows 8 it’s quite a drastic change from the older versions of Windows as far as the user interface goes. And that was probably one of the best things Windows had going for it — the simplicity of the user interface. Say what you will about Apple, but they have a huge advantage here with the ubiquity of the iPhone, the iPad, and to a lesser extent the iPod touch. If for whatever reason Apple decides to go the Microsoft route and roll out a unified operating system there’s not going to be nearly as big a learning curve as there is between Windows 7 and Windows 8.

You think the learning curve is not a big deal? Maybe, but I would beg to differ. I work in tech support. I have quite literally had exchanges just like this:

“What kind of modem do you have?”

“A black one.”

“All right.” *headdesk* “How many lights are on it?”

“A lot.”

…yeah. There are a lot of people out there who have gadgets that they really don’t have a clue as to how to operate. So we shall see.

No. Just no.

August 21, 2012

He doesn’t get to say this and be taken seriously:

Swerving through traffic didn’t help Lorenzo Leroy Thompson dislodge the shrieking woman whose purse he had just snatched — and who was clinging to his stolen pickup — so he decided to “peel” her off by broadsiding another vehicle, prosecutors alleged Monday as testimony began in his death penalty trial….

In a three-hour interview with police, Thompson “was 100 percent, completely consistent” that the wreck was an accident, repeating several times, “I never wanted anyone to die that day,” Gross said.

No, sir. When you steal someone’s purse, and you try to get away from them and kill them in the process, that was no fucking accident. That nigh well should be treated as malice. He might say that he didn’t intend for anyone to die, but the fact is that he kept on going after she was on top of his vehicle and he tried to throw her off. Actions speak louder, and all that. I hope for the sake of Lorenzo Leroy Thompson’s future potential victims the jurors see through that for the load of horseshit it so obviously is.

Yay for cognitive dissonance!

August 20, 2012

Or self-contradiction, whichever way you want to spin it…

Comment here:

Never having met Taylar I found her and her mom using public records. She has been wrongly portrayed and her and her mom are wonderful christains (sic). …There (sic) two side of a story and those of you who trash her w/o true factual knowllllledge (sic) are similar to the stoning of the woman in the Bible (sic) – but I believe in karma and God will bring you an equal fate in a few years where you can experience the same pain

A Christian who believes in karma? Religious FAIL. As anyone who knows anything about Christianity knows, the concept of karma is completely incompatible with Christian doctrine. Karma basically is the concept that you get what you deserve, right on up through some supposed reincarnation. The doctrine of Christianity, on the other hand, says that even if you do bad things, you can be saved by the grace of God, that Jesus ultimately sacrificed his life so you wouldn’t get what you deserve for doing bad things. You could very well say that if there is such a thing as karma — that we all ultimately get what we deserve — Jesus ultimately died for nothing, and that’s arguably the most blasphemous thing one could ever say or think from a Christian perspective. Ultimately that’s what one believes, if one believes in karma.

Every time this whole thing comes up I think of the woman I was dating before I met Sabra, the one we came to call Kitty-Eater. She would proclaim her devout Christianity often, yet sometimes it seemed every other word out of her mouth had something to do with karma. I didn’t think about it at the time — not really at all until I met Sabra; up until then I thought it was just annoying — but later on I wondered if she was ever aware of the contradiction. Smart money says the answer is no. I don’t know just how many self-professed Christians believe in karma — but I really hope it’s not that many, because I hate to think people could be so ignorant about their own religion.

If you wonder why alt-country fans are not taken seriously…

August 19, 2012

…then here is your answer:

I’ve never considered Alan Jackson a “traditionalist.” I haven’t followed his career all that closely, but songs like “www.memory” and “Pop a Top” are just plain embarrassing. Has he really critcized pop country? I always thought of him as being right in the pop country wheelhouse…

(from the comments here)

Wow, really? I mean, sure, Alan’s released his share of crap, but to basically accuse him of being one of the things that’s wrong with country music is just asinine in the extreme. He is for good reason widely hailed for his allegiance to traditional country music. “Pop A Top”? Seriously, that song is a classic of the genre and if you ask me, Alan actually improved on the original. And if you don’t even know about “Gone Country,” “Murder On Music Row,” “Three Minute Positive Not Too Country Uptempo Love Song,” or Alan’s protest at the 1999 CMA Awards ‚ if you’re not familiar with any of that — then you really don’t have any business commenting on the man and his devotion to country music. I would bet money that if AJ were not a Nashville-based artist people like that would be singing his praises just like they do those of their underground heroes.

Snobbery like that has always bugged me. Sure, to an extent I am a music snob, but I’ll give just about anything a chance and try to make an honest judgment. I don’t think the same can be said of at least a few alt-country fans. I am reminded of one of Triggerman’s Country Music Archetypes:

If you don’t like Hank3 godammit, then you’re not cockstrong! He’ll preach to you about REAL country music like WAYLON FUKIN’ JENNINGS, JOHNNY FUKIN’ CASH, and ALL THE HANKS! But can’t name you one song from Hank Snow or Hank Cochran, and has no idea the King of Country Music is in fact Roy Acuff….Anything that is popular or mainstream immediately sucks.

For the record, that was the punk/metalhead country convert. And I am sure the alt-country fans’ knowledge of country is deeper and wider than that, to give them the credit they deserve, but that attitude is still dumb.

That’s just how they roll.

August 18, 2012

A lot of them, anyway:

But he undermines his own credibility, and the strength of his argument, by implying that this is the result of some kind of conservative program. These are clearly individuals, some deranged, acting on their own accord. It might just be difficult for Pitts to conceptualize individualism, it being so much more a conservative than a liberal trait.

It just might be. I read that column and just dismissed it as more of Leonard Pitts doing what he does best. He and his kind love to blame the collective for the acts of the individual. Well, scratch that. They love to blame certain parts of the collective for the acts of certain individuals. You see, again, that every time a high-profile shooting occurs, people love to blame the NRA and the gun manufacturers. Instead of demonizing the individual, they demonize the group. As I recall, Tim McVeigh and the guy who shot George Tiller were roundly condemned by most conservatives. You don’t really have to tell conservatives to condemn acts of violence like that and disassociate themselves from such individuals, because they already do.

But if Pitts acknowledged that, he’d have less to write about.

It’ll be fun to see…

August 17, 2012

…how this turns out:

The University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs are amending their student housing contracts, segregating students who possess a valid concealed-weapons carry permit.

The university said Thursday that both campuses will establish a residential area for students over the age of 21 with permits. In all other dormitories, guns will be banned, the new policy states.

Wow, either way, that’s going to make for an interesting little real-life experiment, isn’t it? Assuming everyone knows which dorms’ residents are armed to the teeth and the word gets out about it, it’ll be interesting to see how much the crime shifts to the other dorms, if at all. And even if no one knows which dorms’ residents are armed, it’ll be another data point either way. More guns, less crime? Yeah, I really do think that’s how it’ll turn out. Good on the Colorado Supreme Court for upholding students’ Second Amendment rights.