Archive for July, 2013

Really, dude? Really?

July 31, 2013

…or, Yet another reason the enmity for Manchuria John McCain held by libertarian-leaning conservatives is so very well-deserved:

Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain received a hearty ovation from Senate Democrats at a Capitol Hill meeting with President Obama Wednesday, helping to enliven a Democratic caucus meeting to discuss the Obama administration’s surveillance scandals and an impending budget crisis….

McCain earned his Democratic applause after saying that a presidential matchup between Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton would be a “tough choice,” in an interview with The New Republic published Wednesday.

Tough choice? For an establishment go-along-to-get-along RINO, maybe. But for folks like me? Oh man. It would be, hands-down, the absolute easiest choice since I’ve been old enough to vote. In all my years of voting (first election was 1996) I don’t think I’ve ever voted for anyone on the national level so much as voted against people. But Rand Paul? I would damn near walk barefoot over broken glass to the polls to vote for him, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Which, of course, is why the Republican establishment is going to do everything they can to thwart him between now and then.

Thursday music musings.

July 31, 2013

A comment from here, re: Spotify:

I don’t have a Spotify subscription and with more than 14,000 songs in my iTunes library I don’t really need it. I don’t really get the whole idea of an “all you can eat” subscription plan except as a way to preview new music…I would much rather buy my music and own a copy than pay for streaming rights.

That’s pretty much exactly how I feel about that. I’ve mentioned it before, but storing all your music in the cloud has always struck me as a very bad idea. Why? Because, of course, if you don’t have an Internet connection, you don’t have your music — and if being able to hear your music is dependent on such a thing, you don’t really “own” that music so much as “rent” it.

That’s not to say that I think Spotify is bad, though. As the commenter said, it’s great for sampling new music before you buy it — probably even better than YouTube, as you can’t find everything there. I still hope that downloading music to one’s own device is as far as it goes, though.

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This was a pretty neat list. What caught my eye was No. 4. It may be my non-TV-watching ways, but I think musical compression should probably have been No. 1 on that list. The author mentioned this:

…there are benefits to dynamic range compression other than loudness. Most notably, it makes a song sound more uniform on low-quality equipment, which isn’t a trivial concern considering how much pop music is listened to on crappy little earbuds or on car stereos with the windows rolled down.

…which makes little to no sense to me, as brickwalled music sounds just as bad on car speakers as it does on headphones if you turn it up loud enough. No matter what you’re listening to that music on, that clipping and distortion is going to come through if you turn it up loud enough. I can understand mastering a record hot to some point, but I don’t understand why, for example, they took it to the levels they did on Metallica’s Death Magnetic.

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I found this highly amusing:

Celebrate the Twentieth Anniversary of Nirvana’s In Utero…

…coming, as it did, from a metal music website (even considering the reason given). “Hey, let’s celebrate the anniversary of the release of the last album from one of the bands that made metal a dirty word for almost a decade!” Granted, I don’t actively dislike Nirvana the way I do, say, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and it strikes me that metalheads don’t really hold much of a grudge (if any) toward the grunge bands, but still I thought it was funny. Perhaps metal having regained much of the ground it lost during the ’90s as grunge faded into the background to the extent it did has made metal fans more, shall we say, magnanimous…

I’d be interested to know the circumstances…

July 30, 2013

…behind this:

 A home invasion turned deadly when a resident shot and killed one of the burglars, according to a San Antonio Police Department report….

According to Brown-Winfield’s (Dmitri Brown-Winfield, the resident named above — ed.) fiancé, Vangie Tubig, she did not know who the suspects were, but said that they probably need to move in case of any retaliation efforts.

Such might not be a bad idea, but I must admit I never thought about the possibility of retaliation. I guess that’s what you have to worry about when you don’t shoot everybody that’s busting down the door…

Which leads to the question: what do you do when there are more than, say, seven of them?

So THAT’s (probably) who said it first.

July 29, 2013

There have been people here and there who have been bemoaning the state of country music for a very specific attribute. I kept hearing it come up again and again, and it struck me not long ago that I had heard it before. Tonight it came to me who said it first.

Who said it first? Gary Allan. What was the attribute? Well

To me, country music used to be about what happened during the week. It wasn’t so much about party stuff. Now it seems to be about what happens on the weekends.

He said this in 1998 — 15 years ago, when things weren’t nearly as bad as they are now. I would dearly love to know what his opinion would be now.

For the record, the quote in that interview came directly after a few comments about this song. Which should tell you exactly where he’s coming from.

A humble theory on the state of newspapers…

July 27, 2013

…or, One reason daily newspapers are in the crapper.

You probably already had an idea that newspapers were in bad shape, for whatever reasons. I have been thinking about this for a couple of days. A little background…

You probably already know my real name by now, even if I don’t use it. If you have Googled my name you probably already know that I used to work at a certain small town newspaper in East Texas owned by an Alabama-based national chain, from early ’07 till I came to San Antonio. To give you a little perspective:

As of February 2007, the paper in question had three beat reporters, two sports reporters (one of whom was the sports editor), a copy editor/page designer, an editor, and a publisher. All of the hourly personnel worked full-time, and the paper printed seven days a week.

As of Thursday, this same paper had two beat reporters (one of whom I am thinking doubled as the copy editor/page designer), one sports reporter (who was also the sports editor), and an editor (who covered various beats here and there). The publisher’s job had long since been eliminated, with the publisher of one of the sister papers taking over that duty for both papers — and as of yesterday, the editor position was eliminated. And the newspaper in question only prints two days a week now. The cherry on top of all this? Since the first quarter of 2009, everyone in the company has had to take five unpaid days off per quarter, which basically amounts to a month of unpaid vacation every year. So, as you see, slashing hours and downsizing has been the name of the game for a good while now. And this particular paper isn’t the only one.

All of this brings me to a certain column from Stephen Dick of the Anderson Herald-Bulletin, whose rantings I (am ashamed to admit) I besmirched the op-ed page with here and there at the behest of the editor. I was curious to see what he had to say after the Sandy Hook shootings, and sweet zombie jeebus, did he deliver:

…let’s go after the NRA. Since the underlying philosophy of the leadership of this group is to have weapons to use against an encroaching government, let’s make the leap and begin investigating NRA leaders for conspiracy to commit treason. Or link them to terrorist acts, which is what Sandy Hook was.

How special. Now, granted, he did specify NRA leaders as the targets of his witch hunt…but who does he think pays the salaries of the NRA leadership? Why, the five million members of the NRA, of course. I don’t think it would be the slightest bit paranoid of the good folks in Anderson, Indiana (and everywhere else this column ran) who are NRA members to read that and think, “Holy shit, this guy’s more or less advocating that I be investigated by the government, thrown in jail and maybe even executed for standing up for my rights.”

How does this sort of thing factor into newspaper staffs being slashed? Well, let’s put it like this: if some newspaper hack wanted to see you imprisoned or executed for political advocacy he didn’t agree with, would you take that, let alone pay for the privilege? I sure as hell wouldn’t. If I were a small business owner in a town in whose newspaper this column ran, I would have been on the phone to cancel my advertising so fast it’d make the heads of everyone in the building spin, not just the ad reps. And of course I’d have cancelled my subscription if I’d been a subscriber.

And believe me, that’s far from the only odious thing Mr. Dick has written. From what I’ve seen, it’s just a steady deluge of bullshit as far back as I can remember. And he’s far from the only one. Such bullshit has run in every newspaper in the country at one time or another, from hundreds if not thousands of different names. People don’t want to read that shit. They don’t want to pay for the privilege of having their beliefs and intelligence mocked by self-righteous assholes who think they know better than everyone else. Now that the newspapers aren’t the only game in town anymore, they’re not doing it, as evidenced by the sorry state newspapers are in anymore.

And yeah, a lot of good people are losing their livelihoods, but when I see things like what Mr. Dick wrote, it makes me think, “it couldn’t be happening to a more deserving bunch of assholes.”

Oh, look!

July 27, 2013

Yet another emotion-based, fact-free argument!

…one party tells them (illegal aliens — ed.) to get to the back of the line, pay taxes, undergo background checks and learn English. And, in the meantime, they want to spend billions for enhanced border security. Is this really constructive or obstructionist?

I don’t understand what’s so damn obstructionist about making illegal aliens fulfill what should be the basic requirements for citizenship. All the American citizens here now pay taxes and the lion’s share of them speak English. And really, are we going to benefit by letting more people like Ángel Maturino Reséndiz and Humberto Leal into the country? (Yes, that may well be a very small minority of illegals, but if it saves just one life…Hey, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander!) Why should we give the illegals special treatment?

Oh, wait. Because not to do so would be racist, according to LULAC, La Raza, et al. Plus they’re a prized voting bloc, so there you go.

I have an answer…

July 26, 2013

…for Ruben Navarrette’s question on groups like La Raza:

Besides raising money, and putting on conferences, what are these groups good for?

Stirring up racial hatred and fostering balkanization, and that’s just a start.

Maybe they should have background checks…

July 23, 2013

for plastic bags and belts:

A teenager suspected of suffocating his 6-year-old neighbor with plastic bags, wrapping her body in a tarp and dumping it about a mile from her home was shot Tuesday in an exchange of gunfire with officers trying to serve arrest and search warrants….

According to a capital murder arrest warrant affidavit, authorities suspect (Tyler) Holder suffocated Alanna Gallagher, who was found with plastic bags taped around her neck. Holder’s DNA matched evidence found on the girl’s body and on a belt wrapped around the tarp, according to the affidavit, which says the girl was sexually assaulted.

And how about age limits? After all, if they had only had laws saying people over 21 could buy those items, Alanna Gallagher might well still be alive.

What? You say that’s stupid and impractical? Well, if it’s that way for plastic bags and belts, why would it be any different for guns — especially considering the aforementioned gun battle Saginaw police found themselves in when they went to serve Mr. Holder his warrants?

And you’ll note that little girl was not killed with a gun…so, as Weer’d would say, no candle for her!

Your sad irony for the day.

July 22, 2013

Heard this song on the radio this morning, and I thought, you know, that’s a better song about small-town life than most of these Southern rural hacks have been foisting on country music for the last few years, and it was done by an Indiana rocker.

Another song from that album has been featured in this space before. I think I should get it…

Brian Kelley makes me want to throw things.

July 22, 2013

…or, Oh, ugh, how depressing:

Q: Fans are responding, but there are people that criticize some of the imagery common on country radio today, like the trucks, the back roads. Do you care about that at all?

A: Man, that’s been around for years-dirt roads, beer, trucks and girls. That is country music, and I don’t think that’s ever gonna change.

Yes, that is country music…to all the people who stereotype it anymore and look down on those of us who listen to it.

Seriously, who does this guy think he is? And did he ever listen to, well, any country music before he and his partner decided to go to Nashville and try to make it big? I’m going to guess the answer is no, as evidenced by what they’ve foisted on the country audience so far. Kelley is right when he says that dirt roads, beer and that sort of thing have been around for years. But he’s utterly and completely wrong when he says “that is country music,” as anyone who knows anything about the genre knows.

Furthermore, this is at direct odds with Kelley’s claim that he and his partner wanted to “create music that’s fresh and…real.” After all, if they really wanted to do something like that, they wouldn’t have been aping the same tired and clichéd shtick that every other new male mainstream country act has been doing for at least the last five years or so. So which is it? Do they want to make something fresh and original or take the easy way out and do what everyone else has done for the quick buck?

That was a rhetorical question, of course. They’ve made the answer quite obvious. And it’s all fine and good. They’re entitled to do whatever they want. But it’s rather insulting for them to think all that high-minded bullshit isn’t going to be completely transparent to all but the most oblivious observer.

On the other hand, it’s Florida-Georgia Line. I would surely not expect intelligence from them; why are their fans going to be any different? After all, the same people buying their crap are also buying the crap from Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Brantley Gilbert, and Colt Ford.

(h/t Country California)