Archive for October, 2013

Weapons-grade sanctimony.

October 31, 2013

I read this and my jaw (figuratively) dropped to the floor:

A Fargo, N.D., woman says she will give trick-or-treaters that she deems “moderately obese” a letter instead of candy this Halloween.

“I just want to send a message to the parents of kids that are really overweight. … I think it’s just really irresponsible of parents to send them out looking for free candy just ’cause all the other kids are doing it,” the woman said in a morning radio interview with Y94. She wouldn’t identify herself.

The letter states: “You child is, in my opinion, moderately obese and should not be consuming sugar and treats to the extent of some children this Halloween season.”

That’s just…I got nothin’. Who the hell does this woman think she is? I hope and pray she does not have children, because God only knows how she would be treating them. They really should bring back shunning for creatures like this.

And don’t you just love how the cowardly bitch didn’t give her name? If she’s so proud of what she is doing — and she quite obviously is, if she voluntarily went on the radio to talk about it — then she ought to put her name to it. But that’s okay. There are ways to find out the names of people who do things like this; it’s been done before and I have no doubt it could be done here, although I don’t know if this would peg people’s outrage meter the way the suicide of Megan Meier did, to the point that people would put forth the effort to do it.

And I really hope Dr. David Smith doesn’t have kids either, because he obviously knows nothing about raising them if he’d actually approve of strangers berating children for perceived flaws. I mean, really? Embarrassing kids in front of their peers and damaging their already-fragile self-esteem is a public service? Wow…

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Wednesday political musings, 30.10.13

October 30, 2013

First up, from the San Antonio Express-News:

Re: “Political résumé,” Your Turn, Oct. 22:

The writer castigates the Express-News for championing Sen. Wendy Davis’ run for governor, arguing that Davis’ lack of experience doesn’t qualify her to lead the state of Texas. He seems to forget that another senator had an equally thin résumé, and he’s now the President of the United States.

And how exactly is that working for us again? The national economy’s in the shitter, with part-time jobs being practically being considered the new norm, we alienate valuable allies with everything from little breaches of etiquette to full-on wiretapping of their leaders’ phones, to the point that at least one of them severed ties with us completely, the snazzy new website we’re all supposed to buy more expensive health insurance (or be fined) doesn’t work for shit, and then there’s the myriad scandals like Benghazi, Gunwalker, and on and on and on. If this sort of mismanagement — intentional or not — is what’s on tap for Texas if Wendy Davis is elected governor, then we should fervently hope our fellow Texans are smart enough not to vote for her.

Next up, oh, hey, look, more carpetbaggers come to Texas!

Former Arizona Congresswoman and shooting survivor Gabrielle Giffords returned to Houston with her husband, ex-astronaut Mark Kelly, to raise money for a political action committee that will assist congressional and state candidates who support stricter gun laws.

Presumably this will include candidates running for Texas offices. We should also keep this in mind, as it could work to our advantage: “These candidates are the choices of out-of-staters who want to impose the same immoral anti-self-defense laws that have failed everywhere else they’ve been tried!”

But hey, Giffords and Kelly lived in League City for a time, so I guess that makes it okay.

(Watch that sarcasm. It might stain. Or, more accurately, burn you right to the bone.)

Haw-haw-haw, because bigotry is so funny, right?

October 29, 2013

What the fuck is wrong with some people?

Dexter Manley, a former NFL defensive end and Houston native, had words for broadcaster and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman on a radio show in Washington D.C.

“I think Troy is a queer,” Manely said.

The show’s host asked if Manely wanted to say sorry and his response was: ‘”No, I’ll just say I’ll take that back.”

Then came Manley’s inevitable apology. Whether Manley is sincerely apologetic or simply saying sorry for the sake of saving face remains up for debate.

“…I want to apologize to Troy, but I mostly want to apologize to anyone else I offended. Like a lot of people in these times, I have to realize that what I thought was funny years ago doesn’t work now. I’ll do my best to make sure it doesn’t happen again and hope you will accept my apology.”

What an asshole. I bet he likes a big hard throbbin’ cock (not a graphic link — ed.) too.

He’s right, but that doesn’t necessarily make his criticism valid.

October 28, 2013

Robb Flynn of Machine Head:

I’ll just stare at the CMT channel and watch in silence. Well, virtual silence because I stare in disbelief and seethe at the soundless images coming off the screen at me….And all those video images are cut with carefully manicured guys and gals in jeans and cowboy hats, playing songs written by a high paid group of other writers who produce simple pop songs that have slide guitar and acoustic and sound all shit-kickin’ and country-fied….

Flynn’s right, of course, and Trigger may well be right when he says Flynn’s comments are telling on how country music is being perceived outside the genre.

Before Flynn gets lauded as speaking truth to power, however, a question needs to be answered: Is he a fan of the genre who’s honestly dissatisfied with its direction as of late, or is he just pulling a Zack de la Rocha? After all, when Don Henley was calling out country music a decade ago, he at least made it pretty plain that he was a fan of the genre. With Robb Flynn — especially since he had some seemingly complimentary things to say about Toby Keith’s “Red Solo Cup”— who the hell knows? If he’s gonna say that RSC is a good example of the direction that country music should be going in then his criticism is useless, because he’s basically promoting one kind of horseshit over another, and God knows we have enough of that being promoted as “country” anymore, period.

Random Sunday musings.

October 27, 2013

Went to HEB just a little bit ago to get some ice cream. On the way I thought I’d turn on the radio. Nothing particularly good on the presets so I hit the “seek” button…and was promptly rewarded with the ass (and I do mean ass) end of Blake Shelton’s “Boys ‘Round Here” leading into the latest from Eric Church on Y100. If that’s not a perfect snapshot of the demise of mainstream country music and terrestrial country radio I don’t know what is. I am glad I am seeing it in San Antonio instead of Southeast Texas, because if I had seen the death of my beloved KILT up close and personal I probably would have cried. I can only imagine how bad it was for the good people who made that station what it was.

Looks like Chris Brown’s in trouble again for — you guessed it! — being a violent little punk. He wasn’t beating up on a woman this time, so I suppose that’s progress in its own twisted way. Just the same, though, I think it’d be fun to see what might have happened had his victim had a gun:

“Unrepentant rapper with history of violence picks fight with armed man, gene pool cleansed a little more. Film at 11.”

Interesting blog post from the Houston Press…

October 26, 2013

…on 10 rather curious omissions from the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Can’t say I would argue with any of these, although I am more meh on some than others. Just as an example, while I do agree that Randy Travis belongs in any country music hall of fame worthy of the appellation, I still think he got way too much credit for the  1980s neotraditionalist movement, while George Strait and Ricky Skaggs always seemed to be relegated to supporting roles in that.

On the other hand, Johnny Horton should have gone in years ago. Anyone who would dismiss him as a novelty act on the basis of “The Battle of New Orleans” or “North To Alaska” doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously. And really, “North to Alaska” isn’t really a novelty song even if it came out when Alaska gained statehood. (Neither, for that matter, is “When It’s Springtime in Alaska (It’s Forty Below).” I mean, for crying out loud, it’s about a dude getting knifed to death!)

In the end, though, even if those folks never get in, just as with all the folks who’ll never get into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, their contributions to the genre will never be legitimately denied.

So not only is Eric Church a poseur…

October 24, 2013

…so too, apparently, are at least some of his fans:

All these comments are from the “in crowd”. He released this song knowing it wont get airplay and knowing many people will hate it and just rant about how its not country. Thats the point of the song… hes not trying to be country, hes not trying to be rock… hes being himself and not giving a flying fuck about what the label is on his music.. This song is raw and badass… If youre an outsider, youll understand it… but if you from the in crowd, youll just never understand the true meaning as much as you try.

Really. “If you’re an outsider, you’ll understand it.”

If you’re an outsider, you don’t outright call yourself one. You just deal with it and go on. As for not trying to be country or rock…well, why not? There’s nothing wrong with a good, solid, identifiably country or rock song. I don’t understand why Eric Church cannot or will not do a real country song, if he’s not just in it for the money. And I really can’t understand why anyone would point to him as the opposite of the likes of Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan either. Once again, it’s really just two different kinds of bad — faux good-ole-boy bullshit vs. wannabe metal guy.

Which reminds me…

Rap or not, it’s simply a bad, prog metal song being forced on the country format.

I don’t know what you’d call this particular Eric Church song, but progressive metal it most certainly is not. Just as fiddle and steel guitar do not make a song country, guitar solos and shifting time signatures do not make a song progressive metal. Maybe it was Church’s spin on prog-metal, but if indeed it was, somebody needs to lock him in a room for about a month with some Queensrÿche, Dream Theater, Fates Warning, and Symphony X.

And now that I think about it a bit more, the comment referenced at the top of the post is an inherent contradiction. Why?

Because the commenter is trying to position the supposed audience — the “outsiders” — as the only ones who will get it. So in a way, they’re spinning themselves as an in-group of sorts, and everyone else as the “outsiders.” Not that they’re sharp enough to wrap their heads around that, but there you go…

He’s as wrong as Jon Bon Jovi was.

October 22, 2013

Who? Kirk Hammett:

Asked who he thinks will be the next generation of festival headliners, Hammett replied: “It’s hard to say… MUSE, they’re already headlining festivals. Maybe QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE. It’s hard to say. There haven’t been a lot of really, really great bands that have shown that kind of promise, you know. I think it’s a concern. Because of things like iTunes and streaming and social networking, it’s destroyed music. It’s destroyed the motivation to go out there and really make the best record possible. It’s a shame.”

I would really like to know how he arrived at this conclusion. I mean, I realize that bashing the evolving business model is the fashionable thing to do among musicians anymore, but why can’t they at least make their case using things like logic and reason? It’s like they just say these things and we’re expected to accept them as gospel, because, hey, musical idols!

What’s that, you ask? Why do I think Hammett is off base here?

Well, it’s pretty simple. With the a la carte business model, as opposed to having to buy the whole album to get potentially two or three good songs out of, say, 10, now the customer can download those two or three good songs and leave the filler. If anything, such a business model ought to be an incentive to musicians to make the best album they can as opposed to x number of good songs surrounded by filler. I realize that “filler” is completely subjective, but it’s always struck me that some genres have more of a reputation for that than others. And that’s going to be a fault of the genre, not the business model.

Monday music musings — 21.10.13

October 21, 2013

Is it just me, or does Kenny Rogers think way too highly of himself and his contributions to country music?

Right or wrong, I hit Nashville and did some pop songs. I worked with Lionel Richie and Barry Gibb. But I feel like I drew a lot of people to country music who wouldn’t have gone there without me. Country music couldn’t ever understand that not everybody’s history goes back to Hank Williams. For a lot of people, it starts with Alabama or Dolly. And now it starts with Taylor Swift. That’s healthy for country music. I think I took a lot of flak for taking country pop, but I broadened the audience. Country has always been too country for a lot of people.

Honestly, the way he talks, you’d think he was a Garth Brooks-level superstar in his day. Yeah, he had a few multi-platinum albums and No. 1 singles and that’s nothing to sneeze at, but most of his biggest hits came in the late-’70s and early-’80s, before the New Traditionalist movement ushered in a return to the roots of country. The only reason he’s popping back up now is to defend what country’s turned into anymore. And it’s pretty sad, too, because I’d be willing to bet none of these modern-day Nashville hacks Kenny Rogers is defending gives a damn about him beyond the extent that he gives their shit music an air of legitimacy.

And there’s another reason I don’t understand it — namely, the fact that the music Rogers defends anymore isn’t just pop or rock with a token fiddle or steel guitar, but that it’s bad pop or rock with a token fiddle or steel guitar. And none of this is even taking into effect the constantly recycled “country” cliches. I mean, say what you will about the likes of Eddie Rabbitt, Ronnie Milsap, Earl Thomas Conley, or even Rogers himself, but at least they weren’t constantly singing about “sittin’ on the tailgate in the mud hole drinkin’ Lite beer with mah honehh in her cutoffs” or some such bullshit. This isn’t just about pop vs. country. It’s about deep and genuine vs. shallow and fake. Say what you will about the pop-country stars of the past — and believe me, I’ve said my share and then some — but at least they had the advantage of sounding genuine and sincere. All that comes out anymore seems to be music by assembly line, put together (you’ll note I didn’t say crafted) for little more than the sake of mass appeal.

And yeah, I do understand wanting country music to appeal to people — but the question is, where do you draw the line? That question is even more pressing when you consider the fact that, unlike past decades, there seems to be no room for the kind of music liked by the people who have been listening to country up until now. Back in the ’80s for every Ronnie Milsap you had a George Strait, in the ’90s for every Shania Twain you had Alan Jackson, and in the 2000s you still had the likes of Strait and Jackson balancing out Keith Urban and the like…but what now? Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean can hardly be considered a counterweight to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood. So Kenny Rogers can sit there and talk about how pop country needs to be as much as he wants — as disgustingly self-serving as it may be — but his ramblings certainly don’t help us get any closer to answering the question of whether (let alone when) country music is going to get back to being a distinct genre of its own as opposed to a mishmash of everything else.

(h/t Country California)

Say, what’s this? Another media double standard?

October 20, 2013

The hell you say

The Washington National Cathedral, a symbol of unity among faithful Americans, was the site of a politically divisive event promoting gun control on Sunday.

(I should note that I am by no means bashing Emily Miller here. She has shown herself to be on the right side of this debate on innumerable occasions. I merely post this story as it’s the only story about it that I have seen today. With that said, let’s move on to the meat of this…)

Now, what’s the double standard here? Well…

On one hand, we have a group assembling on public property for a pro-Second Amendment rally down here in Texas, who doesn’t have any kind of tax status, and the national media raises hell. On the other hand, there in Washington, they have a tax-exempt organization more or less overtly engaging in political advocacy — which they’re forbidden by federal law to do as a condition of their tax-exempt status — and no one blinks an eye.

And none of those aforementioned allegedly pro-gun bloggers has a damn thing to say about it either. I think it’s about time to start asking whose side they’re on.