Archive for February, 2014

Friday music musings, 28.02.14

February 28, 2014

So, if I am reading Chase Rice correctly (via Farce the Music), he’s perfectly content to be singing the same clichéd, misogynistic filth about girls, trucks and beer over and over again. I am reminded of what I said about Dallas Davidson: The man is the very definition of “one-dimensional,” and he wears it like a badge of honor. I can hardly wait to see how it can get worse than “get ya little fine ass on the step shimmy up inside.”

Speaking of how it can get worse, I finally heard Tim McGraw’s latest, “Lookin’ For That Girl,” for myself yesterday evening…

Wow. Just…wow. I mean, I thought Tim McGraw jumped the shark with “Truck Yeah,” but “Lookin’ For That Girl” is just…spectacularly bad. I mean, so bad it circles around to good and back to bad and back to good and back to bad and so on for freaking infinity. It’s…fractal, recursive badness, the likes of which I have never before seen in music. Between the horrid lyrics, the dance beat, and them auto-tuning the shit out of his voice…yeah. I mean, I know I approach this from the perspective of someone who thinks the concept of genres still has utility, but this song is just a FAIL as music, period. There’s a reason I don’t listen to top-40 pop or electronic dance music, and “Lookin’ For That Girl” is pretty much the perfect encapsulation of that.

On a more positive note, looks like Justin Frazell got promoted to the position of Program Director at 95.9 the Ranch. Couldn’t have happened to a better dude either, as far as the Ranch’s Texas music format goes. Contrary to your typical corporate program director who gets shuffled between formats and has no great appreciation for any specific genre, Justin Frazell has been a vocal, tireless advocate for Texas and red dirt music for more than a decade, going back to his earlier days at 99.5 the Wolf in the late 1990s. I was damn glad to see him land on his feet after Cumulus nuked the station in late ’08. Here’s to many more years of success, for him and the Ranch too.

So, what would you do?

February 27, 2014

Last night I was transferring from one bus to another on my way home, and I heard this dude talking on the pay phones there. Before I knew it, he was begging to borrow my phone. Went from a lover’s spat on the pay phone to telling me his mother was dying in the space of a minute, I shit you not. I begged off by telling him that I was having trouble with it, but this was the second time this week that this happened. I don’t particularly like to do that, but I am just wary of complete strangers asking for that —especially when I could see my bus approaching. (Having some dude run off with my phone and missing the bus trying to get it back would be a hell of a thing to deal with.) It’s like, “Why yes, I will certainly let you borrow my brand-new smartphone. Pardon my slow movements. I am still smarting from my fall off the turnip truck.”

Would you have let a random stranger on the street borrow your phone if he approached you with a sob story? Sometimes I think getting a cheap burner flip phone wouldn’t be a half-bad idea, because hey, you never know, they might actually be telling the truth for once….

If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

February 26, 2014

…or, Some people are never satisfied:

Being a part of the community is crucial. The darkest thing about the tech buses is that they have turned their backs on communities. They have chosen to construct their own bubbles, their own echo chambers.

In an ideal scenario, these Yahoos and Don’t be evil entities would locate themselves in existing urban communities. Ideally, in blighted ones.

Wow. I mean, just…wow. To twist one of the comments I saw on Facebook, yes, of course, this would make perfect sense. Why? Well, so the community activists wouldn’t have so far to go to protest the tech corporations for their aiding and abetting the gentrification of the community. You thought the Portland Trader Joe’s brouhaha was bad? Yahoo moving to the East Side or Houston’s Third Ward would make that look like a walk in the park. It’s worth asking what the author of that piece thinks of eminent domain and the uses for it that the Supreme Court approved in Kelo v. New London.

And considering this little snippet…

as if raising the rents in formerly affordable districts was not enough, the tech companies are now taking the streets away, too.

…it’s worth asking what the point of the piece was in the first place. After all, you can put the company in that blighted neighborhood and get the employees to take public transportation, but considering they’re probably not going to want to take a two-hour commute each way on the city busses, that puts us right back at “raising the rents in formerly affordable districts.”

This is, of course, assuming they’d want to buy and/or build houses in the surrounding neighborhoods. Depending on where they were, that might work. After all, some of the nicest neighborhoods in the city are abutted by some of the more, shall we say, run-down neighborhoods. But of course, building in the lower-income neighborhoods would likely raise the property values, which puts the squeeze on owners and renters alike.

Would it be possible to make the tech companies part of the community? Sure it would, but at the same time I don’t really see what’d be so wrong with the employees living where they wanted to…

Random weekend musings…

February 23, 2014

So we went to Blanco BBQ tonight for dinner with the kids — after going for lunch today. It was packed both times. Yes, we did hit it during the lunch & dinner rush, but I figured if it wasn’t popular it wouldn’t be so crowded. I am really glad to see that place thriving, because it’s really, really good. This was about the 5th time we’ve been, if I remember right. I’m not such a barbecue maven that I’d feel comfortable putting them in the same league as Barbecue Station or Cooper’s, but every time we’ve gone the food has been great.

You know, it struck me, listening to the song yesterday, that all these stupid songs people make anymore about sitting on the tailgate drinking your light beer with the hawt honehhs in cutoffs are all fifth-rate ripoffs of Hank Jr’s “Country State of Mind.” Still like THAT song though, but then Bocephus sang about a lot of things.

(Really, do you think a douchebag like Chase Rice would be caught dead singing something like “I’ve Got Rights”?)

Well, well, well…

February 22, 2014

…how about this:

A third man has been charged in a West Side attempted burglary Monday that ended when the homeowner, 19, shot two of the suspected burglars and held the trio at gunpoint….

(Henry Leonard Aragon) drew a .380 pistol and fired three times, then kept the three people in the Camry at gunpoint until police arrived.

But remember, kids, people don’t need to own handguns if they’re under 21. The government says so. And we all know Government Knows Best, right?

Yes, I know. The .gov says you can’t buy a pistol from an FFL if you’re under 21 but you can own one. But that’s where that whole “straw purchase” bullshit comes in, in the form of Question 11a on the ATF Form 4473:

“Are you the actual transferee/buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form?”

Say no? No gun for you. Say yes and lie? If .gov finds out you lied it’s 10 years in federal PMITA prison and no guns for you ever again. Yes, I know. Buy it used from a third party. But wait! Anti-gunners have been trying to get us to have to fill out those pesky 4473s  for every single gun purchase!

Never mind the constitutionality of the laws, where the hell is the morality of them, even? Was there any good reason whatsoever for Mr. Aragon not to have that gun?

I’m such a bad Apple fanboy.

February 20, 2014

…or, I never would have seen this coming when I got my first smartphone a couple of years ago…

So you know all I’m pretty much all about, well, all things Apple — all things Apple that I’d use, at least. A couple of years ago I got my first smartphone, the Android-run HTC Sensation 4G. Pretty much the only reason I got that phone is that T-Mobile didn’t have the iPhone at the time. I figured, hey, maybe by the time it comes for me to get another phone they’ll have it. So April 2013 came and I was quite excited. Hey, T-Mobile finally got the iPhone! It will be mine, oh yes.

…Or, you know, not. Why? Well, iOS 7. It’s such an aesthetic mess. I know it might seem shallow to pooh-pooh something like a mobile computer operating system based on something like that, but on the other hand if you’re going to be interacting with it on a daily basis, you at least want it to be pleasing to the eye, right? I would have gone for the iPhone 5S had it not been for that, but instead I went for the HTC One.

And just like with my last HTC phone, I don’t feel like I got an inferior piece of equipment by any means. If anything, this phone’s even better than the Sensation. Where the Sensation was built out of some sort of polymer, the One is made out of aluminum. It’s quite sturdy, and it has a really good camera and speakers too. And it’s LTE-capable! I don’t know how much faster than standard 4G it’s supposed to be, but I measured it with my computer via my hotspot, and it runs at about 25 Mbps as opposed to about 8 Mbps on the old phone. It’s pretty nifty. But even without those faster data speeds I really like it. If you’re looking for a good Android phone, so far this one is highly recommended…

Random bits from the day…

February 18, 2014

This morning at Bill Miller’s…

Radio announcer: “We know you love the new Keith Urban single ‘Cop Car,’ and we’re gonna play that next!”

Me, turning up Black Sabbath on the iPod: “Whatever you say, Sparky. I don’t want aaaany part of that.”

Riding home on the bus by the airport, I saw two F-16s on approach. Unfortunately I couldn’t get my camera out fast enough…

The T-Mobile salesman I talked to at the store today was selling the hell out of the HTC One, to the point that I wondered if he got a bigger commission on it than he did the more expensive iPhone. Of course, as Sabra said, it could always be a better phone. And it IS nice. Very much so. Solid aluminum body, huge screen, and I really do like the Android OS. I am actually leaning toward it. Had Jony Ive not turned iOS into some sort of pastel-infused Fisher-Price monstrosity, my decision would probably be a lot harder…

Ask not for whom the bell tolls…

February 16, 2014

…or, We’ll see how this works out:

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Remington Outdoor Co. plans to open a 500,000-square-foot factory in Alabama that would employ 2,000 people, and the Military Times reported today….

Gov. Andrew Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi posted this on Twitter at 8:30 p.m.:

“Some are misinformed, others gleefully spreading misinformation, but to be clear, no Remington jobs are leaving NY.”

However, apparently the president of the local union chapter is not so sanguine:

A union official said Saturday the Remington Arms Co.’s decision to open a manufacturing plant in Alabama does not bode well for Ilion, and he’s blaming New York’s SAFE Act restrictions on assault weapons.

“It can’t be good,” said Fran Madore, president of United Mine Workers Local 717, which represents 1,180 of the 1,300 Remington employees in Ilion. “How can it be good?”

Madore said plant officials told him they wanted to meet with him Monday. They did not say what they wanted to talk about, but Madore said he assumes it will be about the company’s reported plans to open a 500,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Huntsville, Ala.

So, who has more credibility here? The PR hack whose job is to cover the governor’s arse when he does stupid things that kill jobs, or the union official whose boots are on the ground in the center of the action, so to speak? Sure, the sponsor of the microstamping bill introduced in the New York state senate was saying back in 2012 that gun manufacturers didn’t leave California and Massachusetts when microstamping was pushed through; now, though, with the recent announcements from Smith & Wesson and Ruger that they will no longer sell new guns in California because of microstamping, it’s not as much of a stretch to think Remington will pull out of New York entirely at some point — especially with them opening up an entirely new location as opposed to expanding at an existing location.

And it wouldn’t come a moment too soon. The fewer gun companies in anti-gun states the better.


In related news, an old bit from New Yorkers Against “Gun Violence” that I found in the comments to the story about the announcement that ran yesterday that has to be seen to be believed:

New York State taxpayers have been subsidizing two gun manufacturers in New York, Remington Arms and Kimber Manufacturing, with more than $11.4 million in public funds while the products created by both companies continue to kill and injure thousands of innocent New Yorkers and they refuse to do anything to help.

Yes, because high-end bolt-action hunting rifles, $1000-plus 1911s, and even more expensive AR-15s are the New York gangbangers’ weapons of choice, amirite? Talk about a whole new level of stupid. (Or mendacity, take your pick.)

Wow, yeah, I forgot how much I liked this song.

February 15, 2014

So much that I bought the cd because of it…

I’ve bitched before about how Dierks Bentley went downhill in a hurry after his second album, but those first two albums were pretty solid. One of the songs from that album, 2005’s Modern Day Drifter, came up when I had the iPod on shuffle in the truck today, and I was reminded of just how good it was.

With that good driving beat and the wailing steel guitar, I liked that song from the first time I heard it. I remember when that was, too — January 28, 2005, when Bentley played the Frank Erwin Center as the opening act for George Strait. I don’t remember offhand if he mentioned that night that it was going to be on his next album, but I do remember thinking I’d like to have a studio recording of that song eventually. I was at Walmart bright and early that morning, May 10, 2005. Hard to believe it’s been almost 10 years…

I’m so white…

February 13, 2014

…that I forget to lock the door behind me when I get home. Last night I did it again, and to be honest, I was quite surprised at myself, considering what I found out about earlier in the day.

What’s that? Well…

I checked Facebook when I got to work and saw a status from my mother talking about how a longtime family friend back in the old hometown was an inspiration from the day they met and that her heart was broken. So I called a little bit later — and come to find out, this old friend was found shot to death in her home early Wednesday morning. As far as anyone knows at this point, it was domestic violence. She was a really nice lady, who left behind five kids and an untold number of friends. The whole thing left me rather shaken, to the point that I almost called Sabra to tell her to make sure the gun was loaded — even though this happened 450 miles away.

And it made me wonder what the hell went on in the days and weeks leading up to that. Is that sort of thing predictable? Does it happen right out of the blue? I would really think human instinct would allow one to pick up on that sort of thing. I don’t know, I just don’t know…