Archive for May, 2014

So it looks like the sellout is almost complete.

May 31, 2014

Whose? Why, Brad Paisley’s, of course:

Produced with longtime collaborator Luke Wooten (Dierks Bentley, “Nashville”), “Moonshine” sees Paisley adapting the modern technology of EDM and dubstep to the classic country formula. “When you hear a banjo through stutter edit, it’s the coolest thing you ever heard,” Paisley said. “I have a song that’s a basic love song, it’s got a great groove, and I cut this guitar part that gets distorted when I turn the nob up. I would say to Luke, ‘Oh, that should’ve been done 20 years ago, but they couldn’t.’ The rulebook’s gone, or was there ever one? They try, but I don’t play by it.”

“The rulebook’s gone.” And that right there’s where Paisley gave away his game plan. Why? Well, when you hear people talking about “no rules,” “no limits,” or “no genres,” it’s always, without exception, going to be used to justify their selling out and getting away from what made them so beloved in the first place — if not right then, then eventually. From the sounds of it, Paisley’s not wasting any time doing it.

And it’s just so disheartening. I mean, he was never on a George Strait level, but he actually started out pretty decent. I remember his first couple of albums and they were pretty good — Part II in particular. And I wonder, where the hell did the Brad Paisley who made THAT cd go? The title track, “Too Country,” “I Wish You’d Stay,” all of those songs were great. I even liked “Munster Rag,” the instrumental track on there. And “The Old Rugged Cross,” with just him and his guitar at the Grand Ole Opry…that song was freaking transcendent to my ears at the time, and it still gets me. Such potential and talent, and he pissed it all away in an effort to show he’s more “open-minded” than anyone else.

And then there was this comment at Saving Country Music:

I think Brad Paisley is just bored at this point. I mean, he had ten consecutive number-one singles (17 consecutive top-two singles, 19 if you discount the bastard country chart), 7 number one albums and is on the back end of his career. He’s basically done everything you can in country music without getting a single mainstream pop radio hit or number-one Billboard 200 album.

And that may be true, but I don’t think that justifies what it looks like he’ll be doing with this album. If Paisley’s bored with country music maybe he should just step away from it until he’s not bored anymore instead of aiding and abetting in the bastardization of it.

And yeah, maybe Brad Paisley has accomplished a lot — but then George Strait and Alan Jackson have both accomplished everything he has and then some (including not just one but multiple Billboard 200 No. 1 albums), but you never saw either of them resorting to these types of shenanigans. I guess all this just goes to show all of us either just how artistically bankrupt Brad Paisley is or that his professed love for the genre was only just barely skin deep.

Or both.

Well, this is special.

May 28, 2014

Or a new low. Whatevs:

That the killer in question was in the grip of a mad, woman-hating ideology, or that he was also capable of stabbing someone to death with a knife, are peripheral issues to the central one of a gun culture that has struck the Martinez family and ruined their lives.

Really? So Elliott Rodger is part of the same “gun culture” that folks like me are a part of? All righty then. Pardon the coarse language, kids, but Adam Gopnik can go fuck himself. With a chainsaw powered by a Top Fuel dragster engine. (And if Richard Martinez thinks the same, then he can do the same.) I’m tired of this crap. California had all the gun laws the people like Adam Gopnik want — “assault weapon” (semiautomatic rifle) and “high capacity” (normal capacity) magazine bans, universal background checks AND gun registration, may-issue concealed carry system (which mostly works out to NO issue, especially in Santa Barbara County with that asshole sheriff of theirs), and still this evil fuck managed to pull off his evil deeds. Some 50 million gun owners didn’t kill anyone Saturday. Or EVER, for that matter. Not even with knives. Elliott Rodger killed HALF HIS VICTIMS with one of those. Elliott Rodger IS NOT OF MY TRIBE, DAMN IT.

Interesting little update, per AndyN in comments…

Richard Martinez grew up around guns, shooting birds out of the fruit trees on his family’s farm. He later served as a military police officer in the U.S. Army before going on to become a criminal-defense lawyer, at times representing the young and the violent.

The young and the violent. As AndyN put it, “I understand California keeps very extensive records on gun ownership. It would be interesting to compare the death toll from legally owned guns to the death toll from thugs who Martinez has helped put back on the street.”

And reading on…

While Martinez said he is angered by the public’s willingness to accept mass murder as a way of life in America, he said he is not mad at Rodger’s parents….

Martinez also said he is not angry with either the mental-health system or the sheriff’s deputies…

So, to make a long story short, Richard Martinez isn’t mad at the people who ultimately would have been the ones to stop Elliott Rodgers’ rampage, but he is mad at the 50 million gun owners in America who didn’t kill his son or anyone else. You know what? Fuck him too. I’m sorry he lost his kid, but that doesn’t give him license to point his finger at people like me for defending our rights.

Something to remember today.

May 26, 2014

Back in 2009, I remember going to the big Memorial Day celebration in Orange. The Patriot Guard Riders didn’t get to make their grand entrance as planned because of the torrential rains, but they still came. I remember that I just about lost it  when Beaumont PGR chapter president Sandra Womack told everyone why they still came. She said of the fallen soldiers, “They didn’t get an opportunity to choose the weather they fought in, or to choose whether or not to go.”

We should remember that, today and every day.

I don’t even know where to start with this…

May 24, 2014

…so I suppose I might as well start where it all started.

===

“When those thoughts won’t come, I know that the shakes will. I’ve got no gun to my weary head. Hell, I couldn’t even hold the barrel still. Everybody loves a catch twenty-two. Damned if you don’t, son, damned if you do. Outside it’s another day that I got to make it through.”

— Jason Boland

===

Not sure I said anything about it here before…but Sabra’s pregnant. She’s a little more than 18 weeks along. We went to her midwife’s appointment Wednesday to have an ultrasound done. She had gone for another ultrasound about three weeks ago, and everything was fine. We were thinking everything was gonna be fine this time too. We were gonna have the ultrasound done and bring home a DVD with pictures and/or video, we were gonna share it with everyone, and it was gonna be great.

We were wrong. We were so, so horribly wrong.

They did the ultrasound…but they had to call another ultrasound tech in because of some abnormalities they saw. And we got an appointment with a fetal medicine specialist for last Thursday to confirm what they suspected at the midwife’s office. And it was. Our baby has a very rare condition called limb-body wall complex. (Limb-body stalk the doctor called it.) It occurs in 0.7 of every 10,000 births. Completely random, not a chromosomal defect, no known cause or prevention. The baby has no pelvis or diaphragm, one of his/her legs is missing, s/he has a severe case of scoliosis, and the baby’s heart and intestine are outside the body. They are attached directly to the placenta, and there is only a nominal (2cm) umbilical cord. The heart and lungs aren’t going to develop like they should. I knew it was very bad when Sabra asked if they could tell us the gender. We’ve always been adamant that such remain unknown until the baby is born.

The condition…this limb-body stalk…the condition our baby has is fatal. There’s nothing that can be done about it. We’re going to take the pregnancy to term and hopefully be able to hold our baby and say goodbye; the baby won’t live long if s/he makes it out alive at all. We have chosen a gender-neutral name due to the inability to tell our baby’s gender. Our baby’s name is Psalm-Angel Guadalupe.

I am holding up the best I can, and I am finding my shelter and comfort in my precious family’s embrace, but right now I am just absolutely destroyed. I have dealt with death before, but never has it been so up-close and personal as it’s going to be in the all-too-near future. It’s one thing to deal with the death of a beloved relative who lived a somewhat long life, but quite another thing to deal with the death of your unborn child, and I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t utterly horrified at the prospect. This too shall pass, of course, but I know that this is a wound that will never heal and that none of us will ever be the same. I have so, so many questions, most of which I won’t find out the answers to in this life, but that I’ll probably be asking until Sabra and I see our precious little baby again in that land where there is no more death, no more sorrow, crying or pain.

Please keep us all in your thoughts and prayers.

===

Love is everything. It’s a rose on a stone, it’s the words in a song that the choir sings. It’s the tears of goodbye and the place that you fly to, to get your wings.”

— George Strait

Well, that’s interesting.

May 24, 2014

..or, Say, this reminds me:

A few months ago, my wife and I invited our daughter and her husband, who live just north of Alamo Heights High School, to join us for dinner at a restaurant in the Pearl Brewery. They told us they would do their own transportation, and they arrived at the restaurant very excited. Instead of driving down Broadway, they had taken a bus, and our daughter raved about what a lovely ride it had been and that it cost the two of them less than $2. She was truly enthralled by this experience which so pleasantly surprised them.

The bus they rode was one of the newer ones being used by VIA. Its ambiance and fare raise a dramatic question:

Why in the world would we want to spend $280 million and tie up our city for years of construction to produce a new transportation system when we can obviously operate and enjoy the one with the assets we already have in place?

Good question. Sabra and I were talking about this on Thursday. We were out and about in the Medical Center area (on the city’s near-northwest side, for you non-locals), and we saw one of the buses from the Via Primo route 100 that runs up and down Fredericksburg Road between downtown and the main UTSA campus on the far northwest side of town. Just for the sake of comparison, the regular buses look like this:

viaregularbus

The Primo route buses, on the other hand, look like this:

viaprimo

Pretty snazzy, right? If I remember right, they have wifi as well just like the express busses that run up and down IH-10 and 35 and Highway 281 and the original plan was that they were supposed to be able to control the traffic lights, ensuring a rapid route between UTSA and downtown. That part of it never panned out for some reason.

We were thinking, though, that such a mode would be much preferable to the streetcars — as, just to cite two things, you wouldn’t have to tear up main thoroughfares into the downtown area and you could change the route as needed, whereas with the streetcars once you have that track laid, if that route turns out to have low ridership that VIA would use to justify a bus route change, you’re just shit out of luck.

But Nelson Wolff’s just gotta have his choo-choo train, everything else be damned.

Not surprising, but still disappointing.

May 19, 2014

The Triggerman, on the new Miranda Lambert/Carrie Underwood duet:

And when the duo debuted the song on the 2014 Billboard Music Awards Sunday night, something bad did happen….

…The idea was that the current dominant style of music known as “bro-country” had so corrupted country music’s airwaves and relegated virtually all country female performers to a lower class, it needed and antidote, a power-packed one-two punch of country music female stardom that could show the boys that the women of country mean business. But instead we got flailing hair, screamed lyrics, and a loss of melody that made the song and performance smack of some 80′s era mashup between Aerosmith and Joan Jett.

That’s pretty much the long and short of it. Yes, I listened to the song — about 45 seconds of it before I turned it off. You know what it sounded like? A typical Carrie Underwood song (think “Good Girl” or “Blown Away”) with Miranda Lambert singing half of it. Did I expect better? Maybe. I certainly didn’t expect Miranda Lambert to channel the worst tendencies of Carrie Underwood, though.

And it sucks, yeah, but it’s not surprising anymore. I don’t know why anyone would have thought either of those artists would have been kind of any part of shaking up the country music establishment. Sure, she had her nice little fake-out with the Pistol Annies, but Miranda Lambert rattling the mainstream country cage in any way would have been crapping where she eats, considering that she’s married to one of the problems with it anymore. As for Carrie Underwood — well, if you’ll pardon the phrase, bombasters are gonna bombast. I mean, really. I could be wrong, but reading about the build-up leading to this, I got the feeling that some people thought it was gonna be on the level of George Strait and Alan Jackson recording “Murder On Music Row.” As disappointed as I was even with my low expectations I can only imagine how they felt.

And on we go, down the road to mono-genre hell…

Tuesday music musings, 14.5.14

May 14, 2014

So I know I’ve weighed in on the Motley Crue tribute album in this space before

…but the track listing was released yesterday. As bad as I thought it might be, it looks to be at least that bad if not worse. There is just not one thing about this that is not made of massive, hemorrhaging, EPIC FAIL. Really. LeAnn Rimes doing “Smokin’ in the Boys’ Room”? NO. I mean, I know folks raised hell about the Common Thread Eagles tribute back in 1993, but the MC tribute is going to make that sound like Jimmie freaking Rogers. Really, I’m just so embarrassed for (and by) country music anymore. I mean I know down here we have folks like Jason Boland and the Stragglers, the Turnpike Troubadours, and Reckless Kelly, but the cold hard fact of the matter is that those artists aren’t the face of the genre to the mainstream. People like Chase Rice, Florida-Georgia Line, and Blake Shelton are. And they don’t even care that they’re making shit music. It’s all about appealing to the least common denominator to make the most amount of money, and it’s just sickening.

And Aaron Lewis? What the hell, dude? I thought you were better than that!

===

Speaking of Blake Shelton, if you wonder why so many people are so down on him anymore, you need only to click here. It’s not just his shit music, but his shit attitude toward those of us who don’t like the direction the genre has gone anymore. “Songs about real people.” What a load of crap. Anyone who’s been listening to mainstream country music anymore knows damn good and well that it’s chock full of shallow, misogynist caricatures of “real people,” just like so much of hip-hop and the ’80s glam metal was. It’s like, hey, you got a real nice truck. Good for you. How do you afford that truck? Do you work? Do you have a home life? Or is partying with that hot girl on the tailgate all you do?

(I sure as hell am not keen on Carrie Underwood being any kind of savior of the genre, though. “Blown Away” was just a different flavor of crap, if you ask me….)

Point-counterpoint, 13.5.14

May 13, 2014

Point — Brian Kelley of Florida-Georgia Line:

All I am going to say about that is that we’re fans of music, too. Either like it or don’t like it. It is getting old with everyone trying to analyze what country music is. If you look back from day one, it has always evolved. You talk about sprinkling different genres and other genres – you look at Johnny Cash and Elvis, they’re both rock ‘n’ roll. They’re both in the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Counterpoint — Eddie Spaghetti of the Supersuckers:

It (modern country music — ed.) sounds to me like mid-’80s heavy metal. For me, that’s what country music has become. It’s all bombastic explosions on stage. Replace the Sunset Strip with a barbecue and a pickup truck. That’s country music now….With the music, we have purposely tried not to evolve. Our influences are bands that have kind of remained remedial and have stuck with a formula, bands like AC/DC, The Ramones and Motorhead. Those are the three bands that we have emulated. We write songs that sound like The Supersuckers. We don’t want to grow too much. I hate it when an artist makes a record and talks about how much they have grown on it. That is code for saying that they now suck.

Interesting. I think that’s probably the first time I’ve ever heard anyone claim musical evolution is even remotely a bad thing, but I must say he has a great point. He could have very well said, “We write songs that sound like country music. We don’t want to grow too much. I hate it when ‘country’ artists make records and talk about how much they have grown on it. That is code for saying that they now suck.”

And I can’t say much about the Ramones or Motörhead, but I’ve heard more than a few folks accuse AC/DC of making the same songs or albums over and over. Same goes for George Strait. But anyone with even a remote familiarity with those artists’ catalogs knows that’s not the case. They found their core sound and stuck with it. You might even say they made it their…musical identity. And you know everyone, no matter their tastes in music, could name more than a few artists and bands who started out great but “evolved” right out of what made them great and into utter mediocrity, and even pure suckitude in some cases. Brian Kelley may think he sounds pretty smart talking about evolution, but he doesn’t. He just sounds like a hack trying to justify what he and his fellow hacks are doing to country music. And yes. I know. Luke Bryan might well say that “music fans are less inclined to stick to just one kind of music these days,” and there’s some truth to that, but if you really think his or Florida-Georgia Line’s mixtapes really have any Hank or Conway, then I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.

Oh, and there Jerrod Niemann goes again, trying to be all philosophical and high-minded, talking about “getting people out of their comfort zone.” That’s really some way of spinning the sale of Electronic Dance Music as country. He should have been a used-car salesman.

(h/t Country California)

Not sure if real…

May 11, 2014

…or an April Fool’s joke

North America Arms set a new power standard for mini, macro and nano revolvers with its introduction of the Judgment Day – Brimstone Edition Mini. The Judgment Day is a highly concealable firearm, chambered for the 454 Casull. The Judgment Day – Brimstone Edition marks the first product introduction since the company’s relocation from Briggs & Stratton on the Avon, Iowa to Brigadoon, Scotland.

My initial reaction? “Oh my dear sweet Lord in heaven. NO.”

I mean, really. What would such a thing be good for? A secondary back-up gun in case your primary back-up fails? How in the hell could anyone expect to hit anything with something like that? I mean, I’ve shot your standard magnum revolvers — both .44 and .357 Magnum out of standard-length barrels and .357 out of the 2.25″ barrel of a Ruger SP101. The first two were quite a handful, and the last was downright painful. I can only imagine how bad .454 Casull would be out of a 1.125-inch barrel. I suppose it beats a sharp stick, but I think it’d be better just rather leave enough room for another standard-size revolver. At least then you’d have six extra rounds instead of just two. To each his own, though…

Real men don’t…wait, what? Bring…what, now?

May 10, 2014

I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite so pathetic as Michelle Antoinette Obama making a pouty face as she holds up  piece of paper with a hashtag written on it. For fuck’s sake, she’s the First Lady of the United States! I have a hard time believing Laura Bush would lower herself to such a level. I mean, I hate girls being kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery as much as the next decent person, but, well, Mark Steyn puts it better

Just as the last floppo hashtag, #WeStandWithUkraine, didn’t actually involve standing with Ukraine, so #BringBackOurGirls doesn’t require bringing back our girls. There are only a half-dozen special forces around the planet capable of doing that without getting most or all of the hostages killed: the British, the French, the Americans, Israelis, Germans, Aussies, maybe a couple of others. So, unless something of that nature is being lined up, those schoolgirls are headed into slavery, and the wretched pleading passivity of Mrs Obama’s hashtag is just a form of moral preening….

There’s something slightly weird about taking a hashtag – which on the Internet at least has a functional purpose – and getting a big black felt marker and writing it on a piece of cardboard and holding it up, as if somehow the comforting props of social media can be extended beyond the computer and out into the real world.

And as for things like the “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls” campaign…They don’t, eh? Way to imply Western cultural norms are in any way superior to any other cultural norms, Hollywood! How very progressive and enlightened of you!