Archive for January, 2015

Friday political musings, 30.1.15

January 30, 2015

The San Antonio Express-News editorial board proves yet again just how fundamentally unserious they are:

The reluctance of the San Antonio City Council to get behind an active awareness campaign on sodas and other sugary drinks has always been baffling.

Baffling? Really? It’s not exactly a state secret that sugary drinks are bad for you. It seems like there’s something in the news every day about it. Launching a public awareness campaign about that would be like launching a public awareness campaign to educate people about the wetness of water.

And no, there’s no “bugaboo of personal responsibility” here. It’s just a waste of money, period, probably even more so than the streetcars or politically motivated street name changes.

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From the letters to the editor:

Oh wow, how comforting to know that Texas is still in the grip of the conservatives, or even more accurately, the tea party of Dan and Greg. They didn’t get the mandate they love to yap about, since only about a third of eligible voters bothered to vote.

You know, at this point, whatever helps people like this sleep at night. Looking back, it seems to me that pretty much everyone was excited about Wendy Davis running for governor except the people who actually determined whether or not she’d be governor. Maybe if the Democrats offered up a credible candidate for governor as opposed to just pulling a publicity stunt more people would’ve bothered to get out to vote. The Republicans didn’t sucker the Democrats into doing anything. They nominated Wendy Davis completely of their own accord.

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Monday music musings, 26.1.15

January 26, 2015

I get that not everyone’s going to get Sturgill Simpson, but at the same time I’d like to hear what, if anything, Lynne Margolis thinks was groundbreaking or at least worth paying attention to in country music last year:

I’m puzzled by the Sturgill Simpson thing. That album has appeared on zillions of Top 10 lists, and he’s been lauded repeatedly as the savior of country. I don’t hear anything resoundingly new or different on it myself.

Truth be told, I didn’t either, but I did get High Top Mountain and Metamodern Sounds in Country Music and really enjoyed both of them. Is what Sturgill Simpson doing new? Not really, that much I will stipulate, but it is certainly different than anything else that’s gotten any kind of mainstream attention. And that in itself is a win anymore, what with seemingly every new mainstream hack singing what amounts to the same song re-written for the umpteenth time. (And if this bit from Farce the Music is any indication, more of the same is on deck for 2015.) And really, it was quite good even on its own merits. It strikes me that sitting there pooh-poohing what Simpson’s doing isn’t really helpful in the context of reviewing what was good and bad about country music in 2014, if only because what he’s been doing the last couple of years is rather rebellious in relation to what everyone else has been doing.

And they wonder why critics are viewed so harshly by people!

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Oh, Amazon, you so craaaaazy!

I bought a Josh Abbott Band cd, and based on that Amazon recommended I buy the new Garth Brooks album.

I bought an old George Strait album, and based on that Amazon recommended I buy the new albums from Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton.

Yesterday I bought an Ozzy Osbourne album and a Pantera album. (No More Tears and Vulgar Display of Power, for the curious.) I patiently await the recommendations to buy albums from Coldplay and Sam Hunt….

Random guns & politics musings, 21.1.15

January 21, 2015

Is it just me, or does a statement like “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel is arguably the most important sports program on television” is akin to saying “Bryant Gumbel is the smartest paste-eater in the room”? Anything for Rolling Stone to get another slam in at gun owners, I guess…

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I know I’ve heard people talk about doing stupid crap like this, but I never thought anyone would be dumb enough to actually try it. That shithead’s lucky he didn’t leave in a box. Not so lucky for the rest of us, though. I saw the observation made that such an incident was a good example of carrying less-lethal weapons like mace or whatnot, and it’d be interesting to see how that situation would’ve turned out of that old man had been carrying it.

Oh, and the dude with the gun was an older black man. His assailant was white. I’m sure Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are champing at the bit right about now. Or, y’know, not.

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Oh, NK, you FAIL once again:

Doesn’t it seem odd that your cellphone can be set up to require a PIN or a fingerprint, but there’s no such option for a gun?

Sigh. No, Nicky, no it doesn’t. I was just sorry as can be to hear about Veronica Rutledge’s tragic death, but it was ultimately the lack of a smart method of carry, not the lack of a smart gun, that killed her. Maybe that sounds heartless, but she is (or rather, was) not the only mother of small children who carried a defensive firearm as the children were in her presence. And I’ve heard more than once that purse carry is in general a bad idea for myriad reasons. That isn’t to say that it can’t be done, but — as with everything with guns — if it’s not done right you can end up injured or dead, as Ms. Rutledge so unfortunately found out. I would say that Nicholas Kristof ought to be ashamed to be using her death to push his agenda, but he and his kind showed themselves long ago to be far beyond such.

Random musings, 12.1.15

January 12, 2015

Well, of course Wendy Davis would come out AFTER the election and say she wasn’t in support of open carry. I am not the least bit surprised, but I surely didn’t expect her to be so brutally honest about it:

There is one thing that I would do differently in that campaign, and it relates to the position that I took on open carry. I made a quick decision on that with a very short conversation with my team and it wasn’t really in keeping with what I think is the correct position on that issue.

In a way you gotta admire that, I guess, but it’s worth asking if we would ever really want a governor who would so blatantly pander to a certain demographic to get elected, especially since it arguably wouldn’t have helped her to any significant degree considering her ignominious defeat. I realize I do speak with the benefit of hindsight here, but it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see there were so many issues with Wendy Davis running that she never could have won.

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Comment from Saving Country Music, about Garth Brooks taking a fall on stage as he brought back his elaborate stage shows from the 1990s:

Have modern American audiences become so accustomed to spectacle and gimmick that an evening of good music performed with passion isn’t enough?

I often asked myself the same question back in the 1990s when everyone was raving about the same spectacle. I always found it quite telling that George Strait was pretty much the polar opposite of Garth Brooks on stage yet got more or less the identical reaction. I don’t know how much overlap there was between Brooks’ and Strait’s fanbases back then, but I am sure there was quite a bit. I never quite understood not just letting the music speak for itself…

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I bet you never thought you’d see the day I’d agree with Eric Church on anything (Lord knows I didn’t), but he’s pretty much right on here:

I’m so focused on making an album. I don’t care that technology tells us that albums are a thing of the past. That is b.s. They are more valuable now than they’ve ever been to the future of music, to the health of music. Because going forward, there’s no way we end up having artists unless we go back to the album format, the entire body of work.

I liken it to when you sit down to read a book. You don’t read one chapter. You read the whole book. It’s about every chapter. That’s how you understand what the book’s about, that’s how you become a fan of the book.
Same thing with music. You can’t hear one song, you can’t get a 99-second sound bite, and understand the artist, or be a fan of the artist, other than for just for that moment. That frenetic way of what we’ve turned music into, with digital technology, I’m so against that.

While I do agree that iTunes and the like are convenient as hell, I do think there’s been something lost as we’ve shifted towards singles as opposed to full-length albums. I’ve probably made the observation before, but inevitably in discussions of favorite artists, such will go to “Favorite Album Cuts” or something like that. And there’s something to be said for an artist who can deliver 10 or 12 quality songs at one whack as opposed to one or two songs every so often. Of course, on the other hand, I think the talking point about artists loading their albums with filler material around the singles is a legitimate one as well. But I think we would be better-served to demand better albums from artists as opposed to downloading a single. Come to think of it, the artists would be better off, too…