Monday, September 30, 2013

Who Paid Dave Stewart to Shill for Spotify?


Someone got to Dave Stewart.

He used to be against things like Spotify. He correctly identified the problem--they pay shit royalties and you have to be a multi-platinum artist with lawyers and a brain trust to even begin to see anything resembling an honest payout. Now, he's for them.

Someone upped his royalty rate? Or has he been bamboozled by the promises and not the results?

Wait Til the Money Comes Rolling In




The Gallagher Brothers get a lot of bad press. What people don't realize is that they were in a band together for about 18 years. There are whole entire bands without siblings in them that don't last a third of that long and that break up for trivial reasons that cannot be explained. The sisters in Haim should hope for the chance to end up where the Gallagher brothers ended up. They were at the top of their game and they were making a lot of money when it all ended. Many believe this is the temporary period that will lead to a massive resurrection of the band. Who knows?

I don't know anything about Haim, but I do know this: when there's serious money flowing in, and when it is time to go do something else, they probably won't survive the shock that will run through a band that can't function anymore. It could be a tight, seamless three piece or it could be a rambling 7 member collective. It could be anyone, and when it's over, it will certainly be over, no matter what.

Wait Til the Money Comes Rolling In


The Gallagher Brothers get a lot of bad press. What people don't realize is that they were in a band together for about 18 years. There are whole entire bands without siblings in them that don't last a third of that long and that break up for trivial reasons that cannot be explained. The sisters in Haim should hope for the chance to end up where the Gallagher brothers ended up. They were at the top of their game and they were making a lot of money when it all ended. Many believe this is the temporary period that will lead to a massive resurrection of the band. Who knows?

I don't know anything about Haim, but I do know this: when there's serious money flowing in, and when it is time to go do something else, they probably won't survive the shock that will run through a band that can't function anymore. It could be a tight, seamless three piece or it could be a rambling 7 member collective. It could be anyone, and when it's over, it will certainly be over, no matter what.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Let the Appeasement Begin


America has decided to stop being a dick to Iran. This will last about as long as it takes for the United States Senate to assert an inherent dickishness put there by God and the Constitution and bring back the dickery.

The detail on the piece is nice, but isn't the Griffin proof that the pagans who lived in Iran would hate the existing fundamentalist Shiite government? That the godlessness of this blasphemy would have no value in a world made holier by the destruction of all that is unworthy?

Just curious.

Terrorists Everywhere, Some Wearing Suits




Today is one of those days where running a blog about current events and politics is akin to running something too stupid to believe. We are living in a thoroughly depressing time, full of madness and mayhem, and it is frustrating because the madness is not properly identified or explained.

The Republican Party is terrorizing the American people by shutting down the government.

What? You thought this was complicated? It ain't.

The Republican Party is terrorizing the American people by shutting down the government.

The Democratic Party is simply trying to govern this country. There have been times in our history where the two parties have not been able to reach an accord. When it comes to health care, that fight ended years ago. Everyone had their say, the law was passed, and it was signed into law. Now, you have the side that lost doing whatever it can to ruin this country in order to hew towards an insane philosophy of governance.

The Republican Party is terrorizing the American people by shutting down the government.




That's all you have to say. They have lost their minds.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Kristin Hersh Your Ghost Cover








This is another one of those masterfully done 4AD singles that people just covet and love, not for just the artist or the music but also for how it looks but by the special something found in the thinking that went into making the package. Kristin Hersh put this out and it thunders and moans like a great EP should. The packaging and the presentation is fantastic. This is the beginning of her solo career which will go on forever or for as long as she wants it to go on.

Your Ghost was a killer single, an announcement of things to come. It was Kristin's debut single and featured Michael Stipe in the background. No matter who you are, when you sing with Hersh, you are the background and the window dressing while she occupies the space around. This EP is worth it alone for her cover of When the Levee Breaks.

Kristin Hersh Your Ghost Cover




This is another one of those masterfully done 4AD singles that people just covet and love, not for just the artist or the music but also for how it looks but by the special something found in the thinking that went into making the package. Kristin Hersh put this out and it thunders and moans like a great EP should. The packaging and the presentation is fantastic. This is the beginning of her solo career which will go on forever or for as long as she wants it to go on.

Your Ghost was a killer single, an announcement of things to come. It was Kristin's debut single and featured Michael Stipe in the background. No matter who you are, when you sing with Hersh, you are the background and the window dressing while she occupies the space around. This EP is worth it alone for her cover of When the Levee Breaks.

The Fall Hit the North Cover




The Fall are one of the enduring treasures of British recorded music. When you stop to consider their legacy, there are endless phases, endless cycles, and all of it sounds like The Fall.

Hit the North is just one more aspect of their sound and their ability to deliver social commentary through the fog of burping noises and New Order percussion. This has a chorus that will have you shouting into the wind while you drive along.

The Fall Hit the North Cover


The Fall are one of the enduring treasures of British recorded music. When you stop to consider their legacy, there are endless phases, endless cycles, and all of it sounds like The Fall.

Hit the North is just one more aspect of their sound and their ability to deliver social commentary through the fog of burping noises and New Order percussion. This has a chorus that will have you shouting into the wind while you drive along.

No One Can Play Freddie Mercury




I did not think this would happen, and I don't know how they can even do this film. Where do you find a person who can convincingly play Freddie Mercury? You'd almost have to find an unknown actor to do this project.

The Useless Drunks of Mother Russia


America has a lot of drunks, too. The difference is, our drunks get better welfare benefits. I would not know. I do not imbibe.

All of this fear of a resurgence of Russian hegemony is misplaced. We should fear a Russia teeming with stumblebums who set themselves on fire because they don't know how to work the stove when they are blind drunk.

Discourse and History




Robert Reich tells the story of being accosted by an ignorant, but well-dressed, man in an airport and I am guessing that the man called him a douchebag. In some circles, this would be worthy of an asskicking, but the former cabinet secretary took it upon himself to correct the man rather than deliver a righteous public stomping.

I don't believe we are living in extraordinary times; I just think these are worse times than the 80s, 90s and 2000s. The Internet has helped to make these bad times, but so has the collapse of the working media. We are so uninformed and ignorant that it is breathtaking. Fifty years ago, a person read newspapers and listened to the radio and received a fair amount of information. There were public service organizations and connections to community that don't really exist anymore. Virtually every large city in America once had at least two if not three newspapers and a slew of locally-operated radio stations that vied with one another to provide news and information.

Now, your newspapers have been consolidated and are barely reporting any news. Now, your radio stations run satellite programming. Now, you have Patch, whatever that is, and there is a dearth of real information. What comes out as news is nationally broadcast and sensationalized and corporatized so as not to offend.

Reich is considered a Communist solely because the people who agree with the person who used that term don't have any idea what constitutes an actual "communist." It's a hold over term used by older people to try and smear someone with an older-skewing demographic. It should be laughed at and mocked for being ignorant of history and politics. Instead, it goes out over the airwaves and lands with some unthinking fool in an airport, making Reich's day less pleasant.

This is the stupidest fucking time in American history, except for all of the other stupid fucking times. Let us not forget that nasty, ignorant discourse is a common theme in American politics. Our knowledge of what used to mean an informed comment on something has shifted over the years to include the ravings of lunatics and the desires of sponsors and the needs of network television executives who are being strangled by technological changes and an overall disinterest in knowing things.

People who want to know things find them out in spite of the media and our culture. That will never go away. What changes, over time, is how much we remember about how bad the good old days were.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

It Is Not a Filibuster




When the hacks have to acknowledge that what Senator Ted Cruz is doing is not a filibuster, and when they have to say things such as "filibuster-like" up front, then you know we're being treated to a theater of the absurd.

Timothy P. Carney fails to acknowledge one thing we know about the American system of government--when the Congress passes legislation, and when the President signs it into law, we don't get to scream for a do-over. This Congress couldn't pass anything to revoke or rescind or defund anything right now because it is a non-functioning deliberative body. And it is non-functioning because of extremists like Senator Cruz. If the American people don't like the law, they have to vote for people who can accumulate the votes to get rid of it.

The fear is that Obamacare is working, and it is a legitimate fear because it is working, and it will work, and these antics and theatrics are a sickening show. If the Democrats had tried this during the Bush years, they would have been arrested and deported. The hacks fail to understand this. Democracy isn't supposed to come unraveled like this, but it is, and it is happening because the American public is less informed than it has ever been. What a disgrace.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Time to Dangle


If Robert Benmosche is that stupid, then perhaps he really is a symptom of what really ails the world economy and our elites as a whole. They are ignorant of history, incompetent at what they do, and they don't know anything about how the world really works.

One person's persecution complex is another person's day to day existence. If this poor man had to live like a person who is truly in danger or being hung for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, imagine how he would feel about being culpable for the misery of millions. He'd probably hang himself if he understood how many lives he and his fellow elitists chose to ruin so they could grab more of the economic pie for themselves. He would not need to be hung by anyone for that to be driven home. What sustains this world is that the knowledge and compassion and creativity of the people far below him on the economic ladder creates a world worth living in where the act of lynching would not be considered justice for such a thief. He belongs in prison with all the rest of this criminal cohorts, but treated humanely, of course.

Our media and our government allow people like this to exist and thrive without conscience.

Monday, September 23, 2013

How a Compact Disc Used to Ruin Classic Album Covers







I had forgotten how "truncated" and condensed the cover of Animals looked when it was released on compact disc. If you compare the above to the image below, you can see the difference.





The original was much better, even if it did appear a little more faded.

How a Compact Disc Used to Ruin Classic Album Covers


I had forgotten how "truncated" and condensed the cover of Animals looked when it was released on compact disc. If you compare the above to the image below, you can see the difference.


The original was much better, even if it did appear a little more faded.

The Church Gathering Speed Bootleg Cover



Bootlegs offer a glimpse of the past. In this case, the cover of this Church bootleg is far more interesting than the poorly recorded music inside. The tin can through which the sound has been passed failed to do anything other than reduce the band to a stifled growl.

The cover features a photo of the band I have not seen before. This is the Richard Ploog era, and it begins with all of them looking like they are ready to conquer the world.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Idris Elba is Accidentally Speaking For Everyone Else







From a pop culture standpoint, you do not want to be an Englishman on the wrong side of Idris Elba at this stage of the game:


Elba, who has starred in Pacific Rim and Prometheus already this year, played 'Wonderwall' during a DJ set prior to the GQ interview. Asked by the magazine if he was taking a shot at [Liam] Gallagher by playing the song, Elba responds: "No! Fuck that idiot. No. I don’t even know what his songs are about now or what band he’s in now. No-one gives a fuck, yeah? He was popular when he was in Oasis."


And that's pretty much everyone else's opinion. Liam Gallagher hardly counts as a rock star anymore and the Beady Eye wagon has lost two or three wheels.

Idris Elba is Accidentally Speaking For Everyone Else


From a pop culture standpoint, you do not want to be an Englishman on the wrong side of Idris Elba at this stage of the game:
Elba, who has starred in Pacific Rim and Prometheus already this year, played 'Wonderwall' during a DJ set prior to the GQ interview. Asked by the magazine if he was taking a shot at [Liam] Gallagher by playing the song, Elba responds: "No! Fuck that idiot. No. I don’t even know what his songs are about now or what band he’s in now. No-one gives a fuck, yeah? He was popular when he was in Oasis."
And that's pretty much everyone else's opinion. Liam Gallagher hardly counts as a rock star anymore and the Beady Eye wagon has lost two or three wheels.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Endless Debate


You can count on one hand the number of people who have made a reasonable defense of maintaining Native American names for sports teams. Rick Reilly is not one of them.

Reilly is an inherently dumb analyst who doesn't do nuance or reasonable. He spouts off things like this in the middle of and endless stream of self-serving bullshit:
[...] even though an Annenberg Public Policy Center poll found that 90 percent of Native Americans were not offended by the Redskins name, and even though linguists say the "redskins" word was first used by Native Americans themselves, and even though nobody on the Blackfeet side of my wife's family has ever had someone insult them with the word "redskin," it doesn't matter. There's no stopping a wave of PC-ness when it gets rolling.
Polls can be skewed to demonstrate whatever the people paying for that poll want it to say. Reilly's attempt to personalize the debate is ridiculous because Native Americans are distributed throughout different regions. What might be acceptable for a tribe in Montana is vastly different from something know to a tribe that originated in a different part of the country. Cultural differences and linguistic differences are vast when it comes to Native Americans so the etymology of the term doesn't apply. It is not politically correct to object to the use of Native American terms for sports teams. It is, in point of fact, a demeaning act of cultural insensitivity. This is precisely because the Native Americans were not celebrated, elevated or triumphant, ever. They were removed, subjugated, and allowed to die off in massive numbers. When you adopt their names and images and use them to celebrate sports teams, all you are doing is relegating them to the status of mascot.

In the case of the Redskins, they use a racial term, not a tribal name or term, as their mascot. That's why the Seminoles in Florida have no problem with Florida State's use of the name and why the debate is far more nuanced than people realize.

I'm not able to add anything new here but I will say this--it's about money. Culture and other considerations need not apply. Money talks. The Redskins are too valuable for the franchise to survive a name change. There is too much wrapped up in merchandising and marketing to even consider a change. The Redskins franchise is worth over a billion dollars, depending on who you believe, and that is why you won't see a change until if affects the bottom line. No one cares about right or wrong when you're talking about a billionaire's plaything.

No amount of arguing or logic will change the monetary considerations that are driving this debate. Rick Reilly has made an attempt to subvert the racism in this case and he has failed to make a dent in the logic of changing the name. If it wasn't for the money, the name would have changed long ago.

The Jeremiah Program


Someone needs to pay attention to the success that The Jeremiah Program is having when it comes to lifting people out of intergenerational poverty:
The Jeremiah Program opened its doors near the Basilica of Saint Mary’s in 1998, when 18 families moved into its apartments. Over the years, it developed a model for combating intergenerational poverty that has won national recognition. The nonprofit has received calls for years from leaders in other cities, wanting to learn the magic formula. 
That formula includes safe, affordable housing for the family; quality early education for the kids; “life skills” training and a career track college education for mom — all linked to businesses, volunteers and the broader community to support the families along the way. 
A Wilder Foundation analysis of the model released this year showed that for every dollar invested in the program, there was a $4 return. Those savings took the form of less reliance on public assistance, increased taxes paid by the parents, and lower spending on special education and other services for their children.

They're adopting this program in Austin, Texas. Look for Governor Rick Perry to try to destroy it before it gets off the ground. If there's one thing a Republican hates, it is proof that the problem of poverty can be solved by using common sense and government money.

The formula of this project uses common sense and, to be honest with you, it flies in the fact of practically everything we are told about poverty. This strategy does not abandon people or relegate them to criminal status simply by being poor. It uses dignity and instruction to move people from one place to another.

How long before Nick Gillespie's outfit derides this as another boondoggle? How long before we see the Breitbart Kidz with hidden video of a pimp trying to get into an apartment?

Success breeds the kind of hate that has to be reckoned with. If you're going to successfully move people out of poverty, you have to be ready for the blowback.

Pacman and Peso Will Do Anything For a Buck




This has to be the dumbest stunt anyone ever pulled in order to gain virtually no fame whatsoever. Who's going to watch these two idiots in a video shot in North Korea?

I mean, duh:

ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS: Travel by U.S. citizens to North Korea is not routine, and U.S. citizens crossing into North Korea without proper documentation have been subject to arbitrary arrest and long-term detention (see Travel Warning ). You must have a valid passport and a valid DPRK visa to enter North Korea. The U.S. government does not issue letters to private U.S. citizens who wish to apply for DPRK visas. If you plan to enter and depart North Korea through China, you must obtain a multiple-entry visa for China, because a valid Chinese visa is required to enter China after leaving North Korea at the conclusion of your visit. Routine travel from South Korea to North Korea is prohibited. Travel across the demilitarized zone (DMZ) is allowed only infrequently for official and government-authorized cultural and economic exchanges or aid shipments. Commercial airlines do not operate regular flights between South and North Korea. 


If you arrive in North Korea without a valid passport and a valid DPRK visa, you may be denied entry, fined, detained, arrested, or imprisoned. North Korea has imposed heavy fines and long prison sentences with hard labor on persons who entered the country without the proper documentation. Even with the proper documentation, visitors may be subject to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment and may not receive appropriate legal protection against inhumane treatment. 


Internet access is limited to non-existent, and many hotels do not offer international telephone calls. If you use a cell phone in the DPRK, please keep in mind that mobile telephone networks are operated as a joint venture with the North Korean government. You have no right to privacy in North Korea and should assume your communications are monitored. If you bring electronic media, including USB drives, CD-ROMs, DVDs, or laptops, into North Korea, you must assume that North Korean authorities will review the information on those devices. Please be sure that the information contained on those devices does not violate North Korea’s laws or regulations. If you violate North Korea’s laws, knowingly or unknowingly, you can be harshly punished, even for offenses that would not be illegal in the United States.

How delusional are these two? They are backed by some serious idiocy:

“This trip will be a fantastic opportunity for Pacman and Peso to meet young, dynamic people and significantly broaden their horizons,” read the proposal, which was posted Aug. 30, “in addition to jump starting their musical careers.” The title was straightforward and surreal: “Pacman & Peso Make a Music Video in North Korea.”


This sentiment comes from, in part, a manager who should probably give up on his dreams and get a real job:


Ramsey Aburdene has a slight build, a post-college beard and an earnest way of communicating that makes him seem both younger and older than his age, which is 24. By day he works in commercial lending. But Ramsey grew up attending District public schools and always dreamed, after college at the University of Connecticut, of returning to his home and forming a small production studio for rap music.


North Korea? Really? Good luck, chumps.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Function Over Inspiration




This article details the liftoff of a supply capsule that has been sent to the International Space Station.

Sorry, but, *yawn.*

Our modern space program has abandoned sending people into space unless they're going to stay in the International Space Station. No one is going to Mars and no one is going to the moon anytime soon.

Where's the adventure? Has it been replaced with boring functionality and budget realities?

No wonder no one pays attention anymore.

No Gwar For the No Fun League




You can be rest assured that Gwar will never play the Superbowl. It has nothing to do with their popularity. If the NFL could make money from having Gwar play, they will put them out there and milk it for all it is worth.

No, Gwar won't play the Superbowl Halftime Show because that would scare the ever-loving crap out of millions of old people who are there to see the booby commercials and eat themselves into a coma. Bruno Mars is pleasant and has no edge to him. That's why he is their perfect musical act.

No Gwar For the No Fun League


You can be rest assured that Gwar will never play the Superbowl. It has nothing to do with their popularity. If the NFL could make money from having Gwar play, they will put them out there and milk it for all it is worth.

No, Gwar won't play the Superbowl Halftime Show because that would scare the ever-loving crap out of millions of old people who are there to see the booby commercials and eat themselves into a coma. Bruno Mars is pleasant and has no edge to him. That's why he is their perfect musical act.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Crazy People Should Not Be Allowed to Buy Guns




Here's what we should be talking about:

Veterans With Mental Problems Should Not Be Allowed to Buy Guns

And you can extend that to people with mental problems should not be allowed to buy guns. I have no problem with that. The problem is, we have an active, fully-financed gun lobby that believes that all the crazy people in the world who hear voices and gnaw on the insides of their cheeks and run around slapping themselves with hams are buying guns because they can and they're using them to shoot people to make the voices stop and that's perfectly okay with the free guns for everyone lobby because Obama is going to take their guns away and this will stop that from happening.

We are well and truly fucked because we can't get past this idea that taking guns away from people who shouldn't have guns is anti-American. It's not. It's common goddamned sense.

Our Congress is bought and paid for by the anti-gun control lobby. This is not just an NRA issue. It's a case where the will of the people is being thwarted directly by money and this has left us with a public safety issue that could be addressed fairly quickly.

Have you been treated for mental illness? Have you been arrested for a gun-related incident? Guess what, Skippy? You don't get to buy anymore guns. And yet, we live in a society that gets outraged--outraged--when you point out the fact that when crazy people buy guns, they tend to do crazy things with them. Shocking, but accurate.

Here's how the dumbest man on the Internet deals with such things--outrage being plentiful when other people are being shot down at work:




When the debate is happening at this level and when sensible people can look at Jim Hoft and agree with his ridiculous posts, that should tell you where this issue is going to land. Someone is going to stand up and give a mournful speech and promise deeds, not more words, and then nothing is going to change. Nothing.

We now have clear evidence that a crazy guy bought guns legally and used them to shoot up his workplace. Full stop. And yet, we will not have that sensible conversation about guns because, of course, Freedom!

This is a public safety issue. If you think it is just about guns, or about liberals taking away guns, think again. It is about ensuring that crazy fucking people are not able to walk into a gun shop in Lorton, Virginia and buy a shotgun. All I want to see happen here is that the guy selling guns in Lorton can have a thriving, decent business that is based on allowing him to, without penalty, deny the crazy fucking ex-Navy guy from buying a gun because he has lost his right to buy guns by being fucking crazy and shooting at things and breaking the law and hearing voices.

Why is that so hard to understand?

Monday, September 16, 2013

Off the Reservation

Does a man like Archbishop John Niendstedt have a future in the modern Catholic Church? Will this new Pope Francis completely transform the church in time to relegate men like this to the fringes?

Never bet on goodness when it comes to the transformation of a major religion. It all skews evil, always, and it usually comes with a marketing plan that adapts to the times in which we live. You can almost hear the Opus Dei collapsing around you, whips and chains optional.

So Long, Larry Summers


A lot will be written about denying Larry Summers yet another perch from which he could look down on the economy and do whatever it is he does. I find it hard to believe that anyone on the left, anyone who considers themselves a liberal, and the left wing of the Democratic Party in general has the power to determine who gets what job anymore.

If you are a conservative Senator, you can pretty much deny this administration anything you want. We have numerous judicial appointments that are still languishing in limbo. We have an incomplete Federal cabinet and we have gridlock when it comes to nominees that require confirmation from the Senate. That power is not held by anyone who comes from the left side of the political spectrum. Summers was sunk because of some other issue or reason, probably having more to do with a general lack of approval from some obscure Republican Senator than anything else.

This article seems to suggest that there are Democratic Senators who can, you know, change things. Senators Sherrod Brown, Jeff Merkley and Elizabeth Warren are powerful and won't be hung out to dry by the Democratic Party establishment, I gather? They are not going to face the music for helping to drive Summers out of the Fed job?

When did the left get this magical power to deny appointments? Why doesn't the left use this power more often?

This is Actually Something Someone Does?



This is a thing? Really? And there are people still buying these things?

I would imagine that these are fake pieces of nostalgia being passed off as collector's items. I find it hard to believe that this man was simply selling pirated copies that weren't being passed on with some bogus "added value" to them, like signatures or whatnot.

The methods of purchasing and acquiring music have all but vanished. There are no music shops anymore, really, and the Internet is the only way to get music. If you want to be specific about it, getting an iTunes account and dealing with all of that bullshit has to be a pain in the ass for those who have been left behind. Can you imagine dealing with iTunes and several downloads over a dial-up connection?

This is Actually Something Someone Does?

This is a thing? Really? And there are people still buying these things?

I would imagine that these are fake pieces of nostalgia being passed off as collector's items. I find it hard to believe that this man was simply selling pirated copies that weren't being passed on with some bogus "added value" to them, like signatures or whatnot.

The methods of purchasing and acquiring music have all but vanished. There are no music shops anymore, really, and the Internet is the only way to get music. If you want to be specific about it, getting an iTunes account and dealing with all of that bullshit has to be a pain in the ass for those who have been left behind. Can you imagine dealing with iTunes and several downloads over a dial-up connection?

Flooding in Colorado




The vengeance and fury of flying Baby Jeebus has visited itself upon Colorado and these floods are devastating and terrible. When you talk about 19,000 homes being damaged or washed away, you are talking about a pervasive natural disaster that would make any libertarian over completely into a big government Democrat in about five minutes.

When things like this happen, we are now so conditioned to look at Red State vs Blue State politics. It was true of Oklahoma--small government living meant fewer tornado shelters and tragedy. Both of Oklahoma's crazy Senators have voted to cut off funds for other states, especially New Jersey, and the hypocrisy has been breathtaking.

In Colorado, there is just sadness and ruin. They are saying that there are 1,200 people missing. This story should get way more coverage.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Enlisted




This is the actual premise of a show on Fox:

Enlisted is a military-set family comedy centering on three brothers who, when the best of the best are sent overseas, stay behind to keep the post in order. Geoff Stults, Chris Lowell and Parker Young star alongside Keith David and Angelique Cabral.


Sounds like a hoot. The problem is, this sort of a situation wouldn't actually happen and that means that the premise of the show, which is critical in any comedy, falls apart right away.

You would never see three brothers anywhere near each other unless they were on leave in the Army and you have what would appear to be three men in their thirties with what amounts to almost no rank whatsoever. The dude in the middle has a combat patch, is Airborne qualified with the Pathfinder badge, and he's a mere private? A buck sergeant, if that? Really? And the other two have too much hair and not enough rank as well.

The people who stay behind are usually non-deployable. These three able-bodied men are all brothers, serving on the same Army post, and they didn't deploy with their units? How are you going to mine that for laughs? Good luck.

These things matter even if it is just a comedy.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Is It Really Just a Piece of Wood?


One of the great joys of my life is watching Baby Boomers bankrupt themselves trying to acquire obscure scraps of the legacy of the Beatles. This is yet another example of how virtually any object can be transformed into something worth a fantastic amount of money that will only matter to a dying generation of people who have overvalued the music of their youth to an extent not really ever seen before.

There must be a piece of wood out there with Noel Gallagher's lyrics carved onto it. Who is paying too much for that?

When the last of these fools dies off, their talismans and objects and souvenirs are going to be worth what, exactly?

Almost nothing.

Is It Really Just a Piece of Wood?


One of the great joys of my life is watching Baby Boomers bankrupt themselves trying to acquire obscure scraps of the legacy of the Beatles. This is yet another example of how virtually any object can be transformed into something worth a fantastic amount of money that will only matter to a dying generation of people who have overvalued the music of their youth to an extent not really ever seen before.

There must be a piece of wood out there with Noel Gallagher's lyrics carved onto it. Who is paying too much for that?

When the last of these fools dies off, their talismans and objects and souvenirs are going to be worth what, exactly?

Almost nothing.

Maryland vs Texas




Texas Governor Rick Perry has decided to live his life as a troll. Good for him. I hope he gets the help he needs before they try to run him for President again.

It is unseemly for a governor to decry other states for business reasons. Virtually all of America's corporations are incorporated in Delaware. Does Perry have an answer for that? Why not go after that low-hanging fruit and make it so that companies would actually want to incorporate in Texas. I remember that Austin, Texas used to be a hub for tech companies. How's Dell doing now?

I happen to be a person who moved directly from Texas to Maryland by way of a short stay in the country of South Korea. What a magical time that was. We went from no trees, blasting heat, and few, if any, government services to the place where we still live today. It's not as hot, the trees are way better, and we have a host of services available to us that we didn't have in Texas. Maryland has its problems, but at least--at least--it is not Texas.

Here in Maryland, nobody seems interested in letting a fertilizer plant next to a residential area blow sky high and kill people because, well, Freedom!

Food Obsession Reaches a New Level


McDonald's has a new "product" that is really not any different from the supersized meals offered by Taco Bell or Kentucky Fried Chicken. Those restaurants package large amounts of food in boxes that can be purchased by people and they are designed to disguise how much food they are gathering up and consuming.

Our society is no longer about ordering a late night pizza; it's about consuming an ever-increasing amount of food that can be boxed and hidden away from prying eyes.

We're not just getting fatter. We're eliminating the stigma associated with getting fatter.

In other words, why is this news? Because the news organization in question, Time Magazine, has a vested interest in writing stories about how we are getting fatter and less healthy and so it seeds the discussion with stories about products that help transform America into a land full of weight-obsessed food abusers who have to now buy boxes of the stuff they want.

Circle jerk? Yes. And on purpose as well.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Nothing Ever Changes


Why even bother to study this sort of thing?

Will it lead to change? No. Will anyone do anything about this? No. Will there be a badly-needed course correction in time to save our capitalist society from a meltdown?

I hope so. We do need to see reform and change, and this time in favor of people who don't own everything.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Heidelberg




The U.S. military has seen fit to close the facility in Heidelberg, Germany. In reality, this means that there will be fewer Americans living and working in the Mannheim and Heidelberg areas. If you spent any time in Germany during the Cold War, this may come as a bit of a shock. If not, oh well.

My memories of these places are positive; the PX and the Food Court on Heidelberg were wonderfully retro in that they weren't "modernized" and ruined. They allowed you a glimpse of what was, and not what will be, which is nothing.

I agree with closing these bases and reducing our footprint overseas. But the closure of Heidelberg cuts to the bone.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Primal Scream Burning Wheel Cover







Primal Scream's Burning Wheel single is extremely ambitious and well done. It uses retro imagery, the time stamp motif, and cuts everything up nicely.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

What Did You Say Your Name Was?





Apparently, there's this fellow named David Petraeus and he once had some jobs or something in the government and he wants people to listen to him...




At some point, he may have had some influence or some power. Now he sounds like a confused man who wandered in from a golf course somewhere, hoping someone would invite him to lunch or maybe nod politely while he gave his opinion about things that have been going on in the world.

Anyway, he had a cute girlfriend for a while but now his wife is all mad or something and he can't work anymore. Something like that--I forget.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Why Aren't We Bombing North Korea?


What would you do if you had overwhelming evidence that a country was systematically killing its own people?
The report disclosed that two camps have been closed in the past year but that up to 130,000 individuals are still being held in penal labor colonies. 
"They are deemed 'wrong-thinkers', 'wrongdoers', or those who have acquired 'wrong knowledge' or have engaged in 'wrong associations,'" it said. 
"Through this vast system of unlawful imprisonment, the North Korean regime isolates, banishes, punishes and executes those suspected of being disloyal to the regime," the report added. 
Detainees are "relentlessly subjected to malnutrition, forced labor, and to other cruel and unusual punishment", the report said, with thousands more forcibly held in other detention facilities. 
Some are held under the yeonjwa-je system, a “three generation, collective punishment system,” which can see children held because of the “real, suspected or imagined” political disloyalty of the grandfathers or fathers.

Activists say that as many as 40 percent of the male, female and child inmates die of malnutrition, while others succumb to disease, sexual violence, torture, abuse by the guards or are worked to death. Some are required to work for up to 16 hours a day in dangerous conditions, often in mines or logging camps.
If you're wondering why we haven't bombed North Korea lately, you're not alone. Because it has been able to build up a mythological and hardly impressive military posture, the argument tends to run along the lines of "if we attack North Korea, they will set Seoul on fire."

Well, if you want to be consistent, and prevent hundreds of thousands of people from being worked to death or to starved to death, then you need to go bomb North Korea when you're done bombing Syria.

I am not in the mood to be lectured about Syria when reports like this one out of North Korea continue to be ignored.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Encryption is Meaningless


This is hilarious.

If you think encryption means anything anymore, continue to live as if no one has ever figured out how to crack these things. Secrets in the digital age? Please.

Binky Spitter







Trent Reznor had a fit in public over how he was treated at the Reading Festival, and it prompted a response from Biffy Clyro that I needed to have translated for me.

Simon Neil said that Reznor 'spat his dummy out' and thereby ended the discussion by giving the best possible spin on what happened. Some American bands do tend to show up at British festivals and react with horror when they're told that they are playing in the early afternoon, well before bands that no one in the U.S. has ever heard of but have massive followings in Europe. Some take it in stride and some fail to comprehend how something called Biffy Clyro could be a bigger draw.




Anyway, the phrase breaks out like this:

Spit the Dummy ... is childish, like a baby spitting out its dummy in a tantrum and refusing to be pacified.

For the Brits and the Australians (and a few others), a dummy is what they call a pacifier; the term I am most familiar with is binky.

Reznor is a binky spitter, in other words. I think that's the phrase we should adopt. Binky Spitter.

Monday, September 2, 2013

No Bees For Bez


Even if Bez means well, he's never going to get the benefit of the doubt from the Bromley Beekeepers Association (cue Preservation by the Kinks...)

This is not going to end normally, let's put it that way.

Dumb Stunts Fail to Inspire




This is good for Diana Nyad, but, really, who cares?

It is 2013. If you are inspired by an old lady to go swim a long way in the ocean without a shark cage, then go for it.

The sad thing is, no one is inspired by dumb stunts anymore. This is not the Depression--no one is going to give her a hundred dollars for her feat and no one is going to make her a movie star. No one will see this unless it goes viral and, even then, so what?

We need to get beyond these outdated feats of whatever (Because someone will always wonder if there were there steroids involved. Was it a fraud?) because you simply cannot trust that these things are entirely free of interference.

I'm impressed by art. I'm impressed by things that take the mind to create them. The human body and sports, in particular, are impressive but they are open to corruption, as is art, when you think of it, because of things like plagiarism and the like. In this case, someone swam a long way in the ocean. Why was this breaking news all day?