Friday, January 31, 2014

Chris Christie Knew and He Lied About It

I don't think the 2016 Presidential Race matters right now. What matters is whether or not Chris Christie will still be in politics a month from now. A week from now. I mean, holy crap.

He knew.

Chris Christie knew and he lied about it and David Wildstein is ready to squeal like the archetypal stool pigeon.

Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., knew about the lane closings on the George Washington Bridge as they were happening, the former Port Authority official who oversaw the closings said Friday, adding that he has the evidence to prove it,the New York Times reports.

The attorney for David Wildstein, who was appointed by Christie to the Port Authority and later resigned after the scandal broke, said in a letter released that "evidence exists as well tying Mr. Christie to having knowledge of the lane closures, during the period when the lanes were closed, contrary to what the governor stated publicly in a two-hour press conference."

“Mr. Wildstein contests the accuracy of various statements that the governor made about him and he can prove the inaccuracy of some,” the letter added, according to the Times.

Christie explicitly said during the Jan. 9 news conference that he had "no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution" and said he didn't know that anyone on his staff was involved in the closings until the day before.

Plenty of liars get elected President. Plenty of liars keep their jobs. Chris Christie shouldn't be one of them.

The Craziest Super Bowl Ever?

Is it me or is this going to be an insane Super Bowl? The craziness surrounding this event which, inexplicably, was awarded to the New York metro area, has been vastly different than previous years when it was held in New Orleans (not that New Orleans can't get nutty).

Will there even be a game on Sunday? Damn.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Todd Starnes Got Caught Lying Again

Todd Starnes is a religion hustler. He does what the race hustlers does--he lies and makes stuff up so that he can advance his agenda, plant stories in the media, and attract attention to himself. Fox News cannot claim to be a solid, dependable news organization precisely because it employs people like Starnes on a regular basis.

He's a hack and he's a liar. States like California are the breeding ground of these poorly sourced phony outrage stories because we couldn't possibly have religious intolerance and bigotry in a place like South Carolina or Texas, could we? Of course not.

Starnes is your go-to source for bullshit.

Obscurity Knocks

Bruce Broughton is upset, but, really, the people who should be upset are the ones who didn't have their work judged fairly this year. Broughton's song was elevated from obscurity because of favoritism and bullshit. The merits of the song notwithstanding, the decision to take away the nomination comes from a place where you simply can't get away with everything all the time.

The thing is, the Oscar, which is the award that is the most coveted, is part of a sham and a conspiracy among powerful industry insiders. You don't get one unless you're a somebody they like and want to give it to. Merit means nothing. The only reason why Broughton was even nominated is because of the E-mail you can read about here. He is not "one of them" and the system has rebelled against the idea that an outsider might be elevated by his mistaken association.

Should he have been nominated? No, but the Academy got it right.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Wonderbag

The product that you see above is the Wonderbag; it slow cooks food that would normally require a heat source. It's a product designed for the harsh realities of Africa, but you can still put it to "green" use.

And, without any compensation for me, I'm including the link to Amazon where people can check it out and perhaps buy one. When you buy a Wonderbag, a free one goes to someone in Africa.

Slowdive Are Back

Now that Slowdive and Chapterhouse have made tentative comebacks, how long can Andy Bell from Ride hold out?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jude Law Might Be the One to Destroy Rupert Murdoch's Evil Empire

Jude Law is having his day in court over painful and personal matters. And his day in court is sending shockwaves through the British legal system. He has, for all intents and purposes, appeared at the epicenter of the illegal phone hacking carried out by employees of Rupert Murdoch's newspapers in Great Britain. The ethical breaches alone have been front page news for years. Now we begin to see how tawdry the details were and how these people operated without any regard for the law.

The part of this that matters is the fact that Law was working in the United States when journalists were trolling through his personal life, trying to find tabloid material. Law's case, then, is going to likely expand the inquest into the realm of U.S. law. If someone can go after Murdoch in the states, they can accelerate the destruction of News Corp through litigation.

Law should receive a massive settlement for that they did to him. His star may have faded but the outrage over what was done should not fade at all.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Trent Reznor is Mad Because the Grammys Are Lame

Why is Trent Reznor always mad?

The Grammys are meaningless and they applaud a dying industry as it collapses on itself. There has never been anything cool about winning a Grammy unless, of course, you enjoy fellating the corporate whores who preside over what's left. The Grammy's are an embarrassment to art and sometimes even to commerce.

Given the fact that the broadcast from last night was roundly panned and insensitive (no tribute to Lou Reed?), why is Reznor shocked that they bent the knee for teevee and cut out for a commercial?

The Jade Rabbit Says Goodnight to Humanity

The Jade Rabbit is the Chinese rover sent to study the moon. It was supposed to last for a few more months but it has shut down and said a heartfelt "goodnight" to the people of Earth. In other words, the damned thing has quit working.

This is all being handled with the weirdly poetic (and probably poorly translated) prose of the Chinese space agency and the press handlers that are trying to put a positive spin on the demise of this expensive piece of hardware. To my way of thinking, when a totalitarian government tries to work with poetry and human emotions, it all comes out sounding like someone has been allowed to empty their bizarre ideas into exactly the wrong forum for discussion.

Perhaps I am expressing a preference for the hard-assed coldness of NASA, which abandoned anything imaginative two generations ago, but still. The Chinese are being rather strange about their contribution to the space junk race.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Jay Leno Will Never Go Away

When it comes to Jay Leno, all you can do is pray that he goes away with some of his dignity intact:

How did Jay Leno really feel in 2009, when NBC revealed its master plan to hand The Tonight Show over to Conan O’Brien? The comedian doesn’t mince words in an upcoming interview with 60 Minutes, telling Steve Kroft that the decision took him completely by surprise. “I was blindsided,” he says, according to CBS News.

And though Leno adds that he never asked his corporate overlords to explain their reasoning, hearing he was being replaced felt like being rejected by his girlfriend: “You know, you have a girl [who] says, ‘I don’t want to see you anymore.’ Why? You know, she doesn’t want to see you anymore, okay?”

This time around, though, Leno seems much more at peace with the network’s machinations — even though, as the host notes in the clip below, he “probably would have stayed [on Tonight] a little longer” if he had his druthers.

That said, Leno adds, “it’s not my decision” — and he believes that bringing in “an extremely qualified young guy” like Jimmy Fallon, whom Leno likens to “a young Johnny [Carson],” makes “perfect sense.” So maybe this isn’t a happy ending for Leno — but at least it’s one he can understand.

In other words, plan on passive-aggressive tactics that will gut Jimmy Fallon and return Leno to the Tonight Show in about fourteen months. If Fallon loses his audience, Leno will make himself available for another "salvation" play. I think Fallon will be much more attractive to advertisers and I think he will mesh perfectly with the viral video nature of the culture. When was the last time Leno had anything go viral?

I mean, when he says that he never asked NBC to explain things, he's lying. He has known for over a decade that his audience skews far too old to entice the advertisers that NBC needs to stay afloat. His show has never generated the kind of money that Johnny Carson used to make--enough money so that Carson could tell NBC what to do and when to do it and how high he wanted them to pile his money. Leno has never had that kind of power. He does not preside over a cultural institution--he runs a pretty good show that won't offend anyone's mother. And that's as nice as it gets.

Leno will eat the seed corn of television and destroy everyone in order to stay on the air for another decade. Whoever gives him a deal makes a lifetime commitment to hire a man whose own "highlights" show is eminently forgettable.

When was the last time anyone sat down and watched a best-of reel featuring the last twenty or so years of Leno? Please.


This assclown used a mass shooting (a domestic dispute) to sell shit on his blog.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Always Good For a Laugh

Ann Althouse misses the point entirely when she makes her attack about our weak campaign finance laws and not the complete and utter disregard of the rule of law by half-assed conservative pundit and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza. It isn't about the law--it's about the fact that D'Souza is a serial hypocrite of the highest order who got caught because he simply didn't respect the very simple and basic rules that govern who can give money to a candidate and how much they can give. So, there's that. And, of course charging him with violating campaign finance laws is "political" because D'Souza operates entirely in a political world where everyone is accountable for their actions except himself. His respect for the rule of law is legendary--especially family law.

Saying that the law is "oppressive" is laughable. How can the law be oppressive in any way, shape or form for a conservative intellectual of D'Souza's background? Did he not go to college? Wasn't he supposed to be a smarty-pants? That's the kind of stupid Ann Althouse is famous for. And her braying pack of jackasses will eat it up until they all dissolve into their wine and confusion.

D'Souza will claim he is a martyr, that he is being silenced, and that President Obama spends all day, huddled with his advisers, trying to find a way to destroy him. It couldn't possibly be the case where D'Souza acted like an idiot and got caught doing something ridiculous. It couldn't be a case where he got caught doing something that a functioning adult with basic common sense could have gotten away with just by operating with the barest of noble intentions. Nope.

If you're stupid enough to get caught violating laws no one enforces anymore, you deserve to be indicted and blasted for it. The "weird details" of Althouse's imagination really don't go any further than getting caught giving a candidate more money than they were supposed to give and then reimbursing them with payments that can be easily traced and discovered:

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan said that Mr. D’Souza encouraged others to give $20,000 to a Senate candidate and reimbursed them for the donations. Election law prohibits such arrangements and caps donations at $5,000 per donor to any one candidate. 

The Senate candidate was not identified in the indictment. Mr. D’Souza donated to only one federal candidate in 2012, giving $5,000 to Wendy Long, a New York Republican who lost her challenge to Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, a Democrat.

If that's not breathtakingly stupid, what the hell is?

Bruce Springsteen Covers The Saints

Chris Bailey of The Saints is due for a windfall. Let's hope that, when Bruce Springsteen's sales go through the roof, Bailey gets a flood of royalties. They are well deserved.

The Saints released the album All Fool's Day back in the mid-1980s and it is a brilliant, brilliant record. I'm of the opinion that not even Springsteen can top the original version of Just Like Fire Would.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Aquarium Drunkard

As the music world drifts into the past, drowned out by video games and self-obsessed whining, it's entirely possible to reverse things by looking at great music sites. The only thing that will save music is giving a shit about artists.

Aquarium Drunkard is one of those sites. Check it out.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Police Wrapped Around Your Finger EP

When The Police were wrapping up that monstrosity called Synchronicity, their singles and EPs were forgotten; all anyone remembers is the album. No one remembers the gems that were scattered across multiple releases, like this 12" single, which was designed to keep the momentum going while they toured the world and pushed the biggest album of their career. There are no throwaways here; every track is a classic version.

It's hard for me to think of this as a single; properly, it is more of an album track. But the whole thing was a juggernaut. There could have been seven singles from this album, easily.

The artwork is also worth the price alone. Their covers were handled by the best in the business and the marketing scheme behind Synchronicity was as simple as it was complex; three swishes of paint, primary colors, and only use the best shots from what had to have been a miserable series of photo sessions.

If you can find this, keep it.

The Archives of Johnny Cash

It is difficult to imagine, but there really are whole entire albums that Johnny Cash wasn't allowed to release in his lifetime because, well, who knows, really?

John Carter Cash is releasing the best things found in the archives of Johnny Cash, his father. He could make himself a good living simply by being a good steward of his father's legacy (not that there's anything wrong with that, nor is there anything wrong with the younger Mr. Cash doing his own thing and not having anything to do with Johnny Cash, et al). The fans who have outlived Johnny will be the beneficiaries of all of this.

And that's really the saddest thing of all--Johnny Cash had a lot of fans who are dead now. They won't get to hear this stuff--the stuff his record label didn't want to release. As one of the 20th Century's greatest recording artists, how could you not put out a Johnny Cash album? I'll never understand that.

Who Drinks Tap Water Anymore?

I am just as amazed as anyone else--why isn't this the biggest story on the news?

Try to imagine New York or California dealing with a situation like this: The tap water's only good for toilets, not drinking, washing, cooking or showering; more than a dozen people have been hospitalized for complaints related to water that's been contaminated with a somewhat mysterious chemical; and residents wait in line for bottled water -- or for ice to melt -- in order to have something to drink. 

That's been life since Thursday in West Virginia's capital city, Charleston, where 300,000 people were left without safe water -- again, except for toilet flushing -- after chemicals contaminated the Elk River. Some of the taps have started coming back on; cleanup and testing are underway, according to the news reports on Monday. But the spill, which has been attributed to a leak in a chemical-storage tank not far upriver from the city's water treatment plant, continues to paralyze Charleston.

Now I get the fact that people consume drinking water radically different than they did twenty or thirty years ago--bottled water has become ubiquitous. Drinking tap water is something someone who owns their own well might enjoy but I haven't had tap water in ages. We buy bottled water and drink it regularly, both at home and wherever we go. But clean, safe drinking water is essential for cooking, unless a person buys it by the gallon or uses a large bottled water dispenser. You absolutely have to have it in order to survive for very long. You cannot expect any community to tolerate the loss of their clean supply of drinking water for more than a few days.

This is what it means when we forget the lessons of Love Canal and the environmental movement of the 1970s. We had poisoned, burning rivers, tap water that would make kids sick, and whole communities inundated with birth defects and deaths from cancer and Americans rallied to the idea that the government was supposed to be a watchdog and companies were not to be trusted. Then came the 1980s and de-regulation.

What has happened in West Virginia is a direct result of the Reagan legacy--government is the problem, you say? The government stayed out of the way of Freedom Industries, leaving them alone since 1991 and the first Bush Administration. Look what leaving them alone got the 300,000 people exposed to 4-methylcyclohexane methanol--it got them a little bit of news coverage and not much else. You'd think the Gulf of Mexico spill, courtesy of BP, would have reinvigorated advocacy groups and raised awareness. It appears that it didn't. Drink up.That bottled water is going to have to last you, though.

Beady Eye Loves a Fiasco

Beady Eye loves a fiasco.

It's no secret that Australia's Big Day Out festival has become a bit of a chore for some; it's a tough festival, and, not without good reason, they called last year's event a fiasco. When they tried to promote this year's festival, they were quick to emphasize the presence of Blur and, because of their cancellation, are going to have to shovel Beady Eye into that hole in the schedule.

Will the Australian fans accept the substitution? I'm thinking that they will give them a proper chance and, if it all goes south, they'll blame the organizers. Expect more of the same.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

They Are Going to Jail All the Bloggers Now

I guess I have to stop calling Chris Christie a ratfucker and I guess we have to put the fee-fees of people who lie, cheat, steal and grift their way to prominence. I guess it's all over for political blogging.

If they can put Roger Shuler in jail, they can put anyone in jail.

I remember admiring his work on Legal Schnauzer and how he covered a lot of the local issues in Alabama. When Governor Don Siegelman was railroaded into prison for being a Democrat, Shuler was all over that story as well. What the New York Times story misses is the fact that putting Siegelman in prison was a Karl Rove ratfuck of the highest order. Siegelman was taken out of office specifically because he was a Democrat in the state of Alabama--nothing more. His crimes? Someone donated money to his campaign and then the government did something indirectly that favored them. If you took the standard applied to Siegelman and applied that to every politician in America, you'd have to build a dozen new Federal prisons a month to house them all.

Shuler is guilty of being a gadfly and a pest to people in power. This is why bloggers really are journalists at heart--they comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. They kick up, not down, when they're doing it right and Shuler had to have been doing it right. There would be no other reason to put him in jail, would there?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Thanks, Obama

Back in the day, we had an anti-war movement, an environmental movement, and a labor movement. The ratfuckers and the bagmen and the Republicans--pretty much all one and the same--have systematically destroyed advocacy as a way of life in this country. There are still people who care about clean air and clean water, and there are people who care about the militarization of the police and the destruction of labor rights, but they've been turned into criminals, they've been watched by police intelligence units, they've been deemed ACORN sympathizers (thereby marginalizing them because, well, ACORN no longer exists) or worse.

The people you see above need advocates now. They need people to raise hell about what happened to their ground water. They need to organize and agitate. They need to complain to high Heaven. They need to say something about what it's like to live in an area where the very water they're supposed to be able to drink and bathe in is doused in chemicals.

The militarization of the police helps strike breaking companies and it allows polluters to run wild. Any attempt to watch them or stop them is met by batons and violence. If you think the people you see above should be rioting or protesting, think again. They should be lucky to get their bottled water and they should watch for people they have never seen before, showing up to write down their license plates. They should be mad as hell once they get home and figure out what to do next. But they should think again before holding an American corporation responsible for anything because, well, that simply won't do. We don't hurt the fee-fees of job creators and we don't want another Occupy movement, do we now? Good.

At some point, in the next few days, you'll see how this was all Obama's fault how these corrupt and incompetent chemical companies were allowed to poison the watershed of West Virginia and threaten hundreds of thousands of people with sickness or even death.

How many kids have to die from gunshots, neglect, malnutrition, abuse, or environmental poisoning for people to wake up and see that their way of life is being stripped from them by paid shills and politicians who can relentlessly litigate and legislate and regulate what they want to have stuck in a woman's vagina in order to scare her out of having an abortion but can't help themselves from giving dangerous chemical companies the right to do whatever they want whenever they want without fear of a fine or a nosy government inspector showing up unannounced? Sorry to go all run-on sentence on you, but, damn. How many people have to live in fear, horror, and pain so that someone can buy a fifth house?

Thanks, Obama. I'm sure that someone at Fox News is figuring out how to blame you for this.


I don't think so, sir.

Fox News Can't Help Itself

The jokes write themselves.

Once the political fortunes of Chris Christie began to collapse--you need not call him governor anymore because they are going to keep at him until he resigns--Fox News started screaming Benghazi as much as it possibly could. They dumped out of his news conference and look for Sean Hannity to start handing off to Megyn Kelly with teasers about new bombshells about Benghazi.

What Republicans don't understand is that this couldn't have happened at a better time. Once Christie is gone, they have ten months until the 2014 elections; after that, the 2016 Presidential Election cycle will kick off in the spring of 2015. By this time in a year, no one will remember Christie if he gets out of politics now and they won't have the Outlaw Jersey Whale to carry around on their backs.

Christie is the John Edwards of the Republican Party. He has a tin ear for what's appropriate, he doesn't care if what he's doing affects the party, and he sees himself as being above scrutiny in all things. He has that lethal combination of being certain of his future while doing whatever it takes to destroy his chances. The Republican Party doesn't know how lucky it is to have this guy exposed so soon after the election cycle. If this was September of 2014, they'd be reeling from being associated with this ratfucker.

Chris Christie will go down as a ratfucker, and he will be remembered as a Nixon who coulda been.

No Idea

I don't think this article is really accurate, but I will admit that I did not know that Krist Novoselic was that accomplished on the accordion. There are probably numerous other people who have a background in the instrument, but maybe none of them are already in the rock hall of absolute lame.

He's going in because of his bass playing, though. He's not going in because of what he did on the accordion.

The New York Post Isn't Worth the Paper It's Printed On

Someone else has noticed how worthless the New York Post really is in terms of ethics and decency (no one would expect journalism from a tabloid, of course). The most popular page on my site is this one, and that should tell you something about how many people are trying to find information about how bad the paper has become (was it ever good?).

That thing is cut from the same cloth as Fox News. Why would you be surprised at how worthless it is?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Replacements Will Play Coachella

So, the lede here is Outkast. Fine. But, buried in the story is this piece of news:

More than 150 acts will perform throughout the two weekends. Muse will headline the Saturday shows, and Arcade Fire will close out Sunday nights. Grammy-nominated singer Lorde will make her first appearance at the festival in Indio, Calif. Other performer highlights include The Replacements, Beck, Calvin Harris, Broken Bells, Haim, Neko Case, MGMT, Girl Talk, Foster the People, Ellie Goulding, Neutral Milk Hotel, Lana Del Rey, Pharrell Williams, Chromeo and Queens of the Stone Age. 

Bury the lede, guys.

Guitar Music is Flying Under the Radar

It's hard to disagree with Matt Helders because guitar music just isn't a dominant force in music anymore. There are guitar acts--Jack White and John Mayer among many--but they're not dominating any of the charts or commanding much attention right now. Guitar music is dying in some respects but still carrying on in others.

What encourages me is the shoegaze scene, which is almost completely under the radar right now and has thrived for years. Not enough is being done to keep these bands afloat--there's no money, there are no deals and what music they are able to put out has to be self-financed or done with limited support. People who love music are going to make it no matter what but it's going to change and evolve and turn into something that will discourage theft and commercial exploitation. I can see a time coming really soon where we go back to coveting 45 RPM vinyl singles pressed locally by bands that don't answer the phone when someone calls from a "record company."

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Thug Life in the Garden State

Don't cross Chris Christie. Your kids will end up getting snarled in traffic on their way to school.

Shame the Misogynist Trolls

Conor Friersdorf is right about something on the internet, so the trolls will have to wait.

First, he is correct that the misogynists who say horrible things to women have driven them from the national discourse. There are far too few women who blog and engage in online activities. It's inherent upon anyone who engages in discussions online to shame misogynists and call them out for what they do.

Second, he is absolutely right about Megan McArdle. 

Then I guest-blogged for Megan McArdle. At the time, she was employed here atThe Atlantic. My stint running her page while she vacationed included the keys to the blog's inbox. Even as someone who'd previously blogged about immigration in California's Inland Empire, fielding insults and aggressive invective as vile as any I could imagine, I was shocked by a subset of her blog's correspondence.

While I would agree that she should not be subjected to misogyny, a lot of that stemmed from the fact that she had a high profile position writing about things about which she knew nothing. There's no excuse for vile commentary, however. McArdle angered people to a great extent, so the misplaced vitriol should have been properly handled by her employer. They should have known that it would take special effort to protect her from what was said to her in private correspondence because they were already heavily moderating her comment threads. 

All employers should protect their employees from that kind of hatred. Using sexist language and violent threats should result in people taking actions to protect their employees--and shaming or filing charges against people who engage in this activity should not be confused with censorship or attacking free speech.

The attacks on her ideas should have been directed at her was due to her inability to see beyond her own privilege, her own ideology, and her inability to do basic math. They should never have involved misogyny. The Atlantic kept her employed well past her expiration date as a commentator or pundit on matters well out of her intellectual depth. If she had been a man, her stupidity would have been just as evident to all.

Good Guys and Bad Guys

Glenn Lieberman, scammer

The fact that there were scammers who used 9/11 to falsely claim disability should not come as a shock to anyone. You cannot expect complex organizations to be completely free of unethical employees. Each and every public service organization probably has a case or more of employees being caught claiming injuries that don't exist. Workman's compensation is riddled with such cases as well.

No, what's shocking is how stupid these people were:

On either side of Bratton and the other officials were two blown-up photos set upon easels. One was of retired cop Glenn Lieberman, who had received $175,758.40 from Social Security in addition to his NYPD pension after allegedly fraudulently attesting that he had been so traumatized by 9/11 that he was barely functional, unable to drive or shop or handle money. The picture shows him on a jet ski, flashing a big smile and giving the finger with both hands.

The other photo is of retired cop Richie Cosentino, who received $207,639.70 from Social Security under the same pretext, using nearly identical language. This picture was posted on his Facebook page and it shows him triumphantly holding a big sailfish fish he has just caught.

“It was an awesome day off the coast of Costa Rica,” he wrote.

He had better hope that the prosecutors do not take note of the date of the posting.
“September 11, 2012.”

On the 11th anniversary of 9/11, Cosentino clearly did not imagine that this photo would be shown at a press conference with him, not the fish, on display as the captured one.
As Bratton explained it, the investigation had commenced after Social Security investigators noticed that a considerable number of retired cops who had secured psychiatric disability awards had also applied for pistol permits.

“So we had a discrepancy,” Bratton said.

A discrepancy born of dumbassery, it would seem. Did this happen because the men involved in scamming the NYPD believed that they were above being shamed by malingering or claiming a phony disability? Did the ease with which it is possible to make money doing nothing entice far too many of them? Who knows?

You would think that a police officer claiming disability because he was traumatized by 9/11 would have marked the anniversary at home, quietly, and without drawing attention to himself. Instead, he went fishing in Costa Rica and put a picture up on Facebook. I guess going back to work is in order, huh?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Jazz Butcher Big Questions Cover

This is one of my favorite Jazz Butcher covers, if only because it completes the unenviable task of presenting yet another compilation without much context or forethought. Big Questions was released in 1987 and it covered some of the pre-Creation years nicely.

Yes, it was great to see Hard and South America on a compact disc but no, you don't have to have this one if you've been collecting Jazz Butcher singles and albums for a while now.

But, let's be clear about one thing--once you have this one, you'll go find more.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Pete Townshend White City A Novel Cover

If you look at everything Pete Townshend did during the 1980s, it would be difficult to argue that this wasn't his finest work. Everything else is subjective, of course, but nothing since White City comes close for me.

I remember buying this at an old Pamida store (think of an early attempt at Wal-Mart without bothering to try hard) and I remember the impact that this had on me. This was a special album, even if the kids didn't like it. Who else was listening to this in 1985? Hardly anyone, I'm sorry to say.

The Police Lost BBC Studio Tapes 78-79 Covers

This is a great compilation of what amounts to a very small number of tracks. The Police blew up so fast, the BBC was lucky to get them into what few sessions they held for the band as they emerged in London during the late 1970s. What's missing are the shows, obviously. Why their actual BBC concerts are still in the vaults is one of the great omissions.

The Police played several shows on the BBC that could be remastered into live albums of incredible quality--that is, if the tapes are any good. If not, spend the money to repair them and put this stuff out.

Their sessions, captured here, are not as spotty as they could have been. The covers? Ugh. Thanks for being as unoriginal as possible. But the music is more vital than ever.

The Teardrop Explodes Piano Covers

Unreleased tracks from The Teardrop Explodes? Sign me up. Piano is a B-sides album that could have been twice as long or two discs and a thick booklet full of weirdness. Sadly, they skimped on the  material and allowed whole scads of cool stuff to wither on the vine. There are untold treasures in the vaults of some abandoned record company or manager somewhere, and these tapes should see the light of day. The BBC has material as well. Put it out.

This one is a Zoo Records release and I love the spare graphics and the use of boxes and light colors. Don't let this be your only exposure to Cope and his old comrades. Let this be one of many.

U2 The Complete Boston '83 Tapes

Bootleg album covers are hit or miss, really, and this one is typical of a bootleg you might have found in a record store that probably closed ten or twelve years ago. As a matter of fact, when I see that "swinging' pig" emblem, I remember the one that was located in downtown La Crosse, Wisconsin. Is it still there?

U2 gave more than a few memorable shows in Boston, Massachusetts and for them it was like a home town gig. These bootlegs are incomplete and less than the real thing.

Wouldn't it be great if U2 released all of the Boston shows, in sequence, remastered and with comments and liner notes? Boston, from their first show through the Joshua Tree tour. Who, in their right mind, wouldn't buy that?

Jay Mohr Channels His Inner Douchebag

Now that Jay Mohr has been handed his ass back to him for fat-shaming Alyssa Milano, we have to deal with his personal breakdown in public? Because he was a jackass to another man's wife who had just had a baby?

This generation is full of people who haven't figured out that you kinda have to watch what you say when you become a public figure. We have few, if any, real broadcasters anymore because people don't learn from the mistakes of others and censor themselves actively when they have a half-bright idea. When there's a microphone in front of you, suppress your inner douchebag. That's got to be a given at some point.

Joe Hundley Goes to Jail

Remember this asshole?

Joe Hundley assaulted a child on a flight because he was unable to control himself in a public place. His rage, anger, and racism caught up with him and now he gets to spend eight months in a federal prison.

When people try to make the argument that there isn't any racism anymore, throw old Joe's picture in their face.

As difficult as it might be for some people, you can't discipline the children of other people. It might seem okay, and you might be thinking we still live in a time when it's okay, but it isn't okay and it will get you in trouble. Maybe not Joe Hundley kind of trouble, but trouble nonetheless. Joe's first day in Federal custody should go really smoothly once everyone finds out he hit someone who isn't even two years old.

Lord George Robertson Forgets About the History of Scotland

This is crazy talk:

The global balance would be substantially upset should one of the West’s key unions, and its second-biggest defense power, split up. The United Kingdom has always punched above its weight diplomatically and militarily. A breakup would have a serious effect on its role in the world — all the more so because Britain’s nuclear-deterrent base is in Scotland, and those advocating separation have pledged to expel it. With the United States and other countries viewing a possible British withdrawal from the European Union as negative, how much more disturbing would they find a breakup of the country itself? 

The ripple effects would not be limited to the United Kingdom. Other separatist movements in Europe are watching the Scottish debate with undisguised interest. In Spain, more than a million Catalans have turned out in the streets calling for independence. In the Basque Country, separatist violence has waned, but the desire for a separate state remains. In Belgium, whose unity hangs on a thread, Flemish nationalists have made it clear that if Scotland has a free pass to the European Union and NATO, they would be next in line. There could be more breakaways to come.

This is self-determination writ large across the face of Europe. Blaming the Scots for this is ridiculous--the separatist movements of Europe have been simmering for hundreds of years because these problems were created by the scheming of kings and diplomats hundreds of years ago. Blame Napoleon for it all if you want (and try to imagine a British victory with Scottish cannon fodder at Waterloo), but England's problem with Scotland rests firmly with the force used on the people to subjugate them and confiscate their lands and bifurcate them from themselves to create insecurity and inferiority.

Was it the end of the world when Ireland became an independent country? Did it bring down the Empire? No, the self-determination of millions did that (plus a war that revealed that Britain couldn't hold on to everything forever). Should they send the Navy? Does Mr. Cameron plan on building a fleet to keep Scotland in check? I'd love to see that.

The Scots want to control the North Sea oil revenues. That's it. They are going to hide behind all of the other issues in order to make it plain that they want that money. If the English government figures out how to share that revenue, there won't be an independence day for the Scots. How hard is that to figure out?

Lord Robertson ignores the painful history and glosses over the violence with which the Scots were made British:

The ties that bind the United Kingdom are strong, but there would be profound international implications should the Scottish people choose secession. The residual United Kingdom would still be a major player in the world, but upon losing a third of its land mass, 5 million of its population and a huge amount of credibility, its global standing would inevitably diminish.

The ties that bind the two entities were forced on the Scots and covered in blood. The victor always forgets the pain of the vanquished. But are there enough people who care? Are there going to be enough votes to risk the social safety net and the world's oil market fluctuations in order to carry this through? What a people feel and what they will actually vote for are two separate things. It would take a suspension of pragmatism to motivate a vote for independence. But the sad reality eludes the traditionalists. The United Kingdom isn't a player in anything anymore. Good God, man. Save yourself and try to be the better tourist destination. Your people can't make anything except repackaged debt and the occasional Eurovision winner. Get over yourself.


They are claiming that Lady Gaga has put out a record which lost $25 million dollars and that this fact alone is why Interscope Records has laid people off.

How is that possible? Who was the idiot who spent that kind of money? Didn't they hear the album and realize that it was going to get a limited response? They should have downplayed it and made it into a more artistic statement album and not hyped it. When you're handed weak material, you should be savvy enough to realize that, while it's worth putting out, it's not going to blow the roof off of the joint. That's why you still have record labels, or so one would think.

Lady Gaga will have to figure out how to make a comeback when all is said and done. Will they let her? Will there even be a record industry next year?

Friday, January 3, 2014

The Ice Bound Icebreaker

I've been following the story of the various icebreakers, research ships, and whoever else is stuck in the ice off the coast of Antarctica for over a week now and I never see answers to the one question that I have:

Is any of this worth risking lives over?

As soon as it became apparent that there were going to be issues, why didn't they just get the people out of there and head home until the Southern Hemisphere's version of warmer weather arrives? Leave the damned thing there and come back and get it later.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Jam Bands and the Phony War on Drugs

Is it worth the trouble to go see a band like Phish and risk getting busted by the cops for using recreational drugs? Is it worth it to venues and to communities?

When Phish played near my house this past summer, the sound was overwhelming. To hear Mike Gordon play scales going nowhere and to hear the throb and hum of their improvisations is unpleasant enough but I can't imagine how much of a buzzkill it would have to be to end up getting frisked and taken away over the same drugs everyone uses at every other show. This sort of band isn't my thing, but I have to sympathize with the fans who use the lion's share of their dwindling disposable income to go see them, only to end up scratching around for bail money.

It's a phony war on drugs. A sitting Congressman can get busted for buying cocaine and go to rehab; a Phish fan can get busted for molly and spend the night in jail and have to go to court. What a scam.

No one uses drugs when they go see Arcade Fire? Really? And this isn't about making easy arrests at a jam band show?