Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Magic Whip




So, while no one was watching, Blur threw an album out there for the people:

Damon Albarn said that because he likes to work in shorter, more concentrated periods of time he feared that he would never return to the tracks the band made while in Asia.


Speaking about what happened between making the album in 2013 and today, Albarn explained that while he was touring and promoting his solo album 'Everyday Robots' last year, he was approached by Graham Coxon with a view to going over the recordings and seeing if anything could be salvaged. 


"It was something we did off our own backs," Coxon explained. "It was quite an overwhelming project. There was jamming and sonic landscaping. I said, 'Damon, can I have a little chat? I said, 'Do you mind if I have a look at this music and see if there's anything worth pursuing. Id compare it to someone's notes, scrawling all over the page. We slung it over to Stephen [Street] and he looked through bits of it." 

More of this, please. I do enjoy finding unexpected albums wherever they may appear. This kind of marketing works--it eliminates the overly long wait for a release (Noel Gallagher's album comes out sometime in the next month or so, and it has sat there for months) and it allows people to be surprised, which is a genuinely rare thing in the Internet age.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Modern Political Discourse




This morning, [what used to be called] the [St. Paul] Pioneer Press created some waves by calling President Obama an "assclown."

The off-color remark came in the context of the PiPress's "Loop Ten" feature, which is a slideshow that serves as sports producer Kevin Cusick's "daily countdown of the top newsmakers, groundbreakers and world-class fakers."


Clocking in at a tie for number three in today's installment was "selfies." That entry is accompanied by an image of Obama holding a selfie stick in an apparent effort to take a photo of himself.


That's all well and good, but where Cusick got himself in trouble was with the text below the image.


"A fool-proof way to make yourself look like a self-absorbed assclown," it said.


You can be rest assured that having a sports guy call the President of the United States an assclown isn't shocking or new in any context except one--when it appears on the website of a newspaper. That's a whole new ballgame, unless we're talking about a paper owned by Rupert Murdoch.





The unfortunate series of photos that accompanied an Internet interview with the President allowed for two things to happen. One, it humanized the President, who is often accused of being cool and aloof. Two, it handed conservatives all across the country more fodder for their insane diatribes against the President, as if they needed any assistance.





This was a sports guy that did this? Goodness, what a shitty life the ethics department has at the old paper. Will they fire this guy? Who knows? Wouldn't surprise me if it blew over and nothing happened. This is how far we have fallen in political discourse. You can call a Democrat anything you want. Call a Republican anything equal to or stronger than "proven serial liar" and you'll reap the whirlwind.





The St. Paul Pioneer Press used to be one of my favorite papers. I read it and I delivered it as an adult, but that was in the early 1990s and all that has turned to murky memories and badly-remembered times. This was a major American newspaper at one point, home of some interesting journalism and commentary. They abandoned the Pioneer Press as a brand and called themselves "TwinCities.com" in the modern era of the Internet. That's a shame--a throwback, iconic name would be a hot property right now if the paper could muster any talent or ability to cover the news.





As you can see, it cannot.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Kyle Smith is Having a Little Trouble With the Culture




The New York Post is a dumping ground for futzes and prudes who have a conservative outlook and hate the culture.

This sneering example of hating on success and cultural relevance--Jon Stewart has had both for decades, Kyle Smith not so much--shows you the divide between knowing something about success and wanting to be someone by virtue of hating success.

If you're a conservative, you know two things: Stewart has feasted upon the carcasses of your ideas and there is no "conservative" equal for him. Fox News has made at least one if not a dozen attempts to co-opt his style and mock liberals. Guess what? Stewart does a better job of mocking liberals than anyone else, and he has been rewarded with fame, fortune, and credibility. Talk about being doubled over after the steel-toed boot to the jubblies.

Smith lives in a dismal world. Look at the stories he's been writing. That Jay-Z, he's boring because he took his wifey-poo to Los Angeles. Yes, everyone is thinking exactly that about such a pedestrian piece of non-information. When you have homes in various places, and when you work in the entertainment industry, a home in the Los Angeles area is simply unthinkably boring for the likes of Jay-Z, isn't it? Why, he should build a home in Des Moines and live large, shouldn't he?

Someone must stand behind poor Smith all day with a trombone and a muffler, making wah-wuh! sounds whenever he hits publish.

The Jack White Tour Rider Fiasco




The publication of "tour riders" is best understood as an outdated meme or piece of gotcha journalism. It's the sort of thing you read on the archives of The Smoking Gun. It has nothing to do with reality. If you're going to mount any kind of tour throughout the world with more equipment than would fit in a 70s conversion van, you need to have a rider in order to be able to put on shows. That rider can be simple or meticulous, and it has nothing to do with being an asshole. It has everything to do with the logistics of actually putting on a show. Once everyone has agreed upon things, the rider is a quality of life deal because being happy is better than being miserable.

Here's a valid point from Jack White:

but in reality, it’s just some food and drinks backstage for the hundred workers and guests who have to live in a concrete bunker for 15 hours. some people bring their own living rooms on tour, some people ask for a huge spread. who cares? what you’re looking for is someone throwing a tantrum because they didn’t get their brown m and m’s, sorry to disappoint.

 The rider, in and of itself, is a confidential document that exists between performer and venue; it's supposed to be an extension of an agreement to perform and it ensures that the venue and the artist reach a successful conclusion of their business arrangement. When we start talking about arenas and the large scale tours undertaken by artists of White's stature, you can be rest assured that there will be a specific rider with details in it that ass clowns will be entertained by and that's fine. You can read about a banana allergy and giggle and there's nothing wrong with that.

Anyone who actually does the work will tell you that the hours are terrible and the pressure is enormous. When you bring 100 or so people to an arena, you have to make your equipment work with theirs and you have to achieve maximum success as quickly as possible. You have time constraints to work with. Sending a crew member out to look for snacks is wasteful and unnecessary--just have a rider and be done with it. Cater in food for your crew and eliminate the distractions. Efficiency really does matter if you want to see a band play on time and for more than a few songs.

Most arenas are in the middle of a vast industrialized area where people do not live; hence, there are no grocery stores and few, if any, restaurants. Can you imagine being in the middle of downtown where the hell or at a socked-in music festival and then have to deal with finding water and food for 100 people? What a nightmare.

Asking people to grow up is a tall order these days. Meanwhile, the professionals will handle the logistics.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

NBC Thinks You Are an Idiot




So, if Brian Williams goes away for six months, it will mean he's the right journalist to lead the NBC News division? And that bringing him back in August of this year will mean that the dog days of summer will require his trusted, calm presence on the evening news, which no one watches anymore?

This works if everyone is stupid and forgets that Brian Williams has turned out to be a journalist who can't remember what happened to him when he was working as a journalist. Not sure if I believe that he will actually be back--I do think that if Lester Holt does respectable in the ratings, the next thing you'll hear about is how CNN has hired Brian Williams to lose yet another time slot to Fox News.

You see, it isn't about his politics, the history involved, or whether or not he's a good guy. None of that matters.

Brian Williams is a journalist.

Brian Williams likes to tell stories about what happened when he was working as a journalist.

Those stories have a lot of verifiable inaccuracies and badly recalled aspects to them.

Therefore, how good of a journalist is Brian Williams when Brian Williams can't tell you what actually happened to Brian Williams when Brian Williams was talking about things that were witnessed by Brian Williams.

See you in August.

The Liberation of Kansas

At some point, a humanitarian mission to liberate the occupied territory known as Kansas will have to be undertaken by peacekeeping forces and by non-governmental organizations that will deliver human rights relief to a badly oppressed people.

Yes, Kansas is full of God-botherers who have no money, no jobs, no health care, dwindling access to education, fracked-out water supplies, no real quality of life to speak of, but they have Jeebus and Sam Brownback and his tax cuts for the wealthy and his failed state government and his promise to make God-bothering look like a trip to a dry well on a prairie filled with nothing.

What does it say about a country where this kind of thing can happen in the year of our bothered God 2015? People need jobs and basic necessities. We see state legislatures tie themselves up in knots trying to legislate against abortions that simply don't happen anymore and they call that good government.

If you live in Kansas, my heart goes out to you. My head wonders what the hell is the wrong with Kansas, but I am not without sympathy.

Not So Manly




Oh, my goodness:

State Rep. Mike Moon wants the Affordable Care Act repealed and according to a House resolution he’s sponsoring, it will take the proper application of “Y” chromosomes to get the job done.

Moon’s resolution details all the problems he sees with the law, from passage to implementation. The resolution asks members of the Missouri House to “insist that each member of the Missouri Congressional delegation endeavor with ‘manly firmness’ and resolve to totally and completely repeal the Affordable Care Act, settling for no less than a full repeal.”

He doesn't look too manly to me. Real men don't let people die for lack of basic medical insurance coverage. Real men ensure that people who need help get that help.

In case you're wondering, this is his background:

Rep. Mike Moon, a Republican, represents the majority of Lawrence County (District 157) in the Missouri House of Representatives. He was elected in a special election in April 2013.


Rep. Moon worked in marketing for Mercy Hospital for 27 years. He currently works on his farm as a cattle rancher.


Rep. Moon is a member of the High Street Baptist Church, where he serves as a deacon, mission committeeman, and Sunday school teacher. He also is a member of the Springfield-Southeast Rotary Club, where he was the recipient of the “Lend-a-Hand” award.


Rep. Moon is a 1977 graduate of Western Branch High School in Chesapeake, VA. He received his bachelor’s in secondary education from Southwest Missouri State University in 1985.


Rep. Moon was born in Kannapolis, NC on December 31, 1958. He lives on his family farm in Ash Grove with his wife, Denise. They have five children: Amanda, Bryan, Erin, David, & Jason.

No military service, and he worked in marketing for a hospital with "mercy" in its name. That's not manly. What does he have on his cattle ranch? Baby goats and ducks for petting?

And what's funnier than all of that? He wasn't even born in Missouri. Thanks again, carpetbagger.

The Replacements Are Going on Tour




This time, they'll probably play a reasonable number of their own songs:

April 9 – Seattle, WA @ Paramount Theatre April 10 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom April 13 – San Francisco, CA @ The Masonic April 16 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Palladium April 19 – Denver, CO @ The Fillmore April 29 & 30 – Chicago, IL @ The Riviera Theatre May 2 – Milwaukee, WI @ Eagles Ballroom May 3 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore May 5 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE May 6 – Columbus, OH @ LC Pavilion May 8 – Washington, DC @ Echostage May 9 – Philadelphia, PA @ Festival Pier

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Best Metal Performance




If you want proof that the genre of heavy metal is dead, look no further than the fact that this year's Grammy (which is worthless) went to Tenacious D.

There are real metal fans out there and this should not concern them one bit. When the Grammy's are completely out of touch with what's happening in the real world in terms of the music that people enjoy, that means that the genre itself is healthy and appreciated. Having a satire/joke band win means that the genre itself is safe from the predatory aspects of the music industry.

Those of us who enjoy Shoegazing music salute you for having survived another tough year. Thank God there is no Shoegazing Grammy.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds If I Had a Gun Single







Lawrence Watson has done some outstanding work on the cover art for these new singles by Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds. This work has depth and detail, and a throwback quality that helps you understand why the overarching theme of Gallagher's new record is chasing yesterday.

Brian Williams is Paid to Remember What Happened to Brian Williams







What the hell happened to the very public effort to give NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams a pass for having a faulty memory?


“NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams is now the target of an internal investigation for lying about dodging danger while reporting in Iraq, sources told The Daily News.


The probe is being led by Richard Esposito, who heads NBC’s investigative unit, they said.


Esposito previously worked as an investigative correspondent at ABC and before that was an editor at The Daily News.

I get that Williams is a popular, well-liked person. I'm sure that this is genuine.

The problem I've had with all of this does not boil down to resume padding or trying to glom onto the Greatest Generation myth as applied to the men and women who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's not even about paying respect to Veterans (although, we live in a weird country where we idolize, revere and remember veterans while refusing to give them benefits, jobs, and adequate health care).

We tend to forget that Brian Williams is supposed to be an elite journalist. A newsman. Someone who rose to the top ranks of his profession by being good at the craft of journalism. This is what pays his ten million dollar a year salary (or thereabouts). This is why he is supposed to be respected and liked.

He is now a journalist who can't remember what actually happened to him when it was happening to him.

Full stop on that. I will reset things so that we can pause and reflect.

How come Brian Williams can't remember what happened right in front of his face? He was there. He was in the middle of all of this. He's the one who gets paid the big bucks to tell people the truth of what he witnesses and give an account of such things for widespread public consumption. I am not a purist--he can give his opinion. But what were the facts?

Where's the journalism part here? Where did it go?

At a time when actual news was happening to Brian Williams, who is a journalist, he got it wrong, puffed it up over time like any braggart would, and had to apologize. His professional reputation now sits in tatters. But, where's the journalism in all of this? The kind they learn at school. Where are his notes? Where is evidence he practiced his trade? Can he point to examples where he recorded what was happening to him when he was not getting shot at? Does he have a notebook, a journal, a diary, a written or typed account or a video account of any of this?

Why should I care what happens to a guy who isn't good at the one thing that would have saved his ass from being embarrassed in the first place?

Rounded Up

Solitary Confinement is a National Problem

Jason Street at An American Lion - 10 hours ago
You would be hard pressed to get anyone to care about this issue: *Texas has one of the harshest and most punitive criminal justice systems in America. A new report shows just how inhuman the state of Texas is when it comes to doling out the punishment of solitary confinement.* *If you have any doubt that solitary confinement is torture, all you need to is to listen to the stories of those who have been forced to endure it. Nevertheless, a new report from the ACLU of Texas finds that about one in ever 22 prisoners there is in solitary confinement— more people "than 12 states house... more »

Brian Williams Gets Caught

Jason Street at An American Lion - 10 hours ago
Lloyd Grove weighs in on Brian Williams and his tall tales about being shot at: *The Brian Williams Apology Tour has begun—and who knows where it will end?* *The NBC Nightly News anchor publicly apologized three times Wednesday—during his regular broadcast, in a Facebook post, and in Stars and Stripes—after the military-focused newspaper published a damning story that Williams and NBC have been claiming falsely “for years” that, during the 2003 Iraq invasion, he was aboard a U.S. Army helicopter that was hit and forced down by rocket-propelled grenades.* *“The story actually star... more »

I Hate How My Brain Works

Jason Street at Hillbilly Thrill - 10 hours ago
What in the name of all that is holy is wrong with me?

Good Riddance

Jason Street at Wretched Corners - 19 hours ago
Are you surprised by this? Anyone who knows what is going on in Albert Lea should probably start thinking about what they want in a new city manager.

Rounded Up

Jason Street at Open Market - 20 hours ago
Supplements Made From Nothing Jason Street at Reverbist - 13 seconds ago Health supplements are made out of nothing? And they don't benefit the health and well being of anyone? What the hell? You would think that, in a just society, the outright quackery and for-profit bullshit of supplement companies--Herbalife, I am staring right at you, you sons of bitches--would lead to regulation and common sense rules protecting consumers. Guess again. We need real reform for consumer protection in this country, and as long as we're stuck in the politics of stupid, we'll never get it. We have ... more »

Google Plus Links

Jason Street at Open Market - 20 hours ago
Jason StreetShared publicly - Yesterday 11:52 PM #CafePress #cafepress #stuff  Messenger Bag wjasonstreet.com 1 Add a comment... Jason StreetShared publicly - Yesterday 11:44 PM #abbottandgooseberry #abbottandgooseberry  cosplay sex games abbottandgooseberry.com 1 Add a comment... Jason StreetShared publicly - Yesterday 2:17 PM #elitism #elitism #news #commentary #centralpark #airbnb  How Can You Stop Capitalism? anamericanlion.com I do not live in fancy digs, nor do I use Uber or Airbnb, but I cannot understand why there is a growing backlash against ... more »

Supplements Made From Nothing

Jason Street at Reverbist - 20 hours ago
Health supplements are made out of nothing? And they don't benefit the health and well being of anyone? What the hell? You would think that, in a just society, the outright quackery and for-profit bullshit of supplement companies--Herbalife, I am staring right at you, you sons of bitches--would lead to regulation and common sense rules protecting consumers. Guess again. We need real reform for consumer protection in this country, and as long as we're stuck in the politics of stupid, we'll never get it. We have grown men leading state governments and men who hold elected office w... more »

How Many INXS Albums Are Never Going to Happen Now?

Jason Street at The Killing Moon - 20 hours ago
Tim Farriss, the guitar player for INXS, severely damaged the ring finger on his fret hand in a boating accident recently. This has led to speculation that he will never play guitar again, properly, at any rate. I don't know if that's anything worth a comment, but here goes. INXS were largely finished long before the untimely demise of Michael Hutchence. They maintain a following, to be certain, but their careers ended when the 1990s began. They have been on a slow, steady decline since 1987, to be cruel about it. Having said that, it's never cool when someone has something taken... more »

the magical powers

Jason Street at Abbott and Gooseberry - 1 day ago

Thursday, February 5, 2015

How Many INXS Albums Are Never Going to Happen Now?




Tim Farriss, the guitar player for INXS, severely damaged the ring finger on his fret hand in a boating accident recently.

This has led to speculation that he will never play guitar again, properly, at any rate.

I don't know if that's anything worth a comment, but here goes. INXS were largely finished long before the untimely demise of Michael Hutchence. They maintain a following, to be certain, but their careers ended when the 1990s began. They have been on a slow, steady decline since 1987, to be cruel about it.

 Having said that, it's never cool when someone has something taken away from them. Now would be a good time to figure out how to learn to play the guitar with a disfigurement and see what happens from that.

Solitary Confinement is a National Problem




You would be hard pressed to get anyone to care about this issue:

Texas has one of the harshest and most punitive criminal justice systems in America. A new report shows just how inhuman the state of Texas is when it comes to doling out the punishment of solitary confinement.


If you have any doubt that solitary confinement is torture, all you need to is to listen to the stories of those who have been forced to endure it. Nevertheless, a new report from the ACLU of Texas finds that about one in ever 22 prisoners there is in solitary confinement— more people "than 12 states house in their entire prison systems."

This is the legal argument behind solitary confinement, as rendered by the legal minds in California last year:

In courtroom proceedings, lawyers for the state have argued that isolation is necessary to keep the peace within prisons, and to hinder gang activity inside and outside prison walls. They said that by creating a so-called "step-down" program last year that allows some prisoners to eventually earn their way out of isolation, the state had made sufficient improvements.

Solitary confinement is torture; it is no different, as far as ethics are concerned, from water boarding or putting a gun in someone's mouth and threatening their life. But, you know, prisoners are scum and they deserve it and they should have thought of that before carrying out their crimes, and so on and so forth.




Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Autodidact




You know, I am endlessly intrigued by this new Swervedriver music. I think they are terribly underrated as a band and need more exposure. There are people who would love this if they ever heard it.



[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/188702600" params="color=ff5500" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Anti-Intellectualism Runs Amok in Modern America




There is a cottage industry out there that caters to the wealthy and the elite (they're Middle Class, but refuse to accept that fact) and it is based on flattering them and convincing them that they are smart for not vaccinating their "special" and "unique" children.

You're not going to convince someone who has made the decision not to vaccinate their children that they're foolish or arrogant or incredibly stupid. They have turned away from the debate and they are living the dream--the dream where their kids are healthy and where some other kid falls down in school, stricken by something that tormented America in the 1920s. Think of it as a Downton Abbey kind of nostalgia--the wealthy need not mingle with the peasants, you see, because the enclaves in which the elites live are populated with the right sort of people.

In America, you don't make progress by pointing out how dumb someone is for not listening to common sense. You make progress through the application of the law. The debate we're having right now could be ended, right quick, by the simple delivery of a vaccination law to the American people. It would save lives. It would need to come fully funded with no tricks for the hicks and no special exemption for the super rich of Malibu, California.

Anti-intellectualism is on a roll right now. If you ignore what we know to be true about medicine, economics, and the environment, you can take control of Congress and get on television and be taken seriously in this country. That's the media's shameful ignorance and nothing more.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Warren Sapp Has a Working Girl Problem

A good lawyer can make this go away because these kinds of arrests are entrapment situations that usually come down to misunderstandings and a genuine concern for helping a young lady make her school tuition payments on time. You Better Call Saul, my man.

In the case of Warren Sapp, does he have the money to hire a good lawyer? How many times has he filed bankruptcy? Can he afford a criminal defense attorney based on the conditions of his existing bankruptcy?

If this was Las Vegas, he'd be fine. Hence, a great argument for holding every Super Bowl in sin city. I don't know why we persist in maintaining the illusion that the gamblers don't exist. Pander and cater to the gamblers, and grow the hell up.