Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Al Franken Wins Counrt Battle

Comedian, Al Franken, foul mouthed, abusive, and radical leftist won his challenge in the disputed Minnesota senatorial election against incumbent, Norm Coleman. To call Al Franken an asshole should be considered blashphemy as he is the scum of the earth beneath being belittled by being equated to a part of the anatomy regardless of its function. This represents a new low point in national politics.

Suffice to say, the joke's on us. The implications are terrifying.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, and Now....

Billy Mays
"and the secret is in the ..... "

Television's loudest pitchman died in Florida for reasons unknown other than he was on a US Air flight that experienced some serious inflight turbulance and Mr. Mays might have suffered a bump on the head. Sometimes, those bumps can be not as innocent as they seem as recently witnessed by the untimely passing of Natasha Richardson after a seemingly uneventful stumble at the Quebec Mont Tremblant resort.

Mays has been seen on television selling everything from laundry products to ESPN programming and has probably been the number one source of TV viewers pressing the "mute" button as his approach was loud, louder, loudest.

As obnoxious as Billy Mays' pitches could be, there was something undeniably friendly about the guy that garnered some measure of sympathy no matter how annoying his ads were.

So now the advertising torch gets tossed to a new "hawker." Step forward Vince Shlomi, the infamous "Shamwow guy." This guy is surreal!!! Unfortunately for him, his marketability might be compromised by a late winter encounter with a prostitute who beat the crap out of him and apparently vice versa after a little rough recreation.


Check your oil, chickadee?

Move over Digger, it's TNT's six weeks of NASCAR coverage and the golden gopher was supposed to fade into oblivion with his trusty sidekick D.W. who disappears from sight after the last Fox broadcast of the season. Well, this year, Digger's alive and well with commercials showing up all over the Fox media empire trying to soak a few more dollars selling "Digger gear."

TNT was not to be outdone in the animated universe. Once again, this year, we are reintroduced to RaceBuddy, the ornery image of a race fan.

I don't know about you, but this guy gives me the CREEPS. He doesn't look like the good ol' boy race fans I know. He reminds me of the guy at a crooked gas station off the Interstate who offers to check your fluids and then tries to sell you a new alternator.

Creepy, creepy, creepy, and this is a guy to market to us NASCAR fans. HELP!!!!

I will admit the RaceBuddy feature that allows multiple camera views during the race is really cool. I can't wait to hook my laptop up to my HDTV and see what I can do.

In the meantime, if you pull into your local auto service joint and see this fellow, RUN!!!

ESPN starts the end of next month, who needs animated figures when they have real life cartoon characters like Chris Berman, the Round the Horn and PTI gang, and Stuart Scott?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson's Death Reveals Fox News Weaknesses

Highly skilled professional trained to sniff out any Fox foible.

While the Fox News Network deserves tremendous credit for refusing to hop on the radical left bandwagon that every other news outlet blindly follows, they have some negative tendencies that severely compromise their product.

No news outlet exceeds Fox for gawkish tabloid trash especially when troubled celebrities are the focus. When the Anna Nicole Smith saga played out a couple years ago, the coverage was almost nonstop except for the 6:00 hard news hour. Since yesterday afternoon, it’s been saturation coverage of Michael Jackson’s death giving him the kind of attention that usually only befits fallen ex-Presidents.

One other sign of sure trouble when watching Fox is when Geraldo Rivera surfaces beyond his two hours of bullshit commentary masquerading as news each weekend. Hurricanes and celebrity scandals draw Geraldo to the cameras like flies to crapola and the news hungry viewer is left looking for the pooper scooper.

This is a particularly bad day to be wrapped up in saturation coverage for the fallen freak. Congress is preparing to vote on “cap and trade.” President Obama just staged his massive infomercial publicity onslaught to push socialized medicine on ABC Wednesday night. The popular revolution in Iran is facing barbaric murderous oppression by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s death and torture goon squads while a prominent cleric noted some unrest was worthy of execution. Congressman, John Conyer’s wife has been charged with accepting bribes.

Fox is the best source we have for news since they are the only source that gives the full spectrum of opinion on news events and doesn’t automatically trivialize Republicans and conservatives. Still, those responsible for determining content who can’t resist the gossipy, sensationalistic largely inconsequential stories at the cost of hard news must be called out for their cheapening of the journalistic product. Geraldo Rivera is one of the media’s most self-serving egocentric performers whose program is presented as news reporting but is truly driven by the anchor’s opinions, agendas, and biases. His blatant subjectivity and crusading for pet causes would be an entirely different matter if his show were pitched as opinion and analysis as O’Reilly, Beck, and Hannity present. Did anyone question for a passing nanosecond Geraldo would be shouting with joy promoting the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor? If that’s not convincing enough, consider the G-man’s conduct debating immigration versus enforcement hardliner Michelle Malkin. For that “spit” episode alone, Geraldo should have been severely disciplined. His credibility after years of twisting the truth and overstating the issues is zero. If he’s the kind of ratings draw Fox seems to think he is, then let his weekend programs be clearly identified as the Geraldo gossip hours.

Today marks one of the real low points in the history of the Fox news operation. If there was ever a week they had a golden opportunity to excel this was the week to counter ABC’s blatant grandstanding for the Obama medicine show.

This underscores that all journalistic product must be under constant scrutiny by the interested public. Every network has its biases, preferences, and weaknesses. Sadly, when Fox had a week it could have enhanced its reputation tremendously events surfaced that saw the network leap for the gutter instead.

Sprint Cup 2009, Race 17: North to New Hampshire

Qualifying rained out in New Hampshire.
Dexter Bean, Ted Christopher, and Mike Wallace go home as field is lined up by Owner Points, cosmic tea-leaf reading, and divining fortune cookie results as only the NASCAR brain trust can do so well. Tony Stewart will lead the field with Jeff Gordon by his side when drivers take the green flag on Sunday.


The “Chase for the Chase” is the big story as the Sprint Cup Series visits New Hampshire Motor Speedway as the summer stretch in now in full swing. Only 232 points separate Kurt Busch in 4th position to Clint Bowyer in 16th position. If the Chase were decided now, Juan Montoya would be in securing 12th place with Kasey Kahne just three points back, but three more contenders could be just a bad pit stop away from pushing Montoya back to 16th. Here’s where the other drivers in this tight pack fall relative to Montoya’s spot, David Reutimann (-40), Jeff Burton (-46) and Clint Bowyer (-65).

Forty six cars are entered to qualify for Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301. Four cars will go home, but how many will find some convenient excuse to sneak off the track before the first pit stop? The real danger of the “Start and Park” phenomenon is the thought that some team fully intending to compete in a race will be shut out of action by another team that qualifies but has no intention of taking the first tank of fuel and set of tires. Might it be time to speak of a forfeit penalty? The issue certainly merits discussion.

Picking winners at New Hampshire is no easy task. Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch are the only repeat winners in the last five years with Johnson winning both races in 2003 and Busch, then driving for Jack Roush, winning both races in 2004. Busch would win again last year for Roger Penske in a rain shortened event. At first glance, the track would seem to favor Chevrolets. Greg Biffle’s win last September was Ford’s first win since Busch’s victories in 2004. Ryan Newman drove a Penske Dodge to victory in 2005. Toyotas haven’t won at the New England facility yet.

In other NASCAR notes, will Jeremy Mayfield please just go away? Hardly a NASCAR news cycle passes without more denials and whining about his drug suspension. Okay, the fellow deserves his appeal be heard, but his posturing isn’t winning any friends in the Sprint Cup garage, out in the stands, or in front of the television screen.

NASCAR is a adopting an innovative PR program, the “NASCAR Green Clean Air” designed to capture race track carbon emissions by planting trees around the tracks. For each time the green flag drops, ten new trees will be planted. Eleven tracks will participate for the balance of the 2009 season with all venues involved next year. Surely, this will be a more difficult task in the desert surroundings at Las Vegas and Phoenix, but tracks like New Hampshire and Pocono are in lushly forested areas.
Silly season rumors should start warming up soon. With the series visiting Daytona for the second time unofficially kicking off the second half of the season, the chatter about who goes where will warm up along with more speculation about Danica Patrick looking for a ride with fenders.

We should consider a Sprint Cup “stress test” on how viable teams will be as the Chase approaches and being prepared for the 2010 season with the auto industry in turmoil awaiting the fate of General Motors and Chrysler, the decline in attendance and TV viewers, and the tightening up of sponsor dollars. On the surface, it would appear that Jack Roush (Ford) and Joe Gibbs (Toyota) are better off, but is anybody seriously going to consider Rick Hendricks not having a few tricks up his sleeve. Meanwhile, Roger Penske has shown interest in purchasing Saturn from General Motors. Hmm, could their be some Saturn decals coming off the printing press to make some Saturn-like COT’s for 2010? There are plenty of engineering geeks in the Penske operation who could pull of some minor miracles for sure. Could Honda or Nissan have a future in NASCAR should a manufacturer pull out of the Sprint Cup scene?

All this is silliness, isn’t it?

Michael Jackson: After Years Falling Apart - What Could Have Been?

Before the mutilations began...

Michael Jackson died of heart failure at fifty ending one of the most perplexing and bizarre lives ever to become such a universally known figure. One cannot ponder the life of this great entertainer without two equally powerful images competing for the final word on his life First, few figures ever mastered the entertainment industry with the absolute mastery Jackson revealed as he matured as a member of the family ensemble, the Jackson Five to being the omnipresent pop star of the early 80’s. However, the second factor is almost the complete opposite. Michael Jackson was a genuine freak, a troubled man unable to live in the real world of humanity seeking out a child-like existence that became evermore perverted and disturbing as his youth gave way to middle age.

While the Jackson Five was a huge Motown success, Michael Jackson became a star of the highest order at the peak of the Disco era in 1979 when he teamed up with producer/arranger, Quincy Jones, to release the album, Off the Wall. While the hits, “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” and “Rock with You” were mega-hits that fit right in with the disco style, they had a richness and substance that went far beyond the passing trend in music of the day. The album went far beyond just a collection of dance songs, “She’s Out of My Life” struck gold as a mellow soulful ballad compatible with the mellow soul trends that would be furthered by producers like Babyface through the 90’s.

Three years passed and the music scene underwent a dramatic transformation. Disco was dead while the 80’s gave way to driving hard rock evolving into heavy metal, synthesizer drenched, rhythmic pop music that many would identify as the 80’s sound, and the street dance scene provided the precursor to hip-hop. The music scene could not have been more eclectic in 1982 as these styles, classic rock, punk, funk, and even a hipper form of country music all competed for attention on the pop charts, but it wouldn’t be styles of music that would be the story in 1982, it would be a new medium. With the rise of cable TV came MTV and the dawn of the video age. It wasn’t sufficient for pop music performers to have the right sound, but they had to have the right look or be able to come up with some formula that translated well to the video format.

Michael Jackson’s album, Thriller, entered the crowded music market and skyrocketed to become one of the most successful albums ever. “Billy Jean” was the album’s first giant hit. Its video gave Jackson the ability to show off his dancing moves but would hardly give a hint of what would lie ahead. “Beat It” the album’s second hit made Thriller a universal pop hit featuring a sizzling guitar solo courtesy of one of rock’s hottest guitar heroes of the day, Eddie Van Halen, Michael Jackson became one of the few African-American artists to get regular airplay on rock radio since Jimi Hendrix.

As “Beat It” was inescapable on the radio and MTV, the world was aware one of the great legends of pop music, one with the same breakthrough power as the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, the Eagles’ Hotel California, or the soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever featuring the Bee Gees.

Thriller’s biggest thrill came next. Teaming up with film producer, John Landis, Jackson and Landis devised the ultimate big production video for the album’s title tune based on old 50’s style horror flicks, complete with a myriad of special effects, costuming, and makeup to propel a lavishly choreographed video, and if that wasn’t excitement enough, MTV and other video outlets would broadcast a short mini-documentary on the Making of Thriller. The album’s success and massive pop culture penetration continued to grow and the album wasn’t through yielding more charting topping hits with numbers like “Human Nature,” “Want to be Starting Something” and “Pretty Young Thing” adding to the massive collection of gold.

As the Thriller phenomenon was peaking though, the world was starting to get a glimpse that maybe there was something just a little bit off about Mr. Jackson. His conduct went beyond just ordinary eccentricity into something far darker. As part of his success, he became valuable to Madison Avenue as a pitchman. Pepsi quickly embraced the pop star and a commercial was in production. The pyrotechnics malfunctioned burning Jackson’s hair, and it would appear that from that point forward, the unraveling began.

By the time his third album hit the streets with Bad in 1985, he was surely known as a bit of a freak, and from that point forward things kept getting worse to where entering the decade of the 1990’s all his weaknesses were hanging out for the world to see. He had one last mega-hit album with Dangerous in 1992. From that point forward, the King of Pop was in freefall with charges of child molestation and bizarre conduct spreading through out the media.

The fall from grace ended on this day in June, 2009.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

John Kerry's Humorless Assault on Sarah Palin

How many public figures have less charisma than John Kerry? The self-righteous, humorless, dull-witted senator couldn't offer a few words of levity if his life depended on it. Nevertheless, in addressing a group of civic leaders, the Massachusetts dullard fancied himself his own David Letterman when he quipped:

“Too bad, if a governor had to go missing it couldn’t have been the governor of Alaska. You know, Sarah Palin.’’
He must have been up the entire night before thinking up that half-witted quip. What an asshole.
Boston Herald coverage:

Mark Sanford

What was he thinking?

Mark Sanford joins the ranks of political leaders and other high profile public figures who is publicly humiliated for an extramarital affair.

Up until last week, Sanford could be seen as a rising star among Republican ranks, a feisty, principle-driven governor who faught unsuccessfully to turn away Federal "stimulus" funds which Sanford saw as a true "Trojan Horse" given what the state would be committed to accepting in addition to the money.

Then he disappeared supposedly for some quality private time on the Appalachian trail. In truth, he sped off to Argentina to make whoopee with his little Latin Lupe-Lu. A sharp reporter found that he was arriving on an incoming flight from Argentina and soon his dirty little secret was public knowledge.

Following the script America has seen so many times before, Sanford offered his public apology, the one that follows the "I'm sorry I got caught" scenario. Thankfully, unlike most of the other speeches of this sort, he didn't force his embarassed wife to stand by his side, but Sanford must have set the world's record for the longest apology speech. It seemed to rival Bill Clinton's address to the 1988 Democratic address for rambling verbosity.

Given Mark Sanford had left South Carolina for Father's Day weekend leaving behind no clear indication where or how he could be located in the event of a state emergency, this total lack of regard for his office puts him in an extremely compromised position.

Some will maintain that Republicans are treated more severely than Democrats when their personal behavior becomes an issue, and that's probably true. It is the Republican party in general that attempts to ascribe to higher personal standards in promoting family values as a foundation of their platform. Democrats instead treat such conduct as primarily a personal matter endorsing situational ethics and the relativistic, "Who are we to judge?" mantra.

For Democrats to engage in sexual liasons or other forms of personal corruption is simply behaving in the hedonistic way to which they are accustomed as flaunted and glorified by the Hollywood crowd, a most vocal constituency of their movement. Consider Barney Frank maintained a homosexual prostitution ring out of his House office and continues to serve shows how "anything goes" in their world.

In an act of pure political opportunism, Democrats are quick to capitalize on Republican mishaps knowing they have the news media at their calling. For Republicans such behavior is extreme hypocrisy. For Democrats, it's life as usual. Nevertheless, the Democrats are gleefully happy to extract every morsel of embarassment available when scandals hit the GOP.

Republicans are quick to complain they are being held to a higher standard, but rather than complain, the Republican Party should embrace it and live up to it. By setting high standards and living up to them, the Republican parties can win over millions of Americans who are disgusted with political corruption and the flagrant immorality shown in the media culture.

Mark Sanford must pay his price for his horrible lapse in judgment. Meanwhile, let his case serve as yet another example that such behavior will be revealed and the best way to avoid trouble is to stay out of it in the first place.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Good Night, Ed

We sadly note the passing of Ed McMahon who was Johnny Carson's loyal sidekick for their fabulous run on the Tonight Show spanning the 60's to the 90's. With Jay Leno moving on and the embarassing crap we recently witnessed on The Late Show with David Letterman, what Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon accomplished was even greater.

Ed McMahon was the middleman between Americana and Johnny Carson. His recognizable baritone laugh and "hi-oh" articulated our voice on the Tonight Show. He was the ultimate straight man who always had Johnny Carson's back.

Ed McMahon was also actively involved in many charities lending his name to many beneficial causes.

His passing is that of one more person from the "Great Generation" who grew up in the Great Depression and saved civilization in World War II. They're dying at the rate of 1000 a day and with them their stories of unselfish sacrifice and ability to appreciate the greater good.

Friday, June 19, 2009

400 Incredible Albums

We call our readers' attention to the left column, Great Albums, the Ultimate Music Collection. Here it is, a CD collection for all occasions with a heavy emphasis on good, solid classic rock. Start with the Beatles and work forward.

We're making no attempt to keep current. Most albums are at least twenty years old. Our assumption is most listeners know what they like from whatever's current at the time. Most of these albums are ones that have withstood the test of time whether they represent landmarks, albums which helped define the essence of pop music of their time or are finely crafted albums representing an artist's talent on display vividly.

We represent a broad spectrum of styles and genres from songbook standards: works of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald as examples to most of the most loved styles of music since World War Two.

The listener will notice an absence of conspicuously commercial music, the fare that keeps American Idol afloat we called "Top 40 bullshit" in our high school and college days in the late 60's and early 70's. There's a nice cross section ranging from the outstanding pop music that evolved out of the blues which matured as soul in the 60's and funk in the 70's. Before rock n roll was here to stay, jazz was the hip genre. Post World War II jazz was a new generation of jazz breaking away from big band stylists like Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey to the brilliant small combos which made Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Charles Mingus, Oscar Peterson and many others both the hip pioneers of creative new possibilities while continuing a tradition Louis Armstrong mastered in the 20's. Country music evolved from rural gospel, Appalachian folk, and the singing cowboy into a well defined pop genre anchored in Nashville but also fueling a counter culture who'd never be welcome on the Opry stage. From England to Jamaica, traditional American blues and and host of pop influences on the radio helped set the stage for the British invasion lead by the Beatles and Rolling Stones while disaffected young Jamaicans could pull in American radio after dark. Melding ethic island music with 1960's American pop, reggae stood ready to creep into the American record shelves.

By 1950, the music industry had the capacity to market lp's capable of providing over 20 minutes of music per side instead of being limited to just a single short song as were the limitations of the old 78 rpm records or their apparent replacement, the 45 rpm single. Frank Sinatra was the first significant artist who truly recognized the album as an art form as his famous albums from the 1950's were built around loosely structured themes: an album of ballads, swinging numbers, or torch songs, for instance. Sadly, for many artists right from the beginning, an album might consist of a hit single or two and a lot of baloney. Most pop albums lacked coherence and were often stuffed with so-so material beyond the hit tunes released as singles. Jazz performers not only did a better job using the album to their benefit but also understood the benefits of recording in stereo. Deep into the 1960's, rock producers aimed to make something that would sound explosive booming out of a car's dashboard speaker.

Looking over our list, the listener can see the history of the of these issues unfold. Even the Beatles' Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band was not fully realized as a stereo production. Some of the placement of voices or instruments seemed arbitrary at best. English recording technology was far behind American where engineers like Tom Dowd with Atlantic records was exploring multi track capacity and other techniques that expanded the creative possibilities in the studio.

The right-minded fellow presents this list for your consideration. Please comment on the selections or feel free to request a review which we'll be happy to publish for the listener's consideration. RMF is a passionate music fan who enjoys almost all styles of pop music but club music, rap/hip-hop, highly commercial glitzy pop, syrupy schmaltz has no place in this library.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sprint Cup 2009, Race 16: Infineon Raceway Road Track Action

The Sprint Cup series visit to Infineon Raceway in California’s wine country provides one the season’s two visits to a road course, but to compare this track to the other road course at Watkins Glen is quite a stretch as the two facilities differ tremendously providing some of the most unique racing for the entire year’s competition.

Jeff Gordon rules this track having five victories since 1998. Tony Stewart is a two time winner, but everybody’s favorite brat, the guitar smashing, smart aleck,Kyle Busch is the defending champ. Of note, Juan Montoya won the race in 2007; Mark Martin and Robby Gordon are the only other active competitors with victories on the road race track. Clearly, this is Jeff Gordon’s track. Besides Tony Stewart, there are three other multiple winners, all with just two victories: Rusty Wallace, Ricky Rudd, and Ernie Irvan.

At Sonoma, not only do drivers have to negotiate right hand turns, but the track also features changes in elevation further influencing the breaking and shifting agility of the driver.

Forty eight drivers will attempt to make the field including some “road racing specialists” or “ringers” who seldom race in oval track events.

This year’s field of “specialists” include:
Brandon Ash, #02, Dodge, Efusjon Energy Club, Kenneth Wood, owner
P.J. Jones, #04, Toyota, Jim Beam/Menards, Robby Gordon, owner
Boris Said, #08, Ford, no sponsor, John Carter, owner
Ron Fellows, #09, Chevy, Miccosukee Resorts and Gaming, James Finch, owner
Max Papis, #13, Toyota, Geico, Bob Germain, owner
Tom Hubert, #27, Toyota, Kirk Shelmerdine Racing
Brian Simo, #36, Toyota, California Outdoor Heritage, Tommy Baldwin, owner
Chris Cook, #37, Chevy, M&J Motorsports, Brad Jenkins, owner
Patrick Carpentier, #55, Toyota, NAPA, Michael Waltrip, owner

The most notable driver opting out of competition is Michael Waltrip giving up his own ride for Patrick Carpentier. James Finch and Tommy Baldwin attempt to qualify for each week’s event. Robby Gordon is adding a second car to his team for this event with P.J. Jones in car #04.

The extent to which these driver changes enhance competition or simply compete to the clutter is debatable. One would hope having more drivers actively trying to make the race would reduce the likelihood of “Start and Park” entries. Consider the frustration of a team that would enter with the intention to compete being frozen out by a race team that just puts in a few laps and calls it quits.

Jimmie Johnson has never won a road race event at the Cup level. Tony Eury Jr. has been assigned to work with Chad Knaus and the #48 team to help Johnson contend in these events.

Given Bruton Smith’s desire to establish a Sprint Cup date for Kentucky Motor Speedway, speculation has arisen that the Infineon date could be moved to early in the season replacing the March Atlanta date since the Atlanta races have struggled to gain attendance. The current date in late June would then become the opening for Kentucky which coincides closely with this year’s Nationwide event at Kentucky just completed this past weekend.

Road racing fans also argue if the Chase format is truly supposed to be a test of champions, a road racing event should be included in the ten race Chase schedule. Moving Watkins Glen to a later date would be difficult as cold weather could become a factor from mid-October onward. That would make Infineon the ideal course for the Chase, but what track could Bruton Smith juggle with is fall allocation on the schedule now that Atlanta has been moved to Labor Day to bail out the horrible attendance in Fontana, California since it replaced Darlington as the Labor Day event.

In the modern age of cookie cutter intermediate tracks added to the circuit in since the mid-90’s, road racing, the three short tracks, Dover and Darlington certainly standout as much more noteworthy events giving fans more unpredictable exciting racing. Right minded race fans would encourage anything that NASCAR can do to add to providing the most exciting competition that makes its top level drivers utilize their talents to the fullest. The counter argument is always which tracks get sacrificed. The France family has too much at stake with its newer entries in Fontana, Kansas, and Chicago to tinker with the formula.

From an angry fan who misses the excitement of “The Rock,” anything NASCAR can do to bring more variety into our living rooms would be greatly appreciated as will this upcoming event at Infineon.

Our Two Cents on "Jon & Kate Plus Eight"

If a right-thinking person needs clear evidence our culture is heading to an all-time low, we present Jon & Kate Plus 8 as the smoking gun.

How sick can the audience be? Are we just a culture of voyeurs?

The program is yet another example of exploitation reality television following the day-to-day lives of a contentious couple, Jon and Kate Gosselin, headed toward “Splitsville” with eight children’s lives in the balance who are awkwardly hoarded into being part of the show. Could this be a child labor law abuse?

Regardless, sleazeballs, commercial or private, should be accountable and pay for their behavior. They're raking in enough ad revenue on this fiasco.

It’s carrier is the TLC network. TLC!!! Wasn’t that supposed to be “The Learning Channel?” Exactly what is the lesson to be learned here?

If this is supposed to be “reality,” what does one make of all the posturing for the cameras?

This genre of television way over the line of common decency, but it will surely be outdone when Nadja Suleman, the hated Octomom gets her time on the tube in the near future.

This leaves right-minded people thinking what is worse, that a television network would devise just below-the-belt programming or that there is a huge audience that can’t get enough of this garbage?

Shame on all of them.

Oh, the series has a website….woo-hoo….Jon and Kate have blogs.

Who’s watching the children?

Snap Shots of Left-Wing Arrogance and Hatred

The Looney Left is at it again….

Barbara “Bitch” Boxer
First, we’re going to call Senator Barbara Boxer what this unfortunate general could not, “Bitch!” Oops, now we’ve done it, we do not mean to offend any dog lovers who have female boxers at their pets. In testimony, Madame Boxer was offended that she was addressed as ma’am not Senator, and that’s disrespectful?
To make matters worse, Boxer-bitch took a swipe at the General indicating she had worked hard to earn the title of Senator. Woo-hoo, and how many people did she stab in the back and abuse to get there? We will assume the General performed with far greater distinction and worked much harder than a shameless bitch who rode special interest support into the Senate.

We would consider the offense to be this arrogant, pompous Senator’s hectoring, condescending attitude to a member of the military who protects her freedom and power whether she is pro-military or a whacked-out far left idiot.

Warning, this will make your blood curl…. (from Politico.com) One might want to pull the Rolling Stones’ album, Sticky Fingers, off the shelf and play track six very loud in response to this.


Let’s get something straight for Ms. Boxer. She might have a captive audience she can brow beat to death on Capitol hill, but out in the world at large, we’re going to exercise our first amendment freedoms and call her what she truly is mindful we are dog lovers.

Respect is earned not conferred. Bitch Barbara is a petty, self-serving, egotistical elitist who continuously shows contempt for her fellow humans who don’t bow down and kiss her butt unconditionally. Only California could give America both Boxer and Pelosi.

Bill Maher
We couldn’t help thinking during the David Letterman scandal for his demeaning, sexist attacks against the Palin family, Alex Rodriguez, and flight attendants, we haven’t heard from Bill Maher recently. If anyone can come up with something more insulting and further out of left field, Maher will come through with flying colors.

Bill Maher just defined his perspective on the political landscape and where things stand on the left/right axis. One might infer that he would think Vladimir Lenin would be considered a mainstream centrist in Maher’s book.

Here are video segments and text to show how one of the left’s most bitter, “way out there” mouthpieces sizes up American politics as it races like a runaway train toward Socialism thanks to the Obama administration.


Can anyone explain Maher’s irrational hatred of Christians? In his world, Christians are mindless little people who are barely worth his effort to talk down to. In response to Maher’s religion bashing movie, wouldn’t it be fun to do a counter production beginning with Maher’s appointment at St. Peter’s gate? Who’s sorry now, Billy?

Bill Maher is a great argument for cable and dish TV subscribers to save a few bucks and cancel HBO.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Obama Snubbs Mayors: Disturbing Insight into Priorities

President Barack Obama declined an invitation to address the 77th Annual Conference of Mayors to avoid crossing a picket line by Providence, Rhode Island firefighters protesting a contract provision seeking contribution to their health insurance, a fact of life for millions of employees who have employer provided health care. Not only did the President not attend, but the administration offered no surrogates to represent the administration.

On thing that is absolutely consistent about the Obama administration, its unqualified support for organized labor on every front whether it is stiffing the nation's mayors for their annual meetings, his support for the outrageous anti-democratic "card-check" provision, or the numerous concessions to the United Auto Workers in the Chrysler and General Motors financial settlements giving the unions a majority share of the industries they were culpable in destroying. Further, legitimate stake holders, those owning company bonds, were railroaded from what would have been entitled to them by law by standard bankruptcy law bumping the unions ahead of them in who gets what.

Labor has been in decline for decades and America has been better off as a result. Sadly, in just five months, Barack Obama has almost completely undone all the progress made to contain labor union abuse since Ronald Reagan exercised the kind of leadership required when he fired striking air line traffic controllers who were forbidden by law to strike.

There is nothing good for average American working people from Obama's pro-labor approach. Meanwhile, successful companies that provide value for millions of Americans such as WalMart are clearly targetted to use new laws to accomplish what unions have not been able to accomplish through fair and legitimate means.

Public employee unions represent even a bigger threat since there is no segment of the economy the current regime seeks to grow more than the public sector. To that goal, his stiffing America's mayors speaks volumes of whose more important between elected leaders who have many concerns to address on the Federal level to corrupt special interest groups who serve as the rock solid foundation for the President's political base.

Perhaps taxpayers should form a picket line around the White House and dare the President to cross the line.

My Sweet George Revisited

Let it Roll: Songs by George Harrison

A good overview, but some glaring missing tunes...

Creating career spanning compilations is risky business. Invariably, some songs are omitted while others perhaps get more recognition than they deserve by being included. Such is the case in listening to Let it Roll: Songs by George Harrison.

What the listener gets is material from his first album, the bombastic beauty, Phil Spector production, All Things Must Pass up to his final album released posthumously, Brainwashed. Bringing together his recordings originally released by Apple/EMI/Capitol and Dark Horse, finally the listener can get the whole perspective. Most of the familiar hits are included as are some tasteful album cuts plus some of his Beatles compositions performed during his tremendous benefit concert for Bangladesh.

The recording quality is superb and given the long span covered and radically different production styles featured, there’s no jarring conflict in overall sound from one cut to the next. There isn’t a bad track on the album.

The album disappoints in the songs it omitted. Not a single track is provided from three consecutive albums: Dark Horse, Extra Texture, and Thirty Three and a third. Granted the first two, his last two for Apple/EMI/Capitol are uneven albums, some great songs could have been included. From Dark Horse, “So Sad” is one of his strongest and most haunting cuts from any album. “Far East Man,” his collaboration with Ron Wood is a strong candidate, as is “Dark Horse.” Extra Texture is surely his weakest album and the only candidate would possibly be the single, “You,” but if there’s an album to be forgotten, this is the one. Thirty Three and a Third is one of his best solo albums. “Crackerbox Palace” is the most glaring omission of all possible songs neglected from this album. “This Song” is one of Harrison’s better humor-laden tunes. Two other strong candidates for this album could also be considered, “Beautiful Girl,” a classic love ballad, perhaps an update of “Something.” His cover of the Cole Porter classic, “True Love,” is another enjoyable tune. Other songs left out that sure belong include “Devil’s Radio” and two tracks from Best of Dark Horse (1976-1989) currently out-of-print, “Poor Little Girl” and “Cockamamie Business.” Perhaps a thoughtful two disc compilation is in order.

What’s on the album is good. The songs are not in chronological order for those listeners seeking historical perspective but mixing them up surely makes a more listenable album. The album opens with his last hit, “Got My Mind Set on You,” from Cloud Nine, 1987. Three songs from “Brainwashed,” his final album are included, “Any Road,” “Marwa Blues” and “Rising Son.” All Things Must Pass is the most heavily represented album with five tracks but “Beware of Darkness” is nowhere to be found. Cloud Nine is represented with three tracks as is the Concert for Bangladesh.

One unreleased song, possibly a Wilbury number, a Bob Dylan composition, “I Don’t Want to Do It” debuts. It’s a decent mid-tempo ballad, not a hit but a fine album cut.

For true George Harrison fans who have most of his CD’s, Let It Roll: Songs of George Harrison breaks little new ground. Listeners looking for a good overview of Harrison’s career should be disappointed with the obvious omissions. This album is a good recommendation as an introduction to George Harrison’s solo career. It’s also a great George Harrison quick fix. With nineteen tunes, there is a lot of music to enjoy – a fine collection for an iPod or car stereo.

While this album serves as a good overview, we would encourage the brain trust at EMI and George Harrison’s estate to consider either a volume two or a two disc set that tells the whole story.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Brandon Marshall -- NO!!!

Speculation in the national media indicates troubled receiver, Brandon Marshall could be coming to Baltimore. Our advice to the Ravens, a resounding NO!!!
Marshall is under contract and demanding a trade. This is not generally a good reflection on the player to begin with, but Marshall also has serious character problems with two women who've charged him with substantial abuse. Such players have no place on a reputable team.
While the consensus is that Ravens would benefit substantially from a frontline receiver, being on the receiving end of another franchise trying to pass the trash is no way to get there.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Letterman's Idiocy: The Fire's Still Burning

It's been a week now since David Letterman revealed his true character joking about a fourteen year old girl being raped by a New York Yankee and joking about a governor looking like a slutty flight attendant.
Thanks to many Americans like you, the furor over Letterman's sick, crude remarks reflective of his left-wing sympathies, remains strong. Demonstrations are planned outside the Ed Sullivan theater tonight and the topic remains hot in the news.
We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it any more mindful that Letterman is only the front man for feelings that run deep in some segments of society who follow his kind of thinking viewing the unqualified laughter at his retched remarks on television and the volume of Internet traffic supporting his inflammatory abuse or criticizing Sarah Palin for not taking her lumps the way they think they should. We know damned well if a conservative commentator slurred a prominent Liberal figure, there would be hell to pay.
David Letterman must pay a price for his conduct. It's time for society to develop a new sense of decency, and this is a good place to start.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sprint Cup 2009, Race 15: Michigan Mop Up

Teammates celebrate 1-2 finish. (From NASCAR.com)
Mark Martin proved Michigan racing is a ga-ga-gas!!!

Johnny Benson injured in super modified race outside his Grand Rapids hometown.

Start and Park or “field fillers” become more conspicuous even on the highest level.

Martin's Win

The last ten laps Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle were dueling for the lead. First, Biffle had the advantage then Johnson pulled ahead. While it looked like Biffle was getting a little too loose to do the job, as the white flag dropped Johnson ran out of gas. Hardly did the #16 car jump out in front, then Biffle ran out of gas, and Mark Martin zoomed ahead to claim his third victory of the year. The fuel shortage cost Johnson severely dropping him to 22nd, the last car on the lead lap. Biffle faired much better ending up in 5th, but once again, Mark Martin was there when it counted, just easing back a little bit behind the dogfight between Biffle and Johnson ready to take home his third trophy this year. While leading the most laps and being ahead as the white flag dropped, Jimmie Johnson still has not won in Michigan.

The Life Lock 400 proved a successful afternoon for two Hendricks teams with Jeff Gordon finishing second. Dale Earnhardt Jr. showed improvement with a 14th place finish moving him up two spots in the standings. The recent hotshots at Stewart-Haas racing were not the center of attention today, but Stewart finished in the top ten at #7 just the same, but Ryan Newman had a difficult afternoon finishing 23rd, the first car one lap down.

Roush-Fenway needed a good outing for its team, and despite Biffle’s sputter at the end, teammate, Carl Edwards finished 4th while his #16 finished 5th. Jaime McMurray finished respectably in 11th while David Regan had his best finish in a long time coming in at 15th position. Matt Kenseth continued to struggle finishing in 20th.

Juan Montoya finished in 6th perhaps a tune-up for next week’s road course action where he’s one of the top contenders, a much needed boost for a miserable season for Earnhardt-Ganassi racing whose other headline driver, Martin Truex Jr. finished near the bottom of cars not involved in the Park and Ride fiasco, in 36th place.

Richard Childress needed his four teams to perform this weekend as they have been falling further away from chase possibilities, but today would not be kind. Clint Bowyer finished 10th. Perhaps one could argue a silver lining scenario for Kevin Harvick who finally cracked the top 20 in 18th.Casey Mears finished 24th while Mr. Consistency, Jeff Burton languished in 26th.

Besides winning the race, Mark Martin was the big winner in the points standings. He started one point out of the top 12, the fateful dividing line between those who make it into the chase and those who are relegated to accepting just another season. Martin gained five positions to finish the day in 8th place closing in on his former Roush teammates, Biffle and Edwards. Other moves in the top 12 included Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman, former teammates swapping 4th and 5th with Busch moving up to 4th. Denny Hamlin gained two spots sliding into 10th. Matt Kenseth dropped three places down to 11th while Jeff Burton fell to just above the border line in 12th.

While the Sprint Cup series first trip to Michigan boiled down to another fuel mileage race, what irony that characteristic turned out to be. Rather than seeing cars running cautiously with one driver who got things just right dominating the field, running down to vapors provided one of the most exciting Michigan finishes in years though perhaps not equal to the drama of Dale Jarrett banging fenders with Davey Allison for his first win in the 1991 August race. While Mark Martin outlasted the field, he did so with nothing to spare starting to sputter just as he crossed the finish line. But not to worry, Mark Martin’s a great old school driver who has no use for the crazy burnouts that have become a victory tradition with the current generation of drivers.

No driver shows the class and enthusiasm in victory lane the way Mark Martin does, a lesson to be learned by the driver in the #18 car who is a living, breathing insult to every fan who has no use for his antics when he wins. Yes, we’re still not over his guitar smashing idiocy a week ago. He’d make a fine guest for David Letterman another classless jerk who loves motorsports.

Johnny Benson
Meanwhile, our most profound sympathy and prayers go to veteran driver, Johnny Benson, who lost his ride in the Camping World Truck series earlier this week. Racing in a super modified race at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Michigan, just outside his hometown of Grand Rapids, Benson’s car crashed into the wall and bust in to flames. Benson is listed in serious but stable condition.

Reports indicate Benson received multiple injuries including burns and broken ribs. While never being a championship contender during his cup racing days, Johnny Benson has always been a class act and honorable spokesman for the sport including several seasons as a panelist on “This Week in NASCAR” on Speed TV. After not being able to find an acceptable full-time ride at the Sprint Cup level, he ran for Bill Davis in the truck series winning last year’s championship, but in the current tough economic times, Davis sold off his racing team forcing Benson to sign on with a weaker team, Red Horse, that could not get sponsorship for his truck leading to this week’s announcement that the team would cease operations.

Johnny Benson is one of those drivers fans must scratch their heads and wonder what could have been. His rise to prominence in NASCAR came quickly winning the Busch Series Rookie of the Year in 1994 winning the series’ championship the following year. In 1996, Benson moved on to Cup series racing in the #30 Bahari Penzoil Pontiac winning the Winston Cup Rookie of the Year. In 1998, Benson had the opportunity to race for a tier one team joining the Roush operation in the #26 Cheerios Ford but his second year with Roush would be difficult with numerous crew changes. He left Roush at the end of the year to join Tyler Jet Motorsports later sold to MB2 where he notched his only Cup victory at Rockingham in November, 2002. The MB2 team released Benson after the 2003 season leading him to pursue a regular place in the truck series from 2004 forward. As a trucker, Benson has 14 wins and 84 top tens on his resume.

We wish Johnny Benson and his family all the best in route to a speedy and complete recovery and hope to see him soon participating where his talents are appreciated and rewarded.
Start and Park Clutter
What are fans to make of the “Start and Park” phenomenon where teams enter a race with no intention of competing only to drive for a limited number of laps before pulling off into the garage area before the first round of pit stops never having to perform a costly tire change?

We believe if a team qualifies for a race on the highest level of NASCAR, “you’re in it to win it.” It’s simply not healthy to have teams cluttering up the field who have no intention of completing the race. Surely these limited teams get no sympathy from NASCAR given the tremendous, record setting fines imposed on the Carl Long team that was fined heavily, suspended, and docked for having an oversized engine despite having never qualifying for a single race but blowing an engine during caution in the wide-open field for the qualifying shoot-out for the All Star race. That Jeremy Mayfield’s operation was not a front line team didn’t prevent him from being dealt the full penalty for failing a drug test.

Is there any reason Sprint Cup and Nationwide races must field forty three cars for every event during the long season?

Meanwhile, the situation appears far worse in the truck series where not only achieving a full field is difficult but perhaps ten or more trucks were not entered for any purpose other than making a token appearance in Saturday’s action.

Would it not be better to reduce the competition but maintain a more consistent level of competition?

This will be a phenomenon to watch as the series continues and sponsors are hard to find. Shouldn't all cars be "in it to win it?"

NASCAR: Bittersweet Journey to the Home of the Auto Industry

All year, the NASCAR family has worried about what the dreadful economy, the horrible state of the auto industry particularly GM and Chrysler, tight sponsor dollars, and how hostile Obama-nation might be toward a culture completely the opposite of theirs could adversely influence the sport.

On the Sprint Cup level, first the #28 car, a historic Ford team, run by Yates racing disbanded for lack of sponsorship and inability to make the top 35 in owners’ points after four races. Later, Earnhardt/Ganassi disbanded their original flagship team, #8, for lack of sponsorship. More recently, Richard Petty conceded his team was not getting paid from Dodge forcing layoffs and pay reductions.

For Craftsman trucks, keeping teams assembled has been a year along struggle, but what could be a more chilling reality than last year’s champ losing his ride from last year as that team disbanded then just in the past week, his new team disbanded leaving Johnny Benson without a ride. Bill Davis racing, a major force in truck racing, liquidated in the offseason leaving the champ settling for a seat with a minor team with poor finances and sponsorship trouble.

Now as the NASCAR teams journey to the heart of the auto industry in Michigan, a big bomb from General Motors, pulling out their support for the Nationwide and Camping World Truck series. For Nationwide alone, that impacts Richard Childress, Kevin Harvick, JR (as in Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and Rusty Wallace’s team. These have been strong operations, but where do they do now.

Ford is probably not in a position to pickup the slack. Most of these teams are ones with strong historic bonds with GM. Would Toyota make a bold bid to all but take over the lower series?

Teams have operated in the past without factory support, but never before have two of the Big Three been government and labor owned entities. How politics and UAW activities could further impact NASCAR will be determined as the season continues.

NASCAR’s success struggles with three hard realities.

1- The motor industry is in deep trouble. GM and Chrysler are in government and union control. How much NASCAR support could be deemed unnecessary will directly impact teams. Only Toyota is in a strong position. Ford has not fallen off the cliff with its two Detroit companions for its prudent fiscal management which will keep a close eye on the benefits achieved by supporting NASCAR which is limited largely to the fortunes of the Roush-Fenway operation.

2-Broadcast ratings are way down. While Fox, TNT, and ABC/ESPN are locked into long term deals, if they are not gaining viewers and ad revenues drop, the extent to which they can promote the sport diminishes. NASCAR needs lots of stories making it to Sports Center that will compel sports fans to watch the races each weekend. Here’s one area where the “Blame Junior” faction is vocal. When the sport’s most marketable and popular driver is not a factor in the competition, the logic is marginal fans might tune out. While Kyle Busch excels at generating controversy, he’s such a jerk and hasn’t been around long enough to earn the kind of villain status that draws viewers who want to see him tamed the way some would watch a New York Yankees game. As NASCAR examines ways to liven up the sport, such as implementing the double-file restart, perhaps they must consider shortening some of the long races such as the 500 miles at Pocono. Rarely will there be as racy a Pocono race as last Sunday.

3-Attendance at the race tracks is down. During a bad economy, NASCAR is especially vulnerable because unlike balls sports which have hometown followings where fans can decide to attend a game on impulse, as in “the weather’s nice, let’s catch the game tonight,” NASCAR events are more of a destination sport. Fans plan weeks ahead to attend NASCAR races often involving one or two overnight stays in the area of where races are held. How many racing venues are in commuting distance of major markets?

While Pocono and Dover, for instance, are close to huge markets like New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, all require at least a couple hour drive to attend. Gas prices factor in too.

Good competition cures some of these problems, but can anyone say this year’s Sprint Cup racing has been boring?

Nine drivers won races out of fourteen events this year including surprise first time victors like Brad Kesolowski whose bold moves on the final lap earned him his first win in a part time ride at Talladega. David Reutimann brought home his first victory in the Coca Cola 600 which was compromised racing a day late because of rain and was likewise shortened by rain. Other fan pleasing victories would be Mark Martin’s two wins including a prime time victory at Darlington. Tony Stewart’s rise to victory at the All-Star race and Pocono are very compelling races for fans to enjoy.

NASCAR needs races that generate breathtaking highlights and get fans talking. The double-file restart surely makes races racier. Whether it can be accomplished this season, knocking back events so they don’t run for often over four hours should be considered. Reducing Pocono to 400 miles or 500k must be considered. Atlanta, Texas, and Fontana are all 500 mile races that might benefit from a shorter time-slot. NASCAR also needs to consider its competition during the chase season up against baseball playoffs, college football, and the NFL.

NASCAR might face another challenge lurking in the background. Have they abandoned their base – the staunch fans from Dixie and hard core gear heads around the country in pitching too much for a broader but more fickle audience? Darlington has only one date on the schedule. Rockingham and North Wilkesboro are gone. Atlanta struggles for fans as does the fall event in Charlotte. The pickup truck devotees are quite vocal about their dissatisfaction with the “wine and cheese” crowd. The NFL faces a similar divide in its fan base, but that’s never an issue. Both sports need to satisfy the tailgaters and the luxury suite high rollers.

The green flag drops on bittersweet atmosphere in Michigan. Joey Legano, the absolute opposite in personality to his teammate, Kyle Busch, won the Nationwide race in Kentucky as both will speed off to return to Michigan in pursuit of the bigger prize of Sunday money. Michigan is much more a gear head’s track rather than a casual fan’s event as its spacious width and wide open spaces don’t facilitate fender-bumping action and often its races come down to fuel management more than all-out hard racing.

While the action on Sundays remains faithful to racing in greener times, perceptions can color things to the contrary. Give the appearance of blood in the water and the sharks arrive. NASCAR getting so much attention about its struggles riding on the auto-industry could be counterproductive in attracting fans who somehow process this reality into believing the races aren’t quite what they used to be.

Try telling that to drivers like Mark Martin who shows up ready for business with all the enthusiasm he showed twenty years ago when a black Chevrolet with a silver-white number three on its roof and side panels created the exact kind of spectacle that grew a generation of fans.

Who among today’s up and coming drivers could be the next Dale Earnhardt?

Friday, June 12, 2009

More Letterman: New York Lawmaker Urges CBS Fire Letterman

In the big scheme of things how do David Letterman's demented attacks on Sarah Palin and her daughters stack up to other media mishaps and what was the outcome of those events?

First, consider the "wardrobe malfunction" where Janet Jackson exposed her breast in a dance routine with Justin Timberlake during the half time entertainment for Super Bowl XXXVIII. The FCC had specific offenses for which a network could be penalized. Showing the wrong part of the body equals big fine, $550,000. The Supreme Court pushed the appeal back to the 3rd district for final disposition. For just a couple seconds exposure of a boob, a nationwide uproar ensued.

More recently, Don Imus referred to the Rutgers women's basketball team in demeaning racial terms. Here's the April 4, 2007 exchange between Imus and his producer:

IMUS: That's some rough girls from Rutgers. Man, they got tattoos and—
McGUIRK: Some hard-core hos.
IMUS: That's some nappy headed hos. I'm gonna tell you that now, man, that's some—whew. And the girls from Tennessee, they all look cute, you know, so, like—kinda like—I don't know.
McGUIRK: A Spike Lee thing.
IMUS: Yeah.
McGUIRK: The Jigaboos
versus the Wannabes—that movie that he had.

At first Imus faced suspension, but within a week he was terminated both from his syndicated radio show on CBS radio but also from the cable simulcast on MSNBC.

So where would David Letterman's remarks about Alex Rodriguez "knocking up" Willow Palin fall in light of these two well known events? Letterman can make all the excuses he wants about meaning Bristol Palin, the 18 year old not the 14 year old daughter, but the event he referred to was attended by Bristol Palin. So what was that, a daughter identification malfunction?

Joking about a person's daughter getting "knocked up" is dangerous territory but the younger the victim the worse the infraction. What's being lost in this is the slur directed against Alex Rodriguez as the supposed rapist. Rodriguez is Latino of Domincan Republic origins. Could this not be a vicious attempt to stereotype Hispanic men for their image for having a promiscuous over-sexed disposition? Surely the image of a pro baseball player raping a teenage girl is bad enough.

Since there was no explicit visual and Letterman did not say one of those seven George Carlin words, FCC fines are not forthcoming. It's up to CBS to do the right thing. After given the chance to apologize and Letterman turned that opportunity into a self-serving attempt simply to show his contempt that someone would dare make an issue of his behavior, any apology or statement at this point would appear forced and totally lacking sincerity. Clearly, Letterman is taking responsibility for nothing.

CBS will try to weasel out of the controversy but if a public uproar forces their hands, something substantial could happen. Anything short of a lengthy suspension would not serve justice for such disrespect and contempt for the Palin family and Alex Rodriguez.

Those who are disgusted by this incident and feel broadcasting must exhibit a better sense of values must push for Letterman's dismissal. New York State Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb (R) has written CBS urging such action. In a letter to CBS chief, Les Moonves, Kolb argued:

Firing Mr. Letterman would send a clear message that CBS will not tolerate any of its employees — even an established media figure like Mr. Letterman — making demeaning and degrading comments about women.”

For more details, here's an article on Mr. Kolb's action:

Meanwhile, the media machine and left-wing loonies are pulling the wagons together to stereotype and demean Letterman's critics as if they are the ones who have warped values.

Bring 'em on. We're ready for the fight.

Paul Reed Smith Guitars: Chesapeake Area Success Story

Talk to serious guitar players around the upper Chesapeake, they've all heard of Paul Reed Smith. Many of them have met him. Paul Reed Smith is a guitar craftsman who started his own business from humble origins orginally repairing guitars to building a business the creates the highest quality guitars that are catching on with major guitars including Carlos Santana, an early customer of PRS guitars before his career enjoyed its second coming in the late 90's. Smith originally started in Annapolis, but now his business is just across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Stevensonville, Maryland where his business is about to expand.

Here's a glimpse inside the world of Paul Reed Smith's guitar shop where hot playing guitars are born. The article writes about PRS guitars will be included in the next version of the Guitar Heroes video game. The video clip takes the viewer into Smith's Kent Island guitar shop.

When one sees the art of making guitars, the craftsmanship, and the dedication of those who build them, and the care and detail that goes into making fine guitars, doesn't this reinforce what a shameless punk Kyle Busch is for destroying one of the real treasures of the guitar trade not only a stick in the eye to Sam Bass, the artist whose custom paint job with NASCAR racing images, but for all those for whom building guitars is a labor of love.

Good Night, Dave

David Letterman’s idiotic, sick, and disgusting conduct on Monday night’s show reveals he is not a lone gunman in the filthy mindset of a typical member of the entertainment industry in 2009, but given how the audience roared in laughter to his disgusting remarks and viewing how many bloggers and columnist are either defending Letterman or scolding Palin for seeming to make a big deal out of the event and not gracefully accepting Letterman’s half-assed apology, there are thousands of others who deserve a tremendous amount of condemnation as well.

Joking about a baseball player raping someone’s daughter is not funny to begin with but it also reflects a degree of sickness that civil humans cannot tolerate. While the remark about the “slutty airline stewardess look” might be within the bounds of acceptable late night comedy, it is also a dreadfully demeaning comment toward women.

Again, where are the women’s advocacy groups on Letterman’s slur? Does anybody know how they would react if it were Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or Bill O’Reilly saying something much milder about a Hollywood or Democrat prima-donna? The hypocrisy of NOW and such groups is obvious. For them to say they represent women is a sham. They represent a certain kind of woman with a specific agenda. The rest be damned.

Can there ever be an event on television that wakes people up from putting up with the dreadful crap on television and really let the networks and local affiliates feel the full fury of a dissatisfied public? The garbage on television that appeals to ever lower moral character gets more disturbing as the industry aims further below the belt with its intellectual content. Let’s pick Mr. Letterman as the poster child of sleaze TV.

David Letterman’s verbal abuse of Sarah Palin and her daughters is not a situation that’s going to fade away if we can help it. As if his “joke” about Palin’s fourteen year old daughter being “knocked up” by Alex Rodriguez wasn’t bad enough, in the same monologue he also quipped, "The toughest part of her visit was keeping Eliot Spitzer away from her daughter." Then in the top ten list, one list item was: (#7) “Bought makeup at Bloomingdale's to update her slutty flight attendant look,"

Take a look at this video clip. Are these not the words of an angry self-serving jackass?

Let’s get something straight, it was Sarah Palin’s 14 year old daughter, Willow, who accompanied her to the Yankee game in question. He or his writers weren’t paying attention to that were they? Further, is a joke about an 18 year old woman being raped acceptable?

The following night Letterman responded to criticism of his conduct from the night before. His remarks were steaming with sarcasm and at times pitching for laughs from his audience. There was no sign of sincerity or sorrow. If there was any emotion at all, he seemed ticked off that anyone would make a big deal about his feeble attempt at abusive humor.

Letterman's explanation:
We were, as we often do, making jokes about people in the news and we made some jokes about Sarah Palin and her daughter, the 18-year-old girl, who is — her name is Bristol, that’s right, and so, then, now they’re upset with me. These are not jokes made about her 14-year-old daughter. I would never, never make jokes about raping or having sex of any description with a 14-year-old girl. I mean, look at my record. It has never happened. I don’t think it’s funny. I would never think it was funny. I wouldn’t put it in a joke…"

"… Gov. Palin, if you’re watching, I would like you to consider coming to New York City — even Todd — as my guests, or leave Todd at home. I’d love to have you on the show. It’d be exciting. All right, so there, I hope I’ve cleared part of this up. Am I guilty of poor taste? Yes. Did I suggest that it was okay for her 14-year-old daughter to be having promiscuous sex? No."

Take a look at this video clip. Are these not the words of an angry self-serving jackass?

While there will be no letting up on David Letterman, there are coconspirators in the case who deserve criticism as well. First, the audience at the Ed Sullivan Theater who boisterously laughed at his abusive comments directed at Palin and her family. Second, is the massive rally around Dave and more piling on Sarah Palin minimizing this whole event to just another night’s week for the washed up angry comic from the entertainment press and even some more substantial news outlets.

The reasoning was that Sarah Palin was in the public eye and tasteless humor goes with the territory. The jabs directed at her daughter were okay because they felt Ms. Palin thrust her daughter, Bristol in to the public eye to preach abstinence, a concept held in absolute scorn in the hedonistic permissive world of the entertainment industry. They continued their apologist stance indicating that clearly Letterman was not aware it was Palin’s 14 year old daughter, Willow in New York with her.

The Letterman episode became another excuse for another Palin PiƱata party with sticks flying at the Alaskan governor’s image piling on her for directing her outrage at one of their own.

Rape and abuse of women is not joke material. Both are hateful conduct destroying the lives of thousands of American women nationwide.

David Letterman sired his child out of wedlock. Should we taunt him about knocking up the mother of his son? Should we joke about her reputation, possibly being a “slut” for having sex with a television star as if she were some kind of wild-eyed groupie?

Sprint Cup 2009, Race 15: Michigan

This writer is having trouble pulling his thoughts together to preview this week’s action because Kyle Busch’s idiotic antics in Nashville Saturday night just won’t go away. What a freakin’ jerk! A trophy is something of honor, a work of art, but as if any race trophy is more important than another (well, surely there’s not a driver around who wouldn’t love the Harley Earle trophy from Daytona), to be presented a beautiful Gibson Les Paul guitar custom painted by NASCAR artist, Sam Bass, confirms what a total PUNK younger Busch is. Sure, NASCAR lore is full of bad boys most of whom we remember as the drivers they grew up to be not what was though of them when they started, but Kyle Busch has some special qualities, contempt for fans, contempt for the sport, and contempt for tradition that are difficult to stomach.

So in attempting to write a somewhat objective review of the upcoming event in Michigan, it’s hard not want to see some other driver accomplish in whacking the #18 Toyota what Busch couldn’t pull off with the revered Gibson guitar.

So what of the NASCAR bad boys? There was a time, this writer clearly felt Anybody but Gordon. That feeling mellowed with age. These days, it never feels good to see Jimmie Johnson win a race no matter how cool and sharp his crew chief Chad Knauss is. Hopefully with all the rationalizing and excuses, Jeremy Mayfield will never start another NASCAR race. Why can’t he just go away.

The big story going into Michigan is the auto industry itself. With General Motors and Chrysler in government hands and Richard Petty Racing having to lay off employees and cut salaries for not getting reimbursed by Dodge, race fans have to wonder to what extent will this impact the sport? Dodge could disappear tomorrow and have little impact on the sport assuming Penske and Petty could get new equipment, but Chevrolet has been the backbone of the sport for decades. Aside from two Pontiac championships from the Joe Gibbs garage and three Ford championships, one Yates, two Roush, it’s been all Chevy since Alan Kulwicki raced two other Ford teams for the 1992 championship.

Part two of this story is the state of Michigan itself. Will there be a smaller audience to enjoy the race? What impact will there be on track vendors and concessions? A few stops on the Sprint Cup schedule have special symbolism for the sport tied to the history of the sport and the automotive industry, like Charlotte, Darlington, and Daytona, Michigan is such a place.

Stewart-Haas racing has to be the big story of the 2009 season so far. Aside from some hard luck race track incidents for Ryan Newman early in the year, the dynamic duo of Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman keep getting stronger with each week’s competition, then came the big break, the powerful win in the Sprint Cup All-Star race, but since that race doesn’t tally up points, it took a points race to make it official as was proven last week at Pocono. Both drivers are almost sure locks to be in the Chase after the field is determined in September after the second Richmond race. Tony Stewart is known as strong second half driver. Ryan Newman is one of the best qualifiers.

Jimmie Johnson is locked in position to push for his fourth championship, and like Stewart, is a strong second half driver. Jeff Gordon has been strong most of the year, and surely could compete for title number five if his back problems don’t drive him crazy. Beyond all those Hendricks powered cars, could Carl Edwards or another Roush driver slide into the picture? Probably. Yes, that pain-in-the-butt punk, Kyle Busch could be a factor too. A little bit of consistency and suddenly his season is in championship caliber shape but if there’s any driver who will get ZERO cooperation from the rest of the field, L’Enfant Terrible is the guy. Naturally, many race fans would love to see Mark Martin make the trip. While he might win some more races, his week-to-week consistency hasan’t added up so far.

Dale Earnhardt Junior remains a big story for the total futility of Team 88 so far. Of course the same could be said of Kevin Harvick, but he isn’t the son of a seven time champion and the sports’ most popular driver. Media types are blaming the decline in NASCAR attendance and viewership in part on Junior’s struggles. That’s quite a burden to put on just another fellow. If there’s a silver lining to Earnhardt’s misery tour, he was the winner of this event last year.

Since 2002, the first Michigan event has not been kind to Chevrolet, Earnhardt’s victory is the only one since Jeff Gordon’s 2001 victory. Four races belong to the Jack Roush gang, two victories were Dodge teams, Kasey Kahne, the most recent in 2006. The Roush gang needs a real boost to feel like their top three drivers: Edwards, Greg Biffle, and Matt Kenseth haven’t come close to sealing the deal yet. Meanwhile, Jamie McMurray lags behind, and after a promising year last year, David Regan has struggled miserably this year.

In the Dodge camp, Kurt Busch has fallen off recently, but is the strongest Mopar driver. His teammate, Sam Hornish Jr. is becoming a legitimate competitor showing grow as the season goes on. Things are tougher for the Petty-Gillette-Evernham operation only beginning to roll out the new Dodge engine with Kasey Kahne as the only driver in line to use it on an intermittent basis. It was the middle part of the season last year when Kahne enjoyed his greatest success.

Last week’s Pocono race brought more attention to the “Start and Park” non-competitors, teams that qualify for the race but head for the garage before the first pit-stop avoiding the expense of a set of tires. One has to wonder, would NASCAR be better off reducing the number of starting positions to make sure that whatever number of drivers take the green flag, they’re all in it to win it. Under the present system it would be difficult to enforce any kind of sanctions against such teams. They seem to leave for mysterious ailments like vibrations.

Meanwhile, can somebody please create a new version of “Whack a Mole” where the player gets to smack Kyle Busch over the head with a nice guitar? When there are blog responses out there that start with, “I defend Kyle’s right under the Constitution to do what he did to the Sam Bass guitar….” So let’s get this straight, freedom of speech, press, religion? Right to assembly? What about the guitar’s constitutional rights to be secure?
We can only hope the the punk never wins at Martinsville. Imagine what this immature rube might be tempted to do to a beautiful grandfather clock. At least he'd fit right in on the Late Show with David Letterman.

Anybody but Kyle Busch, baby!!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Woodstock Revisited: Superb Remasters of Conspicuously Dated Material

Can it really be forty years ago? If you're part of the so-called "Woodstock Generation," it must make you shudder.

Could there have been a more historical summer than 1969? Heck, Bryan Adams even wrote a hit song about that famous summer without even mentioning the famous events of that magic time where the boundaries of humanity grew to proportions never known before. On July 16th, a mighty Saturn V rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The 360 plus foot tall beast propelled three astronauts to rendezvous with the moon, and on July 20th, Neil Armstrong then Buzz Aldrin would be the first humans to walk on the lunar surface. Mankind will forever remember the mighty trio of Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins, but weeks later another spaced out trio, Crosby, Stills, and Nash and other titans of pop music along with hundreds of thousands of other worldly people would enjoy an out of this world experience on Max Yasgur’s 600 acre farm in Bethel, New York. The Woodstock festival stood as perhaps the largest cultural event of the century intended to be performed for an audience of 150 to 200 thousand fans, but in reality, at least a half a million fans showed up. As of more than double the expected crowd wasn’t enough, the weather did not cooperate either as heavy thunderstorms pelted the area forcing part of the concert to be delayed for fear of lightening strikes. Before long, most of the crowd area became a sloppy, gloppy sea of mud. Logistics failed miserably in keeping up with the needs of the massive crowd, but only two deaths occurred during the event: one heroin overdose and another involved a spectator being crushed in his sleeping bag run over by a tractor.

Looking at the list of performers, it reads like a who’s who of the greats of the period excluding the Rolling Stones in the throes of breaking in new guitarist, Mick Taylor; the Beatles who had all but broken up by then having Abbey Road on the verge of release. The Doors, Bob Dylan, the Moody Blues, Jethro Tull, and Blind Faith (Eric Clapton’s temporary band with Steve Winwood). Some of the most famous acts of the time were there, but never made it to the official recordings of the festival, quite an awesome list including The Band, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Johnny Winters, and Blood, Sweat & Tears.

Talk to baby boomers who were in their mid-teens up to the age of senility, thirty and see how many folks of that age claim to have been there even if they had summer jobs in San Diego that weekend. Likewise, there sure are a lot of kids born somewhere around May, 1970 who’d swear they were conceived there. Rest assured enough people were whacked out on drugs to the extent that they probably honestly believed they were there, but has anyone asked how many people were whacked out on drugs at the festival and as such have no idea that they actually were there.

This writer would have just turned sixteen at the time of the festival and in hindsight feels pretty darned lucky he did not attend Woodstock. Somehow, thoughts of zero personal space prompting mad claustrophobia and agoraphobia would ruin any joy the music might provide, but along with the rain, the mud, probably dwindling reserves or beer and food would have surely diminished the experience to sheer misery regardless of how good the marijuana, hopefully in ample supply might have been; however, the ultimate horror would have to be the prospects of making the old bladder gladder. Yet to hear the mythology of Woodstock, one would think it was paradise on earth, the flower children, the beautiful people as in half naked folks in their 20’s covered in mud?

It’s against that background that Rhino records reissued freshly mastered and packaged copies of the original Woodstock and Woodstock II albums on CD. When Rhino takes on a reissue project, they usually do a good job, so how did they do with the two Woodstock albums?

Generally, they did a nice job. There is no comparison between the sound quality between the new improved Rhino remaster and the original CD or LP both of which were poor sounding releases. While the sound is tremendously improved, the listener must keep in mind the source of these recordings, a sprawling outdoor venue pumped through huge speaker towers. There’s no concealing lots of distortion, amplifier noise, and overall environmental noise. While providing the ability to hear all kinds of music totally buried in previous releases, some erroneous elements are much more apparent too; however, if the listener wants to hop in the time machined and travel back to the summer of ’69, the new recordings are an absolute delight. Furthermore, both volumes contain booklets with photos from the event and detailed liner notes which help fill in more of the story the songs and recordings of the crowd activities alone can’t provide.

Now that all those problems are resolved, how good are these albums? That depends entirely on what the listener’s expectations are. Clearly, Woodstock reflects a different period of time and attitudes and tastes have changed dramatically. Some artists’ material still sounds fresh and vital; others output sounds dated and quaint, psychedelic relics of a historic period forty years ago.

The first set, disc one, opens with John Sebastian, the former front man of the Lovin’ Spoonful who contributes two songs of friendly folksy singer-songwriter fare, hardly anything resembling a protest singer, sweet but not as drippy sweet as some of Donovan’s material. His second song on disc two starts of with a really stoned sounding address to the audience helping confirm that everyone must have been on drugs. Canned Heat performs one of their familiar hits, “Going Up the Country,” but this version is a disaster. The vocals and lead guitar are dreadful leaving only the rhythm section sounding like professional musicians. Lead singer, Bob Hite, sounds like a horribly mutilated Kermit the Frog. The end of the cut consists of crowd noise and stage announcements including warning the crowd to avoid some bad brown acid.

Richie Haven’s “Freedom” is much more serious material with lots of crowd interaction but it would be a long stretch to call it listenable.

Finally, after three tracks, the album gets into a good rockin’ groove starting with some good old hippie rock n roll, “Rock & Soul Music” followed by a spirited performance by Arlo Guthrie singing his dope smuggling tale, “Coming into Los Angeles” which finishes with a very stoned sounding Guthrie addressing the crowd, stoned out of his whacker, commenting about the scene, “lotta freaks, man.’ Sha Na Na’s whose popularity at Woodstock quite possibly was the driving force leading to the 50’s revival the carried on through most of the 60’s with the musical, “Grease,” and other retro acts.

Nothing from Woodstock is more memorable than the notorious “FISH” cheer from Country Joe and the Fish. “Give me an “F”. Give me a “U.” Give me a “C.” Get the picture? It’s the intro to a humorous anti-Vietnam war ditty, “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag.” Folks old enough to be of draft age in that era can sure identify with this one.

Disc one concludes with two songs from Joan Baez who lectures the crowd about her political views reeking of sanctimonious piety. To think her political ranting was mainstream back then! She contributes two songs, “Drug Store Truck Drivin’ Man,” a Byrds song scolding the hippie stereotype of blue collar rednecks, and “Joe Hill,” a song that attempts to celebrate the death of a union organizer as a martyr. Is it the remastered recording or is it just years later, Baez sounds like a shrill, snotty bitch?

The tempo picks with three songs from Crosby, Stills and Nash, the latter two adding Young as well. Woodstock helped give the first “super group” tremendous exposure and credibility among hipsters with their rich harmonies. The first track is an acoustic performance of “Suite Judy Blue Eyes,” a song Stephen Stills wrote as an ode to folky, Judy Collins. “Sea of Madness” introduces Neil Young but was apparently not recorded at Woodstock but imported from a Fillmore performance. Their set concludes with the anti-war narrative, “Wooden Ships.” What their songs lack in polish and precision, they make up for with enthusiasm. The two electric numbers are tremendous improvements over previous releases, every nuance of the band’s performance can clearly be heard now including some fine guitar work from Stills and Young.

Heading down the home stretch on disc one are two of the most powerful numbers on the album, one from the Who, the other from Joe Cocker, which helped to launch a million satirical impressions over the years most notably from John Belushi.

The Who present an excerpt from “We’re Not Going to Take It” loaded with the raw power that was the signature of the Who’s live sound in the late 60’s. While this performance has always been appealing, it has been a miserable second rate recording from how poorly the recording was produced. While this version still has a long ways to go to living up to more recent releases of Live at Leeds, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle, and Keith Moon perform with such raw, reckless energy it’s hard not to get pulled right into this recording. This is only a small part of one of the longest sets from the Woodstock festival where the Who performed virtually all of their “rock opera,” Tommy.

Joe Cocker steps up for the finale on Disc One performing his soulful, dramatic version of the Beatles’ tune, “A Little Help from My Friends.” The Grease Band performs in top form with some fine back up singers. Joe Cocker’s performance is one for the ages both powerful and full of little quirks that give impressionists a treasure trove of material to play with. We defy anyone to listen to the lyrics and write a transcript of what Cocker actually sang in portions of the song. The success of his Woodstock performance helped launch his epic rock n roll big band tour with Leon Russell, Mad Dogs and Englishmen. Once again, hat’s off to the Rhino engineers who cleaned up a recording that was barely above bootleg quality in the original.

The second disc of the original volume of Woodstock changes focus a little concentrating primarily on tunes built around extended jams. Listeners would have benefitted if the engineers banded the album so listeners could skip over some of the crowd sequences, a real problem for the opening of Disc Two as the listener must endure some crowd chanting for just over three minutes. At least the crowd chanting and makeshift percussion is much clearer and live sounding. Finally, the original Santana band cuts loose into a seven minute jam built around “Soul Sacrifice” and these guys cook. Lots of percussion elements lost in the original recording and some finer nuances of Carlos Santana’s guitar playing are much more accessible for the listener again thanks to the fine attention to detail given the new release. The cut finishes with more crowd announcements, something the listeners could easily do without.

The next jam features Albert Lee and Ten Years After, standard blues boogie fare of the time period. While some aspects of this recording doesn’t clean up as well as some tracks in this set, portions of Lee’s guitar jamming brings his Les Paul out of the audio slush for all to enjoy.

The third track on the second disc presents one of the fieriest performances from the entire Woodstock project with Jefferson Airplane plus Nicky Hopkins (yet another credit for his awesome resume) playing a little “morning maniac music” their revolution anthem, “Volunteers.” While the lyrics might seem silly by today’s standards, the instrumental power provided by the Hot Tuna faction of Jack Cassidy on bass and Jorma Kaukonen on lead guitar with hired gun, Hopkins, on piano, this number rocks!

While Woodstock was decidedly devoted to hard rock and hippie folk music of the day, some rock solid rhythm and blues steps front and center with some powerhouse extended jamming by Sly and the Family Stone performing an extended medley of “Dance to the Music/Music Lover/I Want to Take You Higher.” What these numbers lack in polish they make up for in energy. While the recording is cleaned up tremendously, capturing all the elements of a bigger band has more to do with microphone placement and original mixing elements that simply cannot be compensated for in the remastering process. Some instruments still get buried. The stereo mix can be absolutely frightening at times as voices spread out so far over the stereo field, one might get startled by sounds that seem to be originating from beyond the stereo speakers’ range.

A very wasted, hippie troubadour, John Sebastian, steps up to the microphone again, clearly wasted giving his first person account of the spectacle before performing another one of his sugar sweet, love, peace, flowers, and incense style numbers, “Rainbows All Over Your Blues.”

Track five returns to the jams starting off with a very wasted Butterfield introducing his material. One can almost hear him struggling to remain standing before the band starts its “Love March.” Some of the instrumental performances are pretty good, but all in all, this number is ten minutes of sonic hell.

For many, the best was saved for last, Jimi Hendrix. While his Woodstock performance might not be its best, Hendrix can always (some times literally) light the stage on fire. His thirteen minute jam includes his famous rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” complete with rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air as only Jimi Hendrix could launch from his magic guitar.

Woodstock Two is really for hardcore Woodstock fans and would be best avoided by casual fans or those simply wanting a curio of the Woodstock experience. There’s plenty to like including staring off with a hearty serving of Jimi Hendrix then Jefferson Airplane before concluding with a blues jam by the Butterfield Blues Band which is actually much better performed and tight than their track on the first album. Nevertheless, one would have to have a special fondness for extended jams of the era to find this a valuable listen.

Disc Two opens with three acoustic numbers from Crosby, Stills and Nash featuring one song for each performer, “Guinevere” for David Crosby, “4+20” for Stephen Stills, and “Marrakesh Express” for Graham Nash.

The middle segment of Woodstock Two features a performer most of us are surely glad to forget, Melanie. Her baby flowers and pink puppies lyrics and nauseating voice are enough to make anyone prefer the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard.

Power trio, Mountain, featuring the oversized lead guitarist and vocalist, Leslie West along with Cream producer, Felix Papalardi on bass, they were an early prototype of power pop, but they’re not very good. “Blood of the Sun” has nothing to distinguish itself. Their second number from Jack Bruce’s first solo album, “Theme from an Imaginary Western,” is a big improvement over the first track with a pretty decent guitar solo but probably not the kind of thing unless someone got hooked on it way back when would grab new listeners who are reaching back in history.

Canned Heat finishes the real music on the album with some crowd crap as a final track to try to create more of the atmosphere of the experience a lengthy jam with various solos backed by a hand-clapping crowd that probably sounds incrementally better based on the amount of beer and marijuana (and other drugs) one consumes. It might clock in with the longest bass guitar solo ever, how tedious.

The last track is “Let the Sunshine In,” the number from the Broadway musical, “Hair,” performed by members of the crowd in the mud. How can we say, “You had to be there?”

The Woodstock experience was a once in a millennium kind of affair that is a true sign of the times. Later attempts to recreate the festival on anniversaries of the event were horrendous failures. While the Monterey Pop festival helped spawn Woodstock and an event on the Isle of Wight provided a similar experience across the Atlantic, the horrible experience months later at Altamont in California which headlined Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and the Rolling Stones.

The Woodstock albums are gems from out of the time capsule but might be a tough listen for those who weren’t a part of that culture at the time. Sure there are some enjoyable moments, but many of us might hear it and wonder how we could have been so ridiculous back then. Maybe the threat of the Vietnam War drove us to that insanity?

Rhino deserves tremendous credit for working with very difficult original tapes and getting all the music out of them possible. The difference between these new releases and past efforts is stunning.