Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Conspicuously Missing

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is ready to induct its class of 2009, and once again this year it is honoring sidemen who contributed, often namelessly, to many classic songs and albums loved by millions since Elvis jumped on the scene with legendary sidekicks like Scotty Moore, whose lead guitar prepelled many an early Elvis Hit. By the mid 60's, the session man, had become incognito giants in the music scene where LA's famous "Wrecking Crew" were the sound behind Phil Specter's cadre of hit makers, the Beach Boys, the Association, Sonny and Cher, and countless others. Some like Leon Russell would go on to become stars in their own right. Others would only be known only to those who meticulously read liner notes where they were creditted. Yet who could ignore Larry Knechtel's beautiful piano on Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," for instance. From old school to cutting edge, from country to funk, these versatile, higly talented musicians played it all and saw it all.

There is one fellow from London who rightfully belongs at the head of the class of session men.

He played for the Beatles and on solo albums by all four members of the “Fab Four.” At times he was thought of as the 6th Rolling Stone. His playing can be heard on the Who’s first album and played with them on several occasions as well as contributing to another major British band’s work of the 1960’s, the Kinks. Not limited to his motherland, England, this keyboards ace recorded with Jefferson Airplane and played as a member of the band in Woodstock. He recorded and toured with the Jerry Garcia Band. He was a band member of Quicksilver Messenger Service and laid down tracks with the Steve Miller Band. Jeff Beck invited him to be a member of the first Jeff Beck Group which introduced the world to Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood. Many producers with a huge cache of hits hired him to play piano for artists like Carly Simon, Harry Nilsson, Martha Reeves, and the Pointer Sisters. He also contributed to the work of Rod Stewart, Donovan, Graham Parker, Joe Cocker, and even David Bowie in his earliest days.

Listen to “Revolution” by the Beatles, “Sympathy for the Devil” by the Rolling Stones, two great classics from the Who’s landmark album, Who’s Next, “The Song is Over” and “Getting in Tune,” “Photograph” by Ringo Starr, “Give Me Love, Give Me Peace on Earth” by George Harrison, “Old Dirt Road” by John Lennon, “Dead End Street” by the Kinks, Carly Simon’s recording of “Night Owl” and even Jefferson’s Airplane’s track on Woodstock, “Volunteers,” on all of these recordings this stellar performer’s versatile but recognizable piano playing helps drive these classic songs.

An avid comic book reader whose ability to perform on the road was severely limited by chronic health issues resulting from Crohn’s disease, his ability to instantly envision and perform brilliant keyboard parts without study or rehearsal made him the most in demand keyboard artist in the late 60’s and early 70’s until health issues limited his ability to maintain an active schedule.

He’d retreat to Mill Valley in the San Francisco bay area, angry and bitter regarding the way session men are compensated for their work receiving no royalties for the works they performed keeping alive his musical interests playing in a local jam band. Later, this gentle mannered keyboard ace would live in Nashville, Tennessee where he’d die at the age of 50 while the Rolling Stones were headed south during their Voodoo Lounge tour in 1994 from complications from intestinal surgery.

Often affectionately known by his alias, “Edward,” which turns up in some of his recording activities including a wild keyboard expose titled “Edward, the Mad Shirt Grinder” from his time with Quicksilver Messenger Service, the fellow portrayed by Ray Davies in the Kinks song, “Session Man,” NICKY HOPKINS surely belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. No pianist or session man was as omnipresent as Nicky Hopkins was during perhaps the most creative epoch of pop music history.

Monday, March 30, 2009

WARNING ADULT CONTENT: Charges Dropped Against Texas Woman Who Dropped F-Bomb at Walmart

First, let’s set the record straight, we are absolutely in favor of civility and deplore the coarsening of society. There is way too much gratuitous filthy language in Hollywood, case in point, the movie “Sixty One,” the Billy Crystal movie about Roger Maris’s pursuit of Babe Ruth’s homerun record that would have been a wonderful father/son bonding movie were it not for tirade upon tirade of foul language.

Second, there are situations where naughty language slips out. If a person drops a hammer on his toes, he is not likely to say, “Oh, fiddle sticks.” More often, the response would be something like, “God damnit!” “Aw fuck!” or “Jesus Christ.” There are even rare interactions with idiots where there is no other way to deal with the situation than a nice healthy, “Fuck you!”

Here's the story that caught our attention from the Galveston County Daily News.

The story that motivated this little blurb deals with a Texas woman, Kathryn Fridge, shopping for batteries at her local Walmart with her two year old daughter. She was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for being overheard saying, “They don’t have any fucking more.” She might have been just a little bit anxious as Tropical Storm Edouard was approaching landfall.

Her words were overhead by Alfred A. Decker IV, assistant fire marshall for the town of La Marque, Texas who cited Ms. Fridge on August 4, 2008. Decker handcuffed her, took her to his car, and issued a citation.

At long last, months later, March 19, 2009, City Prosecutor Jay Brown dropped the charge against Ms. Fridge according to Interim City Manager, Eric Gage. Gage issued the following statement from Mr. Brown:

“After completion of his investigation to the facts of the case and existing case law, the state contends there is insufficient evidence to proceed and moves to dismiss,”

Reacting to her charges being dropped, Ms. Fridge indicated she felt her name had been tarnished observing that she has seen police deal with far more filthy language remaining stone faced despite a barrage of obscenities concluding, “Her flipped out about something that didn’t have anything to do with him.”

We make our opinion perfectly clear about this, what Mr. Decker did is a bunch of fucking bullshit, and to his self-righteous holier than thou big shot with a badge attitude, we say, “FUCK YOU.” For being such an pompous asshole, we say, “FUCK YOU!” For wasting public time over something so petty, we say “FUCK YOU.” For not understanding a woman might be rightfully upset about not being able to find batteries with a storm approaching, we say, “FUCK YOU.” Furthermore, just on the overall principle of the whole thing Mr. Decker, “FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU!!!”

Friday, March 27, 2009

Media Madness: The Offspring

Meghan McCain and Bristol Palin: Hardly our idea of newsmakers!

Meghan McCain: Here’s a person who should be high on the list of dozens of people who gather way too much media attention whose proverbial fifteen minutes has expired. Truthfully, on what basis would she be entitled to fifteen minutes in the first place? Because her father is Senator John McCain, the defeated Republican Presidential nominee who ran one of the worst campaigns in recent history?

Any time the children a President, Vice President, or candidate running for those office gets a lot of media attention, one should be instantly suspicious. Prior to the modern media age, about the only notice presidential offspring would get attention would be for White House weddings. The first kids to get attention were Carolyn and John-John, the children of President John F. Kennedy just as the television age was coming of age, and why not? They were cute, lovable kids who helped build the Camelot image. From then until recently, such offspring got little attention. Amy Carter got some attention for being so gawkish, but as true as that is, it was grossly unfair.

The first signs of media attention came during the Ronald Reagan administration when his youngest children, already adults, Ron Jr. and Patty, were shown to be living examples of their parents’ conservative example. Patty was quite vocal in interviews about her conflicts with her mother, Nancy.

During the Clinton years, Hilary Clinton strictly maintained “hands off Chelsea” and the media largely complied; however, when it was advantageous for the Clintons to trot her out before the cameras as their trophy public relations prop. To help counter the perception that the Clinton marriage was more a business or strategic partnership, they’d show themselves the fawning loving parents of their daughter.

Everything changed when George W. Bush became the Republican front runner in the 2000 Presidential election. Suddenly, his two teenaged daughters were fair game as the press whose hatred of Dubya lathered up to a fever from the get go would exploit anything they could to embarrass or discredit him. The Bush daughters were normal teenaged girls, college bound, who weren’t prissy little trophy kids. They weren’t bad asses either. Jenna and Barbara were really so normal. Jenna was the more outgoing and sociable. Barbara was more pensive. Both girls got in a little bit of trouble while at college. My God, they drank beer. One of them passed a fake ID to get beer under age. Rather than ignoring it or brushing it off as a trivial matter, the Bush hating press had a field day with their offenses. One would think they were caught smoking crack or shooting heroin in the White House for all the moralizing and handwringing that took place. Naturally, this coverage wasn’t as much about the girls as it was an attempt to shame the President and show that somehow his wild behavior of his younger days rubbed off on his girls or that he was not a good parent. What nonsense.

During the waning days of the Bush presidency, daughter Jenna smartly avoided the spectacle of a White House wedding preferring instead to keep everything a private affait at the family’s Crawford, Texas ranch. Where would the newly wed couple live after exchanging nuptials? Baltimore, Maryland, and wowie zowie, they weren’t exactly welcomed warmly in an article in the Baltimore Sun. The hate mail in response to the article from the usual radical haters was pure dementia.

Then came the legend of the Magic Negro who could do no wrong. Needless to say, the Obama children were not to be exploited, right? Wrong, Mr. and Mrs. Obama used their daughters as the perfect props to create all the family imagery to help tug on the voting public’s heartstrings. Even we concede, the Obama girls appear to be a couple of lovable little sweethearts despite their genetics.

Only as the media has become so emboldened and radically left have negative or controversial coverage of presidential children been possible. In today’s world, though, the Vice Presidential level has been infected as well. The media did everything it could to use Mary Cheney’s admission that she was a lesbian as a wedge to destroy Vice President and Mrs. Cheney. How sad it is the extent to which they neglected all the wonderful contributions on education and promoting understanding American history Lynn Chaney provided.

Which brings us to the recently concluded election. Could the media ever have been more anxious to pounce than when Sarah Palin was introduced as John McCain’s running mate? Not only was she savaged falsely and dishonestly ridiculed and treated with pure contempt for things that have nothing to do with her political experience. It was just a red meat attempt to destroy her character and what could serve their sneering nature better than Bristol Palin’s teenaged pregnancy?

Sarah Palin and her daughter had to drive the pro-Abortion forces insane that both of them carried out their pregnancies when mother Palin was aware her child would be born with Downs syndrome and daughter, Bristol’s pregnancy was clearly unintended and under aged.

Truth be told, after giving birth and interviewed on television, Bristol came across as not the sharpest knife in the drawer even from a sympathetic interviewer, Greta Van Susteren. In reality, the less devoted to Bristol Palin especially after the election, the better.

Finally, the media has found its cash cow, Meghan McCain. As the young adult child of the vanquished Republican candidate, she’s become the darling of the chattering crowd from the bitch’s brew on “The View” to all over the talk show circuit. Why?

She’s been an active blogger and offered some criticism of Republicans, particularly Rush Limbaugh. To elevate her status even higher was that she was rebuked by some conservatives who basically put on record simply who she was and put it in perspective.

Well, now she’s part of the victim class as one tormented by what they love to call the right wing “hate” machine.

Truth be told, were Meghan McCain anyone other than John McCain’s daughter, she’d be about as interesting as yesterday’s bread. She’s unattractive and has no real charisma or charm prone to blather in an obnoxious “Valley Girl’ kind of voice.

Still, just as when former Bush press secretary, Scott McClelland turned on his former boss with his tell all book that was short on substance of any kind but simply that the media revels so much in any Republican insider who doesn’t tow the party line, Bridgette McCain will get her mug in all the mags, web sites, and chit-chat shows as long as she can provide something to feed on to let the faithful left wing loonies be able to scream, “See, see there!!! See what she said!!!”

Don’t worry America; she won’t have the staying power Ronald Reagan junior has had. He’s the ultimate twit who must have his loving father twitching in his grave. That stories like this drift into real news is the most disturbing part of all.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

BAILOUT-MANIA: Maryland Senator Suggests Support for Failing Newspapers

You’ve Got to be Kidding!!!

Senator Ben Cardin, Democrat Maryland, has proposed legislation to provide bailout funding for the failing newspaper industry. His measure, The Newspaper Revitalization Act, has not yet received a second. The government is bailing out banks, insurance companies, and the auto industry so why not the newspapers?

Make no mistake about it. The newspaper industry is in deep trouble. The New York Times, once America’s paper of record, is failing miserably. The downward trend of readership continues as circulation and advertising revenue evaporates. The “gray lady” is virtually on life support selling off assets including a substantial stake in their huge New York headquarters near Times Square. Their stock is worth practically nothing. They’ve reached junk bond status.

The Tribune Organization publisher of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, and Baltimore Sun among others as well as having substantial media holdings including superstation WGN, has filed for Chapter 11 protection.

The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press have both cut back on home delivery eliminating every day delivery. The Washington Post has substantially scaled back the size of its newspaper.

Companies are failing; people are losing jobs. Washington to the rescue right?


What we’re seeing is simply good old fashioned capitalism at work. Just as horse drawn carriages gave way to the automobile, the traditional newspaper is being replaced by news sources available on the Internet and twenty four hour cable news.

Furthermore, in many cases their product is garbage. Where major newspapers once upheld a creed of objectivity and were a major voice of and for their community, over the last thirty years, an industry that was once rich in diverse points-of-view, has become essentially little more than a mouthpiece for the radical left political philosophy where one can almost count on virtually every single newspaper in major markets will uniformly endorse Democratic candidates unless they have a real ax to grind against one of their candidates who strayed too far off course.

It’s not just an editorial, but this bias pervades their reportage as well where they spare no measure to embarrass Republicans and conservatives while giving kid glove treatment to Democrats. It’s not surprising then, that when recent scandals developed around Democratic politicians like former New York Governor, Elliot Spitzer’s involvement with prostitutes or the long list of corruption charges against impeached Illinois Governor, Rod Blogejevich, any mention of party affiliation is conspicuously missing where Republican bad boys like Idaho Senator Larry Craig trumpeted constantly he was a Republican.

What better illustration could there be of Democratic support than the news media’s support of Barack Obama’s campaign so beautifully documented by former CBS reporter, current Media Analyst, Bernard Goldberg’s book, A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media.

At times, the media’s conduct has even gone so far as to appear treasonous; however, we never find out who the source is of the unnamed sources within the affected organizations who spill the beans. The New York Times revealed the government’s intelligence gathering methods including how intelligence operations followed the money trail of terrorists’ assets. In World War II, the public understood, “loose lips sink ships.” In today’s media, blabbing national security secrets for the sake of attempting to embarrass and show up an administration they despise is no problem. Surely, their lawyers opine just how far they can go before facing legal scrutiny for such efforts. However, it seems as though every reporter today fancies himself or herself as being one who could find the next Daniel Ellsberg who outed the Pentagon Papers which helped discredit the Vietnam War or Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein whose efforts helped connect the pieces that lead right to the top of the Nixon administration with the Watergate scandal.

The public is smart enough to know that George W. Bush was no Richard Nixon whether they supported his presidency or not. Likewise, the public knows what happened on 9/11/01 and realizes the war on terror is a real threat, not another Vietnam. Still, almost from before the dust settled in lower Manhattan, the news media, led by The New York Times, seldom treated the threat with the gravitas it deserved and once war started to deal with enemies in the Islamic world gleefully reported episodes like the Abu Ghraib as if such conduct was business as usual for our military not to mention the frenzy about alleged torture employed against the most ruthless and powerful leaders of Al Qaeda who helped plan, organize, and execute terrorists’ attacks against the United States. Any coercive interrogation was deemed torture as headlines blared, ‘Bush Administration Torture…”

All this has lead to an enterprise with a very narrow audience. While major newspapers might be preaching to the choir among the most liberal members of their community, they are sorely out of touch with the rest of the community, and who needs the sports page with ESPN, regional sports networks, and the Internet anyway?

The real casualty of the newspaper’s decline is local and regional news. Local television news seldom deals with anything other than the most sensational stories following the mantra of “if it bleeds, it leads,” and the rest of the coverage is much more oriented toward celebrity and lifestyle issues where if a Hollywood star is signing autographs at a local hotspot is far more important than the local school budget or proposals to build a new highway unless there’s a screaming outcry by local television news producers.

Clearly, good local newspapers could still have a vital function in today’s society if they were in touch with their community, cut out the conspicuous bias, and continued to use creativity and market savvy to promote their products effectively.

The bottom line is newspapers are failing because they deserve to fail. Not only have they become obsolete, but the quality of their product on the basis of poor quality, lack of coverage, and conspicuous bias is not worth the customer’s support.

The specter of government money supporting the news media is astonishing. The first amendment of the Constitution provides, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”

So what happens if Congress provides taxpayer funds to keep failing newspapers afloat that they as consumers have already voted against by not buying their products? What kind of analytical or critical reporting could be expected from a source that is beholden on the very institution they are charged to cover honesty to pay their salaries?

The potential for abuse is overwhelming. Whether overt or implied, those newspaper companies who could receive government aid would surely be the subjects of those who control the purse strings.

The Cardin proposal is laughable on the surface and should be laughed right out of the arena of political possibilities. Nevertheless, few could imagine just how far and how bold Washington has gotten involved with enterprises that were simply not government functions just a few years ago. Oops, we forgot all about that newspapers provide a vital product for poopy training dogs, lining animal cages, and wrapping up dead fish. No virtual or on-line approach substitutes for that!!

Surely, as public citizens, especially those of us who live in Maryland could give Senator Cardin a little guidance. One had to wonder if the Baltimore Sun had been more balanced in its coverage or possibly endorsed Republican challenger, Michael Steele, current Republican National Chairman, Cardin could have lost his bid to replace outgoing Senator Paul Sarbanes.

Senator Ben Cardin
509 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Phone: 202-224-4524

Email: (note the form approach!) http://cardin.senate.gov/contact/email.cfm

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cops Kick Butt in Rehobeth, Delaware

At a time when supposedly municipal funds are stretched thin and surely there are other problems worthy of law enforcements effort, it's disturbing to a story like this one reported by WBAL radio in Baltimore, just another pot bust, no quantities mentioned, in Rehobeth, Delaware's most popular beach resort. Question, just how far away from where this bust took place was the nearest liquor store?


Americans fell for the bait. They voted for change, and change is coming. Here's an example of change:

Overseas contingency operation? Overseas contingency operation??? OVERSEAS CONTINGENCY OPERATION???

This is what the Obama administration intends to rename the Global War on Terror.

You’ve got to be fucking kidding.

Is that "change you believe in?"

And You Think Today's Music Sucks???

The great rock bands of the late 60’s and early 70’s, roughly starting with the Beatles’ invasion through the “mirror ball” era of disco, a long list of great albums by stellar groups have become cultural institutions still getting substantial airplay in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and plenty of non-English speaking countries on classic rock radio stations, mainstays in virtually every radio market from coast to coast. What constitutes classic rock and who decides is up for debate as there are groups from beyond this time period that comfortably fit in too such as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers who were just gaining an audience as the classic period was fading away. For most, the true classic rock period could be bookended by Bob Dylan’s album, “Highway 61” and ends with Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.” For the huge catalog of albums by legacy performers like the Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, and Bob Dylan, almost all their significant works were recorded during this period hitting a peak during this time period. Consider the Stones for instance, even while original member Brian Jones floated off this cosmic plain in a drug induced stupor, Mick, Keith and the lads issued in rapid succession: “Beggar’s Banquet,” “Let it Bleed,” “Sticky Fingers,” and “Exile on Main Street” arguably the best succession of honest-to-God rock albums ever.

We needn’t go into a lot of specifics as most listeners from that time period forward, even high school kids today, know who the key players are and surely have a hardy sample of key works in their CD library or on their little handheld devices.

Baby boomers who lived through it all, kids, have very romantic visions of what the music scene was like and if you go snooping if they’ve kept all their vinyl there are some artists that they went bonkers over at the time that are…. We’d challenge to let you listen and decide…but aside from subjecting Islamic extremists, we’re not in favor of torture.

During this time period, though much is made of the sounds from England and the West Coast particularly San Francisco, few places had a more active music scene than Detroit, Michigan. There could never be a better argument to refute White Supremacy than comparing the music from black artists compared to their white counterparts in Motown.

While Motown evolved from the early work of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, just known as the Miracles at first, through the Temptations, Supremes, Four Tops and many others to the highly sophisticated and poetic music of Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder entering the 1970’s, there were tons of white bands rocking the charts too. Bob Segar emerged as a prototype for Bruce Springsteen in many ways. A suburban band, the Amboy Dukes had a flashy lead guitarist who is still active today not just in rock music but all kinds of other pursuits from game hunting to conservative talk radio, Ted Nugent. Alice Cooper first caught fire (or lit them) playing to the campus scene at Ann Arbor, but there were also bands like Rare Earth and Grand Funk Railroad, hugely popular at the time, who were really hard to explain. Motown had some element seeking racial diversity by signing a white act or two. Could that be the excuse for Rare Earth? From up the road a piece in General Motors assembly line town, Flint, came this assault on the airwaves. Their material consisted of mostly covers of Motown hits rearranged for the psychedelia craving white audiences. This was nothing like Creedence Clearwater Revival’s excellent rendition of “I Heard it Through the Grapevine.” Their first hit was a single edit of a twenty plus minute blowout of the Temptation’s classic, “Get Ready.” They’d also cover “I Just Want to Celebrate” and “(I Know) I’m Losing You” – same formula, same results. Also from the great Detroit suburban sprawl came Grand Funk Railroad, a bunch of lightweights whose massive time on the road helped spawn the most mindless forms of arena rock bands to follow later with all the prerequisite gimmicks. Among their hits were the narcissistic self-inflating anthem, “We’re an American Band” and later in their time in the spotlight a “clap your hands, stomp your feet” cover of Little Eva’s “Locomation” a tune that isn’t all that bad for backyard parties. Their epic was a long big production number, “Closer to Home,” complete with orchestration, extended solos, and gimmicks galore. Listeners might remember this tune as “I’m your captain, yeah, yeah, yeah…” Is it any wonder so many songs titled “Ship of Fools” would emerge?

Another band that deserves note in this hall of shame is Vanilla Fudge, backed by the talented rhythm section of Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice. Most of their energy and success was packed into their first eponymous effort revealing their formula of slow, plodding, heavy organ driven, psychedelic covers of well-known hits of the time from “Bang Bang” by Sonny and Cher, “People Get Ready,” and “She’s Not There.” The epic from the album was an extended version of the Supremes hit, “You Keep Me Hanging On” which on its own isn’t so bad, but that is as far as they go and they went pretty fast. After the blockbuster success of their first album, their fortunes faded fast. Something that heavy was bound to land with a thud.

The most notorious giant of the period winning the dubious honor by acclamation is Iron Butterfly’s “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida” supposedly a slurring of “In the Garden of Eden” if that really matters. The arrangement consists of a proto-metal loud lead guitar, an amped up Farfisa organ gadgetted to sound like a Hammond B-3 on steroids or the Royal Albert Hall pipe organ captured on an old 78 rpm record, a mundane and predictable bass, and the usual flashy drum kit. The lead singer had all the charm and charisma in his voice of the Frankenstein monster. Iron Butterfly first caught attention with a flashy instrumental, “Iron Butterfly Theme” featuring in the line-up Daryl Draggon, yep, the Captain from Captain and Tennille. However, with all the classic greats that came out in 1968, nothing would get the airplay that the extended version, one whole album side, 17 minutes plus, of “In-a-Gadda-da-Vida” setting the stage for rock radio to play certain songs to death as they would in the 1970’s where no listener could escape “Stairway to Heaven” or ‘Freebird.” In 1968, however, the emerging “underground” radio stations and rock oriented top 40 stations would play this albatross to death on every shift outside of drive time to where the drum solo became etched in everyone’s psyche. One could not escape the abuse of every 10-15 year old hyper active kid who’d be doped up on Ritalin today banging out that horribly cliché, predictable drum solo on anything the little twerp could use for drums, his desk in school, his little sister’s noggin, mom’s fine china, whatever. Led by vocalist Doug Ingle, Iron Butterfly lasted primarily through three albums. Their third album, “Ball,” chalked up enormous sales largely on a giant advance first pressing but by then listeners were losing interest fast and Iron Butterfly lp’s were rapidly being plucked from record libraries to be tossed Frisbee style into brick walls, used for skeet shooting practice, or just discarded. By 1970, the fans who had made the album such a huge success had all but disavowed any knowledge of its existence.

No serious discussion of the abuses of the 60’s could be complete without mentioning the bombastic critique on the downfall of American society by Earth Opera, “American Eagle Tragedy.” Serious underground stations would play that tune in their evening rotation, what a downer.

There were plenty of sick solo performers sort of in the mold of folkies who could drive any listener mad like Melanie who gathered some notoriety for being on stage at Woodstock. Top 40 had plenty of dreadful music that one wouldn’t associate with the rock music scene, schmaltzy garbage, bubblegum, and unbelievably commercial bands that were supposed to look like rockers.

Though we’re not about to trash the early efforts of the Grateful Dead until they proved there was more to their music than a bad acid trip, Jefferson Airplane, and a lot of the rest of the “summer of love” music, as good as it was then, much of it sounds queerly dated today but can someone who has been there and done that ever get sick of hearing Grace Slick belting out “Somebody to Love?”

In a world where great success is possible, the potential for shocking failure is its inevitable dark side. As record labels merged and big corporations like CBS and ClearChannel gathered up almost all locally owned radio stations, the big corporation take over of the music industry was more interested in demographics and marketing ability over any kind of artistic quality. The McDonalds’ ethos of bland, consistent, tasteless but easily marketable took over the music industry that despite all kinds of creative movements through the 80’s to Grunge in the early 90’s, McMusic was taking over to lead to the sorry state of affairs from the mid 90’s forward where the American Idol sound, crap like Britney Spears, and gangsta rap rules. While there might not be anything as god awful as Earth Opera or Melanie, when was the last great masterpiece recorded?

Lots of today’s listeners weren’t even born yet.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


George Will has been around Washington a long time. He's survived as a conservative voice for decades but at times develops a bit of an "inside the Beltway" (that's I-495 not I-695 -- god only knows what an "inside the Beltway view from Baltimore would be!!!) outlook where Washington is the center of the universe and everything can be defined in an either or between a Democrat or Republican solution. However, few columns have captured the essence of what's going on than what Mr. Will has laid out in a recent column. Please read this and react.

Monday, March 23, 2009

March Madness: It's on to the Regionals

March Hare contemplates his bracket picks.

What a start the 2009 NCAA Basketball Championship Tournament is off on!!! For those looking for a real Cinderella story, this is definitely not the year. The only team that could qualify is Arizona, a #12 seed, who will face top seed, Louisville in the Midwest regional in Indianapolis. Arizona beat #5 Utah to face Cleveland State, perhaps the ultimate bracket buster, who defeated #4 seed, Wake Forest, a team many of the expert chatter brigade saw as a team that could upset Louisville and steal the bracket.

This has been a miserable tournament for the ACC. Not only was #4 Wake Forest eliminated from the Midwest bracket, so was #7 Boston College. In the East, #10 Maryland advanced one round to be slaughtered by #2 Memphis, the team many felt were slighted out of a #1 seed. Out west, ACC tournament finalist, #5 Florida State fell to #12 Wisconsin. While in the South, though playing in territory much closer to their rival's home Michigan in Dayton, Ohio, Clemson was no match for the Michigan Wolverines. That leaves Duke alive as a #2 to face the #3 Big East rival, Villanova while North Carolina looked energized with Ty Lawson return dominating play in the 2nd half of their win over LSU will face #Gonzaga in the South.

Looking at the field of sixteen, it will be up to the remaining competitors to prove this is not the Big East's year. Never before has one conference had five teams make it to the regional rounds of competion. Louisville is ready to move on to the round of eight playing the lowest seed still alive, Arizona in the Midwest. Out west, Connecticut soldiers on against #5 Perdue. Pittsburgh faces #4 Xavier while Villanova challenges Duke. Down south, the Big East sends #3, one of this year's most pesky teams against #2 Oklahoma. it would be hard not to pick the Big East choices to advance to the field of eight with Villanova's fight against Duke being the most formidable challenge. #2 Memphis faces #3 Missouri (cut the Mizzou crap) completing the picture in the West. Memphis would appear to be the stronger team in this showdown. The final match puts last year's champ, #3 Kansas with few remaining soldiers faces #2 Michigan State in a contest we'd pick Michigan State but honestly have to call a toss up.

In what must be driving bracketology students crazy, those who made their picks going with the favorites based on seedings right now are only down two with Arizona advancing and Perdue, a #5 considered by many an easy pick to beat the #4 Washington, holding on to make the field.

In a year with so few conspicuous upsets so far outside of that sinking feeling for ACC fans not wedded to arch rivals North Carolina and Duke, the real story is the quality of play, how many games played down to the final seconds with lead changes swapping back and forth through out the action. For all the upheavel in the final games of the regular season and the conference championships, the tournament has settled down to just good, highly competitive play.

Much could change in the next series of action at the four regional outposts, but for number fours to beat number ones is not that unusual a feat and surely no one would ever be shocked to see a two lose to a three. only two games don't feature such matchups as play begins Thursday afternoon.

Sprint Cup 2009: Thuder in the Valley -- NASCAR's Judgment Day

Bristol marked the beginning of the second phase of the 2009 NASCAR season which concludes in Richmond when the field for the 2009 Chase for the Championship will be set. From the next race forward, the field will be determined based on this year’s owners’ points, Thirty five competitors are in while up to eight cars must qualify to make the field provided a past champion does not use an automatic qualifier to make the field as when Bill Elliot races for the select races the Wood Brothers will attend.

This puts some teams on the hot seat. Joe Gibbs rookie, Joey Legano, the driver of the #20 Home Depot Toyota resides just inside the top 35. Yates racing already plagued with sponsorship issues for the #28 team, has both that ride with driver, Travis Kvapil and the #98 car piloted by Paul Menard outside looking in. This could spell doom for the #28 operation. Unless sponsorship arrives quickly, this operation will shut down. They have not entered to compete at Martinsville this coming weekend.

Other operations that failed to make the field of 35 include the Red Bull entry for rookie Scott Speed, car #82; the Earnhardt/Ganassi #8 entry with driver Aric Almirola; Phil Parson’s group for the #66 ride for driver, Dave Blaney; Tommy Baldwin racing’s #36 car driven by Scott Riggs; Joe Nemechek’s family operation in the #87 Toyota; James Finch’s entry #09 raced by Jeremy Mayfield; and the #64 operation of Larry Gunselman with driver Todd Bodine. No other teams have attempted to race the full schedule.

On the hot seat, in the field, but sweating bullets includes David Gilliland’s #71 ride for owner Kevin Buckler; Earnhardt/Ganassi’s team with driver, John Andretti, car #34; Roger Penske’s #77 ride for Scott Speed; Robby Gordon’s #7 independent operation holds down 30th position, but perhaps the biggest shocker of all of teams in danger is the Hendricks #5 Kellogg’s/Carquest Chevrolet for which there were such high hopes with Mark Martin racing full time. His performance yesterday at Bristol made things look much brighter for that operation.

The happy folks from Thunder Valley have to be the two veteran Gibbs teams with Kyle Busch dominating the race with Denny Hamlin finishing second. Jimmy Johnson put in perhaps his best performance of the year pulling him into the top 12 standings. Jeff Gordon finishing in 4th continued his lock on the top points position. Kasey Kahne shows the new Dodge muscle for Richard Petty racing (the old Gillette/Evernham operation), and of course, Mark Martin’s 6th place finish got the monkey off his back. Ryan Newman was a driver snake-bitten so far this season who finally broke into the top ten with his seventh place finish. Marcos Ambrose finishing in 10th energized the JTG Daugherty Racing with Michael Waltrip Racing equipment. Atlanta winner, the other Busch, Kurt, overcame early race difficulties to finish 11th keeping his point standings in place. David Reutimann demonstrates with his competitive 12th place finish that Waltrip racing is now becoming a force to be reckoned with every week. While 14th isn’t the kind of finish a driver looking to make the chase would relish on a regular basis, it’s the best finish of the year for Dale Earnhardt Jr. who was dogged with questions on the status of his crew chief, Tony Eury Jr.

Aside from the teams which have to contend with falling outside the top 35 in owner’s points, the bad news has to be for the blue oval boys. The Roush operation had a terrible day with its best finish, and the best for Ford, being Carl Edwards in 15th. How bitter sweet could things be for Travis Kvapil. His 18th finish was the second best Ford finish, but only a miracle could keep that team alive as this was far from enough to boost this team into the top 35 having failed to qualify for all five races missing one start so far. Bobby Labonte is Ford’s best hope outside the Roush stable for Hall-of-Fame’s partnership with Yates racing only managing a 22nd finish. Paul Menard, Yates other team outside the top 35 finished in 25th. It only gets worse for the balance of the Roush field: David Regan in 27th, Matt Kenseth, winner of the first two races now in apparent free fall finishing in 33rd, Jamie McMurray and Greg Biffle found no love in Bristol buried in 37th and 39th.

To add further to the misery of teams outside the top 35 looking to improve their fortunes, the bottom four spots put four of these teams four of these teams in deeper misery: Sterling Marlin, 40th; Joe Nemechek, 41st; Todd Bodine, 42nd; and Dave Blaney, dead last, 43rd.

The Sprint Cup field moves on to the other half mile short track and while like Bristol, the close contact breeds broken rides out of competition given its flat straight-aways and sharp turns also takes a heavy mechanical toll on equipment particularly brakes. Fortunes can fade fast in the Virginia Mountains a few hills to the west of Bristol. While Bristol and Martinsville are the circuits’ two shortest ovals, the driving style required to win is much different. Recently, Jimmie Johnson has owned Martinsville while never winning at Bristol. Denny Hamlin was last years’ spring winner at the track famous for its grandfather clocks and bright red jumbo hot dogs. Points leader, Jeff Gordon, hot for his first victory since the fall of 07 has a strong history at Martinsville as well. It is one track that Kyle Busch has not come close to mastering yet.

While the first five races have eased talk about the impact of a bad economy on NASCAR’s top circuit, with teams no longer able to contend, it will be interesting to see how many rides are entered in the field to attempt to make the race.

One final note, surely many NASCAR fans have looked elsewhere to find a worthwhile site on the Internet for timely information on their beloved sport as NASCAR.COM is a confusing poorly constructed effort by Turner (Time/Warner) where vital stats and information are difficult to find at a quick point and click. One of the most intriguing NASCAR sites, hosted by ESPN, is http://www.jayski.com/. While it might not be the fastest place to find information, Fox Sports, ESPN, and the Charlotte Observer’s “That’s Racin’” might be a little more efficient, if there’s information on a race to be found, Jayski’s got it.

In the ultimate in NASCAR trivia, Jayski reports that there were 127 commercials representing 67 companies with 82 brief promos for products and services. While the telecast spanned 190 minutes from 2:00 PM to 5:10 PM for a total of 190 minutes, fans enjoyed 137 minutes of racing but 53 minutes of commercials. That’s about 28% of the viewer’s time (our calculation) hawking products and the latest garbage on Fox primetime lineup giving fans a chance to flick to CBS to catch the latest on second round NCAA basketball action – if not also in commercial. Jayski goes to report that there were seven animated Digger sightings during the race and 28 Digger still shots.

This leads us to conclude there are sports fans and stats nerds, and we wonder if they are really one in the same!!!

Bring on the chase for the Grandfather clock in Martinsville!!!

Obama-nomics and the Angry Mob

In Obama-Nation: The Angry Mob Rules

Did anyone learn about the dictatorship of the proletariat?

Just checking. Must have been a nightmare or something.

Let’s establish some common ground first. A handful of major corporations have made some dreadful decisions that have resulted in their unraveling and have not only cost thousands of jobs in their company but the spillover effect has damaged the economy at large. When a company is failing, how can anyone justify their top officials pocketing “performance” or “retention” bonuses?

Americans have plenty of reason to be angry. The “system” has brought us down. For all we’ve invested in 401k’s to have those assets devalued often cut in half and to have our jobs on the line are the kinds of things that ruin lives. Not since the late 1970’s and early 80’s have economic conditions been so bad for so many. Unemployment and inflation haven’t risen to what we saw back then, but lots of other things are as bad or worse.

It’s only natural to want to blame someone. The Republicans were the first scapegoat suffering miserably in the last election. John McCain looked out of touch and clueless on the affairs of peoples’ day-to-day life. How refreshing promises of “hope” and “change” must have sounded, but the public was too dazed to realize those were the words of a charlatan and thief quick to ignore the lack of experience and horrifying background of the person they’d elect.

How can folks not be angry at corporate America? We see poorly run companies in the hands of greedy fools who are making off with millions while thousands lose their jobs. Some of these companies average folk don’t even know just what they do like A.I.G., but if you’re receiving a long term disability check and they’re the company that issues that check, you know darned well who they are. The world of high power finance is in a free-fall with the most familiar components, the well-known banks being the most conspicuous casualties.

Let’s be clear, these big corporations deserve plenty of blame. Let’s include the auto industry, Chrysler and General Motors, had they not developed the reputation as companies peddling junk for years and built cars that people really want to drive, they wouldn’t be begging for money in Washington. Ford saw in coming and responded. The Japanese and Korean automakers are far more responsive to reality.

The challenge is to channel our anger into action that will lead to effective solutions. On that score, the American people are failing miserably. That the public could so enthusiastically fall for Barack Obama shows just how out of touch with reality the public is. Worse, our anger is being exploited by the forces least likely to contribute anything constructive to solving our problems but are heavily involved with what will make things much, much worse. The villains are the Obama White House, both houses of Congress with the Democrats leading the way but the Republicans so far are part of the problem too. Organized labor is flexing its muscle feeling boldly empowered with their puppets in the White House and on Capitol Hill. The news media is failing miserably telling the truth about what’s going on and is doing much more to fan the flames. Never has the Democratic party had a better opportunity to exploit their class warfare rhetoric. Right now, corporate America makes an easy target. Still, when the Democrats start talking of “rebuilding the middle class” and looking after “regular working people and their families” one has to wonder just what they have in mind.

Meanwhile, the base of the Democratic party, organized labor and radical left activists supporting all kinds of legislation to alter the structure of society and redistribute wealth are going wild. The first activity that showed the angry mob at work was in California in revolt against the peoples’ wishes. California voters sought to protect the sanctity of traditional marriage between a man and a woman by voting to amend the state’s constitution to make that definition clear. With a 79.42% voter turnout, 52.24% of California voters supported the amendment; 47.76 voted to defeat the amendment. The majority position was designed to put the measure beyond the reach of the California Supreme Court which had reversed a similar measure enacted as state law.

The opposition’s radical core’s response was astounding and terrifying. Quickly, they targeted individuals and organizations who supported defining the time honored definition of marriage of a man and a woman subjecting their opponents to all kinds of harassment from “outing” financial contributors who supported defeating the amendment to direct confrontation. Publishing their names provided a strategy to subject marriage supporters to a wide range of possible consequences in a community prone to political correctness. The Mormon and Catholic church even faced their activities being interrupted by the angry mob.

Where was strict law enforcement and a loud condemnation of these goon tactics?

The message is clear. Take a stand contrary to left wing orthodoxy or be employed by or support any organization or company that has offended them in any way, be ready to suffer the consequences. It didn’t take long for these “activists” or “organizers” (remember what Barack Obama’s background was before entering elected office?) to focus their attention on the financial chaos feeling embolden with their stooges in power.

The first chilling message came while A.I.G. Edward Liddy was facing his inquisition on Capitol Hill. Keep in mind, as this chaos broke loose, Liddy was retired. He returned to A.I.G. for a salary of $1 per year to help return order to the former insurance giant. Subjected to crass insults and insinuations by figures such as Barney Frank whose roll in this fiasco is as one of the key government villains, Liddy cautioned that A.I.G. employees were being subjected to around the clock harassment consisting of death threats, malicious phone calls, and other confrontation. The congressional panel appeared absolutely tone death in response to these concerns pressing their accusations while grandstanding and flaunting their power never acknowledging for one instant that maybe some of this (actually a good part of it) was a result of their conduct.

A.I.G. has taken extreme security measures to protect its employees at its corporate headquarters imploring its workers not to wear anything that would identify them as A.I.G. employees and to travel in pairs and park in well lit secured areas. The Fox News Network caught on camera the taunting and harassment people entering the A.I.G. headquarters faced entering their workplace by week’s end.

What the mob fails to understand is, most of these folks are just regular working folks like the rest of us and many of them fear for their jobs too. How off target, sick, and sadistic the radical left is encouraging this kind of misplaced rage.

Even worse, organized labor and activists groups have recruited bus trips to travel to the private residences of A.I.G. senior officials to subject them to the wrath of the angry mob. 40 mob madmen stopped at the residence of A.I.G. official Doug Poling who had already relinquished his bonus. While the Poling residence was singled out as one victim of the mob’s contempt, what is lost in the insanity is Polings’ contribution to charities and their community, the kinds of things wealthy folk do with little fanfare or self promotion, including a homeless shelter, theaters, and schools.

While any mob confronting private residents in the security of their homes is disturbing, it should be noted the larger mob was that of the members of the press covering the mob scene.

This mob activity raises some very difficult questions. Right or wrong, agree with them or not, protest is an important part of the American experience. Citizens should be encouraged to speak out and call attention to issues where they feel their life and liberty is threatened even if or especially when it goes against what appears to be the prevailing wisdom. The writer of this blog is proud to have been a highly visible activist involved in anti-Vietnam war protests. There is no denying the huge sea of humanity parading in Washington, DC and through out the nation helped turn the tables on the conduct of the Vietnam war as Martin Luther King’s activities particularly the huge Washington rally which served as the stage for his famous “I Have a Dream” speech was crucial in raising public consciousness to support long overdue civil rights reforms.

Surely it is appropriate to show anger and contempt against the companies that have squandered billions as one of the main driving forces behind the country’s economic downfall. However, how much do most citizens understand what’s going on in corporate America, the issues, and the accountability for the crisis. Watching the treasury department and congress in action, clearly they don’t know. The main media outlets are clueless and misleading. At times, watching financial analysts hash it out provides some insight, but even there, it’s too soon to snap to judgment on many issues. We know what companies are failing. We know some of the causes. We are well aware of some government policies which helped facilitate the problem and many officials in Washington who have benefitted tremendously through huge financial contributions from some of the biggest perceived villains in this mess.

In Washington, the media has long established the Republican party as the party most responsible for looking out for corporate interests with every negative connotation thrown in to taint public perception, while the Republicans have acted far from nobly, the best tool of investigation, “follow the money,” shows some disturbing evidence against some of the Democrats in the highest positions of power to deal with the financial crisis.

Where are the protesters surrounding Connecticut senator, Chris Dodd? Not only has his campaign received the largest sum of campaign funds from A.I.G. and mortgage interests, he is also the person responsible for amending out of recent aid legislation that would have forbidden the bonus payouts. Could there be any more obvious bold faced lies and denials until finally the evidence was so black and white he had to concede his action but naturally he blamed it on the “treasury” department allowing some to conclude it could have been the Bush treasury.

What about Barney Frank, one of the loudest, most mean spirited members of Congress who perhaps exceeds even Nancy Pelosi for his harsh partisan rhetoric and condemnation of anyone who’d dare criticize even in the most polite terms any of the baloney he supports? His portfolio benefits tremendously from banking and activists piggy banks. Examine the financial policies Mr. Barney has supported and their contribution to setting the stage for current financial woes, Barney Frank is one of the most villainous figures of all.

There’s much we don’t know about the causes and responsibility for our nation’s economic slide; however, several things stand out. Going back as far as during Jimmy Carter’s administration, Congress passed legislation loosening mortgage requirements subjecting lenders to higher risk. In the 1990’s, Congress passed many measures that changed the complex of the finance industry further diluting mortgage requirements and eliminating the separation of commercial and investment banks taking the secured environment of commercial banking and subjecting them to higher risks in a more speculative environment. Meanwhile, back in the late 1970’s, it was clear that our dependence on fossil fuel subjected our way-of-life to danger. The rising fuel costs and long gas lines created havoc across the nation demanding less dependence on foreign fuel and the hard work to develop alternatives. Soon, oil prices dropped, the amount of imported oil increased and exploration for alternative energy sources scaled back. Continued turmoil in the middle east including the upheaval in Lebanon, the Iran/Iraq war, Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait and the first Gulf War, 9/11, a Marxist lunatic, Hugo Chavez taking power in Venezuela, the Iraq invasion, and mounting instability in Mexico, our number two source of foreign oil, could not get our oil industry or elected leaders moving toward a more secure, more self-sufficient energy market. Speculation, in part brought on by the freedoms granted the investment industry, and increased demand shot oil prices up to record highs pinching budgets causing over extended individuals and organizations to default on overdrawn credit (also a product of the financial “reforms” cited above), and before long the column of dominos and house of cards collapsed.

When assessing blame, the public should look in the mirror and see what each one of us has done to contribute to this mess. Paying more attention to the idiots we elect would be one place to start, but there are many other concerns on how and where we spend our money and how we manage it that deserve serious consideration. Fixing the nation’s problems starts with the responsible behavior of all citizens one person at a time.

The real culprits though reside in Washington, DC where the public trust has been auctioned off in favor of power and influence built up by trading favor with those with deep pockets who keep the incumbents in power and elect those most easily influenced by special interests. Special interest groups, organized labor, and giant corporations know what buttons to push and whose integrity is for sale. Ignore the rhetoric and look at the voting record, but so much of what is really going on is buried deep in budget bills where earmarks and set asides along with self-serving amendments are buried deep where they are difficult to reveal even under the most meticulous scrutiny. That the bailout bill could be completed late on a Thursday night and voted on the next afternoon should be no surprise and that elected officials vote on measures they’ve never considered, debated, or presented for public scrutiny demands far more wrath than the corporate executives who are receiving bonuses.

There’s far more to talk about on this subject but so much is still obscured.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Clear Message to Comrade Obama: Keep Your Hands Out of Other's Pockets, You Bastard

If you don't think Obama is attempting to push the United States into socialism you're fucking crazy. Just that the topic would come up for discussion in the office of the President of the United States is going way too far, but that it could be actionable is far more disturbing.

The administration is seeking oversight on executive salaries far beyond those receiving "TARP" funds, possibly all publicly traded companies. The conversation starts with "oversight" but how quickly does that become regulation.
It's not Barack Obama's business how much money any executive, worker, or what any of us make beyond what we must disclose on our tax forms. We are a free enterprise economy where business is business and government is government. If a business is functioning legally and making a profit, the government should be as supportive and nonevasive as possible as such enterprises are the backbone of our society not the Federal government.
If folks don't want Obama to fail and fail miserably, maybe they need to take a good look at what it really means to be American and what it takes to make America succeed, why the United States has been the world's leading economy, but in Obama-nation, the key term could be "has been" as our success cannot sustain itself when the Federal government is taking a greater and greater share of the GNP and wage earners on all levels are paying more and more for the Feds to screw us.

At least if you read what we wrote before the election, don't say we didn't see this coming but we didn't think he'd be bold enough to let the dialog go this far.

It is our duty as Americans who believe in the free enterprise system to do everything we can to destroy the Obama administration and see that they are given the bum's rush in the next election.
At least Obama can rest assured his income limits would never affect George Soros. First, that creep has made his millions. Second, his assets are overseas.

Soundoff: Those Creepy Charles Schwab Ads with the Whiny Animated Yuppies

Yuppies from hell.

(This article is a shameless attempt to try to make yuppie angst fatal.)

Yuppies, everybody hates yuppies. Yuppies hate yuppies. Guppies hate yuppies. Even cute lovable little puppies hate yuppies.

We all have different images of yuppies and as the baby boomers have gotten older, we're not really sure what the"Y" stands for anymore as yuppies aren't necessarily that young anymore, but nevertheless, we think of people who are crassly materialistic, slavishly trendy in just the right way, and love reminding everyone else how much better they are than the hobbled masses.

If it weren't for yuppies, there would be no bottled water, but something about Evian made them better people. It used to be those who were doing a little bit better than the Ford or Chevrolet crowd might buy an Oldsmobile, but alas, the Cutlass is no more, nor is Oldsmobile for that matter. The BMW, Lexus, or Audi is the yuppie-mobile. The SUV craze almost threw them for a loop. Who'd want to be caught dead driving a Ford for god's sake?

It wasn't long before the upscale divisions like Cadillac and Lincoln had their own SUV's, so did Buick, but yuppies would never drive a Buick, that letter "Y" eliminates that choice, but now there are "crossover" vehicles by BMW, Lexus, and Audi. It's not as "truckish" as a common SUV.

In the 90's of course, the yuppies loved bragging about their investments and some stocks were so trendy. There seemed to be a little bit of poetic justice to see the "dot.com" bubble thing explode. Oh, but those yuppies loved thumbing through their portfolio bragging the way a doting grandmother would thumbing through an album of pictures of her grandchildren.

Face it, yuppies are assholes. They love reminding us they're better than we are even if they're not. The common joys of family, a backyard barbeque, a walk in the woods, all those things can't be appreciated for their simple joy in yuppie land. Oh no, their kids have private tutors to teach them Mandarin Chinese, play violin, and learn the latest Korean Marshall arts. A barbeque gets perverted by some kind of grill that has some kind of computer interface to operate, and lord only knows what's so special about the beef, pork, and chicken they find at their pseudo-gourmet grocers. A walk in the woods wouldn't be complete without the perfect ultra expensive walking shoes and just the right shirt and walking shorts from some exotic catalog. How about some designer organic insect repellent.

Against that background are all those investment firms many of whom are probably now knee deep in government bailout money, that the wise yuppie started to consult from their sophomore year in college so they'd have just the right investments to their kids could have all those tutors, braces at age ten, and college tuition. They'd also have a retirement plan but secretly believed that modern medicine would come up with something that would allow them never to get older than 50. Somehow, science has let this mutant strain of the babyboomer generation down because the best they've come up with are some exotic vitamin supplements and Botox.

Okay, is everyone pissed off enough. Okay, even the yuppies who might read this, are you ready to strangle the next yuppie who you come in contact with? It better not be your spouse or the person you'll be chilling out watching the NCAA tournament with this afternoon.


Go to hell. Do not pass go. Do not collect two hundred dollars. Do not call your broker on your BlackBerry (another Yuppie accessory).

As such, when your humble author sees one of those "Talk to Chuck" advertisements for Charles Schwab, he wants to upchuck. What is more disgusting than watching and listening to a bunch of yuppie posers whining about their finances and expenses. Go to hell. Don't let the door hit you where the good Lord split you. Boo-hiss!!!

How in-your-face can targetted advertising get? Let's suppose the concept here is preaching to the choir where fellow yuppies will get that warm, "been there done that" buzz and think that ol' Chuck is the guy to watch after their money.

Of course as we've documented in detail through out this little rant, yuppies are gimmick fickle fiends from the microprocessor enhanced gas grille, to all the crap on the dashboard of their "beamer" to Botox, you'd think the Shaper Image would have been a bigger success, but yuppies are only united in their conspicuous pursuit of success not necessarily achieving it.

That's why when those tacky terrible Chuck Schwab ads with those pukey animated whiny yuppies make this viewer want to hurl heavy objects at his television every time one airs especially when they introduce yet another one of those yuppie cretin animated characters engaged in all their little yuppie poser antics. The technique of converting live actors into computer animated figures is just the kind of gimmick that's supposed to get the right kind of "Wow" from those yuppie investors to fork out more of their funny money anyway, right?

We can at least be thankful that yuppies don't reproduce like guppies!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sprint Cup 2009, Race 5: Food City 500, Bristol: Mark's the Man?

Food City 500
Bristol Motor Speedway
Sunday, March 22, 2009
1:30 pm
Weather: 61^, Sunny
Television: Fox, WBFF, Ch. 45, WTTG Ch. 5
Mark Martin starts Sunday's Food City 500 on the pole in what represents the first major milestone in the 2009 season as from the end of this race forward, the field of 35 assured of starting positions is based on the previous week's owner standings. Low standing teams will struggle to maintain a position of 35 or higher. Who would ever think that the #5 car for Hendricks Motor Sports, Mark Martin's ride would be one of those teams on the bubble sitting in 35th position while the Earnhardt/Ganassi #8 ride, Martin's part time ride last year is the first car out with Aric Almirola as his replacement. No one would have expected the #5 team to struggle so much starting off the 2009 season. Racing a part time schedule, Martin's fortune was better the past two years than has been so far this year full-time. After finishing 16th in the Daytona 500, disaster struck the Kellogg's/Carquest Chevrolet in the 2nd and 3rd racesfinishing in 40th in both Fontana, California and Las Vegas with early engine failures. Things were looking brighter to start Atlanta where Martin won the pole but sustaining damage in a wreck resulted in a 31st, 14 laps down.

A driver known for his qualifying prowess but also snakebitten at the start of the season, Ryan Newman, part of Tony Stewart's two man dream team new operation holds down the outside poll, but like Martin, Newman is on the bubble in 32nd owner's position. Last year's champ, Jimmie Johnson, starts in 3rd while car #16, Greg Biffle, and car #9, Kasey Kahne round out the top five.
The endangered species list, those owners whose rides are uncomfortably in the top 35 or hold full-time rides outside the 35th spot include:
30. #34, Earnhardt/Ganassi, driver: John Andretti
31. #77, Penske (Bill Davis), driver: Sam Hornish, jr.
32. #39, Stewart/Haas, driver: Ryan Newman
33. #20, Joe Gibbs Racings, driver: Joey Legano
34. #71, Kevin Bucker, driver: David Gilliland
35. #35, Hendricks Motor Sports, driver: Mark Martin
36. #36, Earnhardt/Ganassi, driver: Aric Almirola
37. #82, Red Bull Racing, driver; Scott Speed
38. #98 Yates Racing, driver: Paul Menard
39. #28 Yates Racing (Jeff Moorad), driver: Travis Kvapil
Other drivers struggling to compete full time include; Regan Smith, Scott Riggs, Joe Nemechek, and Jeremy Mayfield.
While the cool spring air and daylight setting might make the spring Bristol race seem less intense than the night race in August, from a driver's standpoint, it's every bit as intense. Racing the high-banked 1/2 mile track creates all kinds of opportunites for a little more than just trading paint causing solid machinery and top standing drivers to wind up out of contention for too much going on too close. While Mark Martin and Ryan Newman are both two drivers used to being much more competitive in the standings, several other noteworthy drivers including chase contestants from last year have to start showing some results to build hope for making the cut in Richmond in September. Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, and Jeff Burton, all in last year's chase sit just outside the top 12 while Dale Earnhardt Jr. languishes in 24th place with only one top 10 finish. While a couple of good finishes could propel the drivers just outside the top 12 into strong chase contention, Junior is already 178 points out of the 12th spot. The #88 team must consistently finish with strong top ten finishes to chip away at their deficit.
Meanwhile, good fortune shines Kasey Kahne, Brian Vickers, and David Retutimann in positions 10-12 while Michael Waltrip holds down 16th, 41 points short of the promised land.
Who knows what the standings will be Sunday evening after the Food City 500? The most predictable thing about Bristol is its ability to shake up the field. Stay tuned!

Friday, March 20, 2009

March Madness: Day One

How are your brackets doing? So far, I’m running at 14, 12, and 9, but my one with just nine wins pits North Carolina to beat Louisville in the final. My 14 is a whacko ACC dream bracket in which Duke beats Wake Forest! I was delighted to see Maryland and Michigan win, but surely thought Tubby Smith would have coached Minnesota to a first round win. Western Kentucky defeating Illinois with a fellow named Jordan playing for Illinois had to be the upset of the day. Maybe “Blago” sold them out. The most outrageous TV moment had to be in the Oklahoma/Morgan State game. 6’4” Ameer Ali was not pleased with how Oklahoma Sooner, Blake Griffin, a nationally known superstar standing at 6’10’ was showing his game. During a moment of intimate contact on the hardwood, Ali locked his arm over Griffin’s and tossed him over top of his body to land squarely on the floor. While that move might have won an award in professional wrestling, Ameere Ali was promptly dispatched to the locker room to contemplate what could have been.

Something tells me that by the time we get around to “One Shining Moment” which I would be just as happy to hear replaced with “Louie Louie”, college hoop fans worldwide will be very sick of Clark Kellogg. This dude is not first team material. Jim Nantz, as always, is the cool professional. Any regional analyst on Raycom, the network that provides ACC coverage is much more articulate and enthusiastic than the excessively humorless style of Mr. Corn Flakes. Though Billy Packer was much like that old uncle you’d wish would pipe down a little when the family’s together watching the big game on television, he sure kept things lively even when he’d let loose one of his brilliant observations that turned out to be a classic moaner to all the guys watching the game. For the role of color analyst, he was colorful where Kellogg is – well, a corn flake.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Florida Hospice Chaplain Resigns over Ban on Use of Word, “God”

Inspiration behind political correctness.

How ridiculous can political correctness and the attempt of secularists to impose their lack of values on society be? The Godless in society cite the United States constitution claiming a wall of separation between church and state as their guiding principal and use that misperception of the First Amendment as the vehicle for imposing absurd workplace policy.

The specifics of this case can be found in the following link to an article in the Sun Sentinel.


One would find it hard to imagine how much license against the belief in God and practice of faith morally bankrupt petty fools have inferred from the First Amendment. This amendment is short and to the point on religion and other matters, it reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The architect of the First Amendment was Thomas Jefferson who also authored The Declaration of Independence the document which set forth the philosophy on which our republic was founded. Before going into the specific grievances the colonists had against Great Britain, the justification for succeeding from the British Crown was made clear.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…

The intention behind the First Amendment was to ban congress and by extension, the states from imposing a state religion on the population creating an institution like the Church of England or establishing a religion as the state religion as the European nations that embraced Roman Catholicism. The history of American colonization is full of examples where colonist fled Great Britain in pursuit of free religious expression in the New World whether it was Lord Baltimore’s Catholicism in Maryland, the Quakers in Pennsylvania, or Pilgrims in Massachusetts. The First Amendment guaranteed the individual the right to worship as he or she desired without the threat of state sanctions against that practice and that there would never be an official religion of the United States. No where was it prescribed that our fledgling republic should be a Goddess state.

There are declarations which provide for a Godless society. For more information, consult the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. Modern politically correct society is much more oriented to following the concepts of Communism than it is a Constitutional Republic.

Where does the sadistic inhumane outlook of modern liberalism raise its ugly head more than in this sad situation in Florida. When a Chaplain, a spiritual person on staff to provide spiritual comfort to dying patients cannot express herself from her spiritual background, the movement toward a godless society has gone way too far. How weak and sickly their rationale is that they cannot tolerate even being present to hear or witness someone else expressing their religious convictions. Nowhere in any cases whether it’s this one or the numerous situations where people speaking as individuals, such as students in classroom situations, has there been any attempt to convert nonbelievers or force as religion on those who don’t agree with the person with religious convictions.

Jefferson envisioned a society where there would be open expression and debate of all ideas not denying expression of those that some find offensive, and perhaps those who have difficulty hearing others profess their belief in God ought to pause and reflect. They just might learn something that could add tremendous meaning and comfort in their shallow empty lives.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Barack Obama: The Worst President Ever?

The three faces of failure: ideology, corruption, incompetence.

It’s laughable to think that just a few months ago, the radical left and their cronies in the news media were quick to assert that George W. Bush was the worst President ever. Oh really? The jury will be out on the effectiveness of the Bush Presidency for some time, but one thing’s for certain, the longer Barack Obama is in office, the more people will remember the Bush years as the good old days.

Any one of three areas can render a presidency a disaster: corruption, incompetence, ideology. Corruption besought the Nixon Administration, which if it were not for its not getting the United States out of Vietnam quickly enough handled many tough situations in a direct effective way. Incompetence was the legacy of the Carter administration whether it was its weak foreign policy which helped facilitate the rise of radical Islamic forces seizing power in Iran or its miserable failure dealing with the economy, the Carter administration was the most incompetent administration at least since Warren Harding’s brief tenure in the early 1920’s. It would hard to detect a Presidency that failed for its ideological stance. Most presidents lean one direction or another but are generally centrists. Ronald Reagan’s conservative vision benefitted the country tremendously. Perhaps, historians could look to the liberal vision of Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” as such an example as the Great Society was responsible for unprecedented growth in the role of the Federal Government and damned millions to poverty and second class citizenship through the servile welfare state.

Let’s get something out of the way right now. Concerned citizens who are on to the massive failures and extreme danger the Obama administration will surely hear others say, “For goodness sake, he just got elected. He’s still getting his feet on the ground. Let’s give him a chance to let things work.”

No way, the Obama administration will fail. We need it to fail on some levels, but other failures will seriously hurt every citizen. Obama’s ideology must fail. We cannot allow his rapid march toward restructuring society tying the hands of business, seizing wealth, and using it to grow an ever more intrusive and all-powerful Federal government. In theory, this money “spreads the wealth” but aside from enlarging the entitlement or welfare class, most of America will still be working for a living. Every person’s spending power will be reduced and whether or not a person pays higher income taxes, taxes on businesses and some of the taxes in environmental matters will result in higher prices for everyone regardless of income. It’s no accident, the person identified as the most Liberal Senator in the last congress should be ideologically so extreme left wing. The Administration has used the economic crisis as a means to induce panic so that his allies united behind Nancy Pelosi and their rubber stamp in Harry Reid’s Senate can push through a myriad of left wing measures under the guise of an economic stimulus. That they support the “card check” provision doing away with secret ballot elections for union membership allowing intimidation and coercion to drive up union membership is a perfect illustration of just how radical the Obama administration is.

What could be a better indicator of the ideological nonsense the Obama administration represents than their new approach to the “war on terrorism?” Homeland Security chief, Janet Napolitano, has gone out of her way to avoid any mention of the words, terror or terrorism. She seems focused only on disaster recovery. So then what does she call terrorism? A man caused catastrophe! In this concept, incompetence and ideological nonsense unite.

The Obama administration’s incompetence is obvious. Look no further than the difficulty the administration has had filling cabinet positions. There has never been a Presidency that has had to remove more nominees for consideration for so many reasons with the most often cited reason, tax difficulties. Treasury Secretary, Geithner, was supposed to be some kind of economic wiz-kid capable of brilliant mastery of economic matters, but so far has looked dazed and confused when attempting to account for the economy on Capitol Hill.

Corruption is at the heart of the Obama administration’s approach to many matters. The extent to which organized labor and interest groups have undue influence in administration policy matters is alarming. After attempting to move census management from the Commerce Department to the White House, now the White House has sought to contract the corrupt, radical left organization, ACORN, to help recruit manpower for the Census. Given their record across the country for voter registration fraud, what could be a more dangerous fox in the hen house for the census count? How could anyone who respects American democratic tradition possibly advocate “card check?” Selling out to organized labor, that’s how.

There have been many embarrassing episodes that might smack of incompetence such as the superficial and disrespectful treatment the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, is the kind of stuff the American people could brush aside and forgive as being the behavior of an inexperienced President who is still learning the ropes. However, from another point of view, it speaks to the arrogance and hubris of the President who puts himself above the protocol required of American presidents since George Washington’s wisdom started many time honored successful practices that have made the President of the United States the most powerful position in the world.

The United States is in a dangerous situation. Nothing the Obama administration has done raises to the level of justifying impeachment. As much as Vice President Joe Biden comes across as a total yutz, he is at least a seasoned Washington professional with substantial experience in foreign affairs and while a committed liberal, Biden is far more mainstream that the radical influences that have formed and nurtured Barack Obama’s political orientation. Concerned, aware citizens have to pray that some how the Obama administration can at least keep the machinery of government working so that catastrophes can be dealt with and terrorist threats repelled. Massive public pressure must rain down on both houses of Congress to make even the most left wing nuts fear their career will be over in their next election if they don’t moderate their approach, stay away from left wing extreme positions, and resist the temptation to provide pork barrel goodies for their traditional cronies.

No one should have any reservations about being outspoken about wanting Barack Obama to fail. In fact those who understand what is at stake should be proud to have the conviction to be honest about the challenges the United States faces if it is to remain the world’s unquestionable superpower and force for good on the planet. If individual liberty, personal responsibility, and free enterprise still mean something, Obama must fail. The essential truth is for one to desire America to succeed contradicts the desire for Obama to succeed. It’s one or the other, and it’s time for every American to be responsible, learn the issues, and unite to minimize the harm the extremist, Barack Obama, truly is.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In Honor of St. Patrick's Day: John Field -- Irish Composer

Dedicated listeners of classical music would generally not think of Ireland as the birthplace of a very gifted composer. Germany, Austria, Great Britain, France, and Italy would surely come to mind first. However, for those who love great piano music, the works of Chopin and Liszt or the works for piano by composers like Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms should find plenty to enjoy in the works of Irish composer John Field.

Field was born in Dublin on July 26, 1872 and died in Moscow on January 23, 1837, roughly a contemporary of Beethoven. His work was significant in that he openned up the potential of the piano as an instrument for composition developing forms that would be explored much further by future composers as demonstrated by his nocturnes, sonatas, and concertos paving the way for major works by romantic composers.

Though born in Ireland, Field would move with his family to London at the age of nine. As a young teen, Field served as an apprentice to pianist and piano builder, Muzio Clementi. While working with Clementi, his work received praise from Franz Josef Haydn.

Field continued his association with Clementi touring Paris and Vienna in 1801 demonstrating Clementi's pianos. In 1806, John Field settled in Russia to establish his performing career splitting his time between Moscow and St. Petersburg.

By 1831, Field had secumb to severe cancer travelling back and forth between Moscow and London for treatment. By 1835, Field had settled permanently in Moscow added by an aristocratic family continuing his composing until his death the following year.

Excellent, critically aclaimed recordings of Field's work are available featuring the superb performances by pianist Benjamin Frith for the Naxos label. The following recordings are highly recommended for all classical music and piano lovers.

Pussies: More on Obama's Cowardly Approach to Terrorism

Right-minded fellow would consider a PC
conscious bureaucrat "a man caused disaster."

According to Homeland Security chief, Janet Napolitano, we are no longer fighting a war on terrorism but dealing with “man caused disasters.” Is this political correctness run amok or just a bunch of damned nonsense?


Only Lewis Carroll in “Alice in Wonderland” or George Orwell in “1984” could create such insane “newspeak” concepts on the level of what we hear every day in Obama-Nation. In strictly politically correct jibberish, should her liberal like-minded fools not be upset that she did not call them, "human caused disasters?" In PC language, anything with negative connotations can still be cited using the male pronoun.

Samuel Horwitz: Who Better Understood "A Tough Act to Follow?"

Samuel Horwitz was born on this date, March 17, 1895. He is best remembered for his roll in one of the greatest franchises ever from 1947 until his death, November 23, 1955. Mr. Horwitz was hired by his younger brother to replace a younger brother in one of the most successful entertainment franchises in history. Samuel was a gifted performer whose comedic talent was substantial, yet he never received the audience adulation commanded by the brother he replaced.

The brother who hired him was Moses Horwitz, two years younger. The brother he replaced was Lester Horwitz, eight years younger. The two Horwitz brothers, Moses and Lester then Moses and Samuel were joined by Louis Fienberg, who, among other things, was a violin playing virtuoso.

From their start as a unit in the 1930's through the 1950's, this trio was one of show businesses most successful enterprises whose performances are treasured still today.

So who is Samuel Horwitz? None other than Shemp Howard of the Three Stooges. His brother who hired him was Moe Howard and the youngest brother he replaced was Curly Howard. The talented violin player, of course, was Larry Fine. Ladies and gentlemen, the Three Stooges!!!

How refreshing an experience is watching an old "Three Stooges" short. Their humor was anything but politically correct where any subject was fair game, yet their humor avoided this vicious personal attacks and vulgarity of so much of today's comic fare. Somehow, today's comedy just misses the mark by gravitating to one of two opposite polls, the politically correct gibber gabber of some circles or the in-your-face, mean spirited vulgarity of others. Nothing beats some gold old unrestrained "slapstick."