Saturday, March 24, 2018

3 Chords & the Truth: 57 candles, and there's somethin' on

Kyrie eleison, down the road that I must travel.

Christe eleison, it's my birthday.

Kyrie eleison, I am freakin' old.

Lord have mercy, if I have to turn what I'm turning, the Big Show is gonna party like it's 1979. Or 1980.

Perhaps, 1985.

WHATEVER. No matter the particular year, this edition of 3 Chords & the Truth is going to rock.


Christ have mercy, the old farts will rock. Yes we will. And so will you, Cap.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

A canary in the @#$&*! coal mine doth protest too much

Well, this was extraordinary . . . even for Louisiana.

You might think that was a wild overreaction by Sen. Conrad Appel, but you have to remember he's a Republican who represents Metairie, and that's what one has to do to hold on to one's job in David Dukeland.

People think Donald Trump is America's national disease. He is not.

What Trump is, is a particularly devastating symptom of an even more devastating disease (as evidenced by this display from our national canary in the coal mine, Louisiana).

Buckle up, America. The fun is just beginning.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

3 Chords & the Truth: Never trust a Trumplator

The president is said to be branching out from Fox & Friends, and that means all media -- for easy comprehension -- are being required to employ Trumplators. This program is no exception.

We at 3 Chords & the Truth have learned, and learned the hard way, that Trumplation can be a fraught affair. And during the course of this rather jazz-centric edition of the show, some quick conclusions may be drawn about Trumplators and their inherent biases, ideologies and -- alas -- not-so-benign agendas.

To wit:

1. Never trust a Trumplator.

2. Never trust a Trumplator.

3. The Trumplator is not worthy of your trust.

4. Bad things will happen if you trust the Trumplator.

5. Do not assume that the Trumplator is translating for the president what you actually are saying.

6. Something ain't right in this whole deal.

7. I do not believe that Trumplators particularly like America or "decadent" American music.

8. Everybody in this whole Trumplation thing is up to something.

9. It is possible to do an excellent edition of the Big Showsky . . . uh . . . Big Show despite the mandated Trumplator causing all hell to break loose.

10. DO NOT trust the Trumplator, comrade.

That's about it.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

3 Chords & the Truth: Tune in, turn on, rock out

Here's what we're going to do this week on the Big Show: First of all, we're going to tune in.

Then we will turn on, maaaaan.

Finally, we will rock out. It's as simple as that.

Oh . . . we may end up jazzing out some, too. But we definitely will rock out.

Is what I'm saying.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

3 Chords & the Truth: Feelin' groovy

adj. \ ˈgrü-vē \

groovier; grooviest
1 : marvelous, wonderful, excellent
"If you really want to hear something really groovy on the Internet, check out 3 Chords & the Truth."
2 : hip, trendy
A more enjoyable and groovier listening experience -- that's what the Big Show is.
It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Groovy.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Moonlight and magnolias . . . with a side of crystal meth

What would we Louisiana expatriates do without our hometown newspapers . . . to remind us why the hell we left in the first place?

I am from Baton Rouge. My hometown newspaper is The Advocate, which isn't the gay publication of the same name but is rather queer, come to think of it.

Anyway, The Advocate has, in the past, printed some pretty insane things. Those were a warm-up for this dog whistle.

DAN FAGAN (whatever a Dan Fagan is) accuses Mitch Landrieu of being a race-baiter and then -- somehow -- brings the whole argument about Confederate monuments to "Because abortion."

I am pro-life. And I am here to tell you this is, to quote George W. Bush, "some weird shit." It's also why I have become, as a pro-lifer, allergic to so much of the "pro-life movement," which has devolved to a bunch of pro-birth political hacks who are fine with merely delaying the execution of society's most vulnerable members to a later date.

In light of that, Fagan's argument comes down to this:

SO . . . society should be in the business of honoring things that aren't moral, ethical or right? Fagan is saying that Landrieu is a race-baiting scoundrel because he tore down New Orleans' monuments to the Confederacy and white supremacy.

And refusing future honors to Democrats, because abortion, will somehow be a cosmically just payback for tearing down monuments to those who fought for slavery? Which, of course, was somehow both horribly wrong yet worthy of honor via public monuments to the men and states dedicated to the perpetuation of institutionalized human bondage.

Actually, the non-disingenuous analogy here would be removing a statue of a Mitch Landrieu who went on to commit treason against the United States in the name of legal abortion -- and then to fight a bloody civil war against it. Because abortion.

The Democrats may be on the wrong side of history regarding abortion, but they're no traitors and, thus far, have refrained from firing upon Fort Sumter. Today's Republican Party, on the other hand, is placing itself on the wrong side of history on virtually every other issue -- some of them just as morally fraught and morally non-negotiable as abortion.

And, by the way, any number of the GOP's members in this Age of Trump are this close to being demonstrably treasonous.

Now, what does this son of the South, who now lives in the Gret White Nawth, have to say about Fagan's philosophical treatise, one he obviously penned for the benefit of Confederacy-loving mouth-breathers who can't use "treatise" in a sentence? Well, I'm thinking of a certain bumper sticker we used to see a lot in the South in the 1960s and '70s -- often affixed to pickup trucks.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

3 Chords & the Truth: Thoughts and prayers

I could tell you all about this week's exciting and relevant episode of 3 Chords & the Truth, but . . . no.
Rest assured, however, that you remain in our thoughts and prayers.

It's the Big Show, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Meme-ing down your leg with holy water

Today's prayers, thanks to yesterday's inaction.

* a sampling

What good is it, my brothers and sisters,
if someone says he has faith but does not have works?
Can that faith save him?
If a brother or sister has nothing to wear
and has no food for the day,
and one of you says to them,
"Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,"
but you do not give them the necessities of the body,
what good is it?
So also faith of itself,
if it does not have works, is dead.

Indeed someone might say,
"You have faith and I have works."
Demonstrate your faith to me without works,
and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.
You believe that God is one.
You do well.
Even the demons believe that and tremble.
Do you want proof, you ignoramus,
that faith without works is useless?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works
when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar?
You see that faith was active along with his works,
and faith was completed by the works.
Thus the Scripture was fulfilled that says,
Abraham believed God,
and it was credited to him as righteousness,
and he was called the friend of God.
See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
For just as a body without a spirit is dead,
so also faith without works is dead.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

3 Chords & the Truth: Wonderful world of music

When the crazy gets to be too much, I get in a mood for the music equivalent of comfort food. I'll bet you do, too.

My happy place lies in the memories of radio when I could still count my age on two hands and a foot. My happy place is filled with all kinds of music . . . a wonderful world of music that's every bit as satisfying as a plate of fried chicken -- or pan-fried steak and onions -- with a slice of apple pie for dessert.

The comfort music of 3 Chords & the Truth comes from the "misty water-colored mem'ries of the way we were," from AM radios playing Top-40 tunes, from the middle-of-the-road stations on the kitchen radio . . . from trailblazing weekend magazine shows like Monitor on the NBC Radio Network.

ACTUALLY, Monitor was about the only magazine show on network radio before National Public Radio borrowed heavily from the formula beginning in 1971. Only Monitor was much more diverse, ran hours a day all weekend long and played a lot more music.

"Grown-up music," to be sure, but some of it was pretty snappy. In a misty, water-colored mem'ry kind of comfort-foody way.

That's where we're going on the Big Show this week. It's not the first time. Probably won't be the last. Linus had his security blanket; I got this.

And now you got this, too. Enjoy.

IT'S 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Now that's what I call a Rocket 88

Thanks, Elon Musk. We needed this.
Elon Musk’s Tesla roadster, which launched on top of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy earlier today, is going farther out into the Solar System than originally planned. The car was supposed to be put on a path around the Sun that would take the vehicle out to the distance of Mars’ orbit. But the rocket carrying the car seems to have overshot that trajectory and has put the Tesla in an orbit that extends out into the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

3 Chords & the Truth: Can we go home?

This is an unusual edition of the Big Show, which this week explores the whole notion of . . . home.

Was Thomas Wolfe right in his posthumous 1940 novel, You Can’t Go Home Again? And what if you can’t go home again — sometimes — even when you never left?

And have you ever had the sick feeling that the country you call home suddenly feels like it’s anything but? You thought you knew your country . . . your people. But what if you were mistaken?

DID YOU change? Did it? Did they?

Yep. That's where we're going this time on 3 Chords & the Truth.

And . . . what about the American Dream? What about your hopes and expectations for your home — your life, your family, your place, your country?

As Bruce Springsteen wrote, "Is a dream a lie if it don't come true, or is it something worse?"

IN DONALD TRUMP'S Amerika, are you still feeling like you’re at home? What if your dreams are crashing down around you?

We have questions this week on the Big Show. Maybe we do or we don't have answers, but we sure have a lot of music to make you think.

I don’t care who you are, there’s one constant in this vale of tears: One way or another, nothing will break your heart like home. Yet home is what we always yearn for.

It's the damnedest thing.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Friday, January 19, 2018

3 Chords & the Truth: A light flickers in a dark land

The lights are out in Washington.

The lights grow ever dimmer across America. Darkness has come upon our land.

Screw that. Shine a light and push back the shadows of our demons and dysfunction.

Shine a light. Sing our songs. Listen to the music.

Screw Washington. Push back against the hatred and nativism and racism and anarchists in tailored suits.

Fight the power. Sing of the light amid the darkness. That's what we try to do on this -- and every -- episode of 3 Chords & the Truth. When we're doing that, even a little show can be the Big Show.


It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Monday will never be the same

NOTE: This first ran in March 2009. It's running again because the man who was a big part of the life of just about every kid in Baton Rouge, La., for 35 years -- three generations of kids in some families --  died Wednesday.

It's just as well that I don't start from scratch. For one thing, I don't think I'd express myself any better now -- I said what I had to say.

For another thing, I'd be writing through tears. That just takes too damned long, frankly.

If you didn't grow up where, and when, I grew up, this story from The Advocate might give you some idea of how big a deal was "Buckskin Bill" Black:
One of Baton Rouge’s most beloved figures, William “Bill” Black, known to most as “Buckskin” Bill,” died Wednesday, according to family members.

For decades, Black appeared daily on WAFB-TV in his cowboy character, charming generations of children with his homespun, good natured presence. His children's shows, "Storyland" aired in the morning and "The Buckskin Bill Show" aired in the afternoon on the television station Monday through Friday from 1955 to 1988. At the time, it held the national record for the longest-running children's show. It shifted to a Saturday morning only show, but was canceled a year later. He retired from the station in 1990.

Black reentered the public eye in 1994 when he was elected to the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board as part of a school reform initiative, replacing most of the sitting board member. Representing the Broadmoor area, Black remained on the board until 2010.

Ed Elkins, master control operator at WAFB, remembers moving from New Orleans to Baton Rouge in 1977 to work on Black’s TV show as a cameraman and later doing audio. Elkins said he knew nothing about the legend of “Buckskin Bill,” but learned quickly. When they met other people, “I would be invisible,” he recalled.

“(Black) was the star of Baton Rouge. He was the man,” Elkins said. “Just think how many children that have grown up to be icons of the community that watched his show.”

Donna Britt, WAFB’s anchor, came to the TV station in 1981 and had a similar experience.

“He was an icon from the word go,” Britt recalled. “He carried himself with dignity. He seemed to know everyone in the world.”

A family member told WAFB that Black died after getting an infection in the wake of partial hip replacement surgery that he had after breaking his hip in November. His wife, Elma, died April 5. Black is survived by a son and two daughters.

Black’s granddaughter Megan Musso said the family is still making funeral arrangements for Black.

Though Black’s show went off the air before she was born, Musso grew up with stories of her pawpaw and watching VHS tapes of his performances, but she said he never boasted about himself.

“I had lots of teachers who would ask me to do school reports on him because they admired him so much,” said Musso. “Even though I knew how much he meant to the community, he was still just my pawpaw.”

Musso, daughter of Black’s youngest child, Ginger Musso, said Black was a true performer even with his grandkids and she grew up playing the game, “Hully Gully,” before she even knew where it came from on Black’s TV show.

What will she miss? Musso offers a quick list: “His stories, his jokes. He would sing very well. And his laugh.”
ONE MORE THING. I added the above video, from Buckskin Bill's later days on "big, booming, powerful Channel 9" because it just captures what Buckskin Bill meant to all of us Baton Rouge kids . . . kids of all ages.

As Buckskin starts his trademark Monday Morning March, we see him joined in the studio by parents and their children -- a mama and a daddy who no doubt marched in front of a big black-and-white television in their living room years before. And now here they were with The Man himself, passing down a legacy of televised love to a new generation.

At the end of every show, he'd would sign off with a little advice: "You're never completely dressed until you put on a smile."

This early morning, I'm sitting here half naked as I write through my tears. Damn.

*  *  *

I know it's not Monday morning, and Lord knows I'm not a kid anymore. But sometimes you wish it were, and you were, because you'd like to do the Monday Morning March just one more time.

See, if you're of a certain age, and if you grew up anywhere reached by "big, booming, powerful Channel 9" in Baton Rouge, La., you most certainly grew up watching Buckskin Bill.

"Buckskin" was Bill Black,
and he did his kiddie show for something like 35 years until he got canceled in 1990. For most of those years, Black donned his buckskins twice a day -- in the morning for the little kids on Storyland and then after school for the older kids with The Buckskin Bill Show.

IT WAS A Baton Rouge rite of passage for a kid to go before the WAFB-TV cameras -- to actually share the stage with Buckskin! -- on his birthday, with a Scout troop, or in a line of kids doing the "Elephant Walk."

I'm sure no one today would be particularly impressed with a never-ending loop of Henry Mancini's "Baby Elephant Walk" for a soundtrack as legions of kids filed by a barrel, dropping in their saved-up pennies to buy a pair of elephants for the city's brand-new zoo. Ah, but they forget that magic is made of equal parts simplicity and cheesiness. Yes, it is.

For his first 15 years on the air, getting a zoo for the underachieving Southern city was Buckskin's cause célèbre. For years, he signed off the Buckskin Bill Show with "Remember . . . Baton Rouge needs a zoo!"

A few miles away, the competition on Channel 2, Count Macabre, would spoof this by saying "Remember, boys and girls, Baton Rouge is a zoo!" Both statements were demonstrably true.

Anyway, my turn on the Buckskin Bill Show came in March 1965. It was my fourth birthday. I brought a bottle of Bayer aspirin for Amazon relief.

BUCKSKIN sat me on his lap and started to ask some basic toddler-level questions. The cameras were huge. The lights were bright. I was silent.

My mother was crouched on the studio floor whispering "He's four!" Buckskin, no doubt, was wondering "Who is this woman?"

Why should the fambly be the only ones scratching their heads?

I never did say a bloody word, and Buckskin sent me on my ignominious way -- the redneck equivalent of a dumbstruck Ralphie being dispatched down the Santa slide some decades later in A Christmas Story. On the other hand, he bought us all Coca-Colas after the show.

Even preschool humiliation went better with Coca-Cola. And Holsum Bread.

Why am I writing this? Beats me. I was just thinking about Buckskin Bill -- again -- and how it's sad local television doesn't bother to make magic and memories anymore. Who does?

So there you go, the wistful musings of a middle-aged Southern boy . . . and some vintage video of the Monday Morning March from sometime near my arrival on planet Earth. It seems to me that, during a time when we fear our many crises will overwhelm us, we all need us some Monday Morning March.

Even if it is Wednesday.

Oh . . . one more thing. "Remember, you're never completely dressed until you put on a smile."

. . . and Trump knows 'em all

From The Washington Post:
President Trump grew frustrated with lawmakers Thursday in the Oval Office when they discussed protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to several people briefed on the meeting.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to countries mentioned by the lawmakers.

Trump then suggested that the United States should instead bring more people from countries such as Norway, whose prime minister he met with Wednesday. The president, according to a White House official, also suggested he would be open to more immigrants from Asian countries because he felt they help the United States economically.

In addition, the president singled out Haiti, telling lawmakers that immigrants from that country must be left out of any deal, these people said.

“Why do we need more Haitians?” Trump said, according to people familiar with the meeting. “Take them out.” 
IF SHITHOLE IS as shithole does, the United States might have become the biggest shithole of them all on Nov. 8, 2016.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Get the hip boots and clothespins -- it's kinda deep in here
Today's Omaha World-Herald

“Nebraska is a pro-life state, and the state’s budget should reflect those values.”

Says the state's Republican governor in the latest Orwellian smoke signal he's trying to blow up our collective butts.

It's just bullshit. Bullshit so fragrant it could have come from America's bullshitter-in-chief, Donald J. Trump.

The state's budget under Gov. Pete Ricketts and his predecessor NEVER has reflected pro-life values, from wasting $50 grand in a botched attempt to illegally acquire execution drugs to cutting services for the disabled to (for a time) banning government-funded prenatal care for undocumented women (which actually increased both abortions and birth defects).

A pro-life state doesn't waste money on maintaining the death penalty, money that could go toward caring for "the least of these." A pro-life state doesn't have cops so ignorant of how to deal with unarmed but unruly mentally ill people that they end up tasing and beating them to death.

A pro-life state doesn't elevate to the governorship a rich-boy Dr. Evil impersonator who has no clue about governing apart from throwing his fortune behind initiatives repealing the unicameral's abolition of the death penalty and electing GOP legislators in his own misanthropic image.

SO DON'T HAND ME this hoary old horse hockey about "pro-life values" just because the dominant political party merely is foursquare for getting infants out of the womb just so it can find ways to abort the poorest ones by other means at a future date.
Omaha World-Herald, May 2017
"Pro-life" is not some political zero-sum proposition. Pro-life is affirming that somebody doesn't have to die for somebody else to flourish. A pro-life state isn't just against abortion, but also is for helping women through hard times and bad situations in a way that affirms the life of both mother and child.

A "PRO-LIFE STATE"  fights hammer-and-tongs against poverty, and it guarantees every resident adequate health care. And a pro-life state doesn't skimp on funding for education at any level.

A pro-life state -- the kind the governor is talking about -- is all about the ironic air quotes, and it elects right-wing bullshit artists like Pete Ricketts to spout self-serving, self-righteous bromides as he kicks the poor and the inconvenient to the curb. To be aborted postnatally when nobody is looking.

No, you can't say Nebraska is pro-life. You sure as hell can say that Pete Ricketts is pro-death.

This isn't brain surgery (which I'm sure Ricketts wouldn't want state money going for, either). Don't pay for abortions . . . and don't use abortion as an excuse to cut health-care funding while simultaneously scoring cheap political points with the booboisie.

What a tool is our Gov. Evil.