Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Live from the riot

 Not particularly safe for work. It's a riot . . . uncensored.

It's amazing how a situation can go south in an instant. 

Rage is a seductive, untamable beast.

Charlie LeDuff of Fox 2, WJBK in Detroit, documents what's all the rage today in America from news of the non-indictment of the cop who shot Michael Brown to the descent into mayhem on the streets of Ferguson, Mo.


WHAT'S interesting is how LeDuff tries to tell the aggrieved and enraged that, as a Detroiter, he knows a thing or two about riots and how they kill cities dead. What's unsurprising is that rage is deaf . . . when it's not being blinded by tear gas.

Welcome to your future, America. It looks a lot like the 1960s, only with a harder edge and a lot less ingrained hope for the future. Really.

This won't play on the blog. But the video is here.

IT IS at this point that I turn the microphone over to Jeff Daniels, as seen in the opening scene of the HBO series, The Newsroom. Behold some of the most bare-knuckled truth ever in a TV series.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Things you can't make up


I would not attempt to make this up.

You only attempt to make up things people might actually fall for. Nobody would buy someone named Phuc Kieu being arrested on attempted-rape charges.

Further commentary would be pointless, except to say that of course this happened in Florida.


HAT TIP: Romenesko.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

3 Chords & the Truth: Boom goes the dynamite!


This week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth came this close to ending life as we know it on Earth.

And with just a little less skill by Yours Truly, it would have. Instead, it merely will blow your mind.

That quite the claim for the Big Show. But it's true. A couple of things happen on this week's program that -- and words fail here, but this is an approximation -- boggle the mind.

Consider, for example, Waylon Jennings covering. . . . No, you just have to hear it to still not believe it.

And then there's the transition from Chicago to. . . . No, you wouldn't believe it if I told you. The proof is in the slack-jawed hearing.

JUST CONSIDER it all a Thanksgiving treat from 3 Chords & the Truth to you. A bit of blown mind to go with your turkey and pumpkin pie.

It's what we do.


All it's going to take is your complete cooperation, absolute secrecy and 20 live turkeys.

IT ALSO is just more proof -- as if you needed it -- that you never know what's coming next on the podcast that takes freeform radio to a whole new level of "WOW!" and wonderment.

And that's all I have to say about that. Really, you have to hear it for yourself to grasp the musical possibilities.

Just remember our motto: There's only two kinds of music -- good and the stuff we don't play.


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


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thanks for the laughs . . .


. . . and the movies

. . . and the Broadway plays

. . . and the TV shows.

Mike Nichols, rest in peace. From the obit in The New York Times:
Especially consistent was his wry and savvy sensibility regarding behavior, derived, in part, from his early success in nightclubs and on television with Ms. May. Their program of satirical sketches depicting one-on-one moments of social interaction eventually reached Broadway, where “An Evening With Mike Nichols and Elaine May” opened in October 1960 and ran for more than 300 performances; the recording of their show won a Grammy Award.
Developed through improvisation, written with sly, verbal dexterity and performed with cannily calibrated comic timing, a sharp eye for the tiny, telling gesture and an often nasal vocal tone that both of them employed, their best known routines — a mother haranguing her scientist son for not calling her; teenagers on a date in the front seat of a car; an injured man and a doltish emergency room nurse; a telephone operator and a desperate caller in a phone booth — became classics of male-female miscommunication and social haplessness.

Their work, along with the cartoons of Mr. Feiffer and the stand-up routines of Bob Newhart and a young Mr. Allen defined comic neurosis for the American audience before it became a staple in the hands of Albert Brooks, Richard Lewis and countless others.

“Most of the time people thought we were making fun of others when we were making fun of ourselves,” Mr. Nichols said in 2000. “Pretentiousness. Snobbiness. Horniness. Elaine was parodying her mother, as I was mine, and a certain girlishness, flirtatiousness, in herself.”

Mr. Nichols said in interviews that though he did not know it at the time, his work with Ms. May was his directorial training. Asked by Ms. Ephron in 1968 if improvisation was good training for an actor, he replied that it was because it accommodates the performer to the idea of taking care of an audience.

“But what I really thought it was useful for was directing,” he said, “because it also teaches you what a scene is made of — you know, what needs to happen. See, I think the audience asks the question, ‘Why are you telling me this?’ And improvisation teaches you that you must answer it. There must be a specific answer. It also teaches you when the beginning is over and it’s time for the middle, and when you’ve had enough middle and it’s time already for the end. And those are all very useful things in directing.”

Friday, November 14, 2014

3 Chords & the Truth: Musical antifreeze


Somebody stuck most of the country in the deep freeze.

And Omaha hasn't been even close to freezing in days -- as in "32 degrees would be a vast impr-pr-pr-pr-provement." It's supposed to start snowing again shortly.

Old Man Winter done kicked autumn's butt. We are so not amused when it's only mid-November.

So . . . what to do? What to do?

WELL, DUH.  What you do is turn up the heat, make yourself a piping-hot beverage, curl up under a blanket and listen to the comforting, warm sounds of 3 Chords & the Truth. If this here music program can't warm your soul and circulate your blood, your next conversation probably will be with St. Peter.

Good luck with that. No . . . really.

Assuming, however, that you indeed are still with us, there is no better time to treat yourself to yet another episode of the Big Show. It's another stellar effort, of course, and with the weather the way it is, you need to treat yourself.

Because eventually you will have to go outside.

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

A commercial like no other


Would you believe this moving Chinese film urging people to give love another chance and not divorce is . . . a commercial for hair-care products?

China 1, the West 0.

And I hope Procter & Gamble sells a lot of shampoo, because this commercial is powerful way beyond its ability to move product. In America anymore, you'd be more likely to see ads pushing Trojans to newly footloose and fancy free divorcés.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Posted through my tears

1grace  noun \ˈgrās\

1
a unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
b :  a virtue coming from God
c :  a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace 

http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/ashley-picco-memorial-fund/260229#

I know -- having been the recipient of it a time or a thousand -- grace when I see it.

Oftentimes, grace is the strength God sends you when you are at the end of your own. Sometimes, grace is beauty that descends upon you -- beauty that is not of this world. The video above is the first that begets the second.

Imagine that your pregnant wife dies in her sleep. Imagine that this occurs months before her due date. Imagine that your little son is born of your dead wife via an emergency C-section. Where would you find the strength to do what we see here and do it so beautifully?

One place.


http://www.youcaring.com/memorial-fundraiser/ashley-picco-memorial-fund/260229#
THERE have been times when I have summoned the strength, strength that was not my own, to endure what I might find unendurable and react to it in a manner not of my own nature. Still, I cannot imagine serenading my dying infant son after losing my pregnant wife -- or at least I can't imagine doing so without collapsing into sobs.

The singing father is Chris Picco of Loma Linda, Calif. His wife was Ashley Picco. Their son is Lennon James Picco. Lennon James died in his father's arms the day after this video was shot.

People often wonder where God is when things go horribly and unjustly wrong. The answer is that God is standing beside you, holding you up if you'll let Him. It's a beautiful thing, as you can see above.

If you'd like to help God out in holding up Chris Picco as he endures the unendurable, you can do so here.

Here, too.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Still Shocked after all these years


I'm 11 again.

After 40 years, I'm watching Shock Theater and reveling in the snark and camp that was Dr. Shock, Igor and the merry band of creepy idiots that was must-see TV when I was a kid in Baton Rouge.

Saturday-night routine: Turn on TV set about 10. Adjust the loop antenna during the 15 minutes of the ABC late news on WRBT to get a good picture on Channel 33. Because UHF.

SETTLE IN for a couple of hours of the oddball antics of Dr. Shock, along with a classic(ly bad) horror flick.

Wait for next Saturday at 10:15 so I could do it all again.


Truly, Shock Theater helped to make me the (extremely warped) man I am today. Today's kids should have had it so good.

But they didn't. And poorer are they for the absence of bad horror movies and smart-assed, tongue-in-cheek offerings from local TV.

They also would have learned patience from adjusting that #$&*!@%!! UHF antenna.

Oh, the weather outside . . . blah blah blah















It had
to happen
sometime,
I guess.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Solar freakin' roadways!


What if . . . ?

Yeah, what if we built solar freakin' roadways?

What if our roads produced power? What if they never needed to be plowed or salted in the winter?

What if they were simple to repair, one panel at a time?

What if?

Yeah, what if we built solar freakin' roadways? The technology is here. Now. Maybe.

What if we produced enough power from our roads that we never had to build another coal-fired power plant? What if we produced all kinds of clean energy . . . from . . . our . . . roads?


What if our roads and parking lots eventually -- perhaps -- paid for themselves?



WHY CAN'T some city start experimenting with solar roadways? Why can't we find out, even if the developers' claims are complete pie in the sky, what the real power output is and what the real, practical benefits are in real-world conditions? Let's get some real data.

Why can't, for instance, Omaha experiment with them? We're doing major streetscaping and urban renovation in several older parts of the city. We're building major new developments around the city. Why not incorporate some solar streets and parking lots into them?

Why not apply for federal grants or matching funds for a large-scale demonstration project?


This country is staring down any number of global-warming, power-generation and infrastructure problems as we stumble forward into an uncertain future. Why not look for ways to help ourselves out of a worsening jam? Why not try this as one potential solution? We have to start somewhere. Why not here?

Well, here and in the Netherlands.

Solar roadways just might be a big part of the solution. And they look cool, too. Let's try it and see what we've really got here.

Friday, November 07, 2014

3 Chords & the Truth: Big noise from Omaha


There's a big noise coming from Omaha, and we call it 3 Chords & the Truth.

It's a good kind of noise.

It's the good kind of noise that once came from your radio -- remember those? -- although, to be fair, you usually would have had to go through several stations to compile the mind-blowing musical diversity of the Big Show.

Let's put it simply, 3 Chords & the Truth is the good kind of noise that doesn't just talk about musical diversity but delivers it.  Big time.

CUE broken record, which I'm probably sounding like here. But that fact needs repeating, because the fact in your ear is the this little show with the big sound is the kind of thing you don't come across often when your searching for tunes . . . either on the radio or across the Internet.

What took many of us years to discover in a much less atomized popular culture is at the heart of every episode of the Big Show. Namely, it's all good.

That and, of course, as the old saying goes, "Variety is the spice of life."

And of a little podcast that's making a big noise out here on the Great Plains.

THAT'S ALL for now, because you need to be spending your time listening to the show instead of reading about the show. So listen already, will you?

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


Monday, November 03, 2014

Whatever happened to shame?


shame noun \ˈshām\

: a feeling of guilt, regret, or sadness that you have because you know you have done something wrong

: ability to feel guilt, regret, or embarrassment

: dishonor or disgrace
Shame is a good thing.

Shame is what keeps us from being monsters. It's the thing that puts in touch with our fallen nature, with the reality that we're not OK. Not all the time.

Blessed is the society where shame is possible, where standards are in place that form a context for shame -- for what is shameful and what is virtuous. Shame, properly understood and properly enforced, is the thing that allows us to get over ourselves.
 

A society without shame is a land of sociopaths. A society without shame is one of monsters. A society without shame is in desperate need of reformation -- or, if reform is not possible, destruction -- for the well being of the rest of humanity.

Western culture is fast losing any sense of shame. It is on the edge of the abyss and its cultural "elites" are hellbent on pushing it over the edge, given it has decreed there are is no good or bad, only diverse choices that are appropriate for the almighty individual. Personal autonomy trumps all -- except, of course, those things that People We Don't Like advocate -- and it's those who deem themselves too enlightened for shame that get to captain the S.S. Anything Goes upon the Sea of Moral Relativism.


IT IS in such a society that "voice of her generation" Lena Dunham can admit in print that she, at age 7, explored her little sister's vagina, that she later did "anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl" so her sister would let her kiss her on the lips for five seconds or just "relax on me" and do so without an inkling of shame. Admit such behavior as if she were copping to raiding the cookie jar or throwing spitballs in class.

It is also in such a society that you can be cavalier about such and then be outraged when others . . . aren't.


"The right wing news story that I molested my little sister isn't just LOL- it's really f***ing upsetting and disgusting," Dunham emoted via her Twitter account. She was just getting warmed up.

"And by the way, if you were a little kid and never looked at another little kid's vagina, well, congrats to you," she added amid her Internet "rage spiral." By the way, congrats to me. And my family might not have been as patently weird as Dunham's, but it was right up there.
Still, to dismiss Lena Dunham as an insulated and spoiled child of Manhattan’s ruling class is to misunderstand her story entirely. If there is such a thing as actually abusing a child through excessive generosity and overindulgence, then Lena Dunham’s parents are child abusers. Her father, Carroll Dunham, is a painter noted for his primitive brand of highbrow pornography, his canvases anchored by puffy neon-pink labia; her photographer mother filled the family home with nude pictures of herself, “legs spread defiantly.” Self-styled radicals from old money, they were not the sort of people inclined to enforce even the most lax of boundaries. And they were, in their daughter’s telling, enablers of some very disturbing behavior that would be considered child abuse in many jurisdictions — Lena Dunham’s sexual abuse, specifically, of her younger sister, Grace, the sort of thing that gets children taken away from non-millionaire families without Andover pedigrees and Manhattanite social connections.
WELL, I CAN certainly understand where Dunham's unfamiliarity with shame came from.

What I can't understand is why people so insist on taking all their cultural cues from weirdos they don't know like Dunham and any number of other freak shows in our celebrity obsessed society instead of those good, unfamous people they do know. Then again, evil is a mystery.

What eventually becomes of cultures that worship evil and deify notorious freak shows merely because they're famous freak shows is less of a mystery: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

Hoss, we in trouble deep. It's harvest time.

Friday, October 31, 2014

3 Chords & the Truth: Music by the book


I just wanted you to know that we will be doing things by the book on this week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth.

We at the Big Show consider the book to be of paramount importance.

That is why we do things by the book. No deviation. No freelancing. No screwing around. . . .


At 3 Chords & the Truth, our guiding manuscript is orthodoxy in the praxis of musical presentation. That praxis is outlined in The Book.

By which we do things.

You will hear a variety of music presented in a way consistent with The Book.

Carefully presented.

THE AIM here is a consistent presentation of musical selections, designed to avoid -- WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!! -- undue surprised to the listener -- WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! -- base, as outlined in Our Guiding Manuscript.

We thought you ought to know this before embarking on the musical journey that is this (and every) week's edition of the Big Show. Teacher, is this 250 words yet?

Oh, yes. This, by the way, is The Book:



http://www.madcoversite.com/index.html

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


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lee Terry picks up another endorsement


Congressdweeb Lee Terry picked up another crucial Omaha endorsement Wednesday, a nod pointing to the effectiveness of the Republicans' attack ad tying Democratic challenger Brad Ashford to serial killer Nikko Jenkins.

The endorsement was from Jenkins himself.

Jenkins issued the latest election pick in an unusual setting -- the only one available to him while locked in a cell 23 hours a day -- shouting his approval of the eight-term House member while being led to his seat in an Omaha courtroom for a progress report from psychiatrists on progress toward restoring his competence to face a death-penalty hearing after being convicted of four murders last year.
“Vote Lee Terry guys, greatest Republican ever.”
-- Nikko Jenkins



IT DIDN'T take long for news of the endorsement to reach the Washington newsroom of Roll Call:
Vulnerable Rep. Lee Terry received an emphatic endorsement Wednesday, but the Nebraska Republican is not likely to tout this show of support on the campaign trail any time soon.

KMTV in Omaha, Neb., reported that at a hearing to examine his competency, convicted murderer Nikko Jenkins shouted, “Vote Lee Terry guys, greatest Republican ever.”

The irony of Jenkins’ statement is that the National Republican Campaign Committee released an ad last week attempting to link Jenkins to the Democratic nominee, state Sen. Brad Ashford.

Jenkins killed four people after he was released from jail early, and the NRCC attempted to tie Ashford’s support of the so-called “good time law” to the murders. “Brad Ashford supported the good time law and still defends it, allowing criminals like Nikko Jenkins to be released early,” the ad’s narrator said.
STILL UNCLEAR is whether the court will consider the pitch for Terry by Jenkins -- who likes to kill people, has a face that looks like the inside of an ancient Egyptian tomb and is considered one of the most dangerous inmates in the Nebraska corrections system -- as evidence that his mental condition has declined drastically since his murder conviction earlier this year.

Monday, October 27, 2014

SEC football, explained by YouTube

Rebel fans' tantrums are decidedly NSFW

There was no joy in Yoknapatawpha County on Saturday night; the mighty Rebels had flamed out.

Welcome, children, to the wild, wild world of Southeastern Conference football, where the men are men, the women are pissed -- whooooooooaaaah, NELLY! are they pissed --  and the rivalries are hate fests of Balkan proportions.

In case you missed it, the LSU Tigers took down then-No. 3 ranked Ole Miss 10-7,  handing the Rebels their first loss of the season and ruining the life of this poor woman, who obviously has no more reason to live.


Ain't it grand?

IF I WERE the guy who shot this epic video, I would have thrown in a few "GO TO HELL, OLE MISS! GO TO HELL!" chants. Because we Tigers love us some Ole Miss just as much as the Rebels love them some LSU . . . not.

Really, you should have been around Baton Rouge some late October in the 1960s. I recall that, back then, no car with Mississippi plates was safe from having its windows soaped with a message telling Ole Miss exactly where to go.

Did I mention that LSU and Ole Miss don't like one another?

Anyway, despite Ole Miss' high ranking in the football polls, the Rebels ought to have known how this was going to turn out.

Let me introduce you to the founding superintendent of the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning, which we now know as Louisiana State University and A&M College:


William Tecumseh Sherman


HAT TIP: Deadspin.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

3 Chords & the Truth: Mix 'n' match music


What do you get when you cross Grace Slick with Doris Day?

The Moody Blues with Woody Herman?

Modern English with Jackie Gleason?

Nat "King" Cole with the O'Jays?

16 Candles with Young at Heart?

WHAT happens when you're facing down the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man and you cross the friggin' musical streams?

Well, I guess you'll have to listen to this edition of 3 Chords & the Truth to find out, now, won't you? After all, the Big Show may be many things, but boring ain't one of them.


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