Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Lee Terry is the poster child for why politics sucks


Back when I was much younger and the world hadn't heard of "political correctness," Southern political aficionados had a colorful and offensive name for ads like the Republicans are running against the Democratic candidate in the Omaha-area congressional race.

I won't repeat that description here, though in its ugliness it gets a whole lot closer to the truth of what national Republicans are doing to bolster the electoral chances of Lee Terry, the underachieving congressman for Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District. "Race baiting" is just too sanitary a term, frankly.

Many terms today are too sanitary for what passes for "politics" and governance in the United States today.

The congressman's political sliminess is nonetheless undeterred by our lack of politically correct nomenclature to describe it. The other day, this campaign ad from the Terry campaign itself was waiting in our mailbox:



IN A BID for plausible deniability on the TV ad, no doubt, Terry will only stoop to sweeping "crook baiting" in the attacks against Brad Ashford that run under his own name. Not, of course, that he's unhappy about the National Republican Campaign Committee's television ad featuring serial killer Nikko Jenkins.

When asked about the racist NRCC hit job on Ashford, Terry's campaign manager said the congressman's camp had no intention of asking the national party to lay off the race baiting.

“It’s a factual ad, and it still raises the legitimate issue that Brad Ashford by both action and inaction in the Legislature endangers Nebraskans by not reforming the good time law,’’ Kent Grisham told the Omaha World-Herald.

What Team Terry won't tell us is that nothing can pass in the officially non-partisan Nebraska Legislature, including the "good time" law, without a fair number of GOP votes in this heavily Republican state. The World-Herald, in an editorial blasting the TV ad, pointed out what shouldn't need to be pointed out to any sentient being in the Cornhusker State:
Terry’s fellow Republicans are the majority in the officially nonpartisan Legislature and have been for a long time. Gov. Dave Heineman, who has held office for nearly 10 years, is a Republican. If the good-time law needed changing, why didn’t they act sooner? At best, this is a bipartisan failure.
 WELL freakin' duh!

Of course, Terry, veteran congresstroll that he is, has not only a Plan B -- crook baiting -- but a Plan C as well . . . terrorist baiting.


IF YOU WANT to know how stupid Americans are -- or at least how stupid Lee Terry thinks his constituents are -- here's your answer. At the end of the third quarter, it's Reality 49, Satire 3.

Our democracy is in a bad way, and I'm not feeling so good myself amid another bad joke of an election cycle.

Lee Atwater, architect of George H.W. Bush's dismantling of Democrat Michael Dukakis in 1988 -- the campaign that gave us the infamous Willie Horton ad -- repented of what he had done and the mindset that made him do it before he died of cancer in 1991.
"In 1988," Mr. Atwater said, "fighting Dukakis, I said that I 'would strip the bark off the little bastard' and 'make Willie Horton his running mate.' I am sorry for both statements: the first for its naked cruelty, the second because it makes me sound racist, which I am not." Reputation as 'Ugly Campaigner'

Since being stricken last year, the 39-year-old Mr. Atwater has apologized on several occasions for many of the campaign tactics he once employed and for which he was criticized. But rarely has he spoken in such detail or with such candor as in the interview for the first-person Life article.

"In part because of our successful manipulation of his campaign themes, George Bush won handily," Mr. Atwater said. He conceded that throughout his political career "a reputation as a fierce and ugly campaigner has dogged me."

"While I didn't invent negative politics," he said, "I am one of its most ardent practitioners."

When the Republican National Committee meets in Washington on Jan. 25, it will ratify Mr. Bush's choice of Agriculture Secretary Clayton K. Yeutter to become the new party chairman. Mr. Atwater will receive the title of general chairman.

The Life article is accompanied by photographs that show Mr. Atwater today, his face swollen by steroids and framed by dark, curly hair. They are a stark contrast to earlier pictures of him, lean, grinning and jogging with Mr. Bush. 'I Was Scared'

In the article, Mr. Atwater also talked about the moment last March 5 when he was speaking at a fund-raising breakfast for Senator Phil Gramm, Republican of Texas.

"I felt my left foot start to shake uncontrollably," he said. "In seconds the twitch had moved into my leg and up the left side of my body. I was scared. I stopped speaking, grabbed at my side with one hand and clutched the podium with the other."

Mr. Atwater was rushed to the hospital and within days doctors determined that he was suffering from a tumor on the right side of his brain. His battle with cancer has continued unabated since that diagnosis.

Mr. Atwater also described the change in his relationship with Ronald H. Brown, the Democratic national chairman.

"After the election, when I would run into Ron Brown, I would say hello and then pass him off to one of my aides," he said. "I actually thought that talking to him would make me appear vulnerable.

"Since my illness, Ron has been enormously kind -- he sent a baby present to Sally T.," Mr. Atwater's third child, who was born only weeks after he was stricken. "He writes and calls regularly -- and I have learned a lesson: Politics and human relationships are separate. I may disagree with Ron Brown's message, but I can love him as a man."
THE PROSPECT of death made Lee Atwater a better man. In facing death, he found grace.

Some people, though, never learn. Twenty-three years later, the real prospect of political death has made Lee Terry into a loathsome little hack, one unworthy of the office he occupies and unworthy of Nebraskans' trust.

Repent, Lee. Your political end, God willing, is near.

Que sera, sera


You never know what's going to end up on the ol' phonograph in the 3 Chords & the Truth studio.

Last night, it was this 1955 LP by Doris Day. Tomorrow night, it could be Waylon Jennings. Who knows? Certainly not yours truly.

What I do know is that, sooner or later, it'll all end up on the Big Show. Keeps life -- and listening -- interesting, it does.

You'd be shocked, shocked to learn how much of the music on the program comes from where I find a lot of the good stuff. That would be estate sales and Goodwill, where lots of albums and singles that never found their way to CDs or downloads sit waiting to be rediscovered and loved anew.

AND WHILE I enjoy these vintage sounds in the comfort of the studio, I find I'm also getting a lesson in how tempus keeps fugiting at an alarming rate. For example, Miss Day's Day Dreams album came out in 1955, a mere six years before I came on the scene.

As an ambivalent member of the Baby Boom generation, that doesn't seem much like ancient history. But then I do the math and see that 1955 was 59 years ago. In my mind, 1955 is the day before yesterday, even though I wasn't born yet.

But in 1955, Doris Day was 31 years young. Now she's 90.

So listen up, kiddies, and listen good. It could happen to you -- and it probably will. I know, year by year, it's happening to me.

Sigh.

Monday, October 20, 2014

This was radio


Luther Masingill was radio to the good people of Chattanooga, Tenn.

He started at WDEF radio in 1940, when he was still in high school, and he stayed there for a long, long time. In fact, he was there until he died Sunday night at 92. Needless to say, that's a record -- one that likely never will be broken.

Ever.

http://www.chattanoogaradiotv.com/general/fun-facts-about-luther-on-his-73rd-anniversary/
Chattanooga Radio & TV
Luther, as he simply was known to a city for generations,  was the go-to guy if your dog was lost or if you needed to raise money for a cause or a hurting family. Luther also was at the WDEF microphone when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor . . . and when terrorists struck New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001.

Luther was the man a city and its people came to depend upon in the 1940s and on. And on. And on.

Luther was radio. Luther was what radio was meant to be.
Masingill's first day on the job at WDEF was as an 18-year-old on New Year's Eve in 1940. Other than his time in the military working as a reporter during World War II, he has been at the station ever since. He also worked at WDEF-TV 12 since it signed on in 1954.

He is a National Marconi award winner and a member of both the National Radio Hall of Fame and the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame.

"I'd like to say he taught me about radio, but really he taught me how to be a good father, and a good husband and a good person," says Masingill's on-air partner for the last 15 years James Howard.

Howard was one of those listeners who Masingill helped locate a lost dog, and he was at the station Monday morning taking calls from listeners remembering the legendary Masingill. Known as one of the friendliest and cheeriest people around, Howard was emotional talking about his friend and colleague.

"He also taught me that the key in radio is to be real and to love my community and to answer that phone. "Don't let it ring more than twice because on the other end is somebody you can help. Radio is not about car giveaways and promos. It's about public service, but I knew that before I started here because I listened to Luther."
LUTHER WAS the embodiment of public-service broadcasting. He loved his medium, he loved his city, and he loved his listeners.

Who will love them now? Who will love your city now?

Someone behind a microphone at some station somewhere might, so long as there's still a wheezing breath in this thing we call radio. But as the Luther Masingills of this world, and this medium, fade into memory and static, we no longer can take that for granted.


That "bright good morning voice, who is heard but never seen."

Saturday, October 18, 2014

3 Chords & the Truth: Eine kleine nachtmusik


This week, it's just you and me and the music in the night.

A funny thing happens when you're burning the midnight oil to get another edition of 3 Chords & the Truth in the can. Or on the Internets, as the case may be.

In the middle of the night, just like listening to all-night radio way back when, it's just different. Quieter. You're alone with your thoughts. You're alone with the disc jockey playing the music . . . assuming there is a DJ and not a computer server at the helm.

You're alone with the music. In the quietude of the night, where the world seems to give you a little more space -- a little breathing room. This can be a good thing.


It also can be a bad one.

MAYBE you're listening -- or will listen -- to this edition of the Big Show in the still of the night. This, I would recommend highly.

Maybe, though, you'll hear this 3 Chords & the Truth in the light of day. That's OK, too. A little less magical, but just fine nevertheless. But however or whenever you're listening, I hope the music both expands your horizons and touches your heart.

If you're listening in the dusky stillness, I hope it leaves you good thoughts to be alone with. I hope therein you discover magic -- the magic of you and the night and the music.


Big Show music. That's always a good thing.

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


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

In some parts of America, this requires huge fans


The Buffalo Wild Wings people make me laugh.

They think you need big fans to screw up field goals and wreak general havoc. They think no one has actually seen somebody do the full Almira Gulch on a stationary bicycle.

They -- obviously -- live Back East.

I saw this stuff taking out the garbage just now. And you gotta make sure the trash can is good and heavy, because I hear the federal gummint will bill your ass if the Air Force has to scramble F-15s to intercept your Unidentified Flying Rubbermaid.


So, how windy is it out here on the Great Plains? This windy, says the Omaha World-Herald:
Ceaseless winds define the Great Plains, so much so that many people barely take note — apparently — of wind advisories from the National Weather Service. As a result, the wind advisory soon in many areas will go the way of the sod hut, becoming a relic of a bygone era.

Effective Oct. 31, the weather service will cease issuing wind advisories for much of Nebraska and Kansas, said Mike Moritz, warning coordination meteorologist for the Hastings office.

The exceptions will be eastern Nebraska and the the Panhandle, where the advisories will continue to be issued. Cities that will continue receiving wind advisories include Lincoln, Omaha, Norfolk, Scottsbluff and Sidney.


A wind advisory is the lowest level of alert that the weather service issues, Moritz said


Because windy weather is so routine on the High Plains, weather service offices years ago ceased issuing the wind advisories for Colorado and Wyoming.
All of the Great Plains will continue to receive special warnings when dangerously high winds are forecast.
(snip) 
Moritz said the decision was based on the results of a survey that the weather service conducted from late April through late July. Three-fourths of the respondents said they make no change in their daily lives when a wind advisory is issued. In contrast, most people take action when the more serious "high wind warning" is issued. Among those participating in the survey were local emergency managers.

"Most of the response was, ‘Bravo, thanks for doing this. We know it’s windy here,’ " he said.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Cop just beat the hell out of you


As much as it pains me to say it, my respect for Ole Piss Miss just soared to a new level.

All the way to grudging toleration.

After I've had a double bourbon or three.

Enjoy this scene of a sore-loser Alabama fan getting his after he throws a cup full of popcorn at celebrating Mississippi fans after the Rebels took Nick Satan Saban and his Crimson Tide down a notch or . . . four.

Bammer had it coming. Cue the LSU student section:

Around the bowl and down the hole, roll, Tide, roll!


Because SEC.



HAT TIP:  NOLA.com.

Monday, October 06, 2014

The LSU football season, explained


Well, that Auburn game was fugly.

Here's a handy guide that will explain LSU's football season thus far and, one hopes, provide a handy guide for what to expect as the Tigers stagger toward Thanksgiving and a merciful end to the 2014 campaign.

Above, we have a brief video recap of LSU's 7-41 non-triumph against That Other Football Team in Alabama.

But before that merciful November end, the Fighting Toonces have to get through six more Southeastern Conference games with nothing more than a defense without a clue and an offense without a prayer. So let's look at the remainder of the schedule, along with LSU's prospects in each.

NEXT UP is a trip Saturday to Gainesville, Fla., home of the FLORIDA GATORS. Here's a preview:



THEN, at home on Oct. 18, a much-improved KENTUCKY. Again, to the game preview:



OCT. 25, OLE MISS:



NOV. 8, ALABAMA:



NOV. 15, ARKANSAS:



NOV. 27, TEXAS A&M:

Saturday, October 04, 2014

3 Chords & the Truth: We got more


More.

We at 3 Chords & the Truth have "more" covered.

More music. As in about 19,500 more songs you're likely to hear here than over on Brand X.

More variety. I just came up with a phrase to beat into the ground like Brand X beats the same 450 songs into the ground -- controlled eclecticism. At the Big Show, we have quite the eclectic playlist, but it's not like we're throwing any old thing out there willy nilly. No, we have a plan.

More interesting. Listen to this week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth, and that will become self explanatory.

MORE STUFF you're just not going to hear anywhere else. More stuff that never got released on compact disc. More old vinyl than anywhere else.

More better, if less grammatical. See the "more interesting" item above.


Like I said, we have "more" covered on the Big Show. What more can we say?

Oh, wait. There's this:

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


Thursday, October 02, 2014

That's a lot of music


20,012.

That's how many songs are in the 3 Chords & the Truth music library at this moment. And we're adding more virtually every day.

Now, tell me. Where else are you going to find a show, radio station or whatever with a section of tunes like that?

You want to know something else? That's just a fraction of what we have here in the Revolution 21 studios, which is growing more crowded with old LPs and less-old CDs (etc., and so on) all the time.

LPs waiting to join the library
I don't think the music on the Big Show is going to be getting stale or overplayed any time soon.

So it's back to the stacks of vinyl and CDs and reel-to-reel tapes and MP3 files and 45s. Because 20,012 just isn't enough.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

3 Chords & the Truth: Buy a damn belt


If you have your "pants on the ground, pants on the ground, lookin' like a fool with your pants on the ground" this edition of 3 Chords & the Truth is not for you.

Then again, none of them really are. Goodbye, and belts are found at many area retailers.

Now, if your pants are at a proper height on your waist and you're not standing at a bus stop rapping along badly with the MP3 on your smart phone, with every other word being motherf*****, then this show might be for you. And you might be just the clientele we've been looking for here at the Big Show.

MIND YOU, not lookin' like a fool with your pants on the ground -- or badly rapping profane lyrics in public -- isn't that high a bar, but you have to start somewhere.

Likewise, when radio hardly is worth listening to anymore, MTV no longer plays videos (and you're kinda thanking God for that), and our entire culture is in the throes of a massive cerebral hemorrhage, you have to start somewhere.

Welcome to 3 Chords & the Truth.

We're all about good music -- of whatever genre -- thoughtfully presented. That and having some fun in the process. This week's episode is no exception as we delve deeply into the American songbook, into jazz and into some surprises that fit in amazingly well with all of the above.

THAT'S our modus operandi on the Big Show, where we're reclaiming American culture one song at a time. Hope you'll join in the fight.

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

Be there. 

Aloha.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I. Need. This.


Treffen George Jetson . . . .

Electronics today come in basically one style -- black plastic crap. If you're lucky, you might find some various-color plastic crap. In the heyday of mid-century modern, that's not how radio- and TV manufacturers did business.

Especially not the Germans.


http://www.earlytelevision.org/index.htmlThis is a Kuba Komet console TV-radio-phonograph. This is art.

If there is a holy grail in mid-century modern design, this might be a contender for the title. I want this. I may need this.


I know I can't afford this. Word is that if you find one today -- and the Kuba Komet was insanely pricey in West Germany when it was new (from 1957-62) -- it'll set you back about $10,000.

And that's enough to make your bank account go kaput.

Monday, September 22, 2014

It's that time of year


It's fall on the Great Plains, so that means it's grasshopper time in these parts. They're everywhere.

As in EVERYWHERE.

In exchange for a tip on where to find some juicy feed corn still in the fields, this little feller agreed to pose for some photographs.

 Am I a bad person for telling him all Omaha's best corn is in the middle of Dodge Street?
 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

3 Chords & the Truth: Blown away

Even after 265 editions, 3 Chords & the Truth still delivers . . . a BIG SHOW.

So you might want to hang onto something sturdy when you listen to this week's show. Let's just say that Phil Spector isn't the only guy capable of building a "wall of sound" -- although these days, Phil has other walls to concern himself with.
Actually, this week's 3 Chords & the Truth sonically washes over you more than it hits you like a brick wall. Actually, you hit the brick wall; it doesn't hit you.

Actually, this week's Big Show probably would sound pretty good recorded on Maxell cassette tape, from which the theme of this post was shamelessly pilfered.

Pilfered. It's such a polite word, unlike "stolen."



WHAT? This makes no sense?

If you want sense at this hour, I question your rock 'n' roll bona fides. Listen, pally, loud with a backbeat is good enough. Or, as Bono calls it . . . "The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)."

I'd like to think Joey Ramone would like this week's program.

"The usual, sir?"

"Please."

Well, hang on.

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


Monday, September 15, 2014

Ooga booga on the Mississippi


Once upon a time -- in 1958, to be exact -- the great Allen Toussaint was just another young talent playing the "wild" music of New Orleans.

And the record-company folks in New York City just couldn't help themselves.

So the 20-year-old boy genius of the Crescent City, observed in his native habitat -- Cosimo Matassa's recording studio -- by an American anthropologist RCA Victor A&R guy became the subject of a ground-breaking academic field study LP, which brought the "Wild Sound of New Orleans" to the erudite cultural observers of the United States.



NO DOUBT, the folks who once showed 16-millimeter travelogues to curious folk in church basements all across white-bread America soon were setting up their record players to let the country's good, curious people hear the wild, exotic sounds of deepest, darkest Africa . . . uh, the equatorial rain forest . . . uh, the remote, dangerous jungle . . . uh, New Orleans.

I don't know how much money RCA Victor made on the album, but "Tousan" and Cosimo Matassa certainly had the last laugh as they -- along with a host of folk behind "the wild sound of New Orleans" changed the music America listened to . . . and America itself.


Want to hear some of the wild sounds of Tousan, straight from the exotic, dark continent of New Orleans? It's all on the latest edition of 3 Chords & the Truth, fresh on an outpost of the Internet near you.

All's fair in love and war: LSU edition




You're liable to see just about anything at an LSU home football game.

Which brings us to Saturday's. Call it "crazy s*** white people do" -- everything from taking "falling in love" a little too literally to, well, not that.

What my alma mater needs, clearly, is a little, er . . . balance. And a better class of drunk-ass frat boy.


White folks: You just can't let some of 'em out in public.



HAT TIP: NOLA.com.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

3 Chords & the Truth: Cosimo the music man


In 1945, young Cosimo Matassa decided he didn't want to be a chemist after all, and he dropped out of Tulane University.

What he did want to do instead was open a little recording studio in the back of his family's appliance and record store on North Rampart Street, J&M Music. There he began his decades-long practice of alchemy, taking musicians and singers from the streets of the Crescent City and turning them into pure gold.


Pure musical gold. True cultural riches.

With his microphones and recording machines, he captured the birth of rock 'n' roll out of all its component parts. He took the sounds of New Orleans and put them on tapes and acetates, and the wide world of music never was the same.

Especially for some lads from Liverpool.

THAT'S WHAT this week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth is all about -- how one man, with a little help from his friends, can change the world. Or at least its music.

Cosimo Matassa died on Thursday at age 88. In New Orleans, it was front-page news.

Everywhere else, it should have been. So this week on the Big Show, we're giving credit where it's so richly due.

Let me put it this way: Some of the records on this week's program are 78s I've been playing -- and loving -- since I was four. I could go on and on, but I think another New Orleans musical legend said it all when he talked to a Times-Picayune writer, so I'll just defer to one of my betters here.
"Cosimo was the doorway and window to the world for us musicians in New Orleans," Allen Toussaint said Thursday. "An expert, with a lot of heart and soul. When the Beatles heard Fats Domino, they heard him via Cosimo Matassa. He touched the whole world."
Amen.

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