Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Elvis Costello reports on the election


Look what she's done to my show, Ma


Cap, this right here is why Steve Harvey is hosting Family Feud. And you ain't.

It's the worst contestant in the history of television game shows giving the worst answer, and then a worser answer, and then back to the first worst answer, and then the worser one again . . . and they're all answers that have been given already.

Oh, Lord have mercy, if that had been me, I would have burned my face off in a klieg light, while sticking a fork into a 220-volt outlet. While standing in a tub of water . . . I'd want to make sure.

And Steve turns it all into comedic gold . . . most of which will be edited out of the final program.


Enjoy.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Satan overplays his hand



Yes, the National Abortion Rights Action League would like you to believe that fetuses actually are toasters, not humans.

The insanity of these people is self-evident, as is their humorlessness and rigid ideology. The devil may have all the good tunes, but he has to own the angry, death-loving harpies as well.






OH . . . Angry Scolds for Death hated this Hyundai ad, too. Perhaps Kevin Hart was messin' with their business model; I dunno.

At any rate, I stand with Jim Minardi. Even the devil drunk tweets from time to time, ending up overplaying his hand and giving us all a glimpse behind the unholy veil.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

3 Chords & the Truth: Play me somethin', Mister!


Throw you somethin'?

You want me to throw you somethin'?

All right, I'm gonna throw you somethin'. Can you handle what I'm gonna throw you?

It's Mardi Gras time, and we're gonna throw lots at you on the Big Show. And you can even keep your shirt on.

We may be partying, but we're not louts.

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

And jockamo fe-na-nay.


Tuesday, February 02, 2016

To Title IX or not to Title IX, that is the #^#%!@& question

Click on the top-left speaker icon for audio, which is NSFW


At Louisiana State University, this will not get you arrested:
LSU students hurled obscenities, ice and objects during and immediately after the Tigers’ 77-75 loss in men’s basketball Saturday against No. 1-ranked Oklahoma.

Obscene chants directed at Oklahoma star shooting guard Buddy Hield rose from the packed student section on two or three occasions during the game. After the game, students booed and threw ice and towels as the Sooners left the court on a corner of the court at the end where the student section is located.

The actions drew denouncements from national media as well as LSU athletic director Joe Alleva.

“I am very disappointed with the language used by our students,” Alleva said Monday. “They should act with class and respect our opponents. Their language is embarrassing and motivates our opponent.”

A request for comment Monday morning from LSU President F. King Alexander did not immediately draw a response.

According to LSU police, there were no arrests or charges filed associated with behavior at Saturday's game.


AT LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY, exercising one's First Amendment right as a holy roller preacher to tell college students they're going to the lake of fire for their fornicatin', whoremongerin' ways sure as H-E-double-toothpicks will get you busted by campus cops -- or at least threatened with arrest. This at the now-ironically titled Free Speech Alley in front of the LSU Student Union.

The PC scofflaw here was an "intern" of Brother Jed Smock, who is no stranger to LSU -- or many other U.S. campuses. Jed and his wife, Sister Cindy Lassiter Smock, have been damning American college students to hell since I was an LSU student in the late 1970s and early 1980s. At least.

Back then, there was no question that Brother Jed and Sister Cindy had an absolute right to call us whores, whoremongers, fornicators, blasphemers or any other sort of wretch offensive to the Almighty's sensibilities.

Sister Cindy at LSU, early 1980s
Or at least those of Brother Jed and Sister Cindy's seriously fundamentalist brand of Christianity.

And that's OK. There was little doubt that many of us, in fact, were whores, whoremongers, fornicators, blasphemers and general offenders against right judgment and God's Word.

There also was little doubt that LSU students of my era gave as good as we got. In fact, Sister Cindy once whacked yours truly upside the head with her Bible for offending her as grievously as she offended me. Thirty-something years on, I can say with great confidence that I royally deserved it.

I did not, however, call the cops. Some precious little LSU snowflake, on the other hand, did just that the other week after a mean Mini Jed -- Brother Joshua -- offended her delicate sensibilities. Because he apparently said the most dangerous place in America today was in a black woman's womb, referencing the proportionally high incidence of abortion in the African-American community.

Judging by the response of campus police, the second most dangerous place in America today is Louisiana State University -- at least if you intend to loudly say impolite things while not in Tiger Stadium or the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Within the safe confines of athletic venues, however, chant "F*** YOU, SABAN!" or "F*** YOU, BUDDY!" as loudly and as often as you like.

But for the LSU po-po, apparently, it's just gender- or race-referencing Bible-thumping in a "free speech" zone that's a no-no. Because of Title IX which, according to these constitutional lawyers in blue, trumps the First Amendment.


FRANKLY,  if I were in the preacher's shoes and the cop had told me something as ridiculous as that, I would have been tempted to reply with the Assembly Center version of what passes for "protected speech" at LSU. Which, of course, would have gotten me handcuffed as surely as Louisiana's state budget turns a bright red every spring.

To be clear, I don't much care for Brother Jed's brand of Christianity or his not-so-merry band's evangelistic tactics. I think they do more to retard than advance the Kingdom of God. I think they're obnoxious, self-righteous and theologically messed up in many ways.

I know that my opinion means less than nothing to them because, for one thing, I'm Catholic. And the more faithful of a Catholic I become, the more Jed, Cindy and Joshua would be convinced that I will burn in the LAKE . . . OF . . .  FIIIRRRRRRRE! 

But, again, that's OK. It's a free country -- well, at least if you're not at LSU or many other American universities. The First Amendment, which last I heard has not been trumped by a mere act of Congress, exists for those times when people really, really don't want to hear what you have to say.

Like this: The LSU administration is a bunch of f***ing hypocrites. (I trust the F-word makes this protected speech in the eyes of the Ol' War Skule.) You know, the kind who tolerate loutish students hurling vulgar abuse upon a black Oklahoma basketball star but want to lock up a street preacher for saying the womb has become a dangerous place for black babies.

And for non-vulgarly accusing students of being what they regularly present themselves as on national TV.

Monday, February 01, 2016

#TheJimReaper cometh for Omaha


Snowy death descendeth upon us, bald headed and flying Delta. May God have mercy on our souls.

Snowpocalypse is ready when you are.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Public schools fail . . . to fail as badly as private sector


Public policy in education has come to this in Louisiana -- and too much of the rest of America.

What is "this"? "This" is a Brookings Institute report on research showing students who "win" Louisiana's school-voucher lottery and escape their "failing" public schools . . . lose. Big time.

From Brookings:

The affected students had won a voucher to attend, at no cost, a private school in Louisiana. Nineteen states have such voucher programs, with Louisiana’s the fifth-largest in the country. The vouchers, averaging $5,311 per student, must be accepted as full tuition at the private schools that participate in the program; schools are not allowed to ask students to “top-up” their vouchers if the school has a higher sticker price. Further, schools can’t pick and choose among the voucher winners. Instead, they have to take any student who holds a voucher.[ii]

Nationwide, 141,000 students use a voucher to attend a private school.[iii] Louisiana’s voucher program launched in New Orleans in 2008. It was expanded to include the entire state in 2012. Students from families with incomes below 250 percent of the federal poverty threshold are eligible for the voucher as long as they attend a public school the state has labeled as low-performing. Over half of Louisiana’s public schools fall into this category.

Researchers have long attempted to understand the effectiveness of private schools. It’s a difficult task, because parents choose their children’s schools, either by living in a certain school district or by applying to a private or charter school. The challenges are identical to those in evaluations of charter-school effectiveness: kids who attend private school are different from those who attend a public, neighborhood school, who in turn are different from those who attend a charter school.[iv] When comparing school performance, researchers struggle to distinguish differences in schools’ effectiveness from variation in the types of students who choose those schools.

A voucher lottery provides an unusual opportunity to measure the effectiveness of private schools. The lottery serves as a randomized trial, which is the gold standard of research methods. Random selection means that lottery winners and losers are identical, on average, when they apply for the voucher. Any differences that emerge after the lottery can therefore be attributed to the private-school attendance of the winners.

The results were startling. The researchers, a team of economists from Berkeley, Duke, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found that the scores of the lottery winners dropped precipitously in their first year of attending private school, compared to the performance of the lottery losers. The effects were very large: roughly a quarter of a standard deviation in math, social studies, and science. There were no effects on reading scores. On a per-year basis, these negative effects are as large as the positive effects that a similarly-designed study found for charter schools in Boston (the authors of the Louisiana study are my collaborators in the charter research).[v]
HERE'S HOW you get to the abject cluster(expletive) that exemlifies "this," and here's where you like go from "this":
1) We declare public education a failure, blaming it for not magically taking the sociological deviance amid the student population and turning it, alchemist-style, into 24-karat gold. And MIT scholarships.

2) We take a page from our highly successful Vietnam playbook: We must destroy this village in order to save it.

3) As part of the destroy-to-save process, we starve public schools of funds so we can give it to a motley crew of private and charter schools . . . because private sector.

4) We sit back and watch the chaos ensue as the private sector f***s the whole thing up worse than the public sector at $5,500 a head, if not more.

5) Wait! A solution to make the whole thing work just like we know it can! Double down -- with taxpayer money -- on what hasn't yet worked.

6) Look! A liberal! Git a rope!

7) Pay no attention to that social scientist aggregating data sets.

8) Look! Pinko-commie-fag academics talkin' trash about free enterprise and educational choice! Grab your guns!

9) We'll surely get the right charter- and private-school partners this time!

10) Well, shit.

11) Pay no attention to the poverty, chaotic lives and toxic culture of "that part of town." Public schools! Bad!

12) Avoid "that part of town."

13) MY kid's private school is pretty good -- a bargain at $9,500 a year!
14) Raise property tax on my house by $100 to fund those failed government schools?!? What, I'm made of money???

ON THE other hand . . . don't worry. Be happy. Donald Trump will fix it all.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

3 Chords & the Truth: . . . and Myron Floren is his prophet


In the Age of Trump, when bomb squads are poring over band rooms because of apparent IEAs -- improvised explosive accordions -- it is time to take drastic measures.

Repeat after me on 3 Chords & the Truth. . . .

There is no Welk but Welk, and Myron Floren is his prophet.

Again. . . .

There is no Welk but Welk, and Myron Floren is his prophet.
There is no Welk but Welk, and Myron Floren is his prophet.
There is no Welk but Welk, and Myron Floren is his prophet.
There is no Welk but Welk, and Myron Floren is his prophet.
There is no Welk but Welk, and Myron Floren is his prophet.
There is no Welk but Welk, and Myron Floren is his prophet.
There is no Welk but Welk, and Myron Floren is his prophet.
There is no Welk but Welk, and Myron Floren is his prophet.
There is no Welk but Welk, and Myron Floren is his prophet.
There is no Welk but Welk, and Myron Floren is his prophet.
There is no Welk but Welk, and Myron Floren is his prophet.
There is no Welk but Welk, and Myron Floren is his prophet.

Now. . . .

This is a bomb; this is an accordion.

AGAIN. . . .

This is a bomb; this is an accordion. 
This is a bomb; this is an accordion.
This is a bomb; this is an accordion.
This is a bomb; this is an accordion.
This is a bomb; this is an accordion.
This is a bomb; this is an accordion.
This is a bomb; this is an accordion.
This is a bomb; this is an accordion.
This is a bomb; this is an accordion.
This is a bomb; this is an accordion.
This is a bomb; this is an accordion.
This is a bomb; this is an accordion.

THIS WEEK on the Big Show, we step away from the stupid. And while we're at it, we'll step toward the calm, the cultured and the classy.

Apparently, we are in great need of that.

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


Friday, January 29, 2016

There's always an add in the land of --30--



Guelph
Favog


In the days of typewriters -- and of newsrooms that more resembled Clancy's Bar than they did an insurance-company cubicle farm -- you would start your story with a slug line and byline in the upper right-hand corner of the page. That way, the copy editors would know at a glance what the story was about . . . and what semi-illiterate wretch wrote it.

Then, when you got to the end of the first page of your copy -- and you never ever ended a page in the middle of a paragraph or, Hildy Johnson forbid, a sentence -- you would pick up your No. 1 soft pencil and scribble "MORE" at the bottom.

At the top of the next page, you'd put something like:



Guelph
add one


Today in Ontario, there are no more "adds" for the Guelph Mercury. There is only --30--.

End of story.


End of newspaper.

End of a 149-year history -- one going as far back as the confederation of Canada itself.

End of 26 jobs.

End of a love affair between a people and its hometown paper. At the urging of Guelph's mayor, scores of citizens came out to say goodbye. Some even hugged the building. It's enough to make a grown man cry -- especially an old onetime newspaper reporter and editor.


For those of us of a certain age, it's just another reminder that the we'll see more --30-- than we will adds. And that's as depressing as a front-page hed bust. (Ask an aging newspaper type what that means if you don't get the ink-stained slang.)

Anyway, I agree with the story on the Poynter website: This was the perfect front page for a final final edition of a newspaper, God bless its newsprint soul.

--30--

Thursday, January 28, 2016

30 years


Three decades ago today, my wife and I were on the road somewhere on U.S. 60 in south-central Missouri, on our way to Washington, D.C., from Springfield, Mo.

We turned on the radio. There was network special coverage on. The space shuttle? What happened?

Then the punch in the gut. It's a cliché because it's true.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

This just in from Nova Scotia


Well, crap.

That's it for us, then. So long, it's been good to know 'ya.


Frankly, I trust this guy more than The Weather Channel. That Frankie, he generally calls 'em, and in this case is aligning himself with the ECMWF model, which suggests Omaha, by God, Nebraska is in trouble deep Monday night and Tuesday

Christmas blizzard of '09
As in foot-of-snow deep. As in blizzard deep.

In other words, we're all gonna die.

That is all before I stock up on beer and gumbo fixins.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

3 Chords & the Truth: The sad café


There's a new kid in town in rock 'n' roll heaven, and we're not feeling too good ourselves.

So, yes, we'll be playing some Eagles -- and, thus, Glenn Frey -- on 3 Chords & the Truth this week as we chug Geritol as the records play. Because old. And tired blood.

Apart from that, I just don't know what to say about the Big Show. There's the Eagles stuff, and there's lots of good music, as always, and we have a nifty set from the ladies of jazz.

THERE probably is more to be said about the program this go around, but I lack the energy to say it.

Really. I mean, are you unpoopular? Do you pop out at parties? Then pass the nutritional supplements from the left hand side. That is all.

No, really. I'm tired. And old. Just listen to the show, will ya?


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

Saturday, January 16, 2016

3 Chords & the Truth: Life on Mars


It's on Amerika's tortured brow . . .

That Mickey Mouse
has grown up a cow
Now the workers
have struck for fame
'Cause Lennon's on sale again
See the mice in their million hordes
From Ibeza to the Norfolk Broads
Rule Britannia is out of bounds
To my mother, my dog, and clowns
But the film is a saddening bore
'Cause I wrote it
ten times or more
It's about to be writ again
As I ask you to focus on


Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man!
Look at those cavemen go
It's the freakiest show
Take a look at the Lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man! Wonder if he'll ever know
He's in the best selling show
Is there life on Mars?

 
GOOD QUESTION. I got no answer, but then again we've all been feeling a little lost this week.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, and this week we're all about what you probably think we're about. Remembering David Bowie. And wondering whether there's life on Mars.


Be there. Aloha.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Yesterday and today

Bostwick-Frohardt Collection/The Durham Museum
January 1905, 11th and Howard in Omaha's Old Market.
 
January 2016, 11th and Howard in Omaha's Old Market.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Where have all Papa's heroes gone?

Ain't there a pen that will write before they die?
Ain't you proud that you've still got faces?
Ain't there one damn song that can make me break down and cry?
One? 

Any more, yeah. Lots.

My generation ain't no young Americans no more, and David Bowie is dead.
"We live for just these twenty years
Do we have to die for the fifty more?"