Friday, April 29, 2016

3 Chords & the Truth: Boogity boogity shoop

This week's edition of the Big Show is all about the stomp.

And the waltz.

And the mope-itty mope, mope-itty mope mope mope.

Well, yeah, we also have some boom boom-ba-booms and some sha-na-nas on 3 Chords & the Truth as well this go around, but you probably already figured that was coming. It's a diverse and eclectic cornucopia, I tells ya!

So pull up a chair. Take your shoes off. And enjoy what's about to caress your eardrums.

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

Thursday, April 28, 2016


I love this newspaper ad for one of the radio stations I listened to during my misspent youth in Baton Rouge.

Look closely, though, and connect the dots on the ol' schematic.

Isn't this really a very 1970s-cool advertisement for some rock 'n' roll electroshock therapy? Inquiring minds -- what's left of them -- want to know.

On the other hand, I was told by a Republican presidential candidate that it's not really torture unless the radio is playing "Muskrat Love" by the Captain & Tennille.

Decent people's mileage may vary.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

3 Chords & the Truth: Never fear, the King is here

"And that's the evening news for tonight. I'll see you again Monday on. . . ."


Wall. Head. Thwack!




Click. Thunk. Crackle crackle.
Muss i denn, muss i denn
Zum Stadtele hinaus
Stadtele hinaus
Und du, mein schat, bleibst hier?

There's no strings upon this love of mine
It was always you from the start
Sei mir gut
Sei mir gut
Sei mir wie du wirklich sollst
Wie du wirklich sollst
'Cause I don't have a wooden heart
Thank you, Elvis. Thank you, 3 Chords & the Truth.
Save yourself. Listen to the Big Show.

A big smile's just a click away. Be there. Auf Wiedersehen.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

SWPL: The Darwin Awards edition

If you're old enough to have stayed up late every night to watch Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman in the 1970s, I need to say no more about this featured collection from ebay.

Well, nothing except "Remember the Rev. Jimmy Joe Jeeter?"

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

It's Spectra-Sonic!

In 1959, Liberty Records represented "the most EXCITING sound in the world." Said so right there on the record sleeve.

In 2016, do we get excited about anything anymore?

By the time you have porn sites cutting off access to North Carolina perverts because the smut-purveyor is morally offended that the state passed a law stating that human persons with XY chromosomes -- and a tallywhacker -- really should use the men's room and human persons with XX chromosomes -- and lacking an appendage -- really should use the ladies' room, you as a society probably have lost the emotional chops to get anything but outraged. 

I mean, when did this become a thing? And you thought this post was going to be about old records.

I'll tell you what I'm not excited about. The future. The future is going to be dreary, and joyless, and overwrought, and angry . . . and we're all going to end up killing one another. Perhaps we can stave this off a couple more years by outlawing urinals and mandating doors on bathroom stalls.

For now, I think I'll just hide out in a time when we still had something to get excited about.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

3 Chords & the Truth: If we make it through December

I keep thinking "If we make it through December. . . ."

But then somebody else -- yet another giant -- dies. And we're yet again musically orphaned. This sucks.

This got old long ago. 2016 is a very, very bad year.

And this time, it's the great Merle Haggard. Anymore, what can you even say? You just start repeating yourself while merely swapping out the name of one legend for another.

So . . . once again we merely pay humble tribute. To Merle.

And I think I'm gonna just sit here and drink.

MEANTIME,  we have some other stuff going for you on this edition of 3 Chords & the Truth, including a really wild set later on in the show. In other words, the usual eclectic and cool stuff you've come to associate with the Big Show.

Umm hmm.

Listen to the program. It's good.

And that's about all I have to say about that.

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

Thursday, March 31, 2016

America today: Outrage will Trump dialogue

Donald Trump just might win.

Stuff like Pittsburgh's l'Affaire Wendy Bell will ensure that most terrifying of electoral outcomes.

What's l'Affaire Wendy Bell? You'll be sorry you asked.

Wendy Bell is . . . uh, was . . . a popular news anchor at WTAE television in Pittsburgh. That is, until she got fired Wednesday for saying the kind of thing white folks sometimes say when they unwisely let their guard down.
Wendy Bell, an award-winning journalist with WTAE-TV for 18 years, was fired Wednesday for comments she made on her Facebook page.

A statement from Hearst Television, the station’s parent company, said, “WTAE has ended its relationship with anchor Wendy Bell. Wendy’s recent comments on a WTAE Facebook page were inconsistent with the company’s ethics and journalistic standards.”

WTAE-TV president and general manager Charles Wolfertz III confirmed the news and declined to comment.
Ms. Bell did not return phone calls for comment from the Post-Gazette, but she told the Associated Press that she didn’t get a “fair shake” from the station, and that the story was not about her, but about “African-Americans being killed by other African-Americans.”

“It makes me sick,” she told The Associated Press when reached at her home on Wednesday. “What matters is what’s going on in America, and it is the death of black people in this country. ... I live next to three war-torn communities in the city of Pittsburgh, that I love dearly. My stories, they struck a nerve. They touched people, but it’s not enough. More needs to be done. The problem needs to be addressed.”

Ms. Bell joined WTAE in 1998 and has won 21 regional Emmy Awards.

Ms. Bell had been off the air since Mr. Wolfertz aired a public apology from the station last week, citing Ms. Bell’s “egregious lack of judgment” in posting racial stereotypes on her official Facebook page.

After a mass shooting March 9 in Wilkinsburg in which police still have made no arrests, Ms. Bell wrote, in part, “You needn’t be a criminal profiler to draw a mental sketch of the killers who broke so many hearts two weeks ago Wednesday... they are young black men, likely in their teens or early 20s.

“They have multiple siblings from multiple fathers and their mothers work multiple jobs.”

She then wrote about a young African-American man, this one a worker she saw in a SouthSide Works restaurant. She said she called over the manager and praised the man, adding, “I wonder how long it had been since someone told him he was special.”
THINGS LIKE l'Affaire Wendy Bell ensure that no, we can't talk to one another. That, yes, speaking your mind can wreck your life. That, probably, when people get tired enough of walking on eggshells for fear of becoming a cultural Untouchable -- when people figure out that social and economic ruin await some lunkheads (like them) and not others (not like them) -- their long, anxious journey eventually leads to the Land of What the F***.

And, they figure, "What the F***" will set us free. It won't, of course, but people take hope wherever they can find it these days.

Having grown up in Louisiana -- and most importantly, having grown up in the Gret Stet in the 1960s and '70s -- I think I know the difference between someone being maliciously racist and someone not-so-artfully jumping to a conclusion, and then a stereotype, and then trying to soften it all by being patronizing.

I'd like to think it's the difference between being flat-out hateful and being cluelessly ignorant. I think Wendy Bell probably was, with all the best flawed intentions, guilty of some iteration of the latter and certainly not the former. There is a big difference between the two, and we ultimately are making this country a lot worse for people of all races by deploying the same one-size-fits-all nuclear weaponry against the clueless as we do against the malicious.

Does "white privilege" exist? Certainly. Does extreme dysfunction exist among the black underclass, and does that have an impact on violent crime? Certainly. Can we talk about that without resorting either to mau-mauing on the one hand or race-baiting on the other? Oh, hell, no.

NO, WHAT WE'RE  going to do is this. We're just going to double down on emoting and Facebook posts WRITTEN IN ALL CAPS, and we're going to fire TV anchorwomen after they get a little too "real" in response to corporate insistence that they build a social-media "brand" and "keep it real."

Well, then. If this is what being "real" and "relatable" and "relevant" gets you as you build a personal "brand" on social media, I think I'd stick to complaining about the weather, "bless his heart" posts and links to the Puppy Christmas video on YouTube.

If we, the politically correct, have no response to someone who sees through a glass darkly other than to scream "Racist!" and send her off to some figurative Siberia -- just like we would some skinhead with a Nazi flag in his hand and the N-word on his lips -- we really and truly are sunk as a country and a society. Shutting someone up is not the same thing as showing them the light.

Shouting someone down is the antithesis of arguing our way toward the truth. Scaring corporate cowards into "disappearing" TV anchors for unwisely saying what a lot of their audience is probably thinking (and a lot less politely at that) will not suddenly embolden the media to proclaim the truth, no matter what.

Here's some truth for you: When we no longer can "reason together," the only thing left is to eliminate the Other.

Wendy Bell, on her Facebook post, emoted before she had all the facts. She took the real problem of familial breakdown among the black underclass (a phenomenon now trending among white folk near you) and weaponized it as an explanation for the actions of still-unknown killers. And then she unwittingly, I'm sure, stumbled right into some "good nigger" condescension straight out of the Bad Old Days.

Did she mean any harm to African-Americans? I'm absolutely sure she didn't. She was frustrated and angry, and she wanted the damn killing to stop. And she blurted.

Everybody blurts. If we're lucky, it's not on Facebook.

Trouble is, today we -- especially those of us in the media -- are expected to do our blurting in public, online, to be seen by whomever and instantly preserved in the postmillennial amber of a screenshot. Let the outrage begin.

Victims Outraged by Evil (fill in the blank) is the new black, and "Sweetie, did you really mean to say that?" is so gauche. "Sweetie, did you really mean to say that?" doesn't have a chance in hell.

HELL. Funny I should mention hell.

You see, if we keep this up -- this perpetual outrage and this continual inability to separate the malicious from the clueless -- hell is exactly where we're going to end up.

Hell is that place where we're always looking behind our backs and Facebooking lots of links to recipes and Puppy Christmas as we try to stay on the good side of President Trump and his What the F*** brigades.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Counting our license plate blessings

Nebraska is getting new license plates next year!

Well, scratch the exclamation point. Nebraskans generally are underwhelmed with their new license plates. And this one is kind of vanilla, come to think of it.

But we Nebraskans are beer-can-half-full people, so we're counting our blessings. After all, Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert could have insisted that her public-works department design its own plates for local vehicles.

IN THAT CASE, ya got atrocity, folks, right here in River City.

Atrocity with a capital A and that rhymes with J and that stands for Jean.

 Pass the beer can. Make sure it's full.

The Omaha forecast: 75 today, snowy death tomorrow

Well, s***.

I know what I'll be doing on my birthday Thursday. A centimeter of snow for every year since I began to be grateful whenever someone carded me.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

3 Chords & the Truth: Getting away from it all

The hippies had their Summer of Love.

We have our Spring of Hate.

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to get away from it all. Methinks the Big Show might be just the vehicle for that. I've got a giant suitcase full of music from happier times, and I'm getting ready to blow this pop stand.

And there's plenty of room for you to tag along. Let's go, shall we?

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

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

If they're not fired up about grammar. . . .

First Trump, now this.

Can't we Americans get any damned thing straight anymore?

Then again, if newsroom staffers at metropolitan dailies can't be expected to know the difference between "they're," "there" and "their," why should we suddenly become competent at politics? Or anything else, actually.

Joe the Plumber isn't getting paid to understand political science. People at newspapers, on the other hand, are paid to know the King's English -- or at least they used to be.

Clocked cop collars pissed public pisser

You can't make this stuff up.

If you could, the Omaha World-Herald never would have had to do away with its evening edition.

Color me highly amused. Color Omaha the home of some of America's most criminally entertaining drunks, like the gal a few months ago who broke into the zoo in the middle of the night so she could pet a tiger.

That didn't end well for her. And still isn't.

Neither did a Monday misadventure go so well for this guy, who you kind of assume was drunk. Or at least hope had the excuse of being three sheets to the gales of March.

At any rate, he'll have a lot of time to sleep off whatever ails him.
A 50-year-old Omaha man was charged Tuesday with second-degree assault of a police officer, who allegedly was hit in the face by the man’s crutch.

The 30-year-old officer received four stitches at the Nebraska Medical Center for a cut above his left eye, according to a Police Department report.

The suspect was charged with the felony, booked into the Douglas County Jail and ordered held on $15,000 bail. He must pay 10 percent of that, or $1,500, to be released.

The incident occurred at about 2:20 a.m. Monday when officers were called to 24th and Harney Streets to investigate a person sleeping on the ground. Officers said the man awoke, got up, relieved himself and lay down again.

After being cited for public urination, the suspect signed the ticket and again lay down. When the officers tried to get him to move along, he allegedly hit the officer, who has been on the force eight years, with the crutch.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Do you remember how translators and other locals who worked with and for the U.S. Army in Afghanistan and Iraq, as a matter of course, went -- and still go -- by pseudonyms and otherwise shrouded their true identities because, for certain other locals, to know, know, know them is to kill, kill, kill them?

As it turns out, you don't have to go all the way to southwest Asia or the Middle East to become familiar with the concept.

No, a mere 1,000-mile drive from where I type can give you a homegrown taste of the concept, where contractors bidding to remove Confederate and white-supremacist monuments from the New Orleans public square, so to speak, won't even tell reporters who they are. That comes after the last guy to get the job, a Baton Rouge contractor, pulled out after receiving death threats . . . and after someone torched his luxury sports car.

It also comes after city government in the Big Uneasy was forced to remove a list of interested contractors from its website after the threats started rolling in, vowing at a minimum to put one firm out of business. The owner contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

FROM the New Orleans Times Picayune:
Speaking at an informational meeting held for firms interested in bidding on the removal job, they also raised concerns about diving into such a controversial job.

One asked city officials whether he would be required to post a sign with his company's name on it at the job sites. Another asked whether his crew could work in the predawn hours, presumably to limit as much public exposure as possible.

Vince Smith, director of Capital Projects Administration, said that the city would work with the winning bidder on a security plan to mitigate any threat. Regarding signage, he said, "Quite frankly, I don't think we are going to make that a requirement," given the ongoing controversy over monument removal.

The city had originally hoped to bypass the traditional public bid process, selecting Baton Rouge firm H&O investments directly from its pool of pre-approved contractors to handle the removal of monuments to Confederates Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard and Jefferson Davis. The owner of the company, though, pulled out, saying he had received death threats after his name was associated with the project. A crane operator, though it had not yet been formally hired for the job, also disavowed any involvement.

The contractors at the meeting did not give their names during the discussion, and one, pulled aside after it adjourned, declined to give his name to a reporter. He said that he had driven by the monuments discretely to get a look at their construction, but he didn't want to go too close for fear of being identified by pro-monument hardliners.

The city did not distribute a sign-in sheet at the meeting.
DONALD TRUMP isn't trying to impose fascism on the United States. Donald Trump isn't introducing the specter of violence to the public square or the political arena. And Donald Trump hasn't started a movement to celebrate racism, bigotry and nativism.

All these things have been popular forever in this country, and nowhere more than in the South and my home state, Louisiana. Merely to have been black in the South -- within living memory, within my memory -- was just about as dangerous as it is to be Christian in Iraq today or be found out as an American collaborator in Afghanistan.

All Trump is doing is summoning forth the demons, because summoning forth America's demons just might get him elected president. God knows that demon-summoning always has been a booming business in Louisiana, where it's always 1959 somewhere. Or maybe 1861.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

3 Chords & the Truth: The Producer

This week's edition of the Big Show can be described in two words.

One name.

George Martin.

If you don't know George Martin, or why we mark his passing by playing the music he touched, shaped, molded for decades, you're about to get an education in sound. If you do know the work of this producer's producer, you mourn the unfathomable loss with us at 3 Chords & the Truth as we celebrate the immeasurable musical legacy.

Sir George was the Fifth Beatle . . . and so much more.

Today, the program is his.

Today, the cultural birthright is ours.

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