Saturday, December 02, 2017

3 Chords & the Truth: The nog is strong with this one


We're all amped up here on the Big Show as we come out of the big Thanksgiving turn and floor it down the straightaway all the way to Christmas.

That is, if we make it through December. These days. . . .

You know?

Having dispensed with the preface here, allow me to attempt a summation of this week's episode of 3 Chords & the Truth in but a single sentence. It may be a run-on, of course, but still. . . .

Here we go.
IT'S NOT GOOD out there as we hurtle toward what promises to be a strange Yuletide, more or less, but we're celebrating anyway because we might pull through despite everything, just so long as we can keep anyone in Washington from getting his hands on a Les Paulverizer, because that assuredly would result in the end of life on Earth as we know it.
IF THIS confuses you -- and we're sure it does -- your only recourse is to listen to the Big Show forthwith, which should allay your concerns.

I just used the word "allay." Yay, Favog!

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


Monday, November 27, 2017

Chief Sh*t for Brains strikes again


With a couple of intensive years in charm school, Il Douche (pronounced "DOO-shay") could possess enough tact and social graces to join the Ku Klux Klan.

This, America, is what we have elected president -- a deeply cruel, stupid, bigoted, tactless and mentally unstable fascist man-child. This is who represents the United States to the world . . . and who the United States comes to more closely resemble with each passing day he sullies the American presidency.

Donald Trump is a vile man and a worse president. If this is not what we are as a people -- yet -- it apparently is what the Mortal Minority would have us become.

From Politico:
President Donald Trump mocked Sen. Elizabeth Warren at an event Monday honoring Native American veterans, invoking his “Pocahontas” nickname for the Massachusetts Democrat as he talked about how long Native Americans have been in America.

Trump hosted Navajo code talkers, who were recruited into the U.S. Marine Corps to communicate in the Pacific region during World War II, at the White House.

“I just want to thank you because you’re very, very special people,” Trump said to the group. “You were here long before any of us were here — although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas. But you know what? I like you. Because you are special.”

Trump — who spoke in front of a portrait of Andrew Jackson, the former president who signed the Indian Removal Act — did not mention Warren by name. But he frequently mocks her by calling her “Pocahontas,” a nickname he created during his 2016 presidential campaign. The derisive sobriquet pokes fun at Warren’s claim of Native American heritage when she was a law professor, which became a campaign issue during her 2012 Senate run.
REPENT, America. The end of us is nigh.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Dem tings happen. And they usually come out.

Before

BOOM!!!!

After

A Face in the Crowd is such a powerful movie because it's so very human.

Last year, people said it predicted the rise of Donald Trump. That's correct. On the other hand, any number of students of sociology -- students of human nature and the fallenness of mankind -- saw Trump coming.

Now, we seem to be in a season of  “There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known." No grope that will not be revealed, no powerful lecher that will not be known.

Charlie Rose
ONE DAY you're Harvey Weinstein.


Or Mark Halperin.

Or Glenn Thrush.

Or Kevin Spacey.

Or John Besh.

Or Jeffrey Tambor.

Or Louis C.K.

Or Michael Oreskes.



The next, after the concealed has been revealed -- and how -- you're "(Fill in the blank) who?"*

C'est la vie . . . which no one ever thinks will happen to him. Especially when he's behaving badly with women.




* -- May not apply to Alabama evangelicals. They're deviant that way.

Friday, November 17, 2017

3 Chords & the Truth: Drawing the line


There's a squiggly green line separating you from a world where you'd never know there once was a San Fransisco band called The Great Society, fronted by Grace Slick before . . . you know.

Before big things happened.

And you'd never know, on the other side of the squiggly green line, that the big Jefferson Airplane hit "Somebody to Love" once was "Someone to Love," the B-side of The Great Society's first (and only) single back in 1966.

No, you'd never know that on the far side of the squiggly green line. The squiggly green line is what 3 Chords & the Truth looks like before it gets to your ears -- and into your head.

It's a good thing to be on the right side of the squiggly green line.

It's a good thing to have the Big Show in your head. In your ears, too.

Who knows what surprises and what musical edification lies on the good side of the squiggly green line? Well, there's only one way to find out.

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


Saturday, November 11, 2017

3 Chords & the Truth: The Kudzu Curtain


Your Mighty Favog escaped from one of the Southern -stans when he was a young man. Now he brings the best in music and information to the captive populations of his home region of the United States.

He brings young and old alike the world their governments censor. Free thought and a robust culture . . . with a beat.

This week, millions in the -stans on the American frontier will tune in to 3 Chords & the Truth for uncensored news and music -- the "in" sound from outside. Join the Big Show this week for a program of special interest to listeners in Alabamastan, "Jesus Don't Like Ugly . . . or What Don't You Get About Jailbait?"

Captive Bubbas may not be able to spell "freedom," but almost all can spell 3C&T. And that's enough to cut through the Kudzu Curtain just a little every day.

Freedom's as close as the Internet, and 'Bamastanis spell it 3C&T.

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

(Apologies to the Radio Free Europe PSAs of the 1970s.)


Thursday, November 09, 2017

We'll be right back, right after these messages

Cliquez ici if you want to print this out and hang it on your bedroom wall

When your brain is 18 and the rest of you is 56 . . . and something makes you think of Mike Douglas.

File under: "Things you'll have to explain to your kids."



Saturday, November 04, 2017

3 Chords & the Truth: The latest thing is overrated


You can follow the crowd, stand in line, empty your bank account and get a new iPhone X-tremely expensive.

Or, you can sit in your dwelling in a toasty houserobe -- or your drawers, I really don't care -- and listen to the new 2017 iAnachronism for absolutely, positively no cost whatsoever. And it will sound just fine on your iPhone 6.

But your iAnachronism -- 3 Chords & the Truth, to be technical -- will sound better if you feed your computer into your home stereo. Preferably an anachronistic one. They sound awesome.

As usual, eclecticism reigns on the Big Show this week, as does freeformity. That's an anachronistic word. Listen to the show to catch the meaning, which has something to do with excellence in music programming.

Is what we're saying.

Also this go around, we celebrate the life and music of Fats Domino. That's all I have to say about that.

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


Wednesday, November 01, 2017

You can have 'diversity.' I'll take variety.

The CBS network lineup: Sunday, Nov. 10, 1968

Diversity. All we hear about these days is "diversity."

What is "diversity"? We certainly don't have ideological diversity among those most committed to the D-word today in the United States.

Racial and ethnic diversity seems more about building either an ideological monolith of rainbow hues or, alternatively, segregated racial and ethnic enclaves uneasily inhabiting common organizations, institutions or physical spaces.

Me, I think we ought to strive for variety, then go from there. If you're under 45, you probably have little memory of variety, which is what more or less -- sometimes more, sometimes less -- took place when shared common spaces were the norm and opportunities for, say, media self-segregation weren't. Of course, we all had our opportunities and mechanisms for self-segregation (and forced segregation) but we likewise had more spaces where interaction and cross-pollination was unavoidable. Like television.

THE BABY BOOM is the last generation to be forced in its youth, through prehistoric technology that had become just pervasive enough, to open itself a little bit to a lot of things.

And people.

And cultures.

We may not have had "diversity" (again, whatever the hell that might be) but we did on occasion achieve variety. That's not nothing, and in today's blasted moonscape of a political and cultural battlefield where warring monocultures try to cleanse America of the diverse Other, that long-ago variety begins to look like a lot.

And I really would have liked to hear the backstage conversation between Jefferson Airplane and Kate Smith.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

3C&T: Always first with products for today

Click for full-size version

From Vox:
Mueller’s team describes Papadopoulos as a “proactive cooperator.” That’s a big deal.

Here’s why: Mueller purposely sealed the indictment and kept the arrest secret so that others wouldn’t know Papadopoulos was working with his team — because the probe might be using Papadopoulos to obtain even more information on possible Trump-Russia collusion.

The Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale reports that when prosecutors consider someone to be a “proactive cooperator,” it could signal that that person was wearing a wire. And if that’s true, that means Papadopoulos might’ve talked to Trump campaign officials with a wire on. That’s still speculative, of course, but it could pose a serious problem for Trump if officials with secrets to keep unknowingly divulged information to a wired-up Papadopoulos.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

How'd we stereo on radio before there was stereo radio?


The era of FM stereo radio began in June 1961, but the era of hi-fi stereo radio dates back to the 1950s.

But in the days before FM multiplex broadcasting, listening to stereo radio required two stations . . . and two radios, one AM and one FM. Or you could just buy a "binaural" AM-FM stereo tuner -- two dials, two tuning knobs, and in stereo mode, it would play AM and FM at the same time.

AM was on the left, FM on the right. (Unless, of course, it was the other way around. Or a complete free-for-all?)
 

What in the world would that have sounded like in, for instance, 1958? Let's take what we know about the capabilities of AM broadcasting and FM stations in the '50s, then see whether we can re-create the binaural AM-FM stereo experience.

It's November 1958. You're in Baton Rouge, La. It's 9 p.m. on a weeknight (Monday through Thursday), and you're in the mood to hear some WJBO "3-D" stereophonic sound on your new hi-fi setup.


ON YOUR NEW binaural high-fidelity tuner, your tune in 1150 on the AM dial. Left channel, check.

On the FM dial at 98.1 megacycles, you tune in WJBO's sister station, WBRL. Right channel, check.

Now it's time to sit back, relax and experience "music in three dimensions." For those of us back here in the future, the result sounds better than you would think.

Then again, so did AM radio in 1958. It's amazing what could be done with a wider AM bandwidth, owners who cared and well-engineered radios in listeners' homes.

I HOPE the following video demonstrates that, as I try to re-create what the WJBO-WBRL, AM-FM stereo pairing might have sounded like. I can't tell you how many times I redid this, trying to get the AM sound "right" . . . AM heard over excellent equipment, much better than what we're accustomed to today, from an era decades past.




I KEPT redoing this because I kept thinking, "No. This sounds too good. This can't be right."

And I kept saying this as someone who has a couple of AM-FM hi-fi tuners made in 1960 and knows that some amplitude-modulated stations, to this day, sound pretty decent on a true wideband tuner. This, despite the Federal Communications Commission -- in order to lessen interference and shoehorn more stations onto the dial three decades ago -- putting brick-wall limits on AM stations' frequency response out of the transmitter at 10 kHz.

A young person with good hearing can perceive frequencies up to 20 kHz.
 


But in 1958, many AM stations' transmitters had a frequency response almost as good as FM stations. FM's big advantage was in improved dynamic range, a lower noise floor and, as Steely Dan sang, "No static, no static at all."

Below is a rough representation of the frequency response of the "AM side" -- the left channel -- of the video above.


YOU'LL NOTE that I rolled off the low frequencies, just like a typical AM signal, then sharply rolled off the high end right below 15 kHz. I also bumped up the equalizer curve here and there to "sweeten" the sound a little, as an engineer would have done with even the rudimentary audio processing of the day. I tried not to overdo it. After all, I was worried that it sounded too good; I still wonder what I missed.

Too, the AM channel is more processed -- more compressed and a bit "louder" -- than the FM track. The reason? The easy answer is "That's what AM does."

The longer answer involves an attempt to, first, mimic the lesser dynamic range of AM broadcasting and, second, reflect that AM stations were much more heavily compressed and "hard-limited," because loudness equals distance and listenability on the noisy AM band.

Oh . . . I also added some "AM noise" to the "AM side" of the recording. Not too much, I hope, and not too little, either.

On the "FM side" of the soundtrack, I frankly worry that the audio may be too processed. Alternatively, however, if I were a chief engineer or a program director in 1958 and my AM-FM combo was going to dive into the "binaural stereo" thing . . . I'd want the FM side to match the AM side at least somewhat for loudness.

THAT'S IT for the technical and audio-geek minutiae. I doubt a normal person could stand much more.

Even if you're not a full-bore nerd like me, I hope you've still found a little fascination in this esoteric inquiry into one of the more forgotten aspects of hi-fi and broadcasting.

A phenomenon that births advertising like this (from 1959, after WBRL had changed call letters to WJBO-FM) -- not to mention a moniker like Soundascope Radio -- can't have been a total bust.


Saturday, October 21, 2017

3 Chords & the Truth: Hep to this jive . . . and that jive


This jive, that jive . . . we're hep to all that jive, Daddio. And Mama.

We live in a jive country in a jive world, and we're swingin' to some solid sounds on the Big Show this week -- and every week. What more can I say?

Well, I don't know, either.

So I guess we're cool on the content of the lil' hepcat hop we like to call 3 Chords & the Truth. Uh . . . we like to call it that, because that's its name.

But if you just want to call it the Serenade of Solid Sounds, you could do that, too. We're not picky.

Just so long as the good music drowns out the clunker notes of whatever lame tune the rest of the world is playing right now.

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


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Diary of a mad white president . . . or just another day in hell


Donald Trump is the devil. And the devil is lord in America.

Since its founding, the United States has been a country with a guardian angel sitting on one broad shoulder and a demon on the other. Sometimes, we listen to the angel.

Other times, we invade Mexico because we can . . . and to grab some land. We go to war in defense of slavery. We pal around with Mr. Jim Crow. We decide 58,000 dead American soldiers is an acceptable price for not losing face in Vietnam. The list goes on.

Tiny hands and all
Now, one could be excused for believing that Americans have decided to skip the middleman altogether and just install the devil as president. Donald Trump, to be fair, is not the devil. But he is a devil. The difference is only a matter of lowerarchy.

The devil presides over his people from an oval office in which there are no corners to hide. Like the real deal below, he wouldn't think of harming a hair on our chinny-chin-chin -- directly. That, he convinces us to do ourselves, to ourselves.

Our devil in Washington is not the persecutor we're all looking for -- or at least the one the alleged Christians among his minionish base have been expecting forever. Ol' Devil Trump is the subverter we never saw coming.


Check that. Trump is the subverter we damn well saw coming, but kept trying to pass off as something else entirely.

In our nation's capital and in Anytown, the subverter-in-chief bids his victims forward one by one to tell each how he must offer up his immortal soul this day. One of today's dead men walking was retired Gen. John F. Kelly, White House chief of staff and Gold Star father.


"General," sayeth our demonic majesty, "you gotta get me out of this." "This," as we all now know, is the matter of what the president said to the young widow of Army Sgt. La David T. Johnson. Johnson was one of four soldiers killed in an ambush while serving as advisers to troops fighting Islamic extremists in Niger.

Kelly's mission, should he choose to accept it -- and he did -- would be to somehow normalize the grossly ham-handed, insensitive thing Trump said to Myeshia Johnson about her KIA husband, whose name he couldn't be bothered to utter. Probably because he couldn't remember it.

Trump's idea of comforting the stricken is to tell an Army widow that her husband “knew what he signed up for . . . but when it happens it hurts anyway.”

Kelly's idea of selling that to the American people as perfectly normal is "Why, that's exactly what my buddy said to me when my boy got killed in Afghanistan!"


That's a paraphrase boiled down by me. Here is what he actually told the assembled White House press corps. In this extract, Kelly starts out by explaining Trump had a question for him:
And he said to me, what do I say?

I said to him, sir, there's nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families. But let me tell you what I tell them. Let me tell you what my best friend, Joe Dunford, told me, because he was my casualty officer. He said, Kel, he was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining that 1 percent. He knew what the possibilities were, because we're at war.

And when he died — and the four cases we're talking about Niger, in my son's case, in Afghanistan — when he died, he was surrounded by the best men on this earth, his friends.

That's what the president tried to say to four families the other day.

I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning and brokenhearted at what I saw a member of Congress doing, a member of Congress who listened in on a phone call from the president of the United States to a young wife, and in his way tried to express that opinion that he's a brave man, a fallen hero.

He knew what he was getting himself into, because he enlisted. There's no reason to enlist. He enlisted. And he was where he wanted to be, exactly where he wanted to be, with exactly the people he wanted to be with when his life was taken.

That was the message. That was the message that was transmitted.

It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation, absolutely stuns me. And I thought at least that was sacred. You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That's obviously not the case anymore, as we see from recent cases. Life, the dignity of life was sacred. That's gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well. Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the summer.

I just thought the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield, I just thought that that might be sacred.

And when I listened to this woman and what she was saying and what she was doing on TV, the only thing I could do to collect my thoughts was to go and walk among the finest men and women on this earth. And you can always find them, because they're in Arlington National Cemetery.
I DO NOT doubt that Kelly, the career military man, found comfort in his friend's words. I also do not doubt that Kelly's preferred script for these difficult conversations is entirely too complicated to be followed by "a fucking moron" with an emotional quotient measured in negative numbers.

So . . . here we are. Trump botched a script most people -- because common sense, sensitivity and basic human compassion -- would not follow when attempting to console a young war widow with two young children and a third on the way. Trump's words not only were heard by Mrs. Johnson, but by everyone in the funeral-home limousine as family and friends traveled to the airport to receive the body of Sgt. Johnson.

One of the family friends happened to be a member of Congress. Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) had known the Johnson family for years. She also had been a mentor to Sgt. Johnson and his two brothers. She was his father's school principal years before.

And she was outraged by what she heard on speakerphone.

Too bad for her. The only unforgivable sin in the Church of Satan -- Trumpistan is to shine light on the sins of our father below.


When one disses the devil, the sulfurous one has any number of acolytes who will try to snuff out the light as they snuff out their own self-respect. In the case of Wilson, the Church of Satan lowerarchy -- at least in my viewing of what it's trying to pull off here -- went full-bore for racist stereotyping with no hesitation at all.  Let's review:
It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation, absolutely stuns me. And I thought at least that was sacred. You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That's obviously not the case anymore, as we see from recent cases. Life, the dignity of life was sacred. That's gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well. Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the summer.

I just thought the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield, I just thought that that might be sacred. 


IT TAKES little effort to read between those lines. After all, the Trumpian base isn't that bright, and its attention span isn't that long. That said, the multitude of Trump's minions are outdistancing the there-are-none-so-blind White House press (who maybe need to get out more) on this one.

Briefly, the White House is sending the nearly unmistakable message that Frederica Wilson is just another crazy, angry black woman who's simply out to stir up shit and lay waste to every social norm precious to proper white Americans.

We're to see the congresswoman as some sort of malevolent Madea, out to throw a potful of hot grits in the face of the Great White Dope Hope, then cold-cock him with the empty pot. Right before she tears up Arlington National Cemetery via unlawful use of a front-end loader.


That's the message our government wants to send to alt-white America, which is the only one that matters to the devil.

Not so long ago, which seems like a lifetime ago, presidents didn't talk like this. Presidents didn't send staffers out to pull stunts like this. Richard Nixon, for God's sake, would not have been so brazen or so emotionally stunted -- and that's saying something.


 That's obviously not the case anymore, as we see from recent cases.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

There are worse things than taking a knee

'Well, I guess he knew what he was getting into.'
-- Donald Trump
speaking to pregnant
widow of Green Beret

I am from south Louisiana. When I was growing up, there were certain colorful words you might have used to describe such a "man" as Donald Trump.

One who just said what he said to the pregnant widow of a Green Beret killed in combat in Niger.

"Goddamn son of a bitch" would be where the description began. The rest I must leave to your imagination.


The tragedy of my home state -- the tragedy of my country -- is that so few still have the moral imagination or the moral vocabulary to call a goddamn son of a bitch a "goddamn son of a bitch" when they see the goddamn son of a bitch.

Worse, we elected the goddamn son of a bitch president of the seemingly God-damned United States of America.

CBS News continues where I no longer can:

Sgt. La David Johnson
President Trump told the widow of one of the soldiers killed in Niger that he "knew what he was getting into," said U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Miami), who said she was in the car during the phone call.

Myeshia Johnson was on her way to the airport to greet the remains of her husband, Army Sgt. La David Johnson, when she received the call from the commander-in-chief, CBS Miami reports.

"David was a young man from our community who gave his life for our country," Wilson told CBS Miami. "He's a hero. I was in the car when President Trump called. He never said the word hero. He said to the wife, 'Well, I guess he knew what he was getting into.' How insensitive can you be?"

*  *  *

CBS Miami reports that after it reached out to Wilson a second time, she repeated that the president told Myeshia that her husband knew what he was signing up for when he enlisted, adding "it still hurts." Wilson said Myeshia was livid and "cried forever" after Trump's call.

Johnson was killed Oct. 4th with three other soldiers in Niger. U.S. officials said they believe extremists linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) were responsible for the attack.

The U.S. and Niger forces in a joint patrol were leaving a meeting with tribal leaders and were in trucks. They were ambushed by 40-50 militants in vehicles and on motorcycles.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

3 Chords & the Truth: God save the Welk


There's no future, no future, no future for Welk. Or is there?

That is the existential question we face this week on 3 Chords & the Truth.

The other day, if you've been hanging around these climes, you may have met Sheena. Sheena was a punk rocker. Now, Sheena's a mom with a problem.

As we learned then:
You've put safety pins in all the right places. Your hair is perfectly spiked. You have all your favorite punk rock albums in hand, and now you're heading for your brand-new Stereo Theater home-entertainment center.

And what do you find? Judy and little Jeffy are watching reruns of the
Lawrence Welk Show on public television. "F*@# THAT S#!%!" your mind is screaming as you set the LPs on the kitchen table and check on the popovers you've got in the Magic Maid oven.

It's a dilemma. You believe in your children's right to explore -- to
even embrace -- new ideas, no matter how bizarre or radical. Even when it's the Lawrence Welk Show. After all, you experimented with Welk back in high school, and it's not like you became an addict or anything. BUT . . . BUT . . . YOU JUST WANT TO SIT BACK AND LISTEN TO YOUR OLD CLASH AND SEX PISTOLS RECORDS, DAMMIT!

It Just Isn't. Fair.

You pensively tug on the safety pin in your cheek -- OUCH!-- as you
take a pull on your fifth of Early Times. There must be a reasonable way to untangle this musical disconnect threatening to pull apart your family.

And the ladies in the PTA definitely frown upon child murder.

What to do?
WELL, here's what you do. You listen to this week's edition of the Big Show. It is here that we bridge the gap, learn the young'uns and remind us old'uns about the central truth of this here program.

There's only two kinds of music: good and bad. The bad, we don't mess with.

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