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.


Saturday, September 06, 2014

3 Chords & the Truth: Sophisticated rhythm


We're driving down the middle of Music Road today, spinning sophisticated selections in full-fidelity stereophonic sound to provide the soundtrack for the cocktail lounge of your dreams.

I'll give you a moment to get your Draper on.

Skinny tie? Check.

Fedora? Check.

Old-Fashioned? Hit me again, Sam. And a martini for the lady.


YEP, this week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth would not be out of place one bit somewhere on the FM dial of four or five decades ago -- apart from folks saying, "Hey! This is the best station on the radio!"

This week, the Big Show is all about music for grown-ups back in a time when I wasn't one yet. And I must say that the grown-ups weren't nearly so dumb as I thought back then. Their taste in music, I must admit, was impeccable.

Which is as good a word as any to describe what you'll hear this week on this little program of ours. So sit yourself down, take off your hat and order yourself something refreshing. The entertainment's gonna be great tonight.

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


Friday, September 05, 2014

Why are we mad at these people, again?


We're told by our fearless leaders -- who rarely face the consequences of their political actions and tough-guy acts -- that Russia is a menace to Europe, democracy and, apparently, all things we deem holy and dear.

But can you really hate a country where Mickey Mouse and SpongeBob rough up a road rager?


TO BE HONEST,  I really wouldn't give a mouse's patootie if the Russian Army went marching into Kiev tomorrow, just so long as they did it to the SpongeBob SquarePants song.

But that's just me.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Good to know


Uhhhhhhh . . . isn't this the not-radical-Muslim version of the ISIS philosophy?

And isn't that what we're all saying is a barbaric violation of basic human rights?

Man, either Sean Hannity is an idiot or he thinks his audience is really, really stupid. Either way, you just can't make this stuff up.

HANNITY: You dedicated this, your book, to Miss Kay, which I thought was really nice. Let me ask you first. I wrote a book once, "Deliver Us from Evil." I think good people have a hard concept understanding evil. That book talks about evil you have there in front of you. The lord's prayer says "deliver us from evil." I think you're a preacher at heart. I'm not telling you anything you don't know. But if anybody could cut off somebody's head like that and put children's heads on our stakes, isn't that evil in our time? And how should we deal with it?

ROBERTSON: Worldwide, planet-wide, Biblically speaking, two groups of people, the children of God, and the whole world is under the control of the evil one. That's First John 5:19. The evil one works in those who are disobedient. Galatians 3, they are prisoners of sin. Second Timothy 2, the Bible says they've been taken captive by Satan to do his will.

Listen, let me show you one. I've got the old -- hey, America, Declaration of Independence, it's my book marker. Don't forget that. Listen to this, Sean. Solomon, one of the wisest men on earth if not the wisest, he's speaking of wisdom, "Whoever finds me, wisdom finds light. Watch and receives favor from the lord. But whoever fails to find me," this is the God of the Bible, "harms himself." Now, listen to this on this ISIS thing, "All who hate me love death."

So you scratch your head and you say, well, why is it that when we're not even over there in the Middle East, why do they continue to slaughter each other when we're not even on the premises? They can't blame us. We left Iraq. You said what happened in Egypt and Syria, you say in Libya. They just slaughter each other. You say, what? "All who hate me love death," Sean.

HANNITY: What is the answer? I think the only answer is, I think they are at war with us.

ROBERTSON: Yes.
HANNITY: Whether we like it or not, I think most people would rather live in peace. Most Americans, just leave us alone, we'll leave you alone. They're not going to leave us alone. They're not going to leave Israel alone. So that leaves us with two options -- do nothing and get ready for the next attack. And then we'll have a report that says, they're at war with us, we weren't at war with them.

ROBERTSON: In this case you either have to convert them, which I think would be next to impossible. I'm not giving up on them, but I'm just saying, either convert them or kill them. One or the other.

HANNITY: That's going --

ROBERTSON: Maybe that time has come and gone, so I think that with this ideology that we're faced with, this is like street gangs, street thugs on steroids. You think about it, most of the wars we've fought, they were not asymmetrical like this one. This one, it's not a country with a standing army, and we line up and do battle with a certain amount of rules that they violate. But you say this is more like worldwide gang warfare, but this gang is well-armed and well-organized. I think, my opinion, we're going to have to deal with this group way more harshly than we have up to this point.

HANNITY: Because they're so harsh. I know they're going to be people that are always looking to jump on you and say, "Convert them or kill them." And they're going to say, "There goes Phil Robertson again." I know the media. I know they how act.

ROBERTSON: I'd much rather have a Bible study with all of them and show them the error of their ways and point them to Jesus Christ, the author and perfector of having your sins removed and being raised from the dead. I would rather preach the gospel of Jesus to them. However, if it's a gun fight and a gun fight alone, if that is what they're looking for, me, personally I am prepared for either one.
NEXT on Fox News Channel, we'll hear some words of wisdom about how to have a closer relationship with the tween girl in your life from Sons of Guns' Will Hayden.

Oh, brother. Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, BROTHER!

Today's culture -- with cable TV leading the charge -- has ruined parody and satire for the next 200 years.



HAT TIP: Romenesko.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Summer's last gasp


 Iowa State Fair, August 2014

 
The state fair season is winding down and football has returned to the prairies, fields and Norman Rockwell towns of the Midwest. The rituals of its people point to the changing of its seasons, and we know the trees and shrubbery will, soon enough, will break out into a riotous festival of color, as if the Almighty were looking down upon his Technicolor palette and saying to LeRoy Neiman "You never could top me, could you?"

Then the leaves will exhaust the last of their color and blanket the earth for nature's long winter slumber. And we will settle in, bundle up and dream dreams of springtime.

Thus is the circle game of life.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

3 Chords & the Truth: What's not to like?



Today on the Big Show, your Mighty Favog jumps the shark.

I find it isn't too bad if you drink enough Geritol beforehand.


Let's just say that my parents were playing the long game with all those Saturday evening force feedings of The Lawrence Welk Show all those years ago. All they needed was a Magnavox console and a captive audience.

Well played, damn you.

For more information on your humble host's condition, kindly tune in to the new edition of 3 Chords & the Truth, airing right now somewhere on the Internets. Really, this week's program is an exceptional one. Even the, well, you know. . . .

I can't say much more about it right now. It's way past my bedtime, and I think I may have iron-poor blood.

It's 3 Chords & the Truth, y'all. Adios, au revoir, auf wiedersehen . . . good night!



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Design by Beetlejuice

http://www1.newseum.org/todaysfrontpages/hr.asp?fpVname=NE_LJS&ref_pge=gal&b_pge=9

This is what I call putting 10 pounds of "design" in a 5-pound bag.

Predictably, the sack tore at the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal-Star, and we ended up with the Ghostbusters blasting the hell out of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man (or something supernatural) right above a story about Omaha cops blasting the hell out of a Airsoft-armed robber . . . and a sound man for the Cops TV show. Tacky, much?

I do love me some nice newspaper design, and once upon a time, I had something of a knack for it. But I love me some journalistic integrity more. And when you let "designers" and artists run roughshod over the editorial process in the name of making tomorrow's bird cage liner nice and pretty today, weirdness is sure to ensue all too often. Because artists.

BUT WHAT gets me is that this isn't that outstanding of a page, designwise. Obviously, the Design Powers That Be appear wedded to having a story with less-than-compelling photos as the centerpiece.

In this case, a better journalistic page would have been a better designed one, too. It would have been easy to avoid this journalistic -- and common-sense -- train wreck. As Lou Grant is my witness, if I've seen front pages built around mediocre art once, I've seen it a thousand times.

On the other hand, if big pictures of crumbling concrete are that near and dear to your ink-stained heart, and you just can't make the lead story the centerpiece . . . just find another Ghostbusters picture for the top of the page. Duh.


You know what I'd do if I were a newspaper editor trying to herd a bunch of cats designers? I'd ask Jim Romenesko for an 8x10 glossy photo of himself and I'd turn it into a bunch of posters like this, to be displayed prominently around the newsroom . . . especially around the design desk.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cops crewman shot to death
as Omaha joins deadly meme

Bad boys, bad boys whatcha want
Whatcha gonna do when sheriff John Brown come for you tell me whatcha gonna do.
-- 'Cops' theme


Welcome to the worst day of Todd Schmaderer's life -- or at least a lead-pipe cinch for one of the top five.

The Omaha police chief welcomed the crew of the Cops reality-TV show to River City with open arms, seeking to showcase his officers' professionalism and, he hoped, improve relations with the community. Now a crew member of the show is dead -- fatally wounded by shots fired by one of Omaha's finest at the scene of a robbery in progress at a local Wendy's.

Officials know the sound man had to have been killed by police bullets. The fast-food robber was armed with a BB gun.
 

Clark Griswold doesn't know how lucky he was.

Welcome to the national narrative, Omaha. Welcome to the eye of the storm over police weapons, police tactics and police training. Welcome to the national conversation over shoot-first mentalities.

Welcome to public-relations hell. Welcome to our national never-ending tragedy.

A stupid robber with a fake gun is dead. That's tragedy enough. But when an innocent TV-show crew member gets killed in the process of a cop turning a perp into Swiss cheese, we're firmly into words-fail territory.

From today's Omaha World-Herald:
A crew member with the “Cops” television show was fatally struck by police gunfire as Omaha officers confronted a robber — who also was fatally wounded — at a midtown restaurant, law enforcement sources said Wednesday.

The World-Herald has learned that at least 30 shots were fired at the Wendy’s near 43rd and Dodge Streets.

Officials said it appears the only shots fired came from police.

The robbery suspect apparently had an air gun, a type of BB gun that looks like an actual firearm. He apparently was a prison parolee from Kansas, law enforcement sources said.

The names of the two dead had not been released at midday Wednesday. Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer has scheduled a press conference for 2:30 p.m.
I KNOW it's difficult being a police officer. God help me if I were forced to make a split-second, life-or-death decision in the dark of the night. God help me if I screwed it up, which I probably would.

Still, it's becoming apparent that what we're dealing with here is a nationwide, systemic problem of deadly proportions. Back to the newspaper account:
The TV crew member who died was a sound engineer, who holds the microphone during taping. The camera operator was not injured, nor were any police officers.

According to the show’s website, “Cops” crew members wear bullet-proof vests on the job.

The crew has been working in Omaha for much of the summer.

David Brown, president of the Omaha Chamber of Commerce, called the shootings a tragedy.

“We are deeply saddened that this happened and offer condolences to all of the family members involved,” he said.

The shootings occurred after an officer discovered a man, wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and white bandanna, robbing the restaurant, Deputy Police Chief Dave Baker said late Tuesday.

The first officer at the scene called for backup about 9:20 p.m.
The east-facing windows of the Wendy’s restaurant were riddled with bullet holes, and Dodge Street was closed for several hours.
The two shooting victims were taken to the Nebraska Medical Center in critical condition. They later died.
Officers honor TV 
crewman via Facebook

"AT LEAST 30 shots were fired. . . ."

"The east-facing windows of the Wendy’s were riddled with bullet holes. . . ."

"
The robbery suspect apparently had an air gun, a type of BB gun that looks like an actual firearm. . . ."

Something is very wrong here, and not just because an idiot felon and an innocent man are dead.

We have to be careful about saying too much that's too specific because, after all, we don't know what we don't know. We have to be careful because, in a split second . . . at night, you can't tell a BB gun from the real thing.

But we do know enough that we must admit that something's horribly wrong with the Big Picture here. Ferguson. St. Louis. A guy shot dead by Ohio cops because a scared Person of Walmart saw a black man with a BB gun (which he had just picked up in the toy department) and called police, who shot first and asked questions later.


SOMETHING is wrong, this we can say. The specifics, we're still grappling with.

But something tells me it has something to do with a nation amid a societal and cultural meltdown that, coincidentally, also happens to be armed to the frickin' teeth.

Last night, it was a stupid criminal and a TV guy trying to do his job. Two dead and an officer's life perhaps ruined. Nobody asked for that, I wouldn't think.


Tomorrow, it could be you. Or me. Or anybody.

Be afraid. Be very afraid here in Firearm Nation.



UPDATE: The police chief's press conference just ended. Here's what he said:


http://www.ebay.com/itm/Cybergun-Taurus-PT92-Replica-Spring-Powered-Airsoft-Pistol-Metal-Slide-/200943638556
An Airsoft replica Taurus PT92
Three officers were involved, a detective and two patrol officers. The suspect, Cortez Washington, 32, fired at the officers with an Airsoft pistol inside the Wendy's restaurant. Schmaderer said that, judging from  footage by the Cops crew, that the Airsoft gun not only looked like a real handgun, but sounded like one. Airsoft guns fire plastic pellets, and Washington's was a replica Taurus PT92.

The chief said the cameraman entered behind the two officers the crew was riding with and was able to take cover, but that the sound engineer, Bryce Dion, got caught in the vestibule. After being hit by officer's gunfire, he said, the robber tried to escape through that vestibule as the cops continued to fire.


Dion was hit by a round which entered under his arm through a gap in his bulletproof vest. Schmaderer said he didn't think Dion was visible to the officers at the time.

The chief, in response to a reporter's question, said he hadn't slept since the incident.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Trainspotting


Kansas City's Union Station, Aug. 15, 2014