Tuesday, July 19, 2016

It's official. GOP nominates the Donald


“I put lipstick on a pig. I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is. I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”
 -- Tony Schwartz, ghostwriter,
The Art of the Deal

Saturday, July 16, 2016

3 Chords & the Truth: Don't worry, get happy


It's probably the end of the world as we know it, so pour yourself a stiff drink and let's us listen to some comfort music.

If this stuff was good enough to get the "greatest generation" through the 1960s . . . and the Baby Boomers' teenage years . . . it no doubt is good enough for this edition of 3 Chords & the Truth, one where we seek to self-medicate through happy, soothing sounds.

I mean, if the world's going to hell in a handbasket, find another handbasket.

TO TELL YOU the truth, I have no idea what that means. But it sounded good. Rather like this episode of the Big Show, the swingingest podcast on the Internets.

It's the Happy Beat.

It's also 3 Chords & the Truth. Be there. Aloha.


Friday, July 15, 2016

Music to soothe the savage breast

It's hard not to be in a funk today.

Hell, it's hard not to have been hard in the throes of abject depression since this miserable year first showed its miserable face.
SO FORGIVE ME if I find it difficult to just suck it up week after tumultuous week to be Mr. Hail-Fellow-Well-Met on 3 Chords & the Truth.
It's been one damn thing after another, and I'm sure you're feeling just about as cheery.

In other words, not at all.
So, if you're feeling like I am, join me in a few hours as I indulge myself with some comfort music from a time long ago and a culture far away from us today.  Maybe it was listening to stuff like this that kept "the greatest generation" from completely losing its s*** during the 1960s.

Maybe it'll still work today.

Monday, July 11, 2016

What ye sow, shall ye also reap. Good luck with that.

Huffington Post

Welcome to the confluence of every damn thing that's wrong with my hometown, Baton Rouge, La.:

  • Banana-republic policing,
  •  
  • Ineffective, dysfunctional state and local government,
  •  
  • An angry, ignored and historically severely damaged (in every way) inner-city population,
  •   
  • A critical mass of stone-cold white racism locally, and
  •   
  • Systemic breakdowns in education, the justice system, public health care and social services.

You tell me how this ends well. I got nothin'.



I KNEW this would go south Friday night when the protest outside police headquarters -- I've been obsessively watching The Advocate's live streams -- began to turn ugly and the local "community leaders" tried to talk to the crowd and restore order. They were all shouted down.

One state senator from inner-city Baton Rouge kept talking about legislation she was going to introduce to deal with the situation, and how she needed the protesters to get politically involved, blah blahblah blahblah blahblah.


The hotheads may have been beyond reason, but they're not stupid. Any legislation she were to introduce to "deal with the situation" would pass the Louisiana Legislature how, exactly?


The kind of breakdown of public order that the hotheads among the demonstrators would like to achieve in the streets of Baton Rouge, because outrage, is what the GOP-dominated legislature already is achieving politically, because . . . Louisiana. And "conservative" ideology.



TELL ME how this gets better. Tell me how this gets better when officialdom is urging everyone to lower the temperature of their rhetoric, but then the comments sections of Baton Rouge media outlets -- both on their websites and on their Facebook feeds -- more or less look like so many Ku Klux Klan message boards, with some outraged black folks responding in kind here and there.

Suggest that -- in the public interest and to promote reasoned dialog -- they either shut down comments or actively moderate them and you get lectured about the First Amendment and not wanting to stifle people's "freedom of speech."

I got that line from some 20-something Channel 2 talking head. Having gotten A's in media law at the LSU journalism school a decade before this lightweight was born, I explained to him that freedom of the press belongs to the owner of the press. Which ain't the amazing number of racist trolls taking over these outlets' comments sections.

So, given all of the above, tell me . . . how is Baton Rouge not even more screwed than it usually is? How is someone, or several someones, not going to end up as dead as Alton Sterling before all this is through?

Saturday, July 09, 2016

The last grown-up in American media

 
WFAA sports anchor Dale Hansen may be the last actual grown-up in American media.

All the rest, I am reasonably certain, are dead or have been run off by corporate fools who make human sacrifices to shareholder value.

Please watch this, because this grown-up says some grown-up things about the hellish chaos which we know as the New Normal.

You do that, and instead of producing an episode of 3 Chords & the Truth this week, I will go back to watching my hometown teeter at the abyss -- You may have heard of it recently . . . Baton Rouge, La. -- while white racists unleash their racist slurs on local-media comments sections, enraged blacks lash back with some of their own and local newspaper and TV figures enable this incendiary cesspool in the name of "free speech." (Nota bene: Freedom of the press belongs to he who owns the press. Listen to me; I got an A in media law in college.)

Alas, 2016 is a lot like 1968 -- "one goddamn thing after another."

Thursday, July 07, 2016

And now, Minnesota


Amerika today. We have a problem, and it's the police.

We have a problem, and it's that every citizen has become a potential terrorist or insurgent in their eyes.


We have a problem. It looks a lot like some sort of fascist police state, and lots of Americans like it that way.

Donald Trump did not come from nowhere.

We have a problem. When we weren't looking, America became Amerika.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

No, we can't all just get along

 
I've always thought of myself as a writer, among other things. I have a journalism background -- I've worked as a newspaper reporter and copy editor. I know my way around a keyboard.

Increasingly, I find myself without words, at least ones that I can print here. There is something to be said -- something important. I wish I knew what the hell it was.

The enormity of evil has murdered my words. Killed them dead, just like the Baton Rouge, La., police killed Alton Sterling.

Sterling was the CD Man at the corner of North Foster and Fairfields, in north Baton Rouge, otherwise known as the 'hood. Truth be told, lots of my hometown is the 'hood. This part of town, like so many others in north BR, used to be working class and white back when I was a kid.
White people hauled ass. Now it's the 'hood, the place where -- at least according to too many of those white people who abandoned their city for points south, east and way north -- the "animals" live.

Anyway, the CD Man peddled compact discs, bootleg and otherwise, outside the Triple S Food Mart. That's how he scraped together what some people might call a living, or as much of a living as you can when you have a long rap sheet and can't get a job.

Long rap sheets happen in the 'hood, the 'hood in my hometown and yours, too. You grow up poor, you grow up lacking a father . . . or a mother . . . or both, and then shit starts to happen. Then shit snowballs. Then you get out of jail and peddle CDs. And then you carry a pistol because you got mugged or a buddy got mugged or you're just scared of the 'hood that is your home.

Then you cross paths with the Baton Rouge cops. Again.

And now you're dead, a big-ass hole blown in your chest, point-blank from a cop's service weapon. Don't ask me why. I don't know. I got theories, probably wrong ones. I got no words -- no sufficient ones, at least.

I just know that there Baton Rouge is, sitting atop a tinderbox with people -- many of them white, self-righteous and racist as a son of a bitch -- tossing lit matches from atop platforms provided them by local media. Add some outraged African-American counterparts in incivility, and you have a combox race war. All you need are guns.

There are a few of those floating around Louisiana. And America.


I COULD go on and on about the gross irresponsibility of the media aiding and abetting a racist, rage-fueled shitstorm at a time such as this, on the Internet there in America's own banana republic, which of course is a wholly owned subsidiary of Donald Trump's Amerika. Could even complain to those in charge of the newspaper and TV stations.

Wouldn't do any good. The last grown-ups in the media were laid off sometime around 2010.

Heat draws eyeballs. Light gets you squat.

If you're looking for a ray of sunshine amid the darkness, if you're looking for some earthly hope in this space, I apologize for wasting your time. I got nothing.

I got no great hope for my hometown or my home state. I got no great hope that racism won't get anything but worse in this Age of Trump. I got no words -- no useful ones. I got squat.

All I have is that familiar sick feeling in my middle-aged gut. All I have is sorrow. All I have is contempt for my hometown and the hateful stupidity it seems to nurture like a Petri dish does bacteria.

I wish I could say, like the Steve Taylor song, "Since I Gave Up Hope (I Feel A Lot Better)." But I don't. I'm just the same -- tired, pissed and sick to my stomach, just without any real hope this side of the Second Coming.

It's always 1959 somewhere. Somewhere, thy name is Baton Rouge.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

3 Chords & the Truth: The vast wasteland at 75



A country can't become awash in television -- and TV commercials -- all of a sudden. You have to start somewhere.

http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC/BC-1941/1941-07-14-BC.pdfSomewhere was New York City exactly 75 years ago. On July 1, 1941, Newton Minow's "vast wasteland" of commercial television consisted of Channel 1, Channel 2 and Channel 4. But Channel 4 was still "experimental" and couldn't run ads, so that leaves us with Channels 1 and 2 -- WNBT (NBC) and WCBW (CBS) -- on that august prewar day in July.

Yes, Virginia, there was a Channel 1 until 1946.

On that July day three-quarters of a century ago, the National Broadcasting Company was the first to "go to commercial." Before the start of a Brooklyn Dodgers baseball game, a WNBT camera focused on a test pattern, and in that test pattern was a clock -- a Bulova clock. And that was the first television ad.

The things have been with us since . . . annoying us, amusing us and giving us time to make a trip down the hall. I guess that's well worth taking note of on this week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth.

IN OTHER WORDS, get yourself ready for an entire set of songs devoted to the boob tube. With a little luck, video won't kill the Internet radio star.

Also get yourself ready for a jazz set, a sweet set and a hot one, too. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life.

Or so we've been told. I guess that's why this little program from Omaha, by God, Nebraska is so dad-blasted eclectic.

You are listening to 3C&T, Omaha. Bulova watch time is . . . time to turn on the Big Show and listen to the music.

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



Saturday, June 25, 2016

3 Chords & the Truth: Excellence in hi-fi


This edition of 3 Chords & the Truth is high fidelity.

Both musically and sonically. And it's best listened to on an honest-to-God hi-fi -- perhaps like this one. But it'll work on something newer, too . . . just without that certain je ne sais quoi.

That's the thing you can count on with the Big Show, fidelity to the music -- good music -- and the highest fidelity in audio. If you don't believe me, just give it a listen.

We're back from a couple of weeks off, reinvigorated and ready to lay some fantastic, and fantastically diverse, tunes on you. This week, we'll be dipping heavily into the year 1977, with a lot more vintages thrown in as well. And a nice sampling of pop and classic jazz.

And that's about it. Just the usual sonic excellence, which you have come to expect coming from the Omaha studios of 3 Chords & the Truth. So let's quit the pontificating and get on with the listening.

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Monday night at the CWS











Nothing to say here, move along . . . to the photos, which happen to be some random slices of life Monday evening at the College World Series here in Omaha, by God, Nebraska.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Getting the picture in the Age of Terror


It's summer in Omaha. And with the beginning of summer comes the College World Series, a fine way to spend a sultry evening in late June.

Added to the mix, starting next week, will be the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials at the CenturyLink Center Omaha, just across the street from TD Ameritrade Park downtown.

The CWS is Omaha's signature event, one that has become part of this Midwestern city's very being. It has come to symbolize what we all love most about amateur sports and about America's national pastime.

IT'S THE PICTURE Omaha wants to present to the country, and the one America wants to present to the world. Here, three of these pictures belong together.

Three of these pictures are kind of the same. Can you guess which one of these doesn't belong here?


Now, with apologies to Sesame Street, it's time to play our game.

Proceed.


SORRY for the blurriness of the picture that's not the same, the one immediately above. The sports Nazis of the NCAA won't let me bring my digital SLR with the long lenses into the stadium, and when you zoom in with an iPhone camera, you get what you get.

So let me tell you what you're seeing here. The Omaha policeman on the right is carrying what appears to be some permutation of an AR-15 -- an assault rifle. These officers are stationed right before you get to the ticket-takers, and you don't get more in plain sight than that.

It took me aback -- not that CWS security hasn't always been this heavy in our post-9/11 world, but that this year, in the era of ISIS and a week past Orlando, it seems to be more conspicuous  than ever. In your face, even.

I'm not faulting the local cops. I'm not questioning the security strategy. And I'm certainly not getting in the face of the cop with the military-grade firearm to get a better picture of his assault rifle. Besides, I look rather Mediterranean in this Age of Trump.

What I am saying is this is sad. Damned sad. It might be the right thing, but it is so, so wrong.

America's right-wing, gun-nut wingnuts don't want us to become just like those socialist "Euroweenies." Seen the security at the Euro soccer championships in France?

Looks to me like we just have.