Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dry around here. Real dry.


How dry is it around these parts?

Drier than a Baptist wedding reception, that's how dry. In fact, there's never been a drier July in Omaha.

Is it just me, or have there been a lot of fill-in-the-blank-ever meteorological moments lately? What we could use is a little melting ice sheet to water the parched and cracked earth of the Plains and Midwest.

Then again, climate change rarely does you any favors. As we hear from KETV television in Omaha:

For many farmers, this means giving up on the corn crop.

"The corn has basically stopped," farmer John McNamara said.

McNamara said he's been regularly watering his farm in Plattsmouth, but that it doesn't compare to a good rainfall; McNamara has lost 30 to 40 percent of his annual average production.

"You go to one plant, you have nothing. You go to another, you have nothing, this is happening a lot," McNamara said.
SUCKS, this does. Coastal Americans might be about to get a harsh economic lesson in the importance of "flyover country."

Word to the wise: Buy yourself a big freezer and stock up on beef now, when it's cheap because ranchers are having to sell off the herds they no longer can afford to feed because their pastures dried up and turned to dirt. Thus, the market is glutted.

Next year, however. . . .

Thank you, God!



Because the female breast is so unexceptional, tit libber Moira Johnston makes her living as a topless dancer at a topless bar, where cerebral gents pay good money to marvel at her sparkling personality and towering intellect.

And if a patron might get overenthusiastic about her towering intellect and sparkling personality, then grab hold of her unexceptional tatas, it of course would be no big deal. Obviously, that would be just one more way of saying "Atta girl!"

I'm sure that's how Johnston would see it, too. Because there's nothing exceptional --
or sexual -- about a woman's boobs.

But do you think she ever wonders why the most enthusiastic supporters of her tit-liberation movement are 13-year-old males?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Precocious preteen sucks worse than Roseanne


Parents who let an 11-year-old girl call herself a "singer-songwriter" and traipse through the Texas coffeehouse and showcase circuit need to have their heads examined.

Parents who let an 11-year-old white girl with an OK voice run around oversinging oversung Christina Aguilera and Beyoncé songs in public probably need to be horsewhipped.

And parents old enough to know better who let an 11-year-old girl who isn't do this to the national anthem at a major-league soccer game --
on television, no less -- need killin', to put it in their native Texan.


CONGRATULATIONS, asshats. There's now a rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner worse than Roseanne Barr's. It's your daughter's.

You were happy to bask in the reflected glow of your little darling's prepubescent musical specialness. So you put her out there. And put her out there. And put her out there some more, because the fruit of mama's womb turned out to be a singer-songwriter!

I mean, if her website says it, it must be true!

And then you put her out there, before tens of thousands in a stadium and many more than that on TV. What could go wrong with an 11-year-old white girl trying to outdo Whitney Houston's version of a song that to most singers is what invading Afghanistan is to most empires?

Because, by God, people are gonna remember Harper Gruzins from Coppell, Texas!


Well, you got that right. The national anthem done in the style of Tibetan throat singing would have been less memorable . . . and more palatable.

Sadly for you, there's no reflected glory to bathe yourselves in. Worse for Harper, there's no shortage of Texas-size ridicule for a precocious preteen to bear all by her Lone Star self.

Somebody git a rope!


HAT TIP: Rod Dreher.

Friday, July 27, 2012

3 Chords & the Truth: The fundamentals


Listen, people. Rock 'n' roll ain't brain surgery.

If you learn a few fundamentals of the genre, learn its building blocks, you'll be fine. And there aren't too many fundamentals to rock music, even counting a tangential one -- that many fundamentalists are still suspicious of it.

This week, we devote most of 3 Chords & the Truth to the fundamentals of rock 'n' roll. Maybe that should be FUN-damentals, because they certainly are on the Big Show.

Anyway, here are the big ones that I could come up with off the top of my head.


F
IRST, you gotta have girls. Without girls to sing about, there probably would be very little music in the world. We'd all be using out iPods to listen to Koran verses or something. No, of all the musical genres out there, rock arguably gets the most mileage out of the fairer sex.

That sounded real bad, didn't it? No, it's not that way at all.

Well, maybe it kinda is.

Be that as it may, rock needs girls to look at, lust after, woo, win, lose and pine over. And on the Big Show this week, we'll be seeing how many kinds of girls we can fit into one set. Of course, the first kind is "bad."

But there are other fundamentals of rock 'n' roll, too.

YOU GOT your love. And you sure got your cars.

And heartbreak. And dancing . . . lots of dancing.

And S-E-X. I just got your attention, didn't I? Now watch me mess with the search engines . . . SEX, sex, S-E-X, sexy, sex, sex, sexual sex.

Sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Party on , Garth, because this is about to be one of the most-listened to episodes of 3 Chords & the Truth, ever. Did I mention seXXX? It's a rock fundamental, you know.

Oh . . . by the way, we have a nice, long vocal-jazz set on this week's program, too. It classes up the joint.

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

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tweets from the tolerant



This is America, which now means that if you express the "wrong" opinion, the "right" people are justified in doing any damned thing they want to you.

Three words to that, Roseanne: "Eat mor chikin."

With that, we begin another episode of Tweets From the Tolerant, brought to you by the Internet . . . if you have nothing constructive to say, say it here!

* * *


Suck my d*** chick filet- nazi chicken f***ing pricks

-- Roseanne Barr,

flunked sex ed, biology
(via Twitter)

anyone who eats S*** Fil-A deserves to get the cancer that is sure to come from eating antibiotic filled tortured chickens 4Christ

-- Roseanne Barr,
humanitarian

off to grab a s*** fil-A sandwich on my way to worshipping Christ, supporting Aipac and war in Iran.
-- Roseanne Barr,
??????????????????

christian liars: i never wished cancer on you at all-jesus will punish u 4 ur deceit-I said processed foods cause cancer.
-- Roseanne Barr,
angry theologian

I lost two brothers to cancer, Roseanne. What a truly heinous thing to say.
-- Jim Henson,
OBVIOUSLY a hater

Retreading my tweet I realize that I used the wrong word-I shouldn't have used the word deserves

I shouldn't have used the word deserves in my tweet and I apologize

-- Roseanne Barr,
got a call from agent

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

sex, lies and emailgate


Pity Freddie Gray.

The president of the Omaha school board decided to hone her mad JoePa skillz just when everybody -- and by "everybody," I mean the entire world outside State College, Pa. -- decided the late Penn State coach was criminally pathetic.

Consider this: You've just picked a new superintendent for Omaha Public Schools. Suddenly, your new hire abruptly resigns her job in Des Moines, Iowa -- weeks ahead of schedule. She contacts your board attorney. Something about emails. That they would expose an affair. Fairly explicit. A district email account. Public-records request from the Des Moines Register. Embarrassing.

Mein Gott! Mon dieu! What, oh what . . . what should you do?

Well, if you're Freddie Gray and OPS board counsel Elizabeth Eynon-Kokrda, you don't bother to find out what exactly is in those "fairly explicit" emails. You take Nancy Sebring's word for it that the content is "somewhere along the lines of what most seventeen year olds are reading in Cosmo." You don't even check out what most 17-year-olds are actually reading in Cosmopolitan today.

Also, you assume that a woman who's cheating on her husband with a man who's cheating on his wife is being straighter with you than with them. After all, Eynon-Kokrda tells Sebring, “my thought is you have a pretty sympathetic situation.”

Most importantly, you and the lawyer take what Sebring, the naughty superintendent, has told you and make it into "just our little secret."

Even though Sebring has reached out to you and counsel because “I don't want anyone on the OPS board to be surprised by this situation in Des Moines,” you don't inform a single board member because. . . .

Because. . . .

BECAUSE you feel obliged not to after the fun superintendent expressly said she didn't want anyone on the Omaha school board to be surprised by the brewing scandal.

“We had an individual who ... we thought was being very open and honest with us about something that was a very personal issue, a very painful issue for the individual,” Gray told The World-Herald. “We believed that we had a contracted employee who was reaching out and was telling us the truth.”

In a May 24 email to Sebring, Eynon-Kokrda wrote that she did not share Sebring's emails with board members: “I do not forward your emails because I want them arguably protected and/or not known to exist, per se, but I do advise Freddie of our contacts so she is current.”

In that same email, the lawyer wrote that Gray was the only OPS board member who knew of the Des Moines Register's public records request, through which that newspaper eventually obtained the personal emails.
WHO IS working for whom here?

It's rather interesting, in the same sense that his evening at Ford's Theater gave Abraham Lincoln a headache, that Eynon-Kokrda and Gray seem to lose track of where their primary loyalties lie. They protect OPS' wayward new hire to an extent she didn't even ask for, refusing to give the full school board even the slightest heads-up about her naughty-email problem in Des Moines.

They take Sebring's word for everything. In short, they try to keep her viability as OPS' new superintendent totally intact by aiding and abetting an ultimately failed cover up.
When she resigned abruptly from Des Moines in early May, Sebring said publicly that it was because she needed extra time to take care of personal matters, such as moving to Omaha and preparing for her daughter's summer wedding.

The newly released emails show that after resigning from Des Moines, Sebring kept in regular contact with Eynon-Kokrda, who relayed information about those contacts to Gray as all three anxiously waited to see what the Des Moines Register would do with the volatile emails the newspaper had requested from the Des Moines district through a public records request.

The emails Sebring made public last week were sent between May 18 and June 1, the day The World-Herald and the Des Moines Register broke their stories online.

The emails show that Eynon-Kokrda and Gray remained committed to making Sebring the next OPS superintendent if she could survive the uproar of the emails going public or if the emails never went public.

The three of them planned how they would respond publicly should news organizations discover that the emails were the actual cause of her resignation from the Des Moines job and publish stories about them.


(snip)

In a May 24 email to Eynon-Kokrda, Sebring wrote that four of the Des Moines emails were “highly personal and contain fairly explicit content (somewhere along the lines of what most seventeen year olds are reading in Cosmo),” referring to the women's magazine Cosmopolitan.

In the same email, Sebring offered to resign from the OPS job, telling Eynon-Kokrda: “I would rather bow out gracefully before starting my job in OPS, than be caught up in a scandal after I begin the job.”

She asked Eynon-Kokrda whether OPS would fire an employee who had done what she did.

Eynon-Kokrda wrote back that she would not recommend that Sebring submit an immediate offer of resignation, saying that “seems extreme” and “my thought is you have a pretty sympathetic situation.”

Eynon-Kokrda wrote that she knew of no OPS employee ever terminated solely for personal use of email, saying that OPS informs employees that emails are not confidential and that individuals must “use good judgment” but that sending personal emails has never by itself demonstrated sufficient poor judgment as to result in termination.

“The closest I've ever seen is where a principal involved with a subordinate at his school had about 50 texts and emails per day during school hours, over months and months (thousands of emails and texts on school phone) some of which proved he had inappropriately approved sick leave so she could join him on business trips,” Eynon-Kokrda wrote.

She wrote that if the situation “starts to really go south,” she would recommend meeting with the OPS board “to explain and provide them with the opportunity to circle the wagons.”

(snip)

“Freddie will be in about the same place,” Eynon-Kokrda wrote. “If asked for comment, she will say it isn't appropriate for her to discuss your personal life.”

If pressed, Eynon-Kokrda wrote, Gray would say that while people shouldn't use work email for personal purposes that interfere with job performance, “she is unaware of any allegation that you have anything but a stellar job performance record, and your personal emails and private life don't change that.”
UNTIL THEY did change that. The Register and the World-Herald not only ran their stories about why Nancy Sebring quit Des Moines so quickly, but they ran the worst of the emails, too.

At that point, Gray ended up running away from Sebring like her feet were on fire and her ass was catching. A thoroughly surprised
(thanks to Freddie Gray) OPS board ended up accepting Sebring's resignation from a job she'd yet to begin.

The emails were exactly what one would expect from a
Cosmo "sex issue," which I presume is just like a regular issue of Cosmo (as read by "most seventeen year olds") only a little more so. Thus, "circling the wagons" wasn't a viable option, as we already had learned low "in love" Nancy Sebring was with her boyfriend's d***.

And the emails got better than that.

UNFORTUNATELY for Gray, the board president's ability to lie convincingly to the press just doesn't get better at all.

On June 1, Gray told the World-Herald "she had heard only 'rumors and innuendo' about why Sebring resigned. During that interview, she said she had not discussed with Des Moines district officials the circumstances of Sebring's resignation and did not know what was contained in the emails.
"I haven't seen them," she said then, "so I have no clue what they are, what they're not."

In a later interview, a World-Herald reporter asked Gray whether Sebring had been in contact with her or Eynon-Kokrda about the personal emails prior to them going public.

“No, why would she be?" Gray had said.


UH . . .
lots of reasons?

Unfortunately, some people never learn that when you tell a big one, at least be plausible:
Gray and Eynon-Kokrda told The World-Herald this week that they would have acted differently had they known the actual contents of the emails.

“She never characterized these as graphic, pornographic or in any way sexually embarrassing,” Eynon-Kokrda said. “She portrayed them as not salacious, as chatty, and as emails that would reveal that she had an affair.”

When Sebring wrote to Eynon-Kokrda May 24 describing the explicit emails as something a 17-year-old girl might read in Cosmo, that still didn't cause alarm, Gray and Eynon-Kokrda said this week, because they didn't perceive Cosmo as a raunchy magazine.
TWO PROBLEMS with this one render it a no-percentage assertion -- it requires Omahans to believe either that Gray and Eynon-Kokrda think they're really stupid, or that Gray and Eynon-Kokrda themselves are really stupid. Personally, I go for a third option: Yes, they think we're stupid . . . because they're idiots.

Make that complete idiots.

Here's Gray, back in June:
“For the board, this is about policy violation. It's not about the content,” she told The World-Herald after Sebring resigned. “These are things we tell our staff all the time not to do. It's a big violation to use company equipment and emails.”
BUT NOW Gray defends her secrecy and her inaction regarding Sebring's emails by saying she was misled about how bad they were. That she didn't think Cosmo was "raunchy," so it couldn't be that big a deal.

But if "it's not about the content," as she said last month, who cares? Sebring admitted to doing, in Gray's words, "things we tell our staff all the time not to do." Which, she told the reporter back then, was "a big violation."

And certainly no rationale to help a sister out, which is exactly what she and OPS' legal counsel set out to do. In secret.

The other OPS board members ought to be furious right now. Beyond furious, actually. But the biggest problem the school system faces today is that I'll bet most aren't that upset at all.

After all, if they "circle the wagons," Freddie Gray might be able to survive unscathed as president despite having been caught in more than one big lie. Despite having kept her board, and the board's constituents, completely in the dark about the time bomb ticking away nearby. Despite having proven that her loyalties lie not with her board, or the voters who elected her, but instead with a fatally flawed would-be superintendent whose personal and professional sins finally caught up to her.

If the board circles the wagons well enough, maybe there won't be the unpleasantness of Freddie Gray getting what she so richly deserves -- immediate removal as president, accompanied by the board's demand that she resign her seat.

NO, that would be ugly. Firing the board attorney would be, too.

In that light, I'm sure Gray is banking on her colleagues being "incredibly supportive," just like Eynon-Kokrda was for Sebring, because this whole
World-Herald exposé thing is "ridiculous."

After all, "hindsight is 20/20."
Yeah, that's the ticket.

This is the end. My only friend, the end.


Knowing the end is coming, knowing why it must be the end . . . the knowing does not lessen the hurt when the end finally arrives.

The Grim Reaper is a giant mechanical shovel. The Grim Reaper would be more poetic if we still called him a steam shovel. The Grim Reaper is just as merciless by any name.

And the Grim Reaper came for Omaha's old Rosenblatt Stadium today.

I've spent a fair chunk of my adult life, seen amazing things, communed with amazing friends in a place soon to be but a memory. Thanks be to God, steam shovels can't touch the ballpark in my mind.


THE ONE where I was sitting high above the first-base line. 1996. College World Series championship game. Bottom of the ninth. LSU down 8-7 to Miami. Two out. Head in hands. Knee jumping. Praying that Warren Morris just doesn't strike out. That he just gets on base somehow.
"The stretch by Morrison, the pitch. Swung on and hit to right field. That's way back there, way back there . . . HOME RUN! TIGERS WIN! TIGERS WIN! WARREN MORRIS! IT'S A TWO-RUN HOME RUN, AND THE TIGERS ARE THE NATIONAL CHAMPS! I DON'T BELIEVE IT!"
STEAM SHOVEL can't take that away from me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The last Founding Father


I would be remiss if I failed to point out that George Jefferson was a Founding Father. He also is on the $2 bill.


Not many people will tell you the full story about how momentous the sitcom character's passing is, along with that of his alter ego, Sherman Hemsley. But I just did.

You can thank me later.

Yes, this is an oldie but a goodie. But how could I not revisit it on this sad and notable occasion? Jordan Jefferson:
The gift that keeps on giving.

Movin' on up


George Jefferson's movin' on up to a dee-luxe apartment in the sky.

Sherman Hemsley is dead at 74.


I THINK
heaven just got a little more entertaining with the long-awaited reunion of Jefferson and Archie Bunker.

Rest in peace, Mr. J.

Wings to almost die for


I regret that I didn't go to work for big, booming, powerful Channel 9 in Baton Rouge.

If I had, boredom would be something I'd never suffer, being that my people down in Louisiana are not a boring people.
Whack, yes. Dull, no.

Blessed is the reporter who gets to report this story:

Authorities said a woman drove to a Baton Rouge restaurant after she was shot at another location Thursday night.

The East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office said a woman who was shot on Hyacinth Avenue drove to the Buffalo Wild Wings on Bluebonnet Boulevard.

Deputies were notified around 10:30 p.m.

They said the Baton Rouge Police Department is investigating the shooting.

WELL, they are damned good Buffalo wings. This has ad campaign written all over it -- the woman ought to get free wings for life. However long that might be.

Coming up at 5 and 6 on
WAFB 9 News.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Well, duh!

Yeah. Um hmm.

It's confession time for Rick Reilly. If confessing the obvious is a confession at all.

Yeah, him and the entire American sports "journalism" establishment. Him and whoever is behind the team "features" aired during game-day broadcasts.

"Forgive us, Father, for we've fed the beast, constructing inspiring "narratives" out of -- if not whole cloth -- at least out of the fertile imaginations of university sports-information directors and PR staffs."

The acclaimed sportswriter came clean on
ESPN.com about a week and a half ago, right after the Freeh Report set the record straight about what "doing things the right way" really meant at Penn State.

Whoopie.

What a fool I was.

In 1986, I spent a week in State College, Pa., researching a 10-page Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year piece on Joe Paterno.

It was supposed to be a secret, but one night the phone in my hotel room rang. It was a Penn State professor, calling out of the blue.

"Are you here to take part in hagiography?" he said.

"What's hagiography?" I asked.

"The study of saints," he said. "You're going to be just like the rest, aren't you? You're going to make Paterno out to be a saint. You don't know him. He'll do anything to win. What you media are doing is dangerous."

Jealous egghead, I figured.

What an idiot I was.
THESE TWO THINGS are clear, and always have been whenever we didn't have our fingers in our ears while screaming "Neener! Neener! Cancelcancelcancel!"

One, we like to hear what we want to hear. Two, the big business of major-college athletics loves lies almost as well as it does money -- lies grease the skids for "narrative" and narrative is what sells a product nowadays. Things can get ugly when reporters don't stick to the official narrative, which almost always causes them to fall back into line.

In other words,
"What you media are doing is dangerous."

Sunday, July 22, 2012

'Diese Schandtaten: Eure Schuld!'
('These Atrocities: Your Fault!')


Ever been on a plantation tour in the South and heard all about the lost glories of the Old South -- that idyllic life the planter class enjoyed prior to the martial unpleasantness that brought it all to naught?

Were you amazed at how little you hear on some of these tours about the slaves upon whose backs was built this life of privilege and beauty for the few . . . the proud . . . the wealthy and white?

Ever turned on the TV and seen one of those stories about post-Soviet life in Russia, where you always see some raggedy protest by old pensioners with hammer-and-sickle flags and pictures of Lenin and Stalin, lamenting the passing of the dictatorship of the proletariat and all its attendant glories?

Were you amazed at how the gulags and captive nations never quite fit into the narrative of nostalgia for Soviet greatness?

Yeah. Me, too.


THIS
REMINDS me of all that. And the warped, warped culture of idolatry and denial surrounding Penn State football and pervading State College, Pa., needs to follow the Old South and the Soviet Union into the ash bin of history.
Cloresa Turner drove to central Pennsylvania from Virginia to see the statue of veteran Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.

When she arrived in State College on Sunday and saw that it was gone from its place outside the university stadium, she clasped her hand over her mouth.

"He's done so much for this university. It's sad," said Turner, of Martinsville, Va. "To wipe it all away is like he meant nothing."

Construction vehicles and police arrived shortly after dawn Sunday, barricading the street and sidewalks near the statue, erecting a chain-link fence and then concealing the 7-foot-tall statue with a blue tarp. Workers used jackhammers to free the statue and a forklift to lower it onto a flat-bed truck that rolled into a stadium garage bay as some of the 100 to 150 students and other onlookers chanted, "We are Penn State."


(snip)

The Paterno family issued a statement saying the statue's removal "does not serve the victims of Jerry Sandusky's horrible crimes or help heal the Penn State community." The family, which has vowed its own investigation, called the report by former FBI director Louis Freeh the "incomplete and unofficial" equivalent of a charging document by a prosecutor and said the only way to help the victims "is to uncover the full truth."
NO, THEY'RE not s****ing you.

It's not an act for the tourists like proud faux Confederates re-enacting Pickett's Charge
or drunken Kappa Alphas getting their Ashley Wilkes on in hopes of making some Southern belle swoon like Scarlett. This is the kind of true-believer devotion to Baal that gave us the Ku Klux Klan and Jim Crow laws, because Reconstruction wasn't thorough enough and didn't last nearly long enough.

"Look away, look away, look away . . ." JoePa fans.
Some who came out to watch the statue's removal were angry that it had been done with so little notice that many missed it - "It was under cloak of darkness," said Diane Byerly, 63, of Harrisburg - and worried that stiff sanctions from the NCAA would punish the innocent while possibly destroying businesses that rely on the commerce from the tens of thousands who flood State College on game days.

"I think there's ways you can punish the parties involved without affecting all of State College," said Richard Hill, a 1967 graduate from West Chester.

Chris Stathes, 40, a lifelong Penn State football fan who has a daughter at the school and manages two State College breakfast eateries, said shutting down the program would devastate area businesses.

"Football season, that's our moment. From the time we open our doors in the morning until kickoff, there's a line out the door," he said.

Philip Frum, 24, who works on research projects for Penn State, said he hoped the statue would be erected elsewhere, such as at a nearby Penn State sports museum.

"This statue was a symbol of all the good things he's done for the university,"
Frum said. Any NCAA penalty that shuts down the football program "will be just as bad as taking down the statue," he said.
LinkOH . . . I hope it's much, much worse.

A culture that throws its children into the flaming pyre for the sake of Baal -- also known as "our peculiar institution," "the dictatorship of the proletariat" and big-time college football -- deserves every bit of divine wrath it calls down upon itself. It needs to be obliterated for the sake of the world . . . and for the sake of those under its thrall.

In Germany after World War II, we had a name for a similar effort. "Denazification," we called it.

Today, let the "de-Paternofication" of the Pennsylvania State University begin.


UPDATE: The Philadelphia Daily News just posted this story. Good grief.

Where is the Red Army when you really need it? What's next, tales of Penn State faithful barricaded in their man caves with the little woman, a 9 mm Luger and a couple of cyanide capsules?

My blood runs cold . . .


My memory has just been sold . . .

My hi-fi is the centerfold . . .

Hi-fi is the centerfold.


SOME MEN take pictures of topless women. Others gawk at the pictures the first men took.

One thing is certain, though. The gawkers will never have a shot at the angel with staples somewhere near her waist.

You can take that to the bank. Certain media moguls already have.

NOT ONLY THAT, the angels that some of the no-chance voyeurs already have are bound to be less than thrilled with their obsession with the angels they cannot -- they will not -- have.

Ever.

And consider this -- you never need to Photoshop high-fidelity gear from 1956 after the shoot is done. Reality is good enough.

I know this because I am a geek. An audio geek, which totally trumps "dirty old man" in most societal measures of respectability.

And as a geek, I take artsy-fartsy pictures of my old audio gear when I'm bored late on a Saturday night. Which I then post on my blog, which is a whole 'nother world of geekery right there.


YOU KNOW what else is great about taking cheesecake shots of old tube hi-fi gear?

For a few bucks at an estate sale or on eBay, the object of your lust can be yours. And your wife will be tolerant about that.

Within reason.


BESIDES, unless the human centerfold of your X-rated desires spent a lot of time at Three-Mile Island, Chernobyl or Fukushima, chances are she won't glow in the dark. Because that would just be wrong.

No, vacuum tubes are where it's at. Trust me on that.

Friday, July 20, 2012

3 Chords & the Truth: A mighty hot wind


They say, as we Midwesterners endure a summer of epic proportions, that the last step before you dry up, turn into cinders and blow away is you look like this -- "this" being House Speaker John Boehner.

Oh, crap.

Well, in that case, perhaps the theme of this week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth should be "Just a Song Before I Go." At least it's a show on which I could be proud to check out . . . thank you, Timi Yuro!


AND John Prine.

And Red Foley.

And Charley Pride.

And Patti Smith. (Didn't see that one coming, did you?)

And Timmy Thomas.

And OK, Go.

And Sam Beam, a.k.a., Iron & Wine.

And U2.

And Tonio K.

AND IF you'd like to hear future episodes of the Big Show, send water and cooler weather to Omaha, by God, Nebraska. I'm pretty sure my sun-dried, Boehner-burnt remains are gonna need to be rehydrated next week. Really cool music can do only so much, alas.

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

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What a GREAT idea. Umm hmm.


At Penn State, Joe Paterno and his football program were so big, powerful and unaccountable that a pedophile coach got away with it for years.

No one yelled rat; no one called the authorities. JoePa wanted it that way, in the name of being "humane."

Yes, absolute power corrupts.
Absolutely.

So, in the name of preventing future Penn States, the Big Ten is considering making the power of its commissioner even more absolute. Some want to give Jim Delany the power to fire member schools' coaches.

GEE,
what could go wrong with that?

The Associated Press tells us how an entire conference full of college muckedy-mucks can't see the irony here . . . or conceive of how such a scheme ever could go horribly wrong.
Ever.

In the wake of the scandal at Penn State, the Big Ten Conference is considering a plan to give its commissioner the power to punish schools with financial sanctions, suspensions and even the ability to fire coaches.

An 18-page plan being circulated among Big Ten leadership raises the possibility of giving Commissioner Jim Delany such authority, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported Thursday, citing a document it had obtained.

The Big Ten did not respond to requests for comment, but confirmed that the proposal — titled "Standards and Procedures for Safeguarding Institutional Control of Intercollegiate Athletics" — is being discussed.

"It is a working document intended to generate ideas, not draw conclusions," according to an email sent from Big Ten headquarters to people in the league. "One provision in the document addresses 'emergency authority of the commissioner' - it is just one of many ideas."

Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was recently convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys, sometimes on campus. A report commissioned by Penn State said school leaders, including the late coach Joe Paterno, ignored allegations more than a decade ago to avoid bad publicity, allowing Sandusky to prey on other boys for years. Paterno's family said he never participated in an attempt to cover up wrongdoing.

The NCAA and U.S. Education Department are investigating Penn State for potential rules and policy violations; the issue of "institutional control" is believed to be a key part of the NCAA probe, since problems there can lead to athletic penalties. The Chronicle said the Big Ten is still discussing how to handle fallout from the scandal at one of its member schools; currently, its 12-member Council of Presidents and Chancellors must approve any decision to suspend or expel one of the league's schools.

Whether Delany would ever be granted the power to fire coaches or punish schools was unknown. The Big Ten email said the council would have to approve such a sweeping change.
BIG TEN types, particularly the academics among them, fancy themselves and those associated with their institutions to be a cut above. If you're talking wool production, maybe.

Baa.

Penn State's not the only campus where football -- or, alternatively, basketball -- is king. Yet these smarter-than-your-average-Joe eggheads can't imagine how some power-drunk commish might use Coach as a Sword of Damocles, albeit one with a whistle and a bag of balls, to bring obstreperous conference members into line on a Very Important Matter, meaning Whatever the Hell the Commissioner Wants Today.

If your weasely boss at Paper-Pushers, Inc., can trump up a file full of "misdeeds" to get rid of that guy he just can't stand, what do you think someone with the resources and savvy of Delany might be able to cook up?

Hmmm?

What? Don't think such a fine man as Jim Delany would stoop so low?

What?
You think he'll be Big Ten commissioner forever? Or that absolute power doesn't corrupt . . . absolutely?

Don't feel bad about your naiveté. That's what we all thought about JoePa.

Fool us once. . . .

Going out in style


If you have to go -- and we all do -- you'd just as well go out in style.

Some things that force your departure from this mortal coil pretty much make that impossible.
I'm talking about you, Alzheimer's, you rat-bastard SOB. Way to go, taking people's dignity as you eat their minds and so much of what makes them them.

I know a little about this. I've seen it up close and too personal.

But I'll be damned if Glen Campbell isn't managing it -- going out in style, that is. Perhaps it's because the falls and hard knocks he's taken in his life left a lasting impression about the folly of denial.

If anything, the video for his latest song, "A Better Place," is a testimonial for grace . . . for counting your blessings while under the spell of a terrible curse.

I guess a punster might call this, the great guitarist and singer's final act,
The Glen Campbell Goodbye Hour. And oddly enough, it might also be his finest hour.

He's going out in style.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bowing down before the Nittany Lion


Let's get one thing straight right now.

The entire sport, culture and establishment of American college football is not worth the innocence of a single child.

Fans, coaches and administrators at Penn State thought -- and likely still think -- otherwise. That is why Jerry Sandusky was allowed to keep on raping young boys for years and years after pretty much every coach and administrator at the university knew he was the worst sort of degenerate -- the felonious pinnacle of pedophilic perversion.

If the man were in Texas, he easily would fall under the banner of "needs killin'."

Anywhere else, I would hope that, at a minimum, not one person would think that the son of a bitch should ever again see the light of day. It's a no-brainer.

Let me amend that. It's a no-brainer everywhere but State College, Pa. In State College, Pa., the former defensive coordinator of the Nittany Lions was allowed to befriend, groom and sodomize underprivileged and at-risk boys for at least 13 years after people at Penn State first realized there was a problem --
and a big one -- with Jerry Sandusky.

THIS WAS all in the name of preserving the good name of Penn State football. Of preserving the big, big business of Penn State football.

Ultimately, the indifference and the cover-up caught up with Coach Joe Paterno, President Graham Spanier, Athletic Director Tim Curley and senior vice president for finance and business Gary Schultz. And when the university board of trustees fired Paterno, effectively closing the stable door after all the horses had made a run for it, thousands of Penn State students responded by rioting in downtown State College.

And it was out of fear of the mob that the board balked at reneging on the lucrative "go away quietly" package it had negotiated (as all hell was beginning to break loose) with Paterno -- who now, after the Grim Reaper caught up with him, too, stands before the highest court of all. Turns out that people don't take it well when their false gods and warped culture come under attack, no matter how justly.

SO NOW the NCAA gets the ball on downs. And in this interview Monday night with PBS talk host Tavis Smiley, NCAA President Mark Emmert refused to rule out the "death penalty" for Nittany Lion football.
Emmert said he's "never seen anything as egregious as this in terms of just overall conduct and behavior inside a university." He added, "What the appropriate penalties are, if there are determinations of violations, we'll have to decide."

The last time the NCAA shut down a football program with the so-called "death penalty" was in the 1980s, when SMU was forced to drop the sport because of extra benefits violations.

"This is completely different than an impermissible benefits scandal like [what] happened at SMU, or anything else we've dealt with," Emmert explained. "This is as systemic a cultural problem as it is a football problem. There have been people that said this wasn't a football scandal.

"Well, it was more than a football scandal, much more than a football scandal. It was that but much more. And we'll have to figure out exactly what the right penalties are. I don't know that past precedent makes particularly good sense in this case, because it's really an unprecedented problem."

OR, AS ONE
sports-law expert put it last week, “Let’s face it, a football coach raped kids and he did so facilitated allegedly by another football coach and athletic officials, and some of the crimes occurred in the Penn State showers. I think that’s sufficient nexus to the team.”

Given that, I was glad to hear the death penalty for Penn State is on the table. God willing, it soon will be off of the table and into effect.

As a rule, false gods need to be sent packing. When the worship of college football and the corruption of the big money made off of it leads to university officials tolerating child sexual abuse by someone associated with the football program -- as the by-then retired Sandusky obviously still was -- that particular false god needs to be killed, its graven image melted down and the ground it once stood upon plied with salt.

I DON'T give a damn that people will lose their jobs. I don't give a damn that motels and hotels in State College will lose money. I don't give a damn that players will have to scramble to find new teams.

No job, no business and no full-ride scholarship for any "student athlete" -- and the fact I felt compelled to put that in quotes is part and parcel of the corrupting influence of this particular false god in all too many cases -- is worth the innocence of a single child.

Penn State football can go to hell. And all the people who fed the monster, who bowed before the false god that it became, need to spend a few years of quality time with the Real One, making amends and doing penance.

I don't know whether or not Jerry Sandusky "needs killin'." But Penn State football sure as hell does.

Just do it.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The South that raised me

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When I was a child, all of the South was like the Mississippi of this 1966 NBC News documentary, Mississippi: A Self-Portrait.

The only thing was that Mississippi was just a little bit more.

If we all waived Confederate battle flags -- we called them "Rebel flags" -- Mississippians waived them a little bit more. Especially during football season, for the University of Mississippi was (and is) home of the Ole Miss Rebels. Today, the name remains, though the flag and "Colonel Rebel" do not, and that transition was not an easy one for Mississippians.

If we all celebrated "moonlight and magnolias" and venerated "the Lost Cause," Mississippi celebrated and venerated a little bit more.

And if there was ugliness toward blacks -- we called them "Negroes" or "nigras" or "colored," and that's when we were trying to be nice -- or racial strife to be unleashed, Mississippians did what Southerners did back then. Just a little bit more fervently.

I was born in 1961.
Mississippi: A Self-Portrait aired on NBC in 1966, when I was in kindergarten in Baton Rouge. Until 1970, I attended legally segregated elementary schools.

Welcome to my world.

WELCOME to my upbringing as the child of racist parents in a racist, racially segregated society, which represented the only way they knew how to live. Which represented, for a long time, the only world I ever knew.

If you know anything about the South today, watching this film will show you how far it's come in 46 years. If you know anything about the South today, you know how far it still has to go. You also know this:
It gets complicated.

I was raised by white folk just like the white folk in this documentary.

You want to know the dirty little secret of that? The part that makes one both a victim and a perpetrator, brings one to the line where the difference between conscious and unconscious -- willfulness and reflexiveness -- gets . . .
complicated?

It's this: Ivan Pavlov, of "Pavlov's dog" fame, was right.

Pavlov started ringing a bell whenever he fed his dogs. Soon enough, the dogs began to slobber at the ringing of a bell. We white Southerners of a certain age --
a great many of us -- were conditioned to slobber at the ringing of any number of bells, most of them cracked.

AND THAT'S what the Yankees can't take away -- what maybe even Jesus can't completely take away. We can learn morality. We can accept "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" in our minds and, indeed, even in our hearts.


We can do this. God Almighty compels us to do so; I know this. The force of our will enables us to at least attempt this.

But none of this takes away that goddamned --
God-damned, to be precise -- and devilishly cracked bell that a sick society started to ring in our ears the minute we popped out of our mamas' wombs. If we white Southerners of a certain age are honest, those of us who were neither born saints nor raised by them, we recognize that God-damned, subconscious half a second between some stimulus right out of 1966 (or 1956, for that matter) and the moral conscience that imperfectly informs our conscious mind in 2012.

Most white Southerners won't tell you that; I just did. Because that damning 1966 documentary about Mississippi -- about how old times there were not forgotten -- is pretty much how I was reared in south Louisiana back then. Hell, I remember when my eldest uncle died when I was a junior in high school (and I'm talking 1977 here), it was real important for my old man to find out whether the funeral home in Ponchatoula was "all-white."

The mortician eagerly assured him that, yes, it was. Another place in town was the "colored funeral home."

Because race mixing was
(is?) an issue, even when you're dead as a doornail, sealed in a coffin and 6 feet deep in the good Southern soil.

WELCOME to my world, the one I cannot escape no matter how far afield of the South I might wander. The world that made my mind and haunts my heart. The world that gave so many of us that God-damned subconscious half second.

Meantime,
make sure you go here (and that you watch the segments in order) to see how we're trying -- black and white alike -- to make sense of what made no damn sense at all, God help us.

Noise nazis mind the bollocks


The sun not only has set on the British Empire, but now it's set on what's left of British civilization as well.

Never mind the lads and ladettes, skirmishing with the bobbies in the street . . . or on the street, prostrate in their own vomit.

Never mind last year's mindless riots all across England.

Never mind Hackgate . . . or Rupertgate, if you will.

Never mind austerity, either.


AND NEVER MIND Sarah Ferguson, for God's sake. All that could happen anywhere, and probably will. Hell, even Fergie -- the British one -- is kinda like if Snooki and Britney had gone to finishing school.

No, you know a great nation is finished well and good when it pulls the plug on Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney. Together.

In concert.

For the first time ever.

Why? All because a bunch of Westminster Council noise nazis dared not to, in the name of history, turn back the hands of time in the face of a 10:30 p.m. Hyde Park "noise curfew." How twee . . . in a vaguely fascist kind of way.


When Britain's contributions to music begin to equal its achievements in dentistry, it's just time for 'em to hang it up and let the French run the joint. Again.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tomatoes and shoes be with you


Some loonies on the right-hand side of America's great divide think Barack Obama is a Muslim. Or a "Muslin," as the case may be.

They miss the point.

It doesn't matter whether the president of the United States is a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew or a Druid, the bottom line is that U.S. policy -- just as under the evangelical George W. Bush -- is to be very, very upset when Arab despots murder their fellow Muslims but not so upset when Christians get slaughtered by Islamists under "democratic" regimes in the region. In this respect, President Obama is no better than Bush 43 . . . and probably even worse.

The mainstream American press generally won't point this out. Americans by and large will not call "bullshit" where bullshit needs to be called.

Egyptian Christians will, though. It is their lives on the line and --
Boy, howdy! -- did they give Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the business Sunday. Good on them. The tomato-and-shoe toss rather made the point, methinks.


CHANTING "Monica!" was a little 1998, however. From the newly rebranded NBCNews.com (formerly MSNBC):
Prominent Christian Egyptians snubbed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday because they feel the U.S. administration favors Islamist parties over secular and liberal forces in society at the expense of Egypt's 8 million Christians.

The critical theme was repeated by others Sunday in Cairo and Alexandria despite Clinton denying U.S. interference in Egyptian elections.

The politicians, businessmen and clerics who snubbed Clinton were supposed to take part in meetings between Clinton and influential members of civil society.

Coptic Christian businessman and politician Naguib Sawiris and three other Coptic politicians said in a statement they were objecting to Clinton's policies in solidarity with the mainstream Egyptian.

They also said that since the revolution, the U.S. administration and Clinton have paid many visits in support of Islamic political currents in society while ignoring other civil movements.

The four prominent Copts consider the meeting with the Islamist parties a form of external pressure to push the Islamists to power and ignore other civil movements. They blamed the U.S. for even showing a preference for an Islamist presidential candidate.

Egypt, a nation of nearly 84 million, is 90 percent Muslim, 9 percent Coptic and 1 percent other Christian denominations.

Two church leaders also turned their back on Clinton.

Coptic Bishop Morcos and Evangelical church leader Safwat al Bayadi refused to meet with Clinton because of what they characterized as interference in Egyptian internal affairs and U.S. support for Islamists while ignoring the majority of Egyptians.

A few hundred protesters chanted the same message in front of the Garden City Four Seasons hotel where Clinton overnighted.

I WONDER whether Obama will offer aggrieved Middle Eastern Christians the same kind of "compromise" he's offered Catholics and others over contraception coverage in the health-insurance mandate? In other words, not much of one at all.

For the sort of people who populate the Obama Administration, some lives are more important than others. At home, it's anybody's over A) the unborn or B) Christians with principles differing from those of secularist, "progressive" Democrats.

Everywhere else, it's anybody's over Christians who stand to be A) slaughtered by the winners of "democratic" elections or B) driven by the same from lands where they have lived since the dawn of Christianity itself.

Of course, thanks to the constitutional separation of church and state, the United States has no state religion. That is right and good.

But this is ridiculous.