Friday, September 20, 2019

Art imitates life imitates art imitates . . . oh, dear

March 19, 1956: I Love Lucy

The Ricardos and Mertzes are in gay Paris. Lucy wants an honest-to-goodness Parisian designer gown. Ricky doesn't want to spend that kind of money.

Lucy has an idea (Here is where everyone needs to run for their lives). She will go on a hunger strike until Ricky buys her an honest-to-goodness Parisian designer gown. Lucy has another idea (If you're still around, you deserve the Armageddon that's about to descend on you and all). She will have Ethel sneak her food, so that the hunger strike actually isn't. Lucy hides the food all over their hotel room.

Ricky feels guilty. Ricky gives in. But then Ricky finds a roast chicken in a camera bag. Ricky grabs the dress box and runs off. Ricky and Fred decide to "show" Lucy and Ethel. Ricky and Fred have Jacques Marcel "designer dresses" made out of potato sacks and put phony Jacques Marcel labels on them. And as a crowning touch, they give Lucy and Ethel a feed bag and a champagne bucket as "designer hats."

People stare at Ethel and Lucy. People laugh at Lucy and Ethel. Humiliation abounds. Ricky and Fred feel guilty. Ricky and Fred buy them real Jacques Marcel dresses (again).

Later . . . Ricky, Fred, Lucy and Ethel see the sack dresses and unique "hats" on models for Jacques Marcel. But Lucy and Ethel had burned their unwitting "designer originals."

Cue face palm from Ricky.


Sept. 20, 1967: D.H. Holmes ad, Baton Rouge, La.

Holy crap.
And that's why you come to this here little blog, folks. There's no absurdity that I won't notice.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Same thing, different particulars

Baton Rouge (La.) State-Times, Sept. 18, 1969

I like to look through old newspapers, which to me is a much cheaper way of revisiting my long-lost youth than combing my remaining hair over the bald spot, buying a flashy convertible and having an affair with a nearsighted woman much younger than myself.

Which brings us to the nearsighted, much-younger woman part.

I remember what a media sensation it was when arch pop-culture weirdo Tiny Tim married Miss Vicki . . . on The Tonight Show.


MISS VICKI, otherwise known as Victoria Budinger (or "the pretty New Jersey teenager"), was 17. Tiny Tim, otherwise known as Herbert Khaury, was 37, but everybody thought he was a decade older. In 1969, "Me Too" was more like "Me Can!"

As I said, it was a media sensation.

At this juncture, your woke-ass, under-50 self might be thinking "WHAT THE FUCK?!"

Exactly.

You see, we westerners -- particularly we Americans -- always have been all about the weird shit. 1969's "Isn't that cute? Kinda weird, but cute" has become 2019's "Lock him up and cut his nuts off! Then sue!"

On the other hand, we fail to bat an eyelid at believing there are something like 73 genders today, that "men" can have babies and that we all must state our preferred pronouns. (Mine is "My Lord and Master / My Lord and Master." If you don't think that's an actual pronoun, you are a hater, and you're making me feel threatened.)

AMID ALL the suckage of middle age and aging, the one benefit is having developed (at least one hopes) a finely tuned bullshit detector and an appreciation for the waves of bat-shit crazy that periodically roll through -- and roil -- what's left of our society. So, if you're just floating through postmodern America right now, and you think everything looks pretty normal to you, boy is your old self gonna be embarrassed by your young self in about 50 years.

Assuming, of course, we survive the absurdity that is President Donald Trump. That right there is a big-ass assumption, so we'll see.

Friday, September 13, 2019

3 Chords & the Truth: Still the same . . . or something


I feel like the Big Show is a Bob Seger thing . . . still the same.

Forget that. We actually don't have any Bob Seger on the show this week. We are, however, still the same -- in that we're rarely the same week to week.

Which, conversely, makes 3 Chords & the Truth still the same in programmatic non-sameness. Or something like that.

I am starting to not make sense. Which might make me president of the United States, and no one wants that. Then again, nobody wants the present president of the United States, either.

So I'll merely say that this current edition of the Big Show is the same as every other in its eclecticism and high quality. And your host is what he is.

That is all.

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


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

It's beginning to look a lot like Pyongyang


Donald Trump tweets yet another president-for-life meme, then retweets the House minority leader's "Dear Leader" obsequiousness.

Today is the 18th anniversary of the al-Qaida terrorist attacks on America, which ushered in the War on Terror. Maybe we ought to have been just as committed to a War on People Who Want to Turn Us Into North Korea.

Seems I picked a most appropriate day to schedule a colonoscopy.

Sunday, September 08, 2019

The abomination of desecration


Like millions of Americans, I watched the towers fall in New York City -- live -- on my television set.

Before they fell, I saw people leap to their deaths.rather than be burned alive.

I watched the Pentagon burn. I heard the stories from Flight 93, which gave us "Let's roll!" as a battle cry after Sept. 11, 2001.

Looking into the Omaha sky that day, I saw fighter jets and an AWACS plane. And no other aircraft for days.

I saw my country changed forever, and not for the better, in a single morning. That day, 2,996 people died. People are still dying -- many of them New York first responders -- because of that day.

Wikipedia
TO THIS DAY, I get a pit in my stomach whenever I see old pictures of the twin towers of the then-World Trade Center.

And this is how the Omaha World-Herald has chosen to commemorate that terrible day -- with a 9/11 coupon section. If there's a more telling embodiment of the America of  Donald Trump, who infamously called a New York TV station to brag (falsely) that his Trump Tower now was the city's tallest, I don't know what that would be.

Thousands die. Hey, that's a killer opportunity to make a buck! Right, Warren Buffett? Right, Lee Enterprises?

I can't wait for what the World-Herald has planned for Pearl Harbor Day and Holocaust Remembrance Day.

On Flight 93 over Pennsylvania, when Todd Beamer told his fellow passengers "Let's roll!" as they fought to foil the plane's hijackers, little did we know how America would be rolling nearly two decades later.

It's enough to make one wonder whether our worst enemies are the ones who just might know us best.

Great Satan, indeed.

Saturday, September 07, 2019

3 Chords & the Truth: Really?


There was a hurricane.

And, like, it moved north, you know, and wasn't. . . .

Not headed anywhere near Alabama.  But then the president tweeted. And. . . .

Then . . . then . . . he was wrong. But truth is a casualty when he's wrong and reality must be bent to make lies into something like the truth in this crazy, mixed-up land.

I swear to God, what's a poor music show to do in the middle of a loony bin? I'm talking about 3 Chords & the Truth here.

PITY THE Big Show that just wants to have fun when an apocalypse calls. No, not the Apocalypse, just an apocalypse.

But Donald Trump's trying hard, you know?

So tune in for 3 Chords & the Truth in full underground, rebel radio station mode. Because someone has to tell folks they're not the ones who are crazy.

Oh . . . the music's damn good, too.

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


Thursday, September 05, 2019

The emperor has no brain

The president of the United States is pictured here expecting
Americans to buy what no second-grade teacher would

This will not be a lengthy post, mainly because I don't know what you really can say about displays of Category 5 crazy.

Either you recognize moonbattery when you see it . . . or you're a moonbat.

President Donald Trump proved once again Wednesday that he's a couple tacos shy of a combination plate. The man (or one of his obsequious staffers) doctored -- with a black marker, no less -- a hurricane forecast map from last week to "prove" that Alabama so too coulda been "hit hard" by Hurricane Dorian.

All because Trump tweeted this Sunday morning:


NOW, BY SUNDAY morning, everybody following the storm (except Trump, apparently) knew Dorian was going to come nowhere near Alabama. The only way you could write what Trump wrote in his tweet is if you are a) bat-shit crazy, b) suffering from dementia, c) have no fucking idea which of those states down there is Alabama . . . or d) all of the preceding.

My money's on D.

Trump began tweeting Sunday morning at 7:25. Between then and 7:58 a.m., he tweeted, retweeted and rage tweeted a number of things. Three of the retweets, in chronological order were these:



IN THE LAST retweet, the National Weather Service forecast map shows a small probability of tropical-storm force winds over a tiny sliver of southeastern Alabama. That would be if the hurricane tracked to the western periphery of the cone of uncertainty -- that is a far, far cry from "will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated."

But what you gonna do? Dotards gonna dotard. Trump's "Alabama" tweet came at 9:51 a.m. Sunday, after all these contradictory retweets.

The non-delusional community quickly responded to all this with a collective "What the fuck?" The press weighed in with a series of "the president erroneously tweeted. . . " dispatches, which is what journalists say when they really mean "What the fuck?"

Many think Trump doctored this as well.
And because the narcissistic nut job in control of 6,000-something nuclear weapons cannot ever be wrong about anything, he soon began rage tweeting about the lying fake-news media's lies about his inability to read a damn map with "circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one explainin' what each one was." For the record, my beautiful and intelligent wife predicted he would do exactly that.

I was just trying to figure out exactly how drunk I could get before Trump managed to bring about the End of Days.

Then came Wednesday. And the press availability in the Oval Office. And the hurricane map from last week with the Marks-A-Lot makeover.

I WAS WRONG. In this Era of Truthicide, posts about what used to be self-evident can expand way beyond what used to be necessary. You can write reams attempting to convince cultists and true-believers-in-the-unbelievable that the craziness in plain sight is both crazy and in plain sight.

It is a fool's errand, and I plead guilty. In my defense, the alternative is surrender and despair.

In this Age of Trump, is it better to be a fool cupping one's hands around a flickering, dying flame of hope, or better to be a realistic fatalist awaiting the end of one's country . . . one's world . . . the end of reason and truth?

That's the question -- one of the questions -- confronting a country led by an idiot man-child coloring on government maps to make lies into something like the truth.

I don't know what's going to happen between now and November 2020. All I know is this -- whatever happens, however the Age of Trump ends, that this might somehow all end well lies well outside the Cone of Uncertainty.

Farther even than Alabama.

Friday, August 30, 2019

3 Chords & the Truth: And it's all right?


We all, I think, had a close call with apocalyptic crazy last week, and it's all right.

For now.

I think.

The sun has continued to rise, and it appears we will make it to September. I think. That is, hurricanes and Washington willing.

Anyway, we're counting our being here to do yet another installment of 3 Chords & the Truth as a victory, which we're celebrating in the usual manner -- with really great music, eclectically presented.

IT'S THE BEST music. Unbelievably beautiful music. You would not believe how beautiful the music is on this week's edition of the Big Show.

And that's no fake news. Or is it Fake News?

The new rules for capitalization still kinda throw me. You know?

That said. . . .

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


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Wigged out

July 28, 1970: This. Just this.

It would be a decade, roughly, before I figured out what a deeply, deeply weird place I came from. It would be another decade or so before it dawned on all of us what deeply strange times in which we Baby Boomers came of age.

Aug. 27, 2019: All the incentive anyone needs to open a saving account (assuming we had any money to save) would be . . . interest on our deposits.

Monday, August 26, 2019

I missed all the big events


July 24, 1970: The Antichrist takes up residence at a Baton Rouge, La., appliance store. And I freakin' missed it.

I had no idea that the malevolent ruler of the world had such a fascination with color TV. He and the 9-year-old me would have had something to talk about.

I bet he could have gotten me an RCA AccuColor set long before 1975, when the Old Man finally relented, succumbing to non-stop bitching by me and my mother and admitting that color television was not, alas, a fad. We did not get an RCA from McLeod's, however.

My father was a Magnavox man.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

3 Chords & the Truth: We had a good run, eh?


The lunatic tweets like an ass.

The lunatic speaks out his ass
Remembering blame and crazy claims and gaffes
Got to keep the loonies on the path

The lunatic has cast a pall
The lunatics have so much gall
TV news keeps his crazy rants in our ears
And every day the lunatic spews more


And the crazy train is off the rusted tracks again
And if this is the end of the damn line
And if your head explodes with dark forebodings too
I'll see you here on 3 Chords & the Truth

It's the Big Show, y'all. Let's be here while we can. Aloha.

(Apologies to Pink Floyd.)


Friday, August 16, 2019

3 Chords & the Truth: Music box


What is the Big Show?

The program, 3 Chords & the Truth, is basically an internet-enabled, really eclectic, Favogian frickin' music box. Like a radio.

I assume you're listening on something that roughly approximates a box. And that there's music coming out of it.

Voila! Music box.

And in the case of the Big Show, it's a good music box. Or a box filled with good music. However you'd like to phrase it.

It's certainly a box radiating eclectic music, carefully curated. I'm told I should use phrases like "carefully curated." I don't know why.

WE LIVE IN an age of branding, I suppose. That's fine, as far as it goes, but it doesn't equal doing. And thoughtfully selected and placed music is what we just frickin' do on 3 Chords & the Truth.

Heat up that iron in a fire and brand something with it, Cowboy.

Hell, I don't even know where I'm going with this. Hell, the veterinarian didn't know where I was going with it when I asked him whether the organizers were giving out Who's a GOOD Boy? awards at his 30-year vet-school reunion this summer.



AND, by the way, Belle the Dog is lying on the back of the couch watching Elmo on PBS Kids.

I don't know why.

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


Thursday, August 15, 2019

This breaks my damn heart


1962. It was the blackest of years; it was the most idealistic and hopeful of years.

Jim Crow refused to go quietly in the South. Communism, and the fear of it, haunted everything we were, did and said in America. Between us and the Soviet Union, we almost blew up the world.

But also in 1962, if we made it through October, the world would be a better place by springtime -- we just knew it.

Young Americans brimmed with idealism. Black college kids and white college kids risked their lives for their ideals in a peaceful assault against segregationist brutality in Dixie.

The youth of a country that 17 years before had vanquished Nazi Germany and militarist Japan found inspiration in a young president who challenged them to ask what they could do for their country.

JOHN GLENN orbited the earth three times. Next stop: the moon.

America had set its gaze on the New Frontier, and John Stewart of the The Kingston Trio could write liner notes like these above.

I was 1 year old. Hope was alive and kicking. Even in the South.

2019. A broken-down, 58-year-old music-show and blog guy sits at his iMac, typing. He wonders what the fuck happened.

He reads the hopeful, idealistic and oh-God-how-naive words of the late Mr. Stewart, and he wants to cry. He fears that there are no more tears left. Even more, he's terrified that fear will be put to the test again and again.

"So now, as never before, an age of introspection is reaching every one of us." Now our nation is becoming what we've willed within ourselves -- a heart of darkness.

"The horror! The horror!"

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Listen to Wubbie


Watch intently.

Obey Wubbie. You're feeling the need to listen. Listen. You really need to listen to the Big Show.

Listen to Wubbie.

Wubbie says listen to 3 Chords & the Truth. Wubbie loves good music. YOU love good music. Wubbie says listen.

Listen.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Music in the night: The anachronism edition

Here in Omaha, by God, Nebraska, we're taking a break this week from the Big Show, but not from music in the night.
In the process, I may have accidentally created a historical, technological and cultural mishmash for the ages. Let me explain here. 
While doing some maintenance on our laptop (and waiting for the interminable latest major update to Windows 10 to . . . well . . . terminate), I decided to listen to the radio. So I turned on our 1928 RCA Radiola 18, one of the earliest "light socket" sets, which translates to "electric" from the 1920s technobabble.

IN 1928, a technomiracle was as simple as "No more messy lead-acid batteries in the living room!"

"OK, whatevs," you say. But I totally get it. F'rinstance:

What if everybody's big flat-screen TV set ran off car batteries. In a cabinet. In your living room.

THEN, WHILE still waiting for the computer to update while listening to the local AM-oldies station, I decided to take a couple of geeky, artsy photos with . . . my iPhone. While the radio still is going strong after 91 years, I do not expect the iPhone to still be operational decades after I have ceased to.

Then I uploaded the pictures to the iMac, edited them, then uploaded the finished products to the blog, via the Internet.

So what you see here is a nine-decade span of technological advancement (whether it's "progress" is debatable, depending), several massive leaps of the human imagination and at least as many head-spinning cultural shifts spurred by all the other shifts.

That, when you come to think of it, kind of tires you out. That is all.

Saturday, August 03, 2019

3 Chords & the Truth: WHOA!


Did you know there may be a race of men who live in the trees?

WHOA!

That's just one of the shocking developments you'll hear on this week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth. In fact, this episode of the show is chock full of surprises, unexpected endings and edge-of-your-seat musical moments.

IT'S TRUE!

So if you don't want to miss out on one WHOA! moment after another, DON'T TOUCH THAT DIAL!!! Even if your podcast-listening device doesn't actually have a dial.

Just do what we say, and everybody gets good music and somewhat-witty repartée. And it's right here on the Big Show.

You betcha.

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


Wednesday, July 31, 2019

For f***'s sake

You want to know how to get at least one Democrat who loathes Donald Trump and everything he represents to cast a futile protest vote in November 2020?

Nominate Kamala Harris.

In the last debate, she vowed to outdo Trump in the executive order, abuse-of-power department -- right before she vowed to treat states that pass abortion restrictions just like Southern states with a history of voting-rights abuses (Justice Department preclearance of election laws).

Of course, she failed to mention that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down that particular section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Now, her campaign has taken to Twitter to combine an unhinged social-justice warrior level of hypersensitivity with a Trumpian degree of pettiness.

If the Democrats don't get their heads out of their ideological asses, the election -- and the United States -- will be lost. If Democrats are insane enough to nominate Harris (for just one), it probably will be lost even in the extremely unlikely event she beats Trump and the Russians.

For what it's worth, I am older than Harris, and if Joe Biden called me "kid," I'd consider it a term of endearment and respond with a sincere smile. Then again, I thanked the last person who ever carded me at a bar.

That reminds me . . . I need a drink.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

3 Chords & the Truth: No static a-tall


Did your old man ever ominously warn you about giving him any static?

Mine did. It usually didn't work. I gave him static.

Well, pally, today we live in a world with nothin' but static. Static here, static there, static static static everywhere.

This week on 3 Chords & the Truth, I seek to make static amends by proclaiming this here program a static-free zone. There will be no static here, only good music.

And from the Great Beyond, Daddy now is saying "So NOW you decide to stop being an asshole."

To that, I only can say "Better late than never, Pop. Better late than never."

Enjoy your static-free edition of the Big Show.

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


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Political science

Wife: What's the dog got in her mouth?
Me: (Prying dog's jaws open and grabbing object.) 
Wife: What is it? 
Me: Oh, God. Eww. (Goes to drop object in toilet.) 
Me: (Washing hand with alcohol before sullying the soap.)

There's a political metaphor in there somewhere.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

3 Chords & the Truth: The Big Show has landed


"One of these days, Alice! Pow! Straight to the moon!"

One of these days came 50 years ago today. Pow! We went straight to the moon.

Oddly enough, it wasn't Ralph Kramden's fist that got us there. No, it was three brave astronauts who climbed atop a gigantic Saturn V rocket four days before, blasted off into the heavens and took the whole damned planet with them for a lunar joyride.

July 20, 1969. It was a Sunday. I was 8 years old -- almost 8 and a half. Halves are very important when you're 8.

That day -- POW! -- straight to the moon. Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins got there with Apollo 11. I suspect they kinda knew that I (and a few billion others) had hitched a ride on their rocket ship.

This episode of the Big Show has the moon on its mind, a way to remember the greatest thing mankind has done and give thanks to the three men who did it . . . and all the thousands of men and women who got them there.

In fact, this week's 3 Chords & the Truth doesn't have a single song that isn't a moon song. And they're all good. Fittingly good for an Apollo 11 anniversary program.

Mementos of a grade-school space nut
PUTTING THIS particular edition together put me, in a very real way, back in time. Back in our living room at 10645 Darryl Dr. in Baton Rouge. Back in front of the black-and-white, 21-inch Magnavox television tuned in to CBS and Walter Cronkite. Back to when I was an elementary-school spaceaholic, the one with all the Gemini-mission stickers all over the dresser mirror in my bedroom.

The 1960s were fraught times, like our own today. But a big difference was hope. We had hope. We knew we were better than our struggles and our national squabbles and missteps, and we had hope that, someday, we would overcome.

Someday.

We have yet to overcome and, indeed, we're backsliding. Today, we have a lot more Trump than we have hope.

BUT LOOKING BACK at Apollo 11 and those first glorious steps on a strange world, we know what the better angels of our human nature look like. And when we look up into a moonlit sky, we know that for those better angels, the sky is the limit.

And in an age seemingly bereft of heroes, we only have to look back within the lifetime of your broken-down old radio guy here to see a whole big bunch of them -- heroes who touched the moon, if not the stars.

For that, we give musical thanks.

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