Saturday, January 19, 2019

3 Chords & the Truth: Plumb out of clever


This is your head.

This is your head when it's plumb out of clever.

This is your head when you embrace the void, and just play some s*** and call it . . . good, actually.

That's where we are today on this, the latest episode of 3 Chords & the Truth. We're absolutely, positively out of cutesy, clever or anything vaguely resembling thematic.

You know what, though? That's OK. As it turns out, the Big Show doesn't particularly need cutesy, clever or thematic. What it needs is good music, and that we got plenty of.

OH . . . we also got this nifty picture of a vacuum tube from a 1928 RCA Radiola 18. That's a radio -- remember those?

After 91 years, it still works fine. I seriously doubt your big-screen TV, your laptop, your smartphone . . . or your government will still be functional in nine decades.

Hell, your government isn't functional now. But I digress.

The show. Music. Good. Getting by without big theme or cleverness. Check.

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



Friday, January 18, 2019

It's magi-sounda-what?


Don't know what to make of 3 Chords & the Truth?

That's OK. Sometimes, neither do I. Then again, that's kind of the point of the whole thing.

It's the Big Show, y'all. Be there. Aloha.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

3 Chords & the Truth: All in all . . . .


All in all, we're just another brick in the wall.

Or another bollard in the steel-slat, fencey-wally thing to keep the brown people out.

As we post this week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth, a quarter of the U.S. government still is flat-lined because Someone wants his big, beautiful border wall, and Congress won't fund it. Some 800,000 federal employees aren't being paid . . . whether they've been furloughed or are being forced into "essential personnel" involuntary servitude.

Slave labor is real, people. Still.

It's another fine mess we've gotten ourselves into.

OR, IN THE topical Big Show universe in which your Mighty Favog produces this particular podcast, it's (as is regularly said in the Omaha, by God, Nebraska studios as a show theme percolates its way into reality), "Another week, another clusterf*** we have to address."

Well, let's just say that 3 Chords & the Truth endeavors to make America's national clusterf***s as entertaining as possible. And dat's da name of dat toon.

Yeah. Amusing and thought-provoking clusterf***s. Such is life these days in these here United States. And on this here program.

You can be assured that this latest cock-up is being made the most of. Dangling preposition and all.

I personally think it's well worth a listen. But that's just me. You're welcome to agree, however.

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


Monday, January 07, 2019

One speaker + 10 watts = HOLY CRAP!

OK, so I have this 1957 Realistic tuner and amplifier. Vacuum-tube city, don't you know?

There's also a 1952 Webcor record changer, a Bluetooth receiver, a little utility mixer . . . and a Gough speaker enclosure built from plans sold by Welsh speaker-designer Jabez Gough in 1961. I've been highly impressed at the sound this cabinet gets out of a single 8-inch driver. Now I'm doubly impressed now that I've replaced the Electro-Voice Wolverine LT-8 triaxial speaker with an older (and heavier) E-V SP8B coaxial driver.

YOU'D THINK a two-way driver would be a bit of a drop-off from the three-way. In this case, you'd be wrong. The difference was marked, and for the better. That SP8B sings in that Gough enclosure -- good high end, great midrange presence and deep bass that's just the right amount of low end.

All this from one 8-inch two-way speaker that was a "starter driver" for your average late-1950s "hi-fi nut" building his own speaker system. Go figure.

For me, though, it just sounds like my childhood . . . only in mono and probably a bit better than the 1962 Magnavox Stereo Theatre that defined "good sound" for a budding Baby Boomer audio geek.

I am sure a smartphone and earbuds serve a purpose. Actually, one good purpose my iPhone often serves is feeding Internet radio to the mid-century audio extravaganza.

I likewise am sure earbuds or "smart speakers" serve a purpose, whatever the hell that might be. Really, I'm sure they're just fine.

But, by God, they ain't this.

Friday, January 04, 2019

Christmas ain't over till the wise men proclaim

If you can't use the classic peel-off Polaroid film and classic Polaroid cameras anymore, you can use my new favorite iPhone app in the world -- the Polaroid Fx app, which makes smartphone pictures look like whatever kind of Polaroid snapshot you'd like.

Here, I have a Polaroid 107 black-and-white film thing going. Now, if the app could just let you pull the actual print out of your phone and peel the negative off, that would be great.

Friday, December 21, 2018

3 Chords & the Truth: Dude! Merry Christmas!


If you don't listen to a 3 Chords & the Truth Christmas -- that's the big Yuletide Blowout Edition of the Big Show -- Santa Claus is going to shove a lump of coal down your Fruit of the Looms and set it alight.

And Buddy the Elf is gonna laaaaaaaugh and laaaaaaaugh and laugh.

Have a blessed Christmas, now, y'all, y'hear?

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


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

My day in almost-dead formats


It's been this kind of day at the studio here in Omaha, by God, Nebraska.
The anachronism is great in this one. May the anachronism be with you.
While I'm eyeball deep in this kind of thing, maybe you can be listening to the
3 Chords & the Truth sort of thing. Just a suggestion.





















Friday, December 14, 2018

3 Chords & the Truth: We bring the magic


There's magic in the air -- it's almost Christmas, then there's the magic of the radio. On the Internet.

On a podcast that remembers the magic of radio and the magic of those Christmases of long-ago youthful exuberance.

On this edition of 3 Chords & the Truth, we remember the magic. We bring the magic. You just listen and see . . . hear . . . whatever. Magic and a couple of curveballs -- how's that for a description of this week's show?

This week's Big Show.

Geez, how many ways can we say "It's great!" It's like being in junior high and trying to hit that magic 500-word benchmark for an in-class essay. Junior high . . . when we were young and exuberant.

But not about in-class 500-word essays. Yuck.

Well, the show's magic, we're simply having a wonderful Christmastime, and I've officially run out of literary bovine fertilizer. This, my friend, will have to do.

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


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

And now a word from our sponsor

That's a new low price for the Nostalgio, our best entertainment center with full stereophonic sound. You'll find full details on Page 299 of this year's Christmas wish book.
And, as always, 3 Chords & the Truth is absolutely free.
We now return you to your program.

Monday, December 10, 2018

It's Christmastime in the city

As my wife and I wandered Sunday night around Omaha's Old Market, a couple of things became clear.
That is, besides it being chilly.

OK, damn cold. It is December, and this is Nebraska.
Al fresco season is over until May, unless, of course, your name happens to be Alfonse Fresco. We've no intention of cheating Mr. Fresco out of a single day, which leads me to clarify that Al Fresco season would be the season for Al Fresco and not the season on Al Fresco.

It is a sign of the times that this has to be made clear.

Now, where was I?

Seasons, I believe. And wintertime in the Old Market, Omaha's favorite downtown spot for sidewalk dining and people watching.

The other thing what was clear as we walked down Howard Street -- apart from the unpleasant epiphany that I should have worn a coat, not a jacket, and that it might have been a good idea for my lovely bride to wear . . . socks -- is that Christmas is nigh.
Ho, ho, ho, y'all.
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 08, 2018

3 Chords & the Truth: The Then Sound?


We may do more than speak anachronism around here.

This week on the Big Show, the closest we actually come to "the NOW sound" is a new record from someone who's been in the music biz as long as I've been alive. Note: That's a looooooonng time.

Otherwise, we have some 78s, some old LPs and some 45s that go back to the genesis of the format. Which was at least a couple of generations removed from how folks get their music now.

At least.

WE SPEAK anachronism -- hell, we live anachronism around here -- because apart from liking it, there seems to be less and less percentage in the present. And sometimes you just need a reprieve from it.

OK, 3 Chords & the Truth needs frequent reprieves from the present . . . the eternal NOW. Give us some good, old-fashioned Then now and again. And again. And again.

Anachronism, c'est nous.

Embrace anachronism. It's good.

AND, while I'm thinking of it, the tasty Christmas tunes continues apace this week on the program as we try to make the season bright. And hot chocolate, pepperminty, candy cane-y.

So it's ho-ho-ho . . . and on with the show.

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




Wednesday, December 05, 2018

We must Facebook the music here


It started with the Grinch Who Muted Christmas Music.

It ended with the last straw for me on Facebook after a decade wasting way too much time and productivity there. Here is the one thing you need to know about everybody's favorite addiction: Facebook is the devil. Ask Parliament.

Make that co-devil. The incompetent, greedy conglomerates that ate the music industry are just as evil. I eagerly await the leak of their internal memos and emails.

I don't know exactly why it took me this long -- and why the last straw was a geeky string of muted Facebook videos shot on my iPhone -- to delete my account. But here I am.

Last week, Facebook and Sony Music Entertainment decided that my 1936 Zenith, playing Christmas music in a video I posted last year, was a threat to the entire music-copyright regime. Thus, I was notified that, for all my Facebook friends and enemies, the sound of yuletide also would be the sound of silence.

This was my entirely unconvincing appeal of patent insanity . . . or Digital Millennium Copyright Act insanity, to be precise:

It's background music played on a bloody antique radio, for God's sake. This is absurd.

If anyone is using this video to bootleg music, he is a moron. This is just insane. Stop it.

THIS WEEK, Russia's favorite social-media platform, some other bunch of music charlatans muted a nerdy, geekly little iPhone video of a 1949 7-inch single playing on my 1957 Zenith record changer. I thought it was a bit of audio-enthusiast fun with sufficiently not-good-enough-to-pirate audio.

Which no one was making a penny off of.


Corporate America thought it was a mortal threat. You know, like women smoking cigarettes are for the Islamic State.

And last night, after the copyright Nazis yet again muted the audio on a video of another exceedingly old 45 I got at an estate sale, the reason for my disgust crystallized in my mind. Short version: Facebook is the devil.

Long version: It seems that Facebook is a corporate entity dedicated to eating the capitalistic and societal seed corn. I think you reach that point on a couple of levels -- you successfully addict people to your product, then spend years abjectly exploiting them while you destroy, bit-by-bit, the product's value and utility.

The second level? A good example is the virtual impossibility of posting genial little videos like those of mine that keep getting muted (because ambient-sound music on iPhone videos obviously will destroy all music sales on every level). It illustrates a larger issue about Facebook that doesn't bode well for our country (anyone's country, actually) or our society. Basically, it's a crapload easier to post the worst kind of racist propaganda and hatred, then have it stay on the platform and spread like a metastasizing cancer than it is to post a geeky, innocent video of a radio or a record playing that's more likely just to make people smile and wax nostalgic.

Then we have Boris and Natasha. Has it not been extensively documented how simple it was for Russian saboteurs to flood Facebook with abject fakery and disinformation in order to steal an American presidential election and perhaps fatally undermine the world's greatest democracy?


THIS IS what happens during the terminal stages of capitalism and capitalistic societies, when human beings -- citizens of advanced Western nation states -- are nothing but pieces of meat whose utility ends at the point some corporate entity extracts their last dime.

Bigotry and hatred, corporate America can monetize via platforms like Facebook in much the same manner Donald Trump turns it into political capital. Stupid little videos of old record players playing old records -- or old radios playing Christmas music -- are not nearly so profitable for the platform or those to whom it sells your personal information. Indeed, some music-industry megalith sees your stupid little video as imperiling the extraction of the last nickel from an industry mortally wounded by those self-same corporations' overarching greed and lack of marketing vision.

Not to put too fine a point on it, when you find that you're spending too much time somewhere that expressly makes it easier to do bad than good . . . run. Run far away.

That's what I'm doing -- running. Plus, if I'm exposed to much more of the average level of language-arts proficiency on Facebook, I'm gonna regress to communicating via clicks and grunts.

I suppose one could write strongly worded letters to our corporate overlords. That, however, would take years and cramp millions of fingers. It also, I betting, would avail us nothing.

Or . . . you starve the bastards. Tragically, the only universal language (and common value) today is money. If they can't sell my eyeballs to advertisers, Facebook is diminished just a little. If Facebook can't sell 500 million eyeballs to marketers, it's screwed.

I mean, how many f***ing selfies can you take and overshare? Am I right?


Bye, Facebook. I can feel life becoming simpler (and less overshared) already.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

3 Chords & the Truth: Gettin' in the spirit


The last of the Thanksgiving turkey has gone into a sandwich. It's cold outside, and we're waiting on the snow. Christmas is around the corner, and I may have had a drink or two.

You would even say I glow . . . it glows. Something glows.

Happy ho-ho-ho to you, pally.

Where was I?

Oh, yeah. The latest edition of 3 Chords & the Truth. Well, this is it.

The show is back after a Thanksgiving break, and we're trying to get in the holiday spirit -- such as it is these days. The Big Show will do its best, which your Mighty Favog is confident is on display with this present episode.

It's festive. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Ho, ho, ho. Listen to the show.

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

Pour me another martini, will ya, Jackson? (Thud.)


Thursday, November 29, 2018

Radio Anachronism is on the air. Until it isn't.


Let's make Polaroid art while we can, being that the last of the peel-off film left the factory -- any factory -- more than a year ago. There ain't gonna be any more for the foreseeable future.

And if there ain't gonna be any more for the foreseeable future, there won't be any wet emulsions on the peeled-off part of the film to plaster onto copy paper to make a second, much funkier print. And if you can't make any second, much funkier prints. . . .

I get that time marches on. I get that progress must progress. But I don't like it.


I DON'T LIKE losing more and more of the tactile in technology and in life. I don't like that there won't be that feel -- and that satisfaction -- of pulling film out of an old Polaroid camera . . . and waiting.

I don't like having one less way to be creative that doesn't involve a computer -- not unless you want it to. I don't like having one less opportunity to figure something out myself in a very analog fashion.


I don't like a world where creativity is becoming, where everything is becoming, a Walter Mitty exercise -- the technological version of living in your head instead of in the world.

And I want people to still make effing Polaroid pack film (the peel-off kind) and reel-to-reel audio tape and flash bulbs that scare the s*** out of people when they go off and drip coffee pots . . . and typewriters.

Fat chance, that. This is a world where the under-30 set no longer knows how to write in (or read) cursive, and most of the world's typing gets done with one's thumbs.

WHAT IS IT with that?

Let me ask my friend Harvey.

You have your fake social circle on your smartphone. You have your fake news. I get to have a fake 6-foot bunny rabbit.


And the last of the peel-off instant film.

Yeah, I know. Mighty big talk for someone who's ranting about all this stuff on his blog.

Fortunately, hypocrisy never goes out of style.