Monday, January 31, 2011

Simply '70s: When radio was

Listen up, kiddies, and you will hear . . .

Top-40 radio back many a year,
John Records Landecker back in '77,
With WLS turning it up to 11
As the Big 89 slams it into gear

Across the glass, the engineer racks up some carts,
And your intrepid DJ opens his mike

As the "Boogie Check" music starts

Then the phone lines all start to light
As callers wait their chance to see
If a shooting star of the air they'll be,
Or whether their wit will just buy the farm
Will the man whose name is Records, with all due charm
Just yank their call like a fire alarm?

Boogie Check, Boogie Check, ooh ahh!

The day before February

Greetings from the upper Midwest, where it's a few minutes from February.

The weather outside is frightful; the coffee inside's delightful. I didn't have a chance to stick a digital camera out the door to take a dark, grainy video of what's going on here in the Gret White Nawth, so I swiped this off the Internets.

It's kind of like this, only without the tidal wave and Empire State Building. As a great philosopher once said, "Dem tings happen."

So does wintertime in Nebraska.


An Omaha man, covered neck to God-knows-where with tattoos, complains that he can't find a job in his chosen profession.

KETV television in Omaha has the stunning exposé here:

Michael Mitchell is a 30-year-old college graduate, but he's still trying to nail down his dream job.

"Right now I deliver pizzas for a living, but I'm a personal trainer," Mitchell said.

He's found the creative expression of his tattoos are hurting his chances in the job market.

"It turns out a lot more people have a problem with my tattoos than I thought 10 years ago," said Mitchell.

He said a recent job offer to be a personal trainer was revoked. He said the reason is written all over his body.

"It's not like they're discriminating the color of my skin, because I chose to do this," said Mitchell. "I understand they have the right, but maybe they should get with the times."
AND WHILE tattoo dude is waiting for employers to "get with the times," I'm going to hold him to that 30-minute delivery guarantee.

Really, is it really so hard to limit your "body art" to those areas easily covered by a shirt and pants?

Friday, January 28, 2011

3 Chords & the Truth: Ripples

We start out this week's edition of 3 Chords & the Truth with a little Gram Parsons -- "Cash on the Barrelhead" off of his "Grievous Angel" album.

It's a classic. It's also a cover version of a little something Charlie and Ira Louvin did years before. The Louvin Brothers made an impression on young Gram Parsons.

And Gram Parsons would carry the word. Carry it into the Byrds, onto their albums, and then onto his own. Of course, all that also makes its way onto the Big Show.

Ripples. The music of the Louvin Brothers -- of Charlie Louvin, who died this week at 83 -- splashed into our cultural consciousness in the early 1940s, really made waves in the '50s, and stuck around on the charts into the '60s.

Ripples. They rocked the Everly Brothers' musical boat. The Everlys rocked the Beatles'. The Beatles' rocked everybody's.

Ripples. The Louvin Brothers were Elvis Presley's favorite country act.

Those high harmonies ignited a fierce love of the same in young Emmylou Harris' heart.

Ripples. They keep going out from a long time past . . . from a couple of brothers growing up in north Alabama. They keep rocking somebody's world. Somebody carries the word, and the word -- the sweet harmonies of a long ago song -- inspires yet another generation, one unseen in 1955.

That's what 3 Chords & the Truth is all about this time -- ripples of the musical kind..

Elvis, the Everlys, Emmylou, Gram, the Byrds, the Beach Boys, Elvis Costello and on and on and on and on. Ripples.

Join us this week on the Big Show, and we'll float -- and rock -- your boat. All to the sweet sound of perfect harmony.

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

Hear here. Hear! Hear!

This certainly looks promising.

What we're talking here is Hear Nebraska, a new website covering -- and promoting -- all things musical in the Cornhusker State. It launched Monday and the goal, according to founder Andrew Norman, is to "be a interactive social-media site that we hope will be your favorite time suck."

So far, so good.

Besides, you have to give a major shout-out to a website that not only posts music videos by Omaha's Matt Whipkey, but music videos by Omaha's Matt Whipkey shot entirely in Super 8 and featuring the statue of Mary Richards (throwing her hat into the air, of course) on Minneapolis' Nicollet Mall.

(Kids, just go ask your parents -- on both counts.)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Save Soutehrn.
Recall Jimdel.
Aw, screw it.

Gov. Bobby "Jimdel" (Timdel?) laughs. Louisiana weeps. (Then again, ma-bee nout.)

And "Soutehrn University" is soooooo screwed.

I don't know what to say about this. Explication is so superfluous right now, considering the overwhelming nature of just the unvarnished reportage.

So here you go. The latest on the proposed merger of Southern University of New Orleans and the University of New Orleans. From
The Times-Picayune . . . or is that Tha Tymze Picounne . . . or Thee Teyems Pickeyun . . . or . . . oh, screw it.

I'm really sick and tired about
graduation rates. Graduation rates
mean nothing.
Southern University was
not developed to graduate people.
-- Randolph Scott,
alumni president
HERE'S the story from the newspaper. Satire is dead:
Starting with a fiery invocation and continuing with a long line of angry speeches Wednesday, speaker after speaker voiced support for Southern University of New Orleans and condemned the proposed merger with the University of New Orleans. In the prayer that opened a town-hall meeting in a packed SUNO gymnasium, Darryl Brown, a professor of English, asked God for guidance but said: "If this merger goes through, this will be the end of SUNO. We're not going to let that happen. We are here to fight."

In a voice that rose steadily throughout his invocation, Brown concluded by saying, "We stand in vision for one goal ... to retain SUNO forever."

That set the tone for the meeting at the 52-year-old historically black university. "They want you gone. They don't want SUNO here," said W.C. Johnson, a community activist.

"SUNO," he said, "is going to be a thing of the past unless you stand up and be counted and do your share."

The rest of his comment was drowned out by long, loud cheering, which was the response most speakers received from the several hundred spectators sitting in bleachers and in folding chairs on the gym floor.

AND WHAT are folks tryeing . . .tryyng . . . treyying . . . and what due do folks want to save? This.

Several speakers Wednesday emphasized the importance of historically black colleges such as SUNO for the work they do to nurture students who are poorly prepared for college work while in high school.

One criticism of SUNO has been its low graduation rate, which most recently was 9.28 percent, according to SUNO records. The most recent number from the federal Department of Education is 5 percent.

SUNO officials contend that the federal figure undercounts the number of people who earn degrees there because it counts only full-time freshmen who finished undergraduate work at the same institution within six years.

This is not possible for many students because they have to juggle jobs and family responsibilities, several speakers said, and many return to college after years away from academics.

Anthony Jeanmarie, a 35-year-old senior, called SUNO "the only place where a 35-year-old ... who walked away from college and came back can earn a degree. If not SUNO, where?"

UH . . . Delgado Community College, for starters? And then UNO?

Louisiana: It's more doomded than you thought.

Simply '70s: Who the hell knew?

As God is my witness, I'd never heard of the '70s British group Omaha Sheriff.

Apparently, I'm not alone -- Omaha Sheriff's first album in 1977, "Come Hell Or Waters High," made it up to No. 175 on the Billboard album chart but couldn't get arrested on the retail front.

ONE OF the band's founders, Bob Noble, however, did come to play in the band of Judie Tzuke -- someone I had heard of . . . and purchased her album "Sportscar" -- later in the '70s. He also did an album and a couple of tours with Dexy's Midnight Runners.

Go figure.

In the early 1990s, Noble moved his family to the States -- first Seattle and now Lake Worth, Fla., where he writes music, produces, arranges . . . and plays in an Irish band? (Isn't a Brit playing in an Irish band grounds for resumption of the Troubles or something?)

Anyway, it seems to me the least the man could have done was settle in Omaha.

Take afternoon strolls across "The Bob."

Maybe run for sheriff.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

OK, just one more. . . .

Here's one more from The Louvin Brothers, from the
Pet Milk Opry TV show.

By the way, can I have T. Tommy Cutrer's voice, by any chance? One of the great announcers ever.

I can find a million of these

If you grew up Southern in the '60s, this can only mean one thing: Saturday afternoon or evening.

It's The Porter Wagoner Show, with Porter Wagoner and the Wagonmasters, and co-starring pretty Miss Norma Jean!

Tragic songs of life

When you're young, you tend to stagger through life, thinking you know it all, that you're all that and then some, and that there's not a damned thing you can learn from the old folks.

This is why, when you get a little older and know a little better, you tend to tread wistfully through a youth-obsessed culture and mutter about youth being wasted on the young.

When I was young, the above masterpiece by the Louvin Brothers was known as "hillbilly music."
We wadn't about no damn hillbilly music. Well, at least we couldn't admit to being "about no damn hillbilly music."

Unless one was at the Cotton Club, just north of LSU on Highland Road, and you were just a little bit liquored up and oyster po-boy'd up, and it was a mixed crowd --
in other words, not your typical college bar -- and your resistance to all those Patsy Cline records on the best jukebox in Baton Rouge just fell to pieces.

And you had to admit it:
Yes, Don Kirchner, there was musical life before the Beatles.

ABOVE, on film from the Grand Ol' Opry, is a vintage 1950s performance of one of the greatest musical acts of all time, the Louvin Brothers. Here is another, straight off the record:

WHAT COULD WE possibly learn from the likes of the Louvin Brothers?

As it turns out . . .
plenty, as recounted today in Charlie Louvin's New York Times obituary:
Mr. Louvin achieved his greatest fame with the Louvin Brothers, the popular duo that modernized the close-harmony singing of Depression-era acts like the Blue Sky Boys and the Delmore Brothers and that anticipated the keening vocal interplay of the Everly Brothers.

Typically featuring Mr. Louvin on guitar and lead vocals and Ira, his older brother, on mandolin and high tenor harmonies, the Louvins’ 1950s hits also left their mark on the country-rock of the Byrds and others.

“I just could not get enough of that sound,” the singer Emmylou Harris said of the Louvin Brothers’ music in an interview with The Observer, the British newsweekly, in January 2010. “I’d always loved the Everly Brothers, but there was something scary and washed in the blood about the sound of the Louvin Brothers.”

Ms. Harris’s breakthrough country hit was a 1975 remake of the duo’s “If I Could Only Win Your Love.” Resolutely traditional in approach, Mr. Louvin and his brother, who died in an automobile accident in 1965, were proponents of the high, lonesome sound of the southern Appalachian Mountains, where they grew up. Some of their best-known recordings were updates of foreboding antediluvian ballads like “In the Pines” and “Knoxville Girl.” Other material centered on the wholesome likes of family and religion, including “The Christian Life,” an original that later appeared on “Sweetheart of the Rodeo,” the landmark Byrds album featuring the singer Gram Parsons.

Also falling under the duo’s sway were alternative-rock acts like Elvis Costello and the band Uncle Tupelo (which recorded a version of the Louvin Brothers’ cold-war plaint “Great Atomic Power” in 1992).

Despite their conservative cultural and musical leanings — their initial ’50s hits were recorded without drums, which were then commonplace in country music — the Louvins’ greatest acclaim came with the advent of rock ’n’ roll, when rebellious sentiments and loud backbeats were in ascendance. Their biggest single, “I Don’t Believe You’ve Met My Baby,” was a No. 1 country hit for two weeks in 1956. They also reached the country Top 10 with songs like “When I Stop Dreaming” and “Cash on the Barrelhead” during this period and were headliners in a touring revue that included Elvis Presley.
CHARLIE AND IRA LOUVIN were giants during an era of young titans who recognized the greatness of a couple of purveyors of "hillbilly music." Who decided there were things to be learned from the masters.

Now Charlie Louvin is gone, and one can hope a great, great act has been reunited on the other side of life. One also can hope that the Louvins' legacy will live on, passed down from those who were brave enough to embrace it in the first place. Who were smart enough to realize that beauty is timeless and oughtn't be wasted on a museum.

Maybe I'm naive.
But when I stop dreaming. . . .

Simply '70s: Dig the groovy sounds, man

This early-1970s TV commercial shows some Magnavox iPods docked for your home listening enjoyment.

Very stylish, no?

And this is a 1970 Magnavox Micromatic iPod undocked and ready to take with you wherever you go.

Young people back in my day were much stronger than today's youth, now more accustomed to toting around today's wimpy little iPod models.
Any questions?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Well, that's done with

Unbelievably, Jim Suttle survived his own campaign. Not to mention Tuesday's mayoral recall election in Omaha.

This is testament to the basic decency and even temper of the local electorate, as well as to fate handing hizzoner such an obviously self-interested and vaguely creepy lynch mob. It helped that the recall campaign's money man blatantly wanted Suttle's job for himself.

And the prospect of Dave Nabity as Omaha's mayor is enough to drive a man to . . . Council Bluffs.

Iowa, that is.

Gamblin' joints, trailer parks.

Suttle lived to fight out another couple-odd years
at city hall -- or a couple of odd years, take your pick -- by 51 percent to 49. It shouldn't have been that close. (See "Recall People, Creepy" and "Nabity, Dave.")

But it was that close, and it would be hard not to lay that one right at the clay feet of Forward Omaha, the moniker for Suttle's anti-recall effort, and its insane scheme to round up the homeless at local shelters, bus them to the election commissioner's office to register and vote, and then pay them $5 to "train" as "canvassers."
Wink wink, nudge . . . know what I mean, know what I mean?

That a move as smooth (not) as that was a godsend to the recall forces is evidenced by the election mailer above. Several of those went out in the campaign's waning days. And ads like this one began to flood the Omaha airwaves:

SEE WHAT I mean?

Without Suttle's political "friends" handing Nabity's Citizens for Omaha's Future the baseball bat it used to bludgeon the mayor, the spread -- again -- really shouldn't have been just 2 percentage points. Not even close.

At the outset of the recall effort, an Omaha World-Herald poll found that only 47 percent of respondents favored recalling Suttle, despite his 33-percent approval rating. Some 39 percent in the survey favored ousting the mayor, while 14 percent just didn't know.

Not only that, but according to the World-Herald's poll story Oct. 24, just about everybody had at least some misgivings about the whole thing:

If a recall election were held, Suttle might benefit from uncertainty over his potential replacement. The poll found that a large majority was concerned “somewhat” or “a lot” about voting in a recall election without knowing who the next mayor would be.

That concern was expressed even by about half of those who said they would sign a recall petition or vote to remove Suttle.

THAT WAS A LOT for the anti-recall forces to work with. They squandered it. More precisely, Forward Omaha squandered that public-opinion largess -- all in one swell foop, as a popular Omaha disc-jockey used to say decades ago.

If all the mayor's men had managed to pick up just half of the undecided vote -- which you kind of figure could break that way unmolested -- Suttle wins in a cakewalk. Instead, the undecideds went roughly 10 percentage points to 4 percentage points for the recall-istas.

When Forward Omaha showed up at the homeless shelters with those school buses, the only bum's rush ended up being that of undecided voters into the "throw the bum out" camp. No doubt that brought a smile to even the angriest recaller's face.

In the end, though, the anti-Suttle camps garnered fewer votes by Tuesday night than signatures collected on recall petitions, and just 8,000 more votes than the final number of names verified by the Douglas County election commissioner back in December. Basically, the Mayor Suttle Recall Committee and Citizens for Omaha's Future didn't accomplish too much during the electioneering phase of the recall effort.

NOT ACCOMPLISHING much, however, beats beating yourself every time. Except in Omaha, by God, Nebraska, where the Good Lord watches out for little
children, fools, drunks . . . and Jim Suttle.

Cousin Eddie makes good, gets sued

"Where's the beef?" Wendy's restaurants once famously asked through its advertising, a swipe at its competitors' burgers.

The same question is now being asked by a California woman regarding Taco Bell's beef products, which she claims contain very little meat. So little, in fact, that she's brought a false-advertising lawsuit against the huge fast-food chain.

The class-action suit, which does not ask for money, objects to Taco Bell calling its products "seasoned ground beef or seasoned beef, when in fact a substantial amount of the filling contains substances other than beef."

It says Taco Bell's ground beef is made of such components as water, isolated oat product, wheat oats, soy lecithin, maltodextrin, anti-dusting agent, autolyzed yeast extract, modified corn starch and sodium phosphate, as well as some beef and seasonings.

ust 35 percent of the taco filling was a solid, and just 15 percent overall was protein, said attorney W. Daniel "Dee" Miles III of the Montgomery, Ala., law firm Beasley Allen, which filed the suit.

The ghost of Fred Preaus

Color Louisiana State University's chancellor, Mike Martin, the most surprised man in Baton Rouge -- at least until he got to Page 6A of his morning newspaper.

Provost Jack Hamilton -- the school's former dean of mass communications -- might be forgiven for fervently praying that The Advocate didn't employ as many LSU journalism grads as it used to. Having Lizzie Borden in the governor's mansion is bad enough without the Ol' War Skule getting blamed for the "Why try harder?" ethos of the state's No. 2 daily newspaper.

Or . . . as the late Gov. Earl K. Long once said of a rival in the 1956 gubernatorial election:
"Fred Preaus is an honest man. If I were buying a Ford car, I'd buy it from Fred Preaus. He would give me a good deal. If I had trouble with the car, he'd give me a loaner while he got it fixed — that's just the kind of man he is. But if I was buying two Fords — well, he's just not big enough to handle a deal that size."
"BUT DAT DON'T make no sense," you might say.

Sure it does.

Uncle Earl may have been crazy, but he wasn't dumb. Some things just don't change much, you know? And you can substitute a lot of names for that of ol' Fred Preaus.

Taking OWNership of exploitation

Oh, Lord, won't you find me a sibling to hawk?

A secret one is better, 'cause ratings do talk.

Worked hard all my lifetime to be a billionaire.

So Lord, won't you find me a sibling to hawk?

THAT'S ALL, everybody -- apart from the requisite apologies to the late Janis Joplin, et al -- because Lisa de Moraes pretty much has said all that needs to be said about Oprah Winfrey's "big secret" in The Washington Post:
Lest ratings lag this week, Oprah announced on her show Monday - after her triumphant visit to Australia - that she has a half sister she never knew about.

Modestly billing it as "the miracle of all miracles," Oprah Winfrey said that she learned last fall about Patricia, her half sister who was given up for adoption by their mother shortly after she was born in 1963. Oprah and Patricia met on Thanksgiving Day.

Winfrey was just 9 and living with her father when her mother gave birth to Patricia and gave her up for adoption. Oprah told her studio audience this on the show in its final season of making her queen of syndicated daytime talk TV.

Oprah said she never even knew her mother was pregnant.

Winfrey made "home video" of her first meeting with her half sister; she and partner Stedman Graham drove to Milwaukee to finally meet Patricia, she explained.

Well, that could not have worked out more neatly if one of the pair had been some kind of queen of daytime TV.

And speaking thereof, Winfrey told her audience that she chose to make the announcement herself - so that the media would not exploit it.

We'll give you a minute to savor that one.


The "new" Patricia looked so much like Oprah's other, deceased half sister named Patricia that "it was 'a "Beloved" moment, if you know what that means - a daughter who comes back from the dead in the movie 'Beloved,' " Oprah explained.

A move that stars: Oprah Winfrey.

And which was produced by: Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah got choked up when she began to tell her studio audience about how this Patricia differs from the other Patricia, who, Oprah reminded the crowd, sold Oprah's teen-pregnancy story to a tabloid.

Oprah also got choked up as she told her studio audience how so many people have betrayed her since she became a celebrity, and that it really moved her that this Patricia kept the secret of her relationship to Oprah quiet all this time - until it best suited Oprah's final-season scheduling plans.
LISA DE MORAES, I bow down before thy truth-telling abilities. American TV viewers, meantime, are bowing down before something else entirely.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Simply '70s: Bam ba lam

I just needed to hear me some Ram Jam. 1977 wasn't half bad when you think about it.

Bam ba lam.

Bubba made a funny

You know how people are always asking "What were they thinking?" when something incredibly stupid happens somewhere?

In this case, I think we know exactly what the chyron operator at Louisville's WLKY television was thinking when he -- or she -- did the sports graphics Sunday night. And that, friends, is the problem.

I admit, I bust a gut over this one, though the sentiment that would prompt some alleged television professional to type in "Jew York Jets" isn't funny at all. The ROTFLMAO factor in this probably has something to do with a) it's Kentucky, b) the responsible party's name is Bubba, isn't it? and c) picturing, in your mind's eye, the aftermath of this one.

But the more I think about this thing, the madder I get.

FOR ONE THING, it's 2011. "Jew York Jets"? Really?

For another thing, it's 2011 -- do you realize how many people there are out there flat-ass out of work? Do you realize how broadcasting has been shedding jobs like it's the newspaper industry or something?

Do you realize how lucky the jackwagon idiot responsible for "Jew York Jets" was to have the job he (or, again, she) used to have (one hopes) and so cavalierly threw away (again, one hopes)?

You know how parents of a bygone era used to tell their kids to think of the starving children in China and clean their plates? In other words, be grateful for what you have and don't waste it.

Well, some jackass at WLKY never got told that by his or her parents. And a lot of "starving kids in China" probably aren't amused . . . except, perhaps, about the position that might be opening up at a TV station in Louisville.

P.S.: Do you think this thing just might cost WLKY a sponsor? Just wondering.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Life according to Facebook

There are two kinds of people in this world, and primo examples of each were just posts removed from one another on my Facebook feed this morning.

Above, we see People Who Tear S*** Up. People Who Tear S*** Up are pretty much good for just that and nothing else -- they don't know nothin' 'bout makin' nothin' decent.

They tear up property. They tear up people. They tear up institutions, and they tear up societies.

They even tear up perfectly good record albums and phonographs.

SOMETIMES, People Who Tear S*** Up try to convince you they're actually "reforming" something. This is bunk -- don't listen to what they say, watch what they do. Which usually involves s*** that used to work, but now is torn up.

THEN THERE is the other kind of people, People Who Make S*** Work.

The folks behind The Fun Theory are examples of this second, more useful, brand of human being. Basically, People Who Make S*** Work see something that ought to be -- something whose implementation would benefit humanity -- and they find innovative ways to make it so.

For example, there's the case of the Stockholm engineers who set out to convince folk to take the cardio-friendly stairs instead of the sedentary escalator. And look how they pulled that one off.

After all, any moron can set an LP on fire. It takes a genius, though, to make us gleefully take the stairs in the subway station.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Simply '70s: Fahr'n fahr'n fahr'n auf der Autobahn

Kraftwerk. 1975. The Midnight Special.

What's not to love?

Beep beep.

3 Chords & the Truth: The kitchen sink

Come on in.

Grab a cup of hot tea and sit yourself down at the kitchen table. We'll talk. We'll play a lot of music, too.

Hell, we'll play everything but the kitchen sink.

No . . . wait. I think the kitchen sink's on the playlist, too, this week. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure it is.

Yeah . . . there it is. "Kitchen Sink." It's K42 on the jukebox.

YOU SEE, at 3 Chords & the Truth, our kitchen has a jukebox. It's got thousands and thousands -- and thousands more -- songs on it. That why we call what we do here the Big Show.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah. Sit yourself down over there at the table; I've got some cool music I've been dying to play for you all week.

The tea's hot . . . and so is the music, right here on the Big Show. Got the best jukebox in town -- you'll see. Or hear. Whatever.

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

The Needle Drop Top-40 Record Shop

No, there's no real point to this.

It's just a photo essay, born of fooling around yesterday afternoon and reflecting on my misspent youth. Which, alas, went out about the time turntables did.

Turntables are making a small comeback, though. I suspect radio has a better chance of following in vinyl records' -- and record players' -- footsteps than my lost youth does. And radio's chances lie somewhere between slim and none.

Still, it's nice to remember old friends and good times.

And remember, boys and girls, the only two numbers that matter in life are 33 1/3 and 45.

For true.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

As inevitable as the January cold

Two comments and a question about Omaha's mayoral recall election next week:

First off, you knew this was coming, didn't you? The mailer (above) by the people seeking to recall Mayor Jim Suttle, I mean.

It was inevitable the second the supreme idiots in charge of Forward Omaha -- the largest
anti-recall group -- decided it would be a fine idea to bus the homeless to the election commissioner's office to register and engage in a little early voting. Well, that and get paid $5 for "training" as election workers (wink . . . smirk).

Second, I really, really hope the Nebraska State Patrol finds probable cause for arresting these morons for something, that they are prosecuted, that they are convicted, and that the judge throws the book at them . . . though misdemeanors the charges be. Political stupidity of that magnitude -- particularly that which sullies the electoral process -- ought not to go unpunished by the universe.

I'll probably still vote to retain Suttle in office, but it'll be a close call after this fiasco.

The main reason to vote "no" in my book is the threat of a
Mayor Dave Nabity. That eventuality would
soooooooo be deep into "abandon all hope" territory for this fair city.

Still, one must harbor at least a couple of grave doubts about Suttle after he failed to immediately fire --
not just demote -- anyone connected to the bus-the-homeless abomination.

And now the question:
The pro-recall mailer above directs folks to this video on Tom Becka's KFAB-radio web page. How is it, exactly, that some recall-istas came to be staking out the election office from a perfect vantage point for taping the homeless folks come off the buses wanting to know where the hell their $5 was?

Just asking.

Murder . . . by inches (and a couple weeks)

Dammit! Jabbing surgical scissors into a baby's head is only legal if the baby's -- er . . . fetus' -- head is still inside the birth canal!

I hope this Philadelphia doctor --
the one booked for eight counts of murder . . . seven dead babies and one dead mother -- gets the book thrown at him for doing this horrible thing at 28 weeks' gestation, as opposed to 24. Imagine, an abortionist preying on poor and minority women!

Imagine, an abortionist doing gruesome things! Cutting up babies! Jabbing scissors into their itty bitty heads! Who'd a thunk it?

And thus we discover the true meaning of "What a difference a day makes"
(not to mention six inches): Life in prison.

THE LATEST on this unspeakable atrocity (as opposed to heroic acts in the name of reproductive freedom) comes from The Associated Press:
A doctor who gave abortions to minorities, immigrants and poor women in a "house of horrors" clinic was charged with eight counts of murder in the deaths of a patient and seven babies who were born alive and then killed with scissors, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Dr. Kermit Gosnell, 69, made millions of dollars over 30 years, performing as many illegal, late-term abortions as he could, prosecutors said. State regulators ignored complaints about him and failed to inspect his clinic since 1993, but no charges were warranted against them given time limits and existing law, District Attorney Seth Williams said. Nine of Gosnell's employees also were charged.

Gosnell "induced labor, forced the live birth of viable babies in the sixth, seventh, eighth month of pregnancy and then killed those babies by cutting into the back of the neck with scissors and severing their spinal cord," Williams said.

Patients were subjected to squalid and barbaric conditions at Gosnell's Women's Medical Society, where Gosnell performed dozens of abortions a day, prosecutors said. He mostly worked overnight hours after his untrained staff administered drugs to induce labor during the day, they said.

Early last year, authorities went to investigate drug-related complaints at the clinic and stumbled on what Williams called a "house of horrors."

Bags and bottles holding aborted fetuses "were scattered throughout the building," Williams said. "There were jars, lining shelves, with severed feet that he kept for no medical purpose."

The clinic was shut down and Gosnell's medical license was suspended after the raid.

Radio killed the radio star

It's amazing the things we just decide to throw away one fine day . . .

. . . with nary a thought on whether we have anything better lined up to replace them.

Some things, we throw away more than once.

THIS IS the only thing American radio excels at anymore -- tearing stuff up, then wondering why nobody's buying a perfectly good pile of debris. We've become a nation of bumpkins who won't sit down to a gourmet French meal because they don't serve ketchup and fries with that.

The radio execs are the ones picketing outside Chez Paris, carrying signs that say

As it turns out, the marketplace can arrange the second half of that demand.

If Neanderthals had electricity

I don't know what you do with someone who calls himself DJ Dog Dick.

I'm pretty sure you don't let him play with the YouTubes.

I'm double sure you don't let him team up with someone from "the Iowa City noise scene." I'd bet my life that whatever the melding of "the Iowa City noise scene" and DJ Dog Dick is
(Dog Leather? Really?), it's not something people who have mastered fire and the wheel should call a supergroup.

WHEN YOU HAVE weirdness in the hands of someone like Frank Zappa or Captain Beefheart (peace be upon their souls), you might have something. When you have weirdness in the massively less talented hands of a former member of "the Iowa City noise scene" and someone who stage names himself after a male dog's junk, you just have one more laughable moment in the anticulture.

I am reminded of beatniks laying around half a century ago smoking dope and listening to Miles Davis, thinking they were the revolution, man. Only this lacks good music . . . and some "really good s***, maaaaaan," to destroy whatever part of the brain this knuckle-dragger crap might get stuck in.

Good God.

Meantime, I'll have an Old Fashioned and some Tony Bennett on the jukebox.

Nice T-shirt on some half-wit in that shot DJ Doggy Style (or whatever) tried to sneak in with a subliminal quick cut. Not.

Perverted morons.

Get a job. Take a bath. Find Jesus. Something.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Do not pass 'Go'. . . .

Breaking news from the world of major-league baseball: Los Angeles police arrested Seattle Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley today on criminal-threat counts.

Officers reported that the troubled Mariner did not pass "Go" and went directly to jail. Bradley apparently did not have a "Get Out of Jail Free" card on his person, and thus was released on $50,000 bail.

Film at 11.

It's a bird! It's a plane!

It's a frog!

A frog?

Not plane, nor bird, nor even frog . . .
it's just little old her . . .

The Alaska publicity hog.

I guess I could write 500 words on tea-party morons and idolatry, but I think I'll just go with
"homina homina homina homina," instead.

Good grief.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A revolution on hold

Martin Luther King Jr. was looking to lead a revolution in 1968, a "poor people's campaign."

He never got the chance. To paraphrase
Facebook, "Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and millions of other Americans like this."

The trouble is, what the great civil-rights leader said on March 31, 1968, at New York's Riverside Church probably is even more relevant now than it was then. Change the name of a place here and there, change the name of
la guerre du jour . . . and there you go.

Back in 1968, despite the war in Indochina, despite the spate of political assassination that was to begin with King's martyrdom, we still kind of believed in hope. We still
kind of trusted in "progress."

NOW, AFTER a decade of grinding war and a few years of a Great Recession, mass unemployment, foreclosures by the millions and empty state and municipal coffers . . . now, not so much.

In today's America, we find much of the middle class being systematically turned into potential candidates for a Martin Luther King-style poor-people's campaign.

Here, as we wrap up another commemoration of his birth, 82 years ago now, are some excerpts from an important address -- one which happened to be King's last Sunday sermon. It happens to be the declaration of a nonviolent revolution . . .
a revolution interrupted.

Viva la revolución.
There can be no gainsaying of the fact that a great revolution is taking place in the world today. In a sense it is a triple revolution: that is, a technological revolution, with the impact of automation and cybernation; then there is a revolution in weaponry, with the emergence of atomic and nuclear weapons of warfare; then there is a human rights revolution, with the freedom explosion that is taking place all over the world. Yes, we do live in a period where changes are taking place. And there is still the voice crying through the vista of time saying, "Behold, I make all things new; former things are passed away."

Now whenever anything new comes into history it brings with it new challenges and new opportunities. And I would like to deal with the challenges that we face today as a result of this triple revolution that is taking place in the world today.

First, we are challenged to develop a world perspective. No individual can live alone, no nation can live alone, and anyone who feels that he can live alone is sleeping through a revolution. The world in which we live is geographically one. The challenge that we face today is to make it one in terms of brotherhood.

Now it is true that the geographical oneness of this age has come into being to a large extent through modern man’s scientific ingenuity. Modern man through his scientific genius has been able to dwarf distance and place time in chains. And our jet planes have compressed into minutes distances that once took weeks and even months. All of this tells us that our world is a neighborhood.

Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood. But somehow, and in some way, we have got to do this. We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured.

John Donne caught it years ago and placed it in graphic terms: "No man is an island entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main." And he goes on toward the end to say, "Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind; therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." We must see this, believe this, and live by it if we are to remain awake through a great revolution.

Secondly, we are challenged to eradicate the last vestiges of racial injustice from our nation. I must say this morning that racial injustice is still the black man’s burden and the white man’s shame.

It is an unhappy truth that racism is a way of life for the vast majority of white Americans, spoken and unspoken, acknowledged and denied, subtle and sometimes not so subtle—the disease of racism permeates and poisons a whole body politic. And I can see nothing more urgent than for America to work passionately and unrelentingly—to get rid of the disease of racism.

Something positive must be done. Everyone must share in the guilt as individuals and as institutions. The government must certainly share the guilt; individuals must share the guilt; even the church must share the guilt.

We must face the sad fact that at eleven o’clock on Sunday morning when we stand to sing "In Christ there is no East or West," we stand in the most segregated hour of America.


Not only do we see poverty abroad, I would remind you that in our own nation there are about forty million people who are poverty-stricken. I have seen them here and there. I have seen them in the ghettos of the North; I have seen them in the rural areas of the South; I have seen them in Appalachia. I have just been in the process of touring many areas of our country and I must confess that in some situations I have literally found myself crying.

I was in Marks, Mississippi, the other day, which is in Whitman County, the poorest county in the United States. I tell you, I saw hundreds of little black boys and black girls walking the streets with no shoes to wear. I saw their mothers and fathers trying to carry on a little Head Start program, but they had no money. The federal government hadn’t funded them, but they were trying to carry on. They raised a little money here and there; trying to get a little food to feed the children; trying to teach them a little something.

And I saw mothers and fathers who said to me not only were they unemployed, they didn’t get any kind of income—no old-age pension, no welfare check, no anything. I said, "How do you live?" And they say, "Well, we go around, go around to the neighbors and ask them for a little something. When the berry season comes, we pick berries. When the rabbit season comes, we hunt and catch a few rabbits. And that’s about it."

And I was in Newark and Harlem just this week. And I walked into the homes of welfare mothers. I saw them in conditions—no, not with wall-to-wall carpet, but wall-to-wall rats and roaches. I stood in an apartment and this welfare mother said to me, "The landlord will not repair this place. I’ve been here two years and he hasn’t made a single repair." She pointed out the walls with all the ceiling falling through. She showed me the holes where the rats came in. She said night after night we have to stay awake to keep the rats and roaches from getting to the children. I said, "How much do you pay for this apartment?" She said, "a hundred and twenty-five dollars." I looked, and I thought, and said to myself, "It isn’t worth sixty dollars." Poor people are forced to pay more for less. Living in conditions day in and day out where the whole area is constantly drained without being replenished. It becomes a kind of domestic colony. And the tragedy is, so often these forty million people are invisible because America is so affluent, so rich. Because our expressways carry us from the ghetto, we don’t see the poor.

Jesus told a parable one day, and he reminded us that a man went to hell because he didn’t see the poor. His name was Dives. He was a rich man. And there was a man by the name of Lazarus who was a poor man, but not only was he poor, he was sick. Sores were all over his body, and he was so weak that he could hardly move. But he managed to get to the gate of Dives every day, wanting just to have the crumbs that would fall from his table. And Dives did nothing about it. And the parable ends saying, "Dives went to hell, and there were a fixed gulf now between Lazarus and Dives."

There is nothing in that parable that said Dives went to hell because he was rich. Jesus never made a universal indictment against all wealth. It is true that one day a rich young ruler came to him, and he advised him to sell all, but in that instance Jesus was prescribing individual surgery and not setting forth a universal diagnosis. And if you will look at that parable with all of its symbolism, you will remember that a conversation took place between heaven and hell, and on the other end of that long-distance call between heaven and hell was Abraham in heaven talking to Dives in hell.

Now Abraham was a very rich man. If you go back to the Old Testament, you see that he was the richest man of his day, so it was not a rich man in hell talking with a poor man in heaven; it was a little millionaire in hell talking with a multimillionaire in heaven. Dives didn’t go to hell because he was rich; Dives didn’t realize that his wealth was his opportunity. It was his opportunity to bridge the gulf that separated him from his brother Lazarus. Dives went to hell because he was passed by Lazarus every day and he never really saw him. He went to hell because he allowed his brother to become invisible. Dives went to hell because he maximized the minimum and minimized the maximum. Indeed, Dives went to hell because he sought to be a conscientious objector in the war against poverty.

And this can happen to America, the richest nation in the world—and nothing’s wrong with that—this is America’s opportunity to help bridge the gulf between the haves and the have-nots. The question is whether America will do it. There is nothing new about poverty. What is new is that we now have the techniques and the resources to get rid of poverty. The real question is whether we have the will.


One day a newsman came to me and said, "Dr. King, don’t you think you’re going to have to stop, now, opposing the war and move more in line with the administration’s policy? As I understand it, it has hurt the budget of your organization, and people who once respected you have lost respect for you. Don’t you feel that you’ve really got to change your position?" I looked at him and I had to say, "Sir, I’m sorry you don’t know me. I’m not a consensus leader. I do not determine what is right and wrong by looking at the budget of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. I’ve not taken a sort of Gallup Poll of the majority opinion." Ultimately a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus, but a molder of consensus.

On some positions, cowardice asks the question, is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question, is it politic? Vanity asks the question, is it popular? Conscience asks the question, is it right?