Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Onion: Tomorrow's news today

Brain-dead teen, only capable of rolling eyes and texting, to be euthanized

This is a joke, right?

Is this a joke?

It has to be a joke, right?



I'm pretty sure it's a joke.

Damn, it's hard living in a satire-resistant culture.

Livingston Parish, I presume?

Looks like they got two new cast members on Swamp People this season.

Dat's jus' great . . . new reasons for my Damn Yankee wife to make fun of my Louisiana culture -- especially since the new alligator hunters are from Livingston Parish. I practically grew up in Livingston Parish. In the swamp, no less.

The Livingston Parish jokes are going to be coming fast and furious. And then Mrs. Favog will get started.

I hate it when that happens. If I didn't live with the woman, I'd have to burn her out over that.

I told you I practically grew up in rural Livingston Parish.

ANYWAY, here's the news item from the Channel 9 website in Baton Rouge:

Blake McDonald and Austyn Yoches who are from Livingston Parish are the newest alligator hunters to join the cast of Swamp People, and they represent yet another way 21st century Louisianans have figured out how to get back to their bayou roots.

A "Debut Party" will be held at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 9. The new season premieres at 9 p.m. The young men invite everyone to come out to Big Mike's Sports Bar and Grill in Denham Springs.

McDonald and Yoches currently reside on their houseboat in Bayou Pigeon full time. They truly make a living off the swamp. They hunt every season and sell the animals to make money from frogging, crawfishing, alligator hunting and raccoon hunting just to name a few. Their grandfather started this with them when they were little bitty boys. He would take them to the swamp, put them on his shoulders and take them coon hunting. Then he taught them to be commercial fisherman from the swamp.

Instead of putting their boat on a trailer hitched to a pickup that tows it back to a comfortable house built on solid ground, McDonald and Yoches roll right out of bed and into their swampy workplace. These cousins live on a houseboat in the middle of the swamp . . . off the grid. They don’t just work in the swamp, they live there. The young men don’t have another job. If they want to eat, they have to hunt.

WHY DO I have the feeling that if I want to eat tonight, I'm going to have to hunt?

NOW . . . did I ever tell you about my Uncle George's dog, Tootsie?

Uncle George had a Boston terrier just like Swamp People's new alligator hunters. And ol' Tootsie could be mean sometimes, but I ga-ron-damn-tee you that she wasn't as mean as that snapping turtle she got just a little too curious about once when I was a kid.

Of course, this happened in Livingston Parish.

Anyway, I remember Uncle George and Daddy were out at camp on the Petite Amite River, sitting on the bank and drinking beer. I was there not drinking beer -- and so was Tootsie the Dog.

Oh . . . there was a snapper there, too, sunning himself on the bank.

Of course, this was too much for a normal dog to stand -- at least not without giving the turtle a good sniffsploration as part of the whole Danger? Or maybe FOOD?!?! decision-making process. And the turtle was having none of it.

Next thing we knew, ol' Tootsie was running around in circles, screaming like a woman -- I'll bet you didn't know a Boston terrier could scream like a woman. The snapping turtle was hanging from her bottom lip, which was securely in its jaws.

I know you animal-rights people will find this sick and disturbing . . . but it was one of the funniest things I've ever seen in my life. It was a grand spectacle. I may have been rolling on the ground, I was laughing so hard.

Daddy and Uncle George may have been, too. In fact, everybody was laughing so hard at this poor, hapless, overly inquisitive dog running in circles and screaming like a woman with a damned snapping turtle hanging on her lip that it took a while for Uncle George to compose himself enough to go grab a shovel. With which he knocked the turtle off Tootsie's lip.

I COULD be wrong, but I think Tootsie may have lived the rest of her days rather chastened after getting her ass -- or at least her lip -- whipped by a turtle.

But that's my story . . . and my culture . . . and I'm sticking to it. Just don't make fun of it.

Hey, I'm not married to you, and I don't live with you, either. I will burn your ass out if you mess with me.

A Bradypus is a girl's best friend

Show-business people: They ain't like you and me.

No, they're not.

Take Kristen Bell, for example. That is, if you're properly certified to deal with people who are properly certifiable.

"The day of my birthday, we're sitting in the living room and I hear a knock at the door. He says, 'Your present is here. Why don't you grab the dogs and go in the back room?'" Bell tells Ellen DeGeneres on her eponymous talk show (airing Tuesday). "I was immediately overcome and I thought, 'There is a sloth near! There is a sloth here! It's close! It's gonna happen!'"
I MEAN, I'm minding my own business, checking out the latest news on MSNBC's website, and I see the headline "Kristen Bell cries hysterically over sloth gift." What was I supposed to do?

I did what you would do -- I clicked it.

My God, Hollywood people really, really,
really ain't like you and me.
Bell explains: "I didn't know how to process that because my entire life had been waiting for this moment where I would get to interact -- I'm serious! -- with a sloth."
OHMYGAWD! Ohmygawdohmygawdohmygawdohmygawdohmygawd!

Now you know.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The song remains the same

A little more than 97 years ago, a young man -- a noted American composer and pianist, in fact -- sat down at a keyboard instrument called a celesta and played a heavenly version of "Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht" . . . "Silent Night" to you and me.

The young man and his glockenspiel-sounding contraption were in a Victor Talking Machine Co., studio in Camden, N.J., and they sat in front of a large horn that would capture the music and funnel those vibrations to a diaphragm connected to a needle. The needle would cut grooves into a blank wax disc -- the master recording.

And that recording became a side of this record, released in December 1915. Someone bought it for 75 cents that Christmas, and it came down through generations until it landed in a box of old records Sunday at an Omaha estate sale.

I bought it and some others for 50 cents a piece, and what began in Camden when
the Great War wasn't yet "great" and America was still at peace, Sunday night spun on a record changer in my little studio in Omaha. Alas, this occurred many wars after "the war to end all wars."

THE YOUNG MAN, all of 25 at the time, was Felix Arndt. Around this time, Arndt, despite his own youth, was becoming a mentor to a teenager eager to make his mark in the music business.

A decade later, George Gershwin made quite the mark, indeed.

By the middle of October 1918, though, Felix Arndt would lose his life to the Spanish influenza epidemic. He was 29, survived by his wife, Nola, and his music.

That music, generations later, lives still within the grooves of an almost century-old record and emerges to touch a world that, in 1914, surely would have been almost unimaginable. A world whose music was changed by a certain young kid who hung out with, and was influenced by, Felix Arndt.

No man is an island. Neither is any man's music.

It's rather like the communion of saints, isn't it?
Just in the grooves of ancient 78s.

Sometimes, when I'm in an old church, if I try hard enough, I can visualize all the generations of believers who sat there before me, all of us present -- across time and defying the grave -- each generation singing a verse of a never-ending hymn. Likewise, when I find an ancient record and place the needle into a well-worn groove, I hear a long-ago verse of a song still sung, and I realize that I am not my own . . . and neither are you.

We stand upon the shoulders of our forebears, all of us bought and paid for with the blood of a long-dead savior Who lives still, conducting this symphony of the generations, world without end.

Felix Arndt's rendition of Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht,

Victor 17842-B, as archived by the Library of Congress.
My copy actually might sound a little better than this.

Friday, January 27, 2012

3 Chords & the Truth: Grab an LP and be

You say you want a revolution?

Well, you know, we all want to change the world.

Maybe you should just stop trying. Well, you know, that's when you might change the world.

So welcome to the
3 Chords & the Truth Used Record Shop. Where we know it's gonna be all right, all right, all right.

GRAB A CUP of coffee, and I'll put a record on. We'll work our way through the vinyl, and maybe you'll find a new fave song.

We'll talk and put new some stuff on the turntable, so pull up a chair. The
Big Show is specializing in "being," which is when greatness just might arise. We'll make the most of these moments . . . and that just might change our lives.

It's comfy here amid the albums, and the 45s and the CDs. Just the perfect spot to settle down and just be.

On the
Big Show and at the ol' record shop, vinyl lives, and radio occupies a soft spot in our hearts. The coffee's free, and we have hot tea, too.

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

The calm before the . . .

. . . Big Show.

In production in mere hours.

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

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Not MacGruber . . . the other one

In a previous life as production director of a one-lung radio station, the budget I typically had to work with was . . . zero.

But stuff still had to get done. Studios still had to be made functional. Despite the lack of cash -- and the boss' legendary stinginess with what spending money we had -- there was a radio station to run as professionally as possible.

We had to sound good.

Let's just say I became rather expert at turning nothing into something. I became especially good at raiding the junk room and turning cast-off equipment into a decent production studio.

Yes, I have a Ph.D. in jury-rigging. It got so that the station's contract engineer took to calling me MacGyver -- after the '80s TV show in which Richard Dean Anderson could make anything out of anything to get himself out of a jam and foil the bad guy.

AT THE TOP of this post is my latest MacGyver moment. The tone-arm rest on my vintage Technics turntable broke -- don't ask. And after a long time futzing and trying to figure out how to fix the damned thing, this is what I came up with.

It looks good, it works fine . . . and all it took was the cap off an old felt-tip pen (the perfect size to fit over the base of the old tone-arm rest), some bonding putty to fill up the cut-off pen cap, thick wire from an oversized safety pin, a black marker and some super glue.

Considering that the repair-shop bill would have been more than the turntable's worth after 34 years, I would classify this as an "elegant solution." That is, I would call it that if modesty allowed.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Spinning records, nurturing dreams

"Progress" happens. New things come; old things go.

Kids quit going to record stores, and they start "file-sharing" or buying singles comprised of ones and zeros on
iTunes. Digital in, physical presence out.

But with all the things the electronic marketplace can do, and with all the convenience and immediacy it offers, there are some things -- important things -- that get lost in translation. One thing is magical, musical places like The Antiquarium record store on the edge of Omaha's Old Market.

Another thing is the kind, curmudgeonly, opinionated presence of someone like Dave Sink -- the grandfather of the Omaha indie scene and purveyor of great old LPs, CDs and punk 45s. I know. I left much of my money there, then brought many of those LPs , CDs and 45s here.

And for a while there, I probably saw Dave every single week. So did a bunch of young kids with big dreams -- like Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes fame.

That won't be happening anymore. Some years back, Dave retired, and then The Antiquarium record store moved around the corner after its longtime home was sold. And now Dave is dead.

ON THE Hear Nebraska website, Oberst (one of the kids I used to see around the record store) explains what iTunes will never be, not in a million years:
I don’t remember the first time I went to the Antiquarium or met Dave Sink. It all just kind of happened. I suppose I would have been 12 or so, just tagging along with my brothers and the older kids from the neighborhood. Whenever that was I know I could not have known then that that place would become the epicenter of discovery for my musical life (and life in general) and probably the single most sacred place of my adolescence. Dave was a rare bird. He had a way of making you feel good even as he insulted you. He was especially kind to misfits and oddballs. Hence him nearly always being surrounded in the shop by a small enclave of disaffected youth. Boys mostly, but girls too, who would sit hour after hour listening to him pontificate about punk rock, baseball, local politics, French literature, chess, philosophy, modern art or whatever was the topic of the day. The thing about Dave that gave him such a loyal following was not just the way he talked to us but also the way he listened. At a time in life when most all adults are to be seen as the enemy it was strange to meet one who was on your side. He treated us as peers, like our ideas and ambitions were worth something. He wasn’t always pleasant or polite, but he wasn’t a fake. And it is that quality that cuts through the angst and straight to the teenage heart.

He made me feel like my dreams and plans mattered, encouraging me to pursue them even as he talked trash on my latest recording or most recent show. It is true you had to be a bit of a masochist to be friends with Dave, but despite his sarcasm and argumentative nature he had a soft heart and generous spirit. He gave me a lot of good advice over the years, as well as my first real stereo and turntable. He said he couldn’t stand watching me waste my money on the inferior formats of CDs and cassettes.
NEITHER will radio be, not anymore, what Dave Sink and his little record store (down the stairs and to the basement of the old building on Harney Street) were to its city. Maybe radio once was . . . kind of. That was a long time ago -- a generation or more ago -- back before dull men in pricey suits began to erase all the "Dave" out of their now-sinking industry.

Antiquarium Records was a social network digital eons before
MySpace and Facebook. It got the word out when radio wouldn't, and this nascent Internet thing couldn't.

Kevin Coffey picks up the story in the
Omaha World-Herald:
Sink loved vinyl, underground and obscure music, baseball and talking to customers, often recommending something or flat-out criticizing their purchases.

He also started One Hour Records, which released music from local bands such as Mousetrap, Ritual Device and Simon Joyner, among others.

When Gary Dean Davis' band, Frontier Trust, wanted to put out a record, Sink was their man. Davis, owner of SPEED! Nebraska Records and a Catholic school principal, recalled getting the first pressing of the band's record and racing to the Antiquarium to play it.

"We didn't have a radio station, so the Antiquarium kind of became that because there were kids hanging down there," Davis said. "We'd play our record and they'd immediately come down to the counter and say, 'How can I get that?'"

Davis recalled him as a local music booster who made kids in bands feel like they were doing something legitimate.

Sink's death left many to wonder what Omaha's nationally-recognized music scene would be without him.

"Dave was neither subtle nor short of opinion," said Robb Nansel, president of Saddle Creek Records. "I shudder to think of what this city would look like if there had been no Dave and no Antiquarium. It's safe to say there would be one less record label and one less music venue calling Omaha home."
YOU KNOW those records by Frontier Trust and The Monroes (another Davis "tractor punk" band) you sometimes hear on 3 Chords & the Truth? Where the hell do you think I got many of them?

Where the hell do you think I heard about the Monroes?

We live in a cynical world, one that loves money, breeds alienation and waits for a hero . . . in that Godot-esque sort of way.

Heroes we have. They dwell in out-of-the-way places like smoky basements filled with musty vinyl. They're so close, yet so far away.

Kind of like our hopes and dreams.

SOTU according to Facebook


Yeah, right (gag).

President Obama knocked the State of the Union address out of the park, which was no mean feat for the champion of the middle class -- t
hat PRESIDENTIAL BABOON!!! -- and leaves us both soooooooooo proud of Our President and sickened by that gangsta anti-American usurper in the White House.

Surely this pile of s*** of a great address will stick it to the right-wing and be the beginning of the end of this Kenyan socialist disaster. After the election on Nov. 6, it'll be no time until the start of an AWESOME second term . . . which, thank God, will never happen after Newt kicks Obummer and his uppity first lady's Marxist asses back to the dirty, crooked streets of Chicago.

We can't wait for that day!

But what do I know? I'm just one of those hateful religious zealots. Or an atheist troll.

I forget.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The tragedy of Joe Paterno

Joe Paterno is dead, and his tragedy is complete.

Now all that is left to do is attempt not to speak too ill of the dead, and for some to urge us to remember the good of the fired Penn State football legend's life -- not just the inaction that doomed God knows how many young people to a fate scarcely better than death. Or perhaps worse than death, I cannot say for certain.

As it turned out, negligence, shame and humiliation turned out to be the final chapter in the story of JoePa's life. In the movies, even Darth Vader got the opportunity to redeem himself in the end. The old coach did not.

In the unblinking eye of history, his legacy will forever rest somewhere on the Dark Side. For every million dollars he gave to Penn State, for every heartfelt tribute by a former player, for any number of lives he impacted for the good -- for all these things there will be the damning counterweight of young lives wrecked and childhood innocence stolen because the most powerful man in State College, Pa., behaved as a befuddled coward when it really mattered.

THE MYTH of virtue and greatness crumbled into ignominy, and then a disgraced old man died.

Star Wars, the dark lord got one last chance to make a crooked path straight and forsake the shadows for the light. Darth Vader got one last chance to argue for posterity -- for himself and through his actions -- that the sum of his sins did not exceed the good that remained. That, ultimately, Anakin Skywalker could not be subsumed.

That's Hollywood for you.

Real life often isn't so kind, even to a football legend. Joe Paterno never got to make a crooked reputation straight once more. It is left to his surrogates to beg history for mercy on his behalf.

Let us be careful with every chapter of our lives. We never know which will be the last.

The road to hell passes through D.C.

So . . . the Obama Administration is trying to force every Catholic institution outside the clerical structure itself to insure contraceptive practices Catholic doctrine regards as intrinsically evil -- as mortal sin.

Well, that clarifies what contemporary Democrats regard as inalienable human rights -- as of this moment, I think the list has been whittled to "consequence-free f***ing"
(of which the right to kill one's unborn child is a subset) and . . . no, that's about it.

The latest proclamation by the odious secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, pretty much declares the First Amendment -- particularly the Establishment Clause -- null and void. That this moral cypher calls herself a Catholic makes her action all the more disgusting, and that she technically still is one is a matter that ought to be addressed immediately by her bishop.

That said, there's nothing more I can add that possibly could top what Michael Sean Winters wrote in the National Catholic Reporter. So I'll merely say "What he said."

DO GO READ the entire thing on Winters' NCR blog:
I accuse you, Mr. President, of betraying philosophic liberalism, which began, lest we forget, as a defense of the rights of conscience. As Catholics, we need to be honest and admit that, three hundred years ago, the defense of conscience was not high on the agenda of Holy Mother Church. But, we Catholics learned to embrace the idea that the coercion of conscience is a violation of human dignity. This is a lesson, Mr. President, that you and too many of your fellow liberals have apparently unlearned.

I accuse you, Mr. President, who argued that your experience as a constitutional scholar commended you for the high office you hold, of ignoring the Constitution. Perhaps you were busy last week, but the Supreme Court, on a 9-0 vote, said that the First Amendment still means something and that it trumps even desirable governmental objectives when the two come into conflict. Did you miss the concurring opinion, joined by your own most recent appointment to the court, Justice Kagan, which stated:

“Throughout our Nation's history, religious bodies have been the preeminent example of private associations that have ‘act[ed] as critical buffers between the individual and the power of the State.’ Roberts v. United States Jaycees, 468 U.S. 609, 619 (1984). In a case like the one now before us—where the goal of the civil law in question, the elimination of discrimination against persons with disabilities, is so worthy—it is easy to forget that the autonomy of religious groups, both here in the United States and abroad, has often served as a shield against oppressive civil laws. To safeguard this crucial autonomy, we have long recognized that the Religion Clauses protect a private sphere within which religious bodies are free to govern themselves in accordance with their own beliefs. The Constitution guarantees religious bodies ‘independence from secular control or manipulation—in short, power to decide for themselves, free from state interference, matters of church government as well as those of faith and doctrine.’ Kedroff v. Saint Nicholas Cathedral of Russian Orthodox Church in North America, 344 U.S. 94, 116 (1952).”

Pray, do tell, Mr. President, what part of that paragraph did you consider when making this decision? Or, do you like having your Justice Department having its hat handed to it at the Supreme Court?

I accuse you, Mr. President, as leader of the Democratic Party, the primary vehicle for historic political liberalism in this country, of risking all the many achievements of political liberalism, from environmental protection to Social Security to Medicare and Medicaid, by committing a politically stupid act. Do you really think your friends at Planned Parenthood and NARAL were going to support the candidacy of Mr. Romney or Mr. Gingrich? How does this decision affect the prospects of Democrats winning back the House in districts like Pennsylvania’s Third or Ohio’s First or Virginia’s Fifth districts? How do your chances look today among Catholic swing voters in Scranton and the suburbs of Cincinnati and along the I-4 corridor in Florida? I suppose that there are campaign contributions to consider, but really, sacrificing one’s conscience, or the conscience rights of others, was not worth Wales, was it worth a few extra dollars in your campaign coffers?

I accuse you, Mr. President, of failing to know your history. In 1978, the IRS proposed a rule change affecting the tax exempt status of private Christian schools. The rule would change the way school verified their desegregation policies, putting the burden of proof on the school, not the IRS. By 1978, many of those schools were already desegregated, even though they had first been founded as a means to avoid desegregation of the public schools. But evangelical Christians did not look kindly on the government’s interference in schools they had built themselves and, even though the IRS rescinded the rule change, the original decision was the straw the broke the camel’s back for those who wished to separate themselves from mainstream culture. They formed the Moral Majority, entered that mainstream culture, and helped the Republican Party win the next three presidential elections. You, Mr. President, have struck that same nerve. Catholics built their colleges and universities and hospitals. They did so out of religious conviction and, as often as not, because mainstream institutions did not welcome Catholics. It is one thing to support a policy with which the Catholic Church disagrees but it is quite another to start telling Catholics how to run their own institutions.

CATHOLICS in this country -- and Catholic institutions in this country -- should have but two words for any civil authority, left-wing or right, that seeks to compel them to violate their consciences or the teaching of their church: "Non servium."

"I will not serve."

If America is hell-bent on going to the devil, the only thing we can do anymore is not to tag along.

HAT TIP: Rod Dreher

What kind of geek am I?

Still this kind of geek.

Still the kind of geek who needs ancient test patterns to check out his computer monitor -- adapted to wide-screen proportions, of course.

And now, our national anthem.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

In his heart, he knows we're alike

"It's not that I am a good debater. It's that I articulate the deepest- felt values of the American people."

-- Newt Gingrich

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

My greatest fear is that Newt Gingrich, winner of the South Carolina GOP presidential primary -- Newt Gingrich, House ethics transgressor . . . Newt Gingrich, campaign race-baiter . . . Newt Gingrich, adulterer and pitch man for an "open marriage" . . . Newt Gingrich, shameless panderer . . . Newt Gingrich, promoter of Palestinians as an "invented people" and of "regime change" in Iran . . . Newt Gingrich, transformer of a mistress into a trophy wife . . . Newt Gingrich, big spender on Tiffany's bling . . . Newt Gingrich, enemy of the rule of law . . . Newt Gingrich, utterly sanctimonious -- my greatest fear is that Newt Gingrich, serious contender for the presidency of the United States, is absolutely right in assessing his success.

What keeps me awake at night is that Newt Gingrich absolutely might be "articulating the deepest-felt values of the American people," circa 2012.

What scares me spitless is that Newt Gingrich could be exactly what this country wants and deserves . . . and might yet get.

Sleep well, America. Someone has to.

Friday, January 20, 2012

3 Chords & the Truth: Missing

Has anyone seen our culture?

No, not the weird gal screeching and showing the world her tatas . . . I mean the culture. You know . . . quality arts and music and literature and stuff. The anti-barbarian intellectual-engagement plan.

Yeah, that.

So, you say you haven't seen it the last couple of years?

Well, Bunkie, are you in luck today! I happen to have some of it right here on 3 Chords & the Truth. I mean, we're talking quality rock, and quality pop, and quality folk and sublime jazz -- all on one show.

IN FACT, we have so much of that stuff -- the musical culture stuff -- that it can't even fit in an ordinary show. That's why this show is called the Big Show.

That's right . . . 3 Chords & the Truth has to be 52 percent bigger than Brand X to fit in all the quality musical culture and witty repartée you find at this quality spot on the Interwebs.

For example, just on this episode alone, you will find The Rubinoos, the Rolling Stones, Ray Charles, Neil Young, John Lennon, Jefferson Airplane, Jeri Southern, Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, Art Blakey, Count Basie and lots more! The leading bargain brand cannot compare to the sublimity of musical arts you will find right here on the Big Show.

No, the best Brand X can offer the listening public is generic Philistinism.

AND THAT'S why you're here . . . at the quality place in cyberspace. You know a good thing when you hear it -- the "culture" thing.

Stay as long as you like. We never close.

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

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Cut them taxes! Fill that cash reserve!

The Pillsbury Doughmagogue is at it yet again.

The man who proposes to cut Nebraska inheritance and income taxes some $130.8 million a year is peeing all over a $91 million construction proposal from the University of Nebraska because the state's highest priority in the whole wide universe is . . . that $130.8 million tax cut. That and
rebuilding the state's cash reserves.

Being a Republican governor who's obviously running for something else means never having to admit you make no sense. Or that you're contradicting yourself.

Or that your thinking might be a little . . . magical?

I DON'T KNOW whether the Omaha World Herald's political writers ought to be getting hazard pay or have to pay the city's entertainment tax. (And would the Omaha entertainment tax even be an issue for Lincoln-bureau peeps, anyway?)
The University of Nebraska will have to overcome opposition from Gov. Dave Heineman to win approval for its four-part construction initiative.

The governor said Thursday the state's highest priority should be passing tax cuts, followed by rebuilding the cash reserve fund.

"The university may have some good ideas about some future projects, but their request is very bad timing," Heineman said. "It would be fiscally imprudent to steal money out of the cash reserve."

University officials have said they plan to seek $91 million from the cash reserve for the projects. A University of Nebraska Medical Center initiative to build a cancer center is the main component of the NU legislative proposal, which also includes a $17 million nursing facility in Lincoln, a $19 million health care training facility based at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and $5 million to plan a veterinary diagnostic center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The governor's position adds to the difficulties that the university plan faces in winning approval from the Nebraska Legislature, where it will have to battle myriad other ideas for state spending or tax reduction.
THIS IS the point in the blog post where I usually ask "How stupid does he think we are?" But that seems pretty unnecessary whenever the political subject is Gov. Dave.

I fear I know
exactly how stupid the Pillsbury Doughmagogue thinks we are.

Why Congress needs to stick SOPA up its PIPA

The definitive video on how Congress is on the razor's edge of blowing up the Internet in the name of weaponizing the law for the benefit of members' war chests.

HAT TIP: Gizmodo.

Mama, don't take my Kodak film away

I used to go through a lot of Kodak Tri-X film back in the day. Now, it's like bread pudding with bourbon sauce -- a special, special treat.

Likewise back in the day, Kodak was photography, not only in America but in much of the world. Today, the Eastman Kodak Co., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

We all knew this was coming. We all know time marches on . . . no matter how much we hate that fact. And I hope most of us are wise enough to know that change is a constant, but it isn't always progress.

STILL, the headline in today's New York Times is a totally expected shocker:
Eastman Kodak said early Thursday that it filed for bankruptcy protection, as the 131-year-old film pioneer struggled to adapt to an increasingly digital world.

As part of its filing, made in the federal bankruptcy court in the Southern District of New York, Kodak will seek to continue selling a portfolio of 1,100 digital imaging patents to raise cash for its loss-making operations. The company plans to continue operating normally as it reorganizes under Chapter 11 protection.

“Kodak is taking a significant step toward enabling our enterprise to complete its transformation,” said Antonio M. Perez, the company’s chief executive, said in a news release. “At the same time as we have created our digital business, we have also already effectively exited certain traditional operations, closing 13 manufacturing plants and 130 processing labs, and reducing our workforce by 47,000 since 2003. Now we must complete the transformation by further addressing our cost structure and effectively monetizing non-core I.P. assets.”

The company said it obtained $950 million debtor-in-possession from Citigroup to provide it liquidity to operate during bankruptcy. Kodak said that its non-American subsidiaries are not part of the filing.

Kodak has become the latest giant to falter in the face of advancing technology. The Borders Group liquidated last year after having failed to gain a toehold in e-books, while Blockbuster sold itself to Dish Network last year as its retail outlets lost ground to online competitors like Netflix.

Founded in 1880 by George Eastman, Kodak became one of America’s most notable companies, helping establish the market for camera film and then dominating the field. But it has suffered from a variety of problems over the past four decades.

FIRST KODACHROME -- or rather the demise thereof -- and now this. It's enough to make a grown geek cry, one old enough to cherish the memory of his first Instamatic Hawkeye and who still has his parents' old Brownies.

All together now: Sic transit gloria mundi.

Instamatic Hawkeye photo by Russ Morris @

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

'Does a fat puppy poot?'

Dogs bark, cows moo, Weebles wobble and Paula Deen has Type 2 diabetes.

Who knew?

Ah . . . the Today show knows what darkness lies in the pancreata of celebrity cooks:
Queen of comfort cuisine Paula Deen confirmed to Al Roker Tuesday that she has type-2 diabetes.

In her first broadcast interview discussing the disease, Deen said she intentionally kept the diagnosis secret after discovering she had it during a routine physical three years ago. “I came home, I told my children, I told my husband, I said, ‘I’m gonna keep this close to my chest for the time being’ because I had to figure out things in my own head,” she told Roker on TODAY.
I GUESS Paula "figured" it out:
“I’m here today to let the world know that it is not a death sentence,” said the Food Network star, who is now being paid as a spokesperson for Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company that supplies her diabetes medication. Coinciding with her announcement, Deen and her family are appearing in a new ad campaign for the company this month.

The news puts a spotlight on Deen, who has been criticized for promoting the type of high-fat, high-sugar diet that leads to weight gain – a major factor believed to cause type-2 diabetes. Deen said her reputation wasn't the reason she kept the diagnosis under wraps. "I wanted to bring something to the table when I came forward," she explained.
EXCUSE ME while I go cogitate about how to make enough money whoring off of my arthritic ankle and lower-leg edema to buy myself a really badass Mac Pro computer.

OR . . . as Dr. Zachary Smith once said,
"The pain! The pain!"

Experience it. Feel it. Enjoy it.

I bought an old record album Monday evening.

"The Sound of Jazz," on Columbia Records, was the companion LP to one of the greatest moments in TV history. That came Dec. 8, 1957, when the program of the same name aired as part of CBS' short-lived The Seven Lively Arts anthology.

A few days before, all the jazz greats featured on the television program gathered in a Columbia Records studio to commit music set for the TV program to magical grooves in round slabs of vinyl. The LP hit stores the next year -- '58 -- and now one of them sits next to me in the Revolution 21 studio.

I am a happy man. I own the TV show on DVD. I own the 54-year-old record now, too.

As I revisit The Sound of Jazz -- the TV show . . . the LP will be savored later today -- I am struck by a remark from the show's host, New York Herald Tribune media critic John Crosby. Hell, nearly literally.

"There's not gonna be a lot of talk on this program today," Crosby said at the program's start. "I'm not gonna interpret jazz, analyze it, bring you its history. The important thing about jazz is to experience it -- feel it. Enjoy it. "

That's it. That's 3 Chords & the Truth, the podcast arm of this august (cough) media empire (snort). I'm not going to go all public radio on you and analyze jazz -- or any other music -- to death. It's not an endless list of everyone playing on a session . . . for every bloody song.

Music is not work. Music is joy.

"The important thing about jazz is to experience it -- feel it. Enjoy it." Ditto for rock. And punk. And country. And blues.

That's rather like life, don't you think?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

3 Chords & the Truth: Warming up for a Big Show

Hang on a second while the vacuum tubes warm up on the old Radiola, and in a minute we'll see what happens when Ray Charles ran into 10,000 maniacs.

Or was that 10,000 Maniacs?

Regardless, the result ought to be interesting.

Just a few more seconds, now, and it'll be all warmed up and ready for 3 Chords & the Truth. Rumor has it that this week's edition of the Big Show is going to be a big show, indeed.

AFTER ALL, Ray Charles does run into 10,000 Maniacs. I don't know whether hilarity ensues, but music certainly does. And we're not even mentioning the Johnny Cash, Doobie Brothers, Avett Brothers and something that was going on in San Diego.

And then there's a little night music, s'il vous plait. That, we have covered. You bring the blanket, drinks and a plush chair to curl up in.

Is that Radiola about warmed up? Looks good to me. I always prefer my podcasts served up in a fine hardwood cabinet with an inner glow, so to speak. I'm funny that way.

Well, now that everything's warmed up on another winter's day, it's time to serve up the audio goodness -- maybe with a little something on the side. Settle in, curl up and lose yourself in the music. You'll be glad you did.

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