Saturday, October 27, 2018

3 Chords & the Truth: Yes, sir! Couldn't be better!

It's great!

What's great? Everything!

Everything is great again in America, and everything is great here at 3 Chords & the Truth! Everything is going so phenomenally -- never has anything been so phenomenal -- that we may even add a fourth chord!

America is great again! The Big Show is great again! If America and the show were any greater, we'd be whistling Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah out our . . . well, we'd be whistling.

IS THIS a great country, or what?

Oh . . . one more thing. Please don't blow us up.

That is all. Because we're just great!

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Trump save Amerika from the advancing horde!

The hordes, circa 1907.

This is for all you descendants of the hordes. You know who you are.

You're the Heebs. The dagos. The Polacks. The micks. The greasers. The spics. The bohunks. The krauts. The frogs. The chinks. The Japs. The gooks. The camel jockeys. The cheeseheads. The Scandihoovians. The Russkies. The towel heads. The wetbacks. The coonasses.

Me, I'm mostly frog and coonass, with significant DNA from the cheeseheads, krauts and micks.

All of my ancestors came to the United States "the right way." When they came over to the land of milk, honey and red-and-black genocide, "the right way" generally was understood to be "getting off the damn boat without tripping on the gangplank and drowning in the drink."

Actually, my French and Cajun ancestors never came to the United States -- they came to the Spanish colony of Louisiana in the 1780s. Les Americains came to them in 1803 . . . in 1810 to those on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River after the rise and fall of the West Florida Republic.

My people may have thought of les Americains as les hordes -- I don't know.

That's not important now. What's important is that, at some point, in American history, descendants of previous hordes swarming toward American shores decided that the next wave of immigrants were the real horde, the one that totally was going to fuck up "American culture" for everybody. Right after, of course, they stole every last American job.

Recently, Real Americans (TM) have been concerned about the tag-team hordes of Muslim Suicide Bombers and Latin American Rapist Drug Smugglers. (Hey! It must be true! President Trump keeps saying it, and millions of people with bad teeth and worse educations keep repeating it!)

The tweeter-in-chief (whose personality and IQ may or may not be why they call it Twit-ter) largely managed to stem the tide of Muslims Who Blow Shit Up, but he's having limited success in stopping the Menace Coming From Mexico. (I mean, you'd think he'd extend professional courtesy toward a horde of rapists, but I guess not. They. Must. Be. Stopped.)

THERE IS SOME overlap between our present horde threats; Trump tells us that "unknown Middle Easterners" are mixed in among the Latin American rapists and drug smugglers, and he's "alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergy."

It's the nativist obsession du jour. It's The Caravan, it's coming up through Mexico from the violence and grinding poverty of Central America . . . and it's coming for you. That is why our president says it's a National Emergy.

I am unsure what a National Emergy is, but it must be Serious, because it's Capitalized like Border Patrol and Military. And Southern Border.

Now, I have no proof of this, but it may be significant that Ellis Island also is capitalized, and that had something to do with why it was bad over a century ago to let in all those Heebs, dagos, bohunks, krauts, Scandihoovians, Polacks and Russkies. Of whom almost none spoke English, which until recently was our unofficial national language before it was replaced by Trumpian.

I digress.

WHAT WE DO know is that The Caravan is a National Emergy because it is almost entirely a horde, which is coming to invade America and rape your women and force all the signage to be en Español. This is bad, because Real Americans (TM) still have to master the English "lanoguage."
According to Trump, The Caravan, in fact, is an attack on the United States. Really.
President Donald Trump on Monday vowed to send as many troops as necessary to the U.S.-Mexican border to block a growing caravan of Central American migrants, calling their trek “an assault on our country.”
In an exclusive interview with USA TODAY aboard Air Force One, the president said there were “people from the Middle East” in their ranks, reiterating a claim he made without evidence in a morning tweet. The president declined to say whether his assertion was based on intelligence agencies or some other source.

While Trump has made unsubstantiated charges that Democrats had funded the migrants, he said the television footage that showed them straggling north was rebounding to the political benefit of Republicans in the midterms. The caravan could be seen on a TV, tuned to Fox News, on the wall of his office aboard the presidential aircraft.
“I think this could be a blessing in disguise because it shows how bad our laws are,” he said. “The Democrats are responsible for that.”

That was akin to the unexpected political repercussions of the bitter Senate confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, now a Supreme Court justice. The controversy helped energize GOP voters in advance of the Nov. 6 elections, he said.

How many troops was he prepared to send to the border?

“As many as necessary,” he replied.
AND THE REFUGEE I saw on television being pushed down a Mexican road in a wheelchair is the same as a resurrected Santa Anna in a Sherman tank. Desperate mothers with their small children? No different than Pancho Villa, no doubt.

Really? Really. Ask American Conservative senior editor and blogger Rod Dreher, who has invoked (for the 975th time, but for the first time concerning this continent . . . I think) the dystopian 1973 French novel, Jean Raspail's The Camp of the Saints, which depicts desperate hordes from India descending on southern Europe . . . and a continent too culturally and spiritually exhausted to defend its borders -- and Western culture and civilization.

THERE'S THAT word -- horde. Not "caravan." Not "column." Not "migrants." Not "refugees."

Horde. That's quite the loaded word. There is no such thing as a good horde.

Dreher was alarmed Monday that over the weekend, "the migrant horde" had grown to about 5,000. Later media reports said the caravan now might number 7,000-plus.

But, hell. The man was slinging exclamation marks like a methed-up fishmonger at a Washington Post report that the Border patrol was apprehending "a caravan a day" -- 1,500 people -- at the U.S. border with Mexico.

"Fifteen hundred a day!"

Holy fuck! It's the Latino Apocalypse!

"Fifteen hundred a day!" They're invaders! Invaders, I say!

Actually, Dreher did say.

SO . . . like, what do we do? Can we shoot the "invaders"?

To Dreher's credit, he's not so sure. Unless there are no non-lethal ways to keep poor women and children from "invading" the richest country on earth? So, maybe as a last resort 5-year-old Jesus gets a slug in the head just shy of territorii Americae?

It's just so goddamn complicated!

YEP. You know you really and truly live in a Christian nation when mercy is when you don't shoot Jesus bambino and his mama in the head during their flight from Herod into Egypt to keep them from "invading" the United States as they flee violence and grinding poverty in Central America. 

But, you may exclaim, "It's a massive caravan! Five thousand, nay, 7,000 people! What if they were armed guerrillas!?!" (Oh, wait. Dreher already brought up the armed guerrillas. Sorry.)

To which I respond "1907."

Specifically, April 17, 1907.

On that day, 11,747 immigrants were processed through Ellis Island in New York Harbor, on their way to permanent residency in these United States of America. As I said before, in 1907, all that was required for the wretched of the earth of legally immigrate to this country was . . . to get here.

Unless, of course, you were Chinese. In 1907, they were chinks, sometimes Chinamen or slants, and we banned their entry from the 1870s to the 1940s.

Anyway, April 17, 1907, was the high-water mark for immigration through Ellis Island. That year, 1,004,756 souls entered the United States there. Averaged over 365 days, that's a "caravan" -- actually, a flotilla -- of (rounding up) 2,753 "invaders" every single day.

That year, 1,285,349 immigrants entered the country via all ports of entry. The estimated population of the United States in 1907 was 87,008,000.

Here's some more perspective for you: In 2016, 1.18 million people immigrated legally to the United States, which had an estimated population of 323,127,513.

OVERRUN? Have we been overwhelmed by "the wretched refuse" of countless teeming shores? Can we not accommodate one more of the "homeless, tempest-tost"?

If the perpetually nativist -- and racist -- Donald Trump and the perpetually alarmed Rod Dreher are going to make a case for extinguishing Lady Liberty's lamp beside the golden door, they're damned well going to have to do it apart from numbers and demographics.

In 1910, the total immigrant population of the United States came to 14.7 percent. Remember, there really wasn't such a thing as illegal immigration then.

And in 2016, America's immigrant population -- legal, illegal and temporary residents -- came to . . . wait for it . . . 13.5 percent.

If the combined 33,074,071 souls who live in Guatamala, Honduras and El Salvador said "Screw it!" got up and started marching toward the southern border of the United States -- then we might have a problem. On the other hand, Cherry County, Neb., is a fair piece bigger in area than Connecticut (and just a little smaller than Hawaii) but has only 5,818 inhabitants.

That's a middling size in this state. Arthur County, which is almost half the size of Rhode Island, has a population of . . . 457. Although some folks may have died or moved out since last year.

THEN AGAIN, there never has been room enough in America for "those people," whomever "those people" happen to be at any given point in our history. I don't know -- maybe there always has been room for the English and the Norwegians, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it.

Whenever I see footage of yet another of Adolf Trump's Nuremberg for Dummies rallies (or, for that matter, when I read yet another of Dreher's Camp of the Saints exercises in hand-wringing over the overwhelming of Western Civilization by the "hordes"), I always think of a story our parrain used to tell us about his school days in early 20th century south Louisiana.

Uncle Joe wasn't my godfather -- that's what "parrain" means in English -- but that's what all us cousins used to call the husband of Mama's second-eldest sister. And I guess the fact that we called him "parrain" would be proof enough for tons of alleged Americans that Frogs and coonasses like us don't belong in this country, despite the fact that we were in Louisiana long before "les Americains."

Parrain was a good bit older than Aunt Rose. In fact, he was of the same generation as my maternal grandparents, who were born in the late 1800s, and that was the first English-speaking generation of the family. Which had been in Louisiana, remember, since the 1780s.

Even though my grandparents and Uncle Joe were English-speakers, they were bilingual, and French was the language of their households. That is totally like the situation of many, many second-generation Mexican-Americans (and Dreamers) today -- the kids translate for the parents. In fact, my grandparents were the translators between their French-speaking parents and their English-speaking children.

There's a reason their kids only spoke English, and it goes back to what happened to Parrain . . . and thousands upon thousands of French and Cajun schoolchildren in early 20th-century Louisiana. The short version of the story is that one day the teacher, one of les Americains, heard Uncle Joe and his friends conversing in French, and le professeur beat the shit out of those coonass kids.

Those stupid coonasses -- and for certain of les Americains, the slur coonass always was preceded by "stupid" -- needed to become American, and Americans speak English. Only. And by the mid-1960s, the French language had almost died out in Louisiana, except among the old folks. Like my parrain. There's a term for that today -- at least among those who don't shit themselves at the thought of a "horde" of poverty-stricken desperates fleeing toward sanctuary in the richest country ever.

I think the term is "cultural genocide."

IT WAS carried out by a country that never even asked the "stupid coonasses" whether they even wanted to be Americans back in 1803. Les Americains were the purchasers, the "stupid coonasses" were the spoils.

And I had to take French in high school and college, because my mother could only speak a few words. My kraut, cheesehead and mick father, I don't think, had any desire to pick up any of that "coonass" lingo.

Because, no doubt, us real Americans -- and our blessed culture -- are better than the other guy.

God bless Amerika.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

3 Chords & the Truth: Warm and comfy

The Big Show is warm and comfy like glowing vacuum tubes and sweet, sweet music from your hi-fi on a chilly autumn's evening.

I admit that's a nerd's vision of warm and comfortable, but work with me here.

What we can say that everybody can get his warm and fuzzies around is that 3 Chords & the Truth will make you feel all good inside as your troubles -- and the nasty, ugly world outside -- just melts away. At least for an hour and 30 minutes.

LONGER if you binge listen to every episode on the Big Show audio repository.

As usual, this week's show is an exemplary one . . . and we're confident you'll enjoy the eclectic heck out of it. And that, friend, is just about all there is to say.

Except for this . . . .

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

Saturday, October 13, 2018

3 Chords & the Truth: Doing what we do

With a little luck, we won't piss off QAnon this week.

That's something that happened last week. Your Mighty Favog said something unfavorable toward the president, etc., and so forth on the Big Show, and . . . well . . . life has gotten weird in these Disunited States.

To the best of my remembering, this week's 3 Chords & the Truth is a relative bastion of sweetness and light -- OK . . . it's merely the normal amount of snark and silliness -- so we should be spared the Two-Minute Hates and the demands to shut up. Or not.

As I said, sh*t's gotten weird across the land.

Perhaps this episode of the finest music podcast on the Internets just will offend regular-strength conspiracy theorists, not the extra-strength, supersized ones. Look! Black helicopters!

ANYWAY . . .  we're here to talk about the music we're playing this week, right?

Well, we have some of this, a fair smattering of that, and you can't overlook the other thing that's on the Big Show this week. It's all very, very good.

For one thing, we have both country and  a set where we funk our way back to the 1940s. Then there's some stuff right out of left field.

Oh, crap. I said "left field." I sense some people getting pissed at the mere mention of Not Right. I swear to God, sh*t's weird these days. So very, very weird.

Listen, I'm trying not to get into trouble here. So maybe I should quit while I'm behind and just say something like "Listen to 3 Chords & the Truth. It's good." Yeah, I think I'll just do that.

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Here's your Enemies of the American People, a**holes

As Hurricane Michael hit Panama City, Fla., this afternoon with a massive storm surge and 155 mph sustained winds, the staff of WMBB television were in the studio, on the air and getting the news out.

That is, until the folks at News 13 weren't. The cement building was shaking, viewers could hear the roar of the wind outside the station, the wind gauge blew of the roof . . . and then Michael blew WMBB off the air and left the studios and newsroom dark.

Then this happened on Facebook. Live. Via somebody's cellphone.

My wife's college newspaper, the Daily Nebraskan, used to have a T-shirt with the motto "Don't Let the Bastards Get You Down." That's how journalists roll. Even when the bastard is an almost-Category 5 hurricane.

Here's your damn "Enemies of the American People," folks.

And if this can't keep the "fake news media" down, neither will the halfwit tangerine toadstool-in-chief, nor will the other little Hitlers who occupied the Republican Party and populate Donald Trump's Nuremberg for Dummies rallies.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

3 Chords & the Truth: Tunes in the ruins

In 1961, I was born into a society and a state run by preening, fascist jackasses who weaponized bigotry and hatred as a means of governance and civic intimidation. Such was the Deep South under Jim Crow.

In middle age, I find myself living in a society and -- now -- an entire country run by preening, fascist jackasses who weaponize bigotry and hatred as a means of governance (such as it is) and civic intimidation. Such is the whole damn country under Trumpism.

Forget two steps forward and one step back. Try two steps forward, then 60 years back.

This week's episode of 3 Chords & the Truth comes at the end of a particularly ugly week in American history -- this by the prevailing standards of a time in American history when every week is an ugly week presided over by a president who is the Pied Piper of Pathology. The Duke of Deviance. The Count of Cruelty.

And he has a trail of toilet paper stuck to his goddamn shoe.

Or the soiled, tattered souls of Republican senators. One or the other.

THIS UGLY WEEK featured the slut shaming of victims of sexual assault. The ridiculing of a woman who had given credible testimony that a nominee for the Supreme Court had tried to rape her when they were in high school.

It also featured a sham FBI investigation of that accusation and others against Brett Kavanaugh. Did we know enough to say for sure what happened? No.Was there enough smoke to logically assume something was fully engulfed in flame? You bet.

Did congressional Republicans care? Of course not.

Does it look like the United States is coming apart at a level not seen since 1968 -- and perhaps since 1861? Looks like it from here in Omaha, by God, Nebraska.

This is the week we wish wasn't, and this is a week when we're -- somehow -- supposed to do another episode of the Big Show. Remember the Big Show? Yeah. It's easy to forget in times like these.

THE PROBLEM in doing yet another episode of 3 Chords & the Truth when shit gets exponentially weirder with each passing week is the specter of overwhelming cognitive dissonance. You start to feel like you're returning to regularly scheduled programming in Detroit as the Motor City burns around you in the spring of 1967.

Or, more in keeping with my personal frame of reference, you're the overnight man at Loose Radio in Baton Rouge, La., playing hippie, trippy rock 'n' roll music in 1971 while the rednecks from the end of Easy Rider keep circling the block, shotgun barrel pointed out the window of the pickup truck.

At you.

It occurs to me there's only one thing to do in such a situation . . . in this present situation. What do you do? What you do is give the f***ers the finger and keep playing the tunes. In the ruins.


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

Monday, October 01, 2018

Treats for kids . . . of all ages

There is only one demographic that enjoys soda fountains -- where one still can find them -- more than grown-up kids.
That would be kids who still happen to be . . . kids.

Fortunately, one of my favorite places in Omaha, the Durham Museum, happens to have one of my favorite things -- a soda fountain. The soda fountain is scarcely changed from the days when it was the soda fountain and "travelers' needs" shop at Union Station, the Durham's previous incarnation.
VERILY, the only thing better than grabbing a hot dog, a sundae or a root beer float at a soda fountain is grabbing a hot dog, a sundae or a root beer float inside an early-1930s Art Deco masterpiece of a building.
That's my opinion, at least. I can't speak to the architectural sensibilities of soda fountain aficionados under age 7.