Saturday, September 19, 2020

3 Chords & the Truth: Winter is coming

Winter is coming.

I mean that in every sense of the phrase.

As if 2020 weren't awful enough -- as if the mortal threats facing the United States weren't piling up to the extreme -- now there's just one more thing. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died, God rest her soul, and now we face perhaps the bloodiest (perhaps literally) Supreme Court confirmation battle we've ever seen.

This latest "one more damn thing" comes amid a catastrophic pandemic, an intractable culture war, a cold civil war that already was threatening to go hot . . . and a brutal presidential election in which one of the candidates is a budding authoritarian dictator. To tell you the truth, this is looking like one thing too many for our divided and traumatized country to take.

I am not an optimist by nature. Usually, I count on expecting the worst, then being pleasantly surprised.

I fear the glass half empty is about to catch up with me . . . and with us all.

YET,  the Big Show must go on. I hope, as fine a country as Canada is, the future address won't end up being (fill in the blank), by God, Ontario. Or Manitoba. Whichever.

That assumes, however, that Canada would let Americans in. That's a big assumption, because it won't let us in now.

Because the 'rona . . . and because Typhoid Yankee.

Still, we do what we can do for as long as we can do it. In this case, that would be 3 Chords & the Truth and playing great, eclectic music while trying not to make you as depressed as I am right now.

By the way, this week's edition of the show is particularly tasty. It will either take your mind off things, or perhaps you can be depressed to a bitchin' beat.

Don't think twice, it's all right. On the other hand, you can't be too strong as the city drops into the night.

C'est tout.

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


Saturday, September 12, 2020

3 Chords & the Truth: The picture is better in here


Do you ever think that living in the United States is like watching a TV with really bad reception?

The picture keeps going to random pixels , the sound keeps going out, and you know that pretty soon everything will just go to black, waiting for the "NO SIGNAL" thingy to pop up on the screen.

Yeah, that.

I mean . . . I meeeeeeeean, do you ever feel the need to watch the network news with a fifth of bourbon? Do you ever think that this crap's too ugly to stand?

Well, Bucky, we have something here that might help what ails you -- a magic elixir called 3 Chords & the Truth.

BEST OF ALL, it's absolutely free, you don't have to brave a virus-threatening trip to the store, and it contains absolutely no alcohol. (It's excellent as a mixer, however.)

And it's right here, just a click away.

The pictures it will summon in your head are amazingly better than the ones on your television screen. It's not only the Big Show, it's the much better show. The music dancing in your ears ain't half bad, either.

That's all there is to say about that. So. . . .

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


Saturday, September 05, 2020

3 Chords & the Truth: The Big Show @ 500 (episodes)

It all started at a 10-watt radio station in Baton Rouge, Louisiana -- a young man behind the microphone with little ambition and less talent. . . .

And 43 years later, well . . . it is what it is, 3 Chords & the Truth.

I kid. Sort of.

But what did start four decades ago at WBRH radio at Baton Rouge Magnet High School does live on today, on the Internet, in the form of the Big Show. Unsurprisingly, you'll hear a lot of what I was playing then on the program now -- because my generation did have the best music.

The occasion for all this ruminating is a landmark edition of the podcast. This is No. 500.

Five. Hundred. Shows.

FOR A YEAR or so, Revolution 21 was the home of the brilliantly named Revolution 21 Podcast. On Jan. 11, 2008, that became 3 Chords & the Truth, and we've been plowing ahead ever since -- always eclectic, always adventurous and always trying to surprise you.

Well, at least a little now and again.

Being this is the 500th episode of the Big Show,  we'll celebrate by giving you bonus podcast this week. You'll get a half hour more of the best music you'll find online -- lagniappe for just being here and sharing in No. 500.

Did I mention this is the 500th program? It is, you know.

I'll shut up now so you can enjoy in just a second.

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


Saturday, August 29, 2020

3 Chords & the Truth: Shots in the dark


This edition of the Big Show comes at the end of a week that began with seven shots in the back.

Then it saw two protesters shot dead in the middle of the night by a teenage vigilante, then had a hurricane and Nuremberg for Dummies -- because the other mayhem wasn't enough to satisfy fate.
I need a drink, and you need the music. Because the crazy never, ever ends.

Otis! Take us away! (And if you want to know what that's all about, listen to the show.)

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


Saturday, August 22, 2020

3 Chords & the Truth: Carry on


The stupid, it burns!

So consider 3 Chords & the Truth as your personal fire extinguisher and burn cream. Extinguish flames before applying to skin.

I mean, really. Some days, it's just hard to roll out of bed, because the stupid -- and the ugly and mean -- is so strong in this country. And then there's the virus, so you're smart if you don't venture too far beyond your bed. Y'know?
 
WELL, you just have to keep on keeping on, keeping the ugly reality in mind but also hoping for the best. The Big Show is a big part of my keeping at it . . . despite everything. (Don't make me think I shoulda stayed in bed! I do like to sleep.)

That said, the music is typically great, your host is typically somewhat adequate, etc., and so on.

And I spend one set of music pretty much showing off. If you're a music geek, you'll appreciate it.

If not, you'll probably still appreciate it.

That's pretty much it. Brevity is the soul of wit -- or something.

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


Saturday, August 15, 2020

3 Chords & the Truth: Mostly sanitary


The Big Show, we are proud to announce, is sanitary. Sanitation has been achieved.

Being sanitary is important these days -- there's the 'rona goin' round. And we have a very sanitary lineup of music on 3 Chords & the Truth this week.

Except for that one thing. And maybe that other one. We do the best we can; it's a filthy world out there. Ask the president . . . but don't get too close. He's not sanitary.

Is this enough for you, Skipper? Sometimes, it gets hard to think of new ways to describe the Big Show. Still, I must write something -- and this is it.

So, is this enough for you, bucko?

Well, it better be. After all, the proof is in the listening, not in my blathering.

And remember to stay away from Donald Trump. Not sanitary . . . or anything else that fittin'.

That is all.

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


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

In the year 2020, this crap just ain't funny


NEBRASKA: "Mister, put down that microbe!"

COVID-19: "Shut up! Now c'mon. Your money or your life!" 

(Long pause.)

COVID-19: "LOOK, BUD. I SAID YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE!"

NEBRASKA . . . AND DIRK CHATELAIN: "I'm thinking it over!"

In the hands of the great Jack Benny, that used to be one of the great comedy skits of all time. In the hands of the University of Nebraska and the Omaha World-Herald, it's just another display of our society's seriously screwed-up priorities in the year of our Lord 2020.

In the year 2525? Screw that. Apparently, Zager and Evans were off by 475 years.


Consider the hypothetical: The president of Rutgers University obstructing Nebraska’s ability to produce one of its biggest economic commodities. Its chief source of entertainment and cultural influence.
Sounds foolish, right? But not fictional. That’s essentially what happened this week when Big Ten leaders voted to cancel an entire college football season.
This is not an argument about immunology or sociology. It’s civics. Who has authority over the welfare of your flagship university? Is it Ronnie Green and Ted Carter? Or is it Kevin Warren and Big Ten presidents?
There’s a reason Nebraska school districts made their own decisions on opening schools this fall. Because the circumstances in Platte County are different than those in Lincoln or Omaha.
Maybe losing football doesn’t qualify as a crisis in Piscataway or College Park or Bloomington. But it’s DEFCON 1 in Lincoln, Ann Arbor and Columbus. No wonder Scott Frost and Ryan Day aren’t going down without a fight.
Had the Big Ten really valued its members this week, commissioner Warren would’ve resisted the urge for uniformity and enabled schools freedom this fall. Freedom to compete — or not. If that meant the Big Ten refusing to sanction games and calling off conference championships, so be it.
But if Nebraska wants to play North Dakota State, if Penn State wants to play Syracuse, if Ohio State wants to play the Cleveland Freaking Browns, let them. This is not the time to demand lockstop. This is a time to preserve local economies — and cross country scholarships. This is a time to foster creativity and open minds.

Saturday, August 08, 2020

3 Chords & the Truth: Somewhere to run


Where do you run to when there's nowhere to run?

Excellent question, if I do say so myself.

Well, this week on 3 Chords & the Truth, we're escaping somewhere deep into the music. When you feel like you can't take another damn thing, it's good to have a bunch of rockabilly queued up and then go from there.

WHICH IS exactly what we're doing this week on the Big Show.

It's the next thing to having a time machine and heading back to a world that was COVID-free, where Trumpism sounded like something having to do with bridge . . . and where you (meaning me) sported fewer pounds and more hair.

I guess that sort of sums up this week's show. Alas.

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


Saturday, August 01, 2020

3 Chords & the Truth: Yet, we persist


This edition of 3 Chords & the Truth starts out by cleaning up -- or fervently hoping we'll have the opportunity to pick up, sweep up, mop up and wash up after this fine mess we've made for ourselves in these Benighted States of America.

This comes after your Mighty Favog was forced into a week away from the turntables and the microphone, because the doctor was afraid he'd contracted COVID-19 despite his paranoia about catching the Trump virus. The test was negative, but because the test ain't the greatest, there was a week confined to the bedroom and away from the studio.

Here's hoping to make up for lost time here on the Big Show.

And despite everything . . . we persist.

Our backs are against the wall. Yet, we persist.


We will persist. And we'll persist to a hell of a soundtrack, right here on this here program.

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



Tuesday, July 28, 2020

150,000 corpses = a lot of mole hill

Mount Everest vs. stack of American COVID-19 dead

It looks like mandatory face masks are coming to this corner of eastern Nebraska.

At long last, and with the bodies starting to pile up.

The Douglas County Board of Health voted unanimously Monday to authorize the health director, Adi Pour, to require wearing face masks here. As usual, Trumpers and other assorted wingnuts lined up to champion their "freedom" to infect others amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Because 'Murika.
Others expressed concerns that masks prevent their children from developing healthy immune systems. And some said fears about the virus are overblown.

“Why are we making a mountain out of a mole hill?” Seth Paulson of Valley said.
Pour pushed back against those who questioned public health data.

She said she felt comfortable about local case trends around the Fourth of July. But week by week since the holiday, cases have risen, and Pour said the time is right for a mandate.

Douglas County last week saw its highest three-day run of new cases — 476 — since the end of May. Pour noted that the county recorded a total of 940 new cases of COVID-19 during the week that ended Saturday, a 50% increase from the week before and the highest weekly total since May 30.

In addition, the positivity rate for tests increased to 9.6% last week from 7% the week prior.

“This is not an easy decision,” she said. “If the data had been different the last two weeks, I probably would have said it’s not necessary. But the data tells a different story.”


AFTER THE Omaha World-Herald story posted online, former columnist Matthew Hansen highlighted anti-masker Paulson's objection on Twitter and wondered how many bodies would make a mountain. Hansen didn't do the math. 

I did.

We now have about 150,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19, and experts say that number surely is an undercount.

Now, let's assume the average depth of these bodies is 1.5 feet -- fat, skinny, adult, child . . . roughly average it out. Now stack the bodies one atop the other like a giant pillar of corpses.

Your stack of American corpses would be 225,000 feet high.


Now divide that by 5,280, the number of feet in a mile. That makes the stack of American COVID corpses 42.6 miles high -- 42.6136363 miles, to be exact. I think that qualifies as mountain high. Mount Everest, after all, is just under 5.5 miles high at 29,020 feet.

No, Seth.
You have it backward. You're making a mole hill out of 7.7532736 Mount Everests.

Now shut the hell up.

https://twitter.com/redcloud_scribe/status/1287894430905782274?s=20

Saturday, July 18, 2020

3 Chords & the Truth: Push back

“Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you."

-- Flannery O'Connor

That goes double in these times of fascists, cranks, the plague and a radically deviant conception of "freedom" and "liberty."

If 3 Chords & the Truth has to turn into some sort of Resistance podcast, so be it. This thing -- meaning America -- has gotten out of hand, and we'll be lucky to live through it.

We'll have to hope and pray that we get lucky. While we're waiting to see, the Big Show will have some great music to salve your soul just a bit.

Push back like hell, my friends.

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


Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Dear Pete Ricketts . . . .


Dear Pete,

I hate to ruin your day and all with a little perspective, but my basket of f***s to give has been empty for a while now.

Tuesday, there were 318 new COVID-19 cases reported in Nebraska. Italy reported 114. That puts us 204 ahead of -- or, more accurately, behind -- Italy.

Nebraska's population is 1.9 million. Italy's is 60.4 million. Just so you know.

Perspective is a stone-cold bitch. And you are a catastrophically bad governor. We'll be damned lucky to survive you.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

3 Chords & the Truth: Same old song


It's the same old song. Second verse, same as the first.

And here we are in Coronavirusland -- right back where we started in March.

In March.

Apart from "We live in f***ed-up times in a f***ed-up country," I really don't know what to say. Rather, I don't know what to say that's any different from what other rational believers in science are saying right now.

We here at 3 Chords & the Truth got nothin' . . . except the music. And the music is exceptionally good.

One hopes it's so good that it'll make you feel a little bit better for a while. I would say "make you forget," but that's a bit of a stretch -- even for the Big Show.


But that's just the same old song, isn't it?

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



Saturday, June 27, 2020

3 Chords & the Truth: Whatever works


How are you getting by this week in this time of disease and woe?

Me, I've found that the best method for coping is . . . whatever works.

A big part of "whatever works," we at the Big Show hope, is the Big Show itself. A weekly dose of good music helps a lot when you're afraid to turn on the news for fear of what fresh hell awaits.

But while you're listening to the program -- listening to the finest in recorded music from the vast 3 Chords & the Truth library -- might I suggest sitting in a comfy chair with a refreshing libation. It might just be the shot in the liver you need.

PERHAPS A Skyball would do the tri . . . tri . . . hic . . . trick.

This classic 1960s bit of alcoholic nostalgia is sort of like a spruced-up highball, only made with vodka, lemon juice and lemonade. And I'm sure it's healthier than sitting on the stoop with a Lieutenant Dan cigar and muttering the F-word a lot.

Like I said, whatever works.

Of course, if you happen to be under 21 -- or if you just don't like booze -- I'm sure a nice refreshing glass of no-octane lemonade would work just fine, too.

Listen to me, I was pre-med in college. Wait, I was a journalism major.

Hell, what's the difference?

Good music and good libations -- that will help you get through this time of pandemic and pan-idiots. And helping you get through it all is our special mission on 3 Chords & the Truth.

S'alright? S'alright.

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


Saturday, June 20, 2020

3 Chords & the Truth: Doing what we can


First, the pandemic. Then, the reckoning.

Hell of a spring you're having, America.

Amid a double-barreled storm -- a double-barreled world of hurt -- what then are we to do? The answer is both complicated and really simple. Being a simple sort, I'll stick to the latter with this episode of 3 Chords & the Truth.

Now, the envelope, please. And the answer is . . . what we can.

We do what we can. That's certainly what we're doing here on the Big Show -- what we can. It involves (one hopes) not being dumb, not saying dumb things (at least not extraordinarily dumb, which seems the fashion for American society today) and playing the best music available here in the Apocalypse Bunker.

MANY MIGHT know that better as "the studio."

That pretty much sums up this week's show -- playing good music to soothe your soul and not saying or doing anything extraordinarily dumb. Don't worry, we'll still have plenty of the ordinarily dumb.

Just ask my wife.

I suppose that's all there is to be said -- he says as the smartphone and iPad keep dinging and lighting up with the latest Fresh Hell Alerts. (Would it be appropriate to change the alert tone to something more appropriate to these times . . . like an air-raid siren?)

Ponder that after you rebalance yourself by listening to the show.

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


Friday, June 12, 2020

3 Chords & the Truth: No. 1 in the heart of . . . something


When life has become a slog and the world around you is in turmoil, sometimes you just need to self-medicate . . . with music.

This may or may not preclude self-medicating with other things. It's that kind of year.

This week on the Big Show, we're self-medicating with a lot of hit records -- and records that, in your Mighty Favog's humble opinion, should have been hit records. Or bigger hit records.

It beats crawling into a dark corner with a bottle. Which, again, may or may not preclude also crawling into a dark corner with a bottle. Because 2020.

But for right now, you can try coping by listening to the hits and shoulda-been-hits on this here edition of 3 Chords & the Truth.

I guess that covers it. So give it a listen and escape the suck for a while.

That is all.

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


Saturday, June 06, 2020

3 Chords & the Truth: Please do not adjust your set


Please do not adjust your set. 2020 is experiencing technical difficulties. Please stand by.

(Cue the peppy, yet soothing instrumental music to accompany the "technical difficulties" slide on your screen.)

Please stand by -- perhaps that ought to be the new motto of the United States as the country staggers between a pandemic, economic collapse, civil unrest and a president who manages to be deeply evil and barking mad, too.


God knows "E Pluribus Unum" just isn't cutting it anymore.

If you have any answers beyond "Just hold on, and do the best you can," the Big Show would like to hear them. Address your reply to 3 Chords & the Truth, Apocalypse Bunker, Omaha, by God, Nebraska, Oh-What-the-Hell-Is-the-Point-Anymore?

AT A TIME when the president sets federal agents and troops upon peaceful protesters just so he can walk unbothered by the hoi polloi to a boarded-up church to stage a phony photo op with a Bible he doesn't read, just holding on and doing the best we can seems to be about all we can do right now.

Just hold on. We'll do the best we can to play some good music to distract you from your aching fingers.

That's about all I can tell you right now. God help us.

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


Friday, June 05, 2020

Amerika, a pictorial study









Here's a scene from Saturday's protest in Salt Lake City.

If this is how Amerika's storm-trooper cops treat a 67-year-old leukemia patient who walks with a cane, how the hell do you think your average able-bodied black man gets treated by police in the 'hood?

The old guy's crime? He was taking pictures when the cops swooped in to "dominate the battlespace."

“I thought they were just coming down the street and all of a sudden they came charging at me,” he told KTVX television. “Ten minutes before the armored vehicles showed up that’s when I got there,” said Tobin. “When I went down there to take pictures there was no mob scene. It was just a bunch of people standing around taking pictures. I was at the end.”

Afterwards, Tobin says a group of people then came to his aid trying to call an ambulance, but one couldn’t get through.

“They stayed with me,” he said. “Bandaged up some of my cuts on my arms.”

Frustrated, Tobin went home. The next morning, he says he received a call from Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown.

“He said that’s not the way the police are supposed to act, and he was going to look into it with internal affairs and the review board, and take action,” said Tobin. “I told him whatever you’re going to do is fine with me.”

Tobin, who has Leukemia, has a visible scratch on his head from his fall.

“My shoulder still hurts a little bit,” he said. “My rib on the back is still sore, but the main problem is my knee.”

If given the chance, Tobin shares what he would tell the officer who knocked him down.

“I’d just say, I hope you don’t do it again.”
I DON'T KNOW exactly at what point your average cop in the United States became your average Nazi storm trooper, but here we are. In the last 10 days, we have heard -- and seen -- story after story after story after story of ordinary, peaceful folk being brutalized by "(fill in the blank's) finest" while "boogaloo bois," vandals, looters and arsonists run amok as America recoils in civil-disobedient horror at . . . well . . . the kind of crap you see here. And a lot worse.

Repeatedly, murderously worse.

But it's OK. The police chief is going to look into it. The trouble is, America's police chiefs have been "looking into it" for the last 55 goddamn years. Maybe the mayor will appoint a commission.

Or maybe not. President Caligula probably would fire off some mean tweets calling him a pussy.





IT SEEMS we live in a land where "pro-life" politicians -- like Donald Trump, "the most pro-life president ever" -- just can't satiate their blood lust, and now your average, unarmed African-American just doesn't hit the spot anymore. Now we have cops pointing weapons at the heads of toddlers.

In that case, the Long Beach, Calif., police have promised to launch a "review." Don't hold your breath.

Meantime, maybe some cops will take a knee or do a silly dance with the early shift of protesters. Hell of a great way of getting limbered up for the main event.


* * *

P.S.: Judging by his apparel, it seems that the Utah victim of wanton police brutality is a Nebraska fan. Haven't Nebraska fans suffered enough?

Friday, May 29, 2020

The crooked, white heart of a dying land

You need to watch this. You need to hear what CNN's Don Lemon has to say.

You do that -- I'll wait. Then I have something I need to say. In advance, I ask that you pardon my French.

Have you finished with that Don Lemon video? Good.

Now, you know what the problem is here, right? It's this: Way too many white folk are just like Donald Trump -- narcissists who lack empathy, only in their case that deficit only applies to those whom they've been raised to disdain.

Guess what, people. Those who raised you in such a manner were just as fucked up as you are. They taught you wrong, and you just aren't introspective enough to question your assumptions and conditioning.



LISTEN,
the bad news is we're all fucked up. The good news is you're not alone. The better news is you have the power to fix your fucked-upitude. You have an imagination -- use it. Put yourself in the other guy's shoes for just a minute.


Until I got to Baton Rouge Magnet High, due to life in the public schools of Redneckistan and thanks to my own family dynamics . . . well, let's just say it's easy for me to understand the sort of rage we're seeing tonight. At age 59, I consider it, as Bobby Kennedy related in 1968 after Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated, "the awful grace of God."

It's not terribly difficult for me to imagine just wanting to "burn the motherfucker down." It's not terribly difficult for me to understand internalized rage and humiliation.

Of course, it's not right to just "burn the motherfucker down," but it's certainly understandable as hell. At least if you get a hold of your self-absorbed self and imagine what it's like to have a cop with his knee on your neck . . . just because he can, figuring the consequences for that will be minimal.

WELL, we're seeing the consequences now, ain't we, Cap?

The problem here is that this sort of riotous anarchy has to be quelled, but the ones whose job that is have zero moral standing to do it. Not anymore. That doesn't make a violent mob any less a violent mob; it just makes us well and truly fucked right now.

Really, we're in an awful place when the tripolar dynamic in any society is, first, the lawless, enraged mob. Then, second, there are the jackbooted thugs, as embodied by Donald Trump and his cultists.
Finally, third, there is what appears to be the feckless liberal authorities -- in this case in Minneapolis -- who believe in relevance and self-abasement (self-abasement which isn't unmerited, I hasten to add), but are powerless to do much else but validate the feelings of the unthinking, enraged Id indiscriminately destroying everything in its path.

Welcome to the Revolution, folks. Chances are, it won't end well.

Minnesota copbots' algorithm needs tweaking


Let me get this straight: A mob burns down half a Minneapolis city block, including a police station, and . . . nothing. 

But a CNN crew, standing where the cops said it could do a live shot, gets arrested while on the air.


This after the reporter told the state police copbots they'd move wherever the cops wished. Handcuffs. No explanations for the arrests.

PERHAPS THE crew's mistake was that it didn't burn shit down. Then the CNN journalists would be golden.

Welcome to Amerika. Now, why are mobs smashing in storefronts and burning down police precincts again?

Obviously, there are many paths to mindless thugishness. Indiscriminately burning down your city as part of a mob is only one of them.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

100,000 and counting


One. Hundred. Thousand.

Dead. In less than four months.

Our economy is in ruins. We're not near done.

God help us, because Donald Trump and his followers sure as hell won’t.

And wear a damned mask.