Sunday, November 30, 2008

Weekend interlude: Steve Earle

CDM made the assertion the other day that you can't crank country music on your car stereo under any circumstances whatsoever. I think that opinion is somewhat subject to debate; theoretically, anything with a backbeat can be cranked. There were some pretty good hard-edged country artists back in the day whose music sounded good loud - Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Hank Williams Jr., David Allan Coe for some examples. Waylon Jennings' Ol' Waylon, the only piece of country music I owned back in high school, sounded pretty good played loud on the Mickey Mouse 8-track in my '66 Chevy. Either that, or it was the combination of cheap equipment and cheap beer that did the trick. To this day, I'll still hear somebody like Dierks Bentley snap off a good riff on occasion. The main handicap in official Nashville (as opposed to the underground) is that they rarely let their musicians play all-out (in the studio, anyway). Can't sound too much like rock 'n' roll, y'know.

Steve Earle's "The Unrepentant" is definitely a crank-worthy tune. Although it doesn't have a whole lot to do with country, and that may be the point.

Inspirational Verse:

Now he's standin' at hell's door
With a bad attitude and a forty-four
The devil said, "What's up man
Now what you come here for?"
He said, "Man, let's just get to it"
He said, "I always heard that you were the bad one
There's a few places I ain't been, a few things I ain't done
You got your pitchfork and I got my gun"
Someone's gotta do it

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Damn, we're sure gonna miss that ol' boy.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Image from the vaults

Today's subject matter comes in the form of a tag from our good friend Amy, aka 24 Crayons. The rules are that you find the fourth picture in your "My Pictures" folder and post it, no matter what it is. Then you write four things about the picture, and tag four more people.

My folder is mostly a dump for stuff I post to the blog. This is the fourth image there; it should be familiar to most of you.

Four facts pertaining to the history of the pink ribbon:

1. The ribbon was first popularized as a symbol during World War I, with the song "Round Her Neck She Wears A Yeller Ribbon", with the yellow ribbon worn by a woman to remember her man who is off fighting the war. It was updated in the 40's as "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" and was the theme to the movie of the same name. Tony Orlando and Dawn's huge hit "Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree" in 1973 reinforced the yellow ribbon as a symbol of remembrance. In that song, the yellow ribbons welcomed a convict home from prison. It gained further significance during the Iranian hostage crisis when Penelope Laingen, the wife of one of the hostages, tied a yellow ribbon around a tree of their home, and the idea caught on throughout the country. Today the yellow ribbon is a general sign of support at home for US military troops stationed abroad.

2. The pink ribbon first appeared in 1991 when the Susan G. Komen Foundation handed them out to participants in its New York City race for breast cancer survivors, the forerunner of "Race For The Cure" events now held nationally.

3. The next year, Self magazine editor Alexandra Penney was working with Estee Lauder vice president Evelyn Lauder on the magazine's second annual breast cancer awareness issue when they hit on the idea of distributing ribbons in Estee Lauder stores in New York City. At the same time, Charlotte Hayley, then battling breast cancer, designed peach ribbons in order to raise awareness of breast cancer issues and as a fundraising tool. Lauder contacted Hailey about producing ribbons for Estee Lauder, but Hailey saw the idea as too commercial. After further discussions, the women agreed upon a special pink ribbon that could be used for the Estee Lauder campaign. The idea took off, and made the pink ribbon the international symbol of breast cancer awareness.

4. In Britain, pink ribbons are used to tie legal briefs together for delivery to the barristers.

Fermi, Jeni, Jennylu, and CDM, have at it. For that matter, anyone else who wants a shot at this can do it too. Spread the fun around.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

How 'bout them Titans?

Last year at this time, the New England Patriots were sporting a perfect 10-0 record, and all the pro football experts were ready to enshrine them on Mount Olympus. Of course, we know how that story ended. This year, another team has made it through their first ten games without a loss, and they play their home games just down the road from here. But nobody is rushing to proclaim the 2008 Tennessee Titans as immortals. The standard response of the football world to the Titans' success is "How are they doing it?" The media and fans like teams that score lots of points, and unlike the Patriots of a year ago, the Titans put up no gaudy offensive numbers; they have no true superstars. The Titans' game plan is to crush their opponents with their top-rated defense, and wear them down on offense with a punishing ground game supplemented by occasional short passes from journeyman quarterback Kerry Collins. Vince Young, who was supposed to be the Titans' marquee player, carries a clipboard and watches Collins guide the team to victory each week. An indication of the facelessness of the Titans' roster is that most of the commercial endorsements go not to any player, but to coach Jeff Fisher. Off the top of my head, I can't recall a situation like that at the pro level. Yet the Titans go on winning, and everyone keeps scratching their heads.

This was a popular idea last year. Consider this an open thread to talk football. College or pro, cheer or gripe, it's all good.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A third party I could support

Introducing the Australian Sex Party:

The party, with the slogan "we're serious about sex", launches at Melbourne Sexpo on November 20th and party convenor Fiona Patten is confident it will gain the 500 members required to register and contest state Upper House and Senate seats.


"This really came out of 20 years of lobbying on sex and censorship and then... the latest being the compulsory internet filter, which will ... prohibit and blacklist adult material that is currently legal in magazines, books and film," she said.

The main thing the Sex Party is concerned about is the mandatory Internet filter that the Australian government requires all of that nation's ISP's to use. Another issue they advocate for is the establishment of a national sex education curriculum.

Also, they like attention:

"We felt that - sex in a crowded room - now we've got your attention. It's half the problem with politicians, because they still giggle when they say the word sex, and that's why we have such idiotic policies at state and federal levels."

Glad to hear that Americans aren't the only ones who behave like that.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mitch Mitchell

Mitch Mitchell, one of rock's most innovative drummers and the last surviving member of the original Jimi Hendrix Experience, passed away Wednesday at age 61.

The jazz-influenced Mitchell had done a variety of session work prior to joining up with Hendrix, and he had also spent time in British R&B outfits The Pretty Things and Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames. He had also worked in Jim Marshall's music shop in London. (Marshall was the inventor of the amplifier that bears his name.) Mitchell joined the Jimi Hendrix Experience in October 1966, shortly after bassist Noel Redding, and over the next three years the trio blazed a fiery trail across the rock landscape.

Hendrix' sense of rhythm was so strong that he was able to set the groove with his playing, enabling his drummer more opportunity to fill and interact with his lead guitar lines. Mitchell was able to do this with great effect during his tenure with Hendrix, using ideas he picked up from jazz influences such as Elvin Jones and Max Roach to move the Experience's sound far beyond the standard blues-based power-trio format. The strong groove allowed Mitchell to play his drums more like a lead instrument. Mitchell and Hendrix developed an intuitive relationship where Mitchell could suddenly react as Hendrix changed gears, and Hendrix in turn played off of Mitchell's responses to his sudden tempo shifts.

Mitchell continued in a number of projects after Hendrix' death, but none came close to earning the acclaim he received with the Experience. While Hendrix was living, he was offered the drummer's chair in what was to become Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, but turned it down to continue with Hendrix. Most interesting of Mitchell's latterday outfits were Ramatam, a group featuring guitarists Mike Pinera and April Lawton, and a jazz-fusion group with guitarist Larry Coryell and ex-Cream bassist Jack Bruce that broke up when Bruce left to join Tony Williams' Lifetime. He also auditioned at one point for Paul McCartney's Wings, but was turned down. His last project was the 2008 Experience Hendrix Tour, an all-star lineup put together to celebrate the legacy of the great guitarist. Mitchell was in Portland, Oregon, five days after the tour ended, when he passed away in his hotel room.

Of "Fire", Brian Holland says it "may well have been the greatest three minutes of any drummer's career". Kinda tough to disagree.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Filling a gap

I haven't been online much this week - my parents are down from Illinois visiting, and we've been having a great time so far. It seems I don't get to see them enough.

You may have seen this before. I nicked it from Holland's Comet; it may be useful for any number of gaps you may find. I'll just call it blog filler.

The bloggy backload is piling up; I'm going to try to get to some of it in the next few days. I've also been wanting to add a few blogs to the unruly blogroll, but I can't do nothing with it right now while BlogRolling is switching to their beta, which they say may take several weeks. Modern technology is wonderful. Patience.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


I had something else I wanted to throw up here next, but I wound up spending most of my time the last few days cleaning house. My parents are coming down from Illinois later this week, and the house looks like... well, like a bachelor lives there, one who hasn't been home to clean much in a couple of months.

I'm glad to learn that my brain is well-rounded, or at the very least, I still know how to take multiple-choice tests:

There Are 0 Gaps in Your Knowledge

Where you have gaps in your knowledge:

No Gaps!

Where you don't have gaps in your knowledge:








After you're through checking the holes in your brain, be sure to head over to John Pazdan's for an excellent firsthand account of all the festivities that took place in Chicago on Election Day.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


History was indeed made last night. For the first time, the President of the United States will be younger than I am.

Let us celebrate now, for a lot of work lies ahead in restoring responsible government in Washington, as well as restoring the public's trust.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A friendly reminder

Vote. Because they never rest.

UPDATE FROM SUMNER COUNTY, TENNESSEE, DISTRICT 11, PRECINCT 2: I went by the polls after I got off work, and arrived there about 6:45 AM. The line was snaking around the school and well out into the parking lot. At least 150 people waiting for the polls to open. I drove home and went to bed.

I got up at 2:30 and gave it another try. I was in and out in 20 minutes. The nice thing about living in a precinct where the median income is close to six figures is that everybody's in the big city making money during the day. No Diebold here. These voting machines were made by somebody I believe was called Infinity.

My precinct generally goes 3-1 Republican so my vote will probably be lost in the flood again. I'm sure the guy behind me canceled it out - he was telling his wife, "Jimmy Carter presided over the biggest tax increase in American history. I made $500 one week, and I only got $200 after they took out taxes." Last time, it was the woman who said, "I wait until I get the flyer from Tennessee Right-To-Life and I vote for whoever it says to." I keep soldiering on, your light in the darkness of redneck suburbia.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Chicken dinner

David Sedaris on the election, as quoted by Tom Hull:

Some insist that there's very little difference between candidate A and candidate B. Others claim that they're with A on defense and health care but are leaning toward B when it comes to the economy.

I look at these people and can't quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention?

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. "Can I interest you in the chicken?" she asks. "Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?"

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

I mean, really, what's to be confused about?

[ . . . ]

I wonder if, in the end, the undecideds aren't the biggest pessimists of all. Here they could order the airline chicken, but, then again, hmm. "Isn't that adding an extra step?" they ask themselves. "If it's all going to be chewed up and swallowed, why not cut the chase, and go with the platter of shit?"

Ah, though, that's where the broken glass comes in.

And if you haven't figured it out by now...