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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Rock Died Years Ago. Can We Please Bury it?

“That’s because he (Johann Sebastian Bach - 1685-1750) is arguably the most important figure in not just classical but all music: his influence is as keenly felt in music today as it ever was.”

Year of WonderClemency Burton-hill

As if The Beatles haven’t been praised enough over the course of the past 55 years or so, there is a nice little movie called Yesterday which heaps on a bit more tribute to this rock band. In one scene, the protagonist claims that the film’s eponymous song is one of the greatest songs ever written. Wow, really? I guess he’s never listened to Bach, or Mozart, or Beethoven, or dozens of other composers if he can rate a simple little rock ballad among the greatest songs ever written.

Am I the only person who thinks that rock & roll has been around way too long? For me, rock started repeating itself by the end of the 1980s.

What I resent about rock is that it has produced so few remarkable musicians. There isn’t a single piano virtuoso to come out of the genre, no great saxophonists, violinists, or any other instruments besides the guitar and drums. Rock had already endured far longer than the heyday of jazz which only dominated the music world for perhaps 40 years, beginning its sharp decline when rock ascended.

And just forget about rap music. They don’t play instruments, and they don’t really sing. It should have been a brief side-note in music yet has been with us for 30 years or more. Sorry rappers, rhyming just isn’t that much of a skill, and your puerile doggerel hardly ranks as poetry.

Jazz produced legions of great musicians on a number of instruments. In the age of jazz, talent mattered more than anything. There were no poseurs or lip-synchers in jazz. If you couldn’t play, you weren’t going to spend much time on the stage. 

To take the center stage in the rock era, all you need are a few simple chords and anything resembling human speech. Singing is optional, as we have heard in rap music. Most of popular music today is more about image than what you can hear. Why should it matter what someone looks like in music?

Sunday, September 01, 2019


You fucking half-wit!  or You killed our sister!

Even the most tired subjects in humor take on new life when you add profanity or horrific violence. Those old Family Circus cartoons were tedious, even back when I first learned to read. Add something terrible, and the humor spikes.

 Have you ever noticed that the expression “Who died and made you the Pope?” doesn’t make any sense at all? I’ve been thinking about that all day. I mean, obviously, the person who died must have been the Pope because if not, we wouldn’t need a new one. And the College of Cardinals elects the new Pope—at least that’s the way it was before I got kicked out of Catholicism. So, both questions are answered: The Pope and the College of Cardinals.

There are a lot of things to complain about when it comes to cell phones, but the worst thing is that there aren't any pay phones around these days which means you can't pick up a ringing phone, say at the train station, and have a conversation with a total stranger.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Budget Deficit on Path to Surpass $1 Trillion Under Trump

In times of full employment, you are supposed to pay off debt, like Clinton did, not run up the credit card. I can't believe how Republicans can be the biggest hypocrites on the planet. It's like they have no memory of their past actions and outrages. In 2009, all we heard was how the debt was going to ruin our future.

Obama inherited a country in free-fall and had less debt when he left than Trump has after three years of a booming economy because he wanted to make rich people richer. This should be the Democrats’ focus. Every time Trump spews out some ridiculous outrage, bring the conversation back to him blowing up the debt so his pals could buy another private jet. Democrats need to start a new Tea Party and just harp on this issue like a broken record until the election. Trump can't fix it, and he can't defend himself on this point.

Just over the horizon, another economic downturn is looming which will require another government-led effort to boost employment. What will that do to the debt? What are the consequences of not taking action in a financial collapse like we had in 2008? Trump has been a complete failure as president in these good times. Imagine the damage he will do when things are tough.

More Trump insanity: 

Trump’s Rollback of Auto Pollution Rules Shows Signs of Disarray

Of all of the insane things Trump has done as president, this has to top the list as the stupidest. Car manufacturers don’t want it and the American people* don’t want it, yet Dump wants it so badly that he is actually leaning on manufacturers to swallow his idiotic policy.

*A poll administered by Global Strategy Group found that voters nationwide support EPA enforcing stronger health protections against air pollution and are overwhelmingly favorable to clean air policies.

 Key findings from the poll include: 
·     75 percent of voters support EPA enforcing its updated stricter limits on smog, with a notable 56 percent of all voters strongly supporting.
·            Support for stricter limits on smog outweighs opposition among Democrats, Republicans, and independent voters alike. Nearly all Democrats support enforcing the stricter limits (94% support/4% oppose), independent voters support enforcing the limits by more than five-to-one (77% support/15% oppose), and more Republicans support (49%) than oppose (39%) enforcing the limits.
·     After hearing arguments from both sides of the debate, not only do two-thirds of voters express support (66%), nearly half of voters still express strong support for enforcing these stricter standards. 
·     Voters nationwide are broadly favorable toward the Clean Air Act (65%) and EPA (59%), as well as EPA’s efforts to enforce stricter limits on air pollution (74% support, including 48% strongly support).