Fun With Binoculars And Solar Eclipses, 2017 Edition.

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I did this during the partial eclipse in 2012.

And this:

So, of course I couldn’t let this eclipse in 2017 go by with out a little bit of fun.


Fed Up

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I’ve been a very patient man, but I’ve reached my limits. Yesterday, certain Conservatives, without waiting for any confirmation, posted the name of a guy, accusing him of being the driver in the Charlottesville attack. A facebook “friend” was one of those who gleefully posted the name of this person. The innocent guy was accused for only one reason, because of the person’s political affiliation, which is liberal.
That is blatant slander. The police had not issued the identity of the driver.There was no reason to post except to try and show a “Libtard” did it. When called on it, he didn’t care that the person was innocent.
Another “friend” posted a completely false story about Malia Obama getting busted with other Chicago “thugs”, complete with supposed mugshots, who, as you might guess, were all black, over a supposed bust involving several pounds of cocaine. The “friend” didn’t give a damned when pointed out this story was completely fake. It really ticked me off, because, no matter what your opinion of the political figure in question might be, I have long held that, unless the person actually has done something that directly involves policy, such as Hillary being in charge of the healthcare issue when her husband was President, partisan attacks on wives / family members of politicians are out of bounds. The “friend” tried accusing me of doing the same thing here all the time on my page with Ivanka, Malania, or Trump’s young son Barron.

I have probably mentioned Ivanka on business issues / practices a time or two. I’ve maybe mentioned Melania once, when she was caught plagiarizing a Michelle Obama speech. But I’ve NEVER in any way said anything slanderous about Barron. NEVER. I have a long policy of showing distain for that practice. Here is a post I wrote concerning attacks on Anne Romney:

I have no problem criticizing any politician when he or she is pandering, which Mitt was doing with his original comment. And it was clumsy, as usual. But what Rosen did, in order to score some political points, was akin to throwing fellow woman Ann Romney under the bus. And here it’s worse, because Mrs Romney wasn’t even in the road, but was a pedestrian on the sidewalk, and Rosen had to swerve to nail her!

I’ve felt this way since the Reagan years. I defended Laura Bush. I defended Michelle Obama, and I have defended Melania Trump. And I have defended their families. I have written about Donald Trump Jr. But he’s actively involved with the campaign, and he has been shown to have lied about things directly tied to his fathers campaign.

The same people who have no problem slandering others, are also the same people who cheer when protesters get run over. Even though I don’t share the same opinion, I can understand the opinion that blocking traffic during a protest is wrong. I get it. But to celebrate and revel when a person uses a car as a weapon…. Nope. That is a love and lust for violence I just can’t tolerate.

Those “friends” are gone from my facebook page.

So I’m fed up. If you


Brat Tail Light.

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Because the forum I’m on doesn’t allow links to Google photo, I’ll put this here and link to it instead.

They thought they could defeat me…


Happy Birthday Tim Finn – Persuasion.

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The other night at the Intimo’s Open Mic, I decided to pay tribute to a favorite artist, Tim Finn, who recently had a birthday. He’s been an influence on my songwriting and playing over the years. I usually play a more simple guitar rhythm, but I just recently realized I could play this more like the original recording. I’m still getting the hang of it, so forgive the rough moment here and there. Right now I play with a .63 pick. I think I’m going to try a lighter gauge for this kind of strumming to see if that will smooth things out.

So, here’s my rendition of Persuasion, by Tim Finn and Richard Thompson.


California Single Payer – The Cost Of Freedom.

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This year, in the middle of 2017, the California legislature is in the process of moving a bill that would convert the entire healthcare system from the insurance based system we all know and “love”, to a single payer system, that, quite frankly, is completely unknown to the average US citizen.

Well, not really. Our police and fire services are also “single payer”. The come, do their job, and unless a ticket is being issued, you the citizen don’t have to pay a bill for those specific services rendered.

You DO pay taxes, which pay for those services. But we accept that.

There are legitimate complaints against the Affordable Care Act passed by Democrats and President Obama in 2010. It has also been good for a lot of people. But it is complicated and convoluted, and a lot of things that were promised did not come to pass.

The health care proposal the Republicans in Congress are working on, the American Health Care Act, doesn’t seem to make anyone except Donald Trump, certain partisans, and a number of Republican politicians happy. The GAO score on the thing is abysmal. There are many who voted for Trump and Republicans, who wanted the ACA repealed, but now realize they will lose their health coverage if the ACHA replaces the ACA.

It’s a mess.

So, if healthcare were indeed converted to the same type of single payer system, here are some of the clear advantages:

You, the citizen, would no longer have to deal with all the paperwork and hassle of getting an insurance company to pay for medicines and procedures that you think they are contracted to cover, but they say they are not.

That is freedom.

You, the citizen, could see any doctor you chose*, because there would no longer be insurance companies, or government for that matter, to restrict you from seeing them. Government pays for all doctor visits, so it no longer matters which one you choose.

That is freedom.

* If the doctor is a quack, and is practicing non-science based medicine, then that should really come out of your own pocket.*

Since insurance would no longer be tied to employment, loss of health care coverage would not be a deciding factor on whether you should change jobs or not.

That is freedom.

If you are an employer, you would no longer have to shill out gobs of money to pay for health coverage for your employees.

That is freedom.

There would no longer be insurance based cost tabulations to administer, there should theoretically be far less paperwork that doctors would have to handle, which means they could spend more time with patients. This was one of the huge failings of the ACA; it created more paperwork, not less.

For doctors…. That is freedom.

Of course, this system is not perfect. If you examine single payer type systems in other countries, you will of course find problems with those systems. But, when all is said and done, health care administered in a “single payer” type model, especially those found in all the other developed first world nations except ours, they are rated better in almost all metrics of healthcare than that of our system.

Including cost.

Oh yes…. Cost.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the cost of implementation of a single payer system in California would be expensive. The estimates range around $400 billion dollars. Yes, that is expensive. But modern medicine is expensive. And here’s the deal. We will not be facing a tax increase of $400 billion dollars. According to the Times, approximately $200 billion would be covered through existing state and federal subsidies. And, remember those employers I mentioned earlier? the amount they pay per year to cover their employee’s healthcare is estimated to be somewhere between $100 billion to $150 billion dollars.

That leaves an unpaid deficit of $50 to $100 billion dollars that we would have to pay in the form of taxes or other revenue generator.

OK. Let’s assume that it’s the high figure of $100 billion dollars we must pay for healthcare. That is no pittance.


There is one basic question that I have yet to see addressed in this debate; what is the cost that the average Californian pays out of pocket in insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-pays? The latter two are complicated and hard to quantify, but insurance premiums are well documented. The average insurance premium for single coverage, excluding the contribution from the employer, is about $350 per month, or roughly $4,200 a year. California has a population of over 39 million. Multiplied together, that comes out to about $163.8 billion dollars a year. That total is far more than what would be needed to pay the remaining balance of the single payer system. But we know of course that not all 39 California citizens pay for their own insurance. Lets say only 25 million contribute. That still comes out to $105 billion, which, again, is over the high cost estimate that we, the taxpayer, would have to make up to pay for single payer healthcare in the state. To pay for the shortfall, California would implement a tax of some sort. If this was collected as part of the income tax, the cost would be spread out more. Therefore, people who currently pay insurance premiums would likely pay less of the healthcare taxes than they currently do for their insurance.

For arguments sake, let’s say the tax we would pay is still more than the average insurance premium. How much would it be worth to be able to walk into a medical center and get treatment at any time, without the hassle of insurance generated paperwork, without having to fight for coverage for even basic care….

That seems like a good deal to me.



Lying – The Record – Trump v. Comey.

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What a week!!!! Former FBI Chief James Comey testified under oath during Senate hearings about his interactions with Donald Trump as candidate, then as President and boss. Comey did not have kind words, and under oath, continued to say Trump demanded he pledge “fealty” to Trump. Trump is saying these, and other things Comey said, are lies.

Yes. He’s flat-out accusing the former head of the FBI of lying under oath.

That’s a very serious accusation. Trump has hinted that there are tapes of the conversations… I think he’s hinted… Sometimes he says things and you’re not quite sure if he’s saying what it seems like he’s saying… Anyway, people seem to think Trump hinted that he has tapes. He’s demurring on whether there ARE tapes or not, but he’s saying he’ll let us know one way or the other “soon”… Just like how he said he would show his tax returns soon… After an IRS audit was done… After the election, after he leaves office, etc,… Or just like the evidence he gathered in his quest to prove Obama was really born in Kenya: “I have people that actually have been studying it and they cannot believe what they’re finding.”

OK. Sorry. Sidebarring there for a moment.

Let’s have some fun and do a wee bit of investigative journalism and look at the record of each man, Comey and Trump, to see if either has a history of lying under oath.

First up to bat: James Comey.

Other than the current accusation by Trump and the Trumpublican media, an accusation which has yet to be proven or debunked, I couldn’t find much evidence that Comey has lied while under oath. I found this instance concerning the Huma Abedin ? Clinton emails, where Comey said Abedin regularly forwarded Clintons emails to her husband Pickle Pants… I mean Anthony Weiner. At a later date, he said he misspoke. Maybe. But for the heck of it, let’s call it a “lie”.

So far, that’s all I found.

One possible Comey lie under oath.

Now, let’s look at Trump’s and see if he has ever been caught lying under oath….

Here is one where he lied under oath about then NFL Commissioner offering a team to Trump if Trump and his USFL didn’t sue the NFL.

Both men seem to have at least one instance where their sworn testimony may not have matched reality.

What about public statements and the like?

Comey has a little cover here. As the head of the FBI, there were certainly circumstances where he had to lie to protect the integrity of work and investigations being conducted by his office. There is the fallout from this odd incident in 2004, when Comey raced Alberto Gonzeles and Andrew Card to the bedside of G. W. Bush Attorney General John Ashcroft to try and prevent the two from getting approval of a domestic spying program the White House was seeking. Of course the Trumpublican press has their side of the story, where Gonzales is the hero and Comey is the villain. But, at least right now, I don’t see very many using this incident to discredit Comey.

Trump and lying.

Where to begin…

How about here. In Donald Trump v Tim O’Brien, Trump, in one deposition, stretched out over two days, Trump is forced to admit, under oath, that he lied or misrepresented the truth. How many times did he lie or misrepresent the truth????

Thirty times.

From the article:

“That deposition — 170 transcribed pages — offers extraordinary insights into Trump’s relationship with the truth. Trump’s falsehoods were unstrategic — needless, highly specific, easy to disprove. When caught, Trump sometimes blamed others for the error or explained that the untrue thing really was true, in his mind, because he saw the situation more positively than others did”.

Or what about this?

“Contradicting repeated denials from Donald Trump and his team, Newsmax reported on May 14, 2016 that Trump met Russian Ambassador Kislyak at a VIP reception in Washington on April 27.

And while meeting the Russian ambassador is fine, why lie about it?”

Here is a list of 101 lies told by Donald Trump, and it’s written in April of 2016. And most of the material evidence presented is from his campaign for the Presidency up to that point.

There are more, of course. A LOT more. But you get the picture. Donald Trump is now on the record saying he will testify under oath that Comey lied and perjured himself on Thursday. If Donald Trump is serious about testifying under oath about who lied, himself or Comey, it’s pretty obvious Trump is going to have a “yuge” problem and have a much steeper hill to climb in establishing credibility. And Trump may HAVE to testify under oath, as he has just accused Comey of perjury. That is not a charge taken lightly by anyone, least of all, by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

PS. Note the rambling third paragraph. See… It IS possible to ramble and make sense. I should maybe offer Donald Trump lessons???


The Lost Lesson Of Gary Hart

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Dear Mr. Trump.

If you don’t want the press to turn the journalism knob up to eleven and investigate the hell out of you…

Don’t challenge them.


Happy Twelfth Year Blogiversary Sonicfrog.Net

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Twelve years ago, January 5th, 2005, I started this blog.

Yeah… Happy B-Day / Blogiversary To Us!!!!!

The main reason was to improve my writing skills while I was in the process of becoming a teacher. You see, I was never much of a reader when I was a kid, or even a young adult. Because of this, I didn’t absorb the fundamentals of the written English language that many of my peers did. I was not a complete English language washout though. As a kid, I had one ambition… To be an actor. Although I didn’t read or write much, I did pay attention to certain details because of that. I could write. And if the subject was something I cared about, like writing dialog or reports about tornadoes or earthquakes, or other sciencey stuff, I did pretty good. My grammar was high C to B average. My HUGE Achilles heel was spelling. In 1991, my junior year in college and long before this thing called “spellcheck” was a thing (you kids don’t know how well you have it), I had a professor write an assessment telling me I needed to make a dictionary my best friend. She was more than a little bit of a jerk about it. Of course she was not wrong. My spelling WAS horrible. But she handled it poorly. Some encouragement would have been more motivating. I graduated in 92 with decent grades, but never took any jobs where there was a lot of writing. But I felt the need to get better, and when I decided I was going to start a new career as a teacher, I knew I HAD to get better. The Sonicfrog blog turned out to be the perfect vehicle to improve my writing and spelling skills. I still make a mistake hear and their (just kidding), but I’m much much better at proverbially putting pen to paper, and with some confidence. It provided the practice I needed to become a better writer and become a good teacher.

There are a couple of other benefits to starting and maintaining a blog. Even though this was never an exercise in trying to get fame, some of my posts were featured on other more popular blogs, such as Instapundit, Ann Althouse, and even a couple of links on Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish. There was a time when I thought about writing more provocative content in order to attract more eyeballs, but I watched what happened with other blogs that went in that direction, and lets just say, blog management became a full-time unpaid job for many of my blog-pals. And that maybe would have caused me to lose sight of why I started doing this in the first place. Plus… MAN… When blogs really became popular, the comments section because freaking zoos.

Who needs that aggravation.

Not only did I decide not to try and become popular – I succeeded at that well enough – but also decided at some point to start challenging some of my own preconceived notions about the world. I came into blogging as a right-wing leaning fellow. I was more of a libertarianish type than anything. But I WAS a strong supporter of the Iraq war, and my early posts reflect that. 2005 was right when a lot of disturbing pieces of news had started to break. I would at first be the parrot, echoing what Conservative media said. But, because of my pledge to try and be accurate, I started getting into the habit of researching things on my own. Being someone who graduated with a degree in mass communications, I studied media / journalism quite a bit in college. One of the most important lessons I was taught is that there is no such thing as “unbiased” journalism. Every single human on this Earth is biased in some way, even me, and journalist, editors, photographers, news anchors, etc, ALL are biased in some way. The better thing to strive to find is the accuracy of information being reported, and look for things that may be omitted. The more I looked at all sides, not just the cherry-picked information each sides relies on to bolster their case, the more I grew to recognize that many of my long held beliefs simply didn’t hold up to scrutiny. So my blogging activities changed my perspective on the world. That was not expected.

An even more unexpected side effect of starting this blog was the act of writing itself. When I started blogging, it was a chore to sit down and write. Twelve years later, not only can I sit down and write on a whim, but, this ability extends to my songwriting as well. I used to have to wait for some sort of inspiration to erupt in my skull to get something down on paper, now I can typically write something at a moments notice. I’m not saying those lyrics are on par with those that are backed by the mysterious creative urge, but I can do it if needed. I find it kind of cool actually.

Oh… And one last thing. I used to have a hard time writing in first person. Because of mm twelve years of experience writing my blog…


You know.


2016 Election Aftermath – Bonfire Of The Vulgarities. Pt 1

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Here are a few thoughts.

People did not vote for Trump because of the insane / inane comments and tweets he said… Well… Maybe a few people did. As repulsive as some of his comments and tweets were, let’s face it, we have become numb / immune / apathetic to the vulgarities we are exposed to everyday in films, on the TV, and of course on social media. We are used to it. No, they voted for him because he has marketed himself as the common man (the Forgotten Man – Google it). There are a lot of people who are fed up with government, and I’m talking about Democrats and Liberals too. Hillary chose to market herself is a person with long experience in government. Few responded to that.

As far as treating Trump like the Republican Congress treated Obama… No. Show them you are better than they were.

And purge the party of the Clinton machine. You lost because her blind ambitions clouded her from the long standing reality that she’s not a very appealing person. I spent too much time defending her against inaccuracies and flat-out falsehoods, not because I’m a Hillary fan, but because I’m a fan of accuracy and truth. And even then, with as many falsehoods as I worked to expose, there were still plenty of legitimate and questionable aspects concerning Hillary and her lapses in judgement, and her lame attempts to try and obfuscate and lie her way out of them.

Hillary Clinton was a horrible candidate.

Hillary’s selling point was her many years of experience in government. Her time as Sec of State was not a shining light of competency. Granted, the Middle East is so fubar right now, I don’t know that anyone can do a good job in the position. By most accounts, she was a pretty good Senator of New York. There are interviews of former Senate colleagues who have high praise for her work and demeanor during her tenure there. That includes Republicans, who are otherwise critics of her. Yes, she would have come into office as one of the most experienced candidates ever to run for the President. But much of that experience also comes with tons of baggage, real and imagined… Thirty years worth. And she was accumulating even more bad even as she was running this campaign for President. On the one hand, I’m horrified that so many in this country seem apathetic that a foreign entity such as Jillian Assange would be working to interfere with this election. On the other hand, what those leaks reveal, about how Hillary and her team corrupted the the DNC and turned it into an “Elect Hillary” machine… And then, when the shit hits the fan, and the corrupt individual running the DNC, Debbie Wasserman-Shultz is fire as head of the DNC, she is immediately hired by the Clinton campaign… COME ON PEOPLE!!!! Then Donna Brazzile is hire to replace her, and SHE is reveal to have been passing question

A few weeks ago, while giving a speech somewhere, she commented that she couldn’t understand why she was 30 points ahead in this race. The fact the couldn’t see the reason is part of the problem, and, because of that blindness, that was something she would and could never overcome. Of course, she has since come out and blamed Comey for her loss. But if she would have been more careful with the details of running an email server, done it by the book, not deleted things… Well… Maybe that’s where the real problem lied.


My Wall Of Peavey Basses!!!!

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The wall of Peavey is complete. From left to right:

1984 Fury – My most recent acquisition. Ash body, maple neck. First gen was old T-20 renamed. Second gen became a true P type bass. I accidentaly bought it in Reno last week, and after tuning it up a bit, I’m falling deeply in love with this thing! It ALMOST has a Rickenbacker sound.

1989 DynaBass – The first bass I bought was a black DynaBass in 1991. It got stolen in 2000. I had lined for another for a long while, and found “Red” for sale on The TalkBass forum in 2008ish. I LOVE that beast!!!

1998 Fury – A fine P bass for less than a Fender. It’s not as “cool” as having a real Precision Bass… But then, I was never cool.

2011 Millenium AC 5 String – One of my old bands was having a reunion, and I played mostly 5 string on our songs. Problem was… I no longer had a 5er. I found this for a bargain. Not their top of the line model, but it does have the same electronics and pickups of their more expensive Cirrus bass… Which I wants btw.

Oh… And the thing hanging on the wall with the squares is an early “Acoustic Frames” prototype.

UPDAT: I was just checking eBay, and there is a Peavey fretless 5 string that needs a new home….