Aug
5
2016

Paid To Play… Or Not.

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starving artist

 

On a friend’s facebook page, there is a brough-ha-ha that’s going on about paid vs non-paid music venues, and it revolves around the The Starving Artist Bistro in Clovis California.

The Starving Artist Bistro (SAB) is a retaurant that provides a stage for musicians and comics to go up on stage on a whim and perform. Note that the stage is small, so regular full piece bands are not going to fit on the stage. This is a venue geared toward the singer / songwriter and comedian. Musicians usually end up playing about six or seven songs and then surrender the stage to the next guy who is waiting in the wings. Some musicians are ticked because the place doesn’t pay performers, other than tips you might make from customers who are dining there. They have the view that SAB is ripping you off and you’re getting exploited if you play there. Continue Reading »

Aug
4
2016

Super Chicken Yell… In Blue.

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Bakka Bakka Bakka Bakka 

Bakka Bakka Bakka  

Bakka Bakka Bakka Bakka 

Bakka Bakka Bakka 

Baaaaaaak….

B’Coooooooock!!!!!! 

Aug
4
2016

_________________________

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The biggest story of the day, maybe the year, is the fracturing of the GOP and the Trump campaign for the Presidency… If that’s really what he’s doing.

There is this very famous news aggregate site that prides itself on being the master at featuring the biggest stories, on featuring the breaking stories before anyone else does.

Anyone notice something missing???

drudgenotrump.

Aug
2
2016

For Shi Jaramillo

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flower-bloom-animated-gif8

 

Happy Freaking Birthday!!!!!!!!!!

Aug
2
2016

Trump Is NOT Hitler. Pt 2

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A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post that compared aspects of the Trump populist candidacy and possible election to the Presidency to one of Americas most prominent populist Presidents, Andrew Jackson. This afternoon I realized there is a better, if equally imperfect, comparison to be made. It came to me as I was squawking with a Trump supporter on facebook. The supporter was comparing Hillary’s horrible record as Secretary of Defense and her lies involving Benghazi and the email scandal vs Trumps lies involving national security. Now, there is no comparison because Trump, of course, doesn’t even have a record in that field at all.

And then it hit me…

There is a much more recent political novice that we can look to that is a much better example of how bad things can get for “outsiders” officeholders. The one I’m thinking of met many of the same criteria as Trump. Here’s the list of promises made when this other guy was a candidate:

  • He was a celebrity, which helped him campaign against opponents.
  • He could say things that other politicians running for office couldn’t.
  • He was hailed as an “outsider” because he’d never held office before.
  • He was going to be able to fix the budget because he was a successful businessman.
  • He has plenty of money and pledged not to take money from special interests.
  • He proposed tax cuts for the rich.
  • Fix education (everyone promises that)
  • Proposed tightening immigration due to terror risks.

The person I’m referring to is, of course, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He ran as a Conservative, noting he had voted for then Gov Pete Wilson’s famous anti-immigrant prop 187. Problem was, with everything else he was more liberal. In the campaign the people that brought that up were brushed aside. In his first year in office, he did try to govern as a Conservative. The “Governator” tried to use brute force based on his star power and popularity to get the Conservative agenda passed, but that didn’t provide him the kind of political leverage in the hallowed halls of of the legislature everyone assumed it would. After failing to get his agenda passed via the the legislator, he bypassed them and brought several laws up for popular vote through the initiative process.  The voters smacked his initiatives down.

Then what did The Governator do???? He reverted to his true nature and governed the rest of his first term as a liberal. And he got re-elected as a Republican liberal / centrist.

For all my friends who are Trump supporters, I can’t ask you not to support him, as I know you either like him, or view him as the lesser of the two evils between the two major candidates. What I do ask is that you consider that Donald Trump may very well be a modern day Trojan Horse, a man who is likely to betray you and the country at the first difficult challenge.

Aug
1
2016

Celebrating The Old Forgotten Song!!! The Teenage Years.

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Back… WAY back in the day, there used to be this radio station that covered the San Joaquin Valley called KKDJ. It played AOR rock, and had great JD’s and personalities that always entertained.

Ahh… The “good ol’ days”.

Back in this time, so long ago – just slightly after the dinosaurs went extinct –  we didn’t have the internets and steaming music services and mp3 players and smartphones with “gigs” of music on them. We, well I, didn’t have a lot of disposable cash to go out and buy tons of records. The solution was to place a cassette tape recorder in front of the home stereo speaker and press record.

And often a stereo wasn’t even something that played music in stereo. For much of my childhood, my musical life was in mono. The family had one of these, and it only had one speaker… It was a “Mono”, not a stereo!

This is what the inside typically looked like.

They were big and heavy, and ours was mono. But it got the job done.

Then we got one of these! A REAL Stereo!!!! With a cassette deck!!!

I could now ditch the little cassette recorder and record things in STEREO!!!

BEAUTIFUL SACRED STEREO!!!!!

I happened across a picture of the exact same model we had. I completely forgot it had a DIGITAL display too…. IT WAS GLORIOUS!!!!!!

This post was not even supposed to be about the stereos of my past, but there you are. The topic of the post is lost music, found. The big and popular songs are readily available on YouTube, Pandora, Spotify, etc (I won’t use Spotify btw, and rarely use Pandora). But what about the songs that did make it to the airwaves, but never became hits. In my late 20’s, I could scrape up some money to buy the CD’s if I really liked the song. Before that, Miami Vice, with its fashion and flair, had cemented songs into pop culture that may have otherwise also been forgotten… Hello Lunatic Fringe! MTV had come, done it’s thing, and was starting to die, taking the music video along with it. What about song that didn’t make the cut for either, but weren’t bad songs? They were played on the radio for a bit, but never hit it big. Those songs faded quickly from the playlists, as well as the record stores. But for my cassette taping sessions, so many of these songs seem lost for ever. To make matters worse, most my tapes got lost to time; hungry car tape players, car break-ins, and many a move over the years. Funny thing is, I can still remember so many of those songs. They’re “Ear Ghosts”, and have remained with me, even 40 years later.

Here is one example. I always remembered this song. I had no idea who did the song, but I remember the verse and the chorus. It’s been rattling around inside my head for all these years. I looked for it over the years, but the title “Keep On Fighting” is not exactly unique and tons of hits for different songs come up when you google it. This morning, for what ever reason, I decided to search yet again…

BINGO!!!!

And here it is. Who remembers it?

Here’s another. Anyone remember the group 707? They did have a semi-hit with the title track to the silly MEGAFORCE movie, but this was before that.

Shooting Star???

Try googling Toronto. You’ll get everything, even but the band named after the city doesn’t show up. They were a fun band though, and had at least two songs that are on my “lost” list. I keep thinking there is one from them I forgot. The lead singer has a pretty strong and memorable voice. Through the magic of the internets, I just found out this group are the original writers of the song, “What About Love”, made famous by Heart.

Anyone remember the group Prism?

What some of your favorite “lost” songs?

PS. It’s interesting that many of the band linked above are from Canada.

Jul
26
2016

“Crooked” Hillary, Pt 3 – The Wal-Mart Years.

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This was a request from my Laurel canyon bandmate Jim, who is very liberal – a socialist really, he’ll tell you so – and is not happy about Hillary having been on the board of directors of the “evil” retail store Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is the poster-child for horrible corporate governance for liberals. The aren’t unionized and fight it tooth and nail. Their employees are paid low wages. They instruct their employees on how to get food stamp and other forms of welfare so they can keep paying lower wages. Etc. So, of course, any involvement with that company is a ding against her.

Jim wanted to know if it was true. And i told him I’d look into it.

Yep. She was, at one time, on the Wal-Mart Board Of Directors, from 1986 to 1992, the year she became first lady. She came into the fold at a time when Wal-Mart was expanding, but was not yet national. Wal-Mart of 1986 was not yet the mega-giant we know today. In 85, before Hillary came on board, they had about 882 stores in operation in about 22 mid-western and southeastern states, recorded sales of 8.4 billion, and had about 104,000 employees. When Hillary left the board of Wal-Mart to eventually become First Lady, the chain had grown into a much larger retail chain, and had stores in 45 of the 50 states. Today’s Wal-Mart US division has about 4,600 stores, 1.4 million US employees, and it’s revenue is something around $482 billion.

Needless to say, the Wal-Mart Hillary Clinton was associated with is not the behemoth that is Wal-Mart today.

That doesn’t mean that the same problems didn’t exist. Sam Walton, the founder of the company was already notorious for keeping costs down, which included employee pay. But they did offer stock options, and I’m betting many of the longterm employees have done pretty well in that regard. But their benefits are nowhere nearly as good as unionized competitor Costco. There are other issues as well.

The New York Times does a good job describing her time on the board. Note that she was the first female appointed to the board, and the Times notes that, although she didn’t seem to lobby hard for employee pay increases, she did press for, and get some improvements in other areas.

So, Jim, there you go.

Jul
26
2016

“Crooked” Hillary. Pt 2 – Subtitled: The More I Research Her, The Less I Hate Her.

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Just about every time I look into an accusation or scandal about Hillary Clinton, something that is supposed to make me hate her or confirm my hate for her, I come out the other side with information that exonerates her, at least to some degree.

An old chestnut hanging around for a long time, one that i first heard on the Rush Limbaugh show years and years ago, was that Hillary Rodham was fired from the Watergate Committee because her boss, Jerry Zeifman, found her to be a “liar” and “unethical”.

I never questioned this to be true. And back then, pre-internet, it would have been hard to fact check even if I tried.

Hillary Rodham vs Jerry Zeifman… Meet the internets!

Snopes says NOPE.

“A pair of articles published during Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency in 2008, one by Northstar Writers Group founder Dan Calabrese and one by Jerry Zeifman himself, asserted that Zeifman was Hillary’s supervisor during the Watergate investigation and that he eventually fired her from the investigation for “unethical, dishonest” conduct. However, whatever Zeifman may have thought of Hillary and her work during the investigation, he was not her supervisor, neither he nor anyone else fired her from her position on the Impeachment Inquiry staff (Zeifman in fact didn’t have the power to fire her, even had he wanted to do so), his description of her conduct as “unethical” and “dishonest” is his personal, highly subjective characterization, and the “facts” on which he based that characterization were ones that he contradicted himself about on multiple occasions.”

Continue Reading »

Jul
26
2016

“Crooked” Hillary?

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As a guy who holds a degree in radio / video / film production, the election season is always a fun time for me. There is so much propaganda out there to dissect, it’s hard to decide where to begin. But sometimes, things fall into your lap. Here’s one about “Crooked” Hillary Clinton, and her authoritarian views on the US Mexican border that a friend posted on his facebook page.

It starts out by showing an edited 31 second video of Hillary speaking at the Counsel Of Foreign Relations. Note that the original video is over an hour long.

Here is the text that accompanies this propaganda piece:

I never ask you guys (or gals) to share anything, but dammit! share the hell out of this video! Hillary Clinton says Mexico is a problem, Mexican Government policy is pushing immigration, US needs to secure border, and illegals should be deported!?#?artoftheflipflop? ?#?trumpstalkingparrot? ?#?neverhillary?
Transcript: “Mexico is such an important problem. Mexico’s policies are pushing migration North. There isn’t any sensible approach. What need to do is simultaneously, you know, secure our borders, new technology, personnel, physical barriers, if necessary, in some places, and we need to get tougher employer sanctions, and we need to incentivize Mexico to do more. If they’ve committed transgressions of whatever kind, they should be obviously deported. “

From a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in 2006. Only edited for time. The video and sound are slightly out of synch.

LIAR!!!! It’s not “only edited for time”. It’s edited to try and paint her as having the same views on the border wall as Trump. It’s total cherry-picking. The entire speech is about using both idealistic and realistic solutions to solve problems. The topic of the border comes up at about 48:00 minutes in. After laying out the case as to why many immigrants come here, the very first thing she says in regard to American policy is that we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform…. And she points out that the legislation to support that reform is stalled because of   Funny that the person that edited this conveniently left that out. That, folks, is manipulation. Propaganda.

Continue Reading »

Jul
26
2016

Politics NOT As Usual.

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I’ve been a political junkie for a long time. As I’m fond of saying “I love the game, but hate the stench”. Over the years, I’ve watched campaign after campaign, on both side of the major party political fence, and have been more often than not somewhat bored by a lot of things that are a staple of US politics. One of those things on that list of “boring” has always been political conventions.

They’re boring.

Everyone knows what to expect. Two to three days of speakers regurgitating the same old script consisting of the following:

  • How great the party is.
  • How horrible the other party and candidate is.
  • Nonsensical solutions to nonexistent problems.
  • The same old tried and failed solutions to real problems.
  • Blah, blah, blah….

But this year… This year is DIFFERENT! And man is it ever!!!!

The Republican National Convention started off with a bang, when anti-Trump delegates were shut down by a bizarre floor vote that left a lot of people either scratching their heads, or furious, depending on which side of the Trump you’re on. And things continues to spin outside the normal orbit of the boring. Speech plagiarism, Christie holding a mock trial (which was good theater BTW), Cruz not endorsing Trump, apparently with the approval of Trump,the continues presence of the anti-Trump fueled anger that was simmering just below the surface, causing a lack of true party unity (usually considered a failure on conventional terms – get it?) and then Trump giving a long dark speech that made ME terrified, plus all the other stuff that made this one heck of a fun convention to watch. Granted, by Cruz not getting the nomination, thanks to the unexpected presence / win of Trump, I lost a bet and now owe a friend a steak dinner. But it was worth it I think.

And now the Dems have their turn. It’s not even a day in and there is TONS more to this convention than anyone could have predicted. First there are the hacked e-mails, showing that the DNC did indeed unethically stack the deck against Bernie Sanders in favor of the Queen, Mrs. Hillary Clinton. Though it’s not really surprising, as Bernie supporters have been for good reason accusing the DNC of being in cahoots with the Clinton campaign, the stolen e-mails, revealed by Hillary nemesis Julian Assange and Wikileaks, confirms those suspicions. To make matters worse, former Clinton campaign manager Debbie Wasserman Schultz who was forced to resign over this embarrassment, has, for some reason that makes no sense at all, except to Hillary I guess, been appointed to an honorary campaign with the Clinton campaign, before the ink on her resignation was even dry.

Are you KIDDING ME????

Isn’t there anyone in Clinton’s inner circle who can stand up and say “DON’T DO THIS! IT WILL LOOK HORRIBLE!!! BAD OPTICS!!!!”.

Apparently, there isn’t.

How did all this happen???

There was a time when the party machine had more say in who would be able to run under their ticket. Oh, sure, a rogue candidate could jump into the fray under the company banner, but without real support from the party organization, that candidate wouldn’t stand a chance. He, or she would get squashed. The party wold change the rules behind closed doors or throw out various roadblocks to make it impossible for the interloper to ever succeed. Just look at how the Republican party machine treated Ron Paul, even though he had more popular support than several of the candidates who continued to enjoy favorable treatment.

Here is a message for both of the major parties. The Past Is Gone.

The past is a time when everyone would, in the end, agree to go along to get along for the sake of the party. The past is a time when you could bribe opposing politicians with platform changes or even appointments of you and favored lackeys to cabinet positions.The past is a time, before the internet, when the parties could pull of subtle things to influence election, and talk about it within the hallowed halls of party headquarters, and no one would be the wiser. They could do these things and so much more without any repercussions.

Those days are gone.

Why is this happening? Easy. It’s the internet. We are privy to information that in elections past would have never seen the light of day. We are now hyper-aware. We are an electorate that has watched politicians pretend they are “one of us” and want to “help us” but barely lift a finger to do what they promise, or worse do the opposite. We are an electorate that are finally willing to hols politician’s feet to the fire for flip-flopping. We the electorate, even if we can’t identify it specifically, can detect and smell the corruption rotting just below the surface, and we simply are not willing to stand for it anymore. We the electorate are, frankly, sick of being lied to.

The people running the political show are still playing by the old rules, dubious of the fact that everything has changed since the election of 2000. They are so out of touch with us, with the world we live in, that they never figured we’d catch on. And worse, when it became clear that we did, they were so blind to us that they didn’t even see it.

It’s all about information. That the internet was going to change the way we do political business was predictable and inevitable. I would have thought all this would have become obvious and would have already changed things before now. But… Finally… Here we are.