Giving A Democrat “Some Love”… Double Whammy Style! UPDATE

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And when I say “Love”, I mean attention, and not in a good way.  republicans have been feeling the wrath of Sonicfrog, now it’s a Democrat’s turn.

Elizabeth Warren is trying to capture the Mas Senate seat now occupied by Republican Scott Brown.  She came off as the working class defender in her first ad, and impressed a lot of people. The revelation a number of months ago that she has in the past used a dubious claim of Cherokee ancestry to gain affirmative action benefits hasn’t seemed to hurt her too much.  First, she defended a major corporation AGAINST those workers trying to collect beneffits to help pay the cost of dealing with asbestos related illnesses.

Watch her response to Scott Brown when he brings this up in a debate.

Well, that was hardly a satisfying answer and rebuttal. And when I say “hardly satisfying”, I mean “Oh GOD, that was SOOOO much worse than any lame response from Romney on any of his multiple gaffes!”. Yeah, it’s that bad.

But the latest revelations are much worse.  Seems shes practiced law in Massachusetts without a license. That’s a big “Oops”. Of course the usual defenders are blindingly buying her rational and political attempts to slither out of the way of the truth car before it runs over this snake of a problem. They cite the fact that the information was brought to life by a Conservative law blogger “gasp” so therefore it automatically must be assumed to be false!* But honest left leaning law bloggers are noting the case against Prof Warren does indeed look quite damning. Wish we had more people who could set aside politics and call out their own when a problem is revealed.

And note. when Joe The Plumber guy was caught practicing without a license, the news world was inflamed…


This has been out there for days, and yet it’s only being pursued by one Conservative blogger. No mass media coverage on this, a much worse, and by degrees a much more high profile story than anything concerning Joe The Plumber. Anyone still want to argue that there is no media bias leaning toward liberals?

* I get so sick of the use of the “shoot the messenger” fallacy. I can’t stand either Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity. I have similar attitudes toward Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow. I take anything and everything they say with an elephant sized grain of salt. But, if they are correct, they are correct.

UPDATE: On media bias…. Maybe three days is still an acceptable time frame. I am the one after all who bitches and moans that the media jumps on a story to get it first rather than waiting to make sure they get it right.

Hat Tip: Althouse.

Singing…. A couple of bits of advise.

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First off, let make sure that no one mistakes me for a vocal coach. I am not. I’ve had some vocal training when I was studying to be an actor and broadcaster, both of which I never ended up doing as a career. That training gave me some valuable instruction on how to use my voice when speaking. Though it did lay some very important groundwork, those techniques don’t always translate when using your voice for singing.

The most useful pieces of advise that have helped me over the years have come from two people.

First on the list… The one…  The only…  Kevin Krohn.  One early evening we were sitting in the car singing (I do a lot of my singing in a car). We were giving Mr Mister’s “Go On” cassette a run through. Now, Kevin, just like Richard Page of Mr Mister, has a fantastic singing voice.   It is a wonder to hear. I was singing too. At one point, he stopped and asked “why are you trying to sing so loud?”. “Because I can” was I think my response.  My voice is not a bad tool; it’s pretty flexible. But I was so intent on either copying another style, or especially trying to sing at the top of my lungs, I often sounded like crap. Now, it didn’t dawn on me at the time, but Kevin was pointing to one of the errors I made for many years when trying to sing lead vocals…. I tried too hard!

The vocals on any given recording are mixed and compressed when they are added to any given recording, which brings them out in front of music on a record. I was trying to emulate that. Me being dense and a little slow, it took me a while to realized the value of Kevin’s advise.  A side benefit, I found I could extend my range if I laid off the volume.

On to the next step in becoming a better vocalist.

A couple of years ago, my current band Acoustic Highway added a guitarist, Steve Kuykendal, who was also a superb vocalist. On those occasions where I was going for broke when I didn’t need to, during rehearsals he would basically slap me upside the head to get me to stop doing that!

“Stop trying so damned hard!”

I wasn’t going as crazy trying to push so much air as I had in the past, but yeah, I still need that reminder every once in a while. The vocal arrangements in Ac Hi need more finesse, less volume. Steve is a task master, and want’s to get things right as much as possible. He is terrific at arranging sings, and I’m using what I learned from him on some of the songs I’m putting together for my solo album.

But he helped me in another way that I am forever grateful. He is the guy that sat me down and forced me to sing in my falsetto range. I had always HATED my falsetto!  Would never use it. Years earlier, when recording the “I Like Their Old Stuff Better” EP for Chris Plays Guitar, I was asked by the producer to lay down a high harmony, which meant singing falsetto. I didn’t do it because I just didn’t have the confidence to do it.

Fast forward a few years.

Acoustic Highway was originally a four piece band. We specialize in music that has tons of harmonies. I can do four part harmonies all day without moving into a falsetto range. So I never did. Avoided it like the plague. When Steve and his wife, also a singer, joined the band, we now had six voices and started doing even more complex stuff. This included the Eagles “Seven Bridges Road”. I was bumped to the Timothy B Shcmidt falsetto. I was the only one in the band that could do it. I was not comfortable with it at first, but it really grew on me after a while.  Now I’m fine singing in my falsetto range when the need arises.

Steve and Nancy have since moved to another state, so he can no longer slap me upside the head. I owe him, and Kevin, a lot. I don’t claim to have the best voice in the world, but I’m much happier with what I can do, and have more confidence than I ever had.

Now I’m once again doing a Police Tribute band. This is very tricky vocal-wise. Sting’s vocals on the early recordings are so interesting. The range and timbre of his voice are very unique. I’ve blown my voice out in the past trying some of his stuff because I was not approaching this challenge in a disciplined way. Once again, falling into the trap of being too loud trying to be Sting. But, I think I’ve learned my lessons. I  will no longer sing AC/DC’s “You Shook All Night Long” or Zep’s “Rock And Roll” for that reason… Too damned hard on my voice box. We had our first Police rehearsal last week, and  the focus on vocal discipline paid off. My voice came out of the rehearsal intact and ready for more singing.   Yay!

Vicious Rumors…. The “German” Test!

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Jeremy Clarkson lays it out:

Others put it to the test….

And it’s TRUE!!!!!! 🙂

Love the opening song too!!!!!

Oh, BTW, the German word for squirrel is “Eichhörnchen”. Yeah, I’ll not even try to say it, and I took German in high school.

Journalism Fail – For Having.

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Golden West teacher arrested in sex with student

Well, if I’m gonna be arrested, there are worse places to be than “In Sex”.


Things To Do Today…

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  • Feed the creatures! (Miss Bird, Odo and Elsa.
  • Do pool route.
  • Practice Police Tribute Band songs.
  • Diagnose spa in Sanger.
  • Join math / physics list.
  • Work on some math problems.
  • Practice Police Tribute Band songs.
  • Inspect bike for Tour de Fresno tomorrow.
  • Go to Police Tribute Band practice.
  • All the other stuff I’m leaving out like pooping and what-not.

Mitt Romney’s Hoover Moment?

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“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. … My job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

—Mitt Romney, inleaked comments from a fundraiser in May 2012

For a while, I’ve been thinking Obama might be the next Herbert Hoover, the poor sap who entered the Presidency without realizing that a pattern of absolutely horrific economic conditions were going to dog him for his entire Presidency, and that he would get the blame for the repercussions that follow. If you listen to the general Conservative narrative, that is certainly what you hear. “The lagging recovery is all Obama’s fault”.

Some of the criticism is certainly warranted. Someone please explain what “Cash for Clunkers” was supposed to do again?

That said, I’ve been reticent to make the Obama / Hoover because too many of the pieces simply don’t fit. Up to his election and inauguration, Hoover enjoyed a tremendous amount of admiration because of his business acumen, and especially his humanitarian effort to get food to a starving European civilian population during and after World War One. Hoover also redefined the Secretary of Commerce from a minor cabinet position into one that worked with business to improve the lives of the citizenry. While Barack Obama is known for his work as a Community Organizer, unlike Hoover, his work and the results of his efforts in that capacity remain to this day a murky footnote to the Obama legacy – nobody really knows what the heck a “Community Organizer” does. And Mr. Obama is not exactly know as a business guru.

Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is as much known and admired by many not only as a fine business man, but also as a hero for literally saving the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002, certainly a much more high profile accomplishment than that of being a community organizer. What about Bain Capital? Hoover gained his fortune by rising up in the ranks of the Bewick, Moreing & Co. mining company, and under his tenure, relations between management and labor were also not always wine and roses:

The 1890s was a depressed decade, and Hoover ran a tough management regime. He cut wages and increased hours. He also raised ethnic tensions in the workforce by employing immigrant Italians – ‘the rivalry between them and the [other] workers is no small benefit’, he wrote, because it made united action more difficult. This was a very American tactic, not often used in Australia.

You can imagine some of this popping up in several of the SuperPAC ads if Hoover was running for the highest office today.

OK. You might be thinking these are some interesting parallels, but since one was President during hard economic times, and one has yet to be, how I can make the Romney / Hoover relationship stronger than one to Obama and Hoover?

Empathy my friends. Empathy…. Or the appearance of a lack there of.

Hoover was not a strict adherent to Laissez-Faire / separation of business and government policy, as his tenure as Secretary of Commerce shows. When it became apparent that the aftermath of the Great Crash of 1929 was becoming much more sever than anyone had predicted, Hoover started implementing a number of government based solutions to try and help people in need (a good portion of what became known as the New Deal were actually implemented by Hoover, and turned up to 11 by FDR), and to get business to do all they could to keep people employed. But, like many in power during this era, Hoover was convinced that the best way for the country to get back on track was through local intervention and volunteer efforts. So he stressed that instead of pointing out what he himself was doing behind the scenes to try and fix things.

This was his undoing. FDR was telling people help was on the way, literally bragging how programs he implemented while Governor of New York created jobs for people, while Hoover would make no such statement even though he was starting to do the same. FDR milked it for all its worth to become president. Though Hoover had a long history of being a real humanitarian, and behind the scenes, he was indeed pushing government levers to try and get the economy going again, the citizenry, by his own doing, only saw an out-of-touch millionaire at the helm doing nothing. The lavish dinners at the White House and the Bonus Army incident only reaffirmed the public image of Hoover being a heartless, uncaring soul.

This is at the core of Romney’s real problem. Even though we know he’s done some fine humanitarian work, Romney has a knack of coming off as a rich guy who has absolutely no clue about what the people of this country have gone through in the last few years! That Romney refers to those 47% and asserts “they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives” is a stunning comment! The people who are taking government assistance, and who don’t pay income tax, are doing so not because they are lazy and are content to suck on the government teat, but are people who through no fault of their own have fallen from the ranks of the middle class and are only taking the benefits because there are no jobs out there that will feed the family and pay the bills. For many, a government handout is the difference between eating and having a roof over their heads or being homeless. These people in unfortunate circumstances would LOVE to have good paying of jobs again and get off the government dole. Yet all they see and hear are rich people insulting them and calling them lazy parasites. They see the rich, candidates like Romney or your choice of radio blow-hards,  making litle meaningful investment back in this country instead of shipping jobs overseas, and creating real good paying middle class jobs here at home that will get them off the welfare rolls.

Mitt Romney, at this point, is in no danger of seeing shanty towns renamed to Romneyvilles, or have turned out pockets called Romneyflags. To the larger point; while the perception that the wealthy are not investing in the well being of this country, or are not creating any jobs at all, is not accurate, neither is the assertion that the 47% of the country who are not paying income taxes, and who are on some sort of government assistance, are automatic Obama supporters… Though I think Romney might have just converted more than a few with these latest comments.

PS. Here is another thing I’ve been thinking about. Hoover, with all his business and government experience, should have been the PERFECT man to deal with the onset of the Great Depression. But, as it turns out, he wasn’t. Somehow, his advantages seem in the lens of history to perhaps have been more of a hindrance to him than an asset. Could this also apply to a Romney Presidency? Does his business experience really matter in the grand scheme of things?

Perfect Albums!

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With the exception of the obvious album, I’m gonna try and mention a few that don’t normally come up when this list is contemplated.

Interestingly enough, my first pick goes in a direction that most who know me wouldn’t suspect… Perfect album?

Time Out – Dave Brubeck

Set a standard of what a great jazz album should be, and marked a generation of jazz artists. Sticking with jazz-ish type stuff…..

World Gone Strange – Andy Summers

If the first song, title track, doesn’t bring a huge smile to your face opon first listen… Yer dead to me! Fine collection of songs.

And now to the more conventional.

Dark Side Of The Moon –

Well, you know who. If I were to pick only one album to demonstrate the “perfect album”, this is THE perfect album. Song composition and selection? Musicianship? Production? This isn’t even a favorite album of mine… don’t get me wrong, I love it, but it’s not one of my all time favorites… but it is perfect in every way.

Now on to more standard fare:

Breakfast In America – Supertramp.

Breakfast never sounded so good! Yum!

Crowded House

I would have picked “Together Alone” as it’s a fine album, but the song “Black And White Boy” is the chink in the armor on that one.

Since I’m going on about a Finn, I might as well include the other one.

Everyone Is Here – The Finn Brothers

If you love harmonies, and song that talk about real life stuff, like, oh, the jealousies and healing of the relationship that happens between two incredibly talented brothers, here is the perfect album.

Candy-O – The Cars.

Their debut is stellar. This follow up probably doesn’t get the accolades it deserves because of the stunning debut. Both albums are quirky, but equally as stunning.

Triage – David Baerwald

You’ll not find a darker, politically charge and perfect rant of an album than this. And, at the end of the slow-burn rant, this thing ends with one of the most beautifully expressed songs about loving someone that I’ve ever heard.

And, finally

Bellybutton – Jellyfish

This is PERFECT pop! Yes, it might rot your teeth with its sweetness, but the musicianship is SOOOOOOOOO good, you’ll not mind the multiple trips to the dentist to have those cavities filled! Trust me on this one!

More Dialect Quiz Action

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Reluctant GAS – Gear Acquisition Syndrome!

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I’ve been trying to sell my big bass rig for over a month, and it wasn’t moving at all. If all the components were new, it would have gone for $800 at least. I was trying to sell it for $400, but I had no takers. Then, out of the blue, a guy offered trade that, in the end, I couldn’t refuse!

I am now the owner of this Cort B4FL fresless bass guitar!

Oh! It’s sweet! I already played it at a gig. For never having played a fretless before, I did pretty well. I screwed up a couple of time when I tried to do more on the fretless than I should have… The techniques between a fretted and fretless bass are a but different, but, when I wasn’t getting myself into trouble, my intonation was pretty good.

PS. This is the bass that belonged to Jerry Margosian. The guy was a monster player, and I hope I can learn to play the thing at least an N’th as well as he could!

PPS. I didn’t spend any money getting this thing, but I could use an extra few hundred $$$. Also, i made a promise that if i got more equipment, I’d move something else out the door. So it looks like it’s time to sell my black Peavey 5 string DynaBass.

What Azzent Do I Have?

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I’m neutral! Which is interesting considering I was born in New Yak, and raised in Daaallaaas Teexaas.

To be fair though, I did want to be an actor when I was a kid, and did pay very close attention to the way I talked. Somewhere, there is a cassette tape of my brothers and sisters talking, and I had the least detectable drawl of any of us.

Which American accent do you have?


You’re not Northern, Southern, or Western, you`re just plain -American-. Your national identity is more important than your local identity, because you don`t really have a local identity. You might be from the region in that map, which is defined by this kind of accent, but you could easily not be. Or maybe you just moved around a lot growing up.

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