Monday, August 31, 2009

You know what I hate?

Political commentary in comics that have not made their niche as overtly political comics. Those wafers might have been inherited, but who's to say that kid's dad didn't get them honestly? That seems to be the implication and that really burns my arse. As if taking just "a small percentage" makes it all right.

Hey, Kathleen Parker actually makes a good point here!

Or, yet another reason the left vs. right paradigm gets more outdated by the day, almost:

...the tone on the right side of the blogosphere is rather Old Testament, with many expressing delight in the thought that the senator’s final judgment will not be light. Elsewhere, Kennedy fans have exploited the propitious timing of his exit.
One can’t help wondering, nonetheless, how those same Old Testament celebrants would have treated Kennedy had he, as recompense for his sins, embarked on a crusade against abortion and same-sex marriage instead of universal health care. My modest guess is that they would have found a way to forgive him and insisted that a man’s worst moment is not the sum of his life.
Kennedy’s life was indeed a mixed sack of good works and sometimes-deplorable behavior. A charitable person would hope that he found peace at the end of his life. An observant person might note, without pleasure, that even in death, it’s all politics.

With as many people that have been lambasting Teddy Kennedy for his advancement of liberal causes, I can't help but think she might be right for once. Of course Parker doesn't even realize why she might be right, as we see here that she characterizes his life as a "mixed sack of good works and sometimes-deplorable behavior." A perusal of Teddy's record will reveal some good works, such as getting more federal funds for cancer research, but by and large, when viewed from a libertarian vs. statist point of view, the lion's share of Teddy's career was dedicated to increasing the size and role of the government — which is nearly nothing but bad works. More than a few libertarian-leaning people might even ask, "why should the federal government be the ones to decide how much of the American public's money goes to cancer research?" And as heartless as that might sound I do understand exactly where they're coming from.
Of course, with Kathleen Parker's near-terminal case of cranial-rectal inversion, I don't expect her or any of the other "conservative" elitists ever to come to that realization.

Hey, wait a minute...

CHICAGO — Sixteen years after seven employees were killed inside a suburban Chicago fast food restaurant, their families are bracing to hear details of the deaths — for the second time in only two years — as the last suspect goes on trial.
...Prosecutors said the men shot and stabbed restaurant owners Richard Ehlenfeldt, 50, his wife Lynn, 49, and five of their employees: Michael Castro, 16; Rico Solis, 17; Marcus Nellsen, 31; Thomas Mennes, 32; Guadalupe Maldonado, 46.

I thought that sort of thing wasn't supposed to happen in places with restrictive gun laws. It's almost as if the anti-gunners were trying to sell us a pig in a poke. Imagine that.
But wait! Maybe it's the easy access to knives...yeah, that's the ticket...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wow, so much for real solutions...

Reading this story, one would almost have expected somebody at some level to observe that if the people of New Orleans were more self-sufficient more of them would have been able to make it out before Hurricane Katrina hit. But I suppose that wouldn't have fit the popular narrative that Katrina's catastrophic aftermath was the result of the federal government dropping the ball, never mind that it was the local and state government's responsibility to step in before the feds took over. I know there are always going to be those who need help getting the hell out of Dodge when the time comes, but it's still worth asking why so many of them were in New Orleans -- and how many of them were in that predicament because of their own bad choices. Call me heartless, but that's just what I think.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Just another random musical observation...

upon hearing Testament earlier this morning and Metallica's classic "Master of Puppets" as I write this...
You know what subgenre is just awesome? American thrash metal...the above two bands, Exodus, Megadeth, Anthrax...Man, I hate that it took me 20 years to discover this stuff. Better late than never, though.

Heyyyy, another favorite... Outlaw Country, Sirius Ch. 63: "Sundown, you better take care, if I find you been creepin' 'round my back step...."
Not the Gordon Lightfoot original, although it is a favorite of mine as well. Central Texas native Deryl Dodd also recorded that song. I'm not exactly sure when he recorded it, but I remember 99.5 the Wolf in Dallas was playing it pretty regularly around 2000-01. "Sundown" finally showed up on a Deryl Dodd cd called Pearl Snaps in early 2002. Pearl Snaps was a great cd as well, featuring a few cuts from Dodd's first album that had since gone out of print -- a great rendition of Tom T. Hall's "That's How I Got to Memphis," Dodd's own "She'll Have You Back" (also recorded by Tim McGraw), and the title cut from that first album, "One Ride In Vegas." There was also the title track to Dodd's A Bitter End cd, and another of those songs that 99.5 the Wolf had in pretty heavy rotation, a love song to our fine state called "On Earth As It Is In Texas." (Dear Lord, let me walk in the light of a lone star high above meeeee...)
As for "Sundown" seems to me that Deryl Dodd is another of those singers who couldn't do anything but country music, as he turned Lightfoot's pop-folk classic into a modern-day Texas country classic. Of course folk and country have always been kissin' cousins, I guess you could say, but it was still awesome. As is that entire cd, which is another that I would very highly recommend you add to your collection.

Friday, August 28, 2009

My favorite song of all time.... the Roadhouse, Sirius Ch. 62: "...and you don't know it, but I came over tonight, there was somebody's car parked outside...Damn my eyes...Damn this heart of mine, I drove off into the night...Some fools never learn, play with the fire and you're gonna get's only love when you're loved in return...."
Despite his pop leanings, Steve Wariner was one of my favorite singers from the '80s, largely because of that one song, a No. 1 hit the week of Nov. 2, 1985. I guess you could say "Some Fools Never Learn" was such a great song that it made up for a lot of that. ;-) But I also liked the earlier hits from Steve's MCA days. "What I Didn't Do" and "Heart Trouble" were particular favorites. I'd like to have seen him do more in that vein, but still his pop-flavored tunes weren't THAT bad.
I should add, though, that for all I know he did do more traditional music with the unreleased album cuts on those early MCA records. By the time I started getting into that older music all those albums were out of print. After all, to hear the 1998 No. 2 hit "Holes in the Floor of Heaven" no one would have ever guessed that the Wariner album from which it came -- Burnin' the Roadhouse Down -- was one of the more traditional-sounding country albums of '98, and that year saw albums from George Strait, Alan Jackson and Randy Travis, who of course have been keepers of the flame ever since they've been on the scene. (And if you don't have that particular Steve Wariner cd, I highly recommend it...)

Another bad thing...

...about having to deal with sprawl...

Walter's on Washington, a popular live-music venue on Washington Avenue, will close this fall and reopen at a new location. Club owner Pam Robinson can't reveal the new location until it gets approval from the Alcoholic Beverage Commission, but she says it will be downtown in a 1928 warehouse.
The new venue will also be removed from residential areas. As the area near Walter's began to gentrify, noise complaints about the venue became more common. A noise complaint in 2006 led to a skirmish between police and fans, resulting in multiple arrests and taserings.

I know those people have to have a place to live, but are they selfish or just stupid? "Hey, let's move next door to a live music venue!" Lucky for the owner of this particular venue she found a bigger and better place to go, but even so other amenities like shooting ranges are left with fewer options. I see that's become a bigger problem in certain places as well -- people moving into the vicinity of a shooting range and complaining about the noise and safety. (Hey, that's generally what you're gonna deal with when you do that sort of thing!) That'd be like people moving to this area and complaining about the chemical plants. Were it not for the fact that so many people rightfully refer to it as "the smell of money," no doubt those complaints would be as loud as the complaints of the people who move next door to the shooting range or live music venue. Some people just think the world revolves around them, I guess...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What he said.

Historian Robert Dallek, that is:

"Jack and Bobby, they were martyrs, and martyrs' reputations live on," says Dallek, author of "An Unfinished Life," a biography of John Kennedy. "And so it's almost as if their achievements have become second to their martyrdom."

Yep. Had it not been for the Kennedy brothers being cut down in the prime of their lives and careers, that Kennedy mystique might not have been nearly as potent as it became to the American people, and Teddy's role as the runt of the litter would have been much more obvious as his brothers' achievements were seen more on their own merits as opposed to being seen through the light of their respective "martyrdoms." I can't speak so much for Bobby's achievements, but as for JFK, everyone knows about the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis -- and who knows what would have happened had they not been cut down. For all anyone knows, at least we might not have gotten the Nazi-inspired Gun Control Act of 1968, which would have only been a good thing....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Another thing to be thankful for....

...the fact that I was born decades before this madness started. But then as far as I know it's always been an issue to an extent. Believe it or not, I honestly thought it was standard medical procedure with boys. I remember the first time I was asked about it. My answer: "Well yeah, isn't everybody?" I am quite glad that was the case, too...because if I had not been, that first time might well have been with someone else, and it wouldn't have been the beautiful spiritual and physical experience that it turned out to be. Of that I am certain...

Oh teh noes! A gun!

On school property!

The head of athletic programs for the Pearland Independent School District has been suspended from his duties over allegations that he brought a weapon onto district property, officials confirmed late Tuesday.
“If there is any truth to it, it is a great tragedy,“ said Pearland board member Suzy Roberts.

A great tragedy. No, I'd say a great tragedy is the fact that we have lost so much of our sense of proportion that we would call something like this a "great tragedy" when no one was hurt. Of course, all of this is assuming that it was an accident. If it wasn't, I for one would be interested to see why he didn't do anything with it. One says in the comments that "there are gun laws for a reason." Yeah, that reason being Americans have turned into a bunch of pussycats who'll tolerate any abrogation of their liberties for teh childrenses...

They say if ya can't say anything nice...

...don't say anything at all. So I won't.
UPDATE: Except for this -- I agree with Mr. Allen. And AlanDP. And the Armed Canadian. And Laurel. And Bob Owens.

UPDATE to the update: For Keith: The flame of liberty burns a little brighter today. My condolences to his family, but the rest of us as free Americans are so much better off that it isn't even funny.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Leonard Pitts almost gets it...

....but then he goes on to miss the point in a distance that just can't be fathomed. It's not about liberal vs. conservative, but then it's also not about yesterday vs. tomorrow, either. It's about yesterday vs. the day before yesterday, when the day before yesterday was when the plans the people we put in charge want to implement here were tried elsewhere and proven to be massive failures. And once again we have a lefty bemoaning what he sees as the wackos on the other side, but says nothing about the loons on his own side, such as the woman at one 2008 rally who said Obama was going to pay for her gas and mortgage. Don't you just love, too, how he dismisses the concerns about a government takeover of health care by saying the police & fire departments and libraries are "socialized" too? I see a lot of leftists making this point, but to a man and woman they fail to mention the fact that you could crack open a newspaper in just about any city in this great land and you'll find a story about the representatives of police and fire departments -- wait for it! -- bemoaning the lack of funds for their respective agencies! We've already seen how they talk about the criminals outgunning the police when the fact is the police can get everything civilians can and more at much cheaper prices. And we haven't gotten into the issue of manpower (or the lack thereof) for the police departments. So how's that whole socialization thing working out there, Leonard? If it's so damn good why don't we just hand over our entire paychecks to the government and be done with it?

Monday, August 24, 2009

In which I slaughter another sacred cow, maybe...

I gotta say, Reba McEntire has said some off-the-wall things over the years, but this arguably tops anything John Rich could even think of (h/t Country California):

You have to go with the times. Country music today is what pop was back in the '70s. You listen to '70s pop and by gosh, that's country music today.

'70s pop. I know I'm gonna get into all sorts of trouble for stacking the deck here, but off the top of my head, some of the biggest pop hits of the '70s...
The Bee Gees, "Stayin' Alive," 1978
England Dan and John Ford Coley, "I'd Really Love To See You Tonight," 1976
Manfred Mann's Earth Band, "Blinded By the Light," 1977
Mungo Jerry, "In The Summertime," 1970
Seals & Crofts, "Summer Breeze," 1972

I could go on, but I'm sure you get the idea. '70s pop is what country is now, hmm? I mean, I could almost buy the Southern rock being passed off as country now, but most of the rest of what came out in the '70s...I could go so many directions with that idiotic Reba remark that it's not even funny. I could say that she's exactly right and that's yet another reason I've been exploring other genres. I could say that it's another BS rationalization along the lines of what we've also heard from Tim McGraw and Keith Urban. I could ask when the last time was that she won, say, an award for CMA Album of the Year, Female Vocalist or what-have-you. I know what many of you were thinking as you read that, so I'm gonna say this: For all the awards' flaws, for as much as they're overblown, for as much as people mistake winning those awards as evidence of artistic merit, I do think they're a somewhat fair indicator of relevance to the Nashville country music scene. That considered, I think it's pretty funny that anyone would ask Reba for pointers on how to stay relevant. She certainly gave an appropriately absurd answer. I wonder what Reba would say to the continued success (and relevance) of George Strait, who, anachronism that I guess she thinks he is, still covers Bob Wills and Johnny Cash in his live show as opposed to those avant-garde country innovators Mungo Jerry and the Bee Gees. And how about the rise and success of the Texas-red dirt scene in recent years? What would Reba say to that? I'd sure be interested to find out, considering that most if not all of the artists on that scene (and their fans) would be quite likely to call bullshit on what she said.

"...don't let 'em teaaar, that little buildin' down..."

Show of hands: How many of y'all are familiar with a song by a guy named Billy Edd Wheeler, "Ode To the Little Brown Shack Out Back"? I heard that song again this morning, for what I believe was the first time since my College Station days, nearly a decade ago. And it was still funny as hell. More of my money's worth...

More terrestrial radio musings...

...brought to you by Charles Kuffner and Mike McGuff.
Man, where to even start with what Clear Channel did with KLOL? I remember the day they flipped it. When I heard that reggaeton crap coming out of my speakers that morning I was thinking it was some other station bleeding over into the Rock 101 signal, as was often wont to happen this far away. It sucked to find out that was not the case and that Clear Channel threw almost 35 years of heritage down the crapper for a few more dollars. I know they're a business and as such their goal is to make money, but if what Mike McGuff was told was true, the flip was about making MORE money. And would anyone have really missed 93.7 The Arrow? To the point they'd still be talking about the format change 5 years later? Somehow I doubt it.
And what to make of the billboard? That amazes me, to be honest. I thought Clear Channel would have gotten rid of every single one of those years ago -- and that their lawyers would be all over the ass of anyone who made another one. And as for what came after that, Cumulus' attempt to recreate KLOL on another frequency...well, THAT turned out to be another great idea that was very badly executed. Between the station's playlist (WAY too much '70s rock) and the fact the signal reached the least populous eastern half of the city, it was doomed from the start. I honestly don't know what they could have been thinking when they put it on the 97.5 or 103.7 sticks -- maybe that they could make inroads into Beaumont-Port Arthur as well -- but we see how that turned out.
I have to admit it would be interesting to see what they could do if they tried to bring back KLOL and get back as many of the old deejays as they could, especially since the station isn't a Clear Channel property anymore. But then it'd probably crash and burn too, because there are a lot of those old-media types in radio who are still stuck in the old ways of thinking; that is, they tout the advantages of the oligopoly but they don't ever use those advantages to their full potential. They'll talk about having a station for, say, the new country fans and one for the classic country fans, as Cox does with 93Q-Country and Country Legends 97.1, but they'll play a lot of the same songs over and over, thereby throwing that advantage away. Hearing some of those deeper cuts and new music by the classic artists would be great. I'll admit there's a fair amount of repetition on Sirius as well as overlap (i.e., you hear some songs on more than one channel), but even with that I was and am still being introduced to so much that I have NEVER heard on terrestrial radio, or haven't heard in a very, very long time. And I could probably count on one hand with fingers left over the times I've heard "Stairway to Heaven" or "Free Bird." I know that deep emotional connection. I used to have it myself. I remember very clearly when my stepdad first got the Sirius radio, I was thinking, "this is really cool, but I don't know if I could ever give up my local radio stations." But once I really sat down and listened, I was hooked. Sirius has its flaws, but by and large they take that niche marketing much closer to the level it needs to be to work. And for a music fan, you just couldn't ask for more. It'd be interesting to see how many terrestrial radio listeners in Houston have gone to satellite since Rock 101 went off the air. I'd bet quite a few.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

As heretical as this might be to some folks...

....I do believe Scott Chaffin is dead-on with this right here:

I feel sorry for the Stones, since nobody ever shot anybody from that band dead in the streets of Manhattan while clutching a copy of the most masturbatory novel in American history. The idiot Beatles were enormous with the same people who would be enthralled with American Idol today, and that incident cemented them into a post-God Godhead.

I know the whole Beatles vs. Rolling Stones is by and large a good-natured thing with a lot of the bands' respective fans -- at least these days -- but I seriously thought the Stones were miles ahead of the Beatles as far as pure rock bands go. They had their moments, but everything I've heard from the Beatles compared to the Stones makes the former sound like a boy band in comparison, musically if not lyrically. Now, before you haul out the tar & feathers, none of that is to say the Beatles WERE a boy band and everything that comes with that characterization, but I still never got why everybody made such a big deal out of them -- just like I never got why people made such a big deal out of Garth Brooks. And I think it would be interesting to see how opinions of them would be different had John Lennon not been shot.

Wow, talk about self-control...

...or, I hope this guy had more than 2 rounds in his gun:

A man accused of kicking in the door of his ex-girlfriend's Spring home was recovering from a gunshot wound on Saturday.
Johnnie W. Cunningham III, 31, faces a burglary charge after police say he forced his way into a home in the 7000 block of Treaschwig late Friday night.
When Cunningham began struggling with the woman, the other man came out of a bedroom with a handgun. He ordered Cunningham to leave several times, but Cunningham continued to shove his former girlfriend, police say.
“At this time, the male occupant fired a warning shot into the ceiling,” Gilliland said. “The suspect again was belligerent and started towards the male complainant. The male complainant fired one time, striking the suspect in the upper chest.”

Fired one time? Damn, he has better self-control that I probably would in a situation like that. For all I know, once I pulled that trigger the first time, I wouldn't stop pulling it till the gun was empty or the threat was bleeding on the floor -- i.e., off his feet with his hands showing. At any rate, I am glad to see this one was stopped. Another bad guy down -- that's definitely a win.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

And George goes straight to the top...

...yet again, as the new album sells more than 155,000 copies in its first week in the stores. Couple of interesting bits of trivia in that Billboard article, or at least things I personally did not know: 50 Number Ones and Troubadour also topped the big chart, and -- here was something REALLY surprising -- the last time a Strait recording sold less than 100,000 copies its first week was 1994, when Lead On made its initial appearance with 56,000. In other words, Strait's fortunes in the record stores only improved after he released that four-cd career retrospective Strait Out of the Box in 1995. I remember when that set came out, I was just getting into George Strait about that time. I had always liked him, but right about that time was when I was getting to be much more of a fan, and I was thinking, ok, he releases this big box set full of his career records, done pretty much everything there is to do in country music, he's not about to ride off into the sunset, is he? With the life span of most careers of the older singers I honestly was thinking he was just about done, even though he was still doing well on the charts; after all, he seems like one who would go out on his own terms -- which from what I could tell would not be after he wore out his welcome on the radio. Pretty amazing that his best was yet to come, both artistically and commercially. Who knows. I might well get to see 15 more live Strait shows before he rides away. ;-)

For some strange reason, the term "gimmick"...

comes to mind here:

Jack Ingram better be in a chatty mood come Tuesday.
The country singer will try to break the world record for most radio interviews in 24 hours as part of a promotional blitz for his new album, "Big Dreams & High Hopes."

I guess that's all fine and good that he wants to do that, but it's a shame he and his record company feel like they have to resort to that. I know what they say about no publicity being bad publicity, but I sure do wish they didn't even feel like they had to try crazy stunts like this to get the music out there. I don't hold any animosity toward him for it, but it'd be nice if radio was more open to him and he could just do normal interviews.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Once again, E.J. Dionne shows...

...that he couldn't find a clue if someone came up and handed it right to him:

Try a thought experiment: What would conservatives have said if a group of loud, scruffy leftists had brought guns to the public events of Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush?
We don't have to resort to hypotheticals here -- because, well, they did just that, and of course the media barely even yawned at it.

This is not about the politics of populism. It's about the politics of the jackboot. It's not about an opposition that has every right to free expression. It's about an angry minority engaging in intimidation backed by the threat of violence.
The simple fact is that an armed citizenry is not the basis for our freedoms. Our freedoms rest on a moral consensus, enshrined in law, that in a democratic republic we work out our differences through reasoned, and sometimes raucous, argument. Free elections and open debate are not rooted in violence or the threat of violence. They are precisely the alternative to violence, and guns have no place in them.

Politics of the jackboot? Once again you see a lefty completely ignoring his own side's propensity to violence. If anyone's being violent here, it's quite obviously the union thugs who are backing the left here, and that sort of thing is quite well-documented. And yes, Dionne does bring up the race issue, but the thing about that is, it's his side that's fanning the flames of racial discord here -- or would he rather us not remember one of those union thugs asking at one of those protests, "what's a *racial slur here* doing handing out signs here?" or something to that effect? Of course, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Dionne's going to blame those of us who carry guns for our alleged intimidation of the other side, but its still pretty disgusting that he would ignore the misdeeds of those on his side of the argument.

Why don't I pick up hitchhikers?

'Cause of stuff like this right here:

Another large-scale manhunt is happening in Waller County, this time for a hitchhiker who authorities say attacked two sets of Good Samaritans in the Hempstead area, carjacking one couple who offered him a ride and later shooting two men.

I'd be interested to know just how many horror movies have been made about exactly this sort of thing. It sucks, indeed, but it is what it is -- especially after dark. But I don't even pick anyone up during the day. I really do wonder how many of those folks out during the day don't have malevolent intentions. It's something to think about, I think, especially in this day and age when everybody and their brother has cell phones that they can use to call for a ride. Just my thoughts...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Times change, but bad excuses are timeless.

You know, it's funny. I write posts like this, in which I state my position and do my best to back it up (and I was thinking I did pretty good in that particular instance), but still I get half-wit responses like this one:

Oh pistolero...quit you're whinning!!! The times...they are a'changin! Don't pick on Keith...he's a nice guy!

I'd love to know what Keith Urban's being a nice guy has to do with his tired attempt to justify the kind of music he does. Changin' times notwithstanding, middle-of-the-road pop-country music is still middle-of-the-road pop-country music. (And you KNOW, of course, what they say about what's in the middle of the road.) As for whining? Far from it, really. In fact, the more I think about it the more I realize that maybe I should be grateful that Nashville country has by and large gone to hell. Were it not for that, at least a couple of the presets on my Sirius radio might be taken by the new-country channels instead of the ones that play the old rock and metal. If that were the case, I might very well never have discovered the greatness of Iron Maiden, Metallica, Pantera, Megadeth, Queensryche, Anthrax or Dream Theater, to name a few. And that, for lack of a better term, would have sucked big rocks up off the ground. But I am still so very tired of the "times change" excuse. It was a cop-out when Tim McGraw said it almost a decade ago and it's a cop-out now. Sometimes change isn't so good...unless one wants to call it a GOOD thing that I don't really consider country to be my favorite genre so much anymore.

Irony for the day.

On his self-titled first album, Vidor native Tracy Byrd did a song called "Talk To Me Texas." I thought for sure he was the first to record that song, but yesterday I found out I was wrong. Guess who did it first? Keith Whitley...who happens to be a native of Kentucky. Go figure. ;-)

Any malcontent with a mouse, and the flip side...

You hear a lot of people with big mainstream media organizations bemoaning the proliferation of the blogosphere, basically spinning it as "any malcontent with a mouse can say whatever he wants with no kind of editorial supervision." Well, I never really thought they had any room to talk, because of course you have those malcontents writing things like this in the letters to the editor:

...The Obama administration has no need to collect names to find out who is spreading lies about health care reform. Everybody already knows who they are. They are the ideologically fixated like Gingrich and the shills for the big-money special interests.....Loudmouthed parroting of talking points scripted by Astroturf organizations is not debate.....If there are rational voices from the other side, they are drowned out by the town-hall screamers and the disseminators of lies and distortion.

Astroturf organizations? Who exactly would these astroturf organizations be? Everybody and their brother knows the astroturf organizations are the near-exclusive domain of the left. You'd think if this character was so sure, he'd have tossed out a name or two. Lord knows those on the right have enough names to put out there when they talk about the astroturfing of the left. And with the head start the left has on the right vis-a-vis astroturfing, you'd think they could bus enough in to drown them out. And they've tried it too, but you can see for yourself how that worked out in one instance.

School buses? As stupid as leftists claim the "town-hall screamers" are, at least they haven't been that transparent. There's a lesson in that somewhere.

Why I carry on long trips...

...because of things like this right here:

STARKE, Fla. — Florida has executed a man convicted of murdering a woman who was kidnapped and raped after her car broke down.

Yes, I know it was a woman, but you just never know what could happen. To think some would make it harder for people like Adela Marie Simmons to defend herself...well, I just don't know what to think about that. What the hell is wrong with those people? More wisdom in the comments:
June 16 1983.
I was not yet 26 years old.
I am now just under 52 years old.
For half of my entire life, this guy has avoided paying for his crime.
We gotta do better than this.

Yes, we do. I don't know if we ever will, though.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"But, but...we woooon!"

Oh, this is golden, lefties pitching a fit because they're not getting their way...

WASHINGTON — Frustrated liberals have a question for President Barack Obama and Democratic lawmakers: Isn't it time the other guys gave a little ground on health care? What's the point of a bipartisan bill, they ask, if we're making all the concessions?
Liberal activists say there's no point in the Democrats winning the House, Senate and White House unless they use their clout to enact the major measures that Obama campaigned for — with or without some Republican support.

Funny stuff. Do they think the Democrats who are trying to get this through are making all these concessions in an effort to be bipartisan? Come on, we all know they never expected there to be such an outcry from the people as there has been at the town hall meetings. It's pretty funny that there's nary a word in this story about any of that. I knew a lot of modern-day lefties lived in a dream world, but I'd have never pegged it to be THAT different from reality. Have these people not yet figured out that a politician's primary interest is his own reelection? Were it not for the fact that there'd likely be no sunset clause in the government health care bill, I think it'd be fun to see the leftists push the plan through Congress that contains everything they want -- and come next year, get their ranks depleted in an electoral blowout that would make 1994 look puny in comparison. For all anyone knows, the way things are going now that might happen to a large extent. I for one certainly hope so, but we'll see.

"....can't someone here stop it? EMPIRE!"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Another cd I seriously need to get....

....Honky Tonk Heroes, Waylon Jennings' 1972 set of Billy Joe Shaver songs. Every single song I've heard from that set is solid gold, classic Waylon. From what I remember Billy Joe threatened to kick Waylon's arse if he didn't make that album. I am glad he didn't have to resort to that, 'cause it's good, good stuff!

Story of many predators, no doubt...

...or, Why does this sound so familiar?

Before Lucas Coe was accused of inflicting the injuries that may have killed 4-year-old Emma Thompson, there were at least five chances to keep him behind bars in two different counties.
“The system failed Emma, bottom line.” said Andy Kahan, Houston's Victim Assistance coordinator. “None of this should have ever happened. He should have been locked up in a prison.”

I'll tell you why it sounds so familiar -- because it happens All. The. Damn. Time. Somebody who should have been in jail walks, for one reason or another, and they do more bad things that often result in the death of an innocent. And of course, yet again, the antis will tell us these people ARE to be trusted walking free as long as they allegedly can't legally procure a firearm. You know, for some reason, I am reminded of something a member of the audience at a recent town hall meeting in Missouri said to Sen. Claire McCaskill: "Make us feel better! Tell us it's for the children!" Of course, we see how that worked for little Emma Thompson, don't we?

Monday, August 17, 2009

...fighting for...what, again?

Kay Bailey Hutchison, on her career as Texas' senior Senator:

“Whether I was fighting for lower taxes or Second Amendment (gun) rights it was always my priority to be an effective advocate for Texans,” she told the Houston Chronicle on Friday.

I guess she has a different definition of Second Amendment rights...
I support the Assault Weapons Ban and I think that has been clarified just as shouting fire in a crowded theatre clarifies the right of free speech...
...than many of her constituents do. Of course that doesn't surprise me. Our esteemed *cough* President says he supports Second Amendment rights too.

On teaching Texas history...

...if what this guy says has any truth to it, the teaching of Texas history is going to go to hell before too long:

...some team members worry that traditional American values and historical perspective will be de-emphasized to promote multiculturalism.
“I argued in favor of only adding or maintaining people on the (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) lists that merited being there on the basis of their historical accomplishments and not simply due to their gender or ethnicity,” said Peter Morrison, a real estate developer and member of the Lumberton ISD school board and a member of the Grade 5 review panel.
“Unfortunately,” he said, “I felt that I was the only one in the group using that metric.”

I must admit, though, that I don't find that the least bit surprising considering the attitude of some Hispanics from what seems to be a pretty wide social strata. For one, we have the group of Hispanic lawmakers who urged the NRA not to count a vote for Sonia Sotomayor, and then there was the controversy over naming Houston's soccer team after the year the city was founded. I can understand people wanting to tell history from their own point of view, but considering the fact that so many Mexican immigrants still have a problem with Texas breaking free from Mexico what has to be over a century before they were even BORN, I'm sure you can forgive me for questioning just whose side they're on. And I'd love to see somebody with the stones to remind them that if Texas was still part of Mexico as they apparently wish it was, it would be plagued with all the problems they came here to get away from. Again, I DO NOT mean this as an indictment of all Hispanics in Texas. I am sure there are plenty who came to this country who have complete allegiance to the United States and its culture even as they retain elements of their own -- perhaps even a majority of them. But sadly, it seems to me that those people are being drowned out by the grievance-mongering minority. And even more sadly, it seems that some who are part of that noisy minority are now in power. It makes me glad I grew up and went to school when I did, certainly.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

He's probably right...

...but then there was a reason for this, too:

I think that many of these protesters at town hall meetings seem to be the voices that cried out against Medicare, Social Security, the Civil Rights laws and raising the minimum wage.
But now that I think about it...Lumping in the civil rights laws with Social Security and the mininum wage? The first was and is a Ponzi scheme which anyone who tried to institute in the private sector would be sent to jail for a very long time -- especially if the amounts of money working Americans have put into it over the years was honestly calculated. The second was predicated on the shaky assumption that a "livable wage" could be justified and further implemented with any harm to the free market and job availability, which has been shown to be untrue each and every time minimum wage has been raised. The civil rights laws, on the other hand, were about protecting rights enshrined in the Constitution that many have fought, bled and died to maintain. I think lumping politically-motivated money-pit programs in with that is a grievous insult to those who made that ultimate sacrifice. But then maybe that's just me.

Way to get the other side...

....or, Ohhhh, THAT liberal media....

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — Family in tow for a tour of national treasures far from Washington, President Barack Obama is trailed by criticism from gun opponents and parks advocates for allowing firearms into such majestic places as this.
"There is still time for Congress and the president to take steps to keep loaded firearms away from the valleys of Yellowstone, the cliffs of Yosemite, and the Statue of Liberty — but they need to act quickly," said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Wow, this story reads just like Handgun Control PR. I could have sworn one of the basic tenets of journalism was to tell both sides of the story, but I see zero quotes from any of this country's major gun-rights groups here. And don't you just love that phrasing? "Allowing firearms into such majestic places," as if letting people carry guns is going to ruin the place. You know what comes to mind here? Joe Huffman's take on this. And I know he said replace "gun OWNER" here, but it works just as well with "firearm," because of course if no one is allowed guns in national parks the point that they own guns is a moot one. I for one would really love to see those cretins treated as the bigots as they are on the level with the KKK, and those who carry their water receive the same, but it's still really discouraging when one sees stories such as this. Even if it IS written by one who has been shown before to be an Obama-fellating shill.

Oh, hell yeah, my favorite track...

...from Appetite for Destruction, at the Boneyard, Sirius Ch. 19: "Well, I got one chance left in a nine live cat, I got a dog-eat-dog sly smile...I got a Molotov cocktail with a match to go, I smoke my cigarette with STYLE!"
I've said it before, but I'll say it again: Every time I listen to that cd, I am reminded of why it sold 30 million copies worldwide. Not a bad song on it, but that one's my favorite. Has a hell of a beat to it, and every time I hear that cowbell intro it gets MY motor humming, too, another one of those songs that makes me go about 15 mph faster down the interstate. ;-)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Just an observation, for those who don't see it.

Some wiseass named Davebo, in the comments to this post:

It's nice to see some are so anxious to prove Perlstien correct.

Keep up the good work!

My response to that here on the front page:
Considering the fact that Rick Perlstein painted an innocent victim of a drug raid executed on the basis of shitty intel as the bad guy in this situation rat-cheer, he and every stinking lefty turd burglar who agrees with him can get forked. In the arse. Sideways and unlubed.

Say, is anyone here familiar with Del Reeves?

Now playing at The Roadhouse, Sirius Ch. 62: "You're always welcome, don't forget to drop in, old Good Time Charleyyyyy's, anytime ya can..."
The only song I'd ever heard from Del Reeves before I got Sirius was "Girl on the Billboard," one that I really liked but couldn't find anywhere. Turns out all his original music's out of print now and the only thing I've been able to find is a bunch of re-recorded versions of his hit songs. Sucks too, because the originals were great, including this one. (George Strait's version of this song from The Road Less Traveled is a real barn-burner too, I tell ya...)

Well, isn't this interesting... Deep Tracks, Sirius Ch. 16, the Grateful Dead singing the Merle Haggard classic "Mama Tried." It has a pretty good groove to it, just like the original does, though to be honest I'll always prefer the Haggard original -- and you can say that of all of Haggard's records. Merle Haggard is just the man and that's all there is to it, though there are those that can do his songs justice. (Come to think of it, George Strait nails that song pretty good too...)

Scott Hilburn is one twisted individual....

....more than worthy of the throne Gary Larson abdicated, as seen here. Wrong, wrong, wroooooong, but so VERY funny!

Yeah, that's the way you do it...., wait, no, it isn't...

Dozens of people gathered on the front yard of La Torick Watson's south Houston home Friday evening for what should have been his 12th birthday party.
Community activist Quanell X said La Torick's death should send a message about the danger of unattended guns in the home.
“Let's stop placing our faith for security in weapons. A gun will fail you. A gun can be turned on you,” Quanell X said. “We don't want to lose another child to a tragedy.”

So, as opposed to teaching kids about guns, Quanell X apparently thinks they should be left ignorant. Yep, instead of teaching them, just throw the gun away and go on in Condition White. What an idiot. And probably a hypocrite too. You think that limelight-seeking shitstain is gonna tell his security guards to get rid of THEIR guns? Yeah, me neither.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Well, you know why this is....

....don't you, Newt?

The Terrorism Information & Prevention System would have encouraged cable repair operators, telephone service technicians, meter readers and mail carriers to report suspicious activities to federal authorities. With loud objections by the American Civil Liberties Union and members of both parties, Congress adopted a homeland-security law that prohibited such a snitching program.
Fast forward to 2009 and the health care debate and the tables have turned. American safety isn't the issue but our health, something almost synonymous with our well being. The White House is encouraging an electronic snitching program for the entire country, asking people to report friends and neighbors to if they suspect someone is spreading “fishy” information concerning health care reform.
This time, however, we don't hear a peep out of those champions of free speech, the ACLU. The current administration, which has so proudly defended the rights of terrorists and noncitizens in Guantanamo Bay, shows no remorse in how this policy may be trampling over the Bill of Rights and suppressing the free speech of our honest citizens who have a right to speak their conscience.

Because, of course, the ACLU largely isn't a stalwart defender of anything but its own left-leaning interests. Keep in mind this is the organization who says, regarding the Second Amendment, "the fact that something is mentioned in the Constitution doesn't necessarily mean that it is a fundamental civil liberty." (Never mind, of course, that the whole reason the authors of the Constitution put the Bill of Rights in the Constitution was to assuage the fears of certain state delegates who thought the document in its previous incarnation left too much room for the federales to infringe on certain inalienable rights.) And it really is just that simple.

Chalk another one up....

...for the good guys...

A store owner fatally shot a would-be thief and the man's accomplice is on the run after the pair tried to rob a cellular phone store in northeast Houston.
Bryan Thorn, 34, was shot several times after he and and another man demanded money at a shop in the 4900 of Laura Koppe about 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Yep, that's how you do it right there. I do wonder how many times "several" is, though. "Don't mess with Texas," indeed. ;-)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Well now, that's a new way of putting it

Riding home today I had the Sirius radio on. Right after Merle Haggard's "Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down," Mojo Nixon said that he hates "to call Merle Haggard a pussy," but that Hag needed to stop messing around with the beer and the wine and "step up the proof ladder" because the beer and the wine weren't getting the job done. You know, "couldn't driiiink enough to keep you, off my mind..." I gotta admit I thought that was pretty funny, even if it WAS twisted.

Hey, who here likes Gary Stewart?

I know I sure do, especially this song, at Willie's Place, Sirius Ch. 64: "And living with this feeling, of wanting her, one more drink...and I know I'll be there...A-takin' me a whiskey trip, loving her with every sip..."
Seems like about the only Gary Stewart song they see fit to play on terrestrial radio anymore is "She's Actin' Single." And yeah, I know it was his biggest hit, but he had other songs worth remembering too, and this in my mind has always been one of 'em.

Yep, this one's always been a favorite....

...from Charlie Daniels, at Outlaw Country, Sirius Ch. 63: "Preacherman talkin' on TV, puttin' down the rock'n'roll, wants me to send a donation, 'cause he's worried about my soul..."
I'd guess that was another of those songs that was pretty big with the hippies back in the day, but then that's just a wild-ass guess on my part. I've always liked it either way, though, with its politically-incorrect-and-proud-of-it attitude.

The disingenuousness of David Broder...

...starts in the very first paragraph of this column, where he speaks of the "muscular tactics being used in congressional town meetings by some opponents of health care reform," yet says nary a word about the muscular tactics being used outside the town hall meetings by some supporters of health care reform. I also fail to see how the fate of Bruce Alger has anything to teach the opponents of a government takeover of health care. Take this source however you like, but this little snippet seems pretty impartial to me:

Alger's defeat can be attributed to:
  • The slowly increasing liberalism of Dallas voters, who also purged the entire six-member Republican state legislative delegation from Dallas County,
  • The political climate that stemmed from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas,
  • The Democratic tradition of Texas,
  • The presence of a native Texan, President Johnson, on the ballot, and
  • The weak opposition candidacy of Alger's preferred presidential choice, Republican Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona.
Of course it doesn't surprise me that Broder would try to spin that 1960 incident as THE one that swung the pendulum back to the Democrats in Texas, but even so I don't understand why he would think none of his readers would actually take a closer look at what he was saying. A lot of the time I can at least tolerate David Broder as he doesn't seem to be so nakedly partisan as many other pundits, but he's still wrong here.
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So, apparently, less liberty would be a good thing...

...according to one Georgia state representative:

I am opposed to the legalization of marijuana. I think we should go to caning for people caught using and maybe execute dealers. That would solve the problem as well. That is what they do in Singapore and they don’t have a drug problem, but then they have less liberty than we do here.
Wow, what does one say to that? He acknowledges Singapore's alleged lack of a drug problem and less liberty but apparently doesn't waver from his position. Caning and execution for what is more or less a victimless breaking of a malum prohibitum law? For some strange and unknown reason the term "domestic enemy" comes to mind. I'm sure I'll figure out the reason for that sooner or later.

Paul Helmke shows his true colors, yet again...

“Extremists have hijacked the NRA agenda,” Helmke said. “I think most people are in the middle ground on guns. I think the NRA is getting pushed to the extreme.”
That's some pretty funny stuff, considering the NRA as an organization supports things like gun free school zones and (PDF alert) the existence of the ATF. Granted, the NRA spins that support as "having to work within the existing federal paradigm" and with the organization being the pragmatists they are I can see where that would come from, but even so that doesn't change the fact that when you sit down and look at the various gun-rights advocacy organizations the NRA is actually one of the more moderate ones. It's a good thing for Paul Helmke that he hasn't sat down and looked at the platforms of this organization or this one. He'd probably have a stroke right there. I'd guess his "middle ground" means we can have single-shot .22 rifles after a six-month background check and keep them at a government-approved storage facility, but then that's just me.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Would it really have made any difference...

...if Peter Cantu's trial lawyers had done what the appeal lawyers claim they were deficient in not doing?

HOUSTON — A federal appeals court on Tuesday refused to hear from a death row inmate accused of being the ringleader of a gang of teenagers convicted of raping and killing two teenage Houston girls 16 years ago.
In the appeal, Cantu's lawyers argued that his due process rights were violated because trial jurors should have been told that he would have had to serve 35 years of a life sentence before he became eligible for parole. They questioned the trial judge's jury instructions and whether mitigating evidence like character issues and criminal background presented to jurors at his 1994 trial was proper.
They also contended Cantu's trial lawyers were deficient for not objecting to admission of crime scene photos into evidence and for failing to object when prosecutors urged jurors to consider those photos when they were deciding Cantu's punishment.

I guess Mr. Cantu's current lawyers are just doing what they were hired to do, but it seems to be all for show, really. If his trial attorneys had objected to crime scene photos, then they might as well have objected to the testimony of members of the Houston police and whoever else was at that crime scene. And urging the jurors NOT to consider the photos would seem to be akin to saying "don't consider exactly what this guy did when you ponder how he should be punished for what he did." As for the "mitigating evidence like character issues and criminal background" presented at the trial...shouldn't that be "aggravating evidence"?
Now that I think about it, though, it might well have been better had that evil sack got life instead of the needle. He very well might have gotten his just desserts at the hands of one of the prisoners before it was all said and done. From what I remember reading about this case, he and his compatriots got the crap beat of 'em at least a couple of times right after they were hauled in. At any rate, the sooner he gets the needle, the sooner I and my fellow Texas taxpayers don't have to feed his evil ass anymore, and that'll only be a good thing. They need to put the throttle on that train already.

(Of course, we all know how that whole thing could have been prevented, no? Licensing and registering penises, belts, shoelaces and steel-toed boots...)

Well, he makes a really good point...

....Houston Chronicle reporter R.G. Ratcliffe, that is, here:

Newspapers around the country have responded (to the industry's changing fortunes -- ed.) with hyper-localism, covering their own hometowns better than anyone else. For instance, the Los Angeles Times declared Hollywood a local story.

And that's arguably the one strength the newspapers have, just like terrestrial radio does -- localism. They can cover the hometowns and the surrounding area better than anyone; after all, of course, it just doesn't make any sense to send some AP stringer from Houston to the local city council meeting when you have people here to cover it. And the folks who work for the newspapers are in much better shape than those who work for radio, I would think, because there are only so many local writers you can let go of before the whole point of your organization's raison d'etre is called into question -- whereas in radio, it seems that you can voice-track and pipe in syndicated shows to your heart's content. Of course, there's a point at which you can say local radio isn't even worth being able to listen to for free because of the playlists in addition to the aforementioned voice-tracking and syndication -- "this isn't really (insert where you call home) radio anymore and they play the same stuff over and over, what's the point?" I've heard those syndicated shows defended by people who use the analogy of the networks and what they show on prime time across the country in the morning and the evening. And I can understand that, but still it makes "free" radio even less worth it, as does the voice-tracking. I remember even the late '90s when you'd have people able to call in to their local deejays pretty much any time because the stations would have them in there. That's not so much the case anymore. And they're doing what they have to do, I guess, but I figured long ago that if I was going to listen to something people were hearing all over the country (and the world, even) it'd be satellite -- you do hear the same thing everyone else is hearing, but a much, much wider selection. Sure, it's not local -- but a lot of terrestrial radio isn't either. They do play it up when they can, though. I remember once upon a time KAYD here in the Golden Triangle advertised their morning show as "live and local." And as far as I know they still do, and that's great...but even so, once I got Sirius there was just no going back.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More offbeat musical humor...

...for you sort of artsy types, maybe, I know I got a huge kick out of it....Country Haiku. Funny stuff!

Random Tuesday musical hits

• I don't know how many times I've heard the song over the years, but Bad Company's "Shooting Star" just gets me every time. What a great, great song.
• Charlie Daniels' 1973 hit "Uneasy Rider" still makes me grin. I wonder what the radio programmers thought of that song back in the day.
• George Strait sounds pretty nifty singing en Espanol. The rest of his new cd is pretty good as well. More thoughts on that later, after I've had a chance to listen and form more coherent thoughts.
• And finally today, here's another Motley Crue cover I prefer to the original, the guys' rendition of the 1976 Brownsville Station hit "Smokin' in the Boys Room." Enjoy!

An excellent point...

...made in the comments to this story:

Sex has always been the best value for your entertainment dollar. It's inexpensive and plentiful. It's extremely enjoyable (what's the benchmark for pleasure? "Better than sex!") Besides, it good for your health and well-being. It's win-win!
Yes, indeed.

I fail to see how this is the government's problem...

...or that of the American taxpayer, for that matter:

OAKLAND, Calif. — Perched at the edge of an exam table, Delmira Maravilla is anxious for a check-up — and for a timeline on the president's promise of health care for all Americans.
She's paying out of pocket for the exam, and like one-third of Hispanics, the mother of nine doesn't have health insurance.
Latinos like this immigrant from El Salvador have much to gain if the legislation taking shape in Washington passes. Among the major ethnic groups, they are the least likely to have health coverage through work. And Hispanics often face language and cultural hurdles to getting good-quality health services. They're far less likely to have a regular health-care provider, and to get the kind of routine screening that prevents serious health problems.

"Hispanics often face language and cultural hurdles." To the extent this is true, we all know the reason for it -- because they don't take it upon themselves to learn the English language. And I don't understand why anyone who fits this description should be accommodated, to be honest. Call me a heartless bastard, but if people -- no matter their ethnicity or country of origin -- are going to come to this country then they need to assimilate, by learning the language and adapting to the native culture. I am reminded of this bit that was making the rounds a little while back, from Rush Limbaugh (these are just select snippets, but you owe it to yourself to read the whole thing):
All right, immigration proposals under discussion. Let me add mine to the mix. I want to call this proposal the Limbaugh Laws. Here they are. First, if you immigrate to the United States of America, you must speak the native language. You have to be a professional or an investor. We are not going to take unskilled workers. You will not be allowed. There will be no special bilingual programs in the schools, no special ballots for elections, no government business will be conducted in your native language. ...According to the Limbaugh Laws, if you're in our country, you cannot be a burden to taxpayers. You are not entitled, ever, to welfare, to food stamps, or other government goodies....
...Another thing. You don't have the right to protest when you come here. You're allowed no demonstrations, you cannot wave a foreign flag, no political organizing, no bad-mouthing our president or his policies, or you get sent home...
I can imagine many of you think that the Limbaugh Laws are pretty harsh. I imagine today some of you probably are going, "Yeah! Yeah!" Well, let me tell you this, folks. Every one of the laws I just mentioned are actual laws of Mexico, today. I just read you Mexican immigration law. That's how the Mexican government handles immigrants to their country. Yet Mexicans and others come here illegally, they protest in our streets, they get on our welfare program, and we have members of the United States Senate, both parties, doing handstands and back flips, going through every contortion possible to allow it to continue so that it doesn't make these people mad, resulting in votes against these linguini-spined populations.

Now I know at least the not allowing protests would be flatly unconstitutional and would (we should hope) be ruled as such, but I don't see what would be so wrong with adapting the rest of those policies. And once again, I don't mean any of this to be an indictment of Hispanic immigrants as a whole, but I bet you the Mexican government would tell you they have those laws for a specific reason: to maintain their society and -- wait for it! -- their culture. And there's not a thing wrong with any of that. I've mentioned this before, but I remember Houston deejay John Walton of the Walton & Johnson Show has said more than once, "If you don't have borders and a common language, you don't have a country." And he was exactly right. The Mexicans have it figured out. Why can't we?

Monday, August 10, 2009

That's affirmative, Ghostrider...

...or, I Get Referrals, this time a rather strange one, from Garland, Texas, "did anybody go to the George Strait show at reliant stadium".
Oh yeah, they sure did. In fact, that stadium was pretty much full. I don't know what the official attendance figure was, but I'd bet it was at least 50,000, and I'm sure that's low-balling it. Reliant seats about 69,000, and whatever seats weren't available in the stadium, the floor seating capacity made up for that and then some, I'm sure. You Dallas/North Texas folks ain't got the monopoly on George Strait mania, and I can assure you of that. ;-)

On blame-sharing...

I don't know if I commented on this before...

...And during his April visit, Obama made a welcome acknowledgment to Mexicans that Americans share the blame for violence south of the border because of drug consumption and gun trafficking.

Without starting to beat the legalization drum again, I can see where drug consumption factors into this. People buy it and when they do they put money into the pockets of the cartels. There's really no getting around that. But as for the gun trafficking, is that Americans' fault? Really? Ahem. Who are the ones ultimately responsible for securing the border so as to cut down on those weapons (as few of them as there are, anyway) going down there? To the extent that's the fault of the ordinary American it's only because the ordinary American continues to vote for certain people without holding their feet to the fire and demanding they secure the border as part of "providing for the common defense" as opposed to pandering to certain groups and mouthing empty platitudes like "family values don't stop at the Rio Grande." Of course we all know what the Mexicans want, and I am certainly glad there are at least certain Democrats in the House of Representatives who will call out the "assault weapons ban" as the useless anti-freedom crap that it is, but I honestly wonder how long that dam will hold.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Pickin' on Keith Urban...

Call it that if you want, but this sort of thing really grinds my gears (h/t C.M. Wilcox)...

"When you say the word 'country' now, it's changed a lot," Urban says. "Now maybe you think of the Dixie Chicks, even Taylor Swift, but for a long while it was Dolly Parton and John Denver. When I look back at the music I grew up on, in the late '70s, early '80s, it was always contemporary, and that was Ronnie Milsap, Merle Haggard, Glen Campbell. And I don't think there was a cowboy hat in sight.

Like I said at Country California, it would seem Keith Urban thinks the gripes about country music's periodic pop leanings started about 1999 or so. And I honestly don't really get why he lumps Merle Haggard in with Ronnie Milsap and Glen Campbell. Sure, Hag had his more contemporary moments, but they didn't go nearly that far. And guess what? A lot of folks would say Ronnie Milsap and Glen Campbell weren't all that country either. There were folks that had problems with the Ronnie Milsaps and Glen Campbells of the day even as they acknowledged those artists' talent. I remember way back in the bad old days of the late '90s, with dial-up Internet and 28.8k modems I was haunting the music message boards on America Online and there was this one person I remember who'd go into near-apoplectic fits whenever Ronnie Milsap was mentioned because of his trademark pop-adult contemporary sound. I saw exactly where she was coming from, too, because I didn't like that sound either. If it came down to that or the newer folks like George Strait and Alan Jackson, I honestly would take the latter as closer to Real Country Music. Dolly Parton and John Denver? I guess Urban thinks "9 to 5" was a real shining moment in country music history. And how about Charlie Rich burning the envelope when John Denver was named CMA Entertainer of the Year back in 1975? (Not that he had any room to protest Denver's country cred or lack thereof, but the point still stands.) Really now, it strikes me that these Hot New Country artists have some piss-poor arguments to attempt to justify what they do. First it was "everybody listens to a bunch of different kinds of music," and then, "these pop-country artists bring people to country who wouldn't otherwise listen," and now this? What next?

Yeah, he's still got it...

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So I don't know if all of you remember, but that George Strait show at Reliant Stadium I mentioned yesterday? I was there, and like I say, the man still has what it takes.
His opening acts were Blake Shelton and Sugarland, along with Julianne Hough. We got in a bit later than we thought we would and unfortunately missed most of Julianne Hough, but we saw Blake Shelton and Sugarland in their entirety, both of whom are really good live. I must admit there's still a lot of Sugarland's records that I don't care for that much, but the woman's still got a hell of a voice. Everytime the video cameras landed on Kristian Bush's face, though, I thought of his general jackassery that's been commented on here before. It didn't so much detract from my enjoyment of their set, but I did think of how much better off Jennifer Nettles would be if she went solo. Kristian Bush seems by and large to be more of a stage prop anyway, although he made for a decent stand in for Bon Jovi on "Who Says You Can't Go Home." The highlight of their set, as I thought it would be, was "Stay." I got a kick out of what happened during this and certain other songs through the evening. You know how folks used to light their lighters during songs? Well, now they're doing video and pictures with cell phones. Same effect, just different colored lighting. Lol....but back to the show, I don't know how Jennifer Nettles pulls that song off every night. She really gets into it, just like she did on the video, although she didn't break down and cry like she did on the video. I suppose you could say that's the mark of a professional.
Blake Shelton is really engaging on stage, and like Jennifer Nettles, he's the furthest thing from a studio creation. He sounds pretty much exactly the same on stage as he does on cd. I got a kick out of his introduction to "Some Beach." He was talking about the traffic, as the first verse of that song does, and no doubt we all could relate that particular evening; with the way the Loop 610 is set up in Houston, as you're coming from the east side, you have to get over two or three lanes to get off there at Kirby and turn right, and traffic was backing up like crazy in those lanes and the feeder road. And I had been hearing about his rendition of the jingle, but that, just has to be seen to be appreciated. It was just hilarious. I kinda had an idea it was coming with the introduction, where he said he was about to sing something really emotional that meant a lot to him, but it was still a great move.
And what to say about George that hasn't been said before? He was amazing. I remember the lights going down and the crowd raising the roof as the lights went down and he and the band took the stage. Every now and then I think of how I'd like to have seen him in the mid-to-late 1980s when he was more or less the hottest thing in Nashville, but now that I think about it I wouldn't be surprised if the reaction he gets even now in Texas is the same as it was way back then. And he still sounds great too, even after all these years. He sang a pretty wide selection of songs, with a pretty good chunk of them coming from the last couple of albums -- It Just Comes Natural and Troubadour. I must admit I was surprised at a couple of things, the first being the fact that he only sang one song off the new album that'll be out on Tuesday. I remember when I saw him in Austin in January of '05, he sang a couple songs from Somewhere Down in Texas -- and that album wasn't due out for another five months. Maybe it was just the fact that in that particular venue "Texas" made for the ultimate encore. ;-) But it's ok, because I have never really cared for hearing album cuts before the album comes out. I like to be surprised.
The second was the lack of cover songs. With pretty much every show before that I've seen -- and this was No. 15 -- they usually bring out "There Stands the Glass," "Milk Cow Blues," or "Take Me Back to Tulsa," but none of those showed up in the set. No doubt most of the folks in the audience loved "How 'Bout them Cowgirls," but I'd gladly have traded that or "River of Love" for one of those cover tunes. I've said before that those covers are the highlight of a live Strait show for me. It was admittedly a TINY disappointment, but he and the guys made up for it with the aforementioned surprise....
...after the first song in the encore, "High Tone Woman," the band launched into the drum-and-fiddle introduction to...wait for it...CHEROKEE MAIDEN! It has literally been YEARS since I've heard George and the Aces play that live. If I remember correctly the last time that song made it into the set was in the second year of the festival tours in 1999, at Houston's Rice Stadium. My uncle commented that probably no one else in the audience knew that song; I'd tend to agree with that, but I did see the guy in the seat next to us singing along. I don't know if he was the only other one besides us that knew it, but I'd bet that most didn't know it. At any rate, it was AWESOME to hear that song again, and "Folsom Prison Blues" is always a treat as well.
So that's 15 George Strait shows I've seen. I don't know if he'll be around for 15 more, but if he is you can bet your ass I'll be there.

Random Sunday morning observation...

Just when you think there's no way George Strait could surprise you, sure enough he goes off and does it. More on that later. ;-)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Pretty good story on King George..., but I do have to take issue with one thing:

Despite his Lone Star pedigree and pride, Strait also is not, thank goodness, a good ol' boy. His music doesn't — like so much of today's country — pander to lowest common denominators or go for cheesy sentimentality. He's not squawking about blessing broken roads or sexy tractors or how tequila makes her clothes fall off.
I can see where Mr. Guerra's coming from here, but the thing about it is, a Texas good ole boy is EXACTLY what George Strait is. He just doesn't play it up in his music or media appearances. One could argue that the acts who go for the cheesy sentimentality and lowest common denominators are anything but the good ole boys or girls they try to pass themselves off as -- or, from a different angle, that they basically eschew one manufactured image for that one, as C.M. Wilcox from Country California posited a good while back. (I must admit I do like most of what I've heard from Rodney Atkins' If You're Going Through Hell cd, although "It's America" is rather trite.) But Strait really is just a soft-spoken Texas cowboy -- it's not just an image, and that positive perception is only bolstered by his reclusiveness and low profile, I think. I don't know how much different that is now from the early-to-mid-'80s when he was establishing himself, but considering the fact that he's still around now, still selling albums and selling out stadium shows like the one in Houston tonight, I'd guess it wasn't that much different.

I'm sure that's be a surprise to the designers...

...or, Eric Thompson needs to have what, again?...

MADISON, Wis. — An online weapons dealer who sold a gun or accessories to three mass killers, including a man who opened fire at a Pittsburgh-area health club this week, said Friday that any of the shooters could have just as easily found what they wanted at a Wal-Mart or another store.
Eric Thompson, whose company TGSCOM Inc. last year sold an empty Glock 9 mm magazine and magazine loading apparatus to George Sodini, the man who shot up a Collier Township, Pa., health club on Tuesday, said the sale was legal and his company did nothing wrong.
Seung-Hui Cho used a .22-caliber handgun bought from TGSCOM in his attack at Virginia Tech in April 2007, in which 32 people were killed. Stephen Kazmierczak, who killed five people in an NIU classroom before killing himself in February 2008, bought two empty 9 mm Glock magazines and a Glock holster through a TGSCOM site.
Andrew Goddard, whose son Colin was shot and wounded at Virginia Tech, said Thompson "needs to have some sort of social responsibility."
"I take issue on the basic principle that he's selling something that doesn't have a legitimate use outside of stalking and killing people," Goddard, of Richmond, Va., said.
Wow. What the hell does one say to that? Well, beyond "what a load of emotionally-based fact-free crap," that is. I do wonder, though, what he thinks of the institution of police forces, considering they all carry the very same things the mass shooters did. If we're going to take Mr. Goddard's line of thinking to its logical conclusion, we might as well say that when it's all said and done the police are only good for stalking and killing people. Of course I am sure if you point that out to him, he'll say, "but that's diiiiiiffffereeeent...." Just because of that little piece of metal on a policeman's chest. After all, they're "Only Ones," of course. Were I Eric Thompson I'd be more than a bit tempted to tell Mr. Goddard to take his "social responsibility" and blow it out his ass, but maybe that's just me.

Friday, August 07, 2009

More bloggy for you later....

...for now life calls. Stay tuned. ;-)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Oh, this is WROOOOONG....

....but so damn funny!

Ooooh, yeah... of my favorite cuts off Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime cd, on the Boneyard, Sirius Ch. 19: "She always brings me what I need, without I beg and sweat and bleed...when we're alone at night, waiting for the call, she feeds my skin..."
Perhaps the LEAST radio-friendly cut from that record, "Spreading the Disease" was the the first song I ever heard from Mindcrime. I remember I was riding through Bridge City, if I remember right it was in the early afternoon. It was pretty cool to find out the band had recorded other songs besides "Jet City Woman" and "Silent Lucidity," let alone something so way the hell out there as that song was. Not yer Mama's rock music, to be sure. ;-)

Would it be wrong of one.... ask if this guy has any background in economics?

Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago and president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the pursuit of fast profits undermined the financial markets' ability to regulate themselves.
George said a restructured global economy is emerging, and it should promote development in poor nations while helping poor people in rich countries. Investment money from poor nations is flowing to rich countries, worsening the poverty in poor nations, he said.

And if he doesn't, furthermore, would it be wrong to tell him to sit down and shut up?

Well, it looked like a no-brainer to me...

this right here, that is...

AUSTIN, Texas — Republicans U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Gov. Rick Perry are walking a tightrope heading into their primary, where the winner will emerge the front-runner for the governor's race in this decidedly red state.
On one side are Hispanic voters — a growing and influential bloc willing to listen to the GOP titans and one the candidates may need in the general election. On the other is a group that Hutchison and Perry cannot afford to anger: the Republican base of religious, largely white and conservative voters.
So they've done a two-step around Texas, showing up in majority-Hispanic parts of the state to appeal to those Texans while talking tough on guns, border security and other top issues for traditional primary voters.
Witness Hutchison at the Texas Association of Mexican-American Chambers of Commerce convention in McAllen last week. Only days before she had announced she would vote against Hispanic Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation to the Supreme Court.
She explained to tepid applause that she could not vote to confirm a judge who was not a firm supporter of gun rights. Balancing Texas gun owners against Hispanic pride? The GOP candidate chose gun owners.

Huh. To think some people would actually see this as a bad thing, someone making an assessment of a political appointee based on said appointee's positions on fundamental human rights as opposed to pandering to the racial grievance-mongers. I could have sworn that was exactly the kind of world Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted his kids to grow up to see:
"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
And yes, your position on the fundamental right of self-defense is as good of an indicator of your character as anything. As for the issue of border security? It's worth asking just whose side Texas Hispanics are on, as having the porous border we do seems to me to serve illegal immigrants and Mexico better than the United States and Texas itself. I suppose some might wonder where the racial grievance-mongering comes into all this. Well, it seems to me that the way the journalist put it -- "balancing Texas gun owners against Hispanic pride" -- is an indication that particular constituency sees their race as an overriding factor, that we should disregard everything else that's usually taken into consideration when we're talking about political candidates and appointees just because of said candidates' and appointees' race. And I still don't understand why, unless of course you wanna just come out and say all the Hispanics harping on Sotomayor's race are just as racist as the Ku Klux Klan. Which is about right to me, really, as politically incorrect as that may be.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Something else to make a man skittish...

...about tying that legal, and sometimes Gordian, knot...

Dear Abby:
I have been married for four weeks. Two weeks after my wedding I met a man who excites me and makes my heart race. My husband, “Mitch,” and I dated for eight years before getting married. We're both 25.
My relationship with Mitch is boring. We spend a lot of time at home and don't go out much. Mitch goes to bed early, and I'm tempted to leave and go see this other man. What do I do?

This is just the perspective of a man looking in from the outside, but it is what it is.
Dated for eight years? And the relationship's just getting boring NOW? Somehow I seriously doubt that. It's worth asking why in the hell she got married in the first place if the relationship was always that boring. You'd think they'd have had the whole compatibility thing figured out and gone their separate ways long before that much time had passed. And you'd think they'd have had at least a little set-to before this point. Damn sure makes me see there are definitely worse things than being single at my age. I sure hope it's worth it for this woman when that initial passion fades as it so often does. But then I suppose I could be wrong about that. That passion could well be something that lasts a lifetime. (If circumstances had been different I'd have had it myself...) She may have tried to talk to her husband and he brushed her off. But going from what she said in the letter, her only qualm with him is that he's "boring." Some might see the whole thing differently, and that's quite all right...but at any rate, I am quite glad I am not the man in that situation.

Right then, who are the bigots, again...

...In a fusillade of pique, Ohio Sen. George Voinovich charged that Southerners are what's wrong with the Republican Party.
“We got too many Jim DeMints (South Carolina) and Tom Coburns (Oklahoma),” he told The Columbus Dispatch. “It's the Southerners. They get on TV and go ‘errrr, errrrr.' People hear them and say, ‘These people, they're Southerners. The party's being taken over by Southerners. What the hell they got to do with Ohio?' ”
Wow, and people call the Southerners the bigots? You sure as hell don't see people like Tom Coburn going to their states' media outlets and making fun of the way the Northerners talk, let alone the way they think -- which by and large is really what deserves the most ridicule. One might turn Voinovich's question around and ask him what the hell the damn mealy-mouthed moderates have to do with the South. Hey, what's good for the goose is good for the forking gander, y'all. One wonders just whose side Kathleen Parker is on, considering the source of that poll she cites. The Daily Kos? Really now. I'd say sooner or later the Republicans are going to have to face their inner Voinovich and tell him to sit down and shut up, but then maybe that's just me.

So I guess the gun controllers would think this just fine, too...

...because, as you see, this act of violence was not perpetrated with a gun...

Victor McDonald said Tuesday that he was trying to forgive the three men he says blocked his ice cream truck and beat him while shouting racist epithets in northwest Harris County last month.
McDonald's nose and his skull around his left eye were fractured during a July 22 beating in which he said his attackers screamed racial epithets at him. Shielding his eye from bright light during an interview at his home Tuesday, McDonald said his vision still is blurry, but hopes it will get better in about two months as his skull heals.

Not only that, if they had their way he very likely wouldn't even have had the option to defend himself with a firearm. Recall, if you will, this quote from Michael Beard of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence:
"The privatization of public safety is a dangerous issue in our society. And I've always seen that as the beginning of the loss of liberty."
If you'll remember, he said that after Arlington grandmother Susan Buxton made national headlines after being caught on tape shooting on intruder who broke into her home a few years ago. No doubt he'd think the same of Mr. McDonald's defending himself with a gun as well.
But the really baffling thing? The fact that certain black advocacy groups, i.e. the NAACP would likely not have a problem keeping that option from him as well. Makes their name more than a bit ironic, if you ask me.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Well, it's nice to see him admit it, but...

Via the fine folks at Country California, we have this from Kenny Chesney:

"Growing up, I don't think anybody listened to any one kind of thing," he says. "What I think of as country, well, that's not really what we do. But then again, I think most of our fans are listening to other stuff, too, whether it's Dave [Matthews], [Bruce] Springsteen, [Tom] Petty or Jackson Browne, not to mention Bob Marley, who I think may be the great equalizer among all kinds of music."

Wow. So now we have a major artist using the old "listening to all kinds of music" thing to justify his own slide into mediocrity and being the one-trick pony he's turned into. I don't know about the rest of you, but to me that sort of thing is not only long in the tooth, but it's also painfully transparent and more than a little bit judgmental. It seems to me that Mr. Chesney's saying all his detractors have narrow tastes in music when he really doesn't have any concrete evidence to back that up with. I will freely admit that when it comes to country music, I like the more traditional country and that's all I listen to as far as the genre goes. And that's not the result of me not giving the other music a chance. It's the result of me tuning in and finding the music more than a bit lacking. It isn't the country-ness of the music, it's my perception that it just sucks. As far as my tastes, a random sample from the iPod...
Gordon Lightfoot, "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"
George Jones, "The Grand Tour"
Kelly Clarkson, "Walk Away"
Metallica, "Disposable Heroes"
Lefty Frizzell, "Look What Thoughts Will Do"

So anyone who would accuse me if not having varied tastes myself, I would thank them kindly to keep their mouths shut -- because, just like Kenny Chesney, they don't really know what they're talking about.
Oh, the "one-trick pony" remark. Well, I don't know, how many songs about summertime, the beach and all that has he done in the last 5 or 6 years? Way the hell too many, if you ask me. That's gotten long in the tooth, too. Jimmy Buffett he'll never be, no matter how hard he keeps trying.

Wow. they got an award for that?

Hey, all you voyeurs out there! Go to work for a big-city newspaper and you will not only have your tendencies embraced and encouraged, but you can also win awards for violating people's privacy!

APME announces awards for outstanding journalism
the judges awarded these APME First Amendment Citations:
_The Memphis (Tenn.) Commercial Appeal for stories and a searchable database of state handgun carry permit holders.

Good grief, what the hell is wrong with people?

BWAAAHAHA! Quote of the day...

...from none other than Ray Wylie Hubbard: "M is for the mileage I've gotten out of this song..." And you all know what song he's talking about, right?

Hey, wait a minute...

Something's not quite right here...

PHOENIX — It was a scenario U.S. law enforcement had long feared: A fragmentation grenade from Mexico's bloody drug war tossed into a public place.
The weapons are preferred by drug hitmen because they are cheap and easy to find. Many are left over from Central America's civil wars and sold on the black market to drug cartels. Some are brought in by weapons smugglers. Others are diverted from the region's militaries: In April, Guatemala seized 563 grenades after a shootout with Mexican drug cartel members, and officials later determined the grenades came from Guatemalan military bases.

But...but...but...they all were supposed to have come from those damned American gun shows! That's what the gun-controllers keep saying, and they would NEVER lie to advance their agenda...

Monday, August 03, 2009

So I guess it's official now...

...that we elected a bunch of clueless socialist loons to run the country last November...

WASHINGTON — Two of President Barack Obama's economic heavyweights said middle-class taxes might have to go up to pare budget deficits or to pay for the proposed overhaul of the nation's health care system.
The tough talk from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers on Sunday capped a week that brought rare good news for the economy: The worst recession in the United States since World War II could be on the verge of ending. Even so, officials appeared willing to extend unemployment benefits.
Geithner and Summers both sidestepped questions on Obama's intentions about taxes. Geithner said the White House was not ready to rule out a tax hike to reduce the federal deficit; Summers said Obama's proposed health care overhaul needs funding from somewhere.
"If we want an economy that's going to grow in the future, people have to understand we have to bring those deficits down. And it's going to be difficult, hard for us to do. And the path to that is through health care reform," Geithner said. "We're not at the point yet where we're going to make a judgment about what it's going to take."

So basically, what Mr. Geithner is saying here is that the only way to save the economy is through raising taxes. With the economy in the still somewhat shaky state it's still in. Wow. And this guy was appointed secretary of the damn treasury? One would think they'd at last hold off on that until the economy started growing again. I wonder what they'd do if we took the route he did and did not pay those taxes. And why isn't there any talk of cutting wasteful spending? Yes, I am quite aware of the cuts to defense by way of killing the F-22 program, and I'm not even saying I agree with that, but was that it? I really do wonder what it's going to take for the people to wake up and get the attitude that the colonists had back when King George was pulling this same crap...

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Cloud, silver lining, etc.

...or, Breaking up and moving have their unknown advantages.
Never mind the airing of the dirty laundry. We'll just leave the whole moving thing at that. But yeah, I had to move and it was a pain in the ass. There was an added benefit to it, though, that I never would have foreseen. I couldn't pick up Sirius for squat where I was. And I had the window on the north side, which is the direction they tell you to align the antenna. In my new place the window's on the south end. So I was thinking I'd be out of luck. Not so. I can get better reception here than I ever did in the old place. So not only do I not have to deal with the crap I got to the point of having to deal with, but I can now have good tunes -- on my stereo instead of my computer -- in my new shite-free situation. Works for me. ;-)

"...sleep, my friend, and you will see, the dream is my reality...they keep me locked up in this cage, can't they see that's why my brain says, raaaaaage...." Ahhhh, vintage Metallica....

More musings on the Rock Hall of Fame...

So you all remember this post, in which a commenter to a Houston Chronicle story mentioned certain acts which were and were not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I wondered how much of that had to do with politics. Well, last night I was screwing around on the Internet, and googled the phrase "Rock and Roll Hall of Fame credibility." Some surprising stuff there, that I honestly didn't have a clue was the case, but on the other hand not so surprising in other ways. I never knew that Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner had anything to do with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, much less effectively controlled who gets in and who doesn't. That would certainly explain why certain artists who had little to nothing to do with the genre are in the HOF and certain other artists who became icons of the genre aren't, considering his POS magazine labels certain artists as "rock artists" who have little to nothing to do with the genre. I can understand somewhat the induction of certain artists from the '30s to the '60s considering that's the period in which rock was born and became a distinct genre, but the inclusion of other artists has, as many others have said, really diminished the Hall's credibility and made it into more the American Popular Music Hall of Fame. (Rush isn't in the HOF, but the Jackson Five are? Really?) I dont necessarily see anything wrong with acknowledging the contributions of non-rock artists to the American musical canon, but they really should be putting a lot of those artists in an "American Pop Music Hall of Fame." And some of those in the Rock Hall wouldn't really belong in the Pop Hall either. The Beastie Boys? Didn't they have that one big hit that they more or less just shouted the lyrics on? A supposed insider said here that Jann Wenner treats the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum like a toy. He and his cronies more or less treat the Hall of Fame itself as a showcase of their favorite artists as well, apparently, considering some of those inductees.