Saturday, August 30, 2008

Musical Taste: It's a Matter of Opinion


I originally cross-posted this yesterday at It's a Matter of Opinion in response to a post by Patrick, one of the site hosts there, who did a great tongue-in-cheek review of the new but not yet released AC/DC album which drew so many harsh comments from the AC/DC faithful that you would think he had just re-crucified Jesus. I originally intended just to make a comment, but it took on a life of its own and morphed into this.

Music, like any art-form, is subject to both qualitative and quantitative analysis. Qualitatively, it comes down to whether you like something, or you don’t; a visceral reaction. It’s that simple. I cringe any time somebody mentions or refers to this or that band or musician as the “best”. When somebody asks me who I think is the best, I always phrase my answer in the form of who is my “favorite,” and I can explain to that person why that is so.

Quantitatively, one can analyse the complexity of the music or the intricacy of arrangements, riffs, solos, phrasing, etc. But that is only half the picture. For example, based on those criteria, it could be argued that Joe Satriani and Ingwe Malmsteen are “better” guitarists than Angus Young. Does that mean that somebody likes the music more or that the music is “better”? No. Technically proficient though they may be, much of their music feels sterile and flat and does nothing - for me, personally. Much of it seems technical and complex for its own sake - the “wow, that’s amazing” factor - but lacks “soul” and does not move me. For me, one well timed and thought-out note from Carlos Santana’s - or Angus Young’s - guitar or Miles Davis’ horn says much more than a million notes from either of those two examples. I can appreciate the talent, skill, and dexterity, but that’s about it. Of course, there are musicians who combine both great technical proficiency and soul - and write great songs. Those are the ones I like best (errr…are my favorites ).

Bottom line: We all look for different things in music, and that determines what we like.

Now, the crap my kids are into - rap (the last 3 letters, you’ll notice, in the word “crap”), hip-hop, and this caterwauling that passes for R&B these days - I don’t know. I personally think this new generation has been brainwashed and manipulated with marketing ploys based on visual imagery and has little to do with music. Blame that on MTV and the video culture. Sure, image has always been a part of pop music, but in my day, one’s exposure to image was pretty much limited to photos on album covers (for those too young to know what albums were, they’re those things we used to clean our pot on…when pot had seeds) or actually seeing bands at concerts. These days the music industry caters and panders to the lowest common denominator, being more concerned about image than music. Hence, white, middle-class, suburban, DJ Jazzy Trevor white boys walk around the mall with their pants hanging down below their butt cracks, emulating American prison culture where that look originated; and the girls walk around looking like little tramps. Most rap “music” is sampled and computer generated, looping stolen riffs from everybody from Queen to Van Halen; of course the kids have no idea (nor do they care) when I point these things out to them. It’s cheap to produce for talentless performers and easy to market to a tasteless audience. It’s all part of the “Karaoke Generation”, more concerned with 15 minutes of fame and making a quick dollar than actually making music or aspiring to raise their art-form and abilities to a higher level. But, hey, the kids like it, and I can’t tell them they don’t.

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Music - Album of the Week

Here is the final selection from our Album of the Week, Joe Walsh's 'But Seriously, Folks.." - the hugely successful "Life's Been Good". But first is the bonus song, the preceeding track, "Theme from Boat Weirdos". A bit of trivia: Joe Walsh ran a mock campaign for president in 1980 (and I think in '84, also, but I'm not sure about that one), and "Life's Been Good" was his campaign theme song. Maybe I'll write Joe in this year.



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How I Feel About This Year's Presidential Election

The choice between Obama and McCain is like choosing between a punch in the guts...


...or a kick in the nuts...


Both are gonna hurt, but guess which one will hurt more.
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Hat-tip: Rachy for the wonderful analogy! (the images were my choice, though!)

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Global Warming



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Friday, August 29, 2008

An Ad You Won't See on American TV

Frivolous, Strange, and Otherwise Funny Stuff

I know what it means - do you?


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Got Weed?


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Nature Porn


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WTF?


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Music - Album of the Week

This is track 4 - "At the Station" - my favorite song from our featured Album of the Week, "But Seriously, Folks..." by Joe Walsh.

Tomorrow I'll have the album's BIG hit, "Life's Been Good" - plus a bonus track. So make sure you stop by!

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Gotta be a Liberal

This perfectly illustrates a person with an extreme entitlement mentality.

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What's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine, too.

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MySpace Truth - Part 4

A continuation of our what you see is not necessarily what you get series of PSAs.

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Global Warming



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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Rant

OK - I'm pissed-off. My photo hosting site, Photobucket, has the most fucked-up TOS (terms of service). I think they are run by Puritans just off the Mayflower or something. I have read their TOS, and it states they have the right to ban material deemed "offensive" (whatever that is), including nudity. Fine. They have their policies. So I don't use them for my Global Warmings or anything else that involves nudity; for those I upload directly from my computer to Blogger. However, there is a 1024MB (1GB) cap, so I try to limit what I upload that way.

My main problem with Photobucket is consistency (or lack thereof). They don't seem to pick-up on certain things, but on others they remove the images. The first one they removed was this one, the album of the week sometime last year:

Sorry, but if you spend enough time at the beach, you will see an errant pubic hair or twenty pooching out from a small bikini, and I see nothing wrong with pubic hair... nothing at all...nothing whatsoever...really...I happen to think that there's a bit of pedophilia going on in anybody who prefers a clean-shaven snapper, but I digress...

And what about this one?

No pooching pubes, nothing.

Here's the latest image they removed that appeared here the day before yesterday:

WTF?!?!?!?!!!! Vegetables? Are they out of their fucking minds? They're vegetables for Christ's sake!!! How can mis-shapen vegetables be offensive? And, with all the thousands of photos that get uploaded each day, who the fuck is the joker who makes these determinations, and how do they find the time? Jerk-offs.

But they haven't flagged this one...yet...
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See what I mean about consistency? I just don't get it, and I'm getting a bit fed-up with their bullshit. The main problem is finding an FTP hosting site with "looser" TOS, so if anybody has any ideas or knows of such a site, please let me know either here in the comments or via e-mail (the addy is on the right, in the sidebar below the wolf eyes).

Rant off.

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News From New Zealand

Have look at a bit of what's happening in the People's Socialist State of New Zealand.

Greens Vote To Support Labour's Carbon Trading Scheme


On Tuesday, the Greens decided to throw-in their support for Labour's bill they hope to pass before the elections coming up soon; a bill that will tie Kiwis to the ridiculous, asinine Kyoto Treaty. New Zealand contributes 0.02-0.03% of total global greenhouse gas emissions, yet Prime Minister Helen Clark and her apparatchiks want New Zealand to lead the world by example. This is a prime minister who signs on to a UN or just about any other international agreement that binds and obligates Kiwis to foreign whim (like accepting, for example, a UN quota for taking in refugees from third world countries). Collectivist asshats like Prime Minister Queen Helen see themselves as citizens of the world community, and she often justifies herself by saying that New Zealand is obligated to do such and such because of this or that international law or agreement. One Australian foreign ministry assessment recently referred (and then redacted the statement as being "outdated") to her as a "left-wing control feak". I don't disagree with that at all. But I digress.

Helen Clark and Labour still need support from her other main coalition partner, the New Zealand First party. They have it. So much for New Zealand First standing up for Kiwis. But, hey, with NZ First's party leader, former National MP, Winston Peters, being the Foreign Minister, I guess that it was bound to happen. Isn't coalition government grand? The average Kiwi is now fucked, and the farmers - dairy farmers in particular - are really fucked.

Here's some more background on the Emissions Trading Scheme.
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Labor Union Stands Down Member Because of Party Affiliation


The short story.
ACT list candidate Shawn Tan will not know if he will keep his job with the Engineering Printing and Manufacturing Union until Thursday.

The EPMU has suspended Mr Tan, who works in support services for the union, for failing to get permission to stand for the political party.
Apparently, this union, like many others, is a big supporter of the Labour Party, and there are very strict rules here about campaign finance and disclosure. One way around it is to register as a party and you can spend more money than you could otherwise by donating money to a party or a candidate (or even spending money on fliers or DVDs promoting a party or candidate without directly donating the money). That is what this union wants to do, and presumably the money they would spend would go towards helping Labour retain power.
National wants the High Court to overturn a decision allowing the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union to register as a third party.

A judicial review has come to a close in Wellington today, following a decision by the Electoral Commission to approve the EPMU's plan to spend up to $120,000 during the election campaign.

National's lawyer Peter Kiely says the commission has misinterpreted the law, and has not asked itself the right questions. He claims it did not take into account the EPMU's involvement in the Labour Party, and its involvement in the administration of the affairs of the party.
So when Mr. Tan wanted to run for office as a member of a party other than Labour, like all good and tolerant liberals, they basically threw him under the bus.

This Kiwi blogger nails it perfectly (and read the comments, too - they're a hoot!)
New ACT candidate Shawn Tan is finding out today what it means to turn class traitor. You get ostracised.

The EPMU has suspended Shawn. For stealing? No. For sexual misconduct? No. For violence? No.

He has been suspended for daring to stand for a political party other than Labour.

The EPMU stands guilty of rank hypocrisy. It is ok for Andrew Little to contemplate standing for Labour, it is OK for the President Don Pryde to seek nominations for Labour but Shawn Tan seeks to stand for parliament for the ACT party and that is NOT OK.

Suspended for his political affliations. Disgusting.

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Judge Orders Name Suppression Only For Online Media in Hapeta Murder Case


It is a strange concept they have here in NZ, even though it is sometimes used in the US. I am still trying to get my head around this name suppression thing. Sometimes it's a famous person; sometimes it's an average citizen; but it is used quite a bit. It's done, of course, in the name of getting a fair trial. To me it smacks of secrecy, and it just doesn't sit well with me. I have no lost love for the media, but these suppression orders and black-outs and bans that prevent even discussing certain things in a public forum like talk radio just smacks of censorship and tactics of fascists and totalitarianism. Maybe I'm wrong here, but my gut tells me different; and my gut is usually right. What really surprises me is how many people see nothing wrong with justice being done behind closed doors.

The short story.
A judge has today taken the unprecedented step of banning news websites from naming two men charged with murder while allowing newspapers, radio stations and TV networks to reveal who they are.

Judge David Harvey said online media could not use the names, or publish images of the accused, to prevent the public searching for the information when the case comes to trial.

He said he was "concerned about someone Googling someone's name and being able to access it later".

He was also "concerned about the viral effect of digital publication".

Judge Harvey ruled in Manukau District Court that it was OK to report the names and publish the images in print tomorrow or on tonight's 6pm television news but not on news websites.

To find out who the men are you can buy tomorrow's New Zealand Herald.
Now, this is just stupid, and overseas bloggers are already scoffing at the ruling because it is not binding to those outside New Zealand. One such blogger is in the US.
One blog has today boasted it is written by an American, hosted in the United States, and subject only to the jurisdiction and laws of the United States of America so is publishing the names of the two.

The blog says:"In protest Im asking bloggers around the world to join me in posting these names - bypassing the New Zealand court order and showing the Judge the true power of the internet! "The post shows a photograph of the two men and dubs Judge Harvey's decision an "oppressive ban".

"You may ask why Im posting their names, why Im trying to break a New Zealand court order, why Im making a bit of a fool of myself.

Well, the answer is simple: I am a staunch supporter of free speech and cannot stand the prevalence of pointless and suppressive limitations on speech, especially on the internet."
- (snip) -
Another website initially published the names but has since blanked over them. It now refers to the two by nicknames.

"His (Judge Harvey's) demonstrable idiocy is the new media equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition," the second blog says.
This is a good op/ed analysis of the issue.

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It's a Joke....so Laugh!

A driver is stuck in a traffic jam going into downtown Chicago. Nothing is moving north or south. Suddenly a man knocks on his window.

The driver rolls down his window and asks, "What happened? What's the hold Up?"

"Terrorists have kidnapped Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Rosie O'Donnell, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton.

They're asking for a $10 Million ransom. Otherwise, they're going to douse them with gasoline and set them on fire. We're going from car to car, taking up a collection."

The driver asks, "On average, how much is everyone giving?"

"About a gallon."



Hat-tip: Stephanie


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Global Warming





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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Much Ado About Nothing?

I think so. After being spotted by the cops for driving "erratically," a guy gets pulled over and
...arrested near Denver with two rifles, a bulletproof vest, ammunition, walkie-talkies and suspected drugs. Federal officials say two other men and a woman were apprehended a few hours later.
- (snip) -
The action started around 1:30 a.m. Sunday when police in Aurora stopped a truck that was swerving erratically near East Hampden Avenue and South Parker Road. The driver, Tharin Gartrell, 28, had a suspended driver's license, and the truck was rented in the name of another person, said Aurora police Detective Marcus Dudley.

The address on his license listed a home in Centennial, Colo., but that is not his current address and police still do not know where he lives, Dudley said.

In the truck, officers found two rifles, including one with a scope; a bulletproof vest; boxes of ammunition; walkie-talkies; and suspected narcotics. On edge because of heightened security surrounding the Democratic convention in Denver, Aurora police alerted federal authorities. At least one of the rifles was stolen out of Kansas, he said.

Later Sunday, federal agents arrested Johnson, 32, at a hotel in Denver. He was held on drug charges. A half-hour later, 33-year-old Shawn Robert Adolf jumped from a sixth-story window when authorities tried to arrest him at a hotel in Glendale, police said.
I know appearances can be deceiving and assassination attempts have been carried-out by "less than professional" would-be assassins, but, really, take a look at these three clowns...
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...and tell me that the first thing that comes to your mind is NOT "tweakers/crack-heads/meth-heads." And, apparently, at least one of them is.
...Gartrell was being investigated for methamphetamine and firearms violations.
The story starts-off this way:
U.S. Attorney: Racist Rantings Does Not Mean Assassination Plot
Police: Suspect Found With Rental Car, Rifles, Bulletproof Vest

DENVER -- Three men who authorities initially feared were plotting to assassinate Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention are facing only gun charges, after the U.S. Attorney's Office deemed that there was insufficient evidence to charge them with conspiracy, making threatening statements, or other national security-related crimes.
That's the story and photos from ABC Denver, channel 7.

The story made it down here in little old New Zealand, too, and here's the headline in the NZ Herald:
Arrests made after police fear of plot to kill Obama
The stories are essentially the same (off the AP wire), but notice the difference in the headlines. One is a bit more sensational, at least to me. I stated early on in this campaign that the worst thing that could happen for the GOP would be if somebody attempted an assassination on Obambi, or, worse yet, actually succeeded. The Dems would get as much PR out of it as they could by blaming it on the GOP. I will go so far as to state right now that if something happened to Obambi, I believe that the Donks would be behind it - a "Reichstagging". In other words, I wouldn't put it past them to engineer something that they could spin by blaming the GOP and generate sympathy for Obama and further disdain for the already tarnished image of the GOP. I'm no conspiracy theorist, but, hey, stranger things have happened - the Reichstag Incident ,was real.

Hat-tip: Oldcatman

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Music - Album of the Week

Here's Track 3, "Indian Summer", from our Album of the Week, 'But Seriously, Folks...' by Joe Walsh.

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MySpace Truth - Part 3

The third installment of the "what you see is not necessarliy what you get" series.

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Pussy Humor

WTF? - Caption This

Global Warming



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Monday, August 25, 2008

Music - Album of the Week

The current Album of the Week, 'But Seriously, Folks...' is the fourth studio album from Joe Walsh, and it's a classic; possibly his best as a solo artist. Anyway, I'm leaving it up for another week, and I came up with a novel idea for this and future Album of the Week features. Each day (or thereabouts) I will put a different song from the album on the blog in video format for your enjoyment. Nothing fancy, just a way that you can hear different songs from the album. So here is track 1, "Over and Over."

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In Case There Were Any Doubts



Hat-tip: Stephanie

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The Truth About MySpace

This is the second in a series of PSA's to help you understand that what you see is often not what you get on these social networking sites.

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Taliban Call Girl



Hat-tip: Don

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Nature Porn

A Perfect Example of Satire

Without consulting a dictionary, I can tell you that satire is the use of humor, irony, and/or absurdity to convey a message with at least a ring of truth. This illustrates that to a tee. It needs no further explanation or commentary.

If you don't get it, you are a moron - or a liberal (sorry for being redundant). Seek professional help.



Hat-tip: BobF

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Global Warming



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Sunday, August 24, 2008

All You Need to Know About Obama

I'm going to save you a lot of grief and headache. This is it. Forget his pastor, his wife, where he comes from, whether he was born or not, who his dad is, or any of that other stuff that clogs the news and the blogosphere. Yeah, all that may be relevant, but the weight of that relevance is nothing compared to what Obambi says in his own words. There is no other context here the lefties can use to weasel around the issue (unless, of course, you think that what he says here is a good thing, which I know a lot of lefties and other wankers agree with). Obambi is talking straight on what his "vision" is. This is short and to the point. Watch it before it gets pulled.



That is all you need to know to just say
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this November.

Hat-tip: Todd

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Weekend Magazine

Yep, it's the weekend again, so nothing very serious happening, at least not today. I can't be bothered. Maybe tomorrow, maybe not. It's good to be the king, the master of one's own destiny, even if it's just limited to an insignificant blog.

So, let's get on with it, shall we? First is a cool video I think you'll enjoy. Then some of the usual and not so usual pics, ribald humor, a PSA, and, of course, your daily dose of Global Warming.

For Battlestar Gallactica Fans

And, no, I'm not talking about the cheesy, original series from the late 70's with Lorne Green. The new series is far better, not only for the improvement in special effects, but the story line is really good, with an intelligent plot and lots of symbolism. But even if you aren't into the show, I think you'll enjoy this very well-done video that uses various screen shots from the show set to the music of Queesnryche. The song, "The Right Side of the Mind," has an eerie quality that just matches perfectly with the images.

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Public Service Announcement

For those of you who use My Space, here are a few guidelines for knowing just what kind of people you may encounter there or on similar "social networking" sites like Bebo or Facebook. I'll be putting these up as a series over the next few days.

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Kids These Days

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Etiquette: An Alien Concept for Most People

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It's a sad statement on modern society that we have actually devolved to the point where we need signs like these. When I first started work here in Auckland, Mae and the kids stayed behind in Rotorua while I saved enough money to move us into a house in the Auckland area, and I took bus trips back and forth each weekend to be with them. For four months during the work week I stayed in a room at a boarding house/backpackers/hostel - whatever you want to call it - right across the street from my office. Very convenient in that regard, but it really sucked. Sharing kitchen and bathroom facilities with strangers, all with different standards of cleanliness, is not my cup of tea as I am quite fastidious and neat (thanks to Mom, Dad, and the USMC), and there was no cleaning staff to ensure that the place was kept clean. Fortunately, I never found shit or man-mayo in the shower, but there was at least one motherfucker that always got piss on the toilet seats and on the floor around the toilet, making it so that I actually took a spray bottle of bleach to the bathroom each morning to clean the toilet before I used it. I swear...if I had caught that SOB I would have rubbed his face in his own piss.

I hate cities to begin with. To me they are nothing more than socialist concentration camps, full of the flotsam and jetsam of humanity. I have to work there, and there are certain aspects of "culture" that one can only get in cities; but for the most part cities are shit-holes. Hence, I guess that is why we need to put-up signs like these:

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Caption This

Tee-Shirts

Global Warming - Weekend Edition

 

 

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