Saturday, December 14, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


I'm sure someone must have thought of this before me... But, hasn't the "media" kinda replaced the "church" as the final arbiter of what is "true" or "false"?

And aren't we still being lied to?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Suspicious Minds

This evening I find myself listening to Elvis Presley. Yeah, I'm a huge Elvis fan. Or I was. No, I am. Well...

Let's listen to a song, OK? It's really good...

That's as fine a pop/rock performance as you're ever likely to hear. I mean, everything is perfect. In particular, Elvis' interpretation of the song leaves no doubt: it's a sad, even tragic, song. The uptempo (yet subdued--it's not a rock tune) performance of the band makes a nice contrast to the lyrics and Elvis' voice. I think this is one of the greatest pop tunes ever recorded.

Now watch and listen to this video, a live performance of the same song:

Probably a lot of Elvis fans will watch this and think it's a great performance. They are wrong. It's an abomination. It's difficult even to begin to list everything wrong with this, but...

Elvis smiles throughout the performance. Check that. He's not "performing." He's mailing it in. Or, yeah, he's performing, but he's not "singing." Take your pick. From Frank Sinatra to Mick Jagger, I've never seen a singer crack a smile during the performance of a tragic song. He's visibly mailing it in. There is no greater crime in the performing arts. He is sneering at the audience.

He also, early in the clip, makes a joke with the lyric. What, is he a comedian? It's not even funny...

Then there's the music. I mentioned the uptempo of the studio version. This is almost breakneck speed for this song. Now, as a drummer, I know that singers will sometimes get me to play a tune a bit faster onstage. The faster the tempo, the less time they have to hold notes. Good singers only do this when necessary (sore throat, cold, etc.). No problem. But Elvis sounds like he's in OK form in this clip. So what happens is, he ends up making a mockery of the song. And the speeding up/"jamming" at the end just seems stupid. Is it supposed to be "rock" (with 20 backup singers and an orchestra)? Please...

I watch this clip and I see a once great performer who now just doesn't give a shit. I see self-loathing. He hates himself; and he probably hates his audience beyond words. Frankly, I don't blame him. He was The King. His audience stole his crown...

Sunday, November 10, 2013


So I'm out for dinner with my (11 year-old) daughter, and she orders a sundae-type thing for dessert. I just order a black coffee. When the (same) waitress comes back with our stuff, she says, "OK, who's having the coffee?"

My kid and I are on the same wavelength. The very subtle look she gave me made me proud...

Friday, November 08, 2013

Somewhere down the Coast

Moonlight Mile

One of my favorite Stones tunes of all time... This one doesn't usually appear on any of the "Best of" compilations. Damned if I know why not...

Simply, it's a beautiful tune. In atmosphere, arrangement, and dynamics it beats the crap out of what most people consider a classic Stones "ballad." Get yourself in the right mood--maybe you'll see what I mean...

NB: I like how the string arrangement does absolutely nothing to make the Stones sound anything more or less like the drug-addled boozers they are. The strings don't make the Stones sound good--the Stones make the strings relevant.

Also of note: In the Stones vs. Beatles "wars," there should be absolutely no question that the Stones played with a dynamic range that the Beatles could only dream of. That's what jamming and playing live give to a band. There are *no* dynamics in any Beatles tune I can think of, because they are all purely products of the studio. (The Beatles were a *pop* band that dabbled in rock; The Stones are a *rock* band that sometimes plays pop; that's a winning formula to me!)

Anyway, have a listen...

Wednesday, November 06, 2013


Cheap Thrills

So this past Monday (it was a holiday here) I attended a concert at the prefectural auditorium. There were several chorus groups performing, including one my daughter belongs to; the members of most of these groups, however, were umm... a lot older than me...

After the concert I'm waiting outside having a smoke, when a young woman (who had to be at least 75) approached me, camera held out, and politely asked me if I could take a picture of her and a couple of friends (who were also quite "young"). I happily oblige them.

Then the one who'd approached me asked if she could take a picture of me with her two friends. I'm killing time, so why not? I line up between two two frail-looking old women and, in a moment of fancy, put my arms around them and give a big smile. Then, just as the camera clicked, the one to my right grabbed my ass! (Yeah, I couldn't believe it either!)

I let on like nothing had happened, but walked away thinking that growing old might have some secret benefits...

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

This Week in Baseball

Been a while since I posted anything like this. Not really sure what to do with it. Give me strength... er, no, forget that.

So, OK. I haven't followed baseball very much since moving to Japan. But through the 80's and into the mid-90's I was a serious baseball follower (Expos and Jays!). A bit later, my interest briefly spiked when the Red Sox finally won The World Series; their crushing defeat of the Yankees on the way to The Series was something for the ages.

When the Toronto Blue Jays won their first of back-to-back championships in 1992,  I was among the millions of Canadians glued to their TV sets. But what none of us knew (or even suspected) was that the team the Blue Jays beat--the Atlanta Braves, were nothing less than Satan's minions unleashed upon the earth. [VIA]

Now, I've been known to go a bit crazy when my favorite teams lose (Boston, Canada, both in hockey), but according to the author of the linked article, his beloved Pittsburgh Pirates lost to the evil Braves because Ted Turner and Jane Fonda were communists who had enough money to buy a better team (!), and because Jimmy Carter (!) er, something...

Funny how the "Commies" always win because they have more money... (Like the "gay" Giants [ha! I just made myself laugh!] from San Francisco beat the "manly" Texas Rangers a few years back. Say, a fellow could probably do OK by betting against teams American wingnuts like...)

A couple of golden turds from the toilet:
[On October 14, 1992] the Atlanta Braves defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in Game Seven of the 1992 National League Championship Series, allowing the Braves to advance to the World Series, where they lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, thus ceding America's Pastime to the Canadians.
"The Canadians." Wow. More "Commie" than Ted, Jane, and Jimmy! Doubleplusgood! How many Canadians on that championship Blue Jays team? None. (If someone were to call pretty much any pre-70's American-based NHL team "the Canadians," well, that would be another story...)
[The Braves] had gazillions [of dollars] because of their owner, Ted Turner, a wealthy cable TV maven [...] who--in the ultimate insult--was an extreme leftist who openly expressed his contempt for the free-market system, for traditional American ideals, for belief in God, and, generally, for the very principles that permitted his riches.
 Look, I'm no fan of Ted Turner. But really, what kind of stupid do you have to be in order not to see that he is as American as apple pie? This needs to be explained? Jesus fucking Christ. The only difference between Ted Turner and, say, Donald Trump, is that Ted has a brain, actually worked for his money, and has much better taste in women. (The cynic in me says that Jane Fonda is/was, probably the ultimate "trophy wife.") Isn't it strange that "leftists" are more "successful" than "rightists"?

Why do you guys keep losing...?