Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy '08!

Happy New Years (to the two or three people that might read this)!

I'm having people over tonight but I wanted to dash off a few bullets before I get ready....

** We got the huge American flag up in the staircase. Turns out it's 9 1/2' x 5'. Pictures to come....
** ....speaking of which, I got a digital camera for kicks ass =)
** Sometime (August?) next year, I will be doing the "music" for a Jeff Dory gallery show. This really deserves its own post, but that'll have to wait til next year....

And, since the IA caucus is this week (!).....

I'm going to go out on a limb and make predictions for the hell of it....

1) Edwards 2) Clinton 3) Obama 4) Richardson 5) Dodd 6) Biden 7) Kucinich

The Donkular side is a three-way statistical tie. The reason I think Edwards will pull it out is primarily because his 2nd choice numbers are strong. Plus, he has had a much more distinctly populist message than either HRC or BHO which I think is going to be a recurring theme in 08. I mean, gas can only be $3/gal for so long before people get riled up....

Anyway, betting against a Clinton in IA is always risky, but I think Hillary is going to bounce back and slaughter the field in NH and will still win the nom. As to who I'll actually be voting for on Super Tuesday, I think I'm going to vote for Obama, but in the last few weeks he seems to be trying to talk me out of it--engaging in a war of words against should-be ally Paul Krugman, etc. The race is going to boil down to Hillary and the not-Hillary candidate; whether the ABH candidate becomes Edwards or Obama, who knows.

Hillary has to finish first or a close second in IA, and then has to win NH. If she does that, she's going to coast to the nom, I think. If she manages to finish third, or fails to win either IA or NH, she might lose just enough delegates on Super Tuesday....

Don't count on it, though. HRC, for better or worse, will probably be the nominee.

1) Romney 2) Huckabee 3) McCain 4) Giuliani 5) Paul 6) Thompson

On the Elephantine side, who the hell knows. The Democrats are bad enough, but Edwards, Obama, and Hillary are all fairly similar policy wise (except on Iraq). The Republican party coalition of corpocrats, theocrats, libertarians, and neoconservatives is not going to come out of this primary season intact. The question is which faction wins.

Romney is clearly the money candidate on that side of the aisle this year, and given that, it's hard to not pick him. If he doesn't win IA, he must win NH convincingly, or else it will be a bloodbath on Super Tuesday. Huckabee has managed to piss off a lot of the fundraisers, media hacks, and kingmakers in the party (including His Highness Rush Limbaugh). But he's got a lot of the pro-life/creationist hardcore activists in his camp (who are horrified by both Giuliani and Romney). Huck and Paul are the two guys really stirring up the grassroots (such as they are) on that side. Huck finishing second or first keeps him in the top tier, but finishing below that is OK (since nobody expected him to do anything in IA before Thanksgiving), as long as he picks up the pace in NH. Huckabee will lose some states on Super Tuesday guaranteed, since he doesn't have the pockets of Romney, McCain, or Giuliani.

McCain could actually steal this thing, because compared to the rest of these clowns, he's George Washington. Line up his resume against any of the rest of the field, and McCain blows them all away. His support has been undermined by two things: one, a poorly run campaign, two (more importantly), he actually dared to defy the Party Line on Gimto/torture/Abu Ghraib/tribunals in the debates (and was actually booed, if you can believe that). So the neocons hate McCain. Here's hoping he finishes dead last, actually, because he is honestly the only one out of the entire Republican field that will have a reasonable chance to beat either Edwards, Hillary, or Obama in the general.

Giuliani may as well drop out. The former frontrunner will be a non-factor. If he finishes lower than Paul or Thompson, I'm pretty sure he will drop out after NH. Thompson may as well be walking around with "also ran" scrawled on his forehead. Paul "wins" if he finishes with more than 5%. I'm rooting for him and his supporters to stir shit up at the Convention. I'd say it's 50-50 whether he runs on a 3rd party ticket.

Actually, I'm hoping for a brokered Republican convention. That would be fun. I don't think that's happened in my lifetime, on either side. Actually, I don't think I've ever seen the Republicans not circling the wagons behind The Guy that has been declared The Front Runner from On High. The Democratic primary is enough of a tossup as it is, but the Republican side is a goddamn mess. I love the idea of IA or NH not deciding the nominee on either side, actually; I'd love to see Super Tuesday actually be relevant for once. (And for 2012 we have got to go to a genuine national primary; enough of this silly shit with IA and NH.)

Ultimately I think the nomination is between Romney, Huckabee, and McCain. Romney is the one with the buck$$$, and I think it'll be a Hillary v. Romney general election, and Hillary will probably win 40 states.

And if you, dear reader, are navigating back to this post about 11 months from now and are giggling hysterically at my faulty reasoning, or are amused by my inability to have seen X coming, well, hey, this is why I'm a drummer....

Anyway, fuck all that....there is champagne to be drunk....

Saturday, December 15, 2007

the big radio

upstairs turns out to be a Coronado. The serial plate is mostly destroyed, unfortunately, which complicates trying to identify it. The only place I've been able to find that has a picture of this is here (scroll down, or search for Coronado in the page). So it's from the late 40s then. Given the shape that it's in it's probably worthless, but it looks cool and the speaker sounds really good (10" cone). The turntable doesn't work but the radio works fine (it sounds less staticky than the Zenith).

What did I do before Google? Vol. 176851243969

I've had one of these in the basement for quite some time. I got it from my folks, who picked it up at a garage sale (?) someplace. I had wondered exactly how old it is, but until now it'd never occurred to me to look up the model # on Google. Duh.

According to this, it's from 1937 and was worth $30 brand new. I don't know how much this one would be worth--it's not exactly in tiptop shape, although it does work.

I have another radio upstairs, although that one is different (it's much larger and even has a pullout turntable! ZOMG). I got that from a girl two blocks down the street who was moving to Barcelona and selling everything. I'll have to look that one up too.

Friday, October 26, 2007

FEMA presser

Tom Tomorrow frequently notes that the Bushies are exceedingly bad for the satire business: it's impossible to parody them because they continually outdo themselves.

Case in point....according to the
Washington Post,
FEMA held a press conference on the SoCal wildfires on Tuesday. Only, there weren't any actual reporters there, and FEMA staff were the ones asking the questions.

I'd like to think this would mean everyone involved would lose their jobs immediately, but I'm not holding my breath.

(via here.)

Monday, October 1, 2007

holy shit!

Yet another nail in the coffin of the record industry.

How will it do? Who knows....but I suspect it's going to be watched very closely. Simply for that reason alone, I'll send 'em ten bucks. Maybe I'll tack on a few more just for being brave enough to try it. It will be interesting, when it's all said and done, to see who contributed, average per customer, etc.

I love being given the choice: kind of an unamiliar feeling for an audience member, isn't it?

As for the music itself, I'm pretty confident it'll be amazing, and well worth the wait.

By koinkydink, I just listened again to this album closely a few nights ago. That was also released with almost nothing at all in the way of promotion, publicity, fanfare, no touring....

Monday, September 17, 2007

Feel safer yet?

And here we were thinking all this time that this country was founded in opposition to such things.

When did "security" become a catchall excuse for unreasoning, pointless tyranny? Was it on 9/11 itself, or was it in the period between 9/11 and February 2003, when we couldn't find our voices?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

today is not a holiday

I hope we don't ever make the 11th of September into a national holiday. Kind of like Memorial Day, or Labor Day, or MLK's birthday--we don't even remember what we're celebrating, but we'll take the day off all the same.

9/11 was and is a monument to American failure. Osama bin Laden--still a free man--murdered 3,000 Americans, on American soil, and no one lost their jobs, or was reprimanded, for failing. The only thing that happened as a consequence was some bureaucratic handwaving, and the Bushies were handed an ironclad excuse to do anything they pleased, up to and including launching a bullshit war with a country that hadn't attacked us. As Rumsfeld said, there aren't any targets in Afghanistan.

I'm feeling very cynical watching newscasters revel in the misery. Lots of pretend-serious chinstroking and navelgazing. Plenty of masturbatory fake solemnity, but very little honesty, very little clarity. The only people who seem to have a clue are the military families I saw interviewed reacting to Petraeus' "testimony", and the 9/11 survivors & victims' families.*

Why the fuck do we have a half-trillion dollar military if we can't stop 19 guys with knives from destroying our landmarks? Does anybody seriously think the situation has improved since then?

Rather than stuff this post with links (it's depressing enough), how about I just leave you with a Bush press conf. transcript (from which says all that needs to be said about the state America finds itself in--that it can't deal with this petty tyrant properly.

Q Mr. President, in your speeches now you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that? Also, can you tell the American people if you have any more information, if you know if he is dead or alive? Final part -- deep in your heart, don't you truly believe that until you find out if he is dead or alive, you won't really eliminate the threat of --

THE PRESIDENT: Deep in my heart I know the man is on the run, if he's alive at all. Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not; we haven't heard from him in a long time. And the idea of focusing on one person is -- really indicates to me people don't understand the scope of the mission.

Terror is bigger than one person. And he's just -- he's a person who's now been marginalized. His network, his host government has been destroyed. He's the ultimate parasite who found weakness, exploited it, and met his match. He is -- as I mentioned in my speech, I do mention the fact that this is a fellow who is willing to commit youngsters to their death and he, himself, tries to hide -- if, in fact, he's hiding at all.

So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you. I'm more worried about making sure that our soldiers are well-supplied; that the strategy is clear; that the coalition is strong; that when we find enemy bunched up like we did in Shahikot Mountains, that the military has all the support it needs to go in and do the job, which they did.

And there will be other battles in Afghanistan. There's going to be other struggles like Shahikot, and I'm just as confident about the outcome of those future battles as I was about Shahikot, where our soldiers are performing brilliantly. We're tough, we're strong, they're well-equipped. We have a good strategy. We are showing the world we know how to fight a guerrilla war with conventional means.

Q But don't you believe that the threat that bin Laden posed won't truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, as I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run. I was concerned about him, when he had taken over a country. I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban.

But once we set out the policy and started executing the plan, he became -- we shoved him out more and more on the margins. He has no place to train his al Qaeda killers anymore. And if we -- excuse me for a minute -- and if we find a training camp, we'll take care of it. Either we will or our friends will. That's one of the things -- part of the new phase that's becoming apparent to the American people is that we're working closely with other governments to deny sanctuary, or training, or a place to hide, or a place to raise money.

And we've got more work to do. See, that's the thing the American people have got to understand, that we've only been at this six months. This is going to be a long struggle. I keep saying that; I don't know whether you all believe me or not. But time will show you that it's going to take a long time to achieve this objective. And I can assure you, I am not going to blink. And I'm not going to get tired. Because I know what is at stake. And history has called us to action, and I am going to seize this moment for the good of the world, for peace in the world and for freedom.

That press conference is dated March 13, 2002.

*The one bright spot has been that non-New Yorkers are getting some New Yorkers' unvarnished opinion of Giuliani, which if you don't know the source of the bad blood between the NY firefighters and Giuliani, see here. The man will never be President because of his feud with the IAFF. The reason that's been getting airtime is because RG will not be speaking at the memorial service this year for the first time, and that's why.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Petraeus/Crocker/Lantos/NYT poll/jackasses

I caught a little of the Petraeus/Crocker hearings on NPR today....Petraeus and Crocker are both completely full of shit. I can only have my intelligence insulted so many times by somebody before I tune them out.

But I did get to hear a snippet from Tom Lantos which I thought was pretty sharp. I wasn't paying as much attention as I should have been--I knew there was something unique about Lantos but couldn't recall what it was, and I'm not talking about his very unusual accent. The thing that he said that got my attention was in response to a question about military success in Iraq. Lantos challenged the question--something Democrats never seem to do, but Republicans jump at it every chance they get--by saying the political success is what matters. I can't remember his exact quote, I'll look for a transcript later.

When I sat down to write this post, I was thinking I should look Lantos up on Wikipedia so I could remember what his story is, where he's from with that accent. Turns out he's Hungarian. Also turns out he's the only Holocaust survivor to ever get elected to the House of Reps.

Oh yeah (slaps forehead). That's what it was.....

In the meantime....

CBS News/New York Times Poll. Sept. 4-8, 2007. N=1,035 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3 (for all adults).

"Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling the situation with Iraq?"

Approve Disapprove Unsure

ALL adults 26 71 3
Republicans 52 44 4
Democrats 4 96 0
Independents 23 72 5

8/8-12/07 26 69 5
7/20-22/07 25 69 6
7/9-17/07 25 70 5
6/26-28/07 23 70 7
5/18-23/07 23 72 5

"Do you think removing Saddam Hussein from power was worth the loss of American life and other costs of attacking Iraq, or not?"

Worth It Not Worth It Unsure

9/4-8/07 35 59 6

"Do you think the United States made a mistake getting involved in the current war with Iraq, or not?"

A Mistake Not a Mistake Unsure

9/4-8/07 62 34 4
5/04 50 46 4

"Looking back, do you think the United States did the right thing in taking military action against Iraq, or should the U.S. have stayed out?"

Right Thing Stayed Out Unsure

9/4-8/07 41 54 5
8/8-12/07 43 51 6
7/20-22/07 42 51 7
5/18-23/07 35 61 4

"How would you say things are going for the U.S. in its efforts to bring stability and order to Iraq? Would you say things are going very well, somewhat well, somewhat badly, or very badly?"

VW SW SB Badly Unsure

9/4-8/07 4 29 32 32 3
8/8-12/07 3 26 29 38 4
7/20-22/07 3 29 31 35 2
7/9-17/07 2 23 29 45 1

"Regardless of how you usually vote, do you think the Republican Party or the Democratic Party is more likely to make the right decisions about the war in Iraq?"

Repub Dem Both (vol.) Neither (vol.) Unsure
9/4-8/07 32 42 1 9 16

"From what you have seen or heard about the situation in Iraq, what should the United States do now? Should the U.S. increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, keep the same number of U.S. troops in Iraq as there are now, decrease the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, or remove all its troops from Iraq?"

Increase Same DecreaseRemove All Unsure
9/4-8/07 11 19 35 30 5

8/8-12/07 13 17 31 30 9
7/20-22/07 12 15 30 36 7
7/9-17/07 12 18 29 34 7

"As you may know, the U.S. has sent more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq. From what you have heard or read, would you say this troop increase is making the situation in Iraq better, making it worse, or is it having no impact on the situation in Iraq so far?"

Better Worse No Impact Unsure
9/4-8/07 35 12 45 8
8/8-12/07 29 15 46 10
7/20-22/07 19 20 53 8
7/9-17/07 20 22 51 7

"If you had to choose, who do you think is most likely to make the right decisions about the war in Iraq: the Bush Administration, Congress, or U.S. military commanders in Iraq?"

Admin. Congress Commanders None (vol.) Unsure

9/4-8/07 5 21 68 3 3

"In making its case for the war with Iraq, do you think members of the Bush Administration intentionally misled the public or not?"

Misled Did Not Mislead Unsure

9/4-8/07 60 36 4
12/05 52 44 4

"Right now, is the U.S. involvement in Iraq creating more terrorists who are planning to attack the U.S., eliminating terrorists who were planning to attack the U.S., or is the U.S. involvement in Iraq not affecting the number of terrorists planning to attack the U.S.?"

Creating Eliminating Not Affecting Unsure

9/4-8/07 40 23 27 10
8/8-12/07 46 18 27 9
7/20-22/07 44 18 27 11
6/26-28/07 51 17 24 8

"Do you think Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon?"

Yes No Unsure
ALL adults 33 58 9
Republicans 40 51 9
Democrats 27 63 10
Independents 32 60 8

33% of Americans still persist in believing that Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11. 26% of Americans persist in approving Bush's Iraq policy. The Pollkatz Bush Index is 30.8; RCP has him at 32.7.

When Petraeus and Crocker, or whatever else crawls out from under the rocks to lie and obfuscate on behalf of their masters, say idiotic things about progress this and security that, they are speaking only to that fraction that still upholds the Bush "plan" for the Middle East. They are speaking to roughly a third of America--if the electorate is somewhere around 120M voters, they're speaking to 40M of them. That's it. In their world, the Green Zone is safe, John McCain didn't look like a fucking moron strolling around a Baghdad open air market with a flak jacket, a helmet, 50 Marines, helicopters....In their world, George Bush making surprise visits to Iraq is no big deal (after all, it's how he does it here in the States....).

So we're going to have this silly song and dance out of Petraeus and Crocker, who aren't going to deviate from The Party Line one bit. They're going to keep asking for more Friedman Units and they're going to keep getting them. Nothing changes. The stalemate continues.

Which brings me to another subject that really deserves its own post, but I'm on a roll so here goes....

The Congressional Democrats have been failures so far. It's one thing for them to point to Blue Dog defections to explain losing the spring battle over defunding, but the collapse on the FISA bill right before the August recess was both pathetic and unnecessary. The Blue Dogs didn't monkeywrench that--you guys got outmanuevered by Bush the incompetent. You should have seen it coming, or somebody should figured out how to prevent the fucking vote from happening. You're not in the minority anymore. Stuff you don't want to come up for a vote doesn't get voted on, period, full stop. The fact that it came up at all was a failure of leadership. And then when it passed? That was just a fucking whopping failure.

And that kind of thing is why I've never registered as a Democrat. I'll work for em, but I'll be damned if I'm going to call myself a Democrat until they can actually get their shit together, or find somebody who will.

It gets better.

The traditional Sept/Oct annual budget war between the executive and the legislature is going to be used as a cudgel by Bush against the squeamish Democrats: fund my war or I'll blame you for losing it! Which is perfect nonsense, of course, but it's been awfully effective nonsense....

I'm expecting the Democrats to, as the saying goes, fold with aces. It's the same shit....can't look weak, yadda yadda. Even though the polls are clearly, overwhelmingly on their side. Even though this occupation is hated by 99% of the planet, even though it's bankrupting us, even though it's killing a hundred people a day, they keep falling for the same fucking tricks.

So let's have some more hearings! Strike up the band! Let's have some red white and blue bunting! Order another crate of magnetic ribbon stickers! SUPPORT THOSE TROOPS!!


Sapped by nearly six years of war, the Army has nearly exhausted its fighting force and its options if the Bush administration decides to extend the Iraq buildup beyond next spring.

The Army's 38 available combat units are deployed, just returning home or already tapped to go to Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere, leaving no fresh troops to replace five extra brigades that President Bush sent to Baghdad this year, according to interviews and military documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

That presents the Pentagon with several painful choices if the U.S. wants to maintain higher troop levels beyond the spring of 2008:

_Using National Guard units on an accelerated schedule. [that wasn't a problem during Hurricane Katrina, nope, no sir, uh-uh--nb]

_Breaking the military's pledge to keep soldiers in Iraq for no longer than 15 months.

_Breaching a commitment to give soldiers a full year at home before sending them back to war.

But Harry Reid wants to compromise.

Fuck Harry Reid.

That sound you hear is another IED going off, taking with it some 20 year old from some place like Boise, or the Bronx. That sound you hear is the siphon Halliburton hooked up to the Treasury. That sound you hear is a car bomb blowing up yet another mosque, killing dozens, receiving no more attention in the U.S. than page 24B.

It will continue until the followers in Washington start to lead, or are replaced by leaders.

Friday, September 7, 2007

high wind

A pretty nasty storm went through last night....

There was a wind gust at the leading edge of that damn thing that had to have been 60+ mph.

At about 1:15 am Chris and I were doing some mix tinkering when the back door blew open with a bang. At the same time I could hear the rain firing up on the driveway outside....I knew it was going to rain but I wasn't aware of a storm coming....I had seen a Severe TS watch up, but that was further west in Kansas. I started thinking I should check the radar, and no sooner had I started reaching for Mozilla than the power failed. The breaker box made a humming sound for about four seconds and then gave up. I ran to shut the back door and it looked like a movie. I ended up bumping around in the dark for a few minutes before I remembered where the flashlights were, then we spent another five minutes moving all the gear away from where the water sometimes comes in the SE corner of the basement.

Chris, Tyree, and I ended up hanging out on the front porch for a while. Chris waited til the worst of the storm abated and then split, since there wasn't anything else to accomplish in the meantime.

A tree from one of the houses on Campbell blew over and knocked out power to the east side of Campbell and the west side of Harrison. Another tree got ripped in half two doors south of me, blocking the road. At around 4 am myself and three neighbors ended up dragging the debris to one side of the street using the straps off my refrigerator dolly.

Power finally came back at about 2:15 pm, so it was out for ~13 hours. As far as I know, nothing was damaged here, although I want to take a peek at the west side of my garage. It has gotten quite overgrown back there, and I had called KCP&L about clearing the lines before, but now I guess something finally got their attention....

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Monday, August 27, 2007

re: posting

Haven't had much to say here recently, but I want to be doing this more often, even if I just do one-liner posts or collections of links.

I'll post some more .mp3s in the next couple of days. Right now the server isn't letting me connect. I was working on a post about a couple different versions of the same piece of music (antares), which became excruciatingly long (even for me) and I just deleted it. (The occasion was that I've finally finished the transcription for the lead part--whoopeee!!) Got a couple other things to post up here, as soon as we're done recording them (and as soon as the server comes unstuck.)

S.S. Bush listing to starboard; more rats flee

The Bushies are coming apart at the seams.

Just since November '06, one crook after another has fallen.

Rumsfeld. Miers. The insufferable Bolton. Bartlett.

Libby was convicted, at long last, in March.

Then an unceasing parade of no-name apparatchiks from DOJ (still in progress, we think). By my count, I think there have been at least 8, including Schlozmann, who was the U.S. Atty for Western MO for a relatively brief period.

Then a big piece fell: Rove. That obnoxious little fuck is still around though, bet on it. His duties always were more unofficial and behind-the-scenes than anything else, so leaving his "official" post was mostly symbolic.

But now, today, out of the blue (although his resignation had to have been planned at the same time as Rove's), Alberto Fucking Gonzales quits.

Why now? No idea. Same as Rove; beats the hell outta me. It's not like Congress was going to impeach the lying bastard. As long as Gonzo was AG, Bush/Cheney had DOJ (and by extension, Congress and the courts as well!) under their thumb.

Now, the lid is off.

Before, when the Democrats in Congress were investigating the countless bad acts of the various arms of the Bush/Cheney mafia, the process worked like this:

  • horrible breaking news of Bushie bad act
  • Cmte chairman asks Bushie to testify at hearing
  • Bushie either refuses altogether, like Miers, or shows up and refuses to remember what color the sky is, like Gonzales
  • Followup reporting on initial news reveals even worse actions by Bushie
  • Cmte has to vote on authorizing subpoenas
  • Cmte authorizes subpoenas
  • Cmte threatens to subpoena various Bushies
  • Cmte is told to fuck itself
  • Cmte finally subpoenas Bushies
  • Bushie still hasn't looked up at the sky once since the last time he was there, but makes vague promises to do so at some future date
  • Rinse, repeat.

At this point, Congress' options are limited. 1) They can hold the witness in contempt, which has to be referred to the D.C. U.S. Atty, who of course reports to....the A.G. 2) They can use the "inherent contempt" procedure, which is arcane, if powerful. The Sgt-at-Arms of the Senate or House actually arrests the witness themselves, and the Capitol Police detain him. Probably, they have to exhaust option number 1 first. 3) They can impeach the motherfuckers.

That's about it.

If there is one thing I will forever hold against the 110th Congress, it's that all of those people didn't recognize the Bushies for what they were years ago. There has never, ever been a situation where a Bushie didn't act in the best interests of Bush, Cheney, or their superiors, if those interests conflicted with those of the country.

When Congress finally screwed up the courage to demand this or that, the Bushies simply told them to piss up a rope. In almost every case, after initially rattling sabers, Congress has meekly backed down to somebody whose popularity falls roughly between Richard Nixon and Osama bin Laden. The roll-over-and-rub-my-tummy manuever they pulled on the war funding bill earlier this year was outrageous enough. But the FISA capitulation as they attempted to go home for the August recess was simply needless.

Chairman Leahy and the others on the Senate Judiciary Cmte verbally slapped around halfwits like Gonzo, but so far have taken no really concrete steps. The Bushies have dared them to do something, and they haven't. (I'm gonna get back to Schumer here in a second....)

Now that Gonzo isn't there anymore, the entire dynamic in D.C. will change. Congress has to do one simple thing, and the Bush crony bottleneck won't exist at DOJ any longer. The subpoena/contempt threats wielded by the Cmte chairs will have that much more teeth, since they might actually be enforceable. Other officials will probably leave. Etc.

The one simple thing they have to do is not cave on the replacement Atty General.

I saw Schumer saying the following....
New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, also suggested that a Chertoff confirmation hearing would be contentious.

"I would say there are a lot of questions about Michael Chertoff that will have to be answered." Schumer said. "I wouldn't say yes; I wouldn't say no. It's an open book. It's possible, but its hardly a slam dunk. There are some names who could be a slam dunk."

Schumer, one of Gonzales' chief critics, appealed to the administration "to work with us to nominate someone whom Democrats can support and America can be proud of."

Chuck, Chuck, Chuck....there's nothing that says you have to play pattycake with these people. Just go ahead and say no to Chertoff. It's not like he's going to be nominated anyway.

Congress has a chance to make significant amends if they would just simply refuse to confirm anybody who is a Bush loyalist.

Go ahead and let em know, Chuck. Or are you going to cave again, with Arlen nodding in agreement next to you, satisfied with your reasonableness?

There is no reason why Congress should just accept whatever cretin the Bushies finally do nominate. I'd like to see Congress push the White House around a bit, for once, instead of the other way around. How about presenting the WH with a list of acceptable nominees, Chuck? Force the fucking issue, don't just sit back and react. Then if Bush insists on nominating somebody not on the list, then it's Bush who's being unreasonable, right?

I'm just a drummer in a rock and roll band, you'd think somebody smart like Schumer could figure this out.

So if Congress can find their balls, America might have a functional DOJ again soon. And that, my friends, would undoubtedly be a good thing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Karl Rove has resigned as Bush's chief fixer.

Speculation is running rampant as to why....the timing seems a little odd. If I had to bet, it'd be tough, because he had his fingers in so many different pies....

One thing it may be related to is how hard Rove leaned on the Dept. of Justice. Don Siegelman, Democratic Gov. of Alabama 1999-2003, has been charged with eighteen zillion different things, and they finally got a conviction. There has been evidence of jury tampering, and also allegations that Rove was personally involved in directing the prosecution. Google Siegelman's name for more information. (Cf. also Georgia Thompson, a Wisconsin official whose corruption conviction was later thrown out by a visibly angry Appeals Court.)

Politicization of the DOJ is a major issue IMHO and the Democrats should make it a major issue in 2008. The scandal that ensued after nine US Attorneys were fired for partisan reasons has essentially destroyed Alberto Gonzales; any reasonable President would have fired him long ago. (A reasonable President wouldn't have hired that useless moron in the first place, but I digress....)

Obviously there's way more to all of this; I'm just trying to give the nutshell version.

Now, before anybody gets their hopes up for justice, recall that as long as Bush is President, Gonzales is AG; as long as Gonzales is AG, there will be no effective prosecutions of people like Rove. Scooter Libby is a perfect example. He was sentenced to thirty months, fined $250K, and given two years' probation. Bush immediately--as in the same day the judge denied bail--commuted the prison term, saying Libby had still been punished. When asked directly whether Libby would receive a full pardon before the end of Bush's term in office, Bush dodged the question. Anyone who thinks Libby will not be pardoned, raise your hand.

Honestly, with the effective corruption of the entire Dept. of Justice, George Bush could eat a baby on live TV with salt and ketchup and he would suffer no consequences. His craven apologists would continue to cast aspersions on those asking questions about their President, and the media would continue the post-9/11 paralysis, unable to actually speak out with any credibility or integrity, continuing to place lies on an equal footing with the truth. If anybody wants to know how Karl Rove was able to pull off his schemes, it's because of that: America's Very Respectable People on TV in their nice suits and stage makeup are too chickenshit to take a side, even at this late date.

And the band played on....

Friday, August 10, 2007

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

one more

When I published the post below, I was thinking this one would require a lot more work than it needed. This one's called Paper Airlines. Chris laid down drums, bass, and guitar on Saturday, and I laid down a synth track last night....I think this is the best drum sound I've ever recorded, it's just awesome. You can hear the cymbals ring forever, yet the cymbals don't sound overly bright; the kick and the snare hit plenty hard, the toms are present without a close mic....and I had two channels to spare!

We haven't tried to play this one with Kevin yet, although I suspect we will....

[EDIT 1/30/08 mp3s taken down per Chris' request....]


OK.....buncha news to talk about....

Chris, Kevin, and I are continuing to slog away....we've been focusing on playing as a group the last week or two, which is terrific. The music feels very natural to play, although it is tough to remember some of the very fine details....I've been playing on the new Premier drumset, except with Chris' 24" kick....the bruise on the top of my right foot has convinced me that maybe I ought to get the 22" back out. In fact, I feel like I'm getting a better drum sound now with the new mic setup, so maybe I ought to set the Pearl kit back up anyway.

We've updated Snowball Effect, which was kind of serendipitous the first time around (when it was just drums and bass, no guitar, no keys). We had tracked the drums and bass at the same time, and then overdubbed four or five more bass tracks. We were thinking it was a marginal take and then I started futzing around with the sound, applying some distortion to the main bass track (which of course has drum bleed in it) and applying a completely different distortion to the drums (which has bass bleed). That, and the reverse echo applied to the bass harmonics, sounded really cool.

But we thought we could play it better, especially after we'd rocked it a few times with Kevin. We did overdub Chris' harmonics, but we didn't use the reverse echo. That might still happen, but I wanted to hold off and give Kevin as much space as possible. We laid down Kevin's part last night.

So I'm not sure we really recaptured the magic or whatever, but it's a pretty damn good piece of music and Kevin really adds a lot....

Here's a super spacy, super jammy thing we did based on a loop laid down by Chris back in May. Kevin did two takes over what was at the time a pretty unorganized loop. It had no beginning and no end....Chris had just kind of filled out a rhythm line, and Kevin just kind of went with the flow. The 2nd take is the one we ended up using, essentially without any modification at all. (Did I mention he has some really top-notch pedals?)

The guitar and bass parts kind of peter out after a while, and the drums kept going. I'd hacked the drums up a bit more (the drums weren't done to a click originally so editing these has been rough, and there are some definite tempo slips, but we're leaving them in deliberately) by this time, and then we decided we needed an ending. So I sat down in front of the synth and gradually snuck into the song, gradually getting more prominent. As the guitar eventually falls apart after this long, pleasant jam, I come in with a smeared line more or less repeating the bass line at the beginning. As the gtr and bass droppped out, I just kept going and eventually brought it down and out.

Listen for yourself but it's definitely kind of a surprise ending. We ended up putting guitar and bass on the very end, and I think the guitar part in particular could be spun off into a totally new song. We'll see....

I've got one more that I want to post, but it needs some significant editing, so it'll have to wait.


Some other stuff that's happening....

....Kevin wants to start a hip-hop oriented band, separate from the math rock stuff we've been working on with Chris. He's got a bass player and a percussionist from another band he's in coming over tonight. Chris will be there too, so it should be interesting. Kevin's been getting inspired by some of the instrumental Beastie Boys material (from Ill Communication for example), which I've always thought was pretty cool. This seems like it will be much less serious than the other project (no we don't have a name yet), so maybe it won't go anywhere.

....It looks like Adam's sound guy Bryan is going to get into that building at Antioch & Winn after all. They've been trying to sell the place for months now, and evidently haven't had much interest. When myself, Adam, and Bryan went to look at the place about a month and a half ago, the realtor said it would cost 9 grand to get the keys. Then, a few weeks later, it was 8. Now they're telling Bryan they'll let him rent-to-own, so he'll get in for one month's rent ($1,000).

Hot damn!

Bryan (who's picked up a day job in the meantime) hasn't signed the papers yet, but it looks like that's going to happen. Then we're going to have a shitload of work to do to turn the first floor into a studio, but we could feasibly have the place up and running by October.

....I broke a tine on the Rhodes a couple days ago....the one that's already busted is B flat below middle C....the A right below that was getting out of tune, so I spent some time fiddling with it, and got it there. Almost immediately after, I go to hit that A and hear a boink! And I knew right away what happened. Bummer. I have got to find somebody that can work on these things....

[EDIT 1/30/08 mp3s taken down per Chris' request....]

the rabbit hole

Here's a pleasant, light piece from the New Yorker for your perusal. Here's how it starts.

In March, Mariane Pearl, the widow of the murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, received a phone call from Alberto Gonzales, the Attorney General. At the time, Gonzales’s role in the controversial dismissal of eight United States Attorneys had just been exposed, and the story was becoming a scandal in Washington. Gonzales informed Pearl that the Justice Department was about to announce some good news: a terrorist in U.S. custody—Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Al Qaeda leader who was the primary architect of the September 11th attacks—had confessed to killing her husband. (Pearl was abducted and beheaded five and a half years ago in Pakistan, by unidentified Islamic militants.) The Administration planned to release a transcript in which Mohammed boasted, “I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew Daniel Pearl in the city of Karachi, Pakistan. For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head.”

Pearl was taken aback. In 2003, she had received a call from Condoleezza Rice, who was then President Bush’s national-security adviser, informing her of the same news. But Rice’s revelation had been secret. Gonzales’s announcement seemed like a publicity stunt. Pearl asked him if he had proof that Mohammed’s confession was truthful; Gonzales claimed to have corroborating evidence but wouldn’t share it. “It’s not enough for officials to call me and say they believe it,” Pearl said. “You need evidence.” (Gonzales did not respond to requests for comment.)

There's a Radiohead song that goes "your alarm bells, your alarm bells, they should be ringing, they should be ringing...."

The rest of the article is about the gulag being run in our name (secretly of course) by the CIA.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

bullet post

** Chris Koster (Republican MO State Senator from Harrisonville, near KC) is switching parties and will run for state AG in 2008. He is also stepping down as head of the Senate Republican Caucus, so he is not an anonymous backbencher.

This continues part of a larger trend that appears to have begun in Kansas. I keep thinking Sebelius could make an attractive running mate for the Democratic nominee for President in 08, because she can point to being an overwhelmingly popular governor of a state the CW says ought to be a Republican stronghold, and because of the number of high-profile party switches in KS in the last few years.

** Speaking of Republicans in Kansas, the fact that this guy has seen his star fall as far as it has is not only great news, but is also great for illustrating the abov point: we've known the Republican party was in trouble in the Mountain West for some time now, but maybe that trouble is beginning to spill over to the Midwest.

** Back in 2004, then-White House Counsel (now Atty Genl) Alberto Gonzales visited then-Atty Genl John Ashcroft when Ashcroft was laid up in the hospital. Ashcroft (when did he become the reasonable one? oh lordy) was getting a gallstone removed, was under sedation, and had temporarily yielded the powers of his office to Acting AG James Comey. (In fact, it was thru Comey's testimony inre: the nine fired U.S. Attys that any of this is even public knowledge.)

The reason for the visit remains cloudy. Comey and others (including FBI director Mueller) have testified that Gonzales and WH Chief of Staff Andy Card wanted Ashcroft to sign off on a still-murky "terrorist surveillance program" of some sort that Comey was objecting to. This program was set to expire and DOJ needed to sign off on it in order for it continue. Comey was unwilling without changes to the program. (The changes were supposedly implemented eventually.) Ashcroft apparently (even under sedation) reiterated that Comey was Acting AG and that they needed to speak to him, whereupon they left.

Gonzales, in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Cmte last week, claimed a number of things, including that the Terrorist Surveillance Program (suddenly now with capital letters, as if it were a formal name and not a whopping lie) was not the subject under discussion, and that "other intelligence activities" were the reason for the visit. In addition, Gonzales stated that when the gang of eight (which at the time was Daschle, Frist, Hastert, Gephardt, Roberts, Rockefeller, Goss, and Harman) was briefed on whatever the fuck this program is, there was no dissent registered.

The Democratic members of that list have all begged to differ.

I'm just scratching the surface. In an ordinary political environment (ie without a shithead like Bush in charge) Gonzales would have been summarily fired months ago. As it is, Gonzo is one of the very last bulwarks the Bush/Cheney junta has against a series of Watergate-scale scandals and investigations. As it is, Gonzales may very well be impeached. He has clearly perjured himself with contradictory testimony, he has clearly obstructed justice, and he has clearly been an unwilling witness. (Seriously--watch this video, it's incredible.)

Personally, I think if Abu Gonzales (so nicknamed because of his cavalier, enabling attitude toward the Abu Ghraib atrocities) says "I don't recall" one more time, he ought to be relieved of duty strictly on medical grounds....

** Speaking of the Ashcroft hospital visit, questions remain over just who sent Gonzo and Card. Here's Dick Cheney not-answering that exact question from Larry King (!) of all people. Not exactly a Walter Cronkite moment, but you go to war with the blow-dried pundits you have, not the blow-dried pundits you might wish to have....

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Going to St. Louis for a couple days....I'll be seeing the Cubs game while I'm there. I'd like to put a brave face on, but just looking at the starting pitchers is making me a little sick to my stomach.....

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Chris and I spent a night back in May laying down several different drum loops. The one I did is very weird sounding....snares off, playing on the bell of the Bronze Scim hihats, some unusual miking, and Chris' 24" kick. Then all that is compressed pretty heavily.

I made the loop (24 bars) and then wrote a series of chords on the Rhodes....after several demos I still wasn't exactly sure where to go with the basic idea...I think on the third attempt I managed to get through the chord sequence twice, and threw in a couple curveballs, so I decided to keep it, chart out what I did, and try adding bass.

Now I'm not a bass player, but with relatively simple, slow-moving stuff, if I spend a few hours learning it I can kinda-sorta fake my way through it. The new amp helped a lot....I barely had to touch the strings at all and still got an enormously loud sound.

After that, I recorded a heavily smeared, semi-improvised synth track over the top. Sort of halfway between a lead and and a pad (ambience).

The chords (nearly all of them are 13ths) keep going up and up....typically I have a tendency to write chords that go down, down, down. The bass keeps going up too....I tuned the lowest string as far down as I thought I could get away with (B-flat!)....the bass moves from that low B-flat all the way up to near the top of the neck on the highest string. Between the extended harmonies (most of the chords are voiced root/5th/9th/#11th/13th), the parallel voice leading, and the fact that the roots keep resolving up by step (C G D F# A resolves to D A E G# B, etc), hopefully the effect is like being weightless.

This is my favorite track out of all the stuff I've done in the last year that doesn't have anybody else playing anything on it (along with Antares).

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Don Cab/band incest/mics/demo next week

Going to see Don Caballero at the Record Bar tonight....opening are two local bands, This Alibi and Sentient, both of whom I've seen before and both of whom rock the fuck out.

Interestingly, Sentient features a guy named James playing guitar....he used to play in a band called Lafayette with Chris and Kevin, the two guys I've been playing with recently, so this should be an interesting evening....a little band incest never hurt anybody.

I feel confident in saying there will be a truly significant amount of ass kicked tonight.


Just picked up some new mics at Big Dude's yesterday....they were having a big sale, so I figured better to strike while the iron is hot. Got a Superlux omni/figure-8 at 100 bucks off and a couple Audio Technica 2020 condensers....these should help with the "live in studio"-type demo I'm doing on Wednesday for a unique jazz band (that's traps, bass gtr, gtr, trumpet, sax, and a manic West African-style hand drummer).

I think these are going to become my room mics, and the mics I already have can be my close mics. I have to spend some time with them and do some A/B comparisons before I can use them properly though....

Speaking of band incest, former I guitarist Adam, swell guy that he is, will be lending me some additional mics and gear, including his sound card (!). I have 8 channels of in/out, and Adam's card will make that 16....with 6 players and multiple room mics, I'm going to need the extra channels. Hooray Adam!


OK, I was going to post a new track from the end of June, but I have a lot to say about it and this has turned into a longer post than I wanted it to be, so I'll save it for later. Check back tomorrow.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Saturday night!

I want to make this an everyday thing, but it's hard to get to every single day....anyway, it's been crazy last couple of days. Last night we re-recorded the keyboard-only demo from a couple days ago. Chris played drums and bass and I redid the Rhodes part. The drums are mostly the new Premier set I just got, with the exception of the kick, which is "Thumper"--Chris' converted 24x14 marching bass drum. The Premier kick has a very good sound, but Thumper is pretty unique sounding and I thought that drum would fit better with the song.

So the rough mix sounds pretty good....kick drum sound needs some work, there's a couple timing issues in the third section (where it goes to 3/4), and it still needs guitar....the Rhodes had a lot of amp hiss in it; I denoised it but I'm thinking I may just re-re-record it instead....the denoising killed some of the brightness that I was enjoying so much from the new amp....been trying to write some countermelodies but haven't come up with anything solid. I might just leave that part to Kevin, we'll see.

P.S. Jerry-who-is-providing-my-hosting-gratis-therefore-he-is-asskickin' requested that I post the following links to his YouTube and MySpace pages.

[EDIT 1/30/08 mp3s taken down per Chris' request....]

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

today's recording

This is the first time I get to try's what I spent the night working on.

Chris & Kevin showed up around 10 pm....we arranged and recorded several of Kevin's guitar parts to a piece Chris (bass) and I (drums) worked up months ago. Chris & I re-recorded our parts with a different arrangement and a much tougher sound last week sometime, and so tonight Kevin got to lay his parts down. This is the first time I've recorded Kevin, which was a blast....he knows his shit.

So here is a rough mix of the thing in 23. The mp3 sounds a little washy towards the end when the cymbals get real heavy....

Yesterday (which for me would be Monday....) I brainstormed a very minimal piece on the Rhodes and spent a good part of the afternoon and evening trying to map it out....this has some really tricky rhythms in it....After Kevin left at about 2 or 3 am, Chris and I worked out a rough arrangement for keys and drums, and I guess Kevin will play either bass or guitar. Here's the keyboard-only super-rough demo I did about 6 pm. I realized I couldn't get the amp I usually use to be loud enough, so I used the new TubeWorks bass amp because it's stupid loud....the advantage of the other setup is I have a distortion knob on the other amp, and I was annoyed at not having any fuzz, but I was pleasantly surprised by how clear it sounded through the bass amp so I went with that instead. I'll add fuzz later.

Comments not only welcome but encouraged....

[EDIT 1/30/08 mp3s taken down per Chris' request....]

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

foreigners and Iraq

We invaded Iraq in March 2003. It's now July of 2007 and we're still in the dark as to who we're supposed to be fighting.

Bush and his apologists continue to assert that we are fighting Emmanuel Goldstein al Qaeda in Iraq. They claim, presumably with a straight face, that the insurgency is the result of foreign fighters, and that we are not actually fighting against the Iraqi people, whose interests Bush allegedly had foremost in mind when he ordered the invasion.

The LA Times recently published an article detailing the nationalities of insurgents.

BAGHDAD — Although Bush administration officials have frequently lashed out at Syria and Iran, accusing it of helping insurgents and militias here, the largest number of foreign fighters and suicide bombers in Iraq come from a third neighbor, Saudi Arabia, according to a senior U.S. military officer and Iraqi lawmakers.

About 45% of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are from Saudi Arabia; 15% are from Syria and Lebanon; and 10% are from North Africa, according to official U.S. military figures made available to The Times by the senior officer. Nearly half of the 135 foreigners in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq are Saudis, he said.

Fighters from Saudi Arabia are thought to have carried out more suicide bombings than those of any other nationality, said the senior U.S. officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the subject's sensitivity. It is apparently the first time a U.S. official has given such a breakdown on the role played by Saudi nationals in Iraq's Sunni Arab insurgency.

I can't find a primary citation right this second, but I think the total number of prisoners being held by coalition forces in Iraq is in the 15K-20K range. Of these, the LAT says 135 are foreign-born. No mention is made of Iranians, but roughly half are Saudi.

Recall that 15 of 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi. For some reason none of the neoconservative warmongers are beating the drum for bombing Riyadh back to the Stone Age, yet Cheney and Lieberman and the rest are practically drooling at the thought of air strikes in Iran.

If that hasn't unsettled you too much, make sure you're sitting down and relaxed before reading Part 1 and Part 2 of this McClatchy report on an ambush in Karbala that killed several soldiers and officers inside the city HQ. Clearly an inside job. A complex, clever attack involving obviously detailed intelligence as to who would be where and what the defenses were like. Strangers to Iraq almost certainly could not have pulled this off.

Yet the Administration is eager to point the finger at Iranians or Syrians. Why?

[cribbing liberally from Hubris Sonic and Prof. Cole]


Here's a picture of my cat, because I now have a blog and I feel compelled to let the world see just how goddamn cute he is.

I think I'm going to have get a camera now, because he does something hilarious about every 15-20 minutes or so.

P.S. Jerry Fowler was kind enough to give me hosting. Wicked.

Monday, July 16, 2007


DISCLAIMER: the following is bound to piss people off. It's not meant to cover every conceivable base, and I've probably left a zillion things out that I shouldn't have. I do not necessarily think that everything that has happened in the music biz in the last ten years is a great thing.

I think the art of recording--a young one by art standards--is changing radically. The entire recording industry* is built on assumptions that may or may not have been true decades ago, but history and technology do not stand still, and neither does music. Digital audio, the Internet, the ubiquity of computers in the home, advances in recording gear, as well as the advent of more affordable budget gear, and the proliferation of home studios are all driving the tumult in recording. And then there's label consolidation in parallel with media consolidation, in addition to exponentially increasing costs to both musicians and fans, leading to a stagnant monoculture where a handful of people shape the environment (radio, TV, chain record stores, ticket sales) that the bulk of all music is consumed in.

And maybe, somewhere, down deep in that word "consumed" is the dirty secret that nobody wants to talk about.

But everybody seems to see the symptoms of the disease just fine. 500 channels of TV and there's nothing on. All the radio stations with a reliable signal sound exactly the same. Britney Spears is on the cover of the Rolling Stone, and I heard a Ramones song in a bank recently, and Jimi Hendrix is selling Cadillacs. Ticketmaster has a monopoly. There's only four music labels left.

Somebody is making money, but it isn't (most) musicians.

I think people (both in and out of the industry) are slowly starting to remember: hey, waitaminnit, music doesn't work very well as a commodity. And, point of fact, up until the advent of recorded music, wasn't a commodity.

1) anybody can play it
2) there is no shortage of really talented people out there
3) it doesn't have a tangible form; can't be put in a box, etc
4) it's something essentially everybody enjoys, and is a basic part of being human

Very few people get paid for actually playing music. For years now, artists have been getting paid for selling stuff. You can't really sell music. If you're close enough to hear it, you're consuming it, whether there's been a financial transaction involved. But, artists have this irritating tic about eating and paying bills, so we have to figure out some sort of scheme where they provide something and everybody else gives them money. Thus, the artist becomes a trinket salesman. T-shirts, lighters, keychains, stickers, whatever you can convince people is worth money. And then there are CDs.

If you enjoy my music, the idea is you're supposed to hand me $15 and in return I give you a piece of plastic that has been decreed by fiat to be $15 worth of music. Except I cannot hand you music. How could I do such a thing? Music consists of vibrations in the air, nothing more, nothing less. Music does not live on that little piece of plastic. I can't hand you music any more than I can hand you silence. It's nonsense. But it's been the foundation of the recording industry as long as there's been a recording industry.

Let's jump back a bit further in the story here.

From the dawn of human history up until Edison started futzing around with it, the only way to hear music was for a living human being to play it. Then, in the scope of three or four generations, music was transformed into something that came out of a box. I think there are a lot of people in the industrialized world that don't understand that music is something that's meant to be shared (as opposed to sold), and it's my contention that the recording industry's separation of musician from audience is artificial, unnecessary, alienating, and constricting. And since it's not terribly profitable anymore, it's going to undergo unpredictable changes.

After Edison had shown it was possible, recording existed as something that only a few people in the world really understood all the details of. It required enormous amounts of technical skill just to make it sound half-ass. At the same time they were getting the kinks worked out of wire, wax, and early shellac recording, the mass media industry was getting off the ground. Like recording, radio was still in its infancy. There were only a few corporations with the vast amounts of capital required to get a studio going. In order to broadcast to as many people as possible, you needed a whole raft of things: the bulky, balky equipment, the space to put it, and the geeks to run it.

With all these obstacles, it's no wonder the only people who could afford to produce anything were huge corporations. All this required significant overhead to stay afloat. Now, they were getting money from the radio manufacturers (and later the turntable makers and the TV makers), so that helped. Selling advertising on radio made it all profitable.

So you had essentially one company that 1) signed the artist, 2) recorded and produced the artist, 3) broadcast the artist to the audience, and 4) put the artist's records in stores. Back then, there was simply no other option available.

Fast forward to today.

I can't for the life of me understand why anyone needs three years and a seven figure budget to make fifty minutes worth of music, when any schmoe can walk into Guitar Center, drop about five grand, jam the fuck out that night, and wake up in the morning and mix it all down and have a completed album by dinner the following day.

It's crazy.

There is no need for rockstars. No need for ten million dollar studios (although they sure are nice and I'd love to have one!). No need for major labels, no need for record stores, and no need for radio stations. All of these things are business ventures, and like any business venture they should go out of business when they are no longer meeting the needs of the market. Their continued existence is not guaranteed--something that has always been true for bands. Why should it be any different for companies that can't or won't change a dysfunctional business model?

Think of the law of supply and demand.

The gadget manufacturers have flooded the market with gear that's cheap but effective (if not necessarily of the highest quality). Add in the development of the mp3, the introduction of cheap broadband, drastically faster and roomier computers at the same price point, and the open source movement (thanks Bill Gates!) giving us p2p software. All this has served to undermine the idea that One Big Company is the only way to get music from point A (musician) to point B (audience).

That right there IS music. Not the fucking piece of plastic, it's the exchange between performer and audience. Sender and receiver.

And as a result of these technological changes, the supply has increased exponentially. And with CDs and mp3s and DVDs, it never degrades with age like vinyl, tape, or older formats. Once it's recorded, it's going to last forever and a day. But the demand hasn't nearly kept pace with supply. We are saturated in music. Every time we're in a store, there is music playing, because Everybody Knows People Buy More Shit When They're Listening To Music. A lot of people turn on the TV as a matter of course when they're at home. Some people never turn the damn thing off; it's just a big static device. (I think all of that's a bad thing, but I think that may have to be a subject for another post.)

As the supply has skyrocketed, and demand has remained flat**, the value of recorded music--the piece of plastic--has fallen dramatically. But we have non-market forces at work here, although they speak the language of business and markets very well. Vinyl used to be relatively cheap compared to CDs; cassettes were expensive because they were expensive to produce. CDs, initially, were going to be expensive for a while and then the industry would lower prices once their investment in the infrastructure paid off, or something. The promised price reduction never came, and CD prices have actually increased. Remember how shocked you were the first time you saw a $18 sticker on a single CD?

But the value is close to nil now, at this late date. What's happening? The market isn't clearing because the sellers are selling at too high a price for the buyers. In fact, buyers are leaving the market, because the sellers aren't serving them anymore.

It's serving a lot of suits, lawyers, bean counters, and middlemen trying to save their jobs, is what's happening. They lean on, are supported by, feed off of, that intercouse (pun intended) between musician and audience. They are adding less and less to what is necessary and demanding more and more. Consequently, they're going to be increasingly cut out of the picture as we move away from the 1900s.

Which brings me, at long last, to the point of this blog....personally I believe that the future for musicians and fans is pretty bright: but if you're a player and you want to make a career out of it, you're fucked unless you're touring.

I've been having difficulty with that; can't seem to keep a band together lately. And, paradoxically, I've been trying to teach myself the art of recording in the meantime. So, perhaps, with a bit of luck, I can build a bit of an audience for my studio music here on this blog, and hopefully that will be a springboard back to the road.

This is the same computer that I do the recording on, which is cool, because I can simply bounce the day's work down to mp3 and make it freely available. I'm going to setup a Paypal link so individuals so motivated may donate a bit to the cause, but that won't ever be required. I will also at some point make some CDs available to order, if there's any demand.

Well, this certainly turned into quite the screed manifesto, so I guess I should wrap it up here....

* (as distinct from the music industry, which is larger than just recording)
** During this time, demand has actually increased--the population has increased and enjoyment of music is near-universal. But the supply increase has been orders of magnitude greater.

sound check

Would it be wrong to post "FIRST!" in the body of the first post on my own blog?

Maybe not wrong, but in poor taste....and this blog can't afford to have bad taste. So instead I'll post some mp3s of tunes cooked up here in my basement.

In addition to music, I have a number of opinions, philosophies, and pet theories about music (and other topics, naturally) that I've been wanting to kind of spray out into the Interwebs for a long time. And now's my chance.

So, in celebration, let's get started....

Here are the four mp3s that are currently up at my Myspace page. I'll get some more recent material up very soon, like later tonight or tomorrow.

All mp3s are 128k. I think I will end up marketing higher-res mp3s files thru Snocap or something in the future, but for now these at least get the idea across....

> corona 4:08/3.8MB
> lapis lazuli 6:18/5.8MB
> lost weekend 3:22/3.1 MB
> lower algiers 9:02/8.3 MB

All four of those tracks are very different, but they're all me (except for the samples....).