Showing posts from 2015

OPINION: Gruesome Outdated Party

I understand the appeal of Donald Trump. I understand the “badass” attitude of not giving a f*ck and just “going for it” when it comes to national security. I understand the concept of not taking crap from anyone and being bold and brash and hardcore. I understand the mentality that this is “our country” and the need to do whatever it takes to protect it. I understand the heroic aspect of going after the bad guys and kicking their asses.
The problems with this are numerous. For one thing, we’re no longer a fledgling of a country who’s rebelling against the oppressive “mother” country, insisting we can do it on our own. We’ve proven that. We are a full-fledged world power. We should act like it.
The things Donald Trump and many of the Republicans are saying, they sound like little kids talking about what they would do if they could. It’s not realistic. It’s not mature. All this “tough talk” is for someone who is trying to convince others of their power. We don’t need to convince anyone. …

OPINION: What Would Bernie Do?

In the last two days a small transformation has taken place.

I have been reading a lot of public commentary on the American presidential primaries. I've seen a lot of people get really mad at each other for their opinions. I wrote some of my best stuff on a Bernie Sanders thread that seems to have been since deleted. It's a shame, because I wanted to copy my wise words and paste them here.

What I learned from that exchange, and my passion for my responses, was that keeping calm and not descending into insults and blaming leads to much clearer, truer statements. Also, when I remove much of my opinion from it and stick to facts what I say has a lot more power.

I have often read over things I have written, sometimes years ago, and I find myself cringing at some of the things I chose to write. There may be a few nuggets of wisdom in there, but I typically don't even finish the sentence of truth before I've gone and added something that makes my face and palm meet.

I may lo…

I Have a Gun

I drove around with a gun today. I had a loaded pistol in my car as I drove to work, to lunch, back to work, and I will have it on the drive home. Everywhere I went I found myself thinking that I could use it on somebody if they made me too mad. I also thought that I might be able to use it in the event of a robbery or shooting. I wondered if I would be able to get it out without the other gunman seeing me and shooting me dead. I didn't question whether I would be able to hit him if I tried. I didn't wonder if I would hit someone else accidentally, or if my bullet would go through him and into some unsuspecting citizen behind him. My thoughts were mostly "I don't want to leave my kid without a father because I got myself killed or imprisoned because of this."

When I am driving is when my anger gets the most out of control. During that time I was thinking, "would I be able to even hit the car in front of me shooting with my left hand? How bad would it be to s…

REVIEW: Xzibit - Weapons of Mass Destruction - 2004

I know I'm coming late to this party, and I have not had the experience of watching Pimp My Ride, but I recently purchased this disc from my local Rhino Records.

I like the production on this album. I like the minimal instrumentation/samples. Most tracks have a good solid beat and not a bunch of nonsense.

Xzibit has a really poetic way about him. He says profound things with conviction and intensity. There are only about 3 lines on the album where he says something I consider silly. I think at one point he says that he's "build Ford tough." In Ride or Die he speaks of "real gangsters" and how they don't say they're going to shoot you, they just "hit the trunk, cock it and spray it" then he says, "Light up your Christmas" which sounds silly. I don't know what Christmas has to do with it.

The "Steady Gang" of Strong Arm Steady does a great job of supporting him and they provide a welcome variety to the tracks.

My top …

I see it now

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about how we see ourselves ("Who Do I See?" Jan. 18 2013), about how our reflection in the mirror is what we think of when we think of ourselves. I guess these days the way we look in our selfies is how we see ourselves. It's why you'll notice, as soon as the selfie is snapped, everyone crowds around the phone to see how they turned out in the picture. One person will say, "No, delete it, that's terrible" when all they are looking at is themselves, not even noticing how the other people in the photo look. That's when I realized something. It's not universal, or even that common, perhaps, but for some of us with low self-esteem the worst pictures we've ever seen of ourselves is how everyone sees us on a day-to-day basis. If we ever look okay, it's fleeting and nobody remembers it. It's always that worst angle, that most unflattering of light, all the shadows in all the wrong places, that people se…

OPINION: The problem with America's gun laws

The problem with the current gun laws in America is that there is nothing we can do to stop mass killings. With the gun-ownership sympathizers, there appears to be no legal recourse to prevent such things. People are allowed to own whatever guns they want, they are allowed to buy and keep as much ammunition as they want, and in many states they’re allowed to walk around with their guns. It’s not until they actually start killing that they’re breaking the law. So that’s the line we want to draw? It’s all fine and good until you actually start shooting people.
If gun laws were more strict (I’m not talking about disarming everyone, just using some common sense) we could make it illegal at some point before the killing begins. If it was illegal to buy certain weapons of mass killing, that would reduce the number of such devices that are available. Fewer would make their way into the hands of would-be killers. If it was illegal to walk around with a gun, people could be arrested just for …

OPINION: The Police Problem

Police corruption goes back a long way. It has existed as long as police have. 
In recent years a lot more attention has been brought to the misdeeds of law enforcement thanks to the prevalence of digital video. Is it worse now than it's ever been? Probably not. But in the past the people who cried foul would often be dismissed due to their relationship to the victim, their testimony ignored because they were part of "the criminal element." Well it's harder to argue with video evidence than it is to discount the tale of a mother, brother or friend of someone the system has deemed "undesirable." Due to population increase, the occurrence of these incidents will be greater by numbers alone, while percentages may or may not rise. To be fair, I have done zero research for this opinion piece. 
Are more blacks being killed than in the past? Again, sheer numbers due to population may say yes, but I think that this has been going on all along, and it is the response …

OPINION: Democratic Debate 2015

CNN is sort of backpedaling about declaring Hillary as the winner of Tuesday's debate. All the reports were that she won, and now their coverage seems to imply that there was no clear winner, and that Bernie definitely made an impression.

While it's great that he grabbed so much attention with the email remark, I think I can say that we are all sick of hearing that Bernie is sick of hearing about Hillary's emails. Definitely a classy move, but he has so many more important things to be heard.

I don't see his saying he's from "a rural state" as a cop-out on gun control as some have intimated, I think it's simply admitting a certain amount of ignorance on the viewpoints of those heavily affected by gun violence. It sounded to me like he's open to discuss it and take the advice of people who know more about it, who see guns and their ownership differently than someone for whom guns were a part of growing up, a part of one's routine.

I just wish I…

Glen and I

This is not about me, about my need to be right or my pride or desire to show off or put people down or prove anything. It's also not about run-on sentences, so let's move on. The part that is me is the desire to respect our language and to understand it and to use it in a way that is both useful and graceful.

People have probably told you that, when speaking properly, you say "...and I" rather than "...and me." While that is sometimes correct, it does not apply to every time you want to add yourself as a participant in a sentence.

As bad as "and me" sounds to the people who told you, "it's 'and I'!", that's how bad an incorrect "and I" sounds to the discerning ear. In fact, it's a little worse, because it sounds like the person is trying to speak properly and, in doing so, is drawing attention to the impropriety of it. I'm not mad at you. I'm mad at the people who tell you "it's 'and I!…

Two Goats and a Gazelle

Our daughter is a freak. A freak of nature. Like a gazelle born from two goats. Two people who were unpopular and unremarkable (sorry Mommy) generated a beautiful, fantastic, sweet, kind, talented offspring. Sure, we're biased, but at the same time notice I said she is all these things, I did not say she is "the most" of any of them. We think so, but that would not be fact. These things I state are fact.

Okay, I realize it's only kindergarten, but today our little ray of light and hope received an Academic Achievement award for reading the most books in her class. I think my Grinch heart is going to explode from all the swelling it's doing from the pride I feel for her.

I guess us goats learned enough from our upbringing and schooling years that we have been careful to give her a life experience that will keep her happy, thoughtful and considerate, and try her hardest to learn and accomplish as much as she can.

I think that, for some people, things just come easi…

Music As I Understand It

a class from David DM Coutant

Guitar, Bass Guitar, Basic Theory, Rhythm, Harmony, performance and technical training.

Triads? Box Figures? Pentatonic Scales? Do you know what these things are? Do you know how they apply to the stringed instruments?
Do you want to?

Learn that song you've always wanted to play! Impress the ladies at those beach parties! Not strongly opposed to teaching Stairway! 
You can learn basic playing techniques, rhythm, music theory, scales and exercises, care and maintenance of your instrument, use of your electronics, What Is Expected of You Onstage, and much, much more.

Learn various styles from folk (finger-picking/nylon-string acoustic guitar) to rock (light to heavy electric guitar) to funk (electric bass guitar, fingers or pick) to reggae (guitar, bass, rhythm) and more.

Learn about live performance, touring, set-up/breakdown of your gear, sound-check and what the clubs expect of you, etc.

Not a structured class, you learn what YOU want to.

Beginner to …

Social Criminal. That's right, I said it.

I had this friend a long time ago. Well, you know how Facebook works. We've reconnected. Well, he doesn't want me posting old photos of him online. I guess too many of his current friends are seeing them and he's embarrassed. I guess.

It got me thinking: are there photos out there that would embarrass me if someone posted them online? I don't think so. I don't think I'm embarrassed or ashamed of my past. And then I started thinking: what would be the most embarrassing thing my current social circles could find out about my past? What would be the most humiliating thing that could be exposed about me on social media?

Okay, I admit, there are millions of things that have happened to me over my lifetime that I do not remember. Some of them may even have photographic evidence. But there's one thing that really stands out as the most embarrassing thing from my past that could be made public. Something I don't have to look far to see. Here it is. This is a t…