Sunday, October 16, 2016

This week in Football.

No way I'm going to document my feeling for an entire season.  Just sayin'
I have the opportunity to watch a lot of games this season, so I'll post all my prejudices as best I can.  You know how it is, Teams fall into four categories. Your team(s), teams you like, teams you hate, teams you don't really care about.  Am I right?

Okay, this week.
First, the San Diego Chargers.  This is one of my teams. My main team. I didn't get into football at all until my family moved to San Diego.  I saw the Chargers play at Balboa stadium back in the day.  I watched as Jack Murphy Stadium (now Qualcomm) was built.  I feel you have to support the home team.  It's like going to high school, and supporting the team of a different school. Really.  So here I am.  It appears the Chargers are committed to staying in San Diego.  if they don't, I'll find another team.  Phillip Rivers, Man. really. Over 43,000 yards. breaks the record for most complete passes by a San Diego QB.  The 31 year record was held by Football Hall of Famer, Dan Fouts.  The Chargers go into this game with 7 starters in the injured list.  Antonio Gates is finally back.  It was a tough game. Rivers and Gates seemed to not be on the same page all day, heck, they were reading different books.  However, the team seemed to be in the game and the Chargers managed to not squander another lead and beat the Broncos. So, barring any complications, this team is looking like it can pull through to better times.  And after all that happened today, the division is only separated by two wins.  Phillip Rivers is now no. 2 in the NFL in passing.

My second team is The New England Patriots.  I always root for them except against the Chargers.  Tom Brady is one of the finest QBs that has ever played the game.  I discount all the controversy surrounding the team because I think all the teams do all they can to win.  The Patriots just seem to suck at cheating, so they seem to always get caught.  Cinncinatti is a team I don't care about and I don't rate very high, and NE beat them 35to 17.

Of course, any team in the same division as your favorite is one you want to lose.  Today, two division rivals played each other.  Now what?  It was simple. the one with the best record should lose. In this case it was Oakland, which is doubly good because I just hate the Raiders.  Always have.  Kansas City did m a favor and Took them apart completely in a 26/10 win.

One of the big games today was the Green Bay vs Dallas game.  The controversy here is about how Tony Romo has been out, and the rookie backup QB has been winning games so it looks like it's questionable whether or not Romo will get his spot back. Since I have always thought Romo was overrated, I wanted Dallas to win just for that reason.  Prescott did not disappoint, and Dallas beat Green Bay 30 to 16.  Prescott broke Brady's record for number of pass attempts without an interception by a rookie. 177 passes and then, yes, an interception. But still a new record. Brett Farve made an appearance in the broadcaster booth and had a love fest conversation with announcer Troy Aikman talking about old match ups between the two of them. 

Green Bay was Jeremiah's favorite team, especially with Farve as QB. Consequently, I dislike the Vikings.  Good for them standing at 5-0.

I dislike Seattle and would have been happy if they had lost.  Despite a great effort and the help of a bad call The Atlanta Falcons lost 26/24

Colin Kapernicks sideline schenanagans has increased  my standing dislike for San Francisco teams. A win by the Giants was welcomed. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Was this trip necessary? On political Debates

Sometimes I don't really know the purpose of political debates, unless it's to further the agenda of the mainstream media.  The narrative is decreed by the networks and moderators, so, the party candidate that they side with gets lowball questions and the opposition gets "gotcha" questions.

Politically we have a few different groups in America.  We have libertarians, who are closest in temperment to the true beatnicks of the 50s and the true hippies of the 60s.  leave me alone and just  be nice.  then you have the Independents all of whom actually belong to one main ideology or another, but don't want to be seen embracing any party's complete agenda. but face it, a liberal independent will always vote Democrat etc.  There are two groups within the Republican party, the Constitutionalists who believe that the Declaration and Constitution should be the rule of the land, and the Crony capitalist/Hooverites with their populist agenda.

So, it all comes down to knowing what groups the candidates ascribe to and picking the one that is going the way you would support. The important thing for the average voter is that he does enough reading to know the difference between the ideologies.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Two more rock icons succumb to age - Martin and Emerson

Keith Emerson, 71

Today I found out that one of the musicians who made an impact on my life, Keith Emerson, had passed away.  I have no words to describe his influence on my listening habits.  He did more than just played keyboards, but composed and arraigned as well as being the ultimate keyboard showman.  As each album of his, whether as the Nice or ELP, I was constantly blown away by the mastery of not only his talent but those he surrounded himself with as well.  He constantly challenged me to widen my definitions of rock, classical, and even jazz music.  I am sad at his passing.

Bruce Pilato, Carl Palmer's publicist released these words from Palmer:
RIP KEITH EMERSON- It is with profound sadness I have to report the death of Keith Emerson last night in Santa Monica, CA. Below is the official statement from Carl Palmer:
I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my good friend and brother-in-music, Keith Emerson. Keith was a gentle soul whose love for music and passion for his performance as a keyboard player will remain unmatched for many years to come. He was a pioneer and an innovator whose musical genius touched all of us in the worlds of rock, classical and jazz. I will always remember his warm smile, good sense of humor, compelling showmanship, and dedication to his musical craft. I am very lucky to have known him and to have made the music we did, together. Rest in peace, Keith.
Carl Palmer
March 11, 2016

The Tarkus returns to the sea, defeated

We also say goodbye to one of, and arguably the best, producer and sound engineers of all rock history.  George Martin was also a teacher.  He taught great musicians and engineers.  His work with the Beatles helped four young men find their way as the talent they had screamed to evolve.  George Martin showed them how to use those talents and how to develop them for themselves.  He also took a young man named Alan Parsons and groomed him to be the best he could which became not only the refinment of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon" album, but led him to create his own expeimental progressive rock band, The Alan Parson's Project. He was 90

George Martin in the control room with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr
Both of these rock giants point out that a major era of rock music is passing. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

God calls one of his faithful home to be with him and her soulmate. Nancy Reagan passes away at 94

Today, One of the most beautiful ladies the world has ever known, passed away.  Nancy Reagan, wife and partner of former President Ronald Reagan has gone to be with him in heaven.

Her obituary will be written with more information and style than I have,but I will always remember the grace, style, and class of this wonderful lady.  Despite being hated by all those who also hated her husband and what he stood for, She stood by his side even after his passing with her head up and solid in her love of Ronald, America, and her God, the God of Israel and the Gentiles.

This is a story of a great love affair between two great people. Reagan, in his dairies, always mentioned how lost he felt in the few times he traveled away from her.  They were deeply in love for their entire lives.  It's good they get to be together again side by side with their King, Jesus.

Whenever we lose another one of these wonderful people from a gentler and more traditional time, the world passes further away from a time when a man's word meant something and family and marriage were not just social constructs, but the very foundations of our society.

Today, on a rainy Sunday in Southern California, we say goodbye to a great spirit, an American Icon, and a strong Christian Woman.

Rest in Peace, Nancy.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Media rant

It happens all the time.  They want to get you to watch and once you see the story, they want you to remember it in the grisly details they portray it with.

A news story accompanied with video spoke of this man whose boat (row boat) had overturned and he had to hang on until help arrived.  The text of the report was that he was desperately hanging on in the rough water.  Well, in the video, the man was sitting on top of his overturned boat gently rising and dropping a couple of inches at a time.  The situation didn't seem desperate, the man didn't seem to be having difficulty keeping his seat.  But to hear the report, you'd think it was very traumatic and touch-and-go for the man.

There was an opening on a news report for an upcoming story. It spoke of the horribly unsafe conditions of our nation's bridges and the huge cost of fixing them.  I was sure they were pointing fingers at all the bureaucrat's who have neglected their civic duties at the possible cost of human life as well as the need for more federal dollars to be collected for repairs. The article stated the example of two particular crumbling bridges.  I-35 which collapsed in Minneapolis in 2007 and the Famed Tappan Zee bridge which spans the Hudson river at it's widest point.  Here's the thing.  As horrible as the I-35 collapse was, it did so not because of neglect, but an inherent design flaw.  The second issue was the Tappan Zee which has not collapsed, is still in use, and -wait for it- is currently being replaced by a completely new bridge being built right alongside of it.  So, for all the chest beating and hysteria, The two biggest example of this "problem" either don't fit, or contradict the premise that no one is fixing them.  Dumb.

Finally, what got me riled up today.  A news story about a man who was trying to rob a bank today. Throughout the article, the TV showed a frame from the surveillance cameras of the man. It was a pretty clear picture.  The announcer said his apparent age, height, weight and the clothes he was wearing, which was clear in the photo, and that was it.  But wait, in the photo, it was clear he was an African-American.  I'm sure, they didn't want to stigmatize anybody by stating his race, but skin color is a physical characteristic that separates one person visually from another.  It was an important fact, and wouldn't have been slanderous in any way to mention it.  I wonder if they would have mentioned it if he had been white.

It's bad that we as citizens have to really watch what we see and think so deeply about such things, but it's part of the responsibility of being an aware citizen.  Do you not think,though, that the press has some responsibility here as well?

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Walking Dead - A review

The Walking dead. What could be worse than a world completely shut down technologically, and populated with many, many more undead zombies than living humans?

Well, you know that idiot that hangs out by the water cooler all day instead of getting his work done?  The work you'll end up doing because the company has deadlines?  Assuming he survives the initial onslaught of people dying and eating each other, How is he going to behave when it's just you and him with the zombies approaching?  How about all those people who always seem to get into bar fights, even going to bars and getting drunk so they can start them, going to behave when they band together to attempt survival?

On AMC's "The Walking Dead", you find a small group that bands together not just for survival, but for the survival of the kind of ideals that create a civil society.  It's true they have to stoop, maybe just bend to a level none of us ever want to think about getting to, but they have an intrinsic unspoken feeling that if "they" survive, some basic human values have to be preserved when the new society can finally be rebuilt.

So, you have to ask yourself how you would act in these situations.  If you're a Christian or just a person who doesn't believe in violence, how do you reconcile trying to survive with people who wish to climb over your corpse to get theirs?

During the first 5 seasons of the show, The main characters go thorugh many trials for survival and quicly in the show it becomes apparent that the zombies are only a problem in large numbers.  The real evil in the world are the survivors who will take what you have, whether it's shelter, food, or just a stupid stick you are using to keep alive with.  The age-old struggles of power, politics, and wealth all survived the great zombie transformation and it comes down to who has faith and hope in people and God, and who has given up.

Even the heroes in the story, who do not think of themselves as heroes, are finally cornered and stuffed in railroad cars.

Let me say some background.  Rick is the main character.  He was a state trooper in Georgia.  A man of conviction and a family man.  He is injured in the line of duty and is hospitalized.  This happens before the outbreak, so when he finally comes out of his coma, He is like the viewer, completely unaware of what the world is like.  He discovers it as he searches for his family and brings us all along with him.  Of course, terrible things and losses happen to everyone on the show and Rick Grimes is no exception.  The writers have a way of enduring people to us just before sacrificing them to the God of ratings.

At the end of the fourth season, Rick has finally had it with walking the line between being a protector of the people and the leader of his group whom he desperately wants to save.  So, in the railroad car at the end of season four, after all that has happened to them, This happens:

RICK: (looking out a crack in the wall) "These people are going to be very surprised."

DARYL: "At what?"

RICK: "They're screwing with the wrong people!"

I've been binge watching and have seen five seasons.  I can't wait for season six.


Friday, January 29, 2016

Paul Kantner - What I remember - My way of saying goodbye

The starship has landed. interstellar overdrive.  It left yesterday and took one of the formative sixties San Francisco rock sound guitarists with it.  Left behind was his life mate, Grace Slick and their daughter China God Kantner.

Let's get the politics over.  A true leftist believing in commune living but never embracing the Hippie's drop-out philosophy.  Back in the 70s, he and his mate plotted to slip then President, Richard Nixon LSD.  (The secret service denied them entrance to the function).

I read once where it was said, that when Marty Balin was forming Jefferson Airplane, he saw a guy who played guitar in a bar, and thought he looked like a rock musician and so approached Kantner to play with him.  The rest was an unstoppable force few of us were ready for.

In the early days, there was this blues singer named Sine Anderson.  Tall, blond, and a voice that could knock down walls.  Balin's group was touring and making itself known.  On one occasion, the band did opening sets for Grace Slick's Great Society. Named for LBJs policy of wealth distribution in the war on poverty.  The Great Society's leader had her own program.  I don't know if it was the immediate attraction to this long incredibly handsome blond John Lennon glasses wearing rock star or just the overwhelming confluence of talent in the Airplane band itself, but when Anderson walked away to start a family, The Great Society went with her and Slick bearing her own song writing abilities, moved in.

Surrealistic Pillow rates as one of the greatest rock albums of all time.  It opened the door for all the San Francisco sound bands from then on.  Jefferson Airplane immediately divorced itself from any type of "sound", denouncing hippies as well as the establishment and began moving into the unknown realm of progressive rock.  It would be years before the band ever had another huge hit on the commercial stations, but that never mattered.  We, who were constantly seeking music outside the box, were never disappointed as the band changed style if not sound, and never compromised.

Marty Balin had a voice that made girls croon and made us boys wish we could sing like that.  Jorma Kaukonen was undoubtedly one of the finest guitarists of the age.  Firmly grounded in his love of the blues, created some of the best rock licks ever.  Jack Cassidy was the one member of the band who shared Jorma's brain. Still, an incredible near-lead bassist. The drummer spot had a number of members, but always solid talent.  Marty's voice was accompanied and sometime overshadowed by the tall beautiful dark haired wonder Grace Slick.  Outspoken, opinionated, driven.  Despite, in her own words, not having a great range, she definitely had the lungs. The entire machine was held together by a solid, inventive and talented Paul Kantner.  The band was as much Kantner's as it was Balin's.  In later days, Balin left and later came back when the band reincarnated as Jefferson Starship.

The second Slick album, Crown of Creation spoke of humanist ideas, the horrors of atomic war, love politics, and where was society going as a people   With engineer Pat Maurice Ireaci wielding his 16 track the album soared and dove into depths never before seen. As the band released it's next album, they became one of the show stoppers of Woodstock and immediately moved again away from pop music into the unknown with Bathing at Baxters with tracks too intense and involved for AM radio.

In the last few years, they took on a 70 year old blues violenist, Papa John Creech, who kept up with the energy of the rest of the band.  The album "Bark" had a track "Third Week in Chelsea", which Kaukonan describes as his letter of resignation.  The band got together for a final album and tour before splitting for good and going into separate projects.

Cassidy, Kaukonen, and Creech formed Hot Tuna a foray into the blues which had always been Jorma's passion.

Slick and Kantner did a few albums together and solo.  Their love and lives together created a child, China. A beautiful girl.  They released "Sunfighter" dedicated to her and featured a picture of the infant on the cover.   One of Kantners albums was called "Blows against the Empire".  Basically a rant against Nixon and the American political system.  The band was a recorded with a huge group of musicians including most members of CSN, The Greatful Dead, and Santana as well as Airplane.  The cover credits was to Paul Kantner and Jefferson Starship as he called the group of musicians.  The name would later be used as the reincarnation of Airplane with mostly new members except Kantner, Slick, and Balin.

1965 to 1972.  A long life for a band in those days with regroups and redos all through the 70s, 80, 90 to today.  only 8 studio albums and among the live albums one that had music not recorded elsewhere.

Paul Kantner embodied the 60s rock star.  recognisable in his music as well as in front of a camera.  He had his own politics and beliefs and stood true to them especially in his music.  I always think of him in two ways, the young man on the cover of Surrealistic Pillow, and the Self-portrait of him with marijuana leaves as hair.

Here's a website with quotes from Kantner.
"If you can remember anything about the sixties, you weren't really there."

Goodbye, Buddy.  You gave us so much.  Thank you.

Monday, January 11, 2016

We lost David Bowie

Having lost an 18 month fight with cancer, David Bowie passes away yesterday January 10, 2016.  Ziggy Stardust, The thin white duke, The man who fell to earth, TVC15.

Gone, Unwashed and somewhat slightly dazed.  The man who sold the world.

A great musician and a major iconic figure.  Try as you may, you'll never be able to completely measure his impact on music.

He is survived by a son, a daughter and his wife, Iman.

I treasure his work and miss his presence in the world.

Thank you, Mr. Jones

And I've been putting out fires...with gasoline.

From the film Labyrinth

Aladin Sane. (A lad, insane)

Final picture taken on his birthday by his wife, Iman.