Monday, March 20, 2017

John Lever: You Don't Know Who He Is, But You Should

I've mentioned in the past that I have a cultish obsession with a particular Manchester, UK band called The Chameleons.
It was with great sadness today that I have learned of the death of John Lever, who manned the skins for The Chameleons and did a lot of other work in his time.

John Lever wasn't just a drummer. He wasn't the 'bash and crash', rhythm-keeper drummers are known to be, but was a musician of the highest order, taking songs to another level, giving them life and dimension. John Bonham of Led Zeppelin is widely known for his greatness. John Lever was his equal. Damn straight, and every bit of it.

Catch that break after the intro. The pulse, followed by a series of hits and fills... stirring the piece to life, taking it to a higher plane.

Or this... No bash and crash, not frantic... It's subtle. Not many of those who bang skins can do this. I was a drummer back in the day, and I can tell you that drummers are not subtle. Never. We aren't created that way. What you are hearing here is a true musician applying his craft.  It says a lot when a drummer can go unnoticed while dominating a piece. He does it.

The Chameleons were influential with their use of dual guitar melodies. What goes unnoticed here is a seemingly different melody.  John Lever provides the intro: Pounding. Driving. Tone setting. The guitars enter the fray and things start to change. The strikes seem 'off'. Not where the typical drummer would put them. He's playing a different melody, to different time... but the timing is perfect. He is mortar and lace, holding the bricks together: weaving tween the guitars, enabling them to reach for the skies... and taking them there himself at moments.
Awesome work, by an awesome man.

The Chameleons never achieved the level of respect they deserved. Not much is known about him outside of his artistic circle. This means that John Lever will go largely unnoticed by the greater Rock n Roll community. This is a damn shame.

I do know that he was somebody's son. He was a father. A husband. Others loved him for reasons far greater than mine, and their loss pales in comparison to what I'm feeling. Today, my thoughts are with his family, his friends, and the Manchester music community.

Thank you, John Lever, for what you have given to me, and to the world. Your time here has meant so much, to so many.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Save The Planet!!

Ya think I'm joking, but I'm as serious as a heart attack... hear me out....

Much has been mentioned of a Border Tax on goods to protect American manufacturing.
First off, I want to say that it's a wonderful idea who's time arrived years ago.

The open borders crowd, on both the Right and the Left, will never go for it. These people hate the idea of an America that has any borders at all.
And, it is considered racist to put brown-skinned American workers before brown-skinned Non-American workers. (yeah, I know... explain that shit with logic if you can...)
You will never sell them on a Border Tax.

Therefore,  I believe it to be a non-starter, doomed to fail... and all because of semantics.
Call it something else.
You can never win the debate while the other side controls the language.

Call it the Environmental Impact Fee.
We've lost much of our manufacturing base do to environmental regulations. It is totally not fair to the American worker to expect him to compete in a market stacked against him due to environmental protections that the typical worker in China or Mexico (among others) doesn't have to abide by.
But what good is mandating that goods be produced with care to the environment when these same goods can be produced elsewhere, the planet be damned, and sold much cheaper (and thereby manufactured more often, damaging the Earth that much more) in the very place where their manufacture has been effectively outlawed... in order to protect the Earth?

Guess what? The Earth is not being saved this way.
Save the Earth!!!!
Propose the Environmental Impact Fee.
Because you'll get the support of all those sandal-wearing nancies at Whole Foods... How dare Hollywood get up on that podium and speak against it?... The college professors will wet themselves over it... Challenge any judge to strike it down...  Nobody from the traditional nature-raping wing of the GOP (Bush's, Romney's et al) can risk standing opposed...
and... totally rips the moral high ground away from 'emerging' nations.
See? see?... ya dread-locked hippie? Mexico really does suck... get over it...

Trump wins, American workers win and the Planet is saved.
What's not to like?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

And Again...

One paragraph tells you everything you need to know
Watson issued his 43-page ruling less than two hours after hearing Hawaii's request for a temporary restraining order to stop the ban from being put into practice.
43 pages in less than two hours?
The judge ruled before he even bothered to hear arguments in the case.
This can not be allowed to stand in a republic.
But it will... for now at least.

The republic is dying, folks. I've said it before.

When  judges are blatantly lawless, the law ceases to exist.
As it currently stands, only one of two choices will resolve this issue and steer the future: Total surrender of  the Right... or the use of arms.
There are no other options.

It is/was your country.
How badly do you want it back?

Are You Not Entertained?

It is a serious federal offense, a felony, to make public another citizen's private income tax return. Can't remember who, but I do remember one reporter/journalist/shill  making a public appeal to anybody within the IRS to leak Donald Trump's tax return to him.

Should it occur: The reporter/journalist/shill will achieve fame and accolades. Chucky Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, the Bushes, Romneys and the rest of the GOP robber barons and Mojado lovers will likely receive improved political fortunes.
The Leaker, on the other hand, will likely face serious jail time.
(Trust me: the political class will not be going to bat to protect the leaker. To do so  allows a precedent that will make one of them the next victim, 'cause they all got something to hide.)

I found it troubling when Rachel Maddow announced that she had possession of Trump's tax return and would reveal it's contents on her show. I was at work all day, so I get most of my misinformation off my phone half the time, and today was no exception.

I really didn't know what to expect when I checked the phone after her show ended.
I absolutely didn't expect the Geraldo level 'Capone's Vault' nothing burger that it turned out to be.

My thoughts: no other than Donald Trump, himself, released this tax form from 2005. Part of his success through out this righteous crusade has been his ability to troll the press/opposition (same thing).
He's good at it.
The more unhinged and dishonest the journalism community appears, the better it is for Trump.
Obama was a good troll, too. He enjoyed setting off the whack jobs of the Right. It was easy to do, and provided him the brush to paint all of his opposition in the same vein.

Trump has taken it to a higher level.
Alex Jones (who nobody takes seriously to but the Left), has been replaced in this role by respected, mainstream reporters/journalists/shills (same thing)... and once again, they shat their shorts.
In public.
High profile short shatting.
Trump won...

The GOP finally has a true political warrior not seen since Ronald Reagan.

I'm really beginning to love this guy.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Random Thoughts On The Russia Thing

First off, I don't doubt that Russia tried to influence our election. Ever since the 1950's (maybe sooner) the USSR (same as Russia, really.) has tried to play some kind of influential role in our politics. The Peace Movement was funded in large part with money channeled through Soviet Bloc intermediaries. This is known. Does any of this make the election of Jimmy Carter illegitimate? No... but damn, I sure wish that it did.

-I don't think Russia ever expected Trump to win this election. I think the hacking and spreading of the Hillary emails was done to sow tumult among the crew that was fully expected to be in charge... and a way to let them know how much difficult life could be for them if they gave Putin too much trouble down the road.
Seriously, anybody who did any level of homework per Trump and Hillary would know that the easier road for Russia was through Hillary. She was a known quantity and a proven kisser of Putin Ass.

-These things said... the United States has always attempted to affect the politics of many other nations. We played a strong role in luring  Ukraine westward (much to Russia's consternation) and most recently, Obama played heavily in the attempt to oust a democratically-elected Netanyahu in Israel. Current protestations by today's Democrats and the Main Stream Media (same thing, I know....) ring hollow in these ears.

-Russia is not a threat to the existence or security of the United States, unless we want them to become one. The Cold War is over. To keep fighting it, as many in the GOP want to do, is a disservice to the memory of Ronald Reagan, who won it for us, in the hope that there may be peace between us.
Peace and cooperation should always be the end game of a just struggle.

-Russia is not just a country. It is one of the West's great empires, who's language, culture, arts, values and faith tremendously influenced one half of Western civilization. Eastern Europe is Christian, instead of Muslim, because an Orthodox Russia made it possible.
To continually attempt rubbing their nose in their Cold War defeat, which was humiliating for a proud people on several levels, is a disservice to European unity, and Europe in general. And again, an affront to everything Ronald Reagan worked for.

-Putin is a bad actor. Yeah, so?

-No way, no how, not ever, ever would Donald Trump use Russian dressing on his salad. Everybody knows that Green Goddess is way more better.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Now You Know How The Rest Of Us Feel

Trump's popularity set to rise on University of California campuses

The University of California, San Francisco on Tuesday laid off 49 information technology (IT) employees and outsourced their work to a company based in India, ending a year-long process that has brought the public university under fire.
The university announced the plan last July as a way to save $30 million over five years. The University of California system, which includes health care and research-focused UCSF, has been struggling to raise revenue and cut expenses.

Globalization and outsourcing have become hot-button political issues in the United States, as more employers cut costs by farming out work to low-cost workers in far-flung parts of the world. President Donald Trump campaigned on promises to restore lost U.S. jobs and to penalize companies that move factories overseas.

This was the University of California's first outsourcing, said a spokeswoman who added that the layoffs were necessary due to rising costs of technology. In addition to the 49 staff layoffs, another 48 positions that were vacant or filled by contractors were eliminated.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein last year said the university had a responsibility to keep jobs in the United States and pledged to seek reforms to stop domestic jobs being outsourced.

Kurt Ho, 58, a laid off systems administrator, carried a box of his personal items with an American flag draped over it, and said the university's decision will hurt service for a medical staff that relies on a smoothly running and secure computer network.
"It's a downgrading of services and a slap in the face for the customers," said Ho, who has worked in IT in the Bay Area for 25 years. He said he plans to look for a job but worries that outsourcing of IT services is a growing trend.
 "Get a tech job" they said. "You'll always have security".
So many times I heard this back when I was skipping classes.

Nobody is safe. The upper levels will always get theirs while expecting their 'staffs' to compete with Third World lifestyles. This is not what America was about, but it absolutely is what it has become.

On another note: it seems kinda wrong, don't it, that jobs paid for by American taxpayers are going to provide incomes for workers in far off lands?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Future Is Already Here

There is much talk this off season about the future of the Quarterback position for the Chicago Bears. Anything can happen at this point, and I don't think General Manager Ryan Pace or Coach John Fox are sure they know, either.

This is a team in the process of a total rebuild. That we know. We will be needing a new man under center before long, and Pace hasn't drafted any kind of a QB in the three years he's been pulling the levers.
I don't know why.

I'll go through my thoughts of the three QBs we currently have on the roster:

First off, there is Jay Cutler, the most abused QB on the field or off. His upside is sky high, but he has a few faults... among them attempting to put the ball where only he can, hoping his receiver makes a play.
He's the typical gunslinger, and damn, is he talented.
A talent that has been largely squandered away by the Bears coaching staff.
He plays with heart and passion, never flinching when lowering his shoulder to to lay out a defender. (He doesn't like to slide like the wussy QBs do).

Second, we have Brian Hoyer.
He's a good Quarterback, who makes good decisions, which shouldn't be too hard to do when you only play football within 10 yards from scrimmage.
He put up lots of yards last year, but seems allergic to the white goal-line powder.
And, he can't throw past 10-15 yards.
He has all the gifts that a QB needs tween the ears, none of the gifts required tween the shoulders.
He's an effective game manager, as long as scoring isn't part of the management plan.

Third, is Matt Barkley.
He's not really bad.
He's also not very good.
He has many of the tools to possibly become a QB in the NFL, but I think his window has closed.
That, and he has accuracy issues.
I'm of the belief that many things can be developed in a QB, but accuracy isn't one of them. It's a natural gift that is possessed, or not.

Fourth, is the guy who is not there yet, but is expected to be there come training camp. Just who or what or how is a different discussion, I think.

The talk among Bears circles is that Jay Cutler will be gone this year.
He can be cut for for free, having gone through his guaranteed portion (3yrs) of  a 7 year contract. Coach Fox prefers the game manager type QB (Hoyer) and doesn't much care for the aggressive passing-attack type of QB that Cutler is. The general consensus is that the Bears will draft/sign/trade for a QB of the future and start Brian Hoyer as a bridge while the new face is developed.

My suggestion, what I would do if I was in charge...

Keep Cutler for this season, and maybe the next...

Keep Hoyer as a reliable back up.
This is his career ceiling, anyway... and he's good at it.

Cut Barkley.
I like Barkley, personally. He plays with a spirit and attitude that I appreciate. And he's a local (to me) boy. A Homie. But being 'almost an NFL QB' is not the same as being an actual NFL QB. (he'd be competing for a starter gig somewhere if he had some accuracy to his arm, but he doesn't, so he isn't.)

Draft two QBs this year (or UDFAs, whatever...) in the middle rounds, say rounds 3 to 5. Reliable athletes with accurate arms that can be groomed-up and taught the teachable stuff,  to compete against each other for the future. Barring any obvious one-of-a-kind prospects (there are none in the draft this year), this is the best way to go.
I would tend toward stout-bodied types (like Big Ben, or Favre) who could take NFL punishment.
A Polynesian, Negro, or Hybrid-race maybe? Heavy bone structure. A big, confident boy that can't be hurt easily.
Durability trumps God-given talent. Just ask Rex Grossman about that... or RGIII.

Spend our early picks on obvious play-makers at other positions. This strengthens the team over all, making life a whole lot easier on whatever QB you choose to play. (seriously... look at the Patriots. Brady was not that good in the Super Bowl. On any other team, he would have sucked, but he had play makers all around him... making plays.)

Why Cutler, if he is not the future?
Because Cutler is the best QB available to the Bears this year. He gives us the best chance to win, on any given day.
Winning builds confidence and morale for the whole team.
Winning  attitudes and winning cultures are created by teams that win games.
If you are not confident in Week 1, you wont be confident in February, either.
It's all about February, isn't it?

Jay Cutler may not be the future of the Bears,  but the future of the Bears can be found through him.

you came here expecting politics and shit???
I don't roll that way.
I like to mix shit up...
But you knew that, already... right?
That's why you came here, isn't it?