A Non Treasonous Post About Music

As many of you know, I have been importing music for quite a few weeks, and while I am doing it, I am correcting the metadata, updating the artwork, etc. It’s a tedious process, made more difficult by the fact that I have A LOT of live Dead that doesn’t come with album art so I have to search fan databases or look for ticket stubs and the fact that itunes uses the Gracenote ACR which allows any semi-literate lead paint eating fuckboy to upload incorrect bullshit to the database.

At any rate, one nice thing about it is that I am listening to a lot of music again. When I quit drinking a few years ago, I lost interest in music to a large degree. It didn’t feel as good. So I spent several years just driving with no music or radio at all. I liked the silence. Since I started cataloguing the library, though, I have music playing almost nonstop. While importing, it give me a chance to listen to a lot of stuff. Sometimes I listen to a couple songs, sometimes just one, other times it is just get it in and pretend I don’t own that.

One thing I have noticed is that a lot of the stuff I listen to when importing is simple stuff- stuff like, well, embarrassingly enough, Huey Lewis and the News (which I guess is relevant because of American Psycho releasing his emails today). It’s not that I love it to death, but it brings back memories, they are short songs with singable verses that you can listen to while working, and it is just very accessible. That’s very underrated. I think one of the main reasons the Beatles were so popular is the reasons listed above.

Music snobs (I’m not really one, I think “good” music is like any art- if you like it, it’s good. If you don’t, don’t buy it or use it) don’t get that or don’t care. For varying reasons, almost every single music snob I have ever known just fucking LOVE the Velvet Underground and Captain Beefheart. When Lou Reed died a few years ago more people publicly professed their love for him than the VU or he combined ever sold albums. And Beefheart. Don’t get me started on that hot mess. Some of the early blues stuff was good, but that’s almost unavoidable when you have Ry Cooder around. And I really like Zappa, so some of the later years are pretty interesting every once in a while.

But most of it is just unlistenable jibberish (and again, if you like it, good on you). in 1969, the Beatles followed up the White Album with released Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road and a year later delivered Let it Be. Captain Beefheart released Trout Mask Replica. It’s 120 minutes of aural clusterfuck:

It’s horrible by any metric. But the music snobs, who will crap all over more accessible music, will tell you that it was an important contribution, a criticism of current trends, etc., ad nauseum. Rolling Stone magazine has it as the 60th greatest album of all time:

On first listen, Trout Mask Replica sounds like a wild, incomprehensible rampage through the blues. Don Van Vliet (a.k.a. Captain Beefheart) growls, rants and recites poetry over chaotic guitar licks. But every note was precisely planned in advance – to construct the songs, the Magic Band rehearsed 12 hours a day for months on end in a house with the windows blacked out. (Producer and longtime friend Frank Zappa was then able to record most of the album in less than five hours.) The avant-garde howl of tracks such as “Ella Guru” and “My Human Gets Me Blues” have inspired modern primitives from Tom Waits to PJ Harvey.

Oh shut the fuck up.

And again, I love Zappa. I love Tom Waits. But this is shit. It wouldn’t even make for a good acid trip. I forget the point of this post, that’s how god damned disorienting that shit is.


The incentive problem

As long as norm busting creates rewards, norms will be busted.

We can either engage in a race to the bottom of norm busting or change the incentive structure so that norm busting is not rewarded. Neither set of choices is easy or certain to succeed.

Open thread.

Greetings from the Animal Kingdom

I’ve been under the radar (well, here) the past two days, because I have a lot of stuff going on and everything political moves so fast that by the time I get to a computer to write about it someone else already has. Not to mention, I think we will all survive without my hot takes on the Nazi Keebler elf perjuring himself in front of the Senate and the Scalise shooting, although I will note that Scalise is fond of speaking in front of groups whose raison d’etre is political violence.

Sooo, what all is going on (I know you are all just riveted to your screens now)? Yesterday I drove to my dentist and had my temporary crown replaced. It’s about an hour away and as I was driving down I called (I have hands free and voice activation so no bitching) my electrician to check in about an outlet that has not been working in my bedroom since I moved in. They had checked it before and there was no risk of fire or anything, and we had discussed fixing it this summer. I had been calling them for two weeks and got no response (yes I left messages), but I tried again anyway, they answered, and the guy told me “Oh hey, they are on their way out,” to which I responded “that’s awesome, I am not there.”

So I called dad, he went over, let them in and watched, and as I sat in a dentist chair I got periodic (every ten minutes) phone calls telling me how I was a slob, was doing something wrong, needed to do something, etc. On the upside, he did clean my kitchen.

On my way back home (it’s a 75 minute drive), dad called to tell me I need to take my trash out more often, and that he had taken it out for me and put it on the deck. That is not, in my book, taking out the trash, that is taking the trash and throwing it on the deck. I immediately told him that he can’t do that, Thurston will get into it, and he said “don’t worry, I put it up off the ground on your recycling bins.” We all know how this ends, right?

I found Thurston in the middle of that. I didn’t even yell at him, because he looked guilty and I knew it was a honey trap and not his fault, really. The upside is that I just got the bins the other day, so the trash that was thrown everywhere had not been sorted and cleaned, and the flowers hand not been composted, and now it is. Recycling around here isn’t mandated, so I am just doing this on my own. I still need a bin for paper products.

Moving along, I had just absorbed the information about the Scalise shooting this morning and was taking a shower when my crown fell out. And I mean that- it just fell out. There was no chewing motion or anything that precipitated it, it was just in place and suddenly it was not. So I called up the dentist, and she had me come down immediately to have it fixed. This time, I had myself numbed up and they used some super cement (yesterday I went without novocaine) and then ground it down so it was all smooth and what not. I am a grinder, and according to my dentist I can move my jaw in directions that 99% of people can’t, so she thinks I caught it at an odd angle in my sleep and loosened it. At any rate, I am back in tip top shape and she didn’t charge me anything.

It’s hot as hell here and humid to boot, and on the ride home I drove through a rain storm, and it was really weird watching my in car thermometer go from 89 degrees to 73 in a matter of minutes and then jack back up to 89 when I drove out of the store. I mean, I know this is how it works, but I never had witnessed it like that before.

I have decided that I want to take a course in floral design, and I don’t know how to go about it. Should I look at local universities? Should I do it online? My preferred way of going about it would be to talk to an independently run flower shop and tell the owner that I will work for free on weekends if they teach me, but who knows. Do any of you have any experience with this?

Watched the Worricker Trilogy on Amazon Prime the past few days, and am now engrossed in the Tunnel, which is just great and stars Stannis Baratheon. I have a hard time watching the news for any extended period because it just sends me into fits of rage. Today’s volcanic eruption from yours truly came when I heard reporters talking about how the Congressional Baseball game will continue on tomorrow, as if this was some great act of bravery and defiance against all odd. I may or may not have yelled “YOU FUCKING PUSSIES YOU KNOW WHO ELSE GOES ABOUT BUSINESS AS USUAL THE DAY AFTER A SHOOTING? EVERY FUCKING KID IN AMERICA WENT TO SCHOOL THE DAY AFTER NEWTOWN, AND WITHOUT 10,000 ARMED GUARDS LIKE YOU MOTHER FUCKERS WILL HAVE. YOU FUCKING SCUMBAG PIECES OF SHIT, GET THE FUCK OVER YOURSELVES.”

Ok. I did yell that. And the only reason I felt slightly bad was because it startled Lily, who is an angel. Thurston, man, fuck him.

You know what to do

The Trump Administration in an attempt to otherize non-white people and scare the living bejesus out of the Republican marks base has set up a hotline to gather reports of crimes committed by aliens.

NASA has recently been finding planets that might be in the Goldilocks zones and evidently those inhabitants are causing a lot of trouble on earth. So if you see any strange people near Roswell jaywalking, give the hotline a call.

Let’s Nip This Bullshit in the Bud

While the folks in the MSM are all getting their war face on (fucking christ, everyone on MSNBC was more hopped up and giddy than a butter bar in his first live fire exercise), let’s nip this pernicious, jingoistic bullshit in the bud. No, US troops everywhere are not in harms way tonight, or at least no more than they were last night or the night before last or the night before that. In fact, the overwhelming majority of them are probably safer than you, asleep in their bunks or base housing on a secure military facility guarded by gates and checkpoints and in areas where open carry by unqualified shitbirds isn’t fucking allowed.

Yes, a few troops are in harms way tonight, but you don’t even know who they are or where they are. But it isn’t the folks on the ships who were firing Tomahawks at empty airbases. Hell, even the Marine artillery that was quietly deployed last month to Syria aren’t in that much danger, because if they were, they would have infantry and armor deployed as well to protect them. You don’t just dump a a portion of a MEF in the middle of nowhere and say “game on and good luck.” Even fucking marines aren’t that stupid. Well, Marine leadership isn’t that stupid. I think.

BTW- this attack accomplished nothing but sending the proverbial message. It didn’t hit any Russians, and more than likely didn’t hit any Syrians, because we told the Russians ahead of time and they of course told the Syrians. Hell, the Joint Chiefs told every fucking body yesterday:

The Pentagon has developed plans for an airstrike against Syrian government targets in response to this week’s apparent chemical attack by Syrian government forces, according to two U.S. military officials.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis will present the proposals to Donald Trump later today at the president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

One of the proposals drawn up is a “saturation strike” using dozens of cruise missiles designed to hit Syrian military targets — including military air fields — in an effort to limit future Syrian Air Force attacks on rebel positions, according to the two U.S. military officials.

The officials asked for anonymity to discuss classified plans.

RE: the bolded portion of that paragraph

They didn’t develop the plans yesterday, they dusted them off. In addition, I’m sure they requested anonymity, but I’m willing to bet you could reach them here AT THIS WEBSITE and they will tell you anything you want to hear. Off the record, of course. *WINK WINK*

Oh, ffs. Just go watch the proportional response episode of the West Wing. It’s Season 1, I think.

Meanwhile, we could actually help by tasking refugees, but, you know, gotta pump some money to the defense industry, justify the increased military budget, jack up Trump’s poll numbers, and boost the price of gas to stabilize the finances of our buddies in the House of Saud. They need the money so we can keep selling the munitions to dump on Yemen.

Also, I got 3/4 of the way to the airport for my flight this morning before discovering I left my wallet and phone at home. So now I have to fucking fly up tomorrow, a day light and who knows how many hundreds of dollars shorter. I’m in a crankier mood than usual. Send lawyers, guns and money.

Salutations from the Cradle of Liberty

Megabus was everything I thought it would be and more, and I would use it a helluva lot more if it were around me. Seventeen bucks from Hartford to Boston is a pretty solid deal, the wifi was good, and there were outlets. What more does a man need? I was a little pissed at the old white dude sleeping in my seat and lying about it, but I just sat somewhere else.

I have an exquisite hotel view:

I hope I am not charged extra for that. Walked around for a little bit, and I managed to find a place to eat other than fucking Dunkin Donuts (christ you people in New England and these fucking donut shops), ordered some chowder and fish and chips, and everything on my plate was off-white and bland and tasted similarly. No wonder you people are drunk all the time.

Also, who the fuck serves gourmet ketchup? There is Heinz, and there is shit. Choose accordingly.

I need a nap before I get cranky.

How I Came to Own Five Boxes of Girl Scout Cookies

ABC is in town, so we went shopping to buy curtains and rugs and all sorts of stuff to make my house beautiful. Unfortunately for all, no matter how charming and wonderful the company, I max out at about 4-5 hours of shopping, particularly when it is 900 fucking degrees in the store and there are people everywhere doing annoying human things. I may or may not have been overheard stating “If we don’t get out of this store soon I’m going to be on the fucking evening news.”

At any rate, as we were leaving, hauling umpteen bags, I kept myself focused on the exit, thinking “fifteen yards, twelve yards, ten yards” at which point I was accosted by some young naif peddling her goods. It went like this:

Her- “Would you like to buy some Girl…”


When I got outside and felt the rush of the cool air of freedom, a certain decent human being brought me back to reality and stated “You do realize I just had to apologize to a nine year old, don’t you.”

And that is how I ended up buying five boxes of girl scout cookies.


*** Update ***

For the record, the cookie count was three Samoa and two Thin Mints.