Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Kids Might Be Alright

I try not to write on the same subject two weeks in a row, but I read something which has to be commented on.

For my money, if you want to read something stupid, you might as well go to Salon. It is one those magazines that prints articles like "Hillary Clinton Can't Win: Democrats Need To Accept The Fact That Only Bernie Sanders Can Defeat The GOP" and "Scalia Was An Intellectual Phony: Can We Please Stop Calling Him A Brilliant Jurist".  It is a bossy little website.

Today we are going to discuss "Stop Buying Old Bob Dylan Albums: Every Time Somebody Buys a Reissue They're Just Taking Money Away From New Musicians".

I would understand if it was an article title "Stop Buying New Bob Dylan Albums: Have You Heard That Sinatra One?!"  For those of you that don't keep up with Bob, he released an album of his renditions of old Frank Sinatra songs last year. I'm not saying it was bad, but I'm pretty sure Frank would have told Bob to knock it off or it is going to be a ring-a-ding-ding for Mr. Tambourine man

But this article wasn't really about Bob Dylan. It is about old boomers like me not giving the new generation a chance to sell me their tunes.

A music critic, Jim Fusili, calls us old timers that like to take the music the off the shelve and listen to it by ourselves as Gee-Bees (for "Generational Bias"). He has made it "his mission" in life to "introducing out-of-touch listeners to some of the best new music being made today—from Bon Iver to D’Angelo, Frank Ocean to the Arctic Monkeys, Janelle Monae to St. Germain". Which would be great considering I think I may have heard of Frank Ocean and the Arctic Monkeys but I'm not sure.  I could be thinking of Billy Ocean ("I wanna be your, wanna be your, wanna be your lover boy") and the regular Monkees  who people say were monkeying around.

Fusili says, “We’re surrounded by people who, despite a narrow perspective, insist the music of their youth is superior to the sounds of any other period,”  Gads, all those people with narrow perspectives surrounding us. The nerve of them saying the music they like sounds good.

He continues,  “Most people who prefer old music mean no harm and it’s often a pleasure to listen to them talk about their favorite artists of the distant past." Yep, Sonny, I mean no harm when I tell you that side two of Abbey Road is almost as good as s-e-x. Just wait till I tell you kids about the first time I heard "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting".

However, "others are bullies who intend to harangue is into submission, as if their bluster can conceal their ignorance. They ignore what seems to me something that’s self-evident: rock and pop today is as good as it’s ever been.”.   I'm not sure who really "bullies" anybody about musical tastes, but I'm sure there's going to be a White House Conference about it if Clinton or Sanders is elected.

Fusili says, "I don’t think the (music) industry knows how to market music to grown-ups". Now that's the truth. The only music that used to be marketed to grown-ups was country music and it was all about trains, trucks, rain, mamma, prison, and getting drunk. Which pretty much sums up adulthood. But now country music is about  pretty people in pretty trucks with other pretty people. You used to imagine Tammy Wynette serving you at The Waffle House.  Now you are just happy you are allowed to breath the same air as Carrie Underwood.

But he goes off the rails when he says, "My feeling is that every time somebody buys a reissue, they’re just taking money away from new musicians. He says it like it was a bad thing, which is really my objection.

It is no longer, "open yourself up to new music and maybe you'll like it".  It is now you are doing some wrong if you download Pet Sounds to your iPhone. It takes a mere preference and an expression of an opinion, which let's face it are belly buttons-everybody has one, and makes it into something almost darker than it really is.  Older people have always liked older music.

Decades ago there was a singer named Andy Williams. You may have heard of him. He did the best version ever of "Moon River". He had a television show. One time he had Ray Charles, Cass Elliot and Elton John on and all four were singing "Heaven Help Us All". My dad, Old Man Manis, was watching said, "Andy just 'aint as good of singer as the rest of them", which was the hippest thing my dad ever said.  I suggest you go to YouTube and see that he was right.

If the music is good enough, older people will like it. If not, they won't. If they miss out, they miss out.

Here's a link to the article:http://www.salon.com/2016/02/20/stop_buying_old_bob_dylan_albums_every_time_somebody_buys_a_reissue_theyre_just_taking_money_away_from_new_musicians/

Thursday, February 18, 2016

This Year's Obligatory Grammy Blog Post

Maybe I'm becoming a big grump, but I've gotten to the point where I don't even bother with award shows any more.

The reason is I simply don't care. I don't care if Leonardo DiCaprio wins an Oscar. I mean, I don't wish him any harm. I've enjoyed his movies over the years even though there's just something icky about him I can't put my finger on. It is just my life doesn't revolve around a rich person getting honored and praised. I thought that's what the money was for.

And no, you're not going to get me into the controversy about the "lack of diversity" in the Oscar nominees. Besides this blog's commitment to NEVER discussing the topic that never ends (Race), I can honestly say I haven't been to a movie in well over a year.  In fact, the last movie I went to was a cartoon (The Penguins of Madagascar). My wife and I were, literally, the oldest people in the theater.

I cannot begin to comment on who should and should not have been nominated.  I just know the Penguins didn't get squat.

I haven't seen the latest Star Wars movie either. I've seen the other Star Wars, beginning with the first one I saw for FREE in 1977. (There were some kids from school that worked at the theater and they let me in. I would like to thank Kathy and Debi for letting me in even if they didn't give me free popcorn.)

But over the years, I've always tried to watch The Grammys because, well, I've always tried to follow music. But music has a way of galloping ahead and I have lost track what is popular in music today. Mainly because it gives me a headache, especially Rap and Hip-Hop, but it is not limited to those genres.

Believe it or not, I know who Taylor Swift is and I might recognize one of her songs if I heard it in the grocery store. But from what I can tell most of her songs are about her boyfriends and what creeps they ended up being and it is just wee bit out of my demographic.

Country Music probably should be my demographic (middle aged white Southern male) but I don't think I can name a popular country songs except for "Girl Crush", which doesn't sound anything Loretta or Tammy would have sang.  But country music is basically real bad rock music filled with "hunks".

Like Luke Bryan. We went a taping of The Tonight Night last summer and Luke Bryan was the musical guest. Luke Bryan is a very handsome man. In fact, if my wife walked up to me and said Luke Bryan wanted to run away with her, I would tell her to go ahead. I know she loves me and all that, but, come on, the girl is human. But as a performer, he is really marginal.

Now classic rock-that's my demographic. The only problem is that all of our classic rock heroes are dying. In this year's Grammys, Lady Gaga performed a tribute to David Bowie, who was sort of like a male Lady Gaga back in the '70's. Or Lady Gaga, is a 2K female version of David Bowie.

I wanted to see the tribute to Glenn Frey from the Eagles. I must admit that his death was the first one that sort of got to me. Everybody loved the Eagles and his voice was one of the few a tone death person like me could harmonize with.

Did you think Glenn Frey would be the first member of the Eagles to die? I didn't. My money was on Joe Walsh, all the way.

But behold, the Grammy Record of The Year was "Uptown Funk" by Bruno Mars and this song just happens to be on my iTunes. You know when I show up I'm going to show out smother than a fresh jar of Skippy.  I got to kiss myself, I'm so pretty.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Everybody Knows

Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
  - Leonard Cohen

Good God, have these people lost their ever lovin' minds?***

I'm serious here for a second. How could anyone, with or without a college degree, male or female, young or old, vote for either Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders?  Please, don't try to tell me.

On the Republican side, you will hear that Trump always speaks his mind. Like that is a good thing.

On both my mother's and father's side, I had relatives that spoke their minds. What was going on in their minds was so important, that you HAD to hear it. What was going on in your mind was not as important because it was probably stupid.

Frankly, I think it would be a good thing if Trump had an unexpressed thought.  Bill Maher says it is like Trump has political Tourette Syndrome.  That's how weird this political season has been: Bill Maher is making sense.

There are so many examples of this, the latest being Trump calling Ted Cruz a slang term for genitalia. Ho hum. That's just the Donald being the Donald. He's going to make America great again by trash talking.

Cruz, probably the most conservative candidate in the race, was called what the news called "the p-word" because he would have to think about waterboarding.  Just pausing to think about waterboarding (not ruling it out mind you) gets him tagged as a sissy in Trump World. That sound you heard was Lincoln and Washington turning over in their graves.

Everybody knows a President Trump would be a train wreck. There is nothing Presidential about him, unless you think acting like a jerk is Presidential.

Everybody knows he is a vain, bitter, vindictive man. 

Everybody knows he can't build a wall, which he said last week would cost 8 billion dollars and it is not clear if that includes the door in the middle to let the "good ones" back in.

Then you have Bernie Sanders. Quick, think of something Bernie Sanders has actual done besides being Bernie Sanders?  He is this grouchy old Socialist who wants to bore with you his opinion on The Spanish Civil War.

But, as I point out last week, the kids love him. He promises free college, better wi-fi, more days off, pizza every Friday, and ice cream with sprinkles.

How he is going to do it? Easy: get it from the rich people. Hey kids, you will be surprised how rich your parents are according to President Sanders.

Everybody knows he can't do it. There's not that many rich people out there.

Socialism sounds nice. Everybody shares. But somebody has to make everybody share and the government decides what is sharing and what is not. Socialism is all fun and games until they deny grandma a hip.

Everybody knows the Clintons have invested too much over the years to let another novelty act take away their crown.  Everybody knows that when the Democrats go South, Hillary is going to cash in her chips and will win the nomination.

Sure, it is fun watching her sweat. And nobody can make up sillier arguments than Hillary Clinton and the 90's feminists. (If you are a woman and not voting for Clinton, you are going to Hell). But there is no way on this green earth that Clinton will lose to Sanders.

That is what makes the Republican so frustrating . They hate each other so much, they can't focus on the Democrats.

Everybody knows there has to be somebody better than Trump. Or Sanders. Or Clinton.

*** A friend of mine wrote this in response: "New Hampshire is an interesting place, and where I work. It is the "Live Free or Die State" and not like any other New England state. It is very anti-establishment, which is why voters gravitated to those personas more than specific policies"

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Getting Bernt

"A new poll shows that Hillary Clinton is only six points ahead of Bernie Sanders. Today a very confident Hillary said, 'Oh, please. Like I'm going to lose the Democratic nomination to a left-wing senator nobody's ever heard of?" –Conan O'Brien

It has been pointed out to me that I haven't commented on the race for the Democratic Party's Presidential nomination.

Pardon me, but I have a life, you know.

Like most seasoned political observers, I assumed that former First Lady Senator Secretary Hillary Clinton was a lock in to win the Democratic nomination. This is despite the fact that she has the morals of a weasel. ("E-mails? The dog ate my e-mails. Benghazi? It was inspired by a vast right-wing conspiracy.")

Mrs. Clinton is the favorite to the win the Democratic nomination because of her powerful arguments.

One: Isn't is about time we had a woman president? I mean, really. Everybody else has had one, so come on!

Two: It just so happens I'm a woman!

Three: I was born in this country.

Four: Y'all owe me. Big Time. You deal with Bill's "Oh, sugar, she don't mean nothing to me" crap for forty years.

The nomination would be just a formality in prelude for the election of America's favorite gal married  to a total horn dog for political convenience.

Clinton drew, as we say in political observation circles, token opposition. Two of them were kinda/sorta Republicans that dropped out after someone made fun of them on "Saturday Night Live" and another was Martin O'Malley. Where have you gone Martin O'Malley? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

The last candidate was Bernie Sanders, the seventy-four year old Senator from Vermont. He describes himself as a Socialist.

In case you didn't notice, the Millennials are really into Bernie Sanders, even if he does seem like the old man that would yell at them walking through his yard. Maybe they want to go through his record (oops, sorry, vinyls) collection even though they'd probably find only four vinyls and three of them are Arlo Guthrie.

The reason Millennials like Sanders is simple: Millennials are stupid.

It is not their fault. Most young people are stupid and for some reason stupid people are very enthusiastic. They've heard about Team Clinton from their parents and its not a movie they want to see. Bernie is the new thing and he seems cool for an old coot.

Free college? Sure, why not? Just tax Wall Street. Income and wealth equality. Sure, why not? Just tax Wall Street. Rebuild America? Yes, let's rebuild those bridges! How?  Just tax Wall Street. Gah, people, aren't you listening.

Bernie takes courageous stands on some of the world's most pressing issues, like slow internet speed.

His website says, "We are only marginally better in terms of average broadband speed – 12th in the world.  Today, businesses, schools and families in Bucharest, Romania have access to much faster internet than most of the United States.  That is unacceptable and has got to change."  I'm sure this is the fault of the wealthiest one per-cent.

Bernie Sanders even has an opinion on PTO (Paid Time Off).

American workers are being denied a benefit that workers in every other advanced economy already enjoy. Europe, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand … we are the only nation that doesn’t require employers to provide at least 10 days of paid vacation time.

There is no reason for that. Our country is every bit as prosperous as theirs – and it is prosperous because the men and women of this country work so hard.

I’m not asking for the most generous vacation policy in the world. This is nothing like what they get in France, Austria or Belgium. But I intend to push for a standard which befits a great nation.

There is no mention on the website about a National Causal Friday, where it would be against the law to wear a tie on Friday. While he's big on free college and healthcare, he says diddly squat about making sure every break room has some donuts.

I don't think Sanders is going to be the Democratic Party's nominee. It says a lot about Clinton that the old codger is getting any votes.