Saturday, December 21, 2013

Restating The Obvious About "Duck Dynasty"

I know I am not the first to ask this but...Can TV execs be so stupid as to slaughter their only golden goose? Uhhh...yeah.

Smart people can do stupid things. How many recording honchos passed on the Beatles? Xerox fumbled the mouse and the GUI. IBM allowed Microsoft to license their software instead of buying it outright. Apple deposed Steve Jobs. The list goes on and on.

If A&E lets The Family Robertson slip through their greedy fingers, they will be inducted into the Corporate Blunder Hall Of Fame on the first ballot. I don't think "Shipping Wars: or "Rodeo Girls" or "Bad Ink" will fill the void.

Hey! I got an idea for a reality show starring the front office of A&E: "Network Makeover!"

"Russia Times" Interviews Steven Seagal

It perplexes me, it bothers me, it annoys me, it pains me, it tortures me to compare Russia to the USA. Russia has risen, we have fallen. In everything that matters, Russia now surpasses the USA.

Russia has a superior human rights record. Pussy Riot or Gary Kasparov might garner headlines but I don't know of any Lois Lerners or her equivalent in Russia. If Russia is doing wholesale spying in the style of NSA, I am unaware of it. Russia is headed by an intellectual. We are headed by an overgrown college sophomore. Russia fights terrorism. We change the terminology. We have a punitive, counterproductive tax system based largely on revenge for imagined wrongs. Russia has a flat tax of 13%.

We could go on and on but one measure of decline and fall is that America no longer has a free press. OK, maybe it is free but it is usually incompetent, always cowardly, always biased. Americans have to go to places like "Russia Times" to find out what is happening in their homeland. That is a tragedy that cannot be put into words.


Friday, December 20, 2013

A&E Sponsors

Sensodyne: 1-866-844-2797
T-Mobile: Twitter @TMobile / 1-877-453-1304
Samsung: (PR department) / Twitter @samsungtweets / 1-800-726-7864
Motorola: Twitter @motorola / 1-800-734-5870 / 1-847-523-5000
Walgreens: Twitter @walgreens / 1-800-925-4733
IHOP:  1-866-444-5144 / Twitter @IHOP / 1-818-240-6055
Macy’s: (PR Department), 212-705-2434 / @Macys / 1-212-494-3000
Nokia: Twitter @Nokia / 1-888-665-4228
Microsoft: Twitter @microsoft / 1-800-642-7676
Verizon: Twitter @verizonwireless / 1-800- 837-4966
Bass Pro Shops: Twitter @Bass_Pro-Shops / 1-800-494-1300 or 1-800-227-7776
You can also contact A&E directly at


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Lessons Of Phil Robertson, Duck Dynasty, A&E And GQ

The dinosaur media are alive and well but they ain't what they used to be. Why, oh why, do Republicans line up for the Sunday morning network pillories? Ten years ago, the Networks were the only game in town. No more. Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and private websites change everything. Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz can reach millions without the assistance of David Gregory or Bob Schieffer or George Bilderberg. Why even sit with the president's lackeys?

Why did Phil Robertson even give GQ the time of day? Yes, we have freedom of religion but only if your religion is sanctioned by the media elite. You actually believe Holy Scripture? Thou art suspended.

Of course I want to side with Phil Robertson in expressing his religious opinion even though I personally disagree with some of his religious opinions.  But Phil Robertson is not exactly a victim. A&E needs the Mighty Ducks more than the Mighty Ducks need A&E. If push comes to shove, this might be the best thing that ever happened to the Robertson Family. If it was a dynasty before,  I don't know what we will call Robertsons 2.0.

So what are the lessons?

1. The media elite would be wise to choose their battles. They are bullies and they had best stick to attacking defenseless targets. If you have a glass jaw...

2. It is no longer necessary to curry favor with the media elite.

3. If one should seek favor with the media elite, bypass GQ.

4. Principles still mean something and people respect principled people. If the Robertson Family stick to their guns, they will do just fine.

Walter Williams' Succinct Defense Of Capitalism

When someone says something as ridiculous as, "economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world" and concluding that "this opinion ... has never been confirmed by the facts." their authority, their credibility and even their mental clarity comes into question.

It is not disparate facts scattered like grains of sand across the universe that offer a defense of capitalism. The benefits of the slandered institution are overwhelming. Capitalism has benefited more people than water chlorination, antibiotics and surgery. Simply put, capitalism saves lives.

Here is Walter Williams. First, I acknowledge that capitalism fails miserably when compared with heaven or a utopia. Any earthly system is going to come up short in such a comparison. However, mankind must make choices among alternative economic systems that actually exist on earth. For the common man, capitalism is superior to any system yet devised to deal with his everyday needs and desires.

Read more below.

Kentucky Senate Race Tightens

Hmm. This Public Policy Polling poll finds finds Mitch McConnell leading challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes by only 1 point, 43% to 42%, While McConnell's inability to reach 50% against a challenger is troubling two things are important to consider. McConnell is facing a primary challenge and Grimes is not. The other consideration is the sample is skewed 52% Democrat to 39% Republican. That may or may not reflect voter registration in Kentucky but Barack Obama lost Kentucky by 16 points. His job approval in Kentucky is 31%. Leading from behind!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Equal Time For Obots Department: The Empire Strikes Back Against Mia Marie Pope

Occupy Youtube is alive and well. Turns out Mia Marie Pope is a racist and a wannabe assassin, at least that's what Isadora Brush has to say.


It could be Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh or Mia Marie Pope. The Obots leave a distinct fingerprint when they assassinate one's character. They are all over the place with this one. This is not their best effort.


Louis Farrakhan Is A Farm Subsidy Recipient

Maybe Willie Nelson will hold a telethon for this poor man of the soil.

Indeed, Obama’s appreciation of all things Islam does not stop there. Thanks to Adam Andrzejewski‘s watch dog organization, Open the Books, we discover that Louis Farrakhan, rabid Nation of Islam leader, has a little pet project, Muhammad Farms, which received $103,529 in aid between 2008 and 2011.
Hmmm. Farm subsidies in urban Chicago. That’s novel.
To be fair, the group did receive $26,357 under the Bush administration.


In fairness, farm subsidies frequently go to urban residents who have dubious ties to agriculture.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Happy Birthday, Keith Richards

Keith Richards, aka Keith Richard (if you are going to change your name, change it, man) Rolling Stones guitarist will be 70 years old this Wednesday. There are better guitarists to be sure but I am not sure if anyone has ever played so passionately. I am reading his autobiography but I won't finish it before his birthday as I had intended.

"Life" is a nice bit of escapism for me. I used to be a reader but these days I mostly read blogs. I miss the old days sometimes. But back to "Life."

Some fun facts:

Keith Richard was a choirboy whose group once sang for the Queen.

Keith was a Boy Scout but got kicked out for slapping a subordinate.

The first time Keith and Bill Wyman visited Chess Records, Muddy Waters was painting the ceiling. He did odd jobs around the office. The Chess Family vehemently denies this.

Keith was banging Ronnie Spector when she was married to Phil Spector.

For ten years, Keith was New Music Express's reigning #1 "Rock Star Most Likely To Die." He fell to #9 about thirty years ago.

Plenty of tidbits here.

I haven't gotten to the part where he rags on Jagger. I am not really looking forward to it. For me the most interesting part of the biography was Keith's childhood in Post-War England. I also like his descriptions of the real Rastafarians, not the Johnny Dread Come Lately Bob Marley.

One problem the Stones faced was waking Keith for shows. I don't have the book in front of me but at one point he says something like, "The only wake up call I would answer was 'Ladies and gentlemen, the Rolling Stones."

Mick Taylor is still a mystery. He just up and left the Stones. If I was fortunate enough and talented enough to be in his shoes, wild horses couldn't drag me away.

Next to the early years, the most interesting part is the formative days of the Stones. We forget how many barriers Rock and Roll had thrown in its path. Not just waggish patriarchs but the jazz establishment, the folk establishment, The R&B purists. It was all very tribal in those days. Then there was the clique of show biz kingmakers who ruled England. Nothing quite like that in the US but there were barriers here as well.

The Stones' saddest song for me was "Angie." Now that I read that it was inspired by Keith's infant daughter who would not stop crying, the song is not at all sad. It's kind of funny now.

I have been singing "Before They Make Me Run" with transongstantiated lyrics much worse than I ever suspected. Not just one or two words. I heard the whole thing wrong. What a heartfelt song, though.

Keith is a true pop music scholar. He lost me a few times with his guitar workshop that comes across as wonkish as Steve Wozniak getting all giddy over floppy disks.

With a hundred plus pages to go, I hope I don't ultimately sour on the narrative. Wish me well.

Happy Birthday, Keith!

Senator you lied

Is this the template for the 2014 Senate elections? The advantage to having such a dominate issue as Obamacare is Republicans can market test and run the same ads in every state with an incumbent Democratic senator.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

It's no accident that the Osborne brothers are legendary

This well plagiarized paragraph is probably the closest account I will ever be able to find as to the origins of the Osborne Brother's fabulous career.
In June 1949, at age 17, Bobby Osborne made his first radio broadcast appearance at WPFB in Middletown, Ohio. At his father’s insistence, Bobby sang “Ruby” for the first time, and 50 telegrams were received by the station asking them to have Bobby sing it again. They did, he did, and as they say, “The rest is history!” That song became a signature for The Osborne Brothers throughout their career.
Ruby was coal mining folk song and young Osborne had probably heard it first while in the cradle. The Osborne brothers were born in the heart of the Eastern Kentucky coal fields. They were born in Roark, Kentucky but moved to Hyden after the family home burnt down. One supposes that Bobby wasn't inclined to push his luck as his debuting song became his signature song for the next 20 years until he and his brother recorded Rocky Top on Christmas Day of 1967.

The end of World War II saw a large out migration from Appalachia as thousands of backwoods country boys found opportunity abounding in the Northern industrial cities. They met the world on their own terms, sequestering themselves in hill billy ghettos in cities such Detroit, Chicago, Cincinnati, and Dayton. They kept their churches and their music. More aptly they gave the world their music. The Osborne family moved to Dayton and the brothers went about the business of selling Bluegrass to the world. The Osborne Brothers became the first bluegrass group to perform on a college campus at Antioch College in 1960 and the first bluegrass group to perform at the White House in 1973. They joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1964.
Other than having a demanding father who was apparently their biggest fan, in Bobby the most recognized tenor voice in bluegrass that could hold a note all afternoon, in Sonny a banjo player good enough to play for Bill Monroe at 14, the creativity to conjure up their unique "stacked harmony" and the show businesses acumen to hitch onto the folk music trend the brothers didn't have a lot going for them after Bobby took time out to fight in Korea and win a purple heart. If Sonny was musician enough to play for Bill Monroe at 14 Bobby was creative enough at 17 to write Pain in my Heart that was later recorded by the legendary Flatt and Scruggs.

Before he had a career Bobby tried to emulate Ernest Tubbs, even playing an electric guitar. That all changed when his dad took the family to hear Bill Monroe when he played Dayton. He continued with his guitar until he teamed up with Jimmy Martin who wanted to play guitar. He then made himself one of the best mandolin players in the business. Savor this account of Sonny's banjo background from the Basement Rug.
He began by convincing his dad to buy him a $100 Kay five string banjo which they ordered through the school music department. Before the banjo arrived, Sonny remembers sitting in class at school, trying to figure out a Ralph Stanley break on “We’ll Be Sweethearts in Heaven”. Sonny felt he had the right hand figured out for that song, and also “Cripple Creek”. A few weeks later when the banjo finally arrived, to the amazement of his Dad, music teacher and himself, Sonny was immediately able to play it. He practiced at least five, and sometimes as much as 15 hours a day, out on the back porch swing. Often he’d still be up at 4:45 a.m., at which time he would hurry off to bed and pretend to be asleep before his father awoke for work at 5:00 a.m. and checked on him. Sonny says his father never was the wiser.
Then he hired out to Bill Monroe
Bobby was in Korea at this time, in the United States Marine Corp. When school was out in June of 1952, Jimmy Martin and Sonny went to Bean Blossom, Indiana to see Bill Monroe. Bill hired Jimmy, and with Jimmy’s insistence, also hired 14 year old Sonny. A week later they were off to Nashville. On Sonny’s first Grand Ole Opry appearance with the Bluegrass Boys, he performed “Rawhide”. It was during this time period when Sonny recorded nine tunes with Monroe. This was quite an experience for a 14 year old.
Key to the brothers' success was their stacked harmony vocal style. This technique enabled Bobby to sing lead at the top of his range during verses, and stay on the high lead in the chorus. Sonny sang baritone and usually another vocalist sang low tenor. That produced very smooth harmonies, but without the lonesome quality. Their music never sounded forlorn. The Osbornes offended some in the "we don't plug in"  community when they used electric instruments and even drums but they had livings to earn. It's not as if some fiddlers didn't admit that they borrowed their own patented technique from from a clarinet player or that Monroe himself loved to go clubbing in New Orleans to savor jazz and dixie land. Sonny retired in 2005 following a stroke but Bobby continues to perform.
Here is an example of that stacked harmony at its very best.

So where the Osborne Bothers, Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs able to sell their music to the world ? Could be the answer is yes. Ask someone in the Korean audience if he likes Japanese bluegrass.

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