Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Singing in that good ol' harmony

I've been using Pandora at work lately to provide some background music, but I haven't been able to take any one station for long before needing a change. Yesterday, however, I created a station around acapella mens groups, and found it kept me going my entire shift.

Do Wop, Vocal Jazz, barbershop--whatever you call it, it covers a lot of ground; from the King's Singers to Boyz II Men, and some amazing groups I'd never heard of, like Tonic Sol Fa. There are covers of old chestnuts to jaw-dropping arrangements of familiar tunes to original works that left me speechless. The King's Singers' cover of Billy Joel's "And So It Goes" about left me in tears. If I had money for it I would have bought at least two or three albums yesterday.

In high school and college I was privileged to sing in several acapella groups. There is nothing quite like singing tight harmonies and energized rhythms with a group of guys that blend well. I've almost always enjoyed making music in a group over solo work, and I miss it.

I remember back before I moved to Boise coming over here for the River Festival any time I heard the Nylons were performing. I remember riding a shuttle bus home from one concert, my brother and I being completely unable to contain ourselves and breaking into song. I'm still a bit surprised we did it, but by golly if we didn't soon have a majority of the passengers joining in. We sang everything we thought people would know, including patriotic songs. That was probably the most enjoyable bus ride I've ever taken, and I still get chills thinking about it.

I think I disappointed my mother when I didn't become a music teacher. I don't regret that decision, but I do sometimes wish I'd tried some other ways to make music pay. I think the unbounded opportunity to make music was one of the main reasons I had a hard time getting out of college.

Right now my life is necessarily focused on supporting and raising a young family. But someday I will find my way back to performing. I don't think I'll be entirely whole until I do.

Is the Left inherently violent?

I watched a segment of MSNBC's Morning Joe today that really made my skin crawl. It started out fair enough, raising the idea that political violence is perhaps evenly matched on both sides of the political spectrum. I can accept that, even though their immediate examples seem a bit lop-sided to me: A racial epithet and a case of spitting on the Right side vs. death threats against a Republican senator and his family on the Left.

But then the segment took a quick turn into "yes, but" mode by making the apparent claim that the Right's violence is somehow worse because there are Right-leaning pundits on talk radio that incite rage against the government. They placed the burden of proof on Pat Buchanan that the Left is just as bad, then continually discounted his examples because there was no single voice advocating those acts. (I beg to differ; there are incitements aplenty from the Left, including from the Chief Executive himself.)

Think about that for a second. If there is a similar amount of political violence, and such violence from the Right is incited by a few self-proclaimed spokesmen, while such violence from the Left is unorganized and organic, does that not imply that people on the Left are inherently violent? People on the Right have to be stirred up to violence, but people on the Left just commit violence without instigation? Is that really what they want to say, regardless of whether it true?

Is that what amounts to a defense? It's in effect sending a note to the teacher saying "Please forgive Johnny for hitting Suzie yesterday at school. This is not something he learned from TV or from watching us, he's just a naturally violent kid and will sometimes hit others without provocation. But please forgive that, because Seth is also violent at school because of things he learns on Television and from his parents."

Violence is violence, regardless of impetus. The Right continually apologizes for it, condemns it, and warns against it, while the left refuses to even acknowledge it. As any behavioral specialist can tell you, recognizing you have a problem is the first step to overcoming it. In that case, the Right is the more mature, responsible side. The Left is still in denial.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Violence and politics...plenty to go around

The media is quick to jump on any cases of reported violence against Democrats and their offices, forgetting far too easily that liberals have advocated and engaged in more than their of politically motivated violence. I mean really, has there ever been a WTO conference that didn't include mob violence by protesters?

If there is anything remarkable about the supposed violence against Democrats it's that it's occurring at all. But the way they've been acting lately, it's just as likely that the violence is perpetrated by liberals as it is by conservatives. This administration has managed to tick off just about everyone, so they should only be surprised that it's not worse!

You do not regularly and contemptuously ignore the will of the people without reaping retribution. I do not advocate violence, but to whine and cry about it is just ridiculous. What did you expect? You crammed a bill through that the majority did not want using tactics the majority found reprehensible. Ye reap what ye sow.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Racists under every rock

The effort to spin America's dislike of the Health Care Bill has begun, using the same old tune: If you disagree with it you're a racist. They're starting to sound like a broken record.

But there are a few glaring holes in that thinking. First off, polls show that over 59% of Americans oppose the Health Care Bill. If they oppose it because of racism, then how did Obama get elected in the first place? At least 10% of those people had to have voted for Obama for him to win.

Secondly, this erroneously assumes that everyone associates the Health Care Bill with Obama. This is not true. I suspect most people associate this bill with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. I know I do. This is their bill, even though it was Obama who requested it. I blame them fully for this mess. But I'm white and they are white. Can I be racist against "my own kind?"

Actually, I am racist. I'm bitterly against the politician race. They're certainly not the same species as the rest of us. They are a vile, nasty lot who should never be let near power. This latest fiasco proves it. So if I'm a racist it's because they're making me that way.

And the fact that they immediately assume that opposition to their work is because of racism...well, that's just because they're racist. They hate the American race.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

"Health Reform" passes. Remember this in November.

The House just passed the "Sit Down and Shut Up, America, We're Going to Fix This Even If it Kills You!" Bill, otherwise known as Health Care Reform. It's interesting to note that the MSNBC.com Poll currently shows 59% of voters feel this bill is a bad idea that will screw things up for a long time, compared with only 29% who think it's a good idea. MSNBC polls tend to run liberal, from what I've seen.

What scares me is that the Democrats won't stop here. Now that they know how to ram-rod things through effectively they're not going to be able to resist doing it again and again before November. They know they just signed their political death warrants, so they've got nothing to lose. Scuttle the Ship of State and grab all the gold service pieces they can pocket on the way to the lifeboats.

I am so disgusted with our "representatives" I don't even know where to begin.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Television is bad for you? Who'd have thought!

MSNBC.com has an article today citing five different ways that television is bad for you. In a nutshell, television:
- Increases your chances of heart disease
- Makes you drink more
- Increases the odds of teenage pregnancy
- Weakens your bones
- Makes parents interact with their kids less

But I'm sure they still maintain it's just the act of watching TV that's bad for you, not the programming they show you.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Democrats throwing Obama under the bus?

With very interesting timing, the Democrats are now starting to talk about how Obama should be listening to Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel:
But a contrarian narrative is emerging: Emanuel is a force of political reason within the White House and could have helped the administration avoid its current bind if the president had heeded his advice on some of the most sensitive subjects of the year: health-care reform, jobs and trying alleged terrorists in civilian courts.
It's been a long-held opinion of those opposed to Obama's agenda that either Obama failed to recruit the right people for his staff, or that he simply refuses to listen to them. It looks like the Democrats feel there is political capital to be gained by claiming the latter.

A fascinating development, to be sure. I'm sure this is just the beginning of...something. I wonder where this is headed.