Monday, March 12, 2018

Love Look Away

Okay, so I've been in Los Angeles for almost two weeks now, and I'm loving my old radio stations. I heard this one on KJAZ, 88.1 FM, today, and I pulled over to the curb to write it down so that it would not just fade from memory. This cut is worth listening to every so often, pretty much forever.

The radio here really is pretty good. KJAZ plays a lot of blues on the weekend. Then there's KXLU, 88.9 FM, the Loyola University station. They play the music of the cool kids, I'm not even sure what you'd call it anymore. It's more rock than pop, that much I can say. On the weekend they're mostly Salsa, and that's a rocking good time, too. KCRW is still very good (89.9 FM). Their thing is playing music for the cool adults. KPFK, Pacifica Radio, is the center of World Music activity, which fits in with their aggressive political posture. There are weekend shows devoted to African pop/rock/jazz music. It's all good stuff.

For all of those stations, there are no commercials, unless you catch them in a pledge drive. It's a good radio town, and a good restaurant town, and a great weather town. Just remember to bring a lot of money, because L.A. is also a very, very expensive town.

Go-Go Dancers 60's. 1960's Little Betty Boop Also Appears.

Life on earth has several redeeming characteristics, but there's only one of them that never gets old. I am constantly humbled by the experience, and grateful. Say amen, somebody!

J.J. Jackson - But, It's Alright

Loving songs like this makes me some kind of semi-retarded geezer I suppose, but it could be worse. I actually am a semi-retarded geezer.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

My Country

My country, right or wrong. I never believed it myself, but you used to hear it all the time. I mean back in the "Cops of the World" days, the days when meaningful protest changed the course of the country and slowed down wild-assed, counter-productive government policies.

I'm in America now, staring it directly in the face instead of checking in on the Internet from time to time. I don't like a lot of what I see. The United States of America: I love this country and its flag. This love forces me to strongly disapprove of much that is going on these days.

For one thing, construction sites are flying American flags, big ones, just like during the anti-war days of the Vietnam era. Other flag motifs are common as well. Those flags do not mean, "we love our country." They mean, "we hate the people who disagree with us regarding the current government's policies and the direction that our society should take going forward."

The country is dangerously divided, both politically and financially. Divided in terms of the security of its citizens. These divisions are getting worse. The income inequality is startling, not only between the very wealthy and everyone else, but also between the still prosperous and the desperate poor. These things are self-evident; they require no explanation.

"What can be done about it?" would be a good question, but a better question, I think, is, "can anything be done about it?" We live in a speed-of-light communications environment that has never existed before. Many voter's bad attitudes have been created and are being constantly massaged on a minute to minute basis. The information that bombards people is a mix of the true, the dubious, and the intentionally misleading, and people have less and less ability to tell the difference, even if they cared to sort things out according to their reality quotient. It may be too late to do anything but ride this tiger and see where it takes us. Maybe all we can do is hold on and hope for the best.

What would "the best" look like? It might be a realization by the power elite that THEIR best interests lie in keeping the rest of us relatively comfortable and secure. Allowing people to have lives that feature some degree of meaning and security. It is highly possible that such a world would generate a much bigger total financial product that would make the very wealthy and powerful even more lavishly well-off than they are today. I don't think that will happen, though, because it is not necessary. Ninety-nine point something percent of a world full of insecurity and desperation is already more than enough to provide the bosses with more than they could ever spend or benefit from controlling. So why bother? The power-elite is nothing if not practical. Selfish and practical.

"Oh, say, does that star spangled banner still wave?" Well, yes. But the rest of those words don't apply anymore. This isn't that land anymore.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Other Earthly Paradise

I am out of the office, and I will remain so for another week or so. My temporary base is Los Angeles, which was my home for about thirty years. It's still very nice.

American TV is interesting. It's like an education in the fine points of pharmacology. Here are two fascinating things that I've learned about prescription drugs:

1. The new selling point for legal drugs is, "may cause weight loss;" and
2. If you are allergic to a certain medication, you should avoid taking that medication.

Oh, three fascinating things:

3. Virtually all medications have the potential to make you dizzy, and probably nauseous as well.

The only time that I watch regular TV "channels" these days is in hotels. It's just as big a waste of time as I remembered it. Between streaming, and YouTube, and all of the many other options, it's no wonder that the viewership for this year's Oscars was down. I only watched the whole thing because I was trapped.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Visions - Cigarette

Speaking of cigarettes. 

MONEY (1962) by the Beatles with Pete Best

I haven't heard many Beatles tracks with Pete Best in the band. I've looked, but I've never made a science of it. This cut is from the Decca auditions, and I think it's a very successful track. It shows what I've said all along: the Beatles were a damn good bar-band at this time. 

But of course, at least three of them had big ambitions, and John had huge pretensions. Being big-time in the bar-band business brought in small crowds and little money. The real money was in big selling records, with band members holding the publishing rights, and big venue shows. So that's where the Beatles steered their course. I usually say that they "sold out," but in my kinder moments I don't think that's exactly fair. Maybe they were just confident. They were, after all, very good for a bar-band. They looked for people who could help them, and got rid of someone who they thought would hold them back. A little on the cold side, but if the Beatles were not a cold-hearted, self-interested bunch of guys, they'd have stayed together until death overtook them. That would have been the smart thing to do. 

"Money," a perfect song choice for this lot. 

Pete Best here is unspectacular but inoffensive. He's not as bad as a lot of people make him out to be. He just wasn't in the mold of what the Beatles wanted to become. Which was a very polished Moon-Spoon-June, Tin Pan Alley, Brill Building act that appealed to all age groups. Pete probably had more fun with his own band after he left, excuse me, was kicked out.