GIVE TIL IT HURTS!

Unqualified endorsements

Two notable events from good friends of mine that I have been lax in helping to promote so far, in spite of the fact that I owe both of them much more than I could ever hope to repay:

NUMERO UNO: Francis Porretto is offering free fiction at his place. I’ve heartily endorsed Fran’s amazing writing many times here before, and recommend it highly; his straight-up sci-fi stuff is more strongly reminiscent of the great Robert Heinlein I just can’t even, and would be a bargain at any price. But come now; FREE?!? Hie thee thither, without further ado.

NUMERO DOS: Big Country has been running a raffle of some pretty neat stuff he created with his 3D printing flibbertigibbet, so do go check that out too.

Catch-up ball

Been mostly staying away from the Innarnuts of late, due to way too much other shit tugging at my raggedy shirt-tail demanding my attention. In other news, I should have my old, crippled hands on the new-to-me refurb iMac by no later than July the 8th, so we all got that to look forward to, I reckon. Whilst I work on getting myself back up to speed on the haps out there, enjoy a few funnies, y’all.

Goose gate
The sign my old H-D shop bossman, Goose, has on the gate at his new place

No Fourth for you!
Another from Goose, whose premise I couldn’t support more heartily

NOT FUNNY YOU GUYS
Hey, he seems sincere, what could POSSIBLY go wrong?

That last one swiped from WRSA’s Friday Meme-O-Rama.

2

Sick, boys!

One for my boy Big Country.



I’m thinking BCE might not have found that as amusing as I do a cpl-three days ago, when he was deep in the throes of I-wish-I-was-dead-itude. Now that he seems to be on the mend, though, hopefully he’ll get a small chuckle out of it.

Meanwhile, I also ran across a somewhat less recent live Social D vid, this one from all the way back in 1997. As it happens, the BPs opened for ’em on the CLT date of that tour, which took place at the long-since defunct and demolished Tremont Music Hall. After our set, we were hanging with a few buds of ours in our green room when Ness—with whom I had become good friends back when he spent a few months mastering their huge breakthrough release White Light White Heat White Trash in NYC—came crashing in to bitch at me about nobody having informed him we were the support act that night.

“Okay, well, you guys are doing support tomorrow night in Atlanta, right? And then the night after in Birmingham?” “Ummmm, no, Mike, we ain’t on either of those bills. It was just tonight, and we’re done with that already. Sorry, buddy.” He seemed to be genuinely upset at having missed us, even though he’d attended all of our shows at Rodeo Bar in NYC with my friend Kendra in tow over the months he was in residence in the Big Rotten Apple, so was presumably every bit as familiar with our act as we were our own selves.

This recording is old enough to include what to most Social D fans will always be thought of as the “classic” lineup of Ness, the late Dennis Danell, John Maurer, and a man who is probably the greatest punk rock drummer of them all, Chuck Biscuits. If I remember right, it was the first and biggest of several new-rock radio hits yielded up by White Light White Heat.



Biscuits, a real hard-hitter if ever there was one, got his start with the seminal Canadian punk outfit DOA, following that up with stints with California hardcore icons Black Flag and the Circle Jerks before landing in a little ol’ band called Danzig, a move engineered by producer Rick Rubin at the specific behest of Glenn Danzig himself.

Since I’ve put myself in mind of all that good ol’ punk stuff I used to love so much, might as well subject y’all to one of DOA’s best.



Hard to believe now that we were ever that young.

2

Hyeppeh Joomteemf ‘n’shit, yo!

So earlier on this most auspicious of several other Nigger Day! holidays we now have strewn carelessly about the calendar like junk vehicles, broken toys, and stolen bric-a-brac across the dead brown grass of a Darktown front lawn, the local classical-music station spent the afternoon highlighting the “contributions” to the orchestral music oeuvre (not so auspicious, actually) of Black Composers (if any).

I used that “if any” aside sarcastically, yes, but advisedly too. Because apparently, there are indeed a handful of uppity Neegrows who claim to be composers of symphonic music. After enduring a painfully wretched interlude of truly godawful sqwronk and blorgle, including one “composition” featuring a male singer for whom one couldn’t help but feel a certain measure of pity as the poor fellow tried manfully, but all in vain, to locate some semblance of melody somewhere in the unmusical, atonal mosquito repellent this alleged Black Composer™ dared to claim as his own. As I was desperately cramming bits of toilet paper, styrofoam packing material, asbestos swatches, and cigarette filters up against my eardrums to blunt the agony, I realized that, as a huge ST-TNG fan, I had heard this material before:



You guys may think I’m just being funny here, but I swear that’s what this crap sounded like. Seriously.

Which doesn’t mean that there are NO black classical-music composers worth lending an ear to, mind. I know of at least one: the great Justin Holland, a true-blue, gin-you-wine-article American Original of the classical guitar.

Justin Holland (July 26, 1819 – March 24, 1887) was an American classical guitarist, a music teacher, a community leader, a black man who worked with white people to help slaves on the Underground Railroad, and an activist for equal rights for African Americans.

Holland was known nationally, not only as a musician but also as a civil rights activist who worked in the same national circles as Frederick Douglass. His goal was to develop his personal growth, in order to stand as an example for others to see. As a teacher, he deliberately chose a “cautious and circumspect” bearing, keeping his relationships with students strictly professional. He chose work that was considered honorable and held high standards, and the professional respect that accompanied his position aided his civil rights goals.

A measure of his success in showcasing the admirable African American to the world came after he died, when he was given eulogies, by white people as well as African Americans, about his skill as a musician and his personal character.

…In 1845 he moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in the Western Reserve, where he worked on his dream of complete acceptance for African Americans by white Americans, with complete equality. Cleveland was another place where white people were sympathetic toward African Americans. He saw the area as a place that gave him the opportunity to work toward that goal. He consciously embraced education and assimilation as the best ways to overcome racial barriers and prejudices. He looked to European culture as a source of admirable standards (and hoped that middle-class Americans around him would associate him with those standards as well.) He spoke of his own music in terms of European excellence, teaching the “correct system” to fret the strings on the guitar, as done by “the best Masters of Europe.” He also wrote a 324-page treatise on subjects of moral reform.

The standout thing about Justin Holland is that, nearly unique among classical-guitar composers and performers, all of Holland’s work proudly bears a readily-identifiable Made In America™ stamp. To wit:



All of his stuff I’ve ever heard—and I’ve heard quite a bit over the years—is like this: lush, gorgeous, with all the Spanish or Italian influence sanded off to leave nothing but pure America the Beautiful shining through. If you listen close enough, you can hear the earliest stirrings of another distinctly American form in there: jazz.



Pretty, no? So here’s to ya, Justin Holland; God rest ye, and long may your beautiful music endure. You are a credit not just to your race, as they used to say, but to your art, and to your nation as well.

2

Dennis Hopper, American icon

Just so’s you know, I freely admit that I’m running this as an excuse to repost this most awesome Nicholson/Hopper duet from Easy Rider at the end.

I’ve always loved Dennis Hopper and found him to be a kindred spirit. He embodies American consciousness without a shred of sentimentality. We see in him a mixture of rebelliousness, sorrow, loss, and even grace. But more than anything, we see American restlessness. Although he is most known for his films, both as a director and actor, Hopper’s talent was also visible in his photography. After his career had a bit of a downturn in the 1960s, Hopper’s then-wife, Brooke Hayward, gave him a Nikon camera for his 25th birthday. 

Hopper’s photography oeuvre covers only the years 1961-1967, which is short chronologically speaking, but the creations that came out of restlessness transcend time. Hopper himself didn’t want to have anything to do with the pictures and put them away in a vault. “I was trying to forget…,” he said, “the photographs represented failure to me. A painful parting from [daughter] Marin and Brooke, my art collection, the house that I lived in and the life that I had known for those eight years.” Still, the photographs continue to live as artifacts of America’s past, separated from Hopper, the man, but bound to Hopper, the artist. His own view of their existence and status as photographs is almost irrelevant because of our gaze into the world he has recorded.

Hopper’s photographs, particularly in this collection, In Dreams, are a window into the soul of America during the 1960s. We see street scenes of Los Angeles: people frozen in time, sitting, standing up, looking into the distance of their own lives, or just staring at the passing dog. We see a close up of hands writing; jazz musicians in a smokey club; streets in rearview mirrors offering both a reality and an illusion of our strange world; George Segal and Sandy Dennis in 1965, a year before the release of Mike Nichols’ adaptation of Edward Albee’s 1962 play, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” standing among the broken nude statues, embodying innocence not unlike their characters, Nick and Honey, in Nichols’ film.

We see Brooke Hayward in a grocery store, pushing a cart somewhat sadly, lost in her secret thoughts; a couple in a kissing booth; a girl in a rearview mirror driving to God knows where (a job? Seeing a friend? Or is she running away?); a cocktail party where a kiss between a man and woman appears seemingly from nowhere (Are they strangers? Friends? Lovers?).

We see the filming of Henry Hathaway’s 1965 western, “The Sons of Katie Elder.” Hopper does not discriminate and sees everyone as a human being, not in their respective societal or film roles. Hathaway and John Wayne are in the middle of a scene with Wayne pointing at something out of frame. There is a calmness, steadiness, and stability, but also the bubbling of creativity. I am drawn to these images precisely because they point to a time and a place when even the possibility of steadiness and masculinity was present in the culture. Things are getting done and life keeps moving forward.

In the collection, there are even self-portraits, in which we see Hopper’s need to be seen, a rebellious streak, and over the top self-importance. But there is also a certain sensitivity that only comes from someone who has the soul of an artist. They are the most dreamy of all. Is this how Hopper saw himself at the time? He is hovering like a ghost of America past and present. 

On one occasion, Hopper’s daughter Marin, reflected: “My father, Dennis Hopper, believed that being on the road in search of something was very American. You had to keep moving forward no matter what. Ride into town, gunfight at high noon, then off into the sunset.” Hopper represented—and even in his death, represents—not simply the one American dream, whatever it may have been or whatever shred of it is present now. Rather, he represents American dreams—lives lived on the photographic paper, on the celluloid, and in the American desert of desires. 

Okay, I take it back; the article is good enough to serve as its own justification, no excuses required for running it. Same-same with the vid, actually.



Update! So the whole Hopper trip got me to rooting around here and there, which eventually landed me on this incredible site covering all things Easy Rider. Captain America and Billy’s route to Mardi Gras is mapped out, literally; the entire movie is posted; there are then-and-now pics of some of the locations where scenes from the movie were shot, among other way-cool stuff. No foolin’, gang, this is one hella-awesome website for any Easy Rider fan.

2

Guitar heaven

Ed Driscoll reports from the Dallas International Guitar Festival, and if you’re at all into guitars, it’s pretty sweet stuff.

On Saturday, I attended the 2022 Dallas International Guitar Festival at the Dallas Market Hall, the second festival after a timeout in 2020 due to the pandemic lockdown. As I wrote last year at Instapundit, unlike the previous guitar shows in the DFW Metroplex, 2021’s show had a somewhat more low-key feel, lacking the large exhibits by the music industry heavy hitters such as Gibson and Fender. (In pre-pandemic times, a large trailer owned by Gibson would be displaying their newest and most impressive guitars, Fender usually had a large display, and Roland was showing off the latest effects in their Boss line as well.)

While Gibson and Fender were still absent in person, this time around it was nice to see a few bigger names back on display, such as…

Fender, Boss, Gretsch, Taylor, Eventide; Les Paul, Strat, Tele, Black Beauty—the names alone evoke an overwhelming nostalgia in me whose taste is bittersweet at best nowadays, seeing as how my hands have been utterly ruined by the curse of DePuytren’s Contracture, or Viking Disease. My left-hand ring and pinky fingers are curled tightly up against my palm and can’t be straightened, even by physical force; as I tell foks who ask, my once-agile fretting hand is useful mainly as a place to hang my keys, no more. The right hand is only a little bit behind, but well on its way. The sensation brought on by this condition is so intensely unpleasant it actually wakes me up at night sometimes. It’s fucking awful, is what it is.

All that aside, any halfway serious guitar slinger—by which I do NOT necessarily mean a professional musician who earns his daily bread wielding an axe onstage and/or in the studio—will enjoy Ed’s reportage tremendously. The photos alone will be enough to bring a tear of joy to your jaded eye, trust me. Although I must say the Les Paul pics run way heavy on the Tobacco and Honey Burst varieties—which, I can’t stand those ugly, dull-looking turdballs—and way light on Cherry Sunburst—which are my all-time faves. Examples:

Tobacco Burst: uglier’n homemade sin


Honey Burst: slightly more bearable

Purty!
Cherry Burst: a little bit of Heaven on Earth

Of course and as always, your mileage may etc on that. There’s no real shame in disagreeing with me; it just means your taste is in your ass, that’s all. I should maybe also mention the subspecies of the parent Tobacco and Cherry Burst finishes, such as Lemon and Tangerine. In fact, the Honey Burst model depicted above is actually a sub-category of Tobacco Burst its own bad self.

One last photo from Ed’s post to take home witcha.

TeleStrat.jpg

For the uninitiated, that two-headed beastie at Foreground Left flying Distressed White colors and decked out in its Sunday-best gold hardware is something of an odd duck: a double-necked Strat-style body, with the top half being pretty much the standard three-pickup Stratocaster deal. The bottom half, though, veers off in a decidedly different direction: one single-coil pickup, slightly beefier than those found on Strats, mounted on a steel plate way back by the bridge with the familiar, jaunty Telecaster tilt. It also sports the knurled steel volume/tone knobs and long-throw three-position pickup selector switch which typically adorn the Telecaster control panel.

TeleCP.png

Ahh, the precious memories. All well beyond my reach now, alas. As my Uncle Murray always insisted, with no little heat: Gettin’ old sucks. Wise man, Uncle Murray was.

1

Tender mercies

Greatest. Auto. Review. EVAR.

‘Suffice to say the A110 absolutely crushes expectations, and your berry hanger’
The absolutely brilliant Alpine A110 is anything but sterile to drive
You’ll have heard how the Alpine A110’s combination of lightness and rightness has earned the admiration of evo’s tillermen. And that’s all well and good, but what’s it like if you’ve just had a vasectomy? To find out, I went to a central London clinic and invited a large, medically qualified man to have a good rummage amongst my underparts, then realised with dismay that I had booked to borrow a low-slung French sports coupe almost immediately afterwards.

The first thing to cross your mind upon seeing the A110 is just how little it is and also how much your balls hurt. You can immediately sense that this is a car from which all excess has been banished, and this impression is reinforced by opening the featherweight aluminium door, which is so lacking in mass that it puts no strain whatsoever on your mangled knacker sack, unlike its low-slung driving position, which is absolute agony.

Once in, you can take a moment to admire the bespoke seats with their one-piece backs and upsettingly unpillowy cushions. You might be interested to learn that these chairs weigh just 13.1kg each, despite fine detailing including quilted leather and a grippy central section that expertly rides your jeans up into the tenderest parts of your plum pouch.

The rest of the interior is, perhaps, a little less successful, featuring a smattering of Renault parts bin components, including remote audio controls seemingly taken from the Renault 19, and the flat keyless entry card from the Laguna, though wrapped in a smart leather case that makes it both more attractive to look at and better equipped to shift awkwardly across your pocket and nudge stoutly into your tenderised clacker hammock.

Okay, that there is some truly inspired stuff. Hats off to Richard Porter for his dedication to his craft, taking one for the team and putting his boy beans in harm’s way to bring us this truly stellar article. Well done, young feller, well done.

“Clacker hammock.” I swear, I just can’t stop laughing at that one.

1

Can’t hide this decline

More Blibberin’ Biden.

Something is wrong with President Joe Biden, and everyone knows it.

Last week, Biden was asked if his administration will consider delaying the end of Title 42, a pandemic immigration restriction that allows for fast deportation of migrants illegally crossing our border in the name of stopping the circulation of COVID-19.

Biden started rambling. “No. What I’m considering is continuing to hear from my — my — First of all, there’s gonna be an appeal by the Justice Department. Because as a matter of principle, we want to be able to be in a position where if, in fact, it is strongly concluded by the scientists that we need Title 42 that we’d be able to do that. But there has been no decision on extending Title 42.”

It turned out he was talking about mask mandates on airplanes and other forms of transportation. That raises the issue of consistency: If the administration will continue to push masks on planes because COVID is still a threat, isn’t Title 42 protecting against that same threat?

But it would at least be nice if the president knew what he was talking about.

Who would seriously expect any such thing from a lifelong ProPol marionette like Howdy Doody Biden? Moreover, WHY would they? It’s not as if Gropey ever DID know what he was talking about, even back in the days before the Alzheimers had taken him completely off his chump and he’d started angrily hooting and cawing at lawn statuary out of the clear blue sky, or attempting to engage parked cars, restaurant awnings, and manhole covers in casual conversation.

This isn’t simply misspeaking. He seems fully out of it, and we’re all watching quietly.

So? What’s anybody supposed to do about it, anyway? Vote for Romney or something?

On Friday, Biden tried to comment on Florida’s new Parental Rights in Education law and came out with this word salad: “There’s nothing conservative about deciding you’re going to throw Disney out of its present posture because Mickey Mouse? In fact, do you think we should be not be able to say, you know, ‘gay’? I mean, what’s going on here?”

Yeah, like you’d have the vaguest clue about that.

On Easter Monday, a reporter at the White House asked Biden about Afghanistan. As he started answering the question, a staffer in an Easter bunny costume appeared, waving her arms in front of Biden’s face and ushering him along to a different part of the event.

It’s funny, sure, but it’s also kind of scary.

But mostly funny. It’s only scary to the kind of nebbish thumbsucker who still thinks the President has anything much to do with actually running the country.

Who is really running the show at the White House? The president often makes comments about what he’s “allowed” to say, how many press questions he’s permitted to take and which specific reporters he can call on. Who is making these decisions? Is Joe Biden the president or not?

Sure he is, for the time being at least. But he’s exactly the kind of “President” The Power always wanted for itself, and finally has: a shambling, stumbling, biddable meat-puppet who goes where he’s told to go, does what he’s told to do, and says what he’s told to say. He knows his part in this theater production and is content to play it, leaving him no reason to offer the Men Behind The Curtain any resistance or grief about it except maybe when he’s having one of his “episodes,” or coming out from under the reanimation drugs.

A half-century spent assiduously licking Deep State ass; learning every twist and turn in the Swamp there is; and enlisting his entire family in building one of the most brazen and barefaced influence-peddling, baksheesh, logrolling, and out and out bribery operations the world has ever seen prepared one Joe Robinette Biden, hack of all hacks, to do the bang-up job of pretending to govern the nation while lining his pockets, rewarding his friends, and punishing his enemies we’re now witnessing. The soulless, witless empty suit is certainly no statesman. He isn’t admirable, honorable, nor particularly personable, at least from what I’ve seen and read of him. What he IS, though, is infinitely malleable, unimpeded by any of the usual traits that would tend to cause a normal person to hesitate, hold back, or stay his hand: ethics, empathy, dignity, basic human decency.

Is Joe Biden the President? Of course he is; as a senescent figurehead guiding a senescent country gently into That Good Night, he’s one of the very best fits for the job there could possibly be in America’s twilight years. It’s just that some of us old dogs need to let go of the archaic notions concerning what a President is supposed to be and to do which we had hammered into us all these years and get ourselves right with contemporary reality, that’s all.

4

“Satanic vector of disgrace”

Wh-eeeelll DOGGIES, but I sure wish I’d come up with that one myself.

The go-to lever of concerted mind-fuckery has been the term-of-art misinformation, applied especially to things and propositions that are truthful — thereby confounding the public’s ability to discern truth in anything, or to discover how they are being misled in matters of life and death. We’ve allowed the worst in human nature to disgrace ourselves. Satan, Father of Lies, is Western Civ’s paragon of disgrace, and so American life appears more and more Satanic and disgraceful.

All this was epitomized in the operation of Twitter, the cheerful little bluebird of social messaging which evolved in a very few years into an instrument of coercion, punishment, deception, and lying, until it became clear that Twitter’s misinformation was misinformation itself. Half the nation doesn’t believe anything it is told by those in authority and the other half revels in its reckless abuse of authority.

And so, it’s refreshing to see one Elon Musk act to seize control of this Satanic vector of disgrace. Mr. Musk appears motivated to defeat the culture of lying by restoring open debate in the ubiquitous online public arena. It’s a heroic deed. But, you see, it’s not merely Twitter’s management or its biggest shareholders that Mr. Musk is messing with, but malign forces in the US government, which have surreptitiously taken control of Twitter and other social media to work its will on events. If you don’t know that Twitter, Facebook, and Google are proxies serving the US Intel Community, then you have not been paying attention.

Which only serves to underscore Musk’s most endearing trait: his devil-may-care nonchalance, his flat refusal to be intimidated by anything or anybody—even on those occasions when he probably should be. Musk is a man driven to spit in the eye of the Devil himself, then dare him to offer a single murmur of complaint. Even better, you can easily see that, far from being afraid, Elon is thoroughly enjoying himself. Love him or hate him, the man is a 100 percent, bona fide badass, of a stripe America used to be quite damned adept at churning out, but seems frightened half to death of now.

What the heck, having obliquely mentioned the Clampetts up yonder, here’s a clip Buddy Ebsen would probably rather everybody would forget about if he was still around. Take it, Jed:



Forget? Hell!

What’s in a name?

Hey, I don’t call ’em Demonrats for nothing, you know.


Heh. Nice catch, Kev.

1

Are you are as impressed as I am?

No, not in the least.

800-Volt EV Charging: The Other Palliative for Range Anxiety
Taking 18 minutes to charge to 80 percent makes top-up pit stops suddenly more palatable

Not to anybody who remembers that the last time he gassed up his current ICE vehicle it didn’t take him even five minutes, it ain’t…and that was filling his tank completely, not stopping at 80% and then calling it a “top-up.” Not to even mention that said ICE vehicle cost him around thirty-forty grand to buy, considerably less than the hefty 56k-and-up tariff the little Green Weenie windup toys bring along for the ride.

“Range anxiety” has been a headline concern for electric vehicles. Some automakers keep trying to soothe it with ever-larger and heavier battery packs, so that consumers can go farther between charges.

The problem is that lithium-ion cells remain expensive, heavy, and in critically short supply around the world. And battery bulk alone, especially in monstrously powerful trucks, can be a short route to a relatively inefficient and prohibitively expensive EV.

The Hyundai Ioniq5 and Kia EV6 that I recently tested—a pair of wildly impressive, high-design EVs—take a different approach to solving range anxiety: an 800-volt battery architecture that delivers some of the fastest charging in the EV game, and unheard of at these price levels. These handsome crossover SUVs might not be able to cruise for 7 hours on the highway, like the 500-mile-range Lucid Air. But their ability to charge to 80 percent capacity in as little as 18 minutes shows how EVs might circumvent the problem of battery overkill and still be fully viable as interstate cruisers.

The Hyundai, especially, left fellow drivers doing double takes and whipping out phone cameras.

But not their checkbooks, one may have noticed. So far at least, the only proven way to move EVs off the showroom floor and into peoples’ garages is for goobermint to mitigate the heart-stopping sticker shock with a nice subsidy package—or, to put it more honestly, a bribe for swallowing the multitudinous downsides of these Loser Cruisers, at the government’s (taxpayer’s) expense. (HINT TO LIBTARDS: Having to resort to bribery to sell a products is NOT an indication of said product’s popularity with consumers. Quite the opposite, actually.) We won’t even go into the many other disincentives that add up to make EVs a very hard sell indeed. Like, say, the very real and serious risk that your shiny new EV strugglebuggy might explode and/or spontaneously burst into flames, taking down your house along with it.

TITLE BACKSTORY: Back in the middle/late 70s I had an interaction—an abbreviated one, for reasons which ought to soon be apparent—with the manager/salesman of one of CLT’s perennially cellar-dwelling music stores, the name of which I don’t remember. I had wandered in there out of sheer desperation in search of a pack of whatever semi-obscure guitar strings I was enamored of back then, kidding myself that I’d be more likely to find off-brand strings in an off-brand store—a hopeful hypothesis which the science would invalidate posthaste.

Music Store Dude’s idea about my quest for cheap but effective guitar strings did NOT concur with my own, oh no no. According to his professional Music Store Dude expertise, what I really wanted was a brand new, all-chipboard-no-tube, cheaply made, sounds like the worst cheap-beer-and-Indian-food morning-after diarrhea-dook you ever took smelled like, Peavey guitar amplifier. Having one of those crimes against rock and roll all plugged in and ready to befoul the air long before my entry into the shop had made the little bell hung over the door go “ding,” MSD leapt into Sell! Sell! Sell! mode, turned the offensive thing on, and began idly strumming the guitar he had been holding in his lap. After each chord, the guitar’s melodious tone curdled into a gnarly, muddy mess courtesy of that sorry-ass Peavey. Then Music Store Dude would beatifically roll his eyes Heavenward as he repeated the corny mantra that had clearly been drummed into him in the Salesmanship 101 course he had flunked out of in community college: Are you as impressed as I am? Are you as impressed as I am? ARE YOU AS IMPRESSED AS I AM?

There was but one answer to be made to this increasingly aggressive query, to which I immediately resorted in self-defense: I muttered, semi-sotto voce, something along the lines of Sorry, gotta go, I think I hear my friends at Reliable Music shouting for me. Which is where I kicked up my heels and hurried off to without further delay, and bought the stupid pack of strings that had so nearly brought a strange doom crashing down upon my head—Death by Shitty Guitar Tone. I should’ve just gone to Reliable in the first place. I don’t know why I hadn’t, but it was a mistake I would never make again. In every city I played in, I kept strictly to the music stores I was familiar with when I needed one, shunning all the weird-looking, down-at-heels ones as if they had leprosy.

Yeah, yeah, I know: Skynyrd used and endorsed Peavey amps, as did pretty much every other ’70s Southern rock hit factory you could name.

And so what? I’ve always been pretty sure the second part of “used and endorsed” explains the first adequately enough: those Southern rockers played ’em not so much because they liked ’em, but because they were being paid to look as if they did. Myself, I hated the damned shitburgers back then, and I still do now. But hey, if Peavey handed me a big enough wad of cash, I’d try my best to pretend I liked the useless boat anchors too.

Obligatory disclaimer/confession: I DID play a Peavey Bandit for a couple-three months in the earliest days of the BPs; it belonged to one of the guys I had originally conceptualized the band with, an old-school purist who just could not abide the Marshall JMP half-stack (ie, the King of Rock, long may he reign—one of the very best amps ever produced, by anybody) that was helping me work through my rage issues back then. I make no apology for my brief lapse into the Shame of the Peavey; after all, none of us is without his own skeletons in the closet, right?

The moral of the story? Never let yourself be taken in by a hustler (the gooberment) trying to pressure or swindle (or legislate) you into settling for an inferior solid-state counterfeit (EV) of the tube-driven (ICE) real deal. You’ll be throwing away your money (your money) in the end, it won’t work out as promised (your house will burn down), and the only one who will end up happy with the whole deal will be the salesman (goobermint).

Oh, one more point to be made: If your product is good enough you won’t even have to sell it, it will sell itself. In contrast to the Peavey band-endorsement hustle, do note that Jim Marshall kept strictly to his principle of not paying for artist endorsements, the lone exception—until 1991 and the release of Marshall’s JCM Slash signature-model amp—being Jimi Hendrix.

According to an old book I have chronicling the amazing history of James Marshall’s world-beating amps (Marshall, amusingly and ironically enough, was actually a drummer his own self, and had enjoyed some local fame playing jazz in London nightspots), their names partially explains the Hendrix exception. Jimi was introduced to Marshall at the small London music store and amp-repair shop James owned and ran—and where his iconic amps had originally been created, at the request of Pete Townsend, probably the most famous of several other shop hangarounds that would later become rock stars themselves—and was blown away by the coincidence of their names—James Marshall Hendrix, guitar god, and James NMI Marshall, immortal guitar-amp legend. The two became close friends, Jimi switched to Marshalls for good, and the rest is rock and roll history.

Some good stuff from the previously-linked article, for any gear-geeks that might be reading:

You’d think that a guitarist of Slash’s stature would have a warehouse full of amplifiers at his disposal. As it turns out, though, the Guns N’ Roses guitarist only has a handful of trusty heads, which were discontinued in 1989, and they’re all just about ready to be retired. “I’ve been using the same Marshall Jubilee heads at every gig and session since I got them in 1987,” says Slash. “A bunch of those got badly damaged at the riot we had in St. Louis in 1991. After that, I was really nervous about my amplifier situation because I knew that if anything happened to the Jubilees I had left, I would be totally screwed.”

It was in the aftermath of the riot (which was prompted by an abbreviated GNR set) that Slash and Marshall began discussions that would ultimately result in the limited-production JCM Slash. And while Marshall amps have been associated with many of rock’s legendary guitarists, this is the company’s first endorsement deal-not to mention its first signature model.

“I’m totally honored that Marshall is doing this,” says Slash. “I’m the first person ever to get a free amp from them-except for Jimi Hendrix. And from what I understand, the amps he had were just on loan.”

The new amplifier is an exact replica of the Silver Jubilee 2555. However, unlike the Jubilee, the JCM Slash boasts the guitarist’s “smoking snake” logo and comes complete with a pimpin’ snakeskin cover.

The all-tube, 100-watt head boasts a quartet of Russian EL34’s in its power section and a trio of ECC83’s driving its two-channel preamp. There’s also a handy, front-panel-mounted half-power switch that allows you to drop the amp down to a more manageable 50-watt triode mode perfect for smaller venues. Slash admits that even he runs his amps on half-power much of the time. “If you have a singer who’s sensitive to loud backlines like Axl is, having a half-power switch is a godsend. It’s the only I way I can get the power tubes to work as hard as I need them to.”

I got chills here. Honestly, reading stuff like this makes me miss playing more than just about anything else, it really does. Nothing sweeter or more satisfying than the spine-tingling yowl of a Model 1987 50-watt Plexi reissue firing a pair of Celestion G12T-75s, the rig I happily ran for many years. Never have I owned a setup I liked better than this one, and I’ve owned ’em all. I never liked GNR, but I do like Slash just fine. He’s an excellent player, and I envy him his guitar/amp setup.

Update! If you can’t bribe ’em, try extorting ’em.

Pete “Just Buy A Tesla” Buttigieg Buttplug (FIFY—M) Says To Get Used To Price Hikes Until We Have Energy Independence Based On Clean Energy
Just another reminder that the higher gas prices you are suffering under are intentional.

Ever since the Obama Administration, the left has made it their goal to make gas so unaffordable that the American people will dump the convenient and plentiful fossil fuels the entire global economy is based upon for “clean” energy sources.

Here’s Mayor Pete telling Americans that the beatings will continue until morale improves:

Here’s the thing to remember, even if all the oil we use in the USA were made in the USA, the price of it is still subject to powers and dynamics outside of the USA.

Which means, until we achieve a form of energy independence that is based on clean energy created here at home, American citizens will still be vulnerable to wild price hikes like we’re seeing right now.

Gay Mayor Pete and the Biden crew will never admit that gas prices were low under Trump and that it was because of his energy policy.

But now that Biden has made it impossible to drill in the US, then all of a sudden all the drilling in the world won’t help the United States. It’s a global market.

Forget the four years under Donald Trump, those never happened.

There’s nothing that can be done, except buying electric cars, building more windmills and solar panels, and keeping the serfs at home forever.

Never mind that Biden’s Energy Secretary even says that they are using the Ukraine crisis and rising oil prices to transition America off gas.

It’s all intentional. It’s meant to cause pain.

Yep, t’is. There must be some way we could return the favor and cause them some right back, don’tcha think? Gee, I wonder what it might be

OBEY update! When bribery and extortion have failed, you might then try a little judicious legislation removing the serfs’ ability to choose for themselves.

Last week, the current Democrat Governor of Washington state, Jay Inslee, signed a bill into law that aims to ban the sale of most non-electric vehicles in the state by 2030.

This legislation follows the lead of other deep-blue states like California and New York that recently announced bans on gas-powered vehicles in a move to end sales of these vehicles no later by 2035.
.
The Post Millennial reported that Inslee signed the “Move Ahead Washington” package into law stipulating that all publicly owned and privately owned “passenger and light duty vehicles 2030 model or later that are sold, purchased, or registered in the state” must be electric.

This legislation comes with a $16.9 billion price tag and will receive funds generated by taxes on gasoline.

Ummm, I believe I see a tiny little problem with this Supergenius!™ idea.

Inslee claimed that the package would help “combat climate change,” but the state of Washington will be reliant upon its residents and visitors continuing to fill their cars with gasoline in order to fund reach this green goal.

So here we are then, where every socialist tyranny eventually winds up: using the wealth only capitalism can create to fund their adolescent fantasies, feeding off the very host that sustains them until they’ve killed it.

1

Sweet Baby Jesus!

Artwork pulled down from the internet, what with me sucking at it. All I drew were the mouths and eyebrows. See what I mean about sucking at it?

2
Posted in Art!   

The crowning accolade

Ronnie D gets another feather in his cap, courtesy of some legendary fellow denizens of the Sunshine State.

Johnny Van Zant, lead vocalist of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and his brother Donnie Van Zant created a song to celebrate freedom and Florida, thanking Governor Ron DeSantis for his leadership over the past few years.

As Governor DeSantis heads into a reelection campaign, he mentioned to Van Zant it would be great if they created a song for Florida in the same genre as their famous hit Sweet Home Alabama. The two brothers took the challenge and wrote and recorded “Sweet Florida.” It’s a catchy tune.

Governor DeSantis joined Johnny and Donnie Van Zant this morning on Fox & Friends to discuss.

Catchy it most certainly is, a stirring Southern rock anthem in the true old Skynyrd style. Dear departed big brother Ronnie would be damned proud of his junior siblings, I think. Sundance includes vid of DeSantis promoting the Skynyrd tribute on Fox, as you might expect. Meanwhile, have yourself a taste of the song itself.



As if all that weren’t enough rich, buttery goodness for even the greediest gourmet, the song has its very own website, here.

Yeah, we’re free down in Florida; our governor, he’s red, white, and blue. Hott-O-Mighty DAMN, but I love it. Big ol’ Southren-fried hat tip to Barry.

Update! Just watched it again, and the song not only has the same key signature—D Major—but the exact same 1-7-4 (D-C-A) primary chord progression as Sweet Home Allybammer does. God bless Florida, the South, the Van Zants, Ron DeSantis, and good ole Southern Rock.



Ahh, the 70s. What the hell, since we’re well down the rabbit hole at this point, let’s just dive a little deeper so’s I can share with y’all what always was my own personal favorite Skynyrd tune.



Smash ’em up-date! And the hits just keep on coming.

DeSantis broaches repeal of Disney World’s special self-governing status in Florida
Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis addressed on Thursday the suggestion of repealing a 55-year-old state law that allows Disney to effectively govern itself on the grounds of Walt Disney World, following the company’s public opposition to a controversial parental rights law in Florida.

“What I would say as a matter of first principle is I don’t support special privileges in law just because a company is powerful and they’ve been able to wield a lot of power,” DeSantis said during a press conference in West Palm Beach, Florida on Thursday.

DeSantis’s comments comes after Florida State Rep. Spencer Roach tweeted that he has met with legislators to discuss repealing the self-governing law in response to Disney’s recent actions.

“Yesterday was the 2nd meeting in a week w/fellow legislators to discuss a repeal of the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act, which allows Disney to act as its own government,” Roach tweeted. “If Disney wants to embrace woke ideology, it seems fitting that they should be regulated by Orange County.”

While I’m viscerally against any flexing of government muscle in the private sector just on general principle, it’s clear we’re way beyond the point where stubbornly standing on principle can help us much. This is a war we’re in here, and out-of-control Woke mega-corps who think to dictate to state governments what they may and may not do is a bridge too far for me. As DeSantis has said:

“This state is governed by the interest of the people of the state of Florida. It is not based on the demands of California corporate executives,” DeSantis said. “They do not run this state. They do not control this state.”

Nor should they, nor should they be allowed to summarily act as if they do. With the announcement that “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts…” Disney declared war on the very concept of self-government. Fine then, motherfuckers. You want a war? You got one—with Ron The Knife as our commanding general. Let’s see how that works out for ya.

Disney’s wildly mistaken notion of what their “goal as a company” should be needs to be corrected, badly and most ricky-tick. DeSantis and his like-minded cohorts in FLA government just might be the perfect teachers to straighten Disney’s ass out but good, seems to me. It’s absolutely imperative that US corporate execs, whatever their employer’s field of endeavor, are reminded of the proper role, priorities, and boundaries of American businesses. Given their own outsized power, influence, and reach, this reminder must be firm, unequivocal—even painful, if that’s what’s required to force them back into their own lane again.

1

Above their station

The Wokester punk-ass cockholsters dare to dream of cancelling Tchaikovsky now? SRSLY?!?

I see poor old Tchaikovsky is getting canceled by world-renowned ensembles such as the, er, Cardiff Philharmonic because he has stayed silent when he should have been noisily distancing himself from Vladimir Putin. As our friend Laura Rosen Cohen has pointed out, Peter Ilyich was quite the Ukrainophile: he used to summer there every year, just like many American politicians and money launderers. Nevertheless, his boots were on the ground far more often than Lindsey Graham’s: There are statues of Tchaikovsky and museums to him in at least two northern Ukrainian towns, as well as in Kiev.

So I thought, as compensation for disappointed Cardiff Phil customers, we’d have a little Tchaikovsky for our Sunday musical selection. Of course, ours is a department of songs, so you’ll have to suffer the great Russian with an American lyric – and, indeed, with a British lyric.

Our story begins in 1939. Well, actually, it begins in 1869. That’s when Tchaikovsky’s fellow composer Balakirev proposed Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet as a subject to young Pyotr Ilyitch. The resulting “fantasy-overture” uses the Bard’s characters and themes for a series of musical contrasts, starting with the reflective clarinet-and-bassoon melody representing the star-crossed lovers’ pal Friar Laurence, next a stormy passage for the feudin’ an’ a-fightin’ Montagues and Capulets, and then the famous soaring love theme…

As it happens, Pyotr Ilyich is a long-time favorite of mine, and the Fantasy Overture one of my favorites among his works, although I must point out that I like Tchaikosvky well enough that I can’t really think of any of them I find off-putting. The FO stands out in the Tchaikovsky catalog, with its strangely ominous and dark opening section:




Yep, we have ourselves another brilliant SteynMusic post here, folks. Incredibly, Mark missteps slightly with the next bit.

In the context of the full piece, it’s as if the composer is either too cool or too serious to let rip with the theme and blow the roof off.

Think so, do ya? Well, I don’t know what we’re to make of the thunderous close-out, then.




If that don’t blow your roof off but good, then I’d say you got yourself one hell of a stout roof. When Tchaikovsky’s signature drumroll begins its thunderous, crashing announcement of the final bars it’s some truly stirring stuff, and no mistake.

The story of What Happened Next takes some truly wild twists and turns from there, even by SteynMusic standards. Highly, HIGHLY recommended, people.

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