Wednesday, December 10, 2008

American Automotive Industry and the Economic Crisis

Given the choice would you drive a Tahoe or a Camry? If I could afford the Tahoe, I'd damn sure drive it.

This has as much to do with the credit crunch stopping people from buying shit as bad cars. Remember, gas is down over $2 a gallon and people still aren't buying...ANYTHING. Hyundai is off 40% in Alabama - where a lot of people buy Hyundais because we make them here and people have some hometown pride.

People aren't buying a gotdamn thing - and the sad thing is that the credit crisis is glossing over the fact that the reason motherfuckers are in debt is because actual wages haven't risen since Reagan was the president - we need credit because the dollar is artificially inflated in terms of what the fuck it will buy you.

Also - this whole thing is the biggest fucking scam in the history of the world, and i just can't figure out who is benefiting, or I'd be like some crazed monster-sized Chomsky out there.

Lemme get this straight - people leveraged and sold derivatives until they equalled more than 800 times the actual money available in the entire goddamn world and now they are shocked that the house of cards has collapsed and want the government to back all of this shit so they don't go broke? Fuck 'em in the ear.

Sadly, while I type that, I understand that the government has to do all that, and probably will have to auction off the original Declaration of Independence, The Liberty Bell and let the New York Yankees be renamed the Shanghai Shiteaters just to make sure we're not all wearing tattered rags or pushing a shopping buggy down the road and muttering to ourselves by this time next week.

As in: meet the new boss, same as the old boss - and in 3-4 years we'll think of this like the savings and loan "scandal" - some dumb white boys got all hot about "the gubmint" gettin in the way of "industry and capitalism" convinced their cronies friends to deregulate a bunch of shit, made and lost more money than your average American makes in his entire life time, had the feds bail em out, all the while wearing ostrich boots and eating Belgian Endives and Quiche in a can, whistling past the graveyard....except there is no graveyard except for all of us assholes who think that shit ever changes, or in reality, is ever different.

There's been nothing new under the sun since Solomon, and this is just another grand shuck.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Genius Round the GAR...

I always need outside inspiration to really get the wheels turning, and I found in a plea for early primary information on Time Magazine's blog Swampland. Here's what I wrote:

All of the Democratic political establishment lined up early for Clinton. The Trial Lawyers sent many, many checks to Edwards, and Obama is apparently up 6 points and climbing down here.

I personally think that people are caught up in the power of the movement, and the desire for something different -- which may not be the same as "change."

In Montgomery, there is more palpable interest in the start of the 08 legislative session -- which coincides with the Primary, and Mardi Gras. But people are also curious as to who is supporting whom, and why.

I have started to see cracks in the Clinton facade, and believe that a majority of "connected" Democrats may, in fact, end up voting Obama.

As for the "air war," I spent most of the weekend holed up in my house with a hurt back, sinus troubles, and the desire to rest up before the session (full disclosure: I am a *dreaded* "registered lobbyist" who did some primary consulting for Richardson) -- Obama's ads sound and look like they are building a movement, and Hillary's look like standard election day pablum.

I also think that her emphasis on jobs, especially blue collar, are not exactly targeted to Alabama voters, because our economy is running well ahead of the national economy, and the Governor and legislature have worked together to recruit 3 or 4 large construction type projects in the past year or so -- and distributed them throughout the state.

Hope it helps, keep up the good work


Here's a link to their post:

More later, but as usual, I am highly impressed with myself.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

First post in a month, and first of the New Year

And I am already making excuses as to why I am not posting. I think it may be that I am better jiving off others' responses than just putting my thoughts on paper. Oh well, I guess that's why I have this godforsaken spot of the internet staked out for my Z-grade ramblings.

Let's recap 2007, shall we?

Started with whimper, went out with a...whimper?

That was fun. Seriously, now is not the time for introspection. There will be no teary eyed 'What Barack Obama means to me" posts. Or Hillary. Or Little Johnny Edwards thesonofamillworker.

Well, check back. I promise more content. And, spreading the word about honkies and the Ofay Opressor.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Forthwith: A List of 20 Good albums from the Year of Our Lord 2007

All year, I kept thinking this was a bad year for music, especially considering the good albums that came out last year. Then I sat down and listed all the albums I liked from this year, and came up with a pretty damn good body of work from this year.

So, here it is: blurbs to come.

1. The National - Boxer
"Stay out, super late, with our diamond slippers on." Half the time these guys seem like indie's answer to Leonard Cohen -- rambling slowcore degenerates who sometimes break through their own nonsense with a blast brilliance. And then I shut my logical brain off and start to get a feel for the overall theme of the album. To these ears it is a treatise on the relative mundanity of life in your thirties. Especially if you spent your twenties trying to everything possible to avoid all the trappings of success and responsibility. It's more, to borrow another cliche' world weary -- this band hits you in right in the center of the "I used to be fun, now I'm boring and married and drink micro brews and pine for things in the Crate & Barrel catalogue" part of your brain.
Fake Empire and Apartment Story really evoke those feelings for me. It's rare when you find a song or a sound that really captures th ewhat and the why of your life at the time, but this is one of those albums for one of those times.
It makes me feel like I am on sedatives/painkillers, but in a good way.

2. Deadstring Brothers - Silver Mountain
3. Kings of Leon - Because of the Times
4. Tim Armstrong - A Poet's Life
5. Babyshambles - Shotter's Nation
6. Ike Reilly - We Belong to the Staggering Evening
7. Broken West - I Can't Go On/I'll Go On
8. Dax Riggs - We Sing of Only Blood or Love
9. Spoon - GA GA GA GA GA
10. I'm Not There - OST
11. John Doe - A Year in the Wilderness
12. Jason Isbell - Sirens of the Ditch
13. Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
14. Bettye LaVette - The Scene of the Crime
15. Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
16. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
17. Nicole Atkins - Neptune City
18. Dwight Yoakam - Dwight Sings Buck
19. Kanye West - Stronger
20. Jay - Z - American Gangster

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

‘The gracious gifts’

By Abraham Lincoln
October 1863

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for
such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore if, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 3d day of October A.D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

‘Enduring peace’

By Franklin D. Roosevelt
November 1944

In this year of liberation, which has seen so many millions freed from tyrannical rule, it is fitting that we give thanks with special fervor to our Heavenly Father for the mercies we have received individually and as a nation and for the blessings He has restored, through the victories of our arms and those of our allies, to His children in other lands.

For the preservation of our way of life from the threat of destruction; for the unity of spirit which has kept our Nation strong; for our abiding faith in freedom; and for the promise of an enduring peace, we should lift up our hearts in thanksgiving.

For the harvest that has sustained us and, in its fullness, brought succor to other peoples; for the bounty of our soil, which has produced the sinews of war for the protection of our liberties; and for a multitude of private blessings, known only in our hearts, we should give united thanks to God.

To the end that we may bear more earnest witness to our gratitude to Almighty God, I suggest a nationwide reading of the Holy Scriptures during the period from Thanksgiving Day to Christmas. Let every man of every creed go to his own version of the Scriptures for a renewed and strengthening contact with those eternal truths and majestic principles which have inspired such measure of true greatness as this nation has achieved.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, President of the United States of America, in consonance with the joint resolution of the Congress approved December 26, 1941, do hereby proclaim Thursday the twenty-third day of November 1944 a day of national thanksgiving; and I call upon the people of the United States to observe it by bending every effort to hasten the day of final victory and by offering to God our devout gratitude for His goodness to us and to our fellow men.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

DONE at the City of Washington this first day of November in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and forty-four and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and sixty-ninth

Friday, November 16, 2007

Top 30 of the 2000s (so far)

Inspired by the Stones mix review, and working from a list already assembled for the obnerds, I will post the list and then do a review for each. Expect a fair amount of meandering stories, bad description of sounds, and hyperbole in extremis.

The Strokes - Room on Fire
This band is either praised or loved. Hailed as the new saviors of New York Rock, and praised for their approved of influences of Television (whom they sound NOTHING LIKE) and The Velvet Underground (whom they sound even LESS like). Derided as nothing more than a bunch of trust fund punks who stole some Verlaine licks and the Lou Reed brand of disaffected cool.
Yet even their hardcore fans don't usually know what to make of this album. Most just overlook in favor of the amazing debut and the critically confounding third album.

Truthfully, all of their albums are almost equal. What sets this one apart is its tautness, its lack of want or need for approval, and even the fact that they seemingly didn't care about one upping the debut, or moving in different sonic directions, they just doubled down on what worked. Julian's could give a fuck less singing and lyrics, the guitar and bass work, and the 'mechanical' drums.

When this album comes on, it is always midnight at the Roadhouse after the 2003 Georgia v, Auburn game, and Yail Bloor and I are not even considering the adverse affects of another 3 day bender. "I want to be forgotten, and I don't want to be reminded. You say 'Please don't make this harder' No I won't yet." Through false memory or wrong emotion, this has become a piece of me.

Ike Reilly - Salesmen and Racists
With a title like this, how could I not love it? Equal parts John R. Cash, 90s hip hop obsessive and drunken Irish poet, this maniac from Chicago crafted a flat out masterpiece, from seemingly nowhere. Hip Hop Thighs #17 is a blast of originality, which is also greater than the sum of its influences. The opener, Last Time is, to my ears, a story about trying to screw a girl, but passing out right before she gives in. But she won't mind, cos I'm funny. Even though a psychopathic Canadian screenwriter introduced me to this record, I was aware of one of his songs from the Cracker album "Countrysides," which itself could have made this list. The versions are totally different, both great, and represent everything that is great about Ike -- joy, paranoia and the need to flee are all equally represented.

Drive-By Truckers - Decoration Day
I could write a Master's Thesis in Southern Culture on the song "Sinkhole" alone. This is the sound of a band freed from the strictures of knowing that they are great, but never QUITE managing to put that greatness on record. They managed to distill their influences, and lay it all on the line for their previous album, which somehow managed to escape this list, "Southern Rock Opera."

Sometimes realizing your potential can become a burden, but in this case it seemed to free them from the need to conceive, play and produce their masterpiece. Instead, they go back to a collection of story songs about events in the South and elsewhere, filtered through the jaundiced eyes of Patterson Hood and The Stroker Ace Mike Cooley, and the new addition of Jason Isbell. They have always had a darkness about their songs. These are people who's culture revels in being underdogs, Scots-Irish hillbillies under the foot of somebody. Be it The Yankees, The Carpetbaggers, revenuers, or even the bankers and barristers that keep the economy seperate and unequal.

On this one they hit their stride. The addition of Isbell adds an almost pop sensibility to some songs, and forced everyone to bring their A-Game. And they do. This is a Patterson heavy album, and some of his best work is at the forefront. This is also the type of album that you can listen to 1000 times and never quite GET what they mean on certain songs, and then you revisit it, and the songs reveal themselves in new and beautiful ways. "It's Decoration Day, and I got a mind to go spit on his grave. And I'll fight to the last Lawson's last living day."

Lucero -That Much Further West
Drive-By Truckers - Dirty South
Bobby Bare, Jr. -Young Criminals Starvation League

My Morning Jacket - It Still Moves
Dave Grohl's favorite band distills it's sound to Skynyrd freakout guitars and Exile on Main Street production from a Kentucky grain silo. The guitar work is what it's all about and when combined with Jim James' howl it has a beautiful effect you would not expect to find on an album definable by the six strings. Ethereal and and even winsome with a bit of menace in the background.

The Strokes - Is This It
One of the rare albums that was as good as advertised. Released the same day as Ryan Adams' Gold, the day after September 11, it was not the one with the love letter to New York, and it's highly doubtful that it's paean to the stupidity of New York's Finest will end up being Rudy Giuliani's intro music at the Republican National Convention.

So what is it? Droney, vocodery vocals, staccato guitar licks, and a new punk aesthetic that lays waste o everything in its path. The perfect soundtrack to stumbling around the Bowery, checking in to Chateau Marmont for the weekend, or in my case, 44 minutes to fill up a hole in cellphone coverage between Montgomery, AL and Atlanta, GA -- the sound of debauchery, yet also the sound of expectation of a future not yet set in stone. Sometimes you have to grab for the brass ring.
Libertines S/T
TI – King
The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America
When I first heard The Hold Steady, the way the vocals and the music were mixed seemed to mesh in my head, making it feel like no matter how profound the songs about coming to grips with growing up a Jesus freak, shaking it all off in favor of a life of drunken revelry, then realizing the possibility of doing both, I'd never quite understand it.

Then one day, it was like someone pulled the cotton out of my ears, and I was able to hear everything -- the louder than bombs guitar licks, the songs about girls, and cars, and snow and poets and everything that makes youth worthwhile...and wasted on the young.

I think in the near future, we may come to view this as the final album in Craig Finn's "American Youth Trilogy," his Big Sur if you will, to borrow an analogy to the Kerouac penned title. Sure, he'll always be literary and hopeful, drunk and a nouvelle Springsteen, but I hold out hope he can build on this promise and not keep hammering the lapsed Catholic leitmotif.

But if they don't, who cares? Even if I think they can fly, if they can't they'll just die.
Young Jeezy - Thug Motivation
As anyone who knows me can attest, I like my rap GHETTO. I don't want to hear any black righteousness, backpacker bullshit, or r&b crooned choruses. I want bitches, blunts, big screen TVs, and songs about Slangin Yay. Well, jeezy brings all that, and a verbal panache and Southern Flair for all things flashy, blingy and cracky.

With horns galore and mean "Yeeeeeaaaahhh" on nearly every song, his repeat-a-line style may not make him the "Next KRS" but that's not what he wants. All Jeezy needs is some fresh shit, and a corner to ball.

Loretta Lynn -Van Lear Rose
Jay-Z The Black Album
Deadstring Brothers - Starving Winter Report
Mick Jagger fronts The Band circa Music from Big Pink, if the drug of choice were coke instead of pot and Big H. Either you forgive them their trespasses and enjoy good rock and roll, or you get caught up in them sounding too much like their influences; this country rock band from Detroit brings the goods.
Willie Nile - Streets of New York
Bruce Springsteen - The Rising
Explosions in the Sky - The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place
The (International) Noise Conspiracy - Armed Love
Listening to this punk-pop melange of hammonds, handclaps, horns, and the sloughing off of the yoke of oppression by the proletariat will always bring me a perverse joy. Nothing like riding around in your truck that is more expensive than half of America's first house with the windows down, Bose stereo set to "deafen" exclaiming that "We'll all sleep tonite under a Communist Moon!"

Whether it's socialism is schtick, or a heartfelt desire for workers of the world to unite under the banner of sound from five slightly goofy Swedes with a Who hard-on, this album is one of the could have beens of this decade, lost amid the label shuffling inherent in a corrupt money driven industry that drives our capitalist economy.
Jesse Malin – Fine Art of Self Destrction
Josh Rouse – Nashville
Old 97s Satellite Rides
The Sleepy Jackson – S/T
Solomon Burke – Don’t Give up on Me
The Thrills – So Much for the City
Ryan Adams - Rock N Roll
Kathleen Edwards - Failer
The New Pornographers - Mass Romantic

Dawgs v. Cats, Stones Mix, Life in a series of Randy Newman Songs

Classic trap game this weekend for The Dawgs between the Hedges, but for the first time in a long time, I feel like they have turned a corner, what with Knowshon Supermannin these Hoes, and Stafford's newfound deft touch, and Mark Richt channeling Erk Russell. GOOOO DAWGS! Sic' Em!

An internerd friend of mine, who just happened to go to my same high school, and grow up literally around the corner from me recently asked me for a mix from my favorite band, and well, The World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band: THE ROLLING STONES. Not a greatest hits, but more of a "sum up what this band means to you in a mix and mash of songs -- Yeah, like THAT'S possible. The Stones have so many eras, egos, and sounds, that evoke so many different emotions, from their early blues days, mid 60s pop and psychedelia, the best four album run in history, and even through the later years, and the LATE years that summing them in one mix is nigh on impossible, but this is my shot.

My buddy Charlie over at Kuchar Kuzma suggested blogging my thoughts on why I chose what I chose, and I figured, what else would I do on a friday?

Quick -- To the Tracklist!

1. All Down the Line (Acoustic Demo) -- this is from a disc of outtakes that a buddy of mine sent me, and it sort of sums up almost everything about the stones. It's a great, loud beast of a horns and holler track, reduced to Mick, moaning and acoustic guitar. It gets to the soulful heart of their ability.

2. Tumbling Dice (Live) -- This is from the recent Rarities disc, and is itself an outtake from "Stripped" their mid 90s acoustic tour warm up album from The El Mocambo in Toronto. The first verse is just Mick and *shudder* Chuck Leavell clappin his hands. It's one of their classic songs, re-done. But like the above, it gets right to what makes the amazing mess they are.

3. Let it Loose -- Taken from Side 4 of the Exile on Main Street LP, this song is all soul, haunting guitar licks, and one of the best come down songs in history. You can almost see the bloodshot eyes and the barely alerts expressions. One more and we're done, eh boys?

4. That's How Strong My Love Is -- A Sam Cooke cover that Mick makes his own. The instrumentation and vocal delivery remind me of a mid-60s slow dance. You know, fella has his close-tailored suit on, flower in his lapel, girl has a corsage on her wrist. Screw in the back of the car and have her home before her parents get too mad.

5. Under My Thumb -- The slinky bass groove says it all. The beginnings of the "misogynist mick" tag.

6. Stray Cat Blues -- "I can see you're only 15 years old, I don't want yo ID." Mean guitar lick and even meaner lyrics. This is what you call the debauched period. Keef on the nod, Mick on the prowl.

7. Let's Spend the Night Together -- I always said if I owned a bar I would end every night with a double bill of this and Rod Stewart's "Stay With Me." Love in the modern era, if just for one night.

8. Bitch -- What passes for a Stones' Love song. Some of the best "weaving" of the guitars, thanks mightily to Mick Taylor. Also, a horn section that will blow your doors off. Love, it's a bitch!

9. Connection -- "Oh I HATE that fucking rec-ord" is what Mick is quoted as saying about Between the Buttons, which is where this is taken from. The record is worth having for two reasons - 1. is this song, the first Keef lead vocal, and 2 is the Gerard Mankewiecz album cover - coming soon to my living room wall!

10. On With the Show -- From Satanic Majesties Request, a bizarre piece of chamber pop, with Mick doing his vocoder-ed Olde English accent as a sort of carnival barker in a burlesque club. Playful fauxpsydelic.

11. Cherry Oh Baby -- Keef likes reggae, Mick likes trends. I like this song.

12. Luxury - A bit more reggae, though from an earlier album. Suckin the Seventies, a bit of workingman's blues, channeling a newer form of black thought.

13. Saint of Me -- As long as we're chasing trends, let's queue this one up. An experiment with drum loops by the Dust Brothers on a late 90s tour fodder offering. One of the late late period gems.

14. Summer Romance - A blast of punk guitar from Emotional Rescue. It was a summer romance but it's gone.

15. Tops -- probably the "worst" song on this mix. Just slow, lecherous, monger moaning Micky J.

16. 19th Nervous Breakdown - Here it comes! This song and the next, I think, verily sum up the mid 60s pop single era swingin 60s Stones. It's all there, but with a bit of menace and malice not found in The Beatles, much less Herman's Mermits and whomever else.

17. Mother's Little Helper - Is it a 'lude, a valium or a speed pill...or all three? Mother needs something to make it through the day. Cracks in the veneer of post WWII prosperity. Dishwashers and microwaves don't make mummy any less depressed.

18. Live With Me -- Just a raunchy guitar lick that define the Let it Bleed-Beggar's Banquet double shot of the country manored life they started to enjoy. With a bit of acid and coke paranoia thrown in for good measure.

19. Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker) -- I'm not sure if they have ever played a darker song on mainstream radio. Rare piece of social commentary. The 60s are over. New York is a junkie hell. The dream will never die.

20. Don't Stop -- From the 40th Anniversary greatest hits package 40 Licks, this one shows they keep on chooglin.

21. Respectable -- Get out of my life, don't fuck my wife, don't come back. This was a comeback album and, retrospectively, a last grasp at the elusive muse. Right before heroin completely took Keef over, and right before Mick started chasing his tail with every new sound. Anyone who tells me punk hated the Stones should turn this up full blast and play it all night long. A trashterpiece.

22. Shattered -- Mick's late 70s ode to The Big Apple. Again, how many ways can you say "a beautiful piece of trash"?

23. Hang Fire -- This song is Roadhouse all the way. Me and Tim Gassler and Chris Krauth drinking heavily and a piece of blaring pop comes over the stereo about life on the dole. Ah College.

24. Have You Seen Your Mother Baby (Standing in the Shadows) -- It's all about the horns. Another mid 60s single that gives a hint of the darkness.

25. Wanna Hold You -- Another Keef-helmed throwaway from 1983!'s Uncercover. They did this on the Bridges to Babylon Tour. I think I was the only one in America that knew every word.

26. Memo from Turner -- This is really Mick and Ron Wood, long before him joining the Stones was ever an option. I needed a piece of Ronnie on here, as he is my favorite Stone, and this is one of their darkest of the dark songs. From the movie "Performance" -- about a drug heavy and a rock star and their descent into paranoia. Sums it up nicely.

27. Rocks Off -- This usually begins mixes, but I'm going out with a bang. Rhythm heavy, horns, and a shot of love! I can remember exactly where I was the first time I heard this song, and for the next 5 years after that, I tried to LIVE it. It never got weird enough for me.