Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Writer's Block: What I Would Say If I Didn't Have It.

I haven't written for several days.  Sometimes I just don't have much to say.  But if I did, here is what I would say:

Islam -- With the advent of ISIS and beheadings occurring within the United States, people seem increasingly aware of the evil and violent nature of this terrible religion.  It should be banned from all western countries and its adherents deported.  If we are going to allow Islam in the USA, we might as well allow cannibalism and human sacrifice.  The last two items are no more shocking than the practices of Islam.  Related Post at Right Truth:  At War With Islam.

Obama -- His glaring incompetence has become so acute that even liberal newspapers and pundits are criticizing him.  Will this spell a Republican victory in the November midterms?  It's hard to say.  Never bet on the intelligence of the average voter.

Rush Limbaugh -- It has come to light that Media Matters and a few fascist Democrat activists have been running a scam to scare away advertisers on Limbaugh's radio program.  They are using automatic Twitter feeds to target Rush's advertisers, trying to make their suppression of alternate views seem like a grass roots movement.  Typical of the left:  they cannot win an honest debate, so try to silence or slime the opposition in any way possible.  Truly, "politics is war by other means," and the Democrats are high practitioners of the art.

California's Drought -- Here in California, we go through droughts fairly regularly.  Finally, the rain will start again and we'll get drenched.  The current drought, however, is particularly long-lasting.  Sunny California and all that.  Yes, too much sun is not a good thing.  We need the wet stuff.  If we don't get it soon, water rationing will begin.  Today the sky is blue and cloudless.  Rain damn you!

In spite of the drought, my persimmon tree is chock full of fruit.  This will be our biggest harvest yet.  Persimmon trees only produce every other year.  Last year we had around 8 persimmons.  This year it will be ten times that much.  We'll give a lot of it away.  The fruit will be ripe enough to pick around November 1st.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rainy Day Musings: Big Band Music Class Tonight; The Glenn Miller Story

Glenn Miller, Band Leader
Rain!  In California
This morning when I went to let the dog out to do his business, I noticed the patio was all shiny.  The air smelled cool and fresh.  Then it dawned on me:  it is raining!

There isn't enough rain in this gentle precipitation to cure our drought, but it is nice to reminisce.  I love rain, passionate for all things pluvial.

Big Band Class
My second big band music class is tonight.  We will be practicing "Greensleeves" and "Pennsylvania 6-5000."  I have practiced all my songs faithfully, every day this week.  I should do okay.

"Greensleeves" is a traditional English folk song from the late 16th century.  The original lyrics are a bit strange, but new lyrics are often substituted.  The tune is also used as a Christmas song, and renamed "What Child Is This?"  I love Vince Guaraldi's version.

"Pennsylvania 6-5000" is a 1940's style telephone number, the number of the Pennsylvania Hotel in New York City, where Glenn Miller and many other bands performed.  It is a famous Glenn Miller hit song.  Hear the New Glenn Miller orchestra play it here.

The Glenn Miller Story
Glenn Miller, Officer,
U.S. Army
In 1954, James Stewart starred in the film "The Glenn Miller Story."  It's all about the life and career of Glenn Miller, trombonist, big band leader and music arranger extraordinaire.  You can watch this movie in its entirety on YouTube, for only 99 cents.  It's worth it.

During World War II, Glenn Miller was given a commission as a Captain in the U.S. Army (later promoted to Major), and applied his musical talents to army bands.  He organized his own swing band for entertaining troops at the front.  His band was scheduled to play for a Christmas radio program, broadcast from newly liberated Paris, France.  Miller decided to fly from England to France in advance of his band, to arrange quarters and other matters for the band.  On December 15, 1944, he boarded an army plane for the trip.  His plane disappeared over the English Channel in bad weather, and Miller was later listed as "missing in action."  His remains were never recovered.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Kate Davis: More Bass and Brass!

More bass and brass from the talented Kate Davis!  And when I say "brass," I'm not referring to the horn section, because there isn't any.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Disappointing News: American Spectator Caves To Brett Kimberlin

Apparently, the American Spectator has removed all articles and all mention of Brett Kimberlin from its website.  Kimberlin recently released the American Spectator from his absurd RICO lawsuit against numerous conservative bloggers and pundits, and so it indeed appears that the American Spectator caved.  It has acquiesced to legal extortion and lawfare, and opted for self-censorship.  This is troubling and puzzling, because it appears certain the RICO lawsuit will soon fail due to res judicata, i.e., the same charges in the RICO suit were dismissed in the state civil trial, and may not be relitigated in another forum.

I don't usually read the American Spectator, and do not have it linked in my left sidebar.  I have only read it when someone provided a link to an article of interest.  In any case, I will now avoid it like the plague.

Ken White at Popehat has more details of this story here.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Band Practice: Progress!

Last night was the first session of my Big Band class.  It went very well.

You can read about it here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Zen and the Art of Playing Bass

My Big Band music class starts up again tomorrow.  This morning I began practicing the songs (on my string bass) that I learned in the last session.  I noticed how much easier it is to read notes this time around.  What once was torture is now an achievable task.  You do something many times over and it becomes easier to do.  Funny how that works.  I am not "there" yet, but I am further down the road.

Before I started this class, my two string basses sat in their stands, untouched, gathering dust.  No more.  Now they both get handled a lot, played, tuned, adjusted and repaired.   I am forever tweaking the setup of each one, always seeking the best playability (the "action") and sound possible.  I even ordered a well known book to teach me better how to do that:  Chuck Traeger's book, Setup And Repair of the Double Bass for Optimum Sound: A Manual for Players, Makers, And Repairers.

Mastering an instrument is similar to learning a new language.  It requires immersion, study, practice, contemplation and great patience.  Zen might help too, except that it is difficult to play bass while holding the full lotus position.  

Stick with it long enough and you may come up with something like "The Abe Train" (see video below).  The Abe Train is a jazz quartet of young musicians in their twenties.  They are from the San Francisco Bay Area and damn good.  The bass player really grooves.  Use headphones so you can hear every note of their rendition of "Autumn Leaves."

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Kate Davis: an Angel With a String Bass

I just discovered this young talent tonight and became an instant fan.  As a double bass player myself (but not in her league by any means), she is truly an inspiration.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11, 2014

Today is the anniversary of the 9-11 Muslim attack on America, in which 2,996 Americans and others died.  They died because of Islam.  Islam is all about murdering non-believers.  It is a barbaric ideology that should have died with the dark ages.  Now, however, it is back in full bloom, seeking to spread its poisonous "religion" all over the globe by sheer force and terror.

While we honor and remember the 2,996 who died thirteen years ago today, we must remember what Thomas Jefferson once said, that "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty."  Today we have a greatly weakened military and a President with little or no resolve to protect Americans from external threats, except to make empty speeches and blame everything on his predecessor.  Perhaps Obama will finally be motivated to use his secret weapon, the Twitter hashtag:  #warisbad, #dontdodat.

Now Obama has announced war on the Islamic State (ISIS), but it will be a war by committee.  Most other Muslim countries will be invited to participate.  The US will not put boots on the ground, but will instead supply weaponry to Muslim countries who are under attack by ISIS.  Meanwhile, Obama will make brave speeches and little else.

The main reason for Obama's "war by committee" is to diffuse blame in case the project fails, to spread responsibility among many, to protect himself from accountability.  It is the coward's way to fight a war.

ISIS will continue attacking and conquering other Muslim states, who will fold in short order.  ISIS will then appropriate all that American weaponry to continue its expansion across Arabia.

What can we do to protect ourselves?  Lacking a responsible and decisive administration, the answer is "not much."  Vote for conservatives in the November midterms, and try to hold on for two more years of Milquetoast Barack Obama.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

World War II Movies for Free on YouTube

I haven't been motivated to do much for the past week or so.  I just wait until night time, then go to my table in the backyard gazebo and watch World War II movies and documentaries on my laptop.  You can see a lot of these full length films on YouTube -- just search for "World War II full movies" at YouTube.

One that I particularly enjoyed was "The Bunker," portraying Hitler's final days, from the time he entered his underground bunker to the day of his suicide in April 1945.

I have no sympathy for Hitler, but I did feel some for his staff and guards and entourage who had to cope with certain defeat, total destruction and their own deaths or imprisonment.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Chris Rock: How Not To Get Your Ass Kicked By The Police (Video, Satire)

Here is some surprisingly good common sense advice from comedian Chris Rock.

Trial Transcripts Show a Confused, Disorganized Brett Kimberlin

On August 11 and 12, Brett Kimberlin's lawsuit against four bloggers was tried in a Maryland court.  Ali Akbar, one of the defendants, uploaded the transcripts of that trial to Scribd.  Those transcripts show Brett Kimberlin to be confused and disorganized, unable to grasp even the most elementary aspects of a trial, i.e., leading the witness, examining witnesses of items and events that are completely irrelevant to his case (like "Everyone Draw Mohammed Day"), attempting to get hearsay introduced as evidence, etc.

Kimberlin, by his own admission, has filed over 100 lawsuits, acting as his own attorney.  However, the Maryland transcripts indicate all those lawsuits didn't teach him much, if anything, about the law or civil procedure.

Here is a very brief summary of the trial:

Judge:  You say you were defamed when the defendants claimed you are/were a convicted terrorist, felon, perjurer and drug dealer, and a pedophile to boot.  Weren't all of these claims true?

Kimberlin:  Well, technically, yes but.....

Judge:  Case dismissed!

Here are the links to the transcripts.  Don't take my word for it, read them yourself.

Day 1 of the Trial

Day 2 of the Trial

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

O.J. Simpson Converts to Islam

This story has been circulating around the web for the past few days:  O.J. Simpson has converted to Islam in prison.  O.J. will fit right in -- as if his journey to Hell wasn't already assured.

Back in 1994, O.J. nearly decapitated his estranged wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, with a large knife.  He cut most of the way through her neck, only stopping when the knife hit bone.  O.J. then killed Ron Goldman, who apparently wandered into the scene trying to deliver sunglasses that Mrs. Simpson had left at the restaurant where he worked.  Ron was Jewish.

Islam is the religion where believers are allowed (even encouraged) to decapitate non-believers.  Perhaps O.J. saw something in Islam that he could strongly identify with.  Ya think?  For instance:
  • Women are chattel, and may be abused, beaten, even murdered, as the husband sees fit.  
  • Murdering Jews is A-OK in Islam, in fact, it is a requirement.  As Muhammad commanded, "Kill Jews wherever you find them."  Sorry Ron, rules are rules.
O.J. follows in the footsteps of fellow black athlete-turned-criminal, Mike Tyson.  Tyson was imprisoned for rape, and converted to Islam in prison.  Rape, like beheadings, is a popular activity in Islam.  Muslim men can rape women for a variety of reasons, all with the approval of their religion.  Somehow, the ancient religion found a place in Tyson's heart as well.

O.J., like Mike Tyson, has found his home, a religion that finally reflects his true values.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Fall Is Here, Early

Fall officially begins on September 22 of this year (2014).  However, the weather has been fall-like in Hollister for the past couple of weeks.  Today, September 2nd, the temperature is 61 degrees Fahrenheit, rather chilly.  The sky is overcast, resembling that of Washington State more than that of California.

My persimmon tree is full of fruit, and the fruit is already quite yellow.  Persimmons are usually ready to pick by early November.

I like this time of year.  The chill is in the air, and smells sweetly of dying grasses.

Monday, September 01, 2014

My Letter to Governor Jerry Brown Re: Banning the Confederate Flag

Today I finally had enough, and wrote to Governor Brown.  That correspondence is below.

September 1, 2014

Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re:  Proposed Ban on Confederate Flag in California

Dear Governor Brown:

I understand that a bill to ban the Confederate flag in California has been passed by the state legislature.  It now sits on your desk awaiting signature.  I am asking you not to sign it.  It is a blatant violation of the First Amendment, and if passed, we will litigate the matter in federal court.  You will lose.

The Confederate flag is a sacred heritage symbol to millions of Americans, both white and black, particularly those who are descendants of Confederate soldiers, sailors and marines.  We do not display it to offend anyone, or to express hatred of anyone, but as a symbol of who we are and where we came from.  It is a tribe symbol, representing our families, our ancestors, our people, their culture and their history.  If some are offended by the sight of the Confederate flag, you can be sure that we are equally offended by their uninformed and unfounded hostility.  They pretend to know what’s in our hearts, and they haven’t the slightest idea.  Their efforts to ban the flag both insult us and slander us.

Those who seek to ban the flag do so out of ignorance, and seek to make their ignorance the law of the land.  They seek to politicize American history, making any alternative views of that history illegal, shameful and suppressed.  Such efforts are totalitarian and oppressive, no matter how “honorable” they pretend to be.  

For the sake of freedom of expression, inquiry and association, please do not sign that bill.

Sincerely yours,
Stogie [full name redacted]
Life Member, Sons of Confederate Veterans

Cc:  Isadore Hall III, D-Compton
2200 W. Artesia Blvd. Suite 210
Compton, CA 90220