I’m often asked why I named my “band” (that is, my musical project consisting of just myself) The Checkers Speech. First of all, everything else in the entire world is taken. But mostly, it’s because I’m a bit of a Nixon hobbyist — he was the President that came along just as I was gaining my political awareness — and because what I’m doing with my music is, politics aside, the same thing that Nixon was doing with this famous speech.
In 1952, young Senator Nixon had been chosen by General Eisenhower to be his running mate, but the opposition was were accusing him of improper financial dealings, and Ike and the GOP bigwigs were having second thoughts about his place on the ticket. Nixon took a look around and noticed this fresh new medium of television, realized that he could use it to take his message directly to the public, persuading them to convince the political powers that he be kept on the Republican ticket.
Not only did it work, but the speech, which takes its name from the cocker spaniel puppy mentioned toward the end, quite possibly won the election for the GOP.
When it came time to choose a band name, I realized that I’m doing conceptually the same thing: Using cutting edge technology (digital music creation and distribution) to end-run the powers that be (the music industry) and take my message (music) directly to the people.
It’s still an odd band name, but like I said, I can’t be picky.
Anyway, for more information on this historical moment, check out What was the “Checkers Speech” and why is it so important?
Aside from the usual jobhunting, I’ve mostly just been DJing in Second Life (hey, it’s free, plus I’ve been earning some miniscule tips), which is not only teaching me new skills, but also serves an informal networking functionality.
I’m currently DJing four regular shifts at three clubs right now: Rockers, Club Siren and Belar Inshan Social Club, with the Orion available any time I want to open it up, and an offer pending for the club I previously managed, Midnight at the Forum. (The reason I quit managing was because I was trying to fill 2 clubs — and they just gave me a third — in exchange for a small (virtual) house. Now I just DJ for tips, and I takes me just two shows to pay rent on a house that’s twice as big!)
As I’ve mentioned, I used to DJ in college, and never imagined I’d be doing it again, but thanks to the miracle of internet, I can inflict my musical tastes on the musical public! I’m also meeting a lot of interesting folks from all over.
One of the coolest new people I’ve met is Tamra Hayden, the real-life Broadway actress/singer/songwriter. She performs live concerts in Second Life, reaching a worldwide audience thanks to, you guessed it, the miracle of the internet.
Here’s a video of her singing in REAL life, performing “Eden Will Bloom”:
And Tamra’s not the only musician I’ve met in the virtual realm: At my DJ gig Monday night, several of us noticed a young lady hanging around on the fringes of the dance floor, unsure what to make of everything, and it turned out that it was her first night in Second Life. A few of us at the club began talking to her and giving her things we had previously gotten for free, and letting her know some good places to get more.
We also found out that she is the lead singer of the North Carolina band, The Situationals. They’ve got some really great music, and she’s got a good powerful voice, reminiscent of The Motels and Pat Benatar — but the songs (and the band) are much better than those too. Here’s a sample of their work:
The reason I’m mentioning her today is that she recently sent me this joke:
St. Peter is at the Pearly Gates checking up on the people waiting to enter Heaven. He asks the next one in line, ‘So, who are you, and what did you do on Earth?’ The fellow says, ‘I’m Barack Obama, and I was the first black to be elected President of the United States ‘ St. Peter says, ‘The U.S.? A black President? You gotta be kidding me! When did this happen?’ Obama says, ‘About twenty minutes ago.’
She also added that McCain “is a right cock”, and that Hilary “needs a good beating”.
It’s good to know that the people in other countries take an interest in our democracy …
The Alaska Governor (and, now, Vice Presidential nominee) sent a video greeting to Craig Ferguson last year to Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson, offering him honorary state citizenship (before he actually firmed up his US citizenship). Here’s a clip:
As you may know, I follow politics, and had just about given up on politicos getting anything right — until today.
McCain picked a woman as his running mate!!! Woo-hoo!!!
Seriously, I had given up on the idea that McCain might pick anybody but another white guy. I could just imagine this presidential season, as the hopeless two-white-guy Republican ticket limped along for two months against the first African-American candidate in history.
But that’s all changed now: McCain stepped up and did what he needed to and picked a female running mate.
Ha ha ha ha, now the fight is ON!
All the news commentators would skim over the two or three most eligible women — mostly Kay Bailey Hutchison, and there was ONE mention of Sarah Palin — then they’d go back to concentrating on the same old white guys, like Mitt Romney, Joe Lieberman, Tim Pawlenty, and some other guys I’ve barely heard of.
Now, I have nothing against white guys. Historically, some of my best friends have been white guys — in fact, now that I think about it, I’m actually a white guy myself — but when it comes to politics, enough is enough. White guys have gotten this country in the mess it’s in, and in the 232 years that we’ve officially been in existence, there has only been ONE instance where one of the people on one of the tickets was not a white guy, and that was 24 years ago.
So this year, when Obama was breaking down a barrier for the Democrats, I was going to be VERY, VERY UNHAPPY if McCain and the Republicans just sat back and said, “Well, we’re just gonna stick with what’s worked so far …
But good ol’ John McCain went and surprised the holy living heck out of me and picked Sarah Barracuda Palin! HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAA!!!
Bonus points: She’s a babe!
But um … more importantly … she’s an experienced executive official with deep economic knowledge, and brings a much-needed Washington Outsider perspective to the race.
I did something on Tuesday night that I’ve been itching (figure of speech) to write about ever since, but I wanted to post video for full effect, and I’ve been having problems with the video (which I’ll go into later …)
Anyway, the video is now ready, so I’m ready to report:
I infiltrated the local Democrat Caucus.
I’m surprised I didn’t do this (or something similar) years ago, but the fact remains that I did it, and got some interesting video. This is some local Dem honcho or other, giving a pep talk to the faithful, because everyone was having to wait three hours for the stragglers and procrastinators to finish voting before the actual caucus to begin (and the Democrats sure do seem to have a lot of them!). Let’s listen in:
There’s a surprising lack of Republican bashing, although he does take a swipe at McCain’s temper.
Anyway, I’ll write more in the next few days. In the meanwhile, it’ll be interesting to see if I get any hits on YouTube …
And finally, speaking of the recently departed and Republican Presidential scandals of the 70s, I just found out this morning that Earl Butz died this past week.
Butz (ha! Butts!) was Ford’s Agriculture Secretary, forced to step down during the Bicentennial year due to telling a dirty racial joke to a Rolling Stone reporter (!) and Pat Boone (!) during a plane flight.
Not the smartest move.
Anyway, that oughta hold ya, I’ll try to post more on Monday …
The Spook tells me that country singer Jake Kellen is backing Ron Paul for President, and has recorded a song (based on one of his existing songs) about how Congressman Paul is going to win in a landslide.
The reason I mention this is because it gives me a chance to mention that I went to high school with Kellen’s mom, Debbie (who occasionally leaves comments here), and his uncle, Guy, who is also his producer and possibly his management Svengali. Also, it was my best bud from college that bankrolled Kellen’s first album, and it says so in the liner notes.
Okay, we’re going with the “5” bullets because nothing else has struck me as being worthy. (You DO remember I’ve been blogging for 5 years, right? Just checking …)
Okay, let’s do it:
First off, for Yay Kim: I’m assuming you know about February Album Writing Month — but since you just did this kind of thing, I’m also assuming you’re going to take a pass this time around.
I’m tempted — really, really tempted — but I think for now I need to work on my other projects (there are at least three that need my attention, chief of which is job-hunting.
Not that I couldn’t take on another project, but the fact is that in the three weeks until the contest starts I would have to become much, much more musician-like than I am at this point in time in order to do the project in February without putting everything else on hold. That’s what I don’t have time for.
Speaking of Chicks with Guitars, I’ve run across some sites and tunes for Rocket, the all-girl semi-punk band that I remembered from The Next Great American Band on Fox a couple of months ago. The reason I bring it up is because they sound a lot better than they did on the show. I really should have looked them up earilier, because I already knew that TV networks don’t know how to make music sound good, especially when it’s musicians performing on reality shows, especially on Fox.
Anyway, check out their site, linked above, and their MySpace site, which has probably the coolest design I’ve seen of any pro musicians on MySpace.
Here’s their music video of “Cougar Rush”, the best of their videos on YouTube:
Speaking of music videos, Boing Boing had some links to lots of old videos today, including one song I had been thinking about for some reason, from the 8th grade year: Green Tambourine — and now here’s the music video that I’ve never seen before:
There was also this one from about 15 years later, the height of the MTV craze:
And now for something completely different, not music or video at all:
Yes, my 5th Blogiversary bullet point is working well, so let’s continue pounding it into the ground with this miscellaneous stuff:
Well, Winter’s back, or what passes for Winter in Texas. It had been around 80F for the past three days, but now the temperatures are more seasonal. While it was nice to putter around in the garage — We actually cleared out a couple of paths! We took some old junk to the charity resale shop! — it’s nice for the night air to have a nice little bite to it again, since for most of the year it’s way too warm here. Let’s enjoy the cold while we can.
The Wife did her part by making her special tortilla soup recipte tonight.
Speaking of winter: Even though it was warm, I started geting a hankering for my “Classis Rock Winter Mix” CD, that I’ve been rocking since the Winter of 88-89. The exact song lineup has changed slightly over the years — due in part to what I’ve got available on MP3, as opposed to what I had available then on vinyl — but there are a few unwavering pillars, like Led Zeppelin’s “California” and “Battle of Evermore”, Leo Kottke’s “Bean Time”, Melanie’s “Ring the Living Bell”, ELP’s “From the Beginning”, Steve Miller’s “The Window” and “Wild Mountain Honey”, and of course “Bare Trees” by near-original-lineup Fleetwood Mac.
I hadn’t listened to it as much the past couple of winters, but for the most part the mix has been a huge factor in helping me recover from the post-holiday blahs of the past 19 years.
The problem this year was that over half the songs in the directory where I keep these MP3’s had fallen victim to the Great MP3 Drive Corruption of 2006, and I couldn’t find any of the CD copies of the mix.
Except this weekend I found it in the above-mentioned garage, so everything’s cool now.
Speaking of cool music: I’ve been listening to some older CD’s lately, like “Star” by Belly. You might (or not) remember their (very) minor 1992 (or so) hit, “Feed the Tree”: Here they are performing it on Letterman:
Hey, remember when bands used to do “music videos”? Good times! Anyway, here’s theirs for this:
The whole album is really good, especially for late nights: It’s jangly flow-of-consciousness quirky chick rock, the perfect soundtrack to after-midnight blogging with the headphones on.
And for something totally different: Today was the day of the New Hampshire primaries. And going back to something I said last week, a lesser man myself might say that this was the day that a bunch of sap-witted lobster-jockeys get to dictate which candidates the rest of the country doesn’t get to vote for when our turn rolls around.
But I certainly wouldn’t say it, in part because I happen to like who the lobster-jockeys chose to put in first place, at least on the Republican side.
On the Democrat side: Ever wonder why the Democrats have had such a hard time holding on to the Oval Office in the past 40 years? Maybe it’s because they’re horrible judges of the American public — specifically, in this case they haven’t realized that the only one of their current candidates who could beat the Republicans — pretty much ANY Republicans — in the general election is John Edwards.
Seriously. Nominate anybody else, and they’ve got a tsetse fly’s snowball in Hitler Hell chance.
The only other person who could win is Clinton — BILL Clinton, that is, and there’s that pesky matter of presidential term limits, so Edwards is it.
Need more proof that the Dems are clueless?
I used to think, without knowing much about his policy’s, that Bill Richardson might not be too bad, for a Democrat.
Then he goes and gets Martin Sheen’s endorsement.
And now I have to be embarassed that I could even think that he’s a passable candidate.
Plus, Richardson is mired even more hopelessly in the single digits.
It’s just like four years ago when Howard Dean was just so freaking proud to have Michael Moore’s endorsement …
… an endorsement which just happened to immediately precede the candidate’s massive flameout.
Let’s see if we can make this quick, starting with re-using my 5th Blogiversary bullet:
I was trying to run a boot-from-disk Linux distro on the computer I keep in the garage, and got this on the screen.
“Ok, booding dhe kebnel.” I thought the computer might be drunk …
Actually, it’s probably a corrupted RAM chip. I haven’t used the thing since last spring, so anything can happen with the temperature extremes we have around here. I’m sure I’ve got some suitable spare chips around here somewhere — what kind of geek would I be if I didn’t? — but they weren’t in any of my garage stashes, so I blew it off for tonight.
Anyway: “Gelcome do dhe KNO@@IH life Lineh-on-CD!”Click here for an easier-to-read view.
The reason I was trying to use the outside computer is that it was unseasonably warm today, probably close to 80F, and at least 20 degrees higher than the high yesterday. I finished raking the leaves in the back yard as my exercise (since my tendonitis was killing me from the fitness center treadmill yesterday). After I was done, it was still so nice out that I decided to sort out some of our (my wife’s) endless boxes of Christmas stuff in the garage so we could actually WALK out there, what a concept.
And by the time I was finished with that, the ABC News/Facebook debate was in full swing on TV and Thistle and Shamrock was starting on NPR, and since it was still a nice night and all that was still not enough stimulation (not that I have raging ADD or anything), I decided to boot up my “live” Knoppix games disk, since unlike some other distros I’ve got (like Ubuntu) it would work well on the 256 megs of RAM on the garage PC.
But alas, it was not to be.
Molly & Bristol “helped” me rake the leaves, and I got to show them off when a guy down the alley brought down his little girl who had begged him to take her down to see the two barking dogs. As a bonus, I also got some footage of Bristol bouncing like he’s spring-loaded as they were walking toward the yard, and it might be enough to make it worth editing a little and posting to YouTube. That new little Olympus of ours can do amazing video, as long as there’s enough light.
About 10 tonight we heard a police siren give a couple of blasts, like somebody was being pulled over, and it sounded very close. Then Molly started barking at the front door so I thought I’d check it out.
There was a fire truck, all its lights flashing, in the middle of the street in front of our house, an ambulance in front of it, and cop cars both in front of and behind those. Cars on both sides were forced to turn around and go back down the street from when they came.
It turns out that all the action was focused on the house to the east of ours, the family from Mexico. We never did figure out what was going on, but I’m going to ask around on our community bulletin board, because you just know there’s always got to be a Nosey Nellie monitoring the police scanner to be up on all the juicy goings-on.
Don’t you just love the Internet.
And finally some sad news today: I’m always mentioning the World’s Greatest Dentist, Dr. Mary; today her mother-in-law passed away. My wife was taking the news hard since her dad and Dr. Mary’s husband’s dad were friends from way back, and the families new each other well.
Sorry to end the day on a bummer note, people, but sometimes that happens.