Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tax cuts move ahead in Senate - Chicago Sun-Times

Just a reminder to everyone who deigns to read this:

This is not a tax cut from the bounty of the Right. This is to keep the tax rates at the current levels. The "cuts" happened years ago (remember the little $600 milk bone you got a few years back? Me neither.)

When the next round of elections come up, and you are told that you got a glorious tax cut because of the Republican controlled House, please, think twice- it's alright.

Tax cuts move ahead in Senate - Chicago Sun-Times

So it goes, and goes, and goes...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Grieving Santo

Today is Ron Santo's funeral. Sad, but inevitable.


Yesterday, according to the Sun-Times:

"A grieving Ron Santo fan was arrested Thursday night for allegedly writing a tribute to the former late Cub on a CTA platform wall.

Ron Brakes, of Wheeling, told police he was upset after attending Santo’s wake and was “trying to do a good thing” when he defaced the Red Line’s Grand Avenue stop with a Sharpie.

“Good! Buy! Ron Santo! Cubs Best Cub Thirt-Baseman Forever Love Always God,’’ Brakes, 48, scribbled on the platform wall, according to a police report.

Brakes was charged with criminal defacement of property and possession of a marker with intent to deface."

Intent to deface? What is that, exactly? Does that mean that anyone with a Sharpie (tm) or a pen or a crayon or whatever can be arrested because they might do something criminally related?

Remember the movie "Minority Report"?

So it goes...

Friday, December 3, 2010

The REAL Death Panel

So, does everyone remember the big health care debate our mighty nation endured just a few short months ago?

Or were we just watching Dancing with the latest American Idol?

As you may recall, there was a portion of the proposed health care bill that provided for end-of-life counseling for those who were facing the inevitable.

The vaunted and lovely Sarah Palin, the one who is the alleged Republican front runner for the 2012 Presidential election, and highly paid shill under contract with Fox News, said that this amounted to "death panels."

Now we all know that this was a gross exaggeration on her part.

We do, right?

The Huffington Post reported in August of '09 that former Gov. P's opinion of our impeding doom was this:

"...government health care will not reduce the cost; it will simply refuse to pay the cost. And who will suffer the most when they ration care? The sick, the elderly, and the disabled, of course. The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's "death panel" so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their "level of productivity in society," whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."

Sarah is also a Jan Brewer fan.


In yesterday's New York Times, I learned that in Arizona (Brewer Country to you and me,) there actually ARE death panels:

Effective at the beginning of October, Arizona stopped financing certain transplant operations under the state’s version of Medicaid. Many doctors say the decision amounts to a death sentence for some low-income patients, who have little chance of survival without transplants and lack the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to pay for them."

"Organ transplants are already the subject of a web of regulations, which do not guarantee that everyone in need of a life-saving organ will receive one. But Arizona’s transplant specialists are alarmed that patients who were in line to receive transplants one day were, after the state’s budget cuts to its Medicaid program, ruled ineligible the next — unless they raised the money themselves."

So, let's review: In Arizona, if you are poor and in need of a life-saving transplant, you will die.

Since the most recent mid-term elections, Republicans have been screaming that the American people have firmly spoken and that there is now a mandate (see Republican agenda) that needs to be adhered to.

This is how far we have fallen.

So it goes...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Promises Broken, Promises Kept

Full body scanners are all the rage these days. Your junk and your trunk are not safe from the government groping, there is probably medical danger (x-ray radiation and back-scatter x-ray radiation), and, really, flying is just not fun anymore.

Land of the free? Home of the brave? Why do x-ray techs wear those lead vests anyways?

They also say (whoever THEY are) that the images from your body scan will be destroyed immediately.

According to an article at gizmodo.com, "At the heart of the controversy over "body scanners" is a promise: The images of our naked bodies will never be public. U.S. Marshals in a Florida Federal courthouse saved 35,000 images on their scanner. These are those images."

And, of course, those images are up for public viewing. Imagine that.

Shocking right?

Did the government lie?


Check that: YES.

You know who doesn't lie?

BMR4, that's who.

Our CD release party for the new record, "Fixing a Hole", is on Nov. 21 at Martyr's in Chicago. You can view the invite and all the details for the show right here.

Truth: music to your ears.

So it goes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Science and Sounds (and squirrels)

I was sitting on my deck this morning, coffee in hand, observing the various sciuridae (squirrels).

They were doing what they always do: running, jumping, digging, etc.

One said sciuridae made a spectacular leap in which he/she/it jumped from one tree-branch to another, and then proceeded to use the second branch as a catapult to get to a third branch.

So it makes me think, "Do squirrels have a fundamental understanding of physics?"

Ok. Strange, I know.

But what's not so strange is that my way cool band, the most excellent BMR4, will be performing a CD release concert on Sunday, Nov. 21 at the glorious and family friendly Martyr's, 3855 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago.

At long last, BMR4 will be releasing the new record- an extended EP entitled "Fixing a Hole", featuring selections by Lennon/McCartney and Chicago legend Herbie Hancock, among others.

We're really excited about the record and we want you to come. It's an early concert, we're doing one set, and it's all ages. Bring your kids, your friends, their friends, everyone.

It's only a $5 cover charge, the kitchen will be open, and...

(when I say record, I mean that you get a CD or a download card- your choice. Maybe next time we'll have vinyl)

We're asking for $15 for the disc or $10 for the download card. If you can swing that, great. If you want to pay less than that, no problem- pay what you're willing/able. If you think that it was only worth the price of admission, don't sweat it. Seriously. It's free, if you want.

The point is that we WANT YOU to have our music. So please come to the concert.


(We'll also have copies of our previous recording "Turning Point"(CD's only), as well as our debut recording "BMR4".)

So it goes...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


hoy es el dia del reyes (today is the day of the kings.)

thus the usage of all lower case.
respect for kings, if you will.

today is the day that everyone exchanges their presents and does all of that kind of holiday stuff. most everything is closed today, markets and stores and things like that. tabernas and restaurants, though, are open and thriving. i ate at the alleged best indian restaurant in madrid, and since i´ve not yet eaten at any others, i´d have to say that the rumors are true. it was muy fantastico.
and of course, i can´t recall the name.

i´ve been out to 2 open jam sessions so far this week (and yes, i know it´s only wednesday. i can stop any time. really.)

on monday was a place called segundo jazz. i´d say it was fair to midland. nice joint, comfy room, but there were no other guys who came to play, except me.

i mean nada.


plus, the audience was not really there for the music. kind of an upscale crowd, and very chatty. also, the club was kind of in an upscale barrio (a barrio popular,) so i guess it´s not too surprising. birds of a feather and all. i didn´t mind, though, as i got to play several tunes with some decent players with no lines and no waiting.

tuesday night was a club called el junco. this joint was far superior: attentive audience, dark, smoky, convivial, etc. also, there were some really good players there, although they were typical jazz snobs (that´s universal, i guess. and yes, some of my best friends are the said jazz snobs. sorry to offend.) kind of like a bunch of peacocks showing off their plumage.

too cool for school, i guess.

but i suppose i´ve probably done that, too, once or twice in my time, so what comes around really does go around. i´ll just have to mold and bend them a bit.
stroke their egos for a change.
no problem.

tonight, i´m going to go listen to flameco. there´s a place right down the street from me that is supposed to be hot, hot, hot. i had heard some flamenco in seville, but not yet here, in madrid. in seville, i saw this homeless guy, actually, who was hanging out in this little (i´m talking broom closet little) alleyway taberna. it was one of the most interesting places i´ve ever been to, and not at all a music club (at least not in the sense that most of us would think of). he had a bedroll and all of his stuff stashed away in a corner of the bar, playing for tips and drinks, and the love of it all. he sang and played guitar, and did both very well.

i mean really, really good.

he was, as i said, homeless.

and a junkie.

the king of flamenco in spain is a guy named Cameron de la Isla (the shrimp of the island). he is revered here, almost like a god. after the dictatorship ended in spain in the ´70´s, there was a major renaissance in art and music (sex, drugs, and rock and roll, basically,) and this singer modernized the style, mixing pop and blues with the traditional flamenco. it´s really cool and exciting music (boy, that´s a lame description.)
truly, though, it´s exciting, and vibrant and some of the most interesting music i´ve ever heard.
i´m going to have to really absorb it if i ever hope to do it.

here´s a link to him. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVsFRQL1YJg
here too. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sc4dFji596I&feature=related

just so you know, cameron is dead now.

he was also a junkie.

so it goes...