The Low-Priests of Government: Cops, Teachers, Firefighters (Political Wednesday)

When I wrote my memorial-day protest against military hero-worship, I was focused the those members of the middle-ranking government priesthood, the soldiers. Its a touchy subject to bring up, because criticizing the very institution of Standing Army means criticizing the closely held belief-structure of most people. Yes that’s right: belief is the operative word here. Logic, facts and a clear-headed reading of history are natural enemies to beliefs when it comes to politics. Normally rational people become truly unhinged emotionally when credible criticism is aimed at the military and its operations, objectives and track record.

A close second to the soldier in rank of esteem and superstitious adoration among most modern Americans are the Cops, Teachers and Firefighters. These are civil government employees working in a system based on local government traditions dating back in many cases to colonial times. View all photos

Cloudkicker, Prog Metal Geek in His Bedroom Achieves Minor Stardom

My music review blog posts are regularly scheduled for Friday’s but I can’t help writing today about Ben Sharp and his nearly-anonymous one-man bedroom music production called Cloudkicker.

I discovered him on bandcamp two years ago – he was at the top of the metal and progressive charts there – still is. I immediately gravitated toward his music because of two things:

Go the F*%! To Sleep – And Other Truisms

Yes, I’m about to do it. Write another blog post about parenthood. Not that I’ve done it before, but its just over-done in the world. But allow me my perspective.

There’s a reason that a spoof story time book titled “Go the Fuck To Sleep” became a viral bestseller. Parents respond to the truth that children can be such a colossal and frustrating annoyance that in any other situation a normal human would resort to cursing, spitting, and dressing-down. And its not just bed-time that is frustrating – its the obnoxious behavior of kids sometimes – both on-purpose and incidental – that can make us want to wring their little necks. View all photos

Deep Music Criticism #17 – Yes – Survival

In one of my automated, web radio-driven music discovery jags I wound up on a string of songs from the early days of iconic English prog band Yes.

I took the opportunity to listen through their entire 1969 self-titled debut album. Most reviews correctly label it as the most significant album to bridge Beatles-esque melody of 60s pop with progressive tendencies to come in the 70s. View all photos

Political Wednesday: Bread as Tool of Oppression

I’ve been kinda on the “Paleo” diet for a few months. “Kinda” because I still retain a sweet tooth that needs satisfying at least once a week. Despite what my wife says about my Type-A approach to life, in the diet area I definitely am an 80/20 guy. Every Friday night, and all day Saturday I let loose and eat whatever I want, including sweets, wheat-based foods, and beer. View all photos

My Brief and Horrible Experience as an Elected Politician

In 1987 I was 12, in the 7th grade of a conventional US government school. The hit music was INXS, Poison and (thank god) Guns N Roses. The hit TV comedy bit was Church Chat. Ronald Reagan was still US President.

This year was the beginning of the end for me socially. Hormones were just starting to kick in. I was to parlay my reputation for bizarre, anti-social, anti-intellectual behavior into a friend- and girl-repelling toxin that would guarantee my next 6 years on the outside of just about every social group in town. View all photos

Deep Music Criticism #16 – Rush’s Clockwork Angels

I hate to beat a dead horse – but allow me to this time. In today’s edition of my Deep Music Criticism series I revisit the title track to Rush’s latest album, Clockwork Angels.

I’ve ranked it #6 on their all-time top 20 best Rush songs. When it comes to such an old and long-running band of musicians, with as prolific a recorded output as Rush – ranking their best work gets a bit silly – and individualistic. Its no surprise that most Rush fans responded to my list with puzzlement and a bit of good natured mockery. View all photos

Political Wednesday: Why Slander and Libel Are Non-Crimes

My article from a few months ago on why copyright is evil was cross-posted to the popular music industry blog Music Think Tank. As of today there are 75 comments left on the article, mostly critical, some outright vicious and insulting to me. I asked for it – I picked a provocative subject, wrote in a strong and direct voice, and published to an audience naturally hostile to my thesis. View all photos

Deep Music Criticism #15 – Katy Perry/Tim Hewitt – Teenage Dream

I’m taking a new tack here – reviewing a cover song. Only because it shows what I’ve often said about pop acts these days: the songs (many of them, anyway) are well-written but HORRIBLY produced. Harmonically, melodically, lyrically – good pop songwriters these days are talented and working in the great tradition of Tin Pan Alley etc. 3-4 minutes of clever and carefully polished a songwriting is routinely coming at me over the radio. But the problem is the sonic pallete the producers choose these days, which is horrible. View all photos

Political Wednesday: Scalping is Good for Society

So its Thursday – sue me.

Since its easier to plan my posts here with an editorial calendar – and since I’m having success with my regular Friday series Deep Music Criticism – I figured that I would dedicate my Wednesday’s here to political, economic or social themes from now on. I can’t exactly call my music “edgy, political prog rock” if I don’t get political once in a while. View all photos