One Step Too Far

When they invaded HGTV and Food Network with “green” shows, I sneered. When they staged “Earth Day” and turned off the lights for an hour, I laughed. When they shoved pseudo-science at us, I shoved right back.

They’ve insisted on impossibly low emissions, funky eye-killing migraine-inducing light bulbs, nasty oily recycled paper, expensive cloth grocery bags, and a million other inconvenient and/or expensive things to such an extent that I couldn’t possibly list them all here.

But now they want to take away my quilted fluffy two-ply. Oh. Hell no.

Of course you realize, this means war.

CD Cover Meme

I saw this meme all over the blogs some time ago. I meant to participate, but never got the time to do it. Cullen over at Half a Pica Distance resurrected it recently. You know I love memes.

So, the idea is to create a CD cover using the following criteria:

1. Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random – The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. Click http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3 – The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

3. Visit http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/ – The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4. Use your graphics program of choice to throw them together, and post the result. And then ask someone else to play.

5. Give props to the person whose photo you used by linking to the flickr page you got the photo from, please.

Here’s my CD cover:

Central California Traction Company: Brave Five Minutes Longer

Central California Traction Company: Braver Five Minutes Longer

I think it looks very hip hop. And the picture oddly suits the album name. (The picture was taken by CFerguson at Flickr. Fantastic photographer there. I wish my shots turned out half as nice.)

Signs

I’ve been a worrywart lately. Perhaps I’ve been watching too much Glenn Beck. Perhaps I have too much time on my hands to stumble upon otherwise ordinary information and connect dots. Unrelated? I don’t think so.

COPPER:  Copper is the metal of industry. You can’t build anything without it. If an item has an electrical component in it, chances are, copper has something to do with the manufacturing of and/or the working of the item. Generally, the copper market can predict industrial output for the next six months to a year. This week, the copper market collapsed.

DOLLAR:  The dollar is fairly high (and I write that with a laugh). But that’s in relation to other currencies. In relation to gold, the dollar is low.

GOLD: Yeah, what’s up with gold anyway? Does it signal deflation? Inflation? Disinflation? Depression? Recession? Recovery? I’ve heard all the above and more as an explanation of gold prices. I don’t think anyone will know until a proper autopsy after the corpse of our economy is discovered.

WALL STREET:  I saw somewhere on the news (CNN?) that it’s predicted that the Dow will hit levels not seen since the mid-1990’s. So that means it’ll bottom out somewhere around 4000. Shit. Really? I’m suddenly glad that I’ve never had enough money to put into a 401K or other retirement plan.

MORE WALL STREET: Every time Obama says “crisis” the Dow drops. He said “crisis” 25 times in one speech alone. If you can attribute today’s trading to Obama’s speech, the Dow dropped 12 points each time he said the word. Someone needs to tape that man’s mouth shut. I don’t think Wall Street likes where Obama’s leading the nation. Or at least, they don’t like it when he goes into fear-mongering mode.

GENERATIONAL/CYCLICAL CRISES: The Baby Boomer’s crisis is here. The best part of this (really long) article:

Boomer leaders are always sure, and often wrong. They are dogmatic and cocky. They utter the words catastrophe, without specifying what will happen if you don’t follow their plan. They say that we will enter a permanent decline if we don’t spend our way out of a situation that was caused by spending too much. Boomer followers are so shallow and self involved that they will put reason aside and believe that we can spend our way out of this. The easy sound bite solution is what they are looking for. The word sacrifice does not exist in their vocabulary. The well being of future generations is of no interest to them. The day trading, house flipping, BMW driving Boomers are looking for the next big thing. The danger is that the next big thing could be a major war.

TAXES: Some states may not be able to send out tax rebates this year. I’d send in your taxes AQAP if you want to get your money back.

EU: The European Union: Not so united after all. Half of them want us to save them. The other half want us to go down in a fiery crash of SUVs, crude oil, Wal-Mart, and McDonald’s. BOOM!

STIMULATE ME: My half-assed stimulus plan: Banks would be required to refinance home loans at 3%. If the home owner is underwater, then the loan my be bumped out to 40 or 50 years until the loan is paid in full or until the market recovers enough to refinance at more “normal” terms. You would not be eligible for the plan if you lied to get the loan (i.e., misrepresented your earnings to qualify for a larger loan). [I admit; that last part is just for spite. I hate liars and they deserve what they get. Gods forbid they should profit from it.]

Shoe Porn

Oh my. I love those shoes. I don’t know what it is, but I love pumps that have a slight masculine style to them but still maintain an ultra-feminine sexy look. And if it’s a classic pump with a slight platform to the toe and a sharp stiletto to the heel, so much the better. I say “slight platform to the toe” because, well, too much of a platform looks a little trashy. And a heel that’s too high looks plain ridiculous. (Plus, I’m 5′-9.5″; I don’t need that much help with my height.)

And let’s not get into how unimaginably stupid a shoe can look when it should not have a peep toe.

Perfection Sucks

I love live recordings. I love it when I can buy a CD or DVD of a concert. Oh, I despise those overproduced über-concerts that make you wonder if the music is was actually created by a human hand or if someone just programmed a computer. See Madonna and Brittney Spears for examples of that type of music/concert.

No, I love raw concerts where it’s just the band playing. Maybe there’s some fancy lighting and a backdrop. It’s practiced, but not overproduced. It’s spontaneous. It is often magical. It’s everything that most modern recorded studio music rarely is. It’s not perfect. But it’s damn good. It does the one thing those studio computers can never hope to do: It makes you feel.

Oh, studio recordings are fine. It’s just too carefully controlled to find true magic. How can it? That music is mostly made from soulless technology. It’s pretty technology with some pretty results, to be sure, but it doesn’t find that right mix of spontaneity and practice to make it to magic.

SOAP BOX: Just because we have the technology to make perfect music doesn’t mean that it all should be perfect music. But we seem obsessed with perfection. They piece together clips from different concerts or recording sessions to find perfection. What kind of way is that to make music? Studios crank out “ultimate” Mozart CDs almost every year. And I don’t even want to speculate how many “definitive” Wagner, Tchaikovsky, and Vivaldi collections there are out there.

Certainly, they’re perfect. They’re mostly emotionless. And that’s a shame. People think that’s the way “classical” music should be. They think that’s the way all music should be.

That’s nuts. Music isn’t perfect. It’s imaginative, crazy, messy, beautiful, emotive, complicated, easy, and a million other things… Perfect it ain’t.

If they’d just go see a live concert, they’d realize that all the music they relegate as lifeless “elevator” music can be stirring when spontaneity is introduced via a live performance.

But it’s not just the “classical” music industry that makes emotionless music. Modern music studios are just as guilty. See the aforementioned Brittney and Madonna. Even country music, once the last bastion of real feeling in modern music, has mostly succumbed to the perfection of cranking out assembly line songs. It’s a pity.

So, who do I listen to? I love Alison Krauss and Union Station (How many Grammys is that now? 26 or so? Sheesh). I’m crazy about CCR, the Mamas and the Papas (who are, ironically enough, the mamas and papas of modern over-produced music – though their music confusingly retained emotion and spontaneity), Harry Connick Jr., Eva Cassidy, Etta James, Wynton Marsalis, Norah JonesJohan de Meij, and Renee Fleming, to name a few.