Saturday, February 20, 2016

Donald Trump's Best Argument

This fact tilts my allegiance towards Trump more than anything else.

Found graphic on Twitter.

This is not to say that I agree with Trump on everything.  I abhor his comments that George Bush "lied" about the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and that "911 occurred on Bush's watch," both highly dishonest statements often posed by the left.

I also am displeased with his savaging other candidates like Ted Cruz.

Friday, February 19, 2016


Kooky left web-based magazine Salon is saying that Hillary can't win, but certain polls show that Bernie Sanders would beat the stuffings out of any Republican in a general election.  I find the claim about Sanders to be utterly unbelievable.  Is the great mass of the American populace really that ignorant?

Bernie Sanders is advocating a 90% top tax rate and massive spending to give free stuff to millennials and others who want a free ride.  This, of course, would greatly increase the pace of our descent into bankruptcy and economic ruin.  It would leave to posterity massive debt to pay off, without enjoying any of the benefits consumed by an earlier generation.

By way of analogy, imagine you had a credit card with a high debt limit.  It is guaranteed by your grandchildren -- if you don't repay it, your grandchildren will have to repay it instead.  So you decide to live it up, live in the high rent district, eat caviar and drink champagne, take lavish vacations, buy expensive sports cars, smoke the best cigars, and run around with wicked women.  Great fun, and all of it charged to the credit card!  So when it comes time to die, you hand the now over-the-limit credit card to your grandkids, and tell them to get to work because they are going to have to pay off your past fun.

Now your grandkids have to live in cheap housing, eat cheap and unhealthy food, work overtime, forego vacations, and drive old clunky cars -- all so they can pay for your past expenditures.

You have stolen posterity's wealth.  You have robbed the future.  Who cares?  You're dead.

That, basically, is what Bernie Sanders advocates, and what the spoiled, indoctrinated millennials want.  As long as they aren't here to suffer the consequences, they are more than ready to steal from posterity.

OF COURSE, my analogy is too simplistic.  It only deals with Bernie's robbing of future generations.  In reality, he proposes to rob the present generation as well, through vastly higher taxes.  He would first drain his grandkids bank accounts in the present, before saddling them with debt to pay in the future.  Clever guy.  The grandfather from Hell.

The Impressive Accomplishments of Barack Obama

Found on FaceBook.  What a fabulous president!  But he is an amateur compared to Bernie Sanders, who will finish off the mortally wounded USA.

First President to apply for college aid as a foreign student, then deny he was a foreigner. • First President to have a social security number from a state he has never lived in. • First President to preside over a cut to the credit-rating of the United States. • First President to violate the War Powers Act. • First President to be held in contempt of court for illegally obstructing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. • First President to require all Americans to purchase a product from a third party. • First President to spend a trillion dollars on “shovel-ready” jobs when there was no such thing as “shovel-ready” jobs. • First President to abrogate bankruptcy law to turn over control of companies to his union supporters. • First President to by-pass Congress and implement the Dream Act through executive fiat. • First President to order a secret amnesty program that stopped the deportation of illegal immigrants across the U.S., including those with criminal convictions. • First President to demand a company hand-over $20 billion to one of his political appointees. • First President to tell a CEO of a major corporation (Chrysler) to resign. • First President to terminate America’s ability to put a man in space. • First President to cancel the National Day of Prayer and to say that America is no longer a Christian nation. • First President to have a law signed by an auto-pen without being present. • First President to arbitrarily declare an existing law unconstitutional and refuse to enforce it. • First President to threaten insurance companies if they publicly spoke out on the reasons for their rate increases. • First President to tell a major manufacturing company in which state it is allowed to locate a factory. • First President to file lawsuits against the states he swore an oath to protect (AZ, WI, OH, IN). • First President to withdraw an existing coal permit that had been properly issued years ago. • First President to actively try to bankrupt an American industry (coal). • First President to fire an inspector general of AmeriCorps for catching one of his friends in a corruption case. • First President to appoint 45 czars to replace elected officials in his office. • First President to surround himself with radical left wing anarchists. • First President to golf more than 150 separate times in his five years in office. • First President to hide his birth, medical, educational and travel records. • First President to win a Nobel Peace Prize for doing NOTHING to earn it. • First President to go on multiple “global apology tours” and concurrent “insult our friends” tours. • First President to go on over 17 lavish vacations, in addition to date nights and Wednesday evening White House parties for his friends paid for by the taxpayers. • First President to have personal servants (taxpayer funded) for his wife. • First President to keep a dog trainer on retainer for $102,000 a year at taxpayer expense. • First President to fly in a personal trainer from Chicago at least once a week at taxpayer expense. • First President to repeat the Holy Quran and tell us the early morning call of the Azan (Islamic call to worship) is the most beautiful sound on earth • First President to side with a foreign nation over one of the American 50 states (Mexico vs Arizona). • First President to tell the military men and women that they should pay for their own private insurance because they “volunteered to go to war and knew the consequences.” • Then he was the First President to tell the members of the military that THEY were UNPATRIOTIC for balking at the last suggestion. (Glad he didn’t get away with THIS one.) How is this hope and change working out for you?

Saturday, February 13, 2016

SUPREME COURT JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA DIES. Obama to Nominate A Radical To Replace Him?

Justice Scalia, the best (and most conservative) justice on the Supreme Court, died today.  Scalia was true to the Constitution and understood the intended role of the Supreme Court. The flaky liberals on the Court do not -- they render decisions based on their leftist ideology rather than the Constitution.  They "legislate from the bench," a reliable force for the left in overturning Constitutional laws the Democrats dislike, and installing unconstitutional laws in the form of legal decisions that replace a vote of the people.  The leftists on the Court have turned the Court into the exact opposite of what it was intended to be.  Instead of preserving the Constitution, the Court now undermines it at every turn.

Scalia was one of the last, and best, bulwarks against the Constitution-shredding kooks on the Court.  Now that he has died, Obama has stated his plan to nominate a replacement.  You can be sure that replacement will be another radical.  

A radical replacement can be stopped, however, if the Senate Republicans refuse to seat such a nominee, deferring the replacement until Obama is out of office.  Whether they will, however, remains to be seen.  

Friday, February 12, 2016

Tax Season Has Begun -- the Good and the Bad

This tax season I am working for another CPA firm, doing taxes.  I have to arise at 5 AM to leave the house by 6 AM so I can be at the office by 8 AM.  Not fun, but not so bad either.  When I'm not working I get drowsy by 2 PM and take a nap, wasting much of the day.  When working, I don't get drowsy.  Give your brain something to do and it doesn't shut down so often.

My new music session with the Big Band jazz and swing group has started as well.  We are studying these songs:

  1. Duet (Count Basie)
  2. Fly Me to the Moon
  3. Bein' Green
  4. Blue Skies
  5. Almost Like Being in Love
  6. Bye Bye Blackbird
  7. All the Things You Are
  8. They Can't Take That Away From Me
  9. Four (Miles Davis)

I love all of these songs, even though I had never heard of Duet or Four before.  They are jazzy and peppy.

Here's "Four" by Miles Davis.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Sizzling Synergy Defeats the North Carolina Panthers

Peyton Manning, Quarterback
Denver Broncos
The Super Bowl game just finished, with Denver Broncos winning over the North Carolina Panthers by a score of 24 - 10.   I didn't have a lot of loyalty to either team, but I figured the Panthers would win.   They had the best record in the NFL regular season.  However, I did kind of lean towards Denver, so that Peyton Manning could retire with a second Super Bowl ring.  He is the oldest quarterback in the NFL, and can't keep this up much longer.

On the other hand, I wouldn't have minded a North Carolina win.  They are a new team, a young team, and they are good!  I felt that they deserved to win.  Alas, what I felt didn't matter to the Denver defense, who are the major factor in who won Super Bowl 50.  This defense was possibly the best to ever play the game.  They were incredible.

How does one team's defense get to be preternaturally good?  Or one rock band, like the Beatles were, or a company like Apple, or any other human effort requiring cooperative effort towards common goals?

I have heard that the invisible factor is synergy.  It is a situation where the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts.  I think that's what the Denver defense is -- a synergistic entity, where each member brings out the best in the others.  They inspire each other to greater achievement with a kind of mental chemistry, a belief in themselves and each other.  It is this chemistry that makes them better than other football teams  all other factors being equal (experience, health, size and speed, etc).  Of course, great coaching and intensive training are part of it, but these are factors that create the chemistry, not the chemistry itself.

Although the Panthers have a very strong offense, they had never before met a defense like that of the Denver Broncos.  It must be humbling, stunning and disillusioning to think you are God's gift one day, and learn the next day that you aren't as great as you thought you were.  However, such a disillusionment can be a spur to greater achievement.  Two years ago, the Seattle Seahawks utterly humiliated the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 48, by a score of 43 - 8.  The Broncos couldn't have looked more foolish and feckless if they had taken the field individually dressed like Bozo the Clown.  But here we are two years later, and it's a different story.

Congratulations to the Denver Broncos!

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Vince Guaraldi Died Forty Years Ago Today

Vince Guaraldi and Friend
Vince Guaraldi died on February 6, 1976, forty years ago today.

I have written a lot about Vince.  See my pilgrimage to his last gig site and his grave site at this post.  Vince Guaraldi was a talented jazz pianist and head of the Vince Guaraldi Trio (sometimes a quartet).  His most famous tune was probably "Cast Your Fate to the Wind," a cross-over jazz hit in 1962.  It was jazz, but became a popular hit, and played much on radio stations.  For me, the song had a soft, haunting quality to it, a soothing acoustic balm for a harried soul.

Guaraldi became most famous, however, when Charles Schultz of "Peanuts" fame asked him to provide background music for Peanuts televised cartoons.  Vince wrote a bunch of new songs just for "Peanuts" productions:  Charlie Brown Theme, Linus and Lucy, Snoopy and Woodstock, Joe Cool, Little Birdie, and others.  These tunes are smooth jazz.

Guaraldi's Christmas album, recorded in 1965, is still popular and you hear a lot of these songs during the Christmas season.  That's the time of year when more people find their way to this blog, looking for information about the man.

On the day he died, Vince's trio was playing at Butterfield's nightclub in Menlo Park, California, not far from Stanford University.  The band had just finished their first set, and Vince's last song was the Beatle hit, "Eleanor Rigby."  He then retired to his room at the Red Cottage Inn, just next door, to rest between sets.  While walking across the room towards the bathroom, he dropped dead.  The cause was a burst aortic aneurysm, not a heart attack, as so often been erroneously reported.

So every February 6, I think of Vince.  He died young, at age 47.  He had so much more to give, and that is the tragedy of his death, and that of all talented people whose lives are cut short.  His music lives on, however, and Vince is still an inspiration and role model to those of us who strive for musical achievement.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Dead Musicians and the Meaning of Life: Remembering the Jefferson Airplane

Paul Kantner and Signe Anderson
Back in the late 1960s, my father ran a music store in the Union Square shopping center in the Cambrian Park area of San Jose, California.  He sold many kinds of guitars, but chief among them was Rickenbacker.  By some fortunate twist of fate, the world's most popular band, the Beatles, had appeared on the scene, and John Lennon played a Rickenbacker.  Soon, George Harrison had one too, a red, butterfly shaped 12 string guitar that sounded a lot like a harpsichord.   Soon musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area wanted Rickenbackers, and they came to my dad to buy them.  Pop sold Ricks to Tom Fogerty and Stu Cook of the Creedence Clearwater Revival and 2 or 3 to the Chocolate Watchband, who appeared in the Sidney Poitier film, "the Slender Edge."

12 String Rickenbacker
Just Like One Pop Sold to
Jorma Kaukonen
Pop also sold a 12 string Rickenbacker to Jorma Kaukonen, lead guitar player of the Jefferson Airplane, a famous San Francisco band.  Jorma lived in San Francisco, and for a time he wrote songs with some female singer up there named Janis Joplin.  Neither of them were famous yet, this being 1966 -- 50 years ago.  However, their stars were rising.

Jorma was a very nice guy.  He taught guitar at another music store in San Jose, and would often come by after work to hang around and talk about guitars and music, and of course, to try out different guitars my dad had hanging as stock on the walls.

One day Jorma came by the store for something -- I don't remember what, perhaps it was to pick up his Rick 12 string.  However, most of the Jefferson Airplane came with him, in a kind of bus -- perhaps in transit from some performance.  I think the bus was some kind of Volkswagen, but not the usual hippie bus you might think of.  It was long and slender, with several seats on either side, each with its own window.  There were no peace symbols or hearts of other sixties graffiti on it, it was clean and well maintained.

So anyway, into our store walked Jorma Kaukonen, Paul Kantner, Marty Balin and one other, I think it was bass player Jack Casady.  I can't remember.  Paul Kantner was the rhythm guitar player, and he used a six string Rickenbacker.  As they stood waiting for Jorma to finish his business with my father, I chatted with Paul Kantner.  We talked about how one could hook up a Rickenbacker to two different amplifiers simultaneously, and play stereo-style (Ricks have two input jacks for such a purpose).  That was high tech 1966.  You could do it, but I never could figure why anyone would want to.  Paul was a nice guy, easy-going and pleasant to talk to.  I remember he was dressed all in white -- white jeans and a white shirt (but not a dress shirt).

Soon after this meeting, my younger brother and I went to see the Airplane play at a club called "the Losers South," in San Jose -- where the Hawaiian Gardens is now.  Playing with them that night was Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company.  I brought along a Rickenbacker bass guitar for Jack Casady to try out, but he was too wedded to his Fender Precision bass to make the switch.  I think he slept with that Fender.  (As an aside, we heard Janis Joplin sing that night, up close and personal.  I told my younger brother that I thought she was terrible, and would never amount to a thing.  Her famous song "Bobby McGee" had not yet been recorded.)  Today I have both a Fender bass and a Rickenbacker bass, both great bass guitars.

The Airplane's singer was Signe Anderson, who just had a daughter, and I saw her holding her newborn between sets, looking lovingly into the baby's face.  Signe quit the Airplane in October of that year.  She decided she would rather be a mom than a rock singer.  She was replaced with Grace Slick, and the rest is rock history.  Several decades later, the Jefferson Airplane was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Paul and Signe stayed in touch through the years, but no more.

A week ago, on Janiuary 28, 2016, both of them, Paul and Signe, died of natural causes, on the very same day! They were both 74 years old. I had seen them in person when they were only 24. Time passes. It is sad when one's personal heroes and role models die, and we are reminded of our mortality. No matter how glorious the springtime of youth, or how long the future seems to stretch before us, we ultimately come to the same place -- a grave.

The Seattle Times has the story and some great background at this link.

You can listen to the Airplane's most famous song, "White Rabbit," at this link.

The founder of Earth, Wind and Fire, another famous sixties group, also died this week.  He was Maurice White, also 74 years old.  So what's up with the age of 74??  I'm not liking this trend.

I'm not 74 yet, being a few years younger than these worthy musicians.  I'm not good enough to die yet, either, as I am still learning to be a bass player.  So to the Dark Angel I say, hold off a few years.  I have not yet finished my journey in this realm.  Then I can die.  If Paul, Signe, Maurice and Vince Guaraldi can die, so can I.  In the meantime, however, I'd better get my bass out and practice.

Speaking of dead musicians, tomorrow, February 6, 2016, is the 40th anniversary of the death of Vince Guaraldi, jazz pianist.