Friday, September 09, 2011

Sorry, I'm From Missouri

This morning I awoke to the sounds of Barack Obama's voice blasting from the speakers in my friend Everett's laptop computer. Barack was trying to sell America on his wonderful vision of a world in which everyone was able to find a good and meaningful job, thanks to his wise and benevolent guidance. No more acrimonious bickering. No more hateful rhetoric.

Speaking of which, I sincerely hope that B.O. lives up to the implied promises of that speech, because if he can get the pompous ass Ed Schultz to tone down the hateful politically biased diatribes on his MSNBC TV show, then Barack will truly be a miracle worker.

I admit it. I am a dreamer. I think that it would be wonderful if Barack could accomplish the things implied or promised in this morning's speech. I have no loyalty to the Tea Party. I don't long for Barack's failure. I have been out of work for quite some time, and I think that it would be great if the government opened a temporary office here in town where they would start handing out meaningful, high quality (and preferably full-time) jobs like candy bars.

But I've been on this world even longer than Barack has, and when people start behaving in a manner which suggests that there isn't much substance behind what they are offering, I've learned that it's probably because there isn't much substance behind what they are offering.

Essentially, Barack's reason why our congressional representatives and our senators ought to approve  of his American Jobs Bill seems to be ... uh .uh....uh...

Will somebody please help  me, here?   I listened to the speech, honest, I did, even though he was even more longwinded than I usually am, if that's possible. I know what Obsma claimed his plan would accomplish. I just can't think of any substantive reason why I ought to believe him. Anybody can claim anything anybody wants to claim. But credibility is not won that easily.

Essentially, if you boil Obama's argumentation down to its essence,it seems to me that he's arguing that it will work because "everyone"(meaning an assorted collection of people representing all of the competing political "experts") likes the various components of his plan to some extent. I have to say that I think that's a pretty lame argument.

If indeed the plan behind the American Jobs Act is basically just a rehash of the best ideas Barack has heard from various people, I can't help but wonder how that makes it Barack's plan. That reminds me of the old saying about how a camel is nothing but a horse designed by a committee.

I will give Barack credit for being a reasonably good listener, which is more than a lot of people (in both parties) can say. But listening well is only part of what will be needed.  What's needed, it seems to me, is careful analysis, based on research and personal experience, not on preconceptions formed primarily by the need to tow the party line. Barack Obama seems to be less dependent on the Democratic party line than a lot of people, but he's still a party man.

I am not saying that I know for sure that Barack's plan won't work. But I am from Missouri, and you know what they say about us. Missouri is known as the Show Me State. When someone starts saying, "Just buy it, just buy it, stop asking so many damn questions" (or, in Barack's case, "Pass this bill, pass this bill", as if the demand that we ought to do so constitutes a good reason why we ought to do so), then my B.S. detector goes into high gear. Barack's "likeability factor" is unquestioned. But it seems to me that he relies on his personal charisma far too often. It's almost as if he thinks that he has some magic ability, not unlike Obi Wan Kanobi's ability to hypnotize people into believing whatever he wanted them to believe, for no better reason than the fact that he keeps telling us over and over that his plan will accomplish what it's supposed to accomplish . Repeating something over and over again does not constitute proof that it makes any sense.

Maybe Barack can get his allies at MSNBC to accuse his detractors of being "mouth breathers" or engaging in "crazy talk", and maybe that kind of name calling and mud slinging is persuasive to some people. But I am not such a person. I'm from the "show me state," and I want to see evidence and proof.

Frankly, I'm not sure what would constitute proof to me. I just know that whatever it is, I haven't seen it so far. And whatever it is, there's more to it than not-so-subtle innuendoes to the effect that people who do not instantly capitulate to Barack's plan are by definition indifferent to reason.

I'm not saying that I disliked every aspect of the president's speech. I support his plan to extend unemployment insurance, since I will benefit from that extension. I'm not sure that the exension will make that much of a difference in terms of opening up new jobs. At most, I suspect that the extenson will enable people to postpone the inevitable. But sometimes, buying people some badly needed time is good thing to do. And maybe we need to buy time for Barack OBama. Maybe doing so will buy him the time he needs to figure out to really solve America's problems during his second administration.  Because God knows that he hasn't solved those problems yet. (And, in all fairness, neither has the Tea Party.)

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Viva Vevo!

I just discovered a web site called It's specifically for music videos, mostly from the major labels.

The first video I saw there was by Weird Al Yankovic. Unsurprisingly (for people like me who remember his musical parodies of hit songs by people like Michael Jackson), it was very funny. (I won't quote the exact title, lest I should offend those of you who object to minor profanities which refer to fecal matter, but suffice it to say that it's about Al's objection to people who waste his time by forwarding items to him in which he has no interest, and in which he couldn't logically be expected to have an interest.)

The second Vevo video I watched was "Earth Run", an instrumental jazz fusion tune by Lee Ritenour and Abe Laboriel (a talented Christian bass player who has played bass with my friend Andy Pratt, and also with Koinonia, a Christian band which specialized in similar music) and Paulinho Costa.

One can find music videos on YouTube, but the quality tends to be all over the map. I get the impression that the Vevo videos are of a higher quality, but I just discovered the site, so time will tell.

At the moment, I'm watching a Vevo video of Diana Krall, singing "Just The Way You Are". I try not to indulge in the sin of lust, but if any female musician could tempt me to do so, she is one of the few who could. I still remember with great pleasure the time they invited her to perform on the second floor at the new Borders bookstore in Chicago at the Water Tower location. I stood just a few feet away from the grand piano they had brought just for the occasion. Wow, what a woman! Beautiful, and an excellent piano player to boot.

Oh, wow, now I'm watching Diana's video for "The Look of Love". OK, please don't assign me to perdition or worse for admitting that this video really stimulates my imagination, and causes me to envy Elvis Costello.

Hopefully, she's a Christian, so that the two of us can jam on dual pianos in the next life. Such a jam session certainly won't ever happen in this life, in all likelihood.

If she's not a Christian, I guess I'll just have to settle for a jam session amongst the saints with other talented Christian keyboard players, such as Kerry Livgren and and Michael Omartian and Rick Wakeman. Yeah, they're all believers!