One Reporter's Opinion

Proud sponsor of The Partnership for an Idiot-Free America. Andy's random observations -- a potluck of politics, a mix of music musings, and whatever else transcends the transom. (Unless otherwise specified, all pictures are copyright of this blogger. Some rights reserved, subject to the terms and conditions specified under the Creative Commons license.)

Friday, February 23, 2007

INVERSE BLOG AMNESTY! Please update your bookmarks, should you have any, to point to -- I will be hosting there going forward. Thanks. mgmt

tinuing the pay-it-forward meme scheme developed by Leonard Pierce, here's my capsule interview with Hayden Childs...

1. What's your favorite show you've seen at the Ryman?

Oooh, you are already establishing yourself as a tough interviewer. I would have to say the 2004 show featuring Elvis Costello and the Imposters, where they were touring behind their release of The Delivery Man. Costello really showed up for that show, which he so often does when he's in Nashville. One of the most memorable moments was when he sang "A Good Year for the Roses" without any amplification. I was sitting in the rear of the balcony and heard every note.

Runners up would include Wilco in 2003, Steve Earle & the Original Dukes 25th Anniversary of Guitar Town reunion/concert, Merle Haggard in 2002, and the Johnny Cash public memorial.

(There's a quick top five instead of one. I love many of the shows there for many reasons.)

2. What was the point of telephone deregulation with the benefit of hindsight? Does it have a future?

Well, the point of it was to provide universal, cheap access to communications and information services. At least, that was the public face of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. There were some positives there, including the establishment of the Universal Service Fund and of e-Rate, so that schools could take advantage of the emergent Internet. That, in and of itself, would have been enough.

However, the point was not as dramatic as the outcome. The outcome, of course, was the re-consolidation of big incumbent local exchange carriers. That was helped along greatly by the robber baron philosophy of Bernie Ebbers -- and as the robber that he was, he wound up being sentenced to 25 years in prison for fraud.

Now, what we are witnessing in the industry today is the death of long distance and the emergence of IP. The two most lucrative markets left: 1) wireless, and 2) broadband access.

This is a much abbreviated history.

But in answer to the second question, the short answer is "yes." I think that regulation has a future, and its name is "net neutrality." I don't think that it has much of a future, but I must commend Commissioner Adelman and Commissioner Copps for standing up to AT&T and making sure that NN provisions were attached to the BellSouth merger as a precondition.

3. Do you have a favorite place to take photos?

I try not to limit myself, but I find myself taking most photos when on hikes. Trees, flowers, birds, sunsets, landscapes. I probably don't take as many pictures of people as I could, unless I'm at a concert.

As far as a single favorite, I'd have to say that Alaska has really captured my imagination. This year's vacation will be to Galápagos, however, so we'll see if that remains at the top of the list.

4. Mike Watt & The Pair of Pliers (Watson/Meghrouni) or Mike Watt & the Black Gang (Baiza/Lee)? Why?

Black Gang -- but the version of the Black Gang that I saw (on the "puttin' the opera to bed" tour) was Bob Lee and Nels Cline.

And now that you know that, I think the answer should be obvious. That's the show that made me a Nels Cline fanatic.

I'd still probably lean towards Baiza & Lee if that was my only choice. As long as Watt's in the mix, though, it's all good.

5. Will the Dems take Tennessee in 2008? Which Presidential candidate has the best shot and why?

Depends on what the Dems are attempting to "take" in Tennessee. The senate seat, currently held by Lamar! Alexander is going to be tough to take back. Right now, the D's have a majority in House seats (5 of 9 of TN's districts), they hold the governorship (nominally, since Bredesen is such a sellout), they continue to hold the TN House, and are within a couple of seats of taking back the Senate. Since the governor's office isn't vacated until 2010... I'd say they hold 5 seats in the House delegation unless Davis (TN-4th) runs for Lamar's seat.

Among presidential contenders in TN... hm. Let's just go with who I think will win the prez primaries, given who's in right this moment: McCain (R), Obama (D). I don't think there's much chance for Hillary to win here unless she is riding a huge wave, and even then, it'll be tough.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Growing pains?

This year, I have come to be acquainted with two people who've gone to prison.

Having gone almost 40 years in my life, I don't think I've ever really even tangled with anyone who went to jail, much less prison.

(That time that my dad got busted for fireworks possession hardly counts.)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Semi-Obligatory 9/11 Post

If you came here to check in, just let me say, "Hey, I'm great." Aside from having a cold, that is. I had a great time on this year's vacation in Alaska.

I learned something about myself, too.

As I was sitting on a ridge watching and photographing a sunset that would last for the next couple of hours, I thought to myself how fortunate that I was that I had a job that would allow me the freedom to enjoy moments like this every now and again.


Anchors like jobs don't "allow freedom." Jobs give you an opportunity to make money, which you can exchange for goods and services.

Can you say "Stockholm Syndrome?"

Freedom is what you sacrifice to take a job.

This is something I'm contemplating today, when I hear a lot of hollow talk about "the price of freedom" that we pay as citizens, or that we ask of others to pay on our behalf.

And I can't get around the idea that freedom and security are at self-devouring ends of a bitter cycle.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Nineteen and ninety fucking two...

Was this really 14 years ago?

I'm sitting here watching VH1 Classic and Eddie Vedder is belting out "Evenflow."

I remember trading my copy of Material Issue's International Pop Overthrow for a copy of Ten. I still think I got the better end of the deal, all things considered... but damn, "grunge" seems so dated now.

In 1992, I was just out of college, living in Chicago, going door-to-door for Greenpeace, making subminimum wage, and I don't think I'd ever had a bite of sushi.


And now it's Morrissey singing "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out."

Maaaaaaaaaaaaaan. I liked The Smiths so much more before I'd ever seen a single video of theirs. From 1988 until 1997, I didn't have cable, so seeing all of this stuff is all pretty much new to me.

I don't think I really missed all that much.

Friday, July 14, 2006

You Tubin'

You can't go wrong with Dave Edmunds or Nick Lowe.

Lo and behold, they recognized this themselves, and took it on the road.

So, here's a vid of one oft-overlooked supergroup, Rockpile. On American Bandstand, no less.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Corrupting Youthful Ideals of Weirdo Music

Recently, my wife posed a challenge for me - come up with some of the music which warped the sensibilities of my 16-year-old mind.

I came up with the following suggestions for a possible soundtrack:

(1) Cream Corn from the Socket of Davis EP, Butthole Surfers (1985). The song list is short: "Moving To Florida," "Comb," "To Parter," and "Tornadoes." And each one is exquisitely strange, especially the first track, with its non sequitur references to "sausages which dance like Ray Bolger on the hood of a car in a traffic jam" and "potty train the Chairman Mao."

(2) Psychocandy, Jesus & Mary Chain (1985). When the feedback kicks in, more akin to a Hoover vacuum than a Fender Twin Reverb, you know you have something different going here. This band never quite captured this sort of ambience again, and it's a shame. The last thing these guys needed was more production.

(3) Sonic Youth, Sonic Youth (1982). The album which started it all. Originally on SST, recently re-released on Universal.

(4) What Makes a Man Start Fires?, The Minutemen (1983). "Our band is scientist rock." One cannot underestimate the impact of this band, nor overlook this album, and it is decidedly not mainstream. Angular lyrics, chunking guitar noise, dynamic and fast interplay.

(5) Frankenchrist, Dead Kennedys (1985). Probably the most intriguing Dead Kennedys project, at least over time. It's a departure from the short form punk style of hardcore (see In God We Trust, Inc.) and brings in much more instrumental focus. Jello Biafra is all over the map on this one, lyrically, but once you actually sit down and decipher what's being said, you'll find a lot there that still applies today. I went and picked this up just for "Hellnation" after the 2004 election.

(6) Like Flies on Sherbert, Alex Chilton (1980). Not what you'd expect to follow from Big Star. This takes various stylings in Memphis R&B, soul, blues, and disco -- and shakes them all up in a bag, scatters them on the floor, and the result? Well, it is what it is. A self-conscious turn towards self-alienation in the career of a complex character.

(7) Damaged, Black Flag (1981). Returning again to West Coast punk (and yet another entry from SST Records), this marks the debut of Henry Rollins behind the mic. With Greg Ginn's signature guitar backed by Chuck Dukowski's boundless energy on bass, this is a centerpiece of not just punk, but rock music.

(8) Zen Arcade, Husker Du (1984). Aw hell, let's just continue the SST kick. Reportedly recorded in one take, this double album is a masterpiece of midwestern psychedelia-cum-punk.

I guess the only things missing here might be Meat Puppets II and Bad Brains' I Against I. OK, and Saccharine Trust. Sheesh! What a bogart!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

YouTube Find:

Hell yeah. Booker T & the MG's in 1967: