I’m Offended #4

Political Pandering in the Wake of Disaster

Twenty-one people in Uvalde, Texas, are dead. Killed by a nutcase with a rifle.

Within half an hour, politicians of all stripes were using this moment of incredible grief and suffering to climb on their soapboxes, fire up their personal spotlights and make noise. Not for the victims. For themselves. “Talking points” on gun control. “Security plans.” Politics has no place photo bombing children in body bags being removed from a school.

If the research numbers are to be believed, there are more guns than people in the United States. Firearm manufacturing could stop tomorrow and there would be plenty of guns to go around. That conversation is a nonstarter.

Plans? Plans are only as good as their execution. That would seem like a bad word choice, but not properly executing a plan leads to, in this example, execution.

Way back in the late 70s I was on a crew that made OSHA safety movies for the petrochemical industry. How to purge tanks and vessels, lock out a pipeline, that kind of thing. Step-by-step actions that not properly executed would lead to, as a manager at the Shell refinery in Pasadena said, “Blowin’ half the damn county away.” You only have to be told once don’t move, don’t push any buttons on your gear, don’t touch anything because some idiot skipped a step and the whole refinery is knee deep in butane to understand the value of a properly executed plan.

Uvalde is a tragedy because of failure to execute several plans.

First – I don’t buy the propped open, not propped open whatever door stories. Bottom line in an elementary school security plan is if you close a door, make sure it’s locked. I know this as my ex son-in-law has been a big-city high school principal for years. Not only did he have armed police officers rotating as resource officers, he had his staff walk the halls checking doors. Getting into one of his schools took ID, a metal wanding, a valid reason to be there at all. It was easier to get into the Dallas courthouse than one of his schools. Security at schools should be as tight as it is at the IRS or the police station. We know there are idiots out there, with guns we can’t control, looking to do big harm. Why was the door in Uvalde even an issue? They had a plan. That, poorly executed, led to execution.

Second – WTF is up with the cops? Nineteen armed, supposedly trained, vest wearing officers of the law standing around with their thumbs in their asses and their minds in Arkansas doing nothing? Jesus. A handful of unarmed civilians went after armed airline hijackers. Not these people. Not a selfless hero gene among them. Clear the rooms in line of fire, kick the door down and shoot the motherfucker. Eliminate the threat. That’s the job. “Collateral” casualties aren’t an issue when he’s already shot damn near everyone in the room.

And the politicians? Look at me! I’m gun control! Look at me! I’m second amendment! Fuck all that. Guns, guns, guns are not the issue. We are way past that. Paying attention, following the plan and protecting our kids is key. If “they” can find seditionists and terrorists with social media bots, why not mass shooting whackos? They advertise. The Uvalde dude advertised. He told people who failed to notify the authorities. There are websites devoted to who killed the most in a mass shooting before they surrendered or went out in a blaze of statistical glory. Serial killers the same. Is it even understandable? No. But the signposts are there.

Should anyone have to wait two weeks, a month, however long, to buy an assault rifle? Who knows? Louisiana has a one year “cooling off” period to finalize a divorce. Maybe it wouldn’t kill us to wait for an assault rifle.

The truth is, if nut cases want to kill a bunch of people, they don’t need an assault rifle.

Or a bunch of politicians or actors grabbing some spotlight time riding the coattails of misery. That shit is beyond offensive, beyond justifiable. Talk, posturing, pandering won’t solve this one. There are too many guns out there. Taking a plan seriously, responsibly, is one step in the right direction toward protecting citizens, not debating guns, or gun rights, box office bankability or political futures.

I’m Offended #3

Rampant Half-ass

Okay, I’m used to it in Indie author/publishing. But in essence all of the rampant half-assed-ness comes down to the old joke about the person who showed up at the stage door and said they could play the violin. Yeah? How long have you been you playing? Well, I haven’t, but it looks easy, right? And I wasn’t doing anything else tonight.

Cross that over to writing. I’ve read a few books. I’ll kick out a novel. No one is watching over my shoulder. It looks like writing. I got an ISBN number. I’m a writer!

But – YouTube? That’s presentation time. Particularly live streaming. I have mentioned being in many facets of the music biz. If I were six times better than most of what I see on YouTube I’d never have made it to the parking lot, much less in the front door. Do none of these people know what they’re going to so or say or demonstrate next?

There’s an Englishman, (TheSoundTestRoom, 54.7k subscribers) I’m sure he’s the nicest guy, and he runs a popular iOS music demo/review site. He doesn’t even spend the first five minutes begging you to like and subscribe. But he wastes far more time than that bumblefucking around. “Well, here’s this, no, there it is, no…” and he bounces from screen to screen, often the same screen that’s not the right one 5, 6, 10 times before he gets to where he’s going. I can do that and get it figured. I’m looking for the quickie how to/here it is. The same with sound demos. Play something identifiable or useful and move on. Hint – don’t play piano licks on a pedal steel guitar. I’m sure Doug is doing a service for a lot of people, but he drives me fucking crazy. Have a plan. Don’t drag us around while you figure it out. And like the “writer” pages, people fawn all over that half-assed stuff. Example – I mean he couldn’t answer a direct question in the comments about iPhone 10/MIDI/audio with the appropriate answer(s) when, hey, he could’ve fucking Googled before he said something stupid. And expensive. But no. You need a $100 plus audio interface and… It’ an epidemic. I had a plumber tell me I needed to pay $1,200 for a $30 valve that was “mandatory” until the city inspector said “Bullshit”. There’s more than enough bullshit out there. If you can’t answer from the bottom up, don’t.

Even Jakob Haq, (Haq attaQ, 38.6k subscribers) whose videos I generally appreciate, and it’s obvious he knows his iOS stuff, still ends up staying in the shallow end of the pool sometimes and being a “personality”. Both he and the SoundTestRoom do what they do and if it gets tricky or is outside their domain with (usually) MIDI (which has been around for almost 40 years) they duck. They try to be clever. “Ah, ya don’t need it. It sounds wonderful by itself” and just like everybody else. Plus, there’s a plethora of chubby guys with beards, and chicks with tattoos or Pre-Raphaelite hair or both, and erudite pontificators doing the same wanking hither and yon and begging for likes and subscribers.

The only one who seems to know his stuff deeper than the superficial and can edit out his clams is Nutrix the Synth Guy (15.9k subscribers). And he’s difficult to understand. But when no one could make sense of the SE02 Sequencer, he nailed it. It was slow, and glitch edited, but he got it. Which was appreciated because Roland’s manual sucked, even after the firmware/documentation update. It should be said Nutrix is a teacher at a brick-and-mortar music school.

Aside. I was one of the three people responsible for sales (and etc) at Sequential Circuits. It was one of the synths of the late 70s and 80s. And is now a reborn high-end specialty. Here’s a fact. Over 98% of the Prophets we got back for any kind of service still had the factory patches in them. What does that tell you about “creativity”?

Why is this half-assed-ness acceptable? If I’d shown up at a trade show or clinic and couldn’t make the stuff kiss my ass, didn’t have a program, couldn’t stop, change hats and switch gears in an instant based on the crowd and answer the questions from a piano teacher in Monroe, Louisiana to Herbie Hancock to the pocket protector people (that had nothing to do with music) I’d been fired. Actually, I’d never have gotten hired. But some of these cats, who are at best hacks (no offense, Jakob) have coffee mugs and t-shirts and keep time with their hands like DJs, or if they’re cute and do full on personality videos they wiggle dance or groove some. They don’t explain or teach shit, but there they are. Talking heads. Marketing spokespersons. “Hit the like button and subscribe and I’ll get some more free shit to not explain very well.”

Not half-assed – The other day I landed on a music theory site. The guy has 1.56 Million followers.

WHOA. 1.56 Million

He’s knowledgeable. And clever. And makes sense. I made a comment on one of his posts. That comment got 145,000 likes/thumbs up. One comment. One post. But what I like most about the guy is his “Oh, for fuck’s sake” attitude about elitism or “Stump. The Band”. Example – Someone sent in a question about how to voice an idiotic chord. It was stupid on its face, Gbmin7 with added #13 and b9. “You wouldn’t normally want to do this,” (demo) “because it just sounds bad. Unless that’s what you’re after.” Plus, it violated the syntax of chord notation. (Kinda like writing, huh? Syntax is voice.) After this, the host took the time to point out that regardless of what the circle of fifths we memorized tells us, Gbm7, and all its associated flats, is really F#m7 and suddenly we’re back in the land of the sane. I don’t know many people who think in Cb when B will do. And the most amazing thing he said, and shows his attitude and probably why 1.56 Million musicians have found his site, was this (after being asked for advice by someone starting music school) –

“…(do) not let the information you’re given dictate the way you feel music should be made. You’re going to learn (chords, scales blah blah blah) but there is a danger of losing track of what it is you want to do with music. Don’t lose sight of what keeps you excited.”

Now, this entire rant makes sense if you think cross curriculum. That riff above reads like Elmore Leonard on writing. “I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative. It’s my attempt to remain invisible, not distract the reader from the story with obvious writing.” Duh. Write a melody, don’t run scales. I relate writing to music. Others relate it to accounting or programming or Friday night drinking in a bar. An understanding of music (nor the others) is necessary. Understanding how to use and abuse the rules of craft is mandatory. (At least I think so).

Point – there are way too many of those “tonight’s the night” violinists out there. Everywhere from writing to music to dryer repair.

If only I were young and scrawny. I’d have coffee mugs and T-shirts. The question would be, would anybody give a shit if it’s better than half-assed? From what I can tell? Maybe. Because unfortunately Kurt Vonnegut nailed it with this gem –

“If you can do a half-assed job of anything, you are a one-eyed man in a kingdom of the blind.”

How fucking sad a commentary is that?

I’m Offended #2

No Wonder I Sent Back Those Crappy Bluetooth Headphones

I received the following in an email today. I wasn’t sure if it was legal to reblog, so the link to all of the article is at the bottom.

I’m waiting for this to hit the WP Indie Author Circuit. Despite the author starting his article in passive voice, the information will astound you. What is it the publishers want, 60,000 followers?  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 

900,000 fake reviews for a perfect rating
900,000 fake reviews for a perfect rating
(Sven profile) Sven Krumrey | 03.03.2022


I was recently looking for a new Bluetooth speaker to add proper sound to the upcoming balcony season. I have little expertise in this area so I looked around the Internet and did some research. I quickly chanced upon a product with reviews that promised “unmatched rich basses”, “crystal-clear highs”, “incredible runtime” and that was lauded as the “perfect companion for every party”. These were either highly enthusiastic customers–or fake reviews. Amazon just recently sued two companies that sell phony reviews on a large scale. Read more