Monday, April 27, 2015

Sins of the Daughter Reflected upon the Father

Mind-blowing. I don't care whose daughter she is, this is unacceptable behavior. The fact that Scottie Pippen's daughter attends the U of I just became public knowledge. When someone got arrested or in trouble with the law when I went to Mount Mercy College, it was barely mentioned in the media. 

Defending the Anger

Per Bob Rock in this article, Led Zeppelin's guitarist Jimmy Page and The White Stripe's guitarist Jack White both like Metallica's "St. Anger" release. I have advocated that it was a good Metallica release since day one, giving it a glowing review on dailyvault.com when it was released and defending it upon every opportunity granted unto me. Vindication feels awesome because if Jimmy Page & Jack White like that album, it must be awesome!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Just What Wasn't Needed

I'll defend Metallica, Lars Ulrich, and the other 3 members until the day I die. That said, legions of Metallica fans seem to be peeved. Go to any website that has an article about Metallica and, in the comments, you'll read the following as standard criticisms of the band:
  1. Lars Ulrich is the worst drummer in the world
  2. They haven't wrote a good tune since "And Justice for All"
  3. They worked with Bob Rock on the "Black" album and that ruined them.
  4. They released "Load" and "ReLoad" as two separate releases instead of combining them into a single release.
  5. "St. Anger" is a terrible release because the drums sound awful and there's no guitar solos
In the last few months, I'm seeing more and more negativity about Metallica because:
  1. Kirk Hammett lost 250 guitar riffs - why wouldn't he be smart enough to back up his phone?
  2. Metallica members talk about how they're working on the new tunes but then schedule tour dates. 
  3. #2 ties in with complaints about the span between "Death Magnetic" and the followup. They really aren't concerned about releasing a followup because they don't need to - they're filthy rich and don't care about the fans. 
  4. The "Through the Never" performances were good but the rest of the movie sucked.
Today comes the revelation from despised-by-many fans producer Bob Rock that Hetfield asked how to sing like Chris Isaak. Beyond the sensationalized headline, Rock told "Talk is Jericho" that "He said, ‘Bob, I’ve never really sung before – I’ve just kind of yelled.’ He played me a Chris Isaak record and said, ‘On Nothing Else Matters and The Unforgiven, I want to sing. How do you sing like this?’”

Without seeing it yet, I can sense that comment boards around the world are demonizing that Hetfield actually wanted to sing. I think it is only a matter of time before comments like "Chris Isaak is not metal and because Hetfield wanted to sing like him, Hetfield is no longer metal - he's just a rich rock star." As I said, I haven't seen that comment yet, but I feel it coming to a comment board soon. If Hetfield wants to be inspired by Chris Isaak, why is that so awful?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Common Education Standards Uproar

I thought I could simply skim through this article about Common Core, but after really thinking about the article with a critical mind - thank you Mount Mercy College - I am compelled to write about it. The article seems to want to dismiss Common Core because of this:

...parents have lodged complaints about Common Core that recommends that hormonally raging teenagers read books that promote pornography, pedophilia, rape and incest.

It should have ended the paragraph right there. Instead, it draws a conclusion from that statement:

Is it any wonder that we are seeing a huge increase in the number of sexual assaults on students by other students and teachers?

I am not advocating that hormonally raging teenagers read books that promote those things. Absolutely not! What I'd like to know is what are the numbers for the number of sexual assaults on students by other students by and teachers both before and after Common Core was implemented. Let me judge whether "huge increase" is a good description of the difference between these two numbers. The very next paragraph says this:

Common Core standardized testing along with other similar testing wastes days and weeks of time that could be better spent teaching students the truth and what’s really important. They spend days out of their learning just to prepare for the standardized test and then several days taking the tests. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize what a huge waste of time and resources the tests are and that they yield false assessments of students.


Just for a moment, let's pretend that instead of "Common Core standardized testing" was replaced with the phrase "Bar Exam" or "Medical Boards." Here's what the quote above would read like:


Medical Boards standardized testing along with other similar testing wastes days and weeks of time that could be better spent teaching students the truth and what’s really important. They spend days out of their learning just to prepare for the standardized test and then several days taking the tests. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize what a huge waste of time and resources the tests are and that they yield false assessments of students.


I want doctors and lawyers to have the same test. I don't want the tested material to be based upon political or the appearance of social injustice. Certainly, when "Burris ... wrote about Jessica Whale, a fourth grade teacher at Jennie E. Hewitt School in Rockville who stated:
“And all year they’ve [her students] been so proud of their academic growth, I’ve been congratulating them so much as of lately . . . they’ve blown me away. Now, they were in tears…and I heard… ‘I thought I was smart, I guess not’ ‘I’m stupid I can’t even take a test.’.

And I want to be clear right now so that you don't think I'm an asshole - I feel for the kids. I do. I took the ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills) in school and yep, I sucked at taking tests. Of course, for me, it didn't matter if it was a standardized test or not. But when I did poorly on a test, who was responsible for me learning the content?
  • Me - I know I should have studied a lot more for some classes.
  • The teacher - I had a history teacher in high school who showed 65 films, filmstrips, and slides in 55 days of class. I can't tell you a single thing about that class except suckers were sold @ 2 for $.25 (or 1 for $.15) at the start of every class and that was the only food allowed in his classroom. The suckers were also a fundraiser for the club he sponsored.

I'd argue both. If the article is correct and teachers spend "days of their learning just to prepare for the standardized test" and the kid does poorly, what issue needs to be corrected? No, I'm not blaming the student, the teacher, or any one entity for the poor performance. Specifically, there's a disconnect between the "tested content" and the "student" so, duh, find out where that disconnect exists and bridge it. The quote above says "You don't have to be a rocket scientist" to conclude that standardized testing is a "huge waste of time and resources." Fine. I also argue that "you don't have to be a rocket scientist' to realize that if the content isn't being taught, then they're not going to do well.

Things Work Out

As a follow-up to Monday's post regarding the vehicle incident at Megan's school, Karen & I stopped and paid the estimated cost on our way home - $360 - and then, ironically, there was a $400ish medical reimbursement check in our mailbox. It's really funny how God finds a way to provide.

In other news, almost every media outlet, or so it seems, has posted the story about Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett losing his cell phone. At first, I thought it was a stupid thing to report, especially since it happened 6 months ago, per this article. I mean, really, just how many people lose their cell phone in a single day? Why it was deemed newsworthy is because, on that cell phone, there are ~250 guitar riffs. Some versions of the story add in the comment that if you do not back up your phone / media on a regular basis, you should do so now, even if you don't have ~250 guitar riffs. I like the little nudge because if I had been backing up my music on a regular basis prior to the external hard drive dying in fall of 2013, I wouldn't have had to reconvert my music.

Speaking of music, there's been some developments in both my music collection as well as possibly playing drums in a band. For my music collection, two friends let me borrow some of their music. The page that tracks how many music files I have will have the final number on April 30th. My goal is to be able to weed out the duplicates by then. As far as playing drums, no news regarding the band from Sunday. However, last night, there was an Iowa City Craigslist post from a band needing a drummer.

Local Rock band with current bookings is looking for a drummer to complete the lineup. The music is rock-based, with old and new R&B. A working knowledge of funk & Reggae would nice too.

I responded by emailing a link to the page on this blog with my drum videos. If I don't find a way to routinely work on keeping my chops at a decent level, I won't be ready for either opportunity. While playing drums at Mass each week is a small step, I fully understand that barely over 1 hour a week is not preparing me for either opportunity.

Monday, April 20, 2015

How My Day Began

I was typing along without many a care in the world when Karen called. I traveled to Iowa City West to view the damage Megan caused to another vehicle. I met Doug & Gretchen, who also happen to belong to our church, and we looked at the vehicles. They took it to Billion Auto in Iowa City for an estimate. The estimate is under $400, which will be paid out of pocket so that Megan's insurance rate doesn't go up.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Excitement Surrounds Me

I indicated to Mike that I was interested in playing drums in response to the ad below. It was on the Iowa City Craigslist Musician site.

Drummer, bassist and 2nd guitarist wanted (iowa city, iowa)

I recently recorded an album in San Francisco and would like to put a band together to promote the album by doing some local shows initially in the Iowa City area and possibly some festivals in the Chicago and Ohio areas later in the summer. I am looking for members who can pick up the music from listening to the album, and within a couple of rehearsals be ready play out. If you have your own music and want to play/sing your songs too that's even better. The music allows for a fair amount of improve and is meant to lend itself to the jam scene. For the 2nd guitarist I mostly need someone who likes the music and can play good chords but not a lot of lead is needed.

Here's our website: swizzilletrip.com The complete album is there.

Check it out and if interested shoot me an email.

Mike


So, of course, I had to go out to http://www.swizzilletrip.com to listen. This is track one of the Swizzille Trip album:



Saturday, April 18, 2015

Justice & Wars

First trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice!

Han Solo & Chewbacca return in this Star Wars trailer!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Tag

It really makes me happy - my friends know I am a drummer. First, Jane tags me when she shared this video in a Facebook post:


Then, Matthew sends me a link to a puppet playing Rush's "Tom Sawyer", but before I can create a blog post to embed the video, John tags me when he shared the video in a Facebook post.

Unbelievable

From my Morning Briefing email - and I'm including the subject & date / time so that I can find this issue in the future - comes the kind of tantalizing headlines all headline writers should strive for. There was just no way I couldn't click the link to read this story.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Everyone Gets 70K, Even the Boss

It's ironic that, at her first campaign stop in Iowa, Hillary Clinton's remarks centered around four fights. From my First Read from NBC News email:

There was always a risk to Hillary Clinton's go-small approach to her early campaign -- and that was lacking a real message. That lack of a message was on display at her Iowa event yesterday. Yes, she listed her four "fights" --
  1. building an economy for tomorrow
  2. strengthening families and communities
  3. fixing America's political system by getting rid of "unaccountable" money
  4. protecting the country.
And, yes, she struck a more populist tone.

Here's where the irony kicks in. She said, "There's something wrong when CEOs make 300 times more than the typical worker," Clinton said. "And there's something wrong when hedge-fund managers pay lower tax rates than nurses." On the same day, comes this news story out of Seattle where the CEO of a company has raised the minimum pay for his employees to $70,000, as explained here. Of course, some can now point to the Seattle company and say, "Hah! Not all CEOs are evil!"

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Anniversary

Work is still consuming a lot of my time - I'm only writing now because Karen is at an appointment for a couple of hours. For the first hour of her being gone, I am kicking off a backup of my music files - still trying to find the right combination of DOS batch xcopy commands to do this efficiently - and other miscellaneous PC stuff. I would like to say I've spent time on the audit of my music files or that I've spent time on the conversion of my cassettes to MP3 or even home videos to digital or snapshots in photo albums to JPGs, but, sadly, no. For the second hour of her being gone, I plan to play the Yamaha electronic set since I haven't been practicing as much as I would like.

That said, very briefly, Hillary Clinton is now running for president. It's going to be a long and slow grind between now and November 2016. There will be countless theories about the direction our country should head, who is best equipped to lead it, and what should be done about pressing issues we face including, but certainly not limited to, the national debt, social programs, Iran, ISIS, and just why on earth did Hillary blame the Benghzi attack on a video?

Also, on a totally different topic, it was 15 years ago yesterday when Metallica's Lars Ulrich filed a lawsuit against Napster - http://www.inquisitr.com/2003568/napster-15-years-later-metallica-was-right/ - and, I suppose, the argument could be made that Lars was right.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Catching Up

Work has been incredibly busy because of a major deadline on Thursday, April 16. The approaching deadline has practically eliminated any moments I could use to write pithy posts on this blog. With Karen & Alex shopping for things he needs during his upcoming Disney trip, the old freezer wiped dry, and the old speakers from the stereo I had in college awaiting spring clean up day on April 25, I thought I'd take a few moments and list the things I wanted to write a pithy blog post about last week, but didn't have time to do. My current methodology is that when I see something interesting on a website, I "share" it so that it goes to my email. Then, when I take the time to do so, I write pithy posts about what I thought was interesting.


2015_04_05

Sent:       Sunday, April 05, 2015 10:18 PM

Subject: Watch "2112-VILLA STRANGIATO-BYTOR-XANADU-WORKING MAN - …" on YouTube

Sent:       Sunday, April 05, 2015 10:17 PM

Subject: Watch "Kadinja - Self-Titled (FULL EP STREAM)" on YouTube

Sent:       Sunday, April 05, 2015 10:16 PM

Subject: This Guy Gets It. So Many LGBT Folks Could Learn About Decency And Common Sense From Him. - Chicks on the Right

Sent:       Sunday, April 05, 2015 10:15 PM

Subject: YYZ RUSH - Anna Portalupi - Cecilia Nappo - Federico Maragoni - Thomas Rocca - YouTube

Sent:       Sunday, April 05, 2015 10:15 PM

Subject: Conservatives have a chance to be on the "right" side of History for a change : PatriotUpdate.com #patriotupdate @patriotupdate

Sent:       Sunday, April 05, 2015 10:15 PM

Subject: You are NOT a Racist for Doing These Things : PatriotUpdate.com #patriotupdate @patriotupdate

Sent:       Sunday, April 05, 2015 10:15 PM

Subject: Liberal Elites are "Tolerant" of Everyone Except Christians : PatriotUpdate.com #patriotupdate @patriotupdate

Sent:       Sunday, April 05, 2015 10:15 PM

Subject: Liberal Guest On 'Kelly File' Compares Christians To KKK Over Religious Freedom Law

Sent:       Sunday, April 05, 2015 10:14 PM

Subject: Top 10 Drum Songs

Sent:       Sunday, April 05, 2015 10:14 PM

Subject: Claw machines are rigged — here's why it's so hard to grab that stuffed animal - Vox

Sent:       Sunday, April 05, 2015 10:13 PM

Subject: Mass of St. Ann by Ed Bolduc - YouTube

Sent:       Sunday, April 05, 2015 10:12 PM

Subject: Liberal Guest On 'Kelly File' Compares Christians To KKK Over Religious Freedom Law

Sent:       Sunday, April 05, 2015 10:12 PM

Subject: Vintage Ludwig Clear Vistalite Drumset Complete with Extras

Sent:       Sunday, April 05, 2015 10:01 PM

Subject: Rolling Stone rebuked by independent review of campus rape story - Yahoo News

Sent:       Sunday, April 05, 2015 9:51 PM

Subject: Three Grammar Rules to Forget (Because They're Wrong)

Sent:       Sunday, April 05, 2015 9:49 PM

Subject: David Ellefson Says 'Faith' Has Brought Him And Dave Mustaine Closer Together - Blabbermouth.net

Sent:       Sunday, April 05, 2015 9:01 PM

Subject: Top 10 Albums of 1991

Sent:       Sunday, April 05, 2015 9:01 PM

Subject: Top 10 Nirvana Songs Better Than 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'

Sent:       Sunday, April 05, 2015 9:26 AM

Subject: Tommy Lang gets some love at fundraiser to cover medical bills

Sent:       Sunday, April 05, 2015 9:25 AM

Subject: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/investigations/2015/04/04/forfeiture-state-plates-target/25308639/

2015_04_08

Sent:     Wednesday, April 08, 2015 7:28 PM
Subject:               Sex and dementia: When is a loving act abuse? - TheGazette
http://thegazette.com/subject/news/rare-case-of-sex-and-alzheimers-unfolds-in-iowa-courtroom-20150407




2015_04_10




Sent:     Friday, April 10, 2015 8:43 PM

Subject:               9 Things You Learn About Charlie Sheen From Reading Jon Cryer’s Memoir
9 Things You Learn About Charlie Sheen From Reading Jon Cryer’s Memoir


Sent:     Friday, April 10, 2015 4:50 PM

Subject:               Watch "Culture Club-Karma Chameleon(Death Metal Version)" on YouTube

Sent:     Friday, April 10, 2015 4:49 PM

Subject:               Watch "Metallica-Enter Sandman (Smooth Jazz Version)" on YouTube

Sent:     Friday, April 10, 2015 4:49 PM

Subject:               Judas Priest-You've Got Another Thing Comin'(Bossa Nova Version) - YouTube
 

D & D by B in 19