Joe's Scratchpad

Odds & Ends and Random Thoughts

Sep 16

Yeah!


Sep 14


Sep 13

Sep 12

If your read my piece on R&B a couple of days ago, you may be interested in a much more literate discussion of the subject written back in 2011 by Jozen Cummings for ‘The Awl.’ It’s long and deep, so I’ve extracted some key graphs that mostly parallel my own thinking on the subject. The full piece can be found at the link at the bottom. Anyway, here’s the jest of Cumming’s piece:

Two new projects are sparking a lot of discussion right now about the current state of R&B. The first is by The Weeknd, a mysterious singer (or group?) who has enjoyed a quick rise to critical-darling status since releasing the free debut album House of Balloons last week. The second is by Frank Ocean…

 [T]he two acts are getting joined together as poster children for what’s being called a new wave of R&B. The terms being thrown around to describe this new wave are “hipster R&B” 

I’ve listened to both albums, and both are excellent… But through my countless listens to both albums, there’s one thing I’m not hearing—R&B. Not even the hipster variety.

It’s not so much that the term “hipster R&B” is inaccurate… Calling it “hipster R&B” is a nice way of saying it’s R&B that white people like, and here’s my problem with that: It’s myopic, lazy, and it sounds to me like a form of musical segregation that’s not entirely based on genre.

Here’s a proposal—how about we call it “nappy-headed pop”? If that sounds even slightly politically incorrect or lazy, then you understand my frustrations with the term “hipster R&B.” It’s not with the term “hipster”; it’s with any hipster or white critic labeling a black artist “an R&B artist” just because he or she sings a little…

Of course, R&B should be allowed to evolve. Not everything needs to sound like an extension of the Motown and Stax tree or like it belongs on Quiet Storm radio formats… Chris Brown’s new album F.A.M.E. is a prime example of this evolution. Listen closely: Are we really listening to R&B or are we listening to pop? Different ears, different opinions, I’m sure; but if we can’t all agree on it being R&B, then why would we categorize it as R&B or compare it to other R&B albums in the first place? My guess, probably because he’s black….

All this automatic categorization of black artists who sing harkens back to the social roots of the R&B genre. Before R&B was even called R&B, the record industry and magazines like Billboard categorized it as “race music,” shorthand for any black artists who sang with a backbeat behind them. For years, white artists who made similar music never had to worry about being designated as “race music” until 1958, when Billboard began using “R&B” instead. The switch made it possible for acts like the late, great Teena Marie and current artists like Robin Thicke to chart in the R&B category. Unfortunately, many critics still referred (and refer) to those artists with the term “blue-eyed soul,” which is a nice way of saying they’re white singers that black people like. Equally hackneyed is calling black singers who white people like “hipster R&B”—or, for that matter, “nappy-headed pop”.

But what I am urging is that we not be so quick to categorize all black singers as R&B—because what starts to happen then is we cut off the opportunity to have a real discussion about R&B as a genre…

Let’s listen to the music carefully, place the albums in their proper categories (if you’re even into that sort of thing), and then discuss based on what we hear, not what we see.

http://www.theawl.com/2011/03/you-say-hipster-rb-i-say-nappy-headed-pop-either-way-its-offensive


Car Key Fob Replacement

Here’s something that may come in handy for some of you whose car key fobs might stop working.

The key fob remote for my Lexus stopped working a week ago, and I first thought I’d just get a new one. But when I called the dealer I was told a new remote would cost $259 plus $69 to have it programmed. Yikes!

I then started checking around online for a better price, and learned that my problem might just be a bad battery. Figuring that I had nothing to lose, I ordered a new key fob battery from keyless.com for $3.49 + $1.16 tax & shipping. 

When it arrived in the mail today I went online for to learn how to install it, and found this video on youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1u_Ru7fWDc

Bingo, it worked! I’m back in business for less than $5. 

– Joe


Sep 11


Sep 10
News:  Tonight, in a nationwide address, President Obama will lay out his comprehensive strategy for defeating ISIS…

Folks, I was pleased when the president said “We don’t have a strategy” for dealing with ISIS several days ago, because he was being upfront with the American people. At the time he was being lambasted by the GOP and right-wing commentators for not taking aggressive action in response to the decapitation of an American reporter by ISIS. But rather than allowing himself to be buffaloed into bombing for the sake of bombing, Obama insisted that THIS TIME we need to get all our ducks in a row before we do anything. 

This approach is so commonsense that you’d think everybody would agree with it, especially after the Bush administration’s disastrous rush to war in Iraq. But politics can sometimes trump commonsense, particularly for those blinded by their passionate dislike of Obama. Nevertheless, I was happy to see the president take his time to put together a strategy that takes into account not only ISIS, but Syria,Iraq and the Kurds, as well. Hopefully, it will include the type of coalition, including Arab states, that worked so well for Bush I in the first Gulf War.

But, as pleased as I was by Obama taking the time to actually plan, I am disappointed that he feels the need to go public with his strategy for all the world to see. Hopefully, what we will hear from him tonight will include only the barest outlines of what his strategy entails. Otherwise, by showing his hand before he plays his cards, he would kinda be defeating the purpose of having a strategy to begin with.

Hey, of all the wars this country has been engaged in during my adult years I can’t recall not a single president announcing a war strategy in advance. Neither Truman or Eisenhower did it for Korea. Neither Kennedy of Nixon did it for Vietnam. George HW Bush didn’t do it for the Gulf War, and his son couldn’t have even if he’d wanted to because it’s doubtful if he ever had one himself.

So, why Obama feels obligated to do so is beyond me. But, hey, I trust he knows what he’s doing. At least, I hope so.

–  Joe

News:  Tonight, in a nationwide address, President Obama will lay out his comprehensive strategy for defeating ISIS…

Folks, I was pleased when the president said “We don’t have a strategy” for dealing with ISIS several days ago, because he was being upfront with the American people. At the time he was being lambasted by the GOP and right-wing commentators for not taking aggressive action in response to the decapitation of an American reporter by ISIS. But rather than allowing himself to be buffaloed into bombing for the sake of bombing, Obama insisted that THIS TIME we need to get all our ducks in a row before we do anything. 

This approach is so commonsense that you’d think everybody would agree with it, especially after the Bush administration’s disastrous rush to war in Iraq. But politics can sometimes trump commonsense, particularly for those blinded by their passionate dislike of Obama. Nevertheless, I was happy to see the president take his time to put together a strategy that takes into account not only ISIS, but Syria,Iraq and the Kurds, as well. Hopefully, it will include the type of coalition, including Arab states, that worked so well for Bush I in the first Gulf War.

But, as pleased as I was by Obama taking the time to actually plan, I am disappointed that he feels the need to go public with his strategy for all the world to see. Hopefully, what we will hear from him tonight will include only the barest outlines of what his strategy entails. Otherwise, by showing his hand before he plays his cards, he would kinda be defeating the purpose of having a strategy to begin with.

Hey, of all the wars this country has been engaged in during my adult years I can’t recall not a single president announcing a war strategy in advance. Neither Truman or Eisenhower did it for Korea. Neither Kennedy of Nixon did it for Vietnam. George HW Bush didn’t do it for the Gulf War, and his son couldn’t have even if he’d wanted to because it’s doubtful if he ever had one himself.

So, why Obama feels obligated to do so is beyond me. But, hey, I trust he knows what he’s doing. At least, I hope so.

–  Joe


Sep 9
This federal judge was arrested earlier this week for beating his wife at a hotel in Atlanta. He was arrested and later released on bond. The judge now stands accused of domestic battery.
Ray Rice, also accused on beating his wife, has been fired from the Ravens, banned indefinitely from the NFL, and stripped of all his product endorsement contracts. 
Federal judges have lifetime appointments, but the Senate can remove them from office for cause.
BTW, the beating incident took place a month ago but I’d never heard about it until I accidentally stumbled across a news report today:
http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2014/08/hes_beating_on_me_wife_of_judg.html
Question: Will the judge get the ‘Ray Rice’ treatment?

This federal judge was arrested earlier this week for beating his wife at a hotel in Atlanta. He was arrested and later released on bond. The judge now stands accused of domestic battery.

Ray Rice, also accused on beating his wife, has been fired from the Ravens, banned indefinitely from the NFL, and stripped of all his product endorsement contracts. 

Federal judges have lifetime appointments, but the Senate can remove them from office for cause.

BTW, the beating incident took place a month ago but I’d never heard about it until I accidentally stumbled across a news report today:

http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2014/08/hes_beating_on_me_wife_of_judg.html

Question: Will the judge get the ‘Ray Rice’ treatment?


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