Saturday, November 30, 2013

Saturday Song Selection – Randy Newman: Political Science

The Neo-Con Theme

Or Why Do Republicans Love War So?

"This deal falls very short on all fronts... it bodes very, very ominously for the region, and in fact, U.S. security - Eric Cantor
“Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.” – John McCain

“Let's drop the big one
There'll be no one left to blame us." – Randy Newman

Your Lefty Blogger’s Rant

Why “Political Science?” Because the hateful hub bub and radical Republican reaction to the recent hopeful and peaceful accord with Iran to possibly prevent them from developing nuclear weaponry capabilities demonstrates astutely the prescient nature of Mr. Newman’s 1972 composition. While he was comically commenting on American foreign policy of that era, his farcical lyrics would seem even more attuned to the Right-Wing mindset of today.

Blessed with thought, curiosity and comprehension, the grey matter of modern man makes one query, why such rejection and refusal for a bloodless agreement that would appear to be all upside? The honest answer would perhaps be two-fold.

First, far too many Conservatives, Republicans and Tea-partiers, by nurture and nature, dislike and distrust citizenry who’s skin tones vary to darker shades than that seen in photographs and videos of Clay Aiken. Deny this they will, but their denials are often of the same superficial spirit akin to statements like, “Man, that Jackie Robinson was a heck of a ballplayer,” and “Sammy Davis could sure sell a song.”

The present proliferation of this thinking would be the respect and admiration stated from these intolerants towards former General Colin Powell, one of the criminals who held an active, important and major role in selling the Iraq War lies and propaganda to Americans and the world at large. While Powell holds a dear place in the heart of GOPers for that vile villainy, rest assured should he ever announce a run for the highest office in the land, they would throw him under the bus faster than a fed up Alice Kramden literally would to husband Ralph, when finally standing up to his constant stream of verbal abuse and long-standing threats of physical violence. Meaning, if Barack Hussein Obama proposes an idea, the Right knows naught but to oppose it, even if they don’t quite appreciate why they do.

Secondly, Republican leaders love war. They really do. It’s one of the few things they understand and embrace. The Right has but one way to conduct foreign policy, one philosophy, one approach, one ideology, one arrow in their international non-diplomatic quiver - war.

Simply put, and as borne out by history and rhetoric, Conservatives hate negotiation and love killing. They loathe life, and adore death. They subsist on the sacrifice of our nation's courageous youth and the termination of other populations and innocents across this great globe.  They coveted bombs and soldiers in Syria, and now desire the same in Iran. Their bag of diplomatic tricks, their solution to every and all dilemmas, consists solely of bombing, invading, attacking and occupying. Successful Republican mediation is one whose outcome slaughters our young people (as well as other peoples) thousands upon thousands, and builds foreign military bases which are then never abandoned.  Any other option is capitulation and appeasement. Diplomacy and negotiation is weakness. Piling up unrecognizable and nameless corpses is strength and victory. And why such adulation of death and destruction - part stubborn and idiotic ideology and part pure inglorious greed, for the GOP, and the Neo-Cons and the military industrial complex that wise President Dwight Eisenhower (a kind of Republican no longer in existence) warned us about, oh so long ago, cannot profit from peace.

And it’s this despicable dogma that leads us to today’s melody of choice, a broadly satiric concoction whose lyrics many a Tea Partier, many a Neo-Con, many a Republican could cling to as literal liturgy.

Obligatory Biographical Information

The Randy Newman who penned and performed “Political Science” in the way-back times of Vietnam-era youthful rebellion, is in many ways musically far removed from the Newman most know from his Disney/Pixar/annual Oscar nomination years. I highly recommend exploration of his cerebral, sardonic, satiric and sarcastic early singer-songwriter days, and watch the treacly side melt away as you look back in anger.

Nephew of three heralded Hollywood composers - Alfred, Lionel and Emil Newman, Randy eventually followed in those family footsteps, resulting in such a proliferation of award nominations and triumphs that even Sesame Street’s the Count had to give up trying to keep track. His film scores include those for Ragtime, Awakenings, The Natural, James and the Giant Peach, Meet the Parents, Seabiscuit, A Bug’s Life, Cars, Monsters, Inc. and Toy Story 1 through Toy Story Infinity;  in the process racking up 20 Oscar Nominations with 2 wins, in addition to 3 Emmys, 6 Grammys, the Recording Academy’s Governor’s Award, induction into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame and, most relevantly, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Before Randy Newman tailed Tink and Peter to Disney and filmdom prominence, fame and fortune, he was a longhaired, hippy-type, recalcitrant rock and roller, and that is who we salute here.

Besides his own critically acclaimed, but oft-times commercially ignored, albums of original songs, his work was covered by a lengthy list of recording artists among them Gene PitneyJerry ButlerPetula ClarkDusty SpringfieldJackie DeShannonThe O'Jays , Harpers Bizarre , Alan PriceVan Dyke ParksDave Van RonkJudy Collinsthe Everly BrothersClaudine LongetNina SimoneLynn AndersonWilson Pickett, Don Henley, Pat Boone and Peggy Lee. For a brief period, he was also a member of the previously referred to Harpers Bizarre when they played under their initial nom-de-rockband, The Tikis.

Political Science – the Lyrics 

No one likes us-I don't know why
We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
But all around, even our old friends put us down
Let's drop the big one and see what happens

We give them money-but are they grateful?
No, they're spiteful and they're hateful
They don't respect us-so let's surprise them
We'll drop the big one and pulverize them

Asia's crowded and Europe's too old
Africa is far too hot
And Canada's too cold
And South America stole our name
Let's drop the big one
There'll be no one left to blame us

We'll save Australia
Don't wanna hurt no kangaroo
We'll build an All American amusement park there
They got surfin', too

Boom goes London and boom Paree
More room for you and more room for me
And every city the whole world round
Will just be another American town
Oh, how peaceful it will be
We'll set everybody free
You'll wear a Japanese kimono
And there'll be Italian shoes for me

They all hate us anyhow
So let's drop the big one now
Let's drop the big one now

Political Science - The Video

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions? Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

"And No Religion Too" - An Atheist's Prayer

But the Lord says, 'be submissive wives; you are to be submissive to your husbands.’" - Rep. Michele Bachmann

“We should create law based on the God of the Bible.” – Sarah Palin, ward of the state

“I just believe in me” – John Lennon

The struggle of reason – to accept, solely on faith, that which logic, life-experience and rationale dictate to be, by every possible measure, incredulous, implausible and ultimately unbelievable. And then, if choosing to dismiss such blind faith, finding a balance between a dislike, distrust and even disgust of the fiction of religions and the immeasurable destruction that they have wrought upon society and civilizations; the inherent negativity of building lives, laws and cultures around this man-made construct designed to control and constrict human thought and behaviors, and the every-day practicality that those who hold this non-belief are a vast minority, in a certain sense, always strangers in a strange land.
Perhaps we need a prayer of our own.

An Atheist’s Prayer

Sing praise to thee
On bended knee,
For fear you’ll strike us dead.
We genuflect
Not from respect,
But censured years of dread.

Give alms to thee
A fiefdom’s fee.
A tribute paid,
A soul remade
Erasing every sin.
The price for Heaven admission, not contrition.
Weekly contribution buys absolution,
And you’re in.

No freedom’s free,
Our guilty plea.

We pray to thee
On bended knee
A God conjured of mist.
A God of love
Shines from above
When not perpetually pissed.
Part sacred retaliation,
Bloviated threats of harsh damnation,
Simultaneous claims of salvation,
All too tempting to dismiss.
Why think us profane,
Sent to the Devil’s domain
As the cost of a forbidden kiss?

Some pray for love
Some pray for health
Some pray for lasting peace.
A fiction man envisions,
Causing cultural collisions,
False historical revisions
Fulfilling wants that never cease,
All for the hopes of those deceased.

The point of sacred mumbling
A god that keeps you humbling,
Disavowing personal choice
And yet the devotees rejoice,
For this sacrosanct illusion
Favoring bigoted exclusion,
And centuries of conflict and confusion.

We can summon our fabrication to calm our fevered soul,
Or be the lord of our own creation and actually reach an earthly goal.
Is this the irony of men
To craft a god who looks like them,
Only to surrender in his name
What makes us human and humane?

So, now I lay me down to sleep,
Resolute to find a truth to keep
If I should die before I wake,
I have no need for Heaven’s sake.

 And now, while patiently awaiting the time until I am “shuffled off this mortal coil” clearly bound for my eternal comeuppance, allow me to share with you John Lennon performing “God.”

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions? Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Slow, Painful Decline of Network TV 2 – Must Flee TV

“Originality is the art of concealing your sources” – Benjamin Franklin

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation” – Herman Melville

“We can’t rewind, we’ve gone too far
Pictures came and broke your heart” – The Buggles

In my self-appointed, self-anointed, self-aggrandizing and unpaid, therefore, self-sacrificing role of satirical commentator on all things irksome and vexing, the topic at hand is one of particular personal interest and knowledge, as nycityman’s entire adult life (and a lengthy one it is) has been spent in the employ of the television field, and includes many a season toiling shoulder to shoulder, bolder to bolder, cathode ray tube to cathode ray tube with a number of personnel and principals involved in programming and promotion at the National Broadcasting Company -once proud home to Hill Street Blues, Huntley and Brinkley, St. Elsewhere, Seinfeld, Cheers, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In, Bonanza, L.A. Law and now, in 2013, home of… umm… give me a minute… there must be something, oh yes, the Voice and America’s Got Talent… and now, in 2013 - proud recycler of Major Bowes/Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour and American idol.  To give a succinct, concise, yet powerful perspective, the network that once brought you Johnny Carson now brings you Jimmy Fallon, how far the mighty have fallen.

In part one (link below)  ABC and outlandish reality shows were lampooned, this go-round we visit the programming of the Peacock Network where originality and ingenuity are but polysyllabic words that TV Executives look up in their Funk and Wagnall’s.

Will there ever be a CBS edition with scathing scrutiny of the Cialis Brioschi Senokot Network, average viewer age – deceased? Not very likely, but will this lack of callous but constructive criticism of CBS have any connection to the fact that nycityman’s  401K, pension, health insurance, regular gainful employment and weekly salary is inextricably and inescapably tied into the continuing and long-term success of the Tiffany Network? Please, you insult me. Now, bring on the 54th seasons of Survivor: Staten Island and 3 ½ Men with 1 Man Left, those classics just never get old.

NBC - Proud as a Peanut  (note:  it is well known amongst we experts in the science of pomology that the peanut is, in fact, the least prideful of all legumes, owing to its ubiquitousness and inexpense.)

When examining the new programming model and intent under Robert Greenblatt, Grand Poobah of Coming Up with New Hit Shows (I may be just a tad off from his official corporate title) a singular and clear direction has been established - rip-off, recycle, reboot – and don’t let proven failure veer you from that unoriginal and uninspiring course and focus. Having already sent sponsors scurrying for cover, and NBC itself into a 5th place ratings free-fall directly behind former UHF, Spanish-language channel Univision with failed remakes of Knight Rider, Bionic Woman, The Munsters and just this September,  Ironside, Greenblatt continues riding the carriage to collapse, the DC-10 to disappointment and the limo to lost viewers by continuing this counter fitting concept of re-presenting old chestnuts as fresh fodder by recasting with African-American performers. If you didn’t love the new Ironside (all 3 underwhelming episodes) retooled for Blair Underwood, you’ll feel just as luke warm about the new version of Murder She Wrote, now starring Octavia Spencer– exactly what the kids have been clamoring for.

But, of course, as with most household pests, the ones you  see are usually just a small sample of what’s truly hiding and lurking behind the sheet rock.  So, with no further ado (or really, any ado at all) stolen from the hard drive of a high-ranking NBC executive in Burbank, California, a smattering of synopses of some upcoming new shows that will all seem somewhat vaguely familiar.

The Black Dean Martin Show

The Black Dean Martin Show - We don’t know who he is. We don’t know if he has any particular talents, but he’s an African-American, his name happens to actually be Dean Martin and he owns a tuxedo. And that’s good enough - featuring the Ding-a-Ling Sistahs and the ghost of Nipsey Russell.

You loved Dexter, so we brought you Hannibal. You loved Dexter, so we also brought you The Blacklist. You loved Dexter, so we’re riding this train until every last lump of coal is extinguished and we’ve driven over a hog-tied damsel in distress, as we now bring you TV’s most loveable psychotic  killer - Wayne (Newman) Knight as David Berkowitz in Son of Sam, That Son of a Gun. (We apologize in advance.)

From Nashville, the Country Music Capital of the World, and the Ryman Auditorium, home to the legendary Grand Ole Opry, NBC proudly presents – The Black Country Music Awards, with Hootie, Charlie Pride and….

The Black Country Music Awards
Forget the old-hat-trick, boring days of the traditional NHL and put that yawn on ice.  NBC is bringing new thrills to the hockey rink, with the NHUL, the National Hockey Urban League. Just when you thought sports couldn’t possibly get more exciting than the WNBA!

It’s a Black Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas – This one truly is a Silent Night.

It's a Black Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas
CSI/NCIS M.O.U.S.E. – Our innovative new procedural drama takes place in the dirty, dark, grimy and surprisingly dangerous back alleys, thoroughfares and Main Streets USA of Disney Land, Anaheim, California. It’s a Small, Small World, M*****r F****r!!

Rowland and Martin’s Laugh-In – We’ve taken highlights from reruns of In Living Color and repackaged them with new introductions by Kelly Rowland and Martin Lawrence, and fingers are crossed that America will be fooled. After all, 60 million of you voted for Mitt Romney.

From Robert Greenblatt, award-winning producer of the hit HBO series, Six Feet Under comes Five Feet Under – this time, the hands are sticking out.

What happens when a bunch of backwoods, redneck, tea-partyin’ singers, comics, spoon-playin’, fiddle-playin’ Southerners head up north of 125th Street and team up with talent from Def Comedy Jam, Def Poety Jam and Def Jam Records at the historic Apollo Theatre - it’s Harlem Hee Haw! And it seemed like a good idea at the time.

And finally, as one last shot before being sold off to Bob’s Discount Furniture, the National Broadcasting Company  gifts to you, our loyal viewers, all seven of you, a ground-breaking, all -African-American adaptation of the classic 70’s sitcom, Good Times. (We got confused.)

We close by bookending with the Buggles and Video Killed the Radio Star.

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions? Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.