Miscarriage Of Justice

Somebody ‘splain to me why this little shit doesn’t deserve to be taken out behind the courthouse and shot in the back of the neck, instead of being jailed for only 20 years.  (Note that even without time off for “good behavior”, he’d be back on the streets at age 46.)

A California man has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for hoax calls that led police to fatally shoot an unarmed Kansas man following a dispute between two people over $1.50 bet in a ‘Call of Duty: WWII’ video game.
Tyler R. Barriss, 26, was sentenced on Friday by U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren sentenced under a deal in which he pleaded guilty in November to a total of 51 federal charges related to fake calls and threats.
The 2017 death of 28-year-old Andrew Finch drew national attention to the practice of ‘swatting,’ a form of retaliation in which someone reports a false emergency to get authorities, particularly a SWAT team, to descend on an address.

If there was ever a malevolent, spiteful crime, this one of “swatting” another person deserves a massive prison sentence — but if someone gets killed (see story), it should carry an automatic death penalty… pour encourager les autres  assholes who want to play this sick little game.

Absentee Parents

Many years ago, my boss came into my office and said:

“Ever hear of a band called Whitesnake?”
“Sure;  plays hard rock, the lead singer is ex-Deep Purple’s David Coverdale, and so on.  Why?”
“My daughter won two tickets to a Whitesnake concert in some competition, but I can’t face going with her because it’ll be too loud.  Would you mind taking her?”
“Nope.  Gimme the tickets.”

So I took his 14-year-old daughter to the concert, which was okay as concerts go, and then discovered that — surprise, surprise! — the tickets included backstage passes and a chance to meet the band.  (I guess she’d forgotten to tell her dad about that little bonus.)

Anyway, all went well:  Coverdale and I chatted awhile about Deep Purple and such, she got all the autographs, and that was that.

I was reminded of that occasion when I was reading a series of articles about how David Bowie is supposed to have bonked a couple of underage groupies (among many others) back in his early years, and more recently too.

 

…and in similar vein, how Led Zeppelin did same with some “baby groupies”, also back in the 1970s.

 

No shit.

Listen to me tell it:  I played in a (vastly-less successful) rock band back in the 1970s, and even though we were never groupie-bait to the extent that the big guys were, there were plenty of opportunities to get up to (or more correctly, into ) mischief.

Which leads to my my main question:

WHERE WERE THESE GIRLS’ PARENTS?

How could they be so ignorant as to think that unaccompanied young girls were not going to get into trouble in the heady, loud and licentious atmosphere that was a rock concert?  How could they allow their adolescent daughters to go by themselves or (worse still) only accompanied by their giggly friends?  (For those still unclear on this aspect of parenting, let me explain:  without the presence of parents, one kid can get up to mischief;  two kids can get up to mischief-squared;  and multiple kids will — not can —  get into Hiroshima-scale trouble.)  As Jimmy Page memorably said: “Everyone knows what they come for.”   Groupies gonna groupie, as the modern idiom goes.

I’m not excusing the musicians for doing this stuff, but remember, most of these bands were (and still are) themselves only a few years older than the baby-groupies.  Asking young musicians to behave with decorum in such circumstances is an exercise doomed to failure — as is expecting young girls to behave with restraint when coming face-to-face with their sweaty heroes in the excitement after the concert.

Let me get even more explicit.  When a fresh-faced young girl presents herself to a whacked-out musician, don’t expect him to ask her for ID before he fucks her.  And he is going to fuck her.

It’s just stupid for people to clutch their pearls and accuse these now-septuagenarians of statutory rape committed half a century ago.  Leave them alone.

Young people are going to fuck up.  What’s needed is responsible adult supervision — just as I provided to my boss’s daughter on that occasion.  So if any of you are faced with a similar situation, either with yer kids or yer grandkids, act accordingly.  Somebody has to be the grownup, and it might as well be you.

Time For A Little Assistance

…or, as some might call it, benign colonialism.  Looks like somebody’s about to get rich, real quickly:

On the coast of South America, just north of Brazil, lies the obscure and impoverished former British colony of Guyana, distantly remembered for a bizarre mass suicide four decades ago that begot the term “drinking the Kool-Aid.”
But today, the discovery of a massive trove of oil off its shores, including two finds just this week, put Guyana on the cusp of becoming one of the world’s wealthiest nations, in the league of petro-states like Qatar.

How big a trove?

Since 2016, Exxon has made a dozen discoveries in Guyana that now total more than 5 billion barrels of recoverable reserves. This is enormous — for perspective, the industry calls a 1-billion-barrel field a “supergiant.”

Needless to say, the Guyanese are totally unprepared for this:

Guyana has barely gotten organized for what, in other countries, has triggered a free-for-all of chaos, corruption and war.
The country has been in political turmoil since last year. In December, the Parliament ousted the government of President David Granger in a vote of no confidence. That set in motion new elections within 90 days, but the government is challenging the move in court.
No plan has been devised for how to begin to build and upgrade the country’s roads, communications and institutions. Neither is there a plan for building up the capital of Georgetown.
No one has determined how to both husband the wealth, and to share it.
Insanally said the reaction in Guyana runs the gamut: “There are people who are excited, people who are apprehensive, and people who think oil should be avoided as a curse altogether.”

Ordinarily, I’d suggest that as Exxon/Mobil is an American company, that they (or the U.S. or even British governments) should step in and lend a helping hand in the organization.  But that would lead to loud cries of “Colonialissssssss!” from the Usual Suspects.

My modest proposal, therefore, is a little different:  let Norway  step up to the plate and show Guyana what they did with, I should point out, a relatively much smaller income stream than the one under discussion.  After all, nobody associates Norway with eeeevil colonialism, and indeed, the “Scandinavian model” is applauded by all the neo- and actual socialists out there.  And let’s be honest, if nobody on the West gets involved, then the Venezuelans will.

It may fail, of course, because nobody can fuck up a Good Thing better than the socialists — except of course for the Third World, who could fuck up Paradise in an afternoon without any effort at all.

But it’s worth a try.  Come on, Norway:  uff da, or whatever.

Bad Planning

From this article:

Arizona Is Planning For Exodus to State in Event of Major Calif. Quake

Government agencies, businesses and other organizations in Arizona plan to participate in an exercise to practice how the state would respond to a migration of 400,000 people following a catastrophic earthquake in Southern California.
The Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs says participants in the National Mass Care Exercise in the coming week will tackle how to organize operations such as providing food, shelter and medical services.

Ummm I’m just throwing the idea out there, but how about instead a building a high wall along the AZ-CA border, with occasional machine-gun towers?  Too extreme?  Yes?

My question then becomes:  what if the half-million displaced Californians decide to stay?

Cultural Straws Part 1

Via Insty comes this article which, in talking about the financial woes of the Guitar Center retail chain, exposes two deeper issues. Here’s the first:

Guitars don’t figure as heavily into chart-topping music as they once did, according to [Guitar Center boss] Gruhn. He ought to know. Over the years, his customers have included everyone from Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Eric Clapton to Neil Young, Vince Gill and Billy Gibbons. Those artists have left indelible imprints on the music landscape, all the way from Clapton’s burning solo on “Crossroads” to Harrison’s signature guitar part on “Daytripper.”
But these days? Well, things aren’t as guitar-oriented.
“Baby boomers are the best customers I’ve ever had. They’ve driven a lot of the guitar trends, but they are aging and many of them are downsizing their guitar collections,” Gruhn added. “This doesn’t mean that guitar sales are dying, but instrument sales in general are under stress.”

And from another guy in the business:

“Rock is almost dead,” he said. “It’s almost nonexistent. And with guitar there’s no almost one to look up to anymore – no one to get you to want to learn. I have three or four guitar students who are about 12 to 14 years old, and I told one of them she should find someone in her class to play guitar with. She said, ‘No one else plays the guitar, and people think I’m weird because I do.’ ”

As a one-time rock musician, I note this trend with sorrow, of course. As much as I detest the modern obsession with 1,000-watt amplifiers in cars, it does allow me to note that I seldom if ever hear loud rock music emanating from cars these days — in fact, now that I think of it, I can’t remember when last I did — because the market in sub-woofer bass played by sub-moron drivers appears to be dominated by rap music and its adherents, Wiggers and and their Black counterparts. (And this in our upscale neighborhoods in north Texas. South Chicago must be just one large cacophony of thumping drums.)

I suppose that the trend away from rock music (and its instruments) is just one of those things — just as in classical music, harpsichord music almost disappeared when the pianoforte became more popular in the nineteenth century. Of course, I think this sucks, but then again if it means fewer hair bands then it’s not altogether a Bad Thing.

What I hate is what the trend means: that popular taste is devolving towards the primitive — but then again, I suppose that classical music aficionados said the same thing when jazz and later rock music began to supplant classical music among young people. One could say that the classical folks had a point:  Buddy Holly wasn’t exactly Beethoven; then again, in today’s world Heavy Z (or whoever) isn’t exactly Freddy Mercury. But on his worst day, Buddy Holly could write better music than the most accomplished rapper, who has to rely on plagiarism (a.k.a. “sampling”) to provide some kind of musical overlay to a soul-crushing, over-amplified rhythm section. Don’t even get me started on the differences between Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and  G-Eazy & Halsey’s Him & I  (errrr Him & Me or He & I, surely?).

Of course, another manifestation of the move away from classical- to rock music was that guitar pupils began to outnumber piano pupils.  After all, the guitar is an easier instrument to play than the piano, just as manipulating a turntable and drum machine is easier than playing a guitar (as the article correctly notes). I mean, when Paris Hilton can be known as a good DJ… those whirring sounds you hear are Stevie Ray Vaughan and John Bonham spinning in their basements.

One could get all upset about how this is just another sign of the Dumbing Down Of Today’s Yoof, but I think this is more a factor of how music has traditionally been taught and learned — which brings me to the second issue raised by the article.

In Part 2 tomorrow, I’ll talk about that. But just to help people know what I’m talking about, here’s a guitarist: