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575581 Posts in 19060 Topics by 3342 Members - Latest Member: garyc May 29, 2016, 04:24:56 AM
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51  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: Obama declares corrupt EU \ on: April 23, 2016, 07:21:30 AM
I don't know about that. First, at home, the latest Gallup poll has 51% of Americans approving of Pres. Obama, with just 44% disapproving. He won two elections by wide margins, and that current rating shows an increase, not a decline.

Gallup also does a survey of citizens worldwide about their opinions of leaders of some of the world powers (USA, EU, Germany, China, Russia). The US is the most-approved-of, at 45% (Germany at 41%, EU at 39%; Russia is the lowest, at 22% approval). While it doesn't show country-by-country results by number (it's an infographic), UK looks to be pretty solidly approving. I'd guess it's in the 50s%, at least. The caveat is that this worldwide survey is dated 2015.

A UK Telegraph survey from last month shows UK 51% in favor of remaining in the EU. A more recent poll--April 19--from (I don't know that publication and won't be vouching for its stature) shows 52% wanting to remain to 43% wanting to leave.

So it's hardly as clear-cut opposed to the EU and Obama as you paint it to be. If anything, it's the opposite, with a strong minority opposed.

52  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: What do you think of this quote (attributed to Picasso)? on: April 22, 2016, 04:49:05 PM
Hopefully at least the Captain will humor me.  Smiley

Should I be flattered or offended, my good man?  Grin
53  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: RIP Prince on: April 22, 2016, 04:16:39 PM
There's a long video on Youtube (about 30 minutes), where director Kevin Smith (not a huge fan of his, some of his work is OK) talks about how Prince asked him to direct a documentary about the release of one of his albums. The part that blew me away is that at one point, Prince's assistant tells Smith that she's directed 20 of Prince's music videos, and that they're for songs that haven't even been released. He just took them and put them away in 'The Vault'. That just seems incredible to me.

The vault has been the stuff of legend for ... damn, decades. Rumors of collaborations with everyone (I mean, Miles Davis!?) have circulated. His posthumous catalogue may end up as remarkable as anyone's we've ever seen. That's assuming it is released, of course. Who knows what the instructions are. But there is serious money to be made.
54  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: RIP Prince on: April 22, 2016, 12:43:06 PM
It is in Chanhassen.

With the new name, is it "Highlight Shitty Suburbs Day?"
55  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Bruce Johnston - Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Snub on: April 22, 2016, 12:11:36 PM
First off, I am somewhat jealous of OSD and drbeachboy having seen that lineup (incl. both Bruce and Blondie and Ricky). Very cool.

Second, I think Bruce deserves to be in as part of the band because he was a part of so much of their great output.

But third, I think it's mostly irrelevant. The complaint commonly made about the RnR HoF is along the lines of:
There are a lot of people who belong in there but it is political and biased.  

But I don't see how it could be anything but biased (or subjective). Unless it is based on something like album sales or chart position--at which point people would complain that it panders to the lowest common denominator and leaves out the critically acclaimed types like VU, Zappa, etc.--there's just not way to be objective. And the borders of rock and roll are blurry even if we have an objective measurement like sales. So once it's inherently subjective, it's going to be inherently political or biased.

I think the best way to approach the RnR HoF and things like it is to ignore it entirely.
56  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: RIP Prince on: April 22, 2016, 11:52:49 AM
Got it: Chanhassen.
 But for non-Minnesotans, the recognizable name of that urban area is Minneapolis.
Like Revere, MA. Where's that? Boston.

Absolutely. For casual purposes, the only reason it's remotely relevant is to understand that going to a Paisley Park event wasn't going into the heart of downtown or some hip neighborhood, but rather a slog of substantial length along highways through an assortment of suburbs.

Beyond that, it's irrelevant. (As is Chanhassan henceforth.)
57  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: 2016 New Music on: April 22, 2016, 07:45:53 AM
Has anyone pointed out that there's a new Paul Simon album coming this year (June)? Maybe, but I'm not going to look because that's beyond my energies at the moment. However, just in case not, Paul Simon is releasing a new album this year (June). It's called Stranger to Stranger, and the lead-off single, "Wristband" is on Soundcloud.

You can hear that and read about the album here:

You have my insincere, half-hearted apologies if this has been covered already.
58  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: April 22, 2016, 05:41:01 AM
Stanley Johnson is really stepping up and showing why he has had such a sterling reputation the past couple years, dating back to his high school career. He was always praised as a winner, and I have to admit, when I saw him at Arizona I wasn't particularly impressed. He reminded me of Shabazz Muhammad (who reminded me of my mental prototype for this kind of player Schea Cotton, from back in the '90s): a power wing, a big, bulky guy who just overpowered his competition, but as that competition got better, showed flaws. Lack of elite athleticism. Lack of height. Lack of shooting. Really just had to refine his game. Players like that need to change their bodies and skills to make it.

But watching Johnson in these playoffs, I get what the "it" is about him. It's his attitude. He's a competitor and he's a winner. So even just based on that, I think he's going to be a really good player.
59  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: The Electoral Process on: April 22, 2016, 05:37:49 AM
LOL sorry, meant to get back to this but, y'know, Prince died and all. Anyway, Bubs did nothing bad! I was fucking around. In noting our eventual demises, I was pointing out that he's likely to have a later one than some of us, such as the aging yours truly.
Ah. Well, I'm fine with him being in a band and young and all, but I'm a little "stupid Bubs" if he doesn't at least try to be a comedy writer.

He's the best writer on the board.
60  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: RIP Prince on: April 22, 2016, 05:35:57 AM
Captain, as a local, what can you tell us about Paisley Park? How it influenced Minneapolis and vice versa? How is it located within the Minneapolis environs? Is it remote, is it part of the fabric of the city? Is it, and was he, part of the regular consciousness of the city? Anecdotes?

Paisley Park isn't in Minneapolis at all. The sprawling home/studio/venue is in Chanhassan, a southwestern suburb probably 45 minutes or so from the heart of the city, depending on traffic. He built it after hitting superstardom, somewhere in the mid-80s. He recorded some of his albums (and other people's albums) there, I think starting with Around the World in a Day (but don't quote me on that), and other musicians used it as well. But the live venue was the far more important part to Minneapolitans: Prince would host dance parties and concerts there ... I was going to say often, and sometimes that's true, but sometimes you could go a long time with nothing. It seems to me he had been doing more since starting to work with 3rdEyeGirl, maybe 2 years ago. The most dependable things about those shows was that you couldn't depend on them. Almost inevitably announced (or rumored) the day of, sometimes they ended up being rumors, nothing at all. Or just dance parties with some DJ, but no live music and no Prince to be seen. Other times he might do a solo show, a full band show. His music, covers. Him singing, him drumming, him on bass, him on keys, him on guitar. Other local musicians, other nationally known musicians, current band members, potential future band members, (often) protege female singers... You had no idea what you were in for. He might play a huge role, he might just watch like a deist version of god. And Prince being Prince, they started when they started (if at all) and ended when they ended.

I wish I could tell you all more, but unfortunately while I was born and raised in Minnesota, I didn't move to Minneapolis until my junior year of college, 1996. That coincides with Prince's emancipation and Emancipation. By then, he was far beyond the tales of his early stardom, when he'd still walk around North Mpls, attend shows without entourage, shop at Ragstock to find stage costumes. By 1996, he was probably near the pinnacle of his weirdness and isolation. So he was more the subject of hero myths than a real person (outside of his work and shows). It was always about a club owner who had worked with him in 1981, a roommate whose uncle was an engineer at Paisley Park, a brother's college professor who played trumpet on recordings ... but not direct experiences. He was too big, too far removed from normal life by then. He also was living in L.A., Paris, and Toronto much of the time from the '90s onward (though back here more in recent years).

He still dominated the city in strange ways, though, as I said before, like a hero myth. If the Dakota Jazz Club had a night with no artist named, whispers would begin that it was Prince for a surprise, intimate show. If a part of some club was roped off, word was Prince was coming to see the show. Every club owner in town said that most of these were rumors, and even 9/10 of the time his people DID arrange for such things, Prince didn't show anyway. But sometimes he did. Your best odds were when he was already doing something. If he had a show at a major venue, there was a good bet he'd show up somewhere else and play, too, and then do an all-night party or show at Paisley Park. He could--and did--play music all night without repeating a song.

He engaged in a lot of guerilla marketing, too, resulting in albums advertised in ways no others were. I remember driving down Portland Avenue just south of downtown Minneapolis and seeing an entire construction area plastered with Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic posters, like wallpaper of blue-bodysuited Princes. It was similar for Emancipation.

Last night the city was purple, literally. The I-35 bridge was lit up purple, as was the IDS Center. There was an all-night dance party with thousands of people outside, and then inside, First Ave. It was still going on at around 7 this morning, and might still be now. I suppose it's always this way, but now that he's gone a lot of people are reawakening to how great he was, how big a role he played at some point in their lives.
61  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: The Electoral Process on: April 21, 2016, 06:55:19 PM
LOL sorry, meant to get back to this but, y'know, Prince died and all. Anyway, Bubs did nothing bad! I was fucking around. In noting our eventual demises, I was pointing out that he's likely to have a later one than some of us, such as the aging yours truly.
62  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: RIP Prince on: April 21, 2016, 06:53:48 PM
The experience of Prince's death is unique for me. Other huge, huge superstars have died during my lifetime. It's not unique in that respect. I assume it's a Minneapolis thing. This morning I heard someone had died at Paisley Park, and it didn't take long before TMZ said it was Prince. A person never wants to believe such a thing. But...

When Michael Jackson died, the news spread. But it was nothing like this. Not only was my phone blowing up while I was working, but my work email, my personal email. Everyone I work with was saying the same thing. Some are music geeks, some are totally normal office types. But in Minneapolis, it seems everyone cares more about Prince. In fact, when I got home tonight, my mom called to talk about Prince. My mom is 70 years old and didn't like Prince. But everybody loves Prince whether they like him or not.

A few posters here have said they aren't familiar with him. Not that you'll have much choice in the inevitable barrage of marketing-driven reissues in the upcoming years, but I strongly advise you to dig in. This may be the genius of his generation, the genius of the '80s.

Minneapolis is a weird town, a mostly white place that has had enclaves of black culture for a few decades. Prince grew up in black neighborhoods with black musicians surrounded by white people, white musicians, and he absorbed all of it. You aren't going to find a black musician who had a better grasp on Led Zeppelin or the Beatles. And yet he also firmly grasped James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Parliament Funkadelic, Sly Stone. There was some jazz in there, but not enough (most of the time) to make the listening experience too difficult.

I saw him (I think) three times: a late 90s outdoor local festival (in which a white-suited Larry Graham preached the gospel and led the chant of "some bass, some bass, some bass in the place"); the miraculously glorious 2004 Musicology show; and a show where he backed one of his proteges, Tamar. He was the best entertainer and possibly the best live guitarist and singer I've ever seen. This was someone who could do anything, and he could do it better than your favorite musician.

This city had a love-hate relationship with him, especially as his weirdness grew and feuds with his label became public in the '90s and '00s. But he'd been having a renaissance in recent years, putting out more music, doing some interviews, allowing his longtime media rival, the Star Tribune's Jon Bream, into various events. I wish he had another decade or so to really re-establish himself here, and to enjoy the love from this city he deserved. The uneven catalog is nothing to think twice about: there isn't a decades-long artist without similar sketchy points.

Prince's highs were equal to the best highs there have ever been in American music. He was a singular talent.
63  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: RIP Prince on: April 21, 2016, 10:22:27 AM
Mpls Star Tribune now confirming
64  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: RIP Prince on: April 21, 2016, 10:15:51 AM
Never wish on anyone, but he was so young.

Still not officially confirmed is it?
65  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: The Electoral Process on: April 21, 2016, 06:17:52 AM
Glad to help. Hope I won't be banned for personal insults.
66  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / General Music Discussion / Re: The return of the "What are you listening to now?" thread on: April 20, 2016, 04:13:56 PM
Springsteen was always one of those acts that turned me off growing up (probably because I was of an age to be attracted by hair metal, and never the twain shall meet), but like probably many an indie/hipster type later, I came across the opinion that Nebraska was great. Lo and behold, it easily lived up to its reputation and immediately cemented itself as a favorite. Then, lo and behold again, it turned out most of that '70s and some of the '80s stuff was also great, and I had been an opinionated asshole up to then.

Not a fan of all of it, but there is so much great stuff.
67  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: April 20, 2016, 04:10:56 PM
The injuries are what I worry about. But our history in that department has been AWFUL the past five or six years, up until this past season. The difference? We hired Arnie Kander from Detroit, who did a great job by all accounts keeping people healthy. Pekovic, yeah, but you can't blame Kanter for a 6-11 musclebound 300-plus pounder who has bad feet. KG, yeah, but I think that was strategic to let the young guys play (again).

So, as far as how long to run with it? I'd say we need to be in the playoff hunt next year (and preferably in the playoffs--I personally think making the playoffs is a very achievable goal), 100% in the playoffs in year 2, and a top 4 seed by year 3. I don't want to put advancement into the picture yet, you need to see who you're up against and such. But we should be a top-4 seed in year 3. (And we easily could be in year 2. I feel really strongly about KAT and Rubio, and pretty strongly about Wig and LaVine.)
68  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Brian Covering Church Hymns on: April 20, 2016, 03:13:02 PM

Blackwood Brothers- When God's Chariot Comes

Blackwood Brothers- Beyond The Sunset   (you might wanna make sure you get this album as well!)

My dad was (and is) a huge Blackwood Brothers fan (and gospel fan, and vocal harmony fan in general). I still really like hearing them. Please don't take offense at the admitted stereotyping here, but to me, listening to "When God's Chariot Comes" is kind of funny in that the piano feels like legitimate black gospel piano, while the vocal sounds so, so white. But it's just a comment, not an insult. What a group of singers.

What should be offensive about a white group sounding white? Everything's fine...

Interestingly, the exchange between "white" and "black" music was always happening in blues, country and - especially - gospel music. Many people seem to think it only started with Rock'n'Roll. But R'n'R was in fact a very natural progression of what happened before.

Oh I totally agree with you (on all counts). Just prefacing my statement because sometimes people are very, very quick to find anything that even uses a descriptor in any way (whether cultural, gender, etc.) as offensive.
69  Smiley Smile Stuff / General On Topic Discussions / Re: Brian Covering Church Hymns on: April 20, 2016, 03:09:33 PM

70  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: Forever is about murder on: April 20, 2016, 03:08:47 PM
Love it.
71  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: Lifetime ban on AGD on: April 20, 2016, 03:07:29 PM
...everybody still feel the same way?

I do: lock it. The topic served its purpose in that the info that can be shared has been. Everyone has vented for days, and we're mostly left with the same old nonsense repetitions. Who's meaner? Who's trollier (tm)? What about that one time when such-and-such happened? Remember, I said blah blah blah. Not important. Move on.
72  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: The Electoral Process on: April 20, 2016, 03:02:07 PM
Well all right then!

I do think people would feel more attached to their parties. The question would be whether these parties could get anything done in the legislature. Then again, they don't get anything done now, so...

What would be interesting to me is the different coalitions on different pieces of legislation. As of now, you're with 'em or you're against 'em, more or less, if you're in congress. There is a little bipartisan work, but not much, and nobody much brags about it--certainly no Republicans. (This was dramatically different in my youth and adolescence, when people ran on bipartisanship. Good times.) But it's easy to imagine the post-Republican libertarians aligning with the social progressives on legalizing pot or right to die stuff. Or centrist Dems and chamber of commerce types aligning on typical corporate welfare. And so on. I think the possibilities of various, bill-specific alignments could be a huge boon to the country if people could break (current) party affiliation.
73  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: April 20, 2016, 02:59:07 PM
Their ASSISTANT GM, that is. Scott Layden, who grew up under his dad, the legendary Frank Layden, with the Jazz. He was an assistant coach, a scout, and eventually rose to the top of their front office throughout the great era of the 80s and 90s. Then he went to New York and ran their front office before going to San Antonio in a lesser role. GREAT choice. He has the respect and connections you want in someone working the phones, working relationships, finding deals. Thibs will be leading the way, setting the agenda, and of course making final calls, but Layden will be doing the legwork.

A lot of people seem to think this role, whether for him here or for people like Bower in Detroit, etc., is a useless underling's job. But that's silly. Does anyone really think that an NBA head coach has time to work the phones? To evaluate every little possible deal? Of course not! The GM under a president-coach still has a TON of responsibility and can make or break the arrangement. I think Layden is a great choice.

I'm very excited. I would have been excited with JVG as well. But this is great. Plus, as I've said Thibs was a part of the inaugural Wolves staff under the late, great Coach Musselman. And he coached KG in Boston. There is a certain poetry to it all.
74  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: The Electoral Process on: April 20, 2016, 02:54:18 PM
Would a) general satisfaction with the political system and/or b) the results of the political process itself be improved if a large majority of people, understanding that the two major parties are not some sort of constitutionally mandated public entities dedicated to pure democracy, but rather private organizations with a century-plus-old near-monopoly (to various degrees over the past 150 years or whatever) on our political system, (inevitably, in my opinion) broke those parties into more, smaller parties that better represented their ideologies and/or causes?

For example, the Dems split into some combination of a labor party, a socially progressive party, a social democrat party, and a centrist party; the Republicans split into an evangelical and socially conservative party, a chamber of commerce party, a libertarian party, a strict originalist party, and a nationalist party. (Just examples based on current stereotypes and/or real factions.)

Are the results--with maybe four, six, eight "major" parties--better? For whom?

(I'd ask whether it's even remotely feasible within our lifetimes, but a) this is a big question already, b) no doubt it'll end up being about Trump or Bernie anyway, and c) our lifetimes have widely varying end-dates. Stupid youngsters. Stupid Bubs.)
75  Non Smiley Smile Stuff / The Sandbox / Re: National Basketball Association ('14-'15) on: April 20, 2016, 10:46:45 AM
The almighty Woj says the Wolves are deep in negotiations to hire Thibs! YES!!
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