Monday, October 26, 2020

Radio Free California Episode 2042


What a great week for new music! Bruce, Levara, Kaki King,  This is the Kit, Sevendust, Cory Wong (album No 8 this year for those who are counting), John Fruisciante, The Vamps, Sam Amidon, Joe Bonamassa, Vulfpeck, and so much more. 2 hours of new music, and new streams every week (subscribe!) Enjoy!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

What it's like to be sick while over 187,000 people are diagnosed with disease they also believe you have.

I have a recurring cough. I've had it most of my life. A couple of times a year I start coughing, and it lasts for a month or two. Sometimes the cough gets very bad and I need special medications to get through it all. And these days it keeps people from my door, but I'm not going to make jokes about that for the time being.

On Tuesday evening, after a particularly bad day of coughing I developed some pain, chills and a fever. I felt miserable and in view of how this fucking year has gone I went to the hospital. With how much I was coughing I was kept away from other people in the ER, including a man that it would turn out had broken his arm in 4 places, a man already in a wheelchair suffering from renal failure, and a man who it would turn out was suffering from a large rat in his pants leg.

I wound up waiting 4 hours for an isolation room. The ER was that busy with various issues, even with only 4 people in the waiting room. Oh, and in case I've never mentioned it, I live in a major city. Getting an isolation room, in case I had finally come down with COVID-19 took time. That's okay. I was miserable but these are the times we are in.

The nurse in charge of the ER was angry with me. Even masked, I had exposed her to COVID-19 and now she was going to have to go into quarantine. I was tested for COVID, X-rayed, had blood drawn, gave urine, scanned for a blood clot and at 1 in the morning it was finally announced to the staff and everyone that I had tested NEGATIVE. Service suddenly got a lot better, including the nurse coming to the realization that I hadn't forced her into Quarantine. We had a lovely talk while I waited for a room to open up.

I finally got a bed at 4:30am, more than 10 hours after first being admitted to the ER. It didn't occur to me at the time, but I had had to wait for a bed to become available. No one gets discharged at 4:30 in the fucking morning. The hospital was full and there are only a couple of ways a hospital gets emptier.

Try sleeping once that realization hits you.

I would wind up getting up tested three more times, and I did not and do not have COVID-19. I had an infection, which made my cough more pronounced. A couple days of antibiotics and I'm home, and a bunch of medical students get their first real look at a medical mystery; my cough. Up to now no one has ever been able to explain why this happens to me and this hasn't changed. Sometimes, my little ones, a Man my size ISN'T diabetic, DOESN'T have heart trouble, despite coughing like a dying man has nothing in his lungs, and will defy your every expectation.

Sometimes you won't be able to explain it - you just have to treat it and that's what they did. I'll be taking antibiotics for a weeks and cough meds for a month.

I didn't have COVID-19, but my entire experience was shaped by the pandemic. Getting criticized by medical professionals for not being cautious enough - despite the fact I've barely left my home since March and ALWAYS masked. Until the test came back negative I was treated harshly, like an idiot, like a leper. Once it turned out I was "normal" sick, the treatment I have come to expect from the staff at this hospital. That was kind of strange, but upon reflection I'm okay with it - I mean no one likes to be treated like an idiot, but you kind of have to be one at this point to catch it. Or horribly unlucky.

Or a believer in lies - which I think is a majority of cases.

During my brief hospital stay 187,567 people were diagnosed with COVID-19. 2,616 people died from it. I have been keeping track of these statistics since April and this was the closest I had come to being one of them.

My 2 1/2 days were awful, and I have NOTHING to complain about. That's the world we live in right now.

And to make it all political, because everything is politics anymore, this is Trump's fault. We live in a miserable, painful, sullied America right now, Where every day the population of Pasadena gets sick and every day families are just vanished by a disease we can prevent the spread of with very little effort.

I look forward to the day when I never have to utter this fuckhead's name again. We need to treat him like Germans treats the name Hitler - erase it. This man has left our country with a great scar, and we may never be rid of it.

Being sick with anything in this era is just awful - but just look at how much worse it could have been.

No cheap shots for this rant, I'm tired, home, and off booze for a few days due to medications. But because I love you, A Very Vulfy Christmas:

A Library Ghost Story.

 So I had to spend a couple of days in the Hospital. COVID-like symptoms but ultimately not COVID. I'm home now, and was greeted by this animation, by the creator of Wapsi Square, Paul Taylor.


Monday, October 19, 2020

Radio Free California Episode 2041


Featuring new music from Chris Trapper, Pentatonix, Seaway, Pearl Jam, a brilliant debut from beabadoobee, solo work from Matt Berenger, a fantastic release from The Cordovas, a few trips into retro-land and much much more! New streams every week, so please subscribe. Enjoy!

And here's a bonus:

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

So do we ask her husband?

 So, Ms. Amy Coney Barrett has withdrawn into the banality of neutrality when it comes to answering any questions from the Senate Judiciary committee that involve any sort of substance, including decided law, the actual wording of the constitution, and even a recipe for Apple Pie (I'm not fucking with you - read the transcripts yourself).

So if we want an answer to these questions, should we ask her husband?

A lot, but not enough, has been written up about Ms. Barrett's religious beliefs. The republicomplainers on the committee have mentioned over and over again how much they hate the democrats for bringing it all up, when in fact not one of them has done so. I'll bring it up.

Ms. Barrett has been, and probably still is, a "handmaiden" in her strange sect of Christianity. Under the rules of her church the hierarchy is as follows: God, Church, Husband, Family, Country. Now believe it or not, I don't have a problem with this. She can believe and worship as she chooses - that's part of what America is supposed to be about. But it disqualifies her from being a judge in the American model.

Law must come first, and for her it doesn't. She can be many things with this moral compass, but a judge or a justice is not one of them - because her view of justice isn't based upon low - not if her church or her husband say otherwise.

So do we question her husband? Her pastor?

A lot of people will say that my question and my attitude is out of bounds. Well fuck you. I'm sick of this horseshit. The only time anyone ever gives a damn about religious persecution is when they're Christians, and specifically a right-wing version of Christian that seems to have very little to do with the man whose teachings they claim to follow. They don't raise these objections when it's a Mormon, a Jew, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Mennonite, an Atheist, or anyone else other than some variation of a Baptist Christian, or something further to the right.

If Ilhan Omar were the person being question right now and I asked if we should question her husband the current chair of the committee wouldn't object. He wouldn't even raise an eyebrow.

My question is NOT out of bounds. The attitude behind questioning my civility is the part that's wrong. Ms. Barrett has been put up for a very specific job, with very specific qualifications. She must be without bias, and her beliefs do not allow her to be that.

She can believe what she wants - but she shouldn't be a judge. If she wants that, then we need to examine everything. It's not being sexist when she has made her gender and its position more important than the law.

So WHEN do we question her husband?

Cheap Shots, and I'm doing sake today:

First of all, welcome back the YA Supernatural comic Wapsi Square. It didn't start out as that, but the strip has evolved over the years. It's worth your time.

Also, when do we ask her about the racism?

You know, the racism?


Like, you know, the racism?

President of what, exactly? It sure as fuck isn't America.

Sex just ain't what it used to be.

Or maybe it is.

Oh, and also welcome back the rants of Keith Olbermann, found weekdays on YouTube!

I have to ask, why are these people so afraid of communists when they're propped up by them?

826 people died yesterday of a disease that Mayor Noun-Verb-9/11 said no one is dying of anymore.

Fuck you, chuckles.

For some clarity, understand that Texas (like California) has counties larger than several states.

By the way, there is nothing in Catholicism about "handmaidens".

Drip, drip, drip motherfuckers.

Maybe Ms. Barrett should ask her husband.

Cube, I love ya, but at least one of these groups is lying.

And because I love you, Todd Rundgren and Rivers Cuomo:

Monday, October 12, 2020

Radio Free California Episode 2040

And to throw in a video just for fun - a behind the scenes look at one of the tracks: 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Diversity in Music - plus Radio Free California Episode 2039

 I used to get asked a lot about how I can listen to so many different types of music. It happens much less now that I'm a professional musician, but it does still happen. It occurs to me that I should tell you a story about my father.

My father listened to music at exactly one volume. Ear-splitting. He loved it loud. He could hear just fine, but he believed in experiencing music. He had amplifier-sized speakers set in a fancy cabinet, and a top of the line turntable and a nice selection of vinyl. He also owned 5 8-track tapes, all bought the same day he bought that stereo. He never bought any more than that, but he played them often.

For any of you under the age of 45 or so you've probably never heard what it sounds like when an 8-track tape changes. The way it worked is that there are 8 tracks all next to one another, left and right channels. To play an entire album, the whole tape would cycle 4 times, shifting two tracks at a time when it reached the change point. The change point was a physical piece of metal spliced into the tape - a physical barrier that would MOVE the playback head two tracks. The sound it made was like nothing else - and usually louder than anything on the tape itself.

I tried to find an example of what it sounded like on YouTube but couldn't. You'll need to imagine the sound of a watermelon smacking into pavement dropped from a skyscraper, dropped four octaves and played at 130 decibels. To this day it's the loudest "ka-chunk" I've ever heard.

But let's talk about those 5 albums.They were all bought in the 1970's and my dad had all of them on vinyl. But he loved playing them as loud as a rock concert through his 15-inch sub-woofers and and confounding the neighbors on his musical choices. To start with, one of the albums was one of the most popular of the day, and here is a track:

When Neil Diamond was at his best he was just amazing.

Then he might switch to one of the biggest selling artists of the 1960's (who has a new boxed-set out this week and got me thinking about all of this):

To this day it amazes me how many of Herb Alpert's songs are part of the cultural zeitgeist of my generation.

Then he might give the neighbors whiplash:

Imagine that opening at the volume of an airplane. The windows shook.

And then he'd go in for the kill:

I wouldn't even learn that this was a classical song by Debussy for years. 

But what my did would sit on the couch and actually listen to was this:

He'd make me listen to the parts played, what they were each doing and how they worked. To understand that part of the song was lifted from Bolero. What the bass was doing when the solos began. 

Most people never realized that my father was also a musician - a cellist. He couldn't read music very well, but he could certainly understand it. He was forced to give it up because at age 20 he wrapped a car around a tree, which left him unable to play again.

He loved music, and while it's my mother's side of the family that instilled the knowledge and love of music in me, one of the few gifts my father gave me was making sure that during the summers I lived with him in various places around the country that my love of music wouldn't be diminished, and that I'd hear something new every time.

When he thought no one was looking, he'd put on a symphony and conduct. He was pretty good at it. He taught me that having an eclectic ear is worth celebrating.

And so with that, here is Radio Free California Episode 2039:

Two massive guitarists give us something new, the return of Aloe Blacc, newly discovered tapes reminding us how amazing Ella was, some live performances, a throwback to 80's new-wave, a reminder that the founder of A&M records is still a big deal, Some re-imagined T-Rex and much more! Enjoy!