Checks and balances and the lack there of; an open letter to Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Dear Representative Bilirakis,

It’s too easy for words posed toward one’s own elected congressional representative to be brushed off or outright dismissed with no true response or acknowledgment. This writer has experienced that too many times over the years, if not from your office then from that of Florida’s elected Senators. This writing is not aimed at those senators though. This writing is aimed at you, sir.

Let me be direct, sir: You and your colleagues, the members of the House of Representatives, are being complacent in your position as helping manage and oversee the welfare of these United States. That is playing out far, far too often under the Presidency of Donald J. Trump. Representation of the citizens of your district is not on the agenda as-so-much political party solidarity and loyalty toward the agenda – as erratic as it is – of the Trump Administration. Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Dotard in Covfefe, Politics

Music’s success goes through the fans

I have this habit of promoting music that I’ve crossed from one indie station or another. “Promoting” means sharing songs on one form of social media or another. Sometimes I post the act here on my blog (Tomas Fornstedt is who I’ll cite) and there are also the write-ups I have done for local indie acts such as the Pretty Voices and Gypsy Star. Someone will see what I’ve posted – those reviews or individual song posts – and take it as simply blog content: I’m a blogger and I content is king. Writing about an act you may or may not have heard of. It’s nothing more than just content for a blog, right?

There’s actually a specific reason I do it, and it’s not just for content: If someone doesn’t do it, if someone doesn’t try sharing a tune they’ve crossed or talk about a band they have interest in, how does that song/act go any further?   Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under interweb, Music / Lyrics

The Identity Tampa Bay launches as a sports and entertainment hub for the Tampa Bay region

Another media hub online for the Tampa Bay area has launched. Seeing it’s a newborn, it’s going to take a while before it takes a hold in the marketplace.

The Tampa Bay Entertainment Properties LLC, a company founded by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, announced Tuesday the launch of The Identity (www.TheIdentityTB.com), what is pegged to become a hub for sports and lifestyle. The site is pegged to be in phase one at the moment… Of course, it’s just starting out. From the press release:

“We’re excited to announce the launch of The Identity Tampa Bay,” said TBEP Chief Executive Officer, Steve Griggs.  “While surveying the digital landscape of the Tampa Bay region, we believed the market lacked a hub for sports and lifestyle content.  It is our goal for The Identity Tampa Bay to fill that void, becoming the authentic voice for the future of Tampa Bay sports and lifestyle content. Tampa Bay needs an authentic, community-driven home and The Identity Tampa Bay will fit that need.”

The fact of the matter is that the two other “hub” sites online – TBO/Tampa Bay Online and Creative Loafing Tampa Bay are not true hub websites. TBO is just an extension of the Tampa Bay Times, presenting news in a more online-tabloid format. Creative Loafing is much keener on entertainment and lifestyle than sports in and around Tampa Bay. It also may touch on politics but the “hub” moniker just seems wrong to identify it.

 “The Identity Tampa Bay will provide Tampa Bay and its residents with digital content from around the region,” said Derrick Brooks, Ambassador for The Identity Tampa Bay.  “It will be driven by the community, providing a voice for all things Tampa Bay.”

That’s one hell of a linebacking ambassador, now isn’t it folks? Yes, that is #55 and you can see his video speech on TheIdentityTB.com for more from him. The site is truly bare bones at the moment, taking sign-ups for e-mail based newsletters. That, the bare bones aspect, will change shortly.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Tampa Bay

A note on Tampa Bay sports and the playoffs

Though it literally does not play out like this:

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers make the playoffs on average less than once every four seasons of play. I’ve already pointed out the Bucs annual win percentage is abysmal and this just illustrates the club has only made the playoffs 10 times in 41 years of existence.

In contrast, the Tampa Bay Lightning makes the NHL playoffs once every two-and-a-half seasons or so… Well, that is if they make the playoffs this season and to say that’s highly likely is an understatement. As of this writing the Bolts have 94 points on the season and lead the league. If things stand pat and the Lightning make the playoffs, it’ll be the 10th time it’s been done in 25 years of existence and 24 seasons of play (remember the 2004-05 Nil season was entirely wiped out due to lockout).

I was simply going to share this among friends, hammering home the once-every-four-years vs. once-every-two-and-a-half stat but I felt like I’m being cruel to leave out the Tampa Bay Rays. This will be Tampa Bay’s Major League Baseball team’s 20th season of play (only 5 seasons younger than the Lightning) and it’s notable that the Rays post-season faring is more comparable to the Buccaneers than the Lightning: In 19 completed season of play, the Rays have only made the playoffs four times (2008, the team’s 10th anniversary season, was the first time the club ever went to the playoffs).

As awful as that looks, there’s a defense for the Rays compared to the Buccaneers or lightning for that matter: MLB’s playoff system is a much tighter beast than the NFL and NHL. The league only started using wild cards (single slots in each league) in 1994. It was expanded to two in 2012.

At any rate, unless the Lightning suffers a grand disaster of play to close the 2017-18 season (and there are only 16 games remaining for them), they’ll tie the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in all-time playoff berths. The Rays won’t be coming close anytime soon, if ever, with thanks in part going toward the differences in schedule and playoff formatting between the three pro sports leagues.

Leave a Comment

Filed under baseball, football, hockey, Tampa Bay Lightning

Something familiar and Fab lurks with Blac Rabbit

Two gentlemen singing in harmony to create a fantastic melody in a song titled “Eight Days a Week”. That was John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and it happened on many songs for a decade. Yet I’m not talking about John and Paul in this case. I’m talking about a duo who can be seen in the act at subway stations in the New York area.

It was by chance I crossed a friend who posted a video of Blac Rabbit performing on Facebook. It’s pretty common to cross gentlemen from all over doing covers of Beatles work and sounding pretty good. This was different. This was John and Paul…at least in this writer’s opinion as well as others who cross them in the New York subway stations.

The Blac Rabbit website doesn’t seem to feature an “About” page to give up facts about these guys. Their Facebook page isn’t much more informative on the “about” section there, either. It was through a news article by a New York TV station that I found out that they are twin brothers, Amiri and Rahiem Taylor.

They began busking to make some pocket money, and found a receptive audience on the subway with their Beatles covers. The brothers say they’re continuing to perform on the subway while performing original music at venues across the city.

I also found out that they do have an about page on their website (yeah, slight me for that because I couldn’t find the damn thing myself):

Born and raised in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, identical twin brothers Amiri and Rahiem Taylor do not make the type of music that their borough of origin is usually associated with.  Growing up surrounded by hip hop culture and all it’s glory, the Taylor brothers had more exposure in their house to pop, funk and soul music from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.  So naturally when they began writing songs in high school, they decided “why not learn from arguably the greatest song writing duo of all time?” and proceeded to teach themselves how to play guitar and write songs based off of the Beatles.  After high school they formed Blac Rabbit, bringing in former metal and church drummer Patrick Jones, followed by resident shredder Josh Lugo on bass (and sometimes guitar) to play their original psychedelic rock tunes.

They do their own music? Oh, yeah… Their own stuff can be found on SoundCloud while YouTube can show you more o their performances as well as their original stuff. Here’s one of their songs, just to whet your appetite:

With their harmony and abilities, it piques my curiosity where the group can go with their stuff. As someone who was drenched in the music of the same era as the Taylor duo, I know that can inspire rather grandly. It’s what their creativity brings that remains to be seen.

I also hope they go beyond New York. Let that be a memo to the Tampa Bay club scene in St. Pete, Ybor City and beyond in the Tampa Bay area: Lure these guys here.  Could you imagine what that’d lure to your establishments? Just where in the area they’d end up performing in a busker spot remains to be seen but it’s not like we’re totally lacking on such locations. Ybor City, Pier 60, the West Plaza before a Lightning game. That’s just a shred of potential spots.

There is a question that remains though: Hass Sir Paul McCartney had someone tell him about this pair yet? Cover acts are not uncommon, but this is different. The Taylor duo and Blac Rabbit seem to have something “Fab” going on.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Music / Lyrics

Tomas Fornstedt — Outer Space

Back in January, I posted a song by Tomas Fornstedt here because I had been listening to it for a year after crossing it on Lonely Oak Radio…and discovered that was on YouTube but never had been accessed by a listener up until I found it.

In fact, Tomas’ YouTuve page shows (as of this writing) most of his songs from his last album have never been listened to through YouTube. Oh, sure, Tomas has a SoundCloud account and that is a better music-first community than the expected-video YouTube, but YouTue has general wider popularity and Google will show a pretty nice bias in search results and list YouTube songs in search results… if those songs (or videos) actually see the light-of-day publicly.

To cut to the chase, Fornstedt released a new single in January called “Outer Space”. Like “Be My Friend”, I discovered I was the first person to ever listen to the song via YouTube. When Tomas promoted the song on Twitter, he pointed to Spotify.

Yeah, well, I’ll embed it here — the accessible YouTube listing :

The one thing I will say about “Outer Space” and this presentation — I don’t know if it does this in other formats on other sites and the MP3 purchase, but I was taken aback about how abruptly it ends. It’s not a fade out, there’s no final instrumental strum, it just sounds as if a recording device was shut down abruptly. That sort of mars the overall flow of the music. That’s just one man’s opinion though. I’ll let you be the judge for yourself.

Leave a Comment

by | March 1, 2018 · 1:52 PM

Random order and custom order of an iTunes music playlist

I listen to music almost nightly on my iPod Nano Touch. I’ve been doing that for a while now and one thing bugs me. Not from the songs, but from the sorting options and the shuffle on the iPod. The former has resulted too often in repeat order and the latter is never random enough. In fact, despite shaking options to randomize the shuffle, too often the same songs end up in the first-plays of a shuffle, just with a few different ones around them, and in a different order than the last play. Talk about annoying.

I wanted to jumble a playlist order by a static means – do it before I start using the iPod. Call it a static shuffle that randomly arranged things. The results I kept finding on Google search results were pointing to Apple forums with people asking the same question and the answer being a proverbial shrug with directions simply to employ shuffle to do the job. That’s frustrating.

Last night, though, I did something random on iTunes, just a shot in the dark attempt. Maybe I already have crossed this option in the past and done the deed and I had just forgotten. Maybe it’s already widely known as well as posted online on another instruction-attempt article/blog post (or several dozens of them), but there is indeed a means to randomize a playlist (with the program doing the first bit of work and you gaining the liberty to do the rest).

Note: This was done with iTunes version 12.7.14. If it works with later versions, grand. I’m certain it works with earlier versions of the software too.

  1. Open iTunes
  2. Select a playlist that you want to jumble/randomly arrange.
  3. Look at the list sorting options at the top of the list (things like name, play count, last played – they are fields that you have had the ability to randomly set).
  4. On the far left side, there will be no option above the numeric ordering column. Click on that sort area.

What should happen is there will be a re-sort – call it a jumble – of the playlist order. The most important thing is here that you now have the ability to randomly sort the song list order; highlight a song on the list and drag it up or down to the position you want it in the order.

You won’t get a jumble-sort again by clicking the number-sort field over and over again. It’d be a plus if users did get that. There’s no guarantee a static, visible playlist order shuffle is going to be truly random (just as I complained the Nano shuffle was not random enough), but having the manual ordering ability is a plus that will likely be more beneficial to short playlists than the long ones. The latter would take a lot more time to get just right, with no guarantee you ever make it through the entire list.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Electronics & Software, Music / Lyrics

The idea of politics and the NHL cross paths

Russia. Collusion. Obstruction of justice. “Act of War”. You can’t dismiss this stuff and it’s still coming to fruition through Special Counsel Robert Mueller as well as House Intelligence committee hearings and such. Perhaps you look past this or perhaps you turn away from politics in general; there are other things in this world worth attention that aren’t the complication of politics and the riff-raff of the them-vs.-us partisan fray.

Sports are a relief. In one case, though, a sport is in unstated “what-if?” territory. Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Dotard in Covfefe, hockey

NHL player frustration mounts from officiating inconsistency

It’s silly season in the NHL, where fights are going to be more common along with outlandishness on ice and off. Yet there’s been a consistent issue on-ice of outlandishness that has baffled players: Officiating and rule enforcement. Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under hockey