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The alternative to “Russiagate”

A couple of months ago, I had written a post here complaining about how “-gate” was an overused scandal term. “Russiagate” just ties Donald Trump to Richard Nixon, while the two presidencies were mired by dissimilar corruption.

Here’s the alternative to -gate that is appropriate here: сговор. It’s the Russian word for “collusion”. Trump сговор would be the appropriate title. There are other appropriate terms best used in Russian to label the situation, but сговор seems like the one most visually appealing (and easiest to type — though I’m using copy+paste). Treason (измена), scandal (скандал) and corruption (коррупция) are fitting but difficult to re-create in English typsets. Then again, I didn’t try the gesture… That’s fun and games for another time. Right now, or focus should be on the disaster that is Trump сговор.

EDIT: To change character sets changes the words vastly –

sgovor. – collusion
izmena – treason
skandal – scandal
korrupcija – corruption

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by | May 30, 2017 · 9:36 PM

Interest in a song by way of a radio stream

I happened on this, “Be My Friend” by Tomas Fornstedt, by chance while tuned in on Lonely Oak Radio.

Give it a listen, what do you think?

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by | April 25, 2017 · 9:47 PM

On Tampa Bay sports disappointment and media coverage

A disappointing season in sports – both professional and amateur — is just that, a disappointment, a downer. Things don’t go as planned and the results are lesser than you (as a fan) wish. It’s something that you can’t hold against a high school or college team while the pro sports competitive disappointments can be outright atrocities of a competitive kind, run asunder by a multitude of choices by management as well of incidents of both a competitive variety and by bad luck.

The 2016-17 Tampa Bay Lightning season is a disappointment of a competitive nature where bad luck (injuries) and a horrible schedule played part in the Bolts not roaring into a competitive, playoff-bound position that has become a constant the last three seasons. There was a noted attitude problem in the Lightning locker room, and once that was brought into check the team turned up its competitive vibe and is where it is now: Just outside the playoff bubble with a scant chance of making it and a growing chance of missing the playoffs.

It’s a disappointment, yeah. Yet the strength of the team hasn’t collapsed, things haven’t been put asunder with bad coaching or low quality management moves. For the casual fan that’s locked in on disappointment in the trades of Ben Bishop, Brian Boyle and Valtteri Filppula: They weren’t going to stick around long term by way o the salary cap and costs to do so. Bishop and Boyle will be unrestricted free agents come July 1st, Filppula was due to become one in the summer of 2018. With the club already working with a very tight salary cap, retaining them over retaining forthcoming restricted free agents Ondrej Palat, Jonathan Drouin and / or Center Tyler Johnson just couldn’t be done.

Disappointing to lose fan favorite players, especially Bishop who was such a steady hand in the crease. But when looking at the broad picture, at the “Yzerplan” that accentuates player development, it’s understandable as something that had to be done.

To cut that short: shit happens. Ho hum. Next season is going to be something worth checking out, just as this season was, and the season before…

In comparison to professional sports in the history of the greater Tampa Bay Metropolitan area which has existed 40+ years, this season of Lightning hockey ranks a hell of a lot higher on the disappointment list than oh-so-many others coming from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rays and Lightning. All that history, all the back-story of each club doesn’t gain web-clicks or sell newspapers at the immediate moment though.

See, Tampa Bay Times (and former Tampa Tribune) sports columnist Martin Fennelly made a bold decree that this Tampa Bay Lightning’s season is the biggest disappointment in the history of Tampa Bay sports. He does quick-quick takes of other top-tier disappointing seasons for local clubs, but highlights the current state of the Lightning as “desperation hockey” and the reason why this season is the top disappointment – ever.

That’s where I’ve been revitalized as a sports blogger, because something so limited in view, perspective and opinion got the green light from the only newspaper in the region. Something so inane, random and weak didn’t just get published – it’s going to get someone his paycheck because he put words down and it fit a column length requirement. Continue reading

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by | March 22, 2017 · 8:17 AM

The Beatles video, “You’re Going to Lose That Girl”, missing in action no more

It’s arguable to write that the greatest song the Beatles ever recorded and didn’t release as a single was “You’re Going to Lose That Girl”, which was released in 1965 on the album “Help!”. It’s a standard Lennon/McCartney scribed ode that has ties to “She Loves You” as if it were a sequel. I write that point here but I don’t link because trying to find the source I read has been fruitless (this line will be deleted if I do find the link). There are only two words on record for any member of the Fab Four speaking about the song: John Lennon told Playboy in 1980, “That’s me.” You can find more in-depth coverage of the song here. There are touches on other facts about Lennon / McCartney and history that may pique your interest.

I was introduced to the Fab Four in 1985 when my father won a VHS tape of “Help!” from 101 WCBS FM in New York. I was skittish and disinterested at first in watching as the tape opened up with the black-and-white trailer to “A Hard Day’s Night”, the film the Beatles made in 1964. Black-and-white film and disjointed snippets of Beatle songs from the movie just didn’t win me over (and what would you expect? I was 5 or 6 years old at the time). I fidgeted, I tried getting up, but my father put his hands on my shoulders and sat me down.

Then “Help!” started, with actor Leo McKern reciting cult tidings in what amounted to an execution ceremony. Though it was a dark setting, the color blazed (in comparison to that “A Hard Day’s Night” trailer and my interest ticked up. One thing led to another in the film and McKern’s character of Clang bellowed to his cult sect that surrounded him, “Where is the ring?! Search her! What has she done with the ring?!” The cult cried repeatedly “The ring?!” in response and then… then…

Then you see the fabled ring, a large red gemstone on a standard gold band. It just so happens to be on the hand of drummer Ringo Starr as a performance of the song “Help!” gets underway (in black-and-white… which meant nothing to me at this point) and truly the movie began as the Beatles performed “Help!”.

There were seven songs performed in the movie, with “You’re Going to Lose That Girl” being my favorite. Heck, viewing the film a second time, I remember my brothers and I rewinding the video to replay the song and sing along with it. We were won over. That’s not to say “Help!” didn’t win us over, or “Ticket to Ride”, “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”, “I Need You” (George Harrison’s first composed song), “The Night Before, or “Another Girl”. It’s just the memory of this song in particular.

Director Richard Lester played with lighting but did a simple in-studio scene with John, Paul, George and Ringo. The hues and colors vary and smoke plays into scenes (hey, smoking was hip back then Ringo is doing it in some scenes of the song). I’d put this song, as a video; well ahead of the majority of music videos that also play the studio scene. And seeing it’s been 52 years since the damn thing was recorded, that should tell the music video director sect out there to raise their game.

You can’t find the song on YouTube though, and the simple Google search (which now produces extensive info results for most songs) only shows you amateurs playing.

Is there a business contrast playing out between Apple Corps LTD (the Beatles company) and Google? I don’t know. What I do know is that I started this write up fixated on not being able to find the videos from “Help!” on YouTube. Only a fraction of the movie performance of “You’re going to Lose That Girl” can be found.

A re-worded my web search just a tad (with quotation marks: “You’re Going to Lose That Girl” video, Help!) and lo and behold I found what has been missing via Vimeo.

“You’re Going To Lose That Girl” from Merritt Mullen on Vimeo.

Will it remain on the site? Dunno, though it’s 4 year lifespan tells me that it’s going to stay. You can find a low quality version of “Ticket to Ride” on there, as well as “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” (standard quality). The other songs are missing / have mixed in content.

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by | March 8, 2017 · 12:33 PM

A scandal for sure, but I’m tired of the “-gate”

There’s another scandal – a long living one at that – taking placing Washington D.C. at the moment. While ties between Russia and the Donald J. Trump campaign/presidency are bubbling to the surface (with the what, why and how never to be clear if the mess continues as-is), the albatross that has this writer tapping out a blog entry isn’t focusing squarely on the scandal itself as so much the nickname that’s been commonly used so far.

Russiagate.

On a creativity level, this gets an F-minus, but it’s a long-running lack of originality and lack of creativity/intellect that’s tied –gate to a multitude of scandals through various administrations since the Watergate. The name Watergate itself is a hotel in the Washington D.C. area. A unique name tied to a unique scandal that ultimately cost President Richard Nixon his job.

Russiagate, though? It comes down to a bare-bones scandal name cop-out. There’s too much the public and press are only just learning (and probably a boatload more to come) so that may be a cause for a challenge in the nickname department. At the same time, the language difference and the participants in this affair are reason enough a –gate co-op is just blindly labeling the scandal.

Speaking of which, “скандал” is the Russian spelling for skandal. Not exactly a word for an absolutely unique nickname, now is it? Relatively the same pronunciation of “scandal” too. The thing is, it’s mixing in something Russian with American elements in a name that creates a more original and fitting nickname for the situation.

Now, if the Trump campaign was signing off on Russia’s hacking during the 2016 presidential campaign (an action that would favor Trump in the end), that’s cheating, no? “Cheat” in Russian (“обманывать”) is pronounced obmanyvat’. That one word alone seems more fitting than the -.gate co-opt. It’s also a lot less difficult to pronounce than the translation of treason (“государственная измен”
, pronounced gosudarstvennaya izmena).

In the end, I just wish the media could find something more unique to tie to a political scandal than doing the –gate co-opt. That co-opt, though, sure as shit doesn’t make it “fake news”, they’re just busier doing journalism and trying to uncover the truth (which isn’t an “alternate fact”). The general populous knows –gate is attached to a scandal.

 

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by | March 3, 2017 · 2:15 PM

A thought on “…. as hell!”

I can’t exactly say it only just occurred to me but a word-use factoid popped into my brain after playing up a view from a home renovation as “nice as hell”  The thought is that the saying has the potential to not be taken as a compliment / positive usage as intended.  We’re talking hell here; fire, brimstone, negatives,  burn baby, burn! A fitting use of the “as hell” saying is something like “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more!”

To use it as part of a compliment? A positive reaction to something impressive? It’s a habit of mine and in society in general… It’s also a contradiction. Think about it, it’s weird as hell and… uh, you get my point.

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by | July 10, 2016 · 8:49 AM

Going for the "Jangular" from the Pretty Voices

A garage band named “The Pretty Voices” seems a little odd, but that’s the gist I think: to be a little off. The group isn’t aimed at a profound/powerful vocal arrangement; they’re about doing the rock thing in the garage-band kind of way: Independent, holding amateur flaws but also showing an ability that warrants exposure in one fashion or another.

It was completely by chance and a “well why not?” attitude on my part that got me to check out their album, Jangular, which was released in May of this year. The entire album is available online for purchase but it’s also able to be accessed through YouTube.

Now, I’m not a garage band listener on the norm… Heck, I rarely listen to anything of current (which holds to this story in a way, we’ll get to that in a second). I really did just listen to Pretty Voices by chance (the direct influence being Creative Loafing Tampa’s tweeting about their review of Jangular). I was drawn into the group from what I was hearing simply because the band could hit an influential riff in their pieces, such as in Control. It’s simple enough, though it also has its flaws (late in the song, it just ends up sounding messy).

El Camino, in beat and pacing, is pop rock in how it comes off. I can’t make out the lyrics but that’s my flaw with hearing disability and it – missing out on lyrics – is a running truth for most of Janular songs. That’s not a flaw for them, not as much as when engineering / production can’t diversify the sound produced for bridges in Pretty Voices songs.

The track that stands out for me to the point that I bought it was “Crackle Pop” which I embed here:

The oddity of the number is that it was released as a single three years ago by the group. The entire concoction of Jangular was put together and amassed over five years. Back to “Crackle Pop”, it’s a brilliant mix of the riff and pacing to truly come off as a crackling pop-rock number. The take from years ago seems a little less refined than the album version of the song.

In the end, Jangular and Pretty Voices are worth checking into in one way or another – be it an online listen on YouTube, buying a track from an online store, or checking the group out in-performance at a show in St. Petersburg.

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by | June 16, 2016 · 1:59 PM