Just For Fun Concerts EP 2016-26 (Episode 30)

Episode 30 of Tales from the Dropbox is fraught with peril, much like BREXIT appears to portend the breakup of the EU. So, why did England vote to leave the EU? Most commentators believe that the issue boils down to the perception that England’s borders where threatened by migrants who would take jobs from the locals. See for example, Why Immigration Pushed Britons to Brexit, A Lesson From ‘Brexit’: On Immigration, Feelings Trump Facts where the authors argue that not only were Britons warned about the economic risks of leaving the EU that the warnings were ignored because they cared about something more: immigration.

The EU was created in 1993 with the signing of the Treaty on European Union, commonly referred to as the Maastricht Treaty, in order to prevent war following two world wars in rapid succession arising from the European continent, to bring political unity, and for economic integration. The Leave campaign highlighted the fear of mass migration into England and played into the hands of anti-immigrant hate groups and the poor working class who have blamed economic struggles on immigrants although that is not factually accurate.

Even though almost all of the research shows that immigration is good for the economy, the fear of immigration is real. If we examine this hot button issue in our own country, immigration can be summed up as an unrealized potential harm: what if “they” take my job? Although the possibilities of job loss are remote, the logical fallacy boils down to: immigrants take jobs from citizens and therefore we should restrict entry of them into our country. Taken to new heights by one presidential candidate, the immigrant debate has changed markedly and not for the better: No longer should citizens be worried that immigrants are taking our jobs, but a certain segment of that immigrant population – Muslims – may also be terrorists and therefore they should be excluded from travel to the U.S. because of that very remote and highly improbable possibility.

Although mountains of research support two conclusions: immigrants are good for local economies, and only a very microscopic number of Muslims are terrorists, the truth is apparently irrelevant to the electorate.

So, as we head into the November election, we should try to take a rational look at immigration policy reform based upon data and then implement policy that promotes the best interest of the nation. The struggle for comprehensive immigration reform, given the President’s failure to implement a stopgap to removals through executive action (See United States v. Texas, 579 U.S. ___ (2016) (constitutionality of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) program)), will be difficult if we cannot convince our elected representatives that immigration is not a political issue but rather immigration is a significant social policy issue of great importance to all of this country’s citizens.

As suggested by the American Immigration Council basic reforms to immigration policy would:

  1. Creat[e] a pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants that is fair but feasible.
  2. Ensur[e] that immigration policy supports families and American values.
  3. Ensur[e] that immigration enforcement enhances national security and community safety without undermining due-process protections.
  4. Ensur[e] that the legal immigration system is sufficiently robust to meet the needs of the American economy, does not put native-born workers at a disadvantage, and does not encourage new waves of illegal immigration when job demand is high.
  5. [Support a] [l]ong-term commitment to citizenship.

All of these proposals seem to be logical, but yet, like gun control, there is absolutely no movement towards reform.Fu @%$!!!.

So, as you listen to Episode 30, think about all of the immigrants to this country you know and how your life would change if they were not in your life.

Here is what you’ll find in Episode #30:

  1. Weaves – “Shithole” (Weaves)
  2. Augustines – “When Things Fall Apart” (This Is Your Life)
  3. Islands – “Fear” (Should I Remain Here At Sea?)
  4. Pretty City – “Leave It Alone” (Colorize)
  5. Bombay – “Gold Rush” (Show Your Teeth)
  6. Fews – “If Things Go On Like This” (Means)
  7. Hot Hot Heat – “Kid Who Stays In The Picture” (Hot Hot Heat)
  8. Dope Lemon – “Marinade” (Honey Bones)
  9. The Living End – “Keep on Running” (Shift)
  10. Horsebeach – “It’s Alright” (II)
  11. Sherwood – “Little Bit Better” (Some Things Never Leave You)
  12. Noisemaker – “Butterfly” (Roar)
  13. Birthday Noose – “Walk Without You” (Noosifer)
  14. The Gotobeds – “Real Maths//Too Much” (Blood//Sugar//Secs//Traffic)
  15. case/lang/viers – “Delirium” (case/lang/viers)

Some days are day dreams some days are sun beams … standing still life rolls on …all will be okay my friend


Just For Fun Concerts EP 2016-25 (Episode 29)

Welcome to Episode 29 of Tales from the Dropbox. These are the show notes, originally planned for Episode 28, that were preempted by the psychopath in Orlando. We still need Congress to do something about putting military type weapons into the hands of bad people.

So, here is another increasingly problematic anti-social behavior, not nearly as pressing as the gun issue, but morphing into a huge problem – third party punishers (aka social media parasites):

I spent an afternoon watching the Ali memorial service and while listening to the tributes to a man who for a period of time was amongst the most hated persons in America and is now almost universally beloved, I could not help but wonder where the court of public opinion would stand on Ali’s position on the Vietnam war and the draft if we had social media in the 1960s.

Why the look back? Ali’s unpopular position on an issue of public importance – the war in Vietnam –  and the subsequent change in public opinion through the lend of time is juxtaposed against the current universal scorn for the judge in the Stanford swimmer rape case that has ignited a firestorm of moral outrage with regard to the length of the sentence imposed by the court in that particular case.

The issue of social significance is not found in the specifics of this particular case. While the discussion of “rape culture” is important because, as much as that issue is discussed, very little concrete action is taken to change the destructive, harmful and barbaric treatment of women (and will likely be a topic for a future version of these notes), my problem with the Stanford Swimmer Rape case is not the length of the punishment imposed but rather:

Why is there a need for persons unconnected and unaffected by a particular event to voice their public outrage because they perceive some injustice has occurred related to the event?

This is the central societal issue raised by the Stanford swimmer rape case – why do people feel the need to publicly punish people through social media? The issue that should be addressed by the social media and other commentators in the Stanford case is the elimination of crimes against women. However, that issue is lost in the noise created by the emotional hostility of these third party punishers. Simply, their moral outrage is not for the benefit of the victim. Rather, their overwhelming desire to publicly comment on events that do not affect them is selfish and is done solely to enhance the reputations of the outraged.

A recent letter by Jillian J. Jordan, Moshe Hoffman, Paul Bloom and David G. Rand in Nature entitled “Third-party punishment as a costly signal of trustworthiness” (Nature 530,473–476 (25 February 2016) suggests that third-party punishment (“TPP”), in which unaffected observers punish selfishness, is done for the benefit of the punisher as a signal that they are more trustworthy which is an evolutionary advantage. The authors present empirical evidence of the following:

(a) it can be advantageous for individuals to punish selfishness in order to signal that they are not selfish themselves.

(b) TPP is a signal of trustworthiness i.e. third-party punishers are trusted more, and actually behave in a more trustworthy way, than non-punishers.

(c) Furthermore, when potential punishers have the chance to help, they are less likely to punish, and punishment is perceived as, and actually is, a weaker signal of trustworthiness.

This study leaves unaddressed the central question – is TPP morally correct? The Stanford swimmer case frames the social issue well – the punishers belief is that the judge should be punished because he didn’t punish the rapist enough even though this position on the length of the punishment does absolutely nothing to assist the victim of the horrific crime.  Further, the moral outrage expressed by the punishers is based upon incomplete information. That is, the punishers demand for the recall and removal of the judge is driven by their perceived notion that the outcome was unjust as measured by the length of the sentence imposed upon the rapist.

The court system has long ago abandoned the concept of justice because it is woefully missing in that system for the very reason the system works –  justice is not precise. Justice is an ideal and justice cannot exist in the Court system because humans are involved and they introduce randomness into outcomes.  Did Ali get justice when he was stripped of his boxing title for objecting to what he believed was an immoral war by a court? Will the victim of this horrific crime obtain justice from a court of law for her being raped, regardless of the length of the sentence imposed?

TPP is not about justice. The focus should be on the victims of these horrific crimes not on the punishers need for attention. Third party punishers have found their voice on social media. The consequences of their unfettered access and threatening commentary should be a major concern to all of us. Their behavior is destructive to healthy social discourse. Not only does their punishing not result in justice for victims or advance their issue of social concern, their intimidating and obnoxious commentary fosters an environment where debate is thwarted.  TPP interferes with the free exercise of expression, reduces ideas and expression in public forums, and violates the very fabric of the Constitution. TPP is un-American. Stop public punishing.

Here is what you’ll find in Episode #29:

  1. StarBenders – “Diet Soda” (Heavy Petting)
  2. Fuzzy Vox – “Grow Evil” (No Landing Plan)
  3. Hermitage Green – “Save Your Soul” (Save Your Soul)
  4. Egg Bites Chicken – “Save the World” (Get Laid)
  5. The Virginmarys – “Falling Down” (Divides)
  6. Sony & the Sunsets – “Nightmares” (Moods Baby Moods)
  7. Young Rival – “Lucky” (Strange Light Ep)
  8. Har Mar Superstar – “Haircut” (Best Summer Ever)
  9. King Tuff – “Wild Desire” (Wild Desire (Single))
  10. Jake Bugg – “Bitter Salt” (On My One)
  11. ARMS – “Keep It Light” (Patterns)
  12. Mrs. Magician – “Eyes All Over Town” (Bermuda)
  13. King Creosote & Michael Johnston – “Supermoon” (The Bound of the Red Deer)
  14. Men of North County – “Running” (This City)
  15. Romp – “Avoiding Boys” (Departure From Venus)

Never mind what you said last week babe I forgive what you’ve done … you’re my sun you’re my stars you’re my supermoon.


Just For Fun Concerts EP 2016-24 (Episode 28)

Welcome to Episode 28 of Tales from the Dropbox. The show notes for this episode are different than I had originally planned. For those of you who don’t regularly read these notes I try to articulate as intelligently as I can (very low bar) a particular social issue and why the issue is relevant in order to provide some food for thought as you listen to each podcast. Sounds simple, right?

As the aftermath of the latest mass shooting unfolds this morning in Orlando, which some observers have already pointed out is the largest in U.S. history (as if the magnitude of the tragedy is somehow greater if the number of victims is larger) the relevant social issue is easy to identify but apparently impossible to resolve: the large scale availability of military style weapons, specifically, the AR-15, a fully automatic, easily-handled, killing machine. The AR-15 is the common thread in all of these repeated tragedies.

As always, the media focus will be on the “why” of the situation.  After all, it was a gay nightclub and the shooter, named Omar, and these facts will make the media frenzy and talking heads crazy trying to explain the rational and motivation for these murders. At the end of it all, the Feds will likely describe it as an event by a lone wolf terrorist.  This conclusion is what the Federal government will want you and needs you  to believe for a number of reasons unrelated to the shooting itself.

I am angry and appalled by the lack of a reasoned and active response to these tragedies by the persons we have elected to make policy for the benefit and safety of all people in this country. There are no real satisfactory answers for any of these tragedies because the “why” question is not an issue we should be concerned with. The question of import and concern that needs to be addressed is this: why have we, as a nation, not been able to prevent these tragedies?

Answer: We do not have sensible gun control.

This latest tragedy should heighten our sensitivity to what is the truly baffling unresolved mystery:

Why has Congress not introduced any gun reform legislation since Sandy Hook in 2013?

What is needed is immediate federal legislation that starts to resolve the current open safety concerns, such as the need for legislation that:

(a) Restricts possession of automatic weapons to military and police use while on duty only;

(b) Controls and tracks ammunition purchases;

(c) Implements waiting periods for purchases made through gun shows; and

(d) Requires private purchase transactions be made through a police station “escrow.”

Note: None of the above proposals takes guns out of the hands of legitimate users.

Sure, reasonable minds can differ as to how to implement a plan to remove automatic weapons (including semi-automatic weapons) from private armories, but why should we not error on the side of caution and implement the strongest possible restrictions and then tinker thereafter to strike the proper balance. What is more important – human life or the right to own and possess a gun?

For more information on sensible gun control: http://smartgunlaws.org/

Contact your congressperson and let them know that they need to get off their fat $#^#^ asses and actually do something to prevent the recurrence of these tragic events. You can find out the contact information for your representative here: Members of Congress.

Here is what you’ll find in Episode #28:

  1. Ladyhawke – “Let It Roll” (Wild Things)
  2. Mourn – “Evil Dead” (Ha Ha He)
  3. The Temper Trap – “Summers Almost Gone” (Thick as Thieves)
  4. Sunsets North – “Goodbye Syndrome” (So Far, So Good)
  5. Royal Tusk – “Soon” (DealBreaker)
  6. Rogue Wave – “Ocean” (Delusions of Grand Fur)
  7. Garbage – “Empty” (Strange Little Birds)
  8. California Snow Story – “Motorway” (Some Other Places)
  9. Fruit Bats – “None of Us” (Absolute Loser)
  10. Tibet – “So Low You Forget How to Lose” (Above the Moon)
  11. The Everyday Anthem – “Risqué Endeavors” (Call It Infatuation)
  12. Diarrhea Planet – “Bob Dylan’s Grandma” (Turn to Gold)
  13. Two Cartoons – “Warning” (Happiness is Trouble)
  14. Walking on Cars – “Love Backs Down” (Everything This Way)
  15. Superbus – “Jusqu’a La Mer” (Sixtape)

You ought to be careful when putting your heart out there … so don’t say no we’ll go slow… in the end we’ll just pretend…

No matter where you choose to draw the line – make gun control your issue.

Let’s be careful out there.



Dropbox Notes June 9, 2016

Last month was an exceptional month for new music! I have played a number of these in the Tales From The Dropbox podcast, a podcast to which you should really, truly, subscribe as it is available on iTunes, it’s free, and always contains a very diverse music mix of tunes not likely ever to be played on radio. In this manner you can preview most of the releases listed in these notes! I’m having fun doing the show and hope that you are finding the selections fit your musical tastes. This month there are a few names you should recognize and check out number 50, which is undeniably funny.

Here is the list:

  1.  Evans the Death – Vanilla [2016]
  2. Casket Girls – The Night Machines [2016]
  3. Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ –  Best of Songs [2016]
  4. Holy White Hounds – Sparkle Sparkle [2016]
  5. Mega (Punk Rock) – Conversation About Nothing [2016]
  6. Psychic Ills – Inner Journey Out [2016]
  7. Fitz And The Tantrums – Fitz And The Tantrums [2016]
  8. Purses – Obsess Much [2016]
  9. Kills – Ash & Ice [2016]
  10. Death Valley Girls – Glow In The Dark [2016]
  11. Bruce Foxton – Smash The Clock [2016]
  12. Pup – The Dream Is Over [2016]
  13. Mourn – Ha, Ha, He! [2016]
  14. Jonathan Richman – Ishkode! Ishkode! [2016]
  15. Les Panties – Cold Science [2016]
  16. Motel Raphaël – System [2016]
  17. Temper Trap – Thick As Thieves [Deluxe Edition] [2016]
  18. Scientists – A Place Called Bad [4CD] [2016]
  19. Real Friends – The Home Inside My Head [2016]
  20. Diarrhea Planet – Turn to Gold [2016]
  21. Fews – Means [2016]
  22. Swans – The Glowing Man [2016]
  23. Underground Youth – The Early Recordings 2008-2009 [2016]
  24. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Talk Tight [2016]
  25. Young Girls – Party Blood [2016]
  26. White Zombie – It Came from NYC [2016]
  27. On Dead Waves – On Dead Waves [2016]
  28. Catfish And The Bottlemen – The Ride [2016]
  29. Kristin Kontrol – X-Communicate [2016]
  30. Caveman – Otero War [2016]
  31. Black Pistol Fire – Don’t Wake the Riot [2016]
  32. Band of Skulls – By Default [2016]
  33. Moulettes – Preternatural [2016]
  34. Royal Tusk – DealBreaker [2016]
  35. Tiger Army – V••• [2016]
  36. Zig Zags – Running out of Red [2016]
  37. Two Cartoons – Happiness Is Trouble [2016]
  38. T-Rextasy – Jurassic Punk [2016]
  39. Hotelier – Goodness [2016]
  40. Band of Horses – Why Are You OK [2016]
  41. Fear of Men – Fall Forever [2016]
  42. Fruit Bats – Absolute Loser [2016]
  43. Against The Current – In Our Bones [2016]
  44. Trash Can Sinatras – Wild Pendulum [2016]
  45. Peter Bjorn And John – Breakin Point [2016]
  46. Superbus – Sixtape [2016]
  47. Garbage – Strange Little Birds [2016]
  48. Lonely Island – Popstar Never Stop, Never Stopping (Soundtrack) [2016]

Don’t stop…the rock!


Just For Fun Concerts EP 2016-23 (Episode 27)

Episode 27 fulfils the promise of the last week’s episode of Tales From the Dropbox – an episode filled with more aggressive punk oriented music highlighting the diversity that still exists within this genre.

I would be remiss in failing to note the passing of Muhammad Ali this past week. Ali’s death reminds me of what Ali’s life represents in the context of my life – another connection severed. There will be numerous commentators reflecting on the life of the “Greatest,” but this will be the myth of his life, for, the compulsion we, as humans, have in order to find meaning in someone’s death is to mythologize on “facts” about the person as though these somehow define who that person was and who they were.

Rather than dwell on Ali’s public persona, I am going to attempt to give you a perspective on the meaning of Ali’s life (because the fact of death is irrelevant except to him) to me – as a connection severed – and tie that perspective into the context of this podcast. This is your notice that we will very likely end up these Dropbox notes with a slightly messy package to digest.

Note: I know what is about to follow is a little meandering, but be patient, I think the exercise is important – at least it is to me. Hopefully you will also find the exercise interesting because if anything, the essay below will provide yet another oblique perspective to chew on like a dog with a large bone – at the end the bone is all wet and slobbery and although not fully digested you are somehow satisfied. For a change, be satisfied that is not some off kilter social issue I’m writing about, though I know you all loved the essay about the impact of the proposed new condom law.

As a species (Homo sapiens) are obsessed with classifying and organizing everything we experience into categories utilizing comparisons with similar but known experiences to fit each “new” experience into a particular category. What about those experiences that fall just outside or completely outside our known experience? I contend that we largely miss the power and emotion inherent in each “new” experience and fail to appreciate the significance of that “new” experience each time we are exposed to a sensory event (even if it is the same sensory event repeated) because we fail to comprehend and rationally acknowledge that that each experience is different whether we are familiar with it or not. This failure becomes more obvious when assessed by our inability to comprehend the dissimilarity experienced by each participant in a shared experience. i.e. the failure to assess that jointly shared experiences and their meaningfulness to each participant/observer is influenced not only by the impact of the experience but also by the strength of the connection between the participants.

So why is this observation relevant?

The acts of classification and association with prior known experiences – the tools our mind utilizes to determine how we feel about an experience necessarily imposes significant limits on our ability to appreciate and understand the unknown inherent in each such experience. That is, our mind filters out small bits of information that help us understand what is happening and what the experience means to us in relation to that event, but in so doing, we filter out most of the important information contained in the event. Classifying and association impose an unconscious bias on every sensory experience because of our inability to process large amounts of information. As described in an earlier Tales From The Dropbox episode, unconscious bias is absolutely necessary for our survival but the downside of this defense mechanism is that it also imposes limits on our acceptance of the new and the different. Thus, every experience we try to rationally explain suffers from this perspective bias.

Episode 27 is less about where the music fits in the numerous meaningless categories of music humans have generated to give order and meaning to explain what we hear and more about how the music actually makes you feel. Music should be experienced holistically because music connects and engages all of our senses when we are focused on the moment of the experience. However, in order to escape the unconscious bias of our limited perspective we must stop thinking about the music and experience each and all of it together in order to try to absorb as much of the experience as possible. As Funkadelic so perfectly expressed – “free your mind and your ass will follow”.

A limited perspective of the meaning of Ali life and death will be played out in tributes all of this week, but these perspectives are simply attempts to provide a common mythology of importance to Ali’s life, i.e. to provide a context for the meaning of his life., I believe all of the tributes will miss the mark and fall short because the “story” will leave out the bits of information concerning Ali that are truly important.

What was the “experience” of Ali’s life?

For me the connection is relatively simple – Ali’s life was importance as an example of a life well lived, and that perspective is not derived from the information we can classify and associate with him. For example, most commentators will likely point out that Ali was a magnificent boxer with the fastest hands of a heavyweight ever or that Ali defied the draft for his religious beliefs or that because of his poetry and good spirit that he had the power to connect and unite with people long after he had lost the ability to speak – a consequence of Parkinson’s disease, a disease which afflicted him for longer than his boxing career. All of these “things” are undoubtedly true – but they are not what made Ali the “Greatest”. Think about it. Do these facts add up to the “greatest”?

Ali’s greatness lies not in his accomplishments but in the manner of living his life in the way he chose to live it – to fully experience his own life, including experiencing the consequences of his own decisions.  For me, that is the true power of Ali as a public person. Ali was the “greatest” in his own life’s experience because he was able to live his life with the awareness that his choices had consequences but they were his choices alone to make. Ali didn’t filter out the little bits of information to make sense of his own life, he defied categorization precisely because of his choices. For him, the only category he desired to be classified into was singular – the greatest.

So, I too wanna be the “greatest.” I am trying to live my life completely aware of my choices discovering and experiencing events that stretch the boundaries of my intellect. This podcast is one of those choices because it is my effort to go outside the sanitized world of commercial radio which I believe makes people dumber and desensitizes them  numbing them to the beauty of the musical experience. KROQ is the devil.

We, which is you and I, absolutely need on the most basic level diversity in order to fully experience what our mind tries to categorize and to reject that urge to compare so that our total being can translate the electrical impulses into something we can feel. Tales From the Dropbox has one goal – to offer a ton of music being produced by geniuses whom have the ability to compose and assemble bits of information into whole compositions that deserve to be experienced without imposing limits on that expression. These compositions must be fully experienced in order to trigger emotions, feelings, and produce holistic connections to moments in your past and laying the ground work for future connections enabling you to experience “new” and “different” as – joy. We can be joyful.

So, free your mind and … you know…

Here is what you’ll find in Episode #27:

  1. Fuck You, Idiot – “Go Away” (Tour Summer)
  2. Big Ups – “Capitalized” (Before a Million Universes)
  3. Max Raptor – “Golden Age” (Max Raptor)
  4. Andy Black – “Louder Than Your Love” (The Shadow Side)
  5. Fossil Youth – “From the Window” (Intertwined With You)
  6. Tiny Moving Parts – “Breathe Deep” (Celebrate)
  7. 1000 Gram – “I’d Pilgrim to Anything” (Dances)
  8. Big Red Ants – “Sugar” (Last Year’s Big Fall)
  9. Angry Angles – “Crowds” (Angry Angles)
  10. Traumahelikopter – “Always Being Followed” (I Don’t Understand Them At All)
  11. Bloody Gears – “The Killing Song” (Shallow Remains)
  12. Honey – “White City” (Love is Hard)
  13. Venerea – “Waiting For Her To Kill Herself” (Last Call For Adderall)
  14. Real Friends – “Mess” (The Home Inside My Head)
  15. Die Antwoord – “I Fink You Freeky (God’s Death Trap Remix)” (Suck On This)

I would kiss you on the lips, you have sugar on your lips . . . I don’t need to be perfect just happy … last year I was a train wreck now I’m just a mess.