Surprise! Two episodes of Tales From The Dropbox in a single day! As I am going to take a short break from recording at the end of the month, I figured that there is no time like the present to put out another episode of new sounds.
Episode 33 figures to be dangerous. It is an all punk rock episode covering several prevalent subgenres each of which indicate that punk rock is healthy despite repeated efforts by commercial radio to marginalize punk rock or efforts by those to romanticize it as a form of music that belongs only in the past to be visited upon those endless punk rock compilations containing the same bands and the same tunes.
Those of us even remotely familiar with the origins and evolution of punk rock understand that punk always was the musical expression of youth rebellion and a source of social commentary on the issues relevant to that generation. While many pundits, including Johnny Lydon, then Rotten, have declared punk dead or tried to romanticize and redefine the history of punk rock, the simple truth is this: punk rock, originally, was the physical manifestation of a disenchanted and disenfranchised youth coming to grips with the same ills that we currently face as a society: unemployment; police brutality; class inequality (rich v. poor); racism; environmental concerns.
So then it should come as no surprise that punk is not the same as it was 40 years ago. Punk changed immediately after the first expression, after it was first given name.
Punk has evolved, not died. Punk is a way of life because punk is not only about the freedom to express ideas but to give them energy and, most importantly, create movement. That’s it. Whether it was through fashion, art, or music, punk was not and is not an idea or an ideal. Rather punk is the expression of ideas in action. As D.O.A’s Joe Keithley (who has a track in today’s episode) has aptly observed: Talk –Action = 0.
Punk, therefore is motion – only when people act and give expression to ideas is it punk. The beauty of punk is that it is adaptable, i.e. there are many forms and contexts for expression of those ideas. Music is merely the vehicle for conveying thought and emotion. Although its origins as a movement in the U.S., U.K and Canada may all differ because of the perspectives unique to each country at the time, today, punk is a global movement giving a voice to those who choose to act. The subjects may not be the same, e.g. “emo” teaches us that personal relationships can also be dealt with from a punk perspective.
That perspective has not changed much because it is universal. Punk still encompasses all viewpoints, pushes boundaries, engages thought, is subversive and nonconformist, rewards independent thinking and action, and therefore, is not only the freest form of music but it also the most powerful form of expression because it contains the most subversive elements of change – ideas:
Ideas are dangerous, but the man to whom they are least dangerous is the man of ideas. He is acquainted with ideas, and moves among them like a lion-tamer. Ideas are dangerous, but the man to whom they are most dangerous is the man of no ideas. The man of no ideas will find the first idea fly to his head like wine to the head of a teetotaler.
It is a common error, I think, among the radical idealists of my own … period to suggest that financiers and business men are a danger . . . because they are so sordid or so materialistic. The truth is that financiers and business men are a danger . . . because they can be sentimental about any sentiment, and idealistic about any ideal, any ideal that they find lying about, just as a boy who has not known much of women is apt too easily to take a woman for the woman, so these practical men, unaccustomed to causes, are always inclined to think that if a thing is proved to be an ideal it is proved to be the ideal.
Chesterton, G.K, Heretics (1905)
Punk is still relevant. Lock up your children.
Here is what you’ll find in Episode #33:
Nice as Fuck – “Homerun” (Nice As Fuck)
Mega – “I Wrote Eric Fromm” (Conversation about Nothing)
Narcolaptic – “Under the Street Light” (Hypocretin)
Greys – “Blown Out” (Outer Heaven)
Ginger Wildheart – “Only Henry Rollins Can Save Us Now” (The Year of the Fan Club)
Cold Cold Hearts – “All Those Nights” (Heartware)
Paws – “Clarity” (No Grace)
Black Black Black – “Let’s Bloodlet” (Altered States of Death and Grace)
Death Valley Girls – “Death Valley Boogie” (Glow in the Dark)
Beartooth – “Hated” (Aggressive)
All Fucked Up – “Hard Times” (Thirty Minutes Old School)
Alice Bag – “The Touch I Crave” (Alice Bag)
March – “Head Shears” (Stay Put)
D.O.A. – “Fucked Up Donald” (Fucked Up Donald Single)
Summer Cannibals – “Full of It” (Full of It)
Who knew you’d be hated for being who you are and be a big target for all the insecure . . . you’ve spent your whole life just talking out your ass…
I know that you can’t get enough Tales From the Dropbox so this week I have two episodes ready to roll out for your aural pleasure. Episode 32 is fairly “traditional” (whatever that means) in musical selections from the list below it does appear that I am focused on troubled personal relationships, fret not my friends, as my relationship with Mrs. Belding is not on the rocks. This week’s selections are just how the songs fell out as I assembled this episode.
Mrs. Belding, who doesn’t actually listen to the podcast but does read the show notes, indicated that they were too long to read, so I have headed her wise advice and shortened them substantially as you will likely note. BTW she calls me Dick.
So, a couple of episode’s back I posted my thoughts on sensible gun control. You can scroll down the page and find it easily or use the handy search box up above. Today’s revisiting, focuses on only one aspect of that issue – the AR-15.
As the recent events in Dallas remind us, yet again, the AR-15 is a @%@ lightweight killing machine. In the hands of almost anyone: teens, mental defectives, serial killers and mass murders it can be utilized to commit evil. Should evil assholes have access to these weapons? Common sense dictates that we say no.
How can government prevent these weapons from getting into the wrong hands? It can’t.
The U.S. constitution apparently protects the right of citizens to own any type of weapon.
In Kolbe v. Hogan, 813 F.3d 160 (2016) the 4th Circuit (Maryland) took up a Second Amendment challenge to a 2013 Maryland statute banning the sale of firearm magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and many firearms, by labeling them as “assault weapons.” In a 2-1 decision the Fourth Circuit held that strict scrutiny is the proper standard of review for bans on common arms, such as the AR15, and remanded the case back to the trial court to apply the correct standard. The trial court had utilized intermediate scrutiny.
NB: Under intermediate scrutiny the government, which has the burden of proof, wins almost every case. Under strict scrutiny – the government will rarely win. As noted by the majority:
A statute that “completely prohibits, not just regulates, an entire category of weaponry . . . might be ‘equivalent to a ban on a category of speech.’” (Quoting D.C. Circuit Judge Kavanaugh’s dissent in the Heller II case.) The extensive prohibition is “akin to a law that ‘foreclose[s] an entire medium of expression.’ City of Ladue v. Gilleo, 512 U.S. 43, 55 (1994). Such laws receive exceptionally rigorous review in the analogous context of the First Amendment … and we see no reason for a different method here.”
In short – the court is telegraphing that it believes the Maryland gun control statute is unconstitutional.
The Kolbe dissent was more pragmatic:
Let’s be real: The assault weapons banned by Maryland’s FSA are exceptionally lethal weapons of war. In fact, the most popular of the prohibited semiautomatic rifles, the AR-15, functions almost identically to the military’s fully automatic M16. (Id. at 193.)
The government argued for a rehearing before the entire appellate panel (14 justices) which was granted. Oral arguments took place in May. When the decision is issued, it will potentially have a huge impact on a number of States gun control legislation as they wrestle with assault weapons and high volume magazines. So, the Supreme Court may have to finally take a gun case.
To be clear, I have no objection to any specific type of weapon. Each weapon arguably has a legitimate purpose. The issue I have with these types of hyper-legal decisions is the legitimacy of an argument that a state cannot keep assault weapons from nut jobs. Regulation is necessary where the risk of harm to the general public is greater than the individual’s right to possess a military assault rifle.
I am positive that the framers, at the time of drafting the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, did not anticipate that there would one day be a gun, in the hands of an untrained individual, which could have single handedly won the American Civil War.
In short, bad people can obtain any type of weapon. We should be able to restrict the sales of types of weapons when we cannot prevent them from falling into the hands of bad people.
Here is what you’ll find in Episode #32:
Fear of Men – “Trauma” (Fall Forever)
All Human – “And So Peter Dances” (Teenagers, You Don’t Have To Die)
Highs – “Careful” (Dazzle Camouflage)
Causes – “Sparrow” (Under Bridge That You Built For Me)
The Breaks – “Looking Down the Back Roads” (The Back Roads)
Camp Claude – “Disconnected” (Swimming Lessons)
Drowners – “Someone Else is Getting In” (On Desire)
With Confidence – “Waterfall” (Better Weather)
Over Andover – “The One Where The Underdog Gets Away” (Somewhere Safe)
Seratones – “Don’t Need it” (Get Gone)
Wrenn – “Summer Girls” (Apathy & Good Books)
The Rival Bid – “Fire” (Night Remains)
The Shift – “Red Flags” (If)
The Modern Lovers – She’s Cracked” (The Original Modern Lovers)
Meiko – “We All Fall Down” (Moving Day)
Well she cracked, I won’t she did things that I don’t she’d eat garbage, eat shit, get stoned … she’s just been hurt bad before … I’m always throwing up these red flags hoping that she’ll see…
Back at you with another exciting (setting the tone here) episode of Tales from the Dropbox as both Canada (Canada Day aka Dominion Day) and the United States (Independence Day) this past weekend celebrated the establishment of their respective nations as independent and more significantly free. (To be clear, on July 1, 1867, Canada became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain and a federation of four provinces: Nova Scotia; New Brunswick; Ontario; and Quebec (the province of Canada was divided at that time into Quebec and Ontario). Since 1983, July 1 has been officially known as Canada Day.)
Episode #31 continues the recent trend towards establishing musical freedom with an amalgam of very disparate sounds designed to refocus your musical energies away from commercial radio i.e. to celebrate the freedom you have to take a journey away from complacency.
What impact does the fanatical action of terror organizations and other F@@% nuts take on our freedom?
The failure to address, let alone answer, this question prevents we as independent nations from determining the human price that we, as citizens of the United States and Canada, must to protect our concept of freedom. That is, what does it mean to be free?
NB: I know these notes are going to be rather long – but dammit, freedom is important and I think the read interesting!
While there are many formulations of what it means to be “free”, this seem an appropriate starting point:
Freedom is not merely the opportunity to do as one pleases; neither is it merely the opportunity to choose between set alternatives. Freedom is, first of all, the chance to formulate the available choices, to argue over them and then, the opportunity to choose.
Mills, C. Wright. 1959  The Sociological Imagination. New York: Oxford University Press. pp 176.
As a primary thesis, freedom must start with the individual. That is, we can only be truly free by being the master of our own intellect (self). If we are the masters of ourselves, then as Mills reminds us, our individual expression of freedom can only be expressed in concert with others – that is, we do not lose our freedom by participating in discourse and engagement with others. If we cannot connect with others, to formulate choices with other individuals, without the fear that we will lose our self then we are not free.
So, as we stand at yet another turning point in our nation’s freedom, as those f#^! nuts engage in unconscionable actions against the world, perhaps history can highlight, yet again the importance of and value of our freedom and what it means for the citizens of a nation to be free on this date – July 4, 2016 (I’ve edited this transcript slightly to clarify the relevance for these notes):
I address you . . . at a moment unprecedented in the history of the Union. I use the word “unprecedented,” because at no previous time has American security been as seriously threatened from without as it is today. Since the permanent formation of our government under the Constitution, in 1789, most of the periods of crisis in our history have related to our domestic affairs. Fortunately, only one of these—the four-year War Between the States—ever threatened our national unity….
It is true that … the United States often had been disturbed by events in other continents. We had even engaged in two wars with European nations and in a number of undeclared wars in the West Indies, in the Mediterranean and in the Pacific for the maintenance of American rights and for the principles of peaceful commerce. But in no case had a serious threat been raised against our national safety or our continued independence.
What I seek to convey is the historic truth that the United States as a nation has at all times maintained clear, definite opposition, to any attempt to lock us in behind an ancient … wall while the procession of civilization went past. Today, thinking of our children and of their children, we oppose enforced isolation for ourselves or for any other part of the Americas. …
Every realist knows that the democratic way of life is at this moment being directly assailed in every part of the world—assailed either by arms, or by secret spreading of poisonous propaganda by those who seek to destroy unity and promote discord in nations that are still at peace. …
Therefore, as your President, performing my constitutional duty to “give to the Congress information of the state of the Union,” I find it, unhappily, necessary to report that the future and the safety of our country and of our democracy are overwhelmingly involved in events far beyond our borders.
Armed defense of democratic existence is now being gallantly waged in four continents. If that defense fails, all the population and all the resources of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australasia will be dominated by the conquerors. Let us remember that the total of those populations and their resources in those four continents greatly exceeds the sum total of the population and the resources of the whole of the Western Hemisphere—many times over.
In times like these it is immature—and incidentally, untrue—for anybody [ed: Donald Trump?] to brag that an unprepared America, single-handed, and with one hand tied behind its back, can hold off the whole world. No realistic American can expect from a [religious zealot] peace, international generosity, or return of true independence, or world disarmament, or freedom of expression, or freedom of religion, or even good business. Such a peace would bring no security for us or for our neighbors. “Those, who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
As a nation, we may take pride in the fact that we are softhearted; but we cannot afford to be soft-headed. We must always be wary of those who with sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal preach the “ism” of appeasement. We must especially beware of that small group of selfish men who would clip the wings of the American eagle in order to feather their own nests. …
But we learn much from the lessons of the past years …. The first phase of the invasion of this Hemisphere would not be the landing of regular troops. The necessary strategic points would be occupied by secret agents and their dupes—and great numbers of them are already here … As long as the [religious zealots] maintain the offensive, they—not we—will choose the time and the place and the method of their attack. That is why the future of all the American republics is today in serious danger.
That is why this annual message to the Congress is unique in our history. That is why every member of the executive branch of the government and every member of the Congress faces great responsibility and great accountability. The need of the moment is that our actions and our policy should be devoted primarily—almost exclusively—to meeting this foreign peril. For all our domestic problems are now a part of the great emergency. Just as our national policy in internal affairs has been based upon a decent respect for the rights and the dignity of all our fellow men within our gates, so our national policy in foreign affairs has been based on a decent respect for the rights and dignity of all nations, large and small. And the justice of morality must and will win in the end.
Our national policy is this:
First, … we are committed to all-inclusive national defense.
Second, … we are committed to full support of all those resolute peoples, everywhere, who are resisting aggression and are thereby keeping war away from our hemisphere. By this support, we express our determination that the democratic cause shall prevail; and we strengthen the defense and the security of our own nation.
Third, … we are committed to the proposition that principles of morality and considerations for our own security will never permit us to acquiesce in a peace dictated by aggressors and sponsored by appeasers. We know that enduring peace cannot be bought at the cost of other people’s freedom. …
When the [religious zealots], if the [ religious zealots], are ready to make war upon us, they will not wait for an act of war on our part. … Their only interest is in a new one-way international law, which lacks mutuality in its observance, and, therefore, becomes an instrument of oppression. ..
[T]here is nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy. The basic things expected by our people of their political and economic systems are simple. They are:
Equality of opportunity for youth and for others;
Jobs for those who can work;
Security for those who need it;
The ending of special privilege for the few;
The preservation of civil liberties for all;
The enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress in a wider and constantly rising standard of living.
These are the simple, basic things that must never be lost sight of in the turmoil and unbelievable complexity of our modern world. The inner and abiding strength of our economic and political systems is dependent upon the degree to which they fulfill these expectations. …
In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms:
The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the zealots seek to create with the crash of a bomb.
To that new order we oppose the greater conception—the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear.
Since the beginning of our American history, we have been engaged in change—in a perpetual peaceful revolution—a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly adjusting itself to changing conditions—without the concentration camp or the quick-lime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society.
This nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women; and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights or keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose. To that high concept there can be no end save victory.