Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Basil Marceaux Christmas Song

Well, at least ol' Basil did not become a lobbyist or something after attempting a run for governor of Tennessee in 2010. The video sort of makes clear he's plenty happy not to be in government though.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Surveillance Cams Turning U.S. Into Santa's Naughty-or-Nice Indicator?

Nationwide - and here in Tennessee - we've been watched and we are going to be watched even more in coming years, with a near-constant observation of everyone.

The story also details Memphis cops using military equipment to find license plates with warrants attached to the owners; a citizen taking pictures of a local police boat in California triggering an FBI datamining frenzy; local law enforcement officials instructed that "Most Muslims in the United States want to impose sharia law here"; and loads of vague useless scary reports tossed down to locals by federal DHS, and locals targeting lawful and harmless gatherings for intelligence fearmongering.

The Post story also explains what local "fusion centers" do with federal terror money in a land decidedly bereft of terror:

The fact that there has not been much terrorism to worry about is not evident on the Tennessee fusion center's Web site. Click on the incident map, and the state appears to be under attack.

Red icons of explosions dot Tennessee, along with blinking exclamation marks and flashing skulls. The map is labeled: "Terrorism Events and Other Suspicious Activity.

But if you roll over the icons, the explanations that pop up have nothing to do with major terrorist plots: "Johnson City police are investigating three 'bottle bombs' found at homes over the past three days," one description read recently. ". . . The explosives were made from plastic bottles with something inside that reacted chemically and caused the bottles to burst."

Another told a similar story: "The Scott County Courthouse is currently under evacuation after a bomb threat was called in Friday morning. Update: Authorities completed their sweep . . . and have called off the evacuation."

"Watch Everyone!" certainly appears to be the fearful policy guiding security in private and public business. I wonder if the following tale became a notation on the "anti-terror" networks:

"A Mid-South man was arrested after police said he broke into a Jackson, Tennessee school and danced in the nude early Tuesday morning.

Lt. Tyreece Miller with the Jackson Police Department said Dakotah Lamuska broke a window at Northeast Middle School. His nude dance was caught on surveillance camera.

"What it shows is a white man dancing in the nude," said Miller.

Miller said Lamuska started dancing for no apparent reason. He did not take anything from the school or destroy anything other than the window.

Jackson Police would not release the surveillance video of Lamuska dancing."

Well good, really, I don't wanna see it. But the suspect here seems guilty at best of breaking and entering with the added action of skinny dipping without anything to dip in.

Perhaps our safety does depend on us all being watched and recorded all the time whatever we do and wherever we go. But I'm not convinced yet.

And what about "watching the watchmen"? Congress surely does not abide for more than a very limited peek at what they are doing:

"House floor debates are currently televised by cameras owned, operated, and controlled by the House. Reaction shots and wide shots of the chamber are not permitted under House rules. C-SPAN, as well as other media outlets, must use the floor feed provided by the House in its coverage. Congressional policy does allow for C-SPAN's coverage of other Congressional events, such as committee hearings, press conferences, speeches, and the like, to be produced by its own cameras. C-SPAN argues that allowing its cameras to be installed in the House chamber would give the public a more complete and transparent view of Congressional debates. If granted permission to install cameras, C-SPAN proposes to make its feed available to accredited media and stream it live on its web site."

UPDATE: Tennessee "fusion centers" say Free Speech is suspicious activity.

Monday, December 20, 2010

One Last Christmas

There's a stunning wealth of music on the Internet, of course, but thanks to some who craft items for this digital domain, we also have many, many Christmas songs which are not repeated infinitely during this season. And in seeking those songs today, I discovered a bona fide Christmas miracle ... one you do not want to miss.

These seldom-heard or brand-new tunes of Christmas have always been quite fascinating to me, though I can't really explain why it holds such interest. The songs, perhaps, are like forgotten gifts.

First up for your listening pleasure is the podcast from WBEZ's Sound Opinions web site, from Christmas music collector Andy Cirzan. This podcast is the 20th annual Christmas collection spectacular, full of seasonal music which are described as "
Yowls & Yodels from the Yule Vortex...further adventures in holiday obscura."

The link to this dazzling podcast, about an hour long, is here. Free downloads are available until Jan. 1, 2011, but you can just listen to it at the link. Cirzan wisely includes a complete song list and footnotes for the collection too, which features tunes from Jimmy McGriff and Sunny Boy Williamson and opens with a great selection from a 1968 album recorded by the U.S. Air Force band with arrangements by The Free Design. Most unusual and fun stuff.

Another location to find amazing holiday music is at Stubby's House of Christmas, a blog devoted to holiday tunes and videos which can easily fill many hours. One of their recent selections is from R&B singer Tasha Taylor, daughter of the great Johnny Taylor ("Disco Lady", "Who's Makin' Love") which is best described as a "
an all new original--a simmering, steaming, hot buttered stoned-soul R&B Christmas miracle". Listen/watch the video here.

Stubby also has a real Christmas tear jerker via musician Matthew West and his song "One Last Christmas". It's a powerful true story, about an infant boy named Dax, diagnosed with leukemia and his parent's overwhelming desire to create one more Christmas for him. I'll let Stubby take the story:

Dax's family was determined to give the boy one last Christmas and started putting up their decorations early--like middle of summer early. The neighbors inquired and, when told the reason, began putting their decorations up as well. Soon, the whole town was decked out in full holiday style, well in advance of the actual holiday. A web site went up and pictures began coming from all over the world from people putting up their Christmas decorations early in honor of Dax. Dax lost his battle with Leukemia, but not without seeing a last Christmas. In Dax's memory, St. Jude's is trying to raise $1.6 million--the amount required to run St. Jude's for a single day. Go to and make a donation to St. Jude's so that other children might see Christmas and beyond."

Please donate if you can. And grab a handkerchief and watch this Christmas song for Dax.