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Pulling out all the stops April 30, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in guitarsrockandroll, stuff.
15 comments

Most of you would recognize the distinctive sound of this instrument immediately, without really knowing why.  You’ve heard it all your life. 

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The Hammond B3 Organ

Invented by Laurens Hammond in 1934, this instrument made its way into music history, gospel, blues, jazz, funk and rock.  The spectrum of American music for almost 80 years.  The list of artists who have recorded and performed with this amazing instrument is a long one… from Sam Brown, Count Basie and Eddie Baxter, to Jon Lord (Deep Purple), Rick Wright (Pink Floyd), Keith Emerson (ELP), Gregg Rolie (Santana, Journey), Rick Wakeman (Yes) and Gregg Allman… who hasn’t recorded on a B3 is probably a shorter list. 

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What made it so unique?  The design was revolutionary, as they say.  Traditional organ engineering combined with electronics, the precursor to the synthesizer.  Two 61-key keyboards, or manuals, the upper (swell) and the lower (great), and a full two octave set of footpedals.  Waveforms are modified by pulling out the drawbars or stops, giving the keyboardist a way to create a unique sound.

But the sound you know the best is when this monster is hooked up to a Leslie speaker cabinet.  The B3 was designed to be used with an external speaker, and the Leslie made it famous.  Designed by Don Leslie, the speaker cabinet has a rotating horn over a stationary treble speaker, and a rotating baffle beneath a fixed bass woofer.  The speed of the horn and baffle can be adjusted to give it that “wah-wah-wah-wah-wah” sound.

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Leslie 122 Speaker Cabinet

These two animals weigh about 400 pounds apiece.  I remember lugging one around from church to church in 1977 and I never complained about my Bassman again.  Super keyboardists like Wakeman and Emerson would be surrounded on a stage by rows of Moogs and electric pianos, and still insisted on dragging these brutes with them.  They loved them that much.

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Rick Wright

What can a B3 do that’s sultry and sweet?

Glad you asked.

Joey Buttafuoco out at last April 30, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in Current Events, drama.
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Released from prison this past weekend.  How long was he in you ask?

Three months.  Illegal possession of ammunition, violation of probation.

This was one of those bizarre stories that I really didn’t pay a lot of attention to 10 years ago, when his then 17 year old girlfriend Amy Fisher (pardon me while I say “ewwwwww”) shot his wife in the face.  She got 7 years for attempted murder.

He got four months for statutory rape.

I assumed they slammed him as an accessory, but I was wrong.  Like I said, wasn’t really paying attention.

Bizarre?  Yeah.   Joey and Mrs. Buttafuoco stayed together after the girlfriend’s trial, although they split up later after relocating to California, where he managed to get himself in trouble for felony insurance fraud.

Anyway, ick.

Just what we needed, a more bad-ass fire ant than we already have April 30, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in Current Events.
1 comment so far

Why is it that everything that stings comes from Brazil?

I swear, it’s getting to the point where drinking a case of beer and passing out in a field somewhere is life-threatening.

By the way, you see that wire over there?

Don’t cross the stream ifyouknowwhatimeanandithinkyoudo.

You won’t like it.

Ethnic Estonians not particularly interested in celebrating Soviet victory over the Nazis April 29, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in Current Events, History, honor.
4 comments

Honestly.  I can’t understand their point of view.  Why, after all, it was the Red Army who defeated the German aggressor and gave them their, uh, continued subjugation under a brutal communist regime.

It’s like being given a beating before supper, before not getting your supper.

Estonia, ethnically Swedish and Germanic, along with her neighbors Lithuania and Latvia, managed independence for a while when Russia was occupied with the Revolution.  Forced in 1940 to accept a “mutual assistance” pact as a manuever by Molotov and Von Ribbentrop, the Soviets stationed troops there and stayed for a half century.  During this time Uncle Joe was not kind.

The 1.3 million ethnic Estonians do not give a rat’s ass about the victories of the Red Army over the Nazis.  300,000 Russian-speaking Estonians do, and regard this impoliteness as an outrage, so they decided to stage protests and beat up some people when a monument to the Red Army was removed from the capital.

Estonians being the tough-minded Scandis they can be, elected to relocate the monument to a military cemetery, which is a nicer concession than should be expected of them under the circumstances.

Oddly enough, I have a second cousin (third cousin by marriage?  Hell I can’t ever get this straight) a guy who married my dad’s cousin, who is a native Lithuanian.  As a youngster he ran messages for the Lithuanian resistance against the Nazis during the war.  He moved to the US after the war, and spent most of his life working as a groundskeeper on the LBJ ranch until he retired in 1987.

He said he liked Texas just fine, except it is awful hot here in the summer.

I said “yeah, but we ain’t got no Nazis and no commies.  Cept in Austin, and they’re mostly harmless”.

Chavez goes nose to nose with Big Oil April 29, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in Bidness, drama, Leftard Freakshow.
6 comments

Bet they wish he had taken a breath mint.

Taking control is easy.  Convincing US energy producers to stay on and invest, not so easy.

Hugo is nationalizing Venezuelan oilfields.  On Tuesday, British Petroleum, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, Total (France) and Statoil (Norway) will turn over their Orinoco operations to Venezuela’s state oil company, PDVSA.

Celebration to include revolutionary garb and MiG flyovers.

Problem is, Hugo needs these companies to help him get his tarry crude out of the ground, and to process it.  He claims Russian, Chinese and Indian energy producers are waiting to step in if the others won’t play, but they lack the technical ability to refine this stuff.  They might buy develop it. but it’ll take a long time, and Hugo is betting he won’t need a long time (he may not have it when the pinch is felt at home).

There are only 3 refineries in the world that can turn this stuff into gasoline.  Two of them are in Texas, and one is in Illinois.

ChevronTexaco CEO Dave O’Reilly says it all depends on “how we get treated in the current negotiation”.  ExxonMobil’s CEO Rex Tillerson says it’s either profitable or they’re out.  Both are long-time execs who have seen nationalization come and go, and understand all too well what the impact of lowered reserves mean to their bottom line and the return to shareholders.

It will take more than Hugo’s greasy handshake to seal the deal.  But it’s not easy to walk away.  Jointly their investments are booked at 17 billion, and estimated to have a current worth of 30 billion.  Chavez will have to give them something to keep them in the boat.

Having had two solid years of growth/profitability give O’Reilly and Tillerson a little more breathing room.  It will be interesting to see how far each side gives.

Clear majorities of Americans believe whitholding troop funding a mistake, including a majority of Democrats April 28, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in Current Events, Politics.
9 comments

Really?

This seems newsworthy. 

61% of Americans oppose denying funds for additional troops to Iraq.  In a Bloomberg poll, 61% believe withholding funds is a bad idea, while only 28% believe it’s a good idea.

54% favor fully funding the war.  54% oppose Democrats idea to reduce troop strength.  57% favor finishing the job, and 59% believe pulling out now will harm American interests.

69% of Americans trust military commanders in the field more than they do members of Congress.  Only 17% want America to withdraw now.  And 70% believe announcing a timetable for withdrawal will increase insurgent attacks (duh), 85% of Republicans, 71% of Independents, and 60% of Democrats.

Now, I know Dems read polls.  I’m sure of it.  So what in the world are Harry, Nancy and Jack Murtha thinking?

Time to restrategize?

via some moron commenter over at AoS whose name I forget but is a pretty nice guy.

UPDATE: it occurs to me that the “withholding troop funding” negative might be a charge against Bush’s threatened veto of the current funding bill with a timetable for withdrawal.  I will wait and see what somebody who’s willing to do the homework comes up with that I can copy research these polls and their questions diligently to see what I can find.

UPDATE2: A quick read on the other Iraq polls still shows slight majorities favoring timetables for withdrawal, and that think we have a limited chance of success.  Guess I better dig up the questions.

When gators attack, in Central Texas April 27, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in Current Events, drama.
7 comments

A co-worker friend of mine took this picture a few days ago.  Said he was driving home, and saw this huge snake in the middle of the road.

And then the huge snake got up on its legs and started running.

Even in Texas, this is considered very unusual behavior for a snake.

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Don’t know where he came from.  Down by the lakes and swamps and stuff around Houston and Beaumont, they’re quite common.  Not so much here.  This morning I heard a report on WBAP AM 820 in Ft. Worth that a 4 foot gator was sighted and finally captured hanging out by a Costco.

Obviously an anti-competitive manuever by Wal*Mart

I am a sucker April 26, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in Current Events.
11 comments

for stuff like this.

Must.  Resist.

Renting Tires April 26, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in Bidness.
2 comments

And wheels.

Saw one of these places the other day and I did a double-take.  Rent tires?  For what?  A hot date?

They rent wheels too.  Spensive wheels.  I had to do a little homework cause I’m slow, this is the latest “rent-to-own” gig.  Started with appliances, TVs and stereos 30 years ago.  No money, no credit, essentially a very expensive loan.  90 days same as cash.  I’ll bet they get a lot of that.

Oh well.  Somebody’s got to take the poor peoples’ money. 

When I was in college I went to work for the first TV and appliance rental company in the little Texas town where I went to school.  He hired a guy named Cleveland to work with me.  Cleveland was a “collections expert”.

He was quite good at his job.  I recall my boss asking him the day he came in looking for work, “are you any good”?  Cleveland held out both hands.  “You see dese diamond rings”?  Eight of em.  Huge.

Carol said “yes”.

Cleveland said “I’m good”. 

He was too.

Update: Lt. Cmdr. Kevin “Kojak” Davis, USN April 23, 2007

Posted by daveintexas in Current Events, honor.
5 comments

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Some background on Davis.  Combat pilot in Afghanistan.   “Top Stick” in his class at Fighter Squadron 101 at NAS Oceana, Va., while training in F-14 Tomcats.

A man who loved to fly.

At the end of The Bridges at Toko-Ri, author James Michener asks the question “Where do we get such men”?

Where indeed.

RIP Kojak.