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  • Speak out while Free Speech is Still Free

    Posted on August 2nd, 2013 phpguru No comments

    You may have seen a bumper sticker that says in bold, red, white and blue letters: “Free Speech Isn’t Free.” This short quote cleverly refers to is the fact that millions of courageous U.S. soldiers over more than two centuries have died, that is, paid with their lives, to protect this inalienable right. The analogy works, so long as you value free speech and understand the history of America.

    Dozens of foreign countries, most notably China, Iran and most Islamist-rule nations have a strict policy prohibiting speech and even ideas opposing the government, its leaders, policies or practices. Just glance for a moment at a few of the Chinese dissidents (paying close attention to how long some of them have been detained) if you need a little help imagining what it might be like living under an oppressive regime lacking first-amendment-type protections.

    Practically anyone who’s made it past the 10th grade should be able to recall that the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees each citizen’s right to free speech, but how many of us actually exercise it today?

    The full text of the amendment protects more than just speech, but here are the specific parts that apply to free speech:

    Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Clearly, Congress hasn’t passed any law abridging free speech. However, under the soft tyranny of the Obama administration, free speech is just one of many rights being slowly and methodically stripped away from We The People.

    In a recent speech on the House floor, Congressman Jim Bridenstein, gives us a succinct summary of current events:

    “The President’s Attorney General authorized spying on a Fox News journalist, and his family, for reporting on a North Korean nuclear test. The President’s Justice Department confiscated phone records of the Associated Press because they reported on a thwarted terrorist attack. The President’s Treasury Department uses the IRS to target political opposition.

    This doesn’t sound very American, does it? How about another example: who can forget the infamous YouTube video, which Obama himself, Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice all claimed in their worldwide “explanation” tour, was to blame for violence that led to the deaths of four brave Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, in Benghazi, Libya?

    Even though most of us now believe that the video had nothing to do with the attack in Benghazi, the filmmaker who produced it, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, remains jailed today. Sure, he wrote some bad checks and violated his parole, but many pundits argue that Nakoula is the Benghazi Patsy, and wouldn’t be in jail today if he hadn’t made the video.

    Are we free to upload original videos to YouTube or aren’t we? Doesn’t the first amendment protect Nakoula, along with Fox’s James Rosen and all those AP reporters trying to get their stories published? More importantly, shouldn’t our President be defending these patriots’ voices, instead of trying to squelch them?

    These stories sound more like they originated in Iran or China than most folks would like to admit, but it’s clear to anyone paying attention to conservative news outlets that the bureaucrats in power are now using federal agencies – when and how they please – against American citizens; actions that are largely unprecedented in modern American political times.

    Should we speak out if we disagree with our government? Many of us are afraid to be accused of offensive ideas, or placing our families or employees in a position to be audited.

    In his famous “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech in 1775, Patrick Henry asked, and then answered, this very question:

    “Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense? I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

    It’s interesting to note Henry’s comment about earthly kings. In many ways, it can be argued that President Obama has crowned himself King of America, and many conservatives point out that his actions amount to thumbing his nose at the Constitution, instead of protecting and upholding it, as his oath of office requires.

    As we watch these elected officials in D.C. trample our Constitution and run roughshod over the Bill of Rights, keep in mind that you have a duty to yourself, to your family, to your neighbors and to all the soldiers who have died before us. Exercise your first amendment right to call out these leaders, whether they be local, state or federal officials, when, in violation of their oaths, their actions don’t hold true to the America our founding fathers imagined.

     

  • Jodi Arias sentencing trial hung jury: The system isn’t broken

    Posted on May 23rd, 2013 phpguru No comments

    What happened in the Jodi Arias case is a travesty. I think any self-aware person would agree, based on what we’ve seen in the media, but I agree with Clint, a caller to the Mike Broomhead show on 550 KFYI in Phoenix, AZ: Very likely, one juror, maybe two, couldn’t live with themselves, knowing they decided to put someone to death. If just one juror feels it would be wrong to play eye-for-an-eye, and dug in their heels against the other jurors who thought Jodi Arias should be put to death, well, that’s the system we have.

    That doesn’t mean the system is broken. I think the death penalty is warranted in this case, but I don’t know what one or more jurors are thinking, either. It’s a shame for the family that they didn’t just all agree to go with life to end it so we can all get on with our lives.

    Judeo-Christian heritage baked into our justice system ensures that if you’re innocent, (I do not believe Jodi Arias is) that one guy or gal in the jury could be saving your life by preventing your death. I want to continue to believe in the system, even if it appears broken in this instance.

    But I have a question…

    Are Prosecutors allowed to explain to the jury, the cost to the taxpayers of Live vs Death? Does that figure in, or do the jurors have to disregard the cost? I’m guessing they can’t discuss it. The costs shouldn’t affect the jury’s decision, should they?

    Just throwing out some random numbers—let’s say death is a $100k one time fee vs $100k a year for 60 years—the cost to the taxpayer if they give Jodi Arias life.

    That doesn’t seem fair to me.

    We talk about fairness in the media a lot, particularly the so-called MSM, the IRS against Conservatives who have to pay their fair share, for example.

    Why is it the little guy is always on the losing end of that fairness equation?

     

  • I have to call BULL5H!T on Bing Politics

    Posted on February 24th, 2013 phpguru No comments

    As someone who builds systems to analyze data for a living, I was excited to see Bing encouraging television viewers to take advantage of its real-time political survey at bing.com/politics, one of the largest of its kind, during the recent State of the Union address by President Obama.

    I was diligent to take a screenshot of the data being displayed on that night. Now I’m very glad I did. I suspected they may try to fudge the numbers after the fact, and boy, have they ever!

    I’ve seen this kind of data misrepresentation plenty of times in business, but never for political motives, never so obvious, and never using data that was captured and displayed in real time. It’s both embarassing and troubling, but not surprising. It should come as no surprise that even with all the terabytes of data streaming around the internet in every moment, Bing (owned by Microsoft, the same Liberals behind MSNBC) would make such an obvious effort to pad the numbers. But did they really think no one would take a screenshot?

    Take a look below at my adjusted overlay (top) and draw your own conclusions. It looks to me like Bing wants you to believe that sentiment toward the President and his various messages during the #SOTU address were overwhelmingly positive. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you look back at the actual streaming data coming in real time during the address (middle), and compare it to what they’re reporting today, I think you’ll agree: their current portrayal of the data is completely inflated (bottom).

    Why would Bing do this? Could it be that an overwhelming negative response to the president’s bloviating doesn’t fit in with their narrative of how great a job this guy is doing? It just goes to show you, folks, you can’t trust the media to tell you the truth, even when they use real-time data & graphics!

  • What a female near the front lines thinks of women in combat

    Posted on January 27th, 2013 phpguru No comments

    I regret to admit that back in high school I wasn’t that close with my friend, LCC, but over the past few years, I’ve gotten to know her better on Facebook. Today, she’s a lieutenant commander in the United States Navy reserve, and I feel honored to know her. I recently posted on Facebook asking for LCC’s opinions on women in combat in the U.S. military

    Spurred by the recent push by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to put our mothers, sisters and daughters on the front lines, I’ve been torn on this topic. Many on the right wonder if we’ve been wrong for 200 years, or if sending women into battle will improve America’s military.

    What follows is a slightly modified transcript of our thread on Facebook.

    Me: I want to know what you think about women on the front lines. It seems “fair” now, but what if they re-institute the draft? What then?

    LCC: First, it’s about freaking time. Jobs should be open based on skills and abilities, not reproductive organs.

    Second, I think women should have to register for the draft. And I also like the idea of compulsory service, although I would suggest making it “service” not “military service.” I don’t want people compelled to be in the military—that results in a less capable force, and I don’t want someone who is non-committed to be the only thing standing [sic] between me and the bad guy.

    Me: I would like to think I’d be brave enough to stand between you and the bad guy, but I know I’m not. Do you think women can handle combat?

    LCC: Most women won’t be able to do it. That’s a fair statement. As long as the ones who can are allowed to, all is well. And it’s not just about our “rights” — it’s also about ensuring you have the best people where you need them.

    Me: How do you think women should be measured up to their male counterparts, physically? How would you handle that?

    LCC: My answer to the inevitable questions on physical standards is this: It’s perfectly appropriate to have different measures of overall fitness for men and women. If you take a man in great shape, and a woman in great shape, on average, the man will be able to do more push ups and run faster due to physiology. Abdominal strength doesn’t have the same kind of difference between the sexes. In effect, requiring everyone to hit the same numbers would require a woman to be in better shape than her male peer.

    That said, that’s only on tests designed to measure general fitness. If a job has certain physical requirements, then anyone doing that job should have to be able to meet them, and whether you’re male, female, or whatever is irrelevant.

    Those requirements should be reasonable and demonstrably tied to the job—in other words, fair game to say that you have to be able to drag a 200lb dummy at least 100 yards (or whatever you would typically be expected to do in battle). Not fair game to say “this job is physical…you have to be able to do 300 push ups.” Some fire departments tried to do that to keep women out when they were told they had to let them in if they could meet the standards. It would be equally unfair to design tests that deliberately take advantage of typically female attributes (I can see where there could be jobs where being smaller would be an advantage, but not necessary to do the job. It would be unfair to create a test that focuses on that—you’d be making it tough for most men who would otherwise be considered fit for the job to pass).

    We have plenty of jobs with size restrictions because you have to be able to use equipment. Others say you have to meet certain hearing and vision standards. Those are all specifically tied to the requirements of the job. As long as they stick to that, we’ll be fine.

    Me: So, in every platoon, the smallest guys aren’t as physically strong as the largest guys, but they still made it there. Many women who aren’t currently allowed in might be bigger and stronger than some of the smaller guys already there, right?

    LCC: Exactly. In every unit, you have a mix of strengths and weaknesses. Not every man is at the top of the charts on every measure of physical strength. It’s a combination of skills, with some level of physical ability that truly is required, that makes each person a solid contributor. So even if a woman ends up being the person who can do fewest push ups, that doesn’t mean her overall role in the unit isn’t solid. And she might well be the best shot in the bunch. Or the best something else.

    And it’s also important to note that being “weakest” on any given attribute is not the same as being “weak.” Would anyone call the person who finishes last in an Olympic race “slow?”

    Me: Wow, I just learned a lot of things I didn’t know about women in the military. Everything you said makes perfect sense so far. But, what about the charge that women who get captured in combat will be raped? And what about women on long tours of duty with men from their own company? Do you think more shenanigans will go down in our barracks?

    LCC: As far as sexual assault goes (the other reason often cited for women in combat being a bad idea), everything I’ve ever read on the subject says that when respect for women goes up, sexual assault goes down. Seems to me that while we might have issues initially, when women are not classified as inherently inferior and have the opportunity to prove themselves in the same arenas, we’ll have a better shot at women being seen as true equals.

    Me: What about male soldiers making dumb decisions in combat situations to protect their female counterparts?

    LCC: I’ve heard [sic] the arguments about how men won’t be able to handle seeing women getting killed around them, or they’ll risk themselves to “save” women who are down. To the second point, yes, they probably will. Just like they do to save their male comrades in arms. In my experience, when you’re competent and pulling your own weight, you quickly become “one of the guys.” I’d expect in a battle situation, you’d see warfighters pulling each other off the battlefield when necessary — and you’d see both men and women on BOTH sides of that equation.

    Me: Haven’t women been in support roles very close to the front lines for awhile now anyway?

    LCC: I’d say that we’ve been in combat for quite awhile. The “front lines” are amorphous—I rarely left my base, and my barracks still got blown up with a whole bunch of us in it. We also have women “attached” to combat units — going out on patrols, into villages, etc. The ban simply allowed a final bastion of discrimination that has been illegal almost everywhere else for decades, and prevented women from getting proper “credit” for work they were already doing.

    Not that I have strong feelings about this stuff.

    ME: LOL. I asked you about your personal opinion about women in the military specifically because I knew you’d have strong opinions, and they’d be much more informed than my own. Can I quote you on my blog?

    LCC: I don’t have a blog, so you are welcome to it. But everything here is my opinion/thoughts alone, not necessarily the position of DoD or the Navy. That’s important, because when I’m in uniform, my job is often to be a spokesperson for one or the other. I am most definitely NOT spouting off in that capacity here!

    Well, folks, there you have an honest personal opinion who’s been close to our front lines for quite some time now. Like every issue in the public, political sphere, there’s much more to it than meets the eye, and I always try to ask someone who has her finger on the pulse of an issue before I make up my mind.

    Thank you for your opinions, your voice, and your service, LCC, you’re much braver than I, and a patriot, and I salute you.

    May God protect you, and future U.S. women, out there protecting our freedom on the front lines.

  • Why Michelle Obama Gets Twice as Many Tweets as Mitt Romney

    Posted on September 4th, 2012 phpguru No comments

    Politico just reported that according to Twitter, the maximum TPS (Tweets Per Second) during Michelle Obama’s DNC2012 speech peaked over 28,000 while during Mitt Romney’s speech last week, that same metric was half, peaking around 14,000 TPS.

    Here’s why: Republicans following Mitt Romney are more likely to be a little older, a little wiser, hard-working business folks in middle America with way too many things to do, and far less spare time. More importantly, the average Elephant is paying very close attention, intently listening to the content of what is being said, sorting fact from fiction. More Republicans simply don’t have as much time to futz around with the latest tech gadget or time-sucks like Twitter or Facebook. Also, to be GOP is to show respect for free speech, even if we vehemently disagree. We know millions of our forefathers died to protect the Dem’s right to bloviate, and we’ll show you we’re respectful by listening, and not fiddling with our smart phones, while you dig your own grave this November.

    By contrast, the average Democrat is more likely to be be younger, more frivolous and more concerned with and interested in celebrities and the Hollywood culture than Politics. Donkeys are more likely to take advantage of ample leisure time, often at work when the boss isn’t paying attention, to learn the ins and outs of a successful tweet, and how to find the next trending video on YouTube. Us eager voters only hear every third or fourth word of the speech, because we’d rather be updating our Facebook status about the glitz and glamor than actually pay attention to what is being said. We know what’s being said already. We learned everything we need to know about Obama in 2008. We believe Obama just needs more time to fix everything. In the end, it’s about being a good person and doing what’s right, even if it means we have to rewrite parts of The Constitution.

    Disagree? John Stossel found American poor are the most wealthy poor the world has ever seen. More than 80% of poor people aren’t actually poor: they have HDTVs, Video Game consoles, smart phones, you name it. Fact check that.

    There you go, perfectly explained. Any questions?

  • Tempe, AZ: The New Home of Rock & Roll

    Posted on August 26th, 2012 phpguru No comments

    Yes, Tempe Rock & Roll

    Tempe, Arizona, probably doesn’t spring into your mind when thinking of the top cities in the USA to see live, local bands perform incredible, original rock and roll music on a regular basis. But perhaps it should.

    The fact is, a tightly-knit, growing group of bands, devotes, and fans, and their friends, girlfriends and wives, along with a few folks in the general public who’ve caught on early, are creating a new local music underground scene in Tempe, Arizona.

    That may come as a surprise to many, given that most of the best musicians and concert tours in the world rarely stop in Phoenix, AZ, let alone the suburb near Arizona State University known as Tempe. This isn’t about good bands from elsewhere stopping in Tempe. This is about bands from Tempe. Strange as it may sound, Tempe, AZ, may soon become just as synonymous with independent music as Seattle is for grunge.

    Long Wong’s At The Firehouse

    It’s not clear when the proprietor of Long Wong’s At The Firehouse in Tempe, AZ, first decided to build a stage, install a P.A., and have their first open mic night, but we do know that for the last couple years, the Thursday night open mic sessions have turned into Friday night live rock and roll sessions, and now they’re regularly stocked with fantastic, talented local bands. These aren’t carbon copy acts playing covers, mind you. Oh no, these dozen or so acts weekly take turns setting up and delivering set after set of mind-blowingly refreshing original music. Some of their tracks sound vaguely familiar, but with some hard edged and dissonant, others pop-ish and more melodic, a recent night out at Long Wong’s in Tempe turned out to be uniquely stimulating.

    Quick Henry

    Take Quick Henry, for example. Around 9 pm last Friday, Aug 24, this 4-piece band of drums, bass, guitar, and, get this—trombone—took the stage. Having a trombone in a rock band gives their sound a sweetly intelligent edge not unlike Cake. Their recipe calls for Jameson, Ginger Ale and Ice, but I managed to enjoy them just fine on Long Wong’s ample supply of Blue Moon on tap.

    Future Loves Past

    Following Quick Henry, Future Loves Past took the stage. This eclectic indie/pop/rock outfit lived up to their “harmonious” claim. The highlight for me watching this 6-piece ensemble jam together while easily handling multiple riffs in various tempos, and several moments during which the band’s four  terrific singers hit relatively complex 4-part harmonies, right on the money, without missing a beat.

    “I have been [doing] shows in the Valley for over six years, and I see about 15 acts a week, easily,” said Jack Maverik, Long Wong’s General Manager, “and never have I gotten quite the reaction I do when they play.”

    Having seen and heard Future Loves Past perform myself in person, I can agree, and suggest that you should experience this band, too, to find out what your reaction might be. You can grab four of their tracks here, and they’re working on more in the studio as you read this. It’s no surprise to me that Future Loves Past was nominated as one of the best local bands in 2012 by Phoenix New Times.

    Sasquanaut

    It’s about midnight on Friday, I’ve got a great buzz going, and next up on the docket is Sasquanaught. Yes, Sasquanaut, like Sasquatch is an Astronaut who asks, “Progressive Rock, anyone?” Not to question the irony, but is this band’s name as hard to spell as their sound is to hear? Maybe. They were the most edgy and metallic grungers of the night, scraping and screeching a little more often than the first two acts I was privileged to experience, and a little less pop-ish than Japhy’s Descent, an act I would hear a little later. I found myself being reminded of Rush by this super tight 3-piece ensemble, but not to pigeon-hole their sound, just because the talent and unity these 3 guys demonstrated while pumping out what was, I thought, deceptively complex hard rock, across a wide variety of tempos and time signatures, reminded me of one of the greatest 3-piece rock bands in history. Twice during their set, these super-tight, mostly-instrumental jammers, were augmented by vocalist, Travis, of Japhy’s Descent, a fact I wouldn’t realize until a little later that evening.

    Steppchild

    Steppchild, a rock trio consisting of Adam Jacobson, Adam Carter, Adam Roach took the stage next. These guys say their influences include Black Sabbath and they’re pure rock and f***king roll headbangers. Rather than tell you more about what I saw last Friday, you can see for yourself with a video originally shared by Japhy’s Descent.

     

     

    Japhy’s Descent

    The final band of the night was Japhy’s Descent, a Tempe, AZ-based alternative blues rock quartet that was the best band of the night for me. Mostly  because my friend Brian plays bass. But I have to admit, this band’s catchy track, Answer 42, inspired me and stuck with me unlike any other from the whole night. It’s just a fun 3-minute ride that I want to go on again. Achieving fresh and original, while also sounding familiar enough to be considered borderline main stream is no easy feat for an alternative band, but I think Japhy’s Descent has done it with this song. Their sound is tightened up by drummer, James, and Bassist, Brian.

    Here’s a YouTube clip of Japhy’s Descent playing Answer 42, one of the most commercial tracks I heard all night.

    Although the sound was typical of small venues—more loud than clean, and the mixing was non-existent by Long Wong’s absentee audio engineer, that didn’t spoil the night from being one of the most enjoyable in recent memory, and, like a good drug, left me wanting more… a lot more. From what I can tell, these guys aren’t going anywhere, except maybe up and up.

    This growing collection AZ rock and roll bands, their friends and families that gather at the local Long Wong’s At The Firehouse know they’ve got a good thing going. The relationships are clear and the camaraderie was evident. I felt a bit too clean cut, like I need to grow my hair and beard a bit longer before I’ll fit in, but I had a lot of fun just being around these incredible musicians and feeding off their energy as they took turns jamming out. These guys have been playing together in the Tempe, AZ, local music scene for a couple of years now, and all that practice and dedication is really starting to show.

    Special Thanks To…

    I have to thank Long Wong’s for being the de-facto venue-of-choice for this subculture to be born and start to flourish. It may well be that the mere existence of this venue has spawned these acts. A good time was had by all, but it’s more than that. I felt like an insider, enjoyed multiple kick ass rock bands from the front row in a small venue just before they’re famous, all night long. It’s not every day you get to discover a thriving underground, and it’s not that common to see so much variety of talent on a single stage in a single night, ever, let alone, weekly. Go to Long Wong’s on any Friday night and you’ll see.

    But wait, there’s more…

    Carpe Deon

    I have to thank one more person. The impetus behind my visit to Long Wong’s in the first place, the one who I should credit the most for writing this  post is, my friend, Deon Doughty. He wanted me to experience and enjoy these great bands last week, like he’s been doing for years. And now, I’m hooked in, too. Like him, I get to follow these bands’ careers in music. Deon’s been inviting me to participate and bear witness on these recurring festivities for a long time now. I’m just disappointed that I didn’t take him up on his offer sooner!

    A native of Paducah, Kentucky, I first met Deon over 10 years ago where we both found ourselves employed by the East Valley Tribune newspaper in Gilbert. Deon was already an incredible painter. I taught him what I knew of print production, computer aided design, desktop publishing, and eventually, PHP programming, but in the evenings and weekends, Deon was always involved in poetry readings, open mic nights, creating animations and working on his own comedy music videos. But 10 years ago, YouTube didn’t exist, and the Tempe, AZ, local music scene wasn’t quite ready for Doughty’s artistic vision.

    Well, Tempe is ready now, and Deon’s been in the thick of it from day one. In fact, in his mind, it’s all by design, all part of his artistic vision. You see, in addition to the auditory amazement and excitement of having these bands tickle and massage my ear drums on just this one night, Deon’s been following these bands for over a year to document them visually, but not with photography, like the days of the masters: with paint on canvas.

    So Deon’s been doing more than just following these bands. To be fair, he’s been getting to know them. Intimately. Experiencing their talent. Becoming friends with them and learning who they are. As a local artist, musician and beatnik poet himself, Deon has seen these bands form, having watched their first open mic performances, and he’s watched them grow and become better and tighter. As they’ve formed their sound, he’s developed and honed his own artistic style, in tribute to them just as much as his own love of music and art.

    It’s been nearly two years now, and as these bands have formed a new local music subculture, Deon is right there with them, documenting them on canvas. He was there last Friday, as he is nearly every Friday, working on his next portrait, of Sasquanut bassist, Matt Busch. Like all the others, using a duotone color palette of navy blue and gold.

    Carpe Deon presents The Tempe Rock Star Gold Music Festival

    Local artist, Deon Doughty, stands in front of his collection of portaits, each of a different musician from a local Tempe, AZ rock & roll band.

    Doughty has painted over 25 original works now, all portraits of various individual band members who play or sing in these awesome local music groups. His style is tight realism bordering on surrealism, with details so intricate they’re not unlike the halftone dots we had created for the Tribune’s presses nearly a decade ago. Working from photographs, he’s gone beyond what most digital artists do today, both in vision and dedication. Seeing his work in person, all at once, is going to be incredible. I can’t wait.

    That chance will come in less than a month. The collection of these portraits is going to be on display, along with the bands performing, at The Tempe Rock Star Gold Festival, September 28 & 29, 2012, at the Sail Inn in Tempe. It’s no coincidence that Deon is primarily responsible for putting this event together, and if you like independent, live music, you should save the date and plan to go.

    Legends of AZ Rock & Roll

    What other rock bands can say they have a personal painter following them around, documenting them in acrylic on canvas? Not even the likes of U2 or The Rolling Stones can say that. But Deon can see immense talent in these bands, and unlike many artists, he has followed through on his vision to document their talent using his own.

    “In some small way, I want to try to help these bands succeed,” says Doughty. “I love live music and I love to paint, and I figured out a way to bring the two together.” This sounds crazy until you actually see him at work, in the back of Long Wong’s, next to instrument cases, road crates and the chairs and tables stacked up to make room in front of the stage for dancing fans. There he is, and his canvas is set up on the bar, in front of a stool, using a guitar stand for an easel, while a few of his own fans protect his small art space as partly inebriated onlookers try to figure out why there’s a guy painting a portrait at the back of the bar.

    Most patrons either know, “cool, there’s Deon,” or aren’t in the know and aren’t quite sure what to make of him. I can see why, but I know the back story, that there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye, that this is but one unfinished work, in a long series of amazing portraits of the legends of AZ Rock and Roll, and this is just one weekend in a two year’s worth of weekends. I watch Matt Busch pause before starting his set to check out the progress of his own portrait. He smiles and nods. Then gives Deon a fist bump. Two artists acknowledging each other is a beautiful sight.

    To close this commentary, I will invite you to see for yourself. Visit AZ Rock & Roll—AZRockAndRoll.com—a website also painted by “Carpe Deon.” There you will find links to all the bands he’s documenting through his artwork, the same bands performing at The Tempe Rock Star Gold Festival at the Sail Inn, 26 S. Farmer Ave., Tempe, AZ, 85281 on September 28 & 29, 2012, and some of whom I got to see perform last Friday.

    Nothing like the The Tempe Rock Star Gold Festival 2-day local music celebration has ever happened before. In Tempe, certainly, but anywhere in the world, either. The uniqueness of this event is assured — Deon’s made certain of that. His art collection will be on display for the very first time for the public, all together, with the bands playing sets right along side. This body of work will guarantee, just as the sound of these original bands will, that it will be an event not to be missed and not soon forgotten. Hopefully when you share this post, neither will Arizona, or the world forget that Tempe, AZ, has staked it’s claim as the new home of independent music.

  • How Things Work and Why They Don’t

    Posted on July 17th, 2012 phpguru No comments

    In case you’re confused about the 2012 election coming up, let me put things into perspective for you with a simple example.

    Business owner Bill, together with employees Phil & Jill together earn $100.

    Obama takes $40 of it, then borrows $40 from China, giving him $80 to work with. So he hires Fran for $50 to do a $25 job, and Stan for $25 to do a $15 job. With the $5 he has left, he buys a burger, fries and a coke.

    With the $20 he collects in taxes from Fran & Stan’s paychecks, he buys a pack of smokes for $5 and puts $5 gas in the black SUV so he and his wife and kids can take in a $5 round of golf. He makes Biden caddy for free, and Michelle and the girls order the groundskeepers to plant tomatoes in all the sand traps.

    Afterwards, Obama spends the last $5 on some ice cream for the girls and takes a media opportunity to tell the folks they shouldn’t driving gas guzzlers, but instead, looking for alternative energy solutions. Biden comes out of restroom with toilet paper stuck to his shoe and says, “Yeah, and global warming, too.”

    Michelle tells the press her mission is to prevent bad parents from feeding their kids things like burgers, fries, coke and ice cream.

    After sending $40 to the IRS, Bill, Phil, and Jill have $60 left. Bill takes $30, donates $10 to charity, leaving him with $20 of which he spends $10 on prescription drugs. He puts $5 in his kids college education fund, leaving him with $5.

    Phil keeps $5 after giving $5 to his church and putting $10 gas in his car to drive 35 miles to his 2nd job.

    Jill, a single mom who’s husband is deployed to Afghanistan, has $1 left after spending $5 on groceries for their 5 kids and paying $4 against her student loan for a degree in a field that isn’t currently hiring.

    Obama’s campaign is based on explaining how he has created jobs for Fran & Stan, and how it’s Bill and Phil, those upper income earners, who should be paying their fare share. After all, Bill didn’t build that business, and Phil should spread the wealth around a little.

  • Help stop SOPA/PIPA before it’s too late

    Posted on January 16th, 2012 phpguru No comments

    I’m rather ticked off by politics in general.

    One of the main things politicians are doing with more and more regularity is to pass legislation almost behind our backs, every day chipping away, little by little, more and more of our precious freedom. Freedom is what makes America great. Countless patriots have died protecting it. Why is it the present crop of politicians believe it is their duty to protect me from myself?

    They’re at it again… with this SOPA / PIPA business. This time, it’s going to hit home for many of you readers. SOPA is the Stop Online Piracy Act and PIPA is the Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011. Only a politician could write a bill with a name as horrific as its intent. While these bills may have good intentions, in practice it’s just a giant fiasco as usual.

    What’s this all about? AmericanCensorship.org puts it bluntly:

    Congress is about to pass internet censorship, even though the vast majority of Americans are opposed. We need to kill the bill – PIPA in the Senate and SOPA in the House – to protect our rights to free speech, privacy, and prosperity.

    If you like the freedom to read, comment on and post about whatever you like on your blog, or around the internet, don’t let the government shut you down, or tell you what you can or can’t link to, or fine you for failure to comply. It’s just one more way the government is trying to step in and tell you how to run every aspect of your life. It’s time to say NO!

    Let your voice be heard! Learn more at the Fight SOPA/PIPA page at WordPress.org.

    The internet is fine just how it is, thank you. Now leave it alone!

     

    Think I’m kidding?

    11/2011 – House Takes Senate’s Bad Internet Censorship Bill, Tries Making it Worse at ArsTechnica.com

    1/16/2012 – SOPA/PIPA: How Far We’ve Come; How Far We Need To Go at TechDirt.com

    1/16/2012 – In SOPA, PIPA protest, Wikipedia to black out at Politico.com

    1/16/2012 – SOPA, PIPA Headed For Major Makeover at HuffingtonPost.com

    1/16/2012 – SOPA vs. PIPA: AntiPiracy Bills Explained at DigitalTrends.com

    1/16/2012 – The White House & SOPA: Reading Between the Lines at Mashable.com

     

    Please pass it on…

     

  • Free Music Online – DJ Sets, Trance, Techno and More

    Posted on January 4th, 2012 phpguru No comments

    While I’m listening to streaming radio via iTunes or Pandora, I typically try to keep an eye out for new tracks that I like and write the artists names down to search for later.

    During this process I end up finding lots of new websites dedicated to electronic music, DJ remixes and so on. Here are a few of my favorites.

    On www.hybridized.org search for DjKira aka Nick Lewis.

    Join hybridized.org to download basically everything without limits.

    On www.sense.fm check out Ashley Bonsall – Into Trance 011

    On sense.fm, go to the forums and you can download complete DJ sets for most of the tracks they spin.

    Just listen at www.protonradio.com.

    With the protonradio free streaming player you get some of the best dance, trance and electronic artists of our time.

     

  • 3-D Rendered Musical Instruments

    Posted on March 16th, 2011 phpguru No comments

    I have to credit this post to my brother.

    We both received an email forward from our uncle about an unbelievable musical instrument created using “John Deere” parts. Well, we have both seen 3D-rendered musical instruments, and that got him searching for more over his lunch break.

    Called “Resonant Chamber”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toXNVbvFXyk&feature=relmfu

    Called “Drum machine Set”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=af3w8LornUY&feature=relmfu

    Called “5 Minute Countdown”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgE0m5C5PCc&feature=relmfu

    Called “Pipe Dream Set” – This is basically showing you the construction of the John Deere movie.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLf2nsZ9m9o&feature=relmfu

    I’d send more, but lunch is over.  WOW!!