Tea Time With Jesse

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Archive for April, 2014

Thought Control

Posted by middlerage on April 30, 2014

If a tree falls in the forest, but has a private thought expressed in a private setting, and the private thought is captured and made… not private… is it still a private thought?

I am troubled by the Ronald Sterling scandal, but maybe not in the way you’d predict me to be. As a refresher for those with better things to do than the last 24 hour news cycle… Sterling is the owner of the LA Clippers NBA team; he said inflammatory things about blacks to his girlfriend; TMZ somehow acquired a recording of the  conversation and broadcast it; the NBA commissioner banned him for life, fined him, and is in the process of forcing him to sell the team.

All for having thoughts. Okay, racist thoughts. If you have been following the more in depth reporting, it seems there is circumstantial, but scant, evidence of discriminatory behavior in other instances on Sterling’s part. But in this instance he was ranting to his girlfriend, not discriminating against an employee. Not to say he isn’t the kind of person who wouldn’t discriminate in the future, but at this moment… no.

Actions can be bad. Discriminatory actions are fer sher bad. They are against the law. Thoughts are not actions. Do we really want to go there? Regulating thoughts?

As many a lawyer knows, you don’t get ideal clients. Rarely do you get a sweet little grandmother pepper-sprayed by a cop and illegally searched. We (meaning our great society, not lawyers – I’m not a lawyer) have to defend the constitution by defending the unsavory: the lyin’-ass gangbanger who is obviously dealing crack, or the Klan members who want to march through the Jewish part of town.

I don’t want to defend the rich-as-Cresus Sterling who would treat me like dirt if I was parking his Rolls Royce. I am not a fan of the NBA as a whole – a bunch of overpaid divas who make poor role models and bump the much more admirable WNBA off into cable channels I don’t subscribe to. I would much rather be ranting about wealth inequality and burning Sterling in effigy as a member of the 1%. He is a racist piece of shit.

But he had a thought. A thought unfairly captured by recording and sold to TMZ, and now he is being unprivately tarred and feathered.

“But wait!” you say, “He isn’t being hounded by the government. The constitution doesn’t bind a private organization like the NBA. They are free to do what they want, even if it is to trample on free speech.” (We will disregard, for the sake of simplification, the enormous government stake in subsidizing stadiums, and giving the league tax and legal breaks, in order to maintain the illusion the NBA is not a government entity).

Sure, but this is the actual social prosecution of someone for their private thoughts. Thoughts we wouldn’t know about if someone hadn’t unfairly captured them. Could my bank close my account and ban me as a customer if they knew how anti-1% I was? Perhaps. Should they? Ah, there’s the rub.

Now I do admit, that among our rights is freedom of association. A religious group could ask members who don’t believe in God to leave, because the group has a right to associate with like-minded individuals. I suppose the NBA has a freedom of association right to accept only non-racist members. I don’t have a good counter to that, and I suppose it puts a big dent in my argument.

But I get very worried when our private thoughts are subject to such sweeping consequences.

Posted in observations | 4 Comments »

Music Fridays – Rock Inv-Asian

Posted by middlerage on April 18, 2014

[Note. This entry is meant to be played LOUD]

Several Music Fridays ago I was channeling my inner teenage boy and allowing as how I love heavy metal. The good old fashioned, dragons and vikings, head banging, studded leather bracelet kind. So sue me.

Anyhoo, a recent personal discovery is how popular heavy metal is in Asia, especially Japan and Korea (of all things). It’s known as J Rock and K Rock – following in the label-footsteps of JPop and KPop (e.g Gangnum Style). For that matter, one can find the labels J Metal and K Metal.

And while kind of hokey to our western sensibilities, the artists are really good. Here is a brief clip of an awesome J Metal band called Galneryus. I will post the full video further below, but you’re likely not to get past the over wrought singing (which I actually like. Did I mention teenage boy?) Prepare to pick up your jaw after watching these blazing fast arpeggios:


Yngwie Malmsteen eat your heart out.

I have to give major props to Japan for always being perhaps the greatest fan of western music there has ever been. One can find practically fifty (or a hundred?) years of screaming Japanese admiration for everything from American Blues to Mozart, straight up Jazz to Arena Rock.  And if plagiarism is the sincerest form of flattery than we need to be so very flattered. If I posit some sort of polygon of music sensibility, then I would pin Black American Blues artist all the way out on the “cool” limb. Opposite, in the definitely not cool limb, but pegged at most sincere would be J Metal. They’re hokey but they really really like us. Witness the whole video (which it is your destiny to watch, yuk yuk):

Meanwhile, oscillating back a lot closer to the cool side of musicality is this Korean band called Crash, who would be at home on the same bill as Slayer in some LA rock venue. What little I know about Korean culture (and readers are welcome to correct me) makes me even more amazed. Korean men are supposed to serve some mandatory time in the military, where they spend their time in infantile obsession with cutesy K Pop Stars. Later, they graduate from university and take a soul ending job in the financial district working ungodly hours followed by the strange cultural requirement of taking their bosses out for a night of heavy drinking. Rinse and repeat.

How Crash escaped that plan in a very rigid society is a testament. Again, the musicianship is outstanding, and these dudes look bad-fucking-ass. I think I have a man crush on them. Here they are:

Moving back to Japan, remember my polygon of cool and sincere and, well, downright hokey?… there is a JRock phenomenon as strange as an anime storyline. It seems that while Euro Metal is dressing like long haired warriors of Odin, the Japanese have gone crazy for the Baroque look. In fact, a hugely popular band is appropriately named Versailles and watching this video is a delightfully cringe inducing exercise.

Come on, admit it. You secretly loved that. I won’t tell.

[ENDNOTE: western, Euro metal singing about slaying dragons with Odin’s mighty sword is NOT hokey. Not a bit. Nope. Shut it. I caaaaaan’t hear you, my ears are covered, nah nah nah nah nah nah……]

Posted in Thinking 'bout music | 2 Comments »

Shit That Bugz Me

Posted by middlerage on April 17, 2014

For a blog by a guy named “middlerage” I think it is entirely too long since I’ve had an irrational, chaps-my-grumpy-ass, “get off my lawn you damn kids” middle aged dude moment.

So here are a few things that make me roll my eyes

1) “trail rated”

It’s made up. There is no SUV rating body that looked at Jeep Wranglers and determined them ‘trail rated.’ What does that even mean?

2) “number one volume dealer”

Why should I care? Come back when it’s “We give our cars away, and our customer service comes with tea and a hot rocks massage.”

3) caramel sprinkled with sea salt

I don’t even know where to begin you pretentious schmuck. Fuck you.

4) ‘venti’ instead of ‘large’

Okay that’s so last year, but we all hate it.

5) fashion

6) pop under ads.

Even more shitty than pop up ads. Even more shitty when they program work arounds to your “no pop ups” browser settings.


Posted in my beach my waves, observations | Leave a Comment »

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