Floyd Mayweather Jr. says record payday will provide too much to spend

Floyd Mayweather Jr. says record payday will provide too much to spend


When a boxer is making 200 million dollars for one fight, and people are paying $100,000 for tickets, something is wrong.  There is no kind of free market justification for that kind of gross excess.  Everyone only has one life.  When some starve while others drop $100,000 for a sporting event, it seems like it is time to take a hard look at the economic system we all live in.  This current one is absurd and grotesque.  

Give ‘Em Hell, Bernie Sanders

Give ‘Em Hell, Bernie Sanders


The above article about Bernie Sanders is by Matt Taibbi.  I think there are some great questions posed in it about the state of our democracy.  

We Are a Strange People

We killed off most of the Indians
And then named car washes, bars
And family restaurants after them
Painting the faces of the starved and massacred
Where children can see
To create atmosphere and conversation
We took idyllic forests
Beautiful vistas
And streams filled with trout
And we built strip malls in their places
Filled with ugly items
That are useless and eternal
We are a strange people
There is no doubt of that

Reading and Travel

Whenever I travel, especially when there is a lot of actual travel time involved, I try to set the goal of reading a book or two in that time.  I try to not let the time being stuck in vans, airports, or trains go to waste.  On this trip I brought Frankenstein and Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams.  As well as being beneficial from any kind of learning standpoint, it helps the time go faster.  A ten hour van ride feels half as long.  It is also good for relaxing.  Forgetting yourself for part of the time helps you be less stressed when you miss that layover, there is a traffic jam, etc.  Trust me, I can definitely use all the help I can get in that department!  I almost had a meltdown today trying to get to the van on time as there was an accident on the highway this morning!

One other thing I find is that if you combine a trip with a couple good books it helps to make the trip itself more meaningful and interesting.  Scenes from a book fuse with the new places you are seeing in your imagination, and the world expands in front of you. 

What Does it Mean to be Smart?

What Does it Mean to be Smart?

Heading to New Orleans today to play in the middle of Jazz Fest.  In the meantime the above article is an interesting read.  My mom sent it to me today.  She was a teacher for most of her life.  The article is about the kinds of things we should be learning in school, that will make us more adaptable to the real world. 

My dad always taught me that people that are smart are not afraid to say, “I don’t know.” A lot of the article is based on being critical of oneself. Be humble so that you can be flexible as the facts you are presented with change.

Explanations and Thoughts On Baltimore Riots

Orioles COO Offers Perspective On Riots

Above John Angelos, COO of the Baltimore Orioles, and song of the team owner, offers an explanation for the Baltimore riots.  It is worth reading.  Key part:

That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.

Nonviolence as Compliance is what Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in The Atlantic.  Coates is from Baltimore.  HIs article is also really worth reading.  A sample:

The money paid out by the city to cover for the brutal acts of its police department would be enough to build “a state-of-the-art rec center or renovations at more than 30 playgrounds.” Instead, the money was used to cover for the brutal acts of the city’s police department and ensure they remained well beyond any semblance of justice.

I used to live in the North East.  I remember driving to a gig in Baltimore one time through a neighborhood that looked like a bombed out Baghdad.  Many of you that have never seen such a place wouldn’t believe it was in the U.S.  I personally have no understanding of what it would mean to live in such an oppressive place day after day.  The fact that we allow whole sections of our citizenry live in such places is shameful.  The fact that those citizens are constantly the targets of state violence is obscene.

No More Mr. Nice Guy

I have spent part of my time in the van lately listening to Alice Cooper.  Many people already know that the early Alice Cooper albums, the band ones up through his first few solo albums, are fantastic pieces of work.  But for those of you that don’t, do you know that John Lennon was a friend and fan, Bob Dylan spoke highly of Alice Cooper’s songwriting, and Frank Sinatra covered one of his songs?  The Alice Cooper band, which is all the Alice Cooper albums up through Muscle of Love, was a really great rock n roll band.  If you are a fan of bass, drums, two guitars, you have to hear these records.  (The albums got technically more complex as they went along.  However, that core lineup, aside from when they would hire an extra guitar player in the studio at times, is often at the core of these recordings.  They sound like a band playing with just a couple extra overdubs for the most part.)  My favorite of these records is probably Billion Dollar Babies, though Killer and Love it to Death are front to back great as well.  These albums are just the sounds of one of the best rock bands ever firing on all cylinders.  As a bass player, I find the work of their bass player, Dennis Dunaway, particularly inventive.  He often played nontraditional melodic lines that still hold down the bottom, while doing very little of what a bass player typically does.  There are many great hard rock songs here that feature big pop choruses.  There are many excellent singles and album tracks.  Somehow lyrically Alice Cooper was able to provide a lot of entertaining horror fun, reflect how adolescents felt, and satirize American culture all at the same time.  The above song, No More Mr. Nice Guy, is one of my favorite tracks of theirs, one that I have liked since I was a teenager myself.  The music and the melody are just fantastic.  Listen to all of the cool little guitar bits going on.  The lyrics are humorous, without being cute, which is a harder trick to do than one would think.