Monday, September 29, 2008

Go Phillies!!!

Congrats to the National League East Champs!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Man Could Use A Pint …

And so, as the week draws to a close, the debate rages on. First, thanks to the folks who replied (most notable, Chris & Rob, the Steely Dan fans who took up the discussion and we carried it on, as most good music talks do, uncharted territory). I even discovered a few bands that I never heard of.

Since the original post – this conversation has taken on a life of it’s own and has had some pretty cool left hand turns.

To recap:

One: Was Mr. Becker joking when talking about ripping off his fans? The general consensus seems that he was – and that I missed the joke.

Two: Was Steely Dan’s musical high point “Can’t Buy A Thrill” (1972), “Pretzel Logic” (1974), and “Katy Lied” (1975) – I still believe it was, but there are a few who were championing latter day SD. Which led to …

Three: Why is it that most artists first half of their careers are more interesting than their second half? And boy – this was a good debate. Folks adding all kinds of music (and fave artists to prove or disprove their position.) I’d post some of the replies here – but I don’t want to go down that road again.

Four: Is ‘perfection’ all that it’s cracked up to be? This is a tough one to decide – either way. And, it was kind of split down party lines. Steely Dan fans going more for the “yes”, while others (Clash fans unite!!) going for the “rock and roll is supposed to be little dirtier” standpoint.

Five: My favorite topic that was covered: Does more “difficult” mean “better’? While bands like Steely Dan like to delve into deeper chord progressions than most, using diminished, suspended & augmented chords to keep things interesting. Does that make it “better” then a 1-4-5 progession? What would Chuck Berry say?

And, last; In the quest for perfection; is modern day technology a good or a bad thing? The fact that Pro Tools can give the same result as the Brecker Brothers nailing something live – who’s “better” for the end result?

Funny to think this all came about by a post that included The Singing Mongooses.

Rave On!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Steely Dan Fans Rise Up!!

Damn … what a guy can learn in twenty-four hours!!!

First – I learned (and was completely surprised by the fact) that the folks that read this blog are not just limited to: Folks That I’ve Had Beer With

After my Steely Dan rant, a friend of mine showed me over to a Steely Dan message board – and boy, were they pissed at me!!!

Second – Who knew that Steely Dan fans would curse just like Sex Pistol fans? I expected the usual; loser, hack, frustrated musician; and I was surprised to called a fan of Sting, Madonna & Black Sabbath; but I was really surprise to see some F-bombs dropped in the discussion. Yikes.

So, never one to just sit back, I reached out to a person who I think moderates the board over there. I handed over an olive branch – and gave him a challenge. And it’s a challenge that I’ll throw out to any of the folks who might be reading this – I know there’s a few Dan Fans out there.

Go Ahead: Make Me A Steely Dan Fan

Send me your Top Ten Steely Dan songs (anything released after ‘Katy Lied’ – that’s when I lost the thread for these guys) and I’ll go to iTunes and give them a spin. Pick your faves – I’m serious – I’ll give them a listen.

Rave On!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Have Never Liked Steely Dan

What can I say? I’ve never liked Steely Dan. I’ve always found their faux-jazz, watered down rock and roll to be a bit of a bore. Like a friend of mine would say; They are jazz music for folks who don’t really like jazz.

Sure, there have been a few great tracks. But outside of “Can’t Buy A Thrill” (1972), “Pretzel Logic” (1974), and “Katy Lied” (1975) – I defy anyone to listen to a Steely Dan CD from start to finish – and then still be awake when the final track ends. You get extra points if you can make it through any of their solo “work.”

But to slag Steely Dan’s music is not what brought me here today. I’m here to slag Walter Becker and Donald Fagen. You see – I always thought the majority of their lyrics were off the mark – and when they gave interviews, I always found them to be a little too high brow and too condescending. I used to just blow it off to them just being aloof – or to the fact that they were just too holier than thou for their own good. (Edit: After many e-mails; I've been informed that their interviews carry more humor than I noticed - hence - the beginning of this saga).

It wasn’t till I was reading MOJO 176 (July 2008) that I truly understood why I never really cared for these guys. Basically, they’re jerks. Yep – it’s right there in black and white (on page 149). From the article:

Walter Becker, who claims to have seen record shops filled with all kinds of releases purporting to be Danware, lists his combative plan on his website. He says he intends to buy all overstocks of an album by The Singing Mongoose, a children’s record of speeded up voices. “We’ll slap a sticker on the front that says ‘Steely Dan – The Furry Years’ and promote the hell out of them through the website. Of course, neither Donald or I are on the record – but who’s gonna know for sure? … it’ll be a rip-off, but at least it will be OUR rip-off for a change.”

There you go folks – a master plan by Steely Dan to rip off their own fans. (Edit: Again, I'll chalk this up to the fact that I just don't "get" their sense of humor.) I guess when you’re artistic peak was over thirty years ago, you gotta do something to bring in the cash.

Oh, and by the way, I checked out the Singing Mongooses – their music beats Steely Dan hands down. Check ‘em out!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Kevin Was Right!!! Who Knew???

OK – Usually here at the Brothers McC we figure that Kev stays out at the pub all night, then comes home and posts his rantings to the unsuspecting cyber-world. More often than not, we agree with him because we’re his brothers and we defend his right to be … well .. Kevin. As it turns out I actually do agree with his latest ramblings, ‘Diminished …’ (see below); but not only that, they are backed by one Darrell M. West, who is vice president and director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. and the author of "Air Wars: Television Advertising in Election Campaigns, 1952-2004."

Go figure … I guess between beers and B-ball at W&L, Kev must have attended some classes as well!!!

(Taken from

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Negative attacks are as American as apple pie. Since the early days of the republic, candidates attacked with a vigor that contemporary strategists would admire.

In the 1800 presidential election, for example, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams criticized one another with a stunning ferocity on everything from foreign and domestic policy to private character and personal behavior.

Later campaigns weren't much better. Critics of Andrew Jackson in 1836 accused him of murdering Indians. In 1884, Grover Cleveland was ridiculed for fathering an illegitimate child. William Jennings Bryan was characterized as a dangerous radical in 1896 who would ruin the economy.

Despite these historical precedents, the 2008 campaign has reached all-time lows in the use of misleading and inaccurate political appeals. Even Karl Rove, the architect of negative ads in previous campaigns, has complained about the tenor of this year's campaign.

John McCain broadcast an ad taking Barack Obama's words out of context and suggesting Democrats were trying to compare GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin to a pig. The McCain campaign ran another spot erroneously claiming Obama favored comprehensive sex education for kindergarteners.

Democrats have not been above reproach either. After McCain secured the GOP nomination this spring, outside groups falsely claimed the Republican supported a 1,000-year war in Iraq and therefore was not worthy of the presidency.

These misleading appeals suggest voters must remain vigilant about candidate, party, and group claims. Generally, the most misleading commercials have come from independent groups uncoordinated with the candidates.

These organizations feel free to run emotional and inaccurate content designed to play on voter's fears and anxieties. Some of the worst ads in recent memory, such as the Willie Horton ad in 1988, have been broadcast by these kinds of groups.

In past years, the only upside of attack ads was that they generally contained more issue content than other types of ads. Since reporters police campaign appeals, the ads generally stick to the issues and rely on factually-accurate information. Ad sponsors and candidates realize they will be held accountable for unfair ad content.

However, commercials run this year represent a break with this general pattern. Attack ads broadcast in recent months have twisted the truth, lied about personal background, taken statements out of context, and clearly sought to manipulate voter sentiments.

Most worrisome from a factual standpoint is McCain's claim that Obama will raise taxes on the middle class. Although Obama has pledged to increase income taxes on those earning more than $250,000, he has been careful not to make proposals that would raise taxes on the middle class for fear of being labeled a tax-and-spend liberal.

McCain's tax claims have been condemned by leading editorial boards and surely will attract considerable attention in upcoming debates.

With all the factual inaccuracies that have taken place, voters need to protect themselves from efforts at political manipulation. Non-partisan Web sites such as represent one source of unbiased information. They analyze ads and compile factual information in support of or in opposition to ad claims.

Other trustworthy fact-checkers include ad watches and reality checks run by leading news organizations. These features dissect candidate claims in regard to accuracy, strategy, and impact.

But the best thing for voters to do is to watch the candidate debates and judge for themselves. Study the statements and the factual bases of policy claims. Pay attention to how the candidates speak and what they say. Find out what non-partisan groups think and see what they have to say regarding the major issues.

By the time the campaign is over, the presidential candidates are expected to have spent 55 percent of their overall budget on ads. Strategists put together spots very carefully and pre-test major messages on small groups of voters.
Most of this money will be devoted to television spots. But increasingly amounts are being targeted on radio, direct mail, and Internet appeals.

In the end, voters are going to have to decipher competing charges and counter-charges amid considerable noise from all sides. The 2008 election is unusual in having so many big issues on the agenda: the economy, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, health care, taxes, immigration, education and climate change.

It is an election that truly matters because of the stark differences between the parties and the closeness of the campaign. Voters need to pay serious attention to the facts in order to make a wise choice.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Diminished ...

Is it possible to run for the highest office in the land and be a statesman/stateswoman? To do it with dignity?

It seems the answer is a resounding "No."

The bruising primary season quickly turned candidates into (or magnified their propensity toward) triple-talking, back-stabbing, soul-selling hucksters before the campaign buses even cleared the New Hampshire state line.

And when the smoke cleared and the wreckage had been shoved to the shoulder — the ultimate prize nearly in sight — the two survivors released their hounds ... er ... vice-presidential picks.

And now the VP hopefuls have stepped into the ring like Chris Jericho and Beth Phoenix, ready to rip each other and their respective bosses apart all over again.

(ed. — googling the above names of the current WWE champions constitutes an all-time high in BrothersMcC research)

I used to not give a shit.

You may currently not give a shit.

But this election has the feel of "pivotal" all over it.

You may say "All presidential elections are pivotal, halfwit."

And you'd be right ... especially the halfwit part.

But, for some reason, this one has the air of tragedy about it. And the tragedy is that — in the face of such staggering history being made with Barack Obama and Sarah Palin involved — we insist on making those who would become the leaders of the free world diminish themselves as human beings.

We force them to lie, exaggerate, attack, slander, hurl petty insults over and over again, air fifth-grade-level commercials and generally behave like total assholes.

Then we ask them to lead us.

"Well there, Kevin, that's the name of the game in high-stakes politics. It's dog-eat-dog. If you don't like it — move to Iceland, you big pussy."

Yeah but as we demand that these people humiliate themselves on a global stage (and then expect them to inspire us and unite us?) — we diminish ourselves.

It was sad to see Joe Biden follow his son's moving introduction with an overwrought, frothing barkfest at the Democratic National Convention. It should have been the crowning moment for a guy who has overcome more adversity than those poor bastards on Prison Break. Instead, he was borderline nutty. His speech had a hint of violence to it. And he was talking about John McCain, a long-time friend.

And as historic and genuinely exciting as Sarah Palin's appearance was at the Republican National Convention — and it was, you can't deny it — her speech was condescending and nasty. She was poised, she was tough, she was spoiling for a fight.

She was really fucking annoying.

Just like every other politician.

And the saddest --- and most diminishing --- part of it all is that it means nothing.

What these four people say and promise in the next 60 days will bear little, if any, resemblance to their actions.



Really, who are we kidding?

Couldn't we have used the money for these dorkfests ... um I mean ... conventions for something like, say, people in New Orleans still waiting for a bed to sleep in or the 750 homeless veterans wandering lost in the wilds of Columbus, Ohio.

Of course not.

Because this is the way things are done.

And with politicians, we expect them — deep down — to be scumbags. As long as they're our scumbags.

We will put up with — and even cheer — all the bullshit campaign promises and flip-floppery that all politicians shovel at us. We know its part of the deal. Politicians must lie, cheat and betray to get shit done.

And we're cool with that.

As long as they keep up their end of the unspoken bargain:

Keep us safe, housed and fed.

Keep our sons and daughters in the military from eating any unnecessary bullets and shrapnel. And when they go and do our fighting for us, take care of them when they come back.

Keep everyone — and goddammit, we mean everyone! — equal.

That's the government's job.

That's the president's job.

Everything else is gravy — or pork.

Consider Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, gas prices, food prices, the current housing situation, corruption, cronyism, scrap-heaped veterans, rising unemployment, appalling public schools and the prospect (from both sides of the aisle) of religious ideology splashing over the sides of the reflecting pool, across the lawn and into the halls of Congress.

Then ask yourself ...

Who's the best lying, exaggerating, scheming, borderline criminal gladhander for the job?

See ya at the polls!

Oh yeah! Almost forgot — BrothersMcC has its first scoop!! Below is a sneak preview of the Vice-Presidential debate, courtesy of a somewhat lesser-known Palin.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Birthday to The Youngest Brother McC


Sean Invades The Internet

My son is already leaving me in the dust with his internet savvy. He has posted six videos on youtube. Here is his debut effort. The kid loves Ray Allen and Linkin Park, what can I say?

You can check out his youtube profile and other videos here: