UP3 #13-What grinds your gears?

Greg Daniels leads a conversation on the Simpsonesque topic, "What grinds your gears?"  Mat, Megan and I weigh in about the stuff that gets under our skin.  We also chat about the Birthers and Ted Cruz.  Is it time to get rid of the natural born citizen requirement for president? No one knows. (Actually, a lot of people know...the answer is YES.)  
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Music Review: Berkley II by Zeke Berkley

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Album art for Berkley II.
Zeke still looks exactly like this.
Zeke Berkley's second full length album, Berkley II, is a challenging, multi-influenced jaunt around what it means to create a pop album these days. Clearly the word "pop" has lots of meanings; I use it here to refer to a particular structure of songwriting, recognizable arrangement of verses and choruses, a bridge and instrumental, familiar harmonies and chord progressions that even the most outlandish of bands find themselves returning to time and again. This sort of pop rarely hits the top of the charts these days, but the structure, with a lineage tracing back to the humble balladeer singing heartfelt songs about unrequited love, transitioned into mainstream through big band crooners, set in concrete by four part harmonies and given rock and roll credentials by the Beatles, has spawned endless iterations with each aspiring artist trying their hand at writing a pop song in the same way aspiring poets write sonnets.

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UP3 #7 I attempt to mix a live band for the Podcast

So Google Hangout does this nifty thing where it slows down the video stream and then speeds it up in order to maintain continuity while buffering. Mostly great for talking but really bad for music. Keep that in mind as you watch Sin Chonies, a hard working cover band from Ventura, perform live, a podcast first for us. Obviously we suffer from some technical difficulties, but the idea is so cool, and the band was great, we're definitely gonna do it again. We chat to Alfred, Willie and Chris about the live music scene in Ventura County and what it takes to be a working musician these days. We also discuss the Trump campaign, Islamophobia, the definition of racism, and the impact of laws on culture.
 
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Thought Experiment: Imagine Donald Trump is a Smart Person.

trumpHere's a thought experiment for you: Try to imagine that Donald Trump isn't the crazed, bigoted blowhard you see on TV but is instead a smart and savvy businessman who has, all his life, calculatingly managed his image and exposure for personal gain. All other facts of the 2016 Republican primary being the same, reinterpret the rise of Trump assuming he's a smart person.
 
It has to be granted that Trump is an impulsive egomaniac. He runs for president mostly because, financially, it's a drop in the bucket and it feeds his need to be seen and heard, which, historically has always lead Trump to more success and notoriety. Pulling the same trick in 2012 certainly panned out well for him. Being a presidential candidate forever secures your credentials as a media personality that can always be monetized ala Pat Buchanan. (Certainly that is a prime motivator for most lesser presidential candidates with no chance of winning.) There was no reason to expect that this year would be any different. Trump spends almost no money on traditional campaign advertising because his status as a celebrity means that he can call into any news show on any channel and will be put on the air immediately; He has spent exactly $0 in TV advertising.

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It's Time for Responsible Media Guidelines for Covering Mass Shootings

media-complicity-in-mass-shootings-b-rAfter watching a shameful display of media "lookie-looism" last Friday, December 4, 2015, as dozens of cameramen and reporters pushed their way into the home of the San Bernardino shooters for a bit of unrestrained ogling and literal pilfering, the very worst offender of the major networks being MSNBC, I started wondering why there wasn't a published set of media guidelines for covering mass shootings that define the limits of what networks will consider resposible coverage. There are standards of journalistic integrity for all sorts of things and since mass shootings are a regular occurrence these days with a seemingly familiar pathology, and in their own right a fully-formed cultural institution, there should be an agreed upon way of covering them to prevent the media from irresposnsible journalism, like the live-broadcast rummage sale and becoming complicit in inspiring the next mass shooting.
 
I certainly am not a journalist or a communications expert nor am I a psychologist or sociologist of any kind. I have a degree in English and that education has taught me a lot about extracting the meaning, subtext, and recurring themes from literature, and those same methods work for art, media and history. It's clear to me these mass shootings are mostly the same, they strike the same notes, even though the motivation is varied. These shooters are not the same type of criminal as serial murders or people motivated by gain, like muggers and burglars; rather, mass shooters seem to be of the same lineage as vandals, tire slashers, and random window breakers: detached from society in such as way as to feel unconstrained by empathy or the understood societal contract which makes unrestrained aggresion in the public square a rarity. Obviously, many other things effect the eventual deadly outcome of their pathology: religion, political leanings, access to weapons, familial influence, mental health, but at the core, like the vandal, tire slasher, and the random window breaker, the aftermath, the news story is a huge part of the aim of a mass shooter: to leave something behind, to effect the world in some small way. That drive is deeper and more ingrained in ourselves than our drive to do and be good. 

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UP3 #6-Close To Home

In the wake of today's shootings in San Bernardino, UP3 takes a look at the facts as they stand. We take another look at gun control, mental health care, political spin, religious motives and the reason why America is the only place where this seems to always happen. We talk about feeding snakes with live rats and new words added to the American Heritage Dictionary. Please like and subscribe.   
 
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What are you NOT thankful for?

UP3 Episode 5, We welcome our first female guest, Megan! We cover the things we are NOT thankful for, overstaying guests, shortened curse words, human maladies, micro-aggressions, racial assumptions of strangers, and the specter of Nazi Germany in American Politics. We talk turkey and admit to terrible TV shows we cant stop watching. Subscribe here.
 
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