Feb 8, 2010


The recent Supreme Court decision allowing corporations to funnel unlimited amounts of money to political candidates of their choice, the ones that can do the most for them in every sense of the word, is the worst and most negatively important decision since the Supreme Court ruled that black people were not human and an inferior race, back in the 1860's, also known as the Dred Scott case. However, those champions of the American people, the right wing majority in this decision, are confident that the corporations in this country and indeed the world, will not use this new found license to control the government, more than they already do. Such upstanding business's as the banking industry, the defense industry, the credit card industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the oil companies, the fast food industry, and that bastion of national corporate conscience, the HEALTH CARE INDUSTRY, will handle this newly acquired responsibility with the same restraint they have showed in the past, with their zillions of lobbyists for every member of congress. Any questions or concerns?

They will be no need for political parties, which is not necessarily a bad thing, no unions, no voter organizations, because all decisions on who runs and who gets elected will be made in the board rooms of the largest and most powerful corporations. When Freecreditreport.com (which is anything but free, but they hope you won't notice,) decides they will pick who the next senator from their state is, they will, and it might be that obnoxious jerk, bought and paid for, from their commercials! When the house minority leader says "it's a good step forward," FOR WHO? ExXon Mobil? Blackwater? Kaiser Permanente? The makers of Viagra? The right-wing has always been on the side of big business, with their tax cuts for the richest people and corporations in this country, but such a bald-faced subordination of the average guy's miniscule influence on government, is astounding.

To give you a picture of what the country could look like in the future, remember the movie, "It's a wonderful life?" Remember when Jimmy Stewart's angel lets him see what the world would be like if he was never born? He goes back to Bedford Falls, and it's one giant HONKY-TONK, because he wasn't there to keep the old savings and loan going so people didn't have to go to Mr. Potter's big mean bank! Sound familiar? Well, get used to it, because were on a course heading right for it. When the criminal credit card companies can stock the government with their minions, (they can now, to a lesser extent, they're called Republicans; remember the repeal of the bankruptcy laws where if someone loses their job and life, the credit card companies can hound them to the grave, and even into it,) even more than usual, the government will be completely at their disposal and under their thumb. When did the basic notion of running a business in this country go from making a reasonable amount of profit, acting in a morally responsible way, to ripping off the consumer, lying, cheating, rigging prices; do anything legal or illegal to stuff the coffers, and enrich those at the top?

I have a pretty good health care insurance program through my employer, although it's not as good as it used to be and getting more expensive all the time. However, the idea of 20+ million American's having no health care coverage at all, in the richest country in the world makes me just plain angry. I can't believe there wasn't one Republican who wasn't willing to buck orders from their leadership and do the right thing, and have pity on the millions of people who have no access to minimal medical services. I love the basic philosophy of the Republican health care plan; "If a baby wants to purchase health care, they are free to buy it!!" And don't call me a Democrat, because I'm as tough on those "Blue Dog" cowards as anyone. I happen to believe in fiscal conservatism, one of the founding principals of the conservative ideal, but the Republicans threw that out the window, lock, stock and barrel during the Bush years.

Since when does the opposition party try to "destroy" the president, and in the process possibly destroy the country? "This will be his Waterloo, we will try to make him fail," etc, etc, etc. When does this kind of behavior approach the line of treason, which is plotting to overthrow the government? The Democrats have become the new Republicans and the Republicans have become a bunch of fringe nut cases. As much as I and most others abhorred George Bush's policies, I never wanted him to fail, because goes the president, so goes the country. Remember a thing called Watergate?

When the news of this decision was announced, there was about 2 minutes of air time in the media about it, but the big news was John Edwards paternity admission. The New York times ran it as a headline, but few other papers did. The second day the Times still had an article on the effects of the decision, but my hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune, not a word after. Now it's completely below the radar, and in the boardrooms of the biggest companies, plans are being made to mold the government into a completely dependent organ of corporate America, as if it isn't enough of one already. The press will blow this one just like they did on the invasion of Iraq, once again ignoring their responsibility to question the happenings in this country and the way government and corporate America operates. Meanwhile the rest of the world is thinking, "what the hell is going on over there? Oh, that's right, it's America," or as George Bush used to call it, "Ammarrka."

How could the right wing of the court make such a horrendous decision? The same way the court made such disastrous rulings such as Plessy vs. Ferguson, Brown vs. the board of education, (ever hear of them Sarah?) These were political decisions trying to advance an agenda. So much for the "activist court" concept the right wing so violently opposes. This reminds me of the history of music criticism, which has a horrible record of miscalculation. Hanslick, the most intuitive critic ever, called the Prelude to Die Meistersinger "a mess," the first review of Carmen, perhaps the greatest opera ever written, was so negative, it contributed to Bizet's death. These so called "judges" were unable to see the far reaching effects of their rulings, and were trapped in the sentiments of the time instead of being able to think and see the long term, admittedly a difficult thing, but that's why we pick them and bestow such importance on their rulings.


Now for some trombone maintenance talk. I recently heard of a new slide lubricant product on the market from the Heyday's Co. that purports to last for 12 weeks with one application, and costs $32 for a small bottle. I would like to know if anyone has had any experience with this product. For that kind of money it should almost play the horn for you, but I will keep and open mind until I have sufficient information on this. I use Yamaha slide oil, which is not an oil at all, but a synthetic substance on the order of Rapid Comfort, by Slide-O-Mix. It is the best slide lubricant I have found, doesn't build up and doesn't usually require a water spray. This is not to say I endorse the basic tenet of Yamaha's trombone design, which used to be, to go all over the world, get everyone's opinion, throw it all into a hopper and take the average of everybody's input. Isn't this a sure way to produce an average horn?

I have been working with Hammond Design on some new alto trombone, small shank mouthpieces, that are also suitable for smaller bore trombones. We have come up with 4 sizes, ranging from mouthpieces for high alto playing, through mouthpieces that work for normal alto trombone playing, and smaller bore trombones, such as 525, and 500 bore. They are based on my preferences for mouthpiece design, which emphasize cup shape, matching throat size, and full resonant sound. I find too many mouthpiece designs are based on extremely bowled shape cups, with throat sizes that are too large for most players, and result in a blatty, dull sound. I prefer mouthpieces that have a deep, more funnel shaped cup, with a moderately sized throat and back-bore. This design allows for a resonant, centered sound without any "splash back," and reminds me of the old Remington design concept, but updated to modern sound requirements.


Just a note about the Facebook thing. I get about a dozen messages from friends and different people everyday on Facebook, and if I took the time to answer each one, there wouldn't be any time left to do anything else! When someone emails me through the website with a question or any other piece of information, I try to answer them in a day or two, so they don't pile up. Therefore I am giving up on the Facebook thing for my own sanity. I'd like to be friends with everyone who contacts me, as I 'm sure you do also , but it's getting ridiculous.

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