Namely, pop music that doesn’t suck.

Nikki Edgar, née Nikki Leoni who released a few contemporary Christian albums back in the day, has just put out her first solo album in quite some time and first under her married name. Heartache Easy is … well, it’s so good it’s almost ridiculous.

Presently, pop music is marked by two characteristics. One, it uniformly dominates airplay, sales, and concert draws. Two, it’s uniform Cheez Whiz cookie cutter recipe drek, soulless machine-made aural junk food with layers of autotuned pseudo-singing atop even more layers of virtual instruments glued to drum machine blips. No heart. No depth. No human interaction. Rather like political Twitter. But I digress.

Into this teenage wasteland comes Edgar with seven songs worth of — brace yourself — real, live music. Let’s start with her voice. Edgar sings with synchronized heart and skill, serious joy that’s both confident and confessional. She grabs you by the heartstrings and holds on tight without ever squeezing the life out of you via excessive vocal gymnastics. Once heard, for all the right reasons Edgar’s singing is never forgotten.

Next up, the songs. Memorable and comfortable without being regurgitated rehashes of everything else presently out there, they are presented with understated human musical interaction. No drum machines. No synthesizer loops. Instead, they are appropriately sparse without affected ‘oh look how cool and stripped down we are’ pretentious annoyance. They provide the perfect backdrop for Edgar’s powerhouse singing.

Lyrically the album focuses on relationships, be it the overcoming spunk of “I’ve Learned” or the heart-rendering asunder power of the title track. Edgar and company know how to be real without falling into the bottomless pit of excessive emotion.

Heartache Easy is superb. It’s sublime. It’s every other superlative you can throw its way. Yes, it is really that good. If you’ve written off the radio and wearily resigned yourself to there being little if any new music worthy of so much as a passing listen, let alone purchase, rescind your resignation and buy this album. Now. Your life will be the better for it. No exaggeration.

The album is available on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play.

by baldilocks

Wretchard goes long on the unmasking of the two Hollywoods:

In the unending exposes of financial, moral and sexual turpitude we are witnessing a similar humiliation of a ruling elite. The critical role played by prestige in upholding the current status quo was no less important for the Western elite than it was for the old District Commissioners. Not so very long ago the elites were accepted as woke, part of the mission civilisatrice; better educated, better looking, better dressed, destined to greater things, the smartest people in the room.  They could pronounce on matters of morality, politics and even the climate.  What a shock it was to find through the Internet and social media it was all a sham; and these gods of Washington and Hollywood and the media were deeply flawed and despicable people.

Given the lack of quality control and penchant for recruiting rather than expelling the scandalous it’s amazing in retrospect the prestige lasted so long.  All the same, now their fallibility has been exposed under the spotlight of technological innovation, the spell is broken.  The elites may still rule but the sullen masses no longer flock to their door as they did of old.  Perhaps the single most destabilizing political development since the WW2 has been the destruction of ruling class prestige by the Internet.

I’ve read that, before World War II, those of the entertainment class were regarded as little better than pimps and prostitutes. Perhaps that has never actually changed; they simply have been giving the public a massive, long-running stage performance – where the stage is our perception of them. And now the show’s over.

But what about those other actors? The ones we are forced to pay?

In case you haven’t paid attention to the news today, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has been exposed – if you’ll pardon

Conyers’ come-hither look

the expression – as a serial sexual harasser. Meh. His creepiness has always been as plain as the leer on his face, at least to me. But he has paid at least one victim off with tax money. He is far from the only one. Very far.

Congress makes its own rules about the handling of sexual complaints against members and staff, passing laws exempting it from practices that apply to other employers. (…)

Congressional employees have received small settlements, compared with the amounts some public figures pay out. Between 1997 and 2014, the U.S. Treasury has paid $15.2 million in 235 awards and settlements for Capitol Hill workplace violations, according to the congressional Office of Compliance. The statistics do not break down the exact nature of the violations.

15 million dollars of tax money over two decades. And they hid it by disguising it as employee bonuses. But the victims will receive the money only if they keep their mouths shut. What I want to know is who the other congressional harassers  are.

You might have noticed that I haven’t commented on the Roy Moore situation at all. Why not? Because I don’t live in Alabama and there’s too much he-said/they-said, too much fishy evidence, and far, far too much Gloria Allred. If the accusations are true, Moore can’t be prosecuted because of the statute of limitations. Therefore, one way or the other, if the voters want him as their US Senator, it’s their business.

I really don’t care about the legal sex lives of Pretty Hollywood or Ugly Hollywood, as long as I don’t have to give them my money to clean up their messes. And at least with Pretty Hollywood – and with the National Felon League – I can’t be extorted by them for hush-money.

Therefore, Ugly Hollywood is far uglier and far more dangerous than the Pretty one.

As one of my friends pointed out, the Founding Fathers would be OPSEC OPSEC OPSEC by now.

RELATED: Short Observation on the Two Hollywoods

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

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Hollywood Sign in 1923

by baldilocks

With the accusation avalanche of sexual crimes/misconduct being slung about in Hollywood and in the Hollywood for Ugly People (Washington DC), we have this bit of news.

Former Rep. Anthony Weiner, who reported to prison this week to begin a 21-month sentence for sexting with a 15-year-old girl, is hoping to stay in contact with the outside world.

Weiner’s away message on his personal email addresses provide specific instructions on how to stay in contact with the disgraced Congressman, the New York Post reported Thursday.

“Thanks for reaching out,” the message says. “Starting November 6th, I’ll be away for a while but I would love to stay in touch. As quaint as it may sound, the best way to reach me is by sending a letter. When you write, ill get you the information about how email might work.

“So please include your full mailing address here and of course include it when you write,” Weiner says in the message.

You and I both know that Weiner will have no shortage of correspondents.

And then, this morning, we wake up to the news that some dude accuses Star Trek actor George Takei of possibly slipping him a roofie and taking advantage in 1981.

In other words, it’s Saturday and I have nothing really to talk about and choose to gawk at these people.

Both Hollywoods seem to be magnets for predators of many varieties because what they are selling is fantasy and what they are buying is power. That these fantasy-power exchanges spill over into the sexual area shouldn’t be a surprise because most of the denizens of the two kingdoms have no moral/spiritual reign on their appetites – though many of the Ugly Hollywood residents pretend to religious virtue to get elected and the Pretty Hollywood pretends to secular virtue because they’re pretty, Harvey Weinstein notwithstanding. A stage, all the world is.

Watching the stuff is almost as entertaining as going to the zoo. Almost.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

Indulge me as I take a brief trip down memory lane.

I started blogging in 2003, at the time focusing on NASCAR although often chasing down rabbit holes and/or digressing. In May of 2005, for reasons I don’t recall I created a character to occasionally show up in the blog. Specifically, a polar bear named Gord.

Gord was named after Gord Downie, lead singer of iconic Canadian rock band The Tragically Hip. His manner of speaking (yes, Gord could talk), featuring frequently beginning his sentences with “why …” was patterned after Mike Myers’ character in Wayne’s World. Gord himself was a kind and gentle sort, living in a zoo and frequently chatting with his friend Cherie, a thrasher who spent most of her time at the zoo although not an official resident.

Over the next few years I fleshed out Gord’s character, introducing assorted elements such as his occasionally listening to “the night whispers,” i.e. spirits of the deceased. He was a handy bear to have around, quite useful for illustrating stories via his storytelling gift.

It occurred to me back in 2009 or thereabouts that Gord would make a nice subject for a sort-of children’s book. I say sort-of because, as I sketched out a plot centered around Gord, there were certain crucial elements a bit darker than usually considered kiddie fare. But, given how one of my earliest movie memories was watching Bambi’s mother get shot, I knew it could work. Another element keeping it from being your normal children’s book is my being anything but skilled in keeping my writing at a child’s reading level. Far too fond of the florid. Not nearly fond enough of staying within the boundaries of acceptable grammar and syntax, but that’s a whole ‘nutter story.

Anyway, in 2009 I started on the book. Plot was sketched out; and I got several chapters into the first draft before losing focus along with most all of my writing mojo during the ’10s. Things get thrown out of proper priority when you’re battling the depression monster pretty much 24/7. Ah well.

Although Gord the polar bear has frequently crossed my mind since I set the book aside, Gord Downie’s passing a couple of weeks ago has sufficiently brought him back to the fore to where I’ve actually dusted off the book and slowly started working on it again. As mentioned above I lost most all of my writing juice this decade as I’ve been too busy trying to get through things. Not that I’m through them, but sufficient balance and joy have rekindled to where the creative spark is again expressing itself through both greatly increased musical activity and again being able to write. I’ll take it.

When or if I’ll finish the Gord book I do not know, nor what I will do with it should I complete it although I suspect I’ll go the self-publishing route as I have before (coughgodsnotdeadbook.comcough). This I do know: I’ve quite missed my silly polar bear. Hopefully he’ll stick around long enough for me to finish telling the story so far.

I have an online friend named Alison. Alison is smart, witty, and quite attractive. Unfortunately, Alison is also dealing with a pancreas from hell, this manifesting itself in numerous hospitalizations including one at the present time. Prayers for her healing are requested.

Alison recently moved to Las Vegas. No, not because she wants to be a showgirl and no, not because she’s all that stoked for 115° “at least it’s a dry heat” days during summer. I believe it was a combo career/fresh start move. I teased her the real reason she moved to Vegas is because she wanted a nice new shiny hockey team for which to cheer. And oh, what a team it is turning out to be; more on that in a bit.

Hockey is, of course, a sport quite native to Nevada, where every fall as soon as the leaves stop spontaneously combusting from the heat and start turning colors eager players grab their skates, sticks, and pucks as they head out to the nearest casino and wait for the craps tables to freeze over so they can lace ‘em up. At least the National Hockey League believes so, as a couple years back when it came time to select a location for a new team the NHL chose Vegas over those hockey know-nothing rubes in Quebec City. Most Montreal residents would argue Quebec City is the destination location for know-nothing rubes period; however, this is a debate best left for French-preferring Canadians. But I digress.

The Vegas team’s owner is a proud West Point graduate, this manifesting itself in his preferred name for his new team being Black Knights after Army’s West Point sporting teams. Alas, Army said we’d rather you didn’t, hence the Golden Knights came to be.

The Golden Knights are Vegas’ first major league sports team. Thus, despite the admittedly limited experience local sports fans have with hockey save for the select few who in years past attended a minor league or NHL exhibition game there, excitement ran high. Season tickets? Sold out. Good seats still available? Um, not really. Locals snapping up anything and everything bearing the Golden Knights logo? Oh, you betcha. Despite the not baseless assumption that as an expansion team it was a ripe lock certainty the team would be mediocre at best and most likely downright awful, enthusiasm ran high for the season’s beginning …

… right up until a few nights before, when a madman fired on a crowd of Vegas concertgoers, murdering more than fifty and wounding hundreds.

What to do?

Refer back to Alison. She is good friends with a married couple in Vegas. Said couple has taken shifts to be with her around the clock during her current hospital stay. Because that is the kind of people they are.

Now, an expansion team’s home opener is invariably loaded with flash and splash, a massive celebration for one and all. However, it was unimaginable for the Golden Knights to hold such an event. Their situation was not unlike one the Oakland A’s faced in 1989 after winning the World Series, sweeping cross-Bay rivals the San Francisco Giants. Said Series had a lengthy unscheduled break, as shortly before Game Three a massive earthquake struck the San Francisco Bay Area, leveling buildings and freeways, breaking bridges, killing and injuring many. In lieu of the usual championship parade, the A’s opted for a modest public ceremony. Obviously even this would be far too much for Vegas. And so all eyes were on T-Mobile Arena, the Golden Knights home, to see what if anything could be done to both acknowledge what had happened and facilitate the desperately needed escapism sports provide.

The Golden Knights delivered on both counts.

First, it introduced one at a time some of the first responders – law enforcement, paramedics, doctors, nurses, firefighters – whose heroism and work in the face of nearly incomprehensible horror saved numerous lives; each accompanied onto the ice by a player. The team then played roadrunner to the Arizona Coyotes en route to a 5-2 win.

Although I am a San Francisco Bay Area native, hence a Sharks and long before Los Tiburones swam into San Jose an Oakland Seals/California Golden Seals fan, the Golden Knights hold a place in my heart. My Dad and oldest brother were both career Army. The last time I saw my brother before he passed away a few years ago, one evening we watched an Army football game on television. So, when I watch the Golden Knights (I’ve caught every game thus far this season on either online television or radio) it reminds me of my brother, the one with whom I was the closest and most alike. I miss him terribly. Connecting with the Golden Knights brings a sense of him always being with me. It’ll do until that great and glorious day when by Jesus’ grace we will be together in His presence.

Alison’s friends staying with her day and night; the Golden Knights proving a healing focal point for a reeling community trying to make it through a satanic assault. Such actions are love in action, or love on ice skates if you prefer. These are actions we should all strive to emulate. Perhaps we can’t stay with a sick friend 24/7 or play hockey. That’s okay. We can do what we can, which is usually far more than what we believe we can do. When we do what we can, good things happen. That will do. Very nicely.

Oh, and that obligatorily bad expansion team?

They’re currently 7-1-0. Hottest team and the best record in the NHL.

So much for that obligation.

by baldilocks

For the last few days, it’s been all about Donald Trump and his fiery words to NFL owners regarding players who choose to sit down or kneel during the playing of the National Anthem. Lots of mischaracterizations out there about the state of this feud, including that it’s a “First Amendment” issue or a “Free Speech” issue. It’s neither. It’s a contractual issue between the employer – the NFL – and the employees –the players. And if the employer chooses to allow its employees to react in any way that an individual employee sees fit, then that’s the way it should be.

And, of course, the consumers — ticket-buyers and viewers — should respond in the way each individual consumer sees fit. Nothing new there.

Consumers should remember that

[t]he league regularly clamps down on social messaging, like wearing cleats commemorating the heroes of the 9/11 attacks or decals honoring slain Dallas law enforcement officers. Taking a knee for God can also be problematic, just ask Tim Tebow. But the anthem protests are explicitly league-sanctioned activities.

Emphasis mine.

I think that the ultimately goal is to bankrupt the NFL. Why owners would go along with this is open to speculation, so that’s what I will do. Speculate.

The elite know things about which we non-elites can only conspiracy theorize and I think they see which way the wind is blowing in this country – toward socialism. And many of them are undoubtedly assisting the wind’s direction. So, they want to cut their losses sooner than later and, therefore, are willing to see their Golden Egg-laying Goose destroyed. No big deal because, for most of them, the NFL isn’t their only Goose. One wonders whether President Trump’s son-of-a-female-dog commentary was intended to speed up this process; to inflame anger in the true tools in this saga: the players and the consumers, not to mention the taxpayers who often fund the construction of stadiums.

But there’s something else to consider:

The last thing Americans (and particularly American men) need is agenda-spreading bread and circuses, either paying for the “privilege” or wasting hours in front of the telescreen. With the accelerated pace the Republic is being internally subverted, and with the enhanced and extended dangers that appears to be making inevitable, I’m sure we could all find more productive uses for our limited time and resources.

If my theory is correct, I don’t think the elite bargained for the fact that they might be removing a distraction from those who would oppose their true agenda, but that’s what they are probably doing.

Speaking of dead geese and removing a distraction, this is from the Instagram account of Sonequa Martin-Green, the star of the new Star Trek: Discovery:

The cast is kneeling in solidarity with the NFL players.

I watched the first two episodes free via CBS All Access and I was impressed. Because of that, I had been thinking about buying the service, but now I think I’ll pass. I already have to ignore enough Leftist political musings from members of the older Trek casts.

Maybe I’ll check it out when it’s free – assuming there aren’t more pressing things on all of our plates by then.

(Thanks to Big Hollywood)

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism!

Given the omnipresent heaviness of current news around the world, with natural disasters and threatened man made ones on all sides, thought it best to take a moment and breathe.

The NFL seems hellbent on self-destruction, what wth continued permitted player protests during the National Anthem plus a deadly inability to address CTE. You’d think with the tens of bajillions the league rakes in it’d spen some of that money on designing a more protective helmet, but unfortunately it does not appear to be in any way a priority.

Still, football remains the straw that stirs the American sports drink. Baseball might be the national pastime, but football is the national passion. Even more than arguing about politics, believe it or not.

Although I am San Francisco Bay Area born and raised, my football alliances lie with the Colts, for reasons explained here, and the Los Angeles Rams. The latter is most unusual, given the NorCal-SoCal rivalry bordering on open warfare. But I always liked the Rams … when they were in the rather tarnished Golden State. Now they are back home, although based on game attendance this season not many people in Southern California are aware of this.

Doubtless to the eyeroll of many, this weekend’s first prime time football matchup featured the aforementioned Rams, who haven’t had a winning season since the last Bush administration, and the San Francisco 49ers who presently bear zero resemblance to the team that won five Super Bowls. The stands were half-full at best, more than a few news stories passing around how you could buy a secondary market ticket for the game with less money than the price of two pretzels at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, home of the 49ers and Who’s Who in Peninsula Gangbangers.

Naturally, the Rams and 49ers played what will doubtless be considered the season’s most entertaining game, a seesaw battle ultimately decided in the Rams favor by a thwarted two-point conversion and a final defensive stand after the 49ers recovered an onside kick late in the fourth quarter. It was the first game I’ve been able to watch all year (work schedule; same reason I’ve been silent about NASCAR). To say both teams are works in progress would be the strongest understatement since noting as of late the Caribbean weather has been less than stellar. But, Jared Goff is getting a firm grip on this NFL quarterbacking thing; this plus some major personnel upgrades have taken the Rams offense from being offensive period to potent.

It was good for a few hours to forget the controversies; forget the wars raging online and threatened wars in real life, and simply enjoy the game. We are often told we steal much of life’s joy by routinely failing to live in the moment, this coupled with a reminder that Jesus’ first miracle was changing water into wine to keep the party going. (Nevertheless, I do not drink, but that is a story for another time.) Can we allow ourselves the luxury, at least once in a while, to have fun? Tonight was much-needed fun, this due in no small part to my team winning but also to two teams doing what the naysayers insisted couldn’t be done: put on a show.

As I write this mini-article, millions of Americans are hearing about how bad Donald Trump is, how unfair the government is going to be to illegal immigrants, how Ted Cruz loves porn, and who won an award or two scattered in with the slew of liberal jokes. I’m not.

Instead, I’ve put together a list of better ways to spend my time than to show support (and yes, by merely watching it you’re showing your support) for an industry that generally despises the small-government, freedom-loving conservatives that accounts for most readers of this blog.

  1. Watch Ben Shapiro’s Berkeley speech. I don’t care if you’ve already seen it. Watch it again.
  2. Read the Constitution. Hey, it’s Constitution Day!
  3. Check out my latest conservative news project, NOQ Report.
  4. Read this article by Lloyd Marcus that highlights the importance of sustaining the American Dream regardless of race.
  5. Listen to the Book of John (because there’s never a bad time for John).
  6. Watch John Stossel asking people about the Constitution. Hey, it’s Constitution Day!
  7. Listen to my interview with The Foo.
  8. Learn what you can about California’s decision to become a sanctuary state. It may happen in your state some day.
  9. Check out this underreported story about a t-shirt maker who may be forced out of business for defending his rights.
  10. Contribute to DaTechGuy. He needs our support.

I don’t care who wins the awards. The narcissistic town of Hollywood (where I had to live for nearly two months while my son had two open-heart surgeries) doesn’t deserve my attention. They do more to harm conservatism than just about any other town in the nation outside of Washington DC.

I spoke to author Amanda Lauer 2017 Catholic Marketing Network Author of A World Such as Heaven Intended

Her author page is here

You can buy her latest book here

The Rest of my Catholic Marketing Network posts are here.

I speak to Singer Mary Zitnik of Pondtiz Productions at 2017 Catholic Marketing Network

Here’s a sample of her music

The Rest of my Catholic Marketing Network posts are here.