Welcome to the twelfth production of Short Attention Span Theater. This installment is brought to you, not by hay fever and inconveniently draped felines, but by Like Herding Cats. I’m deeply enmeshed in what I hope will be the final revision, and don’t want to take the time to develop complete thoughts about much of anything right now.
Act One: Apple introduced new hardware earlier this week. No, not iPhones; that was back in September. The latest goodies-to-be are a new MacBook Air, a new iPad Pro, and a new Mac Mini.
I don’t have any particularly strong feelings about the laptop and tablet. I’ve never used a MacBook of any sort, and while the iPad Pro sounds like a nice bit of gear, it’s way to rich for my wallet–and massively overpowered for my tablet needs.
That said, I do appreciate Apple replacing the iPad Pro’s Lightening Port with a USB-C port. One less bit of proprietary gear, and more access to existing third-party hardware.
As for the Mini, I’ve got mixed feelings there. I’ve got an original Mac Mini around here someplace. It’s not in use because its power supply has wandered off, but it was a nice piece of kit in its day. I’m glad to see Apple hasn’t killed off the line, but I’m sad to see that they’re changing its emphasis.
The original point of the Mini was to bring in non-Apple users. As such, it was cheap. Cheap to the point of almost entirely forgoing the usual Apple markup. It seems, however, that Apple has decided the Mini has attracted all the Windows users it’s going to, and so they’ve decided to make it a more “professional” machine.
In case you didn’t realize it, in the tech industry, the word professional means “more expensive”. As such, the price has gone up $300. It’s still a good deal for the price, but it’s not as good a deal as it used to be.
Act Two: Our darling president’s latest
threatpromise has been getting a lot of press, as usual. No, not that one. No, not that one either. I mean the one about wiping out birthright citizenship.
All the hysterical responses to the effect of “He can’t do that! It’s unconstitutional!” are missing the point.
First of all, “unconstitutional” is what the Supreme Court says it is. If you believe the current lineup of justices is a threat to abortion rights, why would you think they’d be any less of a threat to citizenship?
Secondly, Trump doesn’t care whether he can “do it”. It’s a distraction. Just the latest of many. When was the last time you saw any news about Russian interference in the upcoming election?
Third, nobody can actually stop him from issuing
a proclamationan executive order. He may well go ahead and do it, on the theory that even if it doesn’t squeeze past the Supreme Court, it’ll be tied up there for months, leaving everyone scared–the administration’s preferred mental state–and providing the Republicans with the chance to spin the battle as “Democrats are soft on immigration.”
Third-and-a-halfth, if there is an executive order, you can be sure it’ll be written to exclude children whose parents are from countries that aren’t on Trump’s shit list. Because there’s nothing the administration would like better than than to divide the opposition by carving out a block of people who are going to feel like they dodged a bullet. Those are the ones who’ll be shouting the loudest about how Trump’s not such a bad guy after all…
Act Three: We end this production on a cheerier note.
The Austin Lounge Lizards are still doing their thing, thirty-eight years down the road (only eighteen years less than the Rolling Stones!)
Maggie and I went to last night’s show at the Freight and Salvage* in Berkeley. The band’s had a line-up change since the last time we saw them, which suggests that it’s been too long since we last went to one of their shows. It happens. The current group seems solid, though.
* Temporarily renamed the “Fright and Savage”. Though we were disappointed to see that the e and l on their neon sigh were left uncovered.
Granted, there were a few rough edges here and there, but to be fair, it’s probably been two decades or more since some of those songs were on their setlist.
The Lizards have tried out a number of things over the years–you can get damn stale doing the same thing over and over (
Rolling Stones, anyone?)–including flirtations with folk, gospel, rap, and a few other styles that are currently eluding me.
The current experiment is with medleys, pairing (and sometimes tripling and quadling) selections from their back catalog with songs from across the rock and roll era–all in their inimitable bluegrass style. By and large, it works. I didn’t know the world needed a bluegrass rendition of Radiohead’s “Creep,” but now that we have one, I’m convinced we’re all better for the experience. (For the record, “Creep” goes very nicely with “Shallow End of the Gene Pool,” an instrumental take on The Stones’ “Paint It, Black,” and The Doors’ “When You’re Strange.”)
The current California mini-tour hits Winters tonight, Felton tomorrow, Culver City on Saturday, and winds up with an Election Night show in Houston, TX. Yeah, I know Houston isn’t in California–and thank all the deities for that–but that’s the Lizards for you. If you can make one of the shows, do it. Show some support for an American icon.