Tuesday, December 19, 2017

What Christmas Songs - versions/artists - Do You Hate?

I like to listen to a lot of different kinds of music.
I have to admit to being a guitar nut, so pretty much any music with good guitar will attract me like moth to a flame.
This is why I tend to hate rap, not because I'm a racist schmuck, but because rap very, very rarely has any guitar parts.  Someone talking over a phat beat is not something I care to listen to.
Gibson Musical Instruments used to have ads in guitar magazines showing a person from mid-chest to knees, sitting with a Les Paul guitar in their lap.  The caption of the ad said, "Lyrics, wasted time between guitar solos."  That pretty much sums up a great portion of my musical tastes.
When it comes to Christmas music, my tastes are very traditional.
I love instrumental music. There are some great instrumental Christmas albums out from over the decades. We've all heard the lyrics to many Christmas classics so many thousands of times that instrumental versions are awesome, and let us add the lyrics in our heads.
So, when an artist "gets jazzy" and tries to change an old Christmas song to make it their own, they generally fail in my estimation.
First on my list of hated Christmas song versions is, of course, Barbara Streisand's version of Jingle Bells.
I consider it a good Christmas season for myself if I somehow escape hearing Bab's version of Jingle Bells.  I cannot, for the life of me, understand why any radio host would play this travesty of a Christmas song.  I think I got my point across on that one.
Another Christmas song version that can ruin my week is Bruce Springsteen's version of Santa Claus is Comin' to Town.  I have a dear, dear friend who loves, loves, loves each and every song by Bruce Springsteen.  As in, my friend sees no error in any song choice or performance by Mr. Springsteen, ever.  That's cool.  I have bands and artists that have done little wrong in my mind, but even my favorite artists let out a stinky fart of  a song now and then, so I have no understanding of liking EVERY SINGLE THING a musical artist ever does.  The "constipated" Bruce Springsteen showed up at the studio the day they recorded this son and he sings as if he's trying to rid his body of a particularly reluctant bit of excrement.  Excrement, that's the perfect word for this song.
I am truly sorry if you love this version of Santa's Comin', but I cannot abide it.
Albert Einstein stated that noting can exceed the speed of light, but I have to say I believe my hand moving to change a radio channel when one of these two songs comes on quite possibly passes through the light speed barrier in any Christmas season.
If I thought for a while, I could come up with a bunch more Christmas song versions that drive me up the wall but I'll just list a couple more and open the floor for your comments.
I'd love to know what Christmas song versions are out there that you hate!
Oh yeah, anything by Rhianna. I had the TV's song channel on one time and they were playing Christmas music and I heard a song by someone who was blatantly singing off-pitch. I went over to look at the TV to see who was able to get a song recorded and played in public in which the singing "artist" was so obviously pitchy. It was Rhianna.
Later I heard another Christmas song with the same off-pitch singing.  Sure enough, going over to the TV revealed the culprit to be Rhianna.  Maybe she's talent-less, maybe she needs to quit smoking, but either way, her Christmas songs were terrible. If "I" can tell you're off-pitch, you're off-pitch BAD!
How about some hate for Dean Martin's version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer?
I hate most lounge singer's songs of ANY type, but Christmas ones the most because the lounge singer types try, in vain, to make the songs sound hip and happening.  They invariably fail at this.  And, to add insult to injury, Mr. Martin has the gall to call the legendary Rudolph, "Ol' Rudy" in the song. How dare he?
OK, let me have it. Show me the error of my ways on Bruce's or Bab's Christmas tunes. Or add to my list and tell me which Christmas songs out there for public consumption send bad shivers up your spine.
Merry Christmas 2017!
God Bless You All

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Doing My Duty as an America Citizen

I had jury duty today.Don't worry, I wasn't chosen, so my strange way of looking at the world wasn't foisted upon the judicial system.
The morning was spent in "The Jury Room" where we all waited to be called, or not called in my case.
They bragged about the unlimited coffee they kept fresh for us.
This was a non-issue for me because I hate coffee in all it's nefarious, EE-VIL forms.
But they also supplied the jury room with an old TV set on a rolling cart, and below it on the shelves were: 1) A VHS VCR, 2) A jumble of old, pre-recorded VHS tape movies, and 3) a stack of 300, 500, and 1000 piece puzzles.
They had Robocop, so I was planning to start that if things got desperate enough to watch an old VHS tape.
The clouds parted for me when they mentioned that, for jurors, the building's cafe gave out free coffee and hot chocolate.
I'm not much for hot drinks, but hot chocolate?  Heck yeah.
So I went down there and walked past the meager little coffee cups and got me a McDonald's medium sized Styrofoam soda "cup" and topped it off with the free hot chocolate.
I immediately scalded my tongue, mouth, and the first few inches of my throat. That was the 12,654th reminder of why I avoid hot drinks.
I had to wait over 30 minutes for the chocolate to be drinkable, but it lasted me a while.
I spent a solid hour reading one of my camera manuals on my little tablet, I like to read non-fiction in waiting rooms, and learned some camera features that I either didn't know were there or how to better use features I knew about.
Then I dozed a while, I don't think I snored, but I wasn't awake enough to be sure, so...
Then just before lunch time, they let the rest of us go.
The state of Florida uses the list of licensed drivers for their pool of folks to choose for jurors, not the registered voter rolls like many people think.
I've known a lot of people in my life that didn't register to vote simply becasue they don't want to be a juror.
You'd get a surprise if you assumed you were "safe" from that in Florida.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Falcon 9 Rocket Launch, 1:26AM 8/14/16

Nikon D750, Nikkor 18-35mm lens at 18mm, f/22 ,  352sec., ISO 100
My younger daughter leaves this week for graduate school in Sweden.
We went with her older sister to Cocoa Beach, Florida to watch one more night rocket launch together.
Having grown up here on the Space Coast, space shuttle and rocket launches have been a recurring part of their lives.
She knows it could possibly be years, if she's ever able to see another rocket launch.
They never get old.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Trump Asked Russia To Hack American Government Computers!

Not really.  That was just the catchiest title I could think of.


WARNING! What follows here is a political screed, written by me, John Masters.  If you are thin-skinned, do NOT read this.  This is me angry and letting off steam.  I'm a really nice guy, but even nice guys get mad now and then.  Think of this as me getting my anger out "on paper" and putting it to sea in a bottle.

To  those who feel that "Trump invited Russia to hack into US State Department servers!"

Um, NEWS FLASH!  Trump was engaging in something called "sarcasm" when he "asked" Russia to find Hillary's emails. 
 
Please, for the love of Pete, Google the meaning of the word "sarcasm."

The word Trump used, FIND, does not, and never will mean, "hack into the United States State Department, or any other US government computers," mainly because...

Hillary's server she used for her emails was NEVER, EVER, EVER part of the U.S. State Department!  Hillary's server she personally had set up in the bathroom closet of a Denver facility (can't make this stuff up folks) used during her disastrous tenure as US Secretary of State WAS PRIVATE, remember? NOT in any way, shape, or form was this PRIVATE SERVER part of any US Government computer system.  I guess the media and the left didn't know or conveniently forget this in their desire for Trump to be "investigated."  That Hillary Clinton in her official capacity, knowingly placed secure US documents on an extremely vulnerable private server was a big part of why she was investigated regarding the emails in the first place.  

The irony here is thick enough to need a big man wielding a sharp machete to even scratch the surface of it!

The media, and apparently many Americans, were totally unprepared to handle the concept of someone running for POTUS to use sarcasm. 

The media, and the US political left in general, have always seen themselves as more hip, smarter, and better in every meaningful way than us rubes on the right.  Is it beginning to dawn on you that Donald Trump got under the skin of the media and the left in your hunger to see him go down?

You gotta admit, Trump TOTALLY made the media and the left in general look like the clueless fly-over-country types this time.

Here's the bottom line:

It is IMPOSSIBLE for ANYONE to go "find" Hillary's emails because:

A.) The server no longer exists.  It hasn't existed for a couple of years now.   It is IMPOSSIBLE to hack a non-existent computer.

B.) According to Hillary, she had deleted the 30,000 emails.  Consequently, even if the server still existed, the emails are gone, because, according to Hillary whom we all know never lies, the 30,000 emails were long ago deleted.

The absolute worst, most serious charge that could possibly be drummed-up and leveled against Donald Trump here is simply that he advocated a foreign nation to break into a private computer server.
I personally think that'll go nowhere.   

But the mainstream in-the-bag-for-Hillary media and the left tend to be pretty vindictive and so, I could be wrong.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

How I See Things

My problem, is that I usually DON'T see things.

I'm one of those people that can travel the same path to and from, say, work, every day but then cannot tell you what businesses are along this well-traveled path.

I don't know if that's good, because I'm concentrating on driving, or bad, because I'm not aware of my surroundings as much as I should be.

But when I have my camera, I suddenly see everything.

This orange sunset in the windows of this boat caught my peripheral vision on Wednesday evening.

Had I not had my camera and was instead walking to meet a friend, I would have never bothered to stop and look over there, much less stop and walk back and forth like I did to get the best shot.

"Zoom with your feet" is good advice, even if you have a zoom lens on your camera. 


Sometimes the perspective change from using your feet instead of that zoom (if you can, but not advisable at the edge of a cliff) makes a lot of difference.


Nikon D750, Nikkor 28-300mm lens at 190mm, f/8 ,  1/80sec., ISO 800

Sunday, July 10, 2016

While Two Black Men Die At The Hands Of Police Every Week (on average)...



   Using FBI Supplementary Homicide Reports and CDC statistics,  between January 1, 2009 and
December 31, 2012, there were an average of 4,472 black men killed by black men in America each of those years.

   Dr. Richard Johnson, criminologist at the University of Toledo, studied the details in these statistics from the FBI and the Centers for Disease Control, and calculated that the average number of black men killed in both justified and unjustified police shootings to be 112 during each of those same four years.

   So, 2.5% of the yearly average of 4,472 black men killed by each other or cops, were death by cop. Again, FBI and CDC statistics.

   We're having internet rage, riots and police shootings over that 2.5% of black men's deaths, while ignoring the 97.5% of yearly black men's deaths that are within their own communities.

   Not much on the news about the 97.5% of black deaths due to minority on minority violence, except the regular reports of how many black men's deaths there are every week in Chicago.  The people in Chicago are killing each other at such an alarming rate, many of which are with guns in this city with a huge number of restrictive gun laws.  Go figure.

   And speaking of deaths that aren't making the news...

   According to the Centers for Disease Control, 12.8% of the United States population is black, yet OVER 35% of the yearly abortions in America are black babies.  During that time period, abortion deaths of Hispanic babies was 21%, while other minorities made up 7% more of the total abortion number.  At LEAST 63% of abortions yearly are brown skinned babies and some other minorities.

   Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, was a believer in the "science" of eugenics, which she preached with a missionary fervor.

   A foundational thesis of the founding of Planned Parenthood, and that Margaret Sanger taught to anyone who would listen, was that "undesirables" should not BE ALLOWED to reproduce.  Black people were very much at the top of Ms. Sanger's list of folks she didn't want reproducing in the world, and specifically America. 

   Planned Parenthood is still the largest abortion provider in America today, by far.

   So, with the CDC yearly abortion number percentages above, it's brutally clear that Planned Parenthood still kills babies of minority mothers in numbers that would please Ms. Sanger and her eugenics believing pals of the early/mid 20th century.

   Adolf Hitler used the "science" of eugenics as a basis for his attempted extermination of Jews, the diseased, the handicapped, mentally unstable, gypsies, etc. in the 1930s and 1940s.

   In short, the numbers of minorities killed by police pales in comparison to the numbers of minorities killed by other minorities, and THAT number pales in comparison to the numbers of black and Hispanic babies killed by legal abortions in America each and every year.

   Police shootings of black men are being used as excuses for riots and the murder of on duty police officers, while the elephants in the room, the many thousands of minority on minority deaths, and the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of minority babies dying in abortions each year are pretty much ignored.

   When the media report, and the people of America get at each others' throats about the 2 deaths of black men by cops average weekly rate, I mentally think, "Why isn't anyone freaking  out about the 4,350 black babies that were aborted the same week those two black men were killed by police, and 4,350 black babies aborted the next week, and 4,350 black babies aborted the next week..."
   That my friends, is legal genocide.
   It's kinda hard to ask for God's mercy and blessing on America when that many innocent deaths happen day after day, year after year.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Gibson Four Conductor, Quick Connect Wiring Differences

A Public Service Announcement


Gibson neck and bridge four conductor humbuckers, wired traditionally, with solder, and to be used only as humbuckers without any phase switching or coil cutting, has long had the same wiring color scheme as one another.

When Gibson began to use printed circuit boards (PCBs) in many guitars like the Les Paul and the SG, at least since 2011 or so, there's a confusing difference in the bridge pickup's coils magnetic polarity and in the wiring color scheme WHEN WANTING TO WIRE IN OUT OF PHASE SWITCHING AND COIL SPITTING.

I have evaluated several different four conductor quick connect pairs of Gibson humbucker pickups and found the same wiring changes in all the bridge pickups.

I created the following picture and am posting it here in case others out there take a four conductor Gibson humbucker from the quick connect era and want to cut off the connector and wire it in WITH either an out of phase switching scheme and/or wiring in switches for coil splitting.

The several sets of four conductor quick connect neck/bridge pairs of Gibson humbucker pickups I've had all had these exact details, and I checked each set several times to be sure of what I was seeing.

 I am including my email address too in case someone sees a problem in my drawing.  I welcome corrections.