Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"...Here's The Bet...Forty Years From Today...."Rihanna-The Anthology".....How Many Copies Sold?...How Much Money You Got?..."

One of life's more amusing paradoxes.

When we're young, we assume we know everything.

When we're old, we pretty much know everything worth knowing and, yet, realize it's time wasted trying to offer the young the benefit of that knowledge.

For one of the more illustrative examples, one need only turn to musical tastes.

Yesterday, in the course of a garden variety perusal of social media, I came across a video of Heart's much talked about performance of "Stairway To Heaven" at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2012.

By the way, I started to end that last sentence with "...Led Zeppelin's classic, 'Stairway To Heaven'..." but those who need to be given that much detail either
   a) aren't going to read much further at this point anyway.
   b) won't come within a hundred websites of this blog in the first place.

Transfixed as I generally am when I run across that video, I shared/sent it along down the posting pipeline with the dual purpose of giving already fans and/or generational peers a few minutes of enjoyment and, ideally, shining a little light of discovery that the young might follow back to the riches of music from the sixties and seventies that await them.

Along with the video itself, I offered this two cents/heartfelt moment of reflection...

imagine the joy...and excruciating pressure ...of performing that song in front of those guys.......
and while every generation has its musical heroes, I am reminded, every time I watch this, that, forty years from now, nothing from this time will have anything remotely close to this kind of emotional impact then....how sad that is for the kids now....and how lucky we were to be part of that era.....

As opposed to just rattling that observation right off the tip of my tongue/fingers, as the case may be, I actually found myself spending a few moments considering just exactly how I wanted to convey the message that, based on contemporary contribution, contemporary kids simply aren't going to be blessed with the quality of musical heritage that has been gifted to my life cohorts and me.

Those kind of "in my day" observations so easily come off as condescending or patronizing or, even, denigrating.

Because every generation does, in fact, have its own musical heroes.

So I said what I said and, as Forrest, Forrest Gump might offer, that was all I had to say about that.

Fast forward to today.

This morning, in the course of a garden variety perusal of social media, I came across a video of Rhianna's newest single release, a song entitled "Work".

And along with the song and video themselves, this little news item was attached.

Rihanna has broken another record with her new single “Work” featuring Drake. The song is now number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 -- making it the singer’s 14th number one single. RiRi is now third all time on the list of artists with the most Hot 100 no. 1’s, beating out Michael Jackson’s thirteen and now only Mariah Carey (18) and The Beatles (20) stand before her.


First, let's just be honest with each other.

Nobody likes to see the legends of their lives eclipsed by the legends of subsequent generations.

I was, for example, respectfully admiring of Mark McGwire's accomplishment while, at the same time, not at all thrilled that he had knocked my own childhood hero, Roger Maris', record down a notch on the list.

And reading and hearing that Rihanna is now a mere seven number one's away from eclipsing The Beatles by topping that chart of number one chart hits isn't exactly flipping my skirt either.

Even if seven more number ones sounds like a pretty tall mountain to climb, you have to take a couple of things into consideration here.

1. Rihanna is still very young and barring, God forbid, any unforeseen tragedy, or her getting anywhere near getting back with Chris Brown, chances are pretty good that she will see those next seven number ones come ka-chinging along before you can say "what? eight years of Hillary is over already?"

2. The process of getting to number one status with a song on the pop charts is measurably different in 2016 than in was in 1966. Which shouldn't take anything away from Rhianna's possible achievement down the road as that whole 154/162 games nonsense when Maris did his thing in 1961.

Worst case, Rihanna gets an asterisk, too.

Meanwhile, back at the point.

I listened to as much of Rihanna's newest chart topper as both my birth date, and musical sensibilities, would allow and, as I was about to find, truth be told, some sweet relief in the form of a stop play button, I realized that this particular hip and happening hit is, at the very least, simply the latest illustration of a theory, ne' belief, regarding the past, present and future of popular music to which I have both subscribed and shared on air more than once through the years.

Simply put, it goes a little something like this.

Turn on any radio in the year 2016, wander around the frequencies and chances are you're going to hear, with very little wandering, both Rihanna's latest chart topper and, let's say, The Beatles 1965 chart topper, "I Feel Fine".

"I Feel Fine", by the way, was the sixth of the 20 number ones credited to the Fabs, Factoid provided as a public service for those who enjoy factoids with their beverage of choice and/or advancement of the theory that today's music doesn't hold a candle to the music of yesterday.

When all our troubles seemed so far away.

Now, fast forward to, say, 2056.

Turn on any broadcasting device, wander around whatever the 2056 equivalent of frequencies will be and chances are you're going to hear, with very little wandering, The Beatles 1965 chart topper, "I Feel Fine".


Not so much.

And it's not because the Beatles work was of a more durable, lasting and enduring quality than that of Rihanna or any of her dozens/hundreds of contemporary peers.

Actually, you know what?

That's exactly why.

I can't prove it to you. And, barring any remarkable biological breakthroughs, chances are very very good that I'm not going to be around in 2056 to say "I told you, so."

All I can offer you, by way of a guarantee, is this.

Trust me.

I know what I'm talking about.

You see, I'm old now.

And I actually do know everything.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

"...And The Winner Is....No, Really, We Mean It....THE Winner Is......"

Interesting thing about the Grammys.

And we're not talking Gaga's shoes.


Here's a thing.

When reading an entire list of winners in respective categories, one could easily get the impression that the Grammy Awards are a veritable plethora of diversity and variety, shining a respectful and admiring spotlight on a wide ranging, multi-talented, multi-ethnic, multi, multi group of writers, producers, singers and/or performers.

(The "and/or" there is intentional, given the long established evidence that a singer, for example, is not necessarily much of a performer and, of course, a performer might not be much of a singer. Miranda Lambert comes to mind. Due respect and all that, you know).

Fact is that, actually, that spotlight of diversity is less illumination than it is illusion.

And it has nothing to do with racial inequality.

We have the Oscars for that.

Consider this (considerably) truncated list of last night's winners.

  • Album of the Year: Taylor Swift, 1989
  • Best Pop Vocal Album: Taylor Swift, 1989
  • Best Rock Performance: Alabama Shakes, "Don't Wanna Fight"
  • Best Rock Song: Alabama Shakes, "Don't Wanna Fight"
  • Best Alternative Music Album: Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color
  • Best Country Album: Chris Stapleton, Traveller
  • Best Country Solo Performance: Chris Stapleton, Traveller
  • Best Country Duo/Group Performance: Little Big Town, "Girl Crush"
  • Best Country Song: Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Liz Rose, "Girl Crush"
  • Best Rap Album: Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
  • Best Rap Performance: Kendrick Lamar, "Alright"
  • Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: Kendrick Lamar featuring Bilal, Anna Wise, Thundercat, "These Walls"
  • Best Rap Song: Kendrick Lamar, Kawan Prather, Sounwave, Pharrell Williams, "Alright"

13 prestigious awards given in recognition of unique and culturally impacting "artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position."  (The italicized portion a direct lift from the Recording Academy's own mission statement)

13 awards.

And, co-writers momentarily notwithstanding, 5, count em', 5 actual winners.

Of 13 awards.

Don't misunderstand here, mind you I'm not plugging in and flipping on this "As Seen On TV" axe grinder that I just bought, but I do find it pretty much impossible to not offer up one familiar audio offering.


And...let's think about this for a minute.

How many albums released in the eligibility year 2015?

Couldn't tell you. I gave Google a shot but all I could find were lists that would have taken hours to add up.

So, let's ballpark it this way.

200 albums, at any given time, on the Billboard Top 200 Chart.

Even if the chart comprehensively refreshes itself just twice in a calendar year (and that may be a conservative refresh estimate) we're talking 600 albums.

Yes, I know that 200 twice is 400. We're talking there were 200 to begin with and then another 200 and then another 200,

Total 600.

Better not let the IRS get a look at your tax return.

Okay, so we're talking 600 albums released minimum.

And that's just "charted" albums.

That doesn't count the myriad of music released on major labels that don't chart or albums released on medium, small, tiny and/or garage/basement based indy labels that never see any real light of day, airplay and have only a Carly Fiorina chance of being submitted for your approval..

Let's be Ted Cruz-ishly conservative here and say 2000 albums in the qualifying year.

That brings our total to...

2600 albums.

Minimum. Conservatively speaking.

Two thousand, six hundred albums released in the eligibility year 2015.

And, to play fair, let's say that 80% of them are crap.

80.0002, of course, if you include Kanye in that count.

80% if 2600 is 2080.

Which leaves us with 520 released albums worthy of consideration.

Minimum. Conservatively speaking.

520 albums worthy of consideration as potential Grammy nominees.

And just five people, between them, won 13 awards.


vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.




noun: pattern; plural noun: patterns

a combination of qualities, acts, tendencies, etc., forming a consistent or characteristic arrangement

5 people.

13 awards.

Sensing a pattern here?

It's ludicrous, of course, to insinuate that there should be hundreds of awards doled out at these things. Be they Grammys or Oscars or Emmys or Tonys.

It only seems like that's what they're doing sometimes. Cheesy comedy bits, badly written "witty repartee" between presenters and four minutes of commercials for every three minutes of actual ceremony accounting for that "dear God in Heaven, will this never end???" feeling. 

But, it doesn't take a Mensa member to recognize the very human quality of these award dealies.

We like the idea of diversity and variety.

But we love the idea of familiarity.

None of which, of course, should take anything away from all those folks who were nominated or those five folks who bagged those thirteen awards.

After all, it's an honor just to be nominated.

Two co-writer friends of mine, and I, were, in fact, nominated for a Grammy some years ago.

We didn't win.

But it was an honor just to.....yeah, whatever.

Bottom line here is that, this morning, at least five people in the music business woke up proud and happy.

And good for them.

Everybody loves a winner.

So imagine how much they must love a winner/winner/winner/winner/winner.

Here's a thought, though.

Let's pick up that rock lying just outside the box to kill a couple of birds.

Next year, how about they give the awards out in clusters?

Kendrick Lamar, for example, would have come to the stage last night once and been recognized for all four of his Grammys.

Alabama Shakes, their three.

You get the idea.

And the ceremony would be tight, timely and feel superbly streamlined.

In fact, come to think of it, given what's likely,  next year's ceremony could very easily be pared down to a sleek, sexy thirty minutes.

18 minutes of commercials and/or performance. Potato, patahto.

An easily bearable 5 minutes of badly written witty repartee' between presenters.

3 minutes of host intro, outro, yada yada.

And four glorious minutes of Grammys awarded and acceptance speeched.

At one time.

By one winner.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"...As Rodney King Might Say, 'Can't We All Just Sing Along With Bruno'?..."

Old saying.

Two wrongs don't make a right.

New saying.

Just ahead.

First, the following article, published at CNN.com, authored by Roxanne Jones and entitled "Right Voice, Right Time".

Roxanne Jones, a founding editor of ESPN Magazine and former vice president at ESPN, has worked as a producer and as a reporter at the New York Daily News and The Philadelphia Inquirer. She was named a 2010 Woman of the Year by Women in Sports and Events. Jones is a co-author of "Say It Loud: An Illustrated History of the Black Athlete" and CEO of the Push Marketing Group. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)    Unapologetically black, that is the attitude that Beyonce -- and to a large degree Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton -- brought to Super Bowl 50. And as a lifelong NFL fan who's attended more than 15 Super Bowls, Bey and her perfectly timed, bold, Black Panther-inspired halftime tribute was a beautiful thing to behold. It was everything.

Without asking for permission, Beyonce redefined what it means for a celebrity to command the stage while the whole world is watching. Going beyond the game and the glitter, the 34-year-old pop icon used her star power to shine a light on the problem of race in America. Singing a cleaned-up version of her new single release, "Formation," Beyonce dared to use the nation's most-viewed event as a platform to shout #blacklivesmatter. 

There were nods to Michael Jackson, to Black Greek step shows, to Malcolm X and a salute to the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panthers. For a minute, watching Beyonce and those strong black women sporting black berets and big afros march out onto the field, I forgot I was watching a Super Bowl performance. For the first time I felt like I wasn't just a spectator of the game but that the game had become a part of my black experience in America. With just a few lyrics, Beyonce connected with black women everywhere. Her performance became personal.

I like my baby hair, with baby hair and afros
I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils

Earned all this money but they neva take the country out me
I got a hot sauce in my bag, swag

Add in the pro-LGBTQ messaging of Coldplay's performance and the soulful rendition of Lady Gaga, who has long stood with the gay community, belting out the national anthem, and you have a vision of an America that I aspire to live in one day. A nation where equality and justice aren't just reflected in the words we recite, but in our everyday interactions with one another. It is a vision of America for which men such as Malcolm X, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Huey Newton and too many of my ancestors and their advocates fought and died.

Sadly, it is a vision of America that still scares some people.

So predictably, the Beyonce bashers were out in force, calling the halftime performance politically charged, an assault on police officers, scandalous. "This is football, not Hollywood," former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani complained later, showing just how out of touch he is with sports culture. 

The truth is the star-studded, billion-dollar industry that is the NFL merged with Hollywood long ago.

The problem is that Giuliani and those critics are out of touch with a lot more than sports. They are out of touch with America. They act as if the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, which disproportionately affected poor blacks, didn't happen on American soil. As if, far too many unarmed black men and boys haven't been shot and killed by police officers on American soil. As if, systematic racism doesn't exist in America. And, as if we don't have a right to protest this brutality and demand law enforcement reforms by proclaiming #blacklivesmatter. Like it or not, Giuliani, Beyonce's message was right on time.

Her "Formation" video features scenes of a young black boy dancing in front of riot police, who signal their surrender by putting their hands up, referencing the "Hands up, don't shoot" anthem of the Black Lives Matter movement inspired by the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Tidal, the streaming service of her husband, Jay Z, reportedly plans to donate $1.5 million to Black Lives Matter.

We tend to criticize celebrities for talking about politics, for taking a stand on serious issues. We resent it when stars such as Cam Newton confront race head-on as he did before the big game, saying that many fans dislike him because he's a brash, black quarterback. But in our pop culture-crazed, message-driven world, there's no denying celebrity voices can influence the lives of many. Celebrities such as Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars are part of a refreshing generation of famous voices who are showing that fame can and should be used to push for social justice. 

So I say, thank you Queen Bey, for having the creative courage to join the fight for justice. You slayed.

First, as a rule, I don't have anything but admiration for anyone, up to and including celebrities, who are willing to take a stand for something in which they passionately believe.

The operative term in that last sentence, though, being "as a rule".

Second, although I'm not particularly either enamored of, nor repelled by, the contribution that Beyonce makes to the Billboard charts, I would adamantly refute anyone who attempted to accuse me of being a "BeyBasher".

Those disclaimers divulged, here's my considered, and respectfully offered, reaction to what Ms. Jones has to say in her op/ed.


Fifty plus years ago, Ted Dealey, the then owner and publisher of the Dallas Morning News was one of several prominent newspaper executives invited to visit with the President for coffee and conversation.

Dealey took it upon himself to throw caution, and good manners, to the wind and, in front of the entire group, berate the President for what he believed to be an unsatisfactory performance in office by the Chief Executive.

In what he apparently considered to be an oration of powerful patriotism, Dealey informed the President that what America needed was "a leader on horseback" and what Dealey, and his readership, were getting for their money was a President "riding his daughter's tricycle."

The daughter Dealey referred to by name was Caroline.

And the President who was rudely taken to task was, of course, Caroline's daddy.

John F. Kennedy.

Kennedy responded with some tough language of his own, putting Dealey in his place and not bothering to waste time or breath trying to make the newspaper tycoon understand that what was objectionable wasn't the criticism, but the allusion to his six year old little girl.

A tasteless, classless and completely inappropriate show of discourtesy.

Oh, and not for nothing, but, yes, Ted Dealey was of the same Dealey family that had been prominent in Dallas politics for generations.

So prominent, in fact, that a large chunk of downtown Dallas was named in honor of them.

Perhaps you've read of it through the years.

Dealey Plaza.

Roxanne Jones seems to be fervently faithful to the belief that Beyonce's performance at the Super Bowl was nothing short of a Rosa Parks moment, an expression of moral outrage and courage, focusing a global spotlight on injustice and inequality.


Rosa Parks civilly disobeyed a city ordinance, was taken off the bus and went to jail.

That simple brave gesture was a ripple that eventually generated a wave of activism, conflict and, in no small measure, change.

Beyonce exploited the availability of a global spotlight to promote a new single release and disguised the exploitation in a cloak of protest and racial resentment. At the conclusion of the "entertainment", she was assisted to her limo and, escorted by a full contingent of the same kind of police officers she had denigrated in the "act", was driven to her luxury weekend accommodations, acquired through AirBnB to the tune of ten grand for the weekend. One can only assume that a splendid smorgasbord of edible and drinkable delights was ready and waiting her arrival.

Not exactly three hots and a cot, there, Rosa.

And while Super Bowl performers are not, by NFL policy, "paid" for their appearance, all expenses incurred resulting from that appearance are paid.

Reasonable estimates put the figure in the neighborhood of $600,000.

Not a bad neighborhood, by any stretch.

And let's not forget the aforementioned promotion of her new single, seen, and heard, on the telecast to the tune of 112 million people, give or take, in the U.S. alone.

Not a bad tune, either.

No reasonable person would fault Beyonce, or any other citizen, for that matter, for expressing a point of view.

Hijacking the half time show of the Super Bowl was, at the very least, bad business judgement.

Because for every one watcher/listener throwing their blanketed pig to the coffee table in solidarity and screaming "testify, sistah!", there were, rest assured, a couple of dozen watcher/listeners throwing their blanketed pig to their coffee tables in annoyance and/or disgust and screaming "what the fuck?....like having to listen to Coldplay isn't enough?"

And hijacking the half time show of the Super Bowl was, at worst,...

...a tasteless, classless and completely inappropriate show of discourtesy.

Roxanne Jones wrote a little over 700 words praising, and proselytizing on behalf of, "Queen Bey" and her courageous, controversial choreography.

Due respect, I've got a rebuttal that consists of just two words.



And the title of Jones' article?

"Right Voice, Right Time"?

Brings us to that new saying I promised at the outset.

Two rights can be oh, so wrong.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

"...Given What Lennon Eventually Said About Jesus, Seems Like Sunday Night Was The Perfect Place to Start It All...."

It was fifty two years ago today / Ed Sullivan booked a band to play

And still guaranteed to raise a smile / they've never yet gone out of style

Ed introduced to me and you / the act you've known for all these years.

Four kids from Liverpool who were once told by a major record label executive that "groups with guitars are on the way out."

That turned out to be one of history's less insightful predictions.

Today, February 9, is the fifty second anniversary of the first appearance of The Beatles on the Sunday night variety program that, in those days, was that time's equivalent of "must see TV", The Ed Sullivan Show.

Fifty two years accounts for a whole lot of words having been said, shared, printed and/or posted about that time, that night, those guys and that music.

So, in the spirit of commemoration, while trying to prevent a predictable lack of concentration, let's just hit a few, quick anecdotal reminiscences.

Ringo Starr on their concern about the quality of the sound the American TV audience would hear...

"The main thing I was aware of when we did the first Ed Sullivan Show was that we rehearsed all afternoon. Y'know, TV was such bad sound, so we would have 'em, like, tape our rehearsals, and we'd go up and we'd mess with the dials, y'know, that they had in the control booth. So we'd sort of got it all set with the engineer there, and we went off for a break, and -- the story has it, 'cause we didn't see it -- but the cleaner came in (laughs) while we were out, and she came to clean the room and the console, and thought, 'What are all these chalk marks?', and wiped them all off. So then we had a real hasty time trying to get some sound." 

George Harrison on one socially beneficial phenomenon of the Fab Four appearance that night...

"Later, they said that there was the least reported, or there was no reported crime. Even the criminals had a rest for, like, 10 minutes, while we were on."
And then future superstar Bruce Springsteen on the impact that Sunday night had on the culture...

"This was different. 'Shifted the lay of the land; four guys, playing and singing, writing their own material. There was no longer going to be a music producer apart from the singer, a singer who didn't write, a writer that didn't sing. It changed the way things were done. The Beatles were cool, they were classical, they were formal and created the idea of an independent unit where everything could come out of your garage."

It really was something very special.

And unique, in the sense that the culture and the country, for that matter, the world, has never really seen anything like it since.

Time and its passage, though, take a little bit of a toll.

The music, along with a little of the magic, have survived half a century, even, some might argue, continued to flourish.

The excitement, the real, palpable feeling in the pit of the stomach and center of the heart that something extraordinary was happening right before our eyes and ears....

well, that part of it, in fairness, falls into the category of "you really had to be there."

But, trust me, it really was something to see.

And hear.

Paradoxically, the music, and its impact, has continued to charm and connect to this very day.

While the band itself was, for all intents and purposes, done and done just seventy two short months after that Sullivan Sunday night.

But their contribution to the culture was undeniable.

And our affection for them both powerful and, well, affecting.

So powerful and affecting, in fact, that just eight years later, to the day, that the Fabs sang their songs on Sullivan, Paul McCartney debuted his first post-Beatles effort, Wings, in small university settings.

And...wow...were we excited about what was next in the Beatles history?

Damn right we were.

And did we eagerly hang on every note and chord that came our way?

Damn right we did.

And did we lovingly indulge a lot of what was, honestly, pure crap from that period?

Damn right we did.

(Find your worn, frayed copy of the LP Wings Wildlife and cringe while you re-visit),

Because, you see, it didn't matter.

Love is, and was, blind.

And we loved those guys.

For all the reasons that those aforementioned sayings, sharings, printings and postings have offered and continue to offer to this day.

And for all the reasons that every new generation that discovers the music offer when asked why they've come to love it, as well.

Magic, by its nature, is both elusive and illusory.

Making it difficult, if not impossible, to specifically define.

Let alone trace back to an exact moment of first appearance.

This particular magic, though, is, like the artists who created it, easily traced back to an exact moment of first appearance.

8:12 PM, Eastern.

February 9, 1964.

Oh, yeah.

Yeah, yeah.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

"...Pick A Card, Any Card...Or A Target, Any Target..."

Talk radio is a lot like magic.

Sometimes, in fact, very often, the key to being successful with it is being able to direct the listening audience where you want it to go.

Or misdirect,  as the case may be, if the need be.

Those skills come in especially handy on slow news days.

Obviously, when something major is happening, conversation, debate, argument, discussion, dissent and/or simple chit chat about that said something between show host and show listeners pretty much happens by itself.

No poking, prodding or provocation required.

That's one reason why, regardless of our personal, political persuasions and/or positions, all of us who do any talk radio hosting at any time are likely, at least once per show, to say a prayer of thanks to the good Lord above for providing this life with the bountiful harvest of chat chaff that is Donald Trump.

Sarah Palin.

Ted Cruz.

Lacey Lafferty (hometown favorite, do the Google).

You get the idea.

When nothing out of the ordinary is going on, though, it gets a little more challenging on the "hey, we want to hear what YOU have to say about it" side of the microphone.

That's why most experienced talk show-sters have a folder (mentally or literally) of fallback topics.

Subjects pretty much sure to set the phone lines afire.

And what the conversations lack in, say, sophistication and/or insight, they more than make up for in "filler fodder"

Which, just between you and me, is an inside the biz slang term for "I got twelve minutes to kill here and absolutely nothing is going on worth talking about..."

 Here's just a few of the live grenades I keep stashed in my news/talk knapsack, just in case.

  • Same sex marriage
  • Uni-sex rest room access
  • Same sex workplace equality
  • Okay, actually anything that starts out with "same sex"
  • Donald Trump (yeah, I know, already mentioned, but, still, almost always sure to start a new back and forth in one way or another.
  • Obama (the shelf life on this one is ticking, given Jan 2017 is so close, but, for now, the hatred of this guy in my neck of the broadcast woods is still good for damn near a whole show)

two words that, when put together, brings a flood of phone calls into the studio line that makes a Tsunami look like the splash Uncle Fred causes when he eases down into the bathtub.




I just got three incoming calls this second.

And I don't even have a phone in this room.

Monday morning show prep is on today's "get started to research a little" list and, lo and behold, thank you, Jesus for never failing to bring it, there's a brand spanking new development in the world of high caliber conversation.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit has ruled that Americans have a “fundamental right” to so-called assault weapons, a major victory for gun rights.

A three judge panel ruled that Maryland’s Firearm Safety Act of 2013, ban against what the court called “the vast majority of semi-automatic rifles commonly kept by several million American citizens”, is a blunt violation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

“In our view, Maryland law implicates the core protection of the Second Amendment — the right of law-abiding responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home,” Chief Judge William Traxler wrote in the divided ruling.

In his ruling, Judge Traxler sent the case back to the District Court for review, demanding they apply “strict scrutiny” – a stringent constitutional test that almost no gun control legislation can survive.

“This case was a major victory for the NRA and gun rights advocates,” said Adam Winkler, a law professor at UCLA who specializes in Second Amendment law. “This opinion is an important one because it subjects important gun control laws to the most strict form of judicial scrutiny.”
While the Supreme Court has not yet weighed in on these cases, Justice Clarence Thomas has complained that the Second Amendment was being relegated to “a second-class right.”

“If a broad ban on firearms can be upheld based on conjecture that the public might feel safer (while being no safer at all), then the Second Amendment guarantees nothing,” he wrote, and added that those earlier decisions enshrining the right to gun ownership shouldn’t be expected to “clarify the entire field.”

Obviously, the general subject matter isn't even remotely close to new.

And while this latest juicy judicial tidbit is fresh, the primary pinpoint of pondering is also solidly grounded on well trod territory.

Still and all, not a whole lot of the ordinary going on at the moment (Donald and Sarah on the down low for now, but, hope springs eternal) and while there is always a good chance something sensational and salacious will pop between now and 05:30 Monday, I'm ready to lock and load on this latest smack-down attempt on the Second Amendment.

"So, join me Monday as we talk about the 4th Circuit Court giving those who feel the need to own an AR-15 the full and legal right to do so.....and, of course, the latest in weather and traffic information..."

Always looking for a different way to talk about the same old things kind of guy that I am, though, I already know how I want to come at this.

First, though, in the spirit of "fair and well balanced" discussion (yeah, I know, Fox News really has made that too much of a punchline to take seriously, right), here's a key fact I just grabbed on line that I think is germane to our conversation.

A fact that addresses the legitimate argument gun enthusiasts offer that the whole "assault rifle" controversy is bogus.

The AR-15 can fire between 45 and 60 rounds per minute depending on the skill of the operator. This rate of fire is comparable to other semi-automatic firearms, but pales in comparison to fully automatic assault rifles, some of which can fire more than 1,000 rounds per minute.


Quite an obvious difference between the ability to fire one thousand rounds per minute, which by my Louisiana sixth grade math skills comes out at sixteen bullets per second.....and a mere 60 rounds per minute, which calculates out at a calm, easy going one bullet...per second.

So, here's how I'm most likely going to put the on air question of the hour.

And, as a little extra Monday morning show entertainment bonus, throw in a little magic.

"hey, I want to hear what YOU have to say about this latest ruling by the 4th District Court of Appeals..so give me a call...and here's the question....taking into account any reasonable justification, from protecting your family and property to shooting animals from a well camo'ed hiding place and everything in between, why do you feel the need to own a weapon that can fire one bullet per second? OTHER than the only reason so many people seem able to offer up.

"Because you can."

This ain't my first morning talk show rodeo, so I can assure you that two things will happen when that question goes out on air.

The phones will light up because, hey, although I didn't actually say the two words, even the hint of the words "gun" and "control" perhaps being insinuated will bring out the faithful by the 600 round clip.

That faithful, by the way, will offer nothing even remotely close to anything in response to the question beyond a literal or easy to spot variation of the one answer I said was out of play.

Because they can.

And, as for the magic?

Well, those who are waiting for the screener to pick up the phone, letting it ring and making the lights on her console blink furiously but then actually heard me say "OTHER than because you can" will cause those lights on the console to vanish.

As they hang up.

Because they haven't got any other answer to offer.