Governor Chris Christi & The GW Bridge Shuffle

 

Governor Chris Christi & The G.W. Bridge Shuffle

 With all of the furor surrounding the fiasco of creating massive traffic jams for four days in September 2013 at the approaches to the George Washington Bridge, there is much to be learned about the facts of this case. On January 10, 2014, Governor Chris Christi faced reporters for two hours, he seemed quite upset, declared his innocence, and spoke of the actions he had taken and will be taking.

There are two primary reasons that people declare their innocence in a matter such as this: one is because they don’t want to own up to their actions, errors, and accountability and the other reason is because they’re innocent. As I write, there’s no information that I’ve seen that proves that the Governor knew about this or authorized his staff or his appointees at The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to take this action. The bulk of the evidence is email transimissions and that doesn’t mean that a cagey person can’t relay commands verbally to avoid such documentation. This is particularly true of people in high office who delegate communications constantly and in confidential “executive” session.

To briefly review what seems to factually determined at this point is that a man by the name of David Wildstein, who was appointed by Governor Christi to a high paying, executive position with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey ordered lanes to be closed during rush hour on the busiest bridge in the world on September 6, 2013 and the lane closing occurred on September 9th – 12th . Wildstein, is an avid Christi supporter was also a friend of the Governor when they were in school. For years, the political appointements to the executive positions of the Port Authority were noted to be acts of cronyism and political patronage, and not finding the best people to fill the important, powerful and complex jobs.

The current case seems to suggest that the denial of politicians who consistently state that making these appointments are based on talent and competence are hollow and meaningless. The appoinments are financial plums handed to favorites. It’s a profoundly flawed process.

The Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Bridget Ann Kelly, on August 13, 2013 sent an email to Wildstein which read “time for some traffic in Fort Lee.” The reply from Wildsteind came within moments and was simply “Got it.” This brief correspondence clearly indicates to me that this wasn’t an idea that simply popped up and was acted on with thoughtless spontaneity, there was a history, a plan or a discussion that was being put into effect on August 13th . It was pre-meditated.

So why did they want to back up traffic into Fort Lee? It seems the Mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich, who is a democrat, wasn’t willing to back Governor Christi’s gubernatorial reelection and this was retaliation for the Mayor exercising his freedom of speech, freedom and fundamental right to make a choice.

Here’s a hypothetical situation to consider: If I was ticked off at the way things are in this state, and actually I am, and I decided to create a monumental traffic jam to make a statement and demonstrate my pwer, I’d be arrested. I’d be prosecuted. Was this action by the Governor’s supporters about demonstrating power? Yes it was, that and more.  If Governor Christi is sincere about being repulsed by this behavior, he needs to support vigorous prosecution, let them have their day in court and if convicted, whack the bastards. No pardons Governor, let the consequence happen.

David Wildstein didn’t get fired: he quit. His attorney said he was going to anyway. Did he have the authority to do what he did? Was it abuse of power? Was it illegal to block traffic? No soft landing here Governor: Whack him. Yes, I know, he’s a friend and likely a financial supporter too. Did you know that politicians sometimes give very nice jobs to “thank” financial supporters? I hope this doesn’t leave you breathless, but they do.

 Bridget Ann Kelly was fired. This is someone who was so close to the Governor, was he totally obvlivious to what she was doing and saying? Was she believing that she had the right to do this? Was it abuse of her authority? How could she order such a thing? Come on Prosecutors,do it: Whack her.

Let Wildstein and Kelly, and any other person who acted on this, covered it, or who was in a positition of responsibility and failed to exercise that responsibility appear in court. Let their attorneys give good faith, aggressive defense and see what comes squeezing out of the proceedings. I would be charged if I did what they did. They should be charged for doing what they did.

Governor Christi has been trying to overcome a reputation of being a bully. This doesn’t help – if he’s not a bully then some of the people very close to him that he entrusted and empowered sure as hell are. He also is trying to show he can work over political party divides and find solutions. Using political power to punish people who don’t agree with you, don’t side with you, don’t vote for you or openly question you is an attempt at tyrannical suppression of free speech. It’s an attack on what it means to vote your conscience and beliefs. It’s despicable.

So is the Governor a bully? I don’t know: I think he might be. I have to question the values that drove his office, the behind the scene conversations, and the thinking behind strategies that launched this stupid, foolish act by people who arguably are intelligent enough to get to high levels of public service and exercise public abuse. What’s the culture behind the public declarations of compassion, caring and open mindedness? I can’t judge someone’s intent, I can only judge their actions.They know their intent. I do know a foul smell when I encounter one.

Political appointees tend to get soft landings in cases like this. She lost her job? She should have lost her job. She’ll get another one and if it doesn’t go to court, her story will end with a pile of emails. We’re a nation of laws: “poorly written and randomly enforced” according to the remarkable statesman Frank Zappa.

Perhaps one day, laws will be truly observed and uniformly enforced. This blog is being written the day after Major League Baseball suspended one of the game’s greatest superstars, Alex Rodriguez, for an entire season for violating the well established drug policy. He’s one of baseballs’ most recognized players, certainly one of the richest and they found he didn’t follow the rules so they gave him a consequence and in the process sent a message to others who may consider abusing drugs or using performance enhancing drugs. “It doesn’t matter who you are, the rules are going to be applied.” Good message I think.

Perhaps our political leaders need to consider this example. Perhaps, one day, we’ll see Police Officers willing to arrest another Police Officer who drives drunk rather than let him or her go on driving or carry him or her home. Don’t tell me it doesn’t happen: it absolutely does happen. Perhaps one day, politicians will enforce the laws on themselves, their own staff, friends and cronies who violate the law and do what they all swear to do when they take the oath of office: uphold the constitution.

When pigs fly.

What’s your opinion? I’d like to hear from you. Respond on this blog or send an email to dave@openmindedmic.com   I promise that if you disagree, I won’t cause a major traffic jam in your town to punish you. That promise, however, doesn’t extend to my staff.

Prof Dave’s String Changing Tips

Prof Dave’s String Changing Tips

To make your guitar or bass sound better, perform better

& last longer, consider the Professor’s advice.

 

  1. 1.     Before you even change the strings – when was the last time you had a professional setup? If the neck is out of line or intonation is incorrect, new strings won’t help. If you don’t know when the last setup was, it’s probably time  to get a setup.
  2. 2.     If you change string gauges (for example go from light to extra light), be aware this may necessitate a setup all by itself. It’s common, string tension, pressure and size can make a huge difference on the neck and intonation.
  3. 3.     After removing your old strings, clean the areas that you can’t get to like on the body under the strings, the bridge, fretboard, headstock and tuning machines.
  4. 4.     Use fretboard cleaner and conditioner on an ebony, rosewood or ironwood fretboard to clean and treat the wood. These products may be lemon oil, teak oil, walnut oil or turpentine (pine oil). NEVER USE FRETBOARD CLEANING PRODUCTS ON A MAPLE FRETBOARD. Rosewood, ebony and ironwood are treated during manufacture, not finished. Maple fretboards are finished and fretboard cleaners will make a big mess on finished surfaces.   On a maple fretboard, and the rest of the guitar, use a regular guitar cleaner – polish.
  5. 5.     While the strings are off, use a wrench and gently tighten the tuning machines. This is often overlooked and they can become loose over time. Remember: GENTLY!
  6. 6.     Use a stringwinder when putting strings on. It not only makes the job quicker, but helps the strings wind evenly.

 

Get more tips online at www.openmindedmic.com and click on “blogs” and then Prof. Dave’s Guitar & Bass Buying Advice

On Mitt, Victims, NPR, FNN & Other Toxins

On Mitt, Victims, NPR, FNN & Other Toxins

No spin? No SPIN???? Let’s get it right: the SPIN IS NON=STOP.

I’m not an avid NPR listener although I do support public radio and television and think they have a value. I usually listen to NPR nightly news where they do air various viewpoints and that word “balance” isn’t an obscene misrepresentation of what they do, just a bit misguided. I also like NPR programs on Saturday where I learn about cars and gardening even though I’m dangerous with tools and live on a plot of sand near the ocean where nothing grows except nut grass. This week, I heard some absolute trash on NPR. Very slanted, very misleading. To my liberal friends and readers, don’t cry “foul” quite yet, I’ll get to the conservative propagandists on the “fair and balanced” network soon, but for now, I’m going to point out the liberal propaganda.

Coming home from a show on Wednesday night, I turned on NPR’s WHYY in Philadelphia and heard a few minutes of a talk show. I didn’t get the names, and turned it off because it was so slanted, especially when made several inferences and then treated the inference as if it were fact. I thought Bill O’Reilly had a patent on that process.

In the interview, the woman being questioned noted a “scientific” study where sophisticated imaging of the brains of conservatives and liberals showed actual differences in neural structures and then she started to name some specifics including the “fact” that in conservatives, the “amygdala” was larger than in liberals: side note, she mispronounced “amygdala” giving me the impression that she had no idea what she was talking about.

What’s the “amygdala?” In a trivia contest, my hand would shoot right up. I used to teach this stuff and I’d hit the buzzer and say “it’s the part of the brain that’s believed to control our fear response.” Unless this was jeopardy when Alex would shake his head and tell me I don’t get credit because my answer wasn’t in the form of a question, which we all know is a tactic reserved for politicians.

Back to being a professor. When I heard a student say  something like this – point to a “scientific study” or express a “percentage” along with an assertion (four out of five dentists recommend… or 64% of all blondes have brown eye: someone actually stated that once) or make an assertion that I either believed was outrageous, wrong or just in conflict with my own common sense, I wouldn’t declare it to be “bullshit”, even if I thought it was. I’d ask them to “cite the source.” Give credibility to the comment and at least give me a chance to check it out for myself and not depend on a comment as revealing a fact.

The host conducting the interview never did that or anything like it as the guest continued to make rather wild and what I believe were invalid assertions about conservative and liberal brains and minds. She also never did comment on what the significance of a larger amygdala actually is. She did however make some generalities about the meaning, the most interesting of them being that liberals were more able to accept and enjoy plays that didn’thave a happy ending. I’m not making this up. Her inferences from the results of this study, amazingly enough, seemed to indicate that liberals were more open minded, better abstract thinkers and generally superior. This is in conflict with my own common sense where I personally know many people who are conservative and very open minded. I don’t think it’s radical or irrational to say that there are differences in mindsets, but this was a gross overgeneralization, and lacking credibility. This was bullshit.

Now let’s look at the conservative toxic waste aired by the Fox News Network. When Mitt Romney’s comments on the now famous video became public and spread on youtube and social media, and the networks,  the “Fair and Balanced” Fox News Network began a process they’ve done over and over again through the years: they invented the news instead of reporting it.

One “reporter” after another on this house of barely intelligent discourse, attacked Mother Jones Magazine, the source of the Romney video as being extremely liberal. This does appear to be true, but – perhaps I should be clearer – BUT the political leanings of Mother Jones is absolutely, completely, 100% IRRELEVANT. It wasn’t them reporting on what they state Mitt said, or making inferences into what his words meant. They released a video where the candidate did the talking, said what he said and there was no context to be manipulated. Romney said it – it’s true whether it was Mother Jones or Rush Lumbaugh who put it out to the media. There is no “source” issue here at all and yet Fox News, over and over, complained about that. It was an empty assertaion for the sake of attack and diminishing the credibility of the information. Deduct a point from the “fair and balanced” scoreboard.

This is a presidential candidate and “fair and balanced” reporting should indicate that if that’s what the candidate said, then that’s what he said whether you like it or not. But his is about slants, not reporting. Yet another incredible misdirection employed by FNN or put another way, a total absence of credibility. Truly, this is  exceptionally poor reporting.

So about Mitt’s comment and the 47% of people who believe they are victims. What’s your source Mitt? Are you overgeneralizing? Are there good, hard-working, independent people with good minds and hearts who are supporting the President’s reelection? This “47%” strikes me as relevant and supported as 64% of blondes have brown eyes. A.K.A. a fabrication and when spoken or written many will simply believe it even if it’s pure fiction. I believe this number is pure fiction or at least, I’ve not seen any credible evidence that it’s not. In the meantime, the “fair and balanced” reporters on Fox News Network have started a montra that Mitt hsould run on this statement: a campaign with a fabricated foundation. Good advice guys.

Perhaps, and this is conjecture on my part, if you listen to Mr. Romney’s words, you might get a sense as I did, that he was appealing for contributions from who he believes are the real “victims’ in America today: the very wealthy who are having the wealth that they’ve accumulated attacked by the 47% of those people who want the government to provide for them. Aren’t people who look to others to work for them and support them often referred to as “deadbeats?”

Since this controversy erupted, Mitt’s supporters on FNN and elsewhere have stated that Romney didn’t say he wasn’t concerned with this 47% as people, but as getting their votes in November. I think that’s perhaps a fabricated interpretation after the fact, but then again, I’m interpreting his statements as he really didn’t care about these people. He didn’t make any mention of their votes in his comments and his demeanor seemed rather flat. This is an interpretation on my part, and I’m not sure what his intent was, just his what his words were. Similarly, those defending his words as merely writing off the votes are also engaging in speculation. The are reading into the intent and so am I.

Yes, I engaged in conjecture. That’s one of the differences between Bill O’Reilly and me. He treats his conjecture as if it were “fact”, not conjecture. Other differences include that he has a very large audience and on a good week I have a couple of hundred readers; he’s wealthy and I’m not; I have a Seeing Eye dog and he doesn’t need one; I’m good looking and he’s a – no, I actually think Kermit is cute – O’Reilly’s not..

Some NPR programming and what appears to be the lion’s share of Fox News Network’s broadcasting seem to be trying to create “balance” by expanding the quantity of misrepresentation and misinformation to equal one another.  Mitt Romney’s comments were wrong and I seriously doubt, in spite of Fox News Networks assertion that Romney is right, that there is any credibility or actual support for this contention. Even more regrettable than the leak, and the content of Mitt’s kissing up to wealthy backers, is that such back room discussion happens all the time in politics. We don’t’ hear it in the grandiose speeches, but it’s there and it’s driving our politics. The country is sick and they keep feeding us poison. Even worse, we keep consuming it.

What’s your opinion? I’d like to hear from you. Please reply on this blog. “Be Heard.” Prof. Dave

Are You Looking For A VERY Low Priced Acoustic Guitar?

Are You Looking For A VERY Low Priced Acoustic Guitar?

It’s not a sin to go with an inexpensive acoustic guitar because of personal budget restraints, you’re new to playing guitar and don’t want to invest big money until you know you like it, or you want a low priced acoustic to take with on the road and don’t want to take your higher priced gear. There are many other reasons not you may not want to spend a lot on a guitar, but there’s not reason to buy a piece of junk. In the lower price range junk is certainly out there, so beware.

 

Of the acoustic guitars I recommend in the lower price range, none are made from solid wood; they’re all laminated which is a nice word for plywood. Laminated woods vary widely in qualitLaminated woods vary widely in quality, some are durable with good materials and laminated under high pressure and some vaguely resemble wood.

 

Here are my low priced acoustic guitar picks:

 

  • Applause AA13 Mini Bowl Acoustic Guitar sells online everywhere for $149.95 and for the money, it’s a good choice. Applause is the low-priced import line of Ovation and this guitar shares many virtues of its higher priced cousins. The sound is good, playability a cut above and once you get used to the bowl body, it’s very comfortable.
  • Epiphone PR150 Acoustic Guitar sells everywhere for $129.95 and it’s a winner at that price. The guitar looks very nice, the sound quality is good and it’s not hard to play. The construction, fit and finish are surprising in such a low priced guitar.
  • EKO Ranger Acoustic Guitar. EKO?? What’s an EKO? EKO is Europe’s largest guitar maker, but trust me, this model isn’t made in their Italian Custom Shop. I haven’t seen this online at any major music retailer, but I ‘ve seen it in stores and for about $150.00 or so, it’s not bad. Good sound, not as attractive as the Epiphone or Applause, but not a bad finish and good playability. This guitar also has a quick and easy to use adjustment to customize string height without altering the tuning. This is worth taking a look at.
  • Ibanez SGT110VS Sage Series sells for $179.95 at the major online vendors and it’s a very good low-priced choice Ibanez competes well, sometimes leading the pack, in every price range where they compete and in the low cost market, it’s not exception.
  • Jasmine by Takamine S34C is a cutaway that sells online for $129.99 and it’s nice looking, plays decently and sounds good for the price. Takamine makes a huge assortment of acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars and basses and they do well in all markets.

 

In the lower cost guitars, in spite of my affection for Fender, I don’t care for their low-priced acoustic guitars and feel they sell mostly on the Fender name, not the performance or construction. I also don’t recommend low priced Stagg guitars, Dean, or any brand that sells thorugh stores that have “Mart” in their name or besides selling guitars sells paint, clothing, major appliances, tires, prescription medicine, eye glasses or hearing aids. At these stores the instruments tend to be horrible and nobody at these stores knows how to set them up or even that they need to be set up. Buying a poor quality instrument that’s inadequately adjusted is a fast track to failure in learning to play and an absolute waste of your money.

 

What’s you opinion? I”d like to hear from you. If you have a low priced guitar you like, let me hear from you or if you disagree with my ideas, be heard. Reply on this blog or send an email to dave@openmindedmic.com. Thanks for visiting. Prof. Dave

On Kissing Frogs

On Kissing Frogs

I received a wonderful comment on my blog “Real Love” that inspired this commentary. She found promising frogs, kissed them and now has a garden filled with frogs and not a Prince in sight. The story of the Princess and the Frog is an enduring story and theme, with an obvious message and less obvious suggestions.

The obvious theme of tales such as this, including Beauty and the Beast and others, is what’s immediately obvious about someone, may not be who they are and love  can transform them. Love can transform us, it can bring out our nobler side, give us strength we never knew we had, make us more playful, our lives more directed and difficult time more endurable. It doesn’t make us more handsome or beautiful, except perhaps within our own eyes.

I don’t know if these fairy tales are completely harmless. In these enchanted stories, there is a resident evil that cast a spell and created a beast or a frog from a Prince. So the kiss wasn’t merely transforming a scary or lowly critter into a handsome hunk, it overcame evil too. She was beautiful, lonely and l,onging and he was appreciative, handsome and wealthy and they lived happily ever after.  What’s wrong with that?

Does she have to beautiful? Does he have to be a Prince? Is the restoration permanent? Do they have to develop a rapport? Overcome barriers and obstacles or is it all a smooth, unobstructed path? Is this truly the foundation of real love? We were raised on these fairy tales and we somehow bought in to the messages: both obvious and hidden.

Perhaps a more realistic story about the results fo kissing frongs may be “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson, The classic horror tale that I see played out constantly. The brilliant Dr. Jekyll begin transformed into the monsterous Mr. Hyde. We meet one, and in time meet the other and wonder which is the true person, the Jekyll or Hyde guy? They  both are.  We see the potential of Dr. Jekyll and the reality of Mr. Hyde. And love’s first kiss will cause Hyde to hide? No, it typically encourages Hyde to come out and dominate the relationship.

Love’s first kiss can be transformational, it can bring out what’s within us, but can’t reinvent what’s within us. To experience real love you don’t have to rescue someone, don’t need to be beautiful, don’t need to be or acquire the status of royalty, and although gratitude and appreciation are critical to real love, they’re not the only elements you need to experience it.

Don’t go around kissing frogs: it’s disgusting. If you don’t believe me, ask any frog.

What’s yoiur opinion? I’d like to hear from you. Please reply on this blog or send an email to dave@openmindedmic.com. Thanks for reading. Prof. Dave

Review of the Ovation 1771AX Acoustic-Electric Guitar

Review of the Ovation 1771AX Acoustic-Electric Guitar

I’ll start off by admitting that historically, I’ve not been a big fan of Ovation guitars or other guitars made from products other than solid wood. Recently, I’ve had a paradigm shift and have become a big fan of Ovation and the Ovation Adamas. Have they really improved that much? Maybe,  or perhaps experience has taught me to open up the mind a bit.

All Ovation guitars have a different feel because of the bowl back. Part of the problem is, it does feel different – not bad, but different and that takes a bit of getting used to. The 1771AX sells for around $699 new, $550 – $590 as a factory second and around $400 – $450 used and it’s hard to part with that kind of money on something that feels “different.” People who play and love their Ovation / Adamas guitars all tell me that you get used to the different feel very quickly. In my opinion, they’re right. If you like the guitar, give it a little time and it’ll feel fine to you.

The neck is slender and very well shaped. When this guitar first arrived at our shop, set up was quick, easy and precise. The playability of this guitar is superior, especially at this price range and it’s a very solid instrument.

The sound is impressive too. With a solid AA spruce top and carefully designed mid-depth bowl body, the guitar has a sweet, ringing voice with good sustain. Where this guitar excels is when it’s amplified – the electronics, Ovation OCP-1K,  are crystal  clear with a lot in the tank to put out impressive volume. The guitar provides you with clean, natural, sustain and the controls are easy to read and operate while you’re working.

Ovations have a unique, and most people think, a beautiful appearance. The one I tested had a really impressive cherry finish that got a lot of positive comments. Does it compare well to other guitars in its price range made of solid wood? First of all, there aren’t many solid wood guitars in the $700 price range. Epiphone Masterbilt guitars are of very few choices. For $700, it’s very hard to do better than the 1771AX.  For an acoustic-electric in this price range, it’s a good deal and compares well to guitars costing considerably more.

What’s your opinion? Have you used or owed an Ovation 1771AX? I’d love to hear about that or any guitar or bass buying experience you’ve had. Let me hear from you. Prof. Dave

Review of the Kramer Disciple 4 String Bass

Review of the Kramer Disciple 4 String Bass

This is a GREAT bass, especially at the relatively modest price. My bottom line is that I highly recommend you test it before you buy anything else in the $400 – $500 range. I say that knowing there are a lot of great basses in that price range including Fender’s new Modern Player series, Peavey Millennium, Schecter Raiden Elite (scorching good bass), and the MTD Kingston Saratoga. All great basses; so is the Kramer Disciple and the Disciple has some unique features that truly set it apart from the crowd.

We took in a beautiful white Disciple into our shop as a factory 2nd and as we examined this full scale, 34” scale length, it was obvious that in spite of the scale length, this bass was signficanlty shorter than what I usually see. I put it in a stand next to an Ovaiton 1771AX acoustic-electric and the Kramer Disciple was only slightly longerr than the acoustic guitar right next to it. The Disciple is also very light with an extremely slim, assymetrical maple neck. Visually, the ebony fretboard and black hardware were a striking contrast to the white body and looked great.

This combination of light weight, slender neck, and compact size immediately seem to make this bass a good option for a guitarist who wants to play bass, a young bassist who’s outgrown his Fender Starcaster and wants a serious bass to fit the emerging skilland the still growing body, and female bassists who would appreciate the bass’ size and feel and with no compromise on sound. I’ll get to the sound in a bit and promise no disappointment there either.

Setting up the bass was easy. It set up beautifully and quickly. The literature says the bridge is a “fully adjustable flush mounted bridge.” We examined it and have no idea on how it adjusts. If someone out there knows, please write back and share it with me. Thanks. Fact is, we didn’t need to adjust it. The action, intonation were superior and landed perfectly.

The heart of the sound for the Disciple is an oversized EMG MMC5 pickup and EMG BTS preamp (uses a 9 volt battery) is pure EMG: versatile, powerful and clearly makes the list as “the good stuff.” I was able to create tones of remarkable clarity that would please any jazz quarter and sounds of a jumbo jet taking off.  The sound quality rivals my far more expensive Fender Marcus Miller bass. I handed this instrument to master bassist Andy Lalasis who played it, reflected on the experience and stated firmly “I love it man.”

My advice is pretty clear: check out the Kramer Disciple bass. It’s worth looking at and if you buy it, a great value.

What’s your opinion? I’d love to hear from you if you’ve tested or own this bass or of your observations, shopping experience, if you discovered a great deal or just want to tell us about you guitar or bass. Please reply on this blog. Thanks for reading. Prof. Dave

Fred Reviews His “Stellar” NEW/USED Adamas Guitar

Fred is a good, trusted friend, a regular reader and contributor to this blog, and I think it’s safe to say that his knowledge of guitars is significantly above average. His ability to find a bargain is uncanny and world class.

Fred recently purchased a used Adamas on ebay, and since he wrote to me about it, I’ll simply quote him and then add my two cents – or more. we’ll see

“Hello Prof. Dave,
I recently bought one of the most under rated electric acoustics made in the USA. As far as acoustic dreadnaughts go, I have played every thing that would be considered the best. That includes Martin, Larivee, Taylor, Gibson, etc.. Recently I managed to get my hands on an Adamas. This is not a dressed up Ovation. if you get the chance to play one you’ll find that is an exceptional instrument. Ovation has always been a great guitar to play, they are extremely stable, and playability can be maintained and relied upon for what ever your style. My last Ovation was however lacking in tone and projection. The Adamas, with its carbon fiber top is far better suited to the synthetic Lirichord back.  Projection is very good, but the tone is off the charts. It is the brightest guitar I have ever heard, without a hint of tininess. The response is razor sharp, it remains crisp and crystal clear even during hard driving hard strumming. Another aspect of this guitar that I find I’m liking more and more as time goes by, is the round back. Those times I go from some weeks of working with an electric and I go back to a normal acoustic, I find the thick body to be uncomfortable to hold. The bowl back however allows the guitar to roll giving a better position for your right arm.  It dose take a bit of getting used to but once you’ve got it, it’s like riding a bike, it just feels natural. These guitars are expensive and are priced with the high end Taylors and Martins. I consider myself very lucky, I found mine (a stellar example) used on e-bay for under a thousand dollars. This guitar is one of two in my collection I plan to keep for ever.”
Those were Fred’s comments – these are mine: don’t count on finding an Adamas in stellar condition for under $1,000 – Fred’s a pro and his tricks should not be attempted by amateurs. That really is an amazing price to pay for an Adamas. I say that for a few reasons.
First, they’re so well constructed, so strong that I believe you can put one of these in a case and in 4,000 years archeologists can unearth it, pull it out of the case and play it. It’s simply not subject to some of the damage that even superbly made wood guitars may experience.
As far as tone is concerned, I completely agree with Fred. Although I’ve played some Ovations in the same lofty price range of $2,500 – $3,500 with AAA Sitka Spruce tops that sounded magnificently, which is what you’d expect from a guitar in a lofty price range.
Adamas and Ovations have exceptional playability. The construction of the Adamas redefines “durable.” When introduced, Ovation was a true innovation in guitar design and use of alternative materials. Adamas is no less annointed. They are underrated and do stand up to competition very well.
I think Ovation and Adamas have superb electronics too that really take advantage of the science of the instruments design. One of my regular performers at our Open Minded Mics, singer-songwriter Joey McGowan, has a high end Ovation that stads up to anything else being played onour stage for tone, sustain and playability.
The bowl, the bowl, the bowl; what to do about the shape of that body? Or the shape of my body? I think Fred is right again in that it takes some getting used to and then it becomes second nature. That may be the biggest resistance to these guitars. When you first strap one on, ti does feel awkward. Not bad, but different. So you’ve come to a point where you’re willing to shell out $3,000 for a guitar, do you choose one that you played in the music store that felt awkward and different or one that feels familiar? Most of us will go withfamiliar.
If you favor the carbon fiber construction but the back is too distressing, you might consider trying a Rainsong guitar. It’s a fine instrument with similar durability. Since sound and tone, like beauty, arein the eye (and ear) of the beholder, you decide. I’ve played both and prefer the Adamas. But the Rainsong is quite good too.
It’s a bit of faith that you need to show, that you will adjust. If you’re really interested in an Adamas, and willing to shell out the bucks, here’s a thought, but an inexpensive Ovation, used for a couple of hundred dollars, get used to the bowl, sell it and get your money back and buy the Adamas with confidence. OR, you can have Fred find you a super deal on an Adamas, and if you find you don’t like it you can resell it at a profit.
So the gauntlet is down Fred: bring your “stellar” Adamas down here, get on the stage and let’s hear it in action.
Thanks Fred.
If you have an opinion on a guitar or bass, I’d love to hear from you. If you recently shopped for an instrument, what did you try? What did you like? What didn’t you like? What did you end up buying? Please reply on this blog or write to me at dave@openmindedmic.com or reply on this blogy. Thanks for reading. Prof. Dave

Great Technique to Learn Hand Position on Guitar, Bass – even Cello & Upright Bass

On this blog, there were photos that just didn’t upload – if you’re interested in this subject, please go to the tabs at the top of the home page and put the pointerer on “HOME” and a drop down menu will appear. You’ll see an article for blind & visually ikmpaired guitarist and bassists – click on that and you get the text and the photos.

Thanks for reading and visiting!.

So what are your thoughts? Please reply on this blog and visit my other blogs for Prof. Dave @ Large and Prof. Dave’s Guitar & Bass Buying Advice. You can sen an email to dave@openmindedmic.com or reply on this page. I’d love to hear from you. Prof. Dave

 

Why I’m Not Running For President In 2012

Why I’m Not Running For President In 2012

I made a firm decision and I’m absolutely not running for the office of President of the United States in 2012. I’ll sit this one out, make some popcorn and be a witness to presidential campaigns that are both dirty and boring. But, since I’m officially not a candidate, I feel it’s time that I revealed my true feelings, beliefs and platforms. The things I simply couldn’t reveal if I was actually running for office.

Gay and Lesbian Marriage: Marriage is a legal (as in “a matter of law”) contract between two consenting people who have the legal (as in “a matter of law”) capacity (as in over 18, competent) to enter into a contract. It may also be a religious state, but doesn’t have to be. You can be married by a member of the clergy or just file the proper paperwork at town hall. It’s you choice. The word “choice” is meaningful.

Free people have choice, oppressed people don’t. On this point, I agree with former Vice-President Dick Cheney who believes same sex marriage should be permitted because, in his words “Free is free.” Well spoken Mr. Former V.P. Of course he has someone in his immediate family who is directly affected by this standard and that may explain his departure from his otherwise staunch support of every other extremely conservative platform and his words may have the scent of hypocrisy. As for me, I don’t have anyone in my immediate family who is gay or lesbian and I completely agree with him: free is free.

I know many gay and lesbian adults who are fine, moral, conscientious, good hearted, generous, law abiding folks, and if they wish to enter a legal union, it’s their business. I also know some mean-spirited, cheating, lying, son-of-a-bitch heterosexuals who are completely entitled to marry simply because of sexual orientation. Here’s my point: if I don’t like gay or lesbian marriage, then I don’t have to do it. Whether Gay, Lesbian or Heterosexual, I think we all need to abide by a wise old truism: do what you want just don’t do it in the street and scare the horses.

I support Gay and Lesbian marriage. This isn’t about majority rules: a basic measure of fair is reverse the deal, and is it still fair?  If Gay and Lesbian citizens were in the majority, would it be fair for them to not allow heterosexual couples to marry? This debate is mired in an old bias and it’s time to get past it. As the comedian Robert Klein commented, “if they want to be miserable like the rest of us, we should let them.”

Do I endorse Romney’s “Give The Wealthiest Corporations Tax Breaks So They’ll Create Jobs, Jobs, Jobs” or Obama’s “Tax The Bastards And Get Money Flowing Through The Economy.”

They both suck. I seriously doubt lowering the tax rate on the wealthiest corporations and people will cause them to hire any more people. Corporations don’t hire people because they have extra money sitting around Mitt: they hire people because they need people to do jobs. Right now, there is the much heralded GE having a profit of $16 billion and paying no taxes. According to The Bloomberg Report Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant makes most of its profits in the U.S.A. but diverts the money overseas to avoid taxation, quite legally.

Don’t give them a tax break so they CAN hire people, perhaps give them a tax break when the DO hire people. Maybe, for all new employees added in 2013, no corporate payroll tax on those folks for the next five years. Or ten, I don’t care, we’ll get taxes from the working employees. It’s a good deal.

So what about raising taxes on the wealthy to get the money in the hands of the government for a wonderful redistribution of the wealth. This is the Robin Hood approach to economic salvation. Steal from the rich, give to the poor. While I’m on the subject, I like Kevin Costner a lot but he was awful as Robin Hood.  If the taxes go up so will the deductions, special interest grants and manipulations.

Both approaches are rancid. Since I’m not running and not concerned that the two parties won’t support my ideas I believe in simplification of the tax codes, lower tax rates and get rid of nifty deductions, especially things like the oil depletion allowance – they have a huge incentive to drill it’s called usurious profits, and permit very limited, totally verifiable deductions. For these corporations diverting money overseas, as well as jobs, if you sell it here, you pay taxes here. If you export American jobs to boost your bonus, you will pay for that practice. President Obama once commented that even though our corporate tax rate is the highest in the world, after deductions it’s not even close. He’s correct: so why are we playing games by having that high tax rate, lower it and collect the revenues so the burden doesn’t fall squarely on what remains of the middle class.

Politicians love to pretend that manipulating the tax codes is a path to prosperity. They are wrong. I can impede prosperity if it’s too high, and cause unfair distribution of the burden of running a complex government it it’s too low. What creates prosperity is invention, creation of new industries and activities and as a consequence, jobs are also created. When jobs are created, pay checks get bigger because employees become more valuable. Wealthy people aren’t going to give up being wealthy if the taxes are a bit higher for them and it likely own’t impact their lifestyle. Balance and fairness is a good standard and one that we’re light years away from achieving.

Enough straight talk for today or as Rush Lumbaugh loves to say “the way it outta’  be.” While I’m on the subject, I think we should conduct an experiment where Rush Lumbaugh and Rev. Jeremiah Wright will be placed together on an uninhabited island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for forty years, with no means to communicate with the outside world. Then, after 40 years, we’ll visit the island and see if both are still talking. Or If either is, we’ll consider the experiment a failure.

That’s it for today. I can only take so much candor at a time. Tomorrow I’ll offer my stand on gun control, energy, social security, the Veteran’s Administration and whether Kevin Costner should have learned how to speak with a British accent before attempting the role of Robin Hood.

Let me hear from you. As long as you’re not disgusting or foul in a reply to this blog, I’ll post it. Thanks for reading, let me hear from you. Prof. Dave