Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Compleat Music Room

...with apologies to Izaak Walton. (wink)

We've been building toward having an actual complete (or compleat) music room for a while now but we're finally functionally finished, with the addition of the new PA and mixer.

On the North wall, we have (from left to right, which is West to East):

Fender Princeton 65 sitting on an extra speaker cabinet.

Fender Bassman 100 watt amp head sitting on that big cabinet (Both covered in fabulous burgundy snakeskin tolex!) which sports twin JBL D130F 15" speakers. How totally awesome is that? Boomlay, boomlay, boomlay, BOOM! (Now I owe apologies to Vachel Lindsay. Where will it end?)

The small box on the very top is my wireless instrument receiver. It sits on

My Sennheiser wireless microphone receiver, which sits on

The powered mixer, which features six inputs (Cool!) and which sits on

A Peavey amp head, which is sometimes useful and sometimes merely an objet d'art.

The Northeast corner has:

PA speaker on the shelf (small tv/stereo surround speaker on top of it)

Yamaha DTXpress electronic drums on the floor, with my electric guitar and djembes obscuring 'em.

The East wall is the slider to the deck and back yard.

The Southeast corner has:

The other PA speaker (with the other small tv/stereo surround speaker on top of it). Not a great photo, leaving the speaker up in the shadows.

The South side has bookshelves flanking a window and my mom's old sewing machine.

The Southwest corner:

Is where my keyboards live.

The West side is the open arch to the livingroom. (Obscured by the roll-out tv cabinet.)

The Northwest corner:

is where the guitars live.

So, there you have it. We are ready to rock and roll!

Hobby Lobby brouhaha

Some thoughts about the Hobby Lobby situation…

The First Amendment (Bill of Rights – U.S. Constitution).

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Right off the bat, we have a problem with the word “right.” There are many interpretations of this word but I‘m gonna stick with the legal (functional!) usage. Libertarians, beware.

Rights are not absolute. In the two-hundred-plus years of our history, several limitations have been enumerated on each of the rights listed in this amendment. You’re all familiar with the classic limitation example on speech – yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater. There’s actually quite a lengthy list of restrictions on this right, just as there are limitations on all of these rights. In the Hobby Lobby case, we’re talking about religious rights; so let’s examine that.

In 1878, while considering polygamy, the Supreme Court said, "Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious beliefs and opinions, they may with practices." They maintained that polygamy, like human sacrifice, could be litigated against, despite a plaintiff’s religious beliefs.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said about White soi-disant Christians and their beliefs about Black men, It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important.” In reality, the law sometimes couldn’t even prosecute lynchings, much less prevent them; but that’s a problem with function, not theory.

These days, the salient concept is “compelling interest.” Whether it’s Seventh Day Adventists working on Saturday, Native Americans taking peyote, or Santeria animal sacrifice, the Supreme Court relies, at root, on “compelling interest,” principally because of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was reaffirmed in the 2006 Gonzalez v. UDV ruling.

Hobby Lobby’s position, as far as I can tell (For that matter, this entire philippic is just my opinion based on my limited knowledge of what’s actually going on here.), is that they believe that IUDs, “Plan B,” and Levonelle are abortifacients and their sole resistance to complying with the law is based on those particular items. Aside from the fact that this belief is scientifically/factually incorrect, other evangelical Christians who tried to talk to the Hobby Lobby about their position were turned away by security forces. Those evangelicals wanted to say to Hobby Lobby that these devices and pills are not abortifacients but are simply a different form of contraception, which Hobby Lobby claims to support. The petition from these evangelicals states that Hobby Lobby is simply using their “faith” as an excuse to oppose health care reform and deny women access to birth control.


The reality is that the lower courts have denied Hobby Lobby’s challenge and now they’ve lost their appeal to the Supreme Court. That leaves Hobby Lobby in the position where they have the choice to comply with the law or pay the fine. Render unto Caesar, folks. It’s that simple. Your religious beliefs do not constitute a unilateral right and they do not trump the rights of your employees in your secular business.

Me, I believe that these Medieval flat-earthers simply hate living in the real America, which is not a fundamentalist theocracy, and this is a cri de coeur against the cruel truth of reality and the harsh truth of science which contradicts their weltanschauung daily. As Neil deGrasse Tyson so bluntly stated, “God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance."

But that’s just my belief, which has very little bearing on reality.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Pyle 602 mixer

So, I think our music room is now pretty complete. I just added a Pyle RBPMX602M mixer to power the PA speakers.     

It's compact, powerful, has 6 inputs for XLR or 1/2" connections, has USB and MP3 inputs, and it was very affordable. The Greybeards are now ready to have some serious practice sessions here! Let's rock and roll!