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Saturday video break: Spanish Eyes

Elvis!

U2!

Sorry I’ve been remiss in posting these. Life, ya know? I’ll try to be better going forward.

Looks like the House just totally solved its sexual harassment problem

They went and got themselves a new training video. Woo hoo!

[I]t’s a 40-minute video that seems unlikely to change the toxic atmosphere at the statehouse any time soon.

The training is a video of a PowerPoint presentation with a voiceover that also covers discrimination based on race, age, disability and genetics. Just 18 minutes of the video is dedicated to sexual harassment, including boilerplate examples of harassment, reasons to prevent it, laws against sexual harassment, the House’s policy and reporting mechanisms.

“The whole video has a feeling of, ‘Let’s quick minimize liability on every front, watch this video,’” said Joanna Grossman, a law professor at Southern Methodist University who researches sex discrimination and workplace equality.

Recent research shows that if training isn’t properly designed, it’s unlikely to lead to more reporting of harassment, much less reduce instances of inappropriate behavior. According to Eden King, a psychology professor at Rice University, there’s some evidence that training programs have better outcomes when they are longer than four hours, include face-to-face interaction, involve interactive learning, are conducted by outside experts and actively involve leaders in the workplace. The House video meets none of those criteria.

Instead of being paired with an interactive, in-person training as recommended by researchers, the video is available on the House’s internal server and is probably watched alone. Viewers are required to take a 10-question, multiple-choice test. To pass, you must answer at least seven questions correctly. If you fail, you can simply retake the test without having to watch the video a second time.

[…]

When institutions face allegations of sexual harassment, Grossman said, the instinct is often to establish programs that reduce legal liability. The law tends to reward somewhat “superficial or simplistic” measures, she said, such as merely implementing a policy or conducting training. A 2016 report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that most of the harassment training conducted in the last 30 years has failed to reduce harassment and has instead been used to meet legal requirements. “Ineffective training can be unhelpful or even counterproductive,” the report noted.

Research shows that to create an environment of equality, institutions must go beyond training. One crucial aspect is to ensure that victims feel they have a safe way to report complaints.

“If the video clearly explains the options [to report harassment], but you go to complain and you get the message that you’re causing trouble and you shouldn’t be, then the training will have had no benefit,” said Grossman.

See here, here, and here for some background. I like that seven out of ten is enough to pass this little quizlet. It’s good to know that someone is thinking about all those C- students at the Pink Dome. Think how much better our statewide achievement numbers would be if the STAAR test were like this.

I’ve been asking all the candidates I interview about sexual harassment, since we all need to be talking and thinking and doing something about it. Clearly, we need a process where the person who reports harassment is taken seriously and shielded from retaliation. The rights of the accused need to be respected during the investigation, but once a finding has been reached then there needs to be some transparency. As the story notes, you can’t just fire a legislator who has been found to have harassed someone, but you can make that information public, with redaction of the victim’s name. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I bet if we asked the women who have come forward and told their stories, we’d get some pretty decent ideas for how to proceed. Better than watching a silly video, I’m sure.

Saturday video break: Soon

Remember the Squirrel Nut Zippers? Here they are with a song called “Soon”:

I really liked SNZ, as I have always been a fan of that style of music. I wish they’d stayed together longer and made more records, but that’s the way it goes. Now here’s Yes:

The video is from 2001. They may be older, but there’s no mistaking Jon Anderson’s voice. Playing in front of a full symphony orchestra is pretty much peak Yes, wouldn’t you say?

Saturday video break: Something So Right

Here’s Paul Simon performing one of his solo hits:

Simon was a top-notch songwriter for over 20 years, and if you look at the trajectory of most artists, that’s a long time. Here’s Annie Lennox, in a recording someone took from a performance she gave on morning TC show, doing her rendition of this song:

Her actual recording, on the Medusa album, is longer, but I was delighted to find even a low-quality version of her doing a live contemporaneous performance of this, so that’s what I went with. Paul Simon is a decent singer with a decent voice, but man is it a treat to see his work being done by someone with a truly amazing voice, and a lot more stage presence to boot.

Saturday video break: The night before the night before Christmas

A day early, but what the heck:

Not to mix metaphors, but may your days be merry and all that.

Saturday video break: Somebody Loves Me

I feel like we could use a little sax music, so here are Al Cohn and Zoot Sims:

I’m pretty sure it’s the law that you have to be a musician to be nicknamed “Zoot”. Where there’s jazz there’s western swing, and where there’s western swing there’s the Hot Club of Cowtown:

Sadly, there was not a live version of this, but I encourage you to search around YouTube for the live performances they do have. If you don’t already like this kind of music, you will after you watch a few of their videos.

Saturday video break: Solsbury Hill

An all time classic from Peter Gabriel:

No, I have no idea what the lettuce this is about. Apparently, the video was done much later, so who knows. Now here’s Jiggernaut:

There’s a live version here but the audio quality is so-so. I personally like bagpipes and think it adds something to this rendition, but your mileage may vary.

Saturday video break: So Far Away

Here’s Carole King performing one of her many hits from Tapestry:

I’m always entertained to see James Taylor with long hair, because by the 80s he had become such a short-haired clean-cut type. According to the comments on this video, the show at which this was recorded was before Tapestry was released; Carole King opened for James Taylor, then joined his band for his set. That would have been a fine show. Now here’s Dire Straits:

Man, Brothers In Arms was a great album. I feel like it doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. Thinking about it, I don’t believe I ever had the chance to see Dire Straits live. I can’t recall a time when they were on tour and played a gig where I was living. If that ever changes, I will be sure to do something about it.

Saturday video break: Snakedance

Here’s the terrific Texas trio of Marcia Ball, Angela Strehli, and Lou Ann Barton:

There’s live footage of one televised concert they did off this album, but none I could find featuring this song. Here’s a live version of Marcia Ball singing it solo, which is good because Marcia Ball is never not good, but it’s not the same as what I’ve got. Now here are the Rainmakers:

My God. That video is so 80s I probably attended a keg party with it back in college. I couldn’t tell you a single thing about this band, but watching that video makes me love them.

Saturday video break: Sledgehammer

Here’s Fifth Harmony:

As you may surmise, they’re one of those artists I know about thanks to my kids. They have several songs I like, this one included, so that’s a win. Those of you who aren’t millennials or proximate to kids are probably more familiar with Peter Gabriel’s song of the same name:

A true MTV classic, which I figure had to be a pain to make. Also, sex metaphors are sexy. And metaphorical.

Saturday video break: The Altuve Polka

We interrupt the procession of cover/same name songs to bring you this, the most important video of 2017:

If the Astros don’t adopt that as their official team song, they are badly mistaken. This is easily the best Houston-centric sports song since It’s a Ming Thing.

Saturday video break: Smells Like Teen Spirit

I have two covers of the grunge classic. First, the Meat Puppets:

Boy, they really leaned in on their name, didn’t they? That’s from “Newermind”, a tribute to Nirvana on the 20th anniversary of the album release, put out by SPIN magazine. Next up is Tori Amos:

That’s probably the best-known cover of the song. I have to say, I’m a little uncomfortable looking at her posture at the piano – that seems like an ergonomic problem – but I suppose there are only so many options if one want to make eye contact with the audience.

There are lots of other covers out there, but of course the best full-media interpretation of Kurt Cobain is done by Weird Al:

And yes, it does pay to rehearse. See you next time.

Saturday video break: Slow Ride

Here’s Bonnie Raitt:

That’s from her hit album Luck of the Draw and it’s a good song, because Bonnie Raitt only makes good songs. But I can’t say it’s one I was greatly familiar with.

I am greatly familiar, as I suspect are you, with Foghat:

That’s the long version of the song. It has 27 million views on YouTube. The short vesion, which is half as long and is what you’ve probably heard all these years on the radio, has 4.7 million views. Make of that what you will.

Saturday video break: Shout

Here’s a song called Shout you probably don’t know, from Miles Davis:

That’s from the Fluxblog 1981 list. I always thought of Miles Davis as a musician of the 60s, so it was a pleasant surprise to see that he was still making great music at that time. A song you are familiar with, also from the 80s, is by Tears for Fears:

Unlike some other 80s acts, I liked Tears for Fears back in the day, though I probably heard them a bit too much. As one critic noted at the time, they are kind of repetitive. I have a greater appreciation for them now, helped by the fact that the Sirius First Wave station plays more than this and “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” from them.

Saturday video break: Ship of Fools

I give you Bob Seger and his amazing 70’s-era hair:

If we must have a musician from Michigan run for the US Senate, shouldn’t it by right be Bob Seger? I’m pretty sure it should. A different song by this name is a Grateful Dead standard, and while I don’t have that in my library, I do have Elvis Costello’s cover of it:

I found a video of him doing this live at Radio City Music Hall that was great, but annoyingly it cut off about halfway through. So this is the best I can do.

Saturday video break: She’s No Lady

Here’s national treasure Lyle Lovett:

You’ll have to ask him if he wrote that about Julia Roberts. In the meantime, here’s Lou Rawls:

Also a national treasure. You might be able to get away with having this song dedicated to your wife if she hears Lou Rawls singing it.

Saturday video break: Shenandoah

Here’s Bruce Springsteen performing this classic American folk song:

That’s from his Seeger Sessions album, which was basically aimed right at my sweet spot. For an every more growly-voiced take, here’s Tom Waits with Keith Richards:

Hitch the horses to the wagons, I’m ready to ride.

Saturday video break: Shame On You

Continuing with the shame theme, here’s the Indigo Girls:

They should have had more success on mainstream rock radio. Maybe I’m just a sucker for vocal harmonies, but they were and are excellent at what they do. Now here’s Willie Nelson in tandem with Asleep At The Wheel:

God bless ya, Willie. May you outlive us all.

Saturday video break: Shame On The Moon

Here’s Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band with a deep cut:

Gotta say, in thirty years of listening to AOR and classic rock radio, I don’t think I’d heard that song before. I know, the playlists are shallow, but still. Now here’s Rodney Crowell:

I’ve mentioned the Fluxblog 80s mixes before. Turns out the Crowell song is on the 1981 mix, and the Seger version, which I presume is a cover, is from 1982. I didn’t know Seger did covers, but that song is right in his wheelhouse, so there you have it.

Saturday video break: Shame

Here are the Avett Brothers, at a music festival in Jackson Hole:

I’ve collected music from a lot of different sources over the years. Both of today’s songs come from different CD samplers, this one on Americana music and the next one from a collection of 70s AM radio hits. Here’s Evelyn Champagne King:

If there’s such a thing as musical opposites, I’d put those two in that category. I like them both, though obviously for different reasons. I suppose that’s one way of claiming to have broad musical tastes.

Saturday video break: Shake Your Booty

Fluff up your hair, put on your dancing shoes, turn your HiFi up to max volume, and get down to KC and the Sunshine Band:

Now that, my friends, is what I’m talking about. It’s too much awesomeness for any one person, and it can all be yours for $12.99 plus shipping and handling on K-TEL Records’ Sizzling Hits of 1975. Order now, operators are standing by.

Some forty years later, it all gets put through the Disney machine, and out comes Forever in Your Mind:

That is from the Disney Channel show Best Friends Whenever, for its back-to-the-70s extravaganza episode. Go ahead, ask me how I know this. The thought occurs to me that those groovy grandparents probably ordered a copy of K-TEL Records’ Sizzling Hits of 1975 back in the day. Possibly on 8-track, which I believe cost a dollar more. Those were the days.

Saturday video break: Shake It Up

Here are The Cars:

What exactly is “the move with the quirky jerk”, anyway? Ric Ocasek has a lot to answer for if you ask me. Now here’s Selena Gomez:

That’s the theme song to the former Disney Channel show of the same name, which was a thing when my kids were still into programming for the younger set. There are several results in YouTube that claim to be the “official video”, but this was the only one I found that wasn’t just music on top of still images. Weird. Anyway, now you know Zendaya’s origin story. You’re welcome.

Saturday video break: Sex

Let’s get right down to it, shall we? Here’s The 1975:

Gotta say, as much as I love the extravagance of 1970s and 1980s videos, I really appreciate ones where we just see the band or singer in a natural setting doing their thing, with no effects or artsiness or other frippery. Just musicians making music, as God intended it. Helps if the song is good too, but just that form is worth watching.

And just to prove my affection for the other form, here’s Berlin:

The full title of that song is “Sex (I’m A)”, so technically they’re not the same name. But it was worth it to see roast beef sliced in such a sensuous fashion, wasn’t it? Of course it was.

Saturday video break: September

The only thing that can rival the 80s for video awesomeness is the 70s, and when you think of the 70s, you should think of Earth, Wind & Fire:

The glitter, the dashikis, the groovy video effects – it’s all there, in one spectacular package. The vocals and the horns are pretty great, too. A more modern take on this comes from Pomplamoose:

I like how they sped up the tempo, and of course the dancing grandma is fabulous. It’s not as funky as EWF – how could it be? – but it’s peppy and joyful and it works.

Saturday video break: Secret

We’re all about the 80s here, and very few things say “the 80s” like Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark.

It’s the hair, the synthesizers, the usage of black and white footage to tell a story about…well, I don’t know exactly, but that’s not the point. The point is, this is what the 80s was all about. Move it forward two decades and here we have Mieke Pauley:

Not 80s at all, but someday when it’s time to create a radio station that caters to the tastes of people who were the same age in the Aughts as I was in the 80s, this song might make the playlist. Assuming there are still such things as radio stations by then.

Saturday video break: Saved

Here’s Bob Dylan during his Christian phase:

Gotta say, that meets my criteria for a good gospel song: It’s not doctrinally objectionable, and it has an excellent beat that you can dance to. Thumbs up. Now here with a similar these are The Commitments:

That’s from Volume 2 of the soundtrack, which is why it’s less familiar. It’s also not the Dylan song, but it too meets my standards. And for a third take on the concept, here’s Khalid:

That’s an Olivia song, and it shows a different meaning of the word “saved”. It also has over 14 million plays on YouTube, so make of that what you will. Not something that I would have come across, much less downloaded, on my own, but still pretty good.

Saturday video break: Save It For Later

Let’s start with The English Beat:

Some day, when my kids ask me “Dad, what was it really like in the 80s?”, I’m going to show them that video. That, and maybe an episode of LA Law. Now for one of the best cover-doers out there, the pairing of Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs:

Do yourself a favor the next time you’re feeling a little blue and you have some time to kill, and spend some of that time on YouTube with live acoustic videos of Sweet and Hoffs doing their thing. I couldn’t find such a version for this, but there’s plenty of others. You’ll thank me for it. And as good as that is, my favorite version of this remains Pete Townshend’s:

Just perfect in every way. Happy Saturday, y’all.

Saturday video break: Saturday Night

Hey, it’s Saturday! And here’s a song all about Saturday Night! It’s perfect!

That was the Bay City Rollers, and the entire 1970s boiled down into a three-minute video. And for a slightly different view of the 70’s, here are the Eagles:

Well, you can answer the question of whatever happened to Saturday night yourself, at your convenience later today. Have fun!

Saturday video break: Sara

Here’s Fleetwood Mac with one of their bigger post-Rumours hits:

There isn’t a Fleetwood Mac video channel as far as I could tell, so that was the best-looking video I could find. Other than the lips not always synching with the music, it’s not too bad. Now here’s Camper Van Beethoven’s take on this:

That may be the least-viewed video I’ve ever embedded. CvB did a song-by-song cover of the Tusk album – their 10-minute rendition of the title track is kind of amazing. Perhaps a bit of an acquired taste, but I like it anyway.

Saturday video break: Safety Dance

Hey, I just realized that I’ve never seen the video of the Men Without Hats classic “Safety Dance”. Let’s watch, shall we?

Well, that was…um, yeah, I got nothing. Let’s just go to the Literal Video version, because there just had to be a literal video version of that:

Now it all makes sense. With that, here’s Big Daddy:

No matter how weird things get, you can always count on Big Daddy.

Friday random ten – Girls’ music of 2016, part 1

The girls got their share of music last year as well, enough to span two lists. Here’s the first half:

1. Confident – Demi Lovato
2. Ex’s & Oh’s – Elle King
3. Mockingbird – Eminem
4. Hello – Adele
5. Brave Honest Beautiful – Fifth Harmony
6. Chandelier – Sia
7. Dance Like Nobody’s Watching – Laura Marano
8. Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae – Silento
9. Wildside – Sabrina Carpenter & Sofia Carson
10. Grease (Is The Word) – Jessie J

I’ll be honest, I like a lot of these songs. “Ex’s & Oh’s” is a great tune, though one that (I hope) kind of goes over their heads. Thanks to the girls’ insistence on watching “America’s Got Talent”, I am now familiar with the Puddles Pity Party version of “Chandelier”, which I assure you is a sentence I never expected to type. We all enjoyed the live showing of “Grease” last year, including the opening number. And of course what kind of monster doesn’t like Adele? I’ll have more next week.

Session ends in chaos

Seems fitting.

The normally ceremonial last day of this year’s regular session of the Texas Legislature briefly descended into chaos on Monday, as proceedings in the House were disrupted by large protests and at least one Republican representative called immigration authorities on the people making the noise.

Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, said he called U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement while hundreds of people dressed in red T-shirts unfurled banners and chanted in opposition to the state’s new sanctuary cities law. The action enraged Hispanic legislators nearby, leading to a tussle in which each side accused the other of threats and violence.

Rinaldi said he was assaulted by a House member who he declined to name.

“I was pushed, jostled and someone threatened to kill me,” Rinaldi said. “It was basically just bullying.”

Hispanic Democratic lawmakers involved in the altercation said it wasn’t physical but indicated that Rinaldi got into people’s faces and cursed repeatedly.

“He came up to us and said, ‘I’m glad I just called ICE to have all these people deported,’” said state Rep. César Blanco, D-El Paso, whose account was echoed by state Reps. Armando Walle, D-Houston, and Ramon Romero, D-Fort Worth.

“He said, ‘I called ICE — fuck them,'” Romero added. Rinaldi also turned to the Democratic lawmakers and yelled, “Fuck you,” to the “point where spit was hitting” their faces, Romero said.

[…]

“Matt Rinaldi gave the perfect example of why there’s a problem with SB 4,” said state Rep. Ramon Romero, D-Fort Worth. “Matt Rinaldi looked into the gallery and saw Hispanic people and automatically assumed they were undocumented. He racial profiled every single person that was in the gallery today. He created the scenario that so many of us fear.”

And in a press conference, following the altercation, state Rep. Justin Rodriguez, D-San Antonio, said Rinaldi in a second scuffle had threatened to “put a bullet in one of my colleagues’ heads.”

But Rinaldi defended the decision to called immigration authorities.

“We didn’t know what to do,” he said. “A lot of people had signs that said ‘We are illegal and here to stay.’”

He said he called law enforcement “to incentivize them to leave the House.”

“They were disrupting,” he said. “They were breaking the law.”

Asked if the protest was too little, too late since the measure has already been signed into law, Adrian Reyna, an organizer with United We Dream, said the movement is just getting started.

“We have to show resistance the whole summer,” he said. “We have identified key representatives that we will take out of office who voted for SB4. People are outraged, people are tired of the Legislature walking all over people.”

First of all, good Lord Rinaldi is a weenie. What a pathetic display of phony bravado. And as Rep. Romero suggests, his words will only help the plaintiffs in the anti-SB4 litigation. Words matter, and judges in the travel ban litigation have made it clear they will take what politicians say about these actions as seriously as they take what the lawyers say.

You can see video of what happened here, Democratic response to what happened here, and a statement from the AFL-CIO here. If there’s going to be an injunction in one or more of the court cases, we ought to know fairly soon, but the bigger fight, both in the courtroom and at the ballot box, will play out over a much longer period. We’re going to need to see a lot more of the kind of action that makes people like Matt Rinaldi cry. The Chron, the Observer, and RG Ratcliffe have more.

Saturday video break: Royals

Here’s Lorde’s global hit:

She’s going to be in Houston for the 2017 Free Press Summerfest, which I will be unable to attend. One presume she isn’t coming all this way just to play a couple of days in Houston, but her tour schedule doesn’t actually include many American appearances, so check her out while you can. Meanwhile, here’s Bruce Springsteen’s now-famous cover of “Royals” from his down under tour in 2014:

I’ve watched that video multiple times and I still love it. It’s Springsteen at his roots, singing a song you could imagine him having written. He’s well known for doing covers at his live shows, but man would I love him to put together an album of the tributes he’s done.

Saturday video break: Rock This Town

A big hit from the Stray Cats:

Am I the only one who thinks that the “real square cat” who “looks so 1974” kinds sorta resembles Weird Al Yankovic with a short haircut? It’s the mustache and the smirk, I guess. Now here’s lead singer Brian Setzer with his Orchestra nearly 20 years later:

That’s the beautiful thing about having a horn section – you can let them kick things off while you get a quick drink and fix your hair. Also, they sound great. Other than that, it’s the same basic arrangement, he just has more accompaniment.