Tag: Banjos

The Breakfast Club (Darts)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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Breakfast Tune: Leyla McCalla sings Rosemarie (Live)

Today in History

Breakfast News Below

The Breakfast Club (Waist Deep in the Big Muddy)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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Breakfast Tune: Waist Deep in the Big Muddy (Featuring Tom Morello, Taj Mahal)

Today in History



Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffers a massive stroke; Louis Braille, inventor of the reading system for the blind, is born; Former pro wrestler Jesse Ventura is sworn in as the governor of Minnesota.

Breakfast News & Blogs Below

TBC (What Did You Learn in School Today?)

Breakfast Tune:  What Did You Learn in School Today? – Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton



What did you learn in school today,

Dear little boy of mine?

What did you learn in school today,

Dear little boy of mine?

I learned that Washington never told a lie.

I learned that soldiers seldom die.

I learned that everybody’s free.

And that’s what the teacher said to me.

That’s what I learned in school today.

That’s what I learned in school.

What did you learn in school today,

Dear little boy of mine?

What did you learn in school today,

Dear little boy of mine?

I learned that policemen are my friends.

I learned that justice never ends.

I learned that murderers die for their crimes.

Even if we make a mistake sometimes.

That’s what I learned in school today.

That’s what I learned in school.

What did you learn in school today,

Dear little boy of mine?

What did you learn in school today,

Dear little boy of mine?

I learned our government must be strong.

It’s always right and never wrong.

Our leaders are the finest men.

And we elect them again and again.

That’s what I learned in school today.

That’s what I learned in school.

What did you learn in school today,

Dear little boy of mine?

What did you learn in school today,

Dear little boy of mine?

I learned that war is not so bad.

I learned of the great ones we have had.

We fought in Germany and in France.

And some day I might get my chance.

That’s what I learned in school today.

That’s what I learned in school.

Today in History

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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Breakfast News & Blogs Below

The Breakfast Club (Memphis Moon)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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Breakfast Tune: Mean Mary “Memphis Moon” (live session)

Today in History



Pilgrims land in Plymouth Massachuesttes; Pan Am flight 747 explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland; Apollo 8 lifts off on first manned mission to the Moon; Actress Jane Fonda is born. (Dec. 21)

Breakfast News & Blogs Below

The Breakfast Club (Ruby Are you Mad at Your Man?)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

Breakfast Tune: Carolina Chocolate Drops – Ruby Are you Mad at Your Man?

Today in History

U.S. Supreme Court upholds the relocation and detention of Japanese-Americans during World War Two; U.S. begins 12 days of heavy bombing of North Vietnamese targets; Steven Spielberg is born; Tchaikovsky’s ‘The Nutcracker’ – publicly premieres.

Breakfast News, Blogs, and Cuban Two Step Rag below

The Banjo’s uncomfortable past

Background: As some of you may unfortunately know, this past year I’ve been indulging myself with a musical mid life crisis. I’ve started to learn how to play 5 string banjo.

The short story is this. For just about my entire life there had been this old dusty banjo in the house that no one played. It belongs to my father. In the mid fifties he helped organize a Pete Seeger (a known communist) concert on campus. This means he probably has his very own file folder deep in the Hoover building. My father also has his very own Pete Seeger story but that will have to wait for another blog post. A short while after the concert, inspired by Seeger and other folk artists, my father purchased the least expensive banjo available at Sears. Since he was already making progress learning the guitar he figured the banjo would be easy. After all, it had less strings!

After another short while, frustrated, the banjo was put back in its case to collect dust for five decades. A couple decades in the attic, then about 10 years in the basement, another 10 years below the plant rack in the den next to the LPs we haven’t played since we couldn’t find replacement needles for the old HiFi. Followed by some time in the garage before moving to a storage unit.  Except for the few times I’d sneak it out of the case and strum it as a little kid looking for trouble, this specific instrument has had a pretty uneventful life. Until recently at least. Now I annoy people with it for at least 5 minutes every day. I know, I know, 5 minutes a day is not enough to make any measurable progress but I don’t want to drive the people I live with completely insane.

I’m not sure exactly what drew me to rescue the banjo from storage and start playing it at age 46. Maybe it was Seeger visiting Occupy Wall Street. I’m sure that was a factor. I was also a band geek in high school. One of my greatest achievements was making it into the All-State Band playing Small Tuba aka Euphonium. It’s been a long time since I’ve been The Best at anything and I admit to missing the stage and everything that goes along with it. Anyone who says they don’t like the cheers and adulation is just lying.  Small Tuba does have its drawbacks. There’s not much you can do with it beyond joining a circus or military band. While a circus band would be loads of fun, the musicians who play in them are world class. And it’s been a quarter century since I’ve played seriously. So I asked myself, why not find a new passion? Why not lead people in a robust chorus of Solidarity Forever & Which Side Are You On? Everybody and their brother plays guitar. But banjo? That would be bad ass cool!  I knew where I could find an instrument, and of course the most important factor – it was FREE – just sitting there in storage waiting for me. Enough about my  uncomfortable past…

About the Banjo’s uncomfortable past…

The banjo is a four-, five- or (occasionally) six-stringed instrument with a thin membrane stretched over a frame or cavity as a resonator. The membrane is typically a piece of animal skin or plastic, and the frame is typically circular. Early forms of the instrument were fashioned by Africans in Colonial America, adapted from several African instruments of similar design.[1]

The banjo is frequently associated with country, folk, Irish traditional and bluegrass music. Historically, the banjo occupied a central place in African American traditional music, before becoming popular in the minstrel shows of the 19th century. In fact, slaves both were influenced by and influenced the early development of the music, which became country and bluegrass, particularly in regard to the innovation of musical techniques for both the banjo and fiddle.[2][3][4] The banjo, with the fiddle, is a mainstay of American old-time music.

Part of learning a new instrument is learning its’ history. What I meant by its past being uncomfortable, is not the banjo’s fifteen minutes of pop culture fame as the sound track for Appalachian man on man rape in the movie Deliverance (BTW if you’re ever on Jeopardy, the Dueling Banjos tune is traditionally performed with banjo and guitar, not two banjos). I’m talking about the history of the banjo, heavily promoted at the time as “The American Instrument“, and its association with American blackface minstrel shows of the 19th and early 20th century. Basically you have an instrument with African roots, being popularized by white American performers in blackface, then later black Americans in blackface, using exaggerated stereotyped… well you can understand why the instrument lost a great deal of popularity over the 20th century.

So how are actual black American minstrel show artists and performers viewed? As you might imagine, their work has a long history of being celebrated and vilified. Even now there are black banjo performers getting called Uncle Toms in the comment threads on You-Tube.  

The Breakfast Club (Rollin’ and Tumblin’)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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Breakfast Tune: Valerie June, Rollin’ and Tumblin’ (live session)

Today in History


George Washington dies at age 67; Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his group reach South Pole; Leaders of Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia sign an internationally-brokered peace treaty. (Dec. 14)

News

Operation Socialist

By Ryan Gallagher, The Intercept

12/13/14

Inside a row of gray office buildings in Brussels, a major hacking attack was in progress. And the perpetrators were British government spies.



Last year, documents from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden confirmed that British surveillance agency Government Communications Headquarters was behind the attack, codenamed Operation Socialist. And in November, The Intercept revealed that the malware found on Belgacom’s systems was one of the most advanced spy tools ever identified by security researchers, who named it “Regin.”

The full story about GCHQ’s infiltration of Belgacom, however, has never been told. Key details about the attack have remained shrouded in mystery-and the scope of the attack unclear.

Now, in partnership with Dutch and Belgian newspapers NRC Handelsblad and De Standaard, The Intercept has pieced together the first full reconstruction of events that took place before, during, and after the secret GCHQ hacking operation.

Based on new documents from the Snowden archive and interviews with sources familiar with the malware investigation at Belgacom, The Intercept and its partners have established that the attack on Belgacom was more aggressive and far-reaching than previously thought. It occurred in stages between 2010 and 2011, each time penetrating deeper into Belgacom’s systems, eventually compromising the very core of the company’s networks.

Heaping serving of news & blogs below. Coffee, Prozac & Snowden’s Jig

The Breakfast Club (Judge Cliff Davis Blues)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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Breakfast Tune: Papa Charlie Jackson – Judge Cliff Davis Blues



Spoken: Oh yes, oh yes

I now declare this court, City of Memphis open

Lets have it quiet in the court room please

Everybody be seated

Open the courts Mister Officer

First case on the docket is the case against Mr. Crew

The other afternoon I was sitting, in the court house room

I was listening, to what was going on

After every case was tried, The prisoners were all led inside

As they passed by, I thought somebody cried

I’m on my way to jail, that’s why you hear me wail

I’ve got the Judge Cliff Davis blues

I’m through with doing wrong, just listen to my song

I’ve got the Judge Cliff Davis blues

I told the judge my tale of woe, he heard that fairy tale before

That’s why you hear my wail, I’m on my way to jail

I’ve got the Judge Cliff Davis blues

Memphis gave us

The Judge Cliff Davis blues

Good lawd save us

Today in History, Breakfast News & Blogs Below

The Breakfast Club (Ran So Hard The Sun Came Up)

It doesn’t feel like a Sunday… because it isn’t.

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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Today in History


President Johnson names commission to investigate JFK’s assassination; U.N. passes resolution calling for the British Mandate of Palestine to be partitioned; First flight over the South Pole; Natalie Wood, Cary Grant and George Harrison die. (Nov. 29)

Breakfast Tune: Otis Taylor – Ran So Hard The Sun Went Down

Breakfast News & Blogs Below

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