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February, 2015

  1. civic issue 2

    February 26, 2015 by Garren Christopher Stamp

    One thing that is very controversial regarding guns is armor piercing rounds. They are so controversial that the federal government has banned any round specifically designed to pierce metal or kevlar vests. However, many pro-gun activists are calling for a repeal of this ban.

    Armor piercing rounds are very simple to manufacture. The main difference is that armor piercing rounds are covered in a full metal jacket instead of having an opening on the front to expose the lead underneath. This allows for armor piercing rounds to not shatter on first contact like a normal bullet would. This is where the armor piercing name comes from. These bullets can go through bullet proof jackets as well as some metal because the metal on the front keeps the bullet intact as it passes through these obstacles.

    The major fear when it comes to armor piercing rounds is that police wear bullet proof vests and allowing citizens to own bullets that can penetrate these becomes a major hazard to all law officials. While deaths related to armor piercing rounds are relatively low, you do need to factor in that they are currently illegal and therefore access to armor piercing rounds outside of the military is very hard to get. If they were legal and much more available it is probable that deaths related to armor piercing rounds would dramatically increase.

    The counter argument is that the illegality of these rounds only affects law abiding citizens. People who were planning on using their weapon to attack and kill police officers are already planning to break the law. If they are willing to murder a police officer, why wouldn’t they be willing to buy illegal rounds from a black market? This law only takes away from law abiding citizens and their want to own armor piercing rounds.

    Many people against allowing the sale of full metal jacket rounds say that their is no reason for a normal citizen would need to own this. They say that most people use their guns for target practice and hunting and that deer and targets don’t wear armor. Pro-gun activists dispute this claim. The main claim by pro-gun activists is that armor piercing rounds are allowed by the second amendment. They say that the reason that militias were included was to allow the people to defend themselves from a future tyrannical government. They argue that the ability of the people to fight off a future despotic government is something the founders wanted to insure. That is what the founders just did and they would want to make sure that the populace could do it again if need be.

    Pro-gun activists also point to the removal of firearms in communist and fascist countries. Heinrich Himmler, Hitler’s second in command and Reichsfuhrer of the SS, famously said, “Germans who wish to use firearms should join the SS or the SA – ordinary citizens don’t need guns, as their having guns doesn’t serve the State.” The German populace as well as the populations of con tries they conquered were systematically disarmed. Many pro-gun activists try to show that without an armed populace a tyrannical government can abuse its citizens. Similar disarmament occurred in the Soviet Union and is also quoted as a possible outcome of a government controlling and abusing its disarmed citizens.

    Pro-gun activists dispute this. They say that the time of citizens being honestly able to fight its government is over. The federal government has tanks, airplanes, drones, and much more advanced technology than its citizens could ever possibly have access to. Because of this the line of reasoning that citizens need armor piercing rounds to fight back is null and void because even with armor piercing rounds it would be impossible for the citizens of the United States to fight back. Because of this, the only thing that legalizing armor piercing rounds would allow is for more police officers to die.


  2. The Velvet Underground and Nico

    February 26, 2015 by Garren Christopher Stamp

    So this week I didn’t have the time to buy a new record so im gonna review one of the records I’v had for awhile. I chose a record at random and got the Velvet underground and Nico. This is one of my favorite albums that I have. I am a big Lou Reed fan and for those who don’t know, before he went solo he was a lead singer of The Velvet Underground.

    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
    The Velvet Underground is an interesting band. They were closely associated to Andy Warhol and his Factory. The Factory was a huge building where Andy Warhol would produce his art. In order to inspire him Warhol invited people he deemed interesting. This usually included drug addicts, other artists, musicians, transsexuals, and drag queens. The house band for the Factory was actually the Velvet Underground. Lou and Andy became close throughout their time spent together. They were so close that Warhol actually designed the cover for this album. Also, Warhol asked Lou Reed to put Nico in the band.
    Lou’s experience with the Factory heavily shaped his music. A lot of the songs he wrote had to do with drugs, cross-dressing, and sado-masakism, all things he witnessed and experienced at the factory. Because of Lou’s first hand experience and mass exposure to these things he was able to portray these things in an interesting and new light. He would often remain neutral, neither condemning nor condoning the behavior.
    This neutral mentality is blatantly apparent in my favorite song off the album, “Heroin”. Lou Reed personally used heroin for a long time and it became an addiction that plagued him for a good portion of his life. Because of this he is able to speak first hand about the good and bad of heroin use. The songs lyrics portray the mind of an addict and how heroin is a release for him. The song starts off slower and more peaceful. This is supposed to represent the peace and calm that comes from shooting heroin. The song elevates to a peak. This is supposed to represent the rush associated with heroin. The rest of the song has periods of high intensity and low intensity supposed to represents the ups and down that come with drug use. The Lyrics themselves are quite depressing. During some of the lighter periods they demonstrate the hope and belief in the future and some of the harsher parts show a complete disregard for oneself and a belief that heroin will be the end of him and that he will forever be addicted to this drug.

    I don’t know just where I’m going
    But I’m gonna try for the kingdom, if I can
    ‘Cause it makes me feel like I’m a man
    When I put a spike into my vein
    And I’ll tell ya, things aren’t quite the same
    When I’m rushing on my run
    And I feel just like Jesus’ son
    And I guess that I just don’t know
    And I guess that I just don’t know
    I have made the big decision
    I’m gonna try to nullify my life
    ‘Cause when the blood begins to flow
    When it shoots up the dropper’s neck
    When I’m closing in on death
    And you can’t help me now, you guys
    And all you sweet girls with all your sweet talk
    You can all go take a walk
    And I guess that I just don’t know
    And I guess that I just don’t know
    I wish that I was born a thousand years ago
    I wish that I’d sail the darkened seas
    On a great big clipper ship
    Going from this land here to that
    In a sailor’s suit and cap
    Away from the big city
    Where a man can not be free
    Of all of the evils of this town
    And of himself, and those around
    Oh, and I guess that I just don’t know
    Oh, and I guess that I just don’t know
    Heroin, be the death of me
    Heroin, it’s my wife and it’s my life
    Because a mainer to my vein
    Leads to a center in my head
    And then I’m better off and dead
    Because when the smack begins to flow
    I really don’t care anymore
    About all the Jim-Jim’s in this town
    And all the politicians makin’ crazy sounds
    And everybody puttin’ everybody else down
    And all the dead bodies piled up in mounds
    ‘Cause when the smack begins to flow
    Then I really don’t care anymore
    Ah, when the heroin is in my blood
    And that blood is in my head
    Then thank God that I’m as good as dead
    Then thank your God that I’m not aware
    And thank God that I just don’t care
    And I guess I just don’t know
    And I guess I just don’t know


    Another good song off the album is “I’m Waiting for my Man”. This song is about the purchasing of drugs (most likely Heroin). The song reveals the dirty, clammy feeling of getting dope sick from the lack of having Heroin. It also shows the happiness and good feeling that comes with scoring and no longer feeling sick. My favorite line in the song is “feeling sick and dirty, more dead than alive”. This lyric shows just how bad even acute heroin withdrawal feels. I also like the line, “He’s never early, he’s always late. One thing you got to learn is you always have to wait.” This shows the anxiousness that comes with waiting to get Lou’s drugs, that he knows will make him feel better. The most revealing lyric is “ I’m feeling good, I’m feeling so fine, until tomorrow but thats just another time.” This shows how Lou Reed isn’t thinking about the future, he’s only worried about today. It also shows how this is a daily occurrence, this feeling dirty and sick feeling.

     


  3. Nirvana Unpugged

    February 19, 2015 by Garren Christopher Stamp

    So this week my mom actually sent me a record. It was one I had been searching for for awhile, but had been unable to find anywhere. It is Nirvana’s last album, titled “Nirvana Unplugged in New York”. It is a live album from Nirvana’s acoustic MTV performance. What’s really unique about this album is that Nirvana performed acoustically, something they had never done before and they recruited members from other bands, such as the Meatpuppets, to perform on stage with them. Also, Nirvana performed only a few of their own songs, instead choosing to do covers of artists they liked. This made for a unique and amazing concert which trickles down into the album.

    Nirvana

    Nirvana was a three person band with singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl on Drums, and Krist Novoselic also on guitar. They are considered the pioneers of grunge music and the grunge scene. They started in Seattle in the punk/heavier metal scene. Their first album, “Bleach” really demonstrates this influence with many songs containing heavy screaming and a lot of heavy guitar riffs. This album was on locally successful and lacked mainstream appeal. Their next album, “Nevermind” is considered to be one of the greatest albums of all time. This album saw a significant reduction in screaming and more laid back guitar playing. This album gained them instant national recognition and people all over the world began to know and like Nirvana. Their popularity paved the way for other grunge bands such as Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots to make it as well. This started a grunge movement and started the mainstream increase in popularity of Seattle music. However, the members of Nirvana never wanted this success. They played music because they liked to play music. They released an album titled Incesticide, which was just meant to hold fans over until their next album was released. Incesticide saw a return to a more “Bleach” screamy sound. Their next album was In Eutero. This album saw a much more substantial return to their harder rock origins. Nirvana made the music they wanted to make and didn’t care if they lost fans because of it. In Eutero was still popular but received mixed reviews and wasn’t as successful as Nevermind. The success of Nirvana became hated by the band who never really wanted to be superstars, they just played music because they wanted to play music. This especially hit Kurt Cobain hard. Kurt had developed an expensive heroin habit (interesting fact Kurt used to shoot 800 dollars of heroin a day because that was the max amount his atm would let him withdrawal in one day) and suffered from depression most of his life. His depression worsened as his fame increased and that paired with issues with his wife Courtney Love made him suicidal. Nirvana played at MTV Unplugged in 1993. Kurt made the stage look like a funeral and you can hear the sadness in his voice throughout most of the songs. in 1994 Kurt Cobain committed suicide. He shot three times what is considered a lethal dose of heroin and then shot himself in the head with his double barrel shotgun. Nirvana died with Kurt.

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    Nirvana Unplugged in New York is an incredible record. A lot of the songs on it are incredible and reveal a lot about what Kurt Cobain was thinking and feeling during this time. My favorite song on the album is “Where Did You Sleep last Night” it is incredibly sad and sums up his distrust and problems with Courtney. The song is originally an old folk song and Nirvana’s rendition of it is incredible.

    Another song on the album that I find to be exceptional is Pennyroyal Tea. This song shows Kurt’s sadness as well as the issues he had with his stomach. Kurt’s suffered from horrible stomach pains all his life. He tried all types of medicine and therapy to no avail. This stomach issue is the reason that he gives for why he started using heroin; it was the only thing that made him not feel the stomach pains anymore. This makes the song extremely meaningful.

    Finally, i would recommend listening to dumb. Dumb is a song all about Kurt’s depression, and the acoustic version really highlights it. The lyrics are incredibly sad, so don’t listen to it if you want to feel happy.

    I’m not like them
    But I can pretend
    The sun is gone
    But I have a light
    The day is done
    But I’m having fun
    I think I’m dumb
    Or maybe just happy

    Think I’m just happy [x3]

    My heart is broke
    But I have some glue
    Help me inhale
    And mend it with you
    We’ll float around
    And hang out on clouds
    Then we’ll come down
    And have a hangover …
    Have a hangover [x3]

    Skin the sun
    Fall asleep
    Wish away
    The soul is cheap
    Lesson learned
    Wish me luck
    Soothe the burn
    Wake me up

    I’m not like them
    But I can pretend
    The sun is gone
    But I have a light
    The day is done
    But I’m having fun
    I think I’m dumb

    Think I’m just happy [x4]
    I think I’m dumb [x12]


  4. Prompt Response 2

    February 12, 2015 by Garren Christopher Stamp

    MLK explains that non-violence is the only way to go. Violence is a downward spiral that would only hurt them in the future and keep them further from getting their rights. I agree with MLK’s use of non-violence. If he had tolerated and used violence then the civil rights movement would have just been viewed as a terrorist group and wouldn’t have been gotten any mainstream support.


  5. Prompt Responses

    February 12, 2015 by Garren Christopher Stamp

    Malcom X

    Education was such an important component of this speech because education had been one area where black people had been institutionally repressed. The lack of quality education offered to African Americans held them back as a people. They also wanted to use it as a step towards equality. If they were educated they could ban together and help each other. The New York City school board was also failing to integrate the schools. Malcom X didn’t wan’t the schools integrated, he wanted black schools led by black people teaching things that his people would find appropriate. He called on people Afro-American people around the country, to look at their schools, and if they were as bad as the ones in Harlem then they should take over the school and make it better themselves.

    The Quote that best sums up Malcom’s argument on education is “(about letting the control of schools in Harlem remain in the control of the Board)let these fools continue to run and produce this low standard of education? No, let them turn those schools over to us. Since they say they can’t handle them, nor can they correct them, let us take a whack at it.

    What do we want? “We want Afro-American principals to head these schools.”


  6. Dark Side of the Moon

    February 12, 2015 by Garren Christopher Stamp

    This week I got I picked Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. My dad owns a copy of this record and i had played it a decent amount back home, but he didn’t let me take it to school with me. I really love this record, so I decided to get my own personal copy of it to have and be able to play as much as I want. In my opinion, this is one of the greatest albums of all time. It is perfect from start to finish. So much thought and effort went into this album and because of that this album truly is something spectacular.

    Pink Floyd are an interesting band. Pink Floyd was founded in 1965 by Syd Barrett, Nick Mason, Roger Waters, and Richard Wright.  The band gained a little success under Syd Barrett’s leadership.David Gilmour  joined as a fifth member in December 1967. Syd Barrett left the band in April 1968 due to deteriorating mental health exacerbated by drug use. The band released many critically and commercially successful albums including The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You were Here, Animals, The Wall, and the final cut. They are known as one of the greatest and originating bands of psychedelic rock. The bands heavy use of psychedelics allowed them to come up with a sound that was unique and had never been heard before. However, it did have a cost. As mentioned previously Syd Barrett had to leave the band due to mental deterioration. Psychedelics have been known to affect someone’s mental stability if there are certain mental disease precursors. The most common mental disease this is linked to is schizophrenia. It is believed that if a person has precursors that lsd-25 can activate these precursors even if genetically they wouldn’t have been activated for several years or maybe not at all. This is the mental disease that most people believe plagued Syd Barrett. Another affect of their heavy LSD use was that they made a lot of their shows light shows. This provided a visual medium designed by them to match their musical performance, truly making their concerts an artistic experience.

    The album itself is amazing. It is a musical experience and was meant to be played from start to finish. There is no pause between songs and this creates the illusion of one never ending song being the record.

    My personal favorite song is us and them. It is a slow psychedelic experience. It heavily contrasts the fast paced and lyric heavy song “money” that plays before it. I recommend listening to this song late at night, right before you go to bead. Just lay back and close your eyes and let pink floyd take you on a magical journey. The saxophone in it is unique and exquisite. It creates the slow relaxed feeling they were going for and often takes the place of lyrics in certain parts of the song.

    The song that I think is lyrically the deepest would be time. Time is the story of waisting your life and waking up and realizing that life has passed you by. Listening to the dark and menacing sounds mixed with the lyrics you truly realize the genius of this song.

    Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
    Fritter and waste the hours in an off-hand way
    Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
    Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

    Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
    You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
    And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
    No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

    And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
    Racing around to come up behind you again
    The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older
    Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

    Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
    Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
    Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
    The time is gone, the song is over, thought I’d something more to say

    Home, home again
    I like to be here when I can
    When I come home cold and tired
    It’s good to warm my bones beside the fire
    Far away, across the field
    The tolling of the iron bell
    Calls the faithful to their knees
    To hear the softly spoken magic spell


  7. The Doors- The Last Screams of the Butterfly

    February 3, 2015 by Garren Christopher Stamp

    The record I picked up this week is called “The Last Screams of the Butterfly” and is a live album by The Doors. I chose this album because I’m a huge Doors fan and would consider Jim Morrison one of my personal idols (although I hope to live  a little longer than he did considering he is part of the 27 club). I also chose this album because it is a live album. I personally think that live music is much better than studio music especially when it comes to bands that could jam out like the doors. Finally, I chose this album because it was from concerts that were close to the end of Jim Morrison’s life. It wasn’t uncommon for Jim to break out into free verse poetry during his songs but this became especially common closer to the end of his life and I was hoping that there would be an element of this on the album.

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    Before I go into the record and my opinion of it some basic background on the doors. The doors consisted of Jim Morrison on vocals, Ray Manzarek on Keyboard, John Densmore as drummer, and Robby Krieger on Guitar. The band was created in San Francisco in 1965 and they played together until Jim’s death from an apparent heroin overdose in 1971. The band was known for their poetic lyrics, unpredictable onstage behavior, charisma, and psychedelic use. The Doors fascinate me and there are so many little pieces of information that I find interesting, but I’ll only share a few real quick. First, when the band started Jim Morrison was terrified of the crowd. He used to perform whole concerts with his back facing the crowd because he was too scared to look at them. As the Doors continued to have concerts he slowly got over this fear, but if you pay attention, you’ll  notice that his eyes are closed a lot when he sings, (allowing for him to still not see the crowd.) He would also drink excessively or take drugs before he performed to help him get over this fear. Another interesting fact is that Robby Krieger didn’t use guitar picks. He allowed his fingernails to grow long and used them instead. This allowed him to play in his unique “picking” style. Something else interesting about the doors was that as a bonding experience, the band all took peyote in a desert together. Peyote is an intensive psychedelic drug that results in a trip that can last several days. Finally, the band gets there name from Aldous Huxley’s (another known psychedelic drug user) “The Doors of Perception”.

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    The album itself is awesome. It contains two records both filled to the brim with awesome doors songs. While some of the songs are on both records, (for example Roadhouse Blues, and ship of fools) each time they are on there it is a different live performances so its not like the same exact song is there twice. The introduction on side A is awesome because it has a recording from someone introducing the Doors at a music festival. You can hear the excitement in the crowd as the Doors take the stage along with chants of “Jim”. It also has a lot of my favorite doors songs on it. I do wish that there were more less known songs on it. The albums contain a lot of the doors hits, but only a few of their less known songs. But overall I’m very pleased with the album. I’ll give a few songs that I think are especially good. I will include videos to the songs but since it is impossible to find videos of these specific live versions of these songs, the videos will be of the studio versions of the songs. I really suggest that if you enjoy these songs you should search out this album and here them in their live awesomeness.

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    This album contains one of my favorite Doors songs, Roadhouse Blues, twice. This song truly is awesome and has a very upbeat and fast tempo. I always imagine flying down the road in my car full of my friends, smoking a cigarette, feeling the wind from the window on my head and just grooving to the music while i am “keeping my eyes on the road, Hand up on the wheel”.  While the lyrics are not especially poetic, poetic lyrics wouldn’t fit this song. This song shows Jim’s energy and kick-ass mentality and attitude to a T. My favorite part is during the repetition of the lyrics “I woke up this morning and I grabbed myself a beer”. First the lyrics make me think of a true rock and roll style of life and of waking up the morning after a party and chugging down a beer because its a weekend and that means that party doesn’t stop. Please listen to this song.

    Another song on the record is the end. The end is arguably the most psychedelic song made by the doors. this 18 minute version does not disappoint. The sound of the guitar lightly playing with the unique plucking sound along with the slow introduction of the tambourine is incredible. This song takes you on a mental journey and I often associate it with that sense of peace and amazement that the Doors must have received during their trip on peyote in the desert. The song goes from a place of such peace to the place of such anger and energy in which Jim described his lyrics as “coming from the mind of a psychopathic killer”. The song then gradually returns to the beginning peace. It truly is a peace of incredible art.

     

    Honestly all the songs on this album are worth listening to and I would suggest if you like the two songs above that you continue to listen to more Doors, they are a band that are truly worth the time.


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