wwsp albums on bandcamp!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Springsteen Goes to the Dark Places...


I finished reading Bruce Springsteen's memoir, "Born to Run." A beautiful, powerful book. No surprise. Springsteen worked on it over 7 years. He is not afraid to delve into the dark places of his life, his soul, his psyche. It's quite the epic American journey. Unlikely, inspiring, insightful.

When you think of Springsteen you recall the 3 hour plus r&r extravaganzas. Blood, sweat and tears splashed across the stage. Exuberant, thrilling, rocking, balls-to-the-wall. I was lucky to catch Springsteen and the E Street band in their glorious prime on "The River" tour, circa 1980? One of the great shows. No doubt.

Listen to the records. It's all there too. The darkness. The exuberance. The pain. The joy. The contradictions of being a human being. Springsteen's music has always been grounded to a time and place, but at the same time those times, those places were difficult places to be:

Oh-oh, Baby this town rips the bones from your back, 
It's a death trap, it's a suicide rap

You end up admiring the man's work ethic. His commitment to his art, his life. You marvel at his ambition, determination and ability to risk everything for his r&r dream. At the same time you are kind of stunned to find that the man also suffered from supreme indecision, crippling depression, deep rage, and an ability to swim in the deep dark places.

Springsteen was able to "escape" from his childhood dead-end in the "swamps of New Jersey," but there is no escaping the life-long demons we all have to contend with. Maybe that's why Springsteen and his music has always spoken to me. He embodies all the the light, and all the darkness, and he's fearless in showing everything.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Believe in All of These...

It is the True Believers who give "believing" a bad name. You have to be wary of folks who decide that other folks should think, act and be just like them. You have to be wary of folks who want to build walls, round up people, remake the world according to some big idea clouding up their feeble, unsound, incomplete brains.

If you are gonna believe in something, make it something big and impossible... something that can drive you, make you crazy, give you peace, keep you alive, but won't fuck with other people.  Believe in something like, no, believe in every something like these:

Sin
Redemption
Grace
Bad Luck
Contradiction
Imperfection
Perfection
Salvation
Damnation
Heaven
Hell
Gods
Devils
Chance
Randomness
Chaos
Love
Hate
Indifference
Music
Science
Religion
Atoms
Gravity
Evolution
Creation
Masturbation
Sex
Drugs
R&R
Poetry
Transcendance
Work
The Good
The Bad
The Ugly
Uncertainty
Mystery
The Great Cloud of Unknowingness
Etc.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Russia is the 3rd Rate Circus Clown's Banana Skin!

According to NBC News (not fake), Putin wants to get inside Trump's head. Seems like a really dangerous & frankly disgusting idea. Toxic territory. There are some choice nuggets in this article:

"Among its preliminary conclusions is that the new American leader is a risk-taker who can be naïve, according to a senior Kremlin adviser."

Fedorov added: "Trump is not living in a box — he is living in a crowd. He should listen to the people around him especially in the areas where he is weak."

The issue of Russia "is now a kind of banana skin for Trump — that's why we should avoid any kind of step that could damage Trump," said Fedorov. "Trump cannot come to a meeting with Putin as a loser — he must sort out his domestic problems first."

Yes, Russia is now The 3rd Rate Circus Clown's "banana skin." So true!

Monday, February 20, 2017

"It Ain't No Sin to Be Glad You're Alive!"

I'm reading Bruce Springsteen's memoir, nearly finished. So good. Sends me off in so many directions. No one has written more vividly about the experience of performing & recording music. Redemptive. Soul-enriching. Bruce is a man who totally sacrificed himself on the Altar of R&R. He really did offer himself up to the r&r dream. Had no alternative, no back up plan.

A young kid from the "swamps of Jersey." Catholic. Irish & Italian. Risked everything he had. And he pretty much just had himself. He had no advantages. A hard childhood, no real-world skills. A sheltered "Mama's Boy." All he had was glimmer of a dream, and his own ambition, drive, commitment.

It's all in his music. It's all written in the records. I am driven back to the music, especially: Born to Run, The Wild, the Innocent, the E-Street Shuffle, The Rising...

And what I suppose is my all-time favorite Springsteen album: Darkness on the Edge of Town. It's so elemental. Deep. Powerful. Haunting. The E-Street band live in the studio. Each song a short story. Little vignettes. Holds together as one cohesive narrative. I have been doing some concentrated listening. Always energized when I spin it. 

This line, (and many others too), keeps popping into my head, over and over:

"It ain't no sin to be glad you're alive."

Sunday, February 19, 2017

People Don't Like to Hear the Truth!

Reading Bruce Springsteen's memoir now. Almost finished. Beautifully written. Epic American life. I was reminded of this song, "American Skin."


It's Springsteen's song about Amadou Diallo, a 23 year old immigrant from Guinea gunned down by plain-clothes New York City Cops. 41 shots. He was reaching for his wallet. And died in a hail of bullets. He was hit by 19. 

"Diallo was unarmed, and a firestorm of controversy erupted subsequent to the event as the circumstances of the shooting prompted outrage both within and outside New York City. Issues such as police brutality, racial profiling, and contagious shooting were central to the ensuing controversy."

And there's this: "All four officers were charged with second-degree murder and acquitted at trial in Albany, New York.[1]"

What can you say?! That's an American Story. Sad to say.

In New York this song was quite controversial. The Fraternal Order of Police claimed Springsteen was "a floating fag," (whatever that means) and he was greeted with boos when he first performed the song with the E Street Band.

Bruce was reminded that stepping into America's "race thing," is always controversial. It was then, it is now.

"Black Lives Matter," right? People were pissed just because Bruce wrote a song, and suggested that there were at least two sides to the story. And really a Black Man was gunned down for no reason.  Bruce said the best comment he heard about it all, was from an elderly Black Woman, "People don't like to hear the truth."

Ain't it the truth? Great song... sad... true...

Saturday, February 18, 2017

"Enemies Unite!"

I remember Richard Nixon & Watergate. It was a dark time in America. The President was up to dark and nefarious things. He was paranoid, and saw enemies in every corner. As the scandal unraveled we even found out that Nixon had an enemies list. The man who compiled the list, John Dean revealed existence of the list during the June, 1973 Watergate Hearings. Just another bombshell that summer.

The official purpose of the list was to "screw" Nixon's opponents by means of tax audits. Nixon was a dark, paranoid, vindictive man. Luckily for the country, the Watergate Scandal brought him down.

I am reminded of this because of one of The Third Rate Circus Clown's latest Tweets. Yes. He still tweets. Here it is: 

"The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!"

BTW, Kevin Drum points out  the original Tweet posted was quickly deleted, edited and reposted. Some fascinating edits. You wonder what goes through that man's mind? Don't really want to spend too much time in there. But still... what a head-case.

The 45th President of the USA see enemies in every corner. Basically anyone who does not kiss his pinky ring. He thinks the FREE PRESS is "the Enemy of the People." It would be laughable if it wasn't so chilling. Or maybe it's laughable and chilling.

As Kevin Drum puts it: "Oh, and by the way, calling the press an enemy of the people really is pretty Hitleresque. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that an awful lot of Trump's supporters might not really consider that such a bad thing."

BTW - "Enemies of the People," was one of Josef Stalin's favorite catch-phrases... just saying...

This is a bold statement by America's very own aspiring, wanna-be, Autocrat. He is taking a page out of the Authoritarian handbook. Can a U.S. President be successful attacking the Press, the U.S. Intelligence Community,  the Rule of Law, The Constitution, the Democrats, Immigrants, Etc. ?

So far (one month in), we have seen a disaster unfolding before our eyes. This is a totally self-made disaster. You wonder if the country can cleanse itself of this nasty virus.

We have to root for the Press, the Intelligence Community, the rule of Law, the Constitution and an engaged opposition. This President has decided he only represents his small slice of fans. Everyone else is his enemy.

I say "Enemies Unite!"

Friday, February 17, 2017

Trapped in a Scary, Warped, Fun-House of Horrors!

Unmoored from reality. Unhinged. Touched. Mad. Insane. Kooky. Nuts. Nutty. Silly. Wacky. Berserk. Cuckoo. Lunatic. Psycho. Screwball. Barmy. Bats in the Belfry. Bonkers. Cracked. Daft. Delirious. Flipped out. Fruity. Idiotic. Mad as a Hatter. Maniac. Nutty as a fruitcake. Unsound. Out of one's mind. Out to lunch. Around the bend. Screwy. Unglued.

I figure we need lots of new words to try to describe our so-called 45th President. Language. We need lots of creative language.

Hard to describe that man. The way he speaks. The way his mind works. Listen long enough and it's like being trapped in a scary, warped, fun-house of horrors.

"Rants and Raves!" Yes...

Josh Marshall takes a stab at describing  yesterday's stream of consciousness madness: "That press conference speaks for itself."

And he gives us the 8 craziest moments.

I am beginning to think that The 3rd Rate Circus Clown's fans just love the form, the symbol of the man. They love to see a big blowhard ranting at the Press, ranting against the Democrats, ranting about Hillary Clinton. They just love the form of the messenger.

They are not listening to the content of the rants. They aren't parsing the message. Anyone with any sensibility, any thinking human being that actually listens to what the man is saying realizes he is totally bonkers. Out of touch. Unmoored from reality. 

The Dude did not answer any of the burning questions gripping D.C. He just dug himself deeper into the fog of the Russian Dupe in the White House Mystery.  

We have a major problem on our hands. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Spooks Against the President!

The Spooks against the President. Foreign and Domestic Spooks. That's the battle going on right now. Looks like the Spooks have the goods on the President. 

What are the goods? The President has been doing dark, nefarious things with the Russians. Passing $ and bodily fluids. And, oh yeah, there's hacking, emails, and disinformation.

The President's Party is trying hard, oh so hard, to look the other way. It is a pretty amazing act of mass denial. 

How does all this end? Don't really know. But the stakes are high. The fate of our Democracy hangs in the balance.

The Free Press is the conduit. The Spooks feed info to the mass media beast, and then we all watch the fireworks. Seems like there is much more to come. Will we find out the truth? Every last juicy bit of truth? 

I have no idea. But it is all quite entertaining, baffling, and unbelievable. Not Fake News. The story. The dark, nefarious, subterranean story unfolding, unraveling right before our eyes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Maximally Juiced Political Scandal: A Russian Mole in the White House!

A Russian Mole in the White House. A tight cabal colluding with Russian Intelligence to upturn an election and install a Russian Dupe in the office of the Presidency.

That is the story that has been floating before our eyes for the last year or so. We see it in plain sight, but it's sort of like an unlikely mirage. We doubt our eyes. We doubt the narrative. We ask ourselves, "Can it really be true?"

Josh Marshall grapples with the question. He can't quite make the leap that Moby takes (see previous post). Moby (yes, Moby!), is ahead of the curve. But Josh is heading in the same direction.

I, of course, have also made the leap with Moby. Sure. The 3rd Rate Circus Clown is a Russian Dupe. And Flynn was a Russian Mole placed right at the heart of the new administration. No doubt. 

And some of this has been obvious all along. So obvious, it's kind of been the invisible fact.

The NYTimes has the bombshell report this morning: "Trump Campaign Had Repeated Contacts with Russian Intelligence."  This story is unraveling. Turbo-speed. Fascinating.

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones spells it out for us: "Just to make this clear: At the same time that Russian intelligence was hacking various email accounts in order to sabotage Hillary Clinton, multiple members of the Trump team had repeated phone calls with senior Russian intelligence officials. And during this entire time, Trump himself was endorsing a foreign policy that appeared almost as if it had been dictated to him by Vladimir Putin."

Think: Watergate on Steroids. Which kind of makes sense, right? The Russians are famous for their expert doping. So this is a Maximally Juiced Political Scandal!

And really this kind of political disaster, maximal debacle could not happen to a more deserving human being. Karma! The 3rd Rate Circus Clown has asked for it. Practically demanded it. He is so full of himself, so full of shit, and now he faces a major shit-storm of his own doing.

You could not come up with a better screenplay. Although, most folks would probably tell you it sort of stretches the plausibility factor. But sometimes the truth looks implausible. Funny. That.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Holy Shite... It's True... The Third Rate Circus Clown Really Has Been Compromised by Russia All Along. And the Great Unraveling Begins.

Holy Shite... 

Michael Flynn, The Third Rate Circus Clown's back channel to Russia resigns! It seems it's true, the Third Rate Circus Clown really has been compromised by Russia all along...

It has been the big story floating around before our very eyes and ears for a long time. It's such a big, strange, story, it was almost impossibly hard to see.

We thought that Russia did a little hack-job during the election to sabotage Hillary. But there is so much more to the story. And it is starting to unravel. Big time.

The clock is now ticking down on The Clown's time in the White House. What are my sources for all this? TPM, NYT, Washington Post. Any credible news source with a thinking, breathing reporter.

This is the big story of our time. Our 45th President really was/is a Russian asset.  But now comes the great unraveling.

And then there are the incredible sources too...

When you have lost the fringe pop culture world too, you know you are toast. Even folks like Tom Arnold and Moby the great Techno musician, (Isn't "Play" one of the greatest records of all time?), you know the Clown's time is short.

This was the strangest little post yesterday from Moby... I know, sounds kooky, I'm quoting Moby, right?! But who knows? Is it plausible Moby has credible sources in Washington D.C. Credible or Incredible. You decide!

I do think Moby wanted to get ahead of the curve and show how smart and clued in to D.C. he really is... the is holy shite material... but to me this all seems pretty damn plausible...

Here's Moby on Instagram:

after spending the weekend talking to friends who work in dc i can safely(well, 'accurately'...) post the following things: 1-the russian dossier on trump is real. 100% real. he's being blackmailed by the russian government, not just for being peed on by russian hookers, but for much more nefarious things. 2-the trump administration is in collusion with the russian government, and has been since day one. 3-the trump administration needs a war, most likely with iran. at present they are putting u.s warships off the coast of iran in the hope that iran will attack one of the ships and give the u.s a pretense for invasion. 4-there are right wing plans to get rid of trump. he's a drain on their fundraising and their approval ratings, and the gop and koch brothers and other u.s right wing groups are planning to get rid of trump. 5-intelligence agencies around the world, and here in the u.s, are horrified by the incompetence of the trump administration, and are working to present information that will lead to high level firings and, ultimately, impeachment. i'm writing these things so that when/if these things happen there will be a public record beforehand. these are truly baffling and horrifying times, as we have an incompetent president who is essentially owned by a foreign power. -moby

Monday, February 13, 2017

A Blood-Sport of Sporting Dolts!

I hear this morning The Third-Rate Circus Clown is meeting with Justin Trudeau Prime Minister of Canada today. My first thought: Embarrassing! I mean for us!

I read this morning that the "rats are jumping ship!"  Already folks who work for The Clown, people in his "inner circle" are sharpening their knives for each other. When you are a rat, you don't trust rats! Just rats just ratting out rats!

This just cracks me up: "Many do not believe he has surrounded himself with people who know how to get from point A to point B in Washington." Really? You think?!

So many leaks, so much incompetence, so much bad blood. That's the Clown's team. A blood-sport of sporting dolts.  Sort of medieval. Who will be the first to go down? Who will be thrown under the bus? 

Enquiring minds want to know!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

"Transnational Menace!"

Gary Kasparov - Russian chess grandmaster, former World Chess Champion, writer, and political activist, whom many consider to be the greatest chess player of all time.

He has lots of experience living with Vladimir Putin and his "transnational menace." 

And now in the USA, that transnational menace is smack dab in the middle of our political consciousness. We, the thinking, caring people of the country are now all political dissidents very much like Kasparov. We are playing a grand game of chess with an Imbecile  - the fool, the idiot.

The Imbecile is a formidable opponent. He doesn't know what he doesn't know. And even worse, he doesn't really care. He is such an imbecile he doesn't think any of the rules apply to him.

The Imbecile = The Third-Rate Circus Clown, and he is the kind of total fool that would say... "I alone can fix it!" Or... “I was a good student. I understand things. I comprehend very well, OK? Better than, I think, almost anybody."

Be sure to read  Kasparov on how best to oppose the man: "Making him look like a loser!" Life rolls on. We must do what we must do. But we are all in politics now. Each and every one of us. 

And be sure to laugh at the Imbecile. Ridicule is our best weapon. 

Saturday Night Live is so funny and relevant now. See Alec Baldwin, Melissa McCarthy and Weekend Update: 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Third-Rate Circus Clown = Paper Tiger!

Yes. Funny. After one phone call it seems that the Chinese leadership has already decided that our Third-Rate Circus Clown is really just a "Paper Tiger" -   One that is outwardly powerful or dangerous but inwardly weak or ineffectual.

The Bully is actually a big, blubbering coward. All talk, big words, lots of noise, signifying nothing. Some of us have known this for a long time. Some of us (most of the GOP for instance), have been "hornswoggled"  - see also bamboozle, beguile, bluff, buffalo, burn, catch, con, cozen, delude, dupe, fake out, fool, gaff, gammon, gull, have, have on[chiefly British], hoax, hoodwink, deceive, humbug, juggle, misguide, misinform, mislead, snooker, snow, spoof, string along, sucker, suck in, take in, trick.

And don't forget: kid, put on, tease; bleed, cheat, chisel, defraud, diddle, euchre, flam, fleece, gyp, hustle, mulct, rook, shortchange, skin, squeeze, stick, sting, swindle.

One phone call. Those Chinese are no dummies. The Emperor is no Emperor. Naked as a Jaybird!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Words...

A film. A flam. A shim. A sham. A con. A ripoff. A fraud. 

A Carnival Barker. A Confidence Man. A Flim-Flam Man. 

A Liar. A Cheat. A Sore Loser. A Sore Winner. 

Egotist. Narcissist. Sociopath. 

Vulgar. Ignorant. Bully. Baby.

Unhealthy. Unsound. Unbearable.

4 years... ?

No. Me thinks the Implosion comes much sooner...

Thursday, February 09, 2017

"Shop wisely, Grasshopper!"

The Third-Rate Circus Clown, and his wife, and his daughter and sons may think that the Presidency is just a great branding opportunity, a way to make $, and swim in a vast sea we should or should not call "Conflicts of Interest," but the American Consumer does not have to play along.

We vote with our votes. And we vote with our $. So yes, boycotting certain companies because they support the new regime is a good idea. Supporting companies who speak up against retrograde actions should be applauded and encouraged and supported with our $. More than 100 companies, some of the most important and successful companies in America (for instance), are loudly and proudly declaring they do not support the Third-Rate Circus Clown's "Travel Ban."

And yes, we as smart consumers can crush the brand! Refuse to stay at those brand hotels - they are garish, over-built monstrosities. Don't buy the steaks, don't attend the University (oh never mind, I think that idea got sued out of existence). Don't support or further the fraud!

Yes, even at the Great Altar of Consumerism, the Super Bowl, companies unveiled pretty strong "political" commercials, pointing out the strength of multiculturalism, immigration, and inclusion. Everything is political now. There is no safe place of neutrality. We all must choose sides. And those who choose not to choose are choosing too.

These are extraordinary times. Seems we are wrestling with foundational truths and meanings. What is America? Who is American? What is right and good and true? We all have to answer the bell. Now. Vote. Participate. Spend your $ judiciously. Strategically. Shop wisely, Grasshopper!

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Out of Step with What Makes America Great!

"You don't have to live like a Refugee." - Tom Petty. 

Refugee - one that flees; especially : a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution. Lots of talk around here refugees. Seems the only good and right and American thing to do is welcome refugees with open arms and hearts.

People fleeing. That's a common thing. 

And so many of us here in America are descendants of the huddled masses who split their home countries, looking for a better deal.

Most of us, except for the Native Americans, are Immigrants one that immigrates: a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence.

I myself am a Heinz 57 mix of Irish, Polish, French, German, Russia DNA. I come from a long line of refugees and immigrants. Born and raised in good old USA, but still I can relate, and have sympathy for those who flee and want to settle somewhere new.

I still believe in the great, multi-cultural melting pot of America. I do think it makes us great, makes us strong. We are a nation of mutts. People from all countries, religions, races, meeting and greeting and mixing.

Diversity. I love walking the streets of a big American City and seeing the incredible mosaic of the human thing. It is exciting, exhilarating, and opens us to new ideas, and adventures. None of it is easy, none of it is perfect. 

This race thing is a big thing. Dealing with other people is a big thing. But it is a human thing. So important. Makes us more expansive. Makes our country stronger. Those who want to build walls, create barriers, deepen divisions are on the wrong side of history. Out of step with what actually makes America great.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Unmoored From Reality!

"The man is a Fraud." - Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont, speaking about you know who.

You can see him alone, at night, in his bathrobe, wandering the White House, "tweeting" into his smartphone. Snacking on a no-longer warm cheeseburger & a few limp, greasy, french fries. Angry, aggrieved, unhappy. So misunderstood. Unhealthy. He wants to build walls. Keep people out. Put folks in their place. Show them what's what. Beat down his enemies. Have everyone applaud and love him for being such a big, strong, powerful man. He craves love and respect. 

The man is a fraud.  He is "unmoored from reality." Unmoored from truth. He lives in a world of falsehood. He constructs an alternate reality in real time. Tosses out words, ideas, and then leaves them writhing in the dust. Truth or lie? Doesn't matter. What is in his best interest? What gives him the advantage? What keeps his enemies off balance?

As Barack Obama once remarked, "Reality has a way of catching up to you." Washington D.C. is in a frenzy. The city has never seen anything quite like it. A serial liar, with a team of serial liars, all lying to cover for the big guy. They are spending lots of time, wasting the country's time, lying, spinning, just plain making shit up!

These are not healthy people. Check them out. A team of very unhealthy looking folks: Sean Spicer, Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon. And of course, the big, lumbering Third Rate Circus Clown himself. Not well. Unsound. And if you spend so much time spewing lies, does it corrode your soul? Do your insides rot? Do you die a little bit every time a lie escapes from your lips?

The man, his team, they are out of step. Not with the program. Actually "un-American." They are not the true Americans. Their version of the country sort of looks like it's modeled after failed states like North Korea, or Russia - corrupt, insular, mad places barricaded from free thought & free movement.

There is something funny about this show. The funniest show on earth. But there is something sinister and unhealthy too. Mad. 

Monday, February 06, 2017

A Global Laughingstock!

This little story from Alexander Solzhenitsyn from The Gulag Archipelago reminds us that in Stalin's era, you never wanted to be the first one to stop applauding!

This is not Russia. Trump is not Stalin, not even Putin (even if he really, really wants to be). We can all stop applauding. And fight to be the first to stop. And we can laugh. Yes, laugh, and be happy and proud to be the first to laugh at this ridiculous example of a man.

This Third-Rate Circus Clown, really doesn't rate at all. Put him on the bottom of the list. He and his administration, after 2 weeks, is already a global laughingstock. What a ridiculous, incompetent, and grossly malevolent crew. The bottom of the bottom of the barrel.

At least, the comedy is gonna be good. A new golden age for comedians of all kinds. Melissa McCarthy should win an Emmy, an Oscar and the Nobel Prize for Funny for her spot-on portrayal of the new press secretary, Sean Spicer.  Hil...ar...i...ous...

And Alec Baldwin should get extra pay for having to play Trump. It's a dirty, stinking, terribly funny job. But some one has to do it. Thank you Alec. Your nation is deeply indebted to your commitment to maximum ridicule.  Highly, highly appreciated.

The Third-rate Circus Clown lives in his own reality bubble. He thinks he is some well-respected, honorable, important man. He isn't.  He is a clown. A complete clown.  A very, not funny clown.

Ha, ha, ha! Here is to the deep and healing, and oh so necessary belly laughs at the not so funny Third-Rate Circus Clown's expense!

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Maybe It's Good and Right to be Devastated?

We saw "I Am Not Your Negro," yesterday. A documentary film based on James Baldwin's unfinished novel. Features Samuel L. Jackson as the Narrator. Includes amazing footage of Baldwin, Malcom X, Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King. Three slain leaders of the Civil Rights Movement.

Powerful. Devastating. I mean totally devastating. A must-see. Maybe it's good and right to be devastated? America has never fully reckoned with the twin foundational sins of it's birth - genocide & slavery. Those sins have not disappeared. All the issues and questions Baldwin so eloquently raises in the film have never been answered. A sad, gaping wound some don't even bother to acknowledge.

Black & White = America.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Rooting for the So-Called Judges!

Yes. We are left to our own devices. We are left rooting for the "rule of law." We have learned that justice is hard-earned, and sometimes justice never comes, or it comes too late. There are victims of injustice strewn along the path, long years, decades, generations of people left in the dust.

Last night a Judge ruled against the Third-Rate Circus Clown's "Muslim Ban." It's just one Judge. One courtroom in the land. One ruling. One stay. Who knows how it will all turn out? But one way for a Country to battle tyranny is by judicious use of the rule of law.

How does the bully respond? You expect a late night Tweet, and here it is: "The opinion of this so-called judge, which essentially takes law-enforcement away from our country, is ridiculous and will be overturned!" - Trump Tweet

Let's hope some more "so-called judges" stick to the laws and the constitution. That would be a good way to keep America great...


Friday, February 03, 2017

Manufacturing Problems by the Day!


Extraordinarily weird times. You awake wondering if the "Third-Rate Circus Clown" has started a war with Mexico or Australia yet. Seems the guy in office at the moment isn't in the business of finding solutions to problems, no, he is out to create, and then, multiply problems where there were no problems.  Sowing Chaos! You thought manufacturing was down in America? No! Manufacturing Problems by the Day! 

The Joker Rules.

So where do we turn? To like-minded folks gathering in opposition. Even Smokey the Bear seems to have gotten the idea that this is not normal. All Sentient Beings Unite!

Let's turn to the law. The Rule of Law. Maybe there is hope to be found there?  Eric Schneiderman (Will This Man Take Down Trump?), Attorney General of New York State, the nation's lonely eyes turn to you:

“We are facing a crisis, not over conservative or liberal, but a crisis over whether or not the rule of law is respected or not, over whether the Constitution is respected or not, and whether the central American notion of equal justice under the law and that everyone be treated with dignity and equality and fairness—all that is at issue now... There is good news, too, those who were asleep, are now awake.” - E.S. AG

Thursday, February 02, 2017

whitewolfsonicprincess Makes the List - Totally Thrilled!


Terry Flamm knows and loves music. Be assured Terry has listened to lots more music than you. And, no doubt, lots more new music. As they say in the biz, he's got "smart ears," and he keeps up with what's going on. His music blog, Broken-Hearted Toy is a great musical resource.

So it was thrilling to find out that our album whitewolfsonicprincess' "The Shadow of the Marigold" made Terry's "45 Favorite Albums of 2016" List.  We came in at #20, and we sit on the list with some fine company indeed, actually some of the great music-makers of our generation including Cheap Trick, the Pretenders, The Smithereens, the Zombies, the Monkees and Graham Nash.  So, yes, totally totally thrilled! 

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

I'm Against It!

Whatever that "third-rate circus clown" said last night, says today, and will say tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow, well, be assured, I Am Against It!

I am reading Bruce Springsteen's new memoir. No surprise, the Boss is an excellent writer. I am only about 70 pages in. I was surprised by many things. I will probably write about it all when I finish the book. Safe to say it's funny, enlightening, inspiring, touching.

I learned that Bruce's first band "The Castiles" played Doo-Wop, R&B and Motown.  Got me thinking of my own foundational influences. Probably would have to say Beatles, Monkees (my brother, sisters and I would jump around our living room to the Monkees Greatest Hits for hours!), and Bob Dylan. 

I recently decided to tackle Dylan's great, epic song, "Like a Rolling Stone." This is the song that blew my mind wide-open. Nothing was really ever the same again. Funny, cutting, rocking, brilliant, slippery. Dylan was young, pissed-off, funny and smarter than the next guy. Made me want to be just like him. I can hear that initial rim-shot beginning today and it's like the first time listening all over again. Here's my little, humble, acoustic stab at greatness. A fun song to sing for sure.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Defining Days!

These are the days...

How we react to events of the day, will define us. What are our essential qualities? Every one of us has a responsibility to be informed, to take a stand. Not taking a stand is taking a stand. Jean Paul Sartre would remind us that we are responsible for everything. For all our sins. And everyone else's sins too. Even those who don't believe in sins.

Are you a collaborator?  A quisling? What is your vision of yourself? What is your vision of America?

Foundational questions are bubbling up. Every day. Time seems to be speeding up. Instead of the "outrage of the day," it's now the "outrage of the hour."  Exhausting.

But we have to speak, stand up. Bad shit is in the air. We have given the keys to the car to a sick man, and looks like he is willing to drive us all off a cliff.

It is easy to destroy things. Much harder to put things back together. We have to hope that our Democracy is resilient. We have to be strong, tough-minded. 

We haven't always lived up to our own ideals. But to ban people based on their religion is UnAmerican. This is a foundational issue. What we say, what we do, will define us for the ages.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Human Beings Are Often Wrong!

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going." - Vince Lombardi

"I'm just talking to the Universe." - Yoko Ono

I was wrong. I was wrong about Lombardi. When I was a kid, I hated Lombardi. My father was a salesman, and he had these motivational tapes featuring Lombardi. I despised that motivational crap. I did not like that man.

Many years later (1999), I read a biography of Lombardi, "When Pride Still Mattered." I fell in love with the man. Great man. Great coach. An inspiration. I was wrong.

I was wrong about Yoko Ono too. When I was young I thought she was the woman who broke up the Beatles. Stole John's heart and killed the band. I did not like that woman.

I was wrong. I later learned that Lennon wanted out, and fell in love with Yoko, an amazing conceptual artist, and together they embarked on a pretty dazzling artistic adventure. Yoko Ono is one of the most influential artists of our time. An inspiration. I was wrong.

This is a roundabout way to get to my point this morning. Human beings are fallible. Often we are wrong. It's best to keep that in mind at all times. Lots of havoc, pain, chaos, is around every corner. History is littered with the tragedies that come with Human Beings who have Big Ideas, who want to move mountains, and move people around like chess pieces.

The best venues for the big ideas is in sports or in arts. Channel the creativity,  practice the art of creating and destroying in those realms. Politics is a dangerous place. Push too hard and the masks of our rationality are easily fractured. No telling what horrors and phobias, and madnesses are seething beneath the masks.

We have an ill man, a man of unsound mind, in the White House, and he is surrounded by the worst people. The worst people imaginable. Sounds overwrought? I think not. Clear-seeing. What's a poor, humble Pilgrim to do?

The Coach would tell us, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." Get ready for some tough going. And the Artist would tell us, "Open your box..."

Open your box,

Open your box,
Open your trousers,
Open your thighs,
Open your legs,
Open, open, open, open, oh.


Open, open, open, open,
Open your legs,
Open your flies,
Open your ears,
Open your nose,
Open your mouth,
Open, open, open, open, oh.
Open.


Open your cold feet,
Open, open,
Open, open, open, let's open, let's open the cities.


Open the cities,
Open, open, open the world,
Open, let's open the world.


Open, open, oh
Open, open, oh!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

"No Donny, these men are Nihilists."


Steve Bannon, Trump's evil brain ("He thinks Darkness is Good"), was in my dream last night... not a good man... made me think of this...

Donny: Are these the Nazis, Walter?
Walter Sobchak: No, Donny, these men are nihilists. There's nothing to be afraid of.

Trump's first week and his favorability ratings are at 36%. He's dropped 8 points in 7 days. You do wonder about those 36% folks. What's wrong with those people? If Trump could somehow keep up this kind of performance, in 2 months or so, he will be looked upon about as favorably as the Ebola Virus! Although, I suppose that isn't likely, there is a core of "true believers" (see previous post), who think that naked, unsound, egomaniac is just perfect.

So what's changed? Everything. We no longer listen to the radio. We used to listen to NPR, we'd have the radio on every morning, late afternoon, early evening. Ever since the election, no more. We don't want to hear the things we don't want to hear, and we especially don't want to hear that mad, unsound, ill (in mind & body) person who now occupies the White House speaking gibberish.

I'd rather read the transcripts,  and watch Alec Baldwin's impersonation. 

So instead, we listen to music. Lately in the Jazz category: Chet Baker, Miles Davis. I love all eras of both of these towering musical geniuses. Chet with teeth, or without. Miles in his cool jazz era or his wild fusion experiments. Thrilling. Pure love.

Also we just scored a bunch of new CD's... we still listen to that great format, love to pore over the little booklets, admire the cover art, read the lyrics and production notes. My latest thing is to play an album over and over. Just let the music wash over me. These are the records on our "hot list" at the moment:

1. Bon Iver "For Emma, Forever Ago" (2007) - Justin Vernon has an incredibly beautiful voice. This is the famous "remote hunting cabin" album. One man, alone in a cabin, singing his soul. Amazing. Beautiful. I just love to hear the man's voice.

2. Sturgill Simpson "A Sailor's Guide to Earth" (2016) - I thought, based on Sturgill's 1st record, that he was sort of an "Outlaw Country" guy. A cosmic cowboy. A voice like Waylon Jennings, a head filled with hallucinogenics. But this album is a kick-ass R&B record. The Dap Kings horn section joins him. Tight, loose. Sturgill has a lot on his mind. Explains it all to his newborn son. A stunner.

3. D'Angelo - "Black Messiah" ( 2014) & "Voodoo" (2000) - I think "Black Messiah" might be one of my all time, all time favorite records. We've had it for awhile. I have listened to it over and over and over. It just gets better. Sexy, slippery, slinky, funky, silvery, cool, hard to hold, easily works it's way into your head, your heart, your soul. Features the best drum/bass combo in the known Universe: Questlove and Pino Palladino. I would call this music "avant garde" R&B/Funk/Soul. Nothing quite like it. "Voodoo" may be just as good, still working thru it. Certainly both records are truly extraordinary.

Listening to these albums is a healing. Good for the soul, good for the head.  Good medicine to chase away the blues, and all that bad JuJu in the air. A necessary antidote to the poison.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Sometimes We Underestimate the Power of Hate.

Yes, following my little thought-train from yesterday (see previous post), I woke up with this burning question: "Can extreme ideas destroy the reasoning functions of our minds?" I was reminded, (by my brother), that someone already covered this territory...

Eric Hoffer wrote a book in 1951 (another time and place in a galaxy far away) called "True Believer,"  - social psychology about mass movements. 

Wikipedia summarizes: "Hoffer analyzes and attempts to explain the motives of the various types of personalities that give rise to mass movements; why and how mass movements start, progress and end; and the similarities between them, whether religious, political, radical or reactionary. He argues that even when their stated goals or values differ, mass movements are interchangeable, that adherents will often flip from one movement to another, and that the motivations for mass movements are interchangeable. Thus, religious, nationalist and social movements, whether radical or reactionary, tend to attract the same type of followers, behave in the same way and use the same tactics and rhetorical tools. As examples, he often refers to Communism, Fascism, National Socialism, Christianity, Protestantism, and Islam."

As for me, I am kind of hung up on the idea that any (and all?) extreme religious or political ideas destroy the reasoning parts of our brains: toxic, pernicious, brain-killing, soul-destroying, empathy & compassion-erasing ideas.

What are extremist ideas? I would think it relates to when, or if, or how, someone puts their ideas into action. The extremist embraces an idea and hates to consider any alternatives. The extremist is defined and unified by not only what they embrace but by what they reject, what they hate.

Sometimes we underestimate the power of hate. It is a unifier, a driver, and endless source of energy.

I am beginning to think any extreme ideology is a sickness. An illness. It actually short-circuits a healthy brain. There is no reasoning with someone filled with extreme ideas. There is no room for others, for alternative views, alternative ideas. That kind of extremism leads to hate. A hate-filled mind is a terrible thing to behold.

So examples of mind-sickness: misogyny, racism, white supremacy, xenophobia, homophobia, islamophobia, religious fundamentalism of all stripes, political extremism of all varieties.

Try reasoning with a committed Trump follower. Not possible. Or how about a Fundamentalist Christian? May as well put a fork in your forehead. Do not get in the way of a suicide bomber. They are gone, baby gone.

It is an "invasion of the body snatchers" thing. As  Karl Popper reminds us: “Knowledge consists in the search for truth… It is not the search for certainty.”

Anyone who is absolutely certain is dangerous. And in a way, ignorant. Their intelligence is stunted. And they are on the brink, on the verge of being unreachable. Unreasonable. And ridiculous. When someone says, "I alone can fix it." Head for the hills. Or prepare for an intervention. I recommend heavy sedatives, a jacket with no sleeves, and a rubber room.

So how to maintain a healthy mind? Psychology Today has a few suggestions. I would say be humble. Lean to the light. Look to fill your head with thoughts of love, grace, compassion, empathy. Avoid extremes, risky behaviors, risky ideas. De-toxify!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Those Who Resist, the Resistance - The Yossarians!


Is crazy a virus? Crazy - "one who is or acts crazy; especially : such a one associated with a radical or extremist political cause." 

The French coined the term "la folie a deux " - the madness of two, a shared psychosis. And, a group of psychiatrists claim that schizophrenia is the "insanity virus" that lives entwined in every person's DNA.

Can religious fundamentalists, political extremists, terrorists of all kinds, for instance, be examples of a "crazy virus" passing from one person to another? Can a mainstream political party become infected? Could half of a nation? Could a whole nation? A whole continent?

Does it start with one charismatic, fully-infected person? Can that person spread the crazy not only by physical contact, but by visual cues, and strings of verbal nonsense? Can the crazy be passed from one man's lips to millions of ears?

Can teeming masses of seemingly well-educated, intelligent people easily succumb to the crazy? Look to history, especially look to some of the highlights from last century. And look at your TV and newspapers today.

Those who resist, those who are resistant to the crazy, those we will call the Yossarians...

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Those Who Follow Are Fools, Sick & Mad Too!

Yeah. We are "going to the mattresses" inside our heads. Every day, (and it's just been days), another outrage.

We have to fall back on some basics. There are truths. There are facts. There is common sense. There is common courtesy.  There is still... Respect, Dignity, Intelligence. Liberty. Equality. Fraternity.

Peace, Love & Understanding.

The laws of physics are not going to be over-thrown. We (so far) cannot defy the laws of gravity. Mathematics still works.

We don't have to accept falsehoods. Lies. Or "alternative facts!" As Merriam-Webster recently Tweeted: "A fact is a piece of information presented as having objective reality."

Do we all still believe in "objective reality?"  

"The objective reality is the collection of things that we are sure exist independently of us. Every person is able, in principle, to verify every aspect of the objective reality. Anything that cannot be verified in this way is not part of the objective reality. The 20m tall ironbark tree in my neighbour's yard is part of the objective reality. It's presence can be verified by any person by simply looking at it, or a surveyor determining its position, by taking a photo of it etc. Moreover, the absence of the tree would imply that the tree does not belong to the objective reality."

Karl Popper reminds us that: “Knowledge consists in the search for truth… It is not the search for certainty.”

Call out the lies. Every day. Refuse to live with the lies. That road leads to madness. If we are led by a charlatan, a fool, a sick madman, (and indeed we are), those who follow are fools, sick & mad too.

Eugene Ionesco in his play "Rhinoceros," explains the process:

"University professors, students, intellectuals were turning Nazi, becoming Iron Guards one after another. We were fifteenth people who used to get together, to find arguments, to discuss, to try to find arguments opposing theirs. It was not easy...From time to time, one of the group would come out and say "I don't agree at all with them, to be sure, but on certain points, I must admit, for example the Jews...". And that kind of comment was a symptom. Three weeks later, that person would become a Nazi. He was caught in a mechanism, he accepted everything, he become a Rhinoceros. Towards the end, it was only three or four of us who resisted"

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Bumpy Ride!

So, yes, the bottom line: We have embraced a new little experiment. What happens when you turn over the most powerful position in the Free World to a Narcissistic Sociopath (see previous post)? An unsound mind fighting windmills and common sense from any corner. Looking forward to a bumpy ride.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Unsound Mind...

If you have been paying attention lately this might ring a bell...

Traits of a Narcissistic Sociopath

How do you spot a sociopathic narcissist?

1. A driven quest for power. If a narcissistic sociopath cares about anything other than himself, it is destructive power and control over people.
2. Behaviors that seek love and admiration. To be sure, this isn't needy love. It's not even emotional love. It's superficial. A narcissistic sociopath sees love and admiration as power tools to manipulate and dominate (Do Sociopaths Even Have Feelings?).
3. No apologies, no guilt, no remorse under any circumstance. A sociopathic narcissist believes that he is a gift to the world who makes it richer and more colorful. Therefore, his calculated, even cruel actions are always justified.
4. Invincibility. The narcissistic variety of sociopath believes he is indomitable. Even punishment and prison can't stop him. They're merely part of the game.
5. Wholly self-serving. The needs and wants of others are insignificant and undeserving of consideration.
6. Act as the producer, director, and only actor of his own show. The narcissistic sociopath casts people in roles that increase his power and sense of importance and when bored, casts them aside.

Sometimes a person is perfectly matched for the position in life they hold. It's a beautiful thing to behold. Sometimes a person is perfectly unmatched for the position in life they hold - expect holy hell on earth!

Trump's team is already leaking like a sieve. As Josh Marshall writes this morning: "The Trump White House not only leaks like crazy. It casually leaks the most intimate and humiliating details about the President - hurt feelings, ego injury, childlike behavior, self-destructive rages over tweets, media failure to credit his own grandiosity. We have simply never seen this level of leaking, with this little respect for the President's dignity or reputation, this early." 

And this from the Washington Post: "Trump has been resentful, even furious, at what he views as the media’s failure to reflect the magnitude of his achievements, and he feels demoralized that the public’s perception of his presidency so far does not necessarily align with his own sense of accomplishment."

Are the top people surrounding the man starting to bail already?

By the way. Here is the full transcript of Donald Trump's Speech to the CIA on January 23, 2017, 3:53 PM. 

I recommend you read the whole thing. Unfiltered. Sort of chilling, creepy. A psychological snapshot; rambling, self-aggrandizing, delusional, superficial, totally strange. This man is in the wrong job, for sure. A very sick man. An unsound mind.  

Here is a brief excerpt of the actual speech (no kidding!): Donald Trump: "You know, when I was young and when I was -- of course, I feel young. I feel like I’m 30, 35, 39. (Laughter.) Somebody said, are you young? I said, I think I’m young. You know, I was stopping -- when we were in the final month of that campaign, four stops, five stops, seven stops. Speeches, speeches, in front of 25,000, 30,000 people, 15,000, 19,000 from stop to stop. I feel young.

When I was young -- and I think we’re all sort of young. When I was young, we were always winning things in this country. We’d win with trade. We’d win with wars. At a certain age, I remember hearing from one of my instructors, “The United States has never lost a war.” And then, after that, it’s like we haven’t won anything. We don’t win anymore. The old expression, “to the victor belong the spoils” -- you remember. I always used to say, keep the oil. I wasn’t a fan of Iraq. I didn’t want to go into Iraq. But I will tell you, when we were in, we got out wrong. And I always said, in addition to that, keep the oil. Now, I said it for economic reasons. But if you think about it, Mike, if we kept the oil you probably wouldn’t have ISIS because that’s where they made their money in the first place. So we should have kept the oil. But okay. (Laughter.) Maybe you’ll have another chance. But the fact is, should have kept the oil.

I believe that this group is going to be one of the most important groups in this country toward making us safe, toward making us winners again, toward ending all of the problems. We have so many problems that are interrelated that we don’t even think of, but interrelated to the kind of havoc and fear that this sick group of people has caused. So I can only say that I am with you 1,000 percent.

And the reason you’re my first stop is that, as you know, I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth. (Laughter and applause.) And they sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community. And I just want to let you know, the reason you’re the number-one stop is exactly the opposite -- exactly. And they understand that, too.

And I was explaining about the numbers. We did a thing yesterday at the speech. Did everybody like the speech? (Applause.) I’ve been given good reviews. But we had a massive field of people. You saw them. Packed. I get up this morning, I turn on one of the networks, and they show an empty field. I say, wait a minute, I made a speech. I looked out, the field was -- it looked like a million, million and a half people. They showed a field where there were practically nobody standing there. And they said, Donald Trump did not draw well. I said, it was almost raining, the rain should have scared them away, but God looked down and he said, we’re not going to let it rain on your speech.

In fact, when I first started, I said, oh, no. The first line, I got hit by a couple of drops. And I said, oh, this is too bad, but we’ll go right through it. But the truth is that it stopped immediately. It was amazing. And then it became really sunny. And then I walked off and it poured right after I left. It poured. But, you know, we have something that’s amazing because we had -- it looked -- honestly, it looked like a million and a half people. Whatever it was, it was. But it went all the way back to the Washington Monument. And I turn on -- and by mistake I get this network, and it showed an empty field. And it said we drew 250,000 people. Now, that’s not bad, but it’s a lie. We had 250,000 people literally around -- you know, in the little bowl that we constructed. That was 250,000 people. The rest of the 20-block area, all the way back to the Washington Monument, was packed. So we caught them, and we caught them in a beauty. And I think they’re going to pay a big price."

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