This site has been blogless since the so-called election on November 8, 2016. Any submission seemed redundant to the ocean of writing covering the destruction of the country’s reputation and every single government department. Then there’s the nauseating aspect of Republican complicity, coupled with their indignation toward the Mueller and SDNY investigations, particularly in contrast with the mounting criminal indictments and more sides to this conspiracy than a myriagon (that’s a polygon with 10,000 sides). So I have been paying attention. It’s all just so terribly depressing. But I feel strength and renewed hope since the Democrats took back the House January 3rd. So I’m back, that one of you who wondered.
I got my start writing in journalism so, in as much as I want to avoid writing about a facet of the Russian coup that’s been done to death, I also like to be concise. So for that one of you out there, I submit this separate and brief explanation for my absence, in keeping with my journalism roots, rather than putting this personal prologue to the first post with legitimate content. I want to avoid resembling this guy I once had in a speech class who could not deliver one speech without first explaining in excruciating detail – like he was in his shrink’s office – his thought process for choosing his topic, what inspired him, what didn’t, his breakfast, his sock choice, route to class, and always punctuating these narcissistic prologues with failed stifles to laugh at something only he found amusing. (He’s so vain, he probably thinks this description’s about him.) One of his classmates always looked like there was a thought bubble containing a groan and eye roll overhead. OK, that was me.
A lot has happened over the past two years, for me personally and professionally and in this world. Two years ago, who would have thought the Steele dossier would be mere Cliff Notes to the depth and breadth of the Drumpf (the original German) criminal corruption? Two years ago, who would have imagined the Mueller investigation would be ongoing, growing in indictments by the week almost and, so far, reaping tens of millions of dollars from the Manafort seizures alone? Two years ago, I would have sounded like a conspiracy nut if I said then what I believed and still do, like Hillary won, Drumpf is working against the nation’s interests or that he’s a global danger, due to his malignant narcissism and growing cognitive diminishment. Had I blogged about it then, I might have seemed prescient today. But I’ve been in a constant state of shock and outrage, like many of you. So I’ll try to offer something different and some historical framing with my blogs that may entertain, provoke or terrify. Or so I hope. I might even write about other stuff. So thanks for sticking around, that one of you!
Philando Castile is the victim of a violent death. His assailant was acquitted of all charges. I’m a Minnesotan, the state where this took place, I know people who knew and loved Philando. I’m white. He’s black. I don’t know what to say. But I can’t let today go by without dedicating this week’s interlude to him.
Dear heaven, the arc of justice is long. Bless all who love Philando and who share my grief.
We will remember you, Mr. Phil, and fight for justice. Some day.
Now, don’t think too much into the words of this song. I don’t condone violence of any kind. But I have more than had it with Mango Mussolini. And I just needed a song that spoke to my level of frustration. We’re going through the motions of a civil investigation but anyone with two brain cells knows he’s as dirty as a mobster can be. He and his entire ilk have got to go! I want my country back!
And so, I give you “Goodbye Earl,” by the Dixie Chicks. Again. I’m wishing no harm on anyone but I want, from the depth of my being, for that unfit being to go away from my government. And country. Enjoy!
Humor me. On my way to work in this Groundhog Day kind of schedule this week, I flipped on KFAI, a great local radio station (even open to amateurs, shout to Dale Connelly). To my surprise the intro to “Nikolina” played and I immediately knew it was a song Mom sang. Now, their version was in Swedish, but the one she sang was in English. And it’s a hoot! It says a lot about Swedish humor and, perhaps, where some of mine originates.
I guess Swedes can be a bit dark. Anyway, it brought back a memory for me I had not recalled in some time. It’s a song that made the US play charts, even though there were no play charts, in 1915. I live in an area where Swedes and Norwegians settled. Yes, we were once the new, funny speaking people.
I don’t know who the DJ was that morning, but your playing “Nikolina” sure brought a smile to the face of this Northern European! Yes, I sang along.
Crazy mind-numbing hours this week left me unable to conger up the name of an American icon. Now, no one should need a reason to feature Alberta Hunter. But that moment when I was telling a coworker I needed to “mow my lawn,” to which she asked if it was a euphemism, and I immediately sang a couple lines of “My Man,” only to be unable to remember Alberta Hunter’s name compels me to make her my feature this Sunday.
They broke the mold.
I find myself singing absurd songs upon hearing more absurd stuff about “45.” I mean, the acts from the Oval Office and the criminality unfolding about same has become the comedy of the absurd. So while on the road this week, I replied to the news with Ringo’s “The No No Song.”
“No, no, no, no, i can’t take it no more,
I’m tired of waking up on the floor.
No, thank you, please, it only makes me sneeze,
And then it makes it hard to find the door.”
Sure, it’s about giving up reality-enhancing chemicals, but wouldn’t you agree our national politics feels like a step away from reality? Enjoy:
It’s a children’s song from 1894, written by Philip Wingate and H.W. Petrie. I had heard “I Don’t Wanna Play in Your Yard” before it was part of the movie “Reds,” but that was the first time I became aware of its adult delivery. The words are as much about two quarrelling little girls, as it is the fractured love between Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton) and John Reed (Warren Beatty). I was humming it this morning in exasperation of the lunacy and danger that is President 45. It works for all cases.
Peggy Lee recorded it like mournful, lovelorn song. Enjoy:
None of the sane among us can rationalize with Trump or even understand him. So let’s boil it down to the most childlike message:
“I don’t want to play in your yard,
I don’t like you anymore,
You’ll be sorry when you see me,
Sliding down our cellar door,
You can’t holler down our rainbarrel,
You can’t climb our apple tree,
I don’t want to play in your yard
If you won’t be good to me.”
A lot of us feel this is not America. My country doesn’t look the other way when a grifter family is using political position to make private business deals. My country doesn’t have a religious test or ban people of faith from entering. My country doesn’t make me feel like the Administrative and Congressional branches are the enemy of the people
But my country is strong. Those Founding Fathers really had their stuff together. I’m terrified we may face an attack here or get embroiled in a war or lose our Constitution. It’s bad enough we have an unfit, mentally imbalanced thing in the White House, but the Congressional majority is fine with this. Their calculation is to get as much draconian policy passed before his liability is too risky. That is, if we can still proceed to a full, independent investigation into its ties to Russia. I only hope we can withstand this violent attack. This is a thousand times worse than Watergate. This is the greatest crisis in my lifetime.
And so why not a little Bowie? That’s always good for the soul. “This is Not America” feels like a fitting choice after another horrible week with these clowns.
Honestly, I try to find a happy song for these interludes but we’re under such a pile of garbage, weekly reflection just isn’t very happy these days. Don’t get me wrong; life is good. I am a very happy person. But I care too much to ignore the carnage.
Earth Day was yesterday and the anniversary of Prince’s death was the day before. And the filthy, hateful madman is in my White House. So many ways to go for this week’s Sunday interlude. But I went with the planet because that trumps (get it?) everything. Marvin Gaye, who left us too soon, inspires with “Mercy, Mercy Me”, released in 1971, and we’re still not taking our home seriously.
There’s something about the jazzy, funky and soulful sound that makes the issue of the planet’s health cool. And it has a rare line about human over-population, a terribly taboo subject today. “What about this overcrowded land? How much more abuse from man can she stand?”
Whoa, ah, mercy mercy me
Oh things ain’t what they used to be, no no
Where did all the blue skies go?
Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east
Whoa mercy, mercy me,
Oh things ain’t what they used to be, no no
Oil wasted on the oceans and upon our seas, fish full of mercury
Ah, oh mercy, mercy me
Ah things ain’t what they used to be, no no
Radiation under ground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying
Oh mercy, mercy me
Oh things ain’t what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land
How much more abuse from man can she stand?
Oh, no no, na, na na, na
My sweet Lord, na, na, na
My Lord, my sweet Lord
I was taught humans are stewards of the Earth. I can’t tolerate the devastation to our awesome planet, its water, air, land and other species. It’s why I checked the ego and chose not to make a mini me and why I don’t require animals to satisfy my belly. These are the two greatest things to limit your footprint. Try it. It avoids a lot of personal denial. I don’t know what else to do, folks. Greed seems to have won.
Last week The Guardian reported British intelligence has confirmed there to be “concrete evidence” of Trump-Russia collusion in the presidential campaign. Trump support has been dropping by the day as his campaign promises fail one by one. No Muslim ban, no wall, no repeal of the ACA replaced with “something terrific”. Perhaps coincidently, he ordered the bombings of Yemen, Syria and Afghanistan over dinner and “beautiful piece of chocolate cake,” all which gave him a ratings’ bump. Pundits speculate about his military strategy or tactics because he offered more details about dessert, and simply called the dropping of the “mother of all bombs” on Afghanistan a “successful event.” And now that boy seems to be getting ready to bomb North Korea who has its own imbalanced leader. If that ain’t psycho, I don’t know how to describe it.
I have hope our justice system will act soon and charge him and/or his inner circle with Russian colluding, violating the Emoluments Clause, or call his mental capacities into question and thus, prevent him from eliminating life on the planet. I’m frightened what this person with such power might do. Time is of the essence.
My stress level is back where it was before the House Intelligence Committee met in March on the Trump-Russia investigation. So it’s time for a Sunday interlude fitting Trump’s mental capacity, as well as how crazy-making he is: “Psycho Killer,” by Talking Heads.
The song borrows from “Psycho’s” character, Norman Bates. “I hate people when they’re not polite.” I’ve always enjoyed dancing and body slamming to the song. The lyrics speak to our modern, human condition where the sanest among us can have moments of feeling crazy, snapping from everyday inconveniences and pressures, albeit stopping short of murder. Our political condition is crazy making, to be certain:
“We are vain and we are blind
I hate people when they’re not polite”
“Psycho Killer” takes me back to a simpler time when it only reminded me of serial killers or the “St. Elsewhere” episode with this song as a backdrop to Howie Mandel’s character playing out his inner child with a barrage of pranks as he gives in to turning 30. Sadly, now the song’s about my country’s Administrative branch and fear that the president is imbalanced enough to fire nuclear bombs. Help us.
So enjoy “Psycho Killer” and happy Easter.