Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “Let There Be Peace on Earth”

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.

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Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “Goodbye Earl”

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!

 

Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “Nikolina”

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.

Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “My Handy Man”

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.

 

Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “The No No Song”

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:

Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “I Don’t Wanna Play in Your Yard”

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.”

Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “This Is Not America”

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.

Peace.

Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “Mercy, Mercy Me”

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.

Your Weekly, Sunday Interlude: “Psycho Killer”

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.

Reality Check, Reality Grip in the Age of You Know Who

It’s logical for journalists, foreign leaders, our military and even us regular citizens to intellectually analyze Trump’s actions, particularly when someone so erratic has so much impact on the world. However, that is the very thing one must resist in order to understand or interact with him. To never normalize Trump must be your premise. I am not suggesting this from a mere partisan position. This is sound advice to understand and operate.

Trump is a two-dimensional, reality show figure. His image as president only exists for him if he’s in front of a camera or he’s watching people talk about him on TV. He is an empty suit that was made in China and sports a Trump label. He did not come to the political scene with any experience or depth in global or domestic matters. He is not reading in-depth reports about foreign or domestic issues or meeting with cabinet members to strategies and analyze intelligence and world affairs. He’s just a lazy, old guy who eats in front of the TV for hours a day, scanning channels for stuff about himself, who also happens to have the power to destroy the planet.

Coupled with his cartoon character depth is his malignant narcissism, and as such, he lacks any loyalty to or compassion for others unless it directly enriches himself. You can’t take the same approach you would with any previous president. To do so is not just incongruous, it isn’t useful and will only scramble your brain.

So he’s shallow, self-absorbed and wholly unfit mentally. Any attempt to normalize his words or deeds is a danger. It is like a board of professors and academics pouring over the process of a preschooler navigating a playroom of toys to determine whether the child left the tricycle for the building blocks because he is prioritizing infrastructure now.

Therefore, the role of journalists is more sobering than it has ever been in our history, and not just because they treated him like a serious politician during his campaign, but because now by simply asking the president a regular, ordinary question they would structure for Obama or even W, they may be steering his mind to take an unintended action. (If his family were reading this, they would be nodding their heads.) Reporters, he hasn’t formed a position about the subject of the question you are asking. And last week was a prime example of what I believe caused Trump to send tomahawk missiles to Syria. During the joint press conference with Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and on the heels of stating only days before he supported Bashar Hafez alAssad’s remaining Syria’s president (a position he likely took through Putin’s direction), PBS NewsHour’s John Yang asked him if al-Assad’s gas attack on his own people drew for him a red line similar to the line Obama said would be crossed in this incident. Trump responded without hesitation, with his usual, limited vocabulary with it “crossed a lot of lines for me.” Now no one asked a follow-up like, “Could you define a couple of those lines?” which might have either provided context or made it clear he just said it because it seemed like a good ad lib for his improv act.

I saw his face when he said it and thought, “Look out, he just got an idea that will make his junk look bigger than Obama’s.” I can’t be the only one who saw it like that, but I haven’t seen it mentioned. Trump made the decision to bomb Syria because Yang mentioned Obama and Trump had to look tougher. Forget the consequences of what he said about al-Assad being safe to stay or the fallout yet to come, this toddler maniac has the power to blow up stuff. Cool, huh? So he ordered the attack and then a juicy steak, rare. Or vice versa. 

Now the media is doing in-depth analysis of what was clearly a stunt and a failed military action. “Why the pivot on al-Assad?” “Did Ivanka’s plea for the children soften his heart?” “What does this mean concerning the allegations he colluded with Russia during his campaign and beyond?” What? No. None of this. He’s a shallow, two-dimensional, mentally unfit buffoon with a distorted ego. Hillary Clinton was right (about everything but) when she said, “There is no other Trump!” He is Being There’s Chance, the gardener.

What he does must not be mistaken as policy or strategy or even a tactic. This being doesn’t know what he is doing. He’s still in private business, sending Uday and Qusay Trump, along with many of his rich, Cabinet member friends, to make deals to enrich themselves, all expenses paid by you and me. He’s a lazy, rich guy who sits around all day, eating and watching Fox so-called news surfing for talk about himself. Then he plays golf. He lacks intellectual curiosity at best, and, at worst, is functionally illiterate; hence the SNL stories that he couldn’t grasp the scripts in their show reads, or reports that he requires no more than a page, heavy with bullets and pictures, in his daily briefings and the video of him in a deposition struggling to read and comprehend a contract he’d signed.

And now he’s sabre rattling with North Korea, a leader we can all agree is erratic and a bubble off the level. Trump is literally threatening a nuclear attack on North Korea. Attention everyone: Do not put ideas in his head! He likes the attention and the ratings’ grab. You can’t approach him like he’s clear headed or fully sane! If he sees his approvals go up as he surfs for his daily “me” news, who knows what he will do for an encore, because he only wants to be famous and have good approval ratings!

Our Constitution defines the role of the free press as the 4th Estate. It’s part of the First Amendment! No wonder this Administration’s ilk wants to attack it. There is a no more imperative than for every real news outlet to stop normalizing his actions, stop having thoughtful round tables on the Sunday shows that apply the president’s personality as a backdrop to anything other than padded walls with a foreground of professionals in white garb amply stocked with horse sedatives. He’s not intellectually fit for the job but what’s worse is he is not mentally well. That’s your premise. Don’t forget. Please. I don’t want these words to be the epitaph for life on the planet.