Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Voting 2016

I first voted for president in 1976. I know, the math is wrong, I was only 17 in 1976. But California, like Illinois, keeps you on the voting rolls a long, long time. Since my father had died, 2 years before Nixon resigned, he was still on the rolls.

None of the three white ladies who manned the only polling station on the "wrong" side of town did not know if I was me or I was my father. I just said his name, got my ballot, and voted. Carter? Good guy. Meh, President. Sorry.

I would like to state for the record that Richard Nixon never let me down. I walked to my polling place, and noticed a pattern on the way back.

"The ballot is stronger than the bullet" Abraham Lincoln

Monday, June 6, 2016


The "Decline to State," voter in California is hounded to the last moment, because you do not know what we are going to do!
The mail; 6-6-16

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Message from Kurt Cobain

I currently own something called "An Open Letter From Kurt Cobain." Here is a small portion of that letter. Looking at you NC, right now.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Kennedy Center Honors and Honoring Our Own

On May 10th, 2016, songwriters extraordinaire, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, won the BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated)Icon Award. BMI is the basic twin of ASCAP when it comes to music publishing, and most recording artists have a contract with one or the other.

I saw this as a news item on Twitter, and said that Barry and Cynthia should win every award every given, and called out the Kennedy Center Honors folks for not having already honored these two amazing songwriters. They are truly deserving but 140 characters allows nothing but a joke and hopefully a coherent statement.

Well I can't do jack in 140 characters so I thought I would sit down at 2:45 AM PST to expound on the subject of them getting the Kennedy Center Honors, and the seriousness of it occurring quickly. Let's talk about this award.

It's normally given as an award for a lifetime of contributions to the performing arts, and their contributions to American culture through the use of these arts. Right there is the biggest opening ever made for mankind, and for Barry and Cynthia.

To say that Barry Mann and Cynthia have contributed to the culture, continuing culture, and future culture of America, is a gross understatement of facts and feelings. I have avoided talking about the songs themselves to this time, because I want everyone to be clear about the rules before we talk about meat and potatoes.

Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil wrote, had a hand in writing, or assisted in some way in all these tunes. They are: "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," "On Broadway," "We Gotta Get Outta This Place," "Walking in the Rain""(You're My) Soul and Inspiration," "I Just Can't Help Believing," "Here You Come Again," "Don't Know Much," but to name but a few of their great tunes. There are many, many, many, more.

Any one of the songs I have listed above would be a career for most songwriters but not Barry and Cynthia. They flourished and worked at songwriting, but they also had soul and inspiration, and a great ability to get into your heart with words and music. I don't know how they did it, I am just glad that they did.  

The awards ceremony was in Los Angeles California at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. BMI honored Barry, Cynthia, and a young woman who was named Taylor Swift. She is also a great songwriter and only needs 480 songs to catch Barry and Cynthia, in terms of hits.
Cynthia Weil, Taylor Swift, and Barry Mann

So I saw they won and I said on Twitter that they deserved every award for music ever given. I also checked and found out they had not been awarded The Kennedy Center Honors. This sort of pissed me off on a few different levels.

I believe that everyone who has received the Kennedy Center Honors has been a worthy recipient. They are all, and in some cases were, very talented and worthy of recognition. But again, I think some clear thinking needs to be applied to the circumstances attendant to these two specific individuals, and their possible receiving of this prestigious award.

These two have lifetime achievement awards from nearly every important music organization on the earth, they have the written the most played song on the planet in "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling." They are members of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the list just continues and continues.

So what are we going to do? Are we going to sit by and watch them get passed over again? I personally have no pull, no juice. I don't know anyone I could call, send a message to, or bother about this or I would. So all I can do is write this in the hopes that someone with some juice will feel the same way I do. I guess what I really have is a love for good music. So do Barry and Cynthia.

Also Barry Mann, just for the record knows who put the bomp, in the bomp buh bomp buh bomp. And that's gotta count for something. Please Kennedy Center honor these two real American heroes. I won't mention their work for saving animals, because they don't do it for fame or fortune, they just love animals. How awesome.

Please Kennedy Center Honors, step up and use this coming December to do the deed. These two deserve it while they can enjoy the fun, adulation, and recognition they truly deserve. They are one of the last ties to the Brill Building, Tin Pan Alley, and the great American songwriting tradition in general, and are American right down to their toes.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

96 Tears

No, this one is not going to be about ? and the Mysterians, of the titular "96 Tears." So if you are looking for that, then look somewhere else.

No this is a different 96 tears, for a whole different reason. This one is about football in England, It's what we in America call soccer, and it is a religion in England, not a sport. It's the reason why everyone knows the name of Leicester City.

Last week they overcame 5000-1 odds and won the Premier League cup for the first time. It's been called a "fairy tale," "miracle," and a whole lot of things that Cub fans will say if that day every comes to Chicago. It is, and was, truly an accomplishment.

What sort of got lost in all this coverage of Leicester City and their win, was Liverpool FC. On April 26, 2016, a jury found that 96 Liverpool fans, who died from a police caused crush, had been "unlawfully killed" and that the burden for this unlawful killing went right to the police doorstep.

What made it worse was when the disaster happened on April 15, 1989, the police, government, courts, and others in positions of power covered up the police actions, and continued to cover them up for over 25 years. They called the Liverpool fans drunken animals who killed each other, when it was clearly proven to not be true.

When I first heard about the incident in 1989, I just thought it smelled wrong for the dumbest reason imaginable. I still can't believe it was what jumped into my brain and is still one of the things I think of when I remember the disaster. What do I remember?

The Beatles.


Because Ringo was born in Liverpool, England, and I knew that any place where that great man came from, could not do this to themselves. I knew they did not kill each other, urinate on the police, or were drunken idiots. I just knew it could not be true, because of Ringo. How stupid is that. I actually bet on peace and love.

So 27 years later I was right, and so were the survivors, and families of those who went to a soccer match that day and never came home. I cried for joy, and I cried for justice, when I heard that verdict. It made me realize that England is still great, because they prize truth and justice over everything else, and will continue to look for it, even when the result is disappointing and discouraging.

Just like we still do in this country, at least for the time being.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Still On The Bus

Like I explained in my Earth Day post, I don't own a car. It's by choice and I have already listed the reasons I started. The reasons I continue are more complicated.

The first thing is you simply cannot be clinically depressed on a bus. You can be sad but you still have to pay attention, have the right fare ready, know which bus to take, what time it gets there. You need to be a little aware and that staves off that depression a bit. Bus riding also builds in walking, which is good provided you do not have to walk too far.

The other thing is no matter how bad off you think you are there is someone on that bus who is much worse off. I have seen people on the bus, who I knew the bus was going to be their home for however long it took the bus driver to kick them off because they are sleeping not riding.

I have seen acts of charity, kindness, and honesty. I lost both my house keys and an Iphone6 and both were turned in by other riders that never met me and never knew me. My father once told me that poor people can still have honor. I try and remember that.

My father also told me that when all a person has to keep, and sometimes give, is their pride then you accept that gift, and never shame the gift, no matter how large or small. On the bus the gift is a smile, getting up for someone older or infirm, or just engaging in conversation with a 38 year old man in footy pajamas who is wearing aluminum foil antlers.

If you think you are clinically depressed, crazy, mentally disabled or whatever, you will come away with a different take on your life, when you see the real sorrow people have to live in every day. It really makes you think a bit.

When I get off the bus, I know I am coming to a comfortable home, with food, warmth, friends, gadgets, guitars, and just everything I need. Everyone else on the bus? I don't know but I do worry. But being on the bus shows me there are still good people, working hard, and trying to survive.

So thanks to everyone on all the buses, trains, and other public transportation I have used in these past 2 years. I will never own another car, so people who keep offering me cars, thanks but no thanks. 

People need me on that bus, and I need to be there as well.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Earth Day 2016

Earth Day is on the 22nd of April this year and I don't really care. I know that sounds crazy but instead of talking about Earth Day and the earth itself, I decided that actions would be louder than words, so I did something, that I felt would really help.

I gave up cars.

Yes, when my wife died in 2013 we had two cars. My wife's car, which she drove 12 miles to work every day, and back home those same 12 miles. She kept it clean and hated the times when I had to drive her car because we were going somewhere together and she just did not want to put up with the hassle of me being the passenger not the driver. 

My car, on the other hand, was like the "Wreck of the Hesperus." You could have done surgery in the back seat and no one would notice. My car was the do everything car of the two cars, and life was grand. Until she died and I started pondering life.

I have to say that up until my wife died I had not really considered my position in the world. When I was young I really didn't care about the resources I was using or how they were used. If someone would have told me that they would have to use a condor to beat a bald eagle to death to get what I wanted I would have only asked the question:

"How Much?"

Because really that's the only question these days isn't it? How much can I get for myself? Where is my piece of the pie? Why should I give two shits about others? Why? It seems dumb sometimes, doing something good, making a sacrifice.

So I sold one car to a neighbor, and shipped my wife's car to my son in Mississippi in September of 2014. So I was then, and still am, without a car. The bus stop is right outside my apartment on both sides of the street, so it's pretty easy. I work, ha-ha, for myself so there is not a time constraint, so it works.

But I am not doing it for me. I am doing it for my son, his kids, your kids, people I have not met, and all those ones that are going to come after me. How stupid am I to think you can change the world one bus ride at a time? I must be crazy. Then the first time I rode the bus, I found this note, on the seat next to where I sat down.

And I have not stopped riding since then, and am going to ride the bus today. For me, for you, for real change, and just because I can.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Bruce Springsteen, history, and a bunch of dead guys.

As everyone who watches the news has heard by now, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band have canceled their show that was to be played on April 10th, in North Carolina. As most people again know, North Carolina has recently passed a law, that discriminates against a certain part of the population.

I work as a historian and ephemera salesman by trade and when stuff like this happens I always go back and see what the dead guys said. You know, those founding fathers, politicians, and other pundits, celebrities, and just plain folks who decided to comment on this very subject. I go back and see what they said, just in case there might be something from back then that might teach us about now.

This is what I found. These are exact quotes. Not one word has been changed.

"Liberty, the precious boon of heaven, is meek and reasonable. She admits that she belongs to all-to the high and the low, rich and the poor, the black and the white-and that she belongs to them all equally."

Gerrit Smith

"Law can offer us a moral precept. To the extent that laws are founded on morality and on logic, they can lead men's hearts and minds. But this aspect of law can have meaning only to the extent that the constituents of the law are moral and rational."

Robert F. Kennedy

"....to every man his chance-to every man, regardless of his birth, his shining, golden opportunity-to every man the right to live, to work, to be himself, and to become whatever thing his manhood and his vision can combine to make him-this, seeker, is the promise of America."

Thomas Wolfe

"In the cause of freedom, we have to battle for the rights of people with whom we do not agree and whom in many cases, we may not like. These people test the strength of the freedoms which protect all of us. If we do not defend their rights, we endanger our own."

Harry S. Truman

"While democracy must have its organization and controls, its vital breath is individual liberty."

Charles Evans Hughes

"The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. The spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias. The spirit of liberty remembers that not even a sparrow falls to the earth unheeded. The spirit of liberty is the spirit of Him who, nearly two thousand years ago, taught mankind that lesson it has never learned but has never quite forgotten-that there may be a kingdom where the least shall be heard and considered side by side with the greatest."

Learned Hand

"A manly assertion by each of his individual rights, and a manly concession of equal rights to every other man, is the boast and the law of good citizenship."

Benjamin Harrison

"Under our constitutional system, courts stand against any winds that blow as havens of refuge for those who might otherwise suffer because they are helpless, weak, outnumbered, or because they are non-conforming victims of prejudice and public excitement."

Hugo L. Black

"We ought not to separate the science of public law from that of ethics. States or bodies politic are to be considered as moral persons having a public will capable and free to do right and wrong"

James Kent

"We want a state of things which allows every man the largest liberty compatible with the liberty of every other man."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Laws have their proper place, but the responsibility of worthy citizenship is a personal one. We each have a separate and individual share in eradicating social evils and in refusing to perpetuate practises odious to a free nation."

Herbert Brownell, Jr

"Every individual has a place to fill in the world, and is important in some respect, whether he chooses to be so or not."

Nathaniel Hawthorne

"Anglo-Saxon civilization has taught the individual to protect his own rights. American civilization will teach him to respect the rights of others."

William Jennings Bryant

"....Yet most of all grant us brotherhood, not only for this day but for all years-a brotherhood not of words but of acts and deeds. We are all of us children of earth-grant us that simple knowledge. If our brothers are oppressed, then we are oppressed. If they hunger, we hunger. If their freedom is taken away, our freedom is not secure. Grant us a common faith that man shall know bread and peace-that he shall know justice and righteousness, freedom and security, and equal opportunity and an equal chance to do his best, not only in our own lands, but throughout the world. And in that faith let us march toward the clean world our hands can make."

Stephen Vincent Benet

"The immediate future of the world has been laid on the doorstep of the individual American."

William B. Huie

I know this is just a bunch of dead guys, and I hated history in school, just like everyone, including Bruce, hated it. And we can ignore it. As Americans we have shown we are good at that. Or maybe, just maybe, we could consider all these words and what they mean, and how it could really be some day. 

Maybe the change starts with a bathroom? I certainly do not know. All I know is what has gone before, and hatred and prejudice, have never won. Hatred and prejudice might get a foothold here and there but it will never win. Too many good people like @a4evanygirl, for that to happen. 

Be True.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Maybe It's This

Maybe it's just going to be a situation, where no one gets what you are doing, or why you are doing it. If it feels right in your heart, then the rest does not matter.

Do it.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

What It Might Be

These are hard and strange times, as they always have been. Strangeness did not start in the year 2000 or even in 1200. It did not start when we switched from 8 tracks to cassettes. No, we as people having been acting strange, as soon as we pulled ourselves up from that primordial soup, and it continues to this moment.

We take things, we leave behind things, we never know what really is going on inside the head of that other person. I know this, because I know people, and I also know that everyone has everything good and bad inside them at the same time. Everything.

It's what we choose to use, and what we leave behind, that makes us what we are right now at this very moment. 

Be true.