Ruminations on the crazy people we are, by a retired teacher/musician. Can't get the "requests" out of my system after years of barroom/lounge/restaurant/party gigs mining 100 years worth of the musical mother-lode.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

"The Times, They Are A-Changin' "

Holy Vietnam, Batman!

Grannies Against The War,

George Clooney for Darfur,

Neil Young wallops the Dubyah!

I'm just going to have to get out my old tie-dyed shirts and everything. Things are REALLY beginning to heat up.

Truly, and most seriously, I think Neil Young has given us something. May it be played and quoted as the anthem for an awakening America. May it give the neocons a case of the shingles. May it be the background score for the November elections.

And on, and on, and on, so that the "Garden" we have known as America will once again show its beauty, and not its weeds. We are a better people than what the Right has shown to the world

Ruminations for Saturday, 4.29.06 Turnaround Day in the U.S. of A.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Ungrateful American

It seems our political history is strewn with the blood and scars of a conflict regularly waged between two types of Americans: those who would keep, and those who would share. In every instance, we have groups who, more than anything, ought to be thankful for what this land has given them, and instead have turned around and denied the same blessings to the next wave coming in.

At Thanksgiving, we show our children pictures of thankful pilgrims, sharing the blessings of the land with their native friends. Those same Puritans turned around and denied true liberty to anyone who would practice their own religious belief.

Colonist-entrepreneurs gouged a profit from the land most of them got for a pittance, and turned around and purchased kidnapped Africans to bring in that profit for them; worse, they then claimed ownership of the children of those same Africans.

Out-"mastering" the plantation owners, Andrew Carnegie and his ilk had his working-people working for slave wages in unsafe conditions, thus creating a massive "plantation" of his own. How nice of him it was to endow libraries all over the country with profit made on the backs of his "slaves."

The ordeals faced by so many in the "great migration" of the late nineteenth/early 20th century period, is one more case of the "we-got;you-can't-have syndrome.

Now we have this battle being played out all over again. It's interesting to note the types of people drawn to the effort against the incoming. They are undisguised hate-mongers, racists, and neo-fascists.

I believe there is acually a way to bring this disgrace to an end. All people sensitive enough to recognize the problem need to see it, not as a passing event, but as an ongoing struggle. The haters never stop, never leave, never let it go. They need to know that people who really are proud of the best in America, have the endurance to fight them until they are exhausted.

The "Know-Nothings" are alive and well in our land; we "Know-Somethings" need to send them back into their holes where they came from.

End of ruminations for today: 4.24.06

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Fonda-me, Fonda-you

I couldn't care less: if her book sells,
if plastic surgery plays a role,
if the fundas are not fonda Fonda.

I do care: that Jane Fonda runs in a tie with Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon for the First Annual "I-Don't-Care-How-Much-Damage-I-Do-WIth-My Reckless-Behavior Hedlinoos Award. But we must make a decision.

Fonda's smiling trip to Hanoi was, from her side, nothing more or less
than a stupid political dilletante's junket; it's impact, let's say on
the POW's for starters, went far beyond her reckless impulses,
however. Nevertheless, I give her only the third-place mauve rib-

Nixon, now there's a damage guy. He disgraced his country, brought
down his party, and worst of all, created an embarrassment/revenge
funk among his supporters that grew into the Right Wing we all
know and love today. Yet, this only gets him the second-place fuchsia
ribbon. But why not first? It seems so unfair!

I'll tell you why. No one, not Fonda, not Nixon, not even Nero,
can compete with the damage done by Smilin' Bill, the Ex-
Prez we all love to hear talk. I would like to believe that his
ongoing efforts to improve the lot of the poor and ill in the
Third World arise out of a cosmic sense of guilt for his sins:
not the infidelity to his wife....that's so American; not the
reduction of the Oval Office to his personal heaven.....that's
been done before; no, it's what he did to his party and his
people that earns him our First Annual I-Don't-Care-How-
Much-Damage-I-Do-With-My-Reckless-Behavior Hedlinoos
Award. Bill opened up the D.C. scene to an impeachment
vendetta, crippled his party,and gave the fundas enough ammo
to take over our democracy in spades. How's that? I think
that clearly wins him the piss-colored ribbon for first place. I,
for one, will be pissed off at him for decades for doing that.

Anyone wishing to send this along to Smilin' Bill, go to it.

End of Ruminations for today.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Things Ain't What They Used To Be

"Things Ain't What They Used To Be,"among other things, was the title of a great Duke Ellington recording of the 1940's. Take my word for it, it was great, as was so much of what the Duke did. I never could figure out, however, what those words had to do with the tune. No matter; we know song titles, like rock band names are, as often as not,snatched out of the air like a Marcel Marceau butterfly.

The words, however, present a conundrum. They are often spoken by older folk in moments of longing for the "Good Old Days." So often, the "Good Old Days" never were so good; it's just that they are remembered by the ageing population as the days when they were young, and full of promise, which may or may not have been fulfilled.

But the conundrum remains: what if, as it happens, those old days were, in fact, better days. There are so many areas that provoke that question: literacy and the effectiveness of our educational system; standards of social discourse as governors of reasonable communication and reasonable argument; and finally, the T.Q, or Tolerance Quotient present in American society.

Grounds for probing examination,at the very least. We owe it to ourselves to be able to "keep score" on the society of which we are a contributing part. Required procedure: observe, and analyze.

"Things" may, or may not be, "what they used to be." They might even be better that what they used to be. But, damned be the human bein' who couldn't care less. You have to know, or at least think you know within the limits of your own lights, what "the score" is.

I'm reminded of a great movie that featured the song "We've Only Just Begun." A leading character kept saying, in a very New York-y/New Jersey-y manner: "So what's the story, Richie?" (I think it was Richie; insert any name you like.) We should be able to answer that question at any time.

So, "what's the story,............"

End of Ruminations for 4.15.06

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Old Sisyphus had it better, I think.

Today's ordinary guy, (previously known as the 'working stiff',) doesn't stand a chance. He's caught up in a maelstrom of verbiage, a morass of lies, and a veritable hurricane of things that don't last.

As I ask the question, how will things get better, I find myself at a total loss. I have been newly introduced to the blogosphere, and while I am encouraged by some of the great thinking I have seen,(in the midst of so much mush,) I do not see anything happening.(I fear the b-sphere has the look, at first glance,of one big massive group stroking.) Sinclair Lewis once wrote a book, "It Can't Happen Here," in which this docile country was, against all possibility, taken over by a dictatorship. I never thought it could happen. I think it has. Perhaps we just don't recognize it. Did we notice that, while we are blogging and slogging through the mess that greed for power/and,or/ wealth has created, we are under the thumb of people who are doing whatever they please. Doing whatever they please,mind you, without worrying about anyone stopping them. Not only is the government in the hands of a cabal, but they daily are "mole"ing into the departments of government in such a way as to guarantee future subversion of democratic hopes, and a fair shake for the "working stiff."

During the Reagan (curse the name,) years, I noted that the right wing must have smarted so much at the tactics of the Communists and their ability to thumb their noses at us, that they took up the study of those tactics in earnest. The '04 election was a textbook model of propagandistic double-speak, and effective character assassination. Did you notice? They got away with it. At every point, when they needed a new voice for their groundless accusations, one came out of the woodwork. These people are organized, in spades. The milquetoast opposition is not. So what can be expected? They WILL NOT allow the Congress to fall into Democratic hands; they have too much at stake, and they are fanatic about it.

Do you know any believer in the democratic process who is fanatic enough to take them on? Should such a person arise out of the political morphosphere, he/she had better be a fighter-not-a-smiler wearing better armor than was provided to our troops in Iraq, because, count on it, they will be out to assassinate, personally and physically.

I am reminded of the events in Eastern Europe following WWII. By whatever means was necessary, the Russians took over every government in Eastern Europe, and held them imprisoned for 50 years, before their system died of congestive heart failure. (In truth, contrary to rightist thinking, Ron Reagan had very little to do with it, unless standing in front of massive Stars and Stripes was his secret weapon.) It will not likely take that severe an effort for the right wing to control the USA for the next fifty years; it's too easy for them.

What's to blame? Try rampant materialism. This country is so soft, no one wants to get up off their bottoms to take the government back from these crazies.

Someone, save me! Save us all!

End of ruminations for 4.13.06

Dja notice: millions of legals/illegals took to the streets this week to fight for a better life; when was the last time WE had millions in the streets? (Whoever WE is.)

Tomorrow, whatever.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Ruminations in any order

First Rumination:In response to Larry over at Funky Sixteen Corners, whose question was: if oranges are called oranges, then why aren't eggplants called "purples?", I offer the following choices:

Are eggplants not called "Purples" because:

1)lemons are not called "yellows", or
2) the name "purples" has been pre-empted by those States
which can neither be placed in the "red" or "blue" column
and are therefore referred to as "purples",or,
3)the first man to discover the previously unnamed eggplant
in the wild found it, not out in the open, but nestled cozily
under the now famous giant eight-foot tall Rhode Island Red
chicken on a small pig farm in Secaucus, N.J. It was so
delicate, it had to be carried off in a net; thus the name of the
New Jersey Nets.

Second Rumination:I am a baseball fan. Yesterday I witnessed a mega-millions outfielder having to be almost forced out of the dugout to take a "curtain call," because he was in a snit because the fans had booed him previously for a remarkable lack of production. His explanation for this largesse bestowed on the fans, "I am a Christian person, and I felt I should do what God wanted me to do." Well, damn it, why wasn't he listening to God before now? I'm sure God gave him the hit signal from His perch atop the home dugout.

Third Rumination:Today was Charles and Camilla's first anniversary; and I forgot to send a card.What's happening to me?

End of ruminations for today, 4.9.06

Friday, April 07, 2006

4.07.06 Addendum

Have you ever noticed there is no such thing as a SQUARE in nature? Then how come the human bein's have created so many of them? Perhaps this might explain our worldwide neurosis: we have become habituated to fitting loose, floating, amorphous beings into angular social structures. Ya think?


Rejoicing at the arrival of Spring is so common: poets, songwriters, meteorologists, baseball fans, on and on ad nauseam. This uproar clearly shows a failure to grasp the features of winter we will not see in these parts for nine months. Oh, the loss. (In Pennsylvania, at least.Apologies to all those outside my meteorological system.)

Consider the trees. After all the chagrin at the FALLing of the leaves, take notice of the form of the trees. Winter is the only time one can appreciate the variety of design in trees, as that design is totally exposed with the damn leaves out of the way. You just can't see that in mid-summer. There are but a few expositions of the nature of all creation: plant growth is one; orbital structure, (from the atom all the way out to the galaxies, and if we could see it all, probably all of the Universe,) is the other. Again, the first of these is truly appreciated when we get the damn leaves out of the way.

Add to all that reality the biting cold wind stinging your face in a winter storm, and appreciate the true beauties of Winter.

No more of this mush about the arrival of wonderful Spring. Stop that singing!

Punny: have you ever noticed.....................................

End of ruminations for 4.7.06

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Revenge and Moussaoui

I see Rudy Giuliani has shown up at the Moussaoui sentencing trial. It must really be important.(just a bit of tongue-in-cheek, if I may.)
But what's going on here? One way to assess what's happening in public affairs is to ask the question: "Where would we be if they didn't do this at all?"
l suppose he would have been sentenced to life in prison, put away, forgot about, and that would be that. But there seem to be other things at stake here. Perhaps revenge? We all felt so helpless at the occurrence of 9/11, that we have been searching around for what to do about it. The glaring fact that a government with our massive resources and amazing technical resources has failed to nail terrorist #1, has put us into an emotional morass, causing an unconscious search for effective reactions that will settle our minds and souls on the subject. And so we have this seemingly endless sentencing hearing, instead of a definitive moment that was so readily available to us.

Think what you will: the only rationally justifiable response to crime is to protect the public from the perpetrator. Revenge may be satisfying to some, but it is counter-productive in a society that claims to be humanitarian. The quote escapes me, but someone once effectively indicated that revenge really only inflicts itself on the person seeking it. Yet, time and again, as to 9/11, or to other crimes, we see a parade of victims' family members showing up and sometimes venting themselves with the court's encouragement that they want to see the inflicter of their pain burn in hell, or at least know the pain they are feeling themselves. It makes emotional TV footage, and sometimes after-the-fact TV movies, but it confuses our system of justice.

There is clearly room for slimming down and clarifying our justice system, but making it more hateful is not the way to go.

Any thoughts ? Let's hear 'em.

Gray day today; nothing punny about it. If it bothers you, however, picture yourself living in some spot where it was this way all the time.

End of ruminations for 4.6.06

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Save the Next Child

In Darfur, a slaughter is taking place that would make Adolf Hitler and the Japanese Warlords green with envy. Cruelty is running amok.
At this point , relief workers are being told to leave the country. This means much more than a cutoff of food and medicine to displaced refugees; it means there will be no witnesses to what happens next.

Please give thought to making Darfur your first priority: every communication you send, post the demand....."DARFUR FIRST." Can there possibly be anything more important to consider? Get informed on what has been happening there. Information must be followed by a sense of shock and horror.

Think about the potential of the internet in this crisis: an explosion of DARFUR FIRST should get someone's attention in the halls of government. We just might be able to save the next child from a horrible death. These killers aren't just killing innocents, they are enjoying it.

no ruminations today,
nothing punny today


Sunday, April 02, 2006


I called my credit card number today for a clarification.(Am I broke, or not?) But not really.
I got a person in Arizona. I asked my question, got an excellent answer in a polite tone of voice, wished the guy a good day,(cautious about whether or not it was "day" there,) and hung up. But then, I realized, I had not attended to all my questions, so called right back. Now I know how these things work, so I didn't expect "Chuck" to answer. Denise answered, and she was in Utah. Well. I understand they're all on the same computer, so it doesn't matter, and Denise took care of my questions promptly and politely, and "have a nice day."

I am reminded of a scene from the movie "The Actress," wherein Spencer Tracy, an old retired salt, has had a phone installed. It is very much against his thinking, but if his daughter was going to be off making her way in the theater, he was going to keep in touch.She called. He ran to the phone, looked at it as if something very strange was going to happen if he dared touch it, and finally, hesitatingly, picked it up, putting the earpiece to his ear.(It was a wall phone, with the separate ear piece.) Now comes the hilarious part: he literally yells into the phone, "HELLO, I CAN HEAR YOU;CAN YOU HEAR ME?"

Of course, it was most natural for him to shout; after all, his beloved daughter was hundreds of miles away. It took him some time to get with the idea that modern communication had somehow brought them closer.

Which brings me back to Arizona and Utah. (I'm in PA, by the way.) The space between us has artificially disappeared. Have we lost anything in this process? I must add that I have developed the habit of asking where people are when I call these service reps. India is no surprise any more.My problem is, I haven't the slightest notion what to say to a person in India. I spoke with a fellow in Texas once, who ended up having come from close to where I sprung from, and we had an excellent conversation. I suppose his supervisor frowned on that, but I believe he and I were richer for having taken it a bit beyond the may-I-have-your-16-digit number, sir.

But have we lost something in the process? As travel has improved, people have so much greater access to distant places and people, but how has that affected their lives as "locals." I met a guy one afternoon picking up kids from after-school activities. He had just flown in from Los Angeles. He had spent his day in or over four time zones. Does it make a difference?
The benefits of a shrinking world are clear. I recently hooked up with an old friend who lives in Hawaii. Fantastic. Long talk every couple of weeks.

Consider, however, the down side of all this cosmic closeness. A century ago, the news you heard was from a local paper, or local people. It was surely easier to handle, and considerably less in volume. People were, I believe, closer. Truly closer. Now, I have to experience some national news channel giving me the option to watch four different police chases that took place on the same day.The event is in my head, but the people sure aren't.But we are daily beset with the miseries of the whole wide world. I'm trying to be compassionate, but sometimes the burden is just overwhelming.

I believe there is a tribe of people hanging on in South America, to whom the words "I know,........." really have the meaning of "I have experienced............"I suspect we need to concentrate a bit on remembering that there is a difference between "I heard," and "I was actually there and saw.........."

End of ruminations for April 2, 2006

Punny thing:Have you ever wondered how many little signals are passing by you, through you, etc.?There's a number I would like to know.