How Do Christians Fit Into the Two-Party System? They Don’t

How America Became the Incredible and Jaw-Dropping Laughingstock of the World

Brace for Impact, as the Climate “End Game” Has Arrived

This guy doesn’t know anything’: the inside story of Trump’s shambolic transition team

The regime announced it would no longer give diplomatic visas to the same-gender domestic partners of UN staff or diplomats unless the couples are married

Are Men Victims Now?

Fitbit Data Ties 90-Year-Old Man to Murder

The Coders Programming Themselves Out of a Job

David Cronenberg: I would like to make the case for the crime of art

The Parable of the Perfect Pot

Justine Bateman Has Some Thoughts on the Fame Cycle

Eric Idle discusses many of the characters he’s played

How Will Police Solve Murders on Mars?

Our blind dog finally has a seeing eye dog

Table for one?

Oddities and anomalies from the second half of the 2018 Minor League Baseball season

Now I Know: The Queen’s Secret Code and The Tomato Plant Versus the Volcano and Hawaii’s Spam Scam

What’s My Line? – Edgar & Candice Bergen (Sep 12, 1965) at 18:50

MUSIC

Rhapsody in Blue (Gershwin), Arthur Rubinstein School of Music Symphony Orchestra with the young Polish pianist Maja Babyszka. Conductor: Henryk Wierzchoń. June 21, 2015

Rodgers and Hammerstein music at the BBC Proms

Thirty Seconds to Mars – Brooklyn Duo (Cello & Piano Cover of The Kill song)

All My Lovin’ – Amy Winehouse

K-Chuck Radio – Upstairs with Yaz

Someone to Watch Over Me – Sleeping At Last

MOZART Symphony No 40 in G minor KV550, LEONARD BERNSTEIN, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra

A Reason To Fight – Disturbed

Evil Ways – Willie Bobo

Outside the trains don’t run on time – Gang of Four

Mary Poppins rag

Coverville – 1235: Cover Stories for Olivia Newton-John and The Mamas and The Papas

Giacchino Rossini’s overture to his opera William Tell

Vinyl records hit all the right notes

Dora, from Having Coffee With Peppy, has the tag “I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.” By Edgar Alan Poe

I know her from ABC Wednesday. She writes:

What do you find the hardest and easiest thing about blogging? Coffee is on.

For me, the easiest thing about blogging is finding topics to write about. If one is reasonably observant, subjects find you. What are you reading? I skim a LOT on the Internet: left and right-wing politics, for instance. I’m an old political science major, so that’s interesting to me.

What are you doing? I listen to music, see movies, read books, live in an ever-changing America.

I see these questions in Quora, some of them sent directly to me: “What should I blog about?” they plead. How the heck do I know? I have no idea because I’m not them.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I really like to know what the topics of my posts are going to be.

For instance, I know that in November, I already know I’ll do something about Veterans Day and Thanksgiving and the Great American Smokeout and my mother’s birthday. In fact, I’ve already written the post about Veterans Day, because I realized it was the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Something came to me, and I wrote it.

I can be very patient. I probably wrote that 11/11 piece in July, because it told me to be written. Far be it from me not to listen to a piece when it wants to be created.

Another thing in November is the 20th anniversary of when I first appeared on the game show JEOPARDY! The subconscious is working on that now, and when I see something related to the show, I throw it in the draft for November 9. Some point soon, I’ll put something together. I really do hope it writes itself because I’ve tackled the subject in the past and don’t want to rehash.

The hardest thing about writing a blog is time. Work, church, meetings, helping the Daughter with homework, mowing the lawn all take chunks of time. There was a point less than a year ago that I had 70 posts written and scheduled. Right now, it’s 29.

You might think that’s a lot but they’re not all for the next month. On September 23, I thought, “What am I going to write for October 4 or 5?” And I was actually pleased that I found a piece I had written on 9 July but curiously had not published; I changed two sentences and scheduled it.

I was then set for the next two weeks, except for the linkorama post at the end of the month, which I tend not to finish until two or three days before it posts. Now, if I don’t write something for the next two days – entirely possible – I don’t get anxious.

Whereas I HATE creating on a deadline, even a self-imposed one because it’s much harder for me to write. My way-too-long piece on John McCain I had to write and then post in a day or two because it would be of much less value a few weeks later.

Seals and CroftsI was in a used CD store in western Massachusetts this summer. Another customer told her husband that she had just found a greatest hits album of Seals & Crofts. Suddenly, I wished I had discovered it myself.

The very first concert I ever attended was seeing Jim Seals & Dash Crofts in New York City with my college girlfriend. It was November 12, 1971, at Philharmonic Hall, which is now Avery Fisher. Boz Scaggs was the unappreciated opening act.

I remembered the date because it was the anniversary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the founder of the Baha’i faith, in what is now Iran in 1817. The girlfriend was very interested in the faith and joined about a year later.

Seals & Crofts were/are Baha’is, which was evident from some of their music. And we had ALL of their music for a time. Seals & Crofts (1969) and Down Home (1970) were on some minor label. It’s now available as Seals & Crofts I and II.

Year of Sunday was their first Warner Brothers album. It’s evidently out of print because it’s going for about $90 used on Amazon.

The next several albums are available as an import package at a reasonable price and contain the hits. But it’s some of the deeper cuts that intrigued me. None more than It’s Going To Come Down on You, which rushed to my consciousness during the contentious Supreme Court debate.

It’s a real schizophrenic song, with nice ballad parts interrupted by wicked guitar lines by album producer Louie Shelton.

You said you had it figured out in your pretty little head.
Politics and tricks and all them things you said
But I told you then and I’ll tell you now
It’s gonna come down on you.

All songs written and performed by Seals & Crofts, unless otherwise indicated

Ridin’ Thumb
Ridin’ Thumb – Sam Moore with Travis Tritt and Robert Randolph

Cottonmouth
Cottonmouth – Doobie Brothers

When I Meet Them, #104 in 1972

Sudan Village (1972 version)
Sudan Village (1976 version)

Hummingbird (album version), single #20 in 1973

Say

Summer Breeze, #6 in 1972

Yellow Dirt

Diamond Girl, #6 in 1973

We May Never Pass This Way Again, #21 in #73

It’s Gonna Come Down (On You)

Wisdom

Dance by the Light of the Moon

Deborah MendsThe envelope was in a box of unsorted miscellany, rather than in the mail drawer. I discovered it about a month after the May 2 date on the letter. It came from MetLife.

“RE: Case Number…

“DEAR ROGER GREEN:

“We are trying to locate ROGER GREEN regarding an important insurance matter. They last resided at [my address in 1999-2000].

“If you know ROGER GREEN…” Do I! Calling the 800 number, I was told I would get some form to fill out.

Three weeks later, the Identification Questionnaire letter came. Section I was easy enough, Insured’s Information.

But Section II was nigh unto impossible. “Insured’s address when policy was issued.” I didn’t know THAT the policy was issued. “Date”? Dunno. “Name of agent who issued the policy” – seriously?

I ASSUME this was some sort of policy that was arranged by my parents at some point, though they never told me about it. Back in the 1990s, I started receiving these minuscule dividend checks every quarter from MetLife. $2.64 or $2.97 or $3.18, which I thought was a function I set up from something I must have set up.

In any case, I spoke to a different customer service representative. HE told me that I shouldn’t have needed to fill this form out, since I had an account with them. Long story short, I received a check for about $4,400 in early August.

It’s not life-changing money, but it’s life-made-easier money. We had one laptop among three of us; now we have two. And when it’s lacking software protection I assumed incorrectly that would be included, I acquired it.

I took a trip for work to Washington, DC, and the credit card bill came due before the reimbursement check arrived; not a problem. My trip to Yankee Stadium was affordable. I purchased tickets for an upcoming concert.

Most spontaneously, I could take a train to Poughkeepsie one morning to see my friend Deborah. I had not seen her in decades because she lives in Europe. She drove 90 minutes from Connecticut. We share hot drinks and a muffin at the nearby coffee shop for a couple of hours. Then I took the train back so I could go to work in the afternoon.

To be sure, some of these – the Yankees game and seeing Deborah, for sure – I would have done WITHOUT the extra cash.

BTW, the JT reference is to Suite for 20 G. From Songfacts: “This song was an amalgamation of several bits of songs/melodies/lyrics/themes that Taylor had laying around as kernels for three future songs that hadn’t yet come together. He and his producer, Peter Asher, had a deadline to meet for completing the Sweet Baby James album, and they needed one more song to do it. Asher had him string these loose themes together to make a single ‘Suite’ and get the $20,000 (20G) they were promised by Warner Bros. Records for completing the album, which is how it got the title.”

Fahrenheit 11 9.The family saw Fahrenheit 11/9 at the Spectrum Theater this month. I knew it was going to be heavily about the guy currently running the regime, but it was a lot more than that.

In fact, what filmmaker Michael Moore said about him early on was, as Moore noted, known or at least knowable. OK, there was one thing I was not aware of, involved Gwen Stefani. The filmmaker did confirm what I suspected about the motivation for the candidate’s campaign run.

Moore showed Michigan governor Rick Snyder, a Republican elected in 2010, as a prototype for the former Apprentice star. The agendas were similar: reduce democracy, big tax breaks for the rich, “remove services from the people, especially from the poor. There’s a racial element to it” as well, as seen painfully in the Flint water crisis that his administration created.

One of the members of my church who saw Fahrenheit 11/9 before I did, complained that Barack Obama came to Flint and did nothing. I disagree; he deflated people’s hopes, and in an unnecessary manner.

Even though I noted it in this blog at the time, listening to now-former CBS head honcho Les Moonves tout the great ratings the reality show guy was creating for the network was really revolting. Likewise that interview Matt Lauer did of the party’s presidential candidates in the summer of 2016; he was unrelenting about Hillary’s emails but offered up softballs to the Republican. Ditto Charlie Rose’s coverage. All three, not so incidentally, were ousted from their positions as sexual predators.

The news outlets, as my friend Dan noted, presented “him nonstop as an entertaining TV personality full of outrageous antics while suppressing mention of other candidates… that is, besides a coordinated campaign of negatives about Ms. Clinton as a sideshow.” The reality show host was able to “normalize” some outrageous behavior.

“Also, [Moore] convincingly demonstrates that Bernie Sanders actually won more than half a dozen other states in the Primary election, but” the use of the superdelegates undermined the will of the electorate. “For example, Mr. Sanders won all 55 counties in the West Virginia Primary…”

Can we stop this “calculated slide into fascism and chaos”? A stream of often young, frequently female candidates, give hope, though the pushback from establishment Democrats, embodied here by House party whip Steny Hoyer, makes one wonder.

I’ve seen a lot of Michael Moore films over the years. This one is less optimistic than most, but perhaps that’s the nature of the situation. If you like Moore’s work, you’ll probably appreciate – enjoy isn’t the right word – Fahrenheit 11/9. If you hate his documentaries, you’ll likely despise this movie.

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