Tea Party Success (2015Oct09)

Friday, October 09, 2015                                         4:30 PM

I sense a repeated pattern of history—once, when the rich and powerful felt that slavery was too necessary to their continued peace they began to rationalize indecency as convention, even tradition—and it caused a national schism. Now, we have rich and powerful people who feel that climate-warming and arms dealing are too necessary to their continued peace—and they have been busy rationalizing indecency as convention, even tradition—even as ‘constitutionally protected’. Now they have caused a schism in our nation—but we’re too modern for a second civil war—no, we’re just going to shut down the government, ruin its credit rating, and let the whole beautiful dream turn to poo.


The turmoil in Congress is indicative of this—no one on the Right can agree because the Right has entered the world of rationalization—all of their reasons must support Big Energy, and the NRA—logic be damned. It’s not that they’re wrong for abandoning logic—that can be an effective tactic—it’s just that when you get a whole roomful of people doing it, they’ll all come up with their own rationalizations. And they have. The term ‘Congress’ implies a coming together—and it has operated in that spirit, more or less, for centuries—but not anymore.


Many people in this country have let themselves be convinced that government is bad—they should grow the hell up. We’re going to have government whether we like it or not—the only things that’s bad is bad government—and that’s what the Tea Party propaganda has led us to. They can’t get rid of government, but they can sure fuck it up so it doesn’t work anymore—good job, boys and girls—and you too, you loyal voters.


The crisis isn’t who the next speaker will be—that’s so unimportant it’s not funny. The crisis is: How do we get rid of these yahoos that clog our political system like human cholesterol? It’s like the red states are voting to give this country a heart attack—well, congrats, Baggers—the whole place is falling apart. We’re weaker; we’re less secure; our infrastructure is rotting; our economy is stagnating; there aren’t enough jobs—but hey—we can all still carry pistols around. Yippie-kiyay, motherfuckers!20150526XD-Radio_03_1920s

Please note: For illustrations, I was going to download images of some House Republicans and photoshop memes that had the caption “Do You Trust This Man?” but I’m too damn lazy—you’ll have to imagine them for yourselves. Sorry.


Journal Entry   (2015Oct08)

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Thursday, October 08, 2015                                             4:04 PM

Huzzah! I am once again a licensed driver of automobiles. My faithful compendium, Spencer, went out early this morning to top off his gas tank in anticipation of my noon Road Test in Carmel—and he reminded me to bring all my paperwork, which was a good thing. I’m not used to his car, but I’m actually an old hand at driving, so different cars don’t really throw me that badly—and he has a really nice car, too—a Chevy Impala. I forgot to look over my shoulder before pulling out; and I didn’t signal before beginning my parallel parking; but I passed, and that’s the important thing.


More important, to me, was the fact that I was able to use the bathroom this morning for the first time in several days—it’s quite a relief. I’m on my second day of heavy antibiotics for diverticulitis—things are finally becoming bearable. I’m able to think again, relatively speaking—and for what my usual thinking is worth—so I’m going to share some of the hell I’ve gone through recently.


I’m tempted to comment on the Republicans in Congress and the Russians in Syria—but this is a journal entry, so no politics today.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015                                         7:16 AM

Pain, And More Pain   (2015Oct07)

For days I felt pain in my abdomen—then yesterday I couldn’t stand it any longer and Claire drove me to the ER in Mt. Kisco. Turns out I have diverticulitis. That may sound bad, but they were talking about ‘blockages’ and ‘surgery’, so it’s actually good news—plus, they didn’t have to admit me—bonus!


So they put me on a massive antibiotics regimen and liquid diet. It still hurts this morning but at least I’m not wondering if I’m about to die—it’s really quite painful. It reminded me of the ‘good old days’ when I had six months of forty surgical-staples in my abdomen, after my transplant operation.


People who’ve been sick or in pain can be very dull—for instance, I have no plans today other than to lay around and be glad I’m not having surgery (knock wood). Whenever the antibiotics get my inflammation to die down, I plan to spend that day just enjoying the absence of pain (I should be so lucky). With any luck, I may move my bowels someday soon—it’s a friggin carnival, here at the Dunn house.


In the meantime, I’m wondering if having something new to write about is all that great—seeing as how it’s all about dysfunction in my ass—not your traditional crowd-pleaser as literary subjects go. Still, being a shut-in makes you crazy for anything to happen, anything to break the stultifying circularity—and if I only counted the positive incidents, I’d have a long wait for that break.


There was positivity, however—my lovely Bear drove me to the hospital and stayed with me the whole time and drove me home again around midnight, when she had to get up early today, to serve jury-duty in lower Manhattan. It’s times like these that I marvel at how lucky I am to have a wonderful Bear. She’s the greatest. But anyone who has met her knows that.

BTW, All these drawings are my illustrations for my Bear Poems

BTW, All these drawings are my illustrations for my Bear Poems

So much pain over the last week or so—it made it hard for me to think—I have trouble thinking under pressure. I’m posting the improvs, but only as examples of how messed up in the head I was when I played them. I have enough trouble with the piano when I’m feeling myself.

Before I knew about the diverticulitis, I had a bad week—I wrote several posts that I never posted—they were very dark. But since I now know what was going on, I’ll share one of them with you—this was from five days ago:

Friday, October 02, 2015                                         11:32 AM

Pain   (2015Oct02)

After a certain point, you realize that aches and pains have just become a part of your daily life—that each twinge is not a signal that you’re dying, or that you ate poison, or that you need to go to the ER. You reach the conclusion that if you’re not actually sweating in pain, then it doesn’t hurt that bad. And even when it’s sweating-bad, you give it a few minutes—just to make sure it isn’t gas—or a cramp. Pain signals help the body respond to threats and intrusions—but as we age, tiny threats and intrusions become the norm—and the aches and pains stay turned-on pretty much from the time you get out of bed.


Analgesics are wonderful things—by reducing inflammation of tissue, it reduces pain—and it also reduces the amount of damage, since the longer tissue is inflamed, the worse the damage. I occasionally use ice packs, or heating pads, for my back aches or neck aches. The only pain I have trouble dealing with is headaches—to me, it’s like static on the radio—it makes it hard to think, to read—even watching TV is difficult with a headache. So I use aspirin.


As a teenager, I was addicted to aspirin for a while—now, if I use aspirin too much, it just makes the headache worse. For years, I used Tylenol and Advil instead—but then my liver doctor told me that was suicidal, so now I’m back to aspirin—and only one at a time—and not every day. Still, I sometimes get unbearable headaches—and I break down and take two aspirin and two Advil. That works most of the time—but it also guarantees that the headache will come back the next day, a kind of boomerang effect. So I do my best to avoid that vicious cycle.


It’s so different for children—as a child, I didn’t understand what a headache actually was—I almost never got sick, and when I did I’d be so delirious from fever that I hallucinated. Pain is virtually unknown to the young—their bodies work like well-oiled machines, their bones are elastic, and they hardly weigh anything when they fall down. When pain does arrive in a young person’s life, it’s momentous—it can overpower their reason. That’s very different from someone like me, who thinks of pain as a normal part of breathing. It’s another aspect of life that makes it hard for young and old to understand each other.


If you ask a young person if they want to live forever, they’ll say ‘of course’—but if you ask an old person, they’ll have to think it over. Living forever is nothing unless it includes eternal youth—otherwise, you’re just extending your retirement—and what’s the point of that? I don’t want to live a long time—I want to live healthy for as long as I can. In my case, that’s already a moot point. I’ve been living on the edges of health for years now—and it’s nothing but hard work, fighting off the spells of frustration, rage, and despair that inevitably follow when life has no object beyond breathing.


In normal life, the bottom line is always a goal—you’re trying to accomplish something—hopefully, maybe even achieve greatness at something. Without access to a job, a career, a car, or a social group—as in my case—without the ability to work or create or achieve, life becomes a battle against oneself. Even staying alive isn’t my job—it’s my doctors’. My only real job is not to kill myself and waste all their hard work. In the meantime, I suffer from an incurable case of ‘idle hands’.


At the same time, the emptiness of normal lives is revealed to me—nine to five, working for some office manager, getting paid a salary—these thing may allow me to support my family, but what do I get out of it, besides a life of modern slavery? What right do the wealthy owners have to enslave the other 99% in pursuit of manufacturing plastics, selling magazine subscriptions, organizing vacation itineraries, or selling burial insurance? How is it different from Medieval times, when the wealthy owners enslaved everyone to grow food that wasn’t even their own?


Statistics show that democracy doesn’t respond to the majority of people in the country—it responds to the majority of rich people. Statistically, there’s as much chance of the most-wanted legislation being voted on as the least-wanted legislation—among the whole population. Among the wealthy, democracy does what it’s supposed to do—it enacts what they want most and avoids what they most don’t want—but if it only works for the 1%, then it’s not really democracy, is it?


Likewise with ‘progress’. The new I-Phone 6s is a wonder—if you have a thousand bucks up front, and hundreds a month to spare. The new Tesla model S is a wonder—if you have $100,000 to spare. Meanwhile, the rest of us get to work nine to five for the privilege of worrying about bills and driving a junker. And that’s if we’re not starving, or homeless, or sending our kids to schools that don’t teach them to read. The United States, in its origin, began a fight with the rich and powerful—I think, here in 2015, we can all agree that we’ve lost that fight. The poor are always with us—and so are the rich. Anyone see a connection there?


In our war against the rich, we are constantly being diverted with little nothings—molehills built up into mountains for the media to get excited about. They spend all day talking about whether Trump should be president, when it’s so obvious that that asshole belongs in jail, at best. The Koch brothers hold seminars to decide which candidate to pay for, when they should be huddled in their mansions with a torch-lit angry mob outside their windows.


It’s the old problem—you can’t fix a car while you’re driving it down the highway. We can protest Occupy Wall Street all weekend, but we have to leave and go work for those pigs on Monday morning. We can vote for any candidate we like, but the candidates get pre-selected by those pigs. And the most able among us are not working to beat those pigs, but to join them. And people wonder why I’m so depressed all the time. What a crock.

[Afterword: So, that’s how I’ve been feeling lately. Nothing was easy or comfortable. But I’m on the mend now—and I have a drivers license again (motorists beware!) so I’m a happy man. Have a good day, everybody.]


The Music Of Love (2015Oct04)

Sunday, October 04, 2015                                       10:39 PM

The Music Of Love

By sweet columbine and punky woodbine lolls my baby,

Lounges my tiger, languishes my odalisque—she

Wouldn’t stay long but here she is now.

Oh, ripple of water over stones behind the purr—her

Throaty laughter at her own foolishness—she

Makes all nerve ends tingle, every single, ringa-dingle.

Scent of attar of roses and melon-musk sweet

As caramel with sea-salt sauce on vanilla bean ice-cream—her

Eyes have lips have tongue—all light and red and curly sweet—so

Sweet, so sweet—Oh, can I have some? Oh please?

Oh baby.

My sweeting, my darling one—come to me baby.

Wrap your warm soft arms about my neck—don’t

Withhold your sensuous, sinuous charms.

Run with me over the hay and the heather grasses

Your bare feet whisper among the blades

Your hair flies in the wind

Your eyes flash and your laughter rings off the hillsides—so

Sweet, so sweet—Oh, can I have some? Oh please?

Oh baby.

Mistakes   (2015Oct03)

Alchemical symbols for Antimony

Alchemical symbols for Antimony

Saturday, October 03, 2015                                              3:18 PM

I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life. When you reach the end of your rope, when you fail (and trust me none of us gets out alive) just remember that time moves inexorably forward, that memory is selective, and that no one is perfect. Forgive yourself and move on.

Alchemical symbols for Arsenic

Alchemical symbols for Arsenic

However, if you find you have to forgive yourself rather frequently, that’s a bad sign—you should look into that. See—the trouble is I have one set of advice for people like me, compulsively goody-two-shoes whose lives are an unending search for the ineffable—and quite another set of advice for those who feel that getting by, having a good time, is sufficient. In one sense, some of my pearls of wisdom are always a recipe for disaster—since I can only talk to one set of people at a time.

Alchemical symbols for Copper

Alchemical symbols for Copper

Because of this, and because I just naturally write as if I’m talking to people like myself, it would behoove me not to give advice—and everyone knows what free advice is worth, anyhow. But when I think of young people, when I think of all the advice I might have had a good use for when I was young and inexperienced and uneducated, it’s hard not to try to pass on some of the more valuable tricks and devices I’ve uncovered in the passing of years.

Alchemical symbols for Gold

Alchemical symbols for Gold

If the wrong person reads my blog, he or she could end up doing horrible things—and saying, “It’s okay—I’m literally doing what Xper Dunn said to do—and he’s a real smart guy.” So, I’m reluctant to be very definite about anything on a public space like this. That’s part of the reason I get annoyed at the media—those professional voices have such conviction—the same conviction whether they’re announcing another school shooting or trying to sell you a questionable Volkswagen. They use the same smooth sure vocal drippings when reporting on our best leaders and minds—and when they’re re-stating the clap-trap from the indescribably misguided voices on the ‘other side’. They often put even more emphasis on the clap-trap—because that nonsense tends to have a theatrical ring to it—listen to any Trump speech (or any of Hitler’s, for that matter) and you’ll see what I mean.

Alchemical symbols for Iron

Alchemical symbols for Iron

I would be definite if words could be trusted to mean one simple thing instead of lending themselves so well to differing interpretations. There is so much I would say if words would suffice—but they are worse than worthless, pretending to have meaning when they actually have far too many meanings. This typing is just a game I play to distract myself from the pain of being idle. I try to be positive but it’s hard not to let that lead me into thinking I can actually say what I need to say. Then I watch CSPAN and see those expert word-wranglers mangle common sense with a load of bushwah—and I realize that they (or anyone, really) can take any sequence of words and twist them beyond recognition. It’s completely futile.

Alchemical symbols for Lead

Alchemical symbols for Lead

The only thing that ever made words work properly, or at least a little, was when two like-minded people tried in earnest to understand each other. That is why education is such a dicey business—it requires an earnest, capable teacher in every classroom and it requires every single student to be earnestly engaged in the act of learning. Good luck with that—poor teachers. Just like society, where all the laws and police you can imagine wouldn’t have a chance of enforcing order and peace without the earnest good will of the citizens—the police and the courts are problematic enough dealing with the results of human nature in an unfair social system—imagine if the vast majority of us weren’t trying to get along and go along. That would get ugly.

Alchemical symbols for Magnesium

Alchemical symbols for Magnesium

You hear people belittle ‘good intentions’—nothing would work without them—not society, not schools, not even speech. So value your good intentions—even if they don’t work out they have a value of their own. It’s possible to try too hard—I’m not saying good intentions always bring good results—but good intentions are only the beginning—putting them down is just short-sighted. I think everyone already knows that. Still, ‘being earnest’ is still targeted for ridicule by most people—but I never much cared for the people who’ve adjudged me ‘too serious’. I’d laugh at them for not being serious enough but there’s nothing funny about that—it’s just sad.

Alchemical symbols for Mercury

Alchemical symbols for Mercury

I have a sense of humor—but I don’t care for pranks, or the Three Stooges (I like them better now—but when I was a kid I was mystified that anyone saw humor in a guy hitting his brother on the head with a hammer). I never laugh when I see someone fall down—that doesn’t seem funny to me. This difference was one of the first clues I had that people could be very different from me. I used to skip blithely along assuming that everyone was like me. I’m still not used to the idea that some people are different—and that I’m supposed to be okay with that. If the whole world seems careless and stupid to me, I have to question whether they’re the problem—but I take things too seriously, so I’m sticking with everyone else being careless and stupid. Present company excepted, of course.

Alchemical symbols for Sulfur

Alchemical symbols for Sulfur

Things That Are Wrong (2015Oct02)


Friday, October 02, 2015                                         6:42 PM

Guns are bombs, okay? They’re sophisticated bombs with a piece of custom-shaped shrapnel that comes out the end. They’re explosives—adding the bells and whistles doesn’t change that. Now think about the difference between our attitudes towards guns and our attitudes towards bombs. Think about the pre-boarding inspections that confiscate water bottles and cuticle scissors. Think about that schoolkid who got busted for bringing a clock to school. Now think about those yahoos that parade about in public spaces with semi-automatic rifles across their shoulders.

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We have got to stop romanticizing guns—we have to amend the constitution to rescind the ‘right of the people to keep and bear arms’. We have to end the NRA’s choke-hold on Washington—and on state and local lawmakers. Or we should just add ‘bombs’ to the Second Amendment—what’s the difference? Most homeowners own guns—and of those who use them, most of them accidentally shoot a family member—now that’s a proud tradition.

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Money has hacked our democracy—and the proof is in the proliferation of commerce and industry, without a commensurate explosion in regulatory agencies. We are constantly told of all the wonderful new advances, new products, new materials, new investment derivatives, new genetically-modified products—where’s the damned regulatory structure to keep all these new enterprises from going rogue? They’re being suppressed by the rich bastards who are making money off all these new things—using society as a vast, cost-free experiment lab. We live on a knife-edge of new technology running in all directions at once—where is the government oversight on all the wonderful new risks and excesses?

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We are unwilling guinea pigs for every new internet site, drug, GMO food or feed, flavor enhancer, investment scheme, and safety feature (or lack thereof) on every vehicle, appliance, or toy. We are told that the unions our grandparents went to jail for, got beat up for, or died for, are the evil influence—not the owners and executives with all the power—and because of our failing educational system, many of us are stupid enough to believe that. But don’t get me started on what the American voters have become stupid enough to believe—common sense has long fled the field of battle against these pidgeon-heads—a mindless victory that is looking fair to elect a clown for president. If you need further proof that our democracy has been hacked by capitalism—explain to me Trump’s poll numbers. I think he would be the first president who never read a history book.

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Vladimr Putin is a gangster—a short one, because he’s not a whole person—he’s mostly asshole. Now that Russia is run by mobsters, it makes sense that the one with the Napoleon-complex is the big cheese. But the worst part about Putin is that he’s right. America thought it was clever to arm a bunch of religious fanatics and let them do the fighting in Afghanistan—then America turned its back on Afghanistan after the Russians gave up and went home—just when that region needed committed efforts (and funds) to help to transform itself into a developing country. Now we’ve got Taliban, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, and ISIL—in some ways it would have been better to let the Russians occupy the place.

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So that’s on us—9/11 was a direct response from a bunch of pissed-off fanatics that resented being used by America to fight their Cold War, and then got dumped once they had done what we wanted. And attacking the wrong country in response—well, that was just Dubya’s little cherry on top, destabilizing the entire Middle East for no good reason. Now this oafish Capone-ski, Putin, is annexing countries and bombing Syrian freedom-fighters for Assad—and he’s got the moral high-ground. This is what happens when Conservatives use whatever it is they use, instead of thinking, to lead our nation.

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Obama is understandably reluctant to throw fuel on the fire, having been elected partly on the premise that militarism in the Middle East is not America’s strong suit. And really, how is America supposed to end the conflicts between Shia and Sunni half-a-world away? All we could do is copy Putin—drop bombs on whatever targets present themselves and hope that random bloodshed adds to the discourse—and we’re already doing that. World War III, here we come—Oh, boy!

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Meanwhile, all the reasonable Syrians are on hiking trips, or boating in the Mediterranean—well, if I think about it, I’m sure there are millions of decent Syrians who are too poor or too trapped to leave. Maybe someday, if the fighting ever stops, there’ll be a couple of intelligent people left to rebuild the place.

And of course our National village idiot, Trump, promises to ship all the Syrian refugees back to Syria (that’s after he’s shipped millions of undocumented workers south of the border). He’s really into transportation, this guy. What a tool.

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The presumed-next Speaker, McCarthy, has admitted that the only purpose of the Benghazi hearings was to throw a wrench into Hillary Clinton’s political image and muddy her rep—that’s an unexpected bit of fresh air—not that he shouldn’t be ashamed of himself and his party for putting themselves above the service they purport to render. I watched a little C-SPAN and heard them cawing over Planned Parenthood—until Cecile Richards had to correct one of them on live TV. But even after the tapes were proved edited and it was pointed out that Planned Parenthood provides important women’s health care, with only a small percentage of their efforts involving abortion (which is legal, BTW) the GOP continues to pretend that Cecile Richards is leading a band of bloodthirsty cannibals who eat baby-brains for lunch. (They have it on video.) We hardly need rich people to screw up the world with idiots like this in government, especially now that they’ve gotten into the habit of doubling down on every stupid lie, no matter how many times it’s exposed as a lie.

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And, as I predicted, the moronic Jeb Bush is making the talk-show rounds and looking downright erudite after a whole summer of Trump—and the Democrats, according to polls, are falling for the Hillary E-Mail smear—proof that we Democrats are just as stupid as the GOP—just in our own way. When I look at Hillary Clinton I see someone who’s uncomfortable—she’s not a natural politician, like her husband—she’s less comfortable feeding us bullshit. But I think that’s a good thing. When I look at Hillary Clinton I see someone who’s spent her life in public service—someone who has only entered politics because that’s where the chance for real change is. Perhaps I go too far—but isn’t it about time we had a counter-balance to the GOP’s bullshit against her? Whatever her faults, she’s Socrates with a touch of Einstein—compared to her rivals.

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And whatever happened to our dream of electing the first woman president? Are we too smug now that we’ve had an African-American president—do we think that we’ve been ‘enlightened’ enough for now, let’s get back to the rich white guys that always do such a bang-up job? Yeah, that’s sounds about right. Sorry, Hil—you’re more than qualified, but the GOP says your email server destroyed the free world—and your lady Democrats got hit on the head, I guess, because they’re starting to believe those jerks.

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Things Of Mine (2015Sep30)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015                                              12:49 PM

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Mysterium of acts and emotions, my life has no finals or finishes, no borders or separation of any kind—we are all one, and the end of life is no end but a great adventure, sprinkled liberally with fairy dust. Imaginarium of deeds and words, my mind has no limits other than that it cannot see itself without the mirror of the universe—I resemble other lives, I copy other chemistries, yet I am unique only insofar as I am not anything else. Orrery of the pan-dimensional, my mathematics are the unreal ideal of the real—a symbolic blueprint of the breath I take and the light I see. Adventure-world of the fantastic, my imagination is a land of wishes fulfilled only to end in sleep, disasters averted by wishes alone, and love unconquerable.

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Words are these. Ideas are powerful only in specificity. Action and reaction create an interlocking cosmos—the past forces the present into the future like white rapids, in patterns of chaos and maelstroms of meaning. Tragedy punctuates. Bliss evaporates. Dreams abide. Love is the mainspring and touch is the grail. Age is gaining wisdom, losing strength—youth is the beginning that cannot see the end. Regret is the dried husk of actions unthought of. Bliss is the bright victory of thoughts acted upon.

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Ancestors are the roots of time—children the buds—my present self is but a bridge from one to the other. If love isn’t the answer, then there is no question. Meanings will serve, but truth is lasting.

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No News Is Good News (2015Sep29)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015                                          12:19 PM

I’m exhausted—and no wonder. The pope, the speaker, the UN, refugees, drought in California, water on Mars, a super blood moon, the new Daily Show once again precedes the Colbert show… is it just me or is the world turning twice as fast these days? Have you noticed a lot of news shows start their segments with, “Well, there’s a lot to cover tonight…”? That used to signify a ‘busy’ news day—now it’s just what they always say.

My personal life, away from the TV, isn’t quite as busy. But I did just post a big Brahms performance I’ve been working on for months—and I just found out today is my son’s 27th birthday! (I wish Claire had told me before I said to him, “Good Morning”—like it was any other day…) We had our daughter and her husband here for a visit from California last week. Claire just passed her big OT qualification test—a culmination of years of study for her OT Master’s Degree—and a sign that she will soon be job-hunting. But first she has to do jury duty in NYC—we were relieved she was only called downtown last week for Thursday morning—commuting right through the pope’s visit to ground zero—that would have been a hassle. I’ve got a road-test next week that will re-instate my driver license, if I pass it—Spencer just passed his a few weeks ago. So, okay, maybe I am busy.

As they say, it beats the alternative. I’m sitting here at my keyboard, on watch to tip the delivery man when he gets here with birthday lunch Chinese take-out. Tuesday is new movies day On Demand—Melissa McCarthy in “Spy”—so there’s even a good movie in my ‘cart’. Time to catch my breath, I think.

Patton was right—“Americans love to fight”—but I think he oversimplified it, thinking in bellicose terms. Our Revolutionary War was a declaration of our willingness to fight when we encountered unfairness. “Live Free or Die” seems overly familiar and trite to us today but it was a formula for suicide in the centuries before the Declaration—when the greatest prior advance in social justice had been the allowance that a person owned their own soul at death—“Free Doom”. Somewhat less ambitious, wouldn’t you say?

And after the revolution, when Texas was willing to enter the Union rather than submit to Spanish imperialism, we fought for them. Then the majority of Americans decided to fight against slavery—give or take a week-long Civil War historians conference on the ‘root causes’. It was unfair—and we were willing to fight over it. In both World Wars, we entered on the losing side—fighting unfairness. The internal struggles over racial equality, gender equality, and the rights of the sick, disabled, LGBT—all fights over unfairness. You show me an injustice and I’m ready to start swinging—why? Because I’m American, that’s why. I really would rather die than live in unfairness.

There are always those who don’t get the central premise—as early as Hamilton’s arguments with Jefferson over Federalist versus Republican, there were those who sought out the ‘easy win’—people who felt that leaving the mother country was simply a chance to be an England of our own, with a monarchy and all that implies. They wanted Washington to be “President for Life” and be addressed as ‘your majesty’—but Washington said ‘no’, like an American. Hence he is known as the Father of our Country not just because he fought the war, but also kept the peace as an American would and always will.

Today we have many people who don’t get the central premise—they think America’s greatness resides in its wealth and power—its shock and awe. Nonsense—childish nonsense. The unbelievable success of our country comes not from any material richness or military prowess—it comes from our ambition to fight for the truth. Yankee ingenuity has been finding new shortcuts towards a better future since the founding. Freedom of speech has made our democracy into the strongest of ties between a government and its people of any country on Earth. Open minds and open commerce have exploded into a global community of digital thinking, space exploration, genetic manipulation, super-sonic travel, and on and on.

Our greatest threat is the explosive variety of our success—the ‘easy wins’ float around like fish in a crowded barrel—the opportunities to exploit our success by working either in lieu of the American spirit (through hyper-capitalism) or in direct opposition to it (through extremist bible-thumping and xenophobic exclusion) are more numerous, and get better media coverage, than the real goals of true Americans.

The enemies of America seek to reinstate unfairness through new pathways—income inequality, religious division, jingoism, and denying the existence of intractable racial injustice—and all their arguments are based on fear and hatred, with a big dollop of laziness and greed to top it off. They make me tired—traitors in our own land. Fight the power!


There—I had to get that off my chest. I always get self-righteous after watching a documentary. I just watched “Standing In the Shadows of Motown—The Funk Brothers”—about all the great studio musicians whose uncredited artistry was behind hundreds of number one hits—hits that I remember from my childhood as the ‘product’ of the lead singers and groups whose names are so familiar to us all today. A handful of men in a Chicago basement would be responsible for over a decade of a multi-million-dollar music industry, without so much as a credit on the dustjacket. That kind of unfairness burns my chaps and it always will. Why? ‘Cause I’m a ‘Murican, that’s why.