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Category: News & Politics

When we have finally learned to fully hate who will ever be able to teach us to love ?

May 1, 2016

My Teeter-Totter Is Wobbling on Its Fulcrum

As the world continues to spin backwards and the blossoms of spring are closing up in fear, I find I am losing my balance on the teeter-totter of life. But I refuse to fall off the face of the earth. I may take a running jump and yell as I go flying into space, but I will not fall, I will not grovel, and I will not conform to the lunacy around me. Most of all, I will not apologize for being a pain in the emotional and mental ass of a machine that continues to betray everything I have believed in since I hit the age of 13. There have been some well-intentioned efforts lately to smooth out my rough edges,but I happen to like my rough edges. I even had to tell the person who cuts my hair, when she went too short for me, that I don’t work for a bank, unless it’s the band The Left Bank.

I suppose I shouldn’t worry too much about my teetering-totter.April 28, 2016, marked ten years since Keith Richards fell out of a tree. The circumstances around his fall were cloaked in mystery. Some articles reported he was up in a palm tree, and in the case of Keith Richards and for the true believers in the weird, that made perfect sense. In this case, though, it was fairly innocent. Keith had simply been drying off in a small 7-foot tree after a swim off the coast of Fiji when he took a tumble, or if you will, a flip-flop,out of a tree, reaching for a branch with wet hands.  Richards suffered a concussion, and the injury led to the Stones postponing tour dates.

The first of Newton's Laws of Motion states an object will continue its motion at a constant velocity until an outside force acts on it. An example of that would be Keith Richards falling out of a tree and the ground stopping the fall. If I had witnessed him about to do something incredibly stupid and jumped in his way while yelling “Don’t do that, you idiot,” it may have hurt his feelings, but his head would have felt a lot better. At that time,what was more important, preventing a concussion or a few bruised emotions?

We live in a world of turmoil—political craziness in America, lunatic terrorists running around the world, global warming, and a list of inequalities that boggles the mind. It’s a world indeed spinning backwards, and it will continue to do that until enough people start pushing it back in the right direction, or like Newton’s law, it will only pick up speed in an off-beam bearing. The problem is everyone thinks their own direction is the best course, but as Nick Lowe wrote and Elvis Costello sang “(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding”?

While writing this I’ve been listening to some deep-cutting blues by Duane Allman, joined by people like ‎Boz Scaggs and the Grateful Dead.If you want to hear some lowdown and dirty blues, try “It Hurts Me Too” with the Dead and Duane.

This all does lead to the shores of Rambling Harbor. I have very little idea what you’ll find there, but there will be some rock and roll news and history. I hope you’ll join me.


April 24, 2016

Random Thoughts from Rambling Harbor: Jackson, Clinton, Springsteen, Not Necessarily in That Order

I came of age in the borough of Richmond, New York, better known as Staten Island. I spent my first two years of so-called higher learning at NYU on the Washington Square campus when I saw a few great shows on Broadway and Bob Dylan in the Village. Yes, I love New York. I really do. When I heard Donald Trump had won the New York primary I was incensed and outraged, not necessarily in that order, and for a moment or two I fell out of love. Then I realized the choice Republicans had was to vote for one of two evils, and the Democrats, whether it is Hillary or Bernie, will clean house in the presidential election anyway. Right on, New York!

OK, this is not, I repeat NOT!, a put-down of Hillary. Unless Bernie wins and is hiding something, she will be the first woman president. I think she’ll do at least a good job, and in politics sometimes good is the best we can hope for. To me, she keeps sounding more and more like Bernie. I have one fear. Remembering every woman on earth wanting to look like “Jackie O,” I hope women won’t try to look like Hillary. Women, please don’t go for that short,blonde, whatever-you-call-it hairdo she has and avoid the clothes (God, do I hate tweed). I was reminded of the song “Jackie Onassis” by Human Sexual Response, and if you don't remember it or don't get the reference, find it on YouTube. https://youtu.be/TyqDnYBQsKw

The U.S. Department of the Treasury's decision to remove Andrew Jackson from the front of the $20 bill and replace him with abolitionist Harriet Tubman is an excellent move. Andrew Jackson was a slave owner and the man who forced the relocation of the Cherokee. On that Trail of Tears, 2,000-6,000 of the 16,543 Cherokee died. I remember how happy I was when the Susan B.Anthony dollar was minted. Susan B. Anthony was a suffragist, abolitionist,author, and speaker who was the president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association from 1892 to 1900. Literally many different shapes of that coin were tried, but all were opposed by the vending machine industry, a powerful lobby affecting coin legislation (maybe we should do away with lobbyists?), but my point here is that as happy as I was about Susan B. Anthony on a coin, I am doing happy dances all around the place about the removal of Jackson from the front of the $20 bill. Unfortunately, Jackson will still be on the back of the bill, and at first that outraged and incensed me, not necessarily in that order, but then I realized it was symbolic.As farmers might say, put him on the lower twenty where he kept most of his slaves.

In a musical finale, I applaud “The Boss,” Bruce Springsteen,for cancelling his Greensboro, North Carolina, show in protest of the bathroom law, which is considered discriminatory against transgender people. In my life,I have yet to figure out what makes a true man or a true woman—in fact what makes a true human being?—but the one conclusion I have come to is that as long as no one is getting hurt, all people have a right to try and figure out who they are as a soul who walks this earth. Who am I to decide they’re wrong?

There are more random thoughts and some rock and roll news and history on the shores of Rambling Harbor. I hope you’ll join me there.


April 16, 2016

Luddites and Protest

As many of you know, I spend a great deal of time on Facebook. It goes with my occupation of self-employed, multi-talented wing-ding.At last count, I have 536 friends. I probably have met a dozen of them in person and have come to know many more as long-distance friends who stay close through a social media that would likely spin the head of Ralph Waldo Emerson.My emotional self, however, leans toward wanting to be a card carrying member of the Luddites, especially as my car is near death as well as my computer.

When I was researching this blog, I saw a cartoon that read“Luddite invents machine to destroy technology quicker.” I could not do what I do today without technology. In spite of my emotional attachment to it, I could get along without my car, not easily but I could. I have before. My computer,on the other hand (the hand I am not typing with), is another story. 

The origin of the name Luddite is uncertain, but a popular belief is that the movement was named after Ned Ludd, a young man who allegedly smashed two stocking frames (mechanical knitting machines) in 1779, and his name became synonymous with machine destroyers. The original Luddites were neither opposed to technology nor unskilled at using it. Many were highly skilled machine operators in the textile industry, and the technology they attacked was not particularly new. The idea of smashing machines as a form of industrial protest did not begin or end with them.

During the Industrial Revolution (roughly 1760 to 1840),workers naturally worried about being displaced by increasingly efficient machines, but the Luddites themselves actually were fine with machines. They confined their attacks to manufacturers who used machines in what they called“a fraudulent and deceitful manner” to get around standard labor practices. They just wanted machines that made high-quality things, and they wanted these machines to be run by workers who had gone through an apprenticeship and got paid decent wages. Those were their only concerns. Sound familiar?

At the start of the 19th century, British working families were suffering economically from widespread unemployment. Food was scarce and quickly becoming more costly. Then, on March 11, 1811, in Nottingham, a textile manufacturing center, British troops broke up a crowd of protesters demanding more work and better wages. Sound familiar?

From the women’s movement to the Oscars and on the streets of Boston, workers are protesting for fair treatment and pay. As many as 63% of Americans support a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour by 2020, and 75% of Americans support raising the federal minimum wage to at least $12.50. Yet the federal minimum wage has not been raised since 2009, when it was increased to its current level of $7.25 per hour. People like Donald Trump say raising the minimum wage creates a lot of problems. Huh? Donald, you mean like reducing poverty and creating jobs?

On November 15, I wrote a blog called "The Art and Power of Protest." It was true with the Luddites, and it is true today. If you want real change, you have to be willing to smash a few machines.

I’ll have a few more thoughts on this and some rock and roll news in the podcast.  Join me on the shores of Rambling Harbor.