Monday’s Theme Music

The moon’s visit moved beyond normal to sublime. Sometimes a clear night hosts a moon that lights the night and finds something more primal and hopeful in the mind. Last night’s moon was one of these, romantic and inspirational, a moon with light that whispers, “the impossible is possible.” No wonder a moon like that is spoken of in sentences about magic, fairies, and spaceships.

It’s January 16, 2023. It’s Monday. It’s 30 degrees F and sunny. It’s calm. It’s a new week’s start. Happy New Week! Have you made any New Week resolutions? I have. Of course I have. I don’t do NY ones, but I do daily, weekly, and monthly resolutions. You only fail if you give up trying, am I right? Some people place the week’s start on Sunday. I consider Saturday and Sunday neutral ground. The week begins on Monday and ends on Friday.

The sun pressed its presence into our valley at 7:37 this morning, coming around like it’s nobody’s business. Daylight will light us up until about 5:05 this evening. Then the sun will set and bring on dusk, followed by night. The cold front will keep our high from getting much above 42 F. Some say that rain is due but the clouds for that job haven’t checked in. Snow is visible in far fields on high mountains, appearing like cake frosting on the ridges’ pines and firs. It’s a tranquil blue-sky sight.

News continues emerging about President Biden and the classified documents found at his home and office. This turn pisses me off more than Trump’s classified doc scandal. I thought Joe Biden was responsible and this oversight, this sloppiness, is infuriating. I was in the Air Force for twenty years. With high secret clearances and active in special access programs, dealing with classified material, including stuff that was Top Secret with special qualifiers, including nuclear war plans, launch codes, attack plans, and intelligence materials, I was frequently the Top-Secret Control Officer, the unit security manager, and also often the OPSEC/COMSEC and COMPUSEC manager. I took it seriously. My peers, commanders, and those we supervised all took it very damn seriously. I was appointed as an investigator several times when processes failed or people violated the governing regs and laws. Trump’s conniving to keep some classified documents ‘as his own’ insulted our efforts to keep the nation safe by properly protecting such material. Joe Biden’s sloppiness — or worse, as the investigations are only under way — undermines our systems as well. President Biden has at least acknowledged that what has happened is bad, unlike Trump, who dances and shouts, trying to deflect blame and responsibility, squeaking out ridiculous justifications for what he did.

Okay, off the soap box. Today’s music is “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”. I went with the Animals version of 1964. Besides being the version seared into my memory by radio play repetition, I’ve always liked Eric Burdon. I also enjoyed the band’s keyboard use and the gritty blues sound they brought to their performances. The Neurons decided on this song and put it in the morning mental music stream after conversations with the cats. They were asking for something and I didn’t understand what it was. The felines’ insistence was the final driver for Les Neurons. Listening to them, Eric Burdon’s voice just rose from the depths of memory to sing, “Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.” And there we were.

Try to stay positive. I know it can be tough. I feel less than positive on many days. Right now, I’m positive that I would murder a cup of coffee so I’m heading to the kitchen for that black brew. I’m excited just thinking about it! Here’s the music. Hope your week takes you to new heights. Cheers

Rewriting History

In the Smithsonian Magazine’s excerpt of Narrative Tension, Inc.. From the forthcoming book Making History: The Storytellers Who Shaped the Past by Richard Cohen to be published by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Printed by permission, Richard Cohen writes this:

‘Around the same time, between 1934 and 1936, the Politburo, or policy-making body, of the Russian Communist Party focused on national history textbooks, and Stalin set scholars to writing a new standard history. The state became the nation’s only publisher. Orwell had it right in Nineteen Eighty-Four, where the Records Department is charged with rewriting the past to fit whomever Oceania is currently fighting. The ruling party of Big Brother “could thrust its hand into the past and say of this or that event, it never happened—that, surely, was more terrifying than mere torture and death.”’

He is writing about the old U.S.S.R., the Soviet Union, and how Putin’s Russia draws from the lessons learned from Lenin and Stalin about rewriting history to control the narrative.

I can’t help but think of the United States. GOP led legislatures in several states are fighting hard to rewrite history or ignore it, battling against teaching critical race theory, solidly misrepresenting it as they do. Alabama passed HB 312 earlier in 2022, 65 to 32. Pushed through by Republicans, the bill bans teachers from broaching subjects that Republicans find divisive, like ideas that the United States is now or was ever racist.

Ignoring facts or history that is painful or inconvenient has become the GOP standard. It’s been going on in Texas for over twenty years. The Texas textbook controversy erupted as Republicans attempt to color the United States in white, Republican, Christan hues. Trump leans hard on this idea of changing history to fit his needs, denying that he fairly lost the election in 2020, accusing everyone he can of voter fraud, lying, and cheating, without offering evidence. Officials and lawyers working on his behalf have had their cases and lawsuits rejected as lacking merit in courts across the United States. The most prominent cases of voter fraud involve Republican and Trump lackeys being caught while illegally voting or tampering with the process. Search the net for proof of this. Of course, deep Trumplicans hold that anyone saying or printing anything except their version of the truth is guilty of spreading false news.

This is all supported by ‘Evangelicals’, a group that holds the world is only six to ten thousand years old, depending upon which group you hear. They ignore all evidence and facts to the contrary. Listening to such would distort their reality.

This operating process of distorting reality and twisting and denying history is just like Russia and the old U.S.S.R. It’s sad but not surprising that several Republicans are admonishing the world for not embracing Russia’s excuses and lies as the truth for why they invaded Ukraine. Why, paraphrasing their thinking, Russia is only destroying Ukranian cities and killing Ukrainians to protect them. Doesn’t that sound like thinking right out of 1984?

And the one excusing Putin and Russia most of all? That would be the dear GOP leader, Donald J. Trump.

The GOP has become a shallow party, bereft of principles, and desperate to remain meaningful. The only way they can now make history is by pretending what has happened — and is happening, in the case of climate change, and LGBTQ rights and equality — didn’t happen. Deny, deny, deny.

It’s been a long, sickening fall to watch for the party begun by President Lincoln.

The Friend’s Comments

My buddy, Bob Hoesch, sent an email out to his beer-drinking buddies last night. Liking it, I received his permission to share.

If any single image can sum up the tenor of an era, I would suggest this as a legacy photograph for the Trump Era.

Yes, that’s Don the Don, hawking Goya foods on the Resolute Desk in the oval office, because the owner of that company had just publicly praised him.

I didn’t know this until now, the Resolute Desk has been in the White House since it was gifted to the United States by Britain, during the tenure of Rutherford Hayes. FDR had it modified to accommodate his wheelchair while he ran WWII. The name comes from the decommissioned British warship HMS Resolute, whose lumber was used to make the desk.

Trump’s innovation was to use the desk to promote canned foods to the Mexican-American community. He should be remembered for that, as the most openly transactional national politician we’ve ever had.

“People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage.” — John Kenneth Galbraith, The Age of Uncertainty (1977)

Sunday’s Theme Music

Sorry, but it’s sort of a quasi-politically inspired song again. (Wow, such a wishy-washy caveat and apology.) There’s also a writing angle.

Thinking about not just Trump but about life in general summoned John Mellencamp’s 1987 song, “Paper in Fire” to mind. I was thinking about aspirations and permanency and how often what people do amount to nothing or disappear like…well, like paper in fire.

And the days of vanity
Went on forever
And he saw his days burn up
Like paper in fire

Trump comes into this because of the vanity angle. He couldn’t govern and lead by getting legislation probably passed and put into place as law. Part of this was that he didn’t want to share glory. He wanted to be the one who was seen to originate the idea, to demonstrate his smarts. As he couldn’t, he instead used executive orders or chose not to enforce laws. Many of the executive orders meant almost nothing except to signal his desire, but others of them actively circumvented due process.

Much of what Trump seemed to be to appeal to his base. He loved their adoration. His actions and words were a reflection of that vanity.

Of course, Joe Biden intends to countermand Trump with more executive orders. This ends up in a cycle that creates a stronger executive branch to the detriment of the other branches, breaking the system of checks and balances. It becomes more dysfunctional and less stable and sustainable.

Of course, part of all this is the existential logjam that’s taking place in Congress. Democrats in the House pass bills, with partisan votes, but Republican McConnell in the Senate won’t bring them forward for action.

Beyond that, many of our individual dreams are like paper in fire. We diligently pursue them but they often come to little or no fruition, disappearing after we stop like paper in fire.

Sounds like it might be unhappy thinking. It’s not. We had our first snow dust this morning. Peering out at the cold scene with coffee in hand prompted reflection. Besides Trump and the US government, I also considered my characters and their motivations and dreams. They’re mostly in survivor or service roles even as unusual and unique issues impact them. In many ways, while they affect what happens in their world, their names will disappear like paper in fire.

So, there it is. Good rock tune with an Appalachian musical vibe. Hope you enjoy it and that you’re having a good one. Wear a mask, please. Cheers

Trump On 60Minutes

I watched Lesley Stahl attempt to interview Donald Trump on 60Minutes last night. He was amazingly childish and immature while managing to also be arrogant and condescending. I’ve actually had employees like him. Managing them was as bizarre as his behavior on the television show.

Trump’s cognitive dissonance was frequently revealed. He’s always dismissing the mainstream press as false news and denigrating their veracity. Meanwhile, when Ms. Stahl asks him for proof, he tells her to read the newspapers. Well, which is it, Donald? Fake news or evidence?

The FBI that he so often disparages was cited and lauded in the plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer of Michigan. Yet, again, if his justice department had the evidence that’s being published routinely (according to him) in newspapers, why isn’t that same Justice Department bringing charges?

I won’t address the multiple times he was exposed as lying. Just not worth it because it’s surreal. He can be shown videos of the things he’s said, shown videos of evidence revealing his lies (like when he’s claimed “everybody behind me had a mask” at an Arizona rally), and quoted verbatim, and simply refuses to acknowledge that he’s been caught in the lie. That’s nothing new; he’s been doing it since he began running for the presidency, and continued it once he moved into the White House.

Nor is it worth talking about his healthcare plans. They’re in the same blackhole of existence as his tax returns. He will never reveal either.

The cognitive dissonance, and that his supporters don’t see it, is worth addressing.

Wednesday’s Theme Music


This song seemed everywhere for a while, but it’s one of those that’s been put on the bottom of the pile. It doesn’t seem to get much air play these days. Did its mix of acoustic and electric guitars not age well?

“Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man)” by Styx rose through my mind’s layers as I read political news from the right about how great Trump is. Absolutely everything, from this young man’s point of view, was brilliant. Trump, to him, is powerful and intelligent, returning the United States to a position of international prestige and influence.

COVID-19? Why, that’s overhyped, as Trump just proved, in the young (his claim – I don’t know how old he is, just his claims) right-winger’s mind. No worse than the flu and already going away. No, the greatest threat to America comes from “libtards” and their willingness to give everything away (he believes “Obama destroyed America and the economy”). Further, Trump’s recent sickness was really just a cover for him to rise up and finally vanquish the Dems and “libtards”.


So, yes, reading him, I thought, “You are really fooling yourself.” I can’t say that he’s under a rock; no, he’s fooling himself with his conviction that everything on the “lamestream media” is fake news. I don’t understand how they — these right-wingers who insist everything is fake news — receives the real news. That’s an opaque process. So, I reiterate, he’s fooling himself.

Which brings me back to Styx’s 1978 song, “Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man)” from their album, The Grand Illusion. For my part, I think Trump’s claims about what he’s done is just grand illusion. Maybe it’s just me fooling myself.

Wednesday’s Theme Music

Blame Paul Krugman for today’s song.

I was reading his post about zombies. You’d conclude, then, that today’s music features music by or about zombies.


Krugman addressed Republicans et al who won’t or can’t change their thinking about unemployment compensation, the social safety net, and the economy despite decades of validated data that the Republicans are wrong. I then widened my scope of thought to include civil rights and equality. Voting rights. Police force and violence. Eventually my aperture narrowed to change.

Raise your hand if you’re convinced change is easy. For most, it isn’t. Change messes with psychology and comfort zones, habits and vices, and the way it’s always been versus the way we’d like it to be. Trump and his followers are already demonstrated that they’re mired in tar pits; they can’t and won’t change.

All this brought me to songs about trying to change. There are numerous musical releases about seasons and change. I went with Tracy Chapman’s 1988 song, “Fast Car”.

Monday’s Theme Music

A conversational tic, “Do you know what I mean,” triggered recollection of the Lee Michaels 1968 song. Know what I mean?

It fits for today as topic lines are starkly drawn. Voting by mail can’t work, they say, but I did it throughout my military career and since moving to Oregon in 2005, so I think it works, know what I mean?

Trump couldn’t come up with shit for the pandemic, but he eagerly sends geared paramilitary Feds to cities led by Dems, know what I mean?

Pro baseball started playing in bubbles in the U.S. and now they’re canceling games because players have tested positive, know what I mean?

COVID-19 deaths are taking place, and positive cases are rising, they canceled the in person Republican convention but still want to open businesses and send children to school, you know what I mean?

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