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12.22.17 Song: Santa Claus, Robin Hood

In the caption from the AP file photo above,* President Trump is quoted as exclaiming, "How dare you! You are a nonconformist and a rebel!" His anger was directed at the great socialist Santa Claus... but it could've been anyone, really. Eisenhower. Roosevelt. Jesus.** Or the subject of this year-end song by the world's greatest rock and roll band... Rise like Lions / Shake your chains / We are many, they are few / Take from the rich and give to the poor As 2017 fades, that song sounds right right now. I spent last year examining intentions. I crawled through the muck of some truly odd calculations and policy documents. I wanted to understand. After a year of objective scrutiny, the gist of

12.20.17 Song: Merchandise

It's an embarrassing day to be an empirical American,* but a perfect time for a song like Merchandise. When we have nothing left to lose / You will have nothing left to use / We owe you nothing / You have no control *One point five trillion dollars. And that's if everything goes swimmingly. It won't. The evidence is Kansas. Or Haiti. Skyrocketing deficits + weak environmental, worker, and consumer protections + eroded social safety nets = third world. Selling-out generations is a risky endeavor. I don't think the GOP recognizes the consequences.

12.15.17 Song: Rudolf, Etc.

Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer is a chestnut lodged deeply in my brain. We sang it plenty as kids, inserting irreverent lyrics (as of late, I suppose Rudolf has fared better than Columbus... historically). The renditions by Burl Ives and Gene Autry* are lovely. But it's silly and ridiculously slow. It's no work of art. It wouldn't even make a terribly compelling School House Rock. It's certainly not Carol of the Bells or Little Drummer Boy or The Kink's Father Christmas or Robert Earl Keen's Merry Christmas from the Family... Jesus, that's lovely. Where was I? Rudolf. Over the years, I've become quite fond of one version since it's a fine example of how Phil Spector (combined with the right s

12/11/17 Song

So the alleged rapist says to the accused child molester,* "Go get 'em, Roy!" A cruel punchline to a week that's already witnessed a calculated (yet typically amateurish) theft of our land, lives, and treasure. Now get yourself a song to sing and sing it ’til you’re done / Yeah, sing it hard and sing it well / Send the robber barons straight to hell / The greedy thieves who came around / And ate the flesh of everything they found / Whose crimes have gone unpunished now / Who walk the streets as free men now * Trump's pal, Rep. Steve King, kinda put a tidy bow on the week by declaring, "Diversity is not our strength... Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one.

Diablo Dispatch Part 2: Death & Taxes

Preface: I reckon this is my last (chiefly) political post. These missives are not particularly fun. They require math and research. A pal invited me to contribute to a blog with more comfortable subculture subjects: punk, vintage soul, literature. Wheelhouse topics. Also, it's winter and the surf is good. Besides, I think you'll agree that the premise of this blurb leaves very little else to say. Allow me to set me set the stage. The year is 1987. Teenage fashion looked a lot like it does right now... at least the hues. The Smiths had recently released "Cemetery Gates." Morressey gives away Yeats and Keats, while claiming Wilde for his side. Arguments have sides. In the pages of our high sc