Saturday, April 29, 2017

Abyssia ‎– Gwekana : Afro Funk Disco Soul Fusion Cameroon Full Album LP ...

This is some kind of semi-informal project put together by musicians from the Cameroon back in the 1980s. That's about what the notes say on the YouTube anyway.

It was posted by a fellow called sunnyboy66, who seems to be a man of eclectic tastes who works tirelessly in the pursuit of human happiness. The CDs that he has posted to YouTube would, if laid end to end, reach to the moon and back, at least. I often wonder if he's retired, or perhaps independently wealthy, because the volume of his posting must take up a huge amount of time. Maybe he has a staff! It's a mystery.

But thanks, sunnyboy66. By now you're right up there with Soulphisticate, of the OG Napster, as a musical co-conspirator of mine.

Not A Movie Review: Baby Cart By The River Styx

This is the second movie in the Sword of Vengeance series. Ito Ogami, "Wolf with Child," and his cute little son Daigoro travel around Japan cutting people down like there was no tomorrow. I love these movies. 

I was surprised to see Kumamon show up outside of a noodle shop. We now know Kumamon as the mascot of Kumamoto, a city in the middle of the island of Kyushu in southern Japan. Evidently the image has been around for a while. 

There are three groups of more-or-less bad guys in this movie. A group of about ten ninjas, led by a Yagyu stooge; a group of eight female ninjas led by a demented boss lady ninja; and three brothers who are described as "Shogunate escorts." 

The escorts are interesting. They travel around Japan to pick up and deliver people to the Shogun. They seem unstoppable, until the end. They're not bad guys, not really. They only kill people that attack them. That's their stated policy and they stick to it throughout the movie. Lots of people attack them, though, so they get many chances to show off. They are the Hidari brothers: Benma (who straps on a claw hand when it's time to go to work); Tenma (who uses a mean looking studded club); and Kuruma (spiked fists). 

After Ogami cuts down eight of the Yagyu ninjas and all of the female ninjas except the boss, the remaining bad guys decide to kidnap Daigoro. They figure that will cause Ogami, who is already wounded, to lose heart. They figured wrong. 

In one of the great swordsploitation scenes of all time, the Yagyu boss has Daigoro tied up and suspended over a "bottomless" well. His two henchmen stand between Daigoro and his dad. The boss tells him to drop his sword or else "I'll let go and he'll die for sure." Ogami makes a little speech, which includes, "my son and I have chosen a life of evil. If this is the day that we lose everything, we're prepared . . ." 

Then he turns and addresses Daigoro: "Daigoro! Your mother is waiting for you at the River of Sanzu (Styx). Do you understand?" That's the way it was on this DVD anyway. The way that I remember it, in the theater long ago, Ogami said, "Daigoro! Your mother awaits you! And I'll be joining you both soon." I like my remembered version better. 

Then dad kills the three Yagyu in a heartbeat and grabs the rope before Daigoro gets too wet. All this time, Boss Ninja Chick has been standing over to one side with an expression of mixed fear, horror and admiration. She's never the same after this scene, the starch has just been knocked out of her. 

After some more action on a boat, Ogami and Daigoro end up swimming underwater to clear a bad situation. Who come along with a blade? Boss Ninja Chick. Ogami grabs her and she drops the blade, and then he drags her along to a shack next to the water. He first takes off Daigoro's wet clothes, and then his own, and then he rips her clothes off as well. She's terrified, thinking it's a rape scene, but no, he just wants them all to snuggle together to keep Daigoro warm. He's such a good dad! Daigoro mischievously plays with her nipples and she loses even more starch.  

There has to be a big murder-fest at the end of these movies and this one's no exception. First to die are a bunch of samurai buried in the sand who came along to help Ogami kill the object of his contract, as though he needed help. They just succeed in getting themselves killed by the three brothers. Ogami is another story. The three brothers spend an unpleasant last day on earth.  

Contract fulfilled! 

The actor who plays Ogami is Tomisaburo Wakayama, the brother of Shintaro Katsu, the actor who played Zatoichi in that earlier series. This Sword of Vengeance movie was directed by the same fellow who directed a few of the Zatoichi movies, Kenji Misumi. I never get tired of these movies. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Vocabulary Alert!

I read a nice article the other day and came across the word "risible." I had no immediate recognition of the word, but in context it seemed to mean something like "arguable," or "possible."

No cigar, Mr. Fred!

"risible (adj)  such as to provoke laughter;
risibility, risibly
Late Latin: risibilis; Latin: ris, ridere (to laugh)"

In the context of the article, laughable made great sense. The word was used in reference to an element of the current administration's foreign policy regarding Mexico, which is hysterical in general.

I thought, this is an important word for our times! So much of our daily flow of information concerning the current presidential administration, and our current congress, and each of them, is ridiculous. We need to buff-up our vocabularies to keep up with the necessary derision.

Tim Hardin "Misty Roses"

I put up this song by Astrud Gilberto a couple of years ago, with a few kind words about Tim.

Astrud is hard to keep up with as an interpreter of songs, but Tim does his usual great job here. Boy, Tim wrote some great songs.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Twiliters - Move It!

I am informed by a fifteen second Google search, and tend to believe, that the Twiliters were a band from upstate New York in the early-mid-1960s.

My hunch is that they could get a room wound up pretty good. They're probably retired by now, and I mean retired from the Post Office or something. My guess is that they retired from music at least forty years ago. I wish you well, guys. I hope y'all are doing fine!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Ahab Ceely

Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab, in extremis.  

Little known fact: in the first movie version of “Moby-Dick,” Captain Ahab’s full name was Ahab Ceely. Same spelling, usually. Kind of amazing, when I think about it. (Ahab was played by John Barrymore. I should be so lucky.)*

Yesterday I wrote 1,500 words about the story arc of my life, but if I ever post it, it won’t be soon. It all looked like a lot of complaining to no purpose. I had a less than perfect childhood . . . so what? I underperformed throughout my adult life . . . so what? I was overtaken by events upon the eve of my retirement . . . so what? Those tragicomedies are probably best kept personal. But are there lessons in there somewhere that might be useful to a general readership? There could be.

I’ve read Moby-Dick three times. The first time was at the age of twenty-something and I thought that it was a very good book. I read it as an exciting story of a young man at sea, and I remember thinking that there were a lot of digressions that seemed to go on for a long time without actually contributing to the story. How many pages do I have to read about the color white? But a good book, nevertheless. I chalked up the digressions to Nineteenth-Century literary peccadillos.

The second reading came when I was in my thirties, and I got a lot more out of it. I realized that the exciting story was grafted on top of clarifying information and some great hints regarding human motivation.

I read it a third time in my late-fifties. This reading was in the Norton Critical Edition, and boy, it’s an amazing book. Half of the book is Moby-Dick; the other half is background information, contemporary articles about related subjects, reviews and criticism all through the intervening time, just a load of great stuff. On the third reading I realized that Moby-Dick is a profound meditation on the nature of human existence. That, and a terrific adventure story, and several other things in between.  

The Ahab symbology is critically important. In a nutshell, Ahab had had an encounter with the white whale when he was a young man, and the event had cost him a leg. The experience had been terrifying in the extreme. Poor Ahab must have spent a rather considerable time sure that he was going to be killed that very day. Drowned and missing forever! Poor Ahab!

It was so terrifying, in fact, that ever since that day Ahab could think of nothing else but the white whale. Although he has stayed in the whaling business, and made captain, all of that is grafted on top of his hatred, and terror, of Moby-Dick. The trick is that this terrible fear does not cause him to spend his time at sea avoiding Moby-Dick; when he alerts the lookouts to keep an eye out for the white whale he does not mean to turn tail in the other direction if the whale is spotted. No, he wants to close with the whale for a second time!

The question, the philosophical and psychological question, is whether he is really interested in finally killing Moby-Dick. Is it all about Ahab’s rage? The strong hint is: no. He is probably only desperate for Moby-Dick to complete the job of killing him, killing Ahab. It’s about Ahab’s fear. You’ve got my leg! Take the rest of me, you seagoing-son-of-a-bitch! Get it over with! I’m tired of waiting!

It is a truism to say that literature has been examining human psychology very effectively since at least the days of Gilgamesh and his buddy Enkidu. What’s that? 3,500 years? Melville’s suggestion is that we may become so overcome with fear of a certain thing that we take concrete steps to hasten its arrival.

I would bet my teeth, my gums and my tattoo that this scenario actually pans out for many people. The very story arc of my life would be exhibit “A” for the proposition. I’m past the “climax” point in my version of the story. My white whale, with a lot of help from me, has laid me low.

All that’s left to be filled in on my Frytag’s Pyramid is the “catastrophe.” That comes in the last few pages. That would be when the whole ship is destroyed and everyone dies along with me. There are no nominees for the role of “Ismael.”

The moral of the story, dear reader, is that when you find yourself terrified of a certain eventuality, probably based upon prior exposure to the phenomenon, please avoid focusing on the terror in a manner that causes you to rush to greet it.

*Re: Ahab Ceely. In Melville's novel Captain Ahab has no family name. My understanding is that the surname Ceely was first used in “The Sea Beast,” the first movie version of Moby-Dick in 1926, a silent film starring John Barrymore. Rendered in the IMDB entry as “Ahab Ceeley.” The IMDB entry for “Moby-Dick,” (1931) simply says, “Ahab.” (Barrymore played Ahab in the 1931 movie as well.) On the Wikipedia pages for those movies it’s down as “Ahab Ceeley” once and "Ahab Ceely" once, and I’ve seen it without the final "e" elsewhere over the years. Most people wouldn’t notice the difference. At least they didn’t call him Ahab Sealy, like the mattresses. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

CORNELIUS - Like A Rolling Stone

I have often referred to Cornelius as the "Hieronymus Bosch of Pop music" or something like that. Both of those gentlemen created works of art that were somehow simultaneously within a particular artistic tradition and definitely outside it. I love them both.

In this video, Cornelius, either consciously or unconsciously, is echoing the style that Bosch used in the composition of "The Garden of Earthly Delights." So, even more Bosch than usual.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Shirley Matthews - Big-Town Boy 1963

Another great cut that I discovered on my favorite radio show of all time, "The Cool and the Crazy," on KCRW, " Corsair Radio West! The Santa Monica Community College radio station. The show was on for about four years in the late 1980s. Art Fraud and Vic Trip, two local musical hangers-on with comedic aspirations. They were funny guys, too, and boy did they play some great records.

Like this one!

President DJT's Official Portrait

This official portrait is Donald Trump attempting to look tough, and failing miserably. This is what passes for a tough guy look in a bad Hollywood movie (think Steven Seagal.) When real tough guys turn their evil eyes upon you, it's a totally different effect. Yes, I'm sure. 

Really dangerous tough guys either look at you with a face that is so emotionless and relaxed that you'd wonder if they were actually dead, or a face that is full of excitement and joy at the thought of fucking you up. Brother, I hope that you never encounter either one. 

This Trump face in the photo is only the face of an over-sized, rich-kid bully who is trying to intimidate you. Trust me, just smack him and he'll start to sob like a baby. Yes, I'm sure. Just look at the way he folds when he meets with world leaders and they don't just start to cry and give up when he turns this super-tough-guy look on them. Or the way that they fail to be intimidated when The Donald "viciously" reaches out for a handshake and tries to twist their arm into submission. It's an act, and they know it. And not a great act, either. Maybe it works on other punk businessmen, but it is all a futile exercise on people who are actually somewhat tough, like Angela Merkel of Germany or President Xi of China. If DJT tried that handshake on a really tough man, he'd end up on his back with tears in his eyes. 

For the record, I am not now, nor have I ever been, tough. But I did grow up in a town where really tough boys were quite numerous, and the rest of us had to run into them on a regular basis and learn to deal with them. That would be College Point, in the Borough of Queens, in New York City, in the 1950s and 1960s. I've seen the real thing, and I've seen the style that Pres. Trump is now trying to use. The Trump style gets its ass kicked every time, often by guys that are way down the pecking order of toughness. Trump grew up in Queens, too, but being rich I'm sure that he missed the worst of it. I'm pretty sure that pushing his prosperous friends around gave him a false sense of power, which has only gotten worse the richer he has become. If he'd gone to the same schools that I attended, he'd have been knocked down a peg or two, that's for sure. 

Trump is trying desperately hard to be tough, but being tough is a little bit like being cool. Either you have it, or you don't. You can't try to be cool, or tough.  Trying is futile; it never works. Trying to be tough is . . . sad!!!

Nirvana - Negative Creep - Apotheosis Of Rock And Roll

Rock and Roll! It's not supposed to just roll up on you and make you feel good. It should be a bursting dam of emotional mayhem. The full intention was: this shit is not like what has gone before.

That goal was not easy to attain.

Fifties Rock acts, by economic necessity, had to cleave pretty closely to societal norms. Tin Pan Alley was still the paradigm of recent memory. "Bicycle Built for Two," "In Your Easter Bonnet." Stuff like that. Rhyme was king; accessibility came in a close second.

Fifties/ Sixties popular Rock and Roll came in the Brill Building format. Built in 1931 at 1619 Broadway at 49th Street, just north of the original Tin Pan Alley, the Brill Building turned out hits written by Neil Sedaka and Carol King. A sub-genre of 1960s Teen Idol pop music.

For Tin Pan Alley, think "Moon . . . Spoon . . . June."

For the Brill Building, or the Beatles, think, "MICHELLE, my BELLE, these are words that go together WELL, my MICHELLE . . ." (Or the ever popular "moon, spoon, June.")

Rock and Roll was supposed to be different.

But that took a while. There were singers and bands that did admirable work to push the boundaries, but to keep matters simple let's just say that by the time of "Negative Creep," bands like Nirvana, and artists like Curt Cobain, were finally putting "PAID" to the paradigm of Tin Pan Alley. The mayhem had finally arrived.

"Easter Bonnet" my ass!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Twilight Samurai (2002) - Seibei fights back

Spoiler alert: This clip contains just about the best theatrical death that I've ever seen.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mighty Terror - Heading North

The Mighty Terror has this one almost right, but at this point in my life, upon reflection, New York City, and the North in general, did their own version of slapping the black man's dignity around.

Studying Things

The study of individual topics or things often comes with a name. One of my favorites is “anemology,” which is the study of winds. It was a new one on me; I found it in a recent book on the Pacific part of World War II. It seems that anemologists were in great demand after Pearl Harbor, and, unsurprisingly, there was a short supply of them. The reason for their popularity was that there was suddenly an intense search going on for Pacific islands that were suitable for the building of airstrips. With all of those thousands of islands, it was only a very small number of them that could be useful. Planes take off and land into the wind, so the island would need a long stretch of relatively dry, flat, solid land that faced into the prevailing winds. The planes needed to be taking off into the north-east, where the winds came from. Things got dramatic pretty quickly. (See: Guadalcanal.)

One “study of” word that should interest us today is “psephology,” the statistical study of elections and trends in voting. This one comes from the Greek word, psephos, meaning pebble. Later on, Greeks voted by putting pebbles in a jar or something, and psephos came to mean vote as well.

Americans have always been interested in how people vote and why they vote the way that they do. That interest was enhanced by the appearance of computers, and the trend has only accelerated as computers have taken over our lives. By now we all have an Internet footprint that can be studied by various entities whose interest in our dirty laundry may vary from the merely venal to the truly sinister. (From advertising data to the influencing of our minds through targeted memes.) This kind of thing is getting pretty dramatic as well.

A company called Cambridge Analytica did a lot of work for the Donald Trump campaign last year. Depending on what you read, they either single-handedly won the election for Trump by creating psychological profiles of huge numbers of people in key states and then targeting them with focused ads through their Facebook feeds, or just did some run of the mill data mining that may or may not have been helpful at all. If it was the later, they were wildly overpaid.

John Bannon is a big fan, which cannot be a good thing. Look up “sinister” in the dictionary; they have his picture next to the definition. Robert Mercer funded the work that Cambridge Analytica did for Trump, and it cost a bundle. Mercer is a hedge-fund mega-billionaire who looks like a college professor and succeeds in appearing to be an easy-going, aw-shucks kind of guy. He doesn’t talk much, but he’s got his strong ideas. His daughter Rebekah is part of his political (mischief) team. She’s more hands on, and, if I may mix my metaphors, she doesn’t seem as reticent as her dad to get her hands dirty.

People and technologies like these have jumped into the deep end of the psephology pool with both feet. They are studying our elections and how to win them, and they are studying you and me. I’m not sure that I’m comfortable with the whole thing. But then, I’m not comfortable with many things, so maybe it’s nothing. Time will tell! 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

James Brown and the Original JB’s (with Bootsy Collins) italian TV-show ...

Yeah, this is the band right here. James Brown at his best.

Bobby! Bobby Byrd! Ladies and gentlemen! Bobby Byrd!

God, If I May Have A Moment, Just Fucking Why?

Many times in the same week I find myself sorely tempted to place my left knee on the ground, cast my eyes upwards towards heaven, and raise my right hand to God, asking, pleading, “why!!!” You know, just wondering, “what the fuck is one man supposed to do in the face of this unrelenting hurricane of bullshit?”

I know, everyman has his own shit-storm to deal with, and some are much worse than others. Mine is certainly not one of the worst, but, having said that, please don’t think for a minute that my shit-storm is an easy burden to bear. 
Because, since the elapse of the approximately eighteen-month grace period when I was in diapers, it has never resembled “easy” in any way, shape or form.

The biggest cop-out in all of this self-examination rigmarole is for a man to say, “well, I have done my best.” Let’s face it, if your best was lousy enough to get you where you are today, kneeling here complaining to God, as if God gave a shit, well, then your best wasn’t quite enough, was it?

You cannot compare yourself to others, who were forgiven for worse.

You cannot ask for more, because there is no such service available.

You cannot question your antagonists, because they are not answerable to you.

You cannot petition God with prayer, because there is no such entity waiting by the phone.

You cannot trust your own analysis of events, because the odds are that you have misapprehended them.

The best course is to accept that you, yourself, are partly, if not mostly, responsible for the state of things, and just go forward in the dim, grey light of life on earth and do the best that you can. It’s a sad and terrible life, but it’s all that we’ve got, and it’s not without its attractions, if one is being honest. If you find someone whose life you can have a positive impact on, do that, definitely. If you can make someone happy, well in that case you may be able to make up for your past transgressions. Doing one’s best is never an excuse, it’s almost never enough, but it’s all that we can do, almost by definition. So go! And quit your complaining.

Disclaimer: I try never to drunk-post, but I’m making an exception here. Please try to read this with a forgiving nature. 

Speed Is Not Good For You

There’s a funny thing that happens with speed. It happens at different times and in different countries. Whenever speed appears on the scene as a novelty, people get carried away and think that the speed won’t hurt them a bit. Then comes abuse, and finally, for individual abusers and larger communities, there comes a terrible reckoning.

This pattern sure hit the Nazis hard. The word is that speed came onto Nazi radar during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. Many sources mention American athletes using Benzedrine. The Nazis saw the results, and they were smitten. Within a matter of months a German pharmaceutical outfit came up with a much stronger variant, a kind of crystal methamphetamine. It sounds familiar to anyone who properly experienced the 1960s and 1970s; it is very reminiscent of the pills that were called “Black Beauties” at the time. Boy, were those things strong. The Nazi speed was branded as “Pervitin,” and very soon it was the toast of the town.

It was marketed to housewives in the form of speed-laced chocolates. It became very popular with factory workers. The Nazi military machine was particularly enthusiastic. When World War II started, millions upon millions of the Pervitin tablets were issued to the troops, from tank crews to pilots, and everyone in between.

WWII was the first war to be fought on speed. “Blitzkrieg” was partly a matter of tactics and partly a matter of the drug of choice: Pervitin. In 1939, the French were at a loss to explain how the Germans could keep moving and fighting for days at a time without stopping to rest. They thought that it was a mental condition, and they had a great French name for it: phenomene d’hallucination collective. That is also how the German Landsers went into Poland and the USSR, and they used the stuff throughout the war.

Hitler was abusing speed as well, and the effect on him can easily be seen in photographs taken over the years. He was getting “vitamin” shots from his personal doctor. Speed and cocaine were prominent ingredients. (The cocaine came later on, and Hitler quickly became a big fan.) Speed leaves you a wreck, a physical and nervous wreck. After a matter of time, the results become obvious and only the most desperate abusers will continue the behavior.

The effects are so inevitable, and so terrible, that it is a marvel to me that our current epidemic of crystal meth abuse has been going on for so long. It can only be that there are deep psychological needs that are being met by blasts of Crank. People are very afraid, and they have lost their confidence and their security. They grasp at meth even though they must be aware on some level that it is massively self-destructive and only a temporary patch at best.

I’m afraid that we’ll need to get used to it, because everything is only getting worse these days, and that trend is bound to continue with the current bunch in charge. It’s a shame, too. America has never been a perfect place, but it was a pretty good place there for a while. (Especially if you were a white American.)

I’ll take credit for the editorializing in the last two paragraphs, but the rest of this piece relies on an article by Antony Beevor called, “The Very Drugged Nazis,” which appeared in the New York Review of Books on March 9, 2017. The article was a review of a book on the subject by Norman Ohler. 

Friday, April 7, 2017

Hank Ballard & The Midnighters - "The Twist" ORIGINAL VERSION (1959)

I saw something on Facebook about how maybe it's Chubby Checker's birthday or something. So here I am to make a small gesture at correcting one of history's great injustices.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Spin Easy Time!: Restaurant Review: La Gaettana (Phuket Town, Phuk...

Here's a blast from the past. I don't bother you with food photos, or wild bragging about the food that I enjoy. But this place was not only great, it was also . . . interesting.

Spin Easy Time!: Restaurant Review: La Gaettana (Phuket Town, Phuk...: 352 Phuket Road, Tel: 076-250-523 This is a hard place to find. It’s in a very narrow shop-house, fifteen feet across at the most, and th...

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars (Corcovado) - Oscar Peterson Trio

Return with me now to Corcovado, an instrumental version by the one and only Oscar Peterson.

There are a few versions of this by Oscar on YouTube. I just listened to a Bossa Nova LP of his that included this song in a much longer version. Very rewarding. In one of the comments, the writer described a scene from his childhood:

Boy: Wow, I'd love to learn to play the piano like Elton John!

Dad: Son, not to talk bad about Elton John, but Oscar Peterson plays the piano; Elton John plays chords.

I don't like to disparage anyone, but I think dad had a good point there.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Brian Eno - Third Uncle

From Taking Tiger Mountain (by Strategy). The whole LP is great. Go for it! Drop some (redacted) and make an afternoon out of it.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Albert King - I Walked All Night Long

Very early Albert King, and Lord a'mighty, this whole LP cooks. Great songs, great band, and Albert sounds great, too. His vocals may have strengthened after this period, but his guitar playing is full on right up on here.

The Course Of Human Events

History, in the creation, does not go according to some master plan. This is true in general and in particular, because it is also true that the master plans proposed from time to time by individuals or governments never proceed as intended. History is better seen as countless precipitating events that send everything crashing into each other, which in turn set off countless unpredictable chain reactions.

In other words, human history is chaotic. Evidently there's a Yiddish proverb that goes: we plan; God laughs. (Paraphrased by Woody Allen: if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.) You don't have to be a Rebbe to know that that's true. 

This is never truer than in the case of war. The Iraq War in 2003 was a minor example. The original plan seemed simple to its designers, but it all went terribly wrong very quickly. The resulting chaos is still spinning through Iraq and several other countries in the area, and American military personnel are still being killed.

Many times the resulting chaos utterly destroys the initiating countries. In the matter of Germany and Japan in World War II, the master plan was to seize vast swathes of land from numerous countries by military force, achieving huge empires and world hegemony. The chaos left both countries kneeling in the rubble and choking on their own blood and the dust that had recently been their infrastructures. That was chaos at its finest.

Governing human events, the business of politics and statecraft, is an overwhelming challenge. Everything is usually out of control. Governments ride the wave while times are good. When times are bad they try different strategies to fix things, and then when events move into the good part of the cycle, usually on their own, the governments take the credit.

The men, almost always men, who are in positions where they can initiate great events are a mixed group. The list includes many men of measured temperament and great ability, from Emperor Augustus of Rome to President Obama in the United States, and many men wild or reckless in nature like the Emperors Caligula and Nero to President George W. Bush. The former can create progress and order while holding together disparate elements and without setting off on the path to chaos. The latter blindly sow the wind of inadequately considered plans and personal fantasies, later reaping the whirlwind of insecurity and economic ruin.

Aside from the individuals who display true mental aberrations, one major problem is that most of the politicians, in any era, are not students of history. Frequently, many of them are also intemperate men who lack the gene for caution. From time to time truly maniacal narcissists become the rulers of major countries. These men may lack not only the basic knowledge required to make plans that will affect the future of their countries, but also lack the ability to evaluate plans presented to them by others. They are like an inexperienced doctor who has little idea what his patient is suffering from or what the patient needs. Let’s try this! Didn’t work? Okay, let’s try this! And so on. In extreme cases these men may even have their own agendas and set in motion wild schemes to achieve personal goals, wealth or historical celebrity. Things can get ugly very quickly. I might be thinking of someone in particular. 

Perhaps the greatest generator of chaos, along with war, has always been revolution. No nation or culture on earth is safe when its very structure is seized, from without or within, by a group whose only wish is to destroy the existing structure and replace it with . . . something else. Here the nature of unintended results leading to chaos is the most stark. Well intended revolutions have taken entire continents into misery and destruction. I’m thinking of the French Revolution. God knows they had a good reason to wish to restructure their governing situation. The most immediate results, though, were terror and the Napoleonic Wars.

So, Fred, is there a conclusion here? Why yes, dear reader, there is. The current ruling clique in Washington, and in about thirty-seven state capitols, is a revolutionary mob that has taken control of all of our democratic institutions with the stated goal of tearing them down. Most of the good things that our politics have created over the last century are under immediate threat of destruction. I shouldn’t have to tell you what they are, and honestly, if there are any Americans that haven’t seen it yet, they have their heads thrust so far into the sand that no kind of common sense appeal could reach them. For those of you who know of which I speak, there is nothing to do but resist by whatever peaceful means are available. What can we do? Talk to people? Let our friends and family know how we feel about all of this? Get involved in planning for the mid-term elections? At the very least, don’t let weird anti-American comments go unchallenged, not at work, not in your neighborhood, not on Facebook. This whole thing is about to get out of hand. It’s close to spiraling down the drain out of control already. It’s past time to start trying to do something.  

Note to the Surveillance State: I’m sorry that most of my e-mails, Android chats and blog-posts are so dull. My browser history has not been scrubbed. It actually is that uninteresting. I do get carried away sometimes, but please believe me when I say that I have never counseled any actions that are violent or illegal. I am not a danger to myself or others, and I remain a loyal American citizen. I have never, to my knowledge, known or even spoken to anyone who wished to harm the interests of the United States or individual Americans.  In fact, the mere possibility of unintentional contact is remote in the extreme. So please don’t charge me under some new anti-dissent statute. If you want to stifle me, just let me know! I’ll stifle!