Greta Thunberg — Simply Amazing

I have written before about the young Swedish climate activist, Greta Thunberg, and in fact she was one of my ‘good people’ one Wednesday last December.  Sometimes an activist will start like gangbusters, and then after a few months you hear nothing more about them, but not so Ms. Thunberg.  I see her name in the news at least once a week, and she has been inspirational to many young climate-conscious groups around the world.

Today, she is back in the news, and in a big way! A couple of big ways, actually.

Greta-Thunberg

Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg and The 1975’s Matty Healy pose for a photo. (Photo: Jordan Hughes)

The first is that she is featured on the first track of the forthcoming album of British pop-rock band The 1975.  In the track, Greta delivers a speech about the global climate emergency, against an instrumental background by the band.  Now, I have never heard of The 1975, but I give them two thumbs up for this effort, as well as the fact that all proceeds from the track will be going to the climate action group Extinction Rebellion.

The full text of Greta’s speech on the track is at the end of this post.

In an interview with The Guardian, Greta said …

“I’m grateful to get the opportunity to get my message out to a broad new audience in a new way. I think it’s great that The 1975 is so strongly engaged in the climate crisis. We quickly need to get people in all branches of society to get involved. And this collaboration I think is something new.”


The second thing is that Greta has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize this year.  She was nominated by Freddy Andre Oevstegaard, a parliamentary representative in Norway …

“We have nominated Greta because the climate threat may be one of the most important causes of war and conflict.”

greta-2.pngThe Norwegian Nobel Committee will announce its latest laureates in October, and those selected will receive their prizes in December.  I do so want to see her win it!


And the third thing that has put Greta in the news this week is that she will be coming to the U.S. next month to attend a United Nations summit meeting on global warming in New York!  Now, you may remember from my previous post about Greta that she does not fly on airplanes because of the CO2 emissions, so you may be wondering how she plans to get here.

“Good news! I’ll be joining the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York. I’ve been offered a ride on the 60ft racing boat Malizia II.”

Malizia-2

Malizia II

Malizia II, is outfitted with solar panels and underwater turbines to generate electricity. That should make the entire trip possible without burning any fossil fuels.

Boris Herrmann, who will skipper the boat, said the voyage would not be the luxury cruise that a high-tech yacht might conjure in the popular imagination. The Malizia II is built for speed, not comfort. It has no kitchen, refrigeration system, air-conditioning or showers.

Think about this one for a minute, folks.  This young woman is so committed to saving our planet that she is willing to spend two weeks on a small boat, eating mostly freeze-dried and vacuum-packed meals, in order to do her part to save the environment.  Greta is sixteen years old … most kids her age are attached at the hip to their cell phones, ipods, laptops, and wouldn’t dream of missing a shower or a hot meal, let alone spend two weeks in a small boat on choppy seas!

Greta will be accompanied on the trip by a filmmaker; her father, Svante; and Pierre Casiraghi, the head of the Malizia II racing team who is also the grandson of Prince Rainier III of Monaco and the American actress Grace Kelly.

Greta is, with her parents’ approval, taking the year off from school to campaign against climate change, also plans to attend the annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change talks in December in Santiago, Chile.

I was impressed by this young woman when I first wrote about her eight months ago, but today … the only word I have is “WOW!!!”  She puts us all to shame, and particularly those who would “deny” climate science in order to justify their own greed.


I would like to end with a quote that was sent to me tonight by a very special friend:

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” – Helen Keller

Ms. Thunberg is doing something that she can do … let’s all try to do just one thing more that we can do to help heal and protect our home, planet Earth.


Full text of Greta’s speech on The 1975 track:

We are right now in the beginning of a climate and ecological crisis.

And we need to call it what it is. An emergency.

We must acknowledge that we do not have the situation under control and that we don’t have all the solutions yet. Unless those solutions mean that we simply stop doing certain things.

We admit that we are losing this battle.

We have to acknowledge that the older generations have failed. All political movements in their present form have failed.

But homo sapiens have not yet failed.

Yes, we are failing, but there is still time to turn everything around. We can still fix this. We still have everything in our own hands.

But unless we recognise the overall failures of our current systems, we most probably don’t stand a chance.

We are facing a disaster of unspoken sufferings for enormous amounts of people. And now is not the time for speaking politely or focusing on what we can or cannot say. Now is the time to speak clearly.

Solving the climate crisis is the greatest and most complex challenge that homo sapiens have ever faced. The main solution, however, is so simple that even a small child can understand it. We have to stop our emissions of greenhouse gases.

And either we do that, or we don’t.

You say that nothing in life is black or white.

But that is a lie. A very dangerous lie.

Either we prevent a 1.5 degree of warming, or we don’t.

Either we avoid setting off that irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, or we don’t.

Either we choose to go on as a civilization or we don’t.

That is as black or white as it gets.

Because there are no grey areas when it comes to survival.

Now we all have a choice.

We can create transformational action that will safeguard the living conditions for future generations.

Or we can continue with our business as usual and fail.

That is up to you and me.

And yes, we need a system change rather than individual change. But you cannot have one without the other.

If you look through history, all the big changes in society have been started by people at the grassroots level. People like you and me.

So, I ask you to please wake up and make the changes required possible. To do your best is no longer good enough. We must all do the seemingly impossible.

Today, we use about 100 million barrels of oil every single day. There are no politics to change that. There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground.

So, we can no longer save the world by playing by the rules. Because the rules have to be changed.

Everything needs to change. And it has to start today.

So, everyone out there, it is now time for civil disobedience. It is time to rebel.

paragraph divider 2

Just Two Snippets Of Snark Today …

Trump seems to be occupying a heck of a lot of space on my radar screen these days, pushing out most everyone else.  I hoped to write about something else today, but fools, idiots and Trump were all I could see on my radar.  So …


Another temper tantrum …

Trump is threatening to change the venue for the Republican National Convention in August.  Initially planned for an Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, Trump’s complaint now is that North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper cannot promise that a packed arena will be allowed under the state’s rules to protect people from the spread of the coronavirus.

“I love the Great State of North Carolina, so much so that I insisted on having the Republican National Convention in Charlotte at the end of August. Unfortunately, Democrat Governor, @RoyCooperNC is still in Shutdown mood & unable to guarantee that by August we will be allowed full attendance in the arena.  In other words, we would be spending millions of dollars building the Arena to a very high standard without even knowing if the Democrat Governor would allow the Republican Party to fully occupy the space. Plans are being made by many thousands of enthusiastic Republicans, and others, to head to beautiful North Carolina in August. They must be immediately given an answer by the Governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied. If not, we will be reluctantly forced to find, with all of the jobs and economic development it brings, another Republican National Convention site. This is not something I want to do. Thank you, and I LOVE the people of North Carolina!”

Now, I fully understand Governor Cooper’s reticence to commit to allowing thousands of people into the arena to mingle and share their germs.  However, think about it.  If the republicans who would attend are so ignorant that they would risk not only their own lives, but also those of their families … let them. Trump’s alternative venue is Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis is one of the first to throw the doors to the state wide open and throw caution to the winds.  DeSantis, like Trump, has no concern for the lives of people, but only the financial well-being of the wealthy, the tourism dollars that would be put into the state’s coffers.

The only thing that puzzles me is why Trump even cares if there is a convention, for all those who would oppose him have been shoved out of the race by the GOP, so the outcome is a given.  Why bother, why spend all that money and put so many people at risk, when the conclusion is already signed, sealed, delivered?


Lost meaning?

Memorial Day in the United States, celebrated on the last Monday in May, is intended to be a day set aside to remember and honour those who died in service to the nation, those who defended not only this nation, but allied nations as well.  Instead, it has become largely just another day to grill out, drink beer, and socialize.  While you might expect this year to be different, with protections in place to try to protect people from the coronavirus, people don’t have too many brains these days.

People flocked to beaches and other public venues, acting as if their pleasure was the most important thing on earth, and not giving a damn about the lives of others.  Surprised?  I wasn’t surprised, but I am disappointed.  But then, what’s new … I’ve been disappointed in the human race most of my adult life now.

When you have a fool at the helm of the ship, though, the rest will follow.  Trump, in the spirit of patriotism, took the opportunity to mock former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams’ weight, ridicule the looks of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and call former Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton a “skank.”  What a way to honour dead soldiers, eh?  But then … being a draft-dodger, he’s already proven to us that he has no respect for the military. What a stalwart example he sets for the masses, eh?  No wonder the U.S. is so hate-filled … it filters down from the top.

Oh, and you know how demanding Trump was that the churches all re-open this weekend?  Well, that was a ploy to please his evangelical base, for Trump himself was out on the golf course again on Sunday morning. Not that I mind … I’m hoping that with all his layers of … er … blubber, the exertion will be too much for him someday, else he’ll get swallowed by a sand trap.


I came across these two cartoons yesterday while on my search for Jolly Monday ‘toons, and thought that, while not appropriate for the non-political Jolly Monday, they would be perfect for a snarky snippets post.

dim-reaperTitanic

♫ Ebony and Ivory ♫

I am in a mood to end all moods tonight.  Not having slept much for the past three nights, and then being slapped in the face with the horrors that are happening all over this nation that I’m forced to remain in, I really want to bash some heads in.  I even yelled at the kitties!  In this mood, there are only a few songs that will soothe the savage beast within me, and this is my top pick.

piano-keysPaul McCartney wrote this song, saying that the message was “that people of all types could live together.”  He liked the piano analogy, since you can play using just the white keys or just the black keys, but to make great music, you have to combine them.  So true.

McCartney started recording this as a solo effort, but then got the idea to do it as a duet with Stevie Wonder. A demo made its way to Wonder, and he agreed to record it, standing wholeheartedly behind the message in the song. It was issued as a single and appeared on McCartney’s 1982 album Tug Of War.

This was Stevie Wonder’s first #1 single in the UK. His only other was I Just Called To Say I Love You in 1984.

Listen to the words, feel the camaraderie between these two men, feel the love … share the love, spread the love.  Love knows no colour boundaries, and neither should we.

Ebony & Ivory
Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder

Ebony and ivory
Live together in perfect harmony
Side by side on my piano keyboard
Oh Lord, why don’t we?

We all know
That people are the same wherever you go
There is good and bad in everyone
When we learn to live, we learn to give each other
What we need to survive
Together alive

Ebony and ivory
Live together in perfect harmony
Side by side on my piano keyboard
Oh Lord, why don’t we?

We all know
That people are the same wherever you go
There is good and bad, mmm, in everyone
We learn to live when we learn to give each other
What we need to survive
Together alive

Ebony and ivory
Live together in perfect harmony
Side by side on my piano keyboard
Oh Lord, why don’t we?

Side by side on my piano keyboard
Oh Lord, why don’t we?

Songwriters: Mccartney Paul James
Ebony & Ivory lyrics © MPL COMMUNICATIONS INC

Jolly Is-It-Monday-Already?

Monday-sleepy-2Huh?  Jolly, why are all our friends here this morning … it’s only … it’s only … what day is it, anyway?  Huh?  Monday???  Are you sure?  Sigh.  Uh … hi folks!  I’m sorry … I haven’t been sleeping well the last few nights and I guess it’s catching up with me.  Just give me a second to put on some clothes and we’ll see what we can find to start the week off with a smile or a chuckle.  Meanwhile … Jolly, would you put a few snacks out for our friends, and make a fresh pot of coffee?  Oh … and don’t forget rawgod’s tea!!!

Food-Seeping-Tea


I almost missed it … would have missed it if not for my dear friend Ellen who, knowing and sharing my preference for a nice glass of wine 🍷 in the evening, emailed yesterday to tell me that today is National Wine Day!  Now, I could bore you with the fermentation process and all that, but I found what Ellen told me to be much more interesting!

In 1867 archaeologists in Germany discovered the oldest bottle of wine in existence whilst excavating two Roman stone sarcophagi. The bottle dates back to 325 AD and has since been displayed at a History Museum in Germany.  They say wine improves with age, but frankly … that wine has been in that bottle for 1,625 years … I’m just not sure I’m brave enough to try it.  I think I’ll stick with my cheap cream sherry.  This one’s for you, Ellen  🥂.


It’s hard to keep kids entertained in these days when schools are closed, most parks and other recreation venues are closed, and it’s been over two months now.  So, 6-year-old Knox Brewer’s parents showed him a YouTube video about magnet fishing to stir his enthusiasm for a new hobby.

According to Wikipedia, magnet fishing …

“… is searching in outdoor waters for ferromagnetic objects available to pull with a strong neodymium magnet. The hobby has been adopted by celebrities such as English rugby player James Haskell. The hobby is a combination of environmentalism and treasure hunting.”

According to Ms. Brewer …

“We got it to help pass the time during the virus. He’s learned about which rocks are magnetic and which aren’t.”

Magnetic rocks?  Who knew?

Imagine young Knox’ surprise, however, when he dipped his magnet-laden line into the water on Whitney Lake in South Carolina and pulled up something so heavy he needed help.  No tin cans or lost coins or even magnetic rocks weighed this much!  With the help of a nearby good Samaritan, Knox was able to pull up his treasure … literally a treasure … a metal safe!knox-brewerThe safe contained items including jewelry, a notebook and a checkbook. The Brewers contacted police and soon discovered the safe had been stolen from a neighbor’s home eight years earlier.  Some items still remained in the safe … perhaps the thieves were in too big a hurry to clean it all out.

As for Knox … he’s ready to throw his line back into the water and see what comes up next!


Sports teams have apparently been putting cardboard cutouts, mannequins and other things in the stands to make it at least appear that there is an audience at their games, even if that audience is notably still and unenthusiastic.

FC Seoul, a South Korean soccer team, used mannequins to fill the seats during a recent game, but they had a bit of proverbial egg on their faces when fans called in to point out that the faux-fans in the stands appeared to be sex dolls.  Some observers said the banners held by the dummies appeared to reference adult websites. Oopsie.sex-dollsThe team said there was apparently a “misunderstanding” with the supplier, who the post said had assured officials the dolls were not intended for “sexual use.” FC Seoul said the dolls were intended to compensate for the lack of fans in the stands amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our intention was to do something light-hearted in these difficult times. We will think hard about what we need to do to ensure that something like this never happens again.”


And on that note, how ‘bout a few fun ‘toons ‘n memes?

toon-1toon-2toon-3toon-4toon-5toon-6toon-7toon-8toon-9

meme-1meme-2meme-3meme-4meme-5meme-6


And last but not least, a cute animal video to warm your heart!


I hope you found something to give you a little smile here, and that you’ll share those smiles with anyone you happen to see this week.  I find that my once-a-week trip to the grocery is always a little less stressful if someone gives me a smile in passing.  Keep safe and have a good week, my friends.  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa, Jolly and Joyful!

This one’s for you, Hugh Curtler!

A Bit Of Lighter Fare …

Of late, nothing Trump says makes any sense.  Oh wait … he never did make any sense!  But he seems to go off on tangents that are signs that his mind is deteriorating before our very eyes.  In an effort to be fair, I must admit that it is surely difficult to be in a position of so much responsibility, so many important decisions to be made, when you really haven’t the knowledge, education, or intelligence to make any of those decisions wisely.  One of his stupidest statements in the past week or two was this …

“We’re going after Virginia with your crazy governor. … They want to take your Second Amendment away. You know that right? You’ll have nobody guarding your potatoes.”

Who knew that potatoes ranked right up there with the gold at Fort Knox as being under threat and needing constant guarding … with guns!  I need a break from the dark posts that are my norm, and I suspect perhaps you do too … just a little break.  Alexandra Petri, a columnist for The Washington Post, had a bit of fun with that one.  Take a look …


I am a simple potato guardian who needs my Second Amendment rights

Alexandra-PetriBy 

Alexandra Petri 

Columnist

May 20, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. EDT

“We’re going after Virginia with your crazy governor. … They want to take your Second Amendment away. You know that right? You’ll have nobody guarding your potatoes.”

— President Trump, to farmers assembled at the White House

I am a potato guardian. This is the only life I have known. Here is my tale, one no doubt familiar to you, just as the concept of a person who guards potatoes in Virginia is familiar.

Day 1

It is a cold February day, and the new crop of potatoes is just in the ground, an average of six weeks before the last frost. I am in Virginia, the well-known home of potato farming. To guard the potato is a sacred duty, which I have studied since my days at Au Groton, a boarding school for people who aspire one day to protect potatoes. I have my weapon, and I have my training. I settle at the edge of the field with my carbine on my knees and prepare for a long spring.

Day 2

It rained today. I kept my eyes on the potatoes, just as I knew that they would be keeping their eyes on me.

I walked the perimeter of the field. This will be a good crop, if I can only keep it safe for the 75 to 135 days that potatoes require. I must keep it safe.

Day 3

As I walked today, I saw something move just at the corner of the field. But by the time I got there, it was too late. There was a footprint in the soft, slightly acidic soil. A boot, not mine. I think the potato raiders will be here soon. I think they are making their preparations. I must make mine.

Day 4

No sign of the raiders today. At midday, the farmer’s daughter brought me a glass of milk. “You looked thirsty out there,” she told me. I took it from her hands and thanked her. “And you have been sent to guard the potatoes?” she asked. I shrugged. I am a potato guardian of few words. I let my eyes speak for me. “What an interesting life,” she said. “Do you get lonely?” I told her I did not.

But the question has stayed with me. Lonely? Do I get lonely? No. I have the potatoes. And I have my Second Amendment rights. I do not need anything else.

Day 5

The farmer’s daughter brought me another glass of milk and watched me as I sipped it. I think it is too late to tell her that milk is not a good drink when you are hot in the middle of the day. I think we have gotten into a pattern now, which I regret. She is nice. She has kind eyes, like I imagine a potato would have, though she only has two, which is low for a potato.

After drinking the milk, I dozed a little, and when I awoke there were more footprints at the edge of the field. I must be more vigilant. If I do not protect the potatoes, who will?

Day 6

I planted a trap at the corner of the field where the footprints keep appearing. It was hot and tiring work, and the farmer’s daughter brought me another glass of milk. “I guess all you have is milk,” I said, in what I hoped was a pointed way, but she did not seem to understand what I was getting at. “Yes,” she said. “We have lots of milk, thank heaven.”

“Good,” I said, but I did not really think it was good.

Day 7

Last night there was a frost. I am glad the potatoes are sleeping sound and warm below a blanket of two inches of soil. I went to check the trap at the edge of the field. There was something in it, a boot. The boot was bigger than mine, but not by much. I followed the tracks as far as they went, to the edge of the woods. I should mention that there are woods here in Virginia, where I guard potatoes. That must be where the potato raiders come from.

“Did you catch him?” the farmer’s daughter asked, at midday.

“No,” I said. “But be on the lookout for someone with a very muddy sock.” I took a sip of the milk she had brought.

I bet the raider comes back tonight. You can’t get far with one boot. Not here in the potato fields of Virginia. I reset the trap and put the boot next to it. As bait.

Day 8

No movement at the trap. But there are footprints at the edge of the field. New ones, with sneaker treads. This potato raider must own multiple sets of footwear, which complicates matters a little.

I got a call from an old friend from potato guardian training. He washed out; people were always taking potatoes from under his nose, and he was a laughingstock among us. Now he works in finance. He asked if I had heard the news about the governor and what he was planning to do. I said I hadn’t, so he told me. I can’t believe the governor would come for our Second Amendment rights. No potato will be safe then. It’s monstrous.

The farmer’s daughter brought me my milk right after this conversation, but I told her in a forbidding tone that I was not thirsty.

Day 9

A small success! I spent an uneasy night after the news about the governor, tossing and turning at the edge of the field of my precious charges. Toward dawn, I saw a shadowy figure prowling at the edge of the field. I got up, and he did not see me creep toward him. I leaped at him and caught him by the leg. As we tussled, several potatoes fell out of his jacket. Jacket potatoes. He wriggled his foot free of his boot and ran away. Now I have two boots. I do not know what his footwear situation is; it seems complicated.

I was very glad to have my Second Amendment rights, although, come to think of it, I did not use my carbine at all in this encounter.

Then I woke up. I am bewildered. Was it all a dream, or did I catch a potato raider, however briefly? I went to look for the boot, but there was nothing there.

Day 10

I am still unsure what is reality and what is dream. The potatoes will slumber another two months, but I cannot rest. The farmer’s daughter did not bring me any milk today. Instead her father came out to my corner of the field and said that I had to get off his property and that there was no such thing as a potato guardian.

“Don’t be like that, Cyrus!” I said. “The president knows about me. I am for sure a real thing that exists.”

He said his name wasn’t Cyrus and I had to get away from there. I packed up my things and slung my carbine over my shoulder. I said goodbye to the potatoes and set off.

Day 11

When I was almost to the Maryland border, I received a call from Cyrus. During the night, someone took all the potatoes. Cyrus was sobbing so hard I could scarcely make out his words.

“I should not have doubted you,” he said. “You are real, and the need for you is real, and the need for protecting your Second Amendment rights is the realest of all.” I could tell that all the starch had gone out of him. “I will be sure to write to my governor at once! Please, come back, and guard the new crop.”

“I would like that, Cyrus,” I said. “But I go where the potato calls.” And I continued over the border toward another state, with a new motto. Live Frite or Die. The spuds needed me, and I could not look back.

♫ Feels So Good ♫

I rarely play instrumentals here, for they don’t seem to please the way that vocals do, but I’ve found myself whistling this one off and on all day, and it’s such an upbeat, cheery tune that I decided to offer it today in hopes that it might get your feet tapping and bring a little rhythm into your heart.

You might not know the title of this song, but you’ll recognize it when you hear it. In America, Feels So Good is one of the most popular instrumental songs of all time, and certainly the biggest flugelhorn hit.

Chuck Mangione first recorded with his brother Gap in a band called The Jazz Brothers, which formed in 1960.  After signing with Mercury Records as a solo artist, he grew a following in jazz circles and scored a surprise mainstream hit with Feels So Good, which reached #4 in June 1978 and also hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart. These were the last days of disco, and his smooth jazz number provided welcome relief from the typical dance music that had saturated the airwaves. It sold over two million copies.

On the Feels So Good album, this track runs 9:42. Mangione recorded it along with five more instrumentals for the album, none of which seemed to have hit potential. An executive at his label suggested cutting down the title track to make it more radio-friendly, so a 3:28 edit was made and released as a single, which became the hit.  The radio edit retained the two key elements in the song: Mangione’s flugelhorn, and the guitar solo by Grant Geissman. Other performers on the track were Charles Meeks on bass, Chris Vadala on saxophone and James Bradley, Jr. on drums.

I offer both versions … I’m partial to the long version, but in case you don’t have nearly ten minutes to spend listening, I include the short version as well.  No lyrics, for obvious reasons!

Short Version …

Long Version …

Keep The Bloomin’ Churches Closed!

Libraries aren’t open, schools aren’t open, and for good reason.  We are still in the midst of a raging pandemic that is taking more than one thousand lives each day, there is more that is not known about the ways in which the coronavirus is transmitted than is known, there has been no slowdown of new cases, there is no cure as yet … so why should we rush to re-open non-essential services?  However, in light of the fact that polls show Trump is losing favourability among religious groups, he has decided to appease them by demanding that all churches open immediately … today!

Now, a wise man might have looked inward to determine just why his support is waning and try to make some adjustments in his actions, but nobody ever accused Trump of being a wise man, and his ego is such that he can never admit anything might actually be his own fault.  So, his statement on the churches opening was …

“Today I am identifying houses of worship — churches, synagogue and mosques — as essential places that provide essential services. Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but have left out churches and other houses of worship. It’s not right.  I call upon governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open right now. If there’s any question, they’re going to have to call me, but they’re not going to be successful in that call. The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important, essential places of faith to open right now. For this weekend. If they do not do it, I will override the governors.”

Well good luck with that, Donnie.  You cannot force the governors to call for opening the churches, and you cannot force the churches to open, nor can you force people to attend.  The sensible in this nation are not yet ready to get back to “business as usual”, and I think that while some evangelical churches may be packed to the rafters, most more moderate churches will either remain closed or have a small turnout.  Either way … churches are not essential.  If churches are essential, then so are libraries and book stores, music stores and shoe stores.

According to the latest polls, Trump has lost 11% favourability among white evangelicals, 12% among white Catholics, and 18% among white protestants. Let’s be brave and ask the question Trump refuses to ask:  Why?  Could it be because these people have lost loved ones due to Trump’s mishandling and bungling response to the initial cases of the coronavirus?  Could it be that these families have suffered losses of loved ones, as well as financial losses that could have been avoided if we had a president in charge?  Could it be that perhaps they have finally tired of hearing Trump point fingers, lay blame, and concoct crazy conspiracy theories when they are looking to him for leadership, and finding none?

So, Trump thinks to throw the religious factions a bone by loudly “demanding” that all churches open immediately.  It would be laughable, if it didn’t pose such a danger to so many.  And then, there’s his hired mouthpiece, Kayleigh McEnany, by any definition a piece of work.  Low on IQ, but high on the things Trump values, such as an anorexic physique, an empty head, and blind loyalty.  It wasn’t bad enough that Trump is so stupid he ‘demanded’ that all churches open this weekend, declaring them “essential”.  But then, McEnany comes along and accuses the media of having some ‘hidden agenda’ in ‘desperately wanting’ churches to remain closed.

“The president will strongly encourage every governor to allow their churches to reopen, and boy, it is interesting to be in a room that desperately wants to seem to see these churches and houses of worship stay closed.”

McEnany-4No mystery there, Ms. McEnany … those of us who want to see churches remain closed do so because we want to see people remain alive.  No hidden agenda, no attempt to steal people’s right to freedom of religion … just a desire to protect them from themselves.  Churches are a perfect breeding ground for germs to spread like wildfire.  People sitting practically atop one another, singing, clasping hands, giving hugs.  For example, one person in California who, not knowing he had the virus, attended a Mother’s Day church service and exposed 180 other people in that short one-hour service.

I must admit that my jaw dropped to the floor when I read that, coming under fire for her support of Trump in this issue, McEnany said …

“I know the person I am. I know what I stand for. And I stand as a Christian woman, someone who believes in equality and truth and loyalty and honesty. It’s the values I’ve lived by my whole life. It’s the values I’ll continue to live by.”

Seriously???  She’s working for the wrong person if that were the truth, but in my book, she is a bit confused about what constitutes “truth and honesty”.

We are living through a pandemic, a disaster on a large scale where some people don’t even have food to eat, some people are losing their homes for they cannot pay their mortgage, and some people are near suicidal because they are old and no longer recognize the world as the one they once knew.  By the end of this holiday weekend, the total deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus will number over 100,000.  Think about that one … it’s not just a statistic, not just a number … those were real people, mothers, fathers, children, grandparents, spouses … they died alone, and now their families are left with an empty place at the dinner table and an empty hole in their hearts.  We are living in a country where the number of human lives lost each day to the coronavirus number over a thousand.  Every day!  Yet, Donald Trump and Kayleigh McEnany are so worried about Trump’s polls that they are willing to double or even triple the number of people who have died.

There Is NO Smoking Gun …

It seems there’s a new conspiracy theory making the rounds, and while I typically try to ignore them, this one seems to have a few of my own readers despairing over Joe Biden’s chances to beat the face of evil in November, so I felt I must address it.

Earlier this week, Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Derkach released edited fragments of recordings of phone conversations between Joe Biden and then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that took place in 2015.  In the calls, Biden can be heard saying that the United States will withhold $1 billion in promised aid until Ukraine replaces its then-Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. True enough, and Biden himself revealed that conversation during a talk at the Council on Foreign Relations in January 2018.  The rumour, however, is that the threat to withhold aid was somehow tied to Burisma Holdings, where Biden’s son Hunter was employed.  Not true.  In the calls, Burisma is never once even mentioned, nor is Hunter Biden.  The aid was being held contingent on the replacement of the Prosecutor General because at the time, both the U.S. and Western European governments were trying to push the Ukraine to combat malfeasance (including the firing of corrupt officials).  At the time Biden and Poroshenko spoke, Ukrainian activists were taking to the streets to accuse the prosecutor general of neglecting his duty to prosecute corrupt officials and business figures.  Once again, these conversations had nothing to do with Hunter Biden or Burisma.  Nothing.

Now, it should be noted that Andriy Derkach is the son of a Soviet-era KGB officer, is a graduate of the KGB academy in Moscow and has ties to the Russian intelligence services.  I would remind you that our own intelligence services have warned that they have evidence that Russia is meddling in our November election and has been since at least sometime last year.  Evidence.  Facts.  Is this yet another attempt on the part of Putin and his band of thugs to keep Trump, his puppet, in office?  I believe so, especially in light of the fact that Russian state-controlled media outlet RT has actively promoted the rumour.

The rumours of wrongdoing on the part of Hunter and/or Joe Biden have been thoroughly investigated and no evidence of any wrongdoing was found.  PUT IT TO BED, people!  There is no smoking gun.  The only conspiracy here is that of Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump who, fully realizing that Trump stands little or no chance at winning the November election honestly, have set out to defraud the American people, to convince them that they are seeing shadows where there are none, and to steal the election from a man who might restore the democratic principles that have been shredded over the past three-and-a-half years.

Joe Biden may not be the most exciting candidate you’ve ever seen, but he is a solid candidate with no skeletons that I’m aware of in his closet.  He’s not a showman, like Trump is.  He doesn’t screech and yell, doesn’t demand denigrating chants from his audience, doesn’t threaten his naysayers, doesn’t contort his face to look like the phantom of the opera.  He is soft-spoken, yet intelligent and if you take the time to listen to him … really listen with an open mind … you will find he has good ideas, moderate ideas that may actually lead to compromise between Democrats and Republicans.  But, if voters sit on their fannies in November, saying that it doesn’t matter, then we’ll never know what Joe Biden might have accomplished for the people of this nation.

Now let me tell you what I think will happen if Trump is awarded another four-year term.  Some will say that if we can vote a Democratic majority into both the House and the Senate, he will be unable to continue on his present path of destruction, for just as the Republicans rendered Obama largely a lame duck for the last term of his presidency, the democrats would do the same for Trump.  But no, there’s a difference, a monumental difference … two of them, actually.  First, President Obama played (mostly) by the rules and though no doubt he was often highly frustrated at his ability to accomplish certain things, he respected the U.S. Constitution.  Donald Trump does not.  Second, during President Obama’s tenure in office, the Supreme Court leaned toward the left, especially after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.  With the retirement of Justice Kennedy, and the appointments of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, the court, as we have seen in recent months, now leans largely toward … Trump.

I think that, emboldened by being handed a second term, though I fully expect him to lose the popular vote again, he will override Congress and impose his will via such machinations as executive orders, declaring a state of emergency, and along with his cadre of lawyers, taking anything he cannot accomplish otherwise, to the Supreme Court.  I believe he will further shred the principles laid forth in the Constitution and that by the next scheduled election in 2024, we will live under a full-fledged autocracy.

We are on a fast track to becoming a banana republic, some would say we already are.  The foundations of democracy that have held up well for 233 years are crumbling under the weight of Trump and his band of thugs.  He has fired Inspectors General who were tasked with keeping the administration honest.  He has filled his cabinet with people whose only qualification for the job is their oath of fealty to Donald Trump, not We the People.  Who will take a stand against him for the next four years?  I believe that chaos would reign, but that at the end of the day, he would be nearer a king than a president.

I cannot stress just how important it is that we remove Trump from office.  Already he has done damage to this nation, to our alliances, and to our reputation, some of which will take many decades to repair, and some of which will forevermore be a dark cloud over this nation and its people.  Please, my friends, do not let the rumours spread by Republican groups and Russian trolls cause you to lose your faith in Joe Biden.  This is just what Trump and the Republican Party are hoping … that we will become discouraged and let our guard down.  Joe Biden will be a solid leader, he will abide by the U.S. Constitution, and he will make a start at restoring the principles set forth in 1787 by the likes of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison and the rest of the Founding Fathers.

♫ Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves ♫ (Redux)

I played this song one year ago yesterday, as a tribute to Cher on her then-73rd birthday, so it seemed a sound idea to play it again this year, though I’m a day late.  Oh wait, I was a day late last year, so I must be two days late this year!  Hmmmm … anybody see a pattern here?  Actually, it was quite by accident that I am playing it tonight.  I was going through my file of songs people have mentioned that they would like to hear, and I noticed that some time ago, Scottie had requested Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves.  That’s when I discovered I had played it last year, and why.  So, once again, I give you … Cher!


Now, my inclination was to play the Sonny & Cher song, I Got You Babe, or The Beat Goes On.  But, I had already played the first some time ago, and as I thought more about it … well, it was Cher’s birthday, not Sonny’s.  So, to honour Cher, I picked my favourite, Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves.

According to SongFacts …

This was Cher’s first #1 solo hit, and part of a big comeback. 1967 was the last time she had a hit either on her own or with Sonny & Cher. She released a financially disastrous movie in 1969 called Chastity, and that same year released an album that tanked. That year she and Sonny revived their nightclub act, which Cher credits with improving her vocal skills. In 1971 the couple got a deal for their own variety show, The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, and Cher got a record deal. The show launched in August and was a ratings success; “Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves” came out in September, and in early November, it became the #1 song in America for two weeks. The show stayed on the air until 1974, and Cher charted six more times in the ’70s before a career lull that set the stage for an even more remarkable comeback in the late ’80s.

This was written by a music producer named Bob Stone, who also wrote Dottie West’s 1981 country hit “Are You Happy Baby?” Cher’s producer was Snuff Garrett, who was known for hiring Phil Spector to work at Liberty Records. Garrett was looking for a song that would accentuate Cher’s husky voice and exotic image, and Stone delivered it. The song was originally titled “Gypsies and White Trash,” but Garrett had Stone revise it to make the title less offensive.

I like this song, more for the beat and the tune than for the lyrics.

Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves
Cher

I was born in the wagon of a travellin’ show
My mama used to dance for the money they’d throw
Papa would do whatever he could
Preach a little gospel, sell a couple bottles of doctor good

Gypsy’s, tramps, and thieves
We’d hear it from the people of the town
They’d call us gypsy’s, tramps, and thieves
But every night all the men would come around
And lay their money down

Picked up a boy just south of mobile
Gave him a ride, filled him with a hot meal
I was sixteen, he was twenty-one
Rode with us to Memphis
And papa woulda shot him if he knew what he’d done

Gypsy’s, tramps, and thieves
We’d hear it from the people of the town
They’d call us gypsy’s, tramps, and thieves
But every night all the men would come around
And lay their money down

I never had schoolin’ but he taught me well
With his smooth southern style
Three months later I’m a gal in trouble
And I haven’t seen him for a while, uh-huh
I haven’t seen him for a while, uh-huh

She was born in the wagon of a travellin’ show
Her mama had to dance for the money they’d throw
Grandpa’d do whatever he could
Preach a little gospel, sell a couple bottles of doctor good

Gypsy’s, tramps, and thieves
We’d hear it from the people of the town
They’d call us gypsy’s, tramps, and thieves
But every night all the men would come around
And lay their money down

Gypsy’s, tramps, and thieves
We’d hear it from the people of the town
They’d call us gypsy’s, tramps, and thieves
But every night all the men would come around
And lay their money down

Songwriters: Bob Stone
Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Saturday Surprise — Creativity!

I couldn’t decide on which of two things to do for today’s Saturday Surprise:  balloons or sand.  So, I decided to give you a taste of both!


Andoni Bastarrika discovered his talent ten years ago, in the summer of 2010 while at the beach with his two daughters.  He was playing around, trying to sculpt from sand a little mermaid for his girls, when he discovered he had a gift for sculpting with sand, a unique fluidity of his hands.  Says Bastarrika …

“They knew what they were doing. I devoted myself to developing this gift and have spent the last 10 years doing just that.  The sand fascinates me because no matter how you look at it, it will always teach you things if you are willing to learn. In order to create a sculpture, an unthinkable number of sand particles participate, hugging each other tightly through humidity, so that someone could model their union. And once the artist steps back, its piece will remain at the mercy of nature, meaning that sooner or later the wind will dry them up and release each particle, slowly consuming all the individuality and authenticity.”

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“The time it takes to create one piece largely depends on its size. The elephant, for example, took me 2 days, while the horse and the bison took 12 hours each. The dogs, which were smaller, needed about 6 to 8 hours.”

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“There are a lot of reasons why I like to make animal sculptures as well, but one is the fact that animals are free spirits. Humans can reflect and learn from them.”

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Now, those of you who say you’re bored these days, being confined to quarters with nothing much to do, here’s something for you to spend some time on … balloon art!  We’ve all been to a fair or street carnival where there’s a man blowing up narrow balloons and turning them into rather simplistic dogs, or other critters, but Japanese artist Masayoshi Matsumoto has taken balloon art to a whole new level.

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Like the sand artist Bastarrika, Mr. Matsumoto has been perfecting his craft for about ten years now.

“My creations are one hundred percent balloon-only. I don’t use any adhesive, marker pens, or anything else.”

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“A lot of my work revolves around nature because I’ve been fascinated with it since I was very young.”

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Matsumoto says his sculptures aren’t products of spontaneity; they’re the offspring of careful and deliberate planning. Once he’s done designing a particular piece, Matsumoto usually spends 2-5 hours blowing and twisting the balloons.

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Okay, folks, get some balloons and let’s see what you can do!  I’ll feature any and all pictures that you guys send me … c’mon … you can do it!


Okay, friends, time for you to get to those weekend chores … mowing the yard, and after all of last week’s rain, the gutters probably need cleaning!  Whatever you do this weekend, keep safe and find time to enjoy life.

Your Right To Vote — Going, Going …

I am fuming, so let the reader beware that this is likely to be a rant of Filosophic proportions.


Let’s get one thing straight here, people … WE ARE ALL IN THIS BLOODY MESS TOGETHER!  Democrats, Independents, Republicans, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, White, Black, Male, Female, Gay, Straight, Young, Old … WE ARE ALL SUFFERING THE SAME DAMN FATE!  What the Sam Hell is so hard about just stepping up to the plate, accepting that we have one hell of a mess on our hands, and working together to find the best way to keep people safe and at the same time, attempt to restore the democratic republic that has been seriously eroded over the past three months … er, years???

Whew … that said …

Why am I angry tonight?  Because, we have an election coming up in exactly 165 days, just over 5 months, and not only Trump, but the majority of the damn Republicans in Congress are doing every single thing they can think of to ensure that the election is dishonest, unfair, and that as many poor, elderly, and minority voters as possible will not be able to vote.  I’m sick of this, people!

Given that the coronavirus will almost certainly still be at pandemic levels, given that there will be no cure, no vaccine that is sufficiently tested to be widely available, and given that there is no reason to believe the number of new cases or the death toll will be dramatically decreased by November, it only makes sense that we go to a system of mail-in voting.  Now, it’s no surprise that the damn fool sitting on his fat arse in the Oval Office is trying his level best to put a stop to the mail-in voting efforts … that’s a given, but some of the people on the far right side of the aisle on Capitol Hill are playing games with not only our taxpayer dollars, but with our very lives and I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!

Former Representative Darrell Issa, who served in the House of Representatives from 2001 – 2019, declining to run in the 2018 election, as he was outclassed and knew it, has filed a lawsuit to attempt to stop California from going to an all-mail voting system in November.  WHY???  Because he, and the conservative group backing him, Judicial Watch, claim that switching to an all-mail voting system is a democratic attempt to “interfere with the election”!  Say WHAT???  Interfering in what way, exactly?  Is it interfering to ensure that ALL eligible voters have the right to vote in a safe manner?

The lawsuit claims that Governor Newsom’s order to allow all-mail voting violates elections provisions of the Constitution and represents an “unlawful attempt to supersede and replace California election law” by creating “an entirely new system” that does not conform with an existing state law, the Voter’s Choice Act, which lays out requirements for counties that wish to mail ballots to all voters.  Make sense of that if you can!

Newsome is running again this year, hoping to win the seat vacated by Duncan Hunter who resigned in January after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations (remember the rabbit?) The lawsuit also charges that Newsom’s order has scrambled Issa’s campaign by compelling him to “reevaluate his electoral strategy” and increasing the cost of running a campaign.  So WHAT???  Get over it, Darrell!  Our lives are more important than your damn campaign costs!

And on top of that, of course, Donald Trump is threatening to withhold federal funds from states that implement mail-in voting, calling it ‘voter fraud’.  Without a shred of evidence, Trump claims …

“I think just common sense would tell you that massive manipulation can take place. And you do have cases of fraudulent ballots where they actually print them and they give them to people to sign, maybe the same person signs them with different writing, different pens. I don’t know. It’s a lot of things can happen.”

voter fraudNever mind that many states, including my own, have had the option for mail-in voting for years and never mind that voter fraud is virtually non-existent in the U.S.  Trump cannot make that decision … well, he can, but it won’t hold water if Congress challenges him.  Will Congress step up to the plate and protect our voting rights?  I don’t know about you, but my level of trust in Congress to protect us against Trump right now is around nil.

Voting in the U.S. is a right, not a privilege, not as Trump claims, an ‘honour’ … it is a right set forth in the U.S. Constitution and one that is not to be infringed on, although in truth the republicans have infringed on it numerous times in past years, with restrictive voter ID laws, gerrymandering and other games intended to disenfranchise those of us likely to vote democratic.  People like Darrell Issa and Donald Trump are attempting to interfere with that constitutional right.  We must stop them!  If you live in the district Issa is running in, California’s 50th district, San Diego County, make sure he knows that you will not vote for him unless he withdraws his lawsuit and shuts the f— up!  The rest of us need to make sure our representatives and senators know this is NOT going to fly!

There are many crucial issues facing the people of the United States today, but I can think of none that are more important than protecting our right to vote … EVERYONE’S right to vote!  If nothing else, all of this should make you more determined than ever before to vote in this year’s election and vote these asses out of Washington!

And to conclude … Seth Meyers takes a more even-toned approach addressing the same topic …