♫ Mack The Knife ♫

As a few of you are aware, it’s been a difficult couple of weeks, and tonight I was seeking music that … oh, I don’t know … that would bring happy thoughts and memories, perhaps, or just music that I see much as comfort food (I also indulged in some hummus and crackers for my 1:00 a.m. snack — whoopee, huh?).  I seized upon Louis Armstrong, and thought … Wonderful World!  I know, I know … I already played it.  Sigh.  But then … Mack … Mack the Knife popped into my head and simply would not leave through the other ear, but stayed bouncing around the hollow spaces of what passes for a mind inside my head.

Now, turns out this song has an origin that I was completely unaware of.  It was originally written in 1928 by German composers Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht for a play The Threepenny Opera.

My favourite version is Louis Armstrong’s that was released in 1956, perhaps only because I became a fan of Louis’ around the time I learned to walk, or perhaps because I am old and set in my ways … once somebody does a song, does it well, then why does every other Tom, Dick and Harry need to try to do it better?  However, for many, the Bobby Darin version is the only one worth hearing, so … I offer both here … take one, take both … just enjoy the music, ‘k?  (And yes, rawgod, I know you won’t like the lyrics … just listen to the rhythm, okay?)

Mack the Knife
Louis Armstrong … Bobby Darin

Oh, the shark, babe, has such teeth, dear
And it shows them pearly white
Just a jackknife has old MacHeath, babe
And he keeps it, ah, out of sight
Ya know when that shark bites with his teeth, babe
Scarlet billows start to spread
Fancy gloves, oh, wears old MacHeath, babe
So there’s never, never a trace of red

Now on the sidewalk, huh, huh, whoo sunny morning, un huh
Lies a body just oozin’ life, eek
And someone’s sneakin’ ’round the corner
Could that someone be Mack the Knife?

There’s a tugboat, huh, huh, down by the river don’tcha know
Where a cement bag’s just a’drooppin’ on down
Oh, that cement is for, just for the weight, dear
Five’ll get ya ten old Macky’s back in town
Now d’ja hear ’bout Louie Miller? He disappeared, babe
After drawin’ out all his hard-earned cash
And now MacHeath spends just like a sailor
Could it be our boy’s done somethin’ rash?

Now Jenny Diver, ho, ho, yeah, Sukey Tawdry
Ooh, Miss Lotte Lenya and old Lucy Brown
Oh, that line forms on the right, babe
Now that Macky’s back in town

I said Jenny Diver, whoa, Sukey Tawdry
Look out to Miss Lotte Lenya and old Lucy Brown
Yes, that line forms on the right, babe
Now that Macky’s back in town
Look out, old Macky’s back

Songwriters: Kurt Weill / Bertolt Brecht / Marc Blitzstein
Mack the Knife lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Good People Doing Good Things — Little Things Mean A Lot

I started this post early last evening, and I had picked out several good people, the plan being to highlight each with a brief ‘snippet’.  I spent nearly an hour on the first one, as I was having a hard time staying focused, and then something in my head kept saying it seemed familiar.  It was … I had written about the Little Free Library way back in 2018.   😔  So, then I decided that some of the half dozen people I had selected for this morning’s post didn’t really interest me all that much (I told you, my focus is not working well).  Which leaves me with just two for today.  But hey … two good people snippets is still better than nothing, yes?  Annnnnd … there’s a fun bonus at the end!


Divers In, Trash Out

I’m always seeing stories about people trying to set a Guinness World record for one thing or another.  Sometimes I include them in my Jolly Monday posts, for they are so silly that one must laugh.  Today, though, I am including one in my Wednesday ‘good people’ post, for these guys are trying to set a record for doing something to help us all!

It happened down in Deerfield Beach, Florida, where 633 scuba divers got together to clean up a section of the ocean.  The previous record was 614 in a dive organized in the Red Sea in Egypt in 2015.  A Guinness official, Michael Empric, flew in from Florida to verify the count and watch the operation.  Each diver had to stay in the water  for at least 15 minutes to be counted.

One of the divers was 13-year-old Dahlia Bolin.  She and her mother Rebecca came all the way from Mackinaw, Illinois, to help set the record, and pick up debris.  She recovered a white, metal sign with red lettering that warned: Boats Must Not Come Within 100 Yards of Pier.

Dahlia-Bolin

Dahlia Bolin (center) with her mother (left) and another diver

The event was organized by Dixie Divers and the Woman’s Club of Deerfield Beach and included divers from across the United States, along with Europe and South America.  The divers retrieved 9,000 items of marine debris, including 3,200 pounds of fishing gear, and 1,600 pounds of lead fishing weights alone, the result of years of anglers cutting bait.Divers.jpgGranted, it is but a drop in the bucket of waste in our oceans, but I have to give two thumbs up to these divers for doing their part to help clean up … and just imagine if this were done on every beach around the world, say once a month?  Great job, divers!  You earned that record!


Learning Respect and Compassion

This one was sent to me last week by our friend Scott Lawlor … thank you Scott!  Leaving Florida and heading over to New Mexico where Gino Perez teaches a wood and metal shop class at Valley High School in Albuquerque.  Mr. Perez teaches a skill, but also a life’s lesson to his young students as they learn to make handcrafted wooden urns adorned with the symbols of all the branches of the military to be used for the cremated remains of homeless and indigent veterans.  Says Perez …

“I wanted to make it real clear the status of these Americans — they’re mostly homeless and they were also veterans with full military honors and nobody claimed their bodies. I’ve never seen a group of students engage in a project like this. Even students that were down on the military for whatever reason — they’ve all got their politics — would say we’re doing a good thing.”

Perez-classPerez, who has been a teacher for four years and is a Navy veteran himself was looking for a way to get his students involved in the community, while learning about metal and woodworking.

The students’ work will be recognized Sept. 20 at an assembly that will include New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services Secretary Jack Fox, Bernalillo County Commissioner Debbie O’Malley and Joshua McManigal of Daniels Family Funeral Services, who all partner in the Forgotten Heroes Burial Program.  The Forgotten Heroes Burial Program provides a full military funeral at Santa Fe National Cemetery if there are no family members or friends to claim their remains or there is no money to provide for their funeral services.

A good teacher and students who are learning to be good people.  Can’t ask for more than that, can you?


Never Too Old

This one isn’t really about a ‘good people’ helping others, but it’s a fun, uplifting story, and I think this lady deserves a spot here anyway.  Perhaps it’s about perseverance?

Meet Julia Hawkins, who just happens to have been on this earth for some 103 years.  Now, a lot of people slow down when they get older … I know this for a fact, for at 68 I have slowed down considerably!  But not Ms. Hawkins … she sped up considerably!  In fact, just last week, she ran both the 50-meter and the 100-meter dash races in the National Senior Games in Albuquerque, New Mexico! Julia-Hawkins.jpgTwo years ago, at the age of 101, Julia Hawkins set a record by running the 100-meter dash in just 39.62 seconds.  They called her the “Hurricane.”  This year, she had actually slowed down some, and was about 6 seconds slower on the 100-meter dash, but as she said …

“I’m two years older, remember?”

Ms. Hawkins got into running late in life, and it has become one of her many passions. She lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she takes daily walks and cares for trees on her property. She has four children, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She was married to her late husband, Murray, for 70 years, after they had a wedding by telephone during World War II.  Married 70 years … I told you it was perseverance!

Asked in a New York Times interview about her training regimen, she said …

“I run on the street by my house, occasionally, not often. As I get older, I feel like I only have so many 100-yard dashes left, and I don’t want to waste them in practice. Can you imagine that? I have markers on the street to show me where 50 yards is, and where 100 is, and I go by that. But I don’t practice much. I’m just pretty good at moving around and I do it when I have to, whatever I have to do.”

I like this lady!


Back next week with some more ‘good people’, and hopefully I will be better able to focus then.

A Billionaire With A Conscience?

I have written often about the income disparity between the 1% and the rest of us, and I’m often critical of millionaires and billionaires for hoarding their wealth when children are dying every day for lack of food, medicine and hygiene.  Today I came across an OpEd in the New York Times by a millionaire who is a bit different than most, Eli Broad.  While I do not agree 100% with everything Mr. Broad says, what he proposes is a start, a step in the right direction.  Mr. Broad has an estimated net worth of $6.7 billion, so he can well afford a bit of philanthropy and a higher tax rate.  If we must have millionaires and billionaires, at least let them have a conscience. Take a look …


I’m in the 1 Percent. Please, Raise My Taxes.

Wealthy people like me should commit to reducing the ravages of economic inequality.

By Eli Broad

Eli-Broad.jpgThere’s a story we like to tell about American capitalism. Ours is a country that prizes merit, rewards risk and stands apart in its commitment to the collective success of open markets and the free flow of capital. We are a nation of strivers who can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps with the right combination of grit and determination.

That’s the tale we love to tell and hear. But take it from a person who has found himself on the fortunate side of that narrative: This story is incomplete. For most people, our system isn’t working.

I say this as the child of Jewish immigrants from Lithuania who came here with little more than an oversize belief in what America could offer. Their faith was well placed: My parents watched me build two Fortune 500 companies and become one of the wealthiest people in the country.

Two decades ago I turned full-time to philanthropy and threw myself into supporting public education, scientific and medical research, and visual and performing arts, believing it was my responsibility to give back some of what had so generously been given to me. But I’ve come to realize that no amount of philanthropic commitment will compensate for the deep inequities preventing most Americans — the factory workers and farmers, entrepreneurs and electricians, teachers, nurses and small-business owners — from the basic prosperity we call the American dream.

Some of us have supported closing the gulf between rich and poor by raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, reforming our education system, expanding access to medical care, building more affordable housing.

But even in cities like my adopted hometown, Los Angeles, where many of these policies have been enacted, they have not adequately addressed the crisis. Our country must do something bigger and more radical, starting with the most unfair area of federal policy: our tax code.

It’s time to start talking seriously about a wealth tax.

Some will say I’m calling for the populist masses to take out the pitchforks and take down the titans of Wall Street. Some will say it’s just too difficult to execute. Others will call it a flight of fancy.

Don’t get me wrong: I am not advocating an end to the capitalist system that’s yielded some of the greatest gains in prosperity and innovation in human history. I simply believe it’s time for those of us with great wealth to commit to reducing income inequality, starting with the demand to be taxed at a higher rate than everyone else.

This does not mean I support paying higher taxes without requiring government to be transparent, accountable and equitable about how it spends the revenue, particularly for health care, public education and other programs critical to social and economic mobility. But let’s end this tired argument that we must delay fixing structural inequities until our government is running as efficiently as the most profitable companies. That’s a convenient tactic employed to distract us from the real problems.

The enormous challenges we face as a nation — the climate crisis, the shrinking middle class, skyrocketing housing and health care costs, and many more — are a stark call to action. The old ways aren’t working, and we can’t waste any more time tinkering around the edges.

Democrats have offered an array of plans. Senator Elizabeth Warren would levy a 2 percent tax on every dollar of net worth above $50 million. There’s an overdue proposal from Senator Bernie Sanders to increase taxes on estates and inheritances. And then there’s the mark-to-market approach proposed by Senator Ron Wyden, which would treat capital gains income as what it is — actual income for the wealthiest people in America. Currently people who have stocks and other investments that appreciate in value — usually people of means — are taxed at lower rates and are allowed to defer taxes.

I’m not an economist but I have watched my wealth grow exponentially thanks to federal policies that have cut my tax rates while wages for regular people have stagnated and poverty rates have increased.

So when the Democratic candidates take the stage this week for their first debate, I invite fellow members of the 1 percent to join me in demanding that they engage in a robust discussion of how we can strengthen a post-Trump America by reforming our tax code.

Let’s admit out loud what we all know to be true: A wealth tax can start to address the economic inequality eroding the soul of our country’s strength. I can afford to pay more, and I know others can too. What we can’t afford are more shortsighted policies that skirt big ideas, avoid tough issues and do little to alleviate the poverty faced by millions of Americans. There’s no time to waste.

Text dividers

♫ Man In The Mirror ♫

Yesterday afternoon, I wrote a post about the atrocities the United States government is committing against innocent migrants on the southern border, particularly children.  This morning’s post was about one of the ways in which the United States government is accelerating the ravages of carbon emissions on our environment.  These are only two of the many ways in which our government has sidestepped responsibility and accountability for the survival of the human species, or human race, if you will.  With all this fresh in my mind, is it any wonder that tonight’s song is one of social conscience?

Say what you will about Michael Jackson … love him or hate him … he had a voice and he often used it to try to open our eyes to the social injustices he saw around him.

Released in January 1988, this song is about making a change and realizing that it has to start with you.  The song was written by Siedah Garrett and Glen Ballard; Garrett also sang backup on the track.  According to Garrett …

“The song was deeper than just the visual of a man looking at himself in the mirror. It was that, juxtaposed with the idea of a man going deeper inside himself to change from within. To make a difference on the outside, you have to first start from within. So I think that Michael just got it… he got the meaning of the song right away.”

The single sleeve for Man in the Mirror contains a dedication to Yoshiaki Ogiwara, a five-year-old boy from Takasaki, Gunma, Japan who was kidnapped and murdered in September 1987. Jackson was touring Japan at the time and dedicated concerts in Osaka and Yokohama to Yoshiaki’s memory.

Pay attention to the lyrics … think about what they say.  WE are the winds of change, but only if we choose to be.  I want to be that ‘man in the mirror’ … well, okay, perhaps that ‘woman in the mirror’.  Music should entertain … most often I think it should take us away from our troubles.  But sometimes, maybe music should prick our consciences, remind us of our duty to humanity, to ourselves.  Sometimes maybe it should open our eyes … our ears … our hearts.

Man in the Mirror
Michael Jackson

I’m gonna make a change,
For once I’m my life
It’s gonna feel real good,
Gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right

As I, turn up the collar on
My favorite winter coat
This wind is blowing my mind
I see the kids in the streets,
With not enough to eat
Who am I to be blind?
Pretending not to see their needs

A summer disregard, a broken bottle top
And a one man soul
They follow each other on the wind ya’ know
‘Cause they got nowhere to go
That’s why I want you to know

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
(If you want to make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)
(Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah)

I’ve been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It’s time that I realize
That there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan
Could it be really me, pretending that they’re not alone?

A willow deeply scarred, somebody’s broken heart
And a washed-out dream
(Washed-out dream)
They follow the pattern of the wind ya’ see
‘Cause they got no place to be
That’s why I’m starting with me
(Starting with me!)

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Ooh!)
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
(If you want to make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Ooh!)
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Change his ways, ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that
(Take a look at yourself and then make that)
Change!

I’m starting with the man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror, oh yeah!)
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
No message could have been any clearer
(If you want to make the world a better place)

You can’t close your, your mind!
(Then you close your, mind!)
That man, that man, that man, that man
With the man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror, oh yeah!)
That man, that man, that man,
I’m asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
You know, that man
No message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
(If you want to make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself and then make the change
(Take a look at yourself and then make the change)
Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!
Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah
(Ooh)
Oh no, no no

I’m gonna make a change
It’s gonna feel real good!
Come on!
(Change)
Just lift yourself
You know
You’ve got to stop it,
Yourself!
(Yeah! Make that change!)
I’ve got to make that change, today!
Hoo!
(Man in the mirror)
You got to
You got to not let yourself
Brother
Hoo!
(Yeah! Make that change!)
You know I’ve got to get
That man, that man

You’ve got to
You’ve got to move! Come on!
Come on!
You got to

Stand up! Stand up! Stand up!
(Yeah! Make that change)
Stand up and lift yourself, now!
(Man in the mirror)
Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!
Aw!
(Yeah! Make that change!)
Gonna make that change

Come on!
You know it!
You know it!
You know it!
You know it
(Change)
Make that change.

Songwriters: Glen Ballard / Siedah Garrett
Man in the Mirror lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management, Songtrust Ave

The House Is Afire!!!

Donald Trump … he claims to have made only one mistake during his 29 months in office.  Can you guess what it is?

Helsinki?  Charlottesville?  Family separations?  Nope, nope, and nope.

Failure to ‘drain the swamp’?  Nope.

Pulling out of the Paris climate accord and rolling back many important environmental regulations?  No way.

Triggering the longest government shutdown in U.S. history in a futile attempt to get funding for a border wall – or subsequently declaring a national emergency to divert money from the military?  Not a chance.

His quest to expel transgender service members who are willing to die in combat, his mockery of the #MeToo movement or his demonization of African American athletes?  Nay, nay, nay.

Throwing paper towels at Puerto Ricans, and then trying to minimize how much federal funding these U.S. citizens get to rebuild their devastated island?  Hardly.

Firing James Comey as FBI director, or the other nine cases of obstruction of justice outlined in Bob Mueller’s report?  Wrong again.

Trump says his only mistake was … wait for it … hiring Jeff Sessions to serve as U.S. Attorney General, because he hired him fully believing that Sessions would protect him by putting an end to the Russian investigation led by Special Counsel Bob Mueller.  When Sessions recused himself and thus could not protect Trump, he became Trump’s only mistake, at least in Trump’s mind.

When concerns were raised about the high turnover in Trump’s administration, he responded …

“Let me tell you, the one that matters is me. I’m the only one that matters, because when it comes to it, that’s what the policy is going to be.”

sonny-perdue

Sonny Perdue

And it is in this context, the “my opinion is the only one that matters” monologue, that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), under Trump appointee Sonny Perdue, has decided to bury the results of dozens of government-funded studies that carry warnings about the effects of climate change.  WHY?  Because … climate change is damned inconvenient.  An example …

If a person is watching a really good television program (are there actually any “really good” ones these days?) and suddenly smells smoke, he has two choices:  go investigate, or ignore the odour.  If he ignores the odour, odds are that the house will be on fire before the next commercial break, but hey … don’t want to miss seeing the guy beat his wife, right?

The house is on fire, and our government, led by Bozo Trump, is in favour of ignoring it, for to acknowledge it means having to take action to try to put the fire out, and means missing out on the big love scene where thousands of people chant “lock her up” because they are so happy with Trump.

The studies that the USDA is refusing to make public, range from a groundbreaking discovery that rice loses vitamins in a carbon-rich environment — a potentially serious health concern for the 600 million people world-wide whose diet consists mostly of rice — to a finding that climate change could exacerbate allergy seasons to a warning to farmers about the reduction in quality of grasses important for raising cattle.  All have been peer-reviewed by scientists and cleared through the non-partisan Agricultural Research Service, one of the world’s leading sources of scientific information for farmers and consumers.

Researchers at the University of Washington had collaborated with scientists at USDA, as well as others in Japan, China and Australia, for more than two years to study how rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could affect rice — humanity’s most important crop. They found that it not only loses protein and minerals, but is also likely to lose key vitamins as plants adapt to a changing environment.

The study had undergone intensive review, addressing questions from academic peers and within USDA itself. But after having prepared an announcement of the findings, the department abruptly decided not to publicize the study and urged the University of Washington to hold back its own release on the findings, which two of their researchers had co-authored.

The person sitting in the burning house, watching television, is also admonishing the neighbors not to call the fire department and to simply pretend they don’t see or smell the smoke either!  Let the entire neighborhood burn down, but don’t arouse the man from his bloomin’ television show!

There is an election in less than 17 months that will, hopefully, remove not only Trump, but also most of his boot-lickers from office.  People need to be informed in order to make smart voting choices.  How can the public be well-informed if the government is withholding facts, simply because the facts don’t agree with what Trump wants???  I guess, if we are not to be told the facts, but rather only the falsehoods propagated by Trump & Co., then the best thing is to remember Trump’s own words …

“Let me tell you, the one that matters is me. I’m the only one that matters, because when it comes to it, that’s what the policy is going to be.”

Is that really the person you want at the helm of this ship? Think about it.

Cruel And Inhumane …

aoc.jpg“This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying. This is not hyperbole. It is the conclusion of expert analysis. And for the shrieking Republicans who don’t know the difference: concentration camps are not the same as death camps. Concentration camps are considered by experts as “the mass detention of civilians without trial.” And that’s exactly what this administration is doing.”

Those are the words of freshman Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on June 18th.  I fully agree with her words.  She has been taken to task by republicans, and even by Yad Vashem, of the Holocaust research center.  I have read the arguments, pro and con, and I still agree with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez.  The conditions under which we are holding people, particularly children, against their will and for no legitimate reason, is unconscionable, is a crime against humanity, and defies international law.  It is not much different from what the concentration camps in Germany were in the early days of Hitler’s regime, before the death camps.

What crime have these children committed?  None.  What crime have their parents, then, committed?  In most cases none, unless it is a crime to flee from violence and seek a safe haven for one’s family.

What, exactly, are ‘crimes against humanity’?  The United Nations Human Rights Council defines crimes against humanity as …

“… murder, extermination, torture, enslavement, persecution on political, racial, religious or ethnic grounds, institutionalized discrimination, arbitrary deportation or forcible transfer of population, arbitrary imprisonment, rape, enforced prostitution and other inhuman acts committed in a systematic manner or on a large scale and instigated or directed by a Government or by any organization or group.”

Warren Binford is a law professor at Willamette University in Oregon, and one of the few lawyers that visited a Customs and Border Patrol detention center in Clint, Texas, where 250 infants, children and teenagers are being held.  According to her report, these children are denied adequate food, water or sanitation.  Listen to what she said about the conditions in this facility …

There is a 1997 federal court ruling that came as a result of abuses dating to the 1980s, that strictly limits the government’s ability to keep children in immigration detention.  This is known as the Flores Settlement, and it requires the federal government to do two things: to place children with a close relative or family friend “without unnecessary delay,” rather than keeping them in custody; and to keep immigrant children who are in custody in the “least restrictive conditions” possible.

Trump has fought to overturn or circumvent the Flores Settlement, but it is one thing he cannot legally accomplish via executive order, so the republicans in Congress have proposed legislation that would effectively overrule the decree.  Last week, the government was in federal court to argue that it shouldn’t be required to give detained migrant children toothbrushes, soap, towels, showers or even half a night’s sleep inside Border Patrol detention facilities.  Yes, you read that right.

Arguing the government’s case was Justice Department lawyer Sarah Fabian who faced a three-judge panel.  Ms. Fabian was, as she should have been, shredded by the judges, for there can be no legitimate case for depriving children of the most basic necessities.  She hedged and deflected, lied and stuttered, and at the end of the day she looked like the fool that she is.  Take a look …

Her only real argument was that the Flores Settlement does not specifically list the items that must be provided in border facilities, and that it created a problem of “enumerating certain hygiene items”.  Circuit Judge William Fletcher responded …

“It wasn’t perfume soap. It was soap. It wasn’t high-class mild soap. It was soap. And that sounds like it [falls in the category] of safe and sanitary. Are you disagreeing with that?”

I wonder how Ms. Fabian would like to sleep in her clothes, on the floor, with only a piece of tin foil for a blanket, then wake the next morning unable to either shower or brush her teeth?  Or Donald Trump?  Perhaps they should have to spend a night or two in the conditions they have imposed on these children.

Six migrant children have died in the “protective” custody of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP).  How many more … how many more must die before someone in the Department of Justice or the administration has the guts to stand up and say, “ENOUGH!!!”?  The federal government of the United States already has blood on its hands.  Donald Trump has blood on his hands and is as guilty of murder as if he had personally killed those six children.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is essentially correct, these are no better than concentration camps.  I hear my representative, republican Warren Davidson, referring to how “proud” we should be of our country.  His only concern these days is something or other to do with “cryptocurrency”.  I hear Trump say how he’s made this such a “great country”.  I disagree.  Right now, I am not proud of this nation … not one little bit.

♫ Ain’t That A Shame ♫

I read yesterday of the death of Dave Bartholomew at age 100.  Dave Bartholomew was a musician, bandleader, composer, arranger and record producer. He was prominent in the music of New Orleans throughout the second half of the 20th century. Originally a trumpeter, he was active in many musical genres, including rhythm and blues, big band, swing music, rock and roll, New Orleans jazz and Dixieland.  Best known for songs like Walking to New Orleans, I Hear You Knocking, Blue Monday, One Night, and many others.

Dave-Bartholomew-2013.jpg

Dave Bartholomew – 2013

Many musicians have recorded Bartholomew’s songs, but his partnership with Fats Domino produced some of his greatest successes. In the mid-1950s they wrote more than forty hits for Imperial Records, including this song, the Billboard R&B number one chart hit Ain’t That a Shame.

He was a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.  If you’re interested in more, NPR has a nice, short write-up about Dave Bartholomew.Dave-Bartholomew

R.I.P. Dave Bartholomew … Ain’t That A Shame … 😢

Ain’t That a Shame
Fats Domino

You made me cry when you said goodbye
Ain’t that a shame
My tears fell like rain
Ain’t that a shame
You’re the one to blame

You broke my heart when you said we’ll part
Ain’t that a shame
My tears fell like rain
Ain’t that a shame
You’re the one to blame

Oh well goodbye
Although I’ll cry
Ain’t that a shame
My tears fell like rain
Ain’t that a shame
You’re the one to blame

You made me cry when you said goodbye
Ain’t that a shame
My tears fell like rain
Ain’t that a shame
You’re the one to blame

Oh well goodbye
Although I’ll cry
Ain’t that a shame
My tears fell like rain
Ain’t that a shame
You’re the one to blame

Songwriters: Antoine Domino / Dave Bartholomew
Ain’t That a Shame lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Jolly Monday Smiles

Good Monday morning, my friends!  Another rainy one, eh?  Don’t worry about tracking the mud in … we’ll clean it up later.  Just come on in.  How was your weekend?  Did you do fun and exciting things?  We are finally now officially in summer.  On the first day of summer, parts of Colorado saw up to two feet of snow! snow-colorado.jpgWe, on the other hand, have had fairly mild temps, but I do wish the bloomin’ rain would quit.  Then again, at least I haven’t had to water the flowers for over a week now!  So, are you guys in the mood for a bit of humour to start this week off right?  Grab a snack and a drink and pull up a chair … let’s get this show on the road, shall we?


Long arm of the law …

Amy Rush is now 45 years of age, but back in 1990, at age 15, she tried to run away from home.  She was apparently hitchhiking when an older man picked her up (no, don’t worry, this isn’t a story about sex, drugs and alcohol) and gave her a ride.  Well, the man was stopped for speeding, and young Amy was also ticketed … for not wearing a seat belt!  The ticket was for $35, and the officer didn’t question why Amy was with the man, or what relationship there was.

Fast forward to last week when Amy, much to her surprise, received a letter from a debt collection agency looking to collect that $35!  According to Amy …

“I’ve almost considered driving down there the two and a half hours to talk to a judge to tell him how absolutely ridiculous this is and what a waste of taxpayer money this has been for the 15 years. I can’t imagine the postage they’ve paid on following me around trying to get this $35.  I told them they can keep sending me mail and wasting more money because I’m not paying it.”

Good for her!  I wouldn’t pay it either, especially in this day and age where some can commit murder and not be held accountable!  Twenty-nine years it’s been, and they’re still trying to collect.  🙄


What to do with those pesky pennies?

I am not a big fan of spending hours … even days, months or years … building something for the sole purpose of proving that it can be done, or in this case, setting a Guinness World record, and then destroying all that work.  However, Cory Nielsen of Phoenix, Arizona, has built something that is really rather cool, and I couldn’t help but share it with you. penny-pyramid-2.jpgIt is a pyramid made of pennies.  1,030,315 pennies, to be exact.  It weighs 6,360 pounds and stands 44.6 inches tall.  At the base, it is 65 rows wide by 65 rows long, and stands 65 rows tall.

About three years ago, Nielsen built a small one on his desk at work (nothing else to do?), using only a few pennies … 41,000 to be precise.  He showed pictures to some colleagues at work, and they wondered if that was a world record. Nielsen replied to them, “I don’t know; if it isn’t, I’ll make it one.”penny-pyramid-1.jpgOriginally thinking the world record was made of only 626,789 coins built by a man in Colorado a couple of years ago, Nielsen knew he could beat that, and so the building process began.

Once the pyramid construction began, he found out that the actual world record was set in Lithuania.

“I was already committed, and so I went ahead and beat that one too.”

And what do you think Mr. Nielsen plans to do with the pyramid that has more than $10,000 worth of copper in it?  Destroy it and take it to the credit union.  Somehow … I’m just not sure it was worth all that time, but it is rather cool … in a way.

Mr. Nielsen has a few YouTube videos …

Congratulations to Mr. Nielsen  … I guess … on fulfilling his life’s goal?  I wonder what’s next for him?


A new job for Filosofa?

I have been in an Ikea store just once, and once was enough.  It was a frustrating, painful experience, and even prompted a post on this blog some five years ago … wow, has it really been that long?  I still remember it as if it was only yesterday!  I just went back and looked … it was in the early days of this blog, and I had exactly one ‘like’ and two comments on that post!  Anyway, I don’t like to shop there, but I have a friend who works there, and I do know they treat their people very well.  So, I think I might just have found myself a job, folks!

According to United Press International (UPI) …

Furniture chain Ikea posted an unusual job opening for a “happiness hunter” willing to temporarily live in Denmark and get paid in money and meatballs to study what makes a home happy.

The company said the winning candidate will live for two weeks at a temporary home in Copenhagen and will experience “home visits, guided tours, talks and dinners” in a bid to determine the ingredients for a happy home.

The person will document the experience on social media.

The winning candidate will be paid a salary that corresponds to the average Danish living standard and receive free meatball meals from Ikea.

Applications are being accepted online through July 1.

What do you think, guys?  Sounds good, yes?  Guess I better update my résumé!


As you know, for me the only way to kick off a new week is with a cute animal video …

And I came across these …

animal-meme-1animal-toon-1

And lastly, I promised this song, The Rainbow Connection, sung as only Kermit The Frog can sing it, to a special young reader …

And that’s it for today, my friends.  Be sure to share those smiles this week, for not everybody got to hear Kermit singing!  Keep safe and have a great week!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa and Jolly!

jolly

♫ Hey Jude ♫

For no reason that I can discern, I was in the mood for a Beatles tune tonight.  I tossed about several … Here Comes The Sun, or the silly Ob-la-di Ob-la-da, and even thought seriously about Blackbird, which is one of my absolute favourites, and I would gladly play it again, even though I have already played it on here once.  But, for some reason Hey Jude just kept coming back into my head, so …

Released in 1968, Paul McCartney wrote this as “Hey Jules,” a song meant to comfort John Lennon’s 5-year-old son Julian as his parents were getting a divorce. The change to “Jude” was inspired by the character “Jud” in the musical Oklahoma!

Says Paul McCartney …

“John and his wife Cynthia had divorced, and I felt a bit sorry for their son, who was now a child of a divorce. I was driving out to see the son and Cynthia one day and I was thinking about the boy whose name was Julian – Julian Lennon, and I started this idea, ‘Hey Jules, don’t make it bad, it’s gonna be OK.’ It was like a reassurance song.

So that was the idea that I got driving out to see them. I saw them and then I came back and worked on the song some more. But I like that name, Jude.”

And according to the all-grown-up Julian Lennon …

“Paul told me he’d been thinking about my circumstances, about what I was going through and what I’d have to go through. Paul and I used to hang out quite a bit – more than Dad and I did… There seem to be far more pictures of me and Paul playing at that age than me and Dad. I’ve never really wanted to know the truth of how Dad was and how he was with me. There was some very negative stuff – like when he said that I’d come out of a whisky bottle on a Saturday night. That’s tough to deal with. You think, where’s the love in that? It surprises me whenever I hear the song. It’s strange to think someone has written a song about you. It still touches me.”

At the time of its release, it was the longest song ever released as a single.  Hey Jude was a number-one hit in many countries around the world and became the top-selling single of 1968 in the UK, the US, Australia and Canada.

The only complaint I have about this song is that never-ending “na-na-na-na-na …” at the end.

Hey Jude
The Beatles

Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better

Hey Jude, don’t be afraid
You were made to go out and get her
The minute you let her under your skin
Then you begin to make it better

And anytime you feel the pain
Hey Jude, refrain
Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders
For well you know that it’s a fool
Who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder
Na-na-na, na, na
Na-na-na, na

Hey Jude, don’t let me down
You have found her, now go and get her (let it out and let it in)
Remember to let her into your heart (hey Jude)
Then you can start to make it better

So let it out and let it in
Hey Jude, begin
You’re waiting for someone to perform with
And don’t you know that it’s just you
Hey Jude, you’ll do
The movement you need is on your shoulder
Na-na-na, na, na
Na-na-na, na, yeah

Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her under your skin
Then you’ll begin to make it better
Better better better better better, ah!

Na, na, na, na-na-na na (yeah! Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (Jude Jude, Judy Judy Judy Judy, ow wow!)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (my, my, my)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (Jude, Jude, Jude, Jude, Jude)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (yeah, yeah, yeah)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (yeah, you know you can make it, Jude, Jude, you’re not gonna break it)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (don’t make it bad, Jude, take a sad song and make it better)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (oh Jude, Jude, hey Jude, wa!)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (oh Jude)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (hey, hey, hey, hey)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (hey, hey)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (now, Jude, Jude, Jude, Jude, Jude)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (Jude, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (yeah, make it, Jude)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude (yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!)
Na, na, na, na-na-na na (yeah, yeah yeah, yeah! Yeah! Yeah!)
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude
Na, na, na, na-na-na na
Na-na-na na, hey Jude

Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul McCartney
Hey Jude lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC