♫ How Can You Mend A Broken Heart ♫

Sometimes, I actually remember when someone asks me to play a certain song, but most often things don’t stick around in my brain for very long!  Luckily, I wrote this one down when my dear friend Amy asked me to play it!  Unluckily, I forgot I had written it down and just came across my jotted note tonight, while looking for something else!  So … this one’s for you, sweet Amy!!!


I was so so so wrong about this song!  I could have sworn it was Al Green’s and that the Bee Gees covered it, but it turns out the Bee Gees wrote and were the first to record the song, with Al Green’s version coming a year later!

Barry and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees wrote this in August 1970, along with Lonely Days when the Gibb brothers had reconvened following a period of break-up and alienation.  According to Barry Gibb …

“Robin came to my place, and that afternoon we wrote How Can You Mend a Broken Heart and that obviously was a link to us coming back together. We called Maurice, finished the song, went to the studio and once again, with only ‘Broken Heart’ as a basic structure, we went in to the studio with that and an idea for ‘Lonely Days’, and those two songs were recorded that night.”

They originally offered the song to Andy Williams, but ended up recording it themselves, although Williams did later cover the song on his album You’ve Got a Friend.

The song was sung live for the first time in 1971, in a performance that was notable as drummer Geoff Bridgford’s first appearance with the band. Although failing to chart on the UK Singles Chart, the song became the Bee Gees’ first US number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and also reached number four on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 5 song for 1971. In Spain, it was released under the title “Cómo Puedes Arreglar Un Corazón Destrozado”.

Al Green recorded the song a year later, in 1972, and it was his version that was used in the 1999 movie Notting Hill.  Because it was the Al Green version I initially set out to play, and because I like both, though very different versions, I shall play both.

How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? 
Al Green

I can think of younger days when living for my life
Was everything a man could want to do
I could never see tomorrow, but I was never told about the sorrow

And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
How can you mend a this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again

I can still feel the breeze that rustles through the trees
And misty memories of days gone by
We could never see tomorrow, no one said a word about the sorrow

And how can you mend a broken heart?
How can you stop the rain from falling down?
How can you stop the sun from shining?
What makes the world go round?
How can you mend this broken man?
How can a loser ever win?
Please help me mend my broken heart and let me live again

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Barry Gibb / Robin Gibb
How Can You Mend a Broken Heart? – Notting Hill lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Humour In The Snippets!

Sometimes snarky snippets can be humorous, too.


A bit of a disappointment, I guess

A man named Shahram Poursafi started planning to murder former national security advisor John Bolton in October in likely retaliation for his involvement in a drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani.  Poursafi, a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, attempted to pay people in D.C. or Maryland up to $300,000 to carry out the murder, but was thus far unsuccessful and the FBI is currently attempting to locate him.

John Bolton was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s “Situation Room” on Wednesday.  Blitzer asked …

“The suspect put a $300,000 price tag on your head.  What goes through your mind, ambassador, hearing the details of this plot, as explained today in great detail by the U.S. Justice Department?”

I don’t know what sort of response I might have expected, but it wasn’t this one …

“Well, I was embarrassed at the low price. I would have thought it would have been higher. But I guess maybe it was the exchange rate problem or something.”

Okaaaay …


A costly – but funny – venture

In Miami, Florida, a dude named Thomas Kennedy and his friends spent $1,800 to commission a plane to fly over Mar-a-Lago for three hours with this banner …

Says Kennedy …

“It brought me a lot of joy to do so. I would do it again.”

Kennedy said the message was for Trump and his supporters who had gathered on the Southern Boulevard Bridge near the property for a third day this week.

“Honestly, go do something better with your time.”

I wouldn’t have spent $1,800, but I have to admit I got quite a kick out of this!


The drama ‘king’

Oh the drama!  If you ever doubted that Sean Hannity of Fox is an actor, not a newsman, wonder no more.  After the search warrant was executed at Mar-a-Lago, Hannity went on a tangent, saying …

“The FBI is blatantly targeting our fellow Americans for their political beliefs. The bureau’s reputation has been shattered. My faith in an organization — I’ll be honest, I had two family members. They were a deity in my family because they worked for this organization. I revered this organization for decades of my life. If you listen to my radio show, watch this show, you know my love of law enforcement, it has now been pretty much utterly destroyed.”

As dramatic a speech as any I’ve heard!  Grow up, Sean … pull up those big-boy pants and get over yourself, ‘k?


Well, folks, that’s all the humour I could find in the news tonight, so will you settle for a few cartoons to round things out?

They Can Write Books, But They Cannot Govern

Cartoonist Scott Stantis writes that …

“When I started working in Republican campaigns, the party I signed up for had allegiance to a set of principles and ideals. Lower taxes, fewer regulations and, mostly, adherence to the rule of law. Now we see a bizarro party where right is wrong, wrong is right and a strictly enforced allegiance, not to principles, but to a deeply flawed individual.”

He is, I believe, spot-on.  The ‘GOP’ perhaps should be re-named the ‘DOP’ — Decayed Old Party.  Frank Bruni’s newsletter today further cements Stantis’ view of today’s Republican Party …


Josh Hawley’s manhood, Mike Pompeo’s midriff and other 2024 teases

By Frank Bruni

11 August 2022

Josh Hawley has a book about manhood coming out next year. Nikki Haley has a book about womanhood coming out in two months.

Mike Pompeo has lost so much weight that he’s barely recognizable. Mike Pence has grown so much spine that he’s almost a vertebrate.

Don’t tell them Donald Trump is the Republican Party’s inevitable 2024 presidential nominee. If that’s foreordained, then a whole lot of literary, cardiovascular and orthopedic effort has gone to waste.

The news media is lousy of late with articles about the various Democrats potentially waiting in the wings if President Biden decides against a second term, to the point where he’s sometimes treated as more of a 2024 question mark than Trump is.

Maybe that’s right. In a straw poll of Republicans at the Conservative Political Action Conference last weekend, Trump was the top choice to run for president, winning 69 percent of the vote. Second place went to Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, with just 24 percent, and third went to Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, with a measly 2 percent.

But Trump is no spring chicken, and by the looks of things, he pays much less heed to his health than Biden does. A year from now he could be unfit for office in more ways than he already is.

He could be in handcuffs! OK, that’s probably just a happy fantasy. But maybe less of one since the F.B.I. raided Mar-a-Lago on Monday? He’s the subject of investigations civil and criminal, federal and state.

Or he could finally wear out his Republican welcome. “It is a sign of weakness, not strength, that Team Trump has been reduced to touting straw-poll results from events that most Americans, and indeed the vast majority of Republicans, know nothing about,” Isaac Schorr wrote in National Review early this week, adding that CPAC had in fact “been repurposed into an appeal to the former president’s vanity.”

The Republicans eager to take his place at the helm of the party know all that. And they don’t have to be quite as discreet and demure in their positioning as Democrats interested in standing in for Biden do. Trump’s not the incumbent president, at least not in the world beyond his and his supplicants’ delusions.

That positioning, once you recognize it, is a hoot. Everyone’s after a kind of branding that rivals won’t copy, a moment in the spotlight that competitors can’t match, an angle, an edge.

DeSantis’s action-figure approach to his role as governor of Florida is in part about the fact that Cruz, Hawley and others don’t have the executive authority that he does and can’t make things happen as unilaterally or as quickly. They’re would-be MAGA superheroes bereft of their red capes.

So a week ago, DeSantis didn’t merely suspend the top Tampa Bay area prosecutor, who said that he would never consider abortion a crime. DeSantis also peacocked to that part of the state and, surrounded by a flock of law enforcement officials, crowed about his decision during a news conference.

Cruz and Hawley were such hams during the confirmation hearings for Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson because, as members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, they had a stage that DeSantis, Pence, Pompeo and others didn’t. Might as well pig out on the opportunity.

Haley’s forthcoming book, “If You Want Something Done: Leadership Lessons From Bold Women,” is one that Cruz, Hawley, Pence and Pompeo would have an awkward time pulling off, and it beats voters over the head with the fact that she’s a trailblazer in ways that they can’t be.

But does she or any other Republican love the Lord with Pence’s ardor? That’s a question he obviously wants to put in voters’ minds with his memoir, “So Help Me God,” to be released about a month after “If You Want Something Done.”

Pompeo is doing a prep-for-the-presidency twofer. According to The New York Post, he shed 90 pounds in six months after his stint as Trump’s secretary of state was over. And he’s apparently putting the finishing touches on a memoir of his own, “Never Give an Inch: Fighting for the America I Love,” which Broadside Books is scheduled to publish in January.

Its crowded company includes not only Haley’s and Pence’s books but also one by Cruz, “Justice Corrupted: How the Left Weaponized Our Legal System,” which is due in late October, and, of course, Hawley’s testosterone treatise, “Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs,” which has surely become a more risible sell in the wake of those images of him sprinting for the Capitol exit on Jan. 6, 2021.

Here, for your delectation, is a snippet of the promotional copy for Hawley’s book: “No republic has ever survived without men of character to defend what is just and true. Starting with the wisdom of the ancients, from the Greek and Roman philosophers to Jesus of Nazareth, and drawing on the lessons of American history, Hawley identifies the defining strengths of men, including responsibility, bravery, fidelity and leadership.” I have goose bumps.

Lest “Manhood” fail to persuade you of Hawley’s nonpareil virility, he summoned boundless courage last week to stand up to … Finland and Sweden. He was the only senator to vote against their admission to NATO.

David Von Drehle sized it up correctly in a column in The Washington Post: “In search of a position that would set him apart from his rivals among the Senate’s young conservatives, Hawley arrived at the cockeyed notion that adding two robust military powers with vibrant economies would somehow increase NATO’s burden on U.S. resources.”

Cockeyed? No! Cocksure — and undoubtedly weighing which fearsome and dastardly global actor he’ll unleash the full force of his manliness on next. The citizens of New Zealand tremble. The people of Andorra quiver.

♫ Hold On ♫ (Redux)

I was in the kitchen this afternoon, scrubbing my indoor electric grill that I had used to grill chicken breasts ala Marguerite last night (NOT a fun chore, scrubbing the grill!!!) when I found myself humming, then quietly singing this song.  I couldn’t remember the title of the song nor the name of the group (have I mentioned that my memory is not what it once was?), but I remembered that the daughter of one (two) of The Mamas and the Papas was part of the group, so from there it was easy to find the song. And then, I remembered that this is a favourite of my dear friend, David’s … and so the conclusion was fairly simple … redux!!!  This one’s for you, David!


In this case, the group has a more interesting history than the actual song itself.  The group, Wilson Phillips, is a trio of three female singers:  Chynna Phillips, Carnie Wilson & Wendy Wilson. Chyna Phillips is the daughter of John & Michelle Phillips of The Mamas and The Papas, and the two Wilson girls are the daughters of Brian Wilson of Beach Boy  fame, and Marilyn Rovell of The Honeys.  They all grew up together in Southern California and the girls started the group when they were only teens.

The song, Hold On, released in 1990, hit the #1 spot in the U.S. and Canada, and #6 in the UK and New Zealand.  The song won the Billboard Music Award for Hot 100 Single of the Year for 1990. At the Grammy Awards of 1991, the song received a nomination for Song of the Year, losing to From a Distance by Julie Gold and performed by Bette Midler.

Hold On
Wilson Phillips

I know there’s pain
Why do you lock yourself up in these chains?
No one can change your life except for you
Don’t ever let anyone step all over you
Just open your heart and your mind
Is it really fair to feel this way inside?

Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to
Turn around and say goodbye
Until then baby are you going to let them
Hold you down and make you cry
Don’t you know?
Don’t you know things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can you hold on for one more day
Things’ll go your way
Hold on for one more day

You could sustain
Or are you comfortable with the pain?
You’ve got no one to blame for your unhappiness
You got yourself into your own mess
Lettin’ your worries pass you by
Don’t you think it’s worth your time
To change your mind?

Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to
Turn around and say goodbye
Until then baby are you going to let them
Hold you down and make you cry
Don’t you know?
Don’t you know things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can you hold on for one more day
Things’ll go your way
Hold on for one more day

I know that there is pain
But you hold on for one more day and
Break free the chains
Yeah I know that there is pain
But you hold on for one more day and you
Break free, break from the chains

Some day somebody’s gonna make you want to
Turn around and say goodbye
Until then baby are you going to let them
Hold you down and make you cry
Don’t you know?
Don’t you know things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day yeah
If you hold on

Don’t you know things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
If you hold on
Can you hold on
Hold on baby
Won’t you tell me now
Hold on for one more day ’cause
It’s gonna go your way

Don’t you know things can change
Things’ll go your way
If you hold on for one more day
Can’t you change it this time

Make up your mind
Hold on
Hold on
Baby hold on

Songwriters: Carnie Wilson / Chynna Phillips / Glen Ballard
Hold On lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Still More Snark Keeps Rollin’

I’m sure you’re surprised to hear that I have still more angst that must be relieved in the form of snarky snippets, right?  I mean … what could possibly be causing me stress in these peaceful, calm, dog days of summer?  Well, let’s see … let me count the ways …  By the way, before I forget, a special thanks to Scottie of Scottie’s Playtime for the header image of the Aunty Acid meme … he sent it to me and it pretty much perfectly describes the ‘me’ I’ve become of late!  Thanks, Scottie!


ENOUGH!!!!

I remember when my children were little … the two eldest were only 16 months apart in age and a world apart in temperament, which could result in some pretty raucous battles!  What I see happening within the U.S. today is reminiscent of those battles, only on a much larger, more dangerous scale.

Violence, or the threat of violence, is NEVER the solution to problems!  NEVER!!!  And yet, I hear that right-wing groups such as the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters et al are telling people to “Pick up arms,” and they don’t mean the two that are attached to your body.  The culmination came with the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago on Monday, which those on the far right are claiming is justification for massive violence across the nation.  It isn’t, but these people are so blinded by their own hatred and prejudices that they cannot or will not see that.

I’ve read of some calling for the assassination of Attorney General Merrick Garland, and I’m told that the judge who signed off on the warrant to search Trump’s domicile has been receiving death threats. Others are calling for ‘civil war’, as if they knew the meaning of that phrase.  The most popular search term yesterday was “lock and load”, which means “lock your safety and load a magazine into your weapon.”  Welcome to America where there are more guns than people, and every nutcase owns an arsenal!

Politicians like Kevin McCarthy and Jim Banks who, without having knowledge of what the FBI was looking for at Mar-a-Lago, jumped immediately and began disparaging and not-so-subtly threatening Merrick Garland and President Biden, do a disservice to the very people they are supposed to represent.  Their voices matter, unfortunately, and some people will take their words, build on them, and claim they are “saving the nation” by taking up arms against … who?  The FBI?  The president?  Or perhaps you and I get caught in the crossfire some day as we go about the business of grocery shopping or taking our children to school.

I repeat, my friends … VIOLENCE IS NEVER THE ANSWER!!!


And I am not alone …

Richard Haass has been president of the Council on Foreign Relations since July 2003, prior to which he was Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State and a close advisor to Secretary of State Colin Powell in the George W. Bush administration.  In the preface to his upcoming (January 24, 2023) book, The Bill of Obligations, Haass writes that he’s often asked: “‘Richard, what keeps you up at night?’  Some suggest China?  Russia? North Korea? Iran? Terrorism? Climate change? Cyberattacks? Another pandemic?”  To which Haass replies …

“The most urgent and significant threat to American security and stability stems not from abroad but from within. The threat is from political divisions that for only the second time in U.S. history have raised questions about the future of American democracy and even the United States itself.”

Exactly.  Y’know … all living things have an expiration date, so to speak.  Nothing lives forever.  Nations are living things, and perhaps the United States, such as we have known it, is about to reach its expiry date.


Tell me why you want the job

When candidates begin throwing their hats in the ring for the 2024 presidential election, the one question I would pose to each and every one is:  Why do you want to be the next president?

Hmmmm … I can hear some of the answers now …

  • To find Hunter Biden’s laptop
  • To ‘make America great again’
  • To put ‘America first’
  • To make this a Christian nation
  • To defeat Democrats

And of course the unspoken answer in many cases would be:  To make this a white, Christian, male-dominated autocracy.

In my mind, the one correct answer would be:  To restore integrity and compassion to our nation, to our government.  To begin closing the gap between right and left, to heal the damage, the divisiveness, the bigotry, and the hatred that exists today.

Who, I wonder, would give that answer?


I leave you with just a few cartoons …

The Final Evidence of a Cult of Hypocrisy

Our friend Roger looks out across the big pond from his home in Wales and this is what he sees …

The World As It Is. Not As It Should Be

Maybe it’s one of those classic features of old age, maybe it comes from reading volumes of military and political histories or maybe it’s ‘Just Because….’  . Anyway, I can accept Misdirection, Distortion and even Downright Lies as part of the whole box of tricks Humanity indulges in. Sometimes I embrace them as a Means To An End, but other times I condemn them, the latter mostly at the personal level, War and Politics being where Ambiguity is another Dimension.

One other failing which is common is Hypocrisy. With thanks to Wikipedia I give you this quote The word hypocrisy comes from the Greek ὑπόκρισις (hypokrisis), which means “jealous”, “play-acting”, “acting out”, “coward” or “dissembling”  . I can also cite British political philosopher David Runciman, “Other kinds of hypocritical deception include claims to knowledge that one lacks, claims to a consistency that one cannot sustain, claims to a loyalty that…

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♫ Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) ♫ (Redux)

I typically save the music posts for last thing before going to bed, which is why sometimes there isn’t one … either I’m too tired or too down to care.  But, most often they help me transition from the dark world of politics and relax me enough to sleep (sometimes, anyway).  I cannot remember how I happened on this one earlier today, but I did and I bookmarked it for ‘later’.  Well, now it’s ‘later’.

This is a song written and performed by the British new wave music duo Eurythmics. The song is the title track of their album of the same name and was released as the fourth and final single from the album in early 1983. The song became their breakthrough hit, establishing the duo worldwide. Its music video helped to propel the song to number 2 on the UK Singles Chart and number 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. It was the first single released by Eurythmics in the U.S.

The Eurythmics are Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart, who were a couple for about three years while they were members of a band called The Tourists. They only wrote one song together in this time (an instrumental), but when The Tourists broke up, they formed Eurythmics as a duo and began writing together. A short time later, Lennox and Stewart broke up.  According to Stewart …

“When we broke up as a couple for some strange reason it was like we were always going to be together, no matter what. We couldn’t really break that spell so we just carried on making music. This causes many problems, yet through all of this we ended up writing a lot of great songs, some were about ‘our’ relationship and some were about our relationship with the world around us. Whatever we wrote always had a dark side and a light side and in a way I describe it as ‘realistic music,’ full of the ups and downs of real relationships and life itself.”

Stewart and Lennox had very little money, and were thrilled when a bank gave them a loan to buy some equipment and make a record. They made the most of their meager budget, using an 8 track recorder and a complicated drum machine Stewart drove 200 miles to procure. They made the most of their 8 tracks, with Stewart’s Roland synthesizer and Lennox’ Kurzweil keyboard added to the drum pattern Stewart created, forming the basis for the song.

The cow, while very eye-catching, posed a logistical problem because most studios can’t accommodate a cow! Eurythmics found a basement studio in London with an elevator big enough to transport the animal. Lennox recalls the shoot with the bovine walking around as being one of the more surreal experiences of her life. Regarding what it all meant, she said in the book I Want My MTV:

“The video is a statement about the different forms of existence. Here are humans, with our dreams of industry and achievement and success. And here is a cow.”

The video is a little weird for my taste, but … I like the music.

Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)
Eurythmics

Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I travel the world
And the seven seas,
Everybody’s looking for something.

Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused.

Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I travel the world
And the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something

Hold your head up
Keep your head up, movin’ on
Hold your head up, movin’ on
Keep your head up, movin’ on
Hold your head up
Keep your head up, movin’ on
Hold your head up, movin’ on
Keep your head up, movin’ on

Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused.

Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I travel the world
And the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something

Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I travel the world
And the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something

Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I travel the world
And the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something

Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
I travel the world
And the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something

Songwriters: Annie Lennox / David Allan Stewart
Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Good People Doing Good Things —

There almost was no ‘good people’ post today, for I am in one of those ‘moods’.  I went in search of, found some, nothing appealed, and I decided to just skip out on doing a post for this morning.  But, as I went about doing other things, it weighed on my mind.  This little invasive creature inside my head … he is my conscience and his name is “Barky” … kept saying, “But … don’t your friends and readers really count on you bringing them good news on Wednesday morn?  Don’t you always say that they need the reminders that all is not lost, that there are good people doing good things?”  I told Barky to shut up a couple of times, but he wouldn’t … that’s how he is, he’s a pain in the royal ass, but I’m so grateful that I have him – my conscience.  And so, at just after midnight, when I had decided to treat myself to a few hours to just read or listen to music, I resumed my search for good people.  Needless to say, I found some, for they are always out there … and here they are!


A meow from within …

Lindsay Russell, a Walmart employee in Morristown, Tennessee, was on her lunch break one day in late July when she heard meowing coming from one of the store’s vending machines.

“I tried all through my lunch and my last break to get her. I tried recruiting co-workers to help me get her, and none of us could do it.”

So, Lindsay called the Morristown Fire Department.  Firefighters responding to the call unplugged the vending machine and removed the back cover, but still could not see the crying kitten. Luckily, the firefighters found another opening where they could see the kitten and coaxed it out. The rescue mission took around 10 minutes.

Lindsay has a big heart, and she gave the kitten a forever home and a new, very apt, name:  Pepsi!  A small thing, I know, but still … how many people would have ignored those plaintive cries and gone on about their day?  Or how many people would have relegated the poor kitty to an animal shelter?  I have a soft spot for anyone who takes extra care of animals … and perhaps tonight more so than usual, for I just learned that my neighbor’s dog died.  His name was Rocky, he was a gigantic mixed breed mutt who loved everyone, and I loved him, so I am saddened to learn of his death.


Sign my yearbook … PLEASE?

You all remember that ‘end of the school year’ ritual where kids go around signing each other’s yearbooks with hand-drawn hearts, silly sayings & remembrances?  A fun time … silly, but fun.  At the end of this school year back in June, 12-year-old Brody Ridder came home with a long face … he had only two signatures, nothing more except one he wrote himself …

Brody’s yearbook — BEFORE

His mother, Cassandra, was heartbroken for her young son.  She said that over the past two years, he has struggled socially and has been repeatedly bullied, and this was just one more instance in the bullying … kids are capable of great cruelty.  Brody told his mum that when he asked his classmates to sign his yearbook …

“They told me no. It made me sad.”

Cassandra shared the above photo of her son’s yearbook note in a private Facebook group for parents at the school. She felt angry and helpless. Her primary objective in posting the photo, Ridder explained, was to encourage parents to talk to their children about bullying. She said she’s aware that some parents prefer to keep such matters private, but she thought that being forthright about it might help prevent her son and others from being targeted further.

Cassandra & Brody

She hoped people would sympathize with her son’s struggle, but she did not anticipate the outpouring of support that swiftly surfaced after her post — particularly from older students at the school. As dozens of compassionate comments poured in, several older students — none of whom previously knew Brody — heard about Ridder’s post from their parents. They stepped up to show their support.

Joanna Cooper, 17, received a text message from her mother with a screenshot of Ridder’s post. Right away, the 11th-grader decided, “I’m going to get people and we’re going to sign his yearbook. No kid deserves to feel like that.”

Cooper remembers being Brody’s age, and the intense pressure she felt to fit in. Having signatures in your yearbook wasn’t only a measure of popularity, she recalled, it also meant simply …

“… knowing that you have friends. Signing someone’s yearbook was all the rage. That people would tell him no and deny him a signature, it just hurt my heart.”

She contacted several friends and they coordinated to visit Brody’s homeroom class together the following day. Little did she know at the time, but many other students were hatching the same plan. When Simone Lightfoot, also an 11th-grader at the school, saw Ridder’s post, her first thought was: “I’ll get some of my friends and we’ll go sign it.” Lightfoot, 17, could relate to Brody’s plight …

“When I was younger, I was bullied a lot like him. If I could do one little thing to help this kid feel a little better, I’d be more than willing to.”

Maya Gregory, an eighth-grader at the school, felt likewise. She, too, was bullied at Brody’s age.

“No one helped me when I was in that situation. So I wanted to be there for him.”

She rounded up her friends, all of whom were eager to give Brody a confidence boost. The impromptu initiative spread throughout the school, and on May 25, the day after the yearbooks were distributed, a swarm of older students filed into Brody’s sixth-grade classroom, ready to sign his yearbook.

Although he felt shy at first, “it made me feel better,” said Brody, adding that he collected more than 100 signatures and messages of support in his yearbook that day. He also got some phone numbers and a gift bag.  Said Joanna Cooper …

“Just seeing him light up, it felt really good. It was a small thing, but it made him so happy.”

Brody’s yearbook – AFTER

Even actor Paul Rudd reached out to Brody after learning the boy was being alienated at his middle school.  Rudd, who plays Ant-Man in the Avengers franchise, turns out to be the young boy’s favorite superhero. When Rudd caught wind of what had happened, the actor reached out to the boy and his family and arranged a FaceTime call, following it up with a handwritten note and a signed Ant-Man helmet.

Sometimes maybe all it takes is for people to know when there’s a problem.  Sometimes maybe people are just waiting to see where they’re needed before they step up to the plate.  Maybe sometimes there’s a little bit of ‘good people’ in all of us.  Maybe.


And one more ‘good people’, or should I say ‘good kitty’ … critters can be ‘good people’ too, y’know?  This is one I saw back in April, bookmarked, and forgot to use, but tonight it seems apt as I have two kitties vying for my lap while I try to balance my computer on one knee!

Tammy York of Chattanooga, Tennessee, was watching movies and had fallen asleep (happens to the best of us, yes?).  Turns out that Tammy had candles burning and the wax had begun to drip on the carpet that started a fire.

“I remember the cat, Mandy, making strange noises and tugging on my nightgown. I never woke up. Then she pounced on my chest and slapped me in the face with her paws. I immediately woke up and began choking due to the heavy smoke in my house! Myself and Mandy were able to escape unharmed.”

On April 15th, the Highway 58 Volunteer Fire Department in Chattanooga presented a plaque Friday to Mandy the cat, whose bravery saved Tammy York’s life.

A Bright Spot … Maybe?

Could you use a little ray of hope for the upcoming November mid-term elections?  I think we all could.  Dan Pfeiffer was a senior advisor to President Barack Obama for a number of years, and is the author of three books about politics in this new, uncharted “Maga Era”.  His newsletter on Substack is called The Message Box and today’s was an astute assessment of why there is hope for the Democratic Party to maintain a majority in the House and Senate after the mid-terms.  Read on …


Why Dems Could Win This Fall

An uncharacteristically optimistic take on how recent events have upended the midterms

Dan Pfeiffer

Optimism does not come naturally to me. If I had a family crest, “Prepare for the worst, be surprised by the best” would be the motto emblazoned on it. I have tried to avoid telling people what they want to hear about a high stakes midterm election in this absolutely miserable political environment. Up until recently, Democrats were stuck in a doom loop.. That defeatism threatened to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. What activist, donor, or voter wants to sign up for a suicide mission? And to be honest, it’s been hard to make a reasonable, fact-based case that Democrats could upend the historical trends. However, over the last few weeks, the worm has turned. Democrats now have a legitimate shot to outpace expectations dramatically.

I am not devolving into a sunny guy. This is not a prediction. It is not an admonition against bedwetting. I think the odds are still against Democrats. We have an eternity till Election Day. The future looked quite dire three weeks ago, and may look just as dire in three weeks. But as we sit here today, one can make a credible bull case for Democrats.

Reason 1 for Optimism: Success

All political analysis should begin with the fact that America has a growing, diverse, pro-truth, pro-democracy, anti-MAGA majority. Now, of course, this majority is not evenly distributed geographically, which is why the GOP often has an advantage in the Senate and Electoral College. But the bulk of the races this cycle will be conducted in states Joe Biden won in 2020. Simply reconstructing the Biden coalition in composition and turnout will be sufficient to win. Our major problem to date has been disillusion and disappointment among our base and the Independent voters who favor Biden. Less than a month ago, Democrats seemed headed for a legislative disaster. During this period, Jonathan Chait wrote in New York Magazine:

By realistic or even minimal standards of performance, this two-year term, almost certain to be the last period of Democratic-controlled government for the foreseeable future, has been a failure. The ramifications of this defeat — political, economic, and ecological — will reverberate.

And then everything changed.

In rapid succession, Democrats passed legislation on guns, microchips, veterans’ benefits, and the historic Inflation Reduction Act. Democrats now have reasons to be happy, and Independents have reasons to reconsider supporting Republicans. More specifically, the climate change provisions are an opportunity to re-engage young voters. Last week, after the Manchin-Schumer deal was announced, I wrote:

No group of our core Democratic constituency has become more disillusioned or disengaged than younger voters. Passing the most ambitious climate change bill in history creates an opportunity to re-engage this group. People won’t vote this time if they think their last vote didn’t matter. Passing a serious climate change package is proof that every door knocked, text sent, and vote cast in 2020 mattered a whole helluva lot.

Democrats now have a powerful case to convince their voters to keep them in the majority.

Reason 2: Improving Political Environment

Despite this newsletter and other strategy, tactics, and message-focused sources, the biggest factors in political success are often far outside the control of the candidates and campaign operatives. The driving force in this election is inflation — and specifically, the price of gas and groceries. In most polling, 80 to 90 percent of voters listed inflation as a top concern. Most gave Biden (and Democrats more broadly) abysmal marks for their handling of the issue. As gas prices went up, President Biden’s approval rating went down. While the near-term picture on inflation is cloudy, gas prices have been steadily declining for more than a month.

Costs are still elevated, and families still feel financial pressure, but the trajectory is good. The Biden Administration continues their valiant efforts to focus the public’s attention on the steady decline. Voters are historically forward-looking. They are willing to give politicians credit for progress even if the present is still suboptimal. If gas prices continue to drop, it’s more likely that the electorate will give the Democrats credit for the historic number of jobs created since Biden took office.

Reason 3: Backlash Towards GOP Policies

Presidents usually get shellacked in their first midterm. Reagan, Bush #41, Clinton, Obama, and Trump all lost many seats. The primary theory for this occurrence is called the “Thermostatic Model,” which Andrew Prokop described in Vox as follows:

This theory holds that the public functions essentially like a thermostat, kicking in when it’s either too hot or too cold to restore the preferred temperature. Voters could conclude things are too conservative under a Republican regime and elect a new Democratic president. But then they could quickly conclude things have become too liberal, and swing back toward Republicans in the midterms. Then after Republicans regain some power, perhaps opinion will swing back toward Democrats and get the president reelected. (The Obama and Clinton presidencies both followed this trajectory.)

Under this theory, the Republican Wave of 2010 was a response to large-scale Obama initiatives like the stimulus plan and Obamacare. Both of these bills were underwater in the Fall of 2010. Obama’s numbers bounced back when the public saw the dangerous extremism of the new Republican majority.

Like every other recent president, Joe Biden’s numbers took a big hit. His approval rating is now at or below where Donald Trump’s was at the same time. This is not great. Trump is sort of the “Mendoza Line” for Presidents. What’s unique about Biden’s political challenges is that they are not a response to his policy agenda. Every one of his major initiatives was popular when it passed and remains so today. The initial polling on the Inflation Reduction Act and CHIPS bills show broad, bipartisan support. To the extent policy backlash exists in this election, it’s a response to the extremist policy agenda of MAGA Republicans embodied by the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Dobbs case. A Supreme Court rigged by Republicans ripping a constitutional right from millions of Americans combined with a series of Orwellian Republican laws like book bans have put the GOP on defense. The public is concerned about overreach from Republicans, not Democrats. We saw the power of abortion as an issue in the recent Kansas referendum. The anti-abortion side lost by double digits in a state Trump won by 15 points. Most notably, 100,000 Independents who could not vote in the party primaries turned out to vote on the abortion initiative.

Reason 4: Candidate Quality

With the help of Donald Trump, Republicans nominated a uniquely vulnerable slate of candidates. This group of criminal, incompetent carnival barkers give Democrats a slight advantage in states they would lose under more normal circumstances. The Republican gubernatorial nominees in Pennsylvania and Michigan were active parts of the insurrection. The Republican nominee for Attorney General in Arizona is an actual member of the Oath Keepers — a Right Wing terror group. Herschel Walker’s Georgia Senate campaign has been one disaster after another. This recent (and devastating) ad shows Walker’s unique vulnerability:

Dr. Oz has flopped so badly that the Republican Party is exploring ways to replace him on the Pennsylvania ballot. J.D. Vance in Ohio is such an obvious fraud that he is in danger of losing Ohio — a state Trump won by more than 10 points twice. I could go on and on, but you get the point. Being a great candidate is rarely enough to win in a tough year, but a bad candidate can lose in the best year.

So You’re Saying There’s a Chance…?

Look, we have miles to travel between now and Election Day. The political environment changed dramatically once and could change again. To that point, the FBI raided Mar-A-Lago in the three hours since I finished the last draft of this piece.

If gas prices tick back up or President Biden’s approval ratings don’t rise with his fortunes, Dems could still be in heaps of trouble. The House is A LOT tougher than the Senate, but this election is now winnable if, and only if, we all dig in and double down on the hard work that delivered us the House, Senate, and White House in the last two elections.

♫ Olivia Newton-John … Gone But Not Forgotten ♫

Yesterday the world received the sad news that singer Olivia Newton-John had died at age 73.  A cause of death was not given, but Newton-John was diagnosed with breast cancer that surfaced for a third time in 2017.  Her Grease costar and hit duet partner John Travolta was quick to weigh in with a tribute on social media …

“My dearest Olivia, you made all of our lives so much better. Your impact was incredible. I love you so much. We will see you down the road and we will all be together again. Yours from the moment I saw you and forever! Your Danny, your John!”

While I liked much of her music, I didn’t know a whole lot about her, so I went in search of this evening.

From Songfacts, I learned …

Olivia Newton-John was born in 1948 in Cambridge, England, but emigrated with her family to Australia as a child. Her maternal grandfather was German physicist Max Born, who won the Nobel Prize in 1954 for his work with Quantum Mechanics.

She competed on the Australian TV show Sing, Sing, Sing and won a trip to Great Britain, where she formed a duo with Pat Carroll (the future wife of John Farrar, who would become Olivia’s regular producer and songwriter). In the ’80s, the pair reunited to open Koala Blue, a chain of women’s clothing boutiques.

Long before the fantasy musical Xanadu notoriously flopped, she starred in another musical sci-fi stinker, Toomorrow (1970). Producer Don Kirshner was hoping to follow-up his success with The Monkees with the title group fronted by Olivia. It didn’t work.

Despite not liking the song at all, her first hit was a cover of Bob Dylan’s If Not For You, using an arrangement by George Harrison. It topped the Adult Contemporary chart and peaked at #25 on the pop chart.

Her first #1 pop hit was 1974’s I Honestly Love You. She found even greater success in the Adult Contemporary market, where she landed 10 chart-toppers and several more in the Top 10 throughout her career.

She nearly turned down the role of Sandy in Grease because, at 29, she worried she couldn’t pull off playing a teenager (she’s always looked younger than her age, but not that young). Once she met John Travolta, however, their chemistry was instantaneous, and she signed on immediately.

Her country-pop ballads were hits on the country chart, but a 1974 Grammy win for Best Female Country Vocal Performance (Let Me Be There), coupled with a CMA win for Female Vocalist of the Year, soured Nashville veterans who viewed her as an interloper who threatened the purity of the genre. Led by George Jones, several CMA members quit and formed the short-lived Association of Country Entertainers to “preserve the identity of country music as a separate and distinct form of entertainment.”

She married Xanadu costar Matt Lattanzi in 1984, and gave birth to her only child, daughter Chloe, two years later. She and Lattanzi divorced in 1995.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and stayed in remission until 2017, when she announced the cancer had returned and metastasized to her lower back.

Due to a zipper breaking, Olivia Newton-John had to be sewn into the trousers she wears in the last carnival scene of Grease.

And from an article in Variety, I found out …

Chart historian Joel Whitburn ranked the warm-voiced Australia-bred singer as the No. 1 female soloist of the ‘70s. Her nine top-10 pop singles of the decade included three chart-topping 45s; the biggest of them, “You’re the One That I Want,” a duet with Travolta drawn from the smash 1978 soundtrack of the musical “Grease,” spent nearly six months on the U.S. lists.

Originally slotted as a country vocalist, she quickly conquered the pop charts with a succession of well-scrubbed tunes. Though the hits dried up in the early ‘90s, she remained a cherished performer into the new millennium, with a durable fan base sustained by the continuing popularity of “Grease” as a cable TV staple and sing-along theatrical screenings.

In recent years, she spoke about her seemingly upbeat attitude even as the cancer returned after she had been diagnoses as cancer-free. “I’m happy. I’m lucky. I’m grateful. I have much to live for. And I intend to keep on living it,” she told Gayle King in an interview for “CBS This Morning” conducted at her California ranch in 2019. “‘Why me’ has never been a part of it.”

But you probably know most of this, and if not, you can find it easily enough.  For tonight, let’s sit back and listen to some of her tunes.

Let’s start with her biggest #1 hit …
And a few of my favourites …
While I’m saddened to learn of her death, I enjoyed doing this brief tribute post to her, enjoyed listening once again to some ‘oldies but goodies’.  R.I.P. Ms. Olivia Newton-John.