Good People Doing Good Things — Donnel Baird

Today’s good people is a bit different than the ones I usually write about on Wednesday mornings.  He didn’t pull a child from in front of an oncoming train, nor renovate an elderly person’s home for free, but what he has done will have a lasting positive impact on the lives of potentially thousands of people and … at the same time, he is helping the environment.  I am posting today’s ‘Good People’ directly from The Washington Post, for I could not possibly have done any better job in writing about this good person, Donnel Baird.

Donnel Baird kept his coat on while he toured the aging sanctuary. His breath froze on his face mask as he took in the peeling plaster, the dusty basement, the failing boiler that never seemed able to make Bright Light Baptist Church warm.

But when he peered into the kitchen, the shiver he felt was one of recognition. Every burner on the stove was lit. The oven door was open, its temperature set on high.

It was exactly how Baird’s family tried to heat his childhood home more than three decades earlier, in another Brooklyn building with a dysfunctional HVAC system. The landlord wouldn’t address the problem, and the family couldn’t afford to move. So they stayed, the need to keep their children warm outweighing the danger of toxic fumes and open flames.

Baird, 40, has made it his life’s work to ensure other people don’t have to make that choice.

That’s why he launched BlocPower. Since its inception in 2012, his Brooklyn-based start-up has brought clean energy to more than 1,100 low-income buildings across the New York area. Baird’s business plan is simple: the company replaces heating and cooling systems that run on fossil fuels with greener, more efficient alternatives such as electric heat pumps and solar panels. That reduces the pollution driving climate change while also making indoor air healthier. The gains in efficiency generate enough savings to lower costs for property owners and deliver a profit to BlocPower investors. And the renovations create jobs and increase property values, building wealth in neighborhoods that have long been marginalized.

After collecting more than $60 million in his latest round of fundraising, Baird is eyeing an expansion to dozens more cities, including Philadelphia; Milwaukee; Oakland, Calif. He is not shy about his ambitions. Working building by building, block by block, he aims to address injustice and help save the planet.

An activist grows in Brooklyn

The foundations for BlocPower were laid during Baird’s childhood in Bedford-Stuyvesant, a Brooklyn neighborhood just a few miles from Bright Light. It was a community with a spirit of civil rights activism — the center of school integration protests; the home district of Rep. Shirley Chisholm, the first woman and African American to seek a major party’s presidential nomination in 1972. But the area had also been depleted by predatory real estate practices and ravaged by the crack epidemic.

By the 1980s, when Baird’s parents emigrated from Guyana, the neighborhood was at a nadir. Buildings were in disrepair, jobs were hard to come by, tensions with police were high. As an elementary-schooler, Baird witnessed a fistfight escalate into a deadly shooting. That taught him about desperation, he says; when someone pulls the trigger, it’s because their back is already against the wall.

Baird’s family eventually moved to Atlanta, where Baird got scholarships to attend a private high school and then Duke University. Surrounded by Whiteness, wealth and privilege, “I really started to see the structural elements of racism in America,” Baird said.

Then police in the Bronx killed an unarmed Black man named Amadou Diallo, firing 41 shots at him. The immigrant from Guinea was only a few years older than Baird and had been standing in front of his apartment building when he was killed.

Baird sank into a deep depression. He might have stayed there if he hadn’t wound up in a course at Duke about social movements taught by historian Larry Goodwyn. He became close with the professor, who called the struggling sophomore into his office one day and told him, Baird recalled, to “get my s— together.”

“He said, ‘You’re so smart, there’s no excuse for you not to figure out how to plug in and get active on the issue of race,” Baird said.

In a classmate, Mariana Arcaya, Baird found the connection he needed. A fellow New Yorker and also a child of immigrants, she bonded with Baird over their shared outrage about the world’s injustices. She talked him into driving nine hours to protest at a 2002 meeting of the World Economic Forum in New York. And when former vice president Al Gore’s climate-change documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” came out in 2006, Arcaya forced Baird to watch it with her — twice.

“She sat me down and was like, ‘This is incredibly important,’ ” Baird said. “None of the other stuff you care about will matter unless you figure out how to solve it.”

After graduation, Baird moved back to New York to work as a community organizer, then got a job partnering with the Department of Energy to retrofit low-income houses so that they used less energy and cost less to heat.

Roughly a third of U.S. households have trouble paying energy bills, according to the Energy Information Administration. Wealth disparities and decades of racist housing policies mean that Black and Latino Americans are disproportionately likely to live in homes with broken or inefficient HVAC equipment that is more expensive to operate.

This energy inequality is a public health crisis: aging gas and oil furnaces — as well as the stoves and ovens used to supplement them — can fill homes with dangerous pollutants. A recent MIT study found that ozone and lung-irritating particles from buildings are the nation’s biggest cause of premature death from air pollution. In the neighborhood around Bright Light, where 67 percent of rented homes suffer from maintenance defects, children are hospitalized for severe asthma at twice the citywide rate.

It’s also an environmental crisis. The energy needed to heat, cool and operate buildings produces almost a third of the United States’ planet-warming emissions.

Working on buildings “brought all the themes of my life together,” Baird said. “The racial justice stuff, the economic justice, the climate stuff.”

Yet he kept running into logistical problems. The federal retrofitting process felt too small and too slow. Renovations would uncover additional complications the policy wasn’t designed to fix.

If working for the government wasn’t the solution, he would just have to find another way.

Building a business

When in 2011 Baird announced he was enrolling at the business school at Columbia University, Arcaya was stunned. Where was the man who’d driven through the night to protest billionaires meeting at the World Economic Forum? What had happened to fighting inequality and changing systems and saving the world?

Don’t worry, Baird told his best friend. He was still going to do all that. He had a plan.

He knew the tools existed to make buildings green, healthy and efficient. Replacing oil and gas furnaces with electric appliances such as heat pumps — which pull air from the outdoors and warm it over an evaporator coil — dramatically lowered heating bills and reduced carbon emissions. Rooftop solar panels provided cheap, clean energy to buildings, and whatever wasn’t used could be sold back into the grid. Smart thermostats, light sensors and other forms of artificial intelligence made the new equipment even more cost-effective.

But high upfront costs meant those tools were out of reach for people in neighborhoods like Bed-Stuy, even though they saved money in the long run.

This was an investment opportunity waiting to be seized.

Baird began to envision a company that could raise huge amounts of capital and use it to finance green retrofits in low-income buildings. Investors would be paid back out of a portion of the utility bill savings. Baird would make the venture profitable by embracing technology and seeking out partnerships every step of the way.

He would audit families’ energy use to determine the most efficient way to meet their needs and build software that could calculate the best way to engineer and finance the project. He would partner with the high-tech architecture firms that small homeowners usually couldn’t afford, using tools such as 3-D scans and digital models to bring down construction costs. He would forge agreements with utilities and cities that would enable him to earn even more money by helping those institutions meet their emissions reduction goals. And he would provide job training to residents in the communities he served, to ensure that the benefits of each project lasted long after the work was complete.

BlocPower launched while Baird was still a student at Columbia. He skipped one of his final business school exams to give a presentation at the White House. It turned out to be the right decision; he walked away with a $2 million contract from the Energy Department.

Yet when Baird went to fundraise, he felt “like a fish out of water” in the mostly White, wealthy worlds of Wall Street and Silicon Valley. Prospective funders told him that low-income buildings were seen as bad investments. The unspoken message seemed to be that he was seen as a bad investment.

But Baird is nothing if not tenacious; a Black man in America has to be, he said. So he studied the systems that had excluded people like him and figured out how to work within them. He went to the banks that had denied loans to Black people and the corporations that profited from fossil fuels and used their wealth to create change.

It was hard. But in 2015, when his son Nash was born, he got a powerful new motivation to keep trying.

“I have to find a way in the real world to come up with a plan that is going to preserve the life chances for myself and my children and my grandchildren,” Baird said.

So Baird learned to call community centers “small and medium enterprise buildings” and not to wear a suit to meetings in California. He found many of the skills he learned as a community organizer translated into the business world. He also had a “secret weapon” — an understanding of what it takes to create change.

Ultimately, Baird garnered millions from investment funds and venture capitalists. A crowdfunding campaign launched this month has already raised $200,000.

“It’s not often you find someone with the skills, the ambition and just the fortitude to take all these things on,” said Margaret Anadu, chair of the Urban Investment Group at Goldman Sachs and one of Baird’s early backers. “The fact that he can wrap all of that up into an investment opportunity that is also commercial and profitable and scalable — it’s just a level of innovation that is pretty unique.”

“People talk about a win-win,” she added. “And with Donnel, it’s a win-win-win-win-win.”

The foundations for change

Not long after his initial visit to Bright Light, Baird got a frantic call from Eddie Karim, the church’s pastor. The boiler had finally broken — right in the middle of the snowiest month New York had seen in years.

Baird authorized an emergency heat pump installation for the church, and a few days later, Karim watched as a work crew fanned out across the building.

Luke Ericson and Devin Conroy, who use high-tech construction tools, descended into the boiler room.

“Whoa,” Ericson said.

An ancient 1,300-gallon oil tank filled the first room. Beyond it, a rusty boiler that looked to be 50 years old — far exceeding the state-recommended lifetime of about 15 years.

“Yeah,” said Conroy. “It’s not very ideal.”

But he’d seen it before. More than 70 percent of buildings in the city still run on oil- and gas-powered boilers, many of them in equally bad condition.

And compared with the rest of the work that needed to be done on the century-old structure, this was an easy fix. The oil tank could be scrapped and the boiler retrofitted with electric heat pumps, which would slash the amount of energy needed to heat the three-story building. If New York switched its grid to renewable energy sources, Bright Light’s heat would be completely green — no carbon emissions at all.

Upstairs, Karim watched Ericson take a 3-D scan of the sanctuary, resplendent even in disrepair. Intricate mosaics decorate the floors; LED lightbulbs — Karim’s first step toward sustainability — gleam in the chandeliers.

“It’s special, isn’t it?” Karim asked. Once a synagogue serving the neighborhood’s Jewish immigrant community, it became a Baptist church when the area’s demographics shifted. Residents have worshiped in the space for exactly 100 years.

Bright Light is a beloved institution in Brownsville, one of Brooklyn’s poorest neighborhoods: It operates a day care and a senior citizens program and runs food drives and vaccine information sessions during the covid-19 pandemic.

But the congregation has dwindled, and the church suffers from the same lack of resources that has constrained the rest of the community. “The main problem now is decay,” Karim said. “It sounds bad, but it’s what happens when people feel defeated.”

That’s why he rebuffs suggestions that he sell the building and relocate somewhere easier to maintain. He wants to show that the problems are fixable, that an old and struggling structure can have a sustainable future. The boiler replacement alone is expected to save Bright Light about 20 percent on its utility bills and reduce emissions 70 percent.

“My heart’s desire is to get rid of fossil fuels,” he said. “To be able to be an example to the community.”

He’s come to embrace Baird’s vision of what Bright Light could be, after the heat pumps are humming and the thermostats are set and the solar panels are soaking up sunshine. An antenna atop the building will measure weather conditions and send signals to the heating system to optimize its energy use. Batteries in the basement will store energy and sell excess back to the grid. Schoolkids and community groups will gather in the church for its cool air and WiFi. The church that has long served as an anchor for Brownsville will also become a springboard for change.

“It’s such a concrete example of what it would look like to bring about climate justice,” said Arcaya, who is now a professor of urban planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

A Bronx family is now saving 15 percent on their energy bill. A White Plains church has cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent and is earning new income hosting summer weddings now that it has an effective air-conditioning system.

If he closes his eyes, Baird can envision Brooklyn in 2030. Every building is electric, and asthma rates are low. Rooftop solar panels connect homes to a neighborhood microgrid, which is run by a local energy cooperative, which is owned by residents. People earn extra income by selling their carbon savings as credits to big industries struggling to reduce their own emissions.

“We can create and build a new industry in these neighborhoods,” Baird said. “And they can own it and control it and build wealth by saving the planet.”

Facebook’s ban on the Former Guy Must Remain

Tomorrow, Facebook will announce whether the former guy will be allowed back on. If he is, I will be closing my Facebook account on that same day, for it would show me the lack of values, lack of integrity of that outlet. Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters weighs in on the topic, and I am 100% in agreement with him. Thanks, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

Here’s hoping the Facebook Oversight Board (FOB) does the right thing tomorrow and keeps the indefinite ban on the disgraced former president. American democracy eagerly awaits the decision.

For those of you who might not know it, Facebook created the Board to weigh in on certain moderation decisions made by the company and make sure that those decisions were “made according to its stated values.” Whatever decision they reach tomorrow cannot be overruled – even by Zuckerburg himself.

The Former Guy is seeking reinstatement of his Facebook and Instagram accounts. Currently, his accounts on YouTube, Snapchat, and Twitter remain suspended. All social media giants responded when the mob of thugs tried to overthrow our government on January 6. The Former Guy’s reprehensible promulgation of the Big Lie that the election was stolen from him directly resulted in the events of that day.

The media companies did the right thing then…

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Tainted Love Ballots

The recount of votes from the 2020 election being done in Arizona is a joke, albeit not a very funny one. It is a sham, an illegitimate attempt to further undermine our voices, our votes. It is being done by conspiracy theorists and at least one person who participated in the January 6th attack on our Congress in order to install an authoritarian regime. What the hell has this nation become? Clay Jones has done a good editorial + cartoon on the subject … far better than I could have done!



“Some very interesting things are happening in Arizona.” That’s the most honest thing Donald Trump has said in a long time.

Saying his goodbyes at Mar-a-Lago to whoever might actually give a flying shit before he leaves his summer compound for his New Jersey compound (the illegal immigrants he’s hired are probably pretty psyched to watch him waddle out of there), Donald Trump spoke as if a biased, partisan, and fraudulent recount conducted by Qanon fucks and MAGA terrorists would somehow reinsert him into the White House.

President Joe Biden won Arizona. Democrat Mark Kelly also won the United States Senate seat in Arizona, joining his party colleague, Kyrsten Sinema. Republicans won a fight to recount ballots in Maricopa County despite it being six months after the election. Republicans can not overturn the results in Arizona and even if they did, it wouldn’t overturn the results of the national election…

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♫ What A Fool Believes ♫

Last week, I rather got into a Bryan Adams ‘mode’ and ended up playing three of his.  Then, I played one by the Doobie Brothers, which led to another, and in the course of doing the research for that ‘another’, I came across this one which may well be my favourite by the Doobie Brothers.  No, I don’t plan these things, but … when you’re on a roll, having a good time, chillin’ to the tunes … why not?

Kenny Loggins co-wrote this one with the Doobie Brothers’ lead singer at the time, Michael McDonald.  Loggins put his version on his album Nightwatch, which was released in July 1978, five months before The Doobies included it on their Minute by Minute album. Loggins’ version was never released as a single, but The Doobie Brothers took it to #1 in the US in April 1979.  Michael McDonald wrote the original version of this song. He presented a fragment of it to Templeman, who encouraged him to continue working on it. Kenny Loggins came in when McDonald got stuck on the bridge of the song. Bassist Tiran Porter had suggested Loggins to McDonald because the two were good friends.

The story goes that while he was waiting for Loggins to arrive at his home, McDonald played some of the songs that were “in progress” and asked his sister Maureen which she thought was best. As Loggins was getting out of his car, he heard McDonald playing a fragment of this. According to Loggins, he heard about three-quarters of the verse’s melody (no lyrics), but McDonald stopped at the bridge. Loggins’ mind continued without a break… and the song’s bridge was born. Then Loggins knocked on the door, introduced himself to McDonald, and demonstrated the bridge that he devised before the two of them could sit down. The lyrics were finished over the telephone the next day.

Now, I am a huge Kenny Loggins fan, and I will offer you both the Doobie Brothers version and Kenny Loggins’, but in this case, I have to say that I prefer the Doobie Brothers offering.

This was the band’s second U.S. #1, after “Black Water.” The Doobie Brothers took on a different sound when they lost lead singer Tom Johnston due to illness in the mid-’70s. Instead of the album rock they were known for, they had more of a soft rock sound with Michael McDonald as lead singer.

This won Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. The album won a Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus.  The song hit #1 in both the U.S. and Canada, and #31 in the UK.

What a Fool Believes
The Doobie Brothers / Kenny Loggins

He came from somewhere back in her long ago
The sentimental fool don’t see
Trying hard to recreate what had yet to be created
Once in her life, she musters a smile for his nostalgic tale
Never coming near what he wanted to say
Only to realize it never really was

She had a place in his life
He never made her think twice
As he rises to her apology
Anybody else would surely know
He’s watching her go

But a fool believes he sees
The wise man has the power to reason away
What seems to be
Is always better than nothing
And nothing at all keeps sending him

Somewhere back in her long ago
Where he can still believe there’s a place in her life
Someday, somewhere, she will return

She had a place in his life
He never made her think twice
As he rises to her apology
Anybody else would surely know
He’s watching her go

But a fool believes he sees
The wise man has the power to reason away
What seems to be (if love can come and love can go, then why can’t love return once more?)
Is always better than nothing
(Who got the power?)
There’s nothing at all (oh, now)
But a fool believes he sees (I believe she’s never gone away)
The wise man has the power
To reason away (to reason away)
What seems to be (oh, if love can come and love can go, oh, mama)
Is always better than nothing (better than nothing)
And nothing at all (oh, I believe)

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Kenny Loggins / Michael McDonald
What a Fool Believes lyrics © Gnossos Music / Milk Money Music, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

What The GOP Looks Like In The 21st Century

Is there a single member of the former guy’s inner circle who isn’t in deep legal doo-doo?  First, there’s Giuliani whose home and office were raided by the FBI last week and who is in more than one pot of boiling water.  Then there’s Jared Kusher whose apartment company has been charged with repeatedly violating state consumer protection laws by collecting debts without required licenses, charging tenants improper fees and misrepresenting the condition of rental units.  Former Attorney General William Barr is being investigated for a possible conflict of interest in the case against heavy-equipment manufacturer Caterpillar Inc., and the list goes on.  Hopefully, at the end of the day, charges and indictments come down against the former guy himself, for he is undoubtedly at the helm of most of these issues.  It is my fondest hope to see the former guy in an orange jumpsuit and behind bars for the rest of his life.

And yet, the GOP goes on, producing more, nastier criminal types like Kevin McCarthy, Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Margie Greene, Matt Gaetz and more.  In my mind, I can almost hear Richard Nixon loudly asserting that, “I am not a crook!”  In truth, Nixon was no more a crook than some 90% of today’s GOP … but he paid the price, while today’s lot are applauded.  The difference?  Probably the likes of Fox ‘News’, the New York Post, and other Murdoch-owned outlets that wouldn’t recognize truth if it hit them in the patootie, and the influence of social media.  Compared to Nixon in 1973, today’s liars and crooks have nearly unlimited coverage ‘round the clock … Twitter, Fox, Newsmax, Facebook … they are all complicit in giving voice to the lies, to giving the crooks a megaphone with which to make their meritless case.  To be a star on Twitter or Facebook, you needn’t be honest or intelligent … you only need to have a huge number of followers, which you can get by being off-the-wall outrageous.  Integrity?  Not necessary.  Honesty?  Not a requisite.

You’ll hear, from many on all sides of the fence, that “both sides do it”.  No, my friends.  While the Democrats are not beyond party loyalty, and while no doubt they tell a lie or two here and there, they are in no way the accomplished Pinocchios that today’s GOP is home to.  One single example:  The GOP and its right-wing media arm have put out the completely baseless lie that Joe Biden is “coming to take your beef burger”!  Biden has never, to the best of my knowledge, even mentioned cutting beef consumption, and he’s a smart enough man to know he’d find his head on the chopping block if he did.  Now personally … my family and I eat beef maybe once a month, so I really don’t care if the powers that be stop slaughtering cows, but that’s just me.

But you’ll hear it on Fox, you’ll hear it out of the mouths of the Republican fools … and there is not a single element of basis in fact for that outright lie.  It bears as much merit as if the Democrats put out the lie that Republicans are going to force every person over the age of 18 to own a gun.  But see, we don’t need to make up lies about the Republicans, for they make themselves look bad every day without our help!  They think we sit around trying to find ways to make them look like idiots, but they’ve done that job for us!

But let us talk about substance … if the Republicans don’t like President Biden’s ideas, why don’t they come up with alternate policy proposals, meet at the table, and give a little, take a little, ending with a compromise that benefits the nation?  Why don’t they propose ways to ensure that everyone, regardless of employment, gender, ethnicity, or religion has affordable health care?  Why don’t they give us their ideas for how to repair the damage done to the Earth’s environment by humans?  Why don’t they propose ways to meet the challenges that face us in the 21st century?  Why?  Because they have none, because they are too busy being the party of racism, of negativity, of conspiracy theories, to actually propose meaningful, useful, legislation.  Does anybody doubt that they have spent more time promoting the Big Lie than thinking about how to help the people of this nation?

Republican Representative Anthony Gonzalez, when asked about the beating of Representative Liz Cheney by other Republicans because she stood by her beliefs in voting to impeach the former guy, replied …

“If a prerequisite for leading our conference is continuing to lie to our voters, then Liz is not the best fit. Liz isn’t going to lie to people. Liz is going to say what she believes. She’s going to stand on principle. And if that’s going to be distracting for folks, she’s not the best fit. I wish that weren’t the case.”

And that, folks, sums it up in a nutshell … if you have a conscience, if you are honest and a person of integrity, then you are “not the best fit” for today’s Republican Party.  Need I say more?

The Week’s Best Cartoons 5/1

For our viewing pleasure this afternoon, our friend TokyoSand has waded through the internet in search of the best, most relevant editorial cartoons from last week.  Topics include President Biden’s speech last Wednesday night, Rudy Giuliani’s legal woes, Republican lies, the vaccine, and more.  Thank you, TS!

See All The ‘Toons!

♫ Black Water ♫

Last week I reduxed a song by the Doobie Brothers, Listen to the Music, and our friend Clive mentioned two others that were his favourites by the band:  China Grove and Black Water.  Well, China Grove was one that I had never heard before, and when I listened it didn’t exactly make me want to jump up and dance.  But Black Water was another story altogether … I recognized it immediately, and what’s more … I like it!  And so …

Patrick Simmons, who is the group’s guitarist, wrote this song and sang lead. It has the Louisiana swamp rock feel of earlier Doobie Brothers songs like Toulouse Street and Black Eyed Cajun Woman.  The song is about the Mississippi River, with lyrics likely inspired by Mark Twain’s books Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer, which tell stories about rafting down the river.

A personal aside … while I have heard this song many, many times and always liked it, I must admit that I always thought they were singing, “Hold that water …”  Ah, the joys of being hearing-impaired!

Black Water wasn’t seen as having hit potential, so it was relegated to the B-side of Another Park, Another Sunday in March 1974. Black Water wasn’t issued as an A-side until November, and it didn’t reach #1 until March 15, 1975.

In discussing how the song became an unlikely hit, says Tom Johnston, the Doobie Brothers frontman …

“That’s a story that could have happened back then, but never would ever ever happen now: Roanoke, Virginia picked that tune up and started playing it in heavy rotation, and somebody in Minneapolis who I guess knew somebody in Roanoke heard the song and decided to follow suit, and it ended up becoming our first #1 single. That was Pat’s first single. And oddly enough, it was never looked at as a single by the record company.

I remember when I first heard it was #1, we were in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and we were just getting ready to go on stage, and then I guess Bruce [their manager Bruce Cohn] must have told us. I think we were already aware of the fact that it was getting airplay, but nobody was really paying a lot of attention. And then all of a sudden it became #1 and we were paying attention. I remember I went in and congratulated Pat backstage, and we’ve been playing it ever since.”

Lead singer Tom Johnston became severely ill on the eve of a major tour beginning in Memphis, Tennessee in 1975, which led to the group replacing him with Michael McDonald, who became the lead singer of the band. Johnston was restored to fitness in 1976 and briefly back in the band, although he was sidelined once again in the fall due to exhaustion.  Michael McDonald remained with the band until their split in 1982 (they reunited in 1987, with Johnston).

Released in 1974, this hit #1 in the U.S., #11 in Canada, but did not chart in the UK.  Still, since our friend Clive knows of it and likes it, I must assume it did receive airtime in the UK.

Tonight, I have what I hope will be a treat for you.  I’m playing the original, official version and also one made within the past year, a ‘pandemic’ version where the members of the band all tuned in virtually and played their parts!  Needless to say, they are a bit older now, and of course the quality doesn’t match the original, but I thought it was fun anyway.

Black Water
The Doobie Brothers

Well, I built me a raft and she’s ready for floatin’
Ol’ Mississippi, she’s callin’ my name
Catfish are jumpin’, that paddle wheel thumpin’
Black water keeps rollin’ on past just the same

Old black water, keep on rollin’
Mississippi moon, won’t you keep on shinin’ on me?
Old black water, keep on rollin’
Mississippi moon, won’t you keep on shinin’ on me?
Old black water, keep on rollin’
Mississippi moon, won’t you keep on shinin’ on me?

Yeah, keep on shinin’ your light
Gonna make everything
Pretty mama, gonna make everything all right
And I ain’t got no worries
‘Cause I ain’t in no hurry at all

Well, if it rains, I don’t care
Don’t make no difference to me
Just take that streetcar that’s goin’ uptown
Yeah, I’d like to hear some funky Dixieland and dance a honky-tonk
And I’ll be buyin’ ev’rybody drinks all ‘roun’

Old black water, keep on rollin’
Mississippi moon, won’t you keep on shinin’ on me?
Old black water, keep on rollin’
Mississippi moon, won’t you keep on shinin’ on me?
Old black water, keep on rollin’
Mississippi moon, won’t you keep on shinin’ on me?

Keep on shinin’ your light
Gonna make everything, everything
Gonna make everything all right
And I ain’t got no worries
‘Cause I ain’t in no hurry at all

I’d like to hear some funky Dixieland
Pretty mama, come and take me by the hand
(By the hand) hand (take me by the hand) pretty mama
Gonna dance with your daddy all night long
I’d like to hear some funky Dixieland
Pretty mama, come and take me by the hand
By the hand, take me by the hand, pretty mama (I wanna honky-tonk, honky-tonk)
Gonna dance with your daddy night long (honky-tonk with you all long)
I’d like to hear some funky Dixieland
Pretty mama, come and take me by the hand
By the hand, take me by the hand, pretty mama (I wanna honky-tonk, honky-tonk)
Gonna dance with you all night long (honky-tonk with you all long)
I’d like to hear some funky Dixieland
Pretty mama, come and take me by the hand
By the hand, take me by the hand, pretty mama (I wanna honky-tonk, honky-tonk)
Gonna dance with you all night long (honky-tonk with you all long)
I’d like to hear some funky Dixieland
Pretty mama, come and take me by the hand
By the hand, take me by the hand, pretty mama (I wanna honky-tonk, honky-tonk)
Gonna dance with you all night long (honky-tonk with you all long)
I’d like to hear some funky Dixieland
Pretty mama, come and take me by the hand
By the hand, take me by the hand, pretty mama (I wanna honky-tonk, honky-tonk)
Gonna dance with you all night long (honky-tonk with you all long)

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Patrick Simmons
Black Water lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

Jolly Monday … Once Again … Already

I couldn’t believe it when Jolly woke me this morning and told me it is Monday!  What … again already???  Sheesh … I think one Monday per month would be enough, don’t you?  Please forgive me if I’m not all here this morning … I had a wild weekend, y’know!  Writing, reading, playing Animal Crossing with the girls (it’s a video game, not anything to do with funky genetics), doing laundry, feeding the squirrels and the birdies, etc.  So how was your weekend?  Do anything exciting?  Well, Joyful has been in the kitchen for a while now, so let’s go see what treats she has concocted for us, then we’ll find some things to start this week out right!

Boy Wonder

Mike Wimmer of Salisbury, North Carolina, is 12 years old, and at the end of this month he will hold both a high school diploma and an Associates Degree from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.  Wimmer has a 4.0 GPA at the college and a 5.45 GPA in high school, earning him the role of his class valedictorian.

Wimmer was always a bit ahead of the other kids his age in school, for he was a sophomore in high school when other kids are only finishing up primary school.  And then came the pandemic.  Mike apparently got a bit bored and decided to kick things up a notch, so he took “a few” extra classes, enrolled in the community college, and completed his final two years of high school plus 2 years of college, all in one year.  He will graduate from the college on May 21st, and from Concord Academy High School on May 28th.

Despite being several years younger than his classmates, Wimmer said he gets along well with them — and was even nominated to Homecoming Court last year.  Wimmer, who has an interest in robotics, told CNN that he’s “the math and science guy.” He’s always had an affinity for technology — he got his first iPad when he was 18 months old.

He learned almost all of his programming and robotic knowledge through trial and error and online videos, according to his website, Next Era Innovations.  He also created his own startup, called Reflect Social, which “combines popular social media platforms with Internet of Things (IoT) devices, providing a new dynamic social experience,” according to its website.

But lest you think he is just a math & science nerd, he has a conscience, too, for he says …

“My entrepreneurial goal is to build technology that enables people to live better lives.”

Okay, well, I wish him the best in his future … I suddenly don’t feel so smart anymore since it took me until my 30s to earn my college degrees!

Could I interest you in a few cute pictures to bring smiles to your faces?

And … the moment I know you all like best about Jolly Monday … ‘TOONS!

Phil over at Phil’s Phun where I get most of my ‘toons, was on a coffee thing this week …


And of course I’d never be forgiven if I didn’t have a cute, funny animal video … today we got raccoons!

For Hugh, just a bit of Maxine to hopefully bring a smile to his face …

I hope you all found something to start your week with a smile, and I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead!  Share those smiles, ‘k?  I see too many people out there wearing frowns or scowls and I bet you can make them smile by sharing just one or two of your own.  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa, Jolly, and Joyful!

Note to politicians (and so-called news people) – STOP THE NAME CALLING AND LABELING

Our friend Keith tends to be more even-tempered than I am, and his voice is always the voice of reason. With that said, I am sharing Keith’s post from earlier today, for he makes excellent points that our governing bodies, the media, and even we bloggers should consider. Thanks, Keith!


The United States and the world have a lot of problems that need elected officials to address. The problems are multi-faceted in causes, so they require holistic thinking, educated and civil discussion and multi-faceted solutions. Our problems are hard enough to solve when we focus on the facts and issues, but nigh impossible when we listen to name calling and labelling as a substitute for discourse.

So, politicians, here is a simple piece of advice. If you cannot understand the first paragraph, and what you need to do, please resign. We don’t need people who decide not to add value and name call opponents. That is not civil discourse, that is childish playground talk. If you cannot add value with your commentary, please keep your thoughts to yourself. At least this citizen will not be listening to you, nor should others. That includes all politicians, not just the ones who…

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♫ Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag ♫

Enough of Bryan Adams for this week … let’s have us some James Brown!

In March 1965, after a legal battle with King Records, Brown agreed to a new contract with a higher royalty rate than their previous agreement, plus Brown’s own publishing company and complete artistic control. Brown promptly went into a Charlotte, North Carolina, studio and cut Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.

King Records executive Syd Nathan gave a copy of this to New York DJ Frankie Cocker, who hated the new James Brown style but was impressed with the response when he put it on the air anyway. When King Records released the track as a single, Smash Records, the label Brown had leased some of his songs to that prompted the lawsuit, released an instrumental version of the song. As part of the ruling, Smash Records could release only instrumental versions of Brown’s songs.

The original song was about seven minutes long, moved at a slower pace, and featured a more elaborate intro. After the song was cut, Brown sliced off most of the intro, sped the song up to get it played on pop radio, and broke it up into three parts (the second of which can be heard on the flipside of the original single).

The vocal version reached #8 in the US. It was the first Top 10 hit for the Godfather of Soul, and marked a departure from his early music toward the definition of his signature sound. Horns are used for percussive effect, and Brown’s vocals are tightly attached to the overall instrumental mix.

Brown recorded this song in one take – the released version was merely supposed to be a run-through, but sounded so good it was kept anyway. Brown, who still hadn’t memorized the song’s lyrics, read from a sheet in front of him; at the beginning of the original take, he can be heard saying “There’s a lot of words here, man.” He also can be heard exclaiming “This is a hit!” just before the band kicks in.

This won a Grammy for Best R&B Recording of 1965. It was also inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1999.

Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, Pt. 1
James Brown

Come here sister, Papa’s in the swing
He ain’t too hip, about that new breed babe
He ain’t no drag
Papa’s got a brand new bag

Come here mama, and dig this crazy scene
He’s not too fancy, but his line is pretty clean
He ain’t no drag
Papa’s got a brand new bag

It’s the Jerk
He’s doing the Fly
Don’t play him cheap ’cause you know he ain’t shy
He’s doing the Monkey, the Mashed Potatoes
Jump back Jack, See you later alligator

Come here sister
Papa’s in the swing
He ain’t too hip now
But I can dig that new breed babe
He ain’t no drag
He’s got a brand new bag

Oh papa, He’s doing the Jerk
Papa, he’s doing the Jerk
He’s doing the twist, just like this
He’s doing the Fly every day and every night
The thing’s, like the Boomerang
Hey, come on
Hey hey, come on
Hey hey, said you uptight, out of sight
Come on, see what you know
Come on, see what you know

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: James Brown
Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag, Pt. 1 lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc