♫ Fire and Rain ♫ (Redux)

My apologies for yet another redux … I was working on a different song, but found that my heart just wasn’t into it, and this one has been playing in my mind for several days now, so … nothing wrong with replaying one that makes me happy (and that I actually know most of the words to), is there?  And … I have added something to the original!  Taylor refers to a clip he did with late night comedian Stephen Colbert … I went in search of, found it, and have added it here for a bit of humour added to the music!


I love James Taylor’s voice … it is sensual, somehow.  It is … as if he is singing to me and only me.  I did not know, until doing a brief bit of research for this music post, that he had been heavily into drugs.  Silly me, eh … what else should I have expected?  Sigh.

Taylor wrote this in 1968 at three different times. He started it in London, where he auditioned for The Beatles’ Apple Records. He later worked on it in a Manhattan Hospital, and finished it while in drug rehab at The Austin Riggs Center in Massachusetts. In a 1972 Rolling Stone interview, Taylor explained: “The first verse is about my reactions to the death of a friend (that would be Suzanne – explained below). The second verse is about my arrival in this country with a monkey on my back, and there Jesus is an expression of my desperation in trying to get through the time when my body was aching and the time was at hand when I had to do it. And the third verse of that song refers to my recuperation in Austin Riggs which lasted about five months.”

“It concerned a girl called Susanne I knew who they put into an isolation cell and she couldn’t take it and committed suicide.”  Her name was Susie Schnerr, and Taylor also explained that it was months before he found out about her death, as his friends withheld the news so it wouldn’t distract Taylor from his burgeoning music career.

In a 1972 Rolling Stone interview, Taylor added: “I always felt rather bad about the line, ‘The plans they made put an end to you,’ because ‘they’ only meant ‘ye gods,’ or basically ‘the Fates.’ I never knew her folks but I always wondered whether her folks would hear that and wonder whether it was about them.”

When Taylor performed this in 2015 on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, he and Colbert had some fun, with Taylor explaining that he was still working on it. “I wrote that song in 1970, and I just hadn’t seen that much back then – mostly fire and rain, so that’s why I keep saying it over and over again in the song,” he said.

Taylor then explained that he had never seen a calzone at the time, but if he had, he would have definitely added it to the lyric. Taylor and Colbert then performed an updated version of the song with new lyrics. A sample:

“I’ve seen man buns, Myspace and the Baha Men, but I never thought I’d see a new Star Wars again”

“I’ve seen grandmas reading 50 Shades of Grey”

“Quidditch teams and skinny jeans cutting blood off from my thighs”

Oh my!

And here’s James with Stephen Colbert in the updated version …

Fire And Rain
James Taylor

Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone
Susanne the plans they made put an end to you
I walked out this morning and I wrote down this song
I just can’t remember who to send it to

I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you again

Won’t you look down upon me, jesus
You’ve got to help me make a stand
You’ve just got to see me through another day
My body’s aching and my time is at hand
And I won’t make it any other way

Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you again

Been walking my mind to an easy time my back turned towards the sun
Lord knows when the cold wind blows it’ll turn your head around
Well, there’s hours of time on the telephone line to talk about things
To come
Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground

Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you, baby, one more time again, now

Thought I’d see you one more time again
There’s just a few things coming my way this time around, now
Thought I’d see you, thought I’d see you fire and rain, now

Songwriters: James Taylor / James V Taylor
Fire And Rain lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

A Comic Break From The Darkness

Whew … it’s been quite an onslaught of news these past few days, very little of it anything to cheer about.  I think it’s time for a comic break, don’t you?

Betsy DeVos is well-deserving of being the center of a joke, and Andy Borowitz doesn’t dissapoint:

Betsy DeVos Says She Was Planning to Close All Schools Anyway

By Andy Borowitz

borowitz-andy

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—As an increasing number of schools and universities closed down because of the coronavirus outbreak, the Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, revealed on Monday that she had been planning for years to close every school in the country anyway.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, DeVos said, “When I took over as Education Secretary, I came with a simple mission: to shut down all of the nation’s schools. It turns out that I was just ahead of my time.”

Noting that schools are where students learn math, science, and history, DeVos said, “I have long believed that schools are where all the bad things happen.”

Deciding to “wipe out the scourge of education once and for all,” DeVos said that, within days of taking office, she drew up an ambitious plan called No School Left Open.

In a reassuring message to the nation’s parents and students, DeVos said, “Amid the current crisis, many of you are wondering how we will close every American school overnight. Let me just say that this is the job Betsy DeVos was born to do.”

And who better than Stephen Colbert to inject a bit of levity into an otherwise humourless situation?

Remember, folks … no matter how dark things seem … we need to find balance.  Let yourself find something to laugh about today in order to keep your sanity, okay?

jollyLove ‘n hugs from Filosofa … and Jolly!

Un-Snarky Snippets … For A Change!

Tonight I came across some things that I can actually applaud, rather than snark about!  Well, okay, there may be just a wee bit of snarking woven into the tapestry, but for the most part it is a more upbeat piece.


Steve King gets a statue!

steve-king-2You all remember Steve King, right?  He is the U.S. House member from Iowa who first appeared on Filosofa’s Word when he won the honour of Idiot of the Week in March 2017, and again in July of that year when he threatened democrats if they didn’t stop talking about Russian interference in the 2016 election and proposed taking funding from Planned Parenthood to build Trump’s wall.  Then, just last year he found his way onto my radar twice … in March for making such horridly racist and homophobic remarks that even Mitch McConnell condemned him!  And then again in August when his misogynistic remarks earned him condemnation from some top congressional republicans including House Freedom Caucus leader Kevin McCarthy, and again Mitch McConnell, plus caused him to be removed from the committees on which he had served.  With the exception of Donald Trump and possibly Mitch McConnell, no other has had as much air time on Filosofa’s Word!

Well, today ol’ Steve is back on my radar, but this time it is he that is the brunt of the joke!  Comedy duo Davram Stiefler and Jason Selvig, known as The Good Liars, have placed a statue … a very tiny statue … of Mr. King in front of the Iowa statehouse in Des Moines.  The inscription on the plaque at the base of the statue reads …

“This site is dedicated to Confederate sympathizer and White Nationalist, Steve King. Here, King is honored with the world’s smallest Confederate statue. A tiny statue for a tiny man.”

Steve-King-statueKing’s history of bigotry in all its forms was what prompted the duo to create the tiny statue, according to Selvig …

“We’re just saying we should respect our ancestry and our heritage and – like it or not – Steve King’s racism is part of our heritage and we need to respect that. Racists are trying to bring down others so they can make themselves feel better. That’s the mark of somebody who is very small.”

Just how small is this statue?  Four inches.  Yep, not much bigger than your finger is long.  Fitting, don’t you think?  Oh, by the way, this team, The Good Liars, are the same ones that switched covers of Donald Trump Jr’s new book and replaced them with ones that read: “Daddy, Please Love Me: How Everything I Do Is to Try and Earn My Father’s Love”.  I like these guys!

Junior-book


Plastic Bags are … banned! 

New York is banning the distribution of single-use plastic bags statewide, effective today.  The goal is to reduce the billions of discarded bags that stream annually into landfills, rivers and oceans.  For the record, I applaud this move and wish every state in the nation would follow suit.  At the urging (actually, it was more of a threat than an urging) of my granddaughter, Miss Goose, I bought re-usable canvas bags a year or so ago, and mesh bags for produce, and rarely us the store’s plastic bags.  It’s really not much more trouble, and it feels good, knowing that something so simple can make a huge difference if we all do it.  So, thumbs up to New York, the third state after California and Oregon to take this step.  Stores will be required to sell paper bags at five cents each or offer sturdier reusable bags that can be used at least 125 times.plastic-bagNew Yorkers currently use 23 billion plastic bags each year, state officials say, many of which end up as one of the most problematic forms of garbage. They blow across streets and become caught in trees. They harm birds and marine creatures. They clog sorting machines, making recycling them cumbersome.

I imagine there will be a few bumps in the road the first few weeks, but New Yorkers are a resilient bunch and they will quickly be smoothed out … those New Yorkers who are whining today about the inconvenience will adapt quickly.  Now, to wake up the rest of the states!


Yesterday was the South Carolina Democratic primary, and late night comedian Stephen Colbert was on hand for the fun.  He shared a meal and a drink with candidate Elizabeth Warren, and they even played a little game of “Name That Billionaire”!  It was all in good fun, and I think you’ll get a few laughs from it!

And Then There Were Two … More … Snarky Snippets

I have just two bits of snark … well, actually I have around 15, but I won’t make you listen to them all …


Remember when almost immediately after moving into the White House, Trump initiated a travel ban on people from seven predominantly Muslin nations?  The courts struck it down almost as quickly as he initiated it, and after much back and forth, he got some watered-down version of it.  Well, now he is considering another travel ban, this one expected to be implemented next Monday, to mark the 3-year anniversary of his original travel ban.  I am thoroughly confused by the countries he intends to include in this ban:

  • Belarus
  • Myanmar (also known as Burma)
  • Eritrea
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Nigeria
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania

I can see not one shred of justification for banning people coming from a single one of those nations, can you?  However, it is interesting to note that four of those countries are African nations.  Hmmm … nah, surely fair and equitable Trump wouldn’t discriminate based on something like skin colour … would he?  Yes, of course he would, and my guess is that for those four nations, that is precisely his reason.

I have read no less than 7 articles on this topic, trying to get a feel for the method behind the madness.  One article promised …

Trump’s call to dramatically expand the travel ban, explained

… but it lied … it explained nothing that I didn’t already know from the other articles.  Now, back in 2018, the Supreme Court affirmed that Trump has broad authority to restrict immigration where national security demands it. But to the best of anyone’s knowledge, these countries do not pose any threat to national security.  Every time somebody in Trump’s cadre mentions the threat of terrorism from the outside, I want to scream, for the terrorism we have experienced in the last several years has been domestic terrorism … homegrown nutcases.

So, I still puzzle over the connection of these seven nations, and why on earth he wishes to ban people coming to the U.S. from those countries.  I also, at this point, puzzle over why anybody from any other nation would even want to come to the U.S.  Take my word for it, folks … if you don’t have a good reason, you’d be better off going to almost anywhere but here!

It is interesting to note, however, that other, similar nations … nations where Trump, Inc. has businesses, say hotels, golf courses and the like … nations like Turkey, Egypt, Azerbaijan, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Suadi Arabia are never mentioned in talk of a travel ban.  Hmmmmm …

This has largely flown under the radar, in the shadow of the impeachment trial and Trump’s trip to Davos, but I think it bears watching.


Yesterday, our friend Scott (sklawlor) sent me an article about a proposed bill in the Kentucky State Legislature, Senate Bill 89 that would give police new powers to stop people on the street and demand that they identify themselves and explain their actions, rather like New York’s stop-and-frisk laws that ended two years ago.  The program was highly discriminatory, with officers stopping disproportionately larger numbers of African-Americans and Hispanics than others.

By the end of the day, the Kentucky Senate bill had been withdrawn, but it left a bad taste in my mouth and disturbed both Scott and me that after the experience with stop-and-frisk in New York, any lawmakers would even consider such legislation.  So, I did a bit of digging … and … I was truly shocked to find that no less than 24 states … nearly half the states in the nation … have some form of “stop-and-identify” statutes!  So, in the following states, if you are walking down the street, you can be stopped by a police officer and forced to show identification and explain why you are walking down the bloody street!

Arizona Ari. Rev. Stat. Tit. 13, §2412 (enacted 2005) & Tit. 28, §1595
Arkansas Ark. Code Ann. [1]§ 5-71-213 – Loitering
Colorado Colo. Rev. Stat. §16-3-103(1)
Delaware Del. Code Ann., Tit. 11, §§1902, 1321(6)
Florida Fla. Stat. §901.151 (Stop and Frisk Law); §856.021(2) (loitering and prowling)
Georgia Ga. Code Ann. §16-11-36(b) (loitering)
Illinois Ill. Comp. Stat., ch. 725, §5/107-14
Indiana Indiana Code §34-28-5-3.5
Kansas Kan. Stat. Ann. §22-2402(1)
Louisiana La. Code Crim. Proc. Ann., Art. 215.1(A); La. Rev. Stat. 14:108(B)(1)(c)
Missouri (Kansas City Only) Mo. Rev. Stat. §84.710(2)
Montana Mont. Code Ann. §46-5-401
Nebraska Neb. Rev. Stat. §29-829
Nevada Nev. Rev. Stat. §171.123
New Hampshire N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §594:2, §644:6
New Mexico N.M. Stat. Ann. §30-22-3
New York N.Y. Crim. Proc. Law Laws of New York → CPL §140.50 (requires suspicion of crime)
North Carolina State v Friend + N.C. Gen.Stat. § 14–223
North Dakota N.D. Cent. Code §29-29-21 (PDF)
Ohio Ohio Rev. Code §2921.29 (enacted 2006)
Rhode Island R.I. Gen. Laws §12-7-1
Utah Utah Code Ann. §77-7-15
Vermont Vt. Stat. Ann., Tit. 24, §1983
Wisconsin Wis. Stat. §968.24

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause.  After one lawsuit, Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada, made its way to the Supreme Court in 2003, the Court upheld the legality of officers stopping people so long as there was “reasonable and articulable suspicion of criminal involvement”.  Well, that’s probably fair enough … if you’re skin is pale and you speak flawless English.  But if you are black or brown, or speak with an accent … how fair do you suppose it is?

An August 16, 2019 article in the Los Angeles Times says that getting killed by police is a leading cause of death for young black men in America.

My friend Rob, an African-American, told me a couple of years ago that about half the time he drives downtown, he is pulled over for no reason or some minor reason … something a white person almost certainly would not have been pulled over for.  His son has been stopped more in the few short years he’s been driving than I have been in my entire lifetime.  After the blatant racism that has resulted in killings of unarmed black men by police – Michael Brown, Walter Scott, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Freddy Gray and more – do you trust police to act only when there is “probable cause”?

I don’t.


Okay friends … now that I’ve given you something to frown about, let me finish by giving you something to laugh at … well, sort of anyway.

A Bit Of Fun …

When you wake up even more tired than you were when you went to bed an hour before, it’s time to lighten things up a bit with some humour, don’t you think?  Dear friend Ellen, who knows me quite well by now, realized this morning that I was in need of a few laughs and she sent me a few video clips to watch.  I watched.  I laughed.  And now I want you, my friends, to laugh also.

The other one is not “embed-able”, but here is a link to the Trevor Noah clip

I hope you had at least a chuckle … you don’t want to forget how to use those smile muscles in your face … too much frowning leads to permanent scowl lines!

The Latest In Snarky Snippets

It took no time at all for Turkish President Erdoğan to begin implementation of his plan to attack the Kurdish troops in Syria.  Two days, I believe.  Today, Turkey launched airstrikes and fired artillery across its border into northeastern Syria.  This, Donald Trump, is what you have done …turkey_syriaturkey-syria-2Already, two civilians have been killed and others wounded.  There will be many more innocent people who will die or be injured, and the blood of those people is on the hands of Donald Trump.  These were people who were going about their lives, minding their own business, hurting nobody.  They were our allies, until Monday when Trump betrayed them.

It is a complex situation that Trump does not comprehend, that even those who are scholars in Middle-Eastern affairs often find confusing.  But, Trump sold out for some favour from Erdoğan and now the U.S. has sent a clear warning to all of our allies that we are not to be trusted, that we may turn on them any day, with no notice.


I really didn’t want to talk about or even mention the impeachment issue today, but to ignore it would be to ignore the elephant in the room, for it looms larger than life.  Yesterday, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to Nancy Pelosi and the chairmen of the various committees conducting the investigations in the House of Representatives. An eight-page letter, as it were.  I have muddled through about half of it so far, and a more pompous letter I have never read.  What he had to say could have been said in a single paragraph.

In a nutshell, Cipollone, acting as Trump’s mouthpiece, says that the impeachment process is unconstitutional and that nobody in the Trump administration will cooperate in any way, shape, or form.  Duh … leave it to a lawyer to take up 8 pages to say that.  But, most of it was hateful, arrogant verbiage attempting to defend the indefensible and criticize all those who would wish to hold Trump accountable for his actions.

But wait … it gets even better.

Since there is precedent for impeaching a corrupt, lying, cheating president, the Department of Justice is now claiming that Nixon’s impeachment was unconstitutional and that the courts in 1974 were wrong to approve the release of Watergate documents to Congress during the impeachment inquiry.  This came when Beryl Howell, chief judge for the U.S. District Court, indicated that she may rule in favour of giving the House Democrats access to certain of the redacted parts of the Mueller report.  The judge asked the Justice Department to explain its “extraordinary position” of trying to block lawmakers from seeing the special counsel’s grand jury materials, which include testimony and evidence that has been kept private since the Mueller probe ended in March.

Elizabeth Shapiro, a deputy director in the DOJ civil division, argued that if the same Watergate road map arose today, there’d be a “different result” because the law has changed since 1974. She said the judge wouldn’t be able to do the same thing absent changes to the grand jury rules and statutes.  The judge was stunned, saying only “Wow. Okay.”  Hopefully she will find her voice soon.

Let’s put this in context here.  President Bill Clinton was impeached because he lied to Congress about a consensual affair with a staffer.  Period.  Nothing more.  But Donald Trump has twice … not once, but at least twice that we are aware of … sought favours from foreign governments to unfairly influence our elections.  And, whereas Clinton lied to Congress, Trump has done something much, much worse:  he has lied to We the People … all 330 million of us.


And, on that note I find that I really don’t feel like writing any more, and so I will leave you with Stephen Colbert’s latest take on it all.

Just For Fun …

I’m working on a couple of pieces, hope to have another later this evening, but a while ago I took a break to check my email, and found that Ellen had sent me a couple of short videos to give me a laugh or two.  Well, it actually DID give me a laugh … more than a couple, in fact, and I thought … “Y’know … I’ve been too serious lately … maybe my friends would like a laugh, too!”  And so, I went in search of some ‘toons to go with the videos.

There are many adjectives that apply to Donald Trump, but the two I find myself using most frequently are “stupid” and “ignorant” — both are terms I would prefer not to have to use, especially in regards to the person whose decisions affect all of our lives!  However, over the course of the past week, he has exceeded even his own level of stupidity when it comes to Hurricane Dorian, and hurricanes in general, and it seems the cartoonists and the late night talk show hosts all decided to have a bit of fun.  If they can have fun with it, so can we, right?  Yeah, I know, there are more relevant issues I should be addressing, but I just needed a laugh, and from the looks on your faces, so do you!  I’ll get back to the serious stuff in a minute …

hurricane-1hurricane-2hurricane-3hurricane-4hurricane-5hurricane-6hurricane-7hurricane-8


Take a look at Stephen Colbert … he’s always funny, but this one will have you laughing … I promise!

And not to be outdone, Seth Meyers touches on a number of topics and literally had me choking on my coffee …


Now that we’ve had our afternoon chuckle … back to work!Men working together on road

Oh, The Irony …

On February 13, 2016, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died unexpectedly, leaving the Supreme Court with an open seat.  President Barack Obama nominated a moderate, middle-of-the-road judge, Merrick Garland, to replace Scalia.  However, the Senate, led by none other than Mitch McConnell, not only refused to confirm Garland, but refused to even schedule interviews with him, let alone hold a confirmation hearing.  McConnell said that, with less than a year left in Obama’s term, the empty seat on the bench should be left vacant until a new president was elected.

Fast forward to 2019 when the House Oversight and Reform Committee subpoenaed Trumps accounting firm, Mazars, for some portion of Trump’s financial records.  Trump filed a lawsuit in order to keep Mazars from handing over the subpoenaed records.  That suit came before Judge Amit Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  Long story short, on Monday Judge Mehta upheld the subpoena and ordered Mazars to turn over the requested records, saying that the committee had demonstrated a facially valid legislative purpose for its investigation and the issuance of the subpoena.

“It is simply not fathomable that a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a president for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct — past or present — even without formally opening an impeachment inquiry.”

Trump, predictably, called the judge’s ruling “crazy” and once again blamed Obama for his troubles …

“We think it’s totally the wrong decision by, obviously, an Obama-appointed judge.”

Naturally, Trump’s lawyers immediately filed an appeal asking the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to review the case and overturn Judge Mehta’s ruling.  Judge Merrick Garland serves as the chief judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.  Let that one sink in.

Now, before you begin jumping for joy, talking about poetic justice (pun intended) and all, let me urge caution, for there is no guarantee that Garland will be one of the three judges who will hear the case.  And even if he is one of the three, Merrick Garland is a man of integrity, unlike some others, who will follow the letter of the law and not let past grievances colour his judgement.  But take some pleasure in the knowledge that Trump likely had nightmares last night in which Judge Garland was banging his gavel on Trump’s head!

And just for kicks, take a look at Stephen Colbert’s and Jimmy Kimmel’s take on this whole thing … both are guaranteed to bring you a few deep belly laughs!

 

laughing-gif.gif

Trump’s E-Score?

I struggled to focus tonight, being tired, tired of Trump, and in rather a black mood.  But then, thanks to our friend Ellen, I found something with which to amuse you, my friends!  Y’know, late night comedians like Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Myers, John Oliver and others are much the same as the political cartoonists we all enjoy — they can say so much with humour.  Good ol’ Stephen Colbert is always good for some laughs, and Friday night’s monologue is no exception.  So, grab a fresh cup of coffee and spend a few minutes having a few laughs at Trump’s expense!  Thank you, Ellen, for pointing me in this direction!