≡ Menu

Sixteen years and 6 days ago, I sat at my computer with its giant 12GB hard drive and hammered away on a class project for UCSD. Y2k had come and gone, all the satellites failed to fall from the sky and I chose to go back to school and finish a degree.

55030469As I explored the limits of Windows XP, I also kept my TV on and watched the Bush/Gore results unfold. The night dragged on, my caffeine intake increased, the election results came in and proved to be… too close to call. Midnight came and went. Then 1AM. Then 2. It wasn’t happening. Too close to call. Whoa. My fixation slowly moved from my computer to the TV as I thought, “I am witnessing the craziest election in American history.”

Boy was I wrong.

November 8, 2016 blew that little millennial ditty out of the water like a hanging chad on Obamacare subsidized steroids.

Six nights ago I sat in front of my TV gripping a stiff Moscow Mule waiting for the Clinton dynasty to come roaring back like an STD on Slick Willie’s willy.

I drank. I waited. I drank more. I waited more. Slowly my jaw begin to polish the floor as the unthinkable happened.

Donald Trump won and became the 45th President of the United States.

No Way. NO. WAY.

So now as I sit and watch people scream and cry and overcrowd their safe spaces, I feel compelled to explain why he won. But first, allow me to put to bed two faulty explanations currently floating about as to why he won and shed some truth about the electorate.

50% of the country is misogynist and racist.

The first thing you dazed and zombiefied folks need to do is accept the fact that statement is simply untrue. Embrace it. Because if you are ever going to even remotely understand every other person you meet, (unless you really, REALLY live in a bubble) you need to know they are not secretly harboring contempt for women, minorities and unicorns. OF COURSE there are some who do, but it’s as remote as the Fred Phelps Baptist church.

Many, if not most, did not vote for Trump because they love him or even like him. Did you see the likeability polls? Not a lot of Trumpers love him. OF COURSE there are some who think he is Jesus with a comb over. But not many, and definitely not 50% of the country.

Hillary is a woman.

Seriously? Aren’t we over that yet? Anybody talk about Kellyanne Conway being the first female campaign manager to win a presidency? Condoleeza Rice anybody? Nancy Pelosi? A million and a half female mayors, senators, governors and so on? Really, nobody cares. If Condoleeza Rice ran she would have decimated Hillary. Sexism in politics is over.

OK, so, on to the reasons why Trump got elected.

  1. Government Corruption

People are sick of it. They are sick of the lies. They are sick of the double speak. They are sick of top government officials like Lois Lerner pleading the 5th. (I thought they only did that in the movies anyway?) They are sick of the response being, “I don’t recall”. They are sick of things like Bill Clinton and Attorney General Lynch having not-so-secret meetings and saying they were just talking about their favorite lemon meringue pie recipes.

Everybody knows it’s B.S. The liars know it’s B.S. Worst of all, the liars KNOW that everyone knows they are lying and they just don’t care; they lie anyway. Trump, as flawed as he is, represents at least the hope of dealing with the systemic corruption in government. Now pay close attention there – I said the ‘hope’ of dealing with the corruption, so save the whining about Trump’s corrupt business practices and so on, this is about who voters considered the best bet in dealing with the corruption, not who is the purest of the pure and fairest of the fair.

  1. Hillary Clinton

Her name alone should allow me to stop and say, “Enough said,” but somehow people still cannot understand how deeply people detest her. Look at her likability ratings – people just do not like her. They dislike Trump even more and they still couldn’t pop the chad for her. She lies and lies and lies and people know it. As many people as there were who just could not bring themselves to vote for Trump, there were just as many who just could not bring themselves to vote for her.

The deleted classified emails. Podesta and all the wikileaks emails. Benghazi. The deplorable remark. The FBI investigation. The countless sources (like former secret service men) who say she is an absolute horror of a human behind closed doors. The collusion to shut down Bernie Sanders. The list doesn’t end. Did people think she was competent? Sure. But competency sometimes isn’t enough, sometimes a legacy of nastiness and corruption (whether it’s perceived or actual) catches up with you.

  1. Clinton Family Fatigue

It’s crazy to think there is a huge block of voters who don’t remember the Bill Clinton years because they weren’t born or they were barely born. But for those of us who were (young) adults in the Clinton years, we remember all too well how tiresome it all got. Look, Bill Clinton is a different animal; he is a likeable guy. So likeable in fact, you just may find yourself going home with him. He can charm a room. But he is a scoundrel, a sex addict and everybody knows it. People just cant handle the thought of another eight long years of ‘The Clintons’. It’s just too much. The public is all Clintoned out.

  1. Political Correctness

Funny enough, it was in the Bill Clinton years when the concept of the PC made its way into the public mind. It was interesting at first, like a collective light bulb went on as people realized there was this strange code of speech and conduct that wove its way in between right and wrong. Something may not be wrong, it’s just ‘politically incorrect’. Someone may want to say one thing but they don’t, so they choose to say what’s ‘politically correct’.

But now the beast of political correctness has gotten way, way out of hand and people are finally fed up with it. Hate speech, college speech codes and so on, are to the point where it’s become its own brand of tyranny. One little slip up and you will be run out of town buddy. Big time. Talk about homosexuality in a negative way? You’re homophobic. Muslims? Islamophobic. Cross dressers? Transphobic. Bigot. Xenophobic. It’s out of hand.

Along comes Mr. Trump who says things so far out of the PC ball park Richard Pryor and George Carlin are stealing his material from beyond the grave.

The reaction? FINALLY. Finally, someone who says what many are thinking but are afraid to say. Clumsy? Yes. Offensive? Sometimes. But honest? Yes. People are so tired of the PC dance politicians do around hot button issues. Trump blew that all out of the swamp. And then some.

  1. Immigration

Open borders advocates will never get this so there is no point in trying to explain it to them. But to the rest of the sane world, we all know that borders do matter. Our southern border is porous, illegal immigration is still happening, and it needs to stop. The end. No racism. No hateful, anti-Mexican propaganda. No Gestapo rounding up quivering Mexican families in the middle of the night.

It’s simple, fix the border issue and then deal with the undocumented immigrant issue. This should be a no brainer but for those lovely little politically correct reasons it’s a hot potato nobody wants to deal with for fear of losing the Hispanic vote. This has been going on for FIFTY YEARS and people are sick and tired of it. And this overlaps the political correctness point – people are tired of being called racist and anti immigrant no matter how loudly they proclaim, “This is not about LEGAL immigration, it’s about ILLEGAL immigration.” Of course everybody knows this is a nation of immigrants but for God’s sake, it’s not a nation of illegal immigrants. Trump came along and said what many constituents think but their representatives are afraid to say. And about the ‘rapists’ comment – sane voters know what Trump was talking about and he was NOT saying all Mexicans are criminals and rapists. He said criminals, drug dealers and ‘rapists’ are coming across the border. Why did he say that? Because it’s true. All of them? No. But enough of them to where it is hurting our country and politicians have wrung their hands about it for too long.

  1. Obamacare

It’s not working. This was the most sweeping and divisive piece of legislation ever crafted and it was rammed down the public’s throat. There was NO bi-partisan support (unlike social security and civil rights). All of the promises about ‘if you like your insurance you can keep it’ proved to be false. Premiums are dramatically spiking. It’s obvious healthcare had issues needing correcting but what the public has rejected is a massive government ‘solution’ to the problem. People warned it would not work and unintended consequences would run amok. And they have.

Obamacare is very much the perfect picture of Obama’s governing style. It’s, “I know better, you don’t, I won, deal with it.” People grew tired of being ‘told’ what is good for them and if they question or object, they are cast as part of the alt-right, hateful, racist, vast conspiracy against all that is good and wonderful about Obama’s policies. Trump’s promise to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something that actually works is a sigh of relief to many.

  1. Media

I remember the first time I heard about the ‘liberal media’. It was in the 80’s and a political savvy friend 20 years my senior enlightened me. I was like…”What?” I grew up naively assuming the media just told you the facts. The news was just information. Why would there be bias?

Well, now we know and have known for some time, media elites have an agenda. But now it has become so bad it’s impossible not to see. The hypocrisy, double standards, and bias drips out of the TV like an EPA regulation gone bad. The media had the world convinced Hillary would win in a landslide. They had me convinced. That Moscow Mule I was gripping was medicine to soften the blow of her victory. To watch their bewilderment was really quite amusing.

And the double standards. Wow. All this outrage about Trump’s sexual comments, crass as they were, was obviously being pushed and celebrated by the media as the final nail in the campaign coffin. What the media failed to recognize though, was the public remembered Bill Clinton actually WAS a sexual predator, he didn’t just talk about it on a bus with a group of guys. He did it. Multiple times. My God there is an actual video of him groping some poor flight attendant’s thigh.

Why wasn’t the media hammering Hillary on why she would stay married to a serially unfaithful husband? What kind of message does that send to young girls in America Hillary? If your husband screws around, shut up, get back in the kitchen and just deal with it then Hillary? Like Jackie Kennedy 1960 style?

Nope. None of those questions. None of the pundits echoing the 1998 cry of, “C’mon man, it’s just about sex,” like they did during the Lewinsky scandal. Double standards. Everyone knew it.

  1. Islam

Liberal atheists Sam Harris and Bill Maher are at the front of the line screaming about this one. Former Somali Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali who lives under 24 hour security in threat of her life is pointing this out.

Radical Islam is a huge problem and when you have a current administration and a potential future administration who won’t even use the term ‘Islamic terror’, your average Joe along with the previously mentioned intellectual, comedian and apostate, want to assault the pharmacist for extra Xanax prescriptions. It’s pure insanity.

You would think a Christmas party massacre In San Bernardino would wake people up.

Or a nightclub slaughter in Orlando.

Or Paris.

Or Brussels.

Or Nice.

Nope. Nothing Islamic to see here folks, just move it along and… remember The Crusades!

Again, Trump says what most are thinking but won’t say for fear of Ben Affleck crying ‘Racism’! (Since when is religion a race anyway?)

Fresh after the San Bernardino slaughter, by Muslims, from a Muslim country (the wife anyway), Trump suggests a temporary ban on Muslims until officials can get a hold on this.

Gasp!

Constitutional issues? Yes. Ethical issues? Yes. Logistical issues? Yes. A multitude of issues? Yes.

But those are not the issues. The issue is the contrast between politicians who daren’t even speak the name and the anti-politician who dares speak the ultra un-PC name of Islamic terrorism and maybe doing something about it.

  1. Dear World, I’m sorry I am white, male and American. Please like me.

Obama’s ‘apology’ tour to Muslim nations. Identity politics. White privilege.

It’s all part of the same ball of waxed shame.

Americans are tired of it. Tired of having to feel bad about where they were born.

Tired of being shamed because they were born to a white mom and dad who took them to church every Sunday and taught them how to shoot a gun.

Tired of watching America get mocked and taking advantage of by countries like Iran and Russia.

They are just tired and decided it was better to take a chance on a thrice married, brash, egomaniac who says what he thinks and doesn’t care if it is PC or not.

This is what happens when people get pushed, shamed, homophobed, Islmaphobed, name called, spit on (oh the irony), and forced to choose between a corrupt career politician and reality TV star business man who just might actually treat America like a flailing business, gather those around who are responsible and say, “Sorry folks, you’re fired.”

So in the name of American unity please, I beg you, try, just try and understand that for most people who voted for Trump, it’s not because they are hateful, idiotic, oppressive, racist, Nazi bigots, it’s for any mix or match of the reasons just given.

And the majority of those who voted for Trump are not blind to the concerns of the black community, or Hispanics or whomever, but they want to try and build bridges and figure out real working solutions, not just echo tiresome platitudes.

They want to understand.

But they also want to be understood. And if that happens, maybe we can get somewhere.

 

 

 

 

{ 1 comment }

Goodbye Ziggy

Aladdin Sane.

davidbowie-aladdinsaneclub

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used to stare at that record for hours.

What was it? What did it mean? What was that teardrop thing in his clavicle?

I was nine years old. My Mom’s friend used to work at a radio station and somehow managed to walk away with a complete wall of records. Hundreds and hundreds of records. He let me borrow three:

Dark Side of the Moon.

Who’s Next.

And David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane.

I was neck deep in my KISS, Queen, Foghat and Aerosmith phase and their anthemic rock choruses had me by my squeaky pre pubescent throat.

So my first encounter with David Bowie I just didn’t get. It was just too odd for a nine-year-old perfecting his air guitar skills to “We Will Rock You” and “Detroit Rock City”. It was odd like it came from space odd. Hmmm.

My next encounter was at ten years old. I’d stay up as late as I could handle on Friday and Saturday nights to watch anything rock music related. No internet. No VCR. Not even MTV. So any glimpse at rock royalty was like a crumb stick thrown to the starving masses.

So one 2 A.M I got the video to “Ashes to Ashes”.

It started to click. It made no sense but it resonated. It was catchy, odd and intriguing. I tried my best to figure it out – figure him out, and obviously that is precisely why Bowie has remained iconic until the day he died. You can’t figure him out. Ever. But I searched for something that resonated when my KISS buzz wore off. Bowie started to woo me but then Led Zeppelin came in and swept me off my feet. I was grounded in the land of ice and snow fighting off the evil one to reach the stairway and yet there in the ether continued to float that oddity. That Major Tom guy.

At 13 I got Changes One. Major Tom beamed me up to planet Bowie and I was tossed about in a universe of songcraft. Rebel Rebel, Space Oddity, Changes… How was all this possible from one guy? He was like a chameleon changing and morphing into these different styles and yet somehow retaining this Bowie constant. I was still deeply in love with my primal Zeppelin but when I was Heartbroken and Whole Lotta loved out, I would connect with this collection of songs on some weird level I didn’t understand. It was like being five years old climbing up into Grandma’s dusty old attic connecting with some strange painting that you only found out later was a classic Picasso or Kandinsky worth millions. You couldn’t put your finger on it but you knew something was there.

Then the explosion happened. MTV took over the culture. And Bowie was right there in the middle. China Girl, Modern Love and Let’s Dance were played relentlessly. But even among my heaviest heavy metal friends Bowie was still cool. But How? In the midst of Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne and Iron Maiden how on God’s green Earth could Bowie still be respected? No clue. But he was. So odd. Like space odd.

So Bowie exploded into the full spectrum of an artist. Ultra cool hipster. Weird androgynous Ziggy creature. Undeniable masterpiece songs like ‘Changes’ that everybody loved. Mega MTV pop star. Cult classic movie star (See Labyrinth). He wove himself into the fabric of culture. He wove himself into the fabric of our lives and challenged us on how we experience art, music and theatre.

But for me it was something other than music, film or theatrics that had the biggest impact.

It was the Queen tribute concert for Freddie Mercury in 1992. Ten years earlier Bowie and Queen had completely saturated the airwaves with the timeless masterpiece “Under Pressure” so it was expected he would perform and he did. He delivered a stunning performance of the song with Annie Lennox.

And then he did something that completely blew my pre grunge mind.

In the celebratory spirit of that concert honoring a legendary performer taken by a still potent disease, in front of a stadium of 70,000 people and a billion people on live TV, Bowie did the most unthinkable Rock star thing ever.

He got down on one knee and prayed the Lord’s prayer.

David Bowie prayer

I was stunned. 70,000 people were stunned. A billion people across the globe were stunned.

I saw it happen live and will never forget it.

I could go on and on about Bowie and all the cool stuff he did. I could tell more stories. Like when my friend called me from a pay phone at the US festival and told me about his performance. I remember asking if he played “Ground control to Major Tom”. He said yes and it rocked.

I could go on about how cool it is he married a Somali model and stay married for 20+ years. Or the timeless duet he did with Bing Crosby.

But there’s no need to. Bowie’s legacy speaks for itself.

When I heard about his death just a few hours after it was announced it hit me hard. I even woke up my wife to tell her. It’s taken a few days to sort through the reason why it hit so deep. I’m still sorting it out actually.

I didn’t own every record he ever recorded. I never even saw him live. But I have this history with him and his art. A friend of mine recently said, “It’s amazing someone you’ve never met can have this affect on you. That’s the power of music.”

So true.

So here’s to Ziggy Stardust.

And God bless Aladdin Sane.

{ 2 comments }

Bill

boysclub_logo

“Hey Buddy, what’s your name?”

“Keith.”

“Hi Keith, I’m Bill!”

He shook my eight year old hand and engulfed it.

“You ever play ping-pong Keith?”

“No.”

“Well Keith, I’m going to show you how to play, and you’re going enter some tournaments and win! OK?”

I inhaled deeply, exhaled slowly and mumbled, “OK.”

I was a suburban Boston boy plunged into a cacophonous sea of kids at the local Boys Club (it was just for boys back then), teetering on the verge of a meltdown. I was lost. I was intimidated. Everyone seemed to know their place except me. I had no idea what to do. My Mom made me go. I didn’t want to. But I did. And hated it. It was teeming with a bunch of obnoxious beelzeboys acting like they owned the place since The Babe was home run king. I wanted to go home and watch Three Stooges reruns where it was quiet and safe. But I had to stay. And I loathed it. Until Bill introduced himself and made me feel like, maybe, just maybe I could belong.

Bill could have been 22 or 32 or 82. Everyone looks like an old man when you’re 8. He was scruffy, slightly pudgy and had oily thinning hair. He looked like an extra on the set of the TV show ‘Taxi’. But he had this infectious smile and genuine exuberance that didn’t seem contrived. It seemed real. It was real. An eight year old can pick up on a fake in a heartbeat. At least this 8 year old could.

Every time I would go back to the club, Bill would track me down and say in his thick Boston accent something like, “Keith! How ya doin’? You enter a foosball tournament yet?”

“Mmmm…no”.

“Well c’mon! Let’s get you signed up and start practicing!”

He showed me how to play ping-pong. And bumper pool. And Foosball. He showed me were to sign up for bingo, and kickball, and boxing. He made me sign up and compete. He would say, “It doesn’t matter if you win Keith, what matters is you get in there and try!”

It sounds so cliché, but to an eight-year-old boy from a fatherless home it was a constant stream of revelations. His confidence and positivity infected me. Inspired me. Made me want to play. And want to win.

I went out for ice cream one night and saw Bill at the restaurant. He was sitting alone. It’s always shocking to a young mind when you see someone out of the element you know them in. It’s as if you think they somehow stop existing when you leave the place you know them from. So when I saw Bill I was shocked. But excited.

“Hey, it’s Bill from the Boy’s club!” He saw me, smiled and waved. And continued to eat. Alone. It seemed weird to me to see Bill outside a sea of kids and craziness just…eating. It’s as if I expected to him to be playing Ping-Pong in the middle of the restaurant. So when he was just quietly eating it seemed out of place. And sad.

Bill stopped working at the Boy’s Club after awhile. By the time he left I had become one of those loud obnoxious kids running around acting like I owned the place. I played Ping-Pong, Foosball, Bumper pool, entered tournaments, won, lost and grew to love it all.

One day out in the Boy’s Club parking lot I was hanging out with some of the older kids trying to act cool and he drove up in some huge beater car.

“Keith! How ya doin’?”

“Good.”

“You playing pool and ping-pong? Winning some tournaments?”

“Yeah, a few.”

The older kids were talking with him too but subtly mocking him at the same time. He didn’t seem to notice at first. Some ducks flew over head and he said, “Where’s my shotgun! Time to go hunting!” For some reason this was too much for the kids and their mocking became obvious. Bill didn’t get angry and retaliate or swear. He just seemed sad and drove off. But before he drove off he looked at me and said, “Keep at it Keith, you’re a good guy.”

The older kids continued to mock as he drove off. I couldn’t understand why. Bill was so nice and cool, why would they make fun of him? Maybe because his scruffy unkempt look and positive demeanor were just not cool enough for them. I don’t know, but I felt terrible when he left.

I have no idea what happened to Bill. I actually know nothing about Bill at all. I imagine he worked or volunteered at the Club because he wanted to help kids. Looking back at Bill through a grown up’s eight year old eyes, I imagine he was a bit of a loner who thought a way to get out of the rut was to try and make a difference in some kids’ lives.

Well Bill, wherever you are, let me tell you, you did make a difference.

And whenever I play pool or Ping-Pong or birds fly overhead, I think of you.

Thanks.

 

 

{ 4 comments }

This is all kinds of awesome.

There once was a time when a Rock band had to have some uber-masculine name to convey the essence of their manly rockness. That requirement eventually shifted to Metal bands only as names like ‘Red Hot Chili Peppers’ proved one could rock and have a completely retardedheavy-metal-band-name-chart name. For awhile though, if you wanted to rock and be taken seriously, your name had to have some gravitas.

{ 0 comments }

I once heard an established music producer say something along these lines – “We are created beings, therefore it naturally follows that we ourselves are creators; creativity is something that is inherent in every one of us. Where we get hung up is to what degree of influence our creativity possesses. Some people are only equipped to write songs for their kids or their local church group, while others are equipped to write songs that give voice to an entire generation. But just because one circle of influence is much smaller than the other, it doesn’t mean the artistic value is any less, it’s just on a different scale.”

That really stuck with me. [click to continue…]

{ 0 comments }

If you like/love/hate Run DMC you must listen to this.

If you like/love/hate Sarah Mclachlan you must listen to this.

If your life has been touched in any way by adoption, you definitely must listen to this.

Rap star Darryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels from the groundbreaking rap group Run DMC tells a fascinating, hilarious and touching story  about pop-rock singer/songwriter Sarah Mclachlan saving him from suicide. With a few twists and turn that are really pretty amazing. [click to continue…]

{ 10 comments }

At least that’s what ‘science’ was saying back in 1977 in this issue of TIME magazine along with 51 things you could do about it. Really? 51 things you can do to help stop the coming ice age?  Or at least ‘survive’ it? Wait a minute… I thought the globe was warming, not cooling?

Bottom line is this – alarmism and hysteria is always wrong. The killer bees lost their sting. The Population Bomb never went off. And we haven’t run out of oil like we were supposed to.

So when there is this collective wave of hysteria regarding an impending doomsday scenario calling us to act now or else (!!!), it’s probably wrong. [click to continue…]

{ 21 comments }

Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 3.48.01 PM I first watched Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I have a dream’ speech in my first college English course. This was a few years before you could whip up whatever you wanted on Youtube, so to watch the speech in its entirety was much more of a special event. I had seen bits and pieces of the speech and was familiar with the gist, but when I sat and watched the entire thing I was mesmerized. And deeply moved.

Martin Luther King Jr. from that point on became one of my heroes. [click to continue…]

{ 3 comments }

At an earlier point in life it was simple. If a homeless person asked me for money, I gave it. It seemed like the ‘Christian’ thing to do. Plus, I felt like I was being a holy type guy in giving whenever asked.

Then when I was about nineteen, I was having lunch at a restaurant where our table was next to a side walk on a fairly busy city street. A lady approached me – she didn’t seem to completely fit the homeless bill – she didn’t have the whole bags in the shopping cart thing going on with the chimney soot on the cheeks. She just seemed like a lady that fell on some hard times.

[click to continue…]

{ 9 comments }

SCCCCREEEEEEEEECH!!!!!!!!!!

“You better stop blowing that whistle Mr. 22 Gerry St.”

SCCCCREEEEEEEEECH!!!!!!!!!!

“I’m warning you Mr. 22 Gerry St. you better stop.”

[click to continue…]

{ 9 comments }