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There’s a lot on Pete Townshend’s mind — and a lot to get off his chest. His opening guitar riffs to “The Seeker” make it instantly clear. The song, recorded by the Who in January of 1970, is both a plea for clarity and a pronouncement. Rarely has the search for meaning amidst dashed hopes sounded so triumphant.
“The Seeker” covers well-traveled ground. The back story is a familiar story. An individual accomplishes much. There’s the acclaim, the money, and people wanting to know what makes you tick. With an adoring press, Pete Townshend knew all about that…
What a shame that the era of the Western movie headed long ago for the last roundup. The Gambler’s Apprentice, a novel by H. Lee Barnes, is perfect for adaptation to that great American genre – and, given the chance, just might revive it. It’s that good.
You listening, Hollywood? Long story short, it is 1917, and a farm family in drought-stricken Texas is fending off destitution, albeit just barely, by rustling Mexican cattle across the Rio Grande…
back in the day
When we met in the Officer’s Club at RAF Gatow he said his name was Alex, an engineer with the British Army in West Berlin. He offered to show us around the city at night and the weekend when he wasn’t on duty. Alex spoke German and drove an old black Mercedes Benz two-door coupe. It had been an SS Officer’s staff car during the war and still commanded respect around the city. When we approached a major intersection, controlled by a West Berlin policeman standing on a platform in the center of the road, Alex flashed the car’s headlights…
trump's split personality
The Washington Post Editorial Board thinks that former U.S. Senator and Republican presidential candidate Robert Dole is a doddering old fool for saying that Donald Trump has “the right personality” for the presidency. “Say what?” was the Post’s reaction to Dole’s assessment.
But the Post, like much of the media, is overlooking the fact that there are actually two Donald Trumps running for president in this cycle. One of them is the nativist bigot, who wants to round up 11 million undocumented immigrants and ship them back to their home countries..
fighting the real opponent
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have a great opportunity to advance the Democratic cause, but to seize it they’ll have the think differently about their contest. This opportunity grows out of a shadow that hangs over the campaign for the Democratic nomination. It is widely recognized that any Democrat who is elected president will be unable to accomplish much of what he or she is calling for. On the big issues…
they did what?
Oh, the frustration of fighting a bureaucracy, any bureaucracy!
It started out with AT&T installing high-speed fiber optics in our office building. Eventually came a call from AT&T, suggesting that this faster Internet service would be the cat’s meow for me. After several calls, I relented in late November, hearing that I could keep my same business land line telephone numbers. Previously, I had my telephone and Internet service with Windstream Business, and had been happy with that service for about five years or more…
Dear Senator Sanders,
You say you want to lead a “political revolution.” You say that our urgent problems cannot be solved just by utilizing the system in place in Washington, where the powers that need to be overcome remain too strong. The American people have to be mobilized, you say, to fight to take back the power (and their fair share of the American bounty) that has been stolen from them by the plutocracy…
With the Georgia (and Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) presidential primaries just about a month away, political antics have been far flung this presidential cycle! No telling what will happen next. This topsy-turvy political year, when matters were not always going as anticipated, now has a new name possibly seeking the office of president: former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Many will welcome Bloomberg’s consideration of a Third Party candidacy…
So you’d like to write a novel. Then here’s Dr. Lamb’s prescription: take two aspirin and lie down till the desire goes away.
Just kidding. Truth is, if you’re really a writer, you will write, no matter what. And if you’re not, well, I hope you’re at least a reader. Writers need readers and readers need writers, n’est-ce pas?
But I brought up the subject because an aspiring writer, a young girl, teenager, asked me the other day how to go about writing a novel.
get out of my yard
In a couple of years, if I’m lucky, I will disembark from the good ship I’m in my Fifties and book passage on the SS Lord, I Can’t Believe I’m in my Sixties. I try really, really hard not to be a “why, in my day” curmudgeon. For example, I’m OK with current popular music. I don’t actually listen to it, of course…everyone knows that the best popular music of all time is “classic rock” from the late 1960’s to the early 1980’s. But every generation has its own soundtrack, and every generation thinks its own music is the best. So more power to the current crop of pop artists, and to the whippersnappers who listen to them.
one less egg to fry
My mama loved the Lifetime Network. Back then it had the advertising slogan “It’s television for women.” Mama would eagerly tell me about the latest movie she had watched always leaning in at the end and saying conspiratorially “you know, it’s television for women.” She said it in that same lowered tone that was used to describe “down there.” Down there was her pseudonym for the entire area of the body contained in underpants. Thong underwear would have thrown her for a loop.
bubba still rules
For years, people in Georgia have been concerned that by having 159 counties, many of them small ones, government is too costly and inefficient.
Meanwhile, the people who control those counties, the big landowners and the timber companies, are pleased as punch about owning property in smaller counties. After all, it’s a whole lot easier to control government when you have just a few voters than it is in the larger counties, where a diverse and educated population sometimes votes slackard politicians out of office. You don’t see that happening often in the smaller counties.
Local government once was worse.
For years, there’s something that we Americans have urgently needed to see. If now isn’t a teachable moment – what with the spectacle of the Republican presidential race before us – I don’t know what would be. We can begin with Trump as a flagrant piece of a much bigger picture.
Consider what it means that the British parliament lately debated the question of whether Donald Trump should be banned from Great Britain. Britain, perhaps the United States’ greatest friend, our “special relationship” for the better part of a century. And Donald Trump — the front-runner of one of America’s two major political parties…
healing what ails us
“We are in trouble just now because we do not have a good story. We are between stories.” — Father Thomas Berry
Our species — Homo sapiens — is endangered. Never has humankind faced simultaneous crises on so many fronts: over-population; a rapidly deteriorating biosphere; competition for oil, water, and arable land; wars and rumors of wars; proliferating nuclear weapons; failed nation states; unprecedented extremes of wealth and poverty…
satire on the trail
Convicted psychotic mass murderer Charles Manson announced Monday he is throwing his support behind Texas Senator Ted Cruz, which came as a shock to GOP analysts who had long expected Manson to back Trump.
“I believe he’ll bring order to this race and this country that, frankly, has been a little helter-skelter during the Obama administration,” said Manson from Corcoran State Prison in California, where he is serving a life sentence for the infamous Tate-Labianca murders in the summer of 1969.
Seven is a lucky number, but three’s a charm.
I’ve been told that the brain can’t keep track of more than seven things at a time. I’ve tried and it is really difficult to view seven fish at one time in the pond. I ended up counting them by size and then adding the groups to account for my dozen. There are now fewer fish. I don’t see all the birds that come for a meal.
Anyway, I remain convinced that the brain has to be exposed to any new information at least three times before it sinks in. That may well be a default to prevent attention overload.
satire on the campaign trail
Iowa City, Iowa – Climatologists swarmed into Iowa Saturday hoping to avert a cataclysmic rise in global temperatures if GOP candidates are allowed to continue traveling across the state discharging billions of cubic feet of BS into the atmosphere.
Scientists said the immense discharges of the gas during the GOP debates and early months of the campaign for president are the prime reason 2015 was the hottest, and by most measures, the most unpleasant year in the history of mankind.
In an earlier post I mentioned that I had, via Christopher Hitchens’ essays And Yet…, discovered Henrich Heine (whom I had never heard of) and Edmund Wilson (I had been aware of him thru Gore Vidal so re-discovered). Well, I have now spent more time with HH and can report that that guy (1797-1856) was a cinematic writer, one who in turns can inspire one to pen and to despair (at one’s own feeble efforts). We have the handy word master to apply to folks like that…
on the campaign trail
Iowa City, Iowa — Fresh off a bruising debate with Donald Trump, Texas Senator Ted Cruz said he is left with no choice but to carpet bomb Iowa.
“That state is as threatening as ISIS because it could destroy America by not allowing me to be elected president,” said Cruz during a campaign stop with his two young daughters who were working the crowd asking for donations and posing for pictures with complete strangers who gave them candy.
This presidential campaign has been special. It’s the first one that has made me sick to my stomach. It’s been embarrassing to say the very least. There’s been minimal civility or coherent, consistent thought on either side. Pointing fingers, shouting, few specifics, and all too often foul language just don’t hack it for me. Nor does the occasional suggestion of possible legal action for past “activities.” As an American, I’m mortified, especially by the front runners on both sides. I wonder how they got to be the front runners? I really cannot understand.
gun totin' stoopid
Standoff continues. Patridiots not budging, holding firm on demands of more clean underwear and Febreze. Feds yet to show up or give a damn.
No shots were fired again today to the deep disappointment of the Yee-hadists within the Patridiot’s compound. “We are at serious risk of not being taken seriously” one Patridiot exclaimed. “Christ, they may think we’re some sort of hippie, peace-nik group if there ain’t a little blood shed soon” another one complained.
“Now I know how Davy Crockett must have felt before any of the Mexicans showed up at the Alamo.” claimed Burfurd T. Mudflap.
When George W. Coggin of Greensboro, N.C., and Pawleys Island, S.C., set out to trace his relatives’ military service in the Confederate Army, he little dreamed the trail would lead to finding black kinfolk. Coggin is white.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, the book that grew out of this journey into the past is Abraham & Jeremiah Coggin & The Montgomery Volunteers, published recently after years of research by Coggin, a retired lawyer, who with his wife Carol have a home in Litchfield Beach at Pawleys Island. We all met one day when I was out walking my dog, the late Dro Lamb, canine extraordinaire and companion supreme.
She began to write down her thoughts each day as her son prepared to go to war. He had suggested they each keep a diary of their activities so he would know what his mother did each day while he was away. She followed the war closely through media reports, writing significant events into a small note book alongside her daily activities, her fears and thoughts. The diary was surprisingly frank about the recurring nightmares which were centred on her son’s inability to help in times of her need.
satire on the campaign trail
Stepping up his birther attacks on Ted Cruz, Donald Trump is demanding proof of the Texas Senator and GOP presidential candidate’s DNA and has hired Ancestry.com “to prove, once and for all, he is one of us.”
“I look at the guy and I think a face like that can’t possibly be a real American,” Trump said in a Thursday press conference. “And he doesn’t look Canadian either, which is where he was born, and his father was a Cuban?
“I mean, this guy’s family tree is monkey bars!”
gun totin' stoopid
KRAZYVILLE, Ore. Community leaders were sent in today to help the Yee-hawdists who have taken over bird watchin’ from the commie, big-gubment liberals at a Federal reserve in Oregon.
The local sheriff David Ward stated “we had to send someone in with a scissors to help because the I.Q.s are so low they would have died trying unsuccessfully to open the snacks we sent in.” A reporter for the Oregon Sentinel interviewed one of the Tali-banjo who said they couldn’t seem to figure out how to open the Zip-Lock bags containing the S’mores…
For this new year, I have decided to skip making resolutions and pose some nagging questions instead. These long-unanswered questions demonstrate more staying power than resolutions do anyhow, so here goes:
- What happened to the United Nations’ peacekeeping role around the globe? How did the United States of America get saddled with the job – and enormous expense – of global policeman? Only a few years ago, an international crisis called for a peacekeeping force composed of member nations of the UN. Now nobody mentions it. Why?
familiarity breeds content
On the flight from Dulles to Dublin I sat by a woman returning from Las Vegas, where she had attended the World Freestyle fight between Conor McGregor, Irish Featherweight Freestyle Champion, and Brazil’s Jose Aldo. It took you longer to read that sentence than the fight lasted. Eyes brimming with enthusiasm, she told how Conor defeated his opponent in 13 seconds. For this triumph he was paid $500,000 but fifteen million more were set to roll in. I thought it an expensive trip for such a brief contest…