The most important election of my life

Listen, I don’t love Hillary, but I consider myself a realist.

Government is government. Neither Drumpf, nor anyone else, can wave a wand and be that “change agent” some of his followers fantasize he will be. There are lots of sharks out there and I believe Hillary is infinitely better prepared to swim those murky waters. Drumpf – he specializes in more murk. THIS ocean has “cyber and nuclear”. You don’t simply file for divorce or declare bankruptcy in this “game”. In this game, we’re playing for LIVES!

Looking at the latest poll numbers (NY Times, citing Huff Post database), shows Drumpf polling at an average of 43.18% nationally. I’m trying to understand that level of support…

I have no problem believing that 21.59% of my fellow Americans (“half of his supporters” fall into the “basket of deplorables” As offended as a few were by Secretary Clinton’s characterization, many more seemed rather proud of that tag. In fact, they embraced it, buying t-shirts and hats etc. from profiteers. Good for them. The Constitution supports their right to share their opinions, no matter what they’re based on (fear, hate, bigotry, misogyny, racism, a grossly over armed populace…)

And I have no problem believing that 20% of non-deplorable (generally speaking) Americans are simply dyed in the wool Republicans – they’ll vote red no matter what.

It is a few other folks who might decide our future as a nation, the nation we hope will continue to shine the light and lead the world.

When they were young, my kids asked me what the main difference between Republicans and Democrats was. After giving it some thought, I answered:

“Generally speaking, Republicans seem angry at everyone and everything, especially ‘the Government’, and they vent their rage by pointing fingers at others, while offering few positive solutions. In fact, they seem to relish saying NO to any solution put forward. Democrats, are ‘full of hope’, want to believe everything will be better in the future if we all just get along, often expressing this by trying to baby proof the entire country with speed bumps, an overabundance of handicap parking spots and ‘tactile warning devices’. In the end, everything is about money, although in a rare show of non-partisanship, both parties will deny this vehemently”.

I believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle, of course. Both “sides” seem thoroughly entrenched in their little frames, keeping real progress to a minimum.

For me, while I project more of an extreme left position, when I’m alone with me, I have to admit that I’m merely a bit left of center. Which brings me back to the start of this rant – the values of the Democratic Party are more in line with my hopefulness that we can support each other as a people, that Americans can stop the insanely self-destructive love affair with firearms, and that we can all choose love and peace over fear and hatred. To me, the latter is what Drumpf represents, and his voice, along with the deplorables who hear this dog whistle, needs to recede into the background of our national conversation.

I’m voting Blue.

Clinton Trump

100 words on what’s really at stake on November 8th

My liberal friends.

Hillary? Bernie?
Not the most important candidates this November…

If we’ve learned one thing over the Obama years, it’s that Republicans have shown a great willingness to hold their collective breath until America turns blue.

So, grant them their wish. Please! Turn America blue.

Without control of the House or the Senate, President Sanders (or Clinton II) will endure much the same struggle Barack Obama has. The IMPORTANT elections this fall will be in the Congress.

Who are your Representatives? They are up for election.
Who are your Senators? Are they up for re-election this year?

VOTE!

100 (and last) words on Trump

America’s most despised “leader” is increasingly unlikely to be his party’s nominee. And he has no chance of winning general election. Even Bernie, the candidate the press pretends doesn’t exist, beats him in a landslide.

Trump’s “success” is driven by an absurd amount of media coverage. They cover this buffoon because it makes rubberneckers, like me, turn the TV on. He’s Zika, he’s a mining disaster, a train derailment, a 20 car collision, all rolled into one.

And I am tired of it. Trump is irrelevant. All he breeds is ignorance and hate.

I will not talk about him anymore.

Drumpf hate

100 words on the election…

A few days ago, an old friend (actually, he was my JUNIOR high school music teacher – so I haven’t seen him in 46 years!) commented on my Facebook post about Ted Cruz being a freaking bunghole. He said,

“…take it easy”.

At first, I thought, “My post wasn’t what I’d call hysterical. What’s your big deal?”
But now that I’ve reflected, the message I’m taking from his protective advisory is that this insanity, this political circus, goes on for another 8 months. After the conventions, it could get even crazier, so…

I guess I had better learn to pace myself.

bleak

100 words from March 17

Didn’t even realize I was writing 100 words way back on St. Patty’s Day 😉
Well, hoy de doy. I was!
And here they were…

I got in the car this morning and Modern Music by Be Bop Deluxe was on the radio. It took me back to one of the staples of my late teens/early 20’s. As the 12 minute masterpiece unfolded, I found myself turning the radio louder and louder and louder.

When it ended, Forbidden Lovers came on. What? Oh crap. I figured Bill Nelson must have joined the rock n’ roll heaven class of 2016.

“When will this journey be through?”

Good news. Unless the DJ knows something that the internets don’t, Mr. Nelson is still alive and well.

You’re welcome

Be Bop

100 words on Lennon and Martin

Watching a short clip of John Lennon speaking about George Martin; commenting “it’s hard to describe a relationship”.

As John speaks, it seems as if the more he verbalizes it, the more he acknowledges (to himself?) just how much George Martin brought to the party. It’s true, without George Martin, there is no Beatles; without the Beatles, we’re certainly not talking much about George Martin.

Together? We’ve been discussing this for over 50 years now and it’s not much of a stretch to predict that “we” will still be discussing them in another 50 years.

Rest in peace, Sir George.

https://www.facebook.com/johnlennon/videos/1161967817155263/

 

And the stars look very different today

I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence

Nothing I can say about Bowie that hasn’t already been said better.
The short version – David, your music has been part of the soundtrack of my life since I was 11 or 12 years old. Your passing cuts deeply. You were more than a musician, more than a writer, more than an artist, more than a star. You were, and always will be, a true icon.

Every weekend, Molly, who has somehow become 16 years old (time flies when you’re having fun?) and I go on long drives. She, naturally, controls the music. Over the course of our journeys, I can l always depend on the fact that I’m going to hear Changes, Oh! You Pretty Things, All the Young Dudes…

The two best lines I’ve heard on this mournful day:
“If you’re ever sad, just remember the world is 4.543 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie.”
“No more crying. David Bowie wouldn’t want us to waste the eye liner”

Rest in peace David.
Thank you.

P.S. Thanks for turning me on to Stevie Ray!

DB
Photo by Masayoshi Sukita

September 25, 2014 Bronx, NY

Ya know, I’m not the most worldly guy, but I’ve witnessed a few things. I’ve seen a couple of babies born, watched a couple of folks draw their last breath. I’ve driven through a forest fire, seen a bus blown apart by a suicide bomber. I’ve walked the walls of Jerusalem, sung on gold records, had Michael Jackson call my home. I’ve stood on the beaches of Normandy, wandered the streets of Auschwitz, been in the presence of two popes, been moved to uncontrollable sobbing by the Sistine Chapel.

 I’m not sure where what I witnessed tonight will rank, but I know I’ll never adequately find words to describe it. To stand, screaming myself hoarse with my wonderful daughter and 48,611 of our closest friends, having the privilege to be present for what will undoubtedly go down as one of the most iconic moments in sports history…

Just…

WOW.

As we chanted in unison from the 7th inning on,

Thank you Derek!

DSC05707  DSC05708DSC05709

All Things Must Pass

So, I hear that Colin Hanks’ Tower Records documentary is being screened in Los Angeles. I didn’t hear about this from the director or from the Tower brass. A former employee posted it on my Facebook timeline. I thank her for recognizing that I had a role in this company’s rise and fall.

I don’t delude myself that I was one of the top 25, or even 50 or 100, all-time MTS employees. I don’t imagine, if Tower had a Hall of Fame, that I’d be an inductee. I recognize that when I arrived on the scene, while not yet a worldwide, or even national, company, Tower Records was indeed already an iconic and revolutionary chain. Heck, that’s why I applied for a job within days of moving to Los Angeles in 1980. It’s the only place I wanted to work.

Still, I am a bit surprised, disappointed and curious that, other than a brief introductory email exchange in 2011 (“we’ll be in touch soon”), Mr. Hanks did not feel that I was worthy of even a five minute phone pre-interview by his lowest staff member. After all, I did work for Tower for 26 years. I was the Manager of Tower Sunset, “the most famous record store in the world” during its peak years. I was the pioneer of computerized inventory management for the chain. I founded Tower Israel (employee #1) and opened three stores in the Middle East. To my knowledge, I was the only person in Tower history to manage Store of the Year award winners at three different locations. And, for the last four difficult years of the chain, I was the Director of Purchasing for all US stores, overseeing $1.6 billion in sales. When they finally shuttered the place, I wonder how many staffers remained with an employee number lower than my #3047.

I look forward to seeing Mr. Hanks’ movie. I’m sure it will be glowing with well-deserved and sentimental, nostalgic praise for his hometown chain that conquered the world. I’m sure I’ll learn new things about those first ten years, gain new insight into the legends and mentors that preceded me and feel my own swell of pride for any tiny role I played in this iconic American success story. And I’m particularly interested in seeing how he portrays the demise. For long after the titans had left the building, after the passing of Bud Martin and Tony Valerio, the departures of Hopson, Sockolov (Ross and later Kenny), Barton, Viducich, Goman, Scarlett, MTS himself… and after Russ had lost all relevance, the fight went on. I wonder if this is covered in any detail. Is there mention of those who struggled through those last couple of years to keep the old gal afloat with smoke and mirrors, baling wire and duct tape? Is there any sentiment for the thousands of employees who fought on with no glory, no pay raises, no golden parachutes and, in the end, no severance packages whatsoever? Will their love, passion and selfless dedication be acknowledged?

And, will Russ ultimately take any responsibility for his epic financial blunders and loss of vision? Or will it be his usual litany of blame: Napster, the internet, downloading, record companies (that wouldn’t listen to him and produce more singles and classical records) and “those fucking banks”. Will Tower’s demise just be chalked up, like buggy whips and steam locomotives, to all things (such as record stores), must inevitably pass?

As an insider, and an eyewitness to the bitter end, I ain’t buying that story!

I recognize that this post is not likely to be embraced, but I feel I’m entitled to my point of view, my perspective, my feelings.

And, all that aside, I do sincerely thank Russ Solomon for signing my paycheck for 26 years. It was indeed, a great ride. Thank you sir.

Employee #3047:
1980-1991 Tower Sunset – W. Hollywood, CA
1991-1993 Tower Topanga – Woodland Hills, CA
1993-1995 Tower Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, Israel (employee #1)
1995-2002 Tower Stockton – Stockton, CA
2002-2006 Corporate Headquarters, 2500 Del Monte, West Sacramento, CA, USA

P.S. In the Facebook post, I included a photo that I had sent to Kickstarter by way of introducing myself. I call it Hallow Ween (from Tower Sunset,1980). Facebook took it down.

As far reaching, and invasive, as their tentacles are, I don’t believe they can remove it from MY website. Here it is:
Hollow Ween

 

the Beatles

That was so awesome! And what class.

“We have to mention that we were in a band and it was called the Beatles”.

So many bands out there, R&R Hall of Fame bands, still playing their hits even though 1/2 of the original members are long gone. As far as I’m concerned, if those two legends had gone out there last night and played those songs under the banner “the Beatles”, I wouldn’t have found it one tiny bit less thrilling. The live audience sure seemed to agree!

If you had a choice to BUY tickets for one concert tomorrow, featuring real live current line-ups, would you go see:

1) the Rolling Stones
2) the Beach Boys
3) the Allman Brothers
4) the Who
5) Fleetwood Mac
6) the Eagles
7) the Beatles (billed as Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr since they’re too cool to pimp the brand without John and George).

Me? I’d see “the Beatles” 10 times before even thinking about one of the other bands. No contest.

And hey, just saying, with all due respect to Anderson, Laboriel, Wickens & Ray, I’d rather see Paul and Ringo with Ringo’s current band. Lukather & Frampton are a SERIOUS upgrade!