Friday, January 13, 2017

Still kickin’

Everybody smash up your seats and rock to this
Brand new beat
This here music mash up the nation
This here music cause a sensation
Tell your ma, tell your pa, everything’s gonna be alright
Can’t you feel it? Don’t ignore it
Gonna be alright

~~ “Revolution Rock” by The Clash

Well, howdy, strangers!

Whew, I don’t know about you guys, but it’s been super hectic for us lately! Some fun things happened.

We had a very nice Christmas and got to spend some time with family, including Niece Jen from San Diego.

We spent New Year’s in Kansas City and had a blast! (More about that in a moment.)

We got an Amazon Dot and enjoyed it so much we decided to get an Amazon Echo. I’ve basically turned off the TV all day and just listen to music while I read or do chores. You can get Amazon Unlimited Music for $3.99 a month with the Echo and it’s a vast catalog. I’ve heard unfamiliar songs even from bands that I love dearly.

We attended South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s Christmas party that he threw for supporters and had a nice time talking with Shane and Matt, and Mayor Pete chatted with everyone. He talked with us for a good 10-15 minutes and he is absolutely impressive. He recently decided to run for the Democratic National Committee chair and has gotten some very positive coverage from the national press. I don’t know if he’ll win it (he’s considered a dark horse candidate), but it’s obvious that he has a future in national politics. Personally, I’ve always said that he’s going to be President one day. I know he is a ways off from that, but get to know him, because you’ll be seeing more of him! (And learn to pronounce his name: it’s boot-a-judge.)

I met my personal reading goal for 2016 of 52 books and even passed it, with 54. My goal for 2017 is once again 52 books. Most that I read last year were quite good but I had a few stinkers in there, too. I suspect that 2017 will be similar!

Some not-so-great things happened, too.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks with a nasty cold virus that turned into bronchitis, so that wasn’t much fun! I’m still not at 100%...maybe 85%. But I’m feeling a lot better than I did, so I’m encouraged and looking forward to getting back to fighting form.

I have spent the past few weeks watching the Yam’s shenanigans (the Yamanigans?) with a combination of anger, disgust, horror, and amusement. It is eminently obvious to me that he is not going to be able to keep a lot of the promises that he made to his deluded followers (no, Mexico is not going to reimburse us for a fucking wall, geniuses) but that he and the Republicans will do great damage going forward. They are currently in the process of dismantling the Affordable Care Act, and millions of people will lose their health care. You know, that is something that I worry about...I truly worry about everyone that will be affected, no matter who they supported or their party affiliation. It’s too bad that the Republicans don’t care about them.

As for the latest, about the Yam’s possible probable fucking obvious ties with Russia, well, I’ll just wait and see how that plays out. And I’m sure that the other allegations about compromising videos have left the Yam feeling quite...pissed off. *cough cough* I think there is probably a lot more to this story and I’ll wait to see what hard-working journalists turn up. The rumor on Twitter is that Penthouse has video. Is it true? Who knows? Many smart people are saying so! Wheeeee! Or should I say Weeeeee!?

I’ll end on a positive note. Our trip to Kansas City was a wonderful little getaway! We got to see The Rainmakers two nights in a row, on the 30th and the 31st. They were absolutely fantastic, as always, and you could tell they were all feeling it and having a blast! Both nights, a couple of cool bands opened for them: Chris Meck and the Guilty Birds and American Slim. We got to have some amazing Kansas City barbecue, once at a place called Q39 and once at Jack Stack. We spent some time with our friend Bob (the lead singer) as we helped him tear down his December art show and then went to lunch. We were invited over to his and Michele’s house on Saturday for a soup lunch and got to chat with Pat (the drummer) and his partner Whitney.

[Note: I’m sorry I didn’t get a good picture of Pat either night. It’s always hard to get a good pic of the drummer!]

It was such a great feeling to talk with people with whom we have so much in common. I got to talk books with the super cool Michele, health concerns with the equally as cool Whitney, and music with the always cool Bob and Pat. It was a total blast for me to hear about their stories of years of making and recording music. Utterly fascinating for this music fanatic! I’m often awkward in social situations, but from the beginning, I felt relaxed and welcomed by the Kansas City gang. They are definitely part of The Tribe!

Talking with them gave me hope for the coming year. None of us knows what is going to happen (although we suspect that a lot of it won’t be good), but it helped me immensely to know that there are others who share my feelings and concerns. It is important for us to work together and oppose any and every effort to weaken voting rights or people’s civil rights. Knowing that there are warriors like them out there strengthens my resolve.

Oddly, the other thing that gave me hope was the opening band for The Rainmakers, a Kansas City band called American Slim. They are incredibly young...I guess a couple of them haven’t even graduated from high school yet! But they totally rocked! They played some covers (including an excellent version of “Sympathy for the Devil”...good enough that I thanked one of the members for not fucking up my all-time favorite song!) but also some originals. They have an EP of originals out and are apparently working on an album as well as getting gigs in the KC area. Hearing these kids play and totally rock out made me think that no matter what happens, there is always music. Go ahead and try to stifle our voices but as long as there is rock and roll, you will never succeed.

As Bob wrote to me, Keep the music on, there is more dancing ahead.”