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Post-Thanksgiving Thanks

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“Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday,” she said firmly, “because it’s not about buying presents or patriotism or somebody’s religion or drinking large amounts of alcohol. It’s just about family.” – a character in my forthcoming novel WHEN I GOT OUT


The Tiny Goddess and I got out of the country for Thanksgiving on a temporary vacation from Trumpland.

We came back to the fiasco of GOP “Tax Reform” -- boosting the super-rich and their heirs, and sticking it to the middle class, the poor, the sick, graduate students, Puerto Rico (!) and even school teachers. It’s “cartoonishly evil,” just as the Editorial Board of The New York Times said. And “Pocahontas” again. Maybe we should have stayed away.

We went with the family to the TG’s Sister’s fabulous place in Querataro, Mexico.
I’ve blogged before about the wonders of the Centro Historico section of Queretaro (http://peterseth.com/blog/243-queretaro-the-best-kept-secret-in-mexico.html), and everything I wrote before still applies.  When you are a UNESCO World Heritage site, change is frowned upon. In fact, it’s illegal.

Out of the country, in this bewitching, serene setting, I had a chance to pause, appreciate my micro-life, and be thankful for the blessings in my life, great and small.

*My family: my two “blondies” – my wife and my grandson. My son and my daughter. My incredible Daughter-in-Law. My brother. My extended family, especially my Sister-in-Law, the amazing hostess/designer/magician/force-of-nature. And a few great friends.

“Think where man's glory
Most begins and ends
And say my glory was
That I had such friends.” – W.B. Yeats, The Municipal Gallery Revisted

*Work that I love.

*My health.

*Security. A home I love, going on twenty-eight years.

*A good dog.

*A convertible.

*Music, all the time, whenever I want. (Great live music in LA. Always the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and sometimes the Los Angeles Opera.)

*Yoga, four times a week.

*Two Trader Joe’s nearby.

*The Dodgers. (76 days until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training.)

And –

I’m very grateful that Robert Mueller and his team are on the job.

I’m grateful for all the Resisters – the people of MoveOn and Indivisible. All the activists. Act Blue and Working Families and all the organizations who fill my inbox every day, asking for donations. Inside and outside the Democratic Party.

I’m grateful for the work of Paul Krugman, Rachel Maddow, Joy Reid, Lawrence O’Donnell, Charles Blow, Gail Collins, Robert Reich, and countless other writers and journalists (with a special nod to in-the-line-of-fire CNN) for keeping alive the fight against Trump and the GOP.

And I’m cautiously grateful for the results of this year’s Election Day. Perhaps in 2018, the Good America that I believe exists will rise up and turn against the GOP. For good.







Fighting Words for the Age of Trump

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It’s hard to concentrate on anything besides what Trump and the Republicans are doing and saying:

*Tax “reform” that’s a giveaway to their rich corporate and individual donor/owners and will bust a huge hole in the deficit, which will only be closable by enormous cuts in entitlement programs (effectively ending the New Deal, a long-sought, right-wing wet dream). As economic adviser Gary Cohn said, “The most excited group out there are big CEOs, about our tax plan.” Duh.

*Trump bumbling around the world, dancing with dictators and sucking up to Putin while he calls long-time American public servants “hacks”

*The ex-Eli Lilly executive/Big Pharma lobbyist – Alex Azar -- who has just been raised from the Swamp to be new Health and Human Services secretary

*Roy Moore, the pedophile GOP candidate from Alabama, the one who’s really, really Christian

*Trump packing the courts with highly unqualified, young right-wing ideologues (and McConnell jamming them through)

*Trumpworld in suspense, waiting for the next indictment: Michael Flynn or his son? … Jared or Donald Jr.?

As Stephen Sondheim said in a different context, “Every day, a little death.”

There was some hope on Election Day: good results in Virginia, New Jersey, and in pockets all across the country. But let’s see what happens in 2018. The Democrats will be fighting a lot of money, gerrymandering, and a lot of voter suppression. And we don’t know what Russia, Trump’s ally, has planned for us.

It’s hard to stay positive, and yet what choice have we? I focus on my little life: working on this draft of WHEN I GOT OUT and taking care of my family, especially my exquisite grandson Calder.

And I try to take courage from the fighting words of others:

“I believe that we are lost here in America, but I believe we shall be found.” – Thomas Wolfe, YOU CAN’T GO HOME AGAIN

“Of all the varieties of virtues, liberalism is the most beloved.” -- Aristotle

“Most of the things worth doing in the world have been declared impossible before they were done.” – Louis Brandeis

“That which the fascists hate, above all else, is intelligence.” – Miguel de Unamuno

“I believe that all men, black, brown, and white, are brothers.” – W.E.B. DuBois

“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” – Samuel Johnson

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.” – George Orwell

“My experience has been that the people who talk the loudest about morality are the people who possess the least amount of it.” – James Carville

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy, that is, the search for a superior justification for selfishness.” – John Kenneth Galbraith

“What the people want is very simple. They want an America as good as its promise.” – Barbara Jordan

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Sounds To Distract Me

I’ve been trying to drown out the Trump* in my life, but it’s not easy. Especially with my addiction to “the news.”

(I do LOVE the sound of indictments!)

But occasionally I must turn off MSNBC/CNN/FauxNews/Thom Hartmann/Sirius POTUS/etc. and find better sounds.

Here’s what I’ve been listening to lately:

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NOT DARK YET by Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer

I’m currently obsessed with NOT DARK YET, the title song of sisters Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer’s new album. It’s a Bob Dylan cover, from his 1997 TIME OUT OF MIND album. Until now, I never realized what a great song it is. (Bob’s singing didn’t exactly bring out the melody. He can no longer really do justice to his own songs.)

But the version by Shelby and Allison is simply haunting. And the song is as good as any Dylan ever wrote:

“Shadows are fallin' and I've been here all day
It's too hot to sleep and time is runnin' away
Feel like my soul has turned into steel
I've still got the scars that the sun didn't heal
There's not even room enough to be anywhere
It's not dark yet but it's gettin' there.

Well, my sense of humanity has gone down the drain
Behind every beautiful thing there's been some kind of pain
She wrote me a letter and she wrote it so kind
She put down in writin' what was in her mind
I just don't see why I should even care
It's not dark yet but it's gettin' there.

Well, I've been to London and I been to gay Paris
I've followed the river and I got to the sea
I've been down on the bottom of the world full of lies
I ain't lookin' for nothin' in anyone's eyes
Sometimes my burden is more than I can bear
It's not dark yet but it's gettin' there.

I was born here and I'll die here against my will
I know it looks like I'm movin' but I'm standin' still
Every nerve in my body is so naked and numb
I can't even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Don't even hear the murmur of a prayer
It's not dark yet but it's gettin' there.”


The TG and I had tickets to see Shelby and Allison at the Largo at the Coronet, an interesting performance space in Hollywood. (It’s where Bertholt Brecht’s English version of his LIFE OF GALILEO was premiered in 1947, with Charles Laughton in the title role.) But the she was under the weather, and there was a Dodger game on TV, so I gave the tickets to my daughter The Flower, who very much liked the show.

(The rest of the NOT DARK ALBUM album is very good, too: a moody mix of country, rock, pop, and “Americana” covers: Townes van Zandt, Merle Haggard, Nirvana, Jason Isbell, etc. With a tasteful back-up band including Benmont Tench and Doug Pettibone.
And Shelby and Allison sounding like “the Everly Sisters.”)


The studio version of NOT DARK YET – the one I can’t stop listening to

Shelby and Allison – NOT DARK YET – live from the Country Hall of Fame, 9/15/17 – pure magic

Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer – NOT DARK YET (Live from Electric Lady Studios)

His Bobness singing NOT DARK YET (live, from 1999)

and for old times’ sake, young Shelby’s knockout HOLD ME, THRILL ME, KISS ME

Shelby Lynne – GOTTA GET BACK – from 2008

Shelby Lynne – YOU DON’T HAVE TO SAY YOU LOVE ME – live from 2008 – from her Dusty Springfield tribute period

Young Shelby singing WHEN SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH MY BABY (live)

Young Shelby singing NIGHT LIFE (live)

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