Fractured Fairy Tales: The Princess who wanted to be President

Once upon a time there was an ugly princess who wanted to be President. Even as a little girl, she told everyone, “I don’t want to be in the kitchen baking cookies, I want to be President!” Everyone laughed & laughed, which only re-doubled her resolve.

This ugly princess came from a wealthy family, and married to achieve her dream. One day when she was walking alone in a dark forest, an ogre approached her with a deal. He proposed, “I have the chops & political connections to be President. You have the money & family name. Let’s get married, so I can be President, then I’ll make you President.”

The ugly princess was delighted to be made such an offer she couldn’t refuse. This was a kingdom where anyone could be elected President, and her husband served two terms in that capacity, making himself the most powerful member of his political party.

But things never quite worked out for the ugly princess. It was as if the deal she made with the ogre was cursed. For instance, as First lady, she was publicly cuckolded, as her husband was impeached by the House of Representatives for lying about getting blown by an intern. But what could she do? She wanted to be President, so she stood by her man. It was the only way.

As a member of the imperial Senate, the ugly princess was viewed as a thoroughly establishment figurine, instead of the rising Presidential hopeful she desired to be. It was a dark star that rose in her place, and cruelly snatched the party nomination away from her. The ugly princess howled & screamed during the process, but eventually was made to understand the realpolitik, and became Secretary of State.

At the same time this was going on, there was a handsome, wise & courageous prince who was forced to live as a pauper. His unfortunate situation came about very early in life, when he was walking alone through a dark forest, and a wicked witch bumped into him & took offense. The wicked witch hated beauty, so she said to the handsome boy prince, “I’m going to cast a spell on you, so no matter how smart you are, no one will believe you, until you are kissed by a beautiful princess.”

Then she waved her hands & cackled, “Fee-fi-fo-fum; this man shall be wise, but people with think he’s dumb,” and with that, and a ‘poof’ she was gone. The boy studied hard, took all the toughest classes, and never let the establishment crack him. But the wicked witch’s spell took hold, as every time success seemed within his grasp, it would evaporate. The goalposts were forever moved back & narrowed, to the point where it was futility to attempt financial success.

The handsome, yet poor, prince told everyone of these truths, but few, if any listened. They ignored, blocked & de-friended him for telling the facts. This was indeed a nasty spell, cast by an evil sorceress. There were deep state campaigns, in which the ugly princess attacked the handsome prince on every front, political, economic & personal, with dirty tricks campaigns, spying & blacklisting.

When it was finally the ugly princess’ time to run for President again, the field was presumably cleared for her, by her powerful husband. But an old windbag making leftists sounds took the lead, and the ugly princess was again drowning. So the Black Hand again intervened, with a nefarious squeeze play, to get the old windbag to sabotage & abandon his campaign– in a bow of respect to the ugly princess & her ogre husband. This was revealed by WikiLeaks, as DNC staffers leaked damaging emails & speeches to Goldman Sachs by the ugly princess, implicating them in rigging the 2016 primary.

This culminated in the ugly princess losing to a Nazi, to the shock of a nation. In the early hours of November 9, 2016, while much of the nation was stunned & speechless, the wise prince published “Fascism Wins Election 2016,” then on November 12, “The Swift & Sudden Death of U.S. Liberalism,” and on November 13, “Hillary Clinton: A Political Obituary.”

Nazis had indeed taken over the White House, and over the next three years, chaos & hatred was broadcast everywhere. The ugly princess did everything she could to shift the blame for this catastrophe onto anyone but herself. It was mostly the “Russians” and “internet trolls” that were blamed, as “fake news” came into our lexicon. The handsome & wise prince suffered more than ever. The problem for the ugly princess was that no one believed her lies, despite her monopoly grip on the media narrative.

So the courageous prince never stopped broadcasting the truth, and eventually more & more people started paying attention, as censorship can’t hold forever. The resourceful prince took up the guitar, and became the Pied Piper, but that’s another fairy tale. Anyways, the wicked witch’s spell had finally been broken, so when it came time for another Presidential carnival campaign, the ugly princess was left out of the primary.

But the ugly princess still had her ogre husband by the royal jewels, so she again demanded, “I want to be President.” As luck would have it, just as the political campaign season was going into full swing, a horrible & incurable black plague swept over every land. This crashed the global economy, which was already on a knife-edge– about to be swallowed up in a mountain of unpayable debt. This crisis ruined any re-election hopes for the Nazi incumbent.

As far as the party primary went, again the old windbag ranted about inequality & unfairness, while offering nothing of substance, before ceding to leadership and betraying his followers. A zombie placeholder was made the presumptive party nominee for President. The zombie was made to declare that his running mate for Vice-President will be a women.

This creates a situation where the ugly princess can still become President, by removing the semi-senile imbecile after the election victory, through dirty tricks party maneuvering, and a media attack led by the #MeToo campaign. The most useful tools for the ugly princess are: #MeToo & Black Lives Matter. The LGBT liberals have no power, because conservative don’t care about fags, so they have to support the “liberals.”

The problem for the ugly princess is that she, and her favorite tools, are considered toxic by party leaders outside the palace, as well as all the voters. This puts their Presidential campaign back into the margin-of-error, which is alarming. Any time an election falls within the margin-of-error anymore, the right-wing party wins, because it’s about dirty tricks and they are more adept at that game. The last time a left-wing party won the Presidency within the margin-of-error was Camelot, and that’s another fairy tale too.

The announcement of the ugly princess for VP will be unacceptable to the masses. It will ultimately lead to a revolution, where all the evil & ugly people are exposed, prosecuted & then thrown into a dungeon for the rest of their days. The working people will be the leaders in gathering together & socializing without the distinction of classes, to create a better society where everyone lives happily ever after.

THE END

………..<><><><><><><><><>…………

My Musical Education

My parents were both born in 1939, and were squares. They missed Elvis & the Beatles, settling for easy listening & classical. That’s what I grew up with in Wisconsin. There were two kindergarten classes in Winneconne when I went, and both had nice teachers, Mrs. Broderick & Mrs. Kontos. I had Mrs. Kontos, who played piano, and got us singing as a group to “Old McDonald”, “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and other children’s standards.

Looking back now, I can see that it was her job to stimulate as many senses as she could in all of us. By doing this, Mrs.Kontos & Mrs. Broderick could recognize who had ability, and who needed help. Thus, no one got left behind. By 1st grade, the kids had been sorted by ability, and a few were already recognized for their prodigy talents. I had a Winneconne classmate who was a math & science genius, and everyone knew it. We rode the bus together.

We were were introduced to music class in first grade, and it was mandatory through fifth grade. The teacher was Mrs. Alberta Doverspike, a hard but passionate Irishwoman, who loved kids & teaching music. She also played second-row violin in the Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra, which was nationally recognized at the time.

Mrs. Doverspike mostly played the piano in class, while teaching from the songbook we all had in our laps, and always stayed in the classroom. She was the Winneconne elementary, grade 1-5, music teacher for decades, and beloved by many. We viewed these crazy film-strips on the treble & bass clefs, with notes calling out in the night to a kid asleep, and then the journey to follow these sounds & discover the musical scales. We all laughed & learned.

It was the same songbook year after year, with old-school classics such as: Stephen Foster’s “Oh Susanna”, and “Land of the Silver Birch”, a traditional 1920’s Canadian folk song. “Hi diddle unakum feedle” is an Irish ballad I repeatedly requested, to the irritation of other classmates– also known as “The Tailor and the Mouse.” On Fridays, we always sang a song (I think) called “Friday-day” which goes like this:

1st verse: Hooray, hooray, today is Friday day. All week long without a blooper, hit the books and come out super. Friday we’re all in a stupor. What’s today? FRIDAY DAY!!

*2nd verse: Hooray, hooray, today is Friday day. Five full days to get some learning, and we never stop our yearning. but by now our guts are churning. What’s today? FRIDAY DAY!!

3rd verse: Hooray, hooray, today is Friday day. Other days are overrated, all those classes that we hated, five long days we’ve sat & waited. What’s today? FRIDAY DAY!!

* I’m not entirely sure on this verse, so I improvised. That’s all I got on that one, as I can’t find the complete lyrics anywhere. I want that songbook.

In 3rd grade I was made to take private violin lessons, and showed little interest. My mother wanted me to be a classical musician– only. My dad was a good man at heart, but an alcoholic. He was functional, but his addiction took away from his interest in being a father to either of his sons. My younger brother was forced to suffer these violin lessons with me, and had even less interest & ability.

We ‘performed’ once at an Oshkosh recital, and we were the first ones to leave the stage, so the really good kids could play. They were brilliant, but I remember thinking to myself that I didn’t want to be with them. This leads to a major point I’ll make about music, and anything else. Go with your strengths & your heart. I never felt the passion for classical music, that I do for rock, so I instinctively knew where to draw the line.

Anyways, these private lessons lasted only 2-3 months, and were then dropped, because I had stopped practicing. That’s how it is in an alcoholic family. No one can just talk it out. Everything is manipulated & distorted, so you have to find unhealthy ways to express yourself. This is what one must recover from, to become a healthy adult.

Back to grade school music class, one day in maybe fourth grade, Mrs. Doverspike found the generosity in her heart to let one of us finally pick a song, so I raised my hand and called out “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles, with the page number. Everyone got REALLY excited when they turned to it, and when we hit the first chorus, you could hear our class singing boldly & in unison all the way down the hall. Mrs. Doverspike knew talent when she saw it, and I was placed into a leading role for every grade school production.

I was a “Drummer Boy” for every Christmas concert. I did it because it got me out of the chorus for a few songs– supposedly to warm up. I really didn’t need to ‘get loose’, but I learned early to grab rock star privileges wherever you can get them. Each year it became another song I had to drop out of, to prepare for my bit with the hand drum & mallet. I never thought I was great at percussion, and always wanted guitar lessons, but despite being from a privileged family (upper-middle class), I would have to wait. My parents didn’t want that noise.

At Winneconne back then, young Wolves were allowed to take a real art class in 4th & 5th grade, which I did. It was Mr. Griffin, then Mr. Bartelt [?] in middle school, I don’t remember either of their first names, but both were excellent. I went to a different high school in a different town, and the teachers in these subjects weren’t nearly as good in my judgment, so that’s when I stopped with music & art classes.

In middle school you had to take either: marching band, chorus, or music appreciation every year. I opted for the last. Overall, Todd Oxley was very good, but he weighted towards ragtime, tin pan alley, early big band & opera– his favorite. Mr. Oxley had a problem with anything that came after the Beatles. An interesting movie on a new musical tool called the synthesizer, made an impression, but that was as current it would get.

Mr. Oxley was adamant that heavy metal was ‘devil music,’ and was playing AC/DC records to the class a grade ahead of us, as a study in Satanism. One day I walked into class, sat down in the back center chair as always, and saw “AC/DC”, “Black Sabbath” & “Ozzy Osbourne” on the blackboard. I got excited, and said loudly, “I like them, what’s that about?” Mr. Oxley snapped back, “That’s devil music hidden in distortion,” while angrily erasing the board. The kids (myself included) laughed at him, and told everyone in the school. The next year, he removed Satanism from his music curricula.

This is the most influential children’s record for me. I listened to all the Disney animation records as a kid, and The Jungle Book (1967) outclassed all of them. It holds up because of its genius musical soundtrack, and unforgettable characters. The gate-fold packaging, with artwork, was superb for all the Disney releases. I didn’t see The Jungle Book movie until it was re-released theatrically in North America in 1978. That’s how it was with Disney back then, and that’s why these records were so popular.

Only The Lion King (1994) comes close as a musical & film, and it largely depends on what you grew up with, in choosing a favorite. The original Jungle Book record is narrated, with character dialogue and the famous songs you know & love weaved in: “Trust in Me” by Kaa, “The Bare Necessities” by Baloo & Mowgli, “I Wan’na Be Like You” by King Louie & Baloo, and “That’s What Friends Are For” by the Singing Vultures & Shere Khan. Rhythm, groove, crazy rhyming, alliteration, and other songwriting tools come through. It takes brains & brawn to deliver these hooks, and The Jungle Book is loaded with both.

I rode the school bus, grades 1-8, and it was by far the roughest bus in the Winneconne school system. It was for the kids furthest out, and most lived on family farms. It carried grades K-12, so you had big kids mixed in with grade-schoolers, and a bus driver with a laissez-faire approach to discipline. He didn’t believe in constant supervision, he believed in not crashing the bus, so he mostly let us work our stuff out amongst ourselves. Only (maybe) twice did Gus-the-bus-driver, stop and take action in all my years. He would handle most of it by looking up into his rearview mirror to eyeball the situation. It was a tough & thankless job with all types of crazy.

I was first picked-up, and last dropped-off, every year until 8th grade. I spent a lot of time on that bus, and the radio was always going. For years it was 1280 WNAM, which was AM, top-40, conservative talk radio. For those who don’t know: FM is stereo radio; AM is mono. I think Gus-the-bus-driver was a fan of Paul Harvey, who rambled on every morning with, “The Rest of the Story”.

I heard countless broadcasts, and can’t ever recall him getting to a point. I would usually stop listening after a minute, and look around only to see that everyone had already given up too. NONE of the kids liked Paul Harvey. This is what happens when someone who doesn’t like music is put in charge of the radio. I was part of the rebellion that finally got our school bus radio station switched to 105.7 WAPL, which is FM rock.

Like I said, it was a tough bus. It had a primitive communication system which worked something like this. If you were sitting next to the heater in the rear, in January, and it was getting too hot, you just yelled “TURN OFF THE HEAT,” and Gus would flip a switch– and there was no more heat. If you later called for it to be turned back on, he wouldn’t be so quick to hear you, if he did at all– so you learned when. That’s an example of the responsibility that came with sitting in the back of our school bus.

Just to show how cruel boys can be, we called the fat girls “heifers,” which has a nasty sting coming from America’s Dairyland. Around 1982, we had a few high school heifers sitting in the back, in what was cool, but rough territory. For reference, sitting up front was for grade-schoolers, and it was how to be ‘on gool’. Gool is imaginary sanctuary. For instance, “You can’t touch me, I’m on gool!”  This works well enough in 2nd grade, but evaporates by middle school. Anyways, when Joan Jett and the Blackhearts hit big with “I Love Rock ‘n Roll”, the intro drumbeat & riff would start, and one of the heifers in back would scream “TURN IT UP,” and Gus would turn it up. It was a rockin’ school bus– in every sense.

The point I’m making is that music education happens everywhere, because music is constantly around us. Network television & radio were the media back then. They worked together, as television brought new music to kids, even before MTV. The three network channels CBS, NBC & ABC (along with PBS), all programmed the same time-slots, with 3:00-5:00 in the afternoon being for kids. So while we were watching re-runs of Gilligan’s Island, commercials from K-tel Records would appear, and impact us.

K-Tel was a budget record label that would put together sampler albums, and advertise when we were watching. K-tel mostly sucked, and kids didn’t buy into much of it. But in 1980, K-tel released their three best (and most remembered) albums: The Rock Album, Rock 80, and Power Play. Seeing & hearing Debbie Harry sing, “Call Me” in this commercial, still jolts me. It was meant to. K-tel’s Power Play brought Blondie, punk, and new wave to the midwest & many other places.

Columbia House was the original subscription music service. When you signed up, you’d get a bunch of ‘free’ albums for a penny, and in turn you promised to buy a set number of albums over the coming year– whether you realized it or not. The box of records, cassettes, and/or 8-track tapes arrived a few weeks later, along with the real bill.

This is called as “negative option billing,” which is defined as an unfair business practice by the FTC. It’s where customers are given goods or services that were not previously ordered, and must either continue to pay for the service or specifically decline it in advance of billing. The reason Columbia House (and later BMG) could offer such steep discounts was because they obtained a copy of the master tapes from all the other labels, and manufactured their own records, tapes & CDs to sell. The artists did not get paid for any of these sales.

The biggest problem for me as a consumer with all these ‘music house clubs’ over the years was their poor selection. Their titles were mostly lame & old. Columbia House was always in TV Guide, meaning it was in nearly every household with a television, for two decades. I would look through and mark the ones I wanted, but it was always only 2 or 3, and you needed to pick a lot more, so I always tossed it away as trash.

BMG was the competitor of Columbia House, who bought them out in 2005. BMG would slip in their catalogs with a purchase of any Sony stereo component, since they are partners. It would be packed-in with the instruction manual & warranty card. I finally went for it, when I got my new Sony CD player around 1992, at the point when BMG offered “10 CDs for the price of half,” meaning you could get 10 CDs for $27. Their selection finally included titles from alternative artists, so it was a GREAT deal. In the entire history of Columbia House & BMG, this was the only time to ever try this deal with an honest approach– IMO.

It was at the end of 7th grade, when I finally took guitar lessons. Becker Music at the end of Main St, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It’s been a family operation for decades, and I learned from Roger Becker, the son. They were all old-school taskmasters, but he was the most mellow. They could get abusive, especially the mother & father, and that’s why I finally quit as I was starting high school. That reason, along with my parents getting divorced, which takes the fun out of everything.

I had learned a lot in a year-and-a-half– all the basics on chords, notes & technique. It wasn’t until dental school that I started getting back into playing guitar. Lots of other students played, and Guitar Player started publishing tablatures of songs in their monthly magazine. Also, album songbooks which they accurately transcribed with permission from the artist, became the best way learn to play a great record like Nirvana’s Nevermind, for only $20, and some time.

At Marquette University back then, Kinko’s photocopying shop on 17th & Wisconsin was the place to take songbooks, magazines, etc, and get yourself an educational copy at low cost. I still have many of those photocopied tabs.

I was starting to practice a lot again in dental school, by myself as a study break activity. As the dental school years went on, I took more & more study breaks. It wasn’t until my final semester of dental school, in January 1994, when all my requirements were completed and I was one of many of us who were just marking time until graduation, that I was introduced to marijuana.

I grew up straight. My first beer was in my sophomore year of high school. That’s the way I partied through college & dental school, until weed. But that night, my guitar & amp were around, as I first got stoned with my friends. I then picked it up, plugged in, and started playing more freely & naturally than ever. I was age 25. Since then, marijuana has been my preference. It’s a gateway to another part of the mind, that helps me relax & be creative. I have never tried anything stronger, prescription or illicit. I believe I’ve lived ethically, and have no regrets on that.

I took the Florida dental boards in May-June 1994. By August, I was working as a professional dentist in Orlando, FL. A year later, I began writing songs, and conceived becoming a musical artist. I made an attempt in 1997-98 to make a record, which was pressed as a cassette tape. I had passion, and some great songs, but no clue what I was doing– so it failed. Around 2000-2002 I attempted a self recording, using two borrowed recording consoles: one digital & one cassette tape. I studied, and learned some more useful stuff, but the final recordings hastily pressed to CD, still weren’t good enough. Another expensive failure, and lesson learned.

Then, for a period of 7-8 years, I focused on personal & dental professional aspects of my life, and music was set aside. I spent this period intensely studying dentistry, as well as Marxism, history, film, music, art, and science. But I never stopped writing songs. When one came, I would get it down on the back of an envelope, or whatever. I had purchased a digital 8-track console, and recorded all my songs onto it, so I knew I had demos. It was these songs from this console, that I burned onto CD and gave to Jay Stanley, when I went in to record Magnified in the summer of 2011. All my music history since then, is already on this site.

No discussion of music education is complete without a few thoughts on ethics. I’ve discussed the Columbia House & BMG scams already. While researching, I was reminded of all the ways my friends had cheated them, and even learned a few new ones. There was never any ethical dilemma amongst kids when it came to shorting the industry. They were overcharging us, and advertising their garbage everywhere, so we learned to take back when & where we could. Sneaking into shows, moving up from bad seats, recording albums onto cassette tape, ripping CDs & DVDs, etc, was all good.

Napster changed everything from 1999-2001, because you couldn’t put a mp3 in your hand, nor could you trace its source. How you feel about what happened to that revolutionary website, says a lot about your musical ethics. Napster was cool, and for the kids. The music industry ramped up its corporate & political machinery to kill Napster so Harvard graduate Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, could rule the ‘authorized’ streaming & download market with iTunes. That’s when pirate sites like Bittorrent, Limewire, Kazaa, etc, popped up like mushrooms to replace Napster.

Most music today is shared via streaming services. Sharing mp3’s illicitly is new radio, so keep doing it. But it is not cool to steal from artists selling their physical product. It isn’t cool to steal from record stores & vendors, as they work to keep music available, and need to be paid fairly. To hide coveted records in obscure bins, until you have enough money to buy it, is to cheat not only people looking for that record, but also the establishment as it keeps the store from making a sale. As a rule, tip musicians generously when they move & entertain you. Unless it’s superstar level, or near that, pretty much every musician is underpaid. Music is what gives us joy & hope. It gives us strength & courage. We need music to get through this COVID-19 pandemic, and help guide us to something better. Always be honest with music, and it will infinitely reward you.

………….<><><><><><>………….

DIY Haircuts

I’ve seen a few friends & celebrities get haircuts by loved ones since this pandemic became reality, and I think that’s great. COVID-19 is going to wipe out barbers & stylists everywhere, as people are going to have to learn their own hair care. I’ve done my own hair for a long time now, and it has many advantages, such as: 1) convenience, 2) no cost, and 3) consistency. My hair looks great, because I take complete responsibility for it.

Using a mirror & ambidexterity are required skills to DIY. There are certain cuts which must be made either left-handed or right-handed, to come out right. I didn’t use electric shears on this trim, but I will the next time, which will be in about a week or so. Whenever it needs it, which is nice. You’ll also learn how to touch-up in-between, when you goof.

Here are a few helpful tips. If using shears, start with them. Use electric shears to thin the back, sides, and eyebrows– using a comb to guard the latter. Scissors are primarily for the top, bangs, and finishing. Again, ambidextrous is best. You can use a hand mirror to see in back, but it’s better to develop “a feel” for your hair, and cut by that. Use the Force. Not only will you be taking better care of yourself, while saving time & money, you’ll also improve your coordination & dexterity.

It’s implied you’re standing in front of the bathroom mirror. Grab a recently used t-shirt out of the hamper, or do it when you’re about to throw the one you’re wearing into the hamper. This make clean-up easier, and cuts down on the itchies while you work. When finished, sweep up the hair & shower. That’s the most efficient & hygienic way to cut hair. Give it a try!

One last item. Since we never have composting where I live, I flush the clippings. I used to put them in the trash, until creepy neighbors started going into my garbage to grab locks for themselves. Just be aware.

………….<><><><><><><>…………

Coronavirus checklist: What to do, Part 2

Today is the first day that Florida is on official lockdown. What this means in Sanford (for now) is that you can still go out for walks, fish on the river walk & go out for “essentials.” That word “essential” is given broad interpretation, and enforcement is kept vague. A few hold-out non-essential business are still trying to do business as usual, mostly using kids for employment, but most small-business owners get it and are home. More & more people are wearing masks.

Ventilators have become an issue to keep patients alive, as they flow oxygen to taxed & infected lungs. To avoid this fate, ventilate daily at home by opening windows & doors to let fresh air in. Direct sunlight kills most microbes & such pathogens, so do this as part of keeping your place clean. Also get out and exercise just enough for your needs, while observing best hygiene & social distancing practices.

I stayed home most days for over two weeks until the quarantine lockdown was finally ordered by Republican governor Ron DeSantis yesterday. I felt I had to lead by example, as I’m conspicuous in my area. Governor DeSantis had to wait so long, despite intense popular pressure, because: 1) he’s a puppet of Trump; and 2) he’s beholden to the Florida state machinery. Donald Trump wants his favorite golf courses to remain available to him. This is just one of a million examples of personal interests affecting Florida politics. The people who live here have no say, and are kept in the dark about everything important.

      1. Problem-Solved.mp3

 

One group I neglected to mention in my first checklist was homeless people. They get forgotten, even though they exist everywhere. If we as a society are serious about dealing with this coronavirus epidemic, then we need to find homes for all the homeless– so they aren’t spreading more disease. To not do so only kills the economy (& people) even more. Since most people don’t think much about homeless people, maybe presenting this as self-interest will give them pause.

At this point, there is nothing helpful coming from Bernie Sanders, AOC, or any of the rest of the fake left in mainstream US politics. The presumed Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, is a racist, sexist, militarist zombie. The truth is that none of them are significantly better than Trump, and that’s why none are too anxious to succeed him at this point. Every day we get closer to the cancellation of Election 2020.

The primaries haven’t been officially been cancelled. But what about the conventions? Much depends on pseudo-socialist Bernie Sanders, who has been ready to concede to Joe Biden for weeks, except for these extraordinary circumstances. Bernie Sanders knows how to deceive a naive Democratic constituency during regular times, but these are no longer ordinary days. The US is now the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, which means it’s an epidemic in America. Any answers, Bernie? Hello, anyone home?! He’s gone away, like all the rest of his ilk.

Only a few brave months earlier, Trump boasted that no coronavirus would be getting to America, or into any of his rallies. Now all the rallies have been cancelled, and his daily White House “press conferences” are a tragic farce. Strict censorship by the volatile Trumpster allows no serious issues to be brought up. At this point, any half-serious White House journalist has probably had their credentials revoked by the Trump team, or at least been threatened.

The Commander-in-Chief doesn’t follow the most basic social distancing rules himself, and probably doesn’t even wash his hands, so who can take him seriously? The rational world sees this and wants to vomit. Zombie supporters of Democrats-Republicans normally cheerlead each week’s inane talking points on social media, but I notice they’re mostly quiet now, as we have to “come together” in this time of crisis. This is the sort of sorry-ass BS that losers force themselves to believe every time they don’t want to admit they’ve been wrong all along. The only comfort here is that there will be much more hard reality coming to these formerly-affluent, but still confused upper-middle class liberals, and they need a healthy dose for sure.

What I don’t need any more of is television, and I haven’t watched in weeks. I tried a few times, but it’s all commercials & no content, so it’s off again within a minute or two. Here’s a fact we all know. People learned about coronavirus online. That’s because they know they can’t rely on the MSM. These are generalities that hold much truth about our future.

Many frontline medical workers are making out their wills. This is a grim reality to face, and heavy responsibility to bear. This is what they dedicated their lives to do, and it can be a heroic adrenaline rush on the front line. But now it’s mostly overwork & fatigue, knowing you’re fighting a losing battle. The resources to win aren’t there. The compensation is far too little, and the personal cost is far too high.

Capitalism is responsible for all this. Its puppet-masters have gone into hiding, from the public at least. Where is Warren Buffet, with all his fortune & expertise, to take questions from the public? Answer: He’s too susceptible to talk– until May at the earliest. Where are all the rest who are responsible for this catastrophe? Why is there no public accounting or admission of wrong-doing?

For the rich, this is time for them to watch as COVID-19 is unleashed on the North American continent, with no coordinated preventive health measures in place to protect the population. In the very near future, food and other living essentials will be in short supply, meaning hoarded by the elite, in order to starve the masses into submission & death. That’s their plan. Socialist revolution must be the plan for international youth & the working masses.

Since I live among the many, and right next to a hospital, here are some thoughts to take to the grave. No one can live forever, which is why organizations & institutions exist, as these entities can outlive us. The ones you identify & act with in life, are the ones that will carry your name in death. So be very careful about whom you support, because you give a part of yourself that is hard to take back.

Therefore this is my online will, so to speak. Facebook is to freeze all my pages upon death. No more posting, commenting, or liking allowed. It can then be made available for public viewing to all who wish. YouTube videos are to allow comments into posterity. This allows the original online content to be preserved in it’s integrity, while making room for discussion. These are basically online diaries, which you must (and should) own.

Website content should also be frozen and preserved in its original form. “Some rights reserved” is the 21st-century creative model, and it means available to share, but if money is made, then find a way to pay (or at least credit) the artist.

      2. 04_Atheist-Psalm-Ric-Size.mp3

 

I’m still an atheist, no thanks to god. Full support always to the SEP/ WSWS/ICFI. Just bury my body anywhere when it’s my time, and remember these songs among others.

      3. Rolling-Stoned.mp3

 

………..<><><><><><><>…………

Coronavirus checklists: What to do?

If you’re out-of-work due to mass quarantine, then this is the question. All the carnivals & circuses have been shut down, live & on TV. ESPN & all the sports leagues are airing re-runs. Except for the NFL, which is still delusional for its 2020 season. They have just “negotiated” a new CBA with the NFLPA that runs through 2030 which extends the regular season by one game in 2021, and the playoffs to 14-teams in 2020. These fools still act like there is going to be football in the fall. The problem is there isn’t.

Everyone of these megalomaniacs has under-estimated the impact of this pandemic. Two months ago, coronavirus was labeled a conspiracy theory by the “right-wing” mainstream fake news. Here is the first report from the WSWS on coronavirus, published January 24, 2020. It still holds up, and was light years ahead of the rest of the media.

In contrast, Donald Trump with all the resources of the CDC, NHS, WHO, etc, available to him, only reversed himself on coronavirus on Monday, March 16, 2020. Since then he has done nothing to stop the spread, in fact he has allowed it to get worse.

There are too many essential American workers toiling under hazardous conditions due to this willful neglect, which is bipartisan. The political response has been to bail out those responsible (again) with trillions more in cash for the banks, major corporations & elite hedge fund firms– which qualify as “small businesses,” so they’ll be the ones soaking up all that “economic stimulus” money.

That’s what you do if you are rich. You divest all stocks, bonds, derivatives, etc, and cash out. You then stockpile essential supplies & foodstuffs, while setting up electronic billing, delivery service & everything else. Retreat to your hideaway mansion and wait it out in relative comfort & safety.

For those who work, it’s a different set of circumstances & instructions. First, you have to make a decision about working. Am I essential personnel? If no, then you should stay home. That’s what I’ve done. I’ve converted all my bills to credit card. I don’t get unlimited free money from the Federal Reserve Bank, so it costs either 12.5% or 21% depending on how it’s categorized by them. There’s also a few service charges, but having Bank of America pay my bills in the meantime is better than running out of cash. That’s the choice you face when you live paycheck-to-paycheck, or take extended time off, as I had.

I was set to start working again at dentistry in an promising private practice, but March 16, 2020 was my first (and now possibly) my last day. Before coronavirus, this owner dentist needed an experienced associate to keep up with the growth. Now he needs to cut staff, protect himself & stay healthy so he can treat emergencies over the coming period.

Masks, gloves and other PPE are in short supply, with price gouging already in effect. How long he can remain open, and how affordable will he be, are unknowns. Will I see him & his staff again? If yes, then when? I don’t know? I’m just one of millions, soon-to-be billions, who have been thrown into total uncertainty. It makes you wonder.

Being essential labor, and having to work due to economic circumstance, is the worst position to be in right now. Farmers need to work & produce, because we all need food. Water, power & internet need to remain on. The workers who make this happen are our everyday heroes being made to face disease & death due to greed & class hatred.

The elite response is bail out the rich, mobilize the military-police apparatus, and get labor back to work. This must be opposed with a demand for ALL workers to be properly protected, compensated, and cared for. These are serious demands for revolutionary times, and it requires coordinated organizing action among the rank-and-file in all industries.

What to do with all the free time?

In quarantine, I sleep in & nap more– and have no regrets about that. Learn to adapt by needing less. Personal hygiene & fitness are top priorities. So is politically educating oneself. Proper nutrition is essential. Fruits, legumes & vegetables are 90+% of my diet. This is cheaper & healthier than meat. Most weeks, this is the only thing I need to go out for. Food markets are hotspots for contagion, so only go out when needed.

The idea is to avoid spreading disease & going into a hospital as a patient, because too many don’t walk out. Frontline medical workers have been swamped & under-supplied for decades, so they are getting sick here too. There isn’t enough testing, so no one knows who is infected, and how extensive it really is? We’re just getting started here in the US. It’s about to get much worse, because there is no coordinated response from government– on all levels.

Everyday people are voluntarily quarantining themselves to prevent this pandemic from getting even worse, while Donald Trump & the Democrats are cashing in their portfolios, as they let this contagion spread far & wide. They want mass casualties among the working masses, to thin & weaken the poorer ranks. This COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic reveals how every national ruling class uses an unleashed bio-weapon against its own population. These are chilling political realities in our world.

The answer to this criminality must be decisive. Workers need to take action and seize control of workplaces, to either halt non-essential production, or make sure essential services are carried out safely. There can be no reliance on bureaucracies of any sort: union, corporate, or government– who all collude against the workers to keep them enslaved under capitalism. Every capitalist institution must be seized and reorganized by placing labor in control. All bureaucrats, and especially their puppet masters, are to be arrested & tried in court for their criminality.

Since the media tries to manipulate everyone with beauty, here are a few final thoughts on this pertaining to coronavirus. COVID-19 has de-sexualized global society in a sense, as survival is now the primary instinct. This allows human beauty a chance to reveal itself and form its own identity. In becoming better understood by the majority, true beauty opposes business-as-usual which uses sex as a weapon to maintain imperialist authority. Being honest & true to everything only increases one’s influence due to beauty.

This means spending serious time at home, dealing with internal pain to make oneself more beautiful. In the process, you will become more influential, and able to share more intelligently & effectively on social media. That’s what you can do, when you have nothing else to do.

…………………<><><><><><><>………………….

The Coronavirus Concerts, Part 2

The Coronavirus Concerts deserved a full encore, so here it is. The first Coronavirus Concerts were about breaking new ground & figuring out how to do it– in a new era. With that knowledge & experience already in hand, this follow-up was captured in only a few hours. Part 2 probably flows better as a program from start to finish, because this time I knew what I was doing from the start.

As a production note, you need to be your own cameraman & director to do this. This is about being totally responsible for sound, lighting & your appearance. After the performance is captured, you must upload it to a computer & get it online with everything labeled & thumb-nailed correctly. Then marketing & promotion… Don’t worry, I couldn’t do it all at first either.

For me the performances are the easy part. This time it’s mostly my songs, with only three covers out of the fifteen songs. This shows I can play either way, covers or originals, all night long while keeping it strong. Fugazi used to call it “throwing down.” It’s good to be able to throw down.

I intentionally featured songs that haven’t been made into official videos already. Therefore songs like “Talented”, “Sugarcoat”, “Ridiculous”, “DDSeuss”, “Sun-Wind-Bird”, etc., aren’t covered here. Perhaps if/when I do Part 3. The format is the same, with the video posted above, followed by a description below.

“Self Made” is one of the first songs I ever wrote. When you start songwriting in the rock genre, you’re going for 3-minute rockers & anthems. I throw in a Modern Lovers “Roadrunner” lick at the end in that spirit.

“Problem Solved” is a favorite for women. TomP & I never did any videos for Hwy 19 & Main St, so I’m glad to get this song officially up on YouTube. We were too busy doing Fully Covered.

“Just Because” has a much different feel on Electrified!, with the extra vocals. Here it’s pretty much a straight blues-boogie number, with my lyrical twists.

“You are my Brother” was inspired by the owner of Elijah’s café in Eustis, which doesn’t exist anymore. Back when I had my own dental practice, which also doesn’t exist anymore, I ate there frequently. Elijah would say to me, “You are my brother,” and then he would serve me his delicious food. Absolutely.

“Atheist Psalm” is an ambitious song, from an ambitious album. I deliver it about as well as I can here. People have strong feelings about this one, so I never played it to a live audience. But if provoked, I would have.

The full title to this song is “Crime in the City (Sixty to Zero Part I).” Neil Young was re-energized in the late-1980’s by grunge & alternative, and Freedom was a huge artistic comeback for him. This song is never played on the radio, or covered, but I say it’s the best song on this record. Rust Never Sleeps is my favorite Neil Young album.

“Weird Ideas” is one of my favorite Hwy 19 songs. I played it a few times live at a place called Norm’s in Mount Dora back at that time, and the yuppie audience would go blank on it. But the riff, which I stole from A Tribe Called Quest, gets in you head.

“Rolling Stoned” is always a crowd favorite. Understand that my live crowds consisted mostly of baby boomer classic rockers. My friend & colleague Bill Pelick ran an open-mic jam at a place called Pug’s in Eustis for years. It’s no longer there, but Bill would let me come out whenever I wanted and perform. I got three songs, and that was it. After a few times, I was well-known, so I started trying crazy new stuff like “DDSeuss” & “Haters Step Aside” on them. “Rolling Stoned” always got huge applause from an old-timer audience that typically sneers at originals.

“Working Class” is one of my favorite early songs. It’s tight, with punch, and this is a strong version, save for the fluff at the beginning of the guitar solo. I guess that proves this is really difficult, and the trick is making it look easy.

Being from Wisconsin, I’ve seen the BoDeans live three times, more than any other ‘name band’. “Dreams” was their big single from their second record, but this is from their first album, which are both Americana classics. Other famous Milwaukee bands include the Violent Femmes & Die Kreuzen.

“Anna Rex” is another song that obviously appeals to women. This may be the best song on Electrified!, with the talent we had on it. Here I have to use a slide to simulate Jessica Lynn Martens violin effect.

“The Birth of Song” is one of my favorites from Over & Out. It’s economical & elegant, like this description.

“Obvious” is one of my favorite early rockers from Magnified. I was thinking specifically of the Counting Crows, Hootie & the Blowfish, Dead-Eye Dick (who was being payola promoted on Orlando radio at the time), etc, when I wrote this song.

“Moneybug” is a riff copped from Wire’s “Straight Line.” I had a lot of help with this tight rocker on Electrified! Jessica Lynn Martens on violin & backing vocals. Craig Roy came up with a great bass line, and Tom Pearce hit the beats & then produced it. This is one I re-worked the lyrics on a lot over the years, so I don’t remember them completely here, because I haven’t played it in awhile. I don’t practice much anymore, I just play. That’s how it goes.

This is the first artist I’m repeating on my covers. On Fully Covered, I did “Down Payment Blues.” This one is also from Powerage, which along with Dirty Deeds, is my favorite AC/DC record. Bon & Malcolm are gone, so here’s the best version I can do.

………..<><><><><><>………..

Coronavirus & Revolution

The stock & bond markets around the world have crashed. As of this publication, mid-afternoon EDT, Europe is paralyzed due to the coronavirus epidemic. China is starting to recover, but nothing is moving economically yet. Wherever it isn’t an epidemic, it’s a pandemic, waiting to become an epidemic. That’s because the nationalist governments of the world are unable to come up with any kind of scientific & coordinated response to this human disaster. History will remember coronavirus as the pin that popped the bubble of capitalism.

There are several things that are becoming increasingly clear as this global crisis unfolds. First is that our way of life is now changing forever. For those who are still working, many are doing it at home. For most of them, this is the way it should be, as texting, email & video conferencing no longer necessitate that management personnel meet in the same building. We have global warming, and this change for the better will cut down on unnecessary business meetings & travel, which under capitalism are almost always useless.

A second lesson that is being learned is that sports aren’t very important, in the big picture. These were the first activities that were shut down, when this coronavirus was spreading globally. Sports are an integral part of this fake economy which is meant to provide bread & circuses for the masses. But when things get tough, sports & entertainment get put on hold, as history collides with class forces.

Does anyone care what LeBron James or Jennifer Lopez have to say right now? The answer is no, because they have no expertise on the problem. All they know is what they are good at, so their opinions on anything else aren’t any better than anyone else who doesn’t know. So why are celebrities idolized & elevated so much? People staying at home have lots of time to think about stuff like this.

To take it a step further, it’s educational to go onto YouTube & watch any older version of your favorite sport(s), and observe how much better most leagues were in the past. Not that is was perfect back then (it wasn’t), but there were far less commercials, less exploding graphics, and less-annoying announcers. The contests were shorter, and more action-packed. The same holds true for Hollywood television & cinema being better in much of the 20th century, as compared to today. Since the old stuff is more entertaining, so why do we need all this new garbage? It’s progress to have this 24/7 fakery machine shut down.

The final truth here is that capitalism is responsible for this coronavirus pandemic, and unable to meet its challenges. US President Donald Trump has hopelessly poured trillions of dollars into the stock & bond markets to keep them afloat over the past two weeks, but to no avail. Any brief rise in the markets has been a “sugar high” from these injections of trillions, that quickly wears off as reality sets in. There are no markets left to trade in, because the global supply chains have collapsed. Thus it’s futile to throw money at the markets.

All this started in China in December 2019, with the coronavirus COVID-19 mutating in bats, then spreading to humans. The rest of the world’s governments had months to prepare for this contagion, but arrogantly & ignorantly refused to take it seriously. Now what do they have to say? The coronavirus denialists are now being shouted down everywhere, by the facts on the ground, and the workers who are on the front lines.

Every government’s policy is trillions more for the 0.01%, while the rest of us must face this coronavirus without mass testing & protection. Without testing, there can be no tracing, nor effective treatment & quarantine of the ill. It was bipartisan policy for the US government to reject WHO test kits over eight weeks ago, the most essential front-line tool for containing coronavirus.

You can’t fight what you can’t identify. US officials wanted “our” pharmaceuticals to make their own proprietary tests so they could profit handsomely, but the pandemic has spread too quickly. Today, we still don’t have mass testing for coronavirus in America. Democratic presidential hopefuls Joe Biden & Bernie Sanders only make excuses for this colossal failure. That’s how this two-party political system fails all of us.

What these parasites, strawmen & figurines have done to the world is unforgivable, and it won’t take long for the masses to realize this. Workers have bills to pay, with little-to-no reserves, and now no cash flow. When people can’t afford food & rent, that’s when the pitchforks & torches come out, looking for retribution against those responsible.

The biggest shame of all this is the fact there are millions of workers (in America alone) who are skilled & are heroically doing everything they can to contain this virus, while providing essential services to the population, despite the willful neglect of political leadership. These are the true heroes, but they are unrecognized by the media; starved of funding, supplies & necessary protective equipment by a corrupt system. These everyday heroes are forced to work because they care, and also because they live paycheck-to-paycheck. These are the people who live & work in reality, and therefore need to be in charge, not capitalist politicians.

Both US political parties, Dems & Reps, are eventually going to call off Election 2020, due to their inability to deal with this coronavirus. That will be another clear signal for revolution, as maintaining the status quo won’t do for the 90+%. This is now a revolutionary situation, and requires class-conscious leadership within the working class. Workers & youth need to organize amongst themselves. Appeals to the union bureaucracies & the capitalist class are a dead end.

Trump & the Democrats listen closely to the screams of Boeing, and how they need hundreds of billions. Meanwhile angry workers & youth are asking, “Why does this zombie corporation, that knowingly committed mass murder with their MAX 737 crashes, deserve a bailout?” As already stated, it’s not going to take long for youth & workers to put a revolutionary political program together, and it will be led by the Trotskyists of the World Socialist Web Site & SEP/ICFI.

What’s become apparent is that the working population & kids of the world are far ahead of any government. They understand the realities of global warming, social inequality & now the coronavirus better than their elected leaders. Many offices, stores & small businesses closed on their own, before they were ordered to, proving they recognized the risks better than our so-called “leaders.”

In this age of the internet, we now can identify the enemy. They start with all the names you see on Fox, CNN & Yahoo!, then it goes to those behind-the-scenes. It’s Wall Street, silicon valley, Hollywood, the East coast media, the pentagon, CIA, NSA, FBI, White House, Congress, and the Supreme Court. This is the criminal capitalist class, which must be ousted, and replaced with a workers government of the world. This is called socialism, and it’s only achievable through an international revolution. Please join us.

………………..<><><><><><><><>…………….

Coronavirus COVID-19 basics

In the healthcare professions, doctors, surgeons & support staff all adhere to “universal precautions,” which means assuming every patient has an infectious disease, even if their medical history is clear. This is because the patient may have an infection without knowing it, or they may be intentionally omitting data.

Therefore frequent hand-washing, gloves, masks, protective eye-wear, et al, are required. All this was recognized & widely adopted as standard practice in the 1980’s, when AIDS came along. This extends to personal hygiene, such as covering coughs & sneezes (into the shoulder), and other courtesy measures that educated & civilized people do to prevent the spread of disease.

The rapid-spread quality of coronavirus COVID-19 means that just about everyone will eventually be exposed to this pathogen. The questions are: Will your body be able to resist it, or will you become infected? If you are infected, then how bad will it be? Will it kill you?

We make ourselves more prone to infections by not sleeping enough, by not getting enough exercise, by not eating right, etc. Alcohol & drug consumption weakens any immune system. Tobacco smoking is a particular risk with any respiratory infection. The deaths from coronavirus COVID-19 have been mostly a result of pneumonia. This is what you need to know to avoid panicking, and making a big mistake for yourself & others.

Professionals don’t politicize the coronavirus COVID-19 into a weapon of fear against the population, as that only increases the spread of contagion. Empty reassurances & ignorance are tools to cover up ruling elite malfeasance. Every nation’s government is currently doing exactly this, by closing off borders, targeting certain ethnicities, and spreading fear.

Putting a backwards religious nut in charge of the coronavirus COVID-19 epidemic in the US, should be considered an impeachable offense, a crime against the American people. But not for the fake media, nor for official politics. Vice-President Mike Pence as governor of Indiana endorsed a policy to “pray away” the HIV epidemic. This wasn’t in the 1980’s when HIV & AIDS was new, but from 2013-17. Mike Pence is the exact opposite of a good solution to this coronavirus COVID-19 problem.

Obviously research & testing must be fully funded, publicly, so the people can have input on progress. Leaving it to the pharmaceuticals, who look only at profit, is a recipe for secrecy, monopoly pricing & pushing bad drugs onto the market– out of desperation.

Science has known that coronaviruses have had this potential for decades, with the SARS outbreak in 2002–2004, mainly in China, and MERS in 2012–2014, mainly in Saudi Arabia. Already we know the COVID-19’s RNA code, outer shell & much else that is necessary to develop a vaccine. But there is need for publicly coordinated research & policy, to prevent this from becoming a global epidemic which kills hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people. It needs funding, but all that goes to the military these days.

This is NOT being discussed anywhere in the corporate news or official politics. This is just another crisis to be exploited, and another bailout for the rich. The big US stock market losses last week have already been repaired. At ~10:00 AM EST this morning, it was announced that the US Federal Reserve Bank is cutting their rate by 50 base points for overnight bank lending to 1%-1.25%.

It’s not hard to predict what these zombies are going to do, once you know what’s going on. The ruling elites took big losses with this epidemic affecting their global supply chains. They have no serious answers for this global health epidemic, so they decided to print more money for themselves. This is called looking out for #1, which is considered a good thing. Ask any capitalist.

Conclusion: A virus does not distinguish between class, race, sex, or nationalities, It infects anyone & anything it can. It infects silently, and can be extremely mobile & resilient. It’s going to take a combination of ingenuity & resourcefulness to deal with this coronavirus epidemic, and the viral plagues of the future.

What this crisis already proves is that the current global political set-up has no serious answers to meet these challenges, and therefore must go, in the better interest of everybody. It’s now time for the workers of the world to wash our hands of this filth, as science & revolutionary socialism is the only path forward for humanity.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,<><><><><><><>………

Why it hurts so much

NBA legend Kobe Bryant, and one of his daughters Gianna, were among the nine people killed yesterday (Sunday) in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. Career Los Angeles Lakers shooting-guard Kobe Bryant was 41, and his daughter Gianna Bryant was 13.

The cause of the crash is still being investigated as of this publication, but conditions were said to have been very foggy. Usually it’s “pilot error” in these such instances. Time will tell.

This is as tragic as it gets if you are any kind of sports fan. Kobe Bryant was a global icon, and the universal mood among sports fans is still shock & sadness. This is one of those stories a sportswriter doesn’t want to have to do, but is obliged to. It is with a heavy heart I write these most serious words. That’s how Kobe Bryant would have wanted it, I say.

It’s very difficult to refer to someone younger, whom you admire for their greatness, in the past tense. This isn’t supposed to happen. This is one of those where-were-you-when-you-heard-the-news moments in popular cultural history.

The closest thing in sports that I can recall, was when Dale Earnhardt was killed on impact after hitting the wall at the end of the Daytona 500 on February 18, 2001. I heard my central Florida neighbor scream that day. Fans are first in denial, then overcome with sadness. That’s what it was like for weeks & months after, back then.

Yesterday, I tuned in for the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl just after 3:00. The game was being played locally in Orlando, and it was a beautiful day, so I was going to catch a bit then go out for a walk. But, ABC had already cut to this breaking news story. I screamed, “No!”, the same as my neighbor did almost 19 years ago. Then fell into numbness as I listened to the reports & watched the video footage. That’s acceptance, and it really sucks, because you feel sick to your soul.

 

People proverbially say it’s funny how things change when you die, only there’s nothing funny about these deaths. But things do change, that’s for sure. Whatever beefs or disagreements you had with Kobe Bryant disappear, because you know the loss of his life means more than any feud. We should remember this more in life.

The media perception has always been that Kobe Bryant’s greatest nemesis was his teammate Shaquille O’Neal. They feuded through the media up to the end:

Top NBA centers ever: 1) Wilt Chamberlain 2) Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, 3) Bill Russell, 4) Tim Duncan, 5) Hakeem Olajuwon, 6) Shaquille O’Neal, 7) Moses Malone, 8) Patrick Ewing, 9) David Robinson, 10) Robert Parish. Bigs are what wins in hoops, so this is what matters most in the NBA. That’s the final score on the court.

But now, none of that pettiness matters. The fact is: Shaq & Kobe couldn’t have won those three titles without each other, and that made both their Hall-of Fame careers.

Here’s Shaquille O’Neal yesterday in his own words on Instagram:

“There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through now with this tragic and sad moment of loosing my niece Gigi & my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie,” O’Neal wrote on Instagram of his former teammate. “I love you and you will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW !”

“Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man. That was what we had most in common. I would hug his children like they were my own and he would embrace my kids like they were his. His baby girl Gigi was born on the same day as my youngest daughter Me’Arah.”

The records are all there, and Kobe Bryant’s greatness was undeniable from the start. His work ethic & competitiveness were legendary. All time greatest #2 guard? You want Michael Jordan. I got Kobe Bryant. That’s a push. It feels like all of us on the side of true greatness just lost one. That’s why it hurts so much.

………….<><><><><><>……….